As he registered the ambient sounds of the woods around them, he thought of a way to make their parting easier.
He cupped her face in his hands. “You’re going to be fine, Maya. We’re going to get everything we want if I do this.” She looked down and shrugged.
For both of them, he envisioned a different scenario, led her on a daydream that put them near the ocean instead of here, miles away from it. His vast, deep blue ocean. He inclined his head back and inhaled.
Trying to scent the water.
Ah. There it was, a hint of salt, a weighted coolness in the air.
“Look up, Maya,” he instructed, and she raised her gaze, then closed her eyes. The high boughs swayed in the wind, the leaves rustling and whispery as they moved. Flickers of sunlight played behind their eyelids in flashes of red and orange, a dappled, fleeting warmth across their faces.
He imagined a vivid seaside environment instead of the forest. He connected the sound of the leaves in the wind to the rush and pull of the tide, a rhythmic surge and retreat that enticed them further into his illusion. The filtered flights of sunlight became glimmers on the sea’s surface, the movement of air a breeze off the water. He made the vision so immersive, they floated within it.
Aiden released her, and she opened her eyes to find him smiling down at her. “Better?” he asked.
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