Tales of Moonspell 3: Serenity's Wish
Jessica Coulter Smith
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Copyright ©2013 Jessica Coulter Smith
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Serenity sighed as she flipped through the television stations. She'd been at the Grant mansion for nearly a month, and she was beyond bored. TV, magazines, books... it was the same day after day. Since she'd come with Aiden Grant of her own free will, he trusted her to roam the grounds, but she could only see the gardens so many times.
She missed being able to run to the grocery store, or go to the mall, or hang out with her friends. She missed her friends most of all, but she'd known when she agreed to this deal that she would never see them again. Despite what Aiden had said about Daniela being his bride, Serenity doubted he would feel the same about her, leaving Serenity to her fate.
It wasn't that she regretted her choice. If she had to do it over again, she would still change places with Daniela. Making sure Hayden had his mate was far more important than her freedom, especially since it was limited. She'd been diagnosed with a bad heart, and her doctor had only given her two months to live. Half of that had already passed. One more month and her body would give out.
She'd kept her health problem a secret from Aiden, and she hoped no one had noticed. She had excruciating pains every day, but she thought she'd masked it well. All the more reason to confine herself to her suite. She had to admit she'd been surprised thus far. She hadn't expected to live this long, thinking someone would've taken a bite out of her by now, but it seemed Aiden had warned everyone away.
Serenity didn't understand why since the man never came to see her since he'd left her in Julian's hands that first night. It didn't make any sense to her. Aidan had been in a hurry to claim Daniela, so why hadn't he made an appearance? She'd wondered more than once if her size had anything to do with it. Her face might resemble Daniela's, but the comparison ended there. Was Aidan disappointed? He had settled on her, after all. Not that she was complaining. If Aidan never came for her, she would be quite content. There was something cold and unfeeling about him, or at least that was Serenity's impression of him.
Julian... now there was a man! He'd been kind to her, seen to her every need. Whether it was because he wanted to or because he was ordered to she couldn't say, but regardless she appreciated everything he'd done for her. And with his silvery blond hair and brilliant blue eyes, he was more than easy on the eyes. His cool touch sent shivers down her spine, but the good kind. More than once she'd found herself wondering what it would be like to kiss him. Going a month without any kind of intimacy was difficult, not that she was overly experienced. Her attraction to Julian was based on pure lust, and possibly a little puppy love, but she wanted him and only him. There were plenty of other options if she only wanted a quick tumble, but that wasn't enough for her. She'd had more than one vampire give her an inviting smile, and even a werewolf or two. She knew the werewolves were there as little more than slaves, but they were still nice to look at.
A glance out the window showed that the sun was setting, which meant the vampires would be rising. Not that they had to hide during the day. The special glass Aiden had installed in the mansion allowed them to roam freely during the day, but most still kept nocturnal hours.
Serenity rose and walked across the large room to look out the window at the setting sun. The sky was awash in oranges, pinks and purples, a breathtaking view. As she watched the sun sink below the horizon, a sharp, stabbing pain speared her. She grabbed her chest and fell to her knees, her eyes slamming shut. Every short breath was labored, each bringing more pain than the last. A tear trickled down her cheek as she prayed for the episode to pass.
Her door burst open, and a moment later strong arms slipped around her. She was pulled against a firm chest, a large hand smoothing her hair back from her face. Cool lips brushed against her temple.
"Tell me what I can do," Julian said. "Tell me what's wrong so I may help you."
"Chest. Hurts. Can't breathe."
Julian held her close until the pain subsided. When she could breathe again and her chest only had a dull ache, she looked up at him. Concern was etched on his handsome face. She hated that he'd found her, that he now knew her secret. She wondered what he'd do with the knowledge.
"What was that?" he asked.
"It's nothing. Just a chest pain."
He shook his head. "That's not 'nothing,' Serenity. You were in severe pain, to the point of not being able to breathe. Now, tell me what's going on. What are you hiding?"
She winced. "You weren't supposed to find out. No one was."
"What weren't we supposed to find out? How often does this happen?"
"Every day, usually several times a day. It's gotten worse in the past few weeks. There's medicine I can take, but it won't make it go away, just delay it a bit."
He frowned. "Delay what?"
She tried to pull away, but he held her tight. "I have a bad heart. I found out just before I was brought here."
"What exactly does that mean?"
"It means I'm dying," she said quietly. "I didn't tell Aiden because I knew he wouldn't trade Daniela for me if he found out. Why would he want damaged goods?"
Julian dried the tears on her cheeks. "How long do you have?"
"About a month."
He cupped her cheek in his hand. "Let me turn you, please."