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Thunderlight, p.6
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       Thunderlight, p.6

           Adrienne Woods
 

  I smiled and look up to see where we were. My heartbeat rose again as a large, metal door loomed before us. “This is like a rollercoaster ride, right?”

  “If you’re scared, just close your eyes, and remember to take a deep breath when everything stops. It helps.”

  “Stops, where?” I asked, clearly annoyed.

  “Relax, Elena. Just enjoy the ride.” She gave me a super smile and leaned back into her chair as if she was going to take a nap. The door closed with a loud bang after it swallowed the row of chairs in front of us. A red light came on and I watched patiently as the light turned back to green.

  My fingers dented deep into the arm rails as we moved forward. It was inky black as we passed through the open door and the only light that showed was coming from behind us.

  When the doors closed I couldn’t see a thing.

  I started to laugh uncontrollably as the elevator simply stayed in one place, toying with my nerves. I tried to calm myself down and took a deep breath, blowing it out slowly through my nose.

  The drop finally came, sending my stomach flying wildly into my throat.

  My pony blew in every direction and my lips and face felt like they were flapping like the animations in cartoons. I screamed as it went faster and faster, and clutched the arm rails harder until my hands felt like they were going to break.

  Becky made whooping sounds as the elevator kept descending. She absolutely loved it.

  Then, as if we had just hit the bottom of the world, it just stopped.

  “Deep breath, Elena,” she said excited, and I didn’t think twice.

  I thought I was going to die as a pain rolled through my entire body. I yelled and released the breath, which made the pain ten times worse. It felt as if someone had marked me with an iron stake all over my body. I tried to muffle my screams and ground hard on my teeth. Then it just disappeared. Everything just stopped.

  I breathed fast clutching my head inside my arms. My heart pounded inside my chest and the ringing in my ears made it difficult to hear Becky next to me. When I finally managed to stop my head from spinning and looked at her, she took one look at my face and quickly shoved a brown paper bag into my hand as I hurled.

  It lasted for a couple of seconds before I could look up at her again. “How can you enjoy that?”

  “You should’ve kept the breath.”

  “This is crazy.”

  “It gets easier with time, Elena. I’ve done it a million times and hardly feel anything anymore.”

  “This can’t be good for your body.”

  “There is nothing wrong with mine. Every organ is perfectly in place if that is what you are worrying about.”

  My legs wobbled as the attendant helped us out of the chairs. “You enjoy the ride, miss?”

  “It was amazing,” Becky said with a slight grunt in her voice.

  He wanted to ask me the same question but I just shoved my hand clutching the bag filled with what was left of my breakfast into his face. If that didn’t tell him how much I loved it, nothing would.

  Lucille and Sammy appeared a few minutes after us. Both of their hair looked as if someone had added body with a hair dryer.

  They

  stroked it flat as the attendant freed them and they walked gracefully over to us as if the free-fall hadn’t fazed them.

  “So, how was…” Lucille’s eyes caught on the bag still clutched in my hand.

  “It’s horrible,” I said as her arms hugged me.

  “You’ll get used to it.”

  “So everyone keeps telling me.”

  She handed me a can of Coke and said that it would help. I doubted it would take away the horrible nausea in the pit of my stomach but drank it away.

  Sir Robert and Isabel came next. Blake had refused to take an elevator and said he would meet us in Elm. This was one of those times that I really envied him for being able to just say no.

  Even though I hated every minute of the elevator ride, I understood why we took it today and didn’t drive all the way to Elm like Lucille had when she picked us up. It was a fifteen hour drive and one Becky didn’t like one minute of.

  We caught two cabs outside and I heard Lucille telling the cabby to take us to the Bayside Inn. When we got out of the cab I found myself standing in front of an enormous building and I had to bend my neck backwards to see all the way to the top. Balconies with lacy ironwork were located in front of every fourth window taking my breath away. When I looked back toward the main entrance, I noticed two men in red suits standing by hulking, two-twenty foot doors, opening and closing them for guests walking in and out of the hotel. Apart from the salty smell of the ocean that lingered in the air and the humid stickiness that clung to my skin, the hotel was simply gorgeous. Unfortunately, its beauty didn’t change the fact that I wished to be thousands of miles away from Elm.

  Deep down, I knew it was the only way for me to meet Lucian’s parents but at the same time, I would have given anything to skip the event I was about to face.

  LENA!

  I opened my eyes wide and saw the clock on the wall flashing five o’clock. After we had checked into the hotel I had gone up to my room and collapsed on the bed. Now, Becky stood in the doorway of our hotel room with her hands on her hips as Sammy put down what looked like twenty shopping bags on the couches in our small living room.

  I stared at Becky with wide eyes. She looked like she’d just stepped out of a Cosmo magazine.

  “It’s five and you haven’t even taken a bath yet! I knew it was a mistake leaving you here. The function starts in less than two hours.”

  I just stared at her, not moving from the bed. “Wow.”

  A small smile appeared in the corners of her lips. “You like?” She twirled around to show off her new hair.

  “I like. You look stunning.”

  “I know. It took them ages to put in all the extensions, but it was worth it. I could’ve gone for the instant look, but the spell only lasts twenty four hours and George did say he loves long hair. Do you think he’ll like it?” She rambled.

  “He’s going to swallow his tongue when he sees you tonight.”

  She shrieked with excitement, but it only lasted for a second as she was pulled back to reality. “You are still sitting on the bed. Get your ass moving and go take a bath.” She ran over to the bathroom and two seconds later the tap water was running.

  I got up and slouched toward her. She crouched in front of the bath, splashing the water a couple of times with her hand to start the automatic bubble sequence on the tub. She got up and pointed her index finger in my face. “And don’t soak for hours. We only have one hour to get you ready. I’m going to ask Mom to help, we’ll need her if we want to be there on time,” she said, as she left the room shaking her head.

  Alone in the bathroom, I disrobed and climbed into the tub while the water still ran. When the water level covered half my body I closed the taps and lay back so that just my face stuck out.

  My eyes closed as I felt my body begin to relax and I thought about what tonight could lead to. What if his parents were still not going to approve of our relationship after tonight? I couldn’t think about it. It was our last hope, and breaking up with Lucian wasn’t something I thought I could go through with.

  I should stop sulking and get my ass going the way Becky asked me. I chided myself, trying to enjoy the bath instead of dreading the outcome of his parent’s decision.

  Tonight was going to be a huge event and all the media outlets were going to be there.

  The function was scheduled to take place at six-thirty and everyone had made a huge fuss about it when it was first announced. The newspapers and magazines hadn’t been able to get enough and almost every week there was an article about the mission and people speculating over the radio about what we had been through. They’d dubbed our ordeal ‘The King of Lions Mission’.

  After a while the Council had stepped in and tried to stop the media from promoting what we had done for Paegeia
. They’d fought hard against tonight, but the more they’d tried to squash it, the more the media had made a fuss. The result was we’d ended up with a massive following and the museum had decided to honor what we’d done by placing it inside the museum for everyone to see and remember.

  At first I didn’t know why the Council had made such a big fuss about it. But then once I’d thought about it, I figured it had something to do with nine teenagers saving the day, rather than members of the Council.

  Guess Cheng’s theory about seeing my name in the museum wasn’t farfetched after all.

  I still wondered from time to time about the Council. I’d thought King Helmut and King Caleb had the final decision, but obviously I was wrong.

  Becky had tried to explain to me that the Council was made up of 200 beings. All the humans were male and the only females that participated were dragons, like Constance, were part of the Council. She played a huge role in health reforms.

  Getting a seat on the Council was a long and difficult procedure and Becky made it clear that you needed to be someone extremely special to be chosen. If the Council reached a tie when making a decision and they couldn’t sway one vote to go to another side, they would be forced to call upon the Ancients.

  There were five in total, two humans and three ancient dragons. Becky mentioned that they were between 10, 000 – 12,000 years old, which meant they were the first human-dragon bond, even long before the Wall. The choice would go to them and what they decided was final.

  It was still all very confusing to me but I figured I would get a clearer picture once I saw it for myself.

  For the past month the museum had been under renovation as they’d had to make space for our exhibit. None of us knew what they’d decided to display which made me nervous. The only thing I was certain of was that it wasn’t about any of us.

  Lucian had told me how he’d had to sit for hours to get his measurements duplicated for his wax figure and none of us had endured the joys of that experience.

  There was really only one reason why I wanted to be there, but it had nothing to do with the mission or meeting Lucian’s parents. Ever since we’d left for Tith, I’d never had a chance to see my foretelling and tonight I would finally be able to page through the Book of Shadows and see the black ink changed to red.

  A knock on the bathroom door pulled me out of the string of thoughts I had been tangled in and water splashed everywhere as I jumped back to reality.

  “You’re still in the bath?” Becky’s angry voice came from the other side of the door. “Get out!”

  “Drama Queen.” The thought escaped my lips. I wrapped the soft, thick towel around my body and opened the bathroom door wide.

  Becky waited for me on the other side with a small device in her hands looking especially menacing, while Sammy gently pushed a pair of gold earrings through her lobes. I couldn’t help but stare at her reflection in the mirror. She looked absolutely beautiful swathed in a black dress and high heels. Her hair had been styled perfectly and had a sixties vibe to it.

  “Look here,” Becky said, touching my chin softly and pulling my gaze to her. She fiddled with the black square device in her hand and punched something onto a small screen.

  At first I thought it belonged to the TV, but she kept looking at me and back to the device, paging through it like she was on a mission.

  My body leaned forward to see what was on the device. Upside-down pictures of the most beautiful suits and dresses made just for occasions like tonight flash by as Becky swiped her finger through them.

  “What’s this?”

  “Same premise as the TV remote.” She pushed me back without taking her eyes away from the screen. “I need to see what will fit you perfectly.”

  She stopped at a picture, lingering a couple of seconds before she page through it once again. A broad smile broke over her face, revealing perfectly white pearls as she turned the device screen over to me. Beautiful black pants that appeared to be sprinkled with golden dust and a pink top that revealed my shoulders filled the entire screen. It came with black sparkling high heels and I looked at Becky with a raised lip as I pointing toward the heels. “You want me to break a leg?”

  “Fine,” she sighed, raised her eyebrows a bit and paged through the screen once again. “What about these.” She showed me the picture again and instead of the high heels there were black pumps.

  I nodded.

  “You really should learn how to walk in heels, Elena. It does absolute wonders for your posture.” She pulled me closer to the bed and shoved my panties and strapless bra into my hands. “Mom!” she yelled as she ran with the device to the closet.

  I watched her in awe as she took the image of the small top and pants delicately between her finger and thumb and laid it gently on another device right next to the closet. She waited, tapping her hand softly on the door until a ping sound filled the room. She took out the top with the sparkling pants and laid both gently on the bed.

  For the next minute I bounced on one spot trying to get into the pants. With a sigh and an annoyed stare I looked back at Becky.

  “It’s your size,” she said back.

  I gave a last bounce and finally the pants were on, they hugged my body perfectly.

  The top was next. It was simply stunning. The sleeves had a shredded look as long strings fell over my arms. It fit my body tight and accentuated my waist.

  I thanked Lucian softly in my head for his attempt at getting me fit a couple of months ago. Since he’d gotten back from the hunting trip we’d been inseparable. We would meet every day around noon at the park and stay there till late in the afternoon until he had to go back home.

  The soft rapping sound of Lucille knocking on the door quickly evaporated Lucian from my thoughts. Becky ran to open the door. A goddess dressed in a gold and black dress walked into the room. She looked two heads taller in the high heels she wore. Her hair was expertly taken up into a bun, and dark, earthy make-up glistened on her eyes making them appear larger. The light from the lamp next to the bed caught on the most beautiful diamond earrings hanging from her lobes.

  Becky scurried from the room the minute her mother waltzed in. Lucille pulled me in front of her as she started to fiddle with my wet hair. She carefully pulled a brush through it and, once all the tangles were out, she started to speak in foreign words. In two seconds my wet hair was bone dry.

  She began fiddling with it again as she spoke a soft incantation near my ear. My eyes started to close as a pins and needles feeling rushed over my skull. It carried on for at least half a minute and my eyes flew open as I started to feel my hair moving up into different places.

  I found Sammy’s hand in front of me, with pins in her hands. She handed one to Lucille every couple of seconds.

  For the next couple of minutes I only stared at the diamond tear drop necklace dangling from Lucille’s neck, and Sammy’s hands holding the pins. She’d even gotten a manicure and her nails were gorgeous, and that dress. I couldn’t get the picture of her wearing it out of my head. The neck line was a bit low but Sammy had the perfect size breasts so she did the dress justice.

  My make-up was next and I closed my eyes as Lucille painted my eyes and lips. The eyeliner was the worst. I wasn’t much of a makeup kind of girl and hadn’t really had that much experience with it. My eyes watered which made all of us giggle, but Lucille just dabbed my tears softly away from my eyes with a napkin.

  Lucille looked at me and smiled. Sammy’s dimples dented deep into her cheeks as she looked at me with huge chestnut eyes. When Lucille finally stepped away from the mirror and revealed my reflection, my heart stopped.

  The girl in front of me looked spectacular. Her blonde hair was pinned up with loose curls hanging over her shoulders. A deep grey color changed to a softer shade of green near her eyebrows, making her emerald green eyes stand out. Her lips had a light, pink glossy shine with a lightly puffed rose shade on her cheeks. When the image before me touched her cheek the same time
I touched mine, I knew that somehow Lucille had turned me into a model. It looked nothing like me.

  I couldn’t take my eyes off the mirror, and it took a couple of minutes for it to sink in that the person staring back at me in shock really was me.

  “So, what do you think?” Lucille asked.

  “It’s beautiful,” I whispered and she gave me a side-arm hug.

  “You look gorgeous, Elena,” Sammy breathed next to me.

  “No, you look gorgeous!”

  She giggled as the door flung open and Becky walked into the room wearing a purple number that reached just below her knees. Her heels had so many straps running up half her calves that I couldn’t count them all as they revealed her perfectly matching purple painted toes. It went with a velvet jacket that only reached the line just below her breasts.

  She looked amazing, but then again, Becky always looked amazing. Her long hair hung loose around her shoulders and down her back.

  Becky looked at me, gasping as her eyes raised and a huge smile spread across her face. “You looked ba-U-tiful,” she said and we all laughed.

  I looked at the mirror once more to make sure that it was really me.

  “Mom, you are amazing.”

  “Thank you, I’ll be here all week.” Lucille curtseyed.

  Becky moaned as she looked at her watch. “Can we please go now?”

  “There’s still plenty of time, Becky,” Lucille said to her impatient daughter.

  “It’s like six!” Becky arms shot through the air, our little moment forgotten. “Not to mention we still need to catch a cab.”

  “Fine, Drama Queen. Let’s go

  E MET SIR Robert and Isabel in the front of the lobby but Blake was nowhere to be seen. Both of them looked like a million dollars. Sir Robert’s hair was gelled back and he wore a crisp, black tux. His broad shoulders and tall frame made him look like James Bond.

 
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