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Starlight: Part 2 – Chapter 15

George was gone when my alarm clock went off.


Becky just had a guilty smile when her eyes caught mine.


We found George and Blake at breakfast. From what I could tell, they were speaking about Blake’s blood eyes.


I hated this topic and the way their conversation turned once we joined them. Blake was really scared his eyes weren’t going to heal a hundred percent.


When the first bell rang, we went to Enchantments, and from there the day flew by fast. At six, Blake came to fetch me for his rehearsal.


He took me to the elevator, and he flew back to Tith.


I had to take a cab to The Crevice, and when it stopped in the parking lot, Blake landed.


He shifted back and I still turned around to give him privacy. His laughter came first. “Seriously, you need to get used to that.” He pulled me by the arm and I was glad that he had a pair of jeans and a shirt pulled over his body.


“I don’t know.”


“You didn’t seem to have a problem with it when you were a dragon.”


“I was angry that night and forgot that I was actually naked.”


He chuckled again. “I’m not going to say it out loud but whatever you are imagining, it doesn’t even come close to reality.”


I blushed guessing what was going through his mind, and followed him into the mountain.


It was still dark with only a few lights lit overhead.


We took the elevator to the top and walked out onto the bleachers. My body shivered as images from the last time I was here flashed through my mind. It was the night Blake saved my life the second time.


“You okay?” he asked, and I smiled, giving him a slight nod.


They were busy transforming the entire stadium. The floor was closed and most of the bleachers on the opposite side were covered.


The floor was going to be tomorrow night’s dance floor, and the stage, well, it reminded me of a huge concert stage back home.


“How many people are invited to this party?”


“I don’t know, but my guess is a shit lot.”


“Thank you, Freud, for that lovely analysis.”


He smiled at me. “I have to apologize in advance. I don’t know what they are going to do tonight. So, if they make you feel uncomfortable, just tell me.”


“Don’t, I’m sure they are not that bad.”


“Okay, don’t say I didn’t warn you.”


I followed him down toward the stage where I could see some of his band members already.


“Testing, testing,” a guy with long, dark blond hair said over the speaker. He was tall and real skinny but his voice sounded like honey.


“It’s good!” Blake yelled and the guy turned to us.


“Finally, what took you so long?” he spoke over the mic and I smiled again.


Blake flipped him off.


They started to tune their instruments as we approached the stage, and the workers who were setting everything up laughed at a remark about what Blake could do with that finger.


“Ty,” Blake yelled. His tone was laced with disgust.


The one with the dark blond hair laughed then sucked in a breath as I walked out from behind Blake and stood next to him. “Shit, sorry, Elena, didn’t see you there,” he said to me.


“Please forgive them, I told you they are a bit rough around the edges.” Blake shook his head.


“No, I like them, really. He called me Elena.”


“You need me to take him out?”


I laughed. “That jealous?”


“Oh, haven’t you heard? Rubicons are all about territory and dominance. What’s mine is mine, and what’s yours, well, it’s mine too.”


I laughed.


“Then I should probably call Xavier and ask him to stop texting me,” I joked.


His entire face fell. “That ass from the bar that night? He’s texting you?”


“Now I know how to make you angry.”


“Not funny. I almost killed him that night just for looking at you, not to mention having his grabby hands all over you.”


“Relax, I only have eyes for you now.”


“You’d better,” he said and gave me a quick kiss as we reached the stage.


He shook hands with the guy who was testing the microphones and I realized it was Isaak.


He looked at Blake’s eyes. “Suits you,” he said, which made me smile again.


“Elena, ass number one, two, three, four and five.” He pointed at all his band members.


“I’m Isaak.”


“Elena,” I said.


“Ty,” the extremely buff guy with short, army cut hair, sitting behind the drums answered as Blake went over to greet him as well.


“Jamie,” another one yelled. He had blond, scruffy hair that covered his ears, was of a slender build, and was busy plugging in a keyboard.


“Maximus,” said the guitarist with red hair and matching goatee that suited him as he started playing something.


Blake pulled his face. I couldn’t tell why until he took the guitar and start turning some of the knobs, while strumming it, and I realized it was out of tune.


“Matheo,” said the last one who walked up to me. He had brown hair and dimples that could give George a run for his money, with the most beautiful brown eyes. They were all cute, just like a boy band should be.


“Elena.” I smiled back.


“Good to know you gave the poor soul another chance. I don’t know how he could be such an ass to you,” he spoke softly but his tone was serious.


“Still hear you,” Blake said.


“I should really learn how to wield a shield.”


Blake smiled as he continued to tune the guitar.


“So you guys are really from the normal crowd? I miss that.”


All of them looked at me and then at Blake.


“What? I haven’t had time to tell her yet.”


“Tell me what?” I looked at him.


“Oh this is going to be fun.”


“Easy, Ty, I don’t want to give her a heart attack.”


“I’ll be as gentle as a kitten.”


I remembered when Sammy said those words more or less the first time I’d met her, and déjà vu washed over me. “What is going…”


Ty dove out from behind his set of drums and transformed into a huge black panther, walking slowly toward me.


A deep purring noise came from him as I stared.


“Ty!” Blake yelled.


“See?” Ty said. “Kitten.” He let out an animated meow as he reached me and they laughed.


I couldn’t keep my eyes off him. He was as black as night with the shiniest fur I had ever seen.


“You are all shifters?”


“Why did you think our band’s name is The Shifters?”


“Because of Blake.”


They laughed again.


“Assumption, Princess!” Isaak yelled.


“Just as I was beginning to like you. You had to go and say the ‘P’ word.”


Blake laughed.


“She knows that is what she is, right?”


“Oh, she knows, all right. She just doesn’t like it very much.” They both mocked me.


“Still here,” I said.


Ty walked back to his drums and shifted back into his human form, buck-naked. He didn’t even pretend to be modest.


“Seriously dude,” Blake looked at him.


“What, she’s not used to that either?”


“See, this is why I didn’t want to bring her to meet you guys. I can’t take you anywhere.”


“Fine, give me a pair of pants,” Ty spoke and Matheo threw him a pair of jeans. I had to turn around again as he stood up and climbed into them. Blake laughed at my expense.


“You really need to get used to naked,” Isaak said. “It’s the most natural thing in the world.”


“So I’ve heard, but so not what I’m used to. You actually get locked up for it where I come from.”


“They lock you up for being naked?”


I raised my eyes. “So, be careful, I might still change that here.”


“Ooooh, someone that actually has authority. That is a first for you, Blake,” Isaac teased.


“Not the first,” Jamie said. “Remember Arianna? When he wanted to get on the Warbel team?”


Blake glared at him and they all laughed.


“Shut up and play.”


Isaak took his guitar and played an intro to a heavy metal song.


Then Ty started hitting the drums, the keyboard came in and then the second guitar that Blake had just tuned.


Blake gave me a thumbs up as I walked over to the side of the stage where all their bags were.


I sat down as Blake took the mic.


I knew his voice was going to ripple through my body again, stirring up my soul. I loved his voice.


He spoke a name and the entire tune changed. It was one of the songs that was on my iPod, an upbeat tune, and I couldn’t take my eyes off Blake as he got ready to start singing.


I closed my eyes a few times as the music just took me away, and every time I opened them, I found Blake staring at me as he sang. So creepy, and yes, I blushed every single time.


The night flew by fast with the band cracking jokes between songs.


Each of them had their own personality. Matheo was the sweet one, but he could play a guitar and the violin like they were the same instrument; there weren’t any words for it.


Ty was easy to sum up: bad boy. He was carefree, with no shame, and a real troublemaker, and for some reason I envisioned him in the VIP room making out with more than one girl at a time.


Jamie didn’t say much, but laughed a lot.


Isaak was second in command and was insane with a guitar in his hands. I knew a he had broken a few after a show, trying to rile up the crowd for more.


I really wanted to know what they all could shift into. I thought shifters were hiding in the Ackerwoods, but here they were, all of them, and I knew there were many more. Were they all panthers?


The night flew by way too fast, and when they had played through at least fifteen to twenty songs, Blake called it a night.


He came over to me and took one of the water bottles that was next to me in a crate and downed one in a few gulps.


Sweat was dripping off his brow as he took a towel out of his bag.


“That was stunning,” I said. “Then again, you always sing beautifully.”


“I do?” he asked. “I didn’t even think you noticed.”


“Excuse me. I own like all of your songs. Your voice has always done something to me. I was just really good at hiding it.”


He smiled softly but looked down as if he was hiding something. “What do you mean by speaking to you?”


“I don’t know. It sometimes felt like the songs were just for me.” His voice sounded so familiar, but I didn’t tell him that, as if I’d always known it, but it sounded so far-fetched and he would just think that I was pathetically in love with him or something.


“They are,” he mocked me.


“They weren’t always.”


He chuckled and kissed me softly.


“See you tomorrow,” Blake said to his band, pulling me up by the hand.


“Nice meeting you,” Isaak said with a song in his voice.


“Nice meeting all of you too.” I smiled back as we walked back to the entrance.


“You should really think about writing a song for her, dude,” Isaak teased.


“Who says I haven’t?”


“‘Never Breathe’ doesn’t count.”


Blake shook his head.


“‘Never Breathe’ is about me?” I asked, remembering the song Lucian had played for me on our first date to the Gallery. It was about a girl he hadn’t met, but he envisioned what life could have been like if he had.


“In a way.”


“With her golden hair, she’s a fresh breath of air. A place to call home from this cold night, a place to hide from all the monsters inside.”


I laughed at Isaac’s words booming over the microphone.


Blake just shook his head. “That’s why you don’t write the songs, Isaak.”


“Not so bad!” I yelled back and they cheered. “Number one seller in the making.”


“That was pathetic!” Blake yelled, and this time Isaak flipped him off.


“She liked my song, bro,” he spoke over the microphone again, which made me laugh.


“Because she is nice.”


“Nice!” Ty called. “You know what they say about nice people, Blake?”


“Shut up!” Blake shouted back. “See you tomorrow, and Ty, don’t show up drunk.”


“Yes, Mom,” Ty spoke over his mic.


The rest of the workers laughed along with me.


“No, seriously, sorry,” Blake apologized.


“They are not so bad. What was that nice comment about?”


Blake chuckled. “Nope, that is way too disgusting.”


I laughed.


We flew back to the Academy together.


It was fast but it wasn’t the speed I knew he could fly. I always felt so free in the sky. Nobody could hurt me while I was on Blake’s back. The fresh air flowing through my hair, the cold burning my skin, and the adrenaline pumping through my veins was intoxicating. This was where I belonged. I’d been a dragon rider from the minute I took my first breath.


It was everything I needed to top off this amazing night.


We reached the Academy past twelve, and I slid off his back to see if the door was open.


It wasn’t, and Blake told me to get back on. He flew over the castle and took me to my window, the one we kept open for George at night.


He put the tip of his wing on my window and I slid down his wing again, climbing through.


“Thanks for coming with tonight,” he whispered softly.


“Oh, thank you for taking me. I really enjoyed it.”


“See? Just as I thought. It was a good distraction.”


“So needed,” I spoke sleepily and yawned.


“Sleep tight, princess,” he whispered once I was safely inside before he flew in the direction of the boys’ dormitories.


I quickly went to take a shower and pulled on my PJs. As I crawled into bed, George’s figure appeared at my window, almost giving me a heart attack.


“Oh shit,” George cussed softly.


“Not the one with the problem. Just be quiet,” I spoke as George entered and went over to Becky’s bed.


How he’d gotten into the room in his human form, I really didn’t want to know.


The next day, Blake left at two.


I didn’t go with as he had to work tonight. Besides, I wasn’t as pathetic as Tabitha, who just had to be around him every minute of her life. He needed some time away from me, and I needed some time away from him.


This was getting so intense so fast, and it scared me a lot.


I needed to be able to function normally without him.


Becky and Sammy decided to have a girls’ night in.


We did our toes, applied face-masks and just talked like we hadn’t spoken in a long time.


I even decided to tell Sammy about the missing ingredient. She didn’t take it so well.


“So either you or my brother is going to die if you don’t find it?” she asked, and I nodded. “You knew about this?” She looked at Becky.


“Sammy, please don’t take this the wrong way.”


“He is my brother. You are my best friend.”


I got up and wrapped my arms around her. “This is why I didn’t want Becky to tell you. You are such a gentle dragon. I’m sorry.”


“Elena, how does one choose?”


“You don’t have to, okay? We will find it, I promise.”


She nodded. “Please tell me you at least have an idea.”


“Sort of, but we need to find a way to make it work,” I lied through my teeth; telling her we didn’t would only put more fear in her.


The vibe really got thick after that. Sammy wanted to go to bed, but Becky and I didn’t let her.


We watched a funny movie and just laughed, and around twelve, my Cammy rang.


It was Blake.


“Hey,” I answered.


“What are you doing?” he asked.


“Girl stuff, which is so not your department.”


He laughed.


“So how is tonight? Are you enjoying it?”


“Is that really even a question? No, you are not here.”


“You have to say that.” I squinted playfully at him.


“No, I don’t. Pathetic, isn’t it?”


I laughed. And here I thought I was the pathetic one. “Till what time do you guys have to play?”


“Hi, Elena.” Isaak’s hologram popped in, and Blake pushed him away. It made me laugh again.


“Till freakin’ two, can you believe that?”


“Yes, I can. They paid a lot of money for you guys to play. What, did you think it was only going to be till twelve? Why did you think I didn’t come? I need my beauty sleep,” I joked.


“Just sleep. You are beautiful enough.”


I smiled. The old Blake would never have said that one.


“I’ve got to go. We only got a small break. I’m going to crash at Isaak’s place tonight, but I will see you tomorrow early, promise.”


“Okay, have fun.”


“You know I won’t.”


“Stop complaining. It’s supposed to be fun.”


“Okay, I’ll try.” He gave me a sarcastic smile and the connection was broken.


I received a text message from him. I opened it:


You Dragonians have it so easy. You have no idea how intense it is for us dragons to be this far away from you. Okay, I will stop with my whining and rock this roof off.


I smiled and texted him back. That’s my guy.


He didn’t send me anything after that.


I struggled to fall asleep that night and tried to decipher what it was like for him, how he really felt. It was the second time he’d told me now how easy it was for us, that the riders had no idea how difficult any of this was for dragons.


They were such complicated creatures, and on top of that he just had to be of the opposite sex too.


Was it like this for brother and sisterhoods? What was it like for my mom and Tanya? I wished I could’ve known her, to ask her how she’d felt when she didn’t just lose her dragon but her daughter all in one night. It couldn’t have been easy. I knew it wasn’t, as my mom had blamed my father and had become deeply depressed after that. She had been a mess till the day she died.


That alone told me a lot: that time was too short to worry about stupid spells and whatnots. Enjoy every minute you have, because you never know what tomorrow could bring.


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