Memories (Completed)
Author: Jewel Heart

Chapter 21
21

Getting up was a pain. With my day planned out in front of me, I would never be too excited. I was the spontaneous type, to be honest. At least, that’s what I thought. Not to mention that I would be planning my birthday party. I would be telling my planner how to plan my masquerade ball. Later I would have to go and try on dresses. God, I should have asked Brooke or maybe Vivian to come along with me. Just, so that I wouldn’t be stuck with some designer that I don’t know.

I woke up to a faint knock on my door. Instantly, like a rubber band had snapped, I sat up. My eyes were sore and swollen from all the crying I’d done last night. Huh. I haven't cried myself to sleep since my dad died. That’s a strange feeling.

My door creaked open and someone stepped in, filling the room with a fresh scent. I ghost of a smile flashed on my lips and my stomach turned. I couldn’t tell if my unease showed or if it was skillfully hidden, but it was only a matter of time before he discovered it.

“Isn't it a little early for you to be knocking on my door?” I asked while stretching. My brain flashed an image in front of my eyes and I asked, “Is Anthony back or did you make friends with Dwight?”

James smiled. He had been watching me from my door across the room. He was leaning against the frame of the door with a hand on his mouth. Pensively he looked me over before stepping in.

“Dwight was unhappy to see me, but he showed respect,” he answered.

Dwight, I discovered, was the new guard here to help Anthony after he got out of his college classes. He was at USF, trying to get a degree in law to become a bodyguard. For who, I wasn’t exactly sure. Someone important, like Molly. Not so much the president.

James frowned. “Isn't he supposed to be at school?”

I rubbed my eyes, trying to wake up, and shrugged. “I don’t know. And after he waved that bat over your head, I don’t really care.”

I sighed and ran a hand through my hair before standing up. I looked down at what I was wearing and grimaced. I was still in my t-shirt and Capri’s from yesterday, and they were beginning to send off a new aroma. It wasn’t that it was a bad smell, but it was a strong smell. I smelled like salt from the sea and a little like pine from the time I spent with James yesterday. Good thing that Molly wasn’t a vampire. The scent would have put her on the edge.

James smiled sadly. He took a step forward and then disappeared from sight. Suddenly coming into view in front of me, he reached out and stroked my cheek, frowning. “Have you been crying?” he asked.

It wasn’t a surprise that he’d noticed. After an hour of sobbing, there was going to be a mark to show what had happened the earlier night. Keeping my expression straight, I responded, “No.” Lying was in my nature. It came naturally and it was easy. Still, that didn’t mean that I was convincing.

His frown deepened. “There’s something wrong,” he declared. “I can feel it. You’re pouring it out.” I tried to process that, but just ended tangled up. “Your blood is acting up,” he clarified.

“Oh,” I mumbled. “It’s nothing.” I stepped around him. “Probably just a reaction to meeting Lizette the way that I did,” I assured him.

He watched me as I walked over to the other side of my room and slid open a door. The door revealed a closet filled with designer clothing. I despised the thought, but I knew that if I wanted to see Giovanni without any obstacles in our path at the beginning of the trip, then I would need to look presentable in her standards.

“Yeah,” he mused. “She’s spontaneous like that…” His words trailed off into silence. Carefully considering my options, I rummaged through the racks of clothes.

I sighed exhausted and ran another hand through my messy hair. “You know what? I'm no good at this. James, do you think that you could lend your fashion skills for a moment or two?”

I didn’t get an answer from him. I hadn't turned to look at him to see why he was so silent. But, now that I did, it was clear that there was a reason why he’d gone mute.

Slightly tilting my head, I examined the clothes set out before me and what James was up to. He had been examining the room. He had taken the time to look at some pictures that I had displayed on my tables and walls. Right now, he had a picture frame that I was familiar with in his hands. He was examining it with a glint of confusion in his eyes.

“Who are these people?” asked James, turning the frame around so that I would be able to see the framed photograph.

I stared blankly at the picture. The image was of a thin, young girl—about four or five years old—with a tall, bleak man that looked to be in his mid twenties. The girl was small and really skinny. She had her long dark hair in a tall ponytail. She had a small smile on her lips and her chocolaty brown eyes were vacant. The tall man next to her had odd golden yellow eyes and hair almost as dark as the girl’s. His eyes were colder than ice and he had a wry smile. They were at Time square. It had been winter and they were both comfortably snuggled in some jackets and hats.

The image stabbed my heart. I walked forward and carefully took the frame from him. My eyes turned grim as I grimaced. “It’s me and my dad,” I answered, recalling that day.

It might have been for a business meeting, but it was still a good time. I studied his face, imagining laugh lines and wrinkles on his forehead where they should be. He should be alive. Nevertheless, he wouldn’t have wrinkles even if he was alive for another sixty years. I had a feeling that he had stopped aging already.  I brushed his smile with the tips of my fingers.

I pursed my lips pensively. “I have to tell you something,” I admitted.

James, who had been watching me grimly, stood up and stared at the picture. “Hmm?” he asked.

I tore my gaze away from the golden eyes and looked over at his gray ones. “Well…” I struggled to get the lump out of my throat.

This was the thing that I hated most to do. I hated to reveal this one part of my life. I never wanted to speak about it, but I found that he might be able to help me find the murderer. Suddenly the doorbell sounded. The sound rang through my room and startled me.

“Oh, damn!” I exclaimed, dropping the picture on the bed and running back to my closet. I scattered through everything and ended up just pulling something that was one piece.

“What’s going on?” James asked alert. “Who’s at the door?” He stared out the window, trying to see someone. I doubted that he could. At least not at the window he was at. He was directly under the door and it didn’t really help.

“Uh, just to tell you, I'm skipping school today,” I rushed as I sprinted to the bathroom.

I locked the door behind me and quickly changed. I hadn't paid much attention to what I had picked out. Now I saw myself fully dressed in my three-way mirror. Oh, God so help me it’s a dress. I had to admit that it was a pretty cool dress, though. It was shaped like a clingy summer dress, but its designs were standing out like neon colors. There were letter like graphics in different dark and bright colors. The background was white and the form was gorgeous. I ignored it and just hurried up and brushed my teeth and my hair. I grabbed some plain flip-flops and ran out of the bathroom.

“Why aren't you attending school?” asked James. He was inside my closet, studying the clothes with a puzzled expression.

Yeah, didn’t see that coming, did you? an annoying voice laughed as if it had just made an important point.

“It’s for my party. I have to meet up with a planner to discuss how it’s going to be set up. Oh, damn,” I cursed when my flip-flop broke. I hurried back to the bathroom and picked another pair of shoes. They were boots that would give me heatstroke if I stayed outside too long. Oh, well.

“And I'm assuming that I'm not invited, considering how I'm just hearing about this now.”

I laughed dryly. “Yeah, ‘cause I'm not gonna let my boyfriend in.”

He rolled his eyes and stepped out of the walk-in closet. Appearing in front of me, he took my face in his hands and kissed me.

I pulled away a second later. “Don’t distract me,” I said, holding back a laugh. “I really have to go.”

His eyes flickered with comprehension and he came downstairs with me to meet Giovanni.

At the bottom of the stairs, I met a pair of startled black eyes. Sitting down on a sofa was Giovanni Minichillo. Giovanni was American, but her heritage was Chinese. She had the shape of the eyes and the black hair that showed her inheritance. She was wearing jeans and a blouse, even though it was about ninety degrees outside. She had high heeled boots and a black headband in her hair.

Stunned, she studied me and then the dream guy next to me. Politely she greeted us in her musical voice. I was glad that she didn’t mention anything about my companion to me, but she did get overexcited about my clothes.

“You finally put something stylish together!” she said happily. I didn’t take it offensive. My style, like Brooke had mentioned, was different. It was a whole different thing from Giovanni’s girly girl fashion trends. “But, some hoop earrings might just put it all together,” she mused.

“Giovanni,” I interrupted her. She came back to earth and got back on track.

“Oh, yes. Um, what was it? Uh, masquerade—it’s a masquerade ball, right?” she asked. I nodded.

After that, I had to kick James out. Even though he had wanted to stay and help, I argued that he would only be a distraction. Giovanni had kept her interest in James a secret for the entire time that we were planning out how things would go. Luckily we had finished every decision in one night. I had even made it to the dress shop where I got an order for a special design. It had been Pier Le’ Font to greet me over at the dress store. He was a brilliant fashion designer and with one look at me, he already had a design in mind. And there was no doubt that it would be stunning. Then, when I got home, I crashed, falling into a deep slumber. It was a good thing that Molly had been late.

The next morning, I woke up hungry. Yesterday I hadn't had time to go out and search for a prey. It was back to human food, I guess. Until I found a victim, that is.

Ugh. It was hard to think of people and animals as victims. It was so degradable. Humans aren’t food. They aren’t lunch. Animals…well, some people could argue. But, animals are the better option. Nobody should notice anything going on if I only kill a few. I wouldn’t lower myself to feeding on anyone.

James picked me up in his Buell Blast, and I had a feeling that this was going to become my new routine. For once, the day went by boring and ordinary. People were still worked up over Brian’s death scene. Most of them looked scared to death. It was understandable, considering how horrible the corpse had been. A few dared to approach me and ask how it had been like. For the first time, I had been sympathetic and explained with concern of the incident. I felt guilty over all of this, since technically it was my fault that people were getting slaughtered.

Teachers had seemed distracted and precautious of everything that they did and all that was around them. Violet and Jeff were on high alert, trying to keep everything under control. Vivian and Scarlett remained in that same knowledgeable stance, thinking of resolutions for our problems. Max looked casual, but in his eyes, I could see that he was strained. I hadn't seen much of either Brooke or Andrew, but when I did, they were always together. That was going to be hard to accustom to.

The problems I had encountered with yesterday night were taunting me, but I dismissed them as best as I could. It didn’t prevent me from spacing out and thinking about it, though.

My hopes had been up for my questions to be answered by Demetrius. They were all crushed to the ground when he didn’t show up. Before, it never bothered me so much when Demetrius didn’t attend school; it was actually a relief most of the time. An escape from a love that could never be. But, now that there was a reason for him to be here, it was aggravating.

The final bell rang and instead of going to the showers, we went outside. Max and Jeff had already scanned the area and classified it as safe. Apparently Harmony and Violet had come back last night and inspected Brian’s murder scene. Sadly, they came up empty-handed. Whoever we were up against, he was proving himself to be a master of disguises.

“Werewolves?” I asked. School had ended, and we were all standing in a circle in front of the cabin. I was looking from face to face, hoping to get an idea of how I was going to pull off becoming a werewolf.

Max nodded. His large smile grew wider. “I'm all yours, Lumex,” he joked. Then I saw him turn serious. It was something I had never seen coming from him. And, honestly, it sent a chill down my spine. Max turned out to be able to be serious whenever he wanted to, and scary at it too. “It’s easy, really,” said Max. “We chose it, because if you can handle this, then it’ll be easier to handle shape-shifting.”

“Which is coming next,” Jeff added in. “You get like, let’s say, half-an-hour to master morphing into a wolf. Then, you get thrown the hard stuff, which is connecting with animal’s minds. I hope that it won’t be too hard for you. I mean, there’s a reason that you begin learning this stuff from the moment you’re born.” He shrugged.

I sighed. “Alright. Hit me.”

“Oh, my God, I’ve always dreamed of you saying that,” said Andrew mockingly. “It’ll be a pleasure to ruin your face, Princess Melody.” To finish off his annoying act, he gave me a bow.

I ignored him and looked back at Max. “What’s first?”

Max pursed his lips, weighing his options. “Well, get on four legs, like this,” he ordered. He demonstrated by getting on the floor and standing like a dog.

“In this?” I pointed to my clothes. Today I was wearing a dark green tank top and a jeans skirt that Giovanni had given me as an early birthday present. “No way. Uh-uh.” I shook my head. “Think of something else.”

“But you’re wearing leggings!”

“No.”

Max gave me a ‘you’re kidding, right?’ look. After studying my face for a minute, he concluded that I wasn’t. Sighing, he got back on two feet. “Fine, we’ll do it the hard way,” he muttered.

“Thank you,” I replied coldly to his frustration.

“Okay,” he clapped his hands together as he thought. “God, what did mom use to say?” he mused. “Oh yeah!”

He walked up to me. I watched him blankly, totally lost. Max stopped a few feet in front of me and then raised his hand. He pulled his arm back and then, slapped me in the face.

I went flying into the air. Finally I crashed into a large tree with a thick trunk. It hurt. Oh, God did it hurt. I hit it head first and there was a cracking sound. My vision blacked for a moment and then the tunnel grew wider as my eyes came into focus again. I tried to lift my head, only to be greeted by a strong wave of pain at the crown of my head and at my neck. I somehow managed to lift my head and once I did, there was another disgusting cracking sound as the bones in my neck got back in place.

My eyes—and probably entire face—were flaring with anger. I hadn't meant for him to literally hit me like Andrew had wanted! I had never been this angry before. Max had almost killed me by sending me off flying into a tree.

I jumped up and began marching towards Max. Every step I took that got me closer to him made my anger skyrocket. Max’s expression stayed the same as I stomped towards him. He never flinched. In fact, I think that he even looked pleased.

Suddenly, two figures appeared next to me, locking my arms in iron grips. I gave Andrew and Violet deadly looks that said that if they didn’t let me go, it wasn’t just Fido who was going to get hurt. In return, they gave me even colder and harsher glares. I hissed and fought back.

“It’s alright,” said Max. “Let her go.”

Violet and Andrew exchanged puzzled glances. Hesitantly, they released me. Oh, this was Max’s funeral. I had been very patient and very, very generous with him. This crossed all the lines that had ever been drawn. He had mentioned guard dogs earlier. He had even called himself one. This wasn’t like one at all. He was acting more like a ravenous pit bull. So, at the point where I got near enough to rip his throat out, I jumped. Except…it didn’t go how I’d planned.

Inside of me, something had already snapped, but now a new sensation came. It was like something had exploded. An instinct that I wasn’t familiar with was awakened. The sensation was strange. Not just like something had exploded, but also like something had been born from it.

Something strange happened and I saw the world in bright neon colors. Max was still smirking at me, a little smug now. I growled. The noise came out strange and low. It was like a dog’s angry snarl. Now it became clear to me what Max had been trying to do.

My appearance had been changed and I had transformed into a small dark brown wolf. Again, I growled at Max, still angry that he used this form to bring my werewolf out. He lifted his hands in a gesture of defeat.

“I get it,” he said. “You’re mad.” I growled. “But, if you want to be turned into human form, you have to calm down.”

I narrowed my eyes. Taking deep breaths, I tried to calm myself enough not to kill him. I couldn’t. Instead, I sprang again, aiming for Max’s throat. He evaded me effortlessly. I got in position to spring again, but this time, James beat me to him.

Apparently, Jeff had been holding James back. James hadn't liked that I got hit any less than I did. In the blink of an eye, James had Max by the throat. They wrestled for a while, James overpowering Max in the matter of seconds. I guess that it pays off to be a badass vampire prince. I watched them shocked as James quickly brought Max to the ground in a position that would be hard for the victim to get out of. For a moment I believed that he would bite down on Max’s neck. Then, he pulled out a stake.

With that, my jaw dropped and everyone reacted. Vivian and Scarlett were petrified where they were standing and Jeff and Violet were moving towards them, trying to figure out a way how to rip their leader off of their teammate. Andrew, on the other hand, was completely at ease, watching Max struggle with a bored expression. I stared at them as they wrestled. Nobody was able to pull James off of Max. The only thing that they did was pull back the stake so that it didn’t immediately kill Max.

“Holy shit!” someone exclaimed.

I turned around and saw that Andrew’s dull expression had turned stunned. He had jumped backwards and was now pressed against a tree. I saw that Scarlett and Vivian’s attention had transferred from James and Max to me. I didn’t understand why they were so shocked by me, when James and Max were about to kill each other. Ignoring them, I returned my attention to James. Though, even he had frozen.

I felt my face turn warm. “What the hell is going—?” I stopped midsentence. I didn’t dare look down at how my figure was. All I was sure of was that I wasn’t on four paws anymore and that I didn’t have a wolf’s head any longer. I shut my eyes. “Max,” I said shakily. “What did you do?”

After a moment of hesitation, James let Max go. Violet and Jeff were still cautious, considering how James’s stake was still in his hand. Max stood up. Violet and Jeff stood behind him, acting as guards.

“I didn’t do anything,” said Max. “Well…maybe I slapped you, but that—nope, I only turned you into a werewolf. I didn’t turn you back into a human.” Max frowned and looked me over, searching for a flaw in my transformation. “And everything seems to be in order too.” He grabbed my shoulder. “Just turn around.” There was a hissing sound coming from James. Max released my shoulder and held up his hands. “Alright! I released her!”

I looked over at James and met his eyes. I tried to sooth him mentally, assuring him that I was okay. His eyes were desperate, like he wanted to come and comfort me, but was afraid to. I kept soothing him, trying to get that emotion out of his eyes. But, he pointed out the one flaw that I had been oblivious to until now.

I touched my head and looked at my fingers. They were all bloody. I hadn't noticed that the tree had wounded me. I had expected that it had, seeing how my neck had cracked, but it was surprising that my anger had overruled the pain. Now that it was revealed, I began feeling dizzy. I lost my balance and stumbled into a tree. My open wound touched the bark of the tree I hit and began stinging worse than it already was. I felt like crying. I felt like being a little kid that would cry when he got hurt, again. So that I wouldn’t have to keep all of my emotions bottled up deep down inside me.

“Screw you, Max!” Vivian exploded as she ran to my side.

Wow. Vivian. Vivian had just cursed. She was the last person that I’d expected to hear that from. She seems like the good girl. She has from the very beginning. But, now…. It seemed that I wasn’t the only one stunned.

“How’s it look, Viv?” asked James shakily as he tried to see over Jeff’s shoulder. Strange, considering how he was taller.

She grimaced and brushed my head lightly with her fingertips. They were cool against my burning wound. Gently, she turned my head and examined a different part of the wound. “It’ll heal.” She shot Max another look. “Why in the world would you do that to her?” she exclaimed. “You know she’s a vampire and you threw her at that tree!”

He shrugged and narrowed his eyes. Tilting his head, he took a step towards me and studied my face. “Werewolf transformations are controlled by our emotions. It doesn’t matter what emotion it is, just as long as you can channel it into one wave of energy, then turning that into force to push out the werewolf in you.” I frowned, momentarily confused by his explanation. “I wasn’t sure how to explain that. She wanted to do it the hard way. This is it.”

“But, why hit her?”

“Because I don’t know how to get any real emotion out of her,” he said. “I figured that she’d be mad because it looked like I betrayed her and that if she got wounded, then she wouldn’t notice it until after her transformation and that when she did notice it, the shock would get her to shift back.” He paused and considered something. “Hmm, maybe I did have something to do with it.” He frowned and then shook his head. “No, I didn’t. What were you feeling before you changed back into your human form?” he asked me.

I frowned, breaking out of my shock. “I was…shocked, and…um, actually scared that one of you would get hurt,” I confessed. This time, I was sure that my discomfort was showing.

A small flame lit up in Max’s eyes as he found humor in my revelation. “Lumex, first of all, bravo,” approved Max with a nod. “Nice channeling. And, secondly, we’re stronger than we seem. All of us.” He eyed Vivian, who was mumbling a spell under her breath to help my head heal. “I know that you look at Viv like she’s a healer, not a fighter. But, you could never be so wrong. She’s a badass witch,” he admitted. Vivian gave him a smile, all of her anger being washed away by that compliment.

Suddenly I felt the wound close. I felt how the skin regenerated. A wide smile flashed on my lips suddenly. “Listen up, Fido,” I said harshly, something horrifying taking over my body. Taking a step forward, I slowly brought down the barriers that separated my animal and human instincts. “That really hurt. And now, you’re going to pay.”

Letting my barriers crash to the ground, I sprung towards Max’s throat, eyes red and fangs revealed. This time, werewolf transformations wouldn’t get in my way. I was completely open to vampires and blocking out any trace of wolves.

I tackled Max down and quickly lowered to his neck. Okay, so this is simple, I told myself. You tackle him. You hold him down. You bite him. And then you drink most of his blood. Not enough to kill him, though. That will be left for the next time he does something stupid like this. Knowing Max, he probably will do this again.

The memory of him spying on James and me yesterday made me hiss. I opened my mouth wide and got closer to his neck. It was easy to identify the vein that would provide me with the most blood. Just as my fangs brushed his neck, someone grabbed me from behind and pulled me off.

I snapped my teeth and hissed and growled at Violet and Andrew. I almost bit Jeff’s mountain lion neck. I struggled in Andrew and Violet’s iron grips, totally unsuccessful at even breaking an arm free. I ravenously watched Max crawl backwards and change into his wolf form as a defensive pose. Why do I have to be a half-blood? What’s so wrong with being a vampire and only a vampire?

Suddenly, fire burned Violet and Andrew’s arm, making them release me. I didn’t know where it had come from, but I took it to my advantage. Sprinting, I appeared behind Max in half a second. Jumping onto his back in a surprise attack, I pressed on some pressure points. Max didn’t crumble, but he did yelp. It hurt him. I felt a cruel smile curl on my lips. He jumped up and down, trying to shake me off like a bull as I pressed more pressure points.

Scarlett had put out the flames on Andrew and Violet, and now they were coming after me. They got close enough to pull me off, and hesitated. In a moment where one of your peers is in danger, you absolutely do not hesitate on any method that you have. You just have to get them off. Even though, they did have to find the safest plan to rescue their friend, come on. They’re vampires. It should come to them in a heartbeat.

Yet, this was a tough one. How would they get me off without stopping Max? Since, at the moment that Max stopped struggling, I would devour him. Maybe they could get on Max and pull me off? Max could fall to the ground in a second. He can't be strong enough to carry both Andrew and me, no matter how little I weighed. Violet…she was the best option, but—why the hell am I think of this? I’ve found a prey. I have to now hurry up and kill it before it escapes me.

It’s nature. A predator kills, a prey becomes food. And if they don’t hurry up and capture their prey, the predator will be left without any food. I was too hungry to let that happen.

Suddenly I froze. Without letting go of Max’s hair, I blankly stared into the depths of the endless forest. Prey and predator. Earlier, I promised myself that I wouldn’t lower myself to feeding on anyone; just animals. Max was a person. He might not look like one, but he was—technically. Werewolves and shape-shifters, they’re defined as people, right? Half-breeds like me. My mind swirled. I was stuck in between the definition of humans and animals. Okay, so they are animals, and humans, I’ve got that down. But, are they prey or predators?

Finally someone came to the conclusion to try and attack me while in the air. “Unh!” I choked when I fell to the floor with a loud thud that echoed throughout the entire forest for a few seconds.

Andrew fought me to the ground effortlessly and put my arms over my head so that it would be harder for me to escape—not that I was trying.

Human or animal? Food or companion? Prey or predator? My head spun with the confusion that covered me from head-to-toe. I was too consumed by the thoughts to fight. I was too engaged that I didn’t even notice how Andrew’s two-hundred pound muscular body was crushing me, crushing my lungs, almost killing me. Faintly, I heard a little voice complaining that he was killing me, but I was ignoring him.

Prey or predator? Predators.

They’re living creatures. They’re like animals in a way, but, there is something human hidden under all of that fur. I will not be the destruction of anything that is even a little humane. While killing animals doesn’t free my soul any more than not killing people does, I feel a little more relieved that I'm not the only one who hunts them. Something was still wrong, though. Something deep inside of me was out of place. There was something that was out of the ordinary.

I gasped. My thoughts dissolved and I was brought back to reality by my inability to breathe. My chest hurt, not because of Andrew’s body crushing my lungs, but because of the ribs that had probably been broken. I wasn’t sure what expression was on my face, but it made Andrew hesitate and glance up at Jeff for help. Jeff just shrugged, unsure of what to do. I was ready to begin screaming at Andrew to get off, but unfortunately, I didn’t have the breath.

Somehow I managed to bring my legs up to my chest. Fitting my chicken legs under Andrew’s chest, I pressed my feet against his chest and kicked him off. It was harder than it looked. Andrew didn’t seem like he only weighed one hundred fifty pounds, but five hundred. I barely got my legs to move when I used regular, human force, and when I used my vampire strength, my legs still hurt like hell. And, even though I managed to push Andrew off of me, that didn’t make him let go. He fell headfirst over my arms, almost breaking them. He held on to them, though, and that only made the pain more excruciating. After that, I had to do a pose—which should be and probably was yoga—and kicked him in the head.

“Let me go!” I exclaimed. I kicked him again, this time with the point of my shoe. He growled threateningly. “Shut the fuck up and let me go!” The next time I kicked, I wounded Andrew’s concrete hard skin. It quickly healed, but now I knew what I was capable of. “Last warning, Andrew,” I said. “Let me go, or I’ll have your fat ugly head!”

“Just let her go,” someone spoke up. Violet was standing with James side-by-side. They were watching us with strange, unreadable expression.

“Andrew, you really shouldn’t be all over your best friend’s girl,” James said darkly, hardly any humor in his eyes. “Now get off before I do something that I’ll regret.”

“James, look me in the eye and tell me that she won’t attack again,” Andrew challenged. James’s eyes trailed to look at my frustrated expression and then nodded at Andrew.

“I know my Lumex,” he said with a confidence that warmed me up inside.

Stupid, how when you find your soul mate, all of the ridiculous things that movie couples do suddenly become okay. Nevertheless, I couldn’t deny that it made me feel amazing to have him speak like that about me.

Andrew tried to argue, still untrusting of me, but I kicked him again. “You heard him. Let me go.” He looked pissed, pretty much the visual presentation of how I felt inside. He let me go, muttering under his breath as he went over to sit on a tree branch.

I got up as if nothing had happened and walked over to James. I gave him a quick kiss and then stuck my tongue out at Andrew. He responded by lifting his middle finger at me. A laugh suddenly came from me. Scarlett interrupted Jeff as he began talking.

“How did you do that, Lumex?” she asked, stepping forward.

“Do what?” I stared at her mystified. Quickly I replayed the short event that had just happened, coming up blank.

“The fire—how did you set them on fire?”

“Set them on—? I didn’t, I swear to Isis!” Panicking, I looked from face to face. If this was a part of my transformation, then it was a really bad time to be coming up. “I thought that you or Viv did that.”

“That’s why I'm so surprised,” she said. “It was magic, Lumex. You did magic.” She looked over at James with bug eyes. “And it’s advanced magic too, James. It is very advanced magic.”

James frowned. “But, she’s progressing, right? Aren't things like this supposed to happen? Occasionally?” he asked.

“Let me repeat to you,” she said. “Advanced magic! I mean, my grandfather couldn’t do it. And he was Gregory Desruisseaux.”

“I know,” James snapped. “My father was and still is Jeremiah Eventide,” he retorted as if giving a comeback. “But, this is a special case, with Lumex. So, special things should occur, right?”

Scarlett bit her lip. “I hope that that is what’s going on. Because if it isn’t, then we have something else to worry about.” She stared at me with concern that I had never seen touch her unemotional expression.

James’s expression darkened. “Isn't there a way to find out? Can't you do something?” A shadow was cast over his handsome face as he watched Scarlett shake her head. “It’s turning into a problem.”

My chest tightened. I was a problem. I’ve always been a problem to James. I was drowned by the same guilt that I had felt last night. James was always looking after me, making sure that I was safe and sound. Lizette’s comment still swirled in my mind, making me almost completely fall to pieces from the inside. Just die for good so that some of us can move on with our lives.

My next thought was interrupted by the sound of footsteps on the summer leaves. As I looked across the forest for the new inhabitant, I slowly began pulling up some barriers to become human again.

A wide smile curled on my lips and my face lit up as I realized whose scent it was. It was entertaining how as he appeared, the sun was covered by a cloud, casting a shadow over his figure and making the atmosphere mysterious. Meanwhile, James and everyone else had changed to defensive, even though they knew exactly who it was because of the different emotions coming from me and James. A second later, out of the shadows emerged Demetrius.

“What do you want, Demetrius?” James snapped, stepping in front of me like he had after they had pulled Brian off of me.

Demetrius’s jaw tensed and his hands balled into fists. “I'm here for Lumex.” He glanced at me for half a second, apparently wary of James. “And I'm pretty sure that she doesn’t want you to know about the reason why I'm here, so save your breath.”

James hissed. “Why wouldn’t she?”

“Yeah, why wouldn’t she?” I asked puzzled. I couldn’t remember if there was ever a time when I had done something so important with Demetrius.

He looked surprised. “It’s that thing.” Taking a step backwards he ran a hand through his dark hair. “You know, from when you were five?”

“Oh.” I unwounded my arm from James’s and took a few steps towards Demetrius. Jeff stopped me.

“Where do you think you’re going? We’re in the middle of a lesson.”

I didn’t know what to respond. I now knew exactly what Demetrius was talking about and exactly why it was so important. I sighed and gave Demetrius an apologetic look. His eyes widened as he realized what I was going to do.

“Lumex Cockcrow, don’t you dare do that!” he exclaimed.

I laughed. “It’s not a secret anymore. And I promised him. You know how I feel about breaking promises.” He began to argue, but I had already set my mind. I turned around to face James. “You guys know a lot about me—you really do.” I laughed nervously, already shaken by the information I was about to share. “But, there are some things that you don’t know. Some things that you really should know.” I took a deep breath before continuing. “It’s time you learned what happened on September 1st, 1997.”

“Your birthday?” James asked stunned, forgetting completely about Demetrius for those few seconds.

I nodded. “My birthday.”


 

 

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