Amie was sitting there on the sofa, cross-legged and facing me. I was on the edge, staring down at my hands, my palms were sweating. My heart was pounding in my chest like a heavy drum-line.
"What is it?" I'd asked, sitting back down numbly, shocked from having heard Amie say Claire's name.
"I found this book, its colossally old, written way, way back when, by one of the first Time Watchers who worked to preserve history and science in our world. He mentioned a phenomenon caused by destiny that he called Destina-Looping."
"Destina-Looping?" I asked, tilting my head.
"It's when two fragments of soul are split, and one part of the soul that is born before the time of the second part of the soul's birth. It's basically soul mates, but one of the parts of the soul forgot to set the alarm and missed being born at the same time as the other - so they lose each other in Time," she smirked at the corny analogy.
"Okay?" I blinked, trying to comprehend where she was going with this.
"It's a horrible, tragic thing, and it happens to human, too, but if the part of the soul that is born first is born a Time Watcher, then it's a whole different ball game. The Time Watcher will experience Looping - because Time in its almighty knowledge of everything, knows that the soul is not complete, that the other part is coming." Amie paused and gnawed her lower lip, thinking. I still wasn't entirely sure what she as saying. I had a slight idea, but I was afraid to accept it, scared that the concept would burst and be gone. "How old were you when you first met Claire?" she asked.
"Thirteen," I answered, "I usually am thirteen when I first meet the people I love, though, because I'm starting my life over again. Like I met Brian and the fellas when I was thirteen, too."
Amie nodded, "Yeah but last I checked you weren't soul mates with them."
"Well, no," I answered. I paused. "Wait, you're saying Claire caused my Looping? But I was looping long before I met Claire."
Amie nodded again, "Yes, but Time knew that you were born too soon, and therefore preserved you for Claire. You had to be 13 when you met Claire because Claire was thirteen when you were destined to meet her."
"She was twelve, actually," I answered slowly.
"Whatever," Amie said. "The point is that the Looping provided you with the means you needed to meet her, right? If you'd been thirty in 1957, you never would've met her."
I'd never thought about it like that before. "Right... but then..."
"Well Time also knew how long you would need to be together before you bound your souls," Amie continued.
"If you're talking about sex, we did that way, way before I was thirty."
"Too much information, but no, that's not what I meant. Nick, it sounds old fashioned, but that's what marriage is all about... binding the soul before God... or Time or whatever you want to think of the sovereign rule in life as." Amie hesitated, "Did you marry Claire, Nick?"
Our eyes met. "Yes," I whispered, remembering the whirlwind night we'd done it.
"Just before I changed. We thought... if I was committed... that the cycles would stop... and I'd stay thirty."
Amie's face cracked into a grin. "Nick..."
"So you're saying that I relive the same seventeen years because that's how long I knew Claire? Because Claire met me at thirteen and married me at 29-almost-30?"
"Yes," Amie whispered, "But there's something else."
"Remember what I told you, about how a Time Watcher is created?" she asked, "About there being a choice that the person makes before their death, and then they become a Time Watcher when they die?"
The idea was completely insane.
"Claire can't have become a Time Watcher. I was there... I was beside her, holding her hand when she died."
"How old was she?"
"Sixty-four," I answered.
"She wouldn't have stayed 64, Nick," Amie said. "How long did you stay with her?"
"I couldn't stand to see her like that," I answered, remembering how her hand had gone cold, how her face had slipped into an emotionless sleep. I had lifted her, kissed her gently, and laid her back down, tears pouring from my eyes, dripping onto her cheek, and I'd fled. I'd run from the hospital and sat there at the lagoon until I'd had to go back to the hotel because the fellas would miss me, wonder where I'd gone. I hadn't stayed. "I - I left, almost immediately."
Amie nodded. "Nick she would've changed like you do. It would be hours, overnight, not instantaneous."
My mouth went dry. "She's..."
"She might be," Amie corrected with emphasis, "If she made the choice to stay with you."
I couldn't process. "She's... she's..." I looked at Amie, "But, then- the Looping..."
"Her soul was connected to yours at 30, you're both destined to be 30, you just have to have the two pieces together. It's like a bond. If you are together, and you're both 30, the Looping will cease because the destiny will have been fulfilled. Destina-Looping is cured by the destiny the soul is waiting for being fulfilled."
I felt numb. Claire? My Claire could still be alive? Well, not still, because she did, indeed, die, but... If the choice was hers.... maybe... Claire... was... a Time Watcher, too?
"Nick?" Amie said gently, reaching out and laying a hand on my knee. "Are you okay?"
"What are the odds of this being true?" I asked her quietly.
Amie hesitated, "I don't know, only you know how much you told her about your ability."
"I told her everything I knew," I whispered. I looked at her, she was smiling. I could feel my entire body was tense with anticipation. "How the hell would I find out?" I asked.
"Look for her," Amie answered. "That's what Rodney did for me. He looked for me."
"How long did it take to find you?" I asked.
"A year or more," Amie replied.
"I don't have a year," I whispered, "I'll be thirteen again on the 28th of January..."
"I know. That's why it was so urgent; you have to find her before you're 13 again," Amie replied, "That's why I flew out. Nick, it makes so much sense."
It's so crazy, that it almost does, I thought.
"What happens if I find her after I turn thirteen?" I asked.
Amie's eyes met mine. "The Looping will stop once you are both reunited. Regardless of the age you are."
"So I'd become 30 then?" I hazarded a guess.
Amie frowned, and shook her head. "No. But that's why you need to find her before you change."