The Kingdom of Archer Book I: Bloom

By J.Rose All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Scifi

Destiny

(Lyric)

How long has it been?... Five years?... I haven’t felt more insecure than at that moment. Sitting in the waiting room of the Nova labs awaiting my fate.

*Tick-tock, Tick-tock*

The sound of the clock against the silent white waiting room sounded like a pounding gavel, sentencing me to an unknown fate. I never thought I’d ever feel like this again. That drop at the pit of my stomach, my racing heart, that feeling of loneliness deep inside that seemed to be a gaping hole of nothingness.

As much as I tried to relax to take a deep breath I couldn’t seem to breathe. The stale air of the room reminded me of my stays at the hospital 5 years ago. The memories of that monster I once called my father flooding my head. Clutching my hands together tightly, I could feel my nails digging into my own hand. I needed to think of something else but at the moment all I could think about was him. My soulmate. That one person that was supposed to make everything better, make my life complete. I couldn’t understand why I was the only one that felt nervous. The surrounding girls all seemed breathtakingly beautiful. Almost like they were picked out of a magazine while I seemed like an ugly duckling out of water. Their expressions were full of excitement, hope. Whereas mine could only be described as terror. The woman at the front desk seemed to be the only one with a neutral expression. Her dark hair in a tight bun and her green eyes unfazed by anyone’s expression including my own.

“Lyric Mason.”

Hearing my own name, I felt myself look up. It was almost an out-of-body experience. Standing up I felt my feet move on their own toward the door where a beautiful blonde haired woman was waiting for me. She offered me a kind smile sensing my nerves and allowed me to walk in.

“It’s normal to feel a little nervous but you shouldn’t worry. He’ll love you no matter what” She said to me her voice soft almost motherly. She doesn’t introduce herself but I know her name simply because her name tag reads Dr. Keller

No matter what?... There was that phrase again. Was that really true? Could someone ever love me so unconditionally? Truly love me for who I was? Could they face my past? My insecurities? How low I had fallen so many years ago?... A weak fragile person I had been and part of me still is.

“This way please Ms. Mason,” Dr. Keller calls out. She then leads me into a small white room that contains the same stale hospital smell as every other room in the DNA Labs does. There’s a single checkup bed at the far end of the room and a small medical cart to the side. The room reminding me once more of that horrid hospital. Dr. Keller doesn’t speak a word to me, instead, she puts on gloves and draws out a needle from a packet she digs out from the medical cart.

“It’s just a small prick you won’t even feel it,” She says before cleaning the middle of my arm with a small wipe. She offers me a smile as she sticks the needle into my vein to draw the blood. It feels like a soft pinch; though the sensation still causes me to jump. My blood begins to run down the small little hose attached to the needle and slowly begins to fill a small tube. When the tube has filled, she simply smiles and takes the needle out of my arm and presses a small cotton ball to my arm to stop the little bleeding there is.

“That’s it you can go now,” She says, after handing me a small Band-Aid.

That was it? How long would I have to wait? Somehow she seemed to read my expression just fine because she laughed lightly and spoke.

“You’ll get your results back in a week. Now because of Nova laws wherever it is your mate is located in you’ll have to go,”

That’s what I’m afraid of. What if I have to go back there? I can’t go back to Archer.

I don’t realize how but I manage to make my way to work. Deciding what to do with your life when you had no real goals was one of the hardest things to do. I didn’t know what to do with a life I had thought was robbed from me. What did I want to do with myself? What did I like? How can you know all this when you were kept in the dark so long unable to be yourself?

“Lyric!”

Running towards me and snapping me out of my own thoughts I saw Jane. She was like an overgrown child. A complete contrast to Crystal. She was a free spirit, bubbly and also a type of girl I wanted to be. She exudes confidence and was not afraid to be herself around others. Her eyes were an olive green color, her hair cut into a V-shaped bob that was long at the front and shortened in the back. Her long shaped face always holding a kind smile.

“How was it? Did you find out who your soul mate is?” She teased before plopping herself next to me on the bench.

“No. They say I have to wait and I’ll be sent to where ever it is he is,” I managed to say.

“I don’t understand why we have to change our lives for them? We’re our own person.” She said.

I’d met many people in the past 5 years but Jane was by far the only one that really seemed to understand the way I felt about Soulmates.

“Have you gotten your results?” I asked her wanting to change the subject of myself. For a second she grew quiet and bit her lip. Whenever anyone asked about her soulmate, she’d grow quiet herself. Sometimes I was afraid he’d died, and she was masking all this pain.

“No,” She said, her voice sad before she cleared her throat and offered me a smile.

“Come on we should go bring the kids back to class. They’ve been driving Mrs. Grant crazy. They only seem to behave when you’re around,” Jane said, smiling at me.

Children. I’d always loved them. I’d always been good with them it somehow made sense that I would become a teacher. It was something that truly did make me happy. One of the few things in my life that seemed to make sense at the moment. Somehow I knew that all of that would be stripped away by one single person. Would my gain be more than my loss?

***

“I’ll see you tomorrow Lyric!” Jane shouted, before driving off. Shaking my head at her usual antics I walked into my house. I could hear absolute silence and I realized my mother wasn’t home yet. Thinking back to how utterly stupid I had been back then I couldn’t help but feel guilty. Guilty of how weak I had been. Grabbing my bag, I headed outside to the small patio. It was a small little garden that I had planted a few years back. Filled with roses, tulips, sunflowers. This small little garden gave me a sense of peace that I had lacked so many years ago. Thinking back to my day I realized I needed to breathe again. I needed to feel like I was worth something. Pulling out my most prized possession out of a small diary that had been my poetry for so long I pulled out a small single white rose. I’d kept this flower for almost 5 years, it was dry yet still remained beautiful to my eyes. Besides the beautiful rose was a single handwritten letter that always caused me to smile.

“My one and only Saving Grace.”

There was no room for discussion. I had to leave. My mother had cried her eyes out begging me never to attempt to take my life again. All I could ever think about was doing it once more.

“King Thomas thinks it’s better if we leave here. You’re not getting any better. You’re only getting worse,” She tells me with tears in her eyes. There really was no will to fight not anymore. Going away? I really didn’t think that could ever be an option.

“When?” I heard myself ask only for my mother to break down hugging me tightly as she did so.

“Tonight. Lyric sweetie, you can’t stay here anymore. You’re all I have and you have to promise me never to do this again. I can’t lose you,” she said. Her words seemed to hit home for me. I’d been so focused on what I wanted and how I could be set free that I’d completely forgotten what would be best for my mother. Nodding my head in response, only to have my mother hug me tighter in her arms. I don’t remember much after that simply because I’d been sedated at the hospital.

When I woke up once more it was only to see Crystal standing in front of me. Her eyes were filled with tears as she looked at me.

“So you’re leaving, huh?” She asked calmly forcing a smile. I didn’t have the guts or the strength to reply to her. Lowering my head, I tried to look anywhere else but her.

“God Lyric! Say something! Why can’t you ever say what you really feel! I’m your best friend you’re supposed to talk to me! Why can’t you just?”

Before she could finish she had broken down crying as I lay in my bed unable to move or show any type of concern for her. I was a horrible emotionless person, and I knew that.

“I know you have to go,” She whispered looking at me as she wiped away the tears streaming down her face.

“That doesn’t mean I won’t miss you. I know it’s what’s best for you,” She said approaching me and extending her hand out to take mine.

“But promise we’ll stay in touch. I want to know how you’re doing okay,” She said gently, her blue eyes sad reminding me of a calm ocean after a hazy storm.

“Crystal.”

Hearing the door of the room clink open we both turned to see Spencer who simply offered me a sad smile something I had gotten accustomed to.

“The car’s waiting outside now. We have to go,” He said to her calmly. Nodding Crystal turned to me and offered me a sad smile.

“Bye,” She said giving me one last hug before taking Spencer’s hand and walking out of the room.

“Bye,” I whispered after they were long gone.

It was like a giant hole was compressing into my chest and before I knew it I was crying. I couldn’t reason with myself to calm or to even know the why of my tears. There was a sense of guilt, embarrassment, and release all bubbled into one and I could not stop. Maybe I cried for hours, maybe, minutes or even seconds. All I know is that I felt peace in the end. Still, there seemed to be something holding me back. Unable to leave this horrid place that was called my “Home.”

I could hear voices nearing my room so I simply tried to hide my tears not wanting to be sedated once more as a nurse walked in. She offered me a smile before she set a white rose in front of me that I had not noticed she was holding.

“This is for you,” she said. Confused and unsure as to what it was I couldn’t really seem to reach my hand out.

“There’s a letter for you too,” she said.

Somehow she seemed to understand I was not in my right mindset because she simply placed the envelope and flower on my lap offering me a smile before leaving. I don’t know how long I stared at the contents that had been laid out in my lap. All I knew was that somehow my heart seemed to race with each minute that passed until finally, I found myself reaching for the letter.

Dear Lyric,

There’s so much that I want to say to you…… so much that I can’t say. The only thing I can ever say is how sorry I am. How much regret I feel for not stopping harm from coming to you. For watching on the sidelines as people hurt you. For causing your pain as well. Maybe if I hadn’t been such a coward, I could have apologized to you in person. Maybe if I had known how to act things would have been different. I’d like to think that one day I can walk up to you and tell you how sorry I really am. The feeling of regret is something I’ve come to feel because of the deep pain you are in. So many if’s run through my head that I keep going back to the moment I first saw you. That first day at school a year ago. You walked in looking so fragile, scared, I had no idea why but I found myself staring at you. I wish so much that you could have shared your burdens with someone…. Maybe with me. Maybe there are people who’ve brought you down or made you feel worthless. The truth is they’re wrong. When I look at you I don’t see someone who’s nothing. I see someone who can be anything they want. You’re special, different. Someone who I know will one day make a difference. The way you’ve impacted my life has truly changed who I am. I hope that one day you can smile at me so I can feel a sense of peace knowing your soul was not broken. There’s not much I can say to make you feel better at this moment, because I know in order to be at peace this place has to be hidden far in your past. Forget everything, your father, the bad memories, that bastard Parker Archer. Find peace in your heart so when that moment that you finally meet him, the man that will forever love you. You can love him back.

Sincerely,

Someone who cares.

It took a few minutes for my mind to process what I had read. Who had done this? Why had they taken the time to write something so heartfelt and beautiful to me? I hadn’t realized I was crying again until I saw tear stains on the letter in my hands. Reaching for the rose I smiled for the first time in a long time. Closing my eyes and with a deep breath I took in the beautiful soft floral scent. In that moment I felt a sense of peace and I knew I could let go.

***

Clutching the letter tightly in my hands I smiled. No matter how hard things got in my life that one anonymous note from that person always made me smile. It brought a sense of calm, a sense of peace. A sense of being home and feeling cared for. I couldn’t understand why but it felt right. Sighing I reached for the dried white flower. No longer was it white but a yellow color the stem had hardened and though the flower was now far more fragile than it had originally been. The rose was still perfect to me, even if it had withered.

“Reading that letter again Lyric?”

Startled I looked up only to meet green eyes.

“Andrew. You scared me,” I managed to say, only for him to run a hand through his sandy blonde hair and offer me his usual 500-watt smile. The dimples in his cheeks showing profoundly on his face.

“Sorry,” He said, walking over to the bench to sit next to me.

“How was it?” He asked casually.

“It was okay I guess,” I say shrugging, only for him to grab my chin gently.

“Honestly?” He said concerned. He’d always been that way since the moment we met. He seemed to push and always try to get me out of my shell. However, there were still so many things I did not want to share with him.

“I’m fine, really. Just nervous to get my results,” I admitted. There was something in his eyes the moment I said those words to him. Hope.

“Maybe,” He said the word lingering in between us that I knew exactly what he meant.

“Maybe it’ll be me.”

I didn’t want to get his hopes up knowing just how rare that single chance was. Like a needle in a haystack. Knowing the person we’re meant for is almost unheard of. As much as I cared for Andrew now as much as I liked being around him. Somehow, in my heart, I knew it wasn’t him. That strong connection that weakens your senses, makes your knees grow weak and your heart race. I’d never experienced anything like that, and I’d hoped deep inside that my love would feel a thousand times stronger. I was no skeptic, a romantic, or even naïve. Reality had been far too harsh with me to see a world painted in pink. Still, a girl can dream of many what-ifs, if the reality we face is as harsh as the darkness we see.

“Lyric,” Andrew called out snapping me out of my own thoughts as I forced a smile on my face.

“I actually came to give you this,” He said, taking out a champagne colored invitation.

“It’s from the King,” He said.

“It must be Crystal,” I rationalized in my head. Somehow I could never stop that fast pace beat in my heart whenever I thought of the Kingdom and Parker. Sometimes I’d think about what kind of king he’d turn out to be. Was he still that same guy? Would I be the same girl I was then if I met him now?

“Lyric,” Andrew called out gently.

“Sorry,” I said shaking my head before opening the invitation.

The Kingdom of Archer would like to cordially invite you to

The Wedding of Spencer Archer & Crystal Mane

“The younger Prince is getting married,” Andrew said, reading over my shoulder before taking the invitation from my hands.

“It’s in a few months are you going to attend? I could go with you if you want?” He asked.

“I get my results in a week. I might not be able to go myself,” I said to him.

“Maybe,” He said again, but I refused to dwell on something that I knew would be impossible for me to feel with Andrew. Thinking back to Spencer and Crystal I couldn’t help but smile. Somehow it seemed picture perfect and meant to be had blessed them both.

“If only I could have had that.”

(Parker)

5 years. 5 years of regret. 5 years of torturing myself, thinking of her. Wishing that she was somehow better. 5 years of waiting…

I thought of her all the time, Lyric. How was she? Had she found her mate? How much did she hate me? How much she feared me?... Things had certainly changed in my life. I was no longer that immature boy that though the world revolved around him. I’d like to think I’d matured since then.

There was so much to do in our kingdom, so much to change. I tried to help people now, to dedicate my life to the Kingdom of Archer. I knew I would one day take over the kingdom and tried to focus on that.

“Parker.”

Hearing my name called I turned to see Crystal who offered me a smile.

“She answered back,” Crystal said, walking in and making her way toward me as I sat in my office. It was a rather large office filled with hundreds of Nova books. The entire walls filled with rows and rows of books. There was a single chair and desk in the back of the room where the window was and where I would take care of troubles for our Kingdom.

“I haven’t opened it yet, but I thought you might want to hear how she’s doing,” Crystal said.

Lyric. It surprised me how the years had passed and yet her friendship with Crystal remained. Letters would be exchanged and sometimes Crystal would come to give me an update. I never asked but Crystal always said it was something she felt she needed to do. She never talked about me in her letters, and I asked Crystal never to ask her about it. I didn’t want any bad memories to stir inside her head if she had indeed tried to forget about me. For a second I watched Crystal smile before her eyes turned sad.

“Something wrong?” I asked. For a moment, she was quiet, unsure of what to say to me before she shook her head and offered me a smile.

“Yeah,” She said.

“She’s just been enrolled in the Nova DNA labs. She’ll find her mate in a week so she might not be able to make it to the wedding,” Crystal said.

The DNA lab? I hadn’t thought of that in a while. I was 23, and I had been in the mating pool since I was 21. Everyone always tells you a week at most. There are those rare cases where you’re forced to wait a few months if your mate is not of age yet. However, I’d been waiting for 2 years. Sometimes I think that it’s my punishment for what I did to Lyric. Thinking of that always makes the guilt sink in further. I know I’m a bastard and I hate to think what my own soulmate would think when she finds out about what I did.

“I wanted her to be my maid of honor. I guess I’ll have to pick someone else,” Crystal whispered, snapping me out of my own thoughts.

“I’ll see you later. Spencer and I have a few more things to work out before the wedding,” She says, offering me a smile before leaving.

Crystal and Spencer. It seemed so unlikely and rare for anyone to find their soul mate before joining the Nova DNA lab. Somehow it made sense for them, Crystal and Spencer. I could remember them together at such a young age. They would always spend so much time together, play together. That intense look in their eyes for each other was always there. I couldn’t understand it but looking back now I realize I was jealous of their connection. To have something like that with someone and not even know it was a gift.

“It’s the hearts that call to one another. That one moment that ignites a spark. Magical,” My mother had said to us right before she had left us. I couldn’t understand it, in fact, I resented her for leaving as did Spencer. Still, he somehow seemed to understand that feeling she described and I couldn’t. Thinking back to the very hectic past year between Crystal and Spencer I was glad that they were still them.

***

Parker could still remember how troubled Spencer was. Right before Spencer’s 21st birthday 9 months ago Crystal had decided to cut all ties with him. Parker had been out in the courtyard he hadn’t meant to overhear but he had seen them.

“What are you trying to say? That we can’t be friends anymore?” Spencer asked Crystal, his eyes filled with pain. Crystal, on the other hand, looked at him calmly her eyes trying to portray harshness although the unshed tears in her eyes gave her true feelings away.

“I’m sorry Spencer. I just feel our lives are going in different directions. We’ve been friends for a really long time,” Crystal whispered, taking Spencer’s hand.

“Since we were kids,” Spencer told her before Crystal pulled her hand away from his.

“I’ll be joining the Nova DNA Labs in 3 months. I just. I don’t want this to be harder when I have to leave,” She told Spencer, a few stray tears falling from her eyes. Parker watched as Spencer reached to cup Crystal’s face in his hands and wipe her tears away gently with his thumb. Pressing her forehead against his own Spencer spoke to her.

“We could find a way. You’re my best friend and I don’t want to lose you,” Spencer whispered to Crystal.

“You’re my best friend,” Crystal said tears in her eyes.

“But I-” She began, only to be silenced by Spencer who pressed his lips to hers gently.

“I love you,” Spencer whispered to her. Pushing him away Crystal shook her head unable to process what had happened.

“I’m sorry. But I can’t do this. I can’t let you break my heart. This won’t work. You and I both know this. I’m sorry,” Crystal cried running out crashing into Parker as she did so. Looking at his brother Parker was unsure of what to say to him. It seemed Spencer didn’t care either because he simply ran in the opposite direction Crystal had run, shifting into his Nova werewolf form and running off. It didn’t take long for Parker to hear the painful howls of his brother that were heard for the entire night and every single night after.

It would be 3 months of this. Parker couldn’t say anything to Spencer. There really was nothing that could make him feel better everyone was aware of that.

Of course, life always has a funny way of working things out doesn’t it? …

***

Parker could see how truly depressed Spencer was. He had not shaved in months. He had dark circles under his eyes from lack of sleep and he would often go out into the night to howl at the moon. Overall he was a mess. Parker had taken it upon himself to try to cheer Spencer up by inviting their friends over and have a small gathering. However, like the previous months, it seemed like Spencer was anywhere else but there. Spencer was currently at the far end of the room a drink in hand and an expression of loss on his face. Hearing the doorbell ring Parker got up from where he had been chatting with Brad in order to go answer the door.

“I’ll get it,” He said opening the main door... There was a man standing there in a black suit and tie. His demeanor seemed professional, and he simply reached out and handed Parker an envelope.

“From Nova Labs,” He said before leaving. Unsure and part of him hoping it was for him he read the envelope finding disappointment when he realized it was for Spencer and not him. Walking inside he was unsure of how to approach his brother who had been dreading to know who his mate was.

“Who was at the door?” Brad asked him.

“Nova labs. It’s for you,” He spoke and he could see Spencer tense before he shrugged.

“It doesn’t matter just throw it away,” He said to Parker coldly.

“Dude. You want to know who she is. Come one man open it,” Brad said to him and Parker found himself nodding as well. Everyone watched as Spencer hesitantly reached for the envelope opening it with caution and uncertainty. When he finally opened the file something in his eyes seemed to trigger. Before anyone really understood what happened Spencer was already out the door; a feral howl echoing out through the Archer grounds. Picking up the letter himself Parker found himself smiling as he came across Crystals’ picture, her name, and information. Under all that, there was one single word. MATE

***

The rest had simply been history. Spencer had immediately gone over to Crystals’ home and proposed to her. Hearing laughter from outside I didn’t need to look out my window to know it was Spencer and Crystal. There were moments in time where I wished I had found her. Parts of me still selfishly wished that maybe I could have something special with Lyric. But knowing what I had done to her always lessened that want, knowing I could never make her happy. Reaching inside my desk drawer I found that note she’d written many years before.

Whenever I felt this way whenever I thought of her in such a position as my soulmate I’d pull this letter out. I’d read it for hours to remind myself just how much I hurt her, how much pain I caused her. How I could never deserve someone like her. If my punishment was to never find my mate, then I would gladly take it. I’d written a letter back to her 5 years ago. Hoping she’d accept it as an apology, though my coward self could not give it to her. I knew then and there that if she never forgave me I hoped she’d forget me.

“Still, that doesn’t mean I’ll forget you.”

Standing up from where I was sitting I made my way toward the window where I had a canvas set up to face the courtyard. Days like this when I remembered her vividly. Her chocolate brown eyes penetrating almost as if she were thinking of me, looking at me, talking to me. I could always see her so clearly in my mind. Only then would I find myself sketching her. Still, I could never truly sketch out a happy Lyric. Though I drew a smile on her face thousands of times. Her eyes always remained the same. Sad. I had drawn those chocolate orbs now so many times. Each time they seemed to pull me in far more than I realized. And yet, I could not seem to get them right. Something about her always felt so untouchable. There were so many regrets, things that I could have done that would always linger in my head.

“How long will I have to see those eyes of pain,” I wondered to myself as I gazed back at the sketch of her. Her eyes sad, and filled with deep pain that somehow I seemed to understand.

“If only I could have understood that years ago.”

***

Watching her leave had been the most painful thing he’d ever seen in his life. Far more than any other pain this had been the second time he’d watched someone walk out of his life. Both times he had been unwilling to let them go, but he knew it was what needed to be done. From a distance, he could see his father, Crystal, and Spencer talking to Lyric and her mother. There was something in her eyes this time, clarity, he realized as he looked at her. There was still that sense of fear, pain, and sadness in her eyes but he also saw hope in them. He wanted nothing more than to tell her goodbye and though he had done so in his letter to her he wanted so much more than that. He wanted to hold her tightly in his arms, tell her he was sorry, and tell her he would miss her. He could hear the moving truck start and then Lyric’s mother leads her into the car. He knew she wasn’t looking at him because he had hidden by the side of the house. Still if only for a moment he saw her look his way. Not at him but at the house before looking away. Even after the truck seemed to get smaller and smaller until eventually, it disappeared. Parker stayed until the sun fully set and night came. Without thinking too much he let his heart and instinct guide him as he ran off back to Devil’s creek. Howling the rest of the night with pain and loss.

***

Everyone was gathered at our home. My father would soon be announcing my reign as king. He’d wanted to retire for a few years now.

“I’m getting too old for this” He’d say to Spencer and I. Although there was a sense of fear at being crowned King I was glad I wouldn’t be doing it alone. Spencer would always be my second in command and he was always as involved as I was when it came to helping our kingdom. Of course being the new king didn’t mean I could reign free there was always the council of the Nova kingdoms. The neutral grounds of each kingdom.

Most of the time they stayed out of conflicting realms. However, there were few occasions where they needed to step in such as the ongoing fights between our Kingdom and the Kingdom of Cray. The fight had gone on for centuries from generation to generation. Unfortunately, I knew too well that it would be passed on to me. Every single Cray King had started a war with a King of Archer. Tyranny versus fair rule. The ongoing war, however, worsened after my mother left something I knew would happen.

Treaties for our kingdoms did not seem to help. Cray was about tyranny and power while ours was about harmony. The next king of Cray would be crowned soon and my father had, therefore, decided it was time to pass on the crown to Spencer and I. Maxwell Cray, like his father was a tyrant, worse than his own father. We would often hear stories of how vicious he was with his people. Starvation was not uncommon in their Kingdom. They took away from people, keeping everything for themselves, not caring about anything but their own wealth and power. Dividing mates because of sexuality, or not allowing Cray’s to meet and unite with their Archer mates. Why would they when it meant the loss of their people and an increase in our own?

“Parker.”

Snapping me out of my own thoughts I smiled tightly at my father.

“The Councilwoman asked you a question,” My father said.

“I’m sorry I didn’t hear,” I found myself saying. The councilwoman in front of me showing disdain in her eyes at my answer. She’d known my father for years her hair was tied in a bun a few gray hairs here and there and her old green eyes showing impatience. Still, she forced a smile.

“It’s alright Prince Parker I assume your duties as future King have you a bit… distracted,” She trailed off, her tone condescending that it made me feel annoyed.

“Parker!”

“Parker it’s here! It’s finally here!” Crystal shouted through the crowds of guests that were inside our home. She received numerous stares from the guests but Crystal seemed to brush them off and continued to run toward me. Without saying much, she simply grabbed my arm pulling me away from my father and the councilwoman.

“What’s going on?” I questioned as she led me out of the ballroom through the empty hallways and up the stairs to my office where Spencer was waiting, envelope in hand.

“Your letter from Nova Labs just arrived,” Crystal said, her voice filled with excitement while Spencer simply offered me a smile and extended the letter out.

“What?” I asked unsure if I’d heard right.

“Your letter came. They found her Parker. They found your soulmate,” Crystal said gently. Taking the letter from Spencer’s hands and handing it to me herself.

In that moment I could feel my heart racing and my chest tightening. Did I want to know? Was I prepared to see her? I’d given up on waiting long ago and I wasn’t sure if I was truly ready to let go. Finding someone you always knew existed and letting go of someone you always wanted. Was I ready to let go of Lyric and love someone else?

“Open it,” Crystal says interrupting my train of thought.

“Whoever she is I have to live with it,” I thought to myself while opening the letter. I don’t look at what the letter says and simply stare at the photograph that makes my heart stop and my stomach churn.

“What?” Crystal asked after a few moments of silence though I could not seem to look away from those eyes. Her face. That non-existent smile.

“Parker who is she?” Crystal asks. When I don’t answer she huffs impatiently she finally snatches the letter away. Her eyes widen in shock and a gasp escapes her lips as she drops the letter. A single picture sways it’s way to the ground like a light feather.

“Lyric,” Spencer speaks up first while looking down at the picture that lies in between us.

All at once everything seemed to hit me, more than anything the feeling of guilt sinking further inside me. It was her. All along that feeling I’d felt years ago was that pull of her own heart calling out to mine. Why did I not see it? Why did I treat her in such a way? The one person I was supposed to love, to take care of, and to protect with my own life I had finished breaking. I’d broken the most precious thing in my life and I knew then that she’d never forgive me or love me. More than ever I knew I could never forgive myself.

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