• Dina

Everything Stays

When she heard the knock on her door Serena had been on her fourth hour of laying on the couch in the living room of her one-bedroom apartment in a quiet area of the city. Denver was nothing like New York. Denver was far from New York and Serena loved that. It was the city that slept. Through an open window she could hear the occasional hum of a car or the patter of a pedestrian, but no one ever came to her door.

Startled, but quick on her feet, she grabbed the short blade she kept under the couch. Just in case, was what she told herself when she decided to keep this one piece of the life she gave up. The blade came out covered in dust and other bits whatever had made its way under the couch. Brushing it all off on her sweater, she makes her way to the door with caution. Her footsteps are light on the cold wood floor. Once at the door, she takes a chance and looks out the peephole.

She goes cold and her heart feels as though it’s stopped. She considers walking away quietly. Leaving them out there. If she doesn’t open the door, maybe they’ll go away. As if reading her thoughts, the person outside looks directly into the hole. Caught by surprise, Serena stumbles away from the door.

“Serena.” Jeanne’s voice was immediately recognizable, but it was a part of something she left behind. As she stood there with the blade held limply in one hand Serena knew she had to face this.

Finally opening the door, she could not help but take in the person she had not seen in over six years. Jeanne had barely changed; all dark attire, paired with a leather jacket. They had let their jet black curls grow well past their shoulders. The last time they had seen each other, Jeanne’s had taken to keeping their hair short. A warmth passed over Serena. A warmth that she knew Jeanne would not return.

“How did you find me.” Serena broke the silence.

“It wasn’t hard.” Jeanne’s voice was cold. “You didn’t really hide yourself.”

“I left New York.”

“I forget that as a human you don’t have to disappear, just move to a new city. What a privilege.”

Serena shrunk into herself, she hated that Jeanne could make her feel so small.

“Come in.” She said, trying to brush off their words.

“Why are you here?” Serena pushed forward, however, she couldn’t help but fold her arms as if that would protect her from Jeanne’s cold stare.

“Honestly, I don’t know.”

Serena lets out a snort. “You came all the way out here to find me. There must be a reason Jeanne.” She says as she rests the blade on her kitchen counter.

They watch each other for a moment. Hands in the pocket of their jacket, Jeanne looks to the ground as if they’re looking for words.

“The Coven, no, the witches, we need help. Witch hunters are getting smart and they won’t hesitate when it comes to killing us off. Not even the children are safe.”

“I don’t know how I can help.” Serena knew what Jeanne wanted, she knew where this was going. Serena however, was tired.

“We need guidance, we need strategy.”

“I’m not Olivia, Jay. I’m also not a witch, which you’ve made clear.”

“So you’re just going to turn your back on us. Again.” Jeanne’s anger was showing itself. Breaking through the stoic person that they had always tried to be. Looking at them there in the dim light of her apartment, Serena could not help but remember the last time they stood at odds like this. It was the night Serena walked away from the Coven.

“I have nothing to offer Jay. I left you all with all the tools I had.”

“We needed you, Serena. We needed your guidance. We lost Olivia, and then you forced us to lose you too.”

“I needed to grieve. I watched her die.” Serena had raised her voice to cancel out Jeanne’s.

“We all loved her, but that doesn’t mean we stopped living.” Jeanne threw back.

“It’s not the same and you know that.” They were yelling at each other now.

“You practically built our community, you don’t just get to walk away from that.” Jeanne reached for Serena, holding her by the shoulders. They wanted to shake her.

“There was no place for me.” Serena shouted in frustration.

“How could you be so stupid? We fell apart after you left. I couldn’t hold it together.” Jeanne’s voice began to crack. Serena could see the tears threatening to spill from her eyes.

“Jay.” She said in quiet surprise.

“I needed you, Serena.” Serena wasn’t ready to hear the desperation in Jeanne’s voice. All she could do was meet their gaze. “Come back.” Jeanne continued, pressing their forehead to hers.

(Photo is not mine.)

#witches #fiction #queerfiction

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