It’s quite the thing to wake up one day and find that a whole world of wonder belongs to you. And the ordinary things that used to make you smile or cause your eyes to widen in delight just seem to pale in comparison.
You were content, once upon a time, with all the hard work that went into your job: the way your reflexes could snap to attention, the way you could throw yourself into danger without a single thought to your own safety, the way you would face down bullets like you were some kind of super-hero.
You were happy with your professional competency, with how far you had come – from gawky bookworm to Secret Service Agent – and all those other things that all those other girls adored in echoing school hallways…
…Those other things fell into their own kind of place in that once-upon-a-time life you used to have.
And you were content.
Or so you thought.
Myka hasn’t said it. Not yet. But she will… eventually.
It’s a promise she made to herself, some long ago night when she couldn’t sleep but when she was desperately tired. And reading had always worked as a two-way street for Myka. A good book can awaken the mind and relax the body simultaneously, after all.
“I don’t know what they are called, the spaces between seconds– but I think of you always in those intervals.”*
And so, in the middle of a book in the middle of the night, Myka was left thinking about Helena.
But, really, there haven’t been a lot of intervals where Helena did not come up – in some form, in some fashion, in some way both beautiful and bittersweet. Every memory of this displaced traveler could cause a reaction in Myka’s body, even back when invisible bars kept them forever separate from one another.
Bars build by regents. Cages born of rage. Helena as a captive to ancient pains and the two of them merely prisoners of feelings left to fester…
…Oh, yes, Myka has thought of Helena often.
But, on that night, Myka made a promise to herself.
And she intends to keep it.
Happiness as you knew it, though, was terribly short-lived.
And a thousand arrows could have shot in your direction and you would have gladly taken them all to your chest… if it meant you didn’t have to lose someone who actually meant something to you.
You’d held your heart up a little high – at first – but once you let it come crashing down, you let it fall so damn hard. And, somewhere along the way, you thought that danger shared gave you some kind of safety.
From death? Perhaps. From heartbreak? Definitely.
But love is blind, you know, and so you fell with your eyes closed.
You fell until the ground decided to hit you.
You made some promises to yourself then as well. You swore to keep them. You swore that you’d never step off that ledge again – not without a net below, not without some guarantees that you could count on.
Love is blind, though.
And if ordinary objects could be imbued with extraordinary powers, if a rag-tag band of people could become a family worth having, if sorrow could one day fade into the past…
…Then your heart could once again seek out that sightless flight of fancy… couldn’t it?
Myka almost said it the night everything almost ended.
They were all just shy of obliteration on that night. They were all just seconds away from becoming specks of dust, blown away from existence.
It didn’t happen, though.
And Myka looked over at Helena. Helena, standing with a diffused bomb in her hands and stare trained onto Walter Sykes lifeless body… and Myka almost blurted it all out in that moment.
Right in front of Pete and Artie, post-near-disaster and a dead person on the floor, and Myka felt the words dance over her tongue with heavy feet.
“I love you.”
“They won’t take you away this time.”
“I meant what I said. I believe in you.”
“You were brilliant. We were brilliant.”
“We can start over. I want to start over.”
“…I love you. Let me say it again and again and again…”
Still, she was silent and then the Regents showed up and Helena was ushered out with Myka and Pete by Artie’s hasty hands on their backs. No one pulled Helena back with a reprimanding tug, though; no one demanded the woman’s return to the Janus Coin or to the life of a school-teacher or to the back-seat of some dark SUV.
For all intents and purposes, Helena was free and Myka felt her own hands latch onto each other in order to stop them from grabbing Helena or touching Helena or holding Helena.
Myka’s hands have minds of their own sometimes and, around this particular woman, contact is always the driving thought.
And then Pete was hugging Helena and Helena was looking pleased – if not a bit awkward – and Myka caught the woman’s shifting gaze. Their eyes locked in a moment of amusement and then the humor slipped away, leaving only other emotions present.
Things like gratitude and things like relief and things like affection and things like adoration…
And even as Helena was saying ‘you’re welcome’ to Pete’s quite genuine ‘thank you’, Myka felt Helena’s look all the way to the marrow of her bones.
And when did speaking get so hard? When did being honest become so difficult? Why must longing feel so strong and the heart that wants feel so damn weak?
Why can’t she just open her mouth and let the words tumble out?
When Helena smiled over at her and placed a warm hand on her shoulder – as if waiting, as if asking, as if finally opening a door that they’ve both ached to blast off the hinges – why is it that Myka suggested that they get back to the bed & breakfast instead of just pulling Helena to her and never letting the woman go?
Why are promises so hard to keep when they really matter?
That’s something you’ll never truly get used to. But it’s a real spark in a universe full of false light and you find yourself smiling at the smallest of things.
Pete raiding the kitchen at midnight. Artie grumbling about inventory. Leena’s warm grin from around a corner. Claudia’s comebacks from over the computer screen. The artifacts you chase, the adventures you have, the true satisfaction of a job well-done that you come home to every night of your life…
…Endless wonder. A whole world of magical and mysterious moments – and it is yours.
And maybe, just maybe, you’ve also found love.
Helena tinkering and toiling over new inventions. Helena’s hand-writing that harkens back to another era, to another way of life entirely. Helena’s subtle flirtations that cause pulse-rates to speed up. Helena’s quick mind and quick wit, when mulling over cases or when creating new worlds upon the pages. Helena whenever she looks at you, which is incredibly frequent and incredibly distracting in the best of ways…
And you think that maybe, just maybe, it’ll be an endless sort of love, too.
The Regents never take Helena back.
It’s as if the slate has been wiped clean on this matter and so Myka finds herself with so much time on her hands now. Time to tell the truth, time to speak her mind, time to reach out and find Helena’s hand within her own…
…And she’ll do just that. Very soon. Very, very soon.
But for now, the two of them are a team because they do make a good team, after-all. They are Bering and Wells, solving puzzles and saving the day.
Just like it was meant to be.
Just like it was always meant to be.
And they look at one another, as they have a million times before, and Myka sees nothing but endless wonder in Helena’s eyes.
And you are content.
/ / /