This is a bit late, sorry about that, but here is chapter six of Capture from Ian's POV:
Ahora stood against the door-frame, her arms crossed over her chest, and a smirk wide on her face. “Ready?” She asked us.
That was a loaded question, I thought. Because I surely wasn’t ready to be poked with needles, and I wasn’t entirely ready to lose any time with Autumn, but I knew that I couldn’t worry about what my heart wanted when there was a battle to be fought.
“Let’s go,” I said, reaching for her arm. I pulled her out of the room after me, ignoring Holly’s giggle fit as we moved past her.
“Normally we’d head to your next training center,” she said, walking ahead of us. “But as you’ve both received your tracking implants, you’ll be allotted a thirty minute rest period.”
“Well, that’s nice of you,” Autumn teased. I could feel the smile tugging at the corners of my lips. Her attitude was one of my favorite things about her.
She was as tough-as-nails, and yet selfless when it came to risking her life to save the rest of us from the wrath of Lucas. I hadn’t known her long, but I’d come to admire her strength and determination.
Autumn reached behind her, her fingers massaging the nape of her neck where the implant had been inserted. A cold gush of air hit us as we neared the end of the hall, forcing her to wince in pain. My eyes instinctively moved towards her, worried. It was ridiculous how protective I’d become of her. Relax, idiot, I told myself. She was fine. I knew that. I did. And she certainly did not need me to protect her, she’d already proved that she was more than capable of taking care of herself, so my need to protect her was useless. Yet, that didn’t stop my eyes from locking on her every time she reacted to the slightest bit of pain.
“We’re going to need you both in the best shape possible.” My eyes remained on Autumn until we stopped in front a silver door. Frosted glass surrounded the door, showcasing the vacant beds inside. “This is the recovery room. Feel free to use any bed you’d like.” Ahora ran her fingers tapped her fingers on the door, revealing a small keypad. Her fingers moved quickly over four digits, careful not to giveaway the code.
Which could only mean that it was a common code used throughout the building, there’d be no other reason for her to hide it from us.
I glanced at Autumn briefly before the door to the room opened. “If you need anything, don’t hesitate to call.” Autumn’s face reddened as Ahora winked and spun on her heel.
She took off, back down the hall, leaving us alone.
Autumn body shook ever so slightly, her eyes focusing on the ground beneath her.
I wanted to search her thoughts to see what she was thinking of, but given how uncomfortable she seemed, I couldn’t bring myself to do it.
She moved inside of the room and beelined for the mattress aside, falling onto the mattress face first with her arms stretched over her head.
I probably should’ve let her be, but I needed to know. I took a seat next to her on the mattress carefully, making sure not to disturb her. “So, we’re just friends?” I leaned back against the headboard and folded my arms over my chest. “I was under the impression that our relationship was much more complex than that.”
She lifted her head off of the mattress and smirked.
My first thought was that I wasn’t going to like her answer, but there was still a part of me that hoped maybe she’d admit her feelings for me. But the chances were slim, and I knew that.
After all, I’d kind of broken into her home and tortured her family. Definitely not going to help with crush points, I told myself.
She closed her eyes and took and took a deep breath before answering. “Well then, how would you describe us? You went from trying to kill me to being my partner in battle. I’m not exactly sure how to label a relationship as such.”
“I guess partners works,” I said, grinning. “For now.”
I expected her to argue with me, but she didn’t. She actually seemed to relax. “You are quite the mystery, you know. I’m trying to figure you out, but you make it nearly impossible to get inside of your head.”
“I have my reason,” I said, shrugging. I’d learned to distance myself from others, having been burned before. I’d never truly let anyone get close enough to get inside of my head because then they’d be capable of tearing me down, and well, I preferred to have the upper hand. “When I’m ready to open myself up, you’ll know.”
She moved to sit up and crawled towards the top of the bed. I reached forward, entwining my fingers with hers, and pulled her into my lap easily. We didn’t speak, neither of us willing, or able, to start conversation, fearing that we’d ruin this moment; that I’d ruin this moment.
She had no reason to trust me after what I’d down to her family. In fact, she had every reason to kill me. But, somehow, she’d seen past what I’d done to her, and welcomed the chance to get to know me outside of Lucas’ control.
“Thank you”, I wanted to tell her, but just as I went to speak, an intercom came on over the room, destroying my chance. ” Ahora’s voice tore through the room, “You are both to meet me in the hallway within the next five minutes for the remainder of today’s training.”
Autumn moved to look up at me once her voice faded away, her eyes full of wonder and intrigue. As I sat there staring at her, at those blue eyes that had the power to make my heart pound against my chest, I could feel my lips twitching into a wide grin.
“Time to go,” she sighed and rolled off of my lap, back onto the mattress. Her eyes moved to the stone ceiling, her body making no move to leave the bed.
“Autumn?” I whispered. “We gotta go.”
“I know, I know,” she agreed, shaking her head. She tossed her feet over the side of the bed and lifted herself off of the mattress. “Let’s get this over with.”
She jogged towards the door as I ran up behind her. We stood beside each other, waiting for the door to open.
I wasn’t ready to give up my alone time with Autumn, even though I knew it was selfish on my part. People were dying, and she was the only person capable of stopping Lucas, I knew that, but the unknown terrified me. We didn’t know what awaited us once we faced him. There was no promise that we’d all return in the end.
All we had was here and now, and right now, all I wanted was to spend my time with Autumn, getting to know the girl beneath the tough exterior.
I tried to think of what my friends from back home would say – friends that I’d never see again now that Lunica City was my home. They’d probably tease me for allowing some girl to overtake my thoughts.
And really, as ridiculous as it seemed, how I’d allowed this girl to work her way into my mind, I didn’t regret it. Because, if I were to die out there, at least I’d have had the chance to know her.
Standing outside of the recovery room were Ahora and Ramona.
When Ramona noticed Autumn, she sent her a chilling glare before turning to walk down the hallway. I shot Ahora a look and she just shrugged, moving in line behind Ramona.
When neither Autumn or I moved, she turned to call out, “You’re supposed to follow us.”
We followed behind them, unsure of where they were taking us. Ramona’s presence seemed to indicate that we were headed to the training arena, which motivated me to move faster.
I needed to take out my frustration somewhere.
Noticing how sluggish Autumn was moving, I leaned down and pressed my lips to her ear. “Walk faster.”
Her body shook as I pulled away, her cheeks reddening.
Grinning with satisfaction, I glanced up, noting Ramona’s cold eyes focusing on Autumn.
Autumn must’ve noticed too because she’d begun to pick up speed, nearly forcing tripping as she did so.
We continued down the empty hall, only the sound of our footsteps filling the air until we reached a door near the end. Ramona stopped, causing the rest of us to practically fall on top of one another.
“I uh, I’m sorry,” Autumn apologized to Ahora profusely, blush creeping into her cheeks.
I let out a rambunctious laugh and placed my hand on the small of her back. Her eyes looked me over, silently taking in every inch of my body.
Well, that’s got to be a good sign, I thought, grinning.
And then Ahora coughed, forcing her to look away.
So much for that short moment.
I looked back at Ramona, watching as she entered a code into a keypad beside the door. As she door opened, she made no move to wait for the rest of us, instead moving inside of the doorway. “Right this way,” she called, never bothering to look at us as she spoke.
The room was nothing like I had remembered it to be.
At some point, Ramona had managed to turn it into some sort of battle arena. “Oh, my,” Autumn gasped.
The walls were lined with energy stations, something that should’ve terrified me, but actually excited me.
Energy stations meant serious training, which was exactly what we were in need of.
The room was full of battle platforms. “What are these for?” Autumn arched a brow as she took in the platforms.
Ramona stepped forward and waved her hands out in front of her, choosing to show Autumn what the platforms were for, instead of taking the time to explain.
The room underwent another transformation – this time turning into a replica of Lunica City. Autumn seemed bewildered. “How did you… is this even possible?”
Ahora let out a laugh. “I’ll be back in two hours to retrieve both of you. Try not to get hurt.”
“I have a feeling I’ll be walking out of here in a body cast,” Autumn gulped.
I moved beside her, eager to ease her worries, “Autumn, you will do just fine,” I said, careful to keep my voice calm. “I am pretty sure that they need you to stay alive. But me, I’m disposable,” I teased, trying to lighten the mood.
Ramona clapped her hands, eager to reclaim our attention. “Let’s get started!” Her lips twitched into a smile. “What you’re looking at is Lunica City under the control of Lucas. Some things may appear differently than how you remember them to be.”
I hadn’t spent much time within the city, but even I was horrified at what was in front of me. A red sky highlighted the flame engulfed city. Torched bodies lay all over the streets. There was hardly anything left.
I could see the horror on Autumn’s face as she took it all in.
I wished that I could ease her pain, but I couldn’t fix this. No matter how hard I tried.
“Autumn, you’re going to need to focus,” Ramona said, moving in front of her. She moved her hands to Autumn’s face, pulling her attention back to her. “You’re not the only one hurting because of him.”
Almost instantly, something snapped inside of her. “What do we need to know?” She asked, her voice full of determination.
Ramona turned to walk back to her platform. I moved to follow, but Autumn stopped me, her fingers digging into my shirt. I arched a brow at her in surprise. “Please,” she pleaded. “Let me go first.”
“I don’t think that’s such a good idea,” I countered. I looked up at Ramona, who stood on a nearby platform with her hands on her hips, and her foot tapping, clearly lacking any sort of patience. “You should watch me first, this way you’ll know what to expect.”
I couldn’t stand the idea of something happening to her.
She hadn’t been trained for this, and well, I knew for a fact that Ramona wouldn’t go easy on her. I hadn’t been around her long, but I was quickly gathering that she enjoyed fighting. Maybe a bit too much.
Autumn stood on her tip-toes and gently pressed her lips to mine, shocking the hell out of me. “I’ll be fine. Besides, this is my fight.”
I let out a frustrated sigh and relaxed my eyebrows. “Go ahead then.”
Autumn took a moment to collect herself before running over to the platform directly across from Ramona. “Ready?” She called out, grinning. Autumn nodded. Before she could respond, Ramona sent out her first attack. A disc soared through the air, headed straight for Autumn. “Where did you-?”
She seemed unsure of what to do, and I was honestly considering stopping the disc for her, worried that this wasn’t going to end well. But to my surprise, she’d managed to send out two fire balls, scorching the disc in midair.
“Nice one!” I smiled widely.
“Yes, but let’s see how you do on this one,” Ramona snapped.
She crossed her arms over her chest and closed her eyes. Her lips moved rapidly as she recited some sort of spell.
Oh, crap, I thought as I realized what she was doing.
A large two-headed beast erupted from the floor, towering over both Autumn and Ramona. “Fire won’t destroy it. What are you going to do now?” Ramona asked, satisfied with herself, truly believing that she’d stumped Autumn.
For a second, I saw a flicker of panic in Autumn’s eyes as she took in the full size of the beast, but then a sense of calm seemed to overcome her as she focused on the beast, trying to think of a way to destroy it. She looked behind her, her eyes locking on a silver rod. “Perfect,” she said.
I wasn’t entirely sure what she’d had planned, but I was glad that she’d at least thought of something because the thing was beginning to move in closer.
She closed her eyes and placed her open palms out in front of her. I watched as the silver rod floated through the air, landing gently in her palms. The beat let out a terrifying groan as it neared Autumn, forcing her to open her eyes.
Move faster, I thought.
She took hold of the rod and whispered a spell. It traveled through the air, moving towards the beast, plunging deep inside of its heart. It’s body fell backwards just as it let out a loud cry, it’s remains turning into nothing more than a pile of ash.
“Impressive.” Ramona waved her hands out in front of her. The arena began to transform back into its normal state, all images of Lunica City vanishing instantly.
“Hey! What about me? I thought we were both here for training.” I ran over to Ramona. “She’s going to need help. You can’t expect her to do this on her own!”
“Relax.” She sighed. “Your training will be later on. For now though, I’m sending the two of you to practice your spells. Magic is useless if you don’t know how use it properly.”
I let out a soft sigh, and nodded my head in agreement, trying my best to hide my frustration. Autumn walked over to me and nudged me in my side. “Someone’s in a bad mood, huh?” She joked.
I leaned in and poked her in her side before wrapping my arms around her. “As long as you’re around, I don’t think it’s possible for me to ever be in a bad mood.”
And that was the truth.
The girl did something to me.
“In that case, I suppose my plan to ignore you won’t work too well.”
“I’m afraid you’re stuck with me.”
Ramona appeared beside us. “Ready?” She asked. “The study is adjoined to the arena.” She took off in front of us, walking over to the white wall, and pressed one of the panels in. The panel transitioned into a red door. “Come on now.”
We jogged over to where she was standing.
“You’ll have an hour here by yourselves to practice. I’d suggest that you use your time wisely.” She turned the brass handle, revealing a dim study full of books. Autumn stepped inside while I stayed close behind her. Autumn’s mouth dropped open in amazement as she took in the amount of books lining the room.
Before leaving, Ramona turned to look at me. “Oh, and Ian, you’ll have a battle session with me afterwards.”
About time, I thought.
I grinned, forcing Ramona to laugh as she made her way back into the arena, closing the door behind her.
Autumn grabbed a random book from the shelf, Book of Enchantment, and took a seat at one of the two desks, settling in to read my book. I reached towards the nearest shelf and pulled down a book on Ubiera’s history.
I moved onto the desk beside her, my eyes focusing on her instead of the text in front of me. “You kissed me,” I blurted. She looked over at me curiously. “Last I checked that isn’t something friends do. Kissing is a bit more intimate, don’t you think?”
Autumn sat in silence, seeming to mull over my words.
I thought that trying to talk to her about this was the right thing to do, but I was suddenly beginning to rethink that. She’d been silence for far too long.
Way to go, hotshot.
“Okay, so you’re right,” she finally answered, turning her attention back to her book.
“So, what is this then?” I leaned forward, inching closer to me. I placed his book on the table beside her and waited for her to respond. She looked up at me and leaned back on the desk, crossing my arms. I remained quiet. “Well,” she said, trying to edge me on.
I grinned and leaned in, pressing my lips gently against her. I lifted my hands to the sides of her face and moved in even closer, doing my best to eliminate any space between us.
Her hands wrapped around my neck, and she scooted closer to the edge of the edge.
I knew that this was the last thing that we should be doing, given what was taking place around us, but it felt right. Her body underneath mine, her lips pressed against mine, the feel of her beating heart against my chest – I’d never wanted anything more than I did in this moment. I craved her. Every inch of her.
I parted my lips over hers, slipping my tongue between her lips, deepening the kiss. I ran my fingers through her curls, not wanting this moment to end.
Almost as if remembering why we were there, Autumn suddenly pulled away, brushing her fingers over her lips.
I didn’t move, unsure of how to react.
“We should get back to studying. Ramona will probably be back soon,” she said.
I reached for my book and moved back into the desk next to hers, losing myself in the text. I was doing my best to ignore her when she reached for my hand. Her fingers wrapped around mine tightly as our energies connected.
I closed my eyes, loosing myself in her thoughts.
Maybe this wasn’t how I expected things to go, but I wasn’t ready to give this up. I squeezed onto her hand harder, not wanting to cut the connection to her thoughts.
If this was all that she could give me right now, then I would hold onto it as tightly as possible.
Hope everyone had a great Christmas (for those of you who celebrate it)! :)