Luminaria

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Stranger

The next day we were all sitting in the car all packed up and on our way back to Luminaria, the tension inside the car sure could be cut with a knife, Vincent for the first time in his entire life was mad at Lana, Evan for some strange reason was also upset, which made no sense because last time I saw him he was perfectly fine. Even our seats changed, well not mine but now Evan was sitting in the passenger’s seat next to Vincent and Lana was sitting in the middle with me.

And Lui

Lui was in the back seriously confused because he had been sleeping when everything went down last night, so he didn’t know what to say or what to do. I grabbed my stupid but wonderful wizard book and just ignored everybody the rest of the ride home. I was halfway through the book when we arrived, I turned to face Lui and he smiled at me.

“Can I keep it until I finish it?” I asked waving the book in the air, he had his earphones on and I could hear the music coming out of them, he nodded and gave me a knowing smile. We all got our bags and walked by the first block of the castle in our way to the residence area. “Evan I was thinking we could visit Riley and Eric” I said.

“I have a meeting with the king” He was still upset I could feel it “Just go on your own” I stopped walking which caused Lui who was walking behind me to bump into me.

“You’re going to let me go alone?” I was very surprised.

“I’m not your babysitter” He shrugged but he kept walking.

“Are you afraid to go alone because I can go with you” Lui said behind me, I looked at him over my shoulder. He had his earphones on still but I bet there wasn’t any music playing.

“No it’s fine” I said. I walked over to my apartment and called for my dad. I could hear a soft music coming from the studio so I could tell he was working on something important. My dad only played music when whatever he was painting was very important. Since it was almost lunch time I walked into the kitchen and got out the ingredients to make some mashed potatoes and chicken. I walked around and turned on the TV so I could watch my favorite doctors show while cooking, two guys were fighting over a woman, they were both really attractive to say the least.

“Lucky bitch” I murmured and focused on the duty in hand that was cutting the chicken.

“Language” I heard my father say as he walked into the kitchen and smiled at me “How was Oldport”

“It was…interesting” A lot happened and to be honest I didn’t want to share any of it with my dad “I got what I needed”

“I remember going to Oldport with your mom for our first year anniversary” He sat on a stool and his eyes sparkled at the memories “It was so beautiful, we once thought about moving there”

I wondered why they stayed here in the capital instead of going there, for what I could see it was quiet and beautiful, it would totally suit my mom “What happened?”

“Your mom’s family was here” He shrugged and I nodded in understanding “She didn’t want to be away from her sick father so we stayed, after they passed away you and your brother were already with us so we thought it was for the best to stay here. You could get better education and all that”

“Maybe when I graduate I can apply for a job at Oldport’s unit and we can go live there, just you and me, like a new start” My father smiled at me and he leaned in to reach out for my hand, I grabbed his hand over the table.

“I would really love that honey” He squeezed my hand for a moment there and then let me finish cooking. By the time we were eating the doctor show was over and a comedy was on, my father sometimes watches an episode or two with me but he doesn’t really know what it is about. I laughed as Joey did something stupid yet again. Humans had a great sense of humor. “I don’t get it. Why is she so upset?”

“Because despite what he might say they were not on a break” I told him knowing he wouldn’t understand a single thing of what I was saying. He shook his head.

“Do you have any plans for today?” My father stabbed the chicken with his fork.

“Yeah, I was planning on going over to Riley’s and hang out with her and Eric, since they can’t come over unless they have a special permission.” I cleared my plate and washed it before putting it back in place. Looking inside the fridge I found two coca cola cans, I grabbed them and placed one in front of my father before drinking the next one.

“Are they coming for your birthday?” He asked. According to Lana they were so I really hoped she got their permit. I nodded. “Is Evan coming with you?” Where were all this questions coming from? Since when my father was the type to ask so many questions.

“I don’t know” Shrugging I avoided all kind of eye contact with him, I mentally slapped myself, because there was only one kind of eye contact…actually it was just eye contact period. I was rambling “He’s not supposed to leave my side”

“He’s not with you now is he?”

“He had a reunion with Lana’s dad. Are you done?” I didn’t wait for an answer, I just grabbed his plate and washed it as well, he took a sip of his coca cola. “I’m going to be leaving now” Kissing his head I ran towards the door before he could ask any other question or say anything else, I grabbed my coat, a hat and a couple of gloves, it was starting to snow, it was actually pretty late considering it was December.

I managed to get out of the castle, the guards on duty weren’t really paying attention to the people coming in and out, and I made a mental note to myself of telling this to Vincent, maybe he would do something about it. If these guys weren’t paying attention then anybody who wanted to bring dark dogs or Myyts to the castle could easily succeed. I walked down the street taking in the whole picture around me, the people selling stuff on their stands, kids playing and laughing, the castle was in the very middle of the city so it was no surprise the main action would be around it. I walked down a few more minutes and walked past my house, it looked so old and alone now, like those days we’ve been away had passed right through it. With one last look I walked a couple of houses down until I found Riley’s, I softly knocked on the door.

Luke was the one to answer, he gave me an easy smile and looked over his shoulder to whoever was inside, and I was guessing Riley. “Hey look who finally decided to visit” Luke let me in and I punched his arm before walking into the living room. Luke and I used to be closer when Hayden was with us, they were best friends and Luke never left our house, which seemed to be so long ago now. Riley and Eric were sitting inside the living room eating chocolates and watching Riley’s old TV.

“Oh so were you planning to invite me to this party?” I asked as I sat between them and grabbed a chocolate bar, and ate it with no mercy.

“It’s not like we have a way to call you” Riley said “You don’t have a phone” Riley waved hers in front of my face, my parents could never buy me a phone and I was too proud to ask Lana’s parents to buy me one. I would be dead before that ever happened, I rolled my eyes.

“Whatever” I grabbed another chocolate bar “What are we watching?”

“Apparently it’s fun to watch some silly vampire movie when I decide to visit” Eric protested and Riley threw a chocolate wrap at him. He threw it back. Luke came back into the room.

“So how’s life at the castle?” Luke leaned against the wall and stared at us three.

“Boring” I rolled my eyes “I can’t go out without supervision, I now have a guardian and to top it all I’m being forced to celebrate my birthday”

“Oh yeah” Riley said “Lana told us about that, we got the invite for the presents unwrapping and for the party”

“How come you guys already know all of this?”

“She called me” Riley said this like it was supposed to be obvious.

“And how come she knows your number and I don’t” I crossed my arms over my chest making Riley giggle.

“Well you would if you had a phone” She ate another chocolate.

“I hate this society” I pouted as the credits slowly went up the screen. Riley pulled out another DVD and put in on the player before hitting play.

“Are we seriously going to watch another vampire movie?” Eric didn’t seem very pleased about this. I had to laugh at his silly face.

“Come one this is the last one, she’s just going to turn into a vampire and she hasn’t seen her child” Riley pointed out and sat back down on a couch throwing a blanket over us. Riley could be cold about a lot of things but she was a sucker for vampire movies.

“I’ll make popcorn” Luke said before disappearing in the kitchen.

“Cheers for the smartest brother of them all” We put together out three chocolate bars and laughed for a while.

“Where’s your mom?” I haven’t seen her around much lately.

“She’s at my grandparents, trying to convince them to spend Christmas with us” Riley rolled her eyes and scratched her left eye under her glasses. “It’s useless though”

“You can’t blame her” Eric said “She just wants to have a Christmas with her family”

“I understand” She quickly said “It’s just so annoying sometimes, you know, I wished she was here too”

We all nodded.

“What are you doing these holidays?” I asked Eric.

“Zachary is trying to make me spend Christmas with him and his family” Eric shrugged like he didn’t care but I was very sure he cared. “My folks are ok with it but my brothers are all over the place, jealous and stuff. Zachary has a daughter and a son who are two years younger than me, they’re pretty cool and I guess that’s why they’re acting like this”

“Awe that is so cute” I pushed his shoulder with mine and he smiled.

“You wanna hear something cool?” Eric asked. We both nodded and he looked around even when we were all alone inside Riley’s living room “They had this council meeting yesterday” I sighed.

“Yes they closed two entire blocks of the castle just so no one would hear their conversation” I told them, Eric nodded.

“Turns out they believe someone inside the castle caused the attack”

“I knew that” I said “Evan says that it was almost impossible for those dark dogs to get inside without help”

“Yeah but not any kind of help” Eric’s voice was barely above a whisper as he said this “They believe it’s someone working directly for the king, Zachary thinks it was someone inside the council”

I gasped, those were very serious accusations, if they were true maybe that someone wasn’t just messing around, and they were targeting someone inside the castle, maybe the king.

“Seven people besides the King run the council” Riley said “Zachary Morgan, James Wilson, Maxon Reed, Melissa Kennedy, Angela Knight, Christopher Black and Jonathan Wolf”

Eric and I both blinked.

“Where do you get all this information?” Eric asked. “Anyway Zachary thinks one of them caused the attack, now the question is who?”

“Melissa is sort of a hippie so I don’t think it could be her, you know peace and love and all that stuff” Riley said “Angela is very old so I’ll discard her for now, James is a nobody, I don’t think Zachary did it, so that leaves…”

“Maxon Reed” Who happens to be Trenton’s father “Christopher Black and…”

“Jonathan Wolf” She finished for me.

“Wait…Wolf?” I knew the name was familiar “Do you guys think he’s related to Vincent and Lui”

“Could be” Eric arched a brow. Lui and Vincent never spoke about their family, it wasn’t like I ever asked either, and it was none of my business either way. “You should check into that…if he is then he’s discarded, I don’t think someone can have two guardian sons and be a bad guy”

“Lui is not a guardian yet” Riley pointed out.

“But he’s going to be”

“I will check on that later” I affirmed, asking Vincent was not an option so maybe I would ask Lui or Lana, they should be able to give me the information I need. Luke came out holding two bowls of popcorn and we instantly dropped the conversation to focus on the food. We laughed and watch some movies for a while, for the first time in a long time I felt completely relaxed and happy, the last time I felt like this I didn’t know I had a twin sister, and don’t get me wrong I love Lana but meeting her brought a lot of drama into my life. It was getting dark outside when I decided to leave, Evan wasn’t with me and as much as I could take care of myself I didn’t want to give Vincent another reason to scold me.

“You should visit more often” Luke said, he playfully punched my shoulder like he used to back in the day “I’m tired of seeing this guy’s face everyday” He pointed back at Eric who just stuck out his tongue even when he knew Luke couldn’t see him. I giggled.

“I’ll try to escape more often. Trust me I just hate to be inside those four walls every single day” I punched him back and smiled “I’ll be back to put some order in this household”

“Please do” Luke said.

“Next time bring food” Riley said as she disappeared inside the kitchen. This girl I swear.

“Sure”

“You should get going now” Looking up at the sky which was getting darker Luke sighed “Maybe I should walk you there”

“Please I’m a big girl, I can take care of myself” I shrugged.

“So I hear” Luke smiled again. I felt weird, it almost felt like we were flirting or some shit like that.

“See you later” I waved and walked away. I looked up the street to find it completely empty, with the recent attacks people were going home earlier. I took a deep breath and just walked up the street again. There was a soft layer of snow covering the ground; I focused on the sound of my boots on the ground as I walked up the street on my way back to the castle. I decided not to look at my old house again because it would make me sad. I was halfway there when I suddenly felt a shiver run down my spine, I turned around to find the street completely empty, I shook my head; it was stupid to think somebody would be watching me at this hour. As I was getting closer to the castle I felt my heart race and my lungs had a hard time to take the air in and to get it out. I looked again over my shoulder and suddenly stopped walking, there was a person there.

A single person standing a few feet away from me, he wasn’t that far but he wasn’t that close either, I couldn’t see his face in the night, he didn’t move, he just stood there with his hands inside his pocket like waiting for me to do or say something. I took a step on the castle’s direction and he did the same, I took another step and he copied my move. “Who are you?” I asked and the stranger started to walk towards me, soon I realized I didn’t want to know who he was so I just turned my back on him, which I know I shouldn’t according to my training, and ran towards the castle. I heard the sound of my boots on the snow but I also heard his footsteps making me think he was getting closer. I could see the gate to the castle so I took my legs to the limit, my lungs were burning and my heart was beating so fast that it was a miracle that it didn’t get out of my chest. I cursed under my breath, I didn’t know if I would be able to make it before he reached me.

“Maya!” Evan’s voice got to me and I saw him running from the castle towards me, I felt the relief fill every vein in my body as I jumped into his arms when he met me halfway. I looked back to find the person standing there looking at us. “Who is that?”

“I don’t…Know” I tried to get the air to fill my lungs “He was…following…me” Evan pushed me behind him and started to walk towards the stranger who then ran in the opposite direction and mixed himself with the dark street until we couldn’t see him anymore. Evan glared at the street for a minute before turning around to check on me.

“Are you ok” His warm hand caressed my cheek, his eyes tried to make contact with mine “Why did you go out by yourself are you freaking crazy?” I had a hard time understanding him because he was speaking very fast. Evan embraced me and kissed the back of my head for a moment.

“You said you weren’t my babysitter” I told him, he let out a sigh and cursed several times. He grabbed my hand and pulled me inside the castle, not without looking back a couple of times. Evan never stopped walking until we reached the residence area; even there he looked over his shoulder several times like expecting someone to be following us, he was very nervous. We got inside my apartment and he closed the door behind us. Evan instantly pushed me against the closed door and wrapped his arms around me; he buried his face in the space between my neck and my shoulders. It took me a while to realize he was shaking but then again so was I.

“Holy souls” He whispered letting out some air. He was terribly squeezed against me; every part of his body was in full contact with mine. “I was so worried. Did you see who he was?”

“I couldn’t see his face, it was too dark” I was rubbing his back, trying to comfort him when it should be the other way around. Evan grabbed my face and for the second time I felt like he was about to kiss me, it was perfectly possible considering how close we were from each other. His forehead touched mine and our breaths were mixed in the small space between our lips.

“I should’ve never let you go out alone…I’m sorry” His minty breath was kinda intoxicating me for a while there and I found myself actually wanting for him to close the space between us and to kiss me. It was like some strange force was compelling me to kiss him. Taking a deep breath Evan finally took a step back and looked at me with his sparkly green eyes. “I’ll dig into it; maybe Vincent can help us out”

“No!” I quickly said. Involving Vincent would only make him get mad at Evan for letting me go alone. “He’ll just get really upset because I left the castle alone…I don’t think it’s a good idea to tell him”

“You’re right” Evan seemed to think about it for a while and then he nodded “Do you mind if I stay over?”

“I don’t mind” I took off my gloves and my coat “There’s a spare room” He nodded and also started to remove his coat and getting more comfortable. I walked into the kitchen and looked around for something to eat, there were some leftovers from lunch but I didn’t want to eat chicken again. The door suddenly got open revealing my dad holding two large food bags, he closed the door and looked at us for a while before smiling, and I smiled back because I couldn’t help it.

“I brought some food” He said as he put the bags on the kitchen counter “It’s a good thing I brought a lot because I didn’t expect any visitors” I took a quick glance at Evan who was sitting on the couch. I helped my dad with the bags and looked inside of one of them, he got burgers for dinner. “I got a cheeseburger for me” He said as he pulled it out and put it on the counter “A bacon cheeseburger for Maya and I guess the regular burger will be for you” He gave Evan his burger.

Evan sniffed the burger before giving it a big bite “Why would you bring more than two burgers”

“Because Maya always likes to eat more than one” He responded making me blush a little bit. He also pulled out some milkshakes and ice cream and I was incredibly happy as I put them on the fridge. I grabbed my bacon cheeseburger and sat down on the couch and turned on the TV, some really funny cartoons were on. “I’ll be on the studio” He then said and I nodded.

“Don’t be up to late” I told him, he just waved his hand and disappeared inside the hall. I rolled my eyes, when my dad was really into something there was nothing that could pull him out until he was finished.

“What are we watching?” Evan asked. He was completely relaxed now, no signs of that guy who was breathing as heavily as I was a couple of minutes ago, who was also just an inch away from kissing me.

“SpongeBob” I simply said and took another bite on my burger. We laughed at the screen for a long time before I decided to take on the dessert, I poured some ice cream on two cups, it had chocolate cookies inside, and it was also my favorite. There was a shy knock on the door and Evan went to get it. Lana walked inside the living room completely fuming.

“I’m grounded until next year” She said “Can you believe it? The first time I ever try to do something bad and I don’t only get caught before I do it but I also get grounded for planning something I didn’t even do”

I grabbed another cup.

“Sounds like you need a little ice cream in your life” I said as I poured the ice cream and got three spoons. She grabbed her cup and sat between Evan and me. He looked at me over her head and I slightly shrugged.

“Where have you guys been all afternoon?” She suddenly asked, we both looked at each other.

“Around” We said at the same time and smiled at each other. Lana looked at both of us suspicious; she blushed when she found Evan looking down at her. I mean yeah, Evan is actually very hot, he’s tall, muscular, his skin is the same color as the sunset and when he smiles you can see a little dimple on his right cheek which was very adorable but having Vincent who was the very definition of sexiness (and you never heard it from me) I didn’t see how she was so infatuated with Evan.

“So Evan” She started as she looked down at her ice cream “Where are you from?”

“I was born in Newport but I grew up in Helenwood, it’s a very beautiful place around this time of the year”

“What about your parents?” She continued asking, I didn’t complain because I felt like I should know this stuff and I never asked.

“It’s complicated” He said, he stared at the TV for a long time; soon I knew he wasn’t really going to answer.

“Do you have any brothers or sisters?” Lana kept asking.

“I have a sister” He smiled at the memory “Who’s actually a giant pain in the ass”

“Is she older or younger?”

“Younger”

“Siblings can sometimes be annoying” I agreed and Lana turned to me with a hurt look, I laughed. “I’m not talking about you silly” I playfully punched her shoulder “I’m talking about my older brother”

“We have an older brother?” Her eyes grew wide and I giggled at that.

“I have an older brother” I clarified “He used to bother me whenever he could but even then no one could mess with me in front of him” I remembered all those time I was bullied in front of our house and he and Luke would come out yelling and punching the stupid kids until they ran away crying.

“What happened to him?” She asked “Is he a guardian”

There was a moment of silence.

“He ran away to the human world” I tried to not show any emotion as I said this. It really hurt that he was gone, especially when nobody knew the reason why he left, he had barely got inside the unit and was very excited to help people. I guess I would never know what happened to him. Lana nodded like she understood and didn’t say anything about it, as I said leaving Luminaria and going to the human world was a crime, even if he ever decided to come back he would probably be sentenced to death.

“Oh well” Evan said as he stood up from the couch “Do you mind if I take a shower?” I simply looked up from my ice cream and imagined him inside my bathroom, all wet and naked.

“No” I finally replied and he winked at me like he knew what was on my mind before walking away. Lana watched him leave until he was out of sight.

“He’s interesting” She said looking down at her ice cream.

“He is” I confirmed. I knew she had some sort of crush on him, but I didn’t want to say anything considering Evan and I were closed to kissing several times. I grabbed Evan’s cup and mine and headed to the kitchen to wash them. Lana followed me.

“Do you think he has a girlfriend or something” Her voice was so low. I shrugged because I honestly didn’t know.

“I’ve never heard him talking about having one” Was my response.

“I think I like him” She said. There it was, I didn’t know how her confession made me feel, it was weird because just an hour ago we were both pressing against the stupid door almost kissing, I wanted him to kiss me but how could I possibly say something like that to her. “I like him a lot” I finished washing the cups and turned around to face her.

“What about Vincent?” I asked her. Vincent would probably do anything this girl asked him to do, he was that in love with her and it bothered me the fact that she was sitting here so calm talking about liking a guy she doesn’t even know when there was some other guy out there thinking they were meant for each other. She blushed furiously and looked down at her hands.

“He doesn’t make me feel the way Evan makes me feel” She frowned “It bothers me that I can’t be what he needs but I can’t help it”

“I don’t get it…you don’t even know Evan” It was true, he has barely spent time with me, she only saw the guy for a couple of hours, how could she be so in love?

Lana’s eyes landed on mine, there was so much feeling inside of the green orbs “I know that but from the first moment I saw him, he’s all I can think about” I tried very hard to keep my thoughts to myself. “It’s almost magical”

“Well then” I sighed “What are you going to do?”

“I don’t know” She sat down on a stool and looked at me like waiting for me to give her the right answer. Truth to be told I couldn’t.

“Wanna stay over?” I knew I would regret asking her to stay over when Evan was also staying over but she was my sister after all. Her face lit up like a freaking firework and it made it all worth it.

We got ready to go to bed and wandered around my room waiting for nothing special, we weren’t sleepy so we just sat there sighing and thinking about our lives.

“Lana what do you know about the council?” I asked her, remembering today’s conversation with Riley and Eric. She was sitting down going through my childhood pictures.

“Well…” She seemed surprised I ever asked of such a thing. “It’s a group of seven people who make decisions about the important stuff in Luminaria. It might seem like my father makes all the important decisions but it’s not like that”

“How does it work?”

“They have a meeting, discuss it and after voting they come to a conclusion” She shrugged as she flipped the pages and touched my pictures.

“How do you know all this?” I asked her, she knew a lot.

“My father thought it would be a good idea for me to know all of this, he said I would need this information one day” She put down the photo album and went to grab a book. Of course she would need this information one day, she will be queen.

“Do you know the people that run the council?” I asked and she nodded.

“A bunch of boring people” She giggled “Actually Vincent’s father is part of it, some people say that Vincent will have to take his place one day”

“Why?”

“The spots on the council are hereditary, Vincent’s grandfather was in it before his father and when the time comes it will be Vincent’s turn”

“What happens with Lui?” Where did all of this leave him?

“He’s the younger son” She shrugged like it was obvious.

“Where is their mother?” I asked suddenly very curious about their family dynamic.

“She died when they were very young” She answered “For what I heard she was very gorgeous”

“It’s not hard to believe…you just have to see them” I sighed and lay down on my bed leaving some space for her to lie too. She walked over and laid next to me, we looked at each other for a while in silence.

“Do you think Vincent will be mad?” She whispered. I could sense the fear in her eyes, despite everything she did care for his feelings.

“I don’t know” I said “I don’t know him like you do”

She seemed to think about it for a while.

“He’s a wonderful person” Her eyes were slowly closing in and I also felt mine following her example.

“I bet he is”

None of us said anything after that.


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