Athena was calling out for me, as she stepped on the hotel room. I wanted to appear right in front of her and laugh with her. A shadow like me belongs to a fellow shadow too. She is a pretty human whom I love ever since I laid my eyes on her. She’s wonderful.
“Louis? Louis?” she called out as she walked around the room.
I wanted to call her name out for her to know I was right here but fear crept into me.
“Louis?” she asked loudly.
I felt like crying. She might think I left…again.
“Louis.” She cried out.
I bit my lips and resisted not to let out a single sound. I hid beside her.
“Louis.” She whispered.
I wanted to touch her and tell her how much I love her but I couldn’t.
At the middle of the night, I stayed completely hidden beside her when she started to mutter words that I can’t make out much. What alerted me the most was when tears started to fall on her cheeks. She immediately woke up, panting. I wanted to comfort her but I couldn’t risk telling her that I was still around.
I was ignoring her because I hadno chance. She doesn’t love me.
When morning came, she packed up immediately. She was standing near the door.
“Louis. I love you.” She said then left.
I was startled. She just said that she loves me. She won’t lie with such thing, right?
After hearing those enchanting words, I hurried back to the Shadow Realm and hurried to King Leonardo. I knelt in front of him and bowed down before him.
“My trusty lieutenant, Louis, is there something you want?” he asked as if he read my mind.
“King Leonardo, if you wouldn’t mind, can we talk in private?” I asked.
“As friends?” he asked, I nodded in answer.
We both left the throne room and headed to the shadow garden.
“What is it?” He asked.
I breathed heavily, “Remember Athena?” I asked.
“Yes. The girl you have been close with since the both of you were young.” He said.
“She confessed that she loves me.” I said.
“Can you please get to the point Louis?” he said.
“My King, if it would be possible, I would want to be human.” I said then looked down.
“Then I shall turn you human.” He said.
I did not expect that. He would allow me to become human. A lot asked him to turn them to human but he rejected their wish but he didn’t reject mine.
“Are you serious?” I asked.
“When a shadow falls in love with a human, it’s truly rare that the human loves us in return.” He said.
“How about my work here in the Shadow Realm?” I asked.
“I’ll have to look for a replacement.” He said.
He pulled out a bracelet and handed it to me.
“Keep this. Whisper our secret code and you’ll safely return here in the Shadow Realm. If you want to become human again, just whisper the code in reverse.” He said.
“Thank you King Leonardo.” I said.
“No worries Louis. Now drink this, and you shall be human.” He said.
I grabbed the vial and drank it slowly. The warm feeling was stirring inside my stomach, I closed my eyes.
“Open your eyes, my friend.” King Leonardo said.
I did open my eyes. I was in Athena’s room.
“How did I get here?” I asked.
“No worries.” He said then chuckled.
The door opened and a pretty lady walked inside, Athena.
“W-Who are you?” she asked.
My heart wanted to jump because of joy. I ran towards her and hugged her tightly.
“It’s me. Louis.” I said.
“L-Louis.” She stammered.
I broke our hug and looked down.
“I asked our king to turn me to human so I could be with you.” I said.
“You did it for me?” she asked.
“Of course, I will do anything for you—for us.” I said as I caressed her cheeks.
“I thought you hate me. At the hotel back there in Bliss City, you weren’t responding.” She said as she started to cry.
“I was afraid. I have fallen for you more and more and I was afraid you only see me just as a shadow. And last time, when you told me you love me because I took the nightmares away, it still made me think that you just said it because I did you a favor.” I said.
I wiped the remaining tears on her cheeks and put my right hand behind her neck and my left hand on her back then I pulled her closer.
“I love you. Really.” She said.
“Shh. I know. I love you too. I love you more than you can ever imagine.” I said.
She looked at me right into my eyes and I smiled at her.
“It was you. The one you painted before on the canvas. It was you.” She said as she ran her fingers through my hair.
“Louis.” She whispered.
“I have been longing for this moment.” I said.
I rubbed my hand behind her neck then pulled her to our first kiss. I thought she’ll push me then slap me but she returned the kiss. It lasted for a seconds then I broke it.
“I want you to meet my new family.” She said.
“I’ll go down using the window then knock there, and you get the picture right?” I said.
She laughed, “Yes.”
I gave her a quick kiss on her lips and jumped off her window. I walked towards the front door and fixed my polo and pants and also my hair then knocked on their door.
Her parents opened the door then right behind them is Athena.
“Good evening.” I said politely.
“Good evening.” The lady said.
“Mom, Dad, let him in. Please?” Athena said.
“Come in, dear.” Her mom said.
We all went to the living room. Athena sat beside me.
“So Athena, introduce us this young man.” Her mom said, looking excited.
“Mom, his name is Louis.” She said.
“Where did you meet?” her dad asked.
Athena and I looked at each other.
“At this café in town.” She said.
“She was reading a book that time.” I said then smiled.
I feel truly happy that her parents were okay with this thing.
“So, you two are dating?” her dad asked.
“N-Not yet.” Athena stammered.
“Actually, that is the reason why I am here.” I said.
This will be now or never. I asked our King to be human and I can’t afford to fail.
“I want to ask permission if Athena can be my girlfriend.” I said, trying to hide the nervousness.
Her parents looked at her and smiled at her.
“It’s fine with me, as long as you don’t hurt her.” Her mom said.
“I am fine with it too but once you hurt our little girl, you’ll get something from me—something painful.” His dad said.
“Now, it’s all up to Athena.” Her dad said.
Silence filled the room. I started to touch my bracelet—the one King Leonardo gave me. It’s not up to me or her parents. It’s all her decision to make. If she doesn’t want then I’ll go back. She loves me but she might not be ready to be in a relationship.
“Of course, I would love to be your girlfriend.” She said then hugged me.
“Okay, me and your father have something to say.” Her mom said to her.
“What is it?” she asked.
His father looked at me.
“Let’s leave these ladies for a while. Let’s get some coffee.” He said.
We went to the kitchen and grabbed some coffee.
“Louis, you can’t lie to me.” He said.
“What do you mean, sir?” I asked.
“Have you forgotten who I am?” he asked.
I looked at him carefully and cracked my mind, trying to figure out who he is.
“I am Jeremiah. I was your teacher.” He said.
“My teacher?” I asked.
“I was your teacher, back when I was still a shadow.” He said.
“Y-You were a shadow.” I stammered—which I find coward-like.
“King Leonardo grant me this bracelet.” He said and showed me the bracelet he is wearing which is identical to mine.
“Me too.” I said and showed him mine.
“Does your wife know you were a shadow?” I asked.
“Of course.” He said.
“Now, when we get back there, I want you to tell us what you really are.” He added then smiled.
“Does Athena know you are?” I asked.
“No.” he said then looked down.
“Tell first.” I said.
He nodded slightly then we finished drinking our coffee while sharing stories about each other. When we went back there, they were quiet. I sat beside Athena and Jeremiah sat beside his wife.
“There’s something I have to tell you all.” Jeremiah broke the silence.
“Athena, I was a shadow.” He said.
“What?” she asked as if she can’t believe it.
“Athena, your father was a shadow. He asked their King to turn him to human because he said he was madly in love with my best friend but then I was the one who loved him not my best friend.” Her mom said.
“Okay.” That was the only word she said.
“What do you mean okay?” her mom asked then looked at her quizzically.
“I lied. Louis and I didn’t meet in a café. When I was still young, when I ran away from home, I met him and whenever I had these nightmares about that night before I got to the orphanage, he took it all away by saying ‘everything will be alright.’ Louis was a shadow too.” She said.
I sighed in relief then looked down.
“Jeremiah was my teacher when I was still little.” I said.
“So, you knew each other.” Athena said, nodding her head slightly.
“Well, I sort of forgot him because he left the realm.” I said.
Then there was silence. I saw Athena’s parents exchange glances.
“We’ll be in our room.” Her mom said.
“Can he stay for the night, mom?” Athena asked like a little kid.
“Sure. Sure. You’re old enough.” Jeremiah said then looked at me and smiled at me like we are sharing some secret agenda.
Athena pulled me to her room.
“Change your clothes.” She said.
“I don’t have any…yet.” I answered.
She walked towards her closet and pulled out clothes.
“I will never ever wear girls’ clothes.” I said.
“It is not girl clothes. I bought this before from the men’s section.” She said.
“Why would you even buy men clothes?” I asked.
“For dad but you need it so you can use it.” She said.
“Change.” She demanded.
I went to her bathroom then changed my clothes. When I went out, I saw her changing so I hurried back to the bathroom. I waited for a while then went out and saw her reading a book, sitting on her bed.
She smiled at me then closed the book.
“Happy now?” I asked.
“Of course.” She said.
She scooted over and I sat beside her.
“Time to sleep princess.” I said.
She laughed, “Fine.”
She squeezed her eyes and I kissed her forehead.