I felt sick and nauseous; I was practically on the verge of puking. I closed my eyes for several seconds and then opened them again, hoping I’d be someplace else, any place else. But I was right where I was supposed to be: staring up at my new school. The tall, ominous buildings clustering together, stared back. Their dark, red brick laughed at me silently, daring me to run away. The central tower, with its golden bell, and deep sweet chimes taunted me, mocked me.

Ok, maybe I was being a little over dramatic, but school had never been my, um, thing. It could have been because I was a complete social spaz; or it could have been because this was my fourth school in two years. Either way, I always seemed to have trouble adjusting to teenage normalcy.


Kingsley Preparatory Academy was a last resort of sorts. Well, really, it was the last prep school that would take me; God forbid I would attend public school. As the niece and only surviving relative of my aunt, the doctor, I was destined for a higher education.

If only I could have gone six months without being expelled. Kingsley was the last prep school in Omaha that had given me a chance, and that was only after a very generous contribution from my aunt and a promise from me that I wouldn’t burn it to the ground. Although I harbored no ill will for the school itself, I was not sure if I could keep my promise.

Not that I would burn it down on purpose, but that kind of stuff just happened to me. The burning down of schools, the flooding of schools, and the infestation of huge, tropical insects of schools…. All fell into the category of been there, done that. It's not like I ever did it on purpose; it all just sort of happened.

So after another deep breath, I began my death march to the top of the hill and the large, brass, double doors that led into the Administration Building. The doors slammed shut behind me, making me almost jump out of my skin. The lobby was dimly lit; it took a while for my eyes to adjust from the bright sunlight outside.

Kingsley was immaculate; beautiful marble floors and elaborate lighted sconces filled the lobby. An intricate, crystal chandelier hung from the ceiling and gave the room a warm glow that reminded me of dusk rather than 8:00 AM. Plush, crimson divans lined the lobby, and oil paintings of elderly people adorned the walls. I reminded myself that this was a school building and not the sitting room to a luxurious Victorian home.

I forced my feet forward and adjusted my backpack straps. I stopped to fiddle with my uniform, afraid to make the wrong first impression. The front counter, located directly on the other side of the lobby was crafted from a beautiful wood, probably mahogany, that expanded the width of the room and stood elbow-high. I walked the rest of the way tentatively, as this was like no other school building I had ever been in, and I'd had my fair share of experience.

An elderly woman, with snow-white hair and small-framed glasses, sat behind a small desk made from the same wood as the counter that partitioned us. Her posture was perfect and her legs crossed properly, as she focused typing at her computer. A name-plate that read “Mrs. Truance” decorated her desk, facing me. She glanced my way from the top of her spectacles and gave a little sigh.

“You must be Eden Matthews,” she declared more as a statement than a question.

“Yes, I am,” I choked out.

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“Welcome to Kingsley,” she said tersely. Mrs. Truance stood up gracefully and walked over to me with some sheets of paper in her hand. “Here is your class list and map of the campus. It can be quite confusing, so please ask for help if you get lost.”

“Thank you, I will,” I tried to smile, but she had already turned away and headed back to her desk. So instead, I looked down at my class list and found my first hour of torture to be English.

I shuffled through the papers until I found a map of the campus. Junior AP English was located in the English and Arts Building, which appeared to be two buildings east of this one.

“Please hurry, Kiran. I don’t want you to be late for our first day,” a peculiar accent and heavy footsteps made me turn to see two figures walk through the brass double doors I had just come in. The bright sunshine illuminated the lobby; I was blinded for a moment as the doors slammed for a second time. My eyes took a moment to adjust again.

“Stop worrying; I’m royalty for God’s sake!” barked the second voice with a strong, aristocratic English accent that sounded irritated. As they walked closer, I could see that they were dressed in the Kingsley uniform, and close to my age.

The first boy who spoke resembled a giant; he was at least 6’5 and extremely muscular. Good-looking with olive skin and dark hair, he seemed to speak with an Italian or Spanish accent. He looked a bit rough, like he had been in a fight or two. He leaned toward the other in a strange way, almost as if he was bowing slightly. Although his eyes were a bit far apart, they were deep brown, with glints of gold, and said something about him, but I couldn’t determine what they might reveal.

As I watched the two boys walk closer, I eventually noticed the second one, who was almost overshadowed by his friend until he was nearly five feet away. My mouth dropped open as I looked at him. He was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.

Not usually the type to objectify men, or even notice them at all, my reaction was almost as shocking as his beauty. He had thick, dirty blonde hair that was unkempt in a way that said movie star. He ran his fingers through it slowly, moving it away from his forehead; I could swear it happened in slow motion. He had clear dark eyes, a color almost indefinable. They reminded me of the ocean, aqua at first; but the closer he got the darker they appeared. Suddenly they were turquoise and shining. A straight nose and perfectly full, but masculine lips completed his face. I hardly noticed anything else as I stared stunned and bemused into his eyes, eyes that happened to be staring back into mine.

“Excuse me, Ms. Matthews; you are going to be late for class if you don’t get going. Can you read the map, or are you already lost?” the stern voice of the secretary pulled me out of my stupor.

“Um, no, I can read,” I said, sheepishly, still unable to take my eyes off the mysterious boy staring back.

“Of course you can read,” she said sharply, snapping my entranced head back to reality. “Now, get to class.”

This time I obeyed, although hesitantly. I was thankful for my long hair, and let it fall in front of my face, hoping to hide my embarrassment. I could feel my tan cheeks burning with shame. As I started to walk past the eyes that had captured my attention, I began to experience the strangest, but not-so-unfamiliar feeling.

My skin started to tingle as if I were being shocked a million times; my insides began to grow increasingly warmer until I felt like all of my vital organs were energized from the sun. Instantly my blood began to warm and then rapidly heated to what felt like a strong boil. I picked up my pace and nearly ran out of the double brass doors into the fresh air, trying to catch my breath.

It was only the end of August, so the sun was still hot and the humidity already overwhelming, despite the early morning hour. I pressed my face against the cool brick of the building, gasping for air and mentally calming my insides.

I realized that I looked ridiculous, but the physical changes that had just begun to occur in my body were usually a sign of pending destruction. Although I had never been sure of why my body suddenly felt like a giant microwave, I could always be positive that it would end in a great travesty. I pressed my face closer to the brick, allowing the shade of the building to cool me, calming the electrical impulses tingling beneath my skin.

I was officially humiliated by my erratic behavior. I was sure I left those inside thoroughly entertained and confused. I was just thankful I was able to stop the electrical build-up in time.

The first time I felt the electric pulses underneath my skin I thought they were bugs. In the middle of second semester of my freshman year, I thought I had been attacked by a swarm of insects. During gym class, I began to freak out, feeling the creepy-crawly sensation of the electricity building slowly inside of me. I remembered my gym teacher rushing over to my side and then I remember nothing. Supposedly I passed out, but not before screaming something about bugs being everywhere. When I finally woke up, I was outside in an ambulance, surrounded by hazmat guys. Apparently my school had become thoroughly infested with tropical insects, the really big kind. Unfortunately, I had implicated myself in what the school board assumed to be a serious prank, and I was respectfully asked to leave.

After pleading a pitiful case to the next school, I was allowed to begin my sophomore year on the provision of absolutely no shenanigans. I lasted all the way through the year until finals week when I felt the electrical sensation again. This time I tried to restrain myself and get it under control; I wished only to wash the feeling off. Again I must have blacked out because I woke up to find myself in another ambulance; the school had flooded spontaneously. The school board did not ask so nicely for me to leave; but Aunt Syl forced them to give me passing grades by threatening a lawsuit, since there was no substantial evidence that I caused the flood.

Last week, the beginning of my junior year, I started my third prep school, only to experience what felt like my blood beginning to boil. I was warned it was my last chance to finish high school. Unfortunately for them, no one would be finishing anything at that school, since I magically burned it to the ground.

I couldn’t explain what happened to me; I just knew better than to mess around. The powers in charge at Kingsley must have been brave souls to allow me entrance into their prestigious prep school, or had taken out an unusually large insurance policy.

I was just glad I was able to stop it that time. I had never felt the impulses react so strongly. More than a sweeping sense of unconsciousness, the electrical impulses had felt alive, as if they were reacting to something. Who knows what would have happened had I let them continue…. possibly the Apocalypse? I had no idea why those things happened to me, or what exactly they were. I just knew that I was always the one responsible for something catastrophic. And I was seriously hoping to avoid closing this school down for good.

I turned around, so that my back was to the wall, slid down slowly to the ground, and closed my eyes. I was utterly unconcerned with being late for class after all that; I had bigger things to worry about, like ensuring there was still a class to go to.

I compelled my nerves to calm down, and started slowly to relax. I forced my muscles to loosen up, mentally flexing them. My relaxation only lasted a second, though, as the Administration Building doors burst open. The two boys, from before, exited the building in mid-conversation.

I prayed they would not notice me and crouched even closer to the wall. I could not have felt more humiliated. Although the gorgeous one did look in my direction, he acted as though he couldn’t see me and continued down the steps.

“What are we doing here, Talbott?” the one named Kiran demanded, almost growling.

“Please sir, you know what we are doing here,” Talbott replied, almost too softly to be heard.

“No, I do not,” Kiran snapped again. “Aren’t there any qualified girls in London? This is ridiculous. I don’t even know where we are. This is the ugliest place I have ever seen. I cannot possibly be expected to spend the next two years of my life here. I want to talk to my father,” his voice had almost turned into a whine, but his accent was so sexy that I hardly noticed.

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