Graciela hugged the journal tightly to her chest. She let a strangled cry escape her lips. She had opened it and closed it several times, wanting to read it all, but then closing it before she could read any more. Was the darkness right in saying they were one? Was that why Asher couldn’t stop it when he had used those Latin words he swore by?
Are you going to read it or not?
“I shouldn’t,” Graciela mumbled, looking at the clock. 3:30 am. “I should sleep.”
What’s a few more pages going to hurt? I told you already, there is no risk. You’re simply reading a book that YOU wrote, about YOUR life.
“Funny that you’re so insistent on it,” Graciela replied disdainfully.
Funny that you’re not eager to find out who you are. Didn’t it hurt seeing Lily and not remembering all of the time you spent together? What about when it’s your brother? Will you be able to bear not knowing who he is?
Graciela lifted a hand to her heart. “I will forever know who my family is.”
Really? Because you still think that girl Nerissa is your friend! You are not a child anymore. You cannot go around holding onto what you knew then. Everything has changed.
Graciela lifted the book once again, her hand trembling. “Don’t you think I know that everything has changed? I hate myself so much…” She could feel the tears forming in her eyes. “My cousin hugged me and I didn’t feel a thing. I didn’t even recognize her…” A tear made it’s way down her cheek. “And the worst part is that I know reading a book won’t make my memory come back. It won’t make me feel the way that I’m supposed to feel about people…”
I cannot reach the memories that you know nothing of…
The darkness sounded different– pensive and unsure.
It is within both of our best interests that your memory returns the way that it was. This wasn’t what was meant to happen. I cannot reach into your mind anymore than you can. Someone erased you, probably trying to erase me. But little did they know that we cannot become undone. By trying to get rid of me, they in turn get rid of you…
“Please just stop talking,” Graciela whispered. “Please.”
I have not gotten stronger from your tears. I sense a fearful girl, reverting back to that same tortured twelve year old who lay awake in torment. But I have not gotten stronger. I am not tormenting you. As I said before, we are one. As it was meant to be. Your destiny and his.
Graciela thought about it for a moment. Talking to the darkness now wasn’t so scary. It was more so annoying, but not making her want to run and hide. What had happened to it? “What do you mean ‘as it was meant to be?'”
Every world has darkness and light. You are the darkness and he is the light.
No matter how hard Graciela tried to get the darkness to elaborate, Graciela could not. It was unwilling to speak more on the subject, telling her that she was not ready. “Your well being is my well being,” It had repeated over and over again.
Graciela was scared, but not of the darkness. Of not knowing. Her hand traced the cover of the diary. Had she been erased? Part of her taken away in the attempt of ridding the world of darkness? If she was the darkness, what did that mean? Was she the pain in the world? Who was the light that counteracted her? “You have to find out on your own,” It had said.
Graciela took in a deep breath and pulled open the diary, trusting the voice she knew she shouldn’t. It had said that Graciela still thought Nerissa was her friend. Was the girl her enemy? What did that mean? Last she left off, Nerissa had asked her to do something…but what?
She asked me the most selfish thing I have ever heard from her. I was actually shocked that Nerissa would stoop so low! I was sitting in my room when she burst through the door without knocking. “Gracie,” She said indignantly.
I placed my phone down, having been texting Maric all night. She placed a hand on her hip and smiled. “Remember earlier? I asked you to do something for me or else I’d tell your mom all about you sneaking out? Imagine how much that’d break Charlotte’s heart.”
“She has enough to worry about now,” I remember telling her. “With the girls and dad. You can’t tell her.”
“I won’t, if you do something for me.” She sits by me and flips her hair, trying to be cute.
“What?” I ask. Never in my life have I dreaded hearing her speak in my life. Nerissa changed when we got to Fortitude. She wants more than what my family can give her…
“Our birthdays are coming up,” Nerissa replied. “Convince your parents to let us have a sweet sixteen party.”
She wanted some stupid party like her friends were having. When a girl turns 16 they’re apparently supposed to get a big party thrown for them filled with expensive food, dresses and party favors. I explained to her over and over again that we didn’t have the money for that kind of thing now. There were now eight kids in the house and my mother was sick. But later that week, when my dad approached me and asked me about the party I had to go along with it. Camilla sat on my lap, purring loudly as I scratched her back. Dad was holding Peyton, who looked as if she would drift to sleep at any moment. “How are you, darling?” He asked, taking a seat beside me.
“I’m doing well, daddy. Thank you for asking.” I was genuinely happy that he had a few minutes to spare to talk to me. Until he brought up the party idea and my heart dropped.
“I heard you wanted to have a sweet sixteen like the other girls,” Dad said. “Is that true?”
I was stunned to silence, not wanting to put my dad in this predicament, but not wanting to disappoint my mother either. “I…it would be nice. But I…”
“If this is about the money, don’t worry about it. We have enough, and we know a lot of people around town. If you want to throw a birthday bash with Nerissa, then I will be more than happy to make that possible for you.” I honestly wanted to cry in that moment because I knew what my dad was thinking. He was thinking that I wanted to be like the other girls. That somehow this party would connect me with my classmates and make me a less introverted person. It didn’t work that way, but I would let him think that.
“Thank you so much, daddy.” I kissed him on the cheek and he told me how much he loved me. I just felt really bad putting him in that predicament.
“What gives?” Camilla cornered me in my room.
“Nothing gives, what are you talking about?” I asked innocently.
“That party,” She pointed out. “You don’t want a party.”
“I want a party!” I nodded profusely. “I really do.”
“What is she holding over your head?” Camilla demanded. “I know Nerissa wants a party because Raina and Shae are having one.”
Because Camilla knows me better than I know myself sometimes. “She wants to tell mom I’m sneaking out.”
“I’m going to kill her,” Camila growled. “Why would she do that? Wait, I know why. She wants to be cool. So annoying. Let’s tell your mom, beat her to the punch.”
“Sure, let’s tell my mom that I’m cutting class.” I rolled my eyes. “Good idea.”
“She’ll understand,” Camilla said but then frowned. “But she’ll be disappointed and you don’t want that because she’s bed ridden right? Fine…let’s blackmail Nerissa back then.”
“No. We can’t. Nerissa is still our sister, albeit a little lost right now.” I hugged my arms around myself. “She’s one of us and when push comes to shove she’ll pick us.”
“She won’t. We’ve seen that time and time again. She will never pick us,” Camilla said. “Besides, didn’t you and Bray have something planned for your birthday?”
“Callen was going to take us out for my birthday,” Graciela whispered. “Grandpa was going to come too. But it’s fine. I’ll still see them at the party and maybe a sweet sixteen will be fun…” But it wouldn’t be with Raina, Shae and the whole damn school there. “Maybe I convince dad to just have the party for Nerissa.”
“No, you will NOT let her get her way,” Camilla said. She sat down on the floor of my room. “Let me handle it okay? Pax, Bray and I will plan the BEST birthday for you. Promise.”
“You don’t have to, I’m happy with a shared party with Nerissa. Really.” But, I’m not okay with it. I would have been if Nerissa wasn’t being so selfish. I would have loved to share my birthday with her, having done it every year so far. But now, it just doesn’t feel right.
Graciela closed the book, seething. “She…she did that? Why would she try to blackmail me? My own best friend?”
“Talking to me?” Dionysus stood by the door, arms crossed over his chest. “It’s 4am and you’re still not asleep.”
Gracie tossed the book at him. “Knock first, jerk!” Then, she buried her head into the pillow under her.
“I know that was rude of me, but I heard you talking the whole time. I figure you’d like the company to help you forget the darkness. I should have knocked, sorry.” He sat beside her. “You read more of the diary?”
“Sorry,” She mumbled.
“Why? I disagree with Asher and Briella. I think that reading that book is the best idea. Time is a commodity, let’s not waste any more. But, I guess it hurts sometimes reading about your life.”
Graciela didn’t look up from her pillow. “It hurts not knowing. I hate Nerissa now, but do I hate her as a 31 year old or a 15 year old? I need the whole story, but seeing my life in front of me is terrifying.”
“The way to beat your fear is to tackle it head first.”
“And if I can’t?” She murmured.
“You have me, Asher, Caleb and Briella to fall back on. We won’t let you get hurt.”
AN: Thank you for reading! I would love to get your feedback on something so please answer this poll if you have time:
Should Graciela read all of her journal in one shot? This way, I will tell the story of Graciela as a teen up until she loses her memory, and then jump back to the story I’m telling now with the dimension police etc. Or, have her read it in portions as she is doing now? Where we get one chapter past and one chapter present?