I bumped into someone trying to escape.
Hand automatically grabbed my sides and I looked up sheepishly, the six foot tall guy stared down at me, confusion crossing his face.
“Who‘re you?” He asked, with his slight accent making his words seem to spill together.
My mind went pretty blank, pretty quickly. My eyes searched the area behind him, trying to find a suitable excuse for why some random girl would be walking through the school with a backpack.
“I’m a teacher’s assistant” I answered confidently, and instantly the boy removed his hands from my arms.
“Sorry Miss…?” I crossed my arms and started tapping my foot the way I had seen Miss Heatherton do when students were annoying her.
“None of your concern. You’re late to class; don’t make me take you to Butcherton.” The threat of reporting him to the principle seemed to work wonders, and before I had even finished her name the boy had disappeared down the hallway and discreetly into one of the classrooms.
I rolled my shoulders and shifted the backpack. It was the same one I had used when I moved in at the beginning of the year. So far I had only stuffed it with the first aid box that had been sitting gathering dust under my bed, and some spare clothes. Each room had one that was rarely used except if it was the middle of the night. It had the general bandaids, bandages, and then there was the stuff even I didn’t know how to use – like some type of needle and thread, supposedly for stitching up any major wounds she might receive.
I was basically prepared for any kind of major-minor injury I could sustain in the wilds beyond the boarding school – to the point that I felt like I play pretending going on a wilderness adventure when in fact the second I got let out of the school grounds I would be like half an hour’s walk to the nearest town; and from there, I could go anywhere I wanted.
But, I knew straight off where I had to go. If I ever wanted to find out who my soul-mate was, I had to find out how to avoid being detected by the scans as a ‘superhero’. It was almost surprisingly simple – I had to go home and seriously interrogate my mother.
Walking to the front gate I pulled out the staff identification card that I had seen some teachers use to go in and out of the school grounds. The guard looked bored out of his brain and barely even glanced in my direction as I handed him my card. The machine that he scanned it through made an alarmed kind of beeping and I tried to plaster an irritated look on my face, as though being holed up in this place was worse than a death sentence.
The guard finally looked at me for the first time, and I started sweating, obviously he had never seen me before, and even if he had I was a student and therefore not allowed to leave the premises.
“Miss Green?” The guard questioned, and I quickly read his name tag so then I knew what to call him; Michael. He was tall and burly and looked intimidating, but from what I knew of tall guys – they were teddy bears underneath.
“Oh my goodness! I am so sorry Michael” I gushed, my cheeks reddening as though the stupid machine malfunction was my fault. “I just got a new card from the office and they said it would work…”
I glanced at him uncertainly, trying to gauge how well my little act was working; he seemed to soften significantly and nodded understandingly. Michael handed me back the fake card and pressed a button on his computer screen and the metal bar stopping me from exciting the school lifted with a creak and I stepped outside offering Michael a small smile as I started walking towards the car park. I only walked towards the car park because I knew that was what he would expect; after all teachers have cars, students do not.
Plus I knew there was a bus stop right outside the car park anyways.
I reached the bus stop and read the timetable situated there, I had a few minutes until the next bus that would hopefully take me towards the town – but really, anywhere but here would work just fine with me.
A young guy, around the age of twenty or so chose that exact moment to stumble up to the bus stop, squishing onto the metal chair and sliding in about as close as he could possibly get to me. He stunk of booze and his clothes looked tattered and dirty, as though he had been living on the street for months. The man put his arm around me, pulling me close to his body.
“Hey baby! What’s ya name?” He asked, slurring. I tried subtly to push away, but he just strengthened his hold on me, a sly smile crossing his face and his eyes seemed to clear and I realised he had just been acting drunk.
“Ella” I answered curtly, having enough of this guys attention I used all my strength to push him away, turning down the road to see the bus turning the corner. Only a few more seconds and then hopefully he would be out of my hair.
The guy put his arm around me again and I stiffened, trying to breathe shallowly. This guy was becoming a serious threat to my immediate health and wellbeing and I wished the bus would be here already so I could get away.
“Well Ella, my name’s Simon” The guy smiled, his hand creeping up the back of my shirt to rest against the small of my back. I resisted the urge to shiver, knowing he would take it as a sign of acceptance and not repulsion.
“Simon says stand.” He whispered in my ear as the bus came to a halt in front of us, and I suddenly wished someone would come out and save me.
My mind seemed to conjure him, and I had to clear my head a few times to realise I actually hadn’t done just that. He stepped off the bus, eyes coming to rest on my stiffened posture and the guy with tattered clothing standing next to me, sniffing my hair.
“Baby?!” The guy asked, winking at me and my eyes went wide – oh god, not another one.
The guy from the bus stalked over and pulled me into his arms, lifting me from the ground and swinging me around until I was safely behind him.
“Who’s your friend?” He asked, cold eyes turning on the guy who had wanted to assault me.
Simon’s eyes looked between the two of us, and I had to resist the urge to poke my tongue out at him. His eyes narrowed, and I thought in that moment he was really going to start a fight, but after a few seconds of insanely tense silence, Simon left and I sagged with relief.
My saviour turned, offering me a sheepish smile. “Sorry about that, I just thought you needed help.”
I nodded without a word, almost collapsing onto the seat. The guy sat beside me, with a respectable distance between us and I pressed my face into my hands. I hadn’t even been to of school for half an hour and I had already been in trouble.
“Hey, the bus is going to leave.” The guy interrupted my internal conversation and I looked up to see the bus driver glaring at me, ushering me to hurry up.
“Thanks for saving me….” I said slowly and the guy seemed to get the hint that I was asking for his name.
“Kaleb.” He supplied and I smiled, giving a slight wave as I turned towards the bus and climbed the three steps onboard.
I chose a set of chairs at the back, position my bag next to me so that no-one could sit next to me. After what just happened, I was ready for some alone time. The driver started closing the doors, but a figure ran from the car park waving his arms like an idiot until the driver sighed, pulling open the doors for the guy to walk through.
His dark hair was thrown all over his face and actually made him look better, which annoyed me more than it should have since the guy was practically perfect anyways. The guy smiled and thanked the driver before turning up the aisle – amber eyes met mine instantly and recognition crossed his features.
This is not good.
I thought to myself quietly, but it was too late to turn my head and pretend not to have seen him now, Karter Sanchez was already making his way up the aisle towards me. I moved my bag and stowed it on the other side closest to the wall and Karter slid into the chair next to me with grace.
“Hey Ells” He quipped and I glared at him. How the hell did he remember me anyways, and why was he out of the school.
“Don’t think too hard, don’t want anything coming out.” He whispered and I jumped, turning an accusatory look in his direction.
Karter held up his hands in a placating gesture and I returned my look to the seat in front of me practically fuming. How did he know?
“I’m immune to most powers, except my own.” He whispered, a tortured expression crossing his features, one that I understood completely – this was something he had never told anyone before.
“So you remember Hazel?” I asked and he nodded mutely, pulling out a piece of paper from his jeans pocket, fingering it for a moment before stuffing it back.
“She told me the tests were coming and that I needed to follow you.” He smiled at me and I furrowed my eyebrows. Hazel had hinted at the tests, but she never gave any indication that Karter was superhuman.
“So where are we going?” Karter asked a few minutes later and I looked at him for a solid minute before answering.
“I’m going home to talk to my mum.”
Karter’s pierced eyebrow rose and I shook my head.
“It’s a long story.” I insisted and Karter scoffed.
“It’s a long trip.” He replied quickly. I considered that for a moment before sighing, he was right.
It was time to tell someone my story.
“Alright, I guess I start with when my parents met…” I started explaining, sometimes using my hands to illustrate an especially difficult explanation.
Karter held up his hand, rubbing his forehead in confusion.
“Can’t you just show me?” He asked his voice low and I shook my head, having no idea what he was talking about.
Karter sighed and placed his hand on top of mine, sending shivers up my spine. My eyes locked on our clasped hands and Karter smirked.
“Just think about sharing the story with me. Show me, don’t tell me.” He explained slowly, making sure I caught every whispered word.
I nodded closing my eyes, picturing how my mother had described my parents meeting.
They went to a boarding school much like the one I went to now; they were in the same English class. She was the academic star and he was second only to her in that area. For years they had a bitter rivalry, each of them trying to outdo the other. Until their English teacher paired them together to write an essay, saying that if one of them was good, surely the two of them together would be even better.
For a solid week they fought and argued until my father suggested an idea that my mother loved. They wrote about the soul-mate bonding, and how it can be both good and bad for the people who were bonded. She wrote about how she had seen her own mother trying to deal with the loss of her soul-mate, and my father wrote about the love his parents shared and how he someday wanted to have the same kind of love.
Several months into their relationship they told each other via letter about their powers, something they laughed about later. They discovered a way to avoid being found out and when they took the tests they both knew who their soul-mate was. My mother was pregnant a year after they finished school, and a few months before I was born my father died from a disease my mother never mentioned.
I told – or showed – Karter about growing up with a mum who was utterly devastated by the loss of her soul-mate. In the end I looked too much like my father, with his same blue eyes and even a similar power, and she couldn’t stand it, opting to send me away to boarding school instead.
Karter removed his hand from my slowly, his eyes almost tearing up as the bus pulled up to the first stop inside Heavensbury; the town closest to the school. Karter stood, moving as close to the door as he possibly could, staring outside at the restaurant literally meters from the stop.
“Come on Ells, I’m starving!” He bounded out of the bus and I grabbed my bag, pushing through strangers until I reached him.
“Watch this.” He instructed and disappeared.