Moving into Polly’s house had taken much less time than it took to move into my last—and now destroyed—apartment. And I had nearly nothing then.
But I had moved into Polly’s in under 5 minutes. All it took was me walking through the door and saying, “Honey, I’m home!” But that was because I now had not even a single sliver to my name. My clothes, my books, my memories had all been completely destroyed in the final battle and resulting fire. All I had left was the clothes on my back, and Luc had bought those for me today.
“I know,” Luc said smiling, sidling up to me. “I’m right behind you. You don’t have to yell,”
“Who said she was talking to you?” Polly said, walking across the foyer towards us. She stepped forward and hugged me like one embraces a beloved family member they never get to see. I never quite realized what a toll this ordeal had on us until I saw Polly. When we had been living at Luc’s apartment, her face had hollowed, her hair fell limp and she lost weight and not in a good way. But now Polly wasback to being fresh and full of life; her soft pink skin glowed under the evening sun that streamed in the door behind us and her fiery red hair was lush and bouncy again.
I, too, had bounced back. I felt more strong and confident; after all, what could scare me after I had faced something out of a nightmare? Even without a single thing in my possession, I felt complete. I felt safe.
Luc walked passed me and dropped the box on the floor with a heavy thunk. He inhaled and looked over the layout of the house, pausing on certain things. He must remember it from the time he had dated Lillian, and it must be even stranger for him to be living here now. He had been here for the past few weeks, but I could still tell there was a sense of discomfort that pervaded.
Despite his awkward mood, Luc was even more beautiful than the day I met him. The stress lines had faded from his face, and there was a calmness there that could only be achieved by the literal lifting of a deadly curse.
And here we all were, under the same roof. We had accepted Polly’s invitation to move into her gorgeous behemoth of a house. And since I had gotten out of the hospital this morning, and now I had moved in.
“Where should I put these books?” Luc asked, tapping the side of the box with his foot. They were books he had salvaged from what was left of our old apartment block. He had made a stop there after he picked me up from the hospital, and I had watched as he rifled through the debris—in the area that I though had once been his room—and unearth book after book. They all shared the same characteristics—they were heavy looking, carefully bound in leather by what seemed by hand, and inscribed with writing that I couldn’t read. They were important spell books, and they were the only thing to survive the fire. I supposed that they, too—like the book of protective spells we used to finally seal Lillian away—had been a protective spell cast on them that made them impervious to damage. It made sense.
“Upstairs,” Polly said, nodding her head towards the stairs that stood opposite from the door. “In my room,”
“Your room?” I asked. “Where are you staying?”
“I’m not,” Polly said quietly. I felt my mouth fall open in surprise and Luc stopped mid-bend from picking up the box.
“You’re not staying?” I repeated, my voice dipping into a bit of a whine. I was trying to work out what that meant in my head.
Polly shook her head.
“Where are you going?”
She sighed. She knew that I would be disappointed in the news, and it hurt her to continue.
“I realized that I never really knew my sister. Magic...” she winced as she said the word, like she still didn’t want to believe it was real, “...played a large part in her life, and yet I had no idea. There’s a whole history to her that I knew nothing about.
“So I’m going to find out. I’m going to trace my sister’s history and find out exactly what happened to her. I need to know.”
She averted her gaze, like she didn’t want to see me as I took in that information. The pain must’ve been plain on my face. I wanted to protest, to stop her from leaving. We had just faced death, many times over—together—and I wanted to spend some time with her in an environment where our lives weren’t constantly being threatened, to relax and have fun. But I knew, even after realizing that it was her sister—or whatever had been using her shell—who had been the one trying to kill us, that it didn’t change that her sister was important to her. I knew how much it must have hurt to hear that her sister didn’t trust her enough to tell her about her secret life. And I understood why she would want to confront that. It would be difficult, but Polly had never been one to shy away from a little work. She wanted closure, and this would bring it.
But I could also tell that it was hard for Polly to leave my side. She didn’t want to leave me alone, especially after all we had been through. She may have lost her sister by blood, but she had gained me, now like a sister—we would be friends for as long as we both lived. And after all we had been through, it would be hard for her to walk away and leave me on my own for however long it took... and I knew that it wouldn’t be a short amount of time.
“It’s okay, Polly,” I said. I didn’t want her to leave, but I knew that this is what was best. I was more willing to support her as she left than to keep her close for my own selfish reasons. “You can go. You should go.”
“Be careful,” Polly hissed, bringing her eyes back to meet mine. “I’m leaving the house in your control. It’s yours as long as I am away,”
My eyes widened. “You’re giving me your house?”