“Uh, those clothes look good on you,” he stammered.
“Little tight for my tastes, but I suppose they’ll do for now. I do like this jacket a lot,” I said, playing with the leather of my jacket. Jayden had showered and changed as well; his dark brown hair was damp and he had changed out of his suit into a comfortable looking t-shirt and jeans. He was barefoot, and I realized this was probably what he wore most days around the house.
“Oh, I had something I wanted to talk to you about,” I said, remembering the mark of Elysium. I led Jayden into the plum room to the tall standing mirror and pushed my hair out of the way so that we could see the mark on the nape of my neck. “If I remember right, all Elysium bearers had the mark, but it was always just a simple infinity symbol. To seal my powers, Maya had to draw a line around the mark with a knife--which became a thick black line around it. I guess unlocking my powers once they were sealed broke the seal into the decorative outer ring.” Jayden lightly touched my neck, tracing his fingers around the mark.
“This is interesting, Sera. None of the previous bearers had any variation to their marks, other than where it was located on their body. It could have some connection to the limits of your power, and how you can control them,” he said, apparently fascinated by the mark on my neck. He ran his fingers along the dark lines, the fingernail on his index finger lightly running across my skin as he made his way back up my neck. I winced and pulled away immediately, images of Hector clawing at the mark filling my mind.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to,” he apologized, his outstretched hand trembling.
“It’s fine... it just reminded me of something Hector did.” Jayden looked as though someone had just punched him in the gut.
“I’m so sorry Sera,” he said. His pained expression hurt me in some way, so I reached out and wrapped my arms around him. He reciprocated after a moment, holding me tightly for a couple seconds before we pulled away. I smiled at him, and he smiled back. I loved how he seemed to melt a little when I smiled.
“There you are,” Claire exclaimed, bursting through the door. “I was just letting you know I’m going out, and that I need some money to go shopping.” She looked refreshed with her long blonde hair still wet, resting halfway down her back. Her black dress fell softly around her body, held up by two thin straps on her shoulder. I noted she wasn’t wearing the Elementorium, which was instead clasped in her hand.
“You look nice,” I said to her. She scoffed and rolled her eyes.
“Yeah well, I have no way to hide the Elementorium in this dress. I need to get some new clothes if I want to ever go out in public,” she replied. Beside me, Jayden had pulled out a wallet and was thumbing through the bills inside.
“Here, this should be enough. But don’t go by yourself, I don’t want you alone out there,” he said, handing her a bundle of bills. Her eyes got huge as she took the money, counting it twice.
“You just gave me a thousand dollars to spend on clothes.”
“Is it not enough?” Jayden asked as he opened his wallet again.
“It’s more than enough, Jayden. I’ll go with her, I need to get some clothes as well,” I said, smiling at Claire, who was still in shock from the amount of money in her hands. “I’ll make sure she doesn’t spend too much either.” I snatched the bills out of her hand and stuffed them in my pocket. Claire pouted.
“What do I do with the Elementorium though?” she asked.
“Just leave it here, it’s probably safest here anyway,” Jayden told her. She grudgingly handed the necklace over to him, which he promptly buried in his pocket.
“That had better be here when I get back,” Claire said, glaring at Jayden.
“What, you think I’m going to steal it or something? I don’t think you can steal something that’s already stolen.”
“Let’s go, Claire. The worst Jayden is going to do with that thing is study it,” I said, dragging her out of the room by her arm.
Joe had directed us to a nearby clothing store, which was only a ten minute walk away. The building was huge--lined with over a hundred racks of clothing, suited for any age and gender. Claire squealed as we walked through the glass doors and took off in the direction of the expansive collection of women’s clothing, immediately plucking several clothes off of the racks. I followed her, my mind drifting to Jayden.
I let the images flood my mind, once again feeling his embrace as I told him why my powers were sealed. Talking about it had been more painful than I had imagined it would be, and it felt like a storm was raging up inside me that threatened to swallow me whole. And then he was there, his arms wrapped around me, calming the storm brewing inside me.
“Hey, Sera!” Claire bounded toward me, nearly dropping a colorful shirt from the large pile of clothes in her arms. “Daydreaming?” She asked with a smirk. I rolled my eyes and looked away, suppressing the heat that was blossoming under my cheeks.
“Have you collected everything in the store yet?” I teased, looking back at her.
“At least I’m not standing around dreaming about Jayden,” she pouted, but I wasn’t paying attention. The nearby store clerk who had greeted us when we came in was now nervously glancing between us and the door. Another clerk, who seemed to be a manager of some sort, walked up to her and whispered something in her ear.
I extended my consciousness to them, feeling the familiar surge of power begin to well up deep inside me. The young clerk’s thoughts began to whisper in my mind, and suddenly the familiar power became ferocious, ravaging my veins and consuming my thoughts. Immediately I pulled away from her, afraid of the unfamiliar surge of power. What if I couldn’t control it?
“Claire, I think we should go,” I said to her, my eyes still locked onto the clerk and her manager.
“Why? I have to at least try these on first,” she replied, oblivious to the strange behavior of the store employees.
“We can come back some other time, Claire,” I said, turning to her. She looked confused, still not paying attention to the rest of the room. “That clerk has been acting strangely for the past few minutes. You’re the most notorious thief on the planet right now, can you really afford to ignore strange behavior?” I whispered, glancing back to the clerk.
“Fine, let’s go,” Claire replied, exasperated. She hung the pile of clothes up on a nearby rack and quickly retreated to my side. I glanced back once more as I opened the door, watching the clerk’s eyes grow large as Claire shrieked. I turned to see a pair of guards on either side of the door, one of them with Claire already in hand. Fear boiled up inside me, waking my powers. The air around me seemed to vibrate as my senses elevated, the heartbeats of Claire and the guards pounding in my mind. I pressed my eyes shut, trying to push my power back down.
“Sera, help!” Claire shouted, breaking my concentration. My eyes flew open and the second guard collapsed. Claire watched him fall in horror, her eyes moving from the guard to me. The guard restraining Claire tightened his grip on her, obviously thinking she was the one who attacked his partner.
“You bitch,” he snarled, glaring down at Claire. “I’m taking you into custody under suspicion of crimes against the city of Rune and the theft of the Elementorium.” He latched handcuffs around Claire’s wrists as more guards collapsed around me, pulling me away from her.
“I’m so sorry Claire,” I said to her, my heart breaking as a tear rolled down her cheek. It was too late now, there was nothing I could do for her without taking the lives of every guard on the street.
Anger and frustration flared up in me, telling me to do whatever was necessary to save Claire from capture. I closed my eyes and turned away from Claire’s terrified expression as she disappeared behind a swarm of guards.
“Take that one in too, probably one of her thief friends,” one of the guards said. Shaking with anger and the effort required to suppress Elysium’s power, I felt the cold metal of handcuffs being locked around my wrist as I was led out into the street.
Bio: Hi! I'm a 21 year old who sells games for a living and plays video games, writes, sings, and draws in her spare time. The online community I grew up with was the League of Legends community, so pardon my online PTSD.