“Can she hear us?”
“I don’t think she can, they gave her enough medicine to sleep an elephant”
“I can’t believe this”
“She’s strong…she’ll make it through”
“I know it’s just…she looks so fragile Vin”
“Does anybody knows who let them in”
“No…we’re still investigating”
“So is it true that someone let the dark dogs in?”
“That’s what it looks like”
It was the second time this month I woke up to find that infinity light bulb shining above me, knowing I was at the castle’s hospital I didn’t even tried to move. I looked around, the orange light was coming through the windows; I knew it was late, really late. I tried to sit up and checked my left arm, it was still a little purple but it was considerably healed. I wasn’t dizzy anymore and my lungs were working normally. Good.
“You’re finally awake”
Vincent was standing there by the door; he was wearing his black guardian uniform as always. He walked over and sat on a chair next to my bed in complete silence. I sighed because I knew what was on his mind.
“Let it out” I said. “Come on”
“Are you freaking out of your mind?!” He exclaimed as he stood up and walked in circles around the room, his chest was going up and down violently “How could you do something so stupid, so reckless. I’m starting to think you have no self preserve instinct”
“I had to save my dad” Was my only excuse.
“You could’ve called me” He said “You could’ve sent Lui”
“I wasn’t going to send your brother out when you were trying to protect him as well” I said “If he died out there it would’ve been my fault and I don’t want to have nobody’s blood on my hands…or conscience”
He stood silent for a while.
“I’m sorry if you feel responsible for me Vincent” I started “But you need to understand my dad was in danger, he’s the only piece of family I have left and I’m not going to lose him”
He looked at me with his intense green eyes and just sighed in frustration. He knew that he couldn’t say anything to make me change my mind, besides, it was done already.
“I just wished I didn’t have to bring you to the hospital whenever something goes down” He said “For once”
“Trust me I hate this place as much as you hate bringing me here” I rolled my eyes. Hospitals just reminded me of my mom “When can I get out?”
“They will have you in tonight for observation, you will leave tomorrow” He said, I felt a little better; I wouldn’t have to be long in there.
“What time is it?”
“Like five” Vincent said. I couldn’t believe I slept through the whole night and day. I missed a whole day in school.
“Oh shit!” I exclaimed “I missed my algebra test and I also missed your exam”
“Relax I don’t think any teacher will make you do an exam after what you went through” Vincent said as he waved that off like it didn’t matter, well he was one of those teachers so I guess it was ok. I then noticed this giant teddy bear waiting for me, sitting on the table in front of my bed, I ignored Vincent and slowly went to get the really cute bear, it was red and white, its nose was big and I loved it. I went back to my bed and cuddled with it for a while.
“Who brought me this?” I asked him. He shrugged.
“It was there when I got here” he simply replied. I brought the bear closer to my chest and inhaled the sweet scent of something new.
“It’s beautiful” I said and closed my eyes one more time. I felt Vincent covering me up with the sheets before leaving the room. I went back to sleep.
I woke up several hours later when my dad went to literally push some food down my throat, it felt kind of funny to eat but I tried to do so just to please him. He just looked at me as I took a couple of bites of the ham sandwich he brought me, he took a deep breath and I instantly knew he was going to lecture me or something.
“I don’t have to tell you what you did was incredibly stupid right” He started. I looked up from my sandwich and shrugged, I knew it was stupid but I mean his life was in danger. “After saying that I have to say…thank you” My dad reached out for my hand and putting it against his lips he kissed it softly. I had to stop myself from crying.
“You don’t have to thank me dad” I shook my head “I did what I thought was the best at the moment and yeah it was dangerous but I wasn’t going to let you out there alone, you’re the only family I have left” His soft green eyes covered in wrinkles looked back at me with curiosity.
“You know that’s not true Maya. You have Lana now and the king and queen” He tilted his head to the side as he said this. I didn’t feel the king and queen were my family, Lana was another thing.
“Lana is my sister and I accept that but I will never accept those people as my parents. You and mom are my parents, you raised me and taught me what’s right and wrong, you were there for me, there’s nothing in this world that will erase that” He smiled in relief, I guess a part of him was afraid that I would jump in excitement about the idea of having new parents, let me tell you something, not going to happen. He kissed my hand again and urged me to finish my sandwich while we talked about everything and anything, he was the sweetest guy I could ever find and I totally knew this was what family was supposed to be.
He was my family.
There was a knock on the door and we both looked at it and then back at each other, I felt it would probably be Lana since I haven’t seen her since I woke up. My dad went to open the door; I saw him tense up and quickly moved away from the entrance, letting the King and Vincent walk inside the room. I took a deep breath because I knew I would need energy to deal with what was about to happen, whatever it was.
The King looked at me with a smile I wanted to erase so badly. It wasn’t like I hated this guy but if he was burning up and I had a glass of water, I’d drink it. Vincent stood behind him with a dark expression making me think that whatever he was about to say wasn’t good at all.
“I’m so glad to see you’re ok Maya” The King Gregory said, he opened his arms and laughed all by himself “You are definitely a survivor”
“Yeah she is” My dad then said with a proud smile, I couldn’t help to smile back at him.
“I’ve been thinking about these recent events” The King kept on talking “And I feel like Vincent isn’t enough to take care of both you and Lana” I looked over at Vincent whose expression was getting annoyed by the minute. It was obvious he didn’t like where this was going. “So I hired a new guy to take care of you as your own personal guardian” He looked at the door and the guy walked inside wearing a guardian uniform, he looked at me with his very strange green eyes and smiled in the very moment his eyes connected with mine.
“This is going to be fun” Were his words.
It was the first day of the weekend not only that it was the first day of winter break, and not only was I bored inside the castle but my friends couldn’t visit me anymore, and to top it all I couldn’t go anywhere without my own personal guardian, if I wanted to go out to visit my friends he had to go with me, if I wanted to get out of my room and visit other blocks of the castle he had to be there, if I wanted to go to the bathroom he had to stand outside the door. It was driving me crazy. His name was Evan Eastwood, he was tall, very muscular, had blonde hair and a very frustrating attitude. It wasn’t his fault I knew it, but I couldn’t help taking out on him the rage that was meant for the king. I didn’t want any babysitter, especially when I didn’t need one.
The best part of all was that he treated me like we’ve been best friends since the beginning of time.
“What are you thinking in doll?” Evan asked. We were watching a movie about ships that sink in the ocean and a stupid love story but I couldn’t focus on the freaking movie because he kept on talking to me.
“I’m watching the movie” I replied. Or at least I was trying to.
“You’re not watching it, your very unique eyes tell me you’re very far away from here thinking in something” One of his hands reached out and touched my cheek slightly, I felt this electric vibe running through my skin whenever he touched me. I looked down at his tanned hand and tried my best not to slap it away.
“I would be watching it you stopped talking all the time” I rolled my eyes. This guy was by far annoying.
“Let’s do something fun” He said and turned off the TV. Oh great.
“Like what?” I saw him standing up from the couch.
“I don’t know…let’s go get something to eat and hang out by the fountain” He thought about it for a while “Scratch that let’s just go hang out by the fountain.
“I’m actually hungry” I stood up “There’s nothing here I want, let’s go over the cafeteria and then come back”
“No we can’t go over there” He said as he grabbed my coat and helped me wear it, he grabbed my scarf and wrapped it softly around my neck.
“And why not if I may ask?” I asked.
“That side of the castle is closed because of some council reunion today” He put on his jacket because it was really cold outside, it would start snowing any day now.
“That’s stupid, they can’t close the entire block” What was so important for them to discuss that they had to close an entire side of the castle so no one else could listen.
“The king can do whatever he wants” He said like it was the most obvious thing in the world “I think it has something to do with what happened a few nights ago”
That somehow brought an odd conversation to my mind, it was blurry and I didn’t know if it was a dream or if it was real but it made my palms itch like no other thing in this world. I looked at Evan as he put his shoes on and wrapped his own scarf around his neck, his skin was tanned and his green eyes were the weirdest in Luminaria, they sparkled in the strangest way possible.
“Do you think someone let those dark dogs inside the castle?” I asked him. He sighed before looking at me.
“All I know is that this is the safest place on Luminaria so for dark dogs to break in, which is almost impossible, someone had to do something about it” He shrugged and he opened the door for me. So it was true, someone actually let those dark dogs in the castle, someone who was still out there, probably planning another attack. “Hey don’t think about it too much, I’m here with you so you’re safe now” The idea of going over there to hear what they had to say crossed my mind, but then again if they closed two blocks of the castle there had to be a lot of guardians wandering around, it would be impossible for me to get there without being spotted.
“I was always safe” I frowned at him “I just went out to save my dad who actually wasn’t”
“I know…I heard the story” We walked down the hall and I instantly felt the cold wind hit my face, it was a nice change after all, I’ve been inside for a long time after the attack, nobody wanted me to go out under any circumstances so to have Evan with me wasn’t so bad after all. I think he kinda understood my need to go out. “So what’s up with that Vincent dude?”
“What’s up with him?” I haven’t seen Vincent ever since he went to visit with The King, I don’t know if he’s been avoiding me or if he’s just too busy with Lana that he couldn’t even go to say hi. I haven’t seen Lana since the attack either so I think that shows how much these people actually cared about me.
“I think he doesn’t like me” Evan put his hands inside his pockets and turned around to face me, he started to walk backwards.
“He doesn’t like anyone” I pointed out “Only Lana, his brother and maybe himself” Evan smirked and chuckled at my observation.
“I think he didn’t like the idea of me protecting you” Evan shrugged and looked at the clouded sky as we were getting closer to the first block of the castle, where the school was, there was a huge fountain over there next to the entrance.
“He hates to be cleaning my mess” I responded “So trust me, he’s glad he doesn’t have to be taking care of me anymore” We reached the fountain and the surprise made us both stop walking. Just as if it was destiny, Lana and Vincent were both sitting there, she was looking down at her drawing notebook and he was totally distracted as he stared at her. It was the same picture of love. Yuck!
“Want to go somewhere else?” Evan asked me. I shook my head; I had to face everybody one day. We walked over there and as soon as Vincent was aware of our presence his fully relaxed body went into alert mode. I didn’t know if it was because of Evan or…me.
“Hey guys what are you doing?” I said and that was when Lana actually realized we were there, she smiled at me and put her notebook to the side as she stood up to hug me. I was a little surprised at first but I then quickly wrapped my arms around her too.
“I’m so happy to see you” She said “I had this amazing idea and I know you’re going to love it”
I frowned totally confused.
“What kind of idea” I said.
“I convinced our father to let us go shopping to Oldport so we can get some really awesome dresses for the party” She clapped her hands and jumped in excitement and I was really confused now “Since now you have your own personal guardian we can go and enjoy ourselves” She took a good look at Evan and a sudden blush covered her cheeks, I looked back at him and he was smiling, Evan shrugged and just kept smiling. My eyes then landed on Vincent who was staring at Evan like he was about to stab him anytime soon, maybe Evan was right and Vincent had something against him, but the question was…Why?
I ignored what just happened there and focused on the main subject right now.
“What party? I don’t know what you’re talking about” I asked Lana and she looked back at me. She shook her head like trying to get something off of her mind.
“What do you mean?” She was the confused one now “Our birthday is in two weeks, right before Christmas”
Ugh! I had managed to forget about that.
“Your birthday is coming up doll?” Evan asked. He seemed very pleased about this brand new piece of information; let me tell you I was not.
“Unfortunately” I muttered. I had been avoiding celebrating my birthday since forever; I used to love it when we were all together, my mom, my dad, Hayden and me. Then Hayden left and sometime after that my mom died. “I don’t like to celebrate it though”
“Why not Maya, everybody loves their birthday” Lana pointed out, everybody but me.
“Well I don’t” I simply said as I shrugged like it wasn’t a big deal.
“Well you’re coming with us either way” She stated and she went back to get her notebook “As your sister is my duty to make you enjoy your birthday” Vincent was now staring at me like he was trying to study me or find out what was on the bottom of my head.
“You don’t have to do that” I sighed “I’m perfectly fine”
“No it’s not fine” She said and then punched Vincent’s arm “Tell her” He simply shrugged and kept staring at me, it was kind of disturbing.
“Come on doll” Evan intervened, he grabbed my hand and pulled me closer to him, Vincent took one step in our direction “A birthday should be something special, something to remember the rest of the year”
“The party will be in three weeks, my dad didn’t want to do it this year but I convinced him to do something small just with people that live inside the castle, of course Riley and Eric are the exception” She quickly said like she decided everything and it was a fact “I always make a small thing with just friends and family where I open my gifts, of course you will be part of it too”
This was just awful.
“I don’t think any of that is a good idea” I said.
“Well it’s too bad I already organized everything, you have no choice” She said before picking up her notebook and with one last look in Evan’s direction she walked away. Vincent looked at me.
“Just let it happen. It will be easier for you” He said and caught up with Lana. I turned to look at Evan when they both were far away from us.
“What the hell just happened?” I asked him and he smiled at me totally amused by this situation.
“It will be ok doll” He said as he wrapped an arm around my shoulders and pulled me closer to him. “I’ll help you get through it”
“You don’t get it” I sighed “My birthday in the last few years has been something very awkward and strange and this is my first birthday without my mom. I…simply don’t feel like celebrating”
“I know what that is like” He said.
“Losing someone you truly care about” He said and just by looking inside his eyes I could tell he has felt pain more times than he should’ve maybe “It doesn’t get easier, you just get used to live with it”
“That’s what I’m afraid of” I whispered.
“And by the way” Lana said behind us. I didn’t realize how close we were from each other until then, I took two steps back to put some space between us, that was weird, I felt like he was some kind of magnet I could not resist. I’ve never felt like this before. “We’re leaving for Oldport in an hour; we might even stay the night over there at my uncle’s house so get ready” She turned back around and left to where Vincent was standing waiting for her.
“I love her but I’m starting to hate this bossy side of her” I said making Evan laugh. He grabbed my hand and pulled me back in direction to the room.
“Let’s go pack some clothes” He gave me this brilliant smile that made me feel like everything was going to be ok.
I really hoped it would.
One hour later we were walking to the huge black Cadillac Escalade that the king laid out for us. Lana, Lui and Vincent were already there and the King was also there. I tried my best not to punch him in the face and I think Evan could sense it because he grabbed my hand and never let go.
“I spoke to your uncle Owen and he said he was ok to receive you today” The king told Lana, she smiled at him and embraced him on one of those bear hugs she was really good at. The queen walked inside and also embraced her daughter for some time; she was really beautiful, very delicate and majestic to say the least. I had seen her only once before this. Evan pulled us closer to the group. “You can drop off your bags and go shopping right after”
“I’d rather go shopping first” Lana said “If I go there first I won’t be able to go shopping I just know it” The Queen giggled at that and The King just sighed.
“Fine then” He said “Have it your way”
“Hey guys, you made it” Lui said and everybody turned to face us, all I wanted to do was hide behind Evan, somehow I felt like I didn’t belong in that beautiful family picture.
“We did” Evan said but he didn’t attempt to get any closer. I loved him a little for that. The Queen gave Vincent a quick hug and then after looking at me one last time they left. Evan looked down at me and squeezed my hand “Ready?”
“Yeah” I said and we walked to the car. The Cadillac had space for six or seven people; we got in the middle seats while Lui got in the back seat, leaving the driver’s seat for Vincent and the passenger’s seat for Lana. Everybody placed the seatbelts in position.
“Wait a second” Evan suddenly said “Let’s do a check list” He told me and I quickly nodded “So bags?”
“Checked” I said
“Giant Teddy bear” That made me punch him hard.
“Checked” I confirmed either way making him laugh at me, ever since I got that really cute bear I wasn’t able to stay away from it for long, and I still didn’t know who gave it to me.
I gasped and punched him again as I felt a strange heat cover my cheeks. This was the first time he openly flirted with me and it was embarrassing as hell. He was laughing at my discomfort and I tried to punch him again but he grabbed my hand and placed a kiss on my palm making me blush even more.
“Aren’t you guys cute?” Lui said from the back seat.
“Shut up” I told him.
“I really hope that was a joke” Vincent said as he started the engine and drove away from the castle. That just made me blush harder if that was even possible. Evan was still looking and laughing at me, he leaned in over his seat to get close to me.
“Your blush is really cute” He whispered “It brings out the color of your eyes” I snatched my hand from his and turned to the window so he couldn’t see me anymore. I didn’t know why he started to act like this, I didn’t know him for long of course but he never acted this way when we were alone in my room. I had a feeling this would be a terribly long trip.