“Sabrina, no slouching.”
“Sorry, Grandmother.” Her grandmother gave her a sharp look. “I mean, my most sincere apologies.”
“That's better. Now, how is your needlepoint coming along?”
“Quite well, thank you.”
“I would very much like to see it.”
“Oh...” Sabrina sighed. “Of course.” She excused herself from the table and went to fetch her needlepoint. She had sort of lied when she said it was coming along well. In actuality, it was barely started. Sabrina hadn't expected her grandmother to check on it so soon. She would not be pleased. Sabrina handed it over and her grandmother frowned.
“I was mislead by your words, Sabrina. You have barely begun!”
“I can explain-”
“There is no need. You are not permitted to go to Melanie's today. Finish your needlepoint.” Sabrina made a pouty face, but obeyed. She really did have an excuse...sort of. Sabrina stayed up late at night, even on school nights. She just, couldn't get to sleep early. So, she had developed a bad habit of dozing in class. Then, she would work all night on the work she hadn't gotten to during the day. Now, she had to sew on top of it.
“Ouch,” she mumbled. “Stupid needles.” The clock hand had just crept past midnight when Sabrina finally decided it was time to get some rest. She wasn't looking forward to waking up for school tomorrow.
“Lexie, Lexie, Lexie!” Melanie's voice rang out throughout the hallway as she glided up to Lexie's locker.
“Melanie, Melanie, Melanie! What?”
“My parents are coming back soon, probably within a week or so!”
“Don't you remember? I'm adopting you!” Melanie laughed. “Haha, that sounded weird.”
Lexie laughed too. “Oh yeah, but do you really think they would?”
“Of course!” Melanie grinned mischievously. “I've got it all planned out.” Lexie grinned and thought for a second.
“You better keep that pool of yours covered when I'm around. I swear, if you push me in again...Mel? Hello, Earth to Melanie!” Lexie waved her hand in front of Melanie's face. Melanie grabbed her wrist without looking.
“Ow, you can let me go now,” Lexie complained. She sighed and followed Melanie's gaze to a boy leaning on the wall opposite from them. The boy was taller than both of the girls and wore a big jacket. He had light brown hair and blue eyes that sparkled when they fell on Melanie and Lexie. He gave them a warm smile.
“What are you guys looking at?” Melanie and Lexie jumped at the voice by their ears. Sabrina had just finished changing back into the clothes her grandmother made her wear. This was part of her usual routine before leaving school to go home. She smirked at them. Sabrina loved sneaking up on people. Melanie blushed.
“Uh, nothing,” she said. She ignored Sabrina's skeptical look and tried to think of something to say. “Uh...hey can you guys go camping this weekend?”
“Where at?” Sabrina asked.
“In the woods by my house, the usual. I was out back exploring one day and found some cool caves and trails. The caves can be a bit creepy at night, but it's still cool.”
“It shouldn't be a problem,” Lexie said, “I just have to ask Margaret first. I guess I could do a lot of chores before I go and try to help her out as much as I can. It's hard for her to raise all those kids by herself, and I sometimes feel bad for going out a lot and not going back until late.”
“Thankfully, my grandmother is going to visit her friend in Paris this weekend and won't be back for about a week. You know she would never approve. She always scolds me if I ask to do anything normal, pretty much. She likes Melanie, but she knows you're rich. She doesn't really like Lexie. I think it might have something to do with you wearing hats all the time.” Lexie touched her baseball cap instinctively. Sabrina pondered for a moment. “I told her it was just one of those things, you know? Like, we all have those things we like in life and I told her yours was hats.”
“Not to mention potato chips,” Melanie added.
“I do love my chips,” Lexie confessed.
“So, as long as my parents are busy, I should be able to go. If not, I'll just sneak out,” said Sabrina with a grin. Melanie nodded.
“Okay, well I'll see you guys later. I've got some things to take care of at home,” Melanie said before walking out of the school. She went to the corner and waited for the city bus to come around. She boarded and watched as Lexie and Sabrina went their separate ways as well.
When Melanie arrived at the mansion, she set straight to work, cleaning the whole house until it was spotless. She wanted her parents to see how well she was doing on her own when they returned. She thought that would be something convincing to them, and hopefully they would agree to Lexie's adoption. Melanie was really excited about this. Okay, so now I have to figure out how to keep Sabrina safe. She's not like Lexie. She has a family, and they wouldn't let her go if I tried. It made her sad sometimes to think of her friends and what they had been through and were still dealing with.
Melanie decided to think some more while cooling off in her Olympic-sized swimming pool. The pool was undoubtedly her favorite thing on the whole property. The motion of the waves helped her concentrate as she breathed in the smell of the water.
Melanie fell asleep that night, dreaming of places and lands unknown to any human. She dove into the crystal-clear water and swam deep down beneath the surface. She never ran out of air, but then again, this was a dream. A glorious city shone before her with dolphins, fish, and any other kind of sea creature you could think of. A dolphin nudged her hand. She laughed and held onto its fin while it swam around at an unmatched speed. Pirates' treasure and sunken ships held mysteries just waiting to be solved. Melanie could feel the adrenaline rushing through her veins. This world reminded her of “The Little Mermaid”. Thankfully, she didn't see any Ursulas. She turned to her new dolphin friend, and it spoke to her.
“Believe,” it said.
“Is that all?” she asked.
“Believe and beware.”
“Beware of what?” Melanie felt herself being pulled away from her dream as an owl hooted, and thunder rumbled. The water all rushed past her as she began to wake. “Wait, come back!” she called in her dream.
Melanie awoke to find herself still in the pool! “Whoa!” she exclaimed. “Well, I guess that would explain the dream I had.” Thunder boomed overhead. “Yikes!” she yelped as she scrambled out of the pool. She grabbed a towel and went inside to change. She laughed as she looked at her wrinkly hands. “I wonder how long I was in there,” she said to herself. “I look like I'm a hundred years old!”
Lexie thrashed around violently in the sheet as it encased her body into a cocoon. She dreamed an awful dream as she whimpered, struggling to escape her mind, but to no avail. The sheet constricted her tightly. A hand touched her shoulder and another covered her mouth. Lexie screamed, but it was greatly muffled. Her eyes shot open, flashing wildly with fear.
“Shh. Be still, Alexis Chatblanc. These struggles of yours will soon be over. The heavens have heard your silent pleas. Your prayers will be answered, my friend. Keep heart.” Lexie looked into the boy's dazzling blue eyes and nodded. She then realized that she could barely breathe because the sheet was wrapped around her so tightly. “Here, let me help you,” the boy said as he picked up an end of the sheet.
Once Lexie was freed, she noticed that he was gone. A moonbeam peeked through the gap between the curtains, landing on the wall closest to Lexie's bed. She shivered as she dared to look. I hope it's not as bad as... She looked. Crap, it's worse. Holes dotted the walls and shreds of paint dangled over the bed. Her sheet was flecked with blood from her fingers that stung with agonizing pain. Her nails were caked with blood and debris, and she noted the deep cuts in her arm. How much longer? I'm no safer here than I am there. If something doesn't happen soon, I may end up killing myself. Lexie shivered at the thought. I don't want to die...she thought before she passed out. She woke up shortly after as she felt her wounds being medicated. The wall was as good as new, and her sheet had already been replaced.
“Thank you,” she whispered to the blue eyes.
“Don't worry, Lexie. You'll be coming home soon, for good this time.” Lexie smiled. Adriel had returned.