I woke up in the backseat of a car. I just laid there for a second watching the buildings go by through the window. The car slowed down for a moment but then it sped up again. I decided to sit up so I could see where I was and who was driving but when I did I immediately regretted it. My head swam and I had to sit still a minute until the dizziness was gone, but as soon as that ended an overwhelming headache split through my skull.

“How ya feeling?” The driver asked. I groan in reply and then I recognized the driver’s voice. “Raziel? What happened?” He took a quick look back at me and then looked back at the road. “Well I was on my way back to my car to head back to the school and I saw you laying on the street, out like a light, and I couldn’t just leave you there. And now here we are.”

Raziel pulled up to a huge mansion like building, and he helped me out of the car. I thought the gesture was very gentleman-like but I didn’t say anything.

“Where are we?” I asked. We walked up to the large front doors. “The Luna Dorms. It’s huge I know. All the rich students would live in this dorm back when the Academy was first built. But right now it’s just me and my friend. That’s one reason why I asked you and Vetra to move in.”

The dorms were the biggest I’d ever seen. There was a small chandelier in between the doors and the stairs.

“How about we get you cleaned up? I’ll show you the shower room.” Raziel walked me down a long hall and then he turned a corner into a big white tile room. “Here you go. There’s shower stuff in the cabinets. Towels to. I’ll grab some clothes for you.” He left and I got all the things I needed out.

I was surprised by how fast he returned. “All I could find was a pair of my basketball shorts and one of my tank tops. I can go grab some of my friends clothes if you want. They might fit you better,” he said.

 “No this will be fine, thanks.” He nodded and left as quickly as he had come.

I set the clothes down and shut the door. I hopped in the shower and let the warm water run down my face. I washed my hair and scrubbed the grime off my skin. The water was refreshing but sadly I couldn’t stay in here forever.

I got dressed slowly and then took a look in the mirror. A pair of gray eyes looked back at me. My auburn hair shined in the light and it almost looked red, but I wasn’t fooled. My lightly freckled face looked thoughtful and my straight nose appeared broken at the top. I looked a lot like my parents. I had my mom’s hair and white toothed smile, along with her almost model lips. My dad’s nose and kind eyes. I could see where I could be beautiful, but since I was only fourteen I wasn’t quite there yet.

My strong chin looked defiantly into the mirror daring it to judge me.

As I assessed myself and saw that I had a scratch above my left temple. That must be why I have a headache. At that thought the earlier events of tonight flashed through my head. I remembered the impossible creatures that were men under all that monster. I’m going insane, I thought.

There was no way people could turn into those creepy creatures let alone those three guys. But it had all seemed so real, and then that wolf had jumped from the roof and saved me.

Raziel had found me, maybe he had seen something.

His basketball shorts were a little baggy but they weren’t too bad, so I ventured out into the huge dorm.

I found Raziel in the kitchen and I sat down on a stool. “Better? Do my clothes fit ok?” He was getting things out from the cabinets but he stopped and stood across from me on the other side of the island.

“A lot thanks. They fit fine.” With a smile he said, “Good. Are you hungry? Or do you want some coffee?”

“Coffee would be great.” Raziel moved to the coffee maker and got started on making some. “You can go look around while it’s going. If you want you can go ahead and pick out your room too.

I nodded and before I left the kitchen he added, “Rooms are upstairs.”

As I walked I tried not to freak out about the fact that I was alone with Raziel. I could do that later. The halls were decorated with pictures of students who lived here and of the occasional moon. I found the room I wanted and I figured Vetra would take the one next to mine.

I went back to the kitchen craving coffee and hopefully answers.

“So Raziel, when you found me, did you see anything…unusual?” I hoped he didn’t think I was wack, but I had to ask. “What do you mean by unusual?”

Ugh. What was I supposed to say? What I mean by unusual is three normal looking guys who can change into monsters and a wolf that saved my life and is super strong. You know the regular kind of unusual. No, then he really would think I was wack, and I really didn’t want that.

I looked up at him and he handed me a cup of warm delicious coffee. “Well, “I said, “Just anything out of the ordinary. I obviously didn’t just sit down on the street and decide to take a nap. Something must have happened.”

He let out a short laugh and said, “I’ve heard of stranger things people have done, but I didn’t see anything unusual. Sorry. Did you see anything Seralla?”

I wanted to say something so badly, but I couldn’t bring myself to. If I made him think I was crazy then there was no way he would be interested in me. But there was no denying what I saw. It was way too real. Just like Mr. Clausman’s black eyes, but…what if Raziel did believe me? Or what if he saw something too, but was in the same situation I was?

“I thought I saw…something…impossible, but it looked so real. Three guys…who turned into monsters…” There I had said it out loud; making it even more real than it had been before. Now I couldn’t take it back and it scared me.

A look of thought crossed Raziel’s face but he stayed silent for a moment. When he spoke he said, “Seralla…I think you might have hit your head on something. Monsters aren’t real. You’re just tired. You can get some sleep and then you’ll feel better in the morning.”

I knew it was too good to be true. He probably thought I belonged in the nut house, but instead of keeping his distance he took the mug from me and put his hand out.

I reluctantly took it and he walked me to my room. “Funny, you picked the room right down the hall from mine.” He laughed but I blushed beet red. “I didn’t know, I’m sorry. I can pick a different room if you want.”

He shook his head and I let out a trapped breath.

“Good night Seralla. I’ll see you in the morning.” Raziel took my hand and kissed it. This time he closed his eyes and he let his lips linger on my skin. I watched as he disappeared into his room then dashed into mine, sinking to the floor with only the closed door to support my weight.

Ok. Breathe Seralla. Everything’s going to be fine. You’re going to stay the night, go to class  in the morning and then move in afterwards. Nothing to freak about.

Except there was something to freak about. A few things actually. First off I still didn’t know who had broken into mine and Vetra’s dorm. Second, something happened to me tonight, and I’m pretty sure it involved monsters. And last…..I’m in Raziel Noir’s dorm!

***

I sat straight up in a sweat. I had been caught up in a nightmare. I knew it wasn’t just a nightmare though. Because monsters were real.

A loud crash shocked me out of my thoughts. It had come from downstairs.

What if one of those creatures survived the wolfs attack, and then followed Raziel here? I jumped out of bed and put my ear up to the door. When I got only silence in response I slowly opened the door and snuck down the hall to Raziel’s room.

The floor creaked under my weight as I peaked into his room. When my eyes found his bed it was empty and his sheets were pushed back. I backed out of the room another crash rung out through the dorm. I jumped and covered my mouth to keep from screaming.

If you go down those stairs you won’t come back up, my mind warned me.

Well I couldn’t just stand here. I had to know who or what was in the dorm. For all I knew it was just Raziel or his roommate, but with every step I took I became more and more unsure.

When I got to the bottom of the stairs a growl came from in the kitchen. It itched at the back of my mind and scraped at the memory of last night.

I tiptoed to the doorway of the kitchen and froze when I saw the wolf that saved me standing right in front of me. The moon shown through the window and reflected off its black fur. I looked into its emerald eyes and gasped.

They were just like Raziel’s eyes. The wolf let out a breath through its nose. “You saved me. Thank you,” I said. It flicked its ears back and lowered its head to the ground.

It was as if the wolf could understand me, and its eyes. They were too much like Raziel’s to dismiss the similarity.

“Raziel?” As soon as I spoke his name the wolf growled and took a step toward me. I backed away from the doorway and it took another step. When it growled again I turned and dashed up the stairs. I was almost to the top when my foot caught on a step and I hit the floor with a loud smack. My head seared with pain and I passed out.

***

I woke up with a headache and I flash of images. The wolf. I sat up then wished I hadn’t. a wave of dizziness came over me and I had to sit still a minute before I could move. As soon as it ended I ran to Raziel’s room.

Before I opened his door I hesitated. The wolf has Raziel’s eyes. As soon as the thought came I dismissed it. I flung open his door and found Raziel fast asleep in his bed.

I ignored the fact that his shirt was off and shook him awake.

”Raziel. Raziel wake up,” I whispered. He stirred and I shook him again. “What is it Seralla,” he mumbled.

“There’s a wolf in the house I saw it…it was in the kitchen.” I realized too late the fact that instead of waking up on the stairs where I had fallen I had woken up in bed. It was a dream doofus. Now he probably really does think you’re crazy. Way to blow it Seralla. 

“It was just a dream Seralla. I promise you, there’s nothing to worry about. If there was a wolf in the dorm I would have heard it. Plus wolves can’t get on the grounds. That’s what the wall is for.”

I thought about it for a second and shook my head. “I’m sorry Raziel. I…I’m gonna go back to bed.” I started to walk out the door but Raziel stopped me.

“Wait. Are you ok Seralla,” he asked. I made nodded yes and closed the door.

I kicked myself all the way back to my room then fell back into a restless sleep.

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Classes had gone by in a blur. The only thing I could think about was moving in with Raziel and his friend. And the fact that our dorm had been broken into. Vetra had told me this morning that students were allowed to leave campus after class let out as long and they were back by curfew, so she had offered to take me into the city with her and get my mind off things.

I didn’t know what Vetra’s definition of ‘going into the city’ meant, but I would soon find out. The bell rang and interrupted Mrs. Bearus’ sentence and I packed up my books and hauled butt to my after school activity class. I had decided on archery, and Vetra said she’d figure it out by the time it started.

My archery class was held in the weaponry wing. I wondered exactly why they even needed a whole wing for weapons but then gave up on the thought when I came up with nothing.

As I got closer the courtyard beside the weapon racks used for target practice and other things I saw Eli Crewstov talking to a group of boys.

Great. I thought to myself. Mr. Creepy Eye’s son is here. I was glad that he didn’t have his fathers same jet black eyes though. And I shouldn’t be so quick to judge. Maybe he has some type of wacky disease, or maybe it was an experiment gone wrong. But I doubted it.

I walked over to where he was standing and he looked up at my presence.

“Seralla! Good to see you again. I think you’re the last of them so we’ll get started then.” How could this guy be so enthusiastic about everything? Jebus. “I will be your instructor, so let’s get started on the basics.” Wait. He’s our instructor. This is totally not right.

His dad had to be the creepiest guy on this planet and he was chosen to be our instructor? Quit judging Seralla. I guess I was being a little harsh I mean it’s not like he was a bad guy or anything. I immediately felt bad for jumping to conclusions so I shut my mind off and focused on Eli.

“Now when I say I’m your instructor I really mean I’m helping out with this activity. Your head instructor is not here yet, but he will be soon so I’m going to go ahead and get started.

“Archery is a very dangerous thing if you don’t know how to do it. So we are going to teach you how to hold and control your bow, how to set and release your arrow and how to not only aim but hit your mark every time.”

As Eli spoke his eyes seemed to get more serious with a hint of mischief and I got the feeling he knew a lot of things about archery. “Very good start Eli. Now it’s time for the fun part, which is exactly what I’m here for.” Oh, you have got to be kidding me. Raziel Noir stepped out from behind me and walked over to Eli’s side. I just knew I was going to humiliate myself in front of him.

“We can have our history lesson while we learn; cant we Eli?” Raziel smiled at him and Eli’s expression became less sharp. The lines on his face softened and he said,”Yeah. Everybody grab a bow and each of you stand in front of a target.”

We did as he said and as I stood, bow in hand, waiting for my next instructions Raziel came up behind me and said, “Nice to see you again Seralla. I didn’t know you were into archery.” He stood so close that he just barely brushed my shoulder. He looked down on me and smiled. It took my breath away to see that simple gesture on his face.

“Ya, well I figured it might be fun and heck I might even be good at it. I didn’t think you would be an instructor, but I guess we were both mistaken.”

He laughed but didn’t drop his smile. “I’m glad you chose this activity. Gives me an opportunity to get to know you a little better.” He turned and walked back over to Eli before I could respond to him. Even if he had waited for me to say something I don’t think I could have. I was still surprised by his remark to even begin to know what to say about it.

But I knew I reveled in his words without knowing exactly what he meant by them just by feeling the warmth of a blush rise to my cheeks. Oh man he had a power over me no one else did, I realized. He had the power to make me melt at the hint of a smile. And the power to render me speechless upon the slightest word. That was a power that should never fall into the wrong hands.

“Now everyone take your bow and hold it so that your palm is facing away from you and the band is closest to you. It should lie against the inside of your arm,” Raziel instructed. “Hold the band with the first and second fingers next to your thumb, and pull back so that the band is next to your face.”

He walked by everyone to make sure they were doing everything correctly and only paused for a second as he passed me. But even if it was only a second I still caught his hesitation. Like he would rather be talking to me than teaching.

“Be sure not to hold the band directly on your face and keep your arm away from the band as well. Because when you let go its going to hurt like a dog when you hit yourself. That’s why we usually wear an arm strap that keeps it from hurting yourself if the band should hit there. Now I’m not going to teach you to aim just yet but I want you to let go of the band on the count of three. One, two… three.”

There was a loud simultaneous snap and then a sharp pain shot through my arm. I hadn’t put enough distance between my arm and the band, and I now fully agreed with Raziel about it hurting like a dog when it hit.

He came up behind me and saw what I had done to my arm. A look of concern flashed across his face and then it left as quickly as it had come. “I’ll fix that up before the activity is over. We only have a few more minutes since we started a little late. Eli, go grab me an arm strap will ya?” he called to Eli.

“Thank you Raziel. I guess I’m not that good with a bow.” He smirked and shook his head. “Come on Seralla. You just started learning. You’re not going to be an expert just yet, have a little faith will you.” He turned and thanked Eli as he took the strap and wrapped it around my arm. It hurt for a second but then went back down a little. “If it hurts anymore then tell me,” He turned and spoke to the class, “Now do that again but don’t let go just yet. Hold that form for a second.”

Raziel walked by everyone again correcting their small mistakes and when he got back to me he smiled. “Good form Seralla. You’re just right. Maybe you’re not as bad as you think.” He whispered the last sentence and it brought back my earlier blush.

I hoped he hadn’t noticed, but when his smile got wider it confirmed my doubt. He had seen me blush. Great, I thought. You had to go start liking him. Now he probably thinks you’re some cute little freshman who needs to find someone a little more available.

But so far that I knew of, Raziel was available. And judging by the comment he had made at the beginning of the activity he seemed pretty interested, but I also couldn’t rule out that he might just mean he wanted to get to know me better as a friend. I sure hoped it was the former.

We kept practicing that form and letting go of the band. Just before the activity ended Raziel taught us a little about aiming. Every time he walked past me he would hesitate only a moment and then he would keep waking.

I took off the arm strap and saw that my arm was cherry red. I went to touch it, but Raziel caught my arm. “I wouldn’t do that Seralla. That’s probably going to hurt until tomorrow morning.” He dropped my arm and I handed him the strap. “Thanks. I should mention, before I forget, that I’m taking your offer.”

Raziel’s eyes lit up as if he were a little kid who had just been handed ice cream. “Good. What made you finally decide?” I didn’t want to be reminded about how my dorm had been broken into and trashed, but I guess I had to give him a reason.

“Our room got trashed. Someone broke in and wrecked the place. That and I’m sure Vetra would have eventually driven me insane with her begging that I would had to have said yes.” His expression darkened slightly.

“Someone broke into your dorm? Did they take anything?” I shook my head no and furrowed my eyebrows together in thought. There was a lot of concern in Raziel’s tone. And if I was correct a little bet of anger as well. “Everything’s fine now. We went to the headmaster and told him what happened. He’s working on finding out who did it. I would love to talk some more Raziel, but Vetra will murder me if I’m late.” I picked up my bag and books as he laughed. “You can move in tomorrow. My friend and I will help you guys move everything after class lets out.”

I nodded and said goodbye. I felt his eyes on me as I walked but I didn’t look back. I still didn’t know who Raziel’s friend was but I would meet him tomorrow. I can’t believe I’m actually taking his offer. A few days ago if someone would have told me I would be rooming with two boys this year i would have broke down laughing.

And yet…. I was doing this. But I knew the unease I’ve been feeling ever since yesterday would go away as soon as we moved in.

***

“Hey, relax Seralla. Loosen up. This was supposed to take your mind off things.” I walked down the sidewalk with Vetra right beside me. After catching a bus – since we had no wheels – we decided to get something to eat. We were headed to a diner that Vetra had overheard some guys talking about.

“I am relaxed. And I don’t see how walking is supposed to take my mind off things, this actually gives me an opportunity to think.” I had been worrying all day about stuff and Vetra knew it.

“Well I’ll tell you what, how about we go dancing after dinner, no? That will definitely take your mind off things.”

I made a sound of agreement and we stepped inside the diner. We found a table and waited. “Is that lover boy I see?” Vetra pointed behind me and I turned my head to see. Sure enough there was Raziel. Sitting in a window booth, flipping through a book.

I quickly turned back around and told Vetra to shut up. She didn’t.

“Hey Raziel. How goes it?” She asked him. His head shot up at us and he smiled. He stood up and the next thing I knew he was sitting across from me. “Nice to see you again Vetra. And you Seralla. It seems were always running into each other lately.”

His green eyes shined and I tried to hold back a smile. “Yeah it does seem that way. What are you doing here in the city?” I took a sip of the coke the waitress had delivered and waited for him to reply.

“I just came here to get a bite to eat and then I was headed to an herbal store down the street. What are you two ladies doing out here,” he asked us.

I looked to Vetra since coming to the city was her idea in the first place and she said, “Oh you know snacking before we go dancing, right Lala?” She used my old nickname and I signed inwardly.

“Yeah, that’s what you said earlier.” I said, taking another sip.

“Well, sounds like your nights going to be pretty interesting, but I really should get going before that shop closes. I’ll see you in activities tomorrow Seralla.” Raziel stood, and left the diner. “So, when were you going to tell me you and lover boy were hanging out?” Vetra asked with a look of amusement on her face.

I shook my head and took a sip of Dr. Pepper before answering. That seemed to be my stalling excuse tonight. “That’s only because he’s instructing my archery activity class. Speaking of, what did you pick?” I wanted to turn the attention off me, before she drove me insane. “I picked a swimming class,” she said in a muffled voice.

I raised my eyebrows in surprise. “I thought you didn’t like water.”

“And I thought you weren’t athletic.” She shot back. We both shot up with laughter and we ordered our food. When we had finished Vetra took me to the place she wanted to go dancing at.

“Vetra, this is a club. I am so not going in there. How much you wanna bet some stalker guy is looking for girls to pick up. And then were just going to stroll in there and make his day. I don’t think so.” Vetra laughed at my crazy assumption, but I was still tedious about going in there. “Fine, you go back to our dorm, but I’m going dancing. Don’t let the stalkers bite.”

She blew me a kiss and started to walk through the doors. I watched her go in then headed for the nearest bus stop.

I can’t believe she would just leave me to go dancing. Oh well, it could be worse.

I decided to take a shortcut through an alley so I could get to the bus stop a little quicker. Wrong turn. My brain nagged at me. Now you probably are going to get kidnapped.

I came out of the alleyway to an abandoned street. I was just about to turn around when I saw three guys step out from behind the shadows. They looked normal at first but then there appearance shifted.

A tail grew from the back of one man, and he changed into what came across as a gargoyle. Another man grew long legs and shifted into a huge spider. The last man formed into a hulk like creature and fear shot through me as I watched them morph before my eyes.

I tried to move but I was frozen to that spot. The gargoyle man saw me first and then they were on me. I screamed so loud I’m sure it was heard on the other side of the world. My legs worked again and I backed up against the building behind me. This is it. There going to kill me right here and no one will ever know.

I closed my eyes as they drew nearer and I felt the spider’s leg brush my arm. I wanted to fight back but knew it would be useless. These things – whatever they were – were going to take my life. Just as I was about to give up all hope of surviving this I heard a loud growl. I opened my eyes and saw the creatures backing up in fear.

I slowly looked up and saw a wolf on the rooftop. The wolf jumped down, landing with a thud, and took a warning step forward releasing another growl from deep within its throat.

The creatures pitched forward, and a fight broke out. I coward against the wall, again to afraid to move and watched in horror. The wolf had taken the spider down with one crushing bite, and was now fighting the hulk like man.

I was to busy watching the fight in front of me to see the gargoyle heading towards me. I let out another ear splitting scream. The last thing I saw before I blacked out was the wolf tackling the gargoyle to the ground. Then I saw nothing but darkness.

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I woke up to the sound of Vetra shouting at me to get up. Someone’s in a good mood this morning, I thought to myself. What a wonderful way to start my day. I jumped out of bed and started going through my morning routine, and not long after I was ready to go.

Vetra grabbed me by the elbow and dragged me to the cafeteria. The smell hit me before anything else did. It smelled like heaven in a room full of sweaty teenagers, but hey I wasn’t about to argue with heavens choice of where it omitted its smells. “Oh my god I’m going to get fat in this school I can just tell. Wait! There isn’t any drool running down my chin is there? Wouldn’t want to give a bad first impression,” she said while making a big show of wiping her chin as if she actually believed there was drool there.

I laughed and punched her on the shoulder directing her attention back to me. “No drool. Now come on I’m starving.” Vetra followed behind me like a puppy would its master.

“Holy crap that’s some food,” Vetra was scanning the food as if she hadn’t eaten in days. “Ok now you’re drooling,” I said. She gasped and slapped my arm. I knew she wasn’t really offended by what I said which made it even funnier. We grabbed our breakfast and sat at a table near the doors.

We ate in silence for a few minuets until Vetra asked, “So you made a decision on lover boy’s offer yet?” I sighed knowing that after she nicknamed him she was going to keep calling him that until she came up with a better one. “Please don’t call him that to his face. He might get the wrong idea, and no I haven’t. He just asked yesterday.” Vetra shook her head and took a bite out of an apple.

“What am I going to do with you?” She said around her food. I smiled at her and winked.

Vetra finished her apple and we headed off to our first class.

“I have World History first, what do you have,” I asked Vetra. She grabbed her schedule and found her first class. “English. That class is so boring. I promise I’ll be dead by the end of the period.” She put her hand to her forehead and acted as if she might faint. We both erupted in laughter and I said, “It’s not as bad as history I can’t stand it. I hope to god the teacher isn’t as old as dirt. Boring wouldn’t even begin to describe it.”

“Well here’s my stop. See you next period Seralla. Oh and try not to die of boredom.” I let out a sharp short laugh and yelled back, “Easier said than done!”

I kept walking to the history set of buildings. The sky was a dull blue, seeming as if the world was still trying to wake up. I smiled to myself. A slight breeze blew across my face sending a shiver down my spine. My auburn hair flew in the wind, and I assessed myself. This morning in an effort to look good on my first day I had slipped into a dark pair of skinny jeans, a purple blouse and a simple pair of black flats.

I shrugged on my favorite hoodie in the now chilly morning. When I finally came to the door that led to my history class I hesitated. I wondered if Raziel would be sitting on the other side, but then dismissed the thought. No use getting even more worked up today. So I opened the door and stepped inside.

A variety of people stood before me, and when I walked in they all took a glance in my direction. Once they realized I was no one important they went back to their conversations. The first empty desk I saw was one near the front of the room closest to the door. I walked over to it and sat down waiting for the teacher to come in.

“You new here?” I heard someone ask. A small short girl stepped in front of my desk and put her hands down on the table. For some reason the gesture was very intimidating, but I didn’t let it show.

“Yes.” I said. A boy came up beside her then and he smiled down at me. “You’re pretty hot. Where are you from?” He leaned in closer as if he wasn’t close enough. I looked up at him and got a look at his face. He had brown eyes and was very tan. He was ripped in a way that reminded me of a body builder and I stifled a laugh.

“What’s it to you?” The annoyance in my voice rang load and clear and the girl laughed. “Looks like new girl isn’t interested Grey. Wouldn’t be the first time.”

He made a motion like he was going to hit her and she shrieked, moving out of his reach. “Nice to meet you newbie, but I gotta run,” she quickly walked out of the room and the door shut behind her with a soft click. I turned my attention back to the boy and found him staring at me with a smile that made me uneasy.

“Sorry about that gorgeous. You’ve got a lot of spunk you know that? What’s your name?” I felt sick to my stomach. I couldn’t believe this guy was hitting on me. And to top it all off he was creepy as all get out.

“Seralla, and don’t call me gorgeous I don’t even know you.” I gave him a withering look and he put his hand to his chest like his heart was hurting. “Ouch baby that hurts. You’re killing me here. The name’s Heath Greyson, but everyone calls me Grey.”

The teacher walked in and Heath scrambled to his seat at the back of the room. As soon as he sat down the feeling of unease left my body in a rush.

“Good morning class,” the teacher boomed. “My name is Mr. Collins and I will be teaching you World History. Now I’m not one to brag but, I am a much respected teacher here on campus and I want all my students to feel welcome here in my class room. For those of you who are repeating my class…” he paused and gave a knowing look at those in question. “I better not have you again next year. Now all my freshman raise their hands please.”

I slowly raised my hand and out of the corner of my eye I saw I was the only freshman in this class. I immediately felt embarrassed and wished my teacher wasn’t interested in “the good of the students”. Mr. Collins motioned for me to put my hands down and I did so as quickly as possible. “Only one. Well what is your name miss?”

I sighed and said, “Seralla Abella sir.” I wanted to kick myself for saying sir, but it was already out. There was nothing I could do now.

“Welcome to the Academy Miss Abella. And don’t be as formal as sir. Mr. Collins will do just fine.” I nodded and he continued. “Now I know this is the first day but I am a bell to bell, first day to last kind of teacher so if you will grab a book from the shelf and turn to page 101 we’ll get to work.” As I grabbed for my book Heaths hand brushed mine and he whispered in my ear. “Nice going doll. Try to show a little more of that spunk like you showed me.” His words made me shiver in disgust. I turned my head to look at him and he winked and went to his seat.

***

It was finally my last period of the day. Biology. It wasn’t my favorite subject but at least it wasn’t boring. We were halfway through the class when the teacher stopped us and said, “Get to a stopping point and put everything away. We have a guest that I would like you to meet.” I put my work up and waited for our “guest” to arrive. I didn’t know who was coming but whoever it was had to be more interesting than the study of organs.

“Class this is Mr. Jarek Clausman he’s the leader in organic studies for the University in the city.” Mrs. Bearus told the class like they were actually paying attention. “He is here to give you an idea of what is expected of you and he will answer any questions you have.”

We all shifted our attention – what little we were giving at the moment – to Mr. Clausman. He wore a dark gray suit, black shoes, black tie and a white under shirt. I didn’t think the combination looked all that good but I didn’t think he cared. His hair was cut military style and his eyes were as black as pitch. No white’s just solid black covering every inch of eye there was.

I drew in a sharp breath wondering how anyone could have that kind of gene in there body. He could be wearing contacts but I doubted a man like him would, and I also didn’t think they even made contacts like that.

Mr. Clausman spoke and when he did it was deep and unfeeling, “Some of you in this room may know my son, Eli Crewstov. He is a sophomore and is one of the top five of his class. If you do know him he might have mentioned me and what I do. Or maybe not. My job is very critical and time consuming. What I do could not only change the world someday but it could also bring a whole new meaning to the word health. I won’t get too far into it, but it involves a lot of research in the medical field, a lot of experimenting and waiting.

“Now I don’t suppose any of you wish to go into the medical field do you? A show of hands?” I turned my head to see the hands shoot up, but none did. You’d think that that line of work would be a lot more popular, obviously not in this class.

Mr. Clausman searched the room with his eyes but came back with nothing and gave a look of disappointment. “Well that’s a shame isn’t it? Anyone have any questions?” Hope sprung into his black eyes then. When no one raised their hands yet again the anger and frustration he gave off was almost tangible.

“Well. I guess I will see myself out. Thank you Mrs. Bearus.” Mr. Clausman bowed to our teacher then to us, and silently left the class. As soon as the door closed behind him the bell rang and we all jumped to our feet.

I rushed to the math hall where Vetra was waiting for me. “Dang what’s got you in a hurry?” Vetra raised her eyebrows and fixed the stray hairs that had fallen out of my braid on my way over here.

“Weird guest in last period,” I said. She shrugged her shoulders and left it at that. She apparently had more important things on her mind.

“Let’s go check the Board. I over heard some guys talking about activities we could be in.” I nodded, not having anything better to do with my time. When we got to the Board there was a boy standing off to the side, handing out flyers.

“Come take your pick of any activities you want!” The boy yelled out at the sight of passing students. We walked up to him and took a flyer. “Thanks, just what we were looking for,” I said. He gave a humble smile and shook mine and Vetra’s hand. “Glad to help. My names Eli. Eli Crewstov.” At the sound of his name I went still.

This was the son of Mr. Clausman. The son of the man with the blackest eyes I had ever seen.

“Vetra. Nice to meet you,” Vetra replied with a curtsy. Eli looked to me, his eyes asking for my name. “I’m Seralla. Thanks for the flyer.” He nodded and said goodbye. Handing out more papers as he went.

His eyes weren’t black. They were as blue as a sapphire. It didn’t add up.

***

We walked back to our dorm, talking about what happened throughout our day. When I got to Mr. Clausman Vetra asked me what had gone down, so I explained everything. Especially his deep black eyes. When I finished, Vetra said, “Man I would have flipped out! That’s the creepiest thing I’ve ever heard of.”

“Right? There’s no way those could have been contacts. They looked to real.”

We looked at each other in a silent agreement, and I opened our dorm door. “No freaking way. That is messed up!” Vetra ran over to her bed and searched under her mattress. “Thank god, my journal is safe.”

Our entire room was trashed and objects were scattered everywhere. My mattress had been flipped over and clothes were strewn all over the floor.

Drawers were left opened and pictures were askew. Someone had broken into our dorm.

“This isn’t a prank is it Vetra?” I asked. It wasn’t uncommon for her to pull stuff like this. Once when we were still in middle school, she left a note in my looker pretending to be a stalker who was out for my blood. It had been a harmless prank she had said. But I had had nightmares for a week.

“You honestly think I would do this? Just because I like to pull pranks on you sometimes doesn’t mean I would trash my stuff in the process, and plus I’ve been in classes all day. You know me. I never skip the first day.” I sighed knowing she was right. She never skipped the first day just in case the teachers were strict. And she also liked to get a feel for what classes would be like if she didn’t skip.

“Well who would do this? I know were freshman and all but I highly doubt any upperclassmen would pull stuff this early in the year especially not the first day. It’s too obvious. I don’t know what on earth whoever did this wanted but I hope they didn’t get it,” I shook my head in frustration at the sight of our room.

I didn’t know who, why, or when, but I had the feeling of unease crawl up my spine. The same unease I had gotten this morning around Heath.

“That’s it. Were taking Raziel’s offer. We move in Thursday.” Vetra squealed with glee. I didn’t like the idea of moving into his dorm at the whim of a slight problem that might just be nothing, but the unease that was still hovering over me told me I wasn’t safe.

I don’t know why I felt this way. My mother had always said to follow my heart not my head. My heart told me to move in with Raziel, and to take Vetra with me. So it looked like I was taking his offer after all.

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The next morning was thankfully a Saturday so Vetra and I had a chance to get settled in our dorm room and to figure out where everything was. The good thing about the Academy was it only ran Monday through Friday from 9:30 to 2:45. Day and night classes.

Vetra had gone down to the cafeteria to get us some coffee, and came back with not only that but some new information as well. Turns out that girls and boys were allowed to live in the same dorms. I guess the teachers didn’t care what the students did in there rooms, but hey as long as it’s in private where they can’t be seen or heard, right?  If a student signed up for it they could have a room with guys and girls. There were rules of course. You had to have at least two boys and two girls inhabiting the dorm. No one-on-one stuff.

It made since to me, I mean it’s not like I was going to have boys in my dorm. Who knew though?

After setting up everything we walked around the Academy and found all of our classes. There were a lot of interesting things at this school. More than I expected. They had a pool, a huge library, a gym and room full of computers. Everything was as high tech and modernized as it could get.

Vetra showed me the cafeteria, and I’m sure my mouth fell open. It was the biggest one I had ever seen. The whole roof was a glass dome. There were too many tables to count and the kitchen took up about half the back side. We kept walking and found a small garden by the back half of the school. I suggested walking through it and Vetra complied.

As we walked and talked we slowly came to a brick wall. It was as tall as the buildings inside. These walls stood all the way around the Academy like a giant protector, and I wondered what this place might need protection from.

“Hey, it’s getting dark. We should get back.” Vetra said with a yawn. I nodded, and we headed back to our dorm. I had hoped I would see Raziel today but I guess my luck wasn’t very good. We passed the cafeteria and ran right into the guy in question. Raziel stood there, the top of his head hidden by a beanie and a smile plastered on his face. Something I was starting to see a recurrence off. It suited him well.

“Oh sorry ladies. Didn’t think I’d be seeing you today Seralla.” I let out a small laugh and replied,” Funny, I was starting to come to that realization just before we bumped into you. Oh this is Vetra. Vetra this is-“I was cut off when Vetra said, “Raziel I know. How could I not?” She looked at me with a curious look in her eyes. “Nice to meet you.”

“Nice to meet you too Vetra. You two should get to your dorms, it’s getting late.” He said. I looked up into his green eyes and a smile crept on my lips. “I’ll help you guys find some friendly faces tomorrow, but for now get some sleep ok.” He smiled at Vetra and gave a nod. Then he turned to me, lifted my hand and kissed it. Again without breaking eye contact. “Goodnight Seralla. See you tomorrow.” He waved goodbye and walked away. I watched him go and felt Vetra’s eyes on me. When I looked at her she had an amused look about her.

“What was that? Kissing your hand and all. He focused on you almost the entire time.” Vetra stated. I grinned from ear to ear. “Do you think he’s interested? I know this is only the second time we’ve talked but man I’m like putty when I’m near him.”

She nodded with excitement. “Yes! He is obviously interested. I could see it is his eyes.” I couldn’t help the blush that made its way from my neck to my cheeks.

“Seralla’s got a crush! Seralla’s got a crush!” Vetra sang in an obnoxious tone.

“God you really do love torturing me don’t you?” I asked. “Now, now it’s not torture just some playful sisterly love, that’s all.” Vetra said with a smile. I scoffed and we walked up to our room, changed clothes and fell into a deep sleep.

***

On Sunday morning we went down to breakfast, and I felt strangely cheerful. “Why are you so happy? Your never a morning person….” Vetra was looking at me with a tired yet curious look. Ever since last night when she commented on Raziel I’ve been in good spirits. I guess it was starting to show. “Well…. I guess my mind is still on the other night,” I said.

Vetra paused a minuet and looked me up and down. “Oh I know where your mind is hun and it isn’t anywhere near that.” She smirked and I raised my eyebrows in question. “What are you talking about?” I didn’t know for sure yet if I wanted to know but I had already asked.

“Your mind is solely focused on your little crush. You can’t get him out of your head.” I laughed. She had to be kidding right? She made it sound like I was obsessed with the guy. I sure hoped it didn’t seem like I was at least. “No it’s not. Really. I’m just…..curious.” She gave me a knowing smile and said, “Seralla admit it. You’re more than curious. You want to see exactly where this goes, don’t you? And the only way to find that out is to keep him interested, which shouldn’t be that hard from the looks of it.”

Oh no. I knew exactly what Vetra was thinking in that brain of hers. “Maybe I do, but I don’t think he’s going to stay interested Vetra I really don’t. I mean come on! I’m a freshman and I’m only fourteen. All he knows me from is the girl who didn’t even know how to do a simple trick at the pool. That’s it. Besides there are plenty of girls at this school he could have his eye on.”

I plopped down at a table and looked down at my gloomy tray. One second I was all excited and hopeful and the next I turn into the sorriest sack of bones in this place. What is wrong with me? I thought to myself. I’m turning into some bipolar chick that seems like she’s constantly getting visited by Mother Nature. It’s bad enough getting visited every month, I don’t need every day.

“Look he’s probably not even thinking about other girls so chill. He’s a guy, and guys do crazy stuff to your head. Even if there not trying to. You’re just nervous, ok? Don’t let it get to you. The more you stress the more psycho you become, and trust me there are enough of those to go around. Just be yourself and if he doesn’t like you then his loss.” Vetra rubbed my back, pulled the loose hair from my face and tucked it behind my ear. I let out a long breath I didn’t realize I was holding.

“Your right. I know I guess I’m just a little stressed about school starting tomorrow. Thanks.” I gave her a hug and started eating my eggs. Nothings more refreshing than putting real food in your belly and coffee to wake you up. After breakfast we went to the Board. It’s the first place you want to find out if there is work or a club opening, but the only thing posted was dorm sign ups.

“See anything that pertains to us Vetra?” I wasn’t seeing much except for a few clubs that might be interesting. She scanned the Board and her eyes lit up. “We should sign up for a dorm! The orientation one’s suck.” She looked at me with a pleading look.

I gave her a smile that said, nice try, and she made a puppy dog face in a last ditch effort. “Vetra we don’t need a dorm, it’s not like we have anyone else to room with us. Its pointless. Plus there’s nothing wrong with our dorm.”

I heard her give a sigh that clearly said she wasn’t very happy so I sighed and said, “Fine. We’ll get a dorm.” She cheered with glee and I rolled my eyes in response. “Thank you, thank you, thank you! You will not regret this I promise Seralla .” Vetra hugged me hard and squealed in delight.

I watched patiently as she skimmed the dorms that were available, but she couldn’t seem to make a decision. I stood there in silence waiting for Vetra to give up on the idea when I heard someone say,” Morning ladies.” A flurry of butterflies was let loose inside my stomach as I turned around to find Raziel standing behind me with a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eyes.

“May I ask what it is you’re looking for exactly?” He asked all the while never taking his eyes off me. “We’re looking for an open dorm. Know of any that we might want?” Vetra asked him. I kept my eyes to the ground thinking this would just be a huge disaster. “Me and my friend have been looking for some roommates. How about sharing our dorm?” Raziel smiled and I saw the curiosity in his eyes. Something about this moment amused him and I couldn’t place why.

“Oh! That would be awesome of you Raziel. Are you sure though we wouldn’t want to intrude on you and your friend.” Vetra nudged me in a silent question. You up for it? I looked up at Raziel and my breath caught. He was already looking to me for confirmation, me being the only one who hadn’t given an opinion.

“Umm….I don’t know. Would it be ok if you gave me a while to think about it,” I asked. I hoped he would say yes. He paused a minute considering this. Raziel let out a breath and said, “Of course. Think about it and give me an answer by Friday.” He had a questioning tone and I immediately felt bad. I didn’t want him to think I wasn’t open to his offer I just wanted a few days to get my honest opinion. I didn’t want to jump into something that might turn out to be a stupid decision.

“Thank you Raziel. I promise I’ll have an answer by then.” I gave him an apologetic smile and his lip twitched up into a small satisfied smirk. “You better. Nice to meet you again Vetra,” he looked at me one last time before walking away and said, “See you around.”

After he was out of earshot I let out a long breath of air. “I sure hope so,” I whispered into the air around us.

“Well…..that was…..interesting.” I heard Vetra say, but it sounded far away. “Are we taking his offer, or what? I think it’s a great idea if you want my opinion.” She moved into my field of vision and continued talking. “Seralla? It’s your choice. What will it be?” I blinked at her and my brain finally registered what she had said.

I turned to walk to the main office, and I heard Vetra’s quick footsteps behind me. “Hey! What the heck? Are you gonna answer me? Where are you going?” She grabbed my shoulder and turned my body so I could look her in the eye.

“Answer me please.” There was a worried look in her eyes and I could tell I had done something out of character. When I spoke my voice seemed like a strangers. “I’ll think about Raziel’s offer. I was going to pick up my books and my schedule.” She gave me a questioning glance and said,”Ok but stop acting weird. It’s starting to freak me out a bit.”  Despite my weird personality switch I smiled, and that seemed to ease the thoughts that were so obviously swirling around and around in Vetra’s head, because she smiled back.

We walked in silence to the main office, both of us consumed in our thoughts. I found myself thinking of when I was little. My dad was laying on his stomach in the living room with a puzzle in front of him. I was sitting on the opposite side of the puzzle asking him what the picture was supposed to look like. It was one of those hard 120 piece puzzles  that take forever to finish and most of the time never do because one of the pieces are missing.

He had a sad smile in eyes, as he always did. I never knew why, but I never asked for fear of causing those eyes to grow even sadder, and because I had gotten used to the sadness I found there.

He said to me, “Well It’s supposed to be a flower, love.” The way he had said love with so much fatherly affection made me smile at him. I replied in my small kid voice. “What kind of flower daddy?” I moved to his side to get a better look at the flower and realized it was a rose. “It’s a rose,” he said confirming what I had already guessed. “Do you want to help me finish it”? He had asked as if he hadn’t known a little girl like me loved puzzles. It seemed like the simplest question but I cheered with glee giving him my answer.

Raziel was like that puzzle to me. He was hard to figure out and I found myself breathless trying to put all his puzzle pieces together. He was a challenge and mystery that I vowed to figure out. I didn’t know his reasoning for offering a room for us, but I also knew I couldn’t just sit by and try to work it out in my head. Like a puzzle I was going to have to pick up some pieces and see where they fit.

***

“Well looks like another year full of the same old boring classes.” Vetra was sitting on her bed looking over the handbook the lady at the front office had given us. “These rules are pretty interesting though. Lenient is just the way I like it.” I laughed and she winked like she had done something bad and was proud of it.

For some reason I found myself anticipating tomorrow. Like something big was going to happen even though I knew there wasn’t. “This is going to be fun.” Vetra was anticipating it just as much as I was. I grabbed my copy and thumbed through the book as well and saw the first rule: Under no circumstances show your true nature to another student unless proper means are met. I frowned at the sentence in front of me. What kind of rule was that?

“Hey Vetra did you look at the first rule? It’s kind of weird…” I watched her flip to the front of the book. She must have skipped ahead. “What the heck is that supposed to mean?” She looked up at me and I shook my head. “No clue, but it’s really weird.”

I glanced back down at the rulebook and shut it. “What are you doing,” Vetra asked as I threw the book down on the floor beside my bed.

“Going to bed. I don’t want to think about what the heck that rule means, I just want sleep. Goodnight Vetra.” I shut the light off on my beside table and it gave a small click in response. I faintly heard Vetra in her own bed and then the room was silent.

Butterflies shot through me at the thought of tomorrow. Weather they were from nerves or the thought of possibly getting to see Raziel I didn’t know, and then I let myself fall into a peaceful sleep.

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“Seralla! Are you deaf?” I snapped back into reality to find Vetra Blake standing not two inches from my face. She had been my best friend for centuries it felt like, and she had always known how to grasp my attention which no one else had quite mastered. Dressed in a gray bikini she stood there in front of me, looking at me like I belonged in a hospital.

“No just slightly hard of hearing,” I replied with a wink. “What do you need?” Vetra shook her head and let out a small laugh.

“You know sometimes I wonder about you. What I needed was you to wake up and enjoy your opportunity to have a little fun with your dear sister before we have to go back to school. Now start strippin’.” I honestly had no clue why I was being forced into this, but I wasn’t about to argue with the girl.

So I did as she said and stripped myself of everything but my bikini. I sported a pitch black two piece with a purple floral design on the left side of the top piece. She looked me up and down and smiled. “Good, now we both look sexy and were ready to get this party started!” We hooked arms and skipped to the pool all the while laughing at each other.

We slowed down to a walk again but never broke away from our still hooked arms. Vetra peered at me with her blue eyes and smiled like she was thinking up something evil in that brain of hers. That was never a good sign.

“Oh no. What’s got those wheels turning in there? Every time those hamsters get to running you manage to get in trouble.” My face clearly showed how curious I was, because when she turned to look at me a fit of laughter erupted in her. “I love it when I scare you, your face is priceless. Don’t worry Seralla I just had a thought that we should survey our prey and catch us a guy, cause there sure are some hotties in this joint. Plus if I’m going to be at the Academy for the next four years of my life I might as well have a little fun right?” Vetra winked at me and I smiled at her.

“What am I going to do with you,” I asked. She shrugged and the laughing started up again. “I don’t know just yet, you’ll have to let me think on that one.”

We walked in silence for a minute or two and then I got an idea. “Hey, let’s go to the diving board. Even if you don’t jump in you can look for guys over there.”  Vetra didn’t like water. She never has for as long as I’ve known her, and no matter how many times I ask she won’t get anywhere near the stuff. With the exception of taking a shower and things like that, but swimming? Fat chance.

“Hmmm, sounds promising. Sure why not? As long as I’m not in the water I’m fine.” We were headed toward the diving board when Vetra halted me in mid step. “What are you doing? I thought you said-”

“I haven’t changed my mind I’m just looking at my choices from a distance,” she blurted out before I could finish the rest of my sentence. I looked across the pool to where all the boys and a few girls were laughing and doing tricks off the diving board. I didn’t think most of the guys were that good of a catch, but I didn’t know what Vetra thought of the bunch.

One guy was in the middle of a group of girls and was talking up a story. From the looks of it all the girls were fascinated. A group of guys who were standing at the corner were talking and checking out the girls that caught their eye. Some occasionally taking a shot at asking them out, and failing horribly almost every time.

The last group of boys were actually doing something besides gawk at chicks and show off. They were simply jumping from the board and into the water, some even doing a trick or two. I focused on that group for a second, and found myself watching one guy in particular. Something about him just made me want to stare. His pitch black hair just barely skimmed his ears and he stood at about six foot.

He seemed to glide when he walked or ran, his movements smooth and quick. I heard a faint sound as if someone was calling my name and felt myself shake.

“Seralla! Hello? You know I’m beginning to wonder if you really do need help or if you just blackout on purpose.” I looked at Vetra and found a worried look painted on her face. I knew she had probably been shaking me for a few seconds, but I didn’t know what for. “Sorry I was….thinking. What were you saying?” She narrowed her eyes but went on talking.

“Well I didn’t find anyone who caught my interest but from the looks of it you did. You gonna tell me who you were staring at cause I know you weren’t just “thinking” now were you?” She gave me that – I know what you’re hiding from me so spill it – look, and I knew she wasn’t going to leave me alone till I told her. I sighed and started talking. “Do you see that guy over there? The one about to jump off the board? For some reason I just can’t shake the feeling that I know him. And I just couldn’t stop staring. Do you think that’s weird?”

I looked at her with a pleading glance before returning my eyes to the alluring boy. I could not shake that feeling for the life of me, and I was beginning to wonder if I was going crazy myself. Something about this guy was throwing me off in a big way. He was next up to jump and I watched him run off the board, leap into the air and slice through the water like a knife. Seconds later and his head bobbed to the surface. He swam to the edge and pushed himself up and out of the water in one fluid motion. The whole time my eyes never left him, and he ran passed with a smile on his face.

I looked back at Vetra to find her eyes on me with such intensity it was a miracle they didn’t pop out of her head.  “I saw that,” she said. With a puzzled look I asked, “What are you talking about?” By the look she gave me I could tell she was amused by how interested I was in the boy. “You had your eye’s on him like he was your lifeline, and I can say I like your choice, tall, dark and look at those eyes,” she said while grabbing my face to “help” me get a better look.

His eyes were as green as an emerald and they shined in the fading sunlight. When he smiled they lit up in a way that made him look somehow older. I couldn’t have stopped staring if I tried, but Vetra turned my head quick and sharp right back at her. She obviously knew I wasn’t about to give her my attention. “Well it looks to me like someone’s got a little crush, no?” She smiled and I knew she was right.

“Ha. How much you wanna bet he’s got a girlfriend? With my luck he’s probably not even looking for a relationship!” She laughed so hard I thought she might fall over. “Ok, don’t you think that’s a little over the top? He looks about our age if not a year or two older at most. Trust me he’s got to be interested with those looks, you just need to relax and maybe try talking to him. See where that gets you.” I furrowed my eyebrows together and thought for a second.

I knew every word she said was true which was hard to admit to anyone let alone myself. I just didn’t know if he would even be the slightest bit interested. But I wasn’t about to blow off something that could possibly turn out to be good for me.

“You’re right, but what should I say,” I asked. “That’s a good question.” Vetra hummed. “How about just ask him how to do some of the tricks he’s doing, or if he’ll show you one. I don’t know just think of something, you’re the creative one.” Vetra waved a dismissive hand and shooed me in the direction of the diving board as if I was just some dog. “I’m going, calm down. And stop doing that it’s not funny,” I called back as I walked forward. “It is to me!” She yelled as if I was on the other side of the pool, which only attracted attention.

I looked over my shoulder and held a finger to my mouth to shush her. “What!? I can’t hear you!” If looks could kill I’d be a murderer. I swear that girl loves to torture me.

The closer to the diving board I got the more nervous I became. I don’t know why on earth I let her talk me into doing this, but I doubted she would let me escape from this one as easily as I wanted, so I kept walking.

I stopped behind a boy in line that was about a head taller than me, and waited. As I stood there two guys came up behind me and started talking. I turned my head to look at Vetra and saw her motioning for me to turn around. A million butterflies were let loose inside the pit of my stomach, and I felt heat rise to my cheeks. I stood there and tried my best not to smile like an idiot. In all honesty I didn’t think this was going to go well at all, but I stood there like a statue.

“Excuse me, but are you gonna jump or just stand there and look pretty?” A boy about my height was tapping on my shoulder and I turned my attention to him. When I looked behind me the snarky comment I was about to say died on my lips. My eyes found the boy I’d been staring at telling the arrogant kid to move. He walked up to me and said,” It’s your turn miss… umm miss…”, he gave me a funny look and continued,” I don’t believe we have met.” He bowed his head and kissed my hand like they did in the olden days. ”My name is Raziel Noir, and I don’t think I know yours so would you mind telling me?”

I looked up at him with wide eyes and said, “Seralla Abella, and no we haven’t.” He had my full attention and I didn’t know what else there was to say. This guy didn’t even know me yet he was so sweet and kind right off the bat. I guess this wasn’t going to be as bad as I thought.

“So I haven’t seen you in school are you new?” He asked as I watched him get on the diving board. He had peeked my interest and now I definitely wasn’t chickening out just yet. “Ya, I guess you could say that. I lived here when I was younger, but we moved to Florida when I was 7 for…..reasons. And then we decided to move back so I could graduate high school here.” I leaned against one of the poles that were stationed on either side of the board. The sky looked orange through the clear glass which meant we only had a few minuets left until the buses would pick us up to take us to the Academy. “Well to be blunt I didn’t figure that the Academy would bring in such a class of beautiful girls this year like you.”

He seemed to surprise me every time he spoke. His words were sweet like honey and as smooth as silk. He must have some practice at this if he could say all that as clearly as he did. “That’s sweet thank you. And I didn’t think the Academy would have such sweet guys like you, but I was obviously mistaken.”

“So what trick are you going to do?” He asked me.

He caught me off guard by abruptly changing the subject, but I was quick to keep up. “I’m not sure really, what do you suggest I do?” He smiled and I realized I had just given him something to go off of. “Well how about I teach you how to do a simple front flip?” I nodded my head and he turned, ran off the board, flipped into the air and landed with a splash. The boy from before ran up and did his trick, but not as fluid and graceful as Raziel’s had been. It looked more like the kid was having a seizure before he hit the water. I watched Raziel climb out of the pool and run back to where I was standing. “Impressive. What’s next,” I asked. He stood in front of me with his hands on his hips and droplets of water fell from his hair onto the ground.

He looked thoughtful and I waited for his reply.

“Well I guess it’s your turn now, Miss Abella. Don’t stress it’s not as hard as it looks, promise.” He obviously had courage in me where I didn’t. I looked to the diving board and knew this wasn’t going to end well. I turned to where Vetra now stood talking to a guy and they both laughed at something he had said. I realized then that I shouldn’t have been nervous from the beginning, because if Raziel wasn’t interested in the girl who stood before him then he wouldn’t have introduced himself to begin with or he would have left the conversation at that and been on with his day.

So I looked back up at Raziel with new courage in my eyes and nodded my head. I walked up on the board. Looked back at him one last time and jumped into the cold water below. I sank to the bottom and opened my eyes. Everything was clear and I let out a small burst of air that was being held in my mouth. Bubbles shot up and floated quickly to the top. I wasn’t sure if I had done the flip right or not but I pushed off the bottom of the pool and swam to the surface.

When I came up I gasped for air and pushed myself up and out of the water. “For your first go at it that was pretty good. You up for another go?” There stood Raziel with a smile pasted on his face and a look of amusement in his eyes.

I took a minuet to catch my breath and then replied, “Sure that would be great.” He smiled and walked back over to the diving board and did a back flip. I wasn’t so nervous anymore. Something about this guy was truly enticing, and I just couldn’t seem to find a single flaw in him so far. I wondered what was going through his mind, and desperately wished I was a mind-reader at the moment. Raziel ran up to me, splashing in the puddles of water along the way.

“Your turn,” he said. I didn’t know what to do so I decided to just do the same flip I had done before. Doesn’t hurt to practice, right? “You got it.” I walked up the steps and onto the front of the board. I was just about to run when I heard Vetra shouting at me.

“Hey Seralla, hurry up! We only have fifteen minuets!”  I nodded and jumped back down off the steps.

“Well I guess I’ll see you around?” Raziel said with a tone that suggested he was sad the fun had ended. “Ya, I sure hope so. Thanks for teaching me that flip.” I hoped that didn’t throw him off in any way. “My pleasure. It was nice to meet you Seralla.” He took my hand and kissed it again, all the while never leaving my eyes. “It was nice to meet you too Raziel.” I waved goodbye and he smiled in return.

I didn’t know if he was watching me as I walked away, but I didn’t turn around to find out. As I walked up to Vetra I heard her say, “Way to go girl. To be honest I didn’t think you would go through with it. I guess I shouldn’t have underestimated you.”

I bent down and grabbed my towel and clothes. When my body was all dried off I put my shorts and tank-top on over my bikini, and looked back at her. “I almost did chicken out, but then I changed my mind. He’s…different. I hope I get the chance to get to know him a little better.” I said as I felt the heat rise to my cheeks.

The buses honked there horns to signal their arrival and to tell everyone to get moving. Vetra moved up beside me and hooked her arm through mine. “Well looks like you’ve got a lot of somethin’ comin’ your way. But from where I was standing he sure did look interested.” She said. I smiled and the heat on my cheeks got even hotter. “I hope so….” We boarded the bus and I stared out the window. The snow fell slowly down to the ground, and I fell into deep thought.

People talked and laughed around me, but I wasn’t paying attention. There was one thought circling around in my head. I could feel the beginning of something starting in my chest, and I knew something big was coming. This year was gonna be an interesting one.

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The newly fallen snow covered the ground like a blanket while the stars lit up the night sky as fireflies would do. A splatter of crimson was strikingly out of place among the blank scenery. A man lay on the ground, his back propped against the looming pine tree for support, laying his head down to try and remember the events that just took place. All he could remember was receiving the now gaping wound on his chest and flying through the air to land in a clearing to be met by a lone pine tree he now currently rested against.

The crumpled heap of a man looked from the laceration on his chest to the wall of solemn pine that stood like a barrier from what had just happened. He hoped his attacker had left, thinking that he was dead. He would soon find out how wrong he was. From out of the now darkened woods, came a man that appeared like fog off a lake taking gentle, smooth strides over to where his victim now lay dying. The tall man looked to his prey and then to the backdrop behind him.

“Where is she Ryker?” He spoke with a harsh tone and felt the blood drip from his hand where his claws had once been.

Ryker responded breathlessly.” You’ll never find her Eric I’ve hid her from you and your kind so that she’ll never get caught up in your ways.” He let out a small cough and saw blood hit the fresh snow.

Eric looked down at the dying man and kneeled to his level to speak to him and said softly,” I’m not the person you need to be worried about at the moment. Now just tell me where she is and we’ll be done here.” He reached into his pocket grabbing a knife and lifted it to Ryker’s neck. He knew of the slash that extended from his right shoulder to the left side of his rib cage, and he pressed the knife into his neck just enough to constrain his windpipe but not enough to break skin. He asked one more time “Just tell me where she Is, I’ll heal you, and you can take me to her. If you cooperate I promise not to kill you or the girl.”

Ryker feeling his life draining out of the two-foot long gash on his chest, only spoke one word before he died. He pulled Eric closer and simply said,” No.”

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Sometimes life can feel like you have a huge weight on your shoulders and the world can be cruel but when life tries to demean you remember that God loves you no matter what and He can lift that weight. You have to remember who you are and to be honest with your self. You have to look at life like the glass is half full and you need to look around you and at your friends and family and realize tha…t yeah sometimes life is cruel but most people have it so much worse and you have it so good compared to most. And other times you just need to talk to a friend so they can make you laugh because laughing is the best medicine. And never complain or judge because you have no right. Life is to short for drama so laugh when its funny, cry when its sad and yell when your mad. ♥ (:
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holy cow!!!!!!!! its almost Christmas!!!!!!!!!!! today was amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! we got to have a relaxing day, no class, i-pods and phones allowed, and friends to joke around with!!!!!  :)  but the sad part my friend Zoe moved and a bunch of us burst into tears (including me)  :(  it was so sad at first i couldn’t cry but then i heard what she told everyone that she loved all of us so much and she didn’t want us to cry  :'(  i cracked right when i heard that!!!!!! i couldn’t help it! we were all sad and we felt sorta dead…………………. it was so sad………. but I’m glad it’s almost Christmas! MY FAVORITE HOLIDAY!!!!!!!!!!! then its Halloween then Valentines Day then Thanksgiving then New Years the Easter………. anyway…….. I love all of you guys and i hope you all have a merry Christmas or hanukkah!!!!!!!  :)

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this weekend was amazing!!!!! it was sydnees birthday party me alivia and jane were invited!!! haha but her birthday is actually the 1o well god bless you all!!!!!!!!!!!

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When do we ever stop and think about the truth and what it holds over us? Some people just cant seem to get it out for fear of what the people around them might say. It’s hard to tell the truth, because sometimes a lie is much more exciting and easier to say. Ive been thinking a lot (well and goofing off with my friends) but when you lie it makes everything worse. Don’t get the wrong idea here I haven’t done anything I just felt like writing this.  :)  Ive been in my own little world this week and Ive been fixated on this one subject and some negatives in life……. but here are ALL the positives…… 1. I have the most amazing family. 2. I have awesome friends. 3. I am who I am and I’m OK with that. 4. I’m very hyper all the time 5. I cant stop talking even in my sleep. (trust me these are positives) 6. I believe in God and he believes in me. and  last but not least  7. I love music. Now these may seem kinda weird to you but hay that’s me!!!!!!!!

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