The Fire Within - Heidi Cooper

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Edited 27/04/17

Chapter 1 (v.1) - Chapter One

Submitted: August 16, 2013

Reads: 263

Comments: 6

A A A | A A A

Submitted: August 16, 2013

A A A

A A A

Chapter One

 

 

 

The sound of the alarm pulled me out of my slumber and away from the amulet before I could seize it.

 

I sighed and swung my legs over the edge of my double bed letting my feet land on the woollen rug below. Rubbing the sleep from my eyes, I stood and padded towards the bathroom. I could not shake the dream I’d just had. Never before had the fireplace reacted like that and certainly no amulet appeared. The strange symbol above the mantle and the events of last night were still fresh in my mind. The symbol was so familiar to me, but I could not place where I had seen it before. There was still a strange tingle within my body, barely there but noticeable.

 

Cold water gushed out of the faucet. I cupped my hands under the cool flowing liquid and extended my arms up to my face, splashing it gently against my skin. Tucking the wisps of my long, brown hair behind my ears I looked into the mirror. Blue eyes reflected back at me. The light dusting of freckles over my nose and cheeks gave me somewhat of a child-like quality, even though I would celebrate my eighteenth birthday at the end of the year. Stripping off I turned the shower on and ran the water until it was tepid.

 

The water ran down my face and enveloped my body in a cool, ever-flowing cocoon of bliss. I enjoyed standing under the showerhead and letting it run down me. The feeling of it on my skin made me shiver with delight and closing my eyes I could feel it reducing my body temperature already. I usually ran quite hot to the touch. I suppose that is why I adored cold showers so much, especially in the summer. A constant fire burned within me, not painful but I could definitely feel the warmth radiating from deep within.

 

I reluctantly finished my shower and hopped out onto the bathmat to dry myself. Today I had decided to go with navy blue hipster jeans with horizontal rips running parallel down both legs and an ice blue varsity sweatshirt that hung slackly off the shoulders. I tied my hair in a loose braid, added some hairspray then brushed my teeth before exiting the bathroom. I headed downstairs to the kitchen for some breakfast before school. I could smell the bacon and eggs before I got halfway down the stairs.

 

“Hi honey, how did you sleep?” I heard my mother say as I rounded the corner.

 

“I had the same dream again mum…” was my response but she cut me off before I could elaborate.

 

“You know they are just dreams Emilie. I wish you would stop entertaining such nonsense.”

 

“There was something different in this one though mum,” I replied. “It was just as vivid as the others but this time the feeling I had during the dream stayed with me when I woke up.”

 

“It was just a dream honey.”

 

That was all the chatter I got out of my mother this morning. She didn’t like talking about my dreams or whatever they were. Whenever I tried to talk about it, she always seemed to just brush me off. She could be really closed minded sometimes.

 

I finished off my bacon and eggs and had a final look in the mirror before slipping on my boots. I grabbed my shoulder bag and headed out the front door. Today was the first day of grade twelve and I had been looking forward to it.

 

I wasn’t enrolled in your typical high school. My interests revolved mostly around drama, music and the arts. I also took the usual classes such as math, English, science, history and geography but it was primarily a performing arts school. It cost my parents a lot to send me here and they loved to remind me about it every chance they had. I was making really good grades and was in the top percentile of all my classes so I didn’t think they really had any reason to bring that up as often as they did. Anyway, I was thankful that they had finally agreed to let me attend. My father appeared to be on my side at the time. He backed my argument agreeing that I would be very suited to the school. I demonstrated raw talent for drama and music, two of the subjects I was passionate about. After much discussion, they finally signed the cheque for my first semester back in first form.

 

It was overcast and there was a slight south-easterly breeze bringing with it the salty smell of the ocean. As I trudged through the oval I checked my student diary. Drama was first period. Drama was considered a bludge class by several students but I begged to differ. It would help me with my portfolio after graduation and I enjoyed it.

 

Helena was to meet me at the cafeteria and it was my shout for our morning iced coffee. Reaching the school gates I turned left and headed towards our meeting place. My pace almost slowed to a complete stop when I glanced up and caught a glimpse of Josias; a tall and completely gorgeous guy from my grade approaching me. My heart skipped a beat and I felt like it was going to thud right out of my chest. He smiled at me with his captivating green eyes and his dimples made me melt away.

 

“Hi Emilie, how were your holidays?”

 

“Uh, they were ok. I went to the beach and wrote some new lyrics.”

 

“I would love to hear them sometime,” he said as he gazed at me curiously. Words hung in his mouth like he wanted to say more but didn’t know if he should. “Emilie,” he said as he swept a hand through his cropped jet brown hair, “I was just wondering…if maybe you would like to catch a movie with me sometime or something?”

 

I almost died inside.

 

“W-with me?” I stammered.

 

“Yes you,” he chuckled, “If-if you want to.”

 

He appeared nervous, though he didn’t strike me as the kind of guy to get nervous about anything. I looked into the green pools of his eyes and almost fell in.

 

“I would love to go with you Josias”. I almost squealed, feeling my cheeks turn rosy red.

 

I had hoped I didn’t appear too eager, even though in that moment I wanted to leap into his arms and be carried off into the sunset.

 

“Great. How about Friday night, 6pm? I can swing by your place and pick you up.”

 

“Sure that would be awesome.”

 

“Cool. It’s a date,” he said as he looked down at his feet and shrugged his bag further onto his shoulder. I caught a glimmer of a smile as he did so.

 

I waved goodbye to Josias and continued towards the cafeteria where Helena was standing, watching me with great appreciation. She knew that I had a crush on Josias since forever and I was expecting her to taunt me over it like she usually did.

 

“So…” she started, “What did prince charming want?”

 

I rolled my eyes and poked my tongue out at her. “Well actually if you must know, he just asked me out.”

 

“Get out!”

 

“No, he wants to take me to the movies this Friday night.”

 

“Wow, you have only been lusting over him since junior high,” she joked. “Looks like he finally got the nerve to ask you out.”

 

I looked at her with a puzzled expression. “What do you mean he finally got the nerve?”

 

“Oh don’t be so naïve Em. I’ve seen the way he looks at you, the way he smiles whenever he sees you coming towards him.”

 

“I-I don’t think…”

 

“Oh come on!” Helena cut in, “I’ve been telling you for ages that you should have just grown a pair of lady balls and asked him out.”

 

I grinned like a Cheshire cat and punched her arm in a friendly manner.  

 

The bell for first period sounded so we sculled down our iced coffees and started in the direction of C block. Mrs Peters was our drama teacher and she would be waiting for us to start the lesson. She was relatively new to the school but an amazing teacher and actually had some experience with performing leading roles for various plays in theatres across the country. She was even an Elphabas understudy for the Broadway Musical, Wicked. Nowadays she was no longer performing but that didn’t deter her from teaching us how to do what she loved the most.

 

“Good morning class!” she beamed as we filed into the auditorium.

 

“Morning Mrs P,” Helena and I chimed in unison.

 

We pulled out our notebooks and sat in front like we always did eager to start the class. Helena was a natural actor and had incredible stage presence. She was tall and slender with honey blonde hair and blue eyes with amber at the inner-most part of her iris. Her self-confidence and ability to make others laugh was limitless but she was not stuck up or self-absorbed. That was what I loved about her; her humility, her sense of humour and I trusted her completely. We had been best friends since kindergarten and even though I was a bit of a loner she and I were incredibly close. Sometimes I just needed to be in my own headspace. Helena understood this as she was the same way.

 

We paired off and began with some exercises Mrs Peters had set out for us. Helena and I grabbed each other and walked towards the edge of the stage to begin. We were having such a ball that we didn’t notice what time it was until the bell sounded for second period.

 

“Great, maths next,” said Helena as she studied her timetable.

 

“Aw maths isn’t so bad.”

 

“Why? Just because Josias is going to be there?” she said tauntingly and made kissing faces at me.

 

“Hey!” I said blushing and pushed her face gently away.

 

She looked past me for a moment and nudged my shoulder as she said, “Don’t look now, but here comes lover boy.”

 

I felt those butterflies inside my stomach again, fluttering their wings rapidly. He always had this air of mystery and confidence about him. Well, let’s face it the male persuasion was a complete mystery to me as I had never even kissed a boy. I was only seventeen! However Helena was right, I had been crushing on Josias since seventh grade and never even thought I stood a chance. Until out of the blue he asked me out on an actual date. My head was swimming with images of him and me together. I could feel the heat in my cheeks as I blushed. He had this kind of animal magnetism and was dripping with sex appeal.

 

I was allowed to say that right? Just because I was seventeen didn’t mean I was completely clueless. I knew all about the birds and the bees from senior year in primary school. Not to mention the completely uncomfortable chit chat I had with my parents about the same topic. They figured that primary school couldn’t have possibly taught me all that much on the subject and thought it was a good idea to elaborate. In detail.

 

“Hey Helena, Emilie,” he said as he approached. He looked at me and those perfect dimples appeared.

 

“Hi Josias,” said Helena as she stepped in the classroom and headed toward the back row where we normally sat in math class.

 

“Hey Josias,” I gushed as he looked at me with those deep emerald green eyes.

 

“I am really looking forward to Friday night Em,” he commented as he pushed his hair back, making me damn near lose my mind when I saw his bicep flex. “It’s ok if I call you Em, isn’t it?”

 

Gosh your smile melts my heart, I thought. I diverted my attention back to the conversation.

 

“Of course it is. All my friends call me Em.”

 

He smiled at me and touched my arm as he said, “We better get to class. We don’t want to make old Mr Rogers go into cardiac arrest.”

 

I laughed. Mr Rogers was extremely volatile and was often yelling at the class. It wasn’t just our class either; every class he taught had seemed to bring out the worst in him. We headed towards the back row of seats where I settled in next to Helena. Josias dropped his bag and positioned himself in the other seat next to mine. Out of the corner of my eye I caught Helena making a rude gesture and then grin at me. I kicked her and muttered, “Cut it out Ley.”

 

She giggled as I blushed again and retrieved her textbook from her bag. I cast a sideways glance at Josias to see if he had managed to witness the exchange between Helena and myself. He didn’t seem to notice so I grabbed my own textbook and relaxed back into my seat.

 

Math class went slowly as usual. I was really good at maths but I found it rather boring. Mr Rogers was such a bitter, boring old man who often spoke in monotones. Half of the class was usually asleep by the time the bell rang to signal the next period. The minutes hand barely seemed to move as I sat staring at it for the better part of the lesson. Thank goodness it wasn’t a double period today. The rest of the day seemed to go a little faster. We had three more periods; art appreciation, music and English. I was lucky enough to end up in all of those classes with Josias and Helena. Josias and I shared music, math, English and all arts classes together except fashion design and drama.

 

The bell signalled the end of the school day. The students packed their things hastily and headed out the door at lightning speed. I gathered my belongings and headed towards the door, set on getting home so that I could finish my chores and homework before settling in for the night. Josias smiled at me with those damn eyes and dimples of his, sending me to walk headlong into the doorframe. I must have hit it pretty hard because the next thing I knew, I was in Josias’s arms. He caught me just before I hit the floor and I looked up into his eyes. I looked down at my clumsy feet and went about fifty shades of red. I glanced up to find him still flashing his irresistible smile at me.

 

“Falling for me already are you Em?”

 

Great, just when I thought I could not get any redder, I added another fifty shades. I giggled shyly. “I-I’m sorry, I wasn’t watching where I was going.”

 

Something about Josias just made me swoon. Aside from having total panty-dropping good looks, he was also funny, charming, charismatic and intelligent. It wasn’t often you found a guy with intelligence, humour, sporting prowess AND humility while being drop dead gorgeous to boot. I still could not believe that a guy like him would even look my way let alone ask me on a real date. My heart beat fast in my chest and I sighed as he steadied me to my feet. I breathed him in as he held me; gosh he smelt so divine.

 

Putting me at arms-length he touched my face gingerly and said, “You really should be more careful.”

 

I smiled and nodded sheepishly, agreeing with him.

 

I withdrew the keys from my pocket, inserted them into the front door and gave it a turn before stepping inside. The air con must have been on because the pleasant chill that greeted my bare skin sent goose bumps into action all over my body. I headed toward the kitchen and started fixing a snack.

 

Dad was scanning the paper and looked up at me over his rectangular reading glasses. “Did you have a good day at school pumpkin?”

 

“It was ok. A boy asked me out today…”

 

Dad’s expression changed slightly into something crossed between bewilderment and concern. “Who is this boy?” he questioned not unkindly.

 

“He is in my year, a few months older than me and we share a lot of the same classes.”

 

“Is he a good-looking lad?” Dad said as he winked and made an animal-like growl deep in his throat. He was such a shit stirrer.

 

I decided to play along. “He is drop-dead gorgeous Dad.” I displayed a hand gesture over my chest that suggested my heart was pounding to within an inch of its life.

 

“Just make sure he keeps his hands and lips to himself,” he replied and added with a touch of humour in his voice, “and any other body parts he might choose to point in your direction.”

 

“Aw Dad!” I said, gesturing a palm to the forehead. “I can’t believe you went there!”

 

“Let’s hope he doesn’t go there either!”

 

“Dad, I am not in any rush to have him point anything anywhere...” Though I had some pretty graphic daydreams from time to time. I would never let Dad know that. I would have a chastity belt installed quicker than you could say celibacy!

 

“Good,” he said. “Best keep it that way.”

 

I rolled my eyes as I walked off in the direction of the stairs that led to my bedroom.

 

“I saw that!” Dad called out after me.

 

Opening the door to my room I dumped my schoolbag next to my study desk and collapsed backwards onto my bed. I had a feather down quilt and it puffed out as my body struck it, making a slight whooshing sound. The breeze coming in through the open window was glorious against my skin.

 

I insisted I had the best room in the house for that reason and although it was the smallest bedroom, I still had everything I needed in there; a double bed, woollen purple rug, purple velvet curtains, study desk, tallboy and huge antique closet. It was left to me by my late Grandmother. Shades of purple and blue were among my most favourite colours. I would usually wear these colours since they complimented my eyes. They were my greatest feature. Mostly sapphire blue, however they had a touch of emerald green at the inner part of the iris, and in the sunlight they took on almost a deep shade of violet.

 

I didn’t really have the motivation to do my homework but I retrieved it from my bag and made a start on it anyway. After about two hours I had eventually finished when I heard my mother call out that dinner was ready. I pounded down the stairs and my stomach growled in approval as the smell of macaroni and cheese met with my nostrils. I had forgotten to eat my lunch at school and was starving. I took my seat at the seven piece table; a seven piece table that seemed completely out of place in our house. I was an only child and it was just me and my parents living here. Nevertheless I sat and tucked in hungrily to my meal, savouring the chewy bits of bacon, soft tomato pieces and the mountain of melted tasty cheese.

 

My mother was the first to speak. “So I hear you have a date this Friday night?”

 

“I knew you would hear about it eventually,” I said as I eyed Dad off. He pretended like I wasn’t looking at him and proceeded to shovel large mouthfuls of food into his face.

 

“Who is he? Is he that Josias boy you have been fond of since junior high?”

 

I blushed. “Yes mum. He is coming around to pick me up Friday night.”

 

“And where are you two going for the evening?” mum questioned casually, but not looking away; her eyes unintentionally burning into mine.

 

“He is taking me to see a movie,” I responded.

 

“Well best make sure he has you back no later than midnight and see to it that all of your chores are done before you leave.”

 

“Make sure he keeps his hands to himself…” Dad interjected and mum and I stared at him in unison.

 

“Oh David,” she said. “Emilie is almost an adult and perfectly capable of going on a date with a boy without it being a huge deal, right Emilie?” she said as her eyes pivoted towards me.

 

“Yes mum.” I blushed, “Of course.” I gathered up my plate and cutlery and headed for the kitchen before the conversation became too awkward. I gathered up all the dinnerware and stacked it haphazardly in the dishwasher.

 

I overheard my parent’s conversation above the sound of the clattering of plates and utensils.

 

“I know honey, but she is not yet an adult and I worry about her.”

 

“She is a smart girl sweetheart, and you know as well as I do that regardless of her age, you will always worry.  She will be fine.”

 

“As long as he treats her right,” I heard my father say with emotion in his voice. “She is my little princess and I just want her to be careful.”

 

“I’ve met this Josias boy before at the school during a P&C meeting. He seems to have his head screwed on right. He is a very handsome, strapping young lad. Reminds me of you when you were that age.”

 

I walked back into the dining room to see Dad beaming from ear to ear and flexing his muscles at my mother. My mother made a “fanning” motion. They seemed to have forgotten all about Josias for the moment and were making eyes at each other. Gross. I suddenly felt out of place.

 

“Oh get a room you guys!”

 

“Hey, if it wasn’t for us getting a room, you would not be here!” retorted my Dad.

 

“Oh gross,” I responded. “I’m gonna shower and crash for the night.”

 

“Ok sweetheart, goodnight.”

 

“Goodnight princess!” My Dad called out after me.

 

I ascended the steps in twos and jogged into my bedroom to grab my purple silk pyjamas. I headed towards the bathroom eager to cool off after a long, hot day. Locking the door I stripped off in a flash and jumped in the shower, once again letting the tepid water envelope my skin.

 

I exhaled deeply and ran my hands through my wet hair, pointing my face up towards the jet of water. I put a few pumps of my frangipani and ylang ylang body wash on my loofah and massaged it into lather. Once I was sure I had scrubbed every inch of my body, I stepped back under the water and washed all the soap suds away. As the running water swept the suds away I watched them flow down the plughole and thought about the day’s events. Had I really been asked out by Josias?

 

Sighing, I grabbed a bath sheet off the rack, dried myself thoroughly and slipped on my two-piece silk pyjamas. I cleaned my teeth and took my hair out of the braid so that I could brush it. Once I had finished my nightly ritual I turned off the bathroom light and wandered back into my bedroom.

 

The night air coming through my window was cool as I opened the door to my chambers. I walked to my tallboy and picking up my frangipani and ylang body spray I swept it in a z like pattern from shoulders to hips.

 

I glanced into the mirror hanging on my wall and smoothed down my damp brown hair. It hung in wavy curls when it was damp. I spent the next fifteen minutes using my hairdryer with diffuser to dry it. My mother was always on my case about going to bed with wet hair. You will catch a death of cold…I heard her voice in my head. I packed the hairdryer away, flicked the button on my bedside clock to activate the alarm for the next morning and climbed into bed. Pulling my blue silk sheets back I slowly lay down and rested my head on my violet and black silk pillows. I was obsessed with pillows and candles and I had accumulated a tonne of them over the years. Gathering my purple silk stars and moons covered quilt to around my hips, I rolled over and settled down into a comfortable position; face down with my left knee extended up my waist and my right arm bent up under my pillow to support my head.

 

I allowed sleep to snatch me away in its embrace once more…




© Copyright 2017 H D Cooper. All rights reserved.

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