“Sorry it took so long but the lines were atrocious,” Michael said placing her order in front of her. Aisha stared at her order, her stomach tossing but not in hunger. She picked up a taco and nibbled it then set it down, her mind whirling with what she had seen. What Jeremiah had said made a whole lot of sense. She glanced at Michael who was staring at her, grey eyes worried.
“Not hungry?” he asked, chewing into his chicken.
She smiled sheepishly and shook her head. “Shayla was here a few minutes ago and I guess I just worried over her finding us and about the ring,” she said crunching into a taco and getting sour cream over her face making him chuckle.
. He took a napkin and wiped the sour cream off her face, surprising her, as he gently wiped away the mess. He let his fingers linger on her skin before removing them and setting the napkin down. Then he bit into his chicken, pretending nothing had happened, but both knew something had.
She finished her tacos and set upon her wrap. They finished lunch without any more mishaps. As they were cleaning up, their hands brushed one another’s and lingered. Aisha gulped and hurried to the trash can repeating Shayla’s name in her head, but it was a weak mantra after what she had seen. Do I not deserve some happiness too?
They headed for the escalator to take them down and Michael pulled her onto the same escalator he was on, pinning her to his side again. This time when the escalator left them on the second floor near March’s, Michael didn’t let her go in the beginning, partly due to so many shoppers around.
He grabbed her hand and pulled her to March’s. She sighed and let him lead. They walked into the store hand in hand. Aisha flushed red. The more she fought to let his hand go the more she clung to him. She fought an interior battle with herself. Let his hand go! He belongs to Shayla! They are happy together!
He didn’t help. He too clung to her hand massaging her palm with his thumb. They perused the wedding rings silently but neither were paying much attention to the rings. A store clerk walked up to them asking if she could help them with anything.
Aisha smiled and nodded. “Yes, we’re looking for wedding rings.”
The clerk took in their held hands and smiled. “Would that be for the both of you?”
Aisha choked and snatched her hand from Michael’s with a glare before turning to the woman. “Not for me. For my sister. We have the same...ring size and I’m helping her fiance,” she said this, glaring at a bashful Michael. “To find a ring.”
The woman smiled and nodded. “Right this way.”
They were led to the back of the store where Michael had to place several rings on Aisha. Every time he did, both blushed. Aisha would inspect the ring and then shake her head and the process would repeat. They left the jewelry store empty-handed and as flushed as a fresh strawberry in spring.
They left the store feeling down and Aisha decided to take them to her favorite spot in the mall. A literal theme park, created for a small cafe. She ordered them two frappuccinos and sat on the small Ferris wheel with him. They began to make their way to the top while they drank their fraps silently. Michael relaxed and spread his arm across her seat. She snuggled against his side. I trust him. Do I trust myself though?
She glanced at him and watched as he drank his frap, a serious look in his eyes before he turned to her. “I’m sorry about back at the store. That shouldn’t have happened and I’m sorry.”
She played with the lid of her frap and sighed. “ It’s fine. Let’s forget about it and enjoy this,” she said taking another sip of her frap.
Michael stared at her sad countenance. He’d really screwed up. He knew that. He also knew he was crossing a line when he turned and hugged her to him. He closed his eyes and let himself feel Aisha. She smelled of fruity body wash and shampoo but underneath, a moon glen laden with lilies.
His childhood escape from reality’s pull. His haven from everything. He turned to face her and slowly they inched closer together until they were a hair breath away from each other. Aisha dropped her frap over him shocking both out of their reverie.
“Crap! There goes good coffee!” she cried.
He laughed at the absurdity of it all.
A few minutes later they touched the ground and both hopped away from each other as if scalded by the other’s presence. They walked back to the car in silence and rode in a complete blackout. When they reached her apartment Aisha made to get out of the car.
Aisha turned to him and smiled weakly. “Don’t worry it was a mistake. One that won’t be made again.”
“I’m sorry I…”
“I know.” She started to get out of the car.
He grabbed her hand. “Wait!” Grey eyes bored into hers. “. I know I acted like an asshole today but can you come with me next Saturday. I promise it’ll be the last you hear of ring shopping...until your wedding, that is.”
She stared at him for a minute before nodding. “Fine, but after that, we never see each other again,” she said, shocking him. She left the car and rushed into her apartment where she collapsed in tears on her couch. Everything would have been perfect without Shayla but I love my sister. I couldn’t live with myself if I did something like that to her. I guess I can’t trust either of us to remain as we were.
She lay on her couch and dreamt of a world without her sister.
Jeremiah was waiting for her, by the gate the next day. “We can practice the strings today at your apartment. What’s wrong?”
Aisha smiled weakly. “Nothing. So I’ll finally get to learn how you move as you do?”
“First on the list.”
“Yes!” She hugged him and he grinned, batting her away.
“Ok! Enough. Settle down Padawan.”
She stuck her tongue out but settled.
“First we need this day to be over.”
“Let’s get to class then,” she said walking past him.
She spent the rest of her classes in restless anxiety, curious to find out how he moved the way he did. He phases in and out of reality or he time travels! Maybe he bends space?
She was so caught up in her thinking that she didn’t notice he had walked over to her desk. Classes had been over for fifteen minutes now.
“Look alive greenie! You’re burning daylight,” he yelled scaring her butt off the chair and onto the floor.
“Jeremiah!” she screeched getting up.
He tapped his watch. “You do want to see me do this today, right?” he asked, grinning.
“Sorry, yes I do but that doesn’t mean you can scare the crap out of me,” she said picking up her things and shouldering her tote bag.
“Come on, let’s go,” he said grabbing her hand and blinking out with her.
She felt the world fast forward for a minute then the feeling of pins and needles invaded her as they went straight through a wall. They arrived inside her apartment.
She looked around. Everything was as she left it this morning. She looked at Jeremiah and grinned. “Show me how you do that!”
He nodded, smirking. “Oh yeah... one caveat. You can teleport from and to the person you are linked to.”
Her eyes widened. “Michael.”
“Yup. Still want to try?”
“Ok, first I grab the string. Then I pinch it between my thumb and forefinger loosely so that I can slide them anywhere on the string.”
He did so.
“Now I’m going to pinch any spot on the string and let the memory filter through my mind completely.”
Aisha watched with rapt attention. “Now what?”
“I’m going to take the image and enlarge it by spreading my thumb and forefinger till I feel almost a part of the image.”
He tugged on the underlying string and blinked out reappearing beside her.
Aisha smiled. “Does it work like that for everyone who can do it?”
“The theory behind the teleport is that everyone is connected by the bonds that hold us to this Earth. Cut away our bonds and we are sorry excuses for living beings. All of us are connected by our bonds, and guardians can use the other side of the bonds to travel to that person. As long as no one sees you doing it, you can appear near a person. You choose how close. It can be several blocks away or it can be right beside them.”
“How do you choose the length you want to appear in?”
“Instead of grabbing onto the other’s connection I pinch it and slide it between my fingers. An image of the person should appear and how far I am from them. If they are, say, across the world, then I might want to appear outside of their home. Also, I didn’t try across seas until I had a few years of this under my belt. I didn’t want to die on my first try. I pick solid bonds too, not ones on the verge of breaking. That’s it for today,” he said reclining on the back of a dining chair. “Go ahead and have a go.”
Aisha’s eyes widened. “I can do that?”
“To a certain extent.”
Aisha smiled and held onto her soulbond string uncertain. Well, Shayla is in the memory. I could be indirectly linked to her right?