A Story Well-Travelled

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Chapter 18: Adelyn

Kenzi and I are still around the crackling fire, which now seems so tall it rivals the trees. We’re still under the bright splattering of stars in the sky. And I’m still so confused it reminds me of the time Aspen had to explain a girl’s period to Wesley. He just couldn’t wrap his head around it all, much like I can’t wrap my head around Kenzi’s words now.

“My Mom went to my dimension to save me?” I ask again.

Kenzi lays back on the grass, too tired to keep this up. I’ve asked her to repeat this five times now. “Yes,” Her voice is bored and monotone. “She went through the lake—which is a portal—to save you.”

“So the lake doesn’t take you to the place you long for the most?”

Against the grass, Kenzi shakes her head back and forth. “No.” She says with a sigh. “It’s a two way trip between your dimension and this one.”

“Does Emerson know all of this?”

This time, I break through the cracks of her boredom. Her whole body tenses. “Emerson doesn’t know.” Kenzi begins slowly. “I…I just couldn’t tell her. If she knew that her mother went to another dimension to save the sister she never knew she had, Emerson would want to follow her. It was too dangerous.”

“So she knows none of this?” I ask.

“No.”

For a moment, there’s just the sound of crickets and fire. Then more questions pound in my head, begging to be let free. “But what did my Mom want to save me from?”

Even though she’s on the ground, Kenzi still finds a way to shrug. “That I don’t know.” She admits. “Your mother wouldn’t give me the details. She just said that this was something she had to do. And I knew there was a chance that something awful was going to happen to her.” She’s quiet for a moment before adding, “I’m so sorry, Adelyn.”

Somehow, I’ve been saved, so I can only assume my mother succeeded to some degree. Or maybe some twist of fate saved me. My confusion only lasts for a brief moment before my conversation with Wesley comes flying back to me. The Council did experiments on him, extracting his magic. The pieces fit together in my head, forming a complete picture of my former predicament.

“My Mom wanted to save me from the Council.” I realize. And then the next thought hits—one uninvited but present all the same. Aspen and Grayson are still back at home with the Council pulling the puppet strings on Resdon. How can I be sure they’re safe? I have to tell them the truth. Grayson—gosh, Grayson—he works for the Council. Going into their own homefield every day can’t be safe for him.

I turn to face Kenzi, who has now closed her eyes and seems to be trying to sleep. “I have to go back home.”

Kenzi blinks her eyes open and sits back up, saying, “I was wondering if you would come to that conclusion.”

“And I want to bring Wesley with me.” I continue. At Kenzi’s confused face, I add, “Wesley is Lee. Your Lee, the one from town who distributes the letters.”

“You know Lee?”

“He’s from my dimension.” I say.

Kenzi is slowly absorbing this, but eventually she nods her head in acceptance. I can’t help but feel her motherly nature in the way that she prompted me to make my own conclusions but provided me with all the necessary information. She was much gentler than I would’ve thought as she told me the news of my Mother’s probable doom, and I can’t help but feel like I’d like to know her better. It’s too bad I’m leaving.

“Well,” Kenzi finally says. “Maybe we should introduce you to the rest of the group first? You know, as Adelyn?”

It’s the right thing to do. I nod my head and stand up before we head back inside.

To my surprise, the rest of the group is already gathered in the living room around a new addition—Wesley. He looks like he feels terribly out of place—one hand tucked in his pocket and the other reaching up to force his thick brown hair behind one ear. He stands hunched in the doorway, eyes darting around the room until they finally find me.

“Lee!” I exclaim, glad that instinct kicked in and I called him by the name I’m supposed to in this dimension. “What are you doing here?”

“Oh, I um…” Wesley is glancing nervously at Cade, who stands with his meaty arms crossed over his leather-jacketed chest. Cade’s face is foreboding only because he knows it will make Wesley uncomfortable, and it’s shockingly working. I’ve always thought of Wesley as this self-assured guy just a notch towards cocky on the confident scale. Right now though, his eye twitches nervously and he leans slightly away from the large man trying to protect me. Well, trying to protect Emerson.

Kenzi flanks my right. While I don’t turn around to see her expression, I can feel her eyes on me, urging me to go on and make my announcement.

“It doesn’t matter.” I interrupt Wesley. “You’re actually here at a really good time. I was just about to make an announcement.”

All eyes in the room land on me. I clear my throat and try to take in the added attention stoically, but my heart is racing in my chest. “I’m not Emerson.” I say, earning blank looks of confusion from Cade, Zofia, and Porter. “My name is Adelyn Josephs, and I’m Emerson’s sister from another dimension.”

A moment goes by in which I hold my breath. Right when the air is running out and my lungs start to burn, Cade bursts into loud, uproarious laughter. Beside him, Porter’s lips twitch as well. Only Zofia juts out her hip and fixes me with an irritated look, as if so annoyed that I’d even try out such a joke.

“She’s not kidding.” Kenzi’s voice shuts Cade up. “This is Emerson’s sister.”

“That’s right.” I reiterate. “And I’m sorry that I’ve been pretending to be Emerson, but I’m leaving tonight to go home and I just thought you guys should know.” The room is dead silent, so I’m forced to fill the empty air with more rushed words. “And thank you guys so much for being nice to me, even if you thought you were being nice to Emerson. And you all seem like such great people—”

“But where is Emerson then?” Porter asks, dark brows furrowed. “If she’s not here, where is she?”

“She’s…” I look to Wesley for help.

“That’s…actually why I’m here.” Wesley says, taking a step forward. Cade glares at him, but Wesley doesn’t back down. “I got a note from Grayson earlier today…” He looks around at the group. “That’s my pen-pal from the dimension Emerson’s in. He said he met Emerson. And that she was thrown in prison underneath the Council house.”

What?” Kenzi is first to ask her disbelieving question.

“WHAT?” Cade is next, albeit on a much louder scale.

Zofia’s mouth hangs open so long I’m sure she’ll catch flies. Porter’s whole body stills until he is a statue the color of the night.

Only I’m able to form a full sentence. “They put her in jail?” I whisper. Louder, I say, “Wesley, we’ve got to go back. Now. Tonight.”

“Grayson said he was going to break her out of prison.” Wesley says.

“Well he’ll probably need help—”

“That isn’t all.” Wesley says. I wish I could un-see how sad he looks now, how sympathetic. “Aspen was thrown in jail, too. And…your mother is there in the same prison.”

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