We run through the empty halls as he leads me someplace. His hand is holding mine and I giggle as he looks back for a moment to stick his tongue out at me. The sound echoes through the building, bouncing off the obsidian colored walls that are blurring past us. I feel my hair whip behind me and my dress flutters with each step we take.
Suddenly, he stops and I slam into his back, hurting my nose in the process. Pulling back with a hand on my nose, I see Madam Twiz standing in front of us. She takes his other hand just as someone’s arm wraps around my waist and pulls me back. I cry out as he turns around to try and grab my hand again. But, Madam Twiz tightens her grip on him, keeping him in place. We both cry out, kicking and reaching for each other only to be pulled farther and farther away. His yellow eyes are full of fear and sadness as he struggles. I open my mouth to say his name, but I forget what it is. His eyes become full of anger and then everything washes away.
I pull my house key out of my coat pocket and shove it into the lock, twist it and push the door open. Just as I am pulling the key from the slot and closing the door behind me, Mother’s voice startles me.
“Honey, come sit with us. The Logans have come over to visit with us,” she calls from the couch. I look up to see Voluka and an older man sitting next to him on the couch across from Mother and Father. I suppose the older man is Voluka’s father. I give a small smile and pull my shoes off before walking over to a loveseat near the couches and sit down, placing my stack of books beside me.
“Nice to meet you Acacia, I’m Strayn, Volukalonka’s father.” He leans forward with a hand outstretched. I give him a small smile, ignoring the creepily sharp teeth he has, and shake his hand for a moment.
“Nice to meet you too Strayn.” Mother smiles tensely and her posture is like a wooden board. Father is leaning back on the couch, watching the older man with suspicious and attentive eyes.
“So, how are you liking it here?” Mother asks, each word very controlled. I realize that I walked into something I shouldn’t have and I grab one of the books and open it. But a glare from Mother makes me set it back down and resettle myself in the chair.
“I love it here. Everyone is so nice and the weather is very pleasant,” Strayn replies and he glances at me for a mere millisecond. I look at mom as the silence drags on, only to see her staring at Strayn with hidden anger steaming in her eyes. I sigh quietly, and glance at Voluka to find his yellow eyes staring at me. I clear my throat and look away, ignoring the feeling of familiarity that brushes across my senses.
The ticking of the seconds echo through the house slowly tapping into the silence, becoming just a little louder each time. A minute goes by and Mother is still having a staring contest with Strayn while Voluka’s gaze is focused on me. Another minute goes by and Father excuses himself to go to the restroom. By the time he gets back another three minutes have passed. By then, I’m severely uncomfortable with the staring and the silence and the tension.
“Okay! If all you guys are gonna do is stare at each other, I’m out of here. You obviously have some tensions to work out and I’m not going to be uncomfortable because you guys don’t like each other. I’ll be outside.” I say as I stand up and walk out of the house. I hear someone follow me, but I ignore it as I enter the backyard and make my way to the shed.
As I get closer to the shed, I glance behind me to see Voluka following me. Of course. I stop in front of the shed’s doors and then turn around to face him. His piercing eyes connect with mine.
“You better stop staring at me, or I’ll make you hurt again. Then I’ll tell everyone at school you’re a peeping tom.” He laughs a little until he sees me glaring at him. He raises his arms up in surrender and bows his head slightly.
“Okay, okay. I’ll stop staring.” I roll my eyes at him and notice the small grin on his face as I turn away and open the shed. The familiar scent of sawdust and the tang of metal hits me with a warm embrace. I stride past all of Father’s swords and the occasional weapon of Mother’s as I head towards the stairs. Obviously, he follows me as my feet rush down the stairs to lead me to my collection of weapons. When Voluka catches up with me I glance at his face to see shock and curiosity formed by his muscles. I smirk and head straight for my drisha sword.
“Are these your dad’s?” I laugh and shake my head at his question.
“No, his and Mother’s weapons are upstairs. This… This is my collection,” I reply with pride very evident in my voice. I carefully pick up my new sword and strap it onto my hip, heading back towards the stairs. When I reach the bottom I look back to see Voluka looking at my Katana set.
“Come on, yellow-eyed creep.” I start climbing up the stairs and listen as he follows me, yet again. He makes me feel like I’m missing something…
“Guys, we should go to the park after school today,” June says over the multiple conversations the group is having. Hollither looks at her and smiles.
“Sure, why not?”
“The park? Why would you want to go to the park?” Voluka looks at us with complete confusion and Ylvon chooses that moment to lay his head on Voluka’s lap.
“Why? Why not? It’s fun and quiet and no one else is ever there. Plus, haven’t you ever played groundies?”
The lap pillow pushes the vampire’s head off and rolls his eyes. “No, but it sounds childish.”
“Childish?” Hollither asks. She shakes her head. “It’s official now, you’re coming with us. We’ll show you childish.”
Voluka looks at me for help and I just shrug. He poked the bear, he’ll have to reap what he just sown. He gives me a slight glare before looking away. It’s been two weeks since the staring contest at my place and two weeks since he saw me practice. It was weird how content he was with watching me. He stayed until Mother decided he needed to leave, which was about an hour. Since then, he’s been following me around like a lost little puppy and has found himself a spot in my group of friends.
The school bell rings, signaling we have ten minutes to get to class, and I quickly stand up, tugging my bag onto my shoulders. Voluka stands and matches his footsteps to mine as I head to my Faery Practice class. Each species has to go to its own specialized class once a week to practice shifting and such.
“How’re you this fine morning?” His yellow eyes meet with mine and a vague image appears in my mind, but I can’t see it clearly enough.
“I’m alright. You?” He looks ahead and smiles.
“I’m wonderful.” He glances at me and winks.
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