In this chapter, Luca finally gets to take Cass back in time to confront a past event. An event that might not have happened the way she remembers. It brings her closer to understanding her life lesson and accepting Luca's help, but it also attracts some unwanted attention. The Spell Tracker won't wait forever to enforce the terms of his contract...
You can catch up on chapters one through twenty-four via the New series label at the top of this post, and thank you very much for reading 💕.
25 A Revelation
came to visit me during the weekend. I was grateful for his company. Now I had
a plan to help Cass, I was eager to get started, which naturally meant the time
between Friday and Monday slowed to a crawl. It was hard to believe I’d only
known Devin for a month. Our connection, and the fact we were both Light Mages,
strengthened our feelings without us even trying.
doesn’t hurt that he’s the best kisser I’ve ever met.
this going to work?” he asked me. “Once you’ve shown her some of what she’s
forgotten, I mean.”
know,” I admitted. “Recognizing the lesson is just the start of the process.
Assuming we’re right about what the lesson is.”
shifted position so we were facing each other. The backstage area was a
terrible place to meet, really, but it felt like it was ours now. And it was also
unlikely any teachers visiting the school out of hours would disturb us.
understands it, though… Why wouldn’t she try to learn the lesson?” said Devin.
still has free will,” I replied. “Gabe didn’t have to come out, did he? He
chose to. He could also have chosen to stay in the closet his entire life.”
that would have been ridiculous.”
opinion,” I pointed out.
opinion of any sensible person,” he retorted.
his prerogative, though. It has to be. And it’s not for you to say what’s right
or wrong for him.”
scowled. “Is that my lesson, then? To support my friends even when I don’t
agree with them? That’s… well…” He trailed off. “I suppose it doesn’t sound so
stupid now I’ve said it out loud.”
grinned. “No. It’s not black-and-white though. You have a tendency to assume
responsibility for the people you care about. It will probably be an ongoing
theme for you.”
you looked at my life path?”
Elizabeth? How did you know where to find her?”
haven’t looked forward.” I was scared of what I might find. Light Mages were given
the opportunity to graduate as guardians at least once in each incarnation. I
don’t want to know. Leaving him would be difficult enough as it was.
help. With Cass,” he said. “Just tell me what to do.”
I’m afraid I’ll be making it up as I go along, though.”
leaned over to kiss me. I lifted my hand to his neck and closed my eyes,
allowing myself to be distracted from the fear I would let him down. I could
only do my best. Unfortunately, there was an excellent chance my best would
fall wide of the mark.
Monday, Cass made me wait until the end of the school day before she would even
talk to me in private, let alone allow me to take her anywhere. I became
increasingly afraid she’d changed her mind.
bell rang, she followed me to an empty classroom willingly enough, trailing her
backpack on the ground behind her. I offered to carry it and she gave me a
scornful look. A second later she sighed and handed it to me.
OK?” I asked.
know. I feel like shit, but it’s nothing specific. Ignore me. I’m being a
darkness surrounding her was verging on impenetrable. It was no wonder her
energy had plummeted. I hoped I was doing the right thing. Without her former
anger to sustain her, she was closer to confronting her life lesson, but also
was waiting. Cass turned around to frown at me. “What’s he doing here?”
just going to make sure no one disturbs us,” I said.
does he know about all of this? Any of this?” Cass took a step backward, then
crede,” I said, more fiercely than I needed to. She paused. “He’s your
brother,” I went on. “He loves you. You’re behaving like you’re all alone in
folded her arms. “You do not get to tell me what to do.”
I’m not. I’m stating the facts,” I replied.
opened her mouth and closed it again. She looked at Devin, who stared back at
her with a faint smile. Cass dropped her gaze first.
can stay,” she muttered.
went to stand outside and I locked the classroom door behind him. I lengthened
my sleeves and reached for Cass’s hand as I’d done before.
she said. “Don’t you need me to tell you where and when?”
glanced at the door and she immediately understood. Her expression became
terrified. “You’re not… you’re not saying h-he… No. He’s wrong. I need him to
see,” I said, ignoring her panic. The sooner we got this started, the better. I
took hold of her hand. “It will be dark, and we have to stay silent. I’m going to
use a spell to make sure of it. You won’t be able to talk to me. Squeeze my
hand three times if you want to leave. OK?”
nodded. I said the date and location and our surroundings transformed. It
wasn’t as dark as I’d feared thanks to a chink of light from where the doors of
the wardrobe we were standing in didn’t quite join. I wobbled, stepping
sideways to avoid what felt like a book under my right foot.
out her free hand to trace the pattern of wood panels on the door, stopping at
the handle. Her grip on my hand relaxed a little. We waited, with only the
sound of an occasional car passing on the street outside for company.
few minutes we could hear voices, becoming louder and louder, until Cass’s
bedroom door was pushed open so forcefully it banged into the wall behind it.
not listening to me!”
Devin’s voice, sounding younger and furious.
listening!” shouted back the thirteen-year-old Cass. “But I don’t want to talk
about it. Just because you lost your father too doesn’t mean you know anything
about what it’s like to lose your mother. All this bullshit about it not being
my fault is…” There was the sound of something being thrown against the wardrobe
door, and the older Cass and I both jumped.
bullshit!” she continued. “You’re like my therapist, telling me I should allow
myself to move on and my mother was ill and yada, yada, yada. How can I move
on? She left me. She left and she never—”
not listening,” interrupted Devin in a low voice. There was silence for a
moment. A shadow moved in front of the light between the doors.
said Cass, sounding calmer. “Tell me again. But if you mention the five stages
of grief, I swear to God I will punch you.”
your fault… and if you let me explain,” said Devin, his voice rising,
presumably to stop Cass from interrupting, “I’ll tell you how I know.”
silence. Cass, next to me, froze.
believe you,” said the younger Cass.
found it under the mat. It must have been there since…” Devin trailed off,
sounding embarrassed. “Anyway, my mom found it and gave it to me this morning
and I’ve been waiting to speak to you. I didn’t want you to read it at school.”
have you read it? What you said about it not being my fault…”
sorry. There’s no envelope, so I couldn’t help—”
squeezed my hand three times. It was completely unexpected and when I didn’t
react straight away she carried on, using more and more force. “Rescindo,”
I said, pulling my hand away as soon as the classroom reappeared.
I got no
further. Cass pushed past me, turning the handle on the door. She looked back
when it didn’t open, her expression frantic, and to my shame, I debated with
myself for a few seconds about whether I should unlock it. If she runs away
now, I doubt I’ll have another chance.
the door. I want to speak to Dev,” she said.
not what… Resero.”
pulled Devin inside the room and shut the door. He gave me a look as if to say,
“What’s going on?” but before I could answer, Cass spoke to him.
did it say?” she asked. “What did it say?”
made me read it to you,” he replied.
we missed that part,” I said. “Cass wanted to come back.”
made a noise of frustration. “Because we were stuck in a stupid wardrobe. I
didn’t think we’d be able to see what was in the note. God! Can we go
back? Can you remember it? Can—”
I said. “Please, Cass… sit down and listen to me. We can go there another way.
As long as you’re prepared to let me find it.”
talking in riddles. That’s so… so unhelpful.” As the magic settled she was
forced to grab a chair. I hated using the spell, but as an insurance policy
against the Spell Tracker claiming her right this second, I considered it worthwhile.
I was relieved to see her agitation reduce a little.
access your…” I stopped. I didn’t want to tell her about life paths. “We can
access your memories,” I said. “Visiting memories is different. We’ll be
shadows. No need to hide in the wardrobe.”
didn’t we do it that way in the first place?” she asked. “All this time I’ve
been asking you about seeing my mom…”
well, firstly, we’d be shadows. You wanted to talk to her, didn’t you? And
secondly, I can’t access your memories without you noticing. I can’t… I won’t
do it without your permission. I had planned to use a spell, but… anyway. I
changed my mind. And until now, I didn’t think you were ready to give me that permission.”
right. I couldn’t persuade you to stay after school for even five minutes until
were so needy. I told you I wanted some space but you kept—”
said,” I interrupted, before she could go into any more detail about how hopeless
my attempts to help her had been, “I didn’t think you were ready. And you have
to admit the note is a bit of a game-changer.”
not so bad. It feels like spiders inside your head,” said Devin.
looks at your life… memories.”
might be a bit worse for you,” I warned her. “You… er… you’re quite closed
she agreed, unapologetic.
I?” I checked.
want to see that note more than anything right now.”
to remain calm. I was about to look at her life path, something I’d been wanting
to do since the day I arrived. As soon as my magic touched her, she shrank into
the chair. I gave her an anxious look.
don’t stop,” she said. “I’m going to read that note if it’s the last thing I
Don’t even suggest such a thing.
lifting the armor one layer at a time. Without any connection between us it was
painfully slow. Eventually, I made it to the energy map. At last. I can see
it. She did set out to be a Healer. I’d guessed correctly. And the lesson
causing her so many problems was… forgiveness. OK, that makes sense. Compassion
is a pretty non-negotiable Healer quality.
not like spiders,” she said to Devin, wrapping her arms around her body. “It’s more
like a tiger is casually sorting through my head with his claws extended.”
pulled up a chair next to her and put one arm around her shoulders. She leaned
into him. I didn’t stop what I was doing. I couldn’t. Not now I was so close to
to know who she needed to forgive in this life. Her mother, I assumed. Or her
father. She’d cut herself off from any close relationships since she’d lost
them. Even her own brother. It looked like a classic case of
self-preservation—to make sure she never loved anyone else.
it wasn’t. I found the promise she’d made when she turned her back on her life
lesson for good. “I’m never going to do to someone else what my mom did to
me.” It was the other way around. She wanted to make sure no one ever loved
her. Which meant… it was herself she needed to forgive. And, more than
that, in order to be a Healer, she had to accept that she couldn’t save
a major lesson to learn in eleven days. Reeling from the discovery, I forced myself to carry
on and locate the moment Devin handed her the note from her mom.
it?” said Devin. “I can feel your…” He glanced at Cass, but she was too
preoccupied with the pain inside her head to notice what he’d said. “You look
I said. “I’m fine. I’m ready when you are, Cass.”
looked at Devin. “Will you…?”
If you want,” he said, his face breaking into a smile.
that as my cue and put my hand on her shoulder, making the connection. We
watched as the younger Cass read the words her mom had left behind. However her
mom had managed to convince herself death was her only way out, it was clear
that Cass was her one regret and the reason she’d waited as long as she had.
She hoped Cass would stay close to her brother and be happy.
older Cass started to cry, and my hand on her shoulder tightened. It was
heartbreaking. Her mom had obviously expected Cass to get the note before she
went home that day.
was a second note for my mom and my stepdad,” said the younger Devin. “It asked
them to call the cops and look after you.”
younger Cass put one arm around him, clutching the note in her other hand.
“Please let me look after you,” he said.
leaned back to look at him. Her cheeks were wet. “Maybe we could look after
we could,” the younger Devin agreed.
I murmured. I knelt down to speak to Cass. “Give it a few minutes before you
try to process what you’re feeling. You’re probably in shock.”
in shock. I’m furious. I turned my room upside down looking for that note when
Dev told me about it afterward. I wanted him to be telling the truth. I wanted…
her hand on his arm. “I pushed you away because I was terrified. There was no
note,” she said fiercely. “What was I supposed to think when your parents
conveniently misplaced theirs too? You were lying to me. All of you. I thought
you were lying about our friendship and… everything.”
started to protest, but she talked over him.
thought maybe you were getting revenge on me for our dad. I… I don’t
understand. Where did the notes go? Why did I get those blackouts?”
worry, my dear. I can answer both of those questions for you.”
turned to face the direction the voice had come from.