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       Poison, p.6

           Adrienne Woods
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  Her whole body shook from my hand pushing her, but she didn’t wake.

  Then I finally realized what she was saying. George was not jealous because he could feel what she felt for him. Something she had in common with me.

  Can George hear Becky’s thoughts too?

  HE YACHT WENT back to port around one. My head was clear after the fresh air and almost kissing Emanuel. It was even clearer after Becky confirmed what I already knew, but the question was, how did she?

  We were already connected and the dent hadn’t even taken place.

  Then again, what if it had and he just didn’t want anything to do with me.

  We would be like the first nonfunctioning dent in the history of Paegeia, or maybe the others weren’t normal. Maybe they had it wrong.

  The way George had hated Becky in the beginning and looking at him now, he was like her shadow. It wasn’t natural and I didn’t want that.

  The minute I thought that, the image of a peeping Tom-Blake jumped into my mind. I gasped. Oh crap! Did he just felt my insecurities?

  I didn’t like this one bit and I didn’t know how I could shut him out, the way he shut me out.

  “You okay?” Emanuel asked as I walked up the dock back to the house.

  “I’m fine, it’s just Becky said something and I have no idea what she meant by it.” He frowned slightly and looked to the ground. He knew something? “What is it?”

  His eyes met mine but he looked a bit confused. “Nothing.”

  “Emanuel, please. It feels like everybody is hiding something from me.”

  “In what way?”

  “It’s hard to explain, it’s just a feeling.”

  “Go to bed, sleep…” He smiled. “I’m sure tomorrow Becky will be herself again and then you’ll ask her.”

  I smiled and nodded. “Sure.” It felt that they all knew how Blake was connected to me but for some reason they didn’t want to tell me about it.

  I fell asleep around three. I couldn’t stop thinking about all of the things that had happened to me over the past couple of weeks. I still couldn’t believe that the Council would force someone like me to do things their way. It made me felt like a robot and not the daughter of King Albert and Queen Catherine.

  As I lay in bed, my dreams were messed up like always.

  Emanuel crept into it, wanting to fight Blake for my affection, I didn’t want him to and Blake didn’t want me like that. It was a trio of people not wanting to be with one another and I’d never felt so alone in my entire life. It was the loneliness that actually woke me up.

  I went to sit on the porch with a cup of coffee and watched the sun rise over the ocean.

  It was gorgeous as a soft orange glow lit up the water. A couple of minutes later I saw someone running down the long dock toward the house. He was wearing a shoulder-cut hoody and only when he came near did I realize it was Emanuel.

  He didn’t stop to wave or maybe he didn’t see me sitting here, whatever the reason, I was glad that he didn’t.

  It was a hopeless case anyway and knowing that he actually did care about me but didn’t want to pursue it because of my stupid dragon— yes, stupid dragon, I thought out loud and hoped that he’d heard that—made it worse.

  I looked at my cup of coffee and smelled the strong aroma, my mind became clearer as I didn’t want to think about any of this anymore.

  I took a sip and leaned back on the chair. The summer morning was refreshing, not cold but not hot either. I took another sip and let the sweet, roasted taste dance on my tongue before I swallowed. When my coffee was done I got up and poured myself another cup. It was so nice to have a coffee machine inside the room. During my third cup someone came slumping into my room.

  “Elena?” Becky yelled. “Ow!” she said and I giggled softly.

  “Out here, there’s coffee in the machine.”

  She didn’t say anything back but emerged from the patio door about five minutes later with a cup of coffee in her hands and a blanket wrapped around her body. She sat in the chair next to me and pulled her legs up as she took a sip.

  “Mmmm, this is good,” she said softly. “I’m never going to drink ever again.”

  I smiled at her. “About last night, you said something before you passed out.”

  She gave me a side glance, a confused expression plastered on her face. “I was drunk, what did I say?”

  “About George feeling your emotions and that you and I have that in common.” Okay so that wasn’t her exact words, but that was the message I got.

  Her eyes widened and her body grew stiff for only a second and then it relaxed again. “I don’t know what you are saying.”

  “Becky come on,” I said. “I saw it, you know exactly what I mean.”

  “Elena, I was drunk. Please just let it go.”

  “I can’t, because I need to know what it is we have in common Becky.”

  She grunted softly and closed her eyes as she looked up. “Can you please just give me five minutes to properly wake up?”

  “Fine,” I said and slumped back into my own chair. I started to pray that it wasn’t the thing that I’d been thinking of for the past however many hours. But I knew it was hopeless. Blake wasn’t just hearing my thoughts, he was somehow feeling my emotions too. I wasn’t ready for it.

  “Me and my big mouth…”

  I looked at Becky and waited for her to carry on.

  “Sammy lied about Sir Robert phoning Queen Margerite about the party, okay. Well not technically, she was bummed out because you didn’t invite us, but it wasn’t the reason Sir Robert phoned Queen Margerite.” She looked at me with thin lips.

  “Okay, then how did you find out about me?”

  “Blake came back.”

  My head snapped to her. “He came back?”

  “He’s gone again, but he told Sir Robert about you.”

  “How did he know, Becky?” I knew that answer but I wanted her to confirm it or tell me it wasn’t like that.

  “He said that he could feel you being trapped, told us they took your Cammy away and that you wanted to come home but they wouldn’t let you.”

  I closed my eyes as she said those words. “You want to tell me that Blake dented and that he’s somehow connected to me now?”

  “No, he hasn’t dented yet, but he is connected to you somehow, Elena.”

  I shook my head, put my cup down and buried my face in between my knees as a nauseated feeling entered my gut.

  “Hey, it’s not so bad.” Becky stroked my back.

  I looked at her. “Are you insane? You and George love each other Becky, he would die for you. Blake wants nothing to do with me.” Tears glistened inside my eyes. “If he can feel my emotions, hear my thoughts, know that they took away my Cammy, he knows everything else. I have no secrets from him.” I thought about my father. Oh, shit.

  “Wait, he can hear your thoughts?”

  I nodded. “I heard him yesterday before the livaworm accident. It is why the jet ski threw us off.”

  “Okay, when you put it like that, it’s not a good thing. Can’t you block him or something?”

  I started to laugh sarcastically. “Block him? I don’t even know how it works. How can I block something like that?”

  “Just calm down, Elena.”

  “Why did you lie to me, Becky? Did you ever think that I wouldn’t find out about this?”

  She looked guilty. “No, I wanted to tell you but Sir Robert asked us to keep it quiet. What did Blake say?”

  “I have feelings for Emanuel okay.”

  She smiled.

  “It’s not like that, it can never be like that and I told you about that last night too.”

  She flinched and raised her lip again. “You did?”

  I nodded. “He likes me too but because of this stupid dent thing he doesn’t want to end up with a broken heart.” I huffed. “As if that would ever happen. Blake is so the last person I …”

  “Don’t think about it, Elena.” S
he said. “Yeah, you think twice about things now, don’t you?” She sighed.

  I nodded.

  “Well, at least you hear him too.”

  I gave her a sideways, confused glance.

  “You heard him, Elena, maybe that’s how it works.”

  “I don’t think so Becky. I just think he slipped up, or wanted me to hear that.”

  “Calm down please, and don’t let this bother you too much. It’s something we can’t do shit about. I think that is why people think a dent is so great, but it’s not always like that. We will never be able to keep secrets from our dragons. George even knew about his stupid welcoming party.”

  “He did?”

  “Yeah, he spun a lot of bullshit saying it was because I shooed him away before we got ready, but I know the truth.”

  “That really does suck. The only problem is mine hasn’t dented yet. How does that happen?”

  She shrugged.

  “C’mon Becky. You must have something.”

  “I don’t Elena. I guess it is their choice after all.”

  “If that’s the case, I might as well set him free because he will never choose me.”

  Her eyes grew and it turned into a scolding look. “Don’t ever say that again. You can’t free him, Elena. He’s your dent.”

  “It means nothing to me, Becky.”

  “It does to everyone else. Don’t even think it.” She sounded pissed off and I wanted to say something but I kept my mouth shut.

  Soon, Sammy slouched into the room too and we both yelled that we were on the balcony. She came out with a cup of coffee too and a huge shirt that I think belonged to Dean with a pair of quarter slacks and bunny slippers.

  “Never again,” she said and sat on the floor with crossed legs. I didn’t look at her, I couldn’t as Sammy had never lied to me before. “Did I miss something?”

  “Elena knows, because your stupid brother couldn’t keep his thoughts to himself.”

  Sammy gasped. “You heard him. What did he say?”

  I gave her a disappointed look. “You lied to me Sammy.”

  Her eyes fell to the ground and she took a deep breath through her nose. “I had no choice, I’m sorry. My father begged us not to tell you Elena, because you’re going through so much.”

  “Still. If I’d known Blake was in my head, I could have really tried not to think some things Sammy.”

  “Like what?”

  “It doesn’t matter what. He’s not my dragon yet, he can use it against me.”

  “He would never do that. Seriously, Elena, he might be pissed but to go out of his way with whatever you think would be worth his time, then you don’t know him at all.”

  “I don’t. The Blake I know is mean and cruel.” I got up and walked back into my room.

  “Just leave it, Sammy. Let her deal with it her own way. There is nothing any of us can say to make her feel better about this stupid connection we share with our dragons, Okay.”

  “You guys have no idea how amazing it is.”

  “Amazing?” Becky said. I’d almost reached the bathroom and I could still hear them as if they were speaking right next to me. “We can never plan a surprise party or anything like that. There are just some things that we as humans would like to keep to ourselves, and we can’t. It’s not fair. I know exactly why Elena acts the way she does. Your brother despises her.”

  “It’s because of who she is to him. He doesn’t want…”

  “Exactly my point. He’ll do anything to hurt her, and it’s unfair that he has the leverage he does.”

  When I opened the shower taps, their voices muffled out. I closed my eyes and wished to be far away from this place, from who I was and what I was supposed to do. I wished that he was never mine to claim and I really did wish that I could free him. I didn’t want a dragon to be mine if he didn’t want to be.

  Please, I’m begging you, stay out of my head.


  HE NEXT OUPLE of days we basically had the same routine. Driving around on the jet skis and paragliding behind a speed boat. Emanuel left after the first day and the guy that tagged along with us now said it had to do with King Helmut sending him away to prepare for an upcoming event.

  A part of me just thought it was an excuse. He didn’t want to be around me, scared that his will might break and we would step over that line. It made me want him more.

  We left on the fifth day and I went to stay with Becky as the Leaf’s were staying at a hotel waiting for their manor to be finished.

  I was glad that my father had left Sir Robert something. I was just excited about the manor as they were. He even said that he was going to build me a room too, it was going to be like my second house once…. I didn’t want to think about that once anymore. It was never going to happen and it felt like Blake and I were the only two that knew it.

  Freeing him was still constantly on my mind, even though Becky told me not to think about it.

  We pulled into Longbottoms and found parking easily which was seriously a miracle as it was always busy.

  “Lucky us, I guess,” Becky said as she switched off the engine and grabbed her bag that was next to mine at my feet.

  “I guess they knew Elena was coming?” Sammy said and we laughed. I’d tried to come to Longbottoms once after the news of who I was reached the entire world, but it was a nightmare.

  Even in the private lounge everyone was constantly asking me questions about my life, wanting to know more, and at the end we left early as it’d gotten to be too much and we couldn’t enjoy ourselves.

  I followed Becky and Sammy up the stairs and walked through the door that Becky opened up.

  Light music was playing and only a couple of tables were filled.

  “Okay, something’s not right,” Becky said.

  Jimmy came walking out his office and smiled as he saw both of us. “Good evening, girls.”

  Becky smiled but her confusion was plastered on her face, it was plastered over all of our faces.

  “Something happening here tonight? We can leave if there’s a private function.”

  He chuckled but his smile didn’t reach his eyes. “Longbottoms isn’t doing so well lately. I’ve been trying everything I can just to keep this place open.”

  We all stared at him. “Jimmy, when did this happen?”

  He scratched his head. “It doesn’t matter, girls. I’ll somehow get through this. Go and enjoy your evening.” He nodded toward the VIP lounge.

  We did as he said, although we were all wondering about what the hell had happened. Why didn’t people come here anymore?

  There was no barman to give us our drinks.

  “Okay, this is so not cool Where are all the staff?”

  Sammy shook her head. “I don’t know but Jimmy’s not telling us everything.”

  “I’ll go talk to him, just stay here, help yourself if you have to.” I giggled and saw Sammy going behind the bar, asking Becky what she wanted. I could hear Becky’s order but apparently it was out of stock.

  I went to the place I’d seen Jimmy come out from and found him behind a desk paging through files. I knocked softly and he looked up.

  He gave me a soft smile too and got up. “Shoot, I forgot. Charles is off tonight.” He smacked his hands together. “What can I get you girls to drink?”

  “Don’t worry about it.” I walked in and put my handbag on the chair. “What’s going on Jimmy?”

  “Elena,” he said softly and sighed.

  “I want to know, please.”

  He pulled a chair closer and gestured for me to sit. I did and saw him closing the door. He scratched his head as he walked back to me.

  “Are you in some sort of trouble?”

  He chuckled again. “I trusted the wrong book keeper. She left last week with everything. I have nothing left.” He took the seat right next to me in front of his desk. His entire body hunched over as he rested his arms on his thighs and stared at the ground. He even looked tired, stressed.
br />   “Nothing! How is that even remotely possible? What about the money in the bank?”

  “She had access to it, stupid, I know, but she said it would save me a lot of time if she had access to the account in order to pay the staff on time etcetera.” He sighed again.

  “And I guess everyone stopped coming here because of all the Out of Stock signs.”

  He nodded. “I don’t know what I’m going to do. I tried to get a loan but the bank manager doesn’t want to take the risk.”

  “Why didn’t you come to me, Jimmy?”

  He looked at me. “Elena, I can’t. You’re just dealing with so much at the moment.”

  “Stop that. I happen to love Longbottoms and I have to say it’s not a bad business deal. If I can have, say a percentage or something of it, I’ll help you get this place back on track.”

  He stared at me. “Are you serious, just like that?”

  I giggled. “It’s not like I’m going to have a normal life after everything that’s happened. And besides I’ve just got a shit load of money I don’t really need, so I thought about investing and this is the perfect thing to invest it in.”

  He shook his head. “Elena, I can’t. It’s too much.”

  “Jimmy.” I rolled my eyes. “How much is too much?”

  “We’re talking about hiring new staff again, buying new décor.”

  “You sold the saddles?”

  “I couldn’t but they’re in a pawn shop and they’re phoning on a daily basis as they have a lot of interested buyers who are willing to pay more than what they are worth.” He pulled his hands through his hair again. “I’ve actually sold one, but it hardly covered a week’s worth of stock and the money…” he grunted. “It’s a hopeless situation.”

  “How much, Jimmy?”

  He looked at me with tired eyes. “It’s buying new stock, hiring kitchen staff….paying for gigs and entertainment. Paying overdue invoices. It’s not a couple of pagoleons, Elena. We are talking about at least a million just to function normally again.”

  I sighed and started to laugh. “How does two million sound?”

  “Elena,” he gave me a scolding look.

  “I’m serious. Give me a percentage and pay me back as you can.” I touched his knee. “I meant what I said, Jimmy. This is your life and I wouldn’t think twice about helping you. You can’t let your brother come home to nothing now, can you.”

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