A/N: Here goes! PLEASE GIVE ME IDEAS! If you comment, I'll type... promise.
DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT OWN ZOE, OR SIMON OR ANYONE BUT THE CREEPY LADY. Thank you for making me feel bad.
Walking on the frozen pavement, I shivered as a draft from an alley blew my hair out from beneath my scarf. Glancing at the local French restaurant, I tightened the belt around my coat and shoved my hands further in my pockets. Winter days like these were days I wanted to stay in bed, not days forced to have to walk to work and back. Turning into my driveway, I raised my eyebrows in surprise at dad's Subaru parked out front.
"Dad! You here?" I yelled as I entered my now bland looking house. Ever since mom died, it's been bad. I shook my head, mentally scolding myself for thinking of one of two people that shall not be named. I heard no answer, so I walked in the kitchen, grabbed a mini container of Chocolate fudge ice cream. Leaving the rock hard frozen ice cream out on the table to thaw, I absentmindedly flipped channels.
A year. It's been a solid year since Simon has left me. Simon, my former lover had stolen my heart, right before my mother joined the "Let's Leave Zoe" club. The first night I realized that two of the most important people in my life were gone, I threw up for an entire hour straight. I wasn't sure how to deal with anything; there weren't any self-help books that gave you a rundown on what to do after your vampire boyfriend becomes one with the universe. Or whatever the hell happened to him.
I wish I could say with confidence that I was over him, but my dreams say otherwise...
"Simon?" I gasped as my soul mate- still solemn and handsome- stared back at me from the end of the couch. I sat up to leap into his arms, to bend my head forward to kiss him… and rolled over, hitting the floor with a motion so shocking my eyes flew open in shock. I sat up- for real this time- glancing around me like a crazy person does.
No Simon. "Well, damn." I muttered, blinking back a few wayward tears that always feel the need to sneak out after I have a dream concerning Simon. I grabbed my now almost soupy ice cream and headed to my room. This was pathetic. I'm pathetic.
I'm an independent woman, I thought to myself, lying on my bed and staring at the ceiling. So what, Simon's gone, he's not coming back. The words caused an ache in my chest that made my breath catch- I ignored it, and kept motivating myself to move forward. There had to be more to my life than death, I knew that, but it certainly was difficult to make that a mantra when the alternative was feeling sorry for myself (which, just so you know, also has more appeal). Popping a few melatonin off of my night stand and into my mouth, I tried to dream of the past.
The next day I woke up to see a blinding sun glinting through my not so helpful blinds. Groaning, I headed to the shower- and ran face first into my dad.
"Hey honey! How are you? Done eating all of the ice cream?" he smirked at me, but it didn't reach his eyes.
"Yup. Here you go!" I said, shoving the carton in his hands, "I'm going to take a shower… don't expect any warm water." I beelined for the bathroom, and smiled as I stepped in the warm shower. If only life were like a shower. Soothing, warm, and relaxing. But it's not. It's stressful, annoying, and heart breaking. And so was everything else in this world.
You'd think as an 18 year old girl, I'd have plans for my Saturday. Unfortunately, I was lame before my tragedies, and became lamer after them. After throwing on a semi-decent outfit and meandering around the house, I sat with my dad at the table and began to cut coupons. My doom and gloom attitude apparently was driving my dad nuts, because he finally looked up at me and said "There's a new place in town- you should go."
Grimacing, I stared back at him. "Trying to kick me out already?"
Pursing his lips, I could hear the hitch of breath my dad did when he was trying to hold in a sigh, "No, but you're driving me crazy kid. It's off of Evans street."
I bit my lip, wondering if it'd be worth the trouble to argue that yes, dad, I have a life...even though we both knew damn well that I probably should be doing more positive, moving-forward things. With that thought in mind, I threw on a pair of boots, grabbed my dad's keys and bounced out the door, thankful for the mirage that allowed me to appear like I was doing something productive.
It wasn't hard to find the shop dad was talking about. It was off to the side of a mini-strip we had, a small brown building covered in ivy and with wind chimes out front. Raising my eyebrows at the sign "Future Finds" labeling the store in purple curling letters, I reminded myself that this was to also make my dad feel like he was doing something to keep me out of a spiraling depression.
"Hello. Can I help you?" a woman with petite features and long brown hair tied back into braids looked at me.
"Uh… no thank you." I muttered, taking a moment to glance around the store. Incense permeated the air, making my nostrils burn and my eyes water. A rack of skirts and scarves was pushed against the wall, next to trays of multi-colored candles and what appeared to be herbs.
"Oh. Let me know if you need help!" she grinned, giving me the chance to see a rather endearing gap between her two front teeth, then started shuffling papers. I nodded dumbly, and walked down the scented shelves, feeling a little flushed. Probably because it's a thousand degrees in here, I thought grimly, staring at moisture pooling around batches of homemade organic soap. When your soap starts sweating, it's probably time to turn down the damn temperature.
"Hey! You!" the brown-haired woman pointed at me, jolting me out of my bitter thoughts.
"Me?" I asked. Which was really dim to say, because as far as I could see, I was the only one in the store, and probably the only one open minded enough to even enter the store in this stupid town. She beckoned to the small tattered stool in front of her, and raised an eyebrow.
"I would like to read your palm. Free of charge." She glanced at my palms, as if to show me what palms were. I tried not to be irritated by the fact that she knew there was something going on in my life to the point where I needed my damn palm read. But, since it was free... Placing my nail-bitten hand in hers, I slowly sat down and let out a long gust of air. The incense no longer burned my nostrils, and I forced myself to relax. Tons of people get their palm read. No biggie. After staring at my palm for several minutes, I attempted to get a read of her face as she worked. If she said anything about death or stress, I would immediately leave, I promised myself.
"Do you miss him?" she suddenly asked after several minutes of an awkward (to me) silence. Surprised, I quickly shut my mouth. Huh. Figuring honesty was the best policy when someone was reading my body, I shook my head yes.
"More than you know. More than anything. More than I miss my old self." The words fell flat out of my mouth, and I licked my chapped lips. She probably thought he moved away or something. In a way, he had. I wasn't a religious girl, but I prayed to every higher power out there that Simon was at peace, that he wasn't burning in some demonic purgatory with another shitty little vampire I tended not to give the time of day in my thoughts.
She looked around, and I glanced at her nametag- Nancy. Poor girl.
"Where did you meet?" she asked leaning forward, the mint of her breath a welcome scented change. Assuming she was talking about Simon, I sat back a bit. For some reason, I didn't want to tell her about Simon. He was a secret, something I was reluctant to bring to light even after he passed. If I didn't acknowledge his existence, I could almost pretend it was some crazy, wonderful and tragic dream.
"A park. At night. Alone." There was probably another way to make that sound like I wasn't meeting an escaped prison convict or something, but my stupid brain could only spurt out sentences.
"He is unreachable?" she gave me a intense look.
I laughed dryly. "Yeah. He's pretty unattainable right now..."
"And you loved him." It was a statement, said like one would comment on the color of their hair. I didn't answer her immediately, because admitting that I lost someone I was in love with made me want to fling myself off the nearest cliff. Turns out my silence was answer enough, because the sympathetic look shot my way made my eyes water.
Nancy bit her lip and stared off at something behind me. I glanced back, and, seeing nothing, looked back at her. I was about to tell her to call the whole palm thing off and wish her a happy life when she tapped my wrist with her cold finger, and cleared her throat.
"Will you try something for me?" Reaching for something beneath the table, she unwrapped a cloth with a small clear bottle, filled with a thin burgundy liquid, "Drink this, and sit where you first met. Think of Simon. Remember the smell of him, the taste of him when you first kissed. Do you hear me?" the woman handed me the bottle, and I fished out a crumpled ten dollar bill from my back pocket.
"What's it supposed to do?" I asked, suspicious. I wasn't in the mood for some shitty drug trip given to me from a psycho woman who knew too much for her own good.
She didn't answer me, and I realized she had said Simon's name.
"Wait, I didn't tell you-" I broke off, giving her a pointed look. She stared blankly at me, daring me to continue.
Okay, witch woman. Deciding not to fuck with whatever spirit voodoo shit this woman directed my way, I grabbed the wrapped bottle and hoped it wasn't filled with something that would give me a stomachache. I'd already blown an hour out of my day, so I tried to run a few errands before doing whatever Nancy ordered me to do. If it was some underground drug she gave me, I wanted to have everything I needed to do done-I probably wouldn't feel like doing it tomorrow. The drive to the park was unsettling, and I couldn't loosen the knots my stomach had formed. Shooting my dad a text that I'd be home later and apologizing for the car being taken, I parked at the park where I first met Simon.
The park looked the same. I was trying to get over him, and visiting the place where we first met seemed like a bad idea a week after he died was something I tried once. I'd cried the whole time until an old woman hobbled up to me and tried to talk to me about abortions and how it should be the man's responsibility to take care of the child too. I immediately left after that, deciding that public displays of sorrow were as much of a no-no as romantic PDA.
"But oh god, under the weight of liiiife, things seem so much brighter on the other side," I sang softly, idly listening to the radio. The sense of invisibility and of fading from life overcame me, and I tried not to let the rational part of me destroy whatever shred of hope I had for moving on. A part of me, a girly, fanciful part, hoped that this lame bottle held something that would give me a sense of closure. I wanted to leave this town. It was driving me crazy, and I needed to get out.
Pretending like I didn't just spend two hours sitting in a car, I got out and trudged my way to the oh-so familiar bench. Deja vu's a funny thing; I pinched the skin on my wrist to break myself out of the sense of foreboding. The bench was damp with the earlier rain, and I tried not to cringe when it soaked through my jeans as I sat down. That was stupid, I thought.
Unwrapping the vial and pulling at the cork, an exotic smell met my nose, one of pine and spices. Oh yeah, this is totally a drug. Throwing the burgundy bottle's contents down the back of my throat, I thought of Simon.
Oh god, my fucking throat- it burned all the way down, the harshest of liquor. My lungs felt like they were on fire, and the scent felt like it glued itself to every crevice in my esophagus. Resisting the urge to cry, I wondered if this was what it felt like to die. To become a vampire. Images of Simon's smell, his eyes, his body, his clothes, his hair, his long, lean body... pulling at my hair, I wanted to rip the thoughts from my brain. I probably sat there for thirty minutes, and I began to pray that another old lady wouldn't come and butt her nose in to things where it didn't belong. After a while, feeling tired, pissed off and slightly nauseous, I opened my eyes. Nothing happened. Irritate that I a. had the worst fucking "trip" of my life, and b. was short ten bucks, I shakily stood up. Brushing off my dirty hands on my pants, I began to head back to the car, shaking my foggy head. Shutting my eyes, I cursed every hippy store in existence.
I immediately bumped into someone, grabbing the front of their clothes to prevent myself from falling. I felt two hands encircle my waist, and when I fleetingly opened my eyes, a wave of dizziness struck me.
"Fuck, I'm so sorry!"
The words froze every nerve in my body, and I bit back a scream. Keeping my eyes shut, I loosened my hands on the familiar voice of the man. Familiar sturdiness, I traced my hands back all the way up his back to the nape of his neck. Soft wisps of hair met my fingers, and I moved my right hand to trace a face I could envision as clear as day. I shivered as the hand around my waist moved upwards, one moving to my face as if to mirror my actions, tracing my brow, my eyes, my lips...
I was shaking, suddenly aware that whatever drug was given to me was the strongest damn drug in the existence of the world, and opened my eyes. The world had stopped moving.
"Oh my god."