Time rolled and bounced on by, like a tumbleweed in a ghost town. Nothing impeded it. Nothing slowed it down.
And Jay kept his eyes fixed on the outside monitor.
He’ll show up.
We’ll see him.
Robin will come.
Jay glanced down at Isellta, who had fallen asleep against the guard’s arm. “How could he stay away from you?” He put his arm around the fey’s shoulders and resumed watching the monitor.
The room was silent with the exception of Isellta’s and Jay’s breathing. “Mae hasn’t come back yet.” Jay rubbed Isellta’s upper arm. “Huh. Who knows? Maybe she found Robin. Maybe he’s being an idiot and refusing to come to you. I don’t think that’s too likely, but Robin seems to be a contrary sort of person. It was like pulling out back molars trying to get him to agree to come here in the first place. So, who knows? Maybe he’s doing it all over again. Heck of a time to go contrary, though.”
He fell silent and watched the monitor.
The minutes ticked by in the upper left corner. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, zero. Back to one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, zero.
And nothing happened.
No one came.
Not even one person or car or any brand of vehicle showed up on the monitor.
And the minutes continued to tick on by.
Jay felt Maelin’s absence.
Maybe it was the silence in the room.
Maybe it was the lack of her touch.
But her absence was like something missing in the air. Not enough oxygen. Not enough heat.
“Maybe she went back to bed.”
Jay startled as Maelin’s image appeared on the monitor. She walked to the edge of the cliff.
His startle disrupted Isellta’s sleep. The young fey moaned a soft note and stirred.
Jay tightened his grip on him. “I got you, kid.”
Jay kept his gaze plastered to the figure approaching the cliff. “It’s okay. It’s okay.”
She won’t leave me.
She would never leave me without saying good-bye.
But Jay didn’t look away.
She stopped at the edge and looked up at the sky. Her wings emerged. She stood still.
Jay couldn’t breathe. He couldn’t swallow.
But he could still think.
And he knew.
She’s going to leave.
She’s going to leave me again and who knows when I’ll see her again.
If I’ll ever see her again.
Her wings retreated into her back.
What can I say?
“What can I do to make you want to stay with me?”
Isellta raised his head. “Jay? What’s wrong?”
Mae sat on the ground and looked off into the distance.
“I’m not enough. I will never be enough for her to stay with me.”
Isellta carefully sat up. “But she can’t help it. Jay, it isn’t something she wants. It—”
Isellta’s wings flittered.
“I’m sorry. It just hurts to see her like this.”
“I’m sorry, Jay.”
“It isn’t your fault, kid.”
“I know, but I’m sorry all the same.”