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“Why don’t we just send him home?” I cried, glaring at Tam. “I’ve been asking you this for a month and you still haven’t told me why. He’s not safe here!” I punctuated that last bit by pounding the table.
Tam looked startled. “I-I don’t-”
“Tam!” I shouted.
“Alright!” She exclaimed, her eyes suddenly full of tears. “Alright. I don’t-I don’t want Gray to go home.”
“Why not?” I asked, confused.
“Because...because I...I..” She trailed off, a tear trailing down her cheek.
The truth hit me like a sledgehammer. “You’re in love with him, aren’t you?”
“No.” Tam shook her head fervently, slowed, then nodded. “I think so. Maybe. But I can’t-can’t DO anything about it, because I’ve been down that road and it doesn’t have a happy ending. And I’m not sure I’m in love with him, I don’t know him well enough to say that, but I do really, really like him. I think I could seriously fall for him, too, given time. I can’t bring myself to send him back, back to where I might never see him again. And I know it’s stupid and selfish and not safe, but...I just can’t do it.”
I finally understood, and my heart was breaking for her. “Maybe this time will be different.” I offered halfheartedly.
She shook her head, sniffing. “It won’t be. You know it, and so do I. The best thing for him and I would be if I sent him away. He doesn’t return the feeling, I’m sure, so it’d be no problem for him to leave, except for that he’s in love with you.”
Guilt washed through me, which was ridiculous since I hadn’t done anything wrong. “I’m sure if he knew how you felt-”
“No.” Tam said, suddenly firm and in control again. “That’s the worst thing that could happen between us.”
“I don’t want to be rejected and get my heart broken before this big war, and if he did feel the same, it would only end in even bigger heartbreak. There’s no happy ending for Gray and I.” Tam let out a shaky breath.
“Who says?” Someone said, voice strong and confident. Tam and I both whipped around, and there was Gray, looking determined. “Who says there can’t be a happy ending?”
I looked back at Tam, who was stunned, and tried not to grin. It was such a perfect moment, something right out of a movie. Girl gives up hope, boy overhears and swoops in to the rescue. Cue the happily ever after?
“Gray,” She stuttered, “I didn’t-what’re you-when did you get there?”
“I’ve been here for a few minutes.” He said, walking in the room and giving a little grin. “I thought you Forthroes were supposed to have super hearing or something.”
“Maybe I’m defective.” She joked, wiping away the rest of her tears.
“I don’t think you are.” He said seriously. “Now back to what you were saying. Who says there’s no happy ending?”
“I’ve fallen in love with a mortal before, Gray, and it ended badly for both of us. I had to fake my death because after so many years of marriage and me not aging, it would look suspicious. He was devastated for years before moving on. It would be better not to pursue any interest I might have for you.” Tam said softly.
Gray didn’t bat an eye. “I’m sorry you had to go through that but I’m not willing to give up on anything before it’s started. I have feelings for you too, Tam, and when I feel strongly for someone I don’t let it go just because it might have complications.”
“Complications? Gray, it’ll end in heartbreak.”
“I believe very strongly that it’s better to have loved and lost than to not have loved at all. Back when you were in love with the other mortal, were you happy during your yers together?” He asked, and she nodded. “And would you give up those years because it eventually ended badly?” After a pause, she shook her head. Gray took her hands and looked softly into her eyes. “Then I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t give it a try, and make the most of any time we get. Who knows, maybe we’ll find the solution to solving that problem by the time this is all over.”
Tam bit her lip, thought it over for a few seconds, then began to smile. “I think that if you’re willing to try, so am I.”
“I’m more than willing.” Gray said immediately.
“Then I guess we’re doing this?” She asked him, beaming.
“Looks like it.” They sat there, grinning at each other, and I felt like I had to say something, just so it wouldn’t get really awkward with me just sitting there.
“Like I was saying, I’ll talk to him and maybe we can see how he feels about you before deciding what to do next.” I said casually, as if there had been no interruption. Tam and Gray laughed, then went back to smiling, him still holding her hand.