Chapter Twenty

The branches were barren and black against the white grey sky. Clumps of snow, remnants of last night's snowstorm, fell from the branches and marred the glistening ground. Tristan tipped his head back, taking a deep breath of the icy air. It burned in his lungs and he closed his eyes, tugging on the collar of his charcoal wool coat.

"Hello?" Someone called out, his footsteps crunching through the snow behind him.

He turned and found the janitor standing a few feet away bundled up in a thick, hunter green down jacket with a chunky, beige knit hat. "Oh, it's you," the man said, scratching the salt-and-pepper stubble on his chin and tipping his head over at a tree. "Will you be taking your bike with you over the winter break then?"

Tristan glanced over at the red bike that was still propped up next to the tree, nearly indistinguishable underneath a mass of snow. It'd been left outside for all this time, for the two months since Adel had left.

The day she'd disappeared, he'd very nearly punched the lights out of Calhoun. At the very last minute, he'd shoved the boy away from him and walked away, mindlessly tossing his keys to Caine so that the other boy could park his car for him or do whatever the hell he wanted with it. It wasn't like he was going to need it to go anywhere with Adel now.

For the rest of that night, he'd isolated himself inside his room, He didn't particularly remember what he did, but he believed he'd glared a lot at his cell phone, certain that any moment now, Adel was going to call him or someone would come and tell him that Adel had returned to school and was now sheepishly avoiding him.

She hadn't called. And she hadn't come back.

Weeks passed and he'd attended all of his classes, ignoring the empty seat beside Sammy. They took their SATs, met with the guidance counselors, and prepared their applications for various colleges. There seemed to be paperwork after paperwork and he'd fallen into a robotic routine, burying himself in his schoolwork and his essays.

Still, he could barely stomach the sight of Calhoun, who appeared to be everywhere in the hallways and in gym, seemingly having the time of his life with that other kid, Justin.

But what made it really worse was how Tristan would always be tempted to saunter up to the guy and see if he could pull off something nonchalant, maybe "Hey, new Adel's fiancé, so how has she been these days, that girl of ours – I mean, yours?"

Except every time he went along with that route, he'd invariably end up imagining Calhoun's smirking response and he didn't think he'd be able to prevent himself from jumping the guy.

Funny how he always thought he was so much more civilized than Vincent.

Since then, left with this odd, gaping sensation as if he was constantly forgetting something, he'd taken to setting some time aside everyday to clumsily maneuver the bike around the same opening he'd had his last real date with Adel. He kept telling himself that it might help, that it might be the best way for him to put any remaining qualms about her aside. It could be like a form of catharsis for him. Or, if worse comes to worst, merely a bit of masochism.

So everyday, as he wobbled around on the bike through the crunch of curling, desiccated leaves, all he'd really done was successfully drill in the image of the way she cocked her head as she hesitantly told him about her mother, her laughing smile as she punched him in the shoulder, her lithe body leaning over him to find the bug in his hair, and her soft, almost shy expression as he leaned in close to her.

Definitely masochism.

The bike had withstood rain and wind and was probably going to rust pretty soon, but Tristan had still been able to take it out for his daily rides. Everyday until today. Snow covered the grounds in a thick white blanket and he found himself standing in the middle of the opening, at a loss for what to do.

Turning back to the janitor, Tristan asked, "Is there away for me to leave it at school? Would it be possible for you to keep it in storage for me?"

The man shook his head regretfully. "'Fraid not. Headmistress got a policy that no kids should leave their personal belongings here unless it's in their private rooms."

Tristan gave his bike a dubious look and then shrugged, striding over to it and briskly hauling it out of the snow. "I'll stash this in my room then. Thanks."

Without another word, he turned around and headed back inside the building with the bike tucked securely underneath his arm. It left a trail of icy water in his path, but Tristan ignored the dripping and took the granite stairs by two. Striding briskly along the path to his room, Tristan kept his eyes fixed before him and ignored the stares of any passing students.


Will bared his teeth at the computer screen, slamming his mouse up and down against the table forcefully. He was clad in a canary yellow T-shirt and a thick pair of sweatpants with crimson silk slippers, his hair in a messy mop of wavy curls.

"Stop it," Caine mumbled drowsily from his bed. The guy pulled his covers over his head and rolled over, trying to get back to sleep. "It's too early in the morning."

"Ask me what's wrong," Will demanded.

"I already know what's wrong. You're wrong," Caine groaned into his pillow.

Will ranted, ignoring his friend, "Adel still hasn't replied to my emails and messages. Vincent still hasn't responded to me either. Neither has Jack. No one loves me!" He stretched his arms back, arching against the seat with a moan and kicked the side of his desk. Pens and highlighters rolled off to the floor, but Will paid them no attention.

The whole desk was littered with Dove chocolates wrappers (he liked to save the little tin foil messages and make a collage out of them) and he grabbed one and slapped it against his forehead, trying to get it to stick. "See this? This says 'Chocolate Always Loves You Back'. I'm gonna be a fattie because no one loves me besides chocolate! And maybe, the stupid guidance counselor. That lady emails me way too much." His voice turned falsetto and his finger diced the air. "'Get in your applications! Did you get your SAT scores back yet? Did you ask for your recommendation letters yet? Come see me ASAP or else.'" The wrapper fell off his head. "I hate colleges. I hate this applications business. It's driving me insane!"

Caine muttered, "I don't care. I don't want to know."

"Insane!"

Caine flopped onto his stomach, hugging his pillow and turning his face to the wall. "Something can't drive you insane if you're already insane, man."

Will sat back in his seat with a creak and glared at the huddled bundle in Caine's bed. He picked up his Garfield mug and hurled it at the lump that was his roommate's butt.

"Ow!" Caine sat back abruptly. "What the –" He picked up the mug quickly, trying to futilely catch water with his hands, and snarled, "Dude! It's not empty, asshole!"

Will stood up on his chair and pointed at him. "Caine made a whoopsie! Ahahaha, I made you wet your bed!"

"Yeah, real mature," Caine kicked off his sheets, trying to mop up the mess.

"Go back to sleep. I can promise you'll have a major wet dream now," Will snickered.

Caine looked at him in disgust. "I hope you get left back when we all head off to college."

Will stopped laughing and made a face. Ducking his head low, he flicked the mouse and sulked. "It's just water," he mumbled. "You don't have to be mean about it."

"Shut up." Caine grabbed a bunch of tissues and pressed them against the sheets.

"It could have been my special cocoa with white, fluffy marshmallow bits. You'd have looked like you pooped yourself –"

"Do you not understand when to shut up?" Caine snapped.

"Can you help me proof my personal statement then?" Will pleaded. "You know, now that you're awake."

A groan tore from Caine's throat and he slipped out of his bed, bare feet slapping against the floor as he crossed the room. Dressed only in a white wife-beater and thin drawstring sweatpants, he shivered in the cool air and he muttered a curse. Stifling a yawn, he came by Will's side and dropped the mug on the table as he pounded his hand against the back of Will's shirt, wiping his hand dry.

Will doubled over, coughing in pain.

Caine squinted at the screen and then leaned back, giving Will a pointed look. "You have two lines."

"But tell me if my two lines are any good," Will insisted.

Caine rolled his eyes in exasperation. "Don't you write a lot anyway? You're always posting stories up online. What's so hard about this?"

"It's different! Essays are different from my romance stories. They're not interesting to me." Will propped his feet up on his seat and grimaced. "I can't think of what to write that would properly show off my magnetism and utter awesomeness."

His roommate's features twisted. "Uh, I don't know, but I'd advise you not to use the words 'magnetism' and 'utter awesomeness'." Caine turned away, running fingers through his hair as he headed for the bathroom.

Will clapped his hands to his face and rubbed his cheeks. "Argh, I do not like this. And whatever I do not like must not be very cool. I shall not conform to these outdated rituals –"

"Do you want to go to college or not?" Caine's muffled voice filtered out from behind the closed door.

"I hate you!" Will barked, flicking his fingers at his screen as if exorcising a demon. "Why can't we all make like Harry Potter and get a Sorting Hat? That'd be so much easier than this stupid crap."

Amused, Caine opened the door and leaned against the frame, mumbling around his toothbrush. "Uh huh. Right."

"Seriously. I'm a genius. A Sorting Hat would totally know all of our personalities and it'd give us the positions we really deserve. I mean, who cares if you spend all your time padding your resume with Read to A Granny activities if your heart isn't really into it and you're only doing it to make yourself look more organically delicious to colleges? The Sorting Hat would know the truth! And bam!" Will slapped the table and opened his arms reverently. "Evil Slytherin, there you go."

Caine headed back inside the bathroom to gargle and spit. He called out, "Stop procrastinating and start typing."

Will glared at Caine, who was busy slathering shaving cream over his jaw. "Silly slut, when the Sorting Hat comes out, you'd be the first to go."

"Yeah?" Caine drawled, carefully working the razor over his chin. "Go where?"

"The South Pole to better protect humanity and Santa's elves from your STDs. Then you'd be sorry for ever mocking me."

"You're starting to sound like those case examples for kids who bring guns to school. Only more demented."

"Says the boy who wet his bed!"

Caine kicked the door to the bathroom shut and then he called out, "I'm going to scrub the toilet bowl with your toothbrush."

"That's not funny," Will declared, holding his mug to his chest and patting it. Garfield's huge, orange face stretched across the cup and Will rubbed a finger against the cat's cheek. "Really. It isn't."

Caine didn't answer and Will fidgeted in his seat, eyes flickering over to the door uneasily as he thumbed through his Dove wrappers. "You better not really be desecrating my toothbrush! You'd bring shame to the Sorting Hat! It'd swallow you whole because of your unholy thoughts -"

The toilet flushed and Will squeaked, nearly tumbling out of his chair.


Throwing open the door to his room, Tristan kicked it shut before carefully balancing the bike against the wall by his wardrobe. Tugging off his jacket, he tossed it over the seat of a chair next to the closet. He rubbed the heels of his palms against his eyes as he shuffled over to the bed, kicked off his shoes, and dropped down on top of his covers.

This year, they got nearly two and an half weeks off for winter break. Later on in the week, he'd be driving Sammy, Carrie, and Will back to his neighborhood while Caine headed back to his home to drop off his stuff first. Sammy will be staying at Vincent's place this year, in spite of Mrs. Grenford's reluctance, and Vincent's planning to drive his girlfriend back and forth from the hospital to visit her brother over the holidays. Jack will probably be at Vincent's place too so that he could see Carrie easier.

Everybody will probably meet up at Vincent's place in the end. The whole gang reunited once again.

A leaden feeling weighed down the pit of his stomach and Tristan rolled over, staring up at the ceiling.

He should have been relieved that vacation was nearing because he'd never felt so dead tired before in his life, but he couldn't muster up any holiday cheer. Vacation time also meant plenty of time to relax and to think and these days, his free time unwaveringly went into cursing out/worrying about/thinking of Adel. He feared that he might actually drive himself absolutely nuts over the break.

His head lolled to one side and his eyes fell upon the Big Bird keychain she had given him. It sat on his desk, slumped over slightly to the right. Its beak was wide open in a goofy grin and its misspelled T-shirt "Seseam Stret" brought a rueful smile to Tristan's lips.

He rolled off his bed and crossed the room, slipping into his chair. Folding his arms on his desk, he dropped his chin upon them and prodded the doll with his index finger. "You suck," he declared.

Big Bird toppled over.

Tristan sat up and picked up the doll, sitting it back up against the wall. He jabbed a finger at it. "You leave without a word. You don't answer your phone. You don't answer emails. That's just bad manners."

Big Bird's arms stuck out in the air and Tristan frowned, reaching out to bring its hands together in a clap. As soon as he let go, the arms sprung free again. "Don't try to act cute. Who wants to hug you little crazy thing? You can't even spell right."

He picked up Big Bird in one hand and squeezed it, narrowing his eyes at it. "We'd just started to get along with each other and then you just upped and left." He waved the thing, voice persistent. "I almost kissed you. Doesn't that mean anything?"

Its beady eyes gleamed in the lamplight and Tristan wrinkled his nose in disgust, dropping the doll onto the desk and letting his forehead rest heavily against the surface. "I'm going crazy. You happy now? I don't even have to wait for vacation to drive myself batty."

Then, unable to resist, he fished out his cell phone, speed-dialing Adel's number once again. Throughout the past two months, he would randomly call her whenever he felt particularly pissed off or when he just couldn't help himself. She'd personalized her greeting and as much as he hated to admit it, he was starting to develop a creepy obsession with hearing her voice just once more.

His calls always went straight to voicemail and he usually just hung up at the beep, but twenty-five percent of the time when he felt particularly like a loser, he'd leave a message ranging from sarcasm ("Thanks a lot for not finishing my riding lessons. Now if I ever find myself in mortal peril and the only escape vehicle is a bike, I hope you realize my demise would be on your shoulders.") to inanity ("I wonder if Beijing has your favorite cinnamon raisin bagels with cream cheese? I wonder if you're going through withdrawal?") to reasoning ("Please let me know what's going on. I find it completely ridiculous that you can't even talk to me. I promise I'd understand. Promise.") to anger ("You sure talk a lot about how you're such a loner and no one understands you. That's probably because you never give anyone a chance. How could you be so bitter about your mother's abandonment when guess what? You're exactly the same. Guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, does it now? You're being childish. You're being stupid and you're being a bitch. Good riddance. I'm glad I don't have to put up with you anymore.")

Okay, the last message had been a bit out of line and about seven minutes later, he'd called back to leave an apology and a request for her to call him back.

As Caine might put it, he was so whipped.

This time, however, it wasn't her voice that answered. His heart leapt in his throat just as he reached that it was merely a different message that picked up. A pleasant, female voice recited, "The number you have dialed has been disconnected and is no longer in service. Please …"

He pulled the phone away from his ear and stared at it in disbelief. Then he redialed Adel's number, punching in each digit for good measure. The same announcement greeted him and he dropped the cell phone completely, letting it clatter against the desktop. For a moment, he sat in silence, the nerve along his jaw ticking. He didn't know what he was looking at, but the orange lamplight from the desk made spots dance before his eyes.

Slowly, he began shaking his head and his teeth gritted, gnashing. A wry smile twisted his lips and a bitter chuckle wrenched from his throat.

Then he shoved away from the table, standing up to hurl the doll at the wall over his bed. It crashed against the wall with a soft, unsatisfying thud and then it toppled down right through the crack between the mattress and the wall.

Tristan ran his hands through his hair and entwined his fingers behind his neck, pacing back and forth through his room.

This was it. She'd really done it. She'd cut off all contact. She's made it quite obvious that there was no need for any future communication and here he was, still acting like a lovesick idiot, pining after her.

Fine. Who cares? He didn't even like her that much. She was crazy and all she did was bicker with him, make her stupid comebacks, and collect bruises. All he'd wanted these past few months was to know if she was alright, which was probably what any kind Samaritan would do, let alone a friend. Weren't they friends? He'd thought they were friends at the very least so why the hell could she so easily write him off like –

Ah, hell. He was mind babbling. She'd reduced him to mind babbling and if he could just get his hands on her, he'd wrangle her neck like a chicken –

He glared at the wall and seethed, "Big Bird." The stupid keychain had fallen underneath his bed and he should leave it there and let it gather dust until the next occupant of this room finds it. Maybe it'd get tossed into the trash where it belongs. Good.

But the next thing he knew, he'd crossed the room over to his bed and sprawled himself across his stomach, peering into the shadowy crevice. His cheek pressed flush against the wall, he craned his neck, squinting into the crack. The doll's black eyes glinted at him. With a muttered curse, he squeezed close against the wall and tried to stick his arm through the space. Halfway to his elbow, he got stuck and he growled in aggravation as he sat back up.

Swinging off the bed, he went down on his knees and pressed his ear against the floor as he peeked underneath it. The doll was just out of reach, draped against the wall. It was tilted at an angle, one arm sticking up as if waving at him, beckoning him forward. "God …" Heaving a heavy sigh, he ducked low underneath the bed and crawled forward on his forearms.

Grimacing at the gritty dust, he held his breath as he crept further in. His lower half of the body still protruded out from underneath the bed and his feet, clad in white socks, pushed against the floor to propel him further in. His hand had just closed around the keychain triumphantly when he heard the door open.

There was a loud gasp and then Will's shriek: "Don't die!"

All of a sudden, fingers latched around his ankles and Tristan found himself being dragged out. He let out a gasp as the sudden force made his arms give out and the friction against the floor scraped his forearms. He tried to kick free, his grip tightening around the doll, but Will was persistent.

He growled, "Get off me!" Will only grunted in response as his hands became vises around Tristan's ankles and the boy literally hauled back him out from underneath the bed. Tristan wrestled his legs free from the other boy and rolled around onto his back, propping himself up on his elbows.

Eyes wild, he blinked blearily against the light. Coughing from the dust, he panted hard as he spat out, "What the hell did you do that for?"

Will eyed him suspiciously. "Were you trying to kill yourself?"

Tristan gave him an incredulous look. "Yes. Exactly. I thought I'd go provoke some dust motes and see if they'd knife me in the back."

Will broke out into a wide grin. "Oh! And another one 'bites the dust'!" He chortled, snorting. "Haha, get it? Get it?"

"You're hilarious. Now get out." Tristan brushed the dust off his blue knit sweater.

"But I want to be your new roomie!" Will clasped his hands together in forgiveness. "It was a simple mistake. Isn't burying a dead body underneath a bed common?"

"Common where?" Tristan retorted, eyes narrowed in disbelief. "And your reasoning is that I was hiding my own dead body underneath my bed?"

"Well …" Will studied him carefully and his eyes fell on the doll that Tristan was still clutching. He brandished a finger at it. "Oh my god, you were trying to bury Big Bird!"

Tristan stared at him. Then he threw the keychain at his bed and snarled, "I'm not trying to –" The doll skittered along his covers and hit the wall with a thump before cartwheeling right through the crack again.

Tristan and Will both watched it disappear and for a moment, there was only silence. Then Tristan let a string of curses erupt out of him as he threw himself flat on the ground again and scrambled back underneath the bed. "Someone up there must really hate me a lot," his muffled voice seeped out.

Will stood there, hands akimbo, and watched Tristan's hips wiggle as the other boy searched for the doll. "You know, now that you're not lying all prone and corpse-like, this is actually quite an appetizing position."

Tristan's exposed lower body stilled and then he growled, "You better not be staring at my ass. I may not be Vincent, but I can hurt you just the same."

Will craned his neck, holding his fingers out as if framing a picture of Tristan's body. "Of course I'm not. How could you think so low of me?"

"How did you get into my room anyway?" Tristan paused and a racking cough filtered out from beneath the bed. "Did you steal my key?"

"I told the office that I wanted to be your roommate instead because Caine violated my toothbrush so they gave me a copy. Now I have keys to both yours and Caine's room! Yay!"

"Go return it."

"I will not," Will said indignantly. "You need me to keep an eye on you." He cast an appraising look over Tristan's posterior. "Both eyes."

"Would you just stop staring at me?" Tristan started backing out from underneath the bed.

"Oh wow, how did you know? Was it the force of my heated gaze?" Will dipped his head, waggling his eyebrows suggestively.

Tristan sat up and swiped a hand through his hair, trying to shake out the dust. "Get out of my room, Will."

"I can't. I'm on suicidal watch." Will cocked his head, squinting at Tristan intently. "Don't commit suicide, please."

"I'm not going to –"

"I'm sure Adel's going to come back soon. You need not despair of a broken heart much longer, I am sure!" Will's passionate words were met with silence as Tristan stilled. The blonde boy sat there on the floor, gazing at the doll he held clasped loosely in his hand.

"Will, I really don't care anymore," Tristan said, weary.

"Liar. Why else would you try to rescue Big Bird?"

"Because I'm a neat freak and I don't like having things underneath my bed where they don't belong," Tristan snapped, getting up to his feet.

"How did it get underneath your bed in the first place?"

Tristan rolled his eyes, placing the keychain back on his desk. His shoulders rolled in a nonchalant shrug. "I accidentally dropped it and kicked it underneath my bed."

"Oh, really?"

"Yes, really. This stupid thing gets in the way all the time."

"Then can I have it?"

Tristan's back stiffened and he faced Will, resigned. "Could you please go now? I still need to finish up some homework, Will."

"But can I have it?" the boy persisted.

Tristan sighed. "What do you want me to say, Will?"

Will crossed his arms, shuffling around the room in a circle. His feet were still in his red slippers and Tristan eyed them with halfhearted amusement. "You obviously don't want to give it to me. Do you know why?"

"I'm not in the mood to play psychoanalysis games with you." Tristan turned away, whacking at his jeans and peeling off clumps of dust.

"You don't have to. I'll tell you why." Will shrugged breezily. "You still miss Adel."

"I don't miss her," Tristan stated, drained. "How can I miss someone I barely know?"

"You know her enough to like her," Will answered matter-of-factly.

"You know what?" Tristan grabbed the doll off his desk and slammed it against Will's chest, lips tightened. "Here you go. Enjoy."

Will didn't make a move to take it and the keychain fell to the ground between the two boys. A strange, sad smile played on Will's lips. "You liked her. You still like her."

Tristan's throat worked and then he scoffed, turning away from the boy. "I'm not going to waste my time trying to convince you."

"Good. Then don't waste your time trying to convince yourself otherwise either," Will retorted.

"Would you just stop already? You're not funny anymore."

"Sammy's worried about Adel. She's worried about you too," Will continued as if he didn't hear him.

Funnily enough, hearing that did nothing for Tristan. He didn't feel particularly guilty nor did he especially care for that matter. That scared him because he'd always tried to go out of his way not to hurt Sammy.

Will stared at him evenly. "We all know why you still cling onto this doll and why you still go out, trying to ride that bike. We know why you disappear during the weekends and head to the park to sit on a bench with your books, watching people fly kites and skate."

Tristan flinched. He hadn't gone out of his way to keep everything a secret, but he didn't really think about his friends finding out about his activities either. "Are you stalking me?"

Will gave him a look. "Hello? It's me. That's a given."

"What's wrong with going to a park?" Tristan asked defensively, lamely.

"Nothing's wrong. Except you're trying to recapture a feeling that's no longer there. You're trying to find Adel in places she's no longer at." Will stared at him with almost pity and Tristan bristled. "Adel bothered you because for the first time in your life, a girl got so deep underneath your skin, you couldn't keep up a front all the freaking time. She completely blindsided you. And you liked it. You let yourself go."

Tension thrummed through Tristan's body; he was suddenly really uncomfortable with the direction the conversation was going. He'd never really gotten into a true fight with any of his friends asides from Vincent, but Will was rapidly pushing all the wrong buttons for Tristan and he didn't know how to go about throwing the boy out of room before things got way out of hand.

Fortunately, Will ruined the moment himself by roaring a victorious laugh. "Just don't deny! You ain't got no alibi!" He plucked up the doll by its limbs with his index fingers and made it do a jig in the air. "Dance, bird! Dance!"

Tristan sighed, glancing out of the window. Snow was drifting down again and the sky was an icy grey. Come nightfall, the storm will spread another new, pristine layer over last night's snow. So what if he liked Adel?He'd liked girls before and things hadn't always worked out. Sammy, case in point. My heart's resilient. His thought was only half-joking and something about that settled on him with an uneasy weight. Choosing the easy route, he shoved all emotions down and he cracked a wry smile at Will. "You have ADD, don't you?"

Will scowled at him. "You only wish you had ADD."

Tristan had to grin and he leaned against the window, tugging the curtains apart wider to get a better look at the falling snow. Pressing his forehead against the glass pane, he watched his breath fog up the glass. "Am I glad vacation's coming up."

Will placed the doll back on the desk, patting its head fondly. "Was that a question or a statement?"

Tristan didn't have an answer.


Author's Note

Please don't hurt me for the angst. We must know Adel can't come back in one chapter and this chapter was necessary to me. In the upcoming chapters, the action will pick right back up. No worries!

Brief preview of a scene I have that may be coming up soon (not necessarily in the next chapter though):

"Relax." He leaned against the table across the room, playing with a round, crystal paperweight that had green and yellow swirls within its core. He brought it up to his eyes, peering inside it.

Adel's back stiffened and she whipped her head away to face the door, glaring at the wooden carvings. "I would rather not have them find us together here."

"Why? Are you afraid of being alone with me?" His breath tickled the back of her neck and she jumped.


As for FAQs:

Who the heck is Calhoun?

Haha, I am so sorry. I should have realized that I need to start throwing in recaps. Anyway, Calhoun, also called Cal, is a character originally introduced in Chapter Fourteen. He's a friend of Justin. That's all we know about him so far.

When Adel and Caine were talking about her necklace, he was explaining that Sammy's necklace that Tristan gave her had a different design. Can you elaborate or clarify this for me? Because I always thought that Adel's necklace IS basically Sammy's necklace. So why did Caine say that it looked different?

Ah, sorry about the confusion. Adel's necklace was originally meant for Sammy, but she had accidentally "picked it up". Therefore, in the end, Tristan had to go and buy another necklace (the one described by Caine) for Sammy's souvenir. The idea is that they are two different necklaces, though both have ruby gems, and although both were originally supposed to be Sammy's, the one Sammy has right now is the replacement one Tristan had to get after Adel walked off with the original.

When Adel found about the meaning of the necklace, she seemed to be really upset and guilty about taking the prized necklace from Tristan. So will that mean in later chapters that she will be return the necklace back to him or will she keep the necklace as her memory of him?

This is a question that will be addressed in future chapters. :)

Do you know around how many chapters this story will have?

I'm aiming for thirty, like False Facades. Not set in stone, though. I'll have to see.

So, that's basically it. Thanks for all your reviews and support! I think the fun parts to write should be rolling along pretty soon. It's winter break time and you know what this means. The annual Grenford Christmas Ball. Please stay tuned.

- Maeven


© Copyright 08/25/2008 Maeven (FictionPress ID:349779). All rights reserved. Distribution of any kind is prohibited without the written consent of Maeven.