Remembering Ivy Bonus Chapter
Just for you, my sweet readers, a Remembering Ivy bonus chapter. It has mild spoilers, and is best enjoyed (and understood) after finishing Remembering Ivy.
~ William ~
The parking lot at Woodward College was mostly empty. It was a Saturday, so there weren’t a lot of people around. I wasn’t sure what had prompted me to stop here. A feeling. Instinct. I trusted my gut, so when I drove past the campus and had an urge to stop and look around, I did.
I parked and walked around for a while. It was nice. Lots of trees and cobblestone paths between the buildings. There wasn’t anything that stood out—nothing I recognized. But it had a hint of familiarity to it just the same. Nothing I could put my finger on. Just that instinct, tickling at the back of my mind.
There was a coffee shop across the street called Café Lit. The name wasn’t familiar, but given that it was across from a college, Lit probably stood for Literature. A literature-themed coffee shop. My intuition blazed to life, practically screaming at me to go inside. It was like I could smell something on the wind, telling me the direction to take.
I walked across the street and went inside. It smelled like coffee beans and fresh bread. The walls were paneled with dark wood, and there were bookshelves filled with well-worn copies of books. Little signs read, Please enjoy while you are here and return to the shelf before you leave.
I took slow steps inside, taking it all in. The display of Café Lit mugs for sale. The little stashes of books. The sound of the espresso machine whirring behind the counter. The soft murmur of conversation.
A handful of people sat at small, round tables. Several of them were looking in my direction. I didn’t worry much about that. For reasons I didn’t understand, people tended to stare at me. When I’d asked James why, he’d just shaken his head and told me the fact that I didn’t understand was part of why they did it.
James seemed to like giving answers that confused me.
I paused to look at the menu, trying to decide if I was going to stay and order something. I wasn’t hungry. I didn’t really want any coffee. But that instinct to be here was too much to ignore. Maybe I’d get something and just sit for a while.
I startled at the woman’s voice behind me.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “Are you in line?”
I’d been so wrapped up in my thoughts, I hadn’t noticed the two women who’d come up behind me. I smiled. “No, sorry. I’m still deciding.” I gestured for them to go ahead of me. “Please, go ahead.”
“Thanks,” she said.
They moved past me to order, and I glanced up at the menu again.
One of the baristas brought a coffee to the other side of the counter and set it down. Someone’s order.
“Ivy?” she called.
I froze, every muscle in my body going rigid. My gaze shifted, and I watched as a woman rose from her seat, walked to the counter, and took her cup.
Oh my god.
Her long blond hair was tied back in a ponytail at the nape of her neck, leaving it to drape down her back. She wore a mint green sweater with jeans and black shoes. For a second, she looked at me, meeting my eyes.
She was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen.
With my heart racing, I circled around her table and took a seat behind her. I had to hear her voice. I had to know.
She sat with someone else—a nice looking woman with dark skin and curly black hair. They spoke in soft voices I couldn’t quite hear. I moved a little closer.
“And we love you, but wouldn’t a date be nice?” the other woman asked. “What about that guy you met who keeps hinting?”
“Blake, the guy who works at Dorset Financial?” she asked. “I don’t think he’s been hinting at anything.”
Her voice reached inside my chest and wrapped itself around my heart. I knew that voice. Knew it better than I knew anything. Her voice had been inside my mind for as long as I could remember. Musical and lilting. Soft and sweet.
She was here. It was her. Ivy.
For a moment, I closed my eyes and let her voice wash over me. The words didn’t register. I was too enamored with the sound passing through her lips to worry about what she was saying.
My brain lit up with memories, images flashing quickly through my mind. Places and names. Words and feelings. Color and light. The pieces clicked together, like a jigsaw puzzle. And the picture it made was glorious.
Ivy. The woman with the voice I knew better than my own. With the heart that spoke to mine, whispering sweet words in the night. Comfort in the dark.
My chest felt tight with a rush of emotion. I’d been right. My visions had been true, and they had led me here. I hated to admit it, but before this moment, I’d been having doubts. Wondering if I was ever going to find her. In my darkest moments, I’d even began to question if she really existed.
But those doubts washed away in an instant, replaced by iron resolve. I knew why I was here, and now that I’d found her, everything would be fine. I could do what I’d been sent here to do.
I was going to save her.
I didn’t know what threat lurked at the edges of her world, waiting to harm her. Nor did I know why I’d been sent to prevent it from happening. I’d spent a lot of time trying to figure that out—time that I realized later should have been spent searching for her. A part of me had begun to fear I was already too late. That I’d missed my chance, and something terrible had already occurred.
But there she was, so close I could reach out and touch her. That gorgeous blond hair cascading down her back. I leaned closer, wanting desperately to be near her. Wishing I could simply touch her shoulder to get her attention, and tell her everything.
Ivy and her friend abruptly stood. Her friend put herself between me and Ivy, shooting me a hard glare. My eyebrows drew together and I opened my mouth to ask her if everything was okay—what could have made them get up to leave so quickly?—but before I could say something, they were already out the door.
I got up and went to the window. Ivy and her friend stopped outside, then parted ways, walking in different directions. My heart twisted at seeing her leave. A part of me—a very large part—wanted to run after her. To attach myself to her and never let her leave my sight.
Another part of me recognized the reality of our relationship—or lack thereof. I was a stranger to her. If I ran after her now and told her everything, she’d probably be scared. Or worse, angry. Maybe even horrified.
If I scared her off, I couldn’t do what I’d been sent to do. I had to figure out another way. But in the meantime, I still had to make sure she was safe.
I got up and darted outside in time to see her drive away. I read her license plate and repeated it to myself over and over while I got out my phone. I didn’t want to let this slip away, and sometimes I had trouble remembering things. Although when it came to Ivy, I didn’t think I’d have a problem. Still chanting it in my head, I typed it into my phone and saved the note.
I took a deep breath, trying to relax the tension in my shoulders. I had her license plate, but I wasn’t sure what to do with it. I was operating blind, no instructions to guide me. Going on nothing but instinct. But those instincts and intuitions hadn’t led me astray. They’d led me to her. Granted, it had taken longer than I’d thought. But that didn’t matter now.
All that mattered was her. And I had more than her license plate number. I hadn’t been listening carefully to the content of her conversation—I’d been too lost in the music of her voice—but two things ran through my mind. She’d said Dorset Financial, and Tuesday. I did a quick search on my phone, and found Dorset Financial’s address. It was downtown. That was easy enough.
I’d see what I could find out based on her license plate, and I’d come back here, hoping to catch her having coffee again. Maybe without a friend casting suspicious glares my direction. And on Tuesday, I knew where I’d be. At Dorset Financial, waiting for her.
Don’t worry, Ivy. I’m here, and I’m going to do everything in my power to protect you.