Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Although Faith had to give up Friday night football games when she transferred up to Chatwick, the lacrosse games were a pretty good substitute. It seemed like the whole town attended the game. People came with blue and silver, the Chatwick colors, painted on their faces, stomachs, and any other bare skin they could expose without being arrested. Faith could easily see what the hype was all about, the game had been exciting. The Three dominated the field as attackers; they certainly knew how to play lacrosse. Faith ran down to the field and yelled to Alex, “Congrats on the win Alex! Hey, I’ll meet up with you at Finn Flaherty’s ok? I’m going to go with Reese.”
“I’ll be fine Alex. See you there!”
Alex shook his head in defeat and walked back towards the school so he could shower up in the locker room before heading out for the night. He hoped she knew what she was doing.
She felt exhilarated. Reese had his convertible top down and although the air was cool, Faith’s blood was warmed by the thrill that was coursing through her body. It was nice to be out on her own with someone other than Alex for once. Tonight was going to be fun. She was going to make sure of it. She was going to be the fun girl that everyone wanted to talk to and befriend. That way, by the time the dance was done and over with she could drop Reese’s group for some real friends that would actually appreciate her.
They walked into the hole-in-the-wall hotspot for the students of Chatwick. Finn Flaherty’s wasn’t much, just a couple of pool tables, some good food, and great music. Reese grabbed a table for the group and a waitress came over and took their orders. They were all chatting when a boy that Faith didn’t know came up to the table and asked her to dance. She glanced quickly at Reese, raised her eyebrow and then accepted the boy’s offer.
One of her favorite songs was playing, she and No Name Boy danced along to the hip-hop beat. Dancing came naturally to her; she always figured it was an attribute that was handed down from her witchy ancestors. Reese seemed to appreciate her natural talent because, in a fit of jealousy, Reese cut in and No Name Boy went back to his crew clearly irritated.
As Reese put his hands on her Alex walked in with the rest of the lacrosse team. Chase looked at Alex, “Aren’t you going to go and do something? That guy has his hands all over her!”
“Calm down Chase. You’re the one who told me to let her handle it.”
“HE is handling HER!”
“She’s fine. And since when did you care?”
“I don’t. I mistakenly thought that you did.”
“Listen, if she needs help, she’ll let me know. Ok? Go grab a pool table. I’ll get some drinks. We’re not going to stay here long anyhow. We have things to talk about later, remember?”
Chase stalked over to the pool tables, grabbed a stick and racked the balls. Nick grabbed a stick for himself and one for Alex and leaned them up against the table, waiting for Alex to return with their drinks.
“You guys ready?”
“Yeah, I’m breaking.”
They hadn’t planned on playing a game, just practicing shots and showing off, but that all changed when the song ended and Reese motioned to Luke to join him.
“Hey! Alex! Think you can take on Luke and me?”
“We could beat you with our eyes closed Reese,” Chase replied caustically.
“Um, I don’t think this is such a great idea, Reese. Maybe we should just go back to the table,” Faith said trying to drag Reese away from The Three. Leave it to the arrogance of teenage boys to ruin her plans for the night.
“It’s ok Faith. I can handle this.”
“I’m not so sure of that,” Faith muttered to herself.
“Me and Luke against you and Big Mouth over there,” Reese said pointing at Chase.
Faith went and stood next to Nick up against the wall. “Can’t you stop them? This is so ridiculous.”
“Reese is asking for it, Faith. He’s been trying to knock Alex down since kindergarten. He just can’t stand that everyone likes Alex.”
As the game began she saw that lacrosse wasn’t the only game that Alex and Chase played well. They were skillful, but so were Luke and Reese. The game was pretty even until Luke decided to play dirty and ‘accidentally’ tipped Alex’s stick when he tried to make a shot. Chase fumed on Alex’s behalf. Faith watched as his eyes flickered with power and the stick Luke had been leaning on snapped in two, sending Luke to the floor.
The people who had surrounded the pool table to watch the game burst into paroxysms of laughter as Luke tried to get up with as much dignity as possible.
“Which one of you did that?” accused Luke.
“What are you talking about? You broke that stick yourself. We all saw it,” Nick said as he stepped away from the wall.
“I know one of you did it. You all are freaks!”
“Letting your friend talk like that will land you into big trouble Reese,” Alex stated informatively.
“Come on, Luke. Let’s head back to the dorms. We’ll see you tomorrow Faith.”
Reese and his table of friends all left the bar. The bartender looked up and said, “I think you all should head out too, Alex.”
“We are. Sorry, Finn.”
As they walked out of the bar Alex looked at Chase as he got into his Mustang, “I’ll meet you and Nick at my house. C’mon Faith. Get in. We’re going home.”
Knowing that arguing would get her no where she tried a guilt trip as she buckled her seat belt, “I’d just like to take this time to thank you for making me feel even more like an outsider. I was in the process of making friends before you and your friends pulled this little stunt. And don’t think that I didn’t see what Chase did. I’m not blind Alex.”
“Alright, so Chase shouldn’t have used, but he did it in defense of me.”
Ok, so the guilt trip wasn’t working on him. Instead he had flipped it around and somehow made her feel guilty for not sticking up for him herself. Not that she’d been given the chance. Not knowing what else to say, she remained silent, looking out the window as the trees flew by her in a blur.
They pulled up to the house and walked in.
“Back so soon?” Aunt Libby commented.
“I’m tired. I think I’ll just go to bed,” Faith said.
“What about you Alex? In for the night?”
“Chase and Nicholas are coming over. Looks like we’ll be hanging here tonight.”
“Great!” she exclaimed and turned toward Faith, “You go to bed dear. It’s been a long first week for you I think.” She leaned down and kissed Faith on the cheek.
Faith gave one last look to Alex and headed up the stairs. She could hear Nick and Chase walking in as she opened the door to her room.
“Robert, could you please help me with getting some snacks for the boys?”
“Of course madam.”
Faith waited up until she saw The Three heading out to the woods. She knew that they wouldn’t risk talking about their plans in the house where Aunt Libby and Robert might hear. She had planned on another eavesdropping session since she overheard Alex plan this meeting on Sunday morning.
As she walked the path that led to the circle she contemplated whether or not she should tell Alex that she could help them. She might not have the same kind of power that they had, but she had plenty of tricks up her sleeve. If they were going to face this evil together, there shouldn’t be secrets among them. However, The Three weren’t being exactly forth coming about their impending battle with darkness. She decided to place the decision in the hands of fate. They would find out when they needed to find out and that was that.
She neared the small clearing where the circle was cast. The soft grey glow signifying their strength and determination acted as a night-light so that Faith could find the same oak she hid behind earlier that week. She hugged herself closely up against the coarse bark and listened intently.
“My mother didn’t really say much when I asked her about the presence. She thinks it’s some sort of punishment for us having these powers. In fact, she hopes that it takes them from us; but she’s been paranoid like that ever since my father walked out on her when she was pregnant with me. She thinks that it was God punishing her for being evil. I’m sorry I couldn’t be of more help, Alex. I tried…”
“No, it’s ok Nick. At least you tried. What about you Chase?”
“Dad is thinking that this thing will wait until we gain full power and then strike at us one at a time. You know- divide and conquer tactic; at least, that’s what I’d do if I was looking to take us down.”
“You’re right,” Alex sighed and dragged his hand through his hair.
“Dad said he’d be there for us if we needed him, but he didn’t seem too worried about it. Truthfully, I think he was humoring me. He thinks we’re projecting blame onto this thing to avoid blaming the true guilty party. Sometimes it can be frustrating having a psychologist for a dad,” Chase mused wryly.
“At least he gave us some insight that we can use. So, we throw out the Halloween attack idea. Assuming that he will attack us on our birthdays seems like a pretty safe bet, which means we face our first fight on Monday night. Only three days away.”
“Don’t worry Alex; we’ll be with you all day. We can even stay the night with you. My mother hardly notices when I’m out anyhow,” Nick said giving a slight shrug.
“Yeah, don’t worry, Alex. We can handle this. Especially if you’re going to be at full power. You always did like being a hero,” Chase mocked Alex.
“Shut up Chase.” Alex looked down at the watch on his wrist. “It’s getting late. We should head back to the house. You guys staying over or heading back to the dorms?”
“I’ll crash at your house. What about you Nick?”
“Sure, I have nothing better to do.”
The circle closed and the glow faded out until it was pitch black again. Faith stayed in her hiding spot until she could no longer hear the leaves crunching as they walked down the path that led back to the house. Faith could see the garden lights shining in her Aunt’s backyard and they acted as beacons helping to guide her way back to the house. As she walked she contemplated the conversation she had just overheard. She couldn’t fault their reasoning. Chase’s dad had come up with a fairly plausible scenario and, like Alex, she was inclined to think that the evil would use the divide and conquer technique. It was smart and efficient.
When she reached the house, Faith stealthily sneaked in through the kitchen door and quietly tip-toed up to her room using the back staircase. Much to her surprise, she found Chase sitting on her bed when she flipped her light on.
“Where were you just now?”
“That’s none of your business.”
“Alright. Let me answer for you. You were out in the woods spying on us.”
“Please… like I need to follow you three around. In case you hadn’t noticed, I have my own friends these days.”
“You can’t lie to me. I know you were there Faith. I could…sense you. You were right outside the circle, hiding behind a tree, just like you were last Sunday.”
“You know what Chase? I don’t need to listen to this. Get out.”
“Just stay out of our business. You’ll just end up getting in the way.”
“Fine. Now, how about you just stay out of my room? Go.”
Chase got up from the bed and walked out of the room, closing the door behind him as he left.
How had he known she was there? She had been almost certain that none of them would have caught even the most fleeting glimpse of her; yet, he had managed to see her somehow. No. Wait. He hadn’t seen her. He had sensed her. How on earth had he accomplished that? She had never heard of a witch sensing another witch’s presence before.
It unnerved her.
Did she have a spell that could block that? It was too late now to even bother thinking, so she slipped into some pajamas and hopped into bed. Tomorrow was Saturday and she was going to take advantage of the weekend and sleep in.
Posted by C Rossi at 6:08 PM