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       Firebolt, p.13

           Adrienne Woods
 
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  I had to admit, the term “to dent” was still confusing. I mean George hated Becky, and now they expected him to do the opposite. It didn't make sense.

  “Let's go, Elena.” Sammy grabbed my arm when George finally shifted back into his normal body. They had to cover him with a blanket because he was butt naked. He was carried out on a stretcher too, but he wasn't nearly in the physical state Becky was in.

  “Where are we going?”

  “To go and see how Becky’s doing. I can't believe George just did that!”

  I waved at Lucian, since Sammy didn't give me time to say goodbye with a kiss. He waved back with a gorgeous smile, which made my stomach flip again.

  Sammy walked so fast that I struggled to keep up. I almost had to run to keep her pace. We squashed through the crowd while they were still chatting about Becky's moves. She was a real Dragonian now.

  When we reached the infirmary, Julia asked us to wait by the door while Constance tried to stabilize Becky.

  My throat tightened as I saw how Constance placed a neck brace around her neck.

  “Can a Dragonian die from this?” I asked, biting my nails while staring at Becky's still body on the bed.

  “I've never seen one die. Constance was close, but anything's possible.”

  I felt like crying again.

  I didn't want to claim a dragon, and I started to doubt Master Longwei's theory about my dark mark too. I didn't belong here. I would never have the amount of courage to do what Becky just did.

  “Stop doing that.” Sammy tapped my hand with hers, and I realized that I was still nibbling on my nails. I only did it when I was really nervous.

  We waited for a long time. Sammy mumbled plenty of times, and by her twentieth sigh, Julia popped her head out of the door. “You may come in, but only for a couple of minutes, okay?”

  We both went in without saying a word.

  We couldn't do much but watch Becky lie on the bed with a bruised up face. It looked as if she had been beaten by a jealous boyfriend.

  It made me feel anger and other emotions I didn't want to feel.

  Her leg was splinted and her arms were full of scrapes. Her one eye was swollen shut and had turned a greenish purple color.

  My eyes started to sting.

  "She is going to be okay, Elena, and believe me; George is going to feel pretty bad about what he did soon." Constance tried to comfort me while making Becky as comfortable as possible.

  "When will she wake up?"

  "It's up to her."

  "Chromatic dragons are so stupid," Sammy hissed.

  "If you don't mind, Becky needs her rest. You can come and check up on her later if you want," Constance said, and smiled. It was our cue to leave.

  We went straight to our room,and I wondered what they had done with George. I hadn’t seen him in the infirmary with Becky.

  Once we were settled, Sammy took a long bath. She always felt terrible whenever a dragon did something horrible to humans and now that it was her best friend, she must felt even worse.

  Later that night, we went back to check up on her. This time, thankfully, she was awake. "Where is that coward?" she said with venom in her voice.

  "Becky, take it easy," Constance said in an ordering tone. She tried to get Becky to lie back down.

  "Take it easy?" she hissed. "I was out for... I don't know how long. He's a coward." She grabbed her ribs in obvious pain when she moved too fast.

  "You're not healed. Just give it a couple of hours." Constance spoke in a harsh voice and told us to leave.

  "That girl is not happy," Sammy remarked as we started to leave.

  "I'm just glad she woke up." I remembered the time I had spent almost a whole week in the infirmary and shuddered.

  I struggled to sleep that night and when I finally fell into a deep slumber, I was rewarded with the same dream that had haunted me since my arrival.

  I woke up around four AM, hot and sweating, and opened the window to clear my head. The fresh air blew gently into our room as I reflected on all the things that had changed in such a short period of time. A lot of things played in my head. Becky was one, and I tried to make sense of how George was magically going to like her. My dad saving my life was something that was constantly on my mind, making everything jumbled. What did the Moon Bolt want from us, and why did he kill Dad? What did Dadwant to tell Matt that was so important he couldn’t do it over the phone? Why did I have a dark birthmark when it wasn't meant for dragon children? And why did they think I was going to show them great things? It put so much pressure on me; sometimes I just wanted to scream. What was I going to do about Lucian? I couldn't go back to being just friends again. I loved being with him, so Arianna’s words shouldn’t matter. I didn’t care if I was normal or not, I couldn’t imagine my life without Lucian in it.

  Our room started to turn a bit lighter as the sun slowly rose over the horizon. I looked outside my window and saw the first rays of sun peek over the mountains in the distance. For a few blessed moments, I forgot about all of my unanswered questions. There was something truly amazing about how the world woke up. For the first time ever I watched the sunrise and felt completely at peace.

  Chapter Fourteen

  Today was a nightmare. With Becky still stuck in the infirmary, classes were ten times worse. I never realized how vital her quick explanations about foreign words were to keep me on track.

  In Art of War, Professor Mia gave me Colin, Becky's old sparring partner, to fight against. I was less than thrilled. He was brutal, and I saw my ass a million times in the first half hour. My arms were covered with bruises and scrapes that burned like hell. It looked as if I had fought an entire army.

  Every single muscle ached and felt drained.

  To make things worse, Lucian was nowhere to be found. Arianna made me feel so insecure,and I hoped with all my heart that she hadn’t gotten to him too. I knew I should have stopped seeing him, but it was too late. My feelings for him had grown overnight, and I didn't know how I would possibly cope without him. I became worried, and I knew something was wrong during lunchtime when he was still MIA.

  After class, I fell on my bed, completely defeated. When I woke up, Becky sat on her bed chatting with Sammy. The bruises around her eyes were completely gone, and she appeared to be fine.

  “What's up, girl, did you miss me?” She grabbed her side when she moved too fast trying to get up off the bed.

  “Don't, just take it easy.” Sammy helped Becky onto her feet.

  “Can we go to dinner now?” Becky said excitedly.

  “You sure you up for it? We can bring you something back,” Sammy said, concerned.

  “No, Constance said the faster I get on my feet, the better.”

  In the cafeteria, everyone was congratulating her. She really loved all the attention, and I just shook my head. Lucian was still nowhere to be found, and by now, I was really worried.

  We went to bed around ten, after Becky told us all about the fight from her point of view. I was glued to her lips as she told me the minute the scene changed, the entire crowd disappeared. It was only her and George somewhere in the dessert.

  The next morning, we woke up an hour earlier to give us plenty of time to help Becky get ready too. I was worried about Lucian, but kept it to myself.

  “Are you sure you are ready for classes?” Sammy asked. She reminded me of a mother hen, the way she fussed over Becky.

  “I better be, otherwise George will get a lightning bolt against the head.”

  We laughed. It took a long time to dress her, leaving us less time than usual to get ready. Sammy took a shower, while I brushed my hair and tied it up in a smooth ponytail.

  “So, how are things going with you and Lucian?” she asked quietly.

  “I don't know, Becky,” I said honestly.

  “Elena?”

  “I didn’t see him yesterday at all. He’s clearly ignoring me. What if Arianna got through to him?” My eyes started to sting. I couldn't imagine
myself without him.

  “He is probably just doing the gentlemanly thing by giving you some space.”

  Maybe she was right. I would give it time. The bell rang loudly as Sammy emerged from the bathroom.

  “Ah crap, I'm starving,” Sammy complained.

  “Before you know it, it will be lunch,” Becky said, trying to console her.

  I didn't care about food at that moment. I was just glad that Becky had come back. We both helped her down the stairs.

  “Shoot!” Becky shrieked.

  “What is it?” Sammy asked, concern filling her voice.

  “I forgot to pick up my new schedule.”

  “Schedule for what!” I said.

  “Classes. It’s so going to suck not being able to share any with you, Elena.”

  “What do you mean?”

  “I’m starting a new schedule now that I have claimed George. He’s going to be a thorn in my butt.”

  “New schedule?”

  “I know it sucks. At least you don't have a second shadow.”

  “So you’re not going to be in class with me anymore.” I could feel how my air pipe tightened, making it difficult to breathe.

  She shook her head.

  “Without you, I'm so screwed. I'm going to fail.”

  “You're not going to fail, Elena, we'll help you.” Sammy tried to put me at ease.

  “How, Sammy? You don't have one class with me and everything is already sounding like Greek.” I was very close to tears.

  “Look, I’ve got to go. It will be fine, Elena. We'll sort it all out later. Now, we all have to get to class before the second bell rings,” Becky ordered. I sulked as I walked to my first period. They were wrong. I was so screwed.

  I made it to my seat just in time when the second bell rang. Sir Edward began with a new chapter, and I barely took any notice of what he said. The pop quiz after was hard. Mystery was one of the only classes I didn't suck at, but I found myself struggling just the same.

  Without Becky, Art of War was even more painful. My bruises from yesterday hadn't even healed properly, and I learned that Collin was now my permanent partner. For the love of blueberries, he didn't know what the word “mercy” meant. I felt as if I was about to die when the bell rang for lunch. I barely made it to the room to take a shower.

  I cried while the hot water ran over my cuts. The water around my feet swirled in a pinkish current as it mixed with the blood from my wounds.

  Becky and Sammy were waiting for me at one of the tables when I finally entered the cafeteria. Lucian was still nowhere to be seen, and I wanted to cry again.

  They waved excitedly, but their smiles disappeared the minute they saw me. My eyes were swollen from all the crying, and I looked like I had been hit by a truck.

  “Elena, what’s wrong?” Sammy asked.

  I hated how that question triggered my tear ducks and my lower lip started to vibrate uncontrollably. I fell down on my arms and sobbed. This was so embarrassing.

  “Elena?” Sammy patted me on the back.

  “I’m not cut out for any of this!”I yelled. The entire cafeteria fell silent, but I didn’t care anymore. "Just look at me!" I showed them my elbows.

  The girls tried to soothe my uncertainty.

  I decided to leave as their feeling-sorry-expressions just prompted more tears. Where the hell is Lucian?

  I lay on my bed when Becky and Sammy entered.

  “Elena, it's going to be fine,” Becky soothed.

  “How, Becky? I feel so stupid.” My words barely came out through all the sobs.

  “You’re not stupid,okay. You’re dealing with so much,and it’s a wonder that you’re still sane, Elena. Most of the people that come from the other side lose their minds in the first week.” Sammy tried to calm me as well.

  “I can understand why.”

  “Come here?” Becky hugged me. “We’ll help you, promise, and before you know it, everything will be a walk in the park.”

  “Becky, it's not that easy. I didn't grow up with Dragons. No offense, Sammy.”

  “None taken.”

  “And I never had anything like this on the other side. I’m not just dealing with things I never dreamed of in a million years, but I have to deal with you guys, Lucian, and everything else that goes with it.” I bawled.

  “What do you mean, deal with us?”

  I took a deep breath. “I already told you guys, my father made us move every three months so friends weren’t really a priority. The paranoia always drove them away.”

  “Well, you’ve got some now,” Becky said. “The way I see it, Paegeia should've been your birthplace, Elena. You belong here and I’ll make sure that you're going to understand everything.”

  “I’ll help,” Sammy promised too.

  The bell rang for the second part of the day. Everybody in Professor Gregory's class just stared at me as I walked in. The familiar new-chick's-first-day-at-school-feeling came back and it was so bad that my stomach turned.

  “Good afternoon, guys,” he said as the second bell rang.

  “And, ladies,” Riley sang annoyingly.

  “Sorry, ladies. Elena, Master Longwei wants to see you in his office, please.”

  The feeling became even worse after his words sunk in. I got up and put my books into my bag. I left just as he began his lecture.

  The last time I was in the headmaster’s office I received the biggest scolding of my life. What does he want now?

  It felt like it took an eternity to get there. I knocked timidly.

  “Enter.” His voice came from inside the room. I found him sitting behind his desk busy with paperwork.

  “You wanted to see me, Master.”

  “Yes, Elena. Sit down, please. I heard what happened today in the cafeteria,” he said. “I'm going to cut to the point. You have so much to deal with, and it was wrong of me to throw you in the deep water before you were ready. You are struggling to cope with all of this, and now I'm forcing you to learn everything in such a short period of time. I know you are not doing very well in your classes, and all of your professors are worried that you started this year a little too late. What I suggest is that you take it easy, and then next year you can enroll with the first years.”

  “Please don’t do that,Master. I swear I'll work harder,” I pleaded.

  “Elena?”

  “Please, sir. Don’t fail me because you think I can't make it. Fail me for the right reasons. Just give me a chance,”I begged.“I will even take extra classes after school. Becky and Sammy said they will help me to catch up. Please.”

  “Elena, it is too difficult.”

  “I don't care. I just want a chance.” I was adamant. Silence filled his office, and I saw him frowning at the papers splayed out on his desk.

  He sighed. “Okay, fine if you're up for it, I will see what I can do from my side.”

  I nodded. “Thank you, sir.”

  “That will be all.” He spoke with a whisper.

  I wiped away a tear as I exited his office.

  I found Becky and Sammy sitting in our room, and everything came spilling out.

  “How can he even suggest something like that?” Sammy asked.

  “Maybe he's just worried about Elena. She did start late.” Becky tried to play the devil’s advocate.

  “I don’t care, Becky. I'm not going to be left behind.”

  “Okay, easy. I'm sure Lucian will help too. He has─”

  “Let's just see what Master Longwei is going to come up with,” I interrupted, not wanting to talk about Lucian.

  “It’d better be a good plan. Face it girl, you do have a lot of catching up to do,” Becky said, not trying to sound harsh.

  “It is not impossible though.”Sammy eyeballed her.“Besides,that mark is really dark. I'm sure Elena can do it.”

  “I just have to work harder.” I answered both of them and left for the library.

  I had no idea where to start, so I started searching in a section that had
something to do with magic.

  Lucian kept jumping into my mind, and I had to push him away in order to concentrate on my task. I found a book called Nobody's Magic and paged through the first couple of pages. It sounded like a good book about where everything started, but the way the author write made me wonder if he was related to William Shakespeare.

  Someone spun me around, as I was going to return the book to the shelf. I found myself in a pair of arms. By the smell of his shirt, I knew it was Lucian.

  “Where have you been?” I hit his heavily muscled chest with both fists.

  “I'm sorry, Elena, I had to do something for one of the Professors. I heard what happened today. Are you okay?” he asked, clamping both my wrists with his hands to stop my weak punches.

  A tear rolled down my face, and he caught it gently with his thumb. He gave me a soft kiss, and I felt all of my doubts disappear in an instant.

  “You need a break,”he whispered once we’d finally stopped.

  “Lucian, I need to study.”

  “You can study tomorrow.” He grabbed my hand and dragged me to the exit. His hands were really cold, but his touch made me boil from the inside.

  My stomach did so many flips that it almost made me sick again.

  “Where are we going?” I sounded confused when I didn’t recognize our path.

  “Have you ever been on a horse's back?”

  “No,” I said in a nervous tone. Dad loved horses, but he never took the time to take me riding.

  “Today is your lucky day.” He winked.

  “Won't we get into trouble?” I asked, not wanting to upset Master Longwei after he had offered to help me with my classes.

  “It is daytime, Elena. Besides, it’s why the horses are here, for our use.” He chuckled.

  ‘I don't know how to ride.” I sounded scared. What if I fall off or worse, get dragged? My luck usually fell more in the dangerous category.

  “You won't fall, I promise,” he replied, as if he could read my mind.

  We reached the stables in no time, and he led me to the last stall. Hot flushes washed over my body as I struggled to keep my eyes off him. I wondered how I’d ended up with a guy like him.

 
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