Torn: Chapter Three
Well...here is the last chapter of TORN - BOOK 4 in 'The VIth Element Series'.
CHAPTER 3: ALEX
Just as I had predicted, despite the “kind” gestures that had adorned my bedside table and the obvious rumours spreading throughout the academy, surrounding my return, as soon as people saw me heading along the corridors, with David hurriedly trying to match my stride, I knew that I had been right in my suspicions. Most students, who took up post in the endless corridors of the academy, stood just like they had always done, in huddling groups, pointing and whispering in my direction. When they saw David, I had many a jealous glare thrown my way, as teenage hormones caused havoc and run riot. They were like envy magnets. My response to all of this?
Feeling like I did, after everything I had been through, I didn’t give a damn about them or what they thought of me.
In actual fact, their reactions spurred me on.
At seeing my obvious, unaffected behaviour, as I sauntered down the corridor, this seemed to rally them up even more. They were like pathetic, spiteful cats who craved attention and, when they didn’t get the right kind, would become even more desperate and frustrated than before.
David seemed to sense the change happening all around us.
“Whoa there,” he chuckled, flicking his eyes between the unsettled girls and me. “I feel as if I’ve just stepped into ‘Mean Girl’s’. It’s unnerving.”
Stopping outside the dining hall door, I spun around and flashed him a grin.
“Seeing and doing the things that I have makes you view the world in a different light,” I answered, getting ready to make my comeback. “Life’s too short to let people walk all over you and be the person you’re not. I’ve come to realise that and I hope that you will too, one day.” Subsequently, turning around, I made my way into the dining hall, knowing full well what to expect.
As soon as I entered the hall, everyone stopped talking. Clearly, as in most places like this one, gossip had spread faster than I could walk.
That didn’t bother me, not now.
Taking a deep breath, I announced my arrival – ‘Alex’ style.
I took a long, slow bow.
“Yep, that’s right, I’m back,” I cried, delighted with the thought that I was finally free of my previous constraints and inhibitions. I made sure that I addressed everyone present. “And make sure that, if you haven’t already, you tell all your friends about it.” Then, I headed over to where Jasmine was sitting, her mouth practically hanging open.
“Who are you and what have you done to Alex?” said Jasmine, unable to comprehend what she had just witnessed. “The sass was practically oozing out of you.”
She could just about close her mouth.
“I’m with Jasmine on that one,” David agreed, still shocked by my newly found confidence. “I think that it’s going to take a while to sink in.”
I just laughed.
“Well…when you’re shattered, that experience kind of changes you.” I said, my eyes shining with a newly discovered awareness. “I’m still Alex though,” I added. “Just one who realised that she was living a lie.”
At hearing my answer, Jasmine threw me a deep look – a look reflected in David’s eyes. The two of them were taken aback by this confirmation and by my behaviour. Nevertheless, what happened next tested everything that I was feeling right now and everything that had been said between us so far.
“So…you’re back are you?” Vanessa sneered, pushing Jasmine and David roughly to one side. “And there was me hoping that we’d finally got rid of you and all your freakishness – although that hair cut is positively diabolical. I know your preferred name of Alex sounds like a boy,” she added, “but this just about confirms all my suspicions. Perhaps your time…wherever you went…awakened some new and unfamiliar emotions? I wouldn’t be surprised!”
At hearing her comments and what she was implying, I laughed. She had no idea how much I had looked forward to this situation and her words rolled off me like water from a ducks back.
Really, she was the reason why I had come here in the first place.
“I’m glad to see that you’ve finally learnt how to use your eyes and ears, although save your comments for someone who actually cares,” I retorted sarcastically. “Right now, you’re boring us to death. Also,” I added, now meeting her hard stare head on with narrowed eyes. “Push my friends out of the way again and I might just think about whipping out my new powers.”
As if to emphasise my point, a flurry of cold wind suddenly whizzed past us all, causing Vanessa to shudder. For a moment, she had to think about what had happened. I could see her brain ticking away, conjuring a decent response from her warped depths.
Gradually, picking up on my change nature and the tone of my voice, Vanessa looked startled. Then, her mask was back on.
“You might have changed,” she eventually drawled, her eyes glinting in a threatening manner. “But just remember, not everyone feels the way you do.” Subsequently, she turned around and headed back to her friends, who were all gossiping about me and who wanted to know what I had said.
Whilst she walked away, I made a point to look at Tiffany, who was standing at the head of the huddled group. When she noticed Vanessa returning, she whispered something to another of the girls, who then sniggered and nodded. This said everything I needed to know and suspected. Even people like Vanessa, who craved power and control, were subject to falling. It was just a matter of time before the world she knew crumbled.
“I wish your change could transfer onto her,” mumbled Jasmine, glaring in her direction. “That would be a miracle that I would gladly accept with open arms.”
I laughed again.
“There’s still time,” I muttered, low enough for only David to hear.
He shot me a wistful glance.
Then, I gestured to the two of them.
“So…now that that’s over, have the two of you properly met?” I asked, smiling.
It was David who answered my question, causing me to laugh.
“Kind of,” he replied. “I know your name’s Jasmine (he looked at her) and that you’re a girl but, really, that’s about it. There’s only so much bonding you can do over a seemingly dead body, especially when you’re absorbed in trying to bring said body back to “life” - no offense.” He added.
Jasmine laughed, before echoing his response.
“Well aren’t you observant?” I replied, chuckling. “And no offense taken. So…really, the short answer is no.” I added.
David and Jasmine returned my smile.
“I guess so,” David grinned, before nodding. “Yes, I suppose you’re right. Not really.”
“Well,” I answered, “let’s do something about it, shall we?”
I shot them a knowing smile.
“I know that look,” he said, looking at me suspiciously. “And it’s not good.”
I winked at him, causing him to blush.
“Oh how well you know me,” I answered, amused, before I let loose. “How about each one of you tells the other something personal?” I asked. “We might as well have a little fun and brighten up the atmosphere.”
David didn’t know what to say to this proposition at first.
“I knew I should’ve braced myself, although I suppose we don’t really have a choice,” he said, smiling meekly. “Your question reminds me of the game: ‘Have you ever?’”
I grinned, my eyes sparkling.
“You read my mind,” I laughed. “Now…who wants to go first?”
Jasmine bravely volunteered.
“Well…I suppose I will.”
She coughed before she spoke, her turn to go red the more she spoke.
“Ok…so one day, I stood up to sing a solo in the Year Seven Christmas concert and was sick all over the first row. That wasn’t pretty, for me and for them, that’s for sure.” Jasmine grinned weakly. “Let’s just say that people didn’t let it live for the entire time I was at Secondary school and, at every following Christmas concert, there was at least one person who would re-enact the whole thing.”
I couldn’t help but chuckle at hearing Jasmine’s answer and David cracked a smile. I had been very close to experiencing the same fate before, after having to play my flute in front of a group of strangers, so I felt her pain.
When she was done, the two of us turned to David.
“Ah…” he said, his ears going red. “Now it’s my turn.”
For a few moments, David contemplated his answer. His freckles became more prominent.
Eventually, he revealed all.
“So…my revelation isn’t as amusing as yours,” he answered, once more looking at Jasmine. “Although it’s personal to say the least.”
At hearing these words, my ears pricked up. From the way David’s body language had changed, I wasn’t sure what to expect.
Perhaps I would be pleasantly surprised?
“So…yeah…well…,” he began, refusing to look at me, which I found rather strange. “My confession involves someone – someone very important to me.”
The instant he had said this, I couldn’t help but interrupt.
“Oooo,” I interjected, waggling my eyebrows up and down suggestively. “I never knew you had this side to you David. You sound all mysterious.”
It was then that he looked at me funnily. It was the kind of look someone gives you when they are holding back on something and you say something that means they might never say anything else on the matter ever again.
Jasmine, as if sensing David’s sudden reluctance, shot me a warning look.
“What?” I exclaimed, surprised by her behaviour. “I’m just joking. He knows that.”
Ignoring my outburst, Jasmine gestured for David to continue.
“Go on,” she encouraged gently. “You’re doing great.”
David smiled at her appreciatively. My plan to help them get to know each other seemed to be working.
“Thanks,” he replied. “Ok…so this person is someone who I can’t help but think about each and every moment of the day.”
I gasped. I didn’t know what to think. The world around me seemed to stop.
Could David really be saying what I thought he was saying?
Could David really be revealing such surprising information?
Could David really be letting us know, letting me know, that he had a –
“Crush?” I blurted out, surprising myself and the others by the harshness of my tone. “You have a…a crush?”
My heart began to do some weird hammering in my chest, which surprised me greatly.
At hearing the nature of my outburst, David turned for the first time and met my eyes. I couldn’t read them, despite the redness of his cheeks. Jasmine looked between the two of us questionably.
“Y…yes,” he gradually answered. “Yes…I suppose I have got ‘a crush’ as you put it.”
His secret was out.
My mouth moved up and down like a guppy. I couldn’t tell what Jasmine was thinking for I could do nothing but keep my attention on him.
“B…but you’ve never had a crush before?” I asked, once again shocking myself in terms of the tone of my voice. I almost sounded like I was accusing him. I winced, feeling extremely guilty.
“Well…I guess that there’s a first time for everything,” he soon muttered.
My reaction mirrored his.
It was the person I least expected to see, who interrupted this shocking disclosure.
“Alexandra Raven.” The harsh voice boomed around the hall, causing both David and I to jump.
I looked in the direction of the voice, my heart falling.
“I want to have a word with you.” they finalised, stopping by the dining hall doors.
Had they still not heard of the words patience and privacy?
Somewhat recovering, I turned back to David and Jasmine. For some bizarre reason, I couldn’t meet David’s gaze.
“I’ll catch you both later,” I mumbled. “Right now, I’ve got to go and meet the devil in disguise.”
Out of the corner of my eye, I was relieved to see them both smile.
“Remember you’ve fought worse beasts than her,” David’s voice made my heart jump. “And lived to tell the tale.”
Realising that I couldn’t avoid him forever, I found the ability to meet his stare.
It was harder than I thought.
“True,” I answered, before, after sighing, I smirked. “But none of them were worse than Miss Beast. She’s hard-core.”
Both Jasmine and David chuckled at hearing my reply, before they shot me an encouraging look. Then, my head swimming, I made my way towards the irked subject of conversation.
So that's it. The next time you'll see more chatpers will be when TORN is released on AMAZON KINDLE on 14TH FEBRUARY! Let the countdown commence...