Sometimes when she lays in bed, Kendra thinks of her past self’s words of warning. It wouldn’t work with anyone else, the old hermit had told her, she would only set them up for grief. She had to accept her destiny.
“But I’m not you,” she breathes into the darkness.
The hum of their time ship is a soothing background noise that nearly lulls her back to sleep. Nearly, but Kendra keeps her eyes open and fights against oblivion. Not yet. Just a moment longer.
Ray makes a soft noise in sleep and Kendra feels the corners of her lips curl upwards before she even knows what’s happening. His arm tightens around her waist and she presses herself closer to his side, lifts her hand to run a finger over his brow. They’re both still a little battered from the last trip in time gone wrong.
He makes another noise and then she feels the brush of his eyelashes against her finger, he turns fully onto his side to look at her the best he can in the shadows of the dim emergency lights bathing their room into murky dark-gray.
“Hey,” Ray whispers, his voice sluggish with sleep, “did you have another nightmare?”
Kendra’s heart warms, even as she feels a pang of something bittersweet remembering a time when they both had their own reasons to fear her memories.
Of course he worries, but for better reasons now. He always thinks of her first, has proven it time and again when he encouraged her to pursue her own happiness, even if that meant choosing the destined soulmate that wasn’t him. This is what love feels like. It is a soft kiss, muffled laughter when their noses bump together in the darkness. Love knows nothing about fate or ancient magic. It just is.
She shakes her head slightly. “No, not a nightmare. I just remembered something.”
“Tell me in the morning?”
“Of course,” she vows, “right over breakfast.” Sharing these little discoveries about her past lives and piecing together the puzzle with him has taken the sting out of remembering. Ray can turn everything into a scientific quest and it’s impossible not to get caught up in his excitement.
His fingers curl into her hair and this time his lips find hers with ease. He’s smiling. “I’m glad you’re here.”
“Me, too.” They settle again, heads tucked together, Kendra’s left leg hooked over Ray’s.
The ship is still humming around them and this time Kendra doesn’t fight the pull of sleep.
Life is full of choices, a myriad of them large and small.
Destiny will just have to wait one more lifetime, for in this life, Kendra Saunders has chosen to forge her own path.