Pre Edit Count – 2,513 Words
Song I listened to for this chapter: Love Alone is Worth the Fight by Switchfoot
He grins. “Magic, Bella. You are bringing back wonder to this tired earth.” He chuckles, his eyes bright as they fly down the boulevard, taking them through the city that he can hear the alarms going off from cars and people yelling. The pulse has done no damage, but he wouldn’t be surprised that there are other things happening around the city, events that are announcing to the people who know that the Mistress of the Book of the Dead, the Queen of the Dead is home.
Time to get serious.
They are heading out to the desert, with the sun glaring down on them as the morning mists burn off quickly. Bella soon finds another reason for the birds. Some of the larger ones coast closer to give the inhabitants of the chariot much needed shade. Rick had chuckled and called her not only the Queen, but a Princess. And he enjoys the trip out, working with the land for once.
For her, it is unreal. Magic was something that she had been taught to believe is not real. It is not something that she ever thought her life had. But Rick keeps pointing out that it seems her life has led to this time.
She had experiences with the supernatural; she easily accepted the unbelievable and dealt with it in a manner unusual to the rest of mankind. It didn’t matter what she had going on in her life, there really has been no period of time without it. Hermes is the example she can think of for the period of time that she had thought was clear. And Imhotep’s visits in her dreams.
Then you have to look at the experiences of love for her. It doesn’t seem to happen unless there is a fantastic element involved. When there is none, she was not interested. And now? Now she is on her way to a lost city, which to this day has not been found since the tales were told of it before Rick and company had found it once, and then lost until they went back. A city that had been destroyed by one of the few people to ever find it, who is taking her back to it.
She closes her eyes for awhile, trusting in Rick and Hermes to keep her on the chariot. She opens them up again as she feels them slowing. She looks around, and for one second, there is nothing around them; in the next, there is an oasis. She glances at the sun high overhead, trying to figure out why they are stopping.
Ricks chuckles at her amazement and decides to educate her. “There really was something to all those souls who said they stumbled on an oasis with no warning. I suspect these are probably the last pockets of magic left until now.” He jumps off the chariot, then reaches back to help her off the chariot.
Bella is shaky and asks, “Why did we stop?”
He has moved and kneels by the water, rinsing his face off before looking back at her. “I don’t know about you, but I am pleased with this. Traveling the desert is not normally as easy as it has been so far, and it is far better that you are getting to stop often. They are trying to make your journey easy, but still, the desert can kill you even with all this help. Now, come here and drink. I will see if what I think is right.” With that, he watches her kneel by the clear, sweet water, and then looks at Hermes. The dog walks next to her, and when she drinks, he looks around.
Rick nods and heads out, scouting the terrain. Sure enough, he finds a stone building on the other side, and inside, some supplies. He wouldn’t be surprised if scorpions and snakes had made this happen. Nothing would really surprise him. He had battled the King of the Underworld; not once, but twice. Then battled a sorcerer mummy in another part of the world.
Looking around, he nods. This will do until tonight. It is stone, so will hide their heat sources. They have been safe during the day, since there would be no hiding sparkly mother fuckers in the middle of a desert. But once night falls, the heat from the sun will leach away, leaving the desert much colder. They will need to leave, since unfortunately, he thinks that will be the time they will come after them. If they move during the night, with the slight head start they have now, it may be enough.
Walking back outside, he glances up and notices the birds are not above. No, as he looks to find what has happened to them, he notices that the smaller ones are in the palms, and the larger ones have landed, looking for all intents and purposes like statues. If he didn’t know any better, he would think they are just that.
He chuckles as he heads back to the woman he is taking back to the last place he ever thought he would go, much less willingly and happily.
Bella is watching everything, then reaches for the scarab on her necklace, wanting the book. When it appears, she stares at it, trying to decide if now would be a good time for her page of the day.
Before she can make a decision, Rick is by her side. He stares at the book floating in front of her and asks, “I thought it was supposed to be at night.”
She nods. “I am guessing that we are resting here for the rest of the day.” When he nods she thinks out loud to him, “Then I would rather do this now, then wait for night when they may come upon us. There is no way to be able to pass the desert without a satellite catching them. So we are safe during the day, and who knows if our scent will linger long enough. So the chances of me being awake when they come are greater if I read and sleep now.”
Rick slowly nods his head. “You obviously have thought about this. So what is going to happen?”
She shrugs, the book bobbing in front of her, and frankly informs him, “No idea. I pass out. No one else is around. So you tell me.”
He chuckles. “You want to do it here, or where we are resting?”
She thinks then sighs, “Can you get me there if I do this here?”
When he nods, she tells him, “The sand would be softer.” With that she sits down, and he is in front of her, watching as the book opens, and glows…
Rick and Bell watch with raised eyebrows as a sheet from the book, which looks like solid gold, floats out of the book’s spine. Then the page bursts into a golden dust which flows into Bella through her mouth, eyes, nose, and ears. It lights up her body, and after the initial afterglow from the burst fades, he realizes it is her veins that are lit up. She glows and raises in the air as the last of the dust trails up her face. Rick watches in amazement.
Her hair is now glowing, and he can see golden streaks appearing, nothing major, more like her hair is highlighted, but he will not be surprised if they are more than highlights. The tone of them in the sun as the glow recedes down her body speaks of the otherworldly, and he notices her skin is a golden color too.
The power coming from her settles her gently in the sand and he watches until the last of the glow is gone. He shakes his head, and picks her up from the ground. He tells Hermes, “Well, that was nothing like what I imagined would happen. C’mon. Let’s get her to shelter. We can see what else is around.”
Rick carefully walks to the shelter, then puts her on the slab that is supposed to be a bed from the amount of padding on it. He smiles at the thought that Imhotep put in to make sure his love will be comfortable.
With that smile, he heads outside, laughing to himself as a couple of the stone birds make their way to the shelter as well as a couple of the jackals that had appeared after they left the city.
Bella wakes slowly and can feel the soft linens around her body, as well as a light cloth covering her. She opens her eyes slowly, smiling when she sees the billowy linen above her. She sits up, and takes in the room in a glance.
What surprises her is Imhotep sitting in a chair beside the bed, his elbows on the arms of the chair, his hands folded together as he watches her over them.
She lifts an eyebrow in silent question.
He sighs. “I have no clue what you are upset with me about. I petitioned to allow you to see me, and it was granted in the way we have now. Is this better?” He wants only to make her happy with him.
Closing her eyes as her legs draw up before her, she rests her head on her knees as her arms go around her legs. She sits there as she tries to get her thoughts all together.
Imhotep sits there, his dark eyes watching her, trying to think his way through this yet again. He cannot understand why she is so upset. But he is trying. He does not like his love being mad at him. He has spent too much time watching to allow something to separate them now when he can finally hold her for the brief time he has each time she sleeps.
Taking a deep breath, Bella looks up at him. He watches her. Seeing the tears trailing down her cheeks rips something inside of him, but he waits for her. He will always worship this woman and let her lead.
Bella tells him softly, “You saw things that no other has, without my permission. With no way for me to know another watches me. You saw me when I fumbled through my first kiss, through me being rejected, through my times of learning stuff about me that I would want no others to know about. You took something that I had thought was private and basically told me that another saw what I never would have allowed at that time to see. Me choosing to share with you in the future those moments as you shared with me is one thing; it would have been my choice. But you took all that away. You ripped it from me.”
He frowns as he thinks then asks, “So you are upset that I watched you, loved you for so long, that I desired just the ability to watch over you when I had nothing else? That I cried with you, kissed your accidents, raged beside you when another was callous and hurt you?”
She nods. “Because you did it without me knowing to choose to show you that. Knowing myself, I may have showed you all of that in my own time. But it would have been my choice. It is me knowing that for one thing, Edward ripped away my choices, never cared for them then you did the same that hurts. Am I not able to judge things for myself? Or will you always overrule me and not care what I think?” She finally is able to put to words some of the things that have been haunting her since his revelation. Things she hadn’t known until they are here talking about it.
With a cry, he is before her in seconds, kneeling on the floor before his beloved, and her face in his hands as he looks up at her in an expression of pain. “NO! You are my Queen. It is I who will serve you! All I ask is for the chance to love you. I never thought it was more than watching over the one I loved. I treasured each and every second with you, being able to watch you grow and wonder who this woman was that made me fall in love with her in a glance.”
She stares at him, and her tears fall down her face. “What am I to think? Really? I… don’t know what to think anymore!”
He stares up at her, then giving in to his instincts, he pulls her close to him, taking her small body in his arms as he holds her close. “My love, I never wanted to make you think you are less. I have done so much to make everything be better, that I never thought this would be a problem. I am sorry. In my day, it would be nothing to watch your woman grow up since we never married young. I thought I was being given a blessing, not a curse to suffer under at this time.”
Holding him close, breathing in the male scent of him, she lets herself cry. Never once thinking how she would never let another see this, but she has no problem letting him see it.
Imhotep closes his eyes in pain as he hears his beloved cry her heart out, and feels the stabs of pain inside of him. Welcoming them in fact as penance for causing her this grief. He tells her softly, “While I would not like to give up the memories, I would do it if you wish it my love. Anything to make you feel better. I am sorry.”
She slowly pulls herself together, noticing how he holds her close to him, sheltering her with his own body, as he tries to sooth her fears away. Then she looks up and finds him looking down at her, the pain in his eyes telling her more than she ever dreamed.
He tells her, “I am sorry my beloved. I never thought it was anything more than rejoicing that you were here. If you wish, I will ask our Master if he will remove the memories. But I am not sure if he can, but for you, I will ask.”
Bella’s face softens and she tells him, “No. It’s done with, and I need to get over it. I am sorry. I didn’t know that to you there were no problems.”
He chuckles. “Is this what they would call a compromise, my love?” He preens just a little bit, glad to show her that he has learned something.
Smiling at him, Bella puts her hand on his face. “I believe so. But… Can you please not watch when I am going to the bathroom?”
He looks at her shocked, “I never did in the first place! That is a private time for anyone. We are not married or even together for me to make that assumption.”
Her breath hitches and she asks, “So you didn’t watch all the time?”
He shakes his head. “No. The Master had another to do that. A beast I suppose you would call it. He never trusted your safety to any but me and the beast. Now to Hermes but even with him, you have eyes on you at all time. I watched you other times, but I wanted to feast my eyes on you when you give yourself to me.”
She blushes. “I th-thought you loo-ooked th-then too.”
He stares at her, and then he can’t help it. He laughs, a deep rich sound that the sound of it rolls through her. “Oh, my beloved, we need to communicate I think the word is called?”
She nods, looking down as she is completely embarrassed. He lifts her chin up and softly kisses her. He asks, “Did you ever see of those periods of time when I showed you my life?”
She shook her head no after thinking on it. “Then why did you think I saw that. Now, I did see your reactions to the dead one. That I did not like, and I raged, my love. But no. Your private moments are those times. I would not presume, my love. No wonder you were upset.”
Bella nods again, and he kisses her gently, never letting her eyes fall to the ground. “I am glad I didn’t leave you alone my love. Now, let’s talk and be as we were before. Shall we?”
When she nods. He rises up and puts her on the bed, wrapping his body around hers. “Tell me of your day my love.” And they talk… gaining back what they once had, and learning a new lesson.
Final count: 2,819