This is part of my novel, "What Losing You Did to Me". To start at the beginning, click here. Right now a new section of my book posts every week.
The walk to the college entrance was shorter then I remembered. I closed my eyes as my feet hit the campus path, willing my heart to stop thudding. It was just an ordinary walkway. I didn't have time to panic.
I forced my feet onward, ignoring my desire to flee. My heart was beating so fast--it was amazing that others couldn't hear it. And what was that ringing noise? I ignored it and kept walking all the way to the bench as fast as possible while still trying to remain nonchalant.
Someone was sitting on it. A boy wearing headphones. I smiled at him in what I hoped was not a grimace of pain from my existing cramps and sat on the opposite corner trying not to fidget. He glanced up, and adjusted the volume on his music device up a few notches.
I was relieved he didn't want to talk. The idea of trying to make conversation while simultaneously not hurl from the churning anxiety and womanly issues I was dealing with was insurmountable. It wouldn't happen. I'd probably end up sobbing on him.
A scab on my hand started to bleed due to my nervous picking. Ouch. When had I done that?
Every few minutes one or two students would walk by, chatting about some subject while trying to balance a heavy load of course material. It would have been peaceful if every fiber in my body wasn't tense with the fact that Aainn might show up at any moment. Besides the few stragglers, the lawn and pathways were relatively empty. Must be between classes now.
I was very glad for the fact that I was sitting down. I don't think I could do anything but this right now.
Suddenly tears blurred my vision and I squeezed my palms together trying to breathe. I desperately needed a distraction. First I saw a bird. I thought how much Aainn would have liked to see it if he was here. It hopped merrily along from a tree, stopping every few hops to preen itself. Then a blond girl in a library work-study uniform met up with my bench partner and they departed, hand in hand. Her collared library shirt had a big stain of some kind on the back. I almost stopped to tell her. Aainn would have told her.
If there was one thing besides Aainn that I had missed in the forest it had been that library. I always felt at home among the books. Perhaps it was because at the orphanage we'd had such a huge one (for an orphanage, at least) and I'd been able to go there whenever I needed to escape. I'd spent many hours lost among books with tears in my eyes during my younger days.
Just thinking about the library helped me relax. I'd met most my tutoring students in the cafe lounge adjacent to the library for our study sessions. Afterwards, I'd browsed the shelves almost every day, just letting my hands run along the covers, feeling the different textures.
The section of books the East had on magie and history was larger then the entire library at my western school. I'd found out very quickly there was much to read here, even if they did ban "silly" books on feminism and religion and everything on dark magie. But this school was much more then just a magie school, unlike mine. It had majors like "theoretical law" and "quiver science". They also had a stanch mindset against women teachers, too. But I guess no school is perfect.
I'd never been bored with my selections.
With a hunger I rummaged through my purse for a book, but after "pretending" to read the same page for about half an hour I put it back in my bag. I still couldn't concentrate.
Then the door in front of me opened. I don't know what made this time any different then all the other countless times random people had walked through it--but it was.
My heart stopped. I could literally hear an orchestra of bees buzzing by my ears, so intense was my concentration.
His hair was longer. And he looked like he hadn't been eating much.
He held the door open with one hand, his other arm clutching a pile of books and papers, his shoulder holding a cell phone to his ear.
"Yes, I'm headed home. I'll be there soon." He said, letting the door fall free as he took a few steps.
"She what?" Now his tone sounded concerned. "Okay, okay...don't worry about it Mom. Grandfather will find her." His eyes met mine briefly, the only person in the courtyard.
I couldn't move.
"Uh huh." He said again. "I talk to you when I get home." His papers started to slide and he hastily adjusted his grip. "I have to go now. Headed to the car."
Tears blurred my vision. He walked past me.
I couldn't do this. I had to talk to him now. I had to hear him say he forgave me.
I stood up, feeling myself waver, dizzy. The path blurred before my eyes, my blood pounding in my ears.
Everything went black.
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