[One week before the ball]
A boy approached me. His brilliant blue eyes struck me. They were filled with kindness and laughter. His were ones you couldn't forget. "Morning, Miss." He smiled. "Your name's Cyan, right?"
"It is." Sweat covered my forehead. "Would you like to buy something?"
Head tilted, he had this smile. It was sweet and kind of reminded me with a kid who always brought you a present, but I could tell he wasn't a kid. "Of course." He turned on his terminal. "A coffee and toast with jam."
"Any kind of jam?"
He nodded. "Grape or strawberry's fine."
"Right away." I was quick to turn around. My cheeks were burning. If you saw me right then, you'd never believe it was only March.
I only had a few customers. This guy stood off to the side to wait for me, and the others were further off eating their food. It was quiet today, but I also hadn't had my rush for the day. That usually came in the afternoon.
Once he paid me, I handed him his food.
"I heard from my friend that you didn't come out here by yourself. Your friend didn't come with you?"
I shook my head.
"Could we chat for a bit?"
I put my apron away. "Sure." I probably wouldn't have another customer for a little bit, anyway.
We sat in the grass away from the other customers.
"How'd your friend hear about that?" I asked.
"He came by yesterday or the day before. He heard you mention it to somebody's grandma."
I sighed. "Oh... I was wondering about that."
The boy offered his hand. "The name's Cole."
My heart fluttered. I took his hand. "Cyan."
"What an interesting name... I like it." He took a sip of his coffee. "Can I ask your friend's name?"
What should I say? Alastair isn't here... He wasn't very trusting, either. Not that I blamed him... Sweet Minicha. I got the sense Ame wasn't very good at her job.
"Wyatt. He's new here, too."
"Oh, really?" His eyes shined. "I was gonna ask if you had a date to the ball, but you're going with your friend, huh?"
I turned my head. "We haven't talked about it yet."
He put his hand over my terminal. "Well, I can wait. Here's my number for when you make up your mind."
He left, and I went back to my stand.
Oh, sweet, Minicha! I crumpled to the floor as quietly as I could. That was the awkwardest conversation ever! Cole probably thinks I'm a weirdo.
Who tied my tongue? In school, I was always the class mediator. Both sides were always happy afterward.
Still, I wanted to see Cole again. If not for Alastair, I would've taken Cole's offer right then and there. I had a feeling when I asked, Alastair would say he could take Ame, but I doubt that was what he really wanted.
It was like different parts of my heart were in a tug of war...
I didn't really know how to feel about Alastair. He just went in with Ame. She was being a bit of a performer with how she said bye to me. He didn't seem too amused by it. I hoped they'd have a good night...
Once I got into the room, someone put their hands over my eyes. "Peek-a-boo!"
I nudged him in the side and laughed. "I'd love for you to be my prince charming tonight. My friend's already been taken care of."
"Great!" If he were my brother or we were closer, Cole probably would've thrown his arms around me. "You wanna wait or should we get out there?"
"Let's wait." My cheeks burned. "I probably sound like a mom, but I'm sort of worried about my roommate. Also, the chocolate fountain at the ball is to die for."
Cole offered his hand. "You're fine. It's alright to be worried when you care." He gave me a smile. It was just like the one he gave me when we first met. "A girl I went to school with said the same thing. There was no getting in her way 'til she got some."
"Did you go to school around here?"
He shook his head. "I moved here around six months ago. I was promised a job and an apartment and wanted to spend a little time away from home."
"Oh?" I asked. "What do you do?"
"I make artsy things with like paint and stuff. I got lucky and found someone who wanted to help me get started."
My heart wasn't racing anymore. "That's the best, isn't it?"
"Someone took a chance on you, too?"
I nodded. "My culinary teacher from my last two years of school. She bought me a storage terminal, so I could easily carry all of my supplies."
"Yeah, my person got me one, too." He looked at his wrist. His terminal was a greenish-blue with silver. "It was this one actually..."
"My roommate has someone looking out for him, too. She just gave us new terminals." I smiled. "You think you could show me some of your art sometime?"
"Of course!" His eyes were like they were the first time, but I could see excitement, too. He loved art as much as I loved cooking.
"How'd you find out?" I asked.
His eyes drifted toward the ceiling. "I found out young. I always wound up making pictures when I couldn't fall asleep. Anyone who sees them, especially things I wasn't asked to make, is shocked by the quality."
I was like that, too. My cooking never ceased to amaze Mom.
"I'll be back." I practically sprung off the wall. I couldn't contain myself anymore.
I couldn't look at Cole when I got back. I must've looked so weak right then...
He wrapped his arm around me. "You're fine. I've seen worse." He gazed into my eyes. "Why don't we get out there? Things should be getting good soon."
I drew a long breath to calm my nerves. "Sounds great!"
I had such a great night with Cole! He was so light on his feet. He made it sound like he only did arts like drawing and painting, but I didn't want to believe it. He had an amazing sense of rhythm.
Alastair was no slouch, either. This definitely wasn't his first dance. He might not have really wanted to take Ame, but he seemed like he had at least a little fun. That was a win in my book since things haven't been easy for him.
Thoughts on Cyan this chapter? Cole? Theories? Predictions?
YOU ARE READING
Key of Liberation (A Key Keepers novel)Fantasy
Alastair Kurenai left his home on Earth to fulfill his destiny in a world called Nachima. Nothing out of the ordinary for a guy born into a family of Key Keepers, the ones who act as the worlds' balancing force. However, unbeknownst to him, he was i...