“Merry belated Christmas and Happy New Years Eve!!!” Helena shrieked once she arrived. I felt like my long lost sister was back and I was relieved to have another girl that I was closer to around here. She was wrapped from head to toe and her nose was slightly pink but otherwise her face was flushed with excitement.
“Right back at you Helena” I smiled, “Here let me help you with those”
I grabbed the two large bags and was surprised at how heavy they were, “Thanks! You take those and I’ll grab the rest” she said before skipping back to the car.
“What?! You have more bags?” Geez, Helena was a serious packer and it seemed that she deemed it normal to pack everything in sight when leaving the university for a while. Derrek just laughed when he walked out of the kitchen and saw me struggling under the weight of Helena’s bags. He took hold of them and I shook my head in amazement at how easy he made it look. How embarrassing.
“Oh thank you, Blake. That’s really kind of you” I heard Helena’s voice from outside. Just then Helena comes waltzing in and Blake followed behind carrying another large bag as well as three smaller ones tucked under his other arm. That’s just ridiculous... I brought two medium duffel bags and here she was with enough bags for everyone filled with who knows what.
We dumped all her bags in my room and she shed off her coats. “Helena!” I heard Serena shriek.
“Serena!” Helena screamed back.
“Oh man... let’s get out of here before they manage to hug it out” I suggested to Derrek. Serena and Helena, despite the age difference, could’ve been mistaken for sisters solely from their personalities. They were constantly perky and happy and spoke faster than cliché high school cheerleaders who lived on gossip. Blake had already wandered off outside and Derrek and I slumped onto the sofa.
Butterscotch trotted over and leapt up next to Derrek and began whining for attention. He absentmindedly began to scratch her ears and wrapped an arm around me. “So what’s the plan for tonight?” he asked cocking his head to the side.
“Tradition, I suppose” I shrugged, “Usually we go out to the backyard and do the usual countdown. We light a bonfire and set off fireworks then feast like there’s no tomorrow. You know how Serena is with her food”
“Sounds awesome. I’d never really celebrated Christmas or New Years so this is all new for me” Derrek smiled, excitement dancing in his golden eyes.
His statement irked me.
“What do you mean you never celebrated them? What did you do instead?” I snuggled deeper into his embrace and listened intently. Derrek never really spoke about his past and to say that I was curious was an understatement. He stared off looking at nothing and continued to stroke Butterscotch’s fur.
“I told you before that my father was a bastard” His voice held no emotion when he spoke about his dad and his jaw clenched at the memory of him. “He was a drunk whose favourite hobby was seeing how well his aim was the more he drank. Me, being the target. So you can only guess how much he would’ve wanted to spend happy occasions like Christmas and New Years with me. The bane of his existence”
My heart broke for Derrek. Serena and Troy weren’t my biological parents and yet I was constantly surrounded with their overwhelming love. I couldn’t imagine what it would’ve been like to have my real dad and yet have him loathe me so much.
“Christmas and New Year and all those kinds of days were spent as another day locked in my room hoping that my father would just pass out early instead of banging on my door. His death was more a relief than anything to be honest”
I didn’t know what to say. Was there anything to say during times like these? So instead I kept my mouth shut and kissed his cheek while I squeezed his hand. Saying ‘sorry’ never did anyone any good and saying it now wouldn’t make any difference for Derrek.
“5, 4, 3, 2, 1!!! Happy New Year!!!” Everyone screamed as Troy let off the first firework into the coal black sky. I watched the faint trail of the sparks shoot into the sky before it exploded loudly.
“Let it rip Derrek!” Troy shouted excitedly and I watched Derrek whip his arm across the row of fireworks, lighting each fuse. Seconds passed and soon the whizzing sound of firework after firework reached my ears. They all shot into the sky simultaneously and exploded. It was as though someone was shooting millions of gems into the air and we stood back to watch them shatter and sprinkle back down before they disappeared into the night sky.
Green, pink, red, yellow, orange and blue sparks decorated the black night canvas and we all watched Derrek and Troy work their magic like true artists. Too soon the painted sky faded back to its original midnight black and the sound of fireworks died off.
“Happy New Year Tadpole” Derrek greeted me with a smirk.
“Happy New Year to you too Sparky” My face was etched into a permanent smile and my heart thudded loudly when Derrek bent down to give me my midnight kiss. Even if it was a bit overdue. After our breathless kiss we joined back to the rest of the group and had our fair share of Serena’s amazing cooking.
After everyone was filled all the way up to their throats with food and drinks, we all gathered around the giant bonfire and relaxed, letting our sleepiness take over. I watched the flicker of the fire and stroked my own personal purple flame that sat inside the cage of my necklace.
Serena cleared her throat, gaining the attention of everyone. Everyone had fallen in love with Serena and her loving personality and it was easy to see the respect and love they had for her in their eyes. Serena looked around the circle and spoke loudly so everyone could hear her.
“So, it’s been a tradition for us to share what our New Year’s Resolution is going to be and ever since I met my wonderful husband I have always promised that I would love him a little more in the New Year. Whether it be to kiss or hug him more, to listen to him more or just to make him that darn sandwich! This year will be no different for me. My New Year’s resolution is to love you even that little bit more Troy”
It seemed almost like a private moment when Serena and Troy locked gazes. Anyone who was anyone could easily see the love that was shared between these two. Troy smiled and kissed the back of Serena’s hand before speaking up himself.
“My New Year’s resolution will be to ask for less sandwiches for you to make” Everyone burst out laughing and despite Serena being in tears of laughter she lightly smacked Troy across his head. Troy guffawed loudly and wiped the tears from the corner of his eyes, “Joking, joking! You make the best sandwiches... I’d never ask for less! Ok, seriously, I promise to always be there for you and always be the rock that you need no matter how big or small the problem you’re facing is. Alright who’s next?”
We all looked around at each other and I shrugged before raising my hand. “I promise to help others more. If anyone, no matter what they’re going through, honestly really needs my help then I will try my hardest to do so”
I thought it through and nodded my head. This was particularly aimed towards the Elementals. By the time we settled back into university, they would have their own classes and their own struggles to deal with... so if they ever needed help. I would raise my hand and go to help them if I could. I nudged Derrek with my shoulder and waited for what his resolution would be.
“Come back to me later, I want to think about it first” he mused. We went around the rest of the circle hearing what they would promise to themselves for the New Year. It was very late and I couldn’t help the continuous stream of yawning that forced its way out of my throat. I rubbed at my eyes and snuggled against Derrek who shifted to wrap his arms around me.
“I think it’s about time we head to bed now” Serena yawned, stretching her arms up high and arching her back. The odd hooting and shriek of the nocturnal animals hidden from our eyesight seemed to agree and we all filed inside and into our rooms. Before I stepped into my room Derrek grabbed my arm back and smiled.
“My promise for the New Year is be your rock. I’ll protect you from anything that ranges from a mental breakdown to a psychotic Elemental” he whispered and with a light tap to my backside he was gone and quietly shutting the door to his room.
“You guys come back anytime you want okay?! Our house is always open to you no matter what!” Serena shouted out to all of us. Our holidays were coming to an end and we were all packed up and squashed into my and Derrek’s cars again. This time Helena was seated with Derrek, just so he wouldn’t feel so out of place and less like a third wheel to Cara and Cameron.
With one last final wave and blown kiss from Helena, we revved our engines and were off leaving nothing but memories and dust in our wake. It was a perfect day today. The snow had stopped falling and the untouched grounds beside the open road made it feel as though we were driving through a thick white sea. The roads were clear and I couldn’t help the excitement that bubbled up inside of me at returning back to Abled University.
I was curious as to how the student body were going to react to the Elementals again this year. I wasn’t sure if they were going to be angered at the fact that they were back or just ignore them again as though they didn’t exist. I also wondered what kinds of classes Mr Obsidian had strung together for the Elementals and how said classes could possibly help them.
Despite being around the five Elementals for weeks now, Derrek, Helena and I had yet to discover any new information from them about Malum or how he came to ‘create’ them. It was such a touchy topic that even I had trouble bringing it up we weren’t sure how we were going to get talking about the whole situation without any suspicions.
As though they could read my mind Blake, Sophia and Bree started talking about their new classes this year. “What do you think the dean came up with for our classes?” Bree wondered out loud.
“I have no idea... frankly I don’t have any idea why we need to be studying anyway. It’s not like the rest of society will welcome us with open arms the way Mr Obsidian did” Sophia chimed in.
“I don’t know. I’m actually curious to see what we’ll be doing. We’re the first that the Abled have seen so they’ll be doing a sort of trial and error thing. I think it’s going to be hilarious” He laughed as he leaned his chair back and stuck his feet onto the dashboard.
“Blake, do you mind!” I called out to him sweeping his feet off. He threw me a cheeky grin and directed his attention outside towards the snow and wriggled his fingers. I’m assuming dragging the snow around as we drove past. We continued driving, having made the decision to drive straight back with no stop offs, and after a few hours I could feel the dryness in my eyes irritating me.
I blinked a couple of times and shook my head, ignoring the singing from the other three in the car and tried loosening up my neck and shoulders. I glanced quickly at the naked trees that flew past and frowned when I thought I saw something. I seriously need a break, I thought. I ignored the weird feeling I had in the back of my mind and instead joined in singing with the others to keep me awake. It would’ve been a lot easier if Helena had been with me instead but I knew Derrek needed her there with him seeing as I felt more at ease around the Elementals than he did.
Every once in a while I could see a flutter of a dark shape among the trees and I figured I was seeing the shadow of the car or a bird or some sort of animal and was just making something out of nothing. Finally the more familiar scenery came into view and in no time at all the large campus building grew larger in our sight.
The clear sky had been overridden with clouds and once again snow began to fall. Derrek and I parked our cars and everyone was quick to gather their bags and head up to their rooms. Derrek and I helped carry Helena’s extra bags, despite all his extra grumbling.
We had arrived earlier than most students so I guess I was going to have to wait to see how they would react to the return of the Elementals. After I thought about it for a few minutes, I realised this was probably for the best.
“You would have thought that I’d get used to sharing a room with Blake...” Derrek growled as he slammed through the front door.
“Is he really that bad?” Helena asked curiously as she went about the apartment running her hands over the plants that she obviously missed. Derrek slumped onto the sofa I sat on and rested his head onto my lap. He heaved a sigh and groaned out loud.
“I can’t stand him! You’d think that there would be more rooms for him to move out to but for some God forsaken reason, there isn’t! There are just the rooms for the new meat that came into the university”
“Well you can always hang out here with us if you can’t handle him. Though I don’t see why Sparky... I’ve spent the last few hours with him in a confined space and I didn’t have that much of a problem with him” I retorted.
“That’s because he doesn’t have a problem with you” He murmured back.
All of a sudden Blake comes banging on the door and I sighed. This just felt like déjà vu. I honestly believed that this had happened way too many times. “Matchstick! Stop being such a girl and come out and face me like a man!”
Blake’s banging on the door continued and my eyes slowly landed on Derrek’s smirking face. “What did you do?” I asked slowly.
“What makes you think I did anything?” He asked innocently. Way too innocently. I stayed silent, instead waiting to hear what excuse he had this time, or if he’d just tell me straight away. Suddenly he burst out laughing and the banging on the door became louder. “Frosty out there was taking up most of the closet space so I just emptied it out a little...”
I continued to wait.
“... by throwing some of his clothes out of the window”
And there we go.
I had so much trouble writing this chapter, ergh...
Anyhoo, this is dedicated to @SammieAngeleyes =) Thanks for being such a great fan and commenting heaps!