I hadn’t even realised that I’d fallen asleep until a nightmare had woken me. I shot my head up nearly banging it on the roof of the car and startling the hell out of the driver, which wasn’t really a good sign as he was driving. The roads were smooth, without the usual bumps and breaks in them which is probably one of the things that caused my tiredness. I gave him an apologetic look and sank back into the comfy black leather. Just then I realised that my driver had absolutely no aura… I mean nada, zippo and the car was quiet… too quiet, I thought.
“Sorry, I’ll put on some music if you’d like.”
Huh? Had he just… I blinked a few times as his soft voice made me feel so incredibly calm and at ease. He seemed so trustworthy. I must have looked really confused because he spoke again, his tone filling the car.
“You said it was too quiet, so I thought maybe you’d like some music to listen to.”
He was so kind to think of my needs, and try to accommodate me. I sighed, this is stupid… I shouldn’t get friendly with people… they only end up hurting or leaving you in the end. I shouldn’t trust people without auras or clear thoughts. The only time I felt at peace like this was at a cemetery… around dead people. I looked toward the front of the car and noticed he was looking at me with his clear blue eyes and smiling softly. Averting my own, I rested my chin on my hand and shrugged, giving the impression that I wasn’t entirely bothered. It wasn’t until there’d been a lot of fumbling around that the car was suddenly filled with Jon’s vocal cords, screaming out ‘It’s my Life’ and my head whipped round. Bon Jovi was like my all-time favourite band! Just then he gave me a mischievous smile… one a child might make after doing something they shouldn’t have and I knew instantly that I liked him.
Again, I blinked a few times before it actually registered what he was doing but just like before, I’d waited too long to privilege him with a response.
“You’re Chelsea-Raye Hastings, right? They faxed you over… well not you literally or I wouldn’t have you here in the car… I mean your file.”
I couldn’t hide my chuckle and as he blushed a little with embarrassment I actually found myself enjoying this particular social event.
“So you’re like what, nineteen? Why are you working as an escort… shit, I mean… you know…”
I lowered my head feeling almost as embarrassed as he did now… what the hell do you call these people, car Valeters? No, didn’t they clean vehicles? He gave a nervous laugh and answered his eyes on the road.
“Yes I’m nineteen, but I guess judging from your being here in the first place, you’re somewhat special, right? I don’t actually work for the boarding house; I just pick up and drop off those who need it.”
I smiled a little as I raised my eyebrow.
“So you’re an errand boy then?”
He flashed his eyes into the rear-view mirror and returned my smile.
“Ah yes, but a highly respected and paid errand boy. I like it though; I get to see the country and various other places besides so it’s not so bad, especially when I get to pick-up such beautiful looking baggage.”
We let our smile last for a moment longer, I had no idea why, but my cheeks flushed red and I was so glad when he turned his attention back to the road. Had he complimented me or my suitcase? It was so hard not being able to hear his thoughts… it wasn’t fair, the one time that I wanted my mind-reading ability and it wasn’t accessible, it would have come in handy now. I studied the countryside again, and Lucas had been right, it really was picturesque. Even though it had started getting overcast, the hills were still breathtaking. They stood proud in the landscape, like elegant green gems. A few sheep grazed the fields with luscious blades of grass and even that had its own beauty too, with wild blue and yellow flowers sprouting from the ground. It was amazing and what made it all that more unbelievable was when Nathaniel whispered, obviously seeing my state of awe and not wanting to disturb it.
“If you look ahead, you’ll see the beginnings of Blackfort Castle, the boarding house which will now be your new home.”
I brought my gaze forward and in respect of its unnatural, gothic beauty, Nathaniel had actually stopped the car for a moment. I took in a breath, the area surrounding it was open and green, but surrounding that greenery was circular Cedar woodland. There were limestone steps leading up to the large gothic doors which was pretty clear from this view, but… not much other detail besides the long church-looking windows. I stepped out of the car and rested myself on the door, as the wind picked up harshly, wrapping itself around me. Nathaniel surprised me by getting out and copying my image, as he watched the building too. When he spoke, his voice travelled across the wide open space in harmony with all its tranquillity.
“It used to be a church centuries ago, but a fire destroyed it. Thankfully, only the inside was badly scathed… they managed to save parts of the outside, which explains the spires. The owner, Mr. Lancaster, is a very traditional man. He’s ranging between… well he’s old but this building is just one of his greatest loves. He invested quite a lot of money into rebuilding it and opening it up as a boarding house for the mentally gifted. He is strict but that’s only because he’s passionate about things. Oh and mind your manners, because he is really traditional when it comes to that.”
I look at him then and say, in a playful tone.
“What makes you think I won’t have good manners?”
He turned to look at me then and a soft smile spread across his face.
“I was just warning you. I read your file and it says you are somewhat, how shall I put it, socially detached or… hostile to use their terms.”
Wow, I couldn’t hide the fact that that was pretty harsh to hear. I’m not hostile… am I? I lowered my eyes to the smooth tarmac road and felt lonely. I reflected back on the past year, it was like another movie slide-show, but of my life instead. From the moment my parents died in the fire, the moment I had kicked and screamed my way out of a woman’s grasp (I’m not certain who she was), the moment I had bit her, ran away, Janine… her children, Jillian and Paul… to the final moments I’d spent in the institute with Mrs. Lorenzo. Alright, so the only person I had basically allowed into my life was her but that was because she was the only one to ever be honest with me and not have her aura… or her mind lie. Nathaniel must have noticed that I’d gone quiet and probably thinking that he’d upset me, he came around my side of the car and said, softly.
“I didn’t mean it coming from me; it’s what your file says. You know what I say though? Seeing is believing, and so far I’ve seen someone very pleasant. Here.”
Out of nowhere he produced one single blue violet flower with a bow and me, in my down-right docile way, failed to accept it right away. It wasn’t because it was really unexpected, but it was because of how incredible it was… I mean as I glanced around I didn’t see any fields with blue violets… or any violets and yet here he was, producing me with but one single flower. I extended my hand and just as our fingers brushed… I got a real, painful shock from him. I’m not talking your cheesy ‘electric’ chemistry; I’m talking a real, honest-to-god shock. As if you’d just thought to yourself to actually test out that plug socket theory and failed. I jumped back, staring at him with a wide-eyed expression.
“Did you feel that?”
I asked him mainly because he held his hand which had made contact with mine and was now eying me with a rather ‘trying-to-read-you’ expression. Obviously I was here because I had some sort of gift right, so naturally he should have expected something. And if what he’d said about reading my file was true, then surely he’d read it too. Something in the look in his eyes, told me that he was slightly disappointed but... also still held that gentle nature.
Thankfully his smile returned to me and I felt relieved as I courteously returned it too. I looked at the boarding house again and just as I did that, I said quietly.
“Nathaniel, I think we should make our appearance at Blackfort now.”
He must have forgotten about our travel because he did my trick of blinking a few times as he let out a small laugh.
“Are you bored of my company already?”
I chuckled too as I began to climb back into the car.
“Erm, no but if I were you, I’d get in the car too because in roughly eight seconds, it’s going to rain.”
With a smile he closed my door gently and rounded his side on a small run. He hadn’t even shut his own door before the heavy downpour began, as though the heavens were crying violently. He switched on the windscreen wipers and started the engine again, but didn’t pull off yet because he turned in his seat and gave me an impressive look as I said, triumphantly getting it right again.
“See, I told you so.”
Hearing the rain beat down on the metal of the car really added to the calming effect of the surroundings. But what made it all that more special, was the brief moment we shared as he whispered.
“Yes, yes you did, you really are something else entirely.”
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