“What exactly is it that you know, Katie?”
“I know that you don’t know and we don’t know why.” She looked up at me as the sounds of leather on marble filled the air. The man known as his lordship came down the hall, approaching us. Katie stood and he looked at her before quickening his pace.
“Katie, dear, I didn’t expect to find you here.” His tone was insincere.
“Actually sir, I was just leaving. Her ladyship has found a rip in her dress. I tried to mend it, but I have no talent with sewing it seems.” From her pocket, I watch as Katie pulls out a needle and thread. It seems she was prepared for an intrusion. I wondered silently whether she would have ripped my dress if it wasn’t already. Out of everyone here, she’s been the most honest with me and I’m disappointed to see her go. A sense of déjà vu overwhelms my mind and I think of the other Katie; what have I forgotten about her already?
“Whatever are you daydreaming about?” His voice protruded and I realized that Katie is gone once again.
“Quite simply? Who I am, or rather, who I am supposed to be.” I informed him, honestly.
“In due time, I promise to tell you all I know.”
“Why in due time? Why not now? And what is due time? How long is that?” My questions become a string of run-ons, finally voicing out loud and revealing my fears.
“Due time meaning when you’ve all but forgotten the other place. Meaning I don’t know how long, it varies. And why? Because I’m not ready to lose you yet. I’m not ready to see you disappear again. I’ve done too much to get you back and I can’t see you vanish. I won’t.”
His honesty was frightening; he’d gone from a tough lord to a startled and scared child or, worse still, lover. Was it possible to forget someone who loved you? What if you didn’t remember loving them?
“Why would you lose me by being honest? That’s what I’m asking you to do. Tell me the truth, I won’t vanish.” It was the truth; I would not vanish. I would listen, think it through and make a rational decision before I decided whether to go back to where I’d been – what little I could remember of it.
“Because you always do. You can’t help it, the leaving. It’s not something you have control over. Every time I tell you what I know, which, mind you, isn’t all the answers you want or need, but every time I tell you, you disappear. That’s just how it seems to go.” He watched the floor, intent on counting its specks and avoiding eye contact with me.
“Have I ever asked you to tell me before?” It was curiosity, but became strategy.
He looked up and met my eyes. “No.”
“Have I ever said that I’ll stay before? Promised not to immediately disappear?”
“No.” A smile crept onto his face.
“So maybe this time’s different?” I had to know what he knew.
“So maybe this time’s it.” His smile grew.
“It?” I asked, confused for a new reason.
“The time when you have to decided; have to pick.”
Anthromagic by Crystal and Pamela MacLean is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.