Love Can Change the Weather
Cara realized that when the darkness flooded her for a second time, she had closed her eyes as a natural instinct. Slowly opening her eyes, Cara blinked slowly in response to the light. Upon seeing her surroundings, Cara sucked in her breath with surprise. All around her the sun shone brightly, warming her skin in such a familiar way that reminded her of her childhood in southern California.
Yet, the one thing that caught her attention the most was the cliff she stood on that overlooked a vast ocean. Looking to her right, Cara could see several miles away was a beautiful cottage with a waist high stone gate surrounding it and a single wooden door that allowed entrance to the cottage.
"Where am I," Cara asked in a soft voice, standing in awe of the magnificence around her.
"This is where I leave you," Mim said to her, his voice feeling like the gentle breeze that blew through her hair.
"What, but, I don't know what I'm doing," she said, suddenly frantic. "You can't leave!"
"You won't be alone," Mim assured her. "This is your journey, not mine. I am only following the orders of the One who sent me. He is also the same One who sends all the Guardians. We are merely His army."
Then, Cara knew, the Man in the Moon had left her.
Squaring her shoulders, Cara looked out to the expanse of water once more and took a breath. Even though she knew Mim had left her, something in her heart told her she wasn't alone. She didn't know how to quite put the feeling to tangible words or thoughts, but she knew that Whoever sent Mim was with her. Doing what seemed to be the most logical thing, Cara began to walk toward the cottage, following a narrow path lined with sweet-smelling grass, dotted with the occasional dandelion.
The sun had begun to sink behind the ocean by the time Cara reached the cottage. Standing before the stone gate, Cara ran her hand over the top of the wood part of the gate. She tried to look into the windows of the cottage from where she stood. She saw light spilling onto a wooden dining room table from an opposite window, but other than that, the cottage looked unoccupied.
Undoing the latch of the gate, Cara gently closed the wooden frame behind her and walked to the front door. She paused momentarily, wondering if she should knock, but decided against it because of an inkling that told her it would be okay if she walked in unannounced.
The door slowly opened without a creek and Cara stepped into the seaside cottage on the cliff. The cottage, despite the small looking exterior, was spacious on the inside and equally beautiful in comparison to the outside. This place had a rustic feel with wooden floors, high cielings, and sheer white curtains over the windows that fluttered gently in the breeze. All around, in perfectly placed spots were mason jars filled with fresh and colorful wildflowers. In the corner of the living room, Cara noticed, was a staircase that led up to a loft.
In spite of the homey feel the cottage gave off, it seemed oddly vacant. How could such a beautiful space be free of inhabitants, Cara wondered, as she walked around the living room of the cottage. Beneath the stairs, against a wall made of bricks was a large bookshelf that stretched over the expanse of the wall, and reached floor to ceiling. Sadly, there was only one book on the shelf and a small vial topped with a cork that held what looked to be frosty blue glitter. The vial itself was made of a translucent blue shade that was still easy to see through.
Cara reached for the thick, blue hardcover book with no title and the vial. Flipping through the pages, Cara raised an eyebrow upon finding the book blank. "Weird," she muttered, shutting the book and then inspected the vial more closely. She was about to put the book on the shelf when she realized the shelf had moved, revealing an opening.
Stepping through the opening, Cara was brought to an outdoor area where there was no sea. Instead, wherever she was, was an open expanse of sky and grass and it was nighttime. Cara then remembered the vial in her hand. Gripping it carefully, Cara unstopped the cork. The frosty blue glitter started to swirl within the cork before floating out from the top; a million little lights. Cara stared in wonder as the majority of the glitter-sized lights continued to float upward and upward and into the night sky. After that, they seemed to stay in the sky, becoming permanent stars. Cara looked down at the vial in her hands once more and noticed several specks remained on the bottom of the vial. Carefully Cara paced the stopper on the vial, knowing that it was the right thing to do.
In that moment, unbeknownst to Cara, a boy with frosty white hair and striking blue eyes felt something stir in his heart as he pressed his staff to a lake, watching it frost over: he felt hope.
Once the lake was frosted and iced over, Jack knew he had to go back to the North Pole.
Cara looked up to the night sky once more and smiled at the new twinkling stars before heading back to the path that would lead her back to the cottage. The book that had been tucked under her arm the entire time caught her eye with a dull glow. Raising an eyebrow, Cara flipped the book open to the first page. What was once empty now had a single name written on the first page: Jackson Overlander.
"I know that name," said Cara, even though she couldn't quite place it. The name tickled a memory and she thought about it as she walked back to the cottage and put the book and vial back on the shelf, watching as the bookshelf closed over the opening. It was now night time in the cottage and moonlight slanted through the windows.
From the loft upstairs a bright light seemed to call out to Cara. With a thundering heart Cara ascended the stairs up to the loft. The loft was the same spacious size of the downstairs portion of the cottage. Cara noticed it had a balcony that led to a stunning view of the sea. Against a wall in the room was a large canopied bed with white, inviting bedding, but that was not what caught Cara's attention. What captivated Cara was what was in the middle of the room.
In the middle of the room was a wand, and upon further inspection Cara noticed as she walked to it, it was silver with intricate vine-designs etched into it, and the glow seemed to come from the inside of the wand itself as though it was made of light.
Cara reached for the wand, but stopped short and drew her hand to her chest. Something told Cara that the minute she touched this wand, there was no going back. Cara closed her eyes for a moment. Her mind was blank as she listened to the waves crashing onto the sand and to the sound of her heart gently beating.
What was life without taking chances?
There was no going back.
Cara took the wand.
Upon contact the light within the wand burned with such intensity that if anyone was outside the cottage, it would have looked as though a light burst through the loft's window and into the quiet night.
"Jack I do not understand," North said, following the boy with the staff who walked fast through North's workshop.
"I can't explain it," said Jack. "She's coming back here, I just know it. I told her I'd be waiting and—"
"Jack you cannot be serious."
"I am, North! Trust me she's—"
"It's been 5 years, Jack! We do not know where Cara is!"
Jack slowed his pace. He switched his staff from his right hand to his left before he looked up at North. "I don't know, North, how else to tell you, but she'll be back. I'll be waiting."
Jack's determination stopped North in his tracks. He watched as Jack picked up his quick pace again, heading to the room where he last saw Cara.
"Oh Jack, do not be disappointed," North murmured.
A thousand memories flooded through Cara's mind.
Her father dying.
Being sent to her grandma's.
Graduating high school and kissing the hometown she knew so well goodbye.
"Oh I love the pillowpet," Ellie squealed in the backseat, hugging the present Cara just had to buy her. "Thank you Cara, you're the best nanny ever! I love you!"
"Love you too, Ellie," Cara said with a laugh, ruffling the girl's hair.
"Of course I believe in Santa Claus," Ruth, the restaurant owner said, with a twinkle in her bright green eyes. "And I hope one day you'll stop growing up so you can believe again, Miss Cara."
Her lips meeting Jack's lips.
Every moment, both painful and pleasant, was all part of her growth that led to this moment.
Cara looked down at the wand in her hand that stopped glowing and now looked more like an elaborate toy than a magic wand, though Cara knew better. Cara knew that the wand in her hand had the power—she had the power to help create sweet memories for children and adults.
From the moment she took the wand, Cara knew she wasn't a Guardian like Jack or Tooth, but she was something different. Her goal was the same as theirs, to bring happiness. However, her job was not limited to children, her job was to bring happiness and hope and faith to those who stopped believing; to help the broken hearts heal. She followed the One Mim took orders from.
Cara turned to see Jack standing at the doorway. He had pushed open the door and stared at her in wonder.
"Jack," she said with a smile.
"Cara, your dress…your eyes!"
Cara looked down at herself and noticed she wasn't wearing the jeans she had been wearing when she was in the cottage. Instead, she was in a soft, flowing dress that was a mixture of purple, blue, and green.
"My eyes? What's wrong with them," asked Cara, suddenly worried.
Jack dropped his staff and walked over to Cara, taking her by the hand. He led her to a window where she could see her reflection. Cara leaned in. Expecting to see her regular brown eyes she was surprised to see her eyes had become a soft pink color, another show of her change.
In the reflection, Cara watched as Jack gently took her chin so she faced him. His arm went around her waist and he drew her close before he kissed her, tasting of mint and snow.
Cara pulled away after a few moments. "What was that for," asked Cara.
"Do you have any idea how long you were gone," asked Jack, his blue eyes widening with surprise.
"Uhm, 2 hours?"
"5 years?!" Cara raised her eyebrows in shock. She looked at Jack, assuming he was joking, but his usual humor was gone. He was serious.
"North said to give up, but I knew you'd come back. I was by a lake when I had a feeling that, after all this time, you'd come back. Here you are."
A thought suddenly gripped Cara. "Jackson Overlander," she said. Jack raised an eyebrow at her.
"I haven't heard that name in a while."
"What do you mean?"
"Do you remember me telling you? Before I was Jack Frost, I was Jackson Overlander."
Cara remembered to a time on a water tower where they told each other everything. She then remembered him saying he once had a sister and what his name used to be. She saw the look in Jack's eyes, wondering where all his mischief has gone.
Gripping the collar of his hoodie, Cara pulled Jack down so that his lips would meet hers. As both arms went around her middle, Cara wrapped her arms around his neck allowing Jack to pick her up from the ground. Once he set her down, Cara saw a spark of mischief return.
"I'm back now, Jack, and I won't be leaving for a very long, long time."
Jack grinned a side-ways grin, his old spark of humor coming back. "Good," said Jack. "If you try to go, I'll trap you in an ice cube."
"You won't have to trap me in an ice cube," Cara said with a laugh. "I'm a willing participant."
Mischief flooded Jack's eyes before he lifted Cara off her feet and kissed her again. She tasted of sun, sea, and felt so warm against his cool skin.
The feelings he felt for her…
They were enough to remind him of the summer feelings he had long since forgotten.
Author's Note: Last chapter I said North was German. I think he has a Russian accent. I don't remember.
Next chapter: Epilogue. :)