by the end of summer *fingers crossed*
That’s exactly where Avery wanted to be…out of this conversation. She dismissively waved her hand at Jade and turned to continue back to the village. They weren’t that far out into the woods, only a ten minute walk back to Havyn, but having to listen to Jade continue spouting on about the recklessness of attempting to use their powers made the walk seem like hours to Avery. As they entered into the village with Jade still lecturing on, Avery couldn’t take it anymore.
“Alright, enough!” Avery shouted, lifting her hands up to her ears, “Your voice is seriously becoming a cheese grater on my brain!”
Jade opened up her up her mouth in a tiny half smile, as if Avery’s aggravation amused her.
“You want me safe, I get it.” Avery said, and she did get it. In truth, she knew that Jade wanted to find out if the Emperor was telling the truth or not, maybe even more so than Avery did, but there was no way she was going to agree to do anything that would put Avery in danger, and after the Emperor and the battle at Blackmore, where Avery had to use her power to help stop the Emperor’s army from sacking the kingdom, an action that left Avery unconscious for days, Jade viewed their powers as a kind of dangerous parasite they were stuck with, especially Avery and her power of energy. Avery understood where Jade was coming from, but sometimes her overprotective nature was a real pain in the ass.
Skylar laughed uncomfortably, “How about a group hug to break up all this tension.”
Both Avery and Jade looked at Skylar like she had gone nuts, as Bunny tried to suppress a giggle.
Avery took a breath and shook her head, composing herself, “I’ll see you two tomorrow at training.” She told Skylar and Bunny before they had a chance to annoy her further.
The two girls got the hint and said their goodbyes, taking off towards their homes.
Once they were gone, Avery calmly said to Jade, “I don’t want to fight about this anymore. I still think we need to talk about it,” she made clear, “but I’m just too tired to keep fighting with you.”
Jade appeared like she could definitely keep arguing, but she nodded her head and bit down on her lips, agreeing with Avery.
“Look,” Avery said, feeling better now that Jade had agreed to stop arguing, “let’s just forget about this whole Emperor thing for a day or two.” Jade smiled, liking that idea, “Besides,” Avery added, “it’s probably the last thing my parents want discussed at the dinner table.”
Jade grimaced, taking in a sharp intake of breath, “Yeah, about dinner,” Avery knew what Jade was going to say before she even said it, “I’m not gonna be able to make it tonight.”
Avery also knew the reason she would be missing dinner, but decided to ask anyway, if only to put Jade on the spot, “Why?”
Jade looked as uncomfortable as Avery had wanted her to feel, “I’ve got…um, I’ve just,” she scratched at the back of her head, “I’ve got things to do.”
Avery knew full well the only thing Jade was going to be doing later was Prince Eryk. Jade and the Fairy Prince had been having a not so secret affair ever since Avery had made the decision to stay on Orcatia. Jade didn’t talk about Eryk much, mainly due to the fact that she knew how much Avery disapproved of their relationship. It wasn’t that Avery didn’t like Eryk, she could easily see how much the Prince loved Jade, it was more that Avery didn’t want the King and Queen of the Fairies pissed at the Protectors, but Avery had promised Jade that she only had to stay away from Eryk till the Emperor was defeated, and Avery had stayed true to her word, although it caused her constant anxiety.
“There’s no point in trying to come up with a lie.” Avery sighed, “I know you’re skipping dinner to meet up with your winged boyfriend.”
Jade tilted her head, like a little kid who had just been scolded, “We’re being discreet.”
Avery snorted. Jade never had any talent for being discreet, and her rendezvous with Prince Eryk were no different. Her relationship with him was whispered about all throughout the village, and Avery suspected the kingdom, as well. She had not received any threatening letters from King Audwode or Queen Vaniana as of yet, but she thought it impossible that they couldn’t know.
“My own mother doesn’t concern herself with my love life as much as you.” Jade joked, “Stop worrying. Everything is going to be fine.” Jade tried to assure her, picking up Avery’s hand in her own and giving it a squeeze.
Taking her hand back from Jade, Avery couldn’t help but think back to when they were ten years old and Jade had gotten her hands on some fireworks. When Avery had brought up that they maybe shouldn’t light them without any adult supervision around, Jade had told her, ‘Relax, everything’s going to be fine’. They had ended up not only lighting Avery’s favorite jacket on fire, but also burning down a good portion of the cacti in the field where they lit the fireworks off. When Avery’s parents had found out, they made Avery volunteer for the park service that entire summer. While she picked up trash in the hundred degree heat, Jade, whose parents didn’t take quite as much of a disciplinary interest in their daughter as Avery’s parents did, ran around town all summer on her skateboard, annoying the local residents. Then there was that time in the eighth grade, when Jade had talked her into skipping school for the first time. ‘Everything’s gonna be fine,’ is what Jade had said to her right before Avery’s father had caught them walking down the street in the middle of the school day. Avery had been grounded for a week, while Jade’s parents were so used to Jade ditching they didn’t even bother to bring up the incident. Then, just a few months before they had come to Orcatia, Jade had started fooling around with the boyfriend of Avery’s biology lab partner, Crystal Simms. When Avery had pleaded with Jade to stop messing around with the boy, Jade had told her, ‘Chill out, Captain Love, everything’s going to be fine’. Of course, as usual, nothing was fine. Crystal found Jade and her boyfriend friskily going at each other in the biology closet and was so pissed at Avery for not telling her about it that she purposely blew her half of their lab grade, leaving Avery with the first D of her life. Jade, who Crystal was understandably too scared of to do anything to, got away clean, moving on to a new guy to string along.
With all of these memories going through her head, Avery asked Jade, “Why is it that whenever you say, ‘Everything’s going to be fine’, nothing is fine?”
“That’s so not true.” Jade shook her head, looking confused.
“Oh, it may not be true for you,” Avery said, feeling more and more heated by her lingering memories, “since you never seem to suffer any consequences. You get away with everything! It’s everyone else that has to deal with fallout of shit!”
Jade had obviously not been expecting Avery’s anger, because she looked like someone had just thrown a bucket of ice water in her face, “Whoa, whoa, whoa,” she said, lifting up her hands, palms facing outward, “you need to put the brakes on your venom! Don’t take it out on me just because you’re having issues.”
Avery scrunched up her face, “What are you talking ab…”
“I’m talking about Draven.” Jade cut Avery off, “I’m talking about the fact that you’re all moody and PMS-ing because Eryk and I are happy and together, and you’ve barely spoken to your Demon creep in three months!”
Avery took in an involuntary gasp. She couldn’t believe Jade had gone there. It was so harsh, but what bothered her even more is that it was so right. Avery had only seen Draven once since the Emperor was defeated, and it was a meeting strictly about business, attended by all the Protectors, and neither Avery nor Draven could look the other one in the eyes for more than a few seconds.
“Fine,” Avery exhaled in a high-pitched tone, “that’s fine,” she turned around to stomp back to her house, “go and have a good time with your fly boy, I don’t even care anymore.”
“Avery!” Jade called to her, but didn’t run after her, “Avery, don’t be so sensitive! You should be glad you’ve only seen him once…he’s a dick!”
Clenching, her fists together tightly, it took all of Avery’s strength not to turn around and tell Jade to go screw herself.
When Avery got home she slammed the door shut so hard that Cinder, who had been sitting on the floor, brushing Romeo the cat, gave a startled scream and jumped. The cat made a dash for underneath the sofa.
“Sorry, Cin.” Avery said, not really sounding sorry.
“Is everything alright?” Avery’s mother asked, coming out from around the kitchen.
Avery cocked one eyebrow up at her mother, as if to say, ‘does everything look like it’s fine?’
“Do you want to talk about it?” Her mother pulled out one of the chairs around the dining table and motioned for Avery to sit down.
Instead, Avery remained standing in the entryway, staring down at Cinder trying to coax Romeo out from under the sofa. Avery felt that if she were to talk about what was bothering her, it would only put her in an even worse mood, and that was something she didn’t want entering her house. This place was her sanctuary, with Cinder, and her pets, and her parents. She still wasn’t quite sure if the root of her problem was Jade related, or Draven related, or Protector related, but whatever it was, she was going to keep it to herself.
“I’m going up to my room.” She told her mother, hoping to shake off some of her moodiness and anger before having to deal with her family, “Call me when dinner’s ready.”
After a nice hot shower, a good hour long nap, and a meal of roasted chicken and vegetables, Avery’s mood had greatly improved. It helped that her family kept all dinner conversation away from not only the day’s events, but from anything involving the Protectors in any way. Instead, Cinder gave a fifteen minute step-by-step tutorial on how to grow the perfect corn, something a friend’s father had showed her that day. For her mother’s part, she talked about spilling strawberry jam all over the kitchen floor and having it primarily cleaned up by their three dogs. Her father talked about working on the crops in the field and how much richer the soil seemed this year, and all the while Avery didn’t say a thing, she just listened and smiled, happy to be in her sanctuary.
Later that night, after slipping on her beloved Batman pajamas, Avery stepped outside onto her balcony. The warm May air surrounded her like a blanket. She couldn’t help herself from thinking about what Jade had said earlier. Avery did miss Draven. They had both made the choice that they couldn’t be together, but that didn’t stop her from missing him, even if she told herself not to. There was truth to what Jade said, one of the reasons Jade and Eryk’s relationship bothered her so much was because she was jealous. Jade could be with the person she loved and Avery couldn’t.
“Dammit” Avery cursed under her breath, ripping at an overhanging vine leaf. She hated that Jade was right, and she hated even more that she would probably have to apologize to Jade.
Just as Avery was about to turn around and go back inside, she heard a loud laugh coming from down in the village. Avery would know that laugh anywhere. That was Jade’s laugh; half guffaw and half chuckle, a laugh of pure happiness. Soon, it was joined by a deeper and softer laugh, a male’s laugh. Avery leaned over her balcony and scanned the village floor. There, in the bright moonlight she spotted Jade and Eryk, running from the back door of Jade’s house towards the forest. Mid-way to their destination Jade jumped on Eryk’s back, wrapping her slender legs around his torso. He continued running, only stopping when Jade arched herself forward, catching Eryk’s mouth in her own. He stumbled slightly as he tried to kiss her back, causing both of them to once again break into laughter.
“So glad they’re being discreet.” Avery grumbled, tossing the leaf she had ripped off of the vine in Jade and Eryk’s general direction.
As she watched them disappear into the forest together Avery came to two conclusions. One, although she may be jealous of their relationship, the main problem she had with Jade and Eryk as a couple was definitely the fact that it could seriously screw the Protectors, and two, there was no way in hell she was going to apologize to Jade.