I know it’s been a while but I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for sticking around and those certain people who constantly kept up with me and poking and prodding for more =)I can only HOPE that I can keep the flow from the first book ongoing with this one as well =)
The whoosh of cool air whirred past my face as I slumped face first onto my bed. My first year of Abled University was finally finished! I groaned as I stretched out into a more comfortable position and snuggled deeper into the sheets only to shriek when another body landed heavily next to me.
“We’re finally finished for the year!” Helena sighed happily. I mumbled an agreement tiredly and sighed heavily. The last few weeks of university had proven more difficult for Blake, Helena and me in particular. I closed my eyes and let the memory of introducing the Elementals to the rest of the campus flow through my mind.
It did not go so well.
Considering their new and strange abilities, they had no relevant classes and had attended the same ones as us until classes of their own were established by Mr Arbit. At first the other students were intrigued of the new faces so late in the year, but as soon as word let out that they were Elementals the silence that followed was thick enough to go trampolining on.
I could still remember the anger and panic that spread like wildfire and felt the deep stab of guilt rush through me when the Elementals were blamed for the death of Max. I was quick to run to defend them, however, not allowing these mentally and physically abused Elementals to take the fall for my monstrosity. Helena, Derrek and I had taken had the blow for the five Elementals against the harsh words from the Abled student body and soon the hate had simmered to a dull glare.
“I’m so excited to go home for Christmas and then spend New Years with you guys!” I could hear Helena say through a smile. “I bet your house isn’t usually so packed for the holidays”
A very unladylike snort bubbled out of my nose at her statement.
Over Christmas and New Year I was being joined by Derrek and the Elementals seeing as they all didn’t have anywhere to go. Helena was going to celebrate the New Year with us as well after spending Christmas with her family.
“You could say that, usually there’s only the three of us during this time... but now with” I stopped and mentally counted the number of people joining us, “the ten of us plus Butterscotch it’ll probably end up being like sardines in a tin”
To be honest, I don’t know what Serena was thinking when she volunteered having the Elementals stay with us during the holidays and now I wondered if it was such a good idea. While the majority of us were fine with each other there was still a simmering hatred between Derrek and Blake. It was like watching two five year olds constantly bicker over absolutely nothing and I always seemed to be dragged into their arguments and had to act as mother hen.
My ears pricked up at the sound of the door opening and loud voices reached my eardrums. “-was your fault because that was the last bit of coffee and I already called it!”
“You called it when I took it out of the pantry you pathetic excuse for an ice cube!”
“Ice cube! What the hell do you mean by that!”
Speak of the devil and he shall appear.
I grumbled with my face still stuffed into my pillow as I willed my arms to work. I slowly pushed myself up and, literally, rolled my body off the bed leaving Helena sleeping before stomping over to my kitchen. The sight that immediately caught my attention was two tall, both quite muscular men gripping onto a tin of instant coffee like children fighting over a favourite teddy bear.
Like I said... they acted like five year olds.
I rolled my eyes and pinched the bridge of my nose and counted to ten before speaking, “You both realise that this is my apartment and my coffee and, even though I love you Derrek, if you two continue squabbling like psychotic squirrels over the last acorn I will personally kick the both of you out on your asses out into the corridor!”
I raised an eyebrow just to give that extra bit of seriousness and Derrek and Blake threw me an apologetic look before Derrek yanked the tin out of Blake’s grasp and set it down onto the kitchen counter. “Sorry Tadpole, did Frosty the snowman here wake you up?”
“What?! You’re the one who-“
“Shut up!” I shouted over the two again, “Geez! You two are terrible! I swear on my life if this keeps up while you’re staying at my house you’ll both be sleeping outside on the porch!”
“What’s going on?” I heard Helena yawn from behind me.
“Crowd control. You know... the usual” I shrugged. Helena nodded and plopped herself onto a chair. I glanced over at the clock and sighed. “Well, how about I make all of us some coffee and then we all can get packed for tomorrow” I was greeted with appreciative nods and set about taking orders so that our afternoon drowsiness wore off.
“Thanks Tadpole” Derrek smiled as he pecked me on the lips before taking a gulp of his mug of coffee. Even though we’d been together for a few weeks already, I still revelled in the warm tingles that lingered on my lips whenever we kissed.
“No, problem Sparky. Uh... you do realise that coffee is steaming hot right?” I asked as I eyed the steam that wisped up in the air from his mug.
“I don’t feel the heat remember? Fire-abled” he retorted pointing to his chest with his index finger. I grinned and just figured I’d just ignore him. We all sat in silence letting the noise from the TV fill in the silence and after finishing our dose of caffeine the guys left and Helena and I dragged ourselves to our bedroom to start packing.
“I don’t like it Tadpole...” Derrek frowned as he voiced his disagreement. I sighed and rubbed a hand over my face and pulled out my last excuse for letting Blake ride in my car.
“Look Sparky, Blake has to ride with me because otherwise that would mean he would be trapped in a car for several hours with you... do you seriously want that?” I was met with silence and knew I had finally, finally, gotten through to him. “As much as I would love to swap you two around I doubt you trust any of them to drive your jeep”
Derrek’s face gave away his defeat and he turned his golden eyes to stare straight into my blue ones. “If you ever feel like he’s pushing your buttons feel free to send him flying straight out of the window”
I laughed and rolled my eyes even though I knew he was completely serious. After our discussion died down Derrek turned back to continue stuffing bag after bag into the back of his jeep while Blake and Cameron were shoving the rest into the back of my car. Helena had left earlier this morning to fly out back home and I was already missing her. She was usually good at filling in the awkward silences that tended to happen between the Elementals and us.
I looked up and breathed in the chilly air. The grounds were covered in a thin blanket of pristine white snow and the every breath I exhaled greeted me with a puff of pale fog. Ever since the snow began to fall Derrek had become grumpier to everyone, besides me, and it was clear to see that he wasn’t a fan of the cold.
“How long exactly is this trip going to be?” Sophia asked as she huddled next to Cara and Bree, all of them wrapping their arms around themselves to shield them from the breeze.
“Usually a few hours, but with the snow and everything it could take longer. But don’t worry, I’m sure we can work around that” The last bag was shoved in and the doors were slammed shut. “Okay, so Blake, Bree and Sophia you’re all with me and Cara and Cameron you two are riding with Derrek”
They all nodded and I heard a faint ‘Thank God’ from Blake from they all piled into the cars. Before I could slide into my seat I was pulled back tightly against a hot body and felt Derrek’s arms wrap around my waist as he brought his lips down to mine. It was pretty safe to say that he easily warmed me up. We broke apart at the sound of angry beeping and surprise surprise it was Blake honking the car horn.
I could feel the heat waves flowing out from Derrek as he shot a glare over at Blake. He raised his hand and flicked his finger at him sending a small flame, the size of a marble, flying straight at Blake’s forehead. “Hey!” Blake shouted as he frantically rubbed at his singed forehead.
“You deserved it this time Blake!” I shouted back laughing.
He rolled his eyes and rubbed at his forehead once more before replying, “Well, leave the spit swapping for later when the rest of us actually have something else to do besides watch you”
A blush heated my skin and I heard Derrek chuckle. He pecked my red cheeks and opened the door for me to slide into before shutting it and leaning down to peer through the open window. “I’ll follow you Tadpole. Remember what I told you earlier though, I meant it” He nodded his head and winked before striding over to his car and hopping in.
“What’d he say to you earlier?” Blake asked curiously when the car revved to life and he began looking through the radio stations.
I smiled and drove forward out of the campus property, “That if you bothered me I had his complete support to throw you out of the car and keep driving” Sophia and Bree laughed with me as Blake grumbled under his breath and looked out the front.
“Val are you sure it’s okay if we stay here with you?” Bree asked as we finally arrived home. I chuckled and sent her an amused look.
“We drove here for hours and you only ask me that now? Bree it’s absolutely fine that you all stay here, Serena insisted actually” I shrugged. Before I could open the door it was pulled open for me and Derrek was there with his trademark smirk. He flicked his eyes over to the passenger seat and huffed quietly.
“Damn... I was wishing I just didn’t see you throw him out”
“Ha-ha Matchstick... don’t make me extinguish you” Blake grumbled. I just rolled my eyes and took hold of the hand Derrek offered me and smiled at the sight of my home. I took a deep breath and the smell of warm cookies reached all the way down my throat.
“Valerie!” Serena’s shrieks came from inside and the front door was slammed open as she came bustling outside with Butterscotch t her heels. I laughed loudly and wrapped my arms around her as she hugged me tightly. “Oh I missed you Sweety! Derrek, nice to see you taking care of my little girl” she winked at him.
“Good seeing you again too Serena” He replied while bending down to scratch Butterscotch behind her ears. It seemed that not even time apart had been able to sway Butterscotch’s preference away from Derrek. After her bone crushing hug loosened Serena stepped back and gasped as she looked at the Elementals standing together looking somewhat misplaced.
“Oh, I’m so sorry! I’m Serena, come inside and grab your bags then I can get to know who’s who” She rambled before grabbing the closest bag from my car and walking inside without another glance behind her.
“Well... she’s certainly a happy one” Sophia noted before following Serena’s instructions and grabbing her bags and walking inside the house. I shrugged my bags onto my shoulder and led the rest of the group inside and purred at the instant hominess and warmth that spread over me as soon as we stepped inside. I looked around the lounge and was greeted by what looked like an explosion of Christmas decorations.
Not only was the tall Christmas tree standing in the corner with its abundance of colour coordinated decorations but tinsel, beads and bits and pieces all Christmas-y donned the table tops and walls and even the ceiling. In the background I could hear jazzed up Christmas carols playing from the stereo and slowly shook my head as I laughed.
Serena hadn’t changed at all.
“Hey there Shrimp” I looked behind me to saw Troy drying his hands on a tea towel and I ran up to hug him as well. “It’s been too long!”
“Tell me about it!” I agreed. We all walked into the lounge and once everyone was seated, or at least standing comfortably, I made the introductions and showed everyone where they were staying. “Sorry Sparky, looks like you’ll be rooming with Cameron and Blake” I whispered when we reached the spare bedroom.
“Sadly enough... I’m used it Tadpole. I just wish we could keep them all together and I could share the bedroom with you” He answered gripping my waist and pulling me closer to him as he gazed into my eyes. I blushed and cleared my throat... it was starting to feel a little too warm in the hallway. He chuckled deeply and pulled back offering me a wink and turning into the room, “I call the single bed! You two can share the bunk bed!”
“You have no idea how uncomfortable it can get to see you two just forget that we’re here when you decide to stare into each other’s eyes. It’s a little awkward...” Bree spoke up. I jumped and realised I forgot the girls were behind me waiting to be shown to my bedroom.
“Right! Sorry... my bedroom’s this way” Lucky for us even though it was only a three bedroom house, every single room was extremely spacious and that was possibly the only reason why this arrangement could work out.
We walked inside and I was thankful when I saw that Troy and Serena had added extra beds. I let the girls choose their beds and we all unpacked our bags. I heard loud voices outside and I frowned as I made my way to the backyard. The normally green grassed backyard was covered in a thick blanket of snow and I pulled my coat around me tighter when I saw the scene before me.
“What exactly is going on? I asked Cameron who was sitting on the snowy footsteps below me. He peeked back at me and chuckled.
“It’s Derrek and Blake... what do you think is going on?” he answered back taking a bite from a cookie, most likely compliments of Serena. I looked up and saw two sets of footsteps in the snow. One that seemed to step lightly over the top and another set that left large holes in the snow, melting it completely to the ground.
“You’re out of your element Matchstick! Just give up!” I heard Blake shout from one side.
“It doesn’t matter! I can beat you even if you’re surrounded by your element!” Derrek’s deep voice retaliated back from the other side. Suddenly a large snowball flew out from Blake’s side and just before it hit Derrek it melted and water splashed straight into Derrek’s face.
“Do you yield!?” Blake shouted.
“You wish Frosty!” Derrek threw a snowball back at Blake but Blake caught it easily and sent it flying back catching Derrek again.
“This is ridiculous...” I mumbled. I stretched my arm out, hand forward and flicked my wrist at Blake, totally encasing him in the snow that had been shovelled aside earlier. “Stop picking on my boyfriend Blake. You two get changed, food’s almost ready”
Blake began whining that I wasn’t playing fair having two against one and Derrek smirked as he shouted back how he wouldn’t need another person to beat his backside. I huffed, something I tended to do a lot around the two of them, and raised my voice, “Remember! I said if this kept up during our stay you both will be sleeping outside!”
Then, with a chorus of ‘sorry’ from the two and several snorts of laughter from Cameron I rolled my eyes and walked inside to help Serena with the food.
It’s slow to start, which is why it took me so long... I didn’t really know how to start a sequel, and re-wrote this so many times it’s just ridiculous. Anyhoo, stay tuned =)
This is dedicated to all my insanely amazing supporters and especially my fans who liked my facebook page and sent me beautiful words of support. You know who you all are!