Chapter 14

Jade woke up to complete darkness, she couldn't see anything. She could feel that she was lying down in her bed which confused her. The last thing she could remember she was in the courtyard and the sun was shining. Moving to sit up, she felt a small wince in her side, Jade remembered how she was injured. Hearing movement to the side of her, she asked hoarsely, "Who's there?"

"Don't worry, Jade. It's me." Came Nathan's reply.

"Nathan? What happened?" She asked as she tried to sit up again.

"I am here." He answered as he touched her hand. "You need to stay lying down. You remember getting hurt?" He waited for her yes before continuing, "Well Tom, the healer, has been healing you and to help with that, we put you in a Healing Sleep. You've been asleep for the last three days."

"Three days?" Jade asked as she clasped his hands, "That long?"

"Yes, that long and you actually need to go back to sleep for another three days." Nathan apologized.

"Wait!" Jade said franticly, "Tell me what happened first."

"Richard is dead. Paul shot him with his crossbow." Nathan said flatly.

"What about the curse?" Jade asked.

She heard the laughter in his voice as he asked back, "What about the curse?"

"With him dead, can the curse be broken?" Jade asked confused.

"What do you remember Jade?" Nathan asked.

Jade paused, listening to his voice, "Wait… wait… your voice… it is different somehow. It doesn't rumble so much." She directed her attention to his thumbs which were lightly caressing her palms. She realized they were soft and felt normal, there were no claws.

"Let me feel your face." She demanded yanking out one hand and reaching up to the sound of his voice.

He laughed, "Why?"

"To prove to myself that the curse is really broken. How did it break?" She asked as he grabbed her hand and brought it up to his cheek.

She cupped his cheek in her hand and ran her fingers across the smooth skin of his cheek. She repeated her question, "How did the curse get broken?"

She felt him laugh through her hand and answer, "You broke it. You… Jade… the girl who decided that she could love a beast."

Jade was surprised as she took his statement in. "Do you mean to say that I broke it by saying I love you?"

Nathan grabbed her hand and kissed the palm. "Yes, that is exactly what I am saying. We can discuss this later because you need to go back to sleep." Still holding her hand Nathan put his other hand on her forehead and quickly muttered the words of a spell. Jade couldn't fight her eyes closing as the effects of the spell took over.

Nathan held her hand for a long moment before kissing it again and setting it down. He made his way back to the cot, smiling to himself about the fact that he kept his beast-like night vision. There were other things that stayed after the transformation, He had kept his height, keen eyesight and hearing.

He settled down on the couch and fell asleep listening to Jade's peaceful breathing.

Jade was walking through the library for the third time that day. She was looking for Nathan. It was almost nightfall and she couldn't find him. He had been acting a little strange since she woke up four days ago. It seemed like he wasn't getting enough sleep. She was getting worried. Jade went back downstairs to the dining room where she found him waiting for her.

"Where have you been? I have been looking all over for you." Jade chided while she walked toward him.

"I was in the garden, thinking." Nathan answered.

"About what?"

Nathan shrugged his shoulders and looked away. Jade moved closer to him, putting a hand on his chin and moved his head so he was looking at her.

"What's wrong?" Jade asked.

"It's nothing." He answered grabbing her hand to pull it down.

Jade evaded his grasp and put both her hands on his face and said, "You're lying. What is the Matter?"

He lightly clasped her wrists and answered, "It really is nothing."

"I don't believe you." Jade said. She ran a thumb under his eye and said, "You look like you haven't been sleeping well. So something is definitely bothering you."

Nathan smiled at her and asked, "Why can't I hide anything from you?"

Jade smiled back and answered, "Because I know you so well. Are you going to tell me what the matter is now?"

Nathan sighed and replied, "Ever since you woke up four days ago I have been having dreams that this." He waved to the both of them. "is the dream and I am going to wake up stuck in a beast's body again. This feels too good to be true." He choked out. "I am afraid to go to sleep."

Jade's heart broke as she looked at his tired face. "Then how can I prove to you that this isn't the dream. This is what is real."

He smiled slightly at her and pulled her hands down from his face, and held them tightly. "You help by being here with me."

"Is that all?" Jade asked.

He smiled larger and pulled her into a hug where he whispered into her ear, "Yes, you being here is enough.'

Jade pulled back from him just enough so she could see his face, opening her mouth to say something only to close it again as her eyes locked with his. Instead she leaned in bridging the gap between them kissing him. She felt his surprise and then his acceptance followed by a hunger that she felt as well.

When Nathan pulled back, she sighed, "No," And pulled him back for another prolonged kiss. When they finally broke apart for the second time Nathan let out a small chuckle and lightly kissed her nose, "That was so much better than I had ever dreamed." He lightly pecked her forehead.

Jade smiled softly, "You better not be dreaming."

Grabbing another quick kiss, Nathan laughed again, "After this I don't know if I could go to sleep."

"You need sleep. Or I fear you are going to collapse on the floor." Jade commented with a smile.

"Will you stay with me until I fall asleep?"

"Of course." Jade answered.

Jade smiled as she held his hand tightly as he began to doze off, thinking how four days ago their roles had been reversed. She watched him for a while as Nathan slept before blowing out the candle and falling asleep in the chair herself.

Author's note- I finally got up the last chapter. I hoped you enjoyed reading this story!