Audra couldn’t wait for the last class of the day to be over. Her leg was bouncing up and down under her desk impatiently. She pulled Colton’s jacket closer to her as she turned her head to check the time, trying to keep from groaning in frustration.
The clock seemed to relish how much torture it was putting her through and went even slower. The seconds were agonizingly slow. She was about to scream and punch the clock. She decided that wouldn’t be the widest decision, considering how bad her condition was.
Just before the bell rang, Colton walked into the room, grinning. It was then that the bell rang. He made his way over to her, practically skipping as he did so, and pulled her out of her seat and bridal style in his arms.
Audra squealed a little, wrapping an arm around her neck before reaching down to grab her light backpack. She set it in her lap, then took hold of a part of his shirt, grasping it firmly. She looked up at him. “What’re you-?”
His grin grew a little, shrugging. “You deserve to be treated like the queen that you are. We’re getting you a necklace, and then we’re getting ice cream, and then we’re going back to my house to watch a movie, eat dinner, and then go to sleep.” He started towards the door, managing to open it by himself and speed walking down the hall.
“Excuse us! Coming through!” he shouted, trying to match Audra’s accent.
That made her laugh.
People gave them strange looks as they passed, though she didn’t mind. She was giggling and kicking her legs a little as he nearly ran down the halls, spinning around every minute or so when someone wouldn’t get out of the way.
She looked up at him a moment or so later, when the exit was nearing, and saw him grinning with pure joy. So she pulled herself closer to him, making sure her backpack was secure and wouldn’t fall.
Pretty soon, they were out of the building and he spun around outside for roughly a couple minutes, then headed to his car, jumping off the sidewalk. He set her down so he could unlock the car and open the passenger door for her, then set her inside. He shut the door, then made his way over to the other side to climb in.
Audra buckled herself in and slouched in her seat, smiling to herself about Colton’s behavior. It was never a full moment with him, it seemed. Who knew that after a couple months of dating she would get so attached to him? It was a good thing she’d changed her mind about the vow. She didn’t want to leave this for the world, both this one and the one she used to know.
Colton started the car and pulled out of the parking space he was in once he’d turned on some Les Misérables music. Pretty soon they were headed down the street to a jewelry store, Colton singing every song that came on through the speakers.
She couldn’t help but smile at him, reaching over and taking one of his hands in hers as she turned to face him in her seat. There were a couple songs she knew, but she didn’t want to ruin his fun. He’d never heard her sing before. Not really, anyway. If he had, she couldn’t remember.
However, when the song Red and Black came on, she couldn’t quite help herself. She let him sing the beginning parts of it, but when Marius was starting to sing for the second time, she joined in with Colton.
She noticed that, once she’d started singing, he had suddenly gone silent in the middle of the first word.
He pulled into a parking place in front of the store.
She didn’t stop until the part was finished. Once she did, she looked over to find him staring at her with wide eyes, mouth slightly agape.
Her brows furrowed. “Are you okay, amica mea?”
The nickname tumbled out of her mouth before she could stop herself. Her face flushed slightly, but she held his gaze.
It was his turn to furrow his brows. He cocked his head to the side. “′Amica mea’?”
Her face reddened a little more and she averted her gaze. “It- It means nothing. Sorry.” She looked back at him. “Why were you staring at me?”
“I just… I’ve never heard you sing before,” he said softly, looking away.
“Was it… bad?" she asked, raising a brow.
His eyes widened as he looked back over at her, shaking his head after a moment. “No! Quite the opposite, actually. It was lovely. I’ve- I’ve never heard anything so… pure. It’s a good thing we were so close to the parking lot. I almost turned my attention from the road to you.”
She smiled a little as she inside her seatbelt. “Well, thanks for the compliment. Your voice is absolutely heavenly, in my opinion.” She got out of the car, then, and waited for him to join her outside before they headed into the store.
He stepped out of the car a moment later, walked over to her and held out his arm before leading her to the door of the store, holding it open for her as they went inside.
The store was nearly empty. There were only two other people inside, one of them being the store owner. It was small, with lovely music playing faintly in the background. The man behind the counter was old, with salt-and-pepper colored hair and dark eyes. He was with a customer at the moment, so Colton and Audra decided to wander.
It was about ten minutes later when the door opened and, to their surprise, Ersa stepped in, wearing a different outfit than she had earlier that day: a tight black dress and a pair of matching heels to make herself feel taller. She was wearing more make-up, too, with expensive looking silver earrings.
Audra had to admit that she looked beautiful - better than she could ever look herself, even if she tried. But that didn’t matter. What mattered was ignoring her and focusing on having a good time with Colton.
Speaking of Colton, when she looked up, she saw him scowling at Ersa, gently pressing her hand a couple times as he started pulling her away to look at something else.
She looked back at Ersa for a moment, who had locked eyes with Colton and was smirking, then looked back at him. A painful throbbing pulsed through her head like a migraine, and she massaged her temple with her fingers.
Something appeared to change in Colton’s face. She saw a look of longing in his eyes as he stared at… Ersa. But that couldn’t be right. Wasn’t he scowling at her only a moment ago?
But there it was, clear as day. Colton Danvers, her boyfriend, was staring longingly at Ersa Hunter, her step-sister. When she looked over at Ersa, she saw the same sad look of longing in her eyes. A moment later, a smirk grew on her face.
A sudden, strong wave of anger, jealousy and hurt rolled over her. It felt unnatural, and completely unnecessary. Couldn’t she have just imagined it all? Colton hadn’t really looked at Ersa the way he had, right?
An even stronger feeling of confusion and worry hit her like a truck. She started having a coughing fit, which caused Colton to tear his attention away from Ersa and to her. It ended only a couple moments later.
His brows furrowed deeply as he held Audra as close as possible to himself, his hold firm but gentle. “Auds? What happened? Is it getting worse?” he murmured, gently tilting her chin up to meet his worried gaze.
Audra managed a small, strained smile and shook her head. “No, it’s fine. Just a coughing fit. That’s normal.”
He didn’t seem convinced, but nodded. “Alright… if you say so.” He guided her further into the store to where the chain necklaces were. After examining them for a moment, he reached forward and took a long, simple and elegant silver chain necklace off of a hook. He held it up to her. “What do you think of this, Auds? You can put whatever you’d like on it.”
Her eyes widened slightly as she held a piece of the chain in her hand. She looked over at him. “It’s lovely.”
He smiled. “Not as lovely as you, though.” He pondered the necklace for a moment. “Do you want it?”
She nodded. “Could we get something else as well? Like a matching one for you. And maybe promise rings?” She’d asked the last question quietly, part of her praying that he wouldn’t hear her.
Apparently she wasn’t quiet enough, because he agreed with her. “Anything her majesty wants.”
They spent another hour in the store, and when they left, she and Colton both had matching necklaces with each other’s promise rings hanging from them, the insides engraved with their initials. A precious stone was engraved on the top.
Once they got over this car, he let go of her hand, which he’d laced his fingers with inside the building, and pulled her closer to himself. He gently caressed her jaw, running a thumb across her cheek as he smiled softly at her. Another moment or so passed, and he bent and kissed her.
Audra reached up and wrapped her arms around his neck as she returned the kiss. For the moment, Ersa and the look she and Colton had shared was out of her mind. But deep down, she felt like something big was about to go down. She only hoped that Colton would be safe.