“Mum!” I yelled excitedly as I unlocked the front door. Gwyn wasn’t my real mum but she had been the one that had raised me. “Do you want to see the gifts I bought?” I dropped my sleeping bag and rucksack at the bottom of the stairs and hurried along the narrow hallway to find mum with my carrier bags of gifts still in tow. She had started decorating the house already and festive red and white garlands trailed the length of the ceiling.
“Not right now Lily.”
The blossoming romance with my best friend Jace had almost made me forget about my ‘little’ problem. I had no control over my powers and Gwyn, who was truly my mum in my heart, had spent the weekend away, trying to figure out a way to save me from myself.
"A taxi will be here soon." Mum explained. "We are going to meet your parents."
"Really!" I gasped excitedly. I had so many questions for them.
“We may have found a solution.” Mum grinned..
She had gone in search of a potion that could stop my untimely change to merallo. Merallo’s are similar to mermaids except I have storm summoning powers and I can shift between human and mermaid form.
I didn't want to ruin her good mood so decided it was best not mention the incident with Murray, the swim team captain, who I had marked his skin with my touch.
“What do you mean by may have?” I asked.
She made a hissing noise as she sucked air through her teeth, “Its theory based.”
“Nobody knows for certain if it will work. It's never been tested on a person.”
There was a beep from outside. Our taxi had arrived.
"Don't worry Lily. Let's meet your parents and then worry about the cure later."
I recognised where we were heading before we arrived but it was confirmed when I saw the electronic cast iron gates opening to allow us access up the shingle driveway towards the front of the house.
"Mum, this is the doctors house!" I said. My mum had always insisted on us going private for healthcare which I'd always thought strange as we don't have much money. I'd visited this house once a year for my annual check up. It was a modern building with a minimalistic décor.
"Actually, it's not." my mum answered. "It's your parents home. You'll recognise them as Doctor Harbor and his receptionist."
"Are they my biological parents?"
"Yes." mum smiled. "I hope you're not mad. They just like to see how you are doing."
"What if I'd needed a real doctor?"
"Your dad is a real doctor."
The taxi pulled up outside the house and we got out. Mrs Habour, the receptions (and doctors wife) - or should I say mum - was waiting on the porch to greet us.
"Hi." I said awkwardly. I wasn't sure what to call her.
"Come in, Lily." Mrs Harbour smiled at me, her silver eyes sparkled with love and her shoulder length red hair glistened like burning gold in the sunlight. I knew what my mum, Gwyn, had said was true. Mrs Harbour looked like an older version of myself, she was obviously my biological mum. I had no words.
Mrs Harbour led me into the hall and took our coats. I looked around the surgery and it slowly dawned on me that this huge mansion was actually my family home. She led me further along the hallway than she usually takes me, passing the office door where I'd usually see the doctor, my dad.
This new room had red sofas in it and large window that looked out across a massive landscaped garden. I took a seat next to Gwyn. Dr Harbour was already in the room waiting for us and Mrs Harbour sat next to him.
"Lily, has Gwyn told you much about the purpose of this visit."
I blushed and looked at Gwyn. This was awkward. Should I tell them I know they are my parents
Gwyn gave my leg a reassuring squeeze. "She knows you are her parents."
"Lily, we can't wait for you to join us" Mrs Harbour leaned forward. "You must have so many questions."
That was an understatement. I had thousands of questions but but there was one that stood. It had been puzzling me ever since I'd learnt about my powers. "Why can't you help me learn to control my powers?"
"We can and we will." Dr Harbour answered. "Right now, you need to stay with Gwynevier and finish high school."
"Stuff school!" I snapped. "Don't you think I have bigged problems than good grades?"
Dr Habour looked angry at my outburst and looked accusingly at Gwyn. Mrs Harbour started giggling, a sweet tinkling sound that trickled out of her. "Oh Lily, it's not that simple."
I blushed feeling embarassed as if she was mocking how naive I was but how would I know. Nobody had told me anything.
"I can't wait for you to join us." Mrs Harbour said warmly. "Avatars and magi age differently to humans. You are a merallo, a type of Avatar. Avatars age very slowly that it is almost as if we don't age at all. If you joined us now you would be stuck in fourteen year old body for a really long time."
I was confused. I had been aging normally enough. "I'm fine."
"No, Lily, you are only fine because you have been living with Gwyn. She is a magi." Mrs Harbour explained. "Magi's are old witches that have excelled in their craft. Instead of death, they feed off the life source of avatars to make themselves younger. As they regress, you age."
"We need to temporarily switch off your powers so you can continue to age with Gwyn before joining us." Dr Harbour added. "They will awaken again, when you are older. Then we will happily teach you everything you desire to know."
"How will we turn my powers off?" I asked.
Mrs Harbour got up and lifted a glass jar off the top of a bookcase by the far wall. She carried it over and passed it to Gwyn. "Here is what you need."
I looked at the jar in awe. Inside a flower grew; it had translucent blue petals and small purple leaves.
"May I use your kitchen?" Gwyn asked.
"Of course." Mrs Harbour said. "Follow me."
We all got up and followed Mrs Harbour to a large open plan kitchen. Gwyn placed the jar on the island in the middle. She then switched the kettle on and got some mugs that were hung from hooks under the cupboard. Gwyn then helped herself to the yellow rubber gloves by the sink. Her gloved hands opened the jar. She plucked a petal from this beautiful and unusual flower. It looked like a rose with frost bite. The petals crumbled in her fingers and a light powder fell into one of the mugs by the kettle. I peered closer and the petals sparked like glitter. I reached forward to see what they felt like...
“Don't touch!” mum warned. The kettle clicked and she poured the boiling water over the powder.
She passed me the mug. “Sit down to drink this.” She instructed. I placed the mug on the counter and got comfortable on one of the stools in the kitchen. Gwyn shook her head, “Erm... best head back to the sofa in the lounge.”
I carried the mug into the lounge. Sitting on the sofa, I raised the white porcelain mug to my lips. The drink smelt strange, like chlorine from the swimming pool mixed with the scent of washing power and there was a hint of a sea breeze. It was a strange concoction; I couldn't imagine any flower having such a peculiar scent. I breathed it in heavily and the smell filled me with an uplifting feeling, like I was floating. “Why do I need to sit?” I asked nervously, feeling a little dizzy just from the aroma.
“The loss of your trigger could cause you to faint.”
I placed the hot liquid to my lips and took my first sip. Hot and spicy in my mouth, yet when it ran down my throat it tingled with an icy coolness. Oddly enough, I thought I could taste ketchup. I drank it down like medicine, forcing each gulp down.
My stomach turned and I wondered if I might be sick. Gripping my tummy as it buzzed, I shut my eyes and saw flashes of memories, of kisses, of moments, jump through my mind. My heart raced and my mind spun. Was I dying, is that what I could feel coming? The Darkness was sudden; that empty black. The lights had gone out!
I could hear a voice, but felt submerged under water. The words were mumbled and didn't make sense. Dim lights began to stir my senses and then I heard the sounds again, they were distant but the word was familiar. Someone was calling my name.
I wondered if I was in Heaven, although, it didn’t feel peaceful and serene. If this is the afterlife, have I been sent somewhere darker and more sinister? The voice is calling me again but I am lost and confused. It gets fainter and fainter until I can’t hear it anymore... and then all that’s left is blackness and silence.
The pain! The pain! My throat is on fire. I gasp for air as if I’ve been holding my breath too long and you can hear it scratch its way done my throat and filling my lungs. Crumpled on the floor, next to the brown glass coffee table, my mum knelt next to me, waking me up. “Lily, Lily?” she whispered.
Blinking my eyes as they adjusted to the light, I sat up. A feeling of suffocation was tight across my chest and my throat felt burnt dry.
Embracing me in a hug mum asked, “Are you alright?”
I nodded, “What happened?”
“You fainted.” She put an arm around me to support me as I struggled to sit upright.
“I fainted?” I croaked. I had never fainted before in my life! It had always looked such a peaceful experience like falling asleep, but my body felt stripped and starved. I still felt a little dizzy and my hands rose to hide my face.
I looked around the room and relaised I was sitting in my doctors office on the bed. Dr Harbour and his secretary stood just behind mum.
"How did I get here" I felt very confused and disorientated.
"Your mum brought your in." Dr Harbour answered in all seriousness.
Mum placed her hands on my shoulder and met my eyes, “What do you remember last?”
My heart was heavy with a loss I couldn't even begin to understand. Perhaps I was still groggy from fainting. I felt darkness like a shadow, disguising a hole, an empty unseen space that couldn't be seen. How could I explain what I was going through when I had a strange sense that I wasn't even being honest with myself? I searched for my last memory and sulked, “Jace has moved away.”
“Excellent!” Mum smiled and rubbed my arm, she turned to face the doctor, “It worked.”
“What worked?” I asked.
Mum shook her head. “Oh nothing, I just meant you're fine. Everything will be alright now.”
I nodded even though I didn't agree with her. How could everything be alright without Jace in my life?
Dr Harbour handed over a white plastic pot of pills. "You should take these once a day. Don't worry if you can't remember the past three months right away. The important thing is that you going to be fine."
I took the jar. "What do you mean?"
"It's December Lily." Mum answered. "Tomorrow is Yule."
I felt robbed. I had no idea what had happened in the last three months and not knowing made me feel vulnerable, like I had lost something very important.
"Thank you for your time Doctor Harbour." mum said as she got up and I reliased we were leaving.
"Thanks Doctor." I echoed my mums gratitude but inside I felt like he had failed me. I was being dismissed, but I wasn't okay. My memories had been wiped out.
I couldn't believe it was Yule already! Where had the time gone? Yesterday, felt like I was just starting year 10 alone and without Jace. I had no recollection of what had filled the time in the last three months. It was literally a blank. How had I got from Jace moving away to this?
Yesterday, I had wrapped all my presents even though I didn’t recall buying any of them. Now, I was having a lazy day, sitting on my bed in my yellow, blue star print pyjamas with nothing to do. It had gone lunch time and I didn't care, I was trying to make sense of my thoughts.
There was this feeling, like I was missing something. A niggling thought that told me I should be somewhere or remember something but I couldn't place it, I didn't know what it was or where to start. It was like singing a carol, you knew the tune but suddenly you had forgotten the words.
Mum seemed happy though, she was clearly excited about Yule. All our presents lay under the tree, wrapped in brightly coloured paper and decorated with bows and ribbons. This year was going to be different, because Jace and Denny no longer lived next door; no longer able to pop round in the middle of our celebrations. Usually Jace and I would share our presents with each other but now he was gone.
I hated not being able to remember what had happened. I had so many unanswered questions that I was determined to get to the bottom of. My hand trailed to the necklace that hung around my neck. ...Beautiful but where had it come from?
My thoughts were disturbed by a knock at the front door. My interest peeked. Who would visit us on Christmas Eve?
I looked out my bedroom window but there was no car, no taxi, no nothing. Whoever it was had arrived on foot and mum had let them into the house. There was an exchange of words, low enough that I couldn't make them out. Then there were footsteps on the stairs and I knew the visitor was intended for me. The door opened and Jace stood there in the frame. Perfect.
“Jace,” I said fondly, “I was just thinking about you.”
“I never stop thinking about you.” Jace replied.
I sat on my bed and he came over and dropped to one knee in front of me.
“What are you doing?” I laughed. He looked like he was about to propose.
“Lily,” he never called me that, always Freckles. Lily sounded strange “will you go out with me?”
"What, like boyfriend and girlfriend?" I said embarassed. This was so unexpected.
He looked confused by my surprise and as he staredfdeep into my eyes as if searching for answers. Ironically, he acted as if my behaviour was strange. “I want to do everything right by you. I'm dumping Kiara for you.”
Kiara? Who the hell is Kiara?
The confusion was written on my face. He got to his feet and towered over me in my seated position. “Why are you acting like this? I thought you'd be pleased... more than pleased!” he said angrily and looked hurt. “If you're not interested why didn't you say something before?”
“Jace...?” I mumbled but I didn't know what to say as I didn't know what he was going on about. I couldn't remember saying I wanted him this way and if anyone was acting odd, it was him!
“What about our kiss?!” he snapped.
We kissed? I searched desperately through my mind, through my heart, looking for that fact. Why couldn’t I remember it?
He pulled me roughly to my feet, “As my friend, I never thought you could hurt me like this! Why did you pretend you wanted more? Why are you pretending it never happened?” Then I felt his arm around my waist and his lips against mine. He kissed me fiercely and there was something familiar in that kiss. My mind flashed a bright light and for a moment I glimpsed a memory. I remembered being kissed roughly in the street, my arms weighted down by something... carrier bags. The bags contained gifts, I had bought those presents. This memory must only have taken place a few days ago. The kiss was brief and the memory was gone before I could truly make sense of it.
With just a gentle shove, in my unsteady state, he pushed me back and I fell back onto my bed, sitting dumb founded watching him storm out of my room. I tried to recollect the events that built up to this moment but I had nothing. I’d hurt Jace's feelings just because I couldn't remember.
All I had of those last three months was that one memory that had been brought to life by Jace's kiss. Perhaps if I could kiss him again, everything would begin to make sense. Although, I had a bad feeling, by the way Jace had left, that I had screwed up big time.
Jace liked me... more than just friends. As his best friend, I wondered if it was ethical to use him to get my memories back. But, I felt like I had no choice. Jace had asked me out and perhaps he was right, if only I could remember... perhaps, I do want to be his girlfriend.
There had been no car so Jace must have arrived here on foot. I had to leave now if I was to catch him up. I ran down the stairs and grabbed my coat, wrapped my scarf around my neck and pushed my feet into my bunny topped slippers. I didn't care that I was still wearing my Pyjamas and under the hem of my coat, visible to everyone, was the bright yellow cotton trousers with blue stars printed on them.
I raced into the street. The little bunny heads nodding along encouraging me onwards. I could see Jace ahead. “Phew, he was walking” I smiled with relief. I could still catch him. No matter what, I would get him back! That was what I had to do!
Running down the road to catch up with him, I was yelling his name over and over “Jace! Jace!”
He stopped with his back still towards me and shoved his hands deep into his pockets. I slowed down as I realised I didn't have to run anymore; he was waiting for me at least even if he wouldn’t turn and look at me. The way he stood pulled his jeans taut around his backside and I noticed for the first time – I thought – what a nice bum he had.
“Jace,” I said one last time as I levelled up with him. I had to run in front of him to look him in the eye. “I'm sorry.”
He looked at me warily; eyes full of caution, as if he thought I could rip him open and gorge on his heart. He made me feel dangerous. His jaw twitched in response as he clenched his teeth. That was something he only ever did that when he was really upset.
“Please Jace.... I do want to go out with you.” I said desperately hoping he would believe me. I wasn't sure why my mind had erased the last three months of my life and how it had happened or the moments that had led up to Jace asking me out. What I did know, was in that moment when Jace had kissed me back in my bedroom, I had the first glimpse at a memory. I saw something that had happened that made sense. That one glimpse was like a tiny spec of paint on a giant blank canvas and I needed more.
Did I really want to go out with Jace? I honestly don’t t know but I was certain I didn't want to lose my best friend. Right now, I’d do anything to save our friendship. Besides, this plan was working out well. I plan to kiss Jace again and again until my memory is fully restored. I just hoped my plan would work... and that there isn't a good reason behind why I have forgotten in the first place.
His expression softened and his blue eyes sparkled. His hand reached up to lightly brush my cheek. “No regrets?”
I nod intuitively. It felt like something I should know, I didn't but I couldn't let on. I shut my eyes expectantly waiting for that kiss. Waiting for the response and recall of fond memories lost. The heat seared through my soul, melting away at the dark spot that shadowed my heart. My heart thudded in anticipation at what I might discover. A curiosity of my own personal discovery had been awoken. There was something so right in the way we connected that I knew I didn't need to remember what led to this point in time to know here with Jace is where I belonged.