In the beginning of the ancient world Prometheus stole a glowing ember from the sacred fire of the gods and gave it to all mortal to protect them from the cold of night. But Zeus, the king of all gods, became angry that such a gift had been taken, and in vengeance he decided to balance the blessing with a curse. He ordered Hephaestus to sculpt a woman of Exquisite beauty whose destiny was to bring havoc upon the human race. She was to be named Pandora.
As Hephaestus molded the clay into a stunning female, a primordial protector, called the Order watched undetected from the shadows. Once she was complete, she was taken to Epimetheus, the brother of Prometheus, and offered to him as a present from Zeus. Once he had seen her beauty and perfection, Epimetheus forgot his brother's warning not to accept any gifts from Zeus, and took her as his bride.
For her dowry, the gods had given Pandora a huge, mysterious box with a warning to never open, but the Order had glimpsed its treasure and worried. At the wedding feast, it watched as Pandora's curiosity over took sense and she lifted the lid from its place. As she did this, every evil flew into the world with only hope remaining inside, a defiance of all the evils that had been set free.
With hope still remaining, evils chance of reining was destroyed. So, in return, an ultimate evil was formed. A piece of every darkness completed it and it was named Hethox. It was to infect even greater damage on the world than the old evils would have. It journeyed to find the three sister Fates, goddesses older than time, and convinced them to spin the threads that would define the course of life. With their agreement its plan became its destiny. Not even the great Zeus could alter their decision. But the Order saw all of this and also created a force, one apposing the Hethox. This force consisted of a single Goddess, born into every generation that, at the age of seventeen, would take responsibility in the battle against the Hethox, and also their Keepers. One member from a blood line of a chosen family assigned to keep watch over the Goddess. She alone would have the power to change destiny.
Chapter 1 Introductions
Alexis hastily brushed the hair from her face and studied the dark trees around her. Their branches swayed in the wind, and the warm night air swirled around her feet in white wisps. Something wasn't right, she could feel it. Everything was too still, like it was waiting for something to happen, and the darkness felt heavy and sticky. It made her skin crawl and the hairs on the back of her neck prickle.
She glanced behind her, at the beaten path she'd been following, but saw nothing but tangled branches and long, dark shadows. There was nothing out of the ordinary, but then why did she get the strong feeling that she was being watched? Could it possibly be who she thought it was? She drew in a long, shaky breath to calm her nerves and fingered her sliver charm necklace. If it was, then why couldn't she feel him?
Alexis groaned in frustration, and shoved her hands deep into the pockets of her jeans, trading in her fear for anger.
What kind of idiot was she? Why had she agreed to meet up with this guy in the first place? She didn't even know him!
It was no use. She knew the answer before she'd even finished the thought; he was the only chance she had to figure out what was wrong with her.
Alexis sighed and glanced once more at the swaying trees around her; they looked like tall, dark skeletons against the black night sky and sent a chill down her spine. Too bad they weren't the only things that did.
The truth was that this guy was the only way to find out what was wrong with her. It seemed like he knew everything before she did, and definitely way more than she did. To be honest, she didn't know whether to be thankful or afraid that he knew so much about her. She was so desperate for help that she'd listen to anyone at this point; even a guy that she'd never met before and only knew from the small, crinkled letters he'd sent all summer. Yeah, she should probably be scared, everything he did had stalker written all over it, but she had to settle for half thankful, half scared to death.
Alexis glanced down at her watch, it was nearly midnight, and she'd been waiting around for almost thirty minutes. Where was this guy?
A low cracking noise from the trees behind her interrupted her thoughts. She quickly swung her head around and squinted through the darkness, trying hard to fight back a fresh, new wave of fear. Damn, she thought. She couldn't see a thing past the dark trees looming around her, blocking the dim moonlight, and she couldn't hear a thing over the beating of her heart. Anyone around would be bound to hear it, wouldn't they? And why didn't she think to bring a flashlight?
She stood frozen for a moment, deciding what to do. This whole night seemed like a big waste of time, and seemed just like a scene out of a horror movie. If she was smart then she would just get out of there and get home…to bad she'd never had much common sense. The urge to see what was looming in the shadows around her was more over whelming then her fear, at the moment anyway. Damn her stupid curiosity.
She took a deep breath, I can't believe I'm doing this, and closed her eyes. She pushed with her mind out into the dark trees around her, feeling herself instantly relax. She probed through the branches and tangles of plants, searching for a thought or trace of feeling. The entire forest around her seemed completely deserted.
She opened her eyes in confusion, and looked around at the tall trees on both her sides, and at the fog swirling in front of her. She hadn't really expected to find a human thought but it seemed like there wasn't even any animals around. What on earth was going on?
Before she could begin to answer herself another branch snapped off to her left, behind a massive tangle of trees. She could hear her heart pounding in her ears, louder than the bass system at the nearby club, and she was finding it hard to breath.
She stole an anxious glance at the forest around her, should she just run for it or stay? Although her stomach felt sick with fear she just had to make sure he wasn't here, he was her only chance.
With a sigh she pushed back her fear and squinted her eyes, staring hard at the wall of plants. It was like trying to see through a camouflaged brick wall, nothing was visible. She turned around, scanning the rest of the trail, but there was nothing to see.
This whole night felt like a huge mistake. If she wasn't going to be murdered by some wacko then she'd been played by some guy she'd never met and who was probably laughing at her from somewhere in the trees. No, wait, he couldn't be anywhere in the woods around her because then she'd be able to read his thoughts, she'd be able to feel his sick humor.
Suddenly she felt a strong hand on her shoulder. She wasted no time and turned around quickly, taking the hand and twisting. She heard a grunt and a satisfying thump as something heavy hit the ground. She bent down and placed one of her feet on the stranger's throat, applying pressure.
"Who are you?" She asked through gritted teeth. She tried hard to keep her voice steady and when she got no response, pressed harder. "Answer me!"
When all she got was a gurgling sound she picked up her heel a little bit, realizing that maybe it was a little too much pressure.
He coughed; his voice was broken and harsh. "Y- You know…who."
Alexis felt a jolt of shock run through her and she quickly lifted her foot from under his chin, taking a step back.
He pushed himself up onto his elbows, his dark cloths were covered in dirt and leaves were stuck in his messy hair. He massaged his tender throat with his fingers. "That's a neat trick, you got there," He rasped, his voice barely above a whisper.
"Yeah, well, same to you," she said, once her heart rate had slowed down to only racing.
Alexis meant it too. How did he manage to sneak up on her without her feeling it? That had really freaked her out. She couldn't even pick up anything from him now and he wasn't even two feet away from her. It was all really weird. Who was this guy?
"You think you might give me a hand?"
Alexis quickly bent down and placed her hand on his shoulder. "Are you ok?" She asked, just a little guilty. This guy was trying to help her after all, even if he had snuck up on her.
He nodded his head. "Just help me up."
"Ok." Alexis pulled his arm over her shoulder, lifting him from the ground. She was surprised that he smelled so good.
Once he was standing she let go of his arm and backed away, trying to look into his face. He stood a good five inches taller than her, which is to be expected since she was only 5'2, and his dark hair curled around his ears. His features were pale and sharp and there was a little fuzz on his chin. He wore baggy jeans and a black sweater, which made his dark eyes look even darker. They sparked something deep inside her mind.
"Do I know you from somewhere?" She asked. There was something about his eyes that looked very familiar. Maybe he went to the nearby high school?
"That doesn't matter right now, we don't have much time."
For the first time Alexis noticed that he looked very hurried, but why? She knew one way of finding out. Without much thinking she pushed her way into his mind, trying to read exactly what he was thinking, but she felt an instant mental push back.
"Not now, Alexis! I'll tell you what you need to know, but I need you here, not in my head!" He glared down at her, looking furious.
Alexis just stared back, too shocked to speak. She'd never met anyone who could sense when she was in their head. She was starting to get freaked out again.
When she didn't say any thing, he continued, "Look, don't get upset. It's just that we really need to hurry. I can't stay long and you're leaving tomorrow. This is our last chance to talk." His eyes flicked nervously around as he spoke.
"Ok," Alexis said slowly, "then talk."
"Ok." He said. "The whole reason you agreed to meet was because I know what's happening to you, so we'll start there."
Alexis nodded, and stuck her hands in her pockets. She would kind of like to know who he was first but whatever.
"For as long as you can remember you've been able to read other peoples thoughts, and starting a few years back, you've had a few premonitions too," he said. Alexis nodded, "Right."
"But that's not your problem; you've always been able to handle what you can do. No your problem started at the end of your senior year, two months ago."
"Right, "Alexis said, "I started getting just one premonition repeatedly and…and I felt like I was changing."
"Yeah," he said, "You don't want to change, do you?"
Alexis quickly answered. "No! No I don't! I never asked to be able to do what I do, but I've lived with it. Now I'm starting to change into this completely different person, and I don't want to! I like who I am!" Alexis was pacing up and down the path by the time she was finished and her breathing had turned into short gasps.
"Why?" he asked, his voice still calm even though Alexis had lost all her control.
She froze in mid step and turned around to stare up at him. She almost laughed at his serious expression. "Why?" she asked, "Why? Why do you think? The person I'm becoming isn't me, I don't feel like me, and I don't act anything like I used too. Would you like that very much?"
He rolled his eyes, "What was so great about who you used to be?" he asked, "I've known you for a while now and your nobody. Just the girl with the good grades who likes art, always does what she's told, and whose life revolves around pleasing other people. But you know what? Nobody notices, people forget your name moments after you've met, and don't even remember meeting you at all the next day."
Alexis opened her mouth to reply but couldn't find any words. She couldn't believe what he'd just said.
"Don't look so stunned Alexis; did you expect me to know all those other things about you and not your boring personality? You should be happy to be changing into someone stronger, smarter-"
"Meaner?" Alexis interrupted. "I feel like I'm turning evil or something, and if you say you know me then you'd know that's something I could never be."
He shook his head and took a step towards her, running a finger down the side of her face before she had a chance to push him away.
"You don't understand," he said, "You don't have a choice, this is your destiny. It's in your blood, and that premonition will come true despite other people's interference. I was hoping to take you back with me, to where you belong, but you're not ready. No matter, you will be soon enough. You can't stop what's happening."
Alexis took another step back and hit the tree behind her, this was not turning out the way she'd planned it. "You were supposed to help me," she whispered, "You promised."
He laughed, "I am helping you. I'm helping you become what you were meant to be. Ever since you were born your future's been planned and now that you're finally seventeen everything's starting to unfold."
"You're crazy," Alexis said, "I don't know what you're talking about but nothing's going to happen to me, I'll make sure of it."
He just chuckled and shook his head, "You can try. I have to go, but I'll see you soon. Maybe we'll even see each other at that new school of yours, you never know."
Alexis opened her mouth to talk but before she could say a thing, he was gone. It looked like he'd faded into the fog, or evaporated or something. She stood leaning against the tree, breathing hard for a few minutes, before she felt like she was under control again.
She looked around her at the overly green forest and wondered if the last half hour had been real. It was the strangest and scariest experience she'd ever had but how could it be real? She'd had no idea what he'd been talking about at all. And why had he seemed so nervous when he'd first started talking? How did he know so much about her? What did he even have to do with what was happening to her? She sighed; she had way too many questions and no answers.
She looked down at her watch; it was 1:09 a.m. She really had to get home; she had a 7:00 a.m. flight out to Los Angeles and then a whole day of orientation at the university. How was she going to handle going to a new school and trying to keep what was happening under control? What was she going to do? She'd had so much banking on that guy being able to help her, but he'd just left her with more questions and worries than before.
She sighed again and clutched her charm necklace tightly in her hand, hoping for some kind of inspiration. She didn't find any. She pushed off against the tree and starting walking back down the trail, it was a ten minute hike back to her house.
Her situation must be pretty bad when her charm necklace didn't even help calm her down. She'd had it since birth and it was the only thing she had left of her mother. It always gave her a sort of sense of peace or belonging, but tonight it seemed like just another regular necklace. How could that be changing along with everything else? She could understand her Aunt Abby acting different because she was moving to a college so many miles away, but
Her life was falling to pieces when it should have been at its peek. She'd graduated from high school first in her class, got into the college of her dreams, and was finally starting her own life. She'd turned seventeen so sure that everything was going to be perfect, but then she'd had that premonition and suddenly everything changed. Everything was way over her head, and she didn't know what to do about it. She really needed some outside help.
The questions was; from who? Not her aunt who didn't know a thing about what was happening, not her friends who she hadn't talked to in a month, not some shirk who would put her into some mental ward. No, she was on her own.
She felt a breeze push into her and she looked up to see her house coming into view. It was a large two story building, painted a pale blue and white. It lay just outside the Mincinchi Forest, and was right in the middle of her South Colorado town. The downstairs light was on along with her bedroom one. Abby probably hadn't noticed that Alexis was gone at all.
She ran past the back porch, to the side of Abby's garden where a maple tree gave perfect access to her room. Right before she started to climb up she stole a glance through the kitchen window where Abby sat, hunched over a stack of papers with a steaming mug at her side. They were probably catalog papers from work or something. She must have thought that Alexis was still going over all her things in her room or asleep.
She started up the tall tree, easily making her way around the large branches. She quickly reached her open window and lifted herself through the frame. She landed lightly on her bed and shut her window. She hoped of her bed and walked over to her light wood dresser, littered with make up and discarded items, and turned on her lamp.
She took off her shoes and surveyed her surroundings; her bed lay straight against the wall, the tie died comforter neatly made up with her window just above it. On the walls to either side of the bed was her door that led to the stair landing and on the other side, her closet which stood out raggedly against her hand painted blue and lime green walls. Her desk, book case, and bed stand were almost bare; almost everything had been packed and was on the large front porch, waiting for morning, when she would leave for the airport. With a sigh, she turned and looked in her mirror.
She pushed her hair behind her ears, showing off the pricings trailing up them, and studied her reflection. Her long, dark brown hair, streaked with hazel, went down to her elbows and lay perfectly straight. Her dark brown eyes reflected the light from her lamp and made her light olive complexion glow. Her black track t-shirt looked big on her and her jeans were ripped at the knees. She bit her lip, a habit she had had for her entire life, and tilted her head. She would definitely need new cloths if she was going to survive in L.A.
Luckily, she'd been saving up her money since the beginning of her junior year of high school for a road trip she had been planning to take after graduation, but when she'd received the letter in the mail saying that she had been accepted at La Brages theatre Institute, she changed her plans and cancelled her trip.
Now, although her summer had been extremely disappointing but not, in any way, uneventful, she was thankful for her decision. It would be expensive to live where she was going and she didn't want work to get in her way of school. She'd have way more pressing things to deal with then.
She turned around and flopped down on her bed, she knew she should try to get some sleep but how could she after what had just happened? She'd known something weird was going on when she keep getting the same premonition, and she was really alarmed by her uncontrollable change in attitude but this was just way too much.
How could everything that'd been happening to her be planned? No one knew what she could do except that guy, but he was supposed to fix everything, not make it worse. And what about that destiny thing, how could that be true? It all sounded like something out of a book or movie, not something that happened in real life.
She'd just have to put everything behind her and concentrate on school. There was probably some place in L.A. that could help her get rid of her problem anyway. Plus, how could she really believe a word that guy said? He was a wacko, even if he could do some weird stuff with smoke and mirrors. She wrapped her hand around the cool metal of her necklace and felt a little better. She could deal with this if she had too.
Alexis got up and turned off her light, she'd need some sleep for tomorrow or she wouldn't make it. She slid under her covers without bothering to undress and quickly fell asleep.
"LAST CALL. ALL BOARDING FLIGHT ELEVEN TO LOS ANGELES, LAST CALL!" The smooth, famine voice coming over the intercom seemed to be screaming at Alexis as she ran towards gate 11. She could faintly hear Abby's voice from behind her, saying a last goodbye, but didn't turn around. She kept on moving through the thong of people, willing the large gray door two yards away to stay open until she got there.
She bumped hard into the desk with Flight 11 written on it and said through heavy breathing, "I'm…here." Although, after a second glance at the startled stewardess whose half eaten breakfast was scattered on the floor, she guessed she had made that pretty obvious. She pushed her ticket towards the woman and tried to ignore her rapid blinking.
"Oh, well I—I –," the stewardess stuttered, ", Umm, over there," she finally managed and pointed at the ramp to her right.
"Thanks," Alexis said hastily as she grabbed the remains of her ticket from the woman. While clutching a stitch in her side, she half ran half fell down the ramp. When she finally got to the side door of the plane, she was wheezing slightly and wasn't at all surprised to see everyone else already in their seats. Most of them buckled in and half asleep. She stepped into the small plane and smiled to the flight attendant who had just waved and pointed down the row of seats, indicating that Alexis should sit down. She pulled her backpack higher on her shoulder and started down the isle.
B12, B11, B…….8, great.
Alexis surveyed her isle seat with disappointment. She'd been hoping for a window one. She went to sit down but looked up quickly, noticing that B7, the seat next to hers, wasn't occupied and didn't look it was going to be any time soon. Maybe she could slip into that one and no one would notice? How much trouble could you get it to if you didn't sit in your right seat? Alexis didn't no since this was her first flight.
She looked around carefully, shrugged and sat down on the small chair next to her intended one. After positioning her bag under her seat, and pulling her sweatshirt closer around her, she gazed out the fogged window. To her dismay the only things visible through the haze were small yellow lights outlining the airport and the runway, barely dimmed by the grey morning light. It was this that reminded Alexis of exactly how early it was, 7:00 a.m.
God, I'm tired, she thought, and rested her head against the cold glass she was staring through. Having fallen asleep around 1:30 am, she hadn't enjoyed being awakened only five hours later by a hysterical woman. Having to take only ten minutes to get dressed and ready before rushing to the airport wasn't that great either. Oh yeah, and almost missing her flight, despite Abby speeding, just plain sucked. What a great, relaxing morning, right?
Alexis jumped and hit her head hard against the glass in surprise. Ignoring the pain in her forehead, she quickly spun around in her seat to see who was talking. Standing in the middle of the isle, staring directly at Alexis, was a very handsome and seemly ticked off young man.
Alexis opened her mouth to response, but only seemed to be able to think of just how messy her hair was and the fact that she was wearing absolutely no make up, great.
"Hi," she breathed finally, breaking her silence. She ran a hand through her tangled hair before she could stop herself.
His expression didn't change. "You're in my seat," he snapped.
"Oh," she said, a little shocked by his attitude. It was, after all, just a seat. " Sorry, I didn't know this seat was taken, I'll move." Alexis started moving towards her original seat with her backpack thrown over her shoulder, her face flushed with embarrassment, but was stopped short.
"No, wait," His voice sounded desperate. Alexis looked up from her awkward position between their two seats and saw a guilty look cross the guys face right before he reached a hand out to her shoulder. The spot seemed to burn and sent a shock through her entire body. It took a while for her to notice that he was still talking.
"W—what?" she said slowly, trying to pry her eyes away from the large hand resting on her shoulder.
He lifted an eyebrow." I said you can have the seat. I'll only be sleeping, and I've been on these things enough times to get over not seeing the view."
Alexis just kept staring at his hand for what seemed like hours before snapping out of her daze. She didn't need him to think that she was completely brain dead after all.
Alexis redirected her eyes at his face. "Thanks. I've never been on a plane before." She waited for him to reply while keeping eye contact, but he just nodded his head cutely and moved over to his new seat. Alexis quickly tried to scoot off the arm rests she was currently kneeling on and slipped into her chair.
While she was busy sticking her bag back under her seat he held his right hand out for her to shake. "By the way, my name's Ben Erasmus."
Alexis hastily kicked her bag under her seat and took his hand in hers, smiling. "I'm Alexis Michael."
Ben continued to shake her hand, smiling too," Very nice to meet you, Alexis."
"You too," She pulled her hand away, but not before noticing a large sliver ring on his middle finger. It was engraved with what looked like a C with a line through it and strange marks conceding off of its right and left sides. She opened her mouth to comment but before she could make a sound a loud voice echoed over the intercom.
"Welcome, ladies and gentlemen to flight 11 to Los Angeles," The flight attendant's cheery voice said," We will be leaving in just a few short minutes and we would like to take this time to go over a few safety rules with you. So if you would please take out you're…" But the rest of her words were lost as Alexis placed her headphones over her ears and settled into her seat, she hated listening to directions. Besides the chances of surviving a plan crash was like zero so it wasn't like she was missing anything important, right?
Great flashes of white light cut through the cold darkness where Alexis stood, but did not illuminate the landscape around her. Where the lightning struck the heavy blackness seemed to swallow it within moments, leaving the air sizzling and cracking. She watched the horrific storm silently as the darkness snaked its way up her legs and arms. Turning her lungs to ice and freezing her body, so she couldn't move. Her pulse stayed calm though, she knew he would come soon. Suddenly a figure appeared in front of her, the only thing visible through the darkness. He loomed over her wearing a long black cloak that seemed to blend into the swirling blackness around it. His back was turned towards Alexis but she knew it was a man. He turned slightly and reached a hand out to her, revealing a large red ring on his middle finger, the only color in a sea of dark. She didn't hesitate to follow, even though her amulet was burning the skin beneath her sweater in warning, but placed her, suddenly warm, hand in his. It felt too cold and hard beneath her fingers but more inviting than the suffocating nothingness that swarmed around them. She followed him through the dark plain that stretched outward further that Alexis dared to look. As she walked she began to see the outlines of the ground beneath her and the large mountains that surrounded her. They walked for what seemed like hours, then days, and Alexis began to lag behind her guide, her legs aching and her hope dwindling. The vast plain still stretched out around them like a heavy blanket, masking any other possible shape. Suddenly Alexis felt a burning spread along her body, her pulse quickened as she glanced up and realized they were nearing their destination, a large city etched against the sky. She ran to catch up to her ghostly figure…but something was wrong. Her feet were slapping the rocky ground, but she wasn't moving, and she was trailing farther and farther behind her guide. She clawed at the air, trying desperately to move, but the thick blackness around her was evaporating, giving way to blinding whiteness…
Alexis felt a sharp pain on her cheek, and then a searing burning sensation on her chest. She doubled over and moaned loudly.
"Alexis!" a voice whispered in her ear and two large hands held her shoulders upright.
"I'm sorry, I had to do it," The voice continued," You looked like you were having a seizure or something." This time the hands pulled Alexis's entire body up right and she saw two light gray eyes staring into her brown ones. She felt like she could get lost in those eyes… she blinked and looked away, her stomach churning.
She noticed that someone had placed her headphones on her neck and her ipod had fallen to the ground. She instinctively bent down to pick it up and knocked her head against the seat in front of her. Sharp pain shot through her forehead at the small impact and her stomach heaved. She groaned and shut her eyes tightly, willing the queasiness to subside. Before it had the hands were on her shoulder again and had pushed her back in her seat.
"You stay there, I'll get it," said the voice Alexis now vaguely recognized as Ben's. She felt movement next to her and then felt her mp3 player drop into her lap. Trying very hard not to throw up, she opened her eyes to see Ben staring at her with a worried expression on his face. The overhead light turned his skin an eerie white, or maybe something else had? Her mind seemed to be lost in a fog that, like her queasiness, wasn't subsiding. She should be heading to the bathroom right now… but instead she just sat there staring at the startled young man across from her.
He looked back, seemly just as transfixed as Alexis was, His long, dark brown hair was tousled on his head and curled around his ears, giving the impression that he'd just got out of bed. She looked down as his liquid sliver eyes rushed over her body and noticed that his black shirt clashed pleasantly with his nearly paper white skin.
Alexis began to wonder what he would look like with a tan, her stomach forgotten, but a sudden sharp pain cut through her thoughts. She gasped and placed her hands over her forehead. The pain was unbearable, tuning out everything except for her head, which seemed about to split. She didn't know where she was, all she knew was the intense heat and pain throbbing through her. It seemed to continue forever, rippling through her body with horrible force, until she finally felt the pain easing back, leaving her mind feeling numb and vacant.
She began to regain her surroundings; she felt warm skin against her shaking arms and managed to open her eyes. The overhead light seemed blinding, and she quickly turned her head away from it, into warm cloth that smelled like aftershave. She hear a reassuring thumping against her ear and placed her hand over the cloth next to her head, taking in it's radiating heat.
She felt her body relax and snuggled into the mysterious blanket, wanting to escape the harsh, blinding light, when she felt rather than heard a loud coughing sound. She looked up from her comfortable position, squinting against the light, and saw Ben staring back at her, his face a dark shade of red.
She felt her own face flood with color, and hastily pushed off his chest on to her own seat, ignoring her churning stomach. "Umm I—I umm, you…" Alexis stuttered, frantically searching for something to say.
Ben looked equally at loss for words. He just stared at his seat with a lost expression on his face, his mouth hanging open slightly. Alexis gulped and opened her own mouth to talk… but nothing seemed to come out. She sat there; her eyes transfixed on her shaking hands, and prayed that he would be the next person to talk.
But after what seemed like an hour, Alexis couldn't take the horrible silence anymore and tore her eyes away from her hands, back to his face, determined to say something. "I'm really sorry Ben," she said quickly, "I–I didn't know it was you. I was in a—in a kind of daze." She closed her mouth tightly, she couldn't say anymore without risking losing her grip on her stomach. Thankfully she wasn't the next one to talk; Ben finally looked up and redirected his eyes to Alexis'.
"It's- it's fine," he said, nodding his head rather forcefully, "I—I grabbed you to hold you still, you were shaking so bad…" His voiced trailed off and his eyes seemed unfocused. Alexis felt like she should say something to reassure him, but didn't get the chance. He was talking again. "What's going on? What happened to you? You were just sitting there and—and, should I get a flight attendant?" He looked completely confused.
"Oh, no! No—no, that wouldn't be a good idea," Alexis said hastily. She didn't really understand what'd happened but she knew that it had something to do with her premonition, and a flight attendant couldn't help with that. "I guess I had a bad dream, and umm… sometimes I get really bad migraines." Her lie wasn't her best, but it would have to do. Besides, Ben looked ready to believe anything.
"Umm, ok. Well, don't you have medicine for it?" He still looked confused, but he was gaining back his composure pretty fast.
"Yeah, I do. So… I'll just go take them now. Umm, see you later." Ok, so she looked like a huge dork, but she really needed to get to that bathroom, and she was already out of her seat, with her painkillers in hand. Who ever thought that having back problems and major headaches all the time would ever come in handy?
She rushed shakily down the narrow isle, her pain seemed to have come back full power now that she was up and moving around, but at least her mind seemed to be out of that fog. Thinking was something that she kind of needed to do once she got into the city. She finally reached the puke green door and was very relieved that the small red sigh read vacant instead of occupied.
She squeezed into the small, badly lit room and shut the door behind her. The air smelled like disinfectant, but other than that, the room seemed fine. She quickly unscrewed the top off her 800MG Ibuprofen, the highest prescription she could get from her doctor, popped two pills into her mouth and swallowed.
The large, powdery tablets stuck in her throat and she quickly reached over to the sink, filling one of the small paper cups with water and dumping it in her mouth. She threw the cup into the trash bin and sat down of the toilet seat, waiting for the pounding in her head to stop. When it eased slightly she pulled her sweatshirt over her head, revealing her light purple tank top, and bare arms.
She stood up and looked in the mirror, trying to see what had burned her. To her surprise the skin under her moon charm necklace was bright red. How could her necklace burn her? It may have sentimental meaning but it didn't have any kind of weird powers…did it? By that point she'd be ready to believe anything after what'd been happening to her.
She nearly felt over when she heard a knock on the door. "One minute!" she said, pulling her sweatshirt back over her head. Her stomach was still a little unsettled but her headache was nearly gone at least. She pushed open the door and let the little, tired looking boy slip past her. She headed back over to her seat, trying to figure out what to say to Ben to explain better what had happened.
The only cute guy she'd met in years and she'd probably totally freaked him out, great. She'd worry about her premonition later, after all it wasn't the first time she'd had it, just the worst react she'd had to it. She still didn't understand the necklace thing, but she'd often get headaches after a vision. "Hey," she said when she reached her seat. "Sorry about that, I probably totally freaked you out."
"Oh no, it's fine," Ben said, looking up and moving over so Alexis could sit down. "My mom used to get headaches like that, yours was just more…extreme."
"Thanks for helping me out, I was pretty out of it at first," Alexis said after she'd sat down.
"No problem," he replied, "I'm used to doing that."
"Oh," Alexis whispered. There was a long awkward silence and then, "Well, can you tell me what exactly happened."
"Oh, well," Ben explained," You fell asleep during the safety speech so I took your headphones off for you, because you know, your not allowed to have them on during take off." When he said this, his ears turned a light shade of pink.
"You were asleep for a while, but then you started to shake and slide in your seat so I tried to wake you up." His face turned a darker shade of red and he said quickly," I'm sorry but I—I kind of hit you on the face to wake you."
Alexis restrained from laughing at him for a moment and said," Well, thanks. My dream wasn't really heading to a place I wanted to go." This was a lie. The premonition that just occurred was that same one that had occurred a hundred times over the summer, but she had never before gone as far as she did just now. It was so frustrating.
Ben looked very relieved, "Oh, well, no problem. I figured you were just having a nightmare."
Their conversation was interrupted once more by a women's voice over the intercom," We are now a few minutes from the airport, and we are about to begin our descent so please fasten your seatbelt and turn off all electronics. Thank you." Alexis fastened her seatbelt and bent down to put away her ipod.
When she looked up again she caught a glimpse of a black spiral bound notebook that Ben had hastily jammed into his bag.
"What's that?" she asked, pointing at his bag.
Ben hastily looked up and said, shaking his head," Oh, nothing. Just something I draw in."
Alexia lifted a disbelieving eyebrow." You draw?"
He shifted his eyes, embarrassed. "Yeah, I'm actually heading to an art school in L.A."
Alexia couldn't believe it. Could he possible be going to her school? Her spirits fell slightly, though. There were a lot of art schools in L.A. She lifted her head and asked, "Which school are you going to?"
"Oh. La Brages. Why?" He answered, looking like he didn't like some much attention.
"Oh my god, I'm going to that school," Alexis said, stunned.
"No way," he said back, "You're kidding."
After everything bad that had happened to Alexis maybe something good was actually coming her way. "Yeah," she said, "I do mostly painting though, not pencil work."
"Wow," he said, nodding his head. "That's amazing. How are you getting to the school, are you staying on campus or what?"
"Oh, well I'm-" The sudden rush of the airplane beginning to land interrupted Alexis. She held on tightly to the arm rests, landing was like nothing she'd never experienced before, and she really didn't like it.
Finally they touched down and the plane began to slow and then stop. A voice over the loud speaker said, "Welcome ladies and gentlemen to Los Angeles, it's 8:25 am and it's 72 degrees outside this morning. Please be careful exiting the plane and thank you for flying with Southwest Airlines. Enjoy your stay."
Everyone around them started raising and heading towards the doors. Ben stood up and let Alexis slip through to the isle. "Thanks," she said, shouldering her bag.
"No problem," he said smiling. Alexis headed towards the exit. It had been a really strange flight but also very interesting and almost nice. She should fly more often.
Once they were out of the plane they headed towards the baggage pick up.
"So, do you have a lot of bags to take with you?" He asked as they descended down the escalator.
"Um…" Alexis said, "I have around three." She smiled at the look on his face.
"Well that's not bad," He replied, relieved, "If you were anything like my sister you'd have at least five."
"Five, wow," Alexis joked, "I don't think I own enough things to use five whole bags. What about you? Do you have five?"
He pretended to be offended, "Me? How could you think that? I have at least six."
"Oh," Alexis laughed, "Well I'm sorry. I should have known." They walked off the steps and headed towards the revolving circle that carried their bags.
It took around five minutes to gather all their bags, Ben had two, and Alexis was beginning to wonder if they were going to travel all the way to the school together. It was an exciting thought; after all she'd only ever gone out with one guy in her entire life. That relationship hadn't really worked out.
"So," Ben said once they were outside, "Would you be interested in catching a cab with me to the school?"
"Sure," She said, feeling suddenly light headed. She hoped it was nerves and not something else, like say changing personalities. This would be a horrible time to become suddenly cold-hearted.
"Great," He said and quickly called over a cab. They loaded their bags into the trunk and were soon on the road.
"So," he said, "Are you staying on campus?"
"Umm…Yeah," Alexis muttered while trying to pull off her sweatshirt. It was getting very hot outside. "What about you?"
When he didn't answer Alexis looked up from stuffing her sweater into her backpack. "What?" she asked.
"Your skin, what happened?" he asked, pointing to the red spot under her necklace.
She immediately turned red, "Oh, umm…I don't really know. It's fine though." She didn't even want to try to lie; she wasn't very good at it.
"Oh," he said, still looking confused. "I like your necklace though, it's cool."
"Thanks," Alexis said, feeling suddenly a lot better. "I like your ring, what does it mean?"
"Oh that," he said, sounding uncomfortable. "It's a family thing."
"Like a crest?" Alexis asked.
"Yeah, kind of. Anyway, I'm staying on campus too, it should be very interesting."
"Whys that?" She asked, leaning back against the leather seat.
"Well this is an art school, and from what I heard there are a lot of umm…unique kinds of guys here." He lifted an eyebrow when he said the last part.
Alexis laughed and patted his hand. "I'm sorry," she giggled, "Maybe you won't have a roommate."
He scoffed, "With my luck I'll have a Clay Akien wanna-be as a roommate who was just recently dumped."
Alexis couldn't help it, she broke out laughing. When she finally stopped she said, "Yeah and I'll have some super preppy blonde for my roommate who loves Jessica Simpson."
This time he broke out laughing. "My sister loves her!"
When the cab finally stopped they were both laughing hysterically. Alexis reached into her bag, looking for her wallet, but Ben said quickly, "Oh no, I got it."
"Are you sure, cause we can spilt it or something," Alexis said uncertainly.
"No, don't worry about it."
"Ok," she said and stepped out of the car. While he paid she worked on getting out all their luggage. She was more than half done by the time he came back to help.
"You know," she said, joking, "I think that was just a clever plan so that you didn't have to get your bags."
"Oh man," he replied, "You caught me, what will I have to do to repay you?"
"Oh, I don't know, maybe you should decide."
"Ok," he said, "I'll take you out to lunch after orientation. How does that sound?"
Alexis had to bite her lip to keep from smiling like a dork. "Sure, just as long as we don't get lost."
"We'll find a place that we can walk to, ok?" he asked as he lifted the last bag onto the sidewalk.
"It's a deal," Alexis answered. She had to keep herself from saying date. They walked up the steps to the ivory covered front doors, the place was absolutely gorgeous.
"Well, I have to go to hall eight, what about you?" Alexis asked.
"I'm headed to hall sixteen," Ben said. "I'll call you later, do you have a cell?"
Alexis was so thankful that Abby had given her one for her birthday. "Yeah I do, here's my number." She took a pen from her bag and wrote it down on his hand.
"Great, it was really nice meeting you Alexis," he said.
"You too, Ben," Alexis breathed. They both turned around and headed down to their halls.
The rest of Alexis' morning up until she finally reached her room was a blur. The orientation lasted around one hour and was one of the most confusing times of her life. She was extremely relieved to leave that hall. After that she spent about an hour putting away all her things. She had two surprises.
One was a bag full of new, designer cloths. There was a note with them from Abby saying that it was the companies goodbye/good luck present. Abby worked at a modeling company, she was a designer herself. It was great that Alexis didn't have to spend all her saved money on new cloths. She felt really guilty when she remembered that she hadn't waved goodbye to Abby earlier that morning. She'd have to call her as soon as she got back from lunch and tell her everything that'd happened.
The second surprise came at around 10:45 when Alexis' roommate showed up. Her name was Vanessa Shouler and she was nothing like preppy, although she was very pretty. She was Hispanic, with long black hair and gorgeous eyes. It was a serious surprise that she was so shy, you'd think someone who looked like that would have plenty of self-confidence. Not Vanessa, although Alexis did get her talking about music by the time her phone rang at 11:05.
"Hello?" she said, turning down the radio.
"Hi, is this Alexis?"
"Yeah, is this Ben?"
Yeah, so…I was wondering if you were done unpacking and everything."
"Yeah I'm done." Alexis took comfort in the fact that he sounded nervous. "Did you want to take me up on that deal now?"
"Yeah, I would. Where's your dorm room?"
"Umm…It's 511 in Forster Hall, second floor."
"Great, I'll be there in a few." Alexis could hear him smiling before he hung up.
"Who was that?" Vanessa asked, turning the music back up.
"Oh, a guy I met on the plane ride here, can you believe that he goes to this school too?"
"God, you've been here like four hours and you already have a date." She said, "I'll have to make sure I hang out with you a lot so I can learn something."
"Oh, please. You're probably the prettiest girl in this school and you want dating advice from me? You're insane."
She rolled her eyes and walked over to the closet. "So what are you going to wear?"
Umm…" Alexis said uncertainly, "This?"
Vanessa looked a little shocked. "Ok, this may take awhile, how much time do we have?"
"Only a few minutes." Alexis was starting to have trouble breathing. Why hadn't she thought about changing before now? She looked awful!
"It's ok, don't worry," but Vanessa sounded a little panicked too. "Guys are always late."
"Ok." Alexis got up from where she was sitting on her bed. "My aunt got me a whole bunch of new cloths as a good bye present so that's not a problem."
"Wow," was all Vanessa could say when she opened Alexis' closet. "This is amazing."
"Yeah," said Alexis as she walked up behind her roommate.
"Let's get started."
Alexis smiled, "Alright." She started sorting through her cloths and picking out possible outfits. How did she get lucky enough to get such a cool roommate?
Five minutes later while Alexis was just finishing putting on eyeliner when there was a knock on the door. "That's him," she said, feeling a little queasy.
"It's going to fine, you look awesome," Vanessa said, kicking the discarded cloths back into the closet. "But I have to tell you, I am so borrowing that shirt from you."
Alexis laughed and took one last look in the mirror. She had on blue jeans that had rips in the knees--Vanessa said they very hot--, a light blue tank top that had sparkles on it, a cargo jacket, and one simple tan bracelet. Her hair fell down to her elbows and she wore her charm necklace like always. Her makeup was the only thing she did herself, she was always good at it.
Vanessa came up behind her and squeezed her shoulders. "Good luck."
Alexis just nodded and walked over to the door, opening it. "Hey," she said, "Ready to go?"
"Yeah," Ben said, giving her a once over, "You look nice."
"Thanks." He looked good too, with khaki pants and a dark blue collared shirt. Thankfully he kept his hair the same way he had on the plane, Alexis couldn't stand when guys spiked their hair.
"See you later," Alexis called over her shoulder and she shut the door behind her.
They walked in silence for a while, both too uncomfortable to think of anything to say. When they reached the elevator he broke the silence. "So I see you got a pretty cool roommate. Do you like her?"
"Yeah, she's pretty cool, what about you?" Alexis wondered if he thought Vanessa was cute. Would he rather be going out with her and not Alexis? She couldn't help herself, she pushed into his mind.
Her roommate's pretty…so nervous…Alexis looks really good…should have wore that white shirt, I look like a dork…where should we go?...
Alexis didn't need to see anymore, he was interested in Vanessa, but she did have to try not to laugh at how nervous he was. She could taste the salty dizziness and sweat. She stepped into the elevator behind him. "I'm sorry, what did you say?" she asked.
"I said my roommates pretty cool, but he does have a boyfriend. Actually to be honest, he helped pick out my cloths. He thought it was so important that I change." He laughed when he said this but also turned red.
Alexis laughed too, "You know, my roommate picked out my cloths too, and did it in less than two minutes."
"Well, it took Brad about forty-five minutes to pick out mine. I just unpacked while he complained that I had no cloths."
"Well you look very nice anyway," Alexis said, stepping through the door.
"You do too."
After that their conversation flowed easily, like it had earlier that morning. They walked down the busy streets looking for a suitable place. Alexis couldn't get over how much Los Angeles was like her home town, but yet extremely different. It had the same heat, sun, and endless blue sky, but it had buildings reaching up to that sky, busy streets and sidewalks, along with many shops. It smelled like spices but also asphalt. She liked the combination.
"How about this place?" They had stopped at a small café on a not so busy street corner. "It looks good, don't you think?" Ben was already opening the door.
"Yeah, looks fine," Alexis said, stepping in behind him. The room inside was small, but not to crowded. Sun filtered in through the large windows so there were no lights on. The four walls were each a different color, one purple, one blue, then burgundy, and lime green. Art work lined the walls and the air smelled like more of that spice and also coffee. It was perfect.
"This is great," Ben said, excited. They walked up to the counter and ordered two iced mochas along with two club sandwiches. They sat at one of the tall tables lining the windows.
"Don't you love this place?" He asked, sipping on his straw.
"Yeah," Alexis said, "What's it called?"
"Umm…The Fix, I think."
They sat there for a while, sipping their drinks and nibbling their sandwiches. Alexis could feel a tradition in the making by the time her drink was half gone.
"So," she said, "Do you live in Colorado?"
"Yes, with my grandparents, my parents and sister live in Greece." He looked down at his ring when he said this.
"Oh wow, really?" Why would he live so far away from his family?
"Yeah, I moved here four years ago. I came here to live so I could go back and take over my dad's job later." Now he was spinning the ring on the table.
Alexis asked, "What does your dad do that you would have to come over here to learn?"
"Umm," he said, "You could call it protecting people I guess."
"Really, like a policeman?"
"You could call it something like that; the job's ran in our family for generations."
"Does it have anything to do with your ring?" Alexis asked. He immediately stopping spinning it and stuck it back on his finger.
"Yeah, it does," he said quietly.
"What do you protect that you have to go to art school for?" Alexis asked, a little confused.
He looked up from staring at his ring and whispered, "You."