(Notes from me are footnoted and explained at the bottom!)
"Dammit dammit dammit shit!" I came out of the pool and spun around, flinging water drops everywhere. Adele laughed even though I was spraying her.
"Ivy, I did warn you," she said, in that know-it-all voice I detested. I purposely flicked my braids at her, trying to make it look like an accident.
"Now don't you go acting like it was my fault," she continued. "I told you if you didn't make it back by six, the pool would be shut for an hour. Cecily and Roger needed it."
"Fuck Cecily and Roger." I thought Roger was a dick anyway, and Cecily was an idiot for wanting to marry him. I knew getting knocked off the schedule was my own fault, but it didn't help me feel any better.1
"Well, you better go find Weaver, or you won't be the only one in a funk," Adele warned.
"Weaver can bite my ass," I mumbled as I flew up out of the trapdoor. I didn't mean that, but I didn't really care. I was in a foul mood and no one had the right to make me be civil. However, Adele was right. The whole reason I was pissed was that I wanted to fly with Weaver at sunset like we usually did, and I didn't like when my own negligence screwed up my promises. It wasn't like I could blame traffic or something; it really was my fault I'd been late. Which made it all the more aggravating.
When I came up into the main floor, I didn't see Weaver, which was surprising because I imagined he would have been tapping his foot, waiting for me. I checked his room on the off chance that he was taking a nap, but he was nowhere to be found. Maybe he was pissed I'd taken so long and was hiding out somewhere, waiting to ambush me? I checked his closet, but it was empty except for a bunch of dirty magazines and a can opener. I decided not to imagine what that meant.
Frustrated, I hurried around to the bedrooms of some of my more aware roommates, all of whom said they hadn't seen Weaver in or out. I even checked the kitchen, pausing to eat a graham cracker when I didn't find him there either. Then I hit on it. Of course! Weaver had decided to punish me for my inconsiderate behavior by going off on his own. It wasn't as if he needed me in order to enjoy a sunset from the sky. No telling where he might be now. That made me angrier, if that was possible.
I went out in the living room, sulking, and noticed that more than the usual number of roommates were congregated there. And they seemed to be directing most of their attention out of the window.
"Ivy, whaddaya think?" asked Zoe, who had her nose scrunched up against the window. "We leave the kid alone, or is he bait?"
"What are you talking about?" I demanded. I went to the window, used my teekay to shove a couple people out of my way, and looked out. Then I groaned.
"Uh-oh, you don't look happy," Peyton observed.
"Why the fuck wouldn't I be happy?" I yelled. "I get stranded in New York sitting by a filthy cesspool and then I come home and I can't find Weaver and then I can't go flying because some kid is sitting on MY beach. That sounds like a perfect day to me! Goddamn!"
"I am out of here," said Zeke, and he left the room, followed by a few other roommates, all looking edgy. A little bubble of satisfaction burned in my ribcage. I liked that my temper frightened them. But I didn't like that there was a freaking kid on my beach. We didn't have most of the usual players for our little act, so if I wanted him to clear off I'd just have to go kick him out myself.
I left the house and went toward the figure on the beach. He was down near the shore, just waiting for the sunset. If he thought he was in for a nice peaceful time, he could forget it. Why would he park his punk ass in front of my house anyway? That could be dangerous for us, not to mention I just didn't like sharing. But even though I was in one of my fouler moods, he didn't deserve being unexpectedly bitch-slapped into the ocean, as was my first intention. I even took great care to avoid possibly scaring him, in case he turned around; I kept my feet on the sand, and decided I'd give this one civil go. Just one.
As I got closer my ears picked up a low sound, he was mumbling under his breath, though I couldn't make out the words. Hmm. Not exactly your usual sight-seer out for a romantic stroll. Mostly they came out in groups or occasionally just in couples, never alone. And this kid looked a bit small to be alone. Or maybe not, all I could see was the back of his head. It might have been the fading light but his hair looked blue to me, reminding me of one of Ruben's dye-crazy friends. I wondered if he knew I was even here, he hadn't acknowledged me yet. My steps had to have made some sound. I wasn't in the mood to be ignored.
Civility out the window, I opened with a zinger. "What the fuck are you doing here?" Might as well get straight to the point. "Go away!"
Most people probably would have jumped, or apologized about trespassing or whatever. This kid got on my nerves immediately by turning his little head around to glare at me, just as cool as can be. Not worried at all, even though I could bruise him so hard his skin would match his hair. He looked me over in that unashamed way I was used to, and I stared straight back. I figured he had to be eligible for some stupidity medal when he answered me.
"No, I'll leave in a few minutes. You go away!"
Ho, he was sassing me. On my beach, in front of my house, he was telling me to go away. This was not going to happen.
"I said now! Get the hell out of here!"
I observed unhappily that he was not getting the hell out of there. He just stood up with surprising ease, faced me, and got right up in my personal space like I didn't scare him one bit. This little kid, trying to outclass me or something when his fluffy blue hair couldn't have tickled my nose. He didn't look tough, but his expression said he thought he could take me. I was used to that from big stupid men, who thought no skinny girl could pound their asses into orange juice, but this boy undoubtedly weighed less than I did, likely I could blow a wind on him and he'd collapse. What was he doing standing up to me?
"I told you I'd be gone in a few minutes," the kid said, his eyes carrying an unexpected seriousness. "I'm not hurting your precious beach. Now leave me alone."
I stood there, dazed for a second. He really was trying to hold his ground! I had to remember I didn't hold much of an intimidation factor over this guy, he didn't know what I could do. Any one of my roommates would have run the other way at my attitude, and as a huge contrast, there was this pompous asshole acting like he could do anything about it if I decided he needed to be hurt. It took me a second to recover. Yeah, I thought, Let's see how well he holds his ground when his feet aren't on it anymore. Anger shot through my body, billowing out in waves that I managed to soften into a wind around us. When the sand stirred I decided I liked that effect. I moved in closer to heighten the intimidation factor.
"Now you listen," I said, with superiority dripping from my tongue, "I told you to leave, and I meant now! So walk your little ass out of here! If you don't. . . . " I paused for effect, enjoying the drama, "well, I can promise you'll be sorry."2
"Excuse me?" he shot back immediately. "Is that really supposed to scare me?"
Well, yeah, I was thinking; my threats often led up to serious injury. But now he was saying something that ceased to amuse me.
"Am I really supposed to be intimidated by some freakishly tall elf who--"
His mouth shut like a trap when I jerked him into the air, up out of my immediate presence. My anger climbed so that it felt hot on my face. I lifted him higher, thinking how dare he say that? I'd been so eager to get the jerk off my beach that I hadn't thought about covering up, and now my embarrassment made my face burn hotter, probably tinting me red to the conspicuous tips of my ears. Calling me an elf was unforgivable; I was going to send him to Hell. In pieces.
Now I had him. I ascended, slowly to show him I was now in control in a way he'd never imagined. I could feel his accelerated heart rate vibrating his chest, telling me I'd obviously surprised him no matter what cool act he'd managed before. Strangely enough, he didn't start thrashing around like most people did when I levitated them; most people tried to scramble for any semblance of something to grasp or sit on, even when they'd been expecting it in some capacity. This guy: None of the above. Just a startled soul who could have been made out of wood in the air, except for the telltale heart hammering away. Didn't matter, though. He was toast. Time to put the butter on and eat him up.
I floated up to his level, basking in the air so he could see how easy this was for me. I drifted in a nice little circle around him, like a lioness who's caught her prey. I smiled and said, in my sweetest voice, "See? I warned you. Now this is what you get." He was catching his breath, and looking surprisingly angry instead of freaked out. I continued anyway. "Now, I'm going to give you one more chance. I'll let you down slowly, and you can say you're sorry for being a dick, or--"
"Or what?" he broke in. I fell silent, completely baffled at his attempt to assert control when he obviously had none. "You'll drop me? Is that it? Well, go ahead and drop me!" The anger was boiling now, he was really pissed at me. "There's no way in hell I'm apologizing to you! Besides, I don't think you have the balls to do it!"
Was this guy a robot? How could he not be pissing himself right now? I didn't get it, and it totally threw off my usual response repertoire. "Uh . . . look, are you sure you understand what kind of shit you just got yourself into?"
"I understand it perfectly," he said crisply, obviously calming down, like he had an ace up his sleeve. What could it mean? "You are trying to scare me. But it won't work. It's not like you'll really drop me."
Those eyes were daring me now. Well, what was I waiting for? I couldn't just hold him up here and threaten him all night, and have him laugh at me. That would be impractical and boring. So, shrugging, I set out to prove him wrong and loosened my hold on his body. I was going to catch him, of course, once he fell almost to the ground. And I'd set him on his way quaking with fear. But first he'd have to fall. And that wasn't happening even though I'd let go five seconds ago. Three words popped up in my mind, flashing in neon lights: WHAT THE FUCK?
I'd dropped him. And he wasn't falling. My energy was tucked securely around myself and nothing else, and my eyes told me nothing was holding this smug jerkoff up. My brain refused to process that, it was like some hideous nightmare.
"See? Told you you didn't have the balls to do it," he taunted, at ease now. What? He thought I was still holding him? Was he caught in an alien tractor beam or something? I . . . I wasn't doing it! No way!
He started rambling on about how I should have left him alone so we could have saved our energy, and then demanded I lower him to the ground. How could I? I wasn't touching him! But then he started sinking anyway! Sinking just as if I was doing it! If any of the roomies were still watching from the house, they wouldn't have been able to tell that I wasn't just setting him on the ground myself. When he landed he made a sarcastic comment, "That wasn't so hard, was it!" and then he began stalking off like something was settled.
I was paralyzed in the air, with my teeth clenched tight, my fists rolled in little balls, and my teekay clamped sharply around me. I shut my eyes and shifted my energy so it rolled around my body, trying to feel if there was something wrong with how it was moving. There didn't seem to be anything missing, no unthinkable numb spots or bizarre quirks. I felt like always, except that I was just shocked to the core.
Where had that kid gone? I came back to myself and shot my gaze around the ground, trying to make the most of my vision with squinted eyes. I prayed that I would spot a flash of his telltale blue hair through the trees, so I could grab for him, get some answers out of his smart little mouth. Oh, boy, was I angry. And confused. And . . . I didn't know what else.
I came unfrozen and drifted over the trees a bit, surprised that he had gotten out of the area so fast that I couldn't find where he'd gone to. Normally a human would be simple to spot on foot. But then it occurred to me: Was he really a human? Or maybe . . . was he the same as me? I shuddered and stared into space until my eyes went dry, and Weaver had to come get me and urge me back inside. I went right to bed and slipped into a welcome sleep, hoping as I drifted off that my dreams would make more sense than what had just happened to me.
1 I wrote this part because in Jeaux's version of the story, Ivy was awfully rude upon her opening. Normally she would not be quite that angry toward someone who was just sitting on her beach, so I figured I had to make her in a bad mood already. So, here she's missed the passage back to her home and had to wait an hour. Aww, poor pissed-off Ivy. [BACK]
2 I took her responses more or less verbatim from the way Jeaux wrote them in his, but for some reason I don't think she'd say "walk your little ass out of here." I can't isolate why, so I left it in. [BACK]
We tossed our ideas about Avry and Ivy back and forth so many times that there's absolutely nothing about the interaction that I can isolate as "wrong." Jeaux knows Ivy pretty well. Yay.
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