It’s the end of a long day and I sit in the locker room, kicking my water bottle with my bare foot. I am feeling hopeless and alone.
I have been exercising hard with cardio and weight training, trying my hardest to bring out my talents, but nothing works. Flix feels very bad about the talent he picked, but I told him it does not matter anyway. Going home is foreseen. Meditation is starting to show improvements but it’s not good enough, something is missing. I just feel something inside of me that is not clicking. I am getting so frustrated watching everyone improve their skills when I am stuck at ground zero.
Our first challenge is tomorrow.
I guess tomorrow our main goal is to be the first to make it to the finish line, every challenge there are points to be made. It’s all about the points. The more players that finish without dying receives bonuses, so the tension is high. I can feel eyes on me, my teammates who are depending on me.
I am terrified.
Cameras follow me everywhere, trying to see me break, no doubt. They all know I have not found my Feno gifts yet which it’s big news, only happening once before in their history. From what I can see, the other competitors look tough and confident, I did see all the Fairy Godmother girls exceling, making me want to jump out of my skin in envy. Another thing that bugs me, I have not seen Ajax all day and yesterday, making me wonder. Flix says he is getting everything ready and finalized for the first competition. I’m sure has nothing to do with the fitting room incident, which made Flix hoot and holler for a bit. Ajax has had so many women all the time, that he probably does not even remember what he did.
Everywhere he goes it’s like he has every female’s attention, everyone is under a some spell.
A Rockstar with his groupies.
I roll my eyes. I feel like every girl thinks this way, because we must. It’s saves us embarrassment. But I will say this, I have never been so thankful for my larger chest size. It’s okay to be vain for just a second, right?
It’s the only thing good about me, so far. I can’t do anything else, so maybe at the challenge tomorrow I will just randomly flash the guys on the other teams. Super Boobs will be my name, the shameless flasher. I smile.
I jump, my heart pounding.
I shoot a glance towards the entrance and see Ajax come through the door into the girl’s shower and changing room. I brace myself. He looks wild, frantic, hot as hell—ignore that. He is in all black body armor, giving the appearance of some Mortal Combat Ninja, this back braid so exotic. I am glad I did not undress yet, or am I? I think about that, and the inner perv in me has other thoughts.
He stares at me, chest rising and falling.
I swallow, skin prickling.
“Red, what’s wrong?”
I frown at him, having no idea what he is talking about. “I don’t know—”
“Fuck Red! We have to cover for you tomorrow, they just informed me that no progress has been made on your part. I stayed away today hoping you would be more comfortable, being able to release what is holding you back. You could die tomorrow!” he hisses, silver eyes intense. “They will target you, Red. The weakest link will get hammered.”
I am shaking, knowing tomorrow could be my last day. I could easily use all three of my life-lines in one match with no way to defend myself. “I sorry, I don’t know what I am doing wrong.”
He wipes a hand down his face and looks away. “I cannot believe this is the first time in your life that you are trying to find your Feno powers. How in the fuck didn’t you know? Can’t you feel it? Did you ever wonder?” He glances at me.
Oh, right, that’s because I was busy being awesome on this planet called Earth.
Trading stocks, selling high and buying low. I was the queen at short sells, option buying was a breeze for me. Not this shit.
I think. “I always felt different, but I guess I just ignored it,” I shrug, hoping he bought it. When he stares at me with those eyes, I find it hard to talk intelligently. “I never wanted to believe that I could be here one day. Competing for my life.”
He laughs but I can tell he does not think it’s funny. “Leon said you would not get in the water today for training? Saying, it just was not your thing?”
I stare at him and look away, that is very correct. I know it sounds Diva-ish but hear me out. “I am terrified of sharks, I don’t have powers like the other players. I didn’t want to die.”
You heard me right. They have sharks in the F-ing pool which nearly made me die of a heart attack earlier. Ajax walks up to me and grabs me, tossing me over his shoulder like a rag doll. I scream as I feel his long arm holding me tightly to him, panic hitting me hard.
“What are you dong?!” I barely get out, my voice cracking.
“How will you bring out your inner Feno If you never face your fears?” he says coldly, easily holding my thrashing body like it is nothing.
“No! Ajax, no!” I gasp, fear and horror seeping into every bone of my body. He wouldn’t, he wouldn’t do what I think he wants to do. “Put me down!”
I hear him laugh again.
“They will eat me! Are you crazy?!” I feel tears stream down my face, full blown panic. I try to kick more but it does nothing.
Suddenly I am weightless.
My body being flung in the air.
I can almost see my life flash before my eyes, and how successful I was in my other life. I was the cream of the crop, everyone wanted to be me. I was Big Red. Men drooled and women envied. That’s what I am used to.
Now, I am nothing.
Being thrown in freezing cold water with flesh eating sharks.
My first thought is how ice cold the water is, the impact stealing the air clean out of my lungs. I am underwater, submerged, thousands of tiny air bubbles zooming past me as I sink further.
My second thought is the will to survive, and that I am not alone in this water. So, I violently kick my way to the surface, bracing myself for any impact I would receive from a shark. I break the surface, gasping for air, and start swimming to the side of the massive pool. Ajax threw me very far, I will take me minutes to make the swim. “Ajax!” I scream, swimming.
I can see him watching me from the side of the pool, eyes intense.
I see a dorsal fin swimming to my left and I scream, my swimming stopping. “Ajax! You made your point, I do not feel anything! Get me out of here!”
He does not say anything, just hands bracing over his chest, watching me. The anger that I feel knows no bounds. I am ready to scream my life-line. I have never been so terrified in my life. “Ajax!” I scream, “It’s getting closer!”
How could he just watch me get eaten?
The fin doubles around and is headed straight for me, my heart almost stops. I am crying, trying to swim as fast as I can, but I know the shark is faster and I have no chance. “Ajax!” I scream once more, getting ready to yell my life-line.
I see the massive head of the shark and its razor-sharp teeth being bared, ready to kill me. I take a breath to scream my life line when the colossal shark disappears.
Time stands still.
My heart is pounding, my body feeling numb from the shock and terror. It takes me a second to realize what just happened. It was just virtual fucking technology?! You must be shitting me. I tread water, trying to piece together my flashing thoughts of being eaten alive. I look to Ajax and he is still just studying me. “You asshole!” I scream as more tears stream down my face. I swim to the edge and I can feel Ajax reach down and pic me up.
I jerk out of his hands and try to punch him.
Water pools around me as I stand up, unholy furry coursing through me. “You are an evil m-man!” I yell, my teeth chattering.
His pale eyes holds no warmth as far as I can see.
“What do you feel?” he whispers, watching me like I’m his science project.
“Anger,” I hiss, tears still streaming down my pale cheeks, my body is shaking.
He walks up to me, I can see his large chest rise and fall.
“You just embarrassed me.”
I feel mortified.
He tilts his head, studying me. “Embarrassed?” he shakes his head and takes a heavy breath. “Have you ever felt real emotion other than right now?”
I glare at him. “Of course.”
What a dumb question!
I feel my eyes sting.
“You’re embarrassed from showing real emotion, it’s quite evident,” he says matter-of-factly.
I shake my head, “You’re wrong.”
“Your hair is floating,” he murmurs.
I was so angry that I didn’t realize my wet hair is floating all around me. I gasp, covering my mouth with my hand.
Ajax winks at me. “Still angry at me Red?”
I stare at him, relief exploding in my chest, maybe I can do this. “I t-think you know the answer to that.”
He watches me with a hint of a smile, his silver eyes glancing at my hair. “I am just going to have to get creative with you. We don’t have long to melt that heart of yours, you will have to learn to let go. We need you on this team, I am not losing this year.”
My heart immediately starts to pound again.
“No more sharks.”
“Unfortunately, Red, you don’t get to tell me what I can do to you,” he says, his voice dark and sexy. “Sharks are the least of your worries.”
I look away, hoping my cheeks are not stained red. My hair is no longer floating but I can still feel the intense energy. It like it’s alive, roaming around in its cage.
It’s like it’s awakened.
“Right,” I say.
“I want you to work on how the energy is manifesting inside of you and use it as a weapon. Practice releasing your emotions,” he says, his eerie gaze moving over my face.
“How do I do that?” I raise a brow at him.
“You want me to tell you how to release your emotions?” he tilts his head at me, mischief sparkling in his eyes.
I do not know what’s happening here. “No, I don’t.”
“I will see you at the diner tonight, then. Work on yourself Red, the team is counting on it.” He turns to leave but glances back at me. “Oh, and please do not wear red tonight.”
The banquet dinner.
It’s the big gathering before the games.
“Do not wear red?” I say, mouth dropping open.
“That’s an order,” he murmurs and leaves me.
I think on that.
I have never been good at following orders.