Appassionata

Appassionata is a bittersweet love story about a love that was written in the stars and rewritten on earth between guardian angel, Darien Sommers, and his charge, Veronica Milano.
The star-crossed couple have been in love for over three centuries and are always torn apart from their afterlife when reincarnation gets in the way.
On the earth plane, they thought their affection forbidden, but when circumstances prove catastrophic, they realize their relationship dates further back than they ever suspected.
Fallen angel, Caleb, is adamant on ruining Darien’s life over a matter of revenge, a twenty-year grudge which has seen the murderous rampage of the dark angels rage. Now he’s out for Ronnie, using his power and associates to cause terror after terror in her life through the use of her friends and family. With Ronnie in the shadows of the Angelical world and Caleb fighting for success, it’s up to Darien to save his soul mate before their entire lives are lost for good.

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6. The Craft

  Sleep seemed highly improbable that night. Ronnie had lain awake for the best part of two hours just staring at the ceiling, gazing into the abyss of darkness which inhabited her room. The dark had never bothered her and usually she found that she left the realm of the conscious and drifted into its counterpart quite peacefully. But now, she stirred, groaning as she pushed her exhausted face into the comfort of her plump, black pillows. If it hadn’t of been for the chime of the grandfather clock in the hall she would have had to of faced more of the terrible nightmare she’d been restricted to.

Around her were bricks, hundreds of thousands of bricks which stared blankly into space, only there to make the two great buildings which she stood between. Bins and dumpsters flooded the alley and the smell of urine and other bodily fluids was apparent. Even in dream state she could feel the brisk wind which she had no choice but to surrender to, could feel the intoxicating sensation the moon cast down on her as though she were truly experiencing every last detail down to the touch. The sky had transformed from its previous clear glowing blue to having the first stars of the dusk awakening in front of the newly drawn darkness, the winds haunted in whispering calls, undecipherable, endless. It was the kind of place many people went through life avoiding for fear of their lives, a place that went often hidden; obscured in the shadows and left to remain a mystery in all its adverse existence, a place where nothing was ever silent, where music boomed and glass bottles smashed, where people passed out and attacks were pursued. The atmosphere was sickening, in complete opposition to the glory which was the sky.
   Among the elements, Ronnie knew she was not alone. A roaring consumed the darkness and her eyes darted to discover the source of such terror inducing sounds. A dark figure made its way toward her. Shrieks from behind made her ears seem flooded with water. Not hers, but that of a young woman of no more than twenty who emerged through a cover of fog, who burst into fits of shivers as she backed as far into the un-giving wall as possible.
   Ronnie had rushed to her aid, but she’d been of no help as the girl refused to acknowledge her presence, not looking to the hand Ronnie placed on her shoulder, nor flinching away from her contact. The girl had no sense of Ronnie’s being there at all, almost as though she did not exist.
   Not far behind, the thunder of the roaring engine grew closer and both girls turn to see a motorbike fly forward. It screeched and spiralled; leaving a trail of rubber behind before coming to a sudden halt. The rider dismounted and strode with angry purpose toward them.
   The woman, by the name on Lauren, according to the raised voice of the biker, cowered, cringing away from his touch. She screamed in terror as he lifted her by her fair blonde hair and dragged her through the littered ground.
“Please no!” she had screamed, throwing her arms at the broad man, who gave no sign of releasing her. “Don’t do this, Azael! I’m sorry, I said I was sorry!”
   But he was having none of it and threw her against his bike. “I understand that, Lauren, but your words are filled with nothing but concern for your own life. You do not care for me any longer. If you did you would never have betrayed me. I who sacrificed all that I was to be with you, to please you, more so than I ever could before. I threw it all away, and for what? So you could saunter off with the first guy you saw who you thought could offer more. Well there is no more, Lauren! Nothing is more of a sacrifice than my fall and now . . .” he trailed off. “Now you don’t get to hurt people anymore. I won’t allow it.”
   Lauren’s eyes widened in horror as Azael towered over her. His face continuously masked by the shadow of the moon, making it difficult for Ronnie to decipher any of his features.
   His bear like hands grasped at Lauren’s neck and her breath caught in her throat as she squirmed to break free. Her frantic attempts only further added to her predator’s fury, as he crouched to her level, looked into her glassy hazel eyes, and said low and husky, “Good-bye, my dear,” before he snapped her neck and dropped her to the floor like an unwanted toy.

Ronnie had awoken then, wet with sweat, mouth dry and throat crisp. The nightmare had been more than shocking to say the least, what had happened to that poor woman was terrible, frightening, a fate no one should ever be made to face. Although it was haunting, at least Ronnie could continue in the knowledge that it was just that: a nightmare.
   Sleep had been one of Ronnie’s best friends for years and now, with the sudden distance between them, attempts at reconciliation went without much luck and so, as she slid her feet into her slippers and pulled on her gown, Ronnie headed down stairs to where the house was still awake.
   The sliding doors to the secretive meditation room were slightly ajar and through the small gap, was Simone, posed in the position of the Lotus on a deep blue cushion. She turned around when the floorboards creaked under Ronnie’s weight.
   “Ronnie, you’re up late. I thought for sure you’d be asleep.”
   Ronnie lingered in the doorway, caressing the foamy violet wallpaper. “I could say the same to you.” She was unsure whether to enter; this was her mum’s sacred room, consisting of optimistic, bright energy, Ronnie wasn’t about to taint that with her lack of enthusiasm, but Simone didn’t seem to mind. And by the looks of things, all decorating in there was complete.
   Simone leaned forward and pulled another cushion from under a small coffee table. She patted it. “Come. Sit,” she urged, unravelling herself from what Ronnie imagined to be, a highly muscle-numbing position. “We haven’t really had a chance to talk, how are things going?” Simone asked.
   “Okay,” Ronnie lied as she sat down beside her. It was true. Since the beginning of the summer time had seemed to pass them without the briefest of hints. It had been such a dreadfully long time since their last proper talk that now Ronnie worried whether she still knew how to be social with her mother.
   “Have you made any new friends yet,” Simone persisted, “besides Gem of course?”
   “Yeah, I suppose I have.” Well, really it was only the one, but that didn’t need to be shared—at least not right away.
   Simone looked at her, a long, hard, stubborn stare, then shook her head and placed a hand on her knee. “And that would be Darien.” The nod that went with it made it seem that she more than certain of herself.
   It was all Ronnie could do not to retaliate, she didn’t know relationship she shared with Darien. Friends, acquaintances . . . complicated? She pursed her lips and shrugged again, that familiar awkwardness Ronnie had become so accustomed to over these past couple of days making its return as it seeped into the room, mixing with the sweet fragrance of incense and potpourri.
   “Oh, please,” Simone grinned, waving her away, “I saw you getting out of his car earlier today.”
   Ronnie paused, remembering how she’d glanced both ways down the road, to make sure no one had seen, well, one person really, who began with a howl and ended with a bark. Now that she thought about it, she realised how it must have looked. She had no need to justify that part. “He just gave me a ride to Gem’s cafe; I wanted a change of scenery for a project I’m working on,” she explained. It wasn’t a complete lie.
   “So am I right in guessing that’s your leather jacket on the banister out there then?”
   Ronnie took in a breath and ran her hands over her pyjama bottoms, grimacing. There was no denying that wasn’t her jacket; Simone had seen her get out of the car in it and who knew what Darien had said to her when he took the painting in. And even though she was tempted to tell her how it had got there, how Darien had sheltered and warmed her as she ran shoeless into the pouring hail after a break-in there was no evidence of— there was no point. If her mother didn’t take on her psychic opinion toward the non-existent state of affairs, then she’d just label her as homesick and suffering depression and that was what brought on these beyond bizarre hallucinations.
   Simone cocked her brunette head to the side, her smile lines revealing themselves again. “He’s a lovely boy, charming, caring, and he has a good sense of humour. He could be just what you need right now, you know?”
   Ronnie shied away, was her mum seriously going to start talking with her about boys now? Better yet, a boy in her school, who worked with her mum, who could be so arrogant, emotionally manipulative and tormenting, who, she couldn’t understand in the slightest, and yet, couldn’t stop herself from thinking about. Especially the side to him that marvelled over an ornate locket, the side that was almost like another boy, a concerned, tender, endearing one.
   “And I wouldn’t worry about Sky either,” Simone said.
   Ronnie’s eyes shot up.. How had they gone from talking about Darien, to Sky? Wait, how was it her mum even knew all this? “You know about her?”
   “Oh please,” Simone began. “She’s in the shop more times than a hooker in a public restroom.” Then she leaned over the table, her voice steady and strong when she continued to say, “But what I see when she’s with Darien isn’t love—not even close—it’s desperation. He doesn’t want her in the same way at all.”
   “How do you know?”
   Simone shook her head and placed a small wooden box on the table. “I guess it’s just something I can tell from being an artist. Studying the elements of the surroundings is a package deal, I can just tell.”
   “But how?”
   Ronnie could see her mum trying to read her face. She seemed to trust her enough not to pry; at least to the extent that she didn’t ask anything of her yet. But that was what both the twins had liked about their mother, admired about her. She was always so willing to help and never expected anything in return. She was someone who could be trusted, and it made Ronnie feel all the guiltier that she had arrived at the decision not to tell her the truth surrounding Darien’s jacket.
   “It’s in the eyes; they’re the windows to the soul.” From the box, she took out a silk blue scarf enveloped around what was the shape of a bar of soap. Ronnie watched as she carefully unravelled the fabric. The scent of musk and rich spice hit her and in the box she saw incense cones. “They keep the cards smelling nice,” Simone explained.
   “Cards?”   
   “Yes, tarot cards. They’re a spiritual tool, a deck of seventy-eight pictured cards,   used for divination, meditation and to help people on their pathway of life. And I’m going to give you a reading.”
   “Wait. . . .”  Ronnie paused. “A Tarot reading? Why? What’s that going to do?”
   “Sheesh, girl, keep your knickers on. They’re not going to harm you. I’ve been sensing a lot of stress on your part, even before we moved in. But even now, whilst you’ve been sat there, you’ve been . . . on edge. All this is going to do is act as a mirror for the questioner—in this case, me—and reveal hidden aspects of the personality, underlying courses of events, behaviour, anything like that. Some like to think of it as a counselling tool or to tell the future.”
   “They can tell the future?”
   “Not literally,” Simone slid the deck across the table, “just a general guide as to what to expect and be aware of.”
   Ronnie looked down at the cards, lips pursed in a frown. “Oh.” It wasn’t that she wanted to know exactly what to expect, heck that would take the fun out of everything, she just hoped to know that things were definitely going to pick up, that there was a pathway up ahead filled with extraordinary experiences just waiting to be uncovered.
   “No one’s future is set, Ronnie. It can change based on the decisions we make and the actions we pursue. This is simply a road sign.” Simone’s eyes grazed the pile of untouched cards. “You’re going to need to shuffle those; they’ll have to pick up on your energy.”
   Ronnie broke apart and fixed together the pile. The cards themselves consisted of their own energy, an exciting, electrical pulse to which magic sparked at their touch. She’d not known anything like this before. Not experienced something so . . . so unusual. “You didn’t do these back home—I mean in London,” Ronnie said, instantly kicking herself for referring to the place that held such bad memories, as home, when this, the room, the cottage, was their home now.
   Her mother raised a hand and shut her eyes, rejecting the matter completely. She wasn’t the same person now as she was then. She’d grown, become one with herself and her surroundings, took back her life, made it her own and produced from it all she’d longed to since Ronnie could remember.
   “I did dabble in Tarot a little back then,” Simone confessed, heading to the windowsill and lighting an arrangement of candles, “but your father constantly brought me down, and I couldn’t do anything for myself without being criticised so I didn’t bother.” She returned back to her cushion, watching as Ronnie finished shuffling the cards and awaited her next instruction. “Now with your left hand, split the deck into three on the table as though counting backward.”
   Ronnie was rather proud of herself when her mother said, “Good, that’s it. Now turn around one of the piles so that it’s upside down and then restack them so that the pile that was on top is now at the bottom or in the middle. Then all that’s left to do is reshuffle, fan them out facedown and select ten.”
   Ronnie nodded, finding herself getting into the gist of things, as she did as instructed and began to take ten cards from the table. Surprising to her, was the fact that she actually found herself enjoying it. She’d not seen anything like it before, at least not in reality. On TV sure, but what was yet to be confirmed, yet to be proved to Ronnie and to verify that it wasn’t a failed loss, was whether they actually worked.
   “Right,” Simone said. She took the deck from Ronnie’s hands, and began to lay them out in a spread, turning each card over one at a time.
   “They’re really pretty,” Ronnie commented. Each card presented something different, containing its own unique image, a variety of gothic colours, a natural element, a mystical or mythical aspect. They all had such an eccentric vitality.
   “Thanks,” Simone grinned. “Most people prefer to buy them from shops, but I find that you get a little something extra from them when you design your own.”
   “You have been busy.”
   Simone pulled a funny face and adjusted a few of the cards. “Tell me about it.” Then, studying the covered table she tapped a paint stained nail on a card labelled The Seven of Cups and began. “There are a lot of major issues going on—life changing—at the moment; you don’t really know what you want or what to do even though you’re aware that you need to make a decision.” Her gaze shifted cards. “Ah, The Lovers.” Ronnie saw a glint of amusement spark on her mother’s face. “I’m also guessing that this card means there is a love interest, but you feel as though that is not going anywhere.” Ronnie gave her a look that said: Are you actually being serious? “Other cards are warning you to be careful. There’s someone who will lead you into trouble, of which you may not be able to see the danger to until it’s too late.”  Simone pushed forward the Devil card. “And here,” she said, fingers lingering on the surface of two other cards, “Other people are involved and also causing problems. These problems will cause a lot of aggravation and lead to a catastrophe. Everything you thought you knew and believed will be proved to be false, and this will pave the way for a life changing event.” Ronnie jumped, the candles on the windowsill snuffed out simultaneously. She glanced at her mum, seeing the way she dismissed the incident as though it were nothing. Her eyes followed her mother’s to the card of Death and she felt a cold spell descend over her. “This cannot be prevented—it is the natural order of things. And here, the High Priestess, someone close to you, a female, has strong psychic ability and will be able to advise you. Stay on the path of light and you will be safe. Believe in yourself and your own abilities and all will be well.”
   A loud ringing crashed through the reading, and Ronnie sprung up, taken aback by the sudden alteration in serenity. It seemed a little too late for anyone to be calling at this hour, but Simone quite gladly rose from her cushion with a yawn and went to receive the call in the kitchen.
   Alone in the room, surrounded by the representation of her future laid out, Ronnie attempted to make sense of it, to understand and believe in what was so clearly shown as complicated. So things were going to get a whole lot worse before they got better, wasn’t that always the way? But she couldn’t help but think things had already been bad enough. Couldn’t help but think it was time for something good, even a blessing in disguise she would quite happily settle for. Though from what the cards had to say, she was going to have to put up with a lot of agro before she was to walk “the path of light”.
   Ronnie sighed and leaned to take a closer inspection. There it all was: her life, her future, aspects to not look forward to. To be disappointed or pleased she could not discern, but one thing she was certain of was that she had to believe in herself to make it through whatever it was that planned to come charging at her headfirst. If she couldn’t have faith in herself, or others, take action on the vow of rebirth within her new circumstances, then things would certainly take a rapid leap to catastrophe.
   Then one card in particular caught her eye: Death. A Grim Reaper figure stood opposing the viewer, their face shadowed, obscured by the low hanging of their black hood. The Angel of Death stood before a backdrop of a blood soaked sky, veins of black cloud bled into it, like spilled ink absorbed by paper. Something about the crooked stature of the angel was worrying, like it was ready to collect the souls of any poor, unfortunate soul.
   “It doesn’t necessarily mean anyone is going to cross over to the afterlife,” Simone said when she returned back. “It is generally symbolic of endings.”
   Ronnie took one last look at the card before it was wrapped with the rest of the deck in their special blue material.
   “Blue is an extremely spiritual colour,” Simone clarified, gesturing around the azure painted room, “it signifies the celestial love of truth.”
   Ronnie didn’t say anything, but felt “Oh” form on her lips.
   “There’s a small Wicca shop in the shopping centre in town, if you’re interested in finding out more. I have plenty of books on everything like this,” Simone said, “I’m sure you’ve seen them all on the shelves in the hall, and there are plenty more in here too. It’s just a shame that I don’t have the time to teach you things myself. That’s if you are interested?”
   “Sure,” Ronnie shrugged. “It looks like it could be interesting.
   Simone produced a card from her purse and handed it over. “They’re very good, just as equipped as a similar store in London.”
   Ronnie took it. “Thanks, I’ll be sure to check it out.”
   “Well,” Simone yawned, she looked at the clock, “when you do, alongside Darien, there’s another young man from my shop who works in there—be sure to keep an eye out for him; I don’t think he has many friends.”
   “Darien works there too?”
   Simone nodded. “Why?”
   “It’s just shocking how he can hold two jobs and school and not get kicked out from any of them, you know?”
   “He’s a very capable young man, it doesn’t surprise me. So don’t worry yourself about him, I’m sure he’s fine. If he had any trouble with it all he wouldn’t do it.”
   Ronnie folded her arms. “Um, who said I was worrying about him?”
   Simone laughed. “Your eyes, dear, they give too much of you away.”
   “I’d be willing to forgive you for it if you gave me an advance on my allowance,” Ronnie tried.
   “Ha! There’s no way that’s going to happen, but nice try. If you want more money; you go and get yourself a job.”
   Great, just what she thought.
   Ronnie bided her mother good night, but then a sudden memory caused her to call her back. “Who was that on the phone?”
   Simone stood half attentive in the doorway. “There was no one there,” she mumbled. “Be sure to blow those candles out before you come up.”
   “But they’re already out.”
   Ronnie twisted her body around and a gasp escaped her. There, as clear as the moon on a clear night, was the assortment of candles, fully aflame in their coloured holders, illuminating in the window frame. And as she sat frozen in wonder, watching in incredulity as they flickered a sneaky wink in her direction, she wondered what was going on.

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