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       Frostbite, p.3

           Adrienne Woods
 

  “Easier said than done.”

  “No, somehow you always find a way to just be okay with everything. You’ll see, before you know it you’ll be just as badass as Sammy.”

  “That’s what I’m afraid of, being a badass dragon.” A serious tone laced my voice again.

  “I didn’t mean it like that,” Becky said shaking her head.

  “I’m a Rubicon, Becky. I’m going to turn evil too, it’s just a matter of time.”

  “Over my dead body,” Sammy yelled.

  “Mine too.”

  “What if I need the beatings too?”

  “You know what, let’s not speculate please. We’ll deal with it if we get there,” Becky said.

  All three of us nodded.

  It was quiet for a couple of seconds before Sammy chuckled. “Now I finally get why my brother was so into you whenever he was drunk. It was her that drew him closer.”

  DIDN’T FEEL HUNGRY that night, skipped dinner, and went to bed early. My dragon form really drained my energy.

  When I walked into the cafeteria the next morning everyone stared at me. There were even a couple of Dragonians whispering about trying to claim me. I rolled my eyes at that piece of information. As if I was going to be an easier claim than Blake. If they knew her the way I was starting to, they wouldn’t be thinking that.

  Around ten, Master Longwei’s voice came from the speaker system. “Elena Watkins come to the office, please.”

  Professor Pheizer, who’d helped us with developing our abilities while we’re in human form, nodded her head and I packed my books and left.

  She wasn’t so helpful anymore and even limited her advice, but I still saw the question in her eyes of what I was whenever I found her staring at me. She would look away of course, but my dragon eyes were a lot faster than hers. Sometimes that second that our eyes met felt like minutes before she’d drop her gaze. It was hard to explain, I just felt . . . different.

  I found Master Longwei behind his desk and he gestured with his hand to the chair in front. I took a seat. He held both his hands with his fingers rested against one another in front of his mouth. “You need help, Elena.”

  I huffed. “What’s new?”

  His lips curved into a smile and he dropped his hands as he moved his chair underneath his desk. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Blake has agreed to help you find your dragon.”

  I froze. What! Blake had actually agreed to help someone else besides himself? Latin jumped into my mind and I shook my head at the words from the last conversation that had taken place between Master Longwei and Blake, right here in his office, after my secret had been revealed. “No, it’s fine. I’ll make peace with her some other way.”

  “Elena. The two of you are from the same species. It won’t be anything like your Latin lessons, I promise.”

  I laughed. “How do you know, did he say so? For all I know it could be his way of getting closer to me and killing me off. Two Rubicons can’t live together in this world. You know that.”

  “He gave me his word that he would not hurt you. He wants to figure this out as much as you do, Elena, and I promise you he doesn’t want to kill you.”

  “Just like the way Paul promised you.” It just slipped out but I didn’t regret it. Lucian died because of that choice.

  Master Longwei’s eyes froze at my words, and he looked away. “I was fooled. It is a mistake I’ll never make again.”

  I took a deep breath. “I probably don’t have a choice, do I?”

  “Not this time.”

  “Fine, where do I meet him?”

  He raised his eyes and looked as if I hadn’t just offended him a couple of seconds ago. “That is up to you two. I’m only the messenger.”

  You mean I have to hunt him down and ask him. “Fine, thanks.” I wasn’t thankful really. I didn’t want to spend time with Blake any more than he wanted to spend time with me. I hated how he made me feel. Sometimes I felt like a toy. He was always there, except the last time, when I was in danger, but afterward he would push me away as if he hadn’t just saved my ass. It was a frustrating little game and one I really didn’t have the time or energy for anymore.

  “Have fun.” He smiled awkwardly. “Not too much though.”

  For some reason I wanted to snicker at his sentence. I’d always wondered if Master Longwei could read minds. As if Blake and I would ever have fun. Nothing had changed and he was still the arrogant bastard he had been a couple of months ago.

  T LUNCH TIME Sarah gave me a note. She gave me a genuine smile when she handed it to me and I stared at Sammy who just shrugged her shoulders. Sarah was part of Tabitha’s group, and they despised me just as much as Blake did.

  I put the note in my pocket without reading it. I wasn’t in the mood to find out what Tabitha or Sarah wanted from me now.

  I finally took out the note during Enchantments. The class was different from human magic but just as hard as all the incantations involved connection spells. Dragons couldn’t do magic in their dragon form, although they were magical creatures, but there was always a loop hole to this whole magic thing and that was what we had to learn, how to harness it. The hard part was that they were still in Latin and my dragon was English. Nothing made sense at all.

  I squinted as I looked at the horrible handwriting. I’d thought Lucian’s was bad; an ache just from thinking his name jolted through my body.

  I put the note down and wished with all my heart that I could just let go of all this pain and cry, but the tears were still absent from my cheeks.

  I opened the note again and struggled with the first word. I finally knew who’d written it when I made out the word “meet” and something like “mountain”.

  I sighed and chucked the note back into my pocket as the bell rang. This isn’t going to work, I thought as I threw my backpack over my shoulder and left the classroom.

  I found Blake with his arm around Tabitha’s neck below the staircase as I walked out. He looked different and cooed disgusting words of what he was going to do with her later on into her ear. It was times like these that I didn’t want to be a dragon.

  The first thing I noticed was the broad smile on his face. Blake never smiled like that. Although it was breathtakingly beautiful, it was sort of creepy at the same time.

  “You have terrible handwriting.” I interrupted their little moment. “Just tell me where you want me to meet.”

  He smiled at me. “There is a mountain right behind the…” He stopped and just stared at me for a short while. I, of course, stared back and gave him slightly raised eyes and a “what?” shrug. “What is it Elena, why the long face?”

  “How do you suppose I get to that mountain Blake?”

  “You can fly.” His tone was sarcastic.

  “You really think that Ms. Hyde is going to remember to meet you there? Because I can promise you, she won’t.”

  “Then I’ll just have to hunt you down,” he said in a flirty way. My eyes found Tabitha’s and I knew she’d heard it too as her jaw muscles twitched. She glared at Blake.

  My heart beat a bit faster. For once Tabitha and I had something in common and it wasn’t fighting for Blake’s heart.

  “Forget it, I’ll make peace with her on my own terms.” I didn’t need another Arianna on my case.

  “Elena!” he yelled after me but I just kept walking. I could hear Tabitha protesting and it would be just my luck if she hadn’t known about this little arrangement at all.

  “Would you slow down?” His voice was right behind me.

  “Why do you want to help me all of a sudden, Blake?” My tone was harsh.

  “I have my reasons, and once you’re ready, I promise I’ll share them.” He raised his eyes and smiled again.

  What was it with him and all this grinning? It didn’t suit him. “Fine, whatever. But I’m not flying to some stupid mountain,” I mumbled.

  “Then meet me behind the Parthenon dome,” he said abruptly and walked off in a diffe
rent direction.

  “What time?” I yelled and when he turned around I flapped his note in my hand. “Couldn’t decipher that one either.”

  He chuckled. “At two.”

  Two? Master Longwei hadn’t been kidding when he’d said it wouldn’t be like Latin. I really wondered what Blake was going to get out of this.

  HAD FIVE MINUTES after the last bell of the day rang to get ready for my meeting with Blake. His sudden change in behavior still lingered on my mind, and I still didn’t trust the help he was offering.

  Ever since I’d come to Paegeia Blake had developed a deep hatred towards me and now he treated me like I was his favorite type of Jell-O. But maybe Master Longwei was right, maybe Blake did have some answers for me because he was exactly like me.

  At two, I ran down to the Parthenon dome. I waited in the front and I should’ve known that it was some sort of prank when he wasn’t there by quarter past.

  As I stood there waiting I heard a deep growl from the back of the Parthenon dome and I went to investigate. I almost jumped out of my skin as I turned the corner and saw a huge purple-red dragon with sprouts all over his face lying on his belly like a cat.

  He grunted.

  “I didn’t know you were here, okay,” I said, but I knew it was useless as he didn’t understand a word I was saying.

  He shook his head and it made a huge whooshing sound as it whipped through the air. He got up and I had to arch my neck back to look at him.

  He sure was one ugly bugger, but at the same time, he was so damn beautiful as the sun sparked off the different colors of his scales. He stretched his back and I had to suppress my laughter as his huge butt rose into the air.

  Well, at least I wanted to laugh again.

  He darted upwards and took off, but not before grabbing me in his hulking talons.

  I let out a cry as I dangled upside down, and another left my lips as he flipped me over in the air and caught me in his paw. “Are you crazy?”

  My heart hammered a million beats a minute as a deep chuckling sound left his belly. Hell no, you didn’t just laugh at me. I felt like kicking the inside of the huge paw that carried me like an egg in a basket, but I didn’t, as I was afraid he would open up and drop me.

  I closed my eyes as I clung onto one of his talons. The speed we flew at was crazy and it reminded me of the elevator again. My stomach dropped with the way he ducked and dove.

  Silently, I wished he would stop fooling around and just fly straight like a normal dragon, but then again, Blake was far from normal.

  He opened his paw and I landed with a hard thud on the cold ground. My heart rate refused to slow as the image of him dropping me in mid-air and forcing me to transform played round and round in my head. I would have incinerated his ass.

  “Wasn’t that fun?” His voice broke through my thoughts and I was too scared to open my eyes because I knew I would find him naked. He chuckled as if he could hear my thoughts. “I’ve got a robe on, Elena. It’s safe to open your eyes,” he mocked.

  I didn’t want to open my eyes yet as my head still spun like crazy and bile was stuck in my throat. Oh crap, I was going to …..

  The thought hadn’t even properly formed in my head before I got onto all fours, crawled to the nearest tree and vomited.

  “Was it that bad?” He sounded sincere as he crouched beside me.

  “It’s not that, believe me, this is an Elena thing,” I mumbled.

  “I would love to hear about it.”

  I gave him a look and saw he held a wet cloth in his hand. I took it and wiped my mouth. How did he know I was going to throw up? “Something tells me you already know.”

  He chuckled. “I don’t, I just came prepared.”

  “I’m afraid of heights,” I said softly.

  “Sorry?”

  “Oh, you heard me.” My tone was harsh again. “I’m afraid of heights!”

  “How is that even remotely possible?” His eyebrows rose slightly and I could see him struggling to suppress his smile.

  “Go ahead, laugh,” I snapped. “I don’t know, it’s the way it is. I’ve always had this fear of heights thing going on.” I ducked my head in between my legs and took deep breaths.

  “You serious?”

  “Yes, always have been.”

  “But you’re a dragon?”

  “So sue me.”

  He chuckled. “You’re really funny in a messed up way. You always this pissed?”

  “No, it somehow seems to come out whenever you are around.”

  He laughed again. I took a deep breath; his happy-go-lucky attitude was really starting to piss me off.

  “First rule,” he said, and I knew my resting was over. He was so much like Lucian. “Whatever you do, don’t fall in love with me.”

  “Excuse me!” I squinted at him.

  “You heard me,” he said through a huge smile. Oh that ego.

  “Don’t flatter yourself. I’m not one of those diddlebags that buff their eyes every time you come near.”

  He smiled and the tip of his tongue licked his upper teeth. I had to admit, it was sexy in some messed up way. I shook that thought out of my head. What the hell was he trying to do, prove me wrong?

  “Second rule,” he turned around to face me again. “You need to deal with being naked, Elena.”

  “Fat chance, Mr. Ego.”

  “Elena, you are a dragon, all dragons are used to being naked.”

  “Well, not this one.”

  “Good.” He nodded.

  “What’s good?”

  “You finally acknowledged yourself as a dragon. I can work with that.”

  I raised my eyes and upper lip in a sarcastic way and looked down at the ground.

  “Why don’t you like her?”

  “Because I don’t remember the shit she does; I can’t control her and I always end up wanting to kill one of my friends.”

  “That will change the more you bring her out, Elena.”

  “I can’t promise that she won't hurt you.”

  He laughed again. “I can handle a little female Rubicon.”

  I huffed sarcastically. “She’s different.”

  “She doesn’t have my experience.”

  “Fine, just don’t fall in love with her, please.”

  He laughed again. “Glad we have one rule in common.” He smacked both hands together hard. “Get her out, Elena.”

  My lips vibrated as I blew out air. I’d forgotten my robe and flinched.

  “It’s going to be fine, I promise.”

  “I don’t even understand one word you are saying Blake. She doesn’t speak Latin.”

  “Let me worry about that. I’ll work something out.”

  “I forgot my robe.” I finally admitted what I was really scared about.

  He chuckled again, went to the backpack I didn’t even know he had with him, and pulled out another robe. “I told you, I always come prepared.”

  I grabbed the robe and walked with huge strides to the biggest tree I could find and pulled off my clothes. I pulled on the robe that was way too long for me and that smelled like Blake. His fragrance lingered on the fabric as if he’d just emptied an entire can of his scent. It smelled amazing. I lifted it up from the ground and walked back to him. We just stood in front of one another for a couple of minutes as I contemplated bringing her out.

  “I really need to meet her Elena.”

  I bit my lower lip. “She makes everything feel ten times worse, Blake,” I begged.

  “It’s normal. You’ve got to embrace her.”

  “Fine, turn around.”

  He gave me a blunt look.

  “Turn around.”

  “Seriously?”

  I grabbed both his shoulders and turned him around.

  I took off my robe when I was sure he wouldn’t look and closed my eyes as I crouched down. I rested my head on my knees and let my emotions take over. Anger usually did the trick but the ache of missing Lucian was more potent. I welcom
ed it and thought about him like I used to. His smile, the way his look made me feel. For the love of blueberries, I missed him so much.

  I could feel the change, the pull and the tear. The jolt of pain shot through me as my limbs grew and my butt stretched out into a tail. When I opened my eyes, Blake was really small and he was still turned away from me. He started to turn his head and for some reason I was calmer than usual.

  He just looked up at me.

  “Hi, I’m Blake.”

  I sighed. “It’s still me, idiot.”

  “I thought you said…”

  “It takes about a couple of minutes, just wait.”

  He smiled. “I don’t know why you don’t like her, Elena.”

  “You’ll spin another story once you meet her.”

  He smiled and I lowered my head onto my paws and closed my eyes, waiting for her to come out.

  OPENED MY EYES, scared of where I was going to find myself. My body felt fine and when I lifted my head I was someplace completely different. How the hell did I get here?

  I had to admit, it was a peaceful place and the view would take any dragon’s breath away.

  Something cleared its throat below me and I looked down. I found another rodent.

  I got up onto all my paws and was ready to breathe a blast of fire when he lifted up his hands in defense.

  “Calm down, Elena.”

  “Who the hell is Elena? I’m not Elena.”

  He squinted his beady little eyes. “Who are you then?”

  “Name is Cara.”

  “Cara.” His one eyebrow raised and then a smirk ran over his face. “Fine, I’ll go with that.”

  “You are?” I should be incinerating him, not speaking to him. I opened my mouth again.

  “Wait,” he said and his arms and hands were up in the air. “I’m like you, okay.”

  I laughed. “You are nothing like me, little rodent.”

  “She wasn’t joking when she said that you are feisty.”

  “Who are you talking about?”

  “Elena, she’s in there with you.” He laughed again. “I’m sure you’ll meet her soon.”

  Was this little rodent mocking me? “I have nobody inside of me.” The words rolled down like poison.

 
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