His Curse

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic

Years from the present, when many people across the world have been cursed or blessed in some way, abnormalities are shunned. Those with blessings and curses have been exiled to Hastings Boarding Academy, a school built especially for people that differ from the norm. Jayden Vanderbilt was cursed with the inability to love. His best friend Verity was granted the ability to alter the emotions of the people around her. So what happens when she falls for him and decides it's time that she makes him feel the same? Jayden's faced with the most surreal case of heart over mind that anyone's ever encountered.

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If anyone were to tell you that thirty years ago, the world was filled with different kinds of people and that they were all accepted and embraced, would you believe them?Most likely not – not compared to the world that we live in now.Throughout the past fifteen years, conformity has been taken to all new levels.Only those that fit the standards set by society are granted freedom.As for the rest?Exile.They’re sent away, to somewhere secluded, where they’re away from everyone that meets the expectations of human life.It’s not physical deformations that are frowned upon, it’s the things that cannot be seen that get people cast aside.Since around 2021, people around the world have been given abilities – or disabilities, depending on which way you choose to view the situation.Blessings and curses, they’re referred to as, each making the possessor an outcast.Some were granted great abilities, like the power to read minds or tell when others are lying.Others weren’t so lucky, and were cursed.Some had to do whatever they were told, others see death before it happens.The nature of the curse or blessing is irrelevant – the only thing that matters is that they’re different, and different is no longer acceptable.Where do they go?Hastings.

Hastings Boarding Academy was built years ago, as a means of dealing with those with blessings and curses.It was a way to get them out of conventional society’s hair without completely destroying their futures – a compromise.

“Don’t even try to hide, Verity,” Jayden Vanderbilt laughed, snowball in hand, as he scanned the courtyard.“I know you’re here somewhere.”Only ten minutes ago the very place where he stood had been covered in a crisp layer of newly fallen snow, but after Jayden and his friend Verity Westling had decided to make it the battleground for a snowball fight, footprints were scattered in every direction.

“Got you!” Verity shouted, jumping out from behind a tree and hitting Jayden square in the back with a snowball.He laughed, but not before turning around and pushing her playfully to the ground.The two teenagers laughed as they wrestled in the snow, faces and hands red from the cold.While most seventeen year olds would consider snowball fights juvenile and immature, Verity and Jayden were the type that would engage in such activities often and without even a second thought.If anyone that didn’t know them were to walk by, they’d most likely assume that they were a couple.However, that couldn’t be further from the truth.While the two were close friends, and Jayden had to admit that Verity was attractive in her own right, the thought of becoming more that just friends never even crossed his mind.Why?The answer was simple – Jayden couldn’t love.

Most boys his age would say the exact same thing, but the meanings were hardly similar.For anyone else, it was simply a matter of fright.Maybe they were scared of the word, or thought that it wasn’t possible.For Jayden, it was literally impossible.It was a curse, the inability to love.It was the reason that he attended Hastings in the first place.He was the Vanderbilt family’s only son, and he was one of the unlucky ones that differed from the norm.Being a cursed child brought shame to the family’s name, so the Vanderbilts had sent Jayden away and acted like he never existed in the first place.

After rolling around in the snow for what seemed like forever, the cold became far too much to bear, so the two of them called a truce and walked through the winding hallways and back to Jayden’s dorm room, laughing and shivering the entire way there.They sat on his bed, each holding a mug of hot cocoa, enjoying the warmth of being indoors.“Just so you know,” Jayden started with a smirk, “I was going easy on you the entire time.”He had always been a bit conceited, but it was something that he was sure Verity had gotten used to.He was actually surprised that she hadn’t done anything about it yet.Verity, unlike Jayden, was one of the blessed.She possessed a gift that enabled her to alter the emotions of the people around her, which meant that at any given point, she could choose to make Jayden get tired of taunting her and just give up.She chose not to use it often, though, even when Jayden tempted her by acting arrogant and obnoxious.

“Please, you know that I would’ve won if we kept going,” Verity laughed.Jayden saw her ice blue eyes look up into his moss green ones.For a moment, it was silent.It was like there was no need for words.These moments came along often for Jayden and Verity.Most would feel awkward, sitting there with nothing to say, but when you’re dealing with someone that you’ve been best friends with for all of your life, it just feels comfortable.

That was when Verity kissed him.It came as a surprise, to say the least.They’d always just been friends, never anything more, ever since they met on their first day at Hastings.It was an odd sensation.Jayden had never pictured himself and Verity as anything but what they were already.What did this mean?Did she have feelings for him?He surely didn’t feel the same way about her.After all, he couldn’t, and she was well aware of that.

It was short, over almost as soon as it had started.Not to say that Verity hadn’t tried to deepen it, but Jayden hadn’t let her.Yes, he didn’t mind kissing her in the sense that she was one of the most beautiful girls he’d ever seen, but he surely didn’t want to be accused of leading her on.Jayden pulled away, giving his best friend no chance to take things further.Verity’s eyes were still locked with his, and all of a sudden Jayden felt something strange rush through him.He felt happy, but not in a way that he’d felt before.It was a new kind of happy, one that made it seem like everything was going to be alright, no matter what.He wanted to just wrap Verity in his arms and keep her there forever.It was almost like – no, what was he thinking?He couldn’t, it was impossible.Love was something he was literally incapable of.Why would things change all of a sudden?

It was then that Jayden realized what was going on.Where had this sudden happiness come from?His question could be answered in one word – Verity.She was able to make people feel things, even if they didn’t want those emotions present in the first place.“Verity, what’s going on?” Jayden asked cautiously.These emotions were unfamiliar, and he was scared.He didn’t want to love.For all of those years, he hadn’t seen his curse as a curse at all.No, in Jayden’s mind, it was more like a blessing.Not being able to love meant that he never had to put his heart on the line.It was like a guaranteed way to never get hurt, and it had always worked for him.

“I love you,” Verity whispered softly.“And you love me too.”

Jayden shook his head, looking down at the bed sheets.“No,” he protested.“No I don’t.Verity, I don’t love.I can’t.”

“But you can!” she answered quickly.“You just have to try.I can help you.”

“Even if I could, I don’t want to.Don’t you understand?I was fine before all of this.”He paused, looking over at her.Her eyes were welling up with tears.One thing that Jayden hated was seeing girls cry, especially when he knew that he was the one that had brought on those tears.Still, how could she do this to him?How could she love him?He could barely even think the word.It felt wrong.Hearing it said was even worse, and in his dorm.He almost felt violated, like Verity had no right to say these things to him, or even to feel this way.“Get out,” he told her.

“What?”

“You heard me, leave.”Jayden got up off the bed and opened the door, letting her walk out before shutting it behind her.

The next few weeks were rough.Jayden had no idea what he was supposed to be feeling.He couldn’t get thoughts of Verity out of his mind.After she’d left he’d felt relieved, but as the days went by he found himself missing her.They hadn’t spoken since their fight, aside from the odd ‘hey’ in the hallways.It was like he was divided into two, his heart over his mind.He knew that he loved her, it had to be true.Why else would he be feeling like this?Still, he hated himself for admitting it.Everything had been fine before, back when he didn’t know what love was.He was frightened.Love was an emotion that he’d never wanted to feel, but then Verity had come and changed that.

Jayden sat alone on a bench in the courtyard.Just weeks ago, he and Verity had been laughing in that very spot.It brought back memories, it almost made him want to go and apologize for being so harsh.Still, he wouldn’t let himself.He thought that maybe if he didn’t speak to her at all he’d be able to convince himself that it wasn’t true.The last thing that he wanted was to admit feelings for anyone at all.Going back to his old ways of not caring about anyone but himself seemed like a good option.

“Jayden!” he heard a voice call.Running towards him was Brodie Kingston, another junior at Hastings.He was panting, and Jayden assumed that he’d run the whole way there.

“What?” he snapped.He and Brodie were friends, but he was trying to clear his head, and interruptions like this were less than desirable.

Brodie sat down, catching his breath.“It’s Verity.”

“What about her?”
“She’s... in the lake,” Brodie said.
Jayden let out a laugh.“Brodie, it’s the middle of winter.The lake’s frozen over.She’s not stupid enough to go swimming.”

“No... she was walking on the ice...” he said in between breaths.“And it wasn’t strong enough... and it broke, and she fell in.”Jayden was taken aback, frozen where he sat, unable to speak.It couldn’t be true, could it?It had to be – Brodie’s curse was the inability to tell a lie.

Jayden jolted up off of the bench, dashing out of the courtyard as quickly as Brodie had, if not faster.It didn’t matter that Verity had fallen in love with him.It didn’t matter that she’d made him feel the same way against his will.It didn’t matter that he’d never been more furious at a person than he’d been at Verity over the past few weeks.The only matter of importance was that she was in danger – he had no choice but to help her.

He dashed through the grounds, snow falling lightly as he made his way towards the lake.The lake was man made, but beautiful nonetheless. Most of the students chose to spend spring afternoons just sitting around it, possibly jumping in if the weather got hot.During the winter, it was usually only ventured on for skating, if it was cold enough.Jayden’s only idea was that Verity could’ve been doing the exact same thing as he was – spending time alone, only she’d chosen a much riskier place to do her thinking.Winter had only just begun, and while snow covered the grounds Jayden could’ve predicted that the ice wasn’t frozen enough to support a person.

“Verity!” he called as he approached the lake.He could see a hole in the ice, splashes of water jumping out every so often.Her hand waved in the air as her head bobbed up and down in the icy water.She’d never been able to swim, and he knew that, which was why he’d been so quick to arrive at the lake.

“Jayden!” he heard her shriek before disappearing underwater once more.She resurfaced seconds later, the word “help!” escaping her lips.

All sensible thoughts had escaped his mind at this point in time.Jayden dashed out onto the ice which cracked after every step he took until he too had fallen into the water.He couldn’t feel his body anymore and his first instinct was to just give up and let the both of them drown.However, as he heard her screams once more, adrenaline overcame him.He picked himself up and back onto the ice, which took all of the strength that he had left.He couldn’t even manage to get up onto his feet, so he crawled over to Verity, careful to distribute his weight evenly so that he didn’t end up underwater for the second time.

“It’s okay!” he called.“I’m here!”Jayden shot his hand down into the hole that she’d fallen through, grasping for her hand.In one strong move he pulled her out of the water and onto the ice.She spat out a mouthful of water and gasped for air, shivering with every breath.Jayden was just as cold, but took his jacket off nonetheless and wrapped it around her.He held her close, trying to stop her quivering body from shaking.

That was when he realized that there was no point in denying it any longer.Being there with her just felt right.Maybe he was still running on adrenaline, or maybe he’d suffered some sort of brain damage when he’d fallen through the ice.Either way, he didn’t care.He could see clearly now, and what he saw was amazing.He didn’t even have to say it, he could tell that she knew – he, Jayden Vanderbilt, had manage to find love, something that everyone had declared impossible from the start.And, to his surprise, it was the most amazing feeling of his life.

“Come on,” he breathed.“Let’s get you inside.”He stood up, taking Verity with him, and guided her carefully back to land, their hands intertwined the entire time.He didn’t know what this meant for him.The only thing that he was sure of was that he was a new man now, curse-free and clear-headed.What was to come was unknown.All that mattered was that he and Verity would be facing it together.


Submitted: July 16, 2009

© Copyright 2022 Alison Leigh. All rights reserved.

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Comments

justbeformlessly

This was very interesting. I'm new to reading this type of stuff, and you've certainly added to its likability. Kept my interest the whole time, and really was quite a nice little story.

Small typo that I noticed: “Being with there with her just felt right.” (2nd to last paragraph)

Personally, I think that you could probably make this storyline and these characters into a whole book if you wanted to… It’s really very interesting. - Happy writing :)

Thu, July 16th, 2009 9:51am

Author
Reply

Thanks a lot! (:

Thanks for pointing that out, I never noticed that before. I fixed it.

It's funny that you say that, because that thought actually crossed my mind when I finished the story. I'm going to really consider it. (:

Thu, July 16th, 2009 8:54am

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