My head spun. I hated it; I just wanted to shake off the lost feeling. Mai's travel had really thrown me off course. England... Why England? Why had I been born here, and why had I chosen to stay? Aidan...he was my reason, but now he had vanished with the rest of them.
I huddled my arms and legs together- I hated my parentage if it had led me here- and I began to sob in bitter frustration at a turn of events that I certainly didn’t need right now.
But suddenly, a rustle of bushes disturbed my lament.
I rushed around, looking for the girl whom I now believed to be connected to me- simple me- by the most powerful link: love. The way her soft blonde hair fell in ringlet about her ears...the way her turquoise eyes filled up with tears when she still felt the deepest anger. And now I had gone and lost her again.
I glanced at Mai.
"What happened?" I didn't mean to shout, but it came from too much teacher training.
"She must have been separated in the travel. I told you I don't do this often. Oh, I'm sorry!"
I glanced at her, pitiful and forgiving.
"It's okay. Come on, let's go and find her...she can't be far, can she?" Then, I started to worry.
Before my worries had taken me far into despair, however, I heard a noise and looked up to see a ginger, freckled boy running to the building across the way, where I had met with the Irish farmer.
After a babbling string of quaint (I rather shudder at my use of the word, especially since it hinted at the derogatory) Irish, the boy jumping from foot to foot and occasionally pointing to the forest on the horizon of all our visions, the old man exclaiming, shaking his head and pointing to us at the same time.
Finally, I put two and two together, laughing despite myself.
“Come on, let’s go, before they get the gold first.”
It wasn’t long before we came across a bunch of notorious-looking trees, dense and similar from all directions. This was clearly where the boy had been pointing. Disregarding the others, I ran in steadily, having never been one to like sports when I was a boy.
It didn’t take me very much longer to hear the gentle sobbing that I knew all too well. When I had pushed her away, her eyes had been full of tears, her lips [pouring pout the steady one-two of a cry. Here, there was no mistaking Meggie, and, ironically, it was that despair of hers that led me to her.
In the little clearing, I found her, and, at seeing how distressed she had become, instantly rushed to her, my love.
"Meggie, darling Meggie, please stop sobbing. Look at me, I'm here now. Stop it." I put my arms around the trembling bundle, which responded by freezing, and slowly, very slowly, Meggie began to look up, trying to fix her make-up as she tried to fix the mess. But this was the mess I had fallen in love. I loved her; couldn't ask her to change.
I wiped a trail of mascara off her cheek, beaming as we sat together, rocking back and forth.
"I'm here. I've found you."
I looked incredulously at the angel kneeling beside me. Had Aidan really found me in this hell of my life? I sniffed, wiping my nose, in a manner so unladylike.
"Can we go back to England?"
It was as if I knew that this place was nowhere that I had ever been before. Aidan’s expression revealed more truth to me than he would let on in words, just because of his secretive personality.
"I should. Rachel won’t cease her wondering," Aidan replied, running his hands through his soft locks again.
I sighed, dreamily imagining a life with such a handsome man. Even the occasional grey hair did not tarnish his looks.
Neither Mai nor Erica were anywhere to be seen. Aidan recounted to me that they had wandered off, and he, confused too, looked around.
“Perhaps they went...” And he pulled me up, leading me in a direction of the clear blue skies up ahead. This was not the way he had come in, that was clear, but at least we were out of the forest of the lost.
Suddenly, a gleaming red bus pulled up in front of us, a mirror recount of the old Bus that I had learnt to call my home for a couple of weeks. It had cut into the back-road that Aidan and I had made our way too, and it stood there, waiting for us, like none had done in America.
I glanced sideways at Aidan, my eyes narrowed, teasing.
"Fancy a holiday?"