Champion

Page 93


“Oh. Sorry.” Day clears his throat, unsure of himself. “I do too, actually. An old friend down in Ruby.”

An old friend down in Ruby. My eyes widen. Suddenly I know why Tess sounded so mischievous on her message, why she told me to watch the news tonight. “Is your friend’s name Tess?” I ask hesitantly.

It’s Day’s turn to look surprised. He gives me an intrigued, puzzled smile. “You know her.”

What am I doing? What’s happening? This really is all a dream, and I’m terrified to wake up from it. I’ve had this dream too many times. I don’t want it taken away again. “Yes,” I murmur. “I’m having dinner with her tonight.”

We stare at each other in silence. Day’s face is serious now, and his gaze is so intense that I can feel warmth running through every inch of my body. We stand together like this for a long, long moment, and for once, I have no idea how much time has passed. “I do remember,” he finally says. I search his eyes for that same aching sadness, the torment and anguish that had always been there whenever we were together. But I can no longer see it. Instead, I find something else . . . I see a healed wound, a permanent scar that has nevertheless closed, something from a chapter of his life that he has finally, after all these years, made peace with. I see . . . Can it be possible? Can this be true?

I see pieces of memories in his eyes. Pieces of us. They are broken, and scattered, but they are there, gradually coming together again at the sight of me. They are there.

“It’s you,” he whispers. There is wonder in his voice.

“Is it?” I whisper back, my voice trembling with all the emotions I’ve kept hidden for so long.

Day is so close, and his eyes are so bright. “I hope,” he replies softly, “to get to know you again. If you are open to it. There is a fog around you that I would like to clear away.”

His scars will never fade. I am certain of that much. But perhaps . . . perhaps . . . with time, with age, we can be friends again. We can heal. Perhaps we can return to that same place we once stood, when we were both young and innocent. Perhaps we really can meet like other people do, on some street one balmy evening, where we each catch the other’s eye and stop to introduce ourselves. Echoes of Day’s old wish come back to me now, emerging from the mist of our early days.

Perhaps there is such a thing as fate.

Still I wait, too unsure of myself to answer. I cannot take the first step. I shouldn’t. That step belongs to him.

For a moment, I think it won’t happen.

Then Day reaches out and touches my hand with his. He encloses it in a handshake. And just like that, I am linked with him again, I feel the pulse of our bond and history and love through our hands, like a wave of magic, the return of a long-lost friend. Of something meant to be. The feeling brings tears to my eyes. Perhaps we can take a step forward together.

“Hi,” he says. “I’m Daniel.”

“Hi,” I reply. “I’m June.”


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