A Moment of Peace

Aisha wasn’t sure exactly when she fell in love with Julia. When they first met, the spatial mage was guarded and aloof. She had interesting requests and paid well, so Aisha didn’t question it much. Besides, she reasoned, if she could learn something about this secretive mage who seemed to have no past, maybe the information would be worth something to someone.

Early on, however, she abandoned that idea. Julia was obviously very capable and independent, but something was broken in her, as if a piece of her was missing. Whatever it was, it drew Aisha in and made her want to befriend the other mage. As she spent more time with Julia, she slowly came to realize that her feelings ran deeper than friendship.

As far as she could tell, Julia seemed completely uninterested in relationships, and Aisha began to suspect that what Julia was missing was a former lover. She decided not to risk the friendship and keep her deeper feelings to herself.

Then the big secret of Julia’s presence came to light. It had been coincidence that Aisha ran into Julia’s earlier self. She had been working on a new client’s request when it happened. When Julia explained her situation, it was obvious that the information about time travel was worth a fortune. Yet, Aisha never considered revealing it to anyone; it just made her want to help Julia even more. She was already smitten.

It was Matthew’s unexpected visit that changed everything. When Julia said she was going to move the cabin, and invited Aisha to come with her, it became clear that Julia also felt something more than friendship. They had been together ever since.

Now Aisha was laying next to Julia and hoping that she would wake up soon. The experience of repeatedly being ripped apart and put back together by the chaos crystal had to have been traumatic. However, until Julia regained consciousness, it was impossible to know the extent of the damage.

Softly putting her hand on Julia’s cheek to caress it, Aisha whispered, “I’m here, love. Please come back to me.” Aisha thought she noticed Julia’s breathing slow and deepened, but maybe it was just wishful thinking.

At some point, she must have dozed off herself and then awoke suddenly. Julia hadn’t moved, but she wanted to be alert for any changes. Quietly, she rose from the bed and went into the little kitchen. After setting up the coffee maker, she stood in the doorway in order to keep an eye on the bed. When the coffee finished, she brought her cup back into the bedroom and placed it on the nightstand on her side. With her back against the headboard, she sipped her coffee and waited.

The cabin was in one of Julia’s private spaces, so it was impossible to know how much time had passed without looking at a clock. Aisha had finished her second cup, so at least an hour had gone by. Julia stirred. Her eyes fluttered open and focused on Aisha.

“Is it you? Really you?”

Aisha smiled. “It’s me. How are you feeling?”

“Confused. Upset.”

“What’s wrong?”

“I smell coffee, but I don’t have coffee.”

Aisha gave her the gentlest of shoves. “You must be okay if you can make jokes.” She got up and headed into the kitchen.

“How long have I been out?” Julia called after her.

“You passed out a couple of days ago.”

“And before that?”

Instead of answering right away, Aisha returned with another mug and carefully handed it to Julia. Then she crawled back into the bed.

“A couple of weeks,” she sighed. “You’d appear and then disappear. Sarah noticed you holding a crystal, so we kept waiting for a chance to get you to let it go.”

“I see.” Julia sipped her coffee.

“Do you want to talk about it?”

“Not yet. I’m still sort it out.” Suddenly, Julia sat up straighter. “Where is the crystal?”

“Sarah has it.”

“We have to . . .”

Aisha put a hand on Julia’s arm. “No. We don’t. Everything is fine for now. Sarah is being careful. You need to take it easy.”

Julia relaxed slightly. “Is that why we’re here? In the cabin?”

“Sarah wanted to talk to you right away. I wanted you to have some peace.”

“Thank you. We should probably go back.”

“Tomorrow. Let me be selfish today and keep you to myself.”

Julia smiled. “How can I say no to you?” She embraced Aisha, and the two stayed in bed, quietly enjoying each other’s presence.

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