"I dare you to try these on."
"Are you kidding?"
I glanced over my shoulder at Hale and Adision. In the boy's hand was possibly the ugliest pair of leggings I'd ever seen – neon orange and black cheetah print. I smiled a little as he shoved them towards Adision, who was shuddering. "No way, dude."
"Aww come on! I need a laugh."
"Hale," she laughed, whacking his shoulder, "No."
"Come on." With a devilish grin, he stepped forward trying to shove the offending garment into her arms. With a small laugh she stepped back, but not before tripping over a sale sign and ungracefully falling to the floor. The two of them burst out laughing, and I had to bite back a laugh as I went over and helped my daughter to her feet. "Are you alright, honey?"
"Fine," she said, giving Hale a mock glare. "Those pants are cursed."
"With that pattern they have to be," I muttered, causing the three of us to crack up.
So, after scaring Sky to the ends of the universe, we all came to a very odd conclusion. Not wanting to deal with media, my friends' reactions, and most importantly wanting to be there when Isabel worked her way out of her 'marriage', we returned to the alternate reality. For now, we were staying in a much larger suite at the Grand Wailea until Baltor and I could arrange to find a home or get some money. Thankfully I contacted an old friend of mine – Andy, who seemed more than willing to help us out (whether out of a good heart or still liking me I couldn't tell).
As for Hale, for now he was with us. He was still debating on going home or not, but for now we'd insisted he was more than welcome with us (okay; I'd insisted, Baltor threatened). But he seemed to be enjoying himself…and taking Baltor's threats in stride.
Speaking of him…"Where's your father, Addy?"
A knowing smirk appeared on my daughter's face. "He went back to the room, I think. Maybe you should go check on him."
Hale poked his head between a rack of clothes. "Is that a secret code for 'leave so we can make out?'"
Adision thumped him on the head. "It's code for 'leave so I can put those leggings on you.'"
I laughed again. "Well why you two figure that out, I think I'm going to head back before this place gets crowded."
"Does that –"
"Please," Adision insisted, a smirk on her face, "leave before he gets perverted."
"Good luck stopping that," Hale muttered more to himself. Adision rolled her eyes and hit him again.
"Hello?" I called, walking into the hotel room.
The place was like a dream Hawaiian suite. The walls were a light cream color, the cushions on the furniture were white, and there were two huge glass doors leading out to a deck with a view straight out to the ocean. Looking around, the place looked undisturbed until I caught sight of someone shifting on a chair outside. Smiling, I walked over and opened the door, stepping onto the deck.
Baltor was sitting in the chair, a notepad from the desk in his hand and a pen in the other. While I hadn't been able to coax him into one of the flower shirts, he'd eventually settled for a burgundy button up shirt and a pair of light jeans. Looking over his shoulder, I saw he was sketching the landscape, and from what I could see it was a good image. I let my eyes fall to the table near him, scattered with sheets torn off the notepad, each one holding an image.
"These are beautiful," I said, reaching down and picking up a picture of a Hawaiian lea, wrapped around a woman's neck.
Baltor jumped a little at my voice; apparently I'd been a bit too quiet in my entry. "They're just drawings; nothing special."
"Oh please," I said, running my fingers along the page, "I could never make a shadow like this with just a pen. And the detail on the flowers is amazing." I glanced over at him, smiling lightly. "You never told me you could draw."
"I can't," he insisted, a small laugh in his voice. "These are just little bits of nothing."
Hearing the lightness in his voice made me feel warm. "Keep telling yourself that, but I think you need to give me drawing lessons."
He shook his head, but didn't deny he'd help. Instead, he held out his hand to me, and I noticed for the first time he wasn't wearing gloves. "Come here."
I smiled a little, taking his hand and sitting down on his lap. He used magic to levitate the page so he could keep sketching, using the free hand to wrap around my shoulders. I snuggled into his chest, secretly pleased that despite the change of clothes he still smelled like worn leather and spices. I just laid there, the occasional sound of a pen against paper distracting me. For the first time in years, I felt safe and warm. Protected. Loved.
"What're you drawing?" I murmured absently.
"Not really sure. It's not coming out right," I heard him set the pen down with a sigh. "I can see why people on Earth refer to this place as a paradise."
"Yeah. One of the most beautiful places in the States." I trailed off, my eyes falling to the horizon. "Hey; question."
"Hmm?" he asked, running his fingers through my hair.
"I know that if Hale goes back…well, once that happens we won't be able to go back there, right?"
"It'll depend. I'm sure we can figure out a way back in an emergency. Why? Second thoughts?"
"Oh no, nothing like that. Just…if that happens, do you think this dimension will disappear?"
I felt Baltor's chest rumble a bit as he chuckled. "It's unlikely; what Adision managed to do was create an alternate reality, and unless we find a way to go back in time in the other dimension and stop her from creating this one, it'll continue to go forward like any other one." He paused, glancing down at me. "Am I making much sense?"
I laughed a little. "Not really. It sounds pretty confusing."
"It is; I studied it for about two years. Basically, there are infinite numbers of alternate dimensions that can be accessed with the right power. All we've managed to do is create one."
"How do they differ?"
"Tiny little ways. A person might not have been born, another side may have won a war…tons of things. There are more than likely some where your little Winx Club never existed. There could be some where I don't exist, where Sky never did."
I nodded. "There could be some where you and Isabel's mother were still together."
"Quite possibly," he said after a moment. "Though granted, we never had much to go on in the first place."
"Would…would she still be alive here?"
"Danielle?" my husband questioned. "She could be; I highly doubt it though. Why all the questions?"
"Just…curious, I suppose. Isabel seems so sweet and…I was just wondering."
"I'm not very clear on where she got that myself."
I smiled a little, tilting my head up to look at him. "I'm assuming you."
He glanced down at me with amusement, doing a double take when he saw my grin. "What?"
I shook my head. "I don't recall being this…happy, the first time I got married."
Baltor opened his mouth to reply, but before he could speak I heard the door of the room open, accompanied by Adision's laugh. "…got us kicked out, you jerk!"
"Come on; one spell and that employee won't remember anything."
I chuckled quietly. Baltor and I exchanged a look, and I (much to the annoyance of a certain part of my brain) stood up from his lap, running a hand through my now tangled hair.
"Did I hear you guys got kicked out of that store?" I asked, walking back into the room. Baltor followed, looking equally amused.
"Hale started it," Adision said with the grace of a six-year-old. "I told him to get those leggings out of my sight."
"You'll regret it."
My daughter huffed indignantly, which caused Hale to burst out laughing. "So what are you guys up to?"
"Nothing much," Baltor said absently. "Something tells me you two have had much more exciting adventures. And it's not even nine in the morning."
Adision glanced between us, her eyebrow raised. The way her eyes darted with the perfect blend of curiosity and underlying sarcasm reminded me of Sky. "Are you sure?"
"Positive," Baltor and I said together at the exact same time.
"Bull crap. You're a suckish liar, Mom. You need lessons."
"Adision," Baltor said a sarcastic warning tone. "You know no amount of lessons can make your mother a better liar."
I glared at him, grabbing a pillow from one of the chairs and tossing it at him. To my surprise it was a good throw, hitting him smack on the side of the head. "You both are terrible. Right now Hale's my favorite."
"That's surprising," the boy muttered as I collapsed onto one of the chairs. "Did you drain the mini fridge of alcohol last night and you're in a killer hangover?"
"…Strike that. I hate you all."
"Knew it!" he said, sounding proud of himself. The four of us laughed.
Hale's eyes looked between Baltor and I, his laughter slowly fading down to a chuckle. After a moment, a smirk appeared on his face. "…Come on Adision," Hale said, pulling her sleeve, "Let's go check out that resort pool. I heard there's like seven different water slides."
It took her only a few moments to catch on. "Sounds good." She agreed, turning back to Baltor and I. "That's ok, right?"
I smiled. "Go for it. Just be careful. We don't want to get tossed out."
She nodded before tilting her head to the side to see past me. "Dad?" she asked, a small smile on her face.
Baltor nodded back at her, a knowing smile crossing his face. "Have fun, you two."
Adision grinned at us, and then turned and followed Hale out of the room, her arm linked in his. I watched with a small smile. "You think they'll make it?" I asked, watching them nudge each other with their elbows.
"He went back in time for her," Baltor replied, grinning at me, "That usually shows a significant bond."
I nodded, my own smile fading from my face. "Look…about Isabel…and marrying Sky – because I know we'll have to talk about it eventually –"
"Don't worry," he cut off, "you honestly think I'd let either of my daughters near a creep like Sky, much less marry him?" As he said this, he tossed me the Magix gossip magazine Hale had purchased that morning. I look down at the cover and immediately recognized Sky. Standing next to him, was none other than Princess Diaspro of Isis. 'Celebrating the New Alliance of the Magical Dimension' was written below it.
"I suppose Isabel switched herself with Diaspro once we left. " Baltor said, a small smile on his face. "She'll find us when she wants to; for now I think she's just enjoying being alive."
"She's like you." I agreed, setting the magazine aside. "So…we may have the rest of our lives together now, but we only have one day here."
The smile on Baltor's face slowly turned into a devilish smirk. "What were you thinking of, darling?"
"I don't know," I said, purposely dragging out my words as he slowly walked toward me; "A walk on the beach, going into the town." He was standing over where I was seated on one of the white chairs. "Lounging at the pool with our daughter." He took my hands and pulled me up from the chair. "Going to a nice dinner." Baltor wrapped his arms around my waist, pressing me against him. "Listening to some stories."
"What kind of stories?" Baltor questioned, putting a hand under my chin and tilting my head up so I was staring into his eyes.
"Any." I replied after a second. My body seemed to be jolting with electricity, as though I was part of a current. "Folk tales, maybe. Fairytales."
He scoffed a little. "Fairytales. Those are never true."
"Well…what about the Labyrinth?"
Baltor smirked at me. "You think there's a magical world where whished away children go to, run by a rock star in ridiculous clothing?"
I tilted my head to the side thoughtfully, smirking myself. "I think some of that is more realistic than you think. Don't you know how that story ended?"
He raised a perfect eyebrow at me. "The girl got her brother back and went home, didn't she?"
"Well yes, but the mysterious Goblin King kept his eyes on the baby brother as he grew up, and eventually brought him back to the Labyrinth to be the next King. But a jealous queen from a neighboring kingdom tried to ruin the young boy's new kingdom. So Sarah eventually returned to the Labyrinth and saw Jareth again."
"Hmm…did they stay together?" Baltor questioned.
"They don't really say. Just that 'their paths could possibly cross again'."
"I see…but what's that have to do with fairytales being true?"
"Well…Sarah got the love of her life back. And if she ever needed him, all she had to do was wish for him."
Baltor gave me a devious look. "Not to offend you or your story-telling abilities, but I'm sure I'm better than some Goblin King."
"Really? Well let's try it out." I said, my voice dropping to a seductive whisper as I leaned closer to his face so our lips were only centimeters apart. "I wish the darkest and most handsome wizard in the magical dimension would come and take me away right now."
Within seconds, I felt myself being lifted up off the ground within two strong arms. I stared into Baltor eyes as he brushed his lips across mine. "Bloom, my dear," he said, dropping his voice to whisper too, "All you had to do was ask."
Well, that just about wraps it up. Thank you guys so much for reading - I know the chapter lengths were gruesome, so major bonus points for you! Please leave a final review - if not for me than Authoress who suffered through my constant rambling about this in countless e-mails. If you reviewed for all the chapters, I'll send you that part of the new story soon! Thanks guys; peace out!