My head was pounding. No, wait –that was an understatement; my head was the surface of the floor obese horses gallop on. How can it be this painful? Somebody kill me.
My heart skipped another beat. Never before have Eddie and I been this close.
You're hurtin yourself just by standing.
Oh, he cared about me. Another heartbeat skipped.
And of COURSE I care about you.
Oh, he heard that.
I'll be fine.
No, you'll stay here, and—
Eddie came over to where I was standing to tuck me back on the couch I was laying on earlier, but then he stopped. He looked at me. Then he looked up the stairs.
"Actually," were the first words he actually spoke, - "—lets bring you upstairs."
Before I managed to start, I was scooped into arms made of heaven filled with the warmest blood and the most seductive scent ever.
In his arms, just breathing made the galloping horses go away. Actually, I felt as though I needed more and more of him with me, every single drop and every micro inch from him, whatever I could get.
Suddenly, the pains came back.
I was laid on a soft fluffy bed, but not as warm or comfortable as him.
I clung to his neck, refusing to let go. And then these hot liquid-drops rushed out and blanketed my cheeks. I felt as though I were suffocating.
Eddie's gaze found my eyes in a quarter-second and froze there.
"Chantelle…" he started, clearly horrified.
I tried to talk, but no sound came out. I kept chocking on my own sobs and my eyes were stinging from my own acidic tears.
Eddie couldn't stop looking at me with that hell-must-have-found-my-back look on his face and I was desperate to tell him.
Another try, but that too, was futile.
My efforts to talk or get any words out were absolutely useless. How do you tell someone that every fiber in your being needs them? How do you tell someone, who is terribly secretive and superior to you, that you need them as much as breathing requires oxygen?
How do you tell someone that you secretly knew what you were be turning into and that they're NOT your 'Potential Significant', but in fact, your actual Significant?
By then Eddie had his right hand on my shoulder and I managed to suck in a huge breath of air.
I grabbed his left hand and clutched it. Hard.
"Can, what is it…? What's wrong?"
I looked into those fiery eyes of his.
"You cant leave," I managed to croak.
"Okay," he said swallowing as if trying to understand. "But, love, it'll only be for a short while and while I'm—"
"No! No, you can't leave. I need you here I..."
I stopped. It was getting hard to breathe again. What would he do if he knew? Would he leave? He would freak out! He must have known that I was worrying because he came down on the bed next to me and held my hands.
His eyes snaked its way into mine and pilfered hold of the very earth of my visual range and burned glowing abysses into them. He stood his ground in cloves of pure fire, even when he was crouching down to look me in the eyes.
"Chantelle Jade Callatraz, I love you. Do you know what that means? It means I'll never leave you for the evolution of existence. It means that nothing can take me away from you because it'll never be of my will and nothing I don't allow ever happens. I don't care what you wont tell me but please don't make me stay in the dark where your wellbeing is concerned. I'd do anything for you, you know that. Hey, you're safe with me. I promise."
I half expected him to snap his fingers in front of my face. Maybe even say something like "you there?" or "earth to Chantelle!".
No one's ever mentioned me by my full and complete name before, other than my doctor, of course. But I didn't even know Eddie knew my middle name!
I barely ever use it, except for filling up official school forms and other official stuff.
But he knew my middle name, and he remembered my whole name. There was also something about the way he had said it.
So romantically…so amorously ardent, so softly…
Lovingly. Yes, that. The only other time I've ever heard Eddie sound that way was when he talked about treasure hunting on Wiccan grounds for four-leaf clovers, in the woods –being among the other Witches and Pagans on All Hallows Eve, where they performed their annual ritual of bathing in the crystal-like waters of the Big Oak stream under the moonlight. They practiced Skyclad and danced around the bonfire at night, burned with sage sticks, lavender and heaps of cinnamon. Then bundles of yellow flowers tied in with a sage stick and a green candle were exchanged to one another in tradition, as they dance around the bright embers that ascended to the high heavens of the midnight's dancing sky. The reverie sweet scent of sage sticks and dried chamomile left a permanent residue in the air of the woods they used to perform big spells and rituals in. Wicca is such a whole, pure and complete, liberating, blissful way of life.
Eddie used to talk about this when we stole away onto his rooftop, just outside his bedroom window.
No one ever knew to find us there at all.
We used to silently rave over the sun when it was just about to set. On his roof we sat –every Thursday and Friday, at about two hours before the sun gave its last flush of the day, its warming orange aura visually echoing the sky as it set into the other side of the Earth's bend and night approached the atmosphere by greeting the warm sky with cool waves of purple. Streaks of crimson stained the barriers of the night with its blending ways into the cold, dimly lit clouds –still warm with daylight.
Right after the sun retired that evening, his eyes turned into night too.
The last speck of the night sky I ever saw was the swiveling color of deep jade in his eyes right before he turned.
Right before he started his first stage of the Change.
And then I barely got to hang out with him or his friends anymore. I lost him for a moment there, lost him to the evolution of the human race.
And just like that, I never saw him again. Not for a long time. He moved on into different classes, his schedule was changed, much different from ours and his activities had changed altogether too. His life was quite discreet and he barely communicated with anyone Ordinary for at least a year.
Then he came back. Then he had normal schedules again, and went through the rest of nearly three quarters of his Changing stage and barely needed any Upper-Level human acquaintances or his Upper-Level mentor anymore. It was great, everyone was back together. Then Ceaser Might came into the Change as well. And then Lance started hanging out with us. Everyone was back, all close again. The heaviest parts of the stage were over and we were all back to our old routines again.
Almost. The Mallens had their own activities during school hours and almost all their classes were advanced. Especially Lance's, since he became super-genius.
Lance advanced to 11th grade studies when he was in grade 8 and took up pure science too, and within three months, had moved up to Full-Fledged Upper-Human finishing school where only most fully changed Upper-Level humans attend class if they were interested in advanced science for them. And they were all mostly college students, while Lance was only fifteen. Somewhere just before summer holidays that year Lance came back to High School 101 to finish his last 3 years in school as a HS101 student and also to serve as a trainer for all the junior scouts and Swiss-Army Club members.
Eddie and I were new strangers all over again, new strangers with an old past that never resurfaced.
Even then, we never really continued where it ended. It just broke off in mid air, and dissipated. That veil between the old and original Ordinary Eddie who was carefree and very available, and this new and very perfected Eddie with his exclusive lifestyle and vague Mallen issues doesn't have a bridge. I wasn't there when it happened. I didn't even see it coming, I never had the chance to prepare losing him.
Sure, we got him back. He came back. But so many things have changed and some things aren't the same anymore because of the circumstances. Eddie's changing into a Mallen left some holes in our ever-so-close-as-family relationship, and there were lost moments there. Such precious minutes, precious hours and precious months were lost, carried into the future with new colors, none that resembled the old ones. My life stayed the same and got lost around its own old air, but his moved on, moved up towards another universe altogether.
And now we were close again, but for how long? It was so confusing to feel old emotions that belonged to a different time, an expired one that had been lost a long time ago.
In a lot of ways Eddie made me feel the same way I felt about him when he was still Ordinary, because he really is the same person and had always been, since his life first began. But he was also different then, being a Mallen, and not just a boy anymore. His limits became his new and profound abilities, and his strengths turned into precarious secrets that he lived to protect. All the purest of things that we knew –I knew– and shared, were gone, far out of my reach.
Time came back to its rightful place in the present and carried on from there. As I came forth from my resume, I found myself staring into two burning portals of a void, two glowing black eyes, eyes that held many colors and flounced from one to another within seconds.
The windows to his soul were on his face, right where a normal person's pair of irises would naturally be.
It was as if my reaction was what the rest of his life depended on, and if I didn't turn out better than fine, his life wouldn't go on.
I realized then, that he was really there. Not that foreign person in my old friend's body, not that alien-imposter of Eddie Morgo Rovan. Two feet of the bridge to his side was built, two feet there for me to step on. So I did, I took the new bridge to go to him.
"Eddie," I started.
He looked into my eyes with the same expression, indicating that he was still on shaky grounds.
"…I love you." My voice broke.
I took a few breaths before I continued my heart's throat's commands.
"I can't breathe…when you're not in my air, it's like I can't breathe. I've lost you once upon a terrible time, and I can't lose you again, lose us. Not to…not to anything that changes without permission. I can't shift. I can't…no. I can't. Gravity means nothing without you to earth my every footstep, for I will lose my ground if I ever lost you."
I stopped, taking in the river of words that flowed out from my very own throat. Did I really say all that? This was all as new to me as it was to him –I never guessed I could evaluate my need for him like that.
From the place where Eddie stood, his air seemed to have lost its staunch heat-cloak, its protective force field. A childish vulnerability took the place of his indomitable poise he so valiantly held.
His expression gave away some of euphoria he held back, stupefied by all that I'd said, all the revelation I gave him about how I much I really took of him.
My mind made all possible ends meet, and then burst in a colorful inferno right before meeting another end and repeating its same patterns.
I felt as though I needed to say more, all this time needing and needing as if I could never have enough to fulfill my life's requirements to keep on living. All the little thoughts in my head collided and made sense out of each other and splintered into little genius details that then collided into the other tinier bullets and split, split, split, into a never-ending saga of thoughts until it came back in a big strong circle of perfect plans, never a single problem unmatched with the perfect solution. A ring of absolute –a new, pure kind of perfection, bred from the very original bonds of invincibility.
My mind was advancing and I knew it.
And even then, I was silenced. Silenced by another being surely at that time soon to be less physically advanced than I, nevertheless more valuable than anything else in the galaxy to me.
My perfect invincible mind revolved around his very existence.
I felt an unusual radiation of heat warming up the atmosphere, virally absorbing into the walls, the ground and the furniture. Soon, its warmth crept slowly at the soles of my feet and touched me there, leaving the floor under me tainted with a kind of preserved cold.
We stood there for what seemed like hours –which had really only been short minutes of or lives– just looking at each other. Neither of us had said a single word.
We maintained our positions as if we were rooted into the floorboards, both breathing heavily, both shaking with anticipation. I watched as a ray of gold sunshine spilled into the room through the ungenerous crack of his curtain, casting a slash of illumination over his godlike hair, making it seem more like strands of spilled honey –so much like his eyes. Since my eyesight then had advanced into a great depth of scrupulosity, I could measure the most insignificant of details on each and every strand of his hair with my eyes.
A lock of honey-bronze hair seemed to have been caught under the solid glare of the sun's thick, bright light. It seemed to hover over his forehead, just touching the tip of his eyelashes.
His hair wasn't just one color, no –it had so many browns, all showing through reflections, sort of creating its own prism. A prism of browns. In each strand was a long, stretching blend of so many different shades of brown –a distinctive rainbow of a collection of brown colors spawned into every strand on his head. The delicious combinations of serene, glorified bronzed shades harmonized in its own spectrums of chocolate, mahogany, honey, –the very smoothness of it creating so much that the magnificent reflections of gold, bronze and coppery brown on his hair were not just illusions of the light –or any other light.
He stood his ground in natural Mallen-defense posture, portraying a staunch dignity; something born and engraved in the very seed of every Mallen's natural-born instinct. It is the original, the natural state of being for Mallens as survival machines, predators among predators.
Yet, what did I see? Eddie, a Mallen –as guy as he was, vigorous with excitement and anticipation - seeming hardly able to contain his patience. It was obvious that he had worked up a great deal of effort to suppress his impulse, his nibbling urge to spring forward and demand the answers straight out of me.
I watched as his husky build –what would have seemed cool and composed to any naked ordinary human eye- tremble ever so slightly with the familiar shudder of anxiety. A sense of longing devoured my doubts and freed me from any fear I might have had facing up to him.
I took a step forward and reached my right hand out to his hair unhesitatingly, burying my fingers in his luminous carpet of silk hair while I slid my left hand up his shoulder and kept it there, friendlily challenging him with a sweet tease.
I could feel the sun gleaming its brightness at me, sinking its heavy light into my skin, my hair and illuminated my entire left shoulder while the right side of my body remained cool, hidden in its own shadow. As I lifted my arm to his shoulder, my skin seemed to have picked up some of the light and lifted it up to his shoulder, his shirt. The fabric was a little rugged under my skin. A little rough, a little course. Reminded me of the old days where I used to rollerblade around the neighborhood and go round Eddie's place to join him for a jog –cept I bladed. Sweet old times, where I didn't have to worry about anything. Not school, not studies, not about friends…everything was perfect everyday. Such a sweet course feeling under my fingertips, brought old memories to the surface of my mind. I loved the feeling of that casual type of cloth, warm and dry against his solid body. He seemed to have been shining under the light, his skin taking in every tiny dot of illumination that landed on him into his body while my skin reflected all the light and bounced it back to the atmosphere. At the same time, I felt a familiar comfort in the gentle warmth of the sun and Eddie.
As if by natural instinct, I took a step closer to him. And then another. Eddie's lips were so close to my forehead and our bodies were so close to each other. I could feel his breaths coming faster and faster; blowing into my fringe. His chest seemed to be thudding wildly like a hammering woodpecker.
Everything was perfect for a moment, so perfect until all the tears that ever welded up in my eyes and left remnants of familiar sadness, were forgotten.
He took me by the waist and buried his face into my neck. He nuzzled into me like a dog, like how I often did –to him.
I rested my head on his shoulder, my cheek instantly warmed at the touch of his shirt. I could also feel his heartbeat on my chest through his shirt, thudding fast, yet steady. It was pure bliss, comfort to my corporeal being, and time seemed to echo through the quiet illuminated house –right through our air. A still warmness enveloped us, and I could feel as though it went along with the synchronized rhythm of our hearts; thudding into the surroundings with each heartbeat. Everything was in slow motion for a while, and I saw a faint reflection of us on the glass door of his bathroom. We stood perfectly together, in an unusual yet familiar union. Light really surrounded us, as if Eddie's heart was the core of the Earth, the source of pure gravity, pulling all of the light in the room to us so much that our reflections were translucent.
It was beautiful.
I never loved anyone so much before, never felt so safe and perfect and balanced with someone. Ever.
Then I knew.
Nobody compared to him, nobody could even touch a mile's radius of his air, his existence. Nobody could ever hope to fill the spot in the middle of my heart that forever belonged to him. Not even…
Not even Freddy.
Oh! Oh, I knew then, I knew. I knew what I had to do. But I closed my eyes, refused to let the world into my senses, only Eddie, only Eddie…
I knew he wasn't leveling his telegraphy with my thoughts, but he surely shared my desire as much as he felt it because he moved out of my neck and tilted my head upwards with his warm fingers, and stared. Just stared, stared into my eyes, with the kindest and softest look. It was a look of pure affection –pure amorous affection. It was when he brought his lips to mine that I gave in. His soft, warm lips gently crushed down at mine, with all his passion unveiled. I felt as though in that very cocoon of ours, anything was possible. Anything was possible because of how much we felt each other, just with out minds.
And then we were feeling each other with our bodies, with our lips. Our wrap of shield seemed to have had a glowing blue color that dominated any other light around us. I could see how we glowed even with my eyes closed. Literally. Our love scene deliberately went on and on as his heartbeat surged through me…
Then, time went away. We had to be standing there for seconds, maybe a few decades, maybe eons. Who really knew?
I'll tell you who.
Stara and Freddy standing at the doorway, one with a look of disdain and irk and the other, or horror.