Forgive me for being off schedule with a post that should have gone out last Friday. Last week I had more mommy duties than usual and got behind on everything. Also, I’m thinking about changing the day I post each new chapter. Friday isn’t very popular. Would you rather see new chapters on Tue., Wed. or Thursday? Let me know!
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Chapter 2–Clashing Fates
My best friends, Chelsea and Miranda, swarm me as soon as Mr. Grove drops me off in front of the school. Birkham School for the Gifted is not just an ordinary prep school, it’s a tiny (and by tiny I mean 500 students total… and that includes kindergarten to high school seniors) school for the very wealthy or the very, very brilliant. Usually both.
Chelsea grabs my arm and drags me towards the entrance. Her short, black hair swishes around her face as she turns to look at me. “Well, did she let you drop it?”
“Technically, not so much.” Chelsea’s lips form a pout, but her piercing green eyes form angry slits. I hold up my hand to keep the Chelsea temper at bay for just a moment longer so I can explain. “I have a reprieve. If I really hate it after the first week, I can transfer. She’ll make the call.”
The high-pitched screech that my best friend emits as she squeezes me doesn’t sound human.
Miranda giggles and joins the hug. “I’m so glad. Mr. Posthumus is so dreadful, and it’s such a boring class, I’ve heard. Besides, we couldn’t put out the school newspaper without you. I can’t even believe she made you take all those classes you hate. This is supposed to be the best year ever.”
The three of us march into the formidable school building, which glowers over us like a disapproving British grandfather with too much money and not enough heart. Still, I love this place that’s been a second home for me since kindergarten, and I love my friends who are more like sisters.
Chelsea tugs at my braid. “You should just cut it and deal with the consequences later. What can she do? Force your hair to grow magically?”
Miranda sighs and strokes my hair. “It’s so soft. Mine is a mess of wild, angry, forest fire curls. I’d kill for your hair and skin.”
It drives me nuts how insecure she always is about her red hair and freckles. “Miranda, you are so stunning. I don’t get how you don’t see it.”
She shrugs and we make our way to our lockers looking like the mismatched trio our favorite teachers affectionately labeled us in grade school.
I wouldn’t have even noticed the new guy, at least not right away, but his locker is right above mine and as I put my new books in a neat row and check my make-up, he leans over me and fidgets with his lock.
His scent surrounds me and fills me with images of the woods and gardens filled with wild flowers. There’s something familiar and dangerous about him and I look up just as he looks down at me. He moves back a space, but not enough to give me proper breathing room. His dark eyes penetrate into me, probing my secrets, but I have none to give. My life is boring and ordinary and I feel a sudden desire to have some secret, some unshared part of myself that I can offer him.
What a silly thought! I mentally slap myself and try to keep my head together. It’s not like he’s the first hot guy I’ve ever talked to and I’m not some damsel in distress stuck in a fairytale or romance novel. He just surprised me, that’s all. I ignore the accelerated beating of my heart and sweaty palms and pretend that I am my normal, confident self.
Chelsea and Miranda are mesmerized as well, but he doesn’t look at them, only me. And the look in his eyes–it’s as if he knows me. But I would remember if I’d ever met him before, of that I’m very sure!
I open my mouth to say something, anything to break the silence, but before I can utter a single word, he turns sharply and walks away. My body is frozen for another few seconds before it collapses into itself and my lungs finally expand with fresh oxygen.
Chelsea takes a breathe before speaking. “Oh. My. God. Who is he? Why didn’t we hear about a new student? He has got to be the hottest guy I’ve ever seen. And, Aurora, did you see how he was looking at you? He has got it bad!”
Heat enflames my face and I look for my lost voice. “He’s… okay. But very rude. He should have at least said something. Introduced himself or… or something.” I sound like a stuttering fool. Indignation rises in me and I cling to it like a life preserver. Better that than the alternative.
Miranda giggles. “He was speechless–clearly in shock at your beauty.”
I roll my eyes at her. “Please. I’m surrounded by the two hottest girls at school. I doubt I stood out like that. He’s probably some rich jerk who thinks he’s too good to talk to anyone else.”
My friends look confused at my uncharacteristic unkindness, but I ignore them and change the subject. “I have to get to class. Unfortunately. Will you make sure to tell Miss Bell that I’ll be in Journalism starting next week? I don’t want her to think I’m not coming and give my work to someone else.”
They both nod and walk in the opposite direction towards their class. Chelsea turns around briefly and locks eyes with me. “Don’t discount that guy, Aurora. He’s got some kind of connection to you, I can feel it.”
I nod. “Sure, okay. See you later.” I shiver as I head to class. Chelsea could be a professional matchmaker. Maybe it’s the gypsy in her blood, but she’s always had an extra sense about things, and if she feels something is up with Mr. Mysterious, then it probably is. I just don’t want to think about it.
Dread fills me as I open the door and look for a seat. This is the last class in the world I want to be in, but I have to give it at least a week. I know Aunt Mira won’t back down on that. I make my way to the back and pick a seat that I hope will keep all attention off of me. I plan to be as invisible as possible until I can transfer.
The room begins to fill and I recognize everyone, of course. I’ve been in school with most of them my whole life. Others transferred in over the last few years or for high school, but there are no other new student surprises waiting for me. I smile and wave at my classmates, but I pull out a book and keep it open so no one tries to initiate conversation. I’m not staying, so why get cozy with the others?
I quickly lose myself in the world Patrick Rothfuss has created in Name of the Wind. I love all things fantasy and epic fantasy and feel more at home in these worlds than in my own.
I’m so caught up in the stories and prose of my book that I don’t realize the seat next to me is occupied until his scent assaults me again. Woods and wild flowers. I realize in that moment why it’s so familiar to me–why his scent stirs something in me.
He smells like my dreams–the visions of another world, another land with woods and wild flowers, with a different kind of smell and feel–this boy brings all that back and my head spins with the possibility of what it means.
I shove it aside. Of course it means nothing except that I have an overactive imagination and should perhaps spend less time writing fantastical stories and more time living in the real world, where sexy boys do not represent anything beyond the obvious–a complication I don’t need.
I finally break free of my own thoughts to face him, but he’s already staring at me with that familiar look that speaks of histories we don’t share but which I still feel. How can this be?
He doesn’t look away or try to hide his interest, but he doesn’t speak either. I don’t know what to make of this boy with his midnight blue eyes boring into me. He runs his hand through his artfully disheveled dark hair in what I assume is a nervous gestures, but his sculpted face reveals nothing of his thoughts. The awkward silence unnerves me, so I fall back on the manners my aunt instilled in me.
I hold out my hand. “Hello, I’m Aurora Pendor. Welcome to our school.”
My lonely hand shakes a bit from nerves as I wait to see if he’ll grab it or ignore it. Will he touch me? Suddenly I wish I had just introduced myself without the handshake. The prospect of making skin contact with him sends my already flayed nerves into overdrive.
I’m just about to pull back when his cool, smooth hand wraps around mine. The instant our skin connects a wave of energy crashes into me. Electricity ripples on my skin in tiny bolts of fire, and flashes of another time and place consume my thoughts. His eyes widen in shock and he pulls his hand back. I’m sure my face looks similarly alarmed.
My mind clears once the contact is broken and I wonder at the disjointed images I saw when we touched.
He looks at his hand and looks back at me. His voice comes out in a harsh whisper. “Who are you?”
I stammer my response, still flustered by what has just happened. “I… I… just told you. I’m Aurora. Who are you?”
“I’m Keir. I just moved here with my mother from… Europe. You’re Aurora?”
His response confuses me. Does he know of me somehow? That doesn’t make sense. “Yes, why? Have we met before? I don’t think we have.”
Before he can reply, the teacher walks in and the bell rings. Everyone falls silent. I’m stunned as a beautiful woman in a black skirt and red silk blouse walks to the front of the room. Her pale skin shimmers as if sprinkled with fairy dust and her long black hair is pulled up in a bun. Her ruby lips part, and pause, before speaking.
She looks straight at me as she introduces herself to the class. “Hello students. I’m Miss Keller and I’ll be your new teacher this year. I know you will all miss Mr. Posthumus, but he had an unfortunate accident and will not be with us this year. I hope I will serve as a suitable substitute.”
I could feel the room clog with hormones from every teenage boy in class–except Keir. He frowned and crossed his arms. He looked detached and–angry.
I look from him to our new teacher and back. Why does Keir hate Miss Keller? And why do they both feel so familiar?
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