fifty eight

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“Wait, Sophie was having a romantic picnic and holding hands with Taron? Like Taron, Taron. The guy who had tried to kiss like every girl in the elite levels?” Keefe asked painstakingly. “That can't be true. Sophie wouldn't do that.”

“She was and I went there to tell her I loved her. I am such a fool. Seriously how stupid am a I?” Fitz said burying his face in his hands.

After leaping home he quickly realized he didn't want to face his mom or Biana and quicky hailed Keefe and told him he was coming early. He had sat in silence for a while, even blowing Sophie off when she reached out. He wasn't ready to talk to her, his only concern was at some point he had dropped her gift. He could only imagine the laughter if she found it, it tore him up inside even more. Maybe it was at Everglen and he could leap home quickly to find it. When his imparter starting going off from his mom, Biana and his dad he knew he needed to tell Keefe what had happened.

“So what are you going to do?” Keefe asked still trying to piece everything together. It didn't make sense, Sophie had just talked to him 2 weeks ago, Taron hadn't even been out of the towers for 6 hours when this all went down. There had to be something missing.

“Probably just go back to the towers and study, it's the only place Sophie isn't allowed. Maybe by next year it won't hurt.” Fitz answered. He thought to himself who was he kidding, he and Sophie were meant to be together it would always hurt. He felt like he had lost his future Cognate partner, his best friend and the love of his life in one second.

“Before you decide anything I need to give you something, but you have to promise me you will at least talk to her before you go all Falon Vacker and lock yourself away for the next 1000 years. I am sure there is some explanation.” Keefe said before standing up and heading to his room. When he returned held out a bunch of folded papers. Fitz instinctively reached for them before Keefe pulled them back. “Promise me you will talk to her, she needs a chance to explain whatever happened. I can be there for you if you want. We can do it tonight at the party but you have to talk to her.”

“I promise.” Fitz grumbled grabbing the papers from Keefe's hand. Keefe sat in silence watching Fitz's face go from anger, to confused, to proud, to calm. “How did you, when did you get this?”

“You gave it to me thinking it was from your parents. I talked to Sophie about it while you were on your trip.” Keefe answered with a smirk.

“Wait, what? How did I not know it was in there and how did you see Sophie?” Fitz asked his eyes returning to her letter.

Keefe replayed the details of their session, which was more therapy than mimicking, for Fitz before adding, “I don't know how or when Taron got to Sophie but the girl I know wouldn't willingly be holding hands with some boy when she is clearly hung up on you.”

Fitz looked up the hopeful feeling radiating off him. “You really think this is all a misunderstanding?”

“Absolutely and I know just the way for you to make it up to her!” Keefe proudly.

“No, I don't need your help I will figure something out.” Fitz answered back. “It needs to come from me and I will think of something to make it up to her.”

“If that's what you think, I mean a little help from Dex and we could have some serious fun.” Keefe said his eyebrows going up and down.

Fitz rolled his eyes, this was exactly why Keefe should not be involved, he needed Sophie to be willing to talk to him. Reading over her letter again he knew if this is how she really felt and couldn’t tell him they had much bigger trust issues to work through than Taron and whatever was going on there. A ding on his imparter pulled his thoughts back to reality.

You really need to talk to Sophie. I haven't seen her this emotional since you brought her home from the Forbidden Cities.

Fitz paused for a second before sending a quick message back.

I need your help but can't see Sophie yet. Can I meet you at the gnome bistro? I can be there in 5 minutes or so.

It only took Alden a few seconds to respond and Fitz breathed a sigh of relief at his dad's response.

No need to worry. I will see you there.

“I gotta go Keefe, wish me luck.” Fitz said as he set his Pathfinder to Eternalia. With a flash of light Fitz was standing back at the spot by the river looking out over the city.

He quickly made his way to the Gnome bistro and sat down at an empty table where he could watch the door. He knew his father would be there soon and the nerves were starting to get the best of him. He knew he needed to see Sophie and he wanted to think of the perfect place to talk to her. His mind played over all of the spots that were meaningful to them, Alluveterre, the panakes, the museum in San Diego, the 4 seasons tree but nothing felt right.

“Fitz, what can I help you with?”

Alden's voice pulled Fitz back from his thoughts. Turning to look at his dad he saw the familiar eyes and smile.

“Dad I don't know exactly what went wrong but I love Sophie and I am going to get her back.” Fitz said his eyes showing fierce determination.

“Get her back? What makes you think you lost her?” Alden questioned with a smile.

“I ran away and I should have trusted her. I didn't like what I saw and I got angry, rather than figuring out what was really happening. It was really, really stupid of me, and then when she tried to talk I snapped at her,” Fitz rambled head down not willing to make eye contact.

“You really think you love her?” Alden asked, Fitz's head snapped up.

“Yes dad, I know forever is a long time but spending the past 10 weeks not being able to see her, well there were times it was unbearable. I felt like part of myself was missing, I realized that part is Sophie and if she even for a second felt what I feel then we can conquer the world together. I love her and I want to be with her forever.”

“What about being matched?” Alden inquired.

“Sophie isn't sure about the whole matchmaking thing and it doesn't matter. I know what I feel and how she makes me better, smarter and we balance each other, we are a team. Besides all my answers were basically describing Sophie anyway.”

“You have liked her that long?” Alden asked eyebrows raising slightly.

“I knew I liked her then, I have been drawn to her since we met but didn't really realize what it really was until we ran away.” Fitz's mind replayed some of his favorite times with Sophie. “Dad I know what I need you to do!”

Alden listened closely occasionally nodding his head as Fitz detailed his plan to show Sophie how much she meant to him.

“You think it will work dad?” Fitz asked the hope in his eyes shining.

“There is no reason to worry.” Alden said as he squeezed Fitz. “Let's go get everything set up.”

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