The White Angel

by Vanessa

PLEASE COMMENT I WANT TO IMPROVE AND HEAR FEED BACK!!! this is just a little bit of it i'm not finished. I am 13 years old and my names Vanessa. Please tell me if I'm good or not!

By Vanessa Carey

I sat taking in the harsh sun without complaint, My long white dress and neat up do hair was flawless and I watched with envy across the street at a young girl with a simple dress and flowing hair on her shoulders.

"Tea?" My tutor asked me politely. I nodded and reached across the table with my white gloved hands. They didn't seem normal to me, as if my skin were ice instead of the warm flesh it normally was. I poured my tea quietly listening to the sound of the water falling into the cup. Why was I here? Did I want to be here? Absolutely not. But that wasn't my decision. That was my mothers. My mother called me her beauty, but I didn't feel like a beauty I felt more like a doll. A china doll does absolutely nothing while its master plays with it and does as he wishes with her. I was a china doll, small petite and composed on the outside while the inside screamed in protest.

The flowers grew around the chairs beautifully. Colors rained over the garden as if a rainbow had walked right past it. Smells as sweet as honey and sugar filled the air and my nose crinkled in appreciation. The sun continued to press all of it's heat on me, heating my shiny brown hair. All was normal, all was simple. Schooling? As much as I wanted it ladies weren't supposed to be properly educated here, stupid as a log my father once told me. I refused to even except the thought of being compared to a discarded piece of wood. I would be elegant, intelligent and I would be who I wanted to be. But for now, I was stuck, trapped within a small repeating dull life.

"Sugar?" the only words my tutor seemed to know. Tea? Sugar? More Tea? More sugar? The words seemed to have no meaning by now, just plain words that seemed to echo around my head.

"Of course." I said my voice tight and clipped. Had I talked once out of turn? No, have I ever disobeyed her? No, so why did I deserve this punishment? My mother could argue this for days, proper etiquette and balance is a ladies life was her saying. Did I understand this? Yes, did I like it? No, of course not.

"Have a good day Miss Loymly!" My tutor said wistfully as I walked out with my small umbrella.

"Yes, thank you, Mrs. Joyce." I replied rolling my eyes slightly when I turned my back. The cares she had for me! Bah!

I walked down the dusty road my cheeks pinched and my smile tight. The sky was a wonderful blue stretching across our town mightily. I stared up at it admiringly. If only I could be that free, that open as the great sky. My attention was taken away from the sky when I ran right into a sales person.

"Oh my!" I cried dropping my umbrella. The sales man looked up at me apology in his eyes.

"My apologies madam. May I make it up to you for something free?" my eyes glanced up at his small wooden stall with cheap jewelry hanging everywhere.

"No thank you." I said my voice finally losing the tense feeling it always has for my tutoring lesson. It became smooth, silky. I saw him smile at me real voice, my free voice.

"Perhaps this?" He smiled slowly as he held up a necklace. His smile had a small gold tooth that shined. I felt myself gasping slightly. It was gold all the way around with a small silver heart on the bottom. I reached out for it looking closely. Intricate flowers wound around the heart each different colors, but not standing out in the slightest. My eyes could look a different place on the heart and a different detail would be there. On the back it said my name in perfect cursive swooping around gallantly. I touched it making sure it was real.

"Surely I could pay you something for this." I reasoned softly my eyes still glued to the necklace. But when I looked up the man gone, his stall and his items all gone with him. Leaving behind only a ghostly chuckle.

I walked into my large white house. My father was one of the wealthiest men at Shore town and would except only the best house. My feet mechanically walked up the stairs knowing where a creak, a wobbly stair or a turn was. I used these stairs so often, so painfully often that my feet knew what they were doing. As soon as I reached my room I unleashed my curls and let them fall to my back. My hair did as it wanted, and though I tried to put it up my brown locks preferred waving in the air. I sat on a chair near a large window letting me see the whole town and the crystal sea in the distance. Warm clear and graceful the sea was the most beautiful thing here in this town. I leaned my head against the glass closing my eyes and pretending I was swimming there. Dolphins jumped spinning playfully and dropped into the ocean. I swam deeper, letting the warmth drive me further. Sea turtles and thousands of colored fish swam around me not afraid at all. A reef practically glowing in the sun with colors of all kinds. I swam deeper. Star fish, and small animals" perhaps plankton swam around me. I watched fascinated with them, the beauty of it all was overwhelming. My eyes opened and I found myself sitting in my room again. I glared at the sea for filling me with false hope.

"My daughter!" My father said swooping into the room smiling broadly.

"Yes it's me father." I replied my voice again taking its stern tone. He sat next to me frowning.

"Your hair is down." he observed taking a strand and pinching it tightly. I gulped.

"Um, yes father it was getting rather uncomfortable." I said wincing as he frowned further.

"Young ladies except pain with pride. Fix your hair and come down stairs I have a surprise for you." he left the room without saying goodbye. I sighed and reached for a brush to take the tangles out.

When I was finished I walked down the stairs preparing for the worst. I wasn't prepared enough. There was Mr. Bumble who my father wanted me to court. I wasn't interested him in the least but that didn't matter to my father, the man was interested in me and that was what mattered. That and the man had money.

"My darling!" he called reached out to take my hand. I frowned slightly but smiled for my father. Mr. Bumble was nine years older than me, him twenty six and me seventeen. I let him take my hand and squeeze it though I didn't fancy it at all.

"I'll leave you two alone." My father said winking to me. I grunted under my breath.

"I've missed you." he said staring into my eyes. His eyes were dark brown, so dark almost black.

"And I to you." I lied smoothly. His hands felt my neck, I flinched. But he continued as if my reaction didn't matter. He felt my cheeks, my ears, my eyes, and my lips pausing there. He leaned toward me his eyes closing but I leaned away saying quickly.

"The weathers quite nice isn't it?" he nodded staring at me again. I backed away.

"Oh, stop it." I heard him growl. Shocked I froze. He leaned up straightening his back. I relaxed for now.

"Some day." he promised me. I would dread that day.

"What's around your neck?" he asked. I looked down at the locket I had been giving earlier. I had completely forgotten.

"A gift." I said quickly shoving it under my dress.

"By whom may I ask?"

"You may not." I said briskly my eyes sparkling with joy as he frowned with worry.

"If you'll excuse me, I must visit the tailor." I said walking out of the room.

"Have a nice day." he replied but I heard the anger in it. The anger of my defiance, of my not accepting him. I laughed so hard as soon as he was out of earshot. Perhaps my fathers gift wasn't that bad after all.

"Hello Irene." I greeted the young red haired tailor. She had long braids and threads everywhere. She smiled and nodded. Irene was mute, but she was the nicest girl I knew. I looked around the room, at the dresses, the suits, the brooches. A nice green one caught my eye.

"Excuse me, but can I have this" but in white?" My dresses all were white. The town called me the white dove, because I always had a white dress on. She nodded and held her hand out. I dropped three coins in here hand, two for the dress and a third just for her. She noticed this and tried handing it back. I grinned and ran out of the shop watching her frown and shake her head playfully.

I went to the beach. I sat down and dug my toes into the warm sand. My eyes scanned the horizon watching the sun set softly into the ocean. I let the ocean breeze blow my hair out of it's up do. My eyelashes brushed against my cheek bone, making me think how long they are. As I pandered this a shadow walked toward me. I kept my head down, not wanting anyone to realize I was the richest man's daughter.

"Hello." a rich voice said. Unlike the straight voice this town has with each other, this voice was pure. I looked up and saw a boy with messy brown hair and bright blue eyes. His face was skinny, like his body but he still had muscle. His lips were a rose pink and he looked at me earnestly.

"Hello." I said my voice quiet. My hair ruffled falling completely out. I groaned. He laughed but smiled an apology. I would guess his age was twenty.

"I'm Jonathon." he said sitting down with me. I stared at him. Wasn't he going to offer his hand? Ask for the pleasure of my name? I continued to stare dumbfounded before he shook my shoulder gently.

"Are you in there?" He asked chuckling. I squinted at him not understanding. Of course I was here, didn't he see me?

"Uh, well yes I am here." I answered confused. He stared out into the ocean his eyes reflecting the scene.

"Magnificent isn't it?" He said admiringly.

"Yes, quite." I replied staring at it too. He looked at me like I was crazy and shook his head.

"What now?" I asked easing up a bit.

"The way you talk" it's quite funny." he stressed the quite. I pouted but smiled slowly.

"And why is that?" I asked him.

"I dunno it's to old for you, your only"" he looked me over. "Seventeen." he guessed I nodded.

"Well." I said sitting up a bit. "I dunno about you but it seems fine to me." he smiled as we played this small game.

"Where are you from?" I asked him. His face instantly became serious.

"Far away." he muttered his eyes averting mine.

"Why won't you tell me?" I looked down too. His face came very close to mine his eyes sparkling. I didn't pull away, I breathed in his breath as he watched me.

"A mystery far too expanse for your mind to comprehend." he said.

"Oh, so now I'm stupid! Just like you men, all women are stupid as logs. Yes I understand I get enough of it at home." I stood up and was about to stomp off when he grabbed my hand. I looked at him and found his eyes smoldering.

"No! I didn't mean it like that." He pleaded. I stopped and listened.

"You'll tell me?" I asked his face pained he shook his head.

"I can't, it's far to big a secret for you to bear. Please sit down." he begged. I held my head high.

"I don't even know you." I said. "Why would I sit with you?" he sighed and let go. I ran my dress flying behind me. But I heard him mutter to himself,

"More like the white angel than dove."

I lie staring up at my ceiling. My bed covers were wrapped around me as I listened to the ticking of the large clock next to my bed. I shouldn't have left, I thought. Perhaps I am stupid. My eyes closed but sleep wouldn't take over. The white angel, the white angel, the white angel, played in my head over and over again. I dug my head into my pillow, I was crazy I knew it. The boy was no more than a distraction, I tried to convince myself. Jonathon, I told myself, not just the boy. It was then I realized that I knew his name and he didn't know mine.

"Wake up, honey." My mothers sweet voice. I opened one eye before closing it again.

"No." I said grumpily. She left the room and brought a bucket of cold water.

"Fresh from the well." she threatened holding it up. I opened my eyes and threw the blankets off of me.

"That was unnecessary." I snapped at her. She shrugged her eyes regarding my hair.

"What is that hay stack on your head?" She asked her nose crinkling. Used to her comments I shrugged and walked to the mirror for a brush.

"Honestly you really should watch that. A girl needs to look pretty all the time, not just when out in public. And your waistline! How horrid, did you eat to much dinner last night? Oh, where is your corset! You can't dare wear a dress without one""

"Yes mother I understand." I replied gritting my teeth. Defiance wouldn't get me anywhere, I reasoned. She shook her head as if I could never understand. Then she walked out of the room without a second thought. I wanted to kick something, kick it hard and just accept the pain. Pain would mean I was real and I wasn't living in a nightmare. But truly, I wished this was a nightmare that I could just wake up from.

We walked out of the door my eyes fluttering from the glare of the sun.

"Where are we going?" I asked my voice high and solid instead of the low quiet I liked.

"Their's a ball tomorrow night, and I would like to get a dress. You might want to try a different color." she said frowning at my dress. I ignored her and walked behind her watching the busy street.

Covered in stalls and people it was exciting and busy. You could always get a different keep sake from the market place, something I enjoyed decorating my room with.

"Keep up!" My mother shouted at me. I quickened my pace. We passed through the dirty part of the market place, where people tried to rob you and give ridiculous prices. A glimmer caught my eye and I saw a shop with amazing glass work. I stopped and looked at my mother rushing through the crowd of people. A quick peek wouldn't make a difference, I decided taking a left and going onto a darker street. Beggars held their hands out pleading and crying as I pushed past them. I wanted to help them so much, but I was always told not to. I saw a mother with her baby sitting in the street. Her baby was so small and wrinkled. I gasped.

"I'm so sorry." I murmured to her. She looked up and I found a beautiful face. Beyond the age and lack of food this women would have been beautiful I found myself shocked at this observation.

"Raku." she said holding the baby out to me. I held it cradling the small baby in my arms.

"Raku." I whispered brushing my finger along it's soft head. I handed the baby to the women and gave her four coins, everything I had. Astounded she shook her head violently and attempted to give it back.

"For Raku." I said closing her hand. She understood me and hugged my leg crying with joy. I smiled at her and continued walking to the store joy radiating through my whole being.

I entered the shop my eyes glittering at the shining glass. Greens, gold's, blues, purples, reds, all blended together and sun shining through it all. I touched the smooth glass amazed at the ability of the craftsmen here.

"Buy?" he asked his accent unrecognizable. I shook my head and he frowned.

"No buy, no look." he said waving his finger at me. I glared at him but respected him slightly for his glass. Nodding I glanced at one piece of glass one more time. Violet and purple it swirled around. I found myself staring. When I realized I had stayed well past the time I should've I muttered a quick,

"Sorry." to him. I found his face frozen and fear in his eyes. Confused I started to turn when a knife was pushed into my neck. I choked and glanced up at a tall dark man.

"Hello Missus." He said smiling darkly. I closed my eyes listening to my heart pumping loudly. His mouth was at my ear.

"You have what I'm looking for." he whispered in my ear. I shivered and heard him chuckle.

"I don't know what your talking about." I protested my voice surprisingly strong. He glared at me.

"You know perfectly well what I'm talking about." His voice slithered to my ear making me shiver again.

"Honestly." I choked out tears at my eyes. "I don't have what your looking for you must have the wrong women." He shook his head growling.

"No blast it all! You have it! I know you do!" His sudden tone was violent and the knife pushed harder blood sliding down my throat.

"Let her go Kaden." Someone snarled. He rolled his eyes and I turned to find Jonathon standing their with a knife of his own.

"She doesn't have it." Jonathon said staring at him with anger. The man shrugged.

"I think she does." He said pressing the knife harder.

"Jonathon." I whimpered pain throbbing at my neck. His eyes flashed toward mine and his face went pained.

"One more time, or I'll have to use a gun." He said his hand reaching to his pocket. What on earth was a gun? Kaden laughed.

"I have one too Jonathon and I thought you were the one to make the little rule book here? You going to break section four?" I bit my lip as he hesitated.

"Defense." he muttered. "Doesn't count." Kaden licked his lips leaning to me.

"I can kill this man in about two seconds, or you can come with me quietly and we can really find out if you really have it or not." I breathed in and out thinking quickly. Without a second thought I nodded. Jonathon catching the fear in my eyes shouted at Kaden.

"No! Let her go now!"

"Unless she gives it to me right now, no." Kaden sneered.

"She doesn't know what your talking about!" Jonathon screamed.

"I don't care all I know is I need it and she has it." Suddenly two tubes were pointed at their heads. One clicked and was ready to pull the trigger. I peered at it.

"Are you really afraid of a tube?" I asked skeptically. Kaden chuckled despite the situation.

"She's a keeper." He said. Jonathon rolled his eyes and grabbed my wrist. With a tug I was free and in his warm arms. Surprised Kaden reached for my arm but missed as Jonathon pulled me away. I was frozen, everything playing in slow motion. The tube was pointed at my forehead. Jonathon froze.

"Don't." he threatened pointing his at Kaden. Suddenly with a loud THONG! Kaden fell over unconscious. Standing over him was the shop keeper with a pan and a wild look in his eyes.

"Out!" He yelled and we both hurried away Jonathon hugging me close to his chest. I realized I was sobbing and gasping for breath. Shaking my head I sniffed and wiped the tears.

"What just happened?" I demanded. Jonathon sighed.

"Your getting to involved." He said rubbing his temples. I stared at him long and hard. He sighed again.

"I've never had the pleasure of your name." He said instead rising his eyebrows.

"Winter. Winter Loymly."

******

"What is he looking for?" I asked in a straight voice. I dipped my toe in the water off the dock. Jonathon looked away the wind blowing his hair onto his face.

"If I tell you then you won't be innocent. He could never kill you until your truly involved. He could hurt so bad you would want to die, but he couldn't kill you." he bit his lip. "If I tell you, he has permission to kill you."

"Aren't I at the edge of death right now? I had a knife at my throat an hour ago!"

"You don't understand. Along with that "Tube" that we had we have much more painful things." He closed his eyes and I knew he was picturing those things hurting me. He opened his eyes and I saw a new fire in them.

"That won't happen." he promised me. I stared down frustrated. I wanted to know why I had a knife at my neck and a murderer after me.

"What significance does this thing have?" I asked instead trying to hop around the rules.

"Power." He replied surprising me by answering. "Power to control and destroy. It's hard to explain." he said. I glared at him.

"Fine, fine. No need to give me the death stare." He laughed. "It's kind of"" He stopped trying to find words. "It's a new technology that we have. Where we come from." His voice had gotten quiet and he leaned toward me.

"A technology that can change the way people think. A man named Pruden discovered a new mineral in a cave hidden underwater. The mineral had given off it's own light, but no properties suggests that it could do that. He had scientists working overtime trying to figure out what this was and what it could do. While testing it a man dropped a speck in his food, a spec, and he had a mental breakdown. Pruden, the man who had handled that rock was the only one to convince him into sanity again. It was tried again without permission by a scientist named Lacker. He gave it to his friend and tried to get him to jump off a bridge. The man was wildly afraid of heights, so Lacker wasn't afraid that of the chance he would. But he did. The man died and Lacker was so amazed that he wanted to try again. He made so many experiments using peoples worst fears. The rock turned out to be a success, and could get anyone to do mad things, even things their afraid of. It screws you up in here it does." he said pointing to his head.

"The man who threatened me was Lacker wasn't he?" I said fear prickling my skin. Without a word Jonathon nodded. Somehow, I started hyperventilating. The idea of a mad scientist that wants to kill me was overwhelmingly frightening. I gripped my throat as the air seemed to get stuck. Jonathon immediately leaned over me and started pushing on my chest. Gasping for breath coughed several times before the pushing finally helped. I opened my eyes squinting in the moonlight at Jonathon. He was on the ground next to me panting.

"What"" he cursed. "Was that?" I shrugged timidly. "You scared the crap out of me Winter!" I didn't know what that meant, but I could guess.

"I'm sorry." I whispered staring up. He sat up. "Don't do that again." he commanded. I looked at him giving the "how the heck could I do that again" stare.

"WINTER LOYMLY!" My name screamed over the mountain tops, the rivers, the entire country cringed as my mother's voice was heard.

"Yes mother?" I squeaked. She stomped across the dock and with each step I winced.

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH HIM?!" she shrieked her voice going an octave higher. I closed my eyes bracing myself for the worst. Jonathon's eyes went big and he waved his hands.

"I think you misunderstand Mrs. Loymly"" he started before she started screaming again.

"DON'T YOU UNDERESTIMATE ME BOY!" She thundered. "YOUR JUST A INCONSIDERANT, CHEAP, DIRTY, FOOL!" She spat at him. Anger filled me. She couldn't say that! Not about Jonathon! Shaking I stood up as my body filled to the brim with fury.

"Mother." I said much more calmly then I felt. "The fool you just yelled at saved my life." She stopped and stared at me. I turned to Jonathon but he was gone.

"He saves you by lying next to you? Bah!" I cracked. Like a volcano getting ready to spew, I exploded.

"Mother! He is perhaps the nicest man I have ever met! He just saved my life! You're the inconsiderate fool! If you cared one ounce about me you would let me explain that to you! I would explain how kind and gentle he is! How he stares at me like I'm the only women in the world! He's smart, and handsome and he's much better than Mr. Bumble!" I growled. "I'd say how my heart stops and how I feel like I'm flying around him! If I can't even say these things to you, then I don't feel like your daughter! In fact, maybe I'm not your daughter." I said breathing a sigh of relief.

"You really think that?" Jonathon asked softly. I turned to find him under the dock staring at me with sparkling eyes. My jaw dropped.

"Yes." I said just as softly and I turned and ran down the dock past my mother and through the crowds tears of joy and depression running down my cheeks.

The door was locked tight. I didn't know what to feel. Anger, joy, upset, depressed. It all swirled around me leaving me with a blank expression.

I didn't understand. I had tried to be kind to them, how could they not expect defiance? I wasn't a doll, I said again hissing and gaining some feature to my face. I stood and paced the floor. I wished I was like Elizabeth. My mothers friend's daughter had wanted to be an artist. She painted constantly and her parents allowed her. A man wanted to court her that she didn't like and her parents agreed. How was that fair in the slightest? She was off married now expecting a child in a few months. Her art had made museums and men had kissed the floor she stepped on. Because of artwork. Everything was so confusing. Why didn't my parents want me to do those things? Going to college was out of the question, so how about painting? Or sculpting? What if I wanted to do those things? I burrowed deep into my bedding tears running down my cheeks before sleep enveloped me.

"Wake up." I heard my mothers bland tasteless voice. Quickly I jumped out of bed.

"Get dressed." She ordered and left. I knew plans were spinning around her head. Plans for me. To straighten me out, as she liked to say to our dog. Wearily I got dressed and walked down stairs wincing as I saw Mr. Bumble here again.

"Hello." I said quietly. Shocked from my normal voice he mumbled a pathetic "Hello." back.

"Miss me much?" He asked smiling widely so I could see his white teeth. My mouth opened with the rehearsed words coming. But they didn't come out, instead these did-

"Frankly, no I didn't miss you." I replied irritably and his face dropped so far, I could have sworn his jaw hit the floor for a second.

"Darling?" His mouth had gone straight as if hoping this was some joke.

"Yes?" I asked.

"Are you sure?" he asked his eyes still wide.

"Yes." I said my voice gaining strength. He frowned deep lines etched into his forehead.

"Perhaps your ill. Hopefully you'll feel better tonight at the ball. Goodbye my dearest!" he called as he walked out but I saw the anger in his eyes.

I was primped pushed and slapped with make up. My hair was yanked from my head with sharp brushes. I yelped and squealed but it didn't make a difference. Shoved into and pulled tight into a dress, and then forced into slippers half my size. Balls were no reason to celebrate. I wasn't aloud to eat all day so my waistline would stay slim. Pangs of hunger hurt me several times a day. Earrings dangled from my ears weighing what felt like at least a pound each. My eyes were barely visible with all the eye make up on it and my lips were a deep red from lipstick. I felt sick.

Wavering as I walked to the carriage I fanned myself repeatedly. Breath was hard to get through, my corset was pulled so tight hallucinations danced across my vision sometimes. This was all normal, as my mother said.

"To the ball!" the driver exclaimed whipping the horses harshly. They whinnied before taking off into the night. The carriage bumped and turned wildly.

"I trust you will behave appropriately tonight?" My mother asked. I could hear the threat in her voice. I could hear the "if you don't you will most defiantly not see that man again' tone.

"Yes mother." I said staring out the window.

"Good." She said her voice tight and clipped and I could tell bad things would happen if I didn't listen.

The dance was glorious. People swirled around in unison speaking to their partner with low voices. The music was loud and boisterous but graceful and delicate all the same. It was so bright, torches and candles set everywhere. The moon leaked through open windows covering me in light. I walked down the stairs wobbling slightly with the tight slippers. Several men gawked in my direction others glanced near me with admiration. I frowned. They couldn't me looking at me? I turned but no one was their. I blinked with surprise but waved it off.

"Winter." Mr. Bumbled reached a hand out to me. I looked at my mother hesitating. When she hissed only quiet enough for me to hear I took his head smiling tightly. The waltz began to play and I danced swiftly around the room.

"So are you feeling alright?" He asked his eyes burrowing into mine.

"Yes, much." I replied though I felt quite sick from lying.

"I love the waltz." He said as he danced. I cleared my throat but made no attempt to reply.

"You look lovely tonight." He tried again. I nodded my head.

"Thank you." I said he waited for me to say something about him. A hard stare from my mother and I knew she was listening with those keen ears.

"As do you." I gulped for air. He tilted his chin up with pride. A different song came on and I walked briskly away toward the snack table.

"Winter!" Mr. Bumble whined wanting to dance more. I turned around abruptly into his chest. He smiled and didn't move away. Sickened I took a step to the side.

"Please dance." he begged and I knew his friends were laughing in the corner at him. Feeling small pity for him I nodded with a sigh. I realized with uplifting joy that the song that was on was one that I had to dance with another man. Mr. Bumble noticed this too and sagged but once we were on the dance floor it was done. Spinning I smiled happily and from the corner of my eye I saw my mother grinning broadly at me. Then it happened. I spun right into the next man, the last man that I was supposed to dance the most with. I caught my breath and turned my sparkling eyes up to the man.

It wasn't any man. My chest panged with embarrassment as I stared up at Jonathon. He was staring at me closely as if I was a piece of jewelry.

"Hello." I said brushing a wisp of hair from my face.

"Sup." he replied.

"Excuse me?" I said with wide eyes. Did he just insult me?

"Oh!" he smacked his forehead and I looked away with confusion on my face.

"Please forget that." He pleaded. I found my jaw went slack and my eyes glazed.

"I don't understand you." I said and his worry escaped when he saw that I hadn't planned on asking about it.

"Nor I to you." He said slipping into normal speech.

"What are you talking about?" I asked him. He stared at me hard the look in his eyes giving me all my answers. I blushed deep red as I knew he was talking about my speech earlier.

"You just said that to help me? Correct?" He asked. I noticed he looked really handsome in his suit. His mousy hair was messy hanging into his eyes. Unlike anyone else around here with their large foreheads. His eyes were a deep blue, like the ocean I thought fondly. My eyes watched him as he waited for my answer.

"Yes." I said softly my heart screaming to take the word back. "It must have been a mistake." I bit my lip. "After all I had just had a knife at my neck and almost choked." He nodded and I closed my eyes to hide the tears.

"Well I'm sorry you feel that way." He whispered. "Because I feel the exact opposite toward you." I looked up. Gently he used his thumb to wipe a tear away. Shocked I only stared before I realized the dance had ended.

"Come along Winter." Mr. Bumble took my hand and led me away with me not taking my eyes off him.

"Who was that man?" He demanded once out of earshot. I winced.

"A friend." I said quietly.

"A friend? Bah! Did you see how he was looking at you? How you were looking at him?" He took my shoulders and shook me violently.

"You were supposed to be easy! A easy wife! You parents promised!" He was shouting in my face now. I closed my eyes and leaned as far as I could with him gripping my shoulders. The shouting had stopped. I opened my eyes and saw his brain working overtime to fix this. I saw out of the corner of my eye Jonathon watching carefully. I breathed a sigh of relief. Just then Mr. Bumbles eyes snapped to where I had glanced, quickly and evilly.

"He loves you doesn't he?" He whispered in my ear. I trembled.

"Well, I'll see to that." He said his voice growing darker.

"No, please, just don't"" I started before he smashed me against him. His lips pressed against mine, cold and dry. I couldn't get away, his arms trapped me in a false embrace squeezing me to him. I didn't move, didn't kiss back just waited till it would stop. It lasted way to long, probably eleven seconds, but it felt like eleven minutes I was trapped there. Finally he let go and I wiped my lips with the back of my hand.

"Let's see him compete with that!" Mr. Bumble smirked and walked of the balcony I had just realized we were on. I looked where Jonathon had been, but he was gone.

"Oh my." I whispered tears at my eyes. I caught his black coat and hat sweeping out the doorway in a rush to get away from the inevitable. Me.

"Why can't you love one man and live with it?" My mother asked fanning herself.

"You think I chose this?" I snapped. "You think I want to choose?" It wasn't even a choice, I thought about saying but bit my tongue.

"Nevertheless you must court the richer one, which I presume is Mr. Bumble?" She asked and I knew her eyes were gleaming if Jonathon had more money.

"I don't know if he has money nor do I care." I retorted snorting slightly for good measure.

"Well your father and I have chosen Mr. Bumble and he seems a perfect match for you and can support you well."

"Don't you understand?!" I cried. "Mr. Bumble doesn't even love me! He just wants a wife to impress his sick friends! Please don't make me marry him mother." I pleaded tears running down my face. "Please." She softened a little.

"Now where did you get the idea that we wanted him to marry you?" She asked.

"He told me." I replied keeping my eyes off hers.

"He told you?" She asked failing to keep the surprise from her face. A sudden idea made me even angrier. They couldn't have!

"What did you say to make Mr. Bumble court me?" I asked fury flying through my voice. She froze and I could tell I figured it out.

"You didn't!" I shrieked. Mother smiled weakly. "You paid the man to court me?!" I yelled.

"Yes." She said.

*****

All I seemed to be doing lately is crying. Crying here, crying there, but mostly in my bed. I wiped off the tears. I wouldn't cry anymore I would do something. The problem was I needed an idea. I paced the room and finally an idea hit me. Smiling I slipped on some slippers, grabbed a sweater, and put the locket around my neck. I looked out the window and dizziness swept over me. I needed a way to get down. Searching my room, I found no rope or cloth to tie together. Angrily I sat on my bed rethinking my plan. With a start I jumped off the bed and raced to the closet. Pushing away dresses and skirts I found the wall behind all of it. Where the old laundry shoot was.

When I was younger I had gotten a predicament like this. I wanted to play with my best friend, a peasant, and my mother locked me in my room to prevent me. Stubbornly I searched around my room and found a laundry shoot. With a breath of excitement I dived down it landing below safely and finding my friend. I crept up the stairs at night unlocked to door from the outside and snuggled under my bed without anyone knowing.

I closed my eyes, unlike when I was younger heights weren't my favorite. I stepped timidly into the hole then squeezed through. I sneezed, the dust swirling around me, and heard it echo down through the house. I froze. Listening all I heard were the kitchen servants and a few people sleeping. Breathing a sigh of relief I pushed off into the darkness that awaited me.

I landed with a thud in a clump of leaves. Their used to be a laundry basket there, I thought back. Rubbing my aching back I raced off on the road my locket bouncing along with me.

I was there. It was just what I needed. I sat down on the beach and watched the dark water edge up the sand. The stars glistened above and the large moon bathed the entire ocean in a sea of stars and light. I remembered all the good things that had happened to me, but every time I thought of these Jonathon's head popped up. His shaggy hair and his bright eyes. Rubbing my face tiredly I thought of Mr. Bumbles face. Pale, black hair, brown eyes, freckles. I cringed. Bad memories flooded through me and I realized most of these had Mr. Bumbles face. Then a sudden thought pierced through my whole being and I was forced to watch it.

"Honey is the right thing to do?" My mother asked my father leaning her head against his shoulder.

"Of course, she isn't going to get a man on her own, and this is the way of our age." He was bold, young and easily humored.

"It's just" I want her to be happy." My mother murmured into his ear. He patted her comfortingly.

"She will be, Charles is going to grow up to be a fine man." He said and before they could say another word a loud knock echoed through the house.

"Come in!" Bellowed my father. The door opened and in came a tall man with black hair. He looked exactly like his son, except his eyes were a dark green and his nose was more pointed. A woman walked behind him with a child holding her hand. She had brown hair and a tender face. Her ears stuck out a little, like Charles, and her eyes were a chocolate brown, much prettier than Charles.

"Ernest!" He gave my dad a bear hug patting his back.

"William!" My dad said back patting his back. The women walked up to each other.

"Ruth." My mother said eying her over.

"Virginia." She replied her eyes darting from my mother back to her child.

"Come! Let's sit in the living room!" My father boomed jollily. They all walked into the room their conversation getting quieter behind them. I strained to hear them and the voices came back again once the uncomfortable small talk was over.

"So you want you daughter"" Virginia started.

"Winter." My father told her and she nodded.

"Ah, yes winter, interesting name" to court Charles?" She asked.

"Thank you Virginia I love Charles name too. Yes, that's what we had been hoping." My mothers voice was slurred trying her best to be appealing.

"This isn't to soon is it? I mean most parents wait until their kids are at least ten"" William said holding his wives hand.

"Well yes we had thought of that too." My father admitted. "But I realized of the small chance that they heard us and understood. That's the age they want to marry their friends you know." He chuckled and they all laughed politely. "So we decided to have a had head start on things, and perhaps let them bond and together for a while." My father's voice was like honey and the parent drank his every word.

"Yes, well I have to say your idea amuses me but a few other woman have their eye on Charles also"" William said.

"Yes we had thought of this also"" he held out a chest of money to him and opened it. It glittered and William reached his hand out greedily.

"But if your feeling other women may better suit young Charles than that's well." My father said snapping the chest shut.

"No!" William shouted. The room went quiet.

"Mommy! I'm hungry!" Charles whined.

"Just a minute." She said patting him to quiet him down.

"No! Now!" He screamed.

"William, quickly." Virginia said. William nodded and said "What I mean is a few other women have their eye on Charles but haven't offered what you have." He glanced at his wife who was staring at him with pleading eyes. "So we agree."

With a snap I zoomed out of the room and back into my normal vision and I remembered why I knew that. I had been hiding by the staircase the entire conversation. I was to young to understand what they were talking about but knew I had to remember it, and deep burrowed in my brain it had come out and showed me the truth. I sighed and let my face fall to my hands.

"Are you ok?" The sudden voice appeared so close to me I jumped back. Jonathon sat next to watching me intently. Catching my breath I stared at him like he was crazy.

"I was until you gave me a heart attack!" I said rolling my eyes for effect.

"Sorry." he said quietly.

"I think I should be the one to be apologizing." I said quickly. He looked up without saying anything.

"The truth is"" I leaned closer to him. "I do like you, a lot. I was scared, but that shouldn't excuse the way I acted." His eyes which were staring at the ground now rose slowly a new light in them.

"Really?" He asked his voice filled with hope.

"Yes and I want you to also know that Mr. Bumble kissed me and I had no part in it." His eyes glittered.

"You mean you didn't even like it?" He asked. I laughed.

"Yes it was terrible. My parents were paying him to court me, something that won't happen again."

"Thank you." Jonathon said fervently and I knew he meant it with all his heart.

"Your welcome." I replied something occurred to me. "May I asked you a question?" His face instantly was weary.

"Depends." He said and shook his head slightly to get a stray hair from his eyes.

"How do you always find me?" I asked and he chuckled.

"Accident. Perhaps it's fate." He chuckled again and I laughed along with him.

"Now it's my turn." He said and my heart thudded silently in anticipation. "What do you say for a swim?" He asked my eyes widened.

"But"I always was told not to and" well"" I spluttered and he grinned even wider.

"You don't know how to swim do you?" He asked and I blushed shaking my head.

"Well that's good, because it's time to learn." He took my hand, not tugging like Mr. Bumble but making sure I had agreed for pulling gently.

"What of my clothes?" I asked and he bit his lip pondering.

"Would you care if you just wore petticoat? I wouldn't mind, and in fact I was planning on taking this bloody coat off." I gasped at his curse.

"Oh, wait it's worse here." He muttered. "Sorry from where I come from, saying bloody, well it just isn't that bad." He explained. I shrugged and ripped off my dress.

"Wait just a minute." I said running behind a tree. Tugging off the petticoat I ripped off my corset breathing normally. With a sigh of relief I put on the petticoat and left the corset there.

"Ready!" I said and ran out to the edge of the water. He took my hand in his and walked into the warm water.

"Just kick you legs like this." he demonstrated. "And use your hands like this." He showed me again. "You can't go to deep, which you may think you can in the beginning. Test your breath and come up as soon as you can. Got it?" He asked.

"Got what?" I asked puzzled. His eyebrows furrowed. "You don't say that?" He asked.

"No." I replied.

"Oh." he said and walked out through the water. What a interesting man, was the only thing I could think shaking my head. I walked out with him slightly scared of a drop off. Jonathon jumped and with a perfect dive went under. I watched in amazement and stood at the edge of where he jumped and waited. He came up his hair plastered to his forehead.

"The waters great! Winter you have to see this!" He reached for my hand. I stared at it.

"Are you sure?" I asked my voice faltering. He smiled encouragingly and I took a deep breath before jumping. The water enveloped me, it was an amazing feeling. It was silent and the light pierced through the water making it look lighter in some parts. Then I was being tugged up and I gasped for air realizing I needed it.

"Remember what I said?" He reminded me harshly. I nodded but I was ready to go under again.

"Come with me." I said and we both dived under. When I had jumped before I had looked straight and not down. This was a big mistake because under me was a reef. Just like I had imagined color rained everywhere shining at me and making my arm go up to shield my eyes. Jonathon looked at me and motioned for me to come with him. I swam slowly but got to where he wanted to show me. Behind the reef a small baby dolphin was chattering to a crab. I would have laughed with joy but kept my mouth shut not wanting to lose any air. The baby looked up and saw us staring at it. It squealed with delight and curiosity abandoning the crab to look at us. It swirled around me making odd noises. Timidly I reached a hand out and felt its slick smooth skin. Jonathon smiled as the dolphin cackled and swam off to its mother. The mother gave us a stern look but with a excited chatter from her child smiled and waved a flipper. Shocked I gasped taking in water. Choking I tried swimming but my body was shutting down. Jonathon grabbed my hand and pulled using all his strength. I reached the surface gulping in air and spitting out water.

"That was amazing!" I said making a move to go under again.

"I think that's enough for today." Jonathon said with a sigh of relief. I pouted but swam back to the sand and walked up to my dress. Jonathon walked behind me and handed me my dress.

"Thank you." I said meaning more than the dress.

"I need you to do something for me, since I did this for you." He said. I hesitated but nodded. He tilted my chin up to him waiting for my reaction. My heart stopped. I stared at his ocean blue eyes knowing now why I loved them so much. Then his lips were on mine, warm and wet. He held my head and I put my arms around his neck. My body was slowly being filled with a warm sticky feeling. A pitcher filling me with this wonderful feeling, from my toes until I was completely full in my head. He pulled away and closed his eyes. I caught my breath.

"I shouldn't be doing this." He moaned.

"Why?" I asked the feeling slowly oozing away.

"I have to leave you, I have to go back to where I came from. I can't stay here." My heart was ripped out and trampled on by many people and then put back in. I was bruised on the inside.

"I can come with you. Please." I begged tears running down my cheeks.

"It's to dangerous." He said wincing as he saw my tears. "Don't cry." He whispered turning toward me and wiping them away tenderly.

"I don't like it here, I want danger, I want excitement. I don't want tea parties and Mr. Bumble." I said my voice hoarse.

"You can't, your supposed to be here"" he started before I interrupted.

"I don't care! Don't you understand Jonathon?" I leaned my head against his. "Don't you understand that I love you?" His breath stopped, as did mine.

"You feel that way?" He asked his voice quiet and gentle.

"Yes." I said my voice cracking.

"I'll think about it." He promised and I breathed a sight of relief. I would see him again. "But until then you are to act completely normal." He said his eyebrows raising.

"Fine." I muttered.

"No kissing me in public." he grinned. "Though you probably would want to." I rolled my eyes. "Behave around the Mr. Bumble man, I'll figure him out later." I smiled. "And be safe." He said kissing my hairline.

"You too." I said. Then without a word we strolled opposite ways acting as if nothing happened, feeling as if something gigantic did.

"Why is the door unlocked?" My mother asked me. I shrugged. She looked at me suspiciously but strolled out her shoes clicking down the hall. Stretching I yawned. A flood of warmth came to me when I remembered what happened last night. I jumped out of bed in a joyous mood.

"Mr. Bumbles here." A servant said quietly. I nodded and she left to the next room. Not even Mr. Bumble was going to get me down. I got myself ready feeling marvelous. I put on my prettiest dress and most comfortable shoes. Small glittering gold earrings were on my ears, though my mother only approved of the long heavy ones. Then I walked out of my room, strolling down the stairs.

"Winter!" Mr. Bumble cried leaning toward me to give me a small kiss. But I continued walking, walking right past him and through the door without even a nod in his direction. My mother squealed and tried to grab my dress to stop me but I paid no heed to her. My father shouted and shouted until his voice was hoarse and his face as red as a tomato, but I didn't stop. I continued to walk as if I had just walked through an empty house. It felt good.

I felt the locket on my neck and hid it under my dress. I had a bad feeling about it today.

I was supposed to get flowers for a painting of my family, but I don't think they would want me back so soon. I decided to get the flowers anyway, for what else did I have to do? Walking along the long road I started to leave civilization. The best flowers were on the edge of the town where the sun got them best. I picked roses, lilies and a few I couldn't name but looked lovely. Just as I was finished picking the last one I noticed a shadow behind me. I knew who it was. I dropped the flowers and ran. My dress flowing behind me. I heard his heavy running behind me. He was following! What should I do? My dress was long and I picked it up to run around. But some of it dropped and I went crashing to the grass. My ankle was burning, crying out in pain I grabbed it and cradled against me. I opened my eyes in time for the man to walk up to me and hold a tissue against my face. My eyes getting sleepy I went limp.

My eyes snapped open. I was in a large room. Looking around me I saw Kaden walking up to me. I stood glancing around quickly for an escape. My ankle went out before me and I crashed to the ground realizing with a pang of dread that it was broken.

"Hello Winter." He said his voice as cruel as before. How did he know my name? I had to act innocent, had to know nothing.

"Who are you?" I asked my voice echoing around the huge room with fake confusion.

"You don't remember?" He laughed and like before I trembled with fear.

"What did you do to me?" I growled. His eyebrows went up as if he was surprised I had talked back.

"Nothing, I'm not sure what you mean." He said.

"Not my ankle you bloody idiot." I cussed, it felt good. "When I got knocked out!" His lips curved into a grin.

"Jonathon's gotten to you hasn't he? He's never been good at concealing his language. I suppose it's rubbed off on you." He began circling me as if I was a animal.

"Who's Jonathon?" I asked my voice high and mocking.

"Don't play dumb!" He hissed at me. I jumped back at his sudden anger and winced at my ankle.

"Where am I?" I hissed back hiding my fear well.

"I'm asking the questions!" He snapped his eyes glowing like hot embers in a fire.

"Now where is it?" He asked his voice low. I shrugged like Jonathon had before.

"You have to know!" He pleaded but still in a intimidating way.

"Nope." I replied taking Jonathon's way of talking.

"Search her!" He snarled. Startled I looked around at the men suddenly coming out of the shadows. Gulping I stayed strong.

"Sup." I said to one of them. They rolled their eyes at me and I knew it was time to change. With a hard kick with my good foot I sent one flying to the hard wall.

"Awesome!" I cheered. Limping I tried to get out.

"Get her!" Kaden screamed. I ignored him and started running as well as I could each step my ankle screaming in protest. Tears ran down my cheeks as the pain became unbearable. I saw a shred of light and I ducked into the room closing the door. I was safe, their were millions of other doors in the hallway I just had to stay here for a while, I reasoned. I sat down and looked up at the room. I stuffed my fist in my mouth to keep from screaming. Skeletons were scattered all over the floor. Some in death machines other what looked like strangling themselves.

"He's a monster." I whispered crawling closer to the door. Breathing raggedly I looked around for a way out. A window, high up on the wall. I frowned knowing I had no way to get up there.

I looked closer and a small glitter near one of the skeletons made me crawl a little closer. A beaker. I looked closely and a small rock was in the container. A spec was all it took, just a spec. Played in my mind. Jonathon was right. With my heart beating as fast as a drum I leaned back to the door. I was doomed, I would end up as a skeleton here just like the rest of them.

"Ouch!" I muttered when my hair got caught on the doorknob. I stood carefully and tried to untangle it. Their was my locket chain caught on the door shining.

"No." I said as if the thought that had just struck me was impossible. But as I thought about it, it definitely was. I pulled out the locket and compared it to the rock in the beaker. It was exactly the same. Then how was my name on it? And why would a rock the size of my thumb nail be of significance to Kaden? I didn't know any of these answers but I did know I had to get out of here. I officially wasn't innocent.

I must have dozed off sometime because when I opened my eyes it was dark outside. Rubbing my face I rose to find my ankle still sore. Moaning quietly I stood hopping around.

"She has to be he somewhere!" Someone growled. I stopped.

"We've checked every room, well I think so." He sighed.

"Kaden's going to be furious." He added. The voices were coming from the hallway.

"Have we checked this one?" The first voice asked roughly.

"What does it matter? If she did go in that room I'm sure she would have made some noise." He laughed assuming I would have screamed. I smirked proudly.

"I suppose." He replied.

"I don't understand why does Kaden want her anyway?" He asked.

"What are you a trainee?" The first one demanded. "She has the stone!" His voice went quiet I strained to hear them.

"One stone?" The other one retorted.

"Where have you been all your life? Don't you understand that the rocks spread!" My eyes bugged out but I kept quiet.

"Excuse me?" He asked bewildered as I was. The man cussed at his stupidity.

"Water." He stressed. "Water is the key, it spreads the rock like wildfire. That's why Pruden found it in an underwater cave." He sighed.

"Unfortunately we've only just recently discovered this, otherwise the other rocks wouldn't have died out." I could hear the rustling of the man nodding.

"Well lets go tell Kaden that she's gone." The men both walked off in a anxious mood nervous for what their boss was going to say. Breathing excitedly I knew I had to get out of here. I needed to tell Jonathon everything. Grabbing the nearest machine I pulled it toward the window to climb on. It screeched against the floor.

"Oh no!" I cried. Quickly I climbed on top of it sliding open the window. The door opened behind me.

"There she is!" Someone yelled behind me. I squeezed through the window and was running. Through the streets, through the woods, until I found the town. Huffing I limped my way to my house.

"Where have you been?" My mother demanded.

"I dunno." I muttered. Uh oh. With a pang I realized what I had said.

"Pardon?" Confusion spread over her face.

"Excuse me." I coughed. "My throats sore and the words came out a bit muddled." Her eyes were squinted at me.

"Not again Winter." She said wagging a finger at me. I nodded but inside I was saying "tonight, tonight I'm going to the beach.'

I had slid through the laundry shoot and was racing to the beach at top speeds, well as fast as I could with my ankle. I sat in the spot we usually sat at and waited.

Time ticked by and still no sign of him. My patience was growing out when finally a shadow appeared. My eyes snapped open from their exhausted trance and looked at Jonathon. His clothes were ripped, his normally messy hair even messier. His mouth was bleeding and his eyes were tired.

"My God Jonathon what happened?!" I said rushing to him and supporting him. He winced when I took his arm.

"They jumped me." He said hoarsely. "Kaden and his pack jumped me and tried to hold me hostage to get to you." I helped him sit.

"I'm so sorry." I said ripping some of his shirt off and using it to clean the blood. He took of the tattered shirt and handed it to me as I cleaned him up as much as possible. He moaned and groaned as I cleaned off the dirt from the scraped and bandaged him up as well as possible.

"Your wrist is broken, and these bruises will take up to a week to heal." I sighed. "Your lucky to be alive." I said through clenched teeth. His eyes widened.

"That can't be right, if I just have a broken wrist and some bruises." I shook my head.

"Your head, it's bleeding. You don't have a concussion but your really close." I closed my eyes. "I could have lost you." I whispered. Their was silence, the night breeze the only sound. Suddenly his lips were on mine. Tingling filled my whole body until he pulled away.

"A few tough men isn't going to take me away from you." He promised and leaned my head up to him again kissing me for what seemed like decades. The world revolved around us, and as I pulled away my head spun.

"Did you want to tell me something?" He asked kissing my neck feverishly. I didn't answer at first just let the soothing feeling stay, the feeling I got whenever he was around. When he stopped and looked up I sighed.

"I was captured." I said smoothing out his matted hair. I felt him tense under my hand. "they took me, I don't even know where. Kaden put something on my face." I sniffed remembering. "A tissue or something. It knocked me out and I woke when I got there." I proceeded telling him of what had happened.

He cussed. "He touched you?" He growled. I lied my head on his shoulder and he relaxed slightly.

"He used chloroform to knock you out? That's against the rules." His whole chest was vibrating from anger. "I should have knocked his teeth out when I had the chance! I could have broken a few bones, hurt him enough to teach him a lesson, I could have""

"You could have done many things." I interrupted. "But you didn't so don't worry about the past and focus on the future. I heard men talking and they said that water spreads the rock. That's why they want my locket!" He stared at me and his jaw went slack.

"How do you know?" He asked his eyes glazing over. I stiffened with regret.

"I'm sorry I just figured it out on my own." I said. He held my face in his.

"You understand that he can kill you know? He knows your not innocent!" I took his hands off.

"How can he possibly know that?" I asked.

"The locket has a recorder on it when you say certain words that would apply that you know, it transmits it straight to him."

"Recorder? Transmits?" I asked my body shaking.

"A recorder is a device that listens to what your saying and keeps it inside it. Transmit is when it transfers the words to another device allowing someone to listen to them." His face was strangled in pain.

"He's coming for you right now." He said closing his eyes in frustration. He suddenly sat up. "We have to leave." He said standing. He yanked me up only for me to fall again from my swollen ankle. I had used it to much and it ached unbearably.

"Oh, I forgot." I said breathless. Without hesitation he picked me up and ran as fast as he could.

"Where are we going?" I asked shocked. He didn't reply just ran, through the beach into the woods and even deeper. "Jonathon!" I yelled his eyebrows furrowed but he didn't say anything.

"Must get out. Got to get you out of here. To dangerous. Must get out. Got to get you out of here. To dangerous." He murmured to himself over and over again. Reaching I put my hands around his face and he stopped running.

"Where are we going?" I asked softly. He looked down and with a thick voice replied. "Where I used to live." I growled.

"Stop being vague!" I hissed. He frowned.

"You wouldn't know the place even if I told you." He said his eyes pleading me to understand.

"Try me." I said. I realized that my speech was changing rapidly just from his presence. He sighed.

"America." He said.

******

We reached the dock almost immediately. He set me down carefully and walked to an old man. He had a white long beard and bright green eyes that stared me down. Amazingly I didn't look away, I wasn't frightened at all. The eyes that should have made me nervous made me want to watch him closer, understand him. He chuckled.

"Jonathon!" He said giving him a hearty hug.

"Hey Russell!" Jonathon said patting his back as they embraced.

"See ya brought a girl." He said winking at me. I blushed and nodded in his direction. He chuckled again.

"We need to leave." Jonathon said urgently. "She's not innocent anymore, and she has the stone." The last part was stressed so much it was a wander that the other fisherman here didn't notice.

"Ah I see. So she's the one? " He said glancing my way with a smile. A gold tooth. Suddenly a wave of intuition came over me.

"I don't know!" Jonathon said wrinkling his nose.

"Jonathon." I said slightly dizzy. He turned.

"Yes?" He asked me quizzically.

"I know this man." I said my voice coming out quiet. The man looked up with a flash and grinned.

"How in the world would you know"" He turned a sudden flash of anger to Russell. "You didn't." He growled.

"Aye, she says right." He said. Suddenly he was on the ground Jonathon on top of him. He raised his hand to punch him.

"Jonathon!" I screamed. He turned his eyes red with regret. I pulled him off the old man helping him up too.

"You blasted man!" Jonathon yelled at him. I held his shoulders, letting him get it out.

"You gave the necklace to her! Bloody hell Russell why the heck did you give it to her!" His whole body trembled with anger.

"Mate." Russell said quietly. "She was the one." I froze peering around Jonathon. He shook but didn't reply.

"What the hell does that mean?" Jonathon screamed. "Does it mean that she could die soon? Because that's what's going to happen now! They know Russell." He said pained. "They know she's running, they know she has the stone and they know that if they hurt her they'll get to me!" As if on cue dog barks echoed in the distance.

"We have to go." Russell said paling. Jonathon closed his eyes with fury.

"Later." He said stabbing his finger into Russell's chest. He picked me up again and jumped to the large boat waiting. A fishing boat. He walked under to the dock kicking the wall with anger.

"Jonathon." I said sharply. He looked up earnestly as if all anger had faded away. Surprised I blinked my wide eyes. He was suddenly beside me his arm around my shoulders.

"I'm sorry." He murmured to me his voice soft and pleading. "I don't like to lose my temper around you." I stroked his hair and leaned my head against his.

"It happens." I said soothingly. "But I don't understand, what does he mean I'm the one?" I asked.

"Nothing." He replied to quickly. My jaw clenched.

"Jonathon so help me I will throw you off this boat if you keep this up." I warned my eyes shining with anger. He laughed.

"I suppose you will." He said grinning with amusement. I didn't tear my eyes from his. He sighed. "I'm only supposed to be with a certain girl." He muttered lowly. "A fortune teller told me this when I was very young. I didn't think much of it until I started to date." He said suddenly we were the only ones on the deck, the world obliterating around us.

"Date?" I questioned. He cocked his head to the side with thought.

"Court?" He asked trying to explain it quickly.

"Oh."

"Yes so as I said, I started dating. Or courting." He added. "But every girl formed this hate for me." His face reddened with anger. "I'd do anything I would bring them flowers and they would throw them saying they were to pretty. How could flowers be to pretty? Or I would take them to dinner and they would say that I would buy them something to cheap. They chose the food! Every girl I asked out would do this, they would be nice and cute and flirt with me until I asked them out. Then it all changed. They always hated me. Our relationships lasted about a week before it was over. I have never been in a serious relationship because of this." His eyes burned. "The women who I loved rejected me because of my eyes." He cursed silently. "The fortune teller told me the one who has the stone would be the one. I didn't have any idea what she was saying until the newspapers were splattered with this new rock found in a cave. Then this whole adventure happened." He said waving his arms around. My eyes were wide with regret. He loved a women? My heart blackened shriveled and died falling to the floor with a silent thump. My eyes watered and my hands trembled.

"Excuse me." I said my voice faltering. I swept past him to the cabin downstairs tears racing down my cheeks .

The door was locked. I heard him banging on the door, he had been on it for hours. I wandered if he knew how hurt I was. How unbearably irrevocably hurt. I sniffed.

I had never been in love. Their just hadn't been anyone but Mr. Bumble that had courted me. I should have known better, better to trust a complete stranger, fall in love with a complete stranger. If my mother were here and she knew the situation she would make a large bowl of "I told you so'. But I would take it at this point at least she wouldn't love another daughter she wouldn't tell me she loved me and then have another daughter that was more important to her. I could count on her to do that, just that. Love me. I knew she did, though she showed it in different ways, she still did. My father did too but as all fathers go daughters aren't their favorite. He needs a son to be proud of, I thought. Someone to make him happy. My ears pricked as I heard Jonathon slump against the door. I didn't move.

"You know I still love you." I heard him mutter to himself. As if he was to embarrassed to shout it.

"I love you more than any other women. But I had loved someone before too, she was just first. I love you much more than her and it doesn't matter because your supposed to be with me. It's fate." This was to planned out for me. Why couldn't he just love me because of me? Not because he was stuck with me. I wandered with a sigh if he would have married that women had it not been for his curse.

"Winter." He pleaded I pictured those burning eyes. I winced. "Please, it came out the wrong way." He wasn't loving me because of me I thought when a plump tear rolled down my cheek. He loves me because he's supposed to. Was I supposed to just take that and live with it? I still loved him of course, but love always hurt. Or that's what I had heard anyway.

"I do love you." He muttered under his breath though I could still hear faintly. "Always have always will. It's nothing new to be hurt again." That was a punch in the gut. I gasped at his sudden guilt treatment. I bit my lip to keep from crying out. I think love did odd things to you. When the person you love is in pain and you're the cause, it causes you pain too. Perhaps it was that way purposely so you would never cause them pain. I wanted so badly to run out there and help him.

"Stop." I whimpered. My eyes drooped. "Do you honestly love me, Jonathon? Or is this because your stuck with me." I sat up my eyes fierce. "Your not the only when who's suffered." I said. I heard a rustle outside the door before music drifted in. I stiffened. Swift guitar that swirled around the room before flying into my ear came in. My eyes widened at it. It twisted with harmony going from hard to sweet. It told a story winding through the tale without saying a single word. My mouth dropped and I felt myself standing and walking to the door. I opened it and sat behind him. He continued playing not paying mind to me. Just as I wanted him to. He played for a while longer before his fingers turned red and his eyes watered. My eyes closing slowly as I leaned against the wall. He turned and ran his soft hand through my hair. He kissed my forehead and whispered in my ear.

"I hope I'm forgiven." Then picked me up laid me on the bed and walked off. But I heard all of it and as soon as he left my eyes slowly opened glowing with happiness.

It was late in the date that I finally woke. The sun was shining brightly through the porthole. Groaning slightly I sat up realizing I had twisted into the bed covers. The night came flooding back to me and I groaned again. Why did love have to be so confusing? Why did I even have to call it love? I had assumed that if you didn't like someone it wasn't love. I liked him now but I didn't love him last night. Their was still some leftover anger brewing inside of me. With a yawn I stretched and yanked myself off the large bed. My hair was down, something that was strictly forbidden. I laughed softly and shook out my ringlets to my back. I put some clothes on and washed my face but I like the new look. I smiled brightly at my reflection when I was finished.

I walked up the stairs fussing over my sweater that was in my closet. Without looking I walked up the stairs and in the hallway. Suddenly I was falling hit by something strong. Falling to my butt I looked up my eyes wide with shock.

Guilty is the first word that popped into my head. How could I have thought the thoughts that I did? But it wiggled it's way into my brain and was past fading away. In fact it was like a candle had lit my brain, made it more aware then ever. I blinked slowly as a young man helped me up.

"I'm so terribly sorry. Are you alright?" He asked. My mouth had turned off as if my lips were glued together by some invisible force. I just blinked wildly at him.

He had black wavy hair and bright green eyes. His hair went to his cheeks in sideburns and his lips were pulled into a playful grin. He was wearing a long blue jacket, a doctor jacket, and had tan skin. My heart beat like a drum and I winced slightly embarrassed. I noticed he was still staring at me for an answer.

"Yes." I said softly. "I'm sorry I wasn't paying any attention at all." I moaned in my head. Why was I sweet talking him? My eyes dropped to the ground angry.

"That's fine." His voice was so smooth, so drawing as if it pulled me toward him as if" I bit my lip so hard it began to bleed. These thoughts tempted me, taunted me actually. I walked around him closing my eyes with fury. How could I do this to Jonathon? How? How? How? The word banged through my head making as much racket as it could.

"Oh!" He called smiling crookedly. "Your name? I'm the doctor of the ship, thought I might need to know." Though the ship looked small on the outside, underneath had several hallways and doors, I wasn't surprised that we weren't the only ones here.

"Winter." I said my sweet voice like sugar being poured into the air. I grunted under my breath. "And yours?" I asked.

"James." He said brightly and I felt my heart flutter. He flashed me a bright white smile before walking down the hall. I sank to the floor. God why me?

"Winter!" Jonathon called. He took my arm and started walking with me along the deck. He smiled at me, a begging smile. I sighed. My heart aching I looked up into his crystal clear blue eyes.

"Hello." I said. I shivered and he let me lie against his warm arm. I was a trader. A trader to James, and Jonathon. It was all my fault.

"I missed you." He said his voice vibrating his whole body. This was one of those times where you wanted to jump of the ship and suck in all the water you can. I looked up at him my curly hair sprawled out on his shoulder. "I'm sorry for last night, the words came out wrong. You know I love you more than anything." Scratch that I'd rather be stabbed right now. I deserved pain, I deserved so much pain. I didn't reply, if I had my words would be hollow filled with regret and sorrow. He stopped and turned to me holding my face close to his. "You don't understand how much"" He stopped his voice filled with emotion. "How much I'm pulled to you." His face strained. "Everything about you is just"" He was lost for words. "Amazing, fantastic, wonderful, mysterious, beautiful, whatever word fits all of those things." He smiled. "You a light a glowing beautiful light." James was history now. My heart was at my throat as suddenly as my mouth was on his, I didn't even know who reached for the other. Just that I needed his warm lips on mine. His scent against mine. His skin to mine. Everything that was his was going to be mine. I was greedy, so fearfully greedy, but I didn't pay attention to that. I didn't pay attention the whistling and laughter of the sailors or the captain eyeing us from his steering wheel. I was focused on his lips, his eyes. I opened mine and saw his glowing anxiously as we rested our heads against each other. His hand was in my hair and his lips started moving against mine again.

"Get a room!" A sailor chuckled. I held up a hand and waved him off which was followed by more laughter. Even Jonathon's. He smiled around my lips trying desperately to kiss the hollow of my throat. When we finally pulled away with the beating sun against my skin I felt empty. My whole being had stopped and was waiting for the tingling to start. I wanted the amazing sensation to hit me again, I wanted him to kiss me. I looked up earnestly and saw his eyes hungry. Hunger for me! He grabbed my wrist leading me to the hallways under the boat. I was floating right now, oblivious to everyone and everything around me. I just let him lead me. I could be kidnapped right now, thrown in a cell, tackled, poured cold water on, and I wouldn't care. I was in shock. Shock from how perfect he was at this, how heartbreakingly perfect. He had led me into a room and was kissing me again. We fell to the bed and I felt his shirt unbutton. I froze.

"What are you doing?" I asked dread in the pit of my stomach. He looked up guiltily.

"I'm sorry." He murmured buttoning it again. I stopped his hand and felt him grin. But I wasn't going to let him tempt me any further.

"Why?" I asked instead and he frowned. My voice was almost pained, and he didn't like it.

"I just" I don't know what happened"" He stumbled through words. "You pull me." He said simply. I cocked my head at him.

"You don't understand do you?" I asked him my eyes closing. "I'm not like the girls where you live, I don't just have sex with someone out of nowhere!" My voice was angry now. "I want to be a virgin! I don't mind kissing you, trust me I really don't mind that part but I can't do this!" He hugged me close to him and I didn't pull away. I was just limp.

"I didn't know it would hurt you that much. I just went to far and I'm sorry. I won't ever do it again." I felt him stiffen as if his guard was up. Was he attracted to me that much? I both felt extremely flattered and smothered at the same time. How was that possible? My head was whirring with thought as we got up numbly and walked out into the hall.

I stood on the dock the wind blew my hair behind me. I breathed a sigh of relief. Somehow it was soothing standing here. The sun warmed my skin as the wind blew so it wasn't cold. I watched ahead as islands passed and saw small fired on them. I wander if Indians lived there, I thought absentmindedly. I was so lost in my thoughts about the fires that the cry of panic didn't disturb me. I took no notice of it just that someone had yelled. Which happens a lot when the sailors call to each other. So when a yell behind me shouted "Missus get away from that rail!" I didn't hear and didn't pay attention. Then suddenly the ship lurched and I was thrown off the ship so fast that it took me until I was underwater to realize what had happened. Using the small skill I had with swimming from Jonathon I dragged myself up gasping for air. But my clothes were to heavy and I was dragged down again the light fading away. This water wasn't like the ocean Jonathon and I had swam at, it was dark and to quiet. No reefs were here and the light barely cut through the thick water. A few large scary fish had passed by me and I felt myself wanting to scream with fear. Somehow I couldn't move I felt if I moved then it would cut off any of the oxygen I was holding right now. So I let myself sink closing my eyes tightly and wandering when I would hit the bottom. I opened my eyes and saw that everything was wavy. Lack of oxygen I reasoned but my head felt so heavy that I couldn't reassure myself. I was incapable of even thinking right now. Then the burning. It came suddenly without any warning. My lungs started burning as if on fire. My first instinct was to grab for chest and I raked at my skin trying desperately to get to the burning. My lungs were dust now, I felt hopeless. Water very slowly leaked through my mouth tasting bitter with my dry tongue. Everything was happening in slow motion an I felt my eyelids slowly closing. Then with a tug I was pulled up. I could barely feel anything though. The person grasping my arm was barely there, I was barely floating through the water. When I was pulled up to the air my eyes were completely closed. My chest wasn't moving. I could hear voices talking around me and I felt someone pushing harshly on my chest. Water spewed out of my mouth and my eyes opened. Everything was blurry. Dizzily I sat up coughing.

"Ja"Ja"" Words wouldn't come through my mouth.

"I'm right here." he said and I leaned forward and kissed him. I was so scared that I would lose him that this felt good. It was weird though as if he was more surprised. Then he caught on and suddenly was grasping my hair. His tongue traced mine something he hadn't done before either. I pulled away rubbing my eyes to see his perfect face. I opened my eyes. Gasping I scrambled to the edge of the ship my heart racing. James was sitting in front of me with a wide grin on his face.

"Dinner is prepared." A small man with a black curly mustache said. We were at the dinner table in a nicely lit room under the deck. I sat in-between Jonathon and James, not the seat I would have chosen. To appear more organized than the ship actually was, small note cards were placed at each seat that had the persons name printed neatly. Somehow I was put in the middle of both of them and they both wanted my attention all through the dinner. Jonathon still didn't know about the kiss and I wanted it that way. Fear racked at me constantly. All he knew was that I had fallen off the ship and James had saved me. James was an automatic rival even though he saved me. He was grateful yet nervous that he hadn't been there.

"So Winter, I hear the water is warm and were stopping soon. We should go for a swim together." James said smiling crookedly.

"Uh well I"" I started before I was cut off.

"She's not interested." Jonathon said glaring him over. I think he understood the situation and the dread had finally settled in my stomach. "Winter, are you excited to see America?" He asked instead pulling my gaze from James.

"Well I suppose""

"Oh you know about America? Oh my!" James said gasping in shock. I smiled weakly. "I had been under the impression that I needed to talk like this around you." I took a bite of my food excusing myself from replying.

"Yes actually I told her." Jonathon said grinning proudly. I sighed this would never end would it?

"Well actually"" I said trying to tell him that he had kept it secret from me until the last moment.

"Well that's surprising considering the danger she's in now." James snapped back. The conversation was getting loud and I could see a few people at the end of the table stopping and looking at us.

"If you considered how intelligent she is you would have figured out that I had told her only after she had known she has the stone." Jonathon smirked.

"Jonathon"" I said but they ignored me.

"Oh, but I did! In fact I considered that finely thank you. I had just assumed since you took such a fancy with her that you couldn't bear to have her living in secrecy." He shrugged his eyes glittering with joy.

"James"" I said and again he paid no attention to me. The conversation was louder now, and everyone at the table was staring at us with confused expressions on their faces.

"I don't just take a fancy with her, I love her." Jonathon said staring hard. "At least I have a girlfriend unlike some people around here." He said looking away purposely as if acting innocent.

"SHUT UP!" I yelled. They stopped their faces ash white. "Why can't I eat a normal dinner without you two arguing? Did you not hear me calling you? The argument was about me for gods sake!" I stood with as much dignity as possible. "Remember that I'm not a doll anyone can mess about with, I am a women" a free independent women." I turned and walked out of the room my hair blowing behind me. I could hear them arguing about who set me off. I was beyond yelling at them now I stomped off angrily to the deck staring off into the distance. I wasn't in the mood to admire the beauty, though it was amazing. I growled and hissed through my teeth letting me anger out.

"Are you alright?" He asked me. I didn't face turn to see him I watched the dark sea and the land in the distance.

"You know I love you no matter what right?" I told Jonathon. He coughed. "Uh, well no I didn't. You do?" He asked. Shocked I wrinkled my nose but still was determined not to face him.

"Of course! Your everything to me." I said playing with my hands.

"But we've only known each other for a little while." He said surprised. I shrugged.

"I guess it doesn't matter." I said. I felt him shift uncomfortably.

"I love you too." He said softly and I turned to find James standing there.

"Oh." Was all I could whimper. How does this happen twice in the same day? I wandered how this could ever happen to me.

"Excuse me it's late." I said and brushed past him. He grabbed my wrist and I turned.

"I don't know about you" but that was one heck of a kiss." He said grinning crookedly. I was taken aback. With wide eyes I nodded weakly. He nodded the grin never escaping.

"Sorry." I murmured again and walked to my room dread spreading all over my body like a disease. Goose bumps covered me and I suddenly felt like love was a fencing that had me circled. I was trapped.

The next morning was fast. I woke up early and ate breakfast(which was delicious) and found myself with nothing to do. Figuring I could find a book in my cabin I started walking through the winds under the deck. I heard some low talking in front of me and I stopped around the corner. I went very still and listened.

"I'm guessing you're here to say stay away from your girl?"

"You don't get it, she's the only girl I can be with!"

"That's not my problem" she's"" He stopped. "She's like a freaking magnet to me."

"Oh my god!"

"What?" James asked.

"How"? Ok listen right now. I had her first. No matter how much you want to go near her you stay away. Got it?"

"I can do whatever I want."

"Not when I'm threatening you and I officially am."

"I'm so scared." he said sarcastically.

"You better be because if you steal her from me then I won't have anything. You're the fantastic doctor that could probably support her better than I ever could. But I'm the cutie that will sweep her off her feet." I knew he smirked as he said that.

"Oh yeah? So it's just up to you to figure out who she likes? What if she wants me? If you love her that much wouldn't you give in then?" He asked.

It went quiet. "I would never make her like me. It's her choice. But I am saying that she's going to pick me." He said and I could hear the sudden fierceness in it.

"Than it's a war."

"A war." He agreed and I heard them shake hands.

"May the best man get her."

My head was spinning. The world spun around me quickly and blurrily. How was he attracted to me too? A magnet" How was that possible? I walked across the deck trembling. A sailor I walked past whistled and winked at me. I wrinkled my nose disgusted and he looked down guiltily. What in the world was happening? Their was only one thing I could do at this point.

I knocked on the door timidly. Extremely timidly barely audible. I hesitated because what I was going to do scared me. He scared me. Something about his presence made me fascinated and yet want to shy away. With a deep breath I knocked.

"Excuse me?" I said softly. The door opened and the old man smiled with his shiny gold tooth.

"I knew you would be here soon enough." He chuckled and I laughed politely. He ushered me through the door and I was soon in his cluttered room. Papers, books, food, metals, everything you could think of he had it. My first guess was a teacher, but as I looked at the shining metals on the wall it seemed he was a professor, and a good one at that.

"Tea?" He asked me. With a swirl I was back in my tutors room learning manners. It felt so long ago when it was actually only about a week. I shook my head my eyes filled with wander as I realized how much my life has changed.

"No thank you." I said my voice was low barely audible as if I couldn't bare the memory. He shrugged and poured it for himself.

"I thought that people from America didn't drink tea as often as we did?" I asked. Jonathon had told me that once, though I couldn't remember when.

"Oh." He waved his hand impatiently. "Modern people do but I like the past, and I liked where you lived. I had a thought of staying there"." He grinned and his tooth shined at me. "But I had a feeling you would need me here. Now what can I do for you today?" He asked. I suddenly had the feeling that we were two good friends, as if I had known him my whole life. I knew I actually didn't but he gave you the thought that you did, the kindness and attitude was just as a friend would treat you. I felt touched and overwhelmed at the same time.

"Ur, well, Jonathon"" I said and he winked at me. "And James"" I said and he squinted as if surprised.

"James? What business do you have with him?" He asked cocking his head to the side.

"When I fell into the water, he saved me." I said quietly. Their was silence and he finally spoke his tone grave.

"You touched the water then? Was your locket open?" I nodded surprised he would know that.

"Dang it!" He said banging the table with sudden fury. "That stupid locket I knew it should have been tighter!" I blinked in surprise.

"Excuse me?" I asked timidly. He glanced up as if he had forgotten I was there.

"I always knew, well guessed". But it's true then! And with a women" oh, Oh!" He squeaked.

"What in the world are you talking about?" I asked but his mind was elsewhere. He suddenly began digging furiously in a pile of papers half my size.

"Aha!" He said as he took the paper he needed out. He scanned over it his eyes wild. "If a man were to have it then it would cause total mahem but if a women"" His eyes suddenly snapped up to me. "Kaden must know this. He doesn't want just the locket"" Pacing the ground he finally groaned.

"Russell please tell me!" I begged. He looked up at my worried face and sighed.

"I can't." He said softly. "If you find out then the power will increase and even more men" well lets say that your going to go through some strange things on this ship. But if anything happens just smile and walk away. I will find this out soon enough! Just be cautious my dear and safely unknown to what's happening!" Somehow I was pushed out of the room. Standing in the hallway I buried my face into my hands.

"The boat will dock soon!" A load voice shook the boat and I turned to find the captain yelling it to the sailors. "Tonight were stopping in the city!" My heart lifted and I smiled excitedly.

"Excuse me but what is the city called?" I asked the captain. He smiled dearly, like an old man would smile at his grandchild. I immediately thought back to the talk I had with Russell. I grinned and saw him blink as if it was to much to handle. I laughed under my breath.

"Uh, well, it's"" His head wavered before he shook it. "Um it's an island miss. Just a short stop before America. It's called the Pitcairn islands . Watch out missus I've heard some bad things about this town." I leaned toward him my eyes sparkling.

"What have you heard?" I asked breathlessly.

"Crime and much of it. Just be weary if you step foot on that island." He smiled at me again and walked off. Worriedly I walked back to the dock to watch the shape in the distance. Jonathon leaned next to me.

"Hey." He said his voice was casual.

"Are the Pitcairn islands dangerous?" I asked nervously. "The captain said their was a lot of crime there."

"Oh." He said waving his hand carelessly. "He says that about every island we stop at because he was robbed once. He just want's you to be careful." I nodded though I was still not reassured. He hugged me in his arms and I could feel the charm kicking in. I rolled my eyes though he couldn't see.

"You'll be safe around me." He whispered into my hair. I didn't reply.

"Did you compromise with James?" I asked him instead changing the subject. I heard him grunt quietly.

"In a way." He said stiffening. I looked up at him curious. His eyes were dark, like they were when he was about to lie.

"Well we still have some grudges against each other but were pretty fair." He said gruffly. I sighed and ran my hands through his hair that seemed glued to his head.

"Don't use jell anymore." I said smiling slightly. He smiled too.

"So why aren't you telling me the whole truth?" I asked my voice high. I wanted to hear it from him. He coughed.

"How did you know?" He asked.

"Your eyes get darker when your lying." I shrugged. He stared at me with wide eyes.

"To observant." He murmured to himself. Again I shrugged.

"He's stealing you from me." He growled. "He's stealing you." He repeated again as if he couldn't grasp the concept.

"Who?" I wanted to play dumb.

"James." He sneered and his face grew dark. "He's stealing you." He said again.

"What do you mean?" I asked innocently as I played with his hair.

"He want's you. He thinks this is all a game and you're the pretty prize. Well I won't have it. I won't lose." He said straightening his back.

"I'm not a trophy." I said.

"I know I won't let you be. I won't let you be anything you don't want to be." I stopped holding his face in my hands.

"What did you tell him?" I asked and he immediately looked guilty.

"That if he want's to play the hard way I'm not stepping out of the way for him. I'm not letting him take you. He may be the smart doctor but I'm the witty agent." His face went white.

"Agent?" I asked. His eyes shined bright black as he bit his lip.

"Need to know?" He tried. I glared at him.

"Fine. The reason I was there was a mission, I'm kind of a spy. It's called the FBI. But you can't tell anyone, it's a top secret mission. I was supposed to bring back any samples of rock that I find and we found you guys by accident. The ship was a mess everyone was against each other as we realized how dated you guys were. Kaden used to be my friend, but as he realized how easy it would be to control this place he grew evil. One day he completely disappeared and the next time I saw him was in that glass work shop holding a knife against you." He hissed. "We knew since the country was so old that it was very likely there was rock on it. We searched everywhere along beaches""

"Oh! That's why you were at the beach!" I said. He nodded.

"Any way Russell found it. He found it before Kaden and decided that it didn't belong to anyone. So he figured he would give it to an innocent girl and hope she wouldn't get involved with this." He growled and his jaw set. "That girl was you." I looked down and was quiet. I didn't know how to reply to that. Did I want to keep the rock? The incredibly valuable mineral that everyone seemed to be after?

"I'm glad." I said smiling.

"Why the heck would you be glad Winter? You understand that this endangers your life?" I leaned toward him.

"Because it led me to you." I said softly. Some how I couldn't hold my feelings back around Jonathon. Leaning toward him I was about to kiss when he was yanked away from me. I felt my heels land on the ground (realizing I had to stand on tiptoe to kiss him) and pouted. I found James standing there smiling dazzlingly.

"Sorry need to check your heartbeat. Make sure everyone onboard it healthy before we stop." He held the cold metal to my chest and I felt him shiver with joy. I would have hissed but I knew he was a doctor and has done this before so I just did as he said frowning the whole time. Jonathon stood behind him his eyes blazing as he assessed James. Smiling apologetically James asked me to come to his office to check a few more things out. Jonathon tapped his foot and looked like any moment he would rip his head off. Sighing I walked off to the office with him. When we got there James shut the door and began asking me questions that made me want to fall asleep. He stared at me the whole time and didn't tear his eyes from me. I leaned against the wall and counted. When I got to three hundred forty six he was finally finished.

"I'm sorry you sick." He said frowning.

"What! I'm fine! I've felt fine!" I almost yelled shocked.

"Well that water has seem to have given you a cold better stay in here and get some water and rest." I knew he was lying. Something I began observe more often.

"Don't lie." I said. Everyone was different. Jonathon's eyes got darker, James ears reddened.

"Why do you think I'm lying?" He asked.

"Top secret." I said smiling playfully. "But I'm rather good at it." He cocked his head at me.

"I have an aunt Gertrude."

"True."

"My dogs name is Spike."

"Yeah right!"

"I have a dog?"

"You are not a dog person. I don't need to see if your lying for that one." He grinned.

"That's pretty good." He said. "How about this one, Winter I truly and honestly love you." I didn't say anything and I heard him laugh softly.

"That's what I thought." He said. He sat next to me.

"I know that you like Jonathon and I'm sorry that I'm getting inbetween you two. I suppose you can't help it when theirs someone you love with your heart." I wrinkled my nose. Very cheesy.

"and I wanted to try something again, maybe you'll enjoy it this time." He chuckled before leaning toward me. I didn't know what to do, I was torn between slapping him and using that hammer for your reflexes on him. But the one second that I hesitated he leaned and smashed his lips against mine. I was against a wall, I couldn't back up. My first instict was to grab a fistful of his hair and pull, but he thought I was interacting and pushed harder. Trying to move away he moved to my throat and back up to my lips.

"Wonderful." He murmured. He was yanked away and I breathed a sigh of relief and sank against the wall.

"What the hell do you think your doing?" Jonathon demanded. I panted along with James.

"Kissing your girlfriend." He said shrugging. "Pretty good."

"Idiot! Did you see her pushing away from you? Even I saw that the five seconds I was here!" He pulled him up by his hair and he winced. "Kiss my girlfriend again without her permission and I guarantee you will leave with a broken bone." He sneered. "One that even you can't patch up." He dropped him and on the ground and turned to the door.

"Come on Winter." He said. I got up lightly and walked to the door.

"Winter!" James said. I turned despite my conscious screaming that it would be a bad idea to even listen to him anymore.

"Unless you want to stay with me?" His eyes were earnest and he smiled. Somehow his crooked smile almost tempted me. But shaking my head I followed Jonathon like a good girl.

Sometimes it was to much. The stress on top of fearing Kaden and his knife. That and the fact that I'm going to a country that is way more advanced then ours and having to blend in. And like the cherry on the top of a cake I had Jonathon and James fighting over me. The one thing my mom did teach me when there was boy trouble was to sit down and get it down on a piece of paper. So as soon as I was in my cabin I grabbed some paper and a pen( amazing so much more convenient then an ink pen) and scribbled down my thoughts.

James Jonathon

Âsweet yet aggressive Âcaring and protective

Âvery intelligent ÂI've known him longer

Ârather handsome if you think about it" which I don't! Âfeel like he's stuck with me"

Âhas green glowing eyes" I'm a sucker for green eyes ÂKisses like a pro.

When I was finished I analyzed my paper. This didn't help very much it just made me like parts of them more. I stuffed the paper in the desk drawer and slammed it shut. So much for helping me. My eyebrows furrowed and I paced the floor. I couldn't pick between them, I couldn't bear to hurt either of their feelings. I had feelings for both of them. I couldn't deny that when James kissed me I was extremely close to kissing him back. That made me nervous. I knew that Jonathon was meant to be with me, which made me feel a little more pressured to be with him. But I could be myself around him, let loose. I feel safe around him but I also felt safe around James. He saved me from the water, yet Jonathon taught me how to swim. Everything was even! How was I even close to choosing? I felt my necklace and the inside that was completely covered with rock. My hand shivered just from touching it. It almost said Kaden I'm here! Right here with something you want! I didn't like that. Even thinking about Kaden brought those skeletons back into my memory. Alone sad skeletons. Something immediately struck me and I knew I would do it right now. I was going to find myself a friend. A girl.

Hopeless is an understatement. There was absolutely no girls on this ship. I even looked for maids. Why was this whole ship swamped with men? At this point I just wandered around looking for any sailors that might be women. I hadn't really noticed or paid atttention before so when I really looked I was horrified. The sailors had yellow teeth and white long beards. The younger ones had gotees for their long hair and had sweat dripping down from them everywhere. I noticed the one that had whistled to me the other day and cringed. He had crust around his mouth as if he had drooled all over himself all night. His hair was shining with grease and his ears had peircings in them. I walked quickly past him. Hearing my stomach growl for lunch I gave up and retreated to the kitchen. At lunch cooks just set plates on the table for the sailors, everyone else asks for what they want and gets it shortly. I wanted something easy and would get to me soon. My stomach seemed to rumble worse every second. Smiling at how hungry I was I walked into the kitchen. It was busy and I felt kind of bad that I was intruding but I was very hungry so I marched to the head cook.

"Excuse me? Can I just have a sandwich please?" He nodded and snapped his fingers.

"Abigail!" He yelled. A young girl with blonde hair snapped to attention. She had a long face and straight hair put in braids. Her straight bangs laid against her face and her eyes were a light blue. She was delicate, but sturdy at the same time. I smiled happily and walked over to her.

"Hello." I said to her. Busily she looked up and glanced at the head cook who had turned away.

"Hello." She said. Her voice was quick and like a flute.

"My names Winter. What's yours?" I asked trying to open her up a little more.

"Abigail. Winter I'm sorry am I taking to long with your sandwich or do you need anything else?" She asked impatiently. I shook my head.

"Oh, no. It's just that"" I started before she finished for me.

"No other girls on the ship?" she peered at me and I saw her mental check off list for friends silently checking me. She approved and nodded. "Ok, well I'm a little busy right now but in an hour I get lunch break. We can talk then. I'll meet you at the stern of the ship." She said and smiled. I could tell she didn't smile much because the smile was small and timid but beautiful. I was proud of my new friend, she was shy but strong. I was happy that I had someone with determination.

"Alright and thank you." I said as she handed me my lunch. I trudged off finding something to do. At least Abigail had a job that kept her busy. My day was fairly boring as Jonathon was talking to the captain and helping him and James was doing his doctorly chores. I could always fall off the ship again, I thought lazily. That would catch some attention. So I went fishing. I admit I didn't think of it on my own a sailor came up to me and asked if I wanted to learn. He had an extra pole and time and was willing to teach me. Delighted I strolled to the edge where the murky water was. I remember the scary fish when I was under.

"What kind of fish are there?" I asked nervously. The man who's name was Jasper shrugged.

"Millions of fish. Mostly around here are the big fat ones. I'm not good at species I just catch and weigh them." I stared at him for a second before plopping down and casting the pole out.

It turned out in fishing most of what you do is sleep. With the sun pelting you and your line wavy with the wind, sleep sounds too inviting. What I didn't understand was how you woke up in time to catch the fish. When I asked Jasper this he had shrugged again and said that it wakes you up. I nervously watched my pole for the first half hour and then realizing that it would never move fell asleep. I guess it had woke me up because my pole moved ever so slightly indicating a bite and I shot out of my chair. Jasper heard me and snapped to attention his black hair a frizzy mess on top of his head.

"You've got a bite!" He whispered excitedly.

"What do I do?" I asked wildly staring at the line that was moving all over the place.

"Take it in your hand and pull gently. When it starts to yank hard you yank back but not to hard because it might take the hook out." Confused I obeyed nervously. The fish seemed just as confused as I was and it's first instinct was to swim straight down. Yanking with all my strength I pulled the fish up about a foot. This thing was heavy! Were all fish this heavy? Sweat caught my brow as I pulled the giant up. Jasper watched in awe as I finally got it to the ship.

"Three feet. You caught a three footer." He said his voice barely audible with shock.

"Is that good?" I asked. He nodded numbly looking at the fish as if it were a chunk of gold.

"This would make a wonderful dinner and memory." He said stepping on the huge fish. I stared at it, it's gray skin and black eye. It looked pretty mean on the outside. But as I watched it squirm I didn't want to harm it.

"No." I said just as he was about to throw it in a freezer. "Throw it back now." Gasping he spluttered out some incomprehensible words. I ignored him and took the hook out of the fish and helped it flop out of the ship. It landed in the water with a large splash. I turned to find Abigail standing there.

"That was huge!" She congratulated me. I smiled proudly and glanced at Jasper who was on his knees sobbing.

"Jasper, are you ok?" I asked worriedly.

"it was so" big!" He cried his hands covering his face. "Why not me? Oh why lord did that girl have to throw it back?" Looking at him as if he were crazy we both walked off.

"Thanks Jasper!" I yelled giggling as he sank even farther onto the ground.

"So Abigail how did you get a job as a cook?" I asked. She gazed up at the light blue sky for a couple seconds before answering.

"How many poor people have you see before?" She asked me. I immediately thought back to the small baby with the crying mother. Cringing slightly I nodded.

"A lot." I said quietly averting my eyes from hers.

"There is a lot in America too. I was one." She was extremely quiet barely a harsh whisper. "My mother was dying my father was fired. I had to get a job and I was a remarkably good cook." She laughed softly. "I don't understand how I just learned very quickly so I ended up getting a job and sending all my money to my family. My mother is getting better and my father is trying to find a job. But they have food and shelter and that's all that counts right now." My eyes were wide with care and I felt my arms trembling delicately.

"Why is your mom dying?" We were talking as if someone might here us. But it was loud on the boat, sailors screaming at each other and people talking quietly. Our conversation held no value to them. Yet the subject brought our voices low anyway and I felt deep sorrow for Abigail.

"Lack of food mostly. We got very little food a day, we portioned our sizes so it was fair but with my family"" She sighed. "I have two younger sisters and it's hard. The winter is so harsh in New York." She shivered as if she could feel it. "So cold, and our house is so" fragile." Her voice was like glass, if dropped it would shatter. I listened carefully keeping my composed face smooth. "But it's better now." A grin broke out on her face. "I can help my family and that's all I want." I picked a good friend, even though she's the only girl on the ship.

"I'm happy for you." I said smiling. She nodded watching the sky again. "I heard about the big fight." She grinned. "You the prize then?" I shook my head harshly and frowned.

"No! It's just" complicated." I looked away and closed my eyes feeling completely and utterly overwhelmed. She shushed me and patted my back.

"Life can't go perfectly. But it will all sort itself out in time." Sitting here with my new friend felt like sitting with the mother I never had.

"Land ho!" A voice yelled and realized the island was close. Standing I excused myself and ran excitedly to the head of the ship.

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