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       Venom, p.6

           Adrienne Woods
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  George and the rest of us went to look for wood for tonight’s campfire.

  Sammy and I just smiled at George and Becky quarreling playfully. He was hardly back and she’d already gotten annoyed with him. That was typical Becky.

  “Seriously, George. Go help set up the tents.”

  “Becks.” He said and she smiled at him.

  “You already have a pet name for me. I love it.” She squealed and threw her arms around him, their lips touching once more.

  Sammy animatedly pushed her finger in fast movements in and out of her mouth as if she was going to gag. I couldn’t help but laugh.

  “Guys, the wood isn’t going to grow legs and run to the campsite.” Sammy interrupted their little moment, and Becky just glared at her for ten short seconds.

  “What, Becks?” We both said in unison and ran away as Becky started chasing us.

  She grabbed Sammy around the neck and wanted to bite her shoulder. “I’m just joking. You are always kissing each other,” she complained. “Seriously, we are here too.”

  “I haven’t seen him for two weeks, Sammy. You guys are always around,” Becky complained back.

  “Guys don’t fight. We need to get more wood before it gets too dark.”

  “I’m with Elena,” George said walking past me.

  We gathered as many pieces of wood as possible and it looked unnatural seeing George and Sammy carrying so many back with ease. Whereas Becky and I, had like a quarter of what they carried, were struggling.

  The sun was sitting low when we finally reached the campsite and I was grateful that my tent was up. I was useless when it came to camping, but loved the outdoors.

  Sir Robert and the boys made the campfire, while we helped Isabel and Lucille get hotdogs ready for dinner. It would follow with marshmallows and I knew that George and Blake were going to guzzle down the booze after the grownups went to bed. I didn’t care much for alcohol. Becky tried a couple of times to feed me shooters, but I hated it when my head started to buzz by the third one.

  Tabitha didn’t leave Blake’s side. She was always a couple of feet from him, either helping with the fire or just sitting on a log, bitching about mosquitoes and other insects.

  Really, sometimes it was hard to think that she was a dragon beneath that beautiful blonde hair and bright blue eyes.

  The hotdogs disappeared fast, which wasn’t surprising since most of our campers were dragons. The marshmallows were fun as Sir Robert starting telling us stories about King Albert. He had many and we hung on his lips every time he told us one, Sammy and Isabel included.

  It was nice to hear and see his family watching him with shining admiration in their eyes, but there was also a deep sadness in his voice as the stories continued. I couldn’t imagine what he must have gone through, and was still going through, losing his rider.

  Around twelve, the grownups went in the RV and the real party started. I sipped on a watermelon cooler as I watched Blake and George down each shooter after another. Tabitha tried to keep up but by the fourth bottle of a blue liquid, she gave up. Becky also had plenty, while Sammy and I only had a few. I didn’t like the third one and I wasn’t going to try getting past it tonight.

  Not long after Tabitha sort of passed out on Blake’s shoulder. I just rolled my eyes as Blake made fun of her, speaking on her behalf and making her lips move with a spell. I had to admit it was funny, but it was also creepy as her eyes were still closed.

  When Blake and George finally had enough, Blake went and put her into the tent. I thought he would pass out too, but he didn’t.

  Our eyes met for a couple of seconds as he exited the tent and I looked away. My heart started to rise a bit. Why this stupid idiot had this effect on me, it was hard to say.

  When I looked at him, I still found him staring at me bluntly. It wasn’t a scolding, like he was mad look. It was another kind of stare, quite the opposite of what I was used to and I couldn’t help but to look over my shoulder. I found nobody and when I looked back and saw him chuckling with closed eyes I shook my head. He was so weird.

  My Cammy buzzed and I saw Lucian’s name. I looked at my watch and saw that it was one thirty. What the hell was he still doing up?

  I got up and walked over to the edge of some trees for privacy. Not that it would help much as dragons could hear at very far distances. That bit of information was something Becky had told me the first week of summer.

  His face appeared and I smiled. “What are you still doing up?”

  “I could ask you the same thing.” He said with surprise plastered on his face.

  “Camping trip, remember.”

  “Ahhh, Tabitha there too?”

  I started to giggle. “Is that why you phoned me?” I said. “Yes, she’s here. Blake won’t go anywhere without his little precious.” I remembered Sammy telling us that on my very first day at the Academy.

  He laughed. “I’m worried about him. He does really messed up things when he’s not himself.”

  “Well you don’t have to. I promise you I’m the last person he would find an inkling with.”

  Lucian laughed. “An inkling?”

  “Oh shut up, you know what I mean.”

  He gave out a frustrated groan. “I miss you so much. I just want to come home. This is really getting ridiculous.”

  “Tell me about it,” I replied softly.

  “They will change their mind once they meet you. I just know it.”

  “I hope you are right about that. I so don’t want to see you get married to that cow.”

  He laughed.

  “Besides, why didn’t you tell me about your cousin? She’s not the friendliest little thing or a big fan of me, Lucian.”

  “When did you meet her?”

  “The night of the party. I completely forgot about that, until you brought up your parents again.”

  He chuckled. “Sweetheart, Nicole isn’t the girl you have to impress you know. Who gives a shit what she thinks?”

  “I do, she’s family.”

  “Not close enough. She’s been a pain in the behind since the day she could crawl.”

  I laughed. “Okay, fine. She’s not important.”

  “You’ll see, they will love you. I promise.” He said the last word but I wasn’t so sure about this anymore.

  “Okay,” I spoke softly.

  “Well I’ve got to go. We have an early hunt so my father will probably wake up soon. I hate these stupid hunts. It’s not even my thing.”

  I giggled again. It was so Lucian. Couldn’t even hurt a little deer, or a big one for that matter. “Okay, go, before your dad takes away your Cammy and we won’t be able to speak to one another again.”

  “Love you,” he said.

  “Love you more.”

  “I doubt that.” He switched off his Cammy and his face disappeared. I smiled at the reason why he was calling. Seriously did he really think me and…

  I froze as I turned around to go back and found Blake leaning against the tree right behind me. “What do you want?” It slipped out and sounded so hostile.

  “I just want to talk, Elena. Why are you so uptight?”

  “Probably because I didn’t have the same amount of alcohol as you’ve had tonight,” I said sarcastically and went to walk away.

  He grabbed my wrist gently and pulled me back. “C’mon. I’m not going to eat you.” He said in a seductive voice as he looked down at me.

  “You’re drunk. Believe me if you were sober, you wouldn’t be standing here.”

  “Says who?”

  I giggled. “Me. It’s a bit of a fact.” My nose cringed up as I said that last word.

  “It’s just a big act, Elena. You must know that.”

  “A big act?”

  He shrugged. Everything this guy does makes him irresistible, even a stupid shrug.

  “Yeah,” he gave me a knowing smile. One I hadn’t seen before. “Why do you think I saved your life?”

  “Because you would’ve done
that for anybody else on that mission.” I gave him the answer he gave me the last time I really wanted to say thanks.

  He raised his eyes playfully and shook his head.

  Oh shoot, this was so not happening. I just told Lucian that I was like the last person Blake would’ve done this to.

  I didn’t know what to say and kept staring at his eyes. It was dark but I knew those peacock blues were pulling me in. His mouth opened as if he was saying words but no words came out of his mouth and I found myself unable to break my gaze from him.

  I started to feel lightheaded. Not the dizzy kind the third shooter had left me with, but another kind. It was strange feeling and difficult to explain. It was like the million things that weighed on my shoulders disappeared in that moment. The feeling of missing Lucian disappeared fast and the fact that his mom and dad didn’t like me was next. Then the thought of Tabitha passed out in his tent vanished. Me almost dying a couple of weeks ago, the stupid cave with his riddles and mind games almost claiming my life, Goran thrusting his blade inside me over and over again, me almost dying. All of it was gone, gone, gone and it was only him standing before me. I felt so at peace and I could see his face dangling right in front of me. Our lips were inches away from one another. I could feel his warm breath brushing over my lips.

  “Elena!” Sammy’s voice shrilled through my head and I jumped and looked at her. “What are you doing, Blake? Mom told you so many times not to do that to anyone.” She pulled me away with a scolding look on her face.

  He gave his sister a blank stare. The expression on his face wasn’t very hard to decipher. He was thanking her sarcastically with one look.

  “You are pathetic, you know that,” she said to him and pulled me away.

  Everything came back as she led me with huge steps toward our tent. “Seriously Elena, what were you thinking?”

  “I didn’t,” I said vaguely. “What the hell was that? What did he do?” I asked. “You know I would never do that—”

  “I know. He does this to girls when he’s drunk. He uses his mind ability on them and’s hard to explain,” she said as we passed Becky and George who were really trying hard to suppress their laughter.

  “It’s not funny you guys.” Sammy sounded pissed off and opened the flap of our tent with force, pulling me inside with her.

  “What do you mean ‘use his mind ability’?”

  “Persuasion. He can make you do really messed up things when he does that.”

  “Would I have actually kissed him if you—”

  She nodded.

  Urgh. I felt bad thinking about Lucian and the fact that he knew Blake so well really scared me, but not as much as this ability Blake owned and the way he wanted me tonight. To think if Sammy didn’t—

  I thought about the string of consequences this could’ve led to, the way Dad used to lay them out to me whenever I wanted to do a teenage type of thing, like sneaking out. For some reason I never got further than the porch, and most of the time Dad would’ve waited for me on a chair or the steps. It was so embarrassing, but not as embarrassing as this.

  “Thank you,” I said and she gave me a hug.

  A deep feeling of not wanting to go live with them for the next three weeks creep up into my gut. If Blake could really do that, a part of me didn’t feel safe at all.

  HAT NIGHT I had the strangest dream. It was as if I was still under Blake’s spell, not caring about anything in this world.

  In the dream our lips touched. It felt so real, and the worst part of it was that it felt absolutely amazing kissing him. My ears felt on fire, my entire body quivered as his warm hands touched my skin. We finally break apart and I was out of breath, then the weirdest thing happened. A pain so strong, stronger than the swinging balls dislocating my shoulder, even stronger than Goran’s knife thrusting through my stomach, bolted through me. I thought the pain was going to rip me in a million pieces. I woke up when it reached my core and found myself still inside the tent. Sammy’s body was inside the sleeping bag a couple of paces from me.

  I took a deep breath. Why were my dreams so weird? And why were more emerging? It didn’t make any sense and I doubted that it ever would.

  HE WEEKEND WENT fast. Blake ignored me for the rest of our camping trip. No surprise there. I felt a bit guilty about the dream too. I really didn’t see Blake that way. I mean the guy was seriously beautiful, but he was arrogant and full of himself, which made him just Blake. I felt bad because I was sort of cheating on Lucian, even if it was inside a dream, it felt like I’d crossed a line. Thank heavens dragons couldn’t read minds, otherwise I would’ve been screwed.

  On Monday it was time to pack, said goodbye and go to stay with the Leafs for the remaining three weeks of summer.

  Sammy and Becky helped me as I grabbed all of the clothes Lucille had bought the first week I came here. Sammy folded and placed it nicely inside my suit case while Becky lay on top of my bed like she was on some sort of Caribbean cruise sipping Piña Coladas bathing in the sun

  “You sure you wanted to come visit me.” Sammy carried that unsure look on her face.

  “I told you before, Sammy. I’m sure.” I couldn’t remind her about our reason as Becky was in the room with us.

  “Besides, I’m sure if Elena doesn’t like it at your house, she could always come back, Sammy.”

  “Now why wouldn’t she like it over at my place, just because we don’t have this?”

  We both stared at her.

  “It wasn’t what I meant Sammy,” Becky said. “I was referring to your brother maybe trying to persuade her again.”

  Sammy giggled, as she thought about it. “In that case, if it does happen you can come back. I won’t feel ashamed or something.”

  “Stop it! I’m sure your brother has had his share of trying to…” I tried to find the right word. “Whatever it is he was trying to do, besides, I’m sure Lucian would come home soon.”

  Around five it was time to go and I helped Sammy and Becky to get my luggage down the stairs. It was difficult to say goodbye to Lucille and Rosa as we left the house.

  “Don't be a stranger, Elena, and please if you are planning another mission, phone me first, okay,” Lucille teased as she gave me a long hug.

  “Oh, believe me, my days of saving Paegeia are so over,” I said as she pulled me back and held me out at arm’s length.

  “Enjoy your time with Sammy. And know that you are welcome back anytime,” Lucille hugged me tightly again.

  “Mom, the gift,” Becky said jumping up and down excitedly.

  “Oh, shoot, Rosa!” Lucille yelled.

  “What gift?” I gave Becky the eye.

  “Just something small,” she said in a singsong tone, and grabbed me in a tight hug.

  A minute later Rosa came from the house with a huge package in her hands and handed it to Lucille.

  “I hope that you love it,” Lucille said.

  I reached for the paper to open it, but she stopped me. “Please don't, I’ll feel embarrassed if you hate it.”

  “Whatever it is, I’m sure I won’t. Thank you for everything.” I hugged her again as I walked out of the house with the wrapped gift.

  I looked at Becky’s Mini-Cooper and took a deep breath as I climbed into the passenger’s seat. A prayer flashed through my mind fast as Becky climbed behind the wheel.

  I didn’t know what I dreaded more: being in the same house as Blake Leaf or as Becky’s passenger in her Mini-Cooper. I stared out the window focusing on all the buildings flashing by. One thing that I was certain about was that the next three weeks... I was never going to forget it.

  About the Author

  Adrienne Woods lives with her family in sunny South Africa on the East side of Johannesburg. She loves to write, spend time with close friends and family, and chill whenever she isn’t writing.

  Her goal in live is to entertain YA, NA, and Adults with her words in the different genre she writes. She writes also as Isabella White and Kristin Ping

  To find out more about Adrienne Woods please visit:



  Adrienne Woods, Venom



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