Power comes in many forms, but I’d learned the immense power that simple words held.
It had only been a few months ago that two words had almost cost me the love of my life. Words I’d thrown out in anger, words I’d not even meant and yet they’d set things into motion that had changed my life.
Now, kneeling before these two men, I knew my very reality was changing yet again.
“We vow to guide you, to discipline you, to protect you, to love and cherish you until our very last breath.” The men spoke as one, the sincerity in their voices, the love in their eyes causing my heart to feel as if it would burst. Each of them held one of my hands, fingers softly stroking across my palms as they asked the question that would begin our lives anew.
“Cassandra, do you vow to give yourself to us in all ways? Do you accept us as your mates?”
With only one word, I knew I would never be alone, never wonder if I was wanted, needed—loved. Three letters, one syllable, and yet it was the most important word I’d ever utter. A vow I knew I would rather die than to break.
One little word.
Both of my men, my mates smiled, the love in their eyes filling my heart, but the ceremony was not yet done.
Their free hands moved to caress my cheeks, as, in unison, they softly spoke the words that filled my very soul.
“Do you vow that you are no longer one, we are no longer two? That from this moment forward, until the day we die, the three of us become one… a sacred trinity?”
Okay, it was one little word, but I said it again and again as tears slid down my cheeks. “Yes, yes, yes, God, yes!” I just couldn’t help it, I was laughing and crying, repeating the word again and again until the men gave my hands a tug, pulling me to my feet to sandwich me between them. Deo, my king, the leader of our pack bent down, murmuring, “I will love you for eternity,” a moment before his lips met mine.
Draco, my dragon protector, pressed against me from behind, his lips finding the shell of my ear, his softly uttered, “I will love you forever,” warming my skin a moment before his lips closed on my earlobe, giving it a soft nip.
I’d felt their lips on me before, felt their hands on me in love as well as in discipline, and yet this was the first time I’d felt them at the same time. I couldn’t stifle the soft moan that the nip of my earlobe dragged from me.
“Our mate is so beautiful,” Draco said, his lips moving to nibble on my shoulder, his tongue leaving a path that caused goosebumps to raise when he blew a breath across the trail.
I felt my heart skipping a beat and the white lace panties I’d chosen to wear becoming damp. Evidently, the matching bra didn’t offer much concealment as I could feel my nipples tightening, pulsing, pressing against the silk of my dress.
“And naughty,” Deo said, his teeth grazing along the hollow of my throat as I threw my head back the moment he cupped my breast. “We have yet to open the champagne to toast our vow and yet her nipples are already rock hard.”
“And I can smell her sweet honey,” Draco said, his hand moving beneath the hem of my dress and easily sliding between my thighs. A smile tugged at his lips as his fingers skimmed across the gusset of my panties. “Shit, Deo, she’s soaking wet!”
Their words were causing my knees to threaten to buckle, my hands reaching to grab onto them.
“Oh, God,” I moaned, “Please…”
“Please what?” Deo asked.
“Please take me,” I gasped.
“Oh, Cassandra, we aren’t going to take you,” Deo said, a thick thumb strumming across my nipple.
“That’s right,” Draco confirmed, showing us the fingers he’d pulled from beneath my clothing—the fingers that were now glistening with my arousal. “No, Cassie, we aren’t going to take you—we are going to claim you.”
My pussy spasmed as he inhaled deeply, taking in my scent as if imprinting it on his brain.
“Both of us,” Deo said, his fingers closing around my nipple, giving it a squeeze.
“At the same time,” Draco said, moving his fingers to my lips. “Open,” he ordered and without hesitation, I obeyed. He slipped his fingers into my mouth.
“That’s it, suck his fingers clean,” Deo said, continuing to play with my nipples, first one, then the other, each twist, pull, tug, and pinch driving me further toward the edge.
“Yes,” Draco said, slowly pushing his fingers a bit deeper, my tongue swirling over them, between them as he spread them apart, filling my mouth. “First you’ll suck my fingers, then you’ll suck our cocks.” With a grin, he pulled his fingers free. “Won’t you, little one?”
“And while Deo fucks your sweet pussy, I’ll sink into your ass,” Draco continued.
“But not yet,” Deo said, bending to me again, a grin turning up the corner of his mouth. “Do you remember what I told you would happen this night, babygirl?”
If I hadn’t, the fact that both men’s hands moved to each take a globe of my ass, squeezing, fondling, stroking across it had that promise return in an instant.
“Yes… I remember,” I managed, my body threatening to self-combust from just the thought of what was to come.
“That’s right, little one,” Draco said. “Before we claim you, we must mark you.”
“Pain before pleasure,” Deo murmured, his fingers closing around my nipple as Draco took hold of its twin, both men squeezing the taut buds. “Are you ready? Are you ready to submit to your mates?”
“Yes, oh, God, yes,” I moaned, not caring how very needy I sounded. These were my mates; the men I’d been blessed to have as my own. I had learned that silence about what I wanted, desired, only caused heartache. I had no intention of playing the shy virgin. I’d given them my vow, my heart, my very soul. Now it was time to give them my body.
I felt the tab of my zipper being slowly lowered, the back halves of my dress parting. Though I could instantly feel the cooler air wafting across my skin as it was exposed, I didn’t shudder until I felt warm exhales of each breath Deo took a moment before he pressed his lips to my flesh, going lower and lower as he followed the path of the zipper, placing small kisses along the length of my spine. I mourned the fact that the zipper reached the end of its track as that meant the kisses ended as well. A soft chuckle told me that the sigh of disappointment I gave hadn’t been as silent as I’d thought.
“I think our mate is anxious for our marks,” Deo said, straightening, his fingers replacing his lips to reverse the path they’d taken, stroking over the vertebrae of my back.
Draco moved to stand in front of me, his hands sliding up my bare arms until they reached my shoulders. “Then let’s not make her wait,” he said, pushing the fabric off my shoulders. I felt the material skim down my body to pause at the swell of my hips, effectively pinning my arms at my sides. My soft whimper of protest had him smiling. “Yes, she is definitely impatient, but great works of art should be cherished at their unveiling, don’t you think?”
“My thoughts exactly,” Deo agreed. “Anticipation titillates the imagination, increases the pleasure of what is yet to be revealed.” His lips returned to press against my shoulder, sliding to nibble on my neck.
“Amazing,” Draco said. “Every kiss you give her is raising little bumps along the way.”
“Really?” Deo murmured against the flesh right behind my ear, his front pressed to my back. “Even beneath this sexy little bra?” I felt the closure being undone at my back and this time it was Deo’s hands that pushed the straps off my shoulders, his fingers guiding the lace down to join my dress, exposing my breasts to the air and to the gazes of my two mates.
“Really,” Draco said, stepping closer, his hands moving to cup the mounds of my breasts in his palms. Splaying his fingers across the pale flesh, his thumbs strummed across my nipples. “Though, some are quite a bit larger than the others.”
“Larger, tighter, and a beautiful rosy color,” Deo said, moving to the front, his hand claiming my left breast when Draco released it. “And, how perfect… there are two of us and two perfect tits.”
Each man took a side, tongues laving and lips suckling my flesh until I was struggling to remain standing, unable to grasp more than a handful of their clothing with my arms still trapped.
“Please… please, I need…”
“What do you need?” Deo asked, releasing my nipple in order to speak.
“Everything,” I said, the truth of my need in that one word. Maybe I should have been embarrassed at the plaintive sound of my tone. Maybe I should be mortified standing bare from the waist up, my breasts heavy, my nipples swollen and aching to be sucked, pulled, twisted, plucked. Maybe a proper lady would feel ashamed to know that her panties were totally useless as every moment pressed against these men had moisture pooling between my legs, the gusset unable to contain my arousal. Maybe… but I wasn’t. At this moment, propriety, shame, and modesty be damned. “I need you both, your mouths… your lips… your cocks.”
My mates released my nipples, their hands sliding around my body to cup the cheeks of my ass, silently reminding me that before I was gifted with their cocks, I’d feel their hands.
“Please. I beg you both… please, I can’t wait any longer. Mark me. I need… I want to wear your marks.”
“Then you shall,” Deo said as Draco tugged at my clothing, freeing it to finish falling to the floor. White panties were my last barrier and that was soon removed as Deo hooked his fingers into the waistband and slowly peeled them down. I stepped out and then stood, completely naked in front of my fully clothed mates.
“Deo, our bride is not only an original work of art, she is a priceless masterpiece,” Draco said, his voice a bit husky.
The timbre of his voice, the look in his eyes had my body heating, one hand fluttering to cover the curls of my sex, the other lifting toward my breasts.
“No.” The word came from my left, my eyes moving from Draco to the man I’d married over a year earlier. “Draco is your mate now, my co-mate. You will not hide anything from him. Every inch of you belongs to him as it does to me. Put your hands down and spread your legs apart so that our mate can look at you.”
I knew that what he said was true, not only knew, but had agreed that forming a trio was our destiny. Yet, this was the first time that I’d stood completely nude before my second mate. The first time I’d watched his eyes moving up and down my body. The first time I’d watched his cock thicken and lengthen, swelling against its place along his thigh.
The straining of the fabric of his trousers told me that he wanted me and his softly issued, “You are the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen,” eased my nerves. I lowered my hands, shifted my feet apart, and stood proudly before the two men who, with me, formed a sacred trinity.
Draco extended his hand and I didn’t hesitate, stepping forward to take it, watching as his fingers closed around mine. With a gentle tug, he pulled me closer. My hand lifted again, this time to brace against his chest, my fingers aching to unbutton the white shirt he wore, to discover what lay beneath the fabric. His free hand moved to cover mine, pressing it against his heart.
“I love you, Cassie,” he said, that same husky tone one I began to associate with his arousal.
“I love you too,” I said. Lifting my eyes, my breath caught in my throat as I saw the smoldering look in his.
He released my hand to move his around to splay his fingers across my bare ass, pulling me closer still. “I love the fact that you begged us to take you. I love that I can smell your arousal and see it leaking from your sweet cunt to wet your thighs. I love every inch of your pale skin because it will be the perfect canvas on which to paint my ownership.” His fingers moved again to slide between the cleft of my bottom, my heart stopping a moment before beginning to race as a fingertip pressed against the pucker of my anus. “I love knowing that after we’ve marked you with our hands, we are going to sink our cocks deep inside your body… in your pussy and in your ass and mark you with our cum.” I couldn’t help but whimper as his finger pressed just inside, giving me a taste of what was to come. With a smile that made more fluid drip from my pussy, he said, “Are you ready?”
“Oh, yes… so ready,” I whispered.
“Then, up on the bed. Our mate is waiting.”
I looked to see that Deo was indeed waiting. Though it was only a few steps, I was unsure if my legs would support me, but when Draco’s finger slid from my hidden hole and his hand lifted to pop against my ass, I discovered that they could. Once at the bed, I accepted Deo’s help in climbing onto the mattress.
“Over the wedge,” Deo instructed, handing two lengths of rope to Draco, keeping two for himself. I positioned myself over the triangular shaped pillow, wondering where it had come from as I’d never seen it before. I was a bit surprised at its strength, the form not giving as it took my weight.
“Forward more,” Draco said. “We want your bottom perched on top.”
Reaching out to grab a handful of the duvet, I wiggled a bit, the move awkward with the height of the wedge, but after a few moments, I heard Deo say, “Good girl. Arms and legs spread wide.”
I swallowed hard, knowing that once my legs opened, there would not be a single inch of my body left to the imagination. Still, I obeyed, offering my hands to my mates. The men each took one, wrapping the soft rope around my wrists before securing the ends to the corner posts of the headboard. My fingers wrapped around the rope, knowing that despite my submission, I’d be pulling against the restraints once they began to spank me. I laid my cheek on the soft bedcovering, my face flushing to a hue that most likely matched the burgundy of the duvet as I felt my ankles taken and my legs drawn further apart. I suppose I could blame the shiver that coursed through me on the cold air that I felt stirring across my sex, but that would be a lie. Every quiver, every shudder came because I knew that though my mates were not touching me, their eyes were caressing my moist pussy, lingering on the small pucker between my ass cheeks, the position required assuring that even this would not be hidden from their view.
I’d thought I was ready, prepared… yet how could I have been? I’d never experienced this… never surrendered all control to my mates, my masters, my dominants… my husbands. All I could do was trust in my decision, close my eyes, relax my body, and know that whatever they chose to gift me with, I’d accept it with love.
My eyes and mouth snapped open at the same time as the room’s quiet was broken with not one, but two crisp cracking sounds. “Oh!” Again, two strong hands descended on my ass, one on each cheek, both heavy and igniting a fire that I knew would soon become an inferno.
It took less than a dozen double strokes before my hips were attempting to wiggle from side to side, which simply had my mates moving their target to the backs of my thighs. The moment the first volley of quick swats landed on that tender flesh, I pulled against my restraints, my back arching, my toes scrabbling against the mattress.
“No, please! Not there!” I cried, each rise and fall of each unrelenting hand the size of a paddle causing me to screech.
“Then be still,” Deo said.
“Submit to your spanking,” Draco added.
It took a moment, a few more strokes, before I collapsed, no longer straining or attempting to buck away from the blows. The reward for my obedience was their hands returning to the cheeks of my ass, peppering every centimeter until I was promising to be a good girl for the rest of my life.
“You are a good girl,” Draco said, bending forward to speak close to my ear. “This isn’t about you being bad, Cassie. This is about staking our claim.”
“A claim you will never, ever forget,” Deo contributed, his voice soft, the words spoken a fraction of an inch from my lips.
I knew that no matter what sounds I heard for the rest of my life, be it a hundred strings of a world-renowned orchestra playing a beautiful symphony or the soft whisper of a snowflake falling to the ground, I’d never find one that affected me as much as the sound of belts being unbuckled and leather being pulled in tandem from the loops of their pants. Mesmerized, I watched as Deo doubled the length of leather. I couldn’t help but feel every cell in my body come alive, couldn’t stop the seep of more cream from my core, couldn’t contain the soft moan as it escaped my throat to float in the air. Deo gave me a smile before his gaze moved to meet what I was sure were the eyes of our chosen co-mate. With a nod, his arm lifted and my eyes closed as the leather began its descent.
These weren’t strokes… they were licks of pure fire, one right after the other in a steady cadence that had me arching, wiggling, yanking against the ropes from the first kiss of their belts to the last. I had no idea how many times the fire disguised as leather landed against my flesh. I simply accepted each one, my soul dancing on that exquisite edge between pain and pleasure, not aware that they’d stopped or that my restraints had been released until I was lifted and turned, cradled in the arms of Draco.
The hand that had been hard against my ass was now soft against my cheek as he cupped my face. “That was beautiful, little one. The pain is over… only pleasure remains.”
Before I could speak, I found myself being transferred to the waiting arms of Deo who’d moved to sit against the headboard. It took me a moment to comprehend that the body I instantly snuggled into was no longer covered. Evidently Deo had shed his clothing, and pulled the covers down to expose the white sheets while Draco had held me. Where the wedge had gone, I had no idea… nor did I care. I laid my head against Deo’s chest, though the sound of his heartbeat was unable to calm me as it normally did. The reason was that I was perfectly positioned to watch Draco begin to remove his clothes. Deo didn’t speak, but communicated by touch, his hand stroking down my side, his lips pressing a kiss to the top of my head.
I watched as Draco unbuttoned his shirt, knowing he would be as fit as Deo, would have well-defined muscles in his abdomen and most likely, a line of hair leading from his navel to beneath the trousers that were now unbuttoned and unzipped, but still being worn… still hiding the cock I’d seen swelling earlier. The cock that had my blood racing, my heart pounding, each beat of the muscle echoed in my ass as I remembered exactly where my mate had said he’d be burying that cock. But… all thoughts of what was to come disappeared the moment Draco pulled his shirt off and tossed it to the floor.
“Oh, my God,” I said, sitting up, ignoring the instant ache as my butt took my full weight. Deo’s arm fell away, allowing me to move from his lap, his hand steadying me as I knelt on the bed, reaching out toward Draco. “It—it’s beautiful,” I said. “I never imagined…” It took effort to drag my eyes from the expanse of his chest where every inch was covered in black ink. Intricate swirls, lines, and angles. My fingers itched to trace each one, to learn every dip and curve forming the magnificent fire-breathing dragon that seemed far less a tattoo and more of an actual part of his body… as if it had always been there.
“May I… touch it?”
“Of course,” he said, allaying my fear that he’d deny me. Stepping forward, he reached for my hand. “Just as there is no part of you that is forbidden to me, my body belongs to you as well.” He moved to place my hand on the center of his chest, right beneath the breast of the creature. I could swear I felt the heat of the dragon beneath my fingertip as I began to run it along a scale so perfectly rendered that I imagined I could feel the rough texture though his skin was smooth.
His hand lightly covered mine, effortlessly guiding it down the dragon’s body. I was so entranced that it was only when I felt a barrier blocking my way that I remembered where I was. I dipped my fingertip a bit further into the waistband of the black briefs he wore and couldn’t help but smile and give a soft giggle.
“What’s so amusing?” he asked, not sounding the least bit offended.
Looking up, my smile widened. “I was just thinking that as fantastic as your dragon is, there is so much more yet to discover about my dragon.”
His smile told me of his understanding and his pleasure as he lifted my hand to press a kiss to my fingertips. When he released me, I felt Deo’s hands on my waist, guiding me back to his lap; this time not to snuggle into his chest, but to straddle him, a knee on each side of his waist. His hands cupped my breasts, his thumbs strumming across my nipples.
“Hmmm,” I moaned, the sensation so delicious, so incredible. I felt Deo’s cock pressing against my body, the need for it to be inside me making me moan again as I reached behind to encircle the thick shaft with my hand. I felt the bed dip and turned to see that Draco had joined us. To be honest, I’d wondered if I’d feel strange, if it would be awkward when the three of us were in bed together. Both of my mates were strong, alpha males, both not only wanting, but needing to be in control. Yet, when Draco reached out to stroke his finger down my cheek before moving his hand to the back of my head, holding me in place as he leaned in to kiss me, I knew we would be just fine.
The kiss wasn’t soft, wasn’t gentle. His tongue probed along the seam of my lips, demanding I open for him. When I did, he slid his tongue inside to explore my mouth, his hand drawing me closer, the kiss deepening. As his tongue swirled and played with mine, Deo’s fingers plucked, twisted, and pulled on my nipples until, between the two of them, I was squirming and breathless, my empty pussy begging to be filled. Draco released me but only pulled away an inch. “Are you ready?” he asked, kissing me quickly before I could answer. “Are you wet for us, Cassie?”
“Oh, yes,” I sighed, never having given a truer answer to both questions.
“Lift up and put Deo’s cock inside you.” He helped me to rise up onto my knees, steadying me as I moved back until Deo’s cock was no longer behind me, but stood erect beneath me.
“That’s it,” Deo said, his hands moving from my breasts to my hips. I moved to obey, when Deo suddenly stopped me. “No, first open your pussy, get your fingers slick, and show us how much you want this. We want to see how wet you are.”
It wasn’t like I’d never touched myself, but… I’d never done so with anyone watching, much less two someones. My hesitation was enough to have Deo slide one hand from my hip, around to grab a nice bit of my bottom and give it a squeeze.
I squealed but moved my hand between my legs. Slicking my fingers wouldn’t take long as I was dripping. I used two fingers to part my labia, moaning as they slid along my sex and touched my clitoris. A shudder ran through me as the brief contact only caused my need to grow. Pulling my hand free, I showed my mates my glistening fingers.
“Good girl,” Deo praised. “Take me inside that hot, wet cunt and ride me.” His words were stark, dirty, and yet immediately evoked a need to obey, a desire to feel him stretching me open. He lifted me higher and this time when I reached for his cock, he didn’t stop me. I was so wet the head of his cock slid inside me with ease, his girth filling me as I gave a groan of appreciation.
“Instead of biting that lip, I want you to wrap it around Draco’s cock.”
Eyes that I’d closed in bliss snapped open to find Deo’s. “Wha… what?”
“You heard me. While I fill your cunt, I want to see you suck Draco’s cock. I want you to get it nice and wet because, baby, it will soon be filling your ass.”
Okay, call me naughty, but the very image he ordered had my mouth watering and my bottom clenching. Draco’s hand returned to the back of my head, guiding me toward the cock that I just now truly saw for the first time. Oh, God, was every single Greek man built like a bull or was I just one very lucky lady? His free hand was wrapped around the base, stroking slowly. I licked my lips at the sight of a drop of pre-cum seeping from the slit. As Deo continued to fill me, Draco began to feed me his cock. Inch by inch, I took both into my body for the first time. I savored the salty tang of Draco when the tip of my tongue swirled over the head of his cock, lapping at the pearly essence. His groan of appreciation fueled my own desire, the spring in my stomach coiling tighter with every slow thrust of Deo’s cock into my pussy. And when Deo’s finger slipped between our bodies to circle my clit, and Draco’s free hand moved to slide into the cleft of my ass, nothing existed but the three of us and the orgasm that had been building ever since we’d spoken our vows, growing as these two men had marked my ass with their hands and belts, had hovered just out of reach as I’d sat cradled on Deo’s lap watching as Draco undressed. And the moment that Draco’s finger pressed into my anus, his other hand keeping my mouth on his cock as his finger began to move in and out of my ass in sync with our co-mate’s cock in my pussy, I had no choice but to fall from the precipice, my scream of bliss smothered by the cock in my mouth.
“That’s our girl,” Deo said as my convulsing slowed, but that spring immediately began to coil again as Deo continued to lift me up and down his shaft. Draco slowly pulled from my mouth as his finger popped from my ass, and I mewled in disappointment.
Deo chuckled. “Our girl is indeed a greedy one.”
“That makes us two very lucky men,” Draco said, bending to kiss me before he moved behind me. With his hand against my back, he gently pushed me forward, the change in position allowing him access to his target. This time, not one but two fingers pressed into my ass, beginning to scissor in order to coax my muscles to relax, to prepare me to surrender. Deo’s fingers curled into my hair, and again I was being pulled forward. This time in order to press my mouth to Deo’s, the kiss every bit as demanding as Draco’s had been earlier. I heard the tell-tale click of what I knew was the flip top of the bottle of lube and felt the cool gel dripping into the crack of my ass and being swirled around my opening, oily fingers pressing deeply inside. When the touch disappeared, I could picture his fingers spreading the gel over his cock, making sure that he had done all he could to prepare me for his claiming. Deo pulled me closer so that my breasts pressed against the hard plane of his chest, his hands moving to pull the cheeks of my ass apart, making it quite easy for our co-mate to position himself at my back entrance.
“Just relax,” Deo said softly.
I nodded; I’d had plugs pressed into my bottom before for punishment. I’d even had Deo’s cock buried balls deep in my back passage so I thought I was prepared for the slight pain and burn that I knew would come when Draco began to press inside. I was wrong. I hadn’t considered that while one mate steadily pressed forward into my tight channel, I was already filled with a large cock in my pussy… only a thin barrier between it and the cock sliding into my ass.
“Oh, my God,” I moaned, my fingers curling into the sheets on either side of Deo’s shoulders. “I-I can’t—”
“You can,” Deo assured me, his hands free now to stroke along my back. “You’re doing beautifully, baby. Just breathe.”
As I took a deep breath, I realized that Draco had stopped moving. How hard must it be for him to do so? Deo continued to move, but each stroke was slow, measured. How much control must it take for these men to hold off their climaxes when their cocks had been hard for close to an hour?
I took another breath and forced myself to relax my muscles, to accept the burn, to allow the slight pain to feed my arousal. “Please, fill me, Draco. Claim me.” A gentle caress of my hip came before Draco began to press forward again. It hurt and yet it was a pain I welcomed as it meant I was being possessed by both my men at the same time. After a few moments, I felt Draco’s groin press against my ass and knew he was buried fully inside me. I’d truly not believed he’d be able to do so, but he had. I’d never felt so full, so complete. Arching my head, I reveled in the primal perfection of being claimed.
“Fuck me,” I demanded, every cell in my body wanting more. “Hard… fast… now… please.”
Both men chuckled, but it was Deo who spoke first. “Well, what do you say, Draco?”
“Though she was a bit bossy, she did ask politely,” Draco said with another chuckle. “I say we give our mate what she wants.”
“I agree,” Deo said and they did. They began to move, their cocks alternating to withdraw and press forward, never leaving me empty as their hips pistoned to slap against my body. I learned that these men had more control than I could fathom as they insisted I come first. It didn’t take long before I arched, screaming as my body paused for that infinite moment before I shattered apart.
“Oh, shit,” Draco groaned. “She was already tight, but now it’s like her ass is a vise! I’m going to come.”
He leaned over my back and I felt his lips open against the nape of my neck on the right and felt Deo’s mouth press in the same spot on the left. Just as they’d recited their vows in unison, they both erupted, shooting cum deep inside me as they bit my neck. I screamed their names, the incredible sensations pulling another orgasm from me. I’d heard of la petite mort, the little death, but had never truly believed it possible. As blackness flickered, I learned that I’d been wrong about that as well.