Here’s the continuation of last week’s story. Enjoy.
Thursday – Part II
© 2008 Suzanne Lazear
She wasn’t in my fifth or sixth period classes. But I knew where her locker was. It would be easy to find a reason to bump into her.
I still didn’t know why I was intrigued by a bald, flat-chested girl with a sling and a walking cast.
It was finally seventh period. I walked into painting class. At the easel next to mine was a new student. A nearly bald girl with a sling, a walking cast, and a purple backpack covered with skulls. She was studying the fruit bowl we were painting with a single-minded intensity that was also fascinating. Was she that intent on everything?
I walked up behind her, inhaling her scent. It was complex, layered, and oh, so sweet. Like a garden of exotic roses. She was Fluere. Most definitely. But there were slight hints of something else.
Perhaps she wasn’t magic enough to have purple eyes when she was fully human, but I had a feeling she had enough of something to make her seem different. Smell different. Captivate me.
“Anyone ever tell you that you have remarkable eyes?” I asked, interrupting her rumination.
She didn’t even turn when I spoke. That intrigued me even more.
“Someone already used that one.” Her reply was tart.
Three guesses as to who that was. “Who?”
“Bobby White.” Now she turned around to see who was speaking to her. Her purple eyes widened as she realized who it was. I had through her off-balance. She was taller than I anticipated. No wonder she had a tendency to slouch. She was taller than most of the guys in our class. But she wasn’t quite as tall as me.
“Of course he would.” Bobby knew what those eyes could mean. I dropped my backpack at my easel, which was next to hers. I flashed her my most heart-melting smile. This was a chance to get to know her a little better. To figure out why I was fascinated by her.
“I’m Aaron Lewis.” I knew she knew that. I could hear her pulse race slightly. She took a deep breath. I was used to having that effect on girls. All girls. Even the ones I wasn’t interested in. But for some reason it didn’t bring me quite as much satisfaction as it usually did.
“Kat McCormick. You run the literary magazine.” Someone had filled her in.
“You were sitting with the Smart People at lunch.” I gave her a knowing smile.
“I was on the literary magazine at my old school.”
I wasn’t very good at writing literature. Actually, I wasn’t good at writing anything but Sonnets. But I had an eye for what was good and was an excellent copy editor.
“Where are you from?” I got a good look at her up close. I could see the scars on her scalp that her hair barely covered. I noticed her ears were not pierced. She didn’t wear perfume. I was making her nervous. Her bow-shaped lips were really ruby red. They looked soft...kissable.
“Are you smart like them?” I was curious. How did she know Addison Moore anyway? Man that girl could talk. Sitting down on my stool, I got out my paints and brushes. “That’s the top one percent of the Junior Class right there.” I’d settle for the top five. I could still get into a good school. I wanted to be a lawyer, despite the fact that my father was one.
“I want to go to Stanford and study medicine.” Yes. She was smart like them. Was she as driven. Betsey Chin was poised to be Valedictorian and she was cutthroat.
“Nice. What did you do for the magazine? Poetry Editor?” My gaze fell to her shirt. Shakespeare Hates Your Crappy Poetry. Very nice. The literary magazine was open to student submissions. We got some really crappy poetry.
“Art and layout.” She dabbed her brush in paint. “Sketches and illustrations for the poems and stories mostly.”
Of course she did art. That was why there was ink on her hands. That was why she was taking painting. But was she any good? I hoped she was. It would be one more excuse to be near her. The Wolves were not going to get her. Neither were Mark and Ross. I still wasn’t sure why. Or how.
“If you bring some stuff, I’ll take a look.” Please let her be good.
“Okay.” She was carefully starting her outline. Her paintbrush sketched across the blank canvas. My still life of the fruit bowl on the table in the front of the room was already in progress. She didn’t seem to shy or reserved. Not like some people.
But did she have a backbone?
If she were to run with us, with me, she needed one. She needed to be tough and fierce. To have some self-confidence. Some of those things I could work with her on. But some things she’d have to discover for herself.
“You know what purple eyes mean?” I wanted to see her reaction.
“Aside from being a freak?” That too was tart. Someone had definite confidence issues. She truly had no idea. She was not a freak. She was special. Fluere were special. I had a feeling she was unique among them. I had a few theories on that.
“Some say they are magic. Others say they are the mark of those who came back from the dead.” As I said this, I worked on my painting, watching her from the corner of my eye.
She dropped her paintbrush. I had struck a chord. But which sentence did that? Or maybe…
Maybe it was both.
Either way, I was even more intrigued. Entranced. Bespelled. Perhaps she was from a fairytale.
Getting of my stool, I bent down and picked up her paintbrush, inhaling her unique scent. To be with her in close quarters would test my imperfect control. But I wanted to be close to her. Near her. Like I was now. Closer.
“So, which are you, Kat? Magic or death defying?” My tone was daring. I was having fun. Kat was fun. I wanted to know everything about her. But it would be more fun to draw it out. Draw her out. See if she could play our games. Run with us. With me.
I hoped she could.
My hand brushed hers ever so slightly, invading her personal space in a calculated movement as I continued to test her. I smiled at her as I met her eyes. I felt that. There was the slightest shock.
She was one of those. I think. Some Fluere had connections with different races within the Nightworld. They’d inexplicably be drawn to that race. Was I so lucky that she had a connection with us? Or even better…me?
Her pulse raced. She snatched the paintbrush out of my hand, snapping it in half. She was new. Definitely. She hadn’t quite worked out her strength, her speed. What did she think of what was happening to her?
Those purple eyes narrowed into slits. I had unnerved her. Good. I wanted to see who she really was. What she was made of. What I had to work with.
“Back off or I’ll turn you into a rat.”
Those words made me smile. She did have a backbone. Good. I was looking forward to this.
Suddenly, I got it. Throwing my head back, I laughed, which unnerved her even more. “That’s why they call you Kat, right? Because the kitten has claws.”
Pretending to ignore me, she went back to her painting. But I knew she was as enthralled me be as I was by her.
Yes, things at Cactus Grove High School were about to get a lot more interesting.