Chapter 30:

Chapter 30: Parting Thoughts

Guardians of Dawn: Volume 1

Emi was surprised feel so high in the morning. She’d gone to sleep the night before exhausted and confused, only to wake up filled with energy.Bookmark here

She could do it. If it was now, if it was this morning, she was certain she could tell Cynthia the truth! And then… then she would hopefully be strong enough for what came next.Bookmark here

She slapped her cheeks.Bookmark here

No! Don’t think like that! Don’t hope, Emi! You’re strong and tough right now, you can do it! She encouraged herself.Bookmark here

She wasn’t afraid of Cynthia’s response, or even of Matt’s. After what happened last night with Kayla, Emi felt like she could do anything!Bookmark here

She hopped out of bed and got dressed, and headed downstairs for Cynthia’s goodbye breakfast.Bookmark here

Emi ran into Serena outside the dining room.Bookmark here

“Morning!” Emi greeted her cheerily. Serena didn’t share her smile. She looked concerned.Bookmark here

Serena led her back to the common room. “Emi… are you okay?” She whispered.Bookmark here

“Huh? Yeah…”Bookmark here

She sighed in relief. “Okay, good. Because the last time we talked you seemed kind of uncomfortable around Cynthia and Matt.”Bookmark here

Emi shook her head and smiled. “I was. But it’s okay. I can’t keep hiding. I need to tell Cynthia the truth.”Bookmark here

Serena went pale.Bookmark here

“Wait… by the truth, do you mean…”Bookmark here

“Yup,” she nodded. “I’m going to tell her how I feel about Matt, and apologize. I don’t want to lie to her anymore, she deserves to know the truth.”Bookmark here

“No. No, no, no, do NOT do that, no,” Serena said, tempted to shake some sense into the girl. Emi was talking crazy talk! “Emi, you don’t need to do that! We talked about this before, remember? You don’t need to feel bad for liking Matt, or even for fantasizing about him! It’s natural! Unless you were, like, going to try and steal him or something, you have nothing to feel bad about!”Bookmark here

Serena couldn’t see this ending good at all. Why did Emi have to pick THIS of all things to stand up for?Bookmark here

Emi smiled. Serena’s warnings touched on doubts that she felt even now. But that didn’t matter. What mattered was doing the right thing.Bookmark here

“It’s okay, Serena. After last night, I’m not afraid of what’s gonna happen.”Bookmark here

“…Last night? What happened last night?”Bookmark here

Emi leaned in close and whispered, “I ran into Kayla by the lake. She nearly attacked me.”Bookmark here

“What?!” Serena exclaimed. “Are you okay?!”Bookmark here

“Shhhsh! Yes, I’m fine! She was really nice actually! But I thought for sure I was gonna die, like back when we fought those Emergents!” Emi stared at the floor. “And… I didn’t want to die a bad person.”Bookmark here

“Oh, Emi,” Serena sighed, embracing the small girl. “You’re not a bad person.”Bookmark here

It was nice to hear her say that, but Emi’s mind was made up.Bookmark here

“Thanks. But I still need to tell the truth.”Bookmark here

Serena could see there was no getting through to her. She sighed and shrugged her shoulders. “Well in that case… good luck. And if anything goes wrong, I’m here if you need it.”Bookmark here

Emi smiled back at her friend. It was nice, having someone support her like this.Bookmark here

Breakfast was lovely. Cynthia was all smiles as usual, and for once, Emi actually felt comfortable enough to smile back. They chatted like old friends, even though Emi knew in the back of her mind that it wouldn’t last.Bookmark here

When it was finally time for Cynthia to leave, she said goodbye with a smile, too.Bookmark here

“Thanks for everything, Matti,” she cooed, taking his hand and squeezing it. “I know I said I was going to help you, but it feels like what you said to me… that helped me so much more.”Bookmark here

Her smile was dazzling. Emi had never seen something so beautiful.Bookmark here

It made her stomach turn.Bookmark here

For the first time that morning she really thought about what she was about to do. Cynthia had a wonderful smile, and Emi was going to ruin it. What she was about to say would hurt the other girl, and Matt as well. There wouldn’t be any smiles after that.Bookmark here

No, don’t think about it that way. You’re hurting them more by hiding the truth from them! She reminded herself. This is what’s best for everyone! Even if they feel betrayed, you’re telling them for their sakes! Think about Matt and Cynthia!Bookmark here

The images flooded into her head.Bookmark here

Matt and Cynthia. Matt and Cynthia smiling at each other. Matt and Cynthia holding hands.Bookmark here

Matt and Cynthia kissing.Bookmark here

Matt and Cynthia kissing on the bed.Bookmark here

They were so happy to see each other, and they didn’t know when the next time would be. Cynthia was relieved that Matt was okay, and Matt? Matt was happy to be alive. He wanted to feel alive. He wanted to feel her. Bookmark here

They kissing would gethotter and they’d begin tearing each other’s clothes off. Matt’s tight, rippling muscles would press against the svelte body of the smaller Cynthia, his manliness nearly crushing her and all she could do was ask for more. And he’d give her so much more, and… and… and then Emi was there, watching the whole thing in silent awe, unable to contain the urges she’d been suppressing all this time. And like they could sense how much she wanted this they would turn to her in unison, their eyes burning with passion as they asked her to-Bookmark here

“Emi? Are you okay? You’re looking kind of flushed.”Bookmark here

Matt and Cynthia really were looking at her. But not the visions from her fantasy, the real things. The only thing burning in their eyes was concern.Bookmark here

Emi had never wanted to die more than she did right now. This was a touching farewell between Matt and his girlfriend and all she’d been thinking about was…Bookmark here

Like a blizzard slamming into a campfire the lustful urges boiling up inside of her were smothered by waves of guilt and self-loathing. She came crashing back down, and the strength that had been carrying until now was likewise extinguished.Bookmark here

“I… I…” Emi felt even more desperate to apologize in the wave of her filthy fantasies. But the brave Emi of this morning was gone, leaving a miserable wretch in her place.Bookmark here

Cynthia pressed her hand against Emi’s forehead. “You’re a little warm… I hope you’re not coming down with anything.”Bookmark here

She wanted to cry. She wasn’t worthy of the Cynthia’s consideration. She was filthy, dirty girl who couldn’t even spit out an apology for the horrible things she imagined about her boyfriend!Bookmark here

But as Cynthia’s brow furrowed with worry Emi knew she had no choice. Even if she wasn’t her best, she still needed to apologize.Bookmark here

They deserved at least that much.Bookmark here

“Cynthia…” She croaked out. “I… I have to tell you something.”Bookmark here

The redhead blinked. “Huh?”Bookmark here

Emi swallowed her bile and repeated herself a little clearer.Bookmark here

“…Is it important?”Bookmark here

She nodded.Bookmark here

“Then don’t.”Bookmark here

“…Huh?”Bookmark here

Stunned by the response, Emi could only stare slack-jawed at Cynthia’s beaming smile.Bookmark here

“Emi… whatever you think you have to say, I can see it’s really troubling you a lot.” Cynthia gently took Emi’s hands into hers. “I don’t want my last moments here to be sad ones, so I don’t want you to tell me.”Bookmark here

“B-But… But I…” She couldn’t make sense of it. She needed to apologize, and Cynthia… didn’t want to hear it?Bookmark here

“I hate painful goodbyes. I only want to see smiles. If a bright smile is sending me off, I can think back with fond memories. So… smile for me, okay?”Bookmark here

She leaned in and pressed her forehead against Emi’s. It was like the sun itself was nuzzling against her, burning away all the unpleasant thoughts swirling in her mind.Bookmark here

Emi needed to tell, but she couldn’t do it.Bookmark here

Cynthia stepped back and pushed her lips up into a smile with her fingers. “Like this, see?”Bookmark here

Emi tried to smile. It probably looked dreadful. But Cynthia didn’t mind.Bookmark here

“There you go. That’s what I want to see. It was great to meet you, Emi, I can’t wait to see you again, real soon. …And that goes for the rest of you, too,” she added, turning to the others. She looked up at Strayhaven and took a deep breath, letting it all wash over her for a second.Bookmark here

“…Thanks for everything, Guardians! You guys were the greatest!”Bookmark here

Her shout startled everyone and knocked Emi over. Without another word she turned and disappeared down the bridge in the blink of an eye.Bookmark here

“…Your girlfriend’s really something, huh, Matt?” Ryan said, helping Emi to her feet.Bookmark here

“She’s a lovely girl,” Sarah sighed wistfully. “I’d have liked her to join, if only she were a better fit…”Bookmark here

Nobody knew what to make of that. Pretty much everyone, even Emi, felt that Cynthia had fit in perfectly. But Sarah Dawn was famous for her capriciousness.Bookmark here

Serena took Emi aside as everyone headed back in. She looked concerned.Bookmark here

“Emi… are you okay? I know you didn’t get a chance to apologize, but-“Bookmark here

“I don’t know,” Emi quickly cut her off. She didn’t mean to be rude, but she had a lot on her mind right now, and her emotions…Bookmark here

Well, everything was swimming up in her head. She’d been filled with energy all morning. Then she’d fantasized about Matt and Cynthia and immediately slipped back into depression. Then, Cynthia held her hand and made her feel floaty and warm, and now she didn’t know what to make of anything.Bookmark here

Serena tried to scan Emi’s face for answers, but Emi couldn’t give her any. She sighed in resignation and shrugged.Bookmark here

“Well, try to get some rest. Maybe relax a little. I’m glad this whole mess isn’t eating away at you anymore. Like I said, you don’t need to apologize for what you feel, or what you think. Just what you do.”Bookmark here

She took Serena’s words to heart, looking past her at Matt, walking up the stairs to the main entrance. His tight pants were bringing a familiar feeling back up to the surface.Bookmark here

She followed him inside and returned to her room. She might not need to apologize for what she felt or what she’d been thinking, but she probably needed to apologize for what she did when she got back into bed.Bookmark here

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