Anna stood in silence, the room before her dimly lit by silver moonlight streaming in through tall windows to her left. The loud argument she’d just witnessed was fading, leaving her ears ringing as the silence of this new room settled over her. Her eyes adjusted, allowing her to see that the room was enormous; larger than her guardian’s kitchen and living room combined, with the ceiling hidden in the shadows above. She could see the faint outline of a white fireplace along the wall to her right. Across the room a vast shadow resolved into the largest canopy bed she’d ever seen.
She should be terrified. Just a few moments before, she’d been in a smaller, sunlit room; an office of some sort. Two giant men had stood in front of her, shouting loudly at one another in a language she didn’t understand. They were both handsome, with thick blond hair and cobalt-blue eyes. One man was older than the other; one of the few differences between the two. Father and son maybe?
Their faces were flushed and their hands gestured wildly. The only word she understood was the number ‘nine’, repeated over and over again in voices so loud and so deep that the sound reverberated in her chest.
Why? Anna thought to herself. What is so special about the number nine?
The harshness of their tone made her want to cover her ears with her hands, but the fear of being noticed kept her frozen in place.
The older man stabbed his finger towards the younger man, emphasizing his words with the movements. The younger man kept one hand on his chest and pointed towards the door, shouting back just as loudly. His eyes were dark with emotion.
As slowly as it had appeared, the office faded and she found herself in this silent, moonlit bedroom. The rug against her bare feet felt luxuriously soft and she dug her toes into it. The windows allowed in enough light to illuminate the foot of the bed, but the head remained shrouded in darkness.
Where was she? Why was she here? She had no answers to these questions, though she felt herself drawn to the bed to see who was there.
Carefully, she stepped forward into a moonlit patch and heard a sharp intake of breath from across the room. Fabric rustled and she froze, hoping to remain unseen as before.
“Wer bist du?” a low, gravelly voice demanded from the darkness.
Her heart skipped a beat, and even though her mouth moved, no sound came out. She had no idea what had been said. Terror seized her as she stared at the dark shadow of the bed. More fabric rustled and she heard a thump as a tall figure stepped into the moonlight.
It was the younger of the two men she’d just seen arguing. His broad, muscular chest was bare and his hair stood out, wildly disarrayed. He rubbed his eyes and shook his head, as if trying to decide whether she was real or not. He took a step forward, then stopped and looked down. They seemed to both realize he was naked at the same time.
Her cheeks burned as she looked away, though the sight of a naked man was nothing new to her. She’d seen plenty of naked men since her parents…no, she didn’t want to think about that.
She sensed, rather than heard, his approach a moment later and turned back to face him, thankful that he had put a pair of pants on. As he knelt in front of her, her breath caught in her throat. She’d seen him before. She’d dreamt of him many times since her parents had died, but he’d never interacted with her before. His gentle smile took away her fear and she found herself thinking that he was the most handsome man she had ever seen.
He looked at her curiously and stretched his hand out as if to touch her face, but pulled away before he touched her. “Wer bist du?” he repeated, this time in a softer, gentler voice. “Wie bist du hierhergekommen?”
She wanted to respond, but couldn’t find her voice. Once again, her mouth moved, but no sound came out. All she could do was stare into his kind and gentle eyes. Something about him made her feel safe, though why she needed to feel safe was beyond her comprehension. She had a wonderful guardian that cared for her every need.
She wanted to launch herself into his arms. She took a step forward and reached her hand out to him but froze when she heard movement in the bed. A female voice called out and the man turned his head away and responded in a hushed voice.
He turned back to her, eyes full of regret. Without knowing why, betrayal lynched her heart, and tears of sadness and frustration welled up in her eyes. They stared at each other for a long moment before the room began to fade.
She opened her eyes to look into the face of Devin.