Michael showed up bright and early the next morning. I stayed curled up on my couch while he and Randall pulled up a couple of chairs. He sat patiently while I slowly pulled out the stack of papers I’d spent most of the night researching.
I let out a deep breath. “Look, I’m sorry about the other day. I was exhausted and in pain and hopped up on meds so I freaked and I really didn’t want to listen to what you were saying. But I’m ready to listen now.”
He eyed me for a moment before his silvery gaze zoomed in on Randall. “You told,” he accused.
Randall shrugged. “I thought she needed to know. She needs to protect herself from Vega.”
“Yeah, what he said,” I agreed quickly before the inevitable argument between the testosterone men could ensue and Michael decided not to give me the answers I was so desperately seeking.
One side of Michael’s mouth jerked up at my quick, childish response. “Okay, what do you know so far?”
I laid out my pile of papers that I’d found. It had been hard, keeping my own personal feelings from it, but I’d gone into full reporter mode and stayed as objective as possible in that particular situation. The first pictures I laid out were from when I was born and my sweet sixteen. “I found these a few weeks ago. You and Vega were there at both of those parties.”
He nodded once. “Vega has been searching for you for generations but she had not succeeded in many lifetimes. She was not a threat for quite some time but she found you in this life before you were even born and I needed to keep her as far away from you as I could.”
My head bobbed up and down. I was still trying to stay impartial but it was strange discussing my own life from an outsider’s point of view.
I pulled out the articles of past Lyras and put them on top of the first. “I think that these are me in past… reincarnations? Each girl is named Lyra and looks just like me. And there’s only one per generation.”
“Yes, they are each you from different lives.”
I blanched. It was one thing to have a theory but another completely to have it confirmed. I placed out another stack. “I got these last night after Randall told me. They’re all about different gods and goddesses from the older religions. Thesis was the goddess of creation. I found one site that claimed she had two daughters: one embodied humanity and the other was queen of the titans.”
He shot me a small smile. “Can you guess which one you are?”
I froze, swallowing back the lump in my throat. “So it was true?”
“Yes, but not everything can be found in those books you have studied. Much of your past was lost, even to the older histories. After you chose to give up your godliness, many humans started regarding you as nothing more than a legend. But they still remembered you enough to realize that you were in the stars, even if they were wrong about what your constellation means.”
I’d always been a fan of astronomy and Lyra was my favorite constellation. “Oh, so that means that the constellation was named for me?”
“Oh yeah,” Randall answered. “All of those are named after immortals or something that belonged to one, although some of the myths are more factual than others.”
I pursed my lips tightly. “So you’re saying that all of the people and things the stars were named for actually existed?”
“Not existed, Lyra. Exist. They’re immortal, honey,” my best friend explained.
“So like Hercules and Orion and Perseus are real, still alive?”
“It depends on how exactly you define ‘alive’,” Michael said easily. “But, yes, those heroes were real and they still exist. That also means that the monsters depicted in the stars are also real.”
I paled slightly. “Those monsters, the titans, those are hers, aren’t they?”
He nodded. “Yes, they belong to Vega. She knows that she did not succeed in killing you, so she will try again with her titans.”
I sat up so quickly I got dizzy. Michael was at my side in an instant, holding my shoulders until the wooziness left. “I’m fine,” I muttered to him before turning to Randall. The new onslaught of information was making me a little sick to my stomach. “I have to go to the bathroom. Will you help?”
Five minutes later, I was nestled back into the couch. I noticed that Michael’s eyes zeroed in on where Randall’s hands settled over me to help slide me into the pillows. It took me a few minutes of shifting before I could get comfortable and although Michael stayed quiet the whole time I couldn’t help but notice the annoyed look he had as Randall helped me. Finally I leaned my head back and sighed in content. “Okay, I’m ready to hear more.”
“What else would you like to know?”
I looked between the two of them. “If I’m the daughter of a goddess, then what are the two of you?”
“Your protector,” Michael answered.
“Are you in the stars?”
He laughed. “No, I was very discrete when early astronomers were putting names to stars.”
I giggled a little. Now that I believed him, I could let myself relax around Michael and not think that one or both of us were crazy.
I turned to my best friend? “And you? How are you immortal?”
“I’m a cupid,” he stated proudly.
My eyes narrowed slightly. “A cupid, Randall? If you’re cupid then you could have made any guy fall for you, or kept my parents together.”
He chuckled nervously. “Well for one, cupids don’t exactly make people fall in love or anything like that; we just point people in the right direction. Secondly, I’m not really gay.”
I stared at him in shock for a minute. “What? What do you mean, you’re not gay? You’ve seen me naked before! You just helped me go pee ten minutes ago!” I fumed.
“Hey, chill, Ly. I love you, but not that way. I only said that I was gay so you wouldn’t ask questions about why I was never with anyone. I already have a girl that I’m in love with.”
My eyes grew wide and I sunk deeper back into the cushiony pillows. “Whoa. I can’t believe that we’ve been best friends our- my- whole life and you never told me. Who is she? I want to meet her.”
His smile became dreamy. “Her name is Cassiopeia.”
“You will meet her soon,” Michael promised. “We need her to help you remember some of your past lives. And show you some of you history with Vega.”
Randall brightened up and jumped to his feet. “I can go pick her up and bring her now. You’ll absolutely love her, Lyra.”
He was gone in an instant leaving me alone with Michael.
Michael and I made small talk for the next twenty minutes but an awkward tension hung in the air between us. I didn’t know what to say and now that I knew the truth things were just weird between us. I’d accused him of being in love with Vega’s sister, but I was Vega’s sister what did that mean? I was more confused than ever and just wanted to avoid any conversation that revolved around the two of us. I was extremely glad when Randall barged into the room, disrupting the awkward silence that had ensued.
“Hey, Lyra. This is Cassi.”
The girl standing shyly at the door looked about my age. She was dark with tan complexion, shoulder-length brown hair, chocolate eyes, and full red lips. Her almond eyes zeroed in on me, making me feel like some type of new specimen in a petri dish. “Hi, I’m Cassiopeia but most everyone calls me Cassi. You must be Lyra. It’s so nice to finally meet you. Randy doesn’t shut up about you.”
I blushed a little at that. “Sorry I couldn’t say the same about you. It seems like no one ever tells me anything.”
She smiled kindly. “It’s no problem. And don’t feel bad about being kept out of the loop. Michael just thought that it’d be better for you if you didn’t know anything. You know, he figured you’d be safer from Vega.”
“That’s enough, Cassi,” he snapped.
She stuck her tongue at him and narrowed her brown eyes. “Touchy. It’s hardly my fault if you want to keep secrets. Besides, do you think it really matters what you thought before if we’re telling her everything anyway.”
“Not quite everything,” Randall amended.
I glared at him. “Excuse me?”
“Not yet, Lyra. Geeze, you don’t have to go all cuckoo’s nest.”
Cassiopeia slapped his shoulder. “Be nice, Randy. Leave the poor girl alone. She’s been through a lot.”
She turned back to me. “Okay, let’s get started. Michael wanted me to come over because I have the power to shed some light on your hidden past. I can show you things that have happened to you before ant it will help you understand what’s going on now.”
She smiled gently. Cassiopeia wasn’t what I was expecting when Michael said that she would help me understand. She was too sweet. She didn’t exactly seem the type to really have any power, let alone the power to show me what had happened to me in the past. “Yes, I have the gift of visions but unfortunately my visions are only of past events. Showing you yours is going to be easy because those events and those lives are part of you. It’s like they’re in a dark closet but you don’t have the key to access them. That’s where I came in. I have the key and a flashlight so that you can see in the dark.”
I bit my lip and nodded. It made a little sense when she explained it.
“It’s okay, you’ll understand once we get started. Now, we’re going to ease into this slowly so we’re going to start with something from this life that happened recently. How about your accident from a few nights ago?”
I gave her a hesitant nod and she smiled reassuringly. She pulled one of the kitchen chairs over and set it right in front of me. Cassi folded her legs under her as she sat and took both of my hands in hers. “Okay, just keep your hand in mine and looked at my eyes. Nothing can hurt you and I’ll be with you the whole time.”
The brown of her eyes seemed to melt like chocolate. The liquid texture swirled around her pupils until it was all I could see.
I blinked and when I opened my eyes I was standing in the rain, Cassi at my side. The scene before me was terrifying. My rental car was dented like a sardine can, Vega stood at my door leaning in so that I was blocked from my view. I squeezed Cassiopeia’s hand and stepped closer to the car. Vega tried to choke the life out of her- I refused to think of the dying girl in the car as me- while she reached desperately for the HTC on the next seat. Her hand connected and the fingers flashed across the numbers. ‘Michael’ came up on the screen and his voice came through the earpiece.
“H-help,” she spit out desperately.
There was a bright flash and Michael stood before her with blazing white wings protruding from his shoulders, a flaming sword in his hand, looking like an avenging angel. “Get the hell away from her,” he snarled.
Vega released me and turned slowly toward him. A slow smirk spread over her face. “Oh, Michael, you’re here. Did you come to see me kill your girlfriend?”
“Do not dare touch her,” he repeated. How messed up am I that I noticed he didn’t correct her when she called me his girlfriend even while I was watching my own possible death?
Vega’s turquoise eyes rolled back in her head. “What’s the big deal if I kill her? The little pest will just come back.”
His eyes narrowed. “You of all people know that it does not work that way.”
Vega let out a sarcastic little giggle. “Oh, that’s right. Baby sister’s immortality is running out with all of these reincarnations. I guess all of those years of being patient and looking for her paid off.”
Michael lifted the sword and swiped it across her chest. A look of shock colored Vega’s features as black drops of blood pooled from the line that extended from her right shoulder to left hip. Her eyes narrowed and her hand started to glow with a blue flame. “You’re going to regret that,” she hissed as she flung it at Michael.
I gasped, my hands flying up to my mouth.
The scene around me changed in a heartbeat so that I was back on the couch in my living room. My round eyes were wide as saucers and my hands were still glued to my mouth. I gasped for air and was able to stop hyperventilating after a few long seconds. “What just happened?” I demanded, my voice wavering.
“You let go,” Cassiopeia answered. “I told you not to let go of my hand and to keep looking at me. Once you lost that contact, the whole scene went back to being just a memory rather than a real vision.”
I let out a puff of air and blew my bangs out of my eyes. My eyes found Michael across the room and some of the worry faded from them. “What did Vega do? I mean, I thought she’d killed you.”
He smiled wryly. “I am immortal, remember? Vega just blasted me with some of her energy. I am fine.”
I nodded slowly. “So if she could do that, why try to suffocate me?”
“Did you hear what she said about your immortality running out? If she would have tried to kill you with her energy, she would have given you more godly essence for the next time you were reincarnated.”
I settled more comfortably in my pillows and my eyes became half-lidded. My head was starting to hurt from all the confusion swirling around in my head. “When did my life turn so wacky?”
Michael smiled. “It was probably sometime during your first life when you ran away.”
I grabbed one of the couch pillows and weakly threw it at him. “Shut up,” I yawned.
He reached over and tucked a loose strand of my strawberry hair behind my ear. “You are tired, Lyra-Rose. Get some rest. I think that you have had enough for now so we will be back later when you are not so exhausted.”
I smiled and leaned my cheek into his palm. “Okay, I’ll see you guys later then.”
My eyes were already closed when there was a gentle brush against my forehead and the door closed softly.