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Soulmate (Chapter 17)

I need to call my mom," Hannah said.

Thierry nodded. "But maybe wait until she's up. It's not dawn yet."

They were at Thierry's house, in the elegant bedroom with the softly burnished gold walls. The window

had just begun to turn gray.

It was so good to rest, to let go of tension, to feel her battered body relax. It was so good to be alive.

She felt as if she'd been reborn and was looking at the world with wide new eyes. Even the smallest

comforts-a hot drink, a fire in the fireplace-were immeasurably precious.

And it was good to be with Thierry.

He was sitting on the bed, holding her hand, watching her as if he couldn't believe she was real.

The healer had come and gone, and now it was just the two of them. They sat together quietly, not

needing words. They looked into each other's eyes,

and then they were reaching for each other, holding each other. Resting like weary travelers in each

other's arms.

Hannah leaned her forehead against Thierry's lips.

It's over, she thought. I was right when I told Paul the apocalypse was coming-but it's over now.

Thierry stirred, kissing the hair on her forehead. Then he spoke, not out loud but with his mental voice.

As soon as Hannah heard it, she knew he was trying to say something serious and important.

You know, you came very close to becoming a vampire. You 're going to be sick for a few days while

your body shifts back to human.

Hannah nodded without pulling away to look at him. The healer had told her all that. She sensed that

there was something more Thierry wanted to say.

And… well, you still have a choice, you know.

There was a silence. Then Hannah did pull away to look at him. "What do you mean?"

He took a deep breath, then said out loud, "I mean, you can still choose to be a vampire. You're right on

the edge. If you want, we can make you change over."

Hannah took a long breath of her own.

She hadn't thought about this-but she was thinking now. As a vampire, she'd be immortal; she could stay

with Thierry continuously for who knew how many thousands of years? She would be stronger than a

human, faster, telepathic.

And perfect physically. Involuntarily, her hand went to her left cheek, to her birthmark.

The doctors couldn't take it away. But becoming a vampire would.

She looked directly at Thierry. "Is that what you want? For me to become a vampire?"

He was looking at her cheek, too. Then he met her eyes.

"I want what you want. I want you to be happy. Nothing else matters to me."

Hannah took her hand away.

"Then," she said very softly, "if you don't mind, I'll stay human. I don't mind the birthmark. It's just-part

of me, now. It doesn't bring up any bad memories." After a moment, she added, "All humans are

imperfect, I guess."

She could see tears in Thierry's eyes. He gently lifted her hand and kissed it. He didn't say anything, but

something about his expression made Hannah's throat and chest fill with love..

Then he took her in his arms.

And Hannah was happy. So happy that she was crying a little, too.

She was with her flying companion-her playmate. The one who was sacred to her, who was the other

half of the mysteries of life for her. The one who would always be there for her, helping her, watching her

back, picking her up when she fell down, listening to her stories-no matter how many times she told them.

Loving her even when she was stupid. Understanding her without words. Being inside the innermost

circle in her mind.

Her soulmate.

Things are going to be all right now, she thought.

Suddenly it was as if she could see the corridor of time again, but this time looking forward, not back.

She would go to college and become a paleontologist. And she and Thierry would work with Circle

Daybreak and the Old Powers that were rising. They would be happy together, and they would help the

world through the enormous changes that were coming.

The sadness would go out of Thierry's eyes.

They would love and discover and learn and explore. And Hannah would grow up and get older, and

Thierry would love her just the same. And then one day, being human, she would go back to Mother

Earth, like a wave going out to the ocean. Thierry would grieve for her-and wait for her.

And then they would start all over again.

One lifetime with him was enough, but Hannah sensed that there would be many. There would always be

something new to learn.

Thierry moved, his breath warming her hair. "I almost forgot," he whispered. "You're seventeen today.

Congratulations."

That's right, Hannah thought. She looked toward the window, startled and overwhelmed. The sky was

turning pink now. She was seeing the dawn of her seventeenth birthday-something that had never

happened before.

I've changed my destiny.

"I love you," she whispered to Thierry.

And then they just sat together, holding each other as the room filled with light.

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