Several hours later we were both standing in Xaria’s kitchen, staring down at a black mess sitting in the middle of a pure white plate. They both sighed.
‘You would have thought after two hundred years I would be able to cook,’ I said, trying not to laugh at the strangeness of the situation.
‘Well I did set it on fire once… twice… OK I can’t control my powers yet.’ She picked up the plate, scraping the black food into the bin and putting the plate in the sink.
‘So what now?’ I asked, feeling a little awkward as I leant against the work surface.
‘I don’t know,’ Xaria said, obviously as nervous as I was. ‘Want to go upstairs? You could tell me about my past.’
‘Are you sure you want to know?’ I asked cautiously. ‘It’s not always pretty.’
‘I die at the end of every story, of course it’s not going to be pretty,’ she said taking my hand and leading me out of the kitchen and up the stairs to her bedroom. It was the same one we had shared all those years ago when we had been children at the orphanage, except it didn’t look as austere as it had the last time I had been there. The walls were now painted in bright colours and Xaria’s stuff was strewn about the room, making it feel more like a bedroom than the prison it had felt like all those years ago.
‘I remember this room so well,’ I said, looking around as I walked in. ‘Of course it’s a lot nicer than when I was last here.’
‘This room?’ She said, her face screwed up in confusion as she sat down on the bed.
‘This is where we met,’ I said, sitting next to her. ‘About two hundred and fifty years ago I was a small ten year old boy, abandoned by his parents at this house.’
‘Really? But this house used to be a… oh.’ She looked blankly ahead of her. ‘I was an orphan in that life too. What about my other lives?’
‘It varied,’ I said, shrugging. ‘You did have parents sometimes. None of them were particularly fond of me, but that was only because they loved you so much.’
‘In our other relationships, how serious did things get?’ She asked, blushing slightly at the possible answer.
‘Again it varied. Sometimes I would only see you for a matter of months before you were taken away from me.’ I suddenly became conscious of the fact that my fingers were busy intertwining themselves with Xaria’s. It felt good to have that contact, however small.
‘But how serious did it ever get?’ She insisted.
‘Many years ago, in the 1860’s we were engaged.’ I smiled at the memory. I had really thought it would work out that time, that we would get married and grow old together, despite my immortality. ‘So I guess you can count that as serious,’ I said, pulling myself out of the memory and back to the present. Xaria blushed but her shyness didn’t stop her from pulling me down onto the bed so we were lying next to each other. She pulled me close, resting her head on my chest. Strangely, I was feeling more comfortable now than I had all day.
‘Did I look different in any of my past lives?’
‘You changed to fit in with the style of the time but no. You looked just as beautiful then as you do now.’ Her blushed deepened at that, a smile playing on her lips, turning to look up at me.
‘I don’t know, fate I suppose. But I am so glad it was you.’
‘Was I always a Charmer?
‘Yes,’ I said simply. ‘Your powers have followed you throughout your lives.’
‘Did I always not have them when you showed up?’
Yes, except for the first time I met you. You already had them and I discovered you using them.’ She nodded, showing she understood and her hold on my waist tightened as she snuggled in against me. We sat in silence for a few moments and I thought she had gone to sleep but then she turned to me again, a burning desire growing in her eyes.
‘Where was I when you first met me?’
‘You were a little girl of about eight, and you were sitting on the windowsill in the library, a book open on your lap. You were doing the same trick I saw you doing earlier.’
‘The library here? If so it’s still a library, but the doors have been locked for about 240 years because of the bo-‘ Her voice dropped off as realisation hit her. ‘The body of the girl they found was me, wasn’t it.’
‘Yes,’ I said sadly, trying to keep my voice from breaking. I couldn’t look her in the eyes as I told her this so turned my head away. ‘It was you. It was the year I’d turned eighteen and I was heartbroken that I’d lost you forever.’ I felt a cold hand on my cheek, turning my face towards Xaria. I looked down into her eyes, so beautifully blue, I could see nothing else. I felt her lips press gently against mine and I automatically kissed her back, pulling her as close as I could.