The Fire Within - Heidi Cooper

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

Edited 27/4/17

Chapter 3 (v.1) - Chapter Three

Submitted: August 16, 2013

Reads: 141

Comments: 3

A A A | A A A

Submitted: August 16, 2013

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Chapter Three

 

 

 

Sleep ended abruptly although I still saw the fading lounge room as my eyes fluttered open.

 

My hand still burnt and I sat up, blinking several times. I pulled my right arm out from under my pillow and, turning my hand over palm-side up my eyes widened in horror at the mark that was still visible. The symbol!

 

I stared at it in complete disbelief as my unanswered questions rang louder in my ears. Leaping out of bed I darted to the bathroom and locked the door behind me. I allowed the cool-flowing water from the basin faucet to run over my palm, hoping that it would bring some relief to my burning skin. It didn’t at first, but little by little it started to work. I turned off the faucet and sat on the edge of the bathtub clutching my wrist. I stared blankly at the symbol on my palm.

 

It couldn’t be just dreams I was having if I had the mark burned into my skin when I woke the next morning, right?! Why did this happen though? And what on earth was I going to do about it when mother saw it?

 

She hated me talking about these visions let alone having proof that they weren’t just silly dreams, as she called it.

 

As I stared at the symbol it flashed neon blue and sent me hurtling back into the bathtub. This resulted in a loud crash and steps came barrelling up to the second floor landing. Fists pounded on the bathroom door.

 

“Are you ok princess?” my Dad called out, concern in his voice.

 

“Uh, I am fine Dad. I-I just slipped on a cake of soap. I’m ok.”

 

A brief silence ensued. “Alright honey, please be more careful. I swear we should get you a helmet, knee and elbow pads for your next birthday, and that is just so you can walk around without doing yourself an injury.”

 

I giggled nervously. “I will Dad. Sorry to worry you.”

 

My Dad’s feet padded back down the stairs as I struggled to get back into a sitting position on the tub edge. I looked at my palm again. Had that really just happened?

 

Knowing my mother wouldn’t be willing to entertain any of “my nonsense” I figured that now was the best time to do just that. I had proof now, and besides how could she remain so doubtful and close minded after seeing this strange scar on my hand?

 

I quickly changed into my denim shorts and purple velvet tank with the lace up front. I secured my hair into a bun using my purple rhinestone butterfly clip. I let the bangs fall out around my face to frame my features. I held it in place with a liberal amount of hairspray and applied some cherry red gloss to my lips.

 

Grabbing my school bag I hastily ran downstairs where my mother and father were having their morning coffee and reading the same newspaper together.

 

“Mum! You are not going to believe what just happened!” I said excitedly as I moved closer to her.

 

I held my right hand up and motioned for her to look at it with it a nod of my head.

 

“It’s a hand,” she said.

 

“Not just any hand,” I exclaimed rather pleased with myself.

 

“Your right hand?” she said sarcastically.

 

Can she really not see the scar? I thought.

 

“Very funny Mum,” I said. “It’s right there! The strange scar on my palm, can’t you see it?!”

 

“Honey,” she said as she stepped toward me and felt my forehead. “Are you feeling ok?”

 

“Mum its right…” I trailed off as I looked at my palm and noticed; nothing. Not a scar, not a thing out of the ordinary. “What the hell, it was right there. There was a scar mum. I got it in my dream and when I woke up it was still there.”

 

“Honey, it was just a…”

 

“Mum, it wasn’t just a dream. It was real. I swear it,” I debated, my voice rising at least an octave.

 

“Sweetheart…”

 

“Stop patronizing me, Mum. I know what I saw.” I said, with tears welling up in my eyes.

 

She touched my shoulder delicately as she pulled a hankie out of her robe pocket and dabbed at two tears forming in my eyes.

 

“There is nothing there. See?” she said as she grabbed my hand softly and ran her fingertips ever so lightly over the palm of my hand.

 

“Mum, there was something there. Truly there was. I wouldn’t make this up.”

 

“Honey, you have got to stop entertaining these dreams. They aren’t real. They are just dreams, nothing more. Dreams can’t hurt you or give you scars.”

 

My Dad sat there silently watching our exchange; his eyes conveyed sadness. I pardoned myself as I wasn’t feeling particularly hungry this morning. Her words echoed in my mind as I left for school.

 

The mark was gone. Why did it do that? It was there right up until when, I showed my mother? I knew it had been there and I could still feel the sensation it left when I woke this morning. I stopped on the way to school in the oval and sat with my face in my palms. Suddenly I couldn’t stop the tears from falling. What was happening to me? What did it all mean, and why did it disappear when I tried to prove to my mother that I wasn’t crazy?

 

Was I crazy? Were they really just dreams and nothing more? I refused to believe that. I knew it wasn’t just some silly dream. I don’t know how, but I knew it to be true with every fibre of my being.

 

Suddenly I felt tingly again, starting at my palm and slowly radiating through the rest of my body. I slowly pulled my hands away and looked at my palm. I gasped. There was the symbol again, glowing neon blue and pulsing in time with the tingling sensation in my body. It seemed to speak to me, this symbol. In a tongue that was both strange yet somehow familiar. I vaguely recognised it as some kind of Latin perhaps? I had come across Latin during school, not that much but a little. This was getting weirder and weirder by the second.

 

The amulet repeated these words to me over and over, “Ignis vis est. Infrenes tu eum. Ignis vis est. Infrenes tu eum. Ignis vis est. Infrenes tu eum…”

 

I brushed my tears away, gathered myself up off the grass and resumed the walk to school. What the heck did Ignis vis est Infrenes tu eum mean? Something about fire was all I really understood. Ignis was fire in Latin. The words churned over in my mind on the way to school. My palm had stopped glowing as I reached the front entrance. I glanced up and saw Josias leaning against the gate staring at me intently. I shoved my right hand in my denim shorts pocket and waved at him with my left. He beamed at me from ear to ear and started towards me; flashing his pearly whites as his dimples leapt out and metaphorically slapped me in the face.

 

“Hi Em,” he said throatily while looking me up and down. “You look amazing today, new top?”

 

“I’ve had it for a while but this is the first time I have worn it to school.”

 

“Well it suits you. It brings out your beautiful eyes.”

 

I blushed, feeling my face flush several shades of red. It could have been my imagination but I was sure I felt my right palm tingle a little. While he was looking me up and down I could have sworn that he glanced directly at my right pocket before meeting my gaze again. Gosh he was so handsome. I could and often did fall right into his eyes. His smile and dimples made my heart all a flutter; enough to make me lose my mind.

 

“So, we have English first?” he said, waking me out of my daytime reverie.

 

“Uh, yeah I think so”

 

“Want to walk together?” he said as he smiled genuinely at me.

 

“Sure.” I smiled back at him and his eyes twinkled ever so slightly.

 

 “Iced coffee, my shout,” he said as we neared Helena.

 

“Oh goodie,” she responded. “Just as well, I forgot my purse,” she said sheepishly as she patted down her jean pockets.

 

“Don’t sweat it” Josias said.

 

Josias excused himself and headed towards the counter to pay for our drinks. I leant into Helena and said that I needed to talk to her in private and soon. She made a sleeping gesture and I nodded. Josias had returned with the iced coffees and handed Helena and I one each. Then he took the cap off his and began to scull it. I watched in amazement as he tossed back the entire contents in one go. He then threw his bottle at a bin about fifteen feet away and got it straight in without rebounding it off the sides. He was our star pitcher for the school’s baseball team and he was definitely a catch in my eyes.

 

He winked at me coolly and his dimples burst forth like race horses being let out from behind the starting gates. I grinned back at him and my eyes danced right into his. Helena cleared her throat.

 

“Guys, I hate to break up this little love connection you guys have going on right now, but the bell just sounded. We have English.”

 

We both reluctantly ended the deep-sea dive into each-other’s irises and headed off to D block.

 

Tuesday was my favourite day of the week as Josias and I shared the exact same timetable. English was first, then a double period of music and finally a session of maths before PE. During music class, Josias and I were selected as a duet to perform for our singing finals together. The finals wouldn’t take place until the start of the fourth semester so we were given the better part of the year to prepare for it. My heart leapt for joy. Extra time spent with Josias to work on our piece for music exams would be awesome. I had heard him sing before and he had the kind of voice that sent chills down my spine and forced goose bumps to erupt in layers all over my skin. He really was quite something; a man of many talents.

 

PE was fun; Josias and another guy named Eric were chosen as team captains. Helena and I were the first ones Josias selected for his team as they took turns calling out names. 

 

Baseball was a tonne of fun and as the bell signalled the end of the day, Josias jogged over to me and said, “Good form. You know, you really should try out for the girl’s baseball team. You have a really good arm on you.”

 

“I am more of a benchwarmer really,” I said and laughed. I preferred to watch sports rather than play them. Not that I wasn’t fit. I was very fit. Being a dancer I worked on toning and stretching exercises every day.

 

“Aw well, you should come and watch me play sometime.”

 

“I’d like that,” and I added as a sudden after thought, “If you aren’t doing anything this afternoon, would you like to come to my place and work on our music project?”

 

“Sure. I’d love to Em.” Gosh I loved when he called me that.

 

We walked home barely speaking, throwing the occasional glance at each other and smiling. It wasn’t an awkward type of silence, pleasant really; comfortable.

 

I turned to him suddenly and said, “Ok, so things aren’t terribly awkward at my house there is something I need to tell you.”

 

“What is it Em?” he said as he looked at me with concern in his beautiful green eyes. Gosh those eyes…

 

“Please take everything my parents say with a grain of salt. My Dad is a total shit stirrer and loves to torment me sometimes.”

 

 “Oh don’t worry about that. My parents are the same, I can handle it.”

 

“I wouldn’t be so sure,” I said as I giggled nervously. I hoped my parents wouldn’t let slip that I had had a crush on Josias since seventh grade, but knowing my parents it would be top on the list of things to chew the fat about.

 

I bounded up to the front screen door and finding it unlocked I opened it and entered the house, beckoning Josias to follow me. He grinned and trailed closely behind, and I swear I felt his hand brush my back ever so lightly. It sent tingles coursing through my entire body and I shivered just a little.

 

“Are you cold Em?” he said casually, as he took his baseball jacket off and draped it across my shoulders. I clutched the front edges close to my chest and my nostrils were instantly filled with Josias’s cologne. My head swam with thoughts of us together.

 

Suddenly Josias laughed and then cleared his throat. “Hey, Em! Earth to Em, do you read me?”

 

When my eyes suddenly diverted back to the here and now I saw him waving his hand in front of my face. I looked at him and felt redness rush to the surface of my cheeks.

 

“You okay, space cadet?”

 

“I’m good thanks,” I said through a nervous giggle.

 

We headed to the kitchen to fix a snack and drink. Dad was sitting on his favourite chair at the dining table and glanced up over his coffee mug.

 

“Hi princess”, he said and noticing I wasn’t alone he added, “who is your friend, Em?”

 

Josias stepped forward and introduced himself, extending a hand to my father. They shook and my Dad winked at me. Oh god Dad. Please don’t…

 

“Ah, so this is the Josias we have heard so much about. It’s a pleasure to meet you, young man. Em has told us so much about you.” This time it was Josias’s turn to blush.

 

It was at that exact moment that my mother appeared in the kitchen. She stopped dead in her tracks and seeing Josias, smiled at me and said, “You weren’t kidding Em, he really is a looker.”

 

Oh god, Oh god, Oh god….!

 

Mum had seen Josias before and she knew what he looked like, but that didn’t stop her from embarrassing me. My parents were loving people, but they also loved to torment me; I was sure of it.

 

I could feel Josias’s eyes burning holes into my cheeks.

 

“Well, we are going upstairs to study”, I said as I grabbed Josias’s hand and bounded towards the staircase before my parents could embarrass me any further.

 

“Keep the door open, Emilie!” mum called after us.

 

I pointed Josias in the direction of my bedroom and excused myself for a moment. I needed a second or three to compose myself. With that, I headed to the bathroom and locked the door behind me. Feeling the embarrassment flaring up inside me again I tried to wash it away with cool water. Why did my parents have to be so humiliating? I was shaking like a leaf on a tree and in my mind I was plotting ways for revenge. Of course I would never do that to my parents, but I was so embarrassed I felt like I could never look Josias in the eyes again.

 

Oh gosh, those eyes. Those perfect, emerald green eyes…Calm yourself Em. It’s not the end of the world, at least he knows now. The cat is well and truly out of the bag.

 

“Not now brain”, I muttered, exasperatedly.

 

Giving my messy appearance a quick touch up in front of the mirror, I pulled the butterfly clip out and let my brown hair fall into loose, bouncy curls around my shoulders. Ok, enough fussing, I thought. When I was certain most of the rosy hue had left my cheeks I took a deep breath, threw open the door, and headed towards my bedroom.

 

Josias was sitting on the edge of my unmade bed – Crap! I really should have made it this morning! He gazed at me as I entered my bedroom and motioned for me to sit next to him. Trembling I plopped myself onto the feather-down quilt.

 

“Em,” he started. Oh gosh… “What your parents said downstairs”, he continued.

 

Keep it together Em. Keep. It. Together.

 

“Do you really feel that way about me?”

 

Oh shit…Butterflies started to beat their wings against the inside of my stomach walls. I sucked in a breath and smoothed down my hair in a nervous fashion.

 

“Em, look at me”, he said as he crooked his finger under my chin and turned my face toward his.

 

“I - I um, yes.” I stammered, feeling the butterflies rise up and begin to take flight towards my oesophagus.

 

“You don’t need to feel embarrassed Em,” Josias said gently. “I feel the same way about you.” I swallowed the butterflies down.

 

“You, you do?”

 

“Yes, I can’t believe you haven’t noticed. You’re amazing. I – I have dreamt about you.”

 

“You dream about me?” I smiled with pursed lips, stifling the urge to grin like an absolute tool. “I never knew. I didn’t think you would go for a girl like me,” I said. “We have been going to school together for a long time and I guess I just didn’t think that you noticed me, the way I noticed you.”

 

“Emilie”, he shifted a little so that he was facing me directly, “I have always noticed you. You take my breath away.”

 

He took hold of both my hands and goose bumps erupted all over me like tiny little skin volcanoes. I had only ever loved Josias from afar, too nervous to approach him with the truth of how I felt about him. Too nervous to confess my feelings that I had kept locked deep down inside me for so long. He gazed deep into my eyes and I swam in his. He brought his face closer to mine and I could feel his warm breath on my lips. In an instant – although it seemed to happen in slow motion – he pressed his soft lips against mine and kissed me so softly and tenderly that I could barely feel it at first. He parted my lips with his tongue and kissed me deeper this time, passionately. Everything faded away and I leant into him, feeling the muscle of his toned chest pressing against me. I felt him shake slightly against me, and I smiled in between kisses, taking a moment here and there to visit his eyes with my own.

 

No more words were traded between us, until the clock on my bedside table hit five pm and Josias reluctantly sighed at having to head home.

 

“See you tomorrow Em?” He said, lingering. He ran a hand nervously through his dark hair.

 

“Yes. Do you want to maybe walk to school together?”

 

“Yeah, I would love that,” he answered and kissed me on the cheek before heading downstairs.

 

We stopped in the kitchen on the way and Josias said goodbye to my parents. They both flashed him a smile and told him he was welcome anytime. He thanked them for their hospitality and grabbing my hand we walked towards the front of the house. He looked at me one last time and I relived our first kiss in my mind. I smiled back at him and blew him a kiss that he caught just before he disappeared through the front door.

 

I sat at the dinner table with a smile plastered on my face for the entire meal. I could feel Mum and Dad’s eyes on me and finally my father was the first to speak, just to, you know, break the awkward silence.

 

“So Em,” he probed, “You really like this guy a lot don’t you?”

 

“Yeah, Dad.” Only since seventh grade, you know…

 

We spent the remainder of the evening talking about Josias and of course the whole birds and the bees lecture.

 

“Mum, Dad. I am seventeen. I learnt about all this when I was in primary school. You really don’t have to worry.”

 

“We like him Em, but this is your first relationship and you are in your senior year.”

 

“Whoa there! Ease up turbo! We aren’t talking marriage. We have barely started dating.”

 

I reassured them that it wouldn’t affect my grades and that Josias was a straight A student also. They seemed to relax just a fraction and stopped semi-grilling my ass. I excused myself from the table and loaded the dishwasher.

 

Saying goodnight I retreated upstairs to shower and get myself ready for bed.


© Copyright 2017 H D Cooper. All rights reserved.

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