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 holding up?" I almost forgot that I was injured, events of last night flooded over me.
"It's fine." Lie. It might not have been burning as it was before but it still hurt just as bad.
Again, he saw right through me, "I thought we've already been through this, you don't need to lie to me." Instead of frowning, he actually smiled a somewhat heartwarming, reassuring smile. "There are some pain killers in the upper drawer," He gestured towards the cabinet drawer beside the bed. Pain killers were increasingly rare to come by, if it was available the prices were too high for the lower or even middle class to afford. Funny what we take for granted. When it's gone, it's gone.
I nodded, unsure what to say, last night burned through my head again, incessant with the memory of me practically begging him not to leave me and his warm strong arms wrapped around me. Strange? I could still feel the imprint now, his scent clung stubbornly to my clothes, but I guess, I guess it wasn't unpleasant as I thought it to be.
Snapping back into reality and bewildered by my momentary lapse of sanity, I realized that it was painfully silent and for too long.
Suddenly long fingers found their way onto my face, gently, meticulously, cupping my cheeks he forced me to look into his ethereal eyes. Anybody else probably would get slapped or worse. But this wasn't out of malice. How do I know? I just do, malevolence just didn't relate to his character.
His voice gruff and laced with concern asked me carefully, "Alexis, how many fingers am I holding up?" With one hand free, he held up what I could clearly see was three rough, calloused fingers.
Cracking a smile, I looked back into his eyes, "Three. I'm fine really. No headache, no concussion, nothing." Reassuring him seemed to work, he softly left go, striding back up regaining his tall, now quickly composed posture.
"It's just after last night, with everything that happened and what you went through, I am honestly surprised you didn't go into shock or worst, I couldn't go to sleep until you went to sleep and now you abruptly zoned out. I thought-"
"You waited until I fell asleep?" Despite everything that happened previously and the brunt of the fall that he took, which now he still managed to dazzle and look perfect, and knowing how much it drained out of him, he still waited for me. "Thank you, for last night, you know for being there. "
Clearing his throat he began scratching the back of his head, I could tell he was nervous, I just didn't know why. "It's fine. It's my job."
'It's my job.' That phrase stung much more than it should have. I guess I deserved that, after what he told me yesterday night and how I completely disregarded his feelings. But such feelings were dangerous in his line of work, he knew that and I knew that. But why would he risk everything for me? Who am I that he would do something so dangerous like that, "Nevertheless, thank you." I inputted quickly, giving him more of a reason to stay and talk, to carry on the conversation.
Reminding myself over, weakness means death. Playing it like a broken record over and over in my head until I made sure it stuck there. What happened last night to me wasn't an accident, I had to stay on my game, I had to not get caught up in feelings. I had to. Or to put it simply I'd die.
He was watching me, maybe looking for a break in my walls, maybe, or looking for something else I couldn't decipher. And neither could he. "Why did you leave last night, at dinner?"
That question clearly took him off guard, his face contorted, straining his features, " I just wasn't feeling well, " He paused to see if I was buying his flimsy excuse, "Migraine, I get those frequently. I never knew my family but I'm guessing it's genetic." He laughed trying to fill in his excuse and make it somewhat more believable, maybe to an everyday passerby it would be plausible, but I'm not one of them.
"And now?" I pressed on, his eyes locked on mine again, it took me everything in my power not to look away, but the way he was looking at me and how expressive his blue orbs were, it was hard not to.
The corner of his lips hitched up into a smirk, his signature smirk. "Enough about me, you're the one I'm here to protect. I have to deliver you to the Nations in one piece. " He pointed to the end of his bed, " Some change of clothes courtesy of Zee, we're training at 0900," He stopped again breaking it down for me, "In thirty minutes, should give you enough time to shower and do whatever girls - women need to do. I'll get Zee to help you out. But nine o'clock sharp." Proceeding to walk away, he stopped and turned back, "Oh and Alexis we need to talk more about how you got those marks. But training first, I need to make sure you can protect yourself when I'm not around." With one more smile thrown my way, he left, closing the door behind him.
He didn't slam it, didn't bang it shut but it still felt like hoards of bullets shooting right past my ears inhibiting any sound from passing and that gut-wrenching hole left in my chest. Digging deeper and deeper.
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
Two bodies dropped. Isaiah. No. Steadily getting up from my knees, my eyes connected with Zee's, she finally looked up. So many emotions in one pair of eyes, it was scary to look at. Forcing my head around. I didn't want to come to terms with it. I didn't want to come to terms that he was dead. Isaiah was dead. One body laid in front of me, cramped at my feet, blood freely flowing, Isaiah stood opposite me, still recovering from his initial shock, his gun facing down. He didn't take the shot, it wouldn't have been possible. Two shots. There were two shots. So I would have been dead. Then my eyes followed his. Veronica mounted, slumped onto the wall, head hung low, the gun falling out of her hand clattering loudly against the polished floor, a layer of blood trickled from the corner of her mouth, her eyelids shut closed, a hole in her heart. Dead.
He was injured, badly too. Without losing a second, me and Zee went to either side of him draping each arm over our shoulders, his eyes rolled to the back of his head before his head fell back. This wasn't good. Shouting in the distance, still firing, "Keep going! Training Room!" Isaiah yelled. Managing his body weight the best way we could and as fast as we possibly could, we made our way towards the flaming crimson door. Closer. Closer. Zee kicked it open, the abnormal amount of force tearing it off its hinges. Just then, loud, numerous thundering footsteps came into the half exploded complex. They were here. Isaiah arrived in front of us, hastily leading us towards the far side of the room, just away from their view. It bought us time. Just how long though? Elijah was becoming increasingly heavy to
**** Springing straight up from my dream state, my heart rate pounding in my chest. My breathing irregular. But I didn't scream. It wasn't real, it was a dream. Only a dream. I closed my eyes trying to grip onto my version of reality. The version that right now I'd do anything to escape from. Forcing myself to keep my breathing steady, I reopened my eyes adjusting to the new scenery. Bed. I was on a bed. Throwing the duvet wrapped around me, I hung my legs over, the tips of my toes making light contact with the carpeted floor. Where am I? Trying to absorb my surroundings I looked around. Gold encrusted spiral walls, flat-screen television secured to the far end of the wall. A table and a single chair situated towards the corner of the room and a slightly ajar door. I was curious, to say the least. Where exactly was I? I couldn't be back at their c