I indulged myself in some chi-tea and a candle-lit bubble bath when I got home from work. Sappy love songs thumped through my speakers and for a few minutes I let my mind clear of absolutely everything. I tried to focus on controlling the empathy but whenever I started to focus too much my mind would drift to Michael, which really wasn’t helping me at all. That’s when I decided what I was going to have to do.
The sun was barely peeking over the mountains in the distance when I arrived at Michael’s townhouse. I knocked hesitantly and waited for him to answer. He blinked in shock when he saw me standing on the doorstep. “Lyra-Rose? To what do I owe the pleasure?”
I pushed passed him into the living room and started pacing frantically, gnawing at my bottom lip for a fraction of a second. “I need your help. If I don’t fight her, Vega wins. The problem is that I’m not match for her as a human. How do I get rid of my humanity?” I blurted before I could stop myself.
“I don’t know why I ran at the beginning of time but I do know that this is something I have to do. It’s not about being selfish and getting what I want- I can’t do that anymore. I have to stand up to her.”
“Are you sure about this?”
I took a deep breath and actually thought about my choice, something I’d been avoiding since I’d made my decision. I knew that I didn’t want leave my life behind and I really didn’t want to be an immortal knowing what I was giving up. But I knew that I had to do something. “I’m sure,” I said finally.
“Well, if this is what you want then I will help you.”
I smiled. “Thank you. What do I have to do?”
Michael frowned slightly. “I am not sure exactly. You are the only goddess to ever attempt to give up your immortality.”
“Well, what did I do before? Maybe I can do that again or something.”
“No,” he snapped quickly.
I jumped a little from the urgency in his voice. I tried to keep cool but my voice gave a little squeak which I did my best to ignore. “O-okay. Apparently that was a bad idea. Do you have any suggestions?”
Michael sighed and gently cupped my chin to force me to look up at him. “I apologize, Lyra-Rose. It is just that when you became mortal you had to kill yourself to kill your godly essence. I do not believe that would work this time.”
My mouth formed a silent “o” and I had to glance down at my feet. I could see why he was so against that idea and I had to admit I was flattered that he was so freaked about me dying (again). “Okay. We’ll try another way for me to get my powers back.”
He nodded. “Okay.” He turned and strode to the bookshelf and pulled out the thick brown journal that had belonged to the original Lyra. “Perhaps this will help you.”
I wrinkled my nose at the book. “Homework?” I scoffed. “Seriously?”
He smiled wryly at me. “You are a reporter. I thought that you enjoyed research, Lyra-Rose,” he teased.
“I’m a community journalist, not an investigative journalist. I do local stuff and not researching. Homework isn’t really what I had in mind when I came over here.”
Michael laughed. “Do you want to become immortal again or not?”
“Ugh, fine,” I mumbled. I folded my legs under me and pulled the heavy book onto my lap and then started flipping through the ancient pages to see if there was anything about reversing my mortality.
Most of the pages were filled with complaints about Thesis and Vega or venting about being treated like a little girl. Some of the pages talked about Michael and how he was there for her but how she didn’t want a bodyguard. The last handful of pages talked about the newly created humans. Even as a goddess, she envied them. I saw when she decided that she wanted to give up everything to become one of her own creations and I also saw how much it pained her to leave behind her angel.
“This is hopeless,” I complained after my butt was numb from sitting so long and I still hadn’t found a way to get my immortality back. “You’ve had this book for however many centuries and you never found anything so what makes you think that I will?”
He reached out his warm hand to help me to my feet. “That book belonged to you, Lyra. If anyone could figure it out, you can.”
I sighed as I dusted off my rump. “I think that you have just a little bit too much faith in me, Michael. Shit, I can’t even control my empathy.”
I froze and cocked my head to the side. I couldn’t control my new power but that stupid thing was what had first triggered the whole transition. If one power could do that then maybe...
I dropped back to the floor and flipped rapidly through the journal. I didn’t stop until I reached one of the very first entries about her- my- powers. My crystal blue eyes were shining with excitement. “Michael, I think I’ve got an idea. What if I try to trigger all of my powers? With all this essence then I should automatically become a goddess again. Right?”
“I think,” he replied slowly, “that you should talk to Cassiopeia about that. She is better at this sort of thing than I am.”
I scowled at him. I really thought that I was on the right track for a second. “You were there, stupid. You were with me the first time when I was developing my powers. If I’m being an idiot than grow a pair and just tell me.”
“It is not that,” he amended quickly. “I just do not believe that I am the best person to help you in this life. You barely even like me in this reincarnation.”
I blushed bright red. It was true that I’d really hated Michael when I first met him because he was so damn annoying but that was far from the case now. I just didn’t have the guts to admit that. “I trust you,” I whispered. “I want you to be the one to help me with this. Please?”
“Yes, Lyra, I will help you.”
I left Michael’s house after we were done talking so that I could get some stuff done before I actually tried to trigger my immortality on purpose. I told him that I’d be back in the afternoon and it felt like I’d signed my own death certificate.
Even though I’d made the decision to give up my life, it was still hard to actually give up my life. It nearly killed me to call Mr. Maddison and tell him that I had to quit immediately. I canceled my TV and internet and packed up some boxes of Max’s stuff that I’d stolen and never returned. It was hard to throw my life away but I knew that it was for the best.
When all of my chores were done it was still only around eleven and I didn’t feel like going back to Michael’s right away. I curled up on the couch and just stared off into space thinking about what it would be like to be a goddess. I’d been treated like a princess growing up but I figured that being Thesis’ daughter was probably a lot different.
“Lyra?” Randall’s voice suddenly shouted frantically.
“In here,” I called back. My voice croaked a little but I was glad that it wasn’t totally deadpan.
“What the hell? Delia said you quit your job? Todd Johnson did the article for the tutor center this morning.”
I took a deep breath before I answered him. “I’ve decided that Vega’s too dangerous for me to just sit by and let her wreck everything. I have a chance to stop her, Randall, and I have to take it.”
His brow scrunched up in confusion. “What do you mean?”
I reached my hand to him and pulled him down onto the couch with me. I snuggled into his chest and closed my eyes, listening to his steady, strong heartbeat. “I’m going to accept my immortality. I’m no match for her as a human but as a goddess I’m on the same playing field.”
“Are you crazy?”
I let out a dry chuckle. “Probably.”
“Too late,” I interrupted. “I’ve made my decision and we both know how stubborn I can be. Besides, you’re an immortal, too. You won’t lose me.”
“Yeah, but what about Maxine and Mackenzie? Do you really want to leave them behind?”
Searing hot tears trickled from the corners of my eyes. I tried to hold back the sob that threatened to escape my lips but I only succeeded in making a choking noise. “No, of course not. I love my sister but Vega is a crazy bitch and I know that she’s not above using my family against me. You were there the night that she had Draco attack me. She would have killed Mac if it meant getting to me.”
I stood up and wiped my streaming eyes before he could say anymore. “Listen, I’ve got to go. I’m meeting with Michael right now so that he can help me tap into my essence. Do you want to come?”
He stood too and shoved his hands in his pockets. “Yeah, sure.”
The drive through Logan with Randall was silent and, for the first time in my life, awkward. I opened my mouth a dozen times to start a conversation but ended up closing it like a fish out of water each time. I parked in the driveway but neither of us moved at first.
“I don’t get it,” I finally snapped. “I thought that this was what you all wanted. Isn’t this why Cassi was showing me all of my old lives?”
“No, you don’t get it,” Randall growled under his breath. “None of us wanted you to just give up. We wanted to protect you.”
My jaw clenched with a loud click. “I’m not giving up, Randall. I’m trying to protect myself and everyone that I love. That’s what you were doing for me but now it’s my turn. Please don’t turn into a dick because I’ve made this choice. I’ve already tried to handle this thing with Vega but now I have to clean up my own mess. Now you can either stay and help or go and screw yourself.”
He glared at me for a fraction of a second. “You’re my best friend, Lyra. I love you and I’m just worried about you. I’m gonna stay, if that’s still okay with you.”
I smiled at him. “Of course it is. Let’s go in.”
Michael was waiting at the door when we walked up. He raised his dark eyebrows at Randall but didn’t say anything against having him stay. He led us into the backyard and Randall took a seat on a lawn chair so that he could watch.
Michael stood in front of me and lightly placed his hands on my shoulders so he was looking directly at me. “I think that we should start with one of you easier powers. One thing that you were very good at was making light. Your light radiates warmth and comfort.”
“So like fire?”
One side of his mouth pulled up. “Yes and no. Your light is like a flame but it does not burn nor destroy as mortal fire does.”
I pursed my lips slightly and nodded. “Okay. What do I have to do?”
“Relax and focus. Hold out your right hand and envision your essence taking form. See the light and feel the heat of it.”
I nodded once as he stepped back. I stuck my hand out in front of me and stared at it while I tried to make a light ball appear in my palm. My forehead wrinkled and I felt my brows knit together. My entire body tensed until my muscles shook but still nothing happened.
I dropped my hand and looked between the two guys. “It’s okay, Ly,” Randall encouraged. “You’ll get it soon enough.”
I frowned and shook out my arms. “I can do this,” I insisted, sounding an awful lot like the little engine that could. “Relax and focus.”
I raised my hand once again and narrowed my eyes at the space above my palm. I cleared my mind of everything except for the little essence that was supposed to be manifesting itself in my hand.
“Ugh!” I growled when still nothing happened.
“Don’t worry about it.”
I glared at my friend. He felt bad that I couldn’t do it but there was still a little underlying gladness that I was failing. “Screw you, Randall. It’s my choice to do this and I don’t need you doubting me.”
His baby blues widened slightly. “You can feel me still? I thought that you had that under control.”
“I’m working on it,” I hissed dangerously. “Now shut the hell up and stop with the fake support shit.”
His eyes were huge as he sank deeper into the chair. I turned my back on him to give it another try.
My head dropped to my chest after my millionth failed attempt, my ponytail swinging into my face. “Why can’t I get this?” I hissed.
“You need to focus.”
“I am,” I snapped harshly at Michael. I was working my ass off but I couldn’t control any of my godly powers. All this work with no results was making me cranky.
“You have to let go,” he instructed kindly despite my bitchiness. “We all have a weakness and you have to figure out yours if you want to control your Gifts. It is holding you back.”
“Couldn’t you just tell me?” I whined.
He smiled. “Your bluntness and impulsiveness is what first drew me to you. Those attributes in themselves are not a weakness but they hold the answer. You are going to have to figure it out on your own.”