Reckless Magic (Page 44)

I shoved my backpack deep into the back seat and turned on the radio. I flipped through the stations, searching out something soothing and soft. I had to completely clear my mind in order to fool Avalon. If one small thought passed through my mind about what I had suddenly planned he would no doubt pick up on it immediately, if he hadn't already figured it out just by paying attention to our twin connection. But I hoped for the best, and repressed my magic and made it miniscule; hopefully I would also turn off the switch to our weird twin vibe.

I couldn't get rid of my nerves completely though and so I was still on edge when Avalon banged on the window in an attempt to scare me, it worked. I let out a blood curdling scream and nearly peed my pants. Pleased with himself, Avalon hopped into the passenger's seat all smiles and excitement.

“Chill out,” he said, still laughing.

“Don’t do that!” I scolded, heart beating wildly.

“How many times do I have to remind you to use your magic? If you were tuned into your surroundings I wouldn’t be able to do that,” he shook his head in mock disappointment.

“You’re right,” I tried to laugh it off, hoping to end the conversation immediately.

“What are we listening to?” Avalon made a disgusted face before taking over the seek-and-scan. He changed the university classical station to one that was more contemporary and…. loud.

I pulled out of the parking lot and filed in behind the long line of cars en route to the small airport Omaha had to offer. We merged onto the Interstate heading northeast in direction of Eppley Airfield. Some of the more expensive cars eventually made a turn for the northwest probably headed to the private airfields or who knows maybe their very own runways built into their very own expensive backyards.

The twenty minute drive was made in silence. Through the upbeat rap music I could tell that Avalon was focusing on the task ahead. He chewed on his thumbnail with his forehead creased together and stared out the window oblivious to anything around him. Although I was thankful for his less than interested approach with me, for the first time I realized he was nervous for the mission.

I had been so focused on Lilly and what her outcome at the trial would be that I completely overlooked the dangerous steps Avalon was about to take. If he was caught, I was sure he would share the same punishment as his accused companions. I glanced over at him and a pit began to form in my stomach. What was I asking him to do?

Avalon’s mission to save the team I condemned was enough. I was selfish to ask him to carry out what should be my mission. I would save Lilly, if not by testimony then by extreme force. I didn’t know these people, but I would be damned if I left my only friend’s fate in their hands.

“When does your flight leave?” I asked, trying to focus Avalon’s mind on the here and now.

“1:03, Southwest,” he nodded in the direction of the drop off lane, but I had decided a long time ago I would at least walk my brother inside.

“No, I’ll walk you in and say goodbye,” I glanced at the clock and realized he was going to have to run to make his flight. I wondered if I would have to do the same, but quickly banished the thought before Avalon could catch on.

I parked the car in the multi-level parking garage and popped the trunk for Avalon. While he was transferring a few things from his backpack to his duffle bag, I grabbed my own backpack and dumped the books, leaving only the necessities. I took a glance at the ticket noticing my time of departure was 1:24, so I would have only minutes after Avalon took off to get where I needed to go.

I would need to wait until Avalon was in the air before I made any move for my plane, otherwise he would know. I glanced back at him; he was clearly still preoccupied with his mission. From the two missions I fought against him prior to this one, I had assumed he was fearless or at least enjoyed the fight, but by the expression on his face it was clear that he knew exactly what he was risking.

“Are you ready?” I asked, laying a concerned hand on his shoulder.

“Of course,” he smiled, shaking his head a little as if to bring himself out of something.

“Then let’s go. I want to see you take off,” he rolled his eyes, but didn’t object.

We walked across the drive way and into the airport. Omaha’s Eppley Airfield was small and practical. Since Omaha didn’t fly directly International, all flights would have to make a connection somewhere else. Avalon’s was Minneapolis, mine was thankfully Atlanta.

I could feel Avalon’s magic strong and purposeful as he checked in and handed his passport and ticket to the clerk. I took notes silently beside him. My first use of magic on a human happened today with the substitute and I was filled with guilt afterward. Avalon used magic seamlessly with humans and I could tell from his aura that he didn’t feel the least bit guilty.

After a minute though, I could see why. Avalon’s magic helped the human girl to focus. Everything with his check in went quickly and smoothly and neither one had anything to complain about. He only bent her mind a little bit, but it was for her sake, as well as his. He noticed my observation and then turned to give me a look that said, “And that’s how it’s done.” I rolled my eyes, but was inwardly impressed.

I gave him a long hug at the top of the escalator leading to his terminal. He let me and didn’t let go until I did. I tried to find the right words of encouragement but nothing poetic came to mind. He smiled at my efforts and then winked before turning to walk away.

Be safe. Do not do anything stupid while I’m gone. His stern voice was in my head, but inwardly I was too choked up at his show of affection to respond.

“Did you hear me?” he turned around to walk backwards towards the security checkpoint.

I nodded affirmatively and wiped a tear off of my cheek. He shook his head and then he was to security and having to take off his shoes and jacket; oh no, his jacket. I realized for the first time that Avalon changed clothes before he left school. He was dressed very nicely in a tailored black pin striped suit and white shirt with a green tie underneath. He put his shiny black shoes into the bin and I noticed that even his socks were fancy.

It was my turn to check in and I was standing there looking lost in a gross school uniform. I was apparently planning to storm the courtroom and demand Lilly Mason be freed from tyranny and unlawfulness in knee high socks and a plaid pleated skirt. Awesome.

Chapter Thirty-Eight

I took a quick glance at Evangeline’s passport before handing it over to the desk clerk, a twenty something girl with too much make-up on. Luckily for me, Evangeline’s passport picture was taken when she was ten and so there was a little leeway for growth.

Although she was still a brunette six years after the picture was taken, my shade of brown was not so nutmeg, but rather just straight black. And her eyes were definitely blue, and mine were definitely not.

The clerk looked at the passport picture and then at me, and then back at the picture and then again back at me. I gave her a nervous smile and tugged on my newly purchased red Nebraska football sweatshirt. I released my magic full force through my veins, knocking over a display a few feet away. I jumped, startled and realized if I didn’t get my magic under control, they were going to call the police. Who knew magic could get nervous?

“I hate that picture,” I cleared my throat and tried to sound confident. I attempted to send some magic her way again, but was afraid I would knock her over too if I didn’t relax.

“Hmmm….” she frowned suspiciously. “Do you have another form of ID on you? A driver’s license or something?” she put the passport and ticket on the counter and tapped her fingers impatiently.

“Y-y-yes I think I do,” I stammered out, pretending to dig through my bag looking for it. My bag was not that deep, it was just a backpack and mostly empty since I had left all of my books in the car, but I needed to milk it for all it was worth.

“Isn’t that your wallet?” she asked, as the item in question nearly fell from my hands. I gave her an irritated half-smile and handed it over. Once she saw not only the picture, but the name on it, this half-assed plan was over.

A creepy crawly feeling of irritation swept over me; I just wanted to get on that plane. I glanced over at the clerk and felt the same sense of irritation flood her, and that was when I realized I didn’t have to be smooth. I didn’t have to do what Avalon did. It was great that he could make other people feel safe and secure and smiley, but that was just not me right then. I was pissed, I was irritated and I was in a big freaking hurry. If nothing else, I could at least make her emote with me.

I released my magic a little too strongly and I saw the young clerk take a visible step backwards. I began to feel guilty for hurting the poor girl, but then she gave me a dirty look that reminded me a little too much of Seraphina. Suddenly she was looking at the clock and processing my airline ticket. She let out a huge huff of impatience, handing me my respective papers quickly.

“I assume you won’t be checking any bags?” she looked disdainfully at my worn out book bag.

“Nope,” I said, returning her irritation with a smile and breathing a sigh of relief.

She turned to the next passenger in line and I ran up the escalator. It could not have been that easy! Finally something was going my way. I didn’t slow down until I made it through security, to my terminal and onto the walkway.

A pretty flight attendant with perfect posture greeted me at the doorway to the plane. I handed over my ticket grateful for assistance and she pointed just inside the doorway to a luxurious first class seat next to a window.

I sat down heavily and breathed another sigh of relief. I took a hair tie off of my wrist and knotted my hair into a messy bun on the top of my head. Per instructions of the flight attendant I stored my nearly empty backpack underneath my seat and buckled up for safety.

I looked out of my window at Omaha for one last time; I had never flown before, let alone overseas. I had no idea what to expect and less of an idea what to do when I got there. After my connecting flight in Atlanta I would be non-stop until Romania. The bright afternoon sunlight flooded my window and I relished in the warmth and security of self-righteousness. Lilly needed me and I refused to let her down.

I breathed in the smoke and smog that met me outside the dingy glass doors of the airport in Timisoara, Romania. The wide-lane street in front of me was full of small cabs in every color. Most of them were driven by middle-aged, olive-skinned Romanian men with mustaches and cigarettes. And all of the cars looked at least fifty years old.

I walked over to one of the parked Dacias, waiting to take me on the next leg of this exhausting adventure. I tugged at the oversized cruise wear I acquired at a gift shop in the Atlanta airport and realized that it was not nearly warm enough for the cold and dreary autumn of Romania.

“English?” I asked hopeful, to a gruff looking Romanian man wearing a worn out black leather jacket. He shook his head and grunted what I took to be an amused laugh.

I pulled out the English to Romanian dictionary I also purchased at the Atlanta airport and searched for the T section.

“Statie?” I stumbled through the word, using what I knew from my Spanish pronunciations to ask for the train station.