“Ally was just telling me that her young man has joined the military. I think that is very noble.” Kate put her arm through Rémy’s and pulled him along with us deeper into the garden.
“Oh, yes. Jack is all that is noble and good,” Rémy said, dripping sarcasm. “He is so good that we mere mortals must bask in his virtuosity. Oww”. He rubbed the arm I punched.
“Now, children. You mustn’t fight. Don’t make me send you to your rooms,” Kate teased. “We must make good use of Ally’s limited time here to try and figure out what you two have to do with the prophecy. It would be so much easier and make more sense if you were destined to fall in love with each other,” she sighed.
I swallowed another bite of sandwich. “I really don’t think prophecies should go around telling people who to fall in love with. That’s not right. I didn’t choose to fall in love with Jack; my heart chose him and I had to go along with it.” They both stopped in the path and stared at me. “What?” I asked.
“That was very beautiful, Ally. And very profound. I can see I would be wise not to underestimate you, my dear. Now,” she said as she led us briskly down the path, “why have you two been brought together, if not to unite the clans through a marriage alliance?”
The mere thought of marriage to Rémy made me cringe. I mean, he was gorgeous, but we would kill each other in about an hour. “You don’t think we can bring the clans together any other way than marriage? That’s really limiting, you know? Not to mention medieval.”
Rémy snickered and Kate gave him a dirty look. “Ally is correct. And far, far in the future, when I begin to look for a wife, I will require someone a good bit more biddable than Ally,” he said.
“Yes,” I sneered. “You’ll need someone who adores you nearly as much as you adore yourself.”
“Remind me why I went to the trouble of bringing you a sandwich?”
“Children,” Kate warned.
“Sorry,” we both murmured.
“Now, we must use what little time we have for Ally’s visit to try and figure out what in the world is going on with you two. We will have to run various tests…”
I tried to relax as I watched people hurry by on the busy street. A young mother pushing a stroller stopped and sat at the table next to me, motioning to the waiter for a coffee. She wilted in her chair only to sit up again and fuss with the sleeping baby’s blanket. She noticed me watching and we exchanged smiles in that universal way of women admiring a beautiful baby. I looked away and sighed. Would that ever be me? I was twenty years old, living in a foreign country, and I was lonely. Jack and I communicated every day—text, FaceTime, email, etcetera—but it wasn’t enough any more. I needed to be with him: to hold him, kiss him, live with him, and yes, sleep with him. I was ready to move on with my life, but this unresolved situation with Luc was holding me back. As if I had conjured a response with my thoughts, my phone dinged a text notification. It was from Jack and consisted of a two word response to my email:
I smiled and reached to wipe away a tear as I prepared to text him back.
“Cherié! I thought I might find you here!”
“Rémy! You’re back early!” He kissed both my cheeks before taking the chair opposite me. I noticed he and the young woman at the next table giving each other a once-over and rolled my eyes at him.
“What?” He shrugged.
“You just can’t help it, can you?” I laughed. “Flirting is like breathing with you, isn’t it?”
He shrugged again and caught Marc’s attention to order a beer. “Where’s Mina? I tried to get her on her mobile, but it went straight to voice mail.”
I cocked an eyebrow at him and smirked. “She turns it off when she needs to concentrate. I’m sure she’s at home working. Drink your beer and then we can go see her.” Although we had all improved our mental communication abilities over the past year, we had all also agreed to respect each other’s privacy to a much greater degree, only invading each other’s thoughts in the case of a true emergency, which had not happened so far this year. In fact, this year had been mostly an exercise in boredom, filled with school, training, and waiting.