Chapter 1 : Chapter One
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Rose Weasley woke with a start, the distant roll of thunder calling out to her in the darkness.
She lay there for a long moment, unable to move, her heart pounding in her chest as the last of the nightmare fled from her body. Two years on and the image of the woman’s cold, lifeless eyes still haunted her. She could still feel the warmth of the blood on her hands, the icy chill of the knife as it plunged into her back. No matter how far she ran, Rose knew it would never be far enough to escape the memories.
They’d been on the island for eight months. Before that, it was a different city every night. Budapest. Istanbul. Mumbai. All of them flying by in a dizzying display of light and sound that only served to remind Rose of how far from home she really was. At the time she’d been too exhausted to think, let alone to dream. But not anymore.
She glanced to her left. The room was dark, with only the faintest trace of light coloring the sky outside her window. But she could feel him there, lying beside her, the comforting heat of his body warming the mattress, which felt damp against her already sweaty skin. His slow, steady breathing told Rose he was still fast asleep, but his presence was enough to reassure her the nightmare was truly over.
Rose pulled back the covers and quietly slipped out of bed. The bungalow they shared was small, little more than a single room with rattan dividers separating the bed from the rest of the living quarters. It suited Rose just fine most days, reminding her of the tiny flat she’d left behind in London. But on mornings like this, the small space felt nearly claustrophobic, the bare walls slowly closing in around her.
Rose felt her way in the dark, careful not to make a sound as she dressed in yesterday’s clothes, which were still lying on the floor where she'd left them the night before. She’d learned early on not to bother with shoes. It was quieter that way. Besides, shoes weren’t necessary where she was going.
The rain had stopped, though the thunder continued to rumble somewhere off in the distance. It was mid-April -- the official end of the rainy season. But if that was supposed to have signaled some sort of change in the weather, Rose had yet to see it. Everyday on the island was the same: hot and humid and wet. She didn’t mind the wet part. Growing up in England meant learning to live under the constant threat of rain. But the heat was taking some getting used to. Everything on the island was the same temperature. The air. The ocean. Even her skin. There were times Rose found herself longing for just one blast of winter wind -- the kind that would turn her cheeks pink and send shivers up her spine.
Rose shivered now, but it had nothing to do with the cold.
Their house was situated only steps from the beach, and Rose paused to savor the feeling as her toes slipped into the waiting sand. It was still early, but soon the sun would appear on the horizon, turning the inky black waters first purple and then blue -- that same crystalline color as the sky, which seemed to stretch on forever in all directions.
Rose stepped forward until she felt the edge of the water brush against her toes. When she was ankle-deep, she stopped, allowing the waves to lap against her bare legs.
Rose couldn’t imagine a place more peaceful than this, with only the sound of the ocean for company. No wonder she’d made such a habit of sneaking out each morning, waiting at the water’s edge for that moment when night would become day. She’d never been a morning person, but then again, she’d never been a lot of things before coming to the island -- before becoming a fugitive from the law. Life here had changed her. He had changed her, and in ways she was only now starting to understand.
Her thoughts were always deep on morning like this -- as deep as the ocean that lay before her, the calm facade belying the strong current that churned just below the surface. She didn’t fight them; instead, she allowed the thoughts to wash over her like water over sand, standing like a sentinel on the shore as she waited for dawn to break over paradise.
Author's Note: This story is a sequel to Over the Edge, but I'm going to do my very best to make sure it stands completely on its own. Even if you haven't read the other story, I hope you'll give this one a try. Thanks so much for taking a look!