Craved (Book #2 of the Vampire Legacy) (4 page)

BOOK: Craved (Book #2 of the Vampire Legacy)
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“But isn’t that like awkward?” Becca said. “Your asking him?”

Maria shrugged. “It could be better. But what am I supposed to do? He’s new. If I don’t ask him, somebody else will. And if he’s not into me, I’d rather know now, right?”

“I still think you’re all talk,” Jasmin said.

Maria glared at her. “Check back in an hour and we’ll see who’s all talk.”

Scarlet was relieved that the conversation had shifted away from her. She was beginning to feel hopeful, as if maybe all the negative attention would actually pass over quickly, and not be as bad as she thought. After all, kids moved on to new topics of gossip really quickly. But as she thought of next period’s class, with Sage and Maria, her stomach sank.

As they rounded the corner, Scarlet’s stomach sank further: there, huddled against a wall, were Vivian and her friends. They elbowed each other, looking in her direction, then giggled and whispered.

Vivian turned and glared right at her with a victorious smile. She could see the meanness in her perfect face, the petty vindication she received from having bullied her online. For a moment, Scarlet was so mad, she felt like attacking her. She felt a tremendous rage rush through her, tingling, running up from her toes through her fingertips. She didn’t understand what was happening: it was like a hot flash. Her body felt stronger, more violent, and less able to control itself. She wanted to get out of here quick, before anything bad happened.

“Well well well,” Vivian said aloud, as they all walked past. The tension in the air was so thick, it could be cut with a knife.

“Look who it is. If it isn’t Blake’s leftovers.”

“That’s quite a statement, especially coming from Blake’s reject,” Jasmin snapped back at her.

“What are you too afraid to say it to her face, so you have to go and post it online?” Maria goaded.

Vivian’s face dropped into a scowl, as did her friends. Scarlet was mortified. She just wanted all of this to pass away. She appreciated her friends’ loyalty, but she didn’t want this to evolve into a full-fledged war.

“And this coming from a girl who doesn’t even have a date to the dance,” Vivian retorted, as she now homed in on Maria. “Loser,” she said.

“I’d rather not have a date then have someone’s leftovers,” Maria snapped back.

“Please Maria,” Scarlet said quietly. “Let’s just keep going.”

For a moment, it felt as if the two groups of girls would lunge at each other, and that this would evolve into a full-fledged fight. As much rage as Scarlet felt coursing through her, she really didn’t want any more confrontation.

She gently prodded her friends and slowly her group kept walking, going farther down the hall. Scarlet did not want to descend to Vivian’s level.

Just as the two groups were gaining more distance between each other, suddenly Scarlet sensed something. It was a strange sensation, one she’d never had before. Out of nowhere, her senses were on high alert: she felt, more than saw, a dark energy approaching her from behind. She didn’t know how, but she did. And then her hearing became so much acute: she heard every tiny movement in the hallway. She heard the movement of a girl’s footsteps, approaching her from behind.

Reacting at the speed of light, Scarlet suddenly felt her body turn itself around, felt her own hand go up as she spun, and watched herself grab someone else’s hand just as it approached the back of her head.

Scarlet looked up and was amazed to see herself clutching Vivian’s wrist. She looked over and saw a big wad of chewing gum in her palm, and saw her shocked expression. Then she realized what had happened: Vivian had crept up behind her and was about to cram the gum into her hair. Somehow, Scarlet had sensed it and had spun and blocked it at the last second, just inches away.

As Scarlet stood there, she found herself twisting Vivian’s wrist with an incredible surge of strength; Vivian dropped down to her knees, and screamed out in pain.

Everyone in the halls stopped, as a huge crowd gathered around.

“You’re hurting me!” Vivian cried out. “Let go!”

“FIGHT! FIGHT!” screamed the crowd of kids who suddenly gathered around.

Scarlet felt an overwhelming rage coursing through her, a rage she could barely control. Something in her body had protected her from getting hurt, and now it was willing her to get vengeance—to break this girl’s wrist.

“Why should she?” Maria yelled out. “You were about to stick gum in her hair.”

“Please!” Vivian whimpered. “I’m sorry!”

Scarlet didn’t understand what was overcoming her, and it freaked her out. Somehow, at the last second, she willed herself to stop. She finally let go.

Vivian’s wrist collapsed to her side, as she scrambled to her feet and ran back to her group of friends.

Scarlet turned, her heart pounding, and walked with her friends back down the hall. Slowly, the halls came back to life again, everyone whispering, as they dispersed. Scarlet’s friends clustered around her.

“OMG, like how did you do that?” Maria asked, in awe.

“That was like amazing!” Jasmin said. “You really put her in her place.”

“I can’t believe she was about to gum you,” Becca said.

“She got what she deserved,” Maria said. “Nice going, girl. I think she’ll think twice about messing with you again.”

But Scarlet didn’t feel good. She just felt empty, drained. And more bewildered than ever about what was happening to her. On the one hand, of course she was thrilled she was able to catch her in time, to fight back and stand up for herself. But at the same time, she couldn’t understand how she’d been able to react the way she had.

Her eyes were hurting even more and her headache was worsening, and as crazy as it sounded, she couldn’t help feeling as if she were changing somehow. And that terrified her more than anything.

The bell rang, and just before they headed to class, Scarlet looked over and saw Blake standing there. He stood with a few of his friends, and one of them prodded him, and he turned and glanced at her. For a moment, their eyes locked. Scarlet tried to decode his expression. She hoped more than anything that he would turn and walk over to her, give her a chance.

But he suddenly turned and walked with his friends in the opposite direction.

Scarlet felt her heart breaking. So that was it. He wasn’t into her anymore. Not only that, but he wasn’t even talking to her. He wouldn’t even acknowledge her. That hurt her more than anything. She’d thought they had something real together, and couldn’t understand how it had all fallen apart so quickly, how he could walk away so easily. How he couldn’t at least be more understanding of her—at least have given her a chance to explain.

It wasn’t even the first period of the day and already Scarlet felt beat up, like a punching bag. She’d already experienced a whirlwind of emotions, and wondered how she’d be able to make it through the day.

“Come on, you don’t need him,” Maria said, as she wrapped an arm around Scarlet’s, and guided her into the day’s first class. Scarlet gulped, knowing that waiting behind those doors was Sage.

 
 

CHAPTER SIX

 
 

Scarlet’s first period class was filled with about thirty kids, everyone scrambling to take their seats. The desks were lined up single file in three neat rows of ten, while to the side of the room were long wooden tables, benches beneath them. She scanned the room and saw with relief that Sage wasn’t in it; at least that was one less drama to deal with today.

“Where is he?” Maria asked, dejected. “Figures.”

It was English, Scarlet’s favorite class. Normally, she’d be happy to be here, especially because Mr. Sparrow was her favorite teacher, and especially because this term they were studying Shakespeare and her favorite play:
Romeo and Juliet
.

But as she slumped into her seat, in the row next to Maria, she felt deflated. Apathetic. She could hardly concentrate on Shakespeare. The class quieted, and she took out her books by rote and stared at the page, in a daze.

“Today’s going to be a little different,” Mr. Sparrow announced.

Scarlet looked up, happy to hear the sound of his voice. In his late 30s, good-looking, slightly unshaven, with longish hair and a strong jaw, he looked out of place in this high school. He looked a bit more glamorous than the others, like an actor slightly past his prime. He was always so happy, so quick to smile, and so kind to her—and to all the students. He never had a harsh word for her, or for anyone, and he always gave everyone As. He also managed to make even the most complicated text easy to understand, and actually managed to get everyone excited about whatever they were reading. He was also one of the smartest people she’d ever met—with an encyclopedic knowledge of world and classic literature.

“It’s one thing to just read Shakespeare’s plays,” he announced, a mischievous smile on his face. “It’s quite another to act them,” he added. “In fact, one could argue that you can’t truly gain an understanding of his plays until you’ve read them aloud yourself—and even tried to act them.”

The class giggled in response, the kids looking and murmuring at each other in an excited buzz.

“That’s right,” he said. “You guessed it. After today’s discussion, we’re going to break off into groups, each of you choosing a partner and act the text aloud to each other.”

Excited whispers spread in the classroom, and the energy level definitely rose a few notches. It managed to shake Scarlet from her reverie, managed to make her forget, for a few moments, all the troubles in her life. Partnering up and reading the lines: that would definitely be fun.

Suddenly, the door to the room opened, and Scarlet turned, with the rest of the class, to see who it was.

She could not believe it. Standing there, proudly, book in his hand, was Sage, wearing a slim leather jacket, black leather boots and designer jeans with a large black leather belt and huge silver buckle. He wore a black button-down shirt hanging loose, and it revealed sparkling necklace—it looked like white platinum—with a large pendant in the middle. It looked like it was made of rubies and sapphires, and sparkled the light.

Mr. Sparrow turned and looked at him, surprised.

“And you are?”

“Sage,” he replied, handing him a slip. “Sorry I’m late. I’m new.”

“Well then you are most welcome,” Mr. Sparrow responded. “Please class, welcome Sage and make room for him in the back.”

Mr. Sparrow turned back to the chalkboard.

“Romeo and Juliet. To begin with, let’s talk about the background of this play.…”

Mr. Sparrow’s voice faded out in Scarlet’s head. Her heart pounded as Sage walked down the rows of seats. And then suddenly, she realized: the only empty seat in the room was directly behind her.

Oh no
, she thought.
Not with Maria sitting right next to her.

As Sage walked down the aisle, she could have sworn she saw him turn and stare right at her. She looked away quickly, thinking of Maria, and not understanding why he was looking at her like that.

She felt more than saw him walk behind her, heard his chair scrape and felt him take a seat behind her. She could feel the energy coming off of him; it was tremendous.

Suddenly, her phone buzzed in her pocket. She furtively reached down, slipped it out a couple inches, and looked. Of course. Maria.

OMG, I’m dying.

Scarlet pushed her cell back into her pocket, and didn’t turn and look at Maria, not wanting to make it obvious they were texting. She then put her hands back on her desk, hoping Maria would just stop texting. She really didn’t want to text now. She wanted to concentrate.

But her phone buzzed again. She couldn’t ignore it, especially with Maria sitting right next to her, so again, she reached down.

Hello? What should I do?

Again, Scarlet pushed her cell back into her pocket. She didn’t want to be rude, but she had no idea what to say and really didn’t want to get into a texting conversation right now. The situation was just getting worse, and she wanted to focus on what Mr. Sparrow was saying, especially as they were on her favorite play.

But then again, she couldn’t completely ignore Maria. She quickly reached down and typed with one finger.

Don’t know.

She hit send, then pushed her cell deep into her pocket, hoping Maria would leave her alone.

“Romeo and Juliet,” Mr. Sparrow began, “was not an original story. Shakespeare actually based it on an ancient tale. Like all of Shakespeare’s plays, he found his sources in history. He recycled old stories and adapted them into his own language, in his own time. We like to think that he’s the greatest original writer of all time—but in truth, it would be more accurate to call him the greatest
adapter
of all time. If here were alive and writing today, he would not win the award for best Original Screenplay—he would win for best
Adapted
Screenplay. Because none of his stories—not one—were original. They had all been written before, some many times over many centuries.

“But that doesn’t necessarily detract from his great skill, from his ability as a writer. After all, it’s all about how you turn a phrase, isn’t it? The same plot told two ways can be boring in one instance and compelling in another, can’t it? Shakespeare’s great skill was his ability to take someone else’s story and re-write it in his own words, for his own time. And to write it with such beauty and poetry that he really brought it to life for the first time. He was a dramatist, yes. But ultimately, and most of all, he was a poet.”

Mr. Sparrow paused as he lifted the play.

“In the case of
Romeo and Juliet
, the story had already been around for centuries by the time Shakespeare got his hands on it. Does anyone know the original source?”

Mr. Sparrow looked around the class, and it was dead silent. He waited several seconds, then opened his mouth to speak—when suddenly, he stopped and looked right in Scarlet’s direction.

Scarlet’s heart pounded as she thought he was looking at her.

“Ah, the new boy,” Mr. Sparrow asked. “Please enlighten us.”

The entire class turned and looked in Scarlet’s direction, at Sage. She was relieved to realize he wasn’t calling on her.

She couldn’t help turning just a bit, too, looking behind her, at Sage. Instead of looking at the teacher, oddly, Sage looked at her as he spoke.

“Romeo and Juliet was based on a poem by Arthur Brooke:
The Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Iuliet
.”

“Very good!” Mr. Sparrow said, sounding impressed. “And for extra points, might you know the year it was written?”

Scarlet was amazed. How had Sage known that?

“1562,” Sage replied, without hesitating.

Mr. Jordan looked happily surprised.

“Amazing! I’ve never had any student get that. Bravo, Sage. Since you’re such a scholar, here’s one final question. I’ve never known anyone—even among my peers—to get this right, so don’t feel badly if you don’t. If you get it, I’ll start you off with an automatic 100 on your first test. Where and when was the play first performed?”

The entire class turned in their seats and looked at Sage, the tension running high. Scarlet looked, too, and saw Sage smile back at her.

“It is believed to have been first performed in 1593, at a small venue called The Theatre, on the opposite side of the Thames.”

Mr. Jordan shouted out in excitement.

“WOW! My Sage, you are good. Wow, I’m impressed.”

Sage cleared his throat, not finished.

“That is the common understanding,” Sage said, “but in truth, it was actually performed once before that. In 1592. In Elizabeth’s castle. In her courtyard, amidst her private orchard.”

Scarlet looked back at Sage, speechless. His eyes had a far-off look, almost as if he were remembering being there himself. She couldn’t understand.

Mr. Sparrow’s smile fell.

“Oh, you were doing so good, Sage. I’m sorry. I’m afraid you are mistaken there. You should have quit while you were ahead—you actually had it right the first time. It was never performed before 1593.”

“Actually, I’m sorry sir, but I am correct,” Sage insisted gently but firmly.

Mr. Sparrow looked back at him, eyes opening wide in amazement.

“And what is your source?” he asked.

There was a long pause, as Sage sat there, apparently thinking. Scarlet was amazed.
Who was this kid?

“I have none,” he said finally.

Slowly, Mr. Sparrow shook his head.

“I’m afraid without a source, we can’t verify, can we? I’ll tell you what: find me the source, and I’ll gladly reinstate your 100.

“In the meantime class,” Mr. Sparrow continued, “it’s time to break off into partners. Please find one, proceed to the benches, and open to Act one, Scene Five.”

There was a loud shuffling in the room, as everybody rose and headed over to the long benches on the side of the room.

“Remember, it’s a boy-girl scene!” Mr. Sparrow yelled out. “I want girls partnered with boys, and vice versa!”

Scarlet was about to partner up with Maria until he made this announcement, throwing her off.

“OMG, what should I do?” Maria whispered as she hurried over. Maria, flushed, was staring at Sage, who was just getting up.

“This is my chance,” Maria said. “I have to partner with him.”

“Go for it,” Scarlet said, half-heartedly. She wanted Maria to be happy, but she couldn’t help it: another part of her wanted to partner with Sage herself.

Scarlet headed over to the long, wide benches on the far side of the room and took a seat alone at the far end, beneath a window, all alone. She unfolded her book before her. Since she wasn’t going to partner with Sage, she didn’t really care who she partnered with: she didn’t like any of the boys in this class. She figured she’d just sit there and wait for one of them to come up to her, because she didn’t really feel like seeking one of them out.

She looked up and watched Maria approach Sage. Maria went right over to him, and was the first to reach him; Scarlet noticed other girls trying to get to him, too, but Maria was first. She had her chance.

Sage turned and glanced at Maria, and Maria stepped forward. She opened her mouth to speak, but then stopped. She froze up.

“Hi,” Maria said to him, apparently too scared to say anything else.

“Hi,” he said back.

He waited a few seconds, but Maria stood there, opening and closing her mouth a few times. Finally, she turned away, her face red.

BOOK: Craved (Book #2 of the Vampire Legacy)
8.22Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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