Astra

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2.) Engrossing

The librarians were always sweet enough to let me eat lunch in the library, even though it’s a strict rule that there be no food or drink near the books. I think it’s because after four years of high school I have yet to damage a book.

I smiled at them as I walked by, the two librarians who sat and adamantly read, waved back but barely looked up from their books.

I flopped down into a chair, pulled my legs under me and popped the cap open on my water. My aunt would be happy to see me hydrating, she’s always softly nagging that I need to keep my body healthy.

I was a few pages deep, delving hungrily into the end of the series I’d told my aunt I’d finished. I found myself so into the book I almost didn’t even feel the eyes boring their way into my forehead; almost.

I looked up, searching for who’s causing the sensation of glaring. There, across the room, two people stared at me. A girl, whose eyes were filled with a mild curiosity, and a boy whose eyes held a certain amount of disgust.

They said nothing to me, only stared. But to be honest, I’m used to people staring, the golden eyes freak people out. So I chose to ignore them, giving them only the slightest nod before returning to my book. I’m very determined to finish today, that way I can’t hold the guilt of the lie anymore.

Only, I couldn’t focus on the book. All I could feel were the eyes, staring deep into my head like they’re trying to set me on fire. I put my book down, the pages slapped my legs with the force.

My eyes met his, and electricity shot through me at an unbelievable speed. From my hair to my fingertips to my toes, I felt a buzzing sensation that caused me to gasp aloud. His gaze dropped instantly, and the girl stood quickly; crossing the room to me without changing the smile from her face.

“I’m sorry, my brother can’t help but stare at pretty girls.” She said to me once she got within earshot, her voice was soft and had a twinkle to it. My tongue felt like glue in my mouth, I’m not used to people approaching me and honestly, I’d never seen these two in my life. I could see his eyes raise to me again from my peripheral, the constant staring made the air feel tight like I couldn’t breathe.

“Oh—... Ummm…” I started, trailing off. I’m shocked, and at a loss for words. “Thanks?” I mentally kicked myself in the ass, that’s all I could say to this girl? It wasn’t my fault, I supposed, that they are acting so strange. But she laughed, it sounded like bells.

“You must be Astra? I heard whispers through the school about you.” She said to me, and my jaw went slack. Was she joking around with me? Who was this girl, and why wasn’t she shying away from me as others do?

“All good things, I bet,” I said sort of coldly, but my off-putting tone didn’t send her away. She tucked a thick strand of her dark black hair behind her pale ear, exposing a long thin neck and bare collar bone. Oh boy, all the boys in this school would be tripping over each other to get to her.

She was beautiful, conventionally so. With long dark hair that tumbled down her back, pale unblemished skin, warm blue eyes, and a full mouth. She’s kind of hard to look at, at least straight in the eyes. I could tell from my seat that she’s short and thin. Dainty, almost. But she held her head high and spoke with a certain confidence I know I’ll never speak verbatim.

“Well...no. But, that’s ok. You don’t seem scary, like they all say.” I dropped my head, I knew that the people at this school were off-put by me but hearing it still threw me off. I’m sure if I could feel emotions, I’d be devastated.

“I’m sorry, who are you?” I figured to just ask, I’m not used to people approaching me and honestly, I wondered if she had an ulterior motive. If it’s for the guy then she could just stop while she was ahead, he weirded me out more so than her with his angry eyes and the electrocution I felt.

“Oh, my apologies. I’m Ember, and over there is my brother Beckett. Today’s our first day.” Ember explained, her lips pulled back into a full tooth smile. Perfect white teeth smile, may I add.

“It’s your first day and the rumor mill already told you I’m scary?” I couldn’t help but prod, she seemed honest. She laughed sheepishly, indicating back to her brother; who still stared at me.

“I should get back, but I just wanted to come to say hi and apologize for staring-” I cut her off, rather rudely.

“He’s still staring.” Her jaw flicked as it tightened for a moment before a full smile broke on her lips once more, if my rudeness affected her she did little to show it.

“Yes, well, I’ll tell him to stop. Have a nice day, by the way.” And then Ember left, her hair swishing with each step. The intense staring from Beckett stopped, and I finally felt like I could breathe again.

Beckett looked like his sister, with thick dark hair and fair features, I’m sure all the girls would be after him soon enough. Looking at him made me almost understand why other girls go googly eyed over boys in the halls, despite the icy terror it was almost hard to look away. His jaw was tight like he was clenching it, and his eyebrows furrowed with frustration. What’s gotten under his skin? Whatever it is, seemed to be bothering him.

His eyes shot up like he’d felt me staring, and made eye contact with me. Beckett’s eyes weren’t a warm blue like Ember, they’re an icy gray that cuts me like a knife. My skin broke out in chills and the electricity came back, making my body feel like I’d stuck my hand in a socket.

Then just like that, they both stood up, Ember smacking his arm so that he averted his eyes. They exited the library smoothly, without a second glance back. My eyes followed them out the room, unable to look away. I’m completely intrigued by these two new people, the girl who is not afraid of me and the boy who is angry at me.

Who are these people? I can’t help it, I want to know more about them. Shaking my head I forced my eyes back to my book, something that is safe and isn’t threading onto new territory.

I need to forget these people, I don’t know why but my gut tells me I need to. Still, icy gray eyes stayed at the forefront of my brain for the remainder of the school day.

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