Future Ever After (Bonus Chapter)
"It's like the butterfly that flaps its wing and makes the hurricane. Tiny microscopic events would change the course of history. So every historical event actually happened in every possible way in some branch of this ever-splitting many worlds universe." - Joe Lykken, The Universe: Parallel Universe
He woke with a start. He gasped for air as if he had been underwater for some time. He tried to make sense of where he was and when it was because this sensation of not belonging had prevailed for too long.
Another hospital room. He had been through this before. When was it? For how many times? He was dizzy and hurting. The pain was coming from his chest but the rest of his body was hurt by general numbness.
There was a girl sleeping on a long couch in the corner of the room. She had books and graphite pencils by her side.
And everything came back to him.
They were together, walking towards somewhere they wanted to be. The Burns Building in the University. They had kissed on the Lawn. They walked with his hand placed at the small of her back. She looked preoccupied, head full of plans, he knew. He, on the other hand, was sorry about something. He had decided that he would hold his peace until she was ready.
They entered a room. Her father's room. The man was talking to someone whose face they couldn't see. The man who was darkness personified did something to her father, who is the Vice Chancellor of the University and the man fell into his chair, unconscious. He knew who the man was the moment that happened. The man he thought was imaginarily created to imprison Rapunzel in fear and self-loathing was real. He acted without hesitation. He pulled the gun from the back of his trousers' waistband, under his hoodie. He saw the man pointing his metallic and sharp inside of his walking stick to his chest but he did not care. He knew the man came for Rapunzel.
This evil man was going to take her, imprison her and use her for the ability that might or might not be in her. And he wasn't going to let that happen.
He shot at the man cleanly in the head but he continued living despite the initial shock. The man was holding on something. An amulet. He had a feeling that he had to destroy the amulet. And he did.
Then he felt weak and in so much pain. She was seeing him through it. He knew the end of this.
But he made her promise. And that was all that matters.
He gave up holding on to life. He let her go.
Until the moment when he saw her sleeping in his room in the hospital. And he knew that he had screwed up by staying alive.
"Hey, dude. You're awake," said a hospital attendant who had entered the room carrying some stuff.
"Hey," Eugene responded generally.
"You might wanna read this. Someone wants me to give it to you," the hospital attendant handed him a piece of paper.
"What?" Eugene was still making sense of his surrounding and the people around him even though he was already sitting up on his bed.
"Hey, don't shoot the messenger OK?"
"I'm not gonna shoot anyone," Eugene said, as he tried reading the piece of paper.
I have chosen you as my Prince. Leave with me and be the future leader of the city.
CRAP. What did he said to her when she pointed the gun to his gut. The gun that saved Rapunzel's life. Coincidences? If he had learnt anything from the past three months, he learnt that there were no coincidences.
Maybe I will, Julietta. Patience.
He had to leave or else everyone he loved would face the consequences. He had to leave.
"Here's some clothes you can put on. And your personal effects," the attendant threw a plastic bag into his face.
Eugene took them and with difficulty changed. Every time he moved or dropped his left hand he felt like was going to faint. But he had to go through this. To get out of this place.
He took one of her sketch books, planning to write a message on the one of the pages. When he was about to write in one of them, he found that she had his journal. He closed his eyes in obvious pain. He took it instead and wrote.
Do not find me, Rapunzel. I am dead to you.
Prince of All Thieves.
As he was writing, a piece of paper fell out of the journal's pages. It was the photo of him and Rapunzel in the boat down the river during the release of the lanterns. There was dried blood on it but the photo was clear. He took it and put it in the inside of his black vest, near his hurting chest.
"Consider yourself lucky man. I would do anything to be in your place," the hospital attendant said to him, obviously waiting for him to be ready and would take him out of the hospital without alerting the security or the staff.
"But I can see why she chose you. You're one good looking son of a gun."
Already the world was buttering up to him. It was unreal. It was crazy. Eugene was going to say to the man to get out of this mess as soon as he can, but he decided against it as he himself could not do it.
"Where is she?" Came a rudimentary question.
The hospital attendant made a gesture conveying the meaning 'outside' with his head. Eugene stared at his sleeping beloved. He wanted so much to touch her face, kiss her soft lips, and rub her hair and shoulders and back. But he couldn't. If she woke up and she had to watch him go, it would ruin everything.
He just left her sleeping on the couch.
Then he came face to face with the Mafia boss' daughter. He became her captive now. She was waiting outside. She welcomed him with a deep, lustful kiss. But he was as prone as cold dead wood. And it wasn't because he was losing the feeling in his toes. It was the deadness of feeling he felt for the world. He knew where his heart belonged but he could not reach her with his dirty hands.
"You must know that I didn't choose this path," he told her, signalling that she would have not a piece of his heart ever.
"But it chooses you," she answered.
Eugene saw familiar faces and greeted them.
The Stabbington brothers. Their free-lancing had turned out to be a failure; they had to find permanent employment.
"Hello, boss," they answered but Eugene heard only bitterness and treachery in them.
Here we go again, he said between clamped jaws and grit teeth. The woman's hands were already all over him.
He had one hand to his heart, where the photo of the night on the release of the lanterns was kept.
What do you do when someone whom you loved told you not to find him? The question never left her mind. He was beyond reach even though he was here on earth, on the same plane of reality as she was. She could not go to other side and find him when all were waiting for her in this side. She made herself busy with the pursuit of knowledge, charity and handling weaponry. When she did so, she felt in touch with his world.
What left of him were memories and his journal. He had written sixty one days in his journal that now was in her hands.
Do you think I have a chance in asking you to marry me, despite of my weaknesses? Just asking because asking can't do no wrong. I wonder what will be your answer. I have my guesses, though:
Answer 1: YES
Answer 2: Yes, please.
Answer 3: Will you, Eugene Fitzherbert, be my lawfully wedded husband?
And how she had hesitated in answering the question. She said 'yes' when he was losing consciousness. And now, he was gone.
The entry on the sixtieth day was a marked difference from the final entry.
Do not find me, Rapunzel. I am dead to you.
The Prince of All Thieves
He even reverted to his name of disguise. Will he ever know his real name when he's called again?
Rapunzel lived on. She found many other new dreams. She travelled with her parents during semester breaks. She had seen the minarets and towers of Istanbul. She had seen the houses carved out of rocks on hillsides in Italy. She had stared at the fresco under the dome of the Sistine Chapel. She had stood while she had photos taken of her with the Stonehenge as the background. She had walked the oldest rainforest in the heart of South East Asia. And she was planning for more travels.
She had visited galleries and museums and saw all the paintings that used to be prints to her. She joined exhibitions herself and contributed her paintings of the city's aerial view from Mother's apartment window. Critiques reviewed that they were "desolate but thoroughly human." They wrote that the details of her urban aerial views are "heart-breaking but genuine." She wondered if being desolate was ever a non-human characteristic. Or being heart-broken is not genuine.
The only time she saw him was on the news. Thanks to the station BerZerkTV, he made appearances after a kind of robbery, or shootout or inquisition or court case where he sat next to Al Hapone, or next to the cat-like looking dark –haired woman. He looked good. His style was the same impeccable one, but more polished and expensive. He was more beautiful than ever but becoming more and more predictable aesthetically. He looked leaner and tougher, like he had gone through vigorous exercise. Taller. Darker. She never saw his eyes hidden under dark glasses. What was he hiding behind those glasses?
Is he ever as haunted as her by him? Did he miss her at all?
She missed him but she thought that he had changed beyond recognition. She never let him go but she moved on.
It was four years before Flynnagan Rider met Rapunzel again.
And one can only imagine the consequences.
Author's Note: I understand if you guys don't want to review this chapter. I mean, I've gained more than reviews, which are your thrilling support and company all this while. This is an alternative chapter. Because readers have the right to choose when there are options. Anyway, I'm crazy about the idea of parallel universes. These worlds do collide in our minds, our very own parallel universe.
A final shout out to Alltangledup95, HollyBatali, Wicked Song, Mrs. Naara, PampleMousse07, An Unknown Foreign Beauty, Romance and Musical, Faith Rivens, AIOFanNCRM, Kyoru_KiTTy_Artist, melay8,LifeByTheSea, dreamerdrawerwriter7, AerrowsGirl07, SparkleWolf2000. Figurly, Wicked Song, Howlsatthemoon, Wolfram-and-Hart-Sauron Aerrows-Girl07, SWACGleek Freak, howlsatthemoon, SoWrongbutSowrite.
You guys have been awesome.