Ainsel

Chapter 1: The Changeling

My grandmother was right. Never trust faeries. I should have listened to her, because now, I am desperately trying to find a way to get rid of these pesky faeries. Because wherever I go, they would often find a way to find me.

Not that I am trying to find a way to get rid of them permanently. Sometimes I do need them for somehow they manage to get rid of my problems. But following me while I have my date with my boyfriend is aggravating me at the moment. Each time Direk tries to hold my hand, one of these faeries would bite his hand. It's a good thing Direk cannot see them, because once he realized that they do exist and they are not what they seem to be like those creatures in movies and books, who knows what will happen to Direk.

I do appreciate him more of a friend. But if I have to treasure him for what he is now to my life, I badly need to get rid of these pesky faeries.

But they are only doing their job.

And it's irritating the hell out of me!

"Annoyed?"

That familiar voice. Caelum.

I turned to look at my right and instantly fell to his charms yet again. Who wouldn't be? He's very refine and handsome, not to mention he is a faery king.

"You could accept my marriage proposal now or you can live your life like this; annoyed and aggravated by my faeries." He gave me a sly grin.

For a beautiful creature like him, why does he possess such an unearthly demeanor?

I shot him a glare and he shrugged his shoulders at me, disappearing far behind me, leaning on the brick wall whistling for his faeries to come back to his side. They all followed of course and I let out a deep sigh of relief. If he hadn't call off his faeries, one of them might have chipped off Direk's ear.

"What's gotten into you? You seem to be distracted?" Direk asked, squeezing my hand to his.

I smiled at him and shook my head. I watched his fingers trail the side of my face, tucking a stray lock of reddish brown hair behind my ear. It felt so surreal being with Direk, until a familiar yet annoying growl was heard. I looked away from Direk's mesmerizing blue eyes and drifted my dagger glare to the faery king behind me.

"What?" he chuckled, walking away.

"Sorry." I smiled back to my boyfriend, tangling my arms around his neck. I wished it would rain, but the sun's glowing brightly above our heads in a scorching heat and it's defying my dream. I tiptoed, feeling my toes hard on the cobblestone floor as I leaned over to kiss Direk on his lips. I tasted sweetness on them but more importantly I tasted his love for me. I may sound cheesy and all but that's just me living my own fantasy.

"Want to come over to my place?" Direk pulled away from my kiss but his hands still circled around my waist. I watched how he batted his eyelashes at me, pleading for my yes. I pinched his cheeks and nodded my head.

Who wouldn't say no to this? Of course not me.

"Great!" Direk flashed his beaming smile and he took my hand to his again. For protectiveness sake, I looked back and I never saw Eufel again.

Direk lived in an apartment just near the museum where my mother works. It's a cozy little apartment of two storey built in an old fashion bricked wall house. The interior looked neat for someone like Direk. The red colored sofa and the ebony-colored coffee table complimented each other like chess pieces. The kitchen smelt like roasted coffee beans and the ventilation and lighting is quite amazing for such a cramped small space.

"So where's you brother?" I asked Direk as I looked at his stacks of indie CDs scattered on the coffee table. I flipped one CD from another and I never recognized any of the singers or the bands. I looked up when Direk returned with two cups of coffee on his hand. He handed me a red colored mug as he took a seat on his red sofa.

Direk placed the CDs down to the floor and watched me as I looked around his living room. "Cefin's in his room." he replied back, sipping now on his hot coffee.

I turned to look at him. "He stopped school, right?" I asked and took a picture frame to my hands. I looked at Direk's brother on the photo and I was reminded again of that boy I saw at school with a downcast head and eyes that flickered agony in them.

Direk's younger brother Cefin is the same age as I am. At sixteen he lost his life to drugs and alcohol. Direk told me it was Cefin's way to compensate the death of their parents. It has been two years since the dreadful accident of their parents. They worked as accountants in a respectable bank when one day, robbers began to hail bullets at everyone in the bank. Direk and Cefin's parents died in an instant, living the two siblings with nothing but their apartment.

I touched the glass surface of the frame and felt the coldness of Cefin's face on it. I remembered him as someone who would often laugh at our teacher's joke and hang out with the cheerful group in the year. But unlike his brother, Cefin took his parents death gravely and he suffered into depression in the end. Six months ago, he left school and he was seldom seen outside.

"How is he?" I asked.

Direk placed his mug on the coffee table and gestured for me to sit down next to him. I smiled and took my seat next to him. He grabbed my mug from my hands and he pulled me by my neck; slowly and cautiously until I found my lip on his again. We kissed more passionately than before. I loved the feeling until realized that if we continued this, I would regret something in the end. So I pulled away from the kiss and moved a little bit from Direk.

"What's wrong?" he asked, taking my hand back to his.

I watched his face; eyebrows furrowed and forehead creased. I sighed and pulled my hand from his grasp. "Shall we listen to your music?" I asked.

Direk laughed. "You are simply amazing, Rune." He stood up and picked up a CD from the floor. he walked over to the stereo before us and played the CD. I never heard of the song neither the singer, but it sounded so nostalgic that I was drowned by the beauty of its lyrics and melodies that I completely forgot the pesky faeries and Direk's attempt to push the limits of our relationship.

The female singer's voice was so powerful that it felt so surreal listening to her enchanting voice. I felt the room moving on its own, like the world's swaying to the music. I felt like in a trance, but in a good way kind of trance. I closed my eyes to submerge myself to the beauty of the song. And when everything's falling into perfect place, I heard shuffling of feet at the ceiling and the sound of footsteps coming down from the stairs.

"Direk!"

I jerked from the loud voice that escaped my tranquility and my eyes fell to the stairs. Direk turned to the stairs and found his younger brother staring at him with serious intensity.

"What is it, Cefin?"

"Damn it Direk! You sedated me again!" Cefin sounded like an enraged lion.

I watched him walk over to his brother, grabbing Direk by his shirt's collar. For someone I thought is as fragile as glass, Cefin looked like he can handle himself quite well. He was shorter than Direk but he held a strong demeanor in those thin and lean figure. He looked pale; his skin whiter than bones. His black colored hair disheveled and messy but it matched the beauty of his glassy blue eyes.

I watched at my boyfriend and his brother squabble right in front of me.

"Drug me again and I swear I am going to kill you!" Cefin threatened but I knew he was only kidding. Of course he wouldn't hurt his older brother, now that Direk's the only family he has right now. Or might not be.

"Shouting like a troubled child in front of a girl will not get you anywhere little brother." Direk said, pulling Cefin's hand from his collar.

Cefin turned to look at me and then back to his brother. "I swear I am going to kill you!" he shouted again and stormed off to his room upstairs, banging the door hard that I could feel the whole house rocking.

Direk finally laughed. "Sweet and loving, isn't he?" he flashed me a grin.

"You love him." I smiled at him.

Direk mellowed down with his laughter and nodded his head in serious reply. "Of course. He's the only one I've got." And then he turned back to look me in the eye, brown eyes glistening. "But now, you two are the only ones I've got." And he pulled me back to him, locking me around his protective yet warm embrace and planting a soft kiss on my lips.

For once, I felt I belonged to someone, but in a good way.

By nightfall, I found myself walking back to our apartment. The evening breeze chilled me to the bones and I could fell my fingers numbing from the cold. The shadows began to lurk at every corner I passed to and tiny whispers filled my ears. I finally reached my apartment. But before I could reach our door, Caelum appeared before me in his gallant armor of shimmering gold and wings translucent but iridescent once light struck them. His long blonde hair pinned behind him in a sleek ponytail, his amethyst eyes glowing brightly in the dark like crimson blood. Around him, his faeries are dancing and singing. He walked over to me and cupped my chin with his long slender fingers. He leaned over and planted a soft kiss on my cheeks. I shivered from his touch.

"So what does it feels like to play with your mortal?" he leaned away.

I looked at his eyes and to the dark faery beside him. Anneliese was smirking at me; black swirls of smoke emanate from her body like black tendrils. "We had an agreement. You will not touch my mortal family and Direk."

Caelum smiled. "Of course. Faeries do not lie." He looked at Anneliese and the dark faery silenced.

I watched them exchanged looks.

"Even if you're still mortal, you will always be mine, my dear sweet Rune." Caelum grinned.

I glared at him. "Like I have a choice." I barred my teeth and walked passed him. He moved to the side as I opened the door. I found myself being greeted by my mother. She smiled down on me and hugged me. She looked behind me and then to my eyes.

I wished she could see the faeries hiding their identities from her. And maybe I could tell her that she would always be in danger with me around. Now that I have learned that I am a changeling; a faery sealed inside a human form.

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