A/N: Hola! Have you guessed who’s featuring in this chapter? If you haven’t, the chapter’s title is a dead giveaway. I thought I should write about her. Kind of miss writing in a female’s POV. So please bear with me and you might discover a few things about her. 🙂
Was he still there? Cheska had seen a man standing outside her door when Fred left. Probably, Louis’ doing. She wouldn’t put it past her brother since he showed up at her house. At the time, Cheska had thought he was mad. Now that she looked back, Louis was similar to a lost child, tugging – pulling her towards proof – towards the mansion. Tony’s timing had delayed it. He brought the doctor to her home and then things got more complicated.
It was the only time she had seen Fred so angry. There was also the weird weather that matched his temper. Children born in the Mysts tended to be “different.” Usually, supernatural gifts diminish – in most cases, disappear when they reach adulthood. Instances like Louis’, however, continue to develop and strengthen. The doctor was one of the few people outside the Mysts who possesses gifts that could rival a guardian’s.
He can’t be. She shook her head in denial. Fred travels a lot. His profession demands it. A guardian never leaves the country he’s sworn to protect, except when the Council needs to mobilize a group to secure a critical area. What am I missing?
Cheska searched her mind of past encounters she’s had with the doctor.
She involuntarily shivered, her eyes half-closed. Cheska couldn’t help revisiting the most recent memory. She had wanted to test the vision she saw of him in a dark cold place. His face had been softer – younger and vulnerable. The urge to kiss had come, but the reason behind it escaped her. So, Cheska pressed her mouth to his. The onslaught of Fred’s lips against hers had taken her aback. Then he surprised Cheska again when the kiss softened – inviting. There was an intensity about Fred that would come out when he was angry. Who knew that he showed the same passion in kissing? Then again, what did she know about him really? A friend she could barely remember. A man she felt like a close friend yet a stranger. And what did she know about real kissing? Half the time, Cheska was engrossed in her art. The other half was spent trying to make sense of her dreams and hazy memories. Pierre, her ex-fiancé, she kept at arm’s length. Cheska had liked him when she hadn’t known he was a player. He was always there when she needed him. His laughter and charm warmed her to him. But an invisible wall between them had existed from the beginning. It restricted them to hugging, holding hands, and the occasional kiss on the cheek.
Fred. He said they were friends in the past. Do friends kiss like that? Does a friend look at you with…longing? That was what she’d seen in the secret passage, wasn’t it? Cheska’s brows furrowed. His gift had acted up at the time. It had in the car and in this room – after they left the hidden corridor and – Cheska covered her mouth with trembling hands. Oh, Gods! The electricity. None of it had hurt her. Gods, I kissed him.
Every time his expression softened towards her, his gift surfaced. He must’ve noticed it too. That was why he’d taken to sitting at the opposite end of the bed. His behavior had hurt Cheska more than she’d expected that tears had come unbidden just as she admitted her fears to him. Fred had pulled her to him then and she practically threw herself at him. His self-restraint had snapped. Oh, but she had loved the way Fred’s mouth explored hers. And that gift of his woke something in her blood and made her light-headed. Cheska had forgotten her worries and reveled at the sensation of his every touch. Then he stopped. One look at her and his dark gray eyes filled with regret.
Cheska had felt rejected and awkward afterward. Her eyes strayed to the bed. Its sheets wrinkled. She couldn’t even remember exactly what had happened; how his shirt came undone; and her hands had somehow landed on bare skin. Heat rushed to her face. Cheska broke her gaze from the bed and walked to the dresser. The full-length mirror on its left showed her the aftermath of the intimacy she and the doctor had shared.
The wrinkles in her blouse were impossible to smoothen, so she attacked the bird’s nest hair of hers with vigor. Half-way done plaiting her hair, Cheska felt a change in her surroundings that made her skin prickle. A portal. She turned to the direction of energy building up across the corner of the room.
Black and brown feathers fluttered out of the opening. A long-haired dark man stepped out of it.
“Greetings, my lady,” he said.
“Who are you?” she asked. Cheska eyed him warily. He looked familiar, but where had she seen him before?
“I am the Messenger.”
Was he expecting her to know who he was or was the man teasing her? His face was blank. She had an impression that he was carved out of stone. When the Messenger’s head tilted to the side, Cheska quickly revised: No, bird-like. The alert eyes, hooked nose, and feathered clothing. A falcon.
“You seem to know me. But, of course, everyone does except me,” she added, the bitterness seeping through and shocking her. What is wrong with me? Cheska clamped her mouth shut before she could get any ruder.
“You do not,” he replied. “We were mere acquaintances.”
What?! The nerve. How dare this man walk in my room!
“When?” she said tersely.
The Messenger gave her a tight-lipped smile. “Long ago.”
“Be specific, Messenger,” her words were cold. The room temperature dropped. Goosebumps rose on her exposed flesh.
“Almost recovered,” he observed.
“Don’t change the subject.” Cheska’s heart hammered in her chest despite her rising anger. The infuriating man knew things. Secrets about her. The tragedy that had befallen her family? The things she had done so long ago, yet so fresh in her memories – the blood, the lifeless bodies on the floor and fear and power? What did he know?
“Tell me,” she said in a quiet voice.
For a moment, she caught a flicker of emotion behind the impassive face. “The morning before the accident,” he replied.
Blood rushed in her ears. The memory of him standing in her forest. What he had said to her that day. A warning and a choice. Cheska moved back. Her thigh hit the edge of the dressing table. Why now? Why didn’t he come for her when she couldn’t remember a thing? It would’ve been so much easier to make the choice then.
“Get out,” Cheska said, the words came out as a whisper.
“You will still have to choose.” The man took a step towards her. “It is the only way.”
“Get. Out!” she shouted. The Messenger’s face lost color, his knees buckled beneath him. The man’s unwavering gaze turned to alarm as his breathing became labored. Realizing that she’d done this to him, Cheska said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to…” She squeezed her eyes shut, but the image of the Messenger would forever be imprinted in her memory. “Please, just leave,” she begged.
A rustle then silence.
It was a while before Cheska opened her eyes. She was alone again. Her eyes were bleak as she stared at the spot where the Messenger had dropped to his knees. Fred had been wrong. It would never be alright.
She let out a breath. A cloud of air formed in front of her. It wasn’t just had her memories that had come back.
Sunlight poured in through her window, yet she felt chilled to the bone. She needed warmth. The garden outside beckoned to her.
After leaving a note for Louis, Cheska stepped out of the room. The security personnel outside asked if she needed something.
“No. I’m going to the garden,” she answered.
The man was quiet and uncertain.
Cheska sighed. She didn’t want him to get in trouble because of her. “You can come with me, Mr. –”
“That’s quite a mouthful.” She wrinkled her nose. “What do your friends call you?”
“Buzz, Miss,” he said, smiling sheepishly.
“Interesting name, Buzz,” Cheska returned with a grin of her own. “I’m Cheska.” She stretched out a hand to him. He stared at it for a second then held it in his. “There we go.” The tension inside her uncoiled. “Well, Buzz. Can you take me to the garden outside my room?”
“This way please, Ms. Cheska.” The man appeared to have relaxed as well – and friendlier as he led her through the halls. She trailed a few steps behind Buzz. A smile formed on Cheska’s lips.
Eleven years ago, she wouldn’t have been able to befriend a stranger so easily. She was a prisoner of her past. Alone, gifted but cursed, and powerless. Cheska didn’t want to be that person anymore. There was still hope. Her mouth set in grim determination. She needed to remember everything first. Then she would find a way out of the darkness.
Copyright © 2014-2016 Cecilia Beatriz. All rights reserved.
A/N: Now that we’ve got a glimpse of what goes on in Cheska’s mind. Who’s actually cursed in this family??
Likes and comments will be greatly appreciated. 🙂
Feel free to share the story with your friends.
P.S. I can’t promise when the next chapter will be uploaded. It depends on what my schedule for the week will be like. So, I’ll be playing this by ear. Hopefully, you won’t have to wait too long and I won’t have to stop writing…