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K.J. Stock

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20 Moving In The Right Direction

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About K.J. Stock

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    Gauteng, South Africa
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  1. K.J. Stock

    Chapter 4

    That is something that will only come out near the middle of the book
  2. K.J. Stock

    Chapter 4

    I stood where my body should have been standing, except I was staring at my body lying on the ground. What the hell? Midge ran over to where I was sprawled out on the floor, almost breaking her ankle in doing so. I could hear her cursing her heels under her breath. Tomas was on his knees next to me as well. No other person actually showed any interest, like they saw someone almost die every day. I didn’t know how I knew, but I knew I was going to die. I mean, how else would I explain the out of body experience. I watched as Midge grabbed Tomas by the collar. “What the hell happened, you asshole. What’s wrong with my best friend? Why is she bleeding like that?” Bleeding? I looked closer at my prone body, and only then did I notice that I had faint lines of blood trickling from my eyes and my nose. What the actual hell happened? The last thing I remember was downing the champagne. The champagne that Kaiden, the guy with the dark mask and darker eyes, sent over to me. Did he poison me? Is that what happened? But why would anyone want to poison me. I was the very definition of average. Was this what Chase was talking about? I knew I should have felt something other than confusion, like maybe grief or dread, but it was the confusion that settled over me like mist. I regretted leaving my house. I looked over at Midge. She was angry. That was not a good thing for those around her. She tried to shake Tomas where she’d grabbed on to his collar, but the guy was literally twice her size, he didn’t budge. I could see that it frustrated her even more. There were times when being small was not in her favour. “She’s been poisoned.” Tomas said to Midge matter-of-factly. Midge shut her mouth very quickly. Then she fumbled for her phone. Probably to call an ambulance. Tomas reached out and took her phone from her. “They won’t get here in time. Especially not with that storm raging outside.” “Then what the fuck do you want me to do? I am not going to stand by and just watch my best friend die.” Tomas stared Midge in the eyes, and in the most soothing voice I had ever heard, he said, “Keep calm. Follow me and make no noise until we are out of this room.” Midge’s face went blank and she did exactly as he said. He picked up my prone body, like I weighed nothing, and walked out of the room. No one seemed to notice anything. I walked behind Tomas and Midge, following them up the grand staircase in the main foyer, until they made a turn and entered what I assumed was a guest bedroom of some kind. It looked like something out of Jane Eyre, just with electricity. Tomas placed me gently onto the bed and then turned to look at Midge. “She will die tonight.” I watched as my best friend let the words sink in. Her face went from confusion to shock, then to anger. “Like hell she will. We have to do something.” Tomas looked over to my body, shook his head slightly, and then said, almost as if to himself, “That is the plan.” He then turned to Midge, “I need you to stay here with her. I know someone who can save her, but I have to go get him.” “Can’t you just phone him, or something?” She asked him as he disappeared into another room off the side. Midge wasn’t one to panic in dire situations, but I could see that she had absolutely no idea what to do. Tomas came out of the room carrying a bowl of water and a face cloth. “I will be back in about an hour. Stay with her. Keep her temperature down.” He placed the bowl and cloth next to the bed. “Do not leave her side.” Midge scoffed. “Like I’m going to leave my, apparently, dying best friend in a place that we don’t know, with a bunch of strangers.” Tomas actually smiled. “Good.” He said before turning around and leaving. I followed him into the hallway, but he wasn’t there. I wanted to go find him, but I couldn’t walk further than the entrance to the bedroom. I shrugged and went back into the room. It was strange that I didn’t have any particular feelings about what was going on. Perhaps just confusion and curiosity. I went to stand next to Midge, who was rubbing my face with a wet cloth, and watched as my best friend mumbled to my prone body. “You better not die bitch. I swear I will bring you back from the afterlife and kill you all over again, and then bring you back again to clean up the mess.” I chuckled. “You have an amazing friend.” A voice wistfully said behind me. I jumped. If I hadn’t already been dying, I would have had a heart attack. I turned around and there was a woman sitting in a chair next to a fireplace that I hadn’t noticed earlier. “The hell?” I could feel my face scrunch up in confusion. She was leaning forward with her chin resting on her hands, and her extraordinarily long, red, hair obscured her face. “Have a seat.” She pointed to the chair opposite her, leaning back. Her beauty stunned me into non-movement. “We don’t have all night.” She raised her eyebrow at me which had me hurrying to the chair. “You probably have a number of questions, don’t you?” I nodded. I had no idea what was going on. Everything that was happening was like something out of a badly written teen novel. And all I really wanted was to find Chase. I had a very strong feeling that he would know what was going on. But it wasn’t like I could just climb back into my body and stand up. I looked over to the ethereal woman sitting in front of me. She had a tattoo of a llama on her arm, and was wearing a unicorn t-shirt, jeans, and ballet pumps. “My name is Raine.” She said to me. I could see a smile playing on the corners of her lips. “Unusual.” I finally spoke up. She chuckled. “That’s what you choose to focus on? My name of all things?” I shrugged. “If I weren’t who I was, I would think that you do this every day.” She gestured to the general room around us. “So, who are you?” “I am Death.” I turned to look at my body, and it was then that I started feeling the dread. “So, I really am dead?” Different thoughts raced through my head. What would my mom do? She’d already lost my dad; she couldn’t lose me too. What about my brother and sister? And Midge? What about my degree. I’d only just finished my second year. Raine probably saw the terror on my face because what she said next calmed me down. “No. You are not.” A sigh of relief escaped my lips. “But you are still dying.” The dread returned, and along with it, a myriad of questions. “What exactly is going on?” I asked the most important one. “Now that is a question, I do not have enough time to answer.” “Then why exactly are you here?” “You’re a snappy little thing, aren’t you?” She grinned. It looked like she was enjoying my current situation. I sunk down on the chair. “I’m just confused. Tonight hasn’t exactly been a night at the Oscars.” Her smile disappeared. “Your troubles are only just beginning Genevieve. That’s why I’m here.” She got up and went to stand by the fireplace. I waited for her to carry on talking. “I came to warn you. You will face many very difficult situations, and you will be forced to make hard decisions.” My chest filled with a heaviness that I hadn’t felt since the death of my father. “Why me? And don’t tell me it’s because I am the chosen one. This isn’t Harry Potter.” She laughed. “I’m not supposed to find this funny, but you’re not making it very easy for me.” I deadpanned. “I’m glad my dire situation is humorous for you.” “You and I are gonna be great friends. I can just tell.” She went back to the chair. “On a serious note, no, you are not some chosen one, or the destined one. You just happened to be born into a very strange mixing of families. I’d go as far as to say, that you are possibly the unluckiest person I will ever meet. And I’m Death. I meet a lot of people. I mean some guy died the other day tying his shoelaces.” I had no words. I couldn’t even say anything about the family part. I had only ever met my dad’s side of the family. My mom never talked about hers. “But seriously,” Raine carried on, “You heard the warning part of it, here’s the next. Keep strong. It’s easier said than done. But it’s gotta be done.” I looked up at her, and a thought occurred to me. “How on earth do you know all of this?” She grinned at me, winked, and then disappeared. I was starting to get really annoyed at people just disappearing. “WHAT THE FUCK!” I screamed as loud as I could. But of course, no one could hear me. I heard sniffling coming from the other side of the room and remembered that Midge was still with my prone body. Was she crying? She never cried. I went over to her to find out, when the bedroom door flew open and in walked Tomas followed by another gentleman who looked to be in his late thirties. Midge jumped up from where she was sitting next to me and threw the wet face cloth at Tomas. It hit him straight in the face and then plopped to the ground. “Where the hell have you been? Her temperature is getting worse, and there’s only so much water and a cloth can do.” Tomas ran his hand down his face, and then cleared his throat. He looked tired. “This is Nicolas. He’s going to help her.” Midge looked sceptical. I didn’t blame her. The Nicolas guy took off his jacket, threw it onto the chair that I had been sitting on, rolled up his sleeves, and bit into his wrist. Please not vampires, I thought to myself. He put his wrist over my mouth, and I felt like I was being dragged back into my body. At first, I was dazed and had no idea where I was. All that I knew was that my neck was very stiff, and I had pins and needles running the length of my left leg. I took in my surroundings and was taken aback. Why was I in a bedroom? I sat up, cringing at the strumming of the pins and needles, and that was when I noticed three pairs of eyes staring at me. Midge with a look of absolute shock, Tomas with an unreadable expression, and another gentleman with anger etched into the lines around his eyes. I turned to hang my legs over the end of the bed, strangely noticing that I was still wearing my heels. No one said anything. They were waiting for me. I took the heels off, relishing the sudden freedom and then looked up at everyone. Everything in the room felt so still and so quiet, it was eerie. I breathed in deep. “Would someone care to tell what in the actual fuck is happening?”
  3. K.J. Stock

    Chapter 3

    “Good evening ladies.” The guy said to us as he reached the table where we were standing awkwardly. “I couldn’t help but notice how out of place you looked.” It sounded like an insult, but his tone was gentle. “Well this isn’t our usual scene.” I said to him in return. “How is it that you came to be here tonight?” he asked as he grabbed a glass of wine from one of the passing waiters. “We were invited by Chase Mathews.” He showed no surprise at my words. Midge stood close to me. I could feel how insecure she was. She didn’t do well around strangers. “Kaiden.” The guy said to us, “And you are?” “Sam.” Midge replied, not giving him her nickname. “And I’m Genevieve.” Kaiden removed his mask, and recognition shot through me. It was weird that I felt like I knew so many people here. “Have we met before?” I asked him. I looked at his face, trying to think of where I’d seen him before, but strangely enough he just reminded me of my brother. “I don’t think so.” He shook his head and took a sip of his wine. It was an awkward exchange of words, and the hairs on the back of my neck were still standing on edge. I turned to Midge and gave her a look that only she would understand. ‘Let’s get the hell out of here.’ I turned to Kaiden to tell him that we were leaving when Chase popped out of nowhere. He pulled my purse and my drink from my hand, gave it over to Midge, and then dragged me onto the dance floor. I was too shocked to say anything. He put his hand on my back and pulled me into dancing with him. “What. The. Hell. Chase.” I looked up at his face, and I could see his usually relaxed face marred by a myriad of emotions that I couldn’t place. He looked sad, angry, and excited, all at the same time. I had no idea what was going on. “You do realise that that guy just embarrassed the hell out of me and Midge, right? What the hell is his problem?” I asked, talking about Tomas. Chase finally looked at me, and his face softened, it almost broke my heart. I had never seen such vulnerability coming from him before. “Gen. I am sorry. Genuinely and truly sorry.” I could tell that he wasn’t just talking about what had happened. Something else was going on. It was too much. I heard a clap of thunder from outside, and suddenly wished I was standing in the rain. The coolness of it would probably do me some good. I tried to get Chase to release me, but his grip was too strong. He wasn’t hurting me, but he wasn’t letting me go. “Chase. Let me go. This is enough. You shouldn’t have brought us into your world. I don’t even think we’ve been here for more than thirty minutes, and it’s already turned into a crappy evening.” He grabbed my hand and led me to a door to a covered patio outside. I was so angry and confused that even the rain through the beautiful fairy lights did nothing to change my mood. I pulled my hand from Chase’s grasp. And almost stomped my foot to get his attention. “Tell me what the fuck just happened! This is not you Chase. You don’t do this to us.” He ran his hand through his hair, and for the first time ever, he looked overly tired. “Gen…” He started saying then stopped to look at me. “I’m sorry. But I am not who you think I am. I never have been. But I am still someone who cares about you. I just can’t… Bringing you here wasn’t a mistake, but I just can’t tell you the truth. There are things that are happening, but they are happening for the good of everything else around us. A plan has been set in motion. And right now, I am throwing you straight into the thick of it. For that I am sorry, but I don’t deserve your forgiveness.” “What are you talking about Chase?” He looked so frazzled. Something bad must have happened between Tomas and him, for him to be talking like this. I had never, in all of our years being friends, seen him like this. I reached out for him, pulled him into a hug and he let me. “I am very, very confused right now Chase.” My head was spinning. “I see everything Gen. Everything that has happened, that is happening, and everything that will happen.” “Chase. What’s going on? Are you on some sort of drug or something?” He chuckled. “I wish it was that simple, my Genevieve.” He softly placed his hand on my face. My heart stopped. His face moved closer to mine and my breath hitched. He lips touched mine ever so gently and I sighed without meaning to. The kiss grew hungrier, like it was something that both of us had always wanted but had never been able to have. I was breathless when he let me go. We stood there for a few seconds more, and just as I was about to ask, again, what was going on, he turned and left me standing there. And he just disappeared into the rain. I had no idea what the fuck had just happened. I brought my fingers to my lips and I could still feel them throbbing from the kiss. It had been real. I wasn’t losing my mind. Then what the hell was going on? After a few more dazed minutes I turned on my heel and went back inside. I found Midge chatting to a very dapper elderly gentleman, and when I joined her, I could see that she wasn’t as uncomfortable as she had been earlier. Her smile fell when she saw me though. No doubt from the messed-up lipstick. “This must be the friend you were telling me about Samantha.” The gentleman turned to me, “My name is Frank. This young lady was just telling me about how wonderful you are.” “Genevieve.” I said, not forgetting my manners, “It is lovely to meet you, but, and I hope I am not being rude here, may I please steal my best friend for a few seconds.” Frank chuckled. He reminded me of my grandfather, with gentle eyes, and a happy demeanour. “Of course. You two ladies must enjoy the rest of your evening.” He turned to Midge and handed her a business card that came out of nowhere. “Call me if you are ever in need of a job young lady, I think you would be perfect for our line of work.” With that, he turned and walked away. As soon as he was out of earshot, Midge turned to me with a horrified look on her face. “The fuck?” “I’m sorry I left you, I hope you weren’t too uncomfortable chatting to that guy.” “Frank is great, but that is beside the point. What just happened Gen. One moment you were dancing and then the next you were gone. That weird guy Kaiden left me as soon as Chase grabbed you. And what’s up with your lipstick?” She was worried. I shook my head. “Chase…” I started saying. I heard her suck in a breath. “Something funky in going on Midge. Chase went on this whole tirade of how he was so sorry, and he’s not the person we know him to be, and then he calls me ‘his Genevieve’ and straight up just kisses me. It was the best fucking kiss of my life. And then he just leaves.” My best friend looked at me in shock and wonder. “I’m sorry, what? He kissed you?” I nodded. “And then he just left.” I nodded again. “Is that boy on drugs or something?’ “That’s what I thought. But the weird thing is, I could tell he wasn’t lying. None of it made sense. But it felt like the truth.” My head was reeling. “I need a very stiff drink.” Midge nodded, but before we went, she grabbed a wet wipe from her purse and fixed my lipstick. She gave me my purse back, and we hurriedly made our way to the bar. I ordered a tequila and Midge just got a sprite. Weird drinks to have at a fancy ball I thought, but I didn’t question it. I knew nothing of this world after all. “So, what now?” Midge asked. She looked as lost as I felt. “I’m confused Midge.” “Let’s just go home.” She took my hand in hers and started leading me away, when we bumped into Tomas, literally. He looked at us with a strange look on his face. “Ladies. I’ve been looking for you. I wanted to apologise for earlier.” I could feel Midge shake with anger. She’d had enough. “Listen man. This has been one hell of a weird evening for us. We are just going to go home and forget everything that has happened tonight. You don’t have to worry about us ruining your lavish party.” Midge put sarcastic emphasis on the word lavish. My head was beginning to hurt, so I looked up at Tomas to say almost the same thing, when my vision doubled again. The room changed around me, and Midge was no longer beside me. Tomas was in front of me, and he was talking to me like we were long lost friends. And then in the blink of an eye everything was normal again. “I was wondering if I could have a quick word with Genevieve.” He said to Midge, and then turned to me, “Chase mentioned some things that I thought you should know.” If I hadn’t been so bloody confused by the interaction with Chase, I would have told him where to shove it, but I needed to know what was going on, so I followed him. Midge nodded at me to tell me that it was okay. She was probably just as confused as I was, but as soon as I had heard what Tomas had to say, I was leaving. We walked to one of the small tables. A waiter came up to us and handed us two champagne flutes. “This is from the gentleman standing by the bar. He says he hopes you enjoy the rest of your evening.” The waiter said to me and then left. I looked towards the bar, and Kaiden lifted his glass to me in cheers. I nodded and turned back to Tomas. “So can you please tell me what is going on?” I took a sip from my drink, which probably wasn’t a good idea considering how much I’d had to drink that night, and on an empty stomach, but at that moment I didn’t care. “Has Chase told you anything of our world?” Tomas looked at me with concern in his eyes. “Your world? What do you mean? The world of the wealthy?” He exhaled. “I am going to take that as a no.” I downed my drink. For some reason I was getting really thirsty, and I was starting to heat up. Tomas’ voice started sounding very far away, and the world started spinning around me. The next moment I was staring up at the ceiling as my vision was turning black.
  4. K.J. Stock

    Chapter 2

    I will amend it to normal standards.
  5. K.J. Stock

    Chapter 2

    According to my grandparents, it includes the cummerbund and accessories. Though this isn't something that I am familiar with.
  6. K.J. Stock

    Chapter 2

    “He said no…” I was gobsmacked. I’d called Declan to ask him if he’d join us at the masquerade, and he flat out declined. Midge shrugged. “His loss.” I threw my phone on her bed. “But, I mean. He seemed so interested back at varsity…” “He’s a twotwaffle Gen. Just leave it at that.” I plopped down on the bed next to midge, making her bounce. “Ok, so, what’s the game plan for tonight?” My crazy best friend looked at me with an evil glint in her eye. “Well the shindig starts at seven, so I reckon we start getting ready at half 5 and leave at half 6?” Midge chuckled. “Dearest best friend, it is going to take me more than an hour to turn this,” she gestured to all of me, “into something worthy of that dress.” “Bitch.” I humphed, and crossed my arms, which only made her chuckle more. It took exactly an hour and a half to get ready, and by the end of it, I already wanted to climb into bed and sleep. “Who would have thought that ‘pretty’ was so exhausting?” “It is an art Genevieve. Art takes time, and don’t you forget that.” I wanted to stick my tongue out at Midge, but she gave me a look that said, ‘don’t you dare ruin all my hard work’, so I just flipped her off instead. My best friend looked at me and then smiled. “Go have a smoke you crazy child, just don’t ruin your lips.” “Yes ma’am.” I walked past the mirror going towards the door and had a look at my face; I still couldn’t believe it was really me. Midge really had worked wonders. She did a turquoise smoky eye with a winged liner, dark red lipstick, and very light blush. It was amazing. I found a nice spot in the shade just outside the front door, and lit up. The smoke from my cigarette danced in the sunlight, as the wind carried it into the sky. Something was bothering me, but I couldn’t put my finger on what exactly it could’ve been. It was in the back of my mind, eating away at whatever excitement I was supposed to be feeling. I inhaled and exhaled letting the sounds of the cars on the road, and the rustling of the leaves in the wind, almost lull me into a false sense of calm. It felt strangely surreal that we were both going to look so elegant, to attend a masquerade ball, like something from a fairytale. I had no idea what to expect. I heard Midge groan in frustration from her bedroom, and the heavy feeling in my chest lightened a bit. At least through the unknown I was going to have my best friend with me. I gave one last look to the sunlight streaming through the trees before I made my way back inside. Midge was struggling with her hair straightener. I could see she was very close to throwing the thing across the room. “Do you need help?” She looked at me and scoffed. “You can’t straighten hair for shit. I am not letting you anywhere near my curls with something that could burn them off.” I flipped her off again, but was secretly grateful. The thought of straightening her hair was terrifying. Her hair was the literal definition of untamable. After about another two minutes of her struggling to tame her hair, she threw her straightener back onto her dressing table and said, “Fuck this. I’m just tying this shit up.” I packed up laughing. She’d taken so much care with my hair, clipping it out of my face, so it didn’t really bother my glasses, and making sure it fell down my back in waves. And there she was giving up, tying her hair into a tight bun on top of her head. My phone beeped from where I’d dropped it on to her bed, and my heart jumped into my chest. I was hoping it was Declan changing his mind, but I was sorely disappointed when a message from Chase popped up. ‘Be outside in 10. I’m picking you guys up.’ “Who is it?” Midge asked as she put the finishing touches on her makeup. “Chase. Apparently he’s picking us up.” “How long do we have?” “10.” “Fuck!” We hurried to put our dresses on, not that it was hard, and then struggled to put our shoes on. “Gen, are you sure you want to wear high heels? I mean you do look amazing in them, and kinda like a damn giant, but this is going to be a long night.” “Yes.” I nodded. “This dress would have a disservice done to it if I were to wear flats.” She mused but agreed. “Just bring flats with in case.” “Already planned Midget.” I pointed to the bag that I had packed very normal clothing into. I did not know if I was going to make the whole night wearing something from a fairytale. I already felt out of place as it was. We walked outside and Chase was already waiting for us. In a limousine. “You have got to be fucking with us.” Midge put her hand onto my shoulder, to balance herself as she took off her shoe and threw it at Chase. He dodged it with ease, and it bounced off of the limo. “Good to see you are in such good spirit this evening.” Chase laughed. “You’re a troll Chase. I have wanted to throw things at you all day.” I couldn’t help myself. I burst into side splitting laughter. “Give her back her shoe Chase.” I looked up at him and my breath caught in my throat. He was wearing a tailored seven piece suit, and his hair was tousled in a way that made him look like he had just gotten out of bed, but it looked really good on him. I hadn’t had that kind of reaction to Chase in a really long time. And it made me really wish Declan had joined us. He picked up Midge’s shoe from where it had landed on the ground, and walked over to us. “I decided to come pick you up because I wasn’t sure that Midge was actually going to get you there in one piece.” He chuckled as Midge glared at him. If an outsider had watched this scene, they would have thought that they were the worst of enemies, but in reality, we were all really good friends. It might seem that Chase was flaky, which he kind of was, but he was always there when we really needed him. “You ladies look absolutely stunning by the way.” He looked at the two of us, his eyes lingering a little longer on me than on Midge. Butterflies surged in my stomach, but I swallowed down whatever feeling was trying to claw its way to the surface. This was not a journey I wanted to take again. Besides I still really liked Declan. “You clean up well Chase. Someone might actually think you’re a gentleman tonight.” Midge grinned. I felt excitement stir again. “Let’s go people. I don’t think this is the type of thing we can be late to.” I walked towards the limo, and the driver got out of the car to open the door for me. It was an incredibly weird experience for me. “Thank you.” I shyly said to him. “Of course ma’am.” He lowered his head. The air was starting to mist up with the promise of rain by the time we arrived. There were cars and limos lining the gravel driveway all the way up to a really beautiful house, though mansion might have been a better term. The front entrance even had one of those gigantic fountains in front of it. I looked over at Chase when we neared our stopping point. He had a smile on his face that wasn’t quite readable. Midge also looked worried. But that was probably just because she didn’t like being around people. I didn’t know what to expect as we stopped and someone opened the limo door for us. I could hear the dulled sounds of an orchestra coming from inside, as well as the murmured sounds of voices. I didn’t know what to do with my hands, so I held on tightly to the little purse that Midge had lent me for the occasion. I’d left my backpack in the limo, with Chase’s assurance that if I needed it, it would be close by. Midge stood next to me with her hand through my arm. We both felt very out of place. Chase walked up to us, and I could swear in that moment he looked a lot older than he actually was. This was his world, and we were just guests. “Keep your heads up ladies. You belong here just as much as I do. Both of you will outshine everyone in that ballroom today, and don’t forget it.” I could feel my cheeks heat with a blush I didn’t think I could have. And I knew Midge felt the same way. Chase wasn’t always much for sharing his feelings, but he never lied when he did speak them. His words gave me a boost of confidence, so I raised my head and held myself with confidence. Midge followed suit. “Before we go in, these are yours.” He handed us two boxes that I hadn’t even known he’d been carrying. Inside the boxes were masks for each of us. Both of them were black lace that tied into our hair. Midge had no problem placing hers, as she just tied it around her bun, but Chase had to help me put mine into my hair without messing up Midges hard work. The only problem was that I had to take my glasses off, and I was as good as blind without them. I was very insecure about not being able to see, but with the mask set into place my vision wasn’t as bad as it should have been. I looked up at Chase in confusion. He leant down, placing his lips near my ear, and whispered, “Just let it happen Gen. Your glasses don’t make the person.” His words were so cryptic I almost laughed. But then he just started walking away. We had no choice; we walked behind him, letting him lead the way. I tried not to let it show just how amazed I was with the whole set up. The house had an entrance foyer with a real life chandelier out of a gothic timeline. And it felt strangely familiar. “This house belongs to Tomas Gordon. This masquerade ball is a rare occasion for him, and I wanted you ladies to experience it before real life starts.” Again it felt like Chase was older than he actually was, it was out of place from how I had come to know him. I was very confused, to say the least. “So what exactly do we do at a masquerade ball?” Midge asked the words that I should have. “We drink, we dance, we mingle, and then we go home. Most of the time these things are meant for people to just flaunt their wealth and boast to those around them, but there are some people here tonight who I thought you ladies should meet. It might help you with whatever you want to do in the future. And having influential contacts is always beneficial.” “Well this isn’t exactly the ‘last day of exams’ party I was expecting, but we are here so let’s do this crazy thing.” Midge tightened her grip on her purse and put her other arm through mine, and pulled me on. Chase followed with an amused grin on his face. We entered the actual ballroom, and no amount of feigned poise was going to stop the awe from showing on my face. The ceiling was domed, and had the most intricate paintings of human-like creatures eating fruits and drinking wine. Chandeliers hung down from the beams, and instead of light bulbs, the lights were candles. The room was full of the most elegant people I had ever seen in my life. And I suddenly felt like a pauper. A full 18-piece orchestra was set on a small stage to the side of the ballroom, with couples waltzing around the dance floor to Mozart. Waiters were making their rounds through the room carrying trays of champagne flutes, and some with glasses of red and white wine, and then if you wanted something else, a fully stocked bar was on the other side of the vast room. Midge went rigid next to me, but with one look from Chase we both relaxed. He lifted his head slightly and a waiter came by with some champagne for us. It was like he held all the power here. I almost gulped down my entire glass until I saw someone make their way across the room towards us. Even with a full face mask on, I could tell he was young, but he held himself with dignity. It felt strange looking at him. It felt like I knew him. The more I stared at him, the stranger I felt, until my vision started to flicker. It was like I was seeing double. The one moment we were in the ballroom that we’d entered with Chase and the next, I was alone in the same ballroom, except that it was decorated completely different, but the same person was walking towards me. The feeling of Midge’s hand squeezing my arm made me shake my head, and brought me back to reality. The whole thing made me wonder how strong that champagne was. “Charles. I did not think I would ever see you at one of my events.” The man said as he reached us. He took off his mask, and I audibly gasped. Midge gave me a side glance, as if to ask ‘what the fuck’, but it seemed like Tomas had the same reaction to me when he looked at my face. He just recovered quicker than I did. It wasn’t déjà vu. It was stronger. I knew him. I knew I knew him, but I couldn’t place from where. He was beautiful. Not in that I’m going to fall madly in love with him type of beautiful, but statues would be modeled after him and great romances would be told of him. “Tomas. These are my friends Genevieve Bale and Samantha Robinson.” I smiled what I hoped was a normal smile, but when I looked up at Tomas, that feeling was there again. It was so strong. I just couldn’t place it. Tomas’ face went from gentle and inviting, to veiled anger in the space of a second. He grabbed Chase by the arm and pulled him from the room, leaving us standing there like two lost puppies. The last thing I heard him say to Chase was that he shouldn’t have brought us. It angered me. What the actual fuck. Was it because we didn’t belong in his world? And why the fuck did I feel so strongly that I knew him. “Well that was interesting.” Midge scoffed. I shook my head. I didn’t know what else to do, but I did know that I didn’t want to let it bother me anymore. We were in such a magical place that I wanted to experience something new. I gulped down the rest of the champagne in my glass and placed it on one the many small tables that littered around the room. “Let’s see what else this place has to offer us.” I said to Midge, and she nodded her head in agreement. I looked around the room and that feeling of awe returned. The people that stood around talking, and the ones that were dancing, reminded me of something from an old movie. “So what now?” Midge asked me. And honestly I didn’t know how to answer. With Chase having disappeared I was lost. I shrugged. “We drink I guess.” I started leading the way to the bar when the hairs on the back of my neck stood on edge. It was the same feeling that I’d had in the bookstore. Someone was watching me. I looked around the room and noticed that a man wearing a dark full face mask was staring at me. His eyes were the only thing I could see, and they were darker than the mask. I looked away and tried to shake it off. Drinks were a must if I was to survive the rest of the night. “I think you need a glass of wine, and I deserve a glass of vodka, lime and lemonade.” Midge smiled the first genuine smile since we had arrived. “Yes my dearest best friend. I think we need to booze it up. Screw it, let’s do it.” She grinned her evil grin, and I started to feel myself relax, even though I knew she could possibly be plotting something. After we’d grabbed our drinks, we went to stand at a table to watch everything around us. After a while Midge nudged me, and nodded her head to behind me. “I think our evening is about to get even more interesting.” I turned around and watched as the guy from earlier, the one with the dark mask and darker eyes, strode confidently towards us.
  7. K.J. Stock

    Chapter 1

    The first thing I did as I walked out of the exam room was pull out my box of smokes. I was finally finished with my second year of varsity. I could physically feel my shoulders relax. I was not going to think about my marks or whether or not I was getting into third year or not. I was just going to enjoy my time off. “Gen! What do you think you’re doing?” My best friend Midge ran up to me almost panting. “Hey slow down, short legs here.” “What do you mean, what am I doing?” I held up my unlit cigarette, “I’m about to smoke my freedom cigarette.” I slowed my steps so she could keep up. “Yeah, I can see that, dumbass. What I mean is… why are you having one without me?” I laughed. “I didn’t think you’d finish your exam so quickly. Does this mean we can go?” I didn’t have a car yet, so I relied on Midge to drive me around. At least I paid her petrol money. “No.” We sat down on one of the tables close to the security gates into the campus. And as usual we grabbed our earphones and played some music while we smoked. I also took a few seconds to clean some of the smudges from my glasses. “What are we waiting for?” Midge looked up at me and smiled sweetly. She wasn’t sweet. She was sarcastic and mean. It was why I loved her. “What did you do, you evil little midget?” She was about a head shorter than me, hence the nickname Midge, short for Midget. It was a nickname my dad had given her before he was killed. Her real name was Sam. “You’ll see, oh loving best friend of mine.” She had an evil glint in her eye. It frightened me. Trouble was on the horizon. I turned my head just in time to see her evil little plan unfold. Declan O’Riordan was heading in our direction. I turned to Midge and hissed. “Why?” I mouthed to her. She rubbed her hands together in joyful glee. I’d had a crush on Declan since the year began. He was a transfer from the Westville campus to our Sandton campus. And before that, he was in Ireland, making him an international student. I’d fallen for his Irish accent long before I’d even seen his face, when he sat at the back of the lecture room and asked a question about the validity of Freud’s work. I remember turning around and seeing a sly smile on his face, and since then it was all downhill for me. “Hey Genevieve. Samantha.” He nodded his head at us in greeting. He always used our full names when talking to us. I inwardly sighed. He sat on the opposite side of the table to us. Midge had vowed to me that if I hadn’t done anything about my crush by the end of the last semester, she was going to. And she was very good at keeping her word, even if it meant tormenting me. “How’d you find the exam?” He asked as he started rolling his own cigarette. “It was actually pretty easy.” I replied. “Speak for yourself. Question 2 killed my brain.” Midge said with a sigh. “Speaking of killing my brain,” She carried on, “I rate we should drink tonight. What do you guys say?” I laughed. She’d use any excuse to drink wine. Declan looked up from his rolling and looked at me, “Only if Genevieve agrees, then sure, why not?” I could feel the blush creep into my cheeks. Midge just grinned. And my phone chose that exact moment to ring. It was Chase, my childhood best friend. “What’s up Chase?” “Meet up with me?” “I’m still at varsity.” “I have a very special invite for you and Midge. You guys need to meet up with me. Besides I need to talk to you.” My heart skipped a beat. Why? That was not a sentence that my anxiety wanted to hear. I stood up and walked away from the table. “What’s wrong Chase?” We’d been best friends ever since the sandbox in pre-school. We’d grown up together. We even went through the stage where I thought I wanted to marry him. But that changed after we hit our teens and he started dating. It was always one girl after the next. “Nothing too serious. We’ll talk when you get here.” I sighed. “And where is ‘here’?” “The usual spot.” The usual spot meant the outdoor restaurant that we frequented. “We’ll be there in an hour. Got some stuff to do here first.” “See you then.” Click. He always did that. Ended the call without saying goodbye. He might have been one of my best friends but lord did he grind on my nerves sometimes. I walked back to Midge. “Let me guess. He wants us to meet up with him?” Declan looked up again. “Who is him?” I swore I heard a bit of jealousy in his voice. Or maybe I was just going crazy. “Him is our friend Chase.” Midge nodded. “Called it.” “Does he go to our campus?” “He doesn’t study, he doesn’t do anything actually. He’s just sort of everywhere and nowhere at the same time.” It was the best way to describe Chase. He jumped from job to job, like he jumped from girl to girl. I didn’t even know what job he was doing this month. “He sounds… interesting.” “He’s weird is what he is.” Midge stood up, “But when he calls, we go. It’s just how it works.” Declan nodded like he wasn’t confused at all. “So will I be seeing you tonight?” He looked me straight in the eye waiting for an answer. I blushed again. “I hope so.” My heart was thundering in my chest, and I could feel the smugness rolling off Midge in waves. “I’ll call you.” Declan handed me his phone so I could give him my number. As soon as I grabbed it, his fingers brushed against mine and I felt a spark. Like static, but sharper. It wasn’t one of those moments in romance movies where the two main characters feel sparks between them, it was different. It felt weird. Like we weren’t supposed to be touching, but I brushed it off to my imagination and my anxiety. I handed his phone back after entering my number, and looked over to Midge. “We should get going evil human.” She stood up with a bounce. “Yes ma’am. James is ready to drive you to your destination.” I laughed. “Dumbass.” We said our goodbyes, and headed off towards Midge’s Ford Fiesta. My phone started ringing again, and I looked at it to see an unknown number. “Hello?” I answered tentatively. “This is my number. Call me if you guys have come up with a place to go, or I’ll call you with a place of my own.” He hung up. “What do you see in him?” Midge asked me as we climbed into the car. Honestly I didn’t know the answer to that myself; I was just drawn to him. The accent was a bonus. I shrugged. *** Chase wasn’t at the restaurant when we arrived. So we sat down and ordered something to drink while we waited. After a while I decided to call him. He didn’t answer. “What the actual fuck Chase?” I said in frustration while looking at my phone. “He’s not answering, I assume?” “You would assume correct.” “We should just leave. Besides you have a date with destiny tonight.” The evil grin came back as she put her chin on her hands and leaned across the table towards me. I tried to laugh at her words, or at least feel excited, but my gut wasn’t happy. I could feel something strange was going to happen and I didn’t like it. A waitress brought us our bill, along with a giant envelope. She shrugged when we asked her about it. We opened the envelope as soon as she’d walked away. There were two invitations with our names written in the most beautiful cursive I had ever seen. There was also another envelope, smaller this time, with my name on it in Chase’s handwriting. Sorry I couldn’t wait. You two took your time, and I have other things to do. The invites are for a masquerade ball. It’s something different. Something I think you would enjoy, even if Midge doesn’t. You both have to go. Go to The Diamond Walk. There is a dress shop there. Two dresses will be waiting. Just do it. Don’t ask any questions. And tell Midge that if she fights this, I will haunt her for the rest of her life, and after. We’ll talk tonight. Don’t be late… again. Needless to say, I was very confused. Midge scoffed when she read through the letter. “That asshole. The only reason I am even considering going now, is so that I can find him and kick his ass.” “The fuck?” I held up the letter, “Like… what the actual fuck?” “This sounds like adventure time with best friend. Let’s go. The asshole has piqued my curiosity.” I looked up at Midge as she grabbed my hand to drag me to the car. “But what about Declan?” I could see the wheels turning in my best friend’s head as she tried to puzzle out our situation. After a while she shrugged and said, “Let’s invite him too?” “Chase would murder us in our sleep.” “He’ll deal with it. Besides, better to ask forgiveness than permission.” “I don’t know dude. This seems different. I can always message Declan and meet up with him tomorrow.” Midge looked at me and shrugged. “Up to you.” I felt apprehensive. But something felt off about this whole thing. Maybe it was just because I wasn’t used to it. It could’ve just been the nerves. But no matter how off it felt, I couldn’t quell my curiosity. “Let’s…” I started saying and then looked over at Midge expectantly. “Do it again.” She finished. We both laughed. We’d picked that saying up from a YouTube channel that we loved to watch. As we drove out of the parking lot, Midge cranked up the music and off we went on our best friend adventure. *** We’d walked into Sandton with one task in mind. Get the dresses, then leave. It’s a pity our plans never seemed to work out. Our first stop, even though we’d wanted to bypass it, was the bookstore. “I feel like I’m betraying Jack by being in here.” Connor Jackson, or Jack as he liked to be known, owned a small bookstore in Fourways, and he just so happened to be my boss. “Please… He deals in old books. This is a chance for us to see some of the new releases.” I couldn’t fault her logic. “This is our reward for finishing our second year at that hell hole.” She said, referring to our varsity. I smiled, until my phone rang and reality slapped me in the face. I walked a few steps away from Midge. “Hi mama. What’s up?” Not long after I answered, had Midge disappeared further into the bookstore. “Hey chicken,” my mum used her childhood nickname for me, “how’d the exam go?” “It went well. I definitely passed.” “That’s great sweetheart.” My mom’s voice faded into background noise as the hairs on the back of my neck stood on edge. I could feel someone’s eyes on me. I wanted to pass it off as my anxiety, but the feeling was so strong. “Gen? You still there?” “Oh sorry mom. I spaced out for a second.” “I was just asking if you had any special plans for tonight?” “Just gonna hang out with Midge and Chase, probably grab some pizza, and watch a couple of movies.” I wanted to tell her the truth, but ever since my dad was the victim of a hit and run, my mom had been a bit on the paranoid side. She was over protective towards her children, even asking my older brother and sister where they were at all times, even though they didn’t live with us anymore. “Oh that sounds fun. Just be careful, Okay? We don’t want anything bad happening.” I’d heard those words so often, but something about the way my mom had just said them made me feel uneasy. The words niggled at the back of my mind. “Well I’d better let you go. Say hi to Midge and Chase for me please.” “Will do mama. I love you.” “Love you too. Bye sweetie.” Click. “Gen! Look!” Midge popped up behind me, giving me the fright of my life, with a high pitched squeal. “They have it! The limited edition Phillip Pullman. I’m so excited.” I could feel her delight rippling through the air. “That’s awesome Midget. Now next question. And this is very important.” She looked at me expectantly. “Can you afford it?” She jutted out her bottom lip, and pretend sobbed. “Nooo.” She almost wailed. “Then put it back. We’ll come back after we’ve been paid.” As much as I loved being in the bookstore, something was telling me to get the hell out of there. It felt as though every eye in the place was trained on me. “Fiiiiine.” Midge drawled as she stomped off to put the book back. “Why can’t you ask Jack to order it for me, then I can get it on discount?” She asked me as we made our way to the dress shop. “Because Jack doesn’t do anything he doesn’t want to do. Now let’s get these dresses and get the fuck out of here. I wanna go home now. We need to rest if we’re going to have to deal with people.” Midge muttered something about Chase and murder under her breath, then grumbled, her face turning sour. It hadn’t surprised me that Chase had gotten our dresses from a shop in the diamond walk. It was a specialized section of Sandton Mall that catered to the one percent. And Chase was a part of the one percent. You wouldn’t think looking at the way he dresses, but one should never judge a book by its cover. The shop assistant in the store gave Midge and I a dirty look as we entered the store. I couldn’t really blame her. I was wearing shorts, slops, and one of my dad old t-shirts. My usual varsity attire. And Midge looked like she’d just crawled out of bed. Not to mention that several of my tattoos were exposed. But books and covers and all that jazz. “Can I help you… ladies?” She looked down the end of her nose at us. “We’re here to pick up two dresses under Charles Mathews’ name.” Her eyes widened. Charles was Chase’s legal name, but he hated using it. The assistant went from being overly judgmental to being overbearingly cheerful in the space of a second. “You must be Genevieve and Sam. Mr. Matthews said you were coming. And might I add that he couldn’t have picked two more beautiful girls for these beautiful dresses.” I almost scoffed. She was beginning to get on my nerves. I disliked being called a girl. I might be younger than her, but I wasn’t a girl anymore. It made me feel like she was talking down to me. “Cool story.” Midge said, “Can we see the dresses now?” She hated fake cheery people even more than I did. The lady led us to the changing rooms where two of the most gorgeous dresses I had ever seen were waiting for us. Midge’s dress was deep purple in colour and flowed around her, making her look like she was floating on air. She adored the dress. The only problem that she had with it was that it was a boob tube, and because she was anything but lacking in that department, she was going to have to keep putting her boobs back into the dress. This was an obvious joke from Chase. But the dress was beautiful none the less. My dress was a beautiful watery masquerade gown with a satin black under-skirt, and a black corset, with a turquoise skirt. The dresses fitted our bodies like second skins. I had a feeling that tonight was going to be a very interesting night.
  8. Genevieve Bale is a descendant from two vastly differing bloodlines. Vampires and Gypsies. And in one night, they both catch up to her. Her gypsy side tries to kill her, and her vampire side saves her. After learning the truth about where she comes from, it becomes a race to save those she loves from the same fate. There are many trials she goes through, and many friends made along the way. Not to mention someone that catches her eye. Vampires, Gypsies, Faye, Shifters, Guardians, and Dreamwalkers. A world filled with many different races. Gen must survive them all.
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