I woke up twenty-four hours later. Restoring your entire energy storage takes time, and considering I had another twenty-four hours of staying inside my apartment, I had nothing but time. Except I should have been at school. I looked at my watch (yes I actually have a time device); I had about four hours until school started on Monday morning. I could wait four hours for Caspian, but I had just started my “human” life, and I couldn’t miss school. That was my excuse for leaving my apartment of course. I couldn’t care less about school. I was several hundred years old. Everything I was taught in that school (except perhaps human history) was things I knew from before. I held more knowledge alone than the entire teacher staff combined. In this world I could have been a genius, while in the Valley, I was still a child. Hell, compared to Caspian I was barely born yet. The thought of him made me remember what I had done, and I had to sit down for a while. It was dreadful. I had tied myself to a demon. An exiled demon, but nonetheless. I gave him my energy, giving him a direct look into my head. He knew my name, my real name! I felt dizzy.
“This can’t be happening. What if he uses it against me?” I thought out loud, feeling panic creeping up on me. He had saved my life several times, why would he use it against me?
“Perhaps that was his intention all along?” I asked again. My mind was working on a hay wire. Why would he have any interest in using me as a tool?
“That doesn’t make sense. If he’d want to, he could have forced my name out of me. He’s a diabolo for crying out loud.” I snapped at my own stupidity. Perhaps he actually was only out to protect me from harm?
“You don’t believe that.” I stated out loud. No I don’t I thought and glared at my hands. Nymphs, always the skeptics.
For four entirely bored hours, I had trampled around in my tiny apartment. If I were going to school, I would have to be going now. The sun was rising over the horizon. I found an apple in the fridge and gnawed away on it. I was having a hard time deciding if I should defy Caspian’s orders’ or not. I stared out the window. He would probably not be back for another twenty hours, and I was certain that I couldn’t stay inside for all that time. I was restless, I couldn’t sit still.
It was decided. I would be going to school. I dressed in my very comfortable jeans, a t-shirt and a grey cardigan. The parka still hung in June’s hallway, so I dressed in her coat and headed out the door. I locked the apartment after me, because I wasn’t having any unwanted visitors this time.
I met up with an overly excited June at our first class, which was history. She was grinning from ear to ear.
“Tell me… everything.” She whispered excited as the small and round teacher walked in. Mr. Rendell was an extremely nervous teacher. His eyes flickered from side to side, and he was sweating like a pig already. I grinned at June.
“You’ll have to wait. I wouldn’t want a reprimand from Mr. Rendell.” I said and nodded up at the blackboard where Mr. Rendell had just leant against, and left a wet mark. June giggled.
The history classes were always deadly boring. I had no interest in why humans go to war against each other, because it always seemed to boil down to wanting something someone else owned. I began thinking about the letter I had received from the “emperor of the sea” where it had said that the war would go on as long as the dryads held onto what originally was the naiads’. I started wondering if my species were no better than the young humans after all. I just couldn’t imagine what we had that once had belonged to the naiads. All we had was a forest in a forgotten valley, we had nothing that once had belonged in a sea. Though, considering that the letter might not come from a naiad, but from someone else, the artifact didn’t have to be from the sea. I could almost hear the wheels turning in my head from all the questions resurfacing. I would have to discuss it with Caspian when he came back.
Another matter entirely was Darin. What had he thought of what happened at the end of our date. Perhaps he already knew more than what he had let me know? And what he told his sister? I glanced over at June. She hadn’t acted strangely or anything, so I hoped Darin had kept silent about the giant eagles, or whatever it was that attacked us.
When it finally was lunch, and Jane and I found our usual table in the corner, she looked at me with an eager gaze.
“So, tell me what happened?” She asked and grinned. I smiled.
“He’s really something, your’ brother. I had a great time. We ate pasta, I tried chocolate for the first time, it was great.” I replied. “Did… he say anything?”
“Oh, well no, he didn’t need to. Because he walked around with his goofy grin for a whole day, and this morning he had actually made me pancakes. He never makes pancakes.” She said and laughed. I smiled.
Suddenly I could feel someone watching me. It was like a cold creeping up my neck. I looked at June.
“Don’t look right away, and not too obviously, but could you see over my shoulder to see if there’s anyone watching me? I mean in a suspicious way.” I said silently. June stared strangely at my face, before she slowly, and quite casually looked up to search the crowd in the cafeteria. I searched her face for any reaction what-so-ever. Someone still had their eyes glued to my back, I could feel it.
“Well there’s Les Horrible, but she’s been giving you that glare ever since you turned her offer on sitting with her at lunch, down. Oh wait, one of the seniors are giving you… an interesting stare.” She said and narrowed her eyes.
“Yep, that guy is definitely checking out your rear.” She said and nodded.
“That’s not the kind of stare I was talking about. Except for Les Horrible, isn’t there anyone giving me the evil eye?” I asked. June shook her head.
“Well, that senior guy, hot as he is, might be giving you the evil eye, I don’t know. At this distance I can’t really make a difference between ‘evil eye’ and ‘oh look at that ass’ stares.” She said. I sighed and turned around, meeting the stare of the senior male. He was handsome, as June had stated. He was tan, with pale, almost white shaggy hair and intense dark eyes. When he met my eyes, he smiled and rose from his seat, coming across the cantina.
“Hello. You’re new here, right?” He asked. His voice deep and husky with a slight, strange accent. I nodded, barely being able to not roll my eyes at him.
“I’m Vulcan Stark, a pleasure to finally meet the lovely foreign student everyone is talking about.” He smiled. “And I must say, all the rumors about you were true.”
“Really?” I asked far from amused by his thin attempt at flattery. “I’m Eliza Braveheart.”
“Oh I know. So how are you enjoying yourself here in Boston?” Vulcan asked and grinned. I couldn’t put my finger on what was wrong with this guy, but he definitely was. Completely wrong.
“It’s okay.” I said quickly. Vulcan smiled.
“So… there’s a party at my place tonight. Bring your friend, and we could chat some more.” He said and tilted his head to one side. His dark eyes glued to me. I narrowed my eyes at him.
“Oh, I’m sorry, I have a date tonight.” I said. He seemed unfazed by this fact.
“So? He could tag along.” He grinned. I snorted.
“He’s not too fond of crowds.” I said and turned my back on Vulcan, clearly showing him that the conversation was over. I could still sense him lingering though, before he left. June was staring wide eyed at me.
“Do you know what you just did? Oh my God you’re so freaking brilliant!” She squealed while munching away on an apple. I was confused, yet again, at my friends’ strange behavior.
“You just turned down the senior class’ most popular guy. He’s like a model on this school, or whatever. And best of it all, Les Horrible is madly in love with him, has been ever since her sophomore year.” June grinned, took another bite of her apple, chewed and swallowed. “And you turned him down, just like that.” She snapped her fingers and laughed. I was starting to understand the thrill this was giving June, but I had a creeping feeling that Vulcan wasn’t hitting on me because he thought I was hot or anything. It was something off about him. It seemed as if I only met guys that seemed off in the human world, except for Darin, who was a normal, great guy.
“So, how long has Vulcan lived here? What’s his story?” I asked. June seemed taken back.
“Is that of any interest to you?” She asked. I realized she was thinking about her brother, and almost slapped myself for being so tactless.
“No, not really. He just doesn’t look very “Boston”. I have no interest in him, trust me.” I said and smiled sincerely. It was half the truth at least, but I couldn’t tell her that I thought Mr. Stark was something else than a human.
“Alright?” She sounded very suspicious, but answered my question anyway; “Vulcan came here when I was a sophomore. He’s from some European country or something. Someone mentioned that his very rich family moved here from Denmark, but no one has ever seen his family, so everyone thinks he’s living by himself in that huge, expensive house in Back Bay, you know, the most expensive neighborhood in all of Boston.” She said, almost without taking a single breath… or a break.
“So, he’s not from around here then? That explains his accent as well, I suppose.” I finished my salad, and drank my juice, before grabbing my backpack. June was done as well, and we walked together to the English class. My mind was swirling again, after my meeting with Vulcan, who was a complete douche bag of course. He looked very much human, but something with his eyes had set off my alarm. His eyes had been almost black, and he had hair that was almost silvery white, and it seemed genuine. It was a strange color combination for a human. June seemed to be buried in her thoughts as well, and suddenly I remembered that it was tonight that the ‘Matchmaking-plan’ was supposed to be played out. In all the drama, and the energy exchanges, and the strange Vulcan guy, it had slipped my mind. It was embarrassing, I had actually forgotten something. I had to talk to Darin about what preparations needed to be done. It was the first time since I arrived here that I wished I had one of those mobile phones, so I could communicate with him. Back in the Valley we could just send a nerve impulse through the roots of the trees or send a message with one of the animals. Everything was so much simpler back there.
When the class was over, I asked June if I could loan her cell phone to call my “parents”, about something urgent. She obliged and gave me hers, while commenting that I really needed to get my own. I smiled and hurried to the bathroom to get some privacy, while June scurried off to calculus class. I flipped open the phone, touching some of the buttons, and after a while I found a list of numbers. I found Darins’ number and hit the green button with the telephone mark on it. After watching June do this almost blindfolded, I was certain I had done it correctly. I held the device to my ear and listened.
“Hello?” His voice calmed me down instantly, and a smile even appeared on my lips.
“Hey, it’s me, Eliza. I was wondering if I should come over after school and help out with the plan tonight.” I asked.
“Oh hey, yeah sure. Um… listen, about the other night, are you alright?” He asked.
“What do you mean alright? I wasn’t hurt.” I said confused.
“Yeah, I know, but… it’s not every day giant eagles try to attack you in a dark alley.” He muttered. I smiled.
“No, it’s not that common. Are you alright?” I asked, getting the feeling that he might have slept badly the last couple of nights. He was silent for a couple of seconds before answering.
“I guess, I’ve just been thinking, that’s all. Anyway, see you after school then? June’s got some business to do after school today, so it’s perfect.” He said, suddenly sounding like his cheery self again. I furrowed my forehead.
“Yeah, see you.” I said and hung up. What was it he had been thinking so hard about? If the giant eagles were known to the people, it shouldn’t have been a great, pondering mystery to him. I got the feeling he had been pondering something else, and it made me nervous.
When I came by the Sanders house after school, Darin met me halfway up the porch. He grinned and gave me a hug.
“Hey, perfect timing, I need to run to the supermarket to get some groceries, care to tag along?” He asked. I smiled and nodded, at least he wasn’t afraid of going out the door. He locked the door and we headed down the street towards the nearest shop, which (thank the forest) was in walking distance.
“You had been thinking about something?” I asked. Darin nodded, brushing his black bangs out of his eyes.
“Yeah, do you believe there’s more between heaven and earth than we know of?” He asked. I tried to look carefree, even though my heart had just skipped a beat, or two.
“Like what?” I asked.
“You know ghosts, demons and angels… whatever.” He said. I glanced sideways at him. It seemed like he really had put some serious thought into this.
“I guess there’s a lot we can’t see, and that we still have a lot to learn.” I said, careful not to lie to him. I didn’t like lying to Darin, it gave me a feeling of falseness.
“That’s what I’ve been thinking as well. And those eagles, I don’t think they were eagles, well not ordinary eagles anyway…” He said.
“You think they were demons?” I asked. He looked surprised down at me with his golden brown eyes and nodded.
“I’ve been thinking the same thing.” I murmured and bit my lower lip. I had to be careful. To reveal the demon world to a human could get serious consequences. Not all of the fragile humans were able to comprehend what their world really was. Now they were all so convinced that they were the greatest predator walking the earth, even though the greatest predators hid in the shadows, allowing the human race to rage on. Destroying their home with exhaust and whatnot, I knew it would end though. The planet Tellus was the home of many others’ as well, and the demons wouldn’t perish because of the human races’ young mistakes. For a long time, the uprising of the demons had been prophesized, and the downfall of the humans was in order. Lucifer would be merciless; I knew this for certain, because the fallen angel had never had any mercy in the past.
“Eliza?” Darins’ voice snapped me out of my rambling thoughts.
“Sorry, didn’t catch that last bit.” I said and smiled sheepishly.
“I was wondering about that Caspian guy who appeared out of thin air when we needed help. Could he be something supernatural, you reckon?” He asked. My eyes widened.
“I don’t think so Darin. I don’t know him that well, but he seems like a normal human to me.” I said. Darin nodded.
“Yeah, guess my imagination is running ahead of me.” He said, but didn’t look convinced. It must be a family thing, I thought, remembering how June was hard to convince as well.
We split the bill, again after my insistence. Buying food for four didn’t literally mean that four persons would be eating. We went through our cunning plan while walking back to the Sanders house, and realized that if André and June had any kind of interest in each other, this plan would work.
And so, when June came home that evening, after being a personal tutor for a sophomore student, she caught wonderful smells coming from the kitchen. Darin and I had been making taco for all four, because a moment later, André came waltzing in, grinning. We decked the table and brought the food in.
“Just take your seats.” I said and grinned. André and June looked confused.
“Isn’t Chester coming?” They both asked.
“Oh, no, he had to take his car to the garage, it broke down.” Darin said and sat down beside me, forcing André and June to sit together. This, as far as I could tell, was fine by either of them. I gave Darin a grin and passed the taco shells to André.
Darin and I ate one shell, before Darins’ phone rang noisily and he rushed out of the room to get it. I smiled at André and June.
“So… André, France huh? How long have you been living in America?” I asked.
“About six years or so, we moved here when I was fourteen.” He said.
“Was there any reason you came here, or did you just, decide to come to the Promised Land, if you don’t mind me asking?” I asked, digging deeper. Darin had told me André’s amazing story, and I knew June had never dug that deep into his past. It would be a captivating story for her.
“Yeah, it’s alright, I believe you haven’t heard this story June. See, my father was a very prominent politician in his time and my mother a successful fashion designer. Everything was bliss and all back in France, until someone decided they didn’t like my dad, because he was on the wrong side of the politics, in their opinion anyway. So one night, they broke into our house and killed our maid… yeah, we had a maid. My younger brother Daniel, and my sister Elise barely escaped through the cellar.” He paused, shaking his head as if he still couldn’t believe it had happened. June was staring wide eyed at him.
“So my siblings hid in the forest behind our villa, while five masked men rampaged our home. Our parents were at the opening of an opera while this happened. I had been down by the lake, doing some late night fishing, because the fish always bit at that hour. When I came back, I found our maid on the lawn, shot to pieces, and our home, burnt to the ground.” He sighed and took a swig of his beer. June’s mouth was wide open and she had tears in her eyes.
“Were they ever caught? The burglars?” She asked shocked. I leant back in my chair, now it was up to them. I had sent the snowball rolling down a hill; it was up to them if snow would build on it, making it grow.
“No, they were long gone by the time the police arrived, so we moved across the pond instead, to be safe.” André said, dragging long fingers through his pale hair. That was when Darin arrived in the doorway, looking guilty.
“Ah sorry guys, but I forgot I had promised a buddy I would come to his party tonight.” He said. André looked surprised.
“I’ll come with you.” He said and was about to rise from his chair.
“No, you just guys just stay here and chat, I’ll go with him. It’s like a second date, right Darin?” I asked him, winking. June seemed to like that idea and grinned, thinking she was the matchmaker in the room.
“She’s right André, you could stay here and tell me more about France.” She said and winked at me. I smiled and thanked her, before leaving.
Just outside the entrance to the Sanders home, I turned to Darin, grinning.
“We’re such geniuses.” I said. He grinned and nodded.
“Sure is. Now, we have a party to get to.” I froze.
“What? What party?” I asked frantically. I had about two hours to get back to my apartment so Caspian wouldn’t notice I had been gone. I wasn’t sure what a furious diabolo looked like, but I was certain I was going to find out if I didn’t get my ass moving soon.
“The party of my buddy, of course.” He said and smiled his warm and charming smile.
“Ah, but I’m not dressed for a party, I have been walking around in these rags all day.” I said, almost desperately now. He laughed.
“We’ll drive by your apartment so you can change.” He said, all blood left my face and I turned as white as a ghost.
“Can’t we just walk? It’s such a lovely evening.” I proposed. Darin raised an eyebrow at me and looked up at the sky. It was grey and rain was falling, splattering on the icy pavement. I smiled.
“I love rain and ice. Who doesn’t enjoy falling on slippery ice now and then?” I asked. Darin shrugged.
“What’s so terrible about cars?” He asked. My eyes wavered under his stern gaze, and I knew I couldn’t change his mind about this. So, eyeing the car doubtfully, I got into the timid metal box, feeling nausea creeping up on me.
By the time we got to my apartment, I was dizzy and pale. Darin looked worriedly at me, asking me if I was alright. I could only manage to nod and tell him to wait for me in the car. I was certain I had to throw up; and when a nymph in disguise throws up, a human shouldn’t be present. I ran up the stairs to the third floor in leaps of three and three steps with my long legs. I was at my door, and very nearly threw myself at it to burst it open, so I wouldn’t empty my stomach in the hallway. Well I wasn’t that lucky, and on my doorstep, I doubled over. I could barely keep my balance, and I tried to find the wall with my hand, for support. Someone grabbed my hand instead, and another arm around my waist, keeping me steady. A bucket appeared under my face, so the rest of the contents of my stomach didn’t end up on my doormat.
When I finally stopped puking, I could feel that I was not completely human anymore. I shuddered and straightened up. The arms supported me. I met a pair of angry, green eyes, before he guided me inside my apartment, in case some of my neighbors came by.
“I told you not to leave the apartment.” Caspian rumbled as I had sunk down into a chair. I held my hands up in front of me, seeing my human skin flaking of, revealing a greenish hue beneath it. My fingers had just become one and a half inch longer, with one additional joint on each finger.
“Yeah I know, but you should also know that as a nymph I wouldn’t actually listen to you. I stayed inside for a entire day. And as you see, I’m safe; no one has attacked me all day.” I snapped tiredly. Caspian sighed and circled the room restlessly.
“So who’s the guy waiting outside the block?” He asked. I rolled my eyes at him.
“He’s the guy who was with me when we were running for our lives from those giant birds. By the way, what kind of demons were those?” I asked as I summoned energy to restore my disguise. The joints slinked back into my fingers, and tan skin covered the green spots. Caspian shot me a glare.
“They were avians, Lucifers spies. Unfortunately they have been doing a lot more than just spying lately. It seems as if Lucifer have given them freedom to do whatever they want, and doesn’t care if they’re seen anymore.” He muttered. I rose from the chair, feeling better now that I was far away from the fumes of the car. I started messing around in my extremely thin wardrobe. I picked out the blue dress I had worn to Darin and my first date and turned to Caspian, holding it up.
“Can a girl wear the same dress twice to two dates with the same guy?” I asked him. He seemed shocked I would even consider asking him such a question.
“Yeah, you’re probably right. Man I should do some more shopping if Darin is taking me out every other night.” I murmured.
“So you like this guy, huh?” Caspian asked casually. I looked at him over my shoulder.
“Of course.” I said and picked out a black dress I had bought on my first shopping spree, just because the lady behind the counter thought I looked good in it. You’re probably wondering where I get all my money from, right? Well, let’s just say that influence can be used in banks as well. And yes, that is stealing, but frankly, I’m not certain that I care.
I turned around, giving Caspian the eye. He looked at me confused, before I waved the black dress in front of his face and he understood what that meant.
“Oh please, like I haven’t seen a female body throughout my thousands of years already.” He said grumpily, but turned around anyway. I laughed.
“You might have seen plenty of female bodies Mr. Riverside, but you haven’t seen this one, and I think we’ll keep it that way. Don’t you agree?” I asked as I slipped out of my jeans and top, and letting the short black dress fall comfortably around my frame. True to my nature, the dress wasn’t tight and scrawny, even though it was short; it was comfortable and very able to move around in without getting cramps.
“You can turn back around now.” I laughed as I slipped into my ballerina flats and flinging the parka over my shoulders. Caspian eyed me with his green orbs.
“Are you going to a party with human males, dressed like that? It’s like a suicide mission.” He said. I smiled and grabbed my apartment key.
“You can tag along if you want, I’m sure Darin wouldn’t mind.” I said leaving the apartment, Caspian following closely after. He had that strange look in his eyes, a determined and protective look, still he seemed angry.
“Whatever.” He muttered, I guess that meant he was tagging along.
When we arrived at what seemed to be our destination, I was feeling nauseated again, but not as serious as earlier, and the two males in the car were segregating so much male testosterone I believed I would gag. I knew Darin liked me, but why Caspian was acting like a bulldozer was beyond me. He protected me, sure, but he was a diabolo, not exactly my type of species if you know what I mean, neither was Darin, but oh well. At least Darin didn’t have the power to rip me to pieces if he wanted to.
We walked up the steps to the house and I rang the bell. It took a few seconds before the door opened and loud music blared out at us from behind a person I had had the “pleasure” of getting to know earlier that same day. A person I was certain would cause me trouble, a lot of trouble.