Kris sat up, gasping, reaching out and finding only tangled sheets. She fell back on the bed, drawing in hurried breaths, and closed her eyes.
God. That dream.
It always started the same way. Her and Kenan, sitting on the grass, talking and laughing about nothing of importance. His smile, warming her from the inside out and making her forget her fears and insecurities and just be. She missed him more than anybody should miss anyone. Not just the big things. The small moments too, the unimportant ones that when you gathered them all together they became the most important of all.
Just sitting in the sunshine, watching the world go by and laughing at it and themselves.
And then the Ghazi came—in her dream just black-garbed ghosts running through walls, coming for her, raising their guns. She couldn’t move, rooted to the ground, no matter how she struggled.
But Kenan did.
He tackled her to the ground, body jerking as bullets shredded into him. Kenan, with his arms around her, scarlet flowing from his chest and a reassuring smile on his lips. Too much blood. No matter what she did, he bled out. She couldn’t save him.
And the Ghazi laughed, a harsh and mocking echo of Kenan’s carefree laugh.
Kris swallowed and let the tears run down her cheeks onto her pillow. God, I know I have to move on. It doesn’t mean I forget him. But I can’t go on like this. She swiped away the moisture with the back of one sweaty hand. Go with him. Keep him safe. May he one day come to know you.
She knew why the dreams wouldn’t stop. She’d gone to therapists. Prudently editing the classified details of the situation, of course. The dreams wouldn’t stop because a part of her still longed for him. Because those early moments—those first happy moments with Kenan—were the closest she’d ever come to seeing him again. Only in her dreams could she remember his face, his smile, his laugh.
You’re hopeless. Kris groaned, turning over and burying her face in the pillow.
Kenan opened his eyes with a jerk, sweat drying cool on his skin in the night air. He drew a careful breath, aware any sudden movement or noise would draw the attention of his brother on watch. Gulping air, he closed his eyes and willed his heartbeat to slow.
His chest constricted painfully. He’d dreamed of Kris again.
He’d had no choice but to walk away. This is no life for a woman like her. She’d be safe. Happy. Find someone else to love, someone safe and normal. Someone not him.
She couldn’t know it, but walking away that day was the hardest thing he’d ever had to do. And that was saying something. The right thing. But it still hurt like hell.
Kenan sighed, shifting on the hard ground. He rubbed the scar on his shoulder. It’d healed perfectly—she’d done her work well—but it only served as a constant reminder of her soft, gentle hands moving over his skin.
He could hear Savas’ gravelly voice in his head, the words blunt but the tone gentle. Snap out of it, brother. You’ll never see her again. Best to move on and forget her.
But how could he, when she invaded his dreams nearly every night? He missed her laugh. That shy, genuine smile that rewarded his relentless efforts to coax it out. The feeling of her body, warm and yielding in his arms, her head against his shoulder. Kenan clenched his hands.
God, her god, if you really exist, if you really care—keep her safe. Please. Make her happy. He forced his fingers to relax, opening his eyes and staring at the stars overhead. Maybe somewhere, across a tossing ocean, she was looking at the same stars. I know you need to move on, Kris. Get on with your life. Be safe and happy. But sometimes…He grimaced, closing his eyes and letting out his breath in a sigh. Sometimes, if it doesn’t hurt too much, keep your promise? Remember me.
Want to read their story? You can purchase Kenan, Book 1 in the Katiller series, at our bookstore. Or read more character shorts.