A Broken Dream
Part II: It still hurts
Once I was back at the house, I barely had the time to remove my shoes that someone practically ran at me, immediately diving down to Callie’s level. It took me a moment to even recognize them.
“DOG!” The wolf-person whose name I hadn’t caught earlier shouted.
“Uh… hi…” I muttered.
They looked up at me. I wasn’t sure what to call them pronoun or even name wise. Being a wolf, I couldn’t really tell their gender and I didn’t want to assume. They wore a simple tank top and sporty shorts from which a tail came out. Their voice was on the baritone side, but that could’ve been from whatever had made them into a wolf…
“Hi.” They said, there was a pause and then they added; “Ooh you’re the ‘never seen a pregnant chick’ boy!”
I blinked at the epithet. I mean that was me, but that was a weird way to remember to call me by. I shuffled awkwardly at the idea of being known for accidentally staring… “I’m Ryland. And that’s Callie.” I said.
They got up to face my properly and offered a hand. “I’m Kayla nice to meet you!”
I looked at it but didn’t dare take it. My hands were one of the most sensitive part, handshakes were the worst. “Nice to meet you too.” I said. It had came out more awkward than I’d intended it to.
“So what brings you to Ravenhold?”
As they spoke they stepped closer and one of their arm reached out in a way as to wrap around my shoulder. I flinched away and cringed at the thought of what was coming. Before they could truly touch me, they became all black and white, as if passed through a photoshop filter. It was the trademark appearance of anyone under the effect of my time stop power. It had kind of slipped in the panic.
“Damn it…” I stepped away from their time frozen body. “I’m sorry…” I muttered.
I looked around but nobody could see us, the house had a tiny enclosed entrance hall and right now nobody was in the right angle to see us… At least I didn’t have to explain, or be teased for a little bit of power incontinence.
After maybe twenty seconds they went back to color, finished their motion to grab me but I’d moved. They recovered from that quickly.
“Sorry, I swear that was an accident.” I said.
They looked at them hand or paw, really, then at where I’d been standing, then back at me. “What exactly happened?”
My eyes darted away. “I… don’t like to be touched… I kind of panicked and accidentally froze you in time for like twenty seconds…”
“That’s so cool! Oh and I’ll remember about the no touchy from now on.”
They bombarded me with questions about the hows of my power for a moment which I sheepishly answered.
“And, I’m sorry, again…”
They waved their paw dismissively. “It’s cool it’s cool no need to apologize twice.” They then laughed a little.
I nodded and there was a brief pause. “So, what bring you here?”
“Experience! Opportunities! Fun! You name it.” They said, a big wolfish grin on their lips.
“Right…” They were quite something, I could already tell.
“I don’t think you answered my question.” They said putting a paw on their hip. It took me a moment to remember they’d asked me the same question, I’d forgotten in the panic. “Why are you here?” They then double down.
“Right… I guess I wanted to be a hero…” It wasn’t entirely the truth. By myself, I’d have never applied… It’d been Gabriel who’d convinced me to… “Or I wanted to be one with my boyfriend…” The words were hard to say, I looked away and realized my hands had clumped into fists.
“Oh you have a boyfriend! What’s he like? Did he come to Ravenhold too?”
“He’s great…” My torso tightened at the memory. “He’s not here…” I could feel my chest constricting, but Kayla didn’t seem to notice anything.
“What’s his name?”
“Gabriel…” I saw they were going to ask more and I knew I just couldn’t take it, not right then… “I- I’ve got to go…”
I ran away. I heard them telling me goodbyes. I ran to my room’s door, opened it with shaky hands and kicked it closed behind me. I jumped into bed. My whole body was shaking, folding itself into a ball, I couldn’t breathe…
“Ryland? Are you okay?” It was Kioshi. I hadn’t thought about him… His voice wasn’t very confident, like he was scared to even ask…
“No…” The word barely escaped my throat.
Callie jumped onto the bed, came toward me and gave me a little kiss on the neck. I wrapped my arms around her and held her closer, focusing on her breathing, trying to match it with my own.
“I’ll be okay…”
“D-do you want to talk about it?” He offered, his voice shaking and getting quieter at every word.
“I don’t know…” I sighed. I didn’t really want to, but both mom and my therapist insisted it was supposed to help… “I just miss Gabe so much…” There was a moment of silence. “He’s my boyfriend, or he was…”
“Was…?” On the other bed, I saw him shake his head and making himself smaller. “No you don’t have to answer that! Forget I said anything!” He said, louder and clearly alarmed.
“He’s been in a coma since July…”
“Oh. I’m sorry.”
“It’s alright… I think I’m going to bed, mind if I close the lights?”
I got up, closed the lights and crashed back down on the bed, not even bothering to change. I doubted I’d get any sleep that night anyway…