The Naragi Blades: Rise of the Guardians
Author's note: I already submitted this story on here, but i've been going through and making a lot of changes... Show full author's note »
New LookRunning my fingers through my damp hair the corners of my mouth tilt upward. It just brushes above my elbows as I let the waves dry naturally. Normally the dull brown annoys me, but the slightly golden hue that remains from summer lifts my spirits. I let my grin show in my mirror as I finish getting ready. I’m still not used to my fresh tan face, with no makeup except a touch of mascara and lip gloss, being used to the thick eyeliner and pale skin of my previous years. But that can’t be me anymore. This year’s going to be different.
Turning from the sink I trip over Toby, my German Sheppard and slam into the counter. Shock radiates from my hip to the tips of my fingers and goosebumps rise on my skin. I grit my teeth and rush towards my room, at least 10 minutes late now.
Grabbing the first thing I see in my room I throw it on and rush to the door, kissing Mom on the cheek and grabbing the muffin she’s holding on the way.
“Love you!” She yells out the door. Shaking my head and smiling I slow my pace as I begin to walk down the sidewalk.
“Lena?” my stomach clenches as I keep walking, I just need to get away from the voice. My steps pick up but a cold hand on my arm stops me.
Looking up, I try to keep the panic off my face and try to grin at him, but can keep my mouth working more into a grimace.
“Hey, Zander.” My voice jumps up about an octave as I try to control the annoyance i know is seeping out of me. Glancing up and down the street I wait for him to let go of me, surely late for 1st period by now.
“I see summer treated you well,” he says with a teasing smile, but the cold look in his eyes causes a shiver to take over my body despite the sweltering late August heat. His eyes rake over my body and I feel a blush threatening to spill onto my cheeks, never having been so blatantly checked out. I don’t bother doing the same, seeing as I’ve known him since grade school and he hasn’t changed yet. Short buzzed hair that really doesn’t have much of a distinct color besides being dark. Fairly tall and muscular, but almost too much so, resulting in a strange hulk-like look. Gray eyes that rest atop an almost flawless nose, besides a small bump on the side, the only reminder of the fights that seem to come daily with him. Big smile and obviously whitened teeth, which at the moment seem to be smiling so big I can almost see his molars. His large clammy hand still rests on my arm and I quickly yank it out of his reach with such force that I stumble into someone walking behind me.
“Whoa there,” says a deeps voice behind me laugh. I immediately feel the panic from Zander slip away as I turn to the voice that stopped me from almost falling.
“You okay?” Devon asks me as I turn to him, smiling.
“Wonderful,” my sarcasm makes one of his eyebrows raise, something I’ve always wished I could do. He notices Zander watching our encounter and steps out of my arms that, little to my knowledge, were wrapped around his waist in greeting. He nods at Zander, which is such a typical guy move that I almost laugh, but before I can he grabs my arm and directs me to his car parked at the curb.
I swing the old door of the 1996 Jeep shut as Devon tries to get the engine to start. After the third try, we drive past Zander, who has to walk to school, no doubt grounded because of his last fight. I tap my fingers quietly to the radio before Devon’s obvious staring becomes unbearable.
“What?” I snap harshly, knowing that I’m taking out the annoyance from Zander on him, but past caring.
“N-nothing,” he stutters out, obviously taken off guard by my tone, “You just look different.”
I forgot that this is the first time Devon’s seen me since my, transformation, I guess you could call it. At the end of July, the night after Devon had gone away to work as a camp counselor for the remainder of the summer, my mom had sat me down over breakfast with just about every college brochure in the country and basically told me that things needed to change. My grades were good, better than good actually, I was almost top in my class, but none of the teachers took me seriously because, as my mom put it, I looked like “Dracula’s bride come to life”. I guess she had a point, I tended to wear black a lot and I spent so much time on school work and inside at my job at the grocery store, Al’s, down the street, I was almost creepily pale. Plus the various arrays of thick makeup always on my face probably didn’t help. But apparently I needed to change. So my mom and I had both gone out, gone tanning and shopping for new, brighter clothes—much to my dismay, seeing as I absolutely hate shopping—and signed me up to work as a lifeguard at our community pool.
I knew that most people most likely would hardly recognize me when I came back, and that if they did they’d see it as a positive change, but Devon was the only one I was unsure of; the only one that might not like the change; the one that if he didn’t like it, it’d be horrible.
“Yeah, well I just thought I’d try something new this year,” I trail off, and look down at my thighs, picking at the bottom of my shirt. He hates it. I just know. Tears threaten to spill over. I shouldn’t have even come today.
His warm hand reaches over and rests on my thigh. I glance up, and see his reassuring smile.
“This year’s going to be good.” He says taking his hand back and artfully ruffling his hair. I nod and turn up the music like usual, but the feel of his hand on my leg stays the rest of the ride.
Stepping out of the lunch line, I guide my tray towards my usual ledge outside by a tree in the far courtyard. Sitting Indian style on the warm ledge I gingerly eat a fry off my tray.
“Trade your Pepsi for my Root Beer?” Devon comes up behind me and offers his drink. Mom never buys root beer, says it disgusting and shouldn’t be allowed in the house. That could be one of the reasons I like it so much.
“Thanks,” I grab it from him as he sits next to me with his own tray.
“So is it weird?” he asks, opening his can and chugging it.
“Is what weird?” I ask.
“How everyone keeps staring at you like you’re the new kid?” he asks, generally curious. I’m almost offended, but he’s right. The mixed reactions I’ve been getting have lewerd nervous feeling flitting in my stomach.
“I mean, I even heard one of Zanders’ friends talking about how you’re looking fiiiiine,” he drags out the word fine so perfectly, I know he’s talking about Zanders’ even more beefy friend Chris. He glances at my outfit nonchalantly and, I sit up straighter before I realize how stupid it is. I mean, it’s only Devon. He’s seen me a million times. But somehow this feels different.
He shakes his head and looks down at his food, “People at this school are ridiculous,” he laughs. And I start to laugh back, but the sound dies in the back of my throat, sounding about what I imagine a dying cat would sound like.
The blazing Arizona heat is even more unbearable as I struggle to find my voice, and for once I’m thankful for our school’s skimpy dress code as sweat drips down the back of my black tank top. As much as I try to stop, my chest heaves and I groan. A sharp pain shoots up my arms as my fingers become unbearable warm.
“Devon,” the panic in my voice edges on hysteria, and his head whips around. His mouth drops open so wide I can see the back of his throat. I laugh; he sure looks weird with his mouth wide open like that.
“You’re hot,” his hand brushes my forehead. He thinks I’m hot? I can’t help but giggle uncontrollably. Black spots dance across my vision as I try to grip his arm to balance. The world spins and my stomach heaves the little I’ve eaten for lunch on the grass in front of our ledge.
“Lena!” Devon yells alarmed, his face arranged in a strange expression. My mind whirls as it tried to place the expression.
Suddenly I’m exhausted. I feel what fight I had left go out as I relax in Devon’s arms, and as I drift in and out of consciousness, the strange look on his face finally registers. Complete and utter fear.