Elements: The Gifted

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Chapter 4: Orientation

After a couple hours of shopping, I had me some black leather pants and some gear as we went straight to Hunter Academy. It wasn’t too difficult to find. It was enormous and could be seen from a distance, probably like the statue of liberty in New York. To me, it looked more like a huge church, with smaller buildings here and there surrounding it. Farther away I could see the gymnasium. It was very welcoming as we entered through the main doors. They were huge and looked like they would need about six or seven people just to open and close it. Of course, being half-Reaper and with strength that would put Hercules to shame, I don’t think I have anything to worry about. The floors were a polished marble and there were grand stair cases leading to different parts of the academy with balconies overlooking the main floor. There were flowers everywhere in vases, making the place smell like a garden. I inhaled deeply. I loved the smell of flowers. It was so beautiful that it reminded me more of what a grand palace would look like inside.

I was jubilant when I finally found Jordan. He was with a group of people, which I assumed was his family. My mother stared wide eyed at them. I wonder if it was because of their silver hair.

“Are you okay?” I asked her.

“What was Jordan’s last name again?”

What an odd question. “Grey. Why?”

She continued to stare at them. “It’s nothing. I was just curious.”

When it was time for the N’Sync ceremony I became very nervous. Not because I wasn’t sure that I wanted to do this – I did – it’s just I knew it would be crowded and the last thing I wanted was to be the center of attention. And boy was I right. The room that they were doing the ceremony in was completely packed. We had to elbow our way to the front just so we could wait our turn. Gabrielle, Morgan, Jordan and I waited impatiently, witnessing the show behind a small group of people.

It was being orchestrated by a huge, bald man, who looked like he wished he was elsewhere. He wasn’t very attractive with his big nose and lips – lips that looked like if he kissed somebody then he would surely eat them by accident. The shape of his green eyes reminded me of a toad. And there was something about him I didn’t like. He seemed snobby, like he thought he was the best damn thing here.

“That’s Hank Westchester.” Gabrielle whispered to me. We watched the ceremony as he N’Sync two girls together by branding them with a mark on one of their wrists. I flinched as I saw one of the girls grind her teeth together to keep from screaming. “He’s the mayor of Hallowville. He’s also one of the richest men in Eden. Nobody in this town likes him.”

“Then why did your town vote for him?” I asked, bemused.

“Vote?” she sounded perplexed.

“Jordan Grey and Spencer Mason.” The mayor barked out loudly. Jeesh – even his voice was annoying. If frogs could talk they would sound like that.

We walked forward and held hands as the ceremony began. Mom was – well, I guess dad – was right. It was almost as if we were getting married. At one point the mayor had us repeating vows.

“Spencer Mason,” he said. I didn’t like the way he kept eyeing me shrewdly. “Will you protect and be there for Jordan as long as you shall live. No matter if it means sacrificing your life in order for him to live?”

“I do.” I said.

“Will you promise to remain loyal, true, and be there when he may need you most?”

“I do.” I repeated.

He turned to Jordan; looking at him with piercing, hate-filled, eyes. Why would he look at Jordan like that? Did he just dislike him for some reason? If I was Jordan I would have smacked him. “Jordan Grey. Will you protect and be there for Spencer as long as you shall live? No matter if it means sacrificing your life in order for her to live?”

“I do.” Jordan said, his voice ringing louder than mine.

“Will you promise to remain loyal, true, and to be there when she may need you most?”

“I do.” Jordan repeated. He smirked at me then, which made me giggle. The mayor glowered at us, but didn’t comment. He started chanting in a weird language – I think it was Latin – and made us hold out our right arms. He then branded our wrists, which was very painful. I bit back a scream that was beginning to rise in the back of my throat. When he was done, I examined the mark on my wrist. It was the shape of a half star. I saw Jordan with the other half on his wrist. If we were to put our wrists together it would complete the star, like two puzzle pieces. It kind of reminded me of those BFF charms that girls would give their friends.

When the mayor announced us as N’Sync’s, Jordan lunged at me and tried to kiss me, like I was his bride instead of his N’Sync. People in the audience seemed to laugh, which made me blush. For some reason I panicked and accidentally shoved him roughly off the stage. I heard a loud thump and winced. I hadn’t meant to push Jordan that hard. We left after that with Morgan and Gabrielle, not really interested in the rest of the ceremony. I was relieved that I hadn’t hurt Jordan when I pushed him off the stage. He seemed to have forgotten about it as soon as we left. We were intrigued by the mark on our wrists, which bond us together. Like little kids, Jordan and I kept putting our wrists together, completing the star.

Eventually, after twenty minutes of looking around, Jordan started to complain about the pain. He would clutch his wrist as if it was amputated and groan.

“It hurts like hell.” He said as we walked through the school, trying to find our parents. It was completely crowded and it made me wonder how we’ll find most of our classes! Hopefully they’ll provide us with a map.

“Here,” I said as I touched his wrist. I summoned the power within me and released it. It must have worked because Jordan sighed in relieve.

“Oh, that feels good. The advantages of being an ice user.”

“Yep,” I said, while feeling a bit smug. “I always used this technique if I ever burned myself or had a nasty infection.”

When we finally found our families it was time for the group sorting. I was a bit anxious as I waited for it to start. Mom, sensing my anxiety, rubbed my back reassuringly.

“It’s okay, baby.” She said soothingly.

I didn’t say anything, but I did feel a little better with her here.

I examined the room we were in. It looked like we were in the auditorium. It was so huge that if they had a big white screen, I would have mistaken it for a theater. They did have a wide stage, with a podium where Death probably stood when they had school events or when he had to make announcements. Maybe this is also where Hunter Academy students graduated. It looked like it was big enough to hold up at least three thousand people here. There seemed to be a small obstacle course on the stage, probably for us to test our magic on. That made me a bit nervous. Were we going to have to perform our powers in front of all these people? I was just looking around, trying to get my bearings, when I first saw him. My eyes seemed to widen as I stared at the boy across the room, leaning casually against the wall, looking uninterested at the events around him. He was so beautiful I couldn’t take my eyes off him. He had messy black hair that looked like it had never been brushed in its life, with stunning features that were so symmetrically it was just unfair. And his eyes – oh, his eyes – were a perfect blue, like sapphires. His body was lean, but muscular with pale, flawless skin. I noticed his clothes looked tattered and worn. They even looked as if they were a little dirty, but with his looks he seemed to pull it off. He didn’t seem to notice me and that made me a little sad. Why won’t he look at me? Then miraculously, as if God was answering my pray, he turned and looked straight at me. Well, glaring was more like it. I was just about to smile when he turned away. I felt a pang of disappointment shoot through me. Why did he look away? I knew the answer like it was a slap to the face. He didn’t find me as interesting as I did him.

“Spencer,” said a familiar voice. I saw that it was Jordan. “We got to find our assign seats. The sorting is about to begin.”

“Oh, right.” I said as I pushed my hurt feelings to the side and sat where my name was taped to a chair. I looked around and saw unfamiliar faces. Jordan and Morgan were close to the front since their last name was Grey. I peeked behind me and saw Gabrielle sitting near the back. She smiled and waved. I repeated the gesture and was about to turn around when I saw the handsome boy take a seat in the very back. He continued to glare as he stared forward. So maybe it wasn’t just me. I felt a little better as I turned around to face the front.

We all watched as an attractive woman, with light brown skin, and curly brown hair, walked up on the stage. I tried not to stare at the little black cat ears that were on top of her head or the long, black tail that was protruding from her tight, leather pants.

“Welcome,” she said broadly. “To first year’s orientation at Hunter Academy. We are so glad to see such talented students with us today. I believe we are going to have so much fun! My name is Tabby Crawford and I will be your Latin 1 teacher for this year. Now, before we begin, some of you are probably wondering why I have cat ears and a tail. Well, that’s because I’m a Were-Creature. My mother was a Wiccan, while my father was a hunter. Now, we Were-Creatures inherit beastly traits from our parents that are Wiccan or Warlock’s.

”Wiccans and warlocks are the children of demons. When a demon mates with a human or a Reaper – they have children with magical powers. Wiccan’s and warlocks cannot have children with each other, but they can with anything that is human. It’s a bit confusing, I know, but that’s how it’s always been. Were-Creatures don’t specialize in the five elements until later on. We specialize in the rare element: the unique. Now every hunter will specialize in that element later on, giving hunters a new ability that will be useful to them in times of need. Not all of them are going to be as cool as others, but every one of them will be unique in its own way.” She winked.

Wow. Another element. I started to wonder since I was gifted if I had already specialized in the unique element. Then again, I haven’t noticed me doing anything different or unique so probably not. I frowned at the thought. Well, maybe it should be any day now…

“Now before we begin sorting you into you’re elemental groups – headmaster Death would like to say a few words.” She moved aside as Death took her position behind the podium, looking at all of us as his eyes wondered down row by row. I could have sworn his eyes lingered on me longer than the others, but maybe it was just my imagination.

“Welcome first years,” he said, his voice low, but clear as it rang in the auditorium. “To Hunter Academy.” We all clapped and whooped as Death waited patiently for us to quiet down. “My name is Grim Reaper, or as others calls me ‘Death.’ I’ve been headmaster here for about thirty years now and I couldn’t imagine a better school. It just makes me happy to know that most hunters that have attended here are usually the best and I wouldn’t say it if it weren’t true. As most of you know, my father was the creator of this notorious race of hunters. His powers were given to him by God himself to help rid the world of the vermin that we call demons and for that it has been our duty to cleanse the world of their evil.”

I was completely mesmerized by Death that I couldn’t take my eyes off him. There was a reason why he was headmaster here. Some of the girls that were around me were whispering amongst themselves, swooning over how hot he was. Even I had to admit he looked sexy as he stood up there, looking all tall, dark, and handsome, with his black hair pulled back in a ponytail, his red eyes scanning the crowd as if daring them to say something. They wouldn’t have time to say anything though, because by the time they opened their mouths, they would probably drop dead.

“I am a hunter just like every one of you here. I attended this school when my father was headmaster. I can do all the elements as well as my unique, which is basically controlling whether I think you should live or die. Yes, my unique ability is death. And your unique abilities will be something of a surprise as well as mine was. I guess it just depends on your personality, I suppose.”

No one said anything to this as we all stared up at Death in fascination. I kept noticing a boy close to the front looking back here. I’m not sure, but it looked like he kept looking in my direction. He had a pretty face, with blonde, wavy hair, and crystal blue eyes. His features were perfect, especially his smile, which was dazzling. I did a double at take at that. Was he smiling at me or somebody behind me? He turned back around to face the front, which had me sighing in relieve. I don’t like it when people stare at me.

When Death was done with his speech, Ms. Tabby took back her place behind the podium, her friendly smile bright and excited. Death walked off the stage and leaned against the wall that was shrouded in darkness, looking like a sinister badass.

“Now it’s time for the sorting ceremony. When I call your name you will walk up on the stage, tell me your element, and then show us on the obstacle course. Okay?”

I felt my eyes widen fear. This could not be happening to me.

“Spencer,” I recognized the voice as Death’s. I looked in his direction again and saw him gesturing for me to come here. I did as he said and felt as Death grabbed me by the arm, pulling me deeper into the shadows.

“What is it?” I asked.

“When Tabby calls your name and you go up there, you tell her that you’re gifted, but that your strongest element is ice. Then I want to you to perform all the elements. Got it?”

He wants me to perform all the elements! Jeesh. And just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse.

“Got it.” I said. My voice shook as I thought of all the people staring at me. This is going to be so embarrassing. No doubt I’ll get so flustered that I’ll end up falling flat on my face.

Death seemed to sense my anxiety. He smiled gently. “Just show them what you showed me, okay.”

I felt involuntary smile spread across my face. Who knew Death had a soft side? “Okay.” Maybe this won’t be so bad.

He ushered me back to my seat, and as I headed back to my chair, I could see some students down my row staring at me in bewilderment. I tried to ignore them as best as I could.

It looked like Tabby had waited while Death pulled me to the side, and as I finally sat back down, she began with the first person on the list, saying their name in a loud, clear voice.

“Jennifer Allen.”

It was one of the girls that had spoken to me yesterday. She looked nervous as she walked on stage.

“What’s your element, sweetie?” Tabby asked, kindly.

“Air.” she answered, her voice shaking in places.

Tabby smiled, looking pleased. “Proceed.”

Jennifer seemed to take a deep breath as she summoned the power within herself, spinning her index finger around and around until a little tornado appeared. She held the little tornado in the palm of her hand, and as it continued to spin around and around, she suddenly clapped her hands, causing it to make a loud booming sound and filling the auditorium with a strong wind, causing everybody to shiver as it blew past us. Everyone cheered as Tabby announced her in the air group, making her stand to the left said of the stage. Jennifer seemed proud of herself as she stood there.

Next was a boy named Devon Apple, who ended up being an earth user. Then Henry Backster, a Were-Creature, who had some features of a cheetah, with a long tail and ears sprouting from his dark curls. He walked up on the stage with confidence and determination. As Tabby predicted, none of the Were-Creatures could do any of the elemental magic, but the one: unique. My mouth popped open as Henry disappeared and then in a blink of an eye, returned on the stage, looking like he never left in the first place. He handed Ms. Tabby a rose, looking rather smug.

“Super speed.” Tabby said, impressed. She held out her hand for a high five. They slapped hands as we clapped. He took his spot where the unique’s and the Were-Creatures would stand, which were right next to the air group.

On and on it went as we went through all the students that were in alphabetical order. Jamie Black, an obnoxious looking boy, was a fire user. He seemed to stand up there with his nose in the air, smirking the whole time. I felt my hands curl into fists. I really had this urge to walk up there and knock him out. The next person was another fire user: Scarlett Blackthorn. That girl was completely badass as she shot fire balls in the air, while “accidentally” aiming them at Jamie’s head. He seemed to glare at her as she took her spot next to him, smiling hugely the whole time.

Then there was Henry Carlton, a water user. Taylor Clarkson, an air user. Vaughn Cooper, another water user. And Christopher Crow, an air user. Two girls that were twins because they practically looked identical were unique users because they too were Were-Creatures. They both had some features that reminded me of horses. Hannah Cudmore had a long, black mane for hair, and a long, black tail that constantly seemed to swing back and forth as she walked. Her powers, apparently involved reading people’s minds, which made me, and few others, uneasy. I don’t really like the idea of somebody being in my head. Her sister, Hayley, had the same long, black hair and the swishing tail, but her powers were a lot cooler. She could move things with her mind, lifting them in the air. Telekinesis, I think it was called. It was pretty awesome to witness and we applauded as she stood next to her sister amongst the unique’s.

Kimberly Davis was next as she walked up the stage. I was excited to hear that she was an ice user. I watched in complete amazement as she used her powers, making it snow in the auditorium. I clapped with the rest of the audience as our first ice user stood into place.

When we got to the g’s I was excited. That meant Jordan and Morgan would be going up there next. A small, pretty girl, named Mia Good, went up before Jordan. She was a water user and a good one too. She seemed to have fun up there then most of the others students, and as she stood with the other water users, I saw Scarlett give her a two-thumbs up. Huh. I found it odd that a water and fire user were friends. And I knew they were from the way they kept trying to whisper to each other from across the stage. Tabby glowered at them. They both went silent, but continued to look at each other and smile, as if they were enjoying some private joke.

I sat on the edge of my seat as Jordan went up next. I was excited as he demonstrated his air abilities. Everyone clapped loudly as he joined the other air users. I felt a swell of pride for my friend. Go Jordan! When Morgan went up next, I heard from farther behind me, Gabrielle cheering Morgan on. When he was done and joined his brother, along with the other air users, Gabrielle whooped with joy, causing some of the students in a nearby radius to turn and look at her in annoyance.

The pretty boy that I noticed earlier, looking at me, was Cameron Johnson. The girls seemed to swoon as he walked gracefully up on the stage to perform his ability, which, of course was fire. He took his rightful place with the fire users and did some complicated handshake with Jamie, the boy with the obnoxious attitude and annoying grin. I continued to watch them as they laughed easily with each other. I sighed quietly and sat back in my chair. I can already see a gang forming. I recognized the next girl that went up. Alicia Lawrence, whom I also met yesterday, was an air user just like her N’Sync, Jennifer. They seemed to giggle with each other as they stood side-by-side. For some inexplicable reason I glanced at Jordan and saw him eyeballing Alicia. I felt my lips form into a half smile. When Jordan finally tore his gaze from her, he glanced my way. He looked completely awestruck, as if he had just seen the sun for the first time. I made a little kissy face at him and laughed. He flipped me off playfully and looked away.

After a girl named Marie Lopez was done demonstrating her powers, which was air, and stood with the other air users, I could feel my pulse picking up as Tabby finally called my name.

“Spencer Mason.”

I took a deep breath and got shakily to my feet as I walked down the aisle of empty seats. I took the steps one at a time as I made my way towards Tabby. I couldn’t help but look at the remaining audience. I saw Gabrielle, who was smiling encouragingly at me. She seemed to mouth something, but I couldn’t tell what it was. I looked farther back and saw that boy from earlier. He continued to glare off into space.

“What’s your element?” Tabby asked gently.

“Um,” I said my voice shaking. How embarrassing. “I’m g-gifted, but my strongest is ice.”

Tabby’s eyes seemed to widen a fraction before nodding for me to continue. “Proceed.”

I took the center of the stage and stared at the crowd. Somewhere out there my mother was watching. Maybe even my father. I took deep, steadying breath and summoned all my powers, feeling it as it spread through my veins and into my hands. First I started off with ice, my strongest element, and then I went from fire, to water, air, and then, at last, earth. When I was done, the entire auditorium went quiet, staring at me with looks of disbelief and shock. Even that beautiful boy looked impressed, staring at me with wide, blue eyes. I held my breath until the entire auditorium stood up and started clapping. Some even whooped and hollered, saying, “You go girl!” and “That was awesome!” I felt my face flush in embarrassment. In the shadows I could see Death smiling smugly as he clapped along with the rest of the audience.

I took my place with the ice group, some clapping me on the back, while others just shook my hand.

“That was amazing.” said a boy with wicked blue hair. I think his name was Christian Masterson.

“Yeah,” Kimberly agreed. “Completely badass. We’re so lucky to have you in our group.”

I couldn’t help but grin at that last part.

We went through a couple more students, including Gabrielle, who took her place in the earth group with such pride; it was practically visible on her face. I talked to some of the other ice users. I was relieved that they seem to like me as much as I liked them. I was just glad they treated me like a person and didn’t act like I wasn’t there.

“Alexander Torchwood.” Torchwood. Why does that last name sound so familiar? The entire auditorium went quiet, except for maybe a few mumbles here and there. I looked to see which student was Alexander and saw that it was the dark haired boy. He didn’t seem to like the attention as he slowly walked down the aisle and up the steps. He continued to look straight forward, trying to avoid everyone’s gazes as they stared at him shrewdly. Everybody seemed tense as he came on stage and walked towards Ms. Tabby, who to my surprise looked a bit wary.

“W-what’s your e-element?” Ms. Tabby stammered. She forced herself to smile.

He smiled back wickedly, and said in low, velvet like voice, “Fire.”

She didn’t reply. It was odd, but it looked like she was scared of him.

Everyone watched in uncomfortable silence as Alexander took the center of the stage. I looked at everyone around me. Why did everybody look so scared? It looked like they were waiting for some great catastrophe to happen or something. When Alexander started using his fire magic, everybody in a nearby radius flinched as if they could feel the heat of the fire. Some watched him with weary expressions. Even Death – who I could see in the shadows – stared at him with unease. After that I couldn’t take it anymore – my curiosity was killing me. I turned to Kimberly and tapped her on the shoulder. She jumped, looking startled. Her face was completely white, like a ghost.

“Sorry, but I was just wondering who that is? I know his name, but his last name sounds so familiar.”

“That’s because Torchwood was his last name. He’s his son!” she said, through tight, white lips. My eyes widened at that. I looked back at Alexander and saw that he was finished. He was being ushered towards the other fire users, every one of them looking deathly pale as he came to stand beside them. As he took his place, a lot of them moved a couple inches away. Torchwood. That would explain why I recognized the last name. I remember Death mentioning Azazel having a son, but only once while he was telling me the story about Azazel and my father.

My father.

I noticed that Alexander was standing close enough for me to touch. He seemed a couple inches taller than me, maybe about 5’7. The fire and ice groups stood by each other, making it kind of uncomfortable. Everyone knows fire and ice don’t mix. My father saved Alexander when he was probably really little. And only because his father tried to kill him. I couldn’t help but feel some sympathy towards Alexander. Nobody deserves to have a father like that. But why were these people so afraid of him? He wasn’t Azazel. Did they think he was the next coming of his father? I looked at Jordan, Morgan, and Gabrielle as they too eyed him with fear and hatred. Yes, hatred. Why was Alexander being punished because of something his father did? I might have to talk to Death later and ask.

“Abigail Westchester.” Tabby said, interrupting my thoughts. Tabby seemed a lot more relaxed once Alexander was situated with the other fire users. She was smiling hugely as she waited for the next person. It was a pretty, curly blonde girl, with dimples and a megawatt smile, as she walked up the stage and told Tabby her specialized element. I wasn’t surprised that it was fire. She looked like the type that would set people on fire for the heck of it. In a way she kind of reminded me of Katie from back home. I disliked her instantly. I ignored all the commotion and somehow got lost in my thoughts again.

I will get to the bottom of this. I will make it my goal to become friends with Alexander. No matter what it takes and no matter the cost, I vowed with myself. Yeah right, my subconscious said snidely. You can barely talk to people. What makes you think you can talk to a cute guy like him? You’ll just get tongue tied. I frowned at that, knowing she had point. But God, she can be a real ass sometimes.

We had approximately 60 people in our class, with eleven fire, air, and unique users, ten ice and earth users, and 7 water users. We all went back to our seats and listened as Tabby told us a little bit about Hunter Academy. Of course, I didn’t hear a single word she said because I was too lost in my own thoughts. I just couldn’t get over how everyone treated that Alexander kid. I wonder if he was used to it. He didn’t seem like he cared, but maybe that was a facade to hide his true feelings. And the sad part was that I could completely relate to him. I knew what it felt like to be shunned – to not feel wanted or seen. I knew how much it hurt. It must be an act on his part, because surely he can’t feel that way. Surely he must be lonely.

When we were dismissed from the auditorium, I caught one more glimpse that was Alexander Torchwood as he pushed through the crowds of families and teenagers to get out of here. People seemed to glare at his retreating figure. Well, maybe people would like him more if he didn’t try to antagonize everyone.

“Hey, Spencer,” said unfamiliar male voice. I turned around instantly and saw that pretty blonde boy, Cameron, walk my way. My defense shot up as he came towards me. He looked friendly enough, but that didn’t mean anything.

“Hi.” I said uncertainly.

“It’s nice to finally meet you,” Cameron said. I raised an eyebrow questioningly. He seemed to notice. “I’ve wanted to talk to you since the beginning of the sorting ceremony, but by the time I got the nerve we all had to take our seats.”

“Uh-huh.” I said. I don’t know why he’s talking to me, but I’m not interested. “Look you seem like a nice guy, but I really have to—“

“There you are Spencer,” Jordan said, his voice tight as he wrapped an arm around my shoulder. Gabrielle and Morgan hovered behind him, eyeing Cameron sternly. “If you don’t mind, Cameron, Spencer has somewhere to be.” Not giving Cameron the chance to reply, Jordan then grabbed my arm and hauled me away. Gabrielle and Morgan were only a few feet behind us as we made our way towards the exit. I glanced behind me at Cameron. He was glaring as we retreated into the halls. I sighed in relieve.

“Thanks,” I said, feeling truly grateful towards Jordan and the others. “I don’t know what that was about.”

“Watch out when Cameron’s around,” Jordan said grimly. “He’s a huge womanizer and I wouldn’t put it past him to go after you, seeing as your gifted.”

“Oh, well you don’t have to worry.” I told them. “I’m not interested in guys like him.” Suddenly Alexander flitted through my mind. “He’s not my type.” I was absentminded as I twirled my hair around my index finger, thinking of Alex and his pretty blue eyes.

“Well, that’s good.” Morgan said, piqued. “Because he’s a creep.”

We all ended up looking for our parents again, searching high and low until we finally found them. I was just about to greet my mother when I saw a man that looked similar to Jordan and Morgan, talking to her. His silver hair was long enough that it kept getting in his eyes, causing him to constantly pull his hair back. He was very tall and lean, but muscular with light, tan skin. He was sexy, which meant he had to be related to Jordan and Morgan.

“Is that your brother?” I asked Jordan, pointing to the man I saw with my mother.

Jordan looked sick. “No. That’s my uncle Ash. He’s one of the instructors here. He’s going to be our Demonology teacher.”

“Why is he talking to my mom?”

“He’s probably flirting with her.” Morgan said, cutting off whatever Jordan was about to say. He seemed to scowl at him, which Morgan didn’t notice. “It wouldn’t be the first time.”

I looked back at their uncle and my mom together. He didn’t look like he was flirting. It looked more like they were having a heated conversation. What it was about, I didn’t know, but I couldn’t understand why they would be fighting in the first place. They didn’t know each other. Did they?

I was just about to ask Jordan when Gabrielle popped out of nowhere, handing us all a sheet of paper with a list of books that we had to purchase.

“Oh, crapola,” I exclaimed as I scanned the prices of these books. “My mother is going to kill me!”

“There not that bad,” Gabrielle said dryly.

“They are when you have a single parent only getting paid minimum wage.” I stared at her in disbelief as I held the sheet of paper up close to her face. “Are you telling me that your parents can afford all these books?”

She didn’t hesitant. “Yes.”

“My mother is going to kill me!” I repeated.

“Your mother doesn’t seem that bad.” Jordan said. He was eyeing my mother from across the room. I didn’t like the way he looked at her. It kind of reminded me of how he stared at Alicia in the auditorium earlier. I smacked him. “Ouch. Jeesh. What was that for?” he asked, rubbing the back of his head.

“That was for looking at my mother with goo goo eyes.”

It turned out we had other papers to fill out. I lost track of time until my mom told me it was time to go. I turned in all the paper work and left with my mother, waving goodbye to Jordan and the others. I promised Gabrielle that I would see her Saturday. Turns out my mom was leaving tomorrow night to get back to Hot Springs so she could go back to work. Gabrielle’s parents were gracious enough to let me stay until school started. I wanted to stay with Jordan, but my mom wouldn’t have it.

“No staying at boy’s houses,” she said adamantly. “And no going in boys rooms when you stay at the Academy. The last thing I need is to have a daughter pregnant at thirteen.”

I didn’t see Alexander again that evening to my dismay, but I brightened up at the thought that I would be starting school soon so I would most likely see him then.

Mom promised before she left that she would take me shopping so I could go ahead and purchase my books. That was basically all I needed for school. Everything else they provided. We weren’t starting school till Monday and today was Friday so I had time to go home for a day and pack the rest of my clothes. Sunday we would be moving into the academy. One of the teaching staff would help us get situated and ready for the following morning. I was very excited, but I wasn’t too keen on the whole roommate situation. If we had roommates, which I’m hoping we don’t.

Gabrielle’s parents were a trip. They were so cool and laid back that Gabrielle and I pretty much got away with anything. They didn’t pry and they didn’t ask a lot questions. They were very welcoming and tried everything to make me comfortable as I stayed there. I liked them a lot. Jordan and Morgan did come over for a little a while that day. We played board games and watched a little bit of TV. None of us could stop talking about our excitement for Sunday and it intensified as the day came to an end. When Morgan and Jordan left around eight that night, Gabrielle and I decided to go to bed early. Of course, neither of us could sleep. We were too excited for the coming morning. Tomorrow – we would be official Hunter Academy students.

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Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.