Chapter 1 | Willa
Just how drunk was I last night?
Because what I’m seeing now? It’s not a sober girl’s dream.
This is the kind of thing only a supremely alcohol-soaked brain could invent. At least that’s what I tell myself when fingertips brush across my collarbone and I shiver and open my eyes to get a look at who’s touching me.
Please be Henry Cavill. Please be Henry Cavill. Please be Henry Cavill.
Hey, it’s my dream, and on the night of my twenty-first birthday no less. I’m entitled to a bit of naughty fun, and I’m about to let my subconscious run wild.
Let that freak flag I keep neatly folded up in my bedside drawer out to fly for once.
Except all I see is glitter.
So much freaking glitter that I know I’ll never get it all out. It’s like when you decide you’re going to hand make everyone’s Christmas gifts this year and spend the next three-hundred and sixty-five days finding glitter in places glitter does notbelong.
It’s all around me, and I wonder if I’m sucking it down into my lungs with each breath. That can’t be good, can it? So much for Henry Cavill tying me to his bed while I call him Daddy.
Disappointment churns in my belly.
My eyes are wide open, and the gold sparkle is everywhere. I close them and try to rub out the hallucination but when I open them back up, nothing’s changed. My heart jackhammers in my chest because I don’t know how to wake myself up. I try pinching my arm, but I can’t even feel it.
Just once I’d love to dream about a prince who saves me from my boring—and pathetically lonely—existence. Maybe one who’s totally obsessed with me so he never lets me out of his sight. He’d be dark and mysterious with that super hot V at the bottom of his abs that guys in real life don’t actually have. Maybe he’d kill anyone who touched me.
Yup, that’s what I want. My perfect dream guy. But all I get is the Southern mom’s favorite accessory, outside of monogramming, of course. Gold. Freaking. Glitter.
Oh, and there was definitely someone here with me. I spin to try to find him, but it’s wall to wall gold sparkles. Well, at least I’m assuming there are walls since I can’t see for shit. When I look down at my body, my skin shimmers. I look like a stripper at the beginning of my shift. I’m coated in the stuff, and if this wasn’t a dream I would be pissed. All the bath bombs and body scrub in the world wouldn’t even make a dent and I’d be looking at months of breakouts since my pores are for sure clogged up with these evil plastic shards.
When I try to take a step, my feet don’t move. I’m stuck to the floor like I’m superglued.
Hysterical laughter bubbles up in my chest and I know if I let it out, it’s going to have a manic energy to it—on account of the freaking out—but before I can, fingers brush across my skin and freeze me in place.
I’m starting to think this might actually be a nightmare.
“Hello?” I call out but am greeted with nothing but silence. Because that’s how nightmares roll. Whatever creeper’s watching me flail around in my sparkly prison isn’t going to announce himself, is he?
A new set of fingers sweep along my skin, turning the phantom touch solid. Their rough, calloused palms are as familiar to me as my own. I jolt and my heart throws itself against my ribs like it’s trying to escape its bony cage and get to him. How the hell is his touch familiar? No one’s ever touched me like this.
But… I could swear another set of strong arms wrap around my body encasing me in safety and comfort. Comfort I want to lean into because I know with him I can let go.
How do I knowthat?
My body sways backwards into him as his hold tightens, his touch different than the others. I’m still blinded by the freaking glitter so I can’t tell who he is. Who any of them are. Each touch is different but they don’t feel like strangers… somehow, I know them all.
When he lets go, I feel the loss in my soul which up until now, I wasn’t even sure existed. Now there’s no doubt, and that shit hurts. It’s as if someone has taken a pair of rusty kitchen scissors, the ones my Gramps keeps because he can’t bear to throw away anything that used to be Grams’, and used them to hack my soul into pieces. How many pieces I can’t tell you, only that it’s more than one and it sucks.
There’s no doubt now that this is a nightmare.
I scream until my throat burns with the fire of ten thousand suns, but a voice cuts through and the pain abruptly stops. With a trembling hand, I reach up and wipe the hot tears from my cheeks and take my first deep breath in what might’ve been ten seconds or an eternity. It’s hard to say.
“Willa…” The voice resonates through my head, smooth and velvety in a way that strokes the depths of my soul. It douses the fire and soothes my fear. It’s calling out to me, one word filled with the longing of a thousand lifetimes lived apart. It hits deep and fills me with an aching sadness unlike anything I’ve experienced before, and even though I shouldn’t be able to feel anything, my eyes are stinging.
I’m officially never drinking vodka again.
“Where are you?” I yell, twisting and thrashing to try to break free but it’s about as effective as asking a mosquito not to bite you. That doesn’t stop me from fighting, swiping at the cloud of glitter until I’m panting, but it’s relentless in its choking hold. I can’t run away. I can’t see anything through the sparkly fog, and the only thing I hear is silence. Desperation burns in my chest, urging me on. I can’t stop or he’ll be lost, and I don’t know if I’ll be able to find him again.
Somehow, in the depths of my soul, I know this is my one chance.
“Willa…” a new voice calls with the same resonance inside of me, like a bell chiming down into the very center of my existence and vibrating through every cell. Something’s different with this voice, and it puts me even more on edge. The tone is desolate. Hopeless and heavy with despair like he’s giving up because all is lost and I can’t stand it. How can he give up? How can he not fight for us?
But as long as there is breath in my lungs, I can fight. I will fight enough for us all.
“I’ll find you!” I promise into the ether, knowing it’s no use. I’m stuck and no amount of thrashing or arguing is going to get me free. I have to be smart about this. It’s a puzzle and right now there are no clear answers. Maybe if I surrender, I can somehow think of a different way out. One thing I know for sure is that I need to offer them hope. At the moment, it feels like I’m doomed to suffer without them, whoever they are, and I won’t let them give up.
All I know is they’re supposed to be mine, even if I have no idea who they are. This is seriously some Twilight Zone level shit, and I can only hope that when I finally wake up it’ll make sense. I don’t want to forget that rightness that settled into my bones when they were close enough to touch, so instead of fighting, I try to commit that sensation to memory.
If only the pieces of my soul weren’t scattered and out of my reach.
A/N: This story updates Tuesday & Thursday. If you want to read ahead, you can do so on my Patreon. :)