Ch 11 - An All Day Train Ride

"Wake up everyone! We don't want to be late!" I yelled to my three roomates. Today was the day that we would be taking a train ride to go to my house, where we would be staying over the break. The first step was to get everybody awake. It was early in the morning, but we still wouldn't be arriving until late at night. To avoid an overnight train ride, we had to wake up this early.

"But it's so early!" Nyx was the first to complain. She had a bad case of bedhead. Her pitch black hair was all over the place. "Can I just sleep for a bit more?"

"You can sleep on the train. Now hurry up and get ready." I had woken up earlier and was ready to go, but I decided to let the three Spirits sleep for a little longer. "I'm going to go get Cecilia and Persephone, and no one should be in bed when I get back." I walked over to the door, and when I reached for the handle, the door flung open. Out in the hall were Cecilia and Persephone. "Come in. I was just about to go get you two." Cecilia walked in cheerily while Persephone tiredly came in after her. "Why so tired?"

"It's too early. I want more sleep." Persephone responded with a low growl.

"You woke me up at four! It's five now! How are you still tired!" It didn't make much sense. If she was fine waking up an hour earlier, how was she tired at this point.

"I was prepared for that. I also got to torment you a bit, so it made up for it. But Cecilia just woke me up and told me to get ready and rushed me over here." She maintained her low growl. I also heard another growl, but not from Persephone.

"Did you two eat?" I had heard what appeared to be Cecilia's stomach.

"No, we rushed over here as soon as we got dressed. We didn't have the chance to eat." Persephone sounded almost hostile. I could almost feel her pain. I felt a bit bad for her, but then I remembered what she did to me on Saturday and my sympathy slipped away.

"We haven't eaten either, so would you two like to eat with us?" Lilith was already in the kitchen area preparing breakfast. "I think Lilith is making waffles." For the first time that morning, Persephone didn't look like she was about to die. Her eyes had a bit of life in them.

"Yes! We'd love to eat with you!" Persephone spoke so quickly that I could barely get the question out.

"We don't have enough room around the table, so two people have to sit on the floor. I'll be one of them, you five can decide who sits with me on your own." Four hands went up.

"I'll do it!" Everyone but Persephone volunteered. They looked at each other with a hint of anger. They assumed the classic fighting stance and began the competition. In the end, Nyx won the game of rock-paper-scissors. We all grabbed our waffles and took our seats. Nyx was sitting directly to my right, and she leaned against me. We all started eating.

"These waffles are really good, Lilith! Thanks for making them!" I showed my gratitude to the chef. Nyx was the first to finish. She got up, put her dish in the sink, and went back to her original position. We all finished our food, but when I got up, Nyx started falling to the floor. I was able to catch her in time, but it was a close call. Her eyes were closed and her face was peaceful. She must have fallen asleep after she finished eating. I set her down and put my plate in the sink. Erika started washing the dishes with help from Lilith. I tried to wake up Nyx, but nothing seemed to work. We had to leave or we would miss the train.

"I'll just carry Nyx, we don't have time to wake her up." I picked Nyx up bridal style and we all started walking. Nyx unknowingly received many jealous glances as we walked to the train station. If we kept going at this pace, we would make it with a few minutes to spare.

We made it to the station and got on the train without any problems. There were so few people that we were able to get a whole passenger car to ourselves. Despite all of the available room, we sat in a cluster. Only four people could sit in one seating compartment, so we had to split up. Since we would be there all day, we decided that it would be a four-two split, and we would rotate positions every hour or so. I decided that Nyx and I would be together and the other four would take the compartment next to us. I went to put Nyx on the seat, when she opened her eyes.

"Thanks for carrying me! I really appreciate it!" She hopped out of my arms and sat down.

"Were you awake the whole time?" I sat down across from her.

"I woke up sometime during the trip, but I didn't want to walk, so I decided to let you continue carrying me." She had not a hint of regret in her voice.

"Let me? I didn't want to carry you. I know you couldn't help it when you were asleep, but you could have started walking when you woke up."

"Are you implying that I'm heavy?!" I just dug myself a hole.

"N-no! That's not what I meant! You were really light! Not heavy at all! In fact, I could carry you from the station to the house!" I needed to get out of this hole. I tried every option I could think of.

"You'll carry me? Great! I forgive you!" I could hear Persephone snickering from across the aisle. Everyone was now fully awake and the train started moving.

"Hey, Nyx."

"Hm?"

"Why were you so tired earlier? You were fine yesterday." She was up and burning toast. It was a little later than it is now, but she must have been up for a while to burn all of that toast.

"I was up late last night."

"Very vague answer. May I ask why you were up so late?"

"I was… doing something."

"Again, very vague. What exactly were you doing?" She leaned in close to my face. She brought her lips right next to my ear.

"I was studying." She whispered so that only I could hear her.

"Break just started. Why were you studying?" I also kept a low voice. She clearly didn't want the others to know.

"I don't really understand any of the homework we got for over the break, and I figured we would all be doing it together. I didn't want to look stupid."

"If you don't understand it, I can help. We can study together." I didn't want her to be confused about what we were learning.

"Really? You still have to carry me to the house." She was being awfully pushy for someone in her situation.

"Yes, I'll help you, but you shouldn't be so pushy with your demands." She moved her head back to its original position.

"Thank you so much!" She hugged me while yelling this, causing the others to look over in confusion. She continued hugging me for a while, at least a minute. She pulled away. "How are you doing with the homework?"

"I haven't looked at it, but I'm sure it won't be too hard."

"How do you know if you haven't even looked at it?"

"I may not be strong or fast or be helpful in battle, but I do get straight A's in school."

"You get straight A's?! Even in biology?" Was biology really that hard? I didn't find it that challenging.

"Why does everyone think biology is so hard?"

"You don't think it's hard?!"

"No, none of the classes are really hard for me, but I've lost every single battle I've been in."

"If you're so smart, can you explain the math in the homework?"

"I'm sure I can." I explained the homework to Nyx until it was time to change seating positions.

After we changed positions, I was with Cecelia, Persephone, and Erika, while Nyx was with Lilith. We were about a third of the way there. I was sitting next to Erika, Persephone was across from me, and Cecilia was next to her. I had planned ahead and decided to bring cards. We started playing a game, when Persephone suggested that we make things more interesting.

"How about we make it more interesting?" Persephone had a mischievous grin on her face. "We should play for a prize."

"That sounds interesting. What do you think we should play for?" I was worried what response my question would get. I was especially scared of Persephone's response.

"How about we do strip poker?" There was the kind of response I was afraid of.

"Persephone, we're on a train, in public. We can't do that." I quickly shut down her idea. Erika's ears perked up and her eyes sparkled. She must have come up with something.

"How about the winner gets to sleep with Elryn?" I was shocked. I'm the prize.

"No we can't-" I was cut off.

"That's an amazing idea!" Cecilia was fully on board with the idea.

"I like it as well." Persephone seemed supportive as well, likely because it would allow her to torment me more.

"Then it's settled. Elryn will be the prize." Erika didn't even let me speak.

"Do I get a say in this?" I clung to a small bit of hope.

"No." They all spoke in unison.

"Well if I win, I get to choose who sleeps with me, and no one is an option." I had to have a way out of this.

"Fine, that makes sense." Persephone agreed, as did everyone else. "Now, how long does this last?"

"One night."

"No! It lasts the whole break." At Cecilia's suggestion, both of the other two smiles. Erika had an innocent smile, while Persephone kept her mischievous grin.

"We agree!" I was outnumbered again. We started playing.

I dealt out the cards. We were playing Bull. "The main objective is to get rid of all of your cards. The person with the ace of spades starts and puts down one or more aces and say how many they put down. Then we go to the left of that player. They do the same thing with twos. If they don't have any twos, they can put down other cards. If you think that person is lying, say 'Bull!' If they were lying, they get all of the cards that were previously put down, but if they weren't, the one who accused them gets all of the cards. I have the ace of spades, so I'll start. Two aces." The turn order went me, Erika, Cecilia, Persephone, then back to me. This was a high stakes game for pretty much all of us. The atmosphere was tense. Each of us had one or two times where we had to pick up the whole pile. We were each down to only a few cards.

"Since we're down to just a few cards each, how about we establish a new rule. Anyone who gets the whole pile now is out, and the cards will be distributed to the remaining players." Cecilia brought up the new rule. We all agreed that it would be fun. Now the game got even more intense than before.

It was Persephone's turn. I had one card left, and so did she. Cecilia had three, and Erika had four. Persephone put down her last card. "One queen."

"Bull!" Cecilia called out. There was no point in not calling, as she would lose if she didn't but there was a fifty percent chance that she wouldn't lose if she did call it. Cecilia flipped over the card, revealing the queen of diamonds. Cecilia had lost, but, because of the rule we made, we distributed the cards equally. It was now basically a new game, only with one player missing. We decided that the new rule would only apply when we all got down to only a few cards each. We started round two, stakes high.

Yet again, we all reached only a few cards each. Persephone had one card, I had four, and Erika had two. Again, it was Persephone's turn. She put down her last card. "One five." I decided that I might as well call it. It was the same circumstances as when Cecilia had called, so it was in my benefit to call it.

"Bull!" I flipped over the card, revealing the four of hearts. The risk payed off. Persephone was out, and it was down to me and Erika. We decided to take a break and eat dinner. We were so caught up in the game that we skipped lunch. All six of us went to get dinner in the dining car.

We all sat down and ordered. "You guys seem like your having fun with that card game." Lilith didn't even know tense the situation was.

"It seems like you're playing for a prize. What is it?" Nyx had clearly noticed how hard we were trying.

"We're playing for… sleeping places. Whoever wins gets first dibs on a bed. You two don't have to worry, you won't get the floor. It wouldn't be fair, as you didn't get to play." In trying to cover up the odd prize, I guaranteed those two either a bed or couch. The others seemed to recognize that I didn't want them to say anything, and we had meaningless smalltalk as we ate.

We got back to our seats and dealt out the cards. Due to the nature of the game, Bull was not meant for two players. Based on your starting hand, you knew that the other person had all of the cards that you didn't have. To fix this, we dealt out about one fourth of the deck as an empty pile. We figured out a way that would let us keep the same number of cards, while also switching around the cards in play. This would be the hardest, and most complicated, game yet. We played until we were both down to one card. It was Erika's turn.

"One king." She put down her last card. I had to call it. If I didn't, I would lose. If I did, there was a fifty percent chance that I won.

"Bull!" I reached out to flip the card. The air was tense. This would decide my fate for the rest of break. I turned it over and the card was… the king of spades. I had lost. I would be sleeping with Erika the whole break. For the last ten minutes of the train ride, I sulked in my seat as Erika celebrated. The train pulled up to the station and we all got off.

"I'm ready!" Nyx stood, staring at me.

"What do you mean?" Why was she just standing there? It was almost dark, and we needed to get to the house.

"Do you not remember? You said you would carry me." I did make the promise she was speaking of. I picked her up and we all started walking.

We were almost there. I could see the house in the distance. There was a person standing outside. It was likely my mom. As we got closer, though, I realized that it couldn't be my mom. This girl had a different hair color and length. We reached the house with the girl having her back to us, completely oblivious to our arrival. I put Nyx down. "Hello?"

"You're here!" The girl with the long, blonde hair ran over and hugged me.