~Seven Years Ago~
Felicity staggered along the craggy asphalt of the old abandoned road, her arm wrapped around her waist, clutching her side while her face bore a grim expression of determination. The dark swirling clouds pressed down on the desolate landscape that surrounded her. It was a forest - or had been - devastated by the rages of a wildfire. As far as her emerald eyes could see was burnt, black and ash where there had once been life.
A coughing fit raked through Felicity’s body like the claws of cat cutting into her chest. She doubled over, her arm around her waist tightening as if it could hold her together while each cough tore apart her lungs. Her knees found the ground for support and her head came to a rest on the rough asphalt. She screwed her eyes shut in pain, her lungs shallowly gasping for air, her mouth agape as the air rasped against her tender throat torturously. She yelled out, her hands in fists. Small warm droplets accumulated on her dry, ash-stained cheeks and she let herself sink into the ground.
She moved her arm from her waist and risked a glance at her abdomen. She whimpered as the stench of infection came over her like a wave and more tears rolled down her sooty cheeks. A long, deep gash ran from below her sternum to her floating ribs. Crust of crimson and brown covered her skin and a sickly yellow-green pus oozed from the laceration. She choked back a sob and pulled her forehead away from the grainy asphalt.
She had been injured before. She had been beaten. She had been cut. She had been burned. But she had always healed. She lifted her head and looked around, sniffling. She was lost, in the middle of nowhere. She was always fighting, kicking, punching, pushing people away, but now all she wanted now was Addison. She wanted to wrap her arms around his shoulders and bury her face in the crook of his neck. She wanted to be able to mess with that goddamned hair and look into those golden eyes and be able to apologize. She wanted to apologize for being a mess, for being difficult, for being mean when all she wanted to do was show him how much he meant to her.
Felicity sat back on her heels and looked around. She had burned everything in her anger, yet again letting it get the better of her. Her eyes scanned over the desert that surrounded her, pressing in with its cold, dusty death grip from all sides. She shivered though her body was warm and wrapped her arm back over the wound in her side.
She hadn’t meant for it to end like this. She’d run into the wrong demigods and gotten a taste of their poisoned - as she found out later - blades before her anger exploded and got away from her, hence the incineration of the forest and, in coincidence, the demigods. She gritted her teeth and shouted again, kneeling forward again with her forehead on the asphalt, yelling for pain, for anger, for hurt. The tears had now become countless, being replaced faster than they were produced.
The asphalt suddenly seemed to rumble and a quiet roaring sound reached Felicity’s ears. She lifted her head, but her body stayed doubled over and kneeled on the ground. Black kohl ran down her cheeks like black rivers running from her eyes. In the distance, a car had appeared, speeding like a gust of wind towards Felicity. It continued to approach, its speed unwavering, but Felicity stayed motionless, simply watching. As it roared along the road, Felicity became able to distinguish it as a blood red Rolls Royce. Her shallow breath caught as it’s speed remained constant even as it came within a quarter of a mile from her. Her body remained paralyzed as she watched the automobile continue still. She closed her eyes, as if bracing herself. She wondered at herself, like why her heart felt so still when it should be flopping on the asphalt in panic. Her muscles tensed as she estimated the car’s position now, but they still made no move to escape the path of the car bearing down on her. She expelled her breath and steeled herself for the last time, her old black leather jacket enveloping her completely as she prepared herself for… whatever came after.
Thump. Thump. Thump.
Felicity’s eyes blinked open. Before her was a pair of polished black leather shoes. She blinked, confused, before she tilted her head up. A tall man stood before her. He was lean, yet his exorbitant suit draped his body attractively without appearing too large or loose. Long blonde locks drooped over his crystal-like blue eyes as he looked down at her, a puzzled look dawning upon his features. Felicity blinked again, confused. The man squatted down, his beautifully sculpted face nearly even with hers. She stared straight back into his eyes as he observed her with scrutinizing eyes.
“What in the fucking hell are you doing laying in the middle of the road,” he spoke, his rough language jarring Felicity. She sat up quickly, about to fire back a scathing remark of her own when the gaping gash in her side reminded her of its existence, screaming in pain and causing her to double over again, her face contorted into a grimace. She felt large, gentle hands on her shoulders and a voice trying to speak to her, but she couldn’t distinguish the words. She groaned and instead used her strength to strike out. Her hand felt the satisfying sting of a good slap and she rocked back on her ass, looking over her knees at the man.
He looked like a man who’d never been slapped as his wide eyes stared off to the side while his hand massaged his jaw. He turned his head towards Felicity slowly, his eyes barely containing the danger in them. The grimace had disappeared from Felicity’s face, replaced now by anger. How dare he touch her! She struck out with her foot, catching him square in the jaw and he tumbled backwards.
She staggered to a stand as the man recuperated from the blow, sprawled on his back. He lifted his head and looked at her with bewilderment as she stood feet away from him, barely propped up on her legs.
“Damn it, bitch!” he cursed. “I was just trying to fucking help!” He propped himself up on his elbows, still regarding Felicity with disbelief. She maintained her deep scowl despite the pain erupting from her side. The man’s eyes traveled down to where her arms were clutched around her abdomen and they softened immediately. Felicity stepped back. She didn’t like the look in his eyes now. The man stood, his hands up in a sign of surrender.
“Easy,” he coaxed, taking a few slow steps towards Felicity, but she didn’t move this time. She gritted her teeth, staring murderously at the man from beneath her black bangs as he approached. She flinched when he reached out his hand and touched her arm.
“Get away,” she warned, growling under her breath. Her body was rigid, her jaw squared as she glared up at the man defiantly. He sighed and persisted, his gentle hand becoming firmer on her arm.
“I can’t leave in good conscience if you’re hurt,” he explained, keeping a soft eye contact with her. Felicity’s guard came up completely. Kindness. How she detested it.
A flicker of flame ignited in her eyes and she lashed out, shoving the man back roughly and pulling a dagger from her jacket. He stumbled back roughly and nearly took a step forward when he found the glimmering blade pointed at the center of his chest. His blue eyes latched onto Felicity’s face, shocked, but surprisingly without fear. His hands slowly rose up once more in surrender and he took a shallow breath. Any deeper a breath and the blade would’ve drawn blood.
“I said ‘get away,’” Felicity’s voice came shakily. Her hand stayed steady on the dagger though, keeping it angled at the man. The man gave no response, his eyes only left her face and traveled down until they reached Felicity’s now uncovered stomach. Her shirt hung loose from where it was sliced, allowing the man to see the festering wound in her side. He grimaced in disgust and his eyebrows drew together as he looked back up at Felicity’s pale face. Her dripping eyeliner exaggerated the large, dark bags that had formed under her eyes and her forehead was pale and clammy from the force she was exerting simply to stay standing.
“Now I definitely can’t leave,” he said, shaking his head. His hands lowered a fraction of an inch before Felicity emitted a growl from the back of her throat and pressed the blade forward, the tip piercing the surface of the man’s skin. He exhaled a sigh and laughed softly to himself. “Enough. I just want to help y-”
He whirled out of the way just in time as Felicity lunged with her dagger outstretched, the tip leaving a thin scratch on his chest. He let out a disbelieving exhale and turned his head towards Felicity just as she caught herself, his eyes wide in shock.
“You just tried to kill me,” he murmured under his breath. Felicity steadied herself and turned towards him. She struggled to raise the dagger again, sweat beading on her forehead from exhaustion. “You just tried to kill me!” the man repeated, louder, angrier. Felicity’s breath came out trembling and her throat felt dry as she gulped and licked her chapped lips.
“It’s a shame I failed that time,” she said hoarsely, cocking her head to the side and managing a lopsided smirk. The man blinked, clearly incredulous as to what was happening now.
“Bitch,” he muttered under his breath, though his eyes held nothing but awe for the mess of woman before him. A nearly imperceptible grin appeared on his lips as she maintained her fierce determination to kill him despite her arm barely having the strength to hold her weapon up. Suddenly her green irises lolled back into her head and the dagger clattered to the asphalt. The man’s smile quickly dropped and he rushed to catch Felicity as her knees gave way and she crumpled to the ground.
She groaned and her hands weakly attempted to push him away from her. The man easily resisted and sunk the rest of the way to the ground, placing her head in his lap. He sighed, pursing his lips in aggravation as her hands started to grope around for her dagger and firmly grabbed her wrists. She yanked back, but couldn’t manage to break his hold. She huffed and leaned her head back with her eyes closed in surrender. The man relaxed, sitting still, his hands remaining around her wrists, as Felicity’s breathing slowly slowed and evened. Her voice breaking the silence surprised him and he looked down at her in his lap.
“I’m beginning to think you don’t understand English,” Felicity croaked, her emerald eyes only slivers, barely open. “Get. Away. From. Me,” she spat enunciating each word. The man chuckled, amused though Felicity failed to see from where his good humor stemmed. She narrowed her eyes and turned her head away from him, vexed.
“I don’t know whether you believe me when I tell you this, but if you don’t let me help you, you’re going to die and I won’t even have gotten the chance to get to know you,” he countered. Though she couldn’t see him, turned away from him as she was, he was watching her with gentle blue eyes.
“Then let me die.”
The man blinked, taken aback. He’d never met her or even had a civilized conversation of any sort with her, yet the sadness of hearing her utter those words dawned on him so heavily. He couldn’t see her face either or the tears that brimmed her black-lined eyes once again.
Felicity stared blankly down the road. She’d ruined everything. Her eyes moved to the ashy remains of the forest. This was only her most recent mistake of many, many more. Her chest was cramped in pain. No person was built to hold so many regrets. She had denied it for years, but they were slowly consuming her. She blinked, a tear tracing through the kohl streaked down her cheeks. She had already pushed everything else away - she had no reason to continue this way, in this slow, agonizing torture of her burdened soul.
She turned her head violently - or as quickly as she could manage - and peered through tear-clouded eyes at the man above her. Her gaze darted between his eyes and her mouth opened.
Nothing came out. She closed her mouth, then opened it again. Nothing. She snapped it shut finally, settling for silence beside an angry, confused glare.