56 Chapter 56 Second trip to the island
"How did you get here?" Sylva asked incredulously. She stood on the docks with her hands on her hips, glaring at him.
Joseph grinned wide. He couldn't take his eyes off of her, she was so beautiful, even when she was mad.
"I found a note I had left about where I was going." He held up the paper he had ripped from his journal. He wrote in it so infrequent, it was a miracle he noticed it at all.
"And why did you come back, if all you found was a note?" She crossed her arms, ignoring the few other people who were getting off the boat and looking their way curiously.
"I felt like I lost something important to me here," he said, looking around the bay at the vibrant colors of the trees and the water. Even the fish in the clear water were brilliant.
"What do you mean by that?" She clearly wasn't impressed.
"I…I felt like l had found something here, something I couldn't remember, something that made my life better, somehow. It was vague, but I had to follow it." He looked up at the clear blue sky, puzzling over his response. A few wisps of clouds were all that marred the beauty of the sky.
"What kind of life do you have, that you would abandon everything to chase a vague feeling?" she asked sarcastically, clearly, she didn't know his life.
He looked at her for a moment, thinking about all the things in his life that were shavist.
"I have always felt as if I didn't belong. I was a foster kid, found after I was abandoned at 3, in a squatter's apartment, eating dog food. Your island feels familiar to me. Like it's somewhere I can belong."
Her look turned slightly awkward, but she didn't back down.
"I've always felt odd and everyone else always treated me like I didn't quite belong. In high school I took a lot of shop classes so I could work on my projects alone. I did terrible in group projects, but I was excellent at carpentry." Once he started, he couldn't seem to stop. The words tumbled from his mouth like a freshly erupted spring, eager to be released.
"I became a dentist, partly because I figured if people didn't like me, I should take a job where they were supposed to not like the person. My choices were dentist or tax auditor. The tax thing always felt like I had done before, so I went with dentist."
Her face twitched when he mentioned that, but she didn't say anything. He was curious about the far away look that came into her eyes.
"What about you?" he asked.
"What do you mean?" she asked, obviously confused.
"What were you before you came to this island? Surely you weren't born here?"
"No!" she quickly answered, then looked away. "I was a different person then. Proud and strong. I had a people then. Now I have a rock."
"It's a very pretty rock, I assure you. Though I think that's mostly because you are on it. You'd make anything look better."
She blushed and his breath caught.
"I'm sure you say that to all the women you've wooed."
He thought about that for a moment. "I guess?"
A cute look came over her face as she pooched out her lips to the side in disbelief.
"What do you mean you guess? You must say things like that to all the pretty girls."
"Oh, no! I've never told that to anyone else before."
"Really?" Even her scrunched-up nose was cute.
"Well, I've seen lots of cute and beautiful women before, but none like you. You're the only person I've ever wanted to get to know better. I've seen girls that I thought were pretty, but I've never wanted to spend my entire life with them before. It's like I've been waiting just for you."
She smirked, which looked awesome on top of the blush.
"Well, I am awesome enough for you to wait for me. You must have fallen for me by now then?" Her voice trailed off, but he could still hear it.
"No, I don't think so."
She stepped back, flustered.
"I've seen someone in love before. I worked in a nursing home, for some extra money one summer, when I was on college. They needed some cabinets redone, but didn't have a lot of money, and I was cheap. There was an old couple there. The wife lost her memory and would go weeks without knowing anyone or anything. Every day her husband would come and sit with her. Sometimes he would show her pictures of their kids, or their wedding. For just a few minutes one day, she turned to look at him and touched his face.
"I still love you, she had said. They both cried quietly for a moment, until she was gone again.
"I don't think you can love someone like that without spending time with them. So, I'd say I don't love you, yet. But I would like to love you that much someday."
Her face changed. It didn't go soft or mushy, instead it became a perfect poker face. Joseph couldn't tell what she was thinking at all.
"I'm sorry. You need to leave the island. And this time, you won't be able to find your way back. It's for the good of both of us, I believe." Her voice was soft, almost kind and her eyes glowed a beautiful red, like rubies.
Then Joseph woke up.
(YOU HAVE GAINED THE SKILL CARPENTRY. ALL MEMORIES OF PREVIOUS LIVES: JOSEPH STONE AND JOSEPH SMITH, HAVE BEEN ABSORBED.)
(ON A SIDE NOTE, I WAS EXPECTING YOU TO BE SIGNIFICANTLY OLDER BEFORE YOU COULD DO THAT.)
Stella sat up in her bed, and they looked at each other across the carriage in the dim light. Apparently, she was having a dream, too, because she still looked sleepy. He thought about the end of his dream.
"I want to love you that much someday," he mumbled, before laying back and going back to sleep.
Stella stared at him, he was already back asleep. Had he even been fully awake? Her heart was pounding and she was most definitely not going back to sleep. Rolling out of bed, she silently dressed and slipped out of the carriage. The entire camp was silent. Only a few guards were out and about. She climbed to the top of their carriage and stared at the night sky.
Stars twinkled at her, laughing at the emotions that rolled through her. She remembered that moment. She had felt her whole life come crashing down around her when he had uttered those words.
"You will fall in love with the one who you have hurt the most." She uttered the words that had been spoken to her so long ago. Part of a curse she had eventually escaped from, or so she had thought.