Chapter 1: Planes to Catch
Something always had to give. When something was finally going right, something was inevitably going to fail.
Life seemed to workout like that. Therefore it was easier to leave before the inevitable happened. Tess looked at the packed bag on her bed. It was time to leave again. The list of rules she made herself kept everyone around her safe, and saved her the pain of more heartache.
The three years or less, rule was her most important rule. Have only broken it twice; allowing for the six-year exception. Both times ended up proving the three-year rule had its purpose and the six-year exception should not exist.
The second most important rule was never got to the same city twice within the same century.
Her third golden rule was she would only contact John or Chloe, and only in an emergency. After that there were a few rules that had to do with housing, money and work. Every rule had a reason for its existence and about every three years Tess remembered why.
Grabbing her bag she sighed and walked out of the apartment she had lived in for the last three years, remembering her forth rule: don’t get attached.
Tess yawned as she sat back in her seat behind the cash register at her shop. Taking a sip of her tea she looked around the old antique shop. The dusted items sat around her, she snickered at the thought of irony of her owning an antique shop. It was a slow day; it always was, so the sound of the bell at her front door caused her to jump slightly. Standing up she looked towards the figure at the door and frowned recognizing the brown haired, blue-eyed man.
“Really?” the man asked with a snicker. “Out of everything you could do, you opened an antique shop?”
“Seemed appropriate at the time,” Tess muttered. “What do you want John?”
“Theresa, a proper greeting to an old friend would be appropriate don’t you think?” John said with a smirk.
“Didn’t think it was appropriate how you left things last time.”
“Right, last time. I’m not here about that; I’m here about something else. He’s calling us back.”
“I left, and he knows that, so it really isn’t my problem,” Tess said. “I also remember there being a banishment too. And that Chloe and once upon a time you were the only ones willing to keep contact with me.”
“He’s lifted the banishment, you can come home now.”
“I don’t really believe…” John cut her off handing her a piece of wax sealed envelope. Eyeing it she looked back up to his brown eyes, seeing her reflection. Hesitantly she took the envelope and looked down at the seal. The script “R” told her all she really needed to know without opening it. Still she slid her finger under the seal and opened the envelope. Taking out the letter her green eyes scanned over it quickly. Her eyes slightly widened in surprise as she read.
“I told you he lifted the banishment,” John said.
“Well, I will not come at his beckon call anymore. It’s not my job, and it never was. It isn’t any of our jobs actually. For some reason we decided that he was the best to lead us? Wait no, everyone but me thought it was a good idea.”
“Well it doesn’t matter anymore, the council took a vote at the time and what happened has happened.”
“Again, not my problem,” at that she pushed John out the door.
“He won’t be happy,” John said.
“Then you can tell him that I said ‘Fuck off’,” Tess said locking the door behind him. Running a hand through her thick curly red hair she turned her open sign from ‘Open’ to ‘Closed’, she didn’t need this shit in her day anymore.
Walking back to the back of her store she started to walk up the staircase towards her flat above the shop. It was probably the most convenient set she had in years. Walking towards her bedroom she paused and looked at an old black and white photo on her bookshelf. Picking it up she started at the five people smiling up at her. It seemed like a lifetime ago, but then again it was. Walking into her room with the photo still in her hands she sat down on the bed still looking at it. A sad smile crossed her face as a tear fell down her eyes.
“I miss you Luke,” she muttered. “I wish you were still with us.” Sighing she looked at her old Classic Black Kit-Cat clock, it read noon. She really shouldn’t have closed her shop so early. But it was almost time to leave anyways. Sighing she looked around her room and grabbed her old duffle. She needed to leave. If John knew where she was, the he knew and she was not dealing with that again.
At the airport Tess looked down at her passport. The name ‘Simone Reed’ seemed to glare back up at her. Using her real name though was never really an option, but using ‘Simone Reed’ was risky. She didn’t have time to come up with a new identity, so reusing this one was her only option. It was relatively new, so she could only hope that they didn’t know about it yet. But then again, they all had varying years of experience. Then again so did she, but she was slightly out numbered. Contacting Chloe was also a risk she couldn’t take. So there was that as well.
“Flight 394 to Las Vegas is now boarding group C!” announced over the speakers. Standing up she grabbed her backpack and got in line to board the plane.
“She’s gone,” John said on the phone. “I told you she wouldn’t take kindly to this approach” he sighed. “No I’m not saying you were wrong. I’m just saying that you don’t know her as well as I do.”
Tapping his fingers on the steering wheel he sat back in the leather seat of his BMW. He really didn’t want to deal with the shit storm of Theresa. He tried to pawn this off on Chloe. She tried to take the job too, she would have been better at it, not that that was much anyways. Chloe may have been able to convince Theresa to come back home, or at least had gotten Theresa to contact home. But no, Peter didn’t care, so now he had to listen to him yelling at him about how he failed in his task. God, he hated dealing with Peter. Peter was a stuck up brat, had been since they were all together, at that was the 14th century. But John knew that Peter was smarter then John wanted to admit. There was a reason he won the first election, and the second, and all the ones after that. Even the Elders thought Peter to be their leader. Which considering they chose him, and everyone else it meant something.
“Peter, I tried to warn you… You know she only every somewhat listened to Luke, and even then he wasn’t always successful,” pausing again he held back a sigh. He also knew that if it were anyone else talking to Peter like this with the exception of Chloe they would be dead, or worse.
“I know you are in charge but that doesn’t change what she thinks… And I don’t know where she is, and no I don’t think I should go after her. I told you before Chloe would be better at this job. Send her,” at that John was tempted to hang up his phone. However the brat Peter beat him to it and hung up on him. Listening to the dial tone he hung up as well. Letting out his sigh he looked out the window. This was such a pain in the ass. Feeling his phone buzz he looked at the caller id. At least it wasn’t Peter, picking up he answered the phone.
“Hey Chloe,” he said. “Yes I know… Chloe I know! Peter’s word is mostly law, but what I said was true,” John wanted to hang up again. Chloe wasn’t yelling at him, but still, this was a drag. “No I shouldn’t have mentioned Luke, but really it was his fault, and before you say something, I know Peter didn’t have a choice. But you and I both know Theresa thinks differently. And she won’t talk about that night, and no I don’t doubt Peter. Chloe I got to go. I have a plane to catch.”
John sat in the airport’s business lounge. He sipped on a glass of wine as he typed on his laptop. What a pain this was. If only Theresa understood the importance of coming back. It wasn’t safe for them at the moment. If only she realized it was safer in numbers. The Huntsmen were coming and it was only a matter of time until they found her. At least in a group they would be able to fight.
What really got to him though was the lack of presence he felt coming from her. As though she had given up on trying to die. But there was only a few ways to gain that release, and all too difficult to achieve; she seemed to accept the eternal punishment she was putting herself though.
John looked up at the source of the voice, meeting dark brown eyes. “Hey Chloe…” He muttered. “See Peter sent his favorite pet, might be the only reason why he lets you get away with contacting Theresa,” he unconsciously rubbed his left shoulder. “Theresa isn’t taking care of herself.”
“I know… But what can we do?” She said sitting down across from him with a mug of steaming hot chocolate. Taking a sip she set it on the table. “Peter is pissed,” she added.
“I can only imagine, so he sent you to help me look for her?”
“Yes, you know we can only handle so many attacks from those freaking Hunters,” Chloe sighed. “They allow smoking right?” she asked taking out a pack of cigarettes.
“Not in here, and not since what feels like a decade ago. It’s all non smoking now, since people decided smoking causes cancer,” John said, Chloe laughed.
“If only cancer was a worry for us,” she said. “Remember when we were normal?”
“I try not to, and I try not to remember the shit storm that followed. Frankly I’m pleased that we no longer have to deal with protecting the Spring. “
“But we were the first class of Five, so many protectors worthy,” Chloe smiled. “The faces on those old bastards,” she laughed.
“Yeah the good old times…”
(Cover Art Courtesy of: https://pixabay.com/en/summer-still-life-suitcase-in-field-785231/)