There was nothing inside of Michael but pure confusion as he pulled his hand away from me. I reached for his hand again and begged as the tears continued to fall, “Please just end it all now.”
He shook his head and backed further away from my outstretched hand, “No, not until you turn.”
Matt’s voice began calling out loudly and I knew he wasn’t far from where we stood. I watched as Michael’s head turned toward the corner and back to me, “When you turn.”
“No!” I cried out and reached for him again, “It will be too late.”
My words fell into the thin air as Michael disappeared. Matt finally turned the corner and slowed once I looked at him. There was no hiding my shame now. My eyes fell back on the ground where Michael was just standing. My hope for everything to end left with him. I knew I didn’t want my life to be over, but it was the only way.
Suddenly I could feel my heart trying to beat its way out. My breath discontinued as Matt’s hand fell onto my shoulder. I tried to use my power and force him away from me, but everything I tried failed. I was brought into sudden reality that my power was not inside me. Standing up and moving out of the reach of Matt I faced him. Brian and Mindy were now right behind him.
Shaking my head I allowed the tears the fill my eyes, “I’m sorry.”
Before any of them had a chance to say anything I turned and ran. Matt’s footsteps followed closely behind me with his voice calling out my name which pushed me faster and further ahead of him.
I was shocked at the strength that I found within myself. I had died only to come back in full health. All the pain that filled my body before the end was gone, and the blood in my veins coursed with purpose. A smile grew on my face as the wind slashed at it. The tears stopped but the cold air burnt them into my skin. I was free for the moment. Free from the pain, the love, and the agony of knowing that I was going to face my own death.
Matt’s voice stopped so I reluctantly slowed down to turn because in this moment I didn’t feel like falling. No pain was going through me, and I wasn’t about to let any come upon me. A small laugh escaped my lips when I saw Matt continuing this cat and mouse game. It wasn’t until I saw the light coming from his phone that I realized why he was so far from me in the chase. He was running and talking.
I turned from the road and turned into the small patch of trees that covered the hill. If I reached the top I would most likely be able to lose him within the neighborhood there. As I climbed I found myself getting caught on several tree limbs that had fallen. I looked for Matt behind me, but the darkness surrounded me. There was no light from his phone so I stopped moving completely to listen to the sound of the leaves crunching under his feet.
Silence surrounded me with the darkness. My heart was pushing the blood through my veins and I could feel it pulsing through my body as never before. The pounding echoed through my ears and it was then that I was glad to be alive. It was only minutes ago that I had died, and begged for my death. Now I regretted making the decision of going to Michael.
My heart beat was drowned out by the sound of a car driving up the road where I was just running. I peered through the trees to see the headlights shine on Matt. Whoever it was stopped and Matt walked over to the car, and then I heard Kate’s voice calling out my name. Of course he would call Josh and Kate.
I turned back around and started up the hill again. When they heard the leaves moving again I watched as Matt ran back out in front of the car and began climbing the hill. My legs picked up speed now that I was out of the brush and nearing the top. I heard the car turning around at the bottom and I knew that I only had a few moments to find a sufficient hiding spot before it would beat me to the top.
That is when I realized I didn’t have to leave the asylum of the trees that hid me. Once I reached the top I swiftly darted to the right and back into the woods out of sight. After a few steps into the darkness I stopped and watched as Matt emerged scanning the area. It wasn’t long after that Josh’s car pulled up the dead end road and Matt got in with them. As I watched them backing out I slowly started back down the hill.
Carefully I made my way into the town keeping my eyes wide open hoping to spot them before they would see me. I kept to the shadows when I could. It wasn’t long before I found myself standing on the road that would lead me home. There were no more street lights to illuminate my path, but I continued knowing the way by heart.
I wasn’t too far from the point where everything had taken place. Where I was taken by Marcus and where I gained my power. Closing my eyes I saw the bright sunlight shining around me and there was Michael ready to embrace me. I dropped to my knees staring into the darkness again.
How many times had I wished to go back in time to change the course of the future? Now I had that opportunity, but I didn’t know where to start. I had already changed so much, but how would that ultimately change the future. Did I actually go back into the past or was it just a vision of the future like Marcus had?
When the road ahead of me started to brighten I turned to see headlights coming towards me. I studied them as I brought myself up off of the ground. They were not from a car. They were too high. I knew that it was my father coming up the road. Brushing off the dirt on my pants I tried to remember the last time that I had actually seen him. It seemed like years, but it was only this morning before I left for school.
The SUV stopped right beside me and I opened the door eagerly to see my father again. The light clicked and it filled the inside. Without thinking twice I jumped in and wrapped my arms around my dad’s neck. “I love you, Dad.”
“I love you too sweetie, but what are you doing walking out here so close to Midnight. I thought you were staying at Kate’s tonight.” My father quickly released my embrace and held me away from him, “Good God what happened to you?”
I fell into the seat and shut the door, “It is a long story, but to make it short I fell at the dance. Now I am on my way home. But I will say that I am glad to be going home.”
“I see.” My dad turned back into his seat and started down the road again. I was happy that he let it as it was without any more questions. The few minutes on the way home with my dad I realized that I had to leave. If I had any chance in living my life I would have to go. They both knew exactly where I was, and if I could just keep away from both of them my future would be free.
Once we reached the house I followed my father onto the porch. It had been years since I had taken a step inside of my own home. Marcus had placed a spell upon it never allowing me to come back, but here I was standing in the doorway. It was the same as it had always been. Stepping over the threshold I inhaled the smell deeply. I was stunned in realizing how much I had actually missed being home.
I wanted to wander around and take in everything that had not changed. Instead I walked straight upstairs and into my room. Tapping my finger anxiously against the wall I found my backpack shoved underneath my desk. I quickly went over and started dumping everything out of it.
My heart started to ache when I started pulling clothes out of my closet to stuff inside my backpack. It reminded me of when Marcus had taken me away from everything. I was leaving my home again, but there was one thing that cheered me up a little. At least this time I would be able to tell my dad goodbye.
“Leaving so soon?” I was shocked by the composure of my dad’s voice as he leaned against my doorway.
My eyes found his and he still seemed calm, “I have to go.”
I searched my memories and at this point in my life I was still undetermined in what I was going to do after high school. It wasn’t until after Christmas that Kate and I decided to go to the city. I left my bag half stuffed and turned to completely face my dad in confusion. How did he know? But my memories continued and I realized that even when I had left before he never seemed angry or confused by my disappearance.
“Your mother had left a few months before she turned too, but it was only a few months not nearly half a year before.” My dad walked over and pushed my bag to the other side of my bed as he sat down, “What did she call it again, The Bowerstone fate? She said you would leave too, to change your fate. Sweetie, I know everything.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“She told me that it would be better for you to find out on your own. Seeing is believing.” My dad lifted his hand and brushed my hair back, “Would you like some ice for that?”
“No.” I shook my head in disbelief, “You knew mom was a witch?”
“Come here. I want to show you something.” My dad got up off the bed and I followed him curiously into his bedroom. “It was near two months before she turned that she had her vision or whatever you want to call it. She never once said what she had seen or whether she changed it, but the one thing that I do know is that she wished nothing more than a normal life for herself. She wanted the same for her children as well, but when she came back everything changed.”
“She was pregnant when she came back wasn’t she?” Instantly my hand flew to my mouth afraid that I shouldn’t have said anything about that.
My dad pulled down a box from the top shelf of his closet and surprisingly turned towards me with a smile across his face, “Yes, but that didn’t change anything.”
“Then what changed everything?”
“Here look and see for yourself,” My dad sat down on the bed offering me the box. I took it and sat down next to him and opened the lid. Inside there were several pictures on top. I lifted out the first one and a smile came over my face. It was my mom and dad sitting on the park bench with their arms around each other. They must have been back in high school and they looked so happy together. I continued flipping through the pictures of them in school. After going through the entire section I sat them down beside me and pulled out an envelope. My dad nodded allowing me to open it up.
After looking at the first picture I knew exactly what the rest of them contained. I was staring at my mom when she was my age using her magic to suspend a TV in the air. I put them back into the envelope without looking at anymore, “You should get rid of these.”
My dad took the envelope back and ignored what I had told him placing it back into the box. “Right after those were taken she left. These are the letters that we wrote back and forth, but after two years she just stopped writing. That Sweetie is when everything changed. It was close to five years when she just showed up on the porch.”
He tried to hand me the letters, but underneath them were more pictures. My parents were older, but they still seemed just as happy together. As I went deeper into the pile my mother’s eyes changed. She kept the smile, but her eyes didn’t look into the camera. “Who is she looking at?”
“There was no one else, but she became quite anxious as if she was expecting someone to just show up at any. It wasn’t until our wedding that I saw who she was waiting for. At first I thought that he was your real father, but she insisted that it wasn’t. She said if he was anything at all he would be my son-in-law.” My eyes shot to his, and he paused momentarily. The only person that I could think of in that moment while he sorted through the photos was Michael, but when he placed the picture in my hand I nearly dropped it as he spoke, “She said that you were always meant to be his.”
“Marcus.” I tried to push the picture of him placing his hand on my mom’s womb as they both smiled out of my mind. Suddenly my memories went back to him screaming at me. He told me himself that I was supposed to be his.
“You know him? From your Bowerstone fate?” My dad interrupted my thoughts. “I think he might be too old for you now.”
I put the picture back down into the box and look my dad straight in the eyes, “He was too old for me two hundred years ago, and I can assure you that he will never be anything like a son-in-law.”
I rendered my dad speechless for a few minutes as he looked through the photos himself. My eyes fell upon them as well and Marcus was in more than I would have like to have seen. It caught me off guard how close my mom and Marcus were, and how happy they all seemed to be together. “I’m sorry that things didn’t seem to work out for you. I guess I was kind of hoping that he was the one that was pulling you from home.”
I placed my hand against the spot where the blade had entered into my chest, and the tears rolled down over my cheeks, “Dad, please don’t.”
“What did you see tonight?”
“My fate,” I tried to fight the trembling in my hands as it started filling my entire being. It filled my voice as I spoke again, “Dad, what did mom want for me?”
She seemed to trust him with everything else why wouldn’t she let him know what she wanted for her daughter. I remembered her words that night begging Michael to let me live asking him never to let Marcus take my power. If he took my power I would die, but I died anyway. Unless I ran now it seemed that my life would end by Marcus’ hand. There was no way I knew that I could feel any sense of love for him ever again.
“She just wanted you to be happy.” My dad’s hand lifted my chin, “You don’t seem happy with your fate. How do we change it?”
My thoughts shifted back to my half filled back pack. “I have to leave it isn’t safe for me here. They know where I am.”
I quickly removed myself from my dad’s room and started back towards mine when someone started pounding on the door downstairs. I stopped instantly. Whoever was out there demanded attention with their fists. My dad’s hand fell upon my shoulder making me jump. I looked at him as he pulled the gun from his side. I shook my head, “It isn’t them. If they wanted me I would be gone already.”
The pounding continued with muffled voices, “Are you sure?”
“Yes, dad now go see.” I ushered him down the stairs as he put the gun back. I shook my head, having him as a father did have some advantages. Maybe that is why mom came back to him hoping that he would be able to protect me somehow.
I listened closely just to see who it might actually be as he opened the door, and I heard Kate’s voice. I should have known that they would stop here looking for me. I had actually completely forgotten them once I started on the dirt road. Hopefully my dad would send them on their way while I finished packing my bag, and then I would be able to leave.
A scream escaped me as I turned into my bedroom finding Marcus lying there twirling the bracelet around his finger again. Closing my eyes and removing myself from the room I found Michael staring straight back into me. I tried to open my eyes to get him out of my head, but I feared seeing Marcus again. My feet drug me back until I lost the floor underneath me and started falling.
My eyes shot open revealing my room was empty and free of Marcus, but I grasped for something to catch myself from falling down the entire staircase. I wasn’t sure if it was my body or their footsteps making the sound as I continued to tumble down the stairs, but I had crashed against them over and over again. When I finally stopped I opened my eyes to find Matt staring back down on me. “Are you okay?”
“Fine,” I brought myself to an unsteady balance reaching for the banister instead of Matt’s arms. “Thank you.”
“I am fine. I just tripped. I am fine.” I looked down at the line on the stairs. First Matt, then Josh and Mindy, and last was my dad with questioning eyes. “Look guys, you should go. I’m home. Don’t worry about anything.”
As painful as it was I turned from them and made my way back up the stairs. I heard my dad telling them also that they should go. Never once did I look back down the stairs. I regretted leaving them again. Again. Was it always going to be again? Was I going to die by Marcus’ hand? I could still feel my love for Michael pulsing through me, and if I loved him Marcus would kill me.
I sighed as I stared at my bed. My fate would be determined by them, and my choice of which one to love. If I refused to love either I would still die of that I was sure. His voice came and it sent a pleasant feeling through my entire body knowing that for whatever reason he cared, “You don’t seem so eager to die now.”
I wanted to turn around and stare into the glory of his green eyes again. Instead I stepped away from him and into my room and replied, “Yes, I do.”
“Ash, there was a sense panic in your eyes when you called. Anyone who truly wants death doesn’t hold any fear.” Michael followed me into my room, “So tell me why you called again?”
Carefully I watched out the window. I could see the headlights shining on the road and going further away, but I looked more into the reflection of Michael watching me. Still wearing his black jacket and dark cobalt shirt from earlier he looked less confused though. In his reflection he seemed almost ghost like with how pale he was. Never once while I looked upon him in my future did he look like this white. It was as if his hair and skin matched in color. Under the lights at the school it must have drown out the paleness within him.
Without turning I lowered my eyes from his image in the window I answered finally, “It was an accident. I didn’t mean to call you.”
“Marcus?” My dad’s voice entered into my room.
“No.” A low growl emerged from Michael’s lips as I finally found myself turning around hoping to disengage his rage. Michael’s anger fell into my eyes, “He’s been here?”
I shook my head never taking my eyes from his, “No, now please go.”
Before I had a chance to say anything else I heard the shot. Michael’s face scowled even more as the gun flew from my dad’s hand and out the window. The glass shattered everywhere as Michael quickly turned to face my dad, “You apparently don’t know just who I am. Do you?”
“Marcus told me exactly who you are, and I want you out of my home now.” I was shocked by the sternness in my dad’s voice as he faced Michael.
I rushed around Michael to get to my dad, but he forced back towards the bed. Begging would not pull his attention from my dad so I screamed at him as loud as I could. “Michael, April thirtieth.”
After my dad’s eyes shot fear towards me Michael finally looked at me, “What?”
“April thirtieth around seven meet me here, and my power is yours.”
“Ashley, what are you doing?” My father was frozen in the spot where he stood. “Your mother…”
I cut him off and spoke directly to Michael, “Promise me that you will take it the moment I turn.”
“I thought you wanted to die.” Michael took as step towards me and cocked his head slightly, “Why are you helping me when your father clearly don’t like me and rather see you with Marcus?”
“Don’t worry about why. You want the power take it.” I slowly let myself down to the floor in front of my bed and stared at the floor feeling the tears beginning to well up. I had hoped to run from both of them and free myself from everything that my future held. How many times I wished to go back to the road and promise Michael my power, and now I was able to do just that. It would no doubt infuriate Marcus, but it saved Michael from the pain hopefully.
I looked over at my father who was just looking down on me as if I just given away the world, “Dad, this is how it has to be or he, he…”
My voice trailed off and Michael’s picked up, “Just put it this way, if I don’t take her power, Marcus will and it won’t be pretty.”
“But Marcus never wanted her power.” My dad ruined everything with just six words.
I was stunned by the smile that appeared over Michael’s lips, “It doesn’t matter what he wants. You already decided and he can’t touch you”
As Michael spoke he kneeled down in front of me staring into my eyes. It was hard to breath as his eyes burnt into my soul just as they use to inside my mind. His fingers gently wipe away the tear streaming down my cheek, and I almost die with his touch. I was sure that my heart had stop beating for the few brief moments that his skin touched mine. He removed his hand and held it balled into a fist next to his mouth, but refused to take his eyes off of me.
I never took my eyes from him until I heard the door slam. My dad had left the room but the biggest question was how? Michael shook his head, “He must not like your decision. He shouldn’t have left us alone though.”
“You can’t scare me Michael.”
Suddenly his body shifted slightly and his fingers ran through his hair allowing the full effect of what he was trying to do through to me, “I don’t intend on scaring you, merely having some fun. It is Friday night, and I was having a good time, until you called me freaked out. But you can be my replacement for the night if that is what you wish.”
My mind fought his as my hand threw itself into his face removing his eyes just slightly from mine, “I said I would not be your whore. Not now not ever.”
His eyes grew twice their size as he looked at me again. Forcing me back against the bed with his hand on my throat he strained until his eyes were inside my mind. It wasn’t hard not to want his lips on my body, and he didn’t need to hypnotize me to make me want him. I fought myself because I knew I didn’t want this. I couldn’t take him for fear that he would want more and finally do just what his brother wanted.
My fingers found their way to his hair. They went down until I was unbuttoning his shirt, but I knew that is what he wanted. I closed my eyes and leaned my head back as he released my neck from his grip. The blood in my body coursed with reason as he placed his lips on my neck. Once I had completely undone his shirt I traced his muscles with my hands as the made their way up on to his shoulders. I took in a deep breath and pushed him back, and I was surprise when he willingly let me crawl on top of him.
Finally opening my eyes I place both my hands around his neck and forced down with all of my weight. I tried to push out whatever magic I held inside me which was little or none at all, “Go find another woman to be your whore!”
“Oh,” The grin never left his face, “I think you are becoming more fun with each minute.”
In defeat I rolled off of him onto the floor and stared at the ceiling. Everything that I was doing just made him want it even more. It made him want me even more. What made it worse was the fact that I did want him. Each and every inch of his skin touching mine as we entwined our bodies together just as before would be more magical than anything he actually had inside of him.
I heard the sigh coming from Michael’s chest as he began rolling over, and I closed my eyes so that I didn’t have to look at him while he stared down on me. “I can see what you want, but yet you are compelled to fight your own feelings. Why don’t you just give in and have what you want for a night?”
“Because one night will continue to even more.” I tried to make my answer simple and short, but I knew that it wouldn’t satisfy him. “Come back early on my birthday, and you can have anything you wish from me. But only if you take my life with my power.”
“You are very demanding for such a young woman.” Again Michael’s finger ran over my cheek except this time he was not wiping away tears, he was just allowing his skin to touch mine again. I fought so hard within myself to keep my eyes closed, and I could feel the throbbing in my head beginning. It wasn’t because he was trying to call me, but because I had actually used what little magic had earlier. Whether it was from trying to keep him out of my head or when I tried to choke him I wasn’t sure, but I could feel it weakening my body now.
Michael could sense it as well, “You aren’t old enough to use that kind of magic without repercussions, but I must say your effort to control me was working. Deal with your issues of what you truly want and then call me again if you wish before your birthday.”
“Shh.” Michael placed his hand over my eyes as I opened them, “Sleep and sort out everything in the morning.”