SO... this is revised. A lot has changed, some things are still the same. Please let me know what you think by sending me either a message or a quick review! Thanks! - Jenna
I consider myself to be an optimistic person- able to see the shiny silver lining in every storm cloud. I tend to view life through rose colored glasses and often try to see the bright side of every situation. You know, all those cliche statements.
When my friends started to receive their gifts when they were in middle school, I patiently waited for the day mine would appear. Now, I am 19 and my gift still hasn't appeared. So, you could say my optimism is beginning to fray around the edges a little.
The Fates assign a gift to each person when they are born. It could be anything, really. Something awesome like telepathy, super strength, or even flight. Sometimes superior beauty or intellect. Then there is the ultimate gift of immortality.
Out of all the gifts out there, that's the one that I do not want. At all. It sounds absolutely horrible.
My mother has the gift of intellect. She is super smart and always the one I would go to for homework questions growing up. My dad is very strong and very tough. My friends were all a little afraid of him and he managed to chase off almost every guy I had liked over the years. My little sister, Vivi, has the gift of beauty. I can honestly say she has never had a bad hair day, a zit, or anything else that would mar a complexion.
There are special schools that each person is sent to according to their gift. Most of the schools are the same, all the gifted under one roof learning about their power. The only schools that are set apart from everyone else are the schools for the immortal. If you are unlucky enough to be given that gift, you will be sent away from your family to a boarding school where you will learn how to survive. The creepiest part about the whole thing is that you are also assigned a life partner.
Yes. The Fates gave that gift in pairs. You don't get to choose who you end up with, the Fates, in all their glorious "wisdom" decided that for you. I honestly can't think of something worse than that. Just the thought of the possible nightmare partners a girl could wind up with is enough to give me bad dreams for a month.
Then it happens, my gift appears. I pour a bowl of cereal and turn to pick up the jug of milk.
*crash* I end up on the floor, in a fetal position, clutching my chest as intense pain rips through my body.
I hear a shrill scream echo across the kitchen and realize a moment later that it's coming from me.
"Genesis!" My parents come rushing into the room and my mom drops to her knees beside me. "What's wrong? What's hurting?"
"My…chest…" I gasp out as the pain shoots through my body. "What's happening to me?" I squeeze my eyes shut, tears leaking from the corners.
Then just as quickly as the pain hit, it fades to a dull, manageable ache.
"What was that?" I take a deep breath and sit up, my hand over my heart.
My parents exchange a worried look and I knew.
I had woken up this morning totally normal and by the end of the day I'm immortal. They say that the moment your immortality appears, you feel a pain deep inside you. They say it feels like your soul is being ripped in half. I can attest to that. Something feels broken inside.
Many say that the reason it's so painful is because the Fates designed this gift to be shared with someone and until you are united with that person, it will feel like you are dying inside. There are rumors that if you choose to deny this gift that the Fates so thoughtfully gave you, you will die, along with your soul mate.
I voice this rumor and my mom shushes me fearfully. "Don't even say it, Genesis Ember Keene. They could be listening to us right now." She wraps her arms around me and kisses my forehead. "You can do this." A tear slides down her cheek and falls into my hair. "We will come see you and you will have us until it's our time to go."
My heart is breaking, my very world is rocked off its axis, and it's at this moment that my unshakeable optimism fails me.
I am completely unable to see any good in this scenario. I hate the very idea of this gift. I hate the Fates. I hate that I have an assigned soul mate. I despise that I now have limited time with my family.
I cry myself to sleep every night for a week. That week is all I have until I'm off to boarding school.
Then the day I am to leave arrives. My mother is weepy and my father is stoic. My little sister is excited. She is certain that I when I meet my soul mate, I will fall in love and what could be more romantic than that?
I want to scream at her, to explain to her that this isn't one of her cheesy love stories, that this is my life that is being ruined. My life being altered. I don't though. I just hug her goodbye, cry in my father's arms, and kiss my mother on the cheek.
I climb onto the train that is taking me to my new life and wave at them until I can no longer see through my tears. I cry for a long time, burrowing in my coat and pulling my hood over my head to hide my red eyes and runny nose.
After I've exhausted every tear, I stare out the window at the scenery flashing by and try not to think about what is ahead. Before long I'm bored and I go to dig in my bag for something to do.
I see the packet my mother had shoved into my hands as I was boarding and pick it up, scanning the front.
Established in 1906
I slide my finger slowly under the flap, opening the packet and pulling the handbook out.
I flip through it in disgust. There was a lot of information about the school to take in. I stop at a section titled "Important Things to Know" and begin reading.
Nothing prepares me for the very first thing on the list.
Once you meet your soul mate, you will be assigned a room together in one of our four luxurious dormitories.
My stomach twists and for a long moment, I feel like I may be sick. The thought that I might have to room with this person while at school had never crossed my mind. I slide to the end of my bench and stand up, intending on making a run to the nearest bathroom.
There is no time for that to happen though because just then the train comes to a jolting stop and someone runs into me. Our momentum takes us crashing to the floor, me underneath.
I am now laying on the floor of the train, trying to catch my breath, which is proving to be an impossibility as the person on top of me has their elbow in my throat, effectively cutting off my airway.
"Can't…breathe…get…OFF!" My eyes snap open to meet a pair of bright green eyes inches from my own. A shock of bronze hair fell over them, hiding their expression of curiosity. As I shove at the person, my body registers the fact that it is a boy- a solidly built, pleasant smelling boy- that is currently laying on top of me.
I hear a muffled sorry as he tries to stand up but another jolt of the train as it starts up again sends him tumbling back onto me. "oof…" I wheeze as his elbow smacks into my stomach making my eyes water.
This time the button from his coat catches my hair as he stands, causing me to yelp in pain and pull him back down. "Wait a dang minute, ya big oaf!" I gripe as I untangle my hair from the offending button. "Ouch! I feel like I just went to freaking war."
He finally gets to his feet and quickly offers me a hand. "Sorry! Seriously, I'm so sorry- "
"Do I have a bald patch now?" I interrupt him and he stares at me uncertainly. "This week has been really bad so I feel like the next progression of this hell I'm currently living in would be the loss of my hair." I take his hand and stand up.
"Uh…no." He shakes his head slowly. "You still have an abundance of beautiful ebony locks."
Oh great. A poet. I roll my eyes and stretch, inwardly hoping this guy would leave me to my pity party.
My bad streak of luck did not end.
"I'm Liam. Liam MacGregor." He sticks a hand in front of my face. "Again, I'm really sorry. I don't usually assault girls on the train. I realize you just met me, but you'll have to take my word for it!"
I shake his hand and sigh. "Genesis Keene." I slump down into my seat, bathroom trip forgotten and sneak a look at the boy standing in front of me.
Liam is tall, taller than me. I'm five foot eleven and used to towering over most people. He has an attractive athletic build and eyes that are the same brilliant shade of green as the grass in my front yard. His dark reddish brown hair falls attractively in his face with just a hint of wave to it. Freckles dot his nose and cheeks and his smile is wide as he catches me staring at him.
I don't blink or look away in embarrassment. He had been stealing quite a few glances at me as well.
His bright eyes land on the handbook that is laying across the bench beside me. "Athanasia? You too?"
I grimace. "You're immortal too?"
"Yes! Me and my twin brother. I'm a little more excited about it than he is though." He explains as he takes a seat next to me. "I take it you aren't very happy about it either?"
"The look of horror on my face didn't clue you in?"
He laughs, a joyful, boisterous laugh that immediately lifts my spirits. "Look at it this way, it's a new adventure. A journey that never ends."
"How can you be so calm about this?" I cross my arms and look at him incredulously.
"I mean, I guess it helps to have my brother around. I admit, I probably wouldn't be taking this as well without him. But I guess I just view this as a chance to really change the world! We will be part of some really amazing things!" His green eyes light up attractively as he is talking and I begin to feel a little bit more optimistic about the situation. The pain is dulling about my family. I will see them again.
"So, do you and your brother look alike?" I ask.
"We're identical!" He answers with a smile.
Fantastic. Now I won't know which brother I'm talking to.
"Liam!" A harsh voice echoes across the train.
We both pivot in our seats to see a boy advancing towards us.
I immediately realize that although they are identical, I will be able to tell them apart with no trouble.
While they both share the same height and build, the same smattering of freckles, the same russet hair and grass green eyes- Liam's appearance is softer somehow. He is joy and sunlight and fun.
Laken is all sharp angles and shadows. He is the cloud cover on a sunny day.
His eyes are dark and distrustful while Liam's are bright and friendly. His bronze hair is gelled, the waves combed into submission. Liam's hair is in disarray, sticking out everywhere like he had just rubbed his hands in it.
"Laken, this is Genesis. She's heading to Athanasia too." Liam stands and introduces us.
I suddenly realize that dull ache inside seems to be going away, but I'm too distracted by the way Laken is looking at me to really give that much thought.
"Genesis?" Laken's voice is gruff. "What kind of name is that?"
"Says the boy named Laken. Your name sounds like a body of water." I scoff angrily. What the heck is with this guy?
"Laken! Quit being mean to my friend!" Liam socks his brothers arm. "Don't worry, Gen. He treats everyone this way. Plus, like I said, he's a bit grouchy about this whole deal."
"You forgot to mention your brother was an ass." I stand, intending to brush past them and head to the dining car.
Laken looks at me then, and I freeze. His gaze lazily follows the length of my body and then slowly back up to meet my icy stare. His steady gaze is making me a little weak kneed but I refuse to show it.
"Can I help you, Pond?" I inquire tetchily, intentionally getting his name wrong.
Laken rolls his eyes. "It's Laken." He turns to his brother, ignoring me. "Come on Liam. I have some girls waiting in the other car. They want to meet you too."
"I'm assuming you didn't show them this side of your sunny personality?" I snap grumpily. I'm peeved with myself for being a little attracted to him. The bad boy vibes are pouring off him in waves and I can never resist a bad boy. I attempt to talk down my hormones and remind myself that this guy is a jerk.
"The ladies love me." He smirks as he backs down the aisle. "Come on, Liam! Leave the crazy girl alone."
I bite my lip to keep from reacting to the insult and turn to look at Liam.
His eyes are wide as he looks back at me. "Wow…I've never seen him act like that towards a girl before."
That did not make me feel better.
"So you're saying I bring out the ass in him?" I raise an eyebrow at Liam.
"Listen, I know first-hand how my brother can be. He has a lot of issues. Our mom abandoned our family when we were kids and it really messed him up. He never recovered. He takes life way too seriously. He doesn't commit to anyone. Tends to be a bit of a player, he's sarcastic, grumpy, and has a general dislike of pretty much everything." He ticks the list off on his fingers. "On the other hand, he has great qualities too. He's loyal to those he loves, he's generous to a fault, he's supportive, a great brother, and can be pretty funny when he wants to be." He smiles, "Oh and he looks just like his super attractive brother."
"What are you trying to convince me of here?" I grin, "It's not like I'm paired up with him or anything."
Liam laughs, "You never know."
"Curse the Fates. I hope not! That would be a nightmare!" I shake my head, shuddering in horror.
"Come with me to the other car. Maybe you'll make some new friends." He grabs my hand and my bag.
"No thanks. One encounter with your brother was enough for me." I gently take my bag from him and remove my hand from his grasp.
"Just come on! You don't need to be alone today. It's been a rough week." He grabs my hand again and drags me down the aisle.
"Let me go, ya weirdo!" I hiss as I try to extract myself from his firm grip. "I told you I don't want to see…"
We stop in the next car and see Laken perched on a bench with a girl on either side of him.
"Him." I finish, glaring in his direction.
"Really Liam?" You had to bring your new friend?" He gripes from his seat.
"I'm not thrilled to be seeing you again so soon either, River." I retort, enjoying the look of anger that crosses his face.
"My name is Laken!"
"Whatever Ocean." I shrug and move to the other side of the car, ignoring his growl of frustration.
"Are you nervous?" A soft voice pipes up behind me and I turn to see a pretty brunette girl with lovely blue eyes.
"Same." She sighs and nervously twirls a strand of hair around her finger. "I really don't like this living together business. That's going to be so awkward."
A wave of nausea washes over me and I lean forward, placing my head between my knees. "Yeah, not fond of that arrangement either." I manage to say around the knot in my throat. I had momentarily forgotten about that after being mowed down by a cheerful mac truck otherwise known as Liam.
"Genesis." I stay in position, sure that if I look up, I will be sick.
Bryn leans over the bench to look down at me. "Are you okay?"
I shake my head, "no…"
"I personally think it's exciting." A nasally voice speaks up from the other side of the car.
I carefully sit up, trying to shake off the nausea, and face the direction of the voice.
The tiny blonde that's currently draped across Laken gives me a look of disdain. Her features are elfin, her eyes slanted like a cat's. Her breasts are swelling out of the low V-neck of her shirt and she is wearing a pair of pants so tight that it seems like she should be having trouble breathing.
"You would." I mutter under my breath.
"Excuse me?" She unwinds her arms from around Laken's neck and rises from her seat. She stalks over to me, her hips swaying dramatically. "What's that supposed to mean?"
"Look in the mirror and get back to me." I respond coolly.
"Aniya…she's totally slut-shaming you." Her friend gasps from her place at Laken's side.
Aniya's sky blue eyes become icy as she narrows them, her brows knitting together in anger. "What the heck is your problem? You don't even know me!"
Shame fills me at her declaration. She was right. I didn't know her and I had no right to make the assumption that I did.
"I'm sorry. You're right." I offer a sincere apology and her blue eyes soften.
"I forgive you." She sniffs, then winks at me. "Although your impression of me is probably correct." Her laugh is a grating mixture of nails on a chalkboard and cats yowling.
I wince and let out a feeble chuckle as she sashays back to her seat. No kidding.
I notice Laken is watching me, his expression serious. I ignore the fluttering in my stomach and fire off an insult instead. "Take a picture, creeper, it'll last longer."
"No thanks. You're not really my type…" his tone sounds bored as he brushes me off and turns his attention to Aniya.
I redden and turn to look out the window. His dismissal of me rankles and I clench my fists to keep from responding. I'm not sure why he bothers me so much. I've never been this disgusted or this intrigued about someone at the same time.
"Gen. Ignore him. I'm not sure what's going on." Liam sits down next to me, laying an arm across the top of the bench. "On the bright side, I think we're almost there."
For the first time since finding out what I was, I'm almost excited to get to Athanasia. Mostly just because I was ready to be off this train and far away from gorgeous, mean boys named Laken. I look at his brother and wonder how they can be related.
My clenched fists loosen and I smile at Liam. "What kind of girl do you hope you're paired with?"
He leans back against the bench and purses his lips in thought. "I hope she's kind. I hope she likes to have fun. I hope she's pretty and doesn't take herself too seriously." He sighs, "I'm not too hard to please. What about you?"
"I haven't given it much thought." I lie, thinking of a long list of qualities I hope this guy has. "I just know what I don't want him to be like." My gaze darts over to Laken as he flirts with Aniya and her friend. The Fates help the poor girl that will be stuck with him.
Liam looks like he's about to say something, but just then, there's a loud crackling over the speakers as someone announces that we've reached our destination. The train slows to a stop and I look out at the landscape to see what to expect. "Pretty." I say as I take in the blue sky, green grass as far as the eye can see, and a lake shimmering in the distance. Liam agrees.
Standing, he offers me a hand and helps me up. I grab my bag and he grabs a small black book bag from a vacant seat and slings his arm around my shoulders. "Ready for a new adventure?" He asks jovially.
I square my shoulders and take a deep breath. "Ready as I'll ever be."
We step off the train and into the sunlight.
We are standing in front of an imposing 3 story brick building. Four massive pillars hold up the large balcony on the top floor and steps in the front lead up to sturdy, wooden double doors.
"Whoa…" I breathe, my eyes scanning the property. I know from the brochure that there are several buildings, but all I can see right now is this monstrosity.
The double doors open and a small, severe looking woman appears on the steps. The students around me begin whispering as she walks over to a platform set at the foot of the stairs. I'm in awe at how she is managing to walk on those towering spike heels she's wearing. Her ice blonde hair is cut in a sleek, stylish bob and she is wearing a navy-blue pencil skirt with a matching blazer. Her heels clack loudly as she walks across the platform and comes to a stop behind the podium and looks down at her notes.
"Welcome." Her voice blares from the microphone as she surveys the crowd before her. "I'm Marie Michelson, the Dean of students at Athanasia Academy. I'm sure you all are exhausted from your journey, so I'll try to make this as quick and as painless as possible." She smiles as several people nervously laugh.
She waits until it's silent before continuing. "In a few moments, I will begin calling out pairs. As your name is called, I would like you walk towards this podium so your soul mate can find you in the crowd."
She goes over some rules, but at this point all I can focus on is the fact that I am about to meet the person I will be spending eternity with. I can hardly breathe, my head is spinning, and I feel faint, but I will myself to keep standing and wait for my name to be called.
Dean Michelson calls the names in alphabetical order and so I wait for a while before she reaches the K's.
"Genesis Keene and Laken MacGregor." She calls and I almost keel over in shock. This can't be right.
I'm frozen in place and it's only when Liam nudges me gently with his shoulder that I take a small step forward, mechanically placing one foot in front of the other until I reach the podium.
"You." A voice speaks up from behind me. It is filled with disdain.
I whirl around. There stands Laken in all his snarky, malevolent glory. "You." My heart sinks. All the bad news that I have received this week has been building up to this. The worst thing that could have ever happened; I am the poor girl that will be stuck with Laken for the rest of her life.
I absolutely want to die right now.
We stand there, glaring at each other.
"This way." A young man ushers us out of the way, his voice brisk and businesslike.
He leaves us standing by a dorm with our luggage.
My brain is still trying to process what just happened. "This has to be some sort of mistake." I moan, pacing back and forth.
"I'm afraid not, Gen. We're stuck with each other." He smirks and puts a foot up on my trunk.
I take a frantic look around and spy a kind looking young woman standing near the building.
"You! Stay here!" I snarl at Laken, and then walk rapidly towards her. "HEY!"
The woman turns, a big smile on her face, but it quickly fades when she sees my expression. "Is everything okay?" She asks, taking a subtle step backwards.
I take a deep breath in an attempt to calm down and not frighten the poor girl. It's not working.
"You people screwed something up. You put me with him." I point to Laken, who is now sitting on my trunk looking bored. I bite back a growl and glare at the woman.
A random boy walks past and I grab his arm, yanking him towards me. "I want to be put with this guy. What's your name?" I know I'm being irrational but I'm way past caring about it.
"Gavin." He looks terrified, as he tries to break free from my iron grip.
I smile, but it probably looks maniacal as both Gavin and the young woman back up.
Leaning towards the worker, I glance at her name tag. "Listen, Emily, is it?" She nods reluctantly.
"I can't spend eternity with him. So, you have to fix this!" I yell at her, shaking Gavin's arm to emphasize my point.
"I'm quite sorry, but this decision has already been made." She apologizes and removes my hand from poor Gavin's arm with surprising strength.
He backs away and takes off running.
"Your fate was sealed long ago. The Fates know what they are doing." A sympathetic smile graces her features.
It's a misguided attempt to make me feel better. My hatred for the stupid Fates only increases until I'm seeing red. They know what they're doing? Since when? They're insane. "Please, you have to help me!" I exclaim desperately, clasping her hand tightly.
"I'm…I'm sorry. I can't help you. My hands are tied." Emily shakes her head and pats my hand gently. "Give him a chance. It can't be all that bad."
"Well thanks a lot for your help!" I spit out venomously as I wheel around and stomp back to my freaking soulmate.
"Let me guess…it didn't work?" He grins as I approach.
I give him a dirty look, "Obviously. Now get off my stuff!" I snap.
When he doesn't move, I reach over and shove him; putting all the anger and injustice I feel behind it.
He falls backward and hits the ground with a thud.
"What the hell is wrong with you?" He curses, standing up and brushing the dirt off his clothes.
"Stay away from my stuff."
"Well this is just great. Just freaking fantastic. All the women I could possibly get stuck with and the Fates pair me with a crazy bitch." He scowls and picks up some of his luggage.
Laken is safe from my response to that insult because just then, a friendly looking guy with a name tag comes sauntering up to us with a luggage cart.
"Hello, my name is Grey. I'll be taking you two to your room." He smiles cheerfully and offers to take my bags.
Laken is still muttering to himself as he loads his bags onto the cart.
"Would ya shut up back there?" I hiss as he continues to lob insults at me under his breath. We enter an elevator and Grey punches the number 2.
"You first, Germesis." Came the sarcastic reply.
Grey shoots me a look of confusion and I grin. "We're having a bit of a quarrel."
He chuckles, "This early into it? That doesn't bode well." He leads us down a wide, brightly lit hallway.
"Why would you say that?" I ask, struggling to keep the smile on my face.
"You're going to be living in pretty close quarters for the next few years." He's still laughing as he comes to a stop at a door marked Room 205.
He grabs a packet taped to the door and opens it, taking out two keys and handing one to each of us. "Well here you go, welcome to your humble abode." He opens the door and pushes the cart inside.
I'm the first to follow him and I let out a squeak of dismay. Recalling that the handbook describes the rooms as luxurious, I snort. Luxurious my ass. The room is the size of a small one room apartment. There are two twin beds in one corner of the room, a nightstand next to each. There are two desks with chairs lining another wall. Two wardrobes against one wall and a small door in between them.
I cross the room and fling it open revealing a small bathroom.
Grey stands at the door with his empty cart, having unloaded our luggage. "Enjoy your time here!" He chirps and bows playfully. "Oh, and try not to kill each other!" He grins at me, and then walks out the door. I hear him whistling down the hallway, pushing his cart.
"Where is that idiot anyways?" Laken hadn't followed us into the room. The cad probably found some girl to hit on out in the hallway.
"Honey! I'm home!" He barrels into the room, throwing his luggage in a pile by the door.
Oh, good lord.
"Are you planning on unpacking anytime soon? Or are you just going to leave your stupid bags in the middle of the room for the next few years?" I snap at Laken as I trip over his suitcase for the fifteenth time in thirty minutes.
My big toe is aching from stubbing it so many times.
"I'll unpack when I freaking feel like it."
I bite back a scream of frustration.
We've been stuck in this room for two hours and I'm getting claustrophobic. I had also realized something about Laken in this time together.
He is quiet- maddeningly quiet.
I am about to go insane. I am one of those people that tend to fill up quiet moments with words. I can't handle awkward silences and quiet rooms.
My family is loud. We like to joke around together and play pranks on each other. We talk over each other at the dinner table. I already miss them so much it hurts.
A loud knock breaks the silence. "Thank God!" I breathe a sigh of relief and run to open the door.
I practically take the door of its hinges in my haste to open it. A strange girl is standing there, her violet eyes curiously watching me. Her platinum blonde hair sticks out in crazy layers all over her head and sweeps over her forehead. Bright panels of indigo and hot pink are peeking through the blonde, giving her hair a slight tie-dyed look. Her clothes are equally colorful- a bright blue shirt, lime green skinny jeans, and purple high top Converse. The girl is a walking rainbow.
"Can I help you?"
She sticks her hand in front of my face and I notice that her fingernails are painted a glossy orange. "My name is Lyric Jayde. What's yours?" Her voice is musical.
"Genesis Keene." I reply as I shake her proffered hand.
"Wicked cool name! I'm your neighbor. I got paired with Finn Weston, he's that tall drink of water over there." She points at the end of the hall. "He's British. I'm already dying over his accent!"
Hot British guy? I seriously have a bone to pick with the Fates.
"Who did you get paired with?" She asks curiously.
The spawn of Satan. "Laken MacGregor."
"Who's the freakshow?" Speak of the devil and he will appear.
"My name is Lyric." Her soft, melodic voice takes on a razor sharp edge.
"Whatever." He shrugs, "I'm going down to supper. You coming?"
"I'm not going anwhere with you."
"Actually…" Lyric interjected, "we have to eat dinner with our partners. Didn't you read the handbook?"
"Freaking soul mate boot camp!" I roll my eyes.
"Hold on a sec and Finn and I will walk down with you!" Lyric takes off down the hallway.
Laken is already gone.
"Thanks for waiting on me!" I yell after his retreating figure, even though I know he will ignore me.
Lyric comes back, holding on to the arm of one of the hottest guys I have ever seen.
Finn Weston is tall, dark, and handsome with ice blue eyes. I am this close to swooning and I don't even care.
"You must be Genesis." He grins, showing off white, even teeth.
I hold back a heartfelt sigh. "Yes…" I manage to say after I realize I've been standing there, staring at him like a crazy stalker. Life is officially unfair.
Lyric shoots me a look of understanding. "It's okay. Happened to me too!"
"Ready?" Finn asks.
I think I must have nodded because we start walking down the hallway.
When we finally find the cafeteria, it's packed. I quickly learn that despite her short stature, Lyric is tough and outspoken. We narrowly avoid getting into a fight with a guy that's built like a tank when she shoves him after he accidentally ran into her.
As we go through the buffet line, a familiar figure catches my eye. "Liam!" I shout, waving at him to get his attention.
He meets us as we finish getting our food and leads us to a table in the center of the room. Laken is already seated there and so is a cute girl with curly strawberry blonde hair.
"I'm Sadie King. Liam is my soulmate." She introduces herself.
After some more introductions, all is quiet as we eat.
Laken is joking with Liam, a genuine smile on his face for once, when Lyric turns to me and whispers in my ear.
"You know, Laken is pretty hot."
"Eww." I gag, even though I know he totally is.
"Quit that! You know it's true!"
Sadie, who is sitting on the other side of me, hears us and giggles. "They are very handsome."
"See?" Lyric raises an eyebrow.
"If that's your type." I shrug.
"Look at him!"
I reluctantly look over at him. "Don't see it."
"Hello? Dreamy green eyes, nice body, perfect skin- what part of that doesn't scream hot?" She studies him with interest.
I am not about to admit that I have definitely noticed Laken's good looks, especially after he's been such a jerk. "Not really." I ignore her glare of frustration.
"Secrets don't make friends, ladies." Laken turns his attention to us. "Care to share?"
"Uh nope!" I shovel a forkful of green beans in my mouth and shoot Lyric a look of warning.
"So, Finn, dude, does it bother you that your soulmate looks like a walking bag of Skittles?" Laken directs some of his lovely attitude at Finn, who doesn't seem bothered by it at all.
He shrugs. "Not at all. What's the saying? Taste the Rainbow. I'm definitely up for that!" He smiles brightly at Lyric and she blushes.
I officially hate Lyric. She gets a guy that says sexy things like that and I get the guy that's been insulting me since we met.
Laken looks faintly disgusted by Finn's response, but doesn't say anything else.
"We get an hour of personal time after dinner." Lyric announces. "We don't have to spend it with our partner if we don't want to."
"Really?" I can't hide the excitement in my voice.
"Did you read the handbook at all, Gen?" Lyric laughs loudly.
"I skimmed it, I got a little sidetracked." I admitted, grinning at Liam. "I got attacked on the train."
"Oh my gosh, really?" Lyric exclaims as she, Finn, and Sadie look at me in shock.
"Ask Liam." I laugh and Liam turns red.
They look at Liam and he shrugs, "I kinda fell on top of her on the train."
"That's my brother. Knocking girls off their feet…literally." Laken jokes and the whole group laughs.
As dinner ends, a worker gives the announcement about personal time and students start pouring out of the cafeteria in a rush to find a place to get some alone time.
Most of us have been around people for several hours now and I, for one, was ready to take a long, hot shower and relax in the room.
I have to fight through a crowd of students and when I finally reach our room, Laken is already there, stretched out across his bed with a book in his hand.
"No way, Lake! You knew I was coming in here!"
He turns a page in his book, looking calm, cool, and collected. "I got here first."
"GET OUT!" I stomp my foot angrily.
"Nope." Another page turns.
"I wanted to take shower and relax." I am now in full on whine mode.
"Feel free. I'm certainly not going to bother you." Laken sighs, looking up from his book. "It's not like I'm some pervert that wants to see you naked."
"UGH!" I stomp into the bathroom and slam the door shut.
One day together and already I want to murder him. Soulmates and immortality suck so bad.