“She’s amazing, Dom. It’s like I was sleepwalking before I met her and now… Now everything just kind of feels right.” Even in the darkness Dom had been able to tell Em’s cheeks were flushed, her face tilted up at the night’s sky as she spoke. “Is this… Is it okay that I’m telling you all this?”
Dom had laughed; genuinely.
“Of course it’s okay, Emmy.”
“I swear I’m not trying to be a bitch here.”
“I know you’re not. You’re happy, and I’m glad.”
He had meant it – he was glad Em finally found happiness with someone. It didn’t bother Dom it hadn’t been with him.
They talked about it on what had been Em’s second night back in Tenna. With the rest of the team asleep or settled into their night duties, she and Dom had escaped to their favourite spot: the flat roof of the SAR headquarters. They appreciated the peace and quiet from that vantage point; level with the treetops and a stone’s throw from the sky.
Two days previous, Dom had watched Em step down onto the shores of Mondova with a slight, rosy-haired young woman in tow. He didn’t need to speak with them – he had known.
Em had never looked at him that way. She hadn’t smiled that brightly.
In that moment in the shipyard he realized what perhaps Em herself didn’t yet know, and he was perfectly okay with it.
Em was head over heels in love with May.
When Dom had first met Em, it was as if she hadn’t existed before that moment.
It wasn’t some self-consumed sense of importance that had put the idea into Dom’s head: it was the fact that Em had never spoken of her life before he found her lost in his forest.
Not that he hadn’t wondered, of course.
He had wanted to ask throughout those first many months after she had joined the Tenna SAR team. Her unique abilities gave rise to so many questions. She never offered anything up, offering her services in exchange for the rest of the team minding their own business.
He had hoped she would open up about her past during their brief love affair; assuming, perhaps vainly, that their relationship would grant him access to her secrets.
But she hadn’t.
She had been sad. Not because of Dom, or anything he had done; she had always been a bit melancholy. Despite his best efforts, Dom couldn’t make that sadness go away. It followed Em like a shadow; memories and regrets she couldn’t bring herself to talk about distracting and draining her until she threw her hands up in surrender.
“You don’t deserve this,” she told him one night by the river. “You want to help me but I can’t figure out how to let you. That’s not how relationships are supposed to go.”
It hadn’t been what he wanted to hear; he wanted her to let him try. But she hadn’t been wrong: loving someone who refused to let you in was exhausting. He knew she had done them both a great favour; it was the reason they managed to stay so close.
It had taken May – a girl from a tiny island that most people didn’t know existed – to finally sneak beyond that veil of mystery. She had done the seemingly impossible, winning Em’s heart and earning her trust in a way Dom never could.
May was the only reason Dom learned Em’s greatest secret and finally got a long-awaited glimpse into who Em was before she and Dom met.
As it turned out, Em hadn’t been Em at all.
Dom mused over all of this now as he sat across from the strangers who had come to Tenna looking for Em.
“Don’t you see?” the woman they now knew as Rue asked in a quiet, shaking voice. She had just finished telling Dom and his team a story of her own. “It has to be her. She’s the only one who can help us.”
With a heavy sigh, Dom looked at Jeremy, the man claiming Em – no, Audrey – was the love of his life. None of that had come up in Rue’s story – Jeremy hadn’t said another word once everyone had sat down to talk, avoiding Dom’s eyes completely. Dom couldn’t help but wonder if he had his own reasons for wanting to find Em. What would he do when he learned the truth?
Dom didn’t know much about Audrey, but he knew enough; she and Em may have shared the same life force, but they were far from the same people.
Not that Dom was going to tell him that. It wasn’t his place.
Jeremy was going to find out eventually. All of them – Connor, Rue, and Priva – they were all going to find out, and Dom didn’t envy them at all.
But they still needed help.
“Please, do you know where she is?” Connor – the angel – asked, a hand laced tightly in Rue’s. Her eyes glistened back at Dom, desperate and hopeful.
Dom shook his head. “I wasn’t lying when I told Jeremy we don’t know where she is…”
His voice drifted into a thoughtful, drawn-out pause. A vision percolated to the surface of his mind: a fold-creased poster, tacked to the back of his closet wall.
“But I think I know where to look.”
He could feel the eyes of his teammates boring into him. They were no doubt thinking the same thing he was.
These people may have had a good reason to be looking for Em, but that didn’t mean they were going to be good to her.