By Nemesis_Liafador 10 Comments
Her entire body was chilled.
The Spanish sun beamed down on her as she tore off the helmet and secured her motorbike. It should have permeated her golden-touched skin and warmed her fully, but instead it bounced off as if she was shielded. There was nothing that could permeate the chill currently going marrow-deep, and fine tremors quaked through her entire body.
It took Isis three tries to unzip the leather jacket that clung tightly to her form as she strode quickly across the flattened stone cul-de-sac driveway out front of the sweeping Spanish villa she and Santi had taken up in. The scent of the sea wafted on the air, normally a soothing balm, but today just an irritant.
Her black leather pants clung to her legs, first sticky and now stiff with dried blood. Not hers, never hers, but that of others. She had been hunting again. Rogue Cardinals, errant threats, assholes who decided to piss her off. The Ravens were deployed right now, and Isis had taken to hunting on her lonesome.
She always came back home with ghosts in her head.
As soon as Isis stepped into the expansive entryway, she pulled off her boots and shirked off her jacket, dropping them unceremoniously on the tile of the floor. She could see straight through the open floorplan and into the living room, the back wall of which was floor to ceiling windows and archways leading out onto a sweeping veranda. Beyond that was a vast pool, the sloping grounds, and finally beyond the cliffs, the sea. It usually calmed her, but today there were ghosts riding her hard.
Her fingers fumbled as she tried to pull the zipper on her pants and she cursed silently under her breath. It was still slick with blood. Finally, she yanked it down, pinching her own skin in the process, and muttering additional obscenities under her breath.
She made quick work of peeling the pants off of her legs, and whipped the black v-neck over her head in the next breath, leaving her clad in a utilitarian black sports bra and briefs. Blood speckled her sun-kissed skin, and the bags under her eyes were unforgiving.
She walked slowly but with purpose from the front entryway and into the open living room. The sun beamed in through the wall of windows and the white gauze curtains wafted in the wind. Her shoulders started to ache as her muscles quivered.
Where normally she would languidly traipse through the house, today she walked with purpose to the back veranda, where she found Santi, just as she suspected. The enormous couches were positioned under the shade of the covered veranda with a perfect view of the pool and the sea below.
Her breath caught in her chest and for a moment, the ghosts were quiet, and her body still. The sun cut in at a slant and highlighted the deep brown of his hair and what occasionally appeared to be tawny undertones. The golden hue of his skin gleamed, and he appeared like a sun-kissed god. His studied nonchalance was as affecting as always. The perfectly tailored slacks, the slightly open shirt, and the amber glass of whisky in his hand. He could just as easily be a Duke from days past, or a pirate ashore from the seas. She knew he knew she was there, but he gave her this moment to gather herself.
Her breath hitched and the ghosts came home to roost, burdening her with their presence.
Her shoulders shook as he put down the whisky, his brow furrowing with concern as Isis stepped into his arms. Santi pulled her into his lap and lay down across the gargantuan couch with Isis draped across him, chest to chest. One arm banded around the small of her back, the other around her shoulders, his hand in the thick morass of her hair, as he pressed her slight weight into his body, a tactile reminder that she was alive and with him.
She broke silently in his arms, the perfectly silent sobs overtaking her. She had learned young that audibly crying led only to reprimand, and had quickly taught herself that if tears were to be had, they must be had silently. She had never trained herself out of it.
The salty streams streaked down her cheek, soaking through the white linen of his shirt as wracking sobs overtook her, and finally, the ghosts were at bay if only for this moment.