Kat smiled, as she listened to everyone's grumblings, remembering a time when she was that young, groaning over midterms. They weren't life ending, but at the time they felt like a huge weight on the shoulders. A long time had passed since then, and a lot of growing up happened. The weight was still there, but it didn't feel like the mountain she remembered.
Gathering her things, she started packing up. There was an hour she could use for library time before her shift started at the long term care center. Her hours varied allowing her to attend University, today her classes started at 8:30 and ended at 2:00, then her shift pick up was at 4:00. There was an hour in between to catch the bus and grab a quick supper.
"Kat! Wait!", a bright cheerful voice called out through the rustle of papers, closing of laptops and chatter of people exiting down the aisles. After the sea of faces cleared, Kat spied a familiar face. The person waved happily, and pushed past the remainder of the crowd.
Ellie was almost 16 years younger than Kat. They had met during her second class in Psychology. Arriving late, Ellie had been desperate for a seat and saw one next to Kat, and practically dove across the aisle to get to it. Their first meeting was full of quiet laughter and shared excitement for their first day of classes. She was an easy going girl, kind, talkative and Kat felt at ease around her. Given the fish out of water feeling Kat had every day at school, it was a nice to have someone that made her feel like she belonged. Sometimes though, Ellie pushed a little hard at Kat's boundaries. She had the best intentions, but Kat could be as stubborn as an old bull, there were some things she just didn't want to do. Ellie tried to engage Kat in Campus activities, but Kat felt extremely uncomfortable, and would be that damned bull digging her feet into the ground. She was self-conscious being the oldest person participating. Sometimes it felt as if there were eyes watching her, or people whispering.
"Hey Ellie," Kat called out, and smiling fondly at her friend.
Ellie hopped down the last few steps, and gave a bright, cheerful grin. Her energy was palpable, she was practically vibrating with it. Something had her stirred up. "I know you have work, and school," she trailed off, and Kat cringed.
These were Kat's usual excuses to get out of things. If she wasn't at work, It was school. The classroom and library were her second home. Life was pretty dull. The guilt was really starting to eat at her, she hadn't done anything with Ellie for over a week.
"But I came across this book and it is sooo... good. You really have to read it." She pulled said book from her bag and passed it over. The cover was simple but elegant, depicting two hands holding a light source. The title was embossed with a calligraphic script reading "Embracing the Light".
She continued, "There's a web edition too." Flipping over the first page she pointed out the listed link inside. "I just thought you would prefer a hard copy."
She was absolutely right. Kat liked to hold on to things and wasn't satisfied if she couldn't physically touch something. She had an unhealthy love for books, they were a comfort. A good book was like having a piece of home with you.
Holding it up, she examined it and smiled at Ellie gratefully. "Thanks Ellie. What's it about?"
Ellie had mischievous twinkle in her eye and Kat knew then and there that she wasn't going to tell. "You'll love it! There's a little fantasy, action, adventure, drama, romance..." She sighed after saying romance and Kat threw her head back, laughing. Ellie had a romantic heart. She liked to tell stories of her former boyfriends, the good, the bad, the naughty. There was always a new story to relate every time they met. But her heart lived for romance, and sadly sometimes you could only find it in a book.
"Romance hmm?" Kat teased. "Who is the character? What's he like? Tell me...." For a moment she looked as if she might actually cave but she held firm.
"I got an account online and the author is doing fan requests, new side stories have been popping up every week. Please read it." She begged. "I really want to have someone to talk to. I've been obsessing about this for weeks. Don't make me beg."
She gave big puppy dog eyes, and Kat burst out laughing. "Alright. Alright. I promise. I'll read it. I'll even get an account."
The big sad eyes disappear and she threw her arms out to give a giant hug. "Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! You are the best!" She squealed. Swinging her messenger bag onto her shoulder, she grabbed Kat's arm hugging it to her side as they walked through the door. "So, off to the Library next?"
"Mm.. How'd you know?" Kat teased.
Who's idea was it to go back to school?
Oh yeah... Mine.
Dragging a hand over her face, Kat pressed her fingers to the pressure points near her eyes. It was definitely time for bed. The text was starting to blur, and concentration had gone right out the window. She grabbed the nearest scrap of paper she could find to mark her place in the text book, and then pushed it aside. Yawning, she stretched sleepily and turned towards the bed.
What a mess.
She wasn't known as the best house keeper and earlier she had tossed her bag on to the unmade bed, and all the contents had scattered. Some were strewn across the covers, and some had fallen to the sheets, and skid under a pillow.
Collecting them, she noticed the paperback Ellie had given her. Her body sagged. As much as she wanted to read it, she just didn't have the time. Between work and school she could barely give it a glance. It was just another book to add to the 'I'll read it sometime in this lifetime' pile.
A pang of guilt hit her.
She made a promise to Ellie.
Kat heaved a heavy sigh, and brushed her fingers across the embossed font. "I'm sorry Ellie." Another broken promise, she was a terrible friend.
Reluctantly, she tossed it into the pile of growing books at her bedside.
Wincing she looked down at her finger and noticed a long paper cut. Blood was already welling up.
Of course. The perfect end to a long day.
Grumbling, she stomped off to the bathroom to clean out the cut. Rummaging through her cabinets, she searched for a band aid, eventually finding one at the bottom of a basket of hair accessories.
Exhausted she fell into bed and drifted off to sleep.
< Congratulations - You have unlocked the Blood Bond feature.>
<Congratulations - You have entered Chapter One of "Embracing the Light", we hope you enjoy your reading experience.>
"Master Kai, Master Kai. Are you awake?"
Did I set my alarm for Saturday?
Groaning at the unwanted sound, Kat covered her head. Reaching out from beneath the blankets she searched for the kill button on the radio alarm, but could only found air. Still half asleep , she frowned and muttered something incoherent before drawing her hand back under and snuggling deeper into the warmth.
What kind of Radio show were these guys playing? What ever it is, it's weird.
The noise faded and she started to drift away again.
"Master Kai." Someone touched her shoulder and gave it a quick shake. Her eyes snapped open as she came wide awake. Flailing backwards in alarm, she fell off of the bed and onto the ground, landing hard on her rump. Owww....
Who the hell is in my apartment? Someone call 911.
Rubbing her backside, a few rude words came out of her mouth.
What was going on?
With a glance back at her bed, she felt another jolt to her system. Instead of a double bed with a grey and blue comforter, in its place was some sort of cot or day bed. And the coverings weren't the same at all.
This is not my bed! Where is my bed?
A teen boy appeared in front of her and she let out a loud yelp, her eyes growing wide. Clamping her hands over her mouth she started to panic.
My voice! What happened to my voice?
What the freaking hell?