So maybe tomorrow
I'll find my way home
So maybe tomorrow
I'll find my way home...
ρlaces ŧo мake
Nick's heavy breathing woke me from my momentary shocked stupor. His hand grabbed at my waist and he pulled himself up, to hover over me. He looked horrible. Red-faced and sweaty, with smudges of dirt and grime all over his skin. There was a thin line of blood tricking down from his matted hair and the corner of his lip was split and coated with dark scarlet. Yet, he placed his trembling hands on either of my cheeks and stared down at my face.
"Alice?" he breathed. "Alice, are you alright?"
I didn't have the words. How could you speak after experiencing something so hectic and frightening and life-threatening? My entire body was heavy and throbbing and my throat was sore and my heart was pounding in my ears. I blinked up at Nicholas, parted my lips to try to find the breath for speaking. But, what could I say? I wasn't alright, and at this moment, right now, lying on my bedroom floor, staring up at Nick's worried face, I doubted I would ever be fine again.
But I had to answer him. So I lifted my head, forcing back the nausea that rushed through me, and pressed my lips feather-light to his. I dropped back to the floor and winced when pain flashed through my mind, white and fast.
Nick laughed and his breath heated my face. "Lord," he said, and started shaking his head. "Lord," he repeated softly. He pressed his forehead to mine and stared hazily into my eyes, unblinking. In any other circumstance, I would feel unnerved, but right now… It was perfect.
"We need to move," whispered Nicholas after countless moments. I couldn't nod so I just blinked and smiled.
"We should," I said hoarsely. He didn't move. I didn't move. I cracked a true grin and said, "I can't really do anything until you get off me, you know?"
As soon as I spoke, Nicholas pressed his mouth to mine, and left it there for a long, silent moment, unmoving. When he finally shifted away, he was smiling and his eyes were free of the haze of before. "I know," he said. He grunted as he stood, holding his hip and favouring a single leg. He held a hand down to me and I grabbed it thankfully, clenching my eyes tightly shut as Nicholas helped hoist me to my feet. Razor-sharp pain lanced through my leg and I cried out in alarm, toppling sideways into Nick. "Easy," he said, carefully wrapping an arm around my waist.
"Easy for you to say," I hissed. "You're not the one with the broken ankle."
"No," countered Nicholas. "Just the broken ribs." We made eye contact, and then laughed, both mad with pain and the aftermath of the day. What would happen now? Was the wall broken? Could Alfred still get through, somehow, or was that right reserved to Nicholas and me? Could we still go back? Did we even want to go back? It was all so confusing, and all the thoughts made my head ache and my eyes smart painfully.
We moved slowly down the stairs, step after step, and my mother appeared just as we reached the bottom. "Alice, I was wondering if—" She caught sight of us and broke off mid- word. She paled and her jaw dropped and I just knew this would take a lot of explaining.
We pulled up in the drive way, the gravel crunching beneath the wheels. Dad's eyes kept flicking to me in the rear-view mirror, filled with worry. The doctors said I'd be fine, that Nicholas and I both would be fine, but that didn't stop my parents from worrying. We told them about Nick's uncle—the unhinged and angry Alfred, who had tried to lock Nick up and we'd only just escaped. Unfortunately, we told them, Alfred had fled. We didn't know where, or how, but he was gone.
I know they didn't fully believe us; their sideways looks and furrowed brows gave away their inner thoughts. They hadn't confronted us. Yet.
I'd begged them to let Nick stay, just for a while, until he could find some place else to call 'home'. They'd agreed, though grudgingly, not liking the thought of their teenage daughter living under the same roof as a hot-blooded teenage boy.
"Here," Nick murmured, opening the door for me. "Let me help."
I shot him a grin and swung my leg out of the car, sitting my cast carefully on the ground, getting unsteadily to my feet. My ankle was broken and would need to be in a cast and rested for six weeks. I already hated the awkward, restricting feel of the plaster, and the heaviness that made me feel unbalanced and unsteady. "Thanks," I said, and casually snaked an arm around his lean waist. My dad's eyes lingered on us but he didn't say anything, just turned and made his way up to the house.
Lockwood Manor seemed too big and cold as we walked slowly up the path. The windows gleamed like the eyes of watching beasts, and I couldn't help thinking of Alfred. We had been at the hospital all night and now it was the bright, sunny morning of tomorrow. Tomorrow, the next day, yet it still felt like we'd only just escaped from the nineteenth century. Nick's hand tightened on mine, as if he, too, thought the same thoughts and felt the same feeling of pressing apprehension.
I knew something was off the moment we stepped inside. There were boxes; some taped up and others open and half-full of our possessions. I frowned and gave my parents a suspicious, weary glance. "What's going on?" I asked.
Mum looked at me curiously. "What do you mean?"
I motioned to the boxes. "What's all this?"
My parents exchanged a look, and my father watched me carefully. "You don't remember?"
I was starting to feel sick. I tightening my grip on Nick's hand and shook my head. "Remember what?"
Another shared look, another worried frown. "Alice," my mother said slowly. "We're moving, remember?"
I went cold. "What? I thought we hadn't decided on anything yet!"
"What do you mean? We decided to move back to Sherington, your father got his old job back, and we managed to rent back our previous house." I stared at her, speechless. She frowned and glanced quickly at her husband. "Al, we had a family meeting over a month ago. We agreed, as a family, that moving back would be the best thing."
"What? I don't understand! I don't remember any 'family meeting'!" I stared wildly between my parents and then threw a searching look at Nicholas. He was almost as confused and shocked as me. "Why? Why do we have to move? I thought we were doing OK; dad got that promotion and we were still renting out the other rooms—"
"Alice," my father interrupted softly. At his tender eyes and downward-tilting lips, I became silent. "Even with my better job and better pay, it's not enough to cover the cost of rent for the Manor. And no one has answered the add we posted to rent the rooms, and we posted it months ago—"
"But what about Mr Andrews?" I interrupted in frustration.
They stared at me. "Mr Andrews?" my father repeated and gave my mother a confused look. "Who's he?"
I was gaping now, too shocked to care. "Mr Andrews? The gigantic ass that I hate and mum practically adores? The idiot you guys keep siding with and grounding me when it's him who is trying to steal all our things?!" They just stared at me, wide-eyed, as if they really didn't know who I was talking about. I looked at Nick but he couldn't help me. I turned back to my parents and said, "You really don't know who I'm talking about?"
"No, Alice, we don't," my mother said softly. She reached out for me but I backed away. She looked hurt and frowned sadly. "Maybe you need to lie down. The doctors did say the painkillers would make you a little out of it."
"Yeah," I said hollowly. "Maybe I should…"
I tugged Nick along behind me as I approached the stairs. My dad called after us, "Separate rooms, please!"
"Yes, dad," I answered vacantly. I didn't speak until we got to the second floor. Dropping Nick's hand, I limped slowly to the door just down the hall, and pushed it open. It was empty inside. All the things that used to be there—the bed and the desk and all Mr Andrews's clothes and books—they were gone. There was a thin layer of dust over everything, as if no one had even been in this room since we moved in. I backed out slowly, bumping into Nick who had come in behind me. He looked almost as disturbed as I felt.
"I do not understand," said Nicholas distantly.
"That makes two of us," I murmured. "Come on." We went up the stairs to my room, with Nick acting as my crutch. Once in my room and on my bed, I stared at the wall. "What happened?" I asked.
Nick sank down on the mattress beside me. His hand went to my back and he stared rubbing circles over my shirt. "I do not know…"
"Where'd he go? Why don't my parents know him? Why is it like he didn't even exist?"
I straightened and turned slowly to Nicholas, who shifted awkwardly under my eyes. "What?" he asked suspiciously.
"Oh my God," I breathed, putting a hand to my mouth. "Oh my God."
"What? What is it?"
I laughed suddenly and screwed my eyes shut. I kept laughing, great heaving laughs that hurt my chest and burnt my eyes. I bent over to hug my knees and was almost crying because the relief was just so great and freeing. Nicholas was fretting beside me, asking what was wrong and what had happening and what was going on. I straightened up and threw my arms around his neck. I squeezed so hard I couldn't breathe and still I laughed.
"Alice?" Nicholas asked into my neck. He held my back tightly. "Alice, why are you laughing? It is…scaring me."
That just made me give a great hiccup of laughter until finally I could laugh no more, because my stomach was in stitches and my eyes were wet with tears. "Don't you see?" I said croakily, grinning like an insane idiot, staring intently into his eyes. "Don't you see?"
"See what?" he repeated carefully, frowning at me in concern.
"It's over!" I announced loudly, throwing my hands back. "It's over!"
"I, I don't understand…"
"Mr Andrews was your grandson. You and Sophie Donohue must have gotten married and had children, and one of those children had Mr Andrews. Sophie Donohue told me about one of her relatives, who did something to do with electricity, and Mr Andrews told me the same thing! And it all makes sense, Nick! It does! That was why Mr Andrews looked so familiar! He looked like you! And because you're here instead of there right now, you can't possible marry Sophie Donohue! And because you can't marry her, you guys can't have children, and those children can't have Mr Andrews, therefore Mr Andrews doesn't exist!"
Nicholas had slowly edged away from me and was staring at me with wide, worried blue eyes. "Alice…"
"No, just listen, Nick," I rushed. "Because you came back with me, we changed time! You no longer marry Sophie Donohue, like you would have done if you had stayed back in the nineteenth century. And because of that, all the children you would have had, and all the children they would have had, no longer exist! That's why Mr Andrews isn't here and why it's like he's never been! It's because he hasn't! We changed time, like a, like a, like the Butterfly Effect!" It all made sense in my mind; a mind broadened by television and film and music. I had already been introduced to such theories and things as changing the fabric of time and history. I had stolen Nicholas from the nineteenth century and because of that, all the things he would have done, all the things he would have achieved, were stolen as well.
Mr Andrews didn't exist in this changed twenty-first century.
I wondered, excitedly, what else had changed. How large an impact did Nicholas have on the nineteenth century? And what would have changed because of his absence?
Nicholas was silent beside me. Pale-faced and with pursed lips, his eyes stared straight ahead. I knew he was thinking through all I had said, my theory: the truth. And slowly, slowly, he turned to look at me. And his smile was so bright and big and happy that I wanted to cry again.
"Do you know what this means?" he said fiercely. "Do you know what this means?"
"What? What does it mean?"
"It means, it means I'm free." Happiness was raw on his face and wet in his eyes. "I am free," he repeated, and I could only hug him, because I had never felt such primitive joy, such a joy that was fire across his eyes and his lips as he kissed my temple. He pressed our heads together and he whispered, once more, to himself, "I'm free…"
Sunlight was pink through the leaves, like it was blushing as the horizon kissed it slowly. Birdsong trilled on the sweet, honeysuckle breeze, buzzing along with the insects and the purring motors of automobiles on the road. The steps were hard beneath his thighs, though the stone was still warm from the day's heat. He stared out into the dusk-tipped world, hands clasped across his knees, not smiling, not frowning, just…content.
Belief was still evading him. He still expected to return to the nineteenth century and have to suffer through the imprisonment of his life there and the harsh toils of society. But now, with freedom his shield and tomorrow being unhindered and within grasp, he did not know what to do, how to act. How does one cope beneath the blanket of emancipation? What could Nicholas do now that he was centuries away from his birth-time yet still weeks away from being lawfully and rightfully of-age?
Becoming eighteen was no longer necessary for him to become free of Uncle Alfred and the clasps of society. He could now amble along towards his birthday, clear of mind and soul, not pressured to become old and mature. And yet… He was a hindrance to Alice's family. He knew that, even if Alice refused. Her mother was nearing the birth of her child and their family was suffering the added burden of another mouth to feed. Nicholas did not have any money to offer them, his inheritance a lost cause of yesterday and the nineteenth century.
Not for the first time, he wondered what Alfred had done with the money. Did he leave the town as he had promised and make a big name for himself in the city, living off his nephew's fortune and the wealth of his dead brother? It left an acid bitterness in Nicholas's throat to think that Alfred lived a life of luxury without any thought to his deceased family. He hoped, from the pit of his aching stomach, that Alfred had been arrested or lost all the money gambling.
"What's the scary smirk all about?" Alice asked, dropping down beside him.
Nicholas glanced at her and grinned wider. "Just thinking about Alfred getting arrested or gambling away all his money and having to become a dishwasher or a shoe-scrubber just to get by…"
"Ah," she smirked. "Now wouldn't that be triumphant irony?"
"Yes, it would," murmured Nicholas, already falling back into contemplating just what his Uncle Alfred had done with the money.
"Nick." Alice patted his hand and gave him a smile that glowed even in the dim evening light. "Don't worry. It's in the past."
"But it's not, not when your parents are suffering because I'm here—"
"It's not because you're here," she cut in sharply, frowning. "It's because… Well, it's just because, I guess. It's life."
"Life," repeated Nicholas, twisting the word around in his mouth. "If I wasn't so happy just to be here, alive, right now, I'd be cursing 'life' so much…"
Alice sighed a sigh that bespoke the turmoil she felt. Nicholas knew she was suffering through this as much as him. Her belongings were being packed up into boxes, her life taped and organised, ready to be moved back to her old town. The thought of her leaving made his chest throb and his stomach squirm unpleasantly. She couldn't leave, shouldn't, wouldn't.
But, how could he make her stay? Her parents did not have enough money to support themselves and the coming baby, and Nicholas going with them was just not possible. Alice would leave, and Nicholas would stay. He would stay and—do what, he wondered bitterly. Without Alice, his anchor to the twenty-first century, what could he possibly do?
It made him sigh sadly, the thought of an unknown future, free yet…
Her hand slid into his, holding it tightly, and Alice leant forward and kissed his jaw. "It'll be alright," she whispered. "It'll be alright…"
"Will it?" Nicholas could not help asking.
She sighed, and said softly, "It has to be…"
They were out in the yard, on their backs and staring at the sky, making shapes out of the lazy white clouds. "There's an elephant," Alice said, nudging his side and pointing.
Nick frowned and tilted his head. "No, no, it is an upside-down man holding a turtle."
She went up on her elbows and stared down at him. "Nick," she said. "I'm pretty sure you're insane."
"And I'm pretty sure you are seeing things," he defended himself. "I am serious. Come here." Without thinking, he grabbed hold of her shoulders and tugged her down beside him, their arms pressed up together and their heads touching. "There," he said, grabbing her hand and holding it up in the air. He directed her fingers to the clouds and traced the shape. "There is his back, and head, and there are his arms, holding the turtle…"
"Oh, oh I see," she said softly. "But, doesn't it look more like a pig? It's not much of a turtle. Where did you get the turtle from anyway? Wasn't it sort of…random?"
"What?" asked Nicholas, raising his eyebrows. "And the elephant was not?"
"Elephants are more common than turtles," Alice said determinedly.
"Are not," Nicholas said, smiling.
"Are so," stated Alice. "It's a known fact. There are more elephants than turtles."
"So who counted them all?"
"Scientists," she said without blinking.
"So the scientists went and searched all the oceans and seas and counted all the turtles and then went and counted all the elephants?"
"No, of course not," she said, giving him a stern look. "Don't be stupid. They just, you know, approximated how many there were and bam! Known fact: more elephants."
Nicholas shook his head, unable to stop grinning. "You know what?" he said softly.
"What?" replied Alice smugly.
"You are…a great big liar." And he rolled over and started tickling her sides.
"Nick!" she gasped, swatting his hands away. "Nick! Go away!" She giggled and squirmed and the sunlight caught in her hair and blazed red and orange and ruby. And Nicholas could not help leaning down and kissing her lips, just because he could, and Alice soon stopped struggling. Her hands slid around his waist and lingered briefly around his shirt, before carefully sliding beneath it. Her skin on his, fingers sliding over his spine and ribs, was such a shock he gasped and shot up.
"Alice," he said, wide-eyed.
She gave him an innocent look, blue eyes sparkling mischievously. "What?" she asked casually. "Something wrong?"
"I, you, what you," he stuttered badly, flushing hotly. He was saved by little Harry, who came yelling into the backyard.
"Alice! Alice! Alice!" he shouted loudly, running towards them. "Alice! Alice!"
"What?" she demanded, sitting up and throwing him a filthy look. "Shut up and tell me what's wrong!"
"Alice!" Harry gasped, stopping and staring down at them in alarm. "Alice, look at Frank!"
And he thrust out his hand and between his little fingers dangled a goldfish.
Nicholas reeled back in shock but Alice just cursed and shot up to her feet. "You little cretin!" she said, crossing her arms. "What did you do to him?!"
"Nothing!" promised Harry. "But I got home from school and look!" He held the fish up and the sunlight caught on the gold scales, sparkling like a hundred tiny coins. "He was floating at the top and didn't even move when I poked him!"
"Of course he wouldn't move," Alice said, rolling her eyes. "He's dead."
Out popped Harry's lower lip and his eyes became glassy. "D-dead?" he repeated.
Guilt immediately replaced the annoyance on Alice's face and she glanced once at Nicholas before stepping forward and swinging an arm around Harry's shoulders. "Sorry, little man," she said softly. "It must have been his time to go. We've had him a while, haven't we?"
"Yeah," Harry nodded sadly. "We got him ages ago. He lived longer than all the other pets we've had."
"Yeah, he did." Alice patted him consolingly. "He was a brave little bugger, wasn't he? Tough, too, considering he had to put up with you," she said jokingly.
Harry nodded and stared down at the goldfish in his palm. He looked up at his sister and said in a small, vulnerable voice, "Can we bury him?"
"Of course, Harry," agreed Alice. "How about over by the big tree?"
"Yeah!" Harry shouted and raced over to the appointed burial spot.
Alice looked down at him, her cheeks flushed a lovely red. "You, ah, you want to come to a funeral with me?"
Nicholas grinned and climbed to his feet. He offered her his arm, conscious of the cast still encasing her foot. "Lady Alice, I would go with you anywhere."
She grinned, took his arm, and together they walked to the old tree.
Harry was already kneeling in the grass, tearing up handfuls of earth. "Come on, help me," he said eagerly. Nicholas helped Alice sit, and as a group they started making a hole in the ground for the fish to go. "Deeper," Harry kept insisting. "Deeper, so the cats don't get him." So they went deeper, deeper still. And finally, finally they could go no deeper. "What's that?" demanded Harry.
Alice shrugged. "I don't know." She stuck her hand in the hole and started scooping the excess dirt out, tugging at the strange, grubby material. She made little snorts of noise as she worked, which had Nicholas both amused and entranced, and it was only when she pulled out a stained, bulging canvas bag that he paid closer attention.
"What is it?" he asked curiously. For some odd reason, his heart was pounding faster.
She shrugged again and fiddled with the cords tying the bag closed. When they were finally free, she opened the bag and peered inside. She let out a startled gasp of breath and looked up, directly at him. "Nick," she breathed, her eyes alight.
"What?" he asked again and reached forward, taking the bag into his hands. It was heavier than he thought and when he peered inside, he knew why with a heart-stopping moment of realisation.
It was full of dog-eared and faded bundles of money notes, tied with ribbons and each ribbon stamped with the wax-seal of Norton Bank, est. 1801.
His heart was in his throat and was pounding so loudly he could not hear. But he saw Alice when she leaned over and stared up at this face. She was smiling. "You know what this means?" she said excitedly.
Nicholas knew exactly what it meant.
Alice's parents did not want to take the money. In fact, they flat out refused. "Please, Mr and Mrs Robinson," Nicholas pleaded. "Think of it as a gift, for your family and the baby—"
"Absolutely not," Alice's mother said, shaking her head determinedly. She had the same clenched jaw as Alice when she was not going to change her mind. Nicholas turned to Alice desperately.
She took his cue without hassle. "Mum," she began, sidling up to her mother. "Mum, don't think of it as a gift or whatever else. Think of it as, as his payment in advance for full board." Alice smiled warmly. "He needs a place to stay, we need the money. If that's not a solution than I'm a turtle." She slid a glance at Nicholas, and they shared the humour of that secret comment.
"Alice…" Her mother bit her lower lip unsurely, glancing at her husband.
Mr Robinson had pursed lips. "Alice, this…solution, is not very compatible for us. You and Nicholas are…together, aren't you? As in…dating?"
Alice looked at Nicholas, wide-eyed, and he answered for them. "Yes," he said confidently. "We are together." Alice's answering smile had butterflies bursting into flight inside him.
"As in dating," she repeated, almost giddily.
Nicholas grinned at her, she grinned back, and the moment was broken by Mr Robinson clearing his throat impatiently. "Yes, and that is the problem."
"What problem?" Alice asked naively.
Nicholas, knowing Mr Robinson's concern, swallowed thickly before saying, carefully, "Mr Robinson, sir, we would not do anything you need to worry about. There would be rules and we will abide by them. I am not here to disrespect your hospitality, all I ask is for a place to stay, and if it bothers you that Alice and I are together, than…we could, ah, we could, we could no longer see one another." He swallowed the lump in his throat and refused to look at Alice. "If that would be better for you, sir."
"No!" Alice interrupted sternly. "No! I'd rather move out than not be with Nick!"
"Alice," Nicholas said lowly, hurting just as much at the thought of not being with her.
She glared heatedly at him. "No, Nicholas, I won't be made to do anything! Not when we've come so far—not when you have come so far…"
Nicholas opened his mouth, ready to reply, but was cut off by Mr Robinson. "Kids," he said lightly, and when Nicholas glanced at him, he was surprised to see the older man smiling. "There is no need for such sacrifice. You can stay here, Nicholas," Mr Robinson said, but held up a hand to stop Alice from speaking, "under certain conditions."
"Of course, sir," Nicholas agreed quickly, unable to stop smiling. "Anything."
"And there's no need to give us all this," Mrs Robinson said, motioning to the canvas bag that contained Nick's inheritance. "Although, I am mighty curious as to just where you got it from…"
"We told you, mum," said Alice impatiently. "The only reason Nick's uncle moved them into the neighbourhood was because he knew there was money buried in their yard. It was from one of their great grandfathers or something, left rightfully to Nick, but Alfred wanted it all for himself. That's what the whole fight was about. Nick hid the money and Alfred wanted to know where it was. But because we got away from him, he had to leave town, because Nick threatened to tell the police what he was up to." Alice told the lie flawlessly, exactly how she and Nicholas had planned the story from the start. Of course, there were flaws in the lie, such as why the money was buried instead of invested and where Alfred and Nick had lived in the neighbourhood, which the story just glossed over. But as long as Nicholas and Alice were not questioned too severely, they should be fine.
Or so they hoped.
"I see," said Mrs Robinson, lowering her brow.
Nicholas rushed to speak, to change the direction the conversation was going. "You can have the money, Mrs Robinson, or most of it, as you wish. I do not need it all that much. Just you letting me stay with your family is more than I ever hoped."
"Well," cut in Mr Robinson, frowning in thought. "We've thought about it a bit, Denise and I, and we've decided that if you are to stay with us, you will have to go to school with Alice; we don't want the authorities after us for keeping an unschooled teenager in our house when he isn't our unschooled teenager." Alice and Nicholas exchanged surprised glances, and Nicholas felt a sudden thrill of excitement. Schooling in the twenty-first century was sure to be different than schooling in the nineteenth. He would not wait to find out just how different.
"Of course," Nicholas grinned, nodding eagerly. "Anything."
"You will be asked to keep your rooms tidy," Mr Robinson said in a stern voice, though his kind grey eyes were twinkling. "But, having asked Alice the same thing, I don't hold very high regards as to what constitutes as 'tidy'."
"Hey! I resent that!" chimed in Alice, mock-frowning.
"Of course you would, honey," Mrs Robinson smiled lovingly. Her eyes turned to Nick and he felt a great swell of happiness when the care in her eyes did not dim upon gazing at him. "As long as you remain the charming young man that you are, you will be welcome here as long as you like, Nicholas."
"Thank you, Mrs Robinson," he said thickly. "That means a lot to me."
"So," Alice said, rubbing her hands together eagerly. "It's all decided, then? Nicholas gets to stay with us, we stay in Norton, we don't move?" She looked between her parents quickly.
"Well," her father started, looking at his wife and smiling. "I guess so, right, dear?
She smiled warmly at him. "Of course." She looked at Nicholas and said, "Welcome to the family."
And Nicholas could not be any happier.
"Listen to this," I whispered, lifting my eyes to Nicholas. He leant forward, bringing out heads together over the book. "'Lockwood Manor has been standing for over two hundred years, since its first foundations were laid in 1805, by Lord William M. Montgomery, whose grandson later gave his name to the glorious stone manor. Nicholas Lockwood was only seventeen years old when he went missing from the historic town Norton, leaving behind his uncle; the only family he had left. There was another great shock after the disappearance of young Lockwood; his uncle, William Montgomery, was arrested for fraud and blackmailing an in-debt physician, as well as lying to a solicitor and other law-officials. While most suggested that Nicholas Lockwood was merely a runaway, others say his disappearance was linked to his corrupt uncle.
"'Nicholas Lockwood was never found, nor was any remains found. Lockwood Manor stands as a reminder to his disappearance; it was as if he never existed…'" I looked up at Nicholas and grinned at his shocked face. "I guess that explains a lot, huh?"
"Yeah," he breathed.
"So, my house is named after you," I said and wiggled my eyebrows. "I wonder what my parents would say to that…"
"Don't you ever tell them," gasped Nicholas, white-faced. "They would want to move out and leave me the entire place!"
"Yeah," I said warmly. "They would. It is yours though, Nick." I thought of Lockwood Manor, that great grey house I at first hated. But it had grown on me, as had the town. I had made friends—well, a friend, though Chick had enough personality for an entire group of acquaintances—and settled into life in Norton. My old life was like a hazy dream; I wasn't even positive I even had a life between Nicholas. Thinking of him had me smiling, so I almost missed him when he spoke again.
"What is mine?"
I blinked in confusion, shaken from my thoughts. Realising what we had been talking about, I said, "Lockwood Manor. It says in here—" I tapped the book, the same book that Mr Andrews had flaunted at me, that detailed the history of his family and therefore Nick's—"that the house and all its possessions fell to you, being the last heir of the Montgomery and Lockwood bloodlines. Because you were never found, it couldn't be sold, so by right it's still in your name. You could claim it, you know, have a place of your own."
Nicholas shook his head and gave me a tender smile. "I have my place," he said.
"Where? The twentieth century?"
"No," he said, and reached over to touch my hand. Nicholas met my eyes. "With you."
We had been centuries apart before, but from then on, there would only be walls separating us; true walls, those that did not shift and buckle and provide entrance to distant, far away times. Walls made from bricks and boards and paint. Walls apart, we would be, yet, somehow, never apart again.
And in that moment, right then, with Nicholas staring into my eyes, I knew I had made my place, too.
a/n: it is DONE. whoooo. no epilogue, no sequel, D-O-N-E!! yes!! and i'm actually happy with the ending, considering i had to cram a lot in to it. yeh, its a bit fluffy and happy-la-la, but, yeh? what do you expect; it's in the romance category. but it wasn't too bad, i guess. the end - line was a bit mushy, but meh. i like happy last-lines, and last paragraphs that link back to the title and the meaning of the fic, which i'm quite unsure of... maybe that you make the places that you call home ? perhaps. meh.
thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou to EVERYONE who read and reviewed and favourited and alerted this story. despite only around 20 people reviewing each chapter (which is still pretty awesome lol) its quite a difference to the 144 people who have this on their favourites and the 150 people who have this on their alerts. ahah. that's totally amazing, but imagine if all those 150 people reviewed each chapter?? how super COOL would that have been?? i would've been myrika famous --grins--. but, seriously guys, thank you so much for coming along for the ride. it means a lot that you guys stuck with this runaway cargo train. lol. (whats with my weird phrases? i really don't know...)
(oh, the lyrics at the start belong to stereophonics, not me. sniff.)
right. no sequel. why? because what the heck would i write about?
but...another story? maybe... who knows, really, when i think up a story plot every hour (seriously. i see a clock face and think, "hey! wouldn't that be a good story?!" i'm a nerd... i admit it. i see plotlines everywhere.)
if you want to know what i'm gonna write next, either add me to alerts and suffer through all my crappy poetry updares (hahah) or just check up on my profile every so often.
thanks again. you guys ROCK my non-existent socks.