Memories (Completed)
Author: Jewel Heart

Chapter 16
16

We are so late.

Our class had begun by the time we arrived. Ms. Summers looked at us with burning fury that colored her ashen face.

“Do you know how late you are?” she exclaimed. “I already took attendance and you interrupted me in the middle of a lecture about Shakespeare.”

“We’re sorry, Ms. Summers,” I said. Ms. Summers seemed to straighten like a robot receiving a command. I watched her puzzled as I spoke. “You see, I was there right before Brian died the first one to see him and—it was horrible.” Tears welled up in my eyes and I winced. “His eyes dulled and they turned this ice blue and it looked white and then they rolled to the back of his head and—blood.” I began shaking. Jeff put a hand on my shoulder and pressed a pressure point that stopped my shaking. I wanted to hit him in the head with a silver bat. He was ruining it. “And I started freaking out again and—I'm sorry.” I hung my head.

“Oh,” she said sympathetically. “Well, that was a horrible scene. I’ll just change the attendance. You don’t have to worry about being late.” She put a hand on my other shoulder and smiled.

I looked up. “Thanks.”

Ms. Summers looked over at Jeff and raised an eyebrow. “And you would be?” she asked.

“I'm Jeff Sandalio,” Jeff said, taking his hand off my shoulder. “I'm a new student.”

“Another one?” Ms. Summers exclaimed.

“Excuse me?”

“Oh, I'm sorry. It’s just that you’re the fourth one today. Anyway, I'm Ms. Summers.” She held out her hand in a friendly gesture. Jeff shook it. Ms. Summers smiled and said to me, “Ms. Cockcrow, you seem to have made friends with Mr. Sandalio. It’ll probably be more comfortable for him to sit next to you.”

There was whispering among the students. I looked over Ms. Summers’s shoulder. It was the guys who were doing the talking. They were all talking aggressively against Jeff.

“Why does he get to sit next to her?” one of the boys whined. “We’re just as good as he is!”

“I hate these new kids! They’re getting all of Lumex’s attention!”

“It’s not like she paid any to us before!” someone else responded bitterly.

“Maybe I should move away and come back next year,” someone planned. “She seems to be attracted to new kids….”

“Did you see how they cradled her when Brian’s body was taken away? They were all over her, making physical contact and she didn’t care…!”

“I really hate that other one. The blonde guy….”

“Isn't his name James Eventide or something? I heard it in the guy’s locker room….”

“I’ve known her since grade school and she’s never looked at me once, but this James comes along and suddenly she has a boyfriend? Where did that come from…?”

“And she hasn’t beaten them up! Remember what happened when I asked her out for coffee last summer…?” That guy was way off. If he’d only seen the way the golf club broke in half when I hit Max’s thick skull.

“You got pie thrown in your face, big deal! She broke my leg…!”

There was a very similar conversation going on among the girls. Only that they all seemed to be turned against me.

“That’s four gorgeous new guys after her now! And not to mention the other guys in the school…!”

“I caught my boyfriend with a picture of her in his locker yesterday! How do you think I feel about all this…?”

“Why is she so popular? She doesn’t even talk to anyone…!”

 “We should start an anti-Lumex school club! That would really get her mad…!”

“She doesn’t care about anything, though! If we did that, it would only be a deathtrap for us. She’d break our necks…!”

“It’s her fault we don’t have any boyfriends! I hope she doesn’t go to my college….”

“I'm going to Yale. I hope she doesn’t follow….”

“Are you kidding? She has the grades and reputation to get into Harvard! And even if she doesn’t get in, she’s super rich! She can bribe the headmaster with both looks and money….”

“Who’s cuter? James, Andrew, Jeff, or the guy with the ponytail…?”

“James all the way! But she’s got him wrapped around her finger….”

“Settle down!” Ms. Summers finally interrupted them. “Now I know that Jeff and Lumex are very attractive people, but it’s not a reason to make a fuss over it!” I had been watching and listening to them emotionlessly, without a care. I had known that this would happen the minute I walked into class with one of them at my side. Ms. Summers turned to look at me apologetically. “Don’t worry, it’s just jealousy. It will pass…eventually.” I nodded with a sweet smile playing on my lips. “Now take your seats.”

I walked past her to an empty desk by the window. Lizzie Hart had been sitting at the desk next to mine but was forced to move one seat behind so that Jeff could sit. She gave me a dirty look as I reached my desk and I ignored her, all the time resisting the impulse to lift my hand and flick her off as I sat down.

Jeff sat down next to me and when Ms. Summers began talking again, he whispered angrily, “James is screaming like mad at me because I blocked him when we were having that argument! I can barely hear myself talk let alone think!”

“Tell him to shut his mouth then,” I whispered back.

“Didn’t you hear me? I said I can't think,” he whispered sharply.

I rolled my eyes. Jeff set his elbows on the desk and rubbed his temples. I didn’t know how to talk to James telepathically from a distance. I doubted that I even could. After all, I was only half vampire and my instincts haven't been fully awakened.

I tried clearing my thoughts and removing the iron door that separated my mind from all the rest. Then, like Viv’s pink light, I stretched my mind out like a streak of golden light and tried to reach someone’s mind.

God, I can't believe that I had to give up my seat because that bitch knows the new kid! But it’s totally worth it. He’s so hot. I could stare at him all day, Lizzie’s voice appeared in my head.

I really can't understand what she finds so appealing about those new kids. I'm way better than any of them, someone else’s voice appeared in my head.

Jeff’s looking this way. Oh God, maybe he does like me. And I think that he might be one of us, so that’s a plus…

I can't believe these new kids. They’re all so cool and hot. Oh, why do they have to hang around Lumex when she already has the entire school’s attention? I should get them…!

I wonder how long their relationship will last. I could comfort her when she’s down and earn some points. But it’s a mystery how he even got her to talk to him….

Jeez, I can't get that image out of my head! Lumex looked so scared and it tore me to pieces. I don’t think I’ve seen anything scarier than that….

Millions of thoughts began rushing in my mind. I flinched and put a hand over my forehead when thunder rolled in my head like a storm. Jeff looked over at me and curiously raised an eyebrow. I glanced at him and narrowed my eyes. I tried putting the wall back up, but the thoughts were rolling in my head so quickly that it was like they were holding it down.

Oh, God, please stop it. I can't take it! All these human thoughts are flowing in here like rushing water in a drain.

I finally grabbed piece of paper and a pencil.

Ask him how to stop the flood of voices! I wrote angrily. I moved the paper enough so that Jeff could read it. He glanced sideways and read it, then frowned. JUST DO IT!

I hid the writing by folding it and covering it with another piece of paper. I tried to ignore the voices, but they were in my head! I never thought that knowing could hurt so much. I watched Jeff from the corner of my eye, waiting for a sign that he’d gotten an answer.

Finally he picked up his pencil and wrote, In summary, try relaxing, and then something about putting up walls.

That’s it? There’s no complicated spell or ingredient—no, of course not. James is a vampire, not a witch. But, I wonder if there would be a spell in the case of a witch…. It’s an interesting question that I will have to look into later.

I leaned back in my chair, closed my eyes, and listened to my heart. I took deep, even breaths and waited for my muscles to unknot and my heartbeat to slow down. I wish that Viv was here. Her pink energy light would have relaxed me for sure. And that spell…ugtiah or something. I wish I could do it. When I heard the regular beat of my heart, I proceeded to putting up the walls. That was the easy part. Once I’d let my body relax, it automatically cleared my mind. I imagined a black room with metal walls rising from the ground to provide refuge from the outer world. It was the easiest thing I did all day.

I opened my eyes and stared at Ms. Summers without really seeing her. I could feel that beside me that Jeff had relaxed. James had probably finished nagging him.

I began thinking. Thinking harder than I had ever had to. I couldn’t remember. I just couldn’t. Something was blocking it. Something didn’t want me to know what happened when I was Bloom. The most important part of my memories was being blocked by something and I couldn’t find a loophole past it. I tried replaying that life, I tried rewinding it. I even tried talking to it. It all turned out the same. Blank. And if I was lucky, it was blurry.

I could really use Chloe’s help right now. Or maybe that other girl—Annabelle. It would be nice if she showed up for a change. Though, these angels were beginning to scare me. They didn’t seem to be angels. It was more like demons. Luke had tried to kill me and Chloe had wanted me to kill Brian. Something clicked into place.

Brian.

Oh, God, it makes sense! Luke hadn't spoken out when Brian was attacking, but Chloe had. Luke had been controlling Brian’s corpse. That’s why Chloe wanted me to kill him. It was so that Luke couldn’t come back to try and kill me again. Luke is working with him—whoever he is—or maybe he is Luke. Luke really is a demon. He was a hired thug. And a good one at it. He didn’t care what happened to him as long as the mission was accomplished. And, now that I gave thought to it, there was a twist there. Chloe had said, He’s killing us! And you know as well as I do that if she keeps dying, neither of us will be born! She said that they would be born in the human world if I stayed alive. The question is how? How do you live if you’re dead? How are you born if the person who is supposed to help you be born keeps dying? And how can you expect to live if you’re the one killing the person who helps you?

                                                *****

They are all in my Gym class. Every single one of them is here. I can't believe this. I don’t even know how they arranged it.

James and the rest of the gang had been waiting at my class door for me and Jeff to come out. When James hadn't said a word until we reached the Gym, I thought that he was mad at me for blocking him out. There we’d separated our ways. Viv, Violet, and Scarlett had followed me to the locker room to change for class and James had gone off somewhere else with everyone else. When we came out, I was completely “overwhelmed,” as Andrew had put it, to find every last one of them standing against a wall, waiting for us to come out.

“Can you do everything?” I asked James. “Because it really looks like you can.”

“I can do almost everything,” he clarified, completely serious.

“I find that hard to believe.” I sighed and leaned next to him, against the wall with my arms crossed over my stomach. I looked up at the ceiling. “What is it you can't do? I can't put it together.”

“There are a couple of things,” he said bitterly. “First of all, I can't get you to agree on anything with me.” He ran a hand through his golden hair. “Second of all, I can't shape-shift or cast spells.”

I threw my head back and laughed.

He looked over at me with a lazy smile. “What?”

“Nothing.” I looked over at him with humor in my eyes. “You’re just ridiculous.” I eyed Coach Rush, who seemed to be preparing to call for everyone’s attention.

“Nice to get your opinion,” he said sarcastically, but there was humor in his eyes.

Coach Rush blew the whistle. I grimaced. “I hate Gym,” I muttered under my breath.

“My agent is going to kill me if she hears that I sprain my ankle,” Violet mused to herself. “But I’ll kill the coach if I get a splinter….” her thought trailed off.

“Is there anything else you can't do?” I asked. “Because two isn’t much.”

“There’s one other.” He lowered his voice as we reached the encirclement of students around Coach Rush. His eyes darkened and his expression was cold. It was the first time he had ever sent a chill down my spine. “I haven't been able to save you once.”

I had an answer to that, too, but I didn’t push it. A frightening image flashed in front of my eyes. I didn’t flinch. I was good at hiding those kinds of things when I had to. But that image…. I was sure that I never saw it. That not once had I experienced it. It was something that my mind had created from Jeff’s description.

James—he had been looking down at me. Only that I was lying inside a wooden coffin with bruise-like circles under my eyes. There were washed away red spots on my cheeks from where the morticians had wiped away the blood, my skin had a gray tint, and my lips were blue. I was in a white summer dress that brought out my cheekbones and made me look like a pixie. My wavy hair was like a piece of artwork. Every strand had been carefully groomed and washed to take out the smell of blood. At the center of my chest, the cloth dropped into the hole that had been made by a stake. Lumexes and red roses had been placed everywhere around me and James was holding one rose in his hand. His aristocrat features were complimented by the black tuxedo he was in and his golden hair danced around him like golden flames in the summer breeze. But there was something terrifying about his expression.

It was the face that a housewife waiting anxiously as her husband had a dangerous operation done in the other room who then suddenly received news that he had passed away would make. It was the kind of expression that a poor family with many children to feed facing foreclosure would make. It was the kind of face that a ten-year-old girl would make if she had been kidnapped and it was her turn to be raped and killed. It was beyond words. It was just as heart-stopping as Brian’s depleted corpse if not more. James slowly placed the red rose in one of my hands and then placed the hand back on my stomach. He leaned down and kissed the cold blue lips one last time.

He pulled away and looked down one last time at my corpse before saying, “Wait for me,” and walking away.

Coach Rush blew his whistle and I returned to the present. I watched as kids retreated from around Coach Rush and took stands, two at a time, in front of a volleyball net that was set low on the ground while others lined up, waiting. The two players on the court both had tennis rackets and were waiting for a ball to be thrown in.

“We’re playing tennis?” I asked. “Already?”

“Weren't you paying any attention to the Coach?” James asked, looking down at me.

“I zoned out for most of it.” I shook my head. “Well, which court should we take?”

“There’s one right over there,” Max said, pointing at an almost empty court near the exit.

“Sure,” I shrugged. “Just promise that you won’t chase after the balls that are thrown.”

That got me a laugh.

Max narrowed his eyes and looked at me. “I call Lumex,” he said. “I'm playing her first—don’t even think about it.” He turned to Andrew, who raised his hands innocently.

I smiled. “Try and keep up, Scruffy,” I said. His usually flat brown eyes glinted with anticipation.

He moved on to the court and we followed. There were only two people there. They had taken their positions and one of them had a tennis ball.

“Hey! You guys!” Andrew called to them. They turned their heads to look at him. “Three strikes wins.”

“Why?” one of them asked.

Andrew smiled. “Because there’s a more interesting game going on after yours.” He looked over at me and then at Max.

“Lumex?” the other one said startled. He smiled and nodded. “Three out of five then.” Then the game began.

“Would this be considered training?” Viv asked. “Because, isn’t she supposed to run?”

“This is more like a warm up,” Violet said. She was sitting on the floor next to Viv. She was undoing one of her long pigtails. It took her some time, but she got the scrunchie out. “Hey, help me,” she said to Viv. Violet was holding the top of her hair. Viv took the thick strand and tried to keep it off the ground.

“Maybe you should get it cut,” Viv suggested. “There’s enough hair in here to make a bungee rope.”

“If I do that, then how am I going to use my power? Plus it helps with the modeling. It gives photographers a bit of the “unique” look that they’re looking for.” She moved to her other pigtail.

“Doesn’t it get in the way of battle, though?” Jeff asked. He was leaning casually against a wall. “Your opponent could grab you by the hair. Then you’d be in real trouble if they managed to rip it off.”

“Or what if it gets caught by fire?” Scarlett asked, holding up one finger. Suddenly a small blueberry colored flame emerged from her finger.

“Scar!” Viv whispered sharply. Scarlett snorted and the flame disappeared.

“I can take a chance,” Violet answered as she got the other scrunchie out.

She held it in her mouth and took the rest of her hair from Vivian. She casually joined the two parts and made one ponytail. Somehow she managed to pass all of her hair through the small scrunchie without a problem. She stood up and grabbed a big black clip that she had pinned on her shirt. She held it between her teeth while gathering all of her hair. When she had all of the dirty blonde mess in her hand, she took the clip from her mouth and pinned as much as she could to her scalp. She let it go and the remaining hair flowed down her back and to her hips. That was the shortest I’d ever seen her hair.

“Scruffy! Savior! You’re up!” Andrew called. I narrowed my eyes. He wasn’t supposed to say that out loud. I could see three witches and a werewolf on the court closest to ours.

James, I sent. I figured that it was easier to talk mentally to people when they were close by. Do you have something small and wooden on you? I couldn’t care less what it was. A toothpick would work.

He shook his head.

I cursed and move to take the racket from one of the humans that had been playing.

“Now, before we start,” Andrew said. “We should set some ground rules.”

“Oh, c’mon, Andrew!” I snorted. “We’re playing tennis. It’s not like we’re fighting to the death.”

He smiled. “You’ve never played with one of us before.” I raised an eyebrow and he continued. “It’s going to be three out of five just like with the other guys. Lumex,” he looked at me, “I don’t want to see any witchy stuff,” he said casually. It didn’t matter if he said it out loud. We didn’t like each other after all. It could be considered an insult. “I want you to have a fair game, so I better not see anyone’s eyes change. No witchy this, no doggy that. No nothing. Do you understand me?”

“Yeah, oh, great leader.” I rolled my eyes. Max just nodded.

“And I don’t want the audience to interrupt,” he said, looking at James. “I don’t care if your little princess gets a splinter, you get on that court and it’s a foul for her!” James narrowed his eyes. He leaned against the wall, next to Jeff and crossed his arms over his chest. “Okay, referee says when to begin,” Andrew continued.

“Hey, wait!” Scarlett interrupted. “I just thought of a way to make this game a whole lot more interesting.” She smiled evilly.

Andrew raised an eyebrow at her. “I'm listening.”

“Let’s make this a bet.” She walked towards the net. “If Lumex wins, then Max does something, but if Max wins Lumex does something.” I threw my head back and laughed. She looked over at me. “Do you agree?”

“Hell yes!” I said.

Scarlett looked over at Max. “Well?”

Max considered it for a moment. Then, he looked at me and smiled. “I'm in.”

I heard Violet scoff and Jeff choke out a laugh. Andrew gave us a crooked smile to show his interest. James and Viv watched emotionless. The bet had also gotten the other two players’ attention.

“Okay,” Andrew said, putting a hand on Scarlett’s shoulder and dragging her back behind the lines. “Players state your options.”

“If I win, Lumex stops calling me anything that has to do with dogs and she does a spell of my choosing,” Max suggested.

“Fine,” I said. “But if I win, I get to call you whatever I want and when we start training, you change and start chasing your tail.”

“I’d pay to see that,” Violet and Jeff said in chorus.

Max narrowed his eyes. “Deal,” he said. “I'm gonna turn you into a chicken.”

“If you beat me, which you won’t,” I argued. “Andrew start this game now!”

“Alright, start!” he said.

I walked up to Max. The game had gone on for a while and we had been neck-a-neck. But in the end, I still won. “Aw, don’t be upset, Scruffy,” I said. I ruffled his hair which came loose from its ponytail. “I won’t video tape it like I was planning on doing.”

“You’re a sick and twisted half-blood, Lumex,” Max said, his eyes wide. I smiled apologetically.

“Alright!” Coach Rush yelled, getting everyone’s attention. A crowd had been formed during the game and now everyone had to get back on track. “The bell rang and you were all supposed to be changed fifteen minutes ago. So get out of here!”

I patted Max’s back and left with Violet, Scarlett and Vivian for the locker room.

 

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