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Brethless (Circle of Light Book 1)

Table of Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

About the Author

Social Media Links

More by April Margeson

Breathless (Circle of Light Book 1)

April Margeson

Shakespir Edition

 

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CHAPTER 1

My name is Bailey Sims and until now I have been a normal seventeen year-old high school senior. My life isn’t filled with all the exciting events that most girls my age like. Most days of my days are filled with monotonous afternoons after the long school day is over. I read a lot to pass the time. Actually, to tell the truth, I am addicted to reading. Never in my life would I have dreamed that the creatures that I read about in books would be real. One day was all it took to make me a believer.

This is just a bad dream. I’ll wake up in a moment and everything will be back to normal. But something tells me things aren’t going to get any better from here on out. The sinking feeling that I have in my stomach tells all. My current position is nothing short of being hopeless. I don’t even know how I got here or what I’m going to do to save myself.

I’m sitting in the dark, completely alone. I can’t see anything at all. The blackness is all around me and this place is so cold. I can hardly stand to be here. The air is so thick. I can hardly breathe. The weight of the darkness that surrounded me squeezed at my chest.

Water dripped from my hair, but I can feel it freezing. The feeling of it sent shivers down my spine, making my body seem much colder.

I wasn’t sure how I got to this place. The last thing I remember was walking home from school. I remember almost being home. The only thing I had left to do was to cross the street and then I would have been on the sidewalk leading to my front door. I was certain I had looked before I had tried to cross the street. Something between my last glance around the corner and my first step on the street had brought me here. Whatever and wherever this place is. It’s beyond me.

With each thought, I became more frazzled. My survival instincts had begun to go into overdrive. Keeping myself calm would prove to be in my best interest at this point. I’m alone and it was completely up to me to get out of this place.

As I searched out for something to hold on to, I could feel myself filling with panic. My breath came faster as I felt the tears trickle down my face. I took a deep breath and held it for just a second. A musty smell filled my nostrils when I did, forcing me to breathe more shallow. I have to stay calm, I repeated to myself.

I could hear grinding as I moved around. Small pebbles and dirt were sticking to my hands. Every one of my senses was telling me I wasn’t above ground. The musty smell was dirt, but it also had a hint of something else. I wasn’t exactly sure what else it could be. Maybe it was a cave or something. I wasn’t sure.

I inched forward exploring for anything that might be near me. After crawling for a moment- which seemed like forever- I came to a ledge. As I  moved closer, I felt around with my hand only to find there was nothing after the end of the rock ledge. Somewhere close I could hear water. It sounded like a waterfall, but I couldn't be sure. I could smell the water as I breathed in and I realized it had been the other thing I had been smelling. It smelled fresh and clean and my body started relaxing from inhaling it for only a moment. No wonder it smells the way it does. Water is life right?

In the distance, I saw a tiny flicker of light. I thought it was no more than a glimmer off the water, but if it was that meant there is a hole somewhere close to me. I just have to find it and I think I’ll be able to get out of here somehow.

The light grew in size and I knew right then it was getting closer. At first, I thought it was a flashlight. I welcomed the light as if it was the Coast Guard coming to rescue me from a sinking ship. As it came closer, the larger the light grew and I could tell that it was taking shape. It was too large to be the light of a flashlight.

An apparition formed out of the light. I could see that it was a woman, but I wasn’t sure where she had come from. Why in the world would someone be roaming around in such a dark place all alone? Maybe she was my guardian angel and she was here to rescue me from this awful place. That was a great thought, but what if she was here to hurt me? Stranger things have happened.

Her beauty was dream like. She had to be an angel. Everything about her was white. Her hair, body, even her dress was as white as snow. I even tried to find wings, but there were none. Finding that would mean I was nuts or just hopeful, but in either case I still didn’t find them.

I strained my eyes, looking for any sign of her intentions, but it was too dark. for me to be able to make out anything except her eyes. Still, there was no mistaking them. They burned an intense shade of blue. I had never had the opportunity to see anything quite as majestic in my life. They reminded me of the breath taking color of the ocean. The clear blue color was so pure it almost frightened me to look at them. Her icy hair floated around her as if she was in water. Her gown glistened like icicles on a bright winter day.

I looked at her with both fear and envy. She was so beautiful that it hurt me to look at her.

She spoke, “Your destiny awaits, my child. You are strong and worthy of the gifts you are about to receive. Do not fear. We are with you now as we will always be.” Then she disappeared and I was sitting there alone once again, filled with fear. Who did she mean by “we?”

I woke suddenly. It took a minute for me to realize I wasn’t in that awful place anymore and I let out a sigh of relief. The softness of my pillow turned into a cold wet reminder of my dream. I sat up in bed trying to catch my breath. The whole time I was telling myself it was just a silly dream. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had actually been there. She had been so real to me and I was certain if I had tried to I could have reached out and touched her. The thing that bothered me was I had felt such a strong urge to reach out to her. She appealed to me. I could hardly restrain myself. Gosh, my dreams are getting kind of crazy here lately, I thought as I laughed to myself. Finally, I was awake and out of the prison I had been dreaming of and I have to say I’m pretty thankful for it. The soft flowing tone of her words was still fresh in my memory.

What destiny? I asked myself. The only thing I am destined to do is go to school and lead a normal boring life from here on out. I’ll get a job and work, and then I may get married and have a few kids. The end result of my life would be on a front porch with silver hair and my grandchildren playing in the lawn. That was all I had planned for my life. I’m not the kind of person that wishes for riches, power or anything. I just want to live a happy life and then grow old and die with a good book in my hand. Nothing more, nothing less.

I laughed at myself for even questioning the idea at all. Too much television I suppose. Dreams cannot be real. The idea of it is just absurd. Isn’t it?

The sun was shining so bright it gave my eyes an uncomfortable burning sensation. I rushed over and closed the thick black drapes. I turned my back to the window and stood there staring at the alarm clock on my bedside table. It was exactly six in the morning. I let out a big yawn, still trying to wake up. At least I wasn’t going to be late for school. I gathered my clothes and made my bed. It was time for me to start getting ready. I forced myself to the bathroom to take a shower, unwilling to get motivated and start the day. The water worked wonders on the leftover stress my dream had left behind. The dense fog from the hot water and the banana shampoo smell made it almost impossible for me to breathe. I glanced at the clock and noticed I was running out of time. I still wasn’t ready for school and only had a little over an hour left. So much for the idea of not being late for school, I thought to myself. 

I grabbed my backpack and headed downstairs. I was almost down the stairs when I began to feel dizzy. Sweat began to bead up on my forehead as the room started spinning out of control. I called out for my mother’s help, but it was too late. I sat down  on the stairs trying to catch my breath when everything went black. It was as if I was slipping back into my dream. Everything was black and silent. No matter how hard I tried to fight it, I kept falling deeper and deeper into the black nothingness.

The dark seemed more empty this time. I sat there for what seemed like forever. Sitting there alone and scared, waiting for something to happen. I searched the darkness for any sign of the illuminated woman, but I was alone. I’m not sure what has happened to me. This dream has to be some result of an illness or maybe I was just exhausted.

I felt a light breeze blowing against my skin. It was like the air was going right through me. I was still unsure of my surroundings and that made everything worse. The air caused prickling sensations all over my body. The feeling wasn’t as painful as much as it was uncomfortable, but it was gone as fast as it had begun. I was sitting there in fear and confusion. I wasn’t sure what exactly had just happened to me, but I felt different. A strange feeling of power ran through my body. I felt more alive than I have ever felt in my life.

When I woke up, my mother was beside me. She didn’t have any makeup on, and that was unusual for her. Her hair definitely needed brushed, and the thin lines on her face were standing out now. She looked older and worn. She wasn’t dressed as she  would be. She was wearing a loose pair of jeans and a t-shirt that I had seen her wearing around the house as she cleaned.

I wasn’t in my room. The room I was in was too bright and it had an uncomfortable smell to it as well. The pungent smell of bleach and disinfectant burned my nose. The bed wasn’t my bed. It was smaller than mine and it felt like I was lying on a gigantic rock. The sheets were scratchy against my skin, unlike the soft sheets on my bed. My hand hit a hard rail when I moved my arm. I felt a terrible stinging sensation and a constant dull pain in my arm. It was so intense for a moment that it had caused me to hold my breath to keep from yelling out.

Confusion swept over me as I looked around the room. Medical equipment was beside the bed. An IV pole was right next to me. My arm seemed heavier than normal. Looking down at it, I saw an IV was in the back of my hand. Whatever had happened had landed me straight in County General Hospital.

It only seemed like I had been asleep for a few minutes. I was wrong. I swallowed hard and asked my mom what was going on.

She said with a sigh, “I heard you call for me while I was in the kitchen making coffee. I went to the staircase, and before I could get to, you fainted. Thank goodness, there were only two steps left before you hit the floor. I was so scared when I couldn’t get you to wake up, so I called 911. The ambulance brought you to the hospital. You’ve been asleep for a week and the doctors don’t know why. They think you might have hit your head when you fell.”

Whether I hit my head or not wasn’t a good enough reason to me for sleeping an entire week. There must have been something else going on. I hope it wasn’t anything serious. I heard a knock at the door followed by two nurses entering the room. They had a look of relief when they saw I was awake and talking and I think their reactions were just as comforting to me.

A slight whisper filled my head. Do not fear my child. I am with you. The voice was just loud enough for me to recognize the words, but the sound of it startled me to the point of jumping. Every hair on my body stood on end and I scanned the room trying to find the woman the sweet voice belonged to.

My skin had begun to feel all itchy. I noticed my fingers were tingling as the brightest blue aura surrounded my body. The light flowed over my hands like electricity. Tingling and twisting in every direction. A bizarre calm came over me as I forced myself to take a deep breath. As I let it out, the blue sparks disappeared. I felt better, but I had an uneasy feeling at the same time. I turned to my mother to ask her if she had seen what just happened to me, but the door opening cut our conversation off. It was  best that I didn’t get to ask her. She would more than likely have me committed to a mental hospital or swear I have some type of brain injury.

If it hadn’t have been for my mother greeting the doctor I wouldn’t have even noticed he was there. I was too wrapped up in my own little world to pay much attention to anything at the moment.

I looked over my body trying to find any signs of an injury.  I didn’t find anything. Not a single scratch. You would think when I fell I would at least been able to manage getting a few bumps and bruises. Guess I was lucky on that part.

The doctor was a young man with a wonderful smile. The kind that gives off a true sense of happiness just beaming from them. He was well dressed for a doctor. Usually, the doctor’s wore     those slouchy green scrubs that always looked wrinkled. 

The crisp white lab coat made him look younger than he was. He had to be in his late thirties, but he looked about twenty eight or so, in my opinion. He asked me several questions about how I felt and if I remembered phone numbers and birthdays. He asked random questions about school and home. I answered them without hesitation. He seemed pleased with the way I had handled all his questions because he smiled at me in an  approving manner. When he finished talking to me he asked my mother to go out into the hallway with him for a moment. She agreed and patted my leg before heading out the door. I’ll be right back sweetie. I nodded back at her as she went out the door.

They spoke for several minutes, each of them glancing in my direction from time to time. As I watched, it seemed the conversation was a good one. I watched as my mother smiled and shook the doctor’s hand. I saw her thanking him as she turned to open the door to my room.

Mom came back in happier than she was when she went out. The doctor had told her I could go home in a few hours as long as I was feeling up to it. But, if I had any more problems I was to come straight back to the hospital. I wanted to leave right then.

After about an hour of nurses coming in to do their final checks and removing the I.V., they said I could get dressed. Mom helped me change out of the hideous hospital gown. She had brought some of my clothes from home. Looking at them, I was thankful she had a decent sense of my style. The fact that she picked out comfortable clothes was a plus.

I put on the black t-shirt and denim jeans. I had to take my time getting them on because my muscles were weak and stiff from being in bed for such a long time. I stopped after getting my jeans on to sit down for a second. My head was still swimming and my arms were heavy from all the fluids I had received.

Mom waited for me to put on my shirt. She tied my shoes for me because I was too afraid I would topple over if I bent over to do it.  I felt good when the room wasn’t spinning out of control.

I was ready to go, but there were still a few things that needed addressed. The nurses gave my mother a small stack of papers. They were instructions for what I can and can’t do when I get home. She held out a clipboard to my mother and explained what the papers were she needed her to sign.

As she signed her name on the papers, the sound of the pen against the paper hurt my ears. My hearing was a little  sensitive at the moment, but I didn’t know why. Maybe I did hit my head when I fell, I thought to myself.

When everything was finally completed, the nurse told us that I was free to go. I had never been so happy to leave somewhere in my entire life. I’m sure it would’ve been a lot worse if I’d actually been awake the whole time.

Weeks passed without any more fainting spells. I didn’t even have so much as a headache. No weird blue lights shot from my skin. To me that was a good thing. I still noticed my hearing wasn’t quite right. I was able to hear things a normal person’s ears wouldn’t  be able to hear. Things like the neighbor’s dog eating. His tongue slapping at the side of his metal food bowl. I could hear all this while being in my room with the television going.

It was weird, but empowering.  I didn’t want to devote any more time to worrying about it. So, I went on about my normal routine as if nothing had happened.

School went on as usual. Final exams were awful this year. Thank goodness, it was my last time to take them. The realization that I am almost a high school graduate excited me. I only have one exam left-- Biology. I was sure I was going to pass that one with grace. It’s my favorite subject. I hardly made under a 98 on any of the tests or homework assignments. The exam isn't until Monday. Today is Friday, so, there would be plenty of time for me to review the information. It wasn't like I needed to study for it and I promised myself a book free weekend.

My friends are going out of town with their families.  I was somewhat proud to have some time to myself, but I felt guilty for being glad they were going. I would miss them without a doubt. The weekend was going to be a long one without them being around.

Finally, the dismissal bell rang. When I reached the main hallway,  students hurried to get to their lockers. This felt as if it had been the longest week at school in history and it showed on everyone’s face. Even the teachers looked grateful about the end of the day.

I got to my locker and shoved all my books in. It was a perfect guarantee for me not to tempt myself to study all weekend like I would  do. I shut my locker hard and said goodbye to my friends, wishing then a good time during the weekend. Swerving through the sea of students, I made my way out of the building.

Outside the school, the buses sat in lines waiting for the students. The same rush was going on outside as it was on the inside. I  didn’t want to ride home with all those noisy kids today.  I wasn’t in the mood to spend the rest of the afternoon picking spit wads out of my hair. 

Overcrowding was a major problem and the bus drivers never seemed to care what went on during the ride home. The only thing that ever caught their attention was if a fight broke out. They would have to stop the bus and break it up. Usually, the parent’s had to come pick them up before the bus would continue on their route.  to come and get them, leaving the entire bus of students to wait for them on the side of the road.

My house was only a mile from school, so I decided to walk. It was a nice day. The sun was warm and bright. A light breeze was blowing. I was glad I had chosen to walk. The scenery seemed to be as relaxing as any warm bath could be.

I walked down the sidewalk away from the school. The busy hustle of kids, hurrying to get home dissipated as I got farther away. I was glad to have a little peace and quiet after a day full of hearing so much noise. The road by the park was as busy as the outside of the school had been. People were beginning their weekend chores. Some were in flower gardens and some were mowing lawns. The smell of the fresh cut grass, the warmth of the sun and the breeze was welcoming after such a hard week.

I had almost reached the park gate when I heard a voice whisper to me. It was no more than a hint of sound in my ear. I couldn’t quite make out the words, but the voice was familiar in a way that frightened me. I stopped by the gate trying hard to concentrate on the soft voice. Several seconds passed without me hearing it again. I brushed it off and started walking again. I had made it a few steps farther when the voice said, “Danger is near.”

Immediately, I stopped and turned to see if there might be someone behind me, but I was alone. Chills ran over my body and I was more aware of everything. I tried to shake the voice from my head and continued on my way home again.

The beautiful voice was easy to remember. It belonged to the woman in white from my dream. It was silly to be hearing her in my head. I must be completely exhausted from all the studying and the dream was still fresh in my mind. That was the only reasonable explanation I could come up with at the time. It seemed like a good enough reason for me.

My house was another couple of minutes from the park, just down the road and cut across the street and I would be there. I slowed my pace to try to relax the startled feeling I had, but it was no use. I was approaching a part of the park I was never comfortable with to begin with.

The bushes grow thick by the roadside. The trees are so tall that they block out the sun on the brightest days. It was always creepy, but today it had a different feeling. It feels so much darker and more dangerous than normal. A cool wind blew making me shiver.

“Danger my child, RUN!” The voice thundered in my head. The sheer power of it compelled me to run without question. I could feel something behind me, almost chasing me but I didn’t slow down to look. I ran harder and faster with each breath I drew in. I hadn’t even looked to see if there had been any cars coming before I ran across the street. I was too scared to look at anything other than the front door of my house.

Again, I felt the urge to stop. As soon as my pace began to slow I heard her voice again.

“Don’t stop Princess. He will kill you if you do.”

I ran faster than I had in my entire life until I reached my front door. If I hadn’t slowed down, I would have plowed right through it. I  pulled my keys from my pocket and shoved it in the lock with more force than necessary. My hands trembled. The lock turned and I jumped in the house slamming the door behind me. I locked the deadbolt just to be sure.

Trying to catch my breath, I pulled the shades back on the window  

expecting to see something  standing by the door, but there was nothing there. Everything looked as it would on any other day. I sighed in relief and went into the kitchen to get a drink.

The coldness of the water extinguished the fire that was burning in my throat. Dull pain flooded my leg muscles. Sweat dripped from my forehead onto the front of my green silk blouse. Frustration set in. Stomping up the stairs, I unbuttoned my blouse. As I entered my room I noticed the -shirt was still lying on my bed from this morning.

I searched my dresser for my favorite pair of denim shorts. After a few minutes, I found them and changed out of my jeans. The denim was old and faded. A small hole had started to form just under the front pocket, but they were great for outside work.

I returned to the bathroom to straighten my ponytail. Looking in the mirror, I noticed there was something on the sleeve of my shirt. It looked almost like a hand print.  Long, black lines, shaped  like fingers wound around the hem of my sleeve. If I didn’t know  better, I would say someone with dirty hands had grabbed my shirt.

A cold empty feeling made my stomach roll. Staring at the shirt, I questioned how the hand print could have gotten there in the first place. Nothing came to mind. It was fine when I put it on last night for bed. I don’t think I noticed anything on it this morning when I woke up either. I wasn’t paying too much attention to anything this morning because I had been in such a hurry.

Disgusted, I decided to throw it away. As took the shirt off and tossed the shirt in the wastebasket, I noticed my hand was glowing again. The closest place that I could think of to go was into the bathroom. Circles of blue electricity surrounded my hands as I turned on the water in the sink. The water froze on contact with my skin. Ice crystals grew covering the faucet and base. Everything down to the floor had areas with frosty, blue shards. 

How could this be happening? This can’t be real. This has to be a dream. I held my hands out in front of me. My eyes closed, but not tight. As I looked through my eyelashes, I watched the blue frost cover the mirror. Fear swept over me. Not knowing what else to do, I turned the faucet off and left the bathroom. The fear that was settling deep inside me had taken over. My emotions sent me reeling and I fell to the floor of my bedroom in a hopeless, crying fit.

I must have cried myself to sleep. The pressure of what is happening to me had overcome me in a terrible way.

My bedroom wasn’t as bright as it had been before this mess started. The sun was beginning to set. Oranges, pinks, and blues filled the darkening sky. A light breeze was blowing the leaves on the tree outside my window. After everything that has happened today, I don’t feel like going outside anymore. I don’t feel like doing anything. Just sitting here was hard enough. The thought of leaving my room wasn’t  appealing at all.

I was afraid to go outside again. What if someone was trying to chase me down? I would be safe in the house, right?

Still sulking, I washed my face and straightened my messy hair. I put it back up in a ponytail even though it was wet. My eyes were  swollen from all the crying I had done. Mirrors don’t lie. They will always tell you the truth whether you like it or not.

The water was back to normal. There wasn’t a single sign of ice left behind. That made me feel so much better. There were no blue lights coming from my body. Everything seemed to be back to normal. It was just a dream, I told myself for the millionth time. But, it wasn’t a dream at all. It had happened.

My imagination did get a little out of hand sometimes. Mom says it’s the type of books I read. Maybe she’s right. This was only a side effect of lack of sleep and my obsession with supernatural fiction. Oh, who was I trying to fool? This is exactly like me, just keep on lying to yourself Bailey, I said aloud. It’s what I do best here lately. I thought it was a pretty good method of coping if you ask me.

I changed into my favorite pajamas and went to the bookcase. It is filled with books from my favorite authors. 

My hands found the book I have been reading, “Night World.” As I walked toward the platform next to my window, flipping to the page that I had left off, I noticed the time. It was almost seven. The time had passed during my failed attempt to shake off the events of the day. At least I will be able to lose myself in a great book.

My father had designed my bedroom room. Level with the bottom of my bay window is a cushioned platform the size of a queen bed. Curved steps the length of the platform led down to the floor of my bedroom. It’s my favorite place. I can sit here and think without getting asked a zillion questions. I can sunbathe there as well.

With the book in hand, I grabbed a few small throw pillows and bounded up the steps. I arranged my pillows so I could still be sitting up but lying back as well. Leaning back against the cushions, I looked out the full pane window. Still normal.

I read almost six chapters before I made myself put the book down. The story was amazing but,  but my eyes were heavy and I was having a hard time keeping focus.

I felt like getting a little fresh air. Stale air seemed to linger in my lungs. Nothing smelled right. My nose didn’t seem to work. It wasn’t a dirty smell, but it reminded me of burning wood and flowers. Not strong or overpowering. It was light, just noticeable with my window closed. One of the neighbors must be burning brush.

The scent of the wood rushed in my bedroom as I opened the window. It was relaxing. I laid back down on the mountain of pillows, looking out the window at the trees. I heard the leaves rustle as the soft breeze whispered through them. A few restless birds chirped nearby. Everything still seemed to be normal outside. Normal enough for night time.

As the evening breeze blew in the window, I pulled the blanket up over my shoulders and rested my head on the pillows. My eyes grew heavier after a few minutes. I drifted off to sleep.

CHAPTER 2

I woke to the smell of fresh cut grass. The air felt moist. I had slept on the platform all night with the window open. I laid there looking out. I was so comfortable I didn’t want to get up.

I had a lot of chores to do around the house today and I was in no hurry to get started doing them. I drug myself off the platform. First things first, I had a date with my toothbrush. Staggering to the bathroom, I began my morning rituals.

After taking a quick shower and getting dressed, I brushed my teeth and put my hair up. I gathered the few towels from the bathroom and tossed them into the hamper. I left the hamper lid in the floor and headed to the utility room.

That was another detail my Dad had to do for my mother. He says it makes no sense for the utility room to be downstairs when the majority of the laundry goes upstairs. He didn’t want Mom to have to carry the heavy baskets up and down the stairs. It was a great idea. Mom appreciated it and so did I. He will go to any length to make things easier for her. The only thing he can’t figure out is how to make her job easier.

I hope when I manage to actually get a boyfriend that is as considerate and loving as my father is. I don’t think I could want anything different. He is so good to my mother. Even after all the years they have been together, I can still see the love in their eye’s for each other.

My mother is the owner and head attorney of Sims and Associates Law Firm. Besides my mom, there are two other attorneys and a small team of assistants at the firm. They have a tremendous caseload, so mom works a lot. When she finally makes it home, I hear her on the phone in her study downstairs. She also works on most weekends. She rarely complains about anything, except the laundry. She is just as wonderful as my father. She’s caring and isn’t afraid to love with her whole heart. I just hope I can be as happy as they are someday.

She had placed ads in several newspapers for new attorneys to join the firm. A large number of people have responded to the ads. She was optimistic and I hope mom will find someone that has the experience she is looking for. I feel bad for her. She tries to find time outside of working to be with my dad and me. That doesn’t happen often. When it does, we always have a great time and I’m grateful for every minute I get to spend with her.

I do most of the chores around the house to help her out. It’s not hard to keep our house in order. Both my parents work a lot and are hardly home long enough to make any kind of mess. I’m the only one here that makes a mess. I think sometimes I do it on purpose just to have something to do.

After loading the washer, I returned to my room. I had realized how much it needed cleaning. I headed to the bathroom cabinet to get cleaning supplies. Mom always keeps it stocked for me. I got the window cleaner and furniture polish out and made my way to the window.

As I sprayed the window, something caught my eye. There was a quick movement in the trees. I scanned the tree line for minute, but I didn’t see anything. It was just one of the neighbor’s dogs chasing birds again. But I can’t help wondering if something bad was out there. Just waiting for me in the shadows.

I finished cleaning the windows,  looking around to see if anything was not the norm. The dreams that I have been having have me scared to death. I find myself searching my surroundings for anything out of the ordinary.

Now that my room is clean, I decided to watch a little TV until my clothes got dry. I channel surfed for a few minutes until I found a rerun episode of Charmed. My mother and I had watched the show without fail until the series ended.

This episode made me miss her. It was her favorite one. It is too bad she had already left for work. She would be in here with me, lying on the bed with her eyes glued to the television.

The note she left on the TV in my room was brief as usual. Sorry I have to work today. Interviewing more applicants. Looks promising. Could take a while. Here is $50.00.  Love U sweetie.

I finished watching the show and checked my clothes. They were finally dry. I folded most of them and put them in the dresser.  I sat on the edge of my bed contemplating how to spend the rest of my day. Staying inside was not an option. I was stir-crazy as it is. I needed fresh air and sunlight.

I had seen a t-shirt I wanted last week at a local clothing store just inside town. With that in mind, I took a shower and got dressed. For some reason I had a good feeling about today. I wasn’t sure how I knew, but I was certain something good is going to happen.

The sun was like gold in the sky. Everything seemed more vibrant than usual. The fog of tired eyes now replaced with fresh new ones. I seemed to notice every detail of the outside world. It was as if I had been blind and had gotten my sight back. This must be another result of the power I had received. Along with my hearing being better than normal, my eyesight was like something out of a dream itself. No matter how much I wanted to deny that something had indeed happened to me, I couldn’t. The proof is clear.

The birds were singing in the trees. Two squirrels chased each other around the tree trunks. Before I had realized, I had reached the park. I had been paying so much attention to everything, except where I was going. Its a million wonders I didn’t walk out into the street and get ran over by a car. I’m completely out of it for some reason, but I liked it. The new found fascination was exciting.

Children were playing on the playground as their parents watched. Swings soared high as laughter filled the air. The park was full of people. Birdwatchers, parents and an occasional park security guard walked around in the playground area.

Spring blossoms lined the tall black gate that surrounds the park. Pink and red rose vines climbed the fence. The sight of it reminded me of something out of a fairy tale  Unfortunately, this is no fairy tale. Just a regular day with regular people leading normal lives.

People filled the sidewalks and shops. A steady stream of trucks with boats, Jet Skis and ATV’s passed me as I entered the town square. Everyone seemed to be enjoying the beautiful spring morning. I realized I had been in such a hurry to get out of the house that I had forgotten to eat breakfast. A loud rumble came from the pit of my stomach. I suppose the t-shirt would have to wait.

I was starving by the time I got to the diner. It wasn’t as crowded as the streets had been. The back corner booth was empty. It’s as good a place as any I thought to myself and made my way to sit there. It’s too bad none of my friends were home. Sitting here alone made me miss them.

The waitress took my order. Cheeseburger and curly fries for breakfast, my favorite. My food came sooner than I expected. I was glad of it too. I smothered my fries with ketchup and began eating.

Halfway through my meal, the diner door opened. A guy walked in  and scanned the room for a seat. He walked over to the only other empty booth. It was right next to mine.  He slid into the booth. It was surprising how still he became. The only movement he made was to get the menu and an occasional blink. He didn’t even twitch or adjust himself in the seat. I found that to be a little odd. Actually, it is more than a little odd.

He commanded my attention and I couldn’t break my gaze. I stared at him praying he wouldn’t notice. My face flushed as I recorded every detail of his face in my mind. Every feature was perfect. His eyes were a smoky blue color that drew my gaze to him against my will. His tanned skin reminded me of a sandy beach. Not a single strand of his night black hair was out of place.

His black shirt made his eyes even bluer than I first noticed. It seemed to turn his good looks into a devilish gorgeousness. My face seemed to burst into flames when I realized he was staring back at me. I dropped my head and tried to finish my cheeseburger, but it was no use. I felt sick as the butterflies took over my stomach.

I left the waitress a tip and slid out of the booth as fast as I could. I wasn’t even sure how much of a tip I had left her. She looked pleased as she made her way to the booth to clear it, so I’m sure I had left her more than just a couple of dollars.

Looking out of the corner of my eye, I saw he was looking at me. My whole body felt stiff as I paid for my half-eaten meal. As soon as the door shut behind me, I let out the huge breath I had been holding.

I headed down the sidewalk to the shop. It wasn’t as crowded as it had been before I went into the diner. As I opened the door to go inside, I had a feeling that someone was watching me. I turned and looked behind me, but there wasn’t anyone there. I knew someone was watching me. The feeling of eyes being on me was obvious. I was just unable to see them and the feeling I got from it wasn’t alarming. I shook my curiosity off and went inside.

The t-shirt I had been wanting was on sale now. I had also found a tank top I thought was cute. Mom would approve, but I’m not so sure about what Dad would think about it. It was a little lower cut than my other shirts. I guess I’ll have to wear a button up over it when I’m around Dad.

I paid for the shirts and headed to the door. To my surprise, the gorgeous guy from the diner was right outside. He seemed nervous and I stood there watching him from inside the store. He was so alluring. All I wanted to do was go outside and talk to him, but I am such a chicken. I would end up saying something so stupid that he wouldn’t ever want to speak to me again.

Taking a deep breath, I opened the door and walked out. I tried to pretend I didn’t see him, but it was hard not to acknowledge him being there. As I turned in the direction to go home, I heard him speak.

Miss? He called. His voice sounded like an angel and it left me  breathless. I turned to answer him. Butterflies went crazy in my stomach. The heat returned to my cheeks and I opened my mouth to speak, but I couldn’t make a single sound come out. Feeling like a complete idiot, I managed a smile.

“My name is Eric.” he said shyly.

“I’m Bailey” I said surprised the words actually came out right. After an awkward pause he explained he had just moved to town and he had gotten a bit lost.

“I’m just not sure which way to take to get to my house.” He laughed.

“What street do you live on?” I grinned.

“Center Street, I’m the corner house next to the big house on Pine Street.”

The big house on Pine Street just so happened to be mine. That was the best thing I had heard anyone say in a long time. I couldn’t believe this amazing guy was going to be living right next door to me. I wanted to let out a sharp, giggle, but I held my composure.

We walked toward the park lost in deep conversation. We talked as if we had always talked to each other. I was comfortable with him. Usually, it would annoy me for someone to ask so many questions, but today I didn’t mind at all. It was fun. Unfortunately, the question of why I am so at ease with him lingered at the back of my thoughts. I pushed it aside and concentrated on the conversation.

He told me about his hometown and his old school. It was somewhere in the city. I couldn’t recall the name of it. I hope he doesn’t think I’m not listening to him. It’s just that his eyes are so captivating I lose myself in them within seconds. I can’t help it. He is just so beautiful and the urge to touch his skin was almost too much to handle.

Taking a big risk, I reached out and pretended to get a leaf out of his hair. Of course, I  rubbed the back of my hand against his ear. I played it off like it was an accident. That was what I wanted him to think anyway. He smiled and touched my hand. The touch turned into him holding my hand until it was back to its place at my side.

“Thank you.” He said as he let go of my hand.

My heart melted into a huge pile of goop. I felt weak, my head began to spin and if I didn’t know any better I would swear my heart stopped for a few seconds. He was wonderful and I felt drawn to him like two enormous magnets.

As we walked, I noticed he found little reasons to bump into me as I did him. It was strange because we had just met. There was no denying that he takes my breath away and I wanted to spend every minute from here on out with him and only him. I felt connected to him in a way that I wasn’t familiar with. The feeling was a bit uncanny, but I tried to not think too much about it. I didn’t want to do anything that was going to ruin the moment.

His told me his parents traveled often and like me he is home alone most of the time. That could be a good thing, I thought to myself. I was so glad he didn’t pick up on my facial expression as the thought crossed my mind. That would have been way too embarrassing.

We reached the corner of Pine and Center. The walk was not near long enough for me. I had begun to enjoy his company. I pointed to my house. “This is me.”

“Now I feel better.” He said as he pointed to the house next to mine. “I didn’t think I was going to be able to find my way home. Thanks to you I did.”

“It’s no problem. Anything I can to help.”

“I see that.” He smiled at me as he began walking in the direction of his house.

Before I could think about the words that were coming out I had already spoken, “Stop by any time.”

“Same goes for you”, he said, hardly able to hide the excitement in his voice.

Eric stopped and turned back. “Could I have your phone number?” he cleared his throat. “Just in case I need directions or something?”

“Sure.” I agreed and pulled my cell phone from my pocket and handed it to him. He gave me his cell phone and we put each others number in the others phone.

“Thanks. It’s nice to know I have at least one friend now.” I felt sorry for him when he said that. There was something about his tone that made me feel that he was sad.

With our phones back in hand we said goodbye and each started walking to our houses. I wondered if the move was causing him any unwarranted stress. Moves alone are hard enough, but to not have any friends tends to make everything much worse.

I was putting the key in the lock when I heard him call my name.

“Bailey!” he shouted as he jogged to my front door. “Bailey, hold on a second!”

I turned and sat down on the steps as he reached the porch.

“What is it?” I asked. “Is something wrong?”

“No.” he said as he waved his hands gesturing his response.

He paced. I could tell he wanted to ask me something, but was afraid too. He ran his hand through his hair and I noticed he was more nervous than I had thought. Not wanting to make it worse for him, I smiled and waited for him to say whatever it was he had on his mind.

“Don’t take this the wrong way, but I was just wondering if it would be alright if you could let me take your picture? I wanted it for your contact information on my phone and to prove to my parents that I am trying to make friends.” he said as his face turned bright red. “And I have a problem remembering people’s names when I first meet them.”

“Sure, no problem, but you have to let me take one of you for mine.”

He agreed with a gentle laugh. I pushed my hair out of my eyes and tried to pose for the picture in the best way I could. I went for a more sweet and innocent look, instead of trying for a sultry, more provocative look. It was a good decision because I don’t want his parents to think I’m a slut or anything like that.

He took longer than I thought he was going to and, actually, I think he took more than one picture I didn’t mind if he did. I took it as a compliment.

He smiled a huge smile as I took his picture. His cheeks were turning a distinct shade of pink. I had embarrassed him. That seemed like it was going to be easy to do. He hung around for a minute longer, trying to make small talk instead of leaving immediately. He was trying to not be rude, I think.

“I guess I had better get inside. I have some things to do before my mom gets home.”

“Thanks, see you later sweetie.” he said as he made his way back to his house.

“See you.” I said even though he was out of distance to hear it. I picked up my shopping bag and went inside.

It was like I was floating as I went in the front door. I was even having a hard time breathing for some reason. It wasn’t completely because of him, but I knew it was. He was having an intense effect on me. I was almost head over heels for him already. What a big dork I’m being. I don’t know this guy and here I am stumbling all over myself and acting all strange. Jeez, I have to get it together, I thought to myself.

I’ve liked other guys before, but not once had it ever felt like this.  It was strange, but exciting and mysterious at the same time.  I wondered if this was what it felt like to fall in love, or was it all just puppy love? I hope it’s the real thing. I don’t think I can bear it if it wasn’t.

From my bedroom window I could see his house. A million thoughts bounced around inside my head. I thought of his blue eyes and his perfect hair framed his face in such an intense way. His arms were strong and muscular and I wondered what it would feel like to have them wrapped around me.

He was smart and could hold a conversation about almost anything, even girl stuff. He was  thoughtful and polite. I don’t think I have ever met anyone quite like him in my life. I felt as though I had known him all my life. It was a peculiar feeling. We shared an instant connection to each other.

Did he want my picture just for his phone? Was he as curious about me as I am of him? I sure hope so, I thought, almost overwhelmed by the idea. I wanted him to like me. I wanted to spend more time with him, to get to know him better.

My body still felt as if I was floating. I was getting dizzier by the second. The only thoughts I had were of him. I sighed as I lied back across my bed. I stared at the ceiling thinking of nothing but his face, his amazing face.

I was jerked from my daydreaming by the sound of my phone ringing. It was him, the wonderful guy I had met today, and he was actually calling me. I flipped open my phone trying to calm the excitement in my voice before I spoke.

“Hello?” I said.

“Hey Bailey” he said, sounding relieved. “I was calling to make sure the number you gave me was real.”

“Of course it is. Why would I give you a fake number?”

“I don’t know, I just thought you might have.”

I couldn’t hide the laugh that came out as I said, “I gave you the right number.”

“ OK then, since that’s out of the way, I guess I’ll talk to you another time.”

“Okay.” I said trying to hide my amusement, but before I could flip my phone closed a girlish squeal shot out of my mouth. Why in this world would he even think that I would give him a fake number? Maybe he had that done before or something. Some girl had given him a wrong number and he called it. The embarrassment had to be massive. I wasn’t sure, but the idea of it hurt my feelings in a way I couldn’t describe. How could a girl not want Eric to call them? He is so perfect. So far anyway.

Bright rays of sun belted into my bay window. This had turned out to be the best day of my life. Life was good. That is, until now.

A terrible feeling stormed my body. Any bit of my previous happiness had disappeared. I grew more uneasy with each passing second. My eyes became heavy and I struggled to breathe as I clutched at my chest. Darkness fell over me once again. I felt the coolness of my bed against my back. Then there was nothing.

I had been here before. It’s the same room and the same unending darkness. This time the feel of it was different. I was calm instead of terrified. I sat down waiting on the woman in white to appear, but to my surprise, she didn’t.

The lady that appeared was no lady in white. She was completely dressed in brown. Her hair was the same deep rich color as her gown. Every movement she made was just as fluid as the white lady and she was just as beautiful.

Speaking softly, she said, “I am certain you were expecting the Air Queen. I am Earth Queen. I, too, will give you a gift as she did. You can already use the gifts Air Queen gave you. You can freeze objects as you did the water in your home.”

“Hold on just a minute” I said becoming frustrated. I took a moment to gather my thoughts. “I’m dreaming right?”

“No.”

“I was afraid you would say that.”

“I understand you may feel frightened by our presence, Princess. The more power you receive will make it much easier for you to understand. Each Queen must instill a part of her power in a worthy human. We must protect the line of royalty.” she explained. “Each Light power that you receive comes with a dark power. That doesn’t mean the power is good or evil. It is that way  to keep balance. Today you will receive powers from three Queens.” She said. On either side of her, two more Queens appeared.

One by one, they introduced themselves. The first one was the Fire Queen. She possessed the same beauty as all the others, but something made her different at the same time. Her hair and gown was as red as blood. I was breathless looking at her, but I could feel the power coming from her. It was more than intense. It was consuming.

The other one was Water Queen. She was exuberant. Her hair and gown was as blue as the ocean water. I felt meek and unworthy in their presence. Never had I had the opportunity to be in the presence of such beauty.

I closed my eyes and imagined them all four together. I imagined the most beautiful of places. I realized I could see their power in everything. I could see it in the sky and the ground. It was everywhere. In everything.

I felt a sudden surge of power within my body. I knew right then I had more powers. The feeling was electrifying. It demanded compliance from every single cell in my body. The power twisted and turned inside me, leaving every one of my senses with more power than normal. Even my skin felt different. This power was immeasurable, greater than I could have imagined. I hadn’t even explored what I was capable of yet.

I opened my eyes and said, “Thank You.” That was the only intelligent words I could muster up at the time.

“Use your gifts for the right purpose, Princess.” They said as they  disappeared. Each of them left behind a sparkle of color that faded when they left.

I awakened, still lying on my bed. I could still feel the power surging through my body. My phone rang and the sound of it at that moment was almost annoying. I looked at the caller id and it was Eric calling, again. I answered the phone leaving out the-not-now-attitude.

“Eric?” I said into the phone.

“Bailey, are you alright?” He asked almost in a panic.

“Yeah, I’m fine Eric. Why?”

“I saw you fall and you didn’t get up. I tried to call you, but you wouldn’t answer the phone. If you had gotten hurt I would have never been able to forgive myself.  Are you sure you are OK?”

“I’m fine Eric, just calm down. I must have just fainted or something.” I replied trying to calm him. I didn’t understand the amount of panic in his voice. He was concerned about my well-being. “Were you watching me?”

“Yes. Well… no. I…” He stammered. “Well, I’m coming over.” He said and before I could say anything, he had hung up the phone. I jumped up and looked out the window only to see him dart across his lawn and into mine. His speed was unnatural. I had never seen anyone run that fast.

I made it to my bedroom door as he rushed through the front door of my house. He met me at the top of the stairs and pulled me into a tight hug. It felt awkward but amazing at the same time. His body felt so good against mine and I didn’t want him to let me go. I felt comforted by the strength of his embrace. All my imagining about his arms around me was put to rest.

He pulled back away from me. He had a look on his face like he had seen a ghost. The look was enough to alert me that something was wrong and it left me almost too frightened to ask him why, but I did. I couldn’t help myself. I had to know.

“What is it Eric?”

He just stood there staring at me. The shocked look he had was starting to make more than a little uneasy. He looked at me like he was searching for something. Something that was wrong.

“Eric. What’s wrong?” I demanded.

After a moment he finally answered me. “Nothing is wrong, I’m just so glad you’re OK  You gave me quite a scare.” Eric replied  and I knew right then that he was hiding the real answer from me.

We both sat down on the stairs not speaking for what seemed like hours. The tension seemed to linger with both of us. Out of the corner of my eye I saw him steal a look here and there. Breaking the silence, I thanked him for making sure I was alright. We made small talk for a few minutes and then he decided to go back home. 

After he left I made my way into the kitchen for a glass of iced tea and went back to my room. I had a million things that I wanted to say to him and even more things that I wanted to ask him. Like, why he looked so peculiar when he saw me, and why was he watching me from his window? I mean he looked at me like I had slapped his cat or something. It was weird. And worse than that, why had he been watching me? An eerie feeling washed over me and I was stuck between frightened and wondering if he was a stalker.

I stared out the window for a while, not looking at anything in particular. I saw my mom’s car turn around the corner. I was scooting to the end of the platform to get back on the floor when I shot another glance out the window.

Eric was in digging a hole in his yard. I watched him as he lowered a sapling into the hole and covered it up. His shirtless back glistened in the afternoon sun. Just looking at him takes my breath away. Tearing myself from the window, I went downstairs. The thought of him hiding in the shadows watching me filled my mind. Had he been the one that the voice had been warning me about the day in the park? It couldn’t have been. There is a sense of good that comes from him. But my mother has always said, “Be careful who you trust. Even the Devil was once an angel.” The memory of her words rattled in my head.

CHAPTER 3

Mom was already in the kitchen. I must have stood in the window staring at Eric for longer than I had realized.

“What do you want for dinner Bailey?” She called as I came down the stairs.

“Hey Mom!” I said. “How about we get some takeout and some movies?” I asked hardly able to control my excitement. I feel like a child when she comes home and the urgency of wanting to be near her immediately takes over.

With a sneaky grin on her face she said, “What do you think about some pizza?”

“Perfect!” I replied.

“Let’s go.” she said as she grabbed the car keys.

We picked up a few scary movies at the video store in town. Mom decided to pick up the pizza instead of waiting for delivery. That was a great idea because we were both starving. I couldn’t remember ever being so hungry.

She talked about her day. She had interviewed over ten people today. Everyone in her firm was hopeful about several of the applicants. They had decided to hire three more attorneys instead of just one. I could hear the relief in her voice. The tired, stressed tone of her voice was gone. She had a new, bright, and hopeful sound that warmed the air around her. It seemed like the weight of the world had disappeared from her shoulders.

As we turned the corner at our house, I looked over to Eric’s house. He was sitting on his front steps with his head in his hands. He looked so miserable to me. All I wanted to do was jump out of this car and run as fast as I could over to him and hug him. But remembering his odd reaction earlier, I wasn’t so sure I would be welcome. Seeing him like that made me sad.

Mom had noticed my sudden change in attitude. “Bailey, sweetie, is everything OK?” She asked.

“Yeah, everything is fine Mom. Why wouldn’t it be?” I replied with the best fake smile I could manage. Lying to her wasn’t something I was comfortable doing, but how was I going to explain what was going on? It wasn’t going to be a good thing for her to know all the freaky things that were going on with me right now.

“Well, I seen the boy over there looking pretty sad, and I saw how you reacted when you saw him.” Mom explained.

“You like him?” She asked to the point.

“Yeah, I like him a lot.” I said without thinking. “But weird stuff has happened.” In an instant, I wished I had just kept my mouth shut.

“Weird stuff?” Her tone changed. “What do you mean?”

I had to cover for myself fast. I couldn’t let her know about the dreams and the voices. She would have me to a psychiatrist before I could say crazy. “He’s just not from here. He’s kind of weird is all.” I didn’t know what else to say, but my response seemed to turn her attention away from what I had said. I was proud of that.

“I assume that he likes you as well?”

“I’m not sure. He seems like he does.”

Mom seemed to enjoy hearing me talk about a boy. I enjoyed telling her. I told her about everything that happened with me and Eric today as I grabbed the pizza and headed into the house. She buzzed with excitement, but I’m sure it was only because I was. I had to leave out several parts of my day with Eric. She didn’t need to know everything. There are some things that should remain unsaid. What had happened today was one of them. I knew that if I had told my mother she would cart me off to the hospital again. I didn’t want that.

We had always had a special kind of relationship. I don’t think there is anything that I couldn’t talk to her about. Anything except for this.

She doesn’t judge me, even though she may not always agree with me. She is my mother and my best friend all wrapped up in one and I love her so much. I don’t know what I would do without her. But this was something that I was going to have to keep to myself. At least for now.

When I was little she would always find a way to curb any fears I had. I had an unnatural fear of the dark. It was to the point that I actually slept with my bedroom light on. That all came to an abrupt end when I started getting sick all the time. Come to find out, the immune system needs complete darkness to heal. Who would have known?

I was always dressed well and I guess you could call me spoiled, but I had been no stranger to discipline. My parents weren’t strict, but they were clear on what they expected of me. And I dared not to disappoint them if at all possible. I slipped up from time to time, but nothing too bad.

We went into the kitchen and we each grabbed a few slices of pizza. We placed them onto a paper plate and headed to the living room to start watching a movie. I sat my pizza down on the coffee table and told Mom that I would be right back. She gave me a quick smile and I took it that she knew what I was going to do.

I ran upstairs to change into my pajamas real fast. As I was leaving my room, I checked my phone. There were no calls or texts from Eric. I worried about him and I hope that he was alright. After seeing him on his porch like that I felt like I had a hole in my heart the size of Texas. I wanted to talk to him. Maybe just to ask him if he is alright, but I wouldn’t dare miss the chance to spend time with my mom. The time we have together are few and far between.

Mom was waiting on me when I got back down to the living room. She had already started eating. I plopped down on the couch and grabbed a slice of pizza from my  plate, taking a bigger bite than I should have. As I chewed, I opened my phone to check my messages one last time.

She caught me sending Eric a text even though I tried to hide it. She smiled and let out a silly giggle. I couldn’t help but to laugh with her. I found myself wishing he would hurry and text back. I couldn’t stand not knowing what was wrong with him and why he had reacted the way that he did earlier today.

Hours passed by with no reply from him. I had a gut feeling that he didn’t want to talk to me. I just didn’t know why. Had I done something wrong? I didn’t think I did.

Mom and I watched the movies and talked for hours. After a while Mom was fighting going to sleep. We had just started the second movie when I faked a yawn and told her that I was so sleepy I could hardly stand it anymore. She agreed and turned off the TV. I kissed her on the cheek and said goodnight.

I hated our night had come to an end. We didn’t get many together lately. It gave me a slight homesick feeling. I missed hanging out with her. I walked up the stairs and into my room. I closed my bedroom door behind me, not even bothering to turn the light on.

I went straight to my window and looked over at Eric’s house. I could only see one light on. The rest of the house was dark. It was  his bedroom.

I knew he couldn’t see me since my light wasn’t on, but I could sure see him and he was beautiful. All I wanted to do was be with him. Just talk to him. To be near him. Something. The longing feeling was almost unbearable.

He was sitting on his bed. He was more than likely watching TV or something like that. I watched him for a while as he sat there. Finally, he stood up and took his shirt off. My heart stopped for a second, then began racing out of control. I don’t think I even took a breath when he did it.

He went to his dresser and took out something. I couldn’t tell exactly what it was. It was just a minute until I realized it was shorts. The heat of embarrassment washed over my face as I found myself watching him change.

I couldn’t believe that I was doing that. He would have a fit if he knew I watched him change. At least he still had boxers on. I would have fallen over dead if he hadn’t. I was still creepy of me to be doing something like this. I was being a peeping tom. How disturbing.

I couldn’t help myself. It was like watching an angel spread its wings. The fact that he changed facing an open window seemed like an open invitation. Anyone would have fought not to look. What can I say? I’m human.

Soon after he changed his clothes he turned out the light. I sat there a few more minutes and realized how sleepy I was. There was no use in trying to fight it. I had to get in bed or I was going to end up going to sleep right here.

I got into bed and pulled the comforter up over my shoulder. I checked my phone one last time. Nothing. I laid my phone on my bedside table and turned over. As soon as I did, my phone started vibrating. It was a text from Eric.

I took a deep breath and opened my phone. I didn’t expect to see this kind of message from him. The message read. Goodnight Princess.

Before I realized what I had wrote in reply I hit the send button. I looked back at my message and read words that I couldn’t believe I had typed.

“Goodnight my angel.”

“Great.” I said aloud. Here’s to feeling like a total idiot. I had spied on him and sent a dumb message. After I closed my phone, I closed my eyes. My every thought was about him. Sweet dreams of Eric flooded my sleep. His beauty seemed intensified in my dream. He was beyond words. I reveled in the wonderful dream. That is, until the Queens appeared and interrupted me.

Each of their beauty was still beyond belief. If I was going to have to see them on a regular basis, I’m definitely going to have to get used to the way they look. It’s just so hard. They are breathtaking in every way imaginable.

I decided that it was now or never, so I asked, “Why did you choose me?”

Even though, I had asked the same question to the Earth Queen before. Air Queen replied, “Because you are worthy of our gifts. You are a pure soul that will use our powers with purpose.” Every one of the Queens nodded in agreement.

“There is one more thing that we need to discuss.” Earth Queen said. Somehow, I got a feeling that I wasn’t going to like this.

“In order for your powers to grow to full potential you must unite with your mate.” she said, her voice was firm.

“My mate?” I asked.

Why in the world would I have a mate? I’m just a week away from graduating high school and more than that, I’m only seventeen. I wasn’t planning on mating with anyone any time soon.

Thoughts of Eric came to my mind. I laughed out loud.

“Your mate can create the balance in your power as well as you can his. Neither of your powers will work without the other. You can still use them, but the true magic lies within the bond between both of you. The stronger the bond, the stronger the magic.” I couldn’t tell which one of them had said that. All their voices were similar.

I watched as they all disappeared just as fast as they had appeared. I hated that too. Would it kill them to warn me in advance? Is that asking too much?

I woke with a renewed energy. It was almost like I had been sleeping for a long time. I guess since I am blessed with all this power I should get on with figuring out how to use it. I just didn’t know how to go about it.

Several possibilities came to mind. I remembered how Piper from Charmed could freeze things in midair. So, I picked up a pencil and tossed it in the air. I held out my hands the same way she did in the show, but the pencil fell to the floor. I should have known that wouldn’t work, but it was sure worth a try.

I continued tossing the pencil, trying a different approach every time. Nothing worked. I gave up and threw my hands in the air. As soon as I did, the pencil went flying up and stuck in the ceiling. 

The force that it flew through the air shocked me. Standing there, looking at the pencil sticking into the ceiling, I couldn’t believe it. I finally did it. Now I just have to figure out how I did it. But first, I have to get the pencil down.

I grabbed my desk chair and positioned it under the pencil. I doubted I could reach it even from the chair, but it was worth a shot. I reached for the pencil, but it was no use. The ceilings are way too high. I think I’m going to have to find a ladder to get it down. Giving it one last shot, I reached for it again.

“Man, I need that pencil.” I said aloud. I was starting to become frustrated.

It seemed to be getting closer to me for some reason. I looked down at my feet, and I was in the air, not touching the chair at all. But before I could look back at the ceiling for the pencil, my head hit it hard. I started falling fast down to the floor. The thought of the pain I was about to feel forced me to draw in a breath and hold it. I stopped just short of slamming into the floor. I let out the breath I was holding, expecting to hit the floor, but I didn’t  My body remained suspended in midair. I wasn’t sure how I was going to get back on the floor. 

I looked around trying not to even disturb the air around me. I was floating about an inch above the floor.

The only way I am going to find out how this is going to turn out is to make a movement. With my eyes shut, a gritted teeth grin, and my breath held in my chest, I moved my hand to the floor. Next, I placed both feet flat on the carpet and stood up. I didn’t fall.

My window was still open, so I figured that would be as good as an example as any. I won’t break it. Dad would definitely kill me if I did. I took a deep breath and thought of the window closing. As I watched it, it began to close. That was so cool, I thought to myself. The room immediately turned about ten degrees cooler. OK, so I’m going to have to watch my thought process a little better. Back to normal, I thought to myself.

The remote to my stereo was lying on top of the dresser. I held my hand out and I guess you could say, commanded the remote with my mind. Within seconds it was in my hand. I giggled out loud. This is amazing. To be able to have such power could make my life a whole lot easier. All those weird television shows will sure come in handy now.

After an hour or so of moving things around my room, I decided to take a break.

A thought came to my mind about changing my appearance. If I can do that I can do just about anything. I went into the bathroom and looked at my reflection. I wondered what I could change. Maybe my hair would look good blonde.

My hair color changed from deep brown to blonde right before my eyes. Soon everything about me had changed in one way or another. My eyes were bright blue with a gray tint. My skin was darker than normal.

This was completely unbelievable. Just imagine the possibilities. I could go anywhere I want to go and nobody would ever be the wiser. No one would know me. Now, knowing how to use that power could come in handy. I stood there experimenting with

different facial attributes. I soon got bored with the whole glamour power and changed myself back.

I was feeling somewhat restless, so I decided to get dressed and go outside for a while. I looked around for my cell phone, but I couldn’t find it. There is no telling where it is. I was so sure that I had laid it on my bed, but it wasn’t there. I looked over my room one last time before deciding to try and use my power to locate it.

I closed my eyes and thought of my phone. As soon as I finished the thought I could see my phone lying under the bottom corner of my bed. I opened my eyes thinking to myself that there was  no way that my phone could be there. I bent down and reached under the bed and there it was. I felt a sense of pride in myself. I could definitely do some good with the gifts I have. There were several text messages on my phone. All where from Eric. The first one caught me off guard. I wasn’t expecting a reply from him after I had sent him the message calling him my angel. I had no idea why I had called him that. Something just came over me and I did it without thinking.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t change it now. I’m not sure I even would, to tell the truth. The first message read, Am I  your angel?

Yeah you are, I thought to myself. I am infatuated with him.

I opened the next one. It read. Goodnight, beautiful. That one almost took my breath away. The last one said, Dream of me.

I was in shock. My heart felt like it was swollen and burning with a fire of a thousand suns. Prickling feelings shot all over my skin, leaving behind goose bumps. He did like me. Catching my breath, I headed to the back door and outside.

The sun was bright and warm on my skin. It was warm for this time of the morning. I had picked my outfit, hoping that Eric might be outside. As I noticed what time it was, the hope dwindled a bit. It was way too early for a teenage guy to be out of bed. At least he wasn’t going to be able to catch me experimenting around with the new powers I have.

I had denim shorts, and a spaghetti strap top on. I had brought a light sweater with me expecting the breeze to be cool. I was  wrong. I left the sweater on the swing since I wasn’t going to need it. I strolled around the yard trying to come up with ideas for practice. After a while of looking, I started to think there wasn’t going to be anything to do back here. Nothing that wouldn’t draw attention from the neighbors anyway.

I circled the small rose garden that Mom had planted when we moved in. I remember the day she planted the one in the middle. She was so happy she had found the white rose she was looking for. I felt terrible when it bloomed because instead of being white, it was a weird cream color. She was so disappointed that she actually came to tears over it.

I stroked the petals as I imagined them being as white as snow. I prayed that this task wouldn’t be the one that I couldn’t do.  It worked. The petals turned bright white. The reflection of the morning sun bouncing off the roses almost hurt my eyes just to look at them. Mom would freak out when she saw those for sure. That bothered her so much that she hated to even sit in the garden.

I took care of that, I laughed to myself. It was exciting to have the power to change things. If I could change flowers and the way I look then there was no telling what else I can change.

This could come with high consequences as well as rewards. What if I messed up and done something I’m not supposed to do? I was never told that there were any rules to my new life. I was most  going to have to ask the Queens the next time I was with them. I don’t want to risk doing anything to upset them and make them think I’m not good enough for their gifts.

I became leery when I heard someone call my name. I turned in the direction from where I thought it came from. No one was there. I heard it again, closer this time, so I walked around the side of the house expecting to see someone there. Not a soul was around. Powerful and crazy, I thought to myself.

“Bailey.” the sheer power in the voice shook my deep into my soul. It sounded like Eric in a way, but I wasn’t sure. I looked over to his house. He was standing in the window looking at me. I waved at him and turned away.

If you only knew how beautiful you are, the voice said.

I looked around confused, but again saw no one.

I love you already, I heard the voice say.

This time I noticed the voice wasn’t coming from someone outside. I wasn’t hearing the voice with my ears either. It was in my mind, but I wasn’t imagining it.

The whisper lingered with me. It was his sweet voice. His words were soft and careful as they entered my mind. I could hardly stand to hear them. The feeling that gave me was explainable.  If I were a normal person I would be in a dead run to the phone to call a shrink. I would be certain I was having a mental disturbance.

But I’m not normal. I’m gifted and I know his words were for me. The truth from him was as if I had heard it with my heart. It sent a jolt of electricity through my entire body. I hope that someday soon he would be able to say those exact words to me. For now, I’ll have to take his thoughts instead. 

But, for now, I’ll settle with this. I’m not sure it will make a difference. As soon as he finds out the truth about me he will, without a doubt, change his mind. The thought of him doing that made me sick to my stomach.

I don’t know why I felt that way. I mean, hell, I don’t even know this guy well enough to be thinking about him this way. I can’t picture myself not being able to see or talk to him. No matter how hard I try not to, I’m always thinking about him. I can’t control it. He’s in my dreams every night. He’s the first thought in my mind when I wake up and the last one when I go to bed. I was turning into a hopeless freak.

As I made my way back inside I could feel his eyes lingering on me. I had to force myself not to turn around and look at his perfection as he stood in the window looking at me.

The stairs to my room seemed longer than usual. The door to my room creaked as I entered it. Boredom had set in. There is nothing left for me to do to keep myself entertained. Grumbling noises from my stomach let me know that I had waited too long between meals.

The doorbell chimed as I was coming down the stairs. Who in the world could this be? Mom was at work and Dad was at some kind of conference in Florida. I wasn’t expecting anyone to come by either.

I opened the door, assuming that it was one of those church people that go door to door. To my surprise, it was Eric. He was standing there looking delicious with some DVD’s and a single long stem white rose. I wonder why he chose white. You would think that he would have just picked a red one like every other guy would.

He held out the rose to me. I smiled at him. Taking the rose, I made sure that my hand touched his. I stood there holding the door with my other hand. The truth is, I was using it for support. Eric has a way of making me weak in the knees when he is around. I have to get that under control.

“I thought that if you aren’t busy we could watch some movies. That is if you like doing that.” He said trying to control his voice.

“Sure. As long as you don’t mind that I’m in my pajamas.”

“I don’t mind at all. Actually, I find them rather attractive.” He couldn’t seem to hold his laughter any longer. After he caught his breath, I invited him in. “Will your parents mind that I’m here? I don’t want to get you in any trouble.”

I explained that Dad was out of town and Mom was working late again tonight. “I’m sure she won’t mind. But just to be on the safe side, I’ll let her know anyway.”

Eric followed me into the kitchen. I found one of Mom’s vases that she kept in the cabinet. She uses them from time to time for fresh cut flowers. I filled it water and put the rose in it. It was so eye catching. A single rose in a vase has a certain appeal to it.

I sat the vase in the middle of the kitchen island and showed Eric to the living room. I walked behind him as we entered the hallway. His movements were as graceful as anyone could imagine. I couldn’t help but to stare at him as he walked.

I pointed in the direction of the DVD player and he walked over to put the disk in. I excused myself and ran up to my room to make sure I looked at least presentable. After straightening my tangled ponytail I headed back downstairs.

When I entered the living room, he was sitting on the couch. I picked the other end of the couch, making sure that I did nothing to overstep my boundaries. I didn’t want to give him the impression that I was just another easy girl either.

“Are you ready?” He asked smiling.

I nodded in reply, afraid my voice would crack when I answered him. I was so nervous that my palms had begun to sweat.

As the previews played, I sent Mom a text. I wasn’t sure how I should word it so I wrote, Hey Mom, Eric came over and we are going to watch some movies. I hope that’s OK. Love you.

It took no time at all for her to reply. That’s fine sweetie. Have fun.

I closed my phone and put it on the end table. Eric asked, “So how was your day?”

“Good so far. Yours?”

“Great.” Eric cleared his throat. “Better than that now.”

I smiled. I noticed he had brought one of my  all-time favorite horror movies, A Nightmare on Elm Street.

As the movie played, we continued talking. I didn’t mind not watching it. I was more interested in what he had to say.

He asked me a lot of questions. He asked about what my parents did for a living. He seemed pleased that Mom was a lawyer and that Dad was a doctor.

His parents were wealthy. They had worked for many years as business consultants to oil companies. Their work kept them away from home the majority of the time. More so than my parents, I realized. I felt sorry for him because I knew how hard it was when my parents weren’t home. I got the impression that he was mature because of that.

He told me that his parents had hired a live-in nanny when he was younger. From his explanation, I drew the conclusion that she wasn’t the greatest person in the world. She hadn’t been mean to him or abused him or anything like that. She had just been I guess you could say, distant from him. She did her job. The cooking and cleaning was always done without fail. She wasn’t the type of person who prized children, but she didn’t dislike them either. He said she had been professional.

His parents had let her go when Eric turned fourteen. They didn’t see any reason that he would need a nanny anymore. He was plenty old enough and was mature enough to stay by himself. And from then until now he has taken care of himself.

Out of the blue, my phone rang. It was Mom. I hadn’t realized that the time was passing so fast. She was on her way home and asked if we would like to have something to eat from town. I asked Eric if he would stay and eat with us and he agreed. I was glad because I wasn’t quite ready for him to leave.

I asked her what she had in mind to get.

“Just whatever you kids want will be fine with me.” she said.

“Does a cheeseburger sound good to you?” I asked Eric.

“Sure does. A Whopper meal from Burger King would be great.”

Actually, I had been thinking the same thing. What a coincidence, I thought to myself. I told Mom what we wanted and she said she would be home shortly.

Eric thanked me for inviting him to stay and eat.

“Well, I could hardly eat in front of you knowing you were just as hungry as I am.”

“Was my stomach growling that loud?” He laughed as his face turned bright red.

“Yep, sure was.” I laughed.

The movie was over so Eric got up and took it out to put back in the case. Time sure does fly when you’re having fun. And I was having fun. I enjoyed Eric’s company. He gave me a sense of comfort like coming home when you had been away for a week. He seemed to be just as comfortable with me.

I saw Mom’s car pulling up the driveway.

“Mom’s here. I’m going to go out and help her carry her things in.”

“Oh, I’ll help too.” He replied as he opened the front door for me. “Ladies first.”

My heart melted.

“Thank you.”

Mom had just got out of the car when we reached the driveway.

“Hi sweetie.” she said as she hugged me.

“Hello, Mrs. Sims.” Eric said. His manners were always on target.

“Oh. Hello. You must be Eric.” Mom replied giving me a wink.

As we got the food out of the car, I noticed Mom hadn’t brought her briefcase home with her. She was smiling when I looked up at her. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud.

“I have no intentions of working tonight.” she said. Her face was set with a determined look. I bet she has no intentions of working, but I don’t think I would mind if she did. At least for tonight. That was awful of me, I know, but I wanted to spend my time with Eric.

We carried everything into the house. I was so hungry that I could hardly wait to eat. Eric took the burgers and fries out of the bag and placed them on the table in order. I thought that was strange. I guess he likes his things organized. I’m thinking it looked more like obsessive compulsive disorder.

I got three plates out of the cabinet and put them on the island. Eric took two of them and put them on the counter in front of him. I watched him as he unwrapped two of the burgers. Putting them on each of the plates he asked me for a knife. I shot him a confused look.

“I’m going to cut your burger for you.” he said as if he’d done it forever.

“OK.” I said as I handed him the knife. I stood there watching him and for once in my life I was completely speechless. He poured my fries out onto the plate and stabbed my straw into my drink. He was smiling like he had won the lottery. The fact that he had fixed my plate for me was attractive. If he keeps on with all this sweet stuff I will for sure end up head over hills for him in no time at all. He already gives me the nervous jitters, but in a good way, of course.

We all sat down at the table to eat. We joked and laughed as the other would make silly faces. Eric was comfortable around Mom. That would turn out to be a good thing I’m sure. It gave me a true sense of happiness. A feeling of peace and from that moment on, I knew that this was where Eric belonged with me.

I was getting sleepy as Eric announced that it was time for him to head home. Nothing could prepare me for these moments of separation. It hurt me. The pain of not being near him was excruciating, to say the least.

It was getting late. Mom had already gone upstairs, but I knew  she would come back downstairs to make sure Eric was gone for the night. He lingered at the front door, holding my hand, and I could tell that he did not want to leave.

After he cleared his throat, he thanked me for the meal and for my company.

“Call me when you wake up. Goodnight Princess.” he said as he bent over and kissed me on the cheek.

“I will. Goodnight.”

I locked the door behind him and turned off all  the downstairs lights. As I walked by my parent’s room, I could hear Mom snoring. When I got to my room, I immediately turned off the light.

Eric’s bedroom light came on and I watched him as he moved around his room. He had a stack of laundry lying on his bed. I wanted to talk to him so bad, even though he had just left.

I opened my phone and sent him a text. I see you.

I watched as he picked up his phone and read the message. Spying on me again, are you?

NO! I’m just observing. I sent a reply as my heart pounded almost out of my chest. I watched him as he faced the window and pulled his shirt over his head. My phone buzzed again.

Do you like what you see?

I thought of a million different ways to answer his text, but all  sounded ill-mannered. The only thing I could say was yes!

What I wanted to say was can I come over. My hormones were  running wild. I took a cleansing breath to erase the tension in my body that he was causing. All I could think of was putting my hands on his bare chest. To touch him, exploring every inch of his body.

As soon as I realized what I was thinking, I hurried to clear my thoughts. All I needed was to show up in his bedroom. That would  freak him out. He would never be able to look at me ever again.

Calm down Princess, was the last message I remember getting before I fell asleep.

The sound of a plate shattering woke me from my wonderful dream of Eric and his shirtless chest. I could smell bacon and eggs and it sent a pain through my stomach. I was starving.

Mom hadn’t been home enough to cook breakfast in so long that I had almost forgot what it was like. Most of the time I would go down to the diner and get scrambled eggs, bacon, and toast. It was good, but not as good as hers. Nothing ever seemed as good as when she does it.

I jumped out of bed and hurried to brush my teeth. I made it to the kitchen in record time. At the doorway it was like I had ran into a brick wall. Eric was sitting on the stool by the bar sipping a glass of orange juice. His plate was already empty. Mom had fed him before I had made it downstairs and I was not sure how I  felt about that. I wasn’t sure about how I felt about anything for that matter. It is just way too early to be giving too much thought to anything.

“Good morning sweetheart.” my mother said in a teasing tone.

“ Hmm…” is all I could make myself say.

It was strange to see Eric sitting in my kitchen without me inviting him over. “Your mom asked me to come over for breakfast. I thought you were already up, but I guess I was wrong.” he said smiling at me. His smile could melt ice on a frozen lake, but I knew it could not break through my morning pessimistic ways.

Mom sat my plate down in front of me. Eric had already poured me a glass of orange juice, and at that moment I felt loved. My morning was off to a wonderful start, and if I could ever break free of my usual grumpiness it would be so much better.

It was great to have mom home. She looked like she had slept well. We talked some, but it was about nothing of any great importance. It was just casual things like the weather and how Mom seemed excited for Eric to be starting school. She knew that I wasn’t up for much conversation when I was in my mood.

I became a bit annoyed when I noticed Eric was watching me eat. That is just so rude. I turned my head in his direction and glared at him.

“Sorry. I just can’t help myself.”

“Well you better try and figure out how to help yourself before I poke your eyes out. I hate it when people watch me eat.” I grumbled as I stared at my plate.

“Since I like my eyes, I don’t think I’ll bother you while you eat.” he smirked.

I’ll admit I was being a little uncivil this morning. It wasn’t any different than any other morning. I’m just not little miss sunshine when I wake up. He was going to have to get used to that  if he was going to be brave enough to be around me before I had taken my morning shower.

Until I get awake, I have a habit of biting people’s heads off. The most important thing that Eric could learn was to give me some time to wake up before talking to me. Intelligent conversations with me before I ate and took a shower were almost impossible. It was like talking to my mother before she had her first cup of coffee. Some things a person should just not do.

I got up and put my plate in the sink and staggered to the stairs. I heard Mom telling Eric that I wasn’t a morning person so don’t take my savageness personal.

“Has she always been like this?” Eric asked her.

I heard her laughing as I climbed the stairs to my room. “Yes. And I don’t think she will ever change.”

I guess it was a good thing that Mom liked him. Hell hath no fury like my mother if she didn’t like you.

I, finally, made it to my room. It felt like it took an hour to get there. I jumped in the shower. Trying to wake up was the hardest thing in the world for me to do. I had slept so good last night. Maybe a little bit too good, it seemed like. All I wanted to do was get back in bed and go back to sleep. I forced myself to end the hot shower and to get dressed.

Eric was waiting for me downstairs. He was  nervous about starting school. I mean, what was the use? This week is the final week of high school for both of us. We were seniors and about to graduate on Friday. He held the door for me as we left. I could get used to this.

CHAPTER 4

“I’m going to be so bored this week.” he cackled. I pushed him in a playful way and we left for school.

Walking up to the school entrance, I told Eric that I would show him the way to the main office. I felt bad for him in a way because he wouldn’t have much time to get to know people and make friends. It all felt useless to me in a way. What’s the point in trying to make friends here this late in the year?

Students stared as we walked down the hallway to the office. I noticed that most of them were girls. They looked at him like he was a glass of iced-tea on a ninety degree day. I became annoyed by them, but I understood the way they felt. Eric was sure something to look at.

The school secretary gave Eric his class schedule. I looked over it and every one of his classes are the same as mine. He seemed relieved that it turned out that way.

“Now I won’t have to worry about getting lost.” I smiled at him and a tiny whisper of a laugh escaped from my lips.

We walked to our first period class. Eric walked in and sat down in the empty desk in the back row. Everyone was glancing back at him. They were trying not to make him feel uncomfortable, but I don’t think it did any good. He looked as comfortable as a cat on a hot tin roof. At least he didn’t squirm.

Several people went back and introduced themselves to him. I could tell he was beginning to relax a little, but the edgy look returned to his face every time a girl would come up to him.

Finally, Damien and Jared walked over to greet him. After a while I noticed that the three of them were deep in conversation about something. I couldn’t tell exactly what, but it seemed they were  interested in the topic.

Damien has boy-like qualities. He still has the round face and dimples he had in the sixth grade. He was striking in the looks department, nonetheless. He had managed to keep a 4.0 grade average the entire way through high school. I don’t think he ever studied. The job he has seems to take up the majority of his time. He works down at the grocery store in town. He works extra shifts  to save enough money to buy a car. I remembered seeing him last week at a car lot outside town. He was looking at a pickup truck. Maybe, he had finally found the one he was looking for.

Jared was the exact opposite of Damien. A blonde hair and blue eyed devil. He wasn’t such a good student, but he kept his grades up to a low B level. He spends most of his time either with Damien or with his girlfriend and sometimes no one knew where he was. I guess that was just his thing.

His girlfriend had moved here from somewhere in the city. She was a quiet person. She didn’t socialize all that much. I took her for being a snobby drama queen. Damien was always trying to live his life around hers and what she wanted him to do. If you ask me, I wouldn’t be able to be with someone that was like that. But, of course, it wasn’t any of my business. The four of us had first period together. I followed the three of them into the classroom. They had been so involved in their conversation that Eric must have forgotten that I was still there. I took my seat not giving it another thought.

Through the entire class all I heard was bits and pieces of what the teacher had to say. Eric was all that was on my mind. Concentrating on anything else was a waste of time.

The dismissal bell for first period rang. I gathered my things and met Eric at the door. He walked with me to my locker. He was happy he had made a couple friends and I felt relieved that he wasn’t looking so stressed anymore. We made our way to the row of lockers that lined the hallway. Since Eric was only going to be here a week until he graduates I suggested that he and I share a locker.

“That sounds good to me.” he said. “Are you sure you will have enough room?”

“All the teachers are taking our textbooks up already. It shouldn’t be a problem.” I tossed my backpack in the locker and closed the door. The guidance counselor walked up to Eric and asked him to follow her to her office. She explained about transcript from his other school that needed worked out. She had gone on ahead of him.

“Will you save me a seat?” he asked as he was walking away.

“Sure.” I called to him. He had made it halfway down the hallway and I wasn’t sure he had heard me. I knew it would make him feel better if he thought that I was waiting on him and I would. How could I not?

I walked to my second period class. If I was late one more time I was sure to get detention. That wasn’t something I was looking forward to doing during the final week of school. I was sure that there were going to be several seniors there, but I was not going to be one of them if I could help it. I could think of a million better things to be doing after school. One of them was being with Eric.

I reached my seat just as the final bell rang. I smiled as the substitute teacher glared at me. Katrina wasn’t so lucky. The teacher immediately handed her a detention slip. Katrina just smiled at her and said thank you. Her response caught me off guard. It was nasty toned and unlike the girl.

Katrina had become distant and withdrawn lately. We had been close most of high school, but whatever was bothering her made us more detached. She didn’t make an effort to talk to me. As a matter of fact, she would not talk to anyone. I knew was going on in her life had to be something that she wasn’t prepared to talk to anyone about. That made me not want to know.

Katrina had always been a fun-loving, sociable person. I don’t think that I could name one single person that didn’t like her. She was hard not to like. Every action she made was for the benefit of the people around her. Some people had tried to take advantage of that in the past. None of that mattered to her. She continued to be nice and help them if they asked her.

About thirty minutes into class Eric came back. He handed the teacher a note. I’m assuming it was from the guidance counselor. He walked back to his desk with a hasty stride. I could tell that whatever had gone on in the meeting had made him angry.

“What’s wrong?’ I asked him as he took a seat in the desk to my left.

“My old school failed to grade my final exams so I have to take them again here.” he whispered to me with anger in his voice.

“That just gives you a chance to make a higher grade.”

He laughed at me and said, “Only you Bailey.”

I giggled back at him as he slumped back in his desk with a disgusted look on his face. I felt sorry for him and I knew I would have been just as mad about it if it were me having to retake those dreadful exams.

“Will you help me study?” he asked.

“Really?” I became a beaming mess of excitement.

“It isn’t like I need to study for them anyway.” he boasted.

“I wouldn’t be so sure of that if I were you.”

“I’m just using it as an excuse to spend the entire afternoon with you.”

“I’m glad to know I’m so loved.” I rolled my eyes.

“That, you are.” he replied.

Did that mean that he loved me? I could only wish that were true. It was more than likely an observation on his part. Nothing to get all worked up over, I told myself.

Class was over sooner than I realized. The day was going by so fast. It was time for lunch. The lunchroom was jam packed as usual. I went through the line and got a slice of pizza and an apple. I hardly ever got the full lunch tray. Most of the food was disgusting anyway. I’m not sure how they get away with feeding us this way and if you asked me it should be a crime.

Eric got two slices of pizza, an apple, and a carton of chocolate milk. I thought the whole milk thing was kind of cute. I don’t know why. It just was.

Eric and I sat at the table with Jared and Damien. A few girls were staring at Eric and I tried not to let them know that I noticed. They giggled and grinned like they had never seen a good looking guy before in their life. I understood it in a way. I mean, Eric is beyond the description of good-looking. He is heavenly, with just a hint of danger to him. The perfect balance of the good guy type and the bad boy.

After a while one of the girls got up from the table and came over to introduce herself to Eric. He was polite to her. She invited him to a party Saturday night. I’m not sure what I will be doing then. “I’ll let you know.” he told her, still staring at his tray.

That was all it took. A simple invitation from that girl had made me so furious that I couldn’t stand myself. I was sure I was glowing bright green from jealousy. I was afraid to open my mouth because I knew that something ugly would come out.

Eric had not even refused her request, and I think that was the part that hurt my feelings the most of all.

Damien questioned Eric about whether he was going to go. Eric never gave him an answer either way. They went on and on about how pretty she was and how her body was the definition of perfection. I had heard all I could stand to hear, so I picked up my tray and took it to clean it off.

I looked back at Eric as I sat my tray in the stack for the lunch ladies. He had a hurt look on his face. He turned his head and stared down at his tray. I felt like a big idiot and I wasn’t about to go back to the table with him, so I left the cafeteria. I think it was  out of total embarrassment or shame. I couldn’t tell which.

The school day came to an end. I was still feeling the sting of jealousy and I felt ashamed of myself over it, but the anger I felt was the worst part. I was angry at myself because I felt like he was mine and that girl was going to take him away from me.

In reality, Eric is not mine. We are friends, but I wanted us to be so much more than that. I had laid claim on a guy that I wasn’t sure even liked me back and that was foolish of me.

I didn’t wait on him to walk home with me. I went ahead and left. I wanted some alone time to think about how I felt and how stupid I was acting. I had almost reached the park when my phone rang. Eric was calling. I pushed the ignore button. Not even a minute passes before my phone beeped alerting me that I had a text message.

I opened the phone expecting one of those weird chain messages, but it was Eric.

Where are you? I considered not even texting back, but I did.

You seemed to have enough company so I figured I wouldn’t bother you. I replied so fast that I  misspelled some of the words.

Is this about that girl at lunch?

I didn’t reply.

Don’t be like that Princess, his message said.

I still didn’t answer him back. I was so upset and without a good reason. My temper can sure get the best of me sometimes.

I sat saw the park benches and decided I would sit and try to collect myself before trying to talk to him. I sat there trying to figure out what I would say to him. Several minutes passed and I couldn’t come up with a good enough excuse for why I wasn’t talking to him. My phone beeps again.

Bailey, talk to me. Please.

What?

Why didn’t you wait for me like you promised? He asked.

I was intending to sound as hateful as I could went I typed my reply.  I’m waiting on you right here on this park bench and I’m not going to be here in three minutes.

I knew it would take him longer than that to get here from the school. When that time was up I wouldn’t feel so bad about going on home.

I watched the time on my phone. Your three minutes are up big boy, I said aloud to myself. I got up off the bench, but before I could take a step I heard him call my name.

“Dammit!” I said a lot louder than I should have.

“Wait Bailey!” He pleaded.

I stopped and waited for him. When he finally reached me he was completely out of breath and had sweat pouring off his forehead. I couldn’t help but to laugh at him. He had actually run the whole way. From the look of him he had was determined to make it here in two minutes instead of three. The fact that he had actually ran all this way just to talk to me made me feel even worse than I had in the beginning.

“Bailey I’m sorry for not just telling her I wasn’t interested. I wasn’t aware that it would bother you so much. I didn’t even think she was even pretty.” He said as he gasped to catch his breath.

I stood there looking at him wanting to throw my arms around him and hug him.

“And I’m sorry for being such a jerk about it. I wasn’t thinking and I guess I overstepped my boundaries a bit.” I said feeling sorry about how I had acted. “It’s not like I’m your girlfriend. I’m definitely not your mother so you’re free to do as you please.” I said.

“Do you want to be my girlfriend?” He asked still breathless.

“That’s beside the point Eric.”

“OK. Let me rephrase that question. Will you be my girlfriend?”

I felt like I was back in grade school. I did, but I didn’t want to say yes quite yet. So, with a smile, I told him I would let him know later.

“I’ll be sure and hold you to that.”

The walk home was in silence until we reached the corner where both of our houses were. I was still rolling in myself inflicted humiliation. We said our goodbyes and we each went in our different directions.

My Dad’s car was in the driveway. He had finally got back from the conference. I ran up the walkway as fast as I could. I hardly get to see him anymore. “Dad!” I shouted as I went through the door.

He was standing in the kitchen looking over the mail. “Well, hello, my baby girl.” he said.

“I sure have missed you, Daddy. How was the conference?”

“It wasn’t the greatest time I’ve ever had.” he laughed as he scooped me up into a hug that brought my feet off the floor. “I’m glad to be home.”

He said that he was going to be able to be home more for a while now. He asked about school and about how my final exams had went. I told him I passed them all.

He wasn’t surprised. “You have always been a great student.” he complimented me.

“I have a friend coming over to study.” I could feel my cheeks turning red.

“Anyone I know?” he asked.

“Nope, he just moved here I told him.”

Dad gave me that funny look he always gives me when I mention a boy. It was almost cute, but scary at the same time.

“When is he going to be here?” He asked as the doorbell rang.

I smiled and said, “Now.”

I opened the door and let Eric in. He went to Dad and introduced himself. Dad seemed pleased that Eric didn’t wait for me to introduce them. I could see the light in my father s eyes shining. He acted like he might be able to tolerate Eric.

Eric and I excused ourselves to go to the living room. I pulled my textbooks out of my backpack and put them on the coffee table.

Eric looked at them and grinned. “I said this was only an excuse to spend time with you and I wasn’t kidding.”

“Yeah and my Dad is home so you better make it look believable.” 

“Why did you get so angry at me today?” Eric asked.

“I wasn’t so much as angry as I was jealous, I guess you could say.” I replied.

“There is no reason for you to be jealous. I’m not interested in her at all.”

I saw Dad walk by and I started reading out of the textbook. I didn’t want him upset with me. I couldn’t stand that.

“So, are you going to answer my question?”

“Which one?” I asked.

“The one about being my girlfriend.” he said.

“What’s in it for me?”

“I guess you’ll just have to say yes so you can find out now won’t you?” He said with confidence.

“OK. You twisted my arm. Sure.” I answered.

I heard Dad walking around upstairs. Eric leaned over and kissed me. I wasn’t expecting him to do that. He knew it too. His kiss was a mere peck, but it left my lips tingling. I couldn’t do anything but sit there and look at him.

“I’m sorry. I guess I should have asked you before I done that.” he said as he stared at the floor.

“Don’t be sorry. I just wasn’t expecting it is all.” I whispered.

He leaned in to kiss me again and I was more prepared for it this time. I kissed him back. The smooth motion of our lips soon became as natural as walking. We responded to each other as if this wasn’t our first kiss.

After a brief time, I noticed a sensation coming over me. It was almost like I was dizzy again, but floating at the same time. High above my own body.

Eric placed his hand on my arm. It was like he knew because it was happening to him too. Or I thought it might be. I sure hoped that it was.

But the comforting feeling his touch gave me was unexplainable. Every worry I had vanished. Nothing else seemed to matter.

Eric backed away from me. I was out of breath, but still wanting more. I heard the front door open. I was still stunned from our kiss. It was my mother.

“Bailey?” She called.

“In here, Mom.” Immediately, I straightened my hair.

“Can you come help me carry in some bags?”

Before I could get to my feet, Eric had already met her at the door. 

“Hello Eric.” she said.

“Hi. I can help you with your things.” he said being the gentleman that he is.

“Thank you.” she said. “That is so sweet of you.”

We all went out and brought the bags in. Mom had gone to the grocery store after work. From the looks of it you would think she had to feed an army. I usually did most of the shopping, but I guess Mom had plans to fix something special for dinner.

We helped her empty all the bags and put the food away.

“Need some help?” Dad asked her as he walked in the kitchen. Mom gave him a loving glance and smiled.

It was hard not to notice the excitement of them seeing each other. Even after all the years that they had been together, they still came across as a pair of love struck teenagers.

Dad enjoyed helping her cook. I think it was just another way for him to escape the growing pile of patient files on his desk. He was always looking for excuses to ignore his work when he was home. Not that I thought that was a bad thing. I’m glad he does that.

Eric and I returned to the living room to put away the books from our phony study date. I turned on the television hoping to catch the evening news. The reporter was talking about a shooting that had occurred earlier today.

Every few minutes it was something bad. People had gotten shot. Someone robbed a convenience store and the police didn’t have any leads. This is ridiculous, I thought to myself. It’s every day that someone is doing something awful in one way or another. I just wish there were something that I could do to make it stop.

“That is just awful.” I said aloud as I watched the newscaster continue her description of what had happened.

“I know Bailey, but believe it or not, things like this have to happen in order for the world to remain balanced.”

When I heard him use the word balanced, I paused. Suspicion crossed my mind, but I let it go.

Finally the weather report came on. The forecast was for rain all day tomorrow.

“I don’t want it to rain tomorrow.” I told Eric.

“Rain can be fun.” he said.

“How in the world can rain be fun?”

“I’ll show you when it starts raining.” he laughed.

I hate when it rains. I was either forced to ride the bus or walk to school. If I rode the bus I usually ended up with a ferocious headache by the time we arrive at school. Of course, not counting the gum on my shoes and the nasty spitballs in my hair. If I walked, well, that was almost as bad. But I wouldn’t get a headache from all those screaming elementary school kids. I would just be soaking wet. My hair would end up getting frizzy. My feet would get wet and I would be in a bad mood either way so I suppose it doesn’t matter.

“Dinner is ready guys.” Mom called from the kitchen. Dad had already set the table. Mom had fixed our plates before she called for us to come eat. Our plates looked like we were in a fine restaurant. I’ve always loved that. She puts her heart into everything she does for us. I couldn’t ask for a better mother.

Mom told us about her hiring the other attorneys. They are going to begin work next week. I could hear her excitement with each word she spoke.

Dad struck up a conversation with Eric. I could feel the butterflies in my stomach already. It made me nervous for Dad to be around him. I don’t understand why. I guess it’s normal.

He asked Eric was from. “I’m from Nashville.” he replied.

Dad continued questioning him. Eric seemed to be calm through it all. He answered my Dad’s questions about his parents and everything from sports to driving. They seemed to be enjoying each others opinion on things.

I ate as they talked. I looked up and Mom was giving me one of those its OK looks. I smiled back at her. The more they talked and laughed, the calmer and more relaxed I became.

Dinner came to a happy end. Dad asked if Eric and I would mind to clean up. Of course, we said yes.

Eric gathered the dishes and loaded the dishwasher as I wiped down the table and counter tops. My parents watched from the table. We finished with the cleanup and Eric said he had to get home and do some things around the house.

“Do you need any help?” I asked.

“No. I don’t think so.”

He went over to the table and thanked my mom for dinner. It was delicious.

Dad stood up and shook Eric’s hand. “You’re welcome anytime.” Dad told him.

“I was wondering if after I finished my chores at home, maybe I could come back and visit with you all some more?” Eric asked,  nervous about how my parents were going to react to his question.

“Yeah, sure, that will be fine.” Mom replied.

I walked him to the door. He kissed me and told me he would be back in about an hour or so. I thanked him as he left. I couldn’t believe that I had found such a wonderful guy. He was everything I had ever thought I could want. The great thing about it is that I think he feels the same way about me.

I walked back in the kitchen to talk to Mom and Dad. “So, what do you think of Eric?” I asked almost wishing that I hadn’t.

“I think he’s great.” My mom beamed.

“Mom, I already knew you liked him.”

“I think he’s great too, Bailey.” my Dad said and I could feel all my tension washing away by his declaration.

“He reminds me a lot of myself when I was that age. He’s polite and is mature for his age.” Dad cleared his throat and I knew more was coming. He asked about our relationship.

“Well Dad, he’s my boyfriend.”

He sat there for a moment looking at the table.

“You guys look pretty serious about each other. I just want you to keep your head on right when it comes to him.”

“Don’t worry Dad.” I tried to reassure him.

It’s just that you’ll be graduating next week and now you have a boyfriend. I guess I just feel like you’ve grown up too fast, but you  haven’t.”

I felt sorry for him in a way. “I’m still your little girl Daddy,” I said as I hugged him. “I’m just getting bigger.”

“I guess so. Old’ Dad’s going to have to let you live your own life now. Next thing I’ll know Eric will be over here asking my blessing.” He laughed.

“Don’t get in too big of a hurry there Dad!” I exclaimed. I gave him another big hug and kissed him on the cheek.

“I know Eric is coming back in a bit, but I forgot that your mom and I had tickets to see a movie tonight.”

“That’s OK Dad.” I had to force myself to hide my reaction about them leaving. They never get to spend that much time together.

“We’ll just hang out and watch television or something.” I told him.

“ OK, I guess we better get going.” he told Mom.

Dad got the car keys off the counter and tossed Mom her purse. “We might be late. Don’t wait up. You have school in the morning.” Mom said eyeing me as they walked out the door. I had hoped I could spend some time with them tonight, but I understand that they needed some time together.

I scanned the kitchen for something to do to pass the time until Eric came back. There was nothing left to do since we had already cleaned up before he left.

The living room was in order as well. I thought I might have some laundry in my room that needed done. When I checked the hamper it was empty. I guess Mom had already done the laundry. I couldn’t imagine Dad doing my laundry. He had an aversion to my laundry ever since I started wearing a training bra. I laughed out loud at the thought of his face when Mom told him it was time to buy me one. I thought he was for sure going to pass out.

I could see Eric in his room. He looked like he was cleaning. I could see him going from his closet to his bed. I think he was hanging up clothes or something like that. I grabbed my phone to send him a text message. I couldn’t make up my mind what to say.

I see you.

Are you watching me?

Yeah. I’m having so much fun watching you put away your laundry.

Don’t act like it’s not cute, He replied as I watched him leave his room. Ha! You can’t see me now! I got the text as he closed the door behind him.

I told him that my parents had forgotten that they had movie tickets.

So they aren’t home?

Nope. They left about ten minutes ago. I’ll be in my room when you come back. Just come on in and lock the door behind you, I sent as I closed my phone.

I wasn’t in the mood to watch movies. I wanted to do something fun with Eric, but I wasn’t sure what it would be. I was not going to just sit here the rest if the night with nothing to do. I was restless.

The light in Eric’s bedroom went off. My phone vibrated. I’m on my way over, the message read. It had sure taken him long enough. A short moment later I heard the front door open and the deadbolt lock. He bounded up the stairs and into my room.

“Miss me much, did you?”

“Terribly.” I replied.

“So, you don’t want to watch movies?”

“Not really. I’m bored and I want to do something fun.”

“And just exactly what do you have in mind?” he asked with a sly look on his face.

“I don’t have a clue.” I said as he walked around looking at my room.

He looked at the books in the bookcase. He ran his fingers across the bindings as if he were searching for a certain book, but he never picked out one.

“What time is it?” he asked.

“Its seven thirty.” I replied.

He sat down beside me on my bed. My heart began to race the same way it does every time he gets close to me.

“I shouldn’t stay late. I would hate to be late for school in the morning.”

“Yeah and if you’re late, I’m late.” I said.

He let out a big yawn. I could tell he was more tired than he let on. 

“You look tired Eric. Why don’t you just go on back home and get some rest.”

“I should.” he replied as he stretched his arms out beside him. He plopped back on my bed, staring at the comforter. He looked like he was deep in thought. I touched the side of his head, running my fingers down his jaw line. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes. I could feel his body relaxing.

“I could get used to this.” he said almost in a whisper.

“Yeah. Me too.” I replied.

Eric rolled off his stomach and onto his back. He looked up at me as he laid his head in my lap.

“Bailey?”

“Yes?”

“Do you like me?”

“Of course I do silly. What kind of question is that?” I asked.

“I was just curious. This all just seems so right. Like it’s meant to be.”

“Yeah. I know what you mean.”

“I wish I would have moved here sooner.”

“I wish you would have too”.

Eric became quiet and I noticed his gentle breathing as he laid there. I was almost certain that he had gone to sleep. All I wanted to do was to let him lay there and rest, but after a while my legs started to go to sleep. I didn’t want to wake him. He looked so peaceful, but I had to move. There was no getting out of it. My legs hurt and they felt like they were on fire.

“Eric?” I said as I nudged his arm. He didn’t move. I called his name again, a little louder this time. He smiled and opened his eyes.

“What is it sweetie?” He replied.

“Eric, you have to get up. My legs are asleep and it hurts.”

As soon as I said that my legs hurt, he was sitting up in the bed. Without warning, he was massaging my legs. I could feel the blood flow coming back. His touch had a healing power to it. It wasn’t long until I could move my legs again.

“Thanks Eric.”

“You are welcome, Princess.”

Eric, why do you call me princess?”

“Because you’re my princess.” he smiled.

I didn’t give the idea another thought. I figured it was some sort of pet name that he decided to use. I liked it. Every girl wants to be a princess.

Time had passed by so fast. It was after ten now. I could tell that Eric didn’t want to leave, but he was falling asleep every time we got quiet. I was sleepy too and I knew if I didn’t get in the bed soon I wouldn’t wake up on time for school.

“I guess we better get to bed.” I said with the returning sad feeling in my stomach.

“Yeah. You’re right.” Eric yawned.

I told him I would meet him outside in the morning and we would walk to school if he wanted as I walked him down to the door. He unlocked the deadbolt and turned to me. He kissed me with the most gentle touch and said goodnight.

“Goodnight my angel.” I said as I shut the door.

CHAPTER 5

I met Eric at the door. I was still a little drowsy. The hot shower I took had only made it worse. Eric looked better than he did last night. He looked well rested and seemed to be ready to go do anything. I wish I could be like that of the mornings. The walk to school would give me enough time to get woke up a little more.

We had almost made it to where we could see the school when it began to rain. I looked over at Eric and he had one of the silliest looks on his face that I had ever seen. I couldn’t help but laugh. The mist of rain had woken me from my grumpy state.

“See I told you that the rain can be fun.” he laughed.

We hurried to the school entrance to keep from getting any wetter.

“Maybe next time we know it’s going to rain we should bring an umbrella.” he laughed.

He walked me to my locker so I could get my notebook out. Jared and Damien were soon at Eric’s side. They asked us if we wanted to skip third period and go down to the diner to eat lunch. Eric and I agreed to meet them at the front doors after second period ends. We headed to class.

Everyone was talking. It wasn’t like I had actually walked into class. It was more like we had gone to the cafeteria, or the circus. The teacher asked everyone to go through their textbooks and take out any stray papers that might be in them.

“I don’t have an interest in reading anyone’s unfinished love letters. So please dispose of them.” she said laughing.

I looked through my book to make sure it was clean, taking out any class notes that I might have left behind. She asked that we stack them up in the corner of the room. Eric reached over and took my book.

“Finished?” He asked. I nodded. He took my book and placed it in the pile that was starting to form.

The teacher called on several students during the rest of the class. We helped her with odd and end things that needed done. Eric had the lovely chore of cleaning the dry erase board. I always hated doing it because I was too short to reach the top of it and had to use her rickety old step ladder. I had asked her about replacing it once. She said the school’s budget was tight enough the way it was.

It took no time for second period to end. It had been the same as earlier. We all helped grade any papers that needed graded in order for our final grades to get calculated.

Eric led me out of class when the bell rang. We waited for Jared and Damien at the end of the hall. The hall was empty when the better have your butt in class bell rang. The four of us walked past the office and out the front door. It’s not like they would do much about it. It’s the last week of high school and seniors get certain privileges. They are more like get out of jail free cards. We walked to the diner laughing and talking the whole way.

The diner was half full. We found a booth and crowded in it. Damien hit Jared with a menu as he was handing it to Eric. They rough-housed a little until the waitress came up to the table and said, “Skipping class are we?” Something about her calling attention to what we were doing settled them down.

“We are and we are starving. We refused to eat the food at school so they made us find our own lunch.” Damien joked.

“That’s one I hadn’t heard.” the waitress said. The amused look on her face gave us all a slight sense of relief. “Are you guys ready to order?”

Damien and Jared placed their orders and she turned to us.

“The usual for you Bailey?” I nodded as I laid my menu on the table.

Eric ordered a chicken strip basket with fries and onion rings.

“I think he’s going to fit in just fine with us don’t you Jared?” Damien asked.

“Yep, sure do.” he said as he smiled from ear to ear.

“So, Eric. Are you and Bailey going out?” Damien asked.

Eric looked over at me and smiled. “Yeah, we are.” he said with a prideful look. I turned bright red that instant. I knew they were all staring at me so I didn’t bother to look up at them. 

“Look how red her ears are!” Jared said as he began to laugh.

“Stick a sock in it Jared!” I said before I thought. That only made it worse. I swore they were going to die laughing if they didn’t stop. The more they laughed the more red my face became. Finally, the waitress brought out food out. That would force them to shut up for a little while.

We ate in silence, except for the occasional giggle from Jared. When we were all finished we each laid a dollar on the table for the waitress. I think a five dollar bill would have been better. Considering the fact that Jared had been so loud during our meal, but she smiled at me as we got up to leave.

Eric announced that he was going to pay for everyone s lunch. Jared and Damien immediately started to refuse. Eric looked at them and said, “I’ve got it this time. Next time one of you can buy.”

Still they refused. For a moment, I thought their refusal was making Eric uncomfortable. He proved me wrong.

“I got it. We’re all friends’ right?”

Damien and Jared paused. Neither of them had anything to say in response to Eric’s question.

Almost in unison they both agreed with nods.

“Bailey has to buy next time.” Jared laughed.

I punched Jared’s shoulder and smiled. Eric paid the bill and we made our way back to school. As we walk into school the halls buzzed with students coming out of their third period classes. Everyone seemed excited about something. More than likely, the end of the week and graduation.

Eric grabbed my hand and held it as we were walking down the hall to our next class. The heat of his simple touch overwhelmed me every time and I could feel the faint burn in my cheeks as a result. I could also feel the girls that had their eyes on me. They weren’t staring. They were glaring at me. I got a lot of “go to hell” looks on the way to class. I tried to ignore them. Eric seemed to enjoy how all the girls were jealous of me. He didn’t like the nasty looks they were giving me and in some sick way, I loved it. I knew that I had something they didn’t have… Eric. And they were never going to get him either. I am almost certain of that. As sure as I could be about anything, but then the sinking feeling hit me. Could I expect to keep him when he found out about my secret? It was only a matter of time until I would slip up and he would know everything.

We were almost to class when I told Eric that I was going to go to the restroom before class starts. He smiled and walked on in to class.

I had to have a moment away from him. The thought of him not wanting to be with me had shaken me and I didn’t want to alert him that something was wrong. I wouldn’t be able to explain to him what it was. He would end up thinking I was hiding something from him, but the truth is… I am. I don’t want to hide things. Being honest is important to me. How can I expect him to believe me even if I do tell him? There is no way that he would want to be around me if he knew the truth. Who would? I’m nothing more than a freak.

As I came around the corner of the hallway that leads to the restrooms, I ran into my friend Jasmine. She was walking down the hall and I could tell that she was in a rather good mood. Jasmine is always in a good mood. Always smiling and happy. Her emerald green eyes shined as she talked. Her thick lips spread to reveal lined, white teeth. Nothing ever seemed to bother her. If only I could be like her, I thought to myself.

She is excited about graduating. She had received her acceptance letter to the college she had been hoping to get into. She hugged me and headed to her next class. I watched her ebony hair bounce with every step that she took. I found myself wondering if she would end up on the cover of some sort of beauty magazine as she walked down the hall.

She has always been smart. Her grades were the highest in the class for as far as I could remember. Not to mention, she has the looks to go with it. Brains and beauty. She is the total package.

The restroom was empty when I entered. It was astonishing that it was so quiet. Usually it stayed packed with the giggling and chattering of at least five girls or more. They always seemed to crowd around the mirrors straightening the makeup on their faces. Not to mention, the handful of girls that would be in the two last stalls smoking. I was thankful they weren’t in there. I never have been able to stand the smell of it.

I washed my face, trying to not disturb what little makeup that lined my eyes. I was sure that those smudges would be unattractive. That would be something else the jealous, prying eyes would have to gossip about. Being on the “most talked about” list wasn’t something I was proud of at all. It seemed there wasn’t much I was going to be able to do about it now. The damage is already done.

When I returned to class, a girl was standing next to Eric’s desk. She was flirting with him. It was obvious. Even a blind man could see that. I stood there in the doorway watching her flip her hair and smile as he talked. I walked up to them, careful not to reveal my presence.

“I have a girlfriend. Eric was saying as I stood behind the girl. It was clear that she had no idea that I was anywhere around.

“I don’t mind.” She twirled a thick strand of hair around her finger. Right then I was glad I couldn’t see her face. As I looked at Eric I questioned my next move. Should I stand here and listen, or should I put an end to this altogether?

“I’m not sure what you mean by that.” Eric said. He was wanting me to intervene. He looked at me with those “come help me” eyes. I could hardly control myself. Almost choking on a laugh, I smiled and shook my head at him.

More hair twirling and flipping. All I wanted to do was reach up and pull her hair out, but I contained myself. Although, I have to admit I was starting to have a problem doing it.

“What I mean is…” she paused and I could feel my anger growing. She better not say what I think she’s going to say. Don’t do it. “She doesn’t have to know if you don’t want her to. I won’t tell.” Her giggle infuriated me. That was all I could stand. Without another thought, I brushed by her, bumping into her. “Hey baby.” I said as I stood on tiptoe to reach Eric’s lips. After a quick kiss I landed back flat on my feet, turning to face the slutty intruder.

“This is my girlfriend.” Eric boasted, trying not to laugh.

With another lesson from my mother in mind, I smiled and held out my hand. “Hi. My name is Bailey.”

The girl’s face washed with disappointment. “Hi.” She mumbled back. It was easy to see that she was no longer interested in the conversation.

Leave it to Eric to end up being the rude one, but he done it with such tact that it was hard to tell. “I’m sorry. I didn’t catch your name.” He threw his arm around my shoulders. His hand came to rest on my collar bone.

“It doesn’t matter.” She snarled and immediately walked away.

She had a look on her face that reminded me of someone that had just been stung by a bee. I swallowed my laughter until she was far enough away that she wouldn’t hear my outburst. I actually felt bad for her. Rejection is a bitch.

Eric and I took our seats. We sat beside each other in every class. That made it easier to talk to him. All either one of us had to do was fidget a little and we had the other one’s attention.

We talked about the girl asking him to the party. I made it a point to not say anything negative about her. I didn’t want to be that way. It was bad enough to get rejected and for me to mouth off about her behind her back would make everything worse. I never liked to talk about people unless it was something positive. Sharing other people’s secrets wasn’t high on my list of things to do. I tried to treat everyone the way that I wanted to get treated in return. That was the golden rule, right?

The teacher called on Eric to help him go through some leftover test papers. I sat at my desk and looked around the room.  I noticed I could hear the voices of people other than the students that were talking. It confused me because the voices sounded so familiar.

I looked around the room at everyone. It reminded me of the day that I heard Eric in my mind. I could read minds. Not just Eric’s, but everyone’s.

I concentrated hard to separate each individual person’s mind from the others. I started with the row next to the windows. After a while of listening to them, I moved on to the next row. Everyone was pretty well thinking the same things. They thought about food, graduation, and the parties afterward. And a few of the guy’s minds were a little x rated, so I didn’t linger.

I noticed my mind was pulled in a certain direction, but I couldn’t seem to locate where I needed to listen. It was beginning to become confusing in a bad way. I laid my head down on the desk and concentrated harder. I was almost to the other person’s mind when the teacher walked up to my desk.

“Bailey?” He said.

“Yes.” I opened my eyes and answered him.

“Were you sleeping?” He asked.

“No Sir. I have a bit of a headache. I thought maybe if I laid my head down for a little while it might go away.” I lied. I hated lying. It makes me feel terrible.

“Alright, if you need to go to the nurse for something for it just let me know.” he said.

“Thank you.” I replied. “I think I’ll be okay.

I laid my head back down on the desk. I was trying hard to concentrate on finding the person’s mind that had been pulling me to it before. The closer I came to finding the source, the more I sensed fear and disgust.

I followed the fear until I was in the mind from where it came from. Her thoughts rambled out of control. I could only catch tiny bits and pieces of thoughts. I used my power to calm her mind so I could find out what was wrong with her.

She gave off feelings and thoughts of fear. She didn’t want to go home. Pictures of a man surfaced in her mind. As the thoughts and images came together in my mind I realized the man she was afraid of was her uncle. The girl had considered calling the police. She wanted to tell them what he was doing to her, but she is too terrified that he would get out of it and hurt her.

I backed out of her mind, hoping not to disturb her thought pattern. I searched the room for the girl I had seen in my mind. For some reason I couldn’t find her. I found myself in desperate need to establish who the mind belonged to. I used my power once again.

Lead me to the girl so I can help her, I said with my thoughts.

In an instant, I had found her. She had been sitting in the row next to the dry erase board. It was Katrina. Never in my life would I have thought that the thing that was causing her to act so odd was this. No! Not this! My mind screamed.

She started acting strange a few weeks ago. Everyone had noticed. It was hard not to. Katrina had stopped talking to me. I had seen that she would avoid everyone, but I never dreamed this could  be the reason. She began to sit alone in the cafeteria every day. This was completely out of the ordinary. Usually, Katrina was an outgoing, sweet, well liked girl.

I had tried to find out what was going on with her, but she would push me away as soon as I tried to. Katrina became more and more distant with every day that passed.

My fear for her became uncontrollable. Not being sure of what else I could do, I got up from my desk and walked in the direction of Katrina s desk.

Mr. Greene asked if I was feeling better and I told him yes and thanked him for allowing me to rest my head on my desk. Fast, but with grace I made my way through the class.

Finally, I reached her desk. It seemed to take forever and I could feel Eric’s eyes on me.

“Hi Katrina.” I said as I sat down in the empty desk in front of her.

“Oh. Hey, Bailey.” She replied in a low tone of voice.

She didn’t act like she was much for talking so I did most of it. It was hard to get her to engage in any type of conversation. She was so withdrawn that getting a hello from her was a surprise. But she was trying hard, too hard in fact. That made my apprehension grow.

“Are you cold?” I asked. Her arms wrapped around herself in a tight hug. Her hands were shivering.

“A little. He always keeps the air on too low.” she said. That was true. Mr. Greene had always kept the class a little cooler than we liked it to be.

“Well class is almost over for the day, so you can get outside and warm up before long.” I told her hoping to ease her mood, but it didn’t work.

“Yeah I guess it is pretty warm out today.” she replied as she looked out the window.

She grew more quiet the closer it came to time for school to dismiss. “Do you want to come to my house for a while after school?” I asked hoping she would say yes.

“You haven’t been over in so long.”

Katrina accepted the invitation without any sign of hesitation. That worried me even more. It was like she was looking for a reason to not go home.

“Meet me on the front steps when the bell rings. I have to wait on Eric. He has to get some papers from the office on our way out.” I explained.

“OK.” she said as I went back to my desk and gathered my things. 

Eric came back to his desk a few minutes later. He looked at me funny and it kind of made me nervous.

“Are you alright?” He asked concerned.

“I’m fine.” I explained to him that Katrina was going to walk home with us today.

“The more the merrier.” he laughed as the bell rang.

“Go ahead and get your stuff from the office and I’ll meet you out front.” I said as I gathered my things and walked to the door.

I looked around the room for Katrina, but she had already left. I went straight to the front steps of the school. She was standing there waiting for us. “Where’s Eric?” she asked. It was impossible for me to ignore her voice quivering.

“Oh, he’ll be out in a minute. Will your parents mind if you come over or should you call them and let them know?” I asked.

As she replied I saw that she was staring at the ground. “My parents are out of town until Friday. My uncle is staying there while they’re gone.” She looked away at something off in the distance, but turned back. “Just to watch over the house and things. I can’t wait until they get back.” she said.

I felt the overwhelming need to rescue her. I just couldn’t let her know that I already had a slight idea that she was in some kind of trouble.

Eric came out and we all walked to my house. We talked and Eric picked up on how Katrina was acting. He told some of the most idiotic jokes I had ever heard. I mean, they were horrible. We couldn’t help but laugh at him. They weren’t funny at all, but the way he was telling them made listening worthwhile.

We came to the street corner at mine and Eric’s houses. Eric gave me a quick kiss on the cheek and went home. Katrina and I went in my house and put our things on the counter. It was too nice of a day to stay inside, so I asked her if she would like to go out to the garden.

“Sounds good to me.” she said. I think she would have agreed to anything at this moment.

“I’m real sorry about the way I have been acting lately.” Katrina said.

“That’s OK. Things happen I guess.”

The silence from her had begun again. This is my chance to get her to open up. That is the only way I am going to be able to help her.

“What’s wrong Kat?”

“It’s just some stuff going on at home.”

“Are you and your parents fighting?”

She took a brief moment before answering. “No. Not at all. They’re great.”

“Is it something I can help out with?”

“I wish you could.” She sat there in silence and I was trying to think of something to say to her that would get her to talk to me more. But what could I say that was not going to give me away? Nothing, nothing at all.

“Kat, I can’t help you if you won’t tell me what’s wrong.” I said, knowing that it was all that I could get away with at the time. Every word that I spoke was a calculated action. She remained silent.

What Katrina said next will be something I will never forget. Not even if I lived to be one hundred years old.

“My uncle keeps making passes at me. I’m scared he is going to do something to me. I just wish Mom and Dad would hurry and come back home. ” She said as she started to cry.

I didn’t know what to say. What could I say? I became sick to my stomach. How could anyone want to hurt her? Her uncle, her  own flesh and blood wanted to do such a despicable thing to her. Bile rose in my throat as my panic set in, but I had to think of something that could help her. I had to.

“Have you called your parents and told them?” I asked her swallowing hard.

“No. He said if I told anyone he would make me wish I hadn’t.” she sobbed.

She explained that her grandmother was ill and her mother went to make sure she was OK. She didn’t think it was anything serious, but her mom decided it was worth checking out.

Katrina’s phone rang. It was her uncle. I heard him telling her she needed to come home right now. I tuned in to his voice. He sounded angry. She told him she was visiting a friend and would be home shortly.

“You will come home right now!” I heard the voice on the phone demand.

“I’m on my way.” she said through the tears. “I have to go home.” I gave her my cell phone and house numbers and told her to call me if she needed me.

“I will. I promise.” she said as we walked into the house. She got her things off of the counter and walked out the door. She didn’t look back or say a single word to me. Her sobs were all that I heard.

I had a sick feeling in my stomach telling me something terrible was going to happen to her. I tried to figure out a way to help her, but the only two things were possible. I could call the police or call my parents and telling them what was going on. I couldn’t decide what to do.

If I called her parents that might not be the right thing to do. Katrina needed to be the one to tell them what was going on, not me. And if I called the police, well, that would make the situation worse for her. I was stuck. I didn’t know which way to turn and I couldn’t seem to find an answer.

A couple of hours passed and I hadn’t heard from Katrina. I hope everything is alright. The empty feeling in the pit of my stomach is telling me otherwise. I picked up my phone and decided to call her. What would it hurt?

The phone rang until her voice mail picked up. That made me even more troubled than before. I sent her a text asking if she made it home alright. I was afraid to ask her if she was okay in fear that her uncle would see the message. She definitely didn’t need any more trouble. Especially, not because of me.

I waited for what seemed like forever, but she never answered back.

My phone rang and I answered it before I looked at the caller id. It was Eric. “I’m sorry, but there’s something I have to do that can’t wait. I’ll call you back in a few minutes.” I told him as I hung up the phone.

I closed my eyes and thought of Katrina. Please let me see her. I need to know if she’s alright. If she’s not I need to find a way to help her. Please help me see her.

My feet felt like they were no longer on the floor, but moving  through the air. Images swirled before my eyes and made it hard for me to see where I was going. Soon, I was at her house. My mind was there, but my body seemed to still be back at my room.

I saw Katrina just as I would if I were there in that room with her. She was in a corner and crying. Her cries were ear piercing. I heard her begging him to leave her alone. “I won’t say anything to anyone if you will just stop!” I heard her scream.

Her top ripped to shreds and I could see blood coming from her lips. It wasn’t hard to see her entire body shaking. They were more like tremors than anything. Rapid jerks of horror is a more justifiable way to describe it. I don’t think I had ever seen anyone so frightened.

I turned my attention to her uncle. His thoughts were wild and going far too fast for me to understand. His mind slowed just enough for me to catch occasional thoughts. The excitement that he was feeling over hitting her was tremendous. The sight of her blood was giving him sensations so evil I started to panic. Although, I’m only present in spirit. Not in physical form.

He thought of his sister, Katrina’s mother. He was sure he would be in trouble for what little he had already done to Katrina. The thought of Katrina’s mom calling the police made no positive impact on the decision he had made. He thought that since he was going to die he might as well have what he wanted. He had already gone this far. Why stop now?

He shuffled closer to Katrina and I cringed at the sound of her screams. She was begging for someone to help her, but there was no one there.

With my mind I tried to call the police. I wasn’t even sure it was going to work. I had never attempted something so complex before. It worked. I was talking to them like I would have been if I were on the phone with them. Somehow, I managed to remember the address of her house. My friend is in trouble! Help her! I screamed as the connection broke. My power is strong, but it’s still not strong enough.

I focused my mind back on Katrina. He had her by the throat and was ripping what little shirt she had left off. I wanted to be there. I wanted to help her. To hurt him in any way I could.

Sirens screamed in the background. The relief that I felt was short-lived. He rushed to her closet and jerked a shirt off one of the hangers. He tossed it at her and told her to change. “If you tell them anything I will kill you. Do you understand me?” He asked her as he heard the knock on the front door. Every movement he made was frantic and stressed. He went to the door to answer it.

I heard the officer in another room. He was talking to her uncle. “We had a report that someone needed help.” The officer said as he looked around the room for any sign of an altercation.

“There’s nothing going on here.” her uncle said. “You must have the wrong house.”

“Then you won’t mind if we take a look around.” The officer said as he started searching the house. His statement wasn’t a question, but more of a demand. Katrina’s uncle had no other choice but to agree with the officer. He agreed. Katrina came out of her bedroom. “Is there something wrong?” Her voice still shook.

“Looks like it was a prank call.” the officer told her.

While the officers were there, Katrina told her uncle she was going to go visit a friend and she would be back soon.

“OK” her uncle said. What else could he say?

I watched her as she hurried out of the house and down the road. She got out her phone and called her mother. I was expecting her to tell her everything, but to my amazement she didn’t. I think she was afraid he would hurt her.

I heard her ask her mom if it was OK if she stayed the night with me. She must have said it was alright because I heard Katrina say thanks. I watched over her until she walked up to my front door.

I was standing by the door when she rang the doorbell. I stood there for a moment so it would seem like I had been in another room. She flew inside and locked the deadbolt behind her when I opened the door.

Katrina looked horrible, to say the least. She wrapped her arms around me in a tight hug and started crying. “What’s wrong Kat?” I asked trying to sound like I didn’t know what had happened.

“He almost raped me, but the police came. They said that someone had prank called them she sobbed. Thank God they did.”

When I finally convinced her that she was safe she calmed down some. “I have locked all the doors and he’d have a hell of a time getting to you here.” I reassured her.

I told her that she had to call her parents and tell them. “This has gone too far Kat. You are in real danger and you need to tell them now!” I told her in a harsher tone than I should have, but I couldn’t help it. She is in real trouble and I have to help her stay safe.

“I know. Just let me catch my breath for a minute.” she replied. All my sympathy washed out of me as I stood in front of her. Her hands were on her head, eyes closed, and she was working hard to control her breathing.

After a brief moment, she got out her phone and dialed her mom’s number. I heard her mom pick up. Katrina told her what had happened and Carolyn told her to stay with me until she got here. She was on her way back right now.

It was hard not to hear her mom. She was nothing short of screaming into the phone. She said that she would be here within a couple of hours.

Katrina held the phone out to me. “Hello.”

“Bailey?”

“Yes, Carolyn.” I replied.

“Don’t let her out of your sight. Do whatever you have to do to keep him away from her. Will you do that for me?” she asked with a desperate tone.

“Of course I will.” I responded. “I’ll call Eric to come stay with us until either you get here or my parents come home.” I knew Carolyn was crying from the sound of her voice. But that wasn’t the part that upset me. She had a weird flow to her thoughts. I couldn’t understand it. The edges of her mind had become frayed and irregular.

“I’ll be there soon.” Carolyn said as the phone went silent.

I, immediately, called Eric. When he answered I didn’t give him much time to say anything. I needed him to be here with me. I am just as scared as Kat is. “Something happened and I need you to come over here.”

“I’m on my way.” he said. He didn’t even end the call. I could hear every step he took and the rapid closing of the front door as he blew through it.

It took no time at all before he was knocking at the door. I opened it and let him in, locking it behind him.

“Bailey, why is the door locked?” Eric asked with a strange look on his face.

I asked Katrina if it was alright if I told Eric what had happened. She nodded in approval. I told Eric about what Katrina’s uncle had done and the more details that I told him the angrier he became. His face was bright red and his anger was unmistakable.

He done his best to console Katrina and to let her know she was safe now. He reassured her he wouldn’t let anyone hurt her while he was around. His confidence in himself to be able to give outward love to my friend was mind blowing.

She thanked us both as she struggled to calm herself. There was  no way I could be able to imagine how she was feeling right now. The anger and disgust that she must be going through must be consuming. I wondered to myself how she was still speaking to us.

A couple hours passed and I heard Carolyn pull into the driveway. She didn’t take the time to shut her car door when she got out. Her movements were jerky and not thought out at all. She was moving as if she were on autopilot.

Eric opened the door to let her in before she could even get to it to knock. She rushed to Katrina and held her for a moment. The sadness I felt in this moment was beyond crushing.

She pulled back and looked at her. Every new scratch or blue spot had her complete attention. I sensed her anger growing. Carolyn cried as she examined Katrina’s busted lips.

“He hit me Momma.” Katrina said as she started to cry again.

I pulled Katrina’s torn shirt from her bag and handed it to Carolyn. She looked it over and stood up. I had never seen someone’s demeanor change so fast. The sight of it frightened me.

The light disappeared from Carolyn’s eyes. The bright white glow of happiness turned into a dark hate. The aura around her body  twisted in black and red. Hate, rage, and anger all at the same time. The longer she stood there the more volatile she became.

“Bailey, would it be alright if she stays here with you and Eric until I get back?” She asked. “I need to find my brother.”

“She can stay as long as she wants to stay.” I told her with a sick feeling that something terrible was going to happen.

I took a minute to scan her thoughts. Carolyn was going to kill him. She had planned it out in her head and I could see everything. She was going to make it look like he had killed himself. Her plan was to act like he was already dead when she found him.

Make it look good, she kept telling herself.

I stood frozen in a silent panic. All I could do was listen to her words. My mouth wasn’t working the way I wanted it too. I wanted to scream out and tell Carolyn not to go, just to stay here with us and we would let the police sort everything out. But I knew that she wasn’t going to agree to anything like that. She was out for blood. Her own brother.

Carolyn walked past me and out the door. I watched her walk down the sidewalk to her car; her actions were more deliberate now. She grabbed the door of her car and bowed her head like she was saying a prayer. I knew it was wrong, but I listened in. I couldn’t help myself.

God. Please forgive me for what I’m about to do. I have to protect my baby. He is sick and he‘ll never quit if I don’t stop him. There has been enough pain as the result of his actions. Nothing will stop him except this. We have tried everything else. Forgive me.

Her head lifted, she got in her car, and backed out of the driveway. When she was out of sight I tried to calm the sickened feeling that I had of knowing what was about to happen to her. I couldn’t cause Katrina any more pain, so I kept my mouth shut about what I had learned. She had enough to deal with already. I could not put her through any more.

She was an absolute wreck. Her clothes looked tattered. She had blood in her hair. It was starting to dry, leaving awful looking clumps that made her hair look like it was in knots.

I wasn’t sure how the police officers missed her busted lip and the blood. Or the fact that she was crying and hysterical, but I guess all that doesn’t matter now.

I took Katrina to my room. “A hot shower will make you feel better.” I said trying to draw her attention to something else. That was what I thought she needed. A break.

“You’re right. I do feel sort of… nasty.” she whispered as she dropped her head. When she began holding herself in a protective embrace. The emotions I felt from it stunned me. The one important time in my life that I needed to say something and I can’t seem to force a word out of my mouth.

“I’ll get you some fresh clothes.” I told her. Acting like I was going through the closet, I imagined a new bra and a pair of panties that was exactly her size. When they appeared in my hands, I looked them over and realized I had forgotten to add tags for authenticity. I thought about the tags and they appeared on each of the items. I pulled a pair of jeans and a shirt from the closet and laid them on the bed. Times like these make me thankful for the gifts I had received. Yet, unbelievable they may be.

“Both doors lock if you would feel better that way. Take all the time you need. We’ll be downstairs if you need anything. Just give us a shout.” I said as I went out and closed the door behind me.

Eric was waiting at the bottom of the stairs. Tears streamed down my face before I got to him. He held me and let me cry. The tears burned at my face. So many of them had fallen on my face that my skin was starting to crack from all the extra moisture.

Realizing that I needed to find Carolyn, I buried my head in Eric’s chest. I searched for her and found her with ease, but, unfortunately, not quick enough. She had already pulled the trigger and shot her brother just when I focused in on her. I could see the horror on her face as she watched him bleed onto the floor.

She knelt down beside him and it was hard not to see the regret in her eyes for what she had done to him. “I have always loved you.” She whispered to him. “But you should have known better than to put your hands on my baby. May God have mercy on you because I can’t do it myself.”

I knew upstairs with Katrina I was wasting time. Could I have done something to stop her from doing this? After all Katrina has been through, now she was going to lose her mother too.

My head clouded with all the questions. I wanted more than anything to be able to go back and change all this, but I knew I couldn’t. There was no way the police was going to believe that he had killed himself. Carolyn shot him in the chest. Who shoots themselves in the chest?

I couldn’t let Katrina lose her. She has suffered enough pain already. More than enough. More than any human should bear.

I gathered all the strength I had left and imagined his body had disappeared. I watched the blood stains on the floor shimmer until they were gone. All the evidence was gone. Something inside me screamed that I was doing something wrong, but I ignored everything. This is something I have to do. It’s the only way I am going to be able to help Kat.

“He’s gone now. You can move on without worry.” I whispered to her with my mind.

Carolyn, caught off guard as she looked around the room, searched for where my voice had come from. When she had finally decided to stop looking she thanked me as she cried over the spot where her brother had died.

“Go to Katrina. She needs you.” I whispered. My voice carried with the air until it reached her ears.

As I pulled myself back, I saw her drop to the floor and pray. I couldn’t bear to hear a single word of it. I broke the connection.

I wasn’t sure I had done the right thing. He had tried to hurt an innocent person, but did he deserve to die for it? Does any one person deserve to die? I saw true evil in his soul. Was that enough to justify her taking his life? I had allowed Carolyn to murder her brother. The images are forever in my mind. In my soul.

Carolyn was protecting her daughter and every other girl out there from him. If I could only talk to the Queens. They would be able to reason with my confused mind.

“You did the right thing.” Eric’s voice jerked me back into reality.

The utter disbelief shocked me. Had he said what I thought he said? That’s not possible. There was no way he could do that. Was there?

“Yes. I said you did the right thing.” He repeated. “I know you don’t think so, but you did.”

I took a step back from him. I know I hadn’t said a word out loud.

“I didn’t say anything.” I said to him.

“You didn’t say anything out loud, but you said it all the same.” He said hesitant. It hit me just exactly what he meant. He was trying to say he had heard what I was thinking without freaking me out. It’s a little late now because I am freaked out.

I started to say something to him, but I stopped because Katrina was coming down the stairs.

She hugged me and thanked me for the clothes and I have to say that she looks a lot better than she did. We talked for a while about music, movies, and other things. I wanted to keep our minds off the events that had happened earlier.

It wasn’t long after that Carolyn returned. I could see the horror still on her face. It was the same expression that was on her face as she had begun to pray. She was trying so hard to hide it, but I don’t think something like that is easy to cover up.

“Thank you Bailey.” She said.

“There’s no need to thank me.” I replied to her. Carolyn stood there looking like she had seen a ghost.

“Are you OK?” I asked her.

“Your voice! It was you!” She exclaimed.

“What are you talking about?” I said, trying to act as innocent as I could, but she wasn’t giving in. She knew it was me that had made her brother’s body and all the evidence of her little crime disappear. She was sure it was me that had spoken to her in her house. There was no way I was going to be able to change her mind about it either.

“You know exactly what I’m talking about.” She said as she looked at me in awe. She hugged me and whispered, “It’s our little secret.”

“Yes it is.” I paused for only a second. “Because only we know each others secret and I intend for it to stay that way.” I whispered back to her with the authority of my Queens in my voice.

I couldn’t help but wonder if she would tell anyone what I had done. It’s not like anyone would believe her anyway. They would laugh and call her crazy.

I hugged Katrina and told her to try to forget all about the terrible thing that had happened today. She looked at me with the remnants of fear still in her eyes. “It’s all going to be OK It’s just going to take some time.” I said as I released her from the hug.

Eric stood by the door. He gave both Carolyn and Katrina quick hugs and said goodbye to them as the left.

I needed a minute or two to collect myself. So much had happened in such a short time that my brain hasn’t had the time to absorb it all. I couldn’t shake the fear that invaded my heart. Not only because of what I seen, but the realization that Eric could hear my thoughts. Not to mention the guilt I was feeling because of what I had done.

I knew I had to talk to him about it. I just didn’t know how or what I was going to say him. I tried to come up with an easy way to start the conversation. Every single way I thought to begin was a total bust. I suppose there’s no easy way to do it but just to come right out and say what I needed to say.

“How did you know what I was thinking?” I asked as I stared at the floor.

“We share a connection.” Eric replied.

“I don’t understand Eric.”

“You will in time.”

Anger filled me as he tried to avoid answering my question. It was a simple question, but he refused. After everything that had happened today, all I wanted was straight forward answer. How hard could that be?

“Please don’t be angry with me.” He said with a torn look on his face.

“Just answer the damn question Eric!” I demanded.

“I know who you are.”

“And what’s that supposed to mean?”

“Well, maybe that wasn’t the right way to say that. I know what you are, I should have said.”

“What am I then? That is, since you seem to know so much.” My hands balled into fists while my teeth grinded. I’ve had enough.

“Yes, Princess.”

Everything surfaced in my memory. I remembered the Queens calling me Princess. No one ever called me that, not even my mother. That is until Eric showed up anyway.

But how could he know? The memory of them telling me I had a mate emerged. I began to understand what was happening. Was he my mate? Could this even be happening?

My head started spinning from all the drama. I took a deep breath to calm myself, but it didn’t help much at all.

“So you can read my mind?” I asked.

“As well as you can read mine.” Eric replied with a softness that eased my worry.

“But… how?”

Eric walked closer to me and took my hands. “Close your eyes.”

I closed my eyes and waited for him to say something. He was trying to help me to relax and it was working. I wasn’t thinking about anything when his face popped into my head.

“This is all happening because I am your mate Princess.”

I heard him telling me this, but not with my ears. I heard him with my mind. I was so shocked that I couldn’t help opening my eyes. Tears streamed down my cheeks.

He opened his eyes and I saw a single tear slip out of the corner of his eye. Seeing the tear come from his beautiful blue eyes hit me like a truck. I felt pain, but it wasn’t mine to feel. Every emotion he was having, I could feel. The overwhelming sensation that I had to comfort him rocked the essence of my soul.

I could feel my skin start to tingle and power rushed through my body as it did before when I was with the Queens. Eric was looking a little peculiar as well.

I took a step back as his skin started glowing. At first it almost looked pink, but it soon turned into a striking color of red. Blood red, to be exact.

I hadn’t noticed that I was glowing too, but I was. I had been more concerned about him to realize what was going on. A blue light had begun to entwine with the red.

Both our powers had begun to weave themselves together before our eyes. The lights flowed around us as if they were binding us to each other.

“What is going on Eric?”

“I’m not sure.”

It was clear that he was as lost about the whole situation as I was. We stood there, watching our essence swirl around us. The amazing sight of it was over as soon as it had begun. I had an extraordinary bond with Eric. The pull of it was so strong that I was unable to stop what was happening.

“Do you feel that?” I asked him almost afraid that he would say no.

“Yeah, I do.” he replied.

He stood there in silence for a moment, looking like he was trying to think of something to say. I heard him inhale as he said, “I have never felt anything like that in my life. The power that coursed through my body was indescribable.”

I had also felt that power. It was still running through my body as he spoke. The power had been as remarkable as he was describing it to be. Pulling, tugging and binding my soul with his.

I felt like I was untouchable, powerful beyond imagination. I began to think of everything I could do to change the world. There are millions of starving people in the world that I could feed. Children that are sick with terrible diseases that I could heal. There is just so much that I could to. I could change the world I thought to myself.

“Balance is the key to everything.” Eric said.

“What do you mean by that?” I asked.

“If you feed all the hungry what will that do?”

“For starters, nobody would be hungry.” I smiled.

“No Princess. No one would work to grow crops or raise any livestock. I can’t even imagine what destruction that could cause.”

“I see what you mean.” I understood what Eric was trying to tell me.

“Do you? Would you work to feed your family if your food just appeared every time you were hungry?” Eric asked.

“I see your point. Really, I do.” I said as the excitement of the idea left me.

“We can help those who need help, but we can’t completely rid the world of everything that’s bad.”

“I understand. Everything in moderation.” I said with a smile.

“Speaking of moderation, I feel like I have been awake for about a week so I’m going to go home and get some sleep. And sensing your exhaustion is making it worse.” he yawned.

“I know what you mean.” I replied as my eyes became so heavy I couldn’t keep them open.

Eric kissed me and said, “I’ll lock the door behind me when I leave. Call your mother and tell her you’re going to take a nap so she won’t worry when you don’t answer the phone.”

I gave him another quick kiss and headed for my room. From the top of the stairs, I heard the deadbolt click. I would have to remember to ask him how he done that later.

I changed and watched Eric as he walked into his bedroom. He immediately turned off his light. I’m guessing it was because he didn’t want me to watch him change again.

“You’re wrong, Princess. I took everything off but my boxers and I jumped in bed. I didn’t even bother to pick my close up out of the floor.” I heard him say.

“Goodnight, Princess.”

“Goodnight my angel.” 

CHAPTER 6

I called Katrina’s number, but she didn’t answer. I would have thought she would answer the phone by now. I had called her several times and the end result was the same. Nothing.

I just wanted to be able to make sure her and her mom were alright. I guess if she wanted to talk to me she would have picked up the phone. I just hope that everything going well for them. But I can’t say that I blame her. 

I was so frustrated that I couldn’t seem to get my thoughts in the right place. I have so many things I have to do today and if I don’t get my head straight will become a huge challenge.

Seniors weren’t required to attend any classes today. Our graduation ceremony is tonight. I was nervous about the ceremony and sad at the same time. I just couldn’t understand why time had passed so fast. It seemed like only yesterday that Dad was teaching me to ride my first bike. Now I was becoming an adult. I guess I understand the phrase, don’t blink.

That is exactly what it felt like. One day I was seven years old, I blinked my eyes and now I’m almost eighteen. All grown up and ready to face the world.

I had, roughly, four hours until the ceremony. I had already decided on how I was going to wear my hair. My dress laid on the bed and Mom had my cap and gown in her car so I wouldn’t forget it.

The familiar light-headed feeling began to creep up in me. I knew that I didn’t have a choice but to lie down because if I remained standing I was for sure going to hit the floor. Sporting a bruise or knot on my head tonight wasn’t an option. I lied across my bed and closed my eyes. Fighting it only made it drag on, so I gave in.

I opened my eyes to a beautiful meadow. I had never been here before and I was more than proud to not be in that dreadful dark place that I had grown accustomed to. Trees moved with the breeze as birds chirped from their branches. Their whistling was uplifting to me. I had always liked to listen to birds. The sun was an intense shade of yellow. One like I had never seen before. The sheer beauty of it was astounding. It had a home like feel to it, the kind of place you never want to leave. Such warmth.

I walked a short distance and came upon a small pond. The water was so clear I could see everything in it. Fish were swimming around almost as if they were playing a game of tag with each other. Their colors are like no other fish I had ever seen. Neon pinks, greens, and blues made them shine even brighter in the sunlight. This could have been a place that a little girl would imagine.

I bent down on one knee and leaned over to try and see if I could touch one of the fish. To my surprise, as soon as my hand were in the water the fish swam to it. It reminded me of calling for a small puppy and it coming straight to me to play. This dream is cool, I thought to myself. I knew it wasn’t.

In my excitement, I hadn’t noticed that I wasn’t alone. When I looked up all four of the Queens were standing beside me. They seemed amused by the way I was acting over the fish.

Startled, I rose from the ground and dusted of my knee. Seeing them for the first time in the light was different. When I was in the dark, they had looked more intense. The light seemed to soften out the boldness. It didn’t lessen their beauty at all. I think it actually made them look more beautiful than before, but less mysterious.

I knew I had several questions that I wanted to ask them, but I was trying to think of the most important one to ask first.

“Did I do the right thing with Katrina?” I asked. Tears threatened to spill.

“Yes. People like him need justice.” Fire Queen replied.

“But I stood by and allowed her mother to kill him!”

“His path was leading to many more heartaches for more than just them. Without you there to help the girl he would have succeeded in raping her. He would go on to rape and murder several more young girls.”

Knowing that made me feel better about it, but I was still disgusted with myself and the whole situation. I had saved Katrina from a dreadful situation, and I had also saved her mother from prison. But, I had also helped in allowing Carolyn to kill her brother. What kind of person does that make me? Not a good one. My opinion of myself because of that day isn’t good.

At that moment I felt that I should ask for forgiveness for allowing a life to end, no matter if he was good or bad.

“Forgiveness is yours to give to you. We forgive you if that will help to ease your pain. Forgive yourself, accept what happened and move on.” Earth Queen said with a serene voice.

I asked them if they had known that Eric was my mate. Air Queen replied, “We did Princess. We just had to wait until the both of you realized it.”

“I want to thank you for Eric. He is wonderful.” I said blushing.

She explained about him being my balance and that our powers were stronger now that we have found each other. He was the reason I had been able to project myself into Katrina’s house. Our power had given me the strength to speak to Carolyn that day.

“You have more power than you realize.” Air Queen said smiling. “And more will come in time. Eric can help you. He has had the gift longer. He will always be with you and your love for each other will grow. You are soul mates.” I could feel my body trying to wake up.

I opened my eyes and looked over at my clock. I had been there for almost three hours. The whole thing with Katrina had zapped all my energy. That’s something I’m going to have to get control of soon. That is, if I could ever figure out how to control it.

I wanted to talk to Eric, but I didn’t want to use the phone. I needed my hands to be free.

“Eric?” I called to him with my mind.

He answered, “What is it my love?”

“Nothing. I just wanted to hear you. Do you have everything ready for tonight?”

“Yeah. All I have to do is get this silly suit on that my mother is insisting that I wear.” I could hear the annoyance in his voice. I told him I had spoken with the Queens earlier and I felt better about everything.

“Good, I’m glad you feel better. So what are you doing?”

“Trying to hurry and get dressed. I’m going to be late it looks like.”

“Relax, you’re not going to be late. I promise.”

“But, Eric, I only have an hour to get ready.”

“Are you hungry?”

“Yeah a little. Are you?”

“Yeah. I‘ll go get us something and come over.”

“We don’t have time for that.”

“Sure we do Bailey. Look at your clock. We have plenty of time.” He laughed as I felt our telepathic connection break.

Looking at my clock, I realized that it wasn’t an hour until the ceremony. I had three hours left.

Boy, that Eric is, for sure, a trickster. I have a lot to learn it looks like and to have him as my teacher was the greatest thing imaginable.

It wasn’t long before he arrived. It was a good thing too because I was starving. He had brought me a cheeseburger and fries from the diner. He’s definitely a sweetheart, I thought to myself.

“Yeah I know” he said.

“That’s not fair! Some of the things I think are private.” I explained.

He looked at me and rolled his eyes, “Not anymore.”

We sat and ate together. I was so hungry I didn’t talk to him during the whole meal. I hope he didn’t find the way I was eating repulsive.

He finished his food and was cleaning up when I got done. By that time we only had less than two hours to get ready to go.

Eric left and I could hear him cursing about the suit the entire way to his house. I think he realized I was listening to him and he apologized for using such strong language when I could hear him.

“It’s alright. I have heard a lot worse. But do you have to be so damn loud?” I asked him as I entered my bedroom laughing. I didn’t get an answer. Maybe he was trying to be quiet after me saying something about it.

I looked at the dress my mother had bought for me. It was a deep blue satin formal gown. It had reminded me of a bridesmaid’s dress and a prom gown put together. It was beautiful.

Mom had always picked out my clothes for special occasions. She has such wonderful taste. She had also borrowed some jewelry from her friend that owns a jewelry store. I think she went a bit overboard on that part. The necklace alone may have been worth a few thousand dollars. There was also a bracelet, earrings, and a ring to match. Mom sure knew how to spoil me. The idea of giving it all back was rather depressing. I didn’t want to, but I knew I had to.

Time had started flying by. If I didn’t get a shower now, I wouldn’t be ready in time. I gathered all the appropriate undergarments and undressed in the bathroom.

Nice.

You are so not funny!

I wasn’t going to be able to do much of anything without him knowing about it so I guess I’d better get over being shy. It would make it a lot easier if he wouldn’t comment on everything he seen. That only made it worse.

I tried not to dwell on the matter anymore than necessary. Being uncomfortable around Eric was not something that I wanted to do. And I happen to be just a bit shy when it comes to certain things. Knowing that I was going to run short on time, I shampooed my hair and scrubbed my body.

I dried my hair as the curling iron was heating up. I heard Eric say something, but it had been so faint that I couldn’t tell what it was he had said. I switched the hair dryer off and began the tedious job of creating ringlet curls. When I finished with that, I applied my makeup. Knowing that everyone would be taking tons of pictures forced me to try and look as good as possible.

I wore a bit more makeup than usual. I would only wear lip gloss, but tonight I had decided to go with a deep cherry red lipstick.

As I looked in the mirror at myself, I looked like the Queens. The boldness shocked me and I reveled at my beauty. I hope it wasn’t too much over the top. I don’t want to draw too much attention to myself tonight. But I’m afraid going out looking the way I do would do just exactly that.

I heard Mom call for me from downstairs. I hadn’t even noticed that she was home. I grabbed my black heels and slid them on. As I got halfway down the stairs I saw her and Eric standing at the bottom of the staircase. She looked at me and smiled.

I could see the tears welling up in her eyes as she snapped several pictures. I thought I was hearing my own heartbeat from all the attention. I discovered that it wasn’t mine, it was Eric’s. Every time I took a step his heart would skip a beat.

I took a second to look at him. I was going to have to thank his mother for picking out that suit for him. It looked marvelous on him. Never in my life had I seen anything as stunning as Eric was at that moment. All I wanted to do was take that suit off of him. I took a deep breath and tried to get my hormones in check. Which was hard for me to do.

Eric walked up to me and kissed me. I could feel the passion in his lips take over mine. I heard Dad clear his throat and I broke our kiss with reluctance.

Eric stepped back from me and apologized for our lack of restraint. Dad laughed at him and said, “I understand.”

I could feel the heat creep up my face. I was hoping that all the foundation I was wearing would help conceal it. I knew that everyone already knew how I was feeling from the color of my ears. They were burning like they had been set on fire, so I knew that they were blood red.

The doorbell rang and Dad stepped over to answer the door. It was Eric’s parents. I had expected that I would meet them later on tonight, so I didn’t have time to prepare for it yet. My nerves kicked in to overdrive. I was almost at the beginning of a panic attack when I heard Eric whisper to me.

“Just calm down sweetheart. It’s only my parents. They don’t bite that I’m aware of.” He laughed.

I took a deep breath and centered my mind on his parents. Their thoughts were calm until his mother saw me. I could hear the girl-like screams inside her mind. She definitely approved of me without even speaking to me. That was a huge relief. His father was thinking something like me being a smart choice on Eric’s part.

He had thought I was beautiful, but not in a weird way at all. He was proud of Eric. His mother had already begun to daydream about what her future grandchildren.

I backed out of their minds with a sense of assurance about their opinions of me. Eric giggled to himself. I just wanted to kick him in the shins at this point.

“I love you Bailey.” I heard him whisper.

But this time he hadn’t said it in my thoughts. He had said it aloud as if he didn’t care who heard him. I was breathless, nonetheless.

“I love you too Eric.” The calm of this moment made me feel like there is actually good things in store for our future.

I talked with his parents for a while. They were both intelligent. His mother asked me where I had found such a lovely dress. I pointed over at Mom and told her that she would have to ask her because I didn’t know where she had gotten it.

His father was calmer and more laid back than his mother. He was easy to talk to and was polite. It was plain to see where Eric got his charm.

Before I knew it, it was time to go. Eric’s dad tossed him the keys to his car and smiled. Our parents were all going to ride together in my mother’s car.

It was nice of his dad to allow us to take his car. Maybe he thought we would want some time alone. This was the truth. I wanted to be with Eric every minute of the day, every day.

The silence on the ride there was weird. We were always talking to each other in one way or another, but right now Eric didn’t have a thought in his mind. None that I could tell, that is. I decided to break the silence.

“You think you love me Eric?”

“No.”

“NO! What do you mean no?” I said as I shifted my weight in the seat.

“I don’t think I love you. I know I do.”

“I know that I love you too. I’ve known it since the first time I saw you at the diner.” I said to him as my body relaxed out of strike mode.

“Is that so?” He asked with a smile.

“Sure is!” We both laughed.

“I wonder if you will be more radiant on our wedding day as you are right now.”

“Oh wow. You are full of it aren’t you? Already planning our wedding I see.”

“I can’t wait.” he said matter of fact, smiling as he looked ahead.

Traffic began to slow to a crawl and at this rate we were going to be late getting there.

As we inched closer, I saw a car with a few of our classmates on the side of the road. They had gotten a flat tire. One of the girls was trying to figure out how to use the jack. She was doing it wrong.

“Should we stop and help? It’s pretty obvious that nobody else is going to” I claimed.

“Sure, but you can fix it from here. I guess you can call it practice. Try it.” he laughed.

I thought about how I was going to help her change the tire. There was no easy way to do it so I projected myself into the girls mind.

I whispered the steps to her. The crazed look on her face made me giggle. She did what I told her to without questioning where it came from. When she got to the part where she had to loosen the lug nuts, she was in tears. They were too tight and she didn’t have the strength to turn them. I twirled my finger and broke them loose for her.

“Try again.” I whispered to her.

She picked up the lug wrench and gave it another try. I heard her say, “Thank God!” I watched as she put the tire on and replaced the lug nuts.

I heard her worried thoughts. She was afraid that she wouldn’t get them tight enough and the wheel would fall off.

“Don’t be afraid.” I said to her as I made sure all the wheels were on secure.

She put up all the tools and looked at her dress. She began to cry when she discovered the grease stain on the front of it. I knew she didn’t have another dress and there was no way she could wear that one to graduation.

I waited until she got back into the car to erase all the imperfections her chore had caused. I imagined the stain was gone and her hair and makeup was once again perfect. I even took away the musty smell the grease had left behind.

She gave herself another look. With an enormous smile she started her car and pulled back onto the road in front of us.

“You’re a natural.” Eric said as he drove.

“It does seem that way doesn’t it?” I replied proud of the good deed I had done.

The front of the school was swarming with parents. I was glad the principal had reserved a section of the parking lot for the graduates. We found a spot to park and went to meet our parents.

Mom had my graduation gown held out and ready for me to slide in it. She helped me put my cap on where it wouldn’t mess up my hair. I could see she was fighting the tears as she did it.

Eric looked unbelievable in his graduation attire. Eric’s dad checked his watch and told us it was time to go. They all wished us luck and instructed us to take our time crossing the stage so they could get pictures. We both agreed and rushed to get in line.

Eric’s last name was Gray so that put him farther up the line than me. I took my place and waited for the teacher s instructions. I didn’t like being away from him. I didn’t like the uneasy feeling that distance from him gave me.

Faculty members were going up and down the line helping students adjust their robes. It was the caps that were causing the trouble. Most of us had our tassels on the wrong side so they placed them on the right side and went on to the next one.

The music began to play signaling the junior class to enter the auditorium. They called it the junior class march. I remember making that march down the aisle symbolizing the transition from a junior to a senior.

The song ended and I could hear the junior class president give her speech. The speech was short, but interesting.

“May I introduce to you, the graduating class of 2010!” she said with excitement.

The graduation march began and we walked out to our seats. We were to remain standing until everyone was in their places and the principal was on stage.

The ceremony went as planned. When everyone had their diplomas we could dismiss to go outside. As I was walking out, I could see that some of the students were crying. I was happy and sad at the same time. I was happy because I had finished high school, but sad to be leaving the school and all my friends. I would  miss the routine more than anything. Most of them would be leaving to go to college soon.

I had decided not to attend a four year college. As a matter of fact, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with my life. There’s plenty of time to decide all that I suppose.

Eric slid his hands around my waist from behind. He moved a few curls and kissed me on the back of my neck.

“Congratulations sweetheart.” he said with his lips still lingering on my skin.

“Same to you.” I replied knowing the tone of my voice would send certain signals. Thank goodness that our parents walked up.

They were all delighted that we had made it through high school. They swarmed us. They congratulated us and hugged us until I thought I’d never want to hug anyone again.

After all the fuss was over, they announced they were going to throw a party for us and our friends. Mom told us to invite whoever we wanted to, but I wasn’t interested in inviting much of anyone. I could tell from Eric’s thoughts that he could only ask two people, Damien and Jared. I could ask Jasmine and Beth, but I was sure they had already made other plans. I wouldn’t want them to break them on my behalf.

I was leaning more in the direction of having a small family only type of gathering anyway. That is the way I liked to celebrate things.

With that in mind I asked, “How would you guys feel about it just being the six of us?” Everyone agreed that was the best idea.

I said goodbye to my friends and asked my parents if they were ready to go. They had decided that the four of them were going to go for some coffee and said it would take a while. I was glad they were getting to know each other. Eric nudged my arm and smiled. 

“What time would you like me to have Bailey home?” He asked my Dad.

“It’s nine now and I’m thinking we may be out for a while from the way these women are acting. How about no later than one?” Dad replied.

“Thanks Dad!” I shrieked as I threw my arms around him. He smiled and told me that it was only because he trusted me and that he had grown rather fond of Eric. I blushed as I turned and took Eric’s hand.

I was sure that Dad was telling me the truth. He would never have allowed me to stay out that late with anyone else. Not even Jasmine or Beth.

He opened the door of his dad’s car and waited for me to get in. The shock of not believing that they were letting me stay out that late was pleasing feeling. Especially with a guy. I guess Eric had grown on my father. That was a good thing. My father was not a  trusting man when it came to me having a boyfriend. He was more of an overprotective type, but I knew that he means well and I was never bothered by that.

Eric drove down by the park. “Where do you want to go?” he asked.

“I would like to be somewhere quiet I think.” I muttered. “I’m having a sensory overload right now.”

“Your wish is my command, Princess. You‘ll have to show me the way because I’m unfamiliar with the local hideouts.” he said grinning from ear to ear.

I thought of the lake right outside of town. No one ever goes down there. It was the perfect place, quiet and secluded.

“Would you mind if we went by our houses and changed clothes?” I asked already knowing the answer.

“Not at all.” he said in relief.

He pulled the car into my driveway and parked. I opened the door and he helped me out of the car. As he closed the door, I pulled my heels off. I could walk better without them. Not to mention they were killing my feet.

He held my hand as we walked up the walkway to the door. I pulled my key from my handbag and unlocked the door.

“Will you need any help with getting out of that dress?” 

Yeah, if you don’t mind, I‘ll need help with the zipper.”

I could tell my request pleased him. It was the truth. I did need help. He followed me up the stairs to my room. I put my heels in the closet. Eric was waiting by the door.

“You’ve been in here before Eric.” I said, being sarcastic.

“I know. It is just a little different this time.” he said as he blushed.

I pointed over my shoulder to the zipper. He walked up behind me. I felt his hand touch my back. He unzipped the zipper all the way to my waist. Eric ran his finger from the bottom of my neck to the small of my back. His touch sent chills all over my body. He slid the dress off my shoulders. He kissed my back and I struggled to breathe.

Stopping our kiss at the right moment he said, “I’m going on over to my house to get this hideous suit off. I‘ll be right back.”

I hurried to put on my old jeans and a t-shirt. The thought of him kissing my back like he did was still fresh on my mind. I’m glad that he left when he did. The situation could have gotten out of control. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if one of my parents walked in and caught us fooling around.

With that in mind, I rushed to put on my shoes and get them tied.

I waited for Eric on my front porch. I had considered going over to his house, but I decided against it. I sat there on the steps contemplating where I thought our relationship is going to go. I could see us together, but the rest was a complete blur. I couldn’t see anything else but us.

It wasn’t long until he was standing beside me. “Do you still want to go to the lake?”

“Sure.” I said as I got up off the steps.

I gave him turn by turn directions and it was no time until we were there. He parked the car and got out. I noticed he was looking around. I had already known that no one else would be here. I suppose he wanted to check for himself.

I got out of the car and wished I had brought a jacket. The breeze coming off of the water had a certain chill to it. Goosebumps covered my arms and I shivered from the cold.

I looked around and Eric had a blanket in his hands. He put it around my shoulders as he leads me to the edge of the water. I shivered as we got closer. I concentrated on the temperature, knowing that I could make it warmer.

In an instant, I was taking the blanket off and spreading it on the ground. We laid down on it beside each other. He moved closer to me and put his arm around my waist. I was completely comfortable with him. I got lost in the moment, oblivious to anything but us.

He started kissing me. His kiss became more urgent as the seconds passed. I could hear him asking himself if he should go further. I broke free from him and rolled over on my back. He looked at me with a confused look.

I stared at the sky. I was nervous and my stomach was twisting and turning. Not being sure what to do I said, “Sorry.”

“Did I do something wrong?” Eric asked me.

“No, of course not.”

“I love you so much and I guess I just can’t control it the way I need to.”

“I love you too, but we have plenty of time. I don’t see a reason to rush things.”

“Well, how about we make a deal with each other?” he asked.

I was almost afraid to say yes, but what could a simple deal between us hurt? It’s not like I didn’t trust him and I knew that he would never pressure me into doing anything that I didn’t want to do.

“OK What’s the deal?” I asked still a bit reluctant.

He sat there, acting as if he was arranging his thoughts. Finally, he responded “Let’s just relax and let whatever happens happen.”

I thought hard about what he had said before I answered him.

“OK”

Every conversation opened the door to new things. I learned more about him each time and it was hard for me not to ask questions. Some things he told me weren’t happy things, but it wasn’t like he had killed anyone or anything. I guess he thought I should know about everything that had gone on in his life up until he met me.

We stayed at the lake and talked and watched the stars until it was time to go.

The ride home was quiet, but not in a bad way. Eric turned on the radio and changed the station until he found a good song. I smiled at him, trying to hide my amusement.

It wasn’t long before we pulled into my driveway. Our time together always seemed to end too soon.

I got out of the car and caught a glimpse of a shooting star. I couldn’t help making a wish. The wish seemed childish after I made it, but I didn’t care. I wished for Eric and me to always be together, not matter what.

We took our time walking to the door. Eric stopped me before opening the door and kissed me. I wondered if I would ever get used to the way he made me feel. I always felt like I was hovering above the ground when I was with him. I didn’t want to feel any other way. The love I have for him was unlike anything I had ever felt before. It had such power and I never wanted it to end.

I was not expecting to walk in and see Eric’s parents. It was late and I was for sure that my parents would be in bed by now. Boy was I wrong.

Looking at them made me wonder exactly what they had put in the coffee. Vodka would not be a surprise from the way they were acting.

Eric could not help but to laugh at them. “They remind me of a bunch of college kids at a frat party.” he cackled.

The radio was playing a bit louder than it should have been. I walked over to turn it down before the cops showed up at the door.

“Hi kids.” I said laughing so hard that my ribs hurt.

“Sorry sweetie. I guess we were having such a good time that we got a little carried away.” Mom said trying to catch her breath.

“Did you guys have a good time?” Eric’s dad asked with a smile.

“We always do.”

The next morning Mom was sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee. The cup was bigger than her normal every morning one. I could see the word hangover written all over her face. She looked like crap, but I didn’t dare say anything to her about it. I didn’t want to hurt her feelings.

I tried not to make any unnecessary noise. From the way she was holding her head I could tell that she had a headache. Being the good daughter that I am, I went to the cabinet and got out the Tylenol. I took her a couple of capsules and a cold glass of water.

“Thanks Bailey.”

“Did you have a little much to drink last night?” 

“No, but I guess it was enough to give me a splitting headache.”

“I guess you‘ll know better next time.” I said.

“I suppose you’re right. Did you have a nice time with Eric last night?”

“Yeah. We went to the lake.” I told her.

She raised her head and looked at me in a strange way. I froze right where I stood.

“Just exactly how serious are you and Eric?” she asked. I swallowed hard, knowing what was on her mind.

“I love him, Momma.” I said hardly controlling my excitement.

“I was afraid of that.” she replied exhaling harder than I would’ve liked her to.

I wasn’t sure where this conversation was going. Mom looked like she was going to cry.

“My baby is all grown up.” she said as the first tear fell.

“Yeah, I guess so.” I replied.

I was counting the minutes until I was going to be able to see Eric. He was not even awake yet. With all the excitement that happened yesterday, it was a miracle I was even awake.

My train of thought moved on to another topic, even though, it was hard not to think about him.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to do this summer. Not a whole lot if I could get out of it. Dad said I didn’t have to look for a job or anything right now unless I wanted to. I just wanted to relax for a while. 

CHAPTER 7

My parents spoil me I guess you could say. I tried not to let it go to my head. I needed to get a job. Having to ask them for money was not my favorite thing to do. Besides, I wanted to be able to buy myself a car. It was going to be a long time before I could save enough for a down payment. Without my own source of income; it was going to take forever. I figured that I needed to save at least three thousand dollars. But, with my new acquired powers, I could just dream up some money. Trying to explain that would be hard.

The phone rang and Mom got up and answered it despite me telling her I would get it. I guess her headache had eased off some. She was not crinkling her eyebrows anymore. That was a good sign.

She told whomever she was talking to she would meet them in town. I assumed she was talking to Dad since he had already left. I heard her hang up the phone.

“Bailey, I have to go in to town for a bit. Do you need anything?” she said as I heard her car keys jingle.

“No. I think I’m good.” I told her.

I went to my room and sat on the platform. I found myself wondering what Eric was doing. The thought crossed my mind to use my power to find out, but I thought against it.

I didn’t want to be all up in his business all the time. First, I wouldn’t want him to do me that way. Second, I think it is wrong to violate someone’s privacy. So, I just sat there and watched out the window for any sign of him.

I must have fallen asleep. I looked around at my clock and two hours had passed. It was unlike Eric for me not to talk to him by now. He would have at least called I would think. I wonder what is keeping him from it.

Someone knocked on my door. “Come in.” I called.

It was Mom. She was back from town. I could tell she was pleased about something, but I was too worried about Eric to ask what it was.

“Mom, has Eric called today?”

He called about an hour ago, but you were sleeping. I told him I would have you to call him when you got up.

“Oh. OK Thanks Mom.”

She told me she would be downstairs and pulled my door closed behind her. My hair felt like I had tied it all up in knots, so I got my brush and did my best to untangle it. When I finished, I went downstairs to call Eric back. He picked up the phone on the first ring.

“Hi, Princess.” he greeted me.

“Where have you been?”

I had a little shopping to do and your mom said you were resting, so I decided not to bother you.

“I missed you.”

“I missed you too.”

“Do you want to come over?”

“How about you come over to my house? I don’t know if I told you, but I have a pool and it is hot out today. Would you want to go swimming with me?”

“That sounds great! I‘ll get my swim suit on and I‘ll be right over.” I said and hung up the phone.

I got my red two-piece out and put in on. I had a beach towel somewhere, but I was having trouble finding it. I went out to the hallway and shouted down to ask Mom if she knew where it was.

“In the top of your closet.” she yelled from the kitchen.

I hurried back in my room and got it from the top shelf of my closet. I slipped a pair of lounge pants and a tank top on over my swimwear.

I stopped by the kitchen and told Mom that I was going over to Eric’s house to swim. She smiled and told me to have fun.

I walked over to his house a little faster than I would. I couldn’t wait to see him. I had already fallen so hard for him and I couldn’t imagine ever being without him. He is like the air that I have to have to continue to breathe. I don’t believe that I had found such a wonderful person. He is everything I could ever want in a man.

As I rounded the fence in his backyard Eric was sitting at the edge of the pool.

“Hey beautiful.” he said as he jumped up and walked to meet me.

I quickened my pace so that I could get to him sooner. He immediately threw his arms around me and kissed me. I breathed his scent in, holding it in my lungs. He always smelled so good. It was a perfect mixture of cologne and the natural scent of his body.

“Did you miss me?” 

“What would make you think such a thing?”

I laughed at him as we walked to the side of the pool.

I took my over shirt off and laid it on the patio chair. I was not  paying attention to him as I slipped my shoes and the lounge pants off. Being around him was so natural to me that I had missed the sound of his heart skipping a beat here and there.

“Are you ready to get in?” I asked as I turned and faced him.

He was standing there looking at me. The look on his face reminded me of someone that had just received a brand new car for his or her birthday.

“What in the world are you staring at?” I asked almost amused. I was oblivious to the fact that he was looking at me that way.

“You look so amazing.” he said, forcing the words to come out.

I wasn’t sure whether it embarrassed me or flattered me. This was still all new to me. The whole love and attraction thing. Even though it came so easy at times. The feelings of it were somewhat overwhelming at other times.

Not knowing exactly the right thing to say, I replied with a confident thank you and I smiled.

He stood there for a moment longer, almost as if he was trying to get his heart back in his chest. I heard him take a deep breath as he walked to the edge of the pool.

“Do you want to jump in here or use the diving board?” he asked.

I took a second to look around the pool trying to decide how I was going to make my entry. The diving board was tempting, but the slide at the deep end was better.

“I think I‘ll use the slide first.” I said as I walked over to it and started climbing up the steps. It was almost as high as a water park slide. I reached the top and followed all the twists and turns it made with my eyes. Eric was watching me with excitement.

“Are you going to go or are you going to stand there all day and think about it?” he called up to me.

I hadn’t realized how high up the slide was until I was on the top of it. It didn’t look this high from the ground.

I looked back down at Eric. He was standing there with his arms extended beside him. I couldn’t make myself move. The realization of how far I was off the ground froze my body in fear.

“Bailey, what’s wrong?” his voice filled with concern.

“I’m just taking my time. Enjoying the view” I yelled back down to him.

“You’re lying.”

“Okay. I’m just a little scared of heights. No big deal.”

“Well, it’s a fine time to say something now. You’re already at the top. Just sit down and slide down. I promise you’ll be alright.” He said trying to reassure me.

I could feel the fear washing over me, but at the same time a calm feeling came over me. It was coming from Eric. I took a deep breath and sit down at the top of the slide.

“That’s my girl.” I heard him say.

Something else just wasn’t right. I had a feeling as if I was in danger. Eyes were on me and they didn’t belong to Eric. I looked around, trying to find what was causing my alarm, but we were alone. I guess it was just the fear of being up so high in the air.

With no other choice, I pushed myself down the slide. I spiraled down it so fast I couldn’t help but scream. Right before I went off the slide and into the water, I saw a dark shadow in the water. Yet, I couldn’t do anything to stop myself from going in the water. It was too late.

“Eric!” I screamed just as I went under.

The shadow was there waiting as I sank deeper under the water. I struggled to swim to the surface, but it was no use. Its force was pulling me closer to it and I was hopeless to stop it. With every inch I drew closer to it.

I had known that there was something wrong. I had ignored the feeling I had and that could cost me my life right now. If I make it out of this pool alive, I swear I will never shake a feeling like that off ever again.

I turned to look for Eric, but I couldn’t see him anywhere in the water.

“Help me! It is going to drown me!”

“I can’t get to you! Try to fight it Bailey!”

I was face to face with the dark figure. I could feel the evil flowing through it and into the water surrounding me. It spoke to me. Being under the water did not seem to hinder the figure’s voice.

You will not see Queenship my lady. The Dark Union will come for you and your mate. We cannot allow the Light Circle to unite, he said as he reached for my arms.

I fought as hard as I could to get away from him, but he was too powerful. My lungs were beginning to burn. I needed air and I needed it now. Still, there was no way I could loosen the figure’s grip. His hold on me was too tight.

I was going to die right here. I gathered all my strength and called to “Eric. I love you Eric.”

“NO! Pull from your powers Princess!”

“I can’t. I don’t know how and I’m too weak.”

I could hear Eric muttering something. It sounded like a prayer, but I couldn’t be sure. The confusion that was taking over my mind was not allowing me to decipher his words.

I wanted to take a breath so bad it was all I could think about doing. I knew when I pass out the first thing I would do was take a deep breath and that would be the end. And I was getting close to that point.

My thoughts became whispers and I was drifting between being conscious and not. With everything I had left in my body, I called for my Queens.

Please help me! This THING is trying to kill me and I am powerless to stop it. Eric can’t help me. I NEED YOU!

My lungs were burning and all I wanted to do was take a breath. As soon as the last word traveled through my mind I felt a sting at my throat. Stretching sensations ran all over my neck. I could feel my skin tearing. The burning eased from my lungs. I had a strange feeling that I could breathe, but without using my own lungs.

Renewed energy filled me with such force that I knew I could defeat my captor.

Fill him with light, the Queens whispered to me.

Acting completely out of instinct, I clasped my hands around his arms as he was holding mine. I sent jolts of light through the figure’s body, unaware of how I was doing it.

After several jolts went into his body, he cowered away from me trying to escape. I wasn’t letting go just yet. I had to know why he was after me.

He begged me to spare him. I knew I wasn’t the type of person to kill another person. Was he even a person? Could he be the same as I am, but just on another side? Again, confusion began to cloud my judgment and I released him.

I could feel the human part of him in my mind. That was the reason I let him go. He wasn’t pure evil like I had thought only a moment before. There had been good in his heart at some time. That much I was sure of.

Go back to where you came from. Tell the person that sent you here that I am no easy target as you can see. I mean no harm to anyone, as I expect no harm to come to me. Leave us alone. Do not come back or I will not be able to extend the same courtesy as I have today by letting you leave here.

Thank you my Queens, I thought as he disappeared from the water.

Bailey! I could hear Eric scream in my head.

Eric! I’m OK. But, I have to get out of this water. Like Right Now! I said back to him as I swam for the surface.

He met me before I emerged from the water. When my head was above the water, my body gave out. I felt Eric grab me and pull me out of the pool. I still wasn’t taking regular breaths through my mouth or nose.

I opened my eyes to see Eric examining my neck. He was looking at it with some sort of credence in his eyes. I couldn’t tell if he was amazed or horrified at my temporary transformation.

“Are you OK Eric?” I asked him.

I realized that my voice sounded somewhat funny. He just looked at me with a confused look on his face.

“You have gills!” he said with uncertainty.

“Wow, I was wondering how I was still breathing under water.” I replied with a laugh.

He let me lay there until I could gather up enough strength to move to one of the lounge chairs beside the pool. With his help, I laid back trying to regain control over my body. It was definitely going to take some time I had soon realized.

Eric seemed to be having trouble with the fact that he could not get to me in the water. I tried to reassure him that he could not have helped me, but we both knew better.

The dark figure would not have stood a chance with Eric and I united in the water. I suppose it already knew that seeing that he had managed to do something that would keep Eric away.

I felt my neck begin to tighten. It hurt a little bit. More like a stinging sensation, but it was uncomfortable, nonetheless.

“The gills are going away.” Eric told me.

“Good, I was hoping I wasn’t going to have to keep them.”

As soon as I was sure that I would be able to walk Eric helped me inside his house and up to his room.

Eric’s bedroom was different than I had expected it would be. I had expected him to be messy just like any other teenage boy, but his room was the complete opposite. Everything was neat and in order. Best of all, everything was clean. I couldn’t find a bit of dust anywhere.

There were no posters of pinup girls. Not even one of his favorite bands. That was weird, but I liked it in a way. I had expected something like that to be on his walls.

I was starting to understand that we were more alike than I had first thought. He didn’t seem to be shy about his room as most people are. He was confident about almost everything.

A black computer desk sat in one corner of the room. I could see that he used it quite often. He had a notepad, a cup full of pencils and pens, and several other odd and end things laying around on it. Needless to say, they were all in perfect order.

I looked around some more without seeming as if I was prying through his things. He had a few action figures on the top shelves of his bookcase. I recognized a couple of them. I think it was some of the characters from the Justice League.

I moved around the room and commented on various things that I like about it. He seemed to be please that I liked his room.

“I like yours better.” he said.

“Why?” I asked.

“It has a more comfortable feel to it. It feels like home.”

“Are you serious?” I replied with sarcasm.

“Yeah. But I would like a dirt hole if you were in it.” he said as he dropped down across his bed.

I noticed I was getting tired from all the craziness that happened in the pool. I walked over to the window and looked to see if my mom was still home. Her car was parked in the same place it was when I left. I should call her and tell her that I am going to be here for a while, I thought to myself.

“Can I use your phone? I think I left mine at home.” I asked Eric.

“Yeah, sure. It’s over there.” he said as he pointed to the computer desk.

I dialed the number to my house. It rang several times before Mom picked up. “Hello?” she answered sounding like she had been sleeping.

“Hey, Mom. I think I left my phone at home. I just wanted to check in with you.”

“Oh, hi sweetie.” Mom replied.

“We just got out of the pool.”

“Are you having fun?”

“Yeah.”

“I have to leave in a few minutes.”

“Where are you going?” I asked.

“I have to go to a meeting at the office. I’m not sure when I‘ll be back.”

“OK We may come back over there in a bit.”

“Sure. Remember your Dad is working a double shift today, so make plans to go to Eric’s house in the morning so he can sleep.” she said.

“No problem, Mom. I will see you later. I love you. ” I said as I hung up the phone.

Eric was lying there on his bed looking gorgeous as usual. I stood there thinking about him in ways that embarrassed me.

“I can show you if you want me to.” he said with a sly grin on his face.

My eyes widened in surprise. Sometimes I had a hard time of keeping my thoughts to myself and out of his reach. I had been wondering what he would look like lying there in his boxers. I couldn’t answer him either way. My mouth wouldn’t let me. I wanted to say yes and no at the same time.

He sensed my confusion when he sat up on the bed. He always has the same look on his face when he probes into my mind.

“I wondered once what you would look like in your bra and panties. I got to see that earlier today only you were in a swim suit.” he said.

“I guess you got what you wished for, huh?” I smiled at him.

“No, not at all. You weren’t on my bed.” he said as he stood up.

“Stop being such a perv.” I said trying to avoid his advances.

My nerves kicked into overdrive. My hormones were not far behind either and my heart was beating fast.

I took a few steps back until I was leaning against the wall. If I didn’t know any better I would have thought I was looking for a way to escape.

Eric took off his shirt and tossed it to the floor. He looked at me for about a half of a second then unbuckled his belt. It made a sliding noise as it passed through each of the loops on his shorts.

My breathing became a little faster as I watched him unbutton his denim shorts. I swallowed hard as he unzipped them and let them fall to his feet. He kicked them to the side and smiled at me.

I wasn’t sure which thing I wanted to do. Run to the door or run to him. Heat filled my cheeks as he laid back on the bed. He laid there looking at me for a few minutes. When I didn’t speak, he asked “Do I look like you thought I would?”

I opened my mouth, but I couldn’t make any words come out. I wanted to scream and jump as if I had won the lottery, but I couldn’t do that either. My body was completely frozen in place from his beauty.

After we got out of the pool earlier, I had put on one of Eric’s t-shirts and a pair of his cotton shorts. I had left my clothes outside by the pool. My struggle with the dark figure had caused them to get soaking wet.

My mind was blank except for the desire to take his borrowed clothes off and show him what he wanted to see. I was so confused. My body was ready. My heart was screaming yes to my mind, but my mind gave a million reasons why I shouldn’t.

I love him so much. I want to be with him in every way possible. Is now the right time? I was at war with myself about what I should do.

Eric got up off the bed and walked over to me. He ran his hand over the side of my face and kissed me. Both of his hands moved down to the bottom of the t-shirt and started pulling it up. They only thing that I could do was raise my arms above my head and let him take it off me.

I’m not sure where the shirt ended up. All I could think about was the fact that he had already slid the shorts down to my feet. I stepped out of them as he led me over to the bed. By that time, I had gathered enough sense that I laid down on my side in the bed.

Eric walked to the foot of the bed and looked down at me.

“Wow!” he said, stunned by the sight of me lying on the bed.

“I hope I look as good as you wanted me too.” 

“You look more stunning than I thought you would.” he replied.

“I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not.” I laughed.

“Oh don’t worry. It’s a good thing.” he said as he got on the bed.

He was graceful as he moved closer to me. He leaned in and kissed me. I don’t think he had ever kissed me with such passion. I mean, sure, we have had heated kisses, but nothing like this. This one was different.

I pushed him back. I needed to catch my breath. The way that Eric was kissing me was incredible. But in reality, I needed a moment to gather my thoughts and get my head on straight. I didn’t want to end up doing something that I might regret later. The key word was might.

Eric was trying hard to catch his breath as well. The sense of urgency I was feeling was coming from him.

I searched his thoughts. He was thinking about me. He kept saying to himself that he needed to calm down, but he just couldn’t manage doing it. The attraction between us was so strong that he could hardly control himself. And to tell the truth, I was having just as hard of a time with it myself.

I got up off the bed and walked back to the window. I could see the pool from the window on the other side of his room. The water was its normal color of blue. Everything looked to be the same as it should be. It was just as if nothing had happened earlier. There were no sign that the dark figure had even been there, but to look at it made me shiver.

Eric got up and slipped on his shorts. I wouldn’t have even noticed he was getting dressed until I heard him pick up his belt off the floor. I turned to look at him. He had a disappointed look on his face. That made me feel bad. I didn’t mean to hurt his feelings when I got up.

I was fine with where our make-out session was going, but I wanted to have my mind free of everything. At this moment, my mind was wandering back and forth between him and the dark figure that had tried to kill me in the pool.

I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why someone would want to hurt me. The powers I have will be for good, not evil. I’m not an evil person and I don’t intend on causing anyone any harm. It just makes no sense that someone would want to hurt me. I suppose that comes with the territory. Everything has consequences.

I have no idea what I was thinking. I mean, here I have these awesome powers now and I was going to use them for good. There was no question about that. I guess that there are people out there that wouldn’t agree with the way I was going about doing things.

That is funny because I haven’t used my powers all that much. I have done a few things like played around with things in my room and I changed my mother’s rose bush. The only other things I could think of was the day Eric and my powers joined together. That was the day I saved Katrina from her uncle. Not to mention, when I couldn’t save him from Carolyn. And, helping the girl change her flat tire on Graduation day.

I tried to shake those thoughts from my mind. I was not ready to have to deal with that again. Eric put his arms around me and rested his head on the back of mine.

“What’s wrong?” He asked.

“I was just thinking.”

“Yeah, I could tell that. I heard everything.”

“So you understand?” I asked.

“Yeah.” he said as he held me.

We stood there looking out the window for what seemed like forever. Time had a way of getting away from me when I was with him. I noticed that Mom had already left to go to her meeting.

“Do you want to go to your house for a while?” Eric asked.

“Sure. If you want to.” I replied.

I grabbed his t-shirt off the floor and tossed it to him as I scooped up the one he had loaned to me and put it on. I did not put on the shorts because I was going to change as soon as I got home. A hot shower would be good, I thought to myself.

We walked hand in hand to my house. Eric, being a gentleman, opened the front door for me. I was beginning to get used to that. He led me up the stairs to my room.

“Do you want to take a shower?” He asked.

“Why do you even ask this stuff? It’s not like you don’t already know the answers to all your questions.” I replied.

He smiled at me as he grabbed the remote off my bed and turned on the television. He sat on my bed and flipped through the channels trying to find something worth watching.

I gathered my clothes and took them to the bathroom. I shut the door behind me and turned on the hot water in the shower. I liked to let it heat up before I tried to adjust it to the right temperature. To be honest, I liked the steam that came off the hot water.

I washed all the chlorine from the pool out of my hair. As I was putting conditioner in my hair, I heard the bathroom door open.

“Eric?” I called.

“Yeah?” He replied as he opened the shower door and stepped in.

I didn’t know whether I should be okay with it or hit him right in the mouth.

“It’s OK sweetheart. I’m not intending on doing anything bad. Pool water makes me itch and I didn’t take a shower before we came over here.” 

I moved up and handed him the shampoo.

“Great. Girlie shampoo.” 

“What did you expect? You are in a girl’s bathroom.” 

He lathered up his hair and asked if he could get under the water to rinse it out. I finished rinsing off and moved to the back of the shower so he could rinse his hair. Not being under the water sent shivers all over my body.

“I’m going to get out. I’m cold.” I told him as I opened the shower door and stepped out.

“Would you care to hand me a washcloth and lay out a towel for me?” He asked as he put his head under the shower stream.

“Sure.” I replied as I dried off.

The smell of my banana shampoo filled the foggy bathroom as I got his towel out. With my hand on the shower door, I pulled it open only to see Eric standing there facing me. I couldn’t keep from looking at his wonderful body.

He stood there looking back at me as I scanned over his body. Water ran down his sculpted abs. I tossed the washcloth to him and winked as I closed the door behind me. He was laughing as I left the bathroom and went into my room to get dressed.

I hurried to get my bra and panties on because I knew what would happen if I was not dressed when he came into my room. I don’t think right now is the time for me to surrender myself to him. It wasn’t like I didn’t want to do that. Wondering if my parents were going to come home and catch us wasn’t my ideal vision for our first time together.

Hitting the last hook on the band of my bra, I heard him turn the water off and step out of the shower. My heart skipped a beat. Actually, I think it stopped for a second or two to be truthful.

It didn’t take long for him to come out. I was almost dressed when he walked into the room,“Wait, I have something you will like more than that.”

“Okay.” I replied.

He held out his arms and smiled. A deep red silky blouse appeared in one hand and a black full-length skirt was in the other one. I had to admit, he was good at picking clothes.

“Can I get you something too?” I asked.

“Yeah, but don’t overdo it.” he said watching me smile back at him.

I thought that a Royal blue button up and black Carpenter pants would be perfect. As soon as they materialized, I was proud of my decision.

“Thanks.” He said, impressed. This will be perfect for where we’re going.

He took the clothes and put them on. The whole time he was getting dressed, I wondered what it was that was making him be so secretive. I knew that he was doing something that he didn’t want me to know about. I just hope that it wasn’t something that was going to make me angry with him. If that was even possible.

Are you going to get ready? He asked. Not realizing I was still standing there in my undergarments, I laughed and got the blouse.

“Yeah. Sorry.”

I’m still amazed that we can make things appear with our minds. If I concentrate hard enough there is no doubt that I can do anything I set out to do.

After I had put on my outfit, fixed my hair, and put on a little makeup, I asked him what he was up to.

“You‘ll just have to wait and see.” he said taking my hand.

He explained that he had made reservations for us at the Italian restaurant in town. That made me a little nervous. I was thinking that maybe he was just doing it to celebrate our graduation.

“We have to be there in thirty minutes.” he said. “Better hurry.”

“So, how long have you been keeping this a secret?” I asked.

“For a couple of days.”

“Well, I guess I should be a little more inquiring.”

“I don’t think it will do you much good. Guessing isn’t one of your strong suits.” he laughed. “Let’s go.”

On the way to town, I stared out the window. Everything’s like a fairy tale and I am Cinderella with my prince. I had the perfect life, the perfect family. I even had the perfect boyfriend and supernatural powers. Something was telling me that it was not all good.

I shoved the daunting feeling to the back of my mind. There was no sense in worrying about things if I didn’t have to.

Eric had a way of making me feel like I was the only person in the world he wanted. Of course, I knew how much he cares for me.

“You are everything to me Bailey.” he said reacting to my thoughts.

“And you’re mine as well.” I replied feeling like my heart would explode.

At no time in my life did I ever think I would find love with someone like I have with him. I was happy in the moment.

The crowded restaurant was alive with sound and expression as we waited for a seat. The server showed us to our table. It was out of the way, which I liked. Being around a whole crowd of people was not my favorite thing in the world. For some reason, I always thought they were all watching me, but they were not. It makes me, somewhat, uncomfortable.

Eric took my hand from across the table. “It’s OK It’s just food.”

He can be so silly sometimes, I thought to myself. He looked at me with a grin and said, “I heard that.” I couldn’t help but to laugh aloud at him.

That drew a little attention to us. Some of the people that were sitting at the tables around us looked over and smiled. I smiled back at them.

The server came to take our orders. Eric said he would order for me, so I wasn’t paying much attention to what he was telling her. The thoughts of the other people around us had caught my attention.

It was fun to look into other people’s minds. You never know what kind of things they are thinking. Now I have the power to experience that and I loved it. And I am not a bit ashamed about prying sometimes. It is completely harmless and cute at times, depending on the mind.

The woman next to us was thinking about how handsome her husband looked tonight. I watched as he looked at her with nothing but pure adoration. He was bragging to himself about how lucky he was to have such a wonderful woman for his wife. To hear things like that actually spoken aloud made me feel more hope for the whole constitution of love.

I didn’t stare at them as I listened, even though it was hard not to sneak a glance here and there. They were such a lovely couple. I noticed that she was thinking about how he would react when she told him why she had wanted to come here. I hope he doesn’t knock the table over she thought to herself as she twisted a napkin in her lap.

I could tell she knew he would react with excitement. She’s pregnant. I sensed that they had been trying for a long time to have children. She could hardly contain herself.

He was wondering why she had been acting so strange today. He was thinking that she was going to tell him that she had gotten the promotion she was up for at work. Boy was he wrong, I thought to myself.

The server placed our food in front of us and I heard the woman thinking about placing a pacifier placed in his pasta. The longer that I listened to her, I noticed that I could feel her emotions.

“Be careful sweetheart.” Eric whispered to me.

I nodded my head to acknowledge that I heard him. I heard a tiny voice say something. I looked around expecting to see a small child, but there were no children around.

Listening, the realization that I was hearing her unborn child slapped me in the face. Eric noticed the shocked look on my face and asked what it was.

“Listen.” I directed him to the woman next to us.

“I don’t believe it. I can hear the baby.”

“There’s something else.” he whispered.

I tuned into the baby’s thoughts. I could tell the voice was a little girl. She sounded so beautiful that I could hardly stand to hear her. “Move over!” I heard. It was someone else in there.

A boy.

I gasped. She was having twins.

I was having a hard time containing my excitement for the couple.

I watched as the couple’s server brought their food to them and placed it on the table. Her husband picked up a fork and began stabbing at his pasta. After a few times, he looked at his wife in confusion.

“What is it honey?” She asked trying to hide that she knew what was going on.

“I think there is something in my food.” He replied, moving the pasta around his plate.

His wife looked on with sturdy intent. He brought his fork up above his plate and from it dangled a pacifier.

She smiled at him waiting for his reaction. He jumped up and started yelling, “I’m going to be a daddy!”

Everyone in the room with us stood and applauded. The man jumped up and down without a care about what the other people would say about the way he was acting.

After a moment passed, he went over and hugged his wife. I have never seen anyone hug another person like that. He held her as if he had been away for a long time and was just getting to see her again. This was pure joy and I was fortunate enough to be able to witness it.

Tears ran down my face before I could stop them. Seeing them like that was so moving that it was hard not to become touched by it.

Eric sat back down in seat. By now, I was sure our food was cold. I did not care at all.

Caught up in the moment, we had ignored our plates. When we finally settled back to our seats, I looked at Eric and laughed.

“I hope that we are that happy when we reach their age.” I said to him picking up my fork to take a bite. To my surprise, the food was still warm. I picked around at it, taking a bite here and there. All the delight from the couple had caused me to forget all about being hungry.

Eric went on eating as if nothing had happened. It is amazing how people can be about stuff. It is almost as if they live from minute to minute. Even so, I know that Eric is not exactly like any other person, but it seems like his stomach was.

I watched him as he ate. He finished a few minutes before I was. My appetite was not big tonight. The dark figure from earlier today was still haunting my thoughts. Why would he want to hurt me? I was unsure of the reason behind it. I had not done anything to anyone.

Eric sat there looking at me.

“Are you ready to go?” he asked.

I nodded at him as he stood up and held his hand out to help me from my chair. He always thinks of ways to be courteous. Every little thing he does still amazes me and makes me feel so loved.

He put his arm around me as we walked out the door together and to the car. He opened the door and held my hand until I sat down. I buckled my seat belt and exhaled. If only everything could be like it was with us. The world would be a perfect place. 

CHAPTER 8

Months had passed since Eric and I went to the Italian restaurant to eat. Nothing happened out of the ordinary. We were still spending every moment together. Mom and Dad were home more often. Their schedules had changed to allow them more time together at home. I was thankful for that.

My Dad and Eric were inseparable. They had so much in common. We were all a big happy family.

Mom would complement me on what great choice I had made picking him as my boyfriend. If she only knew the truth. The truth about how we had chosen each other before we even knew it.

Time seems to pass so fast. Eric and I had been together for a little over seven months now. Our relationship was as strong as ever.

He was helping me learn more about my powers. I hadn’t realized how much I was capable of doing. It was the most amazing feeling being able to do what we could do. Without him, I was sure I would still be as lost as I was in the beginning.

I haven’t had a visit from the Queens in a long time. Eric has called on his Kings once or twice, but it wasn’t anything major. He said he needed some advice about a couple of things. He said it was nothing that I should concern myself about and that everything was fine. So, I didn’t. This was a big change for me. Worrying was in my blood.

Out of the window, I gazed at the blanket of snow that had fallen over night. Just looking at it caused goose bumps to rise all over my body. I missed the warm breeze, the colors of bloomed flowers, and the smell of fresh cut grass. I felt like I was held in my house against my will, by old man winter.

The cold is not something that I enjoy. Eric acts like he enjoys it. Hardly anything seems bothers him and I have come to think that he is not completely human. That was the truth. Neither of us are exactly normal.

I got dressed and went downstairs. Mom was sitting at the table in the kitchen reading the paper.

“Morning, Mom.”

She looked up and smiled at me as she said, “Good morning sweetie.”

That was a silly question. I always slept like a rock.

“Yeah.” I said answering her generic question.

“Your dad and Eric should be back anytime now.”

“Where did they go?”

“They decided earlier this morning that they were going to go get breakfast for us all.”

They definitely have something up their sleeves, I thought to myself.

I noticed that Mom had a sly look on her face. There was, definitely, something going on. I’m sure I was going to find out sooner than later. I hate surprises. Eric knows that too.

The front door opened and I could hear Dad and Eric chattering to each other. They sounded like they were happy.

I sat down at the table trying to wake up a little more. I hate mornings. I don’t think that part of me was ever going to change.

Eric came in the kitchen followed by Dad. They were carrying a few paper bags. My guess was they intended to cook for us. I was expecting fast food. I was not aware that either of them had any culinary skills at all.

I watched as they emptied the contents of the bags onto the counter. They had all the necessary items for a home cooked breakfast. I was gearing myself up to eat some burned eggs.

I heard Mom giggle as she finished reading the paper.

“What?” I asked. I was sure that I was on the outside of a joke that everyone else had already heard. Something was going on and I was the only one that was not in on it.

“Anything good in there?” I asked Mom as she passed the newspaper to me.

“No.” She replied with a smile.

The paper was the usual goings on. Most of it was crime reports. There had been a robbery at the gas station at the end of town. The robber had gotten away with a few hundred dollars in cash and various items from the store inventory. No harm came to the cashier. Although, I was certain the whole incident left her forever shaken.

Scanning on down the page, I came to an article about an attempted kidnapping. A small girl had been playing at the park with her brother. The article read that a van had pulled up and a man got out and approached her. He had offered to take her to get ice cream. The girl was not fooled by the stranger’s offer. She immediately ran from him and told her brother and several of his friends what the man was doing. But before any of them could get back over to the place where she had told them he was, he was gone.

They reported it to the police. An investigation was underway, but they did not have much to go on. Unfortunately, the little girl could not remember what he had looked like. She could only remember what the van looked like. And that was all the police had to go on.

Several articles caught my attention, but they didn’t seem as important as the one about the girl. The thought of someone trying to take a child mortified me. Eric was whispering to me in my head.

“It’s okay. They will find him and everything will be fine.”

“I hope you’re right.”

I had to stop looking at the paper because I couldn’t get the thought out of my head of the little girl. I wondered how long it would be before the kidnapper would be successful in luring a child into his van.

There is no reason these things should be going on in this world. So much evil, and for someone to want to hurt a child or take them away from their parents was just unspeakable.

A sense of panic filled me. I knew I could help capture him, but I wasn’t sure how to do it. Letting anyone know what I could do was completely out of the question.

“Eric. Do you think we can help?”

It was no time until I heard his reply.

“It might be possible. After we eat, we’ll walk down to the park and look around.”

I sat there at the table contemplating a way to find out who and where the man was. I was so lost in my own thoughts that I didn’t realize Eric had already fixed my plate and put it in front of me.

“Bailey?” he muttered trying to hide his concern from my parents. I had not heard him call to me in my head.

I looked up and Eric was sitting beside me at the table.

“Are you going to eat?” Dad asked me.

“Yeah.” I smiled at him.

Picking up my fork, I began to eat my breakfast. To my surprise, the food was good. It was better than I had thought it would be. I was going to have to give them a little credit for it.

After cleaning up from our meal, Eric got our coats and told my parents we were going to take a walk.

“Make sure you bundle up. It’s so cold out there.” Mom told me.

She was always worrying about something it seemed like. Although she sometimes took it a little far, I knew it was because she loves me. I guess that was where I got it. I came by it honest.

I donned my coat and pulled the hood up onto my head. Dad smiled at me and said, “You guys have a good time. Don’t stay out too long.” Eric nodded in response as he led me to the door.

Halfway to the park, I began shivering. I had not been aware of exactly how cold it was outside. I was guessing it was pretty close to twenty degrees. That was how cold it felt to me anyway.

Eric picked up his pace trying to warm up. I kept pace with him and soon I was a bit warmer than I had been a moment earlier.

He pulled me closer to him as we walked. “If we work together, we should be able to go back to the time everything happened.”

I looked at him out of pure confusion. How could it be possible for us to see what happened? It had been a day ago since they were here and we had not been anywhere near here.

Eric explained what he was thinking about doing as we reached the spot where the paper said the van was. It was a genius idea, to say the least.

Eric told me that we could turn back time and watch as the events of that day unfolded. The only thing is, is that we could not try to interfere or we would disrupt everything that happened. If that happens, the police would for sure have a hard time getting any leads in the investigation. We could not risk that. We had to find him before he takes a child.

We came to the general area of where it happened. I was familiar with this part of the park. The spot always gave me the heebie-jeebies. I understood why he picked this place. There was so much cover for him hide in. Nobody would be able to see him. Anyone except who he wanted to see him, that is.

Eric looked around trying to find somewhere close but inconspicuous for us to begin our task. He found a good spot under the cover of the trees and a few bushes.

“No matter what, you can’t say or do anything but what we have to do to see it.” Eric demanded.

“Don’t worry, I won’t.”

Eric took my hands and I could feel our powers coming together. Unity was the key. It made us more powerful and I did not question the idea of us being able to do anything we set out to do.

I could hear Eric thinking about the day it all happened. I joined him in deep concentration. The air around us began to become somewhat unstable. It swirled and spun until looked like I was watching something on a television screen. I could see the events of that day unfolding right before my own eyes. I stood frozen in silence by what I was seeing. Everything became clearer as I watched.

The little girl had been playing by herself at the fence when he spotted her. She had a sad look on her face and that seemed to make him surer that he could get her to come with him. He called to her as he leaned up against the fence.

“Hello, little girl.” I heard him say to her.

I watched as she looked up at him unaware of his intentions for her.

“Hi.” She said back sounding angelic.

Her response pleased him and he began to ask her questions. He asked where her parents were and why she was playing all by herself.

She told him she was there with her brother, but he was too busy to play with her. He was playing ball with his friends. The bad thing was that she had actually pointed out her brother and that gave the man the advantage on her.

The man noticed the distance between them and her brother. He was sure he could get her inside the van before anyone noticed she was gone. 

“Would you like to go get some ice cream?” He asked the girl.

She stood up with a frightened look on her face and answered against his request.

“I’m not supposed to go with strangers!” She yelled.

Her loudness startled him, causing him to back away from the fence. He tried to coerce her into believing that he was not a stranger, but she was not going to believe him. Her parents had taught her not to talk to anyone she did not know, no matter what.

Instead of staying, she turned and ran to where her brother and his friends were at. Before she could finish telling them about the man and what he was trying to get her to do, he was gone. Eric released my hands and broke the connection.

Eric had been paying more attention to the details than I was. He had managed to get a clear look at the man and his van. He told me what he looked like and that his van had out of state license plates on it. The man had been watching the girl for some time. I just could not understand out why. I mean, I had a gut feeling why, but the details made no sense to me. Why would someone even think about harming a child?

Eric seemed to think that it was one of those black market adoption things. “He wasn’t thinking anything outside of getting her into the van and back to the office. A couple was waiting to adopt her.”

Eric had caught several glimpses of an office building of some sorts from the man s thoughts. I was so sure he would look like the definition of a dirty old man, but that wasn’t the case.

As we hurried back home, Eric gave me a rather detailed description of the man. He was in his early thirties. He had dark hair and dark sunglasses. Eric described him as being clean cut and well dressed. He had been wearing dress slacks and a crisp button down.

They were going to sell her.

His claim was appalling. Why would anyone want to make a living by kidnapping other people’s children? The reasoning was completely beyond me.

I was still lost in thought when we reached the sidewalk that lead to my door. The house looked warm from the outside and I could not wait to go in. My hands were getting numb from the cold and my nose felt like it wasn’t even on my face anymore.

I could see my mom in the kitchen. She was watching us from the window. She gave us a quick wave to come in and went about what she was doing.

We managed to get in the house before we froze to death. Eric helped me out of my coat and placed them both on the coat rack. I swear they sounded like they would break if they hit something.

Mom had made us each a large cup of hot chocolate. The steam coming from the cup was so inviting. Eric picked up his cup to take a sip, but stopped.

Fear covered his face. I knew that look well. He had the same look when the pool incident happened this past summer. I tried to not draw any attention to him as I asked what was wrong.

“He… he… has found another child.” he replied.

“What are we going to do?” I stood there waiting, desperate for Eric to respond. “We have to go back to the park. We have to go now! Before we’re too late!”

As soon as he said that, I rushed and put on my coat, throwing his to him and the coldness of it made me more alert.

“We‘ll be right back!” I yelled to my parents as we ran out the door.

My mother called after us, but there was no time to waste. A child s life depended on us getting to the park as fast as we could.

Eric and I ran as hard as we could until we reached the park.

“He’s in the same place he tried to get the other little girl.” Eric said with fury in his eyes.

I had never seen him angry before and the idea of it frightened me. I knew what we both were capable of and I had sensed that he had a dark side to him when I first met him. Just help him to handle this right; I thought to myself as I rounded the fence.

The van was sitting in the same place it had been earlier, but I couldn’t see the man anywhere. My gut reaction was to call the police, so I drew my phone from my jacket pocket and dialed 9-1-1.

The operator answered, “9-1-1, what is your emergency?”

I swallowed hard as I replied to her, “I’m at the park and I think there is a man trying to kidnap a child!”

She asked me several questions about what I was seeing in my surroundings. The operator asked if I noticed any vehicles around.

I replied with panic distorting my voice, “Yes. There is a van here.” I gave her the license plate number and description in the best way I could. She informed me that the police were already on their way. I needed to make sure that I tried to remember every detail that I could.

I agreed as she asked me to stay on the line with her until the police showed up.

I had a feeling that I shouldn’t make my presence known if I could help it. The bushes gave me just enough cover so I could slip around without anyone knowing I was there.

Eric, where are you?

I waited for him to answer me, but he didn’t. That was rather strange because he always answers me.

Scanning the park, I noticed a man talking to a little boy. The boy was alone as I expected. The bad thing is that I didn’t see anyone else around. I bet the boy was here by himself, in the cold, and I bet he must have come here without his parents knowing about it.

Do. Not. Get. Involved.

I won’t. The police will be here any moment.

Good. I hope they hurry or I’m going to have to stop him.

Panic set in as I realized what Eric was meaning. The man was about to take the boy.

I watched as the boy was following the man to his van. Where I was standing, I could risk discovery. The man would get away, but I could not move or it would tip him off just the same.

“I am invisible, to him and to the boy.” I whispered to myself, drawing from my power.

I knew that if the boy saw me he would say something and I could not risk that. I still needed for the police to be able to see me.

Nice, I should have thought of the invisibility thing too.

Be quiet. I cannot concentrate with you in my head.

He was breaking my concentration and I wasn’t sure I could hold up my cover with him in my head. As bad as I hated too, I blocked Eric from entering my mind. I had no other choice at the time. A child’s life was at stake and that was all that mattered to me now. Nothing else.

They were getting closer to the van. I couldn’t hear anything, no police sirens. Nothing. Please let them get here, I prayed as I heard footsteps on the sidewalk behind me.

A quick glance around eased my worry. The officer held his hand out ordering me to stay where I was. I nodded in relief as he made his way to the backside of the van with his gun drawn.

I allowed myself to be seen, but stayed where I was. I told the operator that the police had arrived and thanked her.

“We will have to stop and make sure it’s okay with my mom if I go to the store with you.” I heard the little boy tell the man. He was so small and innocent and how someone could take advantage of that? That is a part of people I will never understand.

“Don’t worry,” he said back to him. “I’ll be sure to stop and ask.”

The boy smiled up at him as the man opened the door for him to get in. I knew the officer was on the other side of the van waiting for him.

The man shut the door and looked around. His victory pleased him. That much was clear. He had managed to get the boy in the van without any hesitation from him at all.

I watched as he went around the front of the van.

“STOP!” The officer yelled.

The man threw his hands up in the air so fast that I jumped back. Everything after that happened so fast that I could not keep up with all the details.

Several other police officers ran to the van surrounding the man. He was down on the ground now. I let out a long breath as one of them placed the handcuffs on him.

A couple of the police officers helped the boy out of the van and walked him over to where I was standing. They explained to him about what was happening and the little boy started to cry and ask for his mother.

“You’re safe now. I’ll get your parents, just stay here with me.” I heard the officer say to him trying to calm him down.

It felt like I had been holding my breath for a long time. The feeling of dread had disappeared and I felt like I had just conquered the world. But, I couldn’t stop my tears as I watched the boy sobbing for his mother. Something about that hurt me in a way that made me want to grab him up and hold him until his parents came.

I didn’t try to fight the feeling. I sat down on the sidewalk beside him and pulled him into my lap.

He was shivering and I knew he was getting too cold. His little body was rigid and he tried hard to get as close to me as he could. My body heat was warming him, but I wasn’t sure it was going to be enough, so I took off my coat and wrapped it around him.

Looking around, I noticed Eric was standing beside me. He had come to my side without me knowing it. He was getting good at sneaking up on me and that bothered me.

The cold breeze blew hard against my face making me realize that I had been outside for far too long. Not having a coat on to protect me from the frigid wind wasn’t helping the matter any.

Eric took off his coat and put it over my shoulders. I could not break the hold that I had on the boy. Every time that I tried to he would get a look of panic and start crying again.

The officers had gotten blankets out of their police cruisers and brought them over. They wrapped each of them around me and the boy, trying to keep us as warm as possible.

“How about you guys get in one of the cars and try to keep warm.” One of the officers said. The little boy continued to cry and say that he wasn’t going to get into a car unless it was with his mother. I understood his fear. If I were him, I think I would feel the same way about getting into another person’s car.

An investigator had wanted to talk to both Eric and myself. We answered the questions they asked us in the best way we could and he thanked us for being here at the perfect time.

One of the officers had reached the little boy’s parents. I could see his mother running to us from the car that had parked in the middle of the road.

“David!” She screamed as she fell to the ground in front of us. The look that she had on her face was a sight that I was certain I wasn’t ever going to forget for as long as I lived. There was a certain amount of pain and horror in her eyes that seemed to be beyond my understanding.

I remained locked in an uncomfortable, tight embrace with her and the boy, but I didn’t move.

The boy’s mother finally let go and started looking at me in a way that I couldn’t completely understand. It was a half of a thank you and a half scared out of her mind look.

“It’s okay now, Mommy  The man didn’t get me.” David said as he touched her hand with the gentle touch only a child has.

“I know baby. I know.” she sobbed.

I made sure that he was snug in the blankets, after taking our coats off him. His mother took him and stood up, still holding on to him. The boy’s father was trying to dry the tears from his face, but he was not doing a good job of it. Every time that he would get his face clear, he would look at his son and the tears would start falling again.

Eric put his arm around me and I could feel all his tension release from his body. We had done it. We saved the boy and the man was going to jail for a long time.

The boy’s father walked closer to us and held out his hand to Eric. He shook the man’s hand as he pulled him into a hug.

“Thank you so much for being here. I don’t know what would have happened if you guys hadn’t have been.”

The boy’s mother hugged us both and cried as she kissed each of us on the cheek. “I don’t know if words could ever say how much I appreciate what you two have done for us today. You two are David’s angels.”

She asked for our names and phone numbers as she held out an envelope and a pen. Eric jotted them down and handed it back to her. She hugged both of us one last time and said goodbye.

“Hey! Pretty Girl!” I heard the boy call to me. I was aware of him and every move that he was making as he ran up to me. I hadn’t exactly noticed how small he was until now. He could not have been more than five years old at best.

I knelt down on one knee as he jumped on me and hugged me in the magnificent way that only a child could. The love I was feeling from him was amazing to me and I felt a connection to him in some way. My heart grew with love for the stranger child that had his arms and legs wrapped around me in an embrace. The strength of it was striking. So pure. So gentle, but powerful.

“Thank you for not letting that man take me.” He said, kissing my forehead and then jumping down to run back to his mother.

I grabbed my chest and without any hesitation in my body, I began to cry again. His innocence had touched my soul and I could feel love deep within myself for him.

The investigator came up to us, thanked us for answering his questions, and told us we should get on home.

He was right, we should. I was freezing and it felt like it was getting colder every minute. The temperature must have dropped since we came out. Maybe the wind made it feel colder, but I wasn’t so sure about all that.

The sky was an unnatural dark shade for this time of day. It gave me a troubled feeling. All I wanted to do was to get home. And fast. I wanted to shake away the horrid felling I had and I was positive that I wasn’t going to be able to do that for a long time.

Eric pulled me close to him as we hurried to get back home. I was so cold that my body had begun to jerk. Every step I took sent dull pain through my legs. I couldn’t remember a time when I had been as cold as I am now. It gives new meaning to the phrase, the cold bites.

By the time we reached my house every muscle in my body was stiff. I forced my legs to move the last few steps to the doorway, but I was having a hard time making them do anything. The pressure from walking on my feet was almost unbearable.

As we walked through the door, I almost cried. I was so happy to be home that I would have jumped for joy if my body would let me, but I was hardly allowing me to walk.

My mother met us at the door with a concerned look on her face. She looked us over and called for my dad. He came bounding down the stairs looking at us as if we had been in car accident or something. Immediately, he started checking us over.

“You guys were out there way too long.” Dad said as he scanned our hands for signs of frostbite.

“Sorry Dad. We had to stay at the park until the police said we could leave.”

He looked up at me, eyes wide with fear.

“What happened?”

I tried to tell him what had happened, but I was just too cold. My teeth were chattering and I was having a hard time talking, so I pointed to Eric and said, “You tell them. I can’t.”

An alarmed look came over my Dad’s face.

“What happened, Eric?” He said as he shifted his weight onto one foot.

Eric explained everything. He told them he had thought that he had lost his wallet and turned to show my father the whole in the back pocket of his jeans.

I forgot I had put it in my coat pocket, and then found it when I put my hands in my pockets.

I sat there listening to what Eric was telling my father. I needed to have the entire story correct, in case he asked me about it again.

“I wish that you guys would have called me. I could have driven down there in the car and you all could have been warm until they let you go.”

“It’s okay Dad. We are fine now and the little boy is safe and at home drinking a cup of hot cocoa right now.”

“I suppose you’re right.” He said as he looked over us one last time and I could see the pride on his face. He was thinking that we were heroes and that he could not have asked for a better daughter than me.

I found comfort in his thoughts, but I made sure that I acted as if I didn’t know what he was thinking about.

After he decided we were out of danger, he told us to go sit on the couch.

I expected a lecture when he came back downstairs. But the stinging the cold left behind drowned the worry. 

We were sitting there on the couch trying to get warm, but it was no use. Not even cuddling with Eric helped. He didn’t have any extra body heat to spare.

Mom came in to the room with two electric blankets. She plugged them up and helped us wrap up in them. I turned the dial up on high and prayed for it to hurry up and reach the right temperature.

Eric had done the same thing, except he had pulled his up over his head. I could hear him exhaling into the blanket trying to warm himself quicker. I found that cute despite the reasoning behind it. 

My Dad came in with two coffee mugs in his hands. He had wrapped them up with a couple of dishtowels. I suppose the heat from the cups would burn our skin without us even noticing it.

We sat up and sipped from the cups. The warmth of the hot cocoa soothed my throat and I could feel it go all the way down to my stomach. Unfreezing me from the inside out.

I hadn’t realized how tired I was until I heard Eric snore from under the blanket. The sound of it made my eyes become heavy and I was helpless to fight sleep. I laid my head on Eric’s shoulder and fell asleep.

It didn’t take long for me to recognize that I was dreaming. I was back in the beautiful meadow I had been in the last time I had visited the Queens. The air was peaceful and every sound was relaxing to me. The best thing was that I wasn’t cold anymore. I was warm and the sun was beaming down on me.

I saw Eric was up ahead of me at the pond. Which I found rather odd because I had never dreamed of the meadow with him in it.

He was leaning over the water with his hand in it. It looked like he was reaching for something. I remembered how clear the water in the pond had been the last time I was here and how mesmerized I was by the fish. If he was seeing them, he was as awestruck as I had been.

“Hi, my love.” I said to him. He turned to look at me. The smile on his face when he saw me was bright enough to light the world for all eternity.

“I’ve never dreamed with you with me.” He said.

“I have a feeling that we aren’t dreaming.” I muttered.

“Then what is this?”

“The last time I was here I was with my Queens.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah. It’s such a wonderful place.”

“I have never seen anything like this. Everything looks so pure.” He said, amazed with the things he was seeing.

I had had the same rush of feelings that he was having the first time I was here. I was still stunned by the magnificence of this place. The pure, untouched beauty was indescribable. So peaceful. 

“Aren’t they cool?” I pointed at the fish.

“There are no words for it.” He muttered back.

“I know.”

The air around us began to shift and I was all too aware of what was happening. Eric looked at me out of confusion. It was obvious his Kings appeared to him in a different way.

“It’s okay.” I said as I held his hand.

Each one of the Queens became visible one by one. Eric tightened his grip on my hand. I was getting the sense that he was a little more afraid than I had realized.

They weren’t standing side by side this time. I found that odd because I had never seen them put any sort of distance between them. This gave me an uneasy feeling. A feeling of not knowing what to expect.

Last, Fire Queen appeared. A shimmer appeared beside each Queen, exploding into their male companions. It sent a rumble through the ground that shook my feet.

Eric’s grip on my hand became lighter, but I remained scared by the sudden appearance of the Kings.

“I applaud you both on the tremendous job of rescuing the child today. One of the Kings said. There was so much authority in his voice that I was immediately staggered.

I wasn’t certain of whom he was, but I suspected he was the Fire King due to his place beside Fire Queen.

I held on to Eric as we stood there. We both gave our thanks to them and awaited their responses.

The Earth King and Queen stepped forward and began to speak. “Today is about unity between the both of you. We are aware of your powers are already united, but the matters of your souls still stand.”

The matter in which they spoke struck me. Our souls are not united? Unsure of myself, I listened as they went on.

“Your souls must unite before you both can reach the full potential of your power. You may recognize this as a marriage in your world.” I gasped covering my mouth to stop myself from screaming in shock.

“Do each of you believe the other is your soul mate?” Earth Queen asked.

“I know she is.” Eric answered.

“I am certain that Eric is, my Queen.” I responded in agreement.

Earth Queen nodded said with a smile.

They swirled around us, joining their hands in a circle around us. We asked to agree after they performed the unity bond. Without that, we would not unite.

They each spoke of our bond and the bonds between them.

“Eric? Do you agree that you want to be, forever, with Bailey?” Air Queen asked.

“Yes, my Queen.”

“Bailey? Do you agree that you want to be, forever, with Eric?”

“Without a doubt, my Queen.”

“So it will be.” She said as a strange feeling came over me.

I was faint, but at the same time, I was full of a peculiar energy I had never had before. A sudden shock hit me as a flowing blue light shot from my chest. It swirled in front of me as if it was waiting for something. I saw the same light, only red, coming from Eric and at the moment they touched, I felt my feet leave the ground. We were floating above the earth. The bonds of gravity surrendered to our bodies. The light tangled until I thought it was sure to bust from the tightness of the bond.

The colors of our souls turned from blue and red to a deep purple as they united.

We made our descent back to the ground as the purple light receded back into each of our bodies. “You are forever united.”

Eric kissed me as if he was just told to kiss the bride at our wedding. “I love you.” He said.

“I love you too.”

“You are now royalty of the Circle of Light. Eric. You are now King of Eternity as well as Bailey is your Queen. Blessed be.” Air King said as they all disappeared.

We both woke up at the same time. I looked at Eric with a renewed love. It was unlike before. Our bond was stronger than anything was and I could feel it pulsating all throughout my body. I was his and he was mine forever.

Unfortunately, our moment could not last. I woke to the doorbell ringing. “Bailey, can you guys get that?” Mom called from the kitchen.

Eric and I stumbled to get up and head for the door. My bones still felt frozen and it still hurt to put pressure on my feet.

He opened the door, only to find a package sitting there. It was a small box wrapped with black paper and tied with a silver bow. The elegance of the paper threw me off. I was sure that it wasn’t anyone’s birthday.

Eric picked it up and read the tag. It read, To the King and Queen of Eternity. He immediately made sure that there was not anyone else around to see it.

I took the package from him and headed for my room. I laid the box on my bed and asked Eric if we should open it.

“I don’t see why not.” he replied.

I untied the bow and pulled the paper off. Acid rose up into my throat from my stomach. The sick feeling grew worse as I opened the box. In the bottom of the box, laid a note.

It was a white card resembling an invitation. The lettering was the deepest shade of black that I had ever seen. As I read the message, it became clear to me that Eric and I are in grave danger.

The note read, I warned you. Now you will have to pay the ultimate price. ..YOUR LIFE. I will be seeing the both of you soon and I mean real soon. Until then.

Lord Raylan 

CHAPTER 9

“Lord Raylan? I knew I should have killed him that day in the pool. I don’t understand.” I said as I fought back the tears.

Eric explained that he was the second in command of the Dark Union. He was not royalty by any means, but was powerful. He was the hunter, so to speak. He had accepted the order to kill us, to erase us from the Light Circle. But why? It made no sense to me at all.

I looked at Eric, not knowing how to fix this situation. Will we live? Will Lord Raylan complete his task? Tears flowed from my eyes as Eric pulled me into a sound hug.

“I’m scared Eric.” I cried.

“I know. But we will get everything figured out. Don’t worry.” Eric said as he held me until I fell asleep. I woke up with the worst headache I had ever had in my life. With every beat of my heart, pain pulsed through my head. I dared not to open my eyes for fear of the light hurting my eyes. I was sure that I wouldn’t be able to keep from screaming.

I had cried myself to sleep from fear last night. My eyes felt like I had a million tiny grains of sand in them and I could feel that they were swollen. Not bad, but it was enough to make me aware of it. I needed to get a cool washcloth and lay across them to try to get the swelling to go down.

I laid there on my bed, not wanting to move, but I knew I had to. There would be no escaping it. We have to come up with a plan.  There is no time to waste. Our lives depended on it.

With that in mind, I gathered every ounce of strength I had left and sat up on the side of the bed. I, immediately, wished that I hadn’t. My head throbbed like someone was playing Bongos in it.

The pain was intense. So much so, that a tear escaped from my eyes. But I couldn’t help it. I was an emotional person. Besides, my life was threatened for no reason at all. What are we going to do? I can’t bear the idea that someone wanted to hurt Eric. Someone wanted to take my life force away from me and I was powerless to stop it.

Utter disgust at the fact that Eric was in trouble made my stomach lurch. I was almost at the point of throwing up before I could get myself under control.

I slid my hand over my pillow and felt a piece of paper lying there. I struggled to adjust my eyes enough to be able to read it. It was hard, but I finally got to where I could see good enough to make out the words. It was Eric’s handwriting. Ran home for a bit. I’ll be back soon. I love you.

Putting the note back on the bed, I put my feet on the floor and stood up. When I was sure that I was sturdy enough to walk, I headed to the bathroom.

The cabinet was recently stocked with fresh washcloths and towels. I grabbed a couple of them and ran cold water over them until I could not stand to hear the faucet run anymore.

I wondered what Eric was doing. I wasn’t sure of when he had left to go home, but I knew that he would be back soon, if he wasn’t already downstairs.

I sat down on the window platform and placed the cold washcloths on my eyes. I hope that it will reduce the swelling so it won’t be as noticeable. Eric would have a fit and so would Mom.

When the washcloth lost its coolness, I took it off and opened my eyes. The light of the rising sun made my eyes burn. I wasn’t as bad as I had expected it to be, but it didn’t seem to be much better than a minute ago.

Eric’s house seemed farther away than it actually was. Any amount of distance between us made me uncomfortable. Especially now with everything that is going on.

I wasn’t sure if my powers relied on my strength. If they did, I was in trouble. I had no strength left. Almost everything I had was gone. Just washed away with my flooding emotions.

I called to Eric. His voice quickly filled my head. I could tell that he had whispered intentionally, trying not to cause my head to hurt worse.

I love you Bailey.

I love you too.

How are you feeling?

Terrible. I have a killer headache and my eyes are giving me some trouble. How are you, my love?

I’m OK I just needed some sleep to clear my head a little.

What are we going to do?

I was expecting a positive answer from him because he had always been so reassuring in the past. This was nothing like anything we had ever been through before.

A simple answer was all he gave me. I don’t know. And he left it at that. Nothing more and nothing less.

He asked me if I felt good enough for him to come back over, or if I wanted him to stay home for a while longer. I told him that it was not the fact of my feeling good that mattered. It was the pressure of us not being together that bothered me the most. And I was sure that I would feel better if he was here with me.

I’ll be over as soon as I get dressed.

OK I’ll be here.

Oh yeah, are your parents’ home?

I’m not sure. I haven’t been out of my room yet.

That’s OK It doesn’t matter anyway.

I’ll see you shortly, I replied wondering why he wanted to know if my parents were at home or not. Maybe he had come up with some genius plan to get us out of the terrible fix we have gotten in and wanted to go over it with me. It would make it more difficult to talk if anyone was around. They would be likely to overhear our conversation and commit us both to a mental hospital.

I watched for him to come out of his house but after a few minutes, he still didn’t. He was taking his time. Waiting for me to get good and woke up would be my guess. It was awful early in the morning and I could sure be a grouch.

This morning was different. I wasn’t moody and I didn’t get up hating the world. I am stressed and in pain. If my headache does not ease up real soon I was certain that my head was going to explode.

Healing powers would be a big plus right now, but I just didn’t have the strength to try it to be honest.

Sitting by the window was getting uncomfortable. The icy winter air made the glass so cold that it reminded me of standing next to the freezer too long. I shivered and got up to go lie back down in bed.

Every thought I had was of the future. What was going to happen to us now? Could we elude the danger we were in? It seemed unlikely. Power or no power, I was still too unskilled to be fighting someone who was as powerful as Eric said Lord Raylan is.

There has got to be a way. I knew there was, but I have to get rid of this headache so I can think.

I closed my eyes and put a hand on either side of my head. Massaging my temples, I willed the pain away. Please go away. I just can’t take any more of this. I need to think.

Eric came in the room and shut the door behind him. I didn’t even turn over to greet him. I was so focused on what I was doing to notice that he was getting into bed with me.

He put his arm around me and held me. I could feel the surge in my power just from the touch of his hand and I needed the boost. I was weak and just a little more power and I was certain that my pain would go away. It was almost gone before he came in the room with me.

Go away. Please don’t bother my Queen anymore he said as he tightened his hold on me. He laid his head on the pillow and kissed my back.

The pain was gone. My eyes didn’t feel swollen anymore and I felt power flowing through my body once again. I felt better now and I was grateful because I wasn’t sure how much more of that I could take.

I closed my eyes and tried to lose myself in Eric’s arms. This was not hard to do at any time. He was my comfort. My stability. My world. My rock.

I couldn’t deny the passion I felt for him. And I knew he felt the same for me. It showed every time we were alone together. One kiss, one touch and we were flirting with losing our control.

We had joined in the Circle of Light, but that did not hold true in this world. To everyone here, we are just two love-struck kids. Everyone would think we were crazy for even mentioning getting married at our age.  It’s not like Eric had even asked me, so it didn’t matter. I had given the matter more thought than necessary at this point.

I became nervous about my parents walking in and seeing us together in bed. I jumped out of bed and started to get dressed. Eric sat up and asked me what I was doing.

“You’re parents aren’t home. It’s OK They ran down to town to pick up some breakfast.” he said with a smile.

“And, how is it that you know this?” I asked.

“When I came in they called and asked if I was planning on coming over this morning. They had ran down to town to get breakfast for us all. They’ll be back soon.”

“Oh. I guess that does explain it, huh?”

He laughed and talked me into getting back in bed with him. I wanted to, but at the same time, I didn’t. I knew exactly where it would lead. I did it anyway, against my better judgment.

And I was right. As soon as I got back in the bed, he started kissing me. I didn’t hold back at all. We kissed and he touched me in ways I haven’t felt before. 

Before I realized it, I had allowed him to take off my clothes except my bra and panties. That fact worried me. I had completely lost control and my parents would be back any minute.

I jumped out of bed and grabbed my pajamas to put them back on. I heard the front door close. They were back. I hope they don’t come up here until Eric gets dressed. I would just die if they see him in here like this because my father would kill us both.

Eric smiled at me and got out of bed. He did not waste any time putting his clothes back on. Every hair on his head was in place and no one would have ever been able to tell that he had just been in bed in his boxers.

I was sitting on the platform when Mom knocked on the door. “Good morning.” I called as she opened the door.

“Are you guys ready to eat?” She asked.

“Yeah. I’m starving.” I told her.

Eric got up and started making the bed. It was another wonderful thing to watch him do. I lounged back and watched until he was almost finished. Then I jumped up and helped him pull the last wrinkle out of the comforter. Just to be nice.

He laughed and thanked me. He pulled me into a loving embrace, but I could feel the tension in his body. Grabbing my hand, we went downstairs to eat.

Breakfast went by fast. I forced myself to act as if everything was normal. Trying to hold a conversation was the worst part. I wasn’t in the mood to talk to anyone, but Eric and about what we were going to do to save ourselves.

Mom was chipper this morning. Dad was too. Something was going on. That was for sure. They were going to announce that they had this big vacation planned for us all or something. At this point, I could care less.

I was just about to excuse myself from the table when Dad called for me.

“Bailey. Could you come here for a minute?” he asked.

“Yeah. Sure.” I replied, trying to hide my lack of interest in anything.

He was standing at the front door with it halfway open. I hear a quiet giggle come from the kitchen. It was Eric. I am sure glad that he is in a good mood, I muttered under my breath.

“Did you say something sweetie?” Dad asked.

“No.”

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing. I guess I’m just not completely awake yet.”

“Well, maybe this will help you out.” he said as he stood there with a huge grin on his face. “Are you coming guys?”

“Yeah.” Eric called from behind me.

I wanted to ask what was going on, but before I got the chance, Dad had started pulling me to the door.

Eric came up behind me and put his hands over my eyes before I knew what was happening.

Relax. Everything is fine. I heard him whisper in my head.

What’s going on Eric?

You are going to love this.

I relaxed a little bit as they lead me out the front door, off the porch and onto the sidewalk. I had expected to have stopped by now. No such luck. They just kept pulling me forward and I hated not being able to see where I was going.

“OK Are you ready?” Mom asked me, unable to control her excitement.

“I guess so.” 

Eric uncovered my eyes and I had to wait a few seconds for my eyes to adjust to being outside. It took longer than I had expected because the sun seemed to be brighter than usual this morning.

In front of me in the driveway was a brand new Ford Explorer. My mouth hung open in surprise. I cannot believe my parents had bought me a SUV, and it wasn’t even my birthday.

After the stunned disbelief resided, I could hardly contain my excitement. I looked over the outside of my gift. The black paint was perfect, not a single scratch or speck of dirt on it anywhere. The windows were dark tinted. I couldn’t even see inside of it with my face up against the glass. Stepping back, I noticed my initials were on the bottom left hand side of the window. B.I.S. Bailey Isabel Sims. It was great.

I opened the driver’s side door and the smell of the new interior was overwhelming. It sparked more joy inside me.

The inside was clean enough that I could eat off the seats if I wanted to. The carpet was a deep grey that matched the seats. Thank goodness they weren’t leather. I hate that kind. They have a tendency to freeze you to death in the winter and burn you in the summer time.

It was completely loaded with anything I could have asked for. Sirius satellite radio, CD player, and a GPS system.

I turned to my father and hugged him as hard as my arms would allow.

“I hope you like it.” he said with pride.

“Like it? I LOVE it!” I shrieked.

“So, how about taking an old man for a ride?” he asked smiling.

“Sure!” I replied as he handed me the keys and walked over to the passenger side door.

I hugged my mother, kissed her on the cheek and turned to Eric.

“You knew all about this didn’t you? I asked as I hugged him.

“Yep, sure did.” he laughed.

I kissed him and told him I wouldn’t be too long. “Take your time and enjoy the drive. I have to help your mother with a few things anyway.” He said as he closed the door for me.

“Be careful.” Mom said as we pulled out of the driveway.

The drive was fun. Dad and I talked about this and that. The main topic he was focusing on was Eric.

“Do you feel as strong about him as he does you?” Dad asked.

“I hope so. I can’t imagine being with anyone else if that’s what you’re asking.”

“I was kind of hoping for that answer. He is a great guy and I believe that he loves you.”

Confused, I asked, “So Dad, Where’s all this coming from anyway? 

Not wanting him to answer the question, I paid a bit more attention than necessary to the road.

“I see where you guy’s relationship is going and I just wanted to be sure that you weren’t oblivious to it.” He said as he looked out the window.

“What do you mean Dad?”

He took his time before offering his response. “He loves you Bailey.” He cleared his throat before he said, “I hope you know for certain that you return the same kind of love back to him.”

“I do Dad. And I’m positive that I love him too.”

“Good.”

We pulled back into the driveway. It didn’t seem like we had been gone long. I had been having so much fun just riding around with Dad that I must have lost track of time. And, of course, we had stopped at Sonic. We each got a milkshake and we sat there and drank them before we left. So, that took a little time too. Mom wouldn’t be too upset that we had one before breakfast.

I turned my new truck off and took the keys out of the ignition. “Thanks Dad. I appreciate this.” I said trying not to tear up.

“I know you do Bailey. Just promise me something, would you?”

“Yeah, Dad. What is it?” I asked not knowing if I should have agreed or not.

“Don’t lose yourself. And don’t forget about your old man. OK?”

“How could I ever forget about you Dad?”

He was the greatest man I have ever and will ever know.

We walked arm in arm up the sidewalk. He had made a few comments on the way to the door that I was not completely sure that I understood. He had said something that sounded like I’m not ready for this at all. He was acting strange today.

As soon as we walked in the front door, I knew for sure that something else was going on. The evidence was already there.

Covering the floor, were thousands of white rose petals. Someone had wound roses around the rails of the staircase and somehow tapped them to the walls. The foyer was empty except for the small table that stood in the middle of the room. On top of it sat a small black box. I immediately became nervous.

Mom was standing in the doorway of the kitchen with her camera in hand. The flash was blinding as she took several pictures.

“What is all this?” I asked her. She smiled and shook her head, refusing to answer my question.

I looked around for Eric, but he wasn’t in here.

“Dad, where is Eric?” 

“He’ll be here in just a second. I think he had to run home for something.”

Mom told me that he had made her promise to not let me look in the box on the table until he got back. That worried me. He had never acted like this with me before. Being secretive and stuff. I just don’t get it.

But it was my birthday after all and I was thinking that the small black box was holding a brand new pair of earrings. It was the perfect size box for something like that.

No more than I had finished the thought, Eric came bounding through the front door. He was holding a bouquet of roses that looked like more than a dozen. They were a mixture of white and red. They were beautiful. He shot Mom a quick smile and then walked up to my father and shook his hand. I watched as my father pulled Eric into a hug. As they backed away from each other, I heard my Dad wishing him luck.

I couldn’t understand why Eric needed luck. Everything was so confusing today. Neither of my parents was acting normal. Eric was acting the same way. I wish they would just tell me what it was they had up their sleeves and get it over with already.

Eric walked over to my mother and gave her a gentle kiss on her cheek. I could see that she was wiping tears from her eyes.

When he turned and looked at me, I was breathless. I focused all my attention on him. Nothing else in the room existed. Nothing else mattered. Only us.

He walked over to me and it was almost as if we were moving in slow motion. He was keeping a strong grip on the bouquet. If I didn’t know any better I would say he was using it for support.

Eric took my hand and I could feel him shaking. He led me over to the small table and picked up the black box that was sitting on it. He cleared his throat and before I knew what was happening, he had dropped to one knee in front of me with the box open.

“Bailey Isabel Sims. I love you with all my heart, you must know that.” he said with his voice trembling. “I know that you love me just as much. I have asked your father for your hand in marriage.”

“And I’m certain he said yes, didn’t he?” I asked.

“Of course.” I heard my father say.

“I can’t imagine living my life without you. Will you do me the honor of being my wife?” Eric asked.

I took a second to answer him. Only because I was not sure that my vocal chords were even going to work. When I finally collected myself enough to answer him, all I could say was, “I couldn’t live any other way.”

He slipped the ring from the box onto my finger. It was magnificent. The band was wide and the set was not sized. I could tell that it was expensive due to the way it had been made. It fit my finger with perfection.

Eric stood up as if he was trying to catch his breath. I leaned forward to kiss him and I could see the tears running down his angelic face. “Please don’t cry my love.” he said.

I had not noticed that I had been crying too. When I looked around, it seemed as though I was not the only one. My Mom and Dad was standing arm in arm with tears flowing down their cheeks.

I stood there locked in a comforting embrace with Eric. I didn’t want to let go of him. This was the happiest moment of my life and I just wanted to hold on to it and him for as long as I could.

Nothing ever lasts as long as you want it to. Mom and Dad came up and began congratulating us.

“So, this is why every one of you guys has been acting funny?”

“Yeah. We were sworn to secrecy by Eric.” Mom replied.

I let Mom carry on about us setting a date and getting the plans going. She was just as excited as I always imagined she would be when this day finally came. Dad was hesitant about all the planning. He squirmed at the idea of it. He wasn’t good with things like that.

“It’s OK Dad.” I said as I hugged him. He kissed me on the top of my head just like he used to do when I was a little girl.

Eric took my hand and presented me with the bouquet of roses.

“I love you.” he said.

“I love you too.” I replied with the feeling that my heart had doubled in size.

All the excitement had calmed down except for the constant flow of ideas rolling out of my mother’s mind. I had to have a break from it. It was not that I do not like it, but I needed to take a shower.

“Mom, I’m going to go upstairs and get cleaned up.”

“Okay sweetie. That sounds like a good idea.” she told me.

I got up from the kitchen table. I was sure the wheels of her imagination were still turning full force. It wouldn’t surprise me if she had everything she thought of written down for me when I came back downstairs.

There was a knock at my bedroom door not even two seconds after I closed it. It was Eric.

He walked in and shut the door behind him. “Are you happy, my Queen?”

“As happy as I could ever be.”

True love. I had found it. Never in my life would I have dreamed that I could feel this way about another person. Every emotion. Every thought. All my dreams intertwined with his and his with mine. I only wish that every person in the world could love someone else as completely as we love each other.

Eric was smiling, and come to think of it, I don’t think I had ever seen him smile so full of pride before.

“I love you Bailey.”

“I love you too.”

I told him that I was going to get in the shower and that he didn’t need to be in here while I was doing it. My parents would not go for that at all.

He nodded in agreement and turned for the door. Right before he went out of the room, he told me that I should be thinking about setting a date for the wedding. I glared at him. Why was everyone in such a hurry?

After a long shower, I got out and dressed. Jeans and a simple t-shirt was what I picked. If I had my way, I would have put on some more pajamas and went back to bed. All the excitement of my birthday and Eric s proposal had made me sleepy. Maybe it was just the fact that I didn’t sleep well last night. I tossed and turned, waking up every few hours, and then struggling to fall back asleep.

I had to face the day anyway. Even my best excuses would not keep me away from all the talk about our wedding.

I got the distinct impression that Eric was going to be just as pushy about it as my mom was going to be. I do not understand why we had to start planning it already. I wasn’t in any hurry. In my mind, we were already married.

Many thoughts went through my mind. Things like getting a job and finding a place of our own were on the top of the list. And I do not think I am ready to leave my parents just yet. It’s not as if I get to see them all that much anyway. A feeling of being homesick came over me, making tears well up in my eyes. I had to face the fact that I was grown and was about to be a married woman. We couldn’t live with my parents; that was for sure.

Swallowing back the overwhelming urge to flee the country, I went downstairs. Everyone was in the living room. Bridal magazines were lying all over the tables and the floor. Eric had one and was showing my mother something on one of the pages. Whatever –it- was had to be nice. Mom was speechless.

They hadn’t noticed that I was standing in the doorway. I watched them as Eric pointed out things and told Mom his ideas about the ceremony. She was writing everything down on one of her big yellow legal pads.

I heard Eric’s voice in my head, Are you going to make me keep pretending that you are not standing there?

I didn’t answer him right off, but when I did, I couldn’t hide the reluctance in my voice. I suppose not.

Are you okay with this? I am getting the feeling that you are not.

Yeah. I’m fine. It is just happening so fast. I don’t feel like I have had enough time to wrap my head around it, I said as I took my first step into the room.

The truth is… I haven’t had enough time to wrap my head around this. Lord Raylan’s note had taken the backseat to everything else. Or was it that Eric was trying to redirect my attention elsewhere. Who knows? All I know is that we are still in a great deal of danger.

The only thing on my mind as of now is… Will we survive?

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April Margeson

About the Author

April Margeson is a Tennessee native and the bestselling author of Chaos, a Waking Up Dead novel, published by Cresco Books. Her Kindle Worlds- Vampire Diaries- fan-fiction, Damon’s Diary and Caroline's Choice have both hit #1 as a contemporary short story. She has received a considerable amount of recognition from her self-published poetry collections, Words of Hope. As an author, she vibrantly explains the fight between good and evil and does not hesitate twisting them both.

Social Media Links

Connect with April Margeson:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AUTHORAPRILMARGESON

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorAprilMarg

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4714407.April_Margeson

 

 

 

More by April Margeson

Ignite (Circle of Light Book 2)

Demon’s Death

Chaos (Published by Cresco Books)

Words Of Hope

Damon’s Diary

Caroline’s Choice

 


Brethless (Circle of Light Book 1)

My name is Bailey Sims and up until now I have been a normal seventeen year-old high school senior. My life isn’t filled with all the exciting events that most girls my age are involved in. Most of my days are filled with monotonous afternoons after the long school day is over. I read a lot to pass the time. Actually, to tell the truth, I am addicted to reading. Never would I have dreamed the creatures I read about in books would be real. One day was all it took to make me a believer.

  • Author: April Margeson
  • Published: 2015-10-12 05:20:10
  • Words: 55926
Brethless (Circle of Light Book 1) Brethless (Circle of Light Book 1)