It was weird really, I mean I saw myself, I saw a reflection of me. Tell me why did it feel so unusual, it didn't seem like me, I swear.
Having had a long-needed shower I was gifted the tight attire I was currently wearing, the figure-hugging dress, black as night with even darker boots paired with a leather jacket. Everything pronounced my curves, but I was covered. I knew I was but I couldn't help but feel so naked. I guess I was too oblivious to notice that almost all of them wore black and dark colors. Was that a requirement or just a choice?
Presentable. I looked presentable. Zee helped me pack my hair into a tight bun, it was a two-person job. They weren't allowed makeup, I knew that itself was a must, but it didn't even occur to me why they would, they were agents wouldn't it just be a huge waste of time? Nevertheless, they were both naturally beautiful, I would be lying if it didn't make me a little jealous. I was just plain, plain Alexis. Nothing absolutely nothing special. It didn't stop Veronica lathering me with butt tons of makeup, her excuse was that she could never practice on anyone, Zee always refused and I was her first test subject. After numerous arguments she took it off, reluctantly I might add, settling with simple mascara, eyeliner and lipstick. This would be the first time I wore makeup, the particles felt so foreign on my face, so misplaced. But this is what normal teenage girls do right? It was normal.
My room placement was more than extravagant; queen-sized bed, draped with rose gold silk curtains, the smell of lavender blended with petrichor, weird combination but strongly enticing, the bulk wooden drawer sat beside the bed and matched with the closet completely placed to the far side of the room, everything was vast but aesthetic.
Evan would have a field day on the bed.
Words wouldn't even begin to scratch the surface of how much I missed him. Maybe if I could ask Isaiah to help me contact him? No. And risk whatever the hell is following you, find him, and have a field day on him. Don't be so selfish.
Instantly I felt tears welling in my eyes. Be brave. I felt that felt those words keep playing on repeat in my head, that was the only remedy that prevented me from breaking down uncontrollably.
Breaking whatever trance I was in a small knock landed on my door, "Can I come in?" It was Zee.
No. "Yes." I barely got it out without choking back a sob. I wasn't a very vocal crier. I couldn't even if I tried. I can not remember a time I even cried in front of someone, it felt so intrusive. Better to hold your feelings in and save others the stress of consoling you and promising you that everything was going to be okay, whereas both of you knew it was nothing but a lie. Didn't everyone think that?
Peeping her head through, her dark eyes fixated on me, it softened as she could adhere something was wrong but she also knew best not to press further, "Come downstairs, everyone's waiting for you." Gently she ushered me forward, opening the door fully, her voice was surprisingly calming she just had that aura about her, complete and utter calm, I wish I had that piece of mind.
Following her through two flights of glass stairs, we reached the lounge. The Nations bought a whole complex for them whilst they didn't use well over half of it. Other people were starving, homeless they would kill to have this comfort, quite literally. It baffled me how they haven't be robbed yet or at least had an intruder.
Everyone watched me enter, despite being in different areas. My eyes washed over them, squirming in my spot, Veronica looked suspiciously cheery like we were long time friends, in spite of her helping me with the clothes and makeup she was one to watch, Jordon looked merely curious until he saw Zee and made a beeline towards her wrapping an arm around her waist, green eyes who I still didn't know his name practically stared me down, becoming uncomfortable I searched for a familiar face, Isaiah held a smirk, his eyes traveled down my body and I swear he got flustered.
Clearing his throat, scratching the back of his head, he looked away. He was flustered. Why?
He broke the silence. " Alexis, you look stunning." Got everyone shocked, it was just surprising he would say it out loud. Purposely he locked eyes with me, my heart rate increased, to the point I swear I could hear it. It was a simple sentence but the amount of emotion behind it was suffocating.
Green orbs looked at me anticipating my reaction but I couldn't even gather up any comprehensible words, my mouth remained slightly agape, "Looks like Isaiah has a tiny bit of a crush." Chuckling, his American accent was thick, Isaiah didn't even deny anything, springing himself off the grey couch, he made his towards me, standing right in front of me, I could notice a small scar under his mesmerizing eyes specifically the left one, cocking his head to the side he grinned, "I didn't get the chance to introduce myself, I'm Elijah St. Claire." Confidently he offered me his hand which I accepted, a handshake is totally harmless, right? " And don't worry I already know who you are." He turned his grin into a smirk, playfully mocking me as I realized I didn't introduce myself.
A sharp laugh erupted from between his full lips before speaking, "It's alright sweetheart, I know how daunting it can be being introduced to all these new people. Take it easy." He paused, " But, I have to say I agree with Isaiah." Repeating the same action Isaiah did. Did men have any self-control? Or were they just hardwired this way, he did it so openly and freely with little regret. And I hated that.
Glancing over to Isaiah he held a prominent frown contouring his face filling it with frown lines, he must have been frowning hard. It was somewhat difficult to see him like that.
Veronica walked over everything dripping with confidence, draping an arm lazily over his shoulder, "Ignore him Alexis, he seriously can't help himself sometimes." Rolling her eyes she looked at me, "Care to eat? Zee cooked and it's amazing, no change there." Gesturing to the feast of food on the black glass table behind her in the connected dining area and kitchen.
Masses of food was there; pork loin, collard greens probably influenced from Elijah, stacks of variety of vegetables, lasagne, fruit salads, and from what I could tell was a Nigerian delicacy of Rice and Stew, not literal stew but a spicy sauce to go with the rice I could definitely guess that was from Zee, we used to have it every once in a while my father was obsessed with my mother's traditional delicacies, I could remember him saying that if it was a part of her it was a part of him and I loved him for that, then that potbellied toad banned all ethnic food in our house, he didn't want to 'poison' Evan, I tried making it from him once and let's just say it didn't go down well resulting me going to school the next day with a bandaged wrist.
I knew it took effort to make all of this and I instantly felt grateful and I didn't realize how hungry I was until now, how many hours had passed? In fact how many days? "Thank you, it looks amazing." Zee gave me a tender smile.
Everyone went to take their seats to dig in, Zee sat with Jordon on a side, Veronica quickly made her way next to Isaiah, I could swear he looked upset.
"Guess that leaves me and you." Smiling at me Elijah and I took the two seats left next to each other. He went out of the way to get a plate for me from the stack of plates and bowls situated in the middle of the table.
"There you go." He placed them in front of me.
"Going to feed her too Elijah." Isaiah dryly stated, his brows furrowed, clenching his hands into a fist that I could tell he was trying to hide.
"Only if she wants me to." He looked down at me, smirking turning back at him. He continued'" Why? Is the great Isaiah Patriot jealous?" Staring each other down, you could cut the tension with a knife.
"I can feed myself, thank you." Directing my last statement towards Elijah, all he did was smile, he didn't seem slightly offended.
"Whatever you say." With that, he began eating. Leaving me slightly dumbfounded. In everything I knew, with all the abnormalities in this abnormal world, he was by far the strangest. Maybe I'd have to keep an eye on him too.
I couldn't help think this would be easier if it was just me and Isaiah, I also couldn't stop myself glancing over at him, he was already making eye contact with me his blue orbs gleaming, like he was searching, searching again for something he couldn't find. I didn't know what to give him so I gave him, well, nothing.
Quite abruptly he took a swing of his drink and left the table throwing a quick thank you to Zee.
Everyone focused their attention on me like I was to one who forced him to leave. Zoning down at his untouched food, I could feel undeniable guilt flood through me.
Well was I?
Dinner was over and from a lengthy cross-examination of me, everyone did their individual parts of clearing up washing, and storage and I just stood there unsure what my role was, Zee instructed me to go to my room to get rest. Yet, it was more like an order but I didn't complain. I was too tired. And I knew I needed it.
By now the stars were ripping through, dark and light, a beautiful contrast. At least there were still stars, at least not everything was in ruins. Right now stars were pretty much the only thing close to perfection.
Mini lights connected on the railways, guiding me to my room two flights up. Reaching the long-winded hallways which contained roughly six rooms, it was too much effort to count. Forcing my feet to take a few steps, I felt an overbearing urge to stop right in front of Isaiah's room, a door away from mine. Jordon thought it's best to put me next to someone as everyone's rooms were pretty much spread out, two people weren't even on the same floor, apart from me and Isaiah.
Should I even bother going in? Was it essential to check up on him and ask him what triggered his abrupt departure, or was I being too nosy? It wasn't really any of my business. Sometimes people just needed their space.
My hand hovered in the air above his door. Should I knock? Go in and check if he was okay?
I should really give him space, it wasn't fair on him to intrude.
Frantically shaking my head realizing how rude and pushy that was, I forced my hand down and followed into my room.
* * *
Silver strands of hair that was all that was filled my peripheral vision, a small frame tackled me from the side, that familiar smell of baby powder stung my nostrils.
"Alexis." There was one person with that voice.
Immediately I crashed down to my little brother's height, aching to see his face. It was exactly the same as when I left, nothing changed the same smooth skin and piercing eyes staring back at me.
Was this a dream?
Cautiously, I laid a hand on his cheek, I could feel him, physically feel him, quickly I tackled him in a hug almost causing both of us to fall over.
Pulling back I smiled, he playfully giggled as I ran my hand through his hair vigorously. "Evan. My beautiful Evan."
Everything felt so real, so vivid. This couldn't possibly be a dream.
But how did he get here?
Looking around, pitch-black surrounded us, it was useless focusing on anything, everything just shifted out of focus into a blur. "Evan, how do you get here? Did mum bring you here?"
Before I could get a response, Evan's face contoured in a permanent screaming face without any audible screams, half his face drooped, bloody, his eyes pitch black.
This would be the perfect time to react but I couldn't, I felt immobilized, paralyzed. What was happening?
Then that screech, that demonic screech filled everywhere, deteriorating my sight and hearing.
Evan. Was he safe?
Wrapping my arms tightly around my bloody brother I held him tight as I humanly could, I didn't know what else I could do. Better to die in the arms of someone you love than a complete stranger.
Evan gasped, my eyes sight instantly restored, a metal sword draped in his blood pierced through his chest, his face contoured in agony, tears spilled from his returned glowing eyes.
My cheeks become instantly wet an uncontrollable sob erupted involuntarily but I still couldn't move, to help him, hold him, anything.
The last thing I saw was his eyes dimming as I saw the lights draining from them, the sword then pushed into me.
I felt everything. The burning, the helplessness, everything. Falling back into the darkness, letting myself sink into the ground beneath.
* * *
"Alexis?" I recognized that voice. This was a dream. "Alexis!" The voice strained, unsure what to do. Another series of footsteps charged through, followed by another and then another until I lost count. Wet. I was wet. My cheeks felt unbearably damp. The paralysis slowly drained from my systems. A dream. It was a dream. Forcefully I snapped my eyes open the smell of sulfur disintegrated and sweet chocolate filled my senses instead. Instantly I locked my eyes onto Zee, her expression screamed everything, fear. Absolute fear possibly the overwhelming thought that I was the key to fixing the world, I could remember what she said about me being the 'savior' and Isaiah agreed with her, my mind flowed back to him saying he didn't know why they wanted me and he seemed surprisingly honest. Did he lie to me? If he did, how, why would he choose to slip up like that, right in front of me? Could I trust him?
With the boys already explaining to us that there was no one around for miles, I think it really dawned on everyone that this was deadly serious, eradicating the threat of an intruder instead was something we all could cling to, even hoped for, anything was better than the truth. But to our dismay, the boys extinguished our hope. My hope. Privately they chose to talk from earshot away from me, probably what they thought was for my own good. As if. They practically had to pry Isaiah away from me, he was so reluctant to go that when he left his fire and warmth died with him, at least I had Zee still by my side she thought it was best for me not to be left alone. I couldn't help but agree with her, silently of course. If they were nervous, how should I be feeling? Fearful? Scared? After their private get-together, all the boys stormed back into the room, Veronica still lingered in the hallway like she was anxious to come close to me, not sc
Chapter five My eyes felt heavy, my breath hitched, my body weak and despite it being morning since the sunlight ripped through the curtains I was still undoubtedly finished. Sleep didn't seem enough for me currently, maybe it was because I couldn't get enough of it or maybe because I didn't want to. Stress does extraordinary things to your body. I felt his presence before I heard his voice, "Good morning." My eyes flickered to him, Isaiah, standing towards the door fully clothed, holding a bottle of purple thick liquid, his eyes traveled down to the bottle too, "Oh I made a smoothie for you, you were fast asleep I thought you needed all the rest you could get, " Smiling he handed me the bottle, "Apples, grapes, and strawberries. I thought you'd prefer that over the protein-packed one we're required to drink, doesn't taste as good." Gratefully I accepted the bottle with my non-injured hand, his eyes glazed over to my bandaged one, "How's
It was hard getting ready with one damaged hand, but Zee being the type of person she is, helped me with everything. The pain was slowly subsiding and the pain killers seemed to be doing their job well enough. The soft fabric clung tightly to my skin, I guess they didn't wear anything loose-fitting. Tight black athletic wear pants and a sleeveless top. It looked relatively normal, nothing overly fancy like yesterday, for that I was grateful. Veronica insisted on wearing makeup and edged on forcing me to, when it was clear that at least for now nothing particle-filled will be even touching my face she dropped the subject. We were about to 'train', that meant physical activity, right? Wouldn't she just sweat the makeup off? Or was it so easy for her that she didn't even break a sweat? But weren't they forbidden to wear makeup or were those rules just a 'guideline' meant to be there but not meant to be fully followed?
Hastily I nodded, knowing that if I spent a moment of hesitation, I would just chicken out. And I needed this training, I had no idea how to protect myself. So I guess it's essential for survival. "Okay." Leading me to a training mat, he looked into my eyes, there were gentle, soft, somewhat understanding, "Don't worry. It's you're first time, I'm not going to go full out, Alexis. We'll build you up there, and one day you'll be as good as me, maybe even better." Despite him smiling up reassuringly, the only question that seemed to burn through my head was how long did I really have? Not even Isaiah could soften that worry. I tried to muster up what was my best attempt of a smile, it didn't seem to convince him, but he took what he could get. "Right. Position your body like this." His hands grabbed my waist, even though I was clothed I swear I still feel his bare skin, the burning and the tingling sensation I was feeling was so enticing a
Chapter six "Here. " Elijah said, handing me a pack of cold, frozen peas without hesitation I took it pressing in it quickly onto the nape of my neck, the pain sizzled out and I finally let out the breath I was involuntarily holding. "I'm guessing you need it." He chuckled the deep sound vibrating in the spacey room. Veronica was undoubtedly right, that was the three most gruesome hours of my being. But I learned a few things, how to hold the Blocking Position and how to execute a few oncoming attacks. Isaiah, though strict taught exceptionally well that I couldn't fault him on that. "Alexis," He spoke, I felt myself looking up at him, it must have been something in his voice that grabbed my attention but I couldn't figure out what, " You did good today." His green eyes concentrated on mine, suppressing down the lump in my throat, smiling, I answered back. "Thank you." His bold eyebrows scrun
Deciding that I was also too exhausted for another game I got up making my way towards the kitchen. This time I'd force Zee to accept my help and I'd leave no room for her to even utter the word no. Noticing Isaiah following behind me, I couldn't help but smile this past couple of days were trying to say the least but he's been there the best he could, the best that I'd let him anyway. Sweet, pleasurable aroma of food wafted as I got closer. With all the extra, excessive training I had to endure, I was constantly hungry and Zee's food was the only thing that made me feel like I had more than enough. The glass table held different varieties each and every night, this time I was graced with; big, shallow bowl filled to the brim of cooked plantain, pasta mixed with vegetables, a fat roast chicken situated in the middle, multiple salmon bombarded with different spices. No need to say, but it all looked undeniably delectable. It always baffle
"Veronica that's enough!" Zee's voice boomed through the room silencing even Veronica. Her chocolate eyes turned a shade darker. I've never seen her like this, I've never seen her so, well so angry. I instantly hated myself for turning her this way, this was my fault, all my fault. I should never have ran away, I should never have gone into the woods, that way me and Isaiah would never have met and our destiny could be rewritten. "You know better than to attack someone when they clearly aren't in the right space to defend themselves. Don't lose the morals that were instilled in us." This time her voice held all the authority, I could tell no one expected this from her, not even Jordon. "Veronica. Sit. Down. Or. Leave." Each word, each pause emphasized, neither girls were backing down, Zee held her ground equally as Veronica did, "Okay. Then leave. Now." It was clear by the tone of her voice her command held no room for argument. Her eyes flickered onto each in