I shake my head.
He seems larger than life, like the man needs his own epic rock music to play whenever he is around. I watch him pull on a black T-shirt over his ripped, wet body, and I wildly wonder if this is even appropriate. I object! I feel like I’m watching porn, where is the outcry here?! I am clearly uncomfortable—this needs to be PG for me to focus. I grit my teeth and curse. I know I’m being ridiculous; the man is merely putting on a shirt for F’s sake! I silently laugh, feeling my sanity packing her bags, I hope she writes because I will miss her dearly.
I look away.
Because drooling would even further embarrass me.
Karma is having her field day with me apparently, everything that I have done bad in my life is now raining hellfire upon me with vengeance and unholy delight. I am shaking in fear and uncertainty, which is not like me at all. I don’t ever feel small and worthless, because I am not. I am always the best at everything I do. I am as prefect as a human can be, I sniff.
I am standing in line as Ajax and three other white-haired elven men stare us down. His assistants all give me very dirty looks, their eyes are not creepy like Ajax’s but a mix of bright blues. I raise my chin, determined to be Big Red, not little-bitch Red.
But little-bitch Red is really liking the attention.
Ajax takes a big breath, his gaze landing on everyone but me. I tell myself I do not care, because I don’t. I do see him looking at Lila a lot, which is cute. Maybe he likes her, but I can’t imagine Ajax liking anyone one that way. He’s too, what’s the word, out of our league? Fine, four words.
“I will only say this once,” Ajax says in his low but loud voice, he defies the oxymoron. “I am taking over this year because my brother Rain is incapable of being a leader. Thunia has lost two years in a row shocking our nation, coming in at third and fourth. It is an embarrassment to the Crown Providence. Our allies are telling us that the nation of Raibyn is declaring themselves superior, thinking they should hold the Crown.”
I swallow seeing the intensity in Ajax’s pale gaze, he is very serious.
“We will win this year,” he commands as he makes eye contact with everyone except me, I notice again. It does not bother me. “I will make sure of it. I never wanted to be apart of these games, but now that I am, we will not lose! I want every team member to make it out alive and well, working together to take what is rightfully Thunia’s.”
That seemed to pump the men up.
Are we going to war?
McFolas put his large fist over his chest. “We are honored and will not back down, we will bring glory back to Thunia! There is no one I respect more than you, Ajax and I am proud to be on your team,” his gruff voice announces.
Aaron does the same followed by Alok.
Lila clears her throat and steps forward. She looks like a cat in heat, with her heavy breathing, I nearly lose my eyes as they roll so far back into my skull. “I am but a woman, but I will fight as hard as I can for you,” she breaths.
Ajax stops in front of her and nods. “You think you can keep up then?”
She swallows. “I can, especially with your help. I am very good with knives and swords.”
His expression stays indifferent, but I would bet he knew that Lila hinted at other things. I am feeling extremely uncomfortable now, especially since I called his penis tiny—oops. Ajax moves in my direction and I stiffen, heartrate pounding my chest.
I look the other way, bracing myself.
He stops in front of me and I glance at him, not breathing. I can feel his energy, an air of power that seems to surround him. He is so tall, his body so close to mine that it makes me anxious. He smells like chlorine and something very, very male.
I shift slightly. Why isn’t he saying anything? I look away then back to him, my hands fisting together to alleviate my nerves.
Is he trying to humiliate me more?
“You have already created a movement with your hair color,” Ajax says, his voice makes me shiver even though I tried to stop it.
I look at him, his tan skin contrasting with his silver eyes. His stare makes me on edge, they’re eerie, but very intelligent. He must know I am terrified. “I was not aware.” I whisper.
Ajax nods. “Are you being disrespectful? Be honest,” his voice is soft, but I can feel the underlining current. “Tell me why you die your hair.”
“This is my natural hair,” is all I can say.
I am out of my element.
All bark and no bite.
He frowns a bit and glances back to his assistants. “Leon, I want you to confirm this,” he looks back to me. “Having this bright hue has never been seen before without the help of dye. I hope you don’t play me for a fool. But I will trust your word until you’re proven wrong. I don’t have time to deal with side drama, I have a team to train.”
I stare at him and nod.
His eyes don’t leave mine, then finally he says, “I sure hope you save your anger for the ring, Red. We will need it.”
He claps his hands and I swear I felt the literal impact, he points at Aaron. “I hear you like to play catch?”
Aaron looks nervous but laughs at that and jogs up to the large floor the size of two basketball courts. “I’ll sure try.”
I hear McFolas hooting, telling Aaron he’s got it.
My eyes widen when Aaron chucks a fireball at Ajax so fast, I think I yelped. Ajax with insane reflexes, instead of catching the fireball he claps it in his hands making me feel another impact, and it’s puts out the fireball into a cloud of smoke.
My heart is beating hard.
“Again, but faster,” Ajax says, cracking his neck, muscles bulging. “You’re not using your legs, you’ll throw out your back that way. We can’t afford that.”
This went on for a while, the men training hard core, screaming, yelling, exerting every muscle in their bodies. I am terrified. I feel like I am watching one of those Avengers movies, I am starting to really panic. Ajax is extremely strong, taking on the three guys with ease. He is yelling at them, correcting them, then beating them to the ground. I can’t do that, any of this. I will be using my life-lines not on purpose, but in truth, to not freaking die. Now I know why Pierce was nervous. I flinch as I see McFolas pound the ground with his fist, sending a shock wave towards Ajax, hitting his mark.
Ajax went flying back towards the back wall, smashing into it, creating a cloud of smoke.
Me and Lila gasp, she grabs her chest like it’s her boyfriend. Please. McFolas stands up straight, wiping blood from his mouth, he looks concerned. Aaron looks like his clothes are all charred, ash all over his face. He glances at McFolas with a wide stare. Leon runs towards Ajax but right as he gets to the edge of the smoke Ajax comes out looking like a Rockstar onstage, smoke and lights behind him. He must be immortal. Ajax is laughing, clapping his hands, making the rest of them join in.
“Bout time McFolas,” is all Ajax says, putting his hands on his trim hips. I can see a few scrapes that drew some blood on his muscular arm, veins protruding. He looks like he should be the next star in fight club, poor Brad Pitt is forgotten. “You guys I want you to do thirty laps in the pool, and be careful, work as a team.”
That makes me wonder what’s in the water.
The men are gone and Ajax nods to Lila. “Okay, let see what you have mighty mouse.”
He already gave her a nickname?
I hope she embarrasses herself.
Sorry, not sorry.
Ajax looks insanely sexy. His back shirt sucked to his chiseled body, sweaty, hot, manly, bloody and don’t care. He is watching her very intently, pulling out a knife and tossing it to her. I feel a slight pang in my chest. I hate losing, no matter what it is.
I glance back and can see Flix starring wide-eyed. “Flix, in my head now,” I hiss.
“Yea, are you seeing this?”
“See what,” I hiss.
“Lila is going for it, though she is not near as cute as you. Just a better personality probably. Sometimes men do not go for the prettiest girl in the room.
“Flix,” I hiss again, feeling so much rage.
“Oh, I am sorry. I thought you were not even interested? I thought, like, marriage was not your thing?”
“Wipe that smile off your face and tell me how to use my powers, so I don’t look like an idiot.” I say, praying Lila did not outfight me.
She swung and completely missed Ajax, but she is surprisingly fast, and good. I look away not liking their sparring. “Flix?”
“Hi. Yea, you’re going to no like this.”
“What?!” I turn slightly, so I don’t draw attention.
“I did pick a great talent for you, but I didn’t realize the directions were so...vague. Pierce could not find anything either. All it’s says is find the spirit within you and let it free with your... emotions. Extremely dangerous, but very vague.”
“Are you shitting me?!” I nearly yell then look back, smiling at his assistants. Ignore me, yeah hi, I’m just silly, just talking to myself. “Free it with my mother f-ing emotions?!” I whisper harshly.
What kind of ever-loving-bullshit it that?!
“I’m sorry Red. Maybe just try meditating for a second.”
“Flix I am so angry at you, and you wonder why you never win,” I say and mean it.
He says nothing after that.
Great, now I hurt his feelings.
I am a horrible person.
“Red,” Ajax says.
I jump, not realizing he was talking to me. I see Lila run off with a smile on her face, and I huff. I glance back and see him studying me, his silver gaze flickering oddly.
“Come here, show me what you can do,” he orders and takes a big breath.
I just stare at him. “I can’t,” I whisper, mortified.
He frowns, walking towards me, alarming me. “You can’t?”
I back up just a bit. “No, I don’t know how.”
He rubs a hand down his face and closes his eyes. “Red,” he moans making me shiver. “You have got to be fucking kidding me, right?” He looks me in the eyes, intense, not happy.
I feel my eyes sting. “I am sure.”
Leon walks up to us, his blue eyes like ice. “She’s worthless?!”
Ajax’s jaw is tense and looks at Leon. “We are fucked with her then. We need all four players to get the most points.”
I feel rushing in my ears, pain stabs me through the heart. Never have I ever been worthless, or even felt this way. I want to crumble on the floor, have the wind take me away.
I can feel my spirit being broken.
“Red,” Ajax says, as Leon leaves in a hurry. “Tell me what you feel, are you good at anything? Drawn to anything?”
I feel a tear stream down my face. “No, I feel nothing but anger.”
He studies me, those pale eyes seeing me, pinning me.
His perfect mouth thins. “I am not losing because of you Red, I cannot change players once they have been picked. So I will have to do my best to draw whatever is in you... out,” he says and walks up to me.
I gasp when I pushes me to the ground.
I am stunned.
“Get up red,” he hisses. I get up and he pushes me again, harder. “Get pissed, Red!”
I try to kick him, but I am missing horribly. I try to feel inside of me, but I can make anything happen! I feel Ajax pick me up and slam me to the wall, hurting me. I gasp when I feel his large hand around my long neck.
“What do you feel Red?!” his breathing is hard, silver gaze pining me.
I try to feel anything, but I don’t.
“You have to feel something, unless the machine made a mistake,” he says, I can feel his breath on me.
Leon comes running up to us with a scanner?!
Embarrassment fills me when Ajax takes my hand and places it on the flat surface. I squeeze my eyes shut, feeling him watching me.
The thing turns yellow.
Ajax frowns and looks at Leon. “Yellow?!”
“What’s yellow?” I barely ask.
Ajax looks at me, and I shiver. I can feel the intensity of his gaze and it makes me want to squirm, or moan. He drops his hand from my neck, but he lets it fall. I’m sure he didn’t even notice, but his hand travels down my throat to the valley between my breasts. I have big breasts, and his hand touched them.
My one Win.
“Yellow means you have a very special power,” he whispers, his chest rising and falling.
I stare at him, shifting, feeling him closer.
“Which means I am going to have to break you fast. Our first match is in three days, you will die if you can’t protect yourself.”
I swallow and nod.
“I am leaving for now but,” he pauses, his expression still indifferent. “Work on melting that damn heart of ice.”
And he leaves me with that.