“Winter, Winter, Winter understands at last, the war is coming, the war is death,” a sweet, childlike voice sings into the cold air. The song is repeated again and again until I can no longer understand the words.
Everywhere is white as I look around, snow is falling as I stand in the middle of a white field. My hands tremble, and I lift my hand in front of my face as snowflakes float around me. The snowflakes slow down, so slow I can reach out to touch one.
"Finally, we meet, child of my blood," a soft voice behind me causes me to spin around. Standing directly in front of me is Elissa, or at least I think it is her. The woman I always dream of. I’ve never known her name until recently. Her short, black hair floats in the wind, mixing with the falling snow as her bright-green eyes stare at me in a way I don't understand. Elissa has never had short hair before.
"Elissa," I say.
"Not quite, but you are ready. It's time," she says. The song is still being sung all around me, the tune haunting and familiar, but the words are blurred. Just the sweet voice is humming along.
"You knew this would happen?" I ask, referring to the fact I'm dead after being stabbed in the heart. My hand falls to my chest feeling for a mark that isn't there. I look down and see I'm wearing the same white dress that she is. It's straightforward and long as it floats in the wind around my legs.
"It's time to wake up, child. It's time to finish what I couldn't," she says.
"Stop talking in riddles. I'm dead like you, there isn't any waking up," I say in a whisper as I wave my hands out at her.
"No Winter, they all need you. Now, go and choose wisely."
"Choose what wisely?" I ask as I feel myself falling away from her.
"Who to trust," she smiles sadly at me as her face floats away into darkness.
I wake up with a gasp, feeling air rushing into my lungs, and my vision is very blurry as I struggle to see where I am. I can smell something comforting like vanilla ice cream, and I swear I can also smell something incredibly sweet. When the room slowly comes into focus, I first see I'm in a dark-red bedroom. The room is unfamiliar, there's a big bed which I'm currently sitting in the middle of. Other than that, there are two double wardrobes and a large fireplace in the room. There's a large mirror opposite the bed, and once I see myself, I can't look away.
I don't look healthy. Well, I look like me, but my hair is longer, almost hitting my waist, and my eyes are glowing blue. They look like, well like Jaxson’s but not green. I'm dressed in a black, silk nightie and little else. I feel around my chest, as everything hits me.
I was stabbed.
I should be dead, and yet, I'm alone in a large bedroom.
The door opens to my left and a very dishevelled-looking Wyatt is standing there watching me. His jaw is unshaven, and his clothes have seen better days. The man looks nothing like my Wyatt.
"Winter," he whispers and walks quickly over to me. His hand goes straight into my hair, and he leans his head down to mine. Our lips meet in a passionate kiss. The second I taste him, I can't get enough. I pull him onto to the bed, and he happily holds his body over mine. The kiss deepens until he pulls away.
"As much as this is a slight turn on, don't you think we need to talk to Winter?"
Wyatt moves off me quickly, with a speed I've never been able to see, until now. It’s like the room’s gone into slow motion, and I could see what he did. I shake my head and turn to see Atti standing at the door. He grins at me, but it's lost all the usual humour in his eyes. He looks terrible, with big shadows under his eyes, and his hair is down. I've never seen him with his hair like this, it stops at his shoulders and shapes his face. It makes him look so handsome.
"Do I get a hug? I've been waiting a month for you to wake up," he tells me. Wyatt sits on the end of my bed as I nod at Atti. My mind takes a minute to process what he said.
"A month?" I ask him, and he nods. Atti comes over and pulls me into his arms.
"I missed you," he whispers into my ear. His arms wrapped tightly around me, and I know I love his hugs. Atti gives the best hugs.
"Explain what happened," I say when Atti lets go of me. He stays close, sitting right next to me on the bed.
"You nearly died, Winter. What the hell were you thinking?”
“I don’t–” I get out, but apparently Wyatt isn’t done with his rant at me.
“Do you know how crazy you were running head first into a supernatural battle like that?" Wyatt says, well more shouts at me. I watch as he gets up to pace the bedroom. Atti links his fingers in mine.
"I love those wolves, they were in danger, and I knew I could help. I'm no coward. I won't hide when my friends are dying," I tell him honestly. I knew the massive amount of danger I was in when I picked up the crossbow.
"You stood no chance, Winter. If I wasn't there…," Wyatt says as he stops at the end of the bed. The scary look on his face makes me scoot closer to Atti.
"How am I alive?" I ask him. Wyatt finally turns to look at me.
"I gave you my blood, I tried to turn you into a vampire and make you my mate," he says, and my skin turns cold. Is that why I look different? I don't feel different.
"Tried?" I ask Wyatt.
"We don't know what you are, you have a heartbeat. Winter, vampires don't have heartbeats, and your eyes are blue. All vampires’ eyes are black or very dark-brown." Atti answers as I hold Wyatt’s gaze. I feel more drawn to him than ever before, and I swear I can even feel his anger and how scared he is, in my chest. It’s like I can feel what he is feeling.
"Why do I feel like I need to be near you?" I ask him, and he looks away from me.
“We are mated, you wear my mark now, and the urge to be close is something you will get used to. I’ve always felt that way around you,” Wyatt admits.
“Mark?” I ask, and Atti grins when I look up at him.
“It’s on the bottom of your back, you would have to lose some clothes to see it,” Atti says with a waggle of his eyebrows that makes me blush.
“I will wait then,” I say with a nervous laugh as Atti looks at me differently. There was always some boundary before, and it doesn’t feel that way anymore.
“So, we are mated now?” I ask Wyatt.
“Yes. I didn’t want it to be like this,” he says sharply.
I watch as he walks out the room, and the door slams shut. I know he didn’t mean to hurt me, but the reaction still hurts my heart. I feel myself rubbing my chest without thinking.
"We have a lot to talk about, Love," Atti tells me and pulls me to his chest. I rest my hand on his chest, noticing that my nails are longer and look like I've had a manicure.
“How did Wyatt and I mate?” I ask him.
“Vampires have to give their blood to a human or vampire, seconds before they will die. Usually, they have to drain each other until one of them is close to death and then do it, but you were already close,” Atti says, the shadows under his eyes seem darker as he moves a little closer to me.
“Oh,” I say, a little dazed.
“Don’t be mad at him, I would have done the same in his situation. I would have done anything in my power to save you and fuck the consequences,” he says, and my cheeks warm up. I wrap my arms around his chest, and he holds me close.
"What are you then?" I ask him. I know he isn’t a vampire because I can hear his heartbeat under my cheek. He smells so good, and all I want to do is push myself closer to him.
"Not a wizard, then, because witches remind me of women in corsets and spiky hats?" I ask him
He laughs, "No, there are no such things as wizards. Witches are the term for male and female witches."
"Can you fly on a broom?" I ask, and he laughs louder.
"No, but I can do this," he talks in my head, and I jump.
"You can hear my thoughts?" I ask a little worried. Ok, a lot worried.
"No, but I would like to," he says in my mind again, and I can see his grinning face.
"What else can witches do?" I ask him.
"We have high connections with the elements, we can move things with our minds, and talk to people in our heads. I can boost individual angel powers, and the best one is, I can make myself and others move to wherever I have been before. I can also go directly to someone if I know them well," he says, and I watch as he disappears, causing me to fall onto the bed. I turn to see him reappear by another door in the room. He opens it, while I look at him like a gaping fish. Well, I guess that's what I look like.
"Why don't you have a shower, and I will get you some clothes? I will leave them in here for you," he says, and I get off the bed.
"What is that smell?" I ask when I get closer to him. I smelt it before, but it smells better now.
"Winter, your eyes," he watches me as I move closer. I know it's him that feels nice, and I press my face into his neck.
"You smell like chocolate," I mumble and I hear his chuckle as I realize what I’ve just said. My cheeks are feeling warm.
"Winter your eyes are silver, like Wyatt’s when he feeds, but it’s not creepy as fuck. In fact, it’s hot. Maybe you need to feed as he does," Atti tells me, and I snap out of whatever I was doing by moving away.
"No, that's just, well no," I say quickly and run into the bathroom, slamming the door behind me.