Monday, September 10, 2012

Independence : Chapter 2

For Chapter one go here :


          She was still shaking. I knew there was nothing I could do to make it better. Her friend died. But this…just feeling her body shake and my shirt wet because she'd been crying for the past twenty minutes…
          Each minute that ticked by was a knife in my gut. I eventually had picked her up and we lay on the bed together and waited for word on us going home. I stared at the ceiling as I let my fingers dance - what I hoped was - a soothing rhythm across her bare shoulder. She had tangled our legs and gripped my shirt in her fingers.
          I tried to keep my suspicions to myself and not let them seep out to Maggie, but it was very much a possibility in my mind that this was retaliation. The Watsons had lost Marla and Donald to our hands. Would they still risk coming against us just for revenge? If they killed Beck and Ralph and I was the one who brought Maggie into this mess…
          I groaned angrily and shifted a bit. Maggie lifted her head slightly to look at me. "What are you so angry about?"
          "Nothing, baby," I assured. "I'm just…sad for you."
          "You're mad, I can tell." She yawned and scooted up closer to be by my head. "I'm too exhausted to make you tell me though."
          I found myself chuckling. "Don't worry about me. I'm worried about you."
          "I'm…all right." She sniffed and it broke my heart. "I just wish I could've seen her one more time. She was so mad at me before…and then we came here and…" Her eyes looked up to mine. "But they did say they never found the bodies. So maybe there's still hope, right?"
          "Yeah, absolutely."
          I really wanted to believe that.
          She licked her lips and continued. "Maybe I can find them. Maybe…" Her face fell. "I'd have to touch her to get a vision though, wouldn't I?"
          I started to say something, I'm not even sure what, when a knock banged on the door. I sighed. "What?" I asked loudly.
          Jen poked her head in. "Hey," she said slowly. It was obvious she was walking on eggshells. I gave her a face to tell her to stop it. She had to know Maggie would hate that. She straightened and opened the door. "Our flight's booked."
          "You're coming, too?" Maggie asked. "I don't want to cut your trip short."
          "It's just one day. It won't matter. Are you ok?"
          Maggie sighed. "Why is everyone so worried about me? You guys lost your cousin not even a week ago."
          "Yeah," Jen agreed and sighed, too. "We did. Still."
          "I'm…" She shook her head. "How are you?"
          "I'm…" Jen shook her head, too, and shrugged. They both chuckled a little sadly. Maggie got up from the bed to give Jen a hug. They hugged hard for a long time. Jen nodded to her. "This week has been…bittersweet."
          "I'm sorry I couldn't save him," Maggie whispered and I felt a painful ping go through my chest.
          "Maggie, stop it," I told her and lifted myself from the bed.
          She wouldn't look at me. Jen looked between us.
          I repeated softer. "Maggie, stop it."
          She finally looked up, her eyes glistening. "He saved us. He saved us and I didn't save him!"
          "It wasn't your fault." I took her from Jen, but she kept going as if I hadn't spoken.
          "And now Beck…I couldn’t save her either. And Rodney's Significant! She's all alone because I couldn't save him!" Her chest started to quake and I held her to me. She pushed me back a little, but I held onto her. "No! Don't comfort me. I caused all this." She looked up at me with questions in her eyes. "I can't believe you're not mad at me for letting him die."
          "Stop, Maggie," I said and took a deep breath. "Stop this."
          She wasn't going to stop so I yanked her to me. She tried to push me off and I just held on tighter. She wasn't this kind of fighter. It took no time before she was burying her face in my neck instead of pushing me away. I held on to her just as tightly as she was me. "I'm so sorry," she cried.
          I took a deep breath to hold back my own emotion. Hers, plus mine, plus knowing things were probably going to get worse, was killing me. She took my face in her small, cold hands and looked into me. "I'm. So. Sorry."
          "Baby," I pleaded. "This wasn't your fault."
          "You're only saying that because of the imprint. It won't let you be mad."
          "I'm saying it because it's true," I said, hard and unrelenting. "Beck isn't your fault. Rodney…isn't your fault." I fought the clog in my throat. "Maggie, things happen. Some things just happen sometimes and no one is to blame and no one could have stopped it."
          She didn't look completely convinced, but I felt her fingers move a little on my face. She let them slide away and then looked at Jen. "Is Bish packing?"
          "Yeah," she answered. "He's got Maria helping him." She smiled. "Those two get along pretty well so far."
          "He adores her," Maggie confirmed. "And vice versa." She looked at me and cleared her throat. "We should probably pack, too."
          "All my stuff is here," I said. "I moved it all from upstairs. I'll start putting stuff in the suitcases."
          She nodded and I turned to do just that. Jen and her spoke for a second before Maggie closed the door. She stayed there a bit and waited. I'd known that she was putting on a front the past few days. She was trying to be happy and strong for everyone, but with Haddock and Rodney and now, Beck, it was just too much for her. But she was acting like she didn't want my comfort at all.
          Was it her idea of self punishment because she blamed herself, or did she honestly think I was upset with her and just couldn't face my anger because of the imprint?
          I glanced over at her to find her watching me as I threw a wad of t-shirts into the duffle bag. "You all right?"
          She nodded. "I'm fine, Caleb. Just…" She shook her head. "I'm just ready to get there. See Mr. and Mrs. T."
          I nodded at that. "I'll get you there as soon as possible. We'll go there straight from the airport."
          "Thank you."
          I decided to let the awkward behavior between us go and not mention it further. She needed to process what was going on. I could wait.
          So we packed up everything in silence and I tamped down on the protective vibe racing through my veins. I dragged our bags and let her carry her purse and my hoodie for the plane as she walked in front of me.

          We were almost down the hall when Jonathon turned the corner, running into Maggie. He gripped her arms to keep her upright and even though he was just being a gentleman, I saw red at the sight of his hands on her skin.
          Maggie quickly pulled back and I wondered if it was because she felt my annoyance or she felt the angry buzz her skin makes when someone touched her that wasn't me. I frowned. And she didn't even want me to touch her right now.
          She jerked her gaze to me. "That's not true."
          Crap. I forgot to block her. "Yes, it is," I argued softly. "This is stupid,  Maggie. You don't need to punish yourself."
          "You're not?" I asked and she paused before shaking her head and refusing to look at me. I let our bags fall from my fingers to the floor and went to stand in front of her. "It wasn't your fault. None of this was."
          Jonathon just stood there, his eyes back and forth like he was watching volleyball. I ignored him.
          "You can't say that Beck and Ralph aren't my fault," she said and finally looked up at me.
          "Yes, I can. Because it's mine." If my beautiful little Maggie wanted to play martyr, two could play that game.
          "No," she said, confused. "How could it be your fault?"
          "Because I touched you and made you mine." I felt my jaw clench at the truth of those words. Maggie's life hadn't been exactly rosey since I'd dragged her into my world.
          "Don't say that," she pleaded. "Don't start this again."
          "Don't start what? Don't start saying that if it weren't for me that you and your family would be safe and normal like they used to be?"
          "Caleb…" Her lips quivered again and I knew I'd won. I stopped everything and pulled her elbows so she'd come to my arms. Her skin was soft and sweet smelling and gulp inducing. I took her chin in my fingers and made her look up at me. I wrapped my other arm around the small of her back to keep her there.
          "Maggie Camille," I breathed and felt her breath catch. "Stop this right now. It's no more your fault than it is mine. Stuff happens. It sucks, it sucks so bad and, baby…I'm dying for you. I wish I could stop this, but I can't." I let my thumb sweep across her bottom lip.
          She sniffed once before wrapping her arms around my neck. I exhaled as her skin touched mine and gripped her to my chest tightly. I felt good for bringing her down from the ledge. It was my job to protect her, even when it was from herself.
          I could feel her breaths on my neck and had to hold myself back as I always did. I opened my eyes to find Jonathon still standing there. I ticked my head toward the hall to tell him to get lost. He cleared his throat and did just that.
          I leaned back to rest us against the wall, but it was the stairwell door instead. I heard my "Crap!" but it was too late. I held her tighter as we tumbled back to the floor and landed on my butt with her in my lap. She was giggling before I could even get what had happened. I chuckled, too, and smoothed her hair back. I toyed with a piece between my fingers. It was so stinking soft. "Woops."
          She laughed and put her hand on my cheek, shifting to straddle me on the floor. "Silly boy," she said softly.
          I gripped her hips and tried to remember that she needed me because she was upset. But Maggie on my lap… My imprinted body was done with being the good guy in this department. It wanted her. All of her.
          She sobered a bit then and licked her lips. "I'm sorry."
          "You don't have to be sorry, baby. That's the point." I took her face in my hands. "It was a tragedy, not a vision that you could stop."
          I saw a flash of worry and the vision of Bish and Jen play through her mind before she said, "I know."
          "You're overwhelmed by everything. I understand. Just don't push me away when all I want to do is be here."
          She leaned forward and pressed a kiss to my chin. She looked up at me from under her lashes and I barely suppressed my groan and she leaned forward to kiss me where I wanted her. I let my hands travel to her hips, tugging her a tad closer, and then told them to stay.   
          Stay, hands, stay right there.
          The kiss was over too quickly for me, but I knew that Maggie was still hurting. I rubbed her soft arms, letting her be calmed and eased back into reality, until she was ready to go.
          I helped her stand and we turned the corner only to run into Jonathon again. "Dude?" I said in annoyance.
          "Wait," Maggie said and I saw it all play out in her mind. She took Jonathon's arm and peeked around the corner, all business.
          She was the Visionary and she was so freaking good at it.
          Then I saw who Maggie was waiting for. Rodney's significant, the girl who Maggie had talked to and learned what she was, came around the corner with some papers in her hands. She was fully engrossed in her reading and didn't look up. Maggie stopped and pushed Jonathon to be in front of her. The girl looked up just in time to see him and jumped back to avoid the collision and giggled in embarrassment. But Jonathon, the ever clingy guy, grabbed onto her arms to keep her from falling.
          And the imprint started with bursts and shivers as I watched in Maggie's mind and we held onto each other and remembered our own imprint. The day I damned the girl I wanted so badly and got the love of my life all in the same moment.
          The day she became my girl.
          I whispered how amazing she was into her ear. She had to have grown tired of my saying it, but I couldn't stop. Maggie was torn between a fulfillment of watching her subjects follow their destiny and the sadness going on in her own life. I held her tighter and felt her gratitude.
          "I'll always be here to hold you together," I told her with conviction.
          She turned and pulled me down to her. And as I let her control me and my lips, my hands found their favorite spot. Her hips. And I told them to freaking stay.
          Stay, hands, stay right there.



  2. I can't wait..... December can't get here quick enough! FANTABULOUS!!!!

  3. shelly,
    I cant wait for the rest, you truly are a master at writing, I have never let me down with your books thats why I read all of your series, but "significance" is my favorite. thank you so much.
    tammy lafferty

  4. Love it Shelly! They are one of my all time favorite couples. Can't wait!

  5. That is AWESOME!!!! I can't wait for December:)

  6. I LOVE YOU! This is soooo great! Thank you!

  7. I love this series!!! Please surprise us with an early release, December is too far away!!!

  8. I still think the Watsons had something to do with Beck and Ralphs "death". Anyways, i love this. I can't wait to read the rest!!!

  9. December is way to far away :(

  10. Wow Shelly so Loved It, can't wait for the whole ebook to be out!!!

  11. Thank you, Shelly! Cannot wait for this book!

  12. Thank you thank you thank you!!!! I love it and kinda hate it at the same time. I know I'm gonna be sick reading parts of this book. That was a killer tease.

  13. ♥Caleb!!! OMG!!! I could read him all night and day. Now to wait for December *pouts*

  14. SOOO good! You are such an amazing writer! I want my own Caleb! Can't wait for December!

  15. I can't friggin' wait. I love Caleb and Maggie! December is not coming fast enough.

  16. YOU, Shelly Crane, are amazing.

    THIS, the significance serie, is a masterpiece.

    and I lalalalala-love it!

  17. I.cant.wait!!!! thanks for sharing - glad I discovered u!!!

  18. I LOVE CALEB!!!! Shelly you are so amazing! I read significance and was hoocked, this series are the only novels that I have ever re-read in my entire life. December seems do far any I wish you could have independence published tomorrow but since that is unlikely would November be a possibility? The 23rd to be exacted, it's my birthday and I think that it would be awesome to see how Maggie and Caleb live happliy ever after.

  19. Love you for just this Thank you . I cannot wait for the book.

  20. is it going to be alternating POV between maggie and hotness reincarnated? if it is: I LOVE YOU!

  21. OH MY FREAKING I DON'T KNOW WHAT! So beautiful. This is too much. But you're awesome! Can't wait!

  22. Holy Freakin Moly!!!!! I bout near died of sheer joy!!! You are an awesome writer shelly!!! I can't wait for december! This book comes out after my B-day so I'm gonna consider it a present from you! :D

  23. OMG. You are so awesome! I don't understand how you can put into words the way Caleb is just so... sweet? Awesome? Perfect. Thank you!

  24. It was so amazing and about caleb telling his hands to stay was so funny. U r a one of a kind writer.