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       Moonbeam, p.28

           Adrienne Woods
 

  “Thank the heavens for miracles.”

  I frowned at him, half in shadow with planes of light from my lamp across his face. “What is that supposed to mean?”

  “If Elena had come home and told you that they were together, you wouldn’t be in here bragging about your talents, sweetheart,” Al observed. “You would’ve composed an entire new song that would put Bach to shame.”

  I laughed. “I wouldn’t.”

  “Yes, you would.”

  “Go back to sleep,” I grumbled. He smiled and rolled over. I went to the bathroom to get ready for bed.

  He was fast asleep when I climbed in bed a while later. He’d been worried for nothing. And I…I was the happiest mom out there. I had the best teenager a queen could ever ask for. She hated the limelight and was transforming into this beautiful woman in front of our eyes.

  Why Blake couldn’t see it, was beyond me. Soon.

  He would see it soon. They will end up together, you didn’t jeopardize that.

  The next morning, we all had breakfast. Sammy had a hangover. My father teased her without mercy. She took it with good humor. She would rather have him than Sir Robert climbing down her throat.

  Lucian left after breakfast. Dad called me into his office as Sammy went to her room to sleep more. I knocked on his door and went inside.

  He looked so at home among the red velvet cushions and dark wood paneling of his office. He was so good-natured, sometimes it was easy to forget he was a king. But in this setting, he was downright regal. “So you enjoyed your birthday, sweet pea?”

  “It was the best, Dad. You have something to do with getting Blake’s band on board?”

  He laughed. “No, that was your mother’s doing.”

  I smiled.

  “But here’s our present. Happy sixteenth.” He handed me a box and I opened it.

  It was my very first Cammy. “For real?” I said and he nodded. I ran over to hug him and then ran out of his office to find my mother.

  Her eyes widened as she saw me. “Thanks, Mom.” I flung my arms around her. “You finally got me a Cammy.”

  “Oh, sweetheart, you’re leaving for Dragonia soon. Of course I had to get you one.” She helped me open the box.

  It was the latest model—compact and shiny. She paired her phone with mine.

  My father’s was next, then Sammy’s. I would get Lucian’s later.

  Sammy took a bath as I packed some clothes. We were going to a barbeque over at the mansion. I hadn’t seen Isabel in a long time. And I was going to see Blake again. I hoped it wasn’t going to be awkward.

  My mom still sounded excited when I asked her, and told me to enjoy it.

  She wasn’t behind this. She couldn’t be.

  I threw my bag into Sammy’s Mini Cooper parked in our garage and we went to the manor.

  My heart hammered in my chest. I hoped Blake was here and hadn’t crashed at Isaac’s or Ty’s last night.

  Sammy opened the door. We found Isabel and Sir Robert around the table having a late breakfast. “Elena.” Her eyes lit up. She came over and gave me a hug. “Look at you,” she said. “I haven’t seen you in ages. Crap sorted?”

  “He’s not here?” I pouted.

  “Yes, he came in late last night. He’s sleeping it off.”

  “Oh, good.”

  Sir Robert gave me a hug. “Happy birthday, darling.”

  “Thank you.” My father’s dragon felt like my second dad. He was always around, one of the two constant Leafs in my life.

  “I need coffee,” Sammy grunted. She got up to pour herself some.

  “You enjoy your party?”

  “Loved it! When Isaac and the others showed, it turned into the best one ever.”

  “I’m glad to hear that.”

  We heard someone skipping down the stairs and my heart beat slightly.

  “Good morning. When did you get here?” Isabel asked and I turned around. It felt as if my heart had fallen into my stomach. It was Tabitha. What the hell was she doing here?

  “Early this morning. I hope you don’t mind.” She didn’t even look at me.

  “Of course not,” Isabel said. “Is he awake?”

  “Sort of. The gig last night took everything out of him.”

  She caught my eyes. I forced a smile despite the bile that rose in my throat at the very sight of her.

  She gasped. “Elena, is that you?”

  “Guilty.”

  She gave me her dashing smile. “What are you doing here?”

  “She’s visiting me,” Sammy barked at her, and Isabel just give her the eye.

  “Look who got out on the wrong side of the bed,” Tabitha joked. Isabel seemed to think it was funny. “Let me go get that cup of coffee. Nice seeing you again.”

  “You too,” I lied. So she didn’t even feel a tinge of threat. This sucked.

  “I told you to be nice to her,” Isabel admonished Sammy. “She’s not so bad.”

  “She’s a pain in the ass. You do know what’s going to happen up there, right?”

  I froze but shook myself from it real fast.

  Isabel’s mouth formed a thin line of disapproval. “She won’t.”

  “Oh please, Mom, it’s Elena. She’s going to freak out on him,” Sammy said as she got up and walked back to the table. “And she’s fucking rude,” she said.

  “Language!” both her parents said.

  “Seriously, what the hell is she doing here?”

  “Don’t. You are the teenager I don’t fight with. I don’t want that to change,” Isabel pleaded.

  Sammy smiled and I forced a skeletal smile, too.

  He hadn’t broken it off with her. Was he even going to?

  Tabitha slammed the cup of coffee down on my nightstand. What the fuck was she even doing here?

  “Elena,” she started. “When did the two of you even talk, Blake?”

  “I don’t have time for this,” I rolled over and pulled the pillow over my head.

  “Tell me,” she grabbed the pillow and stared at me.

  “Why are you here?” I asked her in my grouchiest voice.

  “Because I felt bad about how we left things yesterday.”

  “Tabitha, I don’t have time for this shit. The gig was Elena’s party. Yes, we talked last night and everything is sorted. I just got her back. Don’t make this into a problem.”

  “Just got her back?” Her pale face twisted with suspicion. “Blake.”

  “Don’t,” I said a bit too loud. “I mean it.”

  “Fine. She isn’t a little girl anymore either.”

  “Don’t go there. It’s still too early,” I said, getting up. Moving past her, I opened my closet. I stepped into a pair of shorts and pulled a shirt over my head. I froze.

  “Wait, how the hell do you know about Elena anyway?”

  “She’s downstairs.”

  Fuck. Fuck, fuckity fuck.

  We went out by the swimming pool. Sammy and I each took a chair. “So he’s really still with Tabitha?”

  Sammy turned her head over to me as if it hurt to move—which probably did.

  “Yes,” she said.

  I was wearing a one-piece, one that hid my tattoo. Sir Robert would freak, not to mention the Snow Dragon, if she saw what it was.

  “She’s a pain in the ass.”

  “What did you mean by she was going to give it to him?”

  “Oh please, Elena. I hope you didn’t buy that ‘Elena it’s so nice to see you’ bullshit,” she mimicked Tabitha. “She hates your guts because she knows what you are to him and that she can’t beat that.”

  It made me feel a tinge better. I was something to him. She was…my smile vanished. Still with him. What was last night then? A one-night stand. I should’ve waited. I was so stupid.

  Images of last night popped into my head.

  “I can’t wait till my brother Dents. She’ll be so out of this picture.”

  “If he Dents,” I whispered.

  “He will
.” Samantha always heard my whispers, which was annoying sometimes.

  Act, Elena. Act. She doesn’t know how you truly feel about all of this or what happened last night.

  I put on my shades to hide my angry tears. I could cry so easily when it came to Blake. Lee was right, he was only going to end up hurting me.

  I shouldn’t have come.

  The two lovebirds finally came down.

  I didn’t even look at him. He went to his father by the grill and offered to help. His dad smiled at him and handed him the tongs.

  Tabitha took the two deck chairs farthest away from us. I just glared at Blake from underneath my shades. He didn’t even look at me.

  Ass.

  Sammy must have dozed off; she grunted when she saw Tabitha. “I’m going to be stuck with her the whole fucking day.” Tabitha flipped her off after Sir Robert walked into the house.

  “I’ll show you what you can do with that finger of yours,” Sammy said softly so only the two of them could hear it.

  Tabitha got up, went over to Blake, and kissed him in his neck. I closed my eyes. I heard their voices, but I didn’t hear what he said.

  I shouldn’t be here. I got up, took off my shirt, and dived in the turquoise water.

  Sammy followed suit. We leaned on the edge of the swimming pool.

  Fuck them. Fuck Blake and fuck Tabitha. If he wants her, then so be it. Still, I felt nothing but fucking regret for last night. I shouldn’t have given myself to him like that. I was just a game to him, one he’d won. I hated that.

  Annie walked out onto the patio. “Good afternoon, bitches!” she yelled. She took the chair right next to mine.

  “Why am I not surprised to see you here?” she said and looked at Blake with narrowed eyes. He didn’t look at her, pretending to be busy with the barbeque. She mumbled something Tabitha didn’t like and dove in.

  Constance arrived just as Annie pulled me underneath the water.

  When I got up, I wiped the water out of my face.

  “Elena!” She sounded just like Isabel, looked like her, too. They were twins, after all. She hugged Blake, and then Tabitha. She took one of the chairs. She put all her stuff down. “I never thought I would ever see you here,” she said to me. “Look at you, all grown up.”

  I flipped my wet hair. “That happens in a blink of an eye, or so my mother keeps telling me.”

  She laughed and bent over to give me a hug. I kicked against the wall and pulled her in.

  When she appeared again, she gasped for air, and splashed me with water. General Lee, her husband, walked out and laughed with Sir Robert. “Still as naughty as ever,” Constance said and climbed out.

  “That was the opportunity of a lifetime!” I yelled. Everyone laughed. Blake also had a smile on his face.

  Fuck him. Fucking asshole.

  I climbed out and enjoyed the conversation with Annie and Sammy. It wasn’t such a crappy day, and I refused to feel belittled by Blake. Around five I got up and put my clothes on.

  “Can I borrow the Cooper?” I asked Sammy.

  “You leaving already?”

  “Yes,” I said, louder than necessary. “I still have some packing to do.”

  I didn’t want to go to the Elps anymore, but I was glad for an excuse. Running away again, Elena? Always running away.

  “You going somewhere?” Blake asked me the first question of the day.

  Don’t ignore him, Elena. Don’t smile either. Okay, smile a little. “Yes, didn’t I tell you?” I met his eyes with unwavering intensity.

  He shook his head.

  “I’m going to the Elps for the rest of the summer,” I said. “Pappi wants to teach me something awesome.”

  “More tutors? You’re scaring me just a bit now.” He was serious, almost angry. Why was he angry? I’m not the one with the girlfriend. I took a steadying breath. Calm down, Elena.

  I squeezed out a laugh. “Good. You should be very scared,” I said it as a joke, but made sure he got the underlining message. He didn’t laugh. The others thought it was funny, but he knew exactly what I meant.

  Blake Leaf was going to discover that I wasn’t just a fucking one-night stand.

  I got up and started saying goodbye to everyone. Blake gave me a kiss on the cheek as he walked passed me. Asshole. He hadn’t kissed me like that last night.

  I said goodbye to Isabel in the kitchen. “You not staying for dessert?” she asked.

  “I can’t. I still have to pack for the Elps.”

  “Ooh, I’m with Blake. You are scaring me.”

  I laughed.

  “Please don’t kill him.”

  “Just a little, until he yields.”

  She laughed and kissed me goodbye. “You taking the Cooper?”

  “Yes, I’ll have Raymond drop it off tomorrow.”

  “Okay, have an amazing time in the Elps, Elena. I heard it’s gorgeous up there.”

  “I will,” I said and left.

  I reached Sammy’s Cooper and put the keys into the door. It ripped out of my hand and slammed just after I opened it. The idiot was here. Only he could do this. I turned around. He was inches from me. He gathered me in his arms and I struggled, incensed.

  “What, now I’m good enough?” I hissed. “I’m not one of your toys, Blake. Go back to the Ice Queen.” I tried to push him off me.

  He just pushed me harder against the door. His shield was around us.

  Easy, Elena, you don’t want to fight with him in this courtyard. Big claiming…not a front-yard one.

  “I don’t know what she is doing here!”

  I laughed. “Don’t you dare give me that crap, Blake. You like having your bread buttered on both sides, don’t you?”

  “You are my Dent, Elena. I still have to hide the shaking.” He showed me his hand vibrating softly. “I feel like fucking crap that she’s here,” he said. “I want you, okay?”

  I sneered. “It’s just a pity you don’t tell her that.”

  “Because we have a fucking barbeque with a shit lot of people. I need to tell her this in private. Please. Don’t be like this.” He rested his temple against mine. “I don’t regret last night. I can’t stop thinking about it. Why didn’t you tell me you were leaving?”

  I considered what he said. I decided to believe him. He’d break it off with Tabitha as soon as there weren’t people around. “Because I didn’t want to spoil everything, okay?” I spoke softly.

  “So what, I’m only going to see you at Dragonia?”

  I nodded.

  “That sucks.”

  “I’ve got a Cammy.” I took it out of my back pocket.

  “Awesome,” he said and took out his. He grabbed mine, opened it, and spoke his name in a seductive voice.

  He made me laugh. Just like that.

  As he lay his Cammy on mine, holding them in one of his hands, he pulled me into him and kissed me.

  It wasn’t a long kiss, but it was a flaming hot one, scraping my lower lip slightly and making my hormones fly everywhere like that pinball again. When the beep from the phone came, announcing that the pairing was done, we broke the kiss. My breathing was hard. I had to clear my mind so I didn’t cause an accident.

  He opened the door for me. “I’ll tell her tonight, I promise.”

  “Okay,” I said. I climbed into the Cooper.

  He put his head through my window and gave me another kiss. “I’ll see you tonight. Just answer your Cammy later, okay?”

  “Okay,” I whispered and left.

  I went back into the house. This could’ve gone terribly wrong. I needed to tell Tabitha tonight that it had been fun, but this was my reality. She’d always known it.

  A voice cleared in the kitchen. Fuck.

  I turned around and found my mother staring at me. “You spying on me?”

  “So you just talked?” I’d never seen a more disapproving look on her face, and I had earned a lot of disapproval form her over the years.

  “Mom, don’t. You know what she do
es to me. Yes, okay, I don’t see her as my little sister anymore. I thought this was what you wanted.”

  “What we wanted? Blake, Tabitha is outside.” She pointed angrily toward the pool. “This isn’t how I raised you.”

  “I didn’t get the time to tell her yet, okay?”

  She pinned me to the wall with her stare. “Oh, so now it matters how you deal with this?”

  “Yes, I’m not that angry little shit anymore. I’m normal again.”

  She pointed that finger at me and shook it. “Do the right thing, Blake. I like Tabitha, but that’s Elena.”

  “Mom, you think I want to hurt Elena? Jeez.” Shaking my head, I walked back outside.

  My mother watched me like a hawk the rest of the night. She wielded her shield as she spoke to Constance.

  “Okay, what is up with you?” I heard Constance whisper. If she knew that I could penetrate shields, Mom would rethink what she said in this house sometimes. “What did Blake do that you are giving him the evil eye? I mean, you’re not even blinking. Did Tabitha lay an egg or something?”

  Seriously? I thought.

  “No,” my mother said. She laid her head back on the chair.

  I had my shades on, lying next to Tabitha and watching my mother closely.

  “He’s going to break up with Tabitha.”

  Constance gasped. “It’s a good thing, right?”

  “He kissed Elena,” Mom said. My cheeks reddened; I hadn’t been sure if she’d seen us. “And not just any kiss. I didn’t even know you can kiss someone like that.”

  Constance laughed. The snorting kind. This was so embarrassing. “When?” she asked.

  “Just now, when she left. The little fuck didn’t go to the bathroom. He waited for her outside. I’m scared.”

  Constance made a thoughtful humming sound. “C’mon. About what? What Kate said?”

  “Yes! She said it was so intense. I fucking saw that. With Tabitha it was one thing. They could do whatever they wanted just as long as it wasn’t in their dragon form, but with Elena…”

  Mom!

  “I’m not kidding. Remember Cooper and Merica?”

  Constance’s gaze landed on me. “You know, I get the feeling he can hear every single word we are saying.”

 
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