Some of you probably want to recap considering it has been FOREVER since my last update. No need for reminders, I know and as always, I'm sorry. I just haven't had the time anymore.
Anyway, if you haven't noticed, I did officially at some point tag the "On Hold" on the end of the story title. I don't remember if there's a place to change the status of your story on this site. I'll check after I post this. It's going to remain on hold for now though I'll try to get you guys (if any of you have stuck it out and still read this - I understand if you don't ha) some updates as fast as I can!
As always, please excuse my lack of editing. I do a quick once over before posting.
Thank you for reading! I still love you all and appreciate all the feedback. I haven't gotten back to anyone in a while but I'll try to start that up again as well.
My hand gently bumped against Ayden's. Although he didn't flinch away, he made no attempt to reach for it either. We walked beside each other in silence down the corridor. After the adrenaline rush faded, the familiar tension fell between us once again. It was the same tension I'd felt after he'd pulled away from me in the bath and as he walked me to meet Mick.
I played with my sleeves. Mick let me borrow one of his old shirts but the sleeves hung just at my fingertips. I wore it over the skirt Ayden originally bought me when we first got in town. Ayden peered at me now out.
"Whose shirt is that?" he questioned, a sharp edge in his voice. He'd just noticed it.
"Mick's," I replied, almost happy to see the quick flare of jealously. He recovered quickly, shoulders relaxing as he placed his hands in his pockets and half shrugged.
"Fits you nicely," he remarked.
Trailing off, I looked at the ground. The carpet was lighter here meaning we were on a higher floor than before but, a large cluster of people still surrounded us. They moved about like business people on Wall Street or, maybe bees in a hive. Many, if not more, still took the time to throw Ayden dirty looks before breaking eye contact with him. I guessed most blamed him for the attack. If he wasn't here, Cathan wouldn't have any reason to be here either.
"This is your stop," he interrupted.
Surprised, I stopped and looked at him, blinking a few times. His eyes weren't on me. Instead they looked past me to something behind me.
"What?" I asked finally, half turning to follow his gaze.
"Just go through there. Cole should be waiting for you."
He gestured toward another one of the portals. They lined the wall here much like the other ones we'd used earlier. Beyond the one Ayden pointed out, I could see a grassy courtyard. As before, the weather looked perfect.
"Oh, okay," I nodded, still surprised and confused. "What does he want?"
"He just said he wants to talk," he explained with a shrug.
Slightly nervous, I turned toward the bubble. With one last look at Ayden, I crossed through it. As expected, I ended up in an open, grassy area. It was enclosed by large stone pillars and lined with a matching stone wall. The air was just as crisp and pure here and the weather was still beautiful. It must have also been in that strange "inbetween" layer."
Cole stood near a far corner examining contents on a small table. I walked a few steps and he instantly realized my presence, straightening and turning with a welcoming smile. He greeted me and gestured me closer. I realized that he was looking at a table piled with weapons as he turned back to examine it again.
"You wanted to talk to me?"
"Yes," he answered distractedly. Turning toward me once again, he let his gaze skim over me and grabbed a small handgun off the table. Handing it to me, he smiled triumphantly. "Ayden gave you one of those, right?"
I nodded. He'd given me one but I wasn't sure exactly where it was at the moment.
"Then we'll start with that," Cole decided. "Being that you're so close to Ayden, I thought it may be helpful if you have at least some basic training. It's dangerous work befriending members of the Creed while still a simple mortal."
"Ayden's a simple mortal," I responded, hinting at a question.
"That's just it," Cole replied, plucking a gun similar to the one he'd just handed me off the table. He then grabbed two magazines, tossing one in my direction. In my surprise, I let it fall to the grass beside my feet. I blushed with embarrassment before quickly bending down to scoop it up. "He's a tad more than a simple mortal," he finished without so much as a glance toward me.
Ramming the magazine into the gun, he pulled back on a metal piece on the top and aimed it toward the middle of the field. Casting a sideways glance at me, he arched a brow.
"Well, I was expecting this to be an opportunity for you to practice," he stated as he nodded his head toward the gun and magazine hanging awkwardly in my hands.
"Oh!" My eyes widened at the realization that he was waiting for me. I fumbled with the two pieces as I tried to put them together. While I slid the magazine in the same place as Cole, it didn't seem to sit as well as when he did it. A small smile graced his lips.
"Did that boy teach you anything?" he laughed. "I'm sorry. This lifestyle makes me forget to pause for a breath sometimes. Do you need help loading it?"
I slumped slightly in defeat as I held out the gun. He fluidly slid his into a holster hanging loosely by his hip and reached for mine. Putting pressure on a button on the side, the magazine fell out of the gun and into his free hand. Placing both back into my open palms, he took my hands in his.
"Now, you don't want to be gentle with it," he remarked as he positioned my hands ready to load the gun again. "Hesitation, if even for a single moment, can make all the difference."
With a strong, swift move, he guided my palm upward until it stopped flush against the bottom of the gun. He smiled and released my hands.
"There you go."
Taking aim again, Cole gave a short whistle. Two targets instantly appeared at the center of the field. He pulled back on the trigger, firing about five, easy shots puncturing the center of the target. I tensed at the sudden loudness while staring in awe.
Drawing my attention back toward the gun in my hands, I gripped the top as Cole had and tried to pull it back. Despite how easy he'd made it look only moments ago, the damn thing was pretty hard to move. My cheeks got warmer and warmer with each failed attempt. I could feel Cole's eyes on me even though I refused to look up at him.
"Remember what I told you earlier? The same concept applies here. Don't hesitate. And hold it like this," Cole advised while using his own gun to demonstrate.
Gripping the same spot, I quickly pulled back as hard as I could. To my surprise, it seemed to have worked. I peered at Cole sheepishly. He gave a small nod of approval and waited for me to try it out. I squinted, tilted my head, and pulled back five times. Unlike Cole, I managed to hit my target only once on the upper left corner – far from the center.
Cole pulled the magazine out of his gun and handed it to me.
"Just relax. Take a few breaths and try again. Just try to get used to the gun for now and, it's just practice so don't dwell on it too much."
I did as he said, taking a moment to close my eyes and relax my body. Pulling back another five times, I watched as one bullet punched a hole into the target this time slightly closer yet still far from the center. Despite my attempts to contain my excitement, I felt the involuntary, toothy grin I wore. A small smile from Cole served as the only indication that he was proud for about ten seconds. He then gripped me by the shoulders and pushed me about three feet closer to the target.
"How about we try a shorter distance?" he suggested. "We have quite a bit of work to do."