The dream came again. Same as always.
Jay was taking his final breath as he pushed me out of the path of Cronus’s flying scythe. I thought he was going to die for me, that angel of a guy. Ironic, really.
I saw him raise his shield to protect himself from suffering a painful and horrific death. He saved me and himself, lucky us.
The scythe clanged off of Argo. As the Titan’s weapon clattered to the ground, Jay lowered his shield and smiled bitterly in the enemy’s direction.
“You tried and failed to murder her in cold blood again,” he said coolly. “You even tried to kill me, and failed to do so.”
Cronus snarled like an animal at Jay. “So what?” he snapped. “It’s not like she’s important to me. Just as Hurst said years ago: Mangas is another innocent life lost because of me.”
“Oh, but she isn’t another innocent life lost,” Jay replied. He dropped the cold smile, and his expression turned chilly. “Remember what was prophesized five years ago? The prophecy said Colbie would be your queen – if she chose to be. I guess Caitlin forgot to mention that to you.” Jay laughed bitterly. His laugh had a psychotic twist to it. “You don’t really want to kill her, Cronus. You want her to feel threatened around me. You want her to run to you.”
“Like hell I will,” I muttered. “He’s always doing that, Jay. He doesn’t realize he’s the one to make me insecure. He’s the one I’d run from. You know that, Jay.”
“I know, I know,” he reassured as he pulled me up off the asphalt and into his arms. We both looked at Cronus to watch his reaction.
But the Titan smiled instead of going into an anticipated fit of rage. His eyes told truth. For the first time in over a few millennia, Cronus, the god of time, was jealous of what his mortal adversary had.
“You won this battle this time, Young Jason,” Cronus called, the sneer obvious in his low, ominous voice. I tensed as the Titan’s nickname of choice was pronounced. Cronus meant business when he called Jay Young Jason. “I warn you, the next time we meet, you’ll lose her trust and your life.” He snapped his fingers and one of his portals appeared. He looked back at us when he had one foot already through it. With that murderous jealousy glare, Cronus stepped through it and disappeared.
I was reeling from the previous events, so I was left speechless. I just listened to the cold October wind, thanking the greater force that kept both me and Jay alive. I rested my head against his shoulder and listened to his heartbeat.
He wrapped me in a hug as he started humming our song, Follow Me, and I began to let reality sink in. Jay pried me off of his shoulder, and held me at an arm’s length.
“Are you all right? You looked a little sick when Cronus started talking about you,” Jay noted.
I sighed. “I’m fine,” I answered reluctantly. “It’s just that –” I drew in a shaky breath “– when you held me, Cronus seemed to realize we were more than friends, as we’ve always been. After five years of being with you, I’ve learned to never let emotions show in front of Cronus.”
Jay pressed a gentle kiss to my forehead. “We’ll be in hiding for the rest of our lives in a while. You’re twenty years old. With Cronus, who knows how long we have left together? You’ll be free to feel the way you feel.” He smiled crookedly as he knelt to the ground. The action in itself made me sick to my stomach.
“Aw, crap,” I groaned, “not this. Anything but a formal proposal.”
“Sorry, but your dad agreed to it,” he replied. His expression was very smug, but it turned caring as soon as I saw the look on his face. “Don’t worry; it won’t be as mushy as you think it’ll be.”
I groaned. “It better not be,” I mumbled.
The twenty-one year old descendant of Jason ignored me as he pulled out a simple black velvet box. I couldn’t resist rolling my eyes as he said, “Colbie Alison Mangas, I swear on the Styx that I’ll be faithful to you. I promise to love you forever. Will you be my lovely wife?”
I was so confused with how to answer him. A part of me never wanted this, but there was something – something – that compelled me to go to him. Jay Parker, my one and only since we were teenagers, was asking me to marry him.
With issues like mine, who wouldn’t jump at the chance of a happy ending? I came to my decision. I replied with, “Yes.”
He handed me the box that contained my engagement ring. “Like I said as I was discussing this with your dad, don’t worry about it. I’m pretty sure the Greek side of the family was looking for an excuse to have some fun, anyway.” Jay stood up and cupped my chin gently. He kissed me softly and pulled me close.
My version of a happily ever after faded into black. I knew I was awake, so I sat up.
This is getting weirder and weirder every day, I thought. Jay would never marry me. He doesn’t exist. He, the other heroes, and Cronus are all a part of fiction.
That still didn't ease the sense of dread as I thought about it, the details – freakishly tall people walking the streets of my neighborhood, a guy dressed in black following me home since the 25th of October – surfacing. Was this supposed to lead to something I didn't want to get involved with? I’m just a fifteen-year-old girl, for crying out loud!
Something major was going to happen. I hated major changes. And what was the deal about having a future with an animated guy? There was no chance of meeting this guy, let alone falling for him. I came to a reasonable conclusion about all this: Never, under any circumstance, research Cronus for Latin before bed.
I glanced at my alarm clock. In firetruck red numbers, it read, 3:30am.
I had to decide whether or not to trick-or-treat in three days.
I sunk back into my pillows and went back to sleep, warring with myself about what to dress up for Halloween 2011.