The Guild – Chapter 18 – Kaitlyn

The torches spring to life on my command. At the bottom of the steps, I flood the room with torchlight-sized flames. There will be no shadows to hide in this time. I walk between the pews, my fingers grazing over their ancient wood. I step over the fallen pulpit, and into the crypt area. I study each corner, but I’m alone.

“Rhoan?” I look at the little bird on my shoulder. “You said you knew him, but how? Did you know him like you know me?”

The bird flies over, perching on the stone hand. “Yes. I was his familiar, as I am now yours. He was the one who created me.”

I gasp, “He made you? He could create life?”

“Yes, though he only did it twice.” He muses, “Though, I admit, the other time was much more mundane.”

I walk over to stand by the coffin, “He made another thing, like you?”

Rhoan chuckles, “No, Kaitlyn. He had a child. With a woman. I’m sure you’re familiar with the process.”

I blush, “Of course I am. You made it sound like something else.” He caws a laugh. “Why did he make you?”

“Loneliness, I think.” He sits on the hand, “He was a well loved figure, but I’m not sure many people really got to know him. The two of you have a lot in common, actually.”

I tip my head, “Is that why I keep dreaming about this place?”

He doesn’t say anything, staring at the stone carved face. I try to be patient. I glance at the indent on the slab, and take off the necklace. As I thought, it fits perfectly. Rhoan looks down at it, and back to the face.

“Rhoan.” I snap, “Why am I dreaming about this place? How did this pendant appear out of nowhere? What aren’t you telling me?”

“Markus had a family.” He says softly, “He hid them from the Guild, to keep them safe. When things started going wrong, he hid the key within his bloodline, to keep it away from people that would abuse it.”

“I don’t understand… How did I end up with it?” Rhoan turns to stare up at me. I frown. Wait… He hid the key within his… “Am I… Are you saying that I’m related to him?”

“If there were any doubts before, that necklace proves it.” He replies simply.

A scream echoes down the staircase. I grab the necklace and make a break for the stairs, vaulting over the pulpit. I take the steps two at a time, thoroughly out of breath by the time I reach the top. Kaede and Ryan are standing over the coffee table, gawking at… an empty couch?

“What’s wrong?” I demand, leaning my hands on my knees, trying to catch my breath.

Ryan turns with wide eyes, “It’s Andrei…”

“He friggin jumped!” Kaede bursts, “He lit up all blue and glowy!”

“And he said to tell you he’s sorry. Why would he be sorry?” Ryan asks, confused.

I stare at the empty couch. My mind goes blank. He jumped… I have no idea where he went, or when he’ll make it back. He wasn’t kidding about it always happening at really inconvenient times… I look down at the pendant in my hand and gulp. I hope I can keep this thing safe on my own.

Maybe the only way to be truly safe is to get one step ahead of your enemy. I clench my fist and turn to Kaede, “Keep working on the library. Odds are, he’ll appear here, whenever he comes back, so keep watch.”

“Aye aye captain!” He salutes, “Wait, do you mean sleep too?”

“If you have to.” I brush past them, and pause, “Where can I get one of those phone things.” I point to the little device on the table.

“Pho- It’s a cell phone, girl. I can order you one right away.” He plops down and starts typing away.

“Okay. I’ll get it when I come back.” I head for the door as Rhoan lands on my shoulder.

“Uh, hold on, can a mailman deliver here? Or does mail come like it does in Harry Potter, by owl?”

I stop at the door and frown, “Don’t be ridiculous. Owls can’t fly across the ocean. I think there’s some sort of set up with the international delivery system, but you’ll have to check.”

“Okay.” He picks up the phone, tapping on the screen.

Ryan jogs after me, “Hey! Wait for me! What are you going to do?”

I glance at her from the corner of my eye. “I’m going out into the human world. I need to find out where Logan is hiding.”

“But isn’t that dangerous? I mean, we’re not full Guardians. We’re not supposed to leave without a Guardian.”

I lift my sleeve, flashing my tattoo, “Speak for yourself, but I’m not planning on going alone.”

“Wait! When did you get one of those?!” She gasps.

“About five years ago.” I laugh, “What, in all the gossip around here, they forgot to mention that little detail? How interesting.”

“Well… Yes.” She hangs her head, looking ashamed. It hardly surprises me. I know how the rumor mill works around here.

I check the cafeteria, the dorms, and finally I head to the training room. Ryan struggles to keep pace, but she doesn’t give up. I have to give her credit for effort. In one of the training rooms, I peek through the window and see who I’m looking for. He’s standing in front of a bunch of animal sculptures, staring very intently.

I crack open the door, “Hey, are you busy?”

He spins around, surprised. He tries to block our view of the animals with his massive size. “No, nothing to see here, not busy… at all…”

I raise an eyebrow, “Relax, it’s not like we caught you having sex or anything… Right?”

Ryan sputters, and coughs, “Right.”

“Anyway, I need a favor.” I lean against the door, holding it open.

“What is it?” He asks.

I fidget with the crystal, “I need to go back into the real world.”

He raises an eyebrow, suspicious, “What for?”

“Information. I can’t find the answers I need here.” I try to avoid dropping names, hoping he won’t go running to the Headmistress. “It won’t take long.”

“And you need me?” He perks up at the idea.

I smirk, “Well, I’m hoping you’ll scare away any trouble.”

“Count me in! I’d love to see the outside world, get a change of pace.”

“Great. First thing tomorrow morning. Meet me at the portal. Dress warm.”

“You got it.”

***

I stare out at the ocean, jeans tucked into my boots, a thick wool sweater over a t-shirt, and my pleather jacket. Ryan shows up dressed all in black, with her leather trench coat over her arm. Cliff joins us last, wearing a huge sweater, a knitted scarf, and gloves.

“Where to?” He asks excitedly.

“Canada.” I reply simply. That’s where I found him last time. I grab the handle, my tattoo flares. We walk through the door, and out into the back alley of the museum. Luckily, there’s no guard this time. “Come on. Try not to get lost.”

I grab a couple different newspapers on the way into the subway. As we travel to the north end, I skim through the papers, looking for anything suspicious. According to reports, all but three of the missing students have miraculously returned, bruised but otherwise okay. They all had the same story, about a crazy guy in a suit with monsters. They suspect drugs were involved. Of course they do.

Unfortunately I don’t find anything else. My only other lead is the warehouse. I didn’t have a chance to check it out last time I was there, on account of the gas. I hope it’s cleared by now. Rhoan helps me find the way back, when I start to get lost. This time we find the gate, and it’s wide open. I chuckle under my breath.

I head toward the big bay doors, where trucks would have brought deliveries when the place was in use. I open the access door to the left, and line the hall with lights before moving in.

“Why are we here?” Ryan asks, looking around with her nose scrunched.

“This is where he was keeping the students,” I answer, not really paying attention.

“That’s horrible!” She whines.

“I still don’t know what he planned to do with them.”

“Hold on,” Cliff stops just inside the door. He kneels down, brushing dirt aside on the floor. “I think there’s a ward here. It seems to be triggered by movement.”

“Crap.” I groan, “Okay, new plan. Ryan, how good are you with the smoke? Can you keep the two of you hidden?”

“Of course! I’m a master at smoke screens.” She grins.

“Great. We’ll need to find an open room, fast.” I jog down to the nearest door, but it’s jammed. I move to look for another, when Cliff grabs the handle, and slides it open like nothing. I purse my lips and stare at the door. Is he really a man or a bear? We may never know.

We slip into the empty room, and Cliff pauses to draw some symbols on the floor. They spark, and then the floor rises and melds into three spears, with razor sharp arrowheads. I move to the back of the room, in the shadows under the dirty windows. I watch the open door, and the second door on the right.

I wave for them to move behind me, “Ryan, smoke. Cliff, if you can, a barrier?” I wave my hands, trying to gesture to put it in front of me. He nods once, and they meld into the darkness.

A man steps into the open door, his navy suit without a single wrinkle, and not a single silver hair out of place. He tips his head with a crooked smile. “Hello Kat. You’re looking well.”

“No thanks to you, Logan.” I scoff.

He chuckles, “Your new friend forced my hand. You know I wouldn’t hurt you for no reason.” He angles his head down, looking up with big, sad blue eyes.

“I’m not here for fake apologies.” I glare at him. “Where’s the book?”

He leans back, raising an eyebrow. “Oh, is that what this is about? Well, I’d be happy to take you to it.” He takes a few casual steps closer.

I fight the urge to bolt. “It doesn’t belong to you. You had no right to take it.”

He laughs, “No? I thought everything was shared at the Guild! I merely borrowed an old book.” He creeps closer still. I feel the panic rise in my throat.

“Those stingy, stuck up hags have no more right to it than we do. You’ll see, when you meet the Master. He will open your eyes!”

He reaches out to grab me, but freezes. His hand bounces off an invisible wall. I let out the breath I’d been holding, but try to remain composed. “I told you before; I’m not going anywhere with you.”

“What is this?” He taps the wall, “This is impossible, you can’t create barriers!”

“You’re right.” I nod, “I can’t, but you see, it turns out you were wrong about the Guild.” I hold my arms out to the side, waving the others forward. Cliff steps out on my left, and Ryan on my right. “Apparently, I’m not quite the monster you led me to believe.”

Logan’s eyes grow wide as they trace over the intimidating form of Cliff. From the corner of my eye I note his expression is particularly grim, “You are no longer a recognized Guardian of the Guild. You will return what you stole.”

“I’ll ask again; where is the book.” I grit my teeth.

He narrows his eyes, and smirks. “You think these people are your friends? You think that once they see what you really are, they’ll stick around? I’m the only one who’s always been there for you, Kat. Remember that.” He backs away slowly, reaching into his pocket, and tossing something on the floor. “When you do, come find me.”

We watch as he walks out the door and turns the corner. Cliff runs after him, but returns quickly, “He’s gone. He must have been teleported again.”

I rub my forehead, hands trembling. Why does he have this effect on me? I thought I was stronger than this…

“What does he mean by ‘what you really are’?” Ryan mocks, “You’re a Guardian! He has no right to talk like that to you.” She pauses. “He’s not a Guardian too, is he?”

“He was,” I mutter.

She places a hand lightly on my shoulder, “Hey, are you okay?”

I sigh, “Yeah… I’m sorry I put you guys in danger. I should have known better.”

“Nonsense, it’s good that you brought us with you. He didn’t know we were here, so we had the upper hand. We know he is definitely working for someone, and we know the book isn’t here, it’s with the Master, whoever that is.” Cliff reassures me. I don’t really feel better about it.

“Well, he’s a creep.” Ryan scoffs, crossing her arms. “Why’d you sleep with him to begin with?”

“Whoa!” I snap, eyes wide. I can’t believe she just asked me that. “What the hell?”

“Oops!” She claps her hands over her mouth, “Sorry!”

She looks at Cliff, who simply shrugs, “It’s not my place to judge.”

I grumble, “Seriously, why does everyone seem to fixate on that? It’s not like it was my idea…” I shake my head. I brush past the loudmouth and kneel to pick up what Logan threw. It’s a small piece of paper, with gold lettering.

“What’s that?”

“I think it’s a business card.” I hold it up to the light.

    Logan Tryst

    Executive Assistant

    ABS Incorporated

    New York City, New York

“Let me see that.” Cliff asks, though not in a forceful way. I put it in his outstretched hand. He nods as he looks it over, “I will look into this company.”

“Actually…” I stand up, “I was going to ask Kaede to check on his computer. He seems pretty good at finding real-world information.”

Cliff nods and hands me the card, “That is a good idea. He is capable of finding things quickly.”

I slip the card in my jeans pocket, “So, since we’re here, why don’t we make sure he didn’t leave anything else behind?”

“Okay!” Ryan chirps, “Should we split up?”

“No.” I snap, a little too fast.

She frowns, “But he’s gone, isn’t he?”

I cough, “There’s no telling if he might come back, for one thing, and for another, you’re not supposed to be out here on your own. So, no, we stick together.”

She reluctantly agrees. We spend a couple hours, checking the place top to bottom. Other than the evidence of where the students had been held, we don’t find anything. Well, except the bodies of those beasts we fought the other day. I think Ryan almost threw up when we looked in there. After that, I decide it’s time to go. I pause in the door leading to the outside where Andrei and I had escaped last time.

When the other two are safely outside, I hold out my hand, and let the magic flow from my fingertips. Fire sweeps across the floor, hungrily covering the corpses littered around the room. I let it flow for a while, making sure it catches all of them.

“I don’t think it is wise to cause too much destruction.” Cliff muses, standing behind me. “We want to remain unnoticed. Logan has already caused a stir in this world by abducting students.”

“I agree,” Ryan looks around, “We don’t have any passports or aliases. If we got caught for arson then we’ll also be charged for not having ID.”

I smirk at her, “We have no matches, no lighters, no accelerant. Humans are sticklers for evidence. How would they prove we had anything to do with it? Besides, by the time they find this, we’ll be long gone.” I slip between them, heading back around to the front of the building. I lob a few more fireballs through broken windows as I pass, as a little extra fuel. I can’t believe how exhilarating it is to burn something on purpose for once. I could watch for hours, but we don’t have that kind of time.

“There could be witnesses.” Cliff chides.

I shrug, “Who would believe them?”

“Let me at least put up a barrier, so we are not easily seen.” He offers.

I glance around the empty lot, “I don’t see a point. There’s no one here, and we’ll be gone in a minute.” He shrugs, shaking his head.

“What about cameras?” Ryan adds.

I frown, “If there were cameras, I’m fairly sure Logan would have gotten rid of them. He was here for weeks without being found.”

We stop to get some coffee on our way to the bus stop, and take the first train back downtown. Ryan’s right about one thing; we won’t be able to cross the border into New York without passports. Besides, we’ll need to prepare. I let Cliff open the portal this time.

“Okay, I’m going to head over to the library to give this to Kaede. Thanks for coming with me. I guess I didn’t really think that through.” I scratch my cheek, feeling guilty again.

“Thank you for taking us with you. I mean, it’s been a while since I, or we have been out, and it was kinda fun.” Ryan blushes.

“Even though it was a serious mission, it turned out well for us, and the Guild. We have new information. I will tell the Headmistress that we have a lead on Logan’s location, and will look further into it.” Cliff states, sort of half talking to himself.

“Why do I get the feeling I’m going to get a lecture later?” I groan.

Ryan chuckles, “Well, I should check in with my teacher. See you!”  Then waves and heads down the hall.

I go my separate way from Cliff about halfway to the library. I relish the few minutes alone. Well, almost alone.

“That was quite reckless, Kat.” Rhoan scolds.

“You were there.” I retort.

“Kaitlyn.” He growls.

“Yeah, yeah.” I wave my hand. “I really didn’t think he’d go back there.”

“You should always expect the worst, and be prepared.”

“I agree. That’s why we’re going to do some research before we go to New York.” I pull open the library doors, and find Kaede where I left him. Though, to my surprise, Caroline is sitting next to him. “Hey, how’s it going?” I call out.

“Oh, Kat!” Caroline jumps to her feet, “Kaede told me about your plan! How did it go? Is everyone okay?”

I force a smile, “Of course, why wouldn’t we be?”

“Well, you know… When the L guy is involved, anything seems to happen.” She smirks, grabbing my hand, “I’m glad you’re okay.”

I stand in front of the couch and hesitate, “Y’know, it wasn’t all that eventful, though the place was pretty dirty. I was thinking of taking a bath, if you care to join me?”

Caroline’s eyes light up, “Oh I’d love to!”

“Great.” I grin. She runs around the table, giving Kaede a peck on the cheek quickly. I dig into my pocket and watch her skip down toward the doors. I drop the card on his keyboard. “He left this behind. Think you can find out some information on the company?” I ask quietly.

He picks up the card and smiles. “Of course I can. I’ll have it for you by the time you’re done your bath.” He pauses to pick up something off the table, “Your cell phone came in, by the way, while you were gone. I had it on express delivery.”

He hands me a rectangular device, longer than my whole hand, the front entirely touchscreen. On the back of the black case, is a picture of fire. I raise an eyebrow.

“Personal touch I thought you’d like. It’s already set up and ready to use. Your number is typed in the notes app. I’ll send you a text with the info a.s.a.p.”

“Thanks.” I turn the phone over in my hands. How hard can it be to learn to use?

Rhoan slides down my arm and hops onto Kaede. “I think I’ll wait here.” I hear Caroline tapping her toes, so I slide the phone into my back pocket and catch up to her.

We stop by our dorms to get a change of clothes, Caroline chatting the whole way. She rants about her teacher, putting her through some new, crazy training. I laugh and shake my head. How does anyone learn from that guy? Any of the other professor’s I’ve worked with have been so normal in comparison…

In the change room, I put the phone into a locker with my clean clothes and my wallet. I don’t know why I didn’t leave them in my room, but I guess I wasn’t thinking. I leave my dirty clothes in a pile on a bench. There isn’t anyone else around at this time of day. I take a quick shower to get the dirt off my skin and wash my hair, then I wrap a large grey towel around my torso and head into the steaming bath.

It’s actually in sort of a greenhouse, so you can see outside while you bathe. It’s a lot brighter than the last time we came in here. I climb into the water and sit next to her. “Warm enough?”

She nods, “It’s perfect.”

I sit in silence for a moment before I get bored. “Hey, why don’t we practice a little?”

“Okay,” She smiles, “Um, I’ll try moving the water around like I was taught this morning.” She closes her eyes, waving her finger in a circular motion. The water in the bath starts to move, swirling into a small whirlpool at the center.

I grab onto the edge, even though the pull isn’t overpowering. “Wow, you’re learning pretty quick!”

“I know, right? Once you got me to stop overthinking, it sort of clicked!”

I laugh, “Now all I need to do is get Andrei to understand that. I was showing him some healing magic yesterday and it was like pulling teeth!” She giggles. “He managed to do it, which was a relief. He even sort of made a little fire, but not quite as well as Ryan.”

“He never finished high school. I don’t think he likes conventional learning. Being told what to do is hard for him. At least, that’s what Kaede tells me.” She muses, “So, if he can do other magic, other than time that is, would I be able to as well?”

I shrug, “Probably. Most people can master two or three schools, usually related. I imagine you’ll be able to branch out into Ice and Steam fairly easily. Beyond that, well there’s only one way to find out.”

“Wow, I couldn’t even imagine any of this a week ago. It’s rather exciting!” She grins, “Can we try now? Or is it too early?”

I roll my eyes, “I told you, everything here goes at your own pace. If you want to try something new, by all means, go for it. How about this;” I hold out my hand and create a little flame, “Try to freeze it.”

“Freeze it?” She gawks. I nod. Her brow creases as she thinks about it, “Well, by the properties of water, I should be able to freeze water by slowing down the particles’ movements. So… Maybe if I…” She holds out her hand, creating a ball of water around the flame slowly. The water starts to cool around the fire, but then it fizzles, cut off from a supply of oxygen.

“Good try, but you’re thinking again.” I tease.

“But… Fire doesn’t freeze.” She pouts.

“Says who?” I wiggle my eyebrows and wink.

“Well, the laws of physics…”

“Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t those also say that a girl can’t move water with her mind, or create a flame out of nothing?” I point out bluntly, “Leave your science at the door, Caroline. It doesn’t apply here.”

“Fine.” She grumbles, “Let me try again.”

I make another flame, and watch her face scrunch as she stares at it. The temperature in the air around us drops a few degrees, and the water isn’t as hot anymore. She starts shaking and then falls back against the edge, blowing her bangs up. “I can’t do it.”

I put the fire out and lean back. “That’s okay, no rush. Maybe just focus on getting the hang of water before you try branching out, hm?”

“Yea…” She sighs, defeated.

When my fingers start to prune, I figure I’ve been in long enough. I’m sure Caroline could sit in here for days. “I’m done.” I announce as I stand up, wet towel drooping heavily.

“Oh, so soon?” She asks, then gasps. I glance back, curious. She stares with wide eyes, hand over her mouth. “Kaitlyn… How’d you get those scars?”

I flinch. I guess I forgot she didn’t know. “Um… Y’know… Everyone has scars.” I try to play it off. “It’s not a big deal.”

“Not like that, Kat, and those certainly aren’t self inflicted…” She bats her eyes, “ You can tell me.”

I sit on the edge of the tub, hugging the towel around my chest. I look at the wall, “It was Logan, okay? He likes to… experiment.” I nearly gag on the word. After just one night with Andrei, I now realize how twisted Logan is.

Caroline purses her lips “That is definitely twisted. Sadistic, even… Were you romantically involved?” She asks gingerly.

I raise an eyebrow. She’s not freaking out nearly as much as I expected. “Who told you that? Ryan?”

“Well, she did tell me about some awful gossip, and I told her it was rude. I obviously have to ask before I believe it… but Kat, even if you weren’t, that’s still wrong! You shouldn’t let anyone touch you like that. Your body is sacred, even to yourself. Which is precisely why I won’t let Kaede sleep with me until I’m certain about where our relationship is heading.” She huffs.

I can’t help but laugh, “Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t enjoy any of these things, but it wasn’t always like that. Sometimes he was almost sweet…” I shake my head to dispel the memory.

She frowns, “But, why did you let him do it?”

I chew the inside of my lip, “I don’t really know. I guess I was afraid that if I didn’t, he would leave, and then I’d have no one.” I rub my neck anxiously, “I mean, I know it doesn’t seem like it now, but things were different then. No one talked to me, they barely looked at me. I didn’t know that what he wanted wasn’t normal.” I remember what Andrei said in the training room and blush, “I know better now…”

“You always have a choice Kat. No matter what kind of mind games someone tries to play with you, the choice comes down to you and if you make the right one; the one true to yourself, then what ever happens, at least you were in control.” She pauses, “Like, when I found out I had magic. I had a choice whether to join the guild or not – to leave my university or not, and I didn’t just choose it because you said he’d come after me. I choose it because it felt right, even Kaede could have chosen to leave me because of that, but he didn’t. If he had, I would have understood. I wouldn’t ask him to abandon his life for my sake. Andrei, on the other hand, he’s always been alone, except for Kaede. His parent’s always tried to help but they could only take so much of him disappearing. The schools stopped believing he had a health condition. So he quit. But even then, he had a choice to study on his own, or accept defeat.”

I wonder how she can talk so fast without taking a breath. “I get that now, but where were you when I needed to hear it ten years ago?” I laugh, hoping to break the tension. “Trust me, I already got the lecture from Andrei a couple days ago. It’s not like I can change it now. I’ll always have these to remember a lesson learned the hard way.”

She raises an eyebrow, “He’s been gone a while again. You okay?”

I flush bright pink. “W-why wouldn’t I be?”

“Oh, no reason. Just, you two have been pretty close lately.” She shrugs, “Wait, what if there was a way? I mean, you said the laws of physics don’t apply to magic, so, why can’t magic heal the scars? What if we used science and magic together to heal them?” She stands up, excited.

“I guess it’s possible. Most of these scarred because I used my magic to heal them. It’s a side effect, because my fire is so strong. So, someone else would have to try.” I hold out my left arm, “See, this is where Andrei healed that cut from the other day. No scar.”

“Kat, I want to research this. I’m going to ask my professor about healing with water, and maybe we can talk to Andrei when he gets back. I mean, even scientifically it would make sense if water could help, because the body is made up of seventy-three percent water. Right?!” She splashes in the water, bouncing excitedly.

I look down at myself, pale skin pockmarked with pink lines. I’ve gotten sort of used to them by now, they only seem to make other people uncomfortable. Though, I noticed it seems to upset Andrei quite a bit. Then my mind wanders, and I wonder if Logan would be furious if I erased them. The thought makes me smile.

“Okay. Let’s do it.”

Caroline climbs out next to me, and gets a little grin, “Oh, and I know Andrei is totally crushing on you. I think you two would make a cute couple.” She winks.

I snort in spite of myself, “I certainly hope so, or that would make things a little awkward.”

“Oh? Why?” She tips her head curiously.

“Um…” I clear my throat as I get out of the bath. “Cause… He kind of stayed in my room the night before last…” I mumble, then run out the door, giggling.

“What!?” She shrieks behind me.

I laugh louder. I hope she doesn’t kill him when he gets back… The door slams against the wall and I hear her feet slapping on the tiles. I grab some dry towels and try to dry myself off quickly, but she spins the corner as I pull my jeans up.

“What do you mean he stayed the night?!” She demands, “Tell me the truth or I will get you wet!”

I hold my hands up, “Okay! Sheesh… The night that Logan attacked, I asked him to stay because I was scared. Nothing happened then, but the next night, I asked him to stay again, and… things happened.”

“What kind of things?” She pulls the water out from her hair, holding it out as a threat.

I roll my eyes. “Sexual things. Do you want a play-by-play or something? I seduced him. Is that what you want me to say?” I snicker, “What’s the big deal?”

“God no! I just… I can’t believe it! You move so quickly. I still…” She blushes. “I still don’t think I could.”

I grab my t-shirt and pull it over my head. “Honestly, I don’t see what the point of waiting is. It’s not like sex is this mystical, mysterious thing that you can only do with your soulmate. It’s just fun, and, now I know it’s even better when your partner isn’t a total asshat. I think you should really consider it, because you’re missing out.”

She seems to chew over my words, “Do you know if Andrei feels the same? I mean, I don’t believe it’s something you should just throw around lightly, and Andrei is very careful about those kinds of things. I know he’s dated, and he flirts, but…” She hesitates.

“But?” I ask, not sure I want the answer as I put my wallet and phone in my pockets.

“But did you ask him?” She asks finally.

“Ask him what?”

“How he feels about… sex.” She hisses the word.

I scratch my head, “I mean… I asked him if he wanted to, beforehand. Does that count? I know he was a virgin before, but really, it didn’t seem like it.”

Caroline sighs, letting the water fall away. “Whatever, I guess it’s up to you guys. I’m just a little surprised.” She opens the locker next to me and starts to get dressed.

“I’m equally surprised that you’ve waited two years, and you refuse to even share a bed. Sleeping next to someone is comforting, you know.” I gather up my dirty clothes, “Kaede is a really good guy. You shouldn’t take that for granted.”

“I might be, but I’m a light sleeper, and Kaede pretty much wrestles in his sleep. I was afraid it would interfere with my studies.” She admits.

I burst out laughing. I can just picture it. “Well, it’s not like you have to worry about deadlines here, but I guess I can’t blame you for wanting some peace.”

“I’ll think about it though. Thanks, Kaitlyn.” She smiles. I shrug. I only said my opinion, but if it helps her and Kaede evolve their relationship, that’ll be cool.

 

By Krystyna Yates

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