Chapter 64

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April 1871

How could I be so thoughtless to put Jackson in my room with that thing laying out in the open? I stare down at the parchment that he holds in his hand and then my eyes glide up to his face. He's just standing there, waiting for some sort of explanation from me and I can't give him one.  

"It's nothing," I mumble, trying to swipe it from his hands, but he's far too fast for me and my fingers barely graze the parchment.  

"Don't lie to me." He looks insulted, but how can I tell him the truth? I hadn't planned on this. I hadn't planned on telling anyone about my past, not after what happened the last time, not after being locked away like that. 

"I was just fiddling around Jackson. Writing stories..." 

"Lie." His voice boils over and singes me. He stalks towards me but I scramble away from him. My hearts drumming in my chest and I suddenly feel afraid. He stops instantly and hurt flashes across his face. "Ellie?" I can hear the pain in his voice. It's like his world is being torn apart and it's all because of me.

"What do you want me to say Jackson?" Doesn't he realize the path we're heading down? He's going to think I'm deranged no matter what explanation I give him.  

"The truth," he demands, his voice rough and gravely. The truth! The tears come fast and furious now and I don't even bother trying to stop them. I know it's a futile task. 

"You don't want to know my truth!" I lament, turning away from him and brushing my eyes against my sleeve.

He's quiet and I wait for far too long to speak. I peek over my shoulder back at him. He's still there, looking at me, stubbornly waiting for my honesty. If I open up to him he'll run far away from me, or worse, he could tell everyone that I'm deranged. I might be saving myself a lot of pain if I just say end things between us right now rather than waiting until later when fate pulls us apart from each other. Regardless, this will be goodbye. There is no coming back from knowing this.  

"Just be honest with me," he pleads.

Before I know what's happening, I'm turn around and wipe my hand over my face brushing back the last of my tears and trying to gather my courage. Taking a breath, I begin to speak, softly, like I'm telling a story, not my own history. 

"I was born for the first time in 1781." I don't look at his face; I can't. I can only imagine how he's looking at me. Quickly, I continue on without stopping for fear of not getting it all out.  

"I turned seventeen for the first time in 1798 and I knew those people on that list." I point to the parchment still in his hand as he glances down at the names. "I was murdered right before my eighteenth birthday in 1799. I was thrown over the cliffs at a place called Potter Falls. I don't remember anything that happened after that until I was born again." I decide to omit my second lifetime where I was institutionalized knowing that won't help my case with him right now, "Even as a child I had the memory of my past tucked away inside me, and then I met all of the same people I knew back in 1798 here again and it was as if my past was resurrected. Now some of the same events are repeating themselves and I'm pretty sure my death is going to as well, sometime before my eighteenth birthday."  

I have so much more I could say. I could tell him about Levi and our love for each other, and how we never made it. I could try to explain how Levi is now a part of him and we've been given another chance to make things right. Somehow I could confess to him how I think that there's something so special about our love, that there's a reason we've found each other again. But I don't. That's all I have to give him right now, a few very lousy, very unconvincing sentences. There is nothing but silence and doubt filling the air between us. I look up at him and am heartbroken to see him looking so torn apart with indecision. 

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