Reckless Magic (Page 16)

Mr. Lawly passed out cans of baked beans and ingredients for s’mores all to be cooked over the fire. I knew that this was the ideal camping cliché but I wasn’t buying it. I was filthy dirty, my long hair was in endless tangles and I was tired of being picked on. I wished I could say I was the outdoorsy type, but I would have done almost anything for a shower right then.

Lilly and I sat silently, consumed with our own thoughts. I pushed the food around on my tarnished tin camping plate and wondered what Seraphina had planned next for me. I looked over at Lilly and saw a small smile on her face, clearly her thoughts were elsewhere and infinitely more enjoyable.

I wanted so badly to ask her if anything was going on between her and Talbott, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. She had been so great about giving me my privacy that I just couldn’t invade hers. If she wanted to talk about it with me, she would.

I looked over at Talbott; he was sitting in the middle of all of the “cool kids,” right where he belonged. His olive skin was darker from the sun today and his black curly hair was pushed out of his eyes. His posture was perfect and his white teeth glimmered in the coming darkness. All around him sat equally as beautiful girls staring at him, but he happened to be staring at Lilly. I didn’t understand why he was so tied to that group of followers, clearly he liked Lilly. Was he that much of a robot?

I glanced over at Kiran sitting next to him. He too was staring in our direction and so I quickly looked back at the ground. I didn’t get him, plain and simple. He was apparently dating Seraphina, yet barely had anything to do with her. She was gorgeous and popular; the very girl high school social standards required him to date.

But me, the social outcast and resident freak, Kiran wouldn’t leave the hell alone! Either this was just some really messed up game he was playing, or he wasn’t as attached to Seraphina as she was to him. It didn’t really matter which one it was, I was getting sick of being in the middle. And I was definitely tired of providing tonight’s entertainment.

I pulled my knees closer to my chest and laid my head between them. My dark hair spilled over and made a pool on the ground. Normally I would have worried about dragging it through the dirt, but since it was probably dirtier than the ground, I decided not to get upset about it.

I contemplated revenge against Seraphina, but I couldn’t think of anything legal. I was already in enough trouble with Mr. Lawly anyways and I was pretty sure his list of rules said something about an ongoing prank war being forbidden. A small jolt of electricity shocked my system and made me sit upright; I looked over to see Kiran about five feet away and coming closer…. great.

“Go away,” I picked up a rock and threw it at his legs.

“Don’t be so grumpy,” he caught my rock effortlessly and tossed it back at me.

“You’re going to get me into trouble again,” I complained, catching the rock and throwing it back at his shoes. He didn’t try to catch it that time, but I doubted he could even feel it through his thick hiking boots.

“You are trouble,” he sat down next to me, a little too close for comfort. Electricity shot like sparks in my veins and gave me goose bumps all the way up my arms. “Listen, I’ve negotiated a cease fire on your behalf. Seraphina has agreed to stop this nonsense as long as you can agree to as well. I think you officially owe me now.”

“I don’t owe you anything, you’re the reason I’m in this mess,” I stood half way up and moved the rock I was sitting on over, away from Kiran. I didn’t need this right now; I didn’t need him right now. And it irritated me that he was right: I was grumpy.

“Eden…” he scolded tauntingly. I couldn’t help but love the sound of my name when he said it with his seductive accent. I laid my head back down between my knees to hide the smile I was having trouble keeping off of my face. The roller coaster his presence sent my emotions on was overwhelming.

“What are the terms?” I asked, my voice muffled underneath my massive amount of hair.

“Oh, right. You leave them alone, they leave you alone.”

That was way too easy. I peaked at them through my wall of black hair and realized that none of them were looking this way. Seraphina and all of her groupies were laughing, but not at me, they were thankfully completely absorbed with themselves. It seemed I had faded into oblivion once again. Thank God.

“What about you? I’m sure this is some breach of contract,” I turned my head to the side and laid my cheek on the tops of my knees, allowing me to have a full view of Kiran. He was still in the white undershirt he was wearing earlier, after I destroyed his polo. The soft, cotton t-shirt clung to his body. His arms were strong, each muscle clearly defined from bicep to forearm. His tanned skin looked faultless in the fading sun; he could not have been more perfect.

“I do what I want Eden, Seraphina knows that and you should too,” he looked directly and deeply into my eyes, causing me to blush.

“So she is really going to leave me alone, even if you won’t?” I asked, not sure if I really wanted him to at that moment. I inhaled deeply through my nose, willing my nervous body to relax.

“Yes of course, I asked her to,” still looking into my eyes, he smiled.

“Oh, I see, your girlfriend obeys your every command.” I asked sarcastically. Obviously he was deluded.

“She is not my girlfriend, but I think you get the gist of it.”

“Sure she’s not,” I rolled my eyes before positioning my face back into my knees. I couldn’t look at him anymore; I was finding it hard to think straight. Energy was vibrating through my heart at an accelerating speed, feeling more and more like a defibrillator.

“She’s not,” he softened his voice and sounded dejected, like he didn’t really believe what he was saying either.

Dusk turned to dark and the air became cool. I was still in my muddy tank top from earlier and shivered under the night breeze. I looked up to notice the fire was getting smaller because of the wind and silently wished I knew how to “kindle” it.

My blood suddenly began to boil and the energy became pin pricks underneath my skin. I felt a little faint and then the fire burst out into a larger version of itself. I stared after it stunned, thankful for the warmth and even more thankful I didn’t injure anyone.

“Did you do that?” Kiran half laughed at me.

“What? No. That’s weird,” I mumbled, still unable to accept the fact that it was me. I mean, was it me? I was certainly thinking about the fire, my body had the strangest reaction right before it happened; but it couldn’t have been me. A person cannot do things like that. I mean, I may have been a freak, but I was certainly no magician.

Kiran laughed longer. He scooted over closer to me and I realized for the first time, that he was not freaked out by me at all. In fact, in some weird way all of my strangeness was making him more attracted to me. I decided the poor thing loved crazy people.

“What are you laughing at?” I demanded, determined to prove it wasn’t me. The heat felt good on my bare skin and the energy that was strong inside of me just moments before had dwindled down to a soft buzzing.

“I want to know who you are,” Kiran replied cryptically.

“Me too,” I muttered under my breath. He looked over at me and smiled. I was coming to terms with the fact that I was comfortable around him and it actually felt good. He seemed to understand me in a way that I didn’t even understand myself.

“Hey, let’s go for a walk,” he jumped to his feet excitedly; realizing that I had let my guard down, I instantly put it back up.

“Why?” I asked, eyes narrowed, feet planted firmly on the ground.

“Because a walk will be fun, we can explore the great Nebraska Wilderness,” it was hard to say no to his accent, or his eyes, or the child like excitement he was suddenly full of.

“I’m not so sure. Are we even allowed to leave?” I looked over at Mr. Lawly who was exiting his tent, guitar in hand. I panicked a little. There was no way in hell I would be singing “Kumbaya” with this group of people.

“We won’t get into any trouble, I promise. I am pretty sure Mr. Lawly is scared of you,” he smiled wider and I saw he had already made up his mind. Lilly, whom I had nearly forgotten about was looking at me like I was crazy if I didn’t go.

“Fine. Let me get my sweatshirt.” I ducked into my tent and grabbed a gray hooded sweatshirt from one of my old schools out of my backpack. I threw it on over my dirty tank top and knotted my hair high up on my head. I contemplated lip gloss, but quickly disregarded it.

I had no idea what I was thinking saying yes, but I supposed there was no turning back now.

Chapter Fifteen

I exited my tent, energy buzzing and a little nervous, but ready for my walk with Kiran through the woods. I noticed that Talbott and Lilly were standing close together at the edge of the forest, whispering to each other and giggling. Apparently it was a double date.

I exhaled and realized I had been holding my breath. Kiran waited for me by the fire and I joined him, following the ‘love birds’ into the dark woods. Hello “scene from very scary movie.”

I stumbled my way around, unable to see anything through the crowded trees. The night was cloudy, but the high canopy of branches would block out any light from the stars or moon anyways. I stayed close to Lilly, grabbing on to her for support every once in a while. She didn’t seem to have any problem making her way in the dark; in fact, none of them did. I was the only one staggering around blindly.

I had always scared easily and so this scenario without a doubt had me terrified. Every little noise, every little break of a twig and I was nearly jumping out of my skin. I couldn’t remember why I had thought this was such a good idea. An owl hooted nearby and I let out a tiny scream.

“Calm down Eden, I was only kidding when I told you there were bears out here,” Kiran sounded slightly exasperated and I couldn’t blame him. I was pathetic.

“I know.... I’m fine,” I tried to sound confident, but my voice wavered.

“There’s nothing to worry about,” Kiran walked from the other side of Talbott and Lilly to be next to me, and put his hand on my arm, steadying me. “I won’t let anything happen to you,” he leaned in to whisper, but I could hear the sarcasm in his voice.

“Thank you, but I am just fine,” I ripped my arm out of his hand a little too dramatically.

“All right, suit yourself,” he didn’t attempt to touch me again, but he didn’t leave my side either.

We wandered silently through the dense wilderness. The night was very still, even the animals and insects had seemed to quiet down. The sky was overcast, but every once in a while the moon would break through the clouds and shine down an eerie glow around us.

I began to relax after my eyes had adjusted and I could see where I was going a little better. Lilly and Talbott had managed to walk ahead of us; I could hear them talking quietly. I smiled at how relaxed Lilly was around Talbott; they seemed to be really good for each other. I thought Lilly might even have made Talbott relax a little as well.