Clarisse had been watching Sam for the entire night, still trying to make up her mind about what he had told her. It was just too much to wrap her brain around. Real or astral? Old or young? Elf or….something else? Attraction…or something even more scary?
Dangerous or just a disaster waiting to happen?
And Grace had been fawning all over him again. She’d surprised herself at how jealous that had made her. Grace was harmless and transparent, and Sam had deflected her pretty easily, but she wanted to strangle her friend for even trying.
The gun is still in the top drawer.
And poor Jeff. The schmuck was totally infatuated with the blonde, but needed to drop a pair and actually do something about it. Well, something that didn’t involve way too much booze and way too little sense. Hopefully Trog and Hirito weren’t too rough on him after he took that swing at Sam and knocked himself out.
Fucking slut didn’t even notice him trying to fight for her.
Still, it was a good party. Sam’s friends were pretty cool, and not too weird around the younger crowd. Frenchie was OK as long as he had a beer in his hand, and Trog was pretty fun, in his bull-in-a-china-shop kind of way. Maz was brooding even more than usual, something about his job with the cops.
Still don’t trust Hirito. Something’s not right with his story.
She focused back on the elf. Jeff said that Sam had paid for the whole party. Big cash too. And wasn’t flaunting it around. She liked that. Quietly confident.
She’d been angry that he didn’t follow her out of the diner that night. And that he hadn’t called after that. But that wasn’t fair. He’d said he would give her as much time as she needed to sort this out, and he had. Even here, he wasn’t pushing her, but he also wasn’t pulling away.
Maybe its all an act. False sense of security and then BAM!
So, the real question was, did she agree that the age thing didn’t matter? Sam was right that if Frenchie and Trog and Hirito and Maz thought she was old enough to risk her life, then she was old enough for them to shut the hell up about a relationship. But did she want to be going out with someone older that her Dad? Or was it someone older than dirt? Or was it someone barely out of metaphorical diapers?
Or someone that shouldn’t be trusted?
She stood and walked across the floor to stand in front of him. He watched her the entire way, but didn’t give any hint of what he was thinking. She knew it would be lot easier if he wasn’t so damn unreadable. But then he wouldn’t be quite so fascinating.
He didn’t shy away when she asked him to dance. It was a quiet song, so he could hold on to her. Not that he was all that strong, but she still found it comfortable. What wasn’t comfortable was having all of his friends watching them, and making comments.
She looked up into his dark eyes and said, “We need to talk. Can we go somewhere quiet?”
Sam nodded and led her down into the cellar of the bar. He looked at her expectantly, and she could feel tears welling up despite her promise not to do that.
“I’m sorry. I kinda flaked out about all of this. It was a lot to take in. But you knew that went you said you’d give me as much time as I needed, didn’t you?”
Sam started to speak, but she interrupted, “No, let me finish. You poured it all out for me, so I’d know the whole story. Well, I’m going to lay it all out in the open too.”
“I didn’t know what to make of all this. Does this make sense? No. You’re 43, and 1, and hundreds of years old at the same time? You have a past you don’t remember, but you’re not really even that person?”
“Fuck. I don’t even know why I’m even imagining this is a good idea, but here I am. I was going to say goodbye tonight, you know. ‘See ya. Have a nice life, gramps…’ But I can’t. There’s something else there. Something that’s separate from whatever the hell the age difference really is. Something that won’t let me do that.”
“Hell, maybe its just hormones, like with Grace, and I’m just less of a slut than she is. Maybe this time next year I’ll be looking back and thinking, ‘What the fuck were you doing?’ Maybe I’ll finally listen to that little voice in my head that is telling me this is a really bad idea.”
“But you know what? I don’t give a crap about that right now. I want to see what more there is to the story of John Rollins or Sam Wolfe or whoever the hell you really are. I liked where things were going before you asked me to do that research, and that really hasn’t changed.”
When Clarisse finished, she stared at his face for a reaction. It was only a few seconds that seemed like hours, and she just couldn’t take the suspense or the tension. She stepped into him, pushing him back into the support beam, and kissed him as hard as she could. It seemed like his initial surprise melted into a return kiss, but she was far beyond caring. When they finally broke apart, she looked at him intently.
The party was going well for most people…
There were exceptions…
Jeff seemed to be lost in the bottle, Clarisse seemed to be lost in thought, and Grace seemed to be stuck on only one thought. For all three the source of their problems was me, Sam Wolfe.
Just as Grace’s incessant flirting had gotten bad enough that I was considering mind controlling Jeff to come over and carry her off, the very same idiot headbutts a coat rack next to me. Trog and Maz drag him off. That isn’t going to end well for Jeff. I tricked Grace into leaving and then locked the doors in place with a levitate spell.
Soon after Clarisse approaches me for the first time this night. I’d been trying to figure out what it was I like about her. Honestly, I could have almost any woman. There just seemed to be something. She stepped into me, pushing me back into the support beam, and kissed me as hard as she could.
I’m sure my body registered some surprise but it wasn’t from the fact of being kissed, but rather from the memories that kiss awakened. Memories of a similar forceful kiss by a woman who looked strikingly similar to Clarisse, but older, harder, elven.
“So…Now what?” she asks.
“Whatever you want Miriel.”
Aw crap and who’s Miriel?
“Who the hell is Miriel?” Clarisse’s voice is both angry and hurt.
I didn’t need a Mindprobe spell to tell what was going through her mind.
The gun is still in the top drawer.
More memories flood in.
Miriel had just been struck down by her ally Krog. Three hundred kilos of adept powered troll barreling down on me is not something I ever want to experience. As she went down, the astral bond between magician and ally spirit ruptured. I was free, except I didn’t flee like most spirits would have. I stayed, broke the spell controlling Krog, and healed Miriel. She was a friend. And after the day of the kiss she became more until the day she died in Throal.
“I think Miriel is you.”
I’ve said it to Luna before when she’s asked to describe freedom and I’ll say it again.
Freedom is a length of rope. God wants you to hang yourself with it.
“Who the hell is Miriel?”, Clarisse demanded. She couldn’t believe that he actually said someone else’s name after she kissed him. Who does that?
Need to start bringing the gun along instead of leaving it in the drawer.
“I think Miriel is you”, Sam replied.
“What the hell is that supposed to mean”, she thought. Anger and tears fought for dominance as she struggled to figure out what Sam was playing at now.
But then everything about this relationship was weird. Why should that change now?
She stood facing him, fists on her hips, trying not to glare too much.
“Look. If you’re trying to tell me you’re not into this, just say so. Otherwise, you better start explaining. Again.”
She looks so cute standing there all defiant with her fists on her hips. But the truth, I was partly afraid that the next kiss i got from her would have me remembering so far back in the past that I’d remember standing at a shoreline, watching a little gray fish heave itself up on the beach and an older being saying, “Don’t step on that fish, Samuel. Big plans for that fish.”
I suddenly felt like having a drink, luckily I was in a bar where the drinks had already been prepaid. I levitated two beers to a table and sat down. If she wasn’t interested in the beer, I was more than willing to drink the second one as well.
“I’m sure you’ve heard of the elven nations of Tir Tairngire and Tír-na-nÓg. Well the elves have a belief that elves reincarnate. Usually they reincarnate back into an elf, but on rare occassions they return as a human. Each reincarnation usually looks similar to the previous incarnation.”
Clarisse is far smarter than I am (not that I’d admit it), and I can already see her putting two and two together.
“I think you were Miriel, the sorceress who created me as her ally spirit and my first love.”
Clarisse sat silently, only partly shocked by Sam’s statement. She wasn’t sure which was worse: Thinking she was going to be competing with some long dead elven woman, or that Sam might need his medication dose increased. She sighed to herself, knowing full well that what Sam said was true.
She fixed him with what she hoped was her best serious glare. “OK. Fine. Just don’t think I’m going to melt at the thought of being some sort of long lost love. You’re not dealing with Grace here. I kind of like you calling me Clarisse instead of K-Bunny, but if you call me Miriel again, you’ll be doing it in as a falsetto.”
She stood and leaned over to give him a kiss on the cheek. “I should get home before Dad gets worried and starts calling. Thanks for a great party. Talk to you tomorrow.”
She said goodbye to the others and sent a request for a cab. Stepping outside, she leaned against the wall and sighed heavily. If she Grace, she’d be gushing in excitement about the whole thing. But souls linked through time, destined to meet? It was enough to make Clarisse puke.
Well…maybe it was a little bit exciting…not that she’d ever admit that.