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"I heard she got pregnant last year and that's why she was so depressed."
"Really? I always thought it was drugs."
"No, she was definitely pregnant. It's always pregnancy with skinny girls."
Draining laughter concluded the conversation that passed my locker. I would be insolent to think it had nothing to do with me when they clearly wanted me to hear what they were saying, but I would be worse of a person to admit it to myself just to dwell in my own pity another day.
I'm not popular, to put it mildly. I'm not liked, to put it broadly. And I'm not outgoing, to put it meticulously.
How any of that meant I was worth anyone's rumors, I will never know.
Slamming my locker door shut, I turned abruptly away in hopeless motivation to get to Physics as fast as humanly possible.
It was then that I realized someone was staring at me, a sixth sense I'd picked up over the past few months of my return.
I turned my head accusingly to meet the stare of an unfamiliar face.
It reminded me of someone, leading me to think I should recognize them, but I didn't.
"Do I know you?" I demanded angrily, nervously pulling at the sleeves of my jacket.
Ignoring me, the boy turned on his heel majestically and stalked away.
"Hey!" I shouted, already in pace with him.
He walked faster.
"Hey!" I called again, catching his attention.
When he turned around, this time only an arm's length away from me, I was blown away by the strange color of his eyes.
It wasn't natural.
Something about the way the ring around his iris reflected the light made me think they were defying how light bends, for I'd learned enough about light over my years of science to know the difference.
Shoving this thought aside, I rose my chin to the point I felt sure of myself and glared. "I don't think you know how sick I am of putting up with everyone's crap lately, but I'm sure I could prove myself if you'd like."
This seemed to humor him. "Oh?"
I rolled my eyes. "Grow up."
I went to turn around, I was always running away from things, but his words caught me mid-thought.
"Truthfully, I couldn't care less what people are saying about you. I don't even care if they're true," he said dismissively.
"They're not," I interjected demandingly. "And I really didn't ask for your opinion of thier opinions, but thanks."
He laughed quietly before speaking again. "You don't remember me."
I frowned.
So I was right. I should remember him from somewhere.
But where?
"Should I?" I asked nervously.
He thought about this. "I don't suppose you should, though I would've liked it if you had. Either way, you can always start over. Start fresh."
I shook my head. "What are you talking about?"
"Valarie-"
"How do you know my name?" I demanded, fearing something greater than his unbiased opinion as I backed away.
"You don't remember anything about what happened to you when you were gone, do you?"
I wouldn't answer.
He was too sure of himself to be proven wrong. Mainly because I myself knew he was right.
But how would he know that?
Parts of my own sheltered mind didn't even know that.
"Something happened to you. Something that you can't change or refuse or take back. Ever."
I rolled my eyes, smiling now. "Ok. I don't know who you are or who you think you are, but I know you sound insane right now."
Normally, someone might take offense by that, but he seemed interested, if not humored, by my conclusion.
This irritated me.
"What do you want?"
"Valarie, listen to me. Don't you feel different at all? Don't you notice anything...strange?"
"You mean besides you?"
He was becoming insistant. "Nothing in your appearance or attitude? Nothing?"
"Leave. Me. Alone," I growled, turning around in spite of myself and marching quickly away.
"You know what you are!" he shouted through the now empty hallway. "You know what you are. You know-"
And just like that, everything clicked.
I remembered what happened.

"You have cancer," he said resolutely, his jaw clenching on the last word while his hand enclosed mine softly.
I nodded from my position in bed, feeling not the least bit comforted in the wrap around my head that concealed the fact I no longer had my blond curls.
He shook his head, fury shrouding his face. "I could kill them for telling you."
"I'd want to know," I said after a long silence as I debated. I knew in the end I would want to know. Truthfully, there was no way to deny something like that.
He sighed. "Val, do you trust me?"
I smiled up at him. "Of course I do, Levi."
He smiled, though it didn't reach his eyes. "I can change you. I can make you healthy again. Val, I can't lose you and I hope you don't want to leave me either."
I shook my head immediately, sitting up in the bed.
"What is it, Levi? Tell me."
His hand went from my own hand to my cheek where he cupped the side of my face gently as he searched my face for something.
I smiled at him patiently.
"Close your eyes."
I did as I was told, thinking he was going to kiss me again.
A smile played on my lips as I felt his face incling toward mine, but suddenly his lips were at the hollow of my throat.
My eyes darted open, shocked. "What-"
"I love you. Please, please don't forget that."
Struggling under his restraining arms, I whimpered. "Levi, wha-"
Suddenly, everything in the world was painful and burning and bleeding.
I screamed without sound.
Feeling like every inch of me was being stolen, I fell into the darkness where nothing mattered, nothing existed, and nothing was everything I had.

I gasped and turned back to the boy I now knew was Levi.
"I died," I shrieked, holding on to the wall to keep myself up from this new realization that occured to me.
He was at my side at once. "No. I saved you, remember? I saved you."
Was he convincing himself or me?
I frowned in concentration. "What happened to me? What did you do to me?" I demanded, pushing him as far away as possible.
"I saved you," he repeated, more desperately. "I love you, Val. I can't lose you."

He never did lose me.
Yet we both decided there was no more of the old, happy Valarie left inside me.
I was different.
"I'm different," I thought aloud on our anniversary two hundred and eleven years later.
"Mmm," Levi murmured, wrapping me tighter in his arms. "You're more of things. You're more opinionated, graceful, motivated, mature, fogiving, beautiful-"
I smiled, interrupted his babble with a kiss. "And more in love with her soulmate each year of forever."
After we exchanged blood, we concluded our anniversary in the only way we knew how.
We killed each other.




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