Tobi continued to stroke Tess’s hair. It was obvious that whatever had happened to her while she had been unconscious had traumatized her. After months of actively pushing Tess away, Tobi now found herself feeling at home near the girl. With each quiet word exchanged between the two, with every brush of their skin, she relaxed a little further and sank into the possibility of not being so alone in this place any longer. Wanting to feel more of Tess’s skin, she allowed her hand to slide down to the back of Tess’s neck and she gently caressed the tiny hairs growing at the base of the girl’s hairline. It felt magnificent and painful, like hearing a symphony for the first time while standing under scalding water.
She was sure she had let her hand linger too long and moved to pull back, but, just as she did, she felt a bit of raised skin beneath the pads of her fingers. Brow furrowed, she probed Tess’s neck further.
“Tess, what the hell? Is this a fresh cut or something? It feels… deliberate. Like it’s a symbol or has a pattern or something. Come over here by the window and let me look at you in the moonlight.” Tess maneuvered to the window and knelt so that Tobi could move her hair. What Tobi saw made her feel faint. She tried to control the quickening of her breath so that she did not alarm Tess.
“Tobi. What? I can tell you’re freaked out. Tell me, Tobi! You’re scaring me…”
“Tess, I want you to promise not to scream when I tell you this. You have got to stay calm. We can’t get caught out of bed. We’ll take care of this, we’ll handle it together. Just promise me. Okay?”
“Okay… I’m not sure what you think could be so serious that I would scream, but I promise.”
As calmly as possible, with as little alarm in her tone as she could manage, Tobi gave Tess information that would change her life forever. “Tess, you have The Seal of Janess.”
To be continued…