I really did appreciate what Harmony said. Don't get me wrong. Its always nice to know when someone is on your side. I couldn't help glancing at the ring on my finger. After Raven's attack, what I really was had come rushing back. As much as I loved Jay and the others, it seemed like an impossible dream. I curled my hand inwards, so that the ring wasn't showing. I was presented with my own fist as a hard lump formed in my throat.
I don't belong here. I can't bring them anything except trouble. First the Hunters, then Kaiari and Lee.. then there's the small matter of talking treason. If anyone reports finds out I'm here even-I'll have condemned us all.
I could feel my mouth twisting into a bitter grimace of self-loathing. My hair hung on either side of my face, hiding me from the outside world. I pulled the ring of in one violent movement and held it tight in my fist. I felt the stone cut my hand a little and a warm trickle of blood crept between my fingers. I closed my eyes against the burning I felt there. I was not going to cry. My gaze fell on my bag, still packed with weapons and a change of clothes. The door to the blacony was open, blowing a cool breeze into the room. I could smell the forest. My hand stung again, making me open my fist. There was a small smear of blood on the stone, a cut in my palm. Seeing the ring lying there felt like a blow to my stomach. I couldn't walk away from that could I?
I cleaned the smear of blood off the ring. The sunlight glowed in the stone making me smile despite everything. It was a truly beautiful ring. Everything it symbolised, something I still couldn't believe. It all seemed like a dream, just the bad bits had left their scars and bruises. My side throbbed in agreement.
I grabbed a pen and paper, writing in a quick, elegant script.
I am so sorry for everything I have brought down on you. I have put you in danger time and time again. The longer I stay, the more people are going to get hurt. This has been the most amazing dream being here. But staying as long as I have has been selfish. Please know that I am always going to love you. That is why I have to leave. I can't put you in danger anymore. Please don't follow me.
I will never forget you.
I put the ring on my finger, unable to leave it. Instead, I weighed down the note with a bracelet I knew Jay would recognise. I swiftly swung my bag onto one shoulder, moving towards the balcony. I sprang onto the rails, pausing a second.
Its not running away... I'm protecting them. I just hope Jay doesn't follow me.
I turned away, tears blurring my vision. My hair swung down, cutting off my view of the room. I blew out hard, gaining my conviction back. I let go of the rail, preparing to jump.
I closed my eyes against that voice. I felt choked.
"Jay..walk away. Please."
I heard him walk towards me. He moved directly behind me, putting his hand gently on my shoulder.
"Asha...talk to me." he said softly.
My heart twisted.I felt tears gather again. I couldn't speak.