the one who's worth it
Jamie knew something wasn’t right, had known for some time. Dani was slipping away from her and she was terrified that she wouldn’t be enough to hold on, she wouldn’t be enough to keep her lover’s beast in the jungle from pouncing and taking her away forever. She stood strong, clinging to the hope that Dani would be able to resist forever, that her beast would realize that their love was stronger than any creeping darkness and finally allow the woman to overcome, to stay where she belonged: in her soulmate’s arms.
The Lady in the Lake was strong, stronger than any of them had known and Dani had invited her in. To save Flora, to save the ghosts of Bly Manor, but she had given herself in the process. And she was losing that self more and more every day, no matter how hard Jamie tried to remind her of who she was. She had thought she could handle it, known that anything she had to do would be worth it as long as she got to have Dani in her life.
‘One day at a time’ had been their mantra from the beginning. A promise to take things as they came, to stick together and live life as they could. But one day at a time had turned into years and Jamie had fallen harder each day. Moving in together, opening the flower shop, their civil union, all things that came so naturally and proved that maybe at least one person really was worth the time and effort, maybe even two to each other.
She had found Dani far away more frequently lately. Her gaze locked on a puddle, a mirror, anything in which she could see her reflection…or the reflection of what waited inside her, slowly taking over, numbing her and terrifying her at the same time. She had seen those eyes staring into nothing, seeing things that weren’t there, that were elsewhere, that were pulling her
elsewhere. She had promised that when Dani couldn’t feel anything, she would do it for the both of them. She had endlessly reminded her that she was her person, her love, her soulmate and that she would do anything and everything for her, that they could get through this together.
And for a long time she had believed this. She had to because to do otherwise would destroy them both.
Now, laying in bed with Dani’s arms around her, she rested in the dark like any other night they spent together. Yet somehow tonight was different. She could feel it in every inch of her being. A tension, an anxiety, a knowledge that their ‘many years’ together just might be coming to an end. A crescendo to what had been building since they had left Bly. A conclusion that she dreaded and internally fought every hour of every day.
Her eyes snapped open as she felt Dani shift from behind her, her arms loosening and then letting go as she turned to sit up. Quietly, clearly trying not to wake her as she moved, Dani moved to stand, her weight leaving the bed and leaving Jamie feeling instantly cold and lost.
“What’re you doing?” She looked up to meet Dani’s eyes, moving to sit up herself, heart shattering at the desolation in her lover’s eyes. The complete hopelessness. She didn’t reach for the note that had somehow been left on the nightstand as she slept, didn’t want to know what it said, what possible explanation that could be given for the intended desertion that she knew was on Dani’s mind. The beast in the jungle had finally pounced and now Dani was paying the price, would pay the ultimate price if allowed to walk out the door. She didn’t know how she knew only that she did.
“Don’t go.” She fought back the terrified tears that she never allowed to show, swallowing hard as she continued to meet those nearly vacant eyes looking back at her, no sign of her person in sight. “We can still beat this, Poppins. Dani.” She stood and approached, reaching out to place her hands gently on Dani’s shoulders, still not looking away from her face.
She was never one to beg, one to usually think no one was worth the effort of even caring about them or daring to think they might care in return. But Dani had changed that, Dani
was worth it. Dani was different, special. Dani was hers
and the Lady of the Lake was not
going to take her away.