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Sorry, Clint. I forgot I had this thing.
So much has happened since I last wrote to you. So much time has passed… I don’t even know where to begin.
Mona has taught me a lot. I know the days of the week now–today’s a Sunday. I know there are about four weeks in a month, and that it’s been almost two months since my first entry.
Mona keeps me company all the time. She says she normally would have to go to the colony school, but she finished her schooling last summer. I’m glad she doesn’t have to go–I don’t know how long I would’ve made it without someone here during the day. I probably would’ve left by now, but I have nowhere to go.
Monty told his cousin and some friends about me. His cousin Frankie is pretty cool. Supposedly he’s the leader of the angels, but still has to listen to something called the “council of elders.” I think the council is just their parents and other older family members.
Chris brought a girl named Alexa with him. She’s gorgeous–long black hair with eyes that are normally brown, green, and orange. I say “normally” because her eyes would shine purple whenever she used her power. Apparently she’s a type of angel called a psychic–a mindreader. She proved she could hear my thoughts, but she didn’t try to respond through her power. They said it was too dangerous for humans, so even Mona couldn’t get responses from her.
The other friends they brought were Natalie, Ricky, Connor, and Cassie. Those last two are brother and sister, and Mona says Connor used to be Monty’s best friend. I tried asking him why they weren’t anymore after everyone had gone home, but Monty just changed the subject. I probably would’ve pushed him if it weren’t for the brown growing bigger, so I left it alone.
Speaking of his colors, I noticed a new shade added to his: pink. It’s pale and only along the outer ring, but it gets a little bit bigger and a little bit pinker every day.
Oh, and Mona found a book that mentions my color vision but it doesn’t describe what specific colors mean. The colors around people and plants and animals are called aura, and people who can see aura are called aura readers. The book also called aura reading fake, but Mona says that’s just because humans wrote it.
Does having this weird sight make me not human?
I noticed Mona never really refers to herself as human, and when she does it comes out with a layer of sadness. She doesn’t like being different from her family and friends. Everyone they introduced me to is an angel, but some of them try not to talk about angel stuff around her. Not Monty–he tells his sister everything, even going as far as to ask for her advice sometimes. I like that he doesn’t let the fact that we’re human affect the way he treats us.
Last week, Chris took us all to the beach. It was cold and windy, so the guys dug a pit and built a fire. Mona and Natalie walked along the shore, and Alexa and Chris teleported elsewhere. The others were talking about angel stuff that I couldn’t understand, so Monty excused us and led me by the shore. He
Lizzie’s pen hovered over the page, her mouth forming a tight line. Her face grew warm, and her stomach and chest felt as if a swarm of butterflies was let loose inside.
She was alone in her bedroom–or rather, she was alone in the spare bedroom that had come to be hers. Her first night with the twins, Monty lent her his room while he slept downstairs. The very next evening the angel had returned with more furniture than Lizzie knew what to do with, filling the empty spare room and presenting her the result. She had always had a bed, but she had grown up using the same lumpy twin mattress; she had never owned one as wide or plush as the one that currently stood behind her. It took some getting used to on her part–Mona found her curled up on the floor for many mornings the following week–but in time, the lost girl had found comfort in the soft bedding.
Monty had also brought a dresser filled with clothes closer to her size, a bookshelf, an ottoman that doubled as storage, an accent chair with wheels, and a desk with little cubbies and an attached mirror. Mona had called it a vanity, explaining it as a desk women had used for preening prior to the end of the world. Lizzie wasn’t sure of its importance, so eventually, she came to use it as a place to journal and reflect.
It was at the vanity where she sat as she fought with her own emotions in an attempt to complete her diary entry. She sat in the accent chair, pen still raised in hesitation, thinking.
Why wouldn’t I tell Clint about that? she reasoned with herself. It’s not like anything bad happened. Hell, nothing bad has happened since I got here…
A lump rose in her throat. She gulped as she thought back to their conversation at the beach.
“Sorry about that, kid,” Monty cringed as they neared the shore. The December waves crashed onto the damp sand, joining the roaring wind in masking his words to all but her. “They don’t mean to make you feel excluded, I swear. This life has kind of just consumed all of us, so it’s really all we can talk about.”
“That’s okay,” she said, shrugging off his concerns. “I get it, I think.”
“Yeah? Did your family have something like that?”
Lizzie thought back to her parents and siblings, scouring her memories of any hint of regular conversation. All she could recall were her discussions with Clint of escape and freedom. “Something like that.”
He gazed over the ocean, his emerald irises sparkling in the moonlight. “You haven’t said anything about your life in Jesup since that first night.”
She tucked a couple of short onyx curls behind her right ear. “No one’s really asked about it since then.”
“Alright, that’s fair,” he smirked. He gestured to his left with a curt nod. She answered his silent inquiry by strolling in that direction. The lieutenant’s long legs allowed him to easily catch up and keep stride with the younger teen, and the pair continued walking on the cold, wet sand.
There was a moment of strained silence between them. Lizzie stole a glance at the angel, studying his aura. She was so immersed in his energy shift that she had not realized that she was caught.
“How’re my colors?” he muttered, a hint of a smile on his lips. When she stared at him wide-eyed, he stated, “Twin thing–Mona and I share everything. She told me about your aura vision.”
Lizzie slid her hands into the pockets of the hoodie Mona had lent her, her russet eyes averted. She couldn’t understand why she reacted in such a way. The human had never before felt self-conscious, but living with the Alagonas had brought a flurry of new emotions into her adolescent life. She despised it.
What’s the big deal? she told herself. It’s just Monty. I trust him with this.
“Your aura has been changing since I got here, but it’s very different today,” she began slowly, her gaze still lowered. “When I got here, your aura was yellow and brown, kind of like mustard. It was dull and shifty like you were dealing with negative stuff and weren’t sure about some things. It was mostly yellow, but when you came home from being Frankie’s second, the brown would be bigger. I’d stay up talking to you just to watch it go away little by little…”
The angel remained silent by her side, allowing her to continue with her analysis.
“Sometimes, I see some green mix in with the yellow, but it only turns up when you draw–“
“Does that mean you watch me draw?” he teased, nudging her arm with his elbow.
Lizzie’s cheeks became flooded with warmth. “No. Shut up.”
She heard him laugh. “Yeah, whatever you say, kid.”
“Anyway,” she resumed. “I also noticed a soft pink along the edges of your aura, and it’s only gotten bigger with time, but I’ve never seen that before so I couldn’t tell you what it means.”
“Anything else?” urged Monty, sounding uncharacteristically hurried. Lizzie frowned and glanced over; he was quick to cover his tracks, smiling pleasantly in her direction. His poker face could rival Clint’s.
“Yeah… Today, your aura seems to be almost completely different from the first time I saw you. The yellow is brighter, like a lemon, and it’s closer to lime green towards the top. The brown is smaller but darker. The pink is still big along the edges, but it looks like its giving way to a cloudy blue. So what used to be just yellow and brown is now pink, blue, green, yellow, and brown.”
He nodded, his smile growing solemn. “I think I can take a stab at why the blue showed up…”
Monty paused their walk, peering back at their friends. Lizzie granted them a swift peek–nothing out of the ordinary seemed to be happening–before she returned her attention to the angel who stood before her. She studied how his medium-length hair curled a little at the ends, took in the tiny wrinkle that formed above the bridge of his nose as a sign of his frustration. His jaw tensed as he tore his eyes away from their group and stared into hers.
Her chest hurt. Her throat tightened, leaving her unable to speak. No. Don’t do this.
“Lizzie, do you know why we came to the beach?”
She shook her head, not trusting her voice.
“Today’s our birthday–mine and Mona’s. We turn eighteen today. For her, it just means she’s an adult by human standards, but for me…”
Don’t you dare. Don’t–
“The tradition in our court is we take over as prince when the sitting prince’s term ends. You have to be at least eighteen before you can sit on the throne, and since we’re still in Frankie’s reign, they aren’t going to be passing the title and responsibilities onto me anytime soon–but the council wants me to start preparing for my term.” Monty huffed out a hollow chuckle, the fingers of his right hand running through his hair. “It’s a bunch of bullshit political moves that our parents are trying to pull over Connor and Cassie’s dad and uncles, but the gist is I have to move closer to the court and take a more active role in the colony’s day-to-day. I don’t think I’ll be able to visit much–“
His words were drowned out–and subsequently cut short–by the sound of a sob. Lizzie’s hand clamped over her mouth tightly as her vision blurred.
“Whoa, hey! It’s okay, kid.” The angel pulled her into a tight embrace, speaking words of consolation into her crown. “You’ll still have Mona with you every day, and we’re going to talk to the colony about you starting at their school next week. You won’t see me as you do now, but I’ll always be here if you need me, alright?”
She shook her head, her tears rubbing into his hoodie.
“C’mon, kid. Look at me.”
Lizzie pulled away just enough for her face to be visible, her puffy eyes locking on his. She stood like that, waiting for him to try to assure her further, but Monty was frozen in place. His expression hardened again, and the only sounds she could make out were the roaring wind, the crashing waves, and Mona’s voice.
“You guys okay?” she asked as she ran up, reaching out to the younger human.
Monty immediately pulled away from Lizzie and muttered something to his sister. She could only make out the words, “take her,” and “gotta pack,” as well as Mona’s eyes widen with an understanding she did not possess.
Lizzie’s face grew even warmer as she thought back on their tense silence that had preceded Mona’s interruption. She buried her face in her hands, ashamed of her reaction.
What the hell is wrong with me? she cursed herself. She rubbed her face and gazed at her reflection. It’s like I’m sad that he’s gone, but there’s something else–
Her thoughts faltered. She froze. Her eyes were glued to the mirror, frantically studying the shift in her aura. No.
Lizzie had grown accustomed to her aura and its recent shifts. She knew it was mostly a dull, murky red upon her arrival to Savannah, with a stripe of indigo closer to her body. With time, the indigo became more prominent while the red both darkened and grew clearer. A pale green appeared out of nowhere, sandwiched between the former colors.
What she was most occupied with was how the lower half of the red had faded to soft pink, contrasting the light earth tone as well as reminding her of Monty’s aura.