VI. The Goddess

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Jenny hands the letter to Lacroix, but he obviously can't summon up the energy to care about it any more than I can. He's probably got buckets of these letters in his office. I think he'd roll his eyes, and I would, too, except that Jenny's here, silently fuming, her arms hugged tight to her chest. Lacroix says something about monitoring the situation—which is just police jargon for doing nothing—and afterwards Jenny and I go back outside to the silent parking lot and stand awkwardly by her car.

Seconds tick by. She casts me one dark, anxious look. "See you Thursday."

Not a word about Miranda. And never a word about Suze. The pretense continues. But I'm just as much a part of this charade as she is. "Okay, Jen."

And she gets into her car and drives away.

I stuff my hands into my pockets and cut across town into the forest, where the cool shadows envelop me. I try to clear my mind as I walk. Something I learned a lot time ago: when my thoughts are painful, it is better not to think.

But today I can't control my thoughts. They keep slipping back towards Miranda. Her black tights and short dress. The way she smiles when she talks about her dad. That tear falling onto her collar.

I walk across the entire island and end up at the most remote corner of East Beach, where the waves almost touch the cliff face. Reflected red and gold from the sunset behind me bleeds into the sea. A bird circles in the distance, its wings a spiked silhouette.

I find a boulder to sit on and draw my legs up to my chest, draping my arms across my knees. Jenny will be at home in Bellisle by now, where her life is calm and orderly.

She did ask me once, when we first started going out, if I ever thought about leaving the island. I don't remember what I told her, but the truth is that even after my short trips to Bellisle for dinner or a movie, I'm desperate to come home. Even though all I do is walk in long lonely circles through the forest, or I sit here on East Beach, and I think about the day Suze's body washed up a few hundred yards to the south. I think about our final argument, and the day my heart broke for good.

It hurts me—of course it does. It hurts all the time, even now.

But sometimes I imagine I can just catch Suze's scent on the rocky cliff path where we used to walk together. Or see her hair in the bright curling clouds of the sunset over the sea. And that is almost enough to make the pain worth it. If I can't ever touch her again, or hear her voice, at least I can still see glimpses of her in the sea and the sky, from the solid ground that I'm tied to.

I am lucky to have as much as I do—because I have not forgotten, will never forget, what it was like to wake up in a concrete cell every day. This is as much as I can hope for: my memories of Suze, and a girlfriend who cares for me, even if she doesn't quite trust me.

My disobedient thoughts stray back to Miranda, and that hesitant, curious half-step she took towards me when she said, I feel like I know you. I still don't understand, even after all these years, how some people can seem more vivid, just more alive, than everyone else around them. Even her smallest gestures—like licking her swollen lips—are strangely resonant.

I pick up a pebble from the rock beside me and toss it into the sea, watching the waves lap it up. Poor Jenny, always second in my heart, in my mind. I'm not good to her. All I've done is turn her sadder and more silent. More like me.

I tell myself I'm lucky to have her—and if only I could stop thinking about Miranda, I would almost believe it.




******

You guys, I feel soo bad leaving Owen sitting all sad and alone on that rock! Even though I know he will eventually be okay. :-) 

Thank you so much for reading this little story! I hope it wasn't too hard to understand and that you liked seeing some scenes from Owen's perspective! If you have a chance, let me know what you thought of it! <3

xoxo,

London


This part is dedicated to @horselova123 for being so supportive and sweet! :-)

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