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Twenty-Four

Ava

  Okay, to tell you the truth, I had no idea what was going on. I mean, Roman just showed up and gave me no choice but to go with him to… somewhere. And what had he meant, “treated like a princess?” I was Ava, not some high-class girl with a trust fund and servants waiting on me hand and foot.

           All I know is that I couldn’t open my mouth without fogging up the helmet while riding on his motorcycle, so asking questions was out. It left me time to think, though.

The wind played with my hair, tickling my neck. It seemed to be a good day for a motorcycle ride- not that I’d had any kind of experience.

 

Eventually, Roman swerved into a parking lot right on the ocean. Trust me, it took an extremely long time. Must’ve been hours. Well, felt like hours, at least, I thought, shaking my head. I pulled off the helmet and put it into Roman’s outstretched hand. I ran my fingers through my hair, attempting to get it under control. Wait, why do I care? It’s only Roman here. You shouldn’t care! Don’t care! my mind seemed to scream at me. I rolled my eyes, my eyes falling onto Roman…

Just as he pulled off his helmet and shook his head wildly, his wavy hair tousled and windswept. And I could not help but notice how attractive he looked.

Seconds later, I spun around to find Alex pulling in behind us. Then, a whisper warmed my neck. “Don’t be embarrassed. You can stare at me whenever you’d like,” Roman said so that only I could here. He set off onto the dock and perched himself there, feet dangling above the water.

From here, I could hear the waves crashing against the pier, birds calling out as they swirled about in the air.

 

The boat finally showed up, and we finally loaded on. And Jace was nowhere in sight for the first few hours. Whenever I asked Roman a question, he’d simply answer, “It’s not safe for you to know.”

 

Then, I found him. I’d been wandering around the ship, because Alex didn’t want to talk either. I figured it’d give me something to do- I’d never been on a boat before, after all.

I reached a series of small rooms, one reading in scratchy lettering: The Captain’s Quarters. I glanced in the window, not long enough to see what was going on because I’d hear a whoosh from behind me with a slight gust of wind.

I scanned the area, unsure of what had caused it. I turned back around and gasped. Jace was standing right in front of me.

Jace

      Her breath stopped when she saw me. I took a step out of the shadows, wanting to pull her towards me and shower her in kisses. “Ava,” I whispered, sounding breathless. She won’t want you. You practically hit her. You knew she was too good for you, and you went and ruined everything. She doesn’t love you. You’re being selfish; don’t make her love you. She hates you. She hates you. She hates you.That one sentence echoed in my mind, and I was just about ready to dive in there and rip my brain out myself.

           Her big blue eyes were wide, her skin an unhealthy pale color. She looked like she needed to lie down. I said, voice shaking, “I-I’m… sorry, Ava. I just wanted to protect you. I never, ever meant to do you any harm- emotional or physical. I was trying to keep you safe.” But, to me, my apologies, along with my reasons, sounded like excuses.

           She dropped her gaze to her feet, which were in a pair of sneakers thatVictoriahad purchased with her. “I don’t know…” she whispered finally.

           “Ava, w-what don’t you know?” I begged, wanting to know how much she hated me. My heart ached, and I needed to fix what I’d broken.

           “I don’t know if I can accept your apology. I don’t think you even realized what you did,” she mumbled, eyes still on the ground.

           I heard a snap from behind me, causing me to spin around, only to find Roman standing there. “What’s going on? Ava, are you alright? I-“

           “No,” she snapped. “Not, I’m not alright.

Ava

           A million thoughts were swirling through my head at once, my mind a whirlpool and the words all struggling to get out of my mouth. “Ahhh! No, I am so not alright. You,” I yelled, turning on Roman, “took me away from everything I’ve ever known. Do you have any idea how that feels? And then I go and finally find some peace with Alex, but you have to come and ruin that too! What is with you people? Do you aim to destroy my life? I was a senior in high school! I had a full scholarship all ready to go, and it was in freakin’ Colorado! I was getting the **** away from my family, and Alex was coming with me! It was going to be absolutely perfect. And then you just had to take me to that stupid hotel room, while I practically had hypothermia.”

           I spun, my words piercing Jace now. “And I have no idea why I feel the way I do about you- either of you! All I know is that I want it to stop. I want those feelings to stop, and I want you to tell me what the fuck is going on! I don’t know where we’re going, and I don’t know what’s going on! Jace, you are acting like some overprotective psychopath! I dunno if you’ve always been this way or if it’s just recently, but you have to cut the bull **** out. And both of you,” I yelled, “need to stop being so ********* secretive and tell me what the **** is going on in my own freakin’ life!” I could tell my face was red, and both of them had expressions of complete and utter shock on their faces.

           I rolled my eyes and crossed my arms against my chest. “Well?” I demanded.

           A head appeared behind Jace. “What’s up?” Alex asked, raising his eyebrows. “I mean, my guard seemed to have left his post. Is that allowed for a prisoner? I do say, you run this place quite poorly. I’d like to speak to whoever is in charge!” he said, a hint of sarcasm that only I could catch in his voice.

I grabbed his shoulders and pulled him to me just then, my lips on his for a few minutes. I backed away, glanced at everyone’s surprised expressions, and turned on my heel.

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