A hurt Zara looked up, but her eyes smiled at Aidelle’s support, and at her acceptance, not hate. Zara hated herself because of what she had done, just like Aidelle hated her own actions. Their similarities delved down far more than skin-deep.
“I understand that it’s hard for you, but I might lose myself. No-one could know what that feels like,” Zara muttered.
Aidelle pondered at how Zara was trying to defy expectations, just like a typical teenager. Unfortunately, Zara was far from typical now. Therefore, still feeling sorry for the young girl, Aidelle strayed from rolling her eyes.
Zara looked up suddenly, frowning as though she’d misheard. She snatched the tissue that Aidelle was daintily holding out, and dabbed at her sore eyes, thinking of things to say as a comeback. After all, she was a teenager, and the right response was vital to make an impression. A second more of thinking, and Zara realised how silly she was being; in her situation, comebacks were nothing- unless they were comebacks to another time!
“I may not have physically lost myself,” Aidelle continued, “But up here, in my mind, I was lost.” She tapped her right temple and smiled encouragingly. “When you came here, Zara, you brought me to life again. You are a little ray of light, despite whatever anybody from your time says. They can pull you back, they can lock you away, and they can keep you from me for another twenty-five years, but they will never stop me feeling your warmth. Your fiery heart will flame on and on and on.”
Zara blushed, her spirits starting to cheer. Going back, even through memory, to the time that she wanted to forget, causing nothing but pain and heartbreak; on the other hand, hearing Aidelle’s praise of what seemed to Zara as selfish own lifesaving, was much more than the reward of having time back to the way they wanted it. It was the piece of life that she had been waiting for; a reward for being herself, not who she was all expected to be. And, it seemed, the truth was made of much sweeter things.
If time never reversed, at least they would always have each other…in spirit, even if in nothing else.
Time… That reminded Zara to get back to her ‘duty’. It put her mind back into the frame, reminded her why she had come there in the first place.
Zara cleared her throat, glanced anxiously at the time as it ticked on, the clock, that ticking time-bomb, and at Aidelle, an unusual, joyful and happy smile having made itself accustomed to her face.
They were both ‘oh-so ready’!
“Right!” Zara stood up, and then sat back down again hastily, uncertain in all her past certainty about how to proceed. “We’ve got a lot to do in whatever time we have, so we’d better get a move on!”
Her optimism was vague to the point of being patronizingly annoying.
“So… We should get a move on, hopefully without touching that clock any more than necessary.”
Aidelle laughed, and helped Zara back out of the kitchen chair she had collapsed into previously.
“Whatever you say, boss. But first, we’d better get you cleaned up.”
Zara found herself being frog-marched up the stairs to a white pristine bathroom sink.
“Okay, but as long as it doesn’t take too much time.”
”Time? Oh, but don’t you know? We have all the time that we want.”
They both burst out laughing, as Aidelle started to run some deep, hot water and tossed a bright yellow flannel at Zara. They flicked the water teasingly at each other, and started to succumb to the fits of giggles, finding that they weren’t going to stop soon.
For once, they were truly happy. It was good.