Legion

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
After losing her family in a tragic incident, being dumped by her best friend for reasons she is clueless about, and just being lost in life, Kara Damrin thinks her life couldn't get any more hectic. She thought wrong. After a dreamlike night, her entire life is changing. whether she is prepared for it, or not. Accompanied by her spunky best friend Beth, her dreamy ex friend Cole, and the always full of love Max, Kara tries to adapt to her crazy new life, all while getting through high school.

Side Note: This is a partnership story, I wrote half, not all credit to me. Comments are encouraged, only constructive. Hope you enjoy!

Submitted: June 30, 2017

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Submitted: June 30, 2017

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Kara POV.

Time: 5:30 AM

Date:10/10/17

Location: Damrin Residence

 

The fire reflected in my eyes as I looked into a fragment of a broken mirror. It would be so easy to let the fire consume me, to let everything burn, to let myself die. I should have died with the rest of them, I should have done more to save them, I shouldn’t have been a coward, I shouldn’t have…

Beep Beep, Beep Beep! My eyes fly open in a silent gasp, I struggle to catch a breath. For a moment I thought I was back in that house, back in the fire. I sit up and breathe in deeply, trying to will my heart to stop its frantic pounding. I wipe the tears off my face that have been showing up every time I wake up since I was eleven.

I roll out of bed and walk to the bathroom, rubbing sleep from my eyes as I went. I quickly shower and get dressed. I have to make sure I doesn't look like I had been crying, I couldn’t worry my parents, I have already cost them too much pain. I pack up my school bag and leave my room and my nightmares behind me.

The kitchen is the headquarters of my home. The kitchen is where my parents and I have meetings, where we eat dinner, where we have arguments. Where mom cooks, my dad works on his stories, and it’s where I pretend to be alright.

My mom is sitting on the island, drinking her bitter coffee, without a care in the world. I envy her so much for that. I see her raven black hair cascading down her baby blue cardigan. My adoptive parents are originally from France and so I grew up speaking french. My mother is a language professor and as a part of daily routines I had Spanish, French, Latin, and Italian lessons so I can speak fluently in all 4 languages.

“Salut ma chérie. As-tu bien dormi?” she asks worryingly.

“Ouais super.” I lie. “Mind if we take it easy on the French, I need to focus on the English for SAT prep.”

“Of course honey, remember you have a science club meeting, and your dance recital next month. Oh and also a volleyball game next Sunday, and-”

“OK mom, I got it. You don’t need to worry about it.”

“I know, I know. I love you, have a good day sweetheart.”  

I nod to her and get all of my belongings together. I have SAT prep early in the  morning. I’m only 17, but counting down the days until December 15th, when I am finally less than a year closer to graduating.

I start to head out the door when I hear my mom’s voice.

“Oh one more thing Kara, your dad and I have a business trip. We won’t be back until Saturday night.”

“I know, you told me five times yesterday.” I say, clearly annoyed.

I finally make it out of the building only to bump into my best friend Beth. Who unfortunately is wearing a pink cat sweater. I shudder in disgust. She is clearly oblivious to her wardrobe choices, where I have to be aware for both our sakes.

“What are you wearing?” I ask in horror.

“It’s laundry day. You really should be a little less obsessed with appearance, plus I actually like this sweater.” Beth says, her voice soothing as if she could tell I was in a bad mood.

I throw my shoulders back and toss my hair to the side and rel y, “appearance is a big factor in excelling in things. People judge you even if it isn't right, so if I am judged I don't want any points knocked off when trying to get into Harvard. I am Student Council President after all.”

“Co-President,” Beth says and we both start walking. As we walk we talk about random topics like what we had to eat last night for dinner, homework, and if we are excited about the dance tomorrow. Everything is normal but I felt as if someone were watching me. I stop on the sidewalk and do a 360. Beth stops walking too and turned back to me. Her eyes crinkle into worry. “What’s wrong?” she asks.

“Do you feel like someone is watching us?” I ask as I continue my search.

“N-no,” Beth stammers.

I look at her and wonder why she was stammering, she went through four years of speech therapy to get rid of her stutter and I didn’t want it to come back because I was scaring her. I quickly shoot her a comforting smile and start walking again, “it’s nothing, I’m just a little jumpy that’s all.”

Beth looked at me empathetically. “Did you have the dream again?” she asks, her voice much stronger.

“Dream,” I laugh joylessly, “more like nightmare.”

“Kara you have to tell someone about your dream, you can’t keep reliving that.”

“I can’t tell anyone, I’ve already given my parents enough grief...both sets.” I reply.

Beth grabs my arm, making me stop and look at her, “Kara your adoptive parents love you and they would want to know if something was wrong, and as for your other parents they wouldn’t want you to be crushed by the weight of what happened.”

I bend my head and swallow the lump that had formed in my throat. I nodded and Beth let go of my arm. We walked the rest of the way to school in tortured silence. Bad for me because I was remembering my biological parents and bad for Beth because she couldn’t help me.



 

Kara POV

Time: 6:00 AM

Date:10/10/17

Location: Westman High


 

I walked into class silently. I noticed Max Merrick tapping his pencil rapidly against his desk. I feel bad for Max. He has ADHD, ADD, and dyslexia. It's impossible for him to concentrate even for a little bit. I on the other hand focus on everything until it's done, letting nothing get in my way. I need to succeed in life to make my parents proud. I can't have them give up their lives for me and not amount to anything.

In the corner I see Cole Jackson. I start to feel butterflies and fire all at the same time. Cole and I used to be best friends before me and Beth. We were neighbors and inseparable until freshman year. I had to fall in love with him because my stupid feelings can't make anything easy right? So naturally I pushed my feelings down, yet he ends up dumping me as his friend saying I'm “too controlling” or “too over achieving”. Please, I just get things done efficiently and correctly. It's his loss anyways, the handsome jerk.

I sit in my desk and still can't shake the feeling of my something is watching me. I turn around and meet Coles fierce silver eyes. Why was he watching me and why do I still feel another pair of eyes? I give Cole a confused look and he quickly realizes I caught him looking at me, and looks away. Weird, I think to myself, why would Cole look at me other than to cheat off of my homework? Mr. Lang walks in front of the class and starts Ap calculus. What fun for me. After class I have chemistry and history, then finally lunch.

The cafeteria was a chaotic mess of colors and noise. After I filled my tray I went in search of Beth. She was sitting in one of the shadowy corners of the room, she had her hair pulled back and was reading a newspaper. When I get to the table Beth looked up at me and said, “why are Cole and Max looking at us?”

I turned around and saw that Beth was right, Cole and Max were staring at us from all the way across the cafeteria. “I don’t know,” I say as I sit down. I sent the boys a glare and they both turned around in their seats simultaneously.

Beth chuckles, “I’d hate to be on the receiving end of one of your glares.” I nodded and started to eat the “meat loaf” the lunch ladies say is one hundred percent real beef.

“What are you reading?” I asked Beth.

“I’m actually reading a story your dad wrote about my mom,” she says darkly.

I drop my fork and it clatters against my plastic tray. “I am so sorry,” I say, “I made him promise not to write anything bad about your mom because it upsets you. He adores you, even if he doesn’t care for your mom, he should never have published that!”

“It’s okay, he always writes the truth anyways,” Beth says defeatedly.

“So ready for the student council meeting tonight?” I say, desperately trying to change the subject.

“ I might not be able to make it. I have some important family issues to deal with.”

“What?! You're the Vice President, you have to come!” I say loudly. A few people near us looked over at us and I saw Beth blush and hide her face in her newspaper.

“Co-Vice President.” I heard Beth say from her paper fort.

“I wonder if the reason you aren’t coming has blonde hair, green eyes, and ADD.”

“Well… You… Like… Dark hair…. grey eyes… Co-President.. Nevermind, I’m not good at this,” Beth stuttered, turning more red, if that’s possible.

“You mean Cole?” I ask threateningly.

“On a different note, you know I would never pass up the chance to look like a blubbering idiot in front of the boytoy himself.”

“You need to get over him. It’s never going to happen between you two.”

“Well it’s never going to happen with Cole either.”

“I gave up on that a long time ago. He didn’t want to even keep being my friend. I’m over him.”

Cole and I used to be best friends along time ago. He had moved, from Poland, into the apartment building next to mine when I was 4. I had been out one day with my mom. We played together everyday since, and were inseparable. Everything was great between us, well up until 6th grade. I had realized the summer of 6th grade that I was in love with Cole. He didn’t have a clue about it at all, so I just kept it to myself. When the summer before freshman year rolled around, I was taking a walk with Cole in central park, and we were talking about high school.

“I am extremely nervous.” I had said.

“Why? You don’t have anything to worry about.” He said empathetically.

“Well, it’s all going to be so new. New school, new friends.”

“Yeah, speaking of new friends…. I don’t think we should be.”

“What? You’re joking. Right Cole?” I choke out.

“No, I’m not. I just think you’ll drag down my rep.”

“Why are you being so cruel to me? I thought we were friends.”

“Just don’t freak out please. I just don’t want to be friends anymore. You’re a total prick.” He says shattering all of my heart.

“ You know what Cole? You can burn in hell.” I cry out.

After that fight, I couldn’t leave my room. I didn’t eat, go out, or even look out my window to risk seeing him. It sucked not being able to talk to my best friend. It sucked even more to have my ex best friend living next to me.

“Kara. Kara. KARA!” Beth shouts.

That snaps me out of my memory. I look up to the clock and see it’s time to go. As we walked out of the cafeteria Beth turns towards me.

“I’m sorry for what I said before. It was uncalled for. I will totally be at the meeting.”

“Me too, and I’m very happy about that.”

We hug and go to our next classes and before I know it school is over and it’s time for the student council meeting. I get to the classroom and see Max sitting at a desk playing with paper clips.  Cole is sitting next to him playing with a football and staring at me.  I look away feeling slightly embarrassed and wondering why was he looking at me. Beth and I take our seats in the front of the room and I start the announcements.

“ Okay everybody today student council meeting is about the school dance.  Does anybody have anything they need to add before I get started?”

I look out and see everyone staring at me blankly except for Max who is still fidgeting and Cole who is doing everything he can to avoid my gaze.

“ Nothing? Okay good let's get started. Everybody knows they have to be at the dance  tomorrow night right?”

I see Cole and Max raise their hands.

“Max and I have football practice during the dance. So  we won't be there.”  Cole says  smugly.

I taking a deep breath and try to calm myself.  I'm about to say something when Beth clears her throat.

“Actually I cleared it with the coach so you guys have practice on Saturday instead. You  can come to the dance and help with the cleanup committee too.” Beth  says viciously.

I  look at Beth proudly  and am very glad that I have her as my friend. Cole and Max  look defeated but quiet down anyways. The meeting continues on as planned and before I know it it's done. Beth and I walk out towards the parking lot and I see a sleek black car pull up. My  first instinct is to run but then I see Beth completely calm and even a little exasperated.

“Crap,  my mom sent ride for me. Do  you want a ride Kara?” Beth  asks.

“No  I'm good I'll just walk back. Thanks  for the offer anyways,  have a nice night in your amazingly cool car that I never knew about.”

As I turned to leave I noticed a shadow inside the car. I quickly leave the parking lot and make it home before dark. Because my parents weren't there I made myself some pepperoni and cheese pizza and I went to bed.

 

Kara POV

Time: 1:03 AM

Date: 10/11/17

Location: Damrin Residence, Field off of Highway T-90

 

I had the dream again everything around me was licked in flames.  I felt sweat starting to drip down my eyebrows and onto my lips.  I could taste the saltiness and terror in them. All around me I saw death and destruction and flames killing everyone I love.  I see a beam  covered in flames start to fall on top of me. I suddenly wake up screaming.

For some reason I get out of my bed, I turn to look at my alarm clock and I see it reads 12:45 am. I get out of my bed and put on my grey hoodie and my Converse. I start to open my door and walked out of the room.  I'm aware that I'm moving yet I'm not in control.  I am zombie half awake half asleep going towards some unknown destination.  I walked out of my door and go across the street and continue going forwards. Before I know it I am in a field and before me I see a glowing aura of blue. Strangely  I see  3 other figures moving towards it in a sleep like trance. As I come closer they're fuzzy features start to come into focus.  First I see Beth she seems completely asleep not aware of anything that's happening around her. Okay this is just a really weird dream I'm asleep I'm not actually walking I do not see Beth in front of me doing the exact same thing I am right?  As I continue striving towards the unknown I see the second face coming to focus. Holy crap it's Cole.  This is starting to get Paranormal Activity 1 through 3 ,freaky and not making any sense. There's a third face and what do you know it's Max. This is getting really freaky, why are  two jerks and my best friend walking towards something that's glowing.

As  I come closer I see a big dent in the ground, no not dent, more like big giant gaping crater. And what  is in  that you might ask, a big glowing blue ball of energy. I almost fainted it was so unreal. The blue-ish white ball of light seems to be pulsing, as if it was speaking to me through motion. Light is radiating off of the unknown, bathing me in a soft, flickering light show. I see Max,  Beth, and Cole all staring down at it like me. For some unknown reason we also thought it would be a good idea to touch it. We were so stupid. As my palm lay flat against the glowing orb I feel energy pulsing through the orb into my hand. As we all lay our hands on it I see a big explosion of light and then a scream rips through my mouth. I get flung backwards flying, no not flying, soaring through the air incredibly fast and then I hear a crunch and everything goes black.

From what I've been told Beth woke up 5 minutes later. Then she woke up Max,  who had been unconscious for 20 minutes. Then apparently she woke up me. But not in the most friendly way either.

I wake up from unconsciousness to be met with a pierce of coldness and then I was wet. I wake up sputtering and gasping, seeing drops of water fall in front of my eyes, for air I see Beth look  at me with her apologetic face.

“ What the hell Beth?  What was that for?” I say angrily.

“Oh my God I'm so sorry you weren't waking up. You've been unconscious for almost an hour.  After I woke Max up I tried to wake you up but every time I touched you, you burnt my hand.”

 I look to my left and see a drenched Colel looking at me with bewildered eyes. “This is not real” I think to myself as I get up.

“Okay this isn't real. This isn't happening. I did not black out, you did not drench me with water. I need to leave. This is all just a really really life like dream. I did not touch that freaky blue glowing thing, I did not fall unconscious  and I did not see any of you here.”

I shoot a look to Cole. Then  I turn and leave. As  I'm walking back towards my building I think I must be going crazy. None  of this really happened I'm just having a dream. A  really strange dream that doesn't make any sense but a dream nonetheless. As I go into my apartment and up to my room I fall asleep almost instantly. Fortunately for me I sleep dreamlessly.

 

Kara POV

Time: 5:30 AM

Date:10/11/17

Location: Damrin Residence, Westman High


 

When I wake up my head is pounding like a drum. I pull back my gray covers and stand up. I stroll over to my closet and think about what to wear. I decide on a soft baby blue cardigan, a ruby red pleated skirt, and red flats. I brush my hair precisely 120 times then scrape it into a tight pony tail. I put on my big, squared, black glasses and I'm ready to go. I get my backpack but when I pick it up it flies to the other side of the room.  Ok I guess I go to the gym too often. I pick up my backpack, again, and go down stairs. I see my parents already left, so for breakfast I have oatmeal with raspberries, and cinnamon. My phone buzzes and I look down to see Beth calling me.

“Hey do you want a ride to school today?” Beth asks over the phone.

“Yeah ok. How long do you need to get here?”

“20 seconds.”

I walk outside to see a sleek black car pull up next to my driveway. As I get in the car I almost scream.

“Holy Crap. What are you wearing?”

I look at Beth with incredulous eyes. I see Beth is wearing a leather scalloped shirt, with a black leather jacket. Black jeans run down her legs stopping at combat boots that look lethal. Beth isn’t even wearing her glasses, and for some unknown reason I can see the lining in her cornea. I shake my head and my vision returns back to normal. I wonder if my glasses prescription is too strong.

“Well I was going to wear my usual ensemble: sweater, jeans, and tennis shoes but when I threw open my closet and saw this bad boy, I knew I had to wear it,” Beth says. There was no worry in her voice, no quiver or stutter, just pure confidence.

I buckle into my seat and the car drives away. “Well it looks good on you,” I say.

“Thanks,” Beth says, smiling, “your outfit is really cute too.”

“Thank you,” I reply, “so are you ready for the dance?”

“Yeah, for once I am ready to dance in front of people and make a complete fool of myself.”

We both smiled at each other and the car pulled into the parking lot of Westman High. From outside my window I see Cole and Max with the rest of the football team and the cheerleaders. Cole is wearing a blue hoodie with a pair of tan jeans on and Max was wearing a dark red button up with a pair of black jeans. They both look pretty good. All the football players and cheerleaders were looking at the sleek black car Beth and I were sitting in.

I turn to Beth and say, “we’d better get going or we’ll be late.” I push open my door and get out of the car. From the corner of my eye I can see Cole staring at me. I was about to walk into school when Beth got out of the car and came to a stop next to me. I see all the football players jaws drop, Max looks like he might faint, and the cheerleaders were all whispering among themselves. Even though everyone was looking at Beth, Cole was looking at me...weird.

Beth sligs her backpack on and hooks arms with me, “come on,” Beth says, “just ignore them.” As we walk into the building everyone is looking at us. We stop by our lockers, which happen to be right next to each other’s, and we head to homeroom.

When we walk into the room, everything goes silent. I could feel everyone’s eyes on Beth and I as we took our seats. We still had a few minutes before class started so I turned to Beth and say, “I get why everyone is looking at you, but why me?”

Beth turns to me and smiles, “Kara, Have you looked in a mirror lately? You look like some type of Angel or something else heavenly to me and I’m not religious.” I bowed my head as I looked down at my history book, I could feel a blush creep onto my face. After five minutes of being stared at, I started to fidget. Beth saw that I was uncomfortable and stood up from her seat.  All eyes were on her. Beth took a deep breath and said, “take a picture, it lasts longer!”

Everyone averted their gaze, terrified by the sharp sound of Beth’s voice and her evil glare. As Beth sat down,  the bell rang and Mr. Lang walked in and began class.

Homeroom that day went by quickly, then Beth had to go to her first hour, and everything was normal until AP calculus. I have every class with Cole and Max, and I have every class with Beth except AP calculus.

After a relatively uneventful class, Mr. Lang passed out a pop quiz. The quiz was pretty easy until I got to the last problem. I started having a mini panic attack as I realized I wouldn’t be able to solve the problem. I sat in my chair muttering under my breath, “what is the answer to number eight. What is the answer to number eight. What is the answer to number eight.”

I continued chanting that near silently until I heard someone shout from across the room, “35!” I covered my ears, it was as if a bull horn was being blasted on the world’s largest microphone. As I scanned the room, I noticed that no one else seemed bothered by the noise. From his seat in the back of the class, I saw Cole looking at me. He took a short breath and said again, “35. The answer is 35!” I nod and quickly wrote down 35 on my paper. I turn back towards him and mouth thank you feeling my lips press together as I do.

Finally the bell rang and I turned in my test. I left the room as fast as I could and ran to my locker. As I ran I series of thoughts crossed my mind. How come no one else heard Cole screaming? How come he could hear me whispering from my desk when he sits far away from me?

When I got to my locker I threw it opened and shoved everything I needed for the weekend into my backpack. I walked outside and saw Beth standing next to a familiar sleek, black car. Her bang hung from one shoulder, her arms were crossed, and she was was wearing a pair of some of the most badass sunglasses I’ve ever seen.

She smiled as she saw me and when I got to the car we both slid in quickly. As the car drove away from the school I turned to her and ask, “has anything weird happen to you lately?”

Beth shakes her head and says, “no not really.” I let loose a sigh of relief but then Beth says, “well besides the weird dream I had last night, but you know I always have weird dreams.”

I nodded and I couldn't help think of the strange dream I had last night, could it be the same one? Don’t be ridiculous Kara, people can’t have connected dreams, it is just a coincidence.

“Are you ready for the dance?” I asked Beth as I looked out my window, we were almost to my building.

“Yeah...I was going to wear the blue dress I wore to my aunt’s wedding, you know the one with the lace at the bottom, but now I think I’ll wear this really awesome purple dress that has been sitting in my closet forever.”

I nod and say, “well I was thinking of wearing my pale pink dress that I got for christmas last year.”

Beth squealed in delight, “I’ve been waiting ages to pull that special number out. It looks so good on you, I’ll have to bring my camera to take pictures of you tonight.”

I smile at seeing Beth so excited. Something had changed about her overnight, she seemed more confident and she seemed as though she was ready for anything.

Too soon our ride was over. The black car pulled up into my driveway and I hoped out. As I closed the door Beth said, “Wait!” I pulled the door back open and Beth asks, “do you want a ride tonight?

I think about it for a minute and then say, “no thank you. I think I’ll call a cab to pick me up, I want my dress to surprise you.”

“Alright,” Beth says with a twinkle of mischief in her eyes, “but if you're late I’m going to corner Cole and tell him how you feel.”

I gasped, “you wouldn’t!”

“Try me Cupcake.”

I laugh at the nickname Beth had given me when we first met. It was the first day of freshman year and I was eating all alone at lunch. Beth asked if she could sit with me and I said yes, happy to talk to someone. She had pulled out two cupcakes from her lunch box and asked if I wanted one. I said yes and then proceeded to spill the cupcake on my favorite blouse. I was about to have a meltdown, because my best friend had ditched me and I had been unsuccessful in trying to make new friends all day, when all of a sudden Beth said, “hey, now your blouse matches your personality, sweet and brilliant.” For the rest of the day I couldn’t stop smiling and when it came the time to go home, I asked if Beth wanted to hang out, we’ve been best friends ever since.

I knew that because she used one of her many nicknames for me instead of my actual name, that she wouldn’t tell Cole. I smiled and said, “I bet I’ll be there before you.”

“You’re on,” Beth says and I closed the door and walked to my front door. I turned around and watched Beth’s car pull out of my drive way. I noticed there was not one person in the front, but two. I decided against chasing after the car to see who it was when I realized that Beth's mom, a big time industry owner, would never let Beth surround herself with people who could harm her.

I pulled open the big oak door of my home and walked inside. I threw my bag down and had a quick snack before I ran upstairs to get ready for the dance.



 

Kara POV

Time: 8:30 PM

Date:10/11/17

Location: Damrin Residence, Westman High

I looked at my reflection in the mirror and smiled. My blonde hair was pulled into a slick bun with a few strands of hair down and curled. My makeup was simple: foundation, mascara, eyeliner, and some pink lip gloss. My dress on the other hand wasn’t nearly as simple. It was light pink, the top part was an elegant fit that fit me perfectly and looked kind of like a tank, the bottom half filled out into a beautiful pink skirt that had little lace details on the hem. My shoes were also light pink, but they didn’t have too high of heels because I still wanted to dance. I grabbed my black hand purse that contained my phone, my ticket, and my pink lip gloss. I walked out onto my front porch and waited for my cab to come pick me up.

After waiting for five minutes the cab showed up and I hopped in. My emotions were everywhere, I was anxious, I was excited, I was worried, I felt all the feels in that moment.

Because I was contemplating all the things that could go wrong, I didn’t notice that the cab had pulled up to my school. I payed the cab driver and quickly walked to the gym where the dance would take place.

When I entered the large double doors of the gym, I was met with the sight of strobing lights, people dancing, and music pulsed through the air like a heartbeat. I quickly walked to the Student Council set up by the stage. Cole and Max were there talking to each other, but the rest of the student council members were already on the dance floor.

“Hey,” I say as I make it to the table, “have you seen Beth?” Both boys shook their heads and I smirk, looks like I win our little competition.

Just when I was about to ask the boys where to put my purse, I heard Max gasp. I turned towards the gym doors and saw Beth, and my oh my did my mouth hang open. She was wearing a purple maxidress that flowed to her knees and the top part of her dress was amazing. It was shaped kind of like a heart and it had intricate cuts and embellishments in it. For her shoes she wore a pair of silver sandals that went all the way up to her knees. As she got closer to the boys and I, I realized she had opted on wearing not too much makeup like me: foundation, mascara, eyeliner, and dark red lipstick. Beth also had her dark brown hair in an intricate braid.

“Hey guys,” Beth chirped when she got to us.

No one said anything for a while. Cole was trying to look Beth in the eyes, Max stared unapologetically at her, and I was trying not to faint because of how different she looked. After a few minutes of awkward silence Max cleared his throat and said, “Beth you look great.”

“I know,” she said smugly. She turned to me and ignored the boys, “wow Kara, you look wonderful.”

“I look wonderful? Have you seen yourself? You look like Aphrodite had a child with the most beautiful man on Earth!” I replied.

Beth laughs and grabs my arm, “ well you are literally heaven on Earth. Come on let’s dance.”

So we danced. We danced like no one was there, it was just us, laughing and having the best time ever. But I did realize that people were watching us, well more specifically Beth, who was singing to the music and dancing like that was all she was meant to do in life.

After what felt like hours, the music stopped and one of the student council representatives stood on the stage with a microphone in hand. Everyone in the gym turned to face her. She stood there smiling down on the rest of us and says, “isn’t this dance amazing?”

Everyone nods their heads. “Well we can thank our Student Council Presidents for that and to show how much we thank them, we will be having a slow dance just for them.”

I stood frozen in fear, dancing with Cole was not something I wanted to do or was it? No bad Kara, he ripped your heart out and stomped on it, remember? I turn to Beth who looks just as shocked as I feel. I gulp and go to the middle of the dance floor where Cole stood alone. When I got to him he put his hands on my waist hesitantly and I put my arms around his neck. The song Hold Back the River started and we began to awkwardly dance.

Neither of us talked, we just kinda stared over each other shoulders. Finally after a minute of awkwardness, I break the silence, “so how have you been?”

Cole finally looks me in the eyes and says, “I’m good. How are you?”

“Just dancing with an unbelievable jackass, I’ve been better.”

Cole sighs, “ Ok I deserved that.”

“You think?” I say sardonically.

“Well...we should try talking about a neutral subject.”

“Fine,” I say reluctantly.

“How about paper cuts.”

“Sure. Don’t you hate when you get paper cuts and then some random jerk pours lemon juice on it.”

“Uh,” Cole says idiotically.

“Okay, maybe we shouldn’t make small talk.” Cole then pulls me closer to him and electricity courses through my veins. I gulped and looked up into Cole’s eyes. He gave me a shy smile and I felt as though my legs were made of rubber. Cole twirled me around on the dance floor and I squealed. Cole laughed and I felt it reverberate through me.

I glanced over Cole’s shoulder and see Beth smiling. I caught her eye and she gave me a thumbs up and then mouthed to me go get it. I smiled and looked back at Cole to find him staring at me intensely. I gulped and locked my eyes onto his. He somehow closed the distance between us even more. I buried my head into his shoulder and hugged him tighter. We continued to dance until the song ended.

We pulled apart and I feel my face heat up. I can’t believe I just did that. My breathing becomes shorter and I run across the dance floor and out the door. I feel tears run do my burning face. By the time I get into the girl's bathroom I am sobbing.

I lean against the sink and look into the mirror. My mascara is running down my face and my bun is in disarray. I try to gulp down breath but I can’t get any down. I panic and feel my eyes burn. What’s happening? I stare at my eyes in the mirror and find that my eyes have an orangey glow to them. They increase in color until they are a deep red and my eyes feel like they might burn out of my skull. All of a sudden a stream of burning bright white light unleashes from my eyes and hits the bathroom mirror.

The mirrors silvery surface started to melt. It dripped down into the sink, looking like wet paint. A hole was in the center of the mirror, it was still smoking. “What hell!” I say.

I back away from sink and walk backwards to the door. When my back hit the door, I pulled on the handle. I spilled out the door and ran.


 

Cole POV

Time: 10:46 PM

Date:10/11/17

Location: Westman High, Westman High Forest

 

Idiot! I think as I run out of the gym after Kara. When I got out into the hallway, I realized I had lost her...again. I clench my hands into fists and walk to the boy’s bathroom. I stood in front of the mirror and see my lost expression. My grey eyes are distraught and my black hair is disheveled.

All my thoughts jumbled together. What did that dance mean? Does Kara want to be friends again? Why, did I keep seeing Beth giving me a death glare and mouthing: hurt her and you’ll have a whole lot of angry Russians on your doorstep?

“Shut up!” I yell out loud and I lift one of my clenched fists and punch the wall. A loud crack fills the room and I pull my hand away from the wall. On the wall a large crack splits the wall and a ginormous hole in it. I stare at it for a good five minutes before whispering, “what is this sorcery?”

I quickly run out of the room and see Kara running towards the school’s back exit, towards the school's forest.



 

Max POV

Time: 11:02 PM

Date:10/11/17

Location: Westman High, Westman High Forest


 

I stood next to the food...so nothing new. I was probably on my eighth cupcake, I lost track after my fourth. I was lifting the cupcake to my mouth when everything around me slowed. The dancers moved like sloths, the music was warped, and the strobe lights flashed slowly. My first thought was: Who put drugs in the food?

I threw my cupcake in the garbage and started walking through the dance hall to the bathrooms so I could throw up the drugs. When I got to the other side of the gym, everything was normal. The people were dancing normally, the music was fast, and the strobe lights flashed normally.

When I looked back, I saw skid marks on the floor in the exact path I had just walked in. “Ummmmmmmmmm……….I’m definitely high.” I walk out of the gym and see Cole chasing Kara and because I’m definitely on drugs, I decided to follow them.

 

Beth POV

Time: 11:15 PM

Date:10/11/17

Location: Westman High, Westman High Forest


 

I first saw Kara leave the gym, then Cole, and now Max. And Max somehow made it from one side of the gym to the other in three seconds. Everything is going so wrong! I thought as I made my way to the other side of the gym.

I almost make it to the door but then a guy stumbles into me and something in me snaps. I quickly turn on the guy and grab his arm. I twist the arm and get the guy in a painful position. The guys yells out and I release him as I realize what I’d done. “I’m so sorry,” I say as I back away from him.

I turn around and flee to the hallway where I see Kara, Cole, and Max all running for the exit. Might as well go with them, this night is ruined already. I take one last look at the gym and one last look at the guy, who is still on the floor, and I run after them.



 

Kara POV

Time: 11:37 PM

Date: 10/11/17

Location: Westman High Forest.


 

I could hear Cole, Max, and Beth chasing after me, so I ran faster. I pushed open the school’s exit doors and run for the forest. I don’t realize how far into the forest I’ve ran until I’m standing in a clearing and can’t see the school anymore.

I drop to my knees and start to bawl again. I feel my eyes get hot again and I try to calm down but  nothing is working. Blinding light shoots from my eyes and hits some of the trees that surround me. The trees ignite almost instantly and I scream. I couldn’t move, couldn’t do anything, I was paralyzed by fear. Everything reminded me of the fire.

I continued to shoot fire from my eyes until I feel strong hands pull me close, Cole. I kept crying until the light stopped. I looked around and saw the fire was still going but it was dying down. Max was running faster than light around the fire, cutting it off from oxygen until it disappeared altogether. The last thing I remembered was seeing Beth run into the clearing and shout, “What in the ever living f*ck just happen?” and then everything went dark.





 

Kara POV

Time: 5:00 AM

Date:10/12/17

Location: Damrin Residence, Central Park

 

I wake up the morning with a headache. I look down and see my dress is still on, but with scorch marks running along the soft fabric. I sniff the air and smell cinnamon. Cole, I immediately think. But why was he in my room? I diminish the thought from my mind and decide I need to burn off this stress, and forget last night ever happened.

As I step out of my bed I feel my feet hit the plush carpet. I walk to the bathroom and almost scream as I look in the mirror. I see my mascara smeared down my face, and my lipstick everywhere. My hair is in shambles, my bun almost nonexistent. As I start to run the shower I get a memory flash, of the trees on fire. I shudder and step into the steaming shower.

After I'm clean and dressed in jogging gear I walk very fast to avoid confrontation with my parents. Luckily for me they aren't awake yet. I step outside and jog to Central Park, and keep running till I can forget. After jogging a mile or so I begin to realize I'm not out of breath in even the slightest way. As I start slowing down I see a familiar face with grey eyes look at me and a slightly crooked smile that makes me light headed. I keep running and hopes Cole didn't see me but,

“Hey Kara! Come here” Cole shouts from 15 ft away.

I stop and put in a fake smile and jog towards him. Only wearing a tshirt and shorts I can't help but feel a little bit exposed. With my best fake smile plastered on my face, I stride over to him.

“Hey. What's up?” I ask chirpy

“Not much. How are you Kara? Really.” He asks. His voice full of concern.

“I'm fine. Why wouldn't I be?”

“Kara, don't blow off what happened yesterday. We all are worried about you. You could have been seriously injured last night.”

“Blow off what? I'm fine. Completely, 100% fine. Fine, fine, fine.”

He looks at me exasperated and I feel a tear slip out of my eye and fall down my cheek. Before I know it I'm straight out crying. Cole reaches out to hug me and weirdly, I let him. His strong hold on me is comforting. I breathe in his scent, cinnamon. I let the tears stream down my face and land in his shoulder. I can feel his chin resting on my head. As comforting as it was I needed to get back to reality and my head snaps up to meet his concerned gaze.

“Ok I'm not as fine as I thought I was was, but I can't think about that right now. Do you want to jog with me?”

“I would love to.”

We continue on jogging side by side through Central Park, laughing together as we do and it feels like old times. That was until both of our phones buzz saying 911 from Beth. We look at each other and decide to go together.

“But I need to change first.”

When we reach my floor and apartment my parents are there eating breakfast. I guess I left a little earlier than I thought. I head up to my room leaving Cole downstairs with my parents. As I get up to my room I change into my pink Nike athletic shirt,  black leggings and keep my running shoes on. I redo my ponytail making it perfect and tight. As I head down stairs I hear my parents say;

“Cole you must have dinner with us next week Saturday. We insist.” I hear my mom say.

“Um… Ok, sure.” Cole says uneasily.

My stomach drops. Cole cannot come over for dinner. My mom will make it all fancy and important. We are going to have a serious talk when I get back.

I walk down the stairs noisily to make sure they all hear me and stop embarrassing the crap out of me. I grab Cole and and leave before my parents can do any more damage.

“So I guess I'm coming to dinner next week. Not awkward at all. Not awkward at all.” Cole says

“Yeah it will be great. Just great.”

We walk the rest of the way in silence but still stealing small glances at each other. Each time he catches me I blush and when I catch him he runs his hand through his soft hair. Every time he does it I feel my face heat up and cool down at the same time. His hand accidentally brushed mine and I jump, almost tipping over.

We finally arrive to see Beth and max standing there. Beth looks ferocious and lethal while Max list looks jittery like he had 12 cups of coffee. Beth is wearing all black athletic gear with Dutch braids running down her shoulders. Her look is all business until she meets my face and her expression immediately softens.

Cole and I walk up to them expectantly.

“So why are we here?”

“I’m glad you asked Kara. So as you all know, yesterday during the dance we all went crazy. Kara, you set half of the forest on fire, Cole you took out part of the wall with one measly punch, Max you ran a span of 200 ft in 3 seconds, and I almost dislocated somebody’s shoulder.”

“OK and you're point is?” I ask skeptically.

“We have super powers.” Beth said matter ‘o’ factly.

“Haha yeah right.”

Beth looks at me seriously and then turns around bends down and throws a massive rock at my face. As if it was in slow motion, I feel my face heat up and shoot white hot rage. I smell smoke when my vision clears and look down to see a rock smoking and split in half. We all stare at it in disbelief. Beth looks triumphantly at me with a smug smile on her face.

“Ok so I have laser vision, that doesn’t mean anything.” I say about two seconds from being completely hysterical.

Max was standing completely still during this until I see white lighting form a protection around him and envelop his entire person. Before I know it he is hurdling at Cole and I so fast I can hardly register it. As if by reflex I push off of the ground with such force and feel my feet leave the crunchy soil beneath me. My legs are floating and as I scramble to touch some ground I begin to soar, leaving the ground behind me. The wind is hitting my face whipping my golden hair out of a ponytail and all around me. I look down to see I am very high off the ground.

I start to panic and before I know it I am free falling. Preparing to hit the cruel hardness of the ground I feel two arms catch me. Sturdy around my back and legs, I look up to meet fierce silver eyes filled with relief. Cole caught me when I was falling 95 mph. He gently sets me down and I feel my tennis shoes hit the ground. My hair is wind blown and rests on my shoulders. Everybody looks at me with disbelief, until I break the silence.

“Ok, so I am ready to listen Beth.”

“I’m glad, so does everybody remember Thursday night? When we all walked out to the field and got knocked out.”

We all nod.

“So that definitely has to have something to do with it. I think that that glowing thing gave us powers.”

“What kind of powers?” Cole asks.

“Well Max can run faster than the speed of light, Kara and you I think have similar powers because you were unconscious the same amount of time.”

As Beth said that my eyes started to go in a stream towards Beth. Cole saw me trying to move it away and while screaming at Beth to move, an icy blast shot through his mouth. It completely covered my beam of fire and stopped it inches away from Beth’s face, which was covered in terror. I look at Cole with my mouth agape.

“Can I do that too?’ I ask

“I can’t think why not. I’m guessing you also have super strength. Cole has flight, and laser eyes as well.” Beth says.

“OK this is crazy” I say.

“Yeah totally, but one big question still remains.” Beth says mysteriously.

“Which is?” I ask.

“What do we do with our newfound powers? I mean if we forget about it and let our gifts go to waste. We could talk to a doctor about this, or WE COULD BECOME SUPERHEROS!!”

“I am not okay with this. With any of those options, except for one, to forget about this. I don’t want to wear a cape and fight crime, or save the world. I want a normal life, with a normal graduation, and I want to go to Harvard. I DO NOT want to have superpowers.”

“But Kara--” Beth sutters but I cut her off before she can finish.

“No but Beth, I don’t want this, any of it. You guys can do your insane “superhero” facade, but COUNT ME OUT! I want to have a normal life again.”

I turn and start to walk away, but Beth says something that makes me stop dead in my tracks.

“Your life hasn’t been normal since the fire.” Beth sneers.

When I turn around slowly, I see her face look like oh crap.

“I used to think I could tell you anything, but like mother like daughter, you are a stone cold bitch.” I say with hot tears streaming down my face.

When I turn I hear absolute silence. I run all the way back to my building, feeling my feet pound against the ground. I run up to the elevator and all the way up the stairs into my room slamming the door shut as I do. I curl up in a ball on my carpet, letting the tears stain my face. I hear a quiet knock and turn towards the door to hear a soft voice.

“Kara, can I come in please?” Cole says gently.

“Sure.” My soft voice croaks out.

Cole opens the door and sees me curled up. He walks over and sits down next to me and wraps his arms around me. I snuggle my face deep into his shoulder, and inhale in his scent. He rocks me gently back and forth soothing me as he does. I hear him humming quietly and I almost fall asleep until I hear my parents yell my name up the stairs.

“Oh, it’s my parents. They need to talk to me about something. Do they know you’re here?” I ask.

“No actually, there wasn’t anyone here when I chased after you.”

“Oh, shit. You need to leave, like now. My dad would kill us if he saw a boy in my room.”

“Your room is a lot of stories up I can’t exactly…. Wait yes I can do that.”

Cole jumps up and helps me up too. He walks over to the window and looks at me.

“ I will jump down and wait until you give me the signal, then I will come back up if you want me to. Do you want me to?”

“I don’t know Cole, it was nice being comforted but I am still really hurt. I can’t let you get close just yet.”

“Ok, how ‘bout this? I will go into my room and we can talk together but from different apartment buildings. That way we aren’t close.” He says with a devilishly hot smirk.

“Fine, you win. You have to go NOW.”

He gives me one last smirk and jumps out the window just as my dad knocks on the door. Holy crap that was a tall jump.I open it and see he is standing there with a grin on his face.

“Hi honey, just a FYI, your mom made pizza, your favorite.”

“Ok thanks dad. I love you.”

“Love you too kiddo, see you at dinner.”

I release a big gush of air I didn’t realize I was holding. I walk to my bathroom and wash my face and put on some simple makeup. Then I walk to my closet and put on my black leggings and purple tank top. I am dressed for a conversation with Cole. I walk to my bed and sit down with my legs crossed, when an image of Cole pops up in my head. “Damnit” I think to myself, I need to stop with Cole.

“Kara?” Cole says faintly, 30 feet away from me.

“Hey, so…. What’s up?”  I ask awkwardly.

“Not much, just talking to you with my super hearing and x-ray vision.”

“Haha  very fun…. Did you just say x-ray vision?”

“Yeah, I can see you. You can probably see me too.”

I turn towards the direction Cole’s apartment floor is and squint. My vision sharpens and I see Cole laying on his bed wearing a t-shirt that outlines his muscles perfectly. My stomach flutters, and I feel nauseous. He smiles and I realize he can see me too. He is seeing my in a TANK TOP!


 

Cole POV

Time: 12:30 p.m.

Date: 2/12/17

Location:Coles bedroom


 

As I jump down off of the window I re-play this morning in my head, me seeing Kara in shorts and jogging with her. I catching Kara free falling and landing in my arms and staring at me. Beth and Kara exchanging hurtful words, then finding Kara a complete mess and crying. I getting to comfort Kara and hold her in my arms, and smelling her scent of vanilla and coconut . Kara saying she can’t trust me, ouch, and me getting to have one of our old all night conversations. Except now with superpowers. Oh yeah and finding out I have superpowers. That was crazy. I climb up my wall with ease I land on my bed and sit in the direction facing Kara’s bedroom. I start to see through the wall and I see her putting her makeup on. God she is beautiful, I think to myself. My vision cuts out for a little bit but when it returns I see Kara wearing a tank top. It’s like she knows I’m in love with her and she is trying to taunt me. She sits down on her bed and I stare and her golden blonde hair that hypnotizes me. I can’t believe I broke her heart, I thought it would be best, I can’t stand in her way when she is destined for great things.



 

Kara POV

Time: 6:30 p.m.

Date: 2/12/17

Location: Kara’s bedroom

I go to dinner and eat it as quick as I can. But unfortunately for me we have family game night. I win at poker(thank you x-ray vision), and scrabble, but loose at Yahtzee. Soon enough my parents went to bed and I raced up to my room.
“Cole, are you still there?”

“Of course, where else would I be?”

I smile and look at his windows to see him there smiling and looking straight at me. I feel heat creep up my face and make a home there, as I turn around I hear a soft chuckle. I look at Cole with a questioning glance.

“Why are you laughing?” I ask playfully.

“I’m laughing because you’re being adorable.”

I feel more heat add onto the existing blushing. Did Cole just say I was adorable? No, he said I was “being” adorable, but does that mean something? No, Kara, I need to stop, there is no way Cole has feeling for me, but then again there is a possibility.

“You and Beth should really talk” Cole says meaningfully.

“I'm not really in the mood to talk about that” I say, clearly annoyed.

“Ok, if you’re sure you don’t want to talk about it.”

“Yeah, I’m sure.”

We talked the rest of the night just like old times. For a while I had forgotten everything that had happened, my feelings for him, him dumping me, and us having superpowers. I could see his smile, the one that turned my insides to jelly. Where his entire face lights up, and his smile is slightly crooked, but with the twinkle in his eye I melt. I always thought that smile was reserved for me. We talk and talk and talk until 1:00 a.m., and I hear Cole yawn. We say goodnight and as I drift into sleep I picture Cole and he is the last thing I see before I drift into sleep.

 

Kara POV

Time: 8:30 AM

Date:10/13/17

Location: Damrin Residence, Salsen’s Bakery


 

I woke with a start. I didn't remember falling asleep but I must have fallen asleep in the middle of something. I was still wearing the clothes I wore to dinner last night and my normally smooth, golden hair was a cascade of knots. I rolled out of bed and walked sleepily to the bathroom.

Looking in the mirror I saw that little dark marks had formed under my eyes. Who knew staying up super late while talking to your long time crush could take something out of you? I quickly shower and get dressed, a blush on my face, knowing that Cole and I had stayed up that late just talking. It seemed almost like old times. Almost.

 As I walk downstairs I realize that no one is awake but me. The silence engulfs me as I make myself a cup of coffee. I dumped sugar into my cup as I walked outside to my backyard. The soft grass tickles my bare feet as I walk to the swingset that had been outside my family’s apartment building since I was twelve. It wasn’t what it once was, but it still helped calm me.

I sat down on the bright red swing and sipped my coffee. The sun shined down on me joyfully and the only sounds that could be heard was the chirping of crickets hidden in the grass and the creaking of the swing I sat on.

I didn’t know how long I had been swinging when I felt a light tapping on my shoulder. I jumped up and spilled my coffee on the ground. “Wow!” Cole said as he jumped back. “I thought you knew I was here.”

“Why would you think that?” I asked incredulously.

“Well you know with your super hearing and all,” Cole replies as he shyly runs a hand through his dark hair.

I felt my stomach flutter and I looked down, “It’s alright.”

Cole smiles and sits down on one of the swings. “I’d have thought you’d have taken this thing down by now.” Cole says as he pushes his feet against the ground and starts to swing.

“I’d never take the swingset down.” I sat as I sit down on the swing next to him.

“Do you remember the time you dared me to jump off the swing and I almost broke my ankle?” Cole asked as he swung higher.

“Of course,” I say, giggling, “you actually did it though.”

“Of course I did it. I always did what you told me back then...” Cole says as his voice trails off.

I smiled at the distant memory. I slowly swung back and forth on my swing. Cole sighs and says, “You should talk to Beth.”

I stop swinging and look at him, “Are you serious?”

“Yeah, yeah I am,” he says strongly, “Beth didn’t mean what she said and neither did you. I’d hate to see you two stop being friends over something as stupid as a quick, hurtful remark. I mean you are being a little hypocritical about saying you wanted to ignore your powers when we spent all night using them to talk.”

I nod slowly and say, “I’ll talk to her.” As if she had heard us, Beth sent me a text right at that moment.  Salsen’s Bakery.


 

I walked into Salsen’s Bakery twenty minutes later. The bright interior greeted me and I scanned the room until I saw a familiar head of brown hair bent over a newspaper. When I sat down at Beth's table I saw that there was a cup of black coffee half full and a half eaten crepe.

Beth looked me in the eyes and I saw that they were rimmed in red. “Oh Beth.” I said as I leaned across the table to hug her. She quickly wrapped her arms around me and I breathed in deeply, Beth smelled like roses and rain. When I pulled away from her Beth smiled.

“I’m so sorry for what I said and I understand that you want a normal life and I’m willing to ignore my powers and..”

I smiled at her and cut her off, “Beth! Your rambling. And It’s okay what you said...what I said was totally uncalled for too. And about my powers….I’m willing to give this superhero thing a try.”

Beth claps her hands excitedly but then paused, “wait, what made you change your mind?”

I bit my lip and said, “Cole.”

“What,” Beth shrieked. A few people looked at us and Beth looked back at them, as if daring them to say something. “You hung out with Cole!”

“Yeah.”

“Like physical contact, eye to eye, not awkward?”

“Yes,” I replied again.

“Okay later I need details but now..” Beth says dramatically as she stands up. A few guys in the bakery stare at her and I can’t blame them. Beth’s wearing a close fitting tank top that showed off her curves and a pair of jeans that seemed sculpted on. I can't help but feel jealous. I wish I could wear clothes like that, I mean Beth has said I'm hot too I just don't have enough confidence. Beth winks at me and finishes, “We train!”

Beth brings me to an abandoned warehouse outside of Manhattan. I see the walls are rusted with a slight tint of red in them, and broken windows freckle the building. When I look ahead I see Cole and Max standing there and I can't help but feel awkward.

Beth looks amazing and I'm just wearing a tight white top and a pair closely fitted jeans. I can't help but feel ignored now whenever I'm around Beth. Beth sees me chewing my lip and knows that's my sign for I'm uncomfortable or nervous. She takes my arm and walks us up in front of the boys.

Once there I can't help but wonder how Beth go this place. When  I ask her all she says is:

“Oh never mind that. Right now we need to focus on you controlling your powers ms. set the whole forest on fire and almost kill me.”

I look sheepishly at her feeling embarrassed about not having any control whatsoever.

“Ok, so where do we start?”

“Let's go inside and try to get an understanding on our powers. Kara and Cole you two will spar  together first because you have the same powers.” Beth says shooting me a grin.

“Um ok, sure.”

Beth leads all of us inside, but once there I realize, “I have to fight Cole!” I mean sure we both have the same abilities, we both took taekwondo, but that doesn’t mean I can fight him. We stand facing each other in a big, empty space, just looking at each other.

“Come on, get a move on ladies.” I hear Beth shout.”

“Ok, ok. We’re starting.”

We both walk towards each other, and begin. I see Cole moving swiftly towards me about to throw an uppercut, when I  release a bolt of fire from my eyes. It scorches his hand and I see it on fire. As I approach him, eyes ablaze, he opens his mouth and I get hit with the powerful bite of ice. I feel my face burn and I jump off the ground and soar to the ceiling feeling nothing under my feet just a sense of power. I hurtle down to the ground, with my arm outstretched and in a fist, at maximum speed. I collide with Cole and we fall to the floor, a mess of limbs. Cole pulls back his arm to hit me with his super strength, but I catch his fist in my hand and squeeze so hard that I heard Cole groan.

Realizing what I had done, I quickly release Cole and back away from him. I cleared my throat and reached a hand down to help him up, “I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay,” Cole says through a groan.

I help Cole stand upright and turn towards Beth. She was leaning against a far wall with a bowl of popcorn in her hands.

“Did you seriously make popcorn?” I ask in disbelief.

“Of course I didn’t make popcorn, Max did!”

“Might I ask why?!”

“It’s not everyday you get to see two super humans beat the crap out of each other,” Beth says around a mouthful of popcorn.”

“Where is Max?”

“I sent him to China Town. I wanted some wontons.”  Beth says as if it’s totally normal.

“Ok so how are we supposed to train when Cole and I could kill each other, and wipe out the entire human race.” I ask.

“Oh, honey you won't do that.” remarks Beth.

“Why not?”

“Because you have no control, oh and also you’re a Cupcake.”

“Well, I could hurt somebody if i wanted to.”

As if on cue Max runs into the room right as I release a burst of flames from my eyes. It hits him square in the chest and sends him flying against the wall.

“Why did you do that” Max says from across the room. He jumps up and shakes it off, clearly unfazed and uninjured.

Before I could answer I heard beth yell, “Do you know how much it cost me to get this place? Well it cost a lot and I would prefer if you didn’t put any holes in it!”

“Ok if this cost you so much money, why is it rusty and dirty?”

“Because it presents a perfect training opportunity.” Beth says mysteriously.

“How?”

“Max, I want you to quickly sweep, mop, and re-floor the whole building. Kara, fix the windows, Cole get me a latte. Extra whipped cream. Oh and after that fix the heavy beams on the ceilings.”

We all stare at her blankly.

“AM I SPEAKING RUSSIAN! Because I sometimes do that on accident. NOW PEOPLE GO, GO,GO!!”

We all race to do the things Beth told us to do, no one wanted to be on the Russian’s bad side. I glide to the first broken window I see and grab a piece of broken glass from the floor. I quickly found where it originally was on the window and use my laser eyes to seal it into place, the hot rays meld the glass together.

I continued to do this to all the windows until the windows were shining and in one piece. I wiped my hands on my pants and turned around. I saw Max running around the warehouse, things seemed to clean themselves as he cleaned. I saw Cole, having returned with Beth’s latte, floating by the ceiling. He was using his super strength to push at the beams .

Coles shirt had risen up a bit, showing the tan skin beneath. I quietly look away before he caught me staring, heat flooded my face. I turned to wear Beth sat on the floor, surrounded by food cartons and an empty coffee cup. Cole might not have noticed my staring but Beth did. She wiggled her eyebrows at me suggestively.

I walk over to her and ask, “why aren’t you helping?”

Max and Cole stop what they’re doing to look at Beth and me. Beth stands up and says, “I don’t have to help, I bought this place.”

“That actually gives you a better reason to help,” I say as I get closer to her.

“Look Cupcake, you’ve seen my house. You know I don’t do chores.”

“Oh come on! Beth if this superhero thing is going to work, you have to help!”

Beth sighs and says, “You guys are doing a lot of work, but there is still so much to do. When you guys go home, I’ll still be here, fixing things, making sure everything is safe. What I’m trying to say is I’ve already done a lot of work and I’ll have more later. “ Vernutsya k rabote!”

We all continued to work, but something about what Beth said didn’t make sense. “Beth,” I say as I turn back to her. She looked back up from her food. “How long have you owned this warehouse?”

“Um…” Beth says, her hands started shaking, “I got it for my birthday last year and haven't had a use for it until now.”

Cole flies down from the ceiling and stands beside me. “You got this huge warehouse for birthday last year?”

“Yes,” Beth says weakly.

“Well do you get presents a lot?” Max asks as he stops by Beth’s side.

“Yeah.”

“Did you get a back to school present?” Max pesters.

“Yes.”

“Well what was it?” I asked loudly.

“That’s for me to know and for you to never find out about.” And that was the end of that. Beth picked up a mop and started to clean, as did the rest of us.





 

Beth POV

Time: 6:30

Date:10/13/17

Location: Mama’s Pizza


 

The only thing that prevented us from working on my warehouse more was our growling stomachs. I was hungry and I knew Max was too,  but I saw my opportunity to help Kara. “Hey,” I say as we leave the warehouse, “we should get some food.”

The others nodded in agreement and we all started spitting out restaurant names. Bellmont Eatery, Sushi House, Ragnor's, Mama’s Pizza.  Wait, hold up and bring it back, Mama’s Pizza. BINGO!

“Guys I’m kinda in the mood for some of Mama’s Pizza,” I say loudly to be heard over their chatter. I see all of them nod and we head to Mama’s. When we get there it is packed, like I knew it would be. I go up to the seater person thingy and put in an order for a table of four.

The seater person thingy smiles sadly at me saying, “Sorry, we only have a table for two available.”

“That’s perfect actually.” I turn towards my friends and point to Cole and Kara, “those two will take the  table.” The seater person thingy smiles and says when they are ready, send them back.”

I nod and walk back to my friends. When I get to them I put on a sugary smile and said, “change of plans.”

I see Cole and Max furrow their brows, but I see Kara stare at me intensely. “There is only room for two of us here,” I explain, “and Kara and Cole will be eating here.”

Kara’s eyes bulge and Cole’s throat bobs uncertainly. I was about to send them to their table when Max whined, “but I want pizza!”

I shoot him a glare and he shuts up, “it’s alright Max, I have somewhere in mind for us to eat at. Max pouts but nods his head. The hostess, THAT’S WHAT THEY’RE CALLED, comes back and leads Kara and Cole away. Kara looks over her shoulder at me and mouths You’re so dead!  But I just smile at her until she is out of sight.

I hook my arm through Max’s and we walk outside. “So where are we going to eat?” Max asks as we walk down the packed streets.

“How does a private meal at the Cheesecake Factory sound?” I ask as I leaned into Max.

“That sounds awesome!” Max starts, “but how can you get a private room at Cheesecake Factory at this time of night?”

“I know people,” I say mysteriously.

As we continued to walk, Max seemed to be thinking. “Look I don’t care how where we eat, or if it’s even private, but I’m starving.”

I laughed lightly and said, “then lead the way.”




 

Kara POV

Time: 6:53

Date:10/13/17

Location: Mama’s Pizza, Damrin Residence


 

I’m going to kill Beth! I mean I knew she was cunning but I never expected her to be so conniving, so evil, so wingwomany!  As Cole and I sat down at our table, I realize there are tiny tea candles everywhere. Not only that but there was a slow song playing in the background.

As Cole and I stare at our menus, while I silently willed my eyes not to burn a hole through my menu. “So….” Cole says.

“Yeah..” I reply unhelpfully.

“What type of pizza do you want to get?”

“I don’t really care,” I say as I fiddle with the table cloth.

“Okay, how about an anchovy pizza?”

I looked up abruptly. I see Cole’s eyes widen and I ask, “Do you actually like anchovy pizza?”

“N-no,” he stutters, “but I panicked and said the first thing that came to my mind.”

“How about we just order a pepperoni pizza?”

“Yeah, that sounds good,” Cole says as he runs a hand through his hair. I internally groan at how cute he was being.

After we ordered our pizza, we lapsed into uncomfortable silence. I stared absently at one of the candles’ flame until Cole cleared his throat, “So I didn’t realize just how Russian Beth was.”

I looked up at him and said, “Really? Her last name is Alexandrov.”

“Yeah, that was obvious but I didn’t know she could speak Russian.”

“She only does it when she’s yelling or nervous.”

Cole nods and says, “Man she is an interesting person but she scares the shit out of me.”

I start laughing and so does Cole. Pretty soon we get our pizza. The pizza was great but I was more focused on the amazing boy in front of me, I couldn’t believe I had ever tried to convince myself that I didn’t love him.

We continued to talk until the watery sun appeared over the horizon and I could barely keep my eyes from drooping. After we payed, Cole walked me home. As we walked down the deserted streets, I feel my head fall onto my chest.

“Okay,” Cole says as he grabs me and carries me bridal style.

“Ahh,” I said in protest but Cole shut me up.

“You are too tired to walk so I’ll carry you.” I wanted to argue again but the world dissolved into darkness right before my eyes.

I must have fallen asleep because the next time I woke, I was tucked comfortably in my bed.



 

Kara POV

Time: 5:30

Date:10/14/17

Location: Westman High


 

When I woke up the next morning I was in bliss. I had been on a “date” with Cole! I stride over to my closet and decide to wear a low cropped white shirt and a blue skirt. I wasn’t even surprised when Beth’s sleek black car pulled up into my driveway the next morning. I said goodbye to my parents and ran out to the car. Once I was inside I was met with a knowing smirk from Beth.

“I can’t believe you did that!” I hissed. I heard someone from the front of the car turn towards me, something like a gun clicked.

Beth whispered, “no.” The person shifted again and the gun sounded like it was slid into a holster. “So,” Beth says, “how was it?”

I crossed my arms and glare at her. “ Fine, “she says, “I guess you don’t want the brownies in my lunch box.”

I uncross my arms and lean towards her. “It was magical. I mean at first it was so awkward you could cut the tension with a spork.” Beth laughs. “But then..it was as though nothing had changed. We talked and talked and talked, until one in the morning.”

“Whaaa,” says Beth, “you awake at one in the morning, on a school night?”

“I know, I know. And then when we were walking back I fell asleep so he carried me home and tucked me into bed.”

Beth squealed and started rambling about how cute Cole and I were. After endless minutes of her incoherent noises we made it to school. When we walked in, we immediately walked to our lockers. We then walked into homeroom just as the bell rang.

As we sat down I looked towards the back where Cole sat. When Cole saw me he smiled, and blushed. I hadn't noticed that his eyes and drifted downwards. I looked at him and blushed and then my view was blocked Mr. Lang. His short, gray noise hairs hung dangerously close to my face. “Ms. Damrin,” he began, “what is so interesting about the back of the classroom?”

I felt everyone’s eyes on me and I felt heat build up in my eyes. Before I could laser Mr. Lang’s nose hairs to a crisp, Beth spoke up. “Mr. Lang I have a question about friday's homework!”

Mr. Lang eyes me suspiciously before he turns to Beth with her nonexistent question. Everyone who was looking at me before went back to their work. I get out my science homework to make it look like I was working. But I couldn’t focus on work. All I could think about was how close I almost came to revealing my powers.

As my eyes stared blankly at my homework I heard Cole ask from across the room, “are you okay?”

I knew he was talking to me because even though it sounded like he was speaking loudly, I knew now that he was whispering. “I’m fine,” I whisper into my desk.

“Are you sure. You’re normally Mr. Lang’s favorite.”

“Yeah, I’m fine.”

A short pause and then, “if you weren’t fine you would tell me right?”

I breath deeply and my heart flutters. Does he really care about me that much?  “Of course. If there was anything wrong I would tell you.”

“Good,” he said deeply. How can a voice sound so good?  Before we could talk more, the bell rang and Mr. Lang started droning on and on about how the exponential power of a number affects the relationship of two numbers in an equation.

After mostly boring classes and a riveting biology lesson, I walked towards the cafeteria. I grabbed a tray and got into the lunch line. As I got my food I looked around the room and saw Max and Cole at the football player’s table, laughing at something someone said. Dang! Both of them have amazing smiles!

I pay for my lunch and all but run to where Beth sits at the corner table. A container of the most delicious looking brownies sat in the center of the table. Since Beth rarely ate lunch, she sat there with a book open, ignoring the treats in front of her.

“How do you always have the most amazing looking desserts ever and yet I don’t think I’ve ever seen you eat any?” I ask as I set my tray down. I sit down in a hard chair, being careful to cross my legs so no one can see up my skirt. I grab three brownies.

Beth shrugged as she closed her book. “One moment, please,” she said as she stood up.

I followed her thin form across the cafeteria as I stuffed a brownie into my mouth, thinking if I want to continue having a slim athletic build I need to eat better. Beth stopped at Max and Cole’s table. The other football players stared at Beth, stunned by her beauty. A coil of jealousy curled tightly in my gut, I put back the brownies I had taken.

Beth leaned down to whisper into Max’s ear, then Cole’s. Both boys looked at each other and nodded. Max said something to the football players before they both stood up with their trays and followed Beth back to our table.

“Hey Kara!” Max says enthusiastically as he sat down next to Beth.

“Hi,” I say as I start twiddling with my plastic fork.

“Who made the brownies?” Cole asked, eyeing them considerably.

“I did,” Beth says.

Max grabs a brownie and shoves it into his mouth. He moaned in pleasure. “Beth,” he said through a mouth of brownie, “will you marry me?”

Beth laughed lightly and said, “sorry Max, I don’t think I’ll get married until after high school.”

“If you won't marry me, at least let me hire you as my personal chef!” Max begged.

“We’ll see,” was all Beth said.

Cole grabbed a brownie and bit into it. I cleared my throat, “I don’t mean to be rude but why are you guys here?”

“Well I thought that lunch would be a good time to talk about the future. You know, training times, suits, research about the glowing blue orb that gave us powers,” Beth says as she leans forward towards the table.

“Suits? How are we going to buy outfits for fighting crime without it looking weird?” Cole asks Beth.

“We could say their for Halloween or something like that,” Beth says as she ponders the question.

“What if we don’t need to by costumes, just the materials,” Max says as he swallows his fifth brownie.

“Yeah but only I know how to sew and that would take too long,” Beth states.

“Actually I know how to sew,”  Max says as he turns to Beth. They both start talking about different materials and sewing techniques. Cole and I both watched them with looks of confusion.

Cole turned to me, “do you understand what they’re talking about?”

“No idea.” Cole and I continued to talk about nothing for a while until Beth turned towards us and snapped her fingers. “Tonight. 8:30, meet me at the warehouse. I’ll bring the materials for the suits and we can make them. And train”. We all nodded and then the bell rang.

I go through the rest of the day as usual, until gym class. Max, Cole, Beth and I all have gym together so we could keep each other under control. In that class period we were playing volleyball and surprise surprise we were all on the same team. The ball was flying straight towards my face and I push my hand towards it with maximum effort, which is very unfortunate for who I hit in the face.

School ends and as I walk home I can't help but think about how the football team was staring at Beth. As I reach my apartment, I step inside and pick up a package from the front office and head up to my apartment. I walk into my bedroom and finish my calculus homework then read. Before I know it it's 7:30 and I start to get ready. I put my light blonde hair into Dutch braids and I put in my athletic clothes. I choose my grey shorts and Nike hoodie, and slip in my black under armour running shoes.

“Hey. Nice outfit” I hear Cole say.

“Not cool, are you spying on me?”

“What? Never!” Cole says jokingly.

“I have an idea that would also help us train.”

“Well what is it?” I ask impatiently.

“Since we need to get there fast, and practice our flying, do you want to fly to the warehouse?”

“That sounds kinda dangerous” but I do want to be noticed and not a safe little girl so “but why the hell not.” I say.

“Awesome let's go! I'll meet you outside your door.” Cole says excitedly.

I walk down the stairs and I step outside to feel a cool breeze on my bare tan legs. I see Cole look at me and nod. We both push off of the ground with all of our mite and before I can even register it I am soaring through the air. I look to my right and see Cole doing circles in the air which makes me laugh hysterically and almost drop to the ground.

I feel my hair come loose and float around me like soft gold air. I look at Cole to see him staring at me with his mouth agape. I immediately reach for my face thinking there's something on it.

“Why are you looking at me like that?” I ask him.

That immediately snaps him back to attention and he just keeps looking forward. I do a circle in the air and dance as if I was on the ground. I can't stop laughing as I look down to see the New York City lights beneath us looking like diamonds in the Earth. Cole looks at me and smiles which makes me smile and blush even harder. God! Does he have to be so goddamn handsome .

We continue to fly until I see the warehouse come into focus. I tap Coles shoulder and signal him to go down he nods and we dive towards the Earth. As I torpedo forwards I straighten and my feet land with a soft thud. I notice my hair wind blown and curling around me, and I quickly reach to pull it back into a ponytail but then decide not to. I kinda look hot with my hair not in my usual ponytail.

I see Beth and max standing in front of the suits looking at me and Cole. We stride towards them but I have a slight bounce in my step. Flying is exhilarating and the most amazing experience ever. Beth looks at me and smiles.

“You're hair looks amazing Kara. Did you guys fly here?” Beth asks.

“Yeah and IT'S AMAZING. I was soaring through the air and I could see the whole city from up above I can't explain how amazing it is. I just want to do it again and again and again.” I say not taking a breath.

“That's awesome truly but now we have to show you guys something amazing. Max, thanks to his superspeed, finished our disguises. AND THEY LOOK AMAZING!”

Beth led us inside to the warehouse that now newly renovated looked amazing with state of the art training equipment and even a large couch. She led us to glass display cases which held leather costumes. Each case had a name card, one read: ANGEL, the second read: GUARDIAN, the third read; ASSASSIN, and the last read: SHADOW. I look to Beth puzzled.

“So which one is which?” I ask.

“Well Angel is you, Protecter is Cole, Shadow is Max, and I'm Assassin. So everybody get into a changing room and change quickly, which I know you all can change in less than 15 seconds.” Beth says.

“Angel, really?”

“Yeah, I think it fits you perfectly.”

 I grab my costume and change in 10 seconds. As I looks in the mirror I feel heat rise all over my body. I have a black leather top with a white outline that only goes halfway down my rib age and a low cut black skirt that is down to my mid thigh. I have talk white high heeled boots with a black dip line and a dark grey cape billowing behind me. On my chest is a emblem with a pair of white majestic wings occupying a big portion of the emblem. I pull a part of my hair back and secure it on my head. Then I pull on my black mask and can hardly recognize myself. Why did Beth have to show so much skin with this?

I unlock the door and step out to reveal myself to the rest of my team. Max stops and stares at me with his mouth hanging open and Beth has a smirk that I would very much like to slap off of her face. But Cole looks red as fire and he can't stop staring at me. I float(literally) over to them and land delicately in the concrete feeling the air in my bare stomach. I feel embarrassed having to show this much skin, especially in front of Cole. I mean I'm in shape but I don't want to flaunt everything in front of people, I do have boundaries.

I look to Beth and gape in amazement, because Beth looks lethal and beautiful at the same time. She is wearing a black top that cuts off midway down her abdomen, and is lined with a startling white. She has black leather pants that fit the curves of her legs perfectly. Fit around her waist is a royal blue belt with pockets and an emblem. Draped around her is a piercing blue cape that swishes mesmerizingly at her feet, which are covered in black boots.

“Wow, Kara you look badass.” Beth exclaims, “ but we need to see if you can fight in that so Cole and kara you need to spar.”

I look over to Cole, who is wearing a similar suit to me, and his face turns red. I walk over to the arena listening to the click clack of my high heels on the hard solid ground. I turn to face Cole and get in my starting stance.

“Ready? Oh and try not to hit me in the stomach if you can, ‘cause it's bare.” I say gesturing to my stomach.

Cole gulps, and I notice a bead of sweat form at the temple of his head, and nods. I hear Beth yell “GO” and we start. I shoot a blast from my eyes that he jumps to the left and dodges then sends an icy blast straight towards my chest. I push off of the ground and fly up to get higher ground. I curl my hand into a fist then dive towards Cole, upon reaching his chest he puts up a palm and grabs my fist then flips me over. I land on my feet, with my hand still in his, I grab his hand with my free one and flip him forwards having him land square in his back. Standing tall I don't notice him reaching and grabbing my foot causing me to fall next to him in my back. I start laughing  hysterically which causes Cole to laugh too. Beth and Max look at us with baffled expressions.

“Ok that was weird. I don't know why you two are laughing when that was a disaster.” Beth says impatiently.

“Because it was funny Beth.”  I say still giggling.

“No it was unprofessional.” Beth says with a deadly serious look on her face.

Cole and I get up solemnly and start sparring again. I land a powerful punch on his jaw, and he freezes part of my hair. I then throw him up in the air and body slam him down for freezing my hair. I look down and see scorch marks on my stomach. Looking at Cole I point to my stomach:

“Do you see what you did?’

“What I did? It’s fine you just have a scorch mark… on...your….stomach.” Cole says nervously avoiding my stomach with his gaze.

“Yeah, anyways I need to change out of this. I am not comfortable showing this much skin.”

I turn and walk away, then I go back into the bathroom and change back into my athletic clothes. I pull my hair into a tight ponytail and step outside. I see everybody standing in  a huddle. I walk up to them and stop in between Cole and Max, standing across from Beth.

“What are you guys talking about?” I ask.

“Our team name, we can’t decide on anything.” Beth says.

“Well we need something that really represents us, and our vast power.” Max says.

“How about…….. The Legion. The definition of legion is great in numbers, and we are great in power. So why not?” I say.

“I love it” They all say in unison.

“Great then it’s decided.” I look down to my Apple watch and see the time,” Guys, it’s almost 10:30, we should really get going.”

“Yeah, you’re right, we have a big test in calc. Tomorrow and I really need to study. Good thing it won’t take me long.” Max says with a wink.

We all head outside and say our goodbyes, and make a plan to meet up there after school tomorrow. I launch off of the ground, and turn away to see Cole doing the same, and Max speeding away. Cole glides next to me and I see his hair being ruffled in the wind, then I feel my hair being shaken so I pull it out of my ponytail and let is cascade behind me. Cole and I fly back as fast as we can then land with a soft thud in front of our apartments.

“So that was…. Crazy.” I say to him.

“Yeah but how often do you get to fight for the greater good, and fly.  I mean it is kinda amazing.”

“Amazing? Cole it’s honestly the best feeling in the world, that sense of freedom and adrenaline. Feeling the wind whipping your face and feeling it blow in your hair. It’s just, unbelievable.” I say without noticing him looking at me. Then I look Cole in the eyes and catch him looking at me, then he runs his hand through his hair. I feel light headed. “Okay, um.. Goodnight. See you tomorrow.”

I walk up the stairs and walk inside. I take the elevator up, exchanging pleasantries with the other tenants and I unlock my door then step into the apartment. I quietly walk into my room without being heard. While walking to my closet I look at it and decide, I need to change. Starting tomorrow I am going to wear something hot, yet still me. I want to be noticed, I think as I look at the perfect outfit for tomorrow. I change into my warm grey yoga pants, and a rolling stones t-shirt. As I step into bed I hear something.

“ ‘Night Kara.” Cole says.

“ Goodnight Cole.”

I drift into a dreamless sleep which I am not used to and what feels alien. I wake up the next morning feeling,for once, remotely happy. I step into the shower and clean my hair. I step into my closet and pick something that will definitely get Cole’s attention. I choose a coconut , layered, small strapped, crop top and a black mini skirt. I put on tall, black wedges with mini bows on the straps. I ruffle my hair beach style and braid a small portion of it and pin it to my head. I grab my backpack and head downstairs, where oddly, my parents aren’t there. I look on the granite counter and see my mom’s neatly written cursive on a cream colored piece of paper.

Honey,your father and I had some important errands to do. We will be back at 8:30 p.m., have a great day, love you. -Mom

I grab a banana and granola bar for breakfast, and I hear the dull clacking of my heels against our hardwood floor.  I take a deep breath and exhale, I am coming out of my shell.  

I walked to school slowly, using my super hearing to listen to the natural sounds of New York in the morning. I heard coffee machines running, people yawning on the way to work, and lots of car horns honking in unison.

I got to school a little while later, with my head in the clouds. The only reason I came back to reality was because I heard people whispering about me. Girls were either chattering about how cute my outfit was or how they were jealous because all the guys were ignoring them to look at me. And the guys were staring! Some started at me in a trance while others had their jaws on the floor. YES! If these guys were gawking at me, that surely means Cole will stare at me too!

I paste on a giddy smile and almost skip to homeroom. When I enter the room a gasp goes through the room and I hear someone say “Is that Kara?

Cole looked up from his spot and saw me. His eyes widened and a dumbstruck expression appeared on his face. I walk to my seat calmly but my heart seems to be fluttering at the speed of light. Is this what Max feels like? I’ll have to ask.

The rest of homeroom goes by swimmingly. At my desk I could hear Cole spluttering about my outfit. This is going perfectly!

When the bell rings for history class to begin, Mr. Lang stood at the front class and looked around. “Has anyone seen Beth Alexandrov this morning?” he asked. Everyone shook their heads no.

Ice seemed to sink into my stomach. I was so wrapped up on Cole that I didn’t see that Beth wasn’t here. What if something happened to her? I look to the back of the classroom to see that Max and Cole both looked extremely alarmed too. We all made eye contact and nodded, if Beth wasn’t back by lunch we would cut school to look for her.

I could barely focus on the rest of my classes. After what seemed like forever, it was lunch time. As I sat down at my usual table, Max and Cole joined me. We sat in silence, all of us overcome with worry.

As we sat there like bumps on a log, a few football players come up to us. “Hey Kara!” one says, I think his name is Leo. I turn towards him.

“Hello,” I say.

“So how are you?” he asks eagerly.

“I’m good,” I replied boredly.

“Um so the reason we came over here was, um well, I wanted to know if you wanted to hang out this Sunday?” I hear Cole growl under his breath and I heard Max grab his arm.

This is awesome, Cole is JEALOUS! I look at Leo more closely and realized that he was hot, not Cole hot, but hot none the less.“What did you have in mind?” I ask coyly.

Cole mutters something under his breath about strangling Leo. Leo grinned at me and started to speak, “well I was thinking…”

He got cut off by a voice behind him. “Hey! You guys are blocking my way!”  Leo and his friends turn around to reveal a disheveled Beth. It’s not Fair! Even with crumpled clothes and messy hair she still looked good.

Leo turns back to me and says, “so I was thinking about going on the Hudson on my dad’s boat..” He was cut off again by an angry Russian.

“Hey cow brains did I stutter? Get out of my way or I will show you just how annoying I can get. Proch's dorogi!” Leo and the others walk away from the table but not before Leo gives Beth an evil look.

Beth sits down at the table and asks, “have you missed me?”

I hit her arm and say angrily, “where were you?”

“Ow! There was an accident on the freeway and I got stuck in it.”

“Why didn’t you text one of us?” Cole asks.

Beth sighs, “my phone died because I was playing games on it.”

“Okay but don’t freak us out like that again, what if something happened to you because of our powers?” I asks.

“Fine, I’ll bring my backup phone with me next time.”

“Weren’t you bored after your phone died?” Max asks.

“No not really. I’m mean it was kinda fun listening to Ri….” Beth cuts herself off quickly.

“Who is Ri?” I ask curiously.

“Ri is...my imaginary friend!” Beth says frantically. Beth turns to the empty seat next to her and waves at it. “Hey Ri!” she said enthusiastically.

“You’re...imaginary friend?” Cole asks with disbelief.

“Yes. There is a lot you guys don’t know about me,” Beth replies before switching the topic. Beth was right about one thing, there were a lot of things about her that was a mystery, even to me.

“Ok, so moving on from that…. weirdness, we are training tonight, right?” I ask.

“Yeah, unless you want to continue making out with Leo, and the entire football team.” Cole says viciously.

I look at Cole hurt, and his hard features soften and he looks regretful. I stand up, feeling my skirt sway a I do.

“Kara wait, I was just messing around.” Cole says.

“No, you were being cruel. I was right before, you hurt me before. What makes you different now? You’re still a jackass.” I say, strongly.

I turn around and walk out the doors. I can’t continue with school, I am too angry, and hurt. I walk out of the school doors and start running towards the busy street, and make a left towards an abandoned alley. It is dark and grimy but I’m to angry to care, I walk forwards my heels clacking on the concrete. I stop against the wall trying to calm myself down, when I hear noises. I see to big figures walking towards me, one is tall a largely built, and the other is small and muscular. I look down and see how thin I look and frail, even though you can see my muscles. I pull a pair of big, black sunglasses out of my bag, and put my hair in a bun and hide my true hair color with a scarf. They are walking towards me and I sense danger so I turn and walk at a brisk pace until I run into a sturdy person.

“Now where are you going little lady?” Man 1 asks.

“Yeah, won’t you come over here.” Man 2 says.

“Um, no I really should get going, I have...Church.” I say nervously.

“Oh come on we won’t bite, we just want that nice purse you got there.”

I look down at my Gucci purse and turn towards them with a glare.

“Do not come any closer, I am warning you.” I say threateningly.

“What are you going to do? Gossip us to death?” Man 2 says.

“I tried to play nice, but you wouldn't let me be.”

I step towards the short man and let my eyes blaze through. It hit him in the chest. I bend down and see his chest barely rising, at least he is alive. I turn towards the tall one who has a look of terror splayed across his face.

“What are you? You... You… You FREAK!” He screams.

“I'm Angel, but you my friend are going to hell.” I say as I release an icy blast from my mouth that covers his hand and pins it to that wall. I leap up and soar over the buildings seeing the ground blur underneath me. I stop in front of my apartment building and float up to my window. I try to pry open the window but it won’t budge. Frustrated, I grunt and punch the glass.

When my fist comes into contact with the smooth glass, it shatters leaving a big hole in my window. I really hope I can fix that or we won’t get the deposit back on this apartment.  I look at my fist and I don't even see a scratch. I reach through and unlock the window, then open it as wide as I can and float inside. I take off my wedges as fast as I can and change into grey leggings and a long sleeve, purple athletic shirt. I slip on my black tennis shoes and pull my hair into a tight ponytail. I jump out of my window and land silently with ease.

I walk to the side of the road and I see 3 figures coming towards me very fast. I look “closer” and see that it's none other than Max, Beth, and Cole. I grunt in anger, because Cole is the last person I want to see right now. Two of the figures race up to me in the blink of an eye, I guess it's Mad and Cole.

“Kara I'm so sorry, that was a stupid thing to say and-” Cole says before I cut him off.

“Shut, the hell up Cole. I don't want to hear your apologies because they mean nothing. Goodbye.” I say right before I leap up and start soaring up to the sky. I stop up in the clouds and fly as fast as I possibly can, not even taking a second to admire the view. Whenever I feel upset like this, there's only one place that makes me feel better.


 

Kara POV

Time: 1:24 PM

Date: 1/14/17 (Monday)

Location: Fort Butterfly


 

I descend from the cloud filled sky to the green forest floor. In front of me was the base of  a large oak tree and in its branches sat Fort Butterfly. No one new about the fort I had created the summer Cole ditched me. I quickly climb up the old rope ladder pull myself into the one room that made up my fort.

The floor is littered in books, magazines, and other random things I had collected over the years. I haven’t been to the fort in a while, so I was surprised to find that I had to kneel to keep from hitting my on the ceiling.

As I crawl to the single beanbag chair in the corner I feel hot tears roll down my cheek. I know I over reacted, but I couldn’t find it in myself to forgive Cole. I slump in the chair and sob. My heart screams loudly as my tears fall. I curse myself for crying over something as stupid as a boy. Starting right now I am going to toughen the hell up. Steam is flowing from my eyes as my tears meet my lasers. I can’t help it, I laugh.

I keep laughing for what feels like forever. When I’ve finally calm down I pull my phone out of my pocket and see that I’ve got a million messages. I stroll through Cole's first.

 

Cole: Kara where are you?

Cole: Are you okay?

Cole: What did I do?

Cole: Kara please answer me!

Cole: Please!

Cole: Kara I’m sorry!

Cole: Please Kara I need to know you are alright!

The rest of his messages are pretty much the same thing but my heart still flutters at his concern. I read Max’s next.

 

Max: Kara come back

Max: KARAAAAAAAA

Max: Sorry my finger accidentally hit the caps lock

Max: If you don't talk to Cole or me, at least talk to Beth

Max: Russians are not fun when they are worried

Max: KARAAAAAAAAA

Max: That time wasn’t an accident

 

I laugh at Max’s texts, he definitely has the greatest sense of humor out of everyone I know. My smile fades as I look through Beth’s texts.

 

Beth: Kara I can’t believe you ran.

Beth: You are stronger than this.

Beth: Who the hell cares what some stupid guy says.

Beth: You know the truth and that’s all that frickin matters.

Beth: I also can’t believe you did this to me.

Beth: Do you know how hard it is to hack into to the school's administrative files and mark you absent without anyone noticing?

Beth: Okay it isn’t that hard but jeesh collecting your homework took up a lot of time I can’t get back.

Beth: Plus I had to collect the homework I missed from this morning too!

Beth: Please call me Kara, I’m sitting outside your apartment building and I think your door staff think I’m a stalker or something.

 

I feel guilt course through me. How could I do that to Beth, she didn’t deserve it. I quickly type up a text and send it to her.

 

Kara: Hey, I’m fine. Sorry about the homework.

Beth: I didn’t actually care about the homework.

Kara: I know.

Beth: Come home, please.

Kara: I will soon.

Beth: Where are you even. I hacked into your phone but it told me that you were somewhere in the Sherman Forest.

Kara: You hacked my phone!?!?!

Beth: No…... Maybe….Yes

Kara: Beth! That is an invasion of my privacy.

Beth: I know, but I was worried. And I’m Russian.

Kara: What does being Russian have anything to do with hacking someone’s phone?

Beth: Russians hack everything.

Kara: Isn’t that stereotyping?

Beth: Yeah but I’m Russian so it’s okay. But if I hear you stereotype Russia I will not  not hesitate to make you a human shish kabob!

Kara: Okay I got it, no stereotyping Russia.

Beth: Now come home.

Kara: On my way.

Beth: O vremeni Angel!

 

I get up and dust myself off, feeling very happy I'm not wearing my skirt anymore. I jump down from the tree landing with grace and a barely audible thud. I continue making my way out of the forest, jumping and laughing as I do. Once I am in a clearing I look at my phone and go to my gps. I am 5 miles away from the training facility so I decide to jog there. Turns out when you're a superhuman you can run almost as fast as, well Max. I make it there in 5 minutes feeling not winded in even the slightest. I thrust open the doors to be met with 3 pairs of worry ful eyes. I walk up to Cole and stop.

“Kara I'm so-” Cole starts to say.

I stop him by landing a punch right on his chiseled jaw. Which, by the way is like hitting cement. I crouch down clutching my hand while Cole doesn't seem fazed.

“Holy shit that hurt more than I thought it would” I say through clenched teeth.

“Kara are you ok? And secondly What the Hell?!” Cole shouts.

“You were an ass to me and I really wanted to punch you so I did.” I say matter o factly. I straighten and smile towards him.

“I forgive you, but if you ever treat me like that again I will break your leg, and then Beth will hurt you in ways you can't even imagine.” I look to Beth and she nods in confirmation.

“Jesus, I know I made a dick move, but you can’t just go up and slug a guy. Especially with super strength.” Cole says.

“I can and I will, but anyways I’m sorry” I say begrudgingly.

“How about we all do something fun tonight? Just the 4 of us.”

“Yeah we could do mini golf.” Max suggests.

“There is no way I am playing mini golf with Beth. She gets way too serious.” I say.

“Oh shut up Kara. Even though you are right.” Beth admits sheepishly.

“Wait I have a perfect Idea. Let's go bowling.” Cole suggests.

“Yeah that sounds awesome. I love bowling! My dad used to…. I love bowling!” I say as I notice everyone looking at me with pity in their eyes.

“Ok but prepare to be defeated by the best bowler in the world!” Max says confidently.

We all laugh in max’s protests.

“Ok but first I think we all need to change.” I say.

“Totally I am not wearing this to bowling.” Beth agrees.

“Ok Cole and I will meet you two at Splits in 30.” I say.

We all take off and Cole and I reach our apartments when I'm about to enter Cole stops me. He grabs my hand and pulls me into a hug.

“What is this for?” I ask still in his embrace.

“You were talking about your dad and I know how you feel…” He says trailing off.

“I'm fine. Really. Let's get ready for bowling.” I say.

I go up to my room and step into my closet. I decide on a dark blue top, a white high waist skirt and a denim jacket. I put on my black Converse and go into the bathroom. I brush my hair and put it into a French side braid. I put my iPhone into my white purse and grab my wallet. I look over into Coles window and see him shirtless. Heat rises up my face as I quickly look away. I step outside and wait for Cole their. He walks up to me wearing a red hoodie and jeans.

“You look really nice.” He says.

“Thanks I just put this together quickly.  You look nice too.” I say awkwardly. I pull out my phone and see my white case with my favorite Gandhi quote “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. “ I call for a cab while I see Cole running his hand through his hair and I almost faint.

 

Kara POV

Time: 4:30 pm

Date: 10/ /17

The cab finally arrives and we both scooch in and sit there awkwardly. I tell the driver the address and we ride the rest of the way in silence. We pull up to Splits and step out of the cab. Cole pays the driver despite my protests and we walk inside. We see Max and Beth already have a lane and we get our shoes. Cole and I make our way to the lane and sit down to put on our shoes.

“We got some nachos and hot dogs.” Max says eyeing the nachos hungrily.

“Awesome. I'm starving.” I say before a take a huge bite of a hot dog. Max and Cole stare at me bewilderedly. “What? I do have a stomach. Not all girls just eat salads and smoothies.” I say as Cole just stares at me. “So who's going first?” I ask.

“How about you, Kara?” Beth suggests.

“Ok but prepare to be crushed.” I say as I step up and grab a teal ball. I walk up and get in my bowling stance. I stride up to the line, swing back, and release. The ball hits straight in the middle and I get a strike. I turn and see everybody clapping and I take a bow.

“And that is how it's done. You all should just leave now, I'm going to win anyways.” I start to laugh as Cole goes up and he ends up getting a spare. Beth goes and gets a split but turns it into a kickass spare. When Max goes he unfortunately doesn't even her a spare. He pretends to mope and we all bust out laughing. I crush everybody the first game, Beth wins the second, and Cole and I tie in the third. Max loses every game.

After we finish I look at my watch and it reads 7:30.

“Hey it's only 7:30 do you guys want to play some games in the arcade?” I ask.

“Sure, I am the best at pool.” Cole says laughing. It's funny because he has not once ever beat me in a game of pool. I smile at him and he blushes. We head out and go next door to Weldman’s arcade, and walk up to the front desk and buy some tokens. We all play different games and some together. Cole and I play Zombie attack 3; The Reckoning . Cole beats me embarrassingly and I challenge him to skee ball which I annihilate him in. Max and Beth join us when we all are shooting hoops, when suddenly I hear a gunshot. I look to Cole and it's obvious only we heard it. It must be next door at the bank. Beth looks at us and asks

“What is it?”

“We just heard a gunshot. I think it's at the bank.” I say my voice full of worry.

“Ok you two go with Max.” Beth says as she hands each of us a black thing.

“What are these?” Cole asks.

“Com sets so we can stay in touch.” Beth turns to Max “Go and get their suits. Even though Kara and Cole are bulletproof they need to be disguised.”

Max speeds out while nobody in the arcade noticed. Cole and I rush outside to meet Max who is right in front of us. He hands each of us a bag and we go into an alley. We quickly change and head into the bank with Max next to us. When I try to open the doors they won't budge because they are locked. I punch the glass and the doors shatters. It was a little bit harder than I intended. I step inside with Max and Cole to be met with about 15 guys all heavily armed. In the corner I see about 20 hostages. I hear Beth's voice in my ear.

“Ok Max you need to get the hostages out of there. Kara and Cole take down the gun me  but do not kill them. That means be careful not to punch them too hard or fry their brains.”

“Who the hell are you?” One man asks.

“We are your worst nightmare.” I say as I start walking towards them. I see bullets coming at me in slow motion as they hit me. It almost tickles but does absolutely nothing to harm me. The guy who is shooting me looks at me in disbelief probably wondering how I can get hit with 20 rounds of ammunition and not be fazed. I curl my hands into a fist and punch him in the chest which sends him flying into the wall. The foundation crumbles beneath him. I feel heat rise up in my face and a random shot of heat escapes my eyes. It lands on one man with what seems like a friggin’ bazooka. My second blasts hits a bank teller booth and completely melts it. So much for not causing that much property damage.

“Oops was that too hard?” I ask Cole.

“I think it was perfect. My turn” Cole says as he releases a cold shock through his mouth into a buffoon. I follow his lead icing people’s weapons and making them sit. Out of the corner of my eye I see Max racing back and forth a blur of grey and white. There are 2 men left, both shootings at Cole and I.

“Oh now that's not very nice. Didn't anybody ever teach you manners?” I ask playfully as I set a gun a blaze. I stroll up to both men and hit them both with a slight punch that knocks them out. I turn to Cole and nod. We walk outside and hear Beth.

“Nice work guys! You didn't even set the place on fire. Well that much anyways. Kara you kinda melted part of a wall and Cole you froze part of the office area and Max made a dent in the floor with his running about. Everybody meet up at HQ I have a surprise there and I will bring your clothes.” Beth says over the COM sets.

Cole and I take off seeing Max race off as we do. Cole and I get there in ten seconds which is impressive since the warehouse was in manhattan and we were in the bad part of Queens. When we make it there we go inside and I almost fall over. The front area has a central computer system that has the coolest computers I've ever seen. It's all top grade and new which is suspicious to how Beth got it. I walk into the next room which has state of the art training systems. If I were to describe the place in two words, they would be: Bat Cave!

“Beth!” I say excitedly, “this is amazing.”

Beth smile from her spot at one of the really cool computers. “Thanks and again  good work with the bank.”

“Thanks,” Cole and I say at the same time. We both locked eyes and I turned away first, a blush on my face.

Max was running to and from each computer, pressing as many buttons as possible. He finally stopped when he noticed we were all staring at him. “What?” he asked. “Am I not allowed to live?”

Cole puts his face in his hands, sighing over the fact that his best friend was a toddler in a teenager’s body. Cole turned to Beth and asked, “where did you get all this?”

Beth was silent for a few moments, a sheepish smile on her face. “I got everything from…..Ikea,” she said.

“Okay, that actually makes sense,” I say to her.

“It does? I mean of course it does why wouldn’t it,” Beth said sassily.

“I just have one more question for you though,” I said as I walked towards her. When I’m standing in front of her, I kneel down so that we are on the same level. As I do this I hear the sound of someone shuffling near by and the sound of a revolver clicking.

“ Ostanovka ona ne budet mne bolno.” I hear Beth whisper. The shuffling stops and I eye her warily.

Once I’m all up in Beth’s face I whisper, “how did they get here? I mean you were with us almost all day for the past week, so when did you find time to put this stuff here?”

Beth looks at me and shrugs, “you got me. I wasn’t stuck in traffic this morning, I was here, putting everything into place.”

I smiled, feeling satisfied that I had guessed what Beth was really up to.

Cole cleared his throat and Beth and I turned towards him.

“Okay,” he started, “this is great and all but I have a hard time believing that this whole thing only took you three hours to do, alone.”

Max and I both nodded, we all turned back to Beth. Beth titled her head to the side and smirked. “You and Kara can fly, Max can run at the speed of light, and you're confused on how I could move some equipment by myself?” Beth cocked one of her eyebrows. Dammit! I always wanted to learn to do that.

Cole blushed and quietly sat down at a computer desk. We all relaxed after that and discussed how the fight went, what we could improve, and other useless nonsense. When the clock struck 10:30 I said, “guys we should really get going home now, we have school tomorrow.”

We all chorused okays and we all started to leave. Before any of us made it out the door, Beth stopped us. “Guys wait!” We all looked to her expectantly. She went around to each of us and gave us each our comms back. “I want you guys to wear these whenever you are awake.” None of us argued, we instead accepted the technology and all left.

I walk outside with Cole and Max. When we get outside Max races off and Cole and I are left outside alone. I look at him and decide we can still be friends. It doesn’t have to be awkward.

“So great job today…..Bud!” I say excitedly while punching his shoulder.

 

Cole POV

Time: 10:45 PM

Date: 1/110/17

Location: Manhattan

Did Kara just “Friendzone” me? I mean seriously, Bud!? I think as I look into her big doe eyes, which are pools of blue and silver I want to dive into and never come out. Just soak in the gold and mix of silver and blue.  I see her pale cornsilk tresses cascade down her muscular shoulders. I see the way her lean, slim figure curves and I want to punch another wall.

 

Kara POV

Time: 10:45 PM

Date: 10/110/17 )Tuesday)

Location: Manhattan

 

“Yeah...Buddy.” Cole says, which stings more than I thought it would.

“Ok, well….Let’s go.” I say and we soar up and head back to our homes. Once my feet hit the ground, I turn and see Cole land and his shirt come up to reveal tan skin. I see his muscles move and all I want to do is tackle Cole to the ground. I look to him and smile.

“Well, goodnight Cole. I had a ton of fun today. We did a good job and saved lives. I feel amazing.” I put my hand up and we high five. I turn and bound up the stairs with a jump in my step. I feel my hips sway and move back and forth as I do. When up to my room I change into my pajamas and step into bed.


 

Kara POV

Time: 2:30 am

Date: 10/14/17 (Tuesday)

Location: Kara’s bedroom

My dream is a unusual change of horror. I am back in the bank with the same circumstances. I see a man with a large gun look at me and pull the trigger. The bullet moves in slow motion as it moves towards me. I stand out fearless, thinking it won’t hurt me when the bullet pierces my skin. I touch my stomach and it’s wet, I look down and my fingers are stained a deep crimson. I start to scream but nothing comes out except fire and I fall backwards bleeding and screaming. I see fire emerge all around me, and a pool of blood surround me. I wake up with arms around me. I emit a blood curdling scream and twist around with tears in my eyes.

“Kara! KARA!” I hear Cole say.

“Cole?” I ask, my voice full of terror.

“Yes, Kara. Please stop screaming. I’m here, I’m with you.” Cole says soothingly.

“OK, OK, I’m breathing, I’m not screaming.” I say feeling him shift and get up.

“Ok, I’ll go and let you get your sleep.” He says, but before he leaves I grab his wrist and pull him back, he meets my nervous gaze with eyes full of worry.

“Please don’t leave. I feel scared and alone.”

“Kara, I will always be here for you. No matter what.” Cole says and he sits back down and lays down next to me. I feel a border between us, that neither of us dare to cross. I feel hot tears start to come down my face as a warm hand grasps mine. I close my hand against Cole’s and scoot closer so that our sides are touching. I feel his warmth radiate onto my, and I feel the shape of his muscles against mine. I want so badly to lay closer to him, to feel the shape of his body curved with mine. I have never felt safer than when I’m with Cole

“Thank you.” I whisper.

“Anything for you Kara.” Cole whispers.

I feel my face flush, and heat flame up everywhere,  and I drift off into sleep.

I wake up the next morning to be met with a soft ray of golden sunlight streaming through my windows. I look to my alarm clock and I reads 5:15. I still have 15 minutes before I actually need to be awake.  I turn onto my side and feel a warm lump block my path. I open my eyes in confusement and see Cole, still sleeping, with his light brown hair ruffled and his arms bare. I stifle a scream, but not good enough because suddenly Cole’s eyes flutter open and he looks at me in confusement. His hard features stand out in the sunlight. I see his chiseled jaw bathed in soft light. I want so badly to touch his soft features and feel his smooth skin on my hand. I resist the urge to brush back his hair that has fallen on his forehead. His soft grey eyes flutter in amazement.

“Holy crap. What time is it?” Cole asks.

“About 5:15, and I completely forgot you were here. But thank you for keeping me company.”

“No problem Kara, you are my friend.”

“Yeah I mean you helped in a platonic way. A great friend. Any other friend totally would’ve done the same thing. Right….totally platonic.” I stutter out awkwardly.

“So I should probably leave and get ready for school.” Cole says as he starts to get off of my bed. He walks over to my window and turns around. I see that his shorts hang low on his hips and I can see his hip muscles, and the tan skin that covers it. Oh my god, stop Kara! Get a hold of yourself. Starting today you will be a strong, hot, and independant woman who doesn’t give a crap what other people think. You will be more like Beth, a badass, and less of a cupcake.

Cole opens my window and jumps out. I hear a soft thud and then light scraping. I rush to my window and I see Cole pulling himself up, with one hand, the wall into his room. He dives through the window as I shut my window and draw the blinds. I walk over to my closet and decide on wearing black high shorts, a plain white t shirt, and a black jacket. I slip on my black flats and walk to the bathroom, inhaling and exhaling as I do, trying to keep myself from hyperventilating. I stop at my white, marble vanity and try to steady myself. This didn’t mean anything, I think to myself, Cole was just being a good friend. Even Beth would have done that, well after she slapped me and told me to get my shit together and stop being such a little baby.

I pull my hair back into a messy bun and look at myself approvingly. I look awesome, independent, and quite frankly, like a badass. I take a deep breath and exhale slowly, I got this, I’m done with Cole and acting like a stupid girl. I pick up my backpack and head outside ,deciding to skip breakfast because of how nauseous I feel already, and trying to hail a cab. After 3 minutes of failure I decide to text Beth when I see a familiar sleek black car pull up in front of me, and a familiar rounded face, and pursed lips call out my name.

“Kara!” Beth calls, “Come on in, I’ll give you a ride.” Beth says just as Cole walks out of his apartment. His hair is slightly damp and he is wearing a deep, blood red hoodie, and a pair of dark blue jeans.. I almost fall over as he smiles at me, Oooookay, breathe Kara breath, just act like a normal teenage best friend, totally cool and casual, no matter how much…….STOP IT KARA! I internally yell at myself.

Beth leans out of the car once again and shouts at Cole “Hey Cole do you want a ride with us this morning?”

I shoot Beth a glare that makes her even the slightest bit nervous. I may be a cupcake, but I will choke her.

“Um……” Cole hesitates.

“Oh come on, just get in.” I hear Beth say.

“Ok, why not.” I see Cole slide into the car, ending up where? RIGHT NEXT TO ME! I am so going to kill Beth, or laser off a limb. She doesn’t think I will do it but I will. I sit next to Cole awkwardly, in a silence that wraps us all up in a blanket.

“So, Cole, ready for that calculus test?” I say trying to fill the empty silence.

“Yeah, so ready!” Cole says a little too enthusiastically for me to actually believe him. I shoot Beth a look that screams “HELP ME!” Beth nods and looks over to Cole and says “So Cole I hear you are having dinner with Kara and her family this weekend.” Beth says and shoots me an encouraging look. Oh my god Beth, could you really be that dense?

“Yeah, I just hope Kara’s mom is making her famous roasted chicken.” Cole says shooting me a smile.

“I’ll make sure to let the chef know.” I say and we all start giggling.

We ride the rest of the way to school in silence. All that can be heard is the whizzing of cars on a busy New York street. We pull into school, and all step out of the car, meeting envious gazes and slobbering ones too. I strut down the walkway confidently next to Beth, feeling my long legs stretch as I do. I walk to my locker and grab my calculus textbook and walk into class with Cole on my left and Max on my right. I missed having a guy bestfriend, somebody that you could just hang out with and play videogames with. I may look a lot like a girl but I can still hang with the guys.

We sit in the three empty seats in the back, and I cross my long, tan legs to keep them from bobbing up and down. Beth may have the street smarts, but I pride myself on being in every AP class available. Cole is looking at me with wide eyes and I look at him and wrinkle my nose, wondering what is going on with him. I lean over to him and whisper softly in his ear.

“Is everything ok?” I ask.

He nods and gulps.



 

Cole POV

Time: 2:30 AM

Date: 10/110/17 (Tuesday)

Location: Kara’s bedroom/Cole’s Bedroom/Westmen High


 

I was up on my phone scrolling through old photos of Kara and I. I stopped at one where we were at the New York Zoo and Kara had her face painted like a tiger, and I was a zebra. She had a huge smile plastered across her face and her hair was down flowing over her shoulders like a golden waterfall. Her makeup was smeared down near her lips and she didn’t even care. Back then none of us had a single care in the world, until I was a major jackass and broke her heart. It was for the greater good, now that doesn’t mean I can’t still fantasize about her tan legs that go for miles and big, doll like, soft, yet striking pale blue eyes with hints of gold and silver, and the cutest way she crinkles her nose when she is confused. When she picks at the fringes in her clothes when she feels guilty, and when she bites her lip when she feels nervous. Or the way her hair bounces and catches the reflection of the sun when she is flying. Holy crap, I am such a pansy. I mean sure Kara is totally hot but I had to focus on the cutest things about her.

I was just drifting into sleep when I hear a bloodcurdling scream. I wake up with a start because I recognize that terrified scream. I push back my covers and jump out my window and land with a dull thud. I turn and run to Kara’s window and bound up towards her window ledge. I pull myself up with ease and open the window to be met with a crushing blow of sadness. I look over to Kara’s bed and see her pain stricken face with tears glimmering against her unusually pale face. She is twisting in agony and mumbling to herself about blood and death and fire.

 “Kara” I yell her name but she doesn’t hear me. “KARA?” I yell louder and I see her eyes flutter open, her matted hair is sticking to her face and I want nothing more than to hold her and tell her everything will be fine.

“Cole?” I hear her feeble voice question.

“Yes, Kara. Please stop screaming. I’m here, I’m with you.” I say, trying to control the terror in my voice.

“OK, OK, I’m breathing, I’m not screaming.” She says, but not convincingly.

I look at her and I say what I should say before I do something I’ll regret. “Ok, I’ll go and let you get your sleep.” I say.

I turn to leave but Kara reaches out and weakly grasps my wrist.

“Please don’t leave. I feel scared and alone.” She whispers, tears filling her eyes.

“Kara, I will always be here for you. No matter what.” I say. I lay down next to her with a healthy, but uncomfortable, distance between us. For some reason I can't stop myself from reaching out and grabbing her hand securely in mine. I want to pull her into my arms and snuggle my face into her soft hair and breathe in the aroma of vanilla and coconut . I feel her hand clasp around mine and we scooch in closer. We are touching and I feel her warmth all across my side.

“Thank you.” I hear her whisper.  

“Anything for you Kara.” I drift into unconscious.

I wake up to a small shriek, and I fling my eyes open to be met with pale golden hair next to me. I see Kara’s wide eyes looking back at me. I stifle back a laugh at Kara’s big, blue, doll eyes, looking at me apologetically.

“Holy crap. What time is it?” I ask, not really hoping for the answer I know is coming

“About 5:15, and I completely forgot you were here. But thank you for keeping me company.” Kara says, a blush powdering her face.

“No problem Kara, you are my friend.” I say biting back the urge to correct myself, Kara is so not just a friend to me.

“Yeah I mean you helped in a platonic way. A great friend. Any other friend totally would’ve done the same thing. Right….totally platonic.” Kara stutters out adorably.

“So I should probably leave and get ready for school.” I say as I jump out from the covers and feel the cold, brisk air hit my skin. I walk to the window, and stupidly, jump out, which is the last thing I want to do right now.

I climb up the wall and jump into my room silently. I quickly shower and shake my hair to dry it off. I hastily put on my red hoodie and jeans. I grab my bag and rush out of the building to be met with a familiar smiling face, and twinkling eyes. I walk over to Kara as I see Beth look out of her car, her dark, chestnut hair gleaming as she does. She looks at me with a devilish smirk and I am suddenly aware of a shadowy figure in the passenger seat, and the faint clicking of a gun. I look at Kara and almost internally explode. To say she looks like Aphrodite is an understatement. Her hair is in a loose bun, with pale tendrils framing the soft features of her face. Her shorts cling to the delicate, yet athletic build of her body. I notice how she comes up to my chest, yet has legs that go on for miles.

“Hey Cole do you want a ride with us this morning?” I hear Beth shout, and Kara then curses under her breath. It’s good for Kara’s sake that Beth does not have super human hearing.

“Um……” I hesitate, not sure how to answer.

“Oh come on, just get in.” I hear Beth say.

“Ok, why not.” I say, because now matter how invincible I am, Beth still scares the crap out of me. I slide into the car after Kara and sit on the squishy seats that actually feel like sitting on clouds. Man, this must have cost a fortune.

“So, Cole, ready for that calculus test?” Kara says, chewing her lip while averting my gaze.

“Yeah, so ready!” I say, and can taste the insincerity in my voice.

“So Cole I hear you are having dinner with Kara and her family this weekend.” Beth says and shoots Kara look. Oh my god Beth, could you really be that oblivious?

“Yeah, I just hope Kara’s mom is making her famous  roasted chicken.” I say shooting Kara a smile.

“I’ll make sure to let the chef know.” Kara says giggling, and I hear her cute, soft giggle and can’t help myself from laughing along with her. Soon enough we are all laughing, and the ride is over before I know it we are pulling into the parking lot with envious stares directed at the three of us. We step out, with Kara on my left and Beth on my right. I see the football team give Kara looks and I almost lunge at Leo and rip out his eyes. Kara just bounces forward, completely oblivious to all of the eyes on her. I'm always baffled how she never notices how beautiful she is, and the way she gives off a slight golden glow, or the way her hair bounces when she walks. I shake my head and try to regain focus.

Beth leaves us and goes to her 1st period class. Max joins us. We step into the classroom, all eyes on us. I guess it’s kind of weird since Max and I were never really friends with Kara and Beth before. I mean Kara is captain of her dance team, and her Volleyball team, plus the gymnastics team, and SAT prep. Man, Kara did just about everything in this school, she was even in the art club. Even though we both know Kara is way too talented for some school club. She is captain of 2 sports teams, a member of 5 different clubs, and co-president of student council, all with a 4.0 GPA. She doesn’t seem to care about being popular, even though she is one of the most liked people of the entire school, minus the cheerleaders (jealous). Kara was a superhuman even before that night.

Kara, Max, and I take our seats in the back of the classroom. I look out the hallway and see Ashley Harrow. I slide down in my seat and try not to be noticed by her. We used to go out until I figured out she was a total nut job. She would call me 11 times a day, and if I even went within 5 feet of another female Ashley would go crazy and attack them. For some reason she thinks we are still an “item” which couldn’t be further from the truth.

I look over to Kara, who surprisingly is looking at me. She blushes and lowers her head. She stretches her legs and crosses them. She looks at me because I probably look like I am about to faint.

“Is everything ok?” She whispers gently in my ear.

I nod and gulp. Kara has to know what she is doing to me.



 

Kara POV

Time: 6:30 AM

Date: 10/110/17 (Tuesday)

Location: Westmen High


 

I slog through AP calculus and head to History. We have a pop quiz and like always I am the only one on the class who aces it. I head to lunch with a disgruntled Beth, a chipper Max, and Cole who averts my gaze. Beth and I stride over to the center table, which is currently occupied by the football team. The team shamelessly gazes at us, which is making me feel like I’m on display. I try to not look nervous or anxious, which is exactly how I feel. I give Beth a slight nudge signaling that I have this handled. Beth whispers “You got this Kara” just quiet enough that only I can hear it. I take a deep breath and straighten my back, then square back my shoulders. I flip my hair over my shoulders and watch the boys follow my hand as if they were being hypnotized by a hand watch. I smile as sweetly as I possibly can.

“Hello boys. Do you think it’s polite to stare at girls that don’t want your attention?” I asked sweetly. The boys’ mouths hung open and they all nodded no, entranced by my words, I could get used to this. “Then don’t do it.”Beth and I walked back to our tables and saw Cole and Max laughing.

After lunch we all headed to gym class. I was so excited because we were playing volleyball and not to brag but I’m a boss at it. Beth on the other hand looked ready to murder our gym teachers. As we walked into the locker room, I heard Beth mutter, “why couldn't we do something I’m good at, like badminton?”

“If we did badminton you would spend the whole class laughing at the word shuttlecock,” I said evenly.

Beth chuckled as she changed into her gym clothes.We both walked into the gymnasium and I remembered the night we found out about our powers. Speaking of powers I didn’t really know what Beth’s was, I’ll have to ask her later.

Beth and I walked over to the group that had started to form around the gym teacher. We stood next to each other, already knowing that we wouldn’t be put on the same team. I ended up on the red team along with Leo and Beth was on the blue team with Cole. Max ended up on the green team on, on the other side of the gym. Poor Max.

I stood on the serving line, the volley ball gripped tightly in my right hand. I served the ball, hitting it as hard as I could without using my super strength. Playing the game was a good release. That was until Leo started talking to me.

“Hey Kara!” he said as he saddled up next to me.

“Hi Leo,” I said flatly.

“So I was wondering if you wanted to hang out this weekend?” He asked, smiling widely.

“Actually,” I said as I twirled a strand of my golden hair around my finger. “I already have plans for this weekend.”

“How about sometime next week?”

“Um…” I say as I look across the court and see Cole breathing heavily, his fists clenched. I here him muttering about destroying Leo, oh no.

Before I can think of a reply to Leo’s question I hear Beth from across the court scream, “HEY LEO!”

Leo turns towards Beth, just so his face can connect with the volleyball. It smashed his face and a sickening crunch resounded through the gym. Leo fell to the floor, tears and blood flowed down his face.

Our gym teacher ran to Leo and looked at him before yelling, “someone call 9-1-1.”

Matthew Sanders ran to the locker room. Everyone ran to circle around Leo’s fallen form.

I met up with Cole, Beth, and Max away from everyone else. “Beth!” I scream whispered. “You could have killed him!”

“Nah,” she said as she shook her head. “The worst I did was give him a broken nose.”

“But why?” I asked.

“You know why.”

“I don’t know why, tell me,” Max cried.

We all ignored him as we headed off to the locker rooms. When I turned back, I saw Max looking confused, nothing new, and Cole engulfing Beth in a bear hug as he cried, “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” What a bunch of weirdos, but I loved them.

I step into the locker room and change back into my clothes. Just as I’m about to leave I see platinum blonde hair hit me in the face.

“Hello Ashley.” I grumble, spitting out hair.

“Yeah, um, hi. Anyways, all I wanted to say to you freak, is stay away from MY man. Hon!” Ashley says with an added snarl.

“I’m sorry? Your man?” I confusedly ask.

“Don’t play dumb genius. I know you know that I know you know.”

“What?!” I ask, feeling even more confused.

“Just stay away from Cole you crazy bitch.”

“Ok Ashley I know in your twisted mind you think you have a chance with Cole, but let me tell you hon,  Cole is my friend. Ok, can you get that through your brain, or did your spray tan and hair spray melt it?” I see her steaming. “Ooh I know maybe it was your hair extensions.” I say.

“MY HAIR IS REAL” Ashley screams and lunges at me. I calmly step to the side and walk out of the locker room. I see Cole and Beth standing there staring at me.

“What? I didn’t call her a mean name.” I look at their blank faces. “She called me a bitch.”

Beth laughs and hugs me and now it’s my turn to be amazed. Cole just laughs and smiles at me. Max goes and gives me a bear hug and we all walk out of the gym together, thankfully, leaving that gym class behind us.

The school day ends and we all climb into Beth’s car. Inside the sleek exterior perfectly represents the terrifying interior. Once inside, Beth and I seem to be the only ones at ease. I look down at the miniature refrigerator and grab a Pomegranate Izze for myself, an Apple Izze for Beth, a Blackberry for Cole, and a Clementine for Max. We all sit there sipping our drinks and feel the awkwardness envelop us.

“Ok” I say being the first to break the silence, “we need to stop having this awkward silence. We are a freaking team, ok?” I look out at empty stares. “OK?” i ask raising my voice.

“Yes, yes, ok, totally.” Beth says slightly nervous.

“Great, so first order of business is to find out what the hell happened to us and why.” I say feeling the confidence come off of me onto my teammates. “So we went into a field, right?” I ask not wanting to sound like a total crazy person.

“Right, then we touched this glowing, pulsing, blue orb of pure energy. Then we all got knocked out and Kara thought we were all crazy.” Cole says.

I lean in next too him and inhale sharply, smelling his sweet aroma of cinnamon. My stomach feels like butterflies that are on fire are having a cage match in my stomach, and I’m the one losing . “Right, because moving faster than the speed of light, flying, and having laser vision is totally normal.” I say, suddenly understanding how close I am to Cole. I see the soft curve of his pink, round, kissable lips, and how his piercing eyes hide behind his thick lashes. I squint my eyes slightly, and see his pulse quicken slightly. Cole gulps and I see his defined shoulder muscles move up and down.

“Um…. yeah, point taken.” He says, and I see out of the corner of my eye and see Beth smirking and whispering low enough I pray only I can hear her.

“You are so going to make out with him right now, aren’t you?” Beth whispers.

“Beth, shut the hell up!” I say louder than I had intended to. I back into my seat again and away from Cole.

“What did Beth say?” Max asks.

“Nothing.” Beth and I say abruptly.

“Oh come on just tell me. I never understand anything you guys talk about. Girls are so fickle.”

“Max, just stop talking.” Beth says to Max.

“Ok, anyways, we need to go back sometime when we have enough time. How about Saturday afternoon?” Beth suggests.

“Ok, but we need to finish before 5:00 p.m. because Cole and I have…. Nevermind you know what I mean.” I say not being able to look Cole in the eye.

“Yeah anyway, we will see if we can find a sample of the, glowie thing.” Beth finishes.

‘Ok then, we have a plan for Saturday. Cole and Kara and Max, you guys need to wear athletic clothes because you will be running. A lot.”

“Why just us?” I ask.

“Um…. Because you have superpowers and I have some VERY important errands to run.”

We all agree begrudgingly, and Beth drops us all off at our apartments.  



 

Kara POV

Time: 4:30 PM

Date: 10/110/17 (Tuesday)

Location: Damrin Residence

 

I waited until I saw Cole get into a car with some of his football buddies and drive away. I walk into my room and change into a pair of tight fitting leggings and a tshirt. I flop down on my bed and I call Beth. It only took half a ring for her to answer. “Beth’s phone, Allison speaking.”

“Beth, what the heck are you doing?” I ask as I sit down at the edge of my bed.

“Oh! Hi Kara! I didn’t realise it was you calling.”

“Beth you seriously need to get caller I.D.”

“But it costs more!” she whined.

“You are literally one of the richest people in America-”

“The world,” she cuts me off.

“The world and you’re worried about paying twenty dollars more for caller I.D.?”  I asked incredulously.

“What can I say, I’m cheap. So anyways, what do you need?”

“Why are you assuming I need something.” I started playing with a strand of my hair.

“Well if you didn’t need something, you’d text me.”

True.

“Okay, so you know how you destroyed Leo’s face?”

Beth giggled, “Yeperdoodle!”

“Beth try to sound a little remorseful!”

“But I’m not.”

“Whatever,” I mutter. “Well when we were walking into the locker room, you said you weren’t good at volleyball. What I’m trying to say is, how did you do that?”

Silence and then, “look what I’m about to tell you is something you can’t tell the boys yet.”

My breath catches in my throat, “Okay.”

“Ever since I touched the orb, I’ve been able to do stuff I shouldn’t.”

“Like what?” I ask as I lay down on my bed and stare at the ceiling.

“I can do many different styles of fighting. Last week my personal chef surprised me with breakfast in bed and I almost stabbed her with my bedside lamp.”

“Okay, that isn’t so bad.”
“I have also discovered that I can speak more than fifty languages, fluently.”

“Okay that’s weirder,” I supply.

“Yep and what’s weirder is that I know the randomist facts ever.”

“Elaborate.”

When a male penguin falls in love with female penguin, he searches the entire beach to find the perfect pebble to present to her.

“That isn’t that random,” I say.

Beth sighs as she thinks, “It is illegal to climb trees in Oshawa, a town in Ontario, Canada.”

“Okay that is a little bit more random.”

Having bridesmaids in a wedding wasn’t originally for moral support. They were intended to confuse evil spirits or those who wished to harm the bride.”

“Keep going! This is fun!” I say. Beth is like walking computer.

“Okay, how about this one: Pteronophobia is the fear of being tickled by feathers! King Henry VIII slept with a gigantic axe beside him. You can’t work in Antarctica unless your wisdom teeth and appendix are  removed.” We went on like that for hours. Beth sprouting off the weirdest facts and I sat laid on my bed, absorbing them. Dang! Beth is hot and smart, she’s a knockout. I feel an unwelcome pang of jealousy. I may be smart, but nobody thinks I am hot. But that’s the thing, I don’t want to be just hot I want somebody to think I’m beautiful, but I know that is never going to happen.

I am tall and awkward, with long legs and arms, and my butt isn’t there, (contrary to what Beth calls a “killer ass”) I have thick hair that just curls and poofs when I have a good hair day, and no matter how much I want to be, I am not sexy. When I see Cole look at me I think it must be a mistake or I was imagining it, because Cole would never think I’m sexy.

“Hello? Earth to Kara? Is there anyone in that blonde head of yours?” I hear Beth ask.

“Yeah I’m here. Sorry.”

“What were you thinking about?” Beth asks warmly.

“Oh nothing important.”

“Kara, stop being a pansy and tell me.” Beth says strongly.

Before I can stop myself I tell her everything I am feeling, including being jealous of her. Beth may be scary, but only I know she is one of the easiest people to talk to.

“Kara what the hell? You better be kidding me or I will come straight over and pull the hair out of your head.”

“What?”

“Kara, for the smartest person in our school you are so freaking stupid. You turn eyes everywhere you go, with your long tan legs, your killer ass,” There it is, “the pure gold that you call your hair. And need I remind you how flexible, graceful, intelligent, and beautiful you are. I mean come on I am jealous of you, and you know I don’t get jealous easily. You have freaking abs on your natural golden skin which is unfair. I mean you have an amazing personality, you are unfailingly nice to everyone, which I will never understand,  and you have an abundance of courage, you would do anything for your loved ones, and frankly you're a badass. You don’t even know that….”

“Know what?’ I ask barely fighting tears, I love Beth so much. Honestly she is a part of me.

‘Know… That.. I can.. Make.. Killer Paninis?”

“Yummy, you need to make me some sometimes.”

“Great.” Beth mutters.

“I love you so much Beth, you are my family.”

“Aww me too, and you know I would pull the limbs off of anybody who hurt you.”

“Umm… Thanks?”

“You know it, so anyway got any plans?” Beth says as I heard a loud crash outside my window. “Holy Crap what was that?” Beth asks.

“I don’t know, but can I call you later?” I ask, already slipping on tennis shoes.

“Yeah no problem. See you tonight for training.”

“Yeah, tonight.” I say absent mindedly as I click end on my phone.

I walk downstairs and outside to be met with a chiseled chest. The force knocks me down and I fall to the concrete with a thud. A hand grasps mine and pulls me up quickly, I jump up landing on the balls of my feet.

“Oops sorry about that Kara, I need your help. David and Henry were driving me back from football practice. We were on the road 2 blocks from here and they crashed with an oncoming truck. The truck crashed over and David and Henry are unconscious.The truck set on fire and I couldn’t put it out without risking somebody seeing my speed. I ran here as quickly as I could without using my speed, but I couldn’t lift the truck, and Cole and Beth won’t answer my phone. Please help me.’ Max says breathlessly.

“Oh my god, okay I’ll be right back.’ I speed into my room and put on my suit. I may not be as fast as Max but I still do have highly advanced speed. Within 6 seconds I am outside fully prepared. I turn to a worried Max and try to calm him.

‘Okay breathe, you need to run to HQ and call Beth. Once you do tell her there will need to be a cover up so she can hack into the NYPD data base and clear off any sightings of Angel there, because we do not want that much attention drawn to us right now. I will go and pull out the injured and put out the fire. Go!” I shout as I push off of the ground feeling the wind whip my hair into a frenzy. I fly as fast as I possibly can, when I smell smoke, and hear screaming. I stop so fast that I fall down to be met with the harsh cold of concrete. For a hot New York day, the ground was surprisingly cold. I get back up, trying to brush off the rubble and humiliation.

I whip my head to the right and I see a truck lying on its side, smoke billowing from its center. I run over as fast as I can. Looking down I see a middle aged man lying still, with Crimson blood pooling around him. I crouch down and see that he still has a heartbeat. I gingerly wrap my arms around his arms and pull him out gently, but as fast as I can. I hear a whoosh and a dull thud. I cradle the man in my arms and carry him away from the fire. As it turns out the noise was Cole, or I should say Guardian. I rush over to him and forget everything except for my instinct to protect people.

“This man is in serious need of a hospital. Take him to New York General on 72nd street and Harlem, ok?” I say strongly. Completely oblivious to the crowd forming behind me, flashing photos. Oh crap, Beth will be mad.

“Ok, do you need help with the….Fire?” Cole asks hesitantly. Of course I didn’t notice that my greatest fear is something I have to face right now. I mean I could always ask Cole to do it, but what kind of hero would that make me? No not a hero, a coward.

“No, I got it, you take that man he is loosing a lot of blood. Hurry before it becomes even more fatal than it already is.” I say with a smaller voice than I would have liked.

“Kara, really I can take care of it. You don’t have to, I can take care of it.” Cole says. I know he means well, but that is something I hate more than fire, people underestimating me. I can perfectly well take care of a fire, I am a strong woman, who isn’t afraid, and I can take care of myself.  I am not as delicate as I look. I mean I know as a dancer I am delicate, but I can kick ass if I need to. I grit my teeth together trying to fight back the words I want to say.

‘I am fine, Guardian, now take him to the hospital-”

“But-”

“NOW!” I cut Cole off with a glare.

“Ok, chill Angel, don’t get upset. I got you.” Cole says with a wink. Dammit! Now I want to punch him in the face and kiss him. He is sweet but sometimes he is a total, ugh I’m nice so I won’t even go there, even though Beth would go there and the extra mile with words.

“Just leave.”” I grumble as Cole pushes off with agility, caring the man as if he weighed nothing, which to us he basically did.

I turn to the smoke and take three deep breathes. I have to reign in my anger, and anxiety. In in 4, hold 6, out on 8.

‘Ok I can do this.” I whisper to myself. I walk up to the truck and see the flames enveloping the entire body of it, melting away the metal. The fire burns my eyes as I look directly at it. I get a memory flash of a beam falling on me. I see my father push me out of the way screaming as he does my name. The fire bathed beam crushes my father in a single movement, and I see it crush him, I can still hear the crunch of the wood and the snap of his bones, as if the were peanut brittle. Looking at my dad, his face streaked with soot and blood, I see the life slowly fade out of his eyes like water dousing an open flame. His whispering, “ I love you Kara” with his last breath before our apartment was ash. My entire life changed, and the fire moving as if hellbent on me like it was war and I was the enemy.

My vision snaps back to reality, and I turn to see Cole helping his barely conscious friends out of the car. I see the heat from the flames rise and blur my vision. The ground starts to sway, but I find my center of gravity and try to regain what composure I had left. I focus my fear, anger, frustration, and everything on the flame. It dances around as if it was taunting me, with its vengeful yes that want to take what it couldn’t that one fateful night at my grandmother’s house.. I suck in a deep breath and release an icy blast to kill my enemy. I cover the light in a thick layer of ice. After a minute of icing the fire has finally left us in peace.

I stride forward to the truck and bend down to secure my fingers under the big mass of tin. I push with my might but it won’t budge. I reach up to press my COM when I catch a whiff of cinnamon. I look to my right to see Cole in the same position I am, digging his fingers into the Earth to get a better grip.

‘How.. Do you-” I start to stutter.

‘’’I can’t let you take all the glory, plus I read your mind.’ He says with a smirk. What a hot as, well only sometimes an ass, usually he is a marshmallow.

‘Okay well come on boy, help me lift. And remember lift with the legs.” I say jokingly. Cole and I push up until the Truck is in the air on top of us. I meet Cole’s grin with one of my own.

“Ready?’ I ask and he nods ‘One.. Two.. Three” and we push off the ground pushing the truck up, and up into the New York sky. We start to fly towards a local junkyard and we descend down to Earth once again. We set the truck, now dripping water, down onto a pile of trash. I look at Cole and see him smile at me, and for the life of me I don’t know why but I ran over to him and grabbed him into an embrace.

It was strange, I have hugged Cole before but not like this. It was a weird level of intimacy that we have never had before. I felt him stiffen in the shock of my actions, but he immediately relaxed and hugged me back. His nads were on my bare skin, on my lower back. I felt his warm hands touch my skin, which was like fire all across my body. It’s funny how one simple touch lit up my entire body. I buried my head into the space between his neck and shoulder, and just inhaled. I felt him rest his chin on the top of my head, and his thumb idly tracing circles on my back. I felt a single tear roll down my face and land on his shoulder. Before I can take control of my emotions I start bawling, letting my fear, and raw emotion come flooding back from before. I fell Cole loosen his arm and push me back to grab my softly by my shoulders. I try to talk but it comes out as a garbled cry, God I am probably such an ugly crier.

”The fire.” I choke out before I start bawling again. Cole pulls me into a hug, closing all possible space between us. For the briefest second I pretend things are remotely normal, and I feel ok. But that second is over all too soon when I hear faint sirens in the distance. I regretfully push away from Cole, who by the look on his face hears the sirens too. Well, there goes my moment of peacefulness.

“Um, we should go, back to the accident site.” Cole says with a hint of regret in his voice.

“Yeah, that’s probably the smartest decision.” I begrudgingly say. “Let’s go, I guess.” I say as we both soar up into the air. The wind pushing against me, and causing my cape to flutter behind me. The only place I can really forget my troubles is when I’m flying. Wind pushing against every fiber of my being, and feeling it engulf my entire body. As if it was a blanket protecting me from the dangers below me.

“Hello? Kara, Watch Out!” I hear Cole yell as he comes barreling towards me, wrapping his protective arms around my waist and pulling my back to his chest. I float there panting in his embrace, as I see an airplane go whizzing not 4 feet from my face. It passes in an instant, leaving me held tight against Cole’s beating heart. I try to catch my breath as I turn to face Cole, putting my hand to his chest and feeling his tone muscles even under the kevlar. My face 2 inches from his, I can feel his warm breath, and his rapid heartbeat under my hand.

An arm is still tight around my waist and I feel warmth radiate from his hand to my lower back. Pushing myself up to eye level with Cole I bite my lower lip, feeling embarrassed.

“What the hell Kara!? Do you have a death wish? I mean first the fire and now this?” Cole asks, an angry spark under his grey eyes.

I suddenly feel small, wanting to crawl inside of a hole and die there. I hadn’t meant to be that distracted. And the fire? Ok, well maybe I should have been more attentive but my family died in a fire, so sorry if I had a fear of fire.

“Sorry” I say, my voice smaller than what was acceptable to me. “I wasn’t thinking.”

“Yeah no shit, you were being reckless, and you weren’t paying attention.”

“I had a tough moment ok? I saw fire and I panicked. My entire family was killed by fire, it destroys everything in its path. So I am so sorry if my feelings of grief got in the way, I may be a super human, but you are forgetting a key word, HUMAN. We all can’t be heartless super soldiers like some people. The only time I feel even remotely happy, is when I’m flying, you still have your family,” I say, feeling tears stain my cheeks, partly because I know he only has his father left, but I’m angry and nothing else matters right now “but I don’t have that luxury. My family is DEAD. Ok Cole? Dead, gone, I will never ever see them again,  I am alone in this. I can’t take the pressure. You wonder why Kara would pass the opportunity to help the innocent? Because nobody helped MY family. I went back to the burned house, my freaking grandmother's house, which is freaking insane, and found a lighter and a GALLON OF GASOLINE.” I say seeing Cole’s eyes widen.

“Yeah, so my family was murdered, my mom, my dad, my sister, and my little brother, who was only five. We help the innocent, but the thing is there are no innocent people in the world, everyone is evil, or they are to selfish to care about anybody but themselves. I can’t keep pretending I’m ok with everything, when I have nobody to share my sadness, anger, and feelings with. I miss them Cole, I miss them with every aching fiber in my body, and I can’t take this trauma. It’s supposed to make you stronger, going through shit, but all of the people who go through shit, have people holding their hand with them. I DON'T HAVE ANYBODY!”  I say heaving big sobs, unable to stop.

“I’m sorry, Cole. I haven’t let myself feel anything in a long time. I’ve pushed everything down because I don’t want to be inconvenient.”  

“Kara, you are not inconvenient, you are amazing.’ Cole says making my heart flutter. “I know what you went through is traumatizing, but you came out the other end alive, and well frankly, a hero. You have people who love you and 3 friends who would die for you, and you know Beth would kill anybody who hurt you.”

I realize that Cole’s hand is still on my lower back and my hand is still on his chest. I take my arms up and wrap them around his neck and hug him as tightly as possible, letting my head rest on his chest. ‘Thank you.” I whisper into his chest.

“Ok, well I think we should go back down and take care of that crowd, Beth will kill us if we don’t try to calm the media.”

‘You’re right, let’s go.” I say with a shaky breath. We untangle from each others grasp and dive down back towards the Earth, towards the crowd that seems to have multiplied, ready to face a huge threat: People Magazine. I think with a shudder. I straighten and land on the asphalt with a soft thud, then I take a deep breath and exhale. Thank God I am wearing a mask, I can’t talk in huge crowds. I walk up to the crowd whose eyes suddenly have a glimmer  of terror in them, my God they're afraid of us.

“Who are you?” A reporter questions. Before I can answer a stream of questions flow through the thick sea of people and cameras.

‘What are you?”

“Are you here in peace?”

“Are you part of some secret government project?” Which almost makes me laugh.

“Will you wipe out the human race?”

“Everybody stop talking , I will answer 2 questions.” I say with my voice full of confidence.

‘Why did you save that truck driver?”

“Because I do not want to see the innocent get hurt. I want to help this city and so does my teammate.”

“Who are you?”

“I am Angel, to my right is Guardian, and we are apart of The Legion.”




 

Kara POV.

Time: 9:30 p.m.

Date:10/15/17  (Tuesday)

Location: Warehouse in Manhattan

 

After talking to the crowd, Cole and I take off, leaving everything in our dust. We soar back and land in back of our apartments in complete silence. Awkward silence I might add. I look at Cole  through the hair falling in my face. Hot damn that boy is gorgeous! I see Cole run his hand through his hair and I suddenly have the urge to punch him in the face for doing that. I start to open my mouth when I feel a buzzing in my ear. Then I hear the loudest screech, as if someone was putting a chainsaw down a chalkboard.

“Holy shit! What the hell?” I say as I feel my knees buckle and I fall to the ground, feeling the concrete slam against my skull. I start writhing around in pain, unable to control the sound blaring in my ear. I feel my back slam again and again on the ground while rolling in the ground. My vision goes blurry and I can’t see anything. I feel wetness on my cheek and I hope it isn’t blood. I release a blood curdling scream that almost tears out my vocal chords before everything goes black.

I wake up to see three concerned faces hovering around me in a circle. I try to get up but my vision blurs and everything starts spinning again. I fall back down when I hear voices.

“What happened to her?” I hear a husky voice ask angrily.

‘Cole I do not know for the 14 freaking time.” I hear an angrier voice retort.

‘What? Where am I?” I try to say but it comes out garbled, as if I am choking. Which then I realize I am choking on my own blood and I start screaming and choking. I sit straight up feeling my head tear, and I taste bitter metal in my mouth. I cough and choke until blood finally comes out, but I can’t stop screaming. I get up wobbly and feel blood drip down my face. I see my vision blur and before I know it I am falling but I feel two arms grab me and wrap around me resting my lifeless body against theirs.

I try to reach up and touch my face, but all I feel is warm liquid, and matted hair. I take the deepest breath I can with my shallow lungs and stand up, barely keeping balance.

“What happened?” I say barely even a whisper.

“I don’t know Kara, I’m just so happy you’re alive. I thought you had died.” Beth says. My vision clears and I see tears streaming down her face. I try to walk over and hug her but I end up falling on her, making more blood come out of my lungs.

“Oh Kara I’m so sorry this happened to you.” Beth wails out.

“It’s not your fault, but why am I bleeding?” I ask, feeling her arms tightened around me.

“Kara, you have blood everywhere, you need to take a bath and sleep. I will see you tomorrow. Do not worry we bandaged you up, but everything has healed now. Well except maybe…. Cole look at her lungs and throat, are there any tears?” Beth asks.

Cole looks at me with eyes scrunched and heaves a huge sigh of relief. “No she is all good.’’

‘Great, now take her home, make sure she gets cleaned up, eats and goes to sleep. I would but I have to find whatever did this and brake it.”

“I love you guys.” I say finally able to recognize my voice.

“We love you too, no go sleep.” Max says running over to give me a gentle hug, then putting me into Cole’s embrace. Cole carries my limp body in his arms, carrying me outside, my hair swinging softly to and fro. As he steps outside I feel the crisp air cool my skin. I try to keep my eyes open the best I could but my eyelids wouldn’t cooperate. I fall back into unconsciousness but wake up with a start.

I soon realize I am in my bed with Cole standing next to me being awkward.

“Oh right, bath, I need to get out of this.” I say as I struggle to get up, threatening to topple over before Cole catches me. I shake off his arm and stagger to the bathroom as straight as I possibly could. I walk into my bathroom, and lean against the sink. I felt my head pounding against my skull, feeling kind of delirious. I stare with my mouth agape in horror to the mirror as I see my reflection in it. I see dried blood coating my face, mused with dirt and tear stains. My hair is caked with blood and asphalt, and leaves. All while sticking in every direction. I look to my right side of my face and I see a long scar running along my face. I guess it was cut and already started healing. Should be gone by tomorrow hopefully. I look to Cole who is pacing nervously in my room.

“Can you help me?” I whimper. Cole nods and walks over.

“What do you need help with?” Cole asks avoiding my eyes.

“My cape and top.” I say not realizing what that would mean. Cole seeing me in a bra. Cole nervously nods and before I know it my top half of my suit is off and the bathroom door is shut, and I hear Cole heave a sigh of relief. I was too tired to really care if he saw anything. I shimmy off the rest of my suit and step into a hot bathtub, feeling the jets right on my back pound away all of the pain. I close my eyes and feel the hot water rise all the way up to my neck.

After 20 minutes of relaxation I climb out of the tub and wrap a white, plush towel around me. I step outside into my room to see a freshly showered Cole sitting on my bed in sweatpants and a tightly fitted tee. I feel my face light up. I walk over to my closet and shut the door behind me, then turning on the lights. I see my large closet and decide on a black pair of pj shorts and a white tank top. I slip into them the put my hair into a messy bun. I step out of my closet to be met with Cole not 2 inches from me. I run right into his chest and I feel him stagger back.

‘Oh crap, I’m sorry Kara. I was just going to check on you.” Cole says apologetically.

‘Oh it’s fine, i’m just more delirious than I thought. Even more so for saying that out loud. Crap am I still talking? Oh I guess I am. Silly me rambling and rambling…. I’m going to stop in 3, 2, 1. Done.” I say as I look up to see Cole grinning from ear to ear. I side step Cole and walk to my bed and crawl underneath the covers. Cole walks over and towers above me looking… Scared.

‘Um, thank you for taking care of me.” I say, with a small voice.

“Of course Kara, I am just so happy you aren’t.” He trails off, leaving one terrifying word hanging in the air. Dead.

“Cole, will you please stay with me.’ I ask, afraid of the response. “You know just in case whatever happened happens again.” I say wanting to smack myself in the face repeatedly, with a hammer.

“Ok Kara.’’ Cole says as he climbs into bed next to me. I feel a cold, empty space between us, which I close. I have no sense of shame, or control right now.

I scoot over next to him and push his arm up and over me, draping it against my shoulder. I feel him tense, but immediately relax as I nestle my face into his chest. I feel him graze his finger over my scar and I slightly wince, feeling a quick shot of pain coat my face. I shouldn’t be able to feel pain. It just doesn’t add up. I shake the feeling away and close my eyes resting against Cole. I feel myself drift off into sleep, right next to Cole.


 

Kara POV

Time 8:30 am

Date: 10/16/17

Location: Damrin Residence (Wednsday)

 

I wake up with a start, jolting out of bed and immediately falling to the ground. I clutch my head feeling a faint pound, and a dull ache. I stand and straight my lengthy person out, dusting myself off, only feeling slightly embarrassed. I stretch and stroll vet to my alarm clock where it reads 8:30 am. Holy crap I am beyond late for school. I quick run over to make my bed when I see a note, written in familiar handwriting.

 

Hey Kara. I hope you are feeling better. I had to go to school, Beth barged in and dragged me. She told me you needed yourrestso I left. Anywaysdon’tworry I toldyourparentsthatyouhaveacoldandtheybought it. Sojust stay in bed and get better. There is no training today, and I will get all of the homework you missed.

-Cole

I scan the note and flop down on my bed falling asleep almost instantly. I wake up and the clock reads 2:34 am. Holy crap, I really slept. I get up and get a sandwich as quietly as I can downstairs then come back up. I nod back into sleep and wake up at 5:30 a.m.



 

Kara POV.

Time: 5:30 AM

Date:10/17/17

Location: Damrin Residence (Thursday)

 

Thursday morning sucked! With me still recovering from my “incident”, Cole exhausted from saving people, Max having stayed up late doing homework (Really Max?), the day was shitty to begin with. I had woken up and put on the first thing I grabbed, which was a tight white tee, that earned many stares and whistles as I slogged into school. I felt my face heat up when I bumped into Henry and he couldn´t seem to find my face. He was so lucky I was too tired to punch him in the face. It got worse when Beth showed up all chipper by my locker right before lunch. How could she be so damn happy?

“Heyyyy!” she said as she slid up to me.

“Hi,” I muttered.

“Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed today!”

Before I could respond, Cole and Max appeared next to us. “Hey,” they said together, their voices emotionless.

Beth looks at all of us, her eyes wide. “Did I wake up in Tiredsville this morning?” she asked as she leaned against her locker. A look of pure concentration covered her face, until finally her eyes lit up with excitement. “Guys! Why don’t we skip school?”

“Skip School!” I gasped. I looked to the guys and found Max nodding, his eyes shining, and Cole shaking his head slowly. “No, no way!” I say.

“Come on!” Beth says. “We can go to Coney Island.”

My eyes widen and a shriek erupted from my throat. I’ve always wanted to go to Coney Island. I grab onto Beth’s shoulders and shake her, “Please tell me you are joking!”

“I’m not! I’m not! Please stop shaking me, I’m not a baby rattle!” Beth says loudly.

I immediately let go of Beth and Max catches her as she falls. “Sorry,” I say sheepishly. “Super strength.”

“It’s okay,” Beth says as she stands on shaky legs, Max stays close to her incase she falls again.  Max is the type of guy I could see Beth end up with, he’s just as crazy and insanely sweet as her.

“How would we get to Coney Island? How would we leave school without anyone noticing?” Cole asked, being the voice of reason.

Beth gave us a smirk and said, “I already have that figured out.” She turns around and starts walking to the parking lot. Her hips swing wildly, earning a few stares. Her book bag hung limply in her right hand. She looked like something out of a bad high school movie!

She stopped by the doors and turned back to us. “Are you coming?” she asked impatiently.

We all look to each other and then nod, our minds made. We all walked to her and then we left the school behind us.

When we got out into the parking lot, the sleek black car that seemed to follow Beth around, was already there, back doors thrown open. We all slid into the seats. Max ended up on the far right side with Beth next to him. I was next to Beth and on My left sat Cole. Since we had never all sat in the back seat, it was a surprisingly tight fit. It was so tight that my legs were practically on top of Cole’s and my rib cage was right next to his. This was going to be a long trip.

We all sat in comfortable silence for a while. Before I could ask Beth how we were going to get to Coney Island, she fell asleep, using Max as a pillow. Max didn’t seem to mind though. In fact he actually resituated himself so that it would be more comfortable for Beth.

Cole and I both stared ahead the whole car ride. We seemed to both be trying not to touch each other too much and our breathing was shallow. God I’m screwed! After the awkwardest car ride ever, the car stopped in an empty field.

“Beth,” I said as we all climbed out of the car.

“Yeah?” she asked with a yawn.

“Where are we?”

“At my private airfield.”

“You have a private airfield?” Cole asks, his eyebrows pulled together in comprehension.

“Beth, are we flying to Coney Island?” I ask.

“Yeperdoodle!” she says brightly.

“But Coney Island isn’t really far away.” I counter.

“True but I love to arrive in style.” Beth says with a twinkle of excitement in her devious eyes.

“Okay. one more question,” I say.

“Shoot.”

“WHERE IS THE FREAKING PLANE?!?”

Beth grins and points a thin finger to the sky, “Up there.” I see a large, white jet flutter over us and land near the blinking lights. The wind that it creates rips my hair all around until I can see anything. My hair may be pretty but it is so not worth it. I see Beth motion for the 4 of us to follow her lead as she leads up to the jet. She has somebody open the door for us and we all file in to be slapped in the face with amazement. The inside is colored cream, and beige with a plush white carpet coating the floor. Each chair has its own tv in front, with a “complimentary” ipad. I let a squeal escape my mouth as I rush to the back to find a king sized bed that I immediately start jumping on.  

It feels as if I was on a gigantic marshmallow, and I twist and do a backflip landing on my feet. I look to Beth who has envy painted across her face. She has been jealous of my flexibility and gymnastics skills for as long as I can remember.  If only she knew I was jealous of her confidence and bad assery.

I jump down from the bed and stride over to a bar and I order a pina colada, virgin of course, which comes with a tiny pink umbrella. I eagerly sip it as I notice my teammates staring at me with worry filling their eyes.

“Guys I am fine.” I argue.

“But.” Beth starts “You could have died.” Beth retorts.

“But I didn’t.”

“But you could have.”

“But, I didn’t.”

“BUT YOU COULD HAVE.”

“BUT I DIDN’T” I shout. I feel my eyes start to heat up as Beth and I walk up menacingly towards each other. I look into the mirror next to me and my eyes are completely on fire, and red. My vision blurs. Before I melt Beth I feel two hands wrap around my shoulders and pull me back. I take 4 deep breaths and my vision returns to normal. I look at Beth who has fear and anger coating her face. She then breaks into a smile and looks at me.

“Ok I guess you feel better.” Beth says as she lazily sits in a large chair and tilts her head back.

The plane rumbled to life again, throwing me into Cole’s arms. Beth smirked at me menacingly, she had somehow planned all of this. Man she is conniving!

Cole lets go of me and I walk over to another seat. When I look at his face, I see it has a faint pink tinge to it. Max was running around the plane, at normal speed of course.

He ran from wall to wall, electronic to electronic, he even started making an ice cream sundae but gave up halfway. He ran to Beth and sat by her feet. He looked up at her, his eyes glowing with happiness, “How did you become so rich?”

“Well, my mother was born into the Alexandrov family of Russia, a relatively rich family, and about the time my father met her, the Alexandrov family was adopted into the Russian Mafia.” Max gasped with surprise. Cole shot me a look but I just shrugged my shoulders, I had heard this story many times. “And because my father was very charming and my mother...was very scary, they moved up in the power chain quickly.”

“But if your family were so popular in Russia,” Cole said, “why did you move to America?”

“Well-” Beth said but was cut off by a harsh voice on the overhead speakers.

Zatknis'!” the voice yelled.

Beth looks to the captain’s quarters angrily. She stands up abruptly and growls, “I’ll be back.”

We all look to each other worriedly. Max asks Cole and I, “Can you hear what’s going on in there?”

“Yeah,” Cole says. He looks to me and I nod. I close my eyes and then Beth and our mystery person’s voices are ringing.

“Can you trust them?” the voice asked, its accent thick and it was definitely male.

“Yes. They are the only people, besides you and Peter, that I trust!”

A grunt and then the voice whispered, “I hope you know what you are doing.”

“Don’t worry, I do,” Beth replied, her voice as hard as steel. Once we heard her coming back, Cole and I opened our eyes and tried to relax. Max’s eyes pleaded with us to tell him what we’d heard, but Beth was already back before we could.

I glance at Cole and we share a look, knowing it’s best to ignore what we just heard. I look at Beth and I realize, that I didn’t have a swimsuit packed. I look to her and clear my throat.

“Um, Beth I just realized I don’t have a swimsuit and I’m guessing neither of the boys do either.”

“Don’t worry about it, I got you covered.” Beth says with a wink.

I decide to just let it go and we continue the flight in silence. It only takes 3 minutes. I feel the pane land as I see Beth get up from her seat and stretch. She walks over to a closet and grabs a large beach bag and motions for all of us to follow her. As I step outside of the plane I am hit with the smell of salt and sunscreen. I inhale the welcoming scent and continue walking out towards the beach. We all line up in front of Beth as she gives us directions.

“Okay, so the men’s changing rooms are down the sidewalk and turn right” She says as she motions towards a small, concrete building “And Kara and I will be turning left. We will meet up at the gazebo that says Alexandrov. And yes I do have my very own gazebo, no questions? Great let's go.” Beth says as she grabs me by the arm and quickly ushers me out of the space near the boys. I look down and see the stark contrast between my golden tan skin, and her cream skin.

‘Whoa Beth! Why are you going to fast?” I ask as she drags me into the changing rooms.

‘’Ok, so I lined my bag with lead so you or Cole can’t see what’s in here. It’s a “present” for you.” Beth says as she reaches in her bag. I smile as she pulls out a small bundle of white cloth.

“That is not what I think it is.”

“It isn’t, unless you think this is a HOT bikini that you are going to wear. Then yes, it is exactly what you think it is.” Beth says with a smirk. I look down as she unfolds the bikini. It had a small bottom with gold bands connecting each side. That is showing way too much skin. The top has a white base with golden flowers embroidered in it. It glimmers in the sunlight streaking through the overhead windows. I look and see it probably won’t leave much to the imagination. I am going to murder Beth, bring her back to life, and murder her again!

‘‘How awesome is this.’’ Beth says cheerfully.

“Awesome?” You think this is awesome? This is not “awesome”. It shows way too much, Beth. “Awesome” is not the word that comes to mind when I see this.” I say angrily.

‘Oh come on Kara, plus the white will glow against your tan skin. Also it will show off your legs, abs, and-”

“Ok I will put it on, as long as you never finish that sentence.” I say cutting her off.

‘’That’s all I need to hear.” She calls after me as I slug into a changing room. I scrape my hair into a messy bun, and try to figure out how to put this “swimsuit” on. After 4 minutes of struggling I finally get it on and gape in horror. It shows all of my stomach, my long legs are bare, and the top is so tiny I wanted to strangle Beth with it. I angrily step out and walk up to Beth who looks at me with her eyes wide.

‘‘Man I knew you would look good, but not that good. When did you get boobs?” She asks.

‘‘Beth I can’t go out in public like this. Its….Its…. I’m basically naked.”

‘Oh don’t be a drama queen. You are not naked. You look hot. And that’s that, you will not change out of that or I will pull you into the ocean and hold you underwater.”

“ Fine, but I am keeping my arms crossed the entire time.” I huff out.

“Why must you make this so difficult. You are beautiful Kara, and HOT. So quit being a baby and grow a pair. I say this from the bottom of my heart. Only because I love you.”

“Fine.” I grumble.

‘’Thank you, btw I am only trying to help you and Cole. You two gorgeous and perfect specimens were made for each other. Also” Beth says gesturing to me “BA BAM is how I describe you.”

“I’f I’m BA BAM then you must be BAA BAAAAM,” I say as I look at the swim suit she is wearing. It is a black one piece but it showed more skin than my swim suit. The top was a black bandeau with spaghetti straps that seems encased in gold. The bottom part was a pair of tight underwater swim shorts (verrrry short) that made Beth’s legs seem to go on for miles. The reason it was a one piece was because of the black strap going from the top of the swimsuit, over Beth’s stomach, all the way to the shorts. She was a fox!

“Kara, you’re drooling,” Beth said with a smirk.

“Well how can I not?! You look AMAZING! You make me look like a potato!”

“Ok maybe if that potato was a goddess with a model body, and hair like spun gold, with hints of silver. I mean come on Kara, you are the most angelic, perfect, pure form of beauty there is!” Beth says.

“Yeah but-” I start before she interrupts me.

“No buts Kara, I don’t know why Cole hasn't claimed you, someone else might.”

“Do you mean you?” I ask hesitantly.

“I’m straight, but I may be gay for you!” Beth says with a wink walking backwards slowly. Then out the door.

I turn and look at myself in the mirror while uncrossing my arms. I look at the bottom which barely covers my tan legs, that somehow have glitter on them. BETH! I think, I knew I saw glitter when I got on the plane. What? Does she think I’m a stripper?! I look up the hard planes of my stomach and my gaze rests on my chest. The swimsuit has intricate designs of small vines and roses all across the front. I see them shimmer as I breath. It may not cover much, but it is beautiful.

“Own it girl. You are hot, why not work it. Make Cole jealous.” I hear Beth whisper. Damn! She knows I can hear her. I step out of the changing rooms and stand next to Beth.

Beth tugs at my arms and forces me to move to the beach. The warm sand seeps between my toes and the sound of gulls fills my ears.

Beth looks around for awhile but then settles on a spot near the water but not close enough to it so that we'd get soaked.

She sets a bunch of towels down and then stabs a large umbrella so that it shades the towels. She sets her bag down and the drapes herself across one of the towels. She lowers her round, black sunglasses to give me an expectant look. “Are you coming?”

I grit my teeth as I sit down on a towel, my arms crossed in front of me. Beth smirks at me before pulling a magazine out of her beach bag. The cover was a shirtless dude with many tattoos and he was holding a gun. “ What magazines do you read?” I ask her.

“This is the Bratva Weekly!” She replied happily. Did I ever mention that Beth has wanted to be in the Bratva since she was twelve.

“You are insane.”

“Not new information,” she says as she opens the magazine and starts to read a article on what I assume is knives, I'm not that fluent in Russian yet.

We sit like that for awhile. Beth reading and me staring at the ocean, thinking about all the monsters that live in it. After a while, two shadows fell over us.

“Wow Beth! You look hot!” Max says as he steps over me to get closer to her. He wore a red pair of swim shorts. “I would compliment you Kara but I can't really see your swimsuit,” Max says over his shoulder.

Cole sits next to me and it takes all my will power not to stare at his abs. He wore a green pair of swim shorts that hung low on his hips. This was going to be a hard day!

“Hey,” he says quietly.

“Hi,” reply.

“Okay that’s it,” Beth says as she stands up. Max’s eyes follow her as she stretches. “How about we play some football!” Beth leans down to grab an inflatable football from her bag of many wonders.

Max and Cole both jumped up, excited to play their favorite sport. I hesitantly stand up. “Kara,” Beth sing-songs. “You can't play football without hands.”

“I can and I will!” I stated, my arms tightening around my body. Beth sends me a mischievous smile and turns to walk up the beach. My arms loosen a little. Then without warning, Beth spun around and chucked the football at me, using all her strength. I raise my arms up and catch it.

It isn't until a couple seconds until I realize my mistake. I let go of my body. Everyone on the beach could see me including Cole. I look around but find that no seems to have noticed except for Cole. Everything was normal, Max was congratulating Beth on her awesome throw but Cole’s eyes were glued on me.

He seemed to have stopped breathing and his eyes roamed over me. When they reached my eyes, they halted. He ducked his head but I could still see a dark blush cover his face. I throw the football as hard as I can at Beth but Max, trying to impress her, speed caught it. Beth batted her ridiculously long eyelashes at him and a dopey grin spread on his face. I clear my throat loudly which earns me stares from some envious onlookers.

Max stares at me his eyes wide. Beth looks at me with a smirk which will earn her a slap in the face later.

“Wow Kara you look, great! Nice bikini!” Max says, then going on to stare at Beth.

“Beth I am going to hurt you!” I growl.

“What for?” She asks innocently. I turn around and stomp back to the towels kicking up sand behind me. I look for my hoodie but I can't find it.

“Oh are you looking for this?” Beth asks holding up my navy blue hoodie.

“Yes! Now give it back.” I demand.

“No.”

“And why not?” I ask.

“Because it's in the ocean!” Beth says as she tosses my hoodie into the shimmering glass like water.

“Beth! What the hell?!” I yell.

“It was an accident! It slipped.”

“Yeah right, you clearly threw it!”

“Oh well I guess we'll never know, and you will never get to wear that hoodie again.”

“I am fine with wearing it while it's wet.” I storm over to the water to try to retrieve my cover up. I splash into the water feeling it send prin pricks on my legs.

“Why can't you see I'm trying to help you.” Beth exclaims angrily.

“Help me?! You threw my hoodie into the ocean!” I yell. I see Beth stride towards me with a glint of mischief in her eyes. She squares up to my shoulders but she only reaches my chin. She raises her hands and pushes me into the water.

Because I was surprised, I went down easily. The cold water encased me. It ran through my hair, over my skin, it calmed me. A plan formed in my head.

I get as close to the bottom of the ocean as I can and I crawl up to Beth's feet. I grab them and pull as hard as I can. I hear a faint yelp from above and then Beth landed in the water next to me.

I break through the surface of the water smiling. I look to the beach and see Cole and Max laughing hysterically, man I would've payed to see Beth's face!

Speaking of Beth, she hadn't resurfaced yet. I look down at the water and find that it is all murky. I put my arms into the water and pat around but I can't find Beth.

Max and Cole seem to get that I was freaking out so they also joined me in the water. We all searched and searched but  no one found Beth.

“Beth!” I called. My stomach was in right knots.

“Beth!” Cole called, his face focused in concentration as he looked for my missing best friend.

“BETH!!!!” Max screamed. His face was contorted painfully. He was starting to get out of the water to get the coast guard when I shadow moved in the water.

We all freeze. “Was that a shark?” I asked, my voice squeaking.

“Well it wasn't a rubber ducky,” Max whispered as he slowly moved back towards Cole and I. We formed a tight pack, our backs together.

“What if it is a shark and it got Beth?” I ask.

“There would be blood in the water,” Cole says though his voice quivers slightly.

Suddenly the shadow jumped out of the water and land right on us. We all screamed and started to thrash in the water. Once we got untangled, we saw Beth laughing her ass off.

“I got you good!” She said through her giggles.

“Don't ever scare us like that again!” I yell.

“How did you hold your breath for so long?” Cole asked as we all started to drag ourselves out of the water.

“I didn't. I swam down the shore and got out while you were looking for me. Then I walked back down and slid into the water a couple feet from you.”

“You're so conniving and evil!” Max said. “I love it!”

Beth started laughing at that and hooked her arm through Max's. Together they walked back to our towels.

“I still am mad you pushed me into the water.” I say as I towel off my wet hair, not noticing Cole running his eyes all over my body.

“Well you should've let me help you, then none of this would had happened.” Beth says toweling off.

“I am so dumbfounded by the flaws in your argument I can't even begin to argue with you.”

“So, you’re saying I win?” Beth says hopefully.

“Fine, under the circumstances, you win.” I sigh.

“Yes! VICTORY IS MINE! I believe you owe me 20 bucks.”

“Did we bet on this?” I ask.

“Let’s say yes.” Beth says holding out and open palm gesturing for me to put a bill down in her hand.

“Yeah, no that is not going to happen.” I say wringing out the rest of my hair.

“Ok, well then for me winning you have to…” I see Beth look at a group of guys staring at us “play a game of volleyball with me.”

“Um, you do know I’m the captain of the volleyball team, right?” I say fighting back a smirk.

“Yes and the dance team, and the gymnastics team. We get it you're flexible.” I see her shoot a look to Cole who looks away and sits down next to Max.

“So then why play volleyball?”

“Because when you are trying to win, being your competitive self,” Beth leans in and whispers “You can’t cover up that swimsuit, so I WILL WIN AND BE THE BEST WINGWOMAN TO EVER GO DOWN IN HISTORY!”

“You little-”

“Genius, oh thanks I know that already. Just like I know that Cole was totally checking you out because you look smokin’.” Beth says with a flip of her hair.

“Why do you not want me to be open and exposed?”

“Because you don’t see the way Cole looks at you. It’s like you are the only thing in the world that matters, and it’s killing me that you can’t see that. I love you Kara, you are honestly one of the few people in the world I would die for. But you need to get your head out of your ass and see that Cole is-”

“Hey are we playing or what?” I hear Cole say as he and Max get to one side of a court. I didn’t even say it, man Beth is really distracting.

“Yeah in a second. Hang on.” I shout back “Cole is what?”

“Cole..is..um.. I guess he...is… Hot! Right yeah that works as an answer, I mean yup that’s the truth, I’m gonna stop talking and we are going to annihilate those hot boys. Come on!” Beth says dragging me before I can grasp a towel to wrap around myself, and wonder about what she said. I wrap one hand around my stomach but Beth swats it away.

“What the hell?!” I say under my breath.

“You are not going to go into your shell, you are going to OWN it girl! You are a gift from heaven, so stop being a pansy and work it before I permanently prop your arms up so you can’t cower away.”

‘‘Ok, damn, I’ll stop. But if one person looks at me I’m bolting.”

“Yeah right like I would let that happen.” Beth says as she pulls me to our side of the court. “Ok boys, prepare to be defeated!”

“Oh yeah, if by boys you meant girls meaning you referring to you… and...Kara. Wait? That’s not right. Referring to-”

“Sweetie just stop.” Beth says sympathetically.

“Ok let's play ladies.” Cole says serving the ball. I see his chest move and his abs shine in the sunlight. I bite my lip trying to concentrate on the game. I see the ball hurtling towards me as I jump up and hit the ball trying to control my strength, The ball comes into contact with my open palm and I send it straight to the ground on Max and Cole’s side scoring us a point. Beth and I high five basking in our evident victory.

I wind up to serve and it heads right towards Cole who bumps it up for Max to set, and then spikes it down. I dive forward missing the ball by 1 inch.

‘Oh yeah! Who’s the man?!” Cole yells “Oh is is too much for you Damrin?” COle asks as I get up and brush myself off.

“Don’t get cocky, Jackson, I can take you any day in anything.” I yell back making Beth smile.

“Oh really? Anything?” Cole asks, a mischievous grin tugging at his mouth.

“Yes...Anything. Why?’’ I ask hesitantly.

“Oh no reason.” Cole says as he looks around. I look out trying to see what he is looking at. I only see a family of beachgoers packing up their things, when I feel a warm hand on my hip on both sides. I feel my knees go weak, feeling a soft, firm hand grasp my upper hips.

“Bad move Damrin.” I hear Cole softly whisper in my ear. I suddenly realize why he was looking around before. My entire body warms up a his hands slide up my sides to my rib cage and tighten. Before I realize it I am slung over Cole's shoulder and he puts his hand on my lower back to steady me. Just that one movement sets my body of fire.

“What the hell?!” I say while squirming around, but Cole keeping me in place.

“You said you could take me. I guess not, otherwise I wouldn’t be carrying you to the water.” Cole says strongly.

‘’THE WHAT?!” I scream.

“THe water, you can kick and punch all you want, but I can’t really feel it.” COle says fighting back laughter and I punch him in his chiseled back. Son of a- I feel Cole release me and as I;m about to say thank you for putting me down I feel a million needles stab my back and I realize I’m in the water. I feel my hair surround me. I open my eyes while under the water so see my golden hair like ink surrounding me. I start seething when I have an idea. I swim deeper, being thankful Cole dropped me in a deep area of the water. I stop about five feet under the surface when I see a dark figure coming towards me. I see the outline before a bright white light surround the figure. It comes towards me as I try to scream but nothing comes out, not even air.

I start swimming to the surface before I realize my legs will not move as if they were chained to the ocean. The glowing figure comes towards me faster.  I see a splash as the figure comes closer to me I hear a voice. Except the voice wasn’t out loud it was a voice in my head.  

Hello Karnina, I hope you enjoyed our last encounter.  I am terribly sorry for your head, that was an unexpected outcome. We are coming for you Karnina.  Not even you can stop what is coming for your kind.  Do not tell your companions of this encounter, they will find out in time to come. But you, you pose the biggest threat to our goal. Balania has been dealt with, with only the powers of the mind she is easy to overcome.

 What are you? And what do you want with me?

 Oh it is not just you young child, the four of you combined have the greatest power of our kind, you may be a team but you do not understand what it is to actually be a team. You do not understand each other enough to pose an unbeatable threat, but just an annoyance. Your doom will come child, just wait.

 I squint to see the glowing figure that starts to vanish and swirl into the water. I blink before I hear a muffled voice. I realize how long I must have been down hear. I start to kick up to the surface when I feel my legs and arms buckle. I start sinking to the bottom and I let out the scream I had been holding in since I saw the glowing thing. The scream shatters my vocal chords as a figure comes into the water moving too fast for me to register. I see a fuzzy shape follow the dark figure. That is all I remember before dark captures me and takes me to sweet, sweet relief.  

I wake up feeling salt burning my throat. I feel my chest spasm and rise faster than I can comprehend. As I sit up the events leading up to here flood back into my head. What was that thing talking about? Who the hell is Karnina? Why did it call me that name?  But the most important question: Why me?

“Kara are you ok? Please say something.’’ I hear a worried voice say.

“I’m fine.” I croak out, my voice rough like sandpaper on concrete.

‘Kara I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t, of done that.”

“Cole you have nothing to be sorry about, but you do have something to worry about.”

I quickly tell him about the voice I heard under the water. I see horror draw onto his face. After struggling to get up and begrudgingly letting him help me up we both run up to Beth and Max who are sitting on the towels. As we get closer, I can here Beth singing a song to Max. Her light and airy voice fills the air, “There were three little martians all dressed in green, trying to get to heaven on a washing machine. But the washer broke and down they all fell, instead of going to heaven they went to -”

“Beth!” Cole said as we stopped in front of them.

“What?” she said. “I wasn’t going to say hell!”

“That isn’t what I was talking about ,” He said.

“Whatever, Captain Buzzkill,”  Max says as he leans on Beth.

“Guy we have a serious problem!” I said, my eyes heating up.

“Geesh Kara, calm down,” Max says as he stands up. “Why don’t you and I go on some rides.” He stands up and pulls me towards the carnival rides in the distance. Before he completely pulls me away I slip on a pair of shorts and try to protest but they go unnoticed.

Before we get too far away, I hear Beth say to Cole, “Guess we’re stuck together!”

As we walk down the beach towards the boardwalk I feel stares going my way. I stop and realize I’m just wearing my swimsuit top and a pair of shorts.

“Kara, why did you stop?” Max asks walking back towards me. “Are you ok? You look like you are going to hurl.” Max says worryingly

“I just realized that there’s nothing covering me. I’m just wearing my bikini top. Oh my god, ok deep breaths, nobody is staring at you. Ok, ok.’’ I say, close to the point of hyperventilating.

‘’OK, Kara, chill. You look, I’m sorry if this is disrespectful, HOT! I mean damn, you have long tan legs, aesthetically pleasing female body parts, and your eyes are so bright, and pure you are literally an angel. And Guurl do not even get me started on your hair, it’s like fo-real. Mm hmm you know what I’m sayin’?”

“OK, got Max, please do not ever sound like a black girl ever again.” I say fighting back laughter.

‘I will, as long as you start being more confident. Deal?” Max asks as he shoots out his hand, which I firmly take and we shake hands.

“Hey shorty! Nice ass,” some guy in a kakis and a douchey polo shirt.

I spin to be met with eyes looking at me, but not my face. Did that douche bag just look and comment on my ass?! I know he didn’t because otherwise I will kick his. Before I can go and either die of embarrassment or punch him very hard in his face I hear Max speak.

“Oh why thank you, I’ve been doing my squats. So happy it paid off!” Max says in a high, squeaky feminine voice.

“I was talking to the hot chick, you dumbass.” Polo guy replied snarkily.

“Oh I know you didn’t just call him a dumbass, you dumbass.” I say preparing to kick him in a more delicate spot.

“So what if I did? What is he your boyfriend?’’ Polo guy replies, shifting his gaze away from my butt, but not to my face.

“As a matter of fact, yes.” I hear Max say as he moves closer and puts his hand on the small of my back. It feels weird, not bad, just weird. It doesn’t set my whole body on fire when Cole touches me, it feels more comfortable, and friendly.

“Yeah right, like this hot piece of-”

“Watch what you say next, because “this” is a human being, not an object. She deserves the utmost respect. Which isn’t likely to come from the likes of you. “ Max says almost making me cry.

“Whatever, losers.” Polo guy mumbles as we turn and walk away from him. I take the fastest look back to see him still looking at me in the most derogatory way.

“Thanks so much for that Max, it meant a lot.”

“Of course Kara. You know the saying “Bros before hoes.” not implying you are that nasty word, but that you are my bro.”

“Max, you are the best bro a girl could have. Beth would be lucky to date you.”

“What-’’

“Call it women’s intuition. I just know.”

“Like you and Cole.” Max says as we walk towards a line for cotton candy.

‘What? How do you-”

“Call it you are so obvious when you are around him-ition. You clearly like him. Sorry to say, but you are very obvious when you're around him. Your face gets practically covered in red paint.”

“Hmm it looks like you're mirroring how you feel about Beth.” I say with a smirk.

“Or you with Cole.”

“Or Beth.”

“Or Cole.’’

“Beth.’’

“Cole.”

“BETH!”

“COLE!”

“OK! You win, I concede.” I yell not wanting to further my embarrassment.

¨I should become a lawyer! I like arguing with people.¨ Max said as he grabbed my arm and pulled me over to a line of people waiting for cotton candy. After waiting there for a couple of minutes, we make it to the front.  I ended up buying a medium pink cotton candy and Max bought the largest pink cotton candy thing-a-ma-bob. It was bigger than his head!
We ate our treats quickly and rushed over to a line fore the biggest coaster I have ever seen.

“Are you sure we should ride this one? It looks really big.” Max says nervously.

‘Max I am an adrenaline junkie okay. You can’t come to an amusement park, and not expect me to go on the biggest effing ride I’ve ever seen. I remember my dad used to take me to the carousel when I was a little girl. It was so much fun, just me and him. Then we would go get cotton candy and soft pretzels, that was all before he, um he, he- Nevermind.” I say pulling Max’s arm when we get into the ride, I feel pressure on my chest and I realize I’m being strapped into the ride. I look up to see who is manning the controls. I see a boy, about 19 or 20 staring at me intently. I see sandy blonde hair fall down to cover his piercing, jade eyes. He smiles when he notices me returning his gaze, I’m dazzled with a row of perfect teeth, shining like freshly powdered snow. I turn away feeling embarrassed. Max turns to me and gives me a funny look.

“Why are so many guys checking you out? Oh wait I know, it’s because you are wearing shorts and a bikini top.” Max says to my horrified look.

“First of all, I’m not being “checked out”, and second of all, you convinced me to wear this!”

‘Kara yes you are, and yes I did. Turn around.” max says gesturing behind him. I follow his lead and turn to be met with at least 4 different stares, all male. I turn back quickly my face flushing.

“Why are they all looking at me?” I ask wanting to crawl into a hole.

“Why do you think? And more importantly, why isn’t anyone looking at me?” Max jokes trying to make me feel better.

“I feel exposed.” I say, covering myself even more.

“I wish I could give you a hoodie.” Max says as I look and realize Max is wearing a “Automatic doors make me feel like a jedi shirt.”

Take off your shirt.” I say.

“I don’t know how you saw any of that being me hitting on you.”

“So I can wear it you idiot.”

“If you say so.”

“Max, give me the damn shirt.”

“FIne.” max says as he reaches and pulls it off handing it to me. I struggle to get it on, when Max helps pull it over and down.

“Thanks.”

“Yeah, I mean it is my favorite shirt. But I am fine with you wearing it.”

“I know, this shirt is awesome.”

“You like Star Wars?” Max asks.

“No I don’t like Star Wars, I’m freaking obsessed with it. I mean come on it’s awesome.” I say, totally fangirling out.

“Best movie franchise ever. Cole and I bought maxing box sets of every Star Wars film ever. It’s awesome!”

“Oh my god when Hans was frozen in carbonite . That was just-” I say as I feel the ride start. I shut my mouth, afraid bugs would get in my teeth. I grab the metal bar in front of Max and I’s cart. The ride started out slowly but it got faster and I knew this was going to be  a good day.





 

POV Cole

Time: 1:30 PM

Location: Redly Avenue

Date:

 

 

 

Beth made me go shopping with her. The minute Kara and Max left, she grabbed my arm and pulled me into a tiny boutique. The store was all pink and frilly and super girly, great for my masculinity.

Beth spent almost an hour on the store before she dragged me to another one. This one has clothing for men and woman. Beth squealed when she saw a navy blue suit hanging on a rack. She grabbed one that happened to be my size, don't know how she knew that, and trust it to me. “Try this on!”

“Beth, I don't want to buy anything,” I sighed.

Beth gave me a look and said, “don't you want to look nice for Kara?”

“Who says I dress for Kara? Not everything I do is for her!”

“Surrrrrre,” Beth said as she continued to look through the racks.

I grunted and walked to the dressing room. I took off my shorts and shirt quickly and threw on the suit. Holy crap, Beth was right. The suit looks great on me. It fits to me in the right places and the color made my eyes look like they were glowing slightly. I grab my clothes and walk out of the dressing room with the suit still on.

I find Beth standing in front of mirror. She was wearing a blue maxi dress and it made her look like a movie star.  If I never met Kara, I'd be all over Beth. She saw me in the mirror and turned around quickly. “You look great!” She said as I stood next to her.

“You too,” I say.

We stood there for some time, admiring ourselves. After a while, a store employee cleared their throat from behind us. “I just wanted to say that I find it so cute when siblings wear matching clothes.”

‘We’re not-” I say before Beth cuts me off.

“Yes isn’t it great. This is my brother...Brad, and I’m Talia, and we just love this store.” Beth says, acting super chirpy.

“Oh well you two do have the same hair. Well let me know if you need anything else.” Said the employee.

“Brad?” I ask.

“Yeah, think of Kara as your Angelina.”

“Aren’t they divorced?”

“Well then she is your Juliet.” Beth says huffily.

“Didn’t they both die at the end?” I counter.

‘You know what? Nevermind, point being you like her, or should I say l-”

“Beth shut it!”

“Ooh you really do like her. Your face is getting red and you're all defensive.” Beth says mischievously.

“I do no-” I start saying before Beth interrupts.

“Do not deny it. I know you totally, totally, TOTALLY, like her. You can’t deny it, I know you, I am your sister after all.” Beth says with a wink. “Speaking of Kara, don’t you have a dinner with her on Saturday?”

“Yes why?” I ask carefully, because Beth is like a lion mixed with a cobra.

“Because I am going to pick out what you're wearing.”

“But-”

“No but’s! I’m helping you and that’s final. Potomu chto ty yeye tak sil'no lyubish', i ty khochesh' potselovat' yeye.” Beth says confusing me.

“Huh? I don’t speak Russian.”

“I know, only Kara speaks a little bit of it, and fluent French, Italian, and Latin. Which if I may say so, which I may, it hot.”

You're telling me, she speaks all of the most beautiful languages. Beth speaks the ones that scare the crap out of me. “But what did you say?”

“Oh nothing” Beth says with a devilish smile “Something that is just 100% true, now let's shop.” Beth says as she pulls my hand and brings me to an endless row of clothes in every color imaginable. I see her pull out a brown suede vest that makes me wrinkle my nose.

“Ugh this is a monstrosity. How about blue?” I see Beth grab a navy blue button down shirt that looks amazing.

“Why blue?” I ask, already knowing the answer.

“Because 1) it will make your eyes pop, and 2) it’s Kara’s favorite color. Personally I prefer orange or yellow. It’s the color of fire.”

“Ok stepping away from arson, why are you pushing this Kara thing?”

“Because you two were made for each other, I mean you both deserve each other.”

“Kara doesn’t even feel that way about me.” I say as I see Beth absentmindedly running hir thumb in circles across the shiny fabric. “Beth?”

“I’m not allowed to meddle!” She exclaims meeting my stare.

“Since when? That’s all you do.”

“Hey- Actually no that’s true.”

“OK I can’t think about this anymore you're driving me crazy!” I say nabbing the shirt from her.

“Hey, that’s my job, well that and meddling in my best friends life.”

“I’m going to change.” I say as I head off towards a changing room. I quickly change and walk out to see Beth on the phone.

“Oh my god, he looked amazing, I mean for you, I’m partial to blonde squirrels. We are going shopping tomorrow- gotta go.” I hear Beth urgently whisper as she taps her phone and puts in her bag. “Wow you look great!” She exclaims.

“Thanks,” I say as I run my hand through my hair. “Who were you talking to?”

“Um...you remember my imaginary friend right. You met him at school.”

“Your imaginary friend has a phone and you wanted to set us up?” I ask dryly.

“Yeah! He says that If the thing between you and Kara doesn't work out, he's available. Actually, you'd be cute together. His grey eyes would complement your hair and your skin tone would look nice next to his….” Beth chewed her lip as she thought.

“Yeah, sure, ok.” I say doubtfully.

“But really that would look great with what I’m making…. Never mind.”

“Ok.” I say suspiciously.

“Oh my god! I completely forgot about the big party I’m throwing!” Beth exclaims rummaging through her oversized bag. She pulls out a cream colored envelope with gold etchings running across it. She hands it to me and I feel the grooves in the paper. I graze my thumb over the golden wax sealing mesmerized. I open the envelope to see raised golden writing on charcoal black paper.

You are cordially invited to attend a gathering at Beth Alexradov’s residence. The dress code is Black tie involving a masquerade theme. This event will be taking place at 7:00 p.m. Saturday evening November 5th.

Wow, this seems serious. I mean nobody will know who anybody is.

“Thanks for the invite, but I don’t think I own anything that works with this.”

“Don’t worry I got you covered.” Beth says as she pulls me towards yet another rack of clothes. We stop at a mannequin in the back of the store. I gaze up at it in wonder. It’s a sleek black tux with small gold swirls in the front of it, with a matching golden tie that shimmers in the fluorescent lights that flicker from above. It has a pure white under shirt which somehow makes the black stand out even more.

“Oh my god! It looks amazing.” I say, not being able to look away from this amazing piece of clothing.

“I know, do you see how the gold reflects off of the light. It’s hypnotizing.” Beth says breathlessly.

“But this is a masquerade, and that means I need a mask.”

“I know, don’t you have one?”

“Yeah because normal people just have high end masks laying around.” I say sarcastically.

“Don’t they?’ Beth asks.

“No!” I exclaim.

“I’m just giving you a hard time, come on we can find a golden mask somewhere.”

“Why does it have to be gold?”

“Oh no reason.”


 

Beth POV.

Time: 3:30 pm

Date:10/17/17

Location: Store near Coney Island (Thursday)

 

Ok yes there was totally a reason. I’m making him wear gold because that is going to be the color scheme of Kara’s gown. I need, need, NEED them to get together because it’s killing me seeing them not know how much they like each other. So I may be meddling in my friends’ love lives, but hey they need it. I mean just imagine Kara and Cole dancing, having an intimate moment then BAM! Remove the masks and they find out they were with each other. I mean Kara is going to look like a goddess when I’m done with her, and I hope she will finally have more confidence to do something, anything with Cole. So yeah it has to be gold.

 

Cole POV.

Time: 3:30 PM

Date:10/17/17

Location: Store near Coney Island  (Thursday)

 

“Ok, I mean I like gold.” I say as Beth drags me to another section of the store. Man shopping is really tiring. I need a burger.

“You grabbed the tux right?” Beth asks from ahead of me.

“Yup, but barely, you pulled me so fast I almost didn’t get it.”

“What do you think of this?” Beth asks as she turns and I see a mask in her hands. It has a gold lace trim around the edges swirls around the outside. Half of it is black that subtly fades into gold on the opposite side. Gold swirls come in from the edges and join in the middle creating a entrancing effect, that put me in a trance.

“I’m guessing you love it.” Beth says grabbing the tux from me to examine it.

“I love it. It’s awesome.”

“Awesome, not exactly the 10 dollar word I would’ve chosen but yeah “awesome”. Now go get changed.” SHe says as she shoves the items into my grasp. I walk over to the dressing room seeing a group of teenage girls staring at me as I reach the door. I look over and smile at them earning giggles and whispers from the group. I walk in and lock the door, being incredibly thankful Kara is not shallow like that. That she thinks about other things that makeup and shoes. That she cares about her art work, even though I haven’t seen her draw in the longest time. Which is a shame, because she is the most talented artist I know. I quickly change into the tux and mask and examine myself in the mirror. I hear voices as I adjust the mask.

“Oh my god Amber did you see that guy?” Somebody says.

“OMG, Tiff, he was like so frickin’ hot. Like-” I decided to stop listening to girls describing somebody.

“Do you hear those bimbos?” I hear Beth angrily ask.

“Yeah, who was that poor guy?”

“You duh! I swear to my babushka if you pick one of those pieces of plastic over sweet, intelligent, deep, thoughtful, beautiful, and all around amazing Kara, I will cut off your pee pee.” Beth says.

“Geez, It sounds like you want her!”

“What? No, it would be stupid, so stupid.” I hear Beth mumble.  

“I would never, you know I only have eyes for Kara. Damn it!” I say realizing what Beth did.

“Hahah, I  win. I know you like Kara! I am awesome.” Beth says happily.

“Just shut up Beth!”

“Ok, but you like Kara, you like Kara.” Beth chirpily sings.

“Ugh, don’t tell her. I’m coming out.” I step out to see the girls still around but now crowded around some shiny object.

“Wow, you look great. Kara’s gonna love it!” Beth says winking.

“Don’t even!”

“Ok I won’t. Kara!” Beth whispers.

“Who the hell is this “Kara”?” I hear a voice ask with a sneer.

“Ugh probably his girlfriend.”

“Since when did that ever stop me Amber?”

“Oh you are so bad.” Amber says.

“I’m going in.’ I hear who must be “Tiff” say.

“Oh hell naw, nobody talks about my boo like that. Hold my hoops.” Beth says reaching for her ears.

“Beth cool it 1) You aren’t in prison 2) stop acting like you're in prison and 1) you know I like Kara, nobody else.” I say as I see a terrifyingly skinny redhead approach me with a determined look on her face.  

“Well hello there.” Tiff says as Beth steps in front of her.

“May I help you?” Beth asks sweetly.

“Yeah, you can move.”

“Ok, how ‘bout I move my foot up your-”

“Excuse me?” Tiff says snarkily.

“Oh right, I guess it takes at least a pea sized brain to understand things, my bad I should’ve known your brain is smaller.” Beth says viciously.

“Ugh, move you bitch! Before I make you move, although I might need a forklift.” That bitch Tiff says. I see a murderous calm sweep across Beth’s face.

“Well sorry, not all of us can have a eating disorder. Tell me do you throw up what you eat, or not eat at all?”

“Oh I know you didn’t. I lost this weight naturally.”

“Oh you should become a better liar, the silicone in your face and chest is such a blabber mouth.”  Beth says making me almost want to save that poor girl, almost.

“Well you should shut that man mouth of yours from time to time, I can’t believe any guy would ever talk to you, when they're in competition for alpha.” Tiffany says.

“Hun I am the Alpha, but that’s because I have something you don’t have and that thing is self-respect. That’s why you're a ho and I’m not. Oh and stay away from my friend or else.”

“Or else what?” Tiffany asks, terror seeping into her voice as Beth leans in and whispers something that makes Tiffany whirl around and leave so fast I swear she was related to Max.

“What did you say to that girl?” I ask as Beth strolls over to me and straightens out my tie.

“Something that will scar that piece of plastic for life, but nevermind that, you look dashing. Kara is so going to fall head over heels for you.” Beth says as I start blushing and picturing Kara and her warm yet striking smile that makes my insides feel like rubber.

“You're picturing her aren’t you?” Beth asks looking up at me. That’s when I really realize her height, because Beth only comes up to my lower chest, whereas Kara’s head reaches my shoulders.

“What?! No… I.. uh was uh” I stutter out.

“Wow you really are smitten aren’t you?”

“How? How can you know all this?”

“1) I have a Russian third eye 2) I know you and Kara very, very well and 3) You are very obvious. Now go change out so I can buy this.”

“Beth I can’t aks you to do-”

“Cole that’s sweet, but shut the hell up I’m buying this. I think friends can buy designer clothes for other friends.”

“Beth I can’t let you do that. I have enough money to buy all of this.”

“Just go change.” Beth says as she pushes me back into the dressing rooms. I pull off the tux when I see it disappear. I quickly put my clothes back on and rush out to see Beth at the cash register hand the clerk a shiny silver card. I rush over when I hear “And come again.” As Beth pulls me back out into the hot, steamy day.

“Beth I can’t believe you did that!” I exclaim angrily.

“Oh yes you can, I’m buying you these outfits and that’s that.” She says as she pulls me towards a hotdog stand. She hands the burly man behind the grungy cart a five dollar bill and asks for 2 hotdogs oe with relish and mustard one with just mustard. She hands me the dog with green relish oozing from the edges and I take it hungrily.

“How do you know my hotdog order?” I ask while trying to fit a huge bite in my mouth.

“I don’t know, you just look like a mustard and relish guy.” Beth says delicately taking a small bite. Beth may be tough but she eats incredibly delicate.  

“Wow who knew shopping would be so tiring. I can’t feel my feet.”

“Yeah you get used to it after a while, hey let’s stop by Pizza Hut and pick up some pizza for Max and Kara.” Beth says as she starts towards the tiny red building that smells like happiness. We go in and order a Hawaiian pizza with extra pineapple, which is Kara’s favorite. We order a pepperoni and black olive for Max and I, then head outside back towards the beach. While we’re walking I feel the wind pick up and little bits of sand sting my face. We approach two blonde figures in front of our tent. I see Kara in a “Automatic doors make me feel like a jedi” shirt and I almost laugh.

“Man I wish we had pizza!” Kara exclaims as I see her pull her wind blown hair into a messy bun.

“Hey guys how was your day?” Beth asks extending the pizza towards Kara.

“Oh my god, how did you know?” Kara asks as she shoves a piece of pizza into her mouth. It was adorable how she was lithe and agile yet she could out eat the entire New York Giants team.

“I used our telepathy.’ Beth says matter ‘o’ factly.

“Mmph thank god you did, I need this after the day I have had.” Kara says moving onto her fourth piece. I see Max eat his third piece.  Swear to god these two eat incredibly fast, and so much. Their metabolisms are insane.

“What happened?” I ask.

“Well-” Kara starts before Max jumps in and says.

“Kara got hit on by a bunch of dbags. Only one of them was hot.”

“Max!” Kara says clearly annoyed while smacking his arm.

“What? It’s true.” Max says defensively. I feel the urge to go throw those “dbags” into the trash. Or at least New Jersey.

“Yeah tell me about it, this piece of silicone, botox, and plastic tried to hit on Cole, but homegirl got to her.” Beth says nibbling on a piece of Max’s crust that he discarded.  

“What?” Kara asks surprised.

“Oh yeah, she was so in over her head.” Beth says wiping the crumbs from her hands on a brown napkin.

“Hmm, well that’s just great.” Kara says through what seems to be gritted teeth.

“Yeah but what is really great is these.” Beth says as she holds up a colorful box of beers.




 

Beth POV.

Time: 4:15 PM

Date: 10/17/17

Location: Beach near Coney Island (Thursday)


 

“I don't think this is a good idea.” Kara says nervously.

“Awww how precious, you don’t have to if you don’t want to.” I say as I pop off the cap of a bottle and take a gulp. I feel the cool liquid glide down my throat into my stomach.

“I’ll take one.” Max says grabbing the one I offered him. He takes a big gulp and wipes off his mouth with the back of his wrist. Kara tentatively reaches forward and takes a bottle from my outstretched hand. She takes off the cap and takes a small sip and wrinkles her nose.

“Is this supposed to taste good?” She asks.

“Nope, it’s supposed to feel good.” I respond finishing off my bottle.

“Hmm, I guess I feel more relaxed.” She says as she takes two big gulps.

“You want any?” I gesture a bottle towards Cole who shakes  his head.  

“Nah I’m good, somebody needs to keep an eye out for all of you guys.”

“I don’t think we will get that drunk.”

“Wait for my “I told you so’” He says in response.

Kara, Max, and I continue drinking eventually moving on to wine coolers. The sun is still blazing in the sky when Kara and I walk over to a snack stand.

“So how was your day?” I ask deciding on if I want a popsicle or soft pretzel.

“Fine, but I am so tired of getting hit on by random dbags.” Kara says paying the snack vendor as he gives her a cotton candy, popcorn, and soft pretzel. Well this just proves how unfair the world is, Kara can eat and eat and stay in the body of a ballet dancer. When I have two slices of pizza and gain 7 pounds.

“I don’t get how you can eat all that.” I say as I get my popsicle form the vender. Kara shrugs and finishes off her pretzel then moves onto the cotton candy. “And stay so skinny and toned.”

“Well being a superhuman does have it’s perks.” She says throwing away her cotton candy cone and eating one piece of popcorn at a time as we start walking along the beach.

“Yeah I guess, plus you gotta admit, you being able to fly is awesome.” I say as she nods in agreement.

“Totally awesome.” I look at Kara’s hair blowing in the wind and feel a pang of hurt, she has lost so much yet she stays so strong. She lost her entire family in a fire, her mother, father, baby brother, and sister. Kara can only take so much. I sometimes think about when she used to draw. SHe made the most beautiful, life-like, drawings that always took my breath away, but since the fire she won’t even look at her old sketchbooks and it kills me. SHe needs this, I need this, she used to give them to me as birthday presents. They were the only gift I ever wanted, that and her happiness.  I remember the day she told me she saw some sort of gasoline residue on a gasoline container, but when I ran tests on the residue it didn’t match the gasoline on the inside of the barrel. It didn’t match any man-made gasoline or fire starter actually. “Hello?!” I hear Kara yell.

“Huh?’ I ask dazed.

“I asked if you wanted to keep walking or turn around. You weren’t listening were you?” She asks removing a strand of glowing hair from her tan face.

“Oops , sorry I guess I was deep in thought.”

“About what?”

“Oh you know, different things, like umm, quantum mechanics.”

“Oh yeah, I heard that there is a lecture happening at NYU during spring break, I’ve been wanting someone to go with but nobody loves it a s much as me. Do you want to go?”

“Ummm no, sorry but I am not as big of a nerd as you are. But I love you anyways because that’s what makes you special.”

‘You think I’m a nerd?” She asks timidly.

“Yeah, but you're my nerd.” I say wrapping my arm around her, trying to reach her height. I notice she isn’t wearing that Star Wars shirt anymore. “Where did your shirt go?”

“Oh yeah, Max really wanted it back. Also it smelled like dude, and no thanks.”

“But you're basically a dude.” I say in response.

“True.”

“But you don’t look like a dude.”

“Well duh I don’t have a-”

“Why helloooo ladies, may I say you are looking fine today?” I hear a rough voice say. Before I can viscously attack him literally and verbally I hear Kara’s sweet voice respond “No you may not.” Not bad for that marshmallow.

“Oh I think I can.” I hear him say and I see his hand creep towards Kara in a less than polite way. Oh hell to the no, disrespect me no, but Kara?! I will make your life worse than a living hell combined with stepping on legos, well stepping on legos may be a wee bit harsh. I feel an animal, inhuman growl come out of the back of my throat as I rapidly grasp my had out and wrap my fingers onto the approaching hand. I clench until I feel a tendon snap and a small crunch and a small feminine like shriek.

“What?” The dbag says, cradling his red hand close to his chest. Kara turns around causing her to send a stream of sweet vanilla and coconut in my direction, and I think “How? How can she smell so freaking good all the time?”

“No touching south of the equator.” I say watching his eyes fill with rage.

“Bitch!”

“Are you looking in a mirror?” Kara asked snarkily. That’s my girl!

“Listen up you little skanks, this is a man’s world and guess what, you’re girls.” The douche said as he moved closer into our personal space.

“Looky here you misogynistic bastard,” I say with a slight growl in my throat. “Last time I checked, I have a bigger dick and balls than you’ll ever have.”

The guy’s eyes darken and he smirks, “You’ll regret what you just said very soon. My buddies will be here soon and you’ll be outnumbered. And then we can do whatever we want to do-” The guy gets cut off as Kara launches at him. Her hand flies in a flurry like a flock of birds, landing red mark worthy blows. She was probably using some super strength and I wasn’t going to reprimand her. The guy cried out in  pain but I didn’t have any sympathy. Iwas so happy to see that Kara finally slapped a guy who seserved it. It was funny. , “Stop! Please!!!! I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to insult you!”

“Well you did,” I yelled over my shoulder as I dragged Kara away. “?????, it’s okay. The asshole learned his lesson. Now as much as that entertained me, I need to use the bathroom.”

Kara grumbled but let me drag her to the bathrooms. I did my business quickly and found Kara leaning against the sink. On her forehead was a small, bleeding cut. “Honey, you're bleeding.” I wash my hands and then grab her head gently. I examined the cut and then wetted a piece of paper towel. I dab the cut and Kara hisses. Once the blood is gone, I part her  hair so that it covers the cut. It’s a good thing she heals quickly, it’s weird that she even got cut in the first place. “Are you okay,” I asked, knowing she wasn’t.

“I can’t believe I went off the handle and slapped someone like that! I even used some ofmy super strength on a civilian!  A normal civilian-”

“A horrible civilian,” I interjected.

“A civilian nonetheless.”

“Whatever, that jackwagon deserved it and you were amazing! I think you deserve a churro.”

“You’re just saying that because you want a churro!”

“True.”

“Okay...But I want a churro and a slushie!”

“Fine,” I say, knowing I would get that too. “By the way, I started a new t.v. show called Voltron.”

“What’s it about?” Kara asked as we left the bathroom for churro and slushies, or as I like to call it: diabetes.

“It’s about these humans that find a giant flying space lion and travel to other planets to help them, all the while fighting off the Galra Empire!” I say excitedly.

“If you like that, you should watch Star Wars!” Kara says. She has been trying to get me to watch the movies with her since I first met her, but I always refuse mostly because it’s funny watching her get mad.

“Nah,” I say as I link arms with her. “I’ll stick to Voltron.”

“Ugh,” Kara says as we walk into the little sweets shop. The inside is baby blue and bright pinks. Cherubs fly on the ceiling, holding apples and golden harps. Racks of candy lines the walls and a counter sits onto the far wall. Behind the counter is where the slushie machine is and fresh churros laid on a tray.

We briskly walk up to the counter and I say, “two churros and one red slushie and one blue one please.”

The guy behind the cash register nodded and I noticed that he was kind of cute. But he had too much bulk on him, I like my men lean...and blond.  We get our treats and I see Kara pulling out her wallet. “Put it on the Alexandrov tab.”

We walk away after the guy confirms that the money was on the tab and we left. We finished our treats by the time we found the boys again. They were laying out on beach towels and I noticed Max had a smaller towel pushed onto his nose. “What happened?” I asked as I plopped down next to him, Kara ending up next to Cole.

“A group of college kids tried to move our stuff and take our spots so Max picked a fight with the biggest guy,” Cole said.

“He tried to move your Bratva magazines!” Max said to me.

“Thank you for protecting our spot,” I say with a smile. I leaned over and gave Max a kiss on the cheek.

His face turned red and he said, “It was nothing.”

My phone goes off and I pull it out of my bag. I smile mischievously and announce, “Come on losers! We just got invited to a party!”

“Whose party? Kara asks.

“Just a friend’s” I say.

“Which friend?” Cole asked.

“Lady Gaga..”  

“You know Lady Gaga!” Max screeched, releasing his inner fangirl. No fanboy, no definitely fangirl.

“Yeah, now stop making such a big deal!” I say as I get up and the others have no choice but to follow.





 

Kara POV.

Time: 6:40  PM

Date: 10/17/17

Location: Beth’s private jet (Thursday)

We all walk back to the plane, energy buzzing through everyone of us. I am so excited I almost forget I am only wearing a bikini top and shorts. Almost.

“Beth we can’t show up to a party like this.” I say.

“Oh don’t worry, I got you covered.” Beth says, but weirdly I feel unease.

“Nothing inappropriate or flashy.”

“Ok, scout’s honor.” She says while I try to remember if she was a scout. She drags me by the arm into the jet and I fall onto the bed, feeling the soft, plush blanket. I run my hands over it and I fell something that kinda feels like skin, maybe muscle. I shoot my head up to be met with Cole’s surprised face, as I look down and see my hand on his bare stomach. I fell warmth radiate from him to my hand as I stare at him in utter embarrassment.

“Oops sorry!” I exclaim scrambling to the other side of the bed, really wishing I was wearing a parka.

“It’s fine…”

“I kinda forgot you came in here.”

“Um, I thought you saw me sit down.” He says as I think, and remember seeing him sit on the bed and shut his eyes.

“Ohh yeah I did” I feel a blush form and seep all the way down to the top of my bikini. “I'm  kinda feel sleep deprived.” I say as a lame excuse that isn’t all that fake.

Cole laughs and I feel a bolt of electricity run through me. “I mean you’ve had a pretty tough week.”

“Yeah no-” I start to say when I hear a lock click. “Wait did you hear that?”

“Yeah.” Cole says as he rushes over to the door and tries to open it but it doesn’t budge. He tries again rattling the doorknob but no luck. “What the hell?” He asks as I untangle my legs and stride over to him. I stand next to Cole who still can’t get it open. I peer over his shoulder while standing on my tippy toes. I may be tall, but Cole is a giant. I notice that Cole takes a short breath as I realize that my lips are half a centimeter from his neck and I feel my heart flutter.

“Um, do you know what happened?” I ask carefully stepping back as he straightens and clears his throat.

“No, it’s really weird.”

“I know what happened.” I hear a deep, smooth voice say.

“Beth!” I exclaim.

“Yeah?” She asks sweetly.

“Why the hell did you lock us in here?”

“Hmmm, I’ll never tell.”

“You do know we can both break the door and get out, right?” Cole asks  taking a stance to punch through the door.

“Um, yeah, totally. So don’t try that, cause I’ve totally thought this through.” Beth says nervously. I see Cole land one swift punch through the light oak door and reach around to grab the knob and turns his arm. I hear a faint click and Cole pulls out his arm and the door swings open. He briskly walks through and I follow him. I walk out to see Beth standing there with a sheepish grin on her face.

“So care to explain?” Cole asks.

“Nope, so I got you guys some clothes.” Beth says reaching towards the closet behind her.

“‘Nope’?! That’s your explanation for locking us in there?”I ask dumbfounded.

“Yeah, so back to those clothes” Beth trails on as I decide it’s best to leave it be. “I picked out an outfit for each of you, and before you ask, no you do not get a choice on what you get to wear.” Beth says as she flashes me a smile, I feel light headed because I have an idea of what she is making me wear, and it isn’t good.

“Oh crap.” I groan as Beth shoves a bundle of colors to Max and Cole and ushers them to the opposite side of the plane. Beth turns to me and gives me a wicked smile.

“Beth no, please don’t make me wear anything outrageous.”

“What? Me? Never.” Beth says with mock surprise. She turns around quickly and rummages in the closet and pulls out a disco ball shaped like a dress.

“Do I have to?” I whine.

“Yes now go.” She pushes me into another room and I slip into the dress as fast as I can without tearing it. I walk into the reflection of a mirror and a small gasp escapes my lips. I’m wearing a heart cut, strapless silver dress with what seems to be real diamonds covering the entire dress. It goes to about mid thigh, and makes my skin seem to glow and shimmer. I look up and see that around my waist the dress is cut out along the side of my stomach. I see a small strap connect the gap at my sides as I turn and see the diamonds shimmer in the light of the mirror. My gaze moves upward as I notice it highlights certain attributes that makes a blush form on my cheeks, even though nobody is in the room. I let my hair out of the ponytail and see huge, blonde curls fall down my shoulders, and I feel water form at my eyes. I look around the room in search of a pair of shoes, I come across a tall pair of silver stilettoes and I almost laugh. If Beth thinks I’m wearing these she’s crazy. As I look around some more I realize there aren’t anymore shoes in the room so I slip on the shoes and realize they only lift me up about 4 inches. I open the door and i see Beth standing there expectedly.

I lift my gaze from the floor and see her wearing jet black stilettos that look shiny against her pale skin. I look up and see she is wearing a emerald dress with black lace flower designs all around the base of it, that comes up to her knees.  It’s a straight line cut with no straps and in the middle of her neck is the most beautiful pendant I have ever seen. It’s a simple emerald with a gold trim that spins and twirls in the middle and edges. It scintillates in the lights from the plane.

“Wow you look...I can’t even put int into words.” Beth says staring at my face with her chocolate eyes.

“Beth that emerald, it’s breathtaking. Are you sure you should wear it to a party?” I ask not taking my gaze from her neck.

“Well my mother told me not to…. So yeah I’m wearing it.” Beth says moving over to me in one graceful movement. “Kara you look, like a goddess.” Beth says as I feel a blush creep on my face. “But I know something that will totally make your eyes pop.” She says as she glides over to a cream colored leather box with gold engravings on the front of it. She opens it and removes the contents from within and puts a diamond necklace in front of me.

It has a large diamond in the center with a cascading waterfall of diamonds on the sides. I see Beth move towards me but I’m in a daze from the beauty of it. She secures the clasp around my neck and steps back to stare at me in admiration.

“Beth!” I choke out tears streaming out from my eyes.

“Oh Kara you look beautiful, that necklace brings out the hints of grey and gold in your eyes. Oh that reminds me we have to do your makeup, come on.” She ushers me to the bathroom where she sits me down and starts moving her hands around in a flurry of color and cosmetics. In about 8 minutes she is done and sighs in satisfaction. She moves with her hands clasped in front of her and a huge smile in her face. The deep red lipstick hues the whiteness of her teeth.

I peer to the side of her and almost fall over. Beth did silver eyeshadow that make my eyes look like actual diamonds mixed with the ocean after a storm. My lips are a deep blood red and my hair it in a crown braid, hah! Beth worked so fast a smoothly I didn’t even notice she did my hair. I turn and see my hair shimmer with silver glitter spread throughout. My cheekbones are covered in a silver and rainbow highlight. I see glitter pieces in my mascara and a oil black wing eyeliner.

“Wow Beth you did an amazing job, my hair looks so mesmerizing. And the highlighter accents my cheekbones perfectly. How did you learn to do all this?” I ask standing up and walking out of the bathroom behind Beth.

“Well it’s this thing called youtube, and it’s going to change the world.” Beth says making me laugh. Still laughing we walk out, into the main cabin, but when we do I see Cole and Max standing there talking. Max is wearing an emerald button up shirt with a high collar that accents his athletic build. Black jeans sculpt his legs to be met with white adidas sneakers. I hear a small gasp and I turn to see Beth standing there taking short breaths. I feel my heart skip a beat as I look at Cole.

He is wearing a plain white t shirt that accent his muscles perfectly and show of his tan. The shirt is pulled taut around his chest area and my knees feel weak.  I lower my gaze and see perfectly fitted stark black jeans that feed into a pair of black converse. He is wearing a simple outfit yet I can’t breathe. I look up and see him run a hand through his dark, soft hair. The shirt stretches around his defined biceps and I almost fall right then and there. The entire outfit outlines his muscular swimmer's build, with broad shoulders, perfectly. Which is kinda funny since he doesn’t swim.

His head turns and I am hit with striking silver eyes, that go right through me in the best way imaginable. Cole smiles at me and then runs his gaze up and down. He slears his throat. “Wow, um, you look, just, um, wow.” Cole nervously stutters out.

“Yeah Kara, you will rock this party!” Max says not tearing his gaze from Beth’s.

“I kinda feel like a disco ball!” I say. Hmm “ball”, I remember that this Sunday I have a volleyball tournament that I am so not prepared for.

“Kara are you ok?” Cole asks. I guess my face really showed what I was thinking, this is why I can never play poker.

“FIne, I just remembered this Sunday I have a volleyball tournament. Everything is slipping my mind. I haven’t gotten enough practice in. and speaking of practice I totally spaced on my dance recital and competition next month. This whole thing we’re doing is 100% preoccupying me and I am going to start hyperventilating.” I say as I start gulping in deep breaths.

“Kara you really shouldn’t worry, I’ve seen you play and you will be fine.” Beth says, finally tearing her gaze from Max’s. “Plus you have a leg up.”

“Oh my god Beth! I would never use my abilities to help me win a competition. It’s not morally right.”

“Whatever, your call.” She says as she makes her way down to a tan, leather chair and picks up a magazine. I walk down to the end, trying not to gawk at Cole as I do, and sit in a chair next to Beth. I pick up a book we are reading for English class, A Tale of Two Cities, one of my all time favorite books. A breathtaking idea of transformation and resurrection. I own two different copies in my own bookshelf. As I flip through it I hear Beth shuffle her magazine and stand up. “Well come on, we’re here.”




 

Kara POV.

Time: 7:00  PM

Date: 10/17/17

Location: Lady Gaga’s Apartment/Mansion  (Thursday)

 

The party was in full swing by the time we made it passed the front door. We didn’t have to wait in the long line that goes on for blocks, the bouncer took one look at Beth and let us in. Lady Gaga’s mansion was exactly like you’d have thought it would be. A huge dance floor took up the main level and bars with alcoholic drinks were pushed up against the walls. Strobe lights flared, confetti fell from the ceiling, and loud music pulsed through the room like a living thing. I could see dancing bodies so tightly packed together, they looked like a can of sardines. I could see hands in the air and on hips and swaying to the beat of the loud music.

Beth grabbed Max the minute we got in and ran to the nearest bar. I quickly followed and Cole followed me. When we met up with them again, Beth was sipping delicately on a pink cocktail and Max was on his third shot of who knows what. “Heyyyyy guyyys,” Max said with a dopey grin on his face, his words already slurred.

Beth smiled at us and then said, “Do you want something to drink?”

“No!” I said loudly. “It’s a school night and we’re underage!”

“Karaaa!” Max said as he threw an arm around my shoulders. “Don’t be such a buzzkill!”

“I’m not being a buzzkill, I’m being smart.”

“I have to agree with Max,” Beth says as she produces another pink drink from who knows where. She hands it to me and I take it hesitantly. “One drink won’t hurt you,” Beth said. Easy for her to say, she wasn’t a light weight.

I take a small sip of the pink drink and relax when I realise that it’s pink lemonade. I down the whole thing and say to Beth, “You really had me going there, I actually thought it was alcoholic.”

Beth grimaces at my empty cup. “It was alcoholic. Pink lemonade mixed with vodka. ???????, you’re screwed.” The smile slips off my face as the alcohol sinks in. A fog settles over me and everything goes blurry but quickly focuses. I see the room in a whole new light. The dancers aren’t packed like uncomfortably tight sardines, they were a unit, all working together to create a beautiful mass of chaos. The strobe lights and confetti made me feel like I was in a snow globes, I love snow globes. I also love Col- I am not that drunk yet. I see Max grin, he too knows what I’m feeling.

I go up to him and say, “Bro, we should totally dance!”

“Bro that is a great idea!” We both start walking to the dance floor when we see a girl laying on one of the bars. Her shirt is rolled up halfway and some dude is drinking something out of her belly button. Max and I turn towards each other, eyes wide.

“Bro, are you having the same idea I’m having?” I ask.

“I think I am Bro!”

“Body Shots!” We both yell at the same time and run the nearest bar.



 

Max POV

Time: 8:00 PM

Date: 10/17/17

Location: Lady Gaga’s Apartment/ Mansion


 

I had been drinking out of Kara’s belly button for the past ten minutes and let’s say that it was probably the weirdest experience in my life. Weird because I was basically making out with my boy’s girl. Well her belly button anyways. Man I’m making more progress with Kara than Cole.

When Kara had dragged me to the nearest bar with a table, I was surprised because this was not the Kara I know. It was still awesome! She got up to the table and started lifting up her dress, thank the gods she was wearing shorts underneath. Otherwise that would’ve been hard to explain to Cole if I saw her in a bra. The dress came up to her rib cage and she laid across the bar and yelled “Pour some tequila bitches!” Wow, drunk Kara is, interesting. The bartender pours in the tequila and sprinkles salt on Kara’s tan, and shimmering stomach. I don’t do anything for a second and Kara yells at me, “Are you going to drink or will be  a little bitch baby?”

I lean over her stomach and drink out of her belly button. When I pull back I realized two things about drunk Kara, she loves to swear and she is tickilsh on her stomach. She was giggling hysterically and when she calmed down she said, “Your turn!”

She got off the bar and pulled her dress back down. She then proceeded to push me until I had pulled my shirt up and was laying on the bar. The bartender poured vodka and salt into my belly button. Kara eagerly drank from my belly button and after she was finished said, “I like your abs.”

“Really?” I asked, one eyebrow raised.

“Dammit! I wish I could raise one of my eyebrows and yes I think your abs are tight!”

I laughed but before I could say something, Kara kept talking.  “Like your abs are nice but they aren’t my favorite abs.”

“You have a favorite pair of abs?”

“Yeah, they’re a few shades lighter than your and they’re a bit more defined.”

“Would you be perhaps talking about Cole’s abs?” I asked with a knowing smile.

“How did you know?” Kara whisper shouted.

“I have this thing called a bi third eye. It lets me see when people are in love.”

“Hey! Beth has one of those except it is called her Russian third eye.”

“Well Beth and I are very similar people.”

“Not really, but opposites attract.” Then her face lit up. “You two should date, or better yet skip dating and go straight to marriage.”

“You’re funny.”

“I’m not joking,” she whined.

“Hey baby, I believe you’re telling the truth,” I guy said from behind Kara. Kara whirls around to find a tall man with dark skin and bluish eyes.

“Oh, uh, thank you?” Kara said confusedly.

“No problem. Names Josh Kingsley and your’s is?” I could see the intention in his eyes, he didn’t care what her name was.

“Not available,” I said as I slid between them.

“Who are you, her body guard? Let the little lady speak,” He said, as annoyance flashed in his eyes. Then he looked to Kara and I saw a predator in his gaze.

“Look,” I said. “I didn’t want to have to do this, but if you are going to continue to harass my friend, I will not hesitate to beat you into tomorrow.”

“You don’t scare me.”

“He shouldn’t, but I should,” Said Beth from behind Josh.

Josh’s face went pale as he turned to face Beth. “Miss Alexandrov! I am so sorry, I didn’t know these were your friends.”

“Well now you know,” she replied cooly. “If you want to keep your job and your dick, you’ll leave this party. “

“Yes Miss,” was all he said as he ran for the exit.

Beth turns to me with her big brown eyes filled with excitement. “That was a nice gesture Max, but next time leave it to the real man.”

I think I felt a piece of my heart break off and fly to Beth, a piece she now owned. Kara ran up to Beth and gave her a hug. “You’re just in time!” she said. “Come drink alcohol out of my belly button!”

Beth shrugs and lets Kara pull her to the bar. Kara gets up and pulls her dress up again, then the bartender pour vodka and salt into her belly button. Beth doesn’t hesitate as she leans over and drinks it all up. When she looks back up we make eye contact and she smirks. I need to leave before she sees what she was doing to me. Holy hell, this girl would be the death of me. “Damn,” She says. “That’s one deep navel!”

Kara hops up and says let’s go dance. She grabs my arm and says to Beth, “Are you coming?”

“I’ll meet you out there.”



 

Cole POV

Time: 10:30 PM

Date: 10/17/17

Location: Lady Gaga’s Apartment/Mansion

 

I wasn’t having that great of a time. My friends had abandoned me and I was forcing myself not to drink any alcohol. The only highlight of my night was right now, watching Max and Kara dance to Lady Gaga’s: Just Dance.

The strobe lights reflected off of Kara’s golden hair and confetti littered her already dazzling dress. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. She was an angel, she was a goddess, she was-

“You do know you don’t have to be all stalkery, you can dance with her.”  Beth sat down next to me and handed me a glass filled with clear liquid. I sniff at it and she says, “It isn't alcoholic, just water.”

“Thanks,” I mumble, taking a sip.

“Why won’t you just go dance with her? Why haven’t you told her how you feel?”

“Because she deserves better,” I say and then pause. “She deserves things I can’t provide her.”

Beth sighs and I bristle. “Why haven’t you told Max how you feel?”

“It’s different. I don’t know how I feel about Max yet, you and Kara both know how you feel about each other. That’s why I don’t get it. If I had someone I knew for sure loved me, I would go after them.”

“Beth...I take it you haven’t had an easy life.” She nods and I continue. “I think you have someone who loves you and you’re afraid. Just like me, you’re afraid. We’re not that different.”

Beth contemplated this and then said, “If Max and Kara find other people they are happy with by the time we are thirty, you and I should move in together to spend our unmarried life with each other.”

“Yes,” I said. “We could have our own bedrooms, and we could go to all those couply things with each other without having to be married!”

“We’d have brunch everyday!”

“Obviously,” I said.

After the excitement fades away, Beth whispers, “We’ll never be truly happy without them will we?”

“No, but we can pretend, for their sakes.” We both nod and then Kara and Max walk up to us.

“Guys!!! Let’s go to a different party, I’m done with this one!” Kara says.

“How about no,” I say as I stand up. “You need to get home.” Kara starts to protest but Beth cuts in.

“If you go home now, I’ll bring you cupcakes tomorrow.”

“Oh! Cupcakes!” Kara giggled. She walked over to me and hopped up into my arms. “Home, my noble steed.”

I looked to the others and asked if they were coming. Beth said,” No, Max and I are going to hang out here for a while.” From the look in her eyes, they were going to do more than hang out.

“Go get him!” I whispered as I walked past her. When I got outside, I found an abandoned alley and then zoomed into the sky. By the time we had gotten to Kara’s apartment, it was one in the morning.

I quietly carried her through the apartment and carried her up into the elevator, being thankful nobody was getting back at this hour in her building., I unlocked the door with the spare key the Damrins keep under their welcome mat in the hallway. I laid Kara down on her bed gently. Her golden hair fanned out like the rays of the sun. She looked back at me with an unknown emotion in her eyes.

“I need to tell you something..but sober Kara won’t like it!”

She tried to sit up but I gently pushed her back onto her bed, “Okay sweetie, just lay back down. Good girl.”

Kara grabbed the collar of my shirt and pulled me down so that I was looking right into her doll like eyes. “I lov-love you.” She let go of me and laid back down. Her eyes closed and her breathing evened out, showing me she was sleeping.

I left Kara’s apartment with a smile on my face and I didn’t think I’d ever stop. I didn’t understand completely, but I know if felt good hearing those words come out of her soft, pink lips.



 

Kara POV

Time: 5:00 AM

Date: 10/18/17

Location: Westmen High

I wake up to hear my alarm clock screaming in my ear. Hangover plus super hearing equals hell. I hit my alarm clock as lightly as I could, which ends up smashing it to pieces. Oops. I stretch out and feel my back crack, groggily I walk to my closet and change into the first thing my hands come into contact with. I quickly put on the clothes and stare at myself in the mirror. I’m wearing a tight black t shirt that outline my figure perfectly, and short white shorts that make my legs look incredibly long as they feed into my low cut black Converse All Stars. I take my hair out of the braid that is in shambles, causing my blond hair to fall down in deep, big curls.

I think back to last night and feel shame splash my face when I think of people doing body shots on me. I continue thinking about last night as I apply my makeup, as I replay the events I can’t seem to remember what happened when Cole took me home. I guess it will come to me. I grab my bag and head down stairs and grab a muffin, then say goodbye to my parents. I check my phone and see that I have no new messages, I guess I’m taking the subway today.

I arrive at school after a severely cramped subway ride, and I walk up the front steps and see Cole leaning against the front doors. He’s standing next to a football friend who’s name I think is Sam. I approach them and I meet eyes with Cole, and his face turns a bright red.

“Hey Cole.” I say readjusting my backpack and flipping my hair out of the way.

“Hey Kara. What’s up?” Cole says.

“Nothing much, have you seen Beth at all?”

“No, Max either. Weird.”

“Hmm, I guess we’ll see them later. Hey, Sam right?” I turn to Cole’s friend. He smiles at me and I see a dark brown curl fall over his hazel eyes.

“Yeah, and you’re Kara.” He says with a smile.

“Yup, that’s me.” I say awkwardly. I turn to Cole and see him send a smile my way.

“Well now I can cordially invite you to my party.” Sam says “It’s tonight at 8. At my place.”

“I don’t know man.” Cole starts.

“Come on dude, you have to go.”

“Maybe.” Cole says.

“I’m taking that as a yes, you are definitely coming.”

“Ok, so I guess I’m coming.”

“So are you Kara. I’m not taking no for an answer.”

“Sure!” I say, trying to feign enthusiasm to match Sam’s.

“Awesome see you both tonight. Gotta split, I got psychics.” Sam says backing away and then going inside the tan double doors.

“So that just happened.” Cole says shoving his hands in his pockets.

“Yeah, don’t know how though. Hey I was thinking,” I start as I see Cole lean in eagerly “I can’t remember a single thing from after you brought me home, did anything happen?”

“You seriously don’t remember?” Cole says, a flash of hurt in his eyes.

“Nope not a thing, I was really out of it.” I start to think and I look at Cole’s red face and I think I said something embarrassing, I clear my throat “I wasn’t even myself, I was completely crazy. I probably said something I didn’t mean. Did I?”

Cole clears his throat “Um, no. You didn’t say anything. Let's uh, head to class.” Cole says dismissing the entire subject of last night. Hmm, something is missing. I push that thought aside for now and catch up with Cole who started heading inside. I walk faster to pick up the pace with his long legs. I stop at my locker and meet up with him outside of our class. We walk into homeroom together and sit in our usual seats. Cole seems oddly invested in his copy of A Tale of Two Cities not so much as casting me a glance. I mean I know it’s a good book, but it’s not the best. It’s no To Kill a Mockingbird.

I remember on my 10th birthday my dad brought me back a copy but made me promise not to read it until I was at least 12. I had waited, so much so that I lost the book in the fire. The crisp, yellowing pages are probably churning in the wind somewhere. I haven’t looked at a copy since, it brings too much heartbreak, too much sorrow, too much...loss. So many other things remind me of my parents. Like my art. My mother used to be an artist and she had taught me how when I was 5. I remember she was sitting out on our lawn, wearing her big, blue smock. Her deep, gold hair was alway pulled back with a red scrunchie. Her deep brown skin glistened in the sunlight, like it used to when we lived in Spain. She would be sitting, painting a single leaf and she always said “We must appreciate the smaller moments in life. They create the big, special memories .”

I had run out one day to the back field our apartment had, after having a fight with my little sister, Talia, who was only 3 at the time. She had taken my Barbie doll and wouldn’t give it back. Funny how now I don’t really care. I would buy every Barbie in the world just to see her once again. I had gone out in a huff and my mother was there, gently stroking out hues of green and yellow onto a firm, snow white canvas, her hair in that red scrunchie. She took me up on her lap and told me it would be fine, and then handed me a red paintbrush and told me to paint whatever I was feeling on a sheet of paper she had clipped up. Since I was only five it was a mess, but to me it was not only a connection to my mom, it was a way to show how I was feeling in a way words couldn’t even figure out how to start understanding.

From that day forward I had nothing but full memories of painting with my mother. Her kind yet worn blue eyes, the way her lips were always pulled up in a bright smile. How she sketched every start, painted every masterpiece, erased every mistake and taught me how to on my own. She would love to draw landscapes, specifically ones of our old home in Spain, where she and I both were born. I had drawn so detailed, and lifelike my mother was breathless every time I showed her a doodle of a ladybug, a oil painting of an abandoned alley, or a painstaking sketch of a leaf. Her smile was the only praise I ever needed, the only award that was worth it.

Thinking about that always makes my heart ache with loss, and woe. I can’t remember the last time I drew for fun or to set myself free.  The last time I truly got in touch with my emotions. I mean I do art projects for school and the club, but that’s for a grade, I’ll never get that smile again. I’ll never feel complete.

Dance is the only other thing where I can forget my baggage and trauma and truly blend in with the music. When I dance, I feel my bones melt away and it’s only me and the music. Nobody else can hurt me, not when I’m moving. It’s a way to speak without needing words, or emotions. Just pure movement. I let my mind go blank and I let the beat guide me and take over my body. I can forget, like with painting, just forget and feel weight lifted off my shoulders. I only got into dance as a way to deal with the emotions but it has become a way for me to, feel at peace, if only for a moment or two.

“Kara. Kara!” I hear a deep, strong, and smooth voice say.

“Huh?” I say, dazed.

“Are you listening to me?” Cole asks. I snap out of my daze and turn to see fierce, grey eyes staring at me in bewilderment.

“Uh, yeah totally.” I say.

“No you weren’t.” Cole says.

“Sorry, I was thinking.”

“About?” Cole gently urges. He knows not to push me to talk about parents. He knows that I’ve been under the pressure of therapists, police officers, detectives. I look him in the eyes and feel myself completely falling apart.

“My family.” I say, feeling a little surprised I just opened up to him like that. The surprisement fades when I see joy fill his eyes, knowing I opened up to him.

“Oh, um I was just asking do you want a ride to Sam’s party?”

“Yeah sure.”

“But it would be with three other of the guys from the football team.” Cole says sheepishly like I wouldn’t be okay with that. As long as they behave I’m fine. Hell, I’ve been best friends with a dude since the beginning of highschool. And Cole’s a guy too.

“Ok.” I say nonchalantly.

“Great.” Cole says.

“Great.” I say as the homeroom bell sounds and calculus begins.

Classes go by fast, until gym class. It was weird since neither Max or Beth have shown up yet. I start to get worried as we are doing laps to prep for soccer.

“I’m sure they're fine.” Cole says as we continue our running. We have been running nonstop and neither of us are the least bit winded. It may have downfalls, but being a superhuman with unbreakable endurance is awesome.

“Really? I mean Beth would have called or at least texted by now. This is so unlike her.” We head outside to the soccer field and start our stretches. I see Cole’s shirt ride up revealing perfectly toned muscles. Other girls seemed to have noticed because I hear the whispers.

“Oh my god Cole is so hot.”

“I know but what is he doing with that skank?”

“Yeah, we are so much hotter than her. She’s so freaking ugly, like somebody shield my eyes.”

“What’s her name anyways?”

“I don’t know, I would love to see him like that again though.”

“I would love to see the rest.”

“ I would love to rip off that shirt and-”

“Oh my god Kenzie.”

For peace of mind I didn’t finish what that Kenzie said, I still want to have some of my innocence.

“Please tell me you don’t listen to them.” Cole says as he finishes stretching and grabs a ball for warmups.

“To who?”  I ask innocently while returning the ball he kicked to me.

“You know who.” Cole says doing a rainbow kick over his head and kicking it back.

“Showoff.” I grumble as he laughs.

“Come on, is it really showing off if I’m just that awesome?” Cole asks grinning widely showing me his gorgeous smile.

“Don’t be arrogant Jackson, it doesn’t suite you.” I retort back making him laugh harder.

“I think everything suites me.” He says as I stick my tongue out at him. “Now, now, that wasn’t very nice.”

“Oh bite me.” I say as I start dribbling the ball and cut past him. I am just about to kick a goal when I feel strong arms around me and the ground is no longer at my feet anymore. I hear Cole laugh at my protests to put me down. “I swear to god Cole, put me down or I will kick you.”

“Ooh now with threats? Wow, that is no way for a lady to act. But since I am such a gentleman I will put you down.” Cole turns me around and I slide down, feeling his hands on my back. He puts me down as I take short breaths in sync with his own. I was not even an inch from his face. “That was cheating you know.” I say straightening out my ponytail.

“Cheating? I was just intercepting the ball.” He says innocently.

“I am not a ball.”

“Ok I might have been cheating, just a tiny bit.” Cole adds with a smile. “You never answered my question, you know.”

“What question?”

“Do you really care what those girls say?” Cole asks running his hand through his thick, dark, hair.

“No.” I say matter ‘o’ factly. I don’t care what they called me, I know I have three amazing people who love me just the way I am, and that’s all I need.

“Good because they couldn’t be more wrong.” Cole says, making me think, does he think I’m beautiful?

“Fall in line ladies.” I hear Mr. Denman say as we all jog to the center of the court for team assignments. He calls off a list of names and we seperate on to two sides of the field. I look and see Cole jogging towards the opposite side.

“Hey Damrin.” He says as he lines up across from me.

“Hey. Ready to lose?” I say, feeling the competitive side of me knocking my insides around.

”In your dreams..” Cole says and the game starts.


 

Kara POV

Time: 11:30 AM

Date: 10/18/17

Location: Westmen High

 

I walk to our usual lunch table with my lunch tray in my hands. I sit down across from Cole who is devouring a turkey club with pickles.

“Hey try this thing, it’s called swallowing.”

“Hardy har har. Very funny.” Cole says taking a swig of Coke. “I’m hungry, Coach had all the football players run laps during our free periods not to mention soccer really wiped me out.”

“I know me too, but I won, so it’s worth it.” I say, eating half of my grilled cheese.

“Not everything is about winning.” He says finishing off his Coke bottle and banking it in the trash can.

“And that is precisely why you lost.” I say shoving the rest of my sandwich in my mouth. I swallow and see Cole staring at me in astonishment.  

“Damn girl, you sure can eat.” I just shrug and take a gulp of my Coke and set it on the table.

“It’s a gift.” I say as Cole laughs. We chat about normal things, like the team, but I can’t shake this feeling something is wrong. I stand up and as I’m walking to the trash can to dump my tray I hear a whisper.

“Watch this.” I hear Ashley say. The whole world starts to move slowly as I hear footsteps in a constant rhythm and then one out of pace. I quickly step towards the side as I see Ashley’s face contort in bewilderment and then terror as she face plants right into a table and a tray full of spaghetti that I assume was meant for me.

“What the hell?!” Ashley scheetches.

“Maybe you should watch where you're going next time.” I say as I turn to Cole who is in a state of shock and usher him out of the cafeteria into the hallway.

“Wow, that was um,-” Cole starts before I cut him off.

“Meant to be me. Ugh that, that...word I don’t feel comfortable saying out loud. That chienne!”

“Did you just say it in French?” Cole asks as we stop by his locker.

“Saying it in a different language doesn’t count.” I say crossing my arms.

Cole laughs “Yeah I totally know that, I swear in Polish all the time.” Cole’s father was born in Poland as well as him, so he grew up speaking it with his father. It’s actually really hot seeing him get mad in Polish, when his eyes had this sort of glint to them. His late mother was from Estonia so he can speak that fluently too, though he rarely does, it brings too much pain to think about that loss.

“I can’t believe she was going to, I won’t even finish that sentence it makes me too mad.”

“I know that was totally uncalled for, let’s just forget about it.” I knew Cole was right, but a part of me wanted to drop kick her into next week.

“Yeah, I got it.” I say.

School flies by and everybody has forgotten about the little lunchroom debacle, well everyone except Ashley. Before I know it I am in my hanging with Cole. We took the subway home, and then entered my building and took a silent elevator up to my floor.  We get inside and I grab us each a Coke and a bag of chips. We plop down in front of the couch watching Netflix and laughing our heads off, just like old times. I look over to the clock and see that it’s 7:00.

“Cole it's already seven, we should get ready before our ride gets here.” I say.

“Oh yeah you're right, see you later.” Cole says as he jumps off of the couch and helps me up. He leaves and I head up to my room. I walk into my bathroom and take a nice, hot shower. I step out and walk into my closet. I scan the endless rows of colors and brands trying to decide what to wear. I decide on an AC DC hoodie that closely fits my figure, black skinny jeans, and white converse. I tie my hair back into a french side braid and grab my phone and wallet.

I text Cole and step outside saying goodbye to the doorman of the building and walk down to the sidewalk. I see Cole stepping out of his apartment building and he strides up next to me, smelling like cinnamon and I feel my vision swimming.

“Hey, nice hoodie, you look great.” Cole says, looking at my legs.

“Thanks, you look great too.” I say, and boy did he ever. He was wearing a letterman jacket on top of a black t shirt and blue jeans going into black and white Jordans. He is wearing a simple outfit yet he looks so freaking good. His hair look like he just woke up and ran his hand through it. Hot damn that is one good looking boy. We stand there in a few moments of awkwardness in the dark, with only the busy streets of New York lighting up the space, until Cole clears his throat and says “Kara, um maybe you should hold back on the, um, the-”

“Drinking, yup gotta agree with you there.” I feel heat burn the tips of my ears, I didn’t want Cole to think I drink that much, I mean I did last night, but why is he only worried about that one night? What happened?

“I don’t mean to be rude  I just don’t want anything happening to you.” Cole says apologetically.

“Cole, don’t worry. I think it’s nice that you're looking out for me.” I say, bracing myself for the response.

“Of course.” Is all I get in return. Just as I’m about to say something about last night I see a bright grey Hyundai pull up along the curb. Living in Manhattan is great, but it’s rare to take a car to get places, it’s even rarer to have a two floor apartment building. Well I mean we don’t technically live in a house it’s more of a large apartment, with two floors and floor space that is needed.. Our apartment is two floors with not much floor space same with Cole’s. We live on a really busy street, with many couture shops, and chain restaurants as far as the eye can see. It’s nice to be in the heart of such and alive city, which is why my favorite thing to do on weekends is just go wherever the subway takes me.

“What up man?” Says one of Cole’s buddy’s who I think is from football. It may be from the lacrosse team, or soccer, or from one of the many other sports he does. Cole does so many things it’s hard to keep track, it’s just amazing how he stays lean and muscular at the same time as all these sports, and how he finds the time to manage practices.

“And holy crap, you two have got some crazy nice buildings here. No puedo creerlo” Says who I think is Blake, in Spanish. He sticks his head out of the window and I see dark, chocolate skin that makes his blue eyes look like a diamond covering the entire ocean like a sheet. I turn, following his gaze at our buildings. They were identical, I’m guessing the same person owns both, each a black granite building, grazing the sky as it shimmers in the moonlight. The doors have a silver trim along with the windows, and a large set of doors in the center.

“Yeah I guess so.” I say nonchalantly. Cole opens the doors for me and I slide in. I am in the middle, with Blake to my right and Cole to my left. I am smushed up against Cole, and  I can feel the warmth from his chest. His breath comes up short and I feel his heart beating hard and fast. I readjust myself so only my side is upon him. My head is almost touching the ceiling and I turn to see Cole’s head slouching down to prevent from rubbing up against the ceiling. The car starts and everybody makes small talk, football stats, upcoming school functions. Apparently there’s a football game next Friday night and they have to triple on practices. I’m surprised Cole and Max have been making their regular ones. But once next week starts I’m sure Beth and I can cover for them.

Thinking of Beth reminds me she wanted to take me shopping tomorrow, hmm if she’s not here by then I’ll just figure something out. The car comes to a halt and Cole jumps out, me following. I step out and stretch my long legs, gaining me stares from other party goers. “Well, I guess it’s party time.” I say looking at the cramped parking space we are in. I stare up at the sleek silver apartment building, which is most likely Sam’s place. It had clear windows that take up most of one side of a wall, with orange trims around the building block style sections of the building.

“Come on Kara, get some enthusiasms.” Blake says, with a thick accent, following me out I see his dark skin shine in the moonlight, and he is utterly breathtaking. His blue eyes shimmer, while his full lips are in a straight out smile. Blake was originally from Spain I think. His accent seems to be from there, also you can tell with the way he pronounce certain English words. I know it took me a year to loose my spanish accent, but I can still speak Spanish perfectly.

“Yay!” I say flatly.

“Oh dios.” Blake says, putting his hand to his head. “Eres tan deprimente.”

“Sé que piensas que no te entiendo, pero hablo español con fluidez. Nací en España.” I say, feeling the words roll off of my tongue.

Blake looks at me in surprise and I just smirk. “Huh, you were born in Spain?”

“Yup, I lived there until I was 5, then we moved here.”

“I mean I know you have dark tan skin but your accent is nearly gone, well except for your perfect diction. I guess I can’t hide anything from you anymore.” Blake says with a friendly smile.

“No you really can’t. But I see your point, I’ll have fun.”

“Now that’s what I’m talking about.” Blake says with a fist pump, being so adorable.

“Ok come on let’s go inside, the party has already started.” Cole says.

“Yeah. Come on amigos!” Blake says, ushering us inside. We walk up into the front lobby and give our names. The doorman shows us to the elevator and after one long, and silent elevator ride, we step into Sam’s apartment.

Standing in the doorway I see a bunch of people from our school dancing with red solo cups in  extended arms. A red glow bathes everyone in the room, with other colored lights flashing from above.

The smell of cheap beer and stale chips lay a haze over everything. I look to a hallway and see to bodies pressed together doing god know what. I turn my attention to a sleek, black, top grade kitchen, and see littered pop cans, cheeto bags, and beer bottles. On the dining room table, that looks like a antique, people are bouncing ping-pong balls into red cups and cheering, then downing entire cups full.

Girls were fawning over largely built guys, hanging on them and cooing how strong, or amazing they are. I see a cheerleader named Emma I think, never really cared enough to associate with that team,  draped against the wide receiver Chad.  I mean I am partial to dance and gymnastics, but never combined. Compared to Lady Gaga’s party, this is shit.

“Hey, you ready to par-tay?!” Blake shouts excitedly. Man this kid has so much enthusiasm, I wonder why I’ve never talked to him that much before.

“Yeah?” I offer tiredly.

Blake turns to Cole, who is now surrounded by his teammates, and some girls who shouldn’t get too close if they value having two functioning legs. “Man is she always like this?” Blake asks gesturing towards me.  Cole shrugs and says, “She usually is pretty sheltered that is but-” Cole whispers something in Blake’s ear that makes his entire face light up like a child on christmas morning.

“Well, well then I know what we have to do.” Blake says chirpily heading towards the kitchen, leaving back Cole and I. I turn and scowl at him. “What did you say to him?” I ask coldly.

He smiles a lazy grin spreads on his face. He shrugs, “Oh nothing.”

“Cole do not make me get it out of you.” I threaten.

“Oh come on princess,” He says making my heart dance “would I ever say something to embarrass you?” He teases.

“Yes, now what did you say?” I ask point blank.

He laughs and runs his hand through his hair tugging up his shirt to reveal carmel colored skin. I stare at it, hello wall have you me my face!? I look away, my face flushed, being thankful I can look down and not have Cole see my face. “I told him that all you need is a few drinks and then you're fun.” Cole says making me want to kick him in a delicate place.

“You said what?!” I ask, about three seconds from actually stomping my foot. I cannot believe Cole basically called me an alcoholic to someone I was really hoping would be my friend, now Blake probably thinks I drink my feelings and yesterday was my first time even sipping alcohol.

“Wow! I was just kidding, you looked like you were just about to slap me.” Cle says laughing, with a smile on his face. It may be handsome but I am not above slapping it right off.

“I was!” I quietly shriek, my hands balled up in fists and my side. I feel small pieces of my hair curling at my neck and I resist the urge to straighten it.

“Jeez,” Cole says still laughing, I’m guessing I don’t look that scary. Beth says when I’m upset I just look adorable, but even she runs when I’m furious. “It was a joke, calm down. I just said you had a long day and you were tired. Don’t worry Blake doesn’t think that you're a drunk, he just thinks you need to relax.”

I exhale sharply and uncurl my hands. My back straightens and the heat floods from my face. Cole was just kidding, it wasn’t a funny joke though. I was two seconds from tackling him and frying his face.

“You suck, you know that right?” I say as I follow him into the living room, where the ground is littered with cups, and chips.

“So I have been told, by you.” He says grabbing a chip from a red plastic bowl and offering my one. I take it and munch on the chip, wrinkling my small nose at the weird flavor.

“What flavor is this?” I ask Cole who is shoving handfuls in his mouth.

“Well Sam is originally from Canada and he brings down special ketchup chips that are only made up there. Weirdly they don’t make them down here, which sucks ‘cause these taste awesome.” Cole says offering me more which I greedily take.  

“Really awesome, I wish that these were available here.”

“I know right! Ketchup chips are the bomb!” I hear somebody say from behind me. Sam comes up and grabs some chips and shoves them into his mouth. “I get them everytime I go up to visit my mom.”

“So you're Canadian?” I ask, munching on the surprisingly delicious chips.

“Yup, 100% Canuck, I was born in Montreal.” Sam says enthusiastically.

“Wow that’s really cool, you don’t really have an accent though.”

“Yeah, I moved here with my dad when I was young. I still visit my mom up home. They got divorced when I was young. It’s cool they're civil with each other though.”

“Do you speak French?”

“Yup, you?”

“Fluently.  I am also fairly good at hockey.” I say, wiping my hands off on a napkin.

“Awesome!” Sam says high giving me. “Quick question, just to decide if you're cool or not, what is the national animal of Canada?” Sam asks his face becoming mildly serious. Without a moment's hesitation I answer.

“The beaver, of course.”

“Alright! You're cool! Awesome, so many people say moose, it’s like “nah brah, it's the beaver”.”

“Totally my dad used to have to go up and work there for his company. See he is originally from France so he was the only one really who spoke fluent French.”

“Well I am so talking with you in French later, count on it, but for now, let’s party.” Sam says pumping a fist in the air. “I’ll talk to you later Kara.” Sam says as he walks towards Cole and whispers “She’s awesome dude, how are you not dating her yet?” Sam asks moving on to the kitchen. I feel my face heat up, hoping Cole can’t see me. I look up at him through my lashes and see his face mirroring my own shade.

“Well you heard the man, let’s party!” Cole says taking me by the hand and leading me into the kitchen. I let go of my brain and just party. We move into the living room at some point and start dancing. I see Cole moving, free and loose and it fills my heart to the brim with joy. Shockingly, Cole is an amazing dancer. He is loose, and rhythmic, dancing to the beat and taking my hands, leading the way.

At about 10:00 my phone pings, just as Cole brings me into a empty hallway and shows me his phone. It’s a police scanner that somehow got hooked up to both our phones, this seems weird since I only know basic computer technology, not as much as Beth. The message says there an armed robbery in progress at Amsterdam and 8th.

“OK, so that is weird that we got an alert, but we have no time to think about that know, we need to go.” Cole says starting down the hallway.

“Wait a minute. “I say causing Cole to stop and turn.

“What?” He asks clearly anxious.

“How do we get there?”

“Um, Kara, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we both can fly.” Cole says giving me a worried look.

“I know that smart ass, I mean how do we get out. We can’t go through the front door, people would see us leave and ask questions and it would get messy.” I say trying to come up with a plan. I look at Cole and suddenly a mischievous grin spreads across his face. “What?” I ask, not really wanting an answer.

“I have an idea that you're going to hate.” He says moving back down towards me.

‘What is it?” I ask tentatively.

“So you know how Sam lives in the corner of the building?”

“Yeah.”

“Somewhere there is bound to be a window. I’m betting on an empty bedroom.”

“Ok, I don’t like where you're going with this.”

“Oh don’t worry, it gets worse. So if we find an empty room with a window that leads outside, we can...jump.”

“You're right I hate this plan. Like hell I’m jumping 26 freakin stories in the air. I do not give a crap if I’m indestructible, there is no way I’m jumping that high down.”

“Come on Kara, we have to, and now!”

“I really don’t want to, but I know I should. But-” Before I can finish Cole grabs me by the wrist and drags me into an empty bedroom.

There is a king sized bed pushed into the corner, with a light blue bed spread and clothes thrown all over it. I look to the corner and I see a light oak desk with black legs and a Mac Pro computer sitting upon it. I turn to Cole who is trying to pry open the window. He struggles at first but then slides it open, and pops out the screen. He looks down and a look of excitement runs across his face. I hesitantly approach the window and bend over to peer down. My heart starts frantically pounding and sweat forms at my temple. I feel my throat close up.

“Um, wow. So that’s, um, really high.” I say backing away from the window, keeping my front to it as if something was going to jump out of it and attack it. I feel my back run into the desk and I stop.

“Kara, I know you're scared, it’s really high, but we need to. The robbery is in progress, as in happening as we speak.” Cole says slowly approaching me, like I’m a cornered animal.

“I know,” I gulp “I just, it’s just.” My mind flashes to the robbery, the armed robbery. “Ok, I guess if I hold my breath, and don’t think about it too hard, I won’t have a panic attack.” I say taking Cole’s warm, outstretched hand and walking up to the window. I take a deep breath. “I’m totally fine with this, but just in case can you go first?” I ask, unable to tear my gaze from the drop.

“Yeah, of course, I’ll jump first and I’ll be waiting for you on the ground.” Cole says. He swings his legs through and sits atop the ledge, he turns and gives me one last smile, then pushes himself off of the window sill. I rush over to the window and see Cole standing, about 130 feet down, smiling and waving. I step back and take a deep breath, steadying myself against the cool wall. I take  small step forward, and then another, then two more and I place my shaking hands on the window sill. I sit on the edge of it and swing my legs over so now they’re dangling over the edge. I plant the base of each foot on the wall outside of the building, take another deep breath, and push off.

Time seems to slow even though I know I’m falling fast. I feel like I’m almost floating. My hair comes around me, the soft tips of it tickling my cheeks, making me giggle. My arms float around me and I take a calming breath, feeling like I no longer have a heart or lungs or anything, just pure air inside of me. It feels peaceful up until I realize where I am. I close my eyes preparing for a world of temporary hurt. My ears are ringing and my breathing stopped.

A strong hand cups my lower back, and I feel another around my legs. I squeeze my eyes closed tighter when the faint smell of cinnamon hits me. I realize I’m no longer falling.

“Cole?” I whisper, my eyes still squeezed shut.

“Yes?” He asks, gently adjusting me so my face is in his shoulder.

“You caught me?”  

“Of course,” He says sweetly, then adds “Otherwise you probably would’ve gone splat.”

“Gee thanks.” I say sarcastically, wrapping my hands around his neck, opening one eye to survey my surroundings. “And here I thought I was caught by somebody other than someone acting like a dbag.” I say, thinking my insult was super weak.

Cole laughs “Is that my thank you for saving you?”

“Thank you for catching me.” I say opening my other eye and I realize we are in a dark alley.

“I’ll always catch you.” He says making me want to cry. I uncross my leg and he gently sets me down. My legs feel as if they might buckle, but I shakily straighten up and smooth down my pants. My hair is falling in loose curls down my shoulders.

“Well that was, awful.” I say looking up a the night sky.

“I thought it was fun!” Cole says excitedly. I shoot him a glare and he closes his mouth. “Or maybe not.”

“Not, anyways we need to get our suits. Man I wish Max was here, he is faster.”

“Where is he? And where’s Beth?”


 

Max P.O.V.

Time: 11:30 p.m.

Date: 10/18/17

Location: Middle of nowhere

 

I look around the desolate cell, with dirt streaked cement walls. A small, sad metal cot sits in a corner, begging for mercy. In the opposite side of the block is a grimy, what was once steel, toilet that looks like it would kill you if you even thought about sitting on it.

I look to the wall and I see Beth standing there, filing her nails as if nothing is wrong. Her chocolate eyes are deep in concentration set on her nails. Her hair is falling over her face, and she absentmindedly swats at it, not seeming fazed when she only hits air. Her small mouth is pointed, with her full, pink, lips in a hard pout. I want nothing more than to right now grab her face and those perfect, unreal lips. Her skin is glistening in the dim light that seems to be centered on her. I try to remember to breath but it comes difficult when staring at such beauty. Thick lashes surround her round, poise eyes. Unlike Kara’s huge doll eyes that remind me of a puppy, Beth’s eyes remind me of a fox’s, fierce, intelligent, and lethal. Around the corner of her eyes is a faint trail of mascara that only highlights her terrifying beauty. My heart is pounding out of my chest, and I finally understand what Cole means when Kara makes his heart beat slower, and faster at the same time. How she is the only thing he sees when he walks into a room. All light centered on her, nothing else matters because nothing can come between us, erm I mean them. Not me and Beth, Cole and Kara… But right now all I see is her, nothing else.

“What are you staring at? Do I have something on my face?” She asks, her hands slowly creeping up her cheeks. I clear my throat, shaking myself out of my thought.

“Um no, I’m, um, thinking of a way out of here. I think we can break those bars, somehow.” I lamely offer.

“We'll probably not, because I don’t have super strength, I mean I don’t know about you…” Beth jokes.

“Right, you're not Cole and I’m not Kara. Wait, I mean that in reverse.” I stutter out feeling like an idiot. Oh my god, I’ve turned into Cole like when he is around Kara, crap!

“I don’t know, Cole and I do look a lot alike, and you and Kara have the same high cheekbones, yet soft features. And don’t forget about you're hair colors.” Beth says seriously.

“Well either way we don’t have that kind of strength. I mean we’ve only had these powers like a week.”

“Hmm, you're right. Feels longer.”

“A lot longer.”

“Wow, I can’t believe I’m in jail. I always thought it would be for grand larceny.” Beth says a mischievous glint in her eyes, causing my heart to skip.

“What?!”

“Nothing, never mind.” She says, dismissing me with a wave of her hand. “How do we get out?” She asks her eyes looking at me expectantly.

“Well I do have an idea… But I don’t know if I’m able to do it.”

“I know you can.” She says making my heart jump.

“Wow, you have so much faith in me.”

“Have you ever proven otherwise?” Forget jumping, my heart is doing freaking backflips.


 

Cole P.O.V.

Time: 11:30 p.m.

Date: 10/18/17

Location: Wharehouse outside of Manhattan

 

“OK, so we need to be careful.” Kara says coming out of the back, fully suited up, looking down, pulling on her gloves. Her stomach glistens in the dark, somehow creating her own spotlight. “...and you know how she would want us to take it out.” Kara says, putting her hands on her curvy hips. I pull my gaze up to her face, looking at her plump, soft lips, and her soft heart shaped face. I bring it up higher and see her cute button nose wrinkled in irritation, something especially used towards me. I meet her gaze and feel myself completely crumble from the inside out. Her pale blue eyes swirl with gold pieces, highlighted in a ring of pure silver. Thick lashes surround her doll eyes as she looks up at me, her eyes full and expectant. I get lost in the deep, abyss of her eyes, something I never want to come out of. Looking at her like this brings me back to the day I met the girl next door.

I had moved to Manhattan from Poland, and I had spent a year learning to speak English. I had been trying to help my father unpack, but being only four at the time I was really making a fort out of boxes. It had been six months since my mother had died of sudden heart attack, and my father was doing his best to keep a happy face, but being an innocent four year old I saw right through it. He had been moving slower, and sleeping all day, then just sitting and staring out of the window into the street at night, not letting himself forget what had happened on a street six months earlier. I had tried my best to cheer him up, but I didn’t understand the way he was acting, I had lost my mother and the way I had dealt with it was probably worse than his.

It was a week after we had moved in and my dad came into my room and he saw me writing. I didn’t want to show him it, but he looked so broken so I had gave him the piece of crisp, white paper. I will never forget the look he had on his face as he read the letter to my late mother. It was how I was coping with her absence, by writing her everything that was going on in our lives. Some silly, naive part of me actually thought I would get a letter back, but after each one I would write, I would get nothing but emptiness in return. He had told me that he was sorry and embraced m, which was something he had only done twice after she had left. He kept repeating he was sorry over and over again in my ear, even though I told him it was okay.

He then sat me on his lap and told me he heard there was a neighbor in the next door building who was my age. I had agreed but he told me I had to go get the mail first, I guess he hadn’t realized how dangerous New York was yet but then again, neither had I. I had gone downstairs and talked with the door staff for about five minutes before I went outside to get the mail. I was skipping when I saw a little girl, with a Hello Kitty dress on, skipping around with her mom, an older version of the little girl.

She had pale blue eyes, and thick, curly, blonde hair surrounding her golden skin. She had white leggings on under that pink, polka dot dress, that fed into little black shoes. She turned and saw me staring at her and smiled. She had her two front teeth gone and her tongue crept through the little gap. She looked up to the older version of herself and told her something then skipped towards me. She stopped in front of me and smiled the brightest smile I had ever seen.

“Hi, I’m Kara.” She said with a thick accent that was beautiful, “what’s your name?”

“Cole.”

“You have a funny accent. Where are you from?” She said, I could have said the same.

“Poland.”

“Wow, that’s awesome, I was born in Spain, my daddy is from France. I can speak French and Spanish. Can you?” She had asked her eyes full of light.

“No, but I speak Polish, Lubi? ci?, czy mo?emy by? przyjació?mi?” I had said in Polish.

Kara wrinkles her small nose in confusion. “What did you say?” She asked sweetly.

“I like you, can we be friends?”

“Of course, I like you too Cole, you seem fun.” Kara said as she intertwined my hand in hers and and brought me up to her mom. That day, that one fateful morning, I knew it changed my life forever because that was when I met Kara.

“Cole?!” I hear Kara yell.

“What?” I ask, still in my memories. I shake my head and see Kara’s eyes glaring at me.  

“Did you listen to me at all?”

“Um….Yeah?”

“Ugh why does this keep happening? First Beth and now you, I mean am I that boring?!”

“What? No, I was just thinking we need to go.” I stutter.

“That was what I was just...you know what nevermind, let’s just go.” She says tiredly, walking out of the warehouse. Opening the rust colored double doors and letting in a faint stream of moonlight. I jog towards the doors and step outside, feeling the summer air that is dying out as we near fall and walk up next to Kara. She looks at me and says “I’ll meet you at Amsterdam and 8th, try to keep up.” She says with a wink.

“Oh I’ll have no trouble-” I get cut off as she pushes off of the ground and zooms into the sky as a blur of white and black. I look and grin, accepting her challenge as I follow her lead.

In less than in minute I feel my shoes crunch against the gravelly earth. Turning my head, I look at Kara who is laughing, her sweet and peaceful laugh like music getting swept up in the. Cool wind, swirling in it.

“I totally beat you.” She says.

“Only because you cheated.” I say as she sticks her tongue out at me.

“I so did not.”

“Well then what do you call that head start you had?”

“You being too distracted to notice me winning.” She says with a smile. I knew she was right. I was distracted, by her.  

“Let’s go.” I say as we head into the bank. Kara strides up next to me as I thrust the heavy, glass doors open. We rush in and stand our ground, when it hits me. I am actually doing something to help at least one person. I’m not wasting my life on anything, I’m making a difference.

My happy moment is cut short when I hear Kara’s normally angelic voice, raw and dipped in steel.

“Put that money back.” She says, each word a bullet.

“Or what? Blondie, you ain’t got nothin’ behind that mask of yours. Nothing.” Some imbecile says.

“Nothing?” Kara asks incredulously.

“Yeah, you can’t do nothin’. Nobody’s can stop us.  What’re you gonna do?” Another one asks sarcastically.

“OK, first of all, that’s a double negative, second, I’m going to fry your sorry asses.” She says as she sends a warning shot into the water cooler, which sizzles and melts, collapsing in on itself. I see puffs of steam rise from the sad piece of equipment.

“What the?” One says as he clutches the bag of stolen money tighter than before, as if that will somehow protect him.

“So now that we’ve established that you are royally screwed, put the money down and your hands behind your heads.” She says, calmly approaching them.

One of them pulls out a gun and shoots at Kara. That’s when everything hit the fan.


 

Kara P.O.V.

Time: 12:00 a.m.

Date: 10/19/17 (Saturday early morning)

Location: Sam’s apartment

 

I turn to Cole and let out a giant breath of relief. After I had been shot at Cole forze the bullet mid-air and then we were attacked. After some property damage, and feminine shrieks from the criminals, we had them unconscious, sitting in a corner as we cleaned up the mess. Taking in my surroundings, I can’t believe I had to come back here, to this house, in the alley, having to climb up into the window. I look to Cole, who seems to be calculating how to get up there, without being seen.

“So?” I ask. Cole snaps up is head and looks at me, his eyes clouded with confusion.

“Huh?” He asks staring at me with those shimmering, intelligent, silver eyes.

“Did you figure out how to get up there without causing any commotion?”

“Yeah…” He starts having a guilty look in his eyes, “But you might not like it.”

“I swear to god Cole! Stop saying that!” I quietly yell.

“Well I’m sorry if all my ideas involve you falling or getting thrown up in the air.” He says with a shrug.

“WHAT?! You're not throwing me in the air.”

“Why not? It’s kind of like flying-ish.”

“No it is not, and I will not subject myself to this kind of terror, I’m so-” I get cut off when I feel a gust of wind and all of a sudden Cole is behind me, I hear him breathing in my ear, and his warm hands are around my waist causing a small, quiet shriek to escape my lips. “Do not throw me.” I breathlessly whisper, unable to control my rapid heart beat.

“Fine I won’t.” Cole whispers, his voice low and rough, sending a shudder through my entire body.

“Really?” I ask, surprise coloring my voice.

“You have my word, but I never said I couldn’t do this.”

“Do what-” I start until I feel a gust of wind hit me and I’m sitting on a window sill, facing into a small, blue bedroom, with Cole breathing fast next to me. He looks at me, all of me, moving his striking eyes all over my face, making me blush. I feel heat singe my cheeks and the tip of my ears. I return his deep gaze, taking all of him in. I stare straight into his moonshine eyes, that sparkle as he moves his gaze. I look down to his nose, not big but strong. Making my way down to his pink, soft lips, my insides spark, starting a fire within me.

I hadn’t noticed until my face was within an inch of his, that we both had been inching forward, pulled to each other like magnets. His thick, lashes never lower, his gaze never wavering from mine. His tall, athletic build, matched with deep, thoughtful eyes that carry a meaningful gaze makes most girls hesitate when looking at him. I have never felt intimidated, just intrigued.

I take a small breath, through my parted lips, gasping at how truly beautiful Cole is, deep, ink black hair matched with striking silver eyes, it’s unreal. I match my breath with his and scoot closer so we are now half an inch apart. I see him gulp and his pulse is beating unnaturally fast. His warm, comforting scent envelops me, causing me to shudder. I start to lean in when I hear a crash that causes all of my senses to flood back.

We both pull away, and straighten. I adjust my hoodie, and pull the stray hairs out of my face, trying to will the fire on my face to die down. Cole clears his throat and nods for us to go back to the party. I hop off of the sill and follow Cole back down the hallway, which is almost completely black, back into the kitchen. We stop where the key is and I eye it with curiosity. Before I can get any idea I hear a voice directed at us.

“Yo! Where did you guys go? I was looking everywhere for you.” Blake asks, leaning against the white marble counter, covered in a brown liquid, and cheese dust.

“Um.. We were um. Grocery shopping?” Cole stutters out in a questioning tone, running a hand through his hair. Blake raises one eyebrow at me and I know Cole screwed this up.

“For the love of God, we were making out, ok?” I lie, earning a few glances from nearby party goers.

“You were?”

“We were?” Cole asks, his eyes wide.

“Yes.”

“Can I ask a question?” Blake asks.

“No, neither can you.” I say to a still wide eyed Cole as I take his hand and lead him to a darker corner of the living room, which has a smashed lamp on the floor that nobody seems concerned about. I push him against the wall and sharply put my finger onto his firm chest.

“What the hell was that?” I ask as Cole looks at me like I’m crazy.

“What was what?”

“We were grocery shopping?! Here are three out of the many, many reasons on why that is so stupid. One, we didn’t have any bags. Two, who would leave a party to go grocery shopping? Three, why would we go into a bedroom if we were going grocery shopping?” I say, pushing my finger into his chest with each reason.

“Oh And “we were making out” was so much better?!” He asks.

“It was better than grocery shopping, dumbass.”

“Well I panicked.” He says defensively.

”Beth would drop kick you into next week if she heard that lie.” She would probably also lock us in a room together if she knew what I said as a cover up, no way in hell I’m telling Cole that.

“No she- actually yeah don’t tell her how bad that was.”

“Will do, I mean grocery shopping? You have to be a better liar than that.”

“I am, when I need to be.”

“Well you needed to be and that sucked, ugh that wa...never mind I don’t want to think about what happened tonight because honestly, I need a break.”

“I have an idea on what you could do.” He says with a devilish smirk.

“What?” I ask warily eyeing him.

“You’ll see.” Cole says as he steps forward, causing me to be looking up at him.

“Wha-” I start before Cole bends down and picks me up, sling me over his shoulder. His hand is on my back, sending warmth everywhere. “Cole what the hell do you think you are doing?” I ask, trying to stay calm as he weaves through the party, stopping at the kitchen and setting me down on the counter top. I’m sitting with my face not two inches from his. I could kiss him right now, just grab his face, I diminish those thoughts before I act on them which was all too tempting, and I straighten. “Do you have to do that?” I ask, trying my best to not look at his lips, which were pulled up in a smirk.

“Oh come on princess, you know you love it.” He says, and he knows he is right, I love being in his safe, warm, protective embrace.

“Shut up.” I say as I shimmy down, struggling past him when his puts his hands on my waist and brings me down. My legs loose control and I fight to keep balance, a fight that I’m clearly losing. “You still didn’t tell me what you were doing?” I say, as I take a step away from him, trying to regain my composure.

“I thought you needed a drink.” He says with a lazy shrug. Jack wagon.

“So you picked me up, slung me over your shoulder like a rag doll, and brought me to the kitchen when I sure as hell could’ve done it on my own?” I ask earning a sexy, arrogant smirk from him as an answer. “Unbelievable. You are just unbelievable.”

“I know, I’ve been told that.. But it’s usually followed by ly awesome.” He says as he grabs a cup and fills it with beer, taking a healthy gulp of it.

“Ok, I’m not dealing with you right now, come one.” I say as I grab his hand, which sends sparks through my entire body, and we head back into the living room where a circle of people have gathered around a small, tin barrel. I push myself through the ring of people and stand in front of the barrel, eyeing it with wonder. I turn to a guy on the right and he nods.

“Tap it.” I order. I see somebody come behind me and grab my legs. I grab the metal ridge on the top of the keg and launch myself into a perfect handstand, supporting myself with ease. A small, plastic nozzle is inserted into my mouth as I feel a rush of cold, sour liquid enter my mouth. I hear distant chanting but I focus on a face to keep me from blacking out. Silver eyes stare back at me in amazement.

The cold liquid continues in an easy stream as I hear my name getting chanted louder and louder. After what I’m guessing is four minutes I swing my legs down and land up seeing my vision dance with black dots before it returns and I’m bombarded with amazed comments and shoulder pats and high fives. In a daze I somehow make it back to Cole who is looking at me with one eyebrow raised.

“What?” I ask, hearing my words slur a tiny bit.

“Feeling better?” He almost sounds like he's chuckling.

I put my hands on my hips and look up at him, “As a matter of fast yes.”

“Okay, but you will regret that.”He says, taking a sip of his drink.

“No I won’t.”

“You will.”

“Nope.” I say, feeling my vision swirl.

“Okay, but when you're throwing up your guts, or doing something you'll be ashamed of tomorrow, expect me to say I told you so.”

I stick my tongue out at him, “Don’t be an ass Cole, come on be fun.”

“”I’m being fun.”

“No you're not, you're being a grumypuss.” I say, sounding like a little kid.

“No I’m not.” He says laughing, probably at how I look.

“Please?” I ask, widening my eyes and sticking out my bottom lip, “For me?” He looks at me and sighs, warmth filling his beautiful eyes.

“Fine, for you.”

 

Kara P.O.V.

Time:4:30 a.m.

Date: 10/19/17

Location: Damrin Residence & Central Park

 

I feel my eyes flutter open in the dark. I blink my eyes a few more times before adjusting to the dark shadows casting against my dim walls. I thrust off the blanket, feeling refreshed, and I jump over my bed, feeling my feet pad against the soft, white carpet in front of my raised bed. I go down the small set of stairs from the part of my room that’s elevated and walk to my closet, trying to decide what I want to wear. I walk into my large closet and look through my workout clothes. I decide on a pair of black, spandex shorts and a grey nike tank top, that loosely fits me, drooping down on the sides.

I stroll over to my bathroom and grasp for an elastic to secure my hair. I look in the mirror, into my eyes, that seem vacant. I try to remember what it was like to be normal, to only be worried about being accepted into a top college, or acing a calculus test, or keeping my 4.0 G.P.A., or keeping my 100 percent in chemistry class. It all seemed like a distant memory, lost in a sea of hurt, and confusion. I clear my mind and close my eyes, evening my breath out, trying to will the fog away, trying to remember the night my molecular structure changed.

My mind retreats, taking me back a week, to that night when I got out of bed and walked towards the thing that drew me in. I think about the cool, crisp air nipping at my nose, or maybe it was sending warning, to stay away. I remember the thin fabric of my pajamas, whipping around me in a frenzy, and how the moon was the only thing visable up in the black, inky sky. Drawing further and further from reality as I move closer to the piece of imagination that can’t possibly be real. I remember feeling as if I was in autopilot. Aware of everything, but not in control of my own movements, waning so badly to just go back to sleep, but I was drawn in. This needy pull was dragging me towards it, as if it knew I wasn’t strong enough to stop it.

I had glided to a crater in the ground that was filled with this cavern of light and pure energy. I felt electricity hum through the air and dance along my skin, sending shivers down my spine. Even though a part of me had known what I was about to do was stupid, I didn’t seem t care, I just wanted to feel it, to have it blend with me and become a part of me.

The light was dancing in front of me, taunting me to cast my hand upon it, and I listened. I listened to it’s calls, its beckoning. Some part of me deep down was screaming, rattling my insides, trying to break out, but I ignored it, I kept moving closer, and closer until I rested my hand on it. Heat seared my palm, the pain was unimaginable at first, as if my hand was covered in oil and gasoline. I struggled, but one I let my mind completely slack I felt pleasantness rush through me.

Warmth covered my arm as it raced to the rest of my body, coating everything in a warm shield, making my insides hum with excitement. Fear was long lost, thrown into the abyss of my conscious, a part of it that wouldn’t come back. My hand vibrated as it tried to process the velvety feel of the ball of light and energy. The soft, docile heat filling me began to grow more violent. I could feel myself burning from the inside, the blood in my veins boiling, threatening to evaporate and leave me for dead.

My teeth clench together, and for some reason my hand will not move, as if it was enjoying the searing pain of being lit on fire. My brain is creaming at me to lift my hand, but I can’t move. I don’t know if it was in fear, or pure stupidity, but I did not budge. The pain grew more unbearable, until my entire body was scorched. I feel the orb pulse quicker, and with more power, as if it was pushing me away from it. I feel one big push and I’m sent flying back, away from the burning, to the harsh ground. A scream is ripped through my lips, smashing my vocal cords, causing me to scream until nothing was left. I remember hearing a sickening crack and then I was drowned in the abyss of inky blackness.

My head snaps to attention as I look into my mirror to be met with my large eyes shining, and my thick lashes matted down. A circle of red surround my puffy eyes which are above splotched cheeks. I wipe my back hand across my eyes and take a deep breath. I pull my ponytail tighter and walk over to my closet, grabbing a pair of black running shoes. I slip them on and jog downstairs. I round the corner to see my dad in a ratty old, blue bathrobe, nursing a cup of tea while leaning on the white granite island. I walk over to him and stand across from him, as I see his eyes half closed. His glasses are slipping off of his face as I clear my throat.

“Good morning.” I say chirpily. His eyes flutter open in surprise.

“Kara, for normal people it’s still night time.”

“Well then why are you up.”

“Insomnia. I can’t sleep I have a big deadline to make. But nevermind that,” He says with an idle flip of his hand. “How have you been?” He asks, worry filling his voice.

“Fine.” I say, as I grab a banana out of the freezer, greek yogurt out of the refrigerator, and matcha powder from the cabinet. I put them all in the blender and set it to a low level.

“Honey, I know we don’t usually talk about stuff like this, you're a pretty private person, I don’t want to pressure you but you can talk to me.” He says. I feel a sob starting in my chest, getting caught in my throat, I want to pour my soul out and tell him everything that has been going on, he doesn’t deserve to be shut out like this. “I know I’m not your dad,” He continued, “but I want you to feel like you can trust me.” I wanted to jump into his arms and tell him he was my dad, and that I loved him, but. I couldn’t, I will never be able to tell him what is really going on. I took my smooths from the blender and chugged it straight up. I looked at him through my tearing eyes as if that would tell him everything that was going on. He just thinks I’m shutting him out, like I did when they were gone.

I hadn’t come out of my “new” room for weeks, I wouldn’t even talk to Cole, I couldn’t handle it. I push down the thoughts, deciding it’s better to pretend that they don’t exists, I don’t want to trouble any one. It may break me from the inside out but I can’t put my burden on anyone else, that trauma is on me, I didn’t do anything to stop the fire, I need to deal with the pain.

“I’m fine.’ I say again, my voice devoid of any emotion. Before he can protest I put the blender in the dishwasher and start to the door tossing out a lame “goodbye” as I continue. I open the door and step out, pressing the down button, inhaling and exhaling, putting that behind me. As I step in I see a broad, tan hand stop the doors and a smooth voice says,

“Hold the door please,” I press the hold door button and a boy walks into the elevator, carrying a small box. I look him over, and I am almost startled by the way he looks.

For starters his hair is a deep, rich gold color with hints of black and silver peppered throughout. His hair is cut to the tip of his ear, but a deep lock falls in front of his luminous eyes. They are a jade green, that seem to glow white behind the green. The colors are swimming, and flowing throughout his eye almost as if they were flickering. I look down over his golden, honey face, and judging by his completion I guess California. He has a strong nose that is sculpted onto his hard chiseled face. My gaze drops to his lips which are stretched into a grin over shining, perfectly white teeth, that make my eyes hurt staring at them.

“Hey.” The stranger says, still smiling. It was a perfectly normal smile, and to a perfectly normal person they would have smiled back, but being the eccentric weirdo I am, all I did was stare at him as a ball of unease formed in my stomach. He is just a nice, normal, if slightly too-perfect boy, and I’m staring at him like a weirdo, thinking there’s something wrong with him. I realize I have been staring at him with an odd look on my face, because I look into his eyes which are flickering again, as if there were two things inside of him. I push that crazy thought down and clear my throat.

“Um, hey.” I say lamely.

“I’m Luke.” He says.

“Kara.” I say, resisting the urge to run screaming like a lunatic as his intense gaze somehow grew stronger.

“I just moved here, from California,” I knew it, “I’m in 2534.”

“Oh, wow that’s a big jump, all the way from California.”

“Yup, I’m going to be starting at Westmen High in a couple weeks,” Crap, “Know anyone that goes there?”

“Uh yeah, I do actually.” I say, wishing I had pretended not to know English, before this conversation started. Since I am Spanish and I do look like it, it usually works.

“Well it’s nice to know I’ll be seeing a familiar face.” He says shyly.

“Yeah, well how has moving in been?” I ask, feeling some tension evaporate.

“Oh, fine. I’ve just been moving boxes. I haven’t had a chance to even see Central Park, or take a photos of it.”

“You're into photography?” I ask all of a sudden feeling interested.

“Totally,” He says his face lighting up, something shifting in his eyes, “I’m mainly interested in nature photography.”

“Wow, that’s pretty cool. I bet your pictures look nice.”

“You should come over sometime and see them.” He says, adjusting the box in his hands.

“Sure.” I say, wondering why I said that, I mean I guess I don’t feel like running away like he had a gun anymore so… I look up at the elevator door and see it hit the main level. “Well this is me.” I say as he slides to the left and I step out, Luke behind me.

“It was nice to meet you, Kara. I’ll see you around the building.” He says as he holds open the doors for me and I step out, into the cool, crisp morning air. Relishing the way the wind nips at my ears.

“You too.” I say as we head off in different directions. I stride into Cole’s building, showing my keycard, that Cole had given me when we were thirteen, and stepping into an elevator. I watched the elevator go up each floor until it reached floor 27, and I stepped out. I rounded the corner, running my hand along the smooth, grey wall, and I stopped in front of a large, dark brown door, with gold lettering on the front. I slowly lift my hand, wondering if Cole will be up, being happy that I know his dad is out of town, and lightly rasp it against the cool wood. I patiently wait for a few seconds before I hear a doorknob turning and I see the door flung open to be met with something I was not expecting.

My gaze runs over the hard, tan planes of his chest. I see the definition in his broad shoulders, as the tense and relax, making me quiver. Going over his stomach I see muscles clench and loosen as if he was having trouble breathing, just like I was. I look down seeing indents in his hips, as his blue pajama bottoms hang low on his hips as if just to torture me. I look up at him and I see totally kissable lips, which makes me want to bang my head on a wall, repeatedly. I look at his silver eyes, that are clouded with sleep, looking over my face with intense scrutiny making me blush to the tip of my ears. His thick lashes surround his eyes, making them all the more remarkable. In a daze, I can’t stop looking at him, his muscles, the way the lights glint off of his chest.

“Is there a reason you're at my apartment at,” He pauses looking at his watch, “4:45 in the morning?” He asks, sleep filling his raspy voice. I snap out of my daze, trying to regain some of my composure, and dignity. I was gawking at him.

“Uh, um, yeah. Sorry.” I say weakly. “I was going to ask you to go on a jog with me.”

“Kara, it’s so early. The rest of the world is sleeping. Why can’t I?”

“Come on, you jog all the time too.” I add.

“Yeah, in the afternoon, like normal people do. Not at this godforsaken hour.” He says running a hand through his messy hair.

“Come on, I need someone to jog with. I can’t do it alone.”

“I’m so tired.”

“Please?” I say, cupping my hands together, opening my eyes wider. “Central Park is beautiful in the morning.”

“Kara, I got like three hours of sleep. For pete’s sake women let a man sleep.”

“You are an indestructible super human, you don’t need that much sleep.” I add, knowing I’m right.

“I’m not going to win this argument, am I?”

“Nope, now come on, get into running clothes.” I say as I usher him back into his apartment, before I lose my self control. He closes the door and I wait for two minutes before he shows up in a pair of grey sweatpants, and a black athletic shirt. Oh sweet baby Jesus, screw self control, I don’t have any.

Cole raises his eyebrow at me, and that’s when I realize I was staring. Goddamn, he was beautiful, and I was staring like a baffling idiot who was probably drooling. I try my best to avert my gaze from his lips, and I look down at the ground, trailing the intricate woven lines of the grey carpet. I clear my throat and walk towards the elevator, ahead of Cole so I don’t go crazy and tackle him. I was hanging on by less than a thread, stupid teenage hormones, why can’t I have control?

I stop in front of the elevator buttons, suddenly unable to remember how to move my arms, when I feel warm breath on my neck, making my entire body spark and come alive. I feel Cole reach past me and press the down button, as he pulls his arm back, his finger brushes the side of my arm, causing that spot to tingle, and my breathing to stop. I feel my heart frantically beating, trying to leap out of my chest. Warmth raced along my skin as I felt his heart on my back beating insanely fast. My mind is clouded with poor decisions that I quickly dismiss.

The elevator dings, bringing out of my daze as we walk into the cramped space. The doors close and soon his scent fills the elevator, enveloping me in cinnamon. I inhale, wanting to commit this scent to memory, when suddenly the elevator door opens and a flood of people rush in, pushing me back into a wall. Well I thought it was a wall, but as I was stumbling, I felt a hand grab my waist on each side, and pull me to a hard surface. I feel Cole secure his hand on my waist, I don’t  bother to move them, as I feel the rapid thump of his heart, and his unsteady breathing as I rest my head back on his chest. I’m not short, but Cole’s incredibly tall, lean build makes me feel tiny, which isn’t something easy to do. He may be in high school, but no high school boy is built like him. Lean, tall, but still covered with defined muscles.

More people file in on the floors as we descend causing me to be pushed tighter up against Cole, not that I was complaining. I have never felt more safe, or protected than when I was in his embrace. He made me feel like nothing bad has happened, that I’m not broken. The boy next door, who was kind of an ass, but still amazing where it counts. The boy who makes me feel like I’m falling every time I see him, but I know he will always catch me. His incredibly sexy polish accent that makes me miss my home. Waking up to be met with the welcoming warmth of Spain. Getting to see my mom’s dark skin make my tan skin look pale in comparison.

Thinking of my home country makes me miss it. I miss having a thick Spanish accent instead of my American one. I miss get kin to speak Spanish everywhere, not having to remember to speak my second language. My brain immediately runs to Blake, thinking I’ll need to talk to him on Monday. I need something to remind me of home, but also someone who doesn’t know my past and won’t give me that pitiful look that just screams”Oh look at that poor girl, she has nobody to love her. She must cry herself to sleep at night, thinking of what she has lost.”

Yeah no thanks I don’t need anyone to remind me of what I lost or how I’m broken, I do that just fine by myself, just staring into nothingness, thinking of what could have been.

I shake my head, not wanting to think of that night, I might break down hysterically laughing if I do. I focus instead of Cole’s hands on my waist, relishing the tingle his touch leaves, as he traces idle circles on my lower back. I bite my lower lip, trying to reign in my hearts beating that is making it hurt, but in a good way. How my heart can hurt in a good way is beyond me. I do know that only one person in the entire world makes me feel like this.

The elevator dings, and it opens to reveal a white and grey lobby, with hydrangeas in gold pots sitting next to snow white, leather love seat.  People file out of the elevator, talking obnoxiously ink their cell phones yelling things like, “I told you red, Daryll. For christ’s sake, a monkey is more competent than you.” One angry red head exclaims. Her black, spotless heels clacking against the white marble floor. I feel bad for whoever Daryll is, but I can’t handle any form of confrontation. Beth says it’s because I have no balls but I just can’t yell at someone or call them a mean name, unless they absolutely deserve it.

I guess the first year when I came to America, I was treated like I didn’t matter, or I didn’t have a say in a grin so I just got used to it. People treated me nicer than my mother though. I had lighter skin, and bluer eyes than her so I just looked like an extremely tanned Caucasian. By then people heard me talk and either thought I was hot, now of course not when I was 6, or I didn’t matter. I would honestly rather be treated like I didn’t matter. I hate getting hit on, it grosses me out.

Beth knows I hate confrontation, but that doesn’t stop her from trying to give me strength. I love her and I know she would only push me to be the very best I could be. She just wants me to be stronger, so I can fight my own battles.

I’m pulled out of my thoughts when I see the last of the people go out of the elevator. Cole gently pushes me and I stride forwards, rounding the corner be stepping outside into the cool air. I deeply inhale, loving the scent of tree’s, rain, and fresh air. I smile brightly, feeling light and airy now that I’m outside. I love the outdoors, it’s where I get inspiration for my paintings.  I don’t care if it’s a mile long hike in the woods, or walking through the urban streets of New York, I love anything if it’s outdoors.  Rustic or urban, I can have dirt on my hands, or just be strolling the bright streets of the greatest city on Earth.

I know almost all of the girls in my grade, including Beth, would much rather be inside, but not me. The inside of a building is just so confining, it shows no creativity for me.

Turning to Cole, I’m struck by an intense gaze that is settled upon me causing me to blush from the tip of my ears, to my chest. A smirk shows up on his face, beaming arrogance, my god he is… something else entirely. I look away, not wanting to see me blush.

“Alrighty then,” I say, still not returning his gaze, “Let’s go.”

Doing a brisk jog, we make it to Central Park quickly and just enjoy the scenery. We make it to one of the many entrances, and I look at all the cherry blossom trees, the flowers drifting peacefully to the ground. Unscathed, unaffected by the wind, or the fact that it will touch the ground. As it does, one of the petals folds in on itself, ending it’s descent to it’s own end.

We continue jogging silently, something seems to fill the silence, even though nothing has been said. It felt intimate, a tangible connection between us even though we weren't in contact. I heard his steady breathing, matching my own as we continued down the curved paths of the park. As I’m leaning my head into the sun I hear a couple talk loudly, until I realize they are 20 feet away.

“Oh honey look at that cute couple jogging together. They look adorable, I wish we could get into jogging. I mean sure we aren’t as young as they are, but still. We need to keep the spark alive.”

“Honey we have kept the spark alive for 25 years, it isn’t going anywhere. But you are right, those two look like a fantastic couple, I mean given they are young. Oh that reminds me I talked to Don today…” I stop listening before the blush that blossomed in my chest reaches my toes.

I look to Cole, no doubt he heard that. The pompous, smug look on his face gives that away all too well. That jerk heard it all and is smirking?! He has such an over inflated sense of self worth, it’s like he knows how he is just...ugh.

“Are you okay?” He asks, breaking my trance.

“Hmm?”

“You look like you are concentrating on someone’s demise.” He says as the blush turns a deep crimson no doubt.

“No I don’t!” I huff.

“Yeah you do!” He throws his head back and releases a soft chuckle that makes my heart to somersaults. “Your brows are knitted, and your lips are pursed, and,” He adds, stretching out the word, “Your fists are clenched. Your knuckles are turning white.”

I stare at him in disbelief. He knows me that well? I slowly unclench my fists and turn to him, a scowl prominently displayed on my face. He looks at me and his upper lip moves up uncovering a smirk that makes me want to slap him in the face. God, sometimes he is the most thoughtful guy on the face of the Earth and then other times he is...this!

“I’m not mad.” I say calmly, as I turn my focus to my strides.

“Yeah you are.” He says as he leans and turns, leading me into a empty picnic area.

“NO! I am not.” I say, trying to reign in my temper. I can stay calm but something about him makes me lose all self control. Damnit!

“Yup, you're pissed.” He says matter ‘0’ factly. Well if I wasn’t mad now, I sure as hell am now.

“Just, just, shut up.” I say lamely.

“You know you get adorable when you're mad. Your fists ball up, your face becomes red. It’s kind of adorable,” Aww, “and hilarious.” Douche.

“I’m not mad.” I yell as we sit down on the grass, stretching.

“Ooh kay. If you say so.” He says, reaching up showing off a tan, toned stomach.

“Ok, that’s it Jackson! You pushed it too far.” I say as he looks at me bewildered.

“Wha-” He starts before I run over and push him to the ground with a soft thud. He tries to roll up but I pin his strong arms on the sides of his head. I feel the damp grass tickle my hands as I swing over and I’m sitting on top of Cole. His eyes are flooded with surprise and I smirk, knowing I got the upper hand. I lean down, my hair falling down surrounding his head as his eyes gleam, and I put my lips right to his ear. I have no clue as to what I’m doing but there’s no turning back now.

“I warned you.” I whisper in his ear breathlessly. I feel him shake and his heart starts rapidly beating. I feel warmth radiate from him, enveloping me in his welcoming scent and familiar heat. My lips part as I slowly bring my head up to meet his gaze.

His eyes are wide and he is panting, attempting to tear his gaze from mine, but he holds it. His moon silver eyes swim with colors like flecks of gold and maybe violet. His dark hair falls on his face, shielding part of his mesmerizing eyes that hold me in a trance. Just as I’m about to completely lose it I feel his weight shift underneath me and all of a sudden Iam met with cold, hard ground with grass pricking my back like little needles. I look up and I see eyes shimmering above me.

 

Cole POV.

Time: 5:30 AM

Date:10/19/17

Location: Central Park

 

I look down as I see her striking blue eyes stare at me with surprise. My lips turn into a smirk that I know she hates. Her beautiful eyes narrow into thin, menacing slits. She looks like she is two seconds from slapping me. Worst part is, I would be ok with it. Her hair is out of the ponytail and spread, fanning around her alluring face like a golden halo. Gold and white mix in perfect harmony, surrounding her face making my heart constrict.

“What are you doing?” She asks, her voice clipped. She is clearly irritated and I can’t help but grin, which makes her eyes fill with more anger.

“I don’t know what you're talking about, princess.” I say with fake innocence. Yeah I was being an ass but it is too easy and too fun to get her mad. The way Kara’s face turns a deep blood red when she’s mad is too good to pass up an opportunity to see that.

“Cole I swear I’m going to kick your ass.”

“I bet you will.” I say which causes the blush to deepen. This is too much fun.

“Cole!” She yells, trying to move her arms from where I’ve restrained her. She wiggles around, her face pinched in concentration. This is too cute.

“Yes?” I ask.

“Do not play coy with me.” She says darkly.

“Whatever do you mean?” I ask as she exhales deeply and settles back down, appearing to have given up. “You know you're cute when you're all hot and angry.” I say as her mouth drops down in a startled gasp. She quickly recovers and snaps her mouth shut. She bites down on her lower lips sending fire down my spine. She looks up at me through those thick lashes and my blood starts to boil. Her face suddenly changes, a mischievous grin appears on her face, causing me to raise a brow.

She leans her head up and I am rushed with the sweet smell of vanilla and coconut. Her lips part as she brings her head so our foreheads are touching. My pulse starts beating out of control, I can hear either her heart or mine pumping obscene amounts of blood through the veins. She lifts up her head and I look straight into her eyes. I am falling into the deep pools of blue and gold.

Her head turns towards my cheek and she softly, almost hesitantly pushes her lips against my cheek. I feel soft pressure but it’s all distant and hazy. My heart stops and I can’t breath. My head starts spinning. I lost focus.

 

Kara POV.

Time: 5:30 AM

Date:10/19/17

Location: Central Park

 

What the hell am I doing? I am kissing Cole. I mean sure, granted it’s on the cheek, but it’s still as nerve wrecking. His face is warm and smooth as I push my soft lips to his cheek, and my heart is pounding so fast I know he can hear it.

I feel his grip loosen and I know now is my chance. I lift my leg and wind it against his own, bringing my knee to his stomach. As he recoils away in what I’m assuming is pain, I grab his wrist and twist him over. I pin him to the ground and I rest my knee on his stomach, and my ankle guards his to the ground.

I probably moved faster than I should have out in public, but whatever. I beat him and  I kissed him. Well on the cheek but I’m counting it, even if it was just used as a distraction. He looks up at me, anger, surprise, and a little hurt swimming in those beautiful heather grey eyes. I hadn’t thought that I led him on, but did I hurt him?

“I win.”  I say, breathing heavily. He looks at me and all of the emotion leaves his eyes, replaced with smugness and arrogance. His shields he uses to shut people out. Just like I do.

“Touche, princess.” He dips his head down and lays on the plush grass, looking up at the sun, thinking about god knows what. I release his wrists and roll off of him, landing on my back, touching him, shoulder to shoulder. I hear his breathing matching my own, as we sit there in almost silence, aside from the rapid thumping of  our confused hearts.

I feel the wind pick up the curled, loose tendrils that frame my dark face, and make them dance in front of me. I look at the shimmery sun that reminds me of home. The fresh smell of pepper in the kitchen, and seeing my mother paint out over our cramped apartment’s balcony. Her dark, chocolate skin a stark contrast to her rich, gold tresses. People always looked at us funny, I mean to be fair, I had a dark tan skin and blonde, almost golden white hair.

People from spain can have light skin, as I did, in comparison to many others who had deep chocolate skin like my younger brother. Once we moved my skin lightened a few shades somehow, but I will always have dark, mocha and caramel colored skin, that makes me look peculiar.

One morning I had just woken up to hear birds chirping, and feel a thin film of sweat form over my skin, but I highly enjoyed it. I missed the heat of Spain, it’s much more enjoyable than the cole, muggy weather of New York. I heard my mother’s deep, alto voice talking chirpily to my father's groggy bass voice.

“Sé que están en peligro, tenemos que irnos. Hoy.” My mother says calmly, even though her message wasn’t.

“Cariño, ¿dónde podemos ir donde no nos encontrarán?” My father says, his voice filling with worry.

“No sé, pero tenemos que irnos o la matarán. Pero no podemos decirle, no es su tiempo todavía.” My mother almost shouts, I can tell from here that she was crying. I had wondered, and still wonder to this day, who was coming? And who were they coming for?

“Penny for your thoughts?” I hear his voice as it breaks through my daydream.

I sigh and close my eyes, evening out my breathing.

“I’m remembering a night back in Spain, I had awoken to my mother and father arguing about “somebody was coming for someone. I was just thinking if it had some connection to their deaths. But it’s probably silly, I just hate feeling like this. I can’t even describe it and that kills me.” I say feeling the words rush out.

“Helpless?”

“Yeah, exactly. How did you know?” I say surprised, turning on my side to face him. He was looking up at the sky with his eyes closed as he breathed softly.

“I felt the same way when my mom collapsed from sudden heart attack.”

“But that was a natural cause.”

“That’s what I thought, but she never had any history of heart problems or actually any health problems and suddenly she collapsed and died? It doesn’t make sense. But she was always paranoid about “them” coming and finding us. I just never understood why. It’s too late now anyways.”

“I’m so sorry, Cole. I just assumed it was a natural heart attack.”

“Yeah, everybody did. Nobody believed me when I said it was something else.” He says with a sad sigh that makes my heart ache for him. It’s rare to see his shield down, even rarer to have him open up to what happened with his mother. It’s like me, talking about it makes it all too real. Like this isn’t just a nightmare I will wake up from one day.

“You know what?” He says drawing me from my thoughts, “We should have fun today. Not be all down about our trauma.” He says as he jumps up and offers a hand. I lean forward and take it, feeling his hand surround mine, sending electricity down my spine. He pulls me up and I jump to my feet, brushing the dirt off of my shorts. He drags me back along the trail we came, dodging my questions as to where we are going. I jog alongside of him, completely oblivious as to where I am going.  

We stop in front of my building. I cross my arms over my chest and stop moving. He turns back to me with a puzzled look on his face.

“Are you coming?”

“Not until you tell me what is going on.”

“It’s a surprise, just come on.” He pulls me inside and we go up to my apartment. He opens the door with the hidden key, wow he is over here a lot more that I had realized, and we go into the kitchen. My mom is there with the smell of savory bacon surrounding her like a bubble. She turns, as if sensing us, and sends a dazzling smile. She looks at Cole, who is already sitting with my dad at the breakfast table, discussing the Yankees’ season. My mom walks over and drops off a plate of food in front of Cole, who smiles and downs it all. It’s like he never left.

She looks down at him with a huge smile on her face, as she plops more steamy bacon and eggs on his empty plate. Turning to me I see one eyebrow raised suggestively at me. I frown at her, not wanting to discuss my love life when Cole is 5 feet from me. I stride over to the white kitchen island and grab a piece of bacon, ripping it in half, devouring each side with joy. I grab three more pieces before my mom looks at me and laughs.

“Kara, you know there is a such thing as a plate.” My mom says reaching up to the cupboard, and returning with a silver plate detailed with intricate blue flowers on it.

“Yeah, but then you would just have to clean it, so if you think about it, I’m really helping you.” I say as I pile eggs and bacon on my plate.

“Right,” She says, unconvinced, “Kara, how can you eat so much? It’s not human.”

I just shrug and sit next to Cole, taking a forkful of eggs as he looks at me and smiles. My dad is looking at us, with a huge smile on my face, as is my mom. Why do my parents have to be so supporting of this? Just be normal! I down the rest of the food and bring my plate up to the sink and rinse it off. I dry my hands and bounce over to the table.

“I’m going to take a quick shower. See you in 15?” I ask Cole who nods. I fly up the steps and into my room. I quickly shower, only taking five minutes, and rush to my closet. I step in and look at my choices. I pick out one of my favorite autumn choices and put it on.

I look in the mirror as I take in my outfit. A flowy white shirt forms at my chest and cuts at my stomach, then continuing on the sides. My grey leggings sculpt my legs and fit them tightly as they feed into black, lace up platform heels that go up to my ankles. I tie the shoes and look to see I’m about three inches taller, not even to his shoulder. I reach into my closet and pull out a maroon colored knitted scarf. I walk to the bathroom and quickly blow dry my hair. It falls down in big, loose, golden curls. I put on a thin layer of mascara and lip gloss. I want to look good, but not try too hard. I grab my small bag and put in my phone and wallet.

Walking downstairs, I hear the soft thud of my heels and I feel powerful, but I might topple over. I walk down the last step, and see Cole and my parents in the living room, soft chatter humming through the air.

“So how has she been?” My father asks.

“She has been really strong.” I hear Cole say, probably about me.

“We don’t mean to pry, but I’m just worried about her. She’s shutting us out, getting back late, never here for dinner, and never talking about anything that has been going on. The most I’ve learned is that her dance rehearsal has been going smoothly. The only time she shut us out like this was the first two years after her parents…” My mother trails off, sobbing quietly.

“She has just been going through a lot of things, I’m sure if you talked to her,”

“We’ve tried, she just won’t talk with us.”

“Kara has had some things happen lately, she just needs to cope with things.” Oh so what your Dr. Phil now?! “Cope” my butt, stop talking about me.

“We can-”

“Hey, I’m ready.” I say as I walk into the living room as they all look at me with surprise and hidden shame painted on their faces.

“Ok, well then I guess we’ll just head out then.” Cole says as he grabs me by the back and pushes me out of the door.

“By, see you tonight.” My mom calls out after us. I reach behind myself and shut the door, as I become hyper aware of Cole’s hand resting on my lower back. He must have realised it too because his hand moved away so fast, it was like he had been burned. I feel my face heat up as we walk silently towards the elevator. I feel angry that my parents were talking to him about me, even more so that he was answering.

I build a head of steam and as I’m about to let him have it I see him and that steam dissipates. His hair is loose and shaggy around the nape of his neck and his forehead, looking like he just showered as well. I look down his tan face and neck and I see a white t shirt pullet taut around his chest. A pale blue button up hangs loosely around him, clearly not buttoned up in the least but.  I look further, along each dip of his ab and to his blue white washed jeans that feed into plain white adidas shoes.

Dragging my gaze to his face I’m hit with a silver gaze rested upon my own. I want to turn away but I hold his gaze as we stand in front of the elevator, waiting for it to open. My lips part, and his gaze drops. I turn away, not able to look at the intensity of his eyes anymore.

We lapsed back into uncomfortable silence as the elevator made its way up to my floor. It dinged and opened, revealing to be empty as we stepped in, the only noise my heels clacking against the tan linoleum floor. The elevator doors close, sealing us in an awkward silence.

“Why were you talking to my parents about me?” The words come out before I can stop them, and before I can put my foot in my mouth. Cole turns to me, stunned, and nervously clears his throat.

“Um…”

“Well come on! Spit it out!” I yell.

“They were worried about you.” He says, the arrogant smirk disappeared.

“So they couldn’t have asked me themselves?”

“You were shutting them out!”

“They could have asked me, I’m not shutting anyone out.”

“Yeah because you have never done that before.” He says. I feel like I’ve been kicked in the chest.

“Cole, you know you have too. I’m sorry if I was depressed after I lost all of my family. You of all people know what that’s like.” I say, tears burning my eyes, but I refuse to let him know I’m upset.

“I do, I just wish you would talk to somebody about it, you can’t hold all of it in. That’s not good for you. You know I’m right.”

“I don’t want to talk about this anymore.” I say as I walk out of the elevator, and then outside. Cole walks next to me as we head down the busy street we live on. It comes alive, with a sea of people rising and falling.

“Fine, let’s have a fun day. Come on my treat.” He says as he pulls me into a small ice-cream shop.

“I can’t say no to ice-cream.”

 

Kara POV

Time: 4:30 PM

Date:10/19/17

Location: Damrin Residence

 

Cole and I walk arm in arm down my hallway, laughing and talking. I shuffle the bags that are in my hand to find my key. I pull it out and jam it in the door, wiggling it around until I hear a faint click. Cole and I slide into the apartment, still laughing and smiling about the amazing day we had.

We went to Starbucks after the ice-cream and chilled there for a bit before deciding to go to the movies. We went and saw a new horror movie Cole had wanted to see. It was so scary, but awesome at the same time. We then went shopping at the mall, against Cole’s protests, and bought some new clothes. It was an altogether  great day.

We walk up into my room and I plop down onto my bed. Cole follows my lead and we sit there, talking about the fun day we had. Cole checks his phone and hops off of the bed.

“Well I have to go. I’ll see you in about an hour.” Cole says as he heads out of my room.

“Ok, see you then.” He closes the door behind him as I walk into my closet to be met with a large, cardboard box. I try to read the labeling but it’s in russian. I reach up to the top of the stiff box and dig my nails under a piece of tape. I rip it off and the box falls down as I yelp and jump out of the way. All of its contents are strewn across the floor in a mess of blue. I scramble to pick up the mess as I hang the blue garment on my mirror, inspecting the mysterious gift. I go back to the tipped over box and I see a cream colored piece of paper lying face down on my grey carpet. I pick up the note and scan over the familiar writing.

Hey boo! Sorry I didn’t get a chance to go shopping for a dress with you for tonight. But you can’t be mad at me because I still technically got you a dress. A smoking one I might add. It will totally make your eyes pop and your dark legs stand out! I know you too well, it’s also your favorite color. No need to thank me, actually you can by taking me to dinner sometime. I deserve it! Have fun with your dinner, hugs and kisses!

-Beth

I laugh at the note as I pull the dress off of my mirror. I unzip the back, being careful not to tear the smooth fabric. I pull my hair back into a loose bun as I slip into the deep, navy blue dress. I reach back and zip it up, feeling it tighten around my waist.  

I look at the mirror as I see the detailed blue roses embedded in the lace fabric above the smooth, silk solid blue. The lace layer rises up to my neck in a shallow cut and moves to the think tank straps resting against my tan shoulders. The dark blue under part of the dress goes up to my low chest and down to my knees, curving around me like a slim bell.

I walk to the bathroom and try to brush out my messy hair. Looking in the mirror a small gasp escapes my lips. Dark circles have formed under my vacant eyes, causing the too look sad and dreary. My cheeks look hollow and have a purple cast to them, making me look half dead. The only other time I looked like this was when they were gone. I never thought I would have to look in the mirror and see this shell of myself again.

I grab the curling iron and curl my hair so they fall down in small curls. I apply my makeup, putting in a thin layer of mascara, eyeliner, foundation, and red lipstick. The red blends in perfectly with my dark tan skin, and is stark against my white teeth. I look up again and can’t help but think this is just a mask, this is what I’m supposed to feel like, but I don’t. I feel like the sad, almost dead girl I saw in the mirror.

We are supposed to be happy, but I have never truly been happy. I’ve felt joyful, ecstatic, but not a permanent feeling of joy, such as the word happy means. I think of my appearance, the hollow cheeks, sunken eyes that hold no emotion, but that isn’t acceptable in an outside society. I need to be “happy” or the closest thing to that, even though that is an unrealistic goal. I can’t cause any more problems for anyone, I need to push the pain down. Shut it off, or shut people out. Then they won’t have to worry about me. That solves it right?

I ruffle my hair, feeling the smooth strands flow through my fingers, and smooth my dress down. I turn and walk out of my bathroom, towards the rest of the contents of the fallen box. I see a pair of sky blue high heels. I untie the top and slip them on.

It is about two inches tall of a heel, with straps going across my feet, tying altogether at the bottom of my shin. The electric hue of the shoe against my tan skin. I look in the mirror one last time, appreciating the mask I have dawned finding it suitable for this dinner. I walk downstairs as I hear voices. As I make my way down the last three steps I see Cole, and the entire world stops.

They say no one could ever hold a candle to Adonis’ beauty, that his was of absolute perfection. Cole is an exception to this. His hair is damp and a deep contrast around the shimmering hue of his tan skin. His cheekbones are glistening underneath the dark lights that have dawned on the dining room. His eyes penetrate me as he holds my gaze. I fall into the deep, vast pools of silver that flow through his eyes. I almost have to look away by how remarkably and unbelievable beautiful he is. I fall into his eyes and suddenly all of my problems seem to fade away into the fog of my subconscious. I feel in a trance, the shimmering in his iridescent eyes.

I pull my gaze from his hypnotizing eyes as I look at the fine clothing running along his muscular chest. His button-down shirt was dark blue (the buttons on it looked like pure gold) and he wore a nice pair of khakis with it. His shoes were made of dark leather and seemed to have been shined before he got here. He also wore a silver tie that made his eyes stand out more than usual, if that’s even possible. His outfit was eerily similar to mine, I’m going to have to ask him where he got it.

I look away from him so it didn’t look like I was checking him out even though I totally was.  I shot a quick smile at them all before I sat down at the table. Once everyone was settled in my mom went into the kitchen and came back with a large tray of food. There was roasted chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, sauted vegetables, and a bowl of fruit topped with sweet cream cheese. Dang, my mom could be the new Rachael Ray.

Once she put the tray down I quickly attacked it and got all the food I wanted without seeming like a food-hog. I wanted all of it but I knew the others wanted to eat too. Eventually everyone got food and we were all digging in. My dad groaned happily as he took a bite of chicken. “My dear,” he said, “you are an artist in the kitchen.”

Cole and I both nodded as we continued to eat. Out of the corner of my eye, I kept watch on him, waiting to see his reactions. I saw him swallow a pepper and then he cleared his throat, “all of the food is amazing, Mrs. Damrin.” I saw my mom blush happily. Suck up, I  thought but I was happy that everyone was getting along.

“So Cole,” my dad had turned his attention to him. “How has school been going for you?”

“It’s been good,” he said politely.

“How has the football season been going?” My dad wasn’t a very sporty guy, but he loved football.

“It’s been great! We’ve been really trying to expand the playing capabilities of each player by practicing different positions at practice. Coach Leven also wants us all to attend a football camp this summer to help younger kids improve on their skills.” This was the first time I’d heard of this camp so I sent Cole a curious look. He saw it and continued to say, “I just found out about the camp a couple of days ago so I don’t know if I can go.”

“Well that sounds great honey,” My mother said as she delicately ate a strawberry. My mom eats like Beth. My mother smiled at me and said, “So you two, how has it been be Co- Student Council President?”

“It’s been good,” I reply before Cole could speak.

“What are some projects that you two have been working on for the school this year? Any news an a school newsletter?” My dad asked. He leaned forward in his seat. My dad was always trying to convince the school board that Westman High needed a school newspaper. Cole and I looked at each other, we both had forgotten to bring up a newsletter to the council.

“Well, the council still hasn’t decided on the newsletter but most people are for it,” Cole lied.

“Most,” my dad cocked his head to the side. “Who isn’t for it?”

I felt panic seize my throat. I had to think of something before my dad found out I didn’t actually bring up the newsletter in any meetings. “Beth!” I blurt. I’m sorry Beth!

“Beth isn’t for it?” my dad sits back in his chair looking dumbfounded.

“Yes that’s right,” Cole says as he fidgets with his fingers, he doesn’t like lying either. “When Beth was in Russia, she was attacked by a newspaper that was flying through the winds.  It was moving so fast that it cut her arm and left a scar mark. She has been terrified of newspapers ever since.”

I wanted to smack Cole on the head for that horrible lie but before I could, my mother stood up and said, “Alrighty then, I think it’s time for dessert. Kara, sweetie, why don’t you help me. “ I got up and followed my mom into the kitchen.

I walk into the kitchen, leaving Cole with my father, alone. This was a craptastic idea, way to go Kara! Leaving the boy you want with your shameless, overprotective father is a fan-freaking-tastic idea.

My mom walks over to a white tray that is decorated with tiny pink roses painted along the border, accompanied with moss green vines. She grabs the tray and gently sets it down in front of me. I look at the tray and my mouth immediately starts watering, as I take in the sweet aroma of my mom’s famous lemon bars. I reach for one but she swats my hand away from the bars of golden perfection.

“Why?” I ask as I try to tear my gaze from the bars.

“Wait for them to be served,” She says as she looks at me and a mischievous look falls upon her face.

“Why are you looking at my like that?”

“I haven’t seen Cole here in awhile,” She says as she grabs a stack of cream colored napkins, “he looked very handsome if I do say so myself. Blue is a good color for him, as well as you.”

“Mom,” I draw out the word as I eye her suspiciously, “what are you getting at?”

“Oh nothing, it’s just such a weird coincidence that you two happened to match, and that you looked perfect next to each other.” She says innocently as she smoothes down the black fly aways from her tight up knot.

“Hmm it is weird.” I say as I think about the box Beth somehow delivered me, with that specific matching dress, oh no she didn’t.

“Well, I just think you look beautiful.” My mom says as she starts tearing up. I walk over and surround her in a warm embrace. She reaches my chest, since I’m so freaking tall I tower over almost everyone. She wraps her arms around me gingerly.

“Oh honey I know I’m not your real mom-”

“Of course you are. I have two moms. I love both of you.”

“I love you so much Kara, and so does your father. We are just worried about you. You have been coming home late, leaving early, and you have been looking tired so much lately. I just don’t want anything happening to you.” She says as she starts sniffling, making my heart ache for causing this pain.

“Mom I’m totally fine, I’ve just been insanely busy with dance practice and volleyball practices,” I say, grimacing at how easy it is to lie about this, “you seriously have nothing to worry about.”

“Kara, your mother and father would be so proud of the strong young woman you have become.” She says, causing my eyes to tear up. “I just don’t want to lose you.”

“You won’t, I promise.” I say as I back up and grab the napkins in my hand. “Next weekend we are having a fun day out, just you and me.” I promise as she smiles warmly at me and nods eagerly in agreement.

“That sounds wonderful.”

“It’s a date.”

“Speaking of dates, what actually is going on with you and Cole?” She asks causing me to stop dead in my tracks.

“What?”

“Oh come on dear, you can’t say you didn’t notice the way he looked at you as you were coming down the stairs. It was like the boy was in a trance. He was staring at you all throughout dinner, blushing every time you blessed us with that amazing smile of yours.” She says, making me think if I really don’t smile that much.

“There’s nothing going on, we are just friends.”

“Friends don’t look at each other the way you two do. It was like how your father and mother looked at each other every time we all got together. Like they were the only two people in the world. It’s the same look he gives to you, like he can’t live without you. That kind of love is hard to find, but once you find it, you can’t ever get rid of it.” She says as she walks out of the kitchen, her words ringing in my ear, “like he can’t live without you.” Surely he didn’t really look at me like that, right?

I shake my head and open the door. My mom is giving Cole a lemon bar as he cheerily accepts and takes a healthy bite. His eyes close as his face displays pure bliss. I smile, enjoying the rarity of Cole not being somber, but joyful.

I slide into the seat next to Cole as I take a bar and down it all in one. The tangy lemon flavor swirls in my mouth and is complemented by the sweet coconut that is infused in the graham cracker base.

I open my eyes to see Cole smiling at me. I gulp down the rest of the delicious bar and clear my throat.

“What?”

“You looked so happy when you took a bite. Or should I say when you shoved the entire bar in your face?” He says as he chuckles. I blush as I reach for a napkin and wipe the crumbs from my face. The rest of dessert was filled with light and cheerful chatter until my mom started to clear the table.

“Uh uh mom, you are not lifting a finger. I will clean this all up.” I say as I take the dirty plate from her as she feebly protests.

“I can’t let you get all of the glory, Damrin. I’ll help too.” Cole says as he takes two plates and strides into the kitchen. I follow after him as my parents head into the living room. I walk into see him stacking the dirty dishes near the sink.

“Alway the gentleman.” I tease as I bring two more plates and set them next to the others.

“What can I say? It’s apart of my dazzling charm.”

“Keep growing that ego, Jackson. Although I don’t know how it possibly can get any bigger.” I mock.  

“Well greatness knows no limits.” He says, shooting me a flirtatious wink, it was too easy to fall into playful banter with him.

“You and that big ego, it needs to be stopped.”

“But you already do that now don’t you?”

“Oh shut up and get the rest of the dishes.” I say as I toss a dish rag at his face, which he catches and sends me another wink. Must be strong, and resist sexy charm. He walks out of the door and returns quickly, carrying two more plates as he sets them down next to me. I turn on the water and let the cold stream run until warm water gushes from the faucet. I grab a plate and rinse the food off of it, then I carefully set it in the stainless steel dishwasher.

I repeat this until only one dish is left. I turn to look at Cole, who has been doing nothing this entire time, as my arm swings next to me, crashing the glass plate into the floor. It shatters as I let out a curse under my breath. I bend down at the waist to clean up the mess when I hear a soft chuckle.

“Is this funny to you?”

“Little bit. I can’t say I’m not enjoying it.” Cole says as he looks me up and down.

“Shut up.” I say as I give him the one finger salute which only causes him to laugh harder.

“Kara, honey, what happened?” I hear my mom call from the living room.

“Just a little mishap, it’s nothing.” I say as I sweep up the rest of the glass with my hands except for the small pieces. I throw them into the trash and reach up above the counters, trying to reach the small hand broom that is just out of reach. I strain, trying to stretch as far as I can when suddenly I feel a warm tingle spread on my back.

Cole plants both of his hands on the counter on each  side of me and my heart stops beating. I feel my back along his warm chest as he reaches up and grabs the mini broom for me. My breathing stops as he backs up and I turn around when I see him staring at me. He shoots me a smirk, tosses me the broom, and then leaves the kitchen.

I feel my anger start to rise as I get the urge to knee him in a delicate spot, as I stand there frozen, not moving. Grr! He can’t just do that! I’m done with him, he broke my heart, and he plays with my emotions. I’m not saying we can’t be friends but I am done trying to get him. It’s time to move on.

 

Kara POV

Time: 8:30 PM

Date: 10/19/17

Location: Damrin Residence

 

The rest of the night flows by quickly. We ended up all playing poker and parcheesi in the living room. Cole and I were really the only two playing poker, it was mostly a silent standoff with both of us knowing all of the cards. My parents were just confused. Cole eventually left and I helped clean up the cards then went up to my room.

Laying on my bed, I start thinking about what happened to Cole and I. Why did he just dump me there, with no warning signs whatsoever? Or maybe they were there and I just didn’t notice them because I was too wrapped up in my family’s death.

The day after my entire life crumbled beneath me, was the day I shut off my feelings and shut everyone out. I didn’t come out of my room for weeks, and thankfully it was summer so I didn’t miss any school. Not that I would have cared.

The day after the fire was just a blur. I remember getting dropped off at our same apartment building, where my new parents had been living, and decided to stay there so I could try to grasp normality. I had known them for a while, they were close friends with my family, and of course they were so eager to take me in, since I lost everyone.

For the next month I just locked myself alone on the dark, refusing to speak to anyone. Loneliness was crushing me, making it hard to breathe or function normally. When Cole cried to speak with me I just screamed and cried at him, he just left and respected me. I wish I had treated him better, he deserved better.  

I pull myself out of the haunting memories and go to the bathroom. I run the water from my black marble sink until I feel heat cover my face. I rinse my face to get rid of all of the makeup. Walking out of the bathroom to my closet I notice a shiny piece of paper peeking from the fallen box.

I walk over and bend down, picking up the cream colored envelope. I run the pads of my fingers along the smooth paper as I read the delicate gold font on the front, reading my full name on it. I turn it to the back as I see a golden wax sealing with an intricate B and A engraved in the seal. I carefully put my thumb under the seal and open the envelope. I pull out a sturdy piece of charcoal black paper with elegant gold writing prominently displayed.

You are cordially invited to attend a gathering at Beth Alexradov’s residence. The dress code is Black tie involving a masquerade theme. This event will be begin at 7:00 p.m. Saturday evening November 15th.

A masquerade ball? Beth never mentioned anything like this. When I see her we are so going shopping. I pull the box up and move it to the side as I step into my closet. I quickly put on a white tank top with whiskers across my chest, joining at a pink heart nose, and a black pair of fuzzy shorts with cartoon kittens and puppies. I jump into my bed and drift into blissful sleep.

I wake up the the harsh beeping of my phone. I check to see it’s 5:30 in the morning.





 

Kara POV
Time: 5:35 AM

Date: 10/20/17

Location: Westman High


 

I didn’t want to get up. The night before had gone well and I hadn’t had a nightmare, I think that meant I deserved to sleep in a little. With that thought in mind, I pushed my covers aside and rolled out of bed. I rubbed sleep from my eyes as I walked to my  closet and pulled out my volleyball uniform. I quickly pulled it on and went to the mirror to see how I looked. The shirt was Westman High blue with a silver raven on it, Westman High’s mascot: Ravager Raven. My shorts were also blue and let me just say, they were very short. My whole outfit was tight like a second layer of skin. On the back of my shirt it said Damrin and 17, both in silver.

I walk into my bathroom and pull my blonde hair into a high ponytail. I decide not to put on too much makeup on, just tinted chapstick. I make sure to throw on a lot of deodorant and body mist, I really don’t want to smell after the game.

I go downstairs and quickly eat a banana and then throw my shoes on. I'm out the door before either of my parents had woke up.  Because I got ready so quickly, I opted to walk to the school instead of call and pay for a taxi.

The walk gave me time to think about the night before. It had gone well, but it could have gone so wrong. By the time I came to the conclusion that it was going to be alright, I had reached the school. The parking lot was packed with cars and students all wearing the green and gold colors of Southway High, Westman High’s number one rival. I knew my team was playing against them and I knew it would be difficult to win. We had barely won against them in our last match, we were down 11 to 5 and barely made it to 21.

I walked into the school and made my way to the gym, happy to see that a ton of Westman High’s students had also come. They could definitely drown out the sea of Southway High colors with silver and blue.

Getting into the gym was difficult because people were blocking the doors. I had to elbow my way through the crowd. I quickly went into the locker room and put my bag into my locker. I was the first girl to arrive. I decided to stretch.

I was doing the splits when the twins walked in. “Woah Pres, I didn't know you were a ninja,” Kali said. Or maybe it was Lily who said it. I could never seem to tell the two apart. In fact, the only person who seemed to be able to always tell them apart was Beth. She said it was because of her Russian third eye.

The twins were also wearing their uniform that complimented their features greatly. Their family originally came from Japan about twenty years ago, so they had grown up in America. They had almond shaped shaped eyes with deep brown irides. They also had matching arched eyebrows. Their lips were always either smiling or they seemed to be pouting. They had tiny Whoville noses. They were always tan and they had long, dark hair. They were also very short, probably shorter than Beth. (Well Beth wasn't short but she was compared to me.) Overall, the twins were identical even though they say they are fraternal.

“I'm not a ninja,” I say as I pull myself out of the splits.

“You might as well be.” That would be Lily….or Kali. They both went to their lockers, which were next to each other’s, and put away their gym bags. They then started doing stretches too, none as complex as mine.

“So,” Kali began or Lily. God this is confusing. “I didn't see Max or Beth on Friday.”

“Your point?” I asked as I sat down on a bench and drank a sip of water from my purple water bottle. The Nike brand stood out to me, maybe it was super vision, or I was tripping.

“Our point is that it is a little weird that both of them were gone.” I'm not even trying to decipher who is who anymore.

“Maybe they both got the same bug.”

“Surrrreeeee,” they say at the same time as they both took out a tube of their lucky lip gloss. Insync, they applied a layer together. They were giving me creepy Siamese cat vibes.

After that weird encounter, the rest of the team started to trickle into the locker room. Thankfully that was where the questioning ended, for now.  Soon, all the girls were here and stretching. The coach gave us a pep-talk and she sent us out to defeat the Southway Seagulls.

The crowd roared as my teammates and I walked out onto the court. Silver and blue banners hung around the gym and many people carried signs. On the other side of the gym, Southway students glared at my team in silence. They were probably remembering their defeat from last time.

I searched through the crowd on the bleachers and found Cole, who was wearing a tight blue gym shirt and silver shorts to show his school spirit, in the first row. He smiled at me and my stomach fluttered. I didn't think he would come to my game but I was happy he did because normally Beth would and she was still MIA.

I took my position in the back row of players, as Captain of the volleyball team, I was always in the game first. I ended up in the middle with the twins on both sides of me. They had both pulled their hair back into long, sleek ponytails and looked ready to destroy the other team. “You ready to kick their asses?” One of them said with a fierce grin to me.

Because they were the guests, the Seagulls got to serve first. I saw the referee hand the ball to Maddy Lowen and I quickly got into my playing stance. “I'm always ready to kick some ass!” I replied with a smile of my own. Finally, the ref blew his whistle and the game began.

Maddy served the ball with a powerful hit, sending it soaring to our side of the net. It reached Lily, I believe, and she bumped it Sarah Smith, who spiked it onto the other team's side, winning us our first point.

   The game continued, our team scored five more points while the Seagulls got four. I was getting ready for my turn to serve when the ref blew his whistle, signaling halftime. Great, I get to serve first next time.

  I walked back into the locker room and grabbed a mini towel from my bag. I swiped it across my sweaty face and neck. I then took a large swig of water, it felt great on my parched throat.

After I cooled down, I realized I had fifteen minutes still until the game started up again. I left the locker room and went to find Cole. It was a lot easier to move through the gym because most people were either good by to the bathroom or getting some food from the concession stand.

As I walked up to him, I saw that he was check by his phone. I slid up to him quietly but all he said was, “ I can still hear you. I have super hearing.” He finally looked up at me and smiled. Oh god, his smile was like the sun. So bright and beautiful.

“Whatever,” I say after I clear my throat. I Sit down next to him and almost have to get up again, he seemed to seep warmth and that warmth always flooded through me at the worst possible moments.

“Why are you blushing?” Cole asked me as he shut off his phone and slid it into his pocket.

“I’m not blushing!”
“Yeah, you are.”

“Am not!”

“Kara,” he says as he grips my shoulders tightly. “You are practically the color of a tomato. How have you liked the game?”

“It's awesome! “

“I don't know why I haven't come to one of your games before. When you bumped the ball, you hit it so hard that I thought it would pop. Also, the twins have so wicked fast serves.” He says this all in one breath. His eyes sparkle and his face flushes. One of the things I loved, no not loved, admired about Cole was his passion.

“Yeah, my team is pretty good.”

“Not just good, brilliant!” he says as he leans forwards. He rests his arms on his knees and his chin on his fists.

I'm about to thank him for the compliment when the loud speakers started blaring. The sound of trumpets filled the gym and everybody stopped what they were doing. Everyone looked as confused as I felt. Suddenly the sound ends, leaving the crowd in silence, and then the gym doors burst open. For a minute, there wasn't anyone there. But then Beth came gliding into the gym on a skateboard. She had a shit-eating grin that told me she was loving the attention. She was dressed in her usual attire and she carefully held a large box, that looked like it was from a bakery, on the palm of her left hand.

She scanned the room and when her gaze landed on us, she smiled brightly. She propelled herself forward, making herself zoom across the floor. She didn't even try to warn people that she was coming. Everyone was trying to get out of her way, there was tripping and shoving. It was chaotic.

“What is up my peeps?” Beth says as she skids to a stop right next to me.

“Beth!” I say which startles her enough to make her slip off of the skateboard. Cole quickly stood up and grabbed her. Once he set her down carefully, Beth sent a glare my way.

“What?” she asked.

“Where have you been?” As I ask this, Cole asks another question.

“Where is Max?”

“Max will be here soon. As for your question,” she says this as she looks at me. “I'm never going to tell.”

I glare at her but then I hug her because I had missed her so much. She tried to hug me back but the box in her hand prevented her from doing more than patting me awkwardly on the back.

After the reunion, Beth placed the white box in my hands. “What's this?” I asked as I opened it. Once I flipped it open, I was assisted with the delicious smell of frosting and the sight of beautiful donuts. A whole bakers dozen.

I squealed happily. Beth smirked and said, “ I knew that'd be your reaction.”

I was about to ask her how she remembered to get me cupcakes when suddenly, Max popped up beside Cole. “Whoa!” Cole said, he put a hand to his heart. “Where did you come from?”

“I just ran in.” Max started to grab the box of donuts from me but I pulled them back. No way was I allowing his grubby little mitts on my donuts!

“Why didn't you come in with Beth?” Cole asked as he regained composure.

“ Beth told me I couldn't because she didn't want me to accidentally ‘steal her thunder’ “

“How would you have stolen her thunder?” I asked as I shot Beth a confused look.

Max sat down next to Cole and looked up at me. “She said my blond hair would reflect the light, mak by everyone focus on me instead of her….and I now realise that that wasn't true and she just wanted the spotlight for herself.”

Beth smirked and sat down next to Max. She sat a little too close for it to be just friendly, I'll have to ask her what happened between them later. She grabbed Max's hand and said, “I'm sorry. I just have always wanted to be a tv show host and I thought if I got used to people staring at me, I'd get over my stage fright.” She said this so convincingly, so somber was her expression that Max instantly looked bad for her.

“Beth, I didn't realize. Is there anything I can do to make you feel better?”

“You could buy me a churro,” Beth said slyly. Max was instantly on his feet.

“Of course I’ll buy you a churro!” Max dashed across the gym floor, not at super speed of course.

Once he was out of earshot, I turned to Beth and said, “ you don't have stage fright.”

“Well he doesn’t need to know that.” She says as she flips her hair over her shoulder. “Now come on, tell me what’s happening.” As Cole and I share the basic summary of the first half of the game, Beth looks at me and smiles. “I’m so proud of you Kara. Now go and kick their butts.” She ushers me off of the bleachers as our coach calls us in. I swiftly turn and see Cole and Beth whispering to each other, about what I have no clue.

I get into serving position and on of the twins says to me, “Cap, I want you to hit that ball so hard that it smacks into one of the other team’s player’s nose and breaks it.” Geesh, that was harsh. I knew I should never have introduced the twins to Beth. Before they knew her, the were the most timid people I knew, but then Beth sunk her claws into them.  Oh well, what’s done is done. I shake my head, telling whichever twin they were that I wasn’t about violence. Good thing Beth wasn’t on the team, otherwise the other team would all be in the hospital.

I set myself into position to serve the ball and then the ref blows the whistle. I threw the ball into the air and smack it across the court. It moved so quickly that the other team didn’t have time to react as it landed on the ground, earning my team another point. The crowd went wild. My team all swarmed around me and patted my back. With my super hearing, I could hear Cole and Max cheering. I didn’t even need my super hearing to hear Beth. She was standing up, waving her arms in the air like a madwoman. I was afraid her churro would go flying through the crowd. She was shrieking like a pterodactyl and her eyes were wild with excitement. Man, Beth has a lot of pent up passion. The ref blew his whistle and yelled at everyone to get back into position to continue the game.  

The game was a breeze after that. We won easily because the spirits of the other team were crushed by my serve. After the game, I went back into the locker room and changed into a pair of cut-off jeans, a loose fitting Led Zeppelin shirt, and a pair of black converse. I pulled my hair out of its confinement, loose blonde curls rained down. I packed up all my stuff and went back out into the gym. I saw Max and Cole still sitting by the bleachers and went over to them. “Congratulations on your win!” Max said as he stood up. He wrapped his lean arms around me and engulfed me in a hug. He squeezed me tightly, enough so that I could feel his muscles. Huh, never even thought of Max as a guy with muscle.

“Thanks,” I said as he let go of me and flashed me a smile. Cole stood up to and looked as though he was contemplating hugging me too. A flutter rushed through me at the thought, I scolded myself for it. Instead of hugging me, he awkwardly held his fist out for me to bump. Once that weird exchange was over, I realised that Beth wasn’t there.

“Where’s Beth?”

“She’s with the twins,” Cole said as he nodded his chin to the other side of the gym. Sure enough, when I turned to look, I found Beth. She was flanked by the twins, they too had changed into new outfits. They both wore flowy smock dresses and their long hair was put into braids that reached the backs of their knees. They were both looking to Beth with matching smirks. They had their heads bent to her and I could just barely hear what they were saying. I heard snatches and snippets of what they were saying. “Weird week”, “Cole and Kara”, “Watching them for you”. Oh. My. God! Beth hired the twins to spy on us while she was away. I would never look at those two the same way ever again. I was totally going to lay into Beth later too.

Beth sees me and whispers something to the twins. The twins immediately walks away, Beth starts walking towards us. She seems so nonchalant with her hands in her pocket and her I-couldn’t-care-less walk. She has no idea the storm that was going to come her way soon.

She comes to stop next to me and says, “Great game, Cupcake. Now that we have a free schedule for a while, I was thinking that we could spend some more time training and, you know, getting ready for halloween.”

Halloween isn't for another eleven days, but it is Beth's favorite holiday so I was surprised she waited this long to talk about it. I guess we have been busy lately. Ha! Understatement of the year.

“What were you thinking for halloween, Beth?” Cole asked as he shrugged on a light blue sweatshirt. The muscles in his arms moved fluidly and I had to stop myself from drooling. Who knew shoulders could be sexy? Probably Beth. “Do you want to schedule a training session so that we don’t have to hand out candy during the Halloween Festival.”

Beth gasps and threw her hand on her heart. “Why would you ever say something like that? Of course we aren’t going to be training during the Festival. We are going to own that bitch! I already have all of our costumes planned out, as well as what parties we will be going to.” Beth already planned our costumes? Uh oh. We walk out and go to a small diner.

Sitting across the table from Cole, I try my best to keep my focus off of him, but it’s too damn hard. I see a young waitress walk up to us, her short yellow skirt swishing around her spray tanned legs as she shamelessly ate him up with her eyes. Barf. I clear my throat and she turns her sharp attention to me and immediately pales. I just smirk and stretch out my long legs.  

“Well hello there, Chloe, can I get a chocolate milkshake?” Beth interrupts. Best friend ever. Chloe just nods as she looks at me.

“Strawberry, with extra whipped cream and cherries. Thank you.” I say as she finishes taking our orders. She comes back a few minutes later with our orders and a few extra plates. She sets a piece of apple pie in front of me and a cherry one in front of Beth. “We didn’t order these.” I say as I look up to Chloe, who is grinding her teeth.

“They did.” She jabs her thumb behind her to a group of guys in a booth, who are smiling at us. I recognize some of the faces and latch on to a familiar set of blue eyes. I look at the rest of the tanned face and take in the dusty, fawn hair that is ruffled, in a cute way. I seeu all of his buddies smiling at us. I smile back and offer a small wave. They all look at me with wide eyes, oh god. I probably have something on my face. As if reading my mind, Beth shakes her head and gives the table of guys a dazzling smile. They all gape at her. No wonder, Beth is gorgeous. I’m just, well I don’t know what I am. I don’t really care.

I take a big bite of the cinnamon flavored treat and moan in joy. This tastes so fricking good. Beth follows my lead as I slowly enjoy the pie. I see Cole and Max glaring at the table of boys, who all look like they’re about to wet themselves, and turn back to Beth and I. I straighten and cross my arms, looking expectantly at Cole as Beth does the same to Max.

“Care to explain what all of that Alpha, testosterone fueled glaring was about?” I ask as I take a sip of my milkshake.

“It was about something that happened at practice on Friday.” Cole says emotionlessly, but I know him better than that. He may be a good liar sometimes, but he can’t get his way past me.

“Oh really?” He just nods. ”Well I hope it becomes resolved. But anyways, Beth and I would love to watch your game this Friday. “

”For real? You hate football.” Cole counters as he swipes my milkshake and takes a large gulp of it.

“”Hey, paws off.” I say as I grab my milkshake back and he laughs. And I don’t hate football, I just never found it interesting. But I still want to cheer you two, my friends I might add, on. And you better kick their asses or else.” I threaten as Cole raises a brow at me. I really want to do that! Not fair!

”Or else what?” He challenges.

“I’ll kick yours.”

The week went by faster than I expected considering it was basically only Beth and I to monitor the city. Cole and Max couldn't weasel out of practice. But all things considered, Beth and I rock! Cole and Max who? Before I knew it I was sitting next to Beth, on the cold metal bleachers, hearing screams in my ears. The cool air nips at my nose as I try to focus on the ball.

“Want some?” Beth asks as she tilts a box of popcorn in my direction. I take some and throw them into my mouth.

“Is this supposed to be fun?” I ask as I readjust the slim fitting blue and silver jacket with DAMRIN on the back. I wiggle my cold toes in my navy blue converse as I pick at my black skinny jeans that are definitely too tight. Thanks, Beth.

”Oh come on, don’t be such a downer. Plus you look awesome, as do I.” She says as she twirls a silver and blue curl of mine around her finger. She reaches out and fixes some of my face paint and smiles at me in satisfaction. I turn my attention back to the game as I see Cole tossing the ball to Max, who is running into the end zone. Cole’s throw is perfect and it sails directly into Max’s awaiting hands as he runs the rest of the way to a touchdown.

“Did you see how perfect that was?” I hear Cole’s voice ask as he looks up in my general direction.

“”It was almost perfect, you threw a little too hard and Max had to increase his speed by point two three degrees.” I say, not realizing how lame and weird that was that I was measuring. Great to go, Kara.

“You are just fantastic for my ego, Damrin.” He grumbles.

“Someone needs to keep you humble, otherwise you would float away with that over inflated ego of yours.”

“Ouch, Damrin. I’ll get you back, I’m not worried.”

“Wait what? Cole? Cole! Answer me dammit!” I whisper shout.

“Sorry you’re breaking up.” He makes fake crackling noises and goes silence. Son of a biscuit. I watch the rest of the game, cheering at each touchdown, and actually getting into it. This is kind of fun. After the end of the game, where Max makes the winning touchdown, Beth and I race down the bleachers and meet up with Max and Cole. Both are sweaty and have matted hair. Both are panting as they look over us in their uniforms, and Cole is definitely not looking sexy, nope. Not. At. All.

“I guess you won, so I don’t have to kick your butt. This time.” I joke as we congratulate them on the win. Beth looks up at Max and smiles. Truly smiles and I must admit, it brings indescribable joy to my heart to see Beth gaining some of her old self back, I wish I could say the same for me. Cole looks me over intently, a small smile tugging at his mouth. “What?”

“You dressed up.” He states, rather than asks. But I answer anyways.

“Of course I did. I wanted to be fully supportive.” His eyes reveal nothing about what he is thinking. I so badly want to know what's happening in that head.

Cole P.O.V.

Time: 10:22 p.m.

Date” 10/25/17

Location: Westman High field

 

I peer down at Kara, her eyes like big, deep pools of diamond. I see her silver and blue striped hair whipping around her soft face. Her pink lips are parted, drawing my attention to them. I bet she tastes like vanilla. I love vanilla. I want so badly to just scoop her up and never let her go, but reality check Cole chimed in about how stupid that would be.

“Thanks.” I say lamely. Before I can think I scoop her up and toss her over my shoulders sending Kara into peals of laughter and weak threats. I remind her about how she brought this upon herself as I bring her to my car with ease. I set her on the ground as she peers up at me, her breaths coming in shallow, probably mirroring my own.

Realizing she is pushed up against the door of the car I step half of an inch closer, sealing the space between us. I hear her heart beating faster than I can count. Is she nervous? I plant my hands beside her temples and incline my head down. She tilts her head up and tries to speak but nothing comes out except air. I lean down further until I hear a shout in the distance. I curse low under my breath and rush back onto the field. I hear Kara follow me, just as fast. I see Beth holding a girl in a choke hold, whispering something too low for me to hear without straining. Kara runs over to Beth and pries  the girls from her grasp, scolding her for doing that.

”Your timing is beyond sucky.” I hear Kara whisper yell as Beth’s eyes widen in my direction. Crap. I know now i’ll have to talk to Beth about this later. Fantastic. I rush over to the girl on the ground, who is standing up and brushing herself off. I see a set of familiar green eyes as Ashley spits out words at Beth who just shows her the finger. Kara looks around confused, clearly not understanding why Ashley was the victim of Beth’s headlock. I see Beth whispering something to Kara, whose eyes begin to spark with anger. Uh-oh. Kara begins rushing out words in French. I make out only a few words, like hell, pig, goat, and oh wow hell again. I can only guess as to what she is saying.

I run my hand through my messy hair and groan. What would have happened if I didn’t hear that shouting? Would Kara and I have kissed? Maybe, but now I want to know more than ever, can Kara and I ever happen?

Kara P.O.V.

Time: 1:30 a.m.

Date: 11/28/17

Location: Damrin Residence

Staring at my grey ceiling, one thought won’t stop racing through my mind. Cole and I almost kissed! At least that’s how I read it, or he was just getting an eyelash that was on my face. Or i’m just going crazy and I seriously need to chill out.

As the weekend blows by, we become more used to working as a team. We are starting to match each other in pattern and follow each other's lead. Also no major property damage has occurred! So yay us! Cole and I haven’t acknowledged the almost kiss, but I have been trying to focus my frustration into fighting. I finally feel like I’m making a difference, and I love it so much. I feel like a hero.

Saturday I got to spend the entire day with my mom. We went shopping, and bought a beautiful dress with matching heels. It was great, except for the fact that she kept pestering me about Cole. I don’t even know what is happening so how could I tell her? Sunday Beth dragged me dress shopping for the masquerade ball, and bought me a new designer dress, despite my protests that I wanted to buy it. Beth is too stubborn.

I wake up and get ready for school. I rush into a t shirt and shorts with a pair of sneakers and quickly pull back my hair. I eat breakfast and continue getting ready for school. Stepping outsIde I see Cole waiting for me outside of the lobby. I walk up to him and we take the subway to school.

Sitting in Chemistry class as the teacher drones on about today’s plans I see Cole frantically tapping his pencil. His eyes look tired and his hair is ruffled as if he ran his hand through it one too many times. I tear my attention from my book to ask him what’s going on.

“Are you ok?” I ask as he looks at me, his eyes full of worry.

“No.”

“What’s wrong?” I ask as I think about how he looked normal in homeroom this morning. If he won’t tell me, I am not above taking a lit Bunsen burner from in front of me and hitting him with it.

“Nothing’s wrong.” I know he is lying, I’ve known him too long to not be able to tell.

“Tell me what is bothering you!”

“It’s nothing.” A slight pause and then, “something just feels off.” Before I can ask what he means, I hear a voice say my name.

“Please make your way to the back, next to Ms. Damrin. I look up and see a familiar face smiling at me. I smile back and hear people whispering. As Luke makes his way next to me, I hear a pencil snap. I turn and see two jagged pieces of wood and graphite in Cole’s hand. Uh oh. I see tremors rock through his body, as if he was about to go down with Luke like a mofo. Max puts his hand on Cole’s shoulder, calming him down. In front of me I hear Beth whispering questions about the new kid. Most are fairly crude, all directed at me. I just ignore them and turn to Luke.

“Well hello, Luke.” I say as he pulls out a brand spanking, new chemistry textbook. Lucky. I mean you accidentally freeze your textbook and suddenly you are through the of as irresponsible, unable to receive a new one. Teachers, pfft.

“Hey, Kara. Cool we have the same AP chemistry class.”

“Totally, I didn't peg you as the science nerd type.” Way too hot for that. Although Cole is in this class so…

“I’m a total science nerd, can’t help it. Now you totally do look like a science geek.” I furrow my brow and give him a questioning look. “Science geeks are totally hot, in my opinion.” Oh, charmer. I see. I just blush and smile. It’s nice to receive a compliment from someone, but it doesn’t mean anything.

My bunsen burner suddenly looks really hot, more so than the docile flame should be causing. It grows larger, spreading to the papers in front of me. I quickly pat out the escaped flames, but a glass shatters, snapping my attention to Cole’s and Max’s lab station. Cole’s eyes have a dull red tint to them, oh the boy did not. I am going to kick him in the groin so hard, he will sound like a ten year old girl. I give him a glare and he just looks at me, no emotion. For the love of God!

“Ms. Damrin, Mr. Jackson and Mr. Merrick?” A deep voice booms from the front.

”Yes?” I ask timidly. Please don’t say what I think you are going to say.

“Detention after school today.” Crap.

Walking up to the room detention is being held in, I think about Cole’s behavior. Why would he light up the burner? Was it an accident? I mean sometimes my emotions cause my powers to go haywire, but what provoked him? I make a mental note to double my dance practice, I need to be ready for November 15th.

I see Cole leaning against the wall next to the door, Max sitting on the single chair next to him. I walk up to Cole and punch him in the arm as hard as I can. He doesn’t even blink. Dammit!

“What was that for?” He asks, straightening to full height so his lean figure dwarfs me in every way.

“I saw that you lit up Luke and I’s burner during chemistry today. That was a serious dick move.”

“It was an accident.”

“It’s still inappropriate to use your abilities in public.” I huff out.

“It’s also inappropriate to flirt in front of people.” I gasp and widen my eyes but immediately narrow them. Two can play at this game, buddy.

“I was being nice to the new kid, douche canoe.” I say as he lowers his face to mine.

“I could’ve sworn you were going to stick your tongue down his throat.”

“I wasn’t going to, but now I want to stick my fist down yours. And maybe rearrange your face.” I say as we bring our faces closer,  now an inch apart.

”You wouldn’t do that, you like it too much.” Just as I’m about to prove him I totally would, Max lets out an exasperated sigh.

“Just kiss already. All of this sexual tension is killing me.” Max says as he strides past us into the empty room. My face heats up as Cole follows him in.

I have never had detention before. This is all Cole’s fault! When I get to the room, Cole and Max are already there, sitting next to each other. I glare at them and purposefully stride to a desk on the other side of the room. I land in the seat with a thump and slam my backpack onto the desktop. Once I’ve slid down into the chair and made my madness obvious, I realize who the teacher is watching over detention.  Mr. Lang, my homeroom teacher and the only adult at this school that doesn’t seem to like me.

I skulk until the clock says 3:45 and Mr. Lang closes and locks the door. “Well, well, well,” he says as he stands in front of the room. He clasps his hands behind his back and glares at us. “Of all the students here today, I did not expect it to be you three.” My face heats up and I see Max and Cole glaring. They hate Mr. Lang almost as much as me. “I’m surprised your little friend isn’t here too. She seems to be wherever you are, Ms. Damrin. Although I’m not sad that she isn’t here.” That smug bastard!

He continues on as if he can’t tell how mad we all are. “Because there are only three of you, I’m going to go to the teacher’s lounge and relax for a while. But I’m locking you in.”

Cole raised his hand. “What are we supposed to do for the next three hours?”

“I don’t know, nor do I care, Mr. Jackson.” Mr. Lang turned on his heels and unlocked the door. Once he was safely on the other side, he closed the door on our faces. With my super hearing, I could hear the clicking of the lock being put into place.

“This sucks,” Max mutters as he lays his head on the table.

“Well we wouldn't be in this situation if Cole hadn’t been a jerkwad earlier,” I hiss as I pull out my bio flashcards to study. I have nothing better to do. I tried to focus but all the words on the cards seemed to float away. I’m bored.

The classroom seemed encased in silence. Max was playing thumb war by himself and Cole was silently seething. You could hear a pin drop. Well, at least you could have if Max’s phone didn’t go off at that second. One minute there was no noise and the next minute, DJ Khaled's All I do is Win  was blaring.

Max quickly pulled his phone from his pocket and put it to his ear. “Hello?” He asked.

I heard a muffled command and the next thing I knew, Beth was on speaker phone. “What’s up bitches?” Beth asked. Her voice sounded slightly echoey.

“Beth,” Max said, “how did you change my ringtone for you?”

“I hacked into your phone.” Simple. No room for arguing, but knowing Max, he would.

“Why did you change it?”

“Because you picked Walking on Sunshine! Do I seem like a marshmallow to you? I’m not Kara.”

“Hey!” I said as I got up and went to where the boys were huddled around the phone. “I resent that on so many levels!”

“Calm down. Everyone knows you’re so sweet that you could rot teeth,” Beth said, she then grunted as if she was pulling herself up something.

“Beth, what are you doing?” Cole asked.

“Just working on my upper body strength.”

“Why is your voice echoing?” Max asks as his eyebrows furrow.

“Ummm…my voice naturally sounds like this.”

“No it doesn't,” I say as I grab the phone off the desk. “Where. Are. You?”

Beth doesn't respond right away. She just grunts again and the sound of clanging metal fills the room. A crash sounds to my right and I shriek. Turning around, I see Beth holding an air vent grating in her hands.

“Were you in the air ducts?” Cole asks as we all walk over to her. Beth just smiles deviously.

“Cole, don't ask stupid questions,” she says as she sets the grate on a desk. Once her hands are free, she wipes them on her tight jeans. How the hell did she have enough flexibility in those pants to climb through the air ducts? Her long, dark hair is pulled back into a ponytail and she is wearing a black, fitted tank top. Beth would probably call this ensemble ‘spy gear’.  

Beth walks to a desk and sits on top of the table part. She delicately crosses her legs before saying, “Cole, why did you misuse your powers? Max, why didn't you stop him?” The boys are about to get a verbal smack down. I start smirking but then Beth turns my way. “Kara, why didn't you stay calm during to this event?” All of us were speechless.  

Beth shook her head. “This is the reason why our team isn't as strong as it could be. Cole, you  need to learn when it's okay to use your powers. Max, you need to learn to speak up if you see something that isn't right. Kara, you need to keep your emotions in check if you are ever going to be the best protector of New York. You all have things you need to improve if you are going to be heroes and you can't improve if you are stuck in detention.”

We are all silent. I feel my face flush with shame. Beth was right.

“The moral of this speech is: don't get detention ever again or I will murder you and bury your body where nobody will be able to find it.” She ends this with a bright smile.

I hop up next to Beth and put my arm around her shoulders. “Okay, no more getting detention.” I pause. “Shit! This will be on my permanent record.”

Beth says, “I'll deal with it. Later I'll delete this from all of your records.”

I give Beth a grateful smile. Cole and Max both hop up on the desk across from us. We all sit in silence for awhile before I feel Beth practically vibrating with excitement. “Guys,” she says to get our attention. “We should recreate the Breakfast Club!”

“Why not,” Max says.

“I'm in.” Cole’s voice filled my ears.

Everyone looks at me expectantly. I sigh. “We've got nothing better to do anyways.”

“Awesome!” Beth says, clapping her hands together excitedly.  She jumps off the desk and goes over to whiteboard. “Alright, it's time to assign roles. I'm obviously going to The Criminal. Kara will be The Princess.”

“Hey!” I say indignantly but Beth ignores me.

“Cole, you'll be The Jock, Andrew. And Max will be The Nerd.”

Cole smiles at his role and Max starts frowning. Guess he isn't too happy with his role like me.

“Beth,” I say. “I don't want to be The Princess.”

“And I don't want to be The Nerd!” Max whines.

Beth sighs. “Fine! Kara will be The Nerd and Max will be The Princess.”

I smile to myself, Brian was always my favorite character. Max also seemed happy about this change for he was smirking. “Being The Princess suits me better.” He pretends to place a crown on his head. We all laugh as Beth leans in to adjust the imaginary crown.

“Perfect, Molly Ringwald suits you better anyways.” I say as we all walk towards the door. Beth reaches out and jiggles the locked knob, turns to us and frowns.

“It’s locked.” Beth frowns. I clear my throat as I pull a bobby pin from my hair and hold it out. Beth looks at me and frowns.

“I know you can pick a lock, I’ve seen you do it a million times.” I shoot her a look. “Oops, I mean I haven’t seen you do it at the fall carnival last year to get more free kettle corn, no sir.” I let out an exasperated sigh as Cole plucks the bobby pin from my hand and bends down to get eye level with the lock. In about seven seconds I hear a click and Cole pushes the door wide open while smiling.

“Voila.” He says as I step past him and grab my bobby pin.

“Took you long enough.” I say under my breath.

“Enough children.” Beth tsks as she breezes past us and skips down in the way to the cafeteria. I follow after her, leaving Cole and Max behind me so I don’t change my mind and pummel both of them. I walk up to Beth and take her hand in mine. She gives me a gentle squeeze and leans into my shoulder. “So who was that hottie in class today?” She casually slips into conversation.

“What?”

“You know what. The guy whose face you were going to-”

“For the love of Pete! I was not going to, you know what. I was being friendly.”

“If you say so.” She says in a sing song voice.

“Beth, if you want to say something, say it.”

“Cole was totally jealous!” She shrieks quiet enough for only me to hear. I hope. “He looked like he was going to take that gorgeous manimal and rip out his larynx. It was hot.”

“God, Beth. What is up with you and my love life?” I ask as we round a corner.

“It’s interesting. You don’t see how Cole and basically every male on the planet looks at you, and that puzzles me. And you know I don’t let anything puzzle me.”

“Beth they may look at me a certain way, but I couldn’t care less. I want someone to want me for my personality, not how I look. I’m not shallow and superficial. I want someone to just say “I love you, Kara.”, not “you’re hot.” You know?” I turn to Beth, who is looking at the ground. I see a single tear fall down her face but she quickly swipes her hand over the line of sadness.

“I do.” Is all she whispers. I want to ask her more, but I decide not to. She’ll tell me when she’s ready. We reach the cafeteria and ran to the food.  Well most of us ran, Beth sauntered. The guys immediately went for the chips and pudding cups. I went immediately the stash of ice cream sandwiches in a small freezer. Beth goes straight into the back, and my curiosity gets the best of me as I follow her, sandwich in hand. I see her pulling out cheese, raw chicken, ciabatta bread and different types of spinach and oils. She sets all of the ingredients down on a stainless steel counter and rips open the packing for each. She holds out the chicken cutlets and looks at me expectantly. I just look at her, confused.

“Heat thy damn chicken already.”

“Huh?”

“Use your laser thingies to heat the chicken thingies.”

“Um, okay?” I hesitate, expecting to fry off her hands, but I release a blast of heat, and my vision goes red. The heat dies down as I look around, prepared to see two hands on the ground, but am only met with two perfectly grilled pieces of chicken. Wow, go me!

“See? Way faster than a stupid grill.” Beth chimes as she starts forming the sandwich, layering all of the ingredients. She holds out the finished product and puts it straight into my hands.

“Um, thank you?”

“That isn’t for you. Well not yet anyways, you are still my personal grill.”

“Um my hands don’t heat.”

“Anything can be hot if they focus really hard and believe in themselves.” Is Beth high?

“Right, but things can’t just change their molecular structure and function by believing in themself. It’s not possible.”

“I want my panini, Kara. Do not take this away from me.” Beth says darkly. I just shrug. No matter how hard I try my hands will not heat up. My eyes on the other hand… “Just light them up, or something!” Beth exclaims. I focus on my hands, imagining the heat from my eyes traveling down my person and pooling in my palms. My eyes close and I hear sizzling and a cry of joy. “Now we panini!” Beth exclaims as she pushes my hands together. I open my eyes and Beth pulls my hands apart and takes the sandwich.

“Did you make panini a verb?” I ask as she takes a large bite of the delicious smelling sandwich.

“If you want something to be a verb, you make it a verb.” She takes another bite and munches on it happily. Max, by this point, has wandered over to us with a  Powerade in hand.

 


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