Previously: Clarke is talking to his sister Mary about conversations he had earlier that Sunday. Specifically, when Julie said the only way for her to fit in was to be alone.
PART 3.19b: SHATTERED 2
“NO, Clarke – it’s not like that now!” Julie interrupted. She sighed and pressed a hand to her forehead. “Look… I-I’ll give you this much. Consider, if Glen has the power to alter anyone’s will, then anything I say or show – to anyone! – is only one more avenue he can use to figure me out. And so, even if you DON’T know what I’ll be doing, the more you see, the more likely it is that you’ll be coerced into saying something. Glen might even use you to… I can’t risk that.” She shook her head. “Glen already has the upper hand, given his knowledge of the future. I refuse to give him anyone… anything else he can use against me.”
Clarke frowned. “So this is about Glen.”
“Not completely. It’s… well, no, I’ve said too much already,” Julie decided. “But Clarke – Phil – please know that whatever happens to me in the coming months… I have truly appreciated everything that you’ve done for me. In the past, I used you, abused you, and you… you responded by showing compassion, understanding, and then by crossing the boundaries of time in order to save my life. In doing so, you, more than anyone else, showed me what true caring was all about. Thank you. I… I will never forget that.”
Her voice caught then, and she reached out for him, her fingertips brushing away some of his hair from his ear. Then, almost before he realized it, she was up on her toes, pressing her lips up against his.
In all the time they’d spent together as a pseudo-couple, ever since it had become “official” that day he’d brought the eclairs to her on that October day back in Grade Ten… they had never kissed on the lips. And now…
“I’m sorry,” Julie whispered, pulling back even as his arms moved to embrace her. “I shouldn’t have… Jeeves can show you out.”
“Jewels, don’t do this… JULIE!”
But she was gone, having turned and fled the room. Clarke ran to the doorway after her, and he called out to her again, but she did not return. Had he seen a tear at the corner of her eye before she turned? Or maybe, like so much of their relationship, maybe he’d only imagined it.
Outside, a light rain began to fall.
“Ouch,” Mary said quietly.
“Ouch,” Clarke repeated. “So it’s as I said, the only issues are between me and a number of my friends.”
“But one friend in particular.”
Clarke forced his tone to remain level. “One in particular,” he admitted. “Thing is Mary, I made a real mess of everything today, and Julie was simply the icing on the cake. So I keep running through everything in my mind, trying to figure out exactly where I went wrong… like maybe if I’d gone to Julie’s house FIRST this morning… or maybe if I’d pursued her up to her room…”
“Phil, second guessing yourself does no one any good. What’s done is done, you can’t change it.”
“Oh, Mary, you have no idea how often that subject gets debated around here,” Clarke groaned.
“My point is you now have to look towards the future. I mean, maybe this was just some spur of the moment thing on Julie’s part! Do you think she’ll come around again by the end of the week?”
“Julie doesn’t do spur of the moment,” Clarke countered. “Nor does she do things in half measures, so I… I think I’m cut off for good. Yet I’m pretty sure her current state of mind is tied up in all the other events that are going on right now! So… so maybe, if I figure out how to get everyone to truly accept her and treat her decently again, that will make things all right! What do you think??”
Mary didn’t reply at first. “Phil,” she began slowly, “It sounds to me like Julie is in even worse shape than Carrie. If she has truly cut you off, and no one was closer to Julie than you, will platitudes by other classmates really have much of an effect?”
“Well she… or maybe Corry could… that is… for God sakes Mary, I can’t just sit here and do nothing, can I?!”
His sister sighed audibly. “Bro, I know you don’t want to hear this, but from what I’ve learned about Julie since the events of your school last November? She wasn’t the most stable person to be in a relationship with anyway,” Mary said. “As such, maybe a little time apart will help give you both a little perspective. You can always approach Julie again later, yeah? And in the meantime, check in with that butler she has, to make sure she’s still seeing that Doctor Golden fellow.”
“You think she’s crazy.”
“I didn’t say that, Phil. I just think that she’s having some issues right now that are beyond the scope of what you or your friends can do to help her.”
“You think she’s crazy and that she needs more psychological counselling! Well, it’s not that!” Clarke said, slamming his free hand down on his desk as he shouted at the phone. If only he could have explained the full truth to Mary about Glen’s mental powers! “The trouble is, none of us can talk about what’s at the core of all this!” he said, frustrated. “No adult would ever believe what we… would ever… wait, Mary, you said you’re coming to town, right?!”
A pause. “Yeesssss…” his sister said guardedly.
“And you’re already into fourth year university, so you know a lot about psychoanalyzing people, right?”
“Phil, I see where you’re going with this, and no.”
“But Mary, it’s perfect!” Clarke insisted. “If I can’t help Julie, I can at least provide her with a counsellor who might do her some actual good! One who can be told the whole truth and who won’t try to have us all certified insane!”
“Bro, the whole family shrink thing is just me putting on airs,” Mary countered firmly. “I’m angling for a PhD, so I still have a lot more schooling to do before I could even THINK of safely giving professional advice!”
“Mary… please,” Clarke pleaded. “Think of all the times in the past when we were moving from place to place, and you helped me out. You didn’t need a signed piece of paper to do that! Julie needs someone, and… and you’re all I’ve got. Besides, you know I’ve been dodging around things, this way I’d finally be able to tell you everything. In person.”
The silence on the other end of the phone extended for so long that Clarke wondered if they’d lost their connection. “Loverly,” his sister finally muttered. Then louder, “Phil, I will THINK about it, provided you do NOT endlessly bring this up with me between now and then.”
“Thank you,” Clarke replied, his mind already leaping ahead to her arrival. He’d explain about the time machine, and Glen, and Carrie, and then Mary would talk with Julie, learn what was bothering her, and then everything would be all right again. Yes, everything would be all right again…
Nothing would ever be all right, not any more. But, Julie wondered, did she really deserve any better? She wiped her cheeks dry with the palm of her hand and stood up, pulling the letter out of her pocket once more. The same letter that had been left in her mailbox that morning.
She scanned over the contents for what felt like the hundredth time. “She’s right,” Julie whispered, as she reached the bottom of the page. “I am the only one who can do this. But that knowledge doesn’t make it any easier.”
Julie clenched her fists, then ripped the paper in half, followed by the envelope, before crumpling them both in her hand. Letting out a long breath, she tossed the pieces into the fireplace. One match later, and they were both burned down into ash.
Julie then proceeded up to her room, removing the silver brooch she wore in the shape of a rose. She placed it into the small jewellery box on her vanity, then after a moment of hesitation, picked it back up and shoved it back into the depths of her lowermost drawer.
“All right,” Julie said calmly to herself. “Long term planning is your forte, and Carrie knew that. It’s time for a new plan.”
Carrie glowered at the black box sitting on her bedroom floor. “I WILL destroy you!” she stated. As if saying that out loud would somehow make that possible future into a reality. The trouble was, the time machine was the only failsafe she had. The only tool any of them had which could undo things if she lost control of her time powers.
She was sure that’s why Glen didn’t like it. But it was also the reason she’d insisted on keeping it with her, after regaining consciousness last night. Like a crutch.
What WAS it Glen was so worried about? Oh sure, he’d framed it as, if Carrie were always thinking about ways her friends might be able to save her from herself, she’d never properly develop into the temporal being she was supposed to be. Screwing up their wondrous timeline three. But was it only that? Did Glen think someone else could get their hands on it?
Then again, maybe they didn’t need the machine; if Carrie went golden-eyed nuts, they had that gun thing now.
“Keep quiet about that, or Glen’ll want you to destroy it too,” Carrie muttered. She pressed her palm into her forehead, then marched to the window. “Any future Carries want to come back to tell me what to do this time?” she called out into the darkness. “Send me a letter maybe? No?”
She stared down, and was reminded of the rocks Frank had been heaving up at her window from the backyard earlier that day. She’d called on her father to get rid of him. She probably shouldn’t have done that. She probably shouldn’t have done a lot of things. Like sending Chartreuse that message saying her mystical services would no longer be required. How many more bridges could she burn? Pretty soon, no one but Glen would even want to save her.
“Screw it,” Carrie sighed. She turned and knelt back down in front of the time machine. Yet as she reached out to open it, a thought occurred. Glen had been teaching her about pushing objects out of time, the foundation of banishment. She even remembered doing it with a glass that time in the hospital… somehow. “And what, you think you can push the time machine into the future, for later use?” she muttered aloud. “You can barely budge a thumbtack two seconds ahead.”
No, her mind reasoned back. But Frank or Luci might know of some way to rig the time machine for an automatic run, sending it forwards in time without a pilot. That way, if the apocalypse happened, derailing everything, the time machine would still reappear at some point in the future. Letting someone fix it. Besides, would waiting an extra few days, allowing herself to calm down, be such a bad thing?
Carrie stood back up. Okay then, she would at least explore that avenue. After all, what was the worst thing that could happen?
-Next Episode: Woodlands Detour
-How’re you doing out there? Thoughts on revelations? Still a vote button at the top of the page. New Commentary this Sunday.