Adventure in a Virtual World

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 23 (v.1) - Easier Left Unsaid

Submitted: May 17, 2016

Reads: 165

Comments: 1

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Submitted: May 17, 2016

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“It’s been a long time Eliza. How old are you now?” Jake asks.

“I just turned eighteen in April.”

“You’re so grown up and beautiful now. And you look just like her.” Pride shines like a lighthouse beacon guiding her back into his life. “I’m sorry I missed getting to watch you grow up baby sis. It’s been less than two years.” He shakes his head as painful memories flash in his mind, brushing against my own. I’m not sure if it was intentional or not.

He rarely talks about them since it happened. The car crash that claimed his parents’ lives a year and a half ago. He never mentioned having a sister though. A vivid still frame flashes before my eyes, a newborn held in a pair of arms, a happy couple in the background look on, brimming with joy. 

Jake glances at me. His ability to read my thoughts is creeping me out a bit. He mouths ‘sorry’. 

Not helping.

I sit down with the others while Jake and Eliza search for a quieter place to catch up. I can’t imagine missing eighteen years of a person’s life in just a blink of an eye. This time difference thing really screws things up.  “Am I the only one who didn’t realize Jake has a sister?”

“Pretty much,” Ryan laughs. “Well besides Eliza herself that is. She didn’t find out until earlier tonight.”  

“Because I told all of them,” Zoe adds with a smile.

“Minor detail.”

“How did you find out though?” I ask.

She takes a deep breath, an intense wave of guilt and sadness drowns her smile. “I was there the night their parents died. I was the one driving them home from the hospital.”

A vacuum sucks all of the oxygen out of the room from the shock of the bombshell. Zoe fights valiantly against the sudden influx of emotions as she recounts everything that happened that fateful night. 

It was a calm night but the roads were wet as a result of a heavy storm the day before. Many roads were still underwater so she was forced to detour through a wooded area a mile out of the way. As she approached the final curve a loud snapping sound was the only warning something terrible was about to happen. 

Being on Earth had weakened her magic to the point of almost nonexistence and she did all she could to lessen the impact of the tree that smashed itself nearly all the way through the back half of the car. Her act was only enough to spare little Eliza’s life, but only if she was treated immediately. Zoe could only think of one place to go—home. 

She brought the three day old infant to Hesire, the only person she could trust. It wasn’t until Zoe came back the last time that Hesire learned the identity of the life he saved. Her royal heritage was confirmed shortly after our fateful arrival.

“So she’s a princess?” I ask.

“Not exactly,” Zoe replies and looks at Hesire.

“She is the granddaughter of a king and queen which under normal circumstances would grant her that title. But the fact that she was born during another king’s reign meant she was not born into the royal family. Being a blood relative to the king-to-be unfortunately doesn’t automatically grant her royal status. The law states that all children and grandchildren unto the king or queen shall hold the gender appropriate title of prince or princess. Throughout history there has never been a case in which the rulership was passed back to a house of royal lineage. The Royal Council will have to make a decision on whether to recognize her or not,” Hesire explains.

“We are pretty sure they will go for it—” Elenora says.

“If that is what Jake wishes—” Devlin adds.

“Which is why we have been teaching her—” Carmen continues.

“How to run the city,” Arino concludes.

I’m impressed by the way they finish each other’s sentences so flawlessly. Despite the fact that they spend all day, every day, together it’s easy to forget that they are a group of friends and not just the Security Council.

“Tomorrow night we will head north, towards the capital—” Avery starts.

“While the Princess-to-be and I attend to affairs within the safety of these walls,” Tristain finishes.

“Leaving my sister in charge of the city already? As long as she doesn’t burn the place down,” Jake says returning to the table.

Eliza smiles and rolls her eyes as her brother teases her. It’s nice to see that they’re getting along and already joking with each other as siblings would. They certainly look the part too. Her eyes are slightly more silvery than his, but they have the same sheen in their sleek black hair. They have their differences though. The most noticeable is her slender body compared to Jake’s more toned, athletic build, which has only become more defined training with a sword over the past month. Eliza’s cheeks are also slightly more rounded than his, giving her a youthful charm. 

Sorry Jake, but she’s much cuter than you, I laugh to myself. He sticks his tongue out at me. ‘Seriously jerk, stay out of my head!’ He grins, silently reveling in this new found connection between us. “Not even safe inside my own mind,” I grumble.

“What are you talking about Shana?” Tracy asks. I look around the table and realize everyone is staring at me. 

“Oh, it’s nothing really. Jake the jerk has figured out how to read my thoughts. Just another normal day in Calemdor,” I say trying to be nonchalant.

“He what? Tell us everything,” Zoe implores.

I slowly explain the deep connection he and I share. The other women teasingly lecture Jake about boundaries and privacy. It would be hilarious if the seamstress wasn’t finding this news to be alarming. The more I explain, the tighter her lips purse and I begin to worry that there is a magical ramification to the bond we have. She just about loses it when I recall the Alora festival incident and compare it to our ability to freely cast magic tonight. 

The seamstress abruptly stands up and shouts at Jake. “Come over here right now young man!”  

I can sense that everyone within a thirty foot radius is now intently listening in. 

His eyes grow wide but he does as she commands. “Yes ma’am.”

“Do you not know how dangerous this could be? Your paths are converging way too fast. You personally may be able to handle this magic flowing between you two but if she can not... the fallout could be catastrophic!” For five minutes she preaches nondescript doom and gloom, predicting the end of the world and all that jazz; while Jake gives me pleading glances.

I ignore his silent cry for help, desperately trying to shut him out. I don’t fully understand how this type of magic works and it’s making me queazy. All I know is that these things she’s saying can’t be healthy and I don’t want them to happen.

“Have you confessed your true feelings for her yet?” The seamstress’ words drop on me like a cartoon anvil. 

“What? How is that even relevant?!” I interject angrily.

The women start laughing their heads off, the men facepalm, and the listeners from the surrounding tables pretend not to hear anything. I’m just about giving myself a headache looking around for some semblance of sanity. Everyone has lost their minds. 

Jake stands there seemingly conflicted. His head is slightly cocked, gaze focusing on my eyes with an intensity, lips not quite smiling. He clearly wants to say something but instead his shoulders droop and he looks away.

“I was going to at the end of the night but suddenly I’m not feeling well. Enjoy the rest of the ball.” With that he walks away without looking back.

They aren’t laughing anymore. They won’t even look at me now. What the heck just happened?

“We took this way too far,” Zoe speaks on behalf of everyone involved.

“Took what too far?”

There is a long awkward pause before Eliza and Zoe speak at the same time as if it should be obvious. “Jake’s in love with you.” 

I rush across the ballroom as fast as I possibly can without ripping my dress. I bound up the stairs two at a time and dash through the gaping entry way. I turn sharply around the corner onto the burgundy carpet, static electricity crackles as I run. 

I’m upset with the others for making a joke out of our lives. I’m angry that they told me before he could. I’m furious with myself for not seeing it sooner. 

I burst through the castle doors and into the cool night air. I stare into the distance unsure of what I will find. By the light of the moon his ghostly silhouette appears. His shoulders heave in a way that can only accompany great sadness. He needs my touch as much as I need his. 

I shuffle into my room, quickly change, extinguish the light, and crawl into bed. 

I hate myself for not chasing after him.


© Copyright 2018 T.J. Little. All rights reserved.

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