Betrothed, p.3
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       Betrothed, p.3

         Part #6 of The Vampire Journals series by Morgan Rice

  Caitlin sat up in the sarcophagus, and stared back at the man before her. She knew she recognized him from somewhere, but could not place where. She stared at his large, brown, concerned eyes, his perfectly chiseled face, his cheekbones, his smooth skin, his thick, wavy hair. He was gorgeous, and she could sense how much he cared for her. She felt deep down that this was an important person to her, but for the life of her, she could not remember who it was.

  Caitlin felt something wet in her palm, and looked down to see a wolf sitting there, licking her.

  She was surprised at how caring it was towards her, as if it had known her forever. It had beautiful white fur, with a single grey streak running down the middle of its head and back. Caitlin felt she knew this animal, too, and that at some point in her life she'd had a close connection to it.

  But try as she did, she could not remember how.

  She looked around the room, trying to take in her surroundings, hoping it might jog her memory. The room slowly came into focus. It was dim, lit only by a torch, and in the distance, she saw adjoining rooms, filled with sarcophagi. It had a low, vaulted ceiling, and the stones looked ancient. It looked like a crypt. She wondered how she had gotten here - and who these people were.

  She felt as if she had been awakened from a dream that would not end.

  Caitlin closed her eyes for a moment, breathing deeply, and as she did, a collection of random images suddenly flashed through her mind. She saw herself standing in the Roman Colosseum, fighting off multiple soldiers on its hot, dusty floor; she saw herself flying over an island in the Hudson River, looking down at a sprawling castle; she saw herself in Venice, on a gondola, with a boy she did not recognize, but who was also beautiful; she saw herself in Paris, walking along a river with a man who she recognized as the same man across from her. She tried to focus on that image, to hold onto it. Perhaps it would help her remember.

  She saw the two of them again, this time in his castle, in the countryside of France. She saw them riding horses on the beach, then saw a falcon, circling high above them, dropping off a letter.

  She tried to zoom in on his face, to remember his name. It seemed to be coming back to her; it was so close. But her mind kept flashing something new, and it was so hard to hold onto anything.

  Lifetime after lifetime flashed before her in an endless snapshot of images. It was as if her memory were repopulating itself.

  "Caleb," came a voice.

  Caitlin opened her eyes. He was leaning in close, reaching out a hand, holding her shoulder.

  "My name is Caleb. Of the White Coven. Don't you remember?"

  Caitlin's eyes closed again, as her mind was jogged by his words, his voice. Caleb. The name rang like a bell in her brain. It felt like an important name to her.

  White Coven. That, too, rang a bell. She suddenly saw herself in a city she knew to be New York City, in a cloister at the northern end of the island. She saw herself standing on a large terrace, looking out. She saw herself arguing with a woman named Sera.

  "Caitlin," came the voice again, more firmly. "Don't you remember?"

  Caitlin. Yes. That was her name. She felt certain of it now.

  And Caleb. Yes. He was important to her. He was her. . . boyfriend? He felt like more than that.

  Fiance? Husband?

  She opened her eyes, and stared at him, and it was all starting to flood back. Hope filled within her, as slowly, bit by bit, she was starting to remember everything.

  "Caleb," she said back, softly.

  His eyes suddenly filled with hope, watering. The wolf whined beside her licked her cheek, as if encouraged. She looked over at her, and suddenly remembered her name.

  "Rose," she said, then realized that wasn't right. "No. Ruth. Your name is Ruth. "

  Ruth leaned in closer, licking her face. Caitlin couldn't help but smile, and stroked her head.

  Caleb broke into a relieved grin.

  "Yes. Ruth. And I am Caleb. And you are Caitlin. Do you remember now?" She nodded. "It's coming back to me," she said. "You are my. . . husband?"

  She watched as his face suddenly turned red, as if he were embarrassed, or shamed. And at that moment, she suddenly remembered. No. They were not married.

  "We are not married," he said, apologetic, "but we are together. "

  She was embarrassed, too, as now she started to remember everything, as it all started flooding back to her.

  She suddenly remembered the keys. Her father's keys. She reached down, into her pocket, and was reassured to feel them there. She reached into another pocket and felt her journal, still there.

  She was relieved.

  Caleb reached out a hand.

  She took it, and let him pull her up and out of the sarcophagus.

  It felt so good to be standing, to stretch her aching muscles.

  Caleb reached out and brushed the hair back out of her face. His soft fingers felt so good as they brushed her temple.

  "I'm so glad you're alive," he said.

  He embraced her, hugging her tight. She hugged him back, and as she did, more memories flooded through her. Yes, this was the man she loved. The man she hoped, one day, to marry. She could feel his love coursing through her, and she remembered that they had gone back in time together. They had last been in France, in Paris, and she had found the second key, and they had both been sent back. She had prayed that they would come back together this time. And as she held him tighter, she realized that her prayers had come true.

  Finally, this time, they were together.

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