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The Gates of Avaelon

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Chapter Two

Time passed quickly. February ended, March came and went, and the calendar ripened into the middle of a warm, sunny April.

Melissa had been hard at work. Her job at the newspaper had really taken off, and she now only had to physically come in Monday through Wednesday; the rest of the week she stayed at home, researching and typing up articles on her computer, a Christmas gift from her aunt Sabrina.

Work wasn’t the only thing on her mind however. She had placed her order at the nursery several weeks before, and her seeds and rosebushes had finally arrived.

While she had been waiting, she’d cleared away the dead brush that had choked the plot of land her father had used for his garden so many years ago, situated between the house and the wide field.

She’d also dug up the stone border and redesigned it into a wide diamond about twenty feet across and twenty-five feet wide; replacing the simple square shape that it had once been.

After discarding sheet upon sheet of garden designs, she’d finally settled on the one she liked the best, and had spent many days of hard, sweaty work in the early spring sun to make the sketch in the notebook become a reality in her back yard.

In addition to the stones that made up the new border, she’d created a walkway that went across both sides of the garden, intersecting in the middle and creating a cross. In the four sections of the garden itself, she’d planted flowers that would form outer borders when the time came for them to blossom… asters and lilies on the bottom, irises and peonies at the top. On the interior of the garden, planted in fresh plots of healthy green grass, she’d placed the four treasured rosebushes that she had ordered, taking dedicated care of them and looking forward to the day when the delicate buds would finally become perfumed blossoms.

Joanie had been accepted for an internship at the local hospital, so Melissa didn’t get to see her as much anymore. Her Aunt Sabrina had recently called to say that Linda and her boyfriend were thinking about getting married, and had also added that it was about time that Melissa herself started looking for a man, to which Melissa had laughed and replied that she was currently married to her job.

Other than that, things had been quiet. There had been no more repeat incidences of the unusual things that had alarmed her a few months before, and she finally admitted to herself that Joanie had been right from the beginning, all the stress she’d been under had just made her paranoid, and now that she was settled and happy, it had gone away by itself.

One night, after she’d just gotten home from work, she decided to relax. She took a long, hot soak in the bathtub, washing her long hair and drying off the excess water with a towel. She changed into her white cotton nightgown and brewed herself a hot cup of her favorite tea, Chamomile with honey, and picked up her notebook before making herself comfortable on the living room couch. She planned to try to write a little poetry, an old hobby of hers that she hadn’t had much of a chance to pursue lately, busy as she had been with everything else in her life.

She drank her tea, staring down at the paper before draining the hot liquid in five long gulps, loving the way the hot, sweet liquid warmed her throat as it slid down.

When the cup was empty, she placed it carefully on the coffee table in front of her and focused her thoughts entirely on her intended poetry, or at least, that’s what she tried to do.

Because after a few minutes of struggling vainly to think of something to write, she suddenly paused, raising her head to gaze about the living room. At first, she thought she was just imagining things, and attempted once again to work on her poem. But then, after a few more minutes, she raised her head once more, and this time the breath caught a little in her throat.

There was no denying it; there was a presence in the room with her. She could feel it, almost as if a pair of eyes was right there watching her. In spite of herself, she shivered a little in apprehension. Melissa had never been a coward, indeed, when they had moved to New York, she had scared her mother many a time by running across a busy street or running up to pet one of the numerous stray dogs that had lived near her Aunt Sabrina’s house. Horror movies, no matter how gory, never bothered her, and she wasn’t at all afraid of walking alone at night.

But now, as odd as it seemed, sitting alone in her own living room in the house in the town where she had been born and lived until she was five, she felt afraid- afraid of something she couldn’t hear or see, but could only sense with a keen sensitivity and her own intuition.

Cautiously placing her notebook on the small end table that stood beside the couch, Melissa stood up, arms raised slightly in front of her chest as if to protect herself from any harm and peering around the room in a vain attempt to locate the source of the scrutiny she felt she was under in every single pore of her body.

Joanie was wrong, she thought to herself, shuddering again, this place is haunted, it has to be; nothing else but a ghost could cause this weird feeling. And though Melissa had never really believed in ghosts before, she was still open-minded, and it certainly was the best explanation she could come up with on such short notice.

“Hello?” she said hesitantly, walking around the coffee table to stand in the center of the living room. “Is anybody there? If there is, please show yourself! I won’t be scared of you, I promise.”

For a long moment, nothing happened, and after a few moments, Melissa felt the sensation of eyes upon her go away, and she sighed in relief, beginning to relax once again even as she exhaled slowly, having not even realized that she’d been holding her breath. She even felt more than a little silly for having addressed thin air too.

Then, without warning, she felt a brief sting on the tip of her left index finger, which was now hanging limply at her side. Startled, she raised her hand, palm up, to the light, looking for an explanation of the slight pain.

On the end of her finger was a single drop of blood, a ruby-colored jewel shining against the pale skin. Puzzled, she looked at it for a moment, and then glanced around the room, searching for a mosquito, but not having any luck in finding one.

An instant later, something tingled in the blood drop that rested on her fingertip, a sharp jolt that felt similar to the shock one received from static electricity.

Confused, Melissa continued to stare down at her finger even as she felt the tingle turn into a surge of warmth that began to spread slowly into her hand and then down her arm, moving outward in an invisible wave until it had filled her entire body.

At first she felt no fear at the strange new sensation, only bewilderment. Then, as the minutes passed, the soft, pleasant warmth intensified into a hot, liquid burning that made her blood feel like it was boiling inside her veins, and she gasped, falling to her knees on the thick white carpet of the living room floor.

For what seemed an eternity, the heat in her body grew higher and higher until it seemed like it was becoming hard for her to breath. She could feel her pulse racing, hear her heart beating faster and faster, and could see sparks of light forming in front of her eyes; the glare becoming so bright that it was as if she had looked into the sun in the middle of a summer day. Whimpering in fear, she closed her eyes against it, praying silently for whatever was happening to her to come to an end.

Which, almost as quickly as it had begun, it did stop. The burning ceased, her heartbeat and pulse slowed, and the blinding light, seen even through her closed eyelids, gradually dimmed to cool blackness.

For several long moments, Melissa held still, allowing herself to relax into a sitting position on the floor and taking a few long, calming breaths before she ever so slowly opened first one eye, and then the other.

For a moment, all she could see was a fuzzy golden haze, like the light surrounding a lamp. But then, after a few seconds had passed, things began to come back into focus, and, her eyes widening in shock, she saw the dim outline of a figure in the middle of the cloud of light slowly beginning to take form before it finally became completely solid a few seconds later.

Shocked beyond words, Melissa could only stare as she took in visual details, her arms clasped against her chest in a defensive position as she looked up at the figure that stood before her.

It was a man, but yet it wasn’t a man. He stood roughly five foot ten in height, and was slender, his body, even holding perfectly still as it was, seeming to be filled with inner grace.

His clothes were strange; smooth brown boots reached halfway to his knees, his shirt, made of a soft-looking burgundy cloth was long, tied with a knotted belt of black cord that complimented the black pants that seemed to be made of the same material as the shirt he wore.

But his clothes were not truly the most ensnaring things about him; it was himself. His skin was pale, shining with a warm, golden hue. His hair was shoulder-length and straight; with bangs that curved roguishly over his forehead; and was a bright, coppery red that she had never seen before, the overhead light dancing across the strands that glowed with golden highlights. The eyes that regarded her in seeming amusement; and perhaps a touch of concern were the strangest eyes she had ever seen; a deep, intense emerald green with a distinct silver sheen to them. The face itself was young, and handsome, the features sharp and the skin without any blemish.

But as she took in his whole image, she gasped.

Rising above and extending down behind his shoulders, were a pair of large, sweeping wings, very much like the wings of a butterfly, though these appeared far stronger, and with a mass of feather-like fluff covering the ends of the wings where they connected to his narrow shoulders; the swirls of crimson red, sun gold, and deep amber blending perfectly with the rest of his coloring.

After a few moments of mutual silence, the figure tilted his head at her, a rakish grin curving his lips, “Hello pretty.” he said in a casual, friendly tone.

Instantly Melissa scrambled to her feet, backing away instinctively until she fell back over the coffee table, sprawling against the couch, her arms held out in front of her in a protective stance.

Smoothly, the man, if that’s what he was, made a clucking sound with his tongue, “Now now,” he scolded lightly, “I thought you said you weren’t going to be afraid of me if I showed myself. You really should do what you say you’re going to do, you know. Otherwise, how are people supposed to trust you?”

Ignoring his words, Melissa drew her knees up to her chest, “What, what are you?” she sputtered, terror and disbelief warring at equal strength within her voice as she stared at him.

A fiery eyebrow lifted slightly as his silver-green eyes gazed steadily at her, “You don’t have to look at me like that. You’re staring at me like I’m some horrible monster that’s climbed out of a dark pit just to devour you. I’m not going to hurt you, trust me.”

Breathing heavily, Melissa snatched her eyes shut, shaking her head for a few seconds as she waited, counting under her breath.

“Yes, I’m still here. I didn’t vanish into the shadows from whence I came.” The smooth voice commented once again. Startled, Melissa’s eyes flew open, only to see the man standing there, an expression of deep amusement on his face.

“Come now, can’t you at least try to be a little more reasonable about all of this? You were expecting a ghost, weren’t you? Well, you see, you should be happy, instead of a spooky, bad-tempered ghost, you got a young, and, if I do say so myself, very handsome High Fae.”

“High Fae?” Melissa repeated in a quavering voice, still thunderstruck by the unbelievable things that had happened to her in the past few minutes.

“Of course, I hardly look like a troll, now do I?” he responded pleasantly.

Abruptly, there was a flash of blue light; “Aiden!” a new, deeper voice demanded angrily, “What have you done?”

Casually the red-haired young man turned his head to look at the one who had spoken, “Only what you were too scared to do yourself! I did you a favor; your little Terran can see you now!”

Slowly, Melissa turned her head to the direction of the new voice, and when she did, she gasped as a barrage of images overloaded her brain, and she snatched her eyes shut once more, huddling in sudden terror on the cushions of the couch.

“Melissa?” the newcomer’s voice asked gently; obviously concerned, and even with her eyes closed, she sensed him approaching her.

“Please, stay back!” she pleaded, shivering violently. “Don’t come near me! Just please, Go away and leave me alone!”

“It’s okay.” the one called Aiden said, his voice more soothing than it had been before.

“Melissa-” the other one began.

“Please!” she begged, the word hardly more than a whimper.

There was a long pause, and then finally the other man spoke, “All right,” he replied in a strained voice that was filled with soft pain, “If that’s what you wish, then I’ll go, I never meant you any harm, and I never will; you must believe me. Come Aiden.”

“But-” the other protested.

Now Aiden!” the man’s voice was as icy as a winter storm, and it brooked no opposition.

A second pause filled the room, and from behind her eyelids, Melissa sensed more than saw two bright flashes of light, and when, moments later, she opened her eyes, she was alone once again.

She sat there, still huddled on the couch, her mind filling with images, sounds, and memories long suppressed, that had all been unleashed by a simple, single glance at the person who had appeared after the red-headed man who had called himself a High Fae.

It was too much for her to handle at once, and as tears seeped down her pale cheeks, she collapsed against the couch, eventually sobbing herself into a troubled sleep.

● ● ●

When Melissa opened her eyes, it was morning. Sunlight streamed through the bay window even through the drawn curtains, and the living room was chilly because she’d never gotten around to turning on the furnace the night before.

The night before… Melissa shuddered as she pulled herself a bit unsteadily to her feet, peering around the room. Nothing seemed to be out of place, and she certainly didn’t feel anything strange. Maybe it had all been a bad dream.

That hopeful thought ended as soon as she looked down at her left hand. On the tip of her index finger was a small diamond-shaped, rose-colored scar. For a moment, she could only stare; it hadn’t been a nightmare then. What she had seen last night… had been real.

The High Fae, Aiden, hadn’t seemed dangerous- Wait a minute, this was ridiculous, Faeries, Fae, whatever you wanted to call them, didn’t exist! They were only fanciful little creatures made up in stories to entertain children. Little, yes, that was another point too, weren’t Faeries supposed to be tiny, cute little sprites that danced on toadstools and lived in flowers? That Fae last night had been taller than she was!

She’d been shocked when the redheaded man had appeared, and a little frightened, but true fear hadn’t set in until the other one had arrived. She’d no more than gotten a glimpse of him before she had looked into his eyes… those eyes, eyes that had forced memories to the surface of her mind that she’d not had to face in many years, and the abruptness of it all had overwhelmed her; forcing her to lash out in helpless fear.

What are you talking about, Melissa? She demanded inwardly, it was just a stupid dream! You’ve been working too hard, and it finally caught up with you. So you have a little mark on the end of your finger, so what? You probably just rolled over and got stuck by a tack or something in the couch. That’s a lot more rational than believing in giant Faeries!

But still, those eyes… Suddenly, she was struck by a memory. She had just turned five years old a few days before, and it was the last day of school. She got off the bus, and dashed through the front door as usual. She looked around the living room, and, finding no one there, went into the kitchen.

Her mother was sitting on a barstool beside the main phone that hung on the kitchen wall, crying with her face in her hands. “Momma?” she asked, worried because she had never seen her mother cry. Instantly, her mother raised her head, her pale blue eyes reddened from what had obviously been a long period of crying, and she quickly wiped at her tears with one hand, trying to compose herself, “Melissa-” she began in a hoarse voice.

Looking around the kitchen, Melissa looked back to her mother, “Where’s daddy?” she asked curiously, for her father was always sitting at the kitchen counter working on his articles for the newspaper when she came home from school.

For a moment, her mother trembled, and it seemed as though she would start crying again, but, looking down at her youngest daughter, she took several deep, calming breaths before responding, “Melissa,” she said in a voice that quavered, but was as steady as she could make it, “I just got a call from the police, your daddy was in an accident…A truck hit his car when he was on his way home, and they took him to the hospital…”

Melissa frowned, remembering the time her father had been in another car wreck and had been put in the hospital with a broken leg, “But, he’s okay isn’t he?” she asked, “He’s coming home soon?”

Tears trembled in the corners of her mother’s eyes, “No Honey, he isn’t.” she answered softly.

Abruptly Melissa’s mind snapped back to the present, and she walked through the kitchen and down the hall to her bedroom, opening the drawer to her dresser and pulling out a rumpled pair of blue jeans and a plain white tee-shirt.

She dressed quickly, donning her socks and tennis shoes before returning to the kitchen and eating a small bowl of cereal. As she chewed, she shook her head, thinking to herself. The whole thing was just a bad dream, she said firmly, just get some more rest and it won’t happen again.

Then, glancing over, she caught sight of the flower, the same strange flower she had found on Valentine’s Day. She’d been so busy with work the past few weeks that she hadn’t had time to pay it any attention, but now, her eyes were riveted to it.

The water in the glass vase that contained the bloom had long since evaporated, and the interior was actually a little murky from accumulated dust. But that wasn’t what shocked her. The flower had been cut at least two months before, and it looked exactly the same as the day she had found it on her foyer table. It was completely fresh, without a single trace of wilting or withering.

Her breath catching slightly in her throat, Melissa forgot her breakfast and reached out, picking up the flower in her left hand and gasping a bit when her hand began to tingle in response to the touch of the silky stem.

Cautiously, she switched the blossom to her right hand, and noted with some puzzlement that she felt nothing unusual.

Maybe it wasn’t a real flower, she thought distantly. Maybe it was one of those silk flowers you could buy in specialty stores. But then, when she raised it to her nose and inhaled, the powerful, sweet scent convinced her otherwise; fake flowers didn’t smell like that. Of course, neither did any normal flower that she had ever smelled before, but that aside, the almost intoxicating fragrance was just as fresh as it had been the day she had first experienced it.

Her hand shaking a little, she placed the flower back inside the vase. The mark on the end of her finger had been easily dismissed, but the flower? That was physical, tangible proof that something unusual indeed was going on.

Saying that it was just a normal flower, a gift from one of her co-workers as she had first thought, wouldn’t do her any good now. A normal flower would have withered away into a dried up husk after so long, and the flower looked as if it were fresh from the garden. Yes, an ordinary flower would have wilted, but what about… a Faerie flower?

It was impossible, but she just couldn’t dismiss it. Something weird was going on; there had been too much proof to just keep trying to explain it away to stress and other mundane reasons.

“Joanie.” she muttered to herself, gazing helplessly over at the flower for a few moments before looking down at the small, strange scar on the end of her finger, “I really wish you were here, you always could talk me into believing that I’m not crazy!”

● ● ●

He sat silently on the small hill that overlooked the garden. He’d been sitting there all night, unable to sleep; just staring down at the house that contained the one human he had ever known and cared about, and who was now afraid of him.

When Aiden had left him on Valentine’s Day, he had spent many days thinking about his predicament, and what to do about it. Aiden had threatened to use the Dreamthorn on Melissa if he came back and found that he had failed to do it himself. He had been considering it for over a month, but was hesitant to do so.

A Dreamthorn was a magical object created by Gaspar, an unusually wise man of his people, the High Fae, who had tried for many, many years to discover a way to enable any Terran of any age to be able to see his kind after they had lost the ability.

However, since Terrans had a tendency to react in dangerously unpredictable ways, the then King of the Fae had only allowed him to make six of the arcane items; three of which had been lost for many centuries. Of the ones that remained, one was kept in the castle of the current King. The wise woman who lived in the northernmost reaches of their land protected another, and the last was housed in Shimmercliff… the estate of his family.

He hadn’t wanted to act rashly, or take any action that would harm or frighten Melissa. Aiden, like many of the commoner High Fae, was far more reckless and more inclined to make thoughtless actions than were the nobility, and if that made his class `stuffy’, then so be it, he didn’t mind being considered `stuffy’ or `self-righteous’ if it meant that he took the time to think before he acted.

So, unwilling or unable to follow his friend’s advice, he’d continued to watch Melissa from a distance; not even entering her house again from the fear that he would somehow frighten her if she sensed his presence.

Then one night, as he’d been sitting on her porch, keeping his silent, watchful eye on her as usual, Aiden had suddenly appeared in his trademark burst of golden light, out of breath, and with a harried look on his normally casual face.

“Aiden, what’s wrong?” he’d asked in concern, for despite his previous sarcasm and overall air of annoyance he’d displayed around the other Fae, the red-head was indeed his best friend.

“Your father-” Aiden managed to gasp out, “He sent me for you, and he says it’s important, something about your brother.”

Instantly he’d been on his feet, preparing to teleport himself back to Avaelon, the world of the Fae, but then he’d hesitated, looking back at the living room window to where Melissa was quietly seating herself on the couch; a notepad and a steaming cup firmly in hand.

Aiden noticed where gaze went and immediately moved to reassure him, “Don’t worry, I’ll keep an eye on her for you, just go ahead and go.”

He’d nodded and disappeared in a flash of electric blue light, arriving on the outermost border of Shimmercliff Estate.

He’d rushed across the wide courtyard, heading towards the beautiful manor that had been in his family for untold centuries, when he paused halfway there to catch his breath.

Then, it had hit him, his father couldn’t have sent Aiden with a message; his father was away on business in Kannalasta, the capitol city several days travel away from Shimmercliff. But why would Aiden rush to tell him something that was so obviously untrue? What reason could he possibly have for wanting him out of the way?

At the exact moment he realized it, the color had drained from his face, and his hands began to tremble, “Melissa!” he’d exclaimed softly, and without a second thought, he’d teleported directly into her living room. But it was too late; the damage had already been well and truly done.

He’d gone to the small hill behind the old building where he could see the garden that he had spent weeks watching Melissa rebuild with her own hands. He hadn’t known where Aiden went, and at the time, he hadn’t cared either; the only thing on his mind was the fact that things would probably never again be the way they once were with him and Melissa, and without a care of who could see him or not, he buried his face in his arms and wept.

● ● ●

The next morning Aiden sat on one of the thick lower branches of the oak tree that stood near Melissa’s house, staring at the old brown dwelling with an unreadable expression on his handsome face.

He’d really made a mess of things… even he, usually the last to admit to any wrongdoing, realized that.

It had taken him longer than he had thought it would to find his little sister, Zara. She was eleven years old now, not old enough to take care of herself yet, but still more than old enough to get into plenty of trouble.

She had a bad habit of wandering away from their house, and more importantly, of not coming back. If his mother had been a Terran, he was sure she would have had more than a few gray hairs by now because of Zara.

This time he’d found her all the way in the Iron spine hills; almost a full day’s walk from their village. She’d been hopping from rock to rock in one of the hot springs that was located there, and he’d casually tucked her under one arm and had taken her home, ignoring her loud protests as always and leaving her to face whatever punishment their mother had in store for her. He would have returned then, but his father needed help in the fields planting crops, and that had meant several weeks of hard work.

When he’d finally returned to Terra, he had hoped that his friend would’ve already have used the Dreamthorn on Melissa, that human girl. If Aiden himself had been in the same situation, he wouldn’t have hesitated to take that course of action; it was the only way that made sense to him.

Without using the Dreamthorn, Melissa would never have been able to see or hear any Fae, not just their mutual friend. So in the end he would have just ended up watching her from a distance for the few remaining weeks until the summer solstice, the morning after of which the gates between Terra and Avaelon would once again be sealed for yet another seven years.

But, despite his hopes, when he’d arrived, the first sight that had greeted his eyes had been his friend sitting on her front porch, gazing into her living room window with the distant, longing expression on his face that always made Aiden want to chuckle whenever he saw it, and he had been seeing it for the last fourteen years.

Irritated at his comrade’s unwillingness to take action, he’d immediately teleported back to Shimmercliff Manor, walking smoothly into the great hall and lifting the top of the crystal case that contained the Dreamthorn; holding it carefully in his hand and gazing at it for a long moment before sliding it into one of his pockets.

If he’d been any other Fae, he wouldn’t have been able to get out of Shimmercliff with the magical object. The servants that lived in the manor were able to recognize the presence of individual Faeries, and the Dreamthorn was the most treasured possession that they protected. But Aiden, as the best friend of the young Lord of Shimmercliff, had been allowed to borrow the item; though he knew he’d have to return it once he had used it.

Instantly, he’d transported himself back to Melissa’s house, arriving on her front porch where his friend, predictably enough, was still moping. He’d already been trying to think of a way to get the younger High Fae to leave her alone for the few minutes he would need to implement his plan, and by the time he reached his destination, he had come up with one.

As a noble, family was one of the most important things to his best friend. For centuries his class had been following a strict set of social rules that governed almost every aspect of their lives, including their speech. One of the most important was the fact that a child of any noble house; no matter what their age, would always obey a direct summons from a parent; mother or father alike.

The young noble’s mother had died in childbirth with his younger brother, a rare occurrence for any Fae, but sadly, something that did sometimes happen. So he decided to say that his father had sent him.

He didn’t remember that his friend’s father was away until after he’d already blurted it out, but it hadn’t mattered anyway. His friend was so accustomed to following form that he’d believed it without a thought, though he had hesitated, but not because he’d doubted Aiden’s story, but because it was obvious from the glance he threw in her direction, that he didn’t want to leave the girl he had been watching.

Smoothly he had promised to keep an eye on her while he was gone, and the other Fae had given a brief nod of gratitude before finally teleporting away, leaving him alone with the Terran girl.

I don’t understand it; he thought to himself wearily, looking up at the thick gray clouds that were beginning to swallow the dim sunlight that had begun the day. Melissa was calming down when I was talking to her, and she’d never met me before. She only broke down when he showed up. But why…He said they were such close friends when they were little, I thought she’d be happy to see him again after so long!

His friend had told him of his relationship with the Terran girl, and that they had become friends with each other. He had stayed in the other realm with her almost for the entire time that the gates were open, worrying his father and mother to no end, and he’d only returned on the dawn after the summer solstice, just before Avaelon’s seal was restored for another seven years.

Once he’d returned home, Aiden had been happy. He had missed his best friend in the weeks that he’d been gone, and, truth be told, he had been jealous of all the attention that his friend had showered on a girl, and a human girl at that!

But after that, the young noble had never been quite the same again. He became even quieter than he had been before. She had given him a parting gift before he had left, and he had hidden it in his room at Shimmercliff, never even allowing Aiden to see it. And all he ever talked about was how much he missed her, and how he couldn’t wait for the gates to open again in seven years so he could go and see her again.

But then, after the appointed time had passed, and the gates opened, his friend had teleported away to Terra and had returned only a short time later; the expression of shock and disappointment on his face so intense that Aiden had rushed forward in concern; eager to know what had distressed him so.

“She’s gone.” had been his only reply.

The young noble had become withdrawn, spending most of his time on his studies. His mother died a year later giving birth to his little brother, and his friend, having had a close relationship with her, had suffered greatly from the event.

Then, when the gates had opened once again, he’d left Avaelon for a third time, and when he hadn’t returned, Aiden had grown worried and had went to look for him. Searching for the aura that was unique to each Faerie and human alike and tracking his friend that way, he’d found him sitting on the railing of the porch of the old ranch house.

He’d been glad for the other Fae; he’d hated seeing him so sad and moping all of the time. But the young Lord’s refusal to regain contact with the girl frustrated Aiden. After pining after her for fourteen years, he was going to lose the chance of reuniting with her?

And so Aiden had acted; his intentions good, but the result had been bad. Now he’d terrified the girl and infuriated his best friend. There was less than two months until the summer solstice, when Avaelonians would be barred from Terra for yet another seven long years.

Abruptly, Aiden squared his shoulders, a resolute expression on his handsome face. He’d caused this mess, and now he was going to fix it. He may have been called many different things in his life, not all of them flattering, but one thing could always be said about him; no matter what, Aidenezra always tried to correct his mistakes.

He didn’t want to frighten Melissa again, but he wanted to heal the rift that had been created between her and his best friend, and since she hadn’t seemed so scared of him, he knew he was the one to do it.

And so, he jumped down from the tree and set off on foot towards the old house, firmly ignoring the first faint patters of rain that were beginning to fall from the now dark skies.

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