Dad leaves for his new apartment tomorrow. Today I helped him finish his packing while Mom was conveniently out of the house. Neither of them had asked me where I decided to live after the divorce is finalized yet, and for that I was thankful. There was no easy way to choose because both of my parents were good to me. But I knew that they were going to ask sooner or later and I suspected Dad would ask soon because Mom was out of the house.
"So, how was work, Adriana?" he asked when I went up to the room he and Mom once shared and he was now packing away into a tattered leather suitcase.
"Okay, I guess," I said, leaning against the door frame. "Do you want some help?"
"Sure, why not? I'm almost finished with this drawer, do you wanna start on the closet?" he said pointing to the old dresser and closet that contained his and Mom's clothes.
"What's your new apartment like?" I asked as I took his dressier clothes out of the closet first and put them in old dry cleaning bags.
"It's small," he said with a tinge of sadness. "There's two bedrooms, a kitchenette, a bathroom, and a living room that doubles as a dining room. It's not in a bad neighborhood, and very close to a nice park. It's about fifteen minutes from here. Closer to work."
"Are you going to paint and redecorate? Because I'm all for helping," I said cheerfully. I was annoyed that my parents couldn't work out their issues but nobody's perfect and I wasn't going to punish them for it. Dad didn't need to be as sad and lonely as I sometimes felt, so I tried to cheer him up.
"Of course. I want you to like the place. You can decorate your room any way you want. Did I mention you had a small balcony outside your room?" he said, not looking at me. He must have felt bad for attempting to bribe me, but he wanted my company in his new place. He continued quickly. "We could get you a nice telescope and a map of the stars and you can-"
He stopped because I had let out a breathy sob that I'd been trying to hold back since I entered the room. "Adriana, what's wrong?" he asked coming to my side as I sat down hard on the edge of the bed.
"I can't choose," I said, my voice thick with tears. "I can't choose without hurting you or Mom."
"Adriana, you know that's not true," he said. It sounded as if he was trying to convince himself more than me.
"You say that but you know it's true," I countered.
Dad sighed. "I'll admit that I'd be a little upset. But in a selfish way. A young girl needs her mother and God knows I can't be your mom. I wont love you any less for choosing to stay with Mom. All your stuff is here, and your friends, and I can't just rip you out of it."
"Are you sure?"
"Positive," he said with a nod.
"Dad, I want to stay here. This is my home and has been for as long as I can remember. I mean nothing against you by staying here. But I will definitely come and visit and stay with you sometimes. Like weekends, or something," I suggested, wiping the last few tears from my face.
"Sounds perfect," Dad said and ruffled my hair before he got up and returned to his packing.
I smiled weakly and continued my part of the packing. "Do I still get a telescope?"
"You see, that was only if you chose to stay with me. Now, all bonuses are off," he turned to me and smiled. "Only joking, of course you still get the telescope."
Later that evening, Mom came home with Chinese take-out. The table was mostly silent except for the occasional request for something across the table and the sound of me stabbing at my rice with my chopsticks. I was not skilled in the chopstick style of eating. We hadn't all eaten together since before my parents' fighting turned into something serious, so this was kind of weird.
"So, Adriana, dear, have you decided who you're going to be staying with yet?" Mom asked coolly, breaking the silence. She made eye contact with Dad and gave him a bitchy, competitive look. I almost changed my mind and said I would go live with Dad based on that look, but I didn't.
"Um," I cleared my throat and put down my chopsticks. "I've decided to stay here, but only because I've always lived here and I'll be going away to college soon anyways. I'll go to Dad's on weekends, though."
"Well," Mom said smugly, leaning back in her chair. "Here that, Jack? Adriana wants to live with her mommy."
Dad and I made eye contact. I gave him an apologetic look and he smiled slightly before turning to Mom.
"Actually, Clare, it has nothing to do with you. You heard her, she's staying here because it's convenient. And I agree," Dad said with a forced casual tone.
Mom rolled her eyes and laughed lightly as she got up from her chair with her empty plate. She obviously thought I was staying with her because I loved her more. I shook my head and quickly finished my dinner.
After doing the dishes, I went up to my room and stripped my bed of its sheets. I didn't know why I had this sudden urge to change them, but I did. I threw the dirty sheets into my dirty clothes basket and put new ones one before jumping into my pajamas and diving into bed with my laptop to play a game. George curled up next to me and purred softly as he slept. After a few quick hours of addicting computer games, I was tired and went to bed.
The next morning I woke up to my parents yelling again. I looked at the clock and saw that it was eight o'clock on a Tuesday morning. I had work at ten, so I climbed out of bed and showered. Downstairs Dad and Mom had stopped fighting because Dad was outside putting the last of his suitcases in the trunk of his car. My heart sank. Today was the day. I went outside to say goodbye, but I didn't know what to say that didn't sound final or unaffected.
"See you on Friday after work," Dad said. "You can come over and help me plan on the colors of the rooms and furniture and all that other girly decorating stuff. We'll get pizza or something. Your choice"
"Sure thing," I said and looked down.
He ruffled my hair and without another word he got in the car and backed out of the driveway. Then he was gone.
Gone. Like everyone else in my life. Everyone always left at some point, leaving me here. I turned and went back into the house to see Mom grinning at me in the living room. I swallowed the lump in my throat and blinked back the tears I was afraid were about to form.
"It's just us girls now," Mom said with a happy smile.
I made a sound of disgust and went up to my room. How could she be so happy-go-lucky about this? Her "forever and ever" marriage just turned into never again and she was smiling! If I had just lost the love of my life I would be far from cheerful. I would be so torn apart I wouldn't be sure if I'd ever smile again. Thoughts of being abandoned again started to flood my mind and I shook them out and got ready for work.
At work I spilled two orders, burned the blueberry muffins, and got more than a dozen orders wrong. My manager Jennie was concerned and asked if I wanted to go home. I insisted I was fine and that home was probably the worst place to be right now.
During my shift, I saw something out of the corner of my eye that looked like the stack of medium cups were falling. They weren't and I didn't know what I'd actually seen but a strange sense of deja vu came over me. For some reason I remembered the cups falling before and feeling angry and embarrassed but I couldn't tell if it was a false sense of deja vu and it never happened or if it had. A customer came in and I couldn't think of it anymore and then forgot about it after making the latte for the customer.
I slowly and mechanically went to to the shoe store to buy new tennis shoes, then to the bookstore to pick up some mindless romance novel to subdue the anger and depression running rampant through my veins, then the grocery store to pick up some food for dinner and some ice cream to drown my sorrows in later, and then home. Mom was cleaning when I got home and as soon as I opened the door she asked for the laundry basket that I'd tossed by bed sheets into the night before. I nodded silently and got it for her, dumping the contents onto my bed.
Dinner was made halfheartedly, a chicken parmesan and some veggies, and barely eaten by me. Mom ate eagerly like she was full of energy and had a whole day ahead of her. She talked the whole time about the plans she had for redecorating the house her own way and not a way she had to agree on with a man, and how she was getting a promotion at work, was getting a new car, and other exciting news. I feigned interest at some parts but mostly moved my food around on my plate. When Mom finished eating and talking she took both our plates and I excused myself up to my room. I sat at my desk and checked up on my old friends' facebooks and myspaces and saw that they were having a great time and had made new friends.
At about midnight I flopped into my bed and cried for the millionth time. I buried my head in my clean sheets and the dirty pile on my bed to stifle my sobs. When I calmed down a little and was breathing normally, I turned my head to look at the clock and caught the scent of cinnamon. I breathed it in slowly. A sense of deja vu tickled the back of my mind once again. I lied there for what felt like hours trying to get to the bottom of the deja vu.
Then, it hit me so hard my head felt like it would explode. I yelled out, and sat up clutching my head. Visions flashed across my mind's eye: a boy, turquoise eyes, black hair, a boy dancing around my kitchen banging together pots and pans, brilliant and red-orange wings made of leaves, lying in the park laughing, fairies everywhere, beauty, strange looking people in my bedroom, smooth and white, ethereal skin glowing in the moonlight, kisses, the scent of cinnamon. Mason Anthony Amers. I cried out again as the visions stopped and I was suddenly back in my room with a layer of sweat covering my skin and my fingers tangled in my hair, clutching my head. I breathed heavily as I processed what just happened.
I remembered everything.
He left me. The Elder Fairies came and told him he had to leave. He left me. They would have made me insane and killed him if he didn't leave. He left me. He tried to keep us together by running away to the desert. He left me. Then he gave me a dream saying good bye. He left me. He told me he loved me. He left me. He left me. He left me!
I was gasping for breath as everything sunk in. Those missing days filled themselves and the senses of deja vu disappeared, validated. I shot up and out of my bed with a choked scream. I held my head in my hands again and fought down screams of pain- emotional and physical. Remembering hurt. How could he? Why? I wanted to vomit but I stood up and went to the window. I saw no sign of him in the trees. No sign of life whatsoever besides a cat in the neighbor's trash can.
"No!" I yelled. "No no no!" I slammed my hand on the window sill. It felt good to exert my anger. I took a deep breath and turned to my bedroom. Anger mixed with betrayal and devastation still bubbled hot under the surface of my skin. Sobs ripped torturously through my chest and screams of anger tore at my throat. I threw a lamp, kicked my desk chair so hard that a leg snapped, ripped the covers and pillows off my bed, and punched a hole in the wall, all before my mom was able to get into my room.
Mom tried to grab me around my waist to stop me from hurting myself or destroying something more. She was yelling "What's wrong?! Adriana?! What is happening?!" just next to my ear.
"WHY DOES EVERYONE ALWAYS LEAVE ME?!" I screamed so loud I tasted blood. "I WANT HIM BACK! I NEED HIM! IT'S NOT FAIR! WHY DOES EVERYONE LEAVE?!" I started to choke on what I thought was blood and emotion thick saliva. And in that moment of weakness, Mom was able to settle me down on the edge of my bed and held my hands between hers until I was breathing semi normally again. I was still crying and my muscles tense, but I wasn't destroying the room or hurting myself anymore. Something red dripped into my right eye and Mom wiped at it with her robe. I was bleeding. It must have been from a piece of glass from the lamp I threw. I didn't care because I barely felt it over the searing pain in my foot and my hand.
"Adriana, honey, what in the world is the matter?" Mom asked me, brushing blood soaked hair away from my face.
"He's gone," I said but my voice was barely a whisper after all the screaming.
"Who? Dad? Trent? Dad just left this morning and you'll see him Friday. We'll go see Trent tomorrow, if you'd like," Mom offered quietly and skeptically as if she was afraid I'd freak out again.
I shook my head. "Don't you smell that?" I asked. Every breath I took was filled with cinnamon.
Mom sniffed carefully but didn't seem to smell the strong scent of cinnamon.
"It's cinnamon. Mason left me and tried to get me to forget, but I remember. I can't forget," I said hoarsely.
"Who's Mason?" Mom asked, in that slow, even voice parents use when they think their child is talking crazy talk.
"My friend. My only true friend," I replied.
"I've never met a Mason," Mom said, shaking her head.
"You wouldn't have," I said with a wry smile.
She waited quietly and somewhat fearfully, and when I didn't say or do anything, she stood up.
"Okay, well, honey, I think you need some rest. In the morning we'll take you to get your hand checked out; it looks broken," Mom said, letting go of my wrists.
I nodded. She got up from my bed and carefully stepped around the broken glass to the door. And then she was gone and I was alone again. I wondered when she would leave me like everyone else. She was the last person around me. My mind went over and over everything I could have possibly done to make Mason leave, Dad leave, Trent to go astray, my friends to leave and never contact me. I thought of nothing and that practically killed me. Eventually, after about two hours, I fell asleep again. I dreamed of the horrors Mason could have been facing at that moment. My mind made up numerous gruesome forms of fairy execution. I also dreamed of what insanity would be like. Would it be peaceful, clean, organized, with meals and pills and activities at specific times of the day? Would it be painful, chaotic and uncomfortable? Would I remember Mason?
AN: Oh, hey, look! An update! GASP! :)
Sorry about the long wait. I have no valid excuse, so angry letters are acceptable and expected.
But, I did update and edit chapters 1-5 so I HIGHLY recommend you going back and reading them because some stuff was changed. For the better, of course. :)
Also, I have a new website dedicated to this story and my other writing. The link is my homepage in my profile. The website includes updates, news, music recs for reading AW, pictures, a blog, "behind the scenes" and fun facts about AW and the writing process for it, etc. And if you sign up to be a member, you'll get to read the new chapters a few days before they're posted on fictionpress. :D Basically, if you like this story, you'll like the website. So, please, check it out, sign the guestbook just to say hi even if you don't join. :D