Authors: Alycia Linwood
Copyright (c) 2012 Alycia Linwood
All rights reserved. No part of this novel may be reproduced, stored or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the prior permission in writing from the author. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental
I just want to say thank you to everyone who has been working with me to get this story ready to be shared with the world. I love each one of you, and I have no idea where I would be without you!
My fast footsteps echoed down the school's empty hall as I made my way to the classroom. The stupid bus hadn't arrived on time, and I'd spent full fifteen minutes standing in the snow. I could still feel the goose bumps on my skin, and the cloud of the fresh air seemed to cling to me, making me pull my long dark brown tweed coat tighter around me. Maybe I should have listened to my mother when she'd said I needed to put a shirt under my beige wool sweater, but the memory of Brenda, one of the most beautiful girls in my class, telling me I'd gained some weight when I'd last worn that many layers of clothing still burned in my mind.
Glancing down at my black boots, I noticed that my dark blue jeans were soaked all the way up to my knees. The fact that I didn't feel that at all told me how cold I actually was. I ran a hand through my brown curls and realized my hair was damp from the melted snowflakes. It was definitely not a good day for me, and the last thing I needed right now was to see my teacher's suspicious face while I tried to explain why I was late again.
The janitor glared at me as I neared the classroom, leaving snow and mud on the floor he had probably just cleaned. Well, there was nothing I could do about that, so I knocked once on the door and went inside. The teacher was writing something on the blackboard, and my classmates' curious eyes turned to me for a moment, then everyone resumed what they'd been doing, clearly disappointed that it was only me. Some even shot me an angry glare because they thought it was so unfair that I could come late to class without consequences. But hey, their clothes were at least dry, and they didn't spend hours waiting for the bus to come every day.
I ignored them and went to my seat at the back of the class, next to my best friend, Italia Marlowe. Yeah, her parents adored Italy
much. She flashed me a smile as I got comfortable in my chair, trying to make as little noise as possible. If this were any period other than the first, there would be a lot of chatter, and I wouldn't have to be so careful.
"Miss Danrews, nice of you to finally join us," the teacher said as she turned to face the class.
"I'm sorry," I said. "The bus was late."
Someone in the front snorted and Brenda rolled her pretty, green eyes. The teacher pressed her lips in a tight line, jotted something down in the class register and started talking about the types of rocks. I looked at Italia, who was absently playing with a lock of her long straight black hair, and then an unknown voice caught my attention. The teacher must have asked something because a boy was answering. A boy I didn't recognize.
"Who's that?" I whispered to Italia. She focused her big brown eyes on me in surprise.
"The boy who's talking," I said, wondering why would they introduce a new student in the middle of the school year and not even announce it before.
"You mean Devin?" Her eyebrows shot upward. Was I supposed to know him?
"Is he new?" I was a hundred percent sure it wasn't possible that I forgot someone who was in my class, because that would mean there was something wrong with my memory.
"Umm, do you have a fever or something?" Italia frowned. "It's impossible to forget someone as hot as Devin Teneroli. You're joking, right?"
"Miss Marlowe!" The teacher raised her voice, annoyed by our whispering. "Pay attention to the class, please."
Italia simply smiled, concentrating on the blackboard and whatever the teacher was saying. I was still in shock and considered pinching myself to wake up from this nearly nightmarish experience. The boy sitting three desks in front of me occupied my attention. His short jet-black hair was messy, falling into his dark blue eyes. He was wearing a black leather jacket and dark blue jeans with a shiny silver chain attached to the belt. His back was resting against the wall, and his left leg was draped over another chair. I had no idea how the teacher let him sit like that.
The boy's dark eyes turned to me, an amused expression on his face. I realized I was staring, so I quickly averted my eyes. There was absolutely nothing familiar about him, but no one else seemed to pay special attention or watch him differently. He was just like any other student; someone I should know very well. I put my hand on my forehead, checking for a fever, but my skin was more cold than warm.
Opening my favorite yellow notebook with a picture of a blue butterfly on it, I found a folded piece of paper. I didn't remember putting anything in it, so I unfolded it to see what it was. My heart skipped a beat when I read the title and the names underneath it. It was a short composition on Shakespeare's King Lear, and apparently, Devin and I had written it together. I stared at the paper so intently that it was a surprise I didn't make a hole in it. But no matter how much I blinked, Devin's name didn't vanish from it.
There was no way I couldn't remember one person who had been working with me on a paper and going to the same class for at least a year. I didn't even want to think what it would mean if he'd been here with us for all three years. No, someone had to be playing with me. Everyone knew I was usually late, so they'd probably assumed I'd be late today and decided to trick me by placing this in my notebook and pretending Devin wasn't a new student. But why would my best friend be a part of it? Of course, I wouldn't have believed it otherwise.
Anger started welling up inside of me. What were they thinking? That it would be fun? That they would have a good laugh when I started thinking I was losing my mind? Oh, they so weren't going to get it, because I wasn't willing to humiliate myself that way. I'd just play their game and pretend everything was fine. Folding the paper, I tucked it in the back of my notebook and focused on the class.
When the loud ringing of the school bell announced that it was time for lunch, I expected Italia to come to me and explain everything, but she simply followed me to the lunchroom, talking about everyday things. Ah, so they were still waiting for my reaction... or maybe it was all Italia's idea and she had already forgotten all about it.
We sat at our table with our trays of food, and Italia immediately grabbed her hamburger, barely chewing before she swallowed.
"Ariel, you comin' to Deeli's this week'd?" she asked.
"You're going to choke on that, Ita." I shook my head at her. She placed the half-eaten hamburger back on the tray and wiped her mouth.
"Right, sorry." She smiled. "But this cold weather is making me hungry. I could eat a horse!"
"Yeah." I played with my fries, suddenly not interested in food at all. "So, you were saying?"
"Ah, I wanted to know would you go to Deeli's." She doused her fries in ketchup and popped one into her mouth. "My brother's band is going to perform. I kind of have to go. You know, a sister's duty."
"Wow, nice," I said, taking a sip of my soda. "I think I'm coming with you."
"Let me guess." A smile curved her red lips. "You're not coming because of me, but because of my brother."
"Hey!" I tried to keep my face serious but failed. Italia's brother was three years older than us, and he had such a gorgeous shoulder-length dark brown hair and breathtaking brown eyes. Besides, he was an excellent singer.
"Oh, don't worry." Italia laughed. "Everyone wants him. Soon I'll have to defend him from all the fangirls. But I'd totally let you get to him."
"You didn't tell him anything, did you?" Not a long time ago, I'd confessed to her that I liked her brother. A lot.
"No, I promised I wouldn't," she said, leaning forward so no one else from the other tables could hear us. "But I can ask him if he likes you."
"No!" I nearly yelled. "You can't! He'll suspect something."
"Whoa, calm down. I haven't said anything yet."
"And don't." I gave her a warning look. It would be so embarrassing if her brother found out I thought he was cute. Then I'd definitely have to leave the country or the continent. Especially if he thought I was some silly schoolgirl who fancied him only because he was older and a singer.
"Oook," Italia said, opening her blue backpack and fumbling through it to find something. I used that moment to look around, but everything seemed to be just like always. Devin was sitting at the table in the far corner of the room, surrounded by three guys from my class, but he wasn't talking to them. He was carefully observing what others were doing, then his eyes met mine. I looked away, startled.
"What?" There was concern in Italia's beautiful dark eyes. "Is something wrong?"
"No," I lied. "I just hate being late for class, and my clothes are still wet and..."
"Yeah, that sucks." She reached for my hand and squeezed it. "But you'll be fine. The winter will go away soon, and then we will actually be wishing for it to come back!"
"Not me." I smiled. "I love warmth."
"And I love to wear dresses and miniskirts," she said. "So summer is my choice!"
"Spring is the best."
"Whatever you say, girl." She suddenly got up. "I have to go ask Devin something."
"Wait, what?" I said, surprised, but she didn't pay any attention to me. She just started walking towards Devin. I sprang to my feet, grabbing her arm, and she turned to look at me, confusion written all over her pretty face.
"Why do you have to go talk to him?" I asked, looking into her eyes.
"I have to," she said, smiling, and I let go of her. What game was she playing? If this was all an attempt to confuse me, then it was working perfectly. Except that didn't make any sense. I sat down and watched what she was going to do. When she reached him, he got something out of his backpack and gave it to her. She took it, smiling all the time, and came back to sit with me.
"What was that about?" I said as she focused on her food again like nothing had happened.
"Oh, nothing," she said dismissively. "Devin wants me to write my project ideas in here. You know that our History teacher paired us for that stupid paper."
I blinked. No, I had absolutely no idea about anything that included Devin. Before she could try to stop me, I grabbed the notebook he had given her. Just as I was about to open it, I felt a sharp, stabbing pain in my temples. The intensity of it nearly blinded me and images started filling my mind.
A black-haired woman in a long red gown
stands on the edge of a cliff. The cold wind twists her dark curls and tries to lift her gown, but she ignores it. Casting her look down, she sees the immense sea and the huge waves crashing against the shore. She senses movement behind her back and turns around immediately. There is a man standing not far from her.
His hair is short and black, his eyes shining like black obsidian. He is wearing a black trench coat and
, underneath it, a black shirt and gray jeans. There is something shiny tucked into his black leather belt. A dagger. The woman gasps when she notices it, nearly taking a step backwards, but then she remembers she could fall and face her death in the waves.
"You can't have him!" she yells, placing her hand on her swollen belly. It seems like she could give birth at any moment.
"Don't be stupid, Melissa." T
he man approaches her slowly. "You know I can."
"No." A pair of huge red
wings flutters behind her back, and her eyes go completely black. The already clouded sky darkens, announcing a storm coming.
"Are you going to fight me?" T
he man looks amused. Then in a flash, his own red wings come out of his back, strong and elegant.
"I thought you loved me.
" Her voice is empty of all emotion. She doesn't want him to know how much it hurts her that he wants to do who knows what with their unborn baby. The fruit of their love.
"I do love you. That's why I can't let you bring a demon into the human world." He reaches out to her, but she slaps his hand away.
"You know what they will do to him in
Hell!" She feels a familiar sting of tears in her eyes.