Reckless Magic (Page 5)

Chapter Four

I took my sweet time walking over to the dividers and cringed when I looked behind them and found a tiny sitting area. I stared, mouth agape, wondering how I was going to get through this hour.

Kiran bumped, purposely, into my shoulder as he walked by and took a seat on the floor directly in the middle of the small space. Talbott followed close behind, although he was careful not to touch me as he entered. I was amazed at how quickly my infatuation with Kiran turned into disgust. Had I known he was going to sell me out in front of everyone, I doubted I ever would have found his faultless features so alluring before.

Regretfully I took my seat next to Kiran on the floor. I pulled my knees in as close as I could and disdainfully, rested my forehead on them. I gave myself hope that there was a way to avoid these irritating boys in the hole we had been banished to.

“So what are you?” Kiran asked pointedly. I lifted my eyes and found him staring at me intently. Avoidance was clearly out of the question.

“What do you mean?” I asked dryly. I had lost all patience with him. For the first time I noticed Talbott staring at me, as well.

“What are you?” he asked again, pronouncing each word crisply and clearly. If this was some weird game, I was not in the mood. I laid my head back down on my knees.

“What he means to say is.... which are you?” Talbott interjected, apparently hoping to elicit some type of answer from me; I, however, had no idea what kind of answer they were even looking for. After responding with silence, he continued, “We were not aware of you before we came; are you Witch, or Psychic?”

My head snapped up in reaction to his ridiculous question. I saw then that they were just playing another joke on me. How irritating. I was speechless, and my temper was slowly rising. I may have made a fool of myself before, but that did not mean these teenage boys needed to continue humiliating me.

“She’s not one of you?” Kiran tilted his head towards Talbott and asked softly.

“No, not in the least. And I cannot get a read on her. Can you?” Talbott responded just as softly. They spoke to each other as if I was not there and my patience drew thin.

“No,” Kiran responded, almost as frustrated as I felt. The strangest thing was that they actually maintained a straight face as though they really were serious.

“I’m neither,” I almost laughed as I said it. “I am actually an elf, a Christmas elf. Santa gave me some time off so that I could go to school. He’s such a nice old man,” I rolled my eyes, not just at them, but at myself, I couldn’t believe I was playing their games.

They both laughed a little nervously and looked at each other. Kiran adjusted his sitting position and our legs bumped each other. I couldn’t tell if he did it on purpose or not, but as soon as there was contact between us, I began to feel the prickles and heat like before. It wasn’t intense and my pride promised me I could handle it. There was no reason to panic and flee from the room, at least not yet.

“Where are the papers we are supposed to grade?” I asked Talbott, seeing a large stack of loose-leaf notebook paper in his hand. “Can I have some, please?” I choked out manners, trying to be the better person, although they were making it extremely difficult.

“Talbott will do it,” Kiran answered quickly, without even looking at his friend.

“I would rather grade my share, thank you,” I suddenly felt sorry for Talbott, to have a friend like Kiran, but I shook my head trying to rid myself of the feeling. I needed to remember that he had been just as bad as Kiran. Ok, well maybe not just as bad, but the mere fact that he indulged Kiran put him in the same category.

“Really, Talbott will do them. He’s actually probably already finished,” Kiran insisted. I looked to Talbott but he just smiled. I realized that Talbott was going along with Kiran’s orders happily and was not going to hand over any papers.

“Ugh. Fine,” I resigned.

“Your last name is Matthews?” Talbott asked unexpectedly.

“Yes,” I was getting tired of this.

“Nothing?” Kiran asked cryptically to Talbott.

“Nothing,” Talbott responded just as cryptically.

“Do you have any questions for me?” I assumed Kiran was talking to Talbott, because I could not think of any nice question that I would have wanted to ask him. Any question I would have asked would surely get me into trouble. “Eden,” he nudged my foot with his; there was instant electricity shooting from my toes up through my leg. “Eden, do you want to ask me anything?” He gave me another one of his impish grins and looked at me with such intensity that I found myself squirming.

“What? No,” I said with surprise. “I don’t have any questions for you,” I let a little venom slip into my tone, and rolled my eyes again. “Except, why you felt it necessary to act like such an ass before?” I said it before I could stop myself…. I knew whatever I asked would not be kind.

Kiran let out a small laugh, but Talbott started to stand up next to him. His body had become tense and he was in a fighting position. I just stared at him completely confused. I cringed a little and pulled my knees in tighter. The last thing I wanted to do was fight Talbott…. No, sorry, the last thing I wanted to do was apologize to Kiran; maybe it would come to fighting after all, although I thought it was very strange that Kiran’s friend would be so defensive over such a small thing. Maybe they were gay.

“It’s all right Talbott, sit down,” Kiran was still amused, and I guessed it was at my expense.

“She can’t talk to you like that,” Talbott growled. I was amazed at his devotion to Kiran. I found their relationship strange, and felt more uncomfortable than ever. Was he really going to fight me for calling his friend an ass? Truthfully, I could have said a lot worse.

I sat there silently, sizing them up. If they were gay, then the girls in this class were going to have an unhappy surprise, not to mention poor Mrs. Woodsen. Other than Talbott’s overprotective aggressiveness and his obvious devotion to Kiran, they did not seem like lovers. Maybe Kiran was straight and Talbott was in love with him.

Kiran suddenly let out a roaring laugh, nearly rolling over in hysteria. I continued to stare at them, more confused than ever. Talbott sat back down, but his face was suddenly bright red. I realized he was having a hard time looking me in the eye.

“If she is who she says she is, of course she can. Now calm down, you’re not going to fight a human girl just for speaking her mind. I was rude, and for that I apologize,” his voice turned to liquid and he reached out to touch my hand, resting it on top of my knees.

I pulled it away quickly. Both boys turned to look at each other; when Kiran returned his face to mine, I could see that his smile was now carefully controlled. He was frustrated with me. A wave of regret washed over me, and a small tingling of fear ran down my spine. I quickly shook it off. It made no sense to be scared of these bullies; surely, they were just playing another game.

“Don’t be silly Eden, let’s put this all behind us and become great friends,” His voice retained a smooth fluidity, frustrated with me or not.

“You’re right. It is silly,” I thought of a hundred snotty things to say, but in the end, I lost my nerve. “I accept your apology. Thank you.”

I could see that he wanted to say more, but the bell rang, so I stood up quickly and started to gather my things to leave. Before I could, he reached out his hand to grab my arm gently. A sudden, pulsating electricity overwhelmed me; I willed myself to continue to stand, doing my best not to show any signs of distress.

“As long as you are who you say you are Eden, I know we can be the best of friends,” he tightened his grip on my arm as if to make a point. As he did, the electricity became stronger. My ears started to ring and my vision blurred, but somehow I managed to respond.

“Let’s just try regular friends first,” my voice was breathy and choked. He took his hand off me and I impulsively gasped for breath, steadying myself with a hand on the partition.

“Probably a good idea,” he smiled widely and walked passed me, away from the oriental dividers. Talbott followed behind him, carrying the large stack of papers Mrs. Woodsen had asked us to grade.

I panicked slightly, not wanting her first impression of me to be a disappointment. I prepared a small apology in my head and followed the boys, hoping she’d believe my explanation: “They wouldn’t let me grade the papers, but I tried. I promise!” It already sounded weak and I hadn’t even said it aloud yet. However, as I got closer I could see Talbott handing over the papers already.

“Thank you Mr. Kendrick, I hope that I didn’t ask too much of you,” Mrs. Woodsen sounded slightly nervous as she addressed Kiran, although Talbott was the one who handed her the papers.

“Oh, no. Talbott was able to handle them just fine. I have to expect this sort of thing now that I am Stateside, I suppose. I will grow used to it. This way of life is just very unfamiliar to me,” Kiran smiled generously at Mrs. Woodsen and then turned on his heel to leave.

I was shocked at his arrogance. His behavior made my stomach turn and I forgot all about his good looks. He was a completely despicable person. Who did he think he was talking to a teacher like that? Or talking about us….Americans? The Midwest might be different from jolly old England, but it was just fine for the rest of us, thank you very much. Clearly, he suffered from some sort of deranged class prejudice. My only hope in surviving the day was to manage to avoid him completely.

I searched out Lilly and saw her waiting for me by the door. I rushed over to her, thankful again to be in her calming presence. Her cheeks flushed as she scrunched her hair nervously with one hand.

“How was your One-Act practice?” I asked, trying to be as nonchalant as possible. I just wanted to forget all about my own hour of hell.

“Oh fine. I mean…. I am not very good at this kind of thing, so I always get nervous, even in practice. I know I’ll just die when we get to the real competition,” she tried to laugh it off, but I could tell that she was seriously unnerved.

“I’m sure you’re great.” I said, trying to encourage her. I actually had no idea what she was like, but any compliment felt good. I hoped that she was great; she deserved to be great.

“Thank you,” she smiled, slightly more confident. “What was your hour like?”

“Ugh…. terrible. I cannot stand those boys!” I vented, a little more frustrated and a little louder than I would have liked. Her eyes dropped to the floor, and her expression became instantly strained.

“Now, now Eden, you promised we would be friends,” Kiran chided me softly. He walked closer toward us, with Talbott following loyally behind. Maybe Talbott was a dog in his former life.

I immediately turned and walked out of the classroom. I had no idea where I was supposed to go next, but that didn’t stop me from a fast escape. Thankfully, Lilly followed speedily behind me, although I could tell she was embarrassed of my behavior.

“Do you know what your next class is?” Lilly asked, a little out of breath from the quickness of my step. I could hear the boys following closely, so I picked up the pace even faster.