After another day of rest, I still woke up in that foreign body.
This time, I was much calmer than last time. To my surprise, fainting two times in a row must have scared the Rubin household witlessly, because an angelic woman was attending to me personally with worried eyes. Thought it felt like we met for the first time, I knew well who she was.
“Mother…?” I asked in a small, trembling voice.
“How do you feel, my dear?” A delicate hand had reached out to me and caressed my head with tender care. Her voice was as melodious as a songbird’s.
“I’m fine, mother.” I gave her a reassuring smile.
Strange, I thought it would be much harder to call her mother, but after our memories have merged, Duchess Rubin’s touch didn’t feel uncomfortable. I even felt the longing to press my head against her hand to receive more of that familiar warmth.
My publishing name was Yve Ackler. It sounded like ‘EverAfter’, my online pen name which I used during my high school years.
My real name… doesn’t matter greatly, there wasn’t much to say about the person behind that name.
As a child, I would often daydream myself into different worlds, imagine a world outside of my own that was waiting for me; a place where I belonged. And when I started to learn how to read and write, I would emerge myself not only into my own worlds but also into the world of others. Whichever book that I could get a hold of, I would read. I did the least necessary for school and spent every free second left with books or online novels as if possessed.
My only social contact was among similar-minded people online. One could assume that I don’t have many friends that way within the school grounds, but that never held any significance to me. The world inside of books was much better than reality anyway. The people within would make me laugh, would make me cry, they would take me on joyful journeys. I went on endless adventures and through a multitude of sad or hilarious love stories with them. Not every ride was smooth. Nonetheless, no one would blame me, the reader.
It all changed when I decided to pick up the pen.
“Dahlia, allow me to be frank with you. Ellie showed me what love is, therefore I can’t be cruel to you and bind you with an arranged marriage that was decided by our parents. I wish we could freely marry the one we love and not out of duty. Let’s renounce our engagement.”
That was the last thing I heard from my fiancé Leon before the world turned dark – literally. It’s embarrassing, but the young and sheltered me, that never have felt a pain like that before, couldn’t handle it and fainted on the spot.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not Leon’s fault, well, partly, but that doesn’t matter. The reason why I fainted was not the breakup, but the memories that came rushing in, breaking like a broken dam. My consciousness was washed away like a piece of drifting wood by an incoming wave.
Foreign sceneries I’ve never seen; people I’ve never met; places I’ve never been to and names I’ve never heard of before. I couldn’t even find the words to describe the amount of pain I felt when feelings, memories and knowledge rushed in from an unknown source. If I were to say those things were introduced to me by knocking a hardcover book repeatedly on my head – that would be an understatement.