One thing is for sure.

Ever made it. She finally figured it out. She finally did the thing she should've done in the first place.

She started to stand slowly, but surely, with those deep ocean–shaded orbs that glared with such confidence that she had once, back before the accident. Ever moved towards the person, and–

Opening my eyes, I found myself again in a haven. The connection was cut off. Quickly, I focused on finding her aura, and concentrated my power to go there by presence. Things were fast that I didn't manage to process it, and that I didn't bother to.

I have to know what happens now.

"…trick or treat?"

Besides from Ever, other unbelieving eyes greet me.

Standing before them, I finally have a 'body'. Well, not physically, but at least, I'm not seeing things from someone's eyes. Speaking of someone, I finally have the chance to know who's with her.

I shook my head. Wait, what if the regeneration backfires later? I need to make sure that Ever is safe first. Before Ever clash with that somebody in the last second, I made an entrance for her, hoping she'll go here instead.

I flicked my eyes open again.

And she did.

Seconds later, I saw Ever fall from the light, and I'm relieved when she landed on the grass, cushioning her from her fall. As expected, she's taken by the meadow. I didn't want to burst her bubble and her what, 'cuteness', as she looked around childishly like Alice who just stumbled in wonderland, but I just need to talk to her, after many days that I thought I'm dying without her.

I called her. "…Ever."

Springing to her feet, she did a fighting pose, ready to take me on. How I would like to laugh, but I chose not to. Nodding, I assured her, as I reach out my hand, "Ever, relax. It's okay."

Ever refused to hear me, as her eyes searched for that person: Drina. From the start, I have suspicions about her that I always deny, that I believe she can't go that far, but now, those suspicions were hard to ignore right now.

"She's not here," I told her, sending her a friendly smile, as I fixed my eyes on hers. "You're safe, it's just me."

Ever was silent, weighing her options. Well, she can take her time. And she did. Instead of asking her real question, she asked, "Where are we?"

I laughed. "I assure you, you're not dead. You're in Summerland."

She gave me a 'What?' look. Oh, right.

"It's a sort of place between places. Like a waiting room. Or a rest stop. …A dimension between dimensions, if you will."

She squinted, "Dimensions?"

I reached my hand towards hers, wanting for actions to speak better than words, but she quickly pulled away. I gazed at her.

It's impossible to see anything clear whenever you touch me.

Okay, fine. I shrugged, and motioned her to follow me, instead. Once we're in the spot, I whispered. "Close your eyes."

Ever just stared for me for a second. I forgot something to tell politely.


She closed them, half-way. I sighed. She can be really stubborn sometimes, can't she?

"Trust me… just this once."

She finally shut them.

"Now, what?"

"Now, imagine something."

"What do you mean?" she asked, picturing an elephant in her mind. Oh, boy. The elephant was there, ready to charge at us.

"Imagine something else," I told her, "quickly."

Just in time, Ever opened her eyes to see the elephant charge at us, and the next thing we know, it changed into a Monarch butterfly, that lands on the tip of her finger. She glanced at me and the butterfly, completely amazed.

"Want to try again?" I said, laughing.

She pressed her lips, and looked at me, thinking of something good, something better than her elephant and butterfly. I urged her, "Go ahead. It's so much fun. It never gets old."

A colourful Macaw appeared at the place of the butterfly, but it messed her with a trail of bird poop on her arm. I imagined a towel, and gave it to her.

"…How about something with a little less-clean up?"

She sets the bird down, and wished to see him. I shook my head and groaned. She really is a fanatic of Pirates, huh.

"Is he real?" Ever whispered at me, as she gaped in amazement while Orlando Bloom winked at her.

I shook my head again.

"You can't manifest actual people, only their likeness. Luckily, it won't be long before he fades."

"What's going on?" Ever asked, after a change of mood. "Where are we? And how is this even possible?"

Ah, finally, to the main part. I smiled at her, and manifested a white stallion. After settling her on, I made my favourite black stallion for me, and settled on it.

"Let's go for a ride," I said, as I lead the trail. We rode side by side, down through the green valley of flowers and grasses. I glanced at Ever, ready to shoo a cat away, I grabbed the reins quickly, and told her, "No worries. There are no enemies here. All is at peace."

But, her mind wasn't in peace, all the while as she gaped at our surroundings. There are so many questions filling her head. I'll start it.

"The veil you saw? The one you were drawn to?" I looked at her. "I put it there."

"In the canyon?" she asked. I nodded. "…And in your dream."

"But, Drina says she created the dream."

"Drina showed you the location, I showed you the exit."

Ever exclaimed, "…Exit?"

I shook my head and smiled. "Not that kind of exit. I already told you, you're not dead. In fact, you're more alive than ever. Able to manipulate matter and manifest anything you want. …The ultimate in instant gratification."

I laughed, remembering the way she wondered earlier, like a child who is first shown of all the things she must know. "But, don't come here too often. Because I'm warning you, it's addictive."

"So you both created my dreams? …Like–like collaboration?"

I nodded.

"So, I don't even control my own dreams?" she raised her voice, thinking about her privacy. Well, how rude of me, I didn't even think about it until now.

"Not that particular dream," I reasoned out, anyway. "No."

Ever scowled at me, and shook her head. "Well, excuse me, but don't you think that's just a little invasive? I mean, geez! And why didn't you try to stop it, if you knew it was coming?"

"I didn't know it was Drina."

It was the truth. I didn't know it was her. It's just suspicions, but it's sad to confirm that those suspicions aren't suspicions anymore. I mean, I used to be with Drina. I can't believe such things easily…

I continued. "I was just observing your dreams; you were frightened by something, so I showed you the way here. This is always a safe place to come to."

"So, why didn't Drina follow me?" she asked.

I reached for her hand and squeezed her fingers. "Because Drina can't see it, only you could see."

She squinted at me, as she can't take it all.

"Don't worry, you'll get it. But for now, why not just try to enjoy it?"

"…Why does it seem familiar?"

I looked at her. This is it. …The moment of truth. A stage we've never reached. I didn't even imagine that it'll happen in this lifetime. I gather my courage and answered her. "Because this is where I found you."

"I found your body outside the car, true. But, your soul had already moved on and was lingering here," I continued to explain, as I stopped our horses and helped her dismount. We went to the meadows, and I manifested a big couch and a matching ottoman for our feet.

"Care to add anything?" I smiled at her.

A coffee table, some lamps, a few knickknacks, and a nice Persian rug completed the scene. Ever manifested them. We're in a fully furnished outdoor living room. And we're already soaked.

"Thoughts create," I said, as I created a giant umbrella. The rain slopped steadily off the sides and onto the rug. "It's the same on Earth; it just takes a lot longer. But, here in Summerland, it's instant."

"That reminds me of what my mom used to say 'Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it!'" Ever laughed.

"Now, you know where that originates," I nodded, and shook my wet hair at her. "Care to make this rain stop, so we can dry off?"


Interrupting her, I smiled, as I told her, "Just think of someplace warm and dry."

"Let's leave it at this. Shall we?" I laughed, as the scene changed into an amazing pink sand beach, where we're lying. I made us a blue towel and the ocean across to match. As she lied back, and shut her eyes, I gazed at her.

I could see many questions forming in her mind. She's still trying to get ready, huh. Come to think of it, I should be, too. I mean, this is the first time that fate's ways changed, and this is the first time in this life that we've finally reached a different stage.

"So," I snapped back to my senses when Ever started it. "We're both immortals?"

I nodded.

"And you made me an immortal when I died in the crash?"

I nodded again.

"…But, how? Does it have something to do with that weird red drink?"

I took a deep breath, before the secret that I've hidden for many years are going to be unlocked. I answered, "Yes."

"But, how come I don't have to drink it all the time, like you?"

"Eventually," I mumbled, as I avert my gaze from her and out to the oceans. It'll be a matter of time, as I estimated. "You will."

I furrowed my eyebrows, while hearing her thoughts. I placed my hand over hers, as I tried to persuade her. "It's not as bad as you think. Look around, it doesn't get any better than this."

"…But why?" Ever asked. "I mean, did it ever occur to you that maybe I don't want to be an immortal? …That maybe you should've just let me go?"

Bull's eye. I cringed, as I tried to look around but, her, just to distract myself. She's right. I– No. I turned to her.

"First of all, you're right. I was selfish," I admitted. It's time, but I've got to be a little careful. "Because the truth is, I saved you more for myself than for you. I couldn't bear to lose you again, not after... "

I stopped and shook my head. I couldn't say–no, I better not explain it–the years of pain, of loss, of death… her death… It's just painful. She shouldn't know that. Not now.

"But still, I wasn't sure if it worked. Obviously, I knew I'd brought you back, but I wasn't sure for how long," I continued, not including that part. "I wasn't sure I'd actually turned you until I saw you in the canyon just now."

"You were watching me in the canyon?" Ever stared at me unbelievably. "You mean you were there?"

I nodded, in answer of her questions. But, at the one part, I rubbed my jaw as I said, "No, I was watching you remotely. It's a lot to explain."

"So, let me get this straight," Ever said, as the following words take the breath away from her. "You were watching me, remotely, but still, you could see everything going on, and yet you didn't try to save me."

"Not until you wanted to be safe," I said after I shook my head, even though I feel her anger and frustration building up. But, I explained, "That's when I made the veil appear, and urged you to move toward it.

"You mean, you were going to let me die?" Ever, immediately, scooted away from me, and I know how she felt. She's mad that, that was my original plan.

But, I looked at her seriously, hoping she gets, "If that's what you wanted, then yes."

"Ever, the last time we spoke, in the parking lot, you said you hated me for what I had done, for being selfish, for separating you from your family; for bringing you back," I shook my head, and tried to forget the pain in my chest, by just remembering it, "And even though your words really stung, I knew you were right. I had no business interfering."

I recovered for a bit and continued, explaining what just happened earlier, "But then, in the canyon, when you filled yourself with such love, well, that love is what saved you, restored you, and it's then that I knew."

She folded her arms across her chest as if a child. …As if I'm making lies to her.

"Only love heals." I cleared. "Anger, guilt, and fear can only destroy and separate you from your true capabilities."

"And that's another thing," Ever said, after I nodded and grazed at her, "Your ability to read my mind, when I can't read yours. It's not fair."

"Do you really want to read my mind?" I laughed, because I so don't want her to, for now. "I thought my air of mystery was one of the things you liked about me?"


Ever gazed down at her knees instead, as I saw her cheeks redden. I spoke a tip, guilty of her embarrassment, "There are ways to shield yourself, you know. Maybe you should go see Ava."

"You know Ava?" she gaped at me, instantly removing any signs of embarrassment.

I shook my head, and said, "My only connection to Ava is through you, your thoughts about Ava."

"So the racetrack…?" Ever asked, after a couple of seconds.

"Premonition, you did it too," I replied.

"What about the race you lost?"

I laughed, thinking about it. "I have to lose a few; otherwise people tend to get suspicious. But, I certainly made up for it, don't you think?"

"And the tulips…?"

"Manifesting," I smiled at her, "Same way you made the elephant, and this beach. It's simple quantum physics. Consciousness brings matter into being where there was once merely energy. Not nearly as difficult as people choose to think."

Ever squinted, not really getting it, no matter how simple it is in my eyes. Well, no matter, she'll get it soon, if she'll ever embrace this path. But, for now, I tried to make it simple.

"We create our own reality," I said, answering the question forming in her head. "And yes, you can do it at home. In fact, you already do, you're just not aware of it because it takes so much longer."

"It doesn't take longer for you."

And a very useful advantage. I laughed, as I remembered the funny times I've practiced and tested.

"I've been around awhile, plenty of time to learn a few tricks."

''…How long?" Ever asked, gazing at me, wondering what she's dealing with. And if it comes to age, I just can't specify what. It's an aching subject I'd rather not touch. So, I just sighed and looked away.

"Very long."

"And now, I'll live forever too?"

"That's up to you," I shrugged. I don't need to interfere anymore and think of doing another meddling again. I've learned my lesson, and besides, I don't want to see her suffering, like I was when I was starting to live as an immortal and forget what being 'human' feels like.

"You don't have to do any of this. You can simply put the whole thing out of your mind and go on with your life. Choosing to let go when the time is right. I only provided the ability, but the choice is still yours."

"I need to know what happened with Haven," Ever replied. I guess I have to wait for that choice. I tried to follow up with her questions and her words as she ask them all, "That day I caught you...And, what about Drina? She's immortal too, right? Did you make her that way? And how did this even begin? How did you become immortal in the first place? How does such a thing even happen? Did you know she killed Evangeline, and almost killed Haven too? And, what's up with your creepy room?"

I laughed, returning my gaze at her. "Can you repeat the question?"

"Oh, and another thing, what the heck did Drina mean when she said she's killed me over and over again?"

Wait, what?

I stopped. Literally stopped. Like my brain ceased to process my answers and my body responded by turning to ice. I felt frozen, my sweat turned cold. It's as if my blood stopped circling in my body, since I can no longer feel the warmth of the red liquid inside me for a moment. I can't help but to widen my eyes at her. This is a joke, right? A cruel joke, I may add…

"Drina said that?" I asked, as my fears and suspicions are coming true.

"Yeah," Ever nodded, and I saw the image in her head. I can see it all clearly now, the moments I've missed and the moments I've seen but not quite clearly. There was that woman, with her emerald–colored eyes, her face haughty and smug, with a hint of anger as I saw her say the words herself. I can no longer hear what Ever says next, as I heard Drina's voice within her mind, how her ears picked the truth and her eyes saw everything.

"Here we go again, stupid mortal, you always fall for this game…"

"–you were watching, I thought you saw the whole thing?"


Oh. I shook my head, as I quickly grasped what she just said. "I didn't see the whole thing, I tuned in late. Oh God, Ever, it's my fault, all of it. I should've known, I should've never gotten you involved, I should've left you alone."

Yes, although it's kind of late for that. And I always do, every time. I'm such a failure. I–I'm so sick. I should've done the right thing. Stupid heart! Why, why do I have to always follow you?

"She also said she saw you in New York," I heard Ever added, "Or at least she told Haven that."

"She lied," I mumbled fast, defending. "I didn't go to New York."

I looked at her, hoping for her to forgive me for always clumsy and for not taking care for her, for all those years I let Drina kill her, torture her with her 'fun, little games'. I'm so pathetic, so weak, so unaware of what's happening. Then, I felt her. Her warm lips pressing against mine. So caring. With true concern. So loving and soft.

I pulled away, as I remembered the last time the other 'her' kissed me. "The kiss gets sweeter with every incarnation," I sighed, as I felt pain, sorry to let her go from my watch, from my arms and that… "Though, we never seem to make it further than that. And now, I know why."

I pressed my forehead to mine, hoping that she gets what I want to tell her that I can't say and describe in words. The overflowing happiness, the love revived in me again, that I would never want to separate from her again. That I would love to stay by her side, even if it's the one to kill me this time.

I swear, I'll never, ever, let go of you again, Ever. I'll do my best to change, to live for you more. I will always love you forever.

"Aw," I exclaimed, as I snapped back to my reality. I nearly laughed, because I forgot that I'm still holding our foreheads together, and I sighed deeply out of a small embarrassment and pulled away.

"Yes, your questions. Where to begin…?"

"How about the beginning…?"

Nice start. I nodded for a good suggestion, as I looked away, trying to remember that time. I have no worries to share what I have now. She'll know, so there's no point in making her wait longer.

"My father was a dreamer, an artist, a dabbler in sciences and alchemy, a popular idea at the time."

"Which time?" Ever asked, hoping to get the facts and clues, which can be possibly found in books or something, but I just laughed.

"…A long time ago," I said, hoping that she'd rather not ask anymore. It doesn't matter, does it? "I am a tad bit older than you."

"Yes, but, how old exactly?" Ever asked. Oh, please. "I mean, what kind of age difference am I dealing with here?"

"All you need to know is that my father, along with his fellow alchemists, believed that everything could be reduced down to one single element, and that if you could isolate that one element, then you could create anything from it. He worked on that theory for years, creating formulas, abandoning formulas, and then when he and my mother both... died, I continued the search, until I finally perfected it."

"And, how old were you?"

"Young," I said, shrugging, as my first 'human' years come back to mind. Those times were really hard, and it'll be another story, "Quite young."

"So," Ever said, "you can still age?"

Huh? I looked at her. Remembering those silly things she told me back in the lot that day, I laughed. "Yes, I got to a certain point, and then I just stopped. I know you prefer the frozen in time vampire theory, but this is real life, Ever, not fantasy."

"Okay, so... "

"So, my parents died, I was orphaned," I continued my explanation about my early childhood years, picking out few. I'd rather keep the others secret for the time being. "You know, in Italy, where I'm from, last names often depicted a person's origins or profession. 'Esposito' means orphan, or exposed. The name was given to me, though I dropped it a century or two ago, since it no longer fit."

"Why didn't you just use your real last name?"

I felt cold in a moment. I remembered the times those people will come by… My mother, telling me to hide, and my father, who bravely confronted them with words. But, soon, as those people didn't get what they wanted from him, from us, they chased us, with those sharp weapons, and always, our lives were in danger. There was no time we didn't worry about sleeping for the night, for we could be killed. Then, shaking the feeling, I told her, "It's complicated. My father was ... hunted. So, I thought it better to distance myself."

"And Drina?"

And then, that woman entered my life afterwards. I nodded at Ever.

"'Poverina', or, little poor one. We were wards of the church; that's where we met. And when she grew ill, I couldn't bear to lose her, so I had her drink too."

"She said you were married," Ever says suddenly, making me remember that matter, too. I squinted, and looked away.

"She even told her that? Something that was finished a long time ago?" I mumbled under my breath, shaking my head. Drina sure can't give up. I thought she did. I mean, last time we saw, she assured me that we're back to being friends, to square one.

"Is it true?" Ever said, after pressing her lips, her voice fighting to crack.

"But, it's hardly what you think," I said, nodding at her, "it happened so long ago that it hardly matters anymore."

"So, why didn't you get divorced?" Ever asked, taking me. I looked at her, her eyes stinging and her face reddening. "I mean, if it hardly matters."

"So, you're proposing I show up in court with a wedding certificate dating back several centuries, and ask for a divorce?" I asked back, thinking the impossible thing.

I mean, just imagine what the heck will happen. I can get hunted in this time, well, possibly. Any kind of Love doesn't need a paper just to show the world that the two people are in love and are living together. It can be ripped and tell that their love is expired. But, just by showing how much they really love and care for each other, trust and be loyal to each other, doesn't need any proof of papers or what. It's enough. But, it's not like with Drina. Still, if I'm sure that those people in the court won't faint or won't have heart attacks just by seeing a wedding certificate dated back hundreds of years or so ago, then I think I can manage.

"Ever, please…" I said, thinking of useless things that cannot be done in this time. "You've got to cut me some slack. I'm not like you. You've only been around, well in this life anyway, seventeen years, while I've lived hundreds! More than enough time to make a few mistakes. And, while there are certainly plenty of things to judge me on, I hardly think my relationship with Drina is one of them. Things were different back then. I was different. I was vain, superficial, and extremely materialistic. I was out for myself, taking all that I could. But, the moment I met you everything changed, and when I lost you, well, I never knew such agonizing pain. But then later, when you reappeared…"

I stopped, the cycle replaying in my mind. The words I've always wondered how to tell her if I ever got the chance to. If in this and every lifetime, she'll always be there…

"Well, no sooner had I found you, then I lost you again. And so it went, over and over. An endless cycle of love and loss, until now," I continued, recovered.

"So, we... reincarnate?"

"You do, not me."

I shrugged, thinking that I'm doomed. Well, I must say yes already, since karma's like punishing me every time it could, because of what I've done in the past, by making Ever and I separate ways. In ways that I always exist and she doesn't, sooner or later, she'll…

Anyway, I continued. "I'm always here, always the same."

"So, who was I?" she asks. "And why can't I remember?"

I smiled, because the subject finally changed. That's a simple thing, and I remembered how many times I saw her in different 'Evers'. "The journey back involves a trip down the River of Forgetfulness. You're not meant to remember, you're here to learn, to evolve, to pay off your karmic debts. Each time starting fresh, forced to find your own way. Because, Ever, life is not meant to be an open book test."

"Then aren't you cheating, by staying here?" Ever smirked, getting me there. And I'd love to tell her that I can't explain how the world works… mostly.

I cringed. "Some might say."

"And how can you possibly know all of this if you've never done it yourself?"

"I've had plenty of years to study life's greatest mysteries. And I've met some amazing teachers along the way," I just said, smiling at her, as I remembered all of those people. Remember your books, the internet and stuff with names like 'Galileo Galilei' and the others? Well, not actually counting him in, but I've met some of the greatest people in their time and I've got to learn the knowledge they possess in the fields they excel in. Truly, an advantage, is it not? But, in order to gain time and wisdom, I've lost something more precious as a price besides from my mortality – love.

Then, at that certain time, she came in a moment I've never expected. Ever did, as I first saw her deep, clear ocean–shaded eyes stare back into mine – those life–changing orbs that, well, changed me into a better person I am now; I've become more humanlike and a changed man when I met her.

"All you need to know about your other selves is that you were always female," I shared to her now, as I tucked her hair behind her ear. "Always very beautiful. And always important to me."

"Change of scenery?" I asked with a simper, as Ever changed the place after a few seconds.

"Yes, but only the scenery, not the subject."

And so, to conclude the story, I sighed, saying the rest, "So after years of searching, I found you again and you know the rest."

I tried to adjust with her first, since she can't, of course, take it all inside in such a small moment. It may take time. Ever took a deep breath, and stared at the lamp, which became her object to play with as she tried to still grip on her–sanity?–or what 'reality' she still believes.

"I broke off with Drina a long time ago, but she has this awful habit of reappearing," I said, telling her this matter of subject, since Drina's been in this 'game' for a long time that I was stupid to didn't even notice, for I believe she still moves on and that I continued to give her space–that she used to be so much worse.

"And the night at the St. Regis? When you saw us together? I was trying to convince her to move on, once and for all. Though obviously, it didn't quite work," I continued, remembering the certain moments. "And yes, I know she killed Evangeline, because that day at the beach, when you woke up alone?"

I knew it! I knew he wasn't surfing! Her eyes could immediately tell me what she's thinking. I know how she disliked the fact that I read her mind and 'invade her privacy', which I don't really mean to, and she really need to be taught things as early as possible.

After the reaction, I continued, as I reminisce how the girl lost her future, all because of a petty jealousy. And a deadly one, too.

"I'd just found her body, but it was too late to save her. And yes, I know about Haven too, though luckily, I was able to save her."

"So, that's where you were that night–when you said you were getting a drink of water..."

I nodded.

"So, what else have you lied about?" Ever asked, folding her arms across her chest. She did try hard to think of how I'll explain those unexplainable times that I disappeared or something. And she did find one. She added, after a couple of seconds, "And where'd you go Halloween night, after you left my party?"

"I went home," I said the one and only truth, gazing at her and only at her. "When I saw the way Drina looked at you, well, I thought it better to distance myself. Only I couldn't. I tried. I've been trying all along. But I just couldn't do it. I can't stay away from you."

How embarrassing that I need to tell my need, but who cares? At least, I can tell her the things I can't because of the danger the environment has. But, of course, I need to limit it or else, if I get carried away, I don't know what may happen that involve mysterious forces that may endanger her.

"And now you know everything," I muttered, shaking my head, "Though I think it's obvious why I couldn't be quite so forthcoming at the time."

Ever shrugged and looked away, trying to build her defense strong. It seemed that she's still not willing to lose this 'fight', eh? And so, I just sharpened my 'attack', adding that fact, afterwards.

"Oh, and my 'creepy room' as you call it?" I began, as I looked at her, "Well, it just so happens to be my happy place. Not unlike the memory you hold of those last blissful moments in the car with your family."

Ashamed, Ever averted her gaze, avoiding mine. Oh, it looked like I went overboard. Anyway, I still smiled, and assured her with, "Though I have to admit, I had a good laugh when I realized you thought I was a bloodsucker."

"Oh, well, excuse me," Ever said, pouting, "I mean, since there are immortals running around, I figure we may as well bring on the faeries, wizards, werewolves, and–"

I shook my head, as I heard her say, "I mean, geez, you talk about all this like it's normal!"

I closed my eyes and sighed. She didn't get it from the very start, huh. No, no, now is the time to be patient and go with things smoothly. After I gathered guts, I opened my eyes again, and told her, "For me, it is normal. This is my life. And now it's your life too, if you choose it. It's not as bad as you think, Ever, really."

Yes, if you look into brighter side of things. There are positive sides to every negative side, and we just have to search deeper than what things may seem to us.

"Stop it," I heard her say, as she gazed down on our holding hands.

"Stop what?" I asked her, looking at her with tiredness. What could she possibly want now? Are there any questions or anything unclear to her left? As I tried to read her mind, she looked like panicking, doubting, and whatever else a woman does when she's confused that sometimes, I can't understand.

Ever commanded, "Stop making that warm, tingly, you know… Just stop it!"

"I'm not making that, Ever," I said.

"Of course you are! You're making it happen with your... whatever."

I could only laugh at her funny antics, as she rolled her eyes and fold her arms again across her chest. But, all kidding aside, I went back to being serious.

"I'm not manifesting that... I swear. I'd never use trickery to seduce you."

"Oh, yeah," she said sarcastically, "like the tulips?"

"You have no idea what they mean, do you?" I said, smiling at her.

Automatically, that shut her up and she just looked away, escaping from my gaze.

"Flowers have meaning. There's nothing random about it," I added.

Ever thought of targeting the table this time, rearranging it with her mind again and again as she took a deep breath.

"There's so much to teach you," I said to her, "Though, it's not all fun and games. You need to take caution, proceed with care."

As she still rearranged that table for what seemed like a hundredth time, I paused and looked at her, making sure that her attention's still on me. Ever, still silent, gave me a sign she's still listening. Good. That's the first step in learning. After all, listening is the best way.

"You have to guard against the misuse of power," I continued as well, "Drina's a good example of that. And you must be discreet, which means you can't share this with anyone, and I mean no one, understand?"

Whatever, she thought, as she just alerted me. Immediately, I shook my head and leaned toward her.

"Ever, I'm serious; you cannot tell a soul. Promise me."

She only looked at me, and I raised a brow, waiting. When she didn't respond, I squeezed her hand, wanting assurance.

"Scout's honor," Ever mumbled, looking away.

Great, then. I let go of her hand. I can relax, if that's the case. I leaned back against the cushions, and remembered to tell her a fact she might consider; after all, if I didn't meddle with her fate, she would choose it in the first place, and now that I didn't, well, that's good news.

"But, in the interest of full disclosure, you need to know that there's still a way out. You

can still cross over. In fact, you could've died right there in the canyon, but instead, you chose to stay."

"But, I was prepared to die, I wanted to die," Ever mumbled, her eyes on mine. But, I didn't believe it. Even if her mind is set, her heart isn't. Somehow, I can also read–no, feel–hearts… and hers just tell me that she secretly wanted to live, to survive.

"You empowered yourself with your memories. You empowered yourself with love," I explained further the reason why she overpowered Drina earlier, "It's like I said earlier, thoughts create. And in your case, they created healing and strength. If you really wanted to die, you would've simply given up. On some deeper level, you must've known this."

As Ever's mouth open to ask me why I was sneaking her room while she slept, I immediately answered her with a quick, "It's not what you think."

You don't know how much she can panic, but I think that's a bit cute.

"Then, what was it?" she asked, instead.

"I was there to... observe," I said, "I was surprised you could see me, I was transmuted, so to speak."

I shrugged, as she started to drown in her thoughts of being 'crept out'.

"Ever," I called her, beginning, "I feel responsible for you, and…"

"And you wanted to check out the goods?" she looked at me with eyebrows raised.

"May I remind you of your penchant for flannel pajamas?" I said, laughing.

"So, you feel responsible for me, like–like a dad?" she retorted, laughing as I cringed again.

"No, not like a dad," I replied. "But, Ever, I was only in your room that one time, the night we saw each other at the St. Regis, if there were other times."

"Drina," she cringed, realizing, and I saw her picture the woman exactly in her room. Glancing around, Ever almost jumped. "Are you sure she can't come here?"

"She doesn't even know it exists," I said, squeezing her hand to calm her down. "Doesn't know how to get here. As far as she's concerned, you simply vanished into thin air."

"But, how'd you get here? Did you die once, like me?"

That would be painful, even for an immortal like me, you know. Anyway, I tried to give her a brief introduction for that reason, as I tried to simplify the words, saying, "There are two types of alchemy; physical, which I stumbled upon because of my father, and spiritual, which I stumbled upon when I sensed something more, something bigger, something grander than me. I studied and practiced and worked hard to get here, even learned TM."

I stopped, and looked at her, hoping she could catch my drift. I smiled at her, "Transcendental Meditation from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi."

"Um, if you're trying to impress me, it's not really working; I have no idea what any of that means."

I shrugged. Too bad, but it's true.

"Let's just say it took hundreds of years for me to translate it from the mental to the physical. But you, from the moment you wandered into the field, you were granted a sort of backstage pass, your visions and telepathy are by-products of that."

"God, no wonder you hate high school," was what the only thing Ever could say in the moment, lightening up the atmosphere into something she thinks is normal. "I mean, you must've finished like, a gazillion, bazillion years ago, right?"

I winced, as age and time are touchy matters for me.

And when Ever thought how funny this is in me–which I let her to, for now–she asked, "I mean, why bother? Why even enrolI?"

"That's where you come in," I replied, smiling.

"Oh, so you see some chick in baggy jeans and a hoodie, and you just have to have her so bad, you decided to repeat high school, just to get to her?"

"Sounds about right," I laughed for the summary.

"Couldn't you have found another way to ingratiate yourself into my life? It just doesn't make any sense," she shook her head and rolled her eyes

I trailed my fingers down the side of her cheek and gazed into her eyes, hoping she'd settled down, like now. I told her, "Love never does."

After swallowing hard, out of embarrassment, Ever cleared her throat, and said, "I thought you said you suck at love."

She narrowed her eyes on mine, and I just have to be positive for her.

I whispered, "I was hoping this time would be different."

"I don't know if I'm up for all this. I don't know what to do," Ever said, after turning away from me, with shallow gasps. But, I just pulled her tight against my chest, and wrapped my arms around her, protecting her, as I looked far away.

"There's no rush to decide."

"What's the matter?" she asked, after turning to see me, and noticing my gaze, "Why are you looking at me like that?"

"Because I suck at good–byes," I admitted, attempting a smile that never got past my mouth. It just hurts. But, no matter what her decision will be, I'll always here to guide and support her.

"See, now, there are two things I suck at: love and good-byes," I tried to joke.

"Maybe they're related," I heard her voice croaked, failing to never show that she's about to cry. "So, where are you going?"

Shrugging, I looked away. I don't know, maybe, stay for a while here?

"Are you coming back?" she asked again, and I answered with a look.

"Up to you… Ever, do you still hate me?"

She shook her head, and that's a relief, but not to be celebrated yet. Ever held my gaze, and I asked directly, "Do you love me?"

She turned her head away, unable to say it, but she expressed it with thoughts, that somehow, warmed my longing heart.

I love you with every strand of hair, with every skin cell, with every drop of blood that I'm bursting with love, boiling over

"It's always nicer when it's spoken," I said as an advice that I wanted, tucking her hair behind her ear, and pressing my lips to her warm, rosy cheek.

"When you do decide, about me, about being immortal, just say the word and I'll be there. I have all of eternity laid out before me; you'll find I'm quite patient," I smiled, then reaching in my pocket, I retrieved the silver, crystal, encrusted, horse–bit bracelet I bought her back at the track that she threw once on the ground back at the parking lot.

"May I?" I gestured politely.

She nodded, as her words can't reach me, trapped in her throat. I closed the clasp afterwards, and cradled her face between my palms. How I missed this face, how I missed her. I brushed her bangs to the side, revealing the wound of her past, and I kissed her scar, giving her what she needs – all the love and forgiveness I can ever infuse her with.

"You have to forgive yourself, Ever," I said, as I stopped her from pulling away by holding her tighter, "You're not responsible for any of it."

"What do you know?" she asked, biting her lip.

"I know you blame yourself for something that's not your fault. I know you love your little sister with all of your heart and you ask yourself every day if you're doing the right thing by encouraging her visits. I know you, Ever. I know everything about you."

She turned away, crying, as she spoke, shaking her head, "None of that's true. You've got it all wrong. I'm a freak, and bad things happen to everyone I come near, even though I'm the one who deserves it."

There's no time left, is there? I pulled her close to me, embracing her with my love, in the last seconds I can.

"I have to go," I managed to finally whisper to her. "But, Ever, if you want to love me, if you truly want to be with me, then you'll have to accept what we are. I'll understand if you can't."

Suddenly, she kissed me, pressing into me, and I can feel both our needs of our lips of each other. I kissed her back, wishing that this won't end right away. I just don't want to end this moment. Shutting my eyes, I want to feel her, even though she's not truly there yet. I tried to feel her with my body, my hands, but as I opened my eyes again, she's gone, leaving me with such a sweet and loving dream.

Striking at twelve, the clock did, as 'Cinderella' left her glass slippers for me to find.

A/N: And so, my dear readers–if I even still have one T.T–here's a sweet update from me for the New Year's update (which is like, two months ago, make it three) and Valentine's. School and life got me there, but at least, I'm on a vacation now–I became a staffer in our school newspaper and I hope that through a seminar I've attended, I could write even better than this and use this knowledge for you. Thank you for being so patient and still bearing with me, and for leaving behind reviews which made me really glad, like the ones left by haileybug, Lulu, Evyn, and nina in the previous chapters. Also, I'm grateful to those who're still reading this, and put this story to their favorites–slash–alerts. I'm sorry to monkey, too, for being a slowpoke in updating. To LOVEISNEVERUGLY, I'll still consider and think about doing those bright ideas, thank you.

Anyway, I hope you still enjoyed this chapter. c: