There is this gnawing pain in the pit of my stomach that just won’t go away. I’d equate it to the way a vampire feels when thirsty for blood or chocolate. I have the feeling that I’m about to give in a lot more than I want to in order to make the mission succeed. I’m about to give in and let myself love someone that I swore on every next breath that I wouldn’t.
The truth is… I’m scared. I don’t want to go to hell. Let alone a hell on another planet. And if all I have is Ares then I’d better go with someone who will calm me and make me feel like things will be alright as long as he’s by my side. I’m going to have to brainwash myself in effect. I’m going to have to tell myself that Ares is the man that I love and want and that my chance to return to my family is gone… so long as he is here on earth. I don’t know how long we will be gone and I don’t know if I will survive the heartache of losing him any better than I did the first time.
He is a control freak and rightfully doesn’t trust me. He has done a much better job of taking care of me and not purposely or aloof, hurt my feelings. I think… No, I know that he is angry with me because I blatantly treat him like I don’t care. I don’t give him any credit for the effort he is putting in, the patience he is having with me, or letting him live down a single solitary moment of abandoning me. I tolerate him at best.
It must be painful to love someone so much and try so hard for them that at best they only tolerate you. So, how can I turn that around? I can’t. Not unless I truly turn my heart towards him and accept that he is going to hurt me at some point in time and that when he does I can return to my original resolve to just leave him as soon as possible.
We’ve been at Dracula’s castle for a couple of days and Dracula, aka Aidan, has been eyeing me. I know it bothers Ares that I’d give the former Vlad the Impaler a second glance compared to how loving and sweet Ares is trying to be to me. I guess in a way I’m giving him a taste of his own medicine through my disdain. A luxury I no longer have because the clock is ticking and I have a feeling that the power surge that Raphael gave me is going to take effect and send us careening to Jupiter whether I will it or not. It would help to have a friend.
I didn’t wait for him tonight. I went to find Ares first and take the initiative. I figured that as long as I was in the proper mindset I could rekindle that part of me that had to have him. That longed for his touch and the taste of his lips in my mouth. The part of me that was on fire and could not be tamed without having had him by my side, in my arms, holding his gaze and memorizing every beautiful bit of him. I reached as deeply into the numbness that I had forced to take root in my heart and felt a tinge of that. I need all of it. I need to honor my husband’s request and get Ares out of my system. I need to let myself fall back in love with him.
Not just a fleeting, he was cute and this was fun kind of in love. I mean that deep seated unrest that only leaves you feeling whole when you are completely in love with the perfect person for you who no matter what their flaws are, you love every last detail about them.
I found him in the courtyard. He was pacing and muttering to himself.
I know that I probably look like I’m on the hunt and ready to attack him. I probably have a scowl on my face and I can feel my teeth tightly clenched. I can feel the temperature of my blood rising with every step I take towards him and he froze just waiting for me to strike. Ready to take whatever I was going to throw at him. He looked defeated.
I never lost my momentum. I basically charged right into him and before he could react I was all over him. His lips on mine, his soft skin under my fingertips, his confusion ready to take over and thinking better of it. I clouded us to our chambers where I would not let him rest even for a moment for several hours.
I wondered if this is what he felt the first time I had let him have me after stealing him (for all intents and purposes) from my daughter to save her life. It would have been amazing if we both could have felt this way at the same time.
He didn’t say a word and just went with it. We laid there with our fingers intertwined, our bodies wrapped around each other, silent. Neither of us wanting to take the plunge. I didn’t want to explain and then do a horrible job of it making him feel cheap and unwanted when I so badly needed him to feel like I had been genuine today.
He sighed, so I went first. He was going to feel foolish if I didn’t say something now and then he’d begin to let me go emotionally and I’d be the one trapped “in love” and unable to function. I don’t want to go through that again. Not with him anyway.
“Sam was right. I’ve never loved anyone but you. Since we’re here I might as well be honest with myself and stop fighting it. I mean, you are doing a lot better. You’ve been way more patient with me than I ever expected. It would be unfair of me to let myself stay in the old days in my mind. Letting my thoughts revolve around what happened and deny myself the last chance I will ever have to actually feel something for someone again. If everything you say is true and the world as we know it is about to end… I don’t want to die not having ever loved anyone again. Not when it was always you anyway. And not when you were right here with me in the end.” I said staring at our fingers and ultimately cupping his hand and placing it on my face.
I thought I’d have made him angry for denying him for so long and crushing my face with his bare hands would have been his reaction. But, it wasn’t. He looked deeply into my eyes and the familiar warmth of the eyes that I had missed for so long mesmerized me. He just kissed me and held me closer and closer.
I did not expect that.
“I wasn’t lying when I said that hell had changed me. I had nothing but time to think about where I would rather be. I looked into your eyes every day I was tortured and killed over and over again. I think my private hell was reaching for you while you stood there loving me and not being able to reach you. Not once. If hell can change an angel like Primus into the deviant that he is then why can’t you believe that it changed me too?” Ares asked as he cuddled me.
“I was afraid that you would hurt me if I let you in again. I didn’t think I’d survive that twice. .”
“I wanted to give in that first day in the desert. I just kept thinking that I wouldn’t respect myself after everything I did to get over you if I took you back just because you appeared. I mean, how could I let you break my heart again and have gone voluntarily you know?”
“I know. That’s why I didn’t give you a choice. You’re all I thought about for over a thousand years Gwen. I know you. I know you so well that I don’t think I know myself half as well as I know you.”
“Yeah, apparently so. Did you know that I would come around?”
“Eventually. I mean, I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy and that you were going to lash out at me more because you never got any closure. But, you never once flinched when I’d touch you. You always felt like you were having this inner battle beneath the surface when I held you. I knew that’s why I still had a chance. You wanted to say yes. No matter how small that part of you was that wanted to say yes, as long as it was there I had hope. I just didn’t know what I had to do to break through to you except give you time.” Ares said as he ran his fingers through my hair and kissed me on the neck.
“But, what if this can’t go on forever? You know we can’t cross God and get away with it. I heard that you chose sides at the Jade Gates when the Oracle spoke to you.” I said sadly, thinking of how I was going to have to strand him on Jupiter.
“I didn’t refuse to return to the Lord per se. I refused to give you up.”
“What if you had gotten killed and went back to hell for choosing me?”
“I did go back. There was a whirlpool portal and almost as soon as I was there I was sent upstairs too. I guess it was a double edged portal.”
“You were in heaven? How’d that go?” I asked surprised and sarcastic.
“I talked to God… for the first time in a long time and I was really surprised.” he answered.
“Surprised how?” I asked, completely caught off guard by his answer. After all… we are here… exactly like things would have been if he had not gone to heaven for a quick minute.
“First he showed me a vision… like he did with the Apostle Peter when he saw how the apocalypse would go down. In the vision I had to redeem myself by finishing part of a mission that failed during the apocalypse on Jupiter. You were there. In fact, you took me there. After we got back to earth, in the vision, I changed.” he continued.
Well, as least he won’t be surprised when I take him off world. “What mission?”
“Hold on a second, let me finish first.”
“Okay then. What changed?”
“I was human… and I got to keep you. My punishment was that I’d have to lose all of my powers but since it was that or going back to hell to continue to suffer without you… I chose to stay human and stay with you.”
“What if I had to go home though? I have kids.” I said as matter of factly as I could.
“Yeah, about that… Sam let you go and married Vaugna.”
I looked at him feeling betrayed and lied to.
“That’s how the vision ended. Sam was with Vaugna and you were with me. You stayed married until just after Raphael sent you to help Lorena and then you and I wind up in Jordan helping refugees get to Petra. That was the vision I saw.”
“That is surprising.” I said.
“That’s not all. What surprised me the most was that God was not angry with me. He said that he loved me so much that he would always be willing to help me and fight for me and get me on the right path because he didn’t want me to wind up in hell. But, he needed me to do things his way to get there.” he concluded.
“But, the Oracle…” I began.
“Didn’t belong to God. The only reason I was allowed to find the Jade Gates was to destroy it. That’s the same mission some immortal named Linus was supposedly on. It was a soothsayer that got planted close enough to the Jade Gates that it could be persuasive but not close enough to be expelled.” he told me.
I was confidant that he was being truthful. The old Ares was never like this.
“The only problem is that the Oracle assumes the identity of the last attacker that inflicts a wound. It’s going to romp around as a bad impersonation of me. The Oracle is the new Mars and I… I’m waiting for that timer Raphael planted on you to go off. I’m just glad that you decided to love me before we go off world. I’m going to need you on my side girl.” he said and kissed me hard.
I was suddenly glad I had decided to give in today. All of this would have been horrible to learn while in hell on another planet. Wait…
“Since you’re back on good terms with God does that mean we won’t be restricted to the hellish parts of Jupiter and may actually find some relief?” I asked hopeful and finally relaxing a little.
“Well… see. The mission is… What had happened was…” he began.
I felt rain on my parade. A downright downpour.
But, at least I wasn’t feeling guilty about Sam. And that’s a relief unto itself, especially when I might really be able to keep the only man I have ever loved. Now if I could just remember what Raphael had told me about getting to go home a little clearer. Maybe there was a hidden message confirming all of this in a way I won’t have to make Ares feel second guessed about.
“Before you begin… Does that mean you can go back to your real name?” I asked.
“Only you know me so well.” he said smiling and rubbing my nose with his. “Yeah I guess I could.”
“Well, Daniel. What was this mission?” I asked.
He kissed me. I wasn’t so curious that I wanted him to stop and keep talking. Besides which it made sense why we were at Dracula’s. We were hiding in plain sight because no one else knew about God’s redemptive mission for him.
(Photo courtesy of: zindy-zone.dk)
Music for this episode – Viva La Vida by Coldplay