Apparently we got off easy. I thought we’d done okay, but Erin didn’t say a single word when she was being interrogated and Oliver failed at convincing them of the situation. Edmund said the police probably didn’t like him much because of his dad. They have some sort of grudge on him. They think he committed fraud, but they have no evidence to support it.
Edmund told us if his dad hadn’t intervened and fought to get them freed, one of them was probably going to end up with a criminal record. Ed was pretty pissed at Erin for not saying a thing. If she’d managed to deliver a convincing story, it might have made the whole thing more believable.
I can see why he’d get mad, especially since his dad had a field day lecturing him on his behavior. For two whole weeks, when the winter holidays started, Edmund was forbidden to leave his house. He was stuck at home while his parents continuously invited more and more people to meet their son and their unborn child. He still texted me when he could, but he always sounded tired.
-Oh god, I’ve had enough of all these stupid people coming over. Always being polite, always smiling, always offering to take their coats.
-I couldn’t care less about all these people! But apparently I need to if I’m going to take dad’s job. Its sounding more and more f*cking boring to me.
-Thank goodness I have you to look forward to! I feel like I might become one of those ‘oh haha more wine please’if I didn’t. When does school start again?
Even though I owe his dad now, it’s not changing the fact that I’m wishing he went on a long trip far far away.
I think Xenia, Oliver and Teo are the only ones who had an actual winter holiday. Erin and I spent the holiday arranging everything so she could live with my mom and I. With her parents dead, and nothing to call her own, the house and all its belongings were given to the bank. It would’ve been easier if Erin didn’t have an aunt living in Ridgevalley. She’s apparently a really nice woman who was more than happy to welcome Erin into her home, but Erin wanted to stay here with me and the others.
My mom was more than okay with it. She loves Erin, so I wasn’t surprised by her reaction.
Okay, so I might have been a bit quick to say Erin didn’t own a thing. She apparently did own one thing – apart from her clothes that is.
“So you’ve had this all along.” I said.
“Yeah.” Erin replied.
I inhaled deeply. While Ed was mad at Erin, I was getting more and more worried. It felt like she was getting more and more distant every time we talked. And above all, she now refused to talk about the night anymore. Not that she ever talked about it before.
“What do you do with it? Magical potions?” I said to try and get her to give me a longer answer.
“Drugs.” She said. “I made drugs with this.”
I raised my eyebrows, but Erin didn’t move looking like she was lost in thought. I sighed and passed my hand over my face.
I can’t even tell if she’s joking or not.
“I never really managed to do complicated potions.” Erin said, trailing her fingers and some jars. “I was always missing a key component. Magic.”
Erin leaned back and gave me a sly look. Yet even though she was wearing an expression she used to, she still managed to look distant as she did so.
“Want to help me Xav? I bet with your witchcraft we could do all sorts of potions!”
“Me? With magic?” I said, my voice reaching a higher pitch than I would’ve liked. “Nah I’m good.”
Erin stared at my face, before shrugging and examining her stand to make sure everything had come back alright.
I’d rather not get into magic anymore. It’s not that Edmund had a bad reaction to finding I’m a witch or anything. Actually, my worries dissolved in just a couple of texts.
So you’re fine with me being a witch?
Yeah Xav, it’s not that big of a deal.
I’m really just ashamed of my magic. I’m ashamed that everyone saw me fail so badly at Erin’s house. More than anything I wanted to help my best friend out, but when it came to it, I couldn’t. I wasn’t able to do the spell. All I can do is a bunch of light shows.
I hate it, feeling powerless. I realized in the end that this side of me is useless. Instead of focusing on it, instead of trying to improve something that I can’t improve, I’ll just concentrate on my studies. I’ll concentrate on what I can do.
I don’t need my magic. Maybe if I don’t use it at all, it’ll disappear. It’ll atrophy like a muscle.
No one’s POV
Mid-terms have come and gone and Legacy Island II’s highschool is worried about its graduates’ futures. Per custom, after the half-point of every year, all senior students must meet with the guidance counselor to answer a very simple question: What are your plans for the future?
Teo Casillas, single child of a wealthy family. His parents are two very hardworking people and in consequence, rarely get to see their son.
“I want to be a chef, and hopefully own my restaurant.”
A boy with a lot of ambition, who is currently in his longest lasting relationship. Teo has the talent and definitely the opportunity to pursue his dreams.
“I’m hoping I’ll get accepted in the university in the town right over. They’ve got nice cooking classes.”
Xenia Cross, eldest of three sisters and a determined technophobe. She joins electronic clubs merely to better know how to destroy the electronics in the future.
“I’m aiming to be an astronaut. You know the university a town over? It’s got a fantastic program for it.”
“Astronaut? Are you sure that’s where you’re heading? You are aware that that deals a lot with-”
“Well yes of course! The whole reason I’m going for that job is because of that! All these electronics aren’t the way to go. And if you want to get rid of something, you have to hit it in the core.”
Oliver Tash, big brother to three girls and a real slacker at homework. A boy who once had average grades has dropped down to under average since the beginning of his senior year. University is not a future for this teen from both a grade and money angle.
“Me? I’m going to be a photographer.”
“Are you sure? Photography is an artistic job and it’s difficult to gain enough income. Wouldn’t you rather invest in a more secure job and keep photography as a hobby until it picks up?”
“You’re supposed to counsel, not dictate. I said I’m going to be a photographer. Write it down and let me leave.”
His attitude towards authority has also worsened in the past year.
Edmund Pallen, son of the wealthiest couple in Legacy Island II and soon to be big brother. A boy with outstanding grades. Apart from his slightly cocky attitude in class, he appears to be an extremely exceptional student with a lot of promise.
“I’ll be taking over my father’s company when I come of age.”
“Are you sure? With your grades you could go in the university of your choice.”
“If I go to a university it’s to attain a job that requires a degree. But, you see, I already know what I want to work in, and I don’t need a degree for it.”
“Have you at least looked at other possibilities? Your English teacher said you have a knack for writing. Isn’t that a field that would interest you?”
“No, like I said. I’ve already decided.”
Xavier Jales, adopted son of an average family. An average boy with average grades and just barely enough money to pay his tuition fees.
“Hmm well I don’t know. Not yet. Something I can study for at the university for sure.”
“Don’t you have a dream or a career you once wanted? Your math teacher said you were pretty good at math.”
“I guess I could be an accountant or something. But that sounds kind of boring, I’d like to have a job where I get to talk to people. Well more than I would sitting at a desk all day long. I guess I could go into business. Yeah I’ll go into business. Why not?”
Erin Sepulveda, a girl who’d recently had to witness the death of her two parents. Her average grades were steadily lowering. University was not an option for her.
“Nothing? Nothing at all?”
“Well there’s got to be something. Even if it’s just to work at the fast food restaurant across the street.”
“School finishes in just a couple of months Erin, you have to start thinking about your future.”
“How many times do I have to say nothing before you let me go?”
I didn’t wait for the guidance counselor to tell me to leave, I got up and left when I’d had enough.
With a heavy sigh I leaned on the lockers in the corridor and closed my eyes. All I wanted was to sleep, to rest, and never wake up. But every morning I woke up at 2 or 3 am, and I lay on the top bunk listening to Xavier sleep.
I wanted to draw comfort from his presence, from knowing my best friend was there to support me. But every exhale sounded like an accusation.
With my eyes closed I could hear the students walking and talking clearer than before. The clamor of voices and the stomping of shoes seemed to get louder and louder, and I squeezed my arms hoping the noise would go away. I did my best to ignore the voices, what I was convinced everyone was whispering.
Easy way out
Couldn’t live with it
Couldn’t deal with it
Look at the blood on her hands
Look at her guilty face
LOOK AT THE KILLER
“Hey, whatcha thinking about?”
I nearly jumped back and screamed when Oliver appeared in front of me with a sweet smile on his face. The whispers disappeared and my heartbeat calmed down.
“Nothing.” Usually I’d get mad and tell him to screw off or something, but I just don’t have the energy. I’m too tired to get mad.
“Come on, you’ve got to be thinking about something!” Oliver pressured. I found myself pitying Oliver. He’d tried so hard to get close to me that he got caught up in my mess. Everyone had. I shouldn’t have depended on everyone to get me out, I should’ve accepted my fate and gone to prison.
“Oliver, don’t you have class?” I sighed.
Oliver frowned at me, clearly unhappy with my responses.
“Wait for me after school okay?” He said.
“Exactly what I said. After school, wait for me in the school yard. We’re going to put a smile back on your face. Or at least an angry frown.” Oliver stated.
I sighed. “Oliver I…” I felt a wave of exhaustion pass over me.
“Got it? After school.” Oliver said, cutting me off. “Come on Erin, what do you have to lose at this point?”
My eyes drifted down to the floor and I exhaled loudly. “Fine. After school.”
“It’s getting annoying.” I grumbled, sounding an awful lot like a pouty kid.
“Well just tell him! There problem solved.” Xenia helpfully suggested.
I looked at Teo to see if he had something to say. “Oh, same thing she said.” He replied.
“Obviously I tried that.”
“And I’m guessing it didn’t work.” Xenia said as she started to play with Teo’s hair.
“Same answer as always.” I replied.
Edmund and I have been going out for weeks now, and at first…well I understood. No more like, I didn’t want to risk Edmund running off because of a false step I’d make so I agreed to his conditions. But now…I’m starting to think it doesn’t feel like we’re dating. I only see him on the weekend and sometimes in between my classes. In school, I have to act like I barely know him or that we’re strictly friends. I know it’s so his dad doesn’t find out…but really? What is his dad going to do if he does? Edmund is turning eighteen soon.
But Edmund won’t change his decision at all, no matter how I approach it he keeps rejecting the idea.
“Stop it Xavier!”
Three words and a glare and that was it. And it feels like he’s getting harsher with me since the holidays have finished.
“Well hey, sometimes love can be pretty hard you know. It’s nice at first, but sometimes you discover things about others that can cause…difficulties.” Teo said.
“Is there something you want to tell me?” Xenia said, looking a bit insulted.
“No not at all!” Teo quickly replied.
“Thought so.” Xenia said, giving him a kiss.
“Oh yeah, Xav, Oliver told me you’re a witch!” Teo said.
I stared at him in shock. “Gee, that guy can’t be a secret.”
“It was a secret?” Teo asked, surprised.
“We won’t tell a soul.” Xenia said, zipping her mouth shut.
Well I guess it’s not really that much of a secret now. It never really was a secret. It was just something that I didn’t tell people. Now it seems like almost everyone knows. Just when I decide I don’t even want to be a witch too! The irony.
My face fell has an idea slithered into my mind. Edmund knows I’m a witch now and I only ever saw his reaction through text. We haven’t really talked about it since I told him. And I’ve noticed he seems to snap at me or get impatient. Did he lie? Is he actually not okay with it?
It’s nice at first, but sometimes you discover things about others that can cause…difficulties.
Okay no, I have to stop thinking about this. Erin has to be my priority right now. At least until she gets better.
What am I doing here?
That’s pretty much all I’m thinking as I lean back on the wall waiting for Oliver. But no matter how many times I think the phrase I’m not moving. I’m actually waiting for him.
Of course I guess I could just blame it on a need to be outdoors. To have a nice dose of fresh winter air, before spring comes and makes everything melt. Yeah, I might just do that.
Oliver came running over a few moments later, completely out of breath. More so than he should be.
“I’m sorry! I hope you didn’t wait too long!” He exclaimed.
I shrugged and pushed myself off the wall.
“Alright. Tell me why I’m out here.” I demanded.
“I have something I’d like to share with you.” Oliver said with a smile as he straightened up. “Come on.”
Oliver walked over to the fence and climbed over it.
I didn’t follow.
“What? Is this too hard? I can help you if you want.” Oliver said, flashing me a mischievous smile.
I sighed heavily. “No. I don’t need your help to jump over a fence. I just don’t feel like it. Can’t you show me whatever it is here?”
Oliver laughed. “That’d be kind of hard.”
I looked behind me, reminding myself that I didn’t tell Xavier I wasn’t meeting up with him after school. That’s a reason to go back.
“It’ll be real quick Erin.” Oliver said. “I think it might do you some good to have some fresh air too.”
“Isn’t what I’m breathing right now fresh air?” I asked, but even I know I’d already decided I’d go.
Oliver smiled. “Just come.” He said, as he turned and started walking away.
My body moved on its own, scared of being left behind, and leapt over the fence.
The walk wasn’t very long and was spent with Oliver chatting about how he was probably failing history and that he was pretty excited to see what I thought of the place, because well he thought it was pretty nice and he assumed I would as well but on second thought I might not, but hey we’re on the road anyway and we never know.
When we finally got there I didn’t see what Olivier was boasting about. Even after he spread his arms wide and said “See?”.
When I shook my head, he sighed, grabbed my shoulders and forced me to sit on the one bench.
“There do you see it now?” He asked, gesturing in front of me.
When I did see it, my breath escaped from my lips.
I knew it existed, everyone knew it existed, but sitting here…
It felt grandiose. Imposing. The half-frozen waterfall was looming over me. Taller. Stronger. And the water that flowed from it wasn’t like the sink. It wasn’t spewing insults. It wasn’t predicting death.
The water dripping from this one felt pure and clear. Like it wanted to wash all worries away, and sitting here in front of this imposing so much more important event it felt like my own problems were nothing. For just a few seconds, I felt light, free and most importantly: puny. Small.
“It’s a grand sight isn’t it? I’m surprised this park isn’t more popular.” Oliver said.
“I’ve been coming here a lot lately…isn’t this what you’d call a real breath of fresh air?”
“Yeah.” I managed to mumble, the feeling dissipating slowly.
“I find the waterfall prettier during the winter.” Oliver said after a few seconds of silence. “Even if winter is a synonym of death in nature.”
Oliver suddenly turned around to cough in his hand.
I turned on the bench. “You okay?”
He waved the subject like it was nothing. “Yeah…” He coughed again. “Sorry, allergies.”
He coughed once more and this time I got up.
“Doesn’t sound like allergies.” I said, hoping he wouldn’t cough up a lung.
“Then you’ve never heard allergies before.” He said, with a small final clearing of his throat.
He looked up, meeting my concerned eyes.
“Good to know you care though.” He smirked.
“You faker!” I exclaimed, slapping his arm.
He laughed, grinning from ear to ear.
“But hey, do you feel better now?” Oliver asked, his laughter calming down.
The smile I hadn’t even known I had drifted off. “Oliver. I killed two people.” I said, almost painfully forcing the words out. “I’m not supposed to feel better.”
My heart felt painfully heavy once again.
Oliver titled his head to the side.
“Do you want a hug?”
I recoiled back, actually getting a little angry.
“No! I don’t need your hugs!” I insisted, my chest tightening as I said the words.
“I really don’t mind giving you one.” Oliver insisted, completely serious.
I pursed my lips and frowned at him.
“Here let me phrase it differently. I want a hug. Can I have a hug?” Oliver asked, opening his arms wide. Against my better wishes, I remembered the comfort those arms had brought me before.
I bit my lower lip.
“This is for you okay, because you showed me this nice view.” I said, barely even believing the words I was saying.
Oliver’s smile grew wider.
And then I did it. I stepped forwards and willingly, not only let him hug me, but hugged him back.
“How can you be so freaking annoying yet a sweetheart at the same time?” I mumbled into his jacket.
“I didn’t catch that.”
I pulled back a bit.
“Thank you Oliver.” I said instead, placing a cold kiss on his cheek.
His eyes widened, and he looked at me to make sure I’d actually just done that.
I looked away, a little overwhelmed, but I didn’t stop the small smile I was wearing.
“Look here. You better know what you’re getting yourself into. I’m not as amazing as you think I am.” I stated, my heart beating wildly. It was as unbelieving of the situation as I was.
Oliver gave me a sweet smile. “Erin, you’re more than enough.”
During this chapter, I totally missed it, but Oliver and Erin finally got the hearts!
A big thanks to Nix for posing as a ‘fake guidance counselor’. Without her it wouldn’t have been possible.
Nix: What else am I supposed to do while I wait for this baby to come out?
Oh and btw, you know that ISBI I dropped my darling Rhamnus Buckthorn in? Well Rham got eliminated from the challenge >.>
Now I’m searching for another challenge to drop him in just for fun 😀
P.s. Is all the POV changes confusing you guys? I realize that it might be just that…confusing.