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 *To Live Forever And A Day* By: Winterflame4 (Michele)

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PostSubject: *To Live Forever And A Day* By: Winterflame4 (Michele)   Sun Aug 30, 2009 1:45 pm

Hello, all! As the description says, this is my first posted fan fiction on this site. I promise to post chapters as often as I can, but before the first chapter, I want to state a general disclaimer: This story came from my own crazy imagination, and I do not ever mean to imply or apply any of this to the very factual Il Divo, whom we all know and love. It was an idea that was the result of inspiration from seeing them live, not to mention the last of three plot ideas that I thought of. And of course, feedback is very much appreciated.

Il Divo doesn't show up in this chapter, but something tells me that they will make their appearance in the second one . With that, enjoy this first chapter of To Live Forever and a Day!

**********

Chapter One

It was a beautiful day to take a road trip, but not for Alexis Cooper. She wasn’t quite sure how, but her three best friends, Chloe Belrose, Izzy Travis, and Erika Greene had talked her into a vacation. Alexis wasn’t in the best mood, so the idea of a vacation didn’t sound like an enjoyable distraction. She sat in the back seat of Chloe’s car with Erika, looking out the window with tired, blue eyes. The warm morning sun warmed her face, also bringing out the dark circles under her eyes. Alexis partially shaded them from the bright sunlight with her hand, but that blocked out the clear blue sky, and the clumps of tall green trees, so she settled back into her seat to face forward. They hadn’t been on the road for long, but she was already anxious to be back in her bedroom, laying under the covers, in a state of listlessness without constant reminders of the hurt that had been inflicted not too long ago. Alexis closed her eyes in an effort to bring back the neutral darkness that hid her in her bedroom, but really shouldn’t have.

“Hey, Lexi, don’t fall asleep!” Izzy called from the front passenger’s seat. “We don’t have that long to travel, and the nature sights get better!”

Izzy had fiery, short red hair and brown eyes, which Chloe like to call “Izzy’s Butch” to tease her. She was a bold woman who really tried not to let the emotions of others get to her. She’d always find a roundabout way to make someone feel better, and that was very apparent today. Izzy knew all too well that Alexis had a soft spot for nature sights, but Alexis didn’t feel like sightseeing at the moment.

“Izzy, if the girl wants to sleep, let her,” Chloe said gently. In a more quiet tone, she added, “If you had a night like that, wouldn’t you want to sleep, too?”

Chloe was nearly a night-and-day opposite compared to Izzy. She had long, wavy blonde hair and light green eyes, more of a chic look. She was quieter than Izzy, but certainly spoke up whenever a friend or a family member was spoken against. Chloe had a more direct approach to aiding others, as this our-of-the-blue vacation so showed. This while thing had been her idea, which Izzy willingly obliged to attend and assist. So, Alexis had been right in assuming that this was a team effot created to help her out. She wasn’t sure if it was possible, but apparently, this sudden trip was one way of trying.

Erika reached over the middle seat to gently squeeze Alexis’ hand. “Don’t worry,” she whispered. “She’s only trying to make you feel better.”

Erika was truly the quietest in Alexis’ trio of friends, aside from Alexis, herself. She had long, straight black hair and a stunning pair of hazel eyes that seemed to see into the soul of whoever she was talking to. She and Alexis were connected in a way that none of the friends could explain, like they were sisters separated at birth. Of course, they weren’t even close to being related, but that was the best way to describe it. Eriks tended to be the neutral person in an argument, but always sought to solve the problem before it got too out of hand.

“So will one of you tell me where we’re going, now that I’m locked in?” Alexis asked. None of her friends had told her where they were going, probably because Alexis would back out.

“Can we, Chloe? She does have a point, since there’s no switch to unlock her door back there. Plus, I don’t think she’d throw herself out at this speed,” Izzy said.

“Okay, I suppose so,” Chloe said with a smile. “I chose a place that gets plenty of sun, lots of nature to see, but historic and quaint at the same time.”

“And this place is called...?”

“It’s the former Carpier Mansion, now the Carpier Mansion Hotel,” Erika replied for Chloe. “I’d describe what it looks like, but it would seem that we are here, already.”

As Chloe drove her car towards the front of the hotel, Alexis looked out her window to see what the place looked like. The hotel had four floors and four tall, white columns in front. The whole building was painted white, reminding Alexis of a plantation house or a very expensive hotel. From the outside, no architectural changes had been made during the transition from residence mansion to hotel, not even a sign out front to welcome guests. For the average passerby, the building would seem to be a residence, still. White framed, square windows dotted the front, with panes like colonial windows. Pulled-back white curtains could be seen behind every window from outside, so it seemed that no one else was staying there at the moment. Either that, or some of the tenants put their trust in the fact that the hotel was located in the middle of nowhere, thus ensuring total privacy during their stay.

Chloe turned off the car after unlocking all the doors, then stepped out. Izzy , Alexis, and Erika followed suit, each quietly shutting their doors so Chloe could lock the doors again. Once that was done, Chloe walked over to her three friends.

“Some place, huh?” She asked, smiling.

“I’ve got to hand it to you, Chloe,” Izzy said. “It’s so typically you to find a gem like this in the middle of nowhere.”

“Thanks, Izzy. What do you think about it, Alexis?” Chloe asked.

“It’s alright,” Alexis replied quietly, looking at the front of the building with a sense of dread. Chloe hadn’t been lying when she said there was a lot of nature to see. Trees virtually surrounded the place, but the bright sunlight somehow managed to leave nothing untouched.

“I guess we should get our stuff inside,” Chloe said. “That way, we can settle in quicker after the tour.”

“A tour?” Erika asked.

“Oh yeah, the manager gives individual guests or, in our case, single groups of guests, a tour of the hotel. Once we decide who’s staying where, someone else takes our luggage up, leaving us free for the tour.”

“I’ve never heard of a tour in a hotel,” Izzy replied. “How much does it cost?”

“It’s free for staying guests, which is like a bonus incentive to stay. Oh, and they have this little restaurant downstairs that I’ve heard nothing but good reviews about...”

Alexis wasn’t listening as Izzy and Chloe discussed the available vicinities and services of the hotel as she pulled her luggage out of the trunk, with Erika retrieving hers as well. She couldn’t stop thinking about the reason that she never wanted leave the safety of her dark bedroom, her sanctuary of late. Despite what her friends believed, she knew that she wasn’t ready for trips such as these, let alone social interactions with total strangers during something so simple as a hotel tour. Alexis wanted nothing more than to lock herself in her room again, to be alone. As Izzy and Chloe retrieved their luggage, she found herself looking at the front of the Carpier Mansion Hotel again. Upon looking at the third floor of the building, Alexis saw a woman staring outside from inside one of the room. The lady appeared to be wearing a white nightgown, her dark, wavy hair draped over her petite shoulders, her eyes seemed to be focused on the road that they had just driven on to get to the hotel, or at least until Alexis spotted her. In a slow, fluid motion, the woman looked down and locked eyes with Alexis. Her gaze wasn’t malicious, but resigned, like there were emotions that she wasn’t able to express–or couldn’t express. Alexis found her beautiful, but in an old romance film kind of way.

“So what do you think?”

“Of what?” Alexis asked, broken out of her reverie by Chloe’s question.

“I just got through saying that this should be pretty cool, since the last time I checked, every single room was available,” Chloe said. “It’s like having the whole place to ourselves for a week.”

The mention of how long their stay would be wasn’t a surprise for Alexis; she could faintly remember the duration being mentioned some time when she was still in her room. The first part sounded odd to her, though.

“Actually, I don’t think we’ll be the only ones,” she said, adjusting a long strand of her dark brown hair behind her ear. “Unless someone’s checking out today, I just saw someone in one of the rooms.”

“Maybe someone checked in after you last checked?” Izzy suggested to Chloe.

“That’s true,” Chloe agreed. “Let’s go inside, shall we?” She added, closing the trunk of her car.

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PostSubject: Re: *To Live Forever And A Day* By: Winterflame4 (Michele)   Sun Aug 30, 2009 1:49 pm

Chapter Two

The four friends walked up the front steps of the Carpier Mansion Hotel, luggage in tow. Once they were inside, the full beauty of the interior welcomed them warmly. The flooring in the lobby was in a wood (none of the girls were quite sure which, but Alexis could guess at oak), and the walls were paneled in the same wood, but in a far more decorative style. The images of roses were carved into the paneling, which Alexis thought was a nice touch. As far as she could tell, these were the original walls that had surely served as the foyer when the hotel was still a resident mansion. When Chloe, Izzy, and Erika left their luggage by the door, she followed suit, then walked with them to the nearby front desk. On the wall behind the desk was a painting of a clean-shaven man, dressed in an 1800's style suit, sitting in a chair staring straight ahead. He appeared to be middle-aged, or just a mature-looking young man, and no emotion could be immediately noticed in his features. Alexis’ attention to the portrait was taken when a woman walked behind the desk and addressed the group. She looked to be middle-aged, with dark green eyes and brown hair, which was tied in a bun at the back of her head. She wore a green shirt to accentuate her eyes, a pair of black slacks, and black pumps.

“Welcome, ladies, each one of you, to the Carpier Mansion Hotel,” the woman greeted them. “My name is Mrs. Sasha Leering, and I will attend to whatever your needs may be for as long as you remain here. Now, if you can sort out which rooms you will each stay in, I will have Jack, Frederick, Harry, and Jordan take up your luggage, then we can begin your complimentary tour.”

At the mention of their names, the four men came into the lobby, each rolling a cart behind them. They each then started to load up each girl’s luggage into a cart respectively, then awaited direction.

“Are any of the rooms occupied, as of yet?” Chloe asked Mrs. Leering.

“No, you are the first four guests of the day. However, I believe another group of four is going to check in later,” Mrs. Leering informed her.

“Guess that tenant was a trick of the light, huh, Alexis?” Chloe asked as she looked through the hotel map for a room.

Mrs. Leering seem to freeze for a split second after she looked up at Alexis. The two women locked eyes, making Alexis feel just a tad uneasy. This woman was staring at her with a strange intensity unlike anything Alexis had seen before. In the next second when she answered Chloe, Mrs. Leering unfroze and snapped out of the stare.

“Must’ve been,” Alexis replied. “I really didn’t get any sleep last night; my eyes must be playing tricks on me.”

“How about the third floor, girls?” Chloe asked Izzy, Erika, and Alexis.

“Sounds alright,” Izzy replied.

“It’s okay with me. What about you. Lexi?” Erika asked.

“That’s fine.” Alexis’ thoughts instantly turned to the woman that she had seen from outside. That room was on the third floor.

Chloe selected the first four rooms on the third floor and signed her name on the reservation form, followed by Izzy, Erika, then Alexis. Mrs. Leering directed Jack, Frederick, Harry, and Jordan to the individual rooms, then walked out from behind the desk to face the friends.

“Now that you’ve chosen your rooms, we can now–,“ Mrs Leering started, interrupted by the phone ringing. “My apologies, I’ll be with you in a minute,” she told them.

Mrs. Leering went back behind the desk and picked up the phone, a pen in hand. “This is the Carpier Mansion Hotel, Sasha Leering speaking... Oh, you are?...No, that is perfectly fine, it’s no problem. Do you still want those four rooms on the fourth floor as was discussed?...Excellent, sir. Then I’ll be expecting you in a few minutes?...Great, I am looking forward to accommodating you and your friends! Goodbye, and thank you again for choosing the Carpier Mansion Hotel.”

Mrs. Leering hung up the phone, made some quick notes, then put down her pen and joined the three friends again. “My apologies, ladies, that was our other party of four checking in, which will be here shortly. Now, would it be alright to form a double group tour?”

“I don’t see why not,” Chloe replied. “Do you girls mind?”

“The more the merrier, right?” Izzy said with a smile.

“I don’t mind,” Alexis agreed quietly.

“Alright, then,” Mrs. Leering said, evidently happy that this was going to work out. “Feel free to roam in the garden out back while you wait, or perhaps check out the lounge area through the door on our right. It won’t be too long of a wait, I assure you.”

“Alright, then,” Chloe replied, also smiling.

With that, the three girls walked to the back door a few yards away to walk through the garden.

*****************
“This is the Carpier Mansion Hotel, Sasha Leering speaking.”

“Yes, hello, Mrs. Leering. I just called to tell you that the traffic on our way to your hotel was especially thin this morning, and we’re ahead of schedule as a result.”

“Oh, you are?”

“Yes, and well, we just wanted to see if it was alright if we checked in earlier, or if you’d prefer we still come in at two-o’clock, as we originally planned.”

“No, that is perfectly fine, it’s no problem. Do you still want those four rooms on the fourth floor as was discussed?”

“If that is still a possible arrangement, then yes.”

“Excellent, sir. Then I’ll be expecting you in a few minutes?”

“That’s correct. Thank you for letting us check in early, Mrs. Leering. It’s very much appreciated.”

“Great, I am looking forward to accommodating you and your friends! Goodbye, and thank you again for choosing the Carpier Mansion Hotel.”

“Goodbye, Mrs. Leering.”

Urs Bühler ended the call with the hotel manager, happy that they were actually ahead of schedule. He had been worried that they’d have to drive around for a while longer until the original check-in time, but initially worried that they were going to be late. Traffic on the city roads leading to the country roads, which led to the hotel, were usually congested with heavy traffic, as David had told him. Finally, he and his fellow band mates could rest and relax before the serious work for the next leg of the tour began. He got up, then went into the main lounge area of the bus.

When he walked in, he saw a strange scene before him. Carlos was sitting in the couch to his left, looking like he was trying to hold back a laugh, watching Sébastien and David, who were seated on the other couch. Sébastien was looking away from David, looking like he was sorely tempted to get revenge, but wouldn’t. David had a smile on his face, his index finger raised at Sébastien, as if teasing him.

Confused, Urs went and sat next to Carlos, who was still watching the two men across from him. “What are they doing?” Urs asked Carlos in a whisper.

“It’s this little game that’s getting on Sébastien’s nerves, I guess,” Carlos quietly replied, smiling wider as he continued to hold back his laughter. “Every so often, David will–“

“I’m not touching you, I’m not touching you,” David repeated, waving his index finger around Sébastien, looking very mischievous.

“...He’ll do that. Sébastien hasn’t done anything in retaliation...yet,” Carlos finished.

“How long has David been doing this?” Urs asked Carlos, whispering again. He could now find how this was so funny. He could tell that Sébastien wanted to get back at David, but refused to, even though David must have been doing this for enough time to make it annoying.

“He’s been doing that to pass the time while you were calling the hotel,” Carlos replied. “What did the manager say about us coming early?”

“Mrs. Leering said it was alright,” Urs assured him quietly, keeping an eye on David and Sébastien. “We should get there in about five to ten minutes, I think.”

Without notice, David stopped his game, sitting back into his seat to face Urs and Carlos. “So it’s alright if we show up early?” He asked.

“Yes, and I was just telling Carlos that we should be there shortly,” Urs replied.

Sébastien relaxed once David had stopped his little game, now facing the same direction as David. “At least we’re coming earlier than later,” he said. “Whatever happened to the traffic that usually runs through here is beyond me. From the way you were telling us, David, I was expecting traffic similar to that of Los Angeles.”

“So was I,” David replied. “I suppose it’s just our lucky day.”

“What is this place like, David?” Carlos asked. “We haven’t seen a photograph or pamphlet about it since you found out it was your turn to pick a hotel.”

“From what I read on the internet, it was once a residential mansion, but was converted into a hotel as few as a couple of decades ago. The website said it was a very historic location, but not much more as to what makes it important. Apparently, we get a free tour of the hotel once our luggage is taken up to our rooms.”

“That sounds interesting,” Urs said, interested in the idea of a historic tour of the very hotel they’d be staying at.

Suddenly, his cell phone rang, the display showing that it was the hotel calling. “Speaking of which...Hello?”

“Hello, sir, this is Mrs. Leering from the Carpier Mansion Hotel again. I just wanted to run something by you and your accompanying friends and make sure that it’s alright.”

“What is it?” Urs asked, curious as to what issue could’ve come up.

“Well, a group of four ladies just checked in and haven’t started their tour yet. Since you all are going to be arriving in a few minutes anyway, I was wondering if we could group your tour and theirs. If not, I can go ahead and send them on their tour before you arrive.”

“Ah, I see. Let me check, very quickly,” Urs replied. He put his thumb over the mouthpiece of his cell phone and turned to the rest of the guys.

“Who is it?” Carlos asked.

“It’s Mrs. Leering, the manager of the hotel. She called to see if it was alright if she grouped our tour with another one for a group of four ladies who just barely arrived. If it’s not okay, Mrs. Leering will just start their tour before we get there.”

“Four ladies, you say?” Carlos asked, a smile on his face. “I don’t believe there would any problem with that.”

“And once again we are reminded of Carlos’ romantic side,” Sébastien teased. “I don’t see any problem with it. What do you think, David?”

“It’s okay with me,” David replied.

“Then it’s settled,” Urs said. Uncovering the mouthpiece of his cell phone, he gave Mrs. Leering the verdict.

“Excellent, sir. We will see you soon. Goodbye!”

“Goodbye, ma’am,” Urs said, ending the call. He put his cell phone back in his pocket, then relaxed once again.

“Hey, is that the hotel right over there?” Sébastien asked, turned toward the window, pointing at something nearby.

David turned around to look at what Sébastien was pointing at, then smiled widely. “That’s the one. Hey guys, look at this place! Isn’t it something?”

Urs and Carlos got up from their seats to look out from the opposite window, and even from this distance, each of the men could see the historic beauty about the place. They could make out four tall columns in the front, with all of the exterior painted white. It was indeed a sight to see.

“It’s a big hotel, that’s for sure,” Carlos commented as the bus turned to drive to the front of the hotel.

“Seems very old, but very sturdy,” David added.

The bus parked in the front of the Carpier Mansion Hotel, then the guys gathered their luggage before stepping off the bus. Once they were all off the bus, they looked up at the building once before going inside. Urs, on the other hand, paused to look at the building again. His eyes passed one colonial window after another until his attention was diverted to a window on the fourth floor, where he saw the image of a suited man pacing in front of the window. The man had dark, tidy hair and looked very sophisticated in a classic kind of way. At one point, he stopped pacing and looked out the window, almost in desperation, until he and Urs locked eyes. There was some kind of emotion that he was trying to convey just with his eyes, but Urs had no clue what this man was wanting from him. He was broken out of his reverie by a strong hand on his shoulder. Startled, he jumped a little, but it was only David.

“Hey, are you okay?” David asked him.

“I’m alright,” Urs replied. “I just got distracted, is all. Let’s get inside, shall we?”

David patted his friend on the shoulder before they caught up to Carlos and Sébastien inside the hotel.

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PostSubject: Re: *To Live Forever And A Day* By: Winterflame4 (Michele)   Sun Aug 30, 2009 1:51 pm

Chapter Three

After they set their luggage by the doors in separate piles, the guys were greeted by a middle-aged woman with dark green eyes and brown hair, which was tied into a tight bun at the back of her head. She wore a green shirt, black slacks, and a pair of black pumps.

"Welcome, gentlemen, each one of you, to the Carpier Mansion Hotel," the woman greeted them. "My name is Mrs. Sasha Leering, and I will attend to whatever your needs may be for as long as you remain here. Now, if you can sort out which rooms you will each stay in, I will have Jack, Frederick, and Harry, and Jordan take up your luggage, then we can begin your complimentary tour."

"Hello, Mrs. Leering," Urs said, shaking her hand. "My name is Urs Bühler. We talked earlier on the phone about the group tour?..."

"Ah yes, I remember," Mrs. Leering replied. As four men with luggage carts came into the lobby and began to load each man’s luggage into each cart separately, the rest of the introductions were made, each man shaking Mrs. Leering's hand when mentioned.

"It is very wonderful to meet you, and even more of an honor to accommodate you," Mrs. Leering said once the introductions were complete. "I hope that the Carpier Mansion Hotel is everything that you have expected and more."

"It's wonderful to be able to stay in a place this quiet, yet so historic," David said.

"I am glad that you like this building. Let me get the other group, and we will begin your complimentary tour," Mrs. Leering said before she directed the luggage carriers, then walked towards a back door that the guys had just noticed, which seemed to lead into the garden.

While they waited, they observed the beautiful lobby. The floor was oak, as was the paneling on the walls, with roses carved into the wood. While the rest of the guys observed the carvings, Urs’ eyes drifted to a portrait behind the desk by the door. The subject was a sophisticated gentleman, who was dressed in a classic-styled suit, sitting in a fancy armchair staring at something behind whoever was the painter. He appeared to be middle-aged, or just a mature-looking young man, and appeared quite deep in concentration. Something about the man was familiar, but he couldn’t quite place what was familiar about him.

"Here we are!" Mrs. Leering announced, walking back to the guys.

Following behind Mrs. Leering were four beautiful women, each of them very different in their appearances. One had long, wavy blonde hair and light green eyes. She wore a light blue tank top and a knee length, white skirt, with white and tan flip flops. The woman to her left had short, blazing red hair and contrasting brown eyes, who wore a short sleeved, lime green shirt, a pair of khaki shorts, and brown tennis shoes. Behind the first pair to their right was a woman with jet black hair and hazel eyes, who wore a yellow summer dress and brown flip flops. None of the women in the group seemed to stand out, that is until Urs laid eyes on the last woman who was walking with her black-haired friend. This woman had long, dark brown hair that didn’t bounce around her shoulders like her friends, and a pair of crystalline blue eyes that were drawn everywhere but straight ahead. She wore a navy blue, three-quarter sleeved shirt, with dark stonewashed skinny jeans, and a pair of simple black tennis shoes. He noticed that she wore no make-up, and that her face seemed to be drawn downward, like she didn’t really want to be there. Absentmindedly, Urs wondered what could have upset this beautiful woman, and why none of her friends seemed downcast as well. He didn’t realize until he was tapped on the shoulder that he had been staring at the woman.

"Still on Earth, Urs?" Sébastien whispered, a smile on his face.

"Of course I am," Urs replied, a new smile on his face. "Are you?"

"I'm not all that certain," Sébastien said, still smiling. "Ask me again later."

Urs didn't have to ask Carlos or David if they had set their eyes on any of the women in the group; he could tell just by looking at them that someone had stolen their attention, as his had been stolen. He knew better to ask later, once everything was unpacked and things had calmed down.

"And so, the two groups meet!" Mrs. Leering declared, visibly happy for the opportunity to combine two groups for some reason. "Well, I thought that, since there are two groups instead of one on this tour, that introductions are in order. How about we socialize before the tour? I'll give you a few minutes before we start the tour."

With that, Mrs. Leering walked out of the lobby into the room on their right, leaving the guys and the group of women standing in an awkward silence. However, it didn't take long for Carlos to speak first, visibly reducing the awkwardness of the moment.

"Good morning, ladies," he said with a smile. "Allow me to introduce myself and my friends. My name is Carlos Marín, and these are my friends: David Miller, Sébastien Izambard, and Urs Bühler."

As they were introduced, each Divo nodded or waved, knowing that they were going to have to thank Carlos for helping shade out their awkward anxieties.

"It's very nice to meet you all," the red-haired woman said, returning Carlos' smile. "Well, I'm Izzy Travis, this is Erika Greene, Chloe Belrose, and Alexis Cooper."

Each woman waved or raised a hand as they were introduced, every one except for the one named Alexis Cooper.

"So, what brings you to the Carpier Mansion Hotel?" David asked the women.

"We are here on a spontaneous vacation," Erika Greene said, smiling as she looped her arm through Alexis Cooper's arm. "How about you?"

"We thought about spending some relaxation time here. It's quite nice; you don't get all the city noises," David replied. "Did you have to travel far?"

"Not really," Chloe Belrose answered. "We were only on the road for about half an hour or so. What about you all?"

"A little over an hour, I'd say," Sébastien responded. "Of course, I wasn't able to look at the clock for a while," he added, looking at David mischievously.

"Long story?" Erika asked, a knowing smile playing on her features.

"Pretty much," David replied, returning her smile. "Something tells me that I should be sleeping with one eye open during our stay," he appended, earning a small laugh from everyone present.

As everyone else was chatting, Urs was trying to think of something that could possibly engage conversation between him and Alexis Cooper. He had been watching her as his friends and her friends socialized, observing how she became a little more visibly anxious at the mention of a “spontaneous vacation,” like she needed to be somewhere else. All words failed him, though, as he continued to wonder what could be preoccupying her. Just then, they were all interrupted by the sound of pumps walking across the floor toward them.

"Have we all introduced ourselves?" Mrs. Leering asked with a smile. Upon seeing the silent nods, she continued. "Excellent! Now, are there any questions before we begin the tour?"

Surprisingly enough to Urs, Alexis Cooper was the one who asked the first and only question.

"If I may ask, who is the man in the portrait on the wall above the desk?" She asked, her voice still quiet.

Everyone besides Urs and Alexis Cooper seemed almost surprised to see the portrait, as if no one had noticed before now that it was there.

"An excellent question, Miss Cooper!" Mrs. Leering said, noticeably enthused. "That is a portrait of the mind behind the architectural designs of the Carpier Mansion, not to mention the original owner, Mr. Carlton Carpier. It was painted in 1910 to commemorate Mr. Carpier's thirty-seventh birthday. Are there any other questions before we bgin the tour?"

When no one else spoke up, Mrs. Leering too that as a no. "Alright then, let us begin!"

Mrs. Leering walked the combined group into the ballroom, a handsome expanse of a room with light wood flooring and blue and gold paneling upon the walls. Chandeliers hung from the ceiling, illuminating all of the room perfectly. She told stories about the grand parties that had been held here, and prominent members of early society who had danced there. Next, she took them into the garden along the winding brick path running through it. There were patches of pink tulips, yellow lupines, bluebells of Scotland, daffodils, and white roses all around, giving off a perfume that had a very delectable scent. Ornamental trees were also planted in the garden, like white flowering apricots and dogwoods, and shading trees, like fruitless mulberry trees, one large Chinese elm, along with an American elm, and one black oak tree. The next stop was inside on the first floor, Mr. Carpier's study room. One wall was completely covered with a huge bookshelf, all shelves full with encyclopedias, novels, and other books. Mrs. Leering told everyone that his study became Mr. Carpier's second office when he got older and had more trouble with mobility. Once the tour was complete, each guest was handed his or her room key, then each headed to their rooms. The Divos said goodbye to the group of ladies, hoping to see them again.

*****************

Once the tour of the hotel was done with, Izzy, Chloe, and Erika all went with Alexis into her room to talk for a while. Alexis wanted to be alone, which she knew was the reason they wanted to keep her company. She had been quiet throughout the whole group tour, only speaking on sudden impulse to ask about the painting of Mr. Carpier behind the desk. She walked into her room last, locking the door behind her before going to sit on her bed.

"That was an interesting tour," Chloe said, trying to make conversation.

"Forget the tour, what about those guys?" Izzy asked, a wide smile on her face.

"Oh, I know! They were so nice, and so handsome!" Chloe replied, mirroring Izzy's enthused smile.

"At least we may have made some new friends," Erika added.

Finally, Alexis couldn’t handle it. "Didn't you see how that whole thing was set up?" She asked, looking each of her friends in the eyes.

"Well, yeah, in a group, Lexi," Izzy replied matter-of-factly.

"I mean that it felt like some instant dating thing to me," Alexis replied, hugging her knees to her chest. "She never told us that the other group of four were men."

"So?" Chloe asked. "What's the matter with that? It could've been an honest mistake, Lexi."

"I don't care," Alexis said, beginning to sound upset, tears gathering in her eyes. "I have Donny, remember? Why would I want anyone else?"

An uncomfortable silence followed, with Alexis’ three friends casting sad, careful glances at each other.

"Lexi, honey, he's gone," Erika said, rubbing her friend's arm to comfort her.

"Yes, for now," Alexis said. "What if he's been calling me and leaving messages? What if he goes to my house to say that he's changed his mind, and finds that I'm not there? He'll think that I don't love him anymore, that I don't want him back."

"We don't know why he did what he did, A.J. ," Izzy said, using Alexis' other nickname. "But he stood you up, for crying out loud. And at your own wedding..."

"He got cold feet," Alexis said in defense. "Traffic could've gotten in his way..."

"He was withdrawn, and traffic couldn't have been thinner yesterday, Lexi," Chloe replied.

"You're wrong, Chloe," Alexis said, a tear sliding down her cheek. "He loves me, and I love him. I'm still engaged to him, and he will come back."

"Lexi, honey, he left you at the altar," Erika whispered. "If something had gotten in the way yesterday on his way to the church, he had everyone's number. His brother would have even know, his best man. I'm sorry for being so adamant about this, but you've got to move on. We don't know why, but he left you at the altar on your wedding day. He would’ve called by now if that wasn’t the case; he knows your cell phone number, and ours."

"We've been calling him too, Lexi," Chloe said, sitting next to Alexis' empty side of the bed, holding her available hand. "He hasn't called back, not one of our calls were returned."

After a few moments of silence, Alexis asked if she could be alone, to which her friends agreed. Each gave her a friendly hug, promising their presence if she should need them, then leaving her room. The three women walked halfway down the hallway before stopping to share words.

"I'm getting worried about her," Izzy admitted quietly. "It seems like she finally understands, but then she defends him again."

"She still loves Donny," Erika added quietly. "Loves him enough to stand up for him when he makes another big mistake."

Chloe nodded absentmindedly. "It's one thing for us to believe he's out of her life," she said. "Now, it's up to her to accept it, no matter how long it may take. For her sake, though, I hope that time comes soon."

The girls then walked downstairs to the lobby, leaving their friend alone to try realizing what they had known for hours on end.

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PostSubject: Re: *To Live Forever And A Day* By: Winterflame4 (Michele)   Sun Aug 30, 2009 1:53 pm

Chapter Four

Once her friends had granted Alexis the privacy she sorely needed, she curled up into a ball on her bed, tears streaming down her face. Her friends’ words flashed across her mind, and couldn’t let herself believe them. She twisted the diamond ring on her left ring finger, seeing Donny’s face in the facets. Alexis saw some kind of truth in the faces of her best friends when they were expressing their thoughts on the matter, a truth that confused Alexis. She knew that her friends would never lie to her about something like this, not even for a sick, twisted joke. They had known each other since elementary school, through intermediate school, and high school together; all of their boyfriends had been a part of the circle of friends, including Donny. It didn’t make sense to any of them when Donny never showed up to the church, not even calling to tell someone where he was, if he was coming to the church at all. That’s why Alexis believed that he was confused, that he’d come to his senses, ask her to marry him again. Why hadn’t he called her cell phone, though? He had her on speed dial, and shouldn’t she have been the first to know if he was going to stand her up? She worried that he had contacted her on her home phone, leaving countless messages, or had stopped by the house to talk to her in person, to apologize. More tears spilled from her eyes as she imagined his heartbreak, how he’d feel when she wouldn’t be able to return his calls or greet him at the door. After a while, her eyes began to droop, and she drifted off to sleep...

Alexis found herself in a garden, standing on a path in the grass. She felt like she was waiting, but for who or what, she didn’t know. She looked all around her, her face stiff from old tears. Alexis broke into a run down the path, new tears burning in her eyes as the wind flew through her hair. Before she went farther, though, she was stopped by a voice calling her name.

“Alexis...”

She turned around, seeing someone behind her. Curious, she walked back, squinting her eyes as she tried to make out the person standing in front of her. As she got closer, Alexis saw that the person was a beautiful woman in what appeared to be a white nightgown. Her long, dark brown hair was draped over her shoulders, some strands occasionally being played with by the light breeze. The woman had a gentle smile on her face, her blue eyes sparkling like two pools of water.

“Alexis...,” The woman said again, her voice smooth and sophisticated.

As Alexis drew closer, the woman held out her hand. Without fully acknowledging it, Alexis held out her own hand, looking at the woman’s kind face as she moved closer and closer to her. Once they stood directly in front of her, Alexis looked at their hands, hers above the woman’s, then back to the woman’s face. The woman nodded, as if in approval, or reassurance.

“Take my hand, Alexis,” the woman said, still smiling.

Alexis lowered her hand to the woman’s, then...

Alexis woke with a start, sitting straight up in bed. She tried to catch her breath as her mind slowly made light of the real world from the dream. That had felt so real to Alexis that she didn’t believe that she was sleeping at all. Who was that woman? Why did she feel like she had seen her before? More importantly, what would’ve happened if their hands had touched? On a whim, Alexis looked up at the opposite wall, and she couldn’t believe her eyes.

There was a woman standing at the end of the bed, one with a white nightgown and long, dark hair. There was no mistaking it; Alexis knew that it was the woman from her dream.

“Who are you?” Alexis whispered.

The woman, still looking at Alexis, moved to the left side of the bed. She looked down, but not exactly at Alexis. Alexis followed the woman’s sad gaze down to her engagement ring, looking at it for a few seconds before looking back up at the woman.
“Has something happened to Donny?” Alexis asked, not sure what else to ask.

In reply, the woman looked at her own left hand sadly, where Alexis saw a ring.

“You were going to get married...,” Alexis whispered sadly. “I was, too.”

The woman looked back at Alexis with an sympathetic expression briefly before looking at the window with an expecting look.

“Is he coming?” Alexis asked, not entirely sure who she was referring to.

Without prior notice, the woman sped towards the door, then through it. Intrigued, Alexis got up from the bed, speeding to the door. She unlocked it, then opened the door to look into the hallway for that woman. To her surprise, no one else was there.

“That’s strange...,” Alexis muttered, shutting and re-locking the door.

Once back in the room, Alexis decided to freshen up. She took a shower, then changed into a teal, short-sleeved shirt, another pair of dark stonewashed skinny jeans, then put on a pair of white tennis shoes. She combed and blow-dried her hair, putting it in a simple, no-fuss ponytail. Once she was ready, she opted for a walk in the garden to get some air. After all, she needed some time to calm her spinning thoughts.

*****************

After the tour, the Divos went up to their rooms to sort out their luggage, then they went back downstairs to socialize in the lounge room downstairs. Urs and David sat on one couch, with Sébastien and Carlos sitting in a couch across from them.

“That tour was pretty cool,” David said, relaxing on the couch.

“Definitely so,” Sébastien said. “Most of the other group seemed to like it, too.”

“And in return, I believe we like the ladies, no?” Carlos asked, smiling.

“More or less,” David said teasingly. “Even on vacation, you’re a romantic. How does that work?”

“When am I not?” Carlos asked laughing.

While his friends were chatting, Urs kept thinking about Alexis Cooper. He had been thinking about her ever since the end of the tour, when she had gone from quiet and reserved to very anxious. Moreover, she was so beautiful, but whatever was weighing on her mind had almost covered her vibrance, making her seem more of a sad beauty than anything. It didn’t help matters that Urs never liked to see someone so down, so bothered.

“You have something on your mind?” David asked him, stopping mid-conversation with Sébastien and Carlos.

“It’s that woman from earlier,” Urs said. “She looked so sad...”

“Which one?” Carlos asked.

“The one that didn’t wave or anything when her name was called; Alexis Cooper,” Urs replied.

“Oh, the one standing next to Erika Greene? I had noticed that as well,” David said.

“I just can’t seem to get her off of my mind,” Urs murmured. “If I had known what room she was staying in, I’d go and see what was the matter, but of course she could tell me it’s none of my business.”

“Perhaps,” Sébastien agreed. “Or, she could tell you what’s going on. Sometimes, people find it easier to tell a stranger about their problems.”

“True..I suppose I could ask Mrs. Leering if she could at least tell me her room number so I can introduce myself,” Urs thought aloud.

“Good thinking,” David said with a smile. Looking up, he added, “And speaking of good...”

Upon looking up to see what David was talking about, the Divos saw three of the women from the other group: Chloe Belrose, Izzy Travis, and Erika Greene. They were all chatting amongst themselves until they walked into the lounge room, where they met the guys’ eyes. Carlos waved them over, and they walked over to settle on one of the couches that ended at the arms of the other couches, making an open box shape.

“How are you, ladies?” Carlos asked them.

“Carlos, right? I’m Izzy. I mean, we all introduced ourselves earlier, but that somehow felt way more awkward,” she said with a smile, holding out her hand over the arm of the couch.

“It’s a pleasure to, well, re-meet you, Izzy,” Carlos said with a charming smile, taking her hand and kissing it lightly, earning a blushing smile from Izzy.

“And I’m Chloe. It’s a pleasure to meet you Mr. ...,” Chloe said, not able to remember Sébastien’s name.

Smiling, Sébastien replied, “You may call me Sébastien, Chloe.”

“I’m David,” David said to the last woman, also smiling.

“It’s very nice to meet you again, David. You can call me Erika,” Erika replied, returning his smile.

“And I’m Urs,” Urs said, not introducing himself to any one of the ladies in particular, considering the one that he wished to be there was not.

“Hello,” each of the ladies said in turn.

“So, out of curiosity, where is your friend?” Sébastien asked.

The three women shared a worried glance before Erika answered. “She’s upstairs in her room.”

“Has something happened?” Urs asked, trying not to sound too sudden in asking.

“Not today, no,” Erika replied. “Yesterday was rough for her, though. That’s what this hotel trip is for, to make her feel better. It doesn’t seem to be working, though.”

“If I may ask, what happened to her?” David asked, not meaning to pry.

Again, the women shared a worried glance before Erika spoke for them again. “Her wedding was supposed to happen yesterday. Everything was set up at the church, everyone showed up...except for the groom.”

“That’s horrible...,” David said, clearly taken aback.

“That’s not the worst part,” Chloe said. “She still thinks that they’re going to get married. Alexis thinks that she should be back at home in case he should call or knock on her door. We even told her that we’ve been calling him too, but none of our calls have been returned. Even after that, she thinks he is going to come back, that everything will be okay–“

Chloe stopped, beginning to get choked up. Izzy took her friend’s hand. “Chloe, she’s going to be fine, I know it. She’s our Lexi, our A.J.. Soon enough, she’ll realize the truth.”

Chloe nodded, looking at Izzy and Erika’s faces before wiping her eyes. “I apologize for just choking up like that,” she said to the Divos. “It’s just that we’ve known her for so long, and we really thought Donny would be the guy who’d love her and make her feel as special as we know she is.”

“It’s perfectly alright, Chloe,” Sébastien said, handing her a tissue from the box on a corner table. “She’s your friend, and you only want what’s best for her.”

Chloe thanked Sébastien for the tissue before dabbing her eyes, nodding in agreement with what he said.

Just then, Urs looked up at the entrance to the lounge room and saw Alexis Cooper walk by, probably headed to the garden.

“I’ll be right back,” he said, standing to leave the room.

“Where are you headed?” Sébastien asked.

After thinking about it for a moment, Urs answered, “Just a walk in the garden. I’ll be back soon.”

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PostSubject: Re: *To Live Forever And A Day* By: Winterflame4 (Michele)   Sun Aug 30, 2009 1:56 pm

Chapter Five

Alexis walked downstairs, past the lounge room, then through the back door and into the hotel’s beautiful garden. She quietly shut the door behind her before stepping foot on the winding brick path that wove through the freshly cut grass. Alexis took her time walking and looking around, smelling the perfume of the assorted flowers and seeing the precious blooms on the ornamental trees. She followed the path until she came to the giant Chinese elm, breaking off the path to sit under the shade that its leaves created. There was a light breeze that caressed her face, bringing the perfume of the flowers back to soothe her. The speeding thoughts in her head slowed to a more understandable pace, allowing her some kind of peace. Alexis leaned against the tree trunk, closing her eyes to relax. Who had that woman in the white nightgown been? Alexis had now seen her three times: when she first arrived, in her dream, and in her room when she woke up. Why had the woman rushed out through the door all of a sudden? One possibility was that Alexis was still waking up, and she had just imagined seeing the woman, which would explain how she could witness someone run through a closed door. On the other hand, a part of her said that the woman had been no figment of her imagination, no result of tired eyes or a lack of sleep. That part of her truly believed that she had seen a ghost, but there was still one question to be answered: If that woman had indeed been a ghost, why was she constantly appearing to Alexis, alone? She was soon broken out of her reverie when she heard a male voice say hello.

Opening her eyes, Alexis looked up to see a man standing in front of her. She recognized him from the tour earlier, the one whose eyes she felt on her virtually the whole time. He had long-ish dark hair and hazel eyes, with a kind face and a relaxed stance. He wore a pair of cargo shorts and a blue t-shirt, though he looked like a formal suit kind of guy. Despite herself, Alexis found the man to be quite handsome, but then after remembering the ring on her left hand, did her best to ignore the thought.

“Hello,” she replied, her voice quiet.

Gesturing to the space beside her, he asked, “May I?”

Alexis nodded her consent, looking at the grass by her feet as the man sat beside her under the tree. There were a few moments of silence before the man introduced himself.

Holding out a hand, he said, “I’m not sure if you remember me, but my name is Urs Bühler. My friends and I went on the group tour that you and your friends took.”

“I remember,” Alexis said, looking at the man. Just for politeness sake, she shook his hand, then let go of it. “I’m Alexis Cooper.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you again, Miss Cooper,” Urs said.

“You can call me Alexis, if you want,” Alexis said, not sure if she could get used to being called Miss Cooper.

“Alexis,” Urs amended, smiling. Looking around at the garden, he added, “This is a beautiful place.”

“It is,” Alexis agreed, still quiet. “My friends know that I love nature, so I suppose that’s one of the reasons why they brought me here.”

Urs nodded, trying to think of something more to talk about. After a few more moments of silence, he decided to aim for what he was wanting to say in the first place. Of course, he knew what the problem would be, but he had the feeling that he needed to get her to trust him.

“I don’t mean to pry, and you’re welcome to tell me that it’s none of my business, but I couldn’t help but see how upset you looked during introductions earlier, and how you still seem so down,” Urs said, being careful not to step where he felt he shouldn’t. “If you want, you can let the load off of your shoulders and talk it out with me. Of course, if you don’t want to, I’ll understand.”

In the seconds of silence that followed, Urs hoped that she didn’t take any of his words the wrong way, that she could confide in him. One thing still boggled his mind, though: Why was he getting the intense feeling that he needed to let her know that she could trust him? Sure, she was a beautiful woman, but she was a stranger. His concerns were alleviated when Alexis replied, her tone lacking the irritation that Urs had been expecting.

“Donny, my fiancee, and I have been engaged for five months after three years of dating,” Alexis began, looking down at her hands. “I’ll never forget how he proposed, it was so romantic. He took me on a spontaneous trip out of town to a remote park about fifteen minutes outside of the city that he drove us to. There weren’t any lights, only the moon and the stars, which were more numerous since we were in the middle of nowhere. There was nothing but a portable telescope standing in the grass, angled up at the night sky. We walked to it hand-in-hand, and he seemed to check if the viewing settings and the angle were right for whatever it was he wanted me to look at. Donny pointed to a group of stars in the distance, and asked if I could name the constellation that they formed by looking through the telescope. I looked through it, but I couldn’t see any stars. There was a piece of paper taped to the lens with writing on it; it said ‘Will you marry me, Alexis?’. I looked away and, just as I was starting to ask Donny what was going on, he was on one knee in front of me, an open ring box in his hand. He asked me out loud, and I couldn’t say no.”

At this point, Alexis showed Urs her engagement ring. “It’s beautiful,” Urs replied, smiling along with Alexis.

“Thanks,” she replied. Continuing on, she said, “Everyone was so happy for us; both of our families were overjoyed, our friends were ecstatic. For the five months that followed, we planned the perfect wedding. I picked out a gorgeous wedding gown, he and the guys went out to buy tuxedos, and Chloe, Izzy, and Erika picked out their bridesmaid dresses. Even through the rehearsal two days ago, Donny kept telling me that he loved me, and that he couldn’t wait to be married to me for the rest of our lives. Then, yesterday, the day of the wedding came. The church was decorated, the priest appointed, everyone was dressed and ready for our wedding. The reception was also set up at the local convention center, the disc jockey was booked, every table and centerpiece stood, awaiting our arrival. I was so nervous in my dressing room, but so happy that I was going to be married to Donny, what I had dreamed of for so long.”

Alexis’ smile then disappeared, leaving behind an expression of confused sadness. “I remember when Erika came to see me five minutes before the ceremony, telling me that I had those few minutes to fix anything that needed fixed, then to get into place with her, Chloe, and Izzy. They were going to walk me down the aisle, as my parents are both deceased.”

“My regards,” Urs said somberly.

“Thank you,” Alexis said. Continuing, she said, “The next thing I knew, ten minutes had passed. Then, fifteen, followed by twenty. I never heard the wedding march cue, no one came to call me out of my room. Just as I was about to go out in the hall to find someone to ask what was happening, Chloe, Izzy, and Erika came into my room. They sat me down and, in so many words, told me that Donny hadn’t showed up. I can’t really remember much after that, but the next thing I do remember is being in my pajamas, curled up on my bed at home, tears running down my face, with Chloe, Izzy, and Erika sitting on my bed with me. They left me alone, and after I cried for a while, I fell asleep. They woke me up this morning and helped me get ready before piling into a car with Chloe at the wheel on our way here.”

“I’m very sorry about that,” Urs said, still taken aback, even though this was the second time that he had heard the story.

“It’s alright, because he’s going to come back,” Alexis said, looking up at Urs. It hurt him to see that weak smile on her face, coupled with teary eyes that made her fair face look tortured. “I know that something got in his way, that there is no way he would have just stood me up like that. Why would he, when the night before, he couldn’t stop telling me how much he loved me? That’s why I want to be home right now, in case he calls or stops by to see me. I’m scared that if he comes by, or leaves loads of messages that I’m unable to answer, that he’ll think I won’t love him anymore, that I don’t forgive him, that I don’t want him back in my life...”

Alexis had to stop speaking as her tears got the best of her. She covered her face with her hands, propped against her knees. Without knowing what else to do, Urs shifted closer to her, wrapping his arms around her comfortingly, arms that Alexis didn’t reject. He gently rocked her back and forth, not saying a word, understanding what her friends meant when they said she was expecting him to come back. Just seeing her so torn up over a false hope upset him, but he wasn’t about to tell her to stop placing hope in this Donny guy. Words failed him as she continued to sob into her hands, not able to come up with any vocal way to console her. She obviously loved this man, even after he failed to show up to their own wedding, so he must have been something special to her, right? Urs didn’t know how much of that was true, but if Alexis’ feelings weren’t genuine, why would she shed tears for Donny?

Back inside, Chloe, Izzy, Erika, David, Carlos, and Sébastien were standing at one of the back windows, watching Urs console Alexis. It was then that Chloe and Izzy knew that Alexis was that much closer to possibly forgetting Donny and moving on. David, Carlos, and Sébastien were happy that Urs could be trusted by Alexis, that maybe the newfound friendship could become something more.

*****************

Upstairs, the pair under the Chinese elm were being observed closely, and not any of the observers were pleased with the circumstances, but were eager for the challenge all the same.

“Are they the ones that I believe they are?”

“Indeed, it should seem that way. Their reincarnations have witnessed their past selves already. You know what this means, don’t you?”

“If they have seen who they were, then they must also see what was?”

“No one must know of the truth behind it! What makes the situation even more complicated is that they are not the only ones that have come back home.”

“The rest are, as well?”

“Yes, I can sense it, every one of them is returned to Carpier Mansion. Sadly enough, they shall all suffer the past, as it shall repeat itself once more.”

“Then the pawns are set, ever so not sadly?”

“We will welcome them home in such a way that there will be no difference between life as it was, and how life seems to proceed.”

“To honor the family dead!”

“To honor the family dead, indeed!”

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PostSubject: Re: *To Live Forever And A Day* By: Winterflame4 (Michele)   Sun Aug 30, 2009 2:02 pm

Chapter Six

After a few minutes of letting her sadness and confusion out of her system, Alexis could finally find it within herself to stop crying. She slowly raised her head from her hands, wiping some stray tears from her face. Urs silently watched her, happy that she was able to express her emotions, but happier that her face was not as torn up-looking as it had been before. After making sure that no more tears were present on her face, she turned her eyes to Urs. She could remember him holding her, letting her express her feelings without saying a word. To be truthful, it felt nice to have his strong arms around her; that feeling was mutual.

“Thank you, Urs,” Alexis whispered.

“It’s no problem,” Urs replied, a small smile in his features. “I’m glad that you could let that load off of your shoulders.”

Alexis, despite herself, smiled a little in return. As averse as she had been to even talking to another man after what had happened the previous day, she found herself comfortable with Urs. He was such a great listener, and she appreciated how he comforted her, when anyone else might have gone into the usual Donny’s-not-coming-back thing. She truly believed that he would become her friend, and she wasn’t afraid of the idea at all.

“Now, I can’t remember much, but I do recall being especially withdrawn during introductions. Would I be able to introduce myself to your friends, well, again? I wouldn’t want to leave them with a bad impression of me,” Alexis said, her smile now shy.

“Of course, Alexis,” Urs agreed. “They’re probably wondering where I went; I told them that I was going for a walk when your friends walked in.”

Urs took his arms back from around Alexis and stood up, offering his hand down to her. She took it and got up, letting go of his hand. There was a moment that followed when they both just looked into each other’s eyes, but then they were snapped back into reality.

“Right, they’re in the lounge room?” Alexis asked, looking towards the hotel.

Urs nodded, then they both began walking on the brick path back to the building. They didn’t notice it, but a group of people huddled at one of the back windows suddenly rushed back into the lounge room. Urs and Alexis came to the back door, Urs holding it open for her, closing it behind them once they were both inside. They made their way into the lounge room to find both sets of friends sitting and chatting amongst themselves. When they entered, the socializing came to a halt. Chloe, Izzy, and Erika looked up at Alexis, seeming to expect some emotional outburst.

Calmed as could be, though, Alexis just said, “It’s okay girls, I’m fine. I just chatted with Urs for a while.”

The faces of Alexis’ friends relaxed into relief, Erika’s expression sporting a comforted smile.

Turning to the three other Divos, Alexis said, “I know that I must have been extremely unsocial during the introductions earlier. I don’t like leaving bad impressions, so if I may, I’d like to redeem myself. My name is Alexis Cooper.”

In turn, David, Carlos, and Sébastien smiled, introducing themselves again to Alexis. They all noticed a visible change in her demeanor from earlier, knowing that Urs must have said something right to make her feel better.

“It’s very nice to, well, re-meet you all,” Alexis said, once each of the three Divos had introduced themselves again.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you again, as well,” David said, speaking for the other two as well as himself.

Urs and Alexis sat at a nearby fourth couch, and everyone socialized some more. They exchanged funny stories and jokes, along with more interesting tales, then had some more small talk after and between. Every so often, Urs couldn’t help but sneak a glance at Alexis. She looked so beautiful when she smiled, enchanting when she laughed. He felt like that vibrancy had been weighed down by the emotions that she had expressed, and was glad that he could inadvertently help bring out the smiles that she showed so freely now. Also, Alexis would look over at Urs when he didn’t notice, not being able to help the action. She smiled as she remembered the feel of his strong, comforting arms around her, gently rocking her back and forth. A part of her even dared to wish for that secure feeling again, even though worries about Donny still filled her mind.

After about an hour of chatting, she could feel her eyes get heavy despite herself. Although the company was enjoyable, her exhaustion from all of the weeping that she had done earlier was taking its toll.

“Well, it has been wonderful talking to all of you, but I guess I’m up for a second nap already,” she said, a small, almost apologetic smile on her lips.

“Are you feeling okay, Lexi?” Erika asked from the opposite couch, her eyes growing concerned again.

“Yes, I’m okay, not to worry, Erika,” Alexis said, rubbing her eyes before looking up at her friend again.

As she was standing up, Urs got up, as well. “I think I should go up to my room, on account of that fact that I have yet to unpack anything.” Turning to Alexis, he asked, “Mind if I make sure you get to your room alright?”

“I don’t mind,” Alexis said with a smile. “Girls, call my room or knock if you need me, okay?”

“Sure thing, A.J. ,” Izzy said, returning the smile.

“And once again, it was wonderful meeting you again,” Alexis said to David, Carlos, and Sébastien.

“Same here,” Sébastien replied. “Have a good nap.”

“I’ll be sure of that,” Alexis said, smiling before waving goodbye to her new friends in the lounge room, then exiting the room.

“I’ll be back down in a while,” Urs said before catching up to Alexis.

Back in the lounge room, Chloe watched Alexis and Urs leave before turning to everyone else.

“They seem to have hit it off pretty well,” she observed. “I wonder what he could have said...”

“Whatever it was, he’s a miracle worker,” Izzy said.

“I don’t doubt it,” Carlos added. “When he aims to make someone feel better, he succeeds a lot of the time.”

“I’m just happy to see her smile like that again,” Erika said, still looking at the entrance to the lounge room.

“That was such a change from earlier,” David agreed.

“I hope that he continues to make her smile,” Sébastien added.

Needless to say, that statement was silently repeated in the minds of everyone who was present.

A few minutes later, Urs and Alexis were standing in front of her room door.

“Are you sure that you’re feeling okay?” Urs asked, just wanting to make sure that nothing else was wrong.

“Of course,” Alexis said, smiling a tired smile. “I just need another nap, and I’ll be good as new.”

“Okay,” Urs said. “Rest well, Alexis.”

“I’ll be sure to, Urs. See you later?”

“See you later,” Urs agreed, giving her one last smile before she unlocked the door and disappeared into her room.

He walked up the flight of stairs to the fourth floor, then walked to his room. After recovering his room key from his pocket, he unlocked and opened the door, closing it and locking it once inside the room. He looked at the suitcases that were lined up at the end of the bed, but wasn’t daunted by the task of unpacking their contents. Urs picked up the suitcase that was nearest to him, setting it on the bed to unzip and empty it. In no time, he found himself folding the last shirt from the third and last suitcase, smiling at the fact that it had taken so short of a time to unpack everything. He put that last shirt in the bureau, then went to put the last suitcase on top of the pile he had created with the other two.

He had walked halfway to the bed when he smelled something that had no apparent place in the room. At first, he couldn’t place the sulfuric scent, an odor similar to one that lingered after fireworks were set off. Out of nowhere, he recognized the smell: gunpowder. Urs looked around his room, brows furrowed, not seeing any reason for the smell to be present here. Just as he was about to dismiss the realization, it got noticeably colder in the room. He let out an involuntary gasp, shocked at the dramatic change in temperature, feeling goose bumps on his arms. Just then, he looked over to the window, where an almost transparent figure stood.

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PostSubject: Re: *To Live Forever And A Day* By: Winterflame4 (Michele)   Sun Aug 30, 2009 2:03 pm

Chapter Six Part 2


The figure turned around in a quick motion, his eyes looking directly at Urs. Without having to think about it, Urs realized that this was the man that he had seen looking down at him when he and his friends had arrived at the hotel. The man’s expression, though almost absolutely transparent, was desperate, as it was when Urs had last seen him.

“Who are you?” Urs asked, his voice quiet and shaky.

The man suddenly looked in the direction of the door, then sidestepped to the right. It seemed that he was talking to someone, but there was no one else in the room, besides Urs. All of the sudden, a very loud and real noise seemed to explode in the room, and the man’s expression froze. The figure crumpled to the ground, then disappeared. Shocked about what had just happened, Urs fell to his knees, his heart beat increasing in speed. As his eyes roamed around the room, he noticed something large and dark on the carpet where the figure had been standing. It seemed to be an old stain, one that he knew immediately: blood.
Back in her room, Alexis had fallen asleep, not bothering to change into her pajamas. Once again, though, her dreams would take her back...

Alexis found herself in a garden, standing on a path in the grass. She felt like she was waiting, but for who or what, she didn’t know. She looked all around her, her face stiff from old tears. Alexis broke into a run down the path, new tears burning in her eyes as the wind flew through her hair. Before she went farther, though, she was stopped by a voice calling her name.

"Alexis..."

She turned around, seeing someone behind her. Curious, she walked back, squinting her eyes as she tried to make out the person standing in front of her. As she got closer, Alexis saw that the person was a beautiful woman in what appeared to be a white nightgown. Her long, dark brown hair was draped over her shoulders, some strands occasionally being played with by the light breeze. The woman had a gentle smile on her face, her blue eyes sparkling like two pools of water.

"Alexis...," The woman said again, her voice smooth and sophisticated.

As Alexis drew closer, the woman held out her hand. Without fully acknowledging it, Alexis held out her own hand, looking at the woman’s kind face as she moved closer and closer to her. Once they stood directly in front of her, Alexis looked at their hands, hers above the woman’s, then back to the woman’s face. The woman nodded, as if in approval, or reassurance.

"Take my hand, Alexis," the woman said, still smiling.

Alexis lowered her hand to the woman’s, then the woman clasped her hand. Immediately, images flashed before her eyes, as if none of them could decided which one of them that she should see first. They sped by her so fast that it took her breath away, as if she were on a high-speed roller coaster.

Finally, an image stopped before her. The room that she saw in front of her seemed familiar, but she couldn’t place how. The view speeded to something large on grey carpet, carpet that she knew that she had seen before. As the scene brightened, she was horrified at what she saw. Donny was laying on the floor, his eyes wide open, a hand positioned near his throat. In her heart, she knew that he was dead, and this image was real.

"What happened to him?!" She shouted, tears gathering in her eyes.

There was no reply.

"Who killed Donny?!"

Again, the woman's voice didn’t answer her. Still in her dream, Alexis felt herself crumple to the ground--or whatever was holding her--, tears streaming down her face.

"Donny! Come back to me! Don"t leave me!" She screamed into the darkness...

Downstairs, everyone was still talking in the lounge room. Erika, though, was not feeling alright. She kept looking up at the ceiling, the sinking feeling that there was something terribly wrong weighing in her chest.

“The decorations on the ceiling are beautiful, huh, Erika?” Chloe said, noticing her friend’s behavior.

“I think we should check on Alexis,” Erika said quietly, still staring at the ceiling.

“She’s probably sleeping,” Izzy said.

Erika shook her head. “I think I should go–“
Right then, she was interrupted by a loud exploding noise from high upstairs. Everyone jumped, startled at the sudden loud noise.

“What on earth was that?” Chloe asked, her voice highly pitched.

“That came from upstairs, but from which floor?” Izzy said, half to herself, trying to figure out which floor the noise had come from.

“Urs and Alexis are up there...,” David said.

That seemed to be the cue for everyone to get up and run. They all ran up the stairs; the girls ran up three, the guys ran up four.

“Alexis, are you alright?!” Izzy shouted through her friend’s door, panicked.

Erika anxiously tried the doorknob over and over again. “It’s locked! We don’t have a spare key?”

As the girls tried to figure out how to get into their friend’s room, David, Carlos, and Sébastien rushed to Urs’ door, knocking hurridly. David tried the knob, but it was locked.

“Do you smell that?” Carlos asked, stopped mid-knock.

“Gunpowder,” Sébastien said, his voice frightened.

No sooner than Carlos and David recognized the scent, there was a click, then the door slowly opened into the room. They all rushed in, stopping short when they saw Urs on the floor, visibly shaken, his face pale. They helped him stand up, then led him over to the bed to sit down.

“My God, what happened?” David asked, taking in his friend’s frightened face.

“There was a loud exploding noise,” Sébastien added, not able to see any injuries on Urs.

“There was a man,” Urs replied, his voice hoarse. “The room smelled like gunpowder, then I saw a man by the window. He saw me, and started to talk to someone, and then something exploded or something, and he fell...there’s a stain on the carpet...”

“Are you hurt?” Carlos asked anxiously.

Urs shook his head, closing his eyes in an effort to block out the stain on the carpet and the sight of that man falling to the ground dead–well, not dead, as he had been a ghost. He felt David put a bottle of water from the night stand into his hand, the cool temperature a little unsettling.

“He’s not kidding,” David said, apparently seeing the blood stain on the floor. The other guys expressed similar reactions when they saw the stain before turning back to Urs.

He was starting to calm down enough so that his voice sounded normal. “That was strange,” he murmured, knowing that was a complete understatement as he sipped from the water bottle in his hand.

“No kidding,” David said. “We didn’t know what happened. Erika and the girls were talking, then we heard that huge noise...”

“They went to check on Alexis, and we rushed up here,” Sébastien added.

“If I didn’t know any better, that sounded like a gunshot,” Carlos said.

Hearing Alexis’ name caught Urs off guard. “Wait, has something happened to Alexis?”

“We had no clue which floor that noise sounded from, so they feared it could have sounded from Alexis’ room, like we worried that it came from your room,” Sébastien answered.

Right then, they could hear slow steps coming up the stairs. A few moments later, Erika appeared in the doorway to Urs’ room, her face tear-streaked.

“Is everything okay here?” She asked quietly, sniffing.

“Yes, everything’s okay in here...Erika, what’s wrong?” David asked, moving to stand up.

“It’s Alexis,” she said, her voice thick.

“What happened to her?” Urs asked, alert to the worry in Erika’s voice.

Erika shook her head, her eyes closed as she replied, “She keeps saying that Donny’s dead,” Erika replied, looking at Urs with sad eyes.

Urs stood up, a lot less shaky, then followed Erika down to the third floor, closely followed by Carlos, David, and Sébastien. When they got to the room, Urs saw Chloe and Izzy on the bed, holding each other, crying. Alexis had her knees hugged to her chest, sobbing. When Erika came into the room, Izzy and Chloe stood up, walking towards her and hugging her before separating. Carlos came up behind Izzy, gently squeezing her shoulders, and David held Erika as she sobbed. Sébastien had one arm around Chloe’s shoulders, holding her close, her head on his shoulder. Urs walked over to the bed and sat down beside Alexis, who looked up at him with lost eyes.

“He was on the floor, his eyes were opened,” Alexis said, she murmured. “Donny’s gone...my fiancee is dead...”

Urs wrapped his arms around Alexis, and felt her hold him in return. He rocked her back and forth, letting her mourn. Meanwhile, Izzy’s cell phone received an unnoticed text message from Eric, Donny’s brother:


Donny on floor, not breathing. Ambulance on way.

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PostSubject: Re: *To Live Forever And A Day* By: Winterflame4 (Michele)   Sun Aug 30, 2009 2:20 pm

Chapter Seven Part 1

In the sad silence of Alexis’ room, all who were present had stood or sat down, not knowing what to make of the situation. Izzy had received the text message from Donny’s brother, but then got another one only minutes later:


Donny dead.


Izzy had left the room to call Eric to find out how Donny died. Reportedly, Donny’s heart had given out, and none of the doctors could explain why. He had seemed to be in perfect health, and no preexisting heart conditions that could have led to his death. Needless to say, it was all the confirmation that everyone needed to know for certain that Alexis had seen his body in her dream. Even though she had already known from the time that she woke up that her fiancee was dead, what Eric had described seemed to make it even more real for her. Urs just continued to hold her in his arms, feeling her tremble as her tears became harder to control. Plans had been made for a brief funeral to be held the next day, but it wasn’t discussed too much until Alexis could find her voice.

“I can’t go,” she whispered, looking at Chloe, Izzy, and Erika. “I saw him dead once...I don’t think that I can handle doing that again...”

None of her friends argued otherwise. It was settled that Chloe, Izzy, and Erika would attend the funeral, then come back as soon as possible to be with Alexis. Urs had agreed to watch her while they were gone. About half an hour later, the occupants in the room began to file out, in order to rest up from what had just occurred. After Carlos, David, Sébastien left the room, Urs stayed behind for a few short minutes to talk with Alexis.

“Alexis, I will be back here tomorrow morning, alright? I’ll be here,” he assured her in a whisper.

Alexis nodded absently, then Urs gave her one last strong embrace before getting up and heading to his room to get some of his things, then bunk with David; he wasn’t too eager to sleep in his own room after what he had seen earlier. Chloe, Izzy, and Erika went back to their rooms a few minutes after Urs had left to get their pajamas, then had come back to spend the night with Alexis. They consoled each other for hours, then once night fell, Chloe turned out the lights, then the three girls silently got onto the large bed beside their friend, each one falling asleep some minutes later. Alexis stayed up for a while after her friends had fallen asleep, tears soundlessly budding from her eyes. A few minutes later, though, her eyes were too heavy to ignore, and she let herself succumb to sleep, as well.

Alexis found herself in a garden, standing on a path in the grass. She looked all around her, her face stiff from old tears, wet from the new ones streaming down, as well. Alexis broke into a run down the path, the wind flying through her hair. As she ran farther, she heard a voice calling her name.

“Alexis...”

She didn’t want to turn around to face the woman in the white nightgown that she knew was standing behind her, instead choosing to keep running.

“Alexis...,” The woman said again, her voice a bit more desperate-sounding. “Come back...”

Before Alexis could take another step, she somehow appeared in front of her. Her long hair was still draped over her white nightgown-clad shoulders, tears of her own falling from her eyes. Alexis had no choice but to stop in her tracks, all the while wanting to dash around the woman and keep running.

“I am sorry,” the woman said, her lips unmoving and her voice broken. “He meant much to you, Alexis, I know that full well. His heart ended his life, but it wasn’t of his body’s doing.”

Though she wanted to do anything but think, Alexis caught on to the meaning behind the woman’s words. “He was murdered?”

The woman nodded. “He died with all of the love in his soul for you increased ten-fold,” she said. “If you allow your mourning heart, let me help you find the truth.”

“How do I find out who killed Donny?”

“When you awake next, look under the bed. There, you will find something old, something of mine. I know not who did away with your beloved, Alexis, but I feel within me that you will begin your investigation using the contents of what is held within the object that I speak of.”

“Who are you?”

“My name is Alexandria Carpier, daughter of Carlton and Elizabeth Carpier. My life was one of turmoil, very much as yours has been of late. Our lives are intertwined, Alexis Cooper; in essence, you are me, returned from the realm of spirits to once again find what I have lost. He is within your reach, I can feel it.”

“Who is within my reach? What do you mean that I am you?” Alexis asked, confused.

“Shortly before I died, I lost the love of my life,” Alexandria Carpier said, “I was to be wed on June 18th of the year 1934 on the premises where my spirit now roams. My fiancee, Jonathan Gehrig, was nowhere to be found that day, so I believed that he left me at the altar. My life ended before I knew what had happened to him, and that is where you are included in the story. The reincarnation of my beloved Jonathan is the man who has been there to comfort you during your recent and current heartbreak, and I still feel my Jonathan here, at Carpier Mansion.”

Alexis’ sleeping mind reeled. “Urs is Jonathan’s reincarnation? How can it be?”

“You feel a connection to him, a connection that neither of you can understand. His energies are similar to that of my beloved Jonathan’s, as yours are similar to mine. Though your transforming affections do lie within the realm of the living, it is a circumstance that will bring you two closer together for the sake of helping my Jonathan and I to be able to reunite in this realm, our only home for eternity.”

“Wait, you and Jonathan have had no contact in the afterlife? Why is that? I thought that once you died, you could see virtually everyone you knew that passed on before you did,” Alexis said, trying to understand what Alexandria was saying.

“I am not sure, Alexis,” Alexandria said, her face turned downwards towards the ground. “That is what needs to be found out. I believe that everything is tied together somehow, but I cannot figure it how. That is where your role enters.”

“So I’ll look under the bed...is there anything else?”

“Follow both your mind and your heart,” Alexandria said. “Do not be afraid to involve him in your journey to assist me and my dearest Jonathan. He holds affections for you within his heart, so he will gladly hold on to your hand.”

“I’ll do my best, for you and Jonathan,” Alexis said, looking into Alexandria’s blue eyes.

“I have that faith in you,” Alexandria replied, a smile gracing her lips...

Alexis woke with a start, realizing a moment later that her friends were gone. She guessed that they must have already gone to the funeral, as morning light was shining through a tiny crack between the drawn curtains. She slowly sat up, her face still a bit stiff from her recent tears, and looked around at her room. Urs wasn’t there yet, so she’d have some time to freshen up so that she’d look presentable. Alexis took a shower, then changed into a black short-sleeved shirt, tan shorts, and a pair of black flip flops. She combed her long hair, still wet from the shower, opting to let it down instead of tying it up. After brushing her teeth, she sat on the bed for a while. Donny’s death still filled her mind with a dark fog, covering everything else like a dark blanket. The image of her dead fiancee was still fresh in her mind, and it didn’t horrify her any less. She found herself still in love with him, as she believed she ought to be. At that moment, words that she couldn’t remember coming from anyone that she personally knew filled her mind:

You feel a connection to him... your transforming affections ...He holds affections for you within his heart...

She couldn’t quite remember who had said these words, but she realized that, whoever it had been, they had not been talking about Donny. Suddenly, she remembered something more:

...look under the bed...

Feeling a sense of immediate action, Alexis stood up from the bed, then knelt down on the floor. Upon first looking under the bed, she couldn’t see anything but the carpet and the underside of the bedframe. When she looked up a bit, however, she could see something similar in appearance to a knob protruding from the bedframe itself. She laid down on the floor, sliding on her back under the bed, surprised that she could fit in that small space. Once she was directly below the knob-thing, she reached up and tugged on it slightly, but it didn’t do anything. When Alexis pushed against it, though, it slid through to reveal a tiny compartment, from which something fell onto her face. She slightly moved her head to get the object off of her face, and once it was off, she scooted herself out from under the bed. Once out, she went back in again, sliding on her stomach towards the object, then grabbed it and slid to the side of the bed she came in on. Once out, she sat on her bed and looked at what she had in her hands.

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PostSubject: Re: *To Live Forever And A Day* By: Winterflame4 (Michele)   Sun Aug 30, 2009 2:21 pm

Chapter Seven Part 2



Alexis held a small, brown book, no bigger than a small novel, that was in a surprisingly good condition. Nothing about it seemed out of the ordinary, but when she turned the front cover, the first page had writing on it:


This Diary is Property of Miss Alexandria Carpier


Within an instant, Alexis realized why the name Alexandria was so familiar: it was the name of the woman from her dream, daughter of Carlton and Elizabeth Carpier. It had been she who had instructed Alexis to look for something under the bed, something old of hers. Just as she was going to flip to the next page, she heard knocks sound from her door.

“Who is it?” She asked.

“It’s Urs, Alexis,” she heard Urs say from the other side of the door.

Leaving the diary on her bed, she walked to the door and opened it for Urs. Even though she had seen him about three times already, she couldn’t help but think him handsome. He wore a short-sleeved black shirt, a pair of denim jeans, and black tennis shoes, and Alexis couldn’t stop thinking that the color really did suit him.

“Good morning, Alexis,” he said, his eyes friendly in the semi-darkness of the room.

“Good morning to you, too, Urs,” she said, smiling. “Come on in, I’ll open these curtains.”

Urs came into the room, shutting the door behind him as Alexis set the diary on the bed before opening the curtains. More rays of morning sunlight streamed in through the window, illuminating the room with a beautiful glow.

“How did you sleep?” She asked Urs.

“Fine, thank you,” he replied. “And you?”

“As well as I could,” she answered, unwanted thoughts from the previous day once again invading her mind.

Urs walked over to stand in front of her, his eyes concerned. “How are you holding up?”

“It’s still a shock, but I knew that he was gone when I saw him in my dream,” she said. “Hearing it from Izzy just confirmed it, I suppose.”

Urs nodded, then wrapped his arms around her. Alexis hugged him back, loving the secure feeling that accompanied each strong, yet gentle embrace. They separated, then had another moment when all that they did for a few seconds was look into each other’s eyes, before Urs snapped them both into reality.

“It’ll be alright,” he assured her.

She nodded in agreement, a small smile on her lips. It was then that Urs noticed the diary on the bed.

“Your journal?”

“Actually, I found it under the bed,” Alexis said, walking around him to the side of the bed where the diary was. She sat down on the bed, then patted the spot beside her. Urs came to sit next to her on the bed, curious about the diary. Alexis flipped the front cover over to reveal the first page, presenting it to Urs.

“Alexandria Carpier? Wait, wasn’t that the last name of the man who first owned this building?” Urs asked, looking at the ink-written words.
“Yes, daughter of Carlton Carpier and his wife, Elizabeth,” Alexis replied, wondering how best to tell him what Alexandria had told her in her most recent dream.

“How did you know this was under the bed?” He asked.

“I didn’t, at least until I had another dream,” Alexis replied. “I was going to flip through the pages when you knocked, and we can look through this together if you want, but there is something that I need to tell you beforehand.”

Alexis then launched into her explanation, starting with her first encounter with the woman in the white nightgown, then going on to describe her first dream of her. When she told Urs about her one-on-one encounter with Alexandria’s spirit, she could see some of the color drain from his face, but she continued on. Alexis told him how Alexandria had told her about Donny’s death, then ended by telling him about her most recent dream, excluding the parts about the mentioned affections and the fact that they were reincarnations of Alexandria and her fiancee, Jonathan Gehrig.

“So, Alexandria’s spirit told you in a dream to look under the bed, and you found this diary?”

“Exactly,” Alexis replied. “It wasn’t all that she told me, but I’m not quite sure how to say the rest. Why did you get so pale when I told you about my encounter with her?”

“It’s just that, yesterday in my room, I saw a ghost, but it was of a man,” Urs explained. “The whole room smelled like gunpowder, and then there was a loud exploding sound, and...it was all just very...”

“Creepy? Weird? Highly unusual?” Alexis suggested.

“All of those,” Urs said, agreeing with all of the provided words. Noticing what Alexis had said before her question, he asked, “She told you more than what you just told me?”

Alexis paused before answering. “Yes, but...it’s complicated.”

“I can do my best to work it out,” Urs assured her.

Alexis closed the diary, running her fingers across its smooth cover. “I don’t know, Urs,” she said quietly, fearing his reaction. “I didn’t even believe her at first...”

Urs put a comforting hand on her shoulder. “Alexis, what did she say?”

She closed her eyes, then exhaled before she replied. “She said that I am her reincarnation. Alexandria said that I am her, returned to life, even though her spirit roams this building.”

Alexis felt Urs’ hand slacken in grip, but still remained on her shoulder. “Is there anything else?”

Alexis nodded, her eyes still closed. “She told me that you are the reincarnation of her fiancee, Jonathan Gehrig.”

Urs took his hand off of her shoulder, folding his hands and looking at the carpet. Noticing his reaction, Alexis became instantly guilty for laying it out so plainly. Still holding the diary, she stood up from the bed and walked to the window. Alexis looked out the window to see the outer spaces of the garden, a lone dogwood tree within view.

“I didn’t even believe her at first,” she said, her voice quiet. “I’m sorry for saying it so plainly, but like I said, I had no clue how else to say it. I used to think that seeing her was just a product of my tired mind, but this last dream was different. She was crying, Urs, just like I’ve been crying. She lost the love of her life, and I now know how badly that feels.” Alexis swallowed hard, closing her eyelids against the threatening onslaught of tears. “She needs me to help her find him, and she told me that I could trust you with everything that she told me, but you’re probably thinking this is all too weird. If you don’t want to help me, I’ll understand. If this happened under any other circumstances, I might have backed out, but I can’t let her down like that, Urs, I just can’t...”

Urs stood up from the bed, slowly walking towards Alexis. She sounded so determined, so willing to help a woman who had died decades before she had even been thought of, it made him so proud of her. Though her news about both of them being reincarnations had shaken him a little, it seemed so small a matter, now. This was very important to her, he knew it just by listening to her voice when she talked about Alexandria. Once he was directly behind her, he placed his hands on her upper arms, giving them a gentle squeeze.

“Why wouldn’t I help you?” He asked in a whisper.

“You mean...you want to help me?” Alexis asked, surprised.

“Of course,” he replied. “That is, if you’ll let me.”

Alexis slowly turned around, scanning his eyes for any hidden hesitance, but found none. “Of course I’ll let you,” she said, glad that he was still in the room with her, even after the bomb that she had dropped.

Urs smiled, then got to the matter at hand. “Okay, so where do we start?”

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PostSubject: Re: *To Live Forever And A Day* By: Winterflame4 (Michele)   Sun Aug 30, 2009 2:25 pm

Chapter Eight Part 1

“Well, I thought that I’d look through Alexandria’s diary to look for anything that could help us to help her,” Alexis replied. “We’ll both check, is that alright?”

“Of course,” Urs said.

They both walked back over to her bed, sitting where they had been before. Alexis flipped the front cover, then turned the page with Alexandria’s name on it, where a full page of semi-fancy letterings met their eyes.

“Did she mention any dates to look for?” Urs asked, observing the page.

Alexis shook her head. “She just told me to look for something old, something that belonged to her, which was obviously this diary, but perhaps looking for the day of her wedding could help: July 18th, 1934.”

She flipped through a fair number of pages, entries detailing everything from horse rides to vacation trips, and antics that her older brother, Harold, and her twin brother, Avery, got away with. As she and Urs read through the entries, they could note the change in the lettering, how it seemed to look more formal and refined, just as Alexandria must have changed as she grew older. Finally, they came across a page dated June 17th, but Alexis knew that she had to look for the 18th. To her dismay, however, there wasn’t an entry for the 18th; there weren’t even any entries after the seventeenth.

“That’s odd,” Urs commented, also noticing the lack of entries after the seventeenth. “I wonder why she would have stopped writing.”

“Perhaps the grief of her groom abandoning her was too much to take,” Alexis pondered aloud. “Maybe the entry from the 17th can help.”

She turned back to the mentioned entry, then she and Urs read it in silence:

Dearest Diary,
On this, the eve of my wedding, my happiness is so much that, under any normal condition, I might not be able to keep inside. Indeed, the joy that is my Jonathan is the cause of my immense felicity. Tomorrow, I will become Mrs. Jonathan Gehrig, no longer to remain Alexandria Carpier. I am glad for the change, but sorrow comes in the form of my having to leave this beautiful mansion to live with Jonathan, hundreds of miles away from here. Though tears of sadness may drop from the eyes, tears of marital bliss and happiness for the love that Jonathan and I share will also be shed. There will be many crying eyes at the ceremony tomorrow afternoon, all people who know of this deep love and rejoice in its being. Of course, my father will walk me down the aisle in the surely crowded ballroom, and my mother will also attend. Jonathan was so kind to choose Harold to be his best man; his groomsman are Sylvester Bernstein, Daniel Lubbock, and Cameron Alistair, all his closest confidantes and childhood friends. Avery and his wife, Mary, will be in attendance, but will not be a part of my bridesmaids, the group that consists of Evelyn Mayers (also my maid of honor), Caroline Williams, and Isabella Serstein, all my closest friends. Mary, Avery’s wife, is not of my party, solely because of the fact that she seems to not have a liking for me. I am still not aware of what I did to turn the good lady against me, but something happened to cause those stern, emotionless glances to come my way. The mayor will also be in attendance, as well as other noted politicians (names that I constantly forget, despite myself), not to mention the employees of my father’s business and half of the town! I do hope that the garden is a large enough area for the reception to follow, as a giant Chinese elm has just been planted, which I will admit is good for shade on hot days. My nerves are so jumpy that I have found myself to be nauseated from time to time, and I’ve fainted once or twice. I am the only one who knows about this, and I intend to keep it that way. There is no need to worry anyone that the bride could, Heaven forbid, be falling ill on the eve of her wedding. If these incidents repeat into our honeymoon, I will inform Jonathan so that he can call a doctor to ease any worries that might involve his new bride. Other than my strange health of late, I am perfectly ready to marry Jonathan, to spend the rest of my life with him as his wife. Nothing would bring me greater pleasure, give me more of a reason to live, than to wake up every morning and see him look at me. I know, even at my young age, that I will die a happy woman. I suppose that this entry should come to a close now, as my eyes are heavy and I’ll need to wake up quite early to prepare for the ceremony. I will be packing you to take with me on the honeymoon, so expect an entry describing the wedding soon.

“She was so happy,” Alexis said, once she was done reading the entry. “Alexandria really wanted to marry Jonathan, so much so that she felt sick with excitement.”

“It says that she’d pack this diary with her before her honeymoon, so why was it still under the bed?” Urs asked, thinking to himself. Something was strange about this, but he couldn’t put a finger on it.

“See, I would’ve thought her bags would be packed so that there would be less time between the end of the reception and when she’d have to leave with Jonathan,” Alexis replied. “Either she forgot to pack the journal, or just forgot to pack altogether, perhaps wanting to help with setting up the decorations or something.”

“That’s true; it might have also taken more time to get her dressed and ready for the wedding, which could also make her forget about packing.”

“Maybe she never packed the diary because of the fact that Jonathan never showed up to the ceremony,” Alexis replied. “Or, she unpacked her belongings after she realized that he wasn’t coming to the wedding.”

Urs nodded. “Something feels strange about these circumstances, though,” he said, somehow sure that there was something more to the story that wasn’t written on the pages of Alexandria’s diary.

“It feels the same way to me, too,” Alexis replied, also sensing a missing piece of the puzzle. As she looked over the entry again, her eyes landed on something that hadn’t caught her attention at first. “Urs, check out the names of the bridesmaids.”

“What about them?”

“Look at the first letters of each name.”

It didn’t take Urs long to figure out what Alexis was telling him. “They are similar to the first letters of your friends’ names. See the names of the groomsmen?”

“The first letters of their names are also the first letters of your friends’ names,” Alexis realized. Right then, an idea popped into her head. “Alright, either both of these are coincidences, or...”

“Wait, are you thinking that Chloe, Izzy, Erika, Carlos, David, and Sébastien could also be reincarnations, as well?”

“It’s a possibility,” Alexis said. “More people to surprise, I guess.”

A knock sounded at the door. “Speaking of people to surprise,” Urs muttered, trying to imagine his friends’ reactions to this new development.

“Who is it?” Alexis asked, loud enough so that the person behind the door could hear her.

“It’s David.”

Alexis set the diary on the bed, then got up to let David in. She opened the door, revealing David in tan shorts and a dark red t-shirt, with brown sandals, standing before her with a characteristic smile.

“Good morning, Alexis,” he said, giving her a small hug around her shoulders. “How did you sleep?”

“Good morning to you too, David,” Alexis said. “Sleep was alright, I suppose. How about you?”

“Good, good,” David answered, stepping into the room after taking back his arm. He waved to Urs, who waved back in greeting. “I hope I didn’t interrupt anything..”

“Not at all,” Urs replied. “What’s up?”

“Carlos and Sébastien were wondering if you two would join us for breakfast in the restaurant downstairs,” David said.

“Sounds good,” Alexis said, casting a glance at Urs. “That way, you all can be gathered so that we can explain something.”

A few minutes later, Alexis, Urs, David, Carlos, and Sébastien were sitting at a large table in the restaurant downstairs. Once everyone’s order had been taken, David turned to Alexis.

“Now, upstairs, you were saying that you and Urs needed to explain something?” He asked Alexis.

“Yes, but it’ll get a little complicated...okay, a lot complicated, in a lot of parts. Some of it may sound strange, but if you’re willing to hear everything that needs to be said...okay, even then, I can’t promise that any of this will seem real to you...,” Alexis said, quite aware that she was babbling a little.

“Does this anything to do with what happened last night?” Sébastien asked.

Thankful that someone spared her the humiliation of further babbling, Alexis replied, “That’s part of it, Sébastien.”

From there, she informed the rest of the guys as she had informed Urs earlier, from the first time that she had seen Alexandria in the window, to that morning when she found the diary. She told them about she and Urs being reincarnations, then told them the theory that she and Urs had about the names from the diary, watching each friend’s face for any sudden reaction. There was silence for a few moments as they processed the information, with David being the first to speak up.

“So, all in all, you’re Alexandria Carpier come back to life, Urs is Jonathan Gehrig, Alexandria’s fiancee, come back to life, and you both think that Sébastien, Carlos, Chloe, Izzy, Erika, and I are all reincarnations of Alexandria and Jonathan’s friends?”

“That’s pretty much it,” Urs replied.

“You weren’t kidding when you said this would sound complicated, Alexis,” Carlos said, apparently still thinking about what was just said.

“I know, and I do apologize,” Alexis said, looking at each of the men in turn. “I didn’t even believe her at first, but after finding that diary, it somehow all fits together. How, I’m not sure, but it does.”

“Do the girls know about this?” Carlos asked.

Alexis shook her head. “I’m going to tell them once they get back from the funeral, or later, whichever is convenient for them. After all, this isn’t easy for them, either” she said, holding back her tears.

Urs put his hand over her open palm, tracing circles onto her skin with his thumb. Alexis closed her fingers around his hand, feeling secure once again.

“So, what can we do to help?” Carlos asked Alexis.

Feeling surprised for the second time that morning, she asked, “Really? You all aren’t freaked out?”

“It just feels right to help Alexandria,” Sébastien said, seeming to speak for David and Carlos. “She deserves to know what happened to her fiancee.”

“She should be able to rest in peace,” David said in agreement.

Alexis smiled at the three friends, truly thankful for their support. “Thank you, all of you,” she said, looking at each of the Divos, including Urs. “I am sure that Alexandria thanks you, as well.”

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PostSubject: Re: *To Live Forever And A Day* By: Winterflame4 (Michele)   Sun Aug 30, 2009 2:26 pm

Chapter Eight Part 2


After they had all finished breakfast and paid for the meals, they went into the lounge room to wait for Chloe, Izzy, and Erika. Alexis wanted to tell them about what she had found out as soon as possible, but she knew that Donny’s death was hard on them, too, so she wasn’t exactly sure when she’d be able to inform them all. A few minutes later, they heard the front door to the hotel open and shut, and they stopped mid-conversation. Alexis stood up and walked to the entrance of the lounge room to see her three friends, all in black outfits, walking through the lobby with their eyes turned down. Alexis walked out of the lounge room to stand in front of them, and that is when she was moved to tears at the sight of her friends’ tear-stained faces. Without a word needing to be said, the four friends shared a group hug for a short while before breaking out of the embrace.

“We thought we’d stop for breakfast at the restaurant down here,” Erika said, her voice quiet. “Do you want to join us?”

“Well, I already ate, but if you girls want, I was just chatting with Carlos, Sébastien, David, and Urs in the lounge room. You’re welcome to join us after you have breakfast, but they wouldn’t take offense if you wanted to go back to your rooms,” Alexis said, looking each of her friends in the eye.

Her three friends shared a glance, then nodded as one. After one more group hug, Erika, Izzy, and Chloe headed to the restaurant, leaving Alexis to dry her face of new tears. Once Alexis made sure that her well of tears wasn’t going to overturn again, she headed back into the lounge room.

“They wanted to stop by the restaurant first before coming in here,” she explained, taking her place on the couch next to Urs where she had been before. Once seated, she added, “I might be able to tell them once they’re back, but they were pretty torn up just now, so I’m not sure...”

Urs slipped an arm behind her shoulders, his hand rubbing her upper arm. He kept his arm like that throughout the small talk that they all engaged in, whiling away the time until Alexis’ friends were done at the restaurant. Again, Alexis couldn’t help but feel safe when Urs was near her, somehow confidant that things would be alright again. After a while, Erika, Chloe, and Izzy walked into the lounge room, more color in their faces than when Alexis had last talked to them. She stood up and walked to them, hugging each girl in turn before going back to sit beside Urs. Erika sat by David, Izzy settled besides Carlos, and Chloe took the seat next to Sébastien. A few moments of silence passed before Alexis spoke up, Urs’ arm around her again.

“Girls, I know that today has been hard,” she said, looking at each friend’s face. “I won’t blame either of you if you feel that what I have to say is too much to take, but there are some things that I need to let you know about.”

Alexis told her story for the third time, but said it much slower and quieter to her friends. Inside, she hoped that they understood, but a part of her was kicking herself for telling them this big news so soon after Donny’s death. She knew that they would have every right to call her crazy, to tell her that none of what she had to say was real, but Alexis still believed that her friends would hear the truth in her words and not doubt any part of it. After she was done, the three women looked confused, but also deep in thought about the information that they had just received.

“Lexi, you believe Alexandria’s spirit, don’t you?” Chloe asked, no hint of a challenge in her tone.

Alexis nodded. “It makes sense to me, but I just want to know if you all believe this as we do.”

“We?” Erika asked.

Again, Alexis nodded. “I told them this morning,” she said, gesturing to Urs, Carlos, Sébastien, and David.

“I do admit that it’s weird how she could have told you about Donny,” Izzy admitted, much more quietly than was per usual for her. “But it does seem that she can honestly relate to you, and the fact that you are her, come back to life, only makes sense.”

“I want to help,” Chloe said looking into Alexis’ eyes from across couches. “She deserves happiness, even if she is dead.”

“I agree,” Izzy said. “She has every right to know what really happened.”

A small smile formed on Alexis’ lips at their willingness to help, but Erika was still quiet. Looking at her, Alexis asked, “Erika, is there something you want to say?”

Erika looked up at Alexis, her sad eyes blazing with a new determination. “She needs closure,” she said. “There is no way that I can escape helping her, you know? It would feel hypocritical if I helped one but not the other.”

Erika’s honesty brought tears to Alexis’ eyes, but she kept her small smile. Looking at each of them, she thanked them for wanting to help, all the while marveling at how close the occupants of the room had become. They were all united for a single purpose, where they would have to work together to bring happiness to a woman who lost the love of her life. Alexis could almost feel Alexandria’s gratitude, see her gentle smile and her kind eyes. As she imagined Alexandria’s positive feelings, neither she, nor anyone else present could sense that they were being watched from the garden, sense the anger coming from outside in the garden.

“They know! The woman told them all!”

“That’s impossible! She could have never known who she was on her own, unless...”

“Alexandria seems to be helping her new friend discover herself. Should we end that?”

“No, let’s allow that connection to remain intact. They will all get what is coming to them, what they unknowingly received seventy-five years ago. There is already a flaw, have you seen it?”

“No one has checked a calendar.”

“Exactly. They don’t know that their little mystery hunt is going to be limited for all of its members.”

“What of their fates? Will the past repeat itself, or will only the motions replay and leave no long-lasting effects?”

“Let me word it this way: I desire for their deaths to occur before the truth is leaked into the present, especially for the woman. She knows too much; she will surely bring the sound of conspiracy to the Carpier family name, which is not what we need.”

“I couldn’t agree more. To honor the family dead!”

“To honor the family dead, indeed!”

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PostSubject: Re: *To Live Forever And A Day* By: Winterflame4 (Michele)   Sun Aug 30, 2009 2:30 pm

Chapter Nine Part 1


After her friends had agreed to help, the first order of business was to find Mrs. Leering. Everyone figured that since she had been working at the Carpier Mansion Hotel, she would at least have some information about the family that it housed. It didn’t take long for Alexis to find her, since she had reappeared behind the front desk and had just been standing there. Alexis asked Mrs. Leering to follow her into the lounge room, where everyone else was waiting. Everyone greeted Mrs. Leering before she sat on one of the empty couches.

“So, what is that you require from me?” Mrs. Leering asked, a small smile on her lips.

“We were wondering if you could tell us about this building and the Carpier family,” Alexis said. “We reckoned that since you have been working here and all...”

“Of course, of course,” Mrs. Leering said, obviously happy to help. “How much do you want to know?”

“Well, we were wondering if you could tell us about Carlton Carpier’s children,” Alexis said, speaking for everyone in the room.

“Ah yes, there were three of them,” Mrs. Leering began. “The first son, Harold, was born on March 14th , 1912, becoming the heir to the carpentry and design business as was to be the firstborn son’s right. He married Diana Westing, if I remember correctly, a really pretty girl. The second and third children were twins, born on September 15th, 1914, Alexandria and Avery. Avery married Mary Sanderson, a charismatic charmer, if I may say so myself.”

“What about Alexandria?” Urs asked.

“Oh, a tragic thing she was,” Mrs. Leering said, her expression more downcast this time. “The girl died as an old spinster. Everyone believes that her fiancee is to blame, after leaving her at the altar on June 18th, 1934. Never fell in love again, died alone in her bed from the way I’ve heard it.”

“Did she just remain in this mansion for the rest of her life after that?” Chloe asked.

“Yes, dear, she did,” Mrs. Leering replied. “In fact, many visitors to this building may say that she still remains here, roaming the halls in search of her absent groom.”

This confused Alexis. If Alexandria had died when she was an old woman, wouldn’t she appear as one in spirit instead of a young woman? Alexis tucked away that thought for later, when her mind was freer to examine it.

“Is there anything else that either of you would like to ask me?” Mrs. Leering asked the group. When she noticed the almost unanimous shaking of heads, she put on yet another small smile. “Well, I’ll be off, then. Have a good day, all of you,” she said, then walked back into the lobby, probably to reassume her position behind the front desk.

“I don’t get it,” Alexis murmured.

“What don’t you understand, Lexi?” Erika asked.

“Mrs. Leering said that Alexandria had died an old woman, right? Well, if she had died as such, wouldn’t I be seeing an old woman instead of a younger one?” Alexis asked in reply, also thinking aloud.

“How young do you think she appears?” David asked.

“Maybe twenty, mid-twenties at the oldest,” Alexis replied.

“Wait, when did Mrs. Leering say that Alexandria was born?” Carlos asked, going on with a developing idea.

“September 15th, 1914,” Sébastien answered. “What are you thinking, Carlos?”

“If she was born in 1914 and was going to married in 1934–,” Carlos started, looking at Izzy, who finished the sentence.

“She would have only been twenty years-old,” Izzy said still looking at Carlos.

“There were no more entries after June 17th, the evening before her wedding,” Urs remembered out loud.

It was then that the realization hit her, and she felt so dense for not thinking of it beforehand. It was like a pile of boulders was crushing her, bringing tears to her eyes. She covered her mouth with a shaky hand so she wouldn’t cry out.

“Alexis, what’s wrong?” Urs asked, putting his arm around her again.

After making sure her voice wouldn’t come out as a screech, Alexis uncovered her mouth to reply. “In her diary, she said nothing would make her happier, give her more reason to live, than to be with Jonathan. He never showed up to the ceremony...”

Chloe’s breath got stuck in her throat as she understood what Alexis was saying. “She committed suicide...that’s why you’ve always seen her so young...”

“You said you’ve seen her in a white nightgown,” Erika said, also in shock. “What if it wasn’t a nightgown?”

“Her wedding dress,” Izzy said aloud. “My God...it was right after the ceremony that never got to happen...”

“That means that either Mrs. Leering was wrong, or she was lying,” Sébastien said.

“Why would she lie, though?” David wondered aloud.

“I don’t know why,” Alexis said, her voice shaky but determined, “but we’ve got to find out, for Alexandria’s sake.”

No one in the room had a single differentiating thought. All were in mutual agreement that Alexandria needed to know the truth, as she had needed to know for seventy-five years.

*****************
About half an hour after realizing the truth about Alexandria’s death, everyone had gone back to their rooms to relax, their minds occupied with the task of finding the truth for Alexandria. Urs had accompanied Alexis back to her room before heading up to David’s room; he still wasn’t eager to go back into his own room. Once in her room, she shut the door and walked over to the bed, where she had left Alexandria’s diary. It was still on the bed, closed as she had left it. She sat on the bed and picked it up, knowing that, once long ago, Alexandria had been holding the diary as Alexis was right now.

“You died so young,” Alexis whispered to the diary. “I want to help you, to find the truth about what happened to Jonathan. No one believes that he just left you at the altar–“

She was interrupted when, out of the corner of her eye, she saw something slip under the door. Curious, Alexis put down the diary, then walked over to the object and picked it up. It was an envelope, the title of Ms. Alexis Jane Cooper inked in fancy script on the front. Alexis opened it up and pulled out a card the same color as the envelope, devoid of fancy writing on the front. When she opened it up, though, there was fancy script all over the page, saying:


You are cordially invited to the Wedding Eve Ball on this Sunday, June 17th
Formal apparel is encouraged
Come down to the ballroom after the seventh bell has tolled

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PostSubject: Re: *To Live Forever And A Day* By: Winterflame4 (Michele)   Sun Aug 30, 2009 2:31 pm

Chapter Nine Part 2


Immediately, Alexis found a problem with one of the requests in the invitation: She didn’t remember any of the girls, including herself, packing anything fancy. The second thing that she had noticed was the first line of the invitation. She knew that the last entry of Alexandria’s diary was written on June 17th, but something else made her rack her mind. Alexis retrieved her cell phone from a front suitcase pocket and checked the date: it was Saturday, June 13th. She thought about coincidences, but still, something else was nagging her mind into further thought. Alexis walked over to the wardrobe to look for something semiformal, not aware of how fancy their attire was supposed to be. However, when she opened the wardrobe, something stood out from the clothes that she had remembered unpacking. At one end of the railing, there was a hanging dress bag, something that she distinctly remembered not being there before. She took the hanger off of the rail, then set the dress bag on the bed. Alexis zipped open the bag to see pretty material, but she knew well enough that she wouldn’t be able to form a real opinion about the dress until she had tried it on; she didn’t even know if it fit her. She undressed, changed into the dress, then walked to stand in front of the full length mirror to observe her reflection.

The dress covered her feet entirely, though she was sure with the right shoes, it could end up just past her ankles. It was a light peach color, with red, light blue, white, and green floral patterns on the fabric in random places. The straps were thin, but there was some sheer fabric, the same color as the dress, that covered the sleeves, creating a V-neck. Alexis turned around in a slow circle, looking at the dress’s beautiful reflection in the mirror. Plus, it fit her just right, like it had been tailored to fit only her body. It didn’t look like modern fashion dress, more like a beautiful antique from years past, but she couldn’t place a decade on it. After looking at herself in the mirror for a few more moments, she changed back into her clothes, hanging the dress in its bag back up in the closet. After shutting the wardrobe doors, Alexis put Alexandria’s diary in the top drawer of the night stand, then left her room to go on a walk in the garden.

She walked down the flights of stairs, finding herself crossing the lobby again, headed towards the back door. Alexis opened the door and stepped into the fragrant yard, shutting it quietly behind her before beginning her walk on the brick path. On a whim, she quickened her pace along the path, feeling for when she would be standing in the right spot. She knew that she was there when she felt deja-vu, on that one spot where she had been standing in her dreams before Alexandria called to her. Alexis waited there, wondering if Alexandria would appear, but minutes passed without any sign of her. She was reminded of how short her life had been, how alike they were in how they both had been engaged, but never had married the men that they wanted to be with. Her vision became blurred as the clear image of Donny on the floor came back to her mind. Alexis knew how Alexandria felt, and it seemed that both of their griefs were combined to form an unbearable ache in Alexis’ heart. Tears fell from her eyes as she waited, wanting so badly to hold the spirit, to show how much she wanted Alexandria to know the truth.

Suddenly, she felt the urge to run. Alexis sped forward, her hair flying in the wind, tears drying on her face as new ones fell. She ran past the Chinese elm, past the dogwood and flowering apricot trees, ran on grass where there was no marked brick path to follow. The sound of rushing water reached her ears as the grass receded into dirt, where Alexis stopped to catch her breath. When she rose up and looked around, she saw a blue river ahead, with something like a gray block on the shore. Alexis walked down to the shore, curious to find out what the gray block could be. Once she was standing directly in front of it, she kneeled down, trying to look for any writing. She traced her fingers over the stone, trying to feel for words since sight wasn’t doing any good. At one point, Alexis closed her eyes to concentrate better, when a sudden scene played out in her mind...

Two people in the night, working by lantern light to fill a freshly-dug hole in the ground. A small figure holds the lantern, the more muscular figure held the spade. They talked in hissing whispers back and forth.

“We are expected back to assist Carlton and Elizabeth soon, you must dig faster!”

“I am hurrying as quickly as I possibly can. I told them that I was consoling you.”

“As if I could cry; she ended her own life. I do not feel one ounce of guilt for saving her years of heartbreak, and this family decades of poverty.”

“No one will know, my sweet. For now, we are all mourning Alexandria’s death, not saying a word of Jonathan.”

“You cleaned?”

“All but scoured the carpet, dear; it stained deeply, though. No one will go in there, though, not soon.”

“That man was no good for her, knew it ever since I heard the name ‘Gehrig.’ I have never heard it, nor read it, in any of the high-class trees, so he could only want her for the family’s money.”

“Even if he didn’t, we did make the right decision. The Carpier fortune is a large one, wealth that must be protected at every cost.”

The muscular figure finished piling in the dirt, then walked to the slimmer figure. “Indeed, we did, my love. You understand as well as I do what must be done to protect our family.”

“This must remain hidden from everyone; no one but us shall know of what had to be done.”

“To honor the family.”

“To honor the family, indeed!”

Alexis yanked her hand back off of the stone, falling backwards as a result. She slid back hurriedly from the stone, as if it was a ferocious animal that was going to strike at her. Alexis was shaking, scared of what she had just seen. This was no stone, but a tombstone, and she had been kneeling on a grave. She looked around at her surroundings quickly, like she was expecting those figures to come up behind her. At one point, she heard slow footsteps heading her way.

“Hello? Who’s there?” She asked, her voice still shaky.

When she looked again, Alexis couldn’t believe her eyes. There, right in front of her, stood a man in a formal suit, his dark hair tidy and combed back. His eyes watched her with an almost shocked kind of curiosity, then a tiny smile graced his face.

“Urs? How did you find me?” Alexis asked, thankful to see a familiar face.

The man’s face became more confused as he slowly shook his head, as if to say no. It was then that Alexis realized how cold it had become. She felt goose bumps form on her arms and legs, though a few moments before, it had been warmer weather. When she looked at the figure more closely, she realized that she could see right through him.

“Who are you?” She asked the man, trying to dismiss the fact that he looked so much like Urs.

The man slowly walked forward, then kneeled beside her. He looked at her, scanning her face as if looking for something familiar.

“Is this your grave?” Alexis asked him, growing more frightened with every second.

The man nodded solemnly, still looking at her. At that moment, words that Alexis had heard before resounded in her mind:

His energies ...similar to Jonathan’s...yours are similar to mine....

Something clicked within her, knowledge that felt as if it had been hiding there for her to find out on her own. She covered her mouth with a shaking hand in an effort to hold back her scream.

"Jonathan," she whispered, looking into his eyes.

After her whisper, she watched the man fade from sight.


*****************

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PostSubject: Re: *To Live Forever And A Day* By: Winterflame4 (Michele)   Sun Aug 30, 2009 2:33 pm

Chapter Nine Part 3

Erika became bored just sitting in her room, so she decided to look around for anything about Alexandria Carpier and/or her fiancee, Jonathan Gehrig. She walked down to the first floor to the study, sure that anything and anything about the family could be found on its shelves. The door was opened, so she just slipped in, shutting the door behind her as a precaution. Erika went over to Mr. Carpier’s desk and opened drawer after drawer, looking for any documents or photographs that could prove useful. Finally, as she was searching through the fourth drawer on the other side of the desk, she found something. Erika carefully pulled the paper out of its folder, then sat on the floor to look at it. She found it to be a lovely color photograph, its subjects being a woman in an antique, white summer dress, standing beside the man in the chair. As she continued to look over the photo, her eyes concentrated on the subjects’ faces. It was then that she discovered why they looked so familiar.

At once, she closed the drawer, but not before taking an empty folder in which to safely store the photograph. Erika tucked the folder under her arm, then rose up and walked to the door. She opened it, leaving it open as she rushed up to the fourth floor. She had to do some guesswork, but Erika quickly remembered which one was David’s door, then went over and knocked on it. He opened the door, smiling when he saw her.

“Hey, Erika,” David said, his infectious smile spread across his face.

“Hi, David,” Erika replied, a small smile on her lips. “Can I talk to you for a second?”

“Sure, come on in,” he replied.

He moved aside so that Erika could come into the room, then shut it once they were both back inside of the room.

“Urs is with Carlos in his old room, getting some more of his clothes. What can I do for you?” David asked her.

“Well, there was something I wanted to show you,” Erika answered, taking the folder in both hands. “I just want to make sure that I’m not going crazy.”

She handed the folder to David, who took it into his own hands and opened it to the photograph. He quickly noticed the faces of the man and the woman.

“Where did you find this?” He asked, still looking at the picture.

“I went to Mr. Carpier’s study room a few minutes ago,” Erika explained quietly. “I wanted to see if I could find anything about Jonathan Gehrig and Alexandria, and I found that in one of the desk drawers.”

“If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that this picture was of some other two people instead,” David murmured. “The similarities are uncanny...”

“I know,” Erika agreed. “That’s why I needed to show the photograph to you, who knows him way better than I do, to tell me whether or not I’ve gone completely crazy.”

At that moment, the door opened to reveal Urs, some more of his clothes in hand. He set the clothes on top of the dresser, then shut the door.

“Oh, hello, Erika,” he said with a smile. When he noticed that David and Erika were staring at him in a weird way, he added, “Did I interrupt something?”

“No, it’s just...we need you to see something,” David replied, handing the folder to Urs.

Confused, Urs opened the folder to the photograph that it held. If he hadn’t known any better, that was a picture taken of him and Alexis. his suspicions were confirmed when he turned it over and saw a title on the back:


Photograph of Alexandria Carpier and Jonathan Gehrig, taken on June 3rd, 1934.

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PostSubject: Re: *To Live Forever And A Day* By: Winterflame4 (Michele)   Sun Aug 30, 2009 2:36 pm

Chapter Ten

Urs, David, and Erika rounded up the rest of their friends–excluding Alexis, whom they assumed was napping–all meeting in the lounge room again. They passed the photo around, with Erika recounting how she came across it in a low whisper. Everyone could see the eerie resemblance between Alexandria and Jonathan, and Alexis and Urs immediately. After the picture was passed back to Erika, an unexpected topic of discussion came up.

“Did any of you get one of these?” Chloe asked, pulling an envelope from the small purse she had brought along. “It slipped under my door, and I was wondering if everyone else received one, as well.”

“I haven’t checked my door yet,” Erika replied. “What is it?”

“It’s an invitation to a ‘Wedding Eve Ball’,” Chloe said. “The date’s wrong, though. There is a June 17th coming up, but not a Sunday, June 17th.”

“I got that, too,” Carlos said. “Just after I went with Urs to his old room, I almost stepped on it walking in the door. There might be one in Urs’ old room, but he left when I did...”

“There was nothing when we left,” Urs agreed. “I’ll be sure to check that later.”

“What about you, Izzy?” Erika asked.

Izzy took a similar envelope out of a small bag she had brought with her. “I noticed the date error, too, Chloe.”

“I got one, but it’s still in my room,” Sébastien said.

“I’ll check my room for that a bit later,” David said, echoing Urs’ reply.

“Where’s Alexis?” Chloe asked.

“She’s probably sleeping,” Erika replied. “I never knocked on her door, but that’s probably what she’s doing.”

Just then, Erika felt something different, something akin to fear fill her. It wasn’t her fright that she felt, but someone else’s.

“Just out of curiosity, are any of you feeling scared right now?” Erika asked the group.

This immediately caught Chloe and Izzy’s attentions.

“Why, Erika?” Chloe asked, looked at her friend carefully.

“I don’t know, it’s just that, well...I’m not scared, and I just wanted to know where it was coming from...,” Erika replied, trailing off.

“Erika, do you think it’s Lexi?” Izzy asked, looking intently at Erika.

At the mention of Alexis’ nickname, Urs became focused on Erika as well.

“I’m not sure,” Erika replied. “I think I should go check, just in case.”

She stood up and walked towards the doorway to go out into the lobby, but just as she was about to step through, something stopped her. Erika, knowing full well that she was looking odd, knocked on the space in front of her, her hand rapping on something solid that she couldn’t see. She knocked again, and got the same result. Erika took a few steps back, then briskly walked to the space in the doorway. Before she could get through, though, she felt two strong hands grab onto her upper arms, then picked her up off the floor. No more than a second later, she was flung from the entry by some invisible force, landing hard on the wood floor behind one of the couches, the breath knocked out of her.

“Erika!”

Chloe was the first to react, springing up and running around to the back of the couch, falling at Erika’s side. Erika’s eyes were still opened, but it seemed that what happened to her hadn’t sunk in with her yet.

“Erika, can you hear me?” Chloe asked, holding on to her friend’s hand.

Everyone else was up, but fairly spread out to give Erika room to breathe. David, however, kneeled at Erika’s other side, taking her other hand in both of his. As he was watching her face for any reaction, he happened to notice something strange on the skin of her upper arms: red hand marks. He silently pointed that out to Chloe, who visibly had to hold back a scream.

“What was that?” Izzy asked, scared at what she had seen happen to her friend. No one had an answer.

Right then, Erika mumbled something.

“What was that, Erika?” David asked.

“Lexi...someone get her,” she repeated, sounding tired.

Urs moved to leave the room, but Izzy stopped him, holding up her invitation envelope. She kneeled down to the floor, then threw the envelope across the floor towards the arch; the enveloped passed through into the lobby. She nodded to Urs, who then walked out into the lobby without a problem. He slid the invitation envelope back into the lounge room, then, acting on instinct, sprinted to the back door.

*****************

Alexis sat on the ground, not able to move from the shock. She had found Jonathan’s grave and, with all of the evidence present, knew that he was murdered, just like Donny, but by two people. She wanted to speak to Jonathan’s spirit, and Alexandria’s ghost, if hers showed up, to verify, but she could bring herself to leave the grave.

“Jonathan! Alexandria!” She called, her voice broken and harsh from tears. “Please, I need to speak with you!”

Alexis waited, but no one came. “Jonathan, she loves you,” she whispered. “Alexandria still loves you and wants to be with you in the afterlife...”

Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted movement. Alexis looked up in that general direction, on her guard.

“Who’s there?” She asked, her voice barely above a whisper.

Just then, a dark figure with no definite form appeared from behind a dead tree. It strode towards her, and everything became cold again.

“You have meddled in many things, Alexis,” the voice said, its voice a hiss.

“Who are you?” Alexis asked, scooting backwards.

“Everything was stable, everything was alright, until you and your friends stuck your noses where they shouldn’t be!” The voice became angrier, its hiss more venomous.

“What are you talking about? Tell me who you are!” Alexis cried.

“You will pay for your ignorance, girl! My identity is nothing to you, who has to be rid of in order to maintain stability and peace to this mansion!”

“Whoever you are, you are dark, and not welcome to reside in the mansion! Your spirit is tainted, and so is your presence! Leave us alone!” Alexis screamed at the black mass.

“Breathe your last.”

The spirit then zoomed towards Alexis, but it never touched her. A bright white light exploded in front of Alexis, shielding her from the wraith. The black mass dissolved into the air, then the light extinguished itself shortly after. Alexis laid down on the ground, her face drained of color as she tried to breathe properly. She was terrified at what had just happened, scared out of her very wits as her mind tried to wrap itself around her encounter with the black ghost. Alexis knew one thing for sure, though: she needed to get away from Jonathan’s grave.

She stood up shakily, her hand holding on to the tombstone for support. Once she had her bearings, she took slow, deliberate steps forward, not daring to look behind her. Before she knew it, she was back on the brick path, and the mansion was in sight again. Alexis let out a brief sigh of relief, but she soon regretted the action, because she became dizzy. She thought she could hear someone, but she had closed her eyes in an effort to balance herself again. When Alexis opened her eyes, someone was running towards her, but she couldn’t distinguish who. The next thing she knew, a slight pressure was being exerted on her upper arms, and she was being talked to. She looked up, and was more than relieved to see that it was Urs who had found her.

“Alexis, you’re so pale...what happened to you?” She heard him ask, his tone concerned.

“Scared...I’m scared...,” she murmured, her quiet tone shrill.

Urs wrapped his arms around her, afraid at how speechless and worn out that she looked. “It’s alright, Alexis. Nothing is going to get you, now.”

Alexis wished that she could believe him as she weakly returned the embrace. After her encounter, however, it seemed unlikely that she’d be left alone as Urs was promising her. She knew somehow that whatever had tried to kill her would come back and try again.

“Tried to...kill me,” she whispered, on the verge of tears.

Urs drew back from her a bit, but still had a hold of her. “Who tried to kill you, Alexis? Did they hurt you?”

Alexis shook her head. “I found out things...they didn’t like that...”

“What did you find out?”

“I found out what really happened to Jonathan,” she said, looking up and into Urs’ eyes. “He was murdered by two people...that’s why he never showed up to marry Alexandria...”

Urs closed his eyes and inhaled once, taking in what Alexis had said. He didn’t feel too wonderful at the discovery of this clue, since he was Jonathan’s reincarnation. However, he needed to be strong for Alexis, so he suppressed his negative feelings and opened his eyes.

“Let’s get you inside,” he said, looking into her eyes as he let go of her.

He wrapped a strong arm around her back, then they both walked back to the mansion. Once they were inside, they headed to the lounge room. Alexis was startled by the scene before her: Carlos, Izzy, and Sébastien sat on one couch, looking anxiously at the couch next to theirs. On that opposite couch, David and Chloe sat next to Erika, who was covering her face with her hands and shaking a little. When Urs and Alexis entered the room, everyone looked up, except for Erika.

“Erika?” Alexis asked, her voice a little stronger, but still weak-sounding.

Urs let her go so that she could speed to Erika, coming to kneel in front of her friend. Alexis laid a gentle hand on Erika’s knee and looked up at her.

“Erika, it’s Lexi,” she whispered. “Please, what has happened to you?”

Erika uncovered her face and looked at Alexis. “I was thrown,” she replied, tears slipping from her eyes. “I tried to get to you, but something picked me up off of the ground and threw me...”

Alexis moved her hand to touch Erika’s face, wiping tears away. “I couldn’t get through,” Erika added, innumerable apologies in her eyes. “Something just wouldn’t let me...you look terrible, Lexi...what happened to you?”

Alexis exhaled before replying. “I’ll tell you later, once you have rested,” she said to her friend. Straight after saying that, she noticed the marks on her friend’s upper arms.

“Hand prints,” Erika explained. “That’s where it grabbed me.”

Alexis reached up her arms to hug Erika. “Thank goodness you’re okay.”

Erika held her in return, bending at the waist so that the action wasn’t too uncomfortable. The two separated, and Alexis stood up, extending a hand to Erika. Erika accepted her hand, standing up slowly.

“Here, I’ll take her up to her room,” Chloe said, also standing. “You need to rest, too, Lexi.”

Alexis nodded, then Chloe put an arm around Erika before taking her out of the lounge room and up the first flight of stairs. Alexis proceeded to sit down on the couch, Urs taking the seat on her other side.

“What happened to you, Alexis? You’re white as a sheet...,” David asked, looking her over.

“I went for a walk,” Alexis said, covering her eyes with her hands. “I started running, and I saw the river out back...there was a gray stone, and I touched it. I saw two people filling a burial hole...now I know that Jonathan was murdered by those two people, he never left her at the altar on purpose. I saw him, Jonathan, I saw him in spirit. I thought he was Urs, they look so much alike...it was his grave that I had found, the rock was the marker. Then there was this black ghost who threatened me, said that everything was fine until we started finding out information, then said it would kill me. It tried to attack, but then this white light exploded in front of me, protected me. They both disappeared, then Urs found me...it was horrible...”

Urs wrapped an arm around her for support, holding her close. It tore at him to see her so terrified, and now that he knew what caused her terror, he wanted more than anything to protect her. To think that he had come so close to losing her was an unbearable thought all on its own.

“I know it’ll try again,” Alexis added, her voice shaky. “It, whatever it was, wants me dead, and I have a feeling that it won’t let up...”

“It won’t,” Urs whispered in her ear. “I won’t let it happen.”

Alexis looked up from her hands and into Urs’ eyes. She saw a reassuring determination, but something else, as well. It was then that a woman’s gentle voice said something from within her mind, something that she had heard before:

You feel a connection to him, a connection that neither of you can understand...

Alexis felt as if she understood it, now, when it was a confusing statement before. There was something more to the bond that she felt was building between her and Urs, and she could name it. It seemed silly for her to know it this soon, since they barely knew each other, but it was such a strong feeling that it was consuming her, and she didn’t mind. If she regretted thinking so later, she decided to let it be. For now, there was one thing that she could believe, if nothing else was worth believing in:

I love you, Urs.

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PostSubject: Re: *To Live Forever And A Day* By: Winterflame4 (Michele)   Sun Aug 30, 2009 2:38 pm

Chapter Eleven

After Chloe came back from Erika’s room, Alexis filled her in on the story, which earned a horror-struck look from Chloe.

“But it didn’t hurt you in any other way?” Chloe asked, fear evident in her eyes.

“Just scared me, “ Alexis replied. “Besides that, I’m in one piece.”
Izzy looked down at her hands. “We shouldn’t have ever brought you to this place, Lexi.”

Alexis shook her head. “No one could have known that would happen to me, or expected what happened to Erika.”

“I want us to leave, but I feel guilty just thinking about it,” Chloe said. “I mean, Alexandria still doesn’t know the truth. Plus, we still don’t know who killed Jonathan. Erika told me that she refused to leave until Alexandria knew the truth.”

“Same here,” Izzy said. “We can’t leave her hanging like that; it would be more than cruel. I can’t imagine haunting a place, searching for a truth for over seven decades.”

“What do you all think?” Alexis asked, looking each of the Divos in turn.

“There has been some freaky stuff happening here, but I agree that Alexandria needs to know the truth,” David said.

“I know I’ll stay,” Sébastien added, casting a side glance at Chloe.

“As will I,” Carlos said, nodding before looking at Izzy, who smiled.

“There’s no chance that I will leave,” Urs said, looking into Alexis’ eyes, earning a small smile from her.

“Alright, then,” Alexis said, tearing her gaze from Urs to look at the rest of the group. “We’ll stay to help Alexandria and Jonathan.”

Even though she was still a little shaky from her encounter, Alexis was still bound and determined to stay long enough, for Alexandria and Jonathan’s sakes. Plus, she wanted to stay near Urs, as long as he was willing to stay and help.

“Do you want to go to your room and rest for a while? You still look worn out,” Urs suggested, catching her eyes again.

Alexis nodded, then they both stood up. “I don’t mean to be rude, but I think that I’ll go upstairs to my room for a while, just until I’m less shaken-up,” she said, looking at those present.

“Take your time, A.J. ,” Izzy said getting up and giving her a hug. Alexis nodded in reply.

Chloe stood and hugged her, then Alexis and Urs left the room. His arm remained around her back to support her as they went up the stars to the third floor. Once they got to her door, Urs followed her inside, closing the door quietly behind them. Alexis sat down on the bed, where Urs joined her, putting his arm around her again. She laid her head on his shoulder, trying to think of how to tell Urs what she was feeling towards him. Alexis knew that the worse thing that could happen would be that he’d say he didn’t feel as strongly for her, and their friendship would have to suffice, if it was still intact after her confession, that is.

“Is there something on your mind, Alexis?” Urs asked her, his voice gentle. “I mean, besides helping Alexandria and Jonathan?”

Alexis nodded against his shoulder. “There is, and I want to say it, but I’m not sure how. It’s complicated, at least to me, it is.”

“I’ll do my best to understand,” Urs assured her.

Alexis sighed, then closed her eyes before she spoke. “I know that we haven’t known each other for long, but...Urs, when I’m around you, and something bad happens, you’re always the one who calms me; just looking in your eyes makes me believe that somehow, everything will work out for the better. In one of my dreams, Alexandria said that I felt a connection between us, a connection that neither of us could understand. At first, I was confused by what she said, but now...I don’t know...like I said, it’s complicated for me to explain.”

Urs smiled, knowing what she was getting at. “Believe it or not, I know what you’re talking about.”

Alexis raised her head from his shoulder to look into his eyes. “You can be a miracle worker sometimes,” she said, a humored smile on her lips.

“The truth is, Alexis, I also know about this connection that Alexandria mentioned,” Urs explained. “I’m not just saying this because you had a close brush with death, but because I’ve felt like this for a while. It’s true that we haven’t known each other for long, but I feel something more for you.”

Alexis smiled, wondering if he was really saying this to her, or if this was just some wonderful dream. “You do? So then you really know what I was trying to say.”

Urs nodded, smiling again. “I know that this may sound corny to you, but...the first time I saw you, I couldn’t help but find you beautiful, even as sad as you were. You’re so brave, and I am proud of you for handling everything so well.

“When you told me earlier that something had tried to kill you...it just hit me so hard that I wouldn’t have been able to bear it if whatever attacked you had succeeded. I am thankful that you are alive and here with me right now...”

She couldn’t believe what he was saying, that it was real. He really cared for her, this wonderful, charming man had feelings for her. Alexis crossed an arm over her torso and under her arm to touch his hand. He took his arm back to take her other hand in his, tracing circles on her skin with his thumb.

After a few moments of silence, Alexis asked the inevitable question. “So, what happens now?”

“Well, there is one thing I still need to ask you,” Urs said, a smile playing on his face. Turning so that he faced her, he asked, “Will you do me the honor of attending this Wedding Eve Ball with me?”

Alexis chuckled, not expecting that exact question. “Of course I will,” she answered with a smile.

Urs smiled in return, and Alexis couldn’t help but feel like the wind was knocked out of her. He was so stunning; she believed that no matter how much time passed, she would never be able to get used to his great looks. She remembered how to breathe before he asked if she was alright, not wanting to give away her weakness...quite yet.

“You know what confuses me, though, is that invitation,” Alexis said, changing the subject. “June 17th is on a Wednesday, not a Sunday.”

“Perhaps it’s a typing error?” Urs suggested.

A sudden thought occurred to Alexis. “What if the date was written that way on purpose?”

Before Urs could ask what she meant, she let go of his hand, then got up and opened the top drawer of the night stand. She retrieved the diary, then sat on the bed again, flipping through the pages until she found Alexandria’s last entry. Sure enough, it was dated: Sunday, June 17th, 1934.

“It was on a Sunday, only seventy-five years ago,” Urs realized aloud.

“So the ball isn’t on Wednesday, but tomorrow,” Alexis said. “That’s pretty clever how this was worked out.”

Urs nodded. “I’ll be sure to tell the others about this, so that no one will be caught by surprise tomorrow evening.”

“I hope that nothing horrible will happen at the ball,” Alexis said, looking at the carpet. “I don’t want anyone else getting hurt.”

Urs put his arm around her again, then took her hand in hers with his free hand. “Neither do I,” he agreed.

“When Erika was thrown...it was bad, I know it. I wasn’t there to see it, but just the thought of anyone hurting her is horrible to me,” Alexis said.

“It was, but I am sure that David will be able to protect her tomorrow,” Urs assured her. “He cares for her very much, and as shocking as it was to see her thrown today, it only makes him want to protect her more. The only thing that scared him was seeing her at the mercy of something that none of us could see.”

Alexis looked up at Urs. “I believe that Erika cares for David, too. They always sit together, like we do.”

“Not to mention Izzy and Carlos, and Chloe and Sébastien,” Urs added, a smile on his face.

Alexis grinned. “So I know that my friends are in good hands?”

“Precisely,” Urs replied.

Alexis smiled at the thought of them all matching up as they had. She knew that her friends were happy, and that made her happy. She laid her head on Urs’ shoulder again, at peace with what she felt for him. Alexis never thought that she could ever feel this way again after Donny, but she always ended up surprising herself. She loved how secure she felt when he held her, how loved she felt. Despite herself and her happiness, though, she found herself closing her eyes, drifting off to sleep.

Urs smiled, happy that he wasn’t the only one in this relationship falling for someone. He really couldn’t help but love her, do everything to protect her, to stand by her. He knew that she needed him to help her endure the strange happenings at the mansion, but he also wanted to help her after Alexandria knew the truth. Alexis’ smile was like a beacon to him, leading Urs to the soul that he now knew he couldn’t live without.

He looked down at her to see that Alexis had fallen asleep; her grip on his hand had slackened. Urs let go of her hand, then laid her down on the bed before getting up and moving to her other side, then picked her up and laid her head on one of the pillows. He lightly stroked her face, then bent down to kiss her forehead.

“Sleep well, Alexis,” he whispered.

Just as he was walking to a chair so that he could watch over her, he felt a cold chill near him. When Urs looked up, he couldn’t mistake the spirit of Alexandria Carpier, who was watching Alexis with a small smile. She then looked at Urs, then nodded as if to thank him, her smile radiant even in death. He smiled in return, then she disappeared. He then took his post at the chair to watch Alexis sleep, the cold air disappearing from the room.

By the river, two voices spoke heatedly to each other near Jonathan’s grave.

“I had her, I almost got her!”

“But you didn’t?”

“No! Someone, I don’t have the faintest idea as to who, blocked me just as I was close to finishing the girl off!”

“Perhaps it was Jonathan, protecting Alexandria’s reincarnation.”

“That’s very likely of him, the imbecile! Wanting to still protect her, even though she isn’t his precious Alexandria...”

“Darling, would he have known it was you that he blocked from killing the girl?”

“No, I appeared as a black mass, according to that Cooper woman. I hate that girl, she is so ignorant, wanting to help in matters that are none of her concern!”

“She’ll learn soon, dear, won’t she?”

“I suppose you’re right. How, I am not sure, but I am certain that the truth will not escape the girl’s lips before I get rid of her.”

“When shall this occur? Are Alexandria and Jonathan wary?”

“No, they do not speak to me, as they ought not to. Tomorrow evening is the Wedding Eve Ball, dated exactly as the invitations were for the ball the evening before the wedding.”

“So, as some would say, you’ll be ‘crashing’ the party?”

“I knew you would catch on, dearie. The truth behind our efforts to save the family will be silenced forevermore tomorrow evening.”

“To honor the family dead!”

“To honor the family dead, indeed!”

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PostSubject: Re: *To Live Forever And A Day* By: Winterflame4 (Michele)   Sun Aug 30, 2009 2:45 pm

Chapter Twelve

Alexis sat under a Chinese elm, the shade cooling her, but not her warm smile. She felt so wonderful; there were no tears on her face and none coming down from her eyes anymore. Alexis felt at peace, like nothing could hurt her, here. She became aware of a presence near her, and when she looked up, she saw Alexandria, who was smiling at her. Alexis smiled back as she stood to greet her.

As Alexandria walked towards Alexis, her lips didn’t move as she spoke. “Alexis, you are happy.”

Alexis nodded. “Urs has made me very happy.”

“I am glad of that,” Alexandria’s voice replied. “I have come here because someone else has come to speak with you.”

Alexis was confused. Who could be wanting to speak with her? Her confusion became shock, however, as Alexandria moved aside to reveal the visitor. The man had short, dark blonde hair and familiar brown eyes, and stood at a relaxed stance, his hands in the pockets of his jeans. He wore a short-sleeved, dark green shirt with a palm tree on it, his favorite shirt out of every one that he had ever owned. Alexis couldn’t believe her eyes, and when the man spoke, the smooth way that he said her name bit at her like multiple bee stings.

“Alexis?”

“Is that really you?” She asked, stepping forward.

The man nodded. “I wanted to see you, and I found a way,” he said, his known goofy smile spread across his face.

“My word...it really is you, Donny, it is...,” Alexis said, feeling tears fill her eyes.

“You look great, always have, Lexi,” he said, focused on her.

“Thanks,” she replied, surprisingly able to keep her voice steady. “I noticed that you’re wearing your favorite T-shirt.”

“Oh, this old thing?” Donny laughed his infectious laugh, which didn’t sound any different from how it had sounded in real life. “You still remember?”

Alexis nodded. “It was the first beach outing we ever went on, and you got that at a souvenir shop. It still suits you.”

Donny walked towards Alexis, then hugged her. She was glad that it felt real, that his being dead didn’t just make her feel like a cold blanket was squeezing her. Alexis hugged him back, then they separated after a few moments in the embrace.

“I’ve missed you, Alexis,” Donny said, his eyes sad. “I am so sorry that I never showed up to the church...”

“It wasn’t your fault,” Alexis protested gently. “Someone made your heart fail, Donny, you were murdered.”

This was news to him. “I was killed? How do you–?”

“Alexandria and I believe that whoever killed her fiancee in 1934, messed with your heart and killed you,” Alexis explained. “You were one of the healthiest people I knew; it couldn’t have been an accident on your part.”

Donny was silent for a moment as he looked down at the ground. Alexis still couldn’t believe that she was actually talking to Donny again, hearing his voice once more. Something seemed to be bothering him, though.

“Is something on your mind, Donny?” Alexis asked.

Donny looked up at her again. “Lexi, I still love you, but something tells me that you have moved on.”

It was Alexis’ turn to look down. “It wasn’t as easy as that, Donny. When I came here to the mansion, I still loved you, wanted to believe that you had gotten cold feet or something, that you’d come back to me. I didn’t know that you were dead...”

She felt the tears fall from her eyes, leaving streaks down her face. Alexis looked up, then continued speaking. “I mourned you, then somehow began to feel something for another man, but only after I had accepted the false truth that you had left me at the altar. I didn’t want to feel anything for anyone else like that, Donny, only with you, but I found myself falling for someone. After I saw your body in a dream, found out that you were really gone, it was like someone ripped a part of my soul away. This man cares for me, has stood by me, never even once said that you were no good for me when I told him about what happened on our wedding day.

“And now, I believe that I love him, Donny. Also, he has somehow found something to love about me. I’m not saying that you weren’t any good for me, I’m just trying to say how nice he’s been to me, how supportive he has been...”

She stopped talking, only able to sob, but choked out an apology in broken words. “I’m s-sorry, Donny...I r-really a-am...”

Alexis felt Donny’s arms around her again. “That’s just it, Lexi. I’m happy that you’re happy with this guy.”

Alexis looked up into his kind, brown eyes. “You are?”

Donny nodded. “I’m not alive, and I can’t love you like he can. I’ll always care about you, Alexis, but the most important thing to me is that someone is there to take care of you. I don’t mean Chloe, Izzy, and Erika, though I am certain they’re with you for life. I’m talking about a guy who can love you and hold you all the time, walk with you through good and bad, you know?”

Alexis nodded. “I know. But you aren’t mad at me?...”

Donny laughed, shaking his head. “Haven’t you ever learned, Lexi? I can never, ever be mad at you. You’re too sweet for that.”

Alexis laughed a little, then wiped some of the tears from her face.

“I will always be around to protect you,” he said, looking into her still-teary blue eyes. “I will only move on once I know that you are totally safe.”

“But you need to move on now, don’t you? I mean, isn’t that how it works?” Alexis asked.

“A.J., don’t worry. I’ll move on once I am ready.”

Alexis nodded, then embraced him again. “You need to go, though, don’t you?”

“Unfortunately, yes,” Donny said into her hair, holding her tightly to him. “I’ll always listen if you call me, though, Lexi, never forget that. I’m not going to use my being dead as an excuse for not being your friend anymore. If you remember me, I’ll never have truly left you.”

Alexis cried into his shoulder. “I’ll always remember you, Donny, always. You still mean loads to me, don’t you ever forget that.”

“I know, I know,” Donny whispered. “I will never forget you, either.”

“One more thing...I’m sorry about never coming to your funeral...,” Alexis sobbed.

“Don’t apologize, Lexi, I understand,” Donny said, stepping back from her. He dried the tears from her face. “Take care of this pretty face, okay?”

Alexis nodded, already feeling more tears fill her eyes. “Goodbye, Donny.”

“Catch you later, Lexi,” Donny said, flashing one more brilliant smile her way. He stepped backward, then dissolved into thin air.

Alexis fell to her knees and let her tears flow, her face in her hands as her emotions poured out. It felt like she had lost Donny all over again. Alexandria sat down next to her, placing a gentle hand on Alexis’ back.

“He’s right, Alexis. He will have never truly left you if you just remember him,” Alexandria whispered.

“I know, I know, b-but...it’s still like I l-lost him a-all over a-again...,” Alexis stuttered through her tears.

“I know, Alexis,” Alexandria said. “But I also know that you are strong. You have the heart of a true Carpier woman.”

“Because I’m your reincarnation...”

“Yes, that too.”

Alexis looked up from her hands. “Is there something else?”

Alexandria nodded. “My brother, Harold Carpier, married Diana Westing. They had three children together: Clarissa, Thomas, and Jeremy. Clarissa married a man named Jacob Billings, and they had two children: Franklin and Tricia. Tricia married a man named Sydney Cooper, and they had one son, who married a girl from the Estes family. They had one daughter, then died in a car accident...”

Alexis was shocked out of her tears at the sound of her mother’s maiden name. Her father, Dean Cooper, and her mother, Heather Estes-Cooper, had died in a car accident when she was still a little girl. She remembered visiting Grandpa Sydney’s house in the country, even though she had been very young, staying there after her parents were admitted to the hospital.

“So, you, Alexis Jane Cooper, are my great-great-niece,” Alexandria finished.

“So I’m Harold Carpier’s great-great-granddaughter...,” Alexis continued, her voice hushed.

“Which, under other circumstances, means you would have been my son’s fourth cousin.”

Again, Alexis was taken off guard. “You...a son? How can that be?”

“You read my last entry, I trust?”

Alexis nodding, wanting to hear more of Alexandria’s explanation.

“During some point in the seven decades and five years that I have been dead, I discovered that I killed someone else besides myself. The time after my discovery was full of mourning, which may seem strange to you, as I am already dead. I felt horrible for my crime, wanted to be put to death, but alas, I quickly realized that years of suffering in the afterlife was my only penance.”

Alexis, though still in extreme shock, decided to take advantage of Alexandria’s explanation mood.

“Do you know who attacked me today?” She asked.

“Though she was cloaked to you, yes, I know who she was,” Alexandria replied.

“Who was it? Who wants to kill me?”

Alexandria took a moment, then answered. “Do you remember Mary Sanderson? I mentioned her in my very last entry as the wife of my twin brother, Avery.”

“She’s still here?”

“She has been here with my brother for seven decades and two years, since they committed suicide.”

“Wait...so they died three years after you did...what does she want with me, though?”

“You’re helping me. In my last diary entry, I mentioned that I never knew what I did to displease her, do you remember?”

Alexis nodded in reply. “She gave you dirty looks at every chance she got.”

“Exactly,” Alexandria replied. “She doesn’t like you for two reasons: First, you are me, reincarnated. Second, you are closer than ever to finding out about whatever happened to my beloved Jonathan, whom she never liked, either.”

“Does she want to hurt us at the ball tomorrow evening?” Alexis asked.
“She could try, as Avery might,” Alexandria replied. “Alexis, you must not let her or Avery know how much you’ve found out. Act normally around them, and they won’t attack you or any of your friends. You will recognize Avery, because as is definition of the word ‘twin’, we have the same hair and eye colors. Mary might be with him, but might stay away from his side, because you don’t know what she looked like, and I have forgotten, which is her main advantage.”

“You mean to say that they might physically appear? They won’t just watch us in their invisible forms?”

“They might, but my brother and his wife were always the unpredictable pair. All I can ask of you and your friends is to be on your guard at the ball, but not too wary as to attract any suspicion from my brother and sister-in-law.”

Alexis and Alexandria stood up together, then Alexandria spoke again. “If it helps, I find that the story is more understandable if you start from the beginning. Read through everything, find anything to use to protect yourself,” she instructed her great-great-niece. She put a gentle hand on Alexis’ face and smiled. “Make me proud, dearest Alexis.”

“I will, auntie,” Alexis said, omitting the two ‘great’ titles on purpose so as not to sound too awkward.

With that, Alexandria disappeared, leaving Alexis alone in her dream.

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PostSubject: Re: *To Live Forever And A Day* By: Winterflame4 (Michele)   Sun Aug 30, 2009 2:50 pm

Chapter Thirteen Part 1


Alexis woke up on her side, parts of her face stiff from dried tears. She was surprised that her eyes weren’t sore, as they usually would be after she cried. Alexis guessed that the soreness would be made up for with the red eyes that she was sure to see in the mirror later. At first, she couldn’t remember the reason for her tears, but then she remembered that part of her dream. It had felt so wonderful, so surreal to talk to Donny again, but it was a bittersweet thing, because he wasn’t alive anymore. His great personality and his sense of humor hadn’t died, which wasn’t a surprise to Alexis; he had always been like that in life, and had been a part of why she had loved him so much, wanted to spend the rest of her life with him. She bit her lip to stop more tears from filling her eyes as she thought back to his brilliant smile when he had said goodbye to her in the dream. However, she was glad that he accepted the fact that she was falling for Urs–though, to the best of her memory, she couldn’t remember ever mentioning Urs’ name to Donny–, that he wasn’t mad at her for moving on.

Then, she remembered all of what Alexandria had told her in the last part of her dream, that she and Alexis were related through Alexandria’s other brother, Harold Carpier. Also, she thought back to the other things that Alexandria had told her about, like how it was Mary Sanderson who had threatened to kill Alexis, and that she and Avery Carpier, Alexandria’s twin brother, still remained at the mansion in spirit. What left Alexis in thought was why Avery and Mary had committed suicide three years after Alexandria’s own suicide, though that seemed a very minor issue in comparison to everything else. There was a possibility that something very bad would happen at the ball the next night, which she dreaded above all else. After Erika’s violent encounter with an invisible aggressor, Alexis was extremely afraid of anyone else getting hurt. Her encounter with Mary Sanderson’s dark phantom came to mind, her angry voice still echoing in her ears as she threatened to end Alexis’ life. It was then that a new worry weighed in her chest: Would anyone be lost? Would Mary Sanderson or Avery Carpier take anyone’s life? Alexis’ heart pounded at the very thought, shutting her eyes tightly to hold back any tears that might spill over. The thought of losing anyone because of this pained her, and she knew that if anyone did get killed, she would always feel the guilt for it.

Alexis sat up on the bed, then rubbed the sleep from her eyes. When her vision was clear, she smiled at the sight of Urs, dozing away in the chair near the bed. Alexis couldn’t help but find his sleeping face still so handsome and, dare she say it, cute. She couldn’t find it within herself to wake him up, so she took the diary from on top of the night stand, where she guessed that Urs put it after she fell asleep, and began to read. This time, she took every entry seriously, rereading them if she didn’t know every detail by heart the first time through. Alexandria’s life seemed so wonderful, so lavish, yet simple and unspoiled. It was the kind of life that Alexis had vaguely remembered living when her parents were still alive. After about ten entries or so, Alexis happened upon an entry that detailed Alexandria’s first meeting with Jonathan on March 5th, 1931:

Dearest Diary,
Today, I met a most intriguing gentleman, thanks to a business proposition that my father let me attend. We went to a fine mansion on the other side of town, which I found a grand spectacle for the eyes. I was not aware of the family that my father was meeting with, for he kept a secret from me, but he smiled the whole way to the home. Once in the home, I was introduced to Mr. Ferdinand Gehrig, a successful businessman originally from Germany, and his wife, Mrs. Edith Schultz-Gehrig, a lovely woman with an air of charisma that I found quite admirable. As my father talked with Mr. and Mrs. Gehrig, a young man around my age came down the main staircase to join us. He introduced himself as Jonathan Gehrig, Mr. and Mrs. Gehrig’s only son and child. If I can be daring enough to confess, Jonathan is quite handsome. He has neatly-styled, almost medium-length dark hair, not to mention a pair of the most entrancing hazel eyes. He complimented me on the dress that I wore to the meeting, which I took with a smile and a compliment on his suit, which he accepted with a brilliant smile...

The entry went on to describe how the meeting went, which wasn't of particular interest. All in all, it went very well, with Alexandria's father being employed to build the Gehrig family's vacation home with an excellent payment price in return. Alexis went on to read a fair few more entries before seeing one melancholy entry, dated February 12th, 1933:

Dearest Diary,
A most dreadful thing has happened: Jonathan's father is dead. According to Mrs. Gehrig, he died in his sleep, which I suppose should be good, as compared to other ways to die, but it is by no means easier to accept. Jonathan is heart-broken over this great loss, and I do my best to support him in this difficult time. I am afraid that this is where I must end this entry, for I wish to return to Jonathan to console him.

Alexis could empathize because, as young as she was when her parents died, it still hurt her to know that they would never come back again. Knowing only that seemed to sink her into deeper grief, all at that tender age where no child should lose their parents. Living with Grandpa Sydney had been alright, but no matter how much she knew that she loved him, Alexis always knew that nothing could replace her parents’ presence in her life. Not even one page later, there was an entry detailing what people close to Mr. Gehrig had received in his will. A particularly large sum of money caught her eye, as did the name of the recipient. Right then, she noticed Urs stirring from sleep, out of the corner of her eye.

“Good morning, sleepyhead,” Alexis joked, smiling at Urs.

Urs smiled back as he rubbed sleep from his eyes, then stretched before standing up. “I can say the same to you,” he joked back. “When did you wake up?”

“Oh, a few minutes ago,” Alexis replied, closing the diary. Facing towards him again, she became more serious. “I had another dream, and I’m telling you now, Urs, it’s crazier than the one in which she told me we are reincarnations.”

Urs mirrored her mood change, walking over and sitting on the bed with her. “What happened in your dream?”

“Well...at first, it was just me and Alexandria, but then she said that someone wanted to see me,” Alexis began. “Urs, it was Donny who wanted to see me,” she said, her eyes glistening with reminiscent tears. Urs took her hand in his, tracing circles on her hand with his thumb. “He’s okay with me having feelings for you, and vice versa,” Alexis continued with a small smile, which Urs returned.

“Was there someone after Donny came?” Urs asked, his tone gentle.
Alexis nodded, then went into recounting all that she had been told. She started from Alexandria’s run-through of her previously unknown lineage, then went on to back up her story, telling Urs about how her parents had died. She told him that Mary Sanderson was the one who tried to kill her, also mentioning Avery Carpier and the possibility of both of them showing up at the Wedding Eve Ball.

“So we have to tell everybody else to be on the lookout for a man who looks like he can pass for my twin brother,” Alexis said. “Mary Sanderson might not accompany him, because we have no clue what she looks like, and that’s her advantage, since she attacked me as a black mass.”

“Did Alexandria say anything more?” Urs asked her.

“Well, I remember her saying something at the very end of the dream,” Alexis said. “She said something about how the story could be understood the best if you read it from the beginning, so that’s what I did.”

Alexis reopened the diary with her free hand to the entry about Mr. Ferdinand Gehrig’s will, then spoke again. “I have been reading her diary since I woke up. According to Alexandria, the Gehrig family was quite wealthy, and when Mr. Gehrig died the year before the wedding was planned to happen, you could easily assume that, as his only son, Jonathan received a great amount of money...”

She turned the diary around so that Urs could read it, pointing at the sum of money that Jonathan had been given in the will. Alexis saw his eyes widen in astonishment, which was nothing far from her initial reaction.

“So, I don’t think that someone would think of Jonathan as a threat to the Carpier family’s wealth, but then again, they could’ve suffered a cut to the business because of the Depression,” Alexis thought aloud. “But if it wasn’t money, what was there to gain from killing Jonathan?”

“Your guess is as good as mine,” Urs said, also trying to think of a reason for Jonathan’s murder. “I think that our greatest problem, though, is how we are going escape if Mary and Avery decide to attend the ball in their visible forms.”

Alexis nodded in agreement. “Do you have any ideas?”

“If we pack our luggage before the ball, we can put our suitcases in our respective vehicles, leaving out only what we’re going to wear to the party, so that if we have to make a quick escape, we can just leave the mansion,” Urs said.

“We might have one part taken care of already,” Alexis said. “Earlier, I found a dress that I never brought, never had seen before, hanging in the armoire. I’m guessing that everyone else has something in their wardrobe that has suddenly appeared to wear to the ball.”

“Really? That does sound strange,” Urs said. “I’ll probably go by with David later on to check if anything got placed in my old room.”

“We can go now, if you want to,” Alexis suggested, knowing how he was still so reluctant to go back into his original room.

“Are you sure? I mean, with what happened to you and all...”

“Of course, Urs,” Alexis assured him. “I can handle it if something happens, don’t worry.”

Urs consented, then they both left Alexis’ room, hand-in-hand. They both liked the feeling of holding hands, as simple as the gesture was. Besides that it was very romantic to them, it also made them feel safe, like they couldn’t be separated as long as each had a steady grip on the other’s hand. They walked up the stairs to Urs’ old room, where they both walked through the unlocked door. Alexis squeezed his hand, a reassuring gesture to make him more comfortable in the room, which was devoid of any paranormal beings. She let go of his hand and turned around so that, if there was a new suit in the dresser, she wouldn’t know ahead of time how much more handsome he looked in it. Alexis closed her eyes and smiled, knowing that she wouldn’t be able to sleep if she saw how good he looked in a suit before the ball.

“Did you find anything?” Alexis asked, hearing the wardrobe doors open.

“One suit that I didn’t pack,” Urs replied matter-of-factly. “A very nice one, but not anything that looks modern.”

“That’s how my dress looks,” Alexis said, still facing the door. “Elegant, but not in a twenty-first century way.”

“I’m sure you look beautiful in it, not that your beauty is any less without a vintage dress,” Urs said, a smile in his voice.

This made Alexis blush. “Thank you, Urs,” she replied. “I’m sure that you look quite handsome in that suit, although you don’t really need a suit to look good.”

“Thank you, Alexis,” he replied, his smile evident in every word. “I’ll drop this by David’s room so that I won’t have to worry about going back in here to get it again, if that’s alright.”

“Not a problem.”

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PostSubject: Re: *To Live Forever And A Day* By: Winterflame4 (Michele)   Sun Aug 30, 2009 2:51 pm

Chapter Thirteen Part 2


With that, Urs and Alexis left the room, shutting the door before heading two doors down the hallway to the room that Urs was sharing with David. Urs went into the room to drop off the suit, then came out of the room back to Alexis.

“Is it alright if I go check on Erika?” Alexis asked Urs. “I just want to see how she’s holding up.”

“Of course,” Urs replied. “It’s been around an hour since Chloe took her to her room, so she might already be awake.”

“That’s Erika, alright,” Alexis said with a smile as they headed towards the stairs, holding hands again. “For as long as I’ve known her, she never sleeps for long.”

They went down the stairs to the third floor to Erika’s room, where Alexis knocked on the door before opening it. Erika was sitting up in bed, staring at her hands, looking wide-awake.

“Erika, it’s me,” Alexis said. “Urs is with me. We just wanted to check and see how you were.”

“You can come in, you two,” Erika said, a small smile visible on her face. “I don’t bite.”

Alexis opened the door wider, then stepped into the room, followed by Urs, who shut the door behind them. Alexis went over the sit on the bed with Erika, who still stared at her hands, while Urs stood nearby.

“Erika, how are you feeling?” Alexis whispered to her friend.

“I’m still a little freaked out,” Erika replied. She looked up at Alexis, an apologetic look on her face. “But that doesn’t mean I want to leave without helping Alexandria–“

“I know, Chloe told me,” Alexis assured Erika, who relaxed a little more.

“I found a dress in the dresser, something I never brought along,” Erika whispered. “It’s pretty, and it fits me, but the thing is, I don’t have a date...”

“Who did you want to ask?” Alexis inquired.

“Well, I wanted to see about going with David, but I don’t think that he’d say yes,” Erika replied, a blush appearing on her cheeks.

Alexis smiled at her friend’s shyness. “Why wouldn’t he?”

“Well...”

“Don’t make any excuses, Erika,” Alexis said with a smile. “You are a stunning woman, and if he doesn’t say yes, he’s in for it.”

Erika leaned around Alexis to see Urs. “Do you think David would go with me, Urs?”

“Of course he would, Erika,” Urs replied, smiling. “I can go get him, if you want.”

“Okay,” Erika said, a shy smile accompanying the blush on her cheeks. “Thank you, Urs.”

“No problem,” Urs said. “I’ll be right back.”

With that, he opened the door and stepped into the hallway, shutting the door quietly behind him. Alexis watched him leave, not able to hold back the smile that spread across her features, one that Erika caught.

“Let me guess, he asked you,” she said to Alexis.

Alexis nodded. “I really like him, like, really, really like him.”

“I’m happy that you do,” Erika replied. “Does he feel the same way?”

“I think so...”

“I know so,” Erika said. “Don’t try to tell me that you two weren’t holding hands when you came in.”

Now it was Alexis’ turn to blush, earning a giggle from Erika.

“Now, Alexis, is it just me, or do Urs, Carlos, David, and Sébastien look familiar?” Erika asked.

“Er, we met them yesterday...?”

“No, silly, not like that. I mean, it’s just that they look and sound familiar. I just can’t place where I’ve seen them before. It’s kind-of like deja vu.”

“Don’t tell me, you have extra-sensory perception,” Alexis teased, knowing that was mainly true.

“Don’t they look familiar to you, Alexis, at least the way that I’m saying?”

“Now that you mention it, yes,” Alexis said, now trying to think of where she had heard their names before. “Where we’ve heard of them before is the only thing...”

Right then, Urs walked in with David, who was all smiles.

“Hey, Erika. How are you feeling?” David asked, still standing by the door with Urs.

“I’m better, thanks,” Erika replied, her blushing much more pronounced.

“I’ll come back later, okay, Erika?” Alexis asked, a knowing smile on her face.

Erika nodded, then Alexis got up and left the room with Urs, shutting the door behind them.

“I wonder if Izzy and Chloe have asked Carlos and Sébastien yet,” Alexis wondered aloud.

“Well, they weren’t in the lounge room, so maybe they’re off in pairs wondering who’s going to ask first,” Urs said with a joking smile.

Alexis laughed a little as they walked away from Erika’s room door, able to picture Chloe and Izzy standing with Sébastien and Carlos, respectively, silently wondering if they should be assertive and ask first. If she knew anything about her friends, she knew that their shared, core weakness was a really handsome guy. Alexis had really liked how she and Erika had talked in her room, like they were back home and it was just another day of girl talk for them, without any worries about ghosts attacking them and the such. It reminded her very much of when they were still all in high school together, each girl wondering who they’d go to the prom with. It was just like old times.

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PostSubject: Re: *To Live Forever And A Day* By: Winterflame4 (Michele)   Sun Aug 30, 2009 2:55 pm

Chapter Fourteen Part 1


“Do you want to walk through the garden?” Urs asked spontaneously.

“That sounds nice,” Alexis said caught off guard by the sudden change in conversation, but was, by no means, averse to Urs’ suggestion. After all, the idea of spending more time with him was a very pleasing thought to her.

The two of them walked down the stairs to the lobby, again holding hands, then headed to the back door. Urs let go of her hand only to open the door for her, then claimed it again once the door was shut behind them. They slowly made their way across the brick path, past the flowers’ perfume and a flowering apricot tree. Not really knowing it, they were walking towards the giant Chinese elm, where they had first met yesterday. The last part boggled both Urs and Alexis’ minds, that it had only been the previous day when they had met, and how close they were, now one day later. When they got to the shade under the Chinese elm, they sat side by side on the ground, taking a few moments to look at their beautiful surroundings.

“When we first came here, this place didn’t really strike me as haunted,” Alexis murmured. “It just goes to show how much can change in a single day.”

Urs nodded in agreement. “It’s not everyday that you’re trying to solve decades-old murder mysteries, after all.”

“Can’t say you’re wrong, there,” Alexis said, looking out over the rest of the garden. “It’s also not every day that you’re risking your neck to help someone who’s deceased, either.”

Alexis looked at Urs, then continued in a whisper. “I don’t want them to get anyone else...especially you.”

Urs looked at Alexis, surprised at the path that their conversation had taken. He could see the worry in her eyes, the dread of losing someone to the events that were playing out at the mansion. Urs scooted closer to Alexis, placing a gentle hand on her cheek.

“No matter what happens, I won’t let them hurt me,” he murmured, looking into Alexis’ eyes.

Alexis liked the feeling of his hand on her face, but it didn’t ease her fear about losing him. “But what about what happened to Erika? And I almost was killed...”

“I know,” Urs whispered. “The behaviors of these ghosts are unpredictable, but we can’t let that advantage take away our defenses. If everyone is paired up, maybe they won’t be such easy targets, which they could be if one was without the other.”

“I can’t stand the thought of anything happening to you,” Alexis said, her voice cracking as her throat felt thick with emotion.

“Just like I can’t bear the thought of anything happening to you,” Urs replied. “We have to be strong, though. As long as we have that, nothing that is thrown at us will be of any harm.”

Alexis leaned into Urs’ hand, which still rested on the side of her face. “You always know the right thing to say, don’t you?”

Urs smiled a little. “I try.”

Urs wrapped his arms around Alexis, who laid her head on his shoulder. She closed her eyes, savoring the feeling of protection that came with every strong, yet gentle embrace. Moments such as these made her feel at peace, like nothing could touch either of them, if they could only remain that way for longer.

Urs loved how Alexis fit in his arms so perfectly. He knew that, if he could, he would take all of her fears away right then and there, and just make sure that she was safe from harm. Urs knew that nothing would be the same again if he never got to look into her beautiful blue eyes or hear her cute little laugh, but he knew that Alexis was a fighter. No matter how overcome with emotion she was, he knew she’d survive, just because she had the will to.

Urs closed his eyes and started to hum a tune, which Alexis found to be soothing. A few seconds into the tune, she realized that she had heard something like that before, but couldn’t place where she had heard it. Not too long after that, Alexis could fit a verse to the tune:

Follow your heart
Let your love lead through the darkness
Back to a place you once knew
I believe, I believe, I believe in you
Follow your dreams
Be yourself an angel of kindness
There’s nothing that you cannot do
I believe, I believe, I believe in you...

“I love their music,” she whispered, a smile on her face.

Urs stopped humming. “Who’s?”

“Il Divo,” Alexis replied. “Have you heard of them?”

Urs smiled, partly shocked that she hadn’t found out that he and his friends were a part of that very band, yet. “Yes, I have heard of them. What do you think about them?”

“Their voices are wonderful,” Alexis answered. “Chloe and Erika had me and Izzy listen to their CD’s once on what had to be the longest road trip ever. We got hooked, even went to one of their concerts, which was such a perfect way to spend a night.”

“Do you plan on seeing them again? In concert, I mean.”

“Yes, I do hope that I can,” Alexis said. “Have you ever gone to see them in concert?”

Urs had to suppress a chuckle, surprised that she hadn’t caught on yet. “I’ve been to every one.”

Alexis looked up at him, a look of awe spread across her features. Urs thought, for sure, that she had finally understood. “Wow...every one of them? What an opportunity...”

So, apparently not. Urs decided that he wouldn’t lead her on anymore, and just tell her. As cute as it was to see her guess, she had a right to know.

“Alexis, did you or any of your friends think that Carlos, Sébastien, David, and I looked familiar?” He asked, looking into her eyes.

“Erika did, and I did, but we couldn’t...”

Right then, Urs could see that she finally made the connection. Understanding bloomed in her eyes, a new kind of amazement molding her face.

“No wonder I didn’t doubt that you would look handsome in a suit...” Alexis murmured, looking into Urs’ eyes.

Urs chuckled, a grin spreading across his features. He let it dull for a moment to ask, “Are you angry with me for keeping that from you?”

Alexis had started shaking her head before he had even finished the question. “I can’t be mad at you, Urs. If anything, I’m happy. I wonder if Chloe, Erika, and Izzy have realized it yet...”

“They’ll find out, eventually,” Urs replied, resuming his smile. “David might have already told Erika, so it’s only a matter of time until Carlos and Sébastien tell Izzy and Chloe.”

Alexis nodded, grinning as she thought about how her friends would react to the fact that they were all falling for the members of Il Divo. Chloe would probably be rendered speechless, while Izzy could just be shocked briefly before taking it in stride. Alexis knew that Erika would probably just feel awesome knowing that her senses were still reliable.

As she thought about her friends’ reactions, Alexis felt something cold touch her face. She gasped as the freezing sensation shaped to the side of her face as a gentle hand would. Reflexively, Alexis put her hand on that side of her face, her skin freezing cold. She removed her hand from her face and looked at it, as if some of that cold would transfer to it.

“What is it?” Urs asked, taken off guard by Alexis’ sudden gasp.

“Someone just touched my face,” she murmured, still looking at her hand.

Urs touched that side of her face with his hand, then withdrew it just as quickly. “It’s like you just came out of a freezer...”

Following a sudden urge, Alexis said something that she knew that, under any other circumstances, she wouldn’t have given a second thought to. “I think I need to take you to Jonathan’s grave.”

Both of them stood up, though Urs was cautious about the sudden choice. Alexis took his hand, then proceeded to lead him to the spot where Jonathan’s grave was located. The grass faded into dirt, then the sound of the rushing river reached their ears. Their pace slowed as they walked over to the gray stone that marked Jonathan’s grave. Alexis was scared to be there again, the place where she was almost killed, but she also felt a strong need to be there. She let go of Urs’ hand, then knelt beside the stone.

“Why do I need to be here?” She asked to no one in particular.

Urs knelt beside her, also wondering the same thing. Every so often, he’d look over his shoulder when he felt like they were being watched. This place felt dangerous to him, but for some reason, Alexis felt a strong need to stay.

Alexis reached out a shaking hand to the stone, then touched it as she had before. She closed her eyes, willing herself to see whatever it was that she needed to see. Like on cue, an image appeared behind her eyelids...

A man was fixing his black bow tie in the full-length mirror, a smile on his face. His dark hair was tidy, his shoes were polished, and his mood was one of elation. Just then, there was a knock at the door.

“Come in,” the man said.

The door opened to reveal another man with green eyes and short, black hair. He, too, was wearing a suit and a smile.

“We’ll need you down in the ballroom in about twenty minutes, Jonathan,” the second man said.

“I’ll be right down,” Jonathan replied. “I just want to make sure that I am presentable.”

“My sister wouldn’t think less of you if your bow tie was crooked,” the other man said from the door. “She loves you, Jonathan. You’re a lucky man, and I couldn’t think of anyone better to take care of my little sister.”

Jonathan stopped fussing with his bow tie, then turned and walked to the other man. He clapped him on the shoulder, a smile in his eyes as well as on his face. “Thank you, Harold. I will take care of Alexandria for her entire life, and I will always love her.”

“Welcome to the family, Jonathan,” Harold said with a smile. “I need to go downstairs to make sure everything is set up properly. I will see you at the ceremony.”

Jonathan took his hand back and nodded once. “I will go to the ballroom in a matter of minutes. I just need a few minutes to compose myself.”

Harold nodded, then shut the door, leaving Jonathan alone again. Jonathan walked over to the window to look out over the garden, where the reception was to be held. As he gazed out the glass to the trees below, there was a knock at his door.

“Come in,” Jonathan said, not moving from the window.

The door opened, and there stood a man with short brown hair and light blue eyes. Jonathan turned his head to see who it was, then smiled.

“Ah, Avery! Do come in,” Jonathan said. Turning back to the window, he added, “It’s a lovely day, isn’t it?”

“Indeed, it is,” Avery said. He stepped into the room, then quietly shut the door behind him. “All ready for the wedding?”

“Yes, I am,” Jonathan said. Turning so that he faced Avery totally, he said, “I can never thank you or any other member of this family enough for giving Alexandria and I your blessings. You all are truly helping me to become the happiest man to ever live.”

Avery nodded, as if not really paying attention. Just then, the door knocked and, without Jonathan saying a word, opened. A woman with brown hair and green eyes entered, then wordlessly shut the door behind her before stepping to Avery’s side.

“Is everyone downstairs, Mary?” Avery asked the woman beside him.

“Yes, darling, all except for the bride and groom,” Mary whispered back. Speaking a little louder, she said, “Ah, Jonathan, all ready for the ceremony, I see.”

Jonathan’s happy features transformed into those of confusion as looked from Avery to Mary. “Hello, Mary. How are you?”

“I am fine, but enough with the formalities,” Mary said, her voice clipped. Turning to Avery again, she handed him something that she had been holding behind her back. “Here you are, Avery, just as you requested.”

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PostSubject: Re: *To Live Forever And A Day* By: Winterflame4 (Michele)   Sun Aug 30, 2009 2:56 pm

Chapter Fourteen Part 2


Avery made no effort to conceal the object that Mary had handed him, holding the gun in his hand at his side. Jonathan saw the gun, and his visible confusion grew even more pronounced.

“Avery? Are you starting a collection?” Jonathan asked, eyeing the firearm.

“Oh, this?” Avery asked, holding up the handgun to look at it. “I don’t care for collecting them as much as shooting them. Thank you, Mary.”

Mary nodded, then made a point of looking at the gun as well.

“Jonathan, you want to become a part of this family, do you not?” Avery asked, taking a moment to glance away from the gun to Jonathan.

“Of course I do,” Jonathan replied, looking at Avery. “I love your sister very–“

“Yes, yes, I know how you feel about my sister,” Avery said, almost sounding bored. “The problem is, Jonathan, that there won’t be any marital unions today.”

“What is the meaning of this? Has something happened to Alexandria?”

“No, my precious sister is alright. It’s you who will suffer,” Avery said, his glare full of morbid determination.

“What is meant by this? Avery, are you well?”

“I am fine!” Avery yelled. “Now be quiet, you!”

A loud noise exploded in the room after Avery flexed a finger, and Jonathan’s expression froze. His eyes sustained a panic as he fell to the floor, looking at Avery and Mary the whole time.

“W-why?” Jonathan gasped.

“To honor the family,” Avery said, a sneer etched into his face.

“To honor the family, indeed,” Mary said, also watching Jonathan as he died.

With that, Avery put the gun under the dresser and out of sight, then he and Mary walked out of the room, closing the door behind them, leaving Jonathan to die in cold blood...

Around half an hour later, a beautiful bride was about to enter the ballroom when she was intercepted by Harold.

“My brother, why aren’t you with the priest?” The bride asked.

“Alexandria, Jonathan never showed up,” Harold told his sister.

“Perhaps he is still upstairs?...”

“I just talked to Avery, who said that Jonathan just left the mansion, suitcase in hand,” Harold admitted, his face full of regret. “I am so sorry, Alexandria...”

“It cannot be...” Alexandria murmured, lifting her veil to reveal light blue eyes brimming with tears.

Harold took his sister into his arms as she broke down. His face spoke volumes as to how horrible he felt for having to tell his little sister such heartbreaking news. After a few moments, they separated, Alexandria’s once lively eyes now two lifeless pools.

“I’ll go change,” she said simply.

“Should I call mother and your bridesmaids?” Harold asked.

“No, but thank you for the gesture,” Alexandria replied. “I need time to myself for a while.”

Harold nodded, then squeezed his sister’s hand before she walked to the stairs. Once Alexandria was sure that Harold was in the ballroom, surely calling off the wedding, she quickened her pace, running up the stairs. Once she was on the third floor, she tearfully made the short walk to her bedroom, her pace much slower than it had been only moments before. It was as if she had aged decades in the time that it took her to climb the flights of stairs, and yet her sad youth was still apparent. She opened her bedroom door, then closed it before walking over to her bed. Alexandria removed her veil, then took out the pins that secured her long hair in a pretty bun, letting her hair fall down upon her shoulders. She stepped out of her shoes, then walked out of her bedroom, breaking into a run as she headed upstairs to the fourth floor. Alexandria went into a room that seemed to not be in use, shutting the door behind here before walking to the doors that would lead to the balcony. She opened the doors, then walked out onto the balcony, from where she had a breathtaking view of the garden. A lone tear slid down her cheek as she hoisted herself onto the wide railing to stand on it.

“Goodbye, Jonathan, my love. Next we meet, may our souls reunite again, if that is what fate so wishes,” she whispered.

After she closed her eyes, Alexandria stepped off the railing, the train of her dress trailing as she fell to the ground below...

Alexis jerked herself out of the vision, falling backwards from the stone. She immediately began to cry, covering her face with her hands as she shook. A few seconds later, though, she felt strong arms sit her back up again, and Urs’ arms wrapped around her.

“Alexis? Alexis, please, tell me what’s wrong,” she heard Urs ask, his tone hushed but alarmed.

“T-they killed him! I s-saw them s-shoot him!” Alexis replied, her voice shrill as she sobbed. “Then s-she jumped from the b-balcony...”

“It’s alright, Alexis, you’re back, okay? You’re not there anymore, you’re here, with me,” Urs said, terrified at how distraught she was.

“I know w-who d-did it! He l-lied to them!...” Alexis sobbed. “How c-could he d-do that to her?...”

Urs let Alexis let out her emotions, continuing to hold her shaking form. He gently rocked her back and forth as he looked at their surroundings to make sure nothing black was materializing to attack them. Suddenly, he heard running footsteps and a voice that he recognized right away.

“She’s here!” He heard Erika yell. “I can feel her!”

A few moments later, Erika came to a stop near the grave, with David stopping beside her. Once Erika saw Urs and Alexis, she rushed to their side, eyeing her friend anxiously.

“What happened to her?” She asked Urs, her eyes fearful.

“She touched that stone, then went into some kind of trance,” Urs replied, looking at Erika and David in turn. “She just woke up and started sobbing, saying something about lies and...she might have seen who killed Jonathan.”

Erika touched her friend’s hand, and was startled at how cold it was. Instead of taking back her hand, she grasped onto Alexis’ hand. “Lexi, it’s Erika. I’m here, okay?”

Alexis raised her head a little to look at Erika, and Erika could see what Alexis had seen only moments before.

“She saw death, alright,” Erika murmured, still looking into her friend’s eyes. “She saw Alexandria die, right after seeing Jonathan’s murder...”

Erika let go of her friend’s hand, then stood up and looked around. “We need to get her out of here, and quickly. Something else is here...”

Urs helped Alexis to stand up with him while Erika kept an eye out for anything that could harm them. David walked to her, looking around with her.

“What is here, Erika?” He asked.

“I don’t know, David, but it’s dark,” Erika whispered in reply. “It makes me feel uneasy.”

David claimed her hand, also feeling the uneasiness that Erika had described. “Same here.” David turned around, still holding Erika’s hand, to face Urs and Alexis.

“Do you have her alright?” David asked, glancing at Alexis, who was supported by one of Urs’ arms.

Urs nodded, then scanned the nearby area. Right then, the temperature dropped to a chilly degree.

“It’s here,” Erika said, her tone panicked. “We need to go, now!”

The four of them ran as quickly as they could from the area, knowing they were out of harm’s way only when the air around them became warmer. However, they didn’t stop moving until they were back inside of the mansion. They went into the lounge room, where Urs helped Alexis to sit down with him.

“I’ll get Chloe and Izzy,” Erika said, once she had caught her breath.

“I’ll go with you to get Sébastien and Carlos,” David added.

Erika kneeled in front of Alexis for a moment. “We’ll be back with everyone else soon, okay, Alexis? We need to let them know what you saw.”

Alexis nodded weakly, then Erika squeezed her hand before heading out of the room with David. As Urs held Alexis close to him, he knew that the road was only going to get more dangerous from there.

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PostSubject: Re: *To Live Forever And A Day* By: Winterflame4 (Michele)   Sun Aug 30, 2009 2:58 pm

Chapter Fifteen

After Erika and David had left to get everyone else into the lounge room, Urs was left to hold a shaken Alexis, who hadn’t spoken a word after nodding to Erika. Her terror was almost visibly radiating from her in dark waves, and that terror scared Urs. From what she had said by Jonathan’s grave, and what Erika had said that Alexis had seen, he knew that he would have been just as scared as Alexis now was.

“Alexis, you’re alright,” he whispered to her. “You’re here with me, not by the river anymore.”

Alexis looked up at Urs, and the blankness in her eyes shocked him. “She jumped from the balcony,” she whispered, her voice torn. “She thought that he had left her, so she jumped...”

“Who did?” Urs asked.

“Alexandria,” Alexis replied. “She never told me that she jumped...she honestly thought that she had Jonathan were going to reunite in the spirit world, but now they’re apart...”

Urs put his hand under her chin to keep her face up, his eyes gentle as he spoke. “They’ll be together soon, though, Alexis.”

Alexis nodded absent-mindedly. “Avery lied to Harold.”

“Alexandria’s older brother?”

“Yes...told Harold that Jonathan had packed his bags and left,” Alexis answered. “I wonder if he knew that his sister would be dead as a result of his lie...”

Urs removed his hand from her chin to hold her close to him as he connected the dots. “Avery killed Jonathan?”

Alexis nodded again. “Mary was with him. She brought him the gun to kill him. Mary watched him do it, didn’t even flinch...”

“I am so sorry that you had to see that all happen,” Urs said, closing his eyes. “Though it will help Alexandria and Jonathan’s spirits, it wasn’t pleasant for you at all.”

“Alexandria was so heartbroken when Harold told her the lie. How could Avery do that to his sister, to both families...?”

Out of nowhere, Alexis’ terror seemed to vanish. Now, it had been replaced by an even more powerful feeling, one that she couldn’t remember feeling about anything or anyone before in her life: she was enraged. She couldn’t see how Avery could do that to Jonathan and, in the process, hurt both his family and the Gehrig family; she could only see it as a gesture of pure evil. Alexandria was lied to about her true love’s fate, and didn’t know the truth, even after over seven decades. Alexandria deserved that justice, and neither Mary nor Avery was going to stand in the friends’ way to expose to the truth. She sat up slowly, the fire of anger burning in her eyes. Urs removed his arms from her as she stood up, then pace back and forward, her arms folded as her face expressed her boiling emotions. Though he was confused, Urs stayed quiet, just in case she was trying to concentrate on something.

That was how David, Erika, Carlos, Sébastien, Chloe, and Izzy found them. Silently, they all filed in and sat down, not sure how to take Alexis’ behavior. They spent a few moments in silence before Alexis stopped pacing to face them.

“In short, Avery killed Jonathan,” she said, anger burning in her words. “Mary got the gun for him, then watched as her husband killed Jonathan. Then, Avery told Harold that Jonathan had left Alexandria, bags in hand, which drove Alexandria to suicide by jumping from the balcony upstairs.”

She began to pace again. “I do not see how he could to this to the families! Didn’t he ever think of how this would hurt his parents, not to mention Jonathan’s recently widowed mother? I do not believe this...”

Alexis felt eyes on her mid-step, and when she looked up, everyone was looking at her. Her anger a bit lessened, she asked a little timidly, “What is it?”

Chloe shook her head, as if in a daze. “This is just the first time I’ve seen you this mad,” she said, a kind of awe in her voice.

“Oh...,” Alexis said in reply. “Really?”

“It’s weird seeing ‘ticked-off A.J.’,” Izzy agreed. “I’ve seen a lot of things, but you, ticked? This is new.”

“I know, it feels weird to me, too,” Alexis replied. She then got rid of the timid tone to adopt seriousness once again. “We can’t let Mary Sanderson and Avery Carpier get in our way now, not after what I saw today by his grave. Alexandria has gone too many decades without a clue as to what happened to Jonathan, and it’s about time that we give her that justice.”

Alexis noticed Erika smiling from the corner of her eye. “I couldn’t agree more, Lexi.” She got up and hugged Alexis who, in her fit of serious anger, was taken by surprise at the friendly gesture. “I believe that her justice is long overdue, too,” Erika whispered in her ear.

Alexis hugged her friend back, the only one besides herself that had seen the vision as she had, or at least most of it. She was thankful that Erika still wanted to stay after her own frightening experience with the supernatural earlier that day, but also knew that she wouldn’t have wanted to leave anyways, not as long as Alexis, Chloe, and Izzy remained in the mansion. Erika and Alexis separated, then faced the rest of the group.

“We need a plan for tomorrow evening,” Alexis said, looking at each pair of eyes in turn. “Chances are that Mary and Avery won’t be too happy, now that I have seen what they did. If things go wrong tomorrow night, we might have to make a quick escape.”

From there, everyone helped to plan for whatever would happen at the ball. Urs’ idea of packing their belongings was adopted into the plan, and that would take place later on that evening. As everyone spoke together, they couldn’t help but scan each other’s faces, not wanting to think that anything would happen to that person. No one could find it within themselves to even think that one or more of those faces could be out of sight in a little over twenty-four hours. The buddy system was worked out, since everyone had been asked to the ball. Izzy would attend with Carlos, Chloe would be with Sébastien, Erika would stay with David, and Urs and Alexis would stay together. Needless to say, no one was against the arrangements.

Once they were done planning, they sat around and chatted, trying to ease the anxiety of the next evening with small talk. Everyone was sitting down now, next to their respective buddy partners. Alexis had taken her place beside Urs again, feeling her anger fade away. The anger motivated her and, once she had spoken her mind, the flame had extinguished, leaving her more determined than she had felt before. Urs could see the flames in Alexis’ blue eyes, their glows more fueled than they had ever been. He had no clue what had motivated her to speak the way she did, but all the same, he was immensely proud of her. Even after seeing and experiencing what she had, Alexis had been able to come through relatively unscathed and determined to fight their oppressors. He took her hand in his, gently squeezing hers so as to get her attention. Alexis turned towards him, and he smiled. As simple a gesture it was, it gave her hope that they could all come through alive tomorrow evening, that maybe, just maybe she and Urs could further their relationship. Though the thought of losing him was unbearable, she knew that he was strong; if she couldn’t make it out, he would. She smiled back, momentarily forgetting all of their troubles, every obstacle they faced, even the fact that other people were in the room. For that one moment, no one else was alive, save for Urs. He was her rock, one of the things that was keeping her from giving up right then and there. Yes, if she never made it out, he would have to.

Meanwhile, an angry, yet desperate confrontation was taking place upstairs in Urs’ old room.

“She saw us! She saw us commit the crime!”

“Avery, she only knows how you appear. I will be a complete surprise to them tomorrow evening at the Wedding Eve Ball.”

“Are you not anxious?! Are you not filled with some bloodthirsty rage?”

“All in good time, my love, all in good time. Let us leave them to hang until the ball. Then, we can make ourselves known.”

“I suppose that I should find comfort in the fact that we cannot be prosecuted physically anymore. My greater fears lie with the spiritual judgement.”

“Since when were you concerned about your soul? You said it yourself, that you had no remorse for killing Jonathan!”

“Suppose we move on after this, Mary! I will descend, and you will–“

“I will descend with you. I brought the gun to you, remember? I am also your wife, to stand by you even in death. How would you reason I have remained here with you if I had a soul?”

“I still find myself anxious about that Cooper girl. She knows too much, had revealed our crime to the others in their company!”

“Don’t you worry about her, Avery. She and the others will get what is coming to them tomorrow evening, and that is a promise. Rid yourself of this foolish anxiety, and embrace my enjoyment.”

“What are we enjoying?”

“Our last and greatest effort to preserve the family’s reputation.”

“To honor the family dead!”

“To honor the family dead, indeed!”

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PostSubject: Re: *To Live Forever And A Day* By: Winterflame4 (Michele)   Tue Sep 08, 2009 6:13 pm

Chapter Sixteen

By the time that their planning was over and done with, the sun had begun to set over the horizon. Once the time was taken into account, all eight companions went back to their respective rooms (except for Urs, whose belongings were all in David’s room) to pack their things, only leaving out their pajamas and pre-ball clothes. Then, they used the assigned buddy system to go and pack the luggage in their vehicle–the Divos and their bus, and Chloe’s car for the girls–before heading back inside the mansion. The four pairs in the buddy system went to different parts of the hotel to spend some time together before everything went hectic. Everyone stayed inside of the mansion, for no one wanted to dare a garden visit, lest they be subjected to another supernatural experience. Each person took care to observe their partner’s face, knowing inside how valuable they were to them, and how heartbreakingly painful it would be to lose them.

Urs and Alexis chose to spend time in the lounge room, completely alone. It seemed like words failed this situation, couldn’t provide any device with which to assure the other that the next evening would end alright. It went without saying that they both wanted to survive together, but neither of them were certain that would be the result. After a few moments of not speaking, Urs broke the silence.

“It’s hard to believe that we are going to risk our lives tomorrow,” he said, not exactly making eye contact with Alexis.

“I know,” Alexis agreed. Turning to face him, she continued. “I’d rather not have everyone’s lives at stake, though.”

Urs took her hand in his, silently concurring as he looked into Alexis’ eyes. Right then, Alexis spoke again.

“I have been thinking about something, and well...Urs, if anything, you have to survive, you and all of your friends. You all have responsibilities that need attending to, and–“

Urs stopped her before she went any farther, taken aback at the turn in their conversation. “We will all escape here, Alexis, alive. Our line of work, as important as our responsibilities are, is minor when compared to what we all have to face tomorrow evening. Just because we are who we are, it doesn’t mean that–“

This time, Alexis interrupted. “I am only saying that your fans–“

“Alexis, everyone will survive this,” Urs said. “Our fans will see us in concert during the second half of our tour, as planned, all four of us. Everyone here needs to survive this, or else more than just the fans will–“

“None of us know what is going to happen tomorrow evening,” Alexis interrupted again.

“But we all intend to live through–“

“What if I don’t?”

Urs had been about to interrupt when Alexis said that. Her eyes were serious, but had a knowing sadness in them.

“What are you talking about?” Urs asked gently.

“What if I don’t live through tomorrow?” Alexis asked again. “What if I end up the way that Alexandria did?”

“Alexis, you won’t die like her.”

“Who knows for sure? I mean, we didn’t think this place was really haunted until Erika was attacked, I never knew my own family tree until Alexandria revealed that I was her niece, and no one could have known any better back then that Avery was lying about Jonathan’s absence until I saw that vision earlier. This place, and the ghosts that roam here, are unpredictable, Urs.”

Urs wasn’t quite sure of what to say. To think of Alexis being gone was too much for him.

“I will keep you safe,” he said, grasping at the first reply that he could. “No matter what happens tomorrow, I will make sure that you are protected tomorrow.”

Alexis looked like she really did appreciate his vow, but the sadness in her eyes were still there. It didn’t take long for him to realize why.

“You think that we are going to lead identical fates to Alexandria and Jonathan, don’t you?” He asked, trying to keep his tone even.

“Not you,” she whispered.

Urs touched her face with a gentle hand, looking at her expression. She honestly thought that she wouldn’t be able to escape the mansion before...he stopped himself from thinking any further.

“I won’t let you go,” he said, looking into her eyes. “I can’t let you go.”

Alexis looked at Urs, whose eyes were serious and determined, but she could also see that there were things that he was refusing to think about, things that would tear at him if he allowed their presence.

Not really even thinking, Alexis asked, “Why can’t you let me go?”

Urs didn’t hesitate for even a moment, his tone steady but his words full of meaning. “Alexis Cooper, I can’t let you go because I love you.”

Alexis felt like someone had knocked the wind out of her. The last time that a man had said that to her, it had been Donny, at their rehearsal dinner not too many nights ago. She had known that her feelings for Urs were leaning far away from friendship, but it seemed unreal to her that a man like him could love her. Alexis instantly felt so stupid for going on the way she had been moments before, how she had been talking about her possible death while he was in love with her. So, the feeling was indeed mutual. Tears gathered in her eyes, partly out of embarrassment, but also partly out of immense joy.

Noticing an escaping tear, Urs wiped it from her face. Because it was the only thing she could bring herself to say, Alexis asked, “You do?”

A small smile formed on Urs’ lips. “How could I not love you, Alexis? Not only are you brave and loyal, but you’re also a beautiful woman with a captivating personality. I know that we have not known each other for long, but I’ve already begun to regard you as more than a friend to me.”

Alexis smiled a little, a few more tears escaping from her flooded eyes. “Me too,” she whispered.

Urs wrapped her in his arms, immensely happy. Not only did he love Alexis, but she loved him, as well. To hold her close to him made him feel secure, made him believe that somehow, things would work out for the better.

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PostSubject: Re: *To Live Forever And A Day* By: Winterflame4 (Michele)   Tue Sep 15, 2009 6:08 pm

Chapter Seventeen

The night came and went, and before anyone could blink, it was the day of the Wedding Eve Ball. All involved knew the escape plan if anything went wrong, but in the sunlight of the new day, there was no sign of the possible disaster to come when the moon rose. Each group of four kept to themselves, discussing the evening ahead. Chloe, Izzy, Erika, and Alexis all sat in Alexis’ room, talking about anything and everything, crying when tears couldn’t be held back.. They had been friends for so long, it would never be the same if one of them was lost to the phantoms of the mansion. It was an unavoidable part of their conversation, but they knew that anything was possible, no matter how much they would rather there be no possibility at all. The Divos did about the same thing, chatting in David and Urs’ room. They tried to think of how to arrange things if something were to happen, though it was a melancholy topic. They all would have chosen not to discuss it, but it couldn’t be avoided.

When the clock showed that it was five-o’-clock, each of the guys and girls went back into their own rooms, with the exception of Urs, who remained with David in his room. They all removed their ball attire from their wardrobes, the clothes they had not brought with them, and prepared for the ball. The last couple of precious hours passed in a manner of what seemed more like minutes, then they heard the bell. No one had seen the huge bell that made the gong sound, but with every gong, the immense importance of that night weighed on their hearts and minds even more. As each man and woman exited their room to head downstairs, they did their best to compose their expressions to those of people who had no clue of the murder committed so long ago. They tried to make it seem that all they expected was a formal ball, to dance and socialize while music played, rather than expect danger and plan to run for cover. The men met their ladies downstairs, they in their sophisticated suits, while the women wore 30s era dresses.






(In order: Alexis’ dress, Chloe’s dress, Erika’s dress, Izzy’s dress, Divos’ suits)

Each Divo thought their respective dates looked very beautiful in their vintage-styled dresses, as each of the women found their dates to be quite handsome-looking in their suits. Despite the mood of the evening, smiles spread on faces, and twinkles shown in eyes. Beyond the very possible life-and-death situation at hand, they all wanted to have a good time at the Wedding Eve Ball, to dance with the objects of their affections for however long they had left. Each lady took their gentleman’s arm, then the eight friends walked into the ballroom, couple by couple.

They were greeted by “Puttin’ On The Ritz” by the Clevelanders as they entered the ballroom. There was no visible device playing the music, as if it were piped in from nowhere. The chandeliers were lit so as to illuminate the entire space, which was undecorated, as its already-present glamour spoke for itself. There was no sign of danger, no hint of trouble that could be observed, so the group relaxed a fair bit. The guys asked their respective ladies to dance, and they did not refuse, so everyone broke off into their pre-assigned groups of two to dance to the lively tunes. As they dance, they chatted with each other, complimenting each other’s attire and the such. There were more smiles and, for the first time since the trouble started, everyone felt at ease, like nothing had happened at all. Of course, that feeling could not last forever.

Mrs. Leering entered right then, wearing a purple 30's era gown, but she was not alone.



She was led by the arm by a handsome man, who wore a suit identical to the ones that the Divos wore. He had short brown hair and light blue eyes, and had a debonair charm about him. He was taller than Mrs. Leering by around five inches or so, and was, all in all, a different kind of man. Everyone stopped dancing when the pair entered, and when Alexis saw who was escorting Mrs. Leering, her heart sank. She instantly recognized him as the physical incarnation of Alexandria’s twin brother, Avery Carpier. Alexis tried to hide any recognition of him from her features, replacing it with a calm curiosity. Mrs. Leering and Avery walked over to the now-gathered group of eight, not one face betraying any sense of sudden awareness or caution.

“Ah, I see you found you suits and dresses!” Mrs. Leering said with a broad smile on her face. “They seem to fit you wonderfully, as I had hoped.”

“Indeed, they do,” Chloe replied, mimicking Mrs. Leering’s smile.

“Very good, very good,” Mrs. Leering replied. “Oh, I would like you to meet a dear friend of mine who helped to convert this mansion into the hotel that it is today. Stephen, I would like you to meet our eight guests, and guests, I’d like you to meet Stephen Gray.”

“How do you do?” The man that Mrs. Leering had called Stephen Gray asked the group, his face seemingly kind.

Each guest introduced themself individually, giving out a compliment or two as well.

“It is a pleasure to meet all of you,” The man said, looking at everyone in turn. “I do hope you will enjoy yourselves this evening.”

“That we will,” David replied.

With a nod, “Steven Gray” and Mrs. Leering walked away to a spot on the dance floor as Ben Selvin’s “Goodbye Moon” began to play. The group of eight dispersed into the respective couples again to dance to the slow music. Alexis remained on edge, feeling very anxious now that the man who had killed Jonathan Gehrig was dancing in the same room with an unsuspecting Mrs. Leering. As she processed the last part of her thought, she felt the color drain from her face.

Urs noticed Alexis’ change in demeanor. “Alexis, what is it?” He whispered.

“Mrs. Leering doesn’t know that’s really you-know-who,” Alexis said, skipping over Avery’s first name for a reason that she couldn’t place.

He understood immediately. “She needs to be warned.”

Alexis nodded. “The problem is, that would leave him alone with everyone else. We’d take her away from danger, but leave our friends in there with him...”

Urs sighed, wondering why everything here at the Carpier Mansion seemed so complicated. “Alright, so we will just have to act as if we don’t suspect anything, right? That way, he won’t catch on that we know who he really is.”

“I agree,” Alexis whispered. “I just hope that he doesn’t harm her, or even attempt to.”

After a while of dancing together, Urs waited for Alexis to look up at him again, then held her gaze. “I love you, Alexis. Never forget that, alright?”

Alexis smiled. “I won’t forget, Urs,” she answered. “As long as you never forget that I love you.”

“Easiest promise to make,” Urs said, smiling. “And I do mean it, whatever may happen.”

“Me too,” Alexis replied. “No matter what.”

Out of the corner of her eye, Alexis saw “Steven Gray” and Mrs. Leering stop dancing, then a walk a little away from their dancing spot. For a few moments, it looked like they were just talking, but then something in Mrs. Leering’s face made Alexis feel very protective, all of the sudden. She was starting to look scared, and just when she was trying to walk away from him, “Steven Gray” grabbed her arm to keep her in front of him. Alexis strained her ears to hear what they were saying, but after a while, everyone could hear what the two of them were saying.

“Why, though? How could you?” Mrs. Leering asked, her expression frightened.

“I’ve been here for longer than you have ever known, woman,” Avery said, his voice raising by a few degrees. “You saw all of the hints, could have known who I really was, but you remained so ignorant!”

“You cannot remain here, you demon!” Mrs. Leering shouted back. “You heartless murderer!”

“Your accusations harm me none, you stupid woman,” Avery said, his voice dripping with malice. “It’s time they were silenced, anyhow.”

Avery then raised his hand, which became transparent in a matter of seconds, before suddenly thrusting it through Mrs. Leering’s chest. All watched on in horrified shock as he seemed to squeeze her heart until the pain was too much, then Mrs. Leering collapsed in a lifeless heap to the floor. Avery took his hand back, which materialized again. Not caring about what he could do to her, Alexis moved out from Urs’ arms and ran to Mrs. Leering’s form, falling on her knees beside her.

“No, oh no, no, no,” Alexis murmured frantically. She touched Mrs. Leering’s neck to feel for a pulse, but when there was none to feel, anger welled up inside of Alexis.

“How could you do this to her?” She yelled, standing back up to face Avery. “Why her? She did nothing to harm you.”

“She got in my way,” Avery answered simply.

“That’s no reason to kill her!” Alexis screamed, tears filling her eyes. “Don’t you ever stop? How many people does it take for it to be enough, Avery?”

“You take on my sister’s temperament, as well as her face,” Avery said, his eyes looking into Alexis’ identical ones.

“Stop that! You shouldn’t have done that to her!” Alexis heard Erika shout from behind her.

“You have no business in this, Evelyn!” Avery hissed, calling Erika by her incarnation’s name.

“Leave them out of this!” Alexis shouted. “Deal with me, Avery, me! Or are you too much of a coward to face a woman who looks exactly like Alexandria?”

Avery turned on her, an evil glint in his eyes. “I was never afraid to face my sister, nor am I afraid to face you, Alexis. I am brave enough to go to any lengths to support, protect--”

“You mean, cover up your dirty work?” Alexis demanded.

“Many people say it different ways, Alexis,” Avery said. “You only taint my words.”

“Taint? That’s brilliant! There is nothing left to taint, Avery! Your soul is already set and bound for Hell, so what is there left to make impure?”

Avery paused for a moment before speaking again. “Touche, Alexis, well done. Your intellect is greater than I had imagined, as is your capacity for cruelty.”

“You deserve it.”

“I see questions in your eyes,” Avery observed, almost sounding uninterested. Looking out over at the remaining group of seven, he added, “and sickly love in your heart, which brings about a hatred in me that is unlike any other.”

Realizing that he had sighted Urs, Alexis instantly got defensive. “He is merely Jonathan’s reincarnation. You will not harm him, nor any of us.”

“It was always so cute how my sister would act when she wanted to get her way,” Avery mused, not making eye contact with anyone. “She was so determined, so stubborn...”

Alexis took the chance when Avery turned his back to her, rushing back to Urs and their friends. She felt an increased safety in numbers, now more than ever. Urs grasped her hand, and she welcomed the pressure around her hand, holding his hand in return. Avery turned back around, but didn’t seem affected at all by Alexis’ change in location. Instead, he began to walk around them, seeming to be lost in his thoughts.

“From the moment I had laid eyes on Jonathan Gehrig, my heart filled with a passionate hatred for every fiber of his being. I saw nothing but trouble coming from any part of his relations to our family, and I did everything I could to keep him as far away from us as possible. But when my sister, my ignorant sister, agreed to marry the man, I felt that I had failed the Carpier name. I had to redeem myself, you see.

“Many times, I went through several minor attempts in an effort to drive him away from this house. Then, when those did not work, I took to minor methods in an effort to claim his life and pass it off as a horrible accident. Poison, possibly fatal allergens, they all failed me, time and time again! Then it occurred to me: Why stop at those? I can easily stop this wedding somehow, so I devised a plan. It was no surprise to me that the ultimate decision was one of the easiest I had ever made in my entire life, the decision to murder Jonathan. I wanted to see his eyes when the bullet began to drain him of life, so that I could rest well, finally at ease with the fact that our family’s name was protected.
“It went smoothly, as was planned, with no suspicion from anyone, not even our ever-intelligent brother, Harold. Who would have known, however, that the lie behind Jonathan’s absence from the ceremony would drive my sister to suicide?”

“You murdered her fiancee!” Alexis screamed, her tears blurring her vision. “He was her motivation to life, Avery! By killing Jonathan, you killed her, too!”

Avery stopped dead in his tracks, looking up at Alexis, whose anger was getting the best of her. “Shall I tell you how we found her in the yard? Her eyes were still open, you know. All the color drained out of her pretty face...”

“Stop it!” Erika cried out suddenly, covering her eyes with both hands.

Avery chuckled. “Ah, the little psychic is here, what joy,” he said unenthusiastically.

“Don’t make her see that!” Izzy yelled, instantly protective of her sensitive friend.

“And Isabella is here too,” Avery said, looking up at her angered expression. “You always were the fiery defender, weren’t you? Especially when you were coupled with Cameron Alistair, here,” he added, noticing Carlos’ presence. “It would seem that everyone is here, wouldn’t it? Daniel Lubbock, Sylvester Bernstein, and Caroline Williams...” He said, calling David, Sébstien, and Chloe by their incarnations’ names. “The wedding crowd seems to all be here, save for my beloved mother and father, and of course, my dear brother, Harold. However, their attendance won’t be necessary for this celebration. Only close friends and family of the happy bride and groom, right, my dear?”

Alexis was about to respond sarcastically, thinking that he was talking to her. However, he was not looking her way. Following his gaze, her jaw dropped at the woman standing in their midst. Instead of wearing a purple 30's gown, she was now clad in an eerily familiar green one. Her dark hair was in a bun at the back of her head, and her eyes had gone from a dead woman’s, to steely and very much alive eyes, cold like the soul that the body had once contained. With a shocked dread filling her system, Alexis could instantly recognize, not only the woman standing there, but the lie that had deceived everyone for days.

“It’s been her all along,” Alexis whispered. “There was never any Mrs. Leering...it’s been Mary Sanderson all along..."

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PostSubject: Re: *To Live Forever And A Day* By: Winterflame4 (Michele)   Fri Sep 18, 2009 9:40 am

Chapter Eighteen

Mary Sanderson walked over to Avery, a sick smile of satisfaction on her lips as she looked at her husband. He took her hand in his, kissed it, then looked into her eyes.

“Welcome to the party, my love,” he murmured, an identical smile in his features.

Looking at a shocked Alexis, Mary said, “You were fooled, much to my surprise. I thought that since you were Alexandria’s reincarnation, you’d be sharper than that.”

“You tricked us...,” Alexis murmured, still in shock. Suddenly, her shock turned to anger, and Urs’ hand around hers was the only thing holding her back from lunging at Mary. “How dare you harm Erika that way! You even tried to kill me! What does she have to do with this?”

“She wanted to get to you when I was making my move,” Mary said matter-of-factly. “Couldn’t have any interferences, after all...”

In the group, Erika held back a visible cringe. She could remember the feeling of dread that she had felt when she had sensed Mary by Jonathan’s grave, and how strong her hands had been. The impact from her back hitting the floor came back to her mind, and she had to hold back another cringe. She found strength in the grip that David had on her hand, the very thing that kept her standing.

“Since it was known that you had seen Alexandria’s ghost, I knew that something had happened. I knew that one who killed themselves would remain earth-bound, but what were the odds that her reincarnation would come to the very place where it all ended and began?” Mary explained, her eyes cold and emotionless, save for savoring every moment when she realized how out-of-the-blue every single one of them had been.

“The secret could not be leaked,” Avery continued for her. “Only we knew the true fate of Jonathan Gehrig, and if that spread in these present days, the Carpier family name would be tainted beyond measure. Naturally, that involved getting rid of every possible outlet, but my sister decided, once again, to meddle in issues that were none of her concern...”

“Not of her concern?!” Alexis could not help but express her burning anger. “You killed Alexandria’s fiancee! As a result, she jumped, and with her, your nephew or niece!”

This seemed to stop Avery short. “My what? Surely, your lies speak volumes!”

“I do not lie about this!” Alexis shouted. “I heard it, straight from Alexandria, herself! Not only that, she never found out that Jonathan still wanted to marry her, that he didn’t leave, like you told Harold that he did! Over these seven decades, she has believed that he fell out of love with her, then believed that you and that...that distasteful woman you call your wife, had something to do with his absence!”

“She was, indeed, sharp of wit,” Avery murmured, as if in deep thought.

“Quiet, you!” Mary Sanderson hissed at Alexis. “You will spread no such blasphemy at our feet!”

“I will do as I please,” Alexis hissed in return. “Wouldn’t you say I have a Carpier heart?”

Avery looked up at Alexis. “But your surname...”

“Is Cooper, I know,” Alexis said. “Your brother, Harold, married Diana Westing. They had three children: Clarissa, Thomas, and Jeremy. Clarissa married Jacob Billings, and they had two children: Franklin and Tricia. Tricia married Sydney Cooper, and they had one son, who married a girl from the Estes family. They had one daughter, then they died in a car accident. I am that little girl, which means that I am your niece.”

“Ho-hum, a family reunion,” Mary Sanderson scoffed. “How touching. As vomit-inducing as this is, we really must get on with it, wouldn’t you say, Avery?”

But Avery didn’t appear to have heard her. He was still looking at Alexis, like he was seeing her for the first time. “You are of our blood, so why do you not support my efforts to protect the family name?”

“It’s simple,” Alexis said. “Prizes should not be attained by blood, but by true work and honest effort. That does not include murder.”

“A Carpier heart, yes. But a Carpier will? Certainly not!” Avery’s mood changed to a cold hardness again, no sentimentality in his eyes anymore. “And Mary, I do believe the evening’s close is drawing near, also.”

“What could they be planning?” Alexis heard Urs whisper to himself.

“Jonathan, we are taking everyone back to one day in the past, where all things unraveled and all things were wound back together,” Avery said. “You can say we are righting wrongs that just so happen to pop up in unexpected places. In this case, we will start with the main problems.”

Without any words being said, Alexis knew who Avery had meant. She squeezed Urs’ hand, and he squeezed her hand back, the knowledge of the meaning behind Avery’s words now mutual knowledge between them. They looked into each other’s eyes, hoping that their gaze alone could speak the words they were screaming inside, but they were interrupted.

In a single, quick instance, there was no pressure around Alexis’ hand, no one at her immediate side. Bewildered, she looked here and there, but Urs had disappeared. Fear seeped into her heart like a heavy, molten substance that threatened to destroy her from the inside out.

“Where is he?” Alexis asked, her voice quiet to start. After a few moments, her feelings became bolder and more demanding. “I said, where is he? What did you do with him?!”

Avery merely chuckled. “Why, he is only in his room, getting ready for the ceremony, dear sister, as everyone else is.”

Alexis reluctantly looked around and behind her, and found that there had been no lie in Avery’s words. All of their friends had disappeared into thin air, leaving her alone. Now, she began to feel true and undeniable fear, worse than the fear she had to endure to begin with.

“You bring them back this instant!” She yelled, tears building in her eyes. Remembering what he had called her, she added, “And don’t you ever call me that, ever!”

“You have been present for a moment too many, my dear sister,” Avery continued, ignoring Alexis’ demands. “You must get ready, for you do not want to be late for the ceremony, do you?”

Everything happened quickly, right then. Avery had raised his hand, perhaps in a false gesture of a happy farewell, then Alexis felt as if invisible ropes had wrapped themselves around her entire frame. Not even one second later, she was laying on the floor, but not the wood floor of the ballroom. Alexis felt soft carpet under her face, and she could see a bed in the semi-darkness of what she recognized as her hotel room. She sat straight up, almost jumping up to her feet in the next moment, then rushed to the door. Upon trying to jiggle the door handle, it was like it had been locked to keep her in the room.

“Help! Anybody, please!” She screamed, banging on the door with a closed fist.

After a few moments of this, she gave up, for she realized that even if someone had heard her, none of her friends could get to her, nor could she get to them. Defeated, she walked over to the bed, collapsing onto it. She made no effort to hold back her tears as she lay face-down on the covers. Alexis felt more alone than she had ever felt in her entire life, what with not only her friends not there with her, but also, no Urs. This thought caused her to cry harder, and all that she could do was hope that everyone was unharmed.

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*To Live Forever And A Day* By: Winterflame4 (Michele)
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