Leila had never been so glad to be home. She had plenty of time to get ready for her date with Nikoli. Having recently moved to a new apartment, a safer one at that, she was relieved to not see any loitering around outside like her old apartment. This building had security cameras and people had to be buzzed up in order to even enter the building. It made Leila feel more secure and she breathed a sigh of relief. Her friend Elaine was supposed to come over to help her pick out an outfit before she met Nikoli. She had texted her the address earlier that morning and was just waiting for Elaine to arrive. While she waited, Leila decided to take a shower, enjoying the hot water as it washed all the stress down the drain.
*knock, knock, knock*
Leila wrapped a towel around her hair, putting on her white terry cloth robe and matching slippers, poling her head out of the bathroom to make sure Elaine got the door open okay. Elaine clapped her hands together and bounded over to Leila to hug her tight.
“Hey pretty lady! Oooh it’s so good to see you. It’s been a week or so since we’ve hung out. What have you been up to?” Elaine pulled back to get a good look at Leila.
“Oh, you know, just working. By the way, I got promoted!”
“Oh my gosh congrats! It’s about freaking time! Especially after you kept telling me about how much of a hard-ass that Victoria lady has been.”
“I know. Turns out it was some character test that I passed. Plus Gloria got fired for embezzlement.” Elaine’s mouth dropped open and she scoffed as she grabbed Leila’s hand, following her to the bedroom.
“Where’s your room? Let’s get you ready for your date with….”
“Nikoli, his name is Nikoli.”
“Of course. What a strange name. And his last name?”
“Yeah it’s certainly original. Menikov. I think it’s Russian or something.”
“Sure, I can see that.” Elaine said nodding as they entered the bedroom.
“So this is what I was thinking, let me know your opinion. I have this red halter cocktail dress or a simple black, empire waist dress with cap sleeves. Which one?” Leila bit her lower lip as she held out the outfits for Elaine to look over.
“Personally I think the red one is a little slutty for a first date. You don’t even know if he’s worth it yet, he’s still a stranger. Go with the black one. It’s classic and the cap sleeves accent your arms. What about shoes?”
“These black, ballet flats. I want to be comfortable too.”
“In case you have to run away?” Elaine teased with a grin.
“Ha ha, very funny. Will you help me with my makeup and hair?” Leila crinkled her nose up and laughed.
“Of course, let’s do this. I’m thinking a grey smokey eye to make your emerald-green eyes pop plus a little lip gloss and pinning back your bangs while letting the rest of your hair fall in waves would be perfect. Objections?” Elaine slung her arm over Leila’s shoulders, leading her towards the bathroom to help her get ready.
“Nope. Let’s do this.”
“Yay!” Elaine clapped her hands together, a big grin lighting up her face.
“I’m so glad we became friends, Elaine. You’re the best.”
“Aww. Me too! You were so shy, but I just had to know you.”
“Oh man, don’t remind me! You were totally popular. We were this… unlikely pair.”
“I know! I still credit art class to the reason why we’re friends though. You said something funny to me in class, I can’t remember what it was now, but we were painting fruit. It made me laugh.”
“I don’t really remember either. How’s the makeup looking? Am I passable?” Leila cringed, uncertain of how she was going to look. She didn’t wear makeup much.
“You look beautiful, but here, don’t take my word for it. Look for yourself.” Elaine turned her around to face the mirror and Leila gasped, hugging her friend tight.
“Oh my gosh! Thank you Elaine. I love it.”
“No problemo. So, we have an hour to kill until your date, tell me about that dream of your grandma. You said it was too weird to text.” Leila started to head into the bedroom to get dressed.
“Oh that’s right, I had almost forgotten. So it was different than my other dreams.”
“Well, if you wouldn’t interrupt, I’d tell you.” Leila chided.
“God, I’m sorry. Continue.” Elaine pretended to zip up her lips and sat on the bed patiently waiting.
“Well, it felt more like…. a long forgotten memory than a dream,” Leila slipped into the dress and put her arms through the sleeves. Elaine zipped up her dress and sat down again, her chin resting in her hands, “I was about 10 years old and we were in what looked to me like the 1950’s. Even my gran was so beautiful and young, maybe her early twenty-somethings with long, wavy brown hair in a high ponytail. She wore a long blue poodle skirt with a white short-sleeved blouse that had pearl buttons in the front with a frilly, lace collar.
Gran also had those folded down socks, saddle shoes and black, thick-framed glasses with winged-out tips. You know what I mean?”
“Yeah kind of. I think, but wait, those ages don’t match up. You weren’t around in the 1950’s. What did you go back in time?” Elaine looked puzzled.
“It was just a dream, you goof.” Leila chuckled at her friend, causing Elaine to laugh back.
“I know, I know. I was just trying to figure this out. Anyways...go on.” Elaine waved her hand in a shooing motion for emphasis.
“Alright. So, my gran was excited to see me and she took me for a ride in her blue cadillac. When we got back to the house, we played Scrabble and had hot camomile tea with finger sandwiches. Gran asked me to look in the attic for a small, blue, metal box. It was so weird, but when I found it I cheered and brought it down the crawl space.” Leila began to search for her shoes, gesturing with her hands while she talked.
“Then what?” Elaine was staring at Leila, leaning forward, eager to hear more.
“She took my hand and smiled, while we sat on the couch. Then she whispered:”
“Open the box sweetheart,”
“So, I opened it and it was a beautiful necklace on a white gold chain. I remember it shimmered. The charm on it, though, was what intrigued me the most. It was a blue Triquetra with a green heart woven into Celtic knots. My gran smiled and told me it was an “old family heirloom” that she wanted me to have. She also told me that it was “meant for me”, that it was “my heritage” and that it would keep me safe. She said that when the time was right it would come to me and grant me power beyond belief.”
“I have no idea.” Leila said with a shrug, still not understanding what her grandmother had meant by that.
“Then what happened?”
“Someone knocked at the door. My gran looked frightened, she told me to hide and that when I had the chance I should run. She said she was scared “they” would come find me, but she never explained who “they” were. Anyways, I hid like she asked. Gran looked back at me before she answered the door, standing up straighter. Some guy asked “Where is it?” and said he knew she had it. He also said that he wouldn’t hurt her if she just gave it to him.”
“Who was it? The guy I mean? What did he want?”
“Nikoli and I don’t know really. Maybe it had something to do with the necklace?”
“Maybe. So Nikoli?” Elaine laid down on her stomach, getting more comfortable on the bed.
“Yeah it was really weird...I snuck out with the necklace on my neck, I remember tucking it in my shirt. When I looked back at the house, it wasn’t familiar. The necklace felt warm. When I looked at it, it had this ethereal, blue-green glow that pulsed light. Holding it made me feel like it was always meant to be in my possession.” Leila sat beside her friend and just looked at her, tucking one bare foot under her thigh.
“And then what happened?”
“I was scared, but I kept running. As far away as I could. The dream ended and I woke up.”
“Here I thought I had weird dreams.” Elaine sat up and shook her head.
“I know right?” The two girls stood up and hugged.
“You look beautiful and I hope you have a good time tonight. I had better go so you can get there on time, but text me okay? You should write that dream down so you don’t forget it.” Leila nodded, hugging Elaine once more.
“Thanks Elaine, I will on all counts. Have a good night.” Leila walked her friend to the door, closing it behind her.
After pinning her bangs back, Leila grabbed her purse, making sure her keys and phone were inside, put on her shoes, then opened the door. Her foot kicked something small and hard that was blocking her path. Upon looking down she raised her eyebrows slightly, surprised. It was wrapped in plain brown paper with no return address. The handwriting was the same as from the note earlier. Biting her lip, she took the small package inside, setting it down gently on her grey counter. Shaking her head she untied the plain, tan-colored string and tore off the paper, curious about what was inside. She dropped the cardboard box, rattling loose whatever was in it. Sighing in frustration, she opened the box using her keys. Reaching inside, she picked up what felt like a small jewelry box, the metal cool to the touch, not noticing the small slip of paper that fluttered to the ground and rested just near the entryway to her living room.
Her mouth dropped open when she saw the box. It was the same box from the dream she had about her grandma, Hazel. Her heart raced in anticipation, knowing what was inside, yet somehow needing the verification. Leila’s hands shook so much, she nearly dropped the box again as she tried to open the simple metal latch. After getting the box open, she peeked inside, amazed to see the heart triquetra necklace nested within. She gasped as she picked it up, startled by the same warmth she felt before, in her dream. Just like she had dreamt, it felt like it belonged with her. Her mouth gaped open and her eyes were wide as she stared at a piece of jewelry she had thought she’d only imagined.Going back into her bedroom, she began to place the piece around her neck, wanting to see what it looked like on her.
After the jewelry was secured around her neck, it began pulsating with light, just like the dream. The strange warmth she felt when she picked it up quickly filled her entire body. Her eyes began to glow a strange violet-silver hue, the heat searing her eyes. As the feeling of power overwhelmed her, she gasped and closed her eyes, confused not only by all the thoughts running through her head, but also by what she was experiencing. The warm sensation seemed to recede and her eyes began to cool, just as quickly as it had started. When she opened her eyes she saw her shocked expression and the flush of her cheeks reflected back from her stainless steel fridge.
“I must be a crazy person,” she muttered, bringing her hands to her cheeks as her breathing began to slow along with her heart rate. The alarm tone on her phone, reminding her of her impending date, startled her and brought her back into the kitchen where she noticed the note on the floor for the first time. Instead of answering her phone, however, she picked up the slip of paper, reading the note.
For you, my dear. It is time.
She mouthed the words, her mouth forming a small O when she was done. This was from her grandmother, but that was impossible. She was dead.