Disclaimer: This is the last bonus chapter from LOT, as well as the last excerpt of the scratched sequel idea. This excerpt holds no importance in regard to the actual sequel of LOT.
They stared at each other from across the table. His eyes drilled into her with such intensity that it brought her back to that first time they met again in that dark, shadowy room. Her heart pounded in her ears as she remembered how he'd treated her, not as a stranger, but as a pawn, a bug that could be squashed without consequence. The slap he had given her then was nothing compared to the tightening in her chest now. She braced herself against the counter, gripping the plate with all she had so it wouldn't fall through her shaking fingertips.
"I-I…" she stammered as he stood. Slowly he walked around the table, eyes transfixed on her with a ferocity that threatened to bring her to her knees. He stood directly in front of her, the heat of his body bouncing off hers. He reached out, and she flinched. He grasped the plate in her hand.
"I'll finish the dishes." He said. "Go sit down before you break something." Amari swallowed the hard lump in her throat and forced herself to release the plate. Blinking back tears she gave a tight nod and hurriedly inched her way around him to sit. His back stayed to her as she sat down, wiping the plate dry with the towel she'd discarded on the counter. Both were silent for a moment as he cleaned out the sink.
"Is she dead?" he finally asked. Amari looked over at him with a start, surprised when she saw how tense his shoulders were. Her lips quivered when she realized he was worried for her, this other Amari he had known before she'd woken to this reality. She looked down at the grain of the table, running her finger along the grooves to stop the tears crowding her throat.
"I don't know." She answered, voice hoarse. Malik glanced back at her briefly, and she didn't have to look back at him to know his anger was steadily rising.
"You don't know?" he mimicked flatly. She nodded, hearing the slap of the towel as it snapped against the porcelain sink. She risked a peak over at him and found him looming above her. He slapped his hand down next to her, and she jumped.
"Where is she? What did you do with her? TELL ME!" he shouted. Amari forced herself not to flinch again, and with a carefully neutral expression she looked back up into his furious face. That expression was nothing new to her, and it helped her to keep herself calm.
"How much do you know about magic, Malik?" she asked. This seemed to take him back a bit, both mentally and physically.
"Magic?" he repeated. "There's no such thing." Amari shook her head.
"That's where you're wrong." She said, tilting her wrist so the Bracelet was caught in the light of the open window. "See this? In the place that I came from you gave this to me as a parting gift. It was so I could remember you, and Egypt, when I had to leave to live with my cousin in Japan after… after my parents died." She sat up straight, her eyes sharp as she took in his dumbfounded expression. "Where I am from is a completely different reality than this one. There, we are not family. In fact, we were enemies for a short while. But the magic of this Bracelet gave me the ability to change that. It let me return to a time and place where my parents lived, and I never had to leave Egypt."
Malik was silent a moment, a look of bewilderment crossing his lavender eyes as he processed her explanation. He placed a hand over his mouth and looked away as if thinking before turning back to look at her again.
"Are you trying to fuck with me?" he finally asked.
"What? No!" she cried. "Why the hell would I do that?"
"I don't know! Maybe you're crazy!" he snapped back, throwing his hands into the air. A hurt look passed her eyes that made him cringe a bit, though he wasn't sure why. If only she didn't look so much like her. To him, it was uncanny… that alone made him doubt himself. He sighed after a moment and ran a hand through his hair. "If what you said is true," he relented, "then where is she? Where did my Amari go?"
"Thanks to my wish I am your Amari." She answered, exasperated. "Technically, the one you knew before my wish was granted never existed. She is me, and I am her, I guess. I don't really know how all of this is supposed to work itself out… but I do know that no one was supposed to notice the difference." She stood up, reaching out to touch his face in fascination. "So why did you?"
Uh, so I just realized I never put up that last bonus chapter... so here it is! Sorry about that.
Also, some good news! My hiatus from here is officially over! (hooray, I think) Which means, All Fall Down will now be back in full swing. Please expect the next chapter by the end of the fall holidays. Thanks for your ever-present patience!