Author: Living of Love PM
Eleanor Avallone is a Pariah. A human being. Part of a family who doesn't accept who she can't help being. Or can she? Ryder Crosswell is a Legendary. Possessing abilities. He is bored of his life, ready to leave his nosy father and gossip-loving mother. Truths start unraveling, proving to them that while they thought they knew everything, they really knew nothing.Rated: Fiction T - English - Fantasy/Romance - Chapters: 3 - Words: 18,038 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 2 - Updated: 02-14-13 - Published: 02-11-13 - id: 3100295
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The next morning I wake up feeling abnormally good. Which hasn't happened in a while. It may or may not have to do with Ryder. That asshole. He thinks I'm cute. So damn cute. I get up at the usual hour and take my time getting ready. I open my door and find that Ryder is already up. He left his door open and he's laying facedown on his bed with his head buried in his arms. I walk over and lean against his doorway. "What are you doing?" I ask. He sighs loudly and lifts his head. "Praying," He says, flatly. I squint my eyes at him and snort. Religion ended years ago. Although nobody's stopped saying things like. "Oh, my God," or things in that general area.
"Bull," I mumble, rolling my eyes at him. He mocks offense, but then smiles briefly. "Of course, it is." I shake my head at him. As much as he teases me, I enjoy our bantering. I walk further into the bedroom and sit on the floor in front of him. He seems surprised that I'd even do such a thing. "So, then what are you really doing?"
"Ugh." He encloses his head inside his arms again. Oh, he is so not getting away with this. He's gotten into my business countless times. "Uh-uh. No. Absolutely not. You don't get to pester me and then when I pry, complain. Not fair," I sputter.
"Hasn't anyone told you? Life isn't fair." His voice muffled from his head still beneath his arms. I shoot him my best glare waiting for him to look up and see my murderous eyes. When he does, I get attitude. He rolls his eyes at me.
"Fine. I was trying to feel my emotions. It's easy to let mine go and feel nothing when other peoples' are raping me incessantly." I've never actually talked to anybody about their powers. Considering I've only socialized with Pariahs. It gets my curiosity pumping. "How far away does someone have to be in order for you to feel their emotions?" He changes his position to sit on the bed, then shrugs his shoulders. "I don't know specifically, but I can feel what everyone is feeling in this house."
"Mansion." I automatically correct him and regret it immediately. He gives me a funny look. I press my lips together, avoiding his eyes.
"How does it feel?" I pursue the subject, wanting to know as much information about his abilities as he'll give me. "Overwhelming."
"Oh," I say lightheartedly. He stares at me for a while. I can't help squirming under his hawk eyes. Sometimes Ryder can be intimidating. His good looks don't help. I release the breath I hadn't realized I was holding when he finally breaks the silence. "Yeah. Anyway, your unusually delightful this morning." I decide it's a good time to flip the switch back to smart ass.
"Oh, I'm usually delightful. Just not to you." I smile innocently, and stand up to walk towards the door. With full intention of ending the conversation having the last word. Except, as always, he has something to say. "You know when people say things like that, it normally means the opposite."
"Whatever," I mutter. I almost reach the door when he opens his mouth again. "See? No rude comeback." I stop in my tracks. I have plenty of rude comebacks. If that's what he wants, he'll get one. I twist around to face him and take a couple steps toward him.
"When a girl says, 'whatever' it really means fuck off." He smiles, pleased with my snippy answer. "Ah. There's the Eleanor I've come to know." I roll my eyes at him, grunting in frustration. "One of these days I'm going to punch you, Ryder."
"Go right ahead, sweetheart. It probably wouldn't hurt anyhow," He says completely unaffected by my threat. I've never punched anyone before. Or wanted to for that matter. Before Ryder, of course.
"Don't call me that and don't underestimate me. I'm stronger than I look," I say as confident as I feasibly can. He gets off the bed and walks over to me. Leaving only a few inches between us. He is literally towering over me, considering he's at least six feet tall. "Let's test you're theory, then. Punch me." He raises his eyebrows once, smirking. I narrow my eyes and before I can hurl a sneering remark at him, Opal walks in, interrupting our feud.
"What's going on here?" Her tone sounds annoyed. I turn around quickly and almost trip over myself. I take a couple steps away from Ryder. I don't want Opal to go and tell our father about this. Unnecessary trouble. "Nothing, Opal. Go away," I say, relentlessly. She smirks at the edge in my voice and walks toward me. Obviously ready to insult me in some way. "I'd slap you, but that would be animal abuse." Oh, she wants to play this game. I roll my eyes and let the invective fly. "Life isn't a garden, so stop being a hoe." Not an original, but Ryder snorts. Opals gaze hardens.
"Have you been shopping lately? I heard they're selling lives there. You should get one." I step closer to her. "You can't fathom the magnitude of the fuck I do not give."
She steps closer as well, and opens her mouth, but before she can release a lame comeback, Ryder steps between us. "Whoa. Ladies, I love to watch a cat fight as much as the next guy, but it probably wouldn't be a such a good idea to do that here. Especially not in my room." As much as I hate to admit it, he's got a point. I retreat and take a deep breath. "He's right. I'm going to let civilization win out this time. You're welcome." "Whatever," Opal flips her hair and leaves.
We watch as Opal exits the bedroom and listen for her footsteps until we can't hear them any longer. I turn my head to look at him, his face tells me he has a question he's eager to ask. I'm right. "Do you guys always fight like that?" He raises an eyebrow. "Always," I sigh.
"She hates me." I shrug my shoulders. That is really the only explanation I have for the way she treats me. I'd truly rather us not talk at all than in the way we do. Siblings shouldn't treat each other like that. "Why does she hate you, Eleanor?" His tone takes a turn to something I can't quite place. Accusatory, maybe? I don't know.
"The same reason every Legendary hates me. I'm a Pariah." It's the best explanation I can come up with. It's also true though. Every Legendary does hate me.
"That's not true." He shakes his head, completely sincere. His answer catches me off guard. I shake it off after a few moments of gaping at him. "Yes, it is. I've heard what people say. They either think I'm a spoiled bitch, or ridiculously shy." He doesn't say anything, which proves that's what people actually are saying.
"Well, I don't hate you." A devious smile forms on lips. "I just don't like you." I really, really wish he wasn't so freaking hot. Especially with that smile tracing his lips.
"I don't like you either," I barely whisper. He wrecks me with one of his lazy grins. I bite the insides of cheeks to stop from smiling because of his charm. And fail miserably. I shake my head at him and go to breakfast with Ryder following right behind me.
Opal hates Eleanor? I don't know if I'd call it hate, but I could definitely feel the contempt between the two of them. I wonder why and how it got like that between them. Eleanor also believes all Legendaries despise her. Does she mean her parents, too? What about Demetrio and Jacey? That wouldn't make sense, though. They're her family. All I know is that she honestly believes all Legendaries hate her. Which technically is partly true. People aren't necessarily crazy about her. I swear with each passing day she perplexes me more than the previous. Breakfast goes by without any arguments, thankfully. I follow Zakiyah to his office, preparing myself for a day of worthless work.
"Ryder, you will not start today as there is not much to do." Lie. Hmm. Interesting. He continues. "However, tomorrow, you'll start after breakfast and work until dinner is served. Do we have an understanding?" No. What I understand is that you're hiding something. "Yes, sir."
"Wonderful, you may leave." I nod and exit his office. Not much to do, huh? Whatever he's hiding, he doesn't want me to be a part of. Honestly this arrangement has me feeling hostile towards Zakiyah. He treats Eleanor weirdly and snaps for no reason. It's a battle not being able to stand up for Eleanor. I continue walking down the hallway until Opal stops me. Shit.
"Ryder! Hi, how are you?" She practically bounces with excitement. I mentally roll my eyes, showing interest in actually speaking to her on the outside. "Hey, Opal. Good. How are you?" Opal is gorgeous. She is a siren, so it makes perfect sense that she is. Eleanor is gorgeous, too, but I feel like somehow her beauty is more genuine. She's attractive without a power that makes her beautiful. I wonder if Opal wasn't a siren, would she be less pretty? The next thing I know Opal is dangerously close. "You know Ryder, you're really handsome." She says sultrily, tilting her head.
She closes the space between us. I'm in trouble and not the kind I like. She lifts her hand and grazes my jaw. I can feel electricity with her touch. Literally. It tingles, spreading throughout my whole body. Come on, man. Don't let her do this to you. She presses her body closer against mine. The pep talk isn't working. I avoid her intense gaze. I can't look into those eyes. She puts her hands on my waist and slowly moves them under my shirt. I close my eyes. Her touch feels so damn good. No. It's not real. I snap open my eyes. She removes her hands to grasp my face and forces me look into her hypnotizing lit up eyes. Fuck. I'm a goner.
I mindlessly place my arms around her waist. I keep my eyes on hers. Wow. She is really beautiful. The most beautiful girl I've ever seen. I want to kiss her. I want to know what her lips feel like moving against mine so bad, it's painful. She parts her lips slightly, lifting her chin towards mine. I lean down, ready to taste her delicious full lips.
"Opal! Mom needs you!" Jacey yells, running towards us. Opal takes a step back and I'm free. Opal sighs loudly. "See ya later, hot stuff." I just nod, unable to speak. Holy mother of Jesus christ. I almost kissed her. That's all it took. FUCK. How could I let that happen? And the things I thought under her spell, when minutes earlier I was thinking how Eleanor is more beautiful than Opal. I'm breathing heavily, on the verge of hyperventilating pathetically. Jacey walks in seconds after we part. I watch as Opal walks away and I turn to Jacey. "Jacey, you just saved me. Big time." She giggles. "She was working her magic on you, wasn't she?"
"Yeah," I breathe, still freaking out inwardly. Jacey nods her head, completely understanding. "She does that to a lot of guys. Opal really loves abusing her powers."
"I can tell. Well, I can't thank you enough. So, what are you up to today?" I try to get my mind off of how I almost majorly screwed up everything.
Jacey smiles, revealing a missing front tooth. "Come on, I'll show you. But first I'm going to get Eleanor. Meet us in the garden?" She's looking at me with those big brown eyes of hers. She's too adorable to refuse. Plus, Eleanor will be with us. I give in. "Alright," I smile back.
After ten minutes of waiting in the garden, Jacey is hand in hand with Eleanor, urging her to hurry up. Eleanor's smiling wider than I've ever seen. It takes my breath away. She stops right next to me. "She got you too, huh?" She says under her breath. "Yup," I mutter back. I can't believe I almost kissed Opal. SO STUPID. Eleanor leans towards me. "It's those damn big brown eyes." She manages to whisper without Jacey hearing. I smile and nod in agreement. It's all I can do.
"Jacey, what exactly are we doing?" Eleanor asks. I glance at Jacey who is jumping with excitement. "We're going to the hospital, so I can help the sick people. I've wanted you to come for so long, Eleanor. I just started going this year." Eleanor's smile fades. All I want is for that incredibly beautiful smile to be back on her face. I want to put that smile there. "Father lets you leave?" She pauses. "Wait, you wanted me to come?" Her eyebrows scrunch together. Finally, my attention shifts. I listen carefully, like what I'm supposed to be doing with my time here.
"Yeah, he does. Didn't you get my letters?" Jacey frowns. Letters? Why would Jacey need to send letters to Eleanor when they live in the same house? I didn't mean to interject, but the words flow out of my mouth anyway. "Don't you two live together?" They both give me a wide eyed look, like they've suddenly remembered I've been standing with them. Eleanor composes herself and replies. "Oh, um, I've been away for the past year. I came back a few days before the ball." Lie. I furrow my brows. These are the lies I get frustrated with. "Where'd you go?" I press.
"I was traveling around Europe." She lies smoothly. I lift my chin, in utter disbelief. Why can't she just be honest with me? "Oh. What countries did you go-" I start asking until she interrupts.
"Ryder. I don't want to talk about it. Okay?" She snaps.
I drop it, but that doesn't stop me from analyzing what just happened in the last five minutes.
I can't be so imprudent around Ryder. I can see he doesn't believe my lie at all. I close my eyes to focus on Jacey. I can't believe she's been sending me letters and they don't deliver them to me. It's all my father's work. I furiously blink away the tears gathering in my eyes. Poor Jacey, thinks I've been ignoring her all these years. I'm mostly overwhelmed by the actuality that she hasn't given up on me yet. And I can't even tell her right now because Ryder is here. Stupid Ryder. He's always ruining things.
"Well, come one guys! The car is here." Jacey starts jumping up and down again. I'm really nervous. I've never left the mansion before. I wonder how my father will react when he finds out I've gone with Jacey for the day. We pile into the car. I've never been in a car before. It's really long and there's a ton of space inside. Weird. I sit by the window. I begin thinking about what people's reactions will be to seeing me walking down the street. I swallow hard and look down at my lap. Ryder nudges me with his shoulder. "Are you okay?" I look up at him and nod. "Liar." He whispers, leaning in. I can feel his breath on my ear. It makes my heart flutter. I keep forgetting he can sense or feel or whatever it is he does with my emotions. I have to make up something as evasion for my nervousness. "I rarely go into the city. It's making me feel a little unsettled." I'm proud of myself because it's an accurate statement. I don't like lying to him. "But you left the country just fine?" He asks, which makes me reconsider my thought about lying to him.
"This is different. People have this way of scrutinizing me here. I'm either one thing or the other. I don't think they'll ever come to the realization that I'm neither." I look into his amazing dark blue eyes, feeling lost in them. The corners of his mouth upturn and he adds to my remark. "Or to discover the piece of work you are." I slap him playfully on the arm and laugh. "Hey. I'm not that bad." He grins. "You're right. That doesn't mean I like you though."
I can't stop smiling. We sit in silence as I turn my attention to the city I've never been out and about in. We arrive to the hospital ten minutes later and follow Jacey inside. I've never seen Jacey's powers, really. I mean, only a couple times on me when I was bone-weary, but other than that I don't know what she's capable of. It's rare for people to get sick nowadays and when they do healers can help. The thing with healers is that most either have a limit or can only heal certain illnesses. Jacey's powers are supposed to be extraordinary. From what I've heard, I've deemed that she can heal anyone of anything. It astonishes me that a child her age could do such a thing. The fact that she agrees to do it amazes me even more. She's so selfless. Especially if you compare her to other seven year olds in the world.
I can tell she's trying to conceal her enthusiasm. It's not working out for her though. It must be insane to be only seven working with all these adults. Frankly I'm surprised her ego hasn't shot through the roof. "Eleanor, I want you to see first. I can only take one person at a time. Ryder wait here." He nods once, obeying her command. Jacey drags me into the patient's room and starts explaining her power to me before she works her magic.
"Healing takes time. The more fatal the sickness, the longer it takes to heal. Sometimes I have to spend days with patients before they're completely healed." She sounds like an adult with her vocabulary. "Jacey, do you come here everyday?" I ask quietly. She nods her head and smiles. I can tell she loves helping the sick. I lean closer to whisper in her ear. "Jacey, I never got any letters from you. If I did, I never would have ignored them. Thank you so much for not giving up on me." She frowns, and purses her lips. She turns her head to face me. "You never got my letters?" I shake my head. "No, sweetie. I didn't." She can tell I'm being sincere, I want to sing with joy that she believes me. Her eyes glisten with tears. "But he promised. Daddy promised he would get them to you. He told me you just didn't care and you didn't want them." A tear rolls down her slightly chubby cheek. I've never seen her so upset before. It breaks my heart. I lift my hand to wipe her tear. "He loves you and wouldn't want to hurt you. It's just me he doesn't love. He's just being protective." She cries harder. I guess I'm not so great at the whole comforting thing.
"Protect me from you? Why? Why doesn't he love you?" I bite my lip. This is so difficult. "Because I'm a Pariah. That's the reason for everything." I feel guilty saying it, knowing the Pariah part is not true. I itch to tell Jacey the truth. I can't though. Besides even if I wanted to, I definitely wouldn't be able to do it here. She calms down after a few minutes. She surveys the patient and then turns to me.
"Go on. I want to see my baby sister heal the sick." I smile. She smiles back and nods. She places her hand on the unconscious patient and closes her eyes. The nurse explained to me before that this patient has something called pneumonia. I guess it used to be a common illness, but now most people are immune to it. This is a virulent case. I stare at the patient and watch her pale skin warm up with Jacey's touch, restoring the vivacity into her. After five minutes the patient opens her eyes and searches the room a bit discombobulated. She starts babbling, but Jacey speaks over her. "Shh, it's okay Melinda. Shh." Her voice is so soothing and mature. She slowly leans to her right and presses the button next to Melinda's bed. The next thing I know the doctor and nurses are rushing in. The doctor gives Jacey a high five before he puts on his gloves. Jacey and I scatter out of the room to avoid being in their way.
"Jacey that was amazing! You just saved that women's life right before our eyes!" I endure my speechlessness. She nods and tries to hide her smile. Even if Ryder wasn't an empath, it's undeniable that the amazement is evident on my face. "So?" He asks.
I shake my head. "This little girl really can make a difference in the world. It was incredible! Five minutes is all it took." I turn to Jacey. "How long was she sick for?"
"I think for four months. She arrived two days ago. Came just to see me." She says it so casually. I wonder if the hospital is paying her for saving all these people. I have a quick debate with myself and settle on asking her. "Jacey, do they pay you for your work?" She looks at me, surprised I even asked such a thing. She shakes her head vehemently.
"Paid? No, it's volunteer work. Duh! Everything is free. I would never charge for saving peoples lives." I glance up at Ryder and can tell he's thinking exactly what I am. I ignore the eccentric I'm completely conscious of due to the fact we're even having the same thought. I don't want to upset Jacey, so I attempt to say what I want to say, without actually saying it. "Sweetie, that's so kind hearted of you." I smile."When you're older though saving people is a job you will probably get paid for. And it's okay. It's normal." I hate that I just said that.
I make a face and Ryder raises his eyebrows. I retract my words. "You know what? No. Jacey, I take that back. You are doubtlessly very kind hearted. You just can't let anyone take advantage of your powers. You are going to help so many people in the future. I know it. Just don't do it in a hospital. Do it own your own." Ryder smiles knowing where I'm going with this. Jacey, however, is a little dazed. She contorts her small face in confusion. "Why?"
"The hospital charges the patients an insane amount of money for you to save their lives. They don't do anything for free here. You may not be getting paid, but that doesn't signify it's free for the patients. You can carry this forward until your older. If you still really want to heal without being paid, you should. Once you're at least twelve I can help you and protect you. Maybe Demetrio can help out, too. What do you think?" She nods excitedly. I smile at her innocence.
Ryder clears his throat. "Man, your sister gives good advice." My eyes shoot up to him. That's the nicest thing he's ever said to me. Also, the most sincere. I start smiling until I remember I still don't like him.
I don't why he has this hold on me, but it's so freaking cumbersome.
Jacey looks at me and says. "Okay, you're turn Ryder." I smile at her. I'm excited to see her powers at work. I've seen a lot of powers before, but a healer's isn't one of them. This is my first time in a hospital. Usually the doctors, who are healers, and the nurses, who are pariahs, are the only ones who come to the hospital. Unless you're a patient of course. This is the only field that has Legendaries and Pariahs working together. Other than medicine, we're all pretty segregated.
Before we enter the patient's room, Jacey turns to me. "This patient has cancer. It takes me a little longer to heal. I've been working on this patient for two days. This will be his last treatment before he is cancer free. It'll also be a short one. Probably ten minutes or so." She explains before she quickly pivots and walks into the room, I follow in. The patient is lying on the bed, looking exhausted and in pain. "Hello, Fitzgerald. How are you today?" He smiles pathetically due to the discomfort. "I'm alright, Jacey." He is feeling anything, but alright. I would know.
"Well, your about to feel a whole lot better because today is your last treatment. After this you should be cancer free." Jacey smiles effortlessly, sounding like a mini doctor. It's remarkable how she does that. I watch as she concentrates on the patient. After a few minutes, I can literally see him healing. His hair is growing back, he's no longer scrawny. His tired eyes are looking, well, less tired. This is incredible. Jacey releases him after another five minutes. A grin spreads across her face. "Fitzgerald, you are now cancer free. I'll get the doctor so he can run some scans just to double check everything is okay." She leads me out the door to where Eleanor is waiting. Jacey leaves to find Fitzgerald's doctor, leaving us alone.
"Shit. That kid is a prodigy." I say, in complete awe, staring at the wall in front of me. I glance over at Eleanor. I can feel she's still amazed by her little sister as well. She nods. "I know." She's twisting a strand of her black hair around her finger, absentmindedly. She's deep in thought about something. I'm surprised by the fact that I actually want to know what she's thinking about. Not for my father, but for me. Eleanor comes out of her daze and catches me watching her. I smile at her. "What you told Jacey earlier, it was the right thing to do. She's too young and innocent to realize the patients aren't getting treated for free." She gives me a soft smile that makes my insides melt. Eleanor shakes her head lightly. "I can't stand the fact that my father is willing to let her get taken advantage of. She loves healing, but I'm sure it can become tiresome for her. She's only seven, she shouldn't have to worry about having people's lives being in her hands."
I nod in agreement. "I think you're right." What Jacey is doing, just shows how big of a heart that little girl has. That doesn't change the fact that she's just a kid. Jacey should be playing with her friends, or whatever it is that seven year old girls do. She shouldn't be sitting in the hospital doing this everyday. I know she's passionate about what she does here and there's nothing wrong with that. I just wish she could spend more time being seven. Not twenty-seven.
Eleanor gives me the side eye. "What the hell, Ryder? What is with you today? Agreeing with me... complimenting me. It's strange." I can't help but laugh. The whole time I've known her I've been such an asshole and I will probably continue to be. But deep inside me there is a part that knows how to play nice with others. I just don't let that part out often. "I can be nice when I want to be." I shrug, defensively. She studies me closely. I like it when her eyes are on me. I smile, waiting for her to say whatever it is that's going through her mind. She clicks her tongue. "Huh. I guess you're not one hundred percent ass like I thought." My smile widens with her comment. I resist the urge to touch her in some way. "Now look at whose complimenting who now."
"It wasn't a compliment, it was an observation," she disagrees, smirking. I roll my eyes at her, shaking my head, not able to wipe off the goofy grin I'm most likely wearing. We stay in a comfortable silence until Jacey comes back. I guess she only had those two patients today. We leave the hospital in the limo that brought us, continuing the muteness.
Once we get back, I shut myself in my room, locking the door. I have to figure out how to spend more time with Eleanor. But not for the reason I'm supposed to. I want to know her. Everything about her. I want to be the reason she's smiling. The person who can get her to laugh even when she doesn't feel like it. And it scares the living shit outta me. I've never felt this way about anyone before. I've had a few girlfriends, but I just went out with them, to go out with them. Use them. I was never interested in actually getting to know them. When they'd ramble on about themselves, I'd tune them out, not giving a fuck. But Eleanor... she makes me feel.
For years I've felt absolutely nothing. Just numbness. Eventually I gave up and let it consume me. I convinced myself I wasn't capable of feeling. That it was just a concept way beyond me. So, I let myself turn into ice. The scariest part about it all, is that Eleanor is melting that ice away. I'm trying so hard to ignore it because I know what I'm feeling goes deeper than I'll ever admit.
I mercilessly punch the pillows on my bed frustrated with myself. I never should have agreed to coming here. This wasn't supposed to happen. At the same time I'm so relieved it did. I just can't stand that I'm here doing my fathers work. In the end, I'll be hurting Eleanor. The thought alone of her truly hating me, kills me. I can't imagine what I'd feel if I felt her hate for me. If my father didn't constantly threaten me, I would have walked out the door on my eighteenth birthday. A tear rolls down my cheek, making me go still. I lift my hand to wipe the foreign wetness off my face. Holy shit. What the hell is Eleanor doing to me? I will myself to stop acting like a girl and reclaim my man card.