AMOF: Jonah’s POV

MEGA SUPER SPOILERY POST FOR THOSE WHO HAVEN’T READ AMOF YET!!!

so, over on my facebook page, i promised that once i hit a certain amount of followers, i would post jonah’s pov of the forest/merging scene.

but first, a bit about this writing . . .
when i was writing AMOF, there were a few times during the story in which i thought, “gee, it’d be really nice if i understood jonah better right now.” so i wrote out what basically amounts to a novella that backtracks his history before he moves to california, up to the end of AMOF. until today, there was only one person who’d ever read this scene–and the truth is, certain things may vary from the actual story as i’d edited AMOF after writing this bit. it’s unedited itself, and a bit rough, but i guess that’s a lot like jonah overall.

i hope you guys like getting into his head, even if it’s just for a small bit. 🙂

ONCE MORE! SPOILERS, WILL ROBINSON. SPOILERS!

            So my brother is gone, and now I feel like someone has cored me. I don’t like the distance, don’t like feeling so removed from him even when the urge to beat him senseless is so strong that it takes every last bit of willpower to resist. He is gone and I miss him.
            I refused to go to school in the morning, even though Kellan did. I didn’t even offer to take him to the airport, which was stupid, because it meant Chloe would since Giules and Karl would be stuck in teleconference meetings all afternoon. Instead of staying in the house, surrounded by my brother’s smell and residual feelings which would haunt me all day, I escaped to the woods outside town. Giules and Karl fought me on it, saying it was dangerous, but I forced them into letting me go.
            Being the masochist I am, I ended up by a river, only to be subjected to memory after memory of my times with Chloe over the years. They’ve beaten down on me like hail and yet I find it difficult to move from where I am, because it feels like maybe these memories are all I’m ever going to have from her from here on out. And that’s a shitty feeling, one that renders me to a helpless, pathetic state that kills me to be in.
            I want to fight for her, I really do. I know I ought to be. I know I ought to force the issue, confront her and get the explanations I need. Anything is better than this horrible limbo I’ve found myself in, but now that my brother is in the equation, I find myself in a particularly debilitated state.
            Besides. There’s this insecure part of me that keeps telling myself that if she really wanted me, if she really loved me, she’d be here with me, and not him. I still can’t get over that – I know she loves me. I know it. And yet, she loves him, too. And if I’m going to be honest, the love she feels for him rivals the one she has for me, which only further pisses off and crushes me, because dammit, I had years and years with her, and he’s had all of two fucking months. Two months, and she loves him. Hell, she’d loved him in the first week.
            So, like being trapped on a fucked up merry-go-round, I circle back to being so insanely angry at my brother that I once more can’t see straight. The book I’ve brought is useless against the torrent of emotions crashing down over me. All I can do is hold on and hope to last out the ride.
            I’ve probably reread the same page below me at least ten times before all of my senses go into overload. There’s a very distinctive pull, one like a rubberband stretched tight between me and something – somebody – else. And then there’s the overwhelming slam of emotions circling around me: fear, nervousness, sadness, anger, hope and most importantly, unconditional love. It’s all so strong that it takes me a good five seconds to even get my bearings.
            She’s here.
            Chloe is standing maybe twenty, thirty feet away. She’s alone, just standing there staring at me while crying silently. And because I’ve devolved into a cynic of the worst kind, I look around to see if Karl is lurking nearby. Because that’s the reason she’s here, right? Something to do with the Guard and not me?
            But no one is here, or at least, no one I can see.
            “They’re at my house,” she says softly, and my heart nearly stops because those are the first four words she’s said to me in over a year.
            Suddenly, I’m nervous myself, and so fucking wary that I actually want to pull a Kellan and run. But I force myself to stand up and walk over to where she’s standing, because this is Chloe, and she’s here, and whether or not things go my way today, this is my chance to finally set everything to peace.
            When I say her name, anger surges throughout her. She snaps at me, “Why didn’t you do anything?”
            What?
            “All these months,” she says hotly, “you’ve done nothing! Not a word! Not one!
            I’m so shocked that all I can do is say her name again. She starts shaking really hard, freaking me out so much that I can’t help but step forward. She nearly falls over backwards, so I reach out to grab her and…and…
            Wham.
            It hits me. All the things I’d been told about Connections finally coming together make sense. Something in me changes, shifts and alters and electrifies and melts and suddenly the worlds make sense. All of the doubts I’d had evaporate as I pull her closer.
Home. I’m home. I am finally, mercifully, home with the person I’m meant to be with.
She’s crying in earnest now, but all of the fear and sadness dissolve away until all that’s left in her is happiness and relief. And I’m right there with her, because, damn – it feels so good to have her back in my arms again. Better than good. Right. Meant to be.
After crying for quite awhile, she says against me, “I’m so sorry about…uh…falling apart like that…”
I pull away, just a little, so I can look at her. As always, whenever I see her, I nearly lose my breath. Every little bit of her is so familiar – those beautiful green eyes with the tiniest streaks of gold at the center, those adorable freckles splattered across her nose, her mouth, so soft and perfect…
I’m mesmerized.
Slowly, I lift my hands up to her face and wipe away her tears. Oh, gods, it feels so good to touch her again.
And while I’d be more than content to just stand here and hold her in silence, I know how Chloe works. She likes words. Needs them. Words are just as important to her as actions, which has always been a bit of a struggle for me, as I’ve long learned words can be used as weapons against me. I prefer to shut up and observe, but I can’t do that with Chloe.
I never have been good with words, which is probably why she’s so good for me. She’s always pushing me to let myself go, to expose emotions everyone else expects me to hold in. Over the years I’ve told her more about how I really feel about anything and everything than any other person save, possibly, Kellan. And that’s only because he’s in my head all the time and probably gets more of his information from osmosis rather than me handing it over.
So, I force myself to speak. To give her what she needs – and right now, I know, without a doubt, she needs explanations just as much as I do. “I’m sorry if I’ve hurt you. That was never my intention. I thought I was doing you a favor by staying away.”
I never said I was good with words. I simply said that she gets me to say more than anybody else does.
“Favor?” she asks incredulously, tensing up once more.
That’s another thing. She never lets me get away with crap answers, either. “You seemed…well, I wasn’t sure how you were feeling. Maybe unready? Uninterested? Angry at my presence? That first day, you were so unwilling to even acknowledge me. I was terrified – I didn’t know to do. So in my constant state of uncertainty, I fell into a pattern of doing nothing. I thought it’d be better that way. I didn’t want to push you into anything you weren’t comfortable with or ready for.”
She relaxes, just a little bit. “I thought I was going crazy that first day.”
            “I can see why. It’s not every day you actually see someone you’ve only ever dreamed about.”
“Why did you disappear last year?”
            Gods. She would ask something difficult, something I’m not even sure about. “I don’t know the whys. It just became harder and harder to find you until one day, I wasn’t able to anymore.”
            “Then, it wasn’t by choice?”
            What? “No. Is that what you thought?”
            She’s a flurry of confusion and excitement. “I didn’t know what to think. I still don’t know what to think. How is this possible? Why are you here? How are you real?”
            I suck at words, but I give her the truth. “I’m here for you,” I tell her. “Chloe don’t you know, haven’t you always known? My heart belongs with you.”
            I’m rewarded by a tidal wave of love, which makes me dizzy and so fucking happy that I can barely believe this is real. And then she ups the ante by running her fingers through my hair. It literally takes everything in me to not kiss her senseless and lose myself in her body.
            “Did you miss me at all?”
            And…there’s the Chloe I know. Did I miss her. Jesus. I just about ripped apart my family and existence so I could get to her. “You’d question that, after everything we’ve ever meant to one another? Of course. Every moment of every day.”
            She grins like an idiot. It’s so adorable I can barely stand it. “How did you discover the truth?”
            Okay, so it’s embarrassing, but I tell her the truth anyways. “A Seer told me. I sort of went into a downward spiral after losing you. The Old Man forced me to go to one to see if it’d get me back on track. She saw our Connection, told me you were real. I was shocked. All those years, I’d hoped and prayed you were, but I never really thought you could be. And then, when I learned you were out there, I couldn’t rest until I found you. I didn’t have much to go on, though. All the Seer could tell me was that you were a Magical, too. So it took me nearly four months to figure out your location.”
            “Why didn’t you call me when you first figured out who I was?”
            Yes, Jonah, why didn’t you? Because looking back on what’s gone down over the last two months, I really wish now that I’d just called. “I wanted to. I actually had your number. But I thought it’d be better in person, that you might not believe me on the phone. So I manipulated my father in moving here. When I first saw you—”
            “There was a shift,” she says, grinning happily.
            I correct her. “Three. Don’t think I didn’t count them.”
            She laughs, embarrassed and pleased. “And where were yours?”
            When I tell her, “The day I found out you were real,” she squeals like she’s gotten the best Christmas present ever. “And then the day I found where you were. I guess it was the same for both of us, occurring when the other’s existence was proved to be real.”
            “So why three for me?” she asks. “Why not two?”
“Maybe because when I first discovered the truth, you weren’t in front of me. Maybe it would’ve different had you been there. Maybe I would have felt three, too. Or more. Who knows?”
            “You were saying…? When you first saw me?”
            “It was like I’d finally come home.” And then, despite the happiness of having her here, in my arms, I find I still need to let her know the hell I’ve been through. “It wasn’t easy, not by any means, staying away from you. Not after finding you. I have to admit, I nearly lost hope recently… I began to wonder if maybe I’d been the only one who’d ever felt the Connection.”
            The possessiveness that radiates out of her nearly knocks me to my knees. “Jonah, I am so sorry. To think I could have lost you, due to—”
            It’s one thing to open up to her about shit I haven’t talked to anybody else about, but I sure as hell am not even remotely close to being able to talk about her and Kel. No way. “Don’t,” I tell her. “Not right now. I don’t want to do that conversation right now. I don’t want to fight so soon after getting you back.”
            I know she wants to push the issue, but she does as I’ve asked. Instead, she says quietly but assuredly, “I’ve missed you. Being here with you …well, I almost don’t know how to describe it. I mean, technically, we’ve only just met in the real world. But it doesn’t feel that way. It’s like it’s always been. You feel the same, you smell the same, you sound the same. Does that make any sense? How in the worlds will that ever be explained to anyone?”
            “Why does it have to be explained?” I ask. And because I can’t resist her anymore, I let myself kiss her. Just a small one, on her neck, but it’s more than enough to ignite far too much lust on both of our behalves.
            I have to forcefully remind myself that sex doesn’t solve anything. I learned that lesson from Callie. And while I want to make love to Chloe, right here and right now, I know that there’s a whole boatload of shit we need to work through first.
            “Well,” she murmurs, leaning into me, “I mean…”
I allow myself one last kiss before pulling away. Man, do I want this girl right now. I pull out all the stops to trick myself into thinking about cold showers, dads with shotguns, and things like teenage pregnancies. I pray that she doesn’t hear the strain in my voice. “You and I know the truth. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.”
“Speaking of others,” she says sheepishly, “I should probably warn you that we’re being watched right now.”
Okay, that’ll work as my bucket of ice. “By whom?”
“Five Guard. All Faerie.”
What the fuck? I was pretty damn specific earlier about being left alone. Jesus. I guess I wasn’t as persuasive as I’d believed I’d been. I whip out my phone and call Karl, who answers in just a way that lets me know he knows why I’m calling. “Look, Jonah,” he says defensively, “If you think I’m going to just sit by and—”
I steamroll right over him. “Chloe and I are going to my house. Let your Guard know that no one is allowed in my house for the next several hours. If I find them in there, they’ll be asleep for the rest of the night.”
“How in the hell did you find out they’re there?” he barks in return. “They were ordered to stay out of sight!”
“I’m talking about you and Giules, too,” I continue, knowing how they work.
“Okay, I get that you’re pissed off about being babysat, J, because I would be too, but you don’t get to order me around yet! You’ve still got a few months to go before you’re on the Council, so when I say you’re going to be covered, you’re going to be covered, dammit! Deal with it!”
“Fine. You two or these Faeries or whomever else it is you expect to watch us can do it from outside. Preferably from the inside of a car.”
Karl starts yelling, which is stupid, because he knows it won’t fly with me, it never has, so I hang up on him. I give Chloe a smile and say, “Ready?”
She stares at me like I’m a rockstar and she’s my biggest fan. From anyone else, I’d be bugged by it, totally turned off. But from her? Yeah. I love it.
   * * * * *
            The fact is, my willpower is roughly the size of a gnat’s at the moment. Chloe is laying on my bed, semi-out-of-breath, and her chest is rising and falling. Me, being a guy, can’t help but be tempted by that.
            She’s teasing me, too – good lords, is she hot when she does that. She always has been. I remember thinking once – maybe three, four years ago – that nobody could turn me on like she could. Which was crazy, because I was young and really shouldn’t have been thinking such thoughts, but the truth is, when you’re an Emotional, you unfortunately learn about all of these things at a way early age. And that is an uncomfortable thing, to be young and know exactly what lust is. But I felt it in spades for her, and – oh, this is going to make me sound like a jerk, I’m well aware of it – there were many times in the past when I’d been with Callie and had pretended it was Chloe.
            Eyes closed, of course.
            And here she is, on my bed, looking like the best dessert in all the worlds, and I’m weak and well aware of it. Not to be crude or anything, but I totally want to eat her up, right here and right now.
            Which I won’t, of course, because small as it is, I do have some willpower left. But I do plan on doing something to cement our Connection even further, something that should give me a wide edge over my brother.
            Several years ago, when Karl was still in school with us, some kid who lived in Annar fulltime came to visit him. All the Magicals in the area came over to his place for a sleep over, and really late in the night the guy – who might’ve been a year older than Karl, I think – told us about Connections.
            This was the first time I’d really heard much about them. I’d known they existed, of course, thanks to my parents and my aunt and uncle. Uncle Joey had even told me once, after he and Aunt Hannah had gotten into a fight, “Don’t worry about us, J. She and I, we’re connected, and because of that, nothing can hurt us. Not even an argument.”
            He’d been wrong, though. Death had hurt her more than anything else ever could have, even a normal death. Death combined with a Connection made it hellish, and I remember Kel and I thinking, when Uncle Joey’s body had been found, we should make a pact to die at the same time because there was no way in hell we ever wanted to go through that. But the point here was, I saw Connections as vague things – knowing I had one with my brother, but always thinking it didn’t count because it wasn’t with a girl. And then this kid from Annar comes around and tells us about a huge perk associated with Connections. “Everyone I know wants a Connection,” he’d said, and of course, all the girls were rapt and the guys rolling their eyes. “No, really,” he assured us. “See, there’s this thing you’re supposed to be able to do when you have a Connection. Some people refer to it as merging, but it’s not like the one you go through when you’re eighteen. It’s where you’re able to merge your minds and souls together. And from what I hear, it’s better than sex. Way better.”
            This, of course, got every guy’s attention, even my brother’s, who’d already been having sex from a far too young age.
            “You surge at the same time,” the kid continued.
            “Impossible,” Kai had snorted. “Nobody can surge at the same time.”
            “Nobody,” the kid corrected, “but people who have Connections to each other. And you can only do it with that one person, just your soul mate.” He’d paused for effect, but it was enough time for Karl to give me and Kellan a meaningful look.
            “Forget it,” Kel had snapped. “Our Connection doesn’t work that way.”
            Callie, of course, had given me the biggest pair of moon eyes ever.
            “I have a friend who recently found their Connection,” the kid said. “And he said that when they did this, this merging of their essences, it blew his mind. Like having fifty orgasms at once.”
            Most of the kids present were a little naïve about orgasms, so there was a lot of faked understanding going on. Me and Kel knew what they were, being Emotionals, and Karl knew because he’d bragged about it excessively after school one day.
            “What’s the point of it?” Mags had asked. “Why not simply do it?”
            The kid leaned forward and whispered, “It makes the Connection permanent. Unbreakable. And that’s why it’s better than just doing it.”
            I’m remembering these things as I pull her close so I can kiss her – really kiss her, like the kind of kiss that I’d wanted to do earlier but didn’t feel comfortable about yet. But here we are, on my bed, and she’s in my arms and there is no way I can discredit her feelings for me, because they are wide open for me to feel, almost like they’re magnified. This girl is wildly in love with me. Just as much as I am with her.
            Okay, so maybe kissing her wasn’t the best idea when my willpower is already at its lowest level in a long time.
            She pulls me down and I let her. My brain sort of flatlines and I’m running on instinct, not thought. And then she goes and puts her hands up my sweater and then…then…
            “Tell me what you are thinking, what you are feeling right now.”
            Thoughts slam back in my head. Just as I’m about to think to myself, girls and their constant need to know irrelevant shit, I realize she’s given me the perfect opportunity to try out the whole essence merging bit. So I smile, watch her melt a bit, and say, “Look for yourself.”
The mere idea of her surging in my mind is exciting enough, because in all the years we’ve known each other, we’ve never been able to do this. Dreams never allowed this Magical aspect to occur. But now she can, and I’m more than happy to lay out for her exactly how I feel, what I’m thinking so she can be reassured about what she means to me. I know I’ve got the advantage over her of being an Emotional. I’m well aware right now of what I mean to her, how she feels about me. She only has my words and actions to go by – now she can have the proof.
Once she’s in my mind, the feelings emitting from her go into hyperdrive. They already were amplified, now they’re on a whole other level of strength. And this tsunami of emotions only weakens my willpower ever further so that it’s hovering very close to zero. I actually have to physically pinch myself to keep myself from doing something that we aren’t ready for.
Just as she’s about to pull out of my mind, I pull her a little closer and tell her to stay where she is. And then, mentally crossing my fingers, I surge into her mind.
Um…
There really aren’t words for what happens.
Let’s just say the kid was right and wrong at the same time. Sex has nothing on this – although, I have a sneaky feeling that sex with Chloe, while doing this, would probably make me shatter into a thousand very satisfied little pieces.
Okay. Focus, Jonah. Focus.
Which is pretty damn impossible as I stare down into her eyes.
“What was that?” she asks me breathlessly.
            Oh, gods, how can I even explain that to her? I fumble for anything that will even come close to the truth. “Us. Us together.”
            She starts tracing my face with a finger, scrambling my brain even further. “I remember my father telling me a long time ago, that it was impossible for Magicals to surge at the same time. He said that minds and souls can’t handle such an event.”
What? Oh. Oh. She’s talking about her dad? I try not to shudder. Dads with shotguns. Dads on the Council who might have shotguns and the ability to kick my ass in far too many ways. “Well, I kind of doubt your father would encourage such a thing. I mean, what kind of dad encourages their daughter with something along the lines of, Here’s something you can do that’ll literally blow your mind?
“Is that what I did?” she says. “Did I blow your mind?”
Did she blow my mind. I have to laugh because she honestly has no idea.
“Have you ever done this with anyone before?”
Okay, now I’ll say it: girls and their constant need to know irrelevant shit! Jesus! “And if I said yes?”
She suddenly looks like she’s about to die in a really horrible, choking way.
            “Chloe. Please. No. Besides, from what I’ve been told, it’s only possible to do with one person, only the absolute right person for you. The one you’re connected to.”
            “Is that how you see me?”
            I try not to slam my head against the headboard.

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