I blink my eyes, looking up at the ceiling of my bedroom. No… it’s not mine. It’s… different. It’s bigger. I squint at the ceiling, trying to remember which ceiling it is. It’s familiar, somehow. Oh, that’s right. I’m at the Guild. I’m twenty now… this is Kat’s room. No, our room. We’ve been together for a while now… we’re… having a child together.
I lay there, unsure if I can move or not. I had the strangest of dreams. More like a memory, but it was so real as if it was actually yesterday. The girl with raven black hair and grey eyes. She had a magic that glowed purple. Rose. Rose Trevelle. The French aristocrat I courted when I had jumped to France five years ago, for five months. I… wait… There’s more. I remember so much more.
The memories flood back along with the emotions the accompanied them five years prior. My chest feels bombarded with conflicting feelings. Pain, sickness, sadness, love, dread, desperation, panic…fear, a terrifying fear that I was dying.
I remember the black blade of the guillotine and I lift a hand to my neck instinctively, tracing the thin scar. I feel the blade touching my neck and I shiver. I didn’t lose my head. I feel hot tears on my face as I remember her blasting the square away and then when I woke up after, I finally managed to jump back to my own time, bringing her with me.
The next few months are a blur. I remember a hospital room, a slow recovery, nightmares, all the while, a fear that my magic would activate again and take me somewhere before I was ready. Luckily it didn’t.
Rose, she’d stayed with my family while I was treated at the hospital for a month. They took care of her while she grew accustomed to the future. I remember spending every moment with her, avoiding school and friends. I wanted her all to myself, I wanted to show her my time. I just wanted to be with her. I… really loved her. I remember so much, and then…
I woke up one morning, my memories must have been gone then, because I remember things as two separate versions now, differently from how they actually happened then. There had been a note on the desk, and a rose. The note said goodbye, that she was returning to France to her family because her exchange had ended, and it was signed by Samantha. I had only memories of our time here in the future – no connection to the girl from France, but… that’s not how it really happened. That was fake.
I relive the darkest months of my life after that. The depression I fell into without Sam, no, without Rose there. I couldn’t understand why she left, I still don’t. Didn’t she love me? We did… so much together. I shared my deepest secrets with her… didn’t she want me? I wanted her back so bad… I thought… if I cared a little less, maybe she’d come back to me.
School was menial after that, there was just no point. My jumping got more erratic, riskier. I just didn’t care anymore. I got hurt bad and when I returned, mom and dad got more and more worried about me… so I left. I moved in with Kae, he was a welcome comfort, but still, I could care less where I was or what I did, until he met Caroline. She made me see the pointlessness of my actions. I owe a lot to her.
Why would Rose do this to me? I thought she loved me! I gave her everything. I brought her back with me just like she wanted! I bring both my hands to cover my face, pressing the butts of my palms into my eyes, trying to suppress the flood of ancient emotions that threaten to overflow. I let out a strangled moan of grief.
I sob there, alone, for a long time as I come to terms with the new-old memories and emotions. I’d loved her, she broke every rule I had. I remember the two long years I pined for her as Samantha and now… She’s back, trying to remove Kat and get me back… but, it’s a little too late. I’ve moved on.
She came, though, she’d been here, at the Guild. But… she had used me against my will, tricked me with that stupid love potion. Did she not think I had feelings of my own? Did she just expect me t wait around for her? She fooled me just to get in my pants.. and she used my magic to get a book so she could learn more about her magic. I cringe at all the ways she violated me and my rules for the past five years, and yet… I can’t bring myself to hate her for any of it.
She even tried to wipe my memory a second time! How can I have sympathy for someone if they keep trying to hurt me? I don’t get it…
But then, I guess I do. She told me about her parents. They’d refused to help her and accused her of being a witch before disowning her when she tried to tell them the truth. She lost everything it seems, for me. I don’t know why she did it, perhaps it was the stress, but she did something to them, something with her magic I suppose, and they died. It’s terrifying, her power. I can’t imagine what must be going through her mind, having to live with that following her around.
When I finally get my breath back, I drop my arms onto the bed, feeling for my own magic. I feel nothing, like a clock that no longer ticks. It hurts, my chest. I feel an ache in it, a constriction that squeezes my lungs and heart. It still hurts. I still hurt for her…
I turn my head, glancing around the room. I vaguely remember the events leading up to now. I had been reading my notes, I think. Kaitlyn had come back and… and… from there things get mixed up. I can’t recall what was here or in France. Why is that? Maybe she can tell me. I pull myself up, slowly.
I need to find Kat. I look around the room, not seeing her. Where could she be?
I slide to the edge of the bed, standing slowly and walk over to the desk. The chairs pushed over, left on the ground. I recall… the letters. I.. tried to hide them. I lean down, sliding the drawer open only to find it empty.
My stomach twists. Did she take the letters?! No! If she finds out about Rose, I just… I don’t know what she’d think of me! What if she puts two and two together and figures out who Rose is calling herself now?! I dash to the door just as it opens.
I stumble to a stop as Kaede stands in the doorway, a bundle of papers in his hands. They look… familiar.
“Oh, hey Andi, You woke up!” he grins.
“Yea, I have. Why do you have those?” I frown, looking at the papers which are really the notes and the diary I’m looking for.
“Oh, these?” he holds it up. “Well, funny story. I came in last night looking for them to give to Kat, but Selene wouldn’t let me in for some stupid reason. Blue’s retarded and wouldn’t give them to her and I wasn’t about to scan like… five hundred pages of this steamy romance over my phone. So I read it before I went back to bed ‘cause I couldn’t sleep with Caroline snoring all night.
“How come you didn’t let me in about this sooner? This Rose girl, she was like, all over you. Couldn’t keep her mind off you! What’d you do to make her run away, man?” he smirks, thrusting the papers into my arms.
“I didn’t make her run away, Kae. She took off on her own. I don’t know why she left me,” I glower.
“Riiiight. I’ll believe that when hell freezes over. Anyway. If you’re looking for Kat, she’s in Selene’s room. Bet you can’t get in though. She’s under house arrest. Something about you using a sword on Heath and what not. Wish I’d been there to see it!” he snickers.
“No, I don’t think you would. I really remember it all myself. It might be nice to have all my memories in order for once,” I groan, straightening the papers and turning back to the desk. I toss them in the drawer, locking it before I return to the door.
“Well, you can try Selene’s. Best of luck to you. I’ll wait out here, listening in,” he smirks, moving aside to let me pass.
I step into the hall, walking to Selene’s door. I’m stopped by the hulking scaly body of Blue, barricading the door. I’m not in the mood to deal with dragons. I cross my arms and glare at him. “Move it, Blue.”
His head lifts, scaly lips pulling back to reveal long, dagger-like teeth. A low growl emanates from his chest, his yellow eyes narrow. Then, he stops. His head tilts, as though listening, and then he slowly stands up. He moves to the side of the door, keeping his gaze fixed on me.
“See, easy,” I shrug. I hear Kaede snicker from his door down the hall as I step up to knock. “Selene? It’s me. Can… I come in?” I call, not feeling so sure about how I’ll be received. I’m still terrified Kat won’t understand… that she’ll hate me for what Rose and I did together… A fleeting thought drifts across my mind as My hand raps on the door – what if she leaves me?
There’s shuffling on the other side and the door slowly pulls open, but it’s not who I expect. Nik peers down at me, dark circles under his already dark eyes.
“Where’s your sword?” he asks, not a hint of his normal humor.
“W- what are you talking about?” I ask, looking up at him. I quickly think back to my sword, wondering if it’s from one of my haywire memories. Kae mentioned a sword too, but I can’t recall if I had it or not. “I’m just looking for Kat. Is she here?” I try to peer past him into the room, but his figure blocks my view.
“Answer the question or leave,” Nik replies, his tone deadpan.
“What’s your problem?! I don’t have my damn sword,” I growl. I’m in no mood to deal with all this. “Is she ok? Is Kat in there?” I ask again.
“No thanks to you,” he scoffs.
“Nik,” I hear Selene scold. “Come in, Andrei.”
I glare as I pass by him, flipping him the finger. “Jerk,” I whisper under my breath, hopefully, loud enough for her to hear.
Nik follows me in, moving past me to stand in front of a pair of doors on the other side of the room. Selene’s sitting on the couch, waving me to come closer. I approach her, moving to the empty chair next to the couch. I don’t see Kat, so she must be in the bedroom…
“Forgive him. It’s been a long night,” Selene smiles. “What do you remember?”
I sit down on a chair and put my elbows on my knees, holding my head in my hands. I go to answer, but the simple question breaks the meager dam I’d put up not ten minutes ago before coming in here.
“Too much. I remember all too much. I don’t understand how I could have forgotten all that and now…” my chest heaves as I try to breathe and cry at the same time. I try to continue. “Kae said something about a sword and Heath, and I can’t find Kat anywhere, but I don’t understand the things I remember. Everything’s all mixed up. It’s like, was Kat in France, or was I here, I – I just don’t know anymore.”
“Oh dear,” Selene sighs. “I worried I hadn’t been able to sort everything. You were being quite uncooperative. Would you let me help now?”
I look at her, a wet mess all over my face. I just want things to be right again. I just want everything to go back to normal! I nod, unable to make my voice sound. I’m pathetic really. Some hero I am…
Selene nods, patting her lap. “Lay down, relax.”
I move to the couch, laying back and resting my head in her lap. I heave a sigh and close my eyes, waiting. “None of this was your fault. The block was put there by someone else. I think you know who.”
“Sam,” I croak. “Rose…”
“Yes,” she sighs. “I’ll start now. Don’t resist, or it will hurt.”
I focus on my breathing as I feel her in my head. It’s a strange feeling, like a little mouse moving around, checking things out before moving on to the next. She stops moving, having found what she’s looking for and starts to move the memories around. It’s weird, like a tickle in your head that you can’t reach.
I try to relax, wanting her to fix my head and not wanting it to hurt anymore. I focus on the breath in, how it fills my lungs and then exhale, as the air leaves. The memories start to move around, more recent events moving forward while the older events from France shift back.
I lay there for a few minutes until she withdraws her consciousness. I wait for the memories to settle, for the tickle to go away. Suddenly I remember last night clearly.
Every muscle in my face is in conflict with itself and I slap my arms to my face to cover the mess. My thoughts reel. I hurt her! I nearly killed Heath and I hurt Kat! I scared her and I shouted! What in God’s name is wrong with me?! I can’t stop the torrent of pitiful names to call myself.
“Andrei,” Selene’s voice snaps. “It wasn’t your fault. No one blames you. You were confused and in a daze.”
“That’s a lie. He blames me,” I point without looking toward Nik. “Kat will blame me… She’ll never look at me the same. She’ll always be scared of me,” I whisper sadly. I’ve ruined what we worked so hard to build…
“So, what? You give up? You’re going to run away from her and from your child?” Selene asks bluntly. “Don’t you think she deserves to speak for herself, instead of you making assumptions for her?”
“How can I face her?” I whisper.
“With remorse,” Selene answers simply.
She makes it sound so simple. How can it be that simple? It’s never simple… I’m scared she’ll hate me. I wouldn’t can’t blame her if she does… not after what happened last night.
“If you don’t man up, someone else will,” Selene warns. “Are you alright with that?”
“What?! No! Who?” I don’t understand. Why’d she say that?
“It’s hypothetical,” she rolls her eyes. “Kaitlyn is an alluring woman. It’s only a matter of time someone else will make a move on her if you leave her.”
“Nik said she was a child,” I mumble.
“No, I said she wasn’t emotionally her own age. She’s more like a teenager,” Nik scoffs. “Don’t turn this on me, man. She’s still physically a woman.”
“Same thing,” I grumble.
“Are you going to make excuses all day, or are you going to try?” Selene asks, growing impatient.
I rub my eyes and sit up, a strange sense of nervous eagerness in my stomach. “Where is she? Is she here? I want… I want to see her,” I say quietly.
Selene looks to Nik and he steps back, pulling the doors open. He makes a short, sharp whistle, waving inside the doors. Then Heath steps out, dark bags under his eyes to match as he stifles a yawn. My eyes lock on him as he moves to the other side of Nik, who summons me forward.
I can’t help but question; why was he in there with Kat?
The room is lit with a single lamp on the ceiling over a large queen-sized bed. On the left of the bed is a dark wood dresser and a mirror, on the right is a door leading to a closet and a bathroom on the other end.
It’s not hard to spot her, bright red hair hanging loose, sitting cross-legged in the middle of the bed on pale cream coloured sheets. A little black creature scrambles out of her lap and behind her, out of sight. She watches me with wide amber eyes, unmoving.
I let the door fall shut behind me and I stand there, unsure if I should move closer or not in case the sight of me scares her. I hunch my shoulders with hesitation, but I keep my eyes on her, unblinking. She seems well. I coax my voice to sound.
“Morning,” I pout, hands pressing against the door behind me. I feel a whirlwind of emotions, from shame, embarrassment, grief, and love. I shove them aside, only wanting to know how she feels.
How does she feel… does she still feel the same?
“Hi,” she responds nervously. “Do you… remember?”
I nod, biting the inside of my cheek as I look to my feet. “I’m… so sorry. I’m sorry… sorry,” I can’t seem to stop muttering the word. My lip trembles as I try to stop it from frowning. I let my knees drop to the floor and I drop my hands to my side limply, still muttering the stupid word.
The bed creaks as she climbs off, kneeling down and crawling toward me. She hesitates, reaching her hand out toward me, palm up. She stares into my eyes, waiting for me to react.
It hurts to see her so hesitant. I stare back as the tears blur my vision. I want to reach out to her but I’m scared she will be scared of me if I move. I lift my hands to my lap, wanting so bad to hold her. She glances between me and her hand as if to say, ‘go on.’
I lean forward, reaching my hands for her shoulders, draping them behind her and burying my face into her neck. “I’m sorry,” I sob like a mono track record.
“I know,” she whispers back, her arms wrapping around my chest. “I know. It was an accident. It’s okay.”
“No, it’s not. I promised…” I hiccup. I barely squeeze, too afraid to hurt her again.
“It was an accident,” she repeats. I feel a drop of hot liquid fall onto my head. “It was an accident,” I’m not sure which of us she’s trying to convince.
I can’t speak, so I just stay there, holding her – well, more like hanging off her. I can’t look at her until I can compose my face into something less alien than what I’m sure it looks like now. I still can’t feel the time. I don’t know how long we sit there. Could be five minutes, feels more like two hours.
When I’m all out of water, I sigh into her hair, keeping my eyes shut and taking deep ragged breaths. I press my fingers gently into her back, relishing in her closeness. She rests her cheek against my head, breathing steadily.
“Are you okay? Your head doesn’t hurt anymore?” she asks, breaking the silence.
I swallow the lump in my throat, taking a deep breath in hopes to answer. “No, it doesn’t,” It comes out more like a blubber of words. I swallow again. “I’m fine now. Selene fixed it,” I mumble, reluctant to pull away.
“That’s good,” she nods against my head. “I was so worried…”
“You… were?” I ask, somehow surprised. I thought she’d have been more scared than worried. More hating than.,, understanding. Why is it that I’d think that?
“Of course,” she sounds confused. “Why wouldn’t I be?”
“I… I dunno,” I let my voice fade. I suddenly remember, the baby. I gasp, pulling myself away from her, even though I don’t want to. I look between us, putting a hand to her stomach. “Is it ok too?”
She nods quickly. “The cut was really shallow. I barely felt it. We’re fine, I promise.”
“You’re positive? Did Gwen check? Are you sure?!” I insist.
“Um… No, she didn’t, but… I know it’s okay,” she bites her lip.
My eyes search her face and I know she means what she’s saying. I give her a sad smile. “Good. That’s… good. I’m glad.”
She smiles sheepishly. “Do you think Selene will let me out of here? I’d like to go back to our room, maybe shower… It’s been kind of a crazy couple days,” her eyes dart away. “I don’t think any of us got much sleep.”
“What? Oh, Yea… She’s fixed my head, so… I think she’ll let you go now…” I sit back on my heels, hands rubbing her arms gently, barely touching. I look at her, red hair sticking out at odd angles around her face. Her amber eyes like mini suns looking back at me.
It’s strange, how opposite her and Rose are. Her eyes, they were like the moon, and Kaitlyn’s are the sun. I give her a weak smile, drinking in her appearance.
She blushes, glancing over her shoulder. “Oh, um…” she pulls away, standing up and turning to the bed. “Scoria? Where’d you go? Come here,” she leans on the bed with her hands, lifting the pillows.
My eyes follow her, curiously. “Who’s Scoria?”
“The – oof – hatchling,” she falls onto the bed as she lunges to catch something. “Come on, we’ll get you some nice steak. How about that?” she calls sweetly.
“Hatchling? Wait, the egg? It’s hatched?! Already?!” I ask, each question rising in tone.
“Yeah, it was a whole thing,” she mumbles. “Hah!” she sits up, a little out of breath, holding a tiny black dragon in her hands.
“You’ll have to tell me sometime,” I say, looking at the tiny black dragon in her hands. Weird, in the light, it almost has a glow to it. Its head swivels to examine me with its slitted eyes. It’s a little unnerving. She blinks, then turns back to Kaitlyn, opening her tiny maw as she regards her.
“Don’t be like that. You just got off on the wrong foot,” she frowns. “Wrong wing?”
“She doesn’t like me?” I ask.
Kat stands up, putting the dragon on her shoulder. “She was with me last night. You don’t remember? You saw her.”
“What! Oh, you’re right. I didn’t realise,” I sigh, dropping a hand to my thigh. “Just another creature to hate me,” I mutter under my breath.
“She doesn’t hate you,” Kaitlyn sighs. “She’s not even a day old. She doesn’t know what hate is. Give her a chance to warm up to you,” Kat crouches in front of me with a grin. “So far it seems like food is the easiest way to win her over.”
“Really? Well… I guess I could try cooking for a dragon. What do Dragons like?” I perk up. She said she wanted to shower before going for food.
“Meat, mostly. I have no idea, to be honest,” Kat shrugs. “She ate Heath’s bread and soup too. I get the feeling she’ll eat anything.”
“Wait, have you eaten since… before… the thing between us?” I ask, a familiar feeling of concern budding in my gut.
Kat leans back, scratching her head and avoiding my gaze. “I… Um… There was a lot going on…”
“You need to eat, Kat. It’s important,” I try to sound gently insistent. I slowly stand, glancing back at the door. “Well, if I need to make sure you eat, I will. Let’s get cleaned up, ok?” I say, reaching for the door handle.
I feel her hand, lacing her fingers with mine. When I look back, she smiles timidly.
“You’re ok?” I ask, making sure.
She nods. “As long as you are.”
I smile, eyes roaming across her face. “I am when I’m with you,” I whisper, feeling like the old emotions I once had for Rose fading the more I look at Kat.
Her face lights up with a bright smile. “Let’s go.”
By Kayla West