The slight tickle of fingers on my nose begins to wake me up from my peaceful slumber. The touch is soft yet purposeful... and it also doesn’t stop. I swat the hand away, turning over so that my face is safely planted into the soft fabric of my pillow, away from intrusive fingers. I sigh, once again content that I can go back to sleep. However, my happiness is short-lived when I begin to feel the fingers trail up and down the skin of my neck and then my name is called, “Mae. Mae, wake up.”
I groan, lifting my head slightly, weakly muttering a,“No,” before letting my head droop back onto the silky material below.
“Mae, it’s time to get up.”
“A couple more hours.” I mumble, covering my head with the duvet.
“Mae, you need to get up now.”
“No, let me be.” I get no response in return, instead I feel a tug at the bottom of my feet and then a whoosh of cold air on my bare legs, leaving me shivering. My eyes fly open, seeking out whoever dared wake me from my sleep. A small child stands beside my bed. She stands in a pair of princess pyjamas, clutching a teddy bear in hand. Her light, mousy brown hair is all over her face and her lips carry a wide, childish,grin.
“Oh, hey, hi, hello.” I say nervously, waving, not expecting the little girl to be beside my bed.
“Hey Mae!Rolan says you must come down stairs right now!” She imitates him, waggling her finger at me, then laughs at the motion of her finger. “Oh and he told me to remember to introduce myself. Hello I am Ellie-May. Pleased to meet you!” She enthusiastically sticks out her hand. I smile at her antics and slip my hand into her small warm one.
“Nice to meet you too Ellie-May.” I reply, there is no need for introduction on my part since she already knows my name. Ellie-May doesn’t let go of my hand but instead drags me out of bed, down to the kitchen, where everyone sits.
“I’ve done my job now Roley. Can I have my present now?” Ellie-May says, running up to Rolan and jumping into his arms.
“Well done. Here you go.” Rolan says. I watch him fish out a small, square object from his pocket; a piece of hubba-bubba gum. Ellie-May giggles, unwrapping the gum and plopping it into her mouth. I shake my head, bribery, works almost every time. “Go on, go to your mother and remember.” Rolan doesn’t finish his sentence instead he puts his finger on his lips. Ellie-May nods, putting her own finger to her lips and smiling before running off. Rolan then turns to me and says, “Good-morning Mae, sleep well?” I nod, staying quiet, wary of people in the room who stare at me. “Uh, Let me introduce you to the guys. You know Jake and Colton.” Jake nods at me and I smile back, Colton on the other hand gives me a look of disdain before walking out of the room. I roll my eyes.
” This is my brother Thomas and his boyfriend George.” I look up at them, offering a shy smile. They return it with smiles of their own, before going back to fixing themselves a coffee.
“So little bro,” Thomas asks, taking a sip from the contents of his cup, “Have you told her yet?”
Rolan scowls at his older brother in annoyance. “What are you on about?” He asks, feigning ignorance.
“G, do you know what I’m on about?” Thomas smirks, turning to his boyfriend who replies with,
“I know what you’re on about T. It was that thing you needed to mention to Mae, a very big thing.”
I look between the three of them, utterly frazzled by their cryptic conversation. What big thing?
“Anyways bro, we shall take our leave. See you later!” Thomas says to his brother, ruffling his hair. He turns to George and they high five before running out the kitchen together. Rolan emits a small growl from his chest but I doubt that they heard it considering they’ve run off.
“What, uh, what big thing?” I ask quietly. Rolan makes a sound of discontent in his throat, before answering,
“Don’t worry about what my brother said, he can be sort of a prick sometimes,” Rolan says, fixing his hair. ‘And it sort of runs in the family.’ Is what I want to say out loud.
Rolan resumes his introductions, motioning to a guy with tawny-coloured, shoulder length hair that has been put into a man bun on top of his head. Oh I do love a good man-bun! His figure is slightly plumper than Rolan, although he doesn’t lack any muscle. His brown eyes look at me with shyness and timidity, nonetheless a polite smile graces his kind features and he waves with a tentative hand. “This is Alex.”
“Hello.” I greet quietly, offering him a wave of my own.
“And this is Tony.” Rolan points do a dusty blonde haired man, who wears a stoic expression on his face, topaz coloured eyes emotionless. He stands with his legs shoulder-width apart and hands clasped behind his back. I give him a small nervous smile, but unlike everyone else-barring Colton- he doesn’t smile back. “He will be your personal guard.” Rolan finishes.
“What!? I don’t need a personal guard!“I exclaim.
“Yes you do. I still don’t trust you enough to let you walk around that school of yours without mentioning something to someone. So he’s here to ensure you follow through on your part of the agreement.”
“Are you kidding me!? He wasn’t part of the agreement!”
“Take her to school.” Rolan addresses Tony, completely ignoring me. Rude.
“I’m not even dressed!” I yell.
“There’ll be clothes in your locker at school.”
Rolan pushes a sausage roll into my chest, turns me around and then pushes me in the direction that the guard is walking in.
I turn around and scowl, taking an aggressive bite of my sausage roll. “Your an asshole.” He smirks at me but says nothing else, turns around and walks away.
The car ride is silent and awkward, the sound of our light breathing and the occasional crunch of me eating my sausage roll is heard in the stiff atmosphere.
Everything’s sort of settled in now and I feel incredibly tired, school isn’t the place I wanna be right at this moment. I don’t think I’ll be able to learn anything with everything that has happened.
The familiar gates of my school can be seen in the distance. At least I’ll be able to see Carma, Kaiko and Becka again. We pull up at the school gate.
“Tony,” I say, turning to him, ” Look, you don’t want to be here, I don’t want you to be here. Just drop me off and leave. I won’t say anything.” I look at Tony with hopeful eyes.
“Get out of the car.” He says, voice as firm as wood.
“Ok.” I say getting out and shutting the door. I run through the school gates, remembering that I am only wearing pyjamas and quickly head to my locker. A grimace forms on my face when I see what Rolan has given me to wear. A massive white t-shirt that reaches to my thighs. A pair of extremely baggy black joggers and a plain, grey hoodie with some plain black shoes.
“I’m gonna kill him. Someday, somehow. I will.” I whisper to myself as I walk to the toilets to get changed.
I hum to myself as I change my clothes, stopping when I hear the toilet door open with a bang. I become still, listening carefully. I only hear breathing, hard, heavy breathing, like someone’s been running.
“Hel-hello.” I call out.
“Hello.” A voice replies. Hope fills my heart.
“Carma?” I ask.
I open the door to my cubicle running out to greet her. We engulf each other in a big hug and squeal happily. “I haven’t seen you for ages” I shout, grinning from ear to ear.
“I never thought I’d miss you this much.” She says.
“Thanks.” I say laughing, “Where have...” I don’t finish my sentence, instead I am interrupted by the call of Carma’s name.
“Carma! Carma, where are you?!” Carma cringes and I see her visibly shiver.
“What’s wrong?” I ask, alarmed at her reaction.
“It’s Ethan,” Carma explains, ” He’s been following me around all day. I know his intentions are good but it’s annoying. I’ve asked him to leave me alone but he just doesn’t listen.”
“Wait, who’s Ethan?” I ask.
“He’s the one that took me.” She replies, eyes cast downwards, nervous for my reaction.
" What?! Has he hurt you, harmed you. Are you ok?” I question. “I’m gonna kill him!” Okay, so that’s two people on my hit list.
“I’m fine.” She answers, her hands out in surrender, “I know he had ‘good reasons’ for taking me.”
“Yeah, and what are they?” I ask scoffing.
“He said something about this word, mates,I think it was but he didn’t explain what that was. All I know is that whatever they are, they’re very important to him and his kind.” I nod. That’s the most information I’ve got all week.
“Carma!” The guy calls again.
“Please don’t let him find me. I can’t take another one of his awful jokes.”
“Ok, ok. Let’s... swap clothes. We can both put our hoods up and he’ll think I’m you and your me.”
“But that will only stop him for a little while.” She says worriedly, her foot tapping the floor anxiously.
“Go to the office, say your sick., try to get sent home. I’ll try keep him off your back until then. Ok.”
“Ok.” She agrees.
“Oh and this guy called Tony may ask you where I am. Don’t tell him please.”
“Oh Mae, what have you done now?”
“Nothing.” I say, “Rolan’s the one with trust issues.” Carma shakes her head at me with a smile on her lips.
We change hastily, both wanting to rid of our problems as quickly as possible. I laugh, poor Tony. I wonder what’s gonna happen when Rolan finds out I’m missing. I mean I know they’ll find me soon, but I’ll enjoy the freedom as much as possible.
“Who gave you these clothes?” Carma asks, pulling at the string of the joggers so that it stays on her hips.
“Why?” She asks.
“Cause he’s an asshole.” She laughs.
“Ok, you ready?” I question, pulling the hood of my jacket over my head.
“I hope this works.” says Carma, crossing her fingers and closing her eyes.
“Me too. Good luck.”
“And to you too,” She does the sign of the cross before walking out. I take a deep breath and exit the toilet. I walk down the corridor quietly, humming a random tune to myself. I’m acting as if I’m on a mission where I can potentially get killed. All I did was swap clothes with my friend.
As I’m about to exit the corridor, the door to the left hand side of me opens and a hand grabs me and pulls me inside. I yelp as I trip over my feet, though I am caught quickly by some unknown person.
“There you are. I’ve been looking all...” Ethan-I’m guessing- removes my hood and realises that I am in fact not who he’s been looking for and freezes.
“Your not, your not Carma.”
“No I’m not.” I state. Ethan let’s me go and pulls up a chair for himself to sit in. He slinks down into it the chair and rubs his face vigorously with his hands.
“Have, have I done something to upset her?” He asks, his voice sounding tortured.
“Other than kidnap her, nah, nah you haven’t.” I reply sarcastically, though I immediately regret my snarky comment as I take a look at his face. The anguish is clear and visible on his face.
“Sorry.” I say quietly.
“I know, I know that was bad, but I just...she’s my mate, I’d never intentionally hurt her, I just, I didn’t expect the bond to feel like that. I was never told that it would be that...intense; all-consuming.” Ethan shifts in his seat before continuing, “The urge to mark her is just as intense but I have to resist. I’m a vampire for goddess sakes, I’m supposed to bite people in the neck.”
“Uh, just a couple questions before you continue.” I say, “What’s a mate?”
Ethan’s eyes glaze over with a look of utter devotion, “ A mate is your soul-mate. Your mate loves you and you love them. They’re everything you want them to be and more. You constantly want to be near them and be in their arms because you feel safe and warm. You’ll protect them fiercely, if anyone or anything tried to hurt them. Eternity can be a lonely thing, so the moon goddess blessed the world with mates. Someone for you to always rely on.”
“That’s sounds wonderful,” I say breathily.
“And it feels even better. But not when your mate keeps running away from you, the mate bond is going crazy!” Ethan hangs his head.
“It’s like this invisible cord that ties you to your mate, you can feel everything they feel. And it’s goes crazy when you try to reject each other or are far away from each other.” He explains. I nod. Why didn’t I just come to this guy sooner?
“And you mentioned a mark? What’s that?” I inquire.
“It’s a physical mark on you mate. Other supernaturals see the mark and know the persons taken.” I nod again,storing all the new information in my head.
“This mate bond seems to have gotten you whipped.” I comment but Ethan ignores my comment.
“She hates me, doesn’t she?”
I shake my head, “She doesn’t hate you. Carma is a very reasonable person. She understands that you did what you did for a reason but she’s not just gonna forgive you like that. You need to prove yourself to her.” I say, hoping that I’m putting some of his fears to rest. “She just needs some time to adjust to your customs. We both do. Keep trying, you’ll get her eventually.” I tell Ethan.
He smiles at me, “Thanks Mae. I won’t forget this.” I return his smile
“Mae!” I hear Rolan shout my name down the corridor and I immediately freeze. Ethan’s eyes also widen.
“Don’t tell him I’m here.”
“Don’t tell him I told you all that stuff.”
“ I won’t say anything if you don’t.” I say.