I sat in my room with my door locked and my head in my hands for a very long time. I knew that I shouldn’t have lashed out at Elodie like that, but I couldn’t control it. I was so adamant to know the truth about whether or not she kissed me because she loved me or just to get my attention that I became so angry and my mouth ran wild.
I sighed, stood up slowly and stared out the window.
We didn’t have many windows- especially not near the torture chamber- but we decided that we would each have a window in our bedrooms.
Having windows was dangerous. When three people in your house frequently appeared and disappeared, too many windows could cause a problem.
I shut my eyes with force and tried not to let the images of Opal into my head but I was too late.
There she was, watching me, calling to me, asking me to come to her and when I opened my eyes she faded.
I couldn’t come to her right now. I had a responsibility here. I was the only relatively normal human in this house and with Stone unaccounted for, Caspar unresponsive and Elodie unwilling to accept that there are consequences in everything, I needed to stay here.
Maybe Opal could come to me. Maybe she would want to stay. It would be safer for her and it would put my heart at ease if I knew Elodie was safe.
I heard footsteps outside my door.
“Calum, can I come in?” Elodie said softly.
Then it dawned on me. If this was any other normal day and we were having a normal fight, she would have jumped into my room by now. I was glad and respected Elodie for giving me some privacy.
Elodie didn’t push it.
She waited for me to answer.
“If you want to,” I near whispered.
There was a pause. I smiled to myself.
“The doors’ locked,” Elodie informed me.
I took my time unlocking it, knowing that she would be getting impatient.
“What’s up?” I asked her as she stepped into my room. I refused to look at her.
“Calum, we need to sort this out.” She said just as softly as before. I swallowed hard and moved away from her to sit on my bed.
Elodie sighed and shut my door.
“Look at me, Calum.” She said louder.
I forced myself to lift my eyes and as soon as I did I smiled.
She was wearing her orange bandana again and my heart seemingly burned.
“That’s better.” She whispered. “Look, I know how you feel about me and I know you want to hear that I feel the same but-”
“Did you actually come in here to say that to me, because I think I kind of already figured that out?” I said shakily. Elodie shook her head and sat down next to me.
“It’s not that I don’t feel the same way because I think I do.”
“I asked you and you didn’t say anything. If you felt something you probably should have told me.”
“It’s not that easy.”
“This has never happened to me before. I’ve watched people from afar, people who I knew I had no chance with. I laughed about it with my friends. I wished that somebody would one day love me back and then you came along.
“Do you know what I’ve been doing for four hours, Calum?” She asked me.
“I don’t know, Elodie.” I murmured, wondering where this was going to lead.
“I relived every moment we spent together and I noticed something about half way through that I hadn’t noticed the first time I lived it. Do you want to know what that was?”
“You’re going to say it anyway, why bother asking me?” I mumbled. Elodie glared at me. “Ok, ok, I want to know.”
How did she do that?
“I noticed that whenever you looked at me, my stomach would flip and that I had wanted to kiss you for a long time. It wasn’t just to get your attention, Calum. I kissed you because I wanted to and I kissed you because I guess I like you in a way that is more than friendship.”
I raised my eyebrows.
I knew it. God damn it, I knew it.
“You seem to not only have a problem with showing affection but with saying it as well. Elodie, I want you to say it. I want to hear you say it.”
“Calum,” Elodie whined.
“And no going back in time to fix it if you can’t say it. I want you to be here the whole time.”
“I would be here the whole time. You wouldn’t know anyway.” She grumbled.
“Do I have to get Caspar up here?” I warned.
“I respect you.” Elodie whispered weakly. I shook my head. Now I was smiling. I was really going to enjoy this.
“I admire you.” She said.
“I like you a lot?” She said.
“You know I can’t say it, Calum, please give me a break.”
I stared thoughtfully at Elodie and she stared at me.
“I can’t spend another year waiting for you Elly. It’s got to be now or never. I can always pack up and leave- find my apparent Double by myself if this proves to be too hard for you.” I said. I didn’t mean for it to sound so harsh but Elodie stiffened and stood up.
“If you truly did love me, Calum, you wouldn’t rush me. Can’t you tell I’m not ready? Can’t you tell that I have trouble with this? You already know, so I don’t see why I have to say it.”
“I don’t know, Elodie. I don’t know if you’re still leading me on. When you do lead me on, it gets to the point where I can’t take it anymore. I’m sick of it. Right now I’m having trouble figuring out if all of this was a ruse or if you actually meant it.”
“Well here, let me make it easier for you- I’m not leading you on. There.”
“I’m having a hard time believing that.”
“Oh, I’m sorry, should I not be allowed to have faults like the rest of the world?”
“I just want you to say three little words.”
“If they’re so little why do they mean so much to you?”
“That’s not what I meant.”
“Just stop, Calum. You have no more idea of what you’re talking about than I do.”
“You don’t want me around anymore, do you, Elodie?”
“The only reason I have put up with this life is because you are here with me. The only reason I’ve put up with Caspar and Stone and murder is because you were here to keep me sane the whole time. When Caspar lunged at me with the Fire Knife and I thought I was about to die, it was you that I was thinking of. It was your name that I said.”
I looked down at my hands and then back at her.
“I don’t understand, Elly.”
“I think you do.”
“You acted like I was a burden for a long time so the obvious endgame is that you actually hate me and you wish I’d never joined your team.”
“Stop jumping to conclusions, Calum, not even I can do that.” Elodie said softly as she smiled briefly at the double meaning of her words.
I took her hand and she stepped closer to me. I looked up at her face and she looked down at me. There was something in her eyes then but I couldn’t identify it at all.
“Elodie, I understand the way you feel.” I knew that by acting like I didn’t know what she was talking about, she would get angry and end up spitting the words I wanted to hear out of her mouth. She would be angry at me, but I would deal with that later. “You don’t feel the same for me as I feel for you, but that’s ok. I’ll live. I’ll leave and you can forget that this- or anything between us ever happened.”
“You fool,” She whispered before hissing bitterly, “I love you.”
Then she wrenched her hand out of mine and before I could reach out for her again-