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       Frostbite, p.7

           Adrienne Woods
 

  “It made you sick?”

  “Yes, Elena. It made me sick. Being in the presence of my best friend made me sick. Telling him that would be worse, so I told him I didn’t want to be his friend anymore.”

  “He never gave up on you, you know.”

  “I had a feeling you were going to say that.”

  “Well it’s the truth. I tried to talk him out of it the third time he tried to claim you. We got into a huge fight, our first one. He told me I knew nothing and if I knew what type of person you were, I would understand.” I giggled at his words telling me that he wouldn’t have stood a chance if Blake had wanted me. I didn’t tell him that though.

  “Old Blake was pathetic,” he got up and rested his arms on his knees.

  “Is that the Rubicon speaking or you?”

  “Both, I am the Rubicon, Elena.”

  “Yet you get drunk to control yourself. Yeah, it doesn’t make much sense.”

  He turned his gaze back to me and just stared. “What do you want me to tell you, how chirpy I used to be and what a happy child I was? Giving my parents joy every day of their life, getting straight A’s. None of that matters anymore, Elena. That Blake is gone.”

  I sat up too. “You used to get straight A’s?”

  The seriousness of his face disappeared and a smile broke over his face again. He shook his head, slightly.

  “The past doesn’t matter, we can’t go back and we can’t change it.”

  “Says who? Maybe in ten years it will be a possibility.”

  “You live in a dream world.”

  “No, I live in Paegeia, crazy place, remember.”

  “Well, if that happens, go back in time and see what I was.”

  “Why did you ask George to prank me that day?”

  “You really want to talk about that?”

  “Yes, I do.”

  “I don’t know, it was silly.”

  “It was cruel. A Moon-Bolt killed my father and almost killed me too.”

  “So I heard afterwards, sorry.”

  “It’s fine. I should actually thank you for throwing me into the deep end.”

  “Then what, you want me to take back being sorry?”

  “You can do whatever you want, I don’t care.” It was quiet for a few seconds. “So Constance is your aunt. I didn’t see that one coming. What was it like when you were a child?”

  “What is it with the million questions?”

  “Curious,” I replied.

  “I’m going to regret this.”

  “That’s good.”

  “What’s good?”

  “You see a later; regret always comes later.”

  He huffed, smiled and then he sighed. “It was fun, confused the living crap out of me, but they seemed to enjoy every moment of it.”

  I laughed. “Now I know where you got your mean streak from.”

  “Yeah, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. So what do you want to know next?”

  “Curiosity is satisfied for now. If I want to know more, I’ll ask.”

  “Matt told me about that night.”

  “On Interstate 40?” I smiled sadly. “It sounds like a bad love song, right.”

  He laughed, nodded his head. “It does.”

  “So what did Matt tell you?”

  “That your father fought at least five dragons.”

  “It was four. And I’ve never been so scared in my entire life.”

  “Sorry to hear that. I can’t image it was very easy not growing up with dragons and then getting your ass chucked into a world filled with them.”

  I gasped. “The big bad Rubicon showing a softer side? We have to get back to Dragonia, the world is about to end.”

  He rolled his eyes.

  “Yeah it was crazy, but I would’ve given anything to tell him how sorry I was for being such an idiot every time he made me move. If time travel does exist one day, I would go back and tell him what a good job he did keeping my ass alive, although I still don’t know his reasons why.”

  “He was your dad, Elena.”

  “Still Blake, he should’ve told me what I was.”

  “He probably had good reasons why he didn’t.”

  “Reasons I’ll never know.”

  “Fox, the guy that killed your father that night, used to kill plenty of dragons on the other side. I knew Matt was really worried about that.”

  “How did you become such good buddies with Matt?”

  “Easy,” he smirked. “I’m the Rubicon. Everyone wants to be friends with me.”

  “Oh please.” I sounded sarcastic and we laughed. “Why did Fox kill all the other dragons?”

  “He was a Moon-Bolt dragon and almost twice Irene’s age. I guess that man knew many things, but he was as evil as they come. Matt thought that he was working side by side with Goran. We all believed that when so many dragons died. I guess nobody will ever know why, now that he’s dead.”

  “You think it had something to do with my father?”

  “Well, whoever your father was Elena, he killed Fox.”

  I froze as he said that. “I guess I never really knew him that well. For all I know he betrayed this Fox dude and killed all those dragons to get to him.”

  “You really believe that?”

  “What other explanation is there?”

  “You were a Thunderlight, for one.”

  It only raised more questions about why Fox was after Dad. It explained a lot too. Fox was probably the reason why we’d moved so much.

  “You ever tried to find your dad this side?”

  “What do you mean?”

  “You know, search for him. See if you have any family that still lives here.”

  “No, now that you mention it, it never crossed my mind,” I said. “To be honest, I wouldn’t know where to start.”

  “I can help you if you want.”

  I gasped. “Blake Leaf offering me more help. What would Tabitha think about that?”

  He laughed. “It would be with Tabitha though. She’s crazy smart when it comes to searching for things.”

  “Mmmm, she’s not a big fan of me though.”

  “Elena, she’s not a big fan of a lot of people.”

  “Is that why the two of you get along so great?”

  “Could be.” He raised his eyes playfully.

  I giggled. How could this be the same person that hated me so much? My stomach clenched as another thought entered my mind. What was the real reason behind all of this?

  We left our spot on the mountain after we took a couple of dives through the chilly air.

  When we landed, I followed him to Tabitha’s room and I’d been right about her. She protested like crazy when Blake asked her, and for some reason he switched over to Latin and sort of swayed her to help me out.

  She just glared at me and spat the words to meet her in the Library at eight, before she stomped off. Blake went in her room but waved at me while pulling his mouth in an awkward position.

  It made me smile as I descended the staircase back to the fourth floor.

  When I entered our room, I found Becky and Sammy watching Dagger Love.

  “So how’re the flying lessons coming along? Made peace with the Rubicon yet?”

  “Which one,” I asked Sammy and both girls laughed.

  “Yeah, both are okay, I guess. You guys would never believe what I’m going to do tonight.”

  Both girls stared at me.

  “It’s not like that,” I said and laughed as I could only assume they were thinking about Blake. “Tabitha is going to help me find out about where I come from.”

  “Tabitha. Blake’s Tabitha?” Becky asked incredulously.

  “Yeah.”

  “What on earth did you do to get her to help you?”

  “Nothing, your brother asked her.”

  “My brother?”

  “He’s not so bad. He said helping me and coaching the Warbel games keeps his dark side at bay.”

  Becky gave
a sarcastic laugh. “Is that the story he spins you?”

  “It’s not a story.”

  “Elena he’s twenty times worse than what Lucian was and he spends every night like a bear with a sore tooth.”

  “He’s not like that when we train.”

  Sammy glared at Becky with huge eyes.

  “Holy crap.” Becky started to laugh and cup her mouth.

  “What?”

  “My mom was so right about him.”

  “It’s not like that you two. He even told me not to fall in love with him.”

  “He did?” Becky pulled up her lip to one side.

  “Yes, why would you say that to someone if you wanted to woo them?”

  “What’s he like?” Sammy wanted to know.

  “I’ve got to admit, I’ve never seen your brother laugh so much.”

  Both just stared at one another.

  “What else?”

  “What else is there? We talk, that’s it.”

  “About what?” Sammy wanted to know.

  “About who we are. We are both Rubicons and I don’t know. You guys always make everything so confusing.”

  “Elena, it’s a huge deal. Don’t you ever wonder why he is like that with you, but with everyone else he’s the same jerk? He hasn’t changed one bit.”

  “It’s not true, he’s not like that.”

  “Yes, he is,” Becky said.

  “Becky…”

  “It’s the Rubicon,” Sammy said.

  “What?”

  “It must be, Elena. Why else would he hang with you? Your dragon has a calming effect on my brother.”

  “Then that’s good, right?”

  “Good for who?” Becky left her two cent comment.

  “Would you stop with that?” My face fell as I thought about Lucian. “It’s not like that.”

  “Sorry, I didn’t mean it like that. I know you loved Lucian, but you have to move on someday.”

  “Someday, when the right person comes along. But that’s not Blake Leaf.”

  “Okay,” she consented and I left them to their show.

  After dinner I met Tabitha behind one of the computers. Her white hair was taken up into a small ponytail. She’d been growing it lately and a fringe covered her ice-blue eyes. She really was gorgeous.

  “Hey, thanks…”

  “I did this for Blake, no one else.”

  “Okay,” I said and pulled the chair next to her from under the table.

  It was quiet for a while and then she stared at me.

  “What?”

  “You want me to suck your family names out of my thumb too?”

  “Oh, sorry. I only have my father’s name. Herbert Watkins.”

  “Is that his only name?”

  I nodded.

  “When was he born?”

  “I don’t know the exact year as he could’ve been 400 years old, but the day was the 5th of February and he said in 1969”

  She gave an impatient sigh and followed it with more as she asked more questions to which I didn’t know the answers.

  Her fingers typed on the keys so fast that I couldn’t see what she was doing. All I knew was that it kept saying ‘0 results found’.

  “This doesn’t make sense.”

  “What?”

  “It’s like your father never existed, Elena.”

  “Maybe he didn’t have a life in Paegeia.”

  She typed only his name and surname with a couple of other codes next to them and in three minutes pages and pages full of Herbert Watkins filled the screen.

  “Go through them, if you find the right one, then I’ll try to find out more.”

  She hit the print button on the screen as she got up and strode out of the library.

  Six hundred and eight pages of Herbert Watkins and their images formed an impressive heap of paperwork to go through.

  I took the entire pack and left to go up to my room.

  Becky and Sammy couldn’t even help as they had no idea what Dad looked like and around twelve my eyes started to burn and we decided to call it a day.

  Tomorrow we could search again, he must be in that pile somewhere. I would find out who Herbert Watkins was.

  N SUNDAY, THE girls left with George and Dean around eleven. I didn’t want to go with as I would be just a fifth wheel and the fact that they’d asked me to come agitated me more than it should have. I even struggled to go on with my search.

  For some reason I kept thinking about Blake. A longing to be near him made me even more frustrated because it was a feeling that didn’t make any sense.

  I knew for a fact that I couldn’t have fallen for him. I promised him, and yet I couldn’t stop counting of the hours until I would see him again.

  What about Lucian, what does this mean? Didn’t I care as much for him as I’d thought?

  No, I didn’t believe that. I loved Lucian, but with Blake the feeling was similar to what I felt with Paul. It was messed up and confusing.

  I shredded a couple of papers, and hatred filled my heart again as I thought about what Paul had done. How on earth could I have had feelings for him? We’d almost kissed. My mind went back to that day inside the cave. I’d spat in his face when he mentioned it and…I gasped.

  We’d almost kissed, and Lucian had heard about it right before he died.

  A darker feeling emerged and took complete hold of me. Images of a bed post breaking and carpet tearing came in flashes; clothes were next. My heart pounded inside my chest but at the same time what I felt was good. I felt satisfied and when I found the wall against my back, I slid down and sat on the ground. I buried my head inside my knees. Anger rose again.

  How could I have been so stupid to think that I would have been able to hide my feelings for Paul from Lucian? How betrayed must he have felt? He’d died knowing that I didn’t feel the same about him. If I had, I wouldn’t have fallen for Paul, even if it was only a bit; I wouldn’t if I really loved Lucian the way I’d said I did. I felt horrible and I would never be able to tell Lucian how sorry I was.

  Becky and Sammy entered the room around five.

  “Elena!” both shrieked.

  “What the hell happened here?” Dean’s voice came right after theirs.

  Sammy crouched in front of me. “Are you okay? Who did this?”

  I lifted my head and glared at her.

  She gasped. “Elena what is going on with you? Your eyes…”

  “Why do you care?” It didn’t sound like me.

  Becky slapped me hard across my face and I growled. “Snap out of it. What the hell happened to our room?”

  I looked past her and found feathers strewn all over the floor. My bedpost was completely ruined and the carpet was shredded in some places. Sammy’s dresser was broken and Becky’s clothes lay all over the floor.

  The memory of what had happened in this room wasn’t what I’d expected. I kept looking at it and found George lifting up one of Becky’s tops. It was her favorite, or let’s say it used to be her favorite. It was in pieces.

  I looked at Becky, her jaw line was hard and she didn’t look happy. Then I looked at Sammy. Worried eyes and thin eyebrows furrowed together changed the look on her face to pity. It made me angry all over again.

  Stop it, Elena, Stop it. I hit my head hard.

  “Don’t do that!” Sammy grabbed my hand.

  “What is going on with me? I feel so angry.” I bit down hard as she held me close to her chest.

  “You think you’re angry! You shredded up all my clothes!”

  “Becky, don’t. This is much bigger than that.” Sammy looked at me. “Do you remember doing any of this?”

  “I don’t know what I remember. It’s hard to explain. It was so dark, you’re right,” I looked at Sammy. “I’m just like your brother.”

  She grabbed me around my neck and pulled me closer to her. “You’re not. It’s going to be okay, Elena. It will be okay.”

  “You don’t know that. I’m evil, look at what I
ve done!”

  “It took years for Blake to be where he is and he’s still fighting it every day Elena.”

  “He’s got years, I don’t. What else is this, Sammy?”

  “You can’t say that, Elena,” Becky yelled.

  “Then why am I like this?”

  “I don’t know,” Becky said.

  “Have you eaten anything?” Sammy interrupted.

  I let out a disbelieving chuckle. “I ruined the room, and you’re worried about whether or not I’ve eaten?” I shook my head and looked at Becky again. She didn’t look angry anymore but worry lines dented her forehead and wrinkled her eyes.

  “I’m so sorry, Becky,” I said.

  “I can get new clothes, Elena. Sammy is right, this is something different,” she said and grabbed me too. “I’m sorry.”

  I just held her for a couple of minutes. “I promise we’ll get to the bottom of this. Even if…”

  “Don’t say it, please,” I whispered right into her ear.

  We all left to go to the cafeteria and I heard Becky talking to George and Dean by the main entrance, asking them to tell Master Longwei what had happened.

  She ran back to our side and hooked her arm into mine just before we entered the cafeteria. Eyes were on us the minute we walked in.

  “Don’t let them get to you, sit.” Becky led me to the nearest open table and pushed me down onto the pillow. “I’ll get us something to eat.

  Sammy sat right in front of me. I didn’t even want to look at her. How could I have done that to my friends’ belongings?

  The hate inside of me started to disappear. At first it just became bearable, but I could still feel it inside my core. It made me want to throw up as I remembered what the room looked like after I’d trashed it.

  The feeling dissipated after a while and I looked at Sammy who still had huge furrows between her sleek eyebrows.

  “I’m so sorry.”

  “Don’t,” she said with deep concern. She looked past me and back to me. “Your eyes, they are different than before.”

  “What do you mean?”

  “They were almost red before, Elena, they’re back to green. How do you feel?”

  “Like crap.”

  “The dark, I mean?”

  “It’s gone.” I shook my head. “What’s going on with me?”

  “It disappeared?” She ignored my plea.

  I nodded. “It doesn’t make sense, Sammy.”

 
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