“Träum was schönes.” She heard from Sven. Lexi knew the phrase from German class. Its literal translation was “Dream something good,” but was used more as a sincere form of “sweet dreams.”
As she lied down in the guest bedroom she tried to think about the last time she’d had a dream. It was rare for her at all, and normally when she did it was of the wreckage that was her family home. She didn’t remember it as clearly as she used to, but she could remember remembering it. She used to see the colors of the brick, feel the pain of the glass in her leg. Just as sleep began to pull her in, Lexi began to wonder if the dream was real at all, or if it was just another illusion created to keep her grounded.
That night, Lexi did dream. She dreamed of Warren. The way she’d always remembered him.
It was as if she was watching a movie. In fact, upon further investigation, she was. She was sitting in the theater where she found out what she is. On the screen played the best moments between her and her fae. He taught her to write, and to sing. His voice was unlike any she’d ever heard, and still was. Hers was only able to carry a tune, and as he sang along with her, the tune she carried was lost in his.
“Take your medicine, Alexis.” He’d tell her. When she was young he’d crush her medicine into her applesauce to eat. He’d pat her head and smile at her warmly, the way she always remembered his smile.
When she was five, Warren taught her to ride a bike. He taught her to pedal one foot in front of another. Soon she was zipping up and down the sidewalk in front of their house. When she was six he took the training wheels off and taught her to ride without them. The first day she gave up after falling and scraping her knee and he let her. “Just come back to it when you’re ready. I’ll be here.” He’d said, propping her bike inside the garage.
She did come back. And he was there. He was always there. Lexi knew that he was. And in that dark theater, the scenes reminding her of him brought tears to her eyes as she watched. She missed the man that had taken such good care of her during her life. Her eyes were glued to the screen as she watched each scene pass by. As she did, the lighting darkened. His smile faded as he worked with her. He began to scold her for things she’d never known were wrong.
“Who have you spoken today, Alexis?” She blushed instead of responding. She remembered that day. It was the day she had her first real crush. She was eleven. “It was a boy wasn’t it?” Neither his smile nor his voice was as warm then. “Girls can’t be friends with boys, Alexis.”
She looked up at him with wide blue eyes. “Why not? He’s really nice to me. He likes to draw and he’s really good at it.”She gave him a large innocent smile, leaning up on her toes as she thought about the boy.
“Because, girls who are friends with boys are not good girls.” He told her.
“But I’ll be good.” She begged him, tugging lightly on the hem of his shirt. “I promise I won’t do anything. I just want to be friends with him…”
“Alexis.” His voice was stern and cold. “I’m the only boy you need in your life. Aren’t I? Do you want to replace me?”
She shook her head quickly. “No, Warren. That’s not it. I just want a friend…”
“You can’t have two boys though, Lexi. You know that.” He took her in his arms, but she didn’t move to hug him back. “I’m all you need, right? You won’t ever need someone else instead?”
Her arms wrapped slowly around him. “No one else.” She said sadly. “I only need you.”
“No I don’t.” she stated from her seat. Lexi tried to stand and found her arms pinned to the seat as another scene played on the screen. Homecoming her junior year.
“Warren. A guy asked me to the dance tonight.” She was standing tall, head held high. Her hair was down to her shoulders in its natural shade of brown. “I want to go with him. I told him yes.” She tried to sound confident as she told him.
Warren turned to her from the kitchen sink. “I already made dinner, Alexis. You’re going to stay here and eat.”
She shook her head, but didn’t say a word in response.
He took in a deep breath. “Is that how you’ll treat me now?” He crossed his arms, not making a move towards her. “I took you in; I fed you and clothed you. I tried to be everything for you, and now you’re making decisions on your own. Is that how things work now? You don’t need me anymore?”
“No! I do! I just… He’s a really nice guy, Warren. It’s one dance. Please.” Her control was breaking in front of him. She’d promised herself she wouldn’t beg. “I’ll be home by 9. We won’t do anything. It’s just one dance…”
“I don’t think it’s a good idea, Lexi.” He didn’t give her a reason and his opinion never changed. As much as Lexi cried and begged that night, she was not able to go to the dance. Instead, she went to her room, took out a pair of scissors and cut her hair off in a jagged sloppy cut.
“Is that better? Are you happy? No one will ask me out again, alright? You don’t have to worry.” She slammed her door in his face and cried in the floor that night. The next morning she received a text from Allie saying the boy arrived with another girl from their class instead.
Warren held her as she cried again. “I knew he wouldn’t be good for you. I’m so sorry that he hurt you, Lexi. I promise I never will. I’ll be all you need, okay?”
Tears were rolling down her cheeks in the theater seat. She pulled at her arms trying to run from the screen. How had she been so blind? How did she never see his pull on her?
Lexi came home late one night. Warren was pacing back and forth in the living room. She remembered this scene clearly. She remembered looking up at him like a scolded pup as he screamed at her, and responding to him with a question he’d never expected. She remembered the pain as his hand whipped across her cheek.
Her dead voice mocked her as she shut the door to her room. “You’re all I need, Warren.”
“I don’t need you!” She screamed. “I don’t need him!” her hands were free to wipe her tears at last. The projector died out suddenly. “I don’t need him!” She called out as the lights came up, and Lexi was left in an empty theater. She looked into her hand and found a ticket stub for the movie that was just playing.
“Who Do You Need?”
Lexi could feel the salt dried on her cheeks when she woke up. She could remember each scene that played in the dark theater. She even remembered the title of the film; the question she couldn’t answer. Who did she need?
She washed her face before heading into the living room. Everyone was awake before her, sitting at the table with empty plates. “What?”
Dillon smiled at her. “We were just telling Margeux about your fabulous cooking.”
She chuckled and headed into the kitchen. “Coming right up.”
Lexi didn’t know what or who she needed. But she knew what she wanted. She wanted that smile, those people, and the feeling of being wanted for the rest of her life.
This was only an excerpt from my novel-in-progress. If you wish to continue reading, the whole story and future updates will be posted here:http://www.fictionpress.com/s/3090178/1/Changeling
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