Sun Kissed
Page 12

 Skyla Madi

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“I’ll take her.” Hunter grasped my arm, pulling me gently to my feet. I wobbled momentarily but found my footing.
“Good. Mr De Luca and I have things we need to discuss, anyway.”
Hunter began walked me toward the door. I glanced back over my shoulder towards Eli, who was watching me intently. I could tell by the way he looked at me, he wanted to take me back to my dorm, he wanted to look after me, not leave me in the arms of someone else. I gave Eli a reassuring nod and he turned back toward Mr Aleksandrov.
It was dark outside. Clouds cluttered the sky, blotting out the stars. I pulled up the hood of my jacket, stopping the wind from whipping me with my own hair.
“He likes you, you know?” Hunter said as our feet came into contact with the grass opposite Eli’s house.
My head groaned in agony. “Nah, He’s just protective. He wants me to make the right decisions and — I don’t know … I guess he just worries too much.” I could feel a slight smile hint at my lips as I thought about Eli and I bit the inside of my cheek to hide it.
“I guess I should apologize. I shouldn’t have assumed that it was true. I’m sorry.” I added.
Hunter’s lips smiled, exposing his perfect teeth and cute dimples. He ran a hand through his unruly hair, slowing his pace and coming to a stop before the booth and gate that separated the students from the teachers.
“It’s okay. I would have done the same thing. Sure, it was hell not being able to talk to you, but I knew you’d find out it was Rylan eventually. You can make it up to me, though.”
“Breakfast tomorrow morning. It’ll be just you, me, and the rest of the school in the dining hall.”
A laugh fell from my lips. I didn’t realize how much I missed Hunter’s witty charm. It was the least I could do after everything. It wasn’t romantic in any way, so I didn’t feel guilty because of Eli. I just wanted a chance to make it up to Hunter.
The roaring sound of the students gossiping filled my ears as soon as I entered the dining hall. It was unbearable from the steps, let alone inside. I glanced around at the student body, each face telling a different story. Some were excited, some terrified, and some were sad. My actions affected everyone in different ways, none of which I was proud of.
“Over here, Rubes!” A voice pulled my attention to the left side of the room.
There Hunter sat, his hair an unruly black like crow's feathers, and a dark blue shirt clinging tightly to his torso.
“Good Morning,” I greeted as I sat down next to him.
On the table was an assortment of breakfast foods; fruit, yoghurt, coffee, juice, toast and muesli.
“I didn’t know what you prefer, so I got a bit of everything.”
“Fruit is good.”
He slid a bowl of fruit salad over to me and my stomach growled with hunger. I stabbed a piece of watermelon with my fork and brought it to my mouth. As I took a bite, my glance fell onto Eli, who was watching us curiously. I looked awkwardly into my bowl. Why was I suddenly feeling guilty? Eli and I weren’t dating, and Hunter and I were only having breakfast together. It was the least I could do for him.
“Let’s go to dinner together on Friday night.”
I raised a glass of juice to my mouth and took an extra-long gulp to buy myself some time. I was going to tell Hunter I was leaving, but I didn’t want to do it at breakfast. I didn’t want to ruin another meal with him. However, I didn’t have a choice.
“I, uh, I’m leaving.”
“But you haven’t finished your fruit salad.”
“No, I’m not leaving now. I’m leaving on Friday.” I lowered my voice so only Hunter could hear. “The higher power is here, he’s staying off campus. He’s requested that I work for him for a while.”
His mouth had dropped slightly and he slowly rose from his chair.
“Hunter, what are you doing?”
He didn’t respond, he pursed his lips into a line and I followed his line of vision as he narrowed in on Rylan, who sitting with Zavion on the other side of the room. His jaw flexed as he clenched his teeth.
I threw Eli a panicked expression and he understood. He left his chair and walked hastily over to us, trying not to draw any attention.
“Hunter,” murmured Eli, his voice low.
Only Eli could sound so calm yet so threatening at the same time. Hunter didn’t see Eli, he only saw Rylan.
“Hunter, please?” I whispered.
He turned and headed out the door, leaving Eli and I staring after him.
“Well, there goes another meal ruined. Now I only need to ruin lunch to complete the collection,” I groaned.
I rested my head on my arms in defeat.
“Don’t stress yourself out with this stuff. You have a lot on your plate already.”
I nodded and he returned to his chair.
The rest of the week went quickly, too quickly. It was Thursday, and the predicted storm had arrived. I spent most of my time in my dorm room. After the incident with Raina, I wasn’t allowed to attend classes or hang out in between meals.
It was late, my clock said it was eleven p.m. and I was alone. Mila had gone to spend the night with Ava in her dorm and I was left with the storm for company. The wind whistled, causing my window to rattle relentlessly. The sky was black with menacing rainclouds until the cracks of lightning broke the darkness. The wild storm matched my mood perfectly; tomorrow night Eli and I will be officially working for a vampire.
I’d been in bed for hours now and sleep still evaded me. Fang-filled faces were painted across the sky with every lightning strike and each time it made my heart quicken, sending shivers down my spine.
Eventually sleep came. It wasn’t a full sleep, it was constantly broken by images of fangs, blood and pale skin. Nothing truly sank in until I saw yellow rays of light creep upwards. The sun peered over the horizon, its light dimmed by the blanket of clouds. The rays that managed to break through the clouds covered the grass and covered the leaves of every tree. Night fled and a new day dawned, but I didn’t feel good about it. This new light didn’t bring me joy, it didn’t give me relief. It condemned me to a new life. A life I didn’t want, one that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I took my eyes off the early morning sun and stared at the digital clock sitting on my bedside table. It read 5:30. I really didn't need to be awake right now. I sighed, frustrated by my insomnia, I climbed out of bed and headed to the shower. It was the only thing that could pull me from this groggy state.
I hadn’t seen Hunter since breakfast on Tuesday. He could be mad at me, although I wasn’t sure what for. I was the one leaving. In the past few days, Raina’s sunburn had turned to a deep tan with ridiculous amounts of peeling. I couldn’t help but smile every time I saw her. Mila and Ava seemed to be getting closer by the second and they even had their own personal jokes. Granted, it’s annoying when I have no idea what they are talking about, but I knew it was for the greater good. Ava looked like she would look after Mila and that’s all I wanted.
My thoughts have kept me in the shower long enough, so I got out and got dressed. A pair of skinny denim jeans, a grey top, and a black leather jacket was a perfect outfit for me to wear; it matched my dark mood and the dark weather. I decided to go for a walk and see the grounds a bit before I left. Who knew when I’d be back — if I’d be back?
I exited the girls’ dorms. The weather was as depressing outside as it was inside. There were no patches of blue sky, no birds. It was so early in the morning there were no students loitering around the place. Only me. Already, today seemed so lifeless and bland. I made my way down to the sports oval. In the misty fog I saw a face, a familiar face, Eli’s. He must’ve had a hard time sleeping as well. As I got closer, the slight bags under his eyes confirmed my suspicion.
He stood in the drizzling rain without an umbrella or coat and his hair, that had once been sculpted to perfection, was now lying in strands against his forehead.
“You couldn’t sleep either?” I asked.
He shook his head.
“Today is the day.”
“Are you ready?” His green eyes pierced mine.
“I don’t have a choice.” I uttered. “But you do.”
“Is this your last attempt to talk me out of this?”
“I wasn’t planning on it, but seeing as we’re both out here, it’s worth one last shot.”
A lazy smile curled his lips. “No.”
I exhaled in defeat. “At least we’re dying together.”
Eli laughed melodiously. It was a sound I hadn’t heard in so long. My legs felt like jelly as I replayed the laugh over and over in my head. It was uplifting and beautiful.
“I have something for you.”
The wind howled through the trees surrounding the oval. The sky overhead churned, thick with rolling clouds. I brushed my windswept hair from my face as Eli pulled out the gold whistle he’d given to me when I first arrived at Sage Sanctum.
“I-I thought I lost this?”
“No. I kept it safe.”
He gestured with his finger for me to turn around. My neck was bare, I had taken the necklace that Aunt Jen and Camilla got me off months ago and had forgotten to put it on since. The cool gold came into contact with my skin, sending a wave of goosebumps over the surface. The heavy whistle hung on the outside of my shirt. I ran my index finger over the golden necklace; it was still as perfect as I remembered.
“I don’t know when we’re going to be bonded, but this will help you if you need it.”
“Thank you.” I turned and threw my arms around his neck. He tensed at first but then relaxed into me, wrapping his arms around my waist.
“Let me walk you back to your room. People get suspicious when you’re out and about at random hours.”
His voice was alight with humor. The day that started out so depressing brightened a little bit and I was happy being in his company.
We entered the dorm lobby and Mrs Ploit sighed loudly as Eli escorted me in through the door.
“Up to no good again, Miss Moore?”
“No, Ma’am ,just an early walk before breakfast.”
“Sign,” Mrs Ploit demanded as she handed me a pen. “Before you go, there’s a letter here for you.”
She handed me a black envelope and I paused. My heart sank so far into my stomach it hurt. When did I become so afraid of receiving a letter?
“I can open it for you,” Eli suggested as he took the letter from Mrs Ploit’s aged hands.
He opened it and I watched his face as his jaw clenched tightly. “It’s about our arrangement.”
I figured as much. He handed me the letter and I blinked fast, trying to clear my flooded eyes. The letter shook in my trembling fingers, and my heart pounded like a drum.
It’s Friday and you know what that means! Today is a good day, I can feel it. We leave tonight, so please meet me at my tent at six p.m. with your angel and we will go from there. NO LATER or I will have to kill someone you love.
Oh and by the way, I know you love keeping letters from Mr De Luca so I took the liberty of having one sent to his house, just in case.
Lucian :)
Just reading the tone of his letter made me wish he’d killed me the first night I had seen him.
“I was going to go and finish packing my things, but I can stay with you, if you want.”
“I’m sorry, Mr De Luca, but I cannot let you stay.”
Eli leaned on her desk, hands spread. Mrs Ploit narrowed her eyes. Although she was trying to hold her serious demeanor, I could tell by the way her lips twitched that even she was not immune to Eli’s looks.
“Whilst I appreciate you upholding the rules, Mrs Ploit, Ruby is going through a very difficult time right now and I will stay with her for as long as she needs.”
Mrs Ploit wasn’t the only one taken aback by Eli’s assertiveness. I’m sure my own open mouth displayed my shock. He was usually so compliant, so calm. I don’t blame him for being a little on edge today, especially not with what we were about to go through.
“No, it’s okay. You go and I’ll start packing up my own things.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah, I’ll be fine.”
“Okay. I’ll see you later.”
He gave Mrs Ploit an apologetic nod, her plum-colored lips were poised in a disapproving pout as he exited the building. A trail of his cologne mixed with the crisp scent of the cool air outside wafted past me. My attention fell back to Mrs Ploit, who was staring at me intently.
“I’m sorry; he’s just going through a few things right now.”
“Perhaps the higher power will straighten out the mess that is you and Mr De Luca.”
“Excuse me?” I scoffed.
“Please, it’s obvious, and those who say they can’t see it are liars. You two clearly have a thing going on, with all the escorting back to your dorm and the coffee dates. I saw how miserable you were when he wasn’t here, and since he’s come back, you’ve been more… chipper than usual, but then, that only lasted for a day or so. What you two are doing is disgusting and it’s wrong. Goddesses with gods, it has been like that for centuries.”
I opened my mouth to speak but all that came out was an offended gust of air. A million comments, questions, and insults clawed at my throat and I clenched my teeth together, forcing them to remain unspoken.
“You are what is disgusting and wrong with this world.” I growled.
How ignorant. Eli and I weren’t different, except for the particular skills that were unique to both our kinds. I controlled the elements and Eli was fast, strong, and loyal.