Falling asleep is like being caught in a carousel of thoughts. Every idea, notion and event from my days are replaying in my mind, demanding analysis before I’m allowed to sleep. Sometimes I just lay down, thinking, not even trying to fall asleep.
Ever since we reached Jacksonville my thoughts are only about Brent. Avery, whom I haven’t met. The way he was talking about her made my eyes cover with a thick layer of tears; I haven’t seen their love, but I could actually feel it. Feel his heartbreak, his loss. And hope to see her again.
But what if that will never happen?
I know he has hope, we all do. After all, Brent was living on hope for thirteen years. Listening to the voice from the brightness, telling him to look beyond the darkness - to the bright light of hope. It’s so inspiring to see how he truly loved someone, but also, it’s heartbreaking and sad.
He was living in the past for thirteen years.
I keep wondering, if Avery is still alive, what is she like? Is she still has that teenager’s entity, or if is she a completely different person? What if she’s bad, and Brent’s heart will be broken even more? What if she doesn’t love him like he does?
I feel really nervous about him. He’s our friend. He’s our family. One of the most important people to Kai; it was so heartbreaking to watch him losing Brent, how much pain it caused, how it changed him. We can’t lose him again. We’ll do everything to find Avery, even if she’s just a ghost.
I glance at Kai, sleeping next to me; looking so handsome, so calm, so innocent. Looking at him, his chest rising and falling repeatedly, his eyes closed, you could never guess there’s a ruthless assassin hiding under those eyelids. This just Kai, exactly who he is inside. Sweet. Honest. Devoted. Loving. But as soon as those emeralds fill up with anger, the Diabolus comes out. With no mercy. No feelings. The humanity is gone.
But looking at him sleeping in the blue moonlight in another hotel’s room, I finally feel how my body is relaxing, how I can finally stop thinking. I finally feel my consciousness ebbing, my mind going into free fall, swirling with the beautiful chaos of a new dream.
A dream about her.
I dream about her every week, sometimes even more often. Af first I was afraid, but slowly I began to trust a girl in my dream, no matter how weird it sounds or feels. I never talk to her, like my mouth was glued, like I forgot every word I once knew, no matter how much I want to talk to her, to find out why do I keep seeing her.
But tonight, something in my guts told me that I’ll see her again.
The cool water laps at my feet, fizzing and bubbling like brine. Even though the sun is beating on my back, beaming in my eyes, I can’t help but smile as the wind caresses my face. I’m at the beach. Oh, how much I’ve missed the beach.
I turn around on hot sand to take a walk around the long beach; the weather is the most perfect I’ve ever seen. It’s warm, but not too hot. Light breeze, stroking my hair.
And a girl, standing right in front of me.
She looks at me with coldness in her face, but somehow, there’s warmth in her eyes. I always adore how beautiful she is, her long, thick golden hair, deep chocolate eyes. And for the first time, a little smile plays on her lips, like it was afraid to come out.
I swallow as her hand slowly rises up and her lips slightly open; every time she speaks, I wake up. I’m getting ready for a thunderstorm, for a hurricane as soon as she tells me something she wants me to hear.
“Let’s take a walk.”
And for the first time... nothing happens. No echoing, no strong wind, no hurricane. The sea is still moving gently and the wind is stroking both of our hair. Why? What the hell is going on?
I reach for her hand, feeling anxious to take it, but wanting to show that she can trust me. Questioning myself if I can trust her. But everything seems good about that girl. Like she had an aura of an angel, because of the sunshine in her smile, and the way her voice went right to my brain like a shot of single malt.
With every step the sand shifts. With every motion forward there is some backward and down, just like walking in fresh fallen snow I used to see back in New York. But I always loved warm weather more. Even in my dreams.
We start walking, hand in hand, like we were friends for a really long time. It feels like we are, after a year meeting almost every time I fall asleep.
“I always loved the beach. Especially when it’s dark outside, but the ocean shines like the most miraculous thing in the world.”
“Why do I see you?”
For the first time, I can talk. Never before I could say something, even to open my mouth; but this time I can finally have a conversation with her. First conversation.
“I know you need the answer... but I don’t know myself.”
“You have no clue either?”
She focuses on my eyes, hers are darting back and fourth, shining in the sunlight. They are a deep, earthy brown - the color of the earth after torrential rains. But there is something else in them, something glistening. Not in a way a light or happiness glistens; it’s dark, sad and painful.
“No. But I know something else.” Suddenly, she stops and closes her eyes, taking a deep breath, listening to the rhythmic rustling of the sea. “Very soon, we’ll finally meet.”
She holds both of my hands, pressing her thumbs to my skin. A wave of hope flashes in her eyes, but my body starts to shiver; I feel afraid, I feel shocked, because this feels so real. Like I was actually with her, talking to her. Like this wasn’t a dream.
As soon as she says the word the wind becomes strong; it feels hard to stand on my own feet. The sky covers with dark gray clouds, threatening to blow us away. But it only means one thing; I’m waking up.
Stormy clouds begin to roll in, blocking the bright sun. Shadows swallow the last rays of light, and thunder crackles through the air. Rain begins to pour furiously, drowning any sight of certainty. I hold on her even tighter; I won’t let go. Not before I’ll get an answer.
“What? What are you talking about?”
She steps aside, pulling me to stand next to her. To watch the ocean, the waves rising like mountains, coming straight at us, threatening to swallow us like were just a tiny, weak creatures against the powerful sea. The girl squeezes my hand, watching the wave, quickly coming to take us.
“The Phoenix. Start looking for the Phoenix. It will take you to me.”
And just like that, the huge wave reaches and swallows us, taking me to the sea of darkness; letting go of her hand. Letting go of the dream, of our conversation; bringing my consciousness back.
And I wake up.
I wake suddenly, every thought in high definition. My heart is pounding like crazy, mind full of thoughts. It’s as if a hypodermic of adrenaline had filled my head with even more questions, even more incomprehensible thoughts.
Why do I keep seeing her? Why could I talk to her this time, after a year? What is the Phoenix?
But that dream also gave me one answer.
She’s Avery. She has to be.
The beach. She loved the beach, and for the first time we could talk when I was dreaming about the beach. She appears in my dreams because she’s clairvoyant. I can’t be wrong at this point... it must be Avery.
I’m sweating like a pig, I’m shaking like I was still under cold water that swallowed me and Avery; until Kai’s hand touched my shivering shoulder and my mind came back to reality. To the hotel room that I’m actually in, with a man that’s laying next to me.
“You had a nightmare?”
“No, Kai. I saw Avery.”
I turn to him; Kai’s green eyes seem like the picture of perfection, slicing into my soul. There is a momentary flash in them a sparkle, reminding me of the day we first met, sending warmth through my body, making me feel that I’m in the right place; and nothing scares me anymore.
“Avery? How could you-”
I quickly jump out of the bed, putting my jeans on, while Kai keeps laying in the bed, looking at me like I was out of my mind.
“Where? It’s 4 A.M., Beverly.”
“We need to go to the beach.”
I stand with arms folded, shivering uncontrollably in my crop top. Finally, after an hour convincing Kai to come with me, we’re at the beach. Just this one is different than the one in my dream was. The frigid water reaches up to caress the sand and the toes of my boots and I step back, trying to avoid the water.
I feel Kai’s arms wrap around me from behind, the warmth spreads through my body in an instant, feeling safe in his strong embrace, but still hoping to get some answers. Listening to the whispers of the sea, hoping to hear Avery’s voice.
“I don’t understand...”
“What’s going on, baby?”
“I kept seeing her. I kept seeing her in my dreams; at first I didn’t realize who is she, but now...”
“What does she look like?”
I finally feel that I’m calming down, my muscles finally relax, letting me feel more like a human than a stone. And it’s always because of Kai, because of his low voice, his soft and gentle touch; like he always knew what to do, or what to say.
“She’s blond, tall. Brown eyes. And extremely beautiful voice...”
“How do you know it was her? You never saw her before...”
“I just... know.”
Kai stops in front of me and draws a strand of my hair behind my ear; but his eyes are soft, like he wasn’t even surprised. I guess it’s okay, he always knew Avery is psychic. And everything in my guts tells me I should’ve told him earlier...
“Okay. If it’s Avery that you’re seeing. Why is she talking to you, not Brent?”
“That’s what I’m trying to figure out... also, she mentioned something about the Phoenix.”
“Phoenix? What the fuck is the Phoenix?”
Now I see the surprise in his eyes, what unfortunately disappoints me; I expected that he’ll know something about that Phoenix, whatever it is. Is it a thing, or a person?
“I’m not sure... but we have to talk to Brent.”
“No.” Kai’s eyes immediately turn cold, hard, though he’s still touching me gently like he always does; but it feels like I’ve said something that offended him. “Not until we find out if she’s actually alive. We can’t give him false hope, not about Avery.”
I feel a smile playing on my lips. How caring he is; even if he haven’t forgiven Brent yet, he still cares about his feelings. About his heart, he doesn’t want him to be heartbroken all over again.
One of the best traits of Kai. One of the reasons why I adore him that much.
“I love you so much, Kai.”
“And I love you.”
But he doesn’t smile, I see how he thinks about something for a moment. His eyes freeze on mine, like they were searching for something they need to find. Before he takes a step back.
“I thought I should wait, but... fuck it.”
“Kai, what are you doing?”
I feel my breathing slowly stopping, but my heart starts to beat like it was trying to get out of my chest. No, he can’t be...
And then he pulls a little box out of his pocket; a little satin box, a color of cherries that makes my breath stop immediately. I cover my face with a palm when I feel my tears climbing up my throat, covering my eyes with a thick layer of tears.
Kai kneels down on his one knee, opening the little box in front of him. The ring inside shines, almost just the same as his eyes shine looking at me in the blue moonlight.
He swallows before continuing his speech; his voice shaky, showing how nervous he is.
“I know it’s almost 5 A.M., I know this is probably not what you’ve been expecting, not what you actually deserve, and I know I have never been very good at talking. But Beverly, I love you. I love you with my whole aura. Space and time have no meaning for my love, for it is boundless, eternal. You are my light in the darkest moment, you are my spring that blooms inside of me whenever I feel like the winter is never going to end. I never asked you about your future plans, if you want to have kids, if you want a have a family; and honestly, I don’t care. As long as I have you, I’m completed. You’re the last piece in the puzzle of my heart, for me to feel happy in the darkest moments. I am yours forever, Beverly. And I want you to be mine.”
I feel hot tears falling down my cheeks as my brain sets on fire, burning my every anxious thought away. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so happy, so excited, so surprised. And I never thought this day will come.
"Beverly Greene, will you marry me?"
I draw my palm away from my face when I feel how the corners of my lips arch up, though those tears are still running down my face, because nothing in me tells me this is real.
"Oh thank God."
Kai gets up and wraps his arms around my waist, lifting me up and spinning around, his lips burning on mine. Making me feel like I’m the happiest woman on Earth, only because of him.
I’m going to be Beverly Woods.