Watered Down

By Shelby_Painter All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Romance

Chapter Thirty Nine

I definitely needed more time to prepare for this. I hadn’t expected to come face to face with him like this. I was going to ease into the truth. I had planned to put on a jacket and hope that he would be too excited to see me that he wouldn’t notice the outfit or amulet right off the bat. I wanted to have a happy moment with him first, but he must have found my things.

“Theon,” I said softly, fighting the urges to throw myself into his arms. “I have so much to tell you, I just don’t know where to start.”

He looked up at me, his eyes heavy with tears and I hated my dress for blowing around me so much. I wanted him to focus on me, not on the fact that I’m obviously a siren again.

“I told you to never come back here, Serena.” He shook his head. “What were you thinking? How could you let this happen?”

I was confused at first, but then it clicked that he didn’t realize that this was something I’d done on purpose. “You don’t understand.” I whispered and he stood up, coming to hug me, which made me feel worse instead of better. I leaned into him for a minute, listening to his heart and then I sighed. “I came back here to make a new deal with Alana.”

He grabbed my shoulders and pulled me away from him, looking down into my eyes, silently begging me to not be telling the truth. “You did what?” He spat.

I ducked my eyes. “I don’t want you to be mad at me, Theon.”

“How could I not be?” He interjected. “All we did to get you out of here is totally wasted now. Everything was for nothing and you’re stuck here again.” He let me go and cursed under his breath while he ran his hand through his messy long hair. “I don’t even know how I’ll ever be able to come up with enough people to bring out here for you.” He sighed. “You’re going to end up being here the full two years this time, do you realize that? Did you even think how hard it would be for me to help you this time?”

I pursed my lips and took a step towards him, reaching out for his face. I kissed him once and he sighed, smiling at me slightly. “Theon, you don’t understand.” I repeated, still holding him. “I came here and found her on purpose.” I admitted to him, trying hard to look him in the eyes while I spoke, but the more I said, and the more he understood, the harder it became. “I traded myself. You and Tally are free, you can leave here, forever. Both of you.”

He shook his head in my hands, tears running. “What are you talking about, Serena?” He gasped.

“I traded myself as the pure one to Alana in exchange for yours and Tally’s freedom.” I said with a shaking voice as he brought one of his hands up to the back of my neck. “I wanted to help you save her. You’re the greatest brother she could ever have, and she deserved to be able to have a normal life with you, and you deserved to have a life too. You don’t have to worry anymore, you’re both free.”

“Serena, no.” He shook his head. “You can’t do this.”

“I already have.” I said. “I knew you’d tell me no if I told you what I was planning, but this was my decision. I’m going to stay here and do this, and you are going to get your sister off of this island and to a new life for the both of you.”

“For how long?” He asked as a tear fell from his eye and dripped off of his thick lips.

“I’m staying.” I said gently. “I took Tally’s place.”

“You’ll never leave here?”

I shook my head and he pulled me to him, crushing my head to his chest. “Serena, I can’t believe you’d do something so stupid but selfless at the same time.” He said as he held me and his body shook. “What about you? What about the life you deserve?”

I leaned back, reaching up to his face to wipe away his tears. “Stop focusing on me.” I told him. “Have you ever wondered…if your life means something in the vast grand scheme of things?” I asked. “Like if we are destined to be certain people or make certain decisions, or if it is all just random?”

“I mean, I guess.” He nodded, his eyes questioning me.

“I used to believe it was random.” I told him, sighing into his touch. “That we are here for however long we get and that we should basically just live it up while we’re alive because one day we will all die, and that’ll be it.” I said. “But then I met you, and saw the way you take care of Tally, and the way you took care of me. I met people like Levi who had been through so much crap in her life, but she showed me strength. I met Cassandra, who showed me what it really was to be a good person. Selfless and kind. Then there was the way that all of the cursed girls out there,” I said pointing at the ocean. “They saved me that day, for no reason. I’d never done anything for them, but they helped me. I really thought about it all, and I honestly believe, that my reason for being, the point of my life, is to give it so that the people I love can be free.” I smiled at him. “I love you and Tally, and I am more than happy to be able to do this for you both. My destiny was to be here in just the right time, to fall in love with just the right boy, and to make a sacrifice to set him free. Just like you helped free me before.”

Theon’s face crumpled and he slumped his shoulders forward, rocking into me, clutching to me tightly. “I can never repay you for this.” He cried. “You saved my sister…and you saved me.” He sighed, shaking his head against my shoulder.

“Please, don’t be sad.” I whispered and he leaned back, putting his forehead against mine.

“I remember when it was me telling you that.” He smiled a little with his wet face.

I reached up and touched his face, letting him lean into it. “This is a happy moment.” I smiled, stealing some more of his lines.

“Oh, god, I love you.” He laughed. “This just doesn’t seem fair.” He said. “You don’t belong here either.”

I narrowed my eyes at him. “I told you, this was my choice.” I reminded him. “I’ve got plans here.” I told him. “I’m not going to kill anyone.” I said first. “I have all of my things with me and I am going to make the best of myself. I’m going to read all of the great books, I’m going to learn about the world and people, I’m going to finish my GED, and then I’m enrolling in online classes for college.” I smiled at him. “I’m going to keep on living, Theon, I’ll just be here.” I shrugged.

He bit his bottom lip and smiled. “You really have changed, Serena.” He smiled.

This time I smiled too. As many times as people have said that to me, I know that when Theon says it, he is saying it with pride in me, not judgments. “Thank you.” I nodded.

He started to reach for me, but he dropped his hand, his eyes dropping to the ground too. “But…” He said softly. “This means that we can’t be together.”

I nodded. “Yeah,” I agreed. “It does.”

He looked up at me, holding my face to his and kissed me gently. “I wanted to be with you.” He whispered. “I didn’t know how we’d make it work before, but now it is impossible.”

I had been holding it together so well before now. “I know, Theon.” I whispered. “I want to be with you more than anything, but you can’t focus on that.” I told him with my wet eyes. “You and Tally are what you should be thinking of.”

He smiled and shook his head in disbelief, like he still couldn’t really believe it. “Tally.” He whispered her name. “She’s really free?” He asked with a brilliant smile.

“She really is.” I beamed back at him. This is what I wanted, a happy moment, not a sad one. Sure there is a downside to this all, but there is a major accomplishment too. Tally will grow up normal, she’ll never be subjected to Alana’s world. “You can both leave.”

“I don’t want to leave you here alone.” He said with another shake of his head. “We can stay too.”

I narrowed my eyes at him. “You know as well as I do that you can’t stay.” I reminded him. “Alana agreed, but you should both get as far away from here as soon as you can just in case she decides to change her mind.”

“But Alana-.” He started to say, but winced. “Apparently I am still a little bound.” He said annoyed.

“That’s fine, you should both go tonight.” I told him. “Just get as far from here as you can. Start over.” I smiled. “Plus, you wouldn’t be able to stay even if Alana doesn’t try to go back on her word.” I pointed out. “I’m only being allowed to talk to you right now because it was part of the deal. Once the circle is bound together…”

“If I were ever around you, you’d steal my soul.” He filled in for me, his voice heavy.

“Yeah.” I sighed. “I doubt you’re protected anymore, and I don’t want to test it out.”

“Me neither.” He shook his head. “But still, I can’t just up and leave right now.” He said. “I’ll need to get some more money together and find a new job before I move us somewhere.”

I pulled my lips into my mouth and smiled, taking his hands out in front of me. “I’ve taken care of all of that.” I grinned. “I figured I wouldn’t need my trust fund anymore, so I left almost all of it to you and Tally.” I explained. “I kept enough to pay the bills at your house here so that I can use the power to keep my phone and laptop charged and to pay for school for me. You both have more than enough to start over.”

“You…” He was speechless and I laughed at the shocked look on his face.

“You and Tally are starting over.” I told him. “Now you should go.” I urged. “All of the paper work and things you’ll need are in my pink bag in a folder, the rest is up to you. You two can go to the airport right now and just pick out where you want to be.”

He pulled my hands, wrapping me in a hug again. “I want to be with you.” He whispered. “But I can never thank you enough for this, Serena.” He kissed up the side of my neck, stopping at my jaw. “I love you, princess.”

“I love you too.” I smiled as he started kissing me again.

He held my face and stared into my eyes. “I don’t think princess is a good name anymore, you are definitely more of an angel.” He told me softly, kissing my forehead.

I pulled his face down to mine, kissing him hard. “I love you, but you have to go.” I reminded him, the fear starting to kick up in me that Alana might decide to make me take his soul at any second.

He must have sensed that urgency too, because he nodded before kissing me again. “I don’t know how to say goodbye to you.” He admitted as he stared at me.

“I don’t either.” I laughed. “Nothing seems like a big enough thing to cover how much I love you or how happy I am for you.”

“When words won’t do, this will.” He smiled, cupping my face gently before bringing his parted lips back down to mine. He tangled his hands into the hair at the back of my head and kissed me deeper, it was a kiss like I’ve never had before. I leaned into him and he dropped his hands down my back, holding me tighter to him, then he released me slowly, stepping away and leaving me breathless.

“Wow.” I whispered.

“’Wow’ is what I think every single time I see you.” He smiled.

I knew my allotted time was running out. “You better go.” I urged. “I love you, and tell Tally I love her too.”

He looked sad again as he backed away. “I love you too, Serena.” He whispered. “Always.”

“Always.” I repeated and I watched him as he slowly walked to the trees, his eyes never leaving mine until he got there, lifting his hand to wave once before disappearing into the darkness.

I turned back to the water, looking up at the moon.

I had worried that after everything was done, that I might regret what I’d done, but even now, just having watched the love of my life walk away, to never be seen again, I knew I was happy with what I had done. This had been one of the best decisions I had ever made.

This was my life now, but I had bettered the lives of so many more. I can only hope that all the wrongs I’ve done can somehow be rectified by the good I’ve done and that I hope to continue to do, even if it is from this island.

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