Time seemed to pass at a dauntingly slow rate with each breath taking minutes just to inhale and exhale. The clock on the wall seemed to be at a standstill, and I wondered if time was in a standoff with my reality. Reality had ceased to exist, and all that was left was indifference. It was as though everything I was had been ripped from me, and now I was an empty shell merely existing. There was no will, no life, and no emotions other than despair. All the circumstances in life that once made me smile and laugh, passed before me, and through me without a spark of recognition. My shell was there functioning as it thought it should and responding to others in ways it believed was expected. I was not me. I was not Tempie. Not anymore.
Too much loss, too much terror. Where would I even begin to feel again? The past several months had been brutal, unkind and downright horrifying, so much so that I tried to block out all the grief and despair that had crept through my shield and inside my being like a hungry little mouse finding the smallest entry point to slip in.
Mom was gone. I didn’t want to think about it, or the fact that she was cruelly beaten and murdered in an attempt to get to me. Markov was an evil—vampire—there, I said the word. He was an evil that I never could have imagined and not only was he my Mom’s murderer, but he murdered my Dad and attacked my best friend Sarah’s mom, Andaya. Oh, and then there was Tia and Tessa.
All the loss that I had seen, I had not given myself any time to grieve for Tia and her sister Tessa, who, because of me, were now dead long before their time. How did one cope with so much guilt and so much anger? So many lives would have been saved if only mine had been taken right away. Was that a sacrifice I would have willingly made? Yes. To save Mom, Dad, Tia, Tessa and countless others that were used as pawns in Markov’s game to end me.
Even through all of the loss, I hadn’t given myself any time to process the fact that not only had I lost loved ones to death, I had lost other loved ones through betrayal and deceit. Eric, the once thought love of my life, had betrayed me and left me vulnerable for Markov to which Roman swooped in for the save. After struggling through that emotional rollercoaster, I gave in to my desire for Roman and fell madly in love with him, only to find out that he is a witch/vampire. I freaked, couldn’t handle it. Then to top it all off, Celeste, my new and incredibly close best friend was also a witch.
My whole world, my whole reality, was gone. It was all a lie, and I was now the butt of the joke. So, to sum it all up, I lost my entire reality, my existence and I couldn’t seem to connect back with who I was. Of course, I wasn’t even sure who I was anymore. I am Tempie, but who is she? Not just an ordinary girl with an ordinary life—not anymore. Now, witches, vampires and the supernatural were tainting the once perfect existence, and I had to find my place.
Ever since casting Roman and Celeste out of my life, I had been living in a pool of misery and regret. Every night, I wanted to pick up the phone and call them, or run to Roman and have him wrap his wonderfully strong arms around me and make me feel safe. But how does one make you feel secure when he is one of the things that terrifies you?
The past few weeks had been unusually difficult trying to dodge any run-ins with Roman or Celeste; while also unsuccessfully evading Grandma’s questions and knowing looks. I was in need of something to occupy my time and mind, so I found a full-time job at the local bookstore. It was not a long-term plan; just a plan for the summer or until I figured out what I was going to do with myself. It’s not that I particularly needed the money, more an excuse to get out of the house and away from Grandma’s interrogations. I was also accepted to start in the fall at the School of Mines with a scholarship. I was already registered for fall classes because I was just going through the motions, but was not entirely sure that I would be attending school there anyway. I knew with certainty that I was not going back to Hawaii, and at this point a secluded igloo in Antarctica sounded like the best plan.
As I was packing my bags for the trip to Hawaii, I felt numb, and couldn’t even bring myself to feel guilty. I should though. Sarah, who was my best friend for four years, was getting married, and I was her Maid of Honor. We may have had our differences over the last few months, but she was still there for me as I should be for her. I just couldn’t bring myself to feel the excitement I should undoubtedly be feeling. I put on a good face for her, but was it good enough? Could she tell how I was really feeling? Did she see through my façade? Did they all see through the carefully poised exterior to reveal the shattered interior?