By the time Lucas had finished his duties, the winter solstice had passed. Lucas was looking forward to seeing Raven. He had been so focused on his work that he had no time to see her at all. With a smile on his face, he waited at the bus stop for Raven, knowing that tomorrow they will never see each other again. He wanted to enjoy this last day with her.
“Lucas?” he heard Raven ask from behind.
“Hi, Raven,” he said with a smile.
She ran to him. “Where have you been? How could you just up and disappear like that? Do you have any idea how worried I was? I thought something happened to you!”
Something squeezed the inside of his chest. Lucas was still oblivious to emotions and the one he was feeling right now…was guilt.
“I’m sorry. My family had to leave suddenly on an emergency. Apparently, my close friend had not been well, and we had to go see him. Forgive me for causing you such grief,” he lied half-heartedly.
“It’s okay,” Raven calmed down. “What about your friend? Is he alright?”
Lucas smiled at Raven. He admired her kindness. “Yes, he is well.”
“That’s good,” she said with a warm smile.
Lucas wanted time to stop. He would give anything to stay in this moment. Unfortunately, Raven’s bus came earlier than expected. He frowned for the moment was gone. She gave him a wave and left. Lucas watched the bus drive away. He decided to follow the bus and see Raven as she went to school. Switching over, he successfully made it on the bus and sat next to Raven. The red headphones brightened her hair as her eyes gazed out the window.
Raven’s reflection through the frost-glazed window made Lucas want to stare at her even more. He was so captivated. The pain in his chest grew bigger as the day went on. He suspected this pain was due to his acceptance to erase her memory. He spent the whole day watching over her. Tomi assured Lucas that he would take of everything, while the king enjoyed his last day with Raven.
When night came, Lucas watched as Raven slept. Her dark hair scattered on the pillow, her beautiful eyes closed to maintain their sparkle, and her face resting to assure its beauty. Lucas brushed his fingers against Raven’s soft skin. His brush caused a slight shift in her sleep. With the pain still bearing its fangs, Lucas left only to return the next day with regret of ever meeting Raven.
With the sound of her alarm, Raven awoke to start a new school day. She turned off her alarm and felt her face. She couldn’t help but feel like someone had touched her cheek. The touch felt cold but warm.
“Raven! Wake up!” her mother blared.
With a roll of her eyes, Raven got ready for school. As Raven showered, she thought about the argument she and her mother had yesterday morning. All their arguments were over the most trivial thing, but this one took the cake. She had decided to braid her hair and wear a bandana over it. Raven loved the look, she thought it was cute. At first, her mother was happy that she had done her hair until she saw it for herself.
“Where the hell do you think you’re going with your hair like that?!” she shouted. “Don’t you have any pride? Do your hair right!”
With tears building in her eyes, Raven undid her hair and instead tied it back. Her mother’s shouts and insults continued. She kept saying how her daughter had no pride, people would laugh at her, and that she was an embarrassment.
The hot water from the shower hid Raven’s tears as they fell down her face. She still felt them fall from her eyes as she dried herself off. Once dressed, Raven went downstairs as her mother was about to leave. She looked at Raven but did not say a word. She merely left without a goodbye not that Raven cared. The fight, however, really got to her. She knew her mother hated her, but to be called an embarrassment by her own mother. Why was she an embarrassment? Why couldn’t her mother see her as Raven? Was she just a replacement for her sister? Raven knew all the answers to these questions, it was just a matter of hearing it from her mother herself.
Checking the time, Raven realized she still had 15 minutes before she had to go to her bus stop. With all the dishes washed and her bags ready to go, she decided to call her brother. The time was 5:45 am, so where her brother lived it was 8:45 am. She eagerly dialed her brother’s number and smiled as he answered.
“What’s up, fool?” Austin said tiredly.
“Nothing, what’s up stupid?” Raven replied.
“When are you not?”
“True. So, where are you?”
“Home. I’ve still got time before my bus comes, so I thought I’d give you a call.”
“Ah, how you feeling?”
“Better. Mom’s not talking to me anyway. Not that I’m complaining,” she said with a sigh.
“Just keep your head up, you’re doing good. Mom’s just…”
Raven laughed at her brother’s comment. He always knew how to make her feel better. Raven looked at the clock, realizing how time flies. She told her brother she had to leave. He understood and told her to call him when she got home. With a smile on her face, she hung up the phone and left the house. Not only did her brother brighten her day, someone else was gonna brighten her morning.