Authors: Elle Davis
Tags: #romance, #scifi, #fantasy, #young adult, #genetic alteration
Copyright © 2014 Elle Davis
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Ronan's amber eyes with copper flecks remind
me of the Kilauea lava flows in Hawaii. They are like liquid gold,
and are now brimming with tears as he waits for my answer. Two
weeks before my seventeenth birthday, I am standing here with a 2
carat marquise diamond on my left ring finger and the man
presenting it to me is down on one knee, waiting for my acceptance.
I start to cry, in some ways giving him permission to do the same.
To an outsider looking in, we might appear like two silly teenage
fools, rushing into a situation that we aren't fully able to
comprehend. But we're far from being typical teens and the love
between us feels as real as the love between Claire and me. We were
never destined to follow a normal teenage trajectory and accepting
his hand in marriage seems as natural to me as breathing.
"Yes, of course," I finally manage, in a
hoarse whisper. He stands up and embraces me so tightly that all
airflow in and out of my lungs is temporarily halted. "Can't
breathe," I croak and he releases me letting my body slowly slide
down the length of his torso, making it difficult to catch my
breath for entirely different reasons.
"Cataryn, Cataryn, Cataryn," he softly
chants my full name, properly rolling the "r" (which few people
know to do), in a way that makes it sound aristocratic and elegant.
My body starts to melt, molding itself to his and he reactively
applies counter pressure, igniting a familiar flame that's becoming
more and more difficult to control.
"Yes, Cataryn?" he murmurs contentedly, as
his lips gently coax mine apart, sending shock waves throughout my
"Um, I think I'm ready to make that
appointment now," I whisper.
He pulls away, his expression serious as he
searches my eyes for confirmation.
"Are you sure?" He asks, but I can tell by
the grin now spreading across his face, that he already knows that
I am. I smile lovingly, and he tosses his head back laughing.
"Thank God!" he murmurs softly, the relief evident in his
We decided a while ago that when we were
ready to advance our physical relationship, we would do it
responsibly. I'm always impressed by Ronan's self-control, but it's
clear now that he's had a harder time abstaining then he's been
letting on. Suddenly, I can't wait to schedule an appointment at a
Everyone is already seated in the dining
room, passing around platters of food when we make our way
downstairs. Between the ongoing debate on which football team will
make it to the Super Bowl, and Alisha and Jason's attempt to get
Claire to eat her chicken, no one pays much attention to us when we
quietly take our seats at the table. I have butterflies in my
stomach when Ronan clears his throat to get everyone's
"Hey everyone, we have something to tell
you," he says in such a way that immediately the room falls silent,
and all eyes settle on us. Elizabeth already has a knowing grin on
her face, and Michael winks at me, causing my face to unexpectedly
grow warm. "I asked Cat to marry me, and she accepted," he
announces, eliciting cheers from only half of the group. Elizabeth,
Michael, and Brandon waste no time in offering their
congratulations; their sincerity reflected in the smiles on their
faces. Alisha, Jason, and Burke trade weary glances, and Claire
stares wide-eyed at the two of us, not saying a word. The minute
the news is out, I regret not telling her in private and I sign the
words, "I'm sorry," as I watch her eyes fill up with tears. It
wasn't at all the reaction I was expecting from the kid who thinks
Ronan walks on water.
"Whoa, wait a minute," Alisha balks holding
a hand up to interrupt Elizabeth who's enthusiastically beginning
to plan a trip to the city to shop for wedding gowns.
"Marriage? Are you kidding? Don't you think
it's a little impulsive to jump into marriage when you've known
each other less than six months?" she scowls, pursing her lips
together in disapproval.
"Not to mention you're not even eighteen,"
"Marriage is a huge commitment. You don't
want to treat it lightly," Jason adds diplomatically, in what seems
like an attempt to pacify Alisha. Even he must know that the
statement is weightless given the fact that he married his late
wife three months after they met.
Ronan grabs my hand under the table and
leans back in his chair. If he's bothered at all by their
skepticism, it doesn't show. In fact, when he looks down at me and
smiles, there is a hint of amusement in his eyes.
"I think you two are perfect for each other
and you shouldn't listen to what anyone says," Elizabeth whispers
in my ear, causing Alisha to shoot her a dirty look.
"Maybe it's nobody's business what they do,"
Brandon adds, his trademark lopsided grin even more pronounced than
usual. He never takes anything too seriously, in part I suppose
because of his near-death experience in the airplane crash. To him,
life is like an ice cream cone, better to eat it fast, than wait
until it melts in your lap.
Their reaction shouldn't come as much of a
surprise to me. After all, if I were the one looking in from the
outside I might echo similar concerns. I wasn't sure if I could
make them understand that the love between us is as certain as
their ability to fly a helicopter with just their minds. The two of
us sit silently listening to the divided group voice their opinions
on the matter until Ronan finally snaps, "All right. That's enough"
ending the mini debate that our engagement has triggered between
"There's only one person in this room that
we need approval from, and that's Claire," he says looking across
the table at the only person who hasn't said a peep since our
"Claire, I love your sister more than
anything else in this world. I promise to take care of not only
her, but you too. You're not losing a sister; you're gaining a
brother. Do you think you can accept me as part of your family?" he
I have to hand it to him, for someone who's
never been around small kids he has an uncanny ability to say just
the right thing to Claire to ease her tension.
She looks up from her plate of untouched
food, her eyes dancing back and forth between the two of us. "You
mean you're not going to take her away?" she asks innocently, the
look of fear, giving way to relief when we both chuckle.
"Only for a few weeks after the wedding, and
then only when you are old enough to get tired of having us
around," he responds smartly, grinning at her when she sends her
fork twirling above her plate, plunging it into a piece of
Sitting back, Burke folds his hands across
his chest and it's only when Ronan meets his gaze and his jaw
tightens that I'm aware that they are communicating telepathically.
When Burke looks at the two of us in disbelief, I immediately know
what the conversation is about. For him, it's always about the sex.
He shakes his head and mumbles, "Big mistake," and Ronan starts to
get up from his chair.
"Ronan don't. He's entitled to his own
opinion," I comment, holding tightly to his hand, until he sits
back down. I knew the news would come as a surprise to everyone,
but I wasn't prepared for the amount of friction our decision would
cause. My earlier elation was slowly dwindling, and I wanted
nothing more than to be finished with dinner and the conversation.
Besides Ronan had a good point; Claire was the only one who
deserved our consideration in the matter, and once she had been
reassured that he wasn't going to steal me away from her, she was
completely on board with the idea of him officially becoming her
"Ronan, do you think we're making a
mistake?" I ask hesitantly when we are finally alone in our
bedroom. It's one of those questions that you ask only when you
feel the need to be reassured, and when he doesn't answer
immediately, I brace myself for the possibility that he might be
having second thoughts.
"It's not in my nature to make big decisions
that I'm not a hundred percent confident about, nor am I ever
influenced by the opinions of others," he says quietly, locking his
eyes on mine.
"Did you hear my conversation with Alisha?"
I ask, already reading the answer in his eyes.
"Of course," he says, smiling as he slips
his shirt over his head.
I glance at his bare chest and quickly look
away, clasping my hands behind my back, resisting the urge to jump
"She may have a point. You have all of these
incredible Designer abilities and well, I'm sort of just average.
What if you get bored or find another Designer who is better
matched with similar talents?" Alisha of course didn't put it in
those exact words when she cornered me alone in the kitchen after
dinner, but she effectively planted the seed that Ronan may meet a
Designer in the future who is equally and suitably enhanced for
him. I wonder why she would string poor Jason along if she truly
has such a Designer superiority complex, but I never got the chance
to ask because the conversation ended when Ronan walked in the
"Cat," he sighs, reaching up to brush his
hand across my cheek. "You are meant for me. There will never be
another woman more suited for me than you. If our age is a problem
for you, then just say so, and we'll wait for as many birthday's as
you need. But please, don't let your decision about me or us be
influenced by others. Do what you feel is right in here," he
whispers, letting his hand slide down over my heart and linger over
the left side of my chest. He smiles when I tremble under the
steady caress of his hand.
"My heart says that there is something much
deeper drawing us together, and I am meant to be with you and only
you," I whisper, wrapping my arms around his neck. He pulls me
closer and kisses me tenderly.
"I was hoping that's what your heart would
say," he says, reaching over and flipping off the bedroom
Flying is in my blood. My dad was a general
aviation pilot, and so were both his parents. I was the only girl
in elementary school that traded a roomful of stuffed animals and
dolls, for toy airplanes and helicopters. Long before I was allowed
to enroll in flying lessons, I was proficient in co-piloting my
dad's Beechcraft Bonanza at a cruising altitude. With the blessing
and support of both my parents, I enrolled in ground school on my
fifteenth birthday, and then a year later I buried my dream of
becoming a pilot along with them. Now, on a clear, crisp fall
morning, I'm sitting in a small Cessna 172, next to Marti Campbell,
a well-known Canadian flight instructor, recommended by
Only Ronan would think to give me such a
generous birthday gift. I look across the tarmac and catch him
staring at us now and my breath lodges in my throat, causing me to
gasp. I asked him not to stay and watch today's lesson, but he
insisted. His stunning Designer features are always an attention
grabber, but today, he looks like some Greek god, standing alone on
the tarmac. His golden amber eyes mesmerize me, and, like an idiot,
I hold his gaze a fraction of a second too long. "Stay focused,
Cat. Most aircraft accidents happen, because the pilot is
distracted," she says, glancing over at him disapprovingly. She has
been flying for over twenty years and has trained hundreds of
student pilots. No detail escapes her attention, and she is quick
to point out that none of her previous students has ended up in a
deadly airplane crash either. I complete the pre-flight checklist
and, after I flawlessly radio the tower my flight plan, she nods
for me to proceed to the active runway. I feel a moment of panic
and glance over at Marti.