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       Frostbite, p.32

           Adrienne Woods
 

  I closed my eyes and let the swift came. I could hear everything, someone breathing, a faint heart beating. It was him.

  “What the …”

  I switched on the light. “Hello, son.”

  He spun around. “Dad?” A confused look plastered itself on his face as he looked around him, bewildered. “What happened here?”

  I smiled. “We don’t live here anymore. I bought ground and we’re rebuilding the manor.”

  He narrowed his eyes, thinking really hard and then he huffed. “She gave you money.”

  “No, I had been left some money in the king’s vault a long time ago. I never knew he transferred it to the new one,”

  I lied. My son would never accept any of it if he knew it came from her father.

  The corners of his mouth twitched. “No more scraping around, turning each Paegolian over twice.”

  “I learned my lesson, it will be spent wisely.”

  He nodded.

  “So you’re back.”

  He shook his head. “I came because you need to get Elena out of there. She’s feeling trapped and I can’t deal with her feelings right now.”

  My eyebrows knitted together. “How did you know about her, and what do you mean she’s feeling trapped?”

  “Seriously,” he gave me a raised eyebrow. “Dad, she is royalty, by blood.” He chuckled. “You really think they were going to take it easy on her. They are forcing this stinking world on her.” He stared at the empty spot where the table in the kitchen used to be. “They took away her Cammy, she can’t even call for help. Well, except me and to be honest, I don’t care much at the moment, I just can’t deal with her feelings right now.”

  Her feelings? “Blake, you want to tell me you can feel Elena’s emotions?”

  He looked at the ceiling and shook his head slightly. He was really getting annoyed. “She asked for you tonight, for Becky, Sammy, mom, anyone that knows her, but they refused.” He huffed. “They even got her birthday wrong,” he mumbled. So he did care, but wasn’t ready to show it yet.

  “Yeah, it’s tomorrow, not today.”

  “Just get her out of there, before I lose my mind and who knows what I will do.”

  “Blake, come home. We’re staying at—”

  “I’m not coming home, Dad,” he said through gritted teeth. “She’s not my rider. I’m the Rubicon for crying out loud. I can’t be tamed,” he roared with red changing his mother’s blue peacock eyes.

  It was the only way I could tell Issy and Constance apart.

  “Just get her out of there.” He turned around and left.

  I could hear the transformation, he was becoming more silent in ways that I never imagined.

  He needed to dent, but at what cost?

  Elena! Robert, she needs you.

  I pulled out my Cammy. “Helmut,” I spoke his name. We paired phones a couple of weeks back when Elena was still with us. If you need anything, just phone. Well, I am going to need a shit load from you old friend.

  His face appeared, sleep frozen in his features. “Robert? It’s two—”

  “With all do respect your highness, but what are you doing to Elena? It’s my duty to protect her and I made it clear to not push Paegeia and taking her duty as the princess hard on her. She’s not ready for that.”

  “It’s not like that. She is merely learning about her duty to Paegeia.”

  “Her duty! Forcing her is more like it.”

  “What? No.” He shook his head.

  “Don’t lie to me. Blake was here.”

  His face woke up in an instant. “Blake’s back?”

  “Not entirely, but he passed by, asking me to free her. Why would he use those words if she is there of her own free will?”

  “What do you mean free her?”

  “You tell me, Helmut.”

  “Look, they told me they will take it easy on her, getting her to know all the advisers and learn about her people and kingdom. I still don’t understand why you think she needs to be freed.”

  “Blake is feeling her emotions. Their bond is stronger than any of us thought. If they dent, we are going to see something we’ve never seen in all of dragon and rider history.”

  “He’s feeling her emotions. She’s not trapped, she is there of her own free will.”

  “By taking her Cammy away, cutting her off from the people that matter to her. That doesn’t sound a lot like free will to me, Helmut.”

  “No!”

  “They threw her a huge party tonight in honor of her birthday. Not one of us was invited, Helmut.”

  Margerite’s face and shoulders popped up from behind her husband’s. “No, I sent out the invites. None of you replied,” Margerite said. “Elena was devastated about that.”

  “Are you sure?” Helmut looked over his shoulder at Margerite. “Did you speak to her tonight?”

  “I said hi, but she had so many friends around her. She enjoyed tonight, but not the way she would’ve if Becky and Sammy were there. She really looked forward to seeing them.”

  “We didn’t get any invitation, Margerite.”

  “I gave them to Stan—” she trailed off and stared into space; her eyes closed and her face turned into the old Margerite. When someone stepped on her children. “That fucking bastard.” She got out of the bed. I could hear her searching for something and how she finally spoke Stanley’s name.

  She was right, he was a fucking bastard. Ever since he got his clutches on Elena, her old life didn’t matter to him anymore.

  “You promised me this wasn’t going to happen. This thing is over. She’s coming home.”

  “Robert she needs—

  “No, she needs people around her that know her well. They even got her birthday wrong.”

  “What!” Both Margerite and Helmut said as she was still waiting for Stan’s face to disappear.

  “It’s tomorrow and they are making her go to Areeth. They’ll have to kill me first before they drag her to that place. Get her out of there or I will, and you don’t want me to do it my way.”

  I switched off the Cammy and both their faces disappeared.

  I thought of Lucille. The kids weren’t going to be happy about this. They thought ever since Elena left that she changed. Her new royal status turned her for the worst. A couple of pictures of her having fun were plastered all over magazines with new girls at her side. It wasn’t like that at all.

  I rolled up my sleeping bag and left. Lucille was about fifteen minutes away. It was going to be less soon, now that I’d purchased ground just a mile from her. It was a gorgeous piece of land with the most beautiful view of the mountains in Tith. My children and wife would feel free, not cramped up in that wretched piece of crap we called home for so long. We were going to rebuild the manor, the one we used to live in behind those terrible Creepers. Just a few more months and our home would be ready. It would have the old kitchen with the old fire place, big cupboards and a huge dining table, the fridge would have so much food, the pantry full. We were never going back to scrape and beg for anything anymore.

  There would be seven rooms, each one having their entry from the outside, so they can just fly in whenever they want. Issy will have her library again, and me, I’ll have my training room. I haven’t trained for a long time, but now that I had a purpose to live again, I need to prepare.

  The children can have whatever they want. Samantha can finally see and experience the old life her brother used to tell her about when they were little.

  And Blake…I smiled. Will be king one day. When he dents, and he will dent whether he likes it or not.

  I stopped right in front of Lucille’s two dragon gates. I’d always admired them, I admired who they were protecting. She lost her husband the night of the creepers. Ettiene and his dragon William were an amazing pair, not a dent but still amazing. She’d been nothing but kind to our family and ever since I could repay her, she didn’t want to take a dime from me.

  You don’t get people like that anymo
re.

  My hand stretched out of the car and pushed the button. I had to push it a couple of times before Rosa answered.

  “Rosa!”

  “Sir Robert,” she answered in a sleepy voice.

  “It’s about Elena, open up.”

  The old dragon did and I drove down their driveway as fast as I could. Tires screeched as I parked the car.

  When I reached the front door I didn’t even have to knock as Lucille opened up for me.

  “What about Elena?” she asked in a concerned voice.

  “Wake Becky, it’s not what any of us think.”

  “Robert.”

  “Now, Lucille. She needs to know this.”

  She nodded at Rosa who rushed up the stairs. She led me to her dining table and we sat down.

  “What is going on with Elena?”

  “They are forcing Paegeia on her. Stan took away her Cammy and that’s why the girls haven’t heard anything from her. Margerite told me that they sent all of us invitations, she gave them to Stan who didn’t…”

  Lucille shook her head. “But those pictures.”

  “Come on, Lucille. Every time Blake wanted to get back at them, at me, he did something stupid and made sure press was around.”

  “She’s rebelling.”

  “She’s been crying out for us, trying to get our attention and we just sat here, did nothing.”

  “That bastard.”

  “What bastard, mom?” Becky appeared at the bottom of the stairs. “And who is rebelling?”

  “Come sit, honey,” Lucille said. “Rosa, can you please get the kettle going. We need coffee.”

  “Not to worry, I’ll have it ready in two seconds.” Rosa disappeared.

  “Mom, what is going on? Why is Sir Robert here?”

  “It’s about Elena, sweetheart.”

  Her face hardened the minute Lucille said her name.

  “Oh, please I’m going back to bed.”

  “They took away her Cammy, Becky.”

  Becky froze.

  “She’s been asking for all of us for a long time, and they deny her every single time,” I said.

  She turned around. “What? How do you know this?”

  I looked down at the table. “Blake came back and begged me to get Elena out of there. He’s connected to her in ways we’ll never understand.”

  “Blake’s back?” Becky and Lucille asked.

  I shook my head. “He just gave me the message, said he couldn’t deal with it and I have to get her out of there.”

  “But those pictures of her having fun, with her new friends,” Becky started.

  “She rebelled, probably snuck out and did the opposite of what she had to do, sweetheart.”

  Becky shook her head. “She could’ve come here.” Hurt laced her eyes.

  “There are guards everywhere at all the ports,” I said. “If you haven’t noticed them.”

  “Sir Robert is right. For all we know, she tried,” Lucille said.

  She shook her head. “The cockroaches would have said something.”

  “Unless they were paid a lot of money, Becky.” I looked at her. “These people have all the money in the world to do whatever they want.”

  She looked at me for a short while. I knew she thought about Elena, and whatever could be wrong. She took a deep breath, the hurt got replaced with anger. “You want to tell me that they are holding my friend captive because of what she has to learn?” Her voice rose slightly.

  “That’s exactly what I’m saying.”

  She shook her head and got up just as Rosa came back with the coffee. “I need to phone George. This Stan guy is going to regret that he ever took her away with his false pretenses and everything.” She ran up the stairs.

  I took a deep breath trying to calm my own anger. Becky might only be eighteen, but with those dark eyes and set mind, Stan was going to remember her for a long time to come.

  “Have you told Sammy yet, she was really upset about tonight and I can’t recall her ever feeling so hurt.”

  “Not yet, I came directly here after I spoke to Helmut.”

  She blew out a breath. “Good, one royal on our side could get this sorted out as civilized as possible. I was imagining thunder and acid destroying a hotel to get her out of there.”

  I started to laugh but it disappeared just as fast. I looked at her in the eyes. “It will come to that if Helmut doesn’t get her out, Lucille. I should’ve never let her out of my sight.”

  “Robert, they promised that she could come home if this got too much. None of us knew that they would deceive us like this.”

  “Still, I should’ve kept my promise.”

  “Don’t worry, tomorrow is her birthday and she’ll be back with us. Being a normal teenager again.” A knock on the door made both of us jump and Becky stormed down the stairs and opened it.

  “What about Elena, and who do we need to free?” George asked sleepily.

  He got fast.

  “Elena, they are holding her against her will. We were invited but that Stan douchebag didn’t send us the invites because we are not important.” Becky spoke fast, with anger and her hands were up in the air. “If I get my hands on him,” she mumbled.

  “Calm down, Becky.” George grabbed her and pulled her to his chest. “We will get her out of there.”

  It always amazed me how she never had to fully explain herself to him. He just understood what she was going through and would do anything in his power to fix it.

  They came over to sit at the table. He greeted me with an open hand and gave Lucille two kisses on the cheek.

  “Blake came back,” Becky told him

  “He’s here?” he asked me and looked around.

  “No, he left again. He just told me about Elena—

  “He feels her, doesn’t he?” George interrupted.

  “Do you, too?” Becky asked him with awe written over her face.

  “Not like that, but yes. When you are upset about something, I can sense it if we are not together. I got woken up from it, a second before my Cammy rang.”

  “Frawsome,” she yelled and we all chuckled.

  “I don’t understand. This only happened a short while ago. How did Blake—”

  “Their bond is stronger,” Lucille said, “and I guess in some way that’s the thing that scares him the most. He can hear and feel what she is going through already. He doesn’t want to succumb to that.”

  “It’s exactly that,” I said.

  “They’re lucky they haven’t dented yet,” George said and we all gave him a confused look... “Cause they will deal with us, and not him.”

  We got what he said, and laughed. This would’ve never happened if Blake succumbed. “We keep this from Elena, for now. She has a lot to deal with, she doesn’t need to know about all of this and what Blake feels.”

  Adrienne Woods was born and raised in South Africa, where she still resides on the East side of Johannesburg with her husband and two little girls. She's been writing for the past four years and in her free time she likes to review books of new and upcoming authors.

  www.authoradriennewoods.com

 


 

  Adrienne Woods, Frostbite

 


 

 
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