So silver lining… I don't feel heartbroken. So the elixir worked. Jake is fine. (I'm thrilled) The circle is stronger than ever. Balcoin is keeping his distance. Which I'm not sure if that's a good thing or if I should be suspicious.
Downside... I feel a bit empty. And I know it's probably normal for the situation I'm in, but it still feels wrong. I know I told Cassie I didn't feel nervous anymore, and that I felt good. And that's still true. She doesn't make me nervous. I don't have to worry about ever losing her. I know she will be in my life forever. We are best friends. But something is off; I just can't put my finger on it.
Everything has been going so well these last few weeks. No hunters. No ghosts. No near death experiences. And no one in town has died of 'un-natural' causes. All in all it's been quiet. There is no tension in the circle. Faye, Diana, and Melissa seem to have all found a common ground. Jake and I aren't trying to kill each other at the moment. And Diana and I seem to have reached a deeper understanding and respect for each other. Somehow Cassie's simple existence has brought the circle closer. And I love her for that. We are no longer connected by only our parents, and our magic. We are connected by all the things we have sacrificed for each other.
I spent Saturday with Cassie. Learning spells and trying to find an anchor for her. We decided a few weeks ago that if we were to be a true coven, we needed to figure out a way to help Cassie learn control. She needed something to anchor her and strengthen her hold on the light. I know that back before the elixir I was becoming her anchor but with that connection severed, I'm afraid she is going to have trouble finding another.
Oh there it is. That feeling. Happens every time I think about what I was to Cassie. It's strange. It doesn't hurt. Feels like someone is tapping me on the chest. I remember being with her. I know I loved her. I have this ghost of a feeling that it was perfect in every way. But there is this divide between my memories and my heart. It's strange because I look at Diana and I remember why I loved her. I loved her because she was my best friend. She always knew the right thing to say. She was great with my dad. She is kind to everyone. And she accepted everything about me. Even my flaws. Remembering that gives me closure. Knowing it wasn't a mistake loving her. And I'll never regret it. But Cassie, there is no closure. I know I could never regret loving her. But it feels like I never did. It feels like the memory isn't mine. And if I didn't know better I would probably resent her for making me stray from Diana. It's strange too that I know for a fact I can never love Diana again. Actually the idea of loving anyone again is weird, and totally impossible.
Sorry what was I talking about? Oh, Saturday. We were trying a spell for enhancing the growth of some of Melissa's plants. And everything was going fine. And then all of a sudden Cassie had this look on her face like she wasn't really there and her hand went to her chest. Before I could ask her what was wrong she was already walking away. I tried to get her to tell me what was wrong but she shook her head and told me she was fine. Of course I wasn't going to let it go and finally she conceded that if she felt like whatever was bothering her was getting to be too much she would tell me everything. But until then she asked me to drop it. So I did... For now.
I haven't talked to her since then. Actually I should say she hasn't talked to me. I texted and called her yesterday to see how she was; all I got as a response was 'I'm fine'.
She is becoming more and more withdrawn these days. No one else seems to notice. They keep telling me it's my imagination. But I know it's not. She won't look me in the eye these days. And when she does, I don't know it feels wrong. The circles under her eyes are getting deeper. Her makeup hides it well but not so well that I can't see. She rarely says anything when the circle meets. And she doesn't come around the boat house. And lately she has been really distracted. But I guess it's fair. She must be feeling that empty, hollow feeling too. Only for her it must be so much worse. She lives alone. Her mother just died. Her grandma doesn't remember who she is. And to top it all off she half dark. I don't know if I would be holding it together as well as she is if I were her. She still hasn't given up. She hasn't left the circle. I'm so proud of her. I wish there was more I could do to help her. Especially now because whatever is going on with her is now making her sick. I'm sure of it.
Oh Mondays. I hate Mondays, and this one was shaping up to be just a great one! Case in point, Cassie wasn't in first period. This was strange, because she never misses first period. I was beginning to worry, especially after what happened Saturday. That is till I saw her walking into school right before the bell for second period. I decided to talk to her at lunch and find out what was wrong with her today, and why she missed first.
Conveniently enough Cassie and I share 5th period, so when she walked thru the door right in from of me I tried to tap her on the shoulder to get her attention. But I never got the chance to because she quickly stepped forward and was at her desk before I could get a chance. And then she was outright ignoring me. Well not just me but the entirety of the class. I kept looking over at her, but it was like she wasn't there. She kept checking the time on her phone. She looked pale and nervous. I've had just about had enough of this. As soon as that bell rang I was determined that she was going to tell me what the hell was wrong!
Now I started staring at the clock. 15min. ... 10... 5. These really were the longest 20min. of my life. The bell went off startling me; the one second I wasn't staring at the clock is when it decided to go off. Before I even finish grabbing my bag, I looked up and she was gone. I called her name. "Cassie!"
I pushed my way thru the mass exodus of people headed off to the cafeteria but I didn't see her among them. So I looked the other direction in the off chance she was headed to her locker. And that's when I saw her walking out the front doors. "Cassie! Cassie, wait!" I yelled hoping she could hear me over the din. But she kept walking. Something was wrong. Something was very wrong. I texted Diana, asking her to go to the office and tell them that Cassie was sick so I was taking her home. Then I headed for Cassie's car, determined to stop her and talk to her, but when I got there she wasn't there. Her car was there and she wasn't. I rushed to my truck and jumped in taking the roads to Cassie's house. I drove straight there but she wasn't there and I didn't pass her on the way. So I went to the only other place she felt at home. The house. As I walked down the path to the house I looked up at the sky, hoping it wouldn't start raining till I found Cassie. But when I got there, there was no one upstairs, so I ran to the basement. That's when it started pouring. I could hear the rain falling as I walked back up the stairs. When I realized she wasn't even there I started to panic. There was nowhere else she would go. If she wasn't here, and she wasn't at home, then she was somewhere in-between and now it was storming. At that point every worst case scenario started running thru my head. And that tapping on my chest started to become a dull aching pull. I'm not sure when it went from tapping to uncomfortable but it had. I started running back to my car, trying to think of anywhere else she might be. That's when I heard it.
"Adam!" My name carried on the wind. The strangled cry was barely loud enough to hear above the rain. There was so much pain in that single word. In that moment something inside me snapped. I didn't think, I just ran. "Cassie! Cassie where are you?" I ran upstairs and made it to the doorway where the sight before me stopped me like a wall. For a split second my mind refused to accept what I was seeing. Cassie was on the floor, there was blood on her lips and on her hand. And I panicked. I was by her side, pulling her into my arms before I knew what I was doing. "Cassie, please wake up." I whispered. Tears forming in my eyes as I pulled out my phone calling Diana. When she answered I didn't even give her time to speak before I said "Cassie is dying. We're at our house. Bring help." the words just barely making it out of my mouth. And they were flat and emotionless. And then I hung up.
My eyes never left her face. So pale, so fragile. So perfect. How could I forget that? How could I look at her every day and not remember how I loved her? Something inside me was fighting its way to the surface. That hollow feeling was no longer just something I accepted. It was no longer how I was supposed to feel. It felt so wrong all of a sudden. The reason for it was so much deeper than just losing a girlfriend. I felt hollow because Cassie was actually part of me. Because my heart and soul weren't mine. When I met Cassie, that day I ceased to exist on my own. And I felt hollow because I truly was empty. And looking down at her now I wondered how I could have ever forgotten. "Cassie, please. You got to help me remember." I whispered. "Come on I need you to wake up. I need you to be ok." I don't remember how long I sat there holding her in my arms before the medics got there. They were pulling her out of my arms and I almost fought them off on instinct, but Jake was there. He looked me right in the eye and said, "Let them save her. As much as you can't live without her. The rest of us can't either."
"Adam." Diana said softly, kneeling in front of me taking me by the hand. "Come with me. We are going to meet them at the hospital." I let myself get lead away. I wasn't really paying attention to much of anything and before I knew it I was at the hospital.
It felt like days later when the doctor came out, looking for a family member. "We are her family. Tell me she's ok. Please tell me she's ok." I whispered. The doctor looked skeptical but apparently the look on Jake's face told him it would be best not to argue the point. "Ok. Well she is stable now. Tell me. Does she do drugs? Or pills? Or anything like that?"
"Absolutely not! She never has. This had nothing to do with drugs! Just tell us what happened!" I said standing up.
"Adam calm down. It's a legitimate question." Diana said. She then turned to the doctor, "No Cassie didn't do drugs. Now just tell us what happened."
"I'm not sure what caused it; because Cassie is the picture of heal. However she had a coronary artery spasm, which is very rare in someone so young. Nothing in her medical history indicates that this is common to her family history. It can be brought on by a whole list of things, like drugs and alcohol." The doctor seemed to consider for a moment if there were any other relevant causes. "The only other time I have seen it in someone younger than 40 was with a woman who just lost her husband. But other than that it's almost unheard of."
At that point all eyes were on me. I felt cold inside. Like I could see the writing on the wall but didn't want to accept it. I didn't know how. I looked at Jake. And before I even knew it I was on my feet walking toward him. Diana's hand was on my arm but I shrugged it off and got right in Jake's face. Jake didn't make any move to back away or push me aside. He just looked at me and for a second I thought I caught sight of some empathy in his eyes, before it turned to something like distain. "She didn't tell me Adam." He said quietly before he went on in a tone that expressed just how much he thought this was my fault. "God, she didn't tell anyone. I'm sorry, but if I had known do you really think we would be here right now?! I would have taken care of her, because you no longer can!"
I couldn't say anything. All I could do was stare at Jake. The idea of Jake taking care of Cassie made me see red for a second. But before I could register it the feeling was gone. I simply turned away from him and to the doctor. "I need to see her." I stated as calmly as I could.
"You can't." the doctor said. "Only family is allowed in. And besides she's unconscious. Her body is exhausted. Do you realize how painful this is? And how long it's been going on? It's a feeling like being stabbed in the chest. Feeling like your lungs won't open and you can't breathe. She has been dealing with this for almost a month now. Most patients who come in with this kind of pain can't let it go even a day without some kind of painkiller. Your girl in there has been thru enough over the last month, I think she could use a bit of rest and I won't let you disturb her right now. You can go in to see her in a few hours."
"You don't understand. I'm not asking." I said.
"I would listen to him if I were you." Faye said. I hadn't even noticed that she was there until she said something. "He's the emotional trigger." She whispered sarcastically.
I couldn't even respond to Faye. I just closed my eyes and took a deep breath, trying to get a hold of myself.
The doctor looked from Faye to me to Jake and then back to me. "I'll give you 5mins."
When I walked into the room I felt that ache in my chest get stronger. Seeing Cassie, hooked up to all sorts of IVs and machines, made it hard for me to breath, and I wasn't sure if it was because this was one of the circle lying there or if it was because it was Cassie lying there. She didn't look any better than earlier, and under these sterile white lights she looked even paler. "Cassie you should have told me. Or at least Jake." I reached out, took her hand, leaned over and kissed it. Like I did that first day. "Even with everything that's happened you are still my best friend. And I would still do anything for you. We could have figured it out together. Why do you always seem to think that you have to suffer in silence? Cassie you aren't alone anymore. And you never will be again."
Shortest 5min of my life.