I read the fabulous Me, Cinderella recently ( https://jeanniezelos.wordpress.com/2013/08/27/me-cinderella-aubrey-rose/ ) and it was an amazing book, romance but very different, very haunting quality so i’m really excited to read that the sequel will be out soon and to preview the cover.
“What do you think, universe? Does he love me? Do I love him? Is this what love is?”
My fingertips trailed over one of the daisy’s petals, soft and white. Without letting myself hesitate, I plucked the petal from its center.
“I love him.”
“I love him not.”
Another petal. This one ripped a third of the way down the middle, leaving a jagged edge of white.
“I love him.”
A bird called out from one of the cypress trees edging the cemetery and I stopped, closing my hand over the daisy. How could the random distribution of petals in a flower, whether even or odd, predict love? I crumpled the flower in my palm.
“What am I doing here, mom? Should I stay? Here in Hungary?”
An image of my mother flashed into my mind—a dark, hooded figure, tearing her to shreds. A chill ran through my bones, even in the summer sun. My mother had come to Hungary and never left. I shook the cold thought from my mind.
“I’m sorry, mom. I’m sorry I didn’t get to know you better. I wish I knew more. I wish you could be here to tell me what to do.”
I tilted my head back and kept talking.
“Eliot told me that I could stay with him as long as I wanted, even next year. I could finish up my math degree at the academy. It would be nice, I guess, to be with him. I’d live in the castle. It’s a nice castle. I know, right? A nice castle. And we’d be working on the math problem more.”
My eyes burned red as I knew what I had to say next. It had been so many times now that I’d visited my mom that I had stopped crying. I never really did cry much. And yet now, thinking about staying with Eliot, with his strange withdrawals, I was on the verge of outright sobs. I managed to choke out the words quietly, without letting the tears fall.
“But I miss my friends back home. I miss Shannon. I miss everyone in the math department. Even Quentin. And Mark is going home soon…”
I looked down at the envelope. Mark’s letter. I hadn’t responded to any of his texts. He’d left me voicemails telling me that he loved me, telling me that he understood if I didn’t want to talk, telling me that he hoped I was better. I didn’t know how to answer him. How do you talk to a friend after you’ve broken his heart?
I blinked back into focus, took a deep breath, and ripped open the envelope. When I read the letter, all of the air in my lungs seemed to disappear, and the crumpled daisy in my hand fell forgotten to the ground.
I need to talk to you. It’s about your mom.