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Kindness is a Weakness
"I'm going to go up there and beat the f***k out of all of those b***hes," Mason said.
He'd made a full recovery. His eyes no longer looked weighed down and heavy. He was no longer finding it hard to breathe. He got up and if it wasn't for Rio he would he have ran out of the door at that very moment. A part of me was happy to see him back up at his feet immediately when we had come back. Melody and I were quietly acknowledging everyone as I told them what happened upstairs. Only thing is I didn't tell them everything. I only told them parts.'
Catalina didn't seem too convinced, "Micko are you telling me that you apologized for offending them and they just took the curse off of Mason."
I nodded, "Yes...it was one person but that is what happened."
Catalina turned to Bah, "That doesn't seem likely."
Bah didn't answer. Bah was just standing there thinking. I couldn't read his expression at all. Did he believe what I was saying or no? Catalina was definitely pushing it and her eagerness to question what happened upstairs really unnerved me. I didn't want to let them know that I'd promised to sacrifice someone without knowing who that person was. That was dumb of of me. It was desperate but it was something that I had to do.
"That's what happened," Melody stated, "Micko made a deal to save Mason."
I was shocked when she said it. She was supporting my lie even though she knew very well what happened. She saw when the goat man took my hair. She saw when the goat man took a doll out of his pocket that looked just like Mason and when he unbound a rope that was tied around the doll. Melody knew what had happened upstairs just as much as I had. In fact she seemed to have wanted me to avoid making any deals with the Talisman coven.
"If they undid my curse then it is the best time to attack them," Mason stated and turned to Bah, "Don't you care if they attack us?"
"We can't," I stated.
"Why not?" Mason asked.
The goat man had a sample of my hair. If we tried to get even with them the goat man would do something to me. I couldn't risk it.
"I promised peace."
"You don't speak for all of us," Mason stated.
"He saved your life," Rio argued almost immediately, "While you were creating issues out there this guy was saving your life. If he promised peace then that is what he should get. Peace. I can't believe you are so inconsiderate Mason!"
"Enough," Bah said, "All of you get some rest. Tomorrow your training intensifies..."
Bah's instructions were clear and precise. He didn't give a reason. He didn't even tell us what he thought about all of this. He quietly snuck out of the room with Catalina close behind him.
The others left soon after as well. My eyes had made eye contact with Melody before she left with the Atwoods. Melody knew my secret. She had something over me. I still didn't know how to read her. One minute she was saying how weak and useless I was and the next minute she had my back during a lie. What exactly was Melody's motivation? What did she want?
"Rio was right," Mason told me.
I hadn't even seen him walk up behind me. When he did walk up behind me he had this solemn look on his face.
"I want to thank you," Mason said shaking his head, "You didn't have to go up there."
He wasn't so high strung at this moment. I felt like the heavens had separated or something when he looked at me. It was such a unique feeling to have this handsome man over me appreciating me for once. I felt like I wasn't so weak. I felt like I was strong.
"You would have done the same for me?"
"No I wouldn't have."
Mason shook his head, "Well at least before today I wouldn't have. I don't get it. I treat you like crap. I am rude to you and repel you every chance I get but for some reason you still are so nice to me. You are so...sweet..."
"Yes. This kind of world isn't made for someone like you. It'll eat you alive."
I shook my head. That was the same kind of thing that Melody was saying about me. Was it what they thought about me? They thought the reason that I was so weak was that I was a nice person? Coming to think of it I was always the nicer person growing up. I had morals and those morals were founded in something stronger than any magic that I'd seen since I'd arrive here.
"Do you think I should change?" I asked looking over at him, "And I want you to be honest when you tell me your opinion. Am I too soft?"
"Define soft?" he said laughing.
"I'm serious Mason. What if I have to do something against my morals? What if I have to hurt someone. I wouldn't no where to start."
"You don't start."
"That's what is different about you," Mason explained shaking his head, "If it wasn't for people like you hardcore motherf***kers like me wouldn't have to be so cutthroat. You have your morals and you have your limits. There are things you won't say. There are things you won't do and that is COMPLETLEY fine. If it weren't for people like you then people like me would have no one to protect."
"You want to protect me?" I asked.
I couldn't help but to smile at the idea and look at him. Mason was so handsome. He looked down at me with these eyes that made me want to melt. My heart thumped a little bit. For a moment it seemed like we were actually getting closer. Maybe the world was just getting smaller.
"Don't start with that gay s***t," he said and laughed.
I shook my head, "Sorry, didn't mean it like that.""
He punched me in my arm, "Relax. You know I'm just joking. I may be a d***khead but I am a d***khead who pays back what I owe. You saved me. I owe you and I'll be here for you."
I could almost cry when he said it.
There were so many memories coming back that really had nothing to do with Mason. I kept thinking about how my mother never was there for me. I always felt alone even when she was there physically. The idea of someone standing in my face right now and letting me know that he would be there for me made me almost shake in anticipation.
"Are you f***king crying? PLEASE tell me you are NOT crying right now," he said shaking his head, "This is so gay man..."
"Quit. I can't take you crying. You have to be joking right? You are grown man. This is TOO much right now."
Mason seemed stuck somewhere between amused and disgusted. I covered my eyes. I looked so f***king weak right now. I could try to explain to him that it was deeper than he understood but it was hard to do that. I would have to tell him about my past with my mother and open a flood gate that I wasn't ready to face. Instead I just sat there and I cried.
Then the most unexpected thing happened. Mason moved me with a controlled force placing my head on his chest. He held me there and let me cry in his chest.
Two weeks had passed since Mason recovered. Whatever had happened when I was crying seemed to make Mason think I was to be dealt with kiddy gloves or something. I didn't really mind it because we got close. It was kind of endearing seeing him linger over me in the way that he did. I smiled whenever I caught his watchful eye on me.
He would say something like "Stop being gay" but then continue to watch over me intently. He seemed to get very protective almost immediately after. I found myself being walked to and from class by Mason. We become very inseparable. It was a weird feeling to have someone want to be around you all the time. I remembered growing up my mother would make reasons not to want to be around me. I had caught her so many times in her lies. I never understood why.
I wasn't surprised when he followed me into the lunchroom and took a seat next to me after we got our food. The food was disgusting as usual. We took seats relatively alone away from the others. I did it on purpose because I could feel the tension between Mason and the other people in our coven rising. They just didn't seem to like Mason and he didn't seem to like them much either.
"Has anyone f***ked with you?" Mason asked me.
I laughed at the question.
"Those guys that put the curse on me haven't been around lately," Mason stated.
I turned towards where I saw some of the Talisman coven. None of the people that I recognized from the run in I had with Mason were at that table. I hadn't been paying attention but I trusted that Mason definitely was.
"You think they are avoiding us?" I asked.
He shrugged and squinted into the distance studying the room, "Might be. We just have to be more careful. If they can put a curse on me they can put a curse on you too. Make sure that none of them come close enough to take anything off of you...especially your hair. That's how they do their curses."
I would have thought he sounded paranoid if I didn't know for sure that the Talisman coven had already taken a sample of my hair. God knows when they would use it for.
"Maybe you and Rio should peace it out. The coven is there to protect one another. There's no reason we should be separate."
Rio, Brandon and the Atwoods were on the other side of the room. From time to time Catalina would come from no where and join them. They all seemed to be getting closer and closer. Melody even seemed to be opening up. Then there was Mason and I on the other side of the cafeteria. We had intentionally separated ourselves.
"Rio takes shots at me every chance that he can get," Mason said shaking his head.
"He's your brother."
"I don't care. I've gotten along better with you in the little while that I've known you than I have my entire life with Rio," Mason explained, "He's delusional. He thinks I'm jealous of him. He thinks I give two F***KS about him."
Mason dropped his fork. I could tell it was a sensitive subject dealing with Rio. I knew that was the main reason we had been separated from the coven but the relationships with everyone else seemed to be rather strained as well.
I quickly tried to change the subject, "You are getting stronger in class..."
"You notice?" his face almost lighting up immediately, "I've been practicing my magic at night. I sneak out in midnight when everyone is asleep to the gardens out behind the tower. It's peaceful out there."
"You practice alone?"
He smiled, "I met someone...from the other Sacrificial coven."
"You mean the scary looking Sacrificial coven that has everyone here thinking Blood magic users are the devil?"
"Yeah. She's cool, pretty, strong, f***king smart as hell. You should meet her."
I shook my head. It was a burn that formed in my chest. I had been spending so much time with Mason. He was looking after me so much and it was becoming more than clear that he cared about me. For some reason I had allowed my mind to wander and think that maybe whatever this was was more than this. Now he met someone and he was feeling so excited. The way he called her pretty rubbed me the wrong way entirely.
"I'm fine," I urged on.
Mason looked at me, "I can tell when something's wrong. What the food nasty? I know that s***t is nasty..."
I lied in order to change the subject, "Yeah...that's what it is..."
Just at that moment Mason took the knife from his tray. He pricked his index finger and waved it over my food. I watched as he dripped it over the dried up looking sausage that was on my plate. At first I was kind of confused but then I watched as his blood hit the sausage. The dried up sausage on my plate melted down and began to transform.
"Oh s***t," he said.
On my plate was premium moist looking steak. Mason had transformed it using blood magic. I looked down at the plate and was hypnotized. He had DEFINITELY been practicing.
"I wouldn't eat that. I don't know how sanitary it is to eat someone else's blood soaked steak."
I hadn't noticed Corey standing there. He wasn't alone though. He was with his twin brother. They sounded alike so I hadn't caught who made the smart comment. The two of them were both standing over Mason and I however.
"Corey," I said smiling.
Mason's eyes darted to them. Corey was smiling and Eli had an uninterested look on but both of their expressions changed drastically when they saw the clear aggression in Mason's eyes. Mason was like a protective dog all of a sudden ready to pounce.
Corey's eyes didn't leave Mason from that point on, "Hey, I haven't had a chance to meet you. I'm Corey Vincent. This is my brother Eli..."
"What the f***k do you want?"
"The King is having a ball," Corey said, "As the princes we have to invite everyone."
"Not interested," Mason stated.
"This is mandatory," Eli said with a much sterner tone than Corey.
"I don't give a f***k."
Corey raised an eyebrow and pulled something out, "Ok...well...Micko how about I give you two invitations for you and your...friend here..."
Corey started to hand them to me but just at moment Mason grabbed them out of his hand before the papers got to my hand. Mason rolled up the papers and threw them hard against at Corey's face.
Eli started to lunge his branch wand almost immediately and I watched as Corey stopped him. Corey grabbed his brother and pulled him back. I felt bad for Corey at that moment. I knew he wasn't a bad guy no matter how much I disliked his brother. I didn't blame Mason however. The Castor coven had attacked us when we were just new here.
"We'll leave extra with your overseer," Corey said and started to walk away, "I'll see you later Micko."
Corey patted me on the back before leaving and I could see Mason's eyes focusing on the two brothers like some sort of hawk.
"Next time he touches you I'm going to break his arm off."
I shook my head, "Corey's not so bad. The other one though...he's trouble."
"You think Corey is not so bad. You are too trustworthy..."
"I trust you."
I didn't know it would come out so bluntly. I could have sworn that Mason was going to tell me not to be so gay or tell me to man up when I said it. The way I said it did sound gay honestly but I didn't care. I wanted it to sound gay because it was.
"You should," Mason said surprisingly, "I'm the only one you should trust in this b***h. Not Genesis, not Brandon, not any of these other covens out here...just me."
I smiled, "Reminds me we are going to be late for class..."
The night came fast after that day. I found myself going to sleep but I couldn't sleep. Something was bothering me. I was falling fast behind the others. The things that they could do I just couldn't. I didn't know why either. Truth was I never really asked for any of this. None of the others seemed to notice that I couldn't do much besides Melody. Her eyes sunk into me as though she was always silently judging me. Her eyes haunted my dreams and I couldn't sleep.
Maybe that is why I woke up in the middle of the night and saw Mason getting up out of his bed. I waited silently pretending to be asleep and watched as he dressed in his red uniform and walked outside of the room.
I gathered my things and started after him. I didn't know what made me decide to do something like that. I figured maybe it was some sort of curiosity or maybe some obsession with Mason that was forming. Why did I care so much about what this boy was doing? I questioned my own sanity at this point. Still it was suspicious that he was leaving at this time of night. Right? Why would he need to leave? Everything we needed was right inside the room. The bathroom and vanity were a separate part of my room. Mason even had stored snacks from the lunchroom underneath his bed.
I followed close behind making sure to keep enough distance that he wouldn't hear my footsteps. The entire tower was asleep at this time it felt like. The dim old fashioned flickering lights that lit the hallway were even more so subdued in the middle of the night. Mason let out the hallway and opened the door to the winding staircase.
I followed behind again watching and waiting. He didn't stay on the staircase too long. One floor down was where he ended up at and I could tell by the turning door. I didn't go onto the floor but I peered into the hallway of the floor below mine. Mason was there and he was greeting someone. It was a female with jet black hair and a long, slender physique. She wore a red uniform that left her middrift exposed which was similar to the one that Angelica and Melody wore.
I watched how close they seemed. I watched how Mason put his hand over her as they talked. She was batting her eyes seeming so intrigued by everything he was saying.
She was pretty. I think that was the worst part. I shook my head. A part of me should have been happy for him but instead I found myself intensely jealous. I didn't even know what was really going on between them but I wondered if it truly mattered. A selfish part of me just thought that Mason should only talk to me and that no one else would put up with his attitude besides me. So what was happening now? Someone else obviously liked his attitude and by the look of things he liked hers as well.
The next day came too soon. I'd usually wait for Mason to wake up before we went to go get breakfast in the public cafeteria on the lowest level but I found myself avoiding him. I knew I was being bratty by doing that but I couldn't fake it. I was never too good at faking it. He'd be able to know something was wrong with me as soon as I opened my mouth. There was definitely something wrong.
Its so easy to think that I was being overly sensitive. It didn't make sense for me feel some sort of way about Mason leaving and talking to some girl in the middle of the night. I guess that was the point of feelings though. You don't think when you have feelings. You just feel and all thought is thrown out the window. You feel and whether it makes sense or not that is the only thing that matters. I wished there was something that could numb that feeling but there wasn't. I was jealous and it hurt so bad.
I found myself eating lunch with the others in the coven. When I joined them they seemed honestly surprised.
Rio held no punches, "Look who it is. Better yet look who he doesn't have with him? I was beginning to think you and my brother were bound by some sort of magic curse or something. I was getting worried."
I didn't know if I was welcome at the table until Angelica smiled at me. She moved over making room for me at the table. The Atwoods were there sitting with Rio and Brandon. I could tell that there was a bond that had been formed between the rest of the coven. I felt like somehow I had missed it all spending so much time alone with Mason.
"You ok?" Victor asked me shaking his head, "You look a little disturbed."
"Where's my brother?"
I shrugged and looked at my breakfast. It was runny eggs and burnt toast. It really made me wonder who the hell was cooking back there. The others seemed more intrigued with my presence then the meal as well. I played in my food nervously using the spoon to stir through the eggs as if it was a bowl of soup. I prayed for that moment for someone to take my mind off of Mason for once.
No one changed it though. Rio spent the next thirty minutes b***hing about Mason and how antisocial Mason is. He started with stories from the past. After about the first 2 minutes I drowned him out with the egg soup in my bowl. A part of me was expecting Mason to come into the lunch room at anytime but I knew he wouldn't. I didn't think he felt too comfortable being completely alone. He probably wouldn't have wanted to walk all the way to the lunch room alone. With Rio b***hing about him I couldn't take my mind off of him even if I tried. Luckily the breakfast hour was done and I managed to get up with Brandon.
"You going to the King's ball?" Brandon asked me.
Brandon was walking with me to the classroom where Bah was already most likely waiting. When I first met Brandon he seemed far more foreign than I thought but now I didn't mind him so much. A conversation that wasn't about Mason was welcome to me.
I shook my head, "Well Mason said..."
I caught myself. He hadn't even been talking about Mason and I was the one bringing him up. I looked over at him and watched as he shook his head listening intently.
"Mason said what?"
"Nevermind. Yeah I may go. Are you going?"
"If you are I will. I didn't want to be the only one going without a date."
"What about Rio?"
"He's taking Melody. Truth be told I think she really preferred to go Mason but I doubt he'd show up at something like that so she settled for Mason's twin brother. Then you have the other two Atwoods going as a...pair..."
The way he said it suggested that Brandon had some sort of gossip or something.
I raised my eyebrow confused, "Wait the Atwoods are going to the dance together. That must be weird going to the dance with my sibling."
"I think they are more than that."
Brandon sighed as we got to the staircase, "I'm serious. It's incest. Back on Mereen the Atwoods all keep to themselves. A lot of them incest marry in the family so to keep the bloodlines pure. That's what they call it at least. The Atwoods have always been the weird family in the coven."
"What does keeping the bloodline clean mean?"
"I guess they think that would help their magic be strong. Don't work. I don't know where they came up with that bulls***t. They have an obsession with power and challenging the Bah Family to be the leaders of the coven. It's ridiculous."
Brandon seemed to know the most about the history of the family and things like that. I figured he grew up around that kind of stuff. He seemed thoroughly disgusted with the Atwoods intepretation of keeping their bloodline pure. I didn't blame him. It was kind of strange but it did really explain how come Angelica and her brother were always so close. The Atwood resolve also explained a lot of the behavior that the Atwoods displayed since I met them.
"Why didn't you wait for me this morning?"
I hadn't noticed we were at the classroom already until I hear Mason's voice. He disregarded the conversation I'd been having with Brandon and approached me in an aggressive manner. Brandon abandoned me almost immediately when Mason approached. I just looked at Mason not having a clear way to answer.
When I thought hard about an answer the only thing that came out was, "Do you really even want me to wait for you?"
I looked around making sure that everyone else had walked in the classroom. I could feel the tension between the two of us. My heart beat fast every time he was around me.
"Do you want me around you?"
He seemed a mix of irritated and confused, "What do you mean why? Why not? We been hanging out since day one of this. Why change now? I mean---I don't know. I'm used to it. I don't know. We might as well be around each other."
"I just feel like maybe our friendship may mean more to me than to you," I told him trying my best to be honest.
He raised an eyebrow, "Like what?"
"Like you think its normal for guys to do EVERYTHING together all the time?"
"Why not? I don't give a f***k what anyone thinks. Man, especially none of these people here. You care what people think? Not me. No way. I DON'T give a F***K what people think," he stressed shaking his head.
"It's not even about what other people think. You aren't getting me," I explained, "Listen I don't want to mix up feelings. I just want to come right out and say it."
"I'm gay. It's not just that I'm gay either. I'm gay and I'm attracted to you..."
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