Danny gasped awake to darkness, trapped in a warm, close embrace. She was drenched with sweat and short of breath.
Panic stricken, she struggled free of the enclosing limbs and sat up, only to realize that she was in bed with her lover.
He stirred beside her. “Roche, are you all right?”
She swallowed dry spit. “Yeah, yeah. I’m fine.”
“Mmm. Love you,” he murmured. His arms, now free of the object of their embrace, clasped to his chest, as if lonely and seeking warmth.
Danny sat on the side of the bed, hands pressed into the mattress of soft ferns and moss, readjusting to reality.
She glanced at Drev’o. He was asleep again, his breathing slow and even. She felt a brush of distance and longing. As if to smooth over the emotion with humor, she murmured, “You could sleep through anything, you log.”
She stood and walked through an archway into the small, adjoining bathroom. A small stream of water ran continuously from a hole just underneath the ceiling, swirled through a basin at hip level, and disappeared into the floor. Danny splashed her face and stood over the basin, breathing steadily and listening to the sounds of the great tree creaking in the wind.
At length, Danny paced back into the bedroom and stood looking down at the bed. Her pose was awkward, as if she was unsure where to turn or where to step. A part of her wished to crawl back into Drev’o’s comforting arms, close her eyes, and return to sleep, lulled by the groan and gentle shifting of the tree.
However, a restless energy filled Danny. The dream haunted her far more than a mere nightmare should have. For the first time in nearly three months, she felt ill at ease and ungrounded in Seliy’a. She needed something else. Somewhere else. She craved a comfort and familiarity that even Drev’o’s warm embrace or the rocking of the tree could offer. She craved…home.
She hesitated in the archway, then strode to the bed. She kneeled onto the soft mattress and placed a light, tender kiss against Drev’o’s brindle cheek. Then, she pulled a book from the highest shelf of the book case and opened it.