Svetlana came home from the animal shelter after the day's volunteering, radiating quiet satisfaction.
“It worked a treat. Joel became really standoffish and Susanna was completely confused. They ended up not talking to each other for the whole time.”
Svetlana sighed slightly as she took a seat on the sofa.
“She was hurt, Kenny. I know this is about Order, but ... she’s not a bad person, Susanna. Maybe not as brave or as admirable as Jennifer, but ... she’s caring, and certainly not the kind of person you’d wish ill. I almost felt guilty for putting that potion in Joel’s tea.”
“I hate to say this but that’s a clear sign you’re not heartless, Lana,” said Kenner lightly.
Svetlana smiled slightly.
“What should I do?”
“I’m afraid it’s incurable. You just have to grin and bear it for the rest of your life.”
Svetlana mocked resignation.
“A life of caring it is then...”
Serious now, Kenny said “It was never supposed to be easy, Lana. But at the end of the day, if we avert Chaos, we’ve done what we set out to do. And the way I see it, at least we’re not using a Heartbreak Arrow.”
“That’s true. No, I do believe in what we’re doing, Kenner. I was just thinking it’s not Susanna’s fault.”
“I know,” sighed Kenny. “It’s Joel’s. Maybe you can help her find someone more suitable when this is over.”
Svetlana smiled slightly.
“Maybe I will. Display my talents as a Guardian Angel.” She winked. “You’ll be so jealous of the diversity of my skills.”
When Susanna came home from volunteering, I instantly noticed that she had sunk into a deeper state of despondency.
“What’s wrong, Susie?” I asked, concerned as I followed her up to her room.
“It’s Joel,” she whispered. “Today... I don’t know what happened. One moment I thought he wanted to talk to me, tell me we could be together again... The next, he was like a block of ice. It hurt worse than breaking up with him did.”
“Oh, Susie... I don’t think they’ve found a way for humans and Guardians to be together safely yet.”
“You don’t know how hard it is, Jennifer. I know I should be thinking about the whole world but ... that’s difficult. Whenever I see Joel... I just want to run into the comfort and security of his arms. There... there, it was so easy to pretend that nothing bad was ever going to happen. Now I’m just alone.”
“You’ve got me,” I offered.
Susanna smiled slightly and pulled me into a hug.
“Yes, I do, don’t I? I only wish I could forget Joel because of that.”
I hugged her back.
“I know it’s hard, Susie. But ... it’s worth it. In the end. For the world.”
“For the world,” she whispered. “Why me?”
I couldn’t answer, couldn’t even imagine how it felt to know that the world didn’t want you to be in love. So I just stood there and hugged her.