The kids were in bed by the time the Master and I emerged from my room. He pulled me back into his arms and I wasn’t opposed to it – his kisses were an intensity that left me wanting more and more no matter how tired I got.
He pulled back from me. “Don’t flatter yourself. You are a minor game in the grand scheme of things, merely something to pass the time before that meteor shower.”
I pulled away. “Wait, what meteor shower?”
“Nothing that concerns you, little fish,” he said.
Before I could inquire further, he pulled me into another kiss and I forgot anything about a meteor shower.
A sound made me break away from the Master. I’d heard something in the front yard. I moved to the window and saw…
…my daughter Zoey and a man whose face nudged at a memory deep inside me. But it slipped away and I was left staring blankly at him. Who was he and why did Zoey look so distressed? Why was she holding him back?
He tore away from her and marched inside.
“How could you, Elena? How could you? I thought we were working on this, I thought you were as committed as I was!”
“I’m sorry,” I said. “But I don’t know who you are. What are you talking about?”
“Oh, right,” he said. “The amnesia.”
I looked to Zoey. “Could you explain to me what is going on? Who is this man, and what is he accusing me of? And why am I once again being told I have amnesia?”
“So it didn’t wear off when you saw him?” she asked, just further confusing me.
“So what didn’t wear off?”
“The amnesia. You still don’t recognize him?”
“Oh.” I said, and her eyes lit up. “So is he the man I got pollinated by to have you, Jerome, Anna, Victoria – ”
“Yes, yes,” she said, before I could list all of her full-blooded brothers’ and sisters’ names. “So you do remember him?”
“No. I’m only guessing because you two look so much alike. And because I knew you went off looking for your father.”
“Oh my Berry,” she said. “Of course it had to be that and not the many times we’ve explained to you that you’re married to Dad, whom you’ve been in love with for a long time. And that Yori took away your memories of him.”
“Did Elena mention any of this to you?” he said to the Master, who had been standing quietly by.
“I did not need to ask Elena anything. She was a more than willing participant.”
“Look here,” I said as Zoey’s pollination father made a move towards the Master, and I grabbed his arm. He looked to me as the Master moved smoothly out of reach. “I am sorry for whatever impressions Zoey may have given you. But I am not, and I never was, your wife, and that is the end of that. You have no claim over me.”
“Mom, please stop,” said Zoey. “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“You hush,” I said. “It’s bad enough you put these thoughts into Lana and Tamia’s and Holly’s heads, but then you had to go and drag your bio-dad halfway across the simverse on the off-chance I would believe your lies and fall madly in love with him? Just stop.”
“But they’re not lies.”
“Maybe this will work,” said the man. “You know how in the movies true love’s kiss will break any curse?”
“Get away from me!” I exclaimed. “Ya think I’m gonna kiss a person who’s delusional?”
He looked down. “You think I’m delusional?” he asked.
“Of course you are, if you really believed Zoey’s story. I mean, you came all the way out here, so you must’ve thought you’d have a chance to browbeat me into believing it too.”
My aura bubbled up inside me and I let it out. I needed some way to relieve my stress. This evening had started out so nice, and now look where it had gone.
“What was that for?” he gasped.
“You know what.”
He stared at me for a long moment as his teeth slowly stopped chattering.
“You’ve changed, Elena,” he said. “It’s not just the fairy wings, or the weird powers. Something about you is different. You used to really care about us staying together. Even after what you put me through, I knew you would ccome back to me. But now…” He shook his head hopelessly. “I don’t think this will work anymore.”
“I’m sorry, Mom,” said Zoey. “I knew I shouldn’t have brought him here from Hidden Springs. I just thought…I don’t know, that just seeing each other would break this blasted curse on you, this amnesia. I guess I was wrong.”
“It’s okay,” I said, saying it more because I didn’t want more of my kids mad at me than because I really meant that I forgave her.
“No, it’s not okay. But I’ve gotta live with it for now because I don’t know any other ways to break the spell. Bye.”
“Daddy, wait, come back!”
It took me a minute to realize that I was completely alone. Well, not completely. Bonehilda, Selena, and Richelle were in the nursery and Nikial, Rory, and Ricky were in the fairy house. But that room was empty of everything but me. The Master had gone when I wasn’t looking.
I felt briefly as though I’d lost something.
And for a moment, I entertained this thought:
Was it possible they were all right and I was the one who was wrong?