Immortally Bound

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Chapter 19

The plane ride back home was long and uneventful. Ella and Lynna were once on the same flight as ours, but since Ella’s parents extended their stay in Europe for another day, their flight was cancelled. The morning we boarded a train to London was the day they left for Austria. I said goodbye to my father at the lodge, long before we boarded the train and stopped in London; he was headed to Poland for work. At the airport, Drew, mother, and I were boarded into third class, right behind the jet’s wings. Most of the flight I spent playing games on my laptop. I was restless and eager to speak with Lynna, but I couldn’t take a chance of texting her in case Drew was awake, watching me send and receive messages. Every time I pulled out my phone to call someone he’d wake up and start pestering me with endless questions. Eventually, I gave up all forms of communication completely.

Towards the end of our long flight, my mother inquired about my vacation in Italian, giving me a break from talking with Drew. I answered her, speaking nearly flawless phrases. I told her I had fun, and that I couldn’t wait to be back at home. During the twenty minutes of conversation that passed between us, we discussed my next language of study. It was Russian.

Eventually we were back at home. I received an email from Lynna with no news, though she now would keep me informed of any attacks or unusual activities that were aimed at Ella. I felt responsible for what happened, though I had no control over it. But if I could, I would protect my friend from danger.

For the next two days, Drew and I played hockey on the frozen pond behind the housing edition I lived in. Justin and Toby were home for the holidays and they joined us for a game or two. We tried staying in shape; honing our skills so we’d win the playoffs.

Ella texted us once she returned home. Her family was hosting a party on New Year’s Eve, and we were all invited to the house. She also said we should bring our ice skates. The pool had been converted into a makeshift ice rink. It wasn’t for the adults use, but for us.

Drew and I arrived early. Already the caterers set up bottles of champagne with platters of hors d’oeuvres. Ella motioned for us to come inside and handed us a sheet of paper each and a pen. It was a waiver for the parents and children to sign. Drew wasn’t used to this; he stared down at the paper like it was something he’d never seen before. I didn’t have to sign one; at my eighteenth birthday party Ella produced a paper of which I signed to save time for the future. Drew tried questioning the documents’ purpose until I reminded him of Ms. Lyndon’s occupation. He shut his mouth after that and signed the waiver. My mother cosigned his paper before leaving, as he was not a legal adult yet and under her care.

Eventually Teresa and Kevin arrived as well as Clara, Toby, Mehgan, and Alex. They signed the waivers, but it was only the debater, Teresa, who questioned the authenticity of the document aloud to Ella. She also asked why it was important to have the documentation at all. Unfortunately for her, Ella’s mom was in earshot of the proposed questions, and she reiterated about the three cases her firm took on this year regarding underage drinking and responsibility. She cited articles and cases as well as new laws that were going into effect. After the ten minutes of lecture that followed on the subject, none of us dared question the form again. In fact, most of us retired to a different part of the house, escaping Ella’s mom.

Ella blushed throughout the speech. At the end she practically ran away, though she didn’t go too far. I spotted her leaning against the south balcony railing. I dodged two servers, offering orange juice and champagne to the many guests, to get near her.

“You alright?” I queried.

“Yeah, I think mom sometimes forgets I’m a teenager with friends who don’t understand politics,” she sighed and slouched at the railing.

I smiled. “You know, most of what she said was informative.”

Her eyes glanced at me sideways. “Don’t try and make it sound better. It’s still embarrassing to have your friends silenced like that.”

“She’s looking out for you, as well as them,” Drew stated as he joined us.

I hadn’t though about that angle, but he was right. Today’s world would find any excuse to gain extra wealth or credit without having done much of anything but complain. Ella’s mom was doing the smart thing, even if it would cost Ella’s social status to drop a bit. I was glad that Jacelyn wasn’t here for this. She would’ve mocked Ella for sure, after signing the paper of course.

“I wish my mom was as cool as yours,” Drew mused and offered her an orange juice.

I suddenly felt like a third wheel. In Switzerland, once Lynna and I had returned to the lodge, the two of them were getting cozy on a couch near the fire, unaware of the people around them. But once they spotted us returning from the outdoors, they moved apart like opposite magnets. Now that I thought about it, Lynna should be here, as Ella had mentioned her presence still within the house. I hadn’t seen her once upon entering though. Was she even present for this party?

“Where’s Lynna?” I suddenly blurted out.

Ella grinned at me and gestured to the floor down below.

Drew peered out over the railing. Once I trained my eyes upon the ice-covered pool, I spotted a small figure in winter clothes, skating across the glossy surface. She was graceful and smooth as she skated. And she was alone.

“We visited an ice rink in Austria, one of the Olympic rinks. Lynna fell in love with the skaters there. Mom bought us an hour with one of the trainers and she picked up the art quickly, better than I ever could. But she loved it. I’ve never seen her so complacent before.”

I stared at Lynna. She was amazing to watch even if all she did was skate in circles.

“Is that why the pool is a temporary ice rink?” Drew questioned her.

Ella’s face made a wide range of emotions. “Father is the one who did that. He’s been trying to get the city to open the rink during the holidays, but there’s not enough staff to keep it running. Plus, he always wanted to experiment with the pool’s special settings when they installed it. We turned off the heater and set the temperature below freezing. Eventually the ice set in on its own. We installed some mini-freezers, keeping it regulated. Because of Lynna’s love for skating, the idea formed in his mind, and he had the parts ordered before we ever returned home. He likes challenges. I expect that it might cave in and break at some point, but I doubt it. So far, it’s thickened rather than thinned. After the party he’ll use his new laser on it. He’s been craving to use it since he got it for Christmas.”

If Ella hadn’t been popular she’d be a geek’s dream come true. She didn’t share her father’s love for gadgets but admired the way he creatively thought. I smiled while leaving the two alone and made my way down onto the ice. Most of our friends reveled in the last few minutes before the clock struck twelve. More champagne glasses were passed around as the time drew short. The couples bunched together like grapes.

I walked out of the house into the soft night air. The noise drifted out of the house a few feet and then died altogether. My skates were nearby on a bench with Drew’s. Ella’s worn pair laid beside them on the ground. I put on my skates and joined Lynna on the massive ice rink that used to be the pool, wondering what it was like to skate across something that most people would’ve left alone during the winter.

She didn’t stop at my approach. I matched her speed and followed her on the ice. I imagined us to look like the skaters in the Peanuts cartoon; gracefully avoiding each other but going nowhere in particular. What seemed like an eternity to me were only a few minutes. Lynna stopped on the ice suddenly and I nearly propelled myself into her.

She grabbed my arm and swung me around, facing her. “I thought you knew how to stop…” she began.

Above us I heard Ella giggle.

“Different kind of skates,” I mumbled and looked down at my feet to drive the point home.

Lynna glanced down. “Oh, yeah. You don’t have one of those notches on yours,” she observed.

“It’s called a toe pick, and no, I don’t,” I added.

She sighed. “I could do this forever. It’s so peaceful.”

“That’s a long time,” I mused. “Don’t they have ice where you live?”

I must’ve said the wrong thing. Her eyes went cold in an instant. She stared at me, looking sad and scared all at the same time. “Not like this,” she finally stated. She blinked once, and no hint of the cold and distant sad girl was left. She returned to normal. “The ice there is different, malevolent.”

I thought about the vision I had where the shards of ice rained down from the sky, freezing people where they stood. In that one, the ice was the same, malevolent and cold, not the beautiful gentle elegance that accompanied winter here on Earth.

“How come you guys celebrate the new year by singing that silly old song?” she asked me.

“I don’t know. Don’t you celebrate the new year?”

She shook her head. “We have a festival, a celebration of sorts where all the families gather together in their respected regions. But we don’t hold the festival every year.”

“What do you do to celebrate?” I was interested now that she was discussing her world.

She spun away from me and then came closer. “We dance. We sing.” Then she shrugged. “We eat,” she concluded.

She went back to gliding on the ice. I watched her circle me a few times before I finally joined her. Inside I heard the countdown begin. The shouting got louder and louder until the clock struck midnight. I was sure I should hear bazookas going off or fireworks popping and people shouting ‘Happy New Year’ to each other, but it was quiet. I didn’t hear my friends above us calling out or singing or celebrating. The adults inside were quiet as well. Had time frozen?

Lynna and I still skated side by side, but my vision faded. I closed my eyes and reopened them. It was sunny outside, not dark. There were many people around the both of us. I came to a halt and realized that I was not wearing warm winter clothing, but pants and a long white jacket. There were people all around me. They wore a myriad of colors, but their clothing was simple and loose. Most of the men’s long hair was pulled back at the nape of their necks. The women’s long hair was twirled around their heads in intricate knots and loops. Metal bands wove through the strands, and some were laden with jewels and designs.

I turned towards Lynna wondering what she wore, but she was no longer beside me. I knew I was witnessing another vision of her world, but I didn’t know which one of the women present was her, or where she’d gone. Realistically she was somewhere beside me, but I still couldn’t see her, though I felt her presence. I walked through the crowd and didn’t recognize a single person until I spotted Saladian dancing with a young woman. They twirled together making loops and circles around the guests, free and graceful in their movements. The young woman’s dark-brown hair flowed softly down her shoulders and back. It wasn’t put up into a bun or pulled away from her face.

A young man stepped out among the men and women gathered and presented his self to the pair. “My Ladies,” he greeted them. “Would the young miss mind take a turn with me?” he asked the younger girl. He wore a long dark blue coat over a pair of white pants. He, like myself and all the men present wore no shirt, but coats that were unbuttoned. His long black hair was shorter than the other men’s but long enough to frame his face. The small beauty let go of Saladian’s hands and took the young man’s. The new pair spun about the terrace, rivaling anyone who dared match them.

Saladian glanced at me. “Lord Trionden,” she greeted and smiled. “Your daughter is a fine dancer.” Her eyes gazed back at the younger woman, and she stared longingly at the child. “I hear congratulations are in order for Lady Deia.” She smiled and switched her gaze back onto me. “Another daughter among your clan.”

I had no idea why she saw me as someone who wasn’t me. The last time I talked with her, I was Garrett and she knew this. Was this a vision or something else entirely?

Before I could act upon anything or ask her what she meant, my hand reached out and took hers. I kissed the spot where I’d seen her warrior kiss several times before. Instead of immediately letting go, I caressed her hand briefly before setting her free. She smiled at me with her eyes, and I knew we communicated our love to one another.

In a gentle but compelling move, I whisked her away to dance with the others. She followed me, allowing me to sweep her off her feet and we twirled around the couples. We ended up in a secluded garden, away from the party and the people. No one missed us. Shrubs and vines decorated the landscape and the flora was gently hued in the dim light.

“Caellech will wonder where you are,” Saladian whispered. I took her passionately in my arms and kissed her sweet perfect red lips. They parted on contact with mine, and her breath smelled like the blossoms of the flowers.

In another swift motion as I closed my eyes, breathing in the beautiful aroma, I was back in my world and not in a flowery dream. Lynna was in my arms as I had leant in to kiss her. Her eyes stared at me and I stared at her. As I gazed into her dark green eyes the pupils dilated and then contracted again.

“Garrett?” she whispered to me, half in shock and half in awe.

She was right in front of me, and I was there, perfectly positioned to kiss her pink lips, but I froze. I don’t know why I did, as I wanted to kiss her. But did I want to kiss her because I liked her or because of the vision I just had? The emotions from the passion in what I just witnessed burned alive within me like a fire. The feelings were on the edge of my sub consciousness, eating away at me. I didn’t want Lynna to think I was acting on the kiss because of an emotion from an external source that wasn’t even related to my feelings for her. I let her go and put a foot of distance between us. As soon as I did that, several disappointed groans from our friends sounded from above, startling me awake from my dream-like trance.

“Aww man…”

“So close.”

I frowned and whirled around completely aware from the vision I had just now. I positioned Lynna behind me and stared around wondering where the intruders were. There was no one outside us by the iced pool. Instead Ella, Drew, Clara, Kevin, Alex and Mehgan stood on the terrace above and stared down at us. I caught their disappointed expressions before they turned to each other and started looking busy. Teresa ran up to Kevin with two drinks in her hands.

“What’d I miss?” she whispered frantically.

I rolled my eyes and turned back around to face Lynna. “What were we doing?” I whispered. I wanted a clear picture of what she remembered, because I had no clue if she saw what I did or just reacted to my odd behavior.

It took her a moment to respond to my question. She looked frazzled by the incident. “Dancing, I think. On the ice,” she added.

I nodded briefly and took her hand. We skated once more side by side around the small rink. “Did you…see any of that?” I asked her. It was a long shot but judging by her surprise I figured that she’d witnessed something like I had.

When I glanced at her, she was blushing, and it wasn’t subtle. “Yes,” she breathed out.

This was new. We both were involved in a vision. “Who are those people?” I whispered.

She skated to a halt and crossed her arms. Her thumbnail went into her mouth and she bit down on it.

I turned around and faced her. “Who is Saladian?” I asked her in Gaelic.

She stopped biting her thumbnail and froze completely. Even her eyes widened with surprise. Her mouth opened, and she literally breathed out the words. They were barely audible, but I caught them. “How do you know that name?”

I felt something tingly travel down my spinal cord and into my arms and legs. It was like an electric jolt, but I couldn’t decipher the source.

Lynna’s eyes darted to something behind me and she whispered two words. “Don’t move.”

The tingling ceased at once. She inhaled a breath of air and skated to the edge of the pool. She crossed over the concrete to the nearest bench and in less than a minute she had her shoes on. “I’ll be back at dawn,” she announced. “Then we can talk.”

Without waiting for a word from me, she disappeared into the house and melted with the crowd. The last thing I saw was her hand before it melded into the shadows; it was completely white.

I found our friends in the movie room sitting on bean bags and couches. They relocated once I caught them spying on Lynna and I. When I walked in the door Ella shot me a look and shook her head.

“You had the perfect chance…”

“And you blew it,” Drew finished for her. “Come on Gar, she’s not some shy outcast we always thought her to be. She’s cool. Snowboarding, ice skating, knowledgeable…” he droned on.

“She’d actually be drop dead gorgeous if she would let me do a makeover on her,” Ella whined. “But she won’t let me cut her hair or put makeup on her face.”

“I like it long,” I stated before I could stop myself.

The entire room paused for a second absorbing my statement.

“See, I told you he liked her,” Ella boasted and nudged Drew in the arm.

“I knew that from the day of first grade,” Clara announced. “It was only a matter of time.”

I frowned. “Lynna didn’t go to our school in first grade.”

“Well it was whenever we had Ms. Lumpkin. You kept offering her a piece of your sandwich.”

“He offered his sandwich to everyone,” Ella retorted.

“But nobody wanted to eat it,” Clara answered. “She at least tried it, unlike the rest of us.”

“How can you remember that from fifth grade?” Kevin asked her.

I smiled. I knew what they were talking about. That sandwich was a big deal. My mom made me lettuce wrapped ham and cheese with a peanut butter spread. I loved them as a kid. No one else did.

“You remember when Jacelyn got braces?” Mehgan snorted. “She was so upset!”

Alex groaned. “She was nicer then, than she is now,” he mused.

I sat down in a chair closer to the back of the room and leant back into, so I could rest my feet on the footstool. “What are we watching this year?” I asked them.

We always watched some sort of independent scary movie and poked fun of them incessantly but this year they settled on Shrek. In the middle of the second movie, I fell asleep.

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