The Circle

Mia stood in the woods surrounded by the small, smooth stones that had been laid in a circle. She had been here countless times the last few weeks, ever since she’d discovered the strange ring not far from her cabin. It had been odd finding them here, especially since she didn’t remember them from last year’s vacation. Strange or not, the ring of stones had pulled her back over and over again. Then she’d fallen asleep one cool October afternoon and she’d dreamt of him.

Jacob, she remembered his name from their too brief conversations. He was unashamedly male in his white linen shirt and coarse dark pants; his black hair was haphazardly shorn, his green eyes mesmerizing. The first time he’d seen her he’d looked at her with wonder before touching her gently, and whispering ‘my guide’ reverently. She’d awoken with a start, still feeling his fingertips grazing her cheek. She’d come back every day since, and each time she’d slept on her blue checked blanket and had dreamed. And each time Jacob was there.

Sighing, she spread the blanket on the cool ground and curled on top of it, huddling into the soft brown afghan she’d found in the cabin. In moments, she was drifting into her dreams.

Jacob sat in his circle and waited, silently gathering his inner peace like a shield. He didn’t have much time; the villagers were searching for him, determined in their frenzy to jail and torture him because of unfounded accusations. They refused to believe that they’d taken good, innocent people; instead they trusted jealous citizens and a self-righteous preacher. They had no idea that they had finally found a witch when they’d pointed a finger at him. He’d delayed for as long as he could. He couldn’t stay in this time any longer. His presence had done nothing to spare even one of the innocents from the witch trials; he had to go back to his own time.

Quietly, he wiped his mind of thought… and found the image of Mia. He’d been shocked to find her at first, the mocha skinned beauty with wide whiskey toned eyes and gentle curves. He’d thought it would only be that one time, but during his days of mental exercise she’d appeared regularly. He hadn’t been able to stop himself from touching her and, the last time, from taking a soft kiss. They’d exchanged names and simple thoughts in their few moments together, but nothing more. He wondered if she were like him, a witch sent to help the guiltless in turbulent eras. He and his sect were the things that went bump in the night for those who would harm the blameless. If she were one of them, then she must be passing his time slip on her way to or from her assignment.

Shaking his head, he forced himself to concentrate. He had to leave - quickly. Taking a deep breath, he mentally he surrounded himself with bright light and envisioned his ring on the other side. The coldness suddenly swamped him, biting deeply as it propelled him forward. A moment later he blinked his eyes open, his skin still frigid as he tried to regain his bearings. He looked around…and found her there, curled like a waiting angel on her blanket. He stood slowly and went to her, afraid of waking her, afraid she might disappear. When she did neither, he lowered himself to his knees and studied her sleeping face, transfixed by her beauty. With a shaking hand, he skimmed down her jaw, tucking a stray lock of dark hair behind her small ear.

He watched as her eyes fluttered open, the recognition true and sweet when she saw his face.

“Jacob, you’re here,” she breathed.

“I’m here,” he replied softly. “You brought me, Mia.”

And suddenly he realized it was true, she had called him to her, just as he’d unknowingly called her back to his circle time and time again.

“And I’m here for you,” she sighed.

He took her hand and lifted it to his mouth, dropping a kiss in her palm as her gaze held him captive. The silent invitation in her eyes was undeniable. Slowly, he leaned down and claimed her lips, branding her with a gentle soul-stirring kiss. He tasted her, sampling her mouth as he savored her flavor, nipping softly at the tender flesh. When her tongue reached out to touch his tentatively he felt the chill in his blood turn to fire. He joined her readily, meeting, tangling and mating. His body became taut with need, but he kept himself carefully in check, allowing her to control their embrace. When he felt her gentle their kiss he swallowed a groan; then she eased back to sear him with her heated golden gaze.

“Take me home,” she whispered.

Sweeping her into his arms, he cradled her protectively against his chest and did as she asked. Home…her home…his home…their home. The circle of their lives, just like the circle on the sacred ground, was finally complete.