The Cycle of the Six Moons: An Eclipsing Autumn
Chapter Ten: The Ceremony of Crescent Stars
He pulls up the stone and looks at it, then steps forward. “It’s midnight.” Standing a few feet in front of me, he lifts it from his neck and dangles the chain from both hands.
My heart wants to escape my chest. I know what he’s going to do. I watch him expectantly, wondering if he can hear the drums of my heart. He looks at me with his gorgeous green eyes, his cheeks tinged pink. Maybe they reflect the red of my own face.
“A few lifetimes ago, Cyal gave this to Saei to protect her. Now it’s time I return it to you.” He raises it above my head as if it’s a crown and slips it around my neck. I catch the stone as it falls over my chest. It’s still warm.
That was enough excitement for one night, but then Jayse leans closer and places his cheek against mine. He’s going to kiss me. Oh God, he’s finally going to kiss me!
He doesn’t, and instead whispers something even sweeter. “Happy birthday, Michelle.”
Then I burst into tears, cover my mouth with my hands, and gasp, “How did you know?”
He smiles bashfully, wiping my tears away. He says, “You told me once.”
He deserves a kiss for this. I’m crying, laughing, and I throw my arms around him. I don’t kiss him, and go on bawling, “This is the first time I’ve ever had a birthday without my family.”
“I’m sure they’re celebrating the day in honor of you.”
I don’t know if they are. Jayse tells me that he hasn’t told anyone else it’s my birthday, and I want to keep it that way. I don’t want everyone treating me any more special than they already have.
We don’t stay long at the Inner Temple, because we need to be well-rested for the performance tomorrow night.
I hold Jayse’s hand while we walk back to the guest house. I sigh every now and then, thinking about how perfect his fingers feel intertwined with mine. He has such a strong grip, but it doesn’t hurt me. I feel safe.
My parents used to ask me if I felt any different each birthday. When I was little, I thought I felt older. Then I started to lie to make them think I felt special.
Now that I’m sixteen, with the responsibilities as the Cycle’s Creator, now that I’ve fallen in love, I definitely feel different. I feel like another person.