Blake stayed away from every class after that day in Aviant. After Samantha had spoken to him, she was like a vault of secrets and didn’t speak to me or try to tell me how nothing had happened between Blake and Tabitha.
A week had passed. I saw him a few times in the hallways, but to my surprise the idiot turned around and walked the other way.
Serves him right.
Still, it hurt that he didn’t really fight for me.
I truly had given him what he wanted.
Becky was upset too. At first I thought it was because of what Blake had done, but the way she and George spoke to one another, it deserved an eye roll moment, not this again.
“Why are the two of you fighting again.”
“Because…” She shook her head.
“Because of what?”
She hovered. I could tell she didn’t really wanted to tell me, and with all the shit I withheld from her, I wasn’t going to push. “You know what, it’s fine. As long as it’s not because of what Blake had done.”
“What, no, and yes. It is something Blake wants to do, and George wants to be there for his friend.” She finger quote the last five words.
“Okay.” I laughed, still not having an idea what she was speaking off, but loved the finger quotes.
As we talked, I glimpsed someone standing close to our table.
“Just get away from our table, skank,” Becky chirped.
“No, I have to speak to Elena,” she barked back at Becky. and I looked at Tabitha.
“There is nothing you possibly have to say to me. You got what you wanted, now leave me the hell alone,” I said getting up and walking to the entrance.
“You are wrong!” she yelled after me, and I turned around. There were tears in her eyes. “I didn’t get what I wanted. He doesn’t even look at me anymore.”
“I’m sure if you unbutton your shirt and show some cleavage, you will change his mind. Oh, try that sexy underwear you wore the other night.” Everyone in the cafeteria was staring at us. “Stay away from me, really, and don’t speak to me ever again.”
I walked away and she didn’t follow. Is he really not speaking to her? Don’t even go there, Elena. She was in his room. It wasn’t just her fault, he’d let her in, and his reason behind that was what led to all of this.
The next day, George plunged down on a pillow next to us.
Becky didn’t even looked at him, pretended to read the monthly Teenz.
I kicked her gently underneath the table and she looked up at me from underneath her thick eyelashes. Some girls were just blessed with everything.
I showed with my eyes that George was here, she should at least acknowledge him.
She just buried her nose inside her magazine again.
“Becky stop this?” George took her magazine away from her, and she gaped at him. She folded her arms.
“I’m leaving soon.”
She huffed with a skew lower jaw. “You still going?”
“It’s a great opportunity Becks, so yes. I would love your consent, please.”
“Where are you going?” I asked George.
“To the Dragon League.” He gave me a soft smile, well if one could call it a smile.”
“Go, see if I care. Hope you enjoy it.”
“Becky,” I said.
“No, Elena, it’s fine.” He dropped a letter in front of me. “It’s from Blake. We are leaving this afternoon.”
He got up and strode away.
“This is why the two of you are not speaking to one another.” I was upset with her. She was seriously becoming pathetic when it came to her dragon.
“Becky, it’s stupid.”
“I don’t care. Maybe some distance between us is just what we need. To put some things back in perspective.”
She shrugged again.
“You guys don’t have shit. You have no idea how much I envy the two of you, always had it so easy the day you became his everything.”
She laughed at that.
“Just tell him you are happy for him, and let him go to Dragon League. It’s a great honor for them.”
“Oh, it’s not the reason he wants to go. He actually feels that Blake needs him more in this time of need than what I do.”
I sighed. “Be the bigger girl, and let him go.”
Becky went to the main entrance to say goodbye at two. She was probably rubbing it in as well, telling him how much he should enjoy it and whatnot.
I still hadn’t read Blake’s letter. I didn’t know if I should because I was sure it had all the explanations in the world about what I’d walked into, and I knew they would be all lies.
I went to the roof and part of me wanted to break when I saw George and Blake exiting the main building and walking toward the big gate. Both were carrying a huge bag that looked unnatural.
Blake didn’t make a peep, but Becky and George spoke.
“You know this is stupid, right? What is it you are trying to prove anyway?” Becky asked.
“I’m not trying to prove anything. I love you, Becks, but he really needs me.”
“Needs you, it’s his own fault, love.”
“He didn’t do it. I just need you to believe me.”
“You were with me that night. How on earth do you know that he is innocent?”
“Because he dented with Elena. He would rather die than betray her like that.”
“Well, he is still breathing, isn’t he?” She was starting to sound like herself again.
“Yes.” He chuckled. “Because he is innocent. You really have no idea what it is you girls have over us, do you?”
“George, just stay, you really don’t have to go with.”
Becky grunted as Blake spoke.
“No, I’m going with,” George said, and gave Becky a long kiss. “I promise, I’ll be as miserable as I can be,” he joked.
“Whatever.” She smiled at his retreating figure. “Enjoy boot camp,” she sang, and both dragons disappeared.
When I looked into the distance I could see the outline of two dragons flying. They didn’t even look back.
Why didn’t he fight? If he was so innocent in all of this, why wasn’t he fighting harder? Or trying harder to make me see things.
I should probably be glad for that.
I opened his stupid letter and grunted at his terrible handwriting, but I could make out his e’s and a’s and o’s, and I assumed the rest would probably become easier with time.
My Dearest Elena. I wanted to puke.
Believe me, was the only thing I could make out and the question mark. It was probably why don’t you believe me and I stared at the first three words. It doesn’t look anything like Why don’t you… it was a waste of time. I couldn’t decipher anything and trying was only going to leave me with a slight headache.
I went back down to my room and chucked it into a drawer.
The few weeks were not easy. We took our end-of-year exams and I couldn’t believe another year had passed.
I tried to decipher a part of his letter each night.
It really was no use.
The only parts we could get was Why don’t you believe me,
Tabitha was drunk and she let herself in. How? Did she have a key? And if so, why hadn’t he asked her to give it back? Nothing made sense anymore.
The rest was still a work in process.
I left it there, and couldn’t stop thinking about those first few sentences. He had ended it with a huge heart and forever yours, Blake, which didn’t sound anything like him.
A week before summer vacation started, we were all called to the Coliseum. My eyes caught on Peter and Tabitha. He was still angry with her as well. I knew how he felt.
“Is there a claiming today?” I asked Becky as we sat down.
“Not that I’m aware of.”
“Then what are we doing here, and why is the press here?”
She shrugged. She missed George, and had told me so many times, but she refused to be the first one to call him.
Master Longwei walked out into the arena with Professor Vladimir and Alex behind him. They were both wearing strange suits and they looked like they had just come from the future. It reminded me of a special ops uniform, and was beautiful in a lethal sort of way. Another guy I didn’t know, wearing a pair of cargo trousers and a rolled up, long-sleeve button-down shirt, exited last.
He looked familiar though, but I couldn’t place where I’d seen him before…I closed my eyes and tried to think.
An image of the lab where they had developed the Sonic jumped into my head. He’d been there too.
“Good day everyone,” Master Longwei greeted us all. “And no, Professor Vladimir isn’t going to claim Professor Alex.” Everyone laughed. “We simply called everyone here for the press release of the SAS device.”
I looked at Becky, and she shook her head.
“Mr. Dalton had been working on this project for a long time and is extremely happy with the release of the project. What better way to demonstrate this new device than at a place that teaches dragons and riders how to co-exist?”
I sucked in my lips as I thought about how ironic that part was, and Becky giggled.
“So, I’m handing over the microphone to Mr. Dalton, the financier of this project, to show us why all of us must buy the SAS device.”
He handed the microphone over and gave everyone a huge smile.
“Thank you, Master Longwei, for letting us demonstrate this amazing device at the place where the idea originally emerged. Pity he isn’t here today.”
“Who is he talking about?” I asked Becky.
“Don’t know,” she replied.
“Now, I’ve asked professors Vladimir and Alex to be my demonstrators, and they are wearing both the SAS device which is this beautiful uniform that can be custom made in any color you want.” Professor Alex and Vladimir turned around with their arms up in the air to show everyone what the suit looked like. It made some of us laugh again.
“This,” Mr. Dalton said, and held up a piece of the fabric that the suits were made of, “was specially made from the dragon’s and rider’s own DNA.”
“Huh,” Becky and I said simultaneously.
Dalton laughed. “You heard me correctly. Each suit has to be generated for each rider and dragon, so that they can match.” He started talking about the scientific processes they’d used to make the material which was extremely boring and way too advanced for me to grasp. I really wasn’t that smart with science, but we all listened. The geeks that understood each word cheered after he finished, in awe of what the man had just told them.
“So, in plain English, look what happens if I do this.” He wrapped the parchment around his hand and walked over to Alex. He touched the front of her suit and the material of Alex’s suit turned into silver goo. We all stared mesmerized at how the suit rippled on Alex’s body.
Mr. Dalton’s hand with the parchment disappeared into Alex’s suit.
“Be careful now, Mr. Dalton,” Professor Vladimir warned, and the entire Coliseum started to laugh. He removed his hand slowly and the suit and parchment struggled to part. He had to yank it off and quickly the goo slapped back and transformed into Alex’s silver suit again.
“That is frawsome!” Becky applauded the loudest.
“That is super frawsome,” I said.
“Sufrawsome!” Sammy yelled, and we laughed.
“That is only the first part of the demonstration. Professor Vladimir, if you please.”
Professor Vladimir came closer to Alex, and Mr. Dalton nodded at Alex.
She transformed with the suit still on and the entire gel type liquid clung to her scaly body. It protected her torso, her legs, even ran up her neck and over her head, covering her entire face. Her tail was partially covered as well. Everyone applauded and cheered again and camera flashes went off.
Professor Vladimir stepped closer and turned around to face us. He walked back until his suit connected with Alex’s liquid armor and half his torso up to his chest transformed into the gel as well.
“Where do you want him, Alex?” Mr. Dalton asked and we all laughed as Professor Vladimir started to move toward her tail and then to the other side of her body.
“Alex.” Professor Vladimir scowled playfully, and he appeared at once on her back but not facing her.
We all doubled over from laughter then he slowly got turned around into the right position.
Another round applause engulfed the Coliseum, and when it quieted down, Mr. Dalton cleared his throat.
“It’s time to press that second button,” he said to Professor Vladimir.
“This button?” he asked and Mr. Dalton nodded.
He must have pressed it because at once, the armor on Alex’s dragon body, and on Professor Vladimir’s as well, changed back into a solid special ops suit and Alex’s turned into a silver metal. She had a shield covering more than half of her body and was completely protected. Even her head had a beautiful shield over her snout. It was simply the most amazing thing I’d ever seen.
Professor’s Vladimir’s legs were molded into Alex’s armor as if he was one with his dragon.
Mr. Dalton nodded at Alex again and she pretended to be a bull, trying to shake him off of her, but no matter how hard she tried, Professor Vladimir didn’t move an inch. He even made cowboy sounds, which brought on more laughter, and then when everything was over, he pressed the button again and the process reversed back into the silver liquid and she safely moved him off to the ground. He struggled to get unattached from her and had to use force, but it finally happened and his gear transformed back to the special ops suit that he’d been wearing when we arrived. Professor Alex returned to her human form and her suit transformed back as well.
We all got up and cheered. The applause didn’t die out for a long time.
“No more saddles to carry around, and what is amazing is they came in all sorts of colors. We even have a special design team that can make custom suits.” He told us where we could purchase it, took a bow, and we all applauded again.
We all started to make our way out of the Coliseum as Mr. Dalton answered some of the reporters’ questions with joy plastered on his face.
We had a free period after the demonstration, and none of us could stop talking about the SAS device. It was simply amazing.
It was something I really thought Blake and I needed for the last mission we would take on as rider and dragon.
He was really too huge to even consider making a saddle for, and I was glad someone like Mr. Dalton had created something that would work for us.
“Elena Watkins, can you please come to the office?” Master Longwei’s voice said over the school system, knocking me out of my daydream, and I grunted.
What does he want now?
I got up and went to his office. I knocked twice because I could hear voices coming from inside and waited for him to tell me to enter.
“Come in, Elena.” Master Longwei knew it was me and I opened the door. I found Mr. Dalton in one of the seats in front of his desk and realized he was much younger than what he’d looked from a distance.
“Princess,” he got up and took my hand gently in his and kissed it.
“Elena is fine.” I smiled back. “Those suits sure are something special,” I said, and Mr. Dalton started to laugh and looked at Master Longwei.
Did I have something on my face?
“Funny you say that, I really thought Blake would’ve told you about that, because it was his idea.”
They laughed again.
“He really has a brilliant head on those shoulders of his.”
“Well if he was the man behind that idea, I guess you’re right.” They laughed again.
“Here,” He picked up two parcels and put them on the table. The first suits we made. Yours is obviously adjustable, just use the Velcro. I hope you love it, princess.”
“I’m sure I will,” I replied.
This was a surprise because Blake hadn’t mentioned anything.
“There is something else. He left this at the lab a few months back. I found it a couple of weeks ago, meant to give it to him when I saw him, but then he went and joined the Dragon League.”
I smiled. “He wanted to get in some last-minute practice,” I lied.
“Can you make sure he gets it?” He handed me a book wrapped up in a soft, suede cloth.
“I will, promise,” I said, and he nodded with a smile. “May I ask how old you are?”
He started to laugh again.
“I’m no dragon nor rider, not that special, and graduated a few years back from the University of Tith.”
“I’m just the person that helped bring all the ingredients together.”
“If I may ask, what does SAS, stand for?”
He laughed. “Safe and secure.”
I smiled. Now that sounded like Blake. It still hurt, as I thought back to that time, which wasn’t so long ago. “Well, it’s going to be a bestseller. That I can promise.”
“Thank you so much, princess. You need some help with the parcels? I hope you don’t mind me giving you Blake’s suit too. He was really looking forward to today but the guy is unreachable, as usual.”
“Dragon League is good for him,” I joked, pretending it didn’t bother me that he was running away. “And no, I’m sure I can handle it.”
“Okay, well nice meeting you, princess.”
“Likewise, and good luck with all the orders. I’m sure they are streaming in as we speak.”
He handed me the parcels, and I said goodbye.
They weren’t that heavy as I made my way back to the room. This is Blake’s idea? It was hard to imagine it, and a part of me did miss him, but it wasn’t big enough to make me change my mind about how I felt about his betrayal. That Blake wasn’t real anyway.
How did he even come up with this idea? He’d told me once that he used to get A+, but to be smart and have great looks, as he’d broken my heart for a second time.
I opened the door to my room and both pairs of eyes were on the parcels I carried in my arms. Becky took the top one and put it on my bed. I put Blake’s book, or whatever was in the suede parchment, in my drawer.
“What is it?”
“It’s a suit, custom made for Blake and myself.”
“You got a suit?” Sammy asked with a huge grin.
“Yes, and apparently this was your brother’s invention.”
“What?” both girls asked, shock lacing their tone.
“That’s what Mr. Dalton said, who by the way, graduated from the University of Tith a few years ago, so he isn’t that old at all.”
“My brother invented that?”
“Something like that.” I kept staring at the box.
“Well, what are you waiting for? Open it!” Becky almost shouted.
I opened the box and my smile disappeared immediately as the picture of Blake the size of a crow flapping next to the Saadedine entered my mind. I’d always wondered where he’d gotten the armor from the vision.
Now I knew.
Blake had been wearing this suit.