Modern Day; January 3rd; Cleveland, Ohio; Melissa
“Good morning,” Amber said to me with a smile as I walked into the kitchen to pour myself a cup of coffee.
I turned my back to her as I poured the coffee and I was relieved to be able to do so because tears were threatening to leak from my eyes and I didn’t want her to see. I wasn’t usually this emotional about anything, but this was the first time that my parents were finally together and I didn’t know what to do with myself.
Amber was usually a cheerful person, but she had never been this happy before. Never. It filled my soul with joy to see her grinning from ear to ear. I didn’t think the smile had disappeared from her face since she had clapped eyes on Adam at the New Year’s Eve party. They had spent the entire night together just catching up. I wasn’t around them the whole time, so I didn’t know everything that was said, but she didn’t seem to be upset with Adam for abandoning her. I didn’t know if I was mad at him or not for doing so. In his defense, he was just doing what he thought was right – and he hadn’t even known Amber was pregnant with me at the time. On the other hand, he should have been honest with her from the beginning, like Willow had been with me.
“Are you excited to go back to school tomorrow?”
“Don’t remind me! I was trying to forget, but your sadism is overpowering.”
“Such big words for so early in the morning!” she said teasingly.
“I stayed up late last night working on a scholarship essay. I was trying to impress them.”
“Well, I’m sure you succeeded.” I refilled her coffee for her without being asked and she smiled thankfully up at me as she said, “I’m expecting you to hear back from some colleges pretty soon about whether or not you got in. It’s been a few weeks.”
“Yeah, it has.” My stomach flopped. “It will be so weird for me to be away from you next year.”
“At least I know you’re comfortable traveling long distances by yourself.” She laughed. “Exactly how far away is Parcia from here?”
“Hell if I know. You should ask Adam. He actually lives there.”
She raised her eyebrows and I realized she had been waiting for me to breach the subject.
“Tell me what you’re thinking, Melissa. I know you can tell what I’m thinking, but I can’t always tell what you’re thinking.”
“It would be unbearable if we had more than one mind reader in this household.” She nodded. “I’m assuming you’re referring to the subject of Adam.” She nodded again. “He’s a great guy. A really great guy. I liked him as soon as I met him. I just didn’t realize he was my father…”
“There’s no way you could have known that.”
“I might have known if you had told me anything about him.”
I wished I hadn’t sounded so much like I was accusing her because I really wasn’t trying to pick a fight.
“I know.” She bowed her head and I instantly felt bad. “I realize I should have told you about him, but I just felt like I was going to be sick every time I thought about him. I loved him so much. It was more than difficult to have to let him go. In fact, I think I might still love him…”
I sipped my coffee.
“Yes. I’m going to be honest with you, Melissa. I know I’m still in love with him. And he told me he’s still in love with me.”
“Did he kiss you? I mean, recently?”
“Yes. And it was all still there.”
“What, his lips? That’s good.”
She laughed hysterically.
“No, that’s not what I meant, silly! I mean the magic was still there. The fireworks, so to speak. Tell me what you’re thinking. I need to know what you’re thinking through all of this.”
“I’m happy for you. I really am. It’s just all so much to take in. I love Adam. He’s great. I just… Didn’t know he was my father. That’s a big thing to get used to.” I took another sip of coffee and let the bitter taste spread through my mouth. “Are you going to get married?”
“I’m not going to deny that that’s a possibility. It’s too soon to know for sure, though. We need to spend a lot of time together. He’s probably going to be around a lot.”
“Of course.” I downed the rest of my coffee, burning my mouth a little. “I’m going to go do some homework now.”
“Homework?” She grimaced as I pushed back my chair. “Have fun with that.”
“Oh, I will. I have so much because my teachers were trying so hard to ruin my life when they assigned things for us to do over break. It’s like they didn’t realize that we would be celebrating Christmas and New Year’s and that family is more important than education.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever heard you say that.” She smiled. “I love you, Melissa.”
“I love you too, Amber,” I said as I left the kitchen and went upstairs.
I sat down on my bed and pulled all of my textbooks out of my bag, spreading them across my comforter. I looked at all of the things I had to do and started prioritizing, ordering the things I needed to do in a list format. Then I got to work.
AP English first, then AP Chemistry, then AP Stats, then AP German. And, finally, AP Calculus. I did all of the assigned readings in an hour and a half and then turned to the problems for Calculus. I smiled to myself as I opened my notebook. Then I pulled out my cell phone and called Willow.
“Are you doing the Calculus homework?” he said, skipping a normal greeting.
I laughed and said, “Yes.”
“I thought so! So am I.”
“Do you want to come do it with me? The Calculus homework?”
“Sure,” I heard a voice say to the left of me.
I turned, slightly startled, and saw Willow was standing next to my bed, holding his textbook and notebook in one hand and holding his cell phone to his ear with the other hand. I laughed and jumped up to hug him. He dropped everything he was holding in surprise at my sudden reaction and started laughing as he hugged me back.
“Hi,” I said.
“Hi,” he said back.
And then we were kissing and I sat down on the bed while he was kissing me. And he laid down on top of me. It felt great to have his body up against mine and I smiled as he kissed me with tongue. I slid my hands up his shirt and felt his warm skin soft against my fingers. He moaned unexpectedly and kissed my neck.
“Oh my God,” he said. “You are evil.”
He rolled off of me and helped me sort out all of my books and notes that had been disturbed by our short make out session.
“We should probably get to that homework.”
“Yeah.” I couldn’t help but laugh while he was getting his things from the floor. “We probably have more self-control than most couples.”
“That’s because I can tell that something’s wrong and I don’t think us messing around would solve anything. I mean, it would be great, but… I’d rather talk about it so that there is no longer a problem. It’s kind of my ability, you know.”
“What problem? You mean the math problems?”
“Melissa. You know exactly what I’m talking about. Tell me everything. And then we can do the homework.”
“Fine. It’s just that I’m having trouble coming to terms with Adam being my father.”
He shifted his position so that he was sitting cross legged across from me.
“That’s totally understandable. But he’s a great guy and your mum is happy, so what’s so problematic about it?”
I stared into space.
“Willow, I’m not fully human. And I thought I was. And now I know my father and he’s not human at all. And it’s all so overwhelming. I mean, it was just a few months ago that everything about my life seemed normal – well, except for the fact that I could read minds. Now I can control fire too. Everything is just nuts. It’s insane and even if I wanted to, I could never go back to the normal days.”
“Do you want to? Go back to normal days?”
“That’s such a hard question because if I did, I wouldn’t have met you. And I can’t even remember my life before you because it was so boring.”
He stared into my eyes.
“That was such a romantic thing to say.” He leaned forward and kissed my lips softly. “I love you.”
“I love you too. And I love Amber, so I want her to be happy. Everything is going to be fine. I’m just being silly.”
“I’m pretty sure this is a normal way to react to finding out who your father is. If I’m honest, I didn’t know Lord Darylis and Lady Catherine were my parents for a few years. I was probably five or six when Margrét told me. She didn’t want me to know that my parents were two people that hardly cared. She wanted me to be raised with love and it would’ve been more difficult if I had known from the very beginning that my parents didn’t love me.”
“I’m so sorry, Willow.” I took his hand and looked down at it as I moved my fingers to trace his knuckles and fingernails and each line on his palm. “It hurts me to think about that.”
“Shit happens to everyone. Neither of them are in my life right now and I’m happy.”
“Do they have any idea where Lady Catherine might’ve gone?”
“Cierra is trying to figure that out. She’s putting her head together with Stefan. He’s Mr. Logic, so they should be able to come up with something.”
“Good, because I’m pretty sure she’s plotting something.”
“Oh, she definitely is. It’s just a matter of what and when exactly. Security has been heightened in the Underground. Everyone is expecting something. That’s the scary part, though. The fact that we don’t know. All we know is that she’s capable of a lot.”
“She’s capable of being a bitch, that’s for sure.”
We froze when we heard footsteps in the hallway and then Amber said, just outside the closed door, “I was a little concerned when you didn’t come down for lunch, Melissa, but I know how you can get with your schoolwork. You get into a sort of bubble and I didn’t want to break that. But it’s five o’clock and you really need to eat something, so I brought you some supper. You don’t even have to come downstairs if you don’t want to. I understand.”
She opened the door and looked between Willow and I with obvious surprise. In her hands she held a plate with two pieces of pork, some beans, and a small portion of tossed salad. She moved into the room and set the plate down on my desk without saying anything.
Oh, dear God, I heard her think. My teenage daughter…
“Hi, Mrs. Curran,” said Willow.
She sighed and said, “Hello. Have you been working this whole time, Melissa?”
“Yes!” I said, trying not to think about the make out session. “Willow hasn’t even been here that long.”
“I should have anticipated this.” She shook her head. “I should have known that you would go and visit each other without asking first. I want to trust you, but I also want to make sure that you’re being safe.”
“Amber. We haven’t had sex. I swear.”
Willow looked at me with wide eyes and I realized that I had just told Amber more than I wanted to. She put her hands on her hips. She looked amused and I saw that I had lost and she had won.
“Alright, then. I’m proud of you for making good decisions. I should have known, since both of you are very intelligent.”
She emphasized the word “intelligent” as she looked over at Willow. I resisted the urge to roll my eyes at her and squeezed Willow’s hand that I was still holding. He squeezed it back and I could feel his alarm.
“I’m sorry to barge in,” Willow said.
“Oh, don’t worry about it. You’re always welcome here. If you want me to bring you up some food, I can. I can see you guys are working on homework, so that’s good.”
“No, thank you. I’ve already eaten.”
“Okay. I’ll leave you two alone now.”
She left the room without shutting the door behind her and Willow and I looked at each other.
“That was awkward. I’m sorry,” I said.
“It’s okay.” He shook his head. “I’m glad that she knows everything now. I hate keeping secrets from people. That’s why I didn’t wait very long before I told you about myself and Parcia.”
“I’m so glad you did.”
We leaned towards each other at the same time and kissed each other deeply. I held his face in my hands and slid my hands back so that my fingers ran through his dark hair. His arms went around my waist and pulled me closer to him on the bed. I felt so happy when I was near him. The closer, the better. I wondered if other people felt like this when they were with the person they loved. When they were kissing and wrapped up in the powerful feelings of great passion and affection.
Probably not, I thought. There’s something about Willow and my relationship that’s just so… Fiery.