“I have to go say hi to Kaitlyn,” I plead with Io who is lying in my bed only dressed in sheets.
“No, you don’t. You owe her nothing.” Io pouts at me. She’s trying to act playful but I see the anger underneath.
I pull on a shirt and sit back on the bed, angling myself so I can look at her as I try to explain. “I owe her friendship. The same thing she gave me for years.”
“Friends don’t leave friends,” she cuts me off and looks down like she is ashamed of saying that.
“I understand why she left. And I can’t say I blame her. I was already starting to shut her out and push her away.” I grab Io’s chin and lift her head till her eyes are looking into mine. “I just need closure, okay?”
She nods her head but doesn’t say anything else while I get my shoes on and head out the door. “I’ll be back soon,” I tell her as I close my bedroom door. I hope she gets dressed before coming downstairs. My parents would have a heart attack if they saw Io walking around in her preferred state of undress.
I still can’t believe out of all the men, gods and angels in the world that she is in my bedroom. Since coming with us after leaving Turkey, she had been acting nervous around me, not her flirty, clinging self. Once I was settled in Boston she showed up and admitted to her strong feelings for me. That though she seduced many other’s before she had never felt the pull of attraction she has for me. Of course, I didn’t believe her; thinking it was another of her seduction tricks. However, three months later and she is still here, wanting to be by my side. So what can I do, but take it one day at a time?
Seeing Kaitlyn though, is going to kill me. We grew up together, her and Lexi have been best friends, we know all each other’s secrets, she’s in my heart, and she’s in my mind. How do I break away from that? How do I forget and move on? I’m sure psychologist Dad would say not to have any contact with her; that the best way to get over someone is to move on. However, this Kaitlyn. She’s been more than a girlfriend, she’s been a best friend and I owe her a continued friendship. Lots of couples break up and are still friends. Why should we be any different? Why should we feel we have to turn and walk away whenever we see one another on campus or sit on opposite sides of the lecture hall during a seminar?
I drive over to Kaitlyn’s house due to the flooding. I would have preferred to walk the short distance to her house so I can think through what I want to say. I have no idea what I am going to say. Start with ‘hi’ and see where it goes from there? Ask her why she left? Tell her we can work through this, even though that’s not fair to her? I don’t know what I am going to say.
I pull into her driveway and notice her car is there. That’s good. Neither one of us took our cars with us to school since we would be living on campus. Her car might be there because it got flooded out. Her parent’s car isn’t here so maybe they all went somewhere together or she took their car.
I wish I could get my logical brain to shut down once in a while.
I walk up to her front door and ring the doorbell. In just a couple of seconds I hear movement inside and then Kaitlyn is standing inside the open doorway.
“Hi,” I say.
“Alex, what are you doing here?” Not the response I was expecting.
I look down at my flip flops and jeans that I rolled up to prepare myself for walking through the flooded waters. “I-I… haven’t talked to you in the longest time and thought…” I take a deep breath and look back at her face. “I just needed to see you and talk to you.” There. I spit it out.
“Okay. You can come inside. My parents are out shopping for all the Black Friday deals, so…” She gestures for me to come inside and I do. I wait while she shuts the door and leads me into their family room. I wait till she sits on the couch before taking a seat on her Dad’s Lay-Z-Boy. She starts to play with her hands, which is a nervous habit and I think she’s hurt that I didn’t sit with her.
“So, I hear you started dating someone?” I ask her.
“And I hear you and Io are an item,” she shoots back. I look away and feel ashamed of the accusation in her voice.
“Yeah, I guess. I don’t know.” We’re both quiet for several moments.
“Why are you here, Alex? What do you want? What are you expecting from me? We both know that it’s not going to work out between us. You have immortality, I don’t.”
“I know,” I cut her off. “But you’re my best friend and you’re Lexi’s best friend and we both miss you. I know I can’t have you in my life forever, but I still want you in my life for as long as I can get.”
I watch her as she takes in a staggered breath. “I can’t give you that.” She stands up abruptly and wraps her arms around herself. I stand up too and we stare each other down. “You guys live in an entirely different world that I am not a part of and will never be a part of. I don’t want to be a part of it. I want to live my life as normal as it can get. I don’t want to be tainted by your world. Can’t you understand that?”
I can understand that, but I don’t have to accept it. I feel my body sink in dejection. This is not how I expected this conversation to go. I don’t know what I expected but it wasn’t this.
“Are you just going to forsake your friends? Cut all ties with us and act like we don’t exist? What do you want, Kaitlyn?”
“I just want my memories of the good times. I’m sorry, I know that sounds cold. I just can’t deal with your world. I thought I could. I thought it was so magical and special. I felt so lucky to be a part of it. But, there are too many games to be played, too many ways to get hurt. I don’t want that. I’m sorry.”
Feeling as betrayed and dismal as they come, I quickly turn away from her and walk to the door. When I swing the door open to leave I almost run into a man about to knock.
He looks a lot like me with blond hair and blue eyes. He’s a little taller than me and he has a tan like he just spent the week in the tropics. He’s dressed in a pair of jeans and a tee-shirt with a dress jacket pulled over it. I would say his age to be about twenty-three, give or take a year.
He gives me a broad smile. “Hello, I’m look for Kaitlyn.” Before I can respond, Kaitlyn runs towards the door and I move out of the way as she jumps into this man’s arms.
“Zack!” she squeals before kissing him passionately. My heart drops down to my stomach.
Zack pulls Kaitlyn gently away and sets her back on her feet. “I leave you alone for a couple days and already you’re with someone else,” he tells her in a teasing tone. At least she has the good sense to look embarrassed, whether it’s at me seeing this display of affection or being caught with an ex-flame. Either choice doesn’t bother me.
“Oh, umm… Zack, this is Alex. He’s my ex-boyfriend and my ex-best friend’s brother.” I stare her down with as much abhorrence I can at the words she just spoke. I swear I thought I knew her. I never knew Kaitlyn to be so cold. Calling Lexi her ex-best friend? Lexi is going to bring the claws out on that.
I push passed them both and quickly get in my car and drive away. I need to find Lexi and tell her what Kaitlyn said. Maybe she can talk some sense into Kaitlyn. She’s acting like she’s possessed or something. How could she say such things? Kaitlyn has always been the sweetest, most understanding person.
I drive down the two blocks back to home and pull into the driveway. I should check on Io and get her, but instead I head across the street to Cole’s house. I don’t even think to knock before I’m barging in the front door. Cole never locks his doors.
Before I can call out to Lexi both her and Cole sit up from the couch looking disheveled. Lexi has a blanket wrapped around her and I realize I probably just walked in on something I should not know about.
“Alex! What the hell are you doing coming in here like that?” Lexi snaps at me. I divert my eyes so I don’t accidently see my sister in the nude.
“Sorry, I wasn’t thinking.” I can feel my face burn red in humiliation. Then, Lexi and Cole start laughing.
“What’s so funny?” I ask them with my face still turned away.
“Alex, we’re not indecent. You woke us up,” Lexi manages to say. She sensed my embarrassment of walking in on them. Why would they sleep on the couch? Oh, well, not my business.
“I went and saw Kaitlyn and wanted to talk to you about it,” I tell her as I turn back to them and see that they do in fact have their clothes on and the disheveled look was probably from sleep.
I watch Cole get up and head towards the kitchen. He’s wearing a pair of flannel pajama pants and a grey shirt. He’s wings seem to float behind him like a separate entity. Man, I’m glad I don’t have fairy wings. I turn back around and notice Lexi’s adoring look as she watches Cole. I can see now that she’s wearing a thermal shirt. I walk over and sit down on a chair across from her and wait while she continues to watch Cole.
“I have some frozen orange juice I can make. Do you guys want that or water? I’m pretty much out of anything else,” Cole calls out from the kitchen.
“I’ll take some,” Lexi tells him at the same time I say, “No, thank you.”
Finally Lexi turns to me. “How is Kaitlyn? I want to visit her sometime this weekend. Is she going to be home all day?”
I shake my head at her. “She’s not the same person. She doesn’t want anything to do with either one of us. She says she can’t get involved in our world and wants to live in her own without interference. And then her boyfriend showed up. Zack? Do you know anything about him?”
Lexi shakes her head and I notice her face is red in anger. “No, she hasn’t been talking to me. I thought it was because she was busy with classes and school stuff. I try calling her all the time. Sometimes she answers with an excuse to not be able to talk and sometimes she doesn’t answer. This isn’t like her, Alex.”
Cole comes in then and hands a glass of orange juice to Lexi before sitting down next to her. “What’s going on with Kaitlyn?”
“Basically, she doesn’t want anything to do with us,” Lexi tells him.
Cole’s brows furrow in concern. “That doesn’t sound like her. She loves you guys. Anyone could see that when we were in Italy. You’ve known each other all your lives. You’re going to go over there and talk some sense into her, right?” He looks to Lexi as he asks and her face softens at him.
“How well you know me?” She leans over and kisses him.
“I hope you will,” I tell her, interrupting their lip locking session. “Something seemed off about her.”
Lexi pulls back from Cole and fixes me with a determined look. I know that look. It means she isn’t going to give up until she wins. And Lexi is the super girl who can do anything. “I’ll go talk to her right now. You said her boyfriend is there?” I nod my head. “He won’t be for long.”
Lexi slams the door shut as she comes back into Cole’s house. She’s been gone for over an hour at Kaitlyn’s house. Me, Cole and Io have been channel surfing, waiting for Lexi to come back.
“He’s not human,” she says as she plops down next to Cole on the couch. He immediately takes her hand and plays with the ring he gave her.
“How do you know?” Cole asks her before I get the chance.
“Because he told me while he had me pinned up to a wall.”
“What!” Cole exclaims and jumps off the couch, dragging Lexi with him. They are now standing face to face and Cole has moved so that I can’t see her. I can tell he is holding her face in between both of his hands and Lexi is shaking but I can’t tell if it’s with anger or if she’s crying.
“It’s Zeus,” she spits out and now I know she was shaking in anger and not crying. “He’s got her under some spell. He was threatening me and… she didn’t even acknowledge our conversation. It was like we weren’t there. He’s going to use her against me, Cole.” Her voice sounds distraught by the end.
“Does this mean you told Cole what’s going on?” I ask her warily. I don’t know why she’s keeping Zeus’ threat from Cole. He needs to understand what happened when Lexi eventually disappears and Cole won’t ever be able to find her.
“No, she hasn’t told me yet. However, we already have a plan to divert whatever his intentions are,” Cole speaks up for Lexi, not taking his eyes off her. I hear him mumble to Lexi, “We’ll fix this, all of it. Do you trust me?” She nods and then sinks into him.
“What does Zeus intend to do with Kaitlyn?” Io speaks up.
Without pulling her head off Cole’s chest Lexi answers her, “Basically keep her as a play toy, keep her thinking she hates us, and if needs be, he is threatening to lock her away in the Underworld.”