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Cold. That's how she felt. That's how she always felt.
Growing up in the Alaskan tundra her entire life, Raavah was accustomed to the seemingly everlasting subzero temperatures that consumed nine months of the year. But that didn't change the raw, paralyzing zap of the October wind as it crawled under her sealed eyelids like a whisper.
Raavah was not like most fifteen year olds. For starters, she lived in a tribal Eskimo village in Northern Alaska called Skrivnosti, which consisted of about six hundred or so people. The Nosti, as the tribe members were called, were not your typical suburban, block-party-having, mini-van-driving, Kodak-moment type of townspeople. In their deep, knotted roots lay a past entangled in haunting truths and plaguing secrets.
Raavah was born unto this vexing village fifteen years ago, and every day of her life had been spent trying to forget the agonizing secrets that flowed enduringly through every vein in her body. But how could you erase something that, in a way, defined who you were?
If the cold wasn't coming from outside, then it was residing right below her ribcage.
Pulling the sleeves of her moose-hide anorak farther down her wrists, Raavah sucked in as much frozen air as her lungs would allow. With each step she took, the snow became deeper and wetter and colder. It soon became a challenge just to yank her thick, worn boots from the hole her foot had made. But when she glanced back, her previous tracks had already been covered by the restless snowfall.
If only snowflakes could bury her past.
As the winter months protruded on, the hours of daylight dwindled. Now, at four in the afternoon, the sun was hidden among a perpetual horizon of white, and the sky had just about recast into a navy sea of flickering crystals. Raavah liked it best at this time of the day, when it was dark enough that even shadows lost their outlines.
At the hem of the skyline, a beaming light cut through the black and white landscape like a silver dagger. Raavah knew she was almost there.
No matter how many times she arrived at the hotel, she always felt like it was her first time there. The bright, fluorescent lights raining down; the runny smell of hope and carpet cleaner; the indoor plumbing. Raavah had none of these luxuries in the shack she was forced to call home.
Like always, Raavah removed her mittens, scarf, and hat first. When she did so, an avalanche of pin-straight, silky black hair cascaded down her shoulders, reaching the small of her back. Raavah's grandmother, Pametna, consistently summoned Raavah to chop off her hair, claiming it was more a bother than a prize. But Raavah treasured her locks, partly because it had taken her all of her life to grow it this long, and partly because it allowed her to hide.
Raavah finished removing the rest of her excess outdoor clothing, piled all of the pieces together, and launched the pile into a corner of the room. Her boots squeaked even on the carpeted floor as she made her way over to the main desk.
"Hey, Raav," a blithe voice greeted her.
"Hey, Luc," she replied, waving to a tall, gangly man behind the counter. "Got anything for me?"
She was referring to mail. Raavah entered one of the portraits she had drawn of her mother into a magazine contest she'd read about here at the hotel. Winner got a brand new set of drawing materials-- pad, pencils, paint, and more.
"Sorry, Raavah. Not today. It's been slow--" Luciano was cut short by the ring of a phone. "You've reached The Pala?a Hotel, how many I help you?"
Sigh. Raavah climbed effortlessly onto the polished counter and with a plop, settled on its shimmering surface. She reached into her still-wet boots and removed a coiled sketchpad and a charcoal pencil.
A girl could only draw so many snow scenes. Ever since her grandmother bought her this sketchpad when she was seven years old, Raavah had drawn over fifty pages worth of winter landscapes, and twenty portraits of her grandmother. That's when she started coming here.
The hotel was about seven miles from the outskirts of the village, and Raavah lived four miles within the village. Despite the trek, Raavah visited every night she could with her sketchpad. The hotel was full of so many people--people that looked different from the people of her tribe.
Everything about the Nosti was dark. Black hair, dark skin, dark eyes. Even their past was dark. At the airport, Raavah saw people with skin as white as the snow; people with green eyes and curly, yellow hair. Every time she saw someone different, she drew them.
Now, down to her last two pages of her sketchpad, Raavah had drawn over a hundred portraits of Outsiders, and every one of them had something unique about them: a man with a mouth so big it could swallow the entire tundra; a girl missing her two front teeth; a woman with a silver ring hoisted in her nose. Her sketchpad hosted a community of Outsiders, a family to Raavah.
She began her convention of scouting. When she was scouting, she searched the room for someone who didn't belong. After almost a year of practice, she had become good at this. A single father caring for triplets; two teenage girls sharing a cigarette; a burly fugitive escaping to Alaska for a new beginning. All of these scenarios became imprinted in her sketchpad and her mind.
The hotel was almost empty, except for a young husband and wife and two men huddled over their luggage. Raavah continued scouting, but after a minute or two, she began to conclude that today wasn't going to be a great achievement. With a sigh, she shoved her sketchpad and pencil back in her right boot, hopped clumsily off the counter, and set for the corner with her belongings.
Maybe it was the Spirits. Maybe it was Fate. Maybe it was a coincidence. Or maybe, it was just a complete and utter accident that what happened, well, happened. Whatever the cause, Raavah would never forget the effect.
SLAM! Raavah and one of the two men huddled over their luggage collided at the heads, sending Raavah onto the floor and the man flying into the banister.
"What the--" Raavah had begun, rubbing her dizzying temple with the base of her palm. Over the commotion of Luciano shouting complimentary gift baskets and the young couple gasping and offering help in foreign accents, Raavah's sketchpad tumbled out of her boot and onto the carpet.
"I am so sorry about her," Luciano repeated. "She won't ever-- You don't have to worry about-- here, ever again." He helped the trodden man up, and left Raavah to scurry to her feet all on her own. "Raavah!" Luciano scolded. "Apologize to the man you just knocked over!"
Raavah laughed in spite of the situation. It was always funny to see Luciano get flustered like this, even if she was the cause of his irritation.
"Hey, I'm sorry I knocked you over, sir, but in my defense," Raavah began. She glanced up, only to notice the 'man' she knocked over was not a man at all, but a boy, about her age. A boy who was at least six foot tall and owned a pair of shoulders broader than the Sre?o River. A boy with a face that didn't quite match his mature body; a face with sandy brown hair and pale skin and freckles and pink lips and--most distinguished of all-- icy blue eyes. Those eyes. They were like nothing Raavah had ever seen before. They were so intense and concentrated and acute, like the winter snow and the summer sky all refined into abysmal eyelash envelopes.
"In your defense," the man-boy continued, "I wasn't watching where I was going. She had nothing to do with it." He smiled the laziest, most crooked smile he could manage, and Raavah swore it was going to melt the entire tundra.
He was looking right at her now, right into her almond colored eyes. Raavah immediately felt her cheeks generate crimson as bright as the lights that, all of a sudden, seemed harsh and speculative. She could instantly feel the warmth of his eyes on her, a heat that burned her skin like acid.
"I'm Drew," he said, holding out his hand. Raavah learned from Luciano that when someone held out their hand, you were supposed to grab it. But Raavah couldn't bring herself to touch the palm of the boy who erased the angles of the world around her and replaced them with liquidy blurs.
It was when the man-boy called Drew bent down and retrieved her sketchpad and pencil that Raavah realized he wasn't offering a handshake. As soon as Raavah saw Drew with her sketchpad, full of her drawings, in his hand, it was as if reality once again entered her bloodstream.
Drew began to open the pad, rustling through the charcoal-smeared portraits, but he wasn't quick enough. Raavah snatched her drawings out of this boy, this stranger's, hand and, as quickly as this all had begun, it ended. Raavah did what she did best. She ran.
Fetching her damp snow gear from the corner and forcing her fumbling limbs in the correct places as quickly as possible, Raavah left the too warm and too bright hotel lobby and reentered the dark, lonesome world of the tundra. The world in which she belonged.
The cold slapped her like a backhand. Even with her scarf and her hat covering much of her face, her eyes suffered the sting of a million tiny pinpricks. Cursing, she realized her mistake: It was impossible to keep your eyes open in the tundra if you were crying.
Despite this error, Raavah trudged on through both of the storms; the one twisting and whipping snow all around her, and the one forming at the base of her chest, in her heart.
Damn it, Raavah thought over and over again. You don't belong there. She clenched her mitted fists, and even through the leathery gloves, she could feel her fingernails pressing hard into her palm. Those people--that boy-- they're not like you. She nudged the earflaps of her hat farther down. They don't understand you. They don't know your past. She tucked her hands under the seam of her anorak, right above her chest.
And if they did, she thought. They would hate you.
As soon as Raavah walked through the door of her grandmother's shack house, she wanted to turn right back around. Because sitting on the earth-barren floor, right next to her grandmother, was her mother.
Raavah's mother, Nesre?a, had short black hair that reached just below the base of her ears. Her skin was carved with scars and wrinkles and bruises, all tracing a past that was not easily forgotten. Her eyes were the color of her soul-- black and empty.
"Raavah," her grandmother spoke in a calm, soothing voice. "Your mother has come to visit you."
Grandma, no, Raavah thought. But her grandmother just nodded her head once, lifted herself off of the ground, and exited into the only bedroom of the house.
That left Raavah and Nesre?a, a mother and daughter, two memories so daunted with pain, it tainted everything they did. Raavah craftfully avoided her mother's face and grudgingly settled onto the clothen sofa. She didn't even remove her hat or gloves.
Nesre?a stumblingly scurried to her feet. She patted the floor-length tunic that draped over her boney physic and cleared her throat. Twice.
"Raavah," she said so quietly, it was barely a whisper. Raavah lifted her gaze the slightest, to see the old, cadaverous thing her mother had become. Nesre?a was corpselike, an omen of death printed on her face.
"Why did you come?" Raavah found herself saying. She traced the knuckles on her left hand with the thumb of her right.
"Don't ask me that," Nesre?a replied. "I am your mother. I do not need an invitation." She looked down at the ground. "I wanted to see you, Raavah."
"Really?" Raavah stood up from the sofa, looking her slight mother in her hollow eyes. "Because after fifteen years, you just now decide that I am good enough?"
There it was. The punch to the gut, the first drop of water in a hurricane.
Anger now flooded the empty eyes of Nesre?a. "Do not say that to me. I came back for you, when you were younger."
"And I was supposed to go with you? You may not remember, because you were so busy drinking and shooting up, Mother, but you didn't have a house," Raavah was shouting now, a violent shout that came from a place in her she didn't know existed.
"I am free of drugs now," her mother replied through clenched teeth. "And I am not here to discuss what happened years ago."
"Then why are you here?"
"I am here for you."
Raavah let out a laugh, even though nothing was funny. "If you think I am coming with you, back to your wherever it is you live, you are crazy."
"I am your mother! You will do what I say. Get your things."
Raavah's face burned with the intensity beaming from her mother's eyes. Raavah was sure that if her mother stared long enough, her face would set fire. Nesre?a reached over and grabbed Raavah's upper arm, pressing down with her thumb so hard it would surely leave a bruise. In the most vicious voice she could summon, Nesre?a ordered, "You will shut your mouth, you b****."
The sound of Raavah's fist colliding with Nesre?a's flesh sent her grandmother hurrying back into the room. Nesre?a went flying against the wall of the shack, her hands covering the spot below her eye that Raavah punched her. Her grandmother, bending down to either help Nesre?a or block Raavah from Nesre?a's view, looked at Raavah with all of the fear and sorrow inside of her.
"Run!" her grandmother ordered. "Leave, Raavah, now!"
And like that, Raavah did what she did best.
If the tears in her eyes were like needles before, they were like daggers now.
It was close to eight in the evening, Raavah presumed. A whole night to wander through the snowcapped tundra with nothing but her sketchpad and her thoughts. She always used to be thankful for the silence of Skrivnosti, but now, she thought it only as a curse.
Raavah wasn't walking in any particular direction. In fact, she wasn't walking at all. Her feet dragged in the sopping snowdrifts as if they were as heavy as lead. Her head ached from bumping into Drew from the hotel, her fist ached from socking her mother, and her face ached from crying so much.
After about thirty more seconds of wandering, Raavah fell backwards into the snow. She let the snowflakes, which were falling at a much calmer pace now, nurse away the tears saturating her scarf.
Her fingers were going numb from the cold, but Raavah barely noticed. The numbness she felt on her hands couldn't compare to the numbness harvesting in her heart.
What Raavah's mother did to her--leaving her-- was contemptible. But was laying hands on her own mother just as unforgivable?
It was then that she began to think of the Napaka.
The Napaka was the Nosti word for The Secret Past, a past that all Nosti carried with them. The elders taught it to the children at a young age, and forbid them of ever speaking of it to anyone else. Most children obeyed. Those who didn't... well, they disappeared.
The story began hundreds of years previous, in a town called Zmotno. The Nosti were an oppressed people, inhabiting a land of people with fair skin and light eyes, called the Lahka. They suffered great malfeasance from the Lahka. Every year, the Nosti tribe grew fewer and fewer, due to the overwhelming injustice summoned on them. Some Nosti left, others were killed. Either way, the tribe number dwindled down to but a handful.
It was then that a man named Zal Talosvi, the eldest male of the Nosti, conceived a solution: murder.
Within four days, all of the Lahka were dead. Zal and his followers, a group of about fifty Nosti, had murdered the Lahka. Killed. Dead. Gone. Four days was all it took.
At the time, it seemed so right. Revenge, redemption on the people that had killed so many of them. They were only doing what was best, what would save them.
But if you have to hurt to redeem, is it really redemption at all?
Nested in a frozen cocoon of snowflakes, Raavah didn't feel one iota of redemption. The Nosti would always warn children: do not let history repeat itself. Isn't that what Raavah just did?
Her head was spinning as fast a tornado, collecting dirt and debris and sorrow and regret as it twisted the air in its own tangled contraption. Raavah had never actually seen a tornado, but Luciano had told her about them, from back when he lived in the 48 below. He painted pictures of stormy, coiled skies called "funnel clouds" and destruction on a level unthinkable. If Raavah was picturing a tornado correctly, that was exactly what was she was caught in. A tornado.
"I'm no expert on snow angels, but I'm pretty sure you're doing it wrong."
Raavah instantly sat up, startled by the sudden sound of a voice. Who would be wandering the tundra at night?
Well, besides her, of course.
"Over here," said the voice. She felt it from behind her. She whipped her torso around, only to find that world had, once again, sent her hurling straight into a funnel cloud.
Because there, standing in the middle of her nowhere, was Drew.
He could see her surprise, her shock, but most of all her pain. It radiated out of her like a sun, burning so bright and hot and white, it pained all that got too close. He suddenly felt awkward, like he was intruding in her, well, life. He wanted desperately to return to the safeness of the hotel, but he felt the package the clerk had given him in his coat pocket and was reminded why he came here in the first place.
Drew saw her struggle, reaching for words that were out of her grasp. Her face-- that beautiful face-- scrunched into itself with confusion and embarrassment.
He suddenly became insecure. "You do remember me, don't you?" He knew his cheeks were turning red, and he was hoping she thought it was from the cold. "I'm the one from the--you ran into me? I mean, it was my fault-- I'm--"
"Drew," she said, her voice as quiet as the calm wind, but as open as the barren land around them. "You're Drew."
Oh, my God. It was the man-boy, the one who she had collided into at the hotel, the one who had seen her sketchbook, the one who she had run away from.
The one who was here, right in front of her.
Did he come back for her? Raavah's heart swelled with the thought. As the man-boy fumbled recklessly for words, Raavah let herself get lost in his eyes-- the ones that replaced the darkness she knew with an unthinkable light. She found herself saying his name, letting it float off of her tongue and through her lips like a frozen whisper.
He smiled as soon as she said it-- that broken smile that looked like an accident.
"You know my name," he said, and Raavah couldn't tell if he was just being declarative, or if he sounded slightly, well, proud. "But unfortunately, I don't quite know yours."
"At the hotel," Raavah replied. "Luciano said my name at the hotel." Yes, she was sure of it. "Right after I-- we--"
He laughed, and Raavah swore it was even more enigmatic than his smile. It uprooted the earth and the sky and the atmosphere and flipped it belly-up, taking Raavah with it.
"Right after I gave you that bump the size of the Grand Canyon on your forehead. Sorry about that, again."
Did it look that bad? Suddenly Raavah wished she wasn't wearing her hat, so that she could cover her forehead with her waterfall of hair.
"So, your name?" Drew said, softly.
Raavah looked up at him, this man-boy with the face the color of a morning sky, who looked so out of place standing in the cold, wintery tundra, yet so at-home in a mirrored land of white.
She took a deep breath, unhooked herself from his gaze, and replied...
Her face distorted with puzzlement, scrunching between the eyebrows. "My name is Raavah."
Drew laughed with realization. "Oh! I thought the skinny guy at the hotel was just growling, or something."
He could see her sink even farther into herself, and he immediately felt the urge to wrap her small, dark body in his arms.
"No, I just mean... it's not a common name where I come from."
"Where do you come from?" she asked.
"Pennsylvania. A small town called Wespake, about thirty minutes from the lake. Ever been there?"
She shook her head, and he wasn't sure if she was answering his question or politely telling him something else.
"I grew up there all my life. Not bad in the summers, but that lake effect in the winter, well it's..."
Drew suddenly felt stupid, complaining about snow to a girl who has probably lived in flipping Alaska all of her life. He remembered how cold he was, standing in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night, and he shoved his hands deeper in his coat. That's when he felt the package still residing in his pocket. The whole reason he came.
He cleared his throat and said, "I have something for you." He waited for that scrunching of her eyebrows--yup, there it was. SO cute. "That guy at the desk-- Luciano, I think you called him? -- he told me to give it to you." Drew grabbed the package and thrust it toward Raavah.
He could see her dark eyes illuminate with hope and curiosity and more hope and hope and hope and hope. And silently he thought to himself, she looks beautiful when she's hopeful.
She ripped open the package ferociously, despite her fingers numbing beneath her gloves. There it was. What she had been waiting for. Was this it? This was it. It was...
It was her art set. She had won the contest.
There was a note on the top, and many smaller, wrapped packages tied together with a string. She picked at the knot in the string, but her fingertips were too cold and her gloves too slick.
"We should probably go back to the hotel," Drew said. For a moment, she had forgotten he was there. He must have seen her trying, and failing, to break the string. "You know, to warm up so you can open that."
If her brand new art set hadn't been unopened in her hands, Raavah would have taken off. But she figured she was closer to the hotel than she was to her home, and she wasn't going back there anytime soon anyways.
And she was tired of running. For once, just for once, all she wanted to do was stay.
"So what is it?" Drew asked a genuine curiosity in his voice.
She ignored him, not because he was being bothersome--he walked her all the way back to the hotel and didn't badger her with any questions--but because she was so excited about winning the contest and getting her prize and ohmygosh is this actually happening to her and breathe, Raavah, breathe...
There was a packet of sixty four colored pencils, twelve oil paints, a pack of calligraphy pens, thirty two pastel crayons, and a brand-flipping-new sketchbook with five hundred pages. This beat the heck out of the charcoal pencil and almost full sketchpad that was still wedged in her boot. She laid out all of her new materials on the countertop in front of her and let all of the possibilities paint themselves in her mind.
"So did you like, rob an art store?" He was standing right next to her, and she could feel the heat of his body like an avalanche crashing down on her. Breathe...
"I won a contest," Raavah said, the words foreign on her tongue. "I sent in a picture of--" My mother. "--a portrait. A new art set was the prize."
Drew whistled like he was impressed. "Must have been a great portrait to win all of this," he said, gesturing to the table in front of them. "Do you have it?"
I wonder if they sent it back. What use would an art school in New York have with a portrait of an old, brail woman who looks like an Eskimo? There were probably hundreds of other artists who could draw much better than Raavah...
"I don't know," she answered, and then she realized that Drew had asked because he wanted to see it. "But I don't have it. They probably kept it. You can't see it."
Drew held up his hands in defense. "Don't worry, no one's asking."
A long moment of silence passed like the Alaskan winter, too long to welcome.
"Why were you crying?"
"Outside," Drew said, as soft as the edges of his young face. "When I found you in the snow. You were crying, weren't you?"
Now that her hat was off, Raavah could sufficiently hide behind her silky black wisps of hair. She had absolutely no intention of telling Drew, this basic stranger, about her mother.
"I wasn't crying..." she started, but even she knew he wouldn't believe it. She sighed and restarted. "I've been having a bad day."
Then she laughed, abruptly, a little too loudly. A 'bad day' was a complete understatement, except for the art set, which had temporarily lightened her mood. No, today had been a complete disaster.
Without any warning, Raavah slipped away from herself, from the person she had tried so hard to become. The person that was as icy as Skrivnosti itself, a form of her that kept burying and digging and burying, until she found herself breathing in dirt. But Drew... he was like a shovel. Digging her out her own, self-prepared grave.
He let her cry and cry and cry, until he reached the point where he could no longer remember what she had looked like receiving her art set, hope tinting her dark face. She sobbed into his chest as he held her head in his left hand and the small of her back in his right. Pressed up into each other like they were, a passerby would easily think they were brother and sister, or maybe even boyfriend and girlfriend. But Drew didn't really care what other people thought; all he could think about was returning that heart-stopping glow to Raavah's face.
She cried for a bit more, then as her sobs receded and her breathing became regular again, she pulled away from Drew's chest. He couldn't help it--he felt a little thwarted as she did.
"I... I'm so sor--"
"Don't," Drew said, softly but declaratively. "You have nothing to be sorry for."
She did that thing with her hair again; where she folded into herself, like a letter in an envelope, and let her hair swallow a fraction of her at a time.
"Do you..." he started, but he found he didn't know what to ask. All he could think about was the way her eyes lit up outside, how he wanted to be the flame of that fire.
And he knew just how.
How could she let herself fall apart in front of a total stranger?
Well, he wasn’t a total stranger. But close enough.
She pulled away, and hid as far behind her hair as she could.
But then she felt his finger on her cheek—
Uncovering her face—
And he was leaning in—
And ohmygosh, those eyes—
He drew her hair away from her dark face, still wet from tears. He looked right into her eyes, and he swore he could read a whole story; page by page, tear by tear. She scrunched her eyebrows, and he felt his heart melt away, along with all of Alaska.
He kissed her.
He was kissing her.
She could feel his heat all over her; his hands on her back, his chest pressed against her, his lips on her lips. And she was terrified.
But it wasn’t a fear that anchored her to reality; not like the fear of her mother, or the fear of the Nosti past. It was a fear that lifted her into the air, and tossed her around like the wind. It filled her with the most petrifying kind of hope she knew.
For someone so dark, she felt as light as the air.
“Just a few more steps!” Raavah laughed, as her hands covered Drew’s eyes. She led him down the last turn of the mammoth building, into another long, white corridor, and then stopped him abruptly. “Are you ready to see it?”
“I can’t wait,” said her husband, both of them giggling like teenagers.
“Okay, one… two… THREE!” She let her hands fall.
She watched him breathe in her painting, lap up every dot and corner of the story she drew.
“Ohmygosh,” was all he could muster. Then he spun on his heel and looked his wife right in the eyes and then kissed her and kissed her and kissed her some more, and he didn’t care if anyone wanted was looking because there just weren’t words for what he was thinking.
When he pulled away from the kiss, he tenderly said, “Beautiful,” and she wasn’t sure if he was talking about her painting or her.
They both rotated to face the painting.
It was all in shades of blue, and it depicted a group of Nosti and a group of Lahka entwined in a spiral of threats of violence. Right in the center of the painting was an eye, shaded the sharpest blue Raavah could mix. It looked just like Drew’s.
She loved how it turned out, but every time she looked at it, she couldn’t help but let her mind rewind…
Drew noticed it too. He took his wife by the waist—the very pregnant waist, and told her: “I don’t care about your past, Raav. It doesn’t make a difference to me. All that matters is you.”
She smiled coyly, and instinctively looked down at her stomach. Drew knelt to the ground and whispered, “And you too, my little baby girl.”
“Raavah! Congratulations on your painting!” Drew stood up and they both turned to find Greg Paston, the owner of the art museum they were at. “And also on your soon-to-be daughter. How’s she doing?”
“Great,” Drew answered, beaming. “Another month and she’ll be in our arms.”
Raavah’s phone beeped from her purse, and she fetched it and read the message displayed across the screen.
“My mom says she can’t make it tonight,” Raavah said, repeating what she read. “She has therapy. But she said she can come tomorrow.”
“Too bad,” Greg said as Drew squeezed Raavah’s shoulder. “There’s only one opening night for the newest exhibit in the greatest art museum in Pennsylvania!” With that, he let out a billowing laugh and returned down the long hallway away from them.
“Sorry about your mother,” Drew said, gently running his fingers through her silken, waist-length hair.
Raavah shrugged. “I’m just glad she’s actually going to those meetings.”
They both smiled, and suddenly they were sixteen again, laughing at nothing and smiling at everything and kissing whenever they could, sometimes just to stay warm in those cold, cold months.
Raavah then leaned in to kiss Drew, and Drew did the same, and they found themselves colliding at the forehead.
With both of their palms to their temples, they remembered the first moment they met.
“Just like old times, eh?” Drew offered.
Only this time, Raavah didn’t run.