Dark Light

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Chapter 11

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine

You make me happy when skies are gray

You never know, dear, how much I love you

Please don’t take my sunshine away


I threw up from the nausea and still sobbed. He hated me. He rejected me. He used me, and then threw me away like a piece of garbage. Every word he said replayed in my mind over and over. No one loved me. No one could love a dark light.

I heard voices. I whimpered and curled into myself. A gentle hand touched my back.

“Are you okay, darling?”

I sniffled and tried to look up, but the world was still spinning. I quickly went back down. My stomach still throbbed from where he kicked me.

“There’s barf next to her.”

“Barf? She might be sick.”

“How’d she get here?”

“I don’t know. I didn’t see her coming earlier.”

“I’ll pick her up. We should get her to a medic.”

“Sounds good.”

Strong arms came under me and lifted me up. I whimpered and curled even tighter into myself.

“She’s afraid, Theo.”

“Yah, I got that, Ed. You want to carry her?”

“No. You’re doing a great job at it.”

I just shut my eyes and tried to block both male voices out. I groaned when the one carrying me took off, and I almost barfed on him. I was soon laid on a bed, and light hands touched my forehead. I ignored the voices and let the welcome blackness take over.

A warm smile awaited me when I awoke. A wrinkled old woman was smiling at me. I frowned. Where was I? Where was- oh. I cussed profusely in my head and cringed as his words crashed upon me once again. I closed my eyes, willing the blackness to come back. It didn’t.

“Hey, sweetheart!” Came the warm voice. “It’s okay, you are safe here.”

I opened my eyes again and looked her in the eye. I nodded hesitantly. No one has ever loved you. I sat up and looked around. The first thing I saw were the woman’s wings. They were smaller than any others I had seen and seemed to be made of pure gold. Then, I noticed that I was in a light blue room with a large window looking out to a garden.

She was still smiling. “What’s your name, dear?”

I didn’t want to be rude. I opened my mouth. Maybe someone in there can love a piece of trash like you. I clamped it back shut and shook my head.

She looked perplexed. “You don’t have a name?”

I brought my knees to my chest and hugged myself, burying my head into my knees.

She gently patted my head. “It’s okay if you don’t want to talk, honey. I’ll just call you Honey until I get a name.”

I don’t love you. I nodded into my knees. I heard the door open and hugged myself tighter.

“Is she okay?” said one of the two voices that found me.

“She is all right physically but for a few old bruises and some mending ribs that I already healed. Mentally, she seems distressed.”

Footsteps came closer.

“Did someone hurt you?” he asked.

I nodded.

“Who? I’ll find him and bring him to court.”

Both voices had an accent, somewhat British. I don’t even pity you. I hugged myself even tighter.

“She is not ready to be interrogated, Theo.”

“But I want to find whoever did this before he gets away!”

No, he was long gone by then. Next time I see you, I will kill you. He had this all planned out so I could not know where he went. A tear escaped and popped against my pants.

“Oh, let him get away. She doesn’t need to see him again if he did this to her. Would you like some tea, Honey?”

I looked up at her and nodded. The guy now in the room was large with golden wings the size of Dirg’s. His skin was darker than mine, and he smiled at me with straight white teeth. The lady left with an “I’ll be right back”, and I shrunk away from him.

“It’s okay. I will not hurt you.”

You’re pathetic. I nodded and looked away.

“Do you have a name?” He asked.

I nodded. He tilted his head, listening. I shook my head.

“You don’t want to talk.”

I nodded. I don’t want you.

“Okay, then I will ask yes or no questions. Are you hurt?”

I thought for a minute and nodded.

“Was it a man that did so?”

I nodded.

“Do you know why he left you here?”

I winced and nodded.

“Was he a human?”

I shook my head.

“Was he a skyrunner?”

I nodded.

“Was he of the light orientation?”

That was confusing, but I shook my head.

“So he was a dark?

I nodded.

“Did you know him well?”

I looked at him and was unsure if I should answer that or not. He nodded.

“So you did know him well. Was it a personal relationship?”

I tilted my head for a minute before I nodded.

“Was he the one who hurt you physically?”

I nodded.

“Did he bash you verbally?”

I whimpered and dug my head back into my knees. I’ve always hated you. You’re useless.

“Hey! Look at me. Stop thinking about it.”

I whimpered again and squeezed myself harder. The door opened.

“Jillian! She’s thinking about it, and I don’t know how to make her stop.”

“Thinking about what?”

“What the man that hurt her said.”

Warm arms wrapped around me. “It’s okay, Honey. I’ve got your tea.”

I leaned away from her. I didn’t want her comfort. I wanted to wallow in self-pity and hatred and his words. I saw the truth in his eyes when he spoke to me. I knew that his mask had finally fallen off. He showed me himself and shattered my heart.

I wasn’t going to put it back together.

She cooed quietly to me and rocked me gently. I eventually accepted the tea from her and sipped it as she chattered about this and that. The guy was gone. I didn’t listen; I went over the past two months, piecing together what he told me with how he acted. It was true. Everything he said was true. I knew from the looks he sent me at times. I knew from the pleasure he got when he beat me. I knew from the desert and what he showed me of himself there. He hated me and used me. He made himself all I could live for. Now what?

Her voice finally penetrated my thoughts. “... And King Amora has three kids, the twins and their little sister. You met one of the twins; they were the ones that brought you here.”

I nodded.

She tilted her head. “Are you from England?”

I shook my head.

“Europe?”

I shook my head.

“America?”

I nodded.

“Well, Honey, we have a place for you here, if you want it.”

I shrugged and held the warm tea close. It didn’t know what I wanted. I didn’t want anything.

“Well, you can stay with me. I need an assistant anyway.

I nodded slowly and her smile widened.

“Good! Let’s get you a room; I think there’s one close to mine. Come with me.”

She grabbed my hand and gently pulled me off the bed and down the halls. We passed several lightsies, some with big wings and some smaller but all golden. The humans smiled and interacted happily with the lightsies like equals. That alone had me staring. There were windows everywhere and light and smiles. It was all very foreign to me.

She brought me to a modest room with a bit of a covering of dust. She blew off some dust and smiled warmly at me.

“This is your room. I will be sure to add your name to the directory so no one barges in on you. Can you write?”

I nodded.

“Would you please write your name in the dust? Just so I can tell it to others for you.”

I nodded and hesitated before I wrote Lucy in the dust. She hugged me tightly.

“You’ll be fine, Lucy. Let Momma Jill take care of you and show you what real love is.”

I sighed, so she smiled, thinking it was commitment. It wasn’t. She might try to love me, but I could not love. Tying my heart back into shape would hurt more than it was worth. It would be so much easier just not to deal with the stupidity of love.

I cleaned that room up quickly and stared at the bed. I approached it but couldn’t touch it. I sat in a chair and stared at it. There was a knock on the door, so I stood and opened it. There was the guy that had questioned me earlier. His hair was the same color as his wings and my hair, and his smile was wide.

“’Ello, Lucy. Jill said she left you alone, and I figured that wouldn’t be so great, so I was wondering if you would like a tour of the castle?”

I blinked at him and nodded slowly. His grin widened, if that was even possible. He offered his arm, and I put mine through his.

“First of all, I am Theodore, and my brother, if we ever see his ugly mug, is Edward. We are sixteen years old and have a little sister named Lillian who is eleven. This is the star wing of the castle, where most of the dorms for non-courtiers are. Don’t get me wrong; there is nothing wrong with non-courtiers. We all are important and share the work among us. We respect humans and those who serve. Do you understand how the dark culture works?”

I nodded.

“Well, ours is basically the exact opposite. The heroes are those who serve, and the king is not very much higher than the floor sweeper. I’m a prince, but that does not mean much more than I’m related to the king.”

I nodded. He continued rambling about lightsy culture and comparing it to darky culture. I listened-ish and stared at the magnificence around me. There were arching ceilings and open floor plans and amazing tapestries and colored floor tiles and just so much to look at. The darky capital didn’t please the eyes so much as the sense of touch. Things were meant to be intimidating and powerful and dangerous. Here, things were just beautiful.

Theodore stopped and I realized he had asked me a question. I nodded, assuming it was yes or no. He grinned.

“Are you sure?”

I shook my head.

“Okay, what I asked was have you eaten recently?”

I remembered the burnt sandwich that seemed as if it was days away. I shook my head.

“Then to the cafeteria we go. Would you like to meet my father?”

His father, the king. I shook my head vigorously. I did not want even the possibility of meeting the king. He might see right through me and have me killed or banished for being a dark light. I had had enough of kings and princes and their unpredictability, but I couldn’t avoid the one giving me a tour.

Theo frowned slightly. “He’s not mean. And in case you happened to have met King Zinx, he is nothing like him.”

I still shook my head. Theo shrugged and continued leading me to the cafeteria. We got in a long line, and Theo introduced me to someone in front of us. Most people here were dark skinned and seemed content, if not happy. I felt as out of place here as among the pale darkies. The amount of light was not oppressive, but I could feel a headache coming on from not being used to it.

“Hey, Ed! Catch!”

Theo whipped his arm away from me and caught a ball of light headed straight for his chest.

“You were supposed to be Ed today!” he called, throwing it back at his identical twin. By identical, I mean, even the clothes they wore were the same, a white v neck with loose fitting jeans and a ring on their right hand.

“Yes, but you were supposed to take care of the trash, and I did it, so you are now Ed.”

“I’m sorry, I’ve been trying to distract this lovely lady here from morbid thoughts. I’ll do it next week, Theo.”

The other twin grinned at me and winked. “I think we have thoroughly confused her.”

I nodded and crossed my arms. They stood next to each other and bowed simultaneously at the exact same angle.

“I’m Theo,” said the new one.

“And I’m Ed,” said the one that had been Theo.

“And we switch names all the time-”

“-because not even our mother can tell us apart-”

“-so you can call us whatever you want-”

“-or not because you haven’t talked.”

They both grinned the exact same lopsided grin. It sounded like one person talking; they had their timing down so right. I just blinked and nodded. One of them gestured that we should move forward in the line, and the other went to the back. I stared at the one with me, trying to figure out if he was the same one or not. He grinned and winked.

“You’ll never know, trust me. Sometimes even we get confused as to who is who. Do you like Italian food?”

I nodded.

“Good! Because tonight’s main course is Italian. I helped with the bread earlier. Would you like to sit with us?”

I looked around at all the unfamiliar faces and nodded.

“You know that means you might run into the king?”

So it was definitely the one I had been with for a while. I sighed and ran a hand through my hair. He tilted his head and looked at it with interest.

“Are you human?” he asked out of the blue.

I nodded quickly. The less they knew the better.

“I’ve never seen a human with the same color hair as us, but there’s a first time for everything.”

We came upon the food, and I nodded and shook my head through it. Luckily, the servers were looking at me and I didn’t have to speak up. Still, I had way more food than I would eat. I followed Ed (?) to an empty table.

“Do you mind waiting to eat until Ed gets here?”

I nodded and stared at my food. It was ravioli in meat sauce with garlic broccoli and two bread-sticks. Dirg liked pasta, and he rarely had the time for the bread. Ed sat backwards a few feet next to me and talked to someone a table over. A lady with her black hair in corn rows sat across from me and smiled at me over her food.

“Hello, dear. What’s your name?”

I looked down sheepishly and shook my head. Ed turned back around and grinned ever wider at the lady.

“Ello, Mum! This is Lucy. Lucy, this is my mother, Queen Patricia, but most people call her Pat. Lucy just got here today, and she hasn’t spoken much.”

She nodded. “Nice to meet you, Lucy.”

I nodded back, and Theo came and sat next to his mother. “Hey Mom! Is Dad coming soon?”

“No, he has business to attend to that will delay him. Sit correctly, Edward.”

The twin next to me rolled his eye and actually sat on the bench facing his food. They took each other by the hand, and a twin and the queen looked at me expectantly. I timidly took their hands, and they lowered their heads and closed their eyes.

The queen spoke, “Father, we thank you for this day today and the new acquaintance of Lucy. Please bless her in all her dealings here in our realm. Thank you for those who so diligently provide us with food and bless those hands that prepared it. Please bless this food to the nourishment of our bodies and teach my boys some manners, in Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.”

They opened their eyes and let go, picking up their cutlery. Ed daintily picked up ravioli and bit a tiny corner off. He swallowed and grinned at his mother.

“Are those good manners?”

She glared at him. “Just eat.”

I stared at my food and picked up a fork. I cut the ravioli and was about to bring it to my mouth when I saw Dirg sitting in front of me, glaring at me. I whimpered and put it back down.

The boys looked at me with concern.

“What’s wrong?” Ed asked.

I shook my head and but my lip. Dirg wasn’t here to eat the first bite. What was I going to do?

“Are you not hungry?” Theo asked.

I shook my head.

“So you are hungry?”

I nodded.

“Why don’t you eat?”

I saw Dirg sitting in front of me with the bowl of mac and cheese in his lap, smirking as he took that first tantalizing bite. I put my head in my hands and sighed.

“You don’t need permission to eat,” one of them said.

I nodded and looked back up. I have always hated you. The queen looked at me, perplexed.

“Where did she come from?” she asked.

“From what we can tell a dark had her-”

“-and abused her and left her broken-”

“-on our doorstep.”

I laughed at that. Broken? Yeah, I was broken. That’s what he wanted, to break me. That made so much sense. Break me and then let someone else deal with the damage. They looked to me with worry in their eyes.

“Did we say something wrong?”

I shook my head and picked up the fork. I quickly brought it to my mouth and almost choked on it. This was not right. So not right. I swallowed and smiled at them, hoping that would help. The twins looked at each other like they were talking and their mother tilted her head at me. Her dark eyes had a depth to them that I could not stand very long. I looked down and picked at the food.

A young girl came and sat next to the queen, breaking the tension.

“Mom! Guess what happened today?”

I felt her gaze leave me and relaxed.

“What, dear?”

“Emily and I went on The Eye!” The girl talked excitedly about riding the world’s largest Ferris wheel. I picked at my food and made myself take a few bites. The food was good, but not as good as Dirg’s, and it felt so wrong to eat without his first bite. I didn’t have his permission to eat. He did want me to die. Maybe he would smile that dimpled smile if he heard I starved to death without him.

When they were done, they talked a bunch, trying to include me. I just nodded or shook my head and kept my gaze down on my food or the table.

I didn’t need their pity. I didn’t need their compassion. I just wanted to hold my pity party by myself. I stood after I ate as much as I could choke on and threw the rest away. The queen stood with me and followed me out. I stopped and waited for her.

“Are you okay, Lucy?”

I shrugged.

She put her hands on my shoulders and looked into my eyes. I stayed looking at the ground.

“Are you a skyrunner?”

I flinched and shook my head.

“You are,” she stated matter-of-factly. “I can see it, but I can’t tell, are you light or dark?”

I shook my head.

“Neither?” she asked

I felt the blood drain from my face, and I squeezed my eyes shut. I felt my body begin to shake in fear.

“No, no! Don’t be scared. It’s okay. Did the dark you were with know?”

I nodded slightly.

“Is that why he abandoned you here?”

Maybe someone in there could love a piece of trash like you, stupid dark light. I felt a tear fall down my face and it popped on the ground.

“Oh, you poor girl.” She hugged me tightly.

I tensed and whimpered.

“You’re safe, girly. You’re safe.”

I nodded against her shoulder and pushed away. No one can love you. I turned my back to her and began walking back to the room.

She caught up with me. “Do you know who your parents are?”

I held up a one.

“Your mother?”

I nodded.

“Is she a dark?”

I nodded.

“Do you have any clue who your father is?”

I shook my head and ducked it, walking faster.

“Lucy, will you please stop?”

I shook my head and continued.

She sighed exasperatedly and commanded, “Stop.”

I stopped walking and started shaking, and she came in front of me.

“We are not going to hurt you. Do you understand?”

I kept my eyes on the ground. If she said so, I believed her, for now. I knew it was only a matter of time until they got rid of me too. I nodded.

“Can I help you?”

I sighed and shrugged.

“You have been in touch with your dark heritage. Let me help you know your light heritage.”

I nodded.

“First, I’m going to find your father. Will you be okay on your own tonight?”
I nodded.

“May I take a picture of you?”

I nodded and she took out a phone and snapped a picture of me. A skyrunner with modern tech confused me, but it wasn’t worth trying to speak for.

She hugged me again. “No one will hurt you, I promise.”

I nodded, and she finally let me go. She followed me back to my room and then left to get a few things. I let out a long breath and settled myself on the soft carpet. The darkies liked hard floors, so this carpet felt amazing. Dirg just got rid of me; I shouldn’t be enjoying this so much. I stood and looked for hard floor but found none so went back to where I started and curled up there.

I closed my eyes and saw him sneering down at me, his wings flexing in intimidation. No one can want you, his voice echoed in my mind. You’re a filthy dark light. I saw him jump back and cuss when my tear hit him. No one can love a piece of filth like you.

The door opened and the queen walked in with a large basket. She looked around in confusion.

“Lucy?”

I held my hand up to show her where I was. Her gaze softened when it fell on me. She put the basket down and knelt next to me. She softly brushed the hair from my face. I smiled halfheartedly at her, and she grinned warmly in response.

“I asked Jill to take care of you tonight, because tonight is probably going to be the hardest night for you. Did you love the dark that had you?”

I shrugged. Did I love him? I had always hated him, and yes love did begin to grow after awhile. I hated to love him and loved to hate him. Now, he was gone. I knew wallowing in this would not be the best of ideas, but I couldn’t stop.

She sighed and her smile faded. “I can’t even imagine what you’ve been through. Can you tell me one thing?”

I shrugged.

“What is your full name?”

I sighed and laid my head on the ground. I made a motion with my hand to signal that I wanted pen and paper. She got up and retrieved a piece of paper and pencil from the basket.

“I got you several things that I hope will be useful. Toiletries, and drawing things and bandages for helping Jill.”

I handed her my name and she stifled a gasp. I sighed even deeper and buried my head into my stomach. She pet my hair gently. It reminded me of Dirg, and yet another tear escaped. Wait, I was broken. I could cry. There was no shame in it. I was broken, but the one that broke me wasn’t here to see it. That’s what made me saddest, I decided. I couldn’t make him happy with my brokenness.

I was his Sunshine. Sunlight drained him. I made him happy when skies were gray, when I was the weakest. I never knew how much he loved me because he never did. He removed his Sunshine from his life, and it was probably already better.

Maybe if I had lain with him, he would have kept me. Maybe if I had actually been human. Maybe if I hadn’t shown my gift. Maybe if I had been more submissive. Maybe if...

King Amora flopped sideways into the love seat, splaying all six limbs out. He rested his head on the armrest and sighed contentedly. Another hectic day, and the lights were still safe and together. Amora considered his job well done when there were no impending threats of famine or war and the nobles weren’t killing each other, so most of the time he had done his job well.

He looked up as the door opened and smiled at Queen Pat. She came to him and smacked his knee. “Sit up, we need to talk.”

He groaned and sat up. “What about, m’dear? I believe the issue with the British Parliament has been resolved...”

“It’s not about that.”

“Then lay it on me.”

She took out her phone and showed him a picture, her face stone still. He frowned and grabbed it, looking at the picture intently.

“Who’s this?”

She got a piece of paper from her pocket and he completely blanched before looking at the picture even more intently.

“Oh my Lord.”

“Exactly. Now might be a good time to tell me the name of the woman you gave your virginity to.”

He looked back and forth between the name and the picture. “Diana, a dark pureline. She never said anything about this...”

“Well, that girl showed up on our doorstep today, broken to pieces. What are you going to do about it?”

He cleared his throat and handed the phone back to her. He ran a finger reverently over the name ‘Lucille Diana Amora.’

“Well, the first thing that needs to be done is double check she is who she says she is. Then... I have very little clue.”

Pat sighed and sat next to him, curling into his side. “Whatever comes of this, Am, I still love you. You need to know that.”

He put his arm around her and kissed the top of her head. “I love you too. I am so sorry about this.”

“You already apologized for the adultery before we even got married. Don’t apologize for having a daughter you didn’t know about. Unless you did.”

“No, I didn’t. I need to call Diana.”

She nodded, and he got out his phone. He dialed a number and waited a few rings.

A quiet voice answered, “This is the Thory residence. How may I help you?”

He spoke with authority, “This is King Amora. I would like to speak with Diana, please.”

Her voice squeaked, “Yessir,” and the phone was dropped.

He listened to the distant, incomprehensible voices. An angry male voice answered.

“Why do you want to talk to my wife? Your majesty.”

“I need to ask her about one Lucille Diana Amora.”

Silence reigned, but Amora jerked the phone away from his ear a moment later when loud expletives exploded out. Finally, the voice calmed down and yelled at his wife to get her butt over there.

“You’re on speakerphone,” he growled.

Amora put his on speakerphone too and asked, “Diana?”

“Yes?” her voice was taut.

“Did you have a child by me?”

“That demon is no child of mine!”

“She said her name is Lucille Diana Amora.”

“I know her name! That spawn of Satan killed my son and broke my daughter’s heart!”

The king and queen exchanged concerned glances.

“I understand why you would disown her. Is she my daughter?”

“Yes, and I suggest you have her executed before she ruins your family too. And tell that good for nothing prince that none of my family will ever associate with him again!”

The dial tone sounded, signaling the end of the conversation. Silence reigned for a few minutes as he fiddled with his phone.

“So, she is my daughter, and she ought to be about eighteen, meaning she’s older than the twins.”

Queen Patricia stared at him with wide eyes. “Are you saying...”

“Yes.”

She shook her head. “Don’t tell her that. She’s not anywhere near ready for that. I don’t even know if she is ready for knowing her father.”

He nodded and pulled her in close. “Tell me as much as you know about her.”

King Amora was more nervous than the day he was crowned king. He was as excited as the days he waited for his wife to come back with their kids. Bringing his fist up to knock on the door was harder than sentencing a murderer to death.

He knocked. A minute later, the door opened. He smiled at the shocked girl. He had worked overtime the day before so that he could take all day off and convinced Jill to do without her for the day. She looked away from him quickly.

“Hello, Lucy. May I come in?”

She nodded and stepped aside. She went in and stood awkwardly next to a table. He shifted on his feet, watching her. Her eyes flicked over him for a minute before she looked at the ground steadily.

“My name is Amora,” he stated, hoping that would help her understand.

She remained impassive and still.

“Well, uh, I don’t know how to say this, so I’ll be blunt. I am your father, Lucy.”

She jerked her head up and seemed to go pale. She nodded slowly.

“Are you afraid?”

She nodded.

He smiled nervously. “Me too. Here, let’s sit.”

He sat in a chair and she sat on another one across from him, her eyes locked on her hands in her lap. He watched her for a minute.

He rubbed his bald head and chuckled dryly. “I’ve never done this before, so I don’t know where to begin... Have you met Diana?”

She flinched and nodded.

“I take it that didn’t go so well?”

Lucy shook her head in agreement.

“I hope this goes better, then. I want you to know that I learned about you just the night before last, and I took the day off to get to know you.”

She glanced up at him, a bit of confusion on her face.

“You’re my daughter,” he explained. “That might not mean to you what it does to me. To me, it means I failed. I should have asked Diana much earlier if she had a child. If I had, things would be so very different. The fail was not in conceiving you, but in not raising you. I’ve always striven to be there for my kids, and for the twins and Lilly, I have been. To see you now and know that we are strangers,” he rubbed his eyes and felt a sob form in his throat. “It breaks my heart.”

She was looking at him, now with a troubled and confused expression. She stood and got a piece of paper and pencil. She wrote something and handed it to him.

I’m not worth breaking your heart over.

That, if anything, made it worse. Several tears dropped onto the paper. He shook his head and handed it back.

“I don’t know who ever told you that you aren’t worth a grain of salt, but they are wrong. I don’t know you very well, but I can tell you that you are beautifully and wonderfully made and God loves you the way he made you, and I love you because you are my daughter.”

She shrugged and looked back down.

“The man that hurt you, Lucille, he must be hurting beyond measure on the inside to do what he did to you. Pain begets more pain. The hurt only hurt others. From the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. With that, let me tell you that the loved can love others. I can love you because I am loved, and I will try my hardest never to hurt you. I want to help you heal, if you’ll let me.”

She sighed and put her heads in her hands. He tilted his head.

“What?”

She wrote on the paper for a few minutes, and he watched silently. She handed it to him and he read:

My first memory is from when I was five. A couple, the Long’s, wanted to meet with me. I got all excited and jumpy. I wore my best clothes and begged an older girl to braid my hair. I walked into the conference room all smiles. They smiled back and looked me over.

They asked me about myself; my favorite color, my friends, what I liked to play. They told me about their big house on a hill with a pool and a huge TV. They laughed and said they wanted a daughter just like me. I left the room as they talked to Miss Sparnage about the adoption process.

I packed all of my things and sat on the little suitcase, waiting to be called back in, bouncing nervously. I waited for hours. I fell asleep on the floor and suitcase, and Miss Sparnage moved me to my bed. I never saw the Longs again, but a couple with the same last name adopted my friend. Every year, about once a year, another family would visit me. One even took me home. It never worked out.

So you say that you are the man that donated sperm to my existence? Maybe you should fix that mistake.

He looked up at her, shocked. “I’m not going to leave you. I’m not going to reject you. I promise.”

She smiled bitterly to her lap and shook her head.

“Everyone has left you, so I get that you would not trust me when I say that. But I won’t.”

She held out her hand for the paper but did not look at him. He handed it to her and waited as she wrote. He didn’t understand why she wouldn’t talk.

Even if you are not lying, even if you can love me and take care of me, I cannot return any affection. Relationships are a give and take. I cannot give. Trust me when I say that after a month or two, you won’t want me.

He sighed and rubbed one of his eyebrows. “I want to help you, Lucy. It may not seem like it now, but broken hearts can heal. With patience and love and Jesus, your broken heart can heal.”

She shrugged and pulled on a lock of hair by her face.

“What do you say? Will you give it a try? Give me a chance to fix a mistake I have been making for your entire life?

She frowned and kept glancing at him. There was silence for quite some time, as she seemed to have a struggle within herself. She fisted her hands in her hair and glared at the ground. Silence reigned for nearly thirty minutes.

Finally, she nodded.

He let out a sigh of relief and smiled broadly. “Thank you, Lucy. Do you prefer Lucy or Lucille?”

She shook her head.

“What?”

She shook her head.

“No, what?”

He asked that over and over, and all she did was shake her head. He puzzled over it and asked,

“Do I have to ask yes or no questions?”

She nodded.

“Oh. You don’t want to write?”

She nodded.

“Okay.”

There was an awkward silence as he fidgeted with his wings and she remained stone still. He sighed. This was going to be long and painful.

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