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The Power of Love
Sunday, June 15th, day 15
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away; and there was no sea.
A flaming pain shot up my calf when I stretched in the morning. The dead weight of my toe pulled against the bruised skin. A curse threatened to break through my lips.
Downstairs, my mom and dad were seated around Monica’s table, with three police officers and another body guard.
“The dogs caught the guy you saw yesterday, but he got away. they led us to a dilapidated old house in Heather’s Field. We’ve got it surrounded just in case.”
Mom’s face was drawn. “That’s good, I guess. You got a good look at his face? oh, well. But what if guarding the house’s not the best course of action? He might have just been visiting.” She shuddered
“Then we’ll keep looking.”
A sigh left her body limp. “I’ve been praying about what to do, but I’ve come up with nothing.”
“We all have, ma’am. But it will happen in God’s good time.”
“Oh, good morning Hanuara.”
I limped to the fridge and poured myself some milk. I would ask Sam to drive me to Gerty’s for breakfast later. My new body guard’s name was Carl. Creepy Carl and Stony Sam. What next? This day just got better and better.
The doorbell rang. Wasn’t it a little early for paparazzi? My expression was dour as I limped to answer it.
He caught me as I threw my arms around him. The flowers he held almost didn’t escape getting crushed. “You don’t have to bring me flowers every time you come over, you know.” I laughed as I gazed at him. he smoothed his thumb over my cheek and looked at me with smouldering dark eyes. I got swept away in them for a moment, and stared longingly at his slightly parted lips. But then he grinned and let me go, keeping only my hand. It didn’t even matter that I was still in my pyjamas.
I took the flowers into the kitchen, and stuck them into the vase with my other ones. Julius was greeted with a cool hello from my mother and a suspicious look from my father. Sam and Carl peered at him closely.
Julius seemed uncomfortable and I didn’t blame him. “I was actually coming over to see if you wanted breakfast.”
I glared at my mother before she could say anything. Church was so not on my list of priorities today. “Sure, I just need to change. Don’t go anywhere!”
I passed Monica’s room on my way to my own. I could hear her vomiting violently in her bathroom, with Zac whimpering. I walked right passed.
Instead of Gerty’s, Julius took me to an old fashioned restaurant called Jose’s. He didn’t have much comment on the limo, which disappointed me a bit. I was so completely aware of him that it drove me crazy. His almost black eyes never left mine. His arm felt right around my waist as he helped me out of the car. He ordered strawberry pancakes and I had French toast and oatmeal. He asked me more questions about my childhood, carefully avoiding anything about Adam. The rusty restaurant wasn’t what I was used to, but I would go with him anywhere. It didn’t matter that he wasn’t as rich as I was, because love has the power to make everything else seem so small and basically insignificant. Like the Poet, the woman in white, my paranoid mother, everything. It all just disappeared.
After a matinee viewing of the play The Hunchback of Notre Dame in an old theatre, Julius walked me to my door with Sam and Carl loitering on the walk. He kissed my cheek; his lips lingered for an extra second, trailing along my jaw, before letting me go. I reluctantly turned toward the house.
But he gripped my arm again, and gently pulled me back. I felt him take a deep breath, stare into my eyes. My heart sped up. Before I could blink or register the moment, his lips were on mine.
I was shocked. But as his arms circled my waist and pulled me closer and deeper, I melted into him, like glass in a furnace. I closed my eyes against the ache of the utter beauty of it. Julius pulled me ever closer, pressing me to him in an unbreakable hold. I was falling, falling, but flying at the same time. But of course all good things come to end. My father opened the door, and both of our faces went redder than the tulips beside the sidewalk, and disentangled faster than you could say Cooties! He raised his eyebrows, enjoying my moment of mortification. “Am I interrupting something?”
“No,” I stammered. “Bye, Julius.”
He ignored me and nodded at my father. “Sir,” he says before stumbling to his car.
Trying not to choke, I followed Dad into the house. “So Monica’s in rehab,” he told me, sitting at the kitchen table.
I froze. “Rehab?”
“We just convinced her to go after you left. She’s been really down lately.” He wiped a tear from his eye.
Slowly, my mind registered this fact. Something crumbled inside. This was my breaking point, which I had been fast approaching ever since the night of my last dance with Adam. I never would have guessed that this inevitable thing, my sister finally getting help like she should, would merit a complete break down. Covering my mouth with my hand, I bolted out the door.
Everything I had ever known or felt solid about in my life was completely stripped away. When Adam died, it was just my feelings of self confidence and confidence in the world, but now it was everything. It took me a long time, with my useless toe and constantly needing to stop and catch my breath. Having to evade Sam and Carl, and trying not to slip on the rain covered the sidewalk. But eventually I made it to Virginia’s, and a little voice guided me to the rose garden out back where I found who I was looking for: Gray Inglefield.
“Hanuara! What brings you out here? Goodness, you’re all wet!”
Without asking questions, he wrapped his arm around me and helped me to the swing under an awning. The roses were splashes of colour in the grey afternoon.
I shivered against him, choking on my tears. Unable to hold back because I was hurting so much, I told him almost everything, my brother’s death, why I had been sent here, and now my sister going to rehab. I told him about Blair, how concerned I was for him. I even told him my issues with God and the woman in white. He sat there, rubbing my shoulder, the entire time.
“Gray?” I looked up at him. “What would you do if everything just fell in on you like that? How would you deal with it?”
His warm grey eyes made me feel better. He ran a hand through his thick hair. “Well, Hanuara, being a teacher of the Arts, I might draw or cook or go swimming, but I think what I would most likely do is dance.” He looked at me and then looked away.
“Is that what you’re suggesting I do?” I squinted at him, not liking where this was going.
“No, I’m just answering your question.”
My breath came out in a puff and I thumped back against the swing. “Okay, Gray, I’m confused. You and everyone else around here keep saying that dance is art, and this is an art school, and that art is born inside us etcetera. But what exactly is art, Gray? I know its dancing and singing and cooking, but what do they have in common that makes them all fall under the same heading?”
He smiled as though I had just given him a prize. “Well, Hanuara, I’d be glad to teach you, but I frankly just don’t have the time. But I know for a fact Lee would be very pleased to teach you.”
And that is how I enrolled in Virginia’s School of Fine Arts. Unofficially, anyway.
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