I hadn’t heard from Rickie or seen Dax’s body since the incident. I was immobile for days. “There’s no sign of Dax anywhere, are you sure you didn’t see him?” My dad asked as he materialized in the room.
“Maybe he left because he didn’t want to be a mage,” I offered, every breath I took a painful reminder of what had happened, of what I allowed to happen.
“Even if that were true, I don’t think he’d just abandon us without a word.” My father hadn’t dropped the subject and left the room, like I hoped. It would never be that easy. Instead, he sat on the arm of the couch and stroked my hair. “You need to leave.”
“What?” I asked breathlessly.
“I keep a close watch on things that happen in Moonlight Falls. I keep an even closer watch on my sons. You didn’t expect me to not know where my sons are, did you?” He sighed, shutting his eyes tightly. “I’m sorry I didn’t step in sooner…I just…”
“No, stop.” I stood up. “I shouldn’t have been so angry with him, over Rickie. I grew up with Rickie and told him everything…dad, he said he loved me. I didn’t know that he was so unstable, I just let my emotions get the better of me…I…” I crumbled into his arms sobbing. “Please don’t hate me.”
“I can’t ever hate you, son,” He whispered. “I want you to leave Moonlight Falls as soon as possible. Damian will catch on and use this to his advantage.”
“Are you going to tell mom?” I asked fearfully, knowing she had a close relationship to Dax.
He nodded. “I have to, she’s your mother.”
“Then can I tell her, myself?” I asked hesitantly. I didn’t want to face her, but I had to. Maybe she’d understand like Dad did. She had been around for over a thousand years.
“Mom….?” I asked quietly as I pushed open the door to her room. She held her head in her hands. I could see her chest rack with every sob. I had never seen my mother cry.
She didn’t even bother to cover it up. “Any news about Dax?”
“Uh…yeah actually…” I scratched the back of my head nervously. “It’s not what you’re expecting though.”
She scooted over and motioned for me to sit next to her. “I knew it would be bad news. What is it?”
“He’s…mom…” I swallowed hard, trying to find the right words. She began to cry harder, understanding that Dax wasn’t around anymore and that he wasn’t coming back.
“When I find out who did this to my baby….” She stood up angrily. “That’s what you’re saying…isn’t it? That he’s dead!”
“Mom…” I held my hands up defensively. “I’m sorry, but Dax is dead, and it’s my fault.”
“Your fault?” He could see the anger rising within her. She grabbed his shoulders and shook him fiercely. “What did you do?”
“I’m the one who killed him…I blasted Dax with a fire spell.”
I don’t remember what happened afterwards. She was an angry blur to me. All I remember is hearing the pounding of my feet against the wooden planks. I didn’t say goodbye to my parents…I didn’t look for Rickie….I just left. I left it all. My family, my friends…my father. I didn’t care. I couldn’t hurt my mother anymore. Not after what she had done for me. She raised me…she gave up so much for me and Dax. I never actually left Moonlight Falls and I think my father knew that. I remained hidden, but looking back on it now, it wasn’t until I had turned eighteen that I could actually seal my hiding space, so there’s no doubt in my mind that he was watching over me. I was fifteen when it happened, I met you when I was 23.”
Ethan finished telling his story. By now he was holding on to Apollo and crying hysterically. “I’m so sorry…please…don’t hate me, Apollo…please don’t leave me…”
Snuggling closer to Ethan, Apollo wiped the tears that were welling down his face. “I can never hate you…I can be angry, but I can’t hate you.” He held Ethan’s hand and brought it to his lips. “You’ve been holding that in for too long. You should have told me.”
“I know,” he whispered. “I was so scared that you’d hate me, and not want me around the kids anymore and I just love you guys so much.”
“Never…we love you too much to let you go,” Apollo said softly. Ethan was delicate, and he understood why. When Ethan got so angry and shot a fireball at Jordan…he was careful, he didn’t want to kill another person. When he turned David into a toad…it must have brought back some of his memories of Rickie which is why he had probably gotten so angry. Every carefully calculated movement was because he didn’t want to relive that moment in his past ever again. “Don’t worry about it anymore.” He wanted to tell Ethan that he should visit his dad, but he would wait until he wasn’t so raw.
“There’s one more thing,” Ethan spoke. “I can see them…the imaginary friends. Ryder, Night and Amelia, always arguing and walking round, it drives me insane. I’m sure having these same eyes that Pandora can probably see them too.”
“Should we get rid of them?” Apollo asked.
“No…it’s too far into it. The friends would do something like Rickie did. We just have to make sure that the kids don’t bring them back to life, which they can’t because they don’t know how to make the potion.”
“Please listen to me Night…I’m sorry. Please come out and talk to me,” Scarlett begged. It had been a few days and Night hadn’t come out of doll form at all. She had tried to play the silent act back, but she had only felt terribly lonely. Without Night roaming around the house, she had no one to talk to. Bailey, Ken and Pandora were there, but even then she told things to Night that nobody knew about. He was her security blanket and he disappeared.
“I’m surprised you found me down hair, I was trying to hide from you,” Night admitted.
Looking down at the doll Scarlett only giggled. “You suck at hiding, Night. You always did.”
“That’s because I never wanted to be away from you so I never had a reason to hide,” He admitted.
“I’m sorry for shouting at you, I was just upset. Bailey is angry at my mom, but I know that she isn’t a bad person. Ken usually has my back, but he seems to have something else on his mind. I can’t turn to Pandora because I don’t want to burden her. My dad were fighting too, so I couldn’t even turn to them, but they made up and everything seems like it’s starting to calm down.”
“It’s ok, I’m sorry I’m so sensitive.” He jumped up and hugged her. “I’m normally not like that, but I felt like you didn’t care about me when you yelled. You never yell.”
“I really wish things were like they used to be, when my mom and dad lived together and Ethan used to come and visit,” Scarlett said.
“Do you know where we are?” Night asked, prompting Scarlett to look around the room. She shook her head. “This is Ethan’s magic room. Do you see those potions behind you?”
She blinked and nodded. “That’s a lot of chemicals.”
“Not chemicals…they’re filled with magic. If I drink that brown bottle I can turn into a human. Want to see?” He asked.
“Human…like me?” Scarlett asked. “You’ll have skin and….and hair?”
“Yeah, and everyone can see me, you won’t have to stop talking to me when you’re out of the house. People won’t think that you’re crazy or anything…only if you want me to. I won’t force you or anything.” He didn’t have to finish because Scarlett had thrusted the potion into his hands.
“Drink it…after that fight we had, I don’t ever want to lose you.”
“Are you sure about this? I can’t ever turn back into a doll once I drink this. I’ll be a human forever.”
She nodded. “Yes, I’m sure.” He sipped the drink and a purple foam began to sizzle around him. Scarlett fell backwards. She held her hands above her face, afraid of what was going to happen. Part of her thought that he was joking when he said he’d turn real. Purple smoke filled the room and Scarlett found herself coughing.
“Hey, give me your hand. Are you alright?” It was Night’s familiar voice, but his hand…it was real. She stared at it debating whether or not she should grab it. “Princess…oh gosh…Scarlett, are you alright?” She looked up with a mixture of fear, anxiety and wonder. She grabbed his hand and allowed him to pull her up.
“Night?” She asked breathlessly. He had looked different from what she had imagined. She had always seen him as a doll. It was hard to picture him as a human being, because it never crossed her mind. She poked his cheek. “You’re…real!?”
“That’s what I told you, you didn’t believe me?” Night asked.
“I just didn’t think it was possible,” Scarlett said in disbelief.
“There you go again, acting all rational. They do say seeing is believing, and I am right here. I can tell you everything about yourself if you don’t trust that it’s me. Like, your favorite color is pink, you-”
Scarlett held her hand up. “No, I know it’s you. I just saw you drink the potion.” An awkward silence fell on the two as they stared at each other. Her with a look of bewilderment, him with a bright smile.
“Night?” She asked, as he stared at her. “Are you oka-?”
She was cut off by his lips being smashed into hers. Her eyes widened. She wasn’t expecting that at all. She didn’t know if she should wrap her arms around him or pull away. She felt her eyes closing as he pulled her closer. She almost wrapped her arms around his neck when she came to her senses. Pulling away, she covered her blushing face. “Night…what the..!”
“You don’t know how long I waited to do that.” He smiled coyly at her, causing her face to turn an even deeper shade of red.
“I…no…what?” She stared at the purple haired boy. “No!”
“Did I step over the line? Is the the phrase?” He put his hand to his chin. “I didn’t mean to upset you, don’t be mad.”
“No…I’m not mad…I’m shocked.” She bit her lip nervously. “You can’t just kiss me.”
“Why not? I’ve known you for my entire life,” He said innocently.
“I know…but, it’s weird,” She stated. “I did tell you that I couldn’t be your wife, remember?”
“I already waited this long, I can wait longer,” He said. “I’m just glad that I can actually hang out with you like a normal person now! This is exciting. I get to taste food and sleep in a bed! Oh…where do I sleep, with you?”
“No way!” Scarlett said quickly. “My dad would kill you. Speaking of my dad…oh gosh, what am I supposed to tell him?”
“Hey Night, you look different today. Is it your hair?” Pandora joked. “It took you long enough to bring him to life. I left that potion down here since I got here.”
“You made that potion…it’s not Ethan’s?” Now that Scarlett thought about it, she hadn’t asked Night any questions she just kind of gave him the potion.
“Ethan made those potions over there.” She pointed towards the array scattered around the room. “The imaginarium metamorphiums are mine. I do know a thing or two about mixing potions. I just used that book ever there and read the ingredients. I thought you guys might have wanted to bring your friends to life.”
“Why?” Scarlett asked. “I don’t understand…Ethan, can control magic? That’s what you’re saying?”
“Yep. Pretty much. I can see Night, Ryder and Amelia. It’s weird that you guys can’t see each other’s imaginary friends but I can see them all. It’s kind of annoying seeing them bickering, but you all seem to like them so much so I thought I’d help. I hope I didn’t do anything wrong. I just wanted you guys to be happy because of everything that’s going on,” Pandora admitted innocently.
“Thank you, I appreciate it, but I hadn’t really thought this through.” Scarlett looked around the room once more. “This is all so weird…but we have something bigger to to worry about. What do we tell dad?”
“Ethan can see us too,” Night said. “So he should know. There’s no use hiding it from here.”
“Well for starters we need to change that terrible outfit. I’m sorry Night, but you’re not blending in at all,” Pandora said.
“Hurry up before Ken gets back, he’s going to be pissed if he sees us rummaging through his stuff,” Pandora said.
“No he won’t,” Scarlett said. “He only really gets angry when it’s something he’s really passionate about. He probably won’t get mad at this, but stay on guard for Ethan. I’m not ready to tell him yet.”
“Roger that, captain!”
“There’s so many clothes…” Night said in awe. “Which do I choose?”
“Here, try this.” Scarlett pulled out some clothes and tossed it at him. “You do know how to put on clothes right?”
Night nodded as he took off his suit jacket and began to pull his shirt over his head. “I’ve seen you do it tons of times.”
“Night…no!” She covered her face. “You don’t get dressed in front of girls and you don’t talk about me changing. Now that you’re real you can’t be in the room when I’m changing!”
“I’m not doing anything wrong..” He began but Pandora shut him up.
“There are rules with being human. Respect them if you care about Scarlett.”
Night walked into the bathroom connected to Ken’s room and changed. When he came out, Scarlett had a confused look on her face. “What is it? Do I look stupid?”
“No, it’s not that.” She walked over to him and straightened out his shirt. “What’s with the tattoo.”
He followed her gaze to his arm. “Oh…this? I dunno. It’s your imagination. I believe that we’re born of your imagination and placed into a doll. So, I guess this is what you subconsciously thought of me as a toddler.”
“I knew what tattoos were as a toddler?” Scarlett asked aloud. “This is so weird.”
“Where is he going to stay? If you don’t plan on telling our dads then what can we do? You can’t hide him forever.” Pandora, the new voice of reason in the Gray household.
“You said that I can’t stay with you…right?” He frowned. “I wish I could.”
“No, boys and girls don’t sleep together unless they’re dating, and we’re only thirteen,” Scarlett said.
“But we kissed…doesn’t that make us dating?” Scarlett blushed.
“First, Night.” Pandora corrected. “It would be, doesn’t that make us a couple? People who date are a couple. Second of all, thats adorable…was that your first kiss Scarlett?”
“We’re not talking about it!” Scarlett said quickly. Pandora laughed.
“What is this feeling?” Night looked around in awe. “My arms, they’re, what’s the word?”
“I can’t tell you how you’re feeling. Feelings are the hardest things to describe,” Scarlett said.
“If you can’t tell me, who can?” He looked at her and grabbed her hand. “Here touch it…what does it feel like to you?”
She looked up at him. Night’s forwardness was going to make her die of embarrassment. “Your skin is cold. The air is touching you so you’re cold.”
“Cold.” He placed his hand under his chin. “How do you stop being cold? Your hand makes it feel better, what is that called?”
“My hand is warm. Your skin is cold. When warm touched cold, it makes it melt,” Scarlett said in as simplest terms she could muster. “Does that make sense? You could wear a jacket. It would make you warmer.”
“Ah, I see.” He nodded. “This is so weird.”
“You’re telling me.” She looked away, eyes catching a glimpse of her father walking over. She didn’t have any time to think of a plan or anything.
Night waved ecstatically to him. “Hi, Mr. Gray!”
“Night..no!” Scarlett reached for his arm to yank it down. The only problem was that her dad was in ear shot. The worst part was that it was Ethan and with the scowl he was sending in their direction she knew that her secret was out.