|Here There Be Dragons
Author: imagine.write.thrive PM
In the car accident that killed her parents, Carmel Nolan was saved by someone, or something. The problem is, she didn't remember it. Enter Drake Baine. Add a little Dragon's Blood, the Mark, an ancient curse, and you've got a romance.Rated: Fiction M - English - Fantasy/Drama - Chapters: 7 - Words: 24,634 - Reviews: 19 - Favs: 10 - Follows: 30 - Updated: 07-26-11 - Published: 05-18-11 - id: 2915765
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
I was well aware of the story – my story. I was born to a girl named Patrice. I say "girl" because she was only fifteen at the time. Anyway; I was given up shortly after birth, and my parents, Grant and Amy Nolan adopted me. They named me Carmel.
I had a fairly normal childhood. I made mud pies, threw fits, and ate bugs. I led a charmed life, I guess. I belonged to the upper, upper class, so there wasn't much that I didn't have. Actually, I couldn't think of anything that I didn't have.
I went to private schools, I had lots of friends. I played soccer and volleyball, and was pretty good at both. I excelled in track and swimming, and I wasn't too bad with pompoms, either.
Things changed when I hit age twelve, which was when I started thinking about my male friends as possible soul mates, and I got interested in things like lip gloss and bras. I had my first "boyfriend" when I was thirteen, but it was kind of just one of those "see that guy over there? He's my boyfriend" type deals. And two weeks later, we were broken up. The reason he gave was that my eyes were too blue. I didn't realize it then, but somewhere down the road, that would be a compliment.
Things changed more when I turned fifteen and I got a real boyfriend. He was a cute guy, a year ahead of me in school. He played lacrosse. He was the one to give me my first kiss, and, then, after months and months – okay, okay, two months – of agonizing, he was my first real ex-boyfriend. This time, I was the one doing to dumping. He was sweet, but I didn't feel it.
Not that I knew what it was, but I'd seen movies, and I knew enough to know that when I felt it, there'd be no going back.
And finally, things changed again on my sixteenth birthday, when I was changing for my sweet sixteen and I noticed an odd looking rash on my back. I'd only glanced at it in the mirror, and when I looked back to see what it was, all that remained was the faint image of what looked like a dragon, which then disappeared altogether after about four seconds. Odd, but I didn't dwell on it for too long. I put on my party dress, did my hair and makeup, slipped on my shoes and went downstairs.
My parents are wealthy, but they weren't the in-your-face type of wealthy that was so annoying, and seemed to be a common disease among their, and my, circle of friends. It wasn't often, or ever, really, when they did a big party, but this time they did. They told me that I only turned sixteen once, and a sweet sixteen was a rite of passage among the wealthy. So with that in mind, they handed me a credit card without a limit and told me to go crazy.
I didn't. The most expensive thing was the venue. I wasn't going to be like everyone else and have it at the country club where we were all members and were at on at least a biweekly basis. My birthday falls in September, so it's the perfect time of year to have an outdoor party, which is exactly what I did.
That night could have been remembered as best night of my life, but instead, it was remembered as the worst night of my life.
You see, I never made it to the party, and neither did my parents. The only difference between us being that I survived, and they didn't.
I didn't remember much, but I remembered my parents laughing and toasting me with apple juice – they didn't drink, and especially not while driving, so apple juice was the obvious choice – and the next thing I knew, I woke up in a hospital bed with a policeman standing just outside my door. His words pierced my soul and were tattooed into my mind. I'd never forget them. Ever.
I'm just going to come out and tell you this, Carmel. Both of your parents died in the car accident. I'm so sorry for you loss.
About an hour later, the adrenaline that must have been released during the accident was leaving my system and that's when I started to feel my injuries. The doctor had been in to see me, so I knew what was wrong with me, I just hadn't felt them at that moment. Three broken ribs, a hairline fracture to my left wrist, a broken ankle, six cuts, with a total of two hundred stitches – the entire outside of my left shin was cut, and bruises that covered most of my body.
I was only too thankful to realize that the meds they had given me were starting to kick in, and with it came sleep. It was a restless sleep, but it was sleep nonetheless.
My dreams were filled with dragons and various other mystical beings. In the morning, I chalked it up to the drug cocktail I had flowing through my system.
I was in the hospital for four days and my best friend was the only one to come and see me while I was there. Lydia was the perfect best friend. Whether it was the hospital that was the big deterrent, or the fact that my parents were dead, I'm not quite sure, but no one else bothered, or cared, to visit. That was fine with me. I really wasn't in the mood to put up with people's smiles and fake apologies.
My parents were dead. I had better things to think about.
Lydia was there to pick me up from the hospital and take me back to her place, after her mother insisted that I come home with her and not go back to my house. Their house was on the other side of town. We didn't live in the same neighborhood, go to the same school, or even hang out with the same crowd. Socially, our worlds were polar opposites.
She went to public school, where I went to private. She drove a beat up old Volkswagen bug – which is bright green, and I love – while I drove a Porsche. Aside from that, our personalities were completely different. She could be a frosty ice queen, and I was nothing like that. She was very frank, and I would lie to spare someone's feelings. She wore black most of the time; I wore light colors most of the time. Like I said, she was the perfect best friend.
Her family had become like a second family to me. I spent almost as much time at their place as I did at my own. Margret and Alan Archer had swiftly gone from Mr. and Mrs. Archer, to Mr. and Mrs. A, to Margret and Alan, to Mom 2 and Dad 2. And they got along perfectly with my parents.
When we reached Lydia's house, her parents and two brothers were standing outside on the porch waiting for us. It was a struggle, but I got myself out of the car. Using crutches weren't too hard, although, with the broken ribs, they hurt like hell.
No one rushed to hug me, – thank god – they just helped me inside. Darren, Lydia's older brother, helped me upstairs and into the guest room.
"Now you lay down," Margret told me, "And you rest."
Had it not hurt to move, I would have saluted her, but instead, I just said, "Yes, ma'am," and laid down on the bed. I didn't have the energy to argue, and to be honest, I didn't really want to. I wanted to cry, and that was pretty much it.
Lydia was the only one who remained in the room with me. She plopped herself down onto an overstuffed chair in the corner of the room, "She wants you to move in," she said.
"Who?" I asked.
I turned my head to look at her, "Why?"
"You're an orphan now. Plus she loves you like her own kid."
I sighed, which lead to a wince, "I haven't even thought about what I'm going to do now. I guess it depends on their wills, right?"
"How does one go about planning a funeral?" I asked.
"I dunno. Hire a minister, book a church. Talk to the funeral home. Sure they can help you."
"Would you come with me?"
"Dead people creep me out, but yes. I would."
"Aw, thanks." I paused, "How do you know that your Mom wants me to move in?"
"She said so. She was just talking to my Dad. You know. Getting his opinion."
"Ah. And you just happened to overhear,"
A week later, I was sitting in the front pew at Saint Francis of Assisi Church, while people came up to me and told me how sorry they were for my loss. I'd never met most of them; people that worked for my Father, people my mother knew, college friends of both of them. I said my thanks to all of them and worked on not crying.
The funeral was painful, to say the least. And I'm not just talking about the hard benches we had to sit on. It was hard to hear people stand up and give testimony to what great people they were. It was true; my parents were amazing people. Generous, thoughtful, caring, humble are just some of the words I could use to describe them. Never in my life had they been unfair.
Finally, it was my turn to stand up and say a few words. I didn't want to. Not because I couldn't think of anything to say, but because I was going to end up crying. I know it's a funeral and all, and as the only person left to carry on their legacy and family name, it would be perfectly okay to cry, it was still embarrassing.
With a little help from Darren, I got on the platform and crutched my way over to the podium. For several minutes, all I could do was stare at the crowd. It wasn't until that moment that I realized how many people my parents knew. The church, with its capacity of 600 hundred, was filled. Standing room only.
I took a breath, and with a shaky voice, started to speak, "Thanks for coming." Lame. "I'll make it short because my parents…they didn't like long, drawn out speeches at funerals." Also lame. "There was nothing my Dad loved more than being the center of attention. At home, at work, and now…in death," that brought some laughter, "There's nothing really left for me to say. Everyone else has said everything I thought about saying, so thank you for that." Again. Lame. The one time I desperately wanted to be funny, and I couldn't do it. I wiped at my eyes, thankful, not for the first time that day, that I hadn't put on any makeup. "I guess all I can say is…Mom, Dad, I love you, and I'll miss you forever. And wherever you are…give 'em hell." I let out a soft chuckle and turned away from the crowd. I took a deep breath and then made my way off the stage. I sat back down between Darren and Lydia. That was it. The funeral was over.
I crutched my way down the aisle , followed by everyone else. There wasn't an actual graveside service, but Lydia and I went to the cementary and watched as they lowered my parents into the ground. I threw roses and handfuls of dirt onto their caskets.
Out of the corner of my eye, I thought I saw someone standing by a tree about a hundred yards away, but when I turned, no one was there.
Lydia and I went back to her house; I went upstairs to change my clothes. I disliked dresses, so I changed from the somber black dress to shorts and a tank top. When my shirt was off, I noticed the dragon looking rash on my back again, this time it stayed longer. It lit up a bright orange for a second, and then in the blink of an eye, it was gone again.
I made a mental note to have either my back, or myself, checked out. Or both.
I reached for my shirt and pulled it over my head. When I looked in the mirror again, there was a man standing behind me. I gasped and whirled around, much to the dismay of my body, but no one was there. My heart was pounding and my mind was racing. I leaned back against the dresser and took a few deep breaths and blamed what I saw on the medication I was on. They said that there might be side effects, right? None of them included hallucinations, but maybe it had something to do with that. I hoped.
I picked up my crutches and went downstairs, but I couldn't shake the feeling of being watched. Upon further thought, it wasn't a creepy feeling like you usually get if you think your being watched. I felt…strangely comforted by it. Peaceful. It was weird; I wasn't sure if I liked it or not.
Once I reached the kitchen, where everyone else was, the feeling went away.
I sat at the table and helped peel potatoes. I liked being busy; it gave me less time to think.
"Carmel?" Margret asked.
I looked up at her, "Yeah?"
"We've been talking…and we'd like you to move in with us,"
I stopped what I was doing and looked at her and Alan; they both had such…hopeful looks on their faces. I couldn't say no, "Sure," I said, "Thanks."
"Oh, good!" Margret grinned from ear to ear and continued cooking.
Lydia nudged my gently in the side and gave me that 'I knew it' look of hers. I rolled my eyes at her and continued peeling the potatoes.
They moved me in over the weekend. They repainted the guest room to my favorite color, while I was at the doctor's and the reading of my parents wills. I was the sole beneficiary to my father's company, and generations worth of money on my mother's side. I hadn't expected anything less.
The will stated that, if they were to somehow die before I turned eighteen, I could only access half a million dollars each year until I turned eighteen. I guess they figured I'd need something to live on. The will also stated that when I turned eighteen, I could sell the house if I wanted, but I couldn't sell my father's company until I turned twenty-two, and if I wanted to sell, I had to work there for at least a year before even considering my options. I didn't have to work there if I didn't want to sell it. And, of course, since I owned the company, I had veto power, even though I was only sixteen.
It was more responsibility than I wanted at the moment, so I decided to leave it in the capable hands of my "uncle" Matt. My father's best friend.
When Monday rolled around, I was enrolled in Lydia's high school. I didn't mind switching schools, although public school was a big change from what I was used to.
As the only heir to two of the city's richest families, my face and story had been plastered all over every newspaper for about a week; these new people were no strangers to my face. Or, you know, my pocket book. Once again, I was the girl every girl in school hated, and every guy wanted. This time, though, I didn't pay any attention to them.
Lydia spent most of the day filling me in on who were and weren't the cool kids. So now I knew how to tell the mathletes from the AV-clubbers, and the football jocks from all of the other jocks.
It was hard to get through the first day of school, what with crutches and all, but overall, it wasn't so bad. But I was thankful to be back in the solace of my own room, where I could shut the door and be alone.
I found myself peeling off my shirt and looking at my back. It was still badly bruised, but it was getting slightly better. I stared in the mirror at the spot on my back where the mark had shown up. It'd shown up four times since the day of the funeral, but I never got a good look at it. Other times, I felt heat in the spot where it had shown up, so I was pretty sure that it did its little orange-glow thing. I was getting pretty freaked out. But who would believe me? Doctors would look at me like I was insane if I told them that I have a rash that glows orange and only shows up when it's in the mood. Hell, would have thought I was crazy if it weren't happening to me.
Maybe Dr. Vance was right, and I should go see a trauma therapist. There are bound to be things wrong in my head after what I'd been through, right?
I put my shirt back on and hobbled to the door, opened it, and called for Lydia. She appeared in my doorway in a few seconds. I grabbed her hand and pulled her inside, then shut the door behind me.
"I think I'm going crazy," I said.
She sat down on the bed, "Why?"
"Because every once in a while, I swear to god, I have a dragon on my back. Like…a tattoo. Sort of. Only…sometimes it glows orange or red."
She blinked at me, "You are going crazy."
"I know! I have to be. Right? Things like that don't happen, right?" I hobbled over to the bed and sat next to her.
"Right. Maybe you're just, I dunno, tired or something."
"Yeah. You're probably right." I gently laid back across the bed, trying not to disturb my ribs more than necessary, "Do you think I should go see a shrink?"
She shrugged at me, "Whatever. If you think it'd help,"
I didn't know if it would help for not, but I had to try something. I was getting tired of dreaming about dragons, seeing the shape on my back, and thinking that I saw a man standing behind me when I looked in the mirror. The feeling that I was constantly being watched – except, oddly enough, when I was in the bathroom, showering, or when I was changing my clothes - like whoever, or whatever was watching me had the decency not to watch when I was indecent. It sort of defeats the whole people of watching someone. But still, there are weirdo's, I guess.
But, given the choice between a creepy stalker, and a stalker who didn't peep when it mattered, I'd pick the latter. Hands down. Obviously, I'd rather not have a stalker at all, but I'd take what I could get.
What was even more odd, was that I only felt creeped out that I wasn't creeped out. I was never scared when I felt that I had someone watching me. I wouldn't go so far as to say that I was okay with it, I just wasn't scared.