Back To You

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Chapter 15 - Keefe

I appear in front of Oralie’s castle and look at the imparter Sophie had pressed into my hand.

Sophie

Tears stream down my face but I quickly wipe them away. I’ve never cried this much before. It’s just that... Sophie left, and it’s tearing me apart bit by bit, inch by inch, starting with my heart.

A shaky breath escapes and I look at the imparter, I hold it to my mouth and whisper. “Show me Dexter Dizznee,”

Dex’s face appears, and he has a crease between his eyebrows. “What do you need, Councillor Ora- Keefe?” Dex’s face softens as his bloodshot eyes meet mine. “Keefe? What do you n- why do you have Councillor Oralie’s imparter?”

I clear my throat. “I’ll tell you later could you just come and, uh, p-pick me up? I don’t have a crystal,”

Dex nods. “Where are you?”

“Oralie’s castle,” I answer and try hard not growl her name

“I’ll be right there,” Dex says and his face disappears

I lean my head back and let out loud breaths trying to calm my heartbeat down as Sophie’s taste still lingered in my mouth.

“Ready?”

I jump and I look to see who it is.

Dex

“Uh, yeah,” I say and my voice breaks as try to swallow Sophie’s taste but it won’t budge

Tears in my eyes as I remember what she had said

I’ll always be with you

I clear my throat and look away, blinking my tears away

Dex puts his hand on my shoulder, and I turn my head to face him

“Keefe, I-I know it’s hard. But it’ll.... It’ll get better,” he looks at me with his wide periwinkle eyes.

But could feel the lie behind those words and the deep sadness that Dex was carrying with him.

But it’ll never be FINE without her

I sigh, shrug off his hand, and I force myself to nod.

“So, where do you want to go?” Dex asks, changing the subject

That’s a good question, where should I go?

I don’t want to face my father

But I’ll have to sooner or later

I sigh and run my fingers through my hair. “Uh, I guess the Shores of Solace?”

I cringe as the words leave my mouth

Dex nods, not noticing my cringe. “We could go to Rimeshire and use you could use the Leapmaster,”

I give him an inadequate nod and he holds his clear home crystal to the light.

***

A cold breeze sways against my face as we appear in front of Rimeshire. Dex leads me inside as I brace myself for any boisterous noises or crashes but none hit my ears.

Dex must sense my confusion because he says: “The triplets are in the elite levels, now,”

“Oh, c-cool,” I say and I blink hard trying to get the swollen-feeling to disappear

“Here you go,” Dex says, as I look at the familiar Leapmaster

“T-thanks,” My voice cracks, again

I NEED to stop now

“I-I should go,” I say

Dex nods. “And Keefe, if you ever need to talk- I’m here,”

He sounded like her

And I felt my hands tremble as I nod and swallow the lump in my throat. “Thanks,”

Before Dex could say anything else like Sophie, I yell: “Shores of Solace!”

I wave to Dex as the light whisks me away

***

I take a deep breath as I raise my hand to knock on the door. I hesitate and drop my hands to my sides.

I try again. But I can’t.

One more try before I break myself

I raise my hand and force myself to pound the door.

The door swings open almost suddenly and my dad stares at me while I study him. He had dark circles under his eyes and his clothes were slightly wrinkled.

Like he cares about me.

Yeah, as if.

“Keefe? What? How?” My dad asks, his breathing shallow.

I decide to tell him the truth as I look at my boots. “I faked my death.” I brace for yelling, name-calling, and the things he does.

I don’t expect a hug but his arms were around me

I stand still, stunned before I hug him back, and I feel the love coming off of him.

He loves me?

My dad

When he pulls away, I saw tears in his eyes

Tears

I stare at his eyes, startled, and he quickly embraces me again. “I hope you realize how much I care about you,” he says before he makes eye contact

I care about you

Those words are so very diminutive but mean the world to me. I thought my dad hates me- despises me.

But he cares- like a dad

My dad clears his throat and steps aside to let me in. My heart feels heavy. I step into the familiar floors of the beach house.

“Do you want anything to eat?” My dad asks, fumbling with his cape

“No-no it-it’s fine,” I say, shaking my head and I start to walk towards my old room. “I’ll be in my room,”

What is happening to Sophie right now while I act like a wimp?

They’re breaking her sanity

A memory break

Why is my life so screwed up?

I flop onto my bed and stare at the ceiling.

I need Sophie

Without her, I feel like.... I lost a piece of me.

I feel meaningless without her

Useless

I’ll always be with you

I felt numb like I was stepping deep and deeper into glacial ice

“Sophie,” I croak and tears leak out of my eyes

I cried until there was nothing left inside but a raw emptiness that nibbles at my insides like a hungry rat. My irises were threaded scarlet and my eyeballs hung heavy in their sockets.

My whole body hung limp like each limb weighed twice as much as it had before Sophie was with me and just moving was a slow, painful effort. The sun still shone in the sky, but not for me, the birds sang in bursts of melody, but not for me, for me there was no beauty left in the world without her.

~Someone one-shots without Sophie~

~5 months later~

I don’t believe in happiness anymore

Only sadness

I don’t believe in dreams

Only wake

Fairy Tales are only just words on a page

There are no happy endings in genuine life

Believing in happiness is like giving a murderer a gun and except not to be killed, it’s literally impossible- for me at least.

I’m sitting at my desk and drawing- again. I have nothing better to do. I refuse to work for the Council- after what they had done to Sophie I just... can’t.

I was drawing Sophie, again.

She’s all I draw. Right now I was drawing her laughing and with my hands all over her, tickling her

Her laughter was the summer rain and the birdsong too, and every time I heard it, no matter the weather, the sun brightened. But without it... the exact opposite.

It was just a few months ago, but it feels like a million years.

“Keefe?” Someone knocks on my door

I spin my chair around to see Biana knocking on the door with Tam waddling behind her, walking in

“You know you don’t need to knock if you’re just going to barge in,” I joke, giving them a forced grin

They don’t smile or laugh

“Keefe we’re really worried about you,” Biana starts and Tam nods

My fake grin fades

Great

We’re having this talk again

“I’m fine,” I grumble

But I’m not

Biana sighs. “Keefe if you ever need to talk we’re here,”

Last week it was Linh and Dex

This week it’s Tam and Biana

Same concept, different words

“Look, guys, I’m fine! I’ve moved on like she wanted me to do,” I lied, biting my lips when Tam crossed his arms

“You’ve moved on?” Tam says, rolling his eyes and stepping forward to my desk. He picks up the drawing I’ve been working on. “This isn’t moving on,” he starts to shows Biana while a light pink tint spreads across my face.

I jolt up and snatch the paper out of Tam’s hands before Biana can see it. “I just...” I don’t have a suitable explanation for this. “Just stop worrying. I’m fine,”

Biana sighs and twists something on her finger. “Fine, but anyway I have something to tell you,”

“Uh, huh?” I ask, and my eyes linger down to her hands. I see something shiny but I can’t place it.

“I’m... engaged,” She says holding out her hand to reveal the ring

Oh

“That’s great, Bi,” I say with a smile that’s just half forced

“You’re not mad?”

“Uh, why would I be.....” My voice trailed off as I understood her. With Sophie in Exile and stuff. “Oh,”

Biana nods and I whiffle my head

“No, I’m not mad, Biana,” I give her a quick embrace. “You’re like my little sister,”

Biana smiles. “Thanks, Keefe,”

“No problem,” I mumble as I sit back down on my chair

“What are those?” Biana asks, pointing to the file on my desk that was labeled Letters.

My ears went on fire as Biana took a page out

Those were my letters to Sophie

“Uh, Biana don’t- ”

“Dear, Sophie. The feeling of love I hold in my heart for you is deeper than any ocean or sea. I wish you could know how much you mean to me. If only you could hold me, then you would feel my love and how it burns for you. I want you here with me, if only for one night. I live today only to think of you. I will treat you like a diamond and will never let you stay a mile from me. Even though you are far away from me, you will never leave my heart even for a second. I only fall asleep if I dream you’re next to me. I dream of you running your hands through my hair, down my back- everywhere. I dream... of you. And forever, Sophie I will love you,”

Biana has tears in her eyes and I look away begging my tears to stay put.

She reaches for another letter. “Biana, ser-”

But Biana had already started reading it. “Dear, Sophie, if my love was the ocean, there would be no land. If my love were a desert all you’ll see is sand. If my love were a star you’ll only see light. And if my love could grow wings, I’d be soaring into flight.” Biana pauses to take a shaky breath and turns the paper backward. “My promise: The skies may stop turning blue but I’ll never stop loving you. The stars may stop shining starting tomorrow but I’ll never stop shielding your sorrow. The sun may stop shining one fine day but I’ll keep your troubles at bay. The earth may stop spinning on its axis but I’ll never let a day pass without your kisses. If only you were here. Your Lord Hunkeyhair, Keefe,”

Tam has covered himself with shadows but Biana was shedding all of her tears

I snatch the letter from Biana’s hand. “Maybe, you guys should go,” I whisper and stalk over to my desk to put the letters back into the file folder

I sit in my chair and snatch the file as I hear the door close.

Sophie, for me, your love goes further than the sky above us; it is deeper than the deepest part of the ocean. It is brighter than the brightest stars at night. And Sophie, just so you know, whenever I think of you, your image raises my soul. You are my everything, my daily sunrise, my shining star.

You entered my heart slowly, quietly and passionately

Your love spread through me.

Now, why are you so perfect,

In every direction, there is you– just you.

My emotions are rising, and I am facing short of breath;

My heart is beating fast

What madness, what obsession...

What can I say of my state now?

My heart, my soul, my universe,

you are my only desire.

I push the papers away and rest my head in my hands. I wonder how life would be with Sophie with me right now. Would we be kissing? Would we be getting married? Would we have kids? Most importantly would I still believe in happiness?

~10 months without Sophie~

(A/N Could we pretend that Valentine’s Day is an elven holiday?)

Tomorrow was Valentine’s Day, I wanted to curl up into a ball and die. Biana was making me come to the party; she’d gotten married two months ago with Dex and they’re throwing the part at their house- Stargaze. They were a bad match, but it didn’t bother Biana or her parents but Fitz was just a little uncomfortable.

I went to Elwin, yesterday and he told me I had depression.

I couldn’t sleep and there was no one to keep me in comfort. Sometimes I feel like giving up. My walls are caving in and I’m just... crawling in my skin.

Should I give up?

The doorbell rang

And again

I didn’t bother getting up because my dad is probably going to get it

Now, the ringing was unstopping

I groan and get up from my chair and head out to open the door

“Biana and Linh, how may I help you?” My voice sounds strangely pessimistic but I quickly clear my throat and I lean against the door when I close it

“Do you have anything else to wear like... for the party?” Biana asks, eyeing my wrinkled clothes and the dark bags under my eyes.

“Uh, no?” I crossed my arms

“Great, because we picked out some outfits and you need to try them on to show us,”

I straighten as soon as those words hit my ears.

Make up an excuse

I fumble for the right words. “I can’t. I... have to go... somewhere,”

“Where?” Biana asks as Linh studies me

“Uh.....” My voice trails off as I search my brain for a reasonable answer- an answer they’ll understand. “I-I have a-a... date,” I say while those words seem foreign in my mouth

Linh squeals while Biana studies me. “With who?”

Great

“Uh, a girl- a girl who you don’t know,”

“Oh yeah? What’s her name?” Biana asks, raising her eyes.

The first thing that comes to mind is Sophie

“Elizabeth,” I blurt and curse myself when I realize that’s Sophie’s middle name.

“Elizabeth,” Linh repeats and she crosses her arms. “How does she look?”

Think, think

I shifted my weight. “Okay well... she has these soft, long blond waves. Her eyes are the best thing about her, rimmed with thick, long, dark lashes that brushed her cheeks every time she closes her eyes, they seemed to bore into me every time I looked into them and I nearly lose myself in them...” My voice lingers off as I think about Sophie.

I know I’m saying too much but I couldn’t help it. “Her smile shines like the stars in the sky, with no bright city lights to dim them. It was like the sun opened its eager light to shine about her, only brightening her,”

“Aw!” Linh’s shriek brings me back to reality- the reality that I hate. “Keefe’s in love!”

“You have no idea,” I mumble under my breath and give them a bitter smile, I fumble for the handle behind me. “I, uh, have to get ready,”

Biana holds the door open so I couldn’t close it. “Dex told us what you told him,”

I curse under my breath.

Yesterday I told Dex about my depression

I sigh. “Don’t worry about me. I’m fine, totally fine even without-” My voice cracks and I force myself to shut up.

But before I knew what was happening Linh had her arms around me. “You can tell us anything,”

I let out a shaky breath, and I step away from Linh, giving her another bitter smile. I grab the clothes from Biana’s hand

Thank you, I mouth not trusting my voice and shut the door close

As soon as I enter my room, I throw the clothes on my bed and sit on the floor. I stretch out one leg and the other was bent up. I stare out the window watching the dull sunlight kiss the horizon.

Maybe if the pain could just... disappear

Maybe it can

My legs jolt up and look for anything sharp

There is this voice in the back of my head and it’s screaming at me but I don’t stop. I don’t listen as I stumble around my room.

My hands meet my scissors

Bile glazed my tongue as I pick up the scissors

My heart felt cloudy as I rest my left hand on my desk

Don’t, don’t, don’t!

I swallow and the bile on my tongue wanders down my throat as a tear drops next to my hand.

The scissors cut open my skin on my hand.

For a minute it feels good

But then it stings, and it bleeds all around my hand

I squeeze my eyes shut not letting my tears burst

Someone knocks and opens the door. “Keefe?”

I hide my hand behind my back when I turn around to see Biana

“I forgot to give you these,” Biana shows me the dress shoes, she bends down to put them on the floor

She looks at me with a crease between her eyes. “What’s behind your back?”

“W-what do you mean?” I’m trying to play dumb but I know it does not work

“Uh-huh, like you don’t know,” Biana says walking towards me. When we are a foot away, she stares at me with her huge teal eyes. “Show me your hand,”

“N-no I don’t think that’s a great idea-”

Biana gasps when she pulls my arm forward so that my injury was visible

I looked anywhere but her and my hand

“Keefe, why would you do this?” Biana asks, grabbing my chin to look at her

“I... I don’t know,” I admit, staring at my hand as Biana leads me to the bathroom

Biana takes out the first aid kit from the cabinet after opening all of them

She sighs as she picks up the medicine. “Keefe, look we all miss Sophie- I didn’t even get to say goodbye. But she wouldn’t want you to do... this,”

She wouldn’t! The back of my head screams

I squeeze my eyes shut as I replay Sophie’s words in my head

When I’m gone, do nothing to yourself- for me

Her voice echoed until it was completely gone

My heartache worsens

“I just... can’t...” I let out a breath and I turn my head to look at my reflection. I had dark bags under my eyes and my hair was just... flat.

“Can’t what?” Biana asks while she applies the cold medicine as I suck in a breath because of the pricking sting

“Live without her,” my voice cracks and a stubborn tear trails down my cheek

My wound slowly closes while leaving a scar- the edge of my hand to my index finger

“Maybe you should try to move on,” Biana suggests as she puts the kit back into the correct cabinet.

My right-hand twitches as her words hit my head. “I-I am,” I say as I remember my last excuse

Biana sighs. “Keefe, I know Elizabeth’s fake,”

The lump in my throat has splinters, and it prickles my throat. “Oh,” I stare at my scar

She lets out a breath. “It’s getting late, Keefe. I-I should go,”

Finally

“Sure,” I say and fumble with the edge of my shirt

“Don’t do anything to yourself, Keefe,” Biana says, grabbing my hand which forces me to look into her eyes. “Sophie wouldn’t want that,”

I nod and pull my hand away. “Goodnight,”

“You too,” Biana says and her eyes trail up to my hair, she opens her mouth to speak but goes against it

She gives me a slight smiles and gives my hand an assuring squeeze before turning away to leave

When she’s gone completely, I turn to face myself.

I stare at my hair

How Sophie’s fingers run through them

I stare back at my eyes

How Sophie stares at them with her warm eyes

My lips

How Sophie’s lips touch them

I squeeze my eyes shut and I see Sophie. I let out a frustrated yell as I open my eyes and I bang my fist on the countertop.

I look back at my reflection and I have the sudden urge to smash the mirror but I shake my head and go back to my bedroom.

I flop down onto my bed not wanting to brush my teeth or take a shower. I don’t get up to change my clothes, I just take off my shirt and lay on my back, with my head resting on my arm while my other arm rests on my bare chest.

Then Sophie’s here, she’s snuggled at my side and her arm around my chest. She’s laughing and I look down at her, knowing that I’m going crazy. Sophie’s laughing dies down. She puts her hand on my cheek, looking up at me with her huge brown eyes. “I love you, Keefe,”

Suddenly, tears leak down my face as my body aches. “I love you too, Sophie,” I manage out and the lump in my throat expands, it explodes and sobs escape my mouth

My hand trembles as I try to cup her cheek but she slowly disappears.

“I’m always with you,”

***

I was sitting at my desk drawing Sophie. This time she was peacefully sleeping in my lap. I had put her like that when they threw us in Fitz’s basement.

I just needed to keep my mind off of Valentine’s Day.

My imparter was ringing

I picked up to see who it was

Biana

I let out a breath and pressed the answer button.

“Keefe where in hell are you- wait. You’re. Not. Ready?”

I flinch- I lost track of time. It was 8 pm. “Sorry, I-I’ll be there in twenty minutes,”

“TWENTY?” Biana shrieks. “Keefe Sencen I swear if you don’t come in ten minutes I’ll fu-”

I press decline; I don’t want to hear her say some words. I sigh and head to my bathroom.

I strip off my close and step into my shower. The water pours down; it drips by my side, as my mind fades into dullness and everything is a foggy illusion. The sensation of the steamy water calms me; it takes my mind off things.

After my shower, I pull on the suit that Biana gave me. Dark blue pants with a light blue buttoned shirt. I push the sleeves to my elbows.

After I dress, I blow dry my hair and try to put it back to my messy style.

When I finish getting ready, I study myself.

The shirt outlines my muscles- the ones I’ve been working on, trying to get my mind off Sophie. The shirt also matches with my eyes- the ones Sophie stares in-

I don’t let myself finish the thought and I step away from the mirror to put on my shoes.

***

I walk up to Biana and Dex’s house. I can hear the loud music and see the purple and red lights leaking out of their house.

I take a deep breath and knock on the door.

Biana instantly opens it. “Where have you been? It’s 8:33!”

I put my hands up. “Sorry, I lost track of time,”

Biana grumbles something under her breath

A small smile escapes my lips as I know it’s something about me

Biana leads me to the party room and points to the table where Tam’s sitting, alone.

I give her a look and she glares back. I groan and head over to Tam.

“You’re early,” Tam says sarcastically.

“I am, aren’t I?” I return rolling my eyes sitting at the seat across from him. “What? Don’t you have a girlfriend?” I ask him, gesturing to the empty chair next to him.

Tam grunted and looked over at me opening his mouth to speak but I cut him off, knowing what he’s going to say. A Tam thing to say- Well, you don’t either. “Before you say something you’ll regret I suggest keeping your mouth shut,”

~Two hours later~

The same group of swooning girls passes me again, and I want to eat my eyes out.

I sigh. “Do you need anything?”

One of the girls toss her hair and give me a flirty smile while I stand, wanting to hurl.

The girl with red hair and brown freckles walks up. “Well... do you have a girlfriend?”

I muffle my soft laugh. “Yes, I do,”

A few of the girls look disappointed, but a brunette steps forward with huge dark blue eyes and heart-shaped lips. “Where is she?”

I bit my tongue, careful not to laugh. “She’s in Exile,”

They all look shocked, staring back at me with wide eyes, and they rush away.

I snicker and lean against the wall.

But then Linh slowly walks over with concern painted on her face.

Great

“What did you say to them, Keefe?”

“Uh, I-I,” I botch for words because I know what Linh would say if I speak the truth

Linh raises her eyebrows.

I sigh. “I told them that my girlfriend is in Exile,” I mumble

It was fun while it lasted.

Linh sighs and I know what’s coming.

My mood shifts to annoyance

Linh opens her mouth to speak, but I cut her off with a noticeable fake smile. “I know what you’re going to say- move on, Sophie would want that- yeah well- Sophie. Is. Not. Here!” The last part came out a little louder which turned some heads.

Linh looks taken back.

I need to get the hell out of here.

I sigh and shake my head. “I-I’m sorry, Linh this...” I gesture everywhere around me with my hands. “Isn’t for me. I-I should go,”

“Keefe!” Linh tries to grab my arm but I’m already heading towards the door

I push the door open to see a random couple making out- hard.

I mentally hurl but I quickly mumble sorry and run out of the hallway to find the Leapmaster.

When I find it I yell the only thing that makes me feel close to Sophie but before the light whisks me away I grab the banquet of roses from the vase.

***

Thunder rumbles deep in the sky as I appear at the Wanderling Woods

I find my way to Sophie’s tree since I come here often I memorized the trail.

And there it is, her- pale and scrawny, with golden, star-shaped leaves and brown seed pods- tree. Her familiar aroma fills my nostrils and I take a deep breath and her scent is so strong I could taste it and that’s what triggers the tears.

“Happy Valentine’s Day, Sophie,” I choke out, and I place the bouquet to lean on her tree. “I love you,”

The thunder rumbles harder and rain fell as if it was crying for Sophie, too

For me, it was more than crying; it was the kids of desolate sobbing that comes from a person drained of all hope. I sank to my knees at Sophie’s tree, not caring for the damp mud that dirtied my pants. My tears mingled with the rain and my gasping wails echoed around all the other trees.

I tried to cover my mouth to muffle the horrible sounds that are escaping my mouth.

Sophie appears in front of me reaching for me

My lips quiver and I stumble up reaching to hug her, to feel her warmth but all feel is air and I’m hugging myself.

She’s gone

Thunder rumbles harder, and the rain falls harder as I stand there staring at her tree.

This depression is an ocean, yet not the ones full of life and color. My ocean is a million shades of grey the same as those old-fashioned photographs. The only way for this ocean to return color is with her.

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