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No matter how relentlessly winter rages on, it inevitably ceases its frosty barrage. The snow ceases to fall, the ice melts, and, like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, the Earth begins it's rebirth; new life from the remains of the deceased. Flowers begin to bloom, the grass grows, bright green with vitality and perseverance; everything seems inconsequential compared to the wonder of spring.
It was rough going with Romana at first, as her insides literally regenerate themselves. For the first few weeks, she barely ate or drank; all she wanted to do was lie on the bed and sleep. She did have a few accidents, but I couldn’t be mad about it. Movement must have been excruciating for her. But, as spring fell upon us and life bloomed anew outside, so did Romana's good health. By mid-April she was herself again. In the interim, I had performed a protection spell on her to keep her safe, as well as one around the house that would not let anyone who wished us harm to cross the threshold.
Erasmus was overjoyed when I’d told him of that day. He was proud of how far I’d come in my self defense lessons, and of my quick thinking. His approval means to world to me, though I won’t admit it. When I was younger I wanted approval from my dad and, yes, even from Don. I rarely got it. Erasmus' love is starting to fill that void for me, but not in a creepy way. I don’t think of him as a father, or anything.
After the attack that wintery day in mid-January, things once again fell quiet on the demon front, which made me nervous. Each attack was more intense than the last one. How long before I got completely overwhelmed and killed, or dragged to Hell? Which option was worse? I pored my anxiety into studying for my ACTs. It's a big deal Junior year when you take those, because they’re basically a college aptitude test. I crushed the English portion, and got a rating in the highest 2% of the state. I’ve always been a decent writer, I guess. I did fair at the social studies portion, not so well at the science—how am I supposed to know how the hell a lightbulb works?—and absolutely got slaughtered by the math section. Math has always been and always will be the bane of mu academic career. It just doesn’t make sense to me beyond simple addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Don would have reamed my ass but good for that, but he’s not in the picture anymore, thankfully. Grandma was so proud of my slaying of English. My final score was a 22 out of 36; not as good as well I’d hoped, but nothing to scoff at, either. I was so excited that I called my mom to tell her.
Since she moved out, we have maintained careful contact. As long as neither of us baits the other, we do well. We're working on rebuilding our relationship. Of course, she doesn’t want to hear anything about Erasmus or my witchiness. I’ve spent the night at her new place a few times—it's not bad: a modest two bedroom apartment. Wildthyme doesn't have a ghetto, so there really aren’t any unsafe neighborhoods. On the nights she has to work, she drops Brent off with us, which must just kill her pride. I try to go easier on her.
My dad called a few times, and I answered obligatorily. Our conversations are always odd. All he wants to do is whine about how he’s still paying child support. He once told me that the reason that my mom had me start kindergarten a year later than normal was because she wanted to get child support from him for longer. Not true at all. I was a hyperactive child. I wouldn't sit still to color or read and my mother felt it best to give me another year to calm down.
I haven’t told my dad about Erasmus. I don’t know how to. I don’t know if he’ll accept it or disown me. I remember, one summer I visited him when he was living with my Aunt Rita at her farmhouse, my cousin Ariana thought it would be fun to put lipstick and eyeshadow on me. I don't mind a laugh, so I allowed it. When he saw it, dear old dad—drunk—got mean and had me in tears. I ended up calling my grandma to come get me; that was back when she'd lived in Michigan, before moving to Wildthyme. My dad and I will never be close, I don’t see how we possibly could. He’s never been able to commit to being a father more than on a few occasions a year. He might as well be Santa Claus.
Ariana and I were never close when we were younger, because I was very mean to her as a toddler. I'd get mad and pull her hair. Our poor Grandma…maybe that’s part of the reason she had a heart attack and died so young. After that, Aunt Rita moved them to Canada; they didn’t move back to Michigan until the early 2000s. When we met again as preteens, Ariana and I bonded over a shared love of video games, Pokémon, and other nerdy things. I haven’t seen her in a few years, but we stay in touch via text and the occasional letter. I should call her…
The school year is winding down, now—only a month and a half left! Everyone has shifted their primary focus to prom. I never went to any of my school dances back home, with the exception of a juvenile one back in first or second grade, when we lived in Port Huron. I’m not a dancer, and I’m not an ace socializer, either. Plus, there’s the issue of Erasmus. I’m proud to be dating him, but I don’t exactly want to blast our relationship for the whole school to see. I’m not ashamed of being gay, but, once again, I don’t want people to label me in their minds. And yet, a part of me does want to enjoy a school dance with my hot, undead boyfriend, like any other teenager.
I’ve been so focused on helping Romana with her recovery that I haven’t attempted to try the sun protection spell again, but I think today is the day. We had a half day, and it's beautiful outside, with a gentle breeze, and the sun shining brightly in the cerulean sky. The last time that I’d been at Erasmus' house, I’d pocketed his ring. I don’t want to be under so much pressure this time around. Besides forgetting an offering to the gods, I attribute that to the spell's failure last time.