Love & War

"All is fair in love and war" | The beautiful daughter of Aphrodite is a regular camper at Camp Half-Blood in the summer. She has returned, once again, to face old friends and love-interests, as well as new ones, for a summer filled with choices and dilemmas.

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5. chapter four

The following day started out pretty much as every other day. Aileen and I had a lesson in battle techniques, which started earlier than the day before. Therefore, we didn’t really have much time for anything other than breakfast, before heading to the arena for the lesson. I was honestly a bit excited to see Mr. Nolan again. I just hoped we would get to be a bit more active during today’s lesson. Sure, he was interesting to listen to, but it would be even more interesting, if we could be at least a little active while listening to him. And luckily, my wish came true. The first thing Mr. Nolan said, when beginning the lesson, was: “Today, I want you to practise with your preferred weapons. That will make it easier to specify which techniques would be most appropriate for you to use in battles, individually. So, go to the armory and pick out your weapons. When you have them, feel free to start training.” I smiled, as I went to get some throwing knives. Aileen picked out a chakram, which she preferred - and was quite handy with. Then we started to launch our separate attacks on the straw men set up many places in the arena.

Mr. Nolan walked amongst us and checked up on us and our individual weapon skills. Most of the time he just nodded with the occasional remark. Something in the line of; “Good job”, “Not bad”, “Try standing in another position” etc. He seemed rather impressed with Aileen’s choice of weapon. Of course, a chakram wasn't exactly a very ordinary and common weapon. Not anymore, at least. He also told her it was an “interesting choice of weapon. With more practice, it could be a very dangerous skill in battle.” Which was one of the longest comments he had made to anyone during the lesson. Then it was my turn to be watched and assessed or whatever. I tried to ignore his presence, so it wouldn’t affect my throwing, and thankfully it went pretty well. I kept throwing, and eventually completely forget that he was even there, standing right behind me. Which is why, when he finally spoke, I was rather startled. I did a small, nervous jump, causing him to laugh a bit. It was a very warm sound, and I wanted to hear more of it, but it was over as quickly as it had started.

I regained my cool and turned around to face him. I might have been blushing a bit from the slight embarrassment, but there was not much I could do about that. “I’m sorry, but I didn’t quite catch that.” I tried to sound unaffected by the shock he had just given me. Although I could tell from the spark of amusement in his eyes, that I might not have been able to pull it off as well as I had hoped. He just nodded, and repeated himself. “You’re rather good with those, is what I was saying.” I bit my lip a bit, and nodded, while saying; “thank you”. He squinted his eyes a bit, and looked like he was trying to figure something out. “I have a feeling that you’re not a daughter of Athena. Is it Ares, then? You do seem to have a natural skill with those.” I tried my very best not to roll my eyes at his comment. It was a very judgmental and superficial conclusion to make, though. I mean, on one hand, I was flattered, because he obviously thought I was skilful enough to be a daughter of one of the war deities. But on the other hand, I was insulted by the assumption that no one else could be skilled in battle and weaponry. “Thank you, but also, not thank you at all. Quite a prejudiced assumption to make, if I am to say so myself.” I was trying to be as respectful as possible, but it was a bit difficult.

He raised an eyebrow, and I thought I saw a glimpse of laughter in his eyes. “I'll take that as a ‘no’, then. I’m sorry for offending you. Who is your divine parent, then? If you don't mind me asking, of course.” I nodded, as I told him that “I accept your apology. And my mother is Aphrodite.” His eyes widened a bit, as if that surprised him. Another - very common - prejudice was, that the children of Aphrodite didn’t care about anything other than themselves and weren’t exactly very skilful. I was more than happy to prove that wrong. “Well, consider me even more impressed, then. Oh, and I mean no offense by that, I assure you.” I raised an eyebrow, but I decided that it would probably be smartest to just let that one slip. He claimed to mean no offense and I should know better than to argue with a teacher, anyway. Of course, should know better or did know better and following your common sense are not necessarily the same things. Still, I simply nodded.

He smiled at me for a bit, and then he simply made a nodding gesture towards me, before proceeding with his round of student check-ups. Of course, he couldn’t dwell on one student for too long, and he had already been standing with me for a while now - at least for a much bigger period, than he had stayed with anyone else from the class. Therefore, it only made sense for him to leave. And not long after, the lesson was over. On our way out of the arena, my eyes caught Mr. Nolan’s. Whilst maintaining eye contact, he sent me a wry smile, and I thought I saw a mischievous look in his eyes, as if we now had some sort of inside joke together, or something. I would be lying, if I claimed that he did not fascinate me. Interest me. He was a very alluring man, thus far. But that was simply too bad, since he was still my teacher. So, I took Aileen by the arm and left the arena with her. There was nothing more for us there, at least not for the rest of the day.

Barely had we made it out of the arena, before I spotted Derek near us. And it didn’t take long for him to spot us as well. His eyes found mine, and he squinted a bit. He looked a bit agitated and then he began to move towards us. I wasn’t sure what had made him look this agitated, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to deal with it right now, either. Of course, Derek wouldn’t care about that. If he had a problem, he would usually just deal with it as soon as possible. Which was a very admirable quality, really. He said a short hello to Aileen, and then he walked to my other side - the side where Aileen was not walking. Since I gave him no sign that I would stop walking, he just leaned in while walking, and began talking to me in a hushed tone. “I need to talk to you. Alone.” It was evident in his tone of voice, that something was bothering him. I replied with a simple: “What about?” He let out a grunt, and shook his head a bit, in disbelief, it would seem. “What about? Oh, I don’t know, maybe the nightmare of a night I had yesterday, thanks to you and your cursed manipulative skills.”

When he said that, I remembered that of our previous encounters very vividly, and I couldn’t help but smile. Of course, it had now dawned on me exactly why he was so agitated. I had basically haunted his dreams all night long. Although, I personally wouldn’t exactly consider it a nightmare. “Nightmare? I don’t think you mean that, Murphy. I bet you were very satisfied - at least in your dreams. I sure haven’t gotten any complaints in the past.” I looked at him long enough to send him a smirk and a wink, and then I focused on the road ahead, as we headed from the arena and towards the cabins. He groaned, a defeated sound. “You know I hate to admit this, but that’s exactly the problem. It was a nightmare, because it wasn’t real. If the real deal is anything like the dreams, I think it should definitely be something we need to try out.” That took me a bit by surprise, and I stopped walking, so I could look at him with a raised eyebrow. I had barely noticed that we were only a few feet from the Aphrodite cabin. “You must be joking. What makes you think I would have sex with you?” I tried to sound superior, but I didn’t mean for it to come out quite that harsh.

I broke my gaze at Derek, when I heard someone clear their throat near us. I looked over to find Aileen with raised eyebrows and a mischievous look in her eyes. I raised both of my eyebrows in response, as if to ask what was up. She did a toss of her head in the direction of the cabin. She then placed both her hands on her hips, and tried to hold back a crooked smile, before speaking. I could tell from the silence, that she had gotten Derek’s attention as well. “No one’s home, so maybe you two should take this little discussion inside, where there is more privacy.” I looked over at Derek, who was already looking at me. I didn’t know where this would end, but privacy was probably a good idea. So, I nodded, and bit my lip for a short while. “Yes, you might have a point there, sis.” I started walking towards her, and thereby also the cabin. She moved to the side, so I could enter. I turned around to see Derek following close behind. Aileen turned to face us, specifically me, and give me a rather expressive look. Along with her next words, it was very clear what she was expecting from us: “I will make sure no one disturbs you. See you later.” She smiled at me, while sending me a teasing wink. She then flipped a switch near the door, before walking out and closing the door behind her.

Derek looked at me with a somewhat confused look on his face. “How can we be sure that there will be no disturbance?” Of course, I knew exactly how. In the Aphrodite cabin, we had come up with a system. A system we had carried out with some help from the Hephaestus cabin. It was pretty much a version of the traditional ‘Do not disturb’-sign. The switch near the door - the one Aileen had flipped before leaving - caused a wave of electricity to run to the doorknob. This created static electricity on both sides of the doorknob. So, when someone tried to enter the cabin, they would receive a small electric shock. Just large enough for them to feel it without causing any damage. And if there was every any doubt about whether that was the sign to stay away, it would cause whatever child of Aphrodite it may concern, to look closer at the doorknob, which would have a glowing heart on it. Naturally, the heart was always there, but it would only light up when the switch was flipped and electricity ran through it. It was a very clever system, if you were to ask me. Not too obvious, either, so nobody but the Aphrodite children should have any idea of their little arrangement.

There are a lot of prejudice towards the children of Aphrodite, but fact is that our mother is the goddess of love, beauty, pleasure and procreation. Although the procreation part had never actually happened at camp, the act that lead to it was still a part of life in Camp Half Blood. And especially when you lived in the Aphrodite cabin. It could not be avoided, but the problems that can come with it, could be avoided. And that’s where our system was clever and innovative. So yeah, I knew that no one would be interrupting us. I just didn’t know if that was such a good thing, because I didn’t know what would happen. I didn’t know what I even wanted to happen. However, it was clear that Derek wasn’t anywhere near as conflicted as I was. He stepped closer to me and per instinct I took a step back. So, he put his hands on my upper arms and kept me from doing it again, as he took another small step forward. I looked down at his arms and then up at his face, as I raised my eyebrows. He removed his hands, but I didn’t bother moving further away. He looked me deep in the eyes and spoke with a low, seductive voice that sent goosebumps through my body. “I want you, Rosalind. And there is nothing standing in the way, so why don’t you just stop resisting? I know you really don’t want to resist me.” The thing I noticed the most, was the fact that he had called me Rosalind. He hardly ever used my real first name. It was usually pet names or my last name, with him. Which made me think that I had probably never seen him this serious before. It was ironic that the only time he could be this serious, was when it came down to sex.

I stood still, biting my lips and squinting my eyes, as I tried to consider my options and the consequences that would most likely follow those options. If I decided to give in to my impulses and desires, and have sex with him, there could never not be any consequences. The sex could be bad, and even if it wasn’t, things would inevitably become awkward between us. It often did become awkward when you had had sex with someone, if you weren’t in a relationship with them. Which meant that I could risk losing one of my dear friends through several years, all over a moment of pleasure. Well, hopefully not a brief moment, but a moment nonetheless. Although, at this point, enough things had been said, that that scenario could come to pass even without the sex. Derek spoke again. “What’s it gonna be?” And if the risk was already out there, did I really want to miss out on the pleasure part of the equation? No, that would be moronic, and since I was no moron, I simply said: “Screw it,” and grabbed his t-shirt, so I could pull him all the way over to me.

I planted my lips on his and started kissing him. It didn’t take more than a second or two for him to respond to my kiss, and the kiss was rather heated from the very start. Soon or tongues were intertwined, in an eager dance. I started pushing him towards my bed, and when we were placed directly in front of it, I broke the kiss. I unbuttoned his jeans and pulled down the zipper. I pulled them halfway down, and he did the rest with two kicks. In doing that, he also kicked off his shoes. I took off my own jeans and shoes, while he removed his t-shirt. I then proceeded to take off my own blouse, leaving the both of us in nothing but our underwear. I stopped to take in the sight of his body, and he seemed to do the same thing. His abs weren’t even a six-pack, but rather an eight-pack. Seeing his impressive physique right in front of me, only made me even more eager to take off our remaining three pieces of clothing. I took of my bra and threw it aside, which made him lose focus of anything other than my breasts. But when I began to pull down my panties, he pulled down his underwear as well. I pushed him unto the bed, and looked straight into his eyes, as I placed myself on top of him, one leg on each side of his abdomen. He gripped my waist with both hands and looked at me with such a fiery passion, that I could have sworn I saw actual fire in his eyes. I leaned down to kiss him again, as we both started breathing more heavily, anticipating what was to come.

I picked up my bra from the floor of the cabin and put it on with both of my hands. Derek had already put his jeans back on, as I had looked for my bra. So, by the time I had put my own jeans back on, he was already fully clothed, and in the midst of putting on his shoes. He did, however, look up at me, as I buttoned my jeans and started scouting the room for my blouse. He finished putting on his shoes, and walked over to me, as I bent down to pick up my blouse. But before I could put it on, he took me by the hand, stopping me. He looked at my exposed stomach and chest, as he smirked. “I gotta be honest, I definitely prefer you without that on.” I rolled my eyes, because that was simply such an obvious statement. Then I winked at him. “Well, take one last look, because you never know when you will get to see this sight again.” He groaned, then pulled me in to him. “Oh, I will make sure it won’t be too long. Although that act will be tough to follow, I sure am up for the challenge.” He pulled me in for a kiss, and our lips locked for a while. Then, he smirked at me and started to walk away. When he reached the door, he turned around one last time, and said: “I’ll be seeing you, sexy.” He then reached out to grab the handle, but I stopped him. “Wait! Turn off the switch next to the door, before you open the door.” He looked back at me with slight confusion, but obviously, none of us were into an explanation of the system right now, so he just did as I had instructed and then left the cabin, shutting the door behind him.

After putting on my blouse, I combed my hair and styled it into a high ponytail, so it didn’t look messy and completely all over the place. I gathered my shoes and put them on, tying the laces before standing up from the bed. Finally, I walked over to the door and left the cabin. I closed the door behind me, before heading towards the dining pavilion. Before we got dressed, I had checked the clock, which showed that it was almost dinner-time. Derek and I had sort of been at it for hours, which did make me feel a bit bad for my siblings, who had practically been banned from the cabin during all that time. Although, even the sympathy I felt for my siblings couldn’t outshine the satisfaction I felt on my own behalf. I did not even regret it. If it wasn’t obvious by the provided timeline, we had not only had sex once, but three times. Which was a lot, even for the two of us, being as sexual as we both were. It was just too amazing to stop, once we had begun. But eventually, all good things must come to an end, as Nelly Furtado once sang. And that’s why I was now headed towards the dining pavilion. I knew that I would probably meet a lot of curious and interrogating siblings, but that was all part of life, and I could deal with that.

As I reached the dining pavilion, the first thing I noticed, was Derek throwing a giant steak into the fire for the Gods. When he walked back down towards the tables, he noticed me and shot me a crooked smile, along with his must mischievous wink. I raised one eyebrow, as I replied with an equally as crooked smile. He then sat down at the Ares table, joining those of his brothers and sisters, who were already sitting there and eating. I sat walked over to the Aphrodite table, and it wasn’t until I glanced at all the delicious food surrounding me, that I noticed how hungry I had become. Before that moment, my mind had been too busy with other things, to find time for impulses and feelings of hunger. At least that kind of hunger. But I hadn’t eaten for several hours and I had gone through quite the work-out - before and after the battle techniques lesson.

And so, I got some food, did a little sacrificing to my divine mother, Aphrodite, and sat down next to Tyler, with Aileen sitting across from me. She shot me a look, that was very expressive of what was on her mind. Obviously, she had no doubt about what Derek and I had been doing for the past couple of hours, and she didn’t expect that we had been talking for all that time. That much was evident in her eyes. I just shot her a discrete wink in return, because I really didn’t want my little exploit to be the centre of the topic during our meal. Surely, I would not be spared some teasing and questioning, but I would do my best to keep it at a minimum. The trick was, to make it seem like it was no big deal, so people would lose interest almost immediately. Never get into detail, but never make it seem like you have details, that you just don’t want to get into. Just play it off, as if it was nothing special. I mean, it was special. At least in the sense that it was freaking amazing. But my siblings did not need to know that. I mean, naturally Aileen would learn all the details sooner or later, but the rest of my siblings would not, if I had anything to say about it.

But of course, I had only sat down and said hi, before everyone had turned their attention towards me. Tyler was the first to speak. “So, sis, I guess you’ve been getting busy today, huh?” I rolled my eyes, at his choice of voice. That boy really could express himself in ways not many other would choose to. “Oh, you and your extraordinary way with words, Ty, it never ceases to amaze me.” I didn’t even answer his question - or whatever you would call that. He chuckled and shrugged his shoulders. “I aim to please.” I laughed a bit. Which was apparently Brandon’s cue, or so he thought. “Speaking of pleasing. Don’t think you can just avoid the topic, dear Rosalind. So, first; who was the lucky fellow?” I sighed, lightly. They all knew that I had been the one to use the cabin for some private fun, because they had obviously all seen each other during the time I was away, meaning it could only be me in there. But they had no way of knowing who I had been with. Besides Aileen, of course, since she had seen who it had been, first hand. And this was my cue to start downplaying the events that had happened earlier, so they would all lose interest as soon as possible.

I shrugged, while letting my face fall into indifferent folds. “It really doesn’t matter, since it was nothing special. I was just looking to have some fun, you know? It’s not like he was a love interest or whatever, it was just sex. So, there’s not much else to tell about it, really,” I said, shrugging once more. I didn’t even know how much of what I had said was a lie, and how much wasn’t. It wasn’t nothing special, I guess, but it was just sex. Wasn’t it? It was not as if I had any notions about us being an item. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t really picture myself in a relationship at this point in my life, and most certainly not with Derek. We were both wild spirited, and that would never go well together. I wouldn’t describe myself as a jealous person, but I also knew that I probably would be, if I believed I had a reason to be so. And I would likely always have a reason to be so, if I were ever to be in a relationship with someone like Derek. He was way too flirtatious and, well, of easy virtue. Which could very likely be used to describe me as well, but that was exactly why it could never work between us. In this case, the problem was not our differences. The problem was our similarities.

Thankfully, the questions faded out in a lack of interest. Sure, they still made little comments here and there, but it was nothing I couldn’t handle. Of course, I knew that I would have to tell Aileen all about it at some point, but I really didn’t mind that, since I had pretty much always told her everything. She also had very close second-hand knowledge about the whole process of Derek and me. That way, I didn’t have to provide her with any background knowledge, because she already possessed that. And she always had some sort of advice for me, even if it was just something small and simple, like; ‘face your problem head on’, or whatever. I would always tell her everything. I honestly wouldn’t know what to do without her. I just hoped I would never have to find out. 

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