I plopped onto my bed the first chance I had, sliding my valise under the frame and letting my exhausted mind and body rest a bit.
And then Eli showed up and decided to be a prick.
"Sleeping already, are we? Looks like someone is getting a little too old for showbiz."
The sound of his Brit accent alone made me want to bash my head into the wall.
"Oh shut up," I muttered, "You've got lots of wrinkles on that pretty face of yours."
"Well I can already spot some grey hairs in your raven locks, my dear."
My hands actually went to my ponytail for a split-second before returning, clenched, to my sides as I sat up against the wall of the coach.
"I could likely say the same for you, Blondie."
He looked like he would be making some kind of snarky reply but I beat him to it.
"Why were you so late today anyways? Was Lisette following you around again?"
Lisette was one of the various fire-juggling/swallowing/blowing performers, one who was utterly and completely smitten with Eli. And he very obviously didn't return that, but she didn't seem to get the message. It made for good entertainment, as well as some good emotional blackmail.
"No." he enunciated, as if talking to a child, "I'm sure she was busy getting to her own coach. I, on the other hand, was...busy in my own affairs."
I scoffed, but he took it as a sign to try and shoot me down.
"We both know that her brother Bruno is obsessed with you, so may I ask how you managed to arrive to these quarters so speedily?"
Damn him. Sure Bruno was always flattering me one way or another and...staring sometimes...but that didn't mean a thing. Bruno was just...nice. He didn't go physically chasing me around or anything.
Knock on wood.
"Actually, Bruno sees me as nothing more than a fellow performer, which your tiny brain clearly has no comprehension of because of your apparent lack of a soul and inability to understand emotion."
Ouch. I was getting better at this.
"I hate to break it to you sweetheart, but I'm not the college dropout here."
And then I lost it. I was seeing red, teeth gritted and a snarl coming up from my throat.
How dare he, my brain screamed, how dare he dishonor me, when he knows nothing of the pain I suffered! The fact that I could no longer pay for college, that I'd lost everything!
If I wasn't so out of it I would've laughed at Eli's somewhat guilty and otherwise taken aback expression.
But instead I launched myself at him with a battle cry, trying my level best to claw his face off. He managed to hold off my angered blows for the most part (seeing as I was blinded by my fury) but I left a long scratch down the side of his cheek, instantly feeling my emotion deflate when I saw blood starting to bead up to the surface of his skin.
One of my hands went up and touched the deep scar running down my own face instinctively and, feeling a stinging pain along the familiar ridges, I turned abruptly and sat back onto my bed, staring at the wall across from me.
Eli didn't move.
"Look, Cam, I'm-"
"Camille. I'm sorry. That was...insensitive."
I sighed and looked up, meeting his half-blue, half-brown gaze. My hulk-smash-fit had left a line of crimson going down his face.
Now the charmer had conveniently made me feel guilty. I sighed again and grabbed a first-aid kit from the trunk at the foot of the bed frame, gesturing for him to sit so that I could get around to disinfecting the mess I'd made.
The process was about halfway complete when he decided to be his stupid self again.
"So...does this mean you've accepted my apology?"
I stared at him skeptically before continuing.
"Yes, you idiot."
"Does this mean I can call you Cam from now on?"
I despised that nickname. Always had.
"Don't push your luck, bud."