Harry tied his shoes and stood up. He then picked up his Épée, waiting obediently for him. He looked around for their trainer but he was nowhere to be found among the numerous white uniforms. "Haig, do you know where Jono is?"
Haig lifted up his Épée and watched as it glistened in the sports hall lights. "Jonathan? Nope, I have no idea. Someone said he could be in his office."
"What the hell is he doing in there? Our session started ten minutes ago! I ran here cos I was gonna be late and he doesn't even turn up on time." That wasn't the real reason Harry had run, he had actually run to avoid the shadow woman that he seemed to be seeing everywhere. Even the thought of her sent chills down his spine.
Harry brushed off the feeling and strolled in to the centre strip. "Want to duel Haig?" He asked throwing a lunge against thin air. Haig stepped in front of him.
"Would I ever pass off a chance to kick your ass?" Harry laughed and stepped back to his starting point. Harry moved in to his fighting stance and grinned at Haig. He pulled his mask down over his head and was about to launch an attack when Jonathan could be heard calling for him.
Harry sighed. "What Jono?" He asked, swinging round on his heel and ripping off his mask.
The blond haired trainer stood with his arms folded across his chest. "Well, someone's had a bad day." Jonathan commented, unfolding his arms and walking forwards towards Harry. "Anyway, ignoring your pathetic mood, I want you to partner with a new member we have starting today-"
"A newbie?" Harry's frustration immediately flared. "Jono, I want competition, not someone who can barely hold an Épée, let alone use one!"
Jonathan's face darkened. He poked Harry in the chest. "Listen Harry, I'm in charge here and I say you're partnering with her." Jonathan turned and began to walk away.
"What? It's not just a newbie I get but a girl too! Are you deliberately torturing me?" He called, throwing his hands in to the air.
"I find that rather sexist." A feminine voice said form behind him, the voice was soft and quiet but with a hard edge. Harry flung around ready to argue with whoever was behind him but instead gasped.
It couldn't be. She wasn't real.
He looked down and shook his head. She looked just like the woman he'd been seeing across the campus! But she wasn't real, surely? He looked up open again and felt his mouth drop open.
Same raven hair.
Same tall, lean body.
Same piercing gaze.
"Well, are you just going to stare or are you going to deliver your comeback that will undoubtedly fall flat?" The woman asked.
"You're kidding me right?" Harry said, feeling anger flare through him. "This is some messed up trick – did Joel set you up to this?" He pointed at her accusingly. I'm gonna get that little weasel, I'll make him sorry." Harry said darkly, turning away to think.
The woman behind him coughed. "If you're quite finished I'd like to begin. And just so you know, no one sent me, I've never met anyone called Joel in my life and my first impressions of you are all but positive." Her tongue was quick and cut deep.
Harry stayed turned away from her and sighed. He eventually turned to meet her. "I'm sorry." He began, holding out his thin hand. "I'm Harry Wakelin, what's your name?"
"Kara. And that's all you need to know." She said blandly.
"Have I seen you before?" Harry asked catching a glimpse of her devastating smile as Jonathan asked if they were okay.
She turned her head back to him, her dark hair flailing out behind her like a fan, this time she flashed him her devastating smile. Her teeth were perfectly straight and looked abnormally sharp.
"Nope. I'm new to the University, I transferred from UCL a few days ago." Harry thought for a moment, UCL? He smiled as he worked out the name, University College London, that was hard to get in to, why did she transfer here to little old East Anglia University?
"What do you study?" He asked, now trying to be extra polite.
"Are we going to spar or what?" Kara asked abruptly, pulling her mask over her face.
Harry's competitive side suddenly took over. He would wipe the floor with this woman.
"You bet." Harry said, preparing himself.
"How much?" Kara asked, he could feel her smile radiate even though he couldn't see it.
"I didn't really mean-"
"I said, how much?" Kara asked sternly, bringing up her Épée.
Harry stumbled for words as his mind raced. "A tenner." He replied, bending his knees and thinking of his movements.
"Done." Kara said, leaping forward in attack.
And so the battle began…
Harry threw down his Épée and began to storm away. He gritted his teeth and turned back towards Kara's gloating figure. "How did you do that?" He asked in a low voice. "How did you beat me?" He felt his nose wrinkle and he spoke the words.
Kara folded her arms and grinned. Her relaxed figure irked Harry. "I guess I'm just better than you." She whispered, leaning in close to him. Harry fumed but bit his tongue. "You owe me a tenner remember." She finished before sweeping up her Épée and leaving the gym.
Harry swore and stormed away to the showers…
"I forgot to mention something." Harry's body froze as the voice met his ears.
He spun around and gasped. He immediately pulled his towel tighter around his body.
"Kara?" He yelled in a strangled voice. "What are you doing here? This is the men's showers!"
Kara smiled slyly and peeled herself from the tiled walled against which she was leaning. She poked his chest as she sidled up next to his wet body. Harry suppressed the flutter of excitement he felt as she pressed her body against his. "I told you, I forgot to mention something to you." She said silkily.
"Spit it out then." Harry said through gritted teeth, avoiding eye contact with her.
"I don't just fence, I also fight with broadswords, you'd be a good opponent." Harry laughed at the idea of this young woman fighting with a heavy broadsword.
She cocked her head slightly and creased her eyebrows slightly. She didn't comment on his reaction "Your fighting is good and I could use a challenge." Harry grimaced as he remembered he had thought the same thing only a few days ago. Kara stepped away and headed for the door. "Anyway," She said, turning back and leaning on the wall again. "I guess what I'm saying is, when you fancy something new, give me a call." She laughed lightly and walked away.
Harry felt himself relax. He still didn't know whether to trust Kara. She seemed to be the type of girl that toys with men for fun, but there was something in her eyes… something he couldn't quite place.
What did it matter anyway? He wasn't going to take her up on the challenge. He'd never held a broadsword in his life and the fighting style was more aggressive than he was used to, he didn't want to hurt Kara.
He quickly went back to drying himself, ignoring the slight concern nagging that he might see that… thing again.