Chapter 12: The Wrong Choices
(Damon’s Manor, Kaleion, Present Day)
Looking out the six-over-nine windows, Mira wondered how extensive the blight damage to Damon’s homeworld was and how long it would take before photosynthesis made right everything Damon’s Star had made wrong. The daylight spectrum LED’s of the foyer’s chandeliers seemed far more than just an anachronism, knowing the technologically-backward world that lay beyond the horizon.
Damon had given her free reign to go where she pleased within his estate and grounds, and the great Gold Dragon down in the cavern foundation had rent her entire reality to shreds in one terrifying moment. She didn’t know what to make of her new reality, nor of Damon, but she knew nothing would ever be the same.
Taking the railing with her right hand, she ascended the circular staircase heading back up to his secret study on the fourth floor.
A moment later, about to pass through the secret passage of the barren, tiny square room, she could hear a feminine voice talking to Damon on the other side. Not wanting to interrupt, Mira listened covertly at the hidden door’s edge.
* * * *
“It isn’t the first time I’ve asked you to stop using Damnation, but I don’t know how else to explain it other than there are forces about to intervene, and I don’t think I’ll be able to hold them off much longer,” Illirian Starfire pleaded with Damon with outstretched arms that desperately needed to cling to him.
“You’ve done far more than you ever should have to protect me. I thank you for that, and I’ll never forget it.”
Rounding Damon’s desk to sit atop it, Illirian parted her white and gold full-length dress, allowing her to sit directly in front of Damon, ensuring she interrupted his work.
“Really,” Damon protested, with a disapproving look. “This is important work, Illirian.”
“So is this,” Illirian motioned between them, emphasizing their own conversation.
“Good, I report on you. You know that right?”
“That doesn’t matter. There are others interested in your work that I answer to. That’s all you need to know.”
“I was aware, but obviously, I don’t know the details.”
“The details are that your all-out assault on the status-quo will not be found acceptable to a great many of those above me.”
“So, let them come for me then. You think I fear the outcome of my transgressions? I’ve been planning for the manifestation of those consequences half my life.”
Shaking her head in frustration, Illirian took Damon’s face in her hands, smoothing his cheeks. “Yes, but I care about what happens to you, you insufferable dolt.”
“Why? You know we cannot be. You’ve said it a thousand times before.”
Performing the forbidden, Illirian kissed Damon, caressing his tongue with hers while her fingertips soothed against his face and neck. Breaking off the kiss, Illirian pontificated, “Damon, sometimes we make the wrong choices to get to the right place.”
“Tell them, if I’m successful, a new balance is precisely what they’ll have. It should settle into an acceptable equilibrium—an acceptable outcome for everyone.”
“Really?” Illirian dubious at the last, offered a suggestive smile. “You’ve promoted yourself to a deity, and you think that an acceptable new balance?”
“Tell them if they take me off the board now, a permanent imbalance is exactly what they’ll have. Tell them to examine my motives, and actions, and then ask if they are not consistent with one another. You know my motives better than anyone. Explain it to them. I need you to buy me some time.”
“I used to know your motives, Darling, but honestly, I don’t know anymore. This whole deity move caught me completely by surprise. I just couldn’t see you ever wanting that kind of responsibility.”
“Yes, well, about that,” Damon paused, smirking, “…let’s just say it was a means to an end, rather than my first choice.” He allowed himself to get close to her, taking in the unique sweet scent that was Illirian. Wanting to kiss her back, he deliberated, pulling back away from her. “I don’t want to use you. I told you before, don’t risk yourself for me. I’m not worth it, and I meant it. I still mean it.”
“I’ll always do what I can for you. You don’t even have to ask.” Shaking her head, trying to reconcile her feelings for this man, Illirian gave voice to her internal struggle over Damon, “There are parts of you I detest, but there are equally beautiful parts of you I adore. More than anything, I respect you…I think more than anyone I’ve ever known.” Getting up from the desk to leave, Illirian offered, “You are worth it to me, Damon.”
* * * *
Tears streaking down Mira’s fa ce, she contemplated how she could compete with someone he’d known for centuries. How could she build a bond to overcome one forged over hundreds of years? How could she contend with a near goddess in beauty and intellect? Then, a moment of realization came upon her in but an instant. If Illirian could save his life, she believed the whole better off with Damon than without. Damon was far from perfect. He was terrible, cruel, ruthless, and terrific all at the same time, but he was a difference-maker and, with the right influence, he could…
You can’t change someone like Damon, you moron. Mira berated herself internally at the thought. She couldn’t compete with Illirian. That was a simple fact, and she knew it. Maybe she needed to start distancing her heart from Damon so he didn’t shatter her to pieces. Maybe she needed to go all in with her love for him and make sure he knew it unquestionably. Steeling herself, wiping her tears from her face, she’d made her decision, confident it was the right choice. Walking back into Damon’s secret study through the hidden doorway of the barren and tiny antechamber, Mira smiled at Damon, noticing Illirian’s absence though her scent lingered.
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