I had to resist the urge to squirm around like a worm while I waited impatiently for Nisha’s response.
Based on her face and stiff body, she’d shut down.
As I watched, seeking any sign of an answer, tears began to leak past her eyes. They rolled down her cheeks silently as a crushing wave of depression slammed directly into me.
Stumbling back a few steps, thrown off balance by the depth of these emotions, I heard the sound of my heart slam to the floor and shatter.
Oh gods, no, please. Please, no. Don’t say it.
I can’t hear those words belonging to another. I beg you, jhenmu, don’t do this to me!
“I...yes, I loved him.”
Her confession was such a low whisper it was barely more than a tiny breath escaping her lips. But it was a breath my accursed inhuman hearing caught without any difficulty.
Pressing a clawed hand to my chest, I tried to hold myself together tightly as I gazed at Nisha in sorrow. “I see,” I barely managed to murmur past numb lips.
“But,” Nisha slowly blinked, some of the life beginning to return to her beautiful grey eyes.
I hung on to that one word; my lifeline in a raging storm.
“I don’t anymore. I woke up. I—”
Her voice abruptly stopped as she blinked rapidly. “Jack. Is there a type of Other who can see things they shouldn’t be able to? Like, visions, or something?”
Frowning, I nodded my head slowly, thrown off by her change in topic. “There are a number of Others with the ability of Sight. But what kind are you talking about here? Past? Future? Alternate paths? The Unseen? Fae? Souls?”
Her face twisted in overwhelmed confusion as she took several long heartbeats to decide. “Um, how about all of the first...three?”
I blinked, startled. “Seriously? Wait, I’m getting ahead of things here. Why do you ask?”
Nisha took in a couple of deep breaths, the thoughtful pull of her eyebrows letting me know she was choosing her words carefully.
“It started after I found out about my pregnancy. It’s mostly stopped, in the past month, but that was after I moved back in with Nana. Before that, every single night, I was shown things in my dreams. Things I shouldn’t know. Things that I didn’t want to believe because they seemed too crazy to be true. But now,” she gulped, voice breaking in fear. “Now that my memories have returned, I know just how possible it could be.”
I felt the sluggish movement of ice in my blood come to a screeching halt.
Wait a damn minute! Is she implying what I think she is?
Seriously? Can it be possible?
The percentage of Others in the Human World is only twenty-five percent! The U.S. has seven percent of that twenty-five, which is twenty-eight percent of the Human World’s Other population—but still!
Was Nisha’s connection to the world she’d been born in that strong? The only man she’d fallen for and been impregnated by ‘just so happened’ to be an Other?
Based on Nisha’s description, there was no question. But I still wanted to question the hell out of this development.
I’ll have a lot to find out about from this asshole later tonight.
“I’ll look into this,” I promised fiercely. “It is incredibly important to know your genetics for Others. Our genes have a fun chance of mixing in strange and unexpected ways. Things that haven’t been in your bloodline for ten or more generations can suddenly jump out and make themselves known."
Raising a brow in interest, Nisha nodded slowly. "A, alright. Thank you, Jack."
“Any other weird things that seem abnormal?” I asked, worrying my bottom lip nervously.
Frowning, Nisha slowly shook her head. “Um, well, not exactly. I do have brief hot and cold flashes every now and again, which worried me. But I talked to a doctor and they told me that, while the cold ones are rare, it has been known to happen to some pregnant women.”
Filing that information away for a later date, I nodded, clearing my throat. “Alright, that’s good I suppose.” Closing my eyes to brace myself, I asked one of the questions I’d been dying to ask for hours now.
“I need to know. Did he hurt you?" I wanted to howl for an answer, but getting worked up again would be a bad idea. I was just starting to calm down, after all.
Her face fell and tightened in tension. "I...he, um…."
Just tell me! I screamed internally, fighting down my impatience.
"He was really kind and sweet at first," Nisha confessed reluctantly. "But after our first time together he changed. He, w-well…he became an asshole. I didn't realize it at the time. I'm not sure why, honestly," Nisha murmured around a concerned frown.
"Thinking back, there were so many signs, but I was stuck in a haze of happy denial. Even after the first time he, uh, punched me…."
I had to swallow down a snarl at Nisha's mumbled words. She refused to look me in the eyes as if she was ashamed. But if the asshole actually was an Other, she had nothing to be ashamed about.
No. Nisha was a victim.
How dare he! How dare he! HOW DARE HE!!
My fury burst out of the cage I'd been trying to keep it locked inside.
Nisha let out a frightened yelp in reaction to the ice coming back in a violent cloud of frozen air. I squeezed my eyes shut, trying to keep myself under control, but it was so difficult.
Nisha was a weakness of mine. The one thing in the world that could jerk my emotions around like a beaten dog on a leash.
Even if she didn't try, the slightest reaction could cause my heart to plummet in despair.
A single word from her lips could become my salvation.
Her emotions became my emotions.
This explains the weird back-and-forth I was experiencing through our connection. Now that I know, the bastard's going to rot!
"Even after he started becoming abusive and controlling, I couldn't seem to hate him. I remember just smiling and nodding along with everything he decided and said. Like, my real thoughts were locked away and unable to come to the surface. But all of that changed when I had the first dream."
My eyes narrowed to slits and my teeth tore apart my bottom lip as I fought down the shout of fury trying to escape.
Blinking rapidly, Nisha eyed me cautiously. "J, Jack…?" The worry and fear made her voice strained, nearly breathless.
I couldn't even blame her.
Right now I was pretty certain I looked as sane as a rabid dog. The need to kill the fucker who had hurt Nisha kept growing with each word she spoke.
"O, okay," I ground out harshly. "We have to stop talking about this for now. I'm losing my grip on my temper."
Nodding quickly, Nisha agreed. "I'd rather think about him as little as possible."
Stepping closer, I spread my arms wide. "Can I please hold you?" I nearly begged in a tight, small voice. "I need to calm down and you're the only calming thing I can think of at the moment."
Nisha grew quiet for thirty full seconds, while I prepared myself for her denial. Surprisingly, she crawled to the edge of the bed and slipped her arms around my neck without a word.
My breath came out in a loud, broken whoosh as I closed my eyes and squeezed Nisha to my chest. She was buried under the layers of clothes, but that was for the best.
Pressing my face in the curve of her shoulder and neck, I struggled to breathe in deep gulps of her scent, barely noticing the material of the scarf trying to enter my nose and mouth. After a few awkward moments, Nisha gingerly rubbed my back and shoulders with her gloved hands.
"It's over, Jack, so you don't have to be upset anymore. That dick's no longer part of my life, okay? I'm more concerned with the twins and you now. Why should I spare any of my precious time or energy on a piece of shit?"
My lips twitched into a smug grin as I listened to Nisha's perfectly serious voice. "I love you so much," I chuckled, squeezing her tighter. "So, so much. You're so amazing. So beautiful."
Her voice became weak and I could feel the warmth of her cheeks against my neck. "J, Jack! What are you even saying right now?"
I leaned back to look into her wide grey eyes. "The truth, jhenmu." I smirked at the bright blush coloring her face, before gently placing a cold kiss on her forehead.
"If you're feeling better I'll go back to my side of the bed," Nisha muttered dryly.
"No! I need cuddles to stay alive! You can't take them away!"
I could feel my joy at having Nisha in my arms swallow the rage I'd been feeling. As if to mock me, my powers receded completely, leaving behind my human form.
While I hugged Nisha tighter, unwilling to let her escape, she whispered into my ear. "Thank you for being angry for me. Thank you for caring about me as much as you do, Jack."
I swallowed, fighting back the urge to kiss Nisha deeply. As she had reminded me multiple times now, it was too soon.
But damn it all if it wasn't tearing me apart to hold back my feelings.
Reluctantly, I summoned a weak laugh. "Yeah. Of course." I released her, stepping back to give her space.
Glancing down at the ice-free floor, I couldn't stop a low groan of annoyance. "That hug didn't last nearly long enough," I grumbled.
Nisha's light giggle cleared away the bitterness in my heart as I stared at her in amazement. "If it's just a hug, I don't mind giving you as many as you'd like."
"Y, you mean it?" I whispered in disbelief, my heart squeezing painfully in my chest.
Her grey eyes were clear of any fear or hate, instead filled with a warmth that permeated the coldness in my soul. "It's a promise, Jack."
A second later, her brows creased in a worried frown. "But don't go crazy with it. I can see you trying to cling to me when we're walking if I don't watch it."
I clicked my tongue in a teasing noise, pretending to be irritated that she'd caught on to my plot. But internally my heart was singing. I had to turn my back to her to hide the tears that tried to leak past my eyes.
Geez, what am I, four? Who gets this emotional over something as simple as hugs?
Still, I had no way to lie to myself about my haywire emotions. Sucking in a ragged breath, I did my best to calm the shaking deep inside my chest.