Ava struggled for the rest of the night with herself. She stayed awake with her family and friends well past midnight. They laughed, cried, and shared their memories together for hours. She should have been happy but she wasn't. In her mind she saw Caiden's face, and that woman's. Ava had tried to convince herself with all the fairy tale nonsense, she was no better than the others. She wanted a prince who would never give up on her no matter the perils that lie ahead of them.
She went to bed and dreamed of Caiden with Cora. She tried to get it out of her head but she couldn't every time she woke up she was glad it was over, but when she fell back asleep, it was back.
"You see now?" It was Red Eyes' voice. He was always behind her worst dreams. Ava feared that she would never be able to get away from him.
"See what?" She asked. Right now she was sitting in a pew watching Caiden trade vows with the thin blonde, Cora.
"That I can torture you here, in your dreams. You are never free."
"GET OUT!" She said.
Ava woke in a cold sweat and looked around her. She was in the guest room of her mother's house. To her surprise, everyone was still asleep. The clock read 4:30; there was no use going back to sleep so she got up and got dressed. She walked into the kitchen and got a drink before putting on her tennis shoes and a light jacket. The early mornings were always cool in Wisconsin, but she needed fresh air. She knew that the officers wouldn't be pleased to hear that she went out for a walk on her own, but she did't want to deal with all the attention right now. She wanted to be alone with her thoughts.
"Ava," A low voice said. Ava tensed and prepared herself to run. She turned around and was greeted by Jeremy, Blue Eyes.
"Jeremy!" She lunged forward and hugged him tightly. "You made it. You're alive."
"Of course I am alive." He said. "God's angels are not destroyed easily. Why are you not with Caiden?"
"It wasn't meant to be. Besides I need to be alone for now." She said looking at the ground. Jeremy took her face in his hands and frowned.
"I've seen inside both of your souls." He began. Ava felt a little creeped out by this, but she was used to it from Jeremy. "I don't think that is possible. He hasn't moved on like you think he has. He just didn't want to hurt anymore."
Ava could understand that, but she still felt hurt herself. It was selfish to be mad at him, but she couldn't help it.
"I don't understand human emotions." He said shaking his head. Ava felt the urge to laugh at Jeremy. She wished that he could stay here with her through this entire mess, but she knew that he had other duties.
"Ava! What are you doing outside so early?" It was her brother's voice calling in the distance. She sighed and turned around.
"Walking!" She said back. Ava looked over her shoulder and noticed that Jeremy had vanished, angel magic.
"Come on, the officers are waiting." He said with a worried look in his eyes. Ava sighed and took his arm. He was dressing in running clothes as well; apparently Ava wasn't the only one in search for fresh air and silence.
"They are here this early?" She asked. The sun was just beginning to rise, and the air was getting warmer.
"They are persistent bastards." He said smiling. Come on, they seemed pretty impatient when they got to the house."
"They are vultures." Ava said recalling what Hossler had said to her the day before. They walked the rest of the way home in silence.
"Ah, Miss Holland. Welcome home my dear." The officer was an older gentleman who's hair was beginning to grey. "We're going to take you to the station for a statement and a check up, since the other department failed to do so."
"They won't find anything." Ava muttered.
"What was that?" The officer asked.
"Nothing." Ava sighed. She followed the officers from the house and sat in the back of the cop car. This was going to be a long morning.
The doctor was a sweet old man, but he was furious. Ava was sitting his small tasteful office filling out papers. Her hand was cramping from all the writing, but she was glad to be near finished.
"I can't believe they let you go without getting an examination." He said typing on the computer, no doubt writing a furious email to the police department in California.
"They wouldn't have found anything. There was nothing to be found, luckily." Ava said signing the last page.
"Regardless, it is protocol." He said waving a hand at her. "Finished? Well the officers said they will be taking you back to the station to finish a statement, and in a couple of days we should have all the results back from your tests. It will probably be another week until they are done with you."
"I know. After that I just have to fend off the press." Ava rolled her eyes. The man took her papers and placed them in a file and tucked them under his arm. He lead her to the door and escorted her out. Ava flinched at his touch, it was small but the doctor did apologize. Ava figured he would have to add that to his report later.
"You'll do fine. You've been through a lot, I can see it in your eyes; but you are strong." He patted her back tentatively and handed the file to a nurse.
Hossler was waiting in the lounge, he stood when she approached. They walked silently to the car and made their way back to the station. Hossler lead he to a room and said someone would be there shortly. Ava looked around and sighed. She sat at one of the two chairs and placed her head in her hands. There was a two way mirror, and a camera placed on the ceiling.
"An interrogation room, seriously?" Ava sighed. "What do you think? I abducted myself?" She laughed once at her own words and kicked over the chair across from her.
Whoever was to interrogate her was late, very late. She had been waiting for over a half hour. She was beginning to nod off.
"Hello poppet." A familiar voice said from the now open doorway. Ava sat up straight and looked to her left.
"How..." She began but stopped. She stood up and slid backwards into the corner of the room farthest from him. "Get out of here."
"Now, that is no proper greeting." Red Eyes said with a sly smile. He glided over in her direction. He snapped his fingers, and flames jumped from their tips. Ava flinched reflexively.
"You can't hurt me." She whimpered. She was looking for something, anything to protect her. Suddenly, she wished that she had been able to salvage her weapon from purgatory. She reached for her chair and lifted it. It was very heavy, and she struggled to hold it up.
"That's not going to do anything." He said smiling. "No matter what, I am in control here."
"No you aren't." She hissed.
"Tell me Ava, how are you feeling?" Red Eyes said. Ava frowned confused. She opened her mouth to speak, but suddenly she felt very ill. Her head was pounding and she felt hot inside.
"What are you doing to me?" She asked. With sudden force she lifted the chair and threw it in Red Eyes' direction. He dodged it easily. He snapped his fingers and Ava watched as flames began to engulf the interrogation room. He turned to go, but Ava pounced. She wasn't going to let him get away this time. She was going to kill him. She wrapped her fingers around his throat and slammed his head onto the pavement. A terrible grin spread across his face. Ava straddled him and continued to beat on him. Flames began to lick at Ava's arms and legs. She could feel them burn her, but she didn't care. She was going to end this once and for all.
"Ava!" A voice shouted. "Ava let him go!"
Several pairs of hands were attempting to pull Ava off a man on the ground. She blinked and then scrambled back. What happened? An officer helped the man up and assisted him out of the room. Meanwhile, Hossler was forced to handcuff Ava to the chair.
"I didn't know... I... I thought." Hossler hushed her and patted her back.
"I know. I think we will be done here, I'll be back with something to eat and drink and then I will drive you home. Ava nodded and allowed him to uncuff her from the chair. He recuffed her hands in front of her and lead her gently to the car. Her skin burned where he touched her. She swore softly and tried to pull at her sleeve when they were in the car. There were minor burns on her shoulder and down her arms.
It was real... She thought to herself. Her stomach flipped and she felt ill.
Of course it is poppet, I am more powerful than you could imagine. Red Eyes whispered in her ears. Ava shut her eyes and slammed her head against the back of the seat. She wished that Jeremy would come back and help her through this, he would know what to do. All she wanted was to be normal again.
Caiden was still in bed when his phone rang. He had already missed several calls from Cora. He wasn't up for talking to anyone frankly. He reached over to the dresser and looked at the caller ID. It was Mrs. Holland, Caiden's heart pounded in his chest.
"Hello," He said.
"Caiden, I have an update on Ava. But I am afraid it isn't a good one." She sighed, Caiden could hear the shakiness in her voice. Caiden closed his eyes.
"The doctor said there was no evidence of assault, which is good. The psychologist that spoke to her said she is suffering mentally. She has severe and violent hallucinations. She tried to kill him when they first spoke. Az says the same thing, I was told that she may have to stay in the hospital for observation."
She paused then and took a deep breath. Caiden sat staring at the wall wide eyed. Ava in a mental institution was unthinkable.
"They say it is normal for this to happen and that her condition will improve. But for now she needs to be watched.
"God," He said at last.
"I just thought you should know."
"Also, I hate to say this to you, but it is best that you don't come visit Ava. At least not for awhile."
"What?!" Caiden clenched the phone tightly in his fist. Why would she do this to him? Ava was upset before, but she would come around.
"She needs to get back in the groove of things. Get back to normal."
"But, why can't I be there for her?" He asked. Mrs. Holland hesitated.
"It's what she wants. I'm sorry, I will keep in touch." Then she hung up the phone.
There was no mistake that she was telling the truth, Caiden could here that in her voice. She looked down at the phone and sank back onto the bed.
"Son of a BITCH!" He shouted, throwing the phone against the wall. He flinched as it crashed to the floor in pieces. He got dressed in a fury and walked to his car with no idea where he was going to go.
Ava's father had been the one to drive her to the institution. He hated taking her, and did everything he could to stall it. They stopped for lunch and stopped at the park to watch the children play on the swings. He parked as far away from the building as he could and sat in the car staring at the steering wheel.
"It'll be okay dad." She said softly. He looked at her and smiled. They got out of the car and walked close together.
"I just hate thinking that they want to put my baby in the nut house." He put his arm around her and kissed her forehead. She had never felt smaller, or younger than she did now. As an adult she should be the one reassuring her parents, and she should not be in a hospital. Ava didn't feel strong at all.
"I'll be out before you know it." She smiled, but she didn't realize how wrong she was.