Another Heart Calls
Prologue: Fly Away Forever
It was the day after my eighteenth birthday when Mother told me that she and Father had something they needed to discuss with me, and…would I please sit down for a few minutes to hear them out?
Being young and rather naïve at that, I followed her blindly to the kitchen and sat in my usual chair. Father looked uncomfortable in his spot to my right, and Mother took the chair to his right, smiling as if she had good news.
I knew better.
When Hassar and Madelyn Rivèra sat me down to "talk", it was rare that the discussion contained anything but a scolding for something done wrong, unless, of course, a death had occurred in the family.
But nobody had died, and I found myself kicking my feet back up under the chair to rest on the rungs, something both of my parents hated to see me do. ("You'll ruin the furniture!" they'd say.)
Generally speaking, talks between parental units and child in the Rivèra household included—but was not limited to—Madelyn doing the talking, and Hassar inserting a positive or negative grunt as he felt was necessary.
"What is it that you wanted me to talk about?"
Oh, those words. I chose them with such little thought, at once understanding—and not understanding—that whatever it was my parents had thought to discuss with me was nothing other than serious business.
Mom's smile faltered, and Father looked more out of place at my question, fidgeting as he looked to his wife expectantly.
"Now that you're eighteen years old, Lyndis," she began, and I remember my first thought being that I was getting a car, or a free college education, or maybe even my own motorcycle, but all of those fantasies flew out of the window in a breath, "You need to know what will happen in the event that both your father and I die.
Die? I could have laughed at the time, feeling carefree and happy on summer vacation. College wasn't going to happen for me because I couldn't afford it, and I was in a good relationship that I hoped would go far. I was eighteen, I hoped to be married sooner rather than later, and I didn't have to look at another textbook again for the rest of my life. Could it get any better than that?
There was absolutely no way my parents could die. Especially not both of them at the same time. No, people died when they got older, right?
I maintained a serious expression, though, and listened carefully to everything they said. If there was one thing my father did not tolerate, it was a lack of attention when he had something to say. So I nodded at the mention of little life insurance—not enough to pay off everything, they told me—and didn't make much of a note of any of it in my mind to think about later.
"I'm going for a ride after breakfast," I said when they were done rambling about policies and bank accounts and all of the things I didn't really understand. I worked part-time, and I had a bank account. But what did their accounts have to do with it?
"With who?" Mom asked, grabbing a carton of eggs from the refrigerator and setting them on the countertop next to the stove.
I rolled my eyes at her question. "You already know who," I told her. "Rath. We've been dating since…forever."
"Don't stay out too long," Father said.
"And for God's sake, wear a helmet," Mom felt she needed to add. " Those things aren't safe."
Safe? At the time I didn't care. I wanted to feel the wind against my face, and I loved the back roads of our little rural Sacae, especially during the latter half of the summer months. I hardly had time to gulp down all of the food Mom made before I heard the rev of Rath's motorcycle in the driveway.
I was out the door and on the back of his bike in a flash.
He talked even less than my father, but there was something about him at the time that I really loved. Maybe I just thought he was mysterious, but…maybe I liked him because we were both so very different from everyone else around us. We longed for freedom, and the chance to be ourselves.
Having recently graduated high school, I felt like I had wings, and I wanted nothing more than for Rath and I to spread our wings together and fly, far away from Sacae and both sets of parents.
I only wore that helmet until we were just out of sight.
"Maybe we were meant to be together," she said, leaning back in the grass by the see-saw in Bulgar Park. The place was strangely empty of children, perhaps because two young people, hardly adults by any means, were eating fries from McDonald's and sharing a large Coca Cola. They were terribly out of place, there, but at the same time, maybe they belonged among the swing sets and the teeter-totters and the squeaky merry-go-round.
She looked up at the sky, squinting as she twirled a fry in her fingers before shoving it into her mouth. "This could be our Happily Ever After, you know, like in the movies."
"Movies are not real." Rath wasn't one for talking, but it was clear to anyone who knew him that he more than tolerated his girl's babbling. He might have even enjoyed hearing it. She was, in her own way, like a breath of fresh air.
"I know that." She sighed and crossed her arms behind her head, "But there have to be happy endings in the real world, too."
"Maybe." It was all he could say to her. She was, perhaps, idealistic, not realistic. Or she might have simply been hopeful at the time, too young to realize that happy endings take work and dedication. Sharing food in the grass at a park does not a Happily Ever After make.
But Lyn wanted a happy ending more than just about anything. It, at least, was in reach.
She shrugged and took his hand, entwining her fingers with his. He hardly responded, but it was something she had grown accustomed to. Rath was Rath, and showing affection or, hell, even human response, was something he hadn't ever had the chance to learn. She knew his parents were disappointed in him for turning out as he had, and she wanted to fill that gap as best she could, even if he didn't realize she was doing it.
"I like it here," she admitted. "In Sacae, I mean. But there aren't any colleges, there aren't any jobs… There isn't anything for me, here."
He nodded. All of what she said was true. Sacae was beautiful countryside, but it consisted of mostly farmers or second-rate kinds of jobs—physical labor or fast food. None of the houses in Sacae were fancy or stunning, and the richest people around were veterinarians.
"Or for you, either." She smiled sadly and blew out a light breath of air.
"You," he found himself saying quietly. She was the only one who held him to Sacae anymore, but…it was hard to admit it. His parents hated everything he'd ever done, and he'd failed over and over at everything he bothered to try.
Lyn was the one good thing in the life of a 20-year-old man who didn't have a job and couldn't meet the expectations required to get one that paid well.
She blushed at the compliment, unused to hearing them. It warmed her heart to know that she meant something to Rath. They'd been dating a long time, but sometimes she found herself second-guessing their relationship, particularly the way he felt about her.
She felt strangely reassured as she squeezed his hand. "Someday soon we'll have to just…fly away from here," she murmured, half to herself.
"And where will you go, little bird?"
He was teasing her in only the way Rath could. She laughed quietly. "I'm hardly a bird and you know it." There was a moment of silence before she meekly answered him, "I hear the bigger cities have better opportunities for jobs."
He nodded, his expression still serious. "You are serious, then."
"About what? Flying away?"
"Not going to college."
"I don't need college." She might have sounded a bit smart, but she really felt that a higher education was something she didn't—or perhaps wouldn't—have a use for. It wasn't that she didn't want to go.
College would ruin everything.
She couldn't tell him that.
She might have seen a bit of hope and understanding in his eyes as he nodded, but she was looking at the blue, blue sky instead of at him.
She uncrossed her arms and spread them out across the grass like angels' wings.
"Only your wings," he said to her, and she rewarded him with a brilliant smile.
"And you," she answered. "Come fly with me?"
He chuckled under his breath and stood up, brushing off his pants as he waited for her to do the same. "Not today, Lyn."
"Oh, that's right," she sighed. It wasn't long before she joined him by the side of his bike, climbing on behind him as soon as he turned the key in the ignition. "I have to be at work in an hour."
Italicized text will be in first person, almost like a diary entry. This will become more apparent in the next chapter. Other things to note are that this is a Kent/Lyn 'fic, updates will be slow, and I am now working the night shift, so things might be a bit hectic for awhile while I adjust to my new schedule. Thank you for reading! Feedback would be very much appreciated!