Julia didn't bother knocking on the door, but let herself in; nor did she spare a glance at any of the decor or furnishings, she wasn't interested in any of that. Instead she made a beeline straight for what, or rather, whom, she was interested in.
She had a promise fulfill.
She laughed softly. "Did you doubt?"
He wrapped his arms around her waist. "Not really, but I still think this is ill advised."
"Do I scare you Rian?" She teased him.
"Terrify me, more like." He admitted. "You are like this brightly dancing flame, so mesmerizing to the eye, and I know I am going to get burnt if I get too close, yet I can't seem to help myself. You draw me in a way I do not understand."
Julia smiled softly. "Well, that makes two of us then. I obviously cannot stay away from you either, nor do I want to. I love you."
"Julia, I..." His voice trailed off.
"It's okay, Rian, I don't need the words. You know me, I'm a girl of action."
He bent his head down closer to her, almost as if he was going to kiss her, but then he hesitated for just a moment. "Marry me." he whispered.
Julia looked up at him, startled. "Marry you? We went from ill advised to marriage? In the space of a few minutes?"
He kissed her softly. "We sure did. I have thought of nothing else for days; I am an old fashioned man, Julia, and I cannot be in that way with you, unless we were to marry."
Julia considered him. "City Hall is closed."
He nodded. "Indeed, we can take care of the legal ceremony in the morning, so that this land recognizes that we are One. For tonight though, we can speak our sacred vows to each other, and become One in the traditions of the land where I came from."
"Your asking skills could use some work." Julia told him. "I won't promise to obey you either."
Rian chuckled. "As if you would ever make things that easy for me."
"Well, as long as we are clear on that, yes, yes, and a thousand times yes! I would love to marry you."
Rian looked directly into her eyes. "I vow this day, to love, honor, protect, and cherish you for all the days of my life. I will always strive to be worthy of your love."
Julia's eyes shimmered with emotions. "On this day, I give you my life, my promise, that I will walk with you, hand in hand, wherever our journey leads us, living, learning, loving. Together."
Julia walked along the beach, hand in hand with her husband. Her husband. The sweetest sounding words she had ever heard. Even though they had been married for five months now, she still had to resist the urge to pinch herself, just in case she was dreaming.
A breeze ruffled her hair; she lifted her face to it, and breathed in the familiar salt air. She sighed, contentedly. Rian squeezed her hand, and she smiled up at him. Could this moment be any more perfect?
They walked along the shoreline for a while longer, neither of them felt the need to fill the silence with words. That was one of the things she loved about Rian, he knew how to just be in the moment with her. He, like her, understood that moments didn't always require words. Rian suddenly stopped by the water's edge, his eyes on the horizon.
The Sea was calm, the waves lapped up against the sand with gentle fingers, barely making a sound. In the distance, she could hear the seagulls crying.
Julia didn't need to be able to read his mind to sense that something was bothering him, nor did it take much thought on her part to know what that something was.
It was the shadow that loomed over their happiness, and she hated it. Hated that there was nothing she could do to banish it. They played a waiting game, never knowing if this was the day her grandmother would decide to show up. Julia even harbored the hope that her grandmother had simply given up on her fruitless quest, but no one else shared that hope.
Still, she refused to live her life in fear of what may happen in the future. As she had told Rian many times, they could die in a car accident tomorrow, or a plane could crash on top of the house as they slept, life was unpredictable and uncertain. The only certainty was that they had now, today, this one moment.
The quiet was broken not by words, but by a whinny, an unexpected sound to hear on the beach. Curious, she turned around to see what was making the sound, and she gasped in surprise. "Rian." she whispered, tugging on his sleeve. "Do you see it?"
"My mother said she saw a white one once, on the day she was engaged to my father. She said she took it as a sign, a sign of blessing. What do you think a black one means?"
"Unicorns are magical, to see one of any color, means that you are blessed."
"I wonder if it will let me approach it."
Rian studied the unicorn for a moment, before answering. "I think he will."
Julia approached the unicorn cautiously, she wasn't sure what Rian saw in it that made him think it would let her approach it, but she trusted Rian's judgment implicitly. She held her hand out, and it sniffed her fingers, before nudging her gently with it's head. She laughed softly. "Want pets do you?" She stroked it's neck. "You are beautiful." He whinnied again, and Julia chuckled. "You already know that, don't you? Typical male."
The unicorn's ears pricked up when Rian approached, but it didn't run. "He's just as vain as any male." She teased Rian. "At least he has a reason to be so, he is absolutely gorgeous."
The unicorn neighed again, and then lowered its horn, a strange light began to emanate from it, the light grew and grew, until it encompassed both Rian and Julia, before fading away to nothing. "How curious." Rian murmured.
"What just happened?"
Rian had heard rumors that Unicorns could gift people with a vision of their futures, if the Unicorn so desired. Rian had just never expected that a Unicorn would gift him with such a vision, and what he had seen... He glanced at Julia, but it appeared that she did not experience the same thing. The gift might have been for him alone. "We've just been blessed by him."
"Aw, that's sweet." Julia gently patted the Unicorn. "I don't remember my parents talking about that happening to them. I'll have to ask them again. Though, if I remember correctly, my dad couldn't see the unicorn at all, it just looked like a horse to him."
Rian pondered the unicorn. "Did you see anything?" he asked Julia, wanting to be sure his assessment was correct, that indeed he was the only one to see the Unicorn's vision.
"Like what?" Julia asked him.
"Like a vision?"
She looked at him strangely. "No, did you? See a vision?"
He needed time to think about what he had seen, and how it all fit in together with what he knew, but Julia would be like a dog with a bone if he told her he had indeed seen one. So he answered her without answering her. "I have heard that Unicorns will sometimes gift people with a vision of what their future holds. I merely wondered if you had seen a glimpse of the future..."
"Are you working yourself into a tizzy again? Thinking about all that mystery future stuff you refuse to tell me?"
"Can't tell you." He corrected.
"Because the Universe might implode and all that?"
He shook his head, and smiled slightly. "Laugh all you want, but it is a serious matter. And yes, I was thinking of future events. The longer we are together, the less I recognize from what I was told, it concerns me greatly. It should concern you as well, the future of the world is at stake."
Julia shrugged. "I'm not going to bug out about it. I still hope she has given up. Besides that, if it fails, Uncle Jack could just build one of those time travel machine things, and we can just try again right? That's the beauty of time travel."
"No, she has not given up, that is a certainty. Your father just knows how she thinks, and how to lead her on a long, what you call, goose chase, for which I admit, I am selfishly thankful. It gives us more time to be together." He sighed. "But this is a one shot deal Julia. If we don't succeed, then we don't succeed. Whenever the time continuum is changed or manipulated, even slightly, we increase our chances of even worse things happening, like ripples in a pond, each small decision affecting the larger ones.
I am not a scientist, and cannot explain all the particulars, but I could let your Uncle Jack explain it all to you."
"That's okay." Julia grimaced. "I love my Uncle, but he loses me after he says my name."
"Yes, my name. He'll say, "Julia" and then all I hear is blah, blah, blah. I feel bad about it, but my mind wanders whenever he starts explaining things to me." She shrugged. "I can't help it."
Rian smiled at her. "Not the scientific type?"
"It's boring. There, I said it." She smiled back at him.
He chuckled. "You find anything that involves holding still, boring."
"True." Julia agreed cheerfully. "I'd rather be doing things..." She winked at him. "I have a few ideas right now of what I'd like to be doing..."
"Here? Julia, I'm shocked." He teased her.
"You are not! You're tempted." She threw back at him.
He sighed, a slight smile still on his lips. "You may be right."
"No may be about it." She singsonged.
"You just like to hear me say the words."
Julia grinned at him mischievously. "Those words do have a sweet ring about them." She sidled up closer to Rian, and slowly walked her fingers up his chest. "There are still other things I like better, but you are a tad overdressed for that."
"Temptress." he said, huskily.
"Aha, back to square one."
He half laughed, half moaned. "Yes, you're right."
"Of course I am." She said, and then she kissed him.
The unicorn neighed, and inserted itself between them. Julia laughed, and backed away, letting the unicorn through. It bumped up against Rian, and he chuckled. "Okay, okay, I agree." He cleared his throat. "It would be better to finish that conversation at home." The Unicorn nudged him again, gently this time. "I thank you, my friend, for the blessing."
"Home." Julia sighed heavily. She didn't really want to go home. The subject of home had been their first big argument, and one that she had actually lost as well. He had been implacable, telling her that they needed to stay with her family, because it would cause them to worry less. It had more security, it would enable him to keep a closer eye on everybody, blah, blah, blah.
She had vehemently disagreed.
In the end, she had been the one to cave though. Her family's obvious relief that she wouldn't be leaving had shown that Rian was correct. They were worried about her, but it was darned inconvenient for her. She wanted Rian to herself, and not have to share him with everyone. She sighed. At least her family had grown to love him as much as she did.
Rian threaded his fingers with hers as they both watched the Unicorn disappear. "I wonder why my father couldn't see it, while my mother could." Julia mused, thinking of the question she had posed earlier.
"At the time, "Rian said softly, "he didn't have a pure heart."
"Oh." Julia digested that for a little. "I hope my parents patch things up. It's obvious they both love each other, and while I don't condone what my dad did, and he doesn't either, he has changed, my mother is just being stubborn. It kills me to see how they are now. Promise me Rian, that we'll never let anything come between us."
Rian didn't answer her directly, but pulled their entwined hands up, and pressed a kiss to the back of her hand. "Let's go home love."
"I still can't believe we've never gone bowling before." Julia said. "How remiss of me."
"Yep, it's just you and me, oh, and that cute bartender over there."
Rian frowned. "What cute bartender?" He looked around, but didn't see anyone.
"Over there." Julia pointed. "Grumpa told him to come to work, just in case we wanted a drink. I'm not any good at mixing drinks, and I don't think you are either. Personally," Julia continued, "I think Grumpa kept him here as a spy, just to make sure I don't accidentally burn the place down by trying to mix a Blue Blazer or something."
Once pointed in the right direction, he could easily see who she was referring to. "I don't think he is all that cute." Rian said stiffly as he rolled the bowling ball, and then watched it wobble down the lane.
Julia tilted her head. "Really?" She pretended to study said bartender. "I don't know, I think he has pretty eyes."
"Pretty eyes!" Rian sputtered, he spun around and stalked towards her, a glint in his eyes. Julia giggled. "You must think you are pretty funny." he mock growled.
"Maybe." She grinned at him.
He grabbed her and kissed her, very throughly. "You should be ashamed of yourself, provoking me like that." He said when they came up for air.
"Kiss me again, and I'll think about being ashamed." He gave her a quick peck on the lips, and she frowned at him. "That was it?"
"Woman, this outing was your idea." He reminded her. "It's your turn."
"Spoilsport." She grumbled. "Maybe we should check out the theater next." She grabbed a bowling ball, and threw it in a hook fashion.
Rian wasn't so sure that he actually liked bowling per se, but he did enjoy watching her bowl. He found her to be quite distracting, and possibly even a bad influence on himself, especially whenever she bent over with those snug jeans of hers; he was beginning to have some ideas of his own. He tugged a little on his shirt.
If anyone had ever told him that he would feel this way about a girl, no, a woman, he would have laughed at them. Nothing had been more important to him than his dream, and the dream that his parents had held for him; the dream of being a Guardian, and all that pertained to that life. Nothing and no one had ever tempted him away from that dream either, until her.
With a single look, she could reduce him to his baser instincts, make him forget about everything except his need to possess her, mark her, and make her his. Over and over, he couldn't get enough of her. That side of him, scared him, for it was not a side easily controlled.
Logically he could conclude it was the result of their bond, he had taken her as his mate, and as such she would, of course, bring out the more primitive side of himself. Emotionally however, he worried. He wondered if he would be able to do what he had to do, when the time came. Which side of him would win if push came to shove? And did he really have a choice?
"Strike!" Julia crowed.
Her jumping up and down wasn't helping matters any. "I think I am done with bowling now." He said, a little desperately. "I'm ready for a drink."
Julia whirled around. "A drink? Okay, you can meet that cute bartender then." She winked at him, and headed for the bar.
Rian briefly closed his eyes. He had forgotten about the bartender. "Or maybe not." He followed her anyway.
"Hello Brannon." Julia greeted the bartender by name as she sat on one of the stools.
Rian frowned. "You know his name?"
"Hello Trouble." Brannon greeted Julia. "You want your usual?"
"Trouble? Little ol me? And yes please, two of them."
Brannon snorted. "Little ol you, the one who nearly got me fired." The drink that Julia requested was simple, and it didn't take Brannon long to make them and hand them out.
Julia airily waved her hand about. "I fixed it, so it's all good." She took a sip. "Perfection, as always Brannon."
"And you appear to know the bartender well." Rian said broodingly.
"Brannon, this is Rian, my husband. He's just a little perturbed because I called you cute."
Brannon stared at her, then at Rian, and then back to Julia. "Are you trying to get me killed again?"
"Again?" Rian questioned, he looked over at Julia.
"Grumpa got a little protective."
"A little?" Brannon laughed nervously. "I thought I was a dead man."
Rian looked over at Julia. "What did you do?"
"What did I do?" Julia sputtered, slightly affronted. "Why did you assume I did something and not him?" Julia pointed at Brannon.
"Maybe because he knows you?" Brannon suggested.
Rian was starting to feel slightly better about this Brannon character, he still didn't like him though. "Julia?" Julia took another sip of her drink, ignoring his request. Rian looked over at the bartender. "Brannon?"
"Somehow her grandfather got the idea that we were romantically involved, she was all of what, 12? Maybe 13? I am easily twice her age, there was no way man! I'm not into kids, er, or her ever." Brannon hastened to add, making sure that Rian was aware that he wasn't interested in Julia at all in that way. "We're just friends, but man, I sure thought her grandfather was going to tear me to pieces. I seriously went through 8 of my 9 lives right then."
"Well, how was I supposed to know he thought I was talking about you, when in fact I was talking about someone else." She'd had a huge crush on Brennan, eventually she had even dated him, and had discovered he wasn't worth a plug nickel. "I mean, you're cute and all, but you're oooold!"
"Thanks youngin'." Brannon said sarcastically.
"But I'm old." Rian interjected.
Julia dismissed his words. "You are not old Rian, you were frozen for a long time, there's a big difference. Brannon is like ancient, two footsteps from death."
Brannon shook his head. "You're a brat, and you can be sure I'll tell your grandfather tomorrow what a troublemaker you were tonight."
Julia looked over at Brannon. "Go ahead, you know him, he'd be proud of me."
"You're probably right." Brannon sighed. "He would be. I think I'll turn the projector on for you two, and get this place ready for business tomorrow."
"What? Are you trying to get rid of me?"
"Is it working?" Brannon asked.
"Only because I'd rather spend time with Rian than you." Julia retorted with a smile. "Let's go watch a movie Rian. Make it a good one Brannon."
Rian followed Julia down to the movie theater room. "How did your grandfather get him confused with someone else?"
"His name is Brannon, right? Well, the kid I had a crush on, his name was Brennan. Similar, but different. Grumpa thought I was talking about Brannon, but I wasn't, I was talking about Brennan."
"Brennan, as in..."
"The Jerk? Yeah, that's him. You have nothing to worry about you know, I love you, and I don't want anyone else. It's just so much fun pushing your buttons."
The theater was empty so they had their choice of any seat. Julia sat in the front row, and Rian sat down next to her. "I have a better idea for having fun."
Julia perked up. "Do tell."
"Better yet, you being a girl of action and all..."
"I like the way you think." Julia murmured.
"I think you are a bad influence on me." Rian said, as he nuzzled her neck. "You give me all sorts of ideas." He shifted slightly, and slipped his hand under her shirt, and Julia moaned. "I've been wanting to do this all day."he confessed.
Julia placed her hand on his thigh, and began to caress him. "You should have these ideas more often."
That night, he dreamt about her again, the girl he had seen in the Unicorn's vision. A girl with hair of midnight and laughing blue eyes.
And in his nightmare, those laughing blue eyes would suddenly cloud over as tears slipped down her cheeks.
He woke slowly, not wanting to leave the fading dream, sure that this time, he could reach both of them. Reach Julia, reach Bella. Inevitably his mind always kicked in though, and pushed the dream out of his reach. Fully awake now, he could feel the warmth of Julia behind him, snuggled up, her arm slung around him, just like always, as physically close to him as she could be without actually being on top of him. She didn't like to be apart from him, even in her sleep, and truthfully, he felt the same.
He closed his eyes, and willed himself back to sleep, but it didn't work, his mind was too busy spinning with all his thoughts. Bella. He knew her name, the Unicorn's vision had revealed it to him, revealed that he was the father of that beautiful child, he did not know how that could be, it seemed impossible, and yet...
Still, in that same vision, he had heard her call out "Dad!", his Bella did, and he had tried to get to her, to respond to her call, but he couldn't move, he was frozen. Instead, a man would appear...
Rian could hear her sobs; and his daughters words pierced his heart every single time. "I miss my daddy, I wish he was here. She missed her dad, missed Rian, but it was that man who would come and comfort her.
It happened every single night.
He first had the dream, the night he had seen the Unicorn's vision. The dream never changed, he was always trying to reach his daughter, trying to call out her name, to let her know that he was there, that she need not cry; but his body was always frozen, and she could never hear him. Rian was always forced to watch, his voice silenced. Forced to watch helplessly as his daughter sobbed, forced to watch as that man comforted her like a father would, and smile at her, and she would smile in return. And...her smile, so much like her mother's, it could light the night sky. It was sheer agony to watch.
He thumped his pillow. He didn't know why he kept torturing himself with such dreams, and he wished he could put the vision behind him, but he couldn't. Perhaps it was his own subconscious just wanting what he thought he could never have. Children with Julia, the woman who had stormed his walls and captured his heart. If only they could have a normal life, one filled with children, and a home, and all the things that others took for granted. If only...
Julia carefully disentangled herself from Rian's embrace. He had slept fitfully once again, so she didn't want to wake him when it seemed that he was finally sleeping peacefully. She could have stayed in bed with him forever, but her stomach had other ideas, it roiled within her like a black cauldron. What the h*ll had she eaten last night anyway?
She covered her mouth with her hand and made a beeline for the bathroom. She fell in front of the toilet just as her stomach erupted.
That's what she had eaten.
After flushing the toilet, brushing her teeth, and vowing never to eat Sushi again, Julia checked on Rian, but he was still sound asleep. She briefly thought about joining him again, but her stomach chose that moment to rumble, and rumble loudly.
Suddenly, she was starving, like she could happily gnaw on the kitchen table leg kind of starving.
She flicked the radio on as she passed by, pausing only long enough to switch it to her favorite station. Humming along with the tunes she dug around in the fridge, looking for something to eat. She ended up with an odd assortment for breakfast. She had some pickles, some cheese, some leftover cherry pancakes, and a container of peach yogurt. She even managed to eat all of it in record time.
Her ears perked up as her favorite song came on, and she couldn't resist the urge...
...she just had to get her smustle on.
Jack's voice startled her. "You're doing it all wrong."
She twirled around, and clapped three times, before twirling around again. "Oh yeah?" She challenged him. "You think you can do better?"
Jack rolled his eyes. "I am a very proficient dancer."
"Since when?" Julia puffed. "All you do is sit in your lab all day."
"Au contraire." Jack said. "Sometimes I need to burn off some excess energy, and it helps clear my mind, which enables me to problem solve better. In fact," Jack warmed up to his subject, "many studies show that physical activity..."
Julia interrupted him, she needed to derail that train of thought of his. "Put your actions where your mouth is, cause otherwise you're full of hot air Uncle Jack."
"You asked for it."
"Oh yeah!" Jack crowed. "Oh yeah!"
Julia laughed, "Oh yeah, well, watch this!" Julia did some hip bumps, then twirled around fast enough to make herself dizzy, and clapped twice.
"Amateur!" Jack accused. "This is how you do it properly!" He proceeded to show her his fancy moves, even bending backwards and touching the floor.
"Oh yeah? Well watch this..." Julia was so intent on their dance off, she didn't even hear Rian, until she nearly elbowed him when he unexpectedly came up from behind and wrapped his arms around her. "Rian!" She squeaked.
"You're pretty cute while...dancing." he mumbled sleepily against her neck. "Neither one of you can really dance, though."
"What!?" She said in mock anger.
Rian gently spun her around. "I'll show you how to dance." He murmured.
Jack groaned, he knew where this was headed. "I'm out of here." he said as he left the room, though Jack didn't know why he bothered saying anything at all. They weren't paying any attention to him at all.
"Really?" Julia purred. "Do tell."
"I'm not much for talking, " he teased her. "I'm a guy of action."
"Oooh baby, you sound like my kind of guy. I love me some action."
A grumbly voice interrupted their moment. "What the h*ll is this sh*t?"
"Grumpa, that's called music."
"Humph." Colin snorted. "They'll call anything music these days."
Julia chuckled. "Now you're sounding old."
"Old?!" Colin glared at her. "Squirt, you better f*cking watch yourself there."
Rian and Julia grinned at each other. "Whatever you say Grumpa." Julia said.
Notes: Yay---happy chapter. <3 Also---sappy, sorry! I had too much fun with it, plus I discovered Photoshop Actions, and how to use them, so I was experimenting with that. I'm getting there, lol
So Gen 9 has officially taken over. Gen 8's rolls weren't very hard; and have been completed. It's been so long since I rolled for Gen 9 though, that I didn't remember what the generational and misc goals were, since Julia's story wasn't really dependent on those 2 rolls. I could have sworn I had saved it as a draft---but I probably got them mixed up with the other half a dozen stories I do, lol It has now been saved though---so long as Blogger doesn't eat my draft I'm in good shape! :)
I just re-rolled those 2, and I rolled Joker for the misc. The generational goal will be revealed later on, as will the other rolls. Her career you all could possibly guess at, since I have hinted at it in previous chapters.
It's the calm before the storm, because life is about to change for them...
Thanks for reading! Questions/Comments are welcome, I will even attempt to answer them in a timely manner this time, lol Thanks all for your patience...sometimes I am a bit poky!!