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Falling in Love
I plop down onto the bed, not feeling up to changing into my pajamas at all. The cover and sheets looked too inviting, and the dresser was too far away—a yard away to be exact. I had just come home from a long, dangerous mission. I was a well-known, skilled assassin from the family/ clan of the King’s, earning, me level fifty missions, or higher sometimes. The one I just got back from, however, was level seventy-four. Sleep! I thought, yawning. Only a yard away... Too lazy... Kaden has me working like crazy lately, and I know it’s was because of the stupid level ninety band of criminals, the Silverman’s.
They’re causing so much trouble, and so many King’s were being sent out on missions because the leaders of the King’s were busy with other missions. The latest one was to go see what happened in Paris, France.
The leader of my clan had been kidnapped, and I knew it had to be one of the Silverman members. Kaden, the secondary leader, Cameron’s brother, had affirmed it from his hospital bed. Shawn of the Richland clan and some blond guy named Derek were the culprits. I’m just happy to be home. Even if it is for a little while…
Sighing, I bury my head into the pillows and close my eyes. I just want to sleep, and the night’s silence is helping me move right along…until… But I’m tired…So much for sleep… I hear a sound coming from downstairs. It sounds like a crash and then footsteps. It’s obviously one of the Silverman. Can’t they see I’m tired?
I hear voices now, one hushed and one loud. I decide this cannot be ignored. I sigh. I really don’t feel like dealing with this…
Before I could act upon the situation, I hear footsteps on the stairs and voices getting louder. They’re coming to my room, and I know it. I decide to sneak out window. Before I’m about to climb out the window, the door bursts open to reveal two unfamiliar people; two males. “So…is she in there, Ryan…” One male voice trails off when he sees me. The other male, Ryan I guess, had blue skin and looked similar to a shark. On his back was a huge sword, wrapped up in Ace bandage.
“Can I help you?” I arch an eyebrow at them.
“Yes, you can actually,” The blue guy, Ryan apparently, grins evilly. …What if I don’t want to?
While I’m thinking, I don’t notice the guys are coming over to my bed.
It isn’t until Ryan speaks, I realize that I had left the building for a little while, “So? What’s it gonna be? Are you going to come with us willingly…or do we have to use force?” Maybe…I mean I could always escape if I don’t like where they’re taking me or how they’re treating me. Yeah! I could learn all the Silverman’s secrets and report to Kaden and Cameron!
Despite what I’m thinking, I answer in a growl, “Never.” Fishy seems pleased by my decline, but he glances at the other male before he does anything. He gives him a nod, not breaking his stolid expression. Ryan grins wickedly before he throws the covers back, quickly covering my mouth before I can let out the scream in my throat. He moves to pick me up, but I lick his hand, hoping the childish thing would be enough.
His eyes go wide as he removes his hand as if he just burnt it.
Such a childish thing, and he moves away. Wow…Just... Wow… He looks at me astonished, and then he looks at the other male, “She licked me!” I follow his gaze to notice Shawn’s slightly shocked face, and I take the opportunity to let out that scream.
“Derek!” Fish-boy hisses as he moves to cover my mouth with his own hand. He flinches as my tongue makes contact with his hand, but he doesn’t move. Derek quickly takes out a rope, binding my hands.
I quit licking Ryan’s hand, knowing it’s of no use now. I proceeded to try and bite it, but he avoids my teeth at each attempt. Did anyone hear me? How DARE he touch me! I have got to do something! Suddenly, feet were heard running up the staircase, and through the door, I can see Kaden, Aimee, Caesar, and Levi. Their eyes widen at the sight of me, tied up and gagged on my bed with two level ninety criminals.
“They’re trying to rape Arrianne!” Levi yells, his blue eyes widening with each passing moment. Derek smirks at this, and Ryan snickers as he backs up off the bed, eyes boring into them. Derek, however, did the opposite, and he leans towards me, wrapping his arm around my waist and whispering in my ear, “Goodnight, Kid.” Goodnight!? What is he doing…? Then I pass out.
I wake up to hear two voices whispering. “Lord? When is she going to wake up?” a childish voice asks.
“Shut up, Trevor,” the other hisses. “She’s still recovering, Trevor.” My vision is still blurry, but I can make out the two voices’ figures.
One is really small with a pale baby face and light green eyes. The other one is tall with blond hair hanging in his liquid blue eyes. How long was I out?
I groan, my vision starting to clear as I try to sit up. “Sir! Sir!” The same childish voice exclaims. “She’s waking up, sir!”
“I see that, Trevor.” The other guy seems happier… He isn’t snapping at the kid anymore. I can fully make out both of them, and the guy with blond hair smiles at me, blue eyes brightening at the sight of my consciousness, “Good morning, Ari!”
“Lord and I are so happy to see you awake and well, Arrianne!” The child says to me. I just stay silent.
“Are you deaf or something, doll?” Blondie asks.
“Is Arrianne scared of us, Lord?” Trevor asks, sounding a little worried.
“Are you feeling up to getting out of bed, doll?” The blond asks, smiling slightly. “Leader Rory wants a word with you before we get you settled in, doll.”
“We all hope that you will enjoy her time here! I will make sure of it; I’m a good boy,” Trevor exclaims, running up to the right side of my bed. Blondie comes up to the left side of the bed.
“We’ll help you, doll.” I am so not feeling up to seeing ANYONE. I just woke up after being kidnapped! But that’s nice of them to offer to help me…I feel myself blush. They’re so sweet…
I take both of their hands as they help me to the end of the bed. They support me as I try to get up, and I stumble a little from the lack of use of my precious leg muscles. This makes me curious. “How long was I out?”
Blondie frowns slightly, “Almost a week. Derek took a little too much of your energy…” He growls the last part. I can only assume the female that came to get me is Sadie since she never introduced herself. Blondie is so CUTE when he’s mad!
Blondie and Trevor wrap my arms around their shoulders and help me out of the room and down the hall. At the end of the hall is a large, double door with the Silverman crest carved on it. From inside, I can hear someone yelling.
“When you told me we were getting a new Silverman member, I was a little p*ssed off it was a girl, but now I’m f***in’ ready to rip your head off for it being one that looks like her!” It’s silent for a moment before the voice said something else. “I-I never meant that! D*mnit! That’s not it at all! Do you know how hard you just made my s***-hole of a life!?” Beside me, Blondie shakes his head, rolling his eyes.
“Sounds like Hector is at it again. Right, Sir?” Trevor asks, looking at Blondie. What colorful…um…language. Is he talking about me?
“Yeah,” Blondie sighs.
“I know I’m immortal, but h*ll! I shouldn’t be put through such torture. I mean, Logan was bad en--!” Blondie’s eyes widen and he stills next to me. Trevor lets out a gasp. Apparently “Logan” is taboo.
Suddenly, Blondie picks me up, throwing me over his shoulder. He and Trevor jump to the left of the door, just in time to dodge the guy being thrown through it.
I gasp, putting my hands over my mouth. I look at the man that was thrown out in shock.
The man that was thrown groans and slowly sits up as he rubs his head through his mussed and unevenly cut dark brown hair. “You alright, Hector?” Trevor asks as Blondie slowly sets me on my feet.
“He f***in’ threw me out! Literally!” Hector sounds shocked, but when his eyes meet mine, his eyes grow even wider. “She’s awake?”
“Yup! I was there when Arrianne woke up! She has to see Leader Rory now!”
Hector’s eyes are still on me, and his mouth is agape, but then he closes his mouth and looks away. “Good luck. He’s probably not in a good mood now…”
“Well, whose fault is that, Hector?” Blondie snickers.
“Shut up, Shawn,” Hector smirks, getting up to stand. He looks at me and winks, “I’ll see you around… Ari.” A fierce blush creeps into my cheeks. Why was he staring at me like that?
“Come on, doll,” Shawn says, rolling his eyes as he pushes me towards the door.
“Good morning, Leader Rory! We brought Arrianne to see you!” Trevor exclaims as all three of us enter the room.
“Good,” A shadow says from the back of the room. “Now, leave. I wish to speak with her alone.” The voice is calm and deep, but it still sends chills down my spine. This man sounds like a leader, and I know he certainly is a ruthless one.
Shawn gives me a sympathetic look before walking out of the room. “Bye, Arrianne! Bye, Leader Rory!” Trevor waves as he leaves the room, closing the door behind him. DON’T LEAVE ME HERE WITH HIM!
“Arrianne King, sit,” He gestures to a chair in front of his desk. I sit down, folding my hands in my lap, and I take the time to examine him. He has jet black hair that is spiked at odd angles and whether it’s intentional or natural I don’t know, and his eyes are a deep cerulean. He has some piercings on his face, and he is wearing the traditional Silverman crest on an antique looking pin on the lapel of his dress jacket.
“I know a lot of questions must be crowding your mind right now, but I will only answer one before I explain some things and send you away,” He narrows his cerulean eyes at me. “Choose wisely…”
“Why me? Of all the assassins you could have kidnapped, why did you kidnap me?”
“You, of all people, know why we recruited you,” he narrows his eyes at me.
I feel as if I’ve been ripped off because all his answers were very literal and vague. He can sense this, and he seems to find it very amusing; I can see it in his grin.
“As you know, you are now a Silverman member, and I expect you to follow our rules. No leaving the base for rookies without being accompanied by TWO members or me. Do as you’re told, no matter what. If I tell you to jump on one foot, balancing a plate on your head while baking a turkey, you will without question. Silverman crests are REQUIRED on missions. Otherwise, I don’t care… Except when you’re leaving in disguise.” He looks at me to make sure I’m paying attention. “No getting into fights with other members. You’re the only girl…so…” He sighs, “Come to me if you need anything. The guys can be a little…flirty, and you may need some… uh…womanly things…” He trails off, and I notice a little pink tinge in his cheeks. “You’re duties, for now, are just to maintain the infirmary, cook, and clean. Basically, you’re our housewife. Your room is just two doors down, right-hand side… and your crest is already on your bed.”
Sounds like I’m not going into town anytime soon…
I take this as my cue to leave, so I do. I find my room, and my crest, perfectly emblazoned in sterling silver and amethysts on an old fashioned necklace, before laying on the bed to think about all that has occurred… and what I’m going to do about it.
It only takes me a moment to take in my surroundings. The room is a good size, probably as big as my room back home, and is painted white.
There is a full-size bed against the back wall. The bed is made out of cherry wood with cream sheets and a brown, warm looking blanket. There is a wardrobe to the right of the bed made out of the same wood as the bed. A vanity sits next to it with a wooden box on top of it.
On the left side of the bed there is a wooden desk with a clay jar and a few sheets of paper. On both sides of the bed are nightstands with candles on them. I think I can deal with this… Maybe I can make something for this room to make it more… me. I can always add a little color with some paint or fabric…
I go over to the wardrobe, hoping to find some sort of clothes to wear. After all, I have been in mine for almost a week… I open the wardrobe to find a fishnet shirt, a black tube-top, a tight low-cut v-neck t-shirt, short-shorts, sweatpants, two pairs of black flip flops, and a bunch of empty hangers. On the left side of the wardrobe was a column of drawers. Searching through them, I find a short, very revealing nightgown.
I should’ve known… Add some clothes to the list of things we need to go to the nearest village for… It’ll have to do, for now…
Sighing, I put the nightgown away as well as my new crest and take out the fishnet shirt, tube-top, and sweatpants. A shower is definitely in order… Only one problem, though.
As I stare down the long hallway and see the multiple doors, I have no idea which one leads to the bathroom… So I decide to open the door to the right of mine. When I open the door I see a room painted black with bedding to match. There is a bookcase stocked full of books in here. After peering inside, I close the door, hoping no one saw and got the wrong idea. I continue to walk down the hall way. “Lost?” A voice murmurs. I turn around to see a man covered completely from head to toe.
The only thing you could see under his white turban-like-mask was two emerald eyes. “I kind of am. Can you tell me where I might find a bathroom around here?” I ask, chewing on my bottom lip out of habit.
“Sure. I’ll take you to it,” He turns away from you and starts to walk down the hall. I follow behind him until he stops in front of a door that looks no different from the others. He opens it and leads me into a sitting room that holds an old rug, two armchairs, and a couch all in a cream color. The walls are painted black, and some of the décor is red or white. There are two doors in front of me.
One is closed and the other is open, revealing a bathroom behind it. I hope it's clean… Let’s just get this over with…
“Thank you,” I say to the man that led me here.
“Name’s Daniel,” he replies before turning to leave, “and no problem.” With that, the door closes, and I go inside the open door to the bathroom. It looks clean, but it could be better. There is a shower head coming out of one of the walls and a tub behind it, but there are no glass doors or shower curtain to hide my body. Across from the shower is a toilet that was hidden from view by a half-wall made of dried mud but sculpted well. There is a counter next to me with two sinks. I go through the biggest drawer and find some towels. Taking one, I put my clothes and towel by the shower, on the rim of the tub.
I start the shower and lock the bathroom door before getting in to the shower.
While I’m in the shower, I’m thinking, day dreaming and wondering if an escape party has been sent to find me. I’m deep into my thoughts when I hear the door of the bathroom slam open. Instantly, my hands are covering my private parts.
A boy that looks no older than me stands there with his arms crossed over his chest, his brown eyes examining me, “Well? Hurry up! I’m starving and dinner is your job. I hate to be kept waiting…” I look at him, shocked.
“What the h*ll!? Get out!” I scream, looking for something to chuck at him.
He chuckles before turning to leave, “No need to be so rash. I’ve seen a woman’s body before, and yours is nothing new.”
When the door closed behind him, I decide to heed his warning to “Hurry up” because the last thing I want is another boy to walk in on me. I quickly dry off and get changed, and as I’m brushing through my hair, someone opens the door.
“The guys are getting restless. What’s taking you so long?” It’s Leader Rory.
“I’m sorry, but one of your guys decided to walk in on me while I was taking a shower!” I snap at him.
“Someone walked in on you?” he asks, shocked.
“Yup,” I reply quietly, seething with anger.
“He had red hair and brown eyes…He told me to hurry up.”
“Samuel?” Leader Rory seems even more surprised. “I never pinned him down as the type, but…I’ll talk to them during dinner, and I’ll pull Samuel aside later.”
“Good,” I simply say before putting down the brush.
He snickers before turning to leave, “Hurry up. I can tell they’re already raiding the kitchen.”
I proceed to follow him down the hall and into a big, sunken room. There is a huge, leather couch across from a gigantic flat-screen, resting on a shelf. The shelves around it are filled with movies and video games as well as every video-game consul known to man. There is also a huge stereo in a nook I could only see when you got close to the counter tops that separated the sunken room from the kitchen. I wonder if they’ll let me play a game or two…
I then enter the kitchen to see a man with light skin, bronze hair and green eyes, Derek, Ryan, Samuel, and Daniel. Samuel is leaning on one of the countertops with a nearly empty jar of peanut butter in his arms and a spoon in his hand. The pale guy and Ryan are raiding the fridge along with Shawn.
“I told you guys that you shouldn’t eat so much!” Daniel scolded them from behind. Derek turns around with his mouth full.
“Well, you shouldn’t only go grocery shopping twice a month with such a low amount of money!” Only goes shopping TWICE A MONTH for groceries? How do these guys survive?
Leader Rory clears his throat beside me, getting everyone’s attention. Ryan turns around with a pickle hanging out of his mouth and the jar in his arms.
I don’t know what the h*ll Shawn is stuffing his face with and the pale guy seems to have settled for some sort of meat… Samuel has the spoon in his mouth as he stares at me with uncaring eyes.
“Well, if it isn’t our little housewife!” Derek chuckles as he chews on whatever is in his mouth. I blush under everyone’s gaze.
“Are you finally going to cook us something?” Samuel asks as he swirls his spoon around in the jar, signifying that he is having the last bite.
“With what?!” Daniel asks, turning to glare at him. “You guys ate everything!”
“That’s your own fault, Daniel,” Ryan murmurs as he takes out another pickle and slaps Shawn’s hand away from the jar.
“Ryan’s got a point,” Derek hisses, rubbing his hand.
It seems like Leader Rory has had enough because he explodes next to me, yelling, “It’s all of your faults! Now get out so Arrianne can find something for us to eat and cook it! And if she doesn’t, all of you will be cooking HER dinner!”
I’m starting to like Leader Rory! I stick my tongue out at the boys discretely as I mentally add ‘food’ to list of things to buy when I’m finally in nearest village.
“Come on, Zayne,” Derek says on his way out, looking to the guy pale skin. He then turns to look at Samuel. “You have to pay for the next jar of peanut butter!” Samuel simply shrugs before leaving throwing the spoon in the sink and the empty jar into the garbage can.
“We’ll be in the dining room with the others,” Ryan mutters to either me or Leader Rory; it wasn’t clear. When they all leave, I feel something on my hand.
“I’ll help you look for a minute or so, but I have to go and check on them in the dining room…” Leader Rory says as he leads me forward to a door in the corner of the room, holding my hand firmly. I blush at my hand being held by the leader.
After a long, pointless search, I finally find some pasta in the back of one of the white cabinets. Leader Rory had left me nearly a half an hour ago when he heard the guys fighting in the other room. Everything is quiet now, so I could only assume he has resolved it or everyone is dead. Sighing, I wash out the only pot I can find – the sink may have been empty, but the dishwasher was FULL of dirty dishes – before putting it on the stove, full to the top with water, to boil. They probably all killed each other… I already hate my job. I cook the pasta and find something in the refrigerator that could be of use, and it’s luckily untouched; salsa.
About a half an hour later, the pasta is ready, so I turn the flame on the stove off and strain the water from the pasta, spooning pasta and salsa onto plates for Samuel, Ryan, Leader Rory, Shawn, Trevor, Zayne, Hector, Daniel, Derek and myself. As I walk into the dining room, balancing four of the plates at a time, Shawn smiles at me every time I look at him. “Dinner looks absolutely amazing, Arrianne.” Zayne says, cradling his arm around Samuel’s shoulder. Are they… I don’t have time to think about it before I’m sent back into the kitchen to get the remaining five plates.
Walking back out I place the plates on the mats in front of Zayne, Trevor, Daniel, Hector, Derek and finally my placemat. “Thank you, Arrianne. The pasta looks exceptional.” Leader Rory says, smiling at me – genuinely smiling.
I smile back happy to be complimented and appreciated. “You’re welcome Leader. I worked as well as I could under the, uh, circumstances.”
“Please,” he laughs, scooping pasta onto his fork. “Just call me Rory. I would like you to be as comfortable as possible, given your current situation.”
“Okay… Rory.” His face softens when I say his name and he shovels the food into his mouth, obviously enjoying it.
After a surprisingly comfortable silence, Derek speaks. “This is the best dinner we’ve ever had, Arrianne. Thank you, I’m sure the boys all appreciate it, even if they don’t want to admit to it. I know I am.” He looks at me and smiles, his hazel brown eyes shining with happiness.
“You’re welcome, Derek. And please, I want everyone to call me Ari.”
“Very well.” Rory says, pushing his plate away from him, completely clean of any pasta and salsa.
“Um, Rory,” I begin, waiting for his attention. “I was wondering if I could go into the nearest town or village and get some food for the boys and décor for my room. Just to make it more comfortable for me. More like mine, that is.” I look at him hopefully.
After a moment of consideration, he responds, “Yes, I’m absolutely fine with that Ari. You may go tomorrow in the morning, however early you choose. Bring two of the boys; Derek, Hector, I want both of you to accompany Ari on her trip, to ensure her safety. Just don’t hover. Give her some space. If she feels uncomfortable, back up a bit. If she has a bad feeling about something, heed her instinct and be prepared.” He smiles and looks at me out of the corner of his eye. “She is, after all, one of the best assassins alive.”
The boys look at me in shock, but I just smile and stand, scooting my chair back without a sound. “Plates in the sink. Rory, I have the right to assign punishment chores, yes?”
“If that is what you see fit, punish them. You are my favorite. If you abuse the privilege, though, it will be revoked. Understood?”
“Yes sir.” I smile. “Derek, Ryan you have dish duty tonight, seeing as how poorly you treated me the other week. Two weeks, no exceptions.” They don’t move, just stare at me in shock. “Now.” They stand, bowing their heads in respect, stacking plates on top of one another, walking into the kitchen. I look at the clock on the wall to see that it’s nine o’clock at night.
“Bed in ten.” Rory commands. The sound of clinking glass and running water emanates from the kitchen.
“Be ready at the crack of dawn tomorrow, Derek and Hector. We leave then. No excuses.” I say. I wish Rory and the other boys a goodnight and pad to my room quietly and quickly. Once the door is closed, I strip down to my underwear and slip the nightgown onto my slim tan body.
A knock at the door startles me, sending me into assassin mode for no reason. I walk to it, not opening it. “Who is it?”
“It’s Hector.” A second of quiet. “Can we talk?” I hesitate, but open the door anyway.
“What’s up?” I say, waving him into my room. I sit on my bed as he closes the door and sits in the wooden chair at me desk.
“Well, I wanted to apologize for the way we met. I was upset about something and I was confronting Leader about it. I don’t want your first impression of me to be the rude d*ck I was today.”
“It’s all good.” I smile reassuringly, his features softening at my simple gesture. “I’m not one to judge on first impressions. Not my style.” He chuckles. “I have a question for you, Hector.”
“Who do I look like that caused you to be so rigid?”
He looks at the ground, wringing his hands. “You remind me of my little sister. She died just a little over a year ago. She was fifteen, around your age.”
“Hector, I’m sorry if I brought back bad memories.”
“It’s not your fault. How old are you, Arrianne?”
“I’m sixteen and a half. Next week, on the twenty-second, I’ll be seventeen.”
“May twenty-second?” He looks up at me.
“Yeah. Next month is May right?”
“Okay, then yes. May twenty-second.” He smiles, straight white teeth beaming at me.
He stands and before he leaves he says, “Goodnight, Arrianne.” Then the door closes. Even though he isn’t in the room anymore, I can still hear his breath as he leans against the wall. A few minutes later, I hear the door across from mine open and close. I sigh and blow the candles out, crawling under the soft sheets, sinking into the memory foam mattress.
The next morning, a half an hour before dawn, I’m showering when a knock on the bathroom door interrupts me. “What do you need?” I call, washing the conditioner from my hair and eyes.
“Are you almost done?” Derek’s voice rings through the door.
“Yeah, give me a second.” I finish cleaning my face and hair, shutting the water off and wrapping a towel around my dripping body. I open the door to reveal Derek leaning against the wall, in nothing but boxers. He rubs his hazel eyes, swiping his bed head out of his face. “All yours.” I say, sidestepping out of his way.
“Thanks. Ten minutes.” He closes the bathroom door behind himself, the shower starting minutes afterward. I’m so glad I didn’t get undressed in the bathroom. My panties would be out in plain view. I pad back to my room, my footsteps quieted by the Persian rug in the center of the hallway.
Once I’m in my room, I dry off and dress myself in the shorts and black tanktop, brushing out my straight auburn, waist length hair. Just a second later, I hear someone walking down the hall, singing something. His voice is low and sweet, filling my ears. I shiver at the beauty of the voice, but before I can open my door to see who it is, it stops when a door closes down the hall. I sigh, a little disappointed. About twenty minutes later, I hear a voice say, “Let’s go, Princess.”
Opening the door, I see Hector and Derek standing there, both with their arms crossed over their muscular chests. Hector’s dripping black hair hangs in his eyes and Derek’s red hair is dry but mussed. “Ready?” Derek asks nicely. I shift from foot to foot, looking at Derek’s smile.
“Yeah. Got the money?”
“You’ll have to get it from Leader.” Hector says, acting as if we hadn’t talked last night.
“Okay, let’s go.” We walk down two doors, and after knocking on Rory’s door I open it to see him reading a thick book behind his desk. “Rory, we need money.”
“Just grab as much as you want from the drawer next to you.”
I look the right side of me to see a filing cabinet. I open the top one, revealing stacks of money. I grab at least forty thousand in hundreds, stuffing it in the small purse I found in my end table drawer. “Thanks Rory.” I walk to his side and kiss his cheek, then walk back out shutting the door behind me.
We took a black van to the nearest town, which had every store we needed; a department store, a grocery, a clothes shop, and a book store. It even had a jewelry store. We stop at the department store first. Instead of buying furniture, I buy a new bedspread and pillowcase set, a plush rug the color of freshly fallen snow, a new shoulder bag, a toothbrush and toothpaste, makeup and a new desk chair. Next we go to the clothing store. I purchase four pairs of sports bras and flannel men’s pajama bottoms – the woman’s ones fit too snuggly on my hips – several pairs of shorts and skinny jeans, panties, bras, no-show socks, two pairs of plain black Converse and plain black and white v-neck t-shirts that fit perfectly.
The grocery took a lot longer to get done with because of all the food we bought; ten boxes of Lucky Charms, Reese’s Peanut Butter cereal, Coco Puffs, five gallons of whole milk, four 2 liters of soda, vegetables, fruits, spaghetti, spaghetti sauce, macaroni and cheese and of course bags upon bags of potato chips and tubs of ice cream. We check out and load everything into the back end of the van. “Now we’re going to go to the bookstore so I can get stuff for my room.”
“But we have training.” Hector whines.
“Not today, you don’t. You’re with me today. Got that?”
“Yeah, whatever.” We drive to the side of town where the bookstore is located and I run inside really quick with Derek there to hold the books I pick out; the Fallen series, the Thirst series, Pure by Juliana Baggett, the Inkheart trilogy, The Book Thief, and the Hush Hush series, as well as two bookends; stone roses.
“Are we done now?” Derek asks when I’m paying for the items.
“I still have to get the charcoal grey paint to match my purple and grey bed set. Do you think Hector would mind if we made one last stop?”
“No, probably not. He’d probably complain, but otherwise he’d go.” We walk out of the bookshop and almost immediately, I feel my instincts kick into overdrive.
My senses bristle with anticipation. “Something’s up, Derek.” I say, continuing my walk to the van, prepared to fight if necessary.
“What is it, doll?”
“I don’t know. Just keep walking. Somebody’s watching. I feel it.” He stays silent and when we reach the van, he opens the door for me and hastily ushers me into the car, slamming the door behind him.
“What’s up guys?” Hector says, unsuspecting of my feeling.
“Nothing. We need to get paint really quick. Drive.” I say, staring out the windshield, scanning for unwanted predators.
Hector sighs, but puts the car in drive anyway. We reach Lowes, and before I can even say anything, Derek is out of the car at the backend, grabbing a grey pillowcase, running inside. Within maybe ten minutes, he’s running back outside, four paint cans, three paint trays and two paint rollers in hand as well as my pillowcase. “Let’s go home.” He says after climbing back into the car.
The drive home was short and quiet, and only after we were parked in the garage did I relax. This is where I felt safe, where I knew nothing would happen to me. “Do you need help putting your room together?” Hector asks when Derek steps out of the car.
“Yeah, that would be nice. I might as well utilize you and Derek while I can before I let you go.” He smiles and gets out, slamming the door and jogging around to the back of the van. “Get the groceries inside first so nothing spoils. I’ll come back out and get the other stuff while you guys are putting stuff away. Sound cool?”
They both agree in unison, bringing in all the food between them, leaving me with the other stuff. I grab the bed set and cradle it on my hip, filling my other free arm with the book bags, the new purse and my old one, and one can of paint. Carrying all of that to my room, I jog back out to the car to grab the other paint supplies, the box with my chair and the rug. I turn to almost run into Derek and Hector. “You guys finish with the food already?”
“Yeah.” Derek grabs the chair and rug, while Hector takes the paint stuff, leaving me to grab the clothes and shoe bags. “Now, let’s get you settled in, doll face.” I laugh and we all walk up to my room, making jokes about the other guys.
“How much money is left, Ari?” Hector asks after setting my stuff down on the bed.
“About thirty-four grand. Why don’t you guys start with setting up the bed sheets and desk chair and then move on to painting the walls and I’ll put my clothes and stuff away?” I suggest, earning nods from the two, who start to unwrap things; Derek working on the bed and Hector building the chair. I unload the shorts and pants into one of the drawers in my wardrobe, hang my shirts on the hangers, fold the pajama pants and put them in the drawer under the pants, put my panties, socks, bras and sports bras into another drawer, and the Converse on the floor of the wardrobe.
“Ari, I’m done with the chair. What do we do with the old one?” Hector says after I start to put my toothbrush, toothpaste and makeup on the vanity.
“Just put it in the corner over there.” I point at the far left corner closest to the door.
“Done with the bed, babe.” Derek says.
“Pull it away from the wall, along with the desk and wardrobe. Put the furniture in the center of the room. Time to start painting.”
They pull on the bed and put it in the very center of the room, being careful not the scratch the wood floors, followed by the vanity, desk and wardrobe. Pouring the paint into the trays was fast and clean. I tie my long hair back into a high ponytail, my bangs hanging in my eyes. It takes up about twenty minutes to paint the walls, and when we finally finish, all that’s left to do is let the paint dry and eat dinner.
“Let’s go eat, guys.” I say, after clicking the lid onto a can of paint.
“Okay. Do you need help tonight?” Derek says, opening my door to air out to room.
“No thank you. But you can watch and keep me entertained.” I smile and bat my eyelashes at him, causing both him and Hector to laugh.
“Now, don’t go giving the poor boy a reason to stare at your a**.” Hector jokes, elbowing Derek playfully.
“Who said I needed a reason?” Derek winks at me, and drapes his strong arm across my shoulders.
I laugh and shake my head, walking into the kitchen. “You guys are relentless.”
“Yeah, your point? I’ll go get the guys.” Hector says, leaving the kitchen.
A comfortable silence fills the space between Derek and me as I get out a box of spaghetti noodles, a jar of sauce, and two pans; one large and one small. “So, there’s something I want to talk to you about Arrianne.” He says.
“Okay. What is it, Derek?” I look at him just as I say his name. He shivers when I say his name, a gesture that gives away his topic almost immediately.
“Over the past two days, spending some time with you and talking to you has shown me that there’s more to things than just… fighting. There’s also caring about someone, and not just as a friend or buddy, but on a deeper level.” I dump the sauce into the small pan and turn the burner on medium, and fill the bigger pan with water and set it back down, setting the burner to high and wait for it to boil. “Ari, I feel like I need to protect you. And it goes past wanting to protect you because it’s my job. It goes down to me wanting to protect you because you mean something to me.”
“Derek, I don’t need to be protected. I need to be looked at as an equal, not a frail girl who needs someone with her to just go shopping. I get what you’re saying but–” Before I finish my sentence, Derek leans forward and kisses me. His lips are soft and warm, and he tastes like fresh mint leaves.
“Hey, what are we having for–” Samuel’s voice falters when he catches Derek kissing me.
I pull away, regretfully, but happy Hector didn’t see. “We’re having spaghetti.” I say, taking in Samuel’s face. There is no shock or surprise, but happiness.
“Sounds good. Call me in when you’re done plating and I’ll help carry them out.” He looks at Derek and smiles, then at me, still smiling.
After a minute of silence, the water begins to boil, so I turn the heat to medium and dump the noodles in, turning the flame off under the sauce and starting the timer for ten minutes; just enough time for the sauce to cool to mouth temperature and for the spaghetti to cook. “I’m sorry about that. I just had to do it.” Derek says after a while.
“It’s fine. I never said I didn’t want to, either. Warn me next time though, please?” He nods and a sly smile crosses his lips.
“Like now.” He leans in again, the kiss deeper than the first, made more of a need than a want. The timer beeps, so I reach behind me blindly, still kissing Derek. But instead of touching the knob to turn the flame off, my fingers fall into the fire. I let out a shriek at the searing pain engulfs my hand. Then Derek is turning the flame off and shoving my hand under freezing cold water from the faucet. The boys come running into the kitchen seconds later, alarmed by my shriek.
“What the h*ll!” I hear a voice yell. It gets hard to distinguish the voices and faces of the people around me. Black and red spots cloud my vision, and my entire body becomes cold and extremely numb. “She’s bleeding badly, Leader! We need to get her medical attention now!” Another voice shouts. Before my vision goes black and I fall, I hear someone whisper in my ear. “I love you, Ari.”
Then I fade.
When I finally come to, I’m only vaguely aware of the rough, unfamiliar sheets covering me.
I feel as if I’ve been caught on a merry-go-round. My head is swimming, and it’s a struggle to merely open my eyes. “Get Derek and Hector,” a familiar boy says. “She’s awake.” I recognize this boy as Shawn.
Not even ten seconds pass before I see the door open. “Ari,” A blonde haired boy says dreamily, a smile covering his face. I recognize him too. He’s Derek. “I’m so glad you’re okay.” He puts his hand on my cheek, an intimate gesture.
“Is she okay?” Hector barges in, looking exhausted.
“Yeah, she’s fine. Looks a little banged up though.”
“Can we go home, guys?” I say, my throat coming out as a scratch instead of my usual silk voice.
“Yeah,” Hector smiles. “I’ll get the doctor so he can discharge you.”
It’s quiet in the room after Hector leaves. “You had a bad accident, Ari. It scared me.”
“What all happened, Derek?”
“You burned your hand pretty bad, and you started bleeding really bad because you slipped and knocked the knife off the counter and fell on it.” He looks at the floor. “You lost a ton of blood. You were out for two days.”
I put my good hand on his cheek and lift his face. “I’m fine, Derek.” I kiss his forehead. “I promise.” The doctor comes in and checks me out.
“She looks fine.” He says in a silk voice after checking my arm. “You can go ahead and take her home. I just want you to take it easy for a day or two, which means no unnecessary movements. Okay?”
“Yeah.” I smile.
The ride home was quiet and peaceful. When I finally get back home, Derek and Hector both escort me to my room, keeping me up. I go to open the door, but Derek steps in front of it. “Close your eyes.” He says. I do and wait impatiently. The familiar creek of my bedroom door sounds, and I’m led into the room. “Now, open.” When I open my eyes, my room looks so different. The order of the furniture is very different. The bed is against the wall on the left side of the room, the two end tables still at its sides, the vanity is on the other side of the room next to the wardrobe, the desk is on the back wall where my bed used to be, with a brand new cherry wood bookshelf standing next to it with binders I’d never seen before, the books I bought the other day and notebooks that are most likely filled with paper, and several packages of mechanical pencils and lead.
And, hanging off the ceiling, is a balance beam. “Guys, this is amazing! Why did you do all of this for me?” I turn to look Hector and Derek in the eyes.
“Because you deserve it,” Hector begins. “While you were out, I asked Leader if you could train with us and come on missions; be the assassin you were born to be.”
“And what did he say?” I venture, raising my eyebrows.
“He said that it would be an honor for the boys to work with the greatest female assassin ever to live.” I squeal in excitement and begin to laugh hysterically, tears coming to my eyes.
“You guys are amazing! I don’t deserve this! I’m just a girl, and you guys are the best assassin clan and–”
“And you’re part of the family, Arrianne. You do deserve it because of how hard you’ve worked your entire life. Just, stop laughing before one of the guys hears you.”
Just after Hector says this, Shawn comes in and shouts, “Shut up! God, you guys are loud!”
“‘You guys are loud’!” I mimic him, not caring that he thinks I’m annoying.
“Jeez, how childish can you be?" Shawn snaps at me before storming out of the room, loudly slamming the door behind him. Even that doesn’t stop my laughing fit, which is really, really starting to hurt my stomach now.
Suddenly I hear a loud gasp, and when I look up Hector has collapsed on the ground. "Oh no, Hector died!" Derek exclaims, frantically waving his arms in panic. I immediately stop laughing and kneel down next to him.
"Hector? Are you okay?!" I breathe frantically, trying to figure out what the h*ll is wrong. What happened?! God, he’d better be okay!
"Yes." Hector replies and jumps to his feet again. I freeze, still on the floor. "Hah! That was a trick to stop you from laughing! And it worked!" Derek proudly announces.
"And it was my idea too!" Hector announces.
"Good idea!" Derek replies grinning at Hector.
I give them an awkward smile. "Guys!" I say, a bit annoyed that everyone was so fixated on stopping me from laughing, "We have much more important things to talk about!"
"Such as?" Hector asks curiously.
"Who was singing earlier?! I really want to know!" I say.
"When?" Hector asks, frowning.
"The morning we went to town. I heard someone singing in the hall, and then go into a room just down the hall."
"Oh I heard that!" Hector suddenly says. I turn to him, more curious than ever.
"Who was singing?!" Derek asks, and Hector puts on a thinking face before answering. This is really random…
"I think it was Shawn… he was singing something from Blake Shelton..."
"Him again?" Derek asks and sighs. "He's not in such a mood again, is he? I hate it when he starts singing romantic songs!" I stare at both of them. What are they talking about?
"Who’s Blake Shelton?"
"He’s a really popular singer songwriter who mostly sings songs about love and heartbreak." Hector explains with a kind smile.
"I think he sang Don’t Make Me again." Derek adds. Just the title of the song makes me blush, the context in which Shawn sang it even more.
"So, um, are there any fun things to do around here?" I ask, desperate to change the subject.
"There is a cinema, a bowling alley, a pool, a-" Derek says robot like.
"Wait, a pool?" I ask. "I love swimming! Let's have a pool party!"
"I'm not sure if that's..." Hector starts to say, but suddenly stops midsentence and blushes.
"Pool party it is!" Derek responds with a dazzling smile. That means shirtless guys…
I practically drag everyone over to the pool, which Derek happily guides me to. I take one step inside of the room and immediately my jaw drops. "Oh my God!" I exclaim, taking in the view. The pool is huge with loads of slides and even a waterfall! "Wow wait, I don't have a swimsuit!" I say as I suddenly realize that I have nothing to swim in.
"No problem, we have a lot of them in the dressing room." Hector says with a smile and points to a door with a female sign on it. Why do they have a ladies room? Oh… probably for the old housewives… Right…
"You guys get changed too, okay?!" I say to Hector, Derek, Shawn and the rest of the boys before running to the dressing room. I stare at the overload of bikinis and swimsuits. Which one should I pick? I pick out a plain black bikini, finding that it fits perfectly. It shows off my hourglass figure and my hard stomach, built up from years and years of assassin training.
Feeling a bit more self-conscious than usual, I step out of the dressing room with my new swimsuit on, only to make my embarrassment even greater by bumping straight into a half naked Hector. "Argh!" I yell in panic and flail. Oh, how much more awkward can I be?!
My flailing causes the flustered Hector to take a dip in the pool, splashing water everywhere. I immediately start laughing when Hector shakes his head in a desperate try to get the wet hair out of his eyes. It just looks so cute! Aww!
I'm still chuckling when I hear a scream coming from my right. I turn around quickly, to be faced with the most horrific sight ever. "Ryan!" I yell, running towards him. This isn't happening. This can't be happening! Why is this happening?!
The normal boy who once was Ryan is not so normal anymore. I notice two things about him: One, he has some really nice abs, and two, he has a frickin tail! I stare at the dark blue, scaled, fishlike thing which has simply replaced Ryan's legs.
Ryan looks at the ground ashamed, avoiding my look. "I knew you would see it someday, but I didn't expect it to be so soon..." He says, sounding really upset.
"It's okay!" I reassure him. "I think it's, um… cute! How did it happen by the way?"
I try to hold in my giggling as Ryan explains how he simply turns every time he comes in contact with water of any kind. Trying to hold in my giggling is even harder when Shawn has to come to lift Ryan into the water. I lose it when Shawn slips while carrying Ryan and both of them fall.
That is until, I’m pushed into the water myself. The water is colder than I expect so I shriek after rising to the surface again. "Who did that?!" I yell, half amused and half annoyed.
"I did." An unfamiliar voice says. What the h*ll…?
“What are you doing here, Nick?” I hear Derek ask, protectively.
“I live here, don’t I?” Nick says, shrugging his shoulders.
“No, you work here. You don’t live here.” Nick sighs and pulls his shirt and jeans off, revealing toned abs.
“Can someone please explain to me what’s happening?” I say, hoisting myself out of the water.
“This is Nick.” Derek says through clenched teeth. “Nick, this is Arrianne.”
“Hello, Arrianne. Am I mistaken, or are you a King, not a Silverman.”
“No, I’m Arrianne Silverman. Got an issue with it?”
“Not at all. I was simply wondering.”
“Who the h*ll is this guy?!” I whisper loudly to Shawn after I’d pulled him to the side.
“That’s Nick. He’s my brother.”
“Why is your brother here?!”
Shawn shushes me and continues. “I don’t know. Just go out and swim, have a good time, mess around. Just don’t pay attention to him and he’ll go away. Kind of like a wild animal.”