I was lying in bed staring at the ceiling with my mouth open, my entire body felt lifeless. I couldn’t move a muscle. I colapsed three times before reaching the bathroom to spill whatever was left inside of me. My skin was sticking to my bones and I knew that I looked like a corpse.
Granny was having a conversation with someone outside my room and they weren’t exactly whispering so I heard every word.
“She’s weak” said a male voice. “And so is your son and you are too” They added.
“Thank you doctor” Granny said. Granny looked weak and tired, she yawned a few times and walked into the light. Her skin was more wrinkled than usual.
“Did you take your pills?” she asked.
“What pills?” I groaned.
“Vitamin D” she coughed.
“I ran out a few weeks ago” I told “Do you have more”
She shook her head “We’re all out”
“Can we get more?” I asked miserably.
“Everyone has run out of them not just us everyone in the kingdom” Granny tried to shout but she couldn’t.
“Is that why I’m sick?”
“I don’t know” Granny wheezed.
“What did the doctor say?” I asked.
“I don’t know” she replied. That’s when I lost it. I got up and kicked my legs which made Granny get up.
“What is wrong with you?” Granny yelled.
“What did the doctor say?” I repeated. I sat up straight as much as I could.
“I don’t know what he said” Granny whispered with an evil look. She closed the door and blocked the starlight with the curtains.
She bent down with difficulty and talked, “You and your father could be dying and I couldn’t care less but right now you have to get better because I am not presenting a sick girl to the prince”
“What are you talking about?” I raged.
“You know what I mean” Granny insisted “Now be a good girl and come downstairs and help me with the wedding planning”
“There is no wedding” I yelled then coughed “The king said so himself”
“The king is mistaken” Granny denied. “For once you were right Annabelle, the king just needed someone to blame for the uprising but there will be a wedding”
Dad knocked on the door, “Are you okay in there?” he asked.
“We’re fine dear” Granny lied. She gave me a look which I think meant play along or your dead.
Something told me I should obey “Yeah we’re fine Dad”
He left and Granny continued, “I have waited years for this and you are not spoiling it for me”
“What is wrong with you?” I shouted “Can you tell me what’s going on?”
“You are so stupid” Granny accused “Don’t you already know?”
“No I don’t” I raised my voice as much as I could.
“You’ll find out,” Granny stated “Soon you’ll lose everything you love”
She walked away without saying another word. I lay in bed till I heard a knock on the door.
“Come in” I said, barely audible.
It was Tristan, I sat up and brushed my hair with my fingers.
“Hi” he greeted.
“Hey” Tristan said “How are you feeling?′
“Better” it wasn’t exactly lying, I felt better then before.
“So,” Tristan started “A lot has happened since last night”
Tristan sighed as if he was going to deliver bad news. “Lyra is upset again and graduation is in a few hours and you are still in bed”
“I nearly forgot about graduation” I swallowed, pretending I didn’t hear that comment about Lyra.
“Well,” Tristan began “I bought you your robe and cap in case you were feeling good enough to come”
“I don’t feel good” I told “I feel like I ruined everything which I did”
“Belle, you didn’t ruin anything”
“Then why is Lyra mad?” I asked.
Tristan swallowed then coughed, “Because you took prom night to an unexpected twist”
“In other words I ruined it” I moaned into my pillow.
“How did you do that?” Tristan asked sternly.
He blinked, “You know.....” Tristan hesitated.
“I don’t know” I said.
“Last night,” Tristan sighed “How did you do that?”
“It’s okay if you don’t want to talk about it” Tristan said.
“No, it’s just that.....” I didn’t know where to begin. I thought about what happened, I barely remembered anything. The only detail that popped into my head was when Ophiuchus lit up. I zoned out for a while and I was brought back when I felt my left wrist burning.
I looked at it and my Ophiuchus tattoo was turning from black to green and the skin surrounding it was blood red. The Ophiuchus tattoo was a simple U with a horizontal wave that looked like a weirdly shaped S. My Virgo tattoo was above my Ophiuchus tattoo and Virgo is an M with the crossed legs of a chaste virgin.
I rubbed the Ophiuchus tattoo and Tristan didn’t seem to notice because he was pulling a dark blue robe with a graduation cap out of a brown paper bag. He set it in front of me and I hid my hand under my blanket while gently rubbing the tattoo with my right hand.
My chest felt as if my heart had been pierced with a knife. The Ophiuchus tattoo looked like it was trying to escape from me but lucky for me Ophiuchus and Virgo are in my genes so they can’t escape or I’d die, which is what I felt like when my tattoo burned. I felt as if I was dying.
“Come to graduation?” Tristan suggested.
I stared at him and wondered if I should go spent one last night with everyone. You ruined prom so why go to graduation?, my brain told me. You already don’t feel good, what if you faint again? Shut up, I told myself.
“Okay” I agreed.
“Good” Tristan replied “I am going to wait outside while you get dressed and we will walk to school”
I ignored what he had just said. “Tristan,” I started.
“Thank you” I said with a smile.
“For what?” he asked, confused.
“For being my friend even if it means having to put up with the crazy stuff in my life” I said. “I know it’s hard but you were always there so, thank you” I finished near tears.
“Well,” Tristan began “I wouldn’t have it any other way”
I laughed lightly and Tristan chuckled.
“Get out” I said playfully. Tristan shut the door tightly and I took a shower with the coldest water on the planet. No hot water anymore.
I dried my hair and brushed it, I decided to wear it straight. It was too cold outside for me to wear a dress so I put on a pair of jeans, a black off the shoulder top with long sleeves and black ankle boots and I threw on a red leather jacket.
I powdered my face and put blush on my cheeks to give my face a bit of life. My eyes looked tired and sleepy so I curled them and put mascara on my eyelashes.
I grabbed my robe and cap and headed outside. Tristan was sitting on the couch playing video games on his phone.
“Let’s go” I said. He got up without taking his eyes off his phone. Tristan pocketed his phone when we passed the kitchen and Granny shouted “Where are you going?”
“Graduation” I answered.
“What graduation?” she yelled back.
“High school graduation” I rolled my eyes. “I’ll be home before midnight”
We walked to school in silence, the streets were covered in garbage. It was freezing cold and people were running the trying to find shelter.
“When did this happen?” I thought out loud.
“It was always like this” Tristan answered.
“No it wasn’t” I insisted.
“Yes it was” Tristan sighed.
“It’s getting worse” I admitted.
“Yeah, no one noticed how terrible things are” Tristan finished.
The sky was light pink and dark blue by the time we reached school. I took off my jacket and put on my cap and robe. I found Lyra and Amara in the auditorium, they were arguing.
“Hi” I said which made them stop talking.
“Belle, hi” Amara breathed “Can you please explain to Lyra that she has to wear her cap and gown?”
I opened my mouth but Lyra held up her hand indicating that I shouldn’t bother.
“I am not wearing that blue robe with that wacky hat” Lyra argued.
“You have, to it’s graduation” I said.
“Lyra!” someone said in a low whisper. It was Miss Madeline.
“Yes Miss Madeline?” Lyra said.
“Put that on” she ordered.
“But....” Lyra started but Miss Madeline interupted “I don’t care if it clashes with your outfit you have to put it on. No one will see your clothes anyway”
“That’s the point” Lyra said pulling on the gown “No one will see my clothes.
“You look amazing” I said.
“Yeah,” Amara agreed “You can make anything work”
Lyra rolled her eyes playfully. We took a few pictures before Mckenna Scorpio and her friends started teasing me.
“Hey Annabelle” Mckenna called “Is it true you fainted?”
Next to her Gwen pretended to faint while Violet Libra kept telling them to stop. Mckenna had always teased us along with Gwen, they both were similar in a lot of ways. They were both rebellious and sneaky, they skipped class ten times a week, they wore dark clothes and kept dying their hair in weird colors. Every time someone answered back to either of them Mckenna gave them a death stare and they ran off. Mckenna did give out bad girl vibes, her eyes were lined with dark eyeliner, hair was choppy and they both had nose piercings.
“And is it true that you and your family are going to die because Virgo is weak?” Gwendolyn added. How did they know that? I thought.
“Oh,” Amara started “Forget them”
“Shut up” Lyra demanded. She pulled on her cap which she had decorated. The top of her graduation cap read: I ALREADY FORGOT EVERYTHING!
“Nice cap” I chuckled.
Lyra smiled “Well, I did forget everything”
Amara rolled her eyes, Tristan and Lewis waved for us to come on stage and Amara shivered. She had stage fright and Lyra had been bugging her about how she’ll fall of stage because she’s clumsy.
Soon we were all on stage and the curtains opened, all the parents were making videos and taking pictures. I wish Dad or Granny would have been here.
Our school principle was calling out our names and when she announced that Amara was valedictorian we all cheered as loud as we could.
Amara gave her speech and she wasn’t prepared for it. She couldn’t stand on the stage without shivering much less deliver a speech. As usual Amara came up with something to make herself sound smart she ended her speech with the words, “We are stars fashioned into flesh and bone”
We all threw our caps in the air and hugged each other. Lyra opened her gown so now I could see her clothes, she was wearing white high neck sweater and skinny jeans with purple boots. Her hair was the same color as her shoes, she had dyed it purple again and curled it. Amara had done the same as Lyra, she was wearing a blue dress with leggings and flats.
I did the same and kept my gown open and threw it down my shoulders so now it fell to elbows and covered my hands.
We went outside and celebrated in the football field which was decorated with balloons and lights, someone and played loud music and we were all jumping around. It was just like prom except I didn’t faint what I did was I talked to Lyra about what happened last night.
“I’m sorry about what happened” I apologized.
“What?” Lyra yelled, confused. “Sorry about what?”
“About what happened on prom night”
Lyra still looked confused. “Why are you sorry?” she asked “You didn’t pass out on purpose”
“No” I said “but I ruined it for everyone, especially you and Tristan told me you were upset so....”
Lyra was laughing and I didn’t understand why. “Why are you laughing?” Amara asked emerging from the crowd.
“Dummy” Lyra started. She convinced me that we were still friends. “I was upset because I thought you died or something”
“Oh” I sighed in relief.
“I care about you more than prom, you know?” Lyra added.
“Thanks” I said to both of them. “Thanks for being my friends even if it’s the craziest thing in the world”
“Awwww” Lyra blushed and Amara hugged me, Lyra joined in. “It’s not crazy,” Lyra whispered “Sometimes I feel left out because all we ever do is talk about you and like the whole world revolves around you”
“I am sorry” I said. She didn’t say anything and when she pulled away I knew why, she was crying.
“You’re not going to forget us?” Lyra choked.
“Why would I forget you?”
“Because your probably going away to live in the palace and....I shouldn’t have bought that up” she choked.
“I don’t even know what to do about that” I said.
“Oh, forget this and have some fun” Amara demanded. “Whatever happens we’ll still be friends”
“Yeah” Lyra sniffed.
The sky got darker and everyone was starting to leave. I was talking to Tristan when I felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned around immediately. I saw an old man standing in front of me, he had grey hair and wrinkled skin, his eyes were green and he was wearing a trench coat.
“Can I help you?” I asked.
“Good evening, Miss Virgo” he smiled “I want to congratulate you”
“Congratulate me on what?” I asked, confused. How did he know my constellation?
“You just graduated high school” he pointed out with a grin on his face.
His hands were protected with gloves and his wrists were hidden so I couldn’t see his tattoos otherwise I would have known his constellation.
“Who are you?” I demanded. “and how do you know my name?” I added quickly.
He smiled and said quietly, “I know your constellation”
“How?” Tristan finally said something. “Sorry to interrupt but who are you and how do you know her?” he added.
“I know your constellation because I got a nice look at one of your tattoos” he said while pointing at my left wrist. I realized that my sleeves were rolled up and pulled it down quickly.
“Do I know you?” I asked just before he turned to walk away.
He looked back and looked into my eyes, not creepy at all, I thought. His lips curled into a smile and he replied, “Maybe”
“Weird” Tristan said to me. I kept my eyes on him until he disappeared into the streets.
“Who was that?” Lewis whispered loudly.
“I have no idea” I said.
“How can people even read constellation marks that easily?” Tristan wondered.
“What do you mean?” I asked “I can read them easily”
“Yeah, I know you can but not everyone can do it easily” Tristan told.
“Really?” I asked in disbelief.
“Really” Tristan and Lewis confirmed.
Tristan and Lewis walked home with me, Lewis only jumped in puddles and splashed us with cold water.
“Didn’t your parents come?” I asked Tristan after Lewis left us.
“They did but they left early” he said.
I felt bad that Granny or Dad didn’t come, they didn’t even ask.
“My parents were cheering for you, you know?” Tristan said. He was trying to make me feel better.
“Of coarse they were” he said.
“Thanks” I smiled.
We passed Lyra’s house and I could hear loud music coming out of the windows and people cheering. Lyra’s twin brothers, Ganymede and Callisto Gemini were playing outside. I never got to meet Ganymede and Callisto or her twin sisters. Lyra usually stayed away from her family.
“What is she doing now?” Tristan sighed.
“That girl can party all day and never get tired” I yawned.
“I’m exhausted” Tristan said, stretching his hands.
“You can go home if you want” I said “You don’t have to walk me”
Tristan looked horrified. “Are you kidding?” he said,not sounding tired anymore. “How can I leave you alone after finding out your being stalked by an old creepy man?”
“I am not being stalked” I said.
“Yeah right” Tristan muttered.
“I’m gonna miss you” I said under my breath.
“What?” Tristan said.
“I mean...” I blushed “I’m going to miss everyone”
“Why?” Tristan asked. “No ones leaving”
“I might be” I pointed out.
“Belle don’t....” Tristan started.
I stopped him, “I might me. Who knows what will happen?” I said. “and I won’t forget about anyone but....”
“Don’t leave us Annabelle” he cut me. It was the first time in years he had called me by my real name.
“I’ll see what I can do” I said lamely.
We reached my front door and I let go Tristan’s hand, which I didn’t realize I was holding until I let go.
“Bye” I waved.
“Bye” he replied.
I stepped inside expecting the house to be warm but it was just as cold as outside. Then I remembered that the heating system wasn’t working.
I looked for Granny in the kitchen but she wasn’t there and Dad wasn’t in his room. I kicked of my shoes and made my way to the living room, I could hear people talking but it wasn’t just Granny and Dad there was someone else too. I peaked through the door. Dad and Granny were sitting on the big sofa looking tired and their faces looked like they were aging with every second. There was a figure sitting in Dad’s big chair, his back was to me so I couldn’t see his face.
I knocked on the door and walked in, Granny and Dad stood up immediately but Granny’s knees buckled and she fell back, Dad joined her. The man in the chair turned his head towards me and I got a good look at his face, he was the same person who I had just met at school.
“You?” I yelled, pointing at him. “You followed me home?”
“Annabelle calm down” he said politely.
“How do you......” I stopped.
Granny turned her face away from everyone and embraced herself, she looked hurt and furious. Dad tapped the spot between him and Granny motioning for me to sit down. I did and lowered my eyes towards the old man’s left wrist, when he caught me staring he rolled up his right sleeve but I looked away.
“Who are you?” I cleared my throat.
He looked at Granny and she moved away, he glanced at Dad and he lifted his head.
“Annabelle,” he began “My name is Alfred Corvus Virgo”
My heart fell into my stomach. “What?” I demanded. Granny huffed.
“That’s impossible” I denied.
“No, it is not” he insisted.
He opened his mouth to talk but I cut him off, “You can’t be” I nearly shouted.
“Yes I can” the old man said almost screaming. “I can prove it” he said gently.
He pulled up his left sleeve and revealed his constellation marks. The constellation Corvus, representing a raven or crow, the tattoo was a one long line with three short lines on the sides it looked like a claw. Above that he had Virgo. He had a tattoo on his right wrist, it was supposed to have the tattoo of his partner and Alfred had the tattoo of a square and in the center of the square was a small triangle, it was the constellation Pyxis.
“But that’s.....” I said, pointing at his right hand.
“That’s the constellation I have from your grandmother” he told.
I was speechless. Granny had inherited Pyxis from her father and Grus from her mother, she got Virgo after she married.
“I’m still confused” I said.
Granny moaned and then got up, “Silly girl,” she raged “Don’t you see?”
I nodded my head saying no.
Granny pointed at the old man, “That is my husband” she informed.
“And your grandfather” Alfred added.
“From which stars have we fallen to meet each other here?”