“Will you be here in the morning?”
“You know I won’t. I can’t.”
I threw my arm across my eyes, partly to hide the disappointment I knew was visible upon my face, partly to avoid looking at her with the desperation I knew she could
see. “Are you ever going to tell me or should I pretend this is all still just a dream.”
“Oren, what you want is not possible.”
“You told me once that it had been done.”
“One time, Oren!” she said, exasperated. “One time in all the history of man has it been done! Once! Do you not understand that you ask the impossible?”
“One man completed the task, therefore it is not impossible,” I answered stubbornly.
“You frustrate me so!”
“Who was he?” I asked, rolling to my side to face her. I was angry, more hurt than angry really, but enough so that I could overlook the beauty, the simple perfection beside me. I did not gaze into her eyes. I did not long to kiss her mouth. I just wanted my answer, because without it, I could never keep her.
“I don’t know who he was,” she whispered as she ran her delicate fingers over the rough stubble on my cheek. “I don’t even know if he was real or if that is just a romantic tale we tell.”
“Now you’re just saying that,” I said rolling away from her and off my bed. “If you don’t love me, then go and don’t come back, but don’t lie to me.” I reached for my guitar where it stood beside the window. I sat on the bed with my back to her and let my fingers play upon the strings. I knew she could not resist the music, and yet, I didn’t play for her. I played because it was the only thing that soothed the hurt inside me.
She slid close behind me, rested her chin on my shoulder and pressed her cheek to my face. It was a long moment that the music filled the space around us before she spoke. “Oren, you know that I love you. You know that it’s more than that. You are the only man who has ever loved only me. I do not know the place or the task, I only know that once you start this quest, once you pledge your intention, I will have to leave you. And I fear beyond all else that I will never see you again.”
“Why do you think that?”
“Because none have ever returned to me.”
I set the guitar down and pulled her to me on my bed. “How many have tried?”
“What became of them?”
“They died,” she whispered.
“Was Quentin Gallagher one of them?”
She shook her head. “Quentin couldn’t do it. He wanted to, he wanted it so badly he vowed his intention. But he was only a man of words, Oren. He would never be able to find the gateway. His
vow meant my departure and he went mad with grief. He wrote haunting stories about his loss, he made his fortune, but I don’t think that success brought him any joy,” she sighed. “I didn’t love him the way I love you. Leaving him was not...”
“It’s a gateway.”
She sighed. “You hear only the things you want to hear, Oren.”
“I hear everything you say. I know the risk. But I am willing to die for the chance to live a real life with you, and if I can’t have that, if I’m not man enough for the task, I might as well be dead anyway.”
She sighed. “Do not say the words tonight, Oren. Give me tonight to hold you in my arms.”
“If you aren’t here when the sun comes through my window, I will shout my intention to all the world.”
“Kiss me goodbye then, My Love.”
“No. My kiss is a promise that I will bring you back.”
Craving the rest of this fantastic short work? Fusion: a collection of short stories by Breakwater Harbor Books' authors releases Aug 31st in Kindle, Nook and paperback formats!