Home > The Soul's Mark: FOUND (The Soul's Mark #1)(12)

The Soul's Mark: FOUND (The Soul's Mark #1)(12)
Author: Ashley Stoyanoff

Eric glared at him in disbelief, got up from his chair and headed for the door. At the doorway he turned back to face Mitchell. “By the way, there was an incident this morning.”

A cold sweat broke out along Mitchell’s brow and his stomach clenched. “What do you mean an incident?” he asked, barely a whisper. Something had happened to her. It all made sense. That’s why they sent Eric.

Eric must have noticed his panic. “Chill out. It’s not what you think,” he blurted out. “Millie went for a run at like 5:00 this morning and she claimed she ran into a little girl. It sounded like Kandi.”

“But she’s okay?” Mitchell asked, holding his breath. It couldn’t have been Kandi. They wouldn’t think of coming back here. Not after the last time.

“Yup, Officer McLean found Amelia and brought her home. I had to make up some stupid story about the curfew and break-ins.” Eric’s expression turned serious and Mitchell held his breath. “Dad, come home. Please. If you won’t do it for her, do it for me. I can’t stay away from her and I need your help.”

Mitchell felt like he had been slapped in the face. Eric hadn’t called him “Dad” for over a hundred years now and the term of endearment pulled on every single heartstring he had. But even though he wanted to cave in, he forced himself to stay strong on this, knowing he would be no help to them by coming home. And maybe this could teach Eric some much-needed restraint. Yes, this is a good thing, he told himself. “I know you won’t touch her, Eric,” Mitchell said, encouragingly. “Have a little more faith in yourself.”

Mitchell thought Eric was going to argue with him, but then that goofy grin spread across his face again and he ran his fingers through his hair, making the leafy green strands even more disheveled. “Sure, you’re probably right.” And then he slipped out the doorway.

CHAPTER 10

There was no sign of Eric or Luke when they got home. Mabel had left a note on the table letting the girls know that dinner was on plates in the fridge and all they had to do was heat it up, but Amelia wasn’t hungry. She was too tired and, extraordinarily, too wired to eat.

Angelle helped lug all her new treasures into her room. It took nine trips between the two of them. They unpacked the fifty-eight bags, spreading all the items out on Amelia’s bed.

Angelle perched on the edge of the bed and started folding a t-shirt. “Millie?” she said, looking up, the beginnings of frown lines were appearing on her forehead. “I know we just met. You’ve been through a lot and you probably won’t believe me but…” she paused briefly, looking at Amelia with sad eyes. “I want you to know you can trust me. I mean it. I’m really sorry for the way I acted earlier. I was rude and there’s really no good reason. It’s just that, it’s really hard to explain but I feel connected to you somehow. It’s like I’ve known you forever, like we’re sisters. When Erin came up to you I… I don’t know… I guess I just feel really protective of you.”

Amelia didn’t know what to say so she picked up a stack of pants and started putting them on hangers. She knew what Angelle was talking about. It wasn’t just Angelle though, Amelia felt connected to all of them. It was like she was finally home.

Amelia finished hanging the pants and sat down beside her on the bed. “I know what you mean,” she said faintly. “As soon as I met you I felt the same thing.”

“So I was thinking,” Angelle mused, the frown creasing deeper, “you look like you need someone to talk to and well, you can talk to me… if you want to.”

They stared at each other for a long, hard moment. Amelia hadn’t meant to say anything. At least nothing that really mattered, but once she started, she just couldn’t stop. It poured out of her like water gushing through a broken dam. She talked about her parents, about the murder, and about how she had been tied to a chair, bound and gagged, and forced to watch as they bled to death. Amelia cried about the guilt, about how she couldn’t do anything to help them. She even confessed to the dreams, and told about how she had fallen in love with Mitchell.

When she finished, Amelia felt faint. She had never told the whole thing to anyone—at least not anyone who wasn’t a doctor. What was Angelle going to think? Would she treat her differently now? Would she look at her with pity all the time?

“Oh, honey,” Angelle said. She had tears in her voice as she pulled Amelia into a hug.

“It’s okay.” Amelia pushed her off and got up, picking up a top and putting it on a hanger. “Really. I don’t want your sympathy. It’s not going to bring them back. It won’t change anything.”

“It’s not sympathy,” Angelle said and shifted her gaze towards the bed. She picked up another top to fold before continuing. “This is going to come out wrong, but I don’t feel sorry for you. Everything happens for a reason and, well, even though what happened to you sucks, it’s all part of life. It’s the cold hard reality. We all have loss and pain, some more than others, but it’s made you the strong person you are. So I don’t feel sorry for you, but I am sad for you.”

Wow. No one had even spoken to her like that. It felt cold and harsh, but it was also… nice—honest. The last thing Amelia wanted was more people walking on eggshells around her. She had had more than enough of that over the last five years to last her a lifetime.

Angelle continued, “You be careful with all that guilt though, it will eat you up if you let it.” Angelle met Amelia in the eyes. “You want to hear a secret?”

Did she? Of course. She had just bared her soul, spilling her deepest secrets. The thought of hearing someone else’s was just too tempting to pass up. “Do you even have to ask?”

“You’ve got to promise not to tell anyone,” Angelle said. “Especially not the boys.”

“Duh…” Amelia replied, rolling her eyes and plopping back down on the bed. “I wouldn’t dream of it.”

She shoved her pinky at Amelia. “Pinky swear?”

Amelia locked her finger with Angelle’s and repeated, “Pinky swear.”

Angelle smiled, but there was something forced and sullen about it, nothing like her usual dazzling smile. “When I was sixteen, I was fat and really awkward. No one liked me. Even my parents shunned me.”

“Yeah right,” Amelia laughed. “Not even possible.”

“Seriously,” Angelle continued, shooting her a look that clearly said ‘shut up and listen’. “I hated high school. Kids can be just so vicious. Anyways, that’s not the point. I had an imaginary guy, too. Just like you and the dreams. His name was Derek and for two years, I pined over him. For awhile the dreams were more real than life and I just lived to dream.”

That peaked Amelia’s interest to a whole new level and a happy little voice inside her yelled out, you’re not alone and you’re not as crazy as you think. She needed to know more. She had so many questions, but she wanted to play it cool so she asked, “So what happened?” as casually as possible.

Angelle shrugged. “I slimmed down, had a growth spurt and became popular and the dreams just stopped. I guess I just didn’t need him anymore and then life just sort of happened.”

“Huh.” Well that wasn’t what she had hoped for. And it really wasn’t all that reassuring. Amelia was eighteen. She wasn’t going to have a growth spurt and become beautiful over night. She would never be popular because, she had to face it—she was a bookworm and kind of a nerd—and nerds were never popular. And if she told herself the truth, she didn’t want the dreams to stop. She might have said that she did last night, but she really didn’t mean it. Life without Mitch was not something that Amelia thought she could deal with.

Angelle must have read it on her because she continued, looking distant, as if recalling a great loss. “It was hard for awhile. My life revolved around him and to tell you the truth, I still miss him sometimes.” Then she smiled another sad and fake smile. “But hey, look at me now.”

“Why are you telling me all this?”

“I don’t know. I guess I just wanted you to know that you’re not alone.” Angelle picked up the stack of clothes she had folded and set them on a shelf in the closet. When she came back out, her normally bubbly disposition had returned. “Enough of this serious crap, you still hot for Eric?”

Amelia blushed—a bright cherry red—and flung a pillow at Angelle. She dodged it, and snagged it out of the air just before it hit the ground and then threw it back at Amelia playfully. It hit her square in the face and they both burst out in laughter and collapsed in a giggling heap on her bed.

They talked for hours—strictly girly girl talk. They divulged their most embarrassing moments, trying to one-up each other (Amelia won by a landslide with a story involving two foster brothers, a bar of soap and a shower curtain malfunction). They chatted about their favorite romantic movies, and remembered their first kiss. Angelle grilled Amelia on fashion, a subject on which she was clueless, but Angelle promised to whip her into shape.

The hours slipped by, and the yawns kept emanating from Amelia no matter how hard she tried to keep them in. She had stopped adding anything valuable to the conversation, because her sleepy brain was no longer forming any thought that was even remotely comprehensible, and before she knew it, she had drifted off to sleep.

CHAPTER 11

On Saturday morning, Amelia slept in. She was usually up at the break of dawn but this morning she just couldn’t pull herself out of bed.

Lying on her side, curled up in her king size bed, she stared at the alarm clock, watching the glowing red digital numbers change…8:30…8:31…8:32. Maybe if she just stayed in bed and closed her eyes, she would fall back asleep and he would be there.

It was sad and it made her feel a bit sick, but some part of her had secretly hoped that Mitchell could be real. But of course, he wasn’t real.

   
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