“I think it is of no use to make friends. They only go out of your life after awhile and leave a hurt that is worse than the emptiness before they came.” ― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea
One Last Time Before I Go
Jade stood transfixed by Jasmine’s steely eyes. They burned through her with a look of harsh sadness that would never find words. It was not the way of warriors to mourn their goodbyes. Still, the pain always stabs the heart. There was always the blood of those departing looks.
The week of leisure with Domi, Jasmine and Eo-Jin awakened her desire to return to the missions that stole her time and filled her with activity leaving no room to question her loss or her love. She felt herself draw closer as Jasmine spoke.
“You will join the island guards with Eo-Jin and go to the Dragon Isle. On the north shore, you will wait for the alpha male and female dragon and accept an offer of their blood and venom. The scientists there will process it for you and give you a vial to bring back. Protect it with your life.”
Jasmine’s tone belied their renewed bond. The relationship ensured Jade would do whatever asked of her by her superior sister. “Hector will join you and Eo-Jin. Be cautious. The Dragons are unpredictable. If one bites you or scratches you with their claws, no medicine can save you. Jasmine let her fingers trace over Jade’s shoulders to emphasize her words and show her concern.
“When do I leave?” Jade was eager to go on another mission with Hector, her male pair-bond.
“Tomorrow morning. Hector will pick you up. He’ll brief you on the details on the way to the island.”
“May I see Dominika to tell her goodbye?”
“She will join us in the bath in a few minutes.” Jasmine relaxed some. She enjoyed the surprise in Jade’s eyes.
“I do worry about her, Jasmine. I came to love her as if she were already fully vetted by the Sentinels. It will be hard to leave her after all this time of filling her every waking hour.” Jade was unsure what this meant for Domi’s future. Moreover, she felt an aching loss. Domi had ingrained herself in Jade’s heart and leaving her was like abandonment. The Dragon Sisters were often separated, but they never abandoned their love for each other, at least in her view. Never mind the machinations of the Masters.
* * *
Domi, Jade, and Jasmine sat in the sunken green tiled tub in a dark wine-colored fluid that had a pleasing floral, vanilla, and honey scent. Domi sat opposite Jade and Jasmine. They made small talk about things they like to wear, favorite foods, and places Domi should visit while in Seoul. They talked about Domi’s schooling on the island off the coast of Pusan.
The Dragon Sisters explored the mystery that surrounded them and their power to bond and share a life-force of energy they could use to soothe each other or shock their enemies. The Dragon’s power they received from the blood and DNA set them apart from all other humans, even the other Dragons of their society.
The two sisters captivated Domi with tales of their training on the island and their adventures in the service of the Emperor and the Masters. Jade made it a point to put her arm around Domi and show affection to the troubled girl. It was the subtle kiss goodbye.
Domi had to leave the nest of Jade’s love and care. She had to let go of Eo-jin just as she was opening up and feeling the strength of the Dragon that raced in her blood and filled her heart and mind. It was a fact that never came easily or joyfully. Jade hugged Domi tighter at the thought of delivering this blow on such a beautiful day.
Domi sat with her arms holding her knees to her chest as they talked and laughed. In the back of Domi’s mind was the instructions she received from Jasmine. She was there to say goodbye to Jade before she left. Domi’s guilt, confusion, and desire swirled in her mind as she tried to smile and pretend she was okay. She lowered her head and pulled her knees in tighter and let her mind take her away from the pain of separation and the jealousy of seeing Jade and Eo-Jin leave. She felt alone again, abandoned to the dark rooms of her mind.
* * *
Jade walked through the oak and wrought iron door and down the steps. Eo-Jin opened the door to the back seat, and Jade got in. He closed the door and put Jade’s luggage in the back and returned to the driver’s seat. As the car pulled out on the side street and disappeared from view, Jade looked at Hector and smiled.
“Together again, babe.” Pleased to see Jade, Hector thought she was exuding a lot of energy for this early in the morning.
“Not a minute too soon.” Jade quipped back.
“Did you miss the little man and me?” They both laughed.
“Well, maybe a little.” Jade pounced on Hector and bit his lower lip while extending little man a rough good morning.
“Whoa, babe!” Hector laughed as he eased Jade off his chest.
“You better behave this trip, or I’ll take your ass now – in the car.” Jade scolded Hector with a broad smile.
Hector liked the new Jade. He put his arm around Jade’s neck and held her tight to him in a playful hug. They were warriors and showed their love in the hard way of their life together. Dragons are often tempestuous with their love as well as their play.
* * *
Domi looked out the window from her room on the third floor. She watched as the car took Jade and Eo-Jin away from her. The world slowly closed in. The ache in her chest was as great as ever. The people she loved always left her. She wondered why no one stayed. Domi gave all the love she had for her to give, and still Jade seemed happy to leave her. She tried to force herself to understand the reality of her time with Eo-Jin. “It was nothing more than carelessness,” she whispered to her reflection in the glass.
The weight of all that happened to her since her parents died felt like those dirty hands that stole her innocence and dignity. The smell of stale breath made vile with tobacco and alcohol left on her breasts haunted her in these moments.
She realized, it was happening again. Domi felt her will to live slip through her fingers. She was grasping at the dry sand and dying of thirst for someone to love her, to stay with her, to take these terrible memories from her.
The Filly sat on the window sill, leaned up against the frame, and stretched her legs. The city was slowly waking as the voice of neighborhood hawkers echoed down the street announcing bananas, dried cuttlefish, and fresh juice for sale. The cityscape emerged from the early fog as screams, and the evil laugh of two men filled her mind.
Image source: pinterest.com