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  • Prose 2:

    “She loved him so. But it wasn’t enough. Somehow, it never seemed to be.”

  • Chapter 9: Annabeth and the Prophecy

    Chapter 9: Annabeth and the Prophecy I stood in front of the large mahogany doors once again, but I didn’t move to open them and neither did Jake. For a moment we just stood there. I don’t really know why Jake had paused, but I was trying to feel out the vibe, the same as Lexy, who was just a few feet behind me. The air seemed heavy and I wasn’t really sure how I was going to handle this. I turned my head slightly to look at Lexy. She had a straight face, and for the first time since we got here, I realized that her eyes had dark circles and her face was paler than normal, but she stood there next to Seth, looking ready to fight. When she realized I was staring at her, she gave me a small smile and nodded encouragingly. I could feel that she was also scared of what was lying behind these walls. She was listening to everything around us, that much was obvious, but what she was hearing, I had no idea. I just hoped it was nothing too bad. Regardless of any of that, I still had to go through that door. So, I took a deep breath and moved to do it. But before I could Jake gently pushed back my slightly raised hand. “Let me,” He said quietly. I shrugged and lowered my hand, and he took a deep breath before opening it, which made me realize it wasn’t just Lex and I feeling whatever we felt, the boys could feel it too. “Ladies and gentlemen, Princess Annabeth and Lady Alexandra,” Jake projected into a room that was much brighter than the hallway, making it hard to see into at first. Then as I moved in, I saw a long rectangular table, full of people and at one head, was a large red velvet chair in which my mother sat at and at the other there was a large green velvet chair in which a man with dark brown hair sprinkled with grey, glasses and a beard sat. I felt my nerves taking over when I realized that he was probably my father. I gave a curtsy, and the room lit up in applause. I stood up, feeling taken aback, but then I remembered what Lexy had said about being confident. So, despite wanting to shrink back through the door, I smiled and gave a wave. I don’t know what I necessarily thought would happen, but I didn’t expect the people who had been sitting to get out of their chairs so abruptly and practically throw themselves at me. I shot Lexy a panicked look, and she immediately stepped in front of me, and surprisingly so did Jake. This didn’t really stop anyone from trying to touch me though. It felt like an eternity before my mother clapped her hands, and exclaimed, “Enough! Let her breathe!” The people immediately backed up and returned to their seats. They had acted like wild animals yet they seemed to be part of my mother and father’s royal counsel, and I couldn’t get over the strangeness of it all. “Please, sit Annabeth.” My mother directed, motioning to the chair next to her. I nodded, doing my best to not show my nerves, but for the first time this all seemed real. I wanted so badly to look back at Lexy. I wanted her to give me another encouraging smile. I wanted my best friend to tell me I was doing good. But I knew I couldn’t. I was young, but I wasn’t stupid. I knew I needed to at the very least appear capable even though I knew full well that I wasn’t. I moved to sit down as gracefully as I could. I was well aware that they were all watching my every move. I could tell by the sound of footsteps behind me that Lexy and the guys were following me, but there was only one seat, for me. When I reached the chair, Jake moved swiftly in front of me and moved the chair out for me. “Princess,” He gestured. It was weird. He was being polite. I know it was because he had to be on his best behavior in front of my parents, but it weirded me out. I wanted his snarky comments back, and the way he said Princess in a demeaning tone. This all felt fake. I sat despite the fact that I didn’t feel as though I belonged. Lexy stood behind me, just to the right of me, as if to be a buffer between my mother and me. “Let’s get started,” My mother stated. “Does anyone have any questions for my daughter, Princess Annabeth?” I felt my gut clench. I had no idea what they could possibly ask me, but I had a feeling that it wasn’t going to be as simple as what my favorite color was. I mean, none of them knew me. I only found out about this other world yesterday. I felt very poorly equipped. “So what’s your plan to defeat Vivian?” The lady sitting directly across from me asked. “Um what?” I stuttered. “The prophecy says you will defeat Vivian. What is your plan?” “I’m sorry, what prophe-“ I started, but Lexy cut me off. “That is not for anyone else’s knowledge but the Princess’s and whom she specifically wants in on it. If we give away her plan, it will get back to Vivian and nothing will come to fruition.” I turned and looked at Lexy, feeling extremely grateful to have her by my side in all this. I literally had no idea what the prophecy was, and I really didn’t think Lexy did either. But she was Lexy, and she was brilliant. And even more importantly, I was super proud of her because she didn’t stutter or stumble over her words once. But then I looked around the table and I saw everyone sitting with their mouth’s open. “You do not get to cut off the Princess, you swine!” The woman across the table shouted as she stood up in front of her chair. “She is right,” My mother stated in a flat voice. “You are not to talk over my daughter.” I felt Lexy tense behind me, but her face was blank, except for a pink hue, tainting her cheeks. “Lexy has a point though,” I defended nervously, “If I give away our plans, then we would be in more danger. She did nothing wrong.” “She is from a family of traitors!” My mother bellowed. “She is one of the most genuine kind people that I have ever met!” I shouted back. And I had never shouted at anyone in my life. “You do not get to decide that she is worthless.” “Actually, I do,” My mother grinned. “Part of this meeting is to decide what we do with her.” “What does that mean?” I questioned feeling incredibly heated. I had never been one to anger quickly, however this was my best friend they were talking about as if she was garbage. “It means we decide if she and her siblings are banished or not.” Before I could even respond, Lexy’s voice sent chills down my spine, “I don’t think you want me as an enemy, Your majesty.” “Is that a threat?” My mother demanded. “No.” Lexy answered. “It’s a truth. I can help. I have been Annabeth’s best friend for years. But if you banish me, you lose more than your risking keeping me.” “How?” It was my Father who asked. The very first thing I had ever heard him say. And for the first time I felt Lexy was panicked, the way she got during presentations at school, so I spoke instead. “She is brilliant. You lose her, you lose her brain, which you would severely miss. She sees the angles. She’s a mind-reader. He gift in itself is useful. She can feel things others can’t. She takes care of people without a second thought. She could have left me in a house full of strangers, but she didn’t. She could have left her sisters behind, assuming their parents were taking care of them, but she didn’t. She already attempted to trade places with me to trick Vivian to save me. And it gave me more time than I would have had otherwise to try and escape. She may not be royal, but she’s got a good heart and a good mind.” I paused taking a deep breath before continuing. “If you banish her, Vivian will find her. And Vivian would probably force her to turn on us. She would never hurt me, but the rest of you? I don’t know about that. Especially if she doesn’t agree with your choices. I wouldn’t wanna be on her bad side, you’ve never seen what she’s capable of.” I held my breath once I finished. I could feel the tension in the room, and it felt like I was being suffocated. Finally, a lady down the table spoke, “We will confer, and let you know. Until then, she can leave while we discuss.” I felt the heavy resign Lexy was feeling as she and Seth made their way around the table and back to the door. “Wherever she goes, I go,” I stated firmly like she had earlier as I stood up to follow her out. “You are making a mistake, Annabeth,” My mother tried. “She is from traitors. She will only betray you.” “Maybe,” I replied. “But I trust her more than I trust anyone else in the whole world. And if she gets banished, then I do too. If she walks out, I do too. My best friend deserves respect. And I won’t stand for anything else. Decide what you want about her. But know if you lose her, you lose me. Come on Jacob.” For the first time I felt the confidence that Lexy had told me to. I was being bold for the first time in my whole life. Something I didn’t really know how to be. I was used to sinking into the background, but suddenly everything was on me. Jake looked hesitant, but he followed me out of the room, nonetheless. “What did you just do?” He hissed at me when the giant mahogany doors shut. I wasn’t really listening though. Instead I walked right up to Lexy and wrapped her up in a hug. “Are you okay?” I questioned, pulling away and looking at her closely. She was tired, that much was obvious. But there was more than that wrong. I could feel it in my soul. But she gave me a smile and changed the subject. “So what now?” She asked. “We go wait, I guess.” I responded. But suddenly Jake was pushing me up against the wall by my shoulders, which I was quite certain was highly illegal. “Do you have any idea about what you just did?” He demanded angrily. “Clearly, whatever it is, I don’t care,” I answered, full well knowing it came out more than just a little snarky. “I won’t be used for someone else’s problems. I won’t let my best friend be banished for something she didn’t do or have any control over. I also don’t want to be a part of something so judgey and awful.” “You could be killed if continue to speak up like that!” He exclaimed. “Oh, so you do care?” I baited. “I –“ He stuttered, a pink hue sinking into his cheeks as he backed off. “They can’t kill her,” Lexy finally spoke up. Her eyebrows were furrowed as she was either thinking or listening to something. In fact, I’m not even sure she had noticed Jake had shoved me into a wall a few moments ago. “Not if she’s the one they think is the one the prophecy is about. It was a bold move, that’s for sure, but it also sets the tone for everything. They won’t try to undermine her again. Not like that anyway.” The far away look in her eyes disappeared, and I looked to see both Jake and Seth looking at her in disbelief. “What?’ She asked, looking confused about what we were all staring at. “You sure about that?” I asked. She shrugged. “About 90%,” She responded. “Well okay then. Let’s go home.” “We don’t have permission to go back to the base.” Jake stated uneasily. “Do I look like I care about permissions?” I answered, feeling more sassy than I had ever felt in my life. “You look like someone who is being an idiot,” Jake grumbled. “Maybe,” I answered, walking toward the stairs to go back to the room they had given me to change. “But at least I’m not a pushed around idiot.” I then linked arms with Lexy, and the two of us just chatted like nothing here really mattered. It was like we were walking home from school. And nothing had ever happened. We we’re almost to our rooms when a man from the meeting called out my name. He seemed out of breath. As if he had ran all the way from the meeting room to here. “Yes?” I questioned trying to sound confident still. “The Queen requested you to take this with you to your room. She knows you must be nervous, so it’s a tonic for the nerves.” Suddenly, Lexy swatted it a way, knocking the glass to the floor just as I went to reach for it. She gave me a deathly stare and said in a low voice, “Don’t take drinks from strangers,” Before demanding, “What was that? What are you trying to influence her for?” The man had dark, almost black hair, and his eyes were green and mischievous. He cocked his head staring at Lexy who stood in front of me protectively trying to figure her out. She was a wild card, and she was what gave me an upper hand in everything. She was my best friend, and she was brilliant. I never doubted her loyalty to our friendship for a second, ever. Sure, we had fights, but that’s what made her different. She cared about me, no matter what. And here she was saving my ass from whatever poison was in that glass I had almost been dumb enough to drink. “You think you’re so clever,” He sneered. “But you are just a child. And the palace is no place for children to determine our fate!” Lexy, being the person that she was, rolled her eyes! She literally rolled her eyes. Like you have got to be kidding me. This girl had a flair for dramatics, but you know, this guy was a heck of a lot bigger than her, and she was practically taunting him when he was already threatening us. I had a bad feeling about what was about to happen. I started backing up, pulling on Lexy’s dress just slightly by her hip to get her to follow, which she did. Funnily enough though, she didn’t seem scared to me. In fact, I hardly recognized the girl in front of me. She was someone with a heck of a lot more guts than the girl I had ever known. Suddenly, the guy pulled a sword from his belt, and held it just inches from her throat. I stifled a gasp and began to pull on her again, but this time she didn’t move. “Do it,” She stated calmly, but it sent chills down my spine. “I dare you.” I then felt myself backing up, moving slowly as Jake guided me away. But I wanted to scream. I think Jake knew I wanted to too because he slipped his hand over my mouth. I watched Seth move standing just off of Lexy’s shoulder. He was trying to reason with the man, but I couldn’t hear what he was saying. And Lexy just didn’t move. If she was scared, she didn’t show it. “Come on,” Jake muttered in my ear, opening a door, just as I saw Lexy reach to take his sword. What happened, I wasn’t sure, because Jake was pulling me into a corridor that hadn’t existed a moment ago. It was barely big enough to fit one person’s width, and I felt immediately claustrophobic. “Wait!” I exclaimed, “What about Lexy?!” “She can hold her own,” Jake said through gritted teeth, just pulling me along. “We can’t just leave her there!” I stopped. “She’ll be fine,” Jake repeated, doing his best to turn toward me in the small amount of space. “You don’t know that!” “I do. Because she’s one of the greats. It’s in her blood. She’ll be fine.” “That literally explained nothing.” I reproached. “Her family was once very prestigious. And they turned their back on the Royal family. They were the best warriors in the world for hundreds of years. It’s in her blood to be great.” Jake explained. “You know science doesn’t work like that.” I said after a moment. Jake just shrugged and kept pulling me along. It felt as though we had been walking forever. And I had touched more spiderwebs than I ever cared to admit. And I suddenly it dawned on me, a question I hadn’t even thought to ask. “Where are we going?” I asked after a stepped on a board that seemed highly unstable. “This is the castles secret tunnels. They run all over the land of Calina. No one knows they exist except for a handful of people.” “Then how do you know they exist then?” I questioned. Jake let out a chuckle. “You don’t believe I’m one of the handfuls of people who are supposed to know?” “Nope.” “Well you’d be right. I grew up in the castle. I heard a lot of rumors about them and I found a lot of passageways, solely by being incredibly observant which is also how I go this job.” “By breaking into places you weren’t supposed to be?” “No.” He chuckled. It was the first time I’d truly seen him crack a smile, let alone laugh. “By being incredibly observant.” “Makes sense I guess,” I responded, as we began to climb down some rickety steps. “Believe it or not, I know a lot about you Princess, I’ve been working near you in secret for years.” “Really?” I couldn’t keep the surprise out of my voice. “What exactly do you think you know about me?” “Well, for one, I know that you would do almost anything for Lexy. She’s been your best friend since you moved. You spent nearly every day at her house, having dinner with the enemy for the better part of the last 3 years.” I felt my gut clench at the realization. “Do you think they knew who I was the whole time?” Jake gave me a weird sideways look. “Truthfully?” “Truthfully.” “I’m honestly not sure.” He surprised me again, “They never hinted that you were an enemy. Potentially, they could have been doing it to get close to you. It’s like common enemy 101 class, right? Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. But they never showed any of that. I wouldn’t have even put Eric in league with his sister. I mean they had disappeared off the map when she began gaining power. The fact that you were ever able to find them is beyond me.” “I don’t know. It’s kinda weird. Lex just gets me. And I get her. It’s like we were supposed to find each other. Maybe it was fate.” Jake looked surprised. “You believe in fate?” It was my turn to shrug. “I believe there are forces out there that are bigger than me. Everything happens for a reason. And Lexy and her family, I knew or know them for a reason. I don’t know how I would survive anything with out Lex.” Jake nodded, finally coming to a stop. “This is where we exit.” He stated. “Okay?” Another wave of confusion hit me, “Where exactly are we?” “You’ll see. But you have to change.” He gave a mischievous grin and grabbed a bag that I hadn’t noticed sitting by the door. “I think you’ll find this a little more comfortable. I’ll turn around.” “No peaking!” I exclaimed ripping off the beautiful red dress that was almost certainly ruined already. And I wondered what on earth I had gotten myself into. And would I be able to get myself out?

  • Mistakes and Compassion

    We all make mistakes. It's human nature. It's part of growth. It's something that happens to everyone. But most people are afraid to make mistakes, and even more afraid to own up to them. We're so afraid of what others will think. That they'll judge us, or worse, be mad at us. And some mistakes are definitely worse than others. However, we all make our share of regular mistakes and really big mistakes. But, I guess the thing about mistakes is that we all have them. They aren't blemishes like society has made us think. They aren't failures. They're things that have to happen for success to happen. They have to happen for us to grow. And they might make us feel bad in the moment. I know I've made plenty of mistakes in my time, from finances to how I've handled situations or spoke to people. But the idea that we have to be perfect is unrealistic and detrimental to our mental health. If you look at a mistake as a blemish. As something that should have never happened. Are you beating yourself up after? Are you telling yourself that you aren't worth shit? And just negative self-talking in general? You shouldn't be. This idea of being perfect is completely unachievable. I think the idea of even striving for perfect is crazy. Don't get me wrong, I completely believe that growth is important. But I also believe that without mistakes, we can't even dream to grow. There doesn't need to be a punishment for mistakes. We do not need to punish ourselves. We need to use it as a perception changer, and grow from it. Use every mistake, small or large to learn. And become better. Your worth, does not change if you make a mistake You are not less, despite what society says. I also think that we have to hold each other accountable for our mistakes. There has to be a safe space where people can own up to the things they've done wrong without major consequences. We jump on each other so frequently about failures and not living up to expectations, did we even see their point of view? Did we stop to try and understand what happened? Just as mistakes help people grow, so does compassion and understanding. We can be those safe places for people. We can be their safety nets, whether it's emotionally or even physically. Everyone goes through hard times, and it's sometimes hard to remember what it was like when we were in a hard time and be there for others in their mistakes. And big mistakes need the most compassion. Those incapable of love, need love the most. Those how act irrationally, need someone to say that this is a safe place, you don't have to be defensive. You don't have to be scared. I will listen. And I will help however I can. I think growth comes on your own and with supportive people. And the people who love you despite your mistakes and failures are the people you want to hold onto. Sometimes mistakes take work, and mistakes taking fixing. I think people would be more willing to open up and own up if they were met with compassion. I think meeting mistakes of others with boundaries is also important because if you don't then you can get walked all over, and that's no good either. We have to care about both sides, and remember that sometimes what's best for us isn't what's best for the others involved and that can be challenging to remember. However, the point of us this is just to remember mistakes are human. We all suck sometimes. We all have moments when we don't make the best decisions or do our best work. We all hurt people sometimes. It's not ideal. It hurts. But you are human. And your mistakes don't make you less human. You are still brilliant. A shining star that everyone can see. So hold your head up and remember these feelings. Grow from it, and make sure you meet other peoples mistakes the way you would want them to meet yours. Till Next Time, C

  • Chapter 8: Lexy and the Welcome Crew

    Chapter 8: Lexy and the Welcome Crew I left the dining room to take my sisters to where Alex had said they could spend their days. I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of leaving them so soon, but I didn’t see that I had much of a choice. I had a feeling I was failing them just as much as my parents were. But still, I closed the door and moved to the small table in the kitchen and laid my head on my arms. Being around so many people was so draining, and I didn’t have any extra energy to spare. My focus had to be on protecting my family, not small talk. “Hey, you alright?” I looked up in surprise to see Seth standing on the other side of the round table. “Perfect, Seth.” I replied shortly. “Are you still mad at me?” He asked. I looked at him. Honestly, I didn’t know what I felt toward him. I wasn’t angry. I was hurt. I was hurt that he had the audacity to just show up in the middle of my life just flipping upside down. The audacity to show up after all this time and act like nothing had happened. I didn’t get it. But at the same time, I had way bigger things to worry about than him being back. “So, what are you doing here Seth?” I felt resigned to ask. He hesitated. “We really don’t have to talk about that right now.” “Oh, really? Because I am mad at you. And until I know what happened. What I did wrong, I can’t –“ “Wait, hold up,” He cut me off, and leaned over the table so he was just inches from my face. “You didn’t do anything wrong. I didn’t cut off contact because you did anything wrong. I did it because I had to.” “That doesn’t explain anything.” I responded, laying my head back down on the table. “Hey are you ready?” Jake walked in, Annabeth just behind him. “Yep,” I responded, jolting up again. “Wait, where are you going?” Seth interrogated. “To the Castle,” I replied simply. “Ha,” A girl that I had only heard about laughed as she walked in, “They’re going to get themselves killed as soon as they get to Calina.” “Calina?” “Jake!” Both Annabeth and Seth exclaimed at the same time, Annabeth in confusion, and Seth in panic. “Don’t worry, Seth, Annabeth won’t get hurt. She’s with Jake and I,” I smirked, full well knowing what he meant. “She’s not who I’m worried about,” He muttered, his cheeks turning pink. “No one is going to die,” Jake rolled his eyes. “They’ll be fine, but if you want to come be my guest.” “No!” I disputed, but Seth was already running through the door to change into an outfit I would assume to be similar to Jake, who was wearing a long sleeve button down shirt with a tie and khakis. When I realized it was too late, and my opinion was irrelevant, I turned my attention to Annabeth’s barely asked question. “It’s where were supposedly from.” I explained quietly. “Your family rules there.” “Right.” She said slowly. “So, how do we get there?” I shrugged. I wasn’t really sure, and I didn’t really care either. It was what it was, whatever it was. “I’m back!” Seth exclaimed breathlessly. I couldn’t help the chuckle that escaped my lips or the fact that I was slightly amused. His blonde hair was ruffled, and his blue button-down shirt matched his eyes, but in his rush, he had missed a few buttons, and his tie was crooked. “Oh my goodness,” I sighed as I stood up. “Help?” He asked. I rolled my eyes, but I was already moving toward him. In that moment, he reminded me of the little boy I had known my whole life. Except we weren’t little anymore. “Oh.” A voice interrupted whatever moment we may have been having. I looked up to see Alex staring back at me. Since I had met him just days ago, he had continuously had the same intense look on his face, and I hadn’t seen him smile once. “We’re almost ready,” I answered reading his mind. “Last minute addition.” “Seth wasn’t invited.” Alex grappled. “No, I invited him,” Jake replied. He had his tough guy persona on, but I could hear the uneasiness in his thoughts. “I hope you know what you’re doing Jacob,” Alex glared. “It was me who invited him,” I butted in before Jake could answer. “I wanted someone I trusted to be with us and not lead us into a trap. I don’t know Jake, but I used to know Seth. Don’t take offense, but I still don’t trust you.” “Point taken.” Alex stated, still tense, but his voice was calmer. “I’ll alert the castle to let them know he’s coming.” “Why couldn’t you have done that in the first place?” I retorted, suddenly feeling frustrated. “You don’t call the shots around here,” Alex snapped frustratedly. “Hey, take it easy,” Seth stepped in, pushing me slightly behind him. “I can take care of myself,” I stated in anger, pushing him back behind me. “I may not call the shots, but I am in charge of my own fate. So if you wanna try talking to me again, please go ahead, or I won’t be sticking around.” Alex had the nerve to look sheepish and muttered an “I’m sorry.” “That’s what I thought,” I replied more to myself than to anyone. “Lexy.” Annabeth said through gritted teeth and wide eyes. “I told you,” I replied, “I will not be treated like dirt.” “Alright, enough!” Alex shouted over the room full of murmurs. “Lexy was right, I apologize. Now open the damn portal before the Queen has a heart attack over you being late.” Jake nodded solemnly, and I couldn’t help but struggle to fight the tears I felt burning in the back of my eyes. “Are you okay?” Seth whispered in my ear. “Fine,” I responded, pushing all my feelings deep into my soul. One day, I would have to deal with them, but today wasn’t that day. Seth didn’t push it, and it was then that I realized Jake had opened a portal right there in our kitchen. “Whoa,” I heard Annabeth breath, and I moved to stand closer to her. I grabbed her hand and gave it a squeeze. She looked at me gratefully, but I don’t think she even realized I was there until I had grabbed her hand. “It’s going to be fine.” I told her quietly. “What if they don’t like me?” She asked, I could feel her nerves. “Hey, I’m the insecure one, remember?” I joked. She let out a little laugh, but nerves were still freely flying off her. “If they don’t like you, then that’s their loss. You are more than enough just as you are.” I reassured her. She gave me a small smile and I gave her hand another squeeze. “Ready?” Jake asked, looking at us with an uncertainty I hadn’t seen him have yet. “Ready,” Annabeth and I stated at the same time. Jake motioned for Seth to go through first, and then for us to follow. Annabeth gave me a nervous look and I tried to give her a smile as we moved forward. I was just as scared to use the portal as I had been the first time, but I jumped first pulling Annabeth in through it after me. It was just as strange the second time as it had been the first time too. I felt as though I was being pulled and stretched and then put back together. But this time, instead of landing flat on my face, I was able to land on my feet. “Welcome,” A woman with dark wavy hair, and a long beautiful red lacey dress[CC1] , that cut sort of just jaggedly across her chest. The resemblance was uncanny. I was staring at the older version of Annabeth. “Your majesty,” Jake mumbled lowly as he bowed. I looked over to see Seth do it too, so Annabeth and I followed suit, but I had a weird feeling about it. I didn’t know this lady. I knew she was the Queen. I had found out everything I could before I had come in the last days. I knew she was a leader of the world I had just entered, but I wasn’t from here. And bowing to someone I didn’t know much about, felt strange to me. “Mr. Jacob Graening, Mr. Seth Steele, Miss. Alexandra Marks, and Princess Annabeth Hawkins,” The man who stood next to her and I assumed was a servant stated. “Seth Steele, you weren’t on the list for today.” The Queen stated, sounding almost a little bored. “It was for the comfort of the girls, Ma’am.” Seth responded, and maybe just I noticed, but he sounded a little nervous. “Hm,” The Queen all but huffed, looking down on me and Annabeth for really the first time. Instead of looking at the queen though, I turned my attention to Annabeth. I could hear the disappointment going through her head. Her mother hadn’t even looked at her until that moment, and it wasn’t the warm, loving look I think she expected. She had never known her mom, but I knew she had waited a long time for this moment, and it wasn’t what she thought it would be. “Walk with me, Annabeth, darling,” The Queen said after a moment. Annabeth nodded, but the Queen hadn’t waited for a response. I wanted to grab her hand, like I had so many times in our lives when things got scary, but that wasn’t an option. We had to appear strong, or we would be eaten alive here. And that wasn’t something I wanted at all. So, instead, I gave her a small smile of encouragement and took the first step. I jumped in surprise when I felt a hand on the small of my back, and I turned to see Seth. He gave me a small smile, but it felt forced and nervous. In fact, it felt like everyone was nervous, but for some reason, I wasn’t. It felt like I was not where I belonged necessarily, but I was in the right direction. “Lex,” Seth whispered in my ear and I turned again to look at him. He motioned his head slightly to the right and I followed with my eyes to see many people in the hallway just stopped and staring. It was only then that I felt out of place. I didn’t have nice clothes on like everyone else. I was in jeans and a t-shirt, and both were dirty. I also was well aware that my hair was not as neat as I usually kept it. However, I decided there was nothing I could do about it right then, so I just held my head up and ignored the scrutiny I was under and kept walking. Suddenly we stopped. For a moment, we just stood there staring at these large mahogany doors that were closed. “This is where we enter, and you children stay behind.” Annabeth sent me a panicked look, so before I could stop myself, I spoke up. “Wherever Annabeth goes, I go.” My own voice surprised me. It was serious, and almost cold. A tone I hadn’t used before, even in anger and frustration against my parents. “You are not dressed properly. You shouldn’t even be here looking like that.” Annabeth’s eyes were wide with fear, but I wasn’t backing down. “Well then maybe our rescue mission should have been sooner so all of my things wouldn’t have been destroyed.” I snapped. The Queen took a step toward me. I could tell that she was rarely challenged, and she certainly was not expecting it to be by child. “Are you going to be a problem child, Alexandra Marks?” I knew I might regret what I was going to say next, but I had already decided when this new life began, I was not going to be a pushover. I had loved ones to protect. “Maybe. If Annabeth doesn’t get the respect she deserves. If she doesn’t want me somewhere, she can tell me. But we don’t know you. And you haven’t even acknowledged your own daughter since we arrived. So anywhere Annabeth goes, I go.” The Queen gave me a hard look, and I was very aware of how fast my heart was racing. And I was quite certain everyone in the hall could hear it. “You can’t go in looking like that. Both of you need to go change.” The Queen finally relented. I couldn’t help but breathe a sigh of relief, and I looked to Annie to see relief visibly on her face as well. "Jacob!” The Queen commanded. “Yes ma’am?” Jake asked as he stepped forward. I could feel his nervousness in my head, but he looked like the same apathetic person I had known the last few days. And truthfully, I was kinda impressed by his ability to appear so calm in front of that woman. “Take them to their rooms, and make sure they are dressed appropriately for the meeting of the people.” Jake nodded and gestured to us to follow. “This way, Princess.” None of us spoke as we walked. I was taking it all in and I think Annabeth was too. Everything was so grand. We passed so many rooms. Too many to count. There was a ball room that had two levels. All the doorways were arches. I couldn’t imagine how much all this very nice wood I kept seeing had cost. Or anything else I was seeing for that matter. “This is your room, Princess,” Jake said as he finally stopped Annabeth shot me an uneasy glance but moved to open the door. I couldn’t help it, my jaw dropped when I saw her room. It was a light blue color, with white trim and hints of gold. Her bed was huge, and her comforter was white and lacey. There was a desk in the corner that was white as well and on it sat what looked like an old record machine. “Oh my god,” I exclaimed dramatically. Annabeth smiled at my reaction, and she turned to Jake as I plopped on her bed. “This is my room?” She questioned in disbelief. I mean, she was right to question it. It was gorgeous. It looked too beautiful to ever be lived in. “Is it not satisfactory?” Jake furrowed his eyebrows in confusion. “No. It’s beautiful!” Annabeth exclaimed. “This doesn’t feel real though.” “Why not?” Jake asked. His lack of understanding even the basics of people was killing me. “Because we’ve never seen anything so grand before,” I replied, trying hard to keep the sarcasm and annoyance from my voice. Annabeth let out a little laugh and did a little spin around the room. I smiled too. It was nice to see her so carefree, even if it was just for a moment. “Okay, okay,” I looked to see Jake gesturing for us to ‘calm down’, but even he smiled at the sight of Annabeth’s blissful joy. “You need to get dressed to meet your people. I assume, there will be a meeting of sorts.” Annabeth’s blissful joy faded quickly. “This is your closet of choices. I think the Queen has one picked out for you already. And Alexandra, your room is actually through this door. The Queen said your room can be moved at any time away from Annabeth, but for the time being, your rooms are conjoined for your own comfort reasons. I nodded, and saw Annabeth move to look at the dress Jake had signaled to be the one her mom had picked out. She made a face but moved toward the door I think we both assumed was the bathroom. “Alexandra, your room is over there through that door. There should be clothes in there that are Queen approved.” There was the sound of distaste in his tone that I didn’t quite understand yet. Instead of worrying about that yet, there was something that bothered me more. “I’ve told you, don’t call me Alexandra. Lexy is sufficient.” I corrected as I sat up; I really didn’t want to leave her bed. It was so soft, and I was so tired. Jake rolled his eyes and Seth looked as if he wasn’t sure what his place was in all this. And truthfully, I wasn’t sure either. My room was a lot simpler than Annabeth’s, but it was still beautiful. There was no gold, but the walls were a navy blue, and there was a white four poster bed. And against the other wall was a small white desk in the corner, sitting catty-corner of my closet. It was so beautiful; I didn’t even have words. On the bed, laid the dress the Queen had personally picked out for me. It was a simple black dress with long, shear sleeves. I was all for simple, I didn’t want anything extravagant, but this wasn’t for that reason. This was to remind me that my family was on the other side, and I was the black sheep on both sides. Still, I put it on. I knew the reason behind it, but it wasn’t going to make me look weak. I had a feeling it would make me even more powerful than I already was. Whether the Queen wanted to admit it or not, she was scared of me. That’s why she was trying so hard to intimidate me. So even though I felt it a little bit, I would not be intimidated. I carried the dress with me to the bathroom, but I struggled to put it on myself. The cut on my side from the other day was killing me. “Here,” Seth said softly. “Let me help.” I turned to face him, and butterflies filled my stomach as he reached for the hem of my shirt and lifted it up. I could tell he wanted to say something, but even if I wanted to, I couldn’t read his mind. It was always hardest to read the people closest to me. “Please don’t say whatever it is you’re going to say.” I was once again standing in front of him in only a bra and my jeans. “How do you know what I was going to say?” He sounded breathless. “I still know you.” I whispered back, feeling breathless myself. I then slipped my arms into the dress and he helped maneuver it over my head. I pulled it down over my jeans then motioned for him to turn around as I lifted it back up and pulled my jeans down. I felt a searing pain as bent over to pick them up, but I just ignored it, the same as I had been. “Okay, you can turn around,” I said once I knew I could keep the pain from my voice. Seth raised his eyebrows at me giving me a questioning look, but I ignored it. “I feel like I should be headed to a funeral or grieving or something in this dress,” I joked as I began to braid my hair. “Well you kind of are, aren’t you?” He stated seriously, but he had meant it to be light. I could hear his intention in my head, and it wasn’t how it came out. “You only just lost your family and your life a few days ago. And she's doing this on purpose to point out the life you left behind, and to force you to appear grieving.” I felt the color drain from my face and my stomach drop. “I’m not grieving.” I said harshly as I pushed past him, my hair falling back. “Lex, I didn’t mean –“ I heard him call after me, but I just kept walking till I got back to Anna’s room. I took a breath trying to recollect myself, but I felt very unsettled by what he had just said. But nonetheless, this was about Annabeth, not me. “Whoa,” I stated when I saw her. She was in a long bright red dress that had a very revealing V front and a slit on the right side. She looked at me horrified. “I look ridiculous!” She shouted. “My boobs are literally out for everyone to see!” I did my best to stifle a chuckle, as I saw a blush creep into Jake’s cheeks. “You look amazing,” I reassured her. “It’s different, that’s for sure. Different than your usual, but you look just wow.” “I look like a whore,” She whined looking back at her very large mirror. I rolled my eyes. “You do not.” She then turned to me; her face very serious. “Lex, I don’t know if I can do this. This isn’t me. I don’t feel like me.” I gave her a small smile; it was all I could muster. “I know it doesn’t feel like you. But the people we were yesterday, don’t exist anymore. The you you are today is the you that gets to determine your future. I know it’s all different. But this you gets’ to be braver and bolder. This you gets to be a true leader. And that’s pretty incredible. And if you want to change, you absolutely can, or you can embrace this new side of you.” “But I look like a whore!” She exclaimed. “Why would my mother want me to go out like this?” “You look like a woman who is confident and comfortable with her own body, and anything anyone says is absolutely irrelevant. You decide who the person underneath the dress is. No one else has that power.” She looked at me with some belief on her face for the first time since we had gotten here. “You really think I look amazing?” She asked, her eyes showing light again. “Yes,” I responded, shooting her a smile. “You look more than amazing. You’ve got this.” “May I escort you back to the meeting room?” Jake asked her, but his coolness seemed to be just a bit off. “Are you going to spill spaghetti on me?” She teased as Seth crept his way back into the room. “What?” The edge was slightly back as he shook his head. “No. I promise not to spill any spaghetti on you.” He replied. “Then lead the way,” She replied. There was a confidence that she had now that I hadn’t seen since she had arrived, but I was glad to see it because mine was waning fast. I wasn’t sure if I could hold myself to this standard day in and day out. But with my best friend on my side, nothing truly seemed impossible. [CC4] [CC5]

  • Prose: 1

    “Do you miss me?” She asked quietly. “What do you think?” He snapped, before looking at the hurt on her face. “Of course I do.” He sighed. “Then what are we doing here? Why are we choosing to be sad when we could be happy? Because you make me happy. You make me A better person. And yea, we’ve made mistakes, and we’ll keep making mistakes, but that’s life. So, you do you. And I’ll do me. And together we’ll be extraordinary instead of just ordinary a part. Together we can be more. Together we can just be us. Because my god life doesn’t stop for anybody. And I don’t want to spend my days missing you when you miss me too. I don’t want to lose you. And I don’t have to. I don’t have to if we decide to just stop being stupid. And just go for it.”

  • What Writing Means to Me

    To me, writing is a way to breathe. I can sit here for hours and it comes to me like I asked for poems to dance in my head. Like I asked for random thoughts to develop into stories and for my brain come up with lyrics. It's not something that I usually have to try hard to do. It comes naturally. Like my fingers are bleeding onto the pages with all of my deepest and darkest thoughts. Every feeling that I have ever felt dances around me like I'm back in those moments again. For me, writing is a processing tool. As someone who has an incredibly good ability to push feelings away, it's important that I bring them to light sometimes, and work through them so they don't eat me alive. It helps combat my anxiety. It helps me work through my depression or at least process my depression when it passes. It allows me an escape from reality where I have a place where I am totally in control. I can write from different perspectives. I can write about different people. I can place my feelings into a totally not real situation, but still have an authenticity about it because it was something that was mine. I think that's why sometimes, I struggle to let people read my writings, especially family and friends. Because in every single word, there lies a piece of myself that I have just simply given away. And what if they don't like it? What if they don't like these real and authentic aspects of me that I rarely show, but are me just the same? What if they realize that I am completely a disaster? That I'm dark and twisty and as messed up as the rest of the world? What if they realize that they just simply hate me? Obviously, the chances of them ending up hating me for characters I create and become for a moment in time is just simply not realistic, and they have never truly given me a reason to think they would. However, when I write, I become vulnerable. The things I can't express verbally, find the paper naturally. And they are indeed pieces of me. If I couldn't write, I think I would be a lot more lost. Who would have guessed that a hobby that started in middle school would one day simply just consume my life? It has become something necessary to keep me sane, to keep me functioning. The world comes at us all so quick. There is often little we can do with the things that happen to us. But creating moments of vulnerability in writing changes the game. It, at the very least, gives the illusion that you are not alone and even if you can't relate with the story, you can relate with the feelings. To me, writing is an important as breathing. Without it, I would be dead. Without it, I wouldn't have become as close with some of my friends. Without it, I don't think I could function. I honestly don't know how people go about their day without concocting new story lines in their head, or poetry or lyrics. They repeat in my head till I write them down. Till I get them right. Do you have anything that's as important as breathing to you? Do you write? Do you paint? Do you woodwork? Make music? Dance? Play a sport? Let me know below if you have these same feelings about something that I do. Till Next Timeee C

  • Chapter 7: Annabeth and the Royal Beginnings

    Chapter 7: Annabeth and the Royal Beginnings I was awoken by a knock on my door. I looked over, and Lexy was already moving to answer it. She looked still half asleep, so I assumed she had been awakened by the knock at the door as well. She opened the door slowly. “Yes?” She mumbled. “Get up you guys, you need to get ready. We need to get to the castle.” I sighed and pulled the pillow over my head. It felt like a hundred years had passed since Lexy had pounced on me the morning everything had changed. “Come on,” Lexy grumbled. “We have to look presentable.” “We have no clothes,” I reminded her. “No,” She corrected. “I have no clean clothes. You have a closet full.” I pulled the pillow off my head and looked at her as she opened the closet. A “Whoa,” escaped my lips before I could stop it. She then pulled out a short grey dress[CC1] from the closet. It was charcoal color, with lace at the bottom and chiffon bottom. “This should be good enough to get you into the castle. After that you will need to change again probably.” “Okay…” I responded uneasily. “Annie, this is important,” She was looking at me seriously. “You are about to meet your family for the first time. We do not have room for mistakes. We are in far too deep. Way over our heads. You need to play nice. We need their support.” She looked so vulnerable in that moment it took me by surprise. The tough girl I saw last night was struggling not to fall back to the girl who was scared of everything. She was thinking ahead which was not something I was used to. She had always been a spur of the moment person. But then again, I was used to her always being prepared for those moments, so I should have expected nothing less. “I promise I will do my best not to blow this.” I told her. She nodded and handed me the dress; her game face was back on. “Annie,” She said after a moment. “Yes?” I responded. “I’m not so sure I get to play nice in all of this.” She confided. “What are you talking about?” I asked. Her back was to me so I could change. “I just mean, I think we have choices in this, but also roles. And it’s my family we’re up against, but it’s more than that. Your family has been passive against Viviana. I found that out from Alex while you were unconscious. And I don’t think I can be passive in this. I don’t want to be passive in this. I don’t want to be bossed around. I need to find my own path with this… Will you still stand by me if I do?” What was I supposed to say? No? I won’t support you in this endeavor that seems incredibly dangerous? No, I want you to stand alone even though I have no idea what we’re up against? Those weren’t options. And she was vulnerable. So, instead, I agreed and tried to get inside her mind a little more. “Do you have a plan?” “Yes.” I couldn’t help but be surprised, but then again, she had had 3 days to come up with something. “Care to elaborate?” I questioned. “Not yet,” She answered, walking over to comb my hair. “I need a little more information before it can be a solid plan.” I nodded. “That makes sense.” She smiled. It was the first time I had seen her smile since I had woken up. I was glad she wasn’t falling into some mad depression because of all the pressure. I was glad she could still smile. But the pain that was coursing through me made it hard to smile back. “Come on,” She said after she had calmed my curls down a little. “Alex said we needed to have a meeting before we leave.” I was confused by how much she knew, but I suppose I should have never been surprised by it. That was the kind of person she was. Always in the know, whether she was supposed to or not. I pushed away the pain and followed her out the door. “Princess,” Jake grumbled as we passed him in the hall. “I’m a person too!” Lexy all but shouted at him, and I couldn’t help but let a chuckle escape from my lips. “What?” She looked at me with obvious confusion. “What do you mean what?” I hid my smile. “Just because you are the Princess, does not mean I’m going to let people walk all over me.” She retorted. Her comment from earlier seemed to make a lot more sense now. And I realized she was worried about other people not taking her seriously. And being her best friend, I would stand for nothing less than her thriving in our new roles. “That won’t happen,” I told her sincerely. She gave me a small smile but changed the subject. “I’m going to run and get my sister’s really quick. They have orders not to leave their room without a grown up. For their own protection.” I nodded but again I felt her pain. She was the grown up now, and she was the one who had to backtrack to their room. No one else was going to do it for her. I headed down the stairs to the kitchen. To my surprise, there were way more people here than there had been last night. There was a mumble of the word “Princess” and a couple nods and bows in my direction but overall, no one paid any attention to me, which I was glad for. I just grabbed a plate and joined the line for food. “Feeling lost, Princess?” A voice whispered in my ear. To my surprise, it was no one I had met yet. “I’m Matt,” He told me, reading my confusion like a book. “I live here. And am in charge of feeding everyone.” I gave him a smile. He had unruly light brown hair and the brightest grey-blue eyes I had ever seen. “Annabeth,” I corrected. “You can drop the Princess stuff and call me Anna.” He cocked his head in surprise. “You know, that’s pretty cool Anna. But I have to be careful who I call you that around. You understand, right?” I honestly didn’t have a clue what he meant, but I nodded anyway. This new status thing was overwhelming. I wasn’t used to it. I was used to being a nobody. Now, I could feel the stares of everyone around. “I have no idea what I’m doing here,” I confided to him. He again gave me a look of confusion as I grabbed a pancake and started putting fruit on it. They had a lot of fruit. “Like you had no idea you were a princess till Vivian attacked you?” He tried to clarify. “That would be correct.” I told him, moving to find a seat at the table. “That’s pretty cool.” He smiled. “Why?” I questioned. “I have no idea how to be a princess or if I even want to be.” “I mean, you know how normal people live,” He responded simply. “You’ve grown up thinking you’re nothing special. And that can get in your way, or it can help you relate to your people and help them grow. Especially once we’re out of war time.” He shrugged. “If you want my opinion, now is not the time to be passive in anything. I think you gotta take whatever you can and run at it, full force.” “She didn’t ask your opinion, Matt.” Jake barked before I could say anything. A slight pink hue crept into his cheeks, and he looked down at his food. “Thank you, Matt.” I responded, shooting a glare at Jake. He could be just so rude sometimes. “We’re not here to make friends,” Jake stated firmly. His intense eyes met mine. “I am.” I replied, shifting uneasily. “I’m not going to be locked up in a prison with no friends. That sounds terrible.” “Isn’t prison supposed to be terrible?” Jake shot back. “Well you would know,” Lexy interjected as she came in and sat down next to me, her sister’s following suit. “You tell us.” Jake shot her an intense glare but didn’t say anything. “If you can’t deal with it, you shouldn’t dish it,” She replied simply, looking completely unbothered. “Anyways, are you guys excited to go to the castle today?” Matt asked. Lexy shrugged, and I felt that sinking feeling once again. I felt out of place being so dressed up and there was Lexy and these guys I had only just met dressed in leggings and jeans and looking casual. Everything was changing. I wasn’t meant to be a Princess. I didn’t even know what I was really doing staying here except it felt kind of safe. But at the same time, I couldn’t breathe here. It made me feel anxious. What if my feelings were right and I wasn’t going to be good at this? “That was less than enthusiastic.” Matt mumbled. And I turned my head to see Lexy cock her head slightly. She looked so much older since we had left school, but in that moment, she looked like a kid again. “Why would I be excited to go to a place where I will most likely be ridiculed?” She asked, her bluntness was something I always loved but this time I didn’t understand. “Lexy, what are you talking about?” I asked, as both the boys seemed to lower their eyes in shame. “Vivian’s my aunt.” She explained again simply, looking totally unbothered as she took a bite of food. “I’m related to her. Whether I actually know her or not, doesn’t matter. People will see me as bad.” “That’s pretty negative, Lex.” I commented, trying to keep my cool after realizing she was thinking about all this as much as I was. “It’s the truth, Annie.” She responded before Matt jumped in to change the subject. “So, have either of you guys been to a dance before?” “We’re freshman,” Lexy let out a small laugh, and I couldn’t help but smile myself. “Of course we haven’t.” “Right,” Matt continued, but this time he smiled. “You’ll get to go to one even better than anyone you would have gone to before.” I sighed. I hadn’t been looking forward to my first dance. It was Lexy who had wanted to go. That was what had made us go to school early that morning. That was the day everything had changed. That day was just days ago and I couldn’t understand it. Any of it really. I looked toward Lexy who smiled politely. “I’ll be looking forward to it.” Her voice didn’t match her smile though. She felt as I did. True or not, a dance is what had gotten us into this mess in the first place. Matt’s face fell slightly, and I tried to smile. “So, when do we leave?” I asked. “As soon as Alex is ready.” Matt informed me. “Jake will be going with you. I’m afraid I’m not allowed.” Lexy got up without a word, and her and her sisters disappeared through the door. “What’s the big deal about this Alex guy?” I asked between bites. That waffle was really good. Matt and Jake exchanged looks, and I pretended not to notice. They were trying to decide how much to tell me and that annoyed me, but I suppose I didn’t really have a right to know everything yet. “He’s in charge. He’s a decent guy. He does his best to keep the peace.” “The peace between who?” I wondered aloud. “The people and the royal family.” Jake huffed. “A bunch of filthy rich selfish only care about themselves no goods.” “Yikes. Is that why you hate me?” I asked trying to keep my voice even. “I don’t hate you.” He all but growled. “But you’re one of them, and sooner or later you’ll realize what that means.” “Or you could just tell me now,” I prodded. I wanted to know why he thought so low of me. He rolled his eyes, and Lexy walked back in the room. It wasn’t hard to notice her. As far as I could tell there weren’t very many women around. But I also thought from my own perspective that I wouldn’t want to be a guard if I was choosing a profession. Plus, Lexy was dressed in normal, filthy street clothes, and everyone else was in button up shirts or had on white t-shirts and a black sweat jacket that had a small castle on the right-hand side. And with that realization, I had a slight glimmer of hope. Lexy was still Lexy despite everything. She was my best friend. My rock. My person. Whatever anyone said or anyone did, she was going to stick with me. She looked tired and somehow older. But she was still Lexy. And for that I was grateful.

  • The Great September Saturday

    As many of you who have been reading my posts lately know, life has been a smidge rocky for me lately. However, on Saturday, I had one of the best days in a long time, maybe even ever. What simply started out as a 'do nothing' sort of day, changed very quickly into an adventure type of day that was filled to the brim with fun things. It all started with a text. I woke up around 10 am, and had only been up for about 20 minutes when my bestie texted the simple words, "what are you up to today?" I found this in itself pretty funny because my bestie is like a plan at least 2 days in advance, never the day of type person, but since I had nothing going on I was like nothing, why. And she simply responded that she would meet me in about an hour to do lunch and Target. Now, we have two go to restaurants that we typically always meet at, one being Don Ramon (her choice) and the other being Friday's (my choice). And we've been eating a lot of Don Ramon lately, that I was like let's do Friday's and she caved lol, so I was super excited. Then as our plan continued, we went to Target and I bought my sister a birthday present, well a lot of birthday presents since we were celebrating her birthday later that evening. We walked around the whole store, and it was just nice to be in each others company, catching up on life. Then after Target, we decided we needed something to drink. This led us to our next stop, McDonalds. There was a pretty long line so we were just sitting in her car talking and when we pulled up to the window to get our food, my bestie forgot she closed her window and went to grab our drinks, and instead just completely punched the window. The woman handing us our drinks was chuckling, but I was completely dying. It was so funny, she couldn't do it again if she tried. It was well worth spending a dollar for a drink to laugh that hard. After the McDonalds incident we continued our adventure to a local flea market near us. This, like McDonalds had not been a part of the original plan, but it was now a part of our day just the same. The flea market had everything from food, to clothes, to furniture to crystals, to antiques. We weren't there to really buy anything, but me and my bestie did get pulled into the crystals. When we found this little crystal booth, I immediately said, "Don't let me spend any money." And she immediately countered with "You can spend five dollars." And once again I was dying of laughter, and this time in a very public place. I'm not really sure what part of 'don't let me spend money' she didn't understand, but I did end up spending $5 exactly on a blue quartz crystal and a black speckled obsidian stone, which was one I had been looking for. There was also a moment in the store that my bestie was holding a blue stone of sorts and was literally in the process of saying "Wow this stone seems really fragile" as she was playing with it in her hand, and it totally broke. She quickly put it down and didn't touch anymore, and once again I was trying my hardest not to completely die of laughter. After the flea market we decided the next move was mini-golf. We had passed a course on our way to the flea market and commented on how fun that would be as well as how long it had been since either of us had gone mini-golfing. So, of course, we had to do it. It was honestly a good thing we were doing it just us because 1. We suck at mini golf. and 2. Anyone who would have ever gone with us would have hated us by the end. Somehow, my bestie, kept doing all of the holes wrong. She'd hit the ball and it would bounce off the obstacle and off the course, and then somehow end up back on the course. Or she'd hit an obstacle and end up right back where she started. And once she even hit the obstacle so hard with the ball that it flew off and went back to the last hole and the guy behind us had to throw her ball back to us. I was not good either, but I definitely was not as creative in my bad shots as her. I just simply couldn't putt and my ball was constantly just missing the hole by centimeters, rolling just past. Needless to say, we won't be winning an mini golf tournaments with scores as high as 91 and 103. The last thing on our adventure day was ice cream. The golf course had an ice cream place, however, they only took cash, and neither of us had cash. So, we went to one of my all time favorites, Pavs. If you've never been to a Pavs, you don't know what you're missing. Their cookie dough ice cream is to die for. I can't remember a single day where I have ever laughed so hard, or just even generally enjoyed my time as much as this past Saturday. It's a day that I really never want to forget because days like that don't come around too often. Somedays, are just simply perfect. And that was one of the few we get in this life. So, I had to write it down, so I make sure I never forget it. There are so many bad days in this lifetime, bad feelings and bad moments that just stick in your head. But I never want to forget this Great September Saturday with my bestie.

  • Chapter 6: Lexy and the Boy

    Chapter 6: Lexy and the Boy “Lexy, wait!” Seth called after me as I started up the stairs. I didn’t stop though. Of all the things going on right now, I didn’t need my once best friend waltzing back into my life in the middle of all this chaos to add more chaos. “Please stop,” He begged, grabbing my hand. “You can’t ignore me forever.” This time I turned toward him. “I can, and I will.” I replied angrily. I knew it wasn’t really his fault. But he was there. He was someone I could be angry at. I had no place for anger with everyone here. I didn’t know them. But I knew Seth. He had left without a goodbye, and that seemed like a lifetime ago. And I had been angry and hurt and those feeling were resurfacing. There was no room for hurt in this new life. And I knew I could be angry at him. I knew he could take it. And I knew he understood why. “Lex, please… It’s been three days.” “Actually, it’s been six years.” I countered before continuing, “I have to go check on my sisters.” There was this pull to fall apart with him. To let things get messier. To let myself feel every emotion I was burying. But even in my exhausted state, I knew that was not an option. I pulled my hand away and left him on the stairs. I moved to the room that my sisters would share for the time being. Alex had promised to get them a nanny and the best training in the worlds. But the weight of now being a parent was heavy. They were my responsibility. And that was terrifying. I was just a kid. I wasn’t supposed to be in charge of other kids except for a few hours at a time as a babysitter. I wasn’t supposed to be in that position. But my parents had abandoned us. I had no choice. I opened the door slowly. “Lexy?” Calynn murmured half asleep. “Yes?” I entered the room and sat on her bed. “I know I’m supposed to be a big girl, but I’m scared.” I felt my heart break right then and there. I was not prepared for this. “It’s okay to be scared, sweetie.” I told her gently. “You don’t have to be anything you are not.” “Are we going to be okay? Honestly?” I hesitated for a split second, but I played it off, “Of course we’re going to be okay. These people here, they are helping keep us safe. Mom and Daddy made some bad choices and that makes us a little vulnerable, but it’s safe here. We’re going to figure this out and we’re going to be just fine.” I stroked her hair a moment and got up. “Lexy?” She called out as I was about to leave. “Hmm?” “Thanks for coming back for us.” “Thanks for being there and being smart enough to hide.” I answered. “Get some sleep.” I didn’t wait for a response this time. I exited the room trying to fight the panic I was feeling coursing through me. I was the only person these two girls could rely on. There was no one else. Just me. And when reality hits, it hits like a truck. “Are you okay?” I jumped to see Seth standing across the hall looking at me intensely and a pain shot through side. I couldn’t stop myself; my hand flew to it as if it could stop the pain. “Fine,” I answered as I tried to catch my breath; his timing was impeccable. He cocked his head at me and studied me intensely. “You’re not fine.” He said slowly, inching closer to me. “You’re hurting. What happened? Let me see.” “Seth seriously, I just want to go to bed.” I tried to push him away. “No, take off your shirt,” He was so close to me, I could barely breathe, and it wasn't from the panic I had felt just moments earlier. “Seth, I don’t want to. I’m fine.” I tried again. “You are not fine.” His voice was hushed, and my heart fluttered. “I am fine.” I whispered back losing patience. “Lexy?” I jumped away from Seth and his arms dropped to his side. Again, pain shot through my side, but I ignored it. “Annie,” I gasped. “What’s, uh, what’s up?” “I just came to check on you.” She responded uncertainly. I could tell that she wasn’t sure what she had just walked up to. “You seemed, I don’t know, off.” “I’m fine,” I smiled. “I just had to check on my sisters. And I ran into Seth, again.” I paused realizing they hadn’t been introduced, “Uh, Annie, this is uh Seth, we knew each other a long time ago. Seth this is Princess Annabeth” “Pleasure, Princess.” He bowed to her. “Okay…” She was hesitant, and I was acting weird. She knew me too well. “Well, that’s not necessary. I’m going back to my room to lay down a while, come find me later? Yea?” I nodded, and she peeled off to her room. The next thing I knew, Anna’s door shut, and Seth was pulling me into what I could only guess was his room. “Nice room.” I stated, as I looked around at the amount of stuff crammed into such a small room. On the far side of the room were bunkbeds catty-corner to each other with dark brown desks underneath them, and the walls were bare except for an army green color that seemed to have been painted ages ago. The look matched more of the downstairs, rather than the prestigiousness of Annabeth’s room and my sister’s room. “We’re not here to talk about my room.” He replied seriously. I had a sudden urge to run my hands through his blonde hair. “What?” I smirked, walking over to the desk and picked up a glass ball thing. “No small talk?” “Your attitude is way up here,” He raised his hand way above his head. “Bring it down.” I crinkled my nose at him. “How bout no?” “How bout you calm down?” He moved closer to me. There were only a few measly inches between us. “I am calm,” I sounded breathless. His blue eyes were locked with my brown. He reached down slowly and started to lift my shirt. I didn’t stop him. I couldn’t. I was frozen. Our eyes still locked as I moved my arms slowly out of the t-shirt I had worn since arriving here at the base. I was really glad I had decided to wear a cute bra instead of just a sports bra the day everything had gone down. He pulled it over my head, but his eyes were not staring at mine as they had been. Instead, they were now staring in horror at the gash in my side, and the bruises surrounding it. “Whoa, that’s wicked.” The kid named Jake said in awe as he walked in the door. He was Seth’s roomie apparently. “Lexy, you need to get that looked at. Alex, he can heal it for you.” Seth stuttered. I could feel his heart racing. “I’m fine,” I answered, taking my shirt out of Seth’s hand, and putting it back on. “Dude, you probably should get it looked at.” Jake reiterated Seth’s thoughts. “Thanks for the concern, boys, but I am just fine.” And with that I walked right out of their room and straight to Annabeth’s. “This is wild.” I remarked as I collapsed onto her bed. “You look exhausted.” She commented, putting down the magazine she had been reading. “I am beyond exhausted,” I told her rolling over to look at her. “How are you doing? Still in pain?” She shrugged, scooching over so I’d have more space. “I feel mostly confused,” She answered staring at the blank blue wall. “Me too,” I told her, but that wasn’t necessarily the truth. I was feeling a whole array of emotions from confusion to anger. “What happened to your parents Lex?” She asked, turning to look at me. “They sided with Viviana.” I explained with a sigh. “The lady who tried to kill you. And me. She is actually my dad’s sister. And the second they got the chance, they chose to side with her and abandoned our family.” “You were given a choice to side with her, weren’t you?” She asked. “Yea, but she was trying to kill you. You’re my best friend. I had to make a decision. She was hurting people to get what she wanted. I couldn’t side with that.” Annie nodded. “And do you think she will leave you alone since you chose me?” “No. And she didn’t succeed in killing you because of me, so I think the target is even bigger.” I paused and sat up. “Annie, there’s so much we don’t know or understand about this. I’ve tried to get information from people since I got here. It turns out there was a prophecy that was made about your eventual reign and how it destroys Viviana’s.” “Great,” Annie sighed. “So I have to be a hero. Lex, I don’t want to be a hero. I just want to be, I don’t know, normal. I don’t want a new life. I want our old life back.” I tried to smile. I knew the feeling too well. “Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s an option, Annie,” I sounded defeated, I felt defeated. Annie looked at me with sad eyes. “I know.” She replied. “I’m sorry, Love,” I apologized, standing up. “So what do we do now?” She asked. “Well, I’m planning on going to sleep for a while, and we’ll figure it out from there,” I answered easily. “Wait, Lexy,” She called me back as I reached for the door. “Will you stay?” I could tell she was scared. This was all terrifying. “Sure,” I found myself replying, even though I didn’t really want to. “Everyone else shares a room, maybe we should too.” She was thinking out loud as I crawled under the covers, and she picked up her magazine on the other side. “Yea, sure,” I mumbled sleepily. Now that my head was touching a pillow, I had next to no chance of staying awake. “ We’ll have another bed moved in in the morning.” She said more to herself than to me, and I let the world slip away as I fell into a dreamless sleep that was very welcomed. Very welcomed indeed.

  • Saying Goodbye

    Saying goodbye is never easy... Goodbyes are not something I am good at. I have a tendency to hold onto anything and everything that ever meant something to me. But most specifically, people. This past weekend, I said goodbye to someone that I will probably never see again, but I worked with nearly everyday for 2 years. It's a part of life. It was a good move on their part. And I was lucky I was allowed to go in and be a part of the departure. But I still bawled my eyes out when I said goodbye. Me and a coworker after we said bye, went to our office and cried some more. And there really are no real words of comfort that you can say because as much as you're prepared for goodbye, it still hurts. It doesn't stop hurting when the person is gone. It doesn't necessarily get easier like they say, you just kind of adjust. That hole doesn't really ever go away. My college suitemate was my best friend throughout college. I mean, we did everything together. And then, one day, she was gone. We stopped talking. We stopped hanging out. It was slow, and you could feel it coming, but that didn't stop the pain of goodbye, even though those words were never said. And if she came back into my life and was like 'hey, let's be friends again,' I would probably do it without a second thought because I still miss her and I think about her a lot. And I still talk to my Nana as if she's here a lot. I tell her about my day, and when things have been hard. I tell her that I miss her, and ask her to send me signs sometimes. The thing is though, we we're never super close when she was alive. We didn't really talk much. I saw her a couple times a year, and there weren't really phone calls in between or anything. I was never that great of a granddaughter to her. But now that she's dead, I talk to her all the time. It's easier to talk to her than to acknowledge the fact that we will never have that great relationship. I know, I'm not the only one out there in the world that struggles with goodbyes. However, goodbyes often feel lonely and isolating. I often can't help that think that I didn't do enough, that I wasn't good enough, that I was the reason it happened in the first place. But reality is, it doesn't work like that. Goodbyes happen all the time, and you can't hate people for moving on with their lives. And I can say, for me, I don't hate the people who have moved on with their lives. I don't blame them. I think I blame myself a lot more, even though I know, and am well aware that sometimes growth happens at different times and differently to everyone. Sometimes we just outgrow people or they outgrow us, and it's that simple. We can't stop death. We can't be perfect, despite our wishes for it. We can't make people stay when they don't want to. We can't always stay, even if we want to. It's just not a realistic of expectation of life. And it sucks. Goodbyes are just one of the many things that just happen in life, and are completely guaranteed to happen at some point. And all we can do is just grieve what we've lost, and feel the feelings that we don't really want to. So, if you're struggling with a goodbye right now, know that I feel you and I am with you. The hole may not fill, but that hole will always be theirs. <3 Till next time <3 C

  • Chapter 5: Annabeth and the Awakening

    I woke up slowly. My head was pounding and there was a pain coursing through my body that I didn’t understand. “Lexy?” I mumbled before I opened my eyes to realize that I was nowhere that I recognized. “Hey, it’s okay.” A voice told me soothingly. “It’s okay. Relax. You’re okay.” I turned toward the voice. I didn’t recognize it. In fact, I didn’t recognize anything. This wasn’t my room. This wasn’t my stuff. But a part of me wished it was… it was beautiful. “Where am I?” My voice sounded hoarse even to my own ears. “Who are you?” “You’re at a safe house. Where you will stay until danger passes and then we will reevaluate. I’m Aiden. I’m one of your guards.” “A safehouse?” I couldn’t think straight. None of this was making sense. “Guards?” “Yes. It’s for your protection. All of us are dedicated to your safety.” “Why do I need protection?” I asked, as I began to slowly sit up. “Uh, it’s kind of complicated. Viviana wants you dead.” He stuttered uneasily. “I’ll let Alex tell you the important stuff.” I shook my head, trying to ignore the pain that was coursing through it. “Who’s Alex?” I mumbled. “Why does anyone want me dead?” “Take it easy, kiddo. You were hit pretty hard. You were lucky they were able to find you.” He gently redirected me lay back down. “Alex is who’s in charge right now during the crisis.” I heard the last part, but only one part stuck. ‘Lucky they were able to find you.’ “Where’s Lexy?” I asked, sitting up ignoring his prompt, suddenly everything was very clear. He looked at me with a weird expression. I could feel that he didn’t want me to know. And that sent panic through me. “Aiden, where is Lexy?” There was emphasis on every word. He still looked hesitant, but he couldn’t help himself. He blurted out, “She went home…” “What?!” I shouted. Suddenly the door burst open, and I laid back down as the pain returned. “What’s wrong?” To my surprise it was Jake from school who came running in with a sword. “Oh, you’re awake.” He looked bored again. I closed my eyes trying to think. Why would Lexy go home? Why would she leave me with a bunch of strangers? And why was Jake here holding a sword? “You’ll feel better if you eat,” Jake told me nonchalantly as if this was a totally normal situation. I opened my eyes up and shot him a glare. I couldn’t even think about food right now. “Why did Lexy go home exactly?” I asked turning to Aiden. He seemed the nicer of the two. Again, Aiden looked hesitant. “She said she had to get some stuff… We all told her not to go. Seth was furious when he found out she left. But she was insistent that it couldn’t wait any longer. I believe Alex went with her though, you know for protection.” He paused, and no, I had no idea what he was talking about, but I figured my best chance at survival was going along with this. “Come on,” He continued. “Jake is right, we should get food in you and get your strength back.” “Wait, how long have I been here?” I asked as my feet touched the ground. To my surprise, my body was stiff. I could tell that I hadn’t moved in a while. “3 days,” Aiden answered putting his arm around me to help me up. “You’ve been unconscious since you got here with Seth and Lexy. Lexy has hardly left your side. She’s going to be mad that she wasn’t here when you woke up.” We moved slowly. My body ached with every step, but as we moved, I realized the grandeur of the place we were in. There were fresh flowers in gorgeous fancy vases on huge dark wood tables between every room. There were beautiful blue curtains covering the windows. Everything seemed to match and appeared elegant and sophisticated. But when we reached the stairs, the eye candy appearance changed. The stairs themselves were a lovely wood, and they were curved just slightly, but past the stairs lied an abundance of mixed matched furniture. There were 3 different tvs, each sectioned off by the furniture. Then there seemed to be a game area on the other side, there were 6 different chess boards set up and a shelf with all sorts of other games, though they mostly looked like all strategy games. “What is this place?” I muttered more to myself than to anyone else, and I definitely was not expecting an answer. “This is our home, the base. It’s got enchantments on it so no one can see it from the outside, unless they know it’s here. It’s technically public knowledge, but there are strict rules on who can enter and who can’t and how. I’ve lived here most of my life. It’s home to me. And it’ll be home to you too once you get used to it. I stopped. “I’m sorry, I must have missed something. I’m staying here as in this is going to be my home?” He nodded, and we began to walk again. “Despite how it looks, we don’t really spend a lot of time here in the family room. There’s a media room down the hall past the kitchen, that’s where we typically all hang out.” “Uh, who’s we all?” I felt like my head would never stop spinning. “Oh right, uh, it’s me, my brother Jake, Matt, Rae, and Seth just moved in, and now you and Lexy. Plus guards who need places to stay as they go on and off duty. Then there’s Alex. He’s in charge here but he splits his time between the castle and here, but now that you’re here, I think he’ll be here more.” He pulled a chair out from the counter bar in the kitchen, and I sat down. I was so sore, and I didn’t understand why. I honestly couldn’t remember anything past leaving the school in a panic. The kitchen was a navy blue with white wooden cabinets. The counters were some sort of granite. There was an archway directly in front of me that led to another large room. I could see a long table through with at least 20 chairs in it. I wondered how big this place really was. “So, what would you like to eat?” Aiden asked bringing me out of my thoughts. “We have anything you can think of. There’s ham, turkey, chicken,” He was scanning the refrigerator as he talked to me. “I’m a uh- vegetarian.” I told him uncertainly. His eyes lit up as he turned toward me. “Me too!” He exclaimed. “I have the best veggie burgers, want one?” I really didn’t feel hungry, but I found myself agreeing anyway. I knew I shouldn’t, but I felt safe here. And while he was getting my meal ready, I had a moment to study him. His hair was long for a guy. Not so long that he looked like a surfer dude, but long enough it was past his ears. He had a sort of goth look to him. His dark hair didn’t really help the look either. I realized then he was wearing a black zip-up with a logo of a castle on it and skinny jeans. An interesting outfit, I wondered if all the guards had a castle logo on it. “Princess,” Jake stated, his voice deep as Aiden placed my plate in front of me. For some reason, I didn’t even question it. I don’t know if I was now truly crazy or if somehow, I had realized that my fate seemed to make sense. “Yes?” I responded. “I tried to warn you.” He said gruffly. “You could have been more specific,” I retaliated, but I felt an overwhelming calm mixed with some prestigiousness. “You could have said, 'hey someone’s trying to kill you', and not just tell me to be careful.” He rolled his eyes as I took a bite of my veggie burger. He had dark hair like his brother and grey eyes that made it seem darker. It was much shorter than his brother’s though and you probably couldn’t tell they were related except for they had the same noses. “If I had told you someone was trying to kill you, would you have believed me?” He asked. I shrugged. “I’m not sure. You didn’t give me the opportunity to.” I could feel his repressed frustration and anger. I could tell it wasn’t necessarily at me, but still, it seemed to bubble out of him. Then I saw her. Her blond hair was in a ponytail, pulled out of her face, but not at all as neat as it normally was. She was in the same clothes as the other day which took me slightly by surprise, but what was worse was when I noticed that she was holding the hands of Sari and Calynn. My stomach dropped. “Annie!” She exclaimed in surprise, but something in her voice sounded off. “You’re awake.” “I am,” I answered, feeling a new wave of confusion and pain. “What, what’s going on?” “Um,” She hesitated as a guy with dark wavy hair pushed past her. “Hang on, let me go get them into bed.” I turned to Aiden the second she walked away. “What the hell is going on?” I demanded. “Why are her sisters here? Where are their parents? They would never let Lexy just take her sisters away.” “It’s a long story…” Aiden started hesitantly. “I’m not the one who should tell you. Lexy’s parents were not who they said they were, and her sisters were probably left.” I felt my stomach clench. “So what is she going to do?” I asked quietly. “What do you mean?” It was Lexy. “How are you going to take care of your sisters and go to school?” I questioned uncertainly. “Annabeth,” The guy with the wavy brown hair interjected, “You can’t go back to school. You would be putting everyone in danger.” “Right,” I replied. It felt like I had been punched in the gut. “That makes sense I guess.” “I’m sorry, Love,” Lexy said as she took the seat next to me and stared at me for a moment. “How are you feeling?” “I’m alright,” I lied, trying to ignore the pain still coursing through my body. “You don’t sleep for 3 days and wake up fine.” She stated firmly, still looking me over. “I can hear that you’re in pain.” “Is that true, Annabeth?” The guy with wavy brown hair and hazel eyes asked with a sense of urgency. “What?” I felt taken aback by the sudden question. “Are you in pain?” He repeated. “A little, yes, it’s like a pulse.” I told them. The guy nodded, but I still had no idea who he was. “That’s Alex,” Lexy whispered to me, “He’s in charge. He’s helping keep us safe right now. They all are.” “How do we know we can trust them?” I asked. I felt small. And Lexy didn’t give me the usual comfort she normally provided. In fact, despite the fact that she was answering my unasked questions, she seemed far away. “We don’t,” She answered after a moment. “But as far as I can tell, they are our only real option right now.” She sounded so grown up. So resigned. Like I slept for 3 days, and she grew up in that time. And maybe she did. Maybe everything had changed. And that was terrifying. I couldn’t understand how she wasn’t freaking out right now. “I am.” She whispered. “I’m totally freaking out right now.” Her voice was low. I could barely hear her, but I suppose she didn’t want the others to know. “We’ll go to the castle first thing in the morning.” Alex stated, and I looked up to pay attention again. “You both should try and rest.” “I’m fine.” Lexy said almost a little too quickly. “We can go now.” “You haven’t slept in 3 days. You need to go to bed.” Alex argued. I looked over at her and realized she hadn’t made eye contact with me since she sat down. She had just been staring at some spot on the wall. But after looking at her face, I saw there were dark circles under her eyes, and it almost looked like she was trying not to cry. “I’m fine.” She answered, looking up this time. “This is not debatable.” Alex had the authority. “You may be in charge, but you are not in charge of me.” She replied coldly. “Lex,” I felt my stomach sink. “Have you really not slept in 3 days?” She turned to me. “Of course not,” She answered matter-of-factly. “Why would I sleep when my family was in danger and you were unconscious, and we were in a stranger’s home?” She had a point, but I couldn’t help but feel guilty that she was so worried, and I was just passed out, overall fine. “Stop.” She whispered. “You are thinking very loud.” “It’s only very loud because you are tired,” I corrected her, “And listening for danger to the point of paranoia.” “I am not paranoid,” She snapped. “Go to bed.” I ignored her tone because I knew this was a lot. “I know you’re tired. It’s okay.” “It’s not, you only just woke up.” She argued. “I’m good, promise,” I replied. “You’re back.” I turned to see the old best friend staring at her in surprise. “On second thought, I’m going to bed,” She let out a sigh. And I realized she was ignoring him. I felt a small smile tug at my lips at this new revelation. I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe he might be the good coming to fruition in all this bad for Lexy. Because she looked like hell and deserved some good.

  • The Little Things

    The little things in life never seem to matter, until they do. When your mad at someone or dislike someone, everything they do drives you crazy. They could simply be breathing and you'd be like they're breathing wrong. Or when you overslept slightly, and have to rush around to get ready on time. It's annoying. It's a little thing, but it has such an impact on our mood and our lives because we let it... However, just as the 'bad' little things impact our lives, so do the 'good' little things. They're often just moments in time that we don't really think about. We don't really notice, but they matter too. And maybe, they matter even more. I currently, and not for much longer, work at a daycare. It is not my favorite job I've ever had, nor do I look forward going to work every day. But there are bright sides to the jobs. I have some kids that absolutely love me. In fact, I'm often bounced around to all the classrooms, which I don't love, but it does give me the chance to know a lot more kids. It also gives me the opportunity to get a lot more hugs and a lot of "I missed you". And despite hating being thrown into multiple classrooms a day, where I have no idea what's going on, it makes it a little bit better. It's those little moments with those kids and even my coworkers that makes a job I don't like much seem a lot better. My best friend also currently works with me at this daycare, and unfortunately it does not help us see each other any more than we already do as we typically work in different classrooms, and she is much more stationary. However, after she left the other day, I had to return something to her classroom, and while I was in there, I scribbled a quick little, "Hey bestie, I love you" note on a post it note. It took less than thirty seconds of my time. It wasn't a big deal. It was a little thing. However, she sent me a text when she saw it in the morning saying it made her day. It was a little thing. But life is so full of these little things that we so often just straight up overlook. Sometimes it's just a text saying I'm thinking of you, or a hug when the world feels like it's crashing. Sometimes it's a long shower after a long day. Sometimes it's your cat snuggling up next to you while you watch something on tv. We all have these little moments that impact our lives. The good, the bad, the mundane. They all matter. They all effect us. They all change our lives without us even realizing it. So, I hope you have some little moments that can bring a smile to your face today. And if you want to share, please let me know one of your little moments today. It isn't always easy out there, but you've got this. I hope you all have a lovely day, and I will talk to you all in the next blog. <3

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