I could stop time forever until I found her. Not that I was powerful enough to stop time for that long, but I would most certainly try. Stone had contacted me as soon as Calum had told me that Elodie was missing. After yelling at him, I could hear him hurting on the other end and hung up, not willing to say sorry.
I checked each of the safe houses that I knew she’d been to. I looked for Elodie everywhere. I thought that maybe she was totally done and was living it up in the Caribbean or somewhere; but Elodie would never do that.
I tried to wrack my brain for the one place that Elodie would go if she was sad or angry, but the only places I could think of where back in Holt. I bit my lip and closed my eyes, willing myself to the place where I hoped I would finally find her.
I rang the doorbell, half hoping that the Jumpers hadn’t enlisted the help of the magicians and half hoping that they had. My opinion changed as soon as Riana opened the door.
“Um… hi? Can I help you?” She asked me, no recognition in her face at all. She looked me up and down and kind of smiled, as if she wanted me to ask if I could help her.
“Is Elodie there?” I asked. Her smile faded and I watched her try and place the name to someone who was once her friend but who she had no recollection of now. She shook her head and my shoulders dropped.
“Do you want to come in?” She asked flirtatiously. I shook my head.
“I have to find her.” I said confidently.
“Is this girl someone you love?”
“Yes… but not in that way. I care about her. I’ve known her for forever but she skipped town and I need… I just… I have to find her.” None of this would really make sense to Riana, but it slipped my mouth. “Thanks for your help though.”
Riana slowly shut the door, and I wished I’d never come back here. I bit my lip and made my way towards Isabelle’s house. Isabelle couldn’t play dumb even if she wanted to.
Ten minutes later and I knocked on her door, quietly waiting for my old friend to open it up and embrace me as she usually would.
“Hi?” Isabelle said as she stared at me, rubbing her eyes from under her glasses softly. She had undergone a massive transformation since I had last seen her. She no longer had her hair in just one boring shoulder length cut, but had highlights of golden blonde and layers and layers pulled back into a ponytail at the back of her head. Her glasses seemed the perfect size for her face and her eyelashes- which used to always be bare- were covered in mascara. I wasn’t going to deny that she looked good. Like, she looked better than good. She was making me question my sexuality with how good she looked; but I knew that this wasn’t her.
I knew that people could change in a year. Elodie was proof of that. It just seemed so unlike Isabelle to do something like this.
“Hey, I’m looking for someone.” I tried a new approach. “She’s about your height, has curly hair, green eyes…have you seen her?”
“Oh you mean Elodie?”
I breathed a sigh of relief.
“Do you... not remember me?” I asked. Isabelle scrunched her face up. She was the smartest person I knew. If she couldn’t remember me then there was some magic going on here.
“Did you go to my school? I’m sorry, if I can’t remember you, I’ve probably never said hi to you before. Um yeah so I don’t know where Elodie is. She’s not exactly my friend anyway… But I’ll see you at school right?”
“What do you mean you aren’t friends? Sorry, I just got back, I’ve been gone for a year.” I said. Isabelle bit her lip and glanced back into her house.
“I think you should come in.”
I followed her in; pretending that I didn’t know where her bedroom was. Her parents glared at her, but I assured them that I was batting for the other team. They lightened up after that and asked if I wanted to stay for dinner.
But I had to find Elodie.
“So, what do you remember?” She asked me. I took a deep breath.
“You, Riana and Elodie were best friends. Elodie disappeared at about the same time as I did, I don’t know what happened after that.” I said. Isabelle frowned.
“Wow, so Elodie ran off with Calum- this new kid- she came back and pissed Riana off, I wasn’t going to let her say things like that to my best friend and so I went after Riana and suddenly Elodie and Riana are like mortal enemies.
I picked Riana’s side. I don’t really know why. I mean Elodie was a lot bitchier at first; but Riana was way worse afterwards even if she didn’t have the fantastic four to help her.”
I sat next to her and kind of awkwardly put my arm around her, as she seemed torn up over the fight.
Isabelle turned to me and I felt my heart stop when her eyes met mine. I tried to calm myself by repeating to myself that I did, in fact, bat for the other team. She gave me a small smile and I immediately thought- or did I?
“Are you actually gay? Or did you just say that so you could get past my parents?”
“To be honest, Isabelle. I thought I was, but I’m really not too sure anymore.”
“You could always try it out, you know.”
I glanced at her; not wanting to accept what I now felt in my heart. What the hell was going on? I had known Isabelle for a very long time; and only now that she looked a little different I was falling in love with her when I was 178% I was gay?
What the hell?
I stood suddenly, trying to remember my mission- why I was really here. “Where’s the bathroom?”
“Down the hall, second door to the right.”
I stood, and as soon as I walked out her door I stopped time. I went back in and looked at her face, admiring the little crease that had appeared in between her perfectly sculpted eyebrows.
I found a bit of paper and wrote her a note, explaining why I had left suddenly.
Hey, I’m sorry that I had to leave but it’s a matter of life and death. You really are something special, Sy. I wish I’d noticed that before.
My eyes felt hot as I wrote my old nickname for her but I tried to shake it off. Why was she making me feel like this? I was a powerful creature of Time. I had never had these kind of feelings before.
Maybe I could just keep time stopped until I felt normal again.
I folded the note and left it on her desk before walking out. I didn’t start time again until I was far away from her house.
I closed my eyes and basically just walked, not hitting into anything because I knew these streets off by heart.
Loneliness stabbed me in the gut and when I opened my eyes again I was in front of Elodie’s old house.
The lights were on. They were having dinner, I could see into their dining room from here and what I saw punched me in the gut even more than loneliness did. Elodie sat at the table, smiling and laughing with her old family just like old times.
I stopped time in an instant and made my way towards her frozen figure. She was frozen in a laugh and I could tell that it was real. It seemed to me that this was the first time I had seen her happy since this whole thing had erupted.
Michael was mid-sentence when I had frozen him, and it was obvious that he was the reason they were all laughing. Darren on the other hand- in all his glory- was smiling at Elodie. He had always loved her like a sister so it was no wonder that he was so happy.
I had watched after Elodie left, as Darren fell into a kind of depression. He missed her so much, and it made me as an onlooker happy that he was happy.
Elodie’s fake parents were also smiling at her and it made me wonder whether Elodie had enlisted the help of a magician to make them all forget about her year disappearance. I clicked my fingers and Elodie sprang to life, her laughter disappearing as she realised they had all frozen.
She looked around, but I had concealed myself well.
“Whoever you are, go!” She ordered. “I am no longer what you seek.”
“What are you then?” I asked, still not giving away my identity.
“I am one of the Dewin.” She said, her voice shaking. “It is the reason why I could both jump through time and stop it. Why I could do so many things that no one else could. They said I was a weapon and that I was special, but it was only because they had never seen anything like me before. I am half Time Jumper that is true, but my mother was a Dewin, therefore so am I.”
“Now show yourself, or I will have to use forces unknown to mankind.”
She was totally bullshitting.
At least, that was what I thought, until I felt my head explode and it was like a hundred needles poking holes in my brain. I fell to the floor, the effort it took to disguise myself crumbling as my brain died again and again.
Suddenly it all stopped.
“Oh my goodness, Sam!” Elodie froze, seeming torn about what to do to me now. “Tell me you didn’t bring them here with you. Tell me they don’t know where I am. A year it has been and I have evaded your capture-
“What?” I asked, surprised by her exclamation.
“I jumped back a year. Just after this all started. Sam, go have a seat in the living room, I think this might take a while to explain.” Elodie said. And it was true, she did look older, but not in the usual way. In fact, she looked more powerful, and she seemed to know it.
“So you jumped away from Calum and landed here?” I asked. Elodie nodded.
“I didn’t realise that I had jumped back in time until I woke up the next morning or something and Darren told me. It was a surprise and at first I said that once I had had a few days of recovery I’d go straight back.”
“What happened that changed your mind?” I asked. Elodie looked at me strangely.
“Another Dewin came for me. Just as Stone did. Except this Dewin’s name was Atlas. She was a friend of my mothers. She told me that my mother was one of them- not a Time Jumper as I so previously thought, but a Dewin, a magician. Anyway, she basically told me that because I was both, I could choose which side I wanted to embrace.
“A Dewin will live forever, just as a Jumper or Ender would, but I would only have to take part in the war if I so desired. If I did not, I could practise magic in the safety of my own home. I cast protective enchantments over the whole entire neighbourhood so that if anyone asked about me who did not belong here, the answer would be that they did not know who I was.”
Elodie cast a dark and bitter look outside.
“So you’ve been embracing the Dewin side instead of the Jumper side? Can you still jump through time?” I asked Elodie. She slowly shook her head.
“I am not a Jumper anymore. I may have that blood running through my veins, but I chose to give those powers up in exchange for being one of the Dewin.”
I stood up, making sure time was still frozen.
“Elodie, you have to go back.”
She shook her curls defiantly.
“I’m not going back, Sam. I can’t do that anymore.”
“I meant back to Calum.” I waited to see her reaction, but I was given no such luck as she shook her head once more.
“You may be much older than me, Sam, but you are much more ignorant. Love is temporary. I am greater than a measly crush. I’m sorry, but you’re going to have to go back to Caspar, Stone and Calum and tell them that you had no such luck.”
I stared at Elodie, mesmerised by her transformation- but not in a good way. She stared at me, not trying to be haughty but not being able to help the fact that that’s exactly the way she was looking right now. She was right, in a way, I was much older than her and I probably was ignorant to some things.
I immediately thought of Isabelle and the weird turn my feelings and thoughts had taken when I saw her.
“You’re wrong, Elly.” I said aloud.
“Excuse me?” She replied.
“Love is not temporary. No matter how much you would like it to be. I know that the love that you feel for Calum is still buried deep down inside of you. You may have decided that you feel nothing for him. I know you, Elly. You feel things so acute that no one else in the world could match for your skills in loving things.”
“Dude, you’re making absolutely no sense whatsoever.”
I smiled brightly.
“I knew the old Elodie was in there somewhere.”
She narrowed her eyes and started muttering in an old, probably dead language. I braced myself for the needles again, but they never came.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
“Forbidding you to speak of me, this place or anything that happened here today to Stone, Caspar or Calum. I also forbid you to stop time when you are within a hundred kilometres of me or any of my family.”
“The family that cared about me for fifteen years.”
“If you think Caspar didn’t care about you for fifteen years then you’re dead wrong.”
“You’ll be dead wrong if you speak of them again.” She said sharply. I frowned and felt tears sting my eyes.
“Fine, if this is the way you want things then that’s the way you’ll have them.”
“Good. Now I’ll go back up to the table and you’ll begin time and then leave. Go back to them, tell them you can’t find me.”
She stood and sat back at the dining room table and resumed her laughing pose. With tears in my eyes for real this time, the pang of loneliness I felt earlier returned, bringing hopelessness with it.
Wishing that things could go back to the way that they were before, I braced myself for the constantly approaching conversation I’d try to have with Caspar, Stone and Calum.
I clicked my fingers, watched as everyone continued laughing and disappeared into the nothingness that was time.