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Thunderlight, p.23
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       Thunderlight, p.23

           Adrienne Woods
 

  I told Lucian what Matt had told me and he was so supportive. He put his arm around me and promised me again that nothing would ever happen to me.

  That entire day Matt’s conversation played over in my mind for a long time. We both didn’t have any answers and I could tell he was just as frustrated as I was. Guess only time will tell what Dad was running from all those years.

  HE NEXT AFTERNOON, we went sight seeing and as the sun set Lucian took me to Longbottoms on his Ducati. I was the same restaurant that we’d had George’s Welcome Home party at over the summer.

  Whenever Lucian graced his establishment, Jimmy, the owner, took extra precautions. When we arrived he ushered us into a private room hidden behind a wall of mirrors that all of the celebrities of Paegeia hung out in there.

  As I scanned the room a girl suddenly grabbed Lucian from behind and he turned around, embracing her in a warm hug. “I’ve missed you so much. How are you?” A European accent asked pleasantly. When their hug ended and Lucian pulled away I saw a face I had only seen once before, at the Warbel games. It was Blaze, the amazing rider decked out in jeans, a t-shirt and matching sneakers.

  “Elena, I want you to meet Blaze.”

  She squinted at me with a smile. “You were there that night at the Warbel games, right?”

  I nodded.

  “I’m so sorry about Gabe attacking you and Blake like that,” She glared over at a huge guy with red streaks laced through his black hair. It even showed in his beard. He was really handsome and then I put two and two together.

  “He’s the dragon that…”

  She nodded. “They were under a spell and he really didn’t know what he was doing, Elena.”

  I swallowed and took a deep breath as I just stared at him.

  “He’s the only Sun-Blast I know that wouldn’t even hurt a fly, so you can just imagine how crappy he felt about that night,” she whispered close to me.

  Lucian had already found his way over to Gabe and was giving him a slap shake.

  “How do you know Lucian?”

  “We’ve been trying to get him to join the Warbel games, but he’s not interested in participating.”

  “What?” I couldn’t believe what she said. The Lucian I knew was all for fun and games.

  “It’s got something to do with Blake. If the Council gives their permission for the big guy to participate, we’ll get Lucian too.”

  Now I understood.

  She laughed. “That look on your face says it all. He sure is one hell of a guy, and the best friend anyone could ask for.”

  “You know you almost roasted my girlfriend,” Lucian said in a loud voice.

  Horror struck Gabe’s face and he looked around. Lucian laughed and slapped him on the shoulder as they both walked over to us.

  “Elena, I want you to meet Gabe.”

  He held out his hand and I detected a slight shake.

  “Is it safe?” I joked and all of them laughed.

  “Sorry, lass. The day I find whoever cast that spell, they’ll sure wish they were never born.” He said with a deep Scottish accent.

  “Or hatched,” I chirped.

  He laughed as I shook his hand.

  “You haven’t Ascended or anything?”

  “No,” I laughed. “But then again Blake protected me that night.”

  “Praise to the big guy,” he roared and everybody cheered, it didn’t seem to matter if they were part of our conversation or not.

  I spent the entire night talking with Blaze while Lucian played a couple of pool games with Gabe and some other guys. He didn’t drink one sip of alcohol and I guessed it had got to do with the motorcycle we’d come on. Listening to Blaze speaking about all the adventurous things she’d done in Paegeia, I could understand now why Sammy had so much admiration for her. I even asked her to sign a paper napkin for her biggest fan.

  We left Longbottom’s around eleven and made our way back to the palace.

  “Wow, they’re really amazing,” I said as I took the helmet from him.

  “I know. They are the best magic wielders I’ve ever seen,” he said as he climbed onto his Ducati. Thinking about the trip back to the palace on the bike made my heart beat again a bit faster. The ride to Longbottoms had felt amazing, but I’d closed my eyes for almost the entire ride and I prayed that we would make it back home safely.

  “She told me about you not wanting to participate in the Warbel games,” I said before handing him his helmet from the back of the bike.

  He smiled. “Blake and I used to watch the games every Saturday. We made a promise that we would be on the same team one day. I can’t break that promise, Elena,” he said and gave me a side glance.

  “Blake’s friendship really means that much to you, huh?”

  He looked for a short couple of seconds to his helmet in his hands and smiled. “You only know his grumpy and arrogant side. If he was the old Blake I knew, I would probably not stand a chance with you.”

  “Please. I’d never go for him,” I said, climbing onto the bike and putting on my helmet. He did the same as I wrapped my arms around his waist and started the bike.

  The bike ride was fast. I kept my eyes closed again as music blared through the helmet’s speakers. When I finally opened them I saw how Lucian zapped past a couple of cars. My heart was beating in my chest and a small laugh escaped my lips. I had to say it was one hell of an exhilarating ride.

  We turned a corner and I could see the palace from a mile away, even at night. Spotlights shone on the seven towers that filled the heavens. We turned down a hidden drive and a huge gate surrounded by guards, revealed the front of the palace. A long and beautiful driveway with big oak trees led to a massive courtyard right in front of the castle.

  Two staircases ascending in opposite directions led to a mountain of a door. One of the night staff helped me to get off the bike and waited for Lucian so they could park it in the garage around the back.

  I took my helmet off and my head shot immediately up to the stone angels perched on the roof. It felt as all of them looked straight at me. Ever since that day when I started at the Academy and the stone dragons had come to life, I’d waited for a statue to say hello, but it hadn’t happen since. Shaking my head, I followed Lucian up the right staircase hand in hand.

  We stopped in front of a steel door with a lion’s head as its knocker.

  He opened the door and was instantly greeted by Cat. “Mom’s not back yet.” Lucian rubbed his head with both hands and slobber flew everywhere. When we climbed the stairs, Cat took his place on a big velvet pillow and waited again.

  “Where’s your Mom?” I asked.

  “She and Dad went to some sort of fancy affair that raises money for some sort of helpless cause.”

  “Lucian.” I slapped him playfully.

  He rubbed his arm with a huge grin that wrinkled the corner of his eyes. “My Mom is into that sort of thing. When Queen Catherine died she took everything over. It’s her thing.”

  “So Queen Catherine used to help the poor too?”

  “Oh, Elena, she was a saint. She had the biggest heart and she used to spend a lot of money organizing functions to raise money for whoever needed it.”

  It was hard to reconcile that he was speaking about the same woman who haunted my dreams. Why was she so cruel in mine?

  “I dream about her.” It came out in a small whisper.

  “What?” Lucian asked with a smile.

  For some reason tears filled my eyes. “I dream about Queen Catherine, Lucian, and she’s everything but kind in my dreams.”

  He stared at me for a long time. “When did this start?”

  “When I came to Paegeia. At first I had no idea who she was and when Cheng took me through the museum, I recognized her when I saw their wax figures. I thought it had to do with the King of Lions mission. Like she was preparing me for that or something. It was so stupid.” I giggled and wiped away my tears. “After the mission she disappeared but the dreams came back
the minute I went back to Dragonia. She’s horrible inside them. I have no idea why I’m even dreaming about her.”

  “Why didn’t you tell anyone about this?”

  “Seriously? You all would think that I somehow thought of myself as the cat’s whiskers or something.”

  He hugged me. “You are the cat’s whiskers.”

  I laughed into his chest. “You know what I mean. Why am I dreaming about her?”

  “I don’t know, Elena. What’s weird is that she showed up in your dreams without you even knowing her.”

  “Right,” I agreed. It was beyond weird.

  “Come let’s get something to drink. We can figure it out later.”

  It felt good telling Lucian about my dreams about the Queen. I wished that I’d known her in person the way they had, but I‘d gotten stuck with a wicked version of her; one that didn’t seem to want to go away any time soon.

  As we made our way into the kitchen, he poured us a glass of Coke with a shot of liquor the chef had stashed in the kitchen.

  “Lucian!”

  “What? I’m almost twenty and it’s legal to drink at eighteen.”

  “Which I’m not.”

  “You’re not in public. Let’s go.” He said and carried the two glassed carefully in his hands. I followed him to his room and we took a seat on his couch. It was backed with three huge grey pillows that went well with the blue and grey interior of his room.

  “So when are you planning to go on this mission of yours.”

  “Soon.” It was all he said.

  My face fell and I took a deep breath thinking about who he was doing this for.

  “What is it?” Lucian asked.

  “I’m just scared that you might not come back.”

  “Hey, I told you before, I’m not planning on dying inside the Acker Woods, Elena. I have a lot to live for, but I have to do this.”

  “Why, Lucian? Blake is already so dark. It’s just a matter of time. What if it isn’t what the Viden meant?”

  “I know what the Viden meant, Elena. Blake was the type of guy that would die for the greater good. He still is, deep down inside that dragon of his. It’s not too late. Only when he turns, will all of that be gone. My best friend will vanish. Now, there is still time.”

  “And you are sure you will find the truth when you find Tanya?”

  “I do.” He nodded.

  “Then I guess you need to do this, find her somehow and save him.”

  “That’s the plan, and I will find out what can claim him, even if it’s the last thing I do.”

  I laughed. “You’re contradicting yourself a bit here. If it’s the last thing you do, we won’t know what can be used to claim him.”

  He chuckled. “Okay, let me rephrase. I don’t have a choice but to find out, and it won’t be the last thing I’m going to do.”

  We both laughed.

  “So why do you think you dream about the Queen?” he asked as he handed me my glass.

  “If I knew, believe me, I wouldn’t have said anything.”

  He took a sip of his drink and looked at me. “The Ancients believe that sometimes certain people appear in one’s dreams to guide them on the right path.”

  “Lucian, the path she wants me on isn’t one I want to take.”

  “Which path is it?”

  “I don’t know. I’ve never seen the place before and it scares the living crap out of me.”

  “You said she is evil in your dreams. In what way?”

  “She never speaks, only points at some creepy place. When I don’t do what she says she throws a bitch fit.”

  He laughed.

  “Last night she burst into flames.”

  He looked at me and I watched as his laugh lines disappeared.

  “What?” I asked.

  “It’s how she died.”

  “What?”

  “My Dad doesn’t like talking about that night because he barely escaped with his life. If it wasn’t for Emanuel he wouldn’t have made it out alive. He told us what Goran did. He tied her hands and feet to the bedpost and set her on fire.”

  My skin crawled as I thought about it.

  “My Dad and King Albert found the burning room and he had to drag King Albert away from the fire, or it would have consumed him too.”

  “That’s horrible. How could he do that? They were his friends.”

  “People believed Goran’s dragon gave him too much of her essence when she died. It consumed him completely and turned him into something dark.”

  “Did Goran conjure the creepers too?”

  “No, Elena. The creepers are the only thing stronger than Goran at the moment. Some saw them as the last dying act of King Albert. He knew Paegeia wouldn’t survive if Goran ruled and with his last breath his love for his people and country conjured the creepers.”

  “He was that great?”

  “He wasn’t just great, he was magical.”

  “Then why is his wife haunting my dreams?”

  He laughed. “I don’t know, maybe you’re her long lost daughter that she wants to show the truth too.” He joked and pulled me on top of him.

  I laughed. “Oh please. That is the most pathetic excuse I’ve ever heard.”

  He laughed too and started to kiss me. It turned into a love war as my legs twirled around his waist. Our tongues danced their perfect dance steps inside each other’s mouths and I couldn’t stop kissing his soft lips. Our breathing became fast and my heart bounced inside my chest as he slipped one of his hands underneath my shirt. His hands caressed my bare skin and started to wander toward my breast.

  Goose bumps flushed over my body and a warm, fuzzy feeling emerged in the pit of my stomach. The butterflies hit the walls and made the feeling grow into something that was burning and wanting more.

  My hands tangled up in his hair and I could feel him pressing hard into me. It felt amazing and a small groan left my lips.

  Our lips parted and I couldn’t open my eyes to look at him. I could only feel his warm lips sliding down my neck toward my ear lobe. He chuckled seductively into my neck which released a million goose bumps

  “I think I’m going to take a cold shower,” he whispered seductively. “Join me if you want but I’ve got to warn you, there will be consequences if you do.”

  I giggled and couldn’t believe it when he got up and went to take a shower. I took a couple of deep breaths to regain my thoughts and fixed my shirt as I got up.

  I could hear the taps opening and I looked up. The door of his bathroom wasn’t shut completely and part of the sink and mirror came into view.

  I took another deep breath as I thought about his warning. It would lead to only one thing and the question was, was I ready for this?

  Something came over me, I couldn’t explain it. All I knew was it left me with the feeling of complete confidence and wanting him. I got up, pulled my shirt over my head and my pants pooled at my feet. My mind was yelling at me so loudly that I couldn’t make it out but I easily put two and two together.

  I pushed the crazy babble of my inner voice to the back of my head and clasped off my bra and took off my panties. I opened the door as softly as I could and saw a blurry figure behind the frosted glass.

  His back was facing me.

  My heart pounded with every step I took as I opened the door. He was perfectly built, with long lean muscles and arms every girl dreamt about.

  I closed my eyes as they wandered towards the dimples on his lower back.

  I’d never really seen a naked guy before so I took another deep breath and opened my eyes.

  Lucian faced me and gave me a seductive smile. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you, Elena.”

  “You did,” I managed to say as he pulled me against his body and our lips found one another once again.

  HEN I OPENED my eyes the next morning I found myself lying in my own bed wearing one of Lucian’s shirts. How I’d gotten to my room, I didn’t know.

  I blushed as last night’s
activities jumped into my head. I couldn’t believe that I had done that!

  My body felt different as I stretched my stiff muscles. I ached all over and I had to agree with Becky, the first time wasn’t the greatest but I guessed it was who you gave it to that mattered.

  I felt so many things running through my mind but regret wasn’t one of them. That was what had come over me last night; knowing that I would always be with Lucian. I didn’t want anybody else. I would grow old with him and be the happiest woman ever.

  The last thing I remembered was lying in his arms in his bed and falling asleep.

  Last night I hadn’t dreamt about anything. I felt refreshed and energized; something I hadn’t felt for a long time. I got up slowly and took a quick shower. I closed my eyes as the water rushed over my body and remembered the way he’d kissed me and held me against his body. The memory turned my stomach, but in a good way. I could feel his heartbeat against my chest, beating the same pace as mine the entire time.

  It had all made my first time so much more special.

  When things began getting a bit too warm, I shut down the hot water and turned the cold on full blast.

  I fought for my breath as ice-cold water poured down my flushed skin. When the thoughts of Lucian were finally gone I closed the faucets and got out.

  I rang the staff’s bell after I’d made myself presentable again. For some reason I couldn’t stop smiling.

  “Stop it, Elena, or his Mom will know,” I spoke to myself out loud in the mirror.

  A knock on the door announced Denise’s entrance and she gave me a knowing smile.

  “Breakfast is on the porch again,” she sang and I followed her down the same path as yesterday.

  Lucian gave me a secret wink as I took the chair next to him. He was reading the sports page of the newspaper as I poured a glass of orange juice.

  The Queen wore sunglasses so I couldn’t really see her eyes to determine whether or not she knew what the two of us had been up to last night.

 
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