The next day is our lesson with Jerny. For me and Darby. We stand in his shop, practicing the spell he has demanded of us for weeks.
As usual, Darby gets it quickly, earning a proud beam and affectionate pat on the back from her uncle.
I close my eyes and try to concentrate my energy on my hand, I suddenly feel a cooling sensation on my fingers. It’s my magic. I know it is.
I feel it flow around my wrist. I feel it turn and spin, just concentrate.
I feel my magic take form. I can see the form I want, an apple. It’s a Forming spell, oh I’m so close!
Suddenly, the engagement ring forms in my mind, and the apple shifts into it.
No! That’s not what I want. Shit!
I try to focus again on the apple, but my mind wanders. From the ring, to the chainsaw. To a chair and then my book. Then to a roll, then to Darby and then to my fiance, Jabeth.
I try to shift my thoughts to my mother, it always works. But my mind is stuck on Jabeth. What the fuck?
I see his cold, heartless eyes. I see his ruthless words and mocking smirk.
I feel anger swell within me, and before I know it. My magic goes from cooling, to lukewarm, then to a burning inferno.
I open my eyes and see my magic, but in the center is a swirl of fire so big, it grows on my anger. Swallowing the air, a powerful flame. I gasp and scream, shaking my hand wildly. It soon disappears, but flames fly in the air. Hitting random items.
It hits a bookcase, then the floor, the table, even Darby.
Darby screams as a flame lands on her arm, burning her skin.
Jerny waves his hand, his magic washing over her limb in green and dark green waves. She pants and drops to her knee’s, huddled over her arm. The skin is a deep red, a huge burn. “Josie!” She sobs.
Jerny drops to her side, while I stare at my hands. Breathing heavy.
No.. no.. it was an accident.
I look up at her. “I-I’m so sorry.. it was an accident-”
“Look what you’ve done!” She screeches. I look to see her skin charring up. Oh my stars..
I swallow and back up slowly, feeling tears in my eyes. “I-I’m s-sorry-”
A huge sob rips through the air as Jerny tries to heal her wound. “It’s a third degree burn”, he mumbles.
But every word after that, I don’t hear.
I hurt Darby.
I hurt her.
I shuffle until my back hits the door to his shop. I grab for anything that gives me stability. Surely enough I find the handle, and like that.
I bolt out.
Tears stream down my face and I tuck my arms into my chest. I dash outside until I’m deep into the garden. I round the corner, sprinting away.
I run from Darby, I run from Jerny. I run from my engagement. All I can do is run. I’m a runner.
I round a hedge and drop to the ground, silent sobs rack through me. I try not to dwell on my thoughts, but I.. I can’t do anything right. I can’t be who my mother wants me to be.
“You’re a responsible, strong, independent young lady.” She said.
N-No mom.. I let tears run down my face.. I-I’m not.
After a long day of entertaining my brothers, who are now picking on the kitchen staff and all that good stuff, I walk around the palace grounds. Surveying everything I see.
I come to the garden, it’s rather beauteous. But suddenly the sound of crying ruins the scenery.
I furrow my brow, looking around. Soon enough I find Josie James, my fiance, curled into a ball and crying on the ground behind a hedge.
“Your Highness?” I ask.
She whirls to see me, her face an absolute mess. She wipes at her cheeks but doesn’t get up. “What do you want?”
Of course she would pronounce the you. I’m the, ahem, cold hearted bat who sleeps in a coffin.
I cross my arms, “What are you doing?”
Anger flits in her eyes as she shoots up from the ground. “What does it look like I’m doing? Can’t you have the decency to not look at me with such disgust?!”
I frown. Disgust? I point at my face, “This right here is pity.”
“Well I don’t want your fucking pity.” She clenches her hands into fists.
I look down at them, before looking back at her. “Why were you crying?”
Her whole body shakes with rage. I can sense the magic stirring within her.
Suddenly all the rage leaves her and she crumples to the ground, catching me off guard. I was so sure she would take a swing at me.
She sniffs and wipes her cheek, head bowed and eyes lowered. “Just leave me alone..” She closes her eyes and covers her face with her hands.
But I don’t move. I just stand there. But the longer I watch her, the more pity I feel. I don’t want to feel sorry for her. But you have to admit, seeing a girl cry will lower your defense’s. Even mine.
I sigh and squat in front of her in a crouch, my hands clasped. “Hey.. look at me.”
She tense’s at my voice and shuts her eyes harder.
I roll my eyes and place my index finger under her chin, forcing her eyes to open and look at me.
I sigh again. “Look. I think it is very clear we don’t like each other, or want to be married..” I knit my brows and look down for a moment, this is harder then I thought it would be. Being gentle with a woman. “But since we have no choice but to accept that fact, we should try to at least get along. And as much as I don’t want to admit it, a distant marriage wouldn’t benefit the realms.. so we should at least become.. acquaintances?”
I feel rather winded after such a speech. She backs up her head until it no longer touches my finger. I hold my hands together as she scowls, but looks down again. “Fine.. I suppose you’re right..”
I blink. I was so sure she would fight me on that. Looks like this woman has some brains after all.
I don’t stand up, staying in a crouch. “So.. why are you crying?”
Her eyes slowly move to the side, still trained on the ground. “I hurt my friend.”
I don’t even blink. “Why did you hurt her?”
She throws her hands in the air, almost hitting me. “I didn’t mean to. It was an accident! I lost control of my magic and.. things got out of hand.”
I swallow and nod. I can see where she’s coming from. I’ve felt that before, and I ended up just like her. Crying in a random corner for fear of myself.
“Okay.. I’m going to assume you don’t have good control of your magic then?”
She hesitates before shaking her head.
I sigh and nod slowly. Okay.. so we’re getting somewhere. It’s better then seeing her cry. “Is your mentor not a good one, or..?” I trail off, suggesting maybe another reason.
She shakes her head vehemently, eyes snapping up to mine. “No! Jerny is a good mentor. I’m just.. wired differently I guess..” She trails off, her voice getting softer.
I quirk a brow. Wired differently.. Interesting.
“I accidentally burned her and I ran out.. I’ve never been so angry in all my life.”
I smirk. “So this is the third time this week you’ve ran away from your problems?”
She looks up at me and glares. Making me give a fake, quick and fleeting smile. “Sorry.” Suddenly I think on what she said. She lost control. Why? She burned her friend. How?
She has never felt so angry. Both how and why?
I feel very curious and am about to open my mouth to ask before she stands up, brushing off her jeans and keeping her head lowered. “I’m sorry you had to see that. Apologies for wasting your time with my insignificant personal problems. I’ll go now..”
She trails off, walking away from me and towards the entrance to the gardens.
I stand up, watching her go before turning my gaze to a random bush and zoning out. I can't deny the peak in my interest. Josie James is a mystery to me, a mystery I want to solve..