Finally ‘Seeing’ Sable.
Author’s Note: This is probably my favorite part of this novel. Writing this scene not only was a challenge for me due to the character’s blindness, but it also felt very intimate and special.
(Excerpt to meeting, and saving Sable: here)
Finally, the silence breaks and she speaks. “My eyes are too big for my face. They take over everything and make my other features a backdrop, like a painting. Most people are uncomfortable meeting my gaze because of the irregular size and their strong, orange color. My nose is long, thin and straight. I have high, very defined cheek bones, the skin in my cheeks appearing hollow. I look older than I am because of this. My mouth is small, but my lips are full and flushed pink. I have a long neck and my shoulders make a gentle, gradual curve into my long arms. My collarbone is defined and sticks out slightly. I have very pale skin that sometimes appears lifeless. My hair is the very color which you named me after. I don’t know what else to say.”
Ah, the angel and I find a deep felt attraction to such young beauty. It sickens my monster as I begin to soften to this girl’s presence. He now regrets wishing to have her follow beside us. I fight the urge to laugh at him. My mind is adding her details to the image it started with and I feel as if I am truly seeing her with physical sight and it is a beautiful image. It is something that I’m not used to, but I enjoy this moment nonetheless. She is silently waiting for me to say something. I can hear the soft scraping of her hands as she fiddles with her fingers nervously.
I reach out my hand to her and she becomes confused.
“May I?” I ask politely.
I want my mind to be as correct as possible, therefore I am hoping she will allow me to use my physical sense through touch to heighten the details she has provided. My companions quiet down as angel and demon watch in silent curiosity.
She does not say anything in response. Instead, she presses her nose into my palm allowing my fingertips to reach the edge of her cheeks. Her nose is indeed thin, small. It feels fragile beneath my immortal skin. Her cheeks are sunken in as if she is malnourished, though I have been careful to give her the sufficient sustenance a human body needs. I can smell health in her blood and feel comforted that this lack of flesh in her face is natural, not sickness.
I slide my hand farther up. Her eyelashes are long and thick, reaching out from large eyelids to kiss the curve of where the cheek and eyes socket meets. Yes, these eyes are indeed large, but they do not feel as if they are ‘too much’. She has a smooth forehead and her bangs cross over the left side of her face to cover that eye. My fingers run through her thick hair, brushing silken strands down to touch the small of her back. I wonder how it stays so untangled without constant brushing.
My touch returns to her face, dropping down beneath her nose. Her lips are plush; the angel wants to kiss her. I hush him easily, though. She has a small jaw, again feeling too fragile beneath my hand.
Her neck is smooth, the skin thin over her windpipe and jugular. I can feel the blood rushing beneath her flesh but do not wish to feed from its flow. This reaction to her feels normal to me now.
I feel her swallow when my palm covers her throat. Very weak fear is beginning to trickle over the surface of her skin as it remembers a similar, more violent hold in the same place. My chest aches as the angel catches onto this reaction. Her time as an involuntary whore still causes fear at traveling hands.
Suddenly, I regret not allowing her old master to suffer longer. I continue before I can grow angry; I do not want to frighten her in this delicate moment.
Her neck ends in a gentle curve against her shoulders which quiver slightly as a chill that only her skin can feel creeps through the stone around us. I allow my palm to caress her collarbone, stabbed quickly by concern again as the skin sinks away; allowing the bone to protrude from her flesh. I must remind myself once more that her body naturally has formed itself this way even as she remains healthy.
I allow my hand to trace the curve where her arm meets her body. The gentle curl of her developing breast curves against my fingers and I hear her gasp. Quickly I move on before she can grow uncomfortable as the monster chuckles in my head, sending me an image of what other hands have done. I am sickened by him, but still the image remains and causes a swell in my groin. Anger flares at the beast. He shrinks away from its intensity.
Her ribcage is too easily defined under my fingers, each bone covered by a very thin layer of skin. I move on before the angel can worry again.
My hand drops to her flat stomach, feeling it dip in where her ribs end. It hardly surprises me that I am able to hold her whole belly in my palm. I move my hand right and trace the outline of her wide hip. The bone holds as little flesh as the rest of her.
Up along her ribs once more, I trace my fingers, jumping to her arm before I reach her chest again. My hand can make it all the way around her bicep and as I travel to her wrist I realize her arm is longer than it would normally be by a few inches, the length perhaps making up for the lack of flesh covering her bones.
Finally I allow my fingers to curl around her small hand, giving the angel access to pull her fingers up and press a gentle kiss to her knuckles. The monster is becoming restless. He doesn’t like this affection. He thinks we are both weak and perhaps he is correct. I don’t care though and I have grown stronger than him now, taking his power away. I no longer fear the beast. I’ve also lost the ability to respect his antics.
“You are beautiful,” I say before I can catch myself.
An uncomfortable silence comes from her and it confuses me.
“Could I ask you something, sir?” Her voice is quivering.
I nod slowly, pulling my hand from hers and sitting back to give her space, sensing her growing fear.
She swallows a gulp deep in her throat. “Am I now to become a pet once more?”
The beast bursts into laughter, the sound leaving me before I can stop him. She squeaks at its ferocity, distress causing her to sound like a mouse. The angel is angry at me for scaring her. I must quiet the beast though!
“Foolish girl!” He says. “If he meant to play with you, you’d have never survived passed the first three nights.”
She shrinks away from him. I am desperately grasping for control.
“I’m sorry,” she murmurs. I hear tears in her voice.
I let out a mental shriek, shocking the beast enough to toss him out of control like a rag doll. My arms reach out slowly and my hand rests on the top of her head.
“Do not apologize, my dear.” My voice comes out shaking. “Those words were not mine. Remember the vampire and the angel? Well, it was my monster who just spoke. Don’t be afraid. I will never harm you. I will never touch you without consent. I am here to protect you.”
I had explained my companions to her on our journey away from her village. Now she understands. I am ashamed of him and this is a first. Never before have I experienced a moment of truly hating him until now as I taste her fear in the air.
“He doesn’t like me much, does he,” she asks quietly, calming now.
I rest my nerves and let out a laugh. “Sable, he doesn’t like anyone. It is nothing against you, my child. Just a beast embracing the entirety of his nature.”