Chapter Twelve- Choices
Celene woke up Saturday morning to the sweet smell of home cooked breakfast. Sitting up in bed, Celene rubbed her eyes thinking that Damien must be perfect. Attractive, smart, and the guy could cook? She was in for it now. By her reasoning, there was no way Jace was cooking; he couldn't so much as boil water, and there was no one else here.
As if he'd read her thoughts, Damien materialized in her doorway with his dark hair dripping with beads of water, and his white t-shirt plastered across his chest. Celene's breath hitched. Standing there, he looked every bit a God, or a fallen angel.
Damien stood rooted in place in the doorway. He looked at the blond girl sitting upright in her bed. Her hair was a little mussed, and she looked absolutely adorable as she sat disoriented, rubbing sleep from her eyes. Damien waited patiently for her to notice him. It was all he seemed to be doing lately- waiting. It was frustrating. He had no one to talk to, to ask about how this bond between them worked. To make it worse, it seemed as if he were the only one affected. He didn't think he could make it through a day without seeing her. It was pathetic. Oh sure he would catch her watching him occasionally, but it never seemed to go anywhere beyond a slight attraction on her part; Damien was sick of it.
Still he watched she slowly took him in, and he smiled in response to the hitch in her breath. He supposed he was attractive, and he intended to extort that to his benefit.
"Damien?" Celene said hesitantly, her voice thick with sleep. Damien couldn't help but smile even wider at the sound of his name on her lips.
"Yes?" He replied, making no motion to enter the room, despite how badly he wanted to. He also refrained from adding any sort of endearment to his statement. Soon enough he wouldn't have to bite his tongue anymore, instead he would – Damien cut his train of thought off; it was headed in a dangerous direction.
"If you're up here, who's cooking?"
Damien smiled a cryptic smile and simply stepped to the side.
"Celene, I can't believe you're still in bed!" Celene sat up completely straight and stared at the woman before her.
"Mom? What are you doing back?" Celene was surprised to see her mother here. It was as if within the past few weeks her parents hadn't existed; for all intents and purposes, they hadn't. Celene discovered she was angry with her mother. Instead of telling her, she leaves it to Damien – a practical stranger.
"Is that anyway to greet your mother?" Helene said as she bustled around Celene's room picking up articles of clothing, and straightening up. Celene looked very much like her mother. The blond hair, pouty lips, but their eyes were different. Helene's were a soft brown.
Celene tilted her head slightly to the side, glanced at Damien, and considered her sleep attire. Shrugging she hopped out of bed in nothing more than a baggy t-shirt and hugged her mother.
Damien's eyes widened as his superhuman sight took in the length of the shirt and the lack of garments beneath it; dangerous path. Over Celene's shoulder, he saw her mother looking at him amused.
"Is there anything you'd like to tell me, Celene?" Helene said looking between Damien and Celene.
Celene pulled back and glanced at her mother curiously. Helene was looking between Damien and Celene with a knowing expression on her face. Celene blushed to the tips of her toes and avoided looking at Damien.
"I went out with Luke last week!" Celene blurted. She didn't know why she said that. All Celene knew, was that she didn't want her mother to think that she and Damien were sitting here playing house. She barely knew the guy, for heaven's sake! She wasn't about to devote her life to him blindly. Besides she was only sixteen.
Helene looked confused, and Damien's expression immediately changed. Tensely he mumbled something unrecognizable, and left. Celene immediately felt troubled. She felt an urge to go after him.
"Celene," Helene said quietly.
Celene turned to her mother, trying to hide her expression. Helene looked at her troubled daughter. She had grown up so much within the span of a few weeks, yet seemed so timid and vulnerable as she stood uncertain; uncertain of her future, her past, herself. Helene yearned to pull her daughter close and wipe away her troubles; but she couldn't do that. No, fate had spoken and Celene had a role to play. However, fate could not prevent a mother from guiding her daughter.
"Mom what am I supposed to do?" Celene asked in a small voice.
Helene forced a smile on her face. "First thing is first, you should change. I don't think that that boy would be able to keep himself in check for a minute longer."
Breakfast was served with tenseness between Damien and Celene that didn't go unnoticed. Celene's father, Nikolas, asked Celene whether he needed to have a 'talk' with Damien. Celene declined, hugged her father, and went to speak with her mother. She found her seated along the banks of the same stream Celene herself had fled to upon meeting Damien.
"Why didn't you ever tell me?" Celene asked softly, sitting beside her mother.
Helene smiled humorlessly. "It was such a big burden, one that I didn't want you to bear. Not until you had to."
"But why couldn't you tell me about us, about the fact that we're- Gods? I still can't wrap my head around it. Is Damien pulling a fast one?"
"No, sweetheart he's not."
"Then, that voice, the images – that was you, wasn't it? When Damien and I were attacked?"
Helene measured her daughter. If only she could prevent this, if she could take the task upon herself, she would. "That was me."
"How did I do that?" Celene asked awed. "I closed my eyes, saw my room, and then Damien and I were there; just like that."
"Yes, your powers are beyond what even I could have imagined. Do you remember when you were small? You used your powers then."
Celene thought back to the little things, dancing in the wind, the drops of water. "So why not tell me and Jace, about our history, our people?"
"Don't be angry with me. Your father and I wanted to do what was best for you. You don't understand what it was like, the wars, the responsibility-"
"You're right I don't know. I don't know because you never told me!" Celene lashed out. The water was suddenly angry, rushing in waves, the earth trembled slightly beneath them, and the winds blew furiously.
"Careful," Helene said, trying not to gasp at what Celene had managed to learn in a few weeks. "Damien has been helping you, hasn't he?"
Celene calmed herself and nodded. The stream calmed, the earth was still, and the wind was gentle.
"He's a good boy."
"I– are we – ?" Celene said looking lost again.
Helene couldn't stop herself from comforting her daughter. Wrapping her arms around Celene, she tried to comfort her and soothe her. Her daughter was always stubborn. How could she be expected to simply accept Damien? Blindly? A boy she barely knew, and for all eternity?
"You're fated to be together," Helene began.
"By who? For how long? And what does that even entail?" Celene cried into her mother's comforting chest.
"The Goddesses Sandrine and Alexandra, your grandmother and Damien's, prophesized that the day would come where Avella, and the Underworld would clash once more, and Earth would be the casualty. They needed to have a way to prevent that from happening. Now you know that I am not technically the same as you, Damien told you, yes? I'm a divined species, and thus only a Goddess through transformation. I do not possess the kind of power you do. Damien's mother is the same. The underworld is a dangerous place and Kara has been left there for centuries to scheme, and plot her revenge. She was stripped of her powers; however there was nothing that could have been done for her unborn child. He was an innocent until otherwise proven. There is dark work afoot there, and that kind of evil cannot be fought single handed by either you or Damien, you must do it together."
"But why us? What about you and Dad, or Damien's parents? Surely, the four of you could manage." Celene said. It all sounded preposterous to her. Why should two seventeen year olds be able to do what fully grown adult-Gods could not?
Helene sighed. "We will be battling. The demons and the divined species will clash, humans will choose sides, blood will be spilled. The ultimate battle is to be won through means not known in Avella or in the Underworld. It is to be won by those who have walked the line in between and understand that they are protectors, and that the bond is their sacrifice to make, to right wrongs."
"A sacrifice is permanent, isn't it? Otherwise it wouldn't be so hard?" Celene whispered thinking of mundane things; prom, college, falling in love, her first job, her first serious boyfriend, her first shared apartment with a serious boyfriend, none of that was in the cards for her.
"If I could take this burden from you I would. You are not forced to do anything, you always have a choice, remember that Celene." Helene whispered thinking the same things Celene was. Tears sprang to her eyes. I hope you're rotting in hell Kara, she thought hatefully.
"What kind of person, God, Goddess, whatever, would I be, if I refused to save not one world, but three? Where would I and the people I love even go if the world was destroyed?"
Helene just held her daughter and listened to the sounds of the innocent forest around her. Birds chirped, the wind whistled, and the stream kept flowing.; because that's what the world did, it kept on going.
"Mom, you didn't answer my last question. What does bonding entail?" Celene whispered.
Helene hesitated. "Your father knows much more about all of this than I do, but the way a bond is forged in Avella is different than here on Earth. The bonds are forged out of love, respect, and understanding. Most importantly, they are never broken."
Celene's eyes grew wide. Nope she couldn't get hitched, save the world, and then sign divorce papers. "But-"
"I know, sweetheart. I know." Helene said, and cursed once more, then prayed that somehow Celene would love Damien. It had to be done quickly. If they were bonded before she truly loved him and chose to have him by her side for eternity, there would be no going back. Bitterness would grow between them and a twisted obsession. The worlds would be saved but her daughter damned.