I awoke at 8:02 p.m. and realized I had screwed myself into not sleeping that night. I could process all the new family history I’d just gotten, or I could call Elwin. I sat up and looked to the east. What time was it in la-la land anyway? Do they observe Eastern Standard Time? I went downstairs to the bathroom where a look in the mirror confirmed that I was a disheveled mess. I washed my face, freshened up, and discarded my wrinkled clothing. I ran back upstairs wrapped in a towel and donned a clean pair of jeans and a strapless baby doll top. I could always put a jacket on if I got cold. I quickly brushed through my hair, twisted it up, and clipped it in place. I slid into my strapped black flats and felt ready. I went to the balcony door, faced the east, and called for Elwin. It was only a second before he materialized in front of me. I opened the door and motioned for him to come inside.
“You look nice all dressed up. Got a big date?” He walked past me, grabbed my desk chair, turned it around, and straddled it in one fell swoop. I shut the door and leaned back on it, crossing my arms to mimic his normal stance. I can’t smize though; he definitely has me beat on that skill.
“No date—I’ve been crying and sleeping all day. I’m up for doing something, though. I’m not sure what; I just need to get out of my head for a little while. Also, it took me all of five minutes to get ready. I am in no way, shape, or form dressed up. You won’t be able to miss me when I’m dressed up.”
“I have no doubt.” Elwin paused before he reached into his right jacket pocket and took out one of the amazonite crystals. It was the one my mom had kept all these years. He placed it on the desk and retrieved the other one from his pocket. He stood up and reached into his front pocket of his button-down shirt. I caught myself staring at his chest and averted my eyes.
Elwin came up the stairs and stood in the doorway. “Sarette,” he began, but I raised my hand to stop him.
“Please don’t!” I lifted my head just enough so he could hear me but not see my face. “I need to process. I know it’s your job to get me to understand all this, but…” I took a deep breath, “…just give me time to think, please.”
He waited for a moment. “I need the crystal for now, so call for me when you’re ready to talk.” I could hear movement behind me. He was probably doing the heart-fist-bow thing. “Goodbye, Princess.” He was gone.
I put my head back down and cried myself to sleep.
I felt someone sit on my bed. I shot straight up and opened my eyes.
“Mathew Michael Conner! You know better than to sneak up on me! People get hurt when they surprise someone in bed. You should know that.”
“What people?” He chuckled. “Who, besides me, would be brave enough to walk in on you?” His face grew serious when I raised my head. “Have you been crying? Is it that guy you met? Did this college dude already turn into a dick? Where can I find him? I got your back.” He made an over-exaggerated angry face, trying to make me smile. It didn’t work. “Seriously, I hate seeing you upset. What’s wrong?”
“No, nothing like that. The guy, Elwin, is amazing. I wish it were a guy thing; it would be easier to fix. I had a fight with my mom. Elwin was here and witnessed it. He was sweet and wants me to call him when I’m feeling up to it.”
“You had a fight with Mom? You never fight with her. Was it about Elwin? Elwin is a strange name.” He pulled my hair, like he used to when we were six years old.
“Owww! What was that for?”
“So, about the fight . . .” Mathew waited. I didn’t know how much to tell him, or if this was even the best time to spill the beans. “You probably need to process all this before we talk, huh?”
I nodded. He got up and headed for the door.
“…No one knew anything about you, except for your father and grandmother. They’ve had friends secretly watching out for you.”
“What do you mean they’ve had friends watching out for me?”
Elwin took another drink and nodded his head toward the kitchen window above the sink. I automatically followed his gaze and looked. There was a blue dragonfly and a rainbow-colored butterfly outside the window. “I don’t get it. I mean, dragonflies are pretty and I like butterflies, but they’re bugs. Can I talk to bugs? Is that it? Or can I somehow make it so their wings don’t freeze off? It’s like zero degrees outside?”
“They are not bugs,” protested Elwin, “nor are they a dragonfly or a butterfly. Go, take a closer look.”
I spilled coffee as I got up and walked closer to the window. I glanced back at Elwin and shrugged. “Still look like bugs to me.”
“Let me help.” Elwin walked up behind me, put his hands on my shoulders, and bent down so his mouth was right next to my ear. A shiver of excitement ran through my entire body. “Take a deep breath and look again.” He started mumbling something in an indiscernible language. The bugs flew down to the ledge. They shimmered for a moment then morphed into two tiny people about six inches tall.
“Tiny people with wings!” I cried. “That’s freaking awesome!”
The dragonfly’s wings had different shades of blue in a stained glass pattern. She looked at me and did the same hand over the heart bow thing Elwin did. I squinted and leaned in for a better look. She had a sparkling blue nightclub dress. Her eyes and hair were blue, set off by her alabaster skin. The butterfly also did the heart-fist-bow thing. She had bright green eyes and the most beautiful ebony skin I had ever seen. She was wearing a glittery white nightclub dress so short it showed off her long legs. Her wings were different colors, woven in an intricate Celtic knot pattern. The tiny women curtsied, then turned back into bugs and flew away.
“Wow . . .” I couldn’t look away from the window. “That’s one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen.”
Elwin was standing behind me with his hands on my shoulders. I felt safe as I leaned on him and rested the back of my head on his muscular chest. He sharply sucked in a little breath and hesitantly reached around me, clasping his hands together in front of my bellybutton. I wondered if I made him as nervous as he made me. The embrace felt so nice that I took a small breath and closed my eyes, enjoying how our bodies fit together. His breath was a little heavier than normal. I wondered what would happen if I turned around to face him. Would he kiss me, or politely pull away?
“So you must be Elwin!” a voice blurted out. I jerked out of Elwin’s arms, turning around so fast that I almost tripped. Elwin caught me as I met my mother’s eyes from across the room. She put her purse down on the table by the door and moved toward the kitchen where we were standing.
“Mom, this is Elwin. Elwin, Mom.” I tried not to look too guilty. After all, I hadn’t done anything wrong.