Again, I wake up with Ashley asleep in my bed. This time she is wearing one of my t-shirts and underwear cuddled up against me. Luckily, I am still in the clothes from yesterday.
I sneak out of the bed to shower and brush my teeth. As I walk out I see Akane cleaning up the living room. She smiles and bows to me “Good morning master.”
“Morning Akane," I say back already getting used to her being a part of this dysfunctional household.
The place is trashed. There are clothes everywhere, both guy’s and girls’ clothes. I head to the restroom to do my business. As I am drying off from the shower, I hear knocking at the front door. I put the towel around me and head to the door to answer it hoping they don’t want to practice again.
When I get to the end of the hallway, I see Akane answer the door. “Welcome to my master’s sanctum, how may I serve you.”
I chuckle and shake my head at how she answered the door. Then I hear Ariya’s voice sounding like she doesn’t know how to react to Akane. “Um,thi- this is Fabien’s room, right?”
Akane gestures for her to enter. “Yes, Master Fabien is right here. Please come in.”
Ariya walks in slowly looking at the aftermath of last night’s party. She follows a trail of clothes with her eyes up to me standing in my towel. Her eyes widen then she quickly looks away, “Fabien where are your clothes?”
I look down and realize I am still in a towel, “Oh, right sorry. Let me go change.”
I head back to my room and drop the towel to begin changing. Ashley wakes up while I am in the middle of putting on some boxers. She smiles “Well good morning to me.”
I smirk, “Morning, why are you in my room again?”
She pulls my pillow I slept on to her and hugs it. “I missed you, don’t you miss me?”
I slide on a shirt. “I really don’t have time to discuss it, I have company waiting.”
“Oh, your girlfriend?” She asks with a raised eyebrow.
I hesitate briefly remembering what I lied about before. “Yeah, whatever.”
I finish dressing and walk out to see Ariya and Akane talking as Akane continues cleaning. Akane is in the middle of explaining how we are all her masters and what she does to please us. I have to quickly interrupt her before she says anything too crazy. "Akane enough talking, please just finish cleaning.”
She bows to me, “Yes Master Fabien.”
I look at Ariya and she has an amused look on her face. “Wow, you and your roommates are kind of disgusting.”
I chuckle and rub a hand through my hair in embarrassment, “It’s really not like that, they-”
Now, I get interrupted by Ashley walking out of my room half-naked. Ariya looks to her, then back to me with an accusing look as she crosses her arms.
Ashley not yet noticing us says, “Fabien, have you seen my-” She finally notices us and looks to Ariya, “Oh you must be Ariya, Fabien’s girlfriend.”Ariya glares back at me and I chuckle nervously. Ashley thinks I might be in trouble and says, “Oh, don’t worry, nothing happened. I just slept with him last night.”
My eyes close tightly because she didn’t make it sound any better. I rub my eyes with one hand, “Ashley could you go back in the room so I could talk to Ariya.”
“Oh, okay,” She says, then bends down picking some clothes off the floor giving me an apologetic look before stepping back in my room.
I look back at Ariya seeing she seems a bit more upset. “Girlfriend, really?”
I step towards her, “It’s a misunderstanding, really.”
“You bet your butt it is.”
I quickly try and change the subject, “So, why are you here?”
“Oh, well I wanted to talk to you about some stuff, but I can see you are busy-” She looks around at the mess and continues “-with whatever you have going on here. I am pretty sure it’s against the rules.”
I chuckle and look around as well, “It’s not... I mean... whatever, I am not busy. What-”
Now Mikey’s door opens, and we hear giggling as him and another one of the females come out kissing. Of course, they are both half-naked as well. They both notice us, and the girl turns with a smile motioning at Ariya, “Hey, it’s Fabien’s girlfriend.”
Ariya rolls her eyes with a scoff as she turns to the door, “Goodbye Fabien”
I glare at Mikey as he mouths the words “I’m sorry” to me. Ariya storms out and I chase her in the hall.
"Ariya wait!” I call out as I run up to her.
She turns looking at me pretty upset now. “Just go back in there to your sick little orgy, or whatever you got going on.” She says in a raised voice. Then she begins walking off again talking to herself, “It was stupid for me to come here.”
“It’s not like that, it’s...” I sigh and rush up beside her grabbing her hand. “You know what never mind. Ariya talk to me.”
She turns again stepping towards me almost shouting now. “How many people have you told that I am your girlfriend?”
Now we hear a few chuckles and some oohs. We both look around noticing we attracted a crowd. Then I hear Andrew say, “Shame shame Fabien, dating your bonded partner is a big no no.”
She sighs deeply hearing him as well, “Well great”
She hurries off again and I chase after her saying to everyone as I pass by, “We really aren’t dating”
I catch up to her again grabbing her hand stopping her once more, “Damn it Ariya stop. Talk to me, what’s wrong?”
She jerks her hand away, “Don’t touch me!”
“Then tell me what you want. Don’t make me read your mind.” I say, hoping she won’t call my bluff.
She scowls and points her finger in my face, “Don’t you dare.”
I grab her hand and lower it away, “Then talk”
She looks around to everyone still watching us, “Fine, but not here.”
We both end up leaving and she rents a sky carriage to fly us around for a while. For the first five minutes, she is just looking out her window nervously. I can feel her trying to build up the courage to try and tell me something. Eventually, she closes her eyes and takes in a deep breath before looking at me.
“How did you find out what Wayne did to me?” She asks,
I scratch my head knowing this has to be a very uncomfortable subject for her, “I think I saw your memory of it as I was dreaming.”
She narrows her eyes at me skeptically, “And you assumed it was real?”
“At first, I wasn’t sure, till I started feeling how scared you were around him. Plus seeing your reaction when I brought it up helped. I guess when you kept asking about it in your head pretty much confirmed it.” I say,
She turns looking out the window again. “Dang it, I really hate that you can read my thoughts.”
“Can I ask why you haven’t told anyone about what happened?” I ask,
“Well, I wanted to, but Wayne threatened my brother’s job. He said his parents could get him fired or even worse.”
I lean forward with my hands on my knees getting even angrier. “How could they do that?”
She looks back at me noticing my anger. “Well, everyone knows his parents are big political figures. They could get him fired or even arrested for something he didn’t even do.”
I growl and sit up, “Now I hate him even more. You know people have said some pretty horrible things about how you two broke up.”
She nods in agreement, “Yeah I know, he played it off well. I would have never done anything like that. I was... I thought I was in love with him, until he did that to me. We did have a huge argument in front of the school. When he knew everyone was watching, he made me look like the bad person. Fabien please, you cannot tell anyone about this.”
I just look at her a second knowing she is sincerely scared for her brother. I growl again hitting the side of the carriage with the side of my fist, “Fuck, I really want to beat their asses for what they did!” I sigh deeply, “Okay, I won’t say anything. But if they bother you or even look at you the wrong way, you better tell me. I am your guardian; I’m going to do my job and protect you.”
She smiles, “For now.”
“What?” I ask as I look at her unsure what she means by that.
“For now, you mean. You are only my guardian till the year is up then we are breaking it, right?” She asks as she stares back at me.
I look away realizing that is what we planned on doing. Do I still want that? “Oh right, yeah I guess.” I say,
Seeing my reaction her eyes narrow and her head tilts “You still want too right?”
I look back at her and nod, “Yeah, yeah of course I do. It’s what you want right?”
I feel a bit of reluctance come over her as she nods giving me a slight smile. “Yeah, I do.” I look at her almost not believing she wants to break this anymore. Then she says, “Thank you Fabien, you’re not as much of a jerk as I thought you were.”
I smirk and lean back with my arms spread across the seat, “Yes I am”
She chuckles, “Yeah you are right. Let’s get you back home to whatever that was going on there.”
I shake my head and one of my hands at her refusing to go back. “Nah I am good. I will make sure you get home okay then stop and grab me something to eat. I think I want to avoid my dorm for a while. My roommates are pretty crazy.”
She smirks while giving me a look of disbelief. We talk for a bit longer on the way back to the dorms. On the way back I don’t know why but I say, “You know, we might not be very close or anything. But if you ever want to talk to me about what happened you can.”
She smiles, “I don’t think I really feel comfortable talking about it with you.”
I nod, “That’s fine. Does anyone else know?”
“Melissa does. She and you are the only ones who do, and I really want to keep it that way.” She says as she stares at me to get her point across.
I get her hint and chuckle, “Don’t worry I won’t say anything. Well anyways, it’s good you have a friend to talk to.”
She smiles and looks down at her hands in her lap. “Yeah, I don’t know what I would have done if she wasn’t there for me.”
We make it back and I walk her up to the entrance. She begins walking inside then stops and looks back at me. “What are you going to do now?”
I look down at the road and rub the back of my head. “I don’t know, probably stop by a convenience store and grab a hot dog or something.”
Her face scrunches in displeasure, “How about you come up with me and eat some real food. You can stay here for a while since you want to avoid your dorm.”
“Are you sure that’s okay?” I ask as I look past her. I know the rules forbid male students from entering the female dorms. Male serfs aren’t even allowed to go in there, only female serfs can.
She takes my hand pulling me with her, “Yeah it is, come on. Did you forget who my brother is?”
I smirk and follow her in. Normally the golems wouldn’t allow me to enter the female dorms but since I am her bonded guardian and with her it does. We walk further in.
Then I begin to wonder how she got in the boy’s dorm without me there to escort her. “How did you get past the golem at my dorm? I thought females weren’t allowed in unless they gained permission or with their bonded partner.”
She grins, “Being the Headmaster’s little sister has its perks. I know all the secret phrases to get in anywhere I want.”
I chuckle, “Wow,” I say, then I glance down seeing her still holding my hand pulling me with her. “You might want to let go of my hand. We don’t want the rumors about us to start here as well.”
She glances to our hands then quickly lets go. “Oh right, definitely don’t want that.”
Normally, when she would let go of my hand or accidentally touch me, she would wipe it off like I was disgusting, she didn’t this time.
As I am walking through, I see all the females looking at us. A mixture of pleasant smells fill the hallway. I look around taking in the differences between the male and female dorms. I have always wanted to see what the female dorms looked like. There are actually some whispers about us dating, that I decided to keep to myself.
We finally get up to her room and enter. Sitting in the living room watching TV is Melissa and Elizabeth. Melissa looks to me in disgust “Why is that here?”
Ariya chuckles, “Be nice, he can’t go home right now so I invited him here to eat.”
Melissa scoffs turning back around, and Elizabeth smiles at me, “Hello, my hero.”
Ariya rolls her eyes walking off to the kitchen area. Melissa looks to her unsure why she called me her hero. “What did he do?”
“He saved me from embarrassment at the spa.”
Ariya says from the kitchen, “He made her drop her towel, so she held on to him hiding her breasts from everyone else.”
Elizabeth and I smile to each other as Melissa clicks her tongue, “Perverts, the both of you”
Elizabeth kicks at her from across the couch, “Don’t be jealous”
Melissa laughs looking at me, “Of him, as if”
We sit and talk for a while as we eat. I can almost feel like Ariya is opening up to me more now that she shared what she did with me. Now I can actually feel myself able to tolerate her a bit more. Elizabeth and I have some more playful flirting back and forth repulsing the other two. I finish eating and head back to my dorm. Elizabeth decides to follow me and talking to me all the way back. Being Ariya’s friend, I guess Ariya told her the secret phrase to get past the golem as well. We get to my room and I say goodbye to her. She waves to Markus lounged on the couch before leaving.
When I walk in Markus grins at me, “What’s up pimp? You wake up with a girl in your bed, leave with another, and then come home with a different girl. Man, you are good.”
I chuckle and look around, “Whatever man, where is everyone?”
He shrugs, “I don’t know, I think they went to a show or something. I think that Ashley girl likes you.”
I grin, “Yeah, been there not going back. Well, I am going to study, please don’t let anyone disturb me.”
I turn to walk off and he stops me, “Hey before you leave. My bonding ritual is coming up, would you want to come watch?”
I nod, “Sure, I will ask to see if I can. You know I never really learned what sphere you are?”
“Transmutation, you know the shape-changing magic.” He says as he holds up his hand and feathers grow out of his skin, and his nails turn into bird-like talons
I smile and nod, “Nice, sounds useful.”
"How’s yours coming along?” He asks as his hand shifts back to normal. Then he leans forward and grabs his drink off the coffee table in front of him.
I shake my head in disappointment, “Not very well, I mean I can do a little, but it requires pretty much all my concentration to keep it going.”
He looks towards me, “You should take Mr. Drake’s meditation class it really helped me a lot.”
I roll my eyes, “Oh I am in it; the guy freaks me out always touching me and shit.”
Markus laughs, “Yeah he does that to everyone. You will get used to it.”
“I don’t know about that.”
We finish talking and I head to my room to study. As I am working on my abjuration magic my phone begins going off. I look and see it’s from an unknown number.
I answer, “Hello”
I hear Ariya’s voice on the other line, “Is this Fabien?”
“Yeah, how did you get my number?” I ask,
“Daniel gave it to me.”
She gets quiet for a second and I can feel her nervousness. ”Soooo, why did you call me? Can’t you just talk to me in my head?”
“Well, you can’t talk back. I am not bothering you, am I?” She asks
I lay back on my bed with one arm behind my head. “No, not really, what did you want to talk about?”
“Oh, I just wanted to thank you for everything you have done for me lately. I know we have never really got along” She says,
I chuckle “Yeah, you can say that again.”
“Can I ask what all you saw in your dream?”
“Not much really, I mean you were being held down by Tyson and - ” I feel her emotions flooding into me and I hesitate. “Are you sure you want to talk about this? I can feel that it is bothering you.”
She ignores my question, “Did you see everything he did to me?”
I sigh feeling uncomfortable talking about it myself. “No, I woke up as he was just stripping you and kissing you. Don’t worry I didn’t see you naked if that’s what you are worried about. Did he really hurt you? Is that why you wear all the long sleeve shirts and pants?”
She hesitates and I start to hear the sadness in her voice. Feeling the shame and sadness she is feeling at this moment actually begins to affect me. “I just feel sick every time I look at my body. Also, I don’t want people to look at me like that anymore. It just makes my skin crawl thinking about them looking at me like that.”
“But you don’t seem that freaked out around me. I mean I feel your discomfort at times, but it doesn’t seem as bad as you say.” I say,
“Yeah, well I guess it’s because I don’t see you as a guy like them. Or someone I would ever want to see me that way.” She says,
I chuckle “Wow, thanks.”
“Sorry, that came out wrong. I mean you’re-′
“A serf?” I cut her off saying,
“My guardian” She quickly retorts,
The more we continue to talk, I just focus on her emotions. I try my best to say whatever to cheer her up, but it doesn’t seem to work. This is a painful subject for her to talk about. Then she begins to cry on the phone, and I start to tear up thinking about what she went through. I wipe my eyes and cuss myself in my head thinking this girl is turning me into a pansy making me tear up like this. We talk for so long; she actually falls asleep on the phone with me.
The next couple of months go by. Wayne and Tyson seemed to back off a bit. I figure Donovan had a talk with them. Donovan and I continue our training every morning. On the training machines, I end up getting to level two with five opponents slightly ahead of everyone else. I am still switching between two swords and the cestus as my weapons.
The closest person to me is Tyson at level two with three opponents. He likes to wield a massive two-handed hammer to destroy his opponents. Donovan finally makes it to rank eight which is a school record.
My magic training has advanced as well. I learned to manifest an invisible force shield to protect me from incoming attacks. It’s very reactionary and I have to know the attack is coming. But mostly I rely on my speed and agility to dodge any attack coming at me.
The meditation class is slowly growing on me. It has really helped my concentration with my magic. Mr. Drake ends up bringing his wife in one time to have her teach us some stuff. She is a lot like him hugging people and talking in her monotone voice.
Ariya and I have grown a bit closer as friends. Every now and then one of us will still say or do something to piss the other off. She makes me laugh because no matter how pissed she gets she won’t cuss, like it makes her look lower class or something. We spend a lot of time practicing together not taking any other partners.
Minerva found out more information on the savants of the past. Apparently, all the savants come from the same bloodline. Since I never knew my birth parents or even who they are I have no way to find out anything. She still hasn’t found out the other sphere I am linked to. But after hearing about certain instances and stories I told her she thinks it might be Divination like Ariya.
One weekend while I am getting dressed to go out to eat with my teammates for our weekly strategy session. Mikey knocks and walks into my room “Hey Fabien”
I look over at him as I slide on a shirt. “What’s up Mikey.”
He rubs the back of his neck looking away nervously. “I know you have been kind of avoiding the parties we have been having. But my birthday is coming up and I would really like for you to be there. You can bring your teammates if you want?”
I smile, “Sure man I will go. I am going to meet with my teammates now and I will ask them if they want to go as well.”
His face lights up. “Cool, thanks a lot!
He leaves and I head out meeting up with Ronald and Jesse to go get the girls. As we are making our way up to their dorm room, I am stopped by a female handing me a note. She says it’s from her friend then runs off. I smirk and begin reading it while Jesse looks over my shoulder. Apparently, some girl has a crush on me, but is too scared to approach me personally.
Ariya sees us walking us walking in the hall as I am reading the note. She walks up wearing a nice looking yellow and white sundress with no shoes, “What are you reading?” She asks, looking at the note curiously.
Jesse smiles, “A love note from one of his secret admirers.”
She grins and snatches the note from my hands, “Oh let me see!”
She begins reading it and I try to grab it back. She turns facing away from me and I try reaching around her. She squirms away laughing, then runs off to her room. I chase her inside and she tries running around her couch. I finally catch her lifting her in the air dropping her on the couch. I sit on her so she can’t get away and she struggles not letting me grab the note. I finally catch her hands pinning them over her head. She looks up to me leaning over her, and I guess she flashes back to what happened with Wayne and Tyson.
She becomes overwhelmed with fear as she struggles harder even clawing at my skin “Fabien get of me! GET OFF! She yells,
Feeling her fear, I let go standing up as she shoves me aside and runs off to the restroom. Ronald steps in at this time looking at me with concern, “What happened?”
I look at him knowing she wouldn’t want me to tell him. I rub the back of my head with worry “I think I accidentally hurt her. Still not used to all this new strength I have.”
“Oh” He says as he glances down the hall to the restroom.
Melissa walks out of her room hearing the bathroom door slam and she looks at us, “What was all that noise?”
Ronald grins, “Just some sexy wrestling between Fabien and Ariya that got out of hand.”
“Well be quiet, Elizabeth isn’t feeling good and is sleeping.”
“Sorry,” I say still feeling horrible for what I did.
A few minutes go by as we are waiting for Ariya to come out of the restroom. Then I hear in my head (Can you come here?)
I stand and begin to walk towards the restroom “I will be right-”
I don’t get to take two steps away, as I suddenly appear in the restroom. Never actually been summoned before it gives me a crazy head rush. As I begin to steady myself to keep from falling over, I see her sitting on the toilet.
I immediately turn facing away, "Woah, sorry”
“Don’t worry, I’m not using the restroom.” I turn back around as she looks up to me. “I am sorry for freaking out like that”
“It’s okay, I shouldn’t have held you down like that. I should have known better.”
She looks down at her hands while she picks at the skin beside her nails. “I really don’t know why I panicked like that.”
I crouch down in front of her leaning with my back against the wall, “You went through a very traumatic event. It’s probably going to take a while before you actually get over something like that.”
She looks up at me and I can see her eyes have glassed over from crying. “Please don’t let anyone know why I ran in here.”
I give her a reassuring smile, “I told them I accidentally hurt you while wrestling. But Ariya, you know I would never hurt you like that. You have no reason to be scared of me.”
She gives me a slight smile back. “I know, but you do get pretty scary when you are angry.”
I chuckle, “I mean there are times you piss me off so bad I want to push you down a flight of steps, but I don’t”
She chuckles wiping a tear from her eyes, “God, you don’t know how bad you make me want to cuss sometimes.”
“You should do it, it will make you feel ten times, no hundred times better if you do.”
She gives me a disbelieving smirk, “I don’t know about that. We were always taught cussing makes you less refined.”
“Come on try it. Call me an asshole.”
She laughs and shakes her head, “No”
“Come on don’t be a pussy, call me an asshole. You know you want to.”
She gasps, “Jerk, no I am not saying that.”
I lean forward and push on her knee, “Chicken shit”
She laughs and kicks at me, “Stop!”
I catch her foot and grin at her, “Fine we will do it this way then.”
I begin tickling the bottom of her foot. She squeals and begins squirming around laughing. “No Fabien stop!”
I laugh, “Not till you call me an asshole”
She continues to squirm, sliding off the toilet as my tickling begins moving up her legs to her sides. Her laughing quickly turns to panic as I guess she has no control over what is going on as she really begins to struggle.
“Stop! Let go! Fabien please stop!” She shouts,
The restroom door bursts open as Melissa charges in and quickly grabs me pulling me away from Ariya. She slams me against the wall and pins me with her elbow in my throat. She hits me twice in the face before Ariya yells, “Melissa no!”
Her hits were so hard I started seeing stars, and I know I am probably going to have a black eye. Still holding me pinned against the wall, she turns and looks at Ariya. Everyone is standing in the doorway now seeing what was going on.
Ariya sits up wiping her eyes again. “Let him go, he wasn’t hurting me.”
Melissa hesitantly let's go and I slide down the wall holding my eye groaning in pain. She looks down at me.“Sorry I thought -”
Ariya gives a slight chuckle, "Fabien was just being an asshole and wouldn’t quit tickling me.”
They all look at her in disbelief hearing her cuss and I chuckle hearing her finally call me an asshole. Elizabeth got woken up by all the commotion and walks out with a blanket wrapped around her looking very rough. “What’s going on?” She asks in a gruff tired voice.
Melissa leans down helping Ariya up “Nothing babe, just go back to bed. It’s just Fabien being an idiot.”
Elizabeth covers her head with her blanket to hide her bedraggled appearance from me “Crap, he’s here?”
I laugh as I slowly begin to stand still holding my eye, “Yeah, kind of regretting coming over now.”
“Well, if I knew you were coming over, I wouldn’t have come out looking like this.” Elizabeth says as she turns away from me.
I chuckle making my way over to her I pull down her blanket from her face, “Even on your worst day you look a hundred times better than the other girls here.” I say as I step around in front of her and lift her chin, so she looks at me.
She laughs as both Ariya and Melissa gasp. “Okay, Melissa hit him again.” Ariya says,
Elizabeth reaches up touching my already bruising eye, “What happened to your face.”
I look over at Melissa, “It’s just a reminder to never piss Melissa off.”
“You got that right” Melissa says,
We all eventually leave to eat without Elizabeth, because she is sick. Ariya keeps chuckling at me seeing me pressing my cold drink against my eye, telling me in my head that I deserved that. While we are out, I eventually bring up the party to them all. The girls are hesitant about it, knowing how crazy the parties have got before. Ronald and Jesse were a lot easier to convince to go. I promise them that I won’t let things get too out of hand this time. Ariya finally agrees to go, which in turn Melissa agrees as well.
We finish our little strategy session then head back to our rooms. I tell them that they should meet up at our dorm around six. Also, I make sure and tell Mikey that they don’t want things to get too crazy as they have been. He agrees saying he wants to keep it a lot simpler and just having his friends there.
At about five-thirty, everyone begins showing up. Most of the people even brought gifts for him. Akane greets everyone that enters and serves us all drinks and snacks. Her outfit is a lot less revealing this time and more like an actual maid’s outfit.
The party actually is going well, and nowhere near as wild as the parties have been. Most of the games we play are tame, like charades and trivia games. The party dies down a bit after a few people leave. I walk over seeing Ariya and Ashley talking. When I get close, they quiet down smiling at each other which makes me skeptical.
I narrow my eyes at them, “Ladies, what’s going on?”
Ashley grins, “I was just talking to your girlfriend here about when we used to date.”
I look over at Ariya with a smile hearing she is going along with the girlfriend thing now. She smiles looking away taking a drink of her soda.
“And what did you tell my, girlfriend?” I ask,
Ashely smiles at Ariya, “I told her that you were pretty bad at dating, but great at everything else.”
“I don’t think I was bad at dating.”
She chuckles, “You never wanted to go anywhere; and when I finally convinced you to go somewhere, you would always take me to the stupidest places.” She looks back to Ariya “He once took me to this comedy act with puppets, it was so terrible people were getting up and leaving. But he thought it hilarious.”
Ariya chuckles and I cross my arms and narrow my eyes at her. “So why did you stay with me then, if I was so horrible at dating?”
She smiles at me and glances down at my crotch. “Like I said, you were great at everything else. You know what I mean.”
I look at Ariya and she is blushing a bit still not able to make eye contact with me. I can feel a slight curiosity coming from Ariya which makes me want to keep this going. “I’m not exactly sure what you mean by, everything else.”
She glances back to Ariya, “You know, don’t make me get into details in front of her. I don’t think she wants to know about our sex life.”
Ariya looks at her and brings up both hands to stop her. “Yeah, I don’t really need to know about that.”
Still curious I ask, “And what made you two get on this subject about me?”
“Oh, I just asked how far you two have got together.” Ashley says,
I glance to Ariya with a smirk and her eyes widen and quickly interjects, “And I told her, we were taking things slow. We haven’t done a lot yet.”
My smile widens at how much she lied about this. She again gets embarrassed looking away from me. Then Ashley asks, “You two have kissed though right?”
We look at each other and I smirk wanting to see what she will say. Ariya hesitates, “We...uh.”
Ashley looks at me in shock, knowing just how much I loved kissing. “You two haven’t kissed?”
I chuckle, “Well like she said, we are trying to take things slowly and we are really aren’t supposed to be together, so we are trying to keep it on the down-low.”
She laughs and just as she is going to say something else, the power flickers then goes out. A voice over the intercoms says that there is a bad storm hitting and for all of us to stay indoors. I can feel a bit of nervousness coming from Ariya as she looks up at the flickering lights.
I look at her with concern, “Are you okay?”
She crosses her arms over her chest and looks around in worry. “Sorry I don’t do well with storms.”
Melissa comes over knowing about this and takes Ariya’s hand. We all sit down together, and they light some candles. Ariya is sitting beside me on the couch while we all begin talking about whatever. It doesn’t take long for everyone to start getting tired, Ariya is one as well. I catch her dozing in and out of sleep.
I look at her, “Why don’t you just go lay down in my room till they say it’s okay to leave?”
She looks at me like I’m crazy then to everyone else. “No way, I am not going in your room. I will be fine.”
I chuckle, “Whatever, just trying to be nice”
We all continue talking for about an hour and some people just fall asleep on the floor. I feel Ariya lean over as she falls asleep leaning against my shoulder. I wait a bit for her to be fully asleep before I turn and effortlessly pick her up in my arms. She turns putting an arm around my neck as I carry her to my room and gently lie her on my bed to not wake her. Feeling a bit tired myself I just lie beside her dozing off myself.
I don’t know how long I was asleep, but I get woke up by her talking in my head (I am really glad I got you for my guardian.)
My eyes open seeing her looking back at me as we are facing each other. Just as she is going to say something to me a loud thunderclap goes off. Her eyes tightly close as she tenses up. I slide over putting my arm around her as she holds on to me with her head buried into my chest. I feel her fear lessen a bit and again I am hit with that intoxicating smell of hers. My heart begins to race. I close my eyes thinking, I can’t like this girl. There are a thousand reasons why I can’t like this girl.
I feel her squeeze me a bit tighter, “Do you still regret getting bonded with me?”
“Not really, you have kind of grown on me” I say as I look out my window at the storm going on outside.
She looks up to me noticing how close we are. She then stands up out of the bed and moves over sitting in my computer chair pulling her knees up to her chest.
“So, you still don’t think I am a... B-word?” She asks,
I sit up leaning against the headboard of my bed, “No you are still a bitch. Now, I think that’s one of the things I actually like about you now.” She smiles and another bit of thunder goes off as she closes her eyes. “Are you okay?” I ask feeling how afraid she is of this storm.
“Like I said I don’t do well with storms.” She says,
I chuckle “Wow, you are just full of different problems huh?” She hesitates then rests her forehead on her knees. I close my eyes realizing I said something stupid. “Sorry”
“It’s okay, you are right. I am a mess and full of so many problems. Do you think I'm crazy?”
I give her a reassuring smile, “We are all a little crazy. Look at me, I can go from happy to angry psycho in seconds.”
She chuckles raising her head looking back at me, “Yeah you can be kind of scary sometimes. With all my problems that you have seen me have, and me being a bitch like you say. Do you think I could ever have a normal relationship again?” She asks,
I nod, “You are going to get over this. It may take some time, but I am sure you will be able to move past this. As for guys, I am sure there are quite a few them out there that want to ask you out but are too intimidated too.”
She laughs, “Who would be intimidated by me? I am barely five foot and just over a hundred pounds.”
“But you are hot, and everyone you hang around is hot. That can be intimidating for us guys to approach someone like you.” I say,
She laughs again, “You are so full of it, now you are just trying to make me feel better.”
I smile thinking I was actually being truthful, but I will let her believe I was just trying to cheer her up. “It’s working though right?” I ask,
She smiles and looks away, “A little bit”
We continue talking for a while until Melissa finally comes in to take Ariya back home. A couple more months go by and we’ve become pretty good friends. I almost talk to her more than anyone else. Of course, we are bonded so we have to do a lot together anyways. Markus ends up doing his bonding ritual and gets bonded with a guy named Michael. Ariya and Michael seem to hit it off well when she comes over to hang out. He makes her laugh a lot which is great in my book.
One day she calls me and asks, “So what do you think of Michael?”
“He is cool, why?”
“He asked me out.” She says and I can feel her nervousness rise as she says it.
I smile feeling happy for her, also slightly jealous. “That’s great, it’s what you wanted right? So, what did you say?”
“I didn’t give him an answer yet. I am not really sure if I am ready for another relationship. I think I have just been lonely.”
“How could you be lonely with me around?”
She laughs, “You know what I mean. I just don’t think I can be in one right now.”
“Then tell him that. I am sure he will understand.”
“Yeah, I guess.” She says then gets quiet for a bit. “You know Elizabeth likes you.” She eventually says,
I hesitate hearing that. I kind of assumed she might, but wasn’t too sure. “Did she tell you that?” I ask,
“Yeah, and it’s pretty obvious the way she looks at you. Maybe you two could go out or something. You are single right?” She asks,
I chuckle, “Well other than my pretend girlfriend, yeah I am.” She chuckles knowing I am talking about her “But you know that could never happen, with me and Elizabeth I mean.”
“Why not?” She asks,
“I am a serf”
“Not anymore, you’re a guardian now.” She says in an almost offended tone.
“By title yeah, but I have no wealth, no rich family. Hell, I live at this school. You know as well as I do, her family would never let her date me.”
Now, I feel a bit of remorse from her, “Yeah I guess”
Several days end up going by and she is really considering saying yes to Michael. I can tell she really likes this guy but is extremely nervous to get close to anyone again. Then one day she catches me alone. “Okay, I want to say yes to Michael.”
I narrow my eyes at her, “Are you sure you're ready for that?”
She bites her lip and looks away, “I think so... I mean... I don’t know, I still get weirded out when you touch me.”
I smile, “Well, I am a weird person that’s understandable.”
She pushes me smiling back at me. “Shut up, you know what I mean. How am I supposed to get into any sort of relationship with someone, if I can’t touch them without feeling sick or my skin crawling.”
“Then wait, you’re what eighteen or nineteen?”
“I am almost eighteen"
"Wait, you’re seventeen, I figured you were at least eighteen.” I look away rubbing the back of my head. “Wow, I gave alcohol to a minor.”
She chuckles, “I will be eighteen in soon, so I won’t feel bad for trying to get me drunk. So, do you think I should try going out with him. I am just so nervous I will get hurt again.”
“You have no reason to jump back into something until you are ready.” I say trying to make her feel better about not being ready. Or maybe, I don’t want her to be ready. I think as I look away.
“It’s been almost two years. How long do you think I should wait?” She asks,
“As long as you need to. I’m sure there is no set time on when you recover from this.” I say,
She looks away nervously, “I don’t know, I really like him, and he seems great don’t you think?”
“Yeah, he is a cool guy, and a decent fighter. Not as good at me, but decent.” She chuckles at my vain comment about myself. “Listen I am here for you, and I know Melissa is too. Anything you need just let us know. Does she know that I know what happened to you?”
“Yeah. Again, thank you for helping me through this, it means a lot to me.”
“You are welcome. But I really think you should talk to someone like maybe Minerva she might-”
“No, I can’t talk to her! She will tell Daniel what happened.”She quickly cuts me off with a raised voice. She then starts to walk off “It’s fine if you don’t want to help me anymore”
I grab her hand stopping her, "Ariya" She jerks her hand away looking at me upset. “Sorry, I still want to help you, I’ve just never dealt with something this serious before. Tell me what you want me to do.”
“Go with me to the spa,” She says without hesitation almost like she was waiting for me to ask that question.
I hesitate and look at her slightly confused, “What?”
She pulls out a paper she printed off talking about a healing massage for victims like her. It’s supposed to help her get over not being able to be touched. I look it over and look back to her “I don’t think you want me in the room when you are getting a massage.”
She grins, “You won’t be in the room. I just want you to go with me for support.”
“Oh, shouldn’t you ask Melissa?” I ask as I look back down at the paper curiously.
“She is out of town for a while visiting her family.” She takes the paper back saying, “It’s fine, you don’t have to go. It was stupid of me to ask you.”
I look at her seeing how much she wants to do this. I smile and take the paper back from her. “Okay, I will go”