A little undercover assignment
There is a soft knock on the door of Levin's bedroom and I seriously debate whether I can get away with jumping out of the window; I'd just had enough of them both. He enters anyway. He stands in the middle of the room and wastes no time with small talk.
'You can't go to Alistair's house. You need to stay here with us so we can help you with your spell-casting. Besides who knows whether you would really be safe over there.'
'Levin I have gone twenty six years without using my powers to they're full capacity so I'm sure I'll last a little while longer and what's the point now anyway, I can't go to the Justice, its over. As for if I'm safe there' well, if that's the case, then - will I ever be safe?'
'You could go home for a little while whilst this all blows over; you would be safe there.'
'I don't even know where home is anymore.' I say wistfully, my heart sinking with the thought.
'You belong in Arroba! You are the last Marcusees witch, you have to be protected, and we can't afford to lose you!'
'You didn't even know what or who I was up until a week ago Levin so don't give me that rubbish. I wish I didn't know; things would be much simpler.'
'You can't mean that?'
'Yes I do, more than you know' just leave me alone please.'
He looks at me for a few moments, probably debating whether he can get away with pushing the matter further. I give him a death look and he eventually turns around and leaves.
What am I going to do? Go to Alistair's house and hide out for the rest of my life? That even sounds absurd in my head. No I will go to his just for a few days, collect my thoughts, be somewhere where I feel just that little bit closer to him and you never know I might even find literature for spell-casting to keep me occupied. The whole little visit from Challis hasn't really sunk in yet ' oh, I can feel it there brimming at the edges, pushing at my stubborn self control - and my mind will force me to face what Challis had told me eventually but for now, all I need to do is get out of this room, house and away from them.
I collect the rest of my things and leave without saying anything to either of them. I thought they might try some last ditch attempt at keeping me here but they don't. The house is still and quiet as I pull the door to.
I don't know what part of town I am in because I wasn't awake to see myself arrive here but luck is on my side. I round the corner heading out of Levin's street and a taxi is stopped by the side of the road with its light on indicating it is available for fare.
I run up to the driver door and tap on the window. The diver looks a little startled as he peers up from his news paper but he gathers himself and winds the window down for me.
'Can I go to 117 Hawker Drive please?'
'Sure, Mea cara,' Which I'm sure is Latin for 'My dear'. Latin? Why would he be speaking Latin?
After another short pause the man says, 'Jump in.'
So I do; I get into the back and put my holdall next to me. On the journey there I realise I don't have any Abutor on me - the Arrobian equivalent of currency.
I sit nervously watching the black faces of the average Arrobian house pass us by, trying to decide whether I should ask him to wait whilst I rummage around in Ali's house looking for some money or leg it. The trouble with the first idea is that I'm still not entirely sure how I am going to get into his house in the first place and the problem with the second is that I'm just not that much of a rebel - thankfully.
We turn into Hawker Drive and I've run out of time so I blurt my problem out to the taxi driver.
'I'm really sorry sir but I have just realised I don't have any Abutor on me. Could you wait whilst I try to find some in the house?'
He stops outside Ali's mansion and turns around to look at me with a smile on his face.
'No worries little lady. We usually bill the house, it's safer that way for us drivers; you know, not carrying any cash an all. Is this yours?'
I smile sweetly and lie, 'Yes I live here, so is that alright?'
'Sure you'll get an invoice within 7 days and the bill needs to be paid within 14, you just need to sign this.'
He hands me a little pad - it reads that I the traveller live at'. And will endeavour to pay'. Within 14 days, sign here'. I try to steady my hand as I fill in the gaps, putting Ali's address and the amount of my ride which is flashing at me from the over head computer and I sign. I hand it back to the gentleman, thank him and get out of the cab. He drives away immediately after.
I stand in front of Ali's electric security gates and seriously debate walking to the nearest Hotel because how the hell am I going to get through those very sturdy, very high gates?
I eventually decide to walk around the perimeter to see if there is any way of getting though but let's face it I hold little hope because this gate and the connecting wall is all there to keep people out - it doesn't matter that I'm not here to steal from the house - it only matters that I'm trying to get in' illegally.
I walk around the red bricked wall and decide to try the back gate. I somehow find it through the darkness, I try the handle and of course it is locked but I would not be a very good private investigator if I didn't have a few tricks of the trade up my proverbial sleeve.
I slip my hand into the little pocket at the front of my holdall and pull out two little hair grips. I straighten them out and twist them until they are the shape that I need I then look around making sure no one is watching and slip them into the lock. I jiggle them and twist, not really holding any hope that it will work after all the lock looks very complicated but as I twist them one last time the handle clicks. I pull the hair grips back out and push the gate open.
I stand for a few moments praying that an alarm isn't going to screech into the quiet night. After a few moments nothing happens so I walk through and close it behind me.
Okay, so now all I have to do is repeat this on his front door and I will be in. I get the front door opened quicker than the gate and in I go. I lock it after me and lean against it for a few moments letting my crashing heart return to normal. Once I'm calm again I resist the urge to flick lights on; I will have to be as discreet as possible whilst I'm here and only using lights in rooms that don't face the front of the house. The last thing I need is a nosy neighbour spotting a light that should not be on and calling the police - how would I explain that?
I find Ali's room easily and put my holdall next to his bed. I linger for a moment breathing in the scent of him, it is everywhere here. I shake my head trying to clear my distracted mind and head towards the living room at the back of the house. Once I find it I light the fire and turn on one of the lamps in the room.
It takes me quite a while to relax, after all I'm not supposed to be here and that knowledge has me scrutinizing my every move. I hadn't thought this through properly; all I had known for certain was that I needed to get out of Levin's house and be on my own. It hadn't even crossed my mind what I would do once I was here, on my own and trespassing.
I sit down onto the comfy leather sofa and look around the room. Not a lot has changed since I was last here, a few of the paintings have been replaced by ones I don't recognise but everything else is exactly the same. Memories flood back of the very first and last night Ali and I had sat in here, his poems he had read to me and his reaction afterwards. The uncertainty and nerves, it colours my vision as I look around this familiar yet unfamiliar room. I try desperately to stop the tears but soon I stop trying and as soon as they come it feels like I have been holding my breath, have been holding it all back for this moment and I sob. I cry so hard my ribs eventually begin to sting from the effort. I crash sideways onto the sofa and curl into a ball. The cushion under my head brings a plume of air up to my face delivering me the scent of him. My heart aches again and my tears find renewed force.
I just feel so lost.
Now I know there are millions of people out there pining for lost loved ones but just because a million people are feeling exactly my pain right this minute doesn't make mine any less meaningful. I am trying not to get lost in the pain, I am trying desperately not to lose myself but it's hard. I had everything figured out, I'm sure about Ali and me for the very first time, and I'm certain about living in Arroba. I've made my decision, and that even feels bearable. I have given myself so completely to him in spite of the inherent warnings I have constantly rushing through my mind, I have let him take every part of me to keep for always and now he has taken a huge part of me away.
I feel as if I am only half here and the part that has been left behind is wounded, broken and in pain. How can I see past all of this, when will I ever see anything else other than his face? I don't know and that scares me more than anything, more than not ever seeing him again, more than being alone because the thought of living the rest of my life without his presence to make me feel whole I will pine for him leaving me little hope of ever having a normal, safe, happy life again. Dramatic and insane but this isn't a particularly certain and easy time.
I'm able to get myself up from the sofa after little over an hour and I walk aimlessly into the kitchen. I grab coffee and arrange everything in the peculator and flick the switch on. I then remember how awful the coffee is here and switch it back off. I settle for water instead and am just about to pop a less natural and more effective sleeping tablet than I usually use into my mouth when I hear footsteps coming towards me from the corridor.