A low buzzing from under his pillow awoke Bart with a startle. He wipes his eyes and groggily grabs his phone as the bright light shines on his face. It read “6:30 am. Sunday, January 6th.” Underneath he had a notification. It was a text from Hope.
“Hey we are about to take off! We won’t get in until later in the afternoon but I will let you know when we land :)”
It took Bart a couple times in his groggy state to comprehend the words. He pressed down and a keyboard popped up to reply.
“Okay. I’ll see you soon. Going back to bed now.”
He pressed send and shoved the phone back under his pillow. He rolled over and fell asleep again. When he woke again he was still groggy but he was well rested. He sat up rubbing his eyes from sleep. A yell from the living room made him jump at the sudden noise.
“ARE YOU KIDDING ME, LADS? WHAT IS THAT?” It was Ali was screaming from the couch. Bart got up and walked over. He was sitting on the end of the couch with a controller in his hand playing a video online.
“Morning.” Bart yawned“Well hello, boy!” Ali continuously monitored the screen for opponents. “Did you sleep well? Are you reaaaady for today?” Of course he was. Most of their friends would be returning from break soon enough. They had planned a fun get together at the house for everyone.“Yeah I slept good.” Bart said scratching his bare chest. “What time is it?”
Bart knitted his eyebrows. “I slept that long? Wasn’t there supposed to be someone getting back aroun-“ The door swung open and Sor walked in.
“I’m baaac- oh.” She saw Bart in just his pajama pants and giggled. “Not the welcome I was expecting Bart. I think you’ve got the wrong blonde.”
Bart rolled his eyes. “Oh shut it. Welcome back, Green” He walked back to his bunk and grabbed clothes to go change.
“Good to be back.” Sor grinned setting her bag down and removing her coat. Then made her way over to Ali, who’s eyes never left the screen. “Hey O’Malley. Did you have a good break?”
“The best!” Ali slapped the couch cushion next to where he was at, marking that as where she should sit. “How was the trip? How’s the family?”
Sor sat down with a tired sigh “Long. I really hate plane rides. And as for family, it was the same old ,same old. Mama and Papa were on a hunt most of my break . Not really eventful for me.” She shrugged then tucked her legs under her getting comfortable on the couch. “I’m just glad to be back. I missed everyone.”
“Sounds terrible. But you’re back now! Bart, what time do the twins get back?”
Bart walked up in a fresh pair of black jeans and a white t shirt. “I think in an hour or two. Hope said she would let me know when they’ve landed. Have you heard from Rena or Garrett?"
In that moment Rena came through the door, phone up to her ear “Yes I just walked in. Yes I’m safe. God you’re worse than Luka! I can take care of myself Lev.” She rolled her eyes “Okay I gotta go. Bye. Love you too I guess.”
She set her things down and grinned brightly “Hey guys! Long time no see!” She sat down on the floor next to Sor’s legs with a content sigh. “Ugh I’ve missed this place. Home is so boring now!”
It was amusing to hear the words coming from Rena’s mouth considering she was the person who dreaded coming to Ethelwine the most at the beginning of the year. It seems like the school had grown on her.
Bart raised his eyebrows. “Who’s Lev?”
Rena stretched her legs out in front of her while resting her back on the couch “My idiot of a best friend from home. We go wayyy back. He’s actually the reason why I got into hunting.” She grinned “Now enough on that, how was break? Please tell me you two didn’t just play video games the whole time?”
“Not the whole time, but I WOULD LIKE TO FINISH IF YOU PEOPLE ARE DONE TALKING,AYE?” Something about Ali’s angry voice was more amusing than it was intimidating. Probably the accent.
Rena and Sor exchange glances before bursting out laughing “You should use your angry voice more often Ali, it’s hilarious.” Sor replies still laughing.
Suddenly her phone began ringing. Looking at the caller ID she quickly got up with a bright smile on her face “Hey you!” Rising up from the couch she went to the other side of the room away from her friends.
Rena rose an eyebrow staring at Sor who was talking quietly on the phone “Uh what the hell was that?”
“Probably her parents or something checking on her. Probably embarrassed or YOU DIRTY CHISELER” Ali shouted at the tv, tossing his controller down. “These no life kids spend all their energy on this stupid game!”
“Maybe you’re just terrible.” A voice came from the kitchen area behind them. Rena and Ali both jumped and turned to find Garrett raising a humored eyebrow in their direct.
“When in the hell did you get here, lad?!”
“Bloody Grims” Ali whispered to Rena.
The door swung open once more and the twins stumbled in with their things. “Hey guys!" Hope greets with a large smile on her face.
Bart hopped off the couch to help them with their stuff. He took Hope’s impossibly large suitcase and grabbed a rifle bag from Trevor. And started to put them at their desks. “New toy?” He asked Trevor while holding the gun bag.
His eyes lit up in excitement.. “Yeah man wait til you see it.”
Bart set the luggage down and turned towards Hope. “Hey Hawkeye.” She smiled at him and gave him a tight hug.
"Hey. I thought you two weren't supposed to get in for another hour or two?" He asks when she pulled away.
Hope beamed up at him "Our flight was quicker than we thought and we managed to catch and earlier train to Dry Ridge."
Bart nodded "Well I'm glad you're back."
Hope blushed and moved to greet her other friends.She glanced at Sor on the other side of the room and then went to the couches. “How was everyone’s week? And who is she talking to?”
Rena shrugged still looking over at Sor who had a large smile on her face “No clue but she got up pretty quickly to talk.” It was not long after that Sor rejoined the group with a blush on her face.
“Who was that?” Rena asked with a raised eyebrow.
“Oh um, no one important.” She replied quickly and sat back down next to Ali nervously playing with her fingers “but I’m going to have to leave our little party early, I forgot I have a-umm project due tomorrow and need to finish it. Can’t afford a bad grade you know?”
Rena narrowed her eyes at her roommate in suspicion then glanced at Hope who was studying her curiously as well. She was definitely hiding something.
“Yeah sure.” Rena says sounding unconvinced.
Sor turned to the twins ignoring Rena’s stare “How was your trip? Did you have a good break?”
“Break was good!” Hope said happily. “The base that my dad is stationed at threw a big party that was a lot of fun. All of the base kids got together and played dirty Santa with each other. I got this cool concert t shirt from it!” She pointed to her shirt proudly.
“All I got was women’s perfume.” Trevor mumbled unhappily to himself.
“Do you guys think Professor Parkinson will be back in class tomorrow?” Rena asks switching off Ali’s game and turning on a rerun of a Stronghold match.
It had been some time since the last vampire attack and it was believed the creature had finally moved on. That also meant Professor Parkinson could return and Professor Mort would go back teaching the Grim students.
“I really hope he is because I’m tired of Professor creepy.” Sor replies with a shudder.
“I would think so. We haven’t heard much about the whole campus-vampire situation over break. So things should be going back to normal.” Ali got up and grabbed a drink from the fridge. “Anyone hungry? Troyes should be opening here soon enough.”
“Do they deliver?” Trevor asked as he slumped on the couch. “I can go pick it up. It’s just ’round the block. Anyone wanna tag?”
Sor checked the time on her phone then stood to her feet “I actually should be going. Got to get that dang project done before tomorrow.” She laughed nervously and began to gather her things.
Bart eyed her suspiciously. “Project for what class?”
“Uhhh Botany.” She replied quickly heading out the door not waiting for a response “Gotta go, see you guys tomorrow!”
The door closed behind her leaving her friends to stare at it in confusion. The behavior was weird, even for someone like Sor. “We haven’t even gotten the syllabi yet...she’s definitely hiding something.” Rena states staring at the door their friend has hastily walked out of.
It was unusual for Sor to be so secretive. She was usually like an open book, it was easy to read her emotions or know what she was thinking. But today, she was like a safe, sealed and shut tight.
“Let her be.” Hope said plopping next to Bart. “She’ll tell us when she’s ready.”
Bart laughed. “Yeah okay. What’s more likely to happen is she’ll slip up and we’ll find out.”
“I’m gonna have to agree with Hope on this one, let’s just leave her be.” Rena says with a wave of her hand. Though she thought her friend was acting weird it was best not to push it. Besides Sor told her everything. Surely she’d tell her about whatever it was she was hiding. “Sor isn’t good at keeping things from people, we’ll find out soon enough.”She then turned to Ali with hunger evident in her eyes “So food?”
Sor made her way down the brick paved walkway towards Main Street of Dry Ridge. She pulled her coat closer to her body trying to block out the cold wind. It was now January in Greenland meaning the start of the harsh winter. Soon snow and ice will cover the town, the magical barrier seemed to give way during the winter allowing the town to experience all seasons in full.
For now, some flurries of snow fell down from the sky and lightly covered the ground.
The town was full of life as people walked in all directions towards the shops, restaurants or leisurely strolling. She had missed this place during winter break. Being home had been quite boring and lonesome. She had grown used to being alone growing up but after meeting her friends at Ethelwine and constantly being around people made visiting home unbearable.
The sun was setting overhead and the street lights began to turn on. Sor walked past the townspeople heading towards a small café hidden amongst the shops.
Annie’s Cafe was a quaint and tiny place that not many people cared for visiting. Troyes or Mama Zion's received most of the business due to their wide menu selection and large restaurants. Annie’s could only hold around 80 people and the menu was limited to only a few, but delicious meals.
The chime of a bell rang through the air as Sor pushed open the door of the café. It was a little busy and most of the tables were full with people.
“Hey there Miss, do you need a table?” A passerby waitress asks while holding up a tray of food.
“Oh, I’m meeting someone here.” Sor politely responds trying to peer around the woman looking for those familiar curls. The woman shrugged and continued on her way to the table.
“Sor over here!” A voice called out from the other side of the café.
A bright smile lit her face catching sight of Kaiden waving her over to the small two chair table he was sitting at.
She made her way over removing her coat in the process. Kaiden stood to greet her and the two embraced. Sor couldn’t help but turn to mush in his arms. With Kaiden being so tall, he completely towered her and made her feel like she was in her own bubble of comfort. It was heavenly.
“How are you? How was your flight? ” He asks as they pulled away. He helped her into her chair before getting into his own.
“I’m great and it was just fine. I’m glad to be back.” She beamed at him.
“I’m glad you’re back.” He states unable to stop smiling. He had waited to take Sor out to dinner for months and now that he finally is, he feels like the luckiest man in the world.
“So how was Chicago? Tell me all about it!” Sor asks in excitement making Kaiden laugh.
He began to recount his Christmas break and seeing his family once again. Like Rena, Kaiden’s family was wealthy and well known in the Magical World, at least in America. His father was the Vice President of OMA and was constantly traveling between Chicago and Salem, Massachusetts.
He had attended many Christmas galas and posh parties during break something he hated. The rich life suited him except for the ass kissers that came along with it.
The whole time his mind had been on Sor and wished she had been with him. She was down to earth and not like the other girls who threw themselves at him and his relatives.
They had grown close during break and what had started with friendly texting turned into subtle flirting. The blonde girl had consumed his thoughts ever since.
“You could come visit one day if you wanted.” He ends his story hoping that wasn’t a weird thing to say.
“Really?” She asks, unable to believe that she had the opportunity to visit America. It was something almost all of her friends except the twins, had wanted to experience. She knew the magic folk were different across sees and wanted to know just how different.
Kaiden smirked “Of course.” He reaches over to take her hand “My family would like to meet the girl I have a crush on.”
Sor felt her face heat up and squeezed his hand with a teasing smile “Why Kaiden, do you have a crush on me?”
“I was hoping it was obvious judging by the fact that I asked you on a date.” He replies winking at her cheekily.
Sor let out a giggle and leaned closer to the boy “I for one am relieved then.”
Kaiden rose a curious brow leaning forward as well “And why’s that?”
“Because I have a crush on you too.” She replies simply trying to hide her smile. It was true, over the past few weeks she had developed feelings for Kaiden.
She liked the way he could make her laugh and his extensive knowledge of plants. He was charming and not to mention handsome and for some reason, he was interested in her.
Kaiden was everything she ever wanted in a boyfriend, right?