Back To You

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Chapter 3 - Sophie

I want to run to him, hug him when I see him smile but I stare at the floor bracing for the tears to show- but I fight against them.

I can’t cry now.

“What are you doing here?” I decide, still looking at the floor.

“Sophie you do know it’s been four years. Right? So no: ’Hey, Keefe! How you doing?’” Keefe asks, chuckling. “I wouldn’t mind a hug, too. You know?”

I look up and stare into his stunning blue eyes- for the first time in 4 years- but instead of that familiar glint in his eyes- they are filled with hurt. I want to say sorry, but I can’t.

I don’t deserve him.

“What are you doing here?” I repeat my heart in my throat.

“I... wanted to see you, it’s been four-” Keefe begins, his face twisted in confused expression.

“It doesn’t matter,” I have this stupendous lump in my throat and I looked away. “Just go.”

No, please don’t. But still, I don’t deserve him.

Keefe steps forward.

“But Sophie-”

“Please,” I have tears in my eyes now.

“Sophie are you... why are you guilty?” Keefe asks calmly and then turns serious. “You’ll-”

Break

“Yeah, I know,” I say, blinking away the tears. I want to pour out all my feelings so badly.

I want to talk to someone so badly now.

But I can’t.

“I bet everyone is glad that I- the stupid, dumb, moonlark is out of their hair. You should-”

“Sophie everyone thinks you’re dead!” Keefe blurts.

I turn my head to face him.

“What?” I whisper while Keefe scratches his neck a little red from his own outburst.

“They think you’re dead,” Keefe says, stepping forward while I step back.

“I....” I am speechless.

That’s, perfect.

They think I’m dead.

They don’t worry about me.

“I know-”

“I’m glad I totally deserve to be dead. I’m surprised I’m not dead yet.” I decide, but quickly regret it when I see Keefe’s disconsolate expression. I step back but collide with the wall.

“No, you don’t deserve to be dead, Sophie,” Keefe says, tranquility. “Why on earth would you think that?”

“Because I KILLED 124 elf’s! They’re dead. So I should be too!” I snap, shaking my head.

I lose it.

Keefe steps forward while I try to step backwards but I’m already against the wall.

“Sophie it isn’t your fault,” Keefe says, steps forward again. His tranquil gaze makes me feel restful.

Sophie, it isn’t your fault.

Sophie, it isn’t your fault.

Sophie, it isn’t your fault.

I repeated those words in my head.

I looked away.

It is.

Keefe steps forward, while I stare at his feet.

Keefe steps forward once more, so we are a foot away.

“It is,” I whisper, and I look at my hands .

“No,” Keefe says, looking at me as he grabs my hand, securing it with his hands.

I flinch at the touch of his hand.

4 years.

“Keefe, it is,” I whisper, staring into his striking eyes

“No, it isn’t” Keefe whispers back, tucking a strand of my hair behind my ear. He steps forward, so close I can feel his warm breath against my face.

“Keefe, please, just go,” I say, yanking my hand, and I try to step to the side but Keefe grabs my hand.

“Then, Sophie, come back,” Keefe says. staring into my dull eyes.

“I... can’t,” my voice breaks. I shake my head, forcing my tears to stay put.

“Why?” Keefe asks pulling me closer- but I don’t budge.

Does he seriously not know?

There were a ton of reasons!

“The Council wanted to EXILE ME!” I partially scream the last bit.

“Sophie I’m sure they’ve forgiven you,” Keefe says, still surprisingly calm.

Forgiven me?

Yeah, okay.

“Can anyone forgive someone who killed so many people?”

I shake my head and yank my hand away.

“No, no one can,” I answer for myself.

“I forgave you. Sophie, I was never upset with you,” Keefe says, grabbing my hand again.

He forgave me.

He is never upset.

I am in shock, my heartbeat calming down.

“Y-you... forgive m-me? You... are not upset?”

“Yeah,” Keefe gives me a slight smile and he pulls me into a hug.

I don’t hug him back.

I pulled away furiously.

don’t he understand?

“Keefe, just....” my voice trails off. Should I really tell him to go? He’s the only one who is being.... like this to me.

But I don’t deserve him.

“Just go. Please.”

“Sophie stop.... I’m not going anywhere,” Keefe says, reaching for my hand again.

But I stepped out of his reach.

“You should.” I say, stubbornly and crossing my arms across my chest, looking at the ground.

“Sophie, Grady and Edaline wouldn’t want you to be like this,” I look at Keefe and narrow my eyes.

He did not just say that.

“GRADY AND EDALINE ARE DEAD!” I yell furiously. I bang my fist on the countertop- the bottom of my fist burns. The glass of water vibrates, and Keefe jumps.

I quietly say: “You just need to accept that. Like I did.”

“Sophie-”

“And it’s all my fault,”

“Sophie, its n-”

“I knew they were in Atlantis,” I begin, banging my fist again. “I set up the bombs. I is the moonlark. I dropped both bombs in the fire. I... it’s my fault. You can’t change that.”

“You were in the fire. No one can think correctly-” Keefe begins.

“But I’m the MOONLARK!” I argue.

I am made for that.

All of that is my fault.

“You’re just Sophie Foster to me,” Keefe steps forward.

I scoff.

“Not anymore”

Keefe stops his tracks. “What?”

“My name is Allison Miller, now,” I mumble.

“No, you’re not. Not to me,” Keefe says, continuing to step forward- one step at a time.

“I know you come to Grady and Edaline trees every year-”

“How do you know that?” I demand, scowling.

Every year, when it’s Grady and Edaline’s death anniversary, I pay my respects. I also continue their tradition for Jolie’s death.

It’s the least I could do, after all it’s my fault that they are dead.

“Someone planted flowers and I figured it is you and I started looking for you and... it’s because I care about you, a lot more than you think,” Keefe says, scanning my face for any emotion. He reaches for my hand, but I yank it away.

“You shouldn’t care about me. I’m not worth it,” I say, turning away.

“Yes, you are. Sophie, you shouldn’t keep blaming yourself. The guilt....”

Guilt.

There’s that word again. Such a paltry word. But with a voluminous meaning. “Feeling ashamed because you have done something that you know is wrong or have not done something that you should have done” I remember the definition from the Oxford Dictionary.

“Sophie if everyone knows that you’re alive. They’ll want you to come back.” Keefe begins, “The council decided to go to your Wanderling. Everyone is miserable. Tam cried. Tam. And all of our bodyguards. They want you back.”

It is inarticulate.

People cared about me.

Me.

“No. Keefe, the woman who had me in her womb for 11 months, wants to Exile me!”

“What?” Keefe asks, stepping back.

“ORALIE IS MY MOTHER!” I yell, I drag my hand across my face so hard my features stretch.

“Sophie, I... I’m sorry. When did you fi- nevermind it doesn’t matter. Trust me, I know,”

This time Keefe looks away.

His mom- Lady Gisela.

I killed her, too.

But that is my plan.

My stupid plan.

Silence.

“What happened to Havenfield?” I ask Keefe discreetly, trying to change the subject.

“Juline and Kesler own it now- they left it how it is- so, yeah,” Keefe replies.

“What about the animals?”

“They moved them to the Heks,”

“Oh,” I’m glad that they were getting proper care. Silveny is obviously fine, since they are no Neverseen.

“How’s everyone else doing?” I ask quietly.

“They’re all good. I guess you should know that Dex and Biana are together.” Keefe says, twisting his fingers.

“Oh, and.... you?” I ask, shuffling my feet- bracing for the worst.

“Sophie... I-I’m..... engaged,” Keefe says, staring at the floor.

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