To be extraordinary was a fate Arie Belle had never imagined. Her days had been filled with naïve pleasures and promising love, but all that changed one tragic day when her mother was killed under mysterious circumstances, plunging Arie’s life into dark and hopeless times where her lifelong friend, River, was her only beacon of light.
After years of numbness, a beautiful stranger, Ashe, entered her world and took her soul to places it had never been, across realities trapped within the worlds of fairy tales. Could he be her savior, or would she find the strength within to be her own?
Along her journey, she quickly unraveled the secret behind her uncanny connection with nature and her mother’s killer. But one mystery remained—one of scripted destiny and the pull of the dark forces of life. Could she find the answers she needed before the next full moon? Or would death claim her as it had been painted in the fate of the stars?
While some may speculate that we fell in love with each other at our first kiss, I knew better. We were soul mates from birth. We shared our first kiss in the meadow on the day of my sixteenth birthday before my mom died. We lay on the grass as we had done that first time the butterflies blessed us with their magnificence on my seventh birthday. We did this on my birthday every year in hopes they would return. My birthday not only signified being a year older, but it was also our day. Every year River and I shared a private ritual and a hidden connection, until that kiss when the secret was exposed and our hearts were bound beyond platonic feelings. My mom’s death broke this ritual and the dream of a perfectly unflawed life together.
“Sixteen is a big one, you know.” He smiled softly.
“I know.” I looked over at him as he lay there with his eyes closed. He was beautiful. I knew handsome was the preferred word when describing the male species, but not for him. His face looked like it was chiseled by the most talented of sculptors. His hair was a sandy blond, and while it wasn’t long, it definitely couldn’t be called short. It had soft waves that fell perfectly around his face. His eyes were as blue as the sky, and his skin was fair like mine. His lips were full and, as soft as they looked, I wished for the first time that I could feel how soft they were against my own lips. His body was perfect. For someone whose only workout consisted of running a few times a week, he had a flawless physique. The football team was always trying to recruit him because he fit the mold of a jock. I asked him once why he didn’t participate in sports, and he just responded that they didn’t hold his interest. He liked his freedom and independence.
My body began to tingle all over. A light breeze sent shivers down my spine. I wanted to touch him, but not in the playful way we touched when we horsed around. I wanted to embrace him. I reached out my hand to touch his when the fluttering of wings filled my ears. I pulled my hand away quickly.
He opened his eyes and stared at the return of the prodigal butterflies.
“Wow, they’re as beautiful as I remember them,” he whispered.
We sat up slowly and faced each other as we had done on my seventh birthday. Their return was a mystery. They circled around us, leaving us in the eye of the swarm. There were hundreds of them displaying every color imaginable on their wings. Some had stripes while others had splatters. Even the most talented artist could never capture the true brilliance of these magical creatures. They were flying so swiftly around us that the color of their wings looked like fresh paint being swirled in a can with a multitude of colors to make that perfect color combination.
I saw River staring at me as I watched the butterflies. I turned to him and got caught within the depths of his eyes. His stare bore deep into my soul. We sat like that for what seemed an eternity. My body burned from the inside out. My heart raced. My mind was anticipating what my body wanted. I couldn’t think. All I could do was stare into his eyes, begging for him to feel the same way. The butterflies continued to circle around us, but they seemed to be fluttering faster as if they were anticipating the moment, too. Right at the moment I thought my body was going to explode if something didn’t happen, he took his hand and grazed the side of my face. His touch sent electric shocks through my cheek and down my body. His hand followed my jawline, and his thumb outlined my lips on its way to my neck. He gripped the back of my neck gently and leaned into me as he pulled my face toward his. He paused and looked into my eyes as if waiting for me to say no. I didn’t think I could wait any longer. My heart was pounding so hard I could barely breathe. The eternal pause ended, and his lips brushed mine. I thought I was going to pass out as I inhaled him. How can one moment be so intense? He brushed his lips against mine for a few agonizing moments as if, again, waiting for me to protest. I couldn’t handle it anymore. I pressed my lips against his, and he responded. I felt like that kissed lasted for hours. It was soft and slow and perfect.
I wish I could say the moments after that kiss were just as perfect, but they weren’t. I thought that moment would change my life forever, but it was the moments after that would. I would never be the same. I would never be that innocent little girl in the meadow again.
and so many other ordinary things.
I love my life and am so grateful for all of the support. I have the courage to live a dream. Xo