When we entered the kitchen- Ian wasn't there. The room smelled heavenly and two plates piled high with food sat there. My stomach growled louder making my cheeks pink. "Where's Ian?" I asked curiously as Rose walked over to the bar- both plates where we had first met.
"He'll be back soon, he's just surveying the area for what I need to work on tomorrow."
"What do you mean?" I asked confused walking over to sit down next to her. Shrimp, steak, rustic red potatoes mashed, asparagus and mushrooms with sauteed onions. It was my first real meal in a while- I hoped I could finish enough of it without being rude. I attacked the steak first cutting it into small pieces on my plate- a perfect medium rare. I liked mine closer to medium but I wasn't going to complain.
"Well I'm sure by now you've figured out there's a spell making this place exist?" She asked before popping a piece of broccoli in her mouth.
I nodded as I finished cutting my steak. "Yeah that much was obvious- this place has magic all over and Ian mentioned it being easier to train someone. Since we draw from the earth it would make sense someone would draw it form this place; but if you guys are the one maintaining the spell then you could direct or cut off the flow of magic. It's actually a great tactic for trapping enemies too."
"Yes but keeping the spell up takes work. I have a natural affinity with paint- It happens sometimes where a witch can specialize in-"
"I'm well aware. I'm a clairvoyant remember? I can try and do all the stuff others do but I'm not great at it." I said before taking a bite of food.
"It's more than that. Sometimes it's like a calling- like how some specialize in water or rocks or something like that. Mine was always paint. I can manipulate it in ways others never could. I'm alright at most things but there's a sort of magic to paint for me that other's can't comprehend."
I nodded following what she was saying as I shoved another big bite of potatoes in my mouth shifting it to the side so I could speak for a moment. "So this place really is made of paint and magic?"
"Exactly." she replied pushing around her food a bit. "But I have to maintain it so Ian is looking for faded areas."
"Faded areas- like some of the rooms we passed?"
"Yeah- I have to revitalize it with magic or eventually the paint fades and chips away into nothing. It takes time- but I never bothered to fix those rooms since their not used anymore. That and the longer we're here the harder it becomes to-"
"Are you dying?" I asked bluntly putting down my fork- I had to know what was going on with them. With her.
Rose was silent for a moment still pushing around her food before she let out a giant sigh. "I was. For the last year I have hardly been out of bed. To be perfectly honest I know why you're here. What you're looking for. It's simply not possible though."
I furrowed my brow looking at her carefully forking up some more of my food as I turned my whole body to look at her pushing my plate towards hers. I didn't like to beat around the bush- and she sounded like she was attempting to. "What do you mean it's not possible?"
"I can't live without Ian- and Ian can never leave this place. He's physically incapable. Even though my life has extended a little just by your presence I'm going to ask that you leave..." She was staring down at her plate- her silver blond hair blocking her face. She couldn't even look at me.
I stared at her- and then felt a mixture of shame and rejection go over me. She knew. She knew the first moment we locked eyes and I was still trying to figure it out. She was my fated one.
And she was rejecting me.
My salvation for living was rejecting me... for some reason I think being rejected by her hurt worse than the impending doom of death. I had smiled and joked with her- the few brief moments we had together already had me feeling more like myself than I had in days. For some reason the depression that had taken hold about knowing my death didn't seem as grim.
But here she was rejecting me- not meeting my eye. Refusing to leave Ian. The fact that she wasn't willing to face me when she said it was what cut me. I stared at her willing for her to meet my eyes but she wouldn't she kept her head drooped for several moments.
"I never said you had to leave Ian." I replied moving my food around my plate still facing her but looking down now at my food. My appetite had vanished. "To be perfectly honest I only have a few days left to live."
"I know and I c-can't help you... I know what it is I've seen it when I was younger- what they use to do to clairvoyants. It spreads faster with a younger vampire. It's..." It sounded as if she where about to cry- tears of frustration as her voice faded here and there. Well I was frustrated too.
"Terrifying. Yeah I've gathered that- it's painful." I replied hopping off the stool wiping my mouth with a napkin to throw it on my plate. "I'm not here to break up you and Ian- I'm not here to beg you to save my life and have sex with you when I've never even done anything like that in my entire life. I don't even know if I'm into girls despite fate throwing me at you- I was looking for a chance to live and if this place is killing you then maybe if we coupled even once-"
"I c-cant." She said as she leaned down more, her frame shaking.
I didn't want to comfort her- she was choosing death. Now I saw this for what it was- she wanted us to be alone not letting Ian know who I was. To speak with me one on one.
I wasn't surprised she choose him over me- but I was upset she'd assume I was here to break them up. Couldn't we just do the deed and go separate ways? Being fated didn't mean we had to live eternity with one another as a couple. Extend our lives, reap the benefits.
Then I remembered- that vision I had. She said he couldn't leave- I didn't know the reason but it was probably the same reason he wasn't allowed to enter into the library. Was it guilt or love that kept them tied together?
"That's fine if you don't want to be with me in any way. I'm going to stay though until I die since I don't have much time left. That's not up for negotiation. The least you can let me do is die with dignity and give you some more time with your husband." I replied coldly to her back.
She was crying now- sobbing as I stared at her.
The front door shut; neither of us moved even as footsteps began to approach the kitchen "Alright dearest I'm all done with the surveying who's up for some chocolate-" Ian had a cheery tune which faded the moment he saw us. "What's going on?" He asked confused blinking a few times.
"There's no cure for me. Rose just let me know." I told him tucking a stray bit of hair behind my ear. "I guess I should be the one crying... but I've come to terms with it before I arrived." My voice sounded hallow and Rose simply kept her head bowed as Ian looked at us both carefully.
She nodded sniffling. "I-it's true there's n-no cure."
I nodded crossing my arms. She was hiding it. That's fine. Despite rejecting me- I wasn't about to destroy their marriage. That had never been my intention from the beginning. "Ian can you show me where to sleep? I'm going to live out my last few days here. If I'm going to die somewhere it might as well be somewhere with a beautiful view."
"Of course... I think we have a spare room over looking the pond this way." He said, a frown on his face as he looked back at his wife with concern.
"Sounds great. Lead the way." I said walking towards the doorway. I didn't look back at Rose- I couldn't.