Power | Teen Ink


May 17, 2011
By booknerd2897 BRONZE, Cortland, Ohio
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booknerd2897 BRONZE, Cortland, Ohio
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Author's note: I wrote this novel for Nanowrimo.

As I started my shift at the Café Le Rogue, Claire De Lune by Debussy fills the air with such sweet clarity it hurts; it’s so beautiful it leaves me longing for more. I wished I could melt into the music and disappear from this prison of a job.
My barista uniform is black dress pants, black shoes, I prefer sensible flats, a white dress shirt, and a tie of my choice. I usually just wear a classic black tie because it looks crisp and lets customers know I’m a no nonsense type of girl.
I am extremely grateful we don’t have to wear a hat; I don’t think my curls could take that. I have dark raven colored curls and deep green eyes, that when glanced at, can appear black. I’m of average height and am by no means skinny; I have an hourglass figure and legs that go on for miles.
When my uniform was on and I had a look in the mirror to make sure I looked put together, I walked out to the bar. The café was lit by candlelight because as every respectable woman knows, everyone looks better in candlelight. As I started prepping the latte machines, I didn’t know my life was about to change.

The first time I saw him was in the café. As I was making an old man his pumpkin spice latte, I looked up and saw him walking. The moment I spotted him my jaw dropped; he was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.
He was tall and had long, lean muscles down the whole length of his body; he had golden blond curly hair, the kind of curls that lay exactly where they were supposed to; even I was envious. He was in a form fitting black t-shirt and straight-legged Calvin Klein jeans; under his jeans I could see scuffed black Doc Martens, the kind that looked as if they had been through their fair share of battles.

I didn’t know I had spilled the elderly man’s latte until he yelled at me, “Miss! I think you dropped something.”

I turned around and saw the mess I made on the counter and set to cleaning it up, “I’m sorry. How about I take fifty percent off your tab because I’m such a klutz?” He nodded his head and I set off to make his drink. I felt a pair of eyes and looked up. I shrieked. The man I saw walking earlier was right there on the other side of the bar staring at me with intent eyes.

“Did I startle you?” he said with a deep voice that made me swoon.
For a second I couldn’t remember my own name, “Uh, Yes, I mean no. No, I’m fine, thank you,” I said adding a smile. I noticed the latte machine was overflowing the old man’s drink. “Crap.”
My face felt hot and red. I quickly turned off the machine, dumped some of the latte in the sink since it was so full, and topped it with whipped cream. I walked the drink over to the old man.
The beautiful young man was still staring at me once I returned. “Can I get you something?” I couldn’t help noticing his radiant blue eyes; they were the color of the sky.
“What I want is unobtainable at the moment,” he said lightly.

“Well, I’m sure I can at least get you something you want to drink? Preferably something obtainable,” I said, and smiled, trying very hard to think straight.
He chuckled, “I’ll just have a chocolate chip mocha frozen coffee.”
“That’s my favorite, but I’m not permitted to drink on the job.” I finished making his coffee, and I put my elbows on the counter and my head in my hands. I studied him.
“When do you get off?”
“Eight thirty.” I slid his drink to him across the counter.
“Meet me in the dining room. Eight forty-five. I’ll be sitting in the round table at the back right-hand corner of the room. I’ll buy you a drink and dinner, if you like?” I eagerly nodded my head. “See you there.” I watched him walk away, memorizing the manly way his broad shoulders moved and felt something I haven’t in a while. Excitement.

When my shift ended, I raced to the company locker rooms. “Got a hot date, Cass?” asked my best friend, Josie. She has been my best friend ever since I was three years; we met in preschool.
She’s a lot skinnier than the other girls, and they get envious of that; they call her anorexic and bulimic, but she’s not. She has a thyroid problem and her metabolism is out of control. She has tried desperately for years to gain weight, but finally gave up last month because she was still skin and bones.
“Yeah.” I hurriedly put my regular clothes on, “Can I borrow some of your makeup?”
She looked startled, “Wow, this is a first. You’ve never been interested in a guy or even put on makeup.” She hesitated, then handed me her makeup bag, “I’m impressed.”
“Try not to look so surprised,” I said glaring at her, if looks could kill.
“Easy there tiger. Let me help you,” she did a quick makeover, and before I knew it, I barely recognized myself. I looked in the mirror and staring back at me was a sultry, sexy woman. “Gosh, I’m not used to this. Usually I’m the best looking one in the relationship,” she said jokingly, putting her hand to her chest, trying to look offended.
I had a smoky eye, my curls were ruffled up and carefully disheveled, and my peachy sundress emphasized my curves in all the right places. “You know what? You can borrow my shoes. I’m serious, that will totally take your outfit from day to night,” Josie announced.
“All right, Miss Vogue Italia Extradionaire,” I said, slipping off my black flats and putting on her black Loubtin stilettos. I wobbled a little at first but then finally got my footing. A plus to being friends with Josie is that she has the best shoes.
“How will I know who he is?” she asked, genuinely intrigued.
“He said he would meet me at the round table in the back right-hand corner.”
“I’ll check him out, then I’ll send you a text telling you whether I approve or not.” She winked at me then gathered her stuff and left.
I sighed, butterflies dancing in my stomach. I checked the clock on the wall; eight forty-three, time to get going. I figured I would leave my stuff here until it was time to leave, then I could get my things. I grabbed my black and white Coach purse and set out to meet my destiny.

When I reached the dining room, I could see the young man I met earlier lounging casually in the round table. I stopped for a moment to look at him before going any further, hoping he wouldn’t notice; my heart started pounding, and I didn’t even know the guy’s name.

Ugh. Save me.

I walked over to his table and could tell that he was a man who valued his privacy, no matter how small. I stopped before I sat down; his eyes slid up to meet mine. They popped for a moment before he regained his composure, a move so subtle I could have imagined it. “Hello. Sit down, please.”

I proceeded with caution, and sat down across from him. “Hi.”

“And here I thought you could not get anymore lovely.” In the candlelight his eyes reflected the flame and gave them a reddish tint, the shadows on his face created by his angular cheekbones.

My cheeks flushed, “Thank you.” As I crossed my legs, my bare skin brushed against his jeans and I blushed an even deeper red.

He laughed, “You’re quite bashful. I like it.” No one has ever told me they liked my bashfulness; that was a first. “You never told me your name.”

I half smiled, “Must have slipped my mind. Cassandra, but my friends call me Cass; you can call me whichever you prefer.”
“Cassandra,” he said, trying it on for size, “That is a beautiful name. It’s only appropriate such a beautiful name would be given to such a beautiful girl.” He reached across the table and kissed my hand. As his lips connected with my skin, I felt a small shock of electricity.
I loved the way his voice curved around my name; it made me sad to have ever had a nickname. “Are you aware that your name is from Greece and means prophet?” he asked me.
“Gosh, no. I’ve never really wondered why my parents named me Cassandra. I don’t even think it has anything to do with the fact that I’m a prophet.”
“Ever had any psychic visions?” I laughed, but then coughed, trying to hide it, realizing he wasn’t joking.
“Um, no. I did foresee that I would get an F on a physics quiz, and that vision became reality.”
“I wonder,” he muttered under his breath.
“Never mind. Never mind,” he said quickly, as if trying to cover something up.
I decided to let it go, “Your name is?”
“Xavier,” I said, slowly, savoring each syllable on my tongue. “An interesting name, for an interesting man.” He smiled, as if this pleased him. The waitress came and took our orders. I ordered the Greek salad, a large order of French fries, and a hot chocolate. He ordered a chicken sandwich and water. “They have the best hot chocolate here!”
He looked at me and said, “Do you mind if we share your fries? I’m a little hungrier than I realized.”
“Of course, it’s a large; I’m sure I won’t finish the whole thing.” We chatted about random topics until the waitress came and gave us our food.
“Favorite bands?” I said shoving a French fry into my mouth, very ladylike, Cass, I thought. I slowed down on my consumption of French fries, turning the rest of my attention over to Xavier.
“Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix are my favorites, but I’m an overall classic rock fan.”
“Oh, me too. I am in love with classic rock. I can turn on the radio to the classic rock station and not find one song I don’t like. Do you like the Beatles?”
“I like some of the classics, but the Beatles are… I don’t know… too… I don’t know.” He laughed. “I give up.” I also laughed. “I feel the same about Pink Floyd.”
“I love Pink Floyd! I fall asleep to The Dark Side of The Moon every night; it’s very soothing. I also like The White Stripes and The Doors.” Just then my phone rang; it was a text, from none other than Josie:
Does he have an older brother or an identical twin? Yum! I approve! 
I text back:
You’re too funny.  I don’t know much about him. Something’s off, but I can’t tell what it is. Name’s Xavier.
Xavier is from a Spanish origin; it means a new house. Oh, oh! Does he look Spanish? Oh, does he own a house? Ask him! Ask him!
All right there, spelling bee champ; hold your horses! He looks anything but Hispanic, and no, I will not ask him if he owns a house. It’s only the first date. Haha 
Wait a tick…if I was your ride then how are you getting home?
Crap. I guess I’ll just find a ride. Bye. 
All right! Have fun, but not too much, you crazy kids! Haha Later, Babe. 
“I have a question,” I said, nervously, not knowing what the answer would be.
“Would you mind, terribly, giving me a lift home?” I asked, trying my best to sound hopeful.
“I wouldn’t mind at all,” he said, with a smile that was equal parts trouble and charm.
I looked at the clock on my phone, “Nine fifty-five, it’s almost closing time. We should probably pay, and then head out.”
It was the perfect movie moment; I reached to pay for the check and so did Xavier. As our hands brushed one another’s, we both pulled back quickly, startled by the current of electricity that was produced by the other’s touch. We both mumbled apologies under our breath.
“I’ll pay for dinner, my treat.”
“Really? Are you sure?”
“As I recall, I was the one who asked you out, not the other way around,” he smiled.
I felt my brain go to jelly, “You have a point, but the next time we go out I pay.”
“Ah, Cassandra the prophet speaks again. She foresees we will have a second date. I could get used to your psychic abilities.” He laughed, a deep rumbling laugh that would give thunder a run for its money. He paid for the dinner, gave the waitress a nice tip, and stood up.
“Let’s get out of here,” he said, holding his hand out for me to take, and I took it.

Walking, hand in hand, we finally got to his car, and I realized in the rush of excitement I had forgotten my bags in the locker room. “I left my stuff in the restaurant. Can you wait here for two seconds, while I go get my things?”
“You sure you don’t want me to go with you?” His brow furrowed, looking concerned.
“Don’t worry. I have a key. I’ll be right back.” He got in the driver’s seat of his blue convertible Mustang and I walked towards the dark, formidable looking building.

The café was closed, so no one was there. I unlocked the door with the spare key that all the experienced employees receive. The café was dark and there were shadows on the walls; I have to admit, it’s pretty creepy here at night.
As I turned on the lights, I saw movement in the shadows. “Hello?” I called out. No reply. I was getting more scared by the moment. I saw more movement in the shadows; I took off Josie’s heels and ran as fast as I could to the locker room.
I run every day, so this was a walk in the park; I’m the fastest girl on the varsity track and cross-country team. I swung open the door, turned on the lights, and got my bags as fast as humanly possible. The last thing I remember, there was a tall man with a baseball bat standing before me.

When I finally woke up, I had a throbbing pain on the left side of my head; I groaned. “Sorry, I have that effect on people.” I was immediately aware of a strong pair of hands holding me up. I screamed and jumped; I looked up and saw Xavier. “I’m sorry I didn’t mean to startle you. I thought you groaned because… Oh, never mind. Are you ok? You went into the restaurant and never came out, so I went looking for you. When I came into the locker rooms, you were rendered unconscious on the floor. I was in the process of carrying you to my car when you woke up.”

“Ugh. My head kills.”

“I know, I know. We need to get you home, and get some pain medication for your head. Do you possibly remember what your attacker looked like? That might be too much to ask; if you don’t remember, it’s perfectly ok,” he said, approaching the subject with delicacy.

“All I remember is that my attacker was male and he was tall. Sorry, I know that’s a horrible description, but it’s the best I can do right now.”

“Not a problem. I know this hard for you,” he said, softly, gently stroking my hair. Swiftly, he picked me up and carried me to the car. I don’t know how he carried me with such ease; I’m definitely not skinny. We were so close right now; I could feel his hot breath on my cheek. He smelled of mint, the sweet kind, laundry detergent, and cologne. I breathed him in, as if at any minute he would vanish, and I would forget his intoxicating smell.

When we got to the car, he took one arm out from under me and opened the car door. I saw his left biceps flexing as they struggled to keep me off the ground, but his face held no sign of struggle. He diligently put me in the seat, and closed the door behind him. When he opened the driver’s door, a rush of the hot May air hit my face; it felt good after being in the air conditioning for hours. “So, how old are you, Cassandra?” he inquired, breaking the silence. There he went with my name again. Sigh. I couldn’t think straight anymore.

“Um, what?”

“Your age, Cassandra.”

“Oh, right. I’m eighteen and am a senior at Koolridge High School. I’ll graduate at the end of the month.”

“Do you plan on going to college?”

“I’m going to Brown on a cross-country scholarship,” I said humbly.

“That good, huh?” he smirked, giving me a quick glance before looking back at the road.

“Best in the state; not quite sure what I would rank nationally. I guess since I’m best in the state and there are fifty states, I would at least be ranked at fifty. Not bad out of millions, huh?” I smirked back.

“Not bad at all.”

“How old are you?” I wondered, curiously.

“Nineteen. I don’t go to college, though, I’m an artist.”

“Nice. Play any sports? Musical instruments?”

“No sports, but I do run, for fun, I mean, not for competition. I can play just about any musical instrument.”

“Wow, a little cocky there,” I said, jokingly.

“Not really. Just honest.” He smiled at me in a way that made the icy fortress that surrounded my heart melt to bits; for some reason, I believed him. “Can I ask you one last question?”


“Why do you love running so much? I can tell; when you talk about running, your eyes light up and your voice sounds softer.”

“Well, when my mother died I had no one and nothing; I was only twelve, just starting to become a woman. I felt so alone, like the world was closing in on me. I fell into deep depression; I started hearing voices, and shadows started moving, even medication couldn’t help me. I decided I had to help myself. One day, the voices were so loud I knew I had to get them out of my head; I went running. Suddenly, my vision cleared, the voices left, and the shadows stayed put, but if I didn’t run, they would come back. I kept running; it helped me escape my horrible depression and even helped with my grief over my mother. I’ve ran ever since,” I sighed with relief. The only other person who knows this story is Josie, but I feel as if I can tell Xavier anything.

“Wow, I’m so sorry. I didn’t know.” He looked genuinely apologetic.

“It’s ok.”

“Are you aware of how she died?” The question startled me; it was very bold, straightforward. No one had ever asked me that before.

“No, I don’t really know, a car accident, maybe? Gosh, I don’t know. Wish I did, though.”

“Maybe one day,” he said, his voice barely above a whisper, taking my hand in his, stroking it with his thumb. I sighed. “Can I ask why you sighed?”

“It’s been a while since anyone has held my hand.” I felt suddenly embarrassed to admit this.

“I think that’s cute.” He smiled a crooked smile, one that said I’m all yours. We drove for a while in silence; the silence was nice, I liked that he didn’t feel the need to talk constantly. He turned on the radio to Y103, the classic rock station. He looked at me and smiled, waiting for my approval; I smiled back, I approved. A man’s voice was coming through the car’s speakers; he was talking about a summer heat wave. Nothing new there.

When the man was done talking about the weather, Sweet Home Alabama boomed through the stereo. After the first few notes, I turned to Xavier, “Toledo,” I said in a mock man voice. We both burst out laughing. The whole way home we sang at the top of our lungs; I don’t think I’ve ever felt that happy. In a way, Xavier made me feel safe, like I was impervious to anything and everything. I didn’t want to leave his side.

When we finally got to my house, I felt a stab of sorrow in my chest. “Will I see you again?” I said, tears threatening to spill from my eyes. He got out of the car, took my hand, and led me up to the front door. My house was big, and was white. It had Grecian columns on the front porch, and a balcony. My bedroom was right behind that balcony. All of the windows had black shingles, and the front doors were French with cast iron, swirling on them in indecipherable patterns. I couldn’t see my father’s black Escalade; he wasn’t home.

“Why don’t you tell me, prophet girl?” He swooped in to kiss me, and the next thing I knew his lips were crushed against mine. The world melted away; the only thing I knew was his lips and mine. I intertwined my hands behind his neck and pulled him closer. Then, just like that, he pulled away. I sighed. “You test my restraint, Cassandra.”

“I trust you,” I looked up at him with longing.

“So fast to trust, are you?”

“I feel a connection to you. I know that sounds stupid, but I feel as if we’re meant to know each other, like we’re meant to be together. Gosh, I know that sounds crazy…”

He cut me off, “Why would I think it sounds crazy? I feel the same way too.”

“You do?” I looked at him, my heart speeding up.

“Yes, I do. I know we just met, but life will never be the same, if you choose to keep seeing me.”

“Yes! I mean, yes, I want to keep seeing you, no matter what the cost.”

“You know, it’s an awful burden to bear, being with someone so dangerous. Someone like me,” he looked away as he said it.

“You think that will stop me so easily? You’re clearly mistaken.” He took my head in his hands, and started kissing me softly on the neck. He growled deeply; I stepped back to look at him.

“What did I do something wrong? I’m sorry; I shouldn’t have gone so fast. I just couldn’t control myself.”

I laughed, “It’s not that. I like it when you kiss me; I just thought you couldn’t get any sexier.” He chuckled and kissed me again, hard on the lips.

“You are so unpredictable; I like it. I like it a lot.” I ran my hand from his neck, down his spine and stopped at his waist; I put both of my hands on each of his hips. He closed his eyes; I felt his stomach, it was hard, and I could feel each defined muscle. “I should get going,” he said, regret evident in his eyes.

“Oh, don’t go,” I whined, even though I knew it was unfair.

“Please don’t tempt me, love.” That softened me up.

“Well, alright. Call me.” I took out my eyeliner from my oversized purse and wrote my number on the back of his hand. He gave me a quick kiss on the cheek and was gone. It was so strange, it was as if we had known each other for longer than just a day, but what was even stranger was I couldn’t remember telling him where I lived.

The next morning I had no school and no work. I was free! I woke up and took and looked around my room, taking everything in, trying to rub the sleep and fog out of my eyes. My room was white, like a hotel, but had specks of color in random places, like the soft purple pillow on my bed, or the turquoise rug on my floor. I went over to my balcony and stepped out. It was a beautiful, clear Trinity, Ohio morning in May. I kept the balcony doors open, and walked over to my bathroom, ocean themed, and turned on the shower. I stood in the hot water, relishing the water on my skin; I could think clearly. I was still troubled by the fact that Xavier knew where I lived, and I didn’t even mention what town I lived in. He never asked, so I assumed I would tell him on our way home. I guess I got too caught up in the fun we were having. I was broken out of my reverie by a stream of blood running down my body. I ran out of the shower, sopping wet, grabbed my robe, and tried to examine where the bleeding was coming from. I looked in the vanity mirror and saw that blood was dripping down from my nose. It was then that I heard a loud bang; I ran down the steps, and examined each room, stepping carefully and quietly through the house. The front door was wide open; did someone break in and forget to close the door in the act of a speedy getaway? Adrenaline pulsed through my veins as I looked around the living room, nothing out of place. I walked over to the front door, closed, and dead bolted it. As I walked into the kitchen, I noticed one thing out of the place. The butcher knife was gone.

I shrieked and immediately clasped my hand over my mouth; afraid an intruder heard my cry. My eyes surveyed the room, and landed on a black figure, leaning up against the wall. I knew the long, lean muscles instantly. “Looking for something?” he said, in a condescending voice, holding the butcher knife in his right hand. Xavier was wearing a navy blue v-neck t-shirt with Levi boot cut jeans. He was still wearing the same scuffed Doc Martens as the day before.

“Thanks for scaring the living…”

“Now, now,” he tsked, “we don’t want daddy dearest hearing, do we?”

“I’m eighteen years old. My father can hear if he wants,” I emphasized the word father, I never called him daddy anymore. My heart was pounding so loud Xavier could surely hear it. “Can I ask why you are in my kitchen with a butcher knife?”

“Well, now that you ask, I was going to make you some breakfast.”

“Usually when I crack eggs, it’s not with a lethal weapon,” I tried, jokingly, hoping it didn’t sound too forced.

“I don’t know, love, those hands look pretty lethal to me,” he walked up to me and took my hands in his, kissing them.

“You’re too much.” I took the knife from him, set it on the counter, and walked up to him. I put my arms around his neck, and reached up to kiss him. He kissed me quickly, and then stopped. “Did I do something wrong?” I asked, confused by his sudden change of mood.

“No, nothing, you’re doing everything right. Aren’t I supposed to make the first move?”

“As I recall, yesterday you were the one who kissed me and sparked this wildfire.”

“I suppose you’re right.” He kissed me again, longer. “Right in more ways than one.” I chuckled as he kissed me, and my lips vibrated against his. I can’t describe how amazing it felt; I ran my fingers through his hair, as he made a low sound in the back of his throat I couldn’t decipher.

I stopped, “Can I ask why it bothered you so much that I made a move before you?”

“You think I’m some sexist pig,” he said, accusingly.

“No, of course not.” I waited for my answer.

He stood rigid, “Well, if you must know, I thought you felt deprived.”

“Deprived?” I had to bite my cheek to keep from laughing. “Xavier, every time I even stand close to you I feel as if I’m on drugs. As long as I am with you, I will never feel deprived,” I said, truth evident in my face.

His entire body softened, “Well, when you put it that way.” I giggled, like a lovesick maniac, and kissed him again. We wandered into the living room, and kissed more on the couch, my whole body pressed on top of his. When we finally pulled away, I felt a tug of disappointment in my gut. He got up, and pulled a blanket over me. He looked around the living room. He must not have noticed anything about it when we were kissing.

The living room was spacious with floor to ceiling windows spanning the front wall, facing the well-landscaped front lawn. There were white chiffon curtains hung over the windows; the walls were also white. The room was eerie considering the fact that my mother had designed it. She was an interior designer, and a very good one at that. She designed several celebrities’ houses, such as Jennifer Lopez, Ellen Degeneres, and Paul McCartney, before she died.

Ever since she died, the room has remained the same. No one dare change anything about the white walls, white curtains, white couches and chairs, lest my mother’s ghost come out and haunt us. What would be even worse was if she nagged us about little changes we had no power over. Dear, did I miss her. It hurt so much to think about her, but then again it felt good to finally take the barrier down and let myself think.

The one thing that stood out above all else was the black mahogany baby grand piano that stood in one corner of the room, all alone, waiting for someone to play it. I went through a phase where I wanted to learn how to play, but I was impatient and frustrated that I was not everything did not click right away. Little did I know, that good things come to those who wait.

I remember the day we got the piano. I had been begging my mother for piano lessons ever since I could remember. I came home one day from school and screamed with delight, seeing the piano in the living room. I was spoiled, ungrateful, and immature child, and when I asked my mother what the keys were made out of she said an elephant’s tusks. I was immediately disgusted and asked for it to be sent away and to be replaced with a piano that did not use elephant tusks.

Looking back on my childhood character, I despise myself. I wish the reason I asked my mom for a different piano had been that I didn’t want another elephant stripped of its tusks. However, my mother bought me another piano that did not kill another elephant for its tusks.

Xavier walked over to the piano. His finger grazed the keys of the piano, the ones I had been so distraught over so long ago. He sat down at the black wooden bench and started playing. I recognized the song immediately. It was “River Flows in You.” As I watched him bent over the keys, so lost in the music, I quickly became jealous, for I wished I could play like him. However, the jealousy was replaced with longing soon afterwards.

When he was done, he pulled me down to the bench across from him and took my neck and head in his hands and started kissing me once more. He pulled away, and I was disappointed once again. He stood up and started walking towards the kitchen. “You are a beautiful piano player,” I muttered, thinking about the music.

“Thank you. I’m going to go and make you breakfast.”

I remembered what he had said earlier, “What about my father?”

“What time did he get home last night?”

“I don’t know. I went to bed around two’ o clock and I vaguely remember my father coming home around 4’ o clock.” Realizing my father needed at least twelve hours of sleep, he would probably sleep till three or four in the afternoon; his job as a lawyer is a very demanding one. Xavier went into the kitchen and peered into the refrigerator; I could see his eyes scanning the shelves for any food that hadn’t passed its expiration date by weeks to cook with. “Sorry, my father is always so busy we never have time to go out and buy anything. I’m not the best cook in the world, neither is my dad, though,” I explained, sheepishly, suddenly embarrassed of my clumsiness in the kitchen. He gave me a curt nod, as if my explanation had just proposed the theory of how to stop global warming; it just didn’t cut it. I guess I could’ve learned how to cook, but patience is a virtue, one I can’t afford. It is for the waiting, and I don’t wait. I go for everything with a vicious drive, never stopping to look back; that will ultimately be my biggest downfall. I don’t look at all sides and facts; I can be very simpleminded, and once my mind is set, there’s no going back.

Xavier got to work in the kitchen right away. “Do me a favor, love, and go sit down at the kitchen table and look pretty while I make you some brunch.”

I batted my eyelashes, “Of course, because whenever I attempt to cook I like something good to look at.” A beat of silence passed. “Brunch? What time is it?”

He looked over his shoulder, past me, “Twelve thirty.”

“Really?” I asked. We must have taken our good old time kissing.

“Better believe it, babe.” He nodded his head towards the clock; wow, it really was twelve thirty. No one said a word for a while. I watched the way his broad shoulders curved over the kitchen counter, his face looking deep in thought, the lines on his forehead deepening. It was interesting to watch someone so deep in concentration; it made me wonder what he was thinking. He had on the counter: Texas toast, white bread, farm fresh eggs, egg whites, strawberry jam, bacon, maple sausage, chives, and cheddar cheese. He was frying the eggs, sunny side up, cooking the egg whites into an omelet garnished with bacon, chives, and cheddar cheese, smoking the maple sausage, and toasting each type of bread. Putting the finishing touches on my meal, Xavier dropped his butter knife, muttered a few swear words under his breath, and bent over to pick up the knife. As he bent over, I stole a peek at his butt, and found it to my great pleasure, a very nice butt.

He stood up, put all my food on a platter, and walked over to me. “Your breakfast, Madame.”

“He speaks French,” I said, approvingly. “Since when were you planning on feeding the entire United States army?”

“Not an army, just a very pretty girl in need of a hearty breakfast.” My heart fluttered at his compliment.

“You’re too kind,” I stuttered, trying to regain my composure, nerves overtaking my head. I wasn’t used to compliments like this.

“Not really, just honest.” I grinned at this, remembering the night before when he had said the same thing. Smelling the hot breakfast, I realized how hungry I was, and dug in. I was about halfway done with my omelet when I felt a pair of eyes on my face. I looked up; what I saw would terrify me. I stopped eating immediately, my fork suspended halfway between my plate and my mouth. There was Xavier his eyes intent on me, picking up a butcher knife, and holding it to my throat.

I screamed and the scene melted away from my eyes. Xavier was sitting across from me, the butcher knife nowhere in sight. He rushed over to me and put his hand over my mouth. “Shhhh, you’ll wake up you’re father.” I yanked his hand away from me and took five steps backwards.

“Go to hell,” I spat out.

He came to me, “Baby, are you alright?”

“Get. Away. From. Me,” I said, my voice pouring poison into each word. He stepped closer, still. “GET AWAY FROM ME!!” My father came running down the steps with a .22 rifle.

“Is everything ok?” he asked.

“Leave, Xavier!” I boomed.

“Who is Xavier?” he inquired, a look of concern on his aged face.

“He’s right there, dad.” I pointed to where he was standing, but when I turned to look at him, he was gone.

My father is a rough man, not on the outside, but on the inside. He was like a rock that was not weathered by the trials of time, but shaped by them. He was tall, had a bulky build, and a long face, accentuated by sharp blue eyes and worry wrinkles. He didn’t smile much, but when he did the world stopped and stared because it was so rare, not to mention his million-dollar smile. He always smelt like Armani Exchange men’s cologne and pipe tobacco because he smoked, but only in his study, never around me. He frequently wears pinstripe suits because of his profession. His law firm was named Cleed and Dreger, after our last name Cleed, and his partner’s last name Dreger. Whenever anyone asked his name, he says, “James Cleed,” like a professional businessman. He was never the affectionate type, but it meant the world to me when he was.

My father grew more and more worried about the incident the other morning. I grew more paranoid by the second; if a floorboard creaked or a shadow looked like a human figure, I screamed. I began not sleeping. I kept asking myself if maybe it was Xavier who had hit me with a baseball bat; I asked myself how the butcher knife was at my throat one moment, and in the kitchen the next. Nothing made sense. The voices also started coming back, but this time they would whisper things. They weren’t just a mindless jumble meant to drive me to the brink of insanity. This time they were out to kill.

One day, my father called me down to dinner. He cooked; he never cooked. Something must be up. “Cassandra, we need to talk,” he started after I sat down. He waited for a reply, but when he realized he wouldn’t get one he started once more. “I think we should get you looked at.”

“Looked at how?” I did not like where this was going.

“Like… like looked at by a doctor,” he chose all of his words very carefully.

“What type of a doctor?”

He sighed, “Ok Cassandra, I think you need help from a psychiatrist, maybe talk a little, or even get a few recommendations for medication.”

“You want me to go to therapy?” my voice rising higher at the end of my sentence. “I tried that, and guess what? It didn’t work. It never will. It makes me feel more depressed about what problems I already have, and then some maniac with a PhD tells me I have more. Not a chance. I will not. I refuse. You can’t make me.” I stomped up to my room. I felt so childish throwing a tantrum like I was, but I will not go back to therapy. I yelled from my bedroom door, “I’m eighteen and cannot be forced to go tell my feelings to a psychotic maniac. It will not happen. Do I make myself clear?” I didn’t get a reply, so I assumed the answer was yes. I put on a pair of pink striped Victoria’s Secret pajamas, turned on my Macintosh laptop, and got to work on an English poem we had to write. We were reading Mary Angelou’s “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings,” and had to write a response poem. I channeled my feelings about my grief for my mother, about my anger at my father, and about my anger at myself for being foolish enough to trust a guy like Xavier.
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
By Cassandra Cleed
I know why the caged bird sings.
He sings to fill a hole,
That is always present.
He sings, hoping someone hears his sorrow,
And releases him.
He sings to ease the pain,
If only for a while.
But is it really pain?
Or a chilling numbness,
An absence of feeling.
I know why the caged bird sings.
He sings because it reminds him he can feel.
He sings because it reminds him why he is there.
But he doesn’t want to be reminded.
He wants to forget.

When I am done writing my poem, I sit there and stare at the computer screen. The words, I realize, are from the heart, not one of them a lie. Sometimes I feel confined in a world that seems too big. Most people feel confined in small spaces but for me it is vice versa.

I love poetry, love its honest ness; I love the way people pour there hearts out when writing it. I love the way people put their own spin on poetry when reading; I love how poetry can be turned into songs or made into a story. My two favorite poets are Edgar Allan Poe and Emily Dickinson. Telling of how maybe life is just a dream, my favorite poem of Edgar Allan Poe’s is “A Dream Within A Dream.” My favorite poem of Emily Dickinson’s is “A Word Is Dead,” explaining how she thinks a word starts to live when someone says it. I agree with both of them; they were really quite brilliant. Thinking of words and dreams, I went to bed.

The next morning I woke up reluctantly; it was a Wednesday, and we had school off because the teachers had a meeting. I hadn’t ran in a few days, afraid of who I would see. I put on my blue Nike sports bra, blue running shorts, a black tank top, and my special Nike trail running shoes. I went into my bathroom to pull my curls into a ponytail. I was scared that if I saw Xavier I would cave and fall right into his arms. How messed up is that? He tried to kill me and I still have feelings for him.

My father wasn’t up and I was still angry with him because of the night before, but I still wrote him a note telling him I was going running at the Sunnyside trail. I got in my white Chevrolet Trailblazer and turned on the radio. I wiggled the tuning knob, trying to find a station that didn’t have a lot of static. I settled on Hot 101, a station that was annoying, but had clear reception. “California Gurls” by Katy Perry was playing, a song that I could not stand; I turned off the radio. The voices were still there in the back of my head; it was driving me crazy. I drove down the road to the trail where I run, took the keys out of the ignition, and started walking toward the trail, but not before locking the doors from the outside.

As soon as I got to the trail, I started running. Usually I run ten miles, and it takes me a good solid hour. I run five miles to an observatory that overlooks a wildlife preserve and take a rest there. Then, I run five miles back to my car. The trail is dotted with green trees and lush plant life. I ran for about a mile, and then put my mind on autopilot, thinking only about the rhythm of my breathing; I let my legs do the thinking.

When I got to the observatory, I walked up the wooden ramp to the bench overlooking the animals. I looked through the telescope at the small pond and saw turtles and minnows, lapping at the water. It was strangely tranquil here; there were less people at the trail than usual. I took a sip of water at the water fountain, and took off running.

When I reached the parking lot, I spotted my car. I reached into my short’s pocket to take out my keys, but the pocket was empty. I tried the other pocket, nothing. “Shoot,” I muttered under my breath. I got to the car, and of course, there they were, in the front seat, right where I left them after I took them out of the ignition. The sun was glittering on them, casting silver sparkles on the leather interior; they were taking pride in taunting me. I then saw my I Phone with the blue Coach cover, sitting right by the keys. Great job, Cass, I thought to myself. I surveyed the parking lot, and spotted a pay phone, but I had no change. I saw a familiar face. Xavier turned around, and looked straight at me. Waves of chills were sent down my spine. He was wearing a black leather jacket, black jeans, a maroon shirt of questionable origin, and blue tennis shoes. One second he was holding a black Motorola Razor in his hand, and the next minute he was holding a .22 mm pistol. I shrieked, but as quickly as it appeared, it was gone. He walked over to me; I was frozen in place. I felt the flight or fight response. My whole body felt the need to run away, and quick. I guess it was flight.

“Need help?” he asked, a smirk evident on his face. “I have to say, I have a thing for damsels in distress.”

“I am not in distress, nor am I damsel,” I remarked, turning away from his as I said it.

“So, what’s the problem, o ye old damsel in distress?”

I glared at him. “Nothing that can’t be fixed by a phone call and a crowbar. Well, I’d like to use the crowbar for more things than one,” I looked at him through slits.

“Whoa there Cassandra, I don’t want to know what you do in your free time,” he tried to look disgusted, but a ghost of a smile was on his face.

“You’re despicable,” I spat out the word despicable. I couldn’t help but notice the way the sun was behind him, seeming to illuminate his pale skin, and making his blonde curls seem like they were spun out of pure gold.

“That’s a big word, love.”

“Don’t call me love, killer.”

He raised any eyebrow, “Killer?”

“Last I remember you were holding a butcher knife to my throat.”

“I did no such thing.”

“Yes you did!” I shouted, my voice rising up at the end. I lowered my voice, “One minute you were holding a knife to my throat, the next you were gone. Vanished from the very spot you were standing.”

He tried to stifle a laugh, “Cassandra, love, you’re talking nonsense.”

“I’m talking nonsense?” I waited a few seconds and sighed. “You know what? This is hopeless. We will go on and on for hours, and it’s not worth it.”

“Do need help or not?”

“Yes,” I sighed again. I didn’t like admitting I needed him, but I did. He took out a safety pin and started picking the lock on the driver’s side of the car. He was done within a blink of an eye. I didn’t want to know where he had learned that skill. “Thank you.”

“Your welcome,” he said softly. He kissed me gently on the forehead, and I flinched. He took my head in his hands; I didn’t back away. “Listen to me, Cassandra. Cassandra, please look at me.” I did. “Don’t do this. I care about you too much. I didn’t try to hurt you. I would never try to hurt you. Please believe me. Would I lie to you?” I didn’t answer him. “Please come back to me, Cass.”

The air was silent, “Alright, but I swear if something like that happens again, I swear, Xavier.”

“I know, love, I know.” He kissed my forehead again and walked away. I got into my car turned on the ignition, and wondered what the heck had just happened.

I drove home, my head abuzz, trying not to think about Xavier, but it was hard. I tried to think only about driving and nothing more. When I pulled into my driveway, I saw an unfamiliar car; it was a cream colored Jaguar. The owner of the car was definitely not poor. As I got closer to my house, I saw a male figure on the porch. I chuckled because from far away it looked as if the Grecian columns were closing in on him and squishing him.

I walked over to the stone path lead to my house. “Hello?” I called out. From the back he had a figure of a bodybuilder and had shiny black hair, cut short. He turned around, and I saw that he, indeed, was a good-looking man. He was not, though, as good looking as Xavier, but his brown eyes were pretty. He was wearing a gray suit and a purple tie. He looked like a no nonsense type of man.

“Hello.” His voice was deep. “You must be Cassandra.” He held out his hand for me to shake. “I’m Scottie.”

I tried not to crack up, “Has anyone ever said to you ‘Beam me up, Scottie’?” I couldn’t help it; I started laughing hysterically. His face was still stone serious. He obviously did not find this as funny as I did.

“As if I haven’t heard that before.” He said in a whisper barely there. “I’m a client of your father’s. Is he home? I tried the doorbell, but got no reply.”

I looked for his Escalade. It was not in the driveway, and if it were in the two-car garage, the door would’ve been up; needless to say, it wasn’t. “No, his car isn’t here. Sorry. Nice Jag by the way.”

“Excuse me?”

Obviously he wasn’t the freethinking type. “You have a beautiful Jaguar.”

“Oh, thank you.” He reddened. “Do you mind if I step in side, and talk to him when he gets home.”

“Of course. I’ll call him and tell him you’re here, Scottie. He should be home any minute now.” I emphasized the last part, making it clear to not try anything funny. I took out my keys and opened the door. I stepped awkwardly through the threshold, trying to move around Scottie, in order for me to close the door. We ambled over to the kitchen, my tennis shoes squeaking, whereas his black loafers making no noise. I took out my I Phone and called my father. As I heard the phone ringing, I walked into the other room and closed the door.

He picked up, “Hello? Cassandra is that you?”

“Dad,” I said in a whisper, “There’s a man in the house, I let him in. He said his name was Scottie, and he’s a client of yours.”

His voice came out strained, “I’ll be home right away. Cassandra, listen to me. Keep this phone on; do not turn it off. Only speak when spoken to, and whatever you do, say nothing insulting. Do you understand?”

“Yes.” My voice came out as a tiny squeak.

“Be careful, sweetheart. I’ll be home soon.” I kept the phone on, and did not end the call. If anything happened, he would know, and would have proof. He could contact the police and at least if I died they would catch him. Now I was getting nervous, my father’s instructions were very clear, but I couldn’t help feeling as if they had a deeper meaning.

I walked out my father’s study, the air in the hallway not smelling of pipe tobacco and cologne as it just had. I walked down to the kitchen, where Scottie had taken off his jacket and leaned against the kitchen counter. I ignored my father’s instructions briefly and asked him if he would care for anything to drink. “What do you have?”

“Let’s see,” I opened the refrigerator. “We have: milk, water, iced tea, blue Kool-Aid, grape cranberry juice, my favorite, and sprite. Oh, we also have Coca Cola and Sprite.”

“I’ll take a Coca Cola.”

“Glass or plastic?”


“Glass bottle or plastic bottle? See, I prefer glass bottles because I think Coke tastes better in them, but my father likes the plastic bottles because it keeps them fresher longer. He doesn’t always drink all of his Coke,” I explained. “You can’t exactly put the cap back on a glass bottle once you take it off.”

He laughed, “You’re a peculiar girl. I’ll take a glass bottle.”

“One glass bottle of Coke coming right up. Do you want a cup of ice or do you want to drink it straight out of the bottle?”

“So many questions.”

“I’m a bartender, sorry.” I blushed.

“Straight out of the bottle. Drinking it from a cup basically defeats the purpose.”

“I couldn’t agree with you more.” I smiled. I pulled two glass bottles of Coke out of the fridge, and sat them down across from each other on the red kitchen table. The room was hot; the cold bottles had drops of condensation on the outsides. I sat down across from him, the tension in the air evident.


My heart sped up, remembering what my father said. “Yes?” I asked politely.

“Where do you go to school? You look familiar. I was a substitute teacher for a while.” His face looked as if he was thinking profusely; I hoped he didn’t break anything.

“I’m a senior at Koolridge High School. I’ll graduate in two weeks,” I added proudly.

“Oh, I only taught at Rankford and Bedrock.”

I nodded, “We play those schools in sports, but I don’t know anyone from there.” He looked strangely relieved as I said this. We sat in silence for a while, sipping at our Coca Cola. I took great care in monitoring her body language; I didn’t want him to get the wrong idea and get offended.

“You don’t talk much. I like it,” he nodded, as if showing his approval.

“Well, thank you. I appreciate it.” The door opened when I was done talking. My father closed the door and came rushing in. His cheeks were red, and he was panting. I wondered how long it had been that I had been home alone.

“Hello. Scottie, I am so sorry; I completely forgot you were coming over.” He tried to sound innocent. My father usually was not the type of man to get easily intimidated, but he I vaguely remember him telling me once that a little fear is healthy in a business relationship, apparently not. “Cassandra, why don’t you go upstairs to your room?” He asked addressing me; something in his voice sounded very desperate and I decided to set aside my anger towards him for our sake. “Scottie and I have something to talk about,” he said through his teeth, nodding his head toward the stairs telling me to go now.

“Yes, father. As you wish,” I said, feeling the anger set in. I hated feeling like the little kid being shooed away because they were talking about adult things I couldn’t handle, even though legally I was one. I batted my eyelashes. Scottie chuckled under his breath, recognizing my humor, my father, not so much. Before I went upstairs I curtsied to the men in the kitchen and walked away with a smile on my face.

The next morning I woke up tired. I had been up all night reading. I just got done reading The Half Blood Prince, the sixth Harry Potter book, by J.K. Rowling and was now on The Deathly Hallows, the seventh and final Harry Potter book, also written by J.K. Rowling. The seventh Harry Potter movie was being made into two parts, and the second part was coming out soon. I had read the series so many times they were practically memorized, but I was still a little confused when the first part of the seventh movie came out as I always was when books became movies. They were exciting yet disappointing at the same time because they always get something wrong.

I had to catch the bus this morning because my car was in the shop. It had mysteriously stopped working yesterday. So far the mechanics have found nothing wrong with it, very peculiar indeed. Our school district was very poor, so the busses had middle and high schoolers on it. Needless to say, I was the oldest person on the bus. Once you hit junior year, everyone starts getting cars, or they take a ride with a friend. The high schoolers weren’t as bad as the middle schoolers were; they were dropping the f bomb left and right, and little kids were fist fighting. Most of the time my mouth was hanging wide open; it was appalling what these kids were saying to each other, and I was assuming they didn’t even know what the words they used meant.

I got to school and went straight to first period Honors English. I took my seat next to Josie; Josie, a few others, and I were usually the first ones here. The bell rang and announcements began. We stood up and said the pledge of allegiance. When we sat down, I noticed Josie looking longingly over at a guy. I noticed the guy she was staring at was none other than my best guy friend Gen. Gen was okay looking; he wasn’t ugly, but he wasn’t striking either. He turned around and smiled a soft smile directed at Josie. Josie was wearing a blue sundress and tan Coach wedges. She looked beautiful. Her blonde hair was swept up in a loose chignon. I felt a little pang of jealousy, but quickly stomped it back down, knowing that she was my friend. I shouldn’t feel that way about her. Jealousy will get you nothing, but green eyes and broken relationships. I waved my hand in front of her face. “Josie? Earth to Josie.”

“What?” she asked, looking disoriented.

“Yay! She’s back! You’re drooling,” I pointed out, joking. She swiped at her face.

“Am not.” She sighed and continued looking at him. “Doesn’t he have such a sad smile? Like he’s longing for something he knows he can never have. I wonder what his smile would look like if he knew that what he wanted was already his.” I just looked at her. I often hear her pining and lusting after guys, but never like this. “Oh, Josie I just know he likes me. If I sit by him, he steals sideways glances at me, and often outright stares. If I even so as talk about another guy when I’m not looking he puts his head in his hands and sulks, but never does he sulk in front of me. It’s as if he doesn’t want me to feel his pain, like he doesn’t want my day to be ruined because of his sadness.”

I shook my head, “You are a hopeless romantic.”

She looked offended, “Well just because I don’t keep my whole romantic life under wraps doesn’t mean I’m a hopeless romantic. I like talking about these things. It makes me feel as if someone cares.”

“I do care, Josie, but please just tone it down a bit. I would really appreciate it if you could. I know you don’t realize it sometimes, but it comes off as coquettish. Are you playing the circuit for sport or because you actually care about these guys?” I inquired. I wouldn’t want Gen to be hurt because of Josie’s undecided ness; I cared about him like a brother. She never could make up her mind about boys. This frequently broke people’s hearts because she would go back and forth between a few select guys.

“Cassandra Cleed! I can’t believe you ask such a stupid question!” she shouted. The teacher looked up from his desk and glared at her; she whispered an apology.

I looked at her, “There are no such things as stupid questions, only stupid people.”

“If you would like to know, I really care about Gen. I would never hurt him,” she said with feigned sincerity.

“That’s what you said about the last four guys.”

“Yes, but I didn’t mean it,” she pointed out.

I rolled my eyes, and pointed at her. “Ugh, you’re impossible.” She smiled as if this was the best compliment anyone could’ve given her.

She gave me a big hug, and I sat there unresponsive. I was powerless against her hugs; she gave the best ones. “Thank you, Cass.”

She let go of me. “Please don’t hurt him, Jose. I mean it. I would never forgive you. He’s like the brother I never wanted. It would kill me if he you hurt him, and then you would put me between a rock and a hard place because I would have to pick between him and you. Good friends don’t do that.”

“Yes, good friends also never let friends drive drunk. I learned that lesson the hard way.” Her face turned grim, remembering the time she went out with her other friends and got a DUI.

“Promise me?”

“I promise.” The bell rang and the period was over. Josie raced over to where Gen was standing, waiting for her, and I was left thinking about Xavier.

Later that day in math, the teacher was yelling at Gen. “You don’t have a calculator, since when?”

“I haven’t had one all year Ma’am,” Gen responded, politely.

“Well, with two weeks left we have the hardest unit coming up and a final exam. So I suggest you get your rear in gear, and get a calculator.”

“Yes, Ma’am.” He looked shaken. Being yelled at by Mrs. Bell was not a pleasant experience; not that she has ever yelled at me before, but I have seen it done. The poor kids never are the same. Gen asked Mrs. Bell to go to the water fountain, and Josie asked to get something from her locker; Mrs. Bell gave them her approval with the shake of her head. When Josie got back to class, she slipped a note and a calculator on his desk. Gen walked into the room, and Josie looked like she was about to puke. Gen got in his seat, looking surprised to find a calculator there and began reading the note; his face immediately lit up, and he looked around the room and found Josie’s face. They just looked at each other and smiled like they were the only two people in the world. I was once again overcome by jealousy.

I sent Josie a note:

What did your note say?
She replied:
I just told him that it wasn’t the best calculator in the world but at least it was one. I had an extra one. It was the version before our OGT calculators. I told him I couldn’t stand Mrs. Bell yelling at him. I didn’t sign my name on the note, but we’ve all known each other since kindergarten. You would’ve thought he would know my handwriting by now.

That was a really nice thing to do Jose. Did you see his face light up? He looked like a kid on Christmas morning. I think he likes you. He doesn’t look at anyone the way he looks at you. I’ve known him for a while, and I know when he likes someone, which isn’t often.

You think so?

I don’t think so Josie, babe, I know so. Go for it. 

Thanks, girlie. You’re the best Cass. You know I wouldn’t have gone for it if you didn’t approve.

I just don’t want either of you hurt. You both mean the world to me. You always will.

Thanks, Cassandra. I know this will be hard for you, me talking about him, and him talking about me, but I’m here for you. 

I’ll remember that Josie. No problem, girlie. 

The bell rang, and I went to my locker. Gen walked over to me. “Hey, Cass. I have a question.”

“I have an answer.” I had an idea of where this was going.

“What would you say if I were to ask out your best friend Josie?”

I tried to comically look as if I were thinking, “Hmmmm… I would say chicken butt.”

He burst out laughing, “I’m serious Cass. I really like her. Do you think she would say yes?”

“I think she would say yes. She’s head over heels for you. Go for it, dude.” I punched him in the arm, playfully.


“Yep. I heard what she did for you in math class. A girl only does that if she really cares about a guy.” I nodded my head for emphasis.

“Okay, well don’t let me waste your afternoon. She’s in my sixth period social studies; I’ll come to your locker and tell you how it went before seventh period Newspaper. Okay?” He raised his eyebrows.

“All right. Sounds like a plan. Go get her, tiger,” I said, encouragingly. I nodded my head towards Josie’s locker, and saw him walk down the hallway towards her, a newfound bounce in his step.

I gathered my books I need for homework from my locker and went out to my car. I looked around the parking lot for it, but it was nowhere to be seen. As I stood there, puzzled by my car’s disappearance, a car that looked extremely familiar pulled up to the school’s front steps. I looked at the license plate of the white Chevrolet ’09 Trailblazer; the license plate read KTD 2290. It was exactly identical to mine; it even had the same Yankee Candle Vanilla Cupcake air freshener and three strings of Mardi gras beads, one green, one purple, and one silver. A fresh slap of rage overcame me like a tsunami; I was drowning in my own furiousness. Whoever was in that car had better watch out. I stomped over to the car and looked in the window.

Xavier was in the front seat, tampering with the radio. He must have felt my murderous glare because he turned around to face me, if looks could kill. He smiled at with a smile that reached his eyes and rolled down the window. “Hello, there.” It seemed as if every pore in his body was oozing happiness; I could tell he felt on top of the world. He makes me sick.

“Is that my car you are currently driving?” I said through my teeth, my jaw clenched, my whole body tightened.

“Oh, you recognize it. Well, yes, as I remember it, it is your car.” He put his finger up to his forehead as if pantomiming the act of thinking.

“When I’m done with you, you won’t remember a thing. I’ll make sure of that.” I took a step towards the car to make my point clear. He opened the car door, and I took two steps back only it was a little too late. I ended up almost falling on my butt but recovered quickly, only to find Xavier standing over me.

I put my fists up and punched, index and middle knuckles first, as hard as I could at his abdomen muscles; they were hard as a rock. He laughed as though it would make the pain go away. My knuckles ached from the force of the blow, but a sense of elation made me ignore it. “You really are something, love. Let’s go to a movie, my treat.” He took my hands and kissed each knuckle, sensing my discomfort, and then he dropped my hands, where they hung by my sides as he kissed my forehead.

“Yeah, that will happen, and John F. Kennedy will appear across the street riding in a white Hummer stretch limo.” I rolled my eyes, looking across the street trying to make my point, but what I saw was astonishing. There was an attractive young man who stood in front of a white stretch limo; he stood with authority, and when he turned around there were bloody bullet holes in the back of his neck and his back. I stood, mouth agape, wondering how the ex president traveled through time. Could Xavier have made that happen?
“Please don’t make a scene. People are starting to stare. I would never want you to feel embarrassed. Don’t feel obligated to go out with me because people are staring at us; I want you to go out with me because you want to, not because you have to.” I sighed; I was powerless when he got like this. He seemed so vulnerable, like a little kid telling me all his secrets. I liked that they were for my ears only. I looked around, only to find that all of the lower classmen waiting for their rides, staring at Xavier and me, their mouths hanging wide open.

“Let’s go,” I said, quietly, feeling defeated.

He took my hand and kissed my forehead again. I could feel his smile against my skin, “Thank you.” His mouth moved against my skin, and I could feel his lips forming the words, just for me. He took my hand and led me over to the passenger car door. He opened the door for me, waited until I got in and buckled my seatbelt, and closed the door. He walked over to the driver door and got into the car. We rode for a while in silence, I sat pouting, hating the feeling of defeat. “Do you sing?” he asked, looking intrigued.

“Why do you care? What makes you ask?” I riddled back, getting defensive. I only ever sing in the shower; I love music and would love to be a musician or singer, but my stage fright is far too immense for that to be an option.

“You have a beautiful voice when you talk, and I would only think that it would be twice as beautiful when you sing.” He looked at me with gentle eyes, a look on his face telling me I could entrust him with anything.

I looked down at my hands, folded in my lap, “Yes, I do, but only my showerhead gets to hear it. I get too nervous to sing in front of anyone else.”

“What if the song was on over your voice?”

“Well, I guess that’s okay, but once I get into a song I’m fine, as long as I don’t run off the stage crying first.” I looked up at him, but he was looking forward out of the window shield, his knuckles white from clenching the steering wheel. “Why are you mad?”

“Would you be willing to sing for me, if I put on the radio? Could you try for me?” His knuckles unclenched; he kept one hand on the steering wheel and put one on my hands.

“I guess. Why not? I have one condition.” I raised my eyebrows.

“Oh, I would love to hear this.”

“You have to sing and play your guitar for me, maybe even write me a song.”

“Who’s to say I haven’t already?” My heart melted at the fact that there’s a good chance he could’ve written a song for me. He turned on the radio, and I immediately recognized the song. It was “King of Anything” by Sara Bareilles. I started singing the blithe lyrics; I knew all of them by heart.

“Keep drinking coffee, stare me down across the table,

While I look outside.

So many things I’d say if only I were able,

But I just keep quiet and count the cars that go pass by.

You’ve got opinions, man

We’re all entitled to,

But I never asked.

So let me thank you for your time,

But try not to waste anymore of mine.

Get out of here fast.

I hate to break it to you, babe,

But I’m not drowning.

There’s no one here to save.

Who care’s if you disagree?

You are not me.

Who made you king of anything?

So, you dare tell me who to be.

Who died and made you king of anything?

You sound so innocent,

So full of good intent,

Swear you know best,

But you expect me to jump up on board with you,

And ride off into your delusional sunset.

I’m not the one who’s lost,

With no direction.

You’ll never see.

You’re so busy making maps

With my name on them in all caps.

You got the talking down,

Just not the listening.” It was halfway through the song, and I got nervous so I stopped singing. I was suddenly aware that the radio wasn’t up as loud as I thought. He tricked me once again. I turned off the radio. “Do you take pleasure in trying to find ways to trick me?” I looked out the window and felt a deep pang of sorrow, wondering if he only wanted me for tricks.

“You actually think that?” I continued looking out the window; I couldn’t look at him. He sounded appalled.

I looked at him, starting to feel defensive. “You have a way of making me see things, feel things, and hear things I don’t want to. You have the power to do that. I want to know why. Why are you doing this to me? Why me, huh? You are giving me reason to believe that all the time I heard voices it wasn’t because I was insane it was because of you because you made me. You made me believe I was hearing things, and it’s almost as if you are trying to make go insane. Is that what you want? Do you want me to go insane, so insane that my whole family will find out? I will be sent to a mental asylum, disowned, and then forgotten, left to rot where nobody will be around to hear me scream. That’s what you’ve always wanted in the first place. Isn’t it?” It felt good to get my suspicions and superstitions off of my chest, but there was one more thing that was bothering me. “How do you have the power to do that?”

“I shouldn’t tell you. I don’t want you hurt.” He looked away. I touched his arm gently.

“You only let me in on the surface, but you’re too afraid to let me go under. I can never go deeper; you won’t allow it. Why won’t you let anyone in?”

“Like I just said, I don’t want you hurt. If I let people in someone will get hurt, and if I told you how I have that power you would think I was insane.”

“Try me,” I said, thinking of how I had lost my mind over the past couple of years.

“Do you want to know?” He looked at me with eyes that penetrated me, and felt like they went into the deepest darkest parts of my soul, even the parts I didn’t want to know about.

“Yes,” I responded, in a whisper.

“I’m a fallen angel. I did some horrible things, and God himself cast me down from heaven. I picked up that you were in distress from a terrible past event that had occurred in your life, and figured I could help you while maybe along the way helping myself.” He sighed, as if not really believing it himself. He looked ashamed. Surprisingly, I believed him. I guess after trying to convince people of things I saw or heard, and they thought I lied, I would want someone to believe me too. If I was a fallen angel, and I mustered up the courage to tell someone I wouldn’t want him or her to laugh at me and put me in an asylum.

“I believe you,” I said in barely even a whisper. He turned to me, not looking so ashamed anymore.

“You do?” He pulled my car over to the side of the road.

“Yes, I do. After everything that’s happened to me, if I were in your position I would want you to believe me, too.” We sat in the car on the side of the road for a while in silence.

“Wow, this is…just wow. I can’t believe it. I thought you were going to reach across and unbuckle my seat belt, then open the door and throw me out onto the highway and vow never to see me ever again. You had me worried for a while; after I told you, you didn’t respond right away.”

“Well, how could I? That is a lot of information for a human to take in. I just found out my boyfriend is an angel and can make me see thing. You expect me to take that lightly? I had to collect my thoughts.” He pulled back onto the highway.

“I’m sorry. I understand this would be a lot for you to take in.”

“Do you have wings?” I asked, approaching the subject delicately, remembering the stories about fallen angels getting their wings ripped out of their backs.

“No, they were taken away from me right before I was cast down from heaven.” He winced from the memory.

“Oh,” I said, feeling his pain, “I’m so sorry.” I remember the immense pain of finding out about my mother’s death. “When the policemen came to my door one day telling me that my mother had died, the pain was so blinding I passed out. Sometimes I still pass out because of the pain; it feels as if someone is taking my soul and ripping it out of my body. It’s unnatural, but everyone tells me differently. I only knew her for about seven years, I don’t count the first five years, considering I can’t remember anything from then, but I still have vivid memories of her. They show up at the most random places and most of the time, force me to my knees. The memories wash over me and envelop me, they are all I see and hear, but as soon as they are done I can’t remember what they were about, only that I had them. It’s the most peculiar thing. I don’t know what triggers them, but they just come and go. They never really interfere with my daily life, except for one or two times they happened at school. People already think I’m a freak, so why not add to it!” I sat there, seething. “I can’t believe I actually told you any of that. I’ve never told anyone that before, not even my best friend Josie. I guess I feel safe with you, except when you almost slit my throat with a butcher knife!” I became ecstatic.

He sighed, “Again with the butcher knives. What is it with you? I mean, one minute you are passionately kissing me and telling me your deepest darkest secrets, the next you are yelling at me for trying to slit your throat, which I did not do by the way,” he pointed out.

“What is it with you?” I emphasized the last word. “You expect me to trust you, but I see visions of you slitting my throat. You trick me into saying things, you make me hear things, but you act like you love me, even though you haven’t told me. Actions speak louder than words, and your actions are speaking pretty loud, buddy.” I turned my body and awkwardly poked him in the chest as I called him buddy.

“You,” he said poking my chest, coming dangerously close to my left breast, “need to calm down.”

“I need to calm down?” I yelled. I sighed, “Point taken.” I took several deep breaths, trying to control my hot temper. “I have a short fuse, and an intolerance of ignorance. For that, I am sorry. People tell me I am like my mother. She was fast to call out others’ ignorance, as well as a fast temper, but even though we both had short fuses, we never used them on each other. We were two peas in a pod. They say opposites attract, but I disagree. We were inseparable, until she died of course.” I looked up at the sky, envisioning my mother looking down upon me from heaven, hoping she wasn’t too disappointed in me. “I miss you, Mother. May you rest in peace.” I looked out the passenger window, marveling at the lush greenness of everything. It was like an alien planet. One moment I was looking at the lushness of the tress, and the next moment I was enveloped by a cold, uninviting darkness, gasping for breath.

I was suddenly aware of the absence of the car. I looked around me, only to find four white walls. The walls were closing in on me, fast. I looked down seeing that I was wearing only a white hospital gown that covered my chest, shoulders, and butt, and it sat high up on my thighs. However, I had the strangest notion that the hospital gown was backless.

I looked around me again to see that the walls were not closing in on me anymore. There was a metal medical table in the middle of the room, and wires running down under the table, leading under the white tiled floor. Everything was cold, as was I; nothing looked even remotely comfortable or familiar. I shivered from terror. I didn’t know where I was, and I was terrified. I felt like an abandoned dog, dropped off in a foreign location to fend for myself.

Next thing I knew the room was filling quickly with blood. There was a window on one of the walls that appeared out of nowhere. As soon as it appeared, it was broken, smeared with blood. My knuckles appeared to be smeared with blood, also. I could see myself in the blood-smeared window, and I saw that I had wings, beating against my back. I looked at my face, and I didn’t look like myself. I looked vicious, like an obsessed hunter.

My face was also smeared with blood, and my eyes turned a pale, icy shade of killer blue. I jumped back, but the figure in the window did not. The doppelganger of me crept out of the window and pounced, ready to kill.

I was pulled from my vision with a jolt. I screamed thinking my life was about to be taken, but realized I was in the parking lot of an almost vacant diner in my Chevrolet Trailblazer. I was suddenly aware of a strong, muscular, masculine pair of hands holding my shoulders. I screamed again, not realizing whom the pair of hands belonged to. I looked around myself in the car and found that it was Xavier who was holding me; after a few seconds, I calmed down enough to not start hyperventilating and to speak coherently. When I was calm again, I finally realized that Xavier was still holding me, and it was starting to hurt.

My shoulders ached; I had a feeling I was going to have bruises in the morning. “Do you mind? It sort of hurts, you know, you grabbing me like that.” I took an attempt at getting his big hands off of me, but the attempt was taken in vain. His hands did not budge an inch. “You can get off me now!” I yelled at him, furious for not complying with my wishes.

He looked at me with piercing blue eyes, “Are you sure your vision is over?”

I slit my eyes, “I don’t know, does this slap hurt?” I was midway through slapping him on the face, but at the last minute he caught my hand in his and stopped it. I was starting to get scared. I remember him telling me that my name meant prophet, and I was starting to believe him.

“Always the hostile sort. Violence isn’t the answer, love. It never is, and it never will be.” He sounded half sarcastic, half serious.

“When violence becomes the answer, always throw the first punch. Then you’re bound to win.” I raised my left eyebrow.

“There are exceptions to that rule, hun.” He put my hand down into my lap, and his hand lay there for a little while longer than necessary.

“Oh, right, let me guess. Supernatural strength and speed?” I rolled my eyes, as if it were obvious that every supernatural being had these outstanding feats. He nodded. “Bingo! We have a winner. Well at least now I know why you just blocked my slap. I almost thought you were just naturally stronger than me,” I joked. As if he wasn’t a fallen angel I would be stronger than he. I laughed at the thought. Yeah that will be the day. “Let’s see if you’re speedy enough to block this, angel boy.” I leaned across the front seat to kiss him straight on the lips. He sat there dumbfounded. I sat there satisfied. “That’s what I thought,” I murmured, leaning in to steal another kiss. I locked my arms around his neck and kissed him passionately. I kissed him as if I would never see him again; I kissed him like he could see my feelings and thoughts about him if I kissed him hard enough. I climbed onto his lap, and he lowered the seat back to where I was practically lying on top of him. We kissed more. I can’t tell you how long we were kissing because as we were, time meshed together. I could not even keep a coherent thought. He kissed with varying pressures; one minute he would be kissing as if his life depended on it, the next minute he would kiss gently as if I were a bubble that could just as easily be popped if he kissed too hard. I hated when he kissed me gently because it left me wanting him even more, but when he went to kiss hungrily, it felt that much more amazing. After a while things cooled down, but the passion was still there. He started to nibble on my bottom lip. As he did so, I shivered, a ripple of pleasure sent down my spine. He moved from my lips to my neck, pecking it ever so often. He kissed my neck so much I was sure I was going to have a hickey, but I didn’t care because it felt way too good. He directed his kisses up my jaw line, nibbled on my ear, and kissed my face all the way back to my lips. When he stopped, I was out of breath. He took my breath away because of his amazing kissing techniques.

We sat there for a while in silence. I was still on his lap; I rested my head on his left shoulder. I whispered in his ear, still out of breath after all this time, “Nobody should be allowed to know how to kiss like that, Xavier. It should be illegal. Alert the state representative. Damn.” I shook my head. He was too good for me sometimes.

“You look like a poetry girl, Cassandra. Do you like poetry?” I sat up on his lap, my legs straddling him.

“I love poetry!” My face lit up like a thousand Christmas lights on a cold winter night.

“Who are your favorites?” I looked at him with confusion. “Poets, I mean. Sorry.” He chuckled with what looked like feigned embarrassment.

“My favorites are Emily Dickinson and Edgar Allan Poe.”

I started, “A word is dead,

When it is said sometimes.

But I believe it just begins to live that day.” I tried to incorporate feeling into the short, sweet poem, filling each word with delicious meanings left to the imagination. I weaved each word with vivid stories set in an exotic land far away. I blushed, “A Word is Dead by Emily Dickinson, one of my favorites. I love the fact that she can fit so much in so little. Not many people have the creativity or intelligence to produce such beauty in so little words. One of the things I happen to hate about myself is how much I talk, but I can’t help it I guess.” I blushed an even deeper shade of tomato red. “Sorry.”

He brushed the hair out of my eyes, “I happen to adore that about you, love. One of the many things I love about you is your ability to never run out of things to talk about. It keeps me on my toes. I never know what will come out of that beautiful mouth of yours.” He looked at me with sincerity and kissed me on the cheek with soft featherweight lips.

He leaned into my ear, pulling me closer to his body,

“It was many and many a year ago,

In a kingdom by the sea,

That a maiden there lived whom you may know

By the name of Annabel Lee;

And this maiden she lived with no other


Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,

In this kingdom by the sea;

But we loved with a love that was more than


I and my Annabel Lee,

With a love that the winged seraphs in Heaven

Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,

In this kingdom by the sea,

A wind blew out a cloud, chilling

My beautiful Annabel Lee;

So that her highborn kinsmen came

And bore her away from me,

To shut her up in a sepulcher,

In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, no half so happy in Heaven,

Went envying her and me,

Yes! that was the reason (as all men know,

In this kingdom by the sea)

That the wind came out of the cloud by night,

Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the


Of those who were older than we,

Of many far wiser than we,

And neither the angels in Heaven above,

Nor the demons down under the sea,

Can ever dissever my soul from the soul

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee:

For the moon never beams, without bringing me


Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee:

And so, all the night tide, I lie down by the side

Of my darling, my darling, my life, and my


In her sepulcher there by the sea,

In her tomb by the sounding sea.”

He finished the poem. The last line was such an epic line, and he made sure it sounded exactly that. I knew the whole poem by heart, but his voice reciting made me think about hidden meanings to the poem. His velvety voice, smooth like a pot of fresh honey, curved around each word and held it captive by his breath. I abhorred the fact that his voice sounding a single word could send numerous fantasies, running with wild abandon, through my mind.

For a while, I was stuck motionless at his ability to make something feel brand new to me. It was like kissing him; of course I had kissed other guys before, but he made it feel brand new, as if I had missed out on the first time around. I felt a stab of anger thinking of all the people who had given me second best, but sitting in this car, alone with Xavier, I now know who has second best.

“Did I ever tell you that I had to recite that poem in class? I actually think it was in seventh grade, but alas, I still remember it in full. It’s funny how certain things just stick, you know?” I tilted my head absently while looking at him, trying to get him to see my point. I remembered one of my favorites. For a moment I was struck with the fact that I had forgotten about it; it was so memorable that I was momentarily stunned. I kissed him on the forehead and began.

“Take this kiss upon thy brow!

And, in parting from you now,

Thus much let me avow;

You are not wrong, who deem

That my days have been a dream;

Yet if hope has flown away

In a night, or in a day,

In a vision, or in none,

Is it therefore the less gone?

All that we see or seem

Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar

Of a surf tormented shore,

And I hold within my hand

Grains of the golden sand;

How few! yet how they creep

Through my fingers to the deep,

While I weep; while I weep!

O god! can I not grasp

Them with a tighter clasp?

O god! can I not save

One from the pitiless wave?

Is all that we see or seem

But a dream within a dream?”

I stopped talking, just as the poem ended, and I had tears prickling at the corners of my up cast eyes. The last thing I saw was the opening of a door, and then the world went cold.

When I woke up, I saw nothing. I could not even see my own hand in front of my face. I tried to breathe, but I found that when I did it hurt immensely. I tried several times to breathe, and the pain was so blinding I slipped back into unconsciousness. The fourth time I regained consciousness, the light was on. They were the fluorescent white kind, the kind that made even the darkest colored surfaces painful to look at. The sleepy fog was immediately replaced by something that felt like anger. I surveyed my surroundings. I was lying on something cold; it was a silver medical table. White walls surrounded me. On the wall facing me, there was a one-way window. I knew it was there, but I could not see out of it. I was sure my captors were watching me. I looked down at myself and saw that there were I.V.s stuck in each of my arms; I was wearing nothing but a white hospital sheet, strapped to me by patches.

I screamed; it felt like the walls were closing around me. I violently ripped the I.V.s out of my arms and screamed again. When the I.V.s were out of my arms my senses felt more acute, as if someone has shot liquid adrenaline straight into my heart.

For one second, the world felt so new and sharp to me that I became dizzy and lightheaded. I felt so dizzy that I had to hold onto the medical table, smelling of foul antiseptic. I was not yet used to my heightened senses.

As soon as the blurry edges of my vision cleared, I became angry. I was angry at the fact that I was a test subject, and that some sick pervert was watching me and getting a kick out of it. I would not give him that satisfaction.

I was great at dissimulation, for I had training from my theater years. Nonetheless, I walked up to the big glass window and stuck up my middle finger, mouthing some very rude expletory that my mother would not have approved of, even now that I was older. I was guessing the people on the other side of the glass would not hear me. I was alone, and I was ready to kill.

I felt my eyes narrow, but what happened next felt like an out of body experience. I hated that I had such a loss of control. I tried so hard to push the anger back down inside me, but it was so profound that I was unable to.

I ran over to the metal table I was previously lying on, picked it up with one hand, and threw it at the window. The window had a large crack branching off into several smaller others. I was left astounded, panting, adrenaline pulsing through my veins. I had no idea where this newfound strength came from; one minute I was feeling extremely angry, the next minute I was picking up a three hundred pound, solid metal table and throwing it at a window.

I walked around the length of the room, pacing, and my brain on overdrive. Not only was I happy to have this new power, but also very terrified for I had no idea how to control it. I walked over to the glass window and started punching at the cracks. When I was done punching, I noticed the glass was stained with blood, my blood.

At the sight of my blood and the big hole I left in the window, I felt dizzy again. I felt like a freak. I couldn’t do this. I screamed, a scream so that was so rage filled that it shook the very foundation of the building I was standing in. The hole was so enormous that I climbed through it to the other side.

The observatory room was small with tiny computer and television monitors watching me from each wall. There were three black cushioned office chairs that sat in front of the window. In front of the chairs sat a dark brown mahogany desk, freshly Pledge glazed. The mix of the furniture and the technology did not look cheap. On the table there were three Aquafina water bottles, and a yellow-paged notebook. The notebook had many scribbles and notches on the paper that were unidentifiable to me.

I put my hand on the seat of each chair; all of the chairs were warm. The people who were watching me were probably not far off. I had a feeling they left when I began to get enraged.

I heard a noise behind me, and I jumped so high that I hit the ceiling. I slammed back down to the ground, so hard that my whole body felt the reverberation. I can still feel it to this day.

A man walked into the room wearing a stereotypical white lab coat of a scientist. He saw me sitting on the ground clutching my head and smirked. I grew, once again, angry. I stood up, predatorily, “So, what am I to you? An experiment?” He laughed. “You think this is funny? Do you enjoy making innocent people into freaks?” I snarled at him.

“Honey, you were a freak before I even touched you.” He said it as if it were a normal everyday thing. Had he done this before? How many people would have to become freaks before this man would come to justice?

I ran at him, so fast that he could not register the fact that I was barreling headfirst at him. I tackled him and started pummeling him with my fists. When my anger was pounded back down into my heart, I stopped beating the lowly scientist.

When I was done, he had bruises all over his face and chest. His nose and lip were bloodied, and he was barely breathing. I looked at him just long enough to see the lights going out of his eyes. I stood up from straddling his chest and became bewildered.

My mouth gaped open. I could not believe I just killed a man. “I’m a monster,” I muttered, putting my hands over my mouth. I ran through the open door into the hallway. The long white, fluorescent-lit corridor looked formidable. The lights hurt my eyes, since I was just in the low-lit observatory. I ran down the corridor, fast as lightning, all the while making sure no oncoming dangers were close.

As I neared the end of the hallway, I noticed a door with an exit sign, but as I was running towards it, something stopped me in my tracks. There was a mirror on the wall, and as I looked at myself I saw black and brown speckled feathers folded behind my back. I clawed at my back, thinking a bird latched onto me, or some kind of sick experiment, intent on killing me. However, the feathers would not leave my back.

Remembering what Xavier had said, I pushed my shoulder blades outward, and my wings sprang forth from my back. I turned before the mirror, oblivious to everything around me, trying to find new angles to look at my new wings. I couldn’t believe me eyes. My wingspan was about fifteen feet across, and they were absolutely stunning. Now all I had to do was fly.

As I walked out of the exit door, a horrible, aching pain coming from my head stopped me in my tracks, hindering my escape. “Nephilim,” a voice whispered. I screamed; as the voice spoke, the pain intensified, growing instantaneously. “You are the daughter of man and fallen angel; you are an abomination to the world.” I fell to my knees, losing my mind, grasping my pounding head.

I looked all around me and saw hundreds of scientists in white lab coats coming at me in every direction. They were screaming, each a different curse upon their lips, a murderous glint in their vulture like eyes.

Maybe I wasn’t an experiment; maybe this was who I am. I just had to embrace it. “Xavier never loved you.” I grew furious; that comment had hit home. Xavier had to love me.

“Get out of my head!” I screamed, shaking my head. As I screamed, a force field of energy radiated from my quivering body; about half of the scientists dropped dead right where they were standing. The other half grew even more furious that I had murdered their fellow colleagues, and they were also scared, being witnesses to the astonishing power I had just showed.

“Freak!” they screamed, entrapping me, trying to send me back to their prison of a laboratory. I searched frantically, trying to find a way out of the mob. I saw, right in front of me, a cliff.

I ran, as soon as there was an opening in the horde of scientists, to the cliff and jumped.

As I was falling from the cliff, a few things became quickly clear. First, Xavier wasn’t here. Second, if Xavier loved me so damn much, then he could’ve saved me; he would’ve searched the ends of the earth until he found me, but he didn’t, as far as I knew. If Xavier wasn’t here, then where was he?

I looked at the fast approaching ground and figured it was about time. I pushed my shoulder blades out and back, and I spread my wings. Thank goodness there was a strong wind that day.

I began coasting on the breeze. It felt amazing; there is no way to describe the feeling of flying. I could try to, but it would sound forced and not from the heart. I flapped my wings and aimed my body weight upwards. As I swerved, I was awkward at first, but I finally got the hang of it. I kept flying up towards the other side of the cliff face, where hopefully there would not be anymore murderous scientists.

It was a long way up the cliff. I hadn’t realized how far down I had fell. When I finally got up to the top, I tucked in my wings and fell gracefully to the ground, landing in a crouching position. I felt totally ecstatic, like I just drank one too many glasses of white wine with my spaghetti dinner. Every nerve in my body was alive and buzzing, quite like I was on fire, but much more pleasant.

When I finally found a sense of calm, I looked around me to observe my surroundings. I was in the desert; it was midday, and it was hot, very hot. The sweltering sun was beating down on my bare back. My wings were so darkly colored that they were transferring heat to my skin. My bare feet were smoldering against the hot yellow sand.

After standing in the blazing sun for a few moments, I decided I needed to get home. My father was probably looking everywhere for me, and if I tried to stop somewhere it would end up being too much of a risk. There were just too many people.

I ran until I gained a constant speed, and I took off. I flew faster and less clumsy this time. Flying was less awkward. I flapped my wings with voracious gusto, happy to once again be free.

People think freedom is having the right to free speech, bare arms, or press, but what they don’t realize is that freedom is flying. When you’re flying, you aren’t stuck to the limitations of the ground. You have the freedom of the sky.

After flying for an hour northward at about three hundred miles per hour, I spotted my small town of Trinity. About forty-five minutes ago, I had left the desert and had entered the temperate climate of Ohio that I once knew. It was strange, however, that there was a desert near Ohio. Knowing the scientists, it was probably an experiment gone wrong.

I slowed down as I spotted my big white house. I flew a little closer to the ground near the driveway and drew in my wings dive-bombing to the ground. I looked at the driveway. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary.

I walked to the door and wiggled the doorknob, expecting to find it locked, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was unlocked. I hurried up the steps to my room, wanting to change my clothes, not wanting my father to freak out when he saw my hospital attire and newly obtained set of wings. I grabbed a pair of jean shorts that accentuated my long legs, and I grabbed an old baggy Led Zeppelin band t-shirt, trying to hide the lump on my back.

I checked myself in the mirror before I went downstairs to make sure nothing was showing, and as soon as I confirmed that everything was adequately covered, I padded down to the living room. “Dad?” I yelled out. “I’m home. Listen, Dad I’m sorry. I had an unexpectedly late night, so I stayed over at Josie’s house.”

I prayed he didn’t call her to make sure I was telling the truth. He wasn’t in the living room, so I checked the study. I opened the door to his study and found Xavier and Scott holding knives to my father’s throat, as he was strapped to the chair.

“Hello, Cassandra,” said Xavier, saying my name agonizingly slow.

“We meet again.” Scott raised his eyebrows at me. He jerk my father’s head back, “Say hello, James.”

“Hello, Cassandra, dear.” Scott jerked his head towards me, so he was looking at me. His face was covered in bruises and cuts; it made me sorrowful. If only I were home this would have been prevented.

I stalked over to the two men, “What the hell did you do to my father?”

Xavier spoke, “The same that we will do to you, and your father will get to watch.”

“Oh, grow a pair.” I looked at him, hate filling my soul, transmitting through my eyes.

Scott looked at me, “I’m sure you of all people know that he does, in fact, have a pair.” He wiggled his eyebrows suggestively. I wanted to slug him.

I walked towards them, “Let me make myself perfectly clear,” I lowered my voice, sounding murderous. Scott and Xavier looked taken aback for once second, but they then proceeded to put on their arrogant facades. “Touch my father one more time, and you will both be dead, whether we kissed or not,” I pointedly looked at Xavier, narrowing my eyes, showing him that I wasn’t his fool anymore.

Xavier looked hurt, so Scott threw the comeback. “How about this, angel?” He smiled at the irony in his nickname. “You take one more step towards us, and your daddy dies. Do I make myself clear?”

I sat down in the recliner and crossed my legs. “Crystal.”

Xavier spoke, “You want to know how you got those little fairy wings of yours?”

“Continue,” I said, intrigued.

“Your mother, the whore she was, fell down from Heaven because she ended up tricking all the male angels into sleeping with her. She was a fallen angel.”

“Don’t ever call Jane a whore.” It was my father who spoke this time, defensive for my mother’s sake. I hadn’t heard anyone call my mother by her name in a while.

Scott slapped him, “Shut it, James.” Scott and Xavier looked at me hoping that I was hurt by this, but I put on a mask of indifference and sat unscathed.

Xavier continued, “She met your father and mated with him. Disgusting. Angels are too noble a creature to ever mate with humans. Nephilim are abominations; they are half breeds, freaks.” He spat out the last word. My jaw tightened, as I grew angry, but I did not portray the anger on my face. “Angels are forbidden to mate with humans, so your mother took you and your father and went into hiding. She was not found until you turned twelve, and we could track you down because a local fallen angel reported that a Nephilim was spotted in your area. That fallen angel was your best friend, Josie.” As soon as he said this Josie walked into the room.

“How could you?” I whispered, feeling as if I was just stabbed in the back. She walked over to Xavier and kissed him full on the mouth.

When they were done, Xavier started again. “See what you don’t understand is that there was a prophecy telling of a Nephilim that had extraordinary power. This Nephilim would end the Angels hatred of the Nephilim race. Scott, Josie, and I, all fallen angels ourselves, could not let this happen. Nephilim have dirty blood and should not be allowed to intermingle with angels. We set out to find this Nephilim and your mother. When we found you mother, we cast her to the lowest levels of hell, where no one will ever find her.” He paused for dramatic effect and took Josie’s hand.

“We kept an eye on you while you grew up to make sure you weren’t a threat. Josie posed as a little girl and grew up as your childhood friend. I played with your emotions, and I found you were more of a threat than you looked with your fortune telling visions and rage filled passion. I figured you were more trouble than you looked, so we tried to dispose of you. We were trying to drive you mad at the laboratory.”

I laughed, a cruel and harsh laugh, “Why not just have killed me when I blacked out?”

He ignored me, “Your father knew too much, so we came back here to dispose of him as well. Scott has really just watched from the sidelines this whole time. He wanted to meet you once before we killed you. He was a client of your father’s for some imaginary financial trouble, but your father is smarter than he looks. He knew something was up, so he forbid Scott to ever see you again.” He finished and folded his hands in his lap, as Josie and Scott stood holding knives to my father’s throat, doing Xavier’s dirty work, while he sat and watched.

“This was all because of some stupid prophecy. Did you ever stop to think that maybe this was never actually meant to happen? Maybe some kid was messing around with a magic eight ball. I mean really, guys. Come on. I pegged you as smarter than that.” I laughed. Just the fuel I needed. Everyone looked furious. Now was the time. “Scott now!” I screamed.

Scott threw me one knife, and before anyone could react, I shoved it into Josie’s heart, silencing her forever. Scott whipped fast around to the back of Xavier and held the knife to his throat. “Any last words?” Scott asked.

Xavier sneered at him, “This isn’t over yet, Scott.” Xavier evaporated out of thin air and was gone.

“I’m so sorry, Cassandra.” Scott held me.

My father just looked at us, “Hello?”

“Oh, sorry, Dad,” I said. I untied him from the chair. “Guess Xavier didn’t know we knew all along. We make a good team.”

Scott looked bashful, a first, “Sorry for slapping you or injuring you in any way Mr. Cleed. I had to or Xavier would have suspected it. How did you know it was him when you first saw Xavier, Cassandra?” he asked me.

“The way you described him to me when I was younger. You told me to play dumb around him, so I wouldn’t get hurt.” I touched Scott’s arm. “I’ve been ready for this all my life, Scott. If I’m the one that should fix Heaven, then so be it.”

“I’ll get rid of Josie’s body. We can’t really kill her, but setting the body on fire will get rid of her for a couple hundred years.” Scott set her body on fire and soon the house caught on fire, also. We ran out of the house, avoiding the fire that could prove fatal.

“So what now?” asked Father.

Scott answered, “Now we find another place to hide. We will be on the run for the rest of our lives until we kill Xavier.”

I sighed, not looking forward to killing the guy who made me feel so alive, but he did hate my guts. He was also dating my best friend behind my back, so maybe this would be a sweet kind of revenge, but as they say, no revenge is sweet. It comes with a cost.

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