Part One: A Dream Commences
"Steven!" A lone voice rang out through the darkness. "Steven!" Again, with more volume and strength, the voice called out. With that one name spoken, the darkness began to dissipate. Twin pin-pricks of light widened, instantly closed again, then as if venturing out into the unknown, the parallel dots of light expanded.
"Where am I?" A second voice, belonging to a young man, completely ignored the calling of the first voice. Instead of acknowledging the speaker, the second voice, simply asked a question built on the instinctive nature of humanity.
"Steven! You're awake… you're here!" The first voice, following suite of the second voice, ignored the young man's question. She too was overcome by another instinct: love, perhaps even surprise, or joy.
"Julia? What?" The young man, named Steven, paused for a long moment as he glanced around. Lifting his head off the soft, green grass, he took in his surroundings with his blue, parallel eyes. "What's going on? Where are we?"
Julia, the owner of the first voice, brushed a strand of brown hair from her eyes. Kneeling beside Steven, she slowly got to her feet and offered him a hand. "You're in my dreams, Steven. I don't know how it happened, but you're here."
"Your dreams?" Steven took her hand, relishing how warm and delicate it was in his firm grip. Letting go, he bit his lower lip, still stunned at this turn of events. With wide eyes, he stared at the valley that flourished around them. "How is that possible?"
"I don't know, Steven. I really don't." Julia stood at ease in front of her lover, studying his face. It'd been only two days ago, late at night, that she'd kissed that handsome, tanned face of his. She could feel his stubble-covered cheek against her; smell the slight scent of Axe coming off his shirt.
And now he was here-in her dreams.
Steven saw that she was staring at him. Raising an eyebrow, he folded his arms over his chest. "That can't be possible. Dreams are, well, dreams."
"Then where are we, Steven?" Julia came closer to him, her torquoise eyes locked onto his. Her purple nightgown, swaying gently in the breeze, clung to her thin, short form. With a smile, she waited for his answer, knowing full well that he could give her none.
He glanced around him, soaking in the beautiful, magnificent nature that surrounded them. Mountains soared to a crystal, blue sky on either side of the valley, coated in a drizzle of white, frigid ice. To Steven, he felt that the cold, quiet mountains were strikingly different to the warm, alive valley, which lay at the peaks toes.
For endless miles the landscape flowed in opposite directions down the valley, covered in green, softly waving grass. Only, on one end of the valley, there was a slight dip into the purple, dark waters of an expansive lake. A sun, quite different from the one that he saw rise and set every day, sat luminous in the sky, Its rays were a light blue, radiating over the valley and beginning to fall behind the mountains.
However striking his surroundings were, Steven admitted that they were all strange to him. He'd never been in this place, for if he had, he doubted that it would slip his mind. No, this was an entirely different place, one that was quite different from the room he'd fallen asleep in mere minutes ago.
"Steven?" Julia took another step towards him, they were only inches apart. "Where are we?"
When they met one another's eyes, Steven gave his honest answer, followed by a question. "I don't know. None of this makes sense though. How could I be in your dreams?"
"I don't know." And that was an honest answer on her part. What she withheld from him though, was that this was no mere dream. She hoped that Steven would come to that conclusion on his own. If she began to explain what this 'dream' really was, she would have to tell him more then she was comfortable with him knowing.
Julia stepped back from him, turned around and began walking down the valley. He came up behind her, then to her side as they walked beside one another. She let her hands fall to her side, swinging them back and forth as she thought over what had happened.
Five or so minutes ago, she'd been relaxing in the valley, basking in the glow of the sun. Since she was always alone, she'd stripped off her gown and rested on the soft, green grass. Only, after a few minutes of lying on the grass, she heard someone groan.
Her heart racing, she'd slipped on the gown. Running down the valley, she quickly saw who had emitted the noise.
Seeing Steven had only made her heart race faster.
"You seem to know this place." Steven said, shattering her thoughts. Their hands brushed up against one another, neither drew back. Frowning, he continued his line of thought. "And you did wake me up; you also called this your dream. So you must know something."
"Yes, I was here before you were." Julia hesitantly doled out more information as they strolled down the valley. His fingers slowly wrapped around hers, pulling her closer. "I dream vividly like this most nights, sometimes I don't, but usually, I can remember my dreams as if I were experiencing them while being awake."
"Yes. I've been able to do this ever since I was younger. It's a gift, I suppose. I always thought that this was normal though, it wasn't until I was much older that I learned only I could dream like this. Well, my father too. I guess it was like a hereditary…" she paused to find the right word to use.
"Curse?" He supplemented with an uneasy smile.
"No. I don't think of it like that. I enjoy dreaming so vividly, it's fun at times. Peaceful." She looked up, catching his eyes when they neared the edge of the lake. "It's an escape from reality."
"Is it always this place?" Steven, who was slowly grasping the concept that Julia might be telling the truth, let go of her hand. His mouth was drooping in an awed, slack-jawed way. In his mind, thoughts and realizations were buzzing like wasps in a hive.
"No, like any dream, the places and events change. Sometimes they're memories, other times they're deviations of places or events that I've seen or witnessed. A few times, the place is a jumbled mixture of emotions, fears and thoughts-it's impossible to describe."
"But you experience it as if you were awake?"
"Just as we are now."
"Incredible." He gazed out at the sea, seeing that it was endlessly spanning off into the horizon. Could his life, now with this revelation at hand, be like the sea? Filled with endless possibilities? To dream like this every night, with her? Could this truly be real?
"It really is." She smiled, her beautiful face lit up by a large, sparkling grin. "Like a paradise. And now that you're here-Steven!" She took his hand in hers again, holding them tightly. "We can be together! Instead of saying goodbye, or waiting a full year to see one another, we can see each other every night. Here."
Saying nothing, Steven only stared into her eyes, his heart racing in his chest. All he wanted to do was take her in his arms and kiss her with all the passion he could muster. Happiness and joy-love, were spilling out of his chest like a fountain.
Instead, he simply kissed her gently on the lips, drawn in by her luminous, turquoise eyes.
And she kissed him back. Resting her hands on his shoulders, she came in closer, adding passion to the kiss before he stepped back. A surprised, dopey smile hung on his lips, while she stepped back as well. She remembered the last time they kissed, when they were in the canoe together, watched only by a distant, bright moon.
That's when he promised, that no matter what happened, they would always love one another. She'd known that since they lived nearly a thousand kilometers apart, keeping that promise would be difficult. When she was home and he was back where he came from, she'd felt the fear of never hearing form him again. Of course she would always be there for him, she'd given him her heart in that one kiss.
She just wondered if he would hold up his end of the promise. Or, like most guys in her life, would he walk away from her? Distance was a very hard issue to deal with-she never dreamed of having a long distance relationship. Still, in that one week that she'd gotten to know Steven, she'd fallen completely in love with him.
And she was foolish enough to believe he had as well.
"Will I come here again?" Steven could slowly feel the world around him slipping away. The horizon, past the expanse of blue, sparkling ocean, was beginning to blur. "I don't want to say goodbye to you again." He could feel the tangible pain in his heart at the prospect of letting her go. Of course, back in reality, he could text, call or video-chat with her; but it wasn't the same. Nothing but actually seeing her would compare to this amazing dream he was having now.
"I don't know Steven, I really didn't even think I would see you here."
"And you don't know why I came?"
"No." A pause, her eyes momentarily flickered to the right. "But I do hope I can see you again." Again, there was a moment's hesitation before she made that statement. Looking deep into her eyes, he couldn't tell if what she said was honest or not. However, he wasn't given much more time before the dream began to collapse around him.
"Steven!" Julia cried out for him as his eyesight darkened. He fell to his knees, then was knocked over completely. In a collage of sights, sounds and emotions, Steven fell into a dark pit, stumbling head over heels into the darkness.
When he opened his eyes, he saw that he was back in his bedroom. Covered in sheets, blankets and laying down in a warm, comfortable bed, Steven saw that he was back. Or awake. To him, the dream had felt so much more then any dream he'd had before.
Steven got out of bed, unable to go back to sleep after such an insane, emotional dream. As he thought back on the dream, he was slowly realizing that it'd been just that-a dream. Nothing more. Julia, who he'd fallen in love with only a couple days ago, had not really been in his dreams. He'd simply dreamt of her. No matter how realistic the dream had been, it was impossible that it'd been anything but a dream.
Still, the feelings that the dream had arisen in him was something to marvel out. He could actually feel her lips against his, her hands on his shoulders.
Why did she have to live so far away? One part of him, probably his mind, was rebuking him for giving his heart to a girl that lived two provinces away. His heart, however, argued that she was worth the trouble of a long distance relationship. And why not? What girl in his hometown, Winnipeg, had ever given him much thought? She'd been one of the first girls to fall in love with him, to kiss him with such passion.
She would certainly be worth waiting a year.
To clear his mind, which was running wild with thoughts of Julia, he stepped outside onto his veranda. From the second story of his house, he got an excellent view of his neighborhood, which was dotted with large, cookie-cutter style houses. A strong, comforting and cool breeze rolled over the house, and washed over him.
"Oh Julia." He leaned against the railing of his balcony, staring up at the stars. "What I have gotten myself into?" He'd never been in love before, but if this was it, then Steven wasn't sure he could last so long. The heartbreaking emotions that racked his heart from being so far away from her, were almost more then he could take. Sweat beaded his brow, despite the cool, night air.
And all he could think about was Julia.
Yeah, he was in trouble.