Chapter 5.25

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?

I just decided to let my hair flow freely down, bouncing past my shoulders curving around my oval face.

Looking in the mirror, I felt satisfied with how I looked. Plain, simple, me. Then why was this abnormal amount of guilt building up inside, why did I not recognize the person in front of me, even without makeup, it just didn't look like me. I found myself reaching out touching the glass expecting it the break or shatter or something. Anything was better than looking at the person ahead of me, the person I so wanted to forget.

Three loud, calculated knocks pounded on my door, this time I knew it wasn't Zee. Her knocks were softer and calmer. To my surprise Jordon popped his head through, his black hair shaggy and unkempt, this was a far cry from his normal pristine look, I'm guessing he just wasn't a morning person. "Are you ready?" He gave a small smile.

Returning the gesture, I nodded, making my way out of Isaiah's room and down the curved staircase with him. I wasn't at all used to big places like this and getting lost was especially easy to do.

"Thanks for coming to get me, I'm honestly baffled how you all don't get lost in this place."

To my shock, a small laugh came from his parted lips, "You get used to it. Actually, Zee asked me to get you, she wants us to, in her words 'bond'. " His last words placed not bitterness or distaste but more amusement.

Nudging my shoulders, his brown eyes pierced into mine, we paused and both erupted into laughter. I couldn't help but smile, "Yeah that sounds like Zee."

Quickly he added, "No hate towards you or anything." I dismissed it with a wave of my hand. "I couldn't get much in with everyone crowding, marveling at you. And Isaiah, damn I've never seen him so protective over someone before." He paused, I could feel his stare burning into my cheek trying to gauge a reaction out of me. But I had nothing to give him.

Turning to face him as we walked, me subsequently following him, I asked, "Is it true," He raised an eyebrow prompting me to carry on, "Is it true that Isaiah was assigned my case years back and I'm somehow going to save the world, that must be some sci-fi stuff and, Jordon, well the world can't be saved, there's no hope, how can there be with everything's that's happening? It's just not possible." There was a long pause, so long that I thought maybe he didn't hear me.

"Alexis, what you have to understand is that we were all assigned your case, the Nations has hundreds of agents, no one wanted to take it because we knew it would be a great risk, even more than usual, people - things that no one can even possibly start to comprehend don't want the world saved and they'd go to great lengths to prevent it from happening. Only Isaiah was willing to put his life on the line for you. And- yes we have been monitoring you, seeing if you would be a viable candidate, we got a little bit more than excepted, you're the perfect candidate. For what? Well, that we don't know, as I'm sure Isaiah would have mentioned we are restricted to the level of information we get. Silly, if you ask me considering it's us putting our lives on the line. But you are our only hope."

Something suddenly struck me, " Do you think what happened to me," Gesturing to my bandaged arm, " Do you think it was something paranormal?"

He shrugged, "It could possibly well be. You must understand that we're mere fragile humans and that there are civilizations out there so much advanced than our own and wars with things we can't see every day. I'm a big believer in spiritual happenings and I-"

Elijah suddenly strolled past us, heading for what I guessed would be the training room. I was so engrossed with the conversion that I didn't realize the quick change in scenery, the dimly lit hallway leading to a big ruby red door. I stilled my breathing, memories flashed back to Eaton, Evan, Isaiah, the demonic Unknown. Was that the paranormal entity Jordon was talking about or something else, something far worse. "Not feeding her more of your heebie-jeebies ghost stories are you?" He directed the question to Jordon but his green eyes trained on me, "Pay no mind to what he tells you, everything has a rational, reasonable, and viable explanation." He smirked before jogging towards the door, his sweatpants clinging to his waist and his tattoos more visible than last night, encompassed around his whole body.

"Does that guy ever wear a shirt?" Jordon huffed, low enough for me to hear but not loud enough for Elijah to hear, looking up I smiled which he returned a friendly one, both trying to keep ourselves from laughing. Despite his hard exterior, he seemed genuine, in fact, he and Elijah are the epitome of juxtaposition. "Well, like I said," He continued, "It's just my opinion, doesn't mean you actually have to believe it."

I nodded comfortable with what he had to say, it brought a whole new light and perceptive on things. But there was still one question, burning in my mind, "What's the deal with you and Zee?" I blurted it out before even thinking if it was an appropriate thing to ask.

His smile fell and his hard face soon overtook his soft one.

I guess not.

"Don't take this the wrong way Alexis but it's really none of your business." His voice monotone, stoic. I guess they can really turn it on and off whenever they pleased.

Realizing I hit a rough spot, I quickly added, " I'm sorry. I didn't mean for you to take offense. I-"

"It's okay, it's just complicated." He smiled but it didn't quite reach his eyes, but it was enough to know that I still had a friend in him. I took it without hesitation and let the matter drop.

Opening the door for me, walking in what beheld me was what I could describe a marvel of a room; mats were stored carefully in what seemed to be a draught out pattern, a boxing kit was stored to the far corner of the room not even taking up a quarter of the space, multiple tall wooden stands with poles sticking out at random angles dotted around the place, a grand sized computer screen mounted on the wall seemed to be tracking everyone moments and for what I could tell, heart rates amongst other things, a tiny red dot appeared and following beside it was the name Alexis, it was tracking me. An array of more equipment I didn't even know the name of and never seen in my life was situated at different stations, ice-cold air quickly crashed out of the air conditioner, the pure white wallpaper clashing with the dark tiled floor.

A voice broke my inspection of the room, "Welcome to the Training Room, or as I like to call it the three most gruesome hours of your human life." The voice belonged to Veronica, as we locked eyes she tried to stifle what I guess was a smile but came out blunt, short, and cold. Well, at least she tried.

"Hey, don't scare the poor girl." Only Elijah would say such an irritating and belittling statement like that. I wasn't a child. How old were they anyway, eighteen maybe nineteen not a major difference from being sixteen. Was this his way of being kind? Or was this to just annoy me to a whole other level?

Playfully Veronica stuck her tongue out at him which he responded by trapping her in a bear hug. The act was so distant yet so intimate. Were they together?

Zee quickly came up to me, giving me a small side hug, "Ignore them, " She smiled showing off her pearly white teeth, I could see why Jordon was so enticed by her she really was beautiful, "They're just messing about, it's not that bad."

Raising my eyebrows waiting for her to carry on what this so-called training would consist of.

"It's just a couple round of partner sparring and then we go onto to our own individual stations-"

Hastily I asked, "What do you mean by sparring?"

She looked at me like if I've grown three heads, like the meaning of sparring was pretty self-explanatory which now I completely agreed, "You know, someone versus one-"

Trying to hid my embarrassment but to no avail, "Yeah, I got it."

Before I could ask her anything else a booming voice ruptured through, "Right!" Jordon stood in front of all of us, now only realizing that we were in a perfectly straight line, everyone wore roughly the same type of clothing only the boys wore dark grey or maroon red sweatpants instead and of course Elijah without the shirt. "Everyone get into pairs, teach your partner everything you know and vice versa. Be rough, be brutal, don't hold back." Funny I thought this was just sparring not full-on head-to-head action. "In courtesy of our new guest." His eyes flickered towards me, "Whoever pairs up with her-tone it down. I don't want anyone in the Sick Bay, okay?" It was strange how much he grabbed everyone's attention, how authority flowed around him. I guess it made sense considering he looked a lot older than the rest, so he must have had more experience. It was slightly unsettling how emotionless his face could get like he's been broken down into the perfect soldier. Willingly or unwillingly, that I wasn't sure of.

Looking through my peripheral vision, Zee tensed up, biting her full lips, looking at Jordon with what looked like a hint of lust in her eyes. I'm guessing they'd no doubt be a pair.

Jordon instantly locked eyes with her, offering her a hand, without hesitation she accepted. Throwing a quick, "Have fun." My way they both headed, hands locked to a separate station. I just couldn't picture Jordon hurting her, or Zee hurting him. But I guess in what they do they have to be completely prepared. Maybe, just maybe someday they could be really be fighting each other. But that was by far the most ludicrous idea I could possibly come up with, with the way they looked at each other, that would have been close to impossible.

"What do you say, partners?" A hand shot out, connected to Elijah's face. I looked at him hard which he only smirked back, I didn't really have many offers, I nodded proceeding to take his hand.

Suddenly Isaiah stepped in front of him, knocking his hand away and using his entire body to block him out. "Shall we go?" Smiling down at me, I couldn't help but smile back, it was truly frustrating how all these emotions stirred up inside of me whenever he was around, there was too much I had a hard time picking one, everything clouded my right sense of judgment whenever he was around. I didn't like that, I didn't like that at all.

"I think she's already taken Patriot, pair with Veronica." Gently he pushed Isaiah out of the way, I could tell from that small movement, Isaiah's eyes were blazing, but he was trying to hold it together which was ultimately failing.

"If you touch me again. I swear -"

Veronica edged in with a slightly irritated expression of what was unfolding in front of her, "Boys, boys, boys. There's no need for this. Elijah, you're with me." The tone of her voice held no room for a counterargument. "Isaiah, you can be with Alexis." How she said my name with a slight bitterness reinforced the idea that she wasn't too sure about me like she was okay being my friend but also putting me at arm's reach.

Elijah followed her to another station, I could tell quite reluctantly.

"I'm sorry about that. I didn't want you to see this side of me, even if it was briefly."

Looking up at him I said, "Isaiah trust me, you don't intimidate me." No. But you make me feel things I didn't think were humanly possible.

Smirking, he gently touched my lips, his gaze lingering on them before his face contorted in pain, like he was tired of holding something back, "Never said I did, Alexis. Never said I did."

Hearing grunts and bodies connect to the cushioned floor, I could tell everyone was busy training. We just stood there. Me nervously. Him waiting for me to at least catch my breath. His touch, Isaiah's touch stirred something up in me that I was struggling to suppress. Were these emotions at all normal?

"You ready?"

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