Memories (Completed)
Author: Jewel Heart

Chapter 12
12

 

“Oh, James, she looks just like Bloom,” the warm voice continued. “She’s beautiful.”

I looked over at the doorway to find a woman with white-blonde hair. She had silvery-grey eyes that had the same warmth as her smile. Her skin was pasty white and she was wearing a pretty orange summer dress that hung on to her like a second skin.

“Lumex,” James said, placing his hands on my shoulders, “this is my mother, Heidi.”

Heidi’s smile seemed to sweeten. Just then, a man that looked to be around thirty with hair like gold and eyes like the first leaves of spring walked in.

“And I'm Jeremiah,” the man said.

“My father,” James clarified.

I smiled. “Hi.”

“Would you like some lobster?” Heidi offered. “Or are you a vampire?” She tilted her head curiously.

“No. I can eat. Thank you.”

“Then shall we take a seat?” Heidi said, walking around the table to a chair without a plate.

James released me and walked to a seat without a plate. He stopped next to a chair that actually had a plate and looked at me.

You aren’t telling me that now you’re shy, are you? he sent, his voice mocking.

I couldn’t help the smile that followed. I shook my head and walked over silently. I wanted to say, don’t start with the prince manners, but I let him have this one.

James pushed my chair in when I sat down. Then he took his place next to me. In front of me was Viv and to my left was Scarlett. On either side of Viv were Max and Jeff. Viv was still trying to get Max to respond. It was surprising that a witch wouldn’t just use a spell to heal Max. Even so, there was something in Viv’s eyes. As if they were changing colors depending on how the light caught them. There also seemed to be a dim baby pink glow surrounding her—hardly noticeable.

Once everybody had taken their seats, Harmony said, “Well, don’t you be shy; dig in!”

Everyone picked up their forks and began cracking the shells of their food. I stared for a moment. Then, when I finally decided that I’d been rude long enough, I picked up my fork and started breaking the red-grey shell. It didn’t taste all bad. It was a bit crunchy, but it was okay. And the little taste of sand that was in everything I ate was there too, but I’d learned to live with it.

I chewed on one piece slowly as Harmony talked about school. I could have sworn that it was getting thicker with every bite. When it got too thick that I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to swallow it, I forced it down.

“So, Lumex,” Heidi said, “I’ve seen a few magazines in the mall with pictures of you. Are you related to someone famous?”

I didn’t pick another piece of burnt lobster. I feared that if I did, I wouldn’t be able to talk for hours. “Well, my mom, she’s the owner of that magazine, Charm,” I responded, then shrugged to show that it wasn’t important. “And my cousin, Kristina, she’s an actor and I’ve been seen with her a few times. It’s probably that. I'm not seen that often with anyone else.” I suppressed the grimace that threatened to expose, because of the sudden attention.

“Kristina Gypsy? She’s related to you?” Harmony burst out suddenly. Her eyes were wide with excitement.

“Kristina Carmine, actually,” I said.

“Even better!” she exclaimed. “Oh, can I meet her?”

“Uh…I guess. My whole family should be flying in for my birthday in a few days—Saturday probably—so, she’ll be there.”

Harmony opened her mouth to say something. Her eyes looked over, next to me and she grimaced. I moved my eyes slightly to look at James. He was frowning and shaking his head slightly. And he was eyeing everyone.

“What is it?” I asked without looking at James. That was my secret weapon.

Nobody answered.

I looked directly at Max. “Scruffy…” I let the silence trail on. It was all I needed to do.

He jumped a little and opened his mouth. I saw next to me that James was going to say something, but the words started rushing out like a waterfall before he could get a word in.

“We have to train you. It’s all worked out,” he began. I listened attentively, trying to understand. “Three days of witch magic, two of werewolf training, three of shape-shifting, and two of vampire training. Or that was how it was supposed to go anyway. But James wants to fight him off himself and doesn’t want you getting involved, so we’re not sure. Viv is trying to get him to change his mind but James is the most stubborn vampire in the world. And my opinion is that—”

“Okay, I'm caught up,” I cut in. I looked at James. “Training? What’s all that about?”

“Nothing you have to worry about, because we aren’t doing it.” James looked at Viv as he said it. Viv seemed to shrink under his gaze.

“Wait a minute. You said something about that thing killing me. You said that you killed it but you weren’t sure that it worked because you weren’t the one who was supposed to kill him. It’s me. I'm the one that’s supposed to kill him!” I was standing up by now. James opened his mouth to argue, but I was still talking. “I'm the one who’s supposed to help save people and you want me to just sit there and watch everyone die? Are you crazy or just stupid? I mean, I have a chance to save maybe even the world and you want me to stay hidden? And you want me to sit quiet? You don’t know me at all then! And I’m part everything and have a chance of killing this thing! Plus I can be trained! And you—” I stopped and took a sharp breath. I ran both of my hands through my hair, then closed my eyes and put my hands over my face. I exhaled sharply and removed my hands from my face and put one on my hip. “Listen,” I said calmly, when I could control my voice again. “Dangerous spirits are coming to haunt us once more because of me. It’s time to fight back. We have to be ready now and forever.”

“No,” James answered.

“Yes,” I said through my teeth.

“I said no.” James stood up. Great. We were having an argument in public.

“And I said yes. I told you not to get in my business.”

“And I told you that you are my business.”

I raised my hands and opened my mouth without saying a word as my hands shook. Then I brought one hand down and bit my nail angrily. I inhaled sharply again. “I'm going to do it either you want it or not, so get used to the idea.” I sat back down angrily.

“James, you can't protect her any longer,” Jeremiah said. “You have to let Lumex make her decisions. And this one isn’t even hers. She’s destined to do it.”

“Yes, but—” James argued.

“She’ll just keep dying and dying if you don’t let her do it,” Andrew chimed in.

“Didn’t know you cared so much,” I said sarcastically.

“I'm your vampire mentor, so show me some respect,” he said emotionlessly.

“Not even in your dreams.” I took a piece of lobster mindlessly and almost choked. I suppressed it and swallowed the lobster thing. It tasted more like sand now.

“Listen Andrew, you tutor her on anything, I don’t care if she accidentally bites someone and her fangs come out, I’ll hold you responsible and I’ll kill you. I’ll carve something from wood with my own bare hands and kill you.”

“I don’t need him, I'm going to ask Violet,” I answered. “And you can't threaten them because I'm pretty sure that right now they’re scared more of me than you.”

“You know she has a point,” Jeff said.

James closed his eyes and ran a hand through his hair. He looked like he was arguing with himself in his head. I tried to reach out and enter his mind, but he was blocking me out.

I didn’t wait for him to give an opinion. “When can we start training?” I asked.

“Tomorrow,” Viv answered.

“An hour of witchcraft and the rest of the time we’ll be trying to get your vampire instincts working,” Scarlett pitched in.

I stared confused. Scarlett shrugged and looked at Violet for help.

“Getting your fangs out, your speed, then the strength stuff, and hunting, defending yourself and fighting with your teeth, and then maybe how to kill a vampire with wood too,” Violet answered.

Sounds complicated, I complained silently. But I can do it. There are lives at risk. James is one of those lives. And I'm going to do whatever it takes to save him. If the gods fall, then so does everyone. The peace will be corrupted and the disasters prevented because of them will be set free.

I'm happy! You’re actually convincing James to help you! A sweet little voice said in my head.

I recognize this voice immediately. Chloe? What’s going on? I don’t understand anything.

I can't say. You aren’t supposed to receive help from the angels. But you’ll know soon enough. I heard a faint nervous giggle. Bye-bye. Talk to you some other time.

That was rather strange, I thought to myself when I was almost completely positive that Chloe was gone.

Then, just like Chloe had said, James took a deep breath and finally agreed to the idea. “But I'm watching and I say when it’s too much.”

“Jamie, too much for you is probably when I get a splinter. Or if I trip and scratch myself with a twig,” I said, completely serious. “You are absolutely not going to say a word about that.”

Andrew and Jeff started laughing but caught themselves after the first giggle. That proved my point.

“No arguing at the table,” Jenna complained. “I mean, I know it’s a “save the world” kind of thing, but we’re here to learn more about Lumex.”

“Sure,” I said, eyeing James warily. “What did you want to learn?”

“What’s your favorite color?” Viv asked.

“Um…crimson,” I said, puzzled. That was simple. I was thinking something more like, how do you plan on saving the world? Or, what are your specialties? But not something like that.

“Oh. That’s interesting. Very interesting,” Viv said.

“Why is it so interesting?” I asked.

“Because, usually for witches, their aura is their favorite color,” Scarlett explained. “We can fight with magic and this special fire that we have.”

“But the favorite color of witches also tells a lot about their personalities,” Violet helped. When I just stared, she continued. “You might have noticed that Viv was using magic to try and cure Max. And if you’re really that observant, then you saw the rosy pink glow.” I nodded. “It’s her personality. She’s nice and sweet and caring and everything else, understand?”

“I…think so….”

“Crimson might be something that happened when you were smaller. Something that left you traumatized with blood and made you um…violent,” Jeff suggested.

That’s probable. The bloody image that was stuck in my head since I was five flashed in front of my eyes. I winced and I felt James stiffen next to me.

“Okay, next,” Viv said. “What’s your favorite food?”

“I don’t really like any food. They have a sandy taste and it all tastes bland. So I can't really tell the difference. I mean, you could give me a piece of cake and a chili pepper to taste and I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference” I shrugged.

“She sure is a vampire,” Giselle said.

“Huh?”

“Vampires don’t eat human food,” Jenna said. “They can but it all tastes like sand. That’s why.” Huh. That’s interesting. “Have you tried giving her blood, James?”

“Absolutely not!” James burst out. “I've known her three days in this lifetime and you want me to give her blood? She still has a chance of remaining a pure witch! If I let her feed she’ll be introduced to this hell that is being a vampire!”

“James, I’ll figure it out on my own if I have to,” I said through my teeth. James was starting to try my patience and control. And of that I didn’t have a lot of. Hmm.... Now that I think about it, maybe this is why I'm so thin. I haven't been getting the right nutrition. “And I want to be a vampire.”

“I’ll do this one, James,” Violet cut in before James could get a word out. She turned to look at me and put on the same face James made. “No you don’t! The blood lust, the sun making you feel weak—as if your powers are being drained from you when they’re only getting weaker by the second. The being hunted by every living species, because you have the power to devour them. Being hunted down by at least one person of every race! Being a vampire is a possible death sentence!”

“Here’s the thing,” I said, “I don’t care.

“Andrew. I'm starting to believe you. She really might be stupid after all,” Violet said, looking over at Andrew. He grinned triumphantly.

“I'm not stupid—and if you keep this up Andrew, I’ll pick a special tree and beat you to death with it—but I did come to this conclusion,” I said. “I am reborn every hundred years or so, and James is an immortal vampire. He’s going to stay looking like that forever but I'm going to get old. And I'm going to die eventually. But here’s the catch. Look. The next time I awaken, I might have killed this thing that is coming after me, so I might change. I might change enough that neither James nor any of you can tell me apart from all the other humans. So I’ll end up never remembering my past lives and you guys. And frankly I'm not going to take that risk. I'm going to become a vampire even if it means going to my vampire family. My uncle is in town, I'm sure that he’ll be curious to see how a half-blood’s blood tastes like.”

“I hate to say it, but she makes a very good point,” Max said. I turned my head slightly to look at him. “I’ve known Lumex in at least three-fifths of her lives and she’s never been this determined. She’s finally learned the truth and she wants to stick to her decision. I say we let her.”

“Give an honest response, puppy,” I said. “Do you really think that or is it that you don’t want to go on another goose chase looking for me?”

“I really think that.”

“Well, do you all think that?” James asked, curtly.

There was no response from anyone.

“This isn’t our place,” Andrew said.

“He’s right,” I said. “And it isn’t your place either, James.”

“That’s what you think.”

“Hey!” Jeremiah, who had been sitting quietly with Heidi during the whole argument, interrupted. “Let’s just have a peaceful dinner. I know that this is all serious stuff, like Jenna said, but we’re trying to learn more about each other. Not rip each other’s heads off.”

James mumbled something else, but I didn’t catch it. After all he’d said just now, my brain automatically filed this in the unimportant section.

“Next question,” Viv said as if nothing had just happened.

The dinner went on for another hour without anymore arguments. All of the questions were simple, just like the first two had been. I had offered to help wash the dishes but was told not to mind it. James had put his arm around my waist and whispered in my ear to come with him. I wasn’t really mad at him any longer, but a part of me wanted to get him to understand once and for all that this wasn’t his place. That he shouldn’t be getting involved.

Still, I let him lead me through the same hallway and past the same painting until we reached a white door.

“Are you still mad at me?” James asked suddenly, stopping and turning to look at me directly in the eye.

“No.”

“Not even a little?” he asked, astonished.

“Should I be?”

“No. It’s just that you’re more forgiving in this lifetime.”

“Yeah, well things change. I mean, you didn’t expect me to stay a delicate flower that you have to protect every second, did you? Oh, who am I kidding, yes you did.”

“That wasn’t the point,” he argued. “You’ve always been a regular human. I’ve always been afraid that you would slip away before I could meet you. But it was always after. And I don’t know when the next time could happen. So naturally, I want to protect you every chance I get. You just don’t understand it. I’ve always been stronger than you. I’ve always had the power to protect you. It’s never been the other way around.”

“But now it is and you’re still treating me like I’m a regular human girl.”

“I'm treating you like any other soul mate would. I'm trying to protect you! Why can't you just let me?”

“Because nobody has ever done it,” I choked out. “Nobody has ever taken care of me. It’s always been the other way around. With my cousins, Brooke, my pets and my mother, it’s always been the same. Not once have I been huddled into a warm little nest of security. Not once. It’s how I grew up. It’s how I’ve always lived.”

“Is that what you really think?” James shook his head disapprovingly.

What are you talking about? I don’t think, I know.”

“Really?” he challenged. “Why didn’t your family tell you that you were a witch? Your own mother kept it a secret from you. Why didn’t your father ever take you out hunting? Why is it that you’ve never had contact with your father’s side of the family?”

I opened my mouth. Nothing came out. I didn’t know. I didn’t know! But it seemed as if James did. He’d caught me. He’d attacked somewhere I didn’t know. Somewhere unfamiliar.

“I’ll tell you why,” he continued. “It’s because Molly arranged it that way. Because she knew that when you found out your heritage, you would be confused. She thought you’d feel alone. Like a freak. She did all this to protect you. But she didn’t count on you being The Animus Materia, or me coming for you. But she accepted that she couldn’t protect you any longer. She accepted that this was how things were meant to be. And that’s what I have to learn. So never say that you’ve always been alone. Never say that you haven't been protected.” In a surprise attack, James pulled me against him in a hug. He held me like that. He pressed me to his chest with an iron grip. Not that I was fighting.

“I—I didn’t—I didn’t know that,” I breathed.

James closed his eyes and buried his face in my hair. “There’s so much you don’t know. So much I don’t want you to know or be.”

I relaxed my muscles and hugged back, pressing myself against him. My head was on his chest and my eyes were closed. I listened to his even breathing and no more. There wasn’t a heartbeat.

James. A vampire of the rare class. A pureblood vampire. A vampire that was born this way. Undead. An undead spirit that ended up with a soul that had so much life in it. Opposites attract and they go well together. That’s what we were. Opposites. Less than usual, but still opposites. Opposites and still the same. One soul. Two souls merged into one. That was what soul mates were. And having a soul mate was the best thing in the world.

He’s cold. He feels cold. I’ve never noticed but his skin is icy. The strange feeling of the world disappearing from under me and the dizzying feeling got my mind off this. But as he had said, I got used to it and now I felt cold. I shivered once.

James pulled away.

“I'm sorry,” he apologized.

“No. It’s fine. I mean, I probably feel cold to you too,” I shrugged.

“Not at all. You feel warm.”

I looked away from his hypnotizing gray eyes and at the hardwood floor. “Do you think that when my vampire instincts are awakened—do you think I’ll be cold?” I asked.

“I don’t know.” He stroked my cheek as he spoke. “Though, vampire skin against vampire skin feels room temperature usually.”

“It doesn’t matter to me how you feel,” I said, looking up. I pressed myself to him. “I just want to be with you…forever….” I pressed myself tighter to him.

“I'm working on that. I truly am,” he said, his voice strained.

We’re working on it. That’s my one condition.”

He sighed. “I don’t feel like fighting, so I'm going to allow this once.”

“Once is all I need to defeat this thing.” I pulled away a little to look at him. He grinned at me. Then his lips parted and I knew he was going to start a new argument. Before he could, I went on my tippy-toes and kissed him.

I had a response to my question. An honest response. I want us to be together like this forever. Is that so wrong?

No. We’re meant to be like this. Now and forever. Since the first time.

The first time. That is still a blur. I can't seem to be able to find it. It’s as if something doesn’t want me remembering that one time. My first life. And it troubled me. I think that there might be something hidden that could be a valuable piece of information. James is worried enough as it is about me. Why bother him with this?

We pulled away and James chuckled. He opened the door and I followed puzzled as he entered into the room.

It was a large open room with dozens of bookshelves covering the walls. A large bed was placed at the center of the room and a few pillows were placed on top. A desk with a lamp and scrolls on it lay on one side and the other side next to the large window had a sofa. The window showed the whole city, noting how we were at the top floor. There was a smaller window that showed the school next door.

My eyes stayed focused on the scrolls. They looked so ancient. As if they had been buried underground and an archeologist had just uncovered them.

“This is my room, basically,” James said. “Well, right now.”

I walked over to the desk. “What’s this?” I asked, picking up a scroll. I opened it and found a picture of what looked like Isis on a cloud, reaching out for a black rose that was on the ground on what looked like a dirt path. Isis’s hands were dripping with blood and her cow’s horns and golden disk were left somewhere near the rose. But it was definitely the rose that she was reaching for. There were blood stains on her tunic and it looked like she was injured.

“We discovered them about fifteen years ago. I showed them to Vivian a few weeks ago and she thinks that there might be something important in there. But so far we’ve had no luck in solving the puzzle.”

I picked up a different scroll. This one had an inscription:

Hidden in darkness the princess will rise;

Hidden in light the goddess has come;

Flowers bloom and evil shall fall;

Nighttime comes and evil has won.

“That’s one thing we know,” James continued, reading over my shoulder. “We believe it’s about you.”

Me?” I exclaimed, stunned. “How can this possibly be related to me?”

“If our superstitions are correct, then it’s a prophecy about defeating evil. I mean, ‘Flowers bloom and evil shall fall’ that is pretty clear.”

“Not really,” I mumbled. “‘Hidden in darkness the princess will rise; hidden in light the goddess has come,’” I recited pensively. “It says something about gods, so, maybe it’s the daughter of a ruling god. Hence the term ‘princess.’”

“Maybe…. I just wish we knew exactly who. That way we would at least have a clue of what it means.” There was something about James when he looked at the scrolls. Like he knew exactly what it meant, but just couldn’t remember.

“‘Hidden in darkness…’ ‘Hidden in light…’” I mumbled. What did that mean?

James picked a different scroll and handed it to me. “Check this one out.”

I opened it and read over it:

Stem to rose will save the worlds;

Drain the soul, the world is damned.

White to Crimson reveals the fate;

Drink the wine, the worlds are spared.”

I shook my head. I really hate puzzles. “What are the ‘worlds’?” I asked, pointing out a key word.

“I can only think of one thing,” James said. “It’s in very ancient witch history. I remember reading about it once.” James walked over to a bookshelf and his eyes looked over the books, searching for the right one. Finally he reached out and took out a big black leather book. He set it on the desk and skimmed through the pages. He stopped at a page marked with a dried up iris. There were words circled in red, blue, and black. James pointed at a picture.

I didn’t understand it. All there was were three colors: white, green, and a fiery red.

“Heaven,” he pointed at the white, “Earth,” his finger slid down to the green, “and hell,” his finger stopped on the red. “The three worlds separated by the barriers sky and earth.”

“You think these are the three worlds?” I asked, studying the picture. Something creeped me out about the fiery red.

“It’s just a superstition. I'm not positive. But I do think that ‘save the worlds’ means that there is one person who will save the gods, the humans and Moon people, and all the other spirits that are down there with Hades from whatever danger is coming. And you might be a part of it, since you’re The Animus Materia”

“You know? I have a feeling that you’re getting close to figuring out. But I'm definitely not a part of it.” I stared hard at the scroll. ‘Drain the soul, the world is damned.’ ‘Drink the wine, the world is spared.’ “Is there a special kind of wine?” I asked. “One that could have been made for this person?”

“I don’t know. And I don’t think it’s that.”

“Eh, worth the effort.” I shrugged. “Well, still, do you think I could get a copy of these? I want to do some research of my own.”

“Sure. But where are you going to get information on Black Moon stuff?” He had a point. “It’s not like people have libraries with books about this.”

“I know. But I want to see if there’s something that I can do.”

“After we train,” James argued. “You wanted it. I let it happen. Now we have to get you ready.”

“Mm-hmm.”

I grabbed a pen that was sitting on a book about vampires, I think, and a piece of paper and wrote down the prophecies and then folded it and put it in my pocket.

“There,” I said. I picked a different scroll that had another picture. A scythe that looked like it was made of wood. Then next to it was a small wooden rectangle. “Are there any more?”

“No. Just pictures.”

“I wonder why….” I let my voice trail off as I stared at the scythe. I felt connected to it. Like if I just reached out I could grab it. I traced the form of the scythe with my index finger. I have an aching feeling inside me. That object. How is it connected to me?

“Are you okay?” James came from behind me and put his arms around me. He gently placed his cheek on my head.

I leaned back into his strong arms. “Yes.”

I was still thinking of the scythe. Somehow, nowadays, it seemed as if everything was related to me. I didn’t like it.

I suppressed a shiver.

We remained just like that for what seemed like an eternity.

 

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