This is just the start of the 4th Shadow Realm book called Maurelle. I hope to have it done over the holiday season and then off to my editor. This is a rough draft.
Chapter 1 Maurelle and Matthew in Majestic
Maurelle couldn’t sleep that night. Her side still hurt from being thrown. If only her head didn’t hurt, so she could heal herself. She tossed and turned but sleep never came.
Matthew made a fire for them to keep them warm. They didn’t have much else in the way of a camp. They stayed behind while the rest of the family went back through the portal to River’s Peak. Maurelle didn’t understand why they stayed behind, but Matthew requested it and Maurelle conceded.
So, Matthew sat by a fire made with twigs, sticks, and anything else he can find. They were still in Magistica, sitting in the middle of the woods while the rest of his family besides Maurelle were home in River’s Peak. He could have gone through the portal. She imagined Matthew and Maurelle sitting on the couch in the treehouse with the fire from the fireplace blazing in front of them. She could imagine the warmth and comfort of her home. She knew now that it was her home since the curse was broken and all her memories back. Matthew couldn’t go home after all he had done. How could he ever go home again?
He was a stranger to her now. So much has changed. How will they ever get back what they had before and was that even what she wanted?
She lay on the cold hard ground looking up at the stars. The stars were different in Magistica than River’s Peak. She never saw stars so bright and large. Tears warmed her face looking at the stars. They were so bright, and yet the darkness destroyed this land. Darkness destroyed her own life, but there was hope. The stars showed her light. It was possible to have light in a world of darkness.
She struggled to sit up, but when she did, she saw Matthew poking at the fire. His eyes reflected the fire and she could see the fire dancing in his eyes. Without looking up he said, “You should be sleeping. I’ll keep the fire going.”
“We should go back,” she said with pain in her voice. “The treehouse is better than the ground.”
He tried to hide his feelings, though he knew it was difficult to hide anything from her. Matthew tried to stay stoic, but she was his wife. She could see his pain.
She rose and walked over to her with her hand at her side. She placed her free hand on his shoulder, “What are you doing?” She watched him tending the fire. “You should sleep too,” she added. She knew he thought he was weak, but she didn’t believe that. Matthew was struggling. His magic and power were gone, but that wasn’t true. Maurelle knew this. Matthew had magic. He always had magic, but not to the same extent he had with the darkness.
Matthew didn’t look at her. He was too ashamed of his actions. Matthew put her in a lantern made of silver and iron, which burnt her. How could he do that to the woman he loved? He just repeated himself again, “Get more rest. You need it, and I will keep the fire going.”
“You need to rest too,” she said. The only thing Maurelle needed was to get back to her family. She wanted to be home with Shawn and find Tommy and Gwen. It didn’t appear this was what Matthew wanted. She was growing annoyed by Matthew ignoring her. “Matthew, we can go home. We don’t need to stay here. Shawn needs us. Gwen and Tommy need us. I need you.”
“You can go and leave then,” he said with disdain in his voice.
“Just leave?” She was angry as her voice grew louder, “You want me to leave?” Her teeth clenched, as was her fist, “After all of this, you want me to leave?”
Matthew shook his head, “How can I go back? Not after everything I’ve done. I can’t face them. I can’t.” He looked at Maurelle with tears in his eyes.
“But you have to go back. We have to be there for Shawn. Matthew, I love you and so do they. They will forgive you.” Maurelle knew that she would not be able to find Gwen and Tommy on her own. She needed his help.
“They will never forgive me,” he admitted, but that wasn’t his biggest fear. He feared Maurelle wouldn’t ever be able to forgive him.
“Have you forgiven yourself?” She asked him. “Last night you said you were weak, but you have never been weak. Now you are worried about forgiveness.” She wanted to trust him. She wanted her old life back, but there was this fear. The unknown surrounding Matthew.
She sat next to him leaning on him for support as her side still hurt, Matthew placed his hand at her waist making sure not to touch the side with the injury. His hands slid down her side and a rush of warmth came over him. It raised his body temperature and reddened his checks. What is this? He thought. He sat next to her, staring at his hands.
“Did you feel that?” she asked.
After an awkward moment of silence, Matthew answered, “yes, I felt it, but I don’t know what it was. It was warm. I felt warmth.” He thought about magic and knew that Maurelle had magic, so he assumed that was what it was. But he hoped it was more than that. He hoped it was love. She said she loved him, but did she really love him or did she just say that? How can she love him after everything he did?
A tear ran down Maurelle’s face, looking at the fire. He watched her, knowing that he caused those tears and the more he stayed away from her and his family, the more tears there would be. He had to take control of his life. I have to make a choice. I have to regain my life. If not for myself, but for my family. “Maurelle I know the road ahead of us will be difficult. I know we will have challenges, but we can’t give up on ourselves. We can’t give up on our family. I love you and I hope you still love me.”
Maurelle was quiet, and her lips trembled. He caused her so much pain, but then again, she had her own darkness. She was dark for only a brief time with Matthew, but that wasn’t the only time. If he only knew the things she did. Could he still love her if he knew?