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       Poison, p.8

           Adrienne Woods
 
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  The night flew by and I couldn’t stop watching the crowd, the bar and everyone just having fun.

  You are missing out on so much, you idiot, I thought in my head but I got no reply. How could this have been so easy for him and so difficult for me? I struggled so much trying to feel him, to get a glimpse of where he was.

  I blew out air and went to sit on the sofa again.

  “Why the long face?” Becky asked and I brought the cocktail glass to my face and shook my head with a soft smile.

  “He’s an idiot, Elena. He will regret it one day, and that is all that I can get out of George.”

  I laughed. “You asked him?”

  She nodded. “I think it’s unfair that we can’t tune into them the way they can to us, and he knew exactly where I was going with all of this.” She tapped on her head. “He told me to tell you that he will regret it one day.”

  I doubt it but I didn’t say anything, and instead I gave her a smile.

  Blake wasn’t going to regret anything, because he would rather die before he dented.

  E LEFT WHEN the sun came up and the last customer, who was Blaze, left.

  Jimmy and Monique smiled. They were both tired, that much we all could tell. “We need to order more stock later today, tonight was a huge success, Elena.”

  “I’m over the moon. You guys think you can manage without me today?”

  They both laughed. “Go, have fun. Prison is starting soon,” Monique said and I gave her a hug.

  “Thanks, I’ll come say bye before I go.”

  “You’d better.” She pointed a finger in my face.

  I fell asleep in the car with my head on Becky’s shoulder. At home I slumped to my room which I shared with Sammy and crashed onto my bed.

  Sleep came fast and when I opened my eyes again the sun had started to set.

  Isabel and Lucille made us breakfast at six o’clock in the evening the next day.

  The rest of the evening we spent with face masks and painting our toe nails in front of the T.V. Lucille and Isabel were right next to us enjoying a little mother-daughter time. I wondered that if my mom had been alive, if I would have ever known these people. But then my father and Sir Robert flashed into my head and it answered my question. Isabel and Sammy would’ve been here, and this would’ve probably been back in the castle of Etan. Still, not knowing if Becky would’ve been in my future? I couldn’t imagine not being friends with her.

  I’d laughed at her earlier before when she’d chased George away as she just wanted some ‘alone’ time with the girls.

  To my surprise he’d obliged and didn’t even pull a face which Becky hated, as she knew sending him away would not change the fact that he would still be able to be with her through their connection. At least he wants to be with her.

  You got that right, the voice in my head said as I started to paint my big toe’s nail.

  I looked up, froze slightly but shook my head as my jaw muscles jumped. Just get out of my head. I’m not forcing you to do anything. I’m not going to be bullied by you, idiot.

  He laughed. Glad you haven’t changed.

  Bite me, I thought with as much poison as I could.

  “Elena, you okay?”

  “Yes,” I snapped at Becky.

  She gave me a knowing look. “Tell him to fuck off.”

  “Becky!” Lucille scolded.

  “Mom!” Becky mocked her. “You have no idea how annoying they can be.”

  “Tell him to come home before I lose my temper and drag his ass back,” Isabel said and I giggled. Of course she knew and by that admiring look on her face, it confirmed it.

  “He’s gone, hopefully,” I replied.

  “You know where he is?” Isabel asked.

  “No, I’m not so tuned in to him, and thank goodness for that too.”

  You know that’s not true, Elena.

  Shut up, it’s really annoying.

  Oh, come on Princess, you can’t hide things from me.

  Princess, what is wrong with you?

  “He’s still speaking to you?” Becky nudged me slightly.

  “Yes, and I wish he would just stop.”

  He chuckled. You don’t mean that. I tell you what, why don’t you come and find me and we can play a little game of hide and seek, he said in his seductive voice.

  I started to laugh out loud. You’re drunk, aren’t you?

  Maybe.

  Well idiot, Elena is not in right now, so leave a message at the beep,. He didn’t reply.

  “What was that all about?”

  “He’s drunk, you guys know how he suddenly changes toward me when he’s drunk. Well I’m not that type of girl and he better not try coming here tonight or I will roast his ass.” Even though I didn’t have my abilities anymore, I’d find a way.

  All of them laughed except the voice inside my head.

  Blake must have passed out or something because he didn’t bother me with any of his crap or show up as I thought he would. I hated it when he was drunk as he made me so confused.

  I fell asleep around eleven and woke up around eight.

  Today was our last day. Tomorrow it was back to Dragonia.

  A part of me wanted to go back as we started a new year but a part of me really felt at home with Becky and Sammy.

  Another thing I dreaded was wondering if I would see his sorry ass back at the Academy or not.

  Lucille took us shopping at ten and we spent the entire day buying new clothes—I couldn’t go to class in my designer outfits made for meetings—and things for the new year.

  I had to get a potion set because we were going to start brewing some this year. I really was looking forward to that.

  That night I read my mom’s journal to Becky and Sammy again.

  My mother had been red and confused when she’d told Margerite about spending time with my father. A part of her still hated everything he stood for but a part of her had fallen in love with the things she didn’t know about him. Maybe he was nothing like them, she’d written.

  In the next couple of pages she’d written about telling her parents and how they hadn’t shared in Margerite’s enthusiasm. She was a commoner and he was royalty. My grandfather’s advice was to never tell him who she was, as it could end badly for their family and the best was to just forget about him. She had agreed with an ache in her heart.

  I felt bad for her. It couldn’t have been easy for her.

  In the next couple of pages, I could tell she really had tried hard but she couldn’t stop thinking about him, about his lips on hers and how her stomach would flutter every time she thought about that.

  I knew that feeling. After Lucian and I crossed that line, I still got flutters in my stomach when I thought about it, but always followed by a hollow painful ache afterwards. I missed him so much.

  The one thing my grandparents didn’t bet on was my father’s determination to find this girl. My mother wrote about the day she had to pack the inventory in the store and how my grandmother had shrieked, like she would when a rat ran across the floor. Then she’d said the words:

  Good morning, Your Majesty, what brings you to this side of the world?

  She described how my father chuckled and how it had stirred her blood. “I believe my fiancée purchased some goods here and forgot to pay.”

  Her mother giggled, and mine absolutely hated that he’d said fiancée. That the woman he was supposed to marry didn’t deserve him.

  He’d paid the bill and said goodbye. My mom was so close, all she had to do was step out of that space and he would have seen, he would know that it was her.

  She hadn’t heard the bell of the door yet, and knew he was still inside the shop but her feet couldn’t move, she couldn’t disobey her father’s wishes and she wouldn’t do that to her family. She remembered what the king’s father had done to the king’s true love when they’d found out she wasn’t human. They’d beheaded her and there was nothing the prince could’ve done. Her father was not a man mak
ing up stories for his own health.

  “This,” the journal read. “What is in here?”

  “I make that myself. It’s a scented water with lavender and vanilla fragrance,” my grandmother had said.

  “I would like to buy one, the smell has become my favorite over the past few days and I struggled to find it,” My father had said and the butterflies in my mother’s stomach grew wild.

  “Oh,” my grandmother said. “How so?”

  My father didn’t say anything. Her mother was going to know she’d pinched a little of hers and she would get into a lot of trouble. “Let’s just say I met an angel, smelling exactly like lavender and vanilla.”

  “An angel?” her mother said softly and cleared her throat. “Well, then I’m glad we could be of service in finding that, Your Highness.”

  “Thank you,” He’d said kindly and my mother knew her mother was writing out a proof of payment slip.

  “Have a good day, ma’am.”

  “Same to you, Your Highness.”

  The bell rang and my mother found herself sitting on the floor.

  She’d gotten into trouble for pinching some of my grandmother’s stash but she said there lingered a worried look on her mother’s face over the next couple of days.

  My father didn’t return but there was a notice a week and a half later, one that reduced the tax and one that made her family happy.

  At least something had gotten through to him, was my mother’s last entry on that day’s page.

  “Damn, your mother sure knew how to write in a journal,” Becky said clutching a pillow in her lap.

  “It’s so sad and yet so amazing, what they managed to do together. I can’t wait to hear how he convinced the king to break off the engagement to the snob and let him marry your mother.”

  “Guess it’s something similar to me and Lucian. They saw the changes in my father and knew it came from her.”

  “They don’t make love like that anymore,” Becky said. “Now it’s just, hey here’s a dragon that will feel your every need.”

  She stayed quiet for a while. “I know it’s not like that, but it feels like that,” she said softly. I didn’t know if she answered George or us.

  “How did you find out that George could feel you?”

  “He just blurted it out like it was nothing. I was excited at first but knowing that he knows everything going on inside my head, it’s not so cool anymore.”

  “He loves you, Becky. You guys can make it work.”

  “I know, it’s just hard to get used to that’s all.” She sighed, climbed off my bed and said goodnight to Sammy and me.

  I shut off the lights and lay next to Sammy.

  It was quiet for a while. “I never thought about it that way. I was so envious when Becky told me what it is they can do, but now I’m glad that Dean and I aren’t like that.”

  “I don’t think it’s that bad, especially if the dragon cares about the other person. I just wish it was the other way around too.”

  “Yeah, that does suck a bit.”

  I giggled softly and closed my eyes, thinking about my mom and how badly I wished for her to appear in my dreams again. I was sure she could’ve told me her version of this whole dent connection thing. She would’ve made it sound like the best thing there was, she could’ve explained it to me better. But she didn’t come anymore, and I had to deal with all of this on my own.

  CHOOL HAD FINALLY started. Isabel and Lucille drove us to the port. I had a private one that was going to take me to a secluded area in Elm’s port. We could easily sneak out the back and wouldn’t be bothered with too many questions.

  Before we knew it we were inside our rooms back at the Academy.

  “Elena, are you sure you don’t want the private room Master Longwei offered you?” Becky wanted to know.

  “Are you insane? I get why Lucian loved Dragonia so much. You can be yourself behind those big gates. No, I’m staying right here.”

  We unpacked our bags and left to attend the welcome ceremony that was held in the Amphitheatre around four.

  I was a third year. Never thought I would ever make it to third year. This year would’ve been Lucian’s last. I really needed to try to get him out of my system, but I couldn’t. It was hard to let someone like him go.

  Cheng had finished last year and I had to admit, the halls were a bit empty without him roaming inside of them.

  I got plenty of stares as I walked through the hallway to the Amphitheatre.

  Tabitha just glared at me as she walked past me and I kept staring at the back of her head as she went to the spot she and Blake used to share.

  “Tabits!” Peter yelled and she stopped.

  I looked at Becky. “Tabits?” She giggled.

  “He claimed her over the summer.”

  “Peter claimed Tabitha!” I remembered when he’d made jokes in Professor Pheizer’s class a couple of months ago before he ascended, about how she was going to become his if he did turn out to be an ice wielder.

  “Wish I’d been there to see it.”

  “I do not want to know what my brother is going to do.” Sammy chirped and she froze. “Sorry Elena.”

  I giggled. “Don’t worry, it’s not like that,” I said and hoped that Tabits would hear it too.

  Master Longwei welcomed each and every one of us back. To our surprise all the tutors from the last few semesters were all here. No new professor or a scaly Wyvern this time.

  I could still remember that day, Lucian was still sitting next to me, while Paul just stared at me. I wished many times that I could go back in time and tell him what was going to happen. But that wasn’t how things worked. He was gone and nothing was ever going to bring him back.

  At dinner time I ate in my room. I hated the stares and even felt like an alien in the cafeteria. My friends couldn’t yell this time, they would stop glancing for five minutes and then I would look up and find like ten of them staring again.

  We finished with my mom’s first journal. It ended with my father’s death which didn’t make any sense.

  Becky and Sammy just stared at me.

  “I swear, it’s right here. Albert died,” I said. “Nothing else.”

  “But he didn’t die?” Becky said and she got up and took my mother’s journal out of my hand.

  “There are three more journals, I’m sure they will clear it up.”

  “Oh crap, it’s like almost twelve! I’m going to be a zombie tomorrow.”

  “Then let’s go to bed,” I said.

  “But I want to know…”

  “Bed, Becky!” Sammy and I sang in unison.

  We all just giggled and switched off the light and climbed into our own beds.

  I couldn’t help but think of Blake and where he was. Whether he knew I was thinking about him, I didn’t know, but he was on my mind right before I went to bed almost every night.

  LENA, CAN YOU you tell me the substance?” Sir Edward asked with Professor Gregory standing next to him.

  Yes, the dragon and rider classes were different. We had two lecturers, one always a Dragonian and the other a dragon.

  In this case, Sir Edward was the dragon and Professor Gregory his rider.

  “Sorry, I don’t know.”

  “You need to pay attention, Elena. We are counting on you to know these things when The Rubicon comes back.”

  There it was again, when the Rubicon comes back.

  My eyes shifted to Tabitha who was two rows in front of me, right next to Peter.

  Her entire posture changed whenever a professor said those words.

  The class went on and on, it was about some sort of potion that could change your appearance. It was cool, but for some reason I couldn’t pay attention.

  What that reason was, was unclear, but it was something that happened so often lately. I couldn’t believe that a month had passed already and in that month nothing dragon-wise had appeared. He was still out there, somewhere, doing whatever he wanted to. I think it
was the reason why I was so distracted. The past couple of weeks I’d been trying so hard to connect with Blake the way he did with me.

  Trying to lose myself inside my mind and just see if he was okay, where he was, how he felt.

  For him it was so easy.

  Everyone in this class had somebody, whether it was a dragon or Dragonian.

  I was the odd one out. Still I needed to take the classes to learn. I was supposed to learn with Blake, but I didn’t have to say that anymore. He didn’t want to be here to learn.

  Keep your chin up high, was the first thing Queen Margerite had taught me. It was followed by endless hours during the summer of learning that it wasn’t just my chin I needed to keep up. It was everything, and it was something I still struggled with.

  It felt as if I was going to lose my mind and I just wanted to fly away.

  That was when I missed her: Cara.

  She wouldn’t have let them do this to me, but I had no choice, I’d had to kill her. She would’ve killed me when I ascended. It was her choice in the end, still, I kept feeling that so many people died because of a dragon that was too much of a coward to tell me the truth that night inside the woods when we tried to retrieve a sword that had my blood line all over it.

  He’d always known who I was, and yet, everyone blamed the darkness in him.

  Lucian could’ve still been alive, even Brian as we wouldn’t have had to go on that stupid quest in the first place to find the missing sword.

  Goran must’ve seen it that day, who I was, which was why he was so desperate to kill me.

  Blake saved my life, huge surprise there, but I know now why he’d done it.

  Still, not saying anything to Lucian and letting him go on that quest was cruel.

  I don’t know if I would ever forgive him for that.

  I’d never wanted to claim Blake. I was dark that time as I’d carried some of his burden, the way my lecturers had told me during summer, but it’d freed me in some sense. The dark made me tell the truth, even though I didn’t care about who I hurt and who I was becoming.

  That Elena scared me so much. Still, she was inside of me and a part of me missed her too.

  Then why do I want him to come home so badly? It was something that was drilled into me this summer. For the sake of Etan, even though it would be another thing that would never happen.

 
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