The Secret of the Stone

In the sequel to "The Secret in the Woods", the four girls, Serena, Lily, Jay, and Amber, are back! But, will they have to courage to persevere when they're pushed to their limits physically, mentally, and emotionally? How will they get along when five mysterious boys arrive at the door of their safe haven? Traitors, heart break, deaths, and friendship.

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6. Sorting it Out

          "Lily, will this work for lunch?" Amber stood at the base of the treehouse, holding up several rabbits.

          "Ya, that'll do," After a while, Lily poked her head out of her room's window and promptly disappeared again.

          Amber heated the air underneath her, causing a hot air to carry her up to the kitchen window. She landed there and kicked open the window while she was sitting down.

          Suddenly, a little bird that Amber had just thought was a statue came to life and turned into Lily.

          "Ahh!" Amber screamed. She accidentally leaned back too far and toppled off the window sill.

          "Amber!" Lily rushed to the window and leaned out, searching for her friend. Suddenly, Amber poked her head up and startled Lily. "Am-ber!" she whined.

          "Ha! Got 'cha!" Amber grinned as she pulled herself into the kitchen. "Here, I got you these." She dumped the three fat rabbits in Lily's outstretched arms.

          "Thanks," Lily said, glaring at the fiery girl. Amber returned her glare until they both started laughing.

          "No problem. Needed an excuse to go hunting anyway," Amber said. She walked over to the table and plopped in a chair. "By the way, where is everybody?"

          "I think that Ash, Luke, Matt, and Jay should be training. At least I'm sure Jay is, but the boys are more of a loose cannon. I don't know where Nick ran off to. Serena's probably in her room and Max is probably trying to find her."

          "Good to know. I think I'm gonna go talk to Serena. She's probably feeling pretty mixed-up with this whole Max-Matt thing going on."

          "What whole Max-Matt thing?"

          "You mean you haven't noticed?" Amber asked incredulously.

          "Well, I've seen them both looking at Serena and fighting over who gets to sit next to her."

          "Ya, that's pretty much all that's been happening, but she's probably making a big deal about it and I'm gonna go talk to her about it."

          "Good luck!"

          "Thanks, I'm gonna need it," Amber said over her shoulder as she left Lily to skin and prepare the rabbits for lunch. She climbed up the stairs and walked down the hallway until she reached Serena's door. She took a deep breath before rapping on the stone door.

          "Who is iiiittt?" Serena sang from inside. Amber responded by focusing on heating up the other side of the door.

          "Really, Amber?" the door swung open, revealing Serena in mermaid form, putting on blue eyeshadow with a heart-shaped mirror.

          "What are you doing?" Amber asked, hands on her hips.

          "Nothing much, just experimenting." Serena tore her eyes from her reflection and looked at the fire girl. "What have you been doing?"

          "Actually, I have been out hunting for today's dinner. But of course probably far too unimportant compared to your 'experimenting'."

          "Hey! No need to bust on the eyeshadow. I'm just trying to figure out which one he will like better…" Serena stopped babbling and dropped the mirror. It plopped in the water and sank to the bottom, causing the fish to freak out and huddle in a corner.

          "Okaaay," Amber said suspiciously. "Actually, that reminds me of why I came into this horrific puddle in the first place."

          Serena opened her mouth to retort, but Amber pretended not to notice her and kept on talking.

          "So, have you noticed anything," Amber started, "going on with a certain two boys?"

          "What? No! What are you talking about?"Serena answered, feigning innocence. She went over to the platform below her bed and got out of the water.

          "You mean you really haven't seen Max and Matt lately? Because I'm pretty sure it's impossible not too," Amber said skeptically. 

         "What about them?" Serena asked as she climbed up to her bed. She put on a flowy sky-blue shirt and gray leggings. Amber glared at her. "Okay, so they fight a lot. That's their problem. Why should I care?"

         "You should care," Amber said with careful precision, "Because they are fighting over you. Haven't you noticed?" Amber said, her anger rising when she got a blank stare from Serena. "Every time you come into the room they rush to your side, fighting to get your attention.  And do you do anything about it? No! You play along, leading them both on, making them think that they have a chance. When … do they? Or do you just like the attention?" Amber asked.  

         "I - I," Serena stuttered, then narrowed her eyes. "I am not doing it for the attention.  I like Matt but I couldn't do that to Max. And … I don't know," Serena twisted her hair in her fingers, her false confidence melting away. "That's the problem, I can't decide, oh, I don't know what to do. Matt is so gentle and kind, but Max tries so hard, although he is kind of creepy," Serena giggled, then her expression changed back to serious. "Please help me, Amber!"

          "Uh, okay," Amber said, surprised at the sudden outburst.

          "Oh thank goodness!" Serena said, and collapsed on her bed. "So what should I do?" she asked, facing the ceiling.

          "Well," Amber said slowly. She played with the hem of her denim jacket. "I think that you should first of all, decide who you think is a better match for you, or who you like better. Then you should focus on them, and try to forget the other one, which should be fairly simple if you truly like the other one better. And then, well, after you have that all figured out, let me know, and we can decide the next step together, okay?"

          "Okay!" Serena chirped cheerfully.

          "Kay, I'm gonna go see if Lily needs any help with lunch. You good?"

          "Yup." Serena said as Amber turned to head out of the room. "And Amber?"

          Her friend turned at the door. "Ya, puddle pal?"

          "Thanks."

          "Sure," Amber said, and walked out of the room, leaving Serena to her thoughts.

~

         Jay was in her aviary bedroom, leaning in close to the mirror. She applied a relatively thick line of her black eyeliner, making it wing out slightly at the end. Nick had said something about getting cleaned up for a 'special occasion' or something. As Jay was almost finished with her left eye, some idiot busted through her door, making her hand slip. As a secondary defense reflex, Jay also opened her wings and flapped furiously as if to take off. Unfortunately, she happened to forget the small detail that she was inside. Her head cracked against the ceiling, and her wings hit the walls painfully. Her eyes, previously blue, were now almost black. She turned slowly, and faced the unwanted intruder. Ash.

          "What the heck! What do you think you're doing?!" She demanded, as sparks flew from her body.

          Ash tried unsuccessfully not to laugh. It started at first with a snicker, then went to a full-on cackle. Jay looked at him quizzically, but the only response Ash could manage was to point at the mirror, with his free arm clutched to his stomach. Jay turned around, and saw that she had a black line of her eyeliner running from the corner of her eye all the way to her hairline. She giggled a little, but was still mad at Ash. She lowered the air pressure quickly, so Ash's ears would pop painfully. While he was in shock, Jay stepped forward and slapped him straight across his face.

          "Ow..." He complained.

          "Explain." Jay said crossing her arms across her chest.

          "Wow. You're hot when you're mad." He mumbled.

          She grunted in anger and surprise, but mostly anger. "Shut up! Thanks to you, I have to restart, and I have a killer headache, and probably bruised a bone in my wing!" She shouted, pushing him backwards.. He stumbled back, then regained his balance.

          Ash got up, and feigned a punch to Jay's head, but the real action was by her feet. Ash landed a hard sweeping kick to the back of Jay's knees, causing them to buckle. She fell onto the cement floor. From her position on the ground, she spun on her hip, performing a move similar to Ash's. Swinging her leg, she knocked Ash's legs clean out from under him. "He seems strange, like he's nervous, or not totally with it today. What could be on his mind? If Ash were really all there he would've never fallen for that trick." Jay wondered. She didn't waste a second in pinning Ash to the floor.

​          "Okay, dude. What's up. You normally destroy me when we wrestle." Jay said, releasing some of the pressure on Ash's wrists.

          Ash sighed. "I guess I'm... confused."

         "You know I don't appreciate it when anyone goes easy on me." Jay said stubbornly. Her vision flipped as Ash flipped the two. "Okay, now I'm mad." He said.

          "Oh no. Maybe I've gone too far?" Jay thought, almost to her breaking point.

         Ash pulled back his fist, about to punch. Time slowed, and Jay looked away, preparing for a broken nose or jaw. The hit never came. Slowly, Jay opened one eye, then the other. Ash looked utterly miserable.

         "Okay, now you're just freaking me out." The girl said cautiously.

         "You just don't understand, do you?"

​          "Understand what? Did I miss something? Did you guys have a meeting while I was asleep? Or maybe it's national 'Mess with Jay' day?"

          Ash growled, looking like he was facing his last minutes before someone killed him. "I'm not good at expressing my feelings." He said tilting his head down so that his shaggy black hair fell over his eyes. "You can probably relate, so I'm just gonna come right out and say it. I like you Jay, a lot. And..." Ash mumbled something inaudible. Some spirits may have sensed his discomfort, because out of the corner of her eye, Jay could see the outlines of vaguely human forms. Ghosts.

​          "And... what?" Jay prompted.

         "I want you to be my girlfriend." He said quickly, cringing as if Jay might stab him.

         "Wait, did I hear you correctly? Is there a hidden camera or something?" Jay said, furiously looking around as if she might find one.

         "Haha, funny story. No cameras." Ash said with a lopsided smile.

        "Really? For real? I thought you'd never ask, you big loser!" Jay said, genuinely happy for the first time all day.

          "Oh and there was one more thing I've wanted to do." Ash added, biting his lip, and leaning in close.

         Amber was strolling through the hallway on her way out from helping Serena sort through boy troubles of her own when she passed Jay's room. Her door was open, which was unusual, so she decided to look inside and see what was going on. 

          "Jay? Are you okaaaaaay..." Amber said, walking in. Upon seeing them kiss, she quickly turned around. "Oops! I'll be going now."

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