Had Colton heard that correctly? There’s a cure for her condition?
“What’s voto ad atrium maius?" he asked slowly.
Audra looked panicked. “It’s nothing! Tace Ersa! Tace!"
“It’s not nothing,” Ersa scoffed, reaching forward to cover Audra’s mouth. “It’s The Bonding Vow. Only spoken by those who are, preferably, both truly in love with their partner. No hesitation in their relationship. Essentially, voto ad atrium maius is a wedding vows. Those two people will be bound together, and share illness and pain. So, by her taking the vow with someone, it’ll get rid of the iron in her system as, right now, the vow is the only thing that can get rid of iron.” She then winked at Colton. “We could take the vow, if you’d like.”
He rolled his eyes. “Hard pass.” He turned his attention to Audra, fully ignoring Ersa after removing her hand from her mouth. After a moment, he reached up and carefully cupped her chin, turning her head so he could look into her bright blue eyes. “Audra, is she telling the truth?”
She hesitated, clearly not wanting to answer, but nodded. “She is. But I don’t want to take the vow.”
“Why not? Audra, this will save you. You wouldn’t die. I wouldn’t have to cope with losing you forever.” He cuped her face in both of his hands, his eyes wide as an idea ran through his brain. “I’ll take the vow with you. We could do it later. In the lounge. We could save your life today.”
“I’m not taking the vow with you, Colton,” Audra said suddenly. “I don’t want to force you into an eternal marriage. I couldn’t do that to you”
“And why not? This would save your life. Don’t you want that?”
“More than anything. But… I don’t want to drag you into this. You’ve already done so much for me. I couldn’t take away your future as well. That’s not right.”
“I don’t care, Audra. The moment you agreed to go in that date, you dragged me into this.” He smiled softly at her, gently brushing his thumbs over her cheeks. “But that’s okay. I’ll do anything if it means you could stay here. With me.”
“Oh, this is sickening. Don’t bind yourself to this ugly-” Ersa started, walking around her desk over to Colton.
“Ersa, I suggest you shut up,” Audra said through gritted teeth. “Class is gonna start soon, people are going to start coming in, and I can barely focus as it is. It’s taking everything in me not to pass out right now.”
Just as she finished speakingz the door opened and the other students started filing into the classroom, the quiet room now filled with talking and laughing.
Colton’s eyes had wandered around the room, and his hands were now holding hers. After a moment, he brought his eyes back to her. “Audra, maybe we should head to the lounge. You need rest.”
She shook her head a little. “Not until later. I don’t want anyone else to know that something’s wrong.”
He sighed. “At least let me stay in your classes with you. I can go get a note from Mr. Knudson.”
She nodded a bit. “Okay. I would prefer that.”
He smiled gently at her, then stood, kissed her cheek and forehead, then walked out of the room and down the hallway.
The bell ring just as he got to the principal’s office, knocking on the door before stepping inside.
Mr. Knudson stood when he walked up to the desk, his brows furrowed. “Mr. Danvers. What can I do for you?”
“I was wondering if I could have a note so that I could be in the same classes as Audra. I need to keep an eye on her. I was also wondering if, for the last two periods of the day, I could take her to the lounge area,” he said, cutting straight to the point. “Also, there’s a new girl. Her name is Ersa Hunter. Her schedule needs to change so that she’s not around Audra. She’s really getting worked up being around her.”
Mr. Knudson thought for a moment, then nodded, smiling at him. “Of course. I will change Ersa’s schedule. I’ll write up a note for you right now.” He pulled out a slip of paper, grabbed a pen, and started writing, handing it to him a minute later. “And they’re you are, Mr. Danvers.”
He sighed in relief as he took it. ”Thank you, Mr. Knudson.” He turned and quickly left the office, making his way to Audra’s class as fast as he possibly could.
When he got there, he handed the teacher the note, who gave it back after reading it, and went over to sit next to Audra.
She was slouched in her seat, the jacket he let her borrow for the time being pulled tighter around her. Her eyes were closed. She must’ve passed out.
He leaned closer to her in his seat. “Audra?” he murmured. “You okay?”
She “hmm”-ed and slowly turned her head to look at him, her eyes opening at the same speed.
His brows furrowed. “Are you alright?”
She nodded a little. “Nothing I haven’t dealt with before.”
He sighed, then stood to move his desk closer to hers before sitting back down. He was close enough to her so that she could lean against him if she needed to, which she did almost immediately.
The teacher didn’t mind, as Mr. Knudson had gone around to explain what had happened to Audra’s family, and was most likely assuming that she was acting this way because of lack of sleep.
Now that he thought about it, she had come to terms with their deaths rather quickly, considering how much of her family she’d lost. And another thing: he had no idea where she came from. She’d never mentioned it, and he couldn’t find anything about her. That was something he thought of as strange.
Whatever the reason, she would tell him if she wanted to. He trusted her. Hopefully she trusted him as well.
A few minutes into class, he lowered his head and murmured, “My parents want to meet you. Preferably today.”
Audra smiled faintly. “After school, then. Equinox D. decided they wanted to invade my home today.”
“Well, then, you could stay at my place. My mother would be thrilled.” He smiled softly at her, leaning his head against her soft hair.
She nodded a little. “Then your place it is.”
Class flew by, as did the rest of the school day. When it was time for them to head to the lounge, Audra was so exhausted that Colton decided to carry her to the lounge.
He dimmed the lights upon entering and sat down on the couch, leaning against the arm rest and readjusting her so that her head was on his chest and she was laying down somewhat on top of him. He started humming, which had become a habit whenever she needed rest.
She passed out immediately.
About an hour later, someone came in and asked Colton for help with something. So he carefully removed Audra, trying his best not to wake her. He draped his leather jacket over her shoulders, smoothed a hand over her hair, kissed her forehead and gently stepped outside of the room to help, returning only a few minutes later.
When he walked over to the couch, he almost missed a slight silver sparkle on the couch. Assuming it was just glitter, he ignored it, until he saw that it was also on Audra’s face, and that she had woken up, rubbing her eyes as she sat up, then looked around the room in a slight panic.
“Hey. Shh… It’s okay Audra. It’s just me. It’s Colton. You’re okay,” he said soothingly, calming her down. He moved up and sat down on the couch, gently brushing the silver glitter off of her face. It was bear her eyes. “I just stepped out of the room for a few minutes. You’re okay.”
Audra nodded, still half asleep, and moved closer to him, leaning against him and falling back asleep.
He smiled softly at her, then leaned against the back of the couch, stroking a hand slowly through her hair as he hummed the same song that he always hummed to her.