I headed down Ida's stairs, still a little light headed from the attack. I could feel a growing pain to the left of my chest, but I did my best to push the heart break away. I had not spoken to Rory by any means in the hours since he had left, and I was slowly falling apart mentally, and maybe a little physically too. I noted how amazing it is, that, though I have only known and loved him for a little longer than a month, I am missing him as if he was at my side from day one. Actually, I don't think missing someone could hurt this badly. Maybe, it was because I felt I had lost him, forever. And god, did it hurt.
I contemplated talking to him, in our method, but figured, that he probably needed a little alone time. Maybe I've been suffocating him. Maybe he's glad he's finally gotten away. Maybe the only reason he stays with me is because I'm his partner, and he feels dutiful. My face crumpled in pain, and I sat on the bottom of the stairs, sobs racking through my body, my head falling onto my outstretched hands on my lap. I cried for a while, then picked myself up, smoothed down my hair, and dabbed at my red, sore, puffy eyes with a tissue.
I walked down the final step of the stairs, into the hallway. I took a look in the hall mirror, and spoke to the distressed girl, on the verge of tears once more. Strong remember? We said we'd be strong. For Rory. Whether he wants you or... And the tears broke through, drowning my cheeks in brine. I slumped against the hall wall, and I heard Ida and Lily talking in the kitchen, just beyond the door.
''She needs to hear it from him, Lily. I won't betray his trust, heart broken girl or not,"
Rory had confided in Ida? Ida! And not his partner, the girl, he said he loved? And Lily knows too! I didn't remember him saying he had even met Lily!
"This whole thing is hard enough on her, without him, her supposed sole support, hiding things from her. And running away isn't going to help matters in any case. Abandoning my girl like that... Just think what she's going through. New powers, most of which, she has not noticed yet. New appearance, which I know, you think is not important, but she's a young woman, it will be important to her. The task she is now faced with... not to mention the gruesome training!"
"Enough, Lily. She's a strong girl. She'll be just fine."
"What if she isn't just fine, Ida? You know as well as I do what the Tahistori are like. I have never trusted them. All they care about is whether they get all the stones back, not about the protectors who die trying! Think about what they have taken from us, Ida. Our mother, our sister, and countless others. All to save the damn world from some messed up stones!" Lily burst into tears, and I could hear her sobs, the cry becoming hysterical every few seconds.
Lily often cried, but I never thought too much about it, I just concentrated on comforting her. She had lost so much. Her mom, my mom... her husband in that car accident... what had Lily just said? ''Think about what they have taken from us... our sister." God I had been so naive! Melanoma my ass. My mom had died, completing her task as a Kashian Protector. I thought about this a while, and then something almost as bad came to me. Rory had run away? I felt weak, from my mental attack earlier, and all the information and blows I had just been dealt. I held my head together, with my hands, hoping the effort would be enough to keep the chaos from escaping. My whole world had been turned upside down and given a good shake, like a glass snow globe, and I was the little figurine inside, helpless.
Lily pushed open the door to the kitchen and came to sit beside me on the hall floor, against the wall. I hadn't seen her in a while, and it became apparent now how much I had missed her.
"Goodness. Look at you! The image of your Mother. " I smiled a little.
" How are you holding up kiddo?"
"Not so good. Rory's gone. My life has been a lie. I have this task in front of me, and apparently, 'gruesome' training."
"Ah. Well. Rory won't last long without you, your life has not been a lie, bits and pieces may have been kept from you, we all love you dearly, and as for your training: yes. But, you'll be fine. And six months with Rory really doesn't sound that bad, does it?"
We both laughed together, and she reached out to give me a warm Lily-like hug.
"Thank god you're home Lily. I can't go through with it all without you."
"Time off work and all," I laughed, and gave her a nudge.
"Yes, time off and all. Well, I must have like what, six years worth of holidays?"
"Something like that Lil."
Lily had raised me as best as she could, since before my mom's death, and had never been quite like a 'mom', but I could always count on her.
"So. Aren't you going to plague me with questions?"
"Yes. But I think I need one more hug first,"