It was midnight when Leo turned into the driveway and stopped under the big oak to drop Liv off. It had always been cozy under the tree, but now, sitting in his sedan looking up through the sunroof at the web of tree limbs bathed in the silver rays of the full moon, Liv felt like she was in the safest, snuggest cocoon in the world. Little bursts of heat twisted and turned up her wrist, past her elbow, across her shoulder, and down into her heart as Leo squeezed her hand with his warm, artistic fingers—fingers that had drawn the sci-fi masterpiece in the Valentine’s Day card in her purse. She breathed in his scent of pine and fern, which reminded her of the Poconos. There, they had seen a shooting star, her first. She didn’t know what he had wished for, he wouldn’t tell. But when he said that his wish was everything, he was looking into her soul. In return, she fell into his blue eyes as if they were the heavenly sea.
He cut the engine, but the music still played. The next song began. It was their song.
Leo released her hand and unbuckled his seatbelt then hers. She shifted her gaze to his beautiful, angelic face and mapped it into her memory. She brought her hand up to touch the heart necklace with their initials—his gift to her. With her other hand she reached up to caress his cheek. His skin was warm and soft and her heart nearly broke from touching it. His left hand rested on her thigh and as he leaned into her, she felt a radiating wave in her sacral chakra. This raw and intense energy transported her into an unknown realm—a place she instinctively longed to explore. An understanding passed between them that could not be defined, for it was a universal truth. Their souls had been here before, and they were rejoicing in the rendezvous.
But then, something else happened. Six fragmented lifetimes flashed before her. They were running across an exploding field; they were hiding in the cold; they were slow dancing on a fated ship. She caught glimpses of an unspoiled world, heard snippets of lost languages, and touched the silken coats of gone creatures. She gasped.
“Who are you?” she asked.
“Shhh,” he whispered.
“Did you see what I saw?”
He silenced her by pressing his lips against hers. Her thoughts returned to the present, where she knew nothing other than this was where she was meant to be. They pushed and pulled towards each other, igniting a series of mini explosions that energized their lifeblood. The music faded into the backseat, the objects in the front—her purse at her feet, the dashboard by her elbow, the steering wheel at his back—became annoying obstacles to their bodies touching. But yet they continued to grope and kiss and explore. With each stroke, the dam that held her emotions cracked. Finally, she dragged her wet lips across his cheekbone to his earlobe and then whispered in his ear, words that had to be said—because if she hid them, they would damn her soul forever. “I love you, Leo.”
He let out a breathless groan and buried his head in the nape of her neck.
“I love you,” she repeated, this time with fire, the flames of which wrapped around his shoulders and drew him closer. It was his turn to gasp. His arms tightened around her. Heat rose between them. But suddenly, he released her. His hands covered his face as if he had just been burned.
“What is it? What is wrong?” Liv asked. Her heart held its beat. Her hands held his wrists.
His eyes were red and wet. A flicker of the past crossed her thoughts. There was not just one scene; rather it was all of them combined in one dazzling burst of lightning. The darkness that followed was the aftermath of what she could only describe as a great, terrible, and tragic loss, time and time again. At once, she felt an anchor to oblivion attach itself to her heart.
“No!” She shook her head and flung herself at him, wrapping her arms around him as if she was drowning and he was the lifeguard trying to save her.
“Wait,” he instructed. “I have to speak.” He untangled her arms and pushed her against the seat. Then, he cradled her face with his hands and forced her to look at him. His eyes darkened.
“I won’t leave you this time. I promise.” He had seen it too, she thought. He knew! He leaned in and kissed her with a kiss that was bonded with everything.
With each moment their lips touched, with each synchronous heartbeat, hope grew that this time wouldn’t break them apart as it had done before.
A light turned on in the house. Her father knew she was home. If she didn’t obey him, he would forbid their dates. Leo understood this.
“We’ll figure this out,” he said.
Liv nodded. She reached for the car door.
Cupid, hanging from a moon ray hidden by the oak cover, watched their final kiss of the evening. In his little red notebook, he noted the time and place. Then he closed the book and locked it—the key tucked in a crook in his wing. This time, the seventh time, he was hoping the Algea would not interfere with Liv and Leo’s love. Earth was, after all, a place of miracles. And this was their last time on the planet together to have one.