Disclaimer: I am not Lynette Noni
A further note: there are going to be exactly TWO last chapters following this. The first will be in Bear's perspective, the second (and final) in Jordan's. I tossed in some final Kailex in this chapter, so it'll be a bit longer than usual.
As always, the Spanish translations will be after where necessary. Xxx
"You'd best not be pulling my leg, mi precioso."
"I swear on my parents' graves that I'm not," Alex responded, unable to meet her abuela's keen gaze. She instead chose to tug one of her spare hair bands, looping and twisting it repeatedly around her fingers in an effort to not do something more noticeable that would surely indicate her nerves. She suddenly wished for a certain level-headed somebody to be around to soothe her - but Kaiden was surely off celebrating, and dragging him away from that was completely abhorrent to her. "You really are in a planet called Medora, which a parallel world to Earth, which is called Freya here. I'm not quite sure how you ended up here -"
"Una puerta encantada."
Alex blinked as the realisation swept over her. "A doorway?"
"Sí. And it spoke, too. For quite a time I thought I'd finally lost my marbles. But then it showed you -"
"Wait. Showed me?"
"Like those silly Disney films you used to watch all the time when you were still a little girl. It showed you, exactly where you were when I saw you just now, and I was curious to see if it was some strange new teleporting device -"
"Abuela, I'm pretty sure it was a Library doorway."
"Well, if it was, then I certainly didn't see any books on my way through!"
Despite her abuela giggling at her own joke, Alex couldn't relax. She definitely needed somebody level-headed and patient to explain it all, like Bear or Kaiden or Darrius … running her fingers through her hair in agitation, she got to her feet and paced the length of the room in the Warden headquarters.
Heck, where was an overprotective James or Ronnigan when she actually needed one!
She already knew how her abuela had ended up with the Wardens - a few months ago, in that stage following the visit to D.C.'s grave, where the uproaring emotions had led to her being unruly and unpredictable, resulted in Darrius having to go to the lengths of requesting the Wardens to be able to redirect all interplanet journeys to their headquarters, in a vain attempt to monitor her. It wasn't something she was particularly proud of, that period of completely irrational selfishness.
"Mi precioso," came Abuela's voice, suddenly quiet and reflective, and Alex turned to face her elderly woman. There was a certain gleam in her eye that indicated her grandmother was suddenly lost in memories. "When I was very small, my aunt used to tell me the most wonderful stories. Mera cuentos de hadas, I had thought of them. About a world just like our own, but the wars were not amongst ourselves, and that some of the population were … especial. They possessed some kind of power."
Alex found herself nodding. "Yes. That's exactly what it's like here. What happened to your aunt?"
"She disappeared. Vanished off the face of the earth. Rompió el corazón de su prometida cuando lo hizo. At first everyone thought she had run away, and oh, the shame in the village was dreadful! But as the years went by … nobody ever heard or saw of her."
Alex sucked in a fortifying breath, a memory from Tia Auras flashing across her mind. At first it had made no sense at all, even after she and Kaiden had brainstormed over it, but now after hearing Abuela's story …
You are not the first of your bloodline to walk between worlds.
Could it be an accurate guess? Was Alex really not the Jennings to step foot? Or did she have some Medoran genetics from far back as well? It was an unfathomable concept … and yet, at the same time, it was exactly the answer to why the Library had Chosen her, of every possible Freyan …
"Abuela?" Alex cleared her throat. "Look … I have a lot to tell you. But the first thing I want you to know is that I don't plan on ever returning to Freya - to Earth - for good. I have friends here, more people than I could count that care about me - I can't leave. But if you want to, I can take you back to San Francisco -"
Alex blinked at her abuela's unquestioning interruption. "Sorry?"
Getting to her feet, Abuela crossed the room and reached up to pat Alex's cheeks. "I'd rather spend my final years seeing you, mi precioso, becoming a happy young woman, than rotting away in that nursing home. There must be some sort of interplanet transaction we can request, sí? And I can send you back to retrieve anything else, as you have implied that you can go back and forth."
Spluttering mentally, Alex choked out, "But …"
"I do not wish to interfere, mi precioso. I simply wish to be there to see it, as long as it can be achieved. And can it?"
Nodding slowly, not quite able to comprehend the sudden arrangements, Alex replied, "Sí. It can be."
una puerta encantada = an enchanted door
Sí = yes
Mera cuentos de hadas = Mere fairy tales
especial = special
Rompió el corazón de su prometida cuando lo hizo. = she broke the heart of her fiancee when she did.
Alex shrieked as Kaiden gripped her calves, unceremoniously yanking her underwater with him. Struggling to contain her laughter due to the need to hold her breath, Alex forced open her eyes in the salt water and met her boyfriend's gaze. He was holding back a smile, his dark hair floating around his head like a mop of seaweed. Above and around them, the ocean rumbled, relentless and powerful and deadly, yet also peaceful and inviting.
"Idiot," she informed him when they surfaced, both drawing in small breaths of air, not touching but still close together. His smile broadened into a shameless grin, and he chuckled. The wind that whipped at them was sharp and cool, discouraging most of the locals from entering the water, but the cliff that the James estate sat on also provided a bit of sheltered waters. It was there the couple had gone, less windy and a bit sunnier.
"You never told me why you left the graduation ceremony so suddenly," he said, pushing himself up to float in the water. Alex forced her gaze away from the water lapping at his gorgeously defined torso, and instead focused on his question.
She sighed, mirroring his starfish position to join him. She wished she'd braided her hair prior to the swim; it was flaring around her head and was no doubt now badly tangled. "My abuela."
"Your grandmother? Isn't she in Freya?"
Alex grimaced slightly. The past few days had been a complete whirlwind, and she still wasn't sure what to think of it all. "Not anymore."
"I'm not one hundred percent sure, but I'm fairly positive that it was the Library's interference. Maybe it decided I needed an extra supervising adult or something."
"You need more than one of those, A."
Rolling her eyes good-naturedly at her boyfriend's jab, Alex splashed him lightly. He spluttered as the seawater went into his mouth.
"Anyway, it's good, isn't it? You still have some family actually here?"
Alex shrugged. "Yeah, I guess it is." There was a shrug in her words.
"You're worried about something," Kaiden declared a few moments.
Alex bit on her bottom lip. "Yeah."
He moved around, lowering down into a standing position - he was actually tall enough to touch the seabed - his face softening as he reached for her. She obliged, having to cling to him a bit more than she'd like to admit since he was physically supporting her, but threw her glance around.
"Talk to me," he said softly. There was a quiet demand underlying his words.
Alex exhaled loudly. "I … I just don't know what to think about it all. I mean, these last few months have been so intense, after Dix and Aven and Niyx and -" she cut herself off before she could throw up anything else that would provoke her grief. "And now my abuela is in Medora? I just don't know what to think about it all. Or how I'm supposed to deal with it."
Kaiden frowned, his following question hinting that his protective side was slowly making an appearance. "Your abuela. Do you want her here, or not?"
"I don't know," Alex replied, dropping her face into the crook of his neck. He smelled like salt and gusting ocean winds. "I'm not sure whether or not I need another person fussing over me."
"Nobody fusses over you."
"Yeah, they do. People pester me about where I've been and what I've been doing and who I've been around. I mean, I can look after myself just fine."
"That's not fussing, A. They're all people that care about you, and when people do care about you, then they do what you call 'fussing' and anyone else calls 'giving a damn'."
Alex slowly closed her eyes and opened them, reluctantly conceding to his point. "Maybe … maybe I'm just not used to having parental figures actually looking out for me."
"Kaid, you met them when they were in that once-in-a-blue-moon mood when they were actually taking a genuine interest in what was going on in my life. Ordinarily, they'd be completely distracted by something like fossilised bat poo, completely forgetting they had a daughter more than half the time. It … it was like that for as long as I could remember."
She paused, wondering whether or not she'd actually said that aloud. But it had been on her chest for years, and ranting it out to the boy she felt so deeply for … well, it was certainly therapeutic. "And my abuela - she's the complete opposite. So I suppose maybe it's because I've been looking out for myself for such a long time, and suddenly in the past two years there's been more people than I can count who are trying to do that too."
"Which is completely what you deserve."
Alex choked on a started squeak of embarrassment as she forced her eyes up to Kaiden's steady blue ones. "What?"
Kaiden's grip on her shifted, pulling her tighter against him. Not skipping a beat in the slightest, he said quietly, "You really can't accept the fact that you're completely amazing, can you?"
Cheeks blazing, Alex responded quietly, "You're just saying that because it's practically a boyfriend requirement."
Kaiden laughed quietly. His breath was passing over her mouth, and she shivered slightly. No matter how many times they kissed, the thrills that sparked through her stomach were just as new and tentative as the ones that had gone through her system that night in the dorm when they'd almost kissed.
"I prefer to think that it's an Alexandra Jennings requirement to not go a day without reminding me of it," he said quietly, before touching his lips to her own. And just like always, the world around her blotted away, leaving only the importance of him and her.
By the time Alex finally stepped through a Bubbler back to the Ronnigans, all the doubt had been washed from her mind like the waves bellowing below.
Am I complete and utter Kailex trash?
Ahaha. Yes I am! - but only when it's actually written ACCURATELY - in other words, Alex isn't a swooning Bella Swan and Kaiden isn't creepily possessive.
NEXT TWO CHAPTERS TO COME SOON!