Chapter 5

"What's the point of this talent show crap anyway?" I asked Mallory later on in our room.

I lay on my bed, In the center of the room by the door. Mallory's side of the room was decked out in all kinds of colorful kinds of rock band garb. My end remained pretty drab.

"The way Miss Marianna explains it; it's supposed to help us with leadership skills or some kind of shit." Mallory replied.

I nodded. This made sense, whether I liked it or not. "Still sucks ass man." I replied.

She laughed in agreement.

A week later I sat at my desk twirling my damp hair into little ringlets. Mallory had taken me on a tour of the grounds, which were quite large but rather easy to navigate. I soon realized that the whole school was encased in a lush forest. Dogs roamed the grounds and the halls, along with cats. I'd asked Mallory about it, and she said that Damon had full control over the animals on the grounds. Since his arrival they'd never been able to keep the animals away, but they'd never been a problem.

I couldn't keep Damon off my mind. I saw him everywhere. He appeared every time I went to the dining hall. Every time Jesse and I started to get into a conversation he'd show up. If Jesse saw him his mood would turn foul and he'd find some excuse to leave.

I pulled my hair into a messy bun and pulled on a hoodie and jeans. It was only nine o'clock but Mallory was out like a light. My hands couldn't sit still though. I felt like I was buzzing with unspent energy. I decided a walk was what I needed.

I stepped out onto the darkened grounds and heard a strange, accented voice arguing with a familiar one.

"When are you going to get that thing under control?" The accented woman spat. French, I guessed.

"I'm trying." Damon growled. "I can't understand why he won't speak to me. He's respecting my commands but he's restless Madam. I can't keep him caged. There's something here that he wants."

Suddenly I couldn't help myself. I stepped into the light where the two could see me and I interrupted. "What's the problem?"

The two were startled for a second. I could only focus on Damon, though he wasn't the one who answered.

"You must be Miss Allen." The French accented woman declared. I could only nod in reply, still waiting for an answer. "The problem is a dog." She said tartly. "And I am Madam Le'Claire."

"May I see the dog?" I'd asked the question before I knew what the question was.

"Well-"Madam Le'Claire sputtered.

"I need to see him." I rephrased.

She stared at me for a long moment, but I wasn't looking at her for approval.

"She may see him. " Damon told her, still staring back at me.

Madam Le'Claire looked back and forth between us with squinted eyes before turning on her heel. "Let us go then."

They led me to a shed where the dog was chained to the wall. I stared at him for a moment. The dog had a dark mottled coat of black and brown. He was well muscled and sleek with speed. I could only admire him for a moment before he looked at me with brilliant blue green eyes and stood.

"Shit." Damon said, shocking everyone. "Seriously?"

I looked to him. He appeared to be speaking to the dog.

"What?" Madam Le'Claire Questioned. "What did he say? Why is he speaking to you now?"

"He says…" Damon whispered, seeming breathless. "He says she's an elemental. "

Madam Le'Claire stood up a little straighter and looked at me a little more closely. But the dog, Rylie, had said more than that. I didn't know how but I did know what he had said. He'd told Damon that not only was I an elemental, but that we, Damon and I, were The Elementals, whatever the hell that was supposed to mean.

I said nothing to contradict Damon, knowing full well that he hadn't said it for a reason. Damon walked forward and unchained Rylie. Rylie walked to me and sat before me, offering me his paw. I took it, hearing the words that Damon was repeating out loud.

"He says his name is Rylie, and he's pleased to have finally met you. He's your protector. You were born at the exact same time, destined to meet so you could train together. This is sacred information, not to be given out to anyone without great secrecy."

I looked to Damon, giving him a critical eye, wondering if he knew I could hear what he heard.

No one said anything more, and I could feel my neck tensing. I knew the words they were using were supposed to mean something to me. But they didn't, and they weren't offering up any information. Suddenly I was scared. Was an elemental something bad? Is that why Damon didn't confess to being

one? Is that why I needed a protector? My stomach started doing terrified little flips and I took a step back.

"Okay. " I said, willing the shake out of my voice. I couldn't tell if it was working. I couldn't even hear myself. I was too busy panicking.

Why wasn't Damon helping me? He was always there when I needed him before. And now, when he was here in person and he could really, truly help me he was just staring at me. I didn't even want to know what sort of expression he was wearing. I turned on my heal to leave.

"I'm going to bed." I stated. No one moved to stop me. "I guess talk to you later Madam Le'Claire." I added, going for a bit of normalcy in my tone.

Rylie followed, keeping close to my side. Neither person followed me back to my room, to my immense relief. I made it back to my room in a daze. It had only been an hour since I'd left. In an hour I'd been turned into someone people were afraid of. No, scratch that, I was already feared by normal people. Now I was feared by the Chosen. Wasn't I a lucky kid?

I impulsively thought of Damon, but all I saw was his bewildered stare.

Shit. I thought. It just figures that of all the times for him to suddenly be real and have a mind of his own it happens now, when I need him there for me. Shit Damon! I need you!

I was screaming at him inside my head while my stomach continued to do panicked flips. When the words 'I need you' left my mind I gasped, feeling his arms around me as if they were real. His lips touched my forehead and I felt a need greater than anything I'd ever felt before. I touched his face, asking him for more. His arms tightened around me, bringing me closer still to him.

The door to our bedroom opened, startling me awake. Damon stood in the doorway, staring at me with sleep deprived eyes.

"You make it really hard for a guy to sleep." He said, realizing that I was now as awake as he was.

He stood uncertainly for a second in the doorway and then glanced at Mallory.

"She sleeps like the dead." I murmured, unable to take my eyes off of him.

He nodded, shutting the door behind him. "We need to talk." He replied, not really looking at me.

I lifted my blanket to offer him somewhere to sit in response. He raised an inquisitive eyebrow and I gave him a 'no I'm not talking sex' look and he smirked back at me. I didn't care about talking. I needed comfort, and for comfort I liked to cuddle. He obliged, careful not to make skin to skin contact.

We lay facing each other, silent and staring.

"Why did you stop talking to me?" I asked, breaking the silence.

"I didn't—"

"You did. You cut me off. Every time I looked for you, you weren't there. " I rushed on, letting my panic flow over him. I wanted him to know how it felt.

He didn't speak for a moment. "You know, I was expecting a lot more denial before we got to this point of the conversation."

"I figured we could skip that scene since all this magic and shit is obviously real. Answer my question." I could see a diversion tactic when it was so blatantly thrown in my face.

"I thought you'd freak out… leave me if I didn't leave you first. I was trying to give you some time…"

"That's a load of BS and you know it." I snapped.

I was freaking out here and he was giving me excuses and lies.

"This isn't all about you, you know." He growled.

I took that like a slap in the face. He was right, of course. He was involved in this too. It obviously took the two of this to make this crazy connection.

"But you've known about this for—for how long now?" I questioned. How long did he know I was a real person and not just an imaginary friend?

"Since I came to school…" He admitted. His expression had gone dark. "I figured it out. No one else knows."

Suddenly it dawned on me. "You know everything about me." I gasped.

He only nodded. I was panicking. Fear was bubbling up in my throat and I thought I might be sick before he took my in his arms and held me tight against his chest.

"Knowing everything about you isn't a bad thing." He whispered, rubbing soothing circles into my back.

I tried to believe him. I really did, but it wasn't working. Oh shit! He knew about all of it! He might as well have been there!

"I basically was. " He answered my thoughts.

"Every time?" I asked, trying to remember if I'd called Damon to me during those times. I must have. I'd been so scared. My best friend tried to kill herself twice. The third time was the charm.

He nodded and I snuggled closer, doing my best not to let the tears fall. We were quiet for a long time.

"So you knew it was me right away?" I asked, breaking the silence again.

"Course I did." He said, and I could feel his smile.

"Thanks for saving me the humiliation."

"Thanks for letting me finally hear your voice." He whispered. His lips touched my ear, sending electric shocks through my whole body.

I took a deep breath to calm myself.

"I should go now." He was off the bed before I could protest.

"Don't ignore me again." I threatened. "Or I'll have something to say about it."

He grinned at me, silhouetted in the doorframe. "I'll count on it."

He left, and I slammed my head back on the pillow, staring up at the blank ceiling. Ten thousand more questions were sailing through my mind, crashing into one another and confusing the hell out of me. Why hadn't I asked any of them?

I refused to ask them now. It was time to sleep.