True Memoirs of A Liar 2: Sacrifice
Author: C Lawson

Chapter 27
Lena

My heart was pounding as I ran as fast as I could down three flights of stairs.  I was flying, going faster than I’d ever run, but it wasn’t quite fast enough.  I burst through the stairway door and sprinted to my door. It was difficult to come to such a quick stop, so I sort of skidded along past the door.  But I corrected myself as speedily as I could manage, grabbing onto the doorknob for help.  I flung the door open and rushed into the living room. It was exactly as I remembered leaving it, only perhaps, slightly cleaner.  I barely paid any attention.

            Zooming to my bedroom, I caught sight of no one but myself in the mirror.  I dashed to the bathroom, glancing quickly around, and finding nothing.  He’d killed her.  Lena was gone because I’d left her. But I’d been sure that she’d be safe.  I’d hidden her!  How had he found her?  I heard footsteps behind me.  They were light and quick.

            “CAMILLE!” a small voice squealed.  I whirled around, and was crashed into by a forceful, lithe body. “YOU’RE BACK!” Lena screamed, snuggling deep into my body.  I just gaped, my eyes wide with wonder and shock.  I immediately wrapped my arms around her small frame, determined not to let her go. “How was Paris? I’ve always dreamt about Paris, you know.  I wish that I could’ve gone with you.  How long was the plane flight?  Malachi says that Paris is just a tourist attraction. But I don’t believe him. Do you? Malachi bought me an ice cream cone today.  I had a new flavor that I never had before! It’s called chocolate-chip coffee.  It was really good.  We shared it.  Tomorrow, he says that he’s getting promoted to guard and that you can request him if you want to, but I told him that you were way too busy to request him.  And besides, you already have enough guards.  But he says that if you do, then me and him can stay up late and talk about anything we want to, because you don’t care if we do.  And plus, all of the servants think that if you came back from Paris alive and not hurt, then you really are going to save us.  And I told them that you would.  But not all of them believe me.  Malachi thinks that Sir is going to win, and you’re going to turn into one of them.  But I told him, you know.  I told him.”

            God, I’d missed her.

            “Hi, to you too, Lena.” I kissed the top of her head and she squeezed me tightly.

            “Who is the corn-haired man?  The nice one?” she asked, looking up at me. I sighed, wondering how much I should tell her, how much she could handle.

            “Alex.  My ex-fiancé.” She nodded, as if expecting as much, and took my hand in hers. “Where is Malachi?” I questioned, knowing that she and him were best friends.

            “He’s training with…Alex?” She struggled to remember his name. My eyes drifted to a place on the wall over her head, watching as Samuel brought my suitcases up to my room.  Samuel whistled at Lena, his way of calling her.  She twisted out of my hold and ran to Samuel.  He walked with Lena in his arms back to me and ran one of his large hands through my hair.  I smiled at him.  We were a family.  The best kind I knew.

            Samuel laid his forehead against mine tenderly.  Lena leaned against him.  He would be a good husband and father to a lucky woman and baby someday.  Othello entered the room, and Lena burst away from us and jumped up into Othello’s waiting arms. “HEY ELLY!” she greeted in her loudest voice.  Othello whirled her around repeatedly.

            “You’ve been good, yeah?” he asked, still not letting her feet touch the floor.  She wrapped her legs around him as much as she could; Othello was huge and broad.

            “Yes! I missed you!” she squealed.  Ah, sweet reunion. “Did you bring me back something?” she asked.

            “Of course!  I couldn’t forget, yeah?  I brought you a good present.” He carried her into the living room, while Samuel and I sat down on my bed.

            “So, did you hear?” I wondered, referring to Alex’s stay here.  He nodded. “I’m sorry.  He’s being an idiot.”

            “If I recall correctly, miss, you volunteered to remain here as well.” I laughed and nodded. “Idiocy is in the eye of the beholder…miss.” I watched him for a moment. “Is there something on your mind?” he asked, noticing that I was staring at him. I almost said no, really, I almost turned my head and changed the subject.

            “I was just thinking about you, Samuel,” I stated instead.  I needed a distraction from the Alex predicament. “How did you get into this?” Samuel fixed me with a hard stare.  I just stared back.

            “Don’t bother yourself with such questions, miss.” I nodded. “Are you tired?” he wondered, guiding me to the bathroom. I nodded again and started my own shower. “I’ll have your dinner sent up.” I nodded one more time, looking like a bobble-head doll. I showered, didn’t touch my dinner, and put Lena to bed. I requested Othello that night so that he could take a jog with me. I really needed a good run.  He agreed reluctantly, trying to keep up with me.  Samuel stayed behind with Lena, guarding her for me.

            The entire three miles was completely silent; I was totally focused. Nothing was going to stop me.  The cold air attacked my cheeks viciously, trying to tear the hair from my ponytail.  I just pushed myself harder, further, in hopes of somehow, beating the wind.

            Returning to my room exhausted, I curled up in a ball on top of my comforter.  Lena slept comfortably in her small bed only a few feet away from mine.  I was amazed at how she could make such a bad situation into a home.  I sighed, and rolled over, too tired to shower.  I let my eyes drift shut and allowed sleep to fully envelop me.

            The morning brought no renewed sense of hope, joy, or any other positive emotion.  But Lena was still alive, and I considered that a win for the home team.  We brushed our teeth together in my large bathroom, the walls pink marble.  The sinks were white alabaster laced in a gold trim.  So over-the-top that no one should live like this. But Lena was happy, and I knew that there were many people much worse off than I was at the moment, so I had no reason to complain.  We lazily looked at each other with sleep-heavy eyes, our hair both looking like we’d just walked out of a wind-tunnel.  We trudged down to breakfast together, Lena rushing off to eat with her friends.  I sat at my usual place on the right side of Mr. Stone, overlooking the servants and goons.  I felt like everyone was watching me, my every move, no matter how mundane.  Mr. Stone was of course there as well, nodding to me simply in greeting.  But what made my heart jump was the fact that on Mr. Stone’s left side, Alex sat there, eating hungrily and…normally?  He didn’t seem at all affected by the fact he was in, I don’t know…hell?  I pushed my food around a little on my plate aimlessly, only bringing pieces to my mouth when Mr. Stone demanded it of me.  I walked back to my room reluctantly; Malachi had asked Lena if she’d wanted to stay with him for a while and hang out.  I was wary of it, considering that he was a strong supporter of Mr. Stone, but Lena was extremely fond of him.  So I let her go.

 

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