A fried power system, new computer, non-compatability issues, transfer problems that required buying a docking station, and many MANY inappropriate words later; I give you.... Chapter 6!
Disclaimer: I do not own the Twilight Saga, nor any of its characters. I am writing this fan fic purely out of love, and am making no profit from this. Twilight’s character’s all belong to Stephenie Meyer. I do however own my original characters, and they may not be used or abused without my written permission.
A/N: Thank you to my wonderfull Beta Fluffernutter8(Fanfiction.net)! Thank you!
Chains of Love
Chapter 6: New Life, Old Memories
From my vantage point behind the large sunning rock, I watched the pale little girl with copper curls frolic with the bronze-toned young man she had called “Seth”. From the sound of their banter I surmised them to be related in some way, even though their skin color suggested otherwise, but anything was possible. Nowadays families seemed to trade children like baseball cards.
I smiled as I saw her get the better of him, backing him up to the water’s edge and dropping him into the ocean. I listened to the pleasant sound of their laughter, hers high-pitched and musical like the wind through metal chimes, and his warm and rich. I found myself wanting very much to join them, but I knew that it was much safer for me if I remained here in the gentle waters of the cove.
The logical part of me told me I should leave now, before my curiosity overwhelmed me. However, I lingered, watching as the young man stood up, torrents of water pouring from his clothes. I gasped as he took off his shirt to wring it out. Even from here I could see the long and corded muscles that rippled across his chest and arms, and was made all the more attractive by the way the sun glinted off his wet skin.
Flushing, I ripped my eyes away from his well toned abs and dunked my head under the water. I took a few calming breaths, letting the cool water fill my lungs and clear my mind before I resurfaced. I peeked around my rock again, a small knot of fear in my chest that the child and her companion might be gone. I sighed in relief when I saw that they were both still there, and that the boy had put his shirt back on. He was now bent over and trying to get the water out of his pant legs. I caught the bunching of his muscles just before he swiped the top of the water with his hand, sending it flying toward the unsuspecting child.
For the space of a heartbeat, I thought about stopping the water from hitting her, but then I would be exposing myself and that was something I could never do. So I was forced to observe helplessly as she was doused with saltwater, completely soaking the pretty white dress she wore. I giggled, something I hadn’t done in many years - until this morning, that is. I giggled again as the boy spun around and ran away while she wiped the water from her eyes. Eyes that now held the promise of retribution, but turned to unmasked curiosity and even longing as she looked once more around her and out toward the rock I was hiding behind. Turning, she disappeared into the shadow of trees, the sun reflecting brightly off of her hair one last time.
As I watched the darkness swallow her, I was reminded once more of another copper-haired angel I had lost to the darkness.
“Eilis,” I whispered.
I gasped as pain seared through my chest like a torch cutting through metal, yet at the same time bands of steel constricted around my lungs. I choked, and dove deep down into the murky water.
When I had finally reached the part of the ocean floor where it leveled out, I stopped swimming and floated, letting the current tug at my listless body. In my head I ran over everything that had happened this morning, and my complete surprise to see someone else on the beach I frequented.
When I had first caught that small glimpse of shiny copper as I was heading back into the water after a small snack of the blackberries that grew wild on the island, I thought for sure that something had washed ashore again. I was just going to ignore it - my curiosity likes to get me into trouble, but when I came out of the bushes I found myself face-to-face with a small human child. As I took in her old fashioned style of clothing and the parasol resting beside her, I couldn’t help but flashback to another young girl I had known.
Pain tore at my heart as I remembered the day we met…
I had boarded a ship called the S.S. Lucania, leaving from Queenstown, Ireland and bound for New York. I could have just swum home to my mother, but I thought it would be fun to board a human vessel. I liked talking with humans as they could be such an interesting people. Unfortunately, I found that most of them reminded me of the courtesans and dignitaries from home – rather shallow and selfish.
The day was bright and sunny, and like many others, I could be found strolling along the upper deck. In keeping with the style of the day, I was dressed in an ankle-length purple dress, and partially hidden under a matching lace parasol.
As I walked along the deck, I spotted a flash of copper just ahead of me. Possessing an unnatural amount of curiosity for my kind, and an unexplainable draw to shiny things, I decided to look for its source. However as I looked around at the small groups of two or three people milling about in their non-reflective attire, I could not seem to locate it.
I slipped past a few women who were whispering about my rather thin dress – I refused to wear those miles of petticoats and such that they forced human women to endure – and that is when I spotted her. She was standing all by herself at the bow of the ship, her copper hair flowing down her back. It was these wind-blown strands reflecting the sunlight that had originally caught my attention.
I was about to turn around when I heard her sigh. Looking back, I noticed the sadness apparent in her gaze as she stared out over the green-blue water. Unable to stop myself, I was drawn to the forlorn creature, and approached her quietly as not to startle her.
As I drew closer the wind whipped up once again, tossing her hair and the long skirt of her white dress about. It also blew hard enough to pull the white lace parasol out of her surprised hands. Reaching out, I caught the parasol in my free hand.
Smiling, I held the parasol out to her. “Does this belong to you?” I asked her in Irish, even though I knew it did.
“Thank you,” she replied in a warm voice.
“English?” I asked her since she had not answered me back in Irish.
“Yes, please,” she said sheepishly, blushing slightly. “I only know very little. My family and I are on holiday.”
I smiled at her, glad that the sad look had faded somewhat. “Do you reside in New York?” I said, hoping to bring her further out of her depression.
However my question had the opposite affect. Tears sprang almost instantly into her eyes, and she returned to looking at the vast Atlantic Ocean.
“I beg your pardon. I did not mean to upset you.” I said quickly. If it were not for the fact that I never “read” anyone without their permission, I would have known not to ask what I had.
Shaking her head, she wiped at her tears and turned to face me once more. “I do not live in New York. I reside in Chicago, or at least I will once we return. You see, I am to be married.”
I smiled encouragingly at her. “That does not sound all that terrible.”
She smiled appreciatively. “It is not. I do not think it possible to love anyone more than I do my intended. However, I am leaving behind everything I have ever known, my whole life in Boston. I must confess that I am a bit... afraid.”
Ah, now I see. “I understand. That is a rather large change. It is completely normal for you to be apprehensive. I am sure you will do well.” I encouraged her.
She grinned, and held her hand out to me. “My name is Elizabeth Kelliher.”
I grinned back, happy to see a light in her emerald green eyes. “My name is Aleccea Selke. It is nice to meet you, Eilis.” I said, bowing over her hand.
I smiled softly as I came back to myself. It had taken her most of the morning to pronounce my name correctly. The pain hit again, and I decided that it was probably a good idea to focus on the present. So I redirected my thoughts to more urgent matters, like my interview this afternoon.
The local school was hiring a part-time teacher for its high school students. I had never been a teacher above water before, but I was sure the same rules applied. I doubted I would have to tell anyone off for telepathic cheating though.
I sighed and began swimming toward the surface. I needed to get to the manor, bathe, and be to the school by 3:30 pm. Sometimes acting human was a pain, but I knew it would be worth it. I needed this “vacation” badly.
It did not take me very long to reach the shore, as the current had pushed me inland while I was reminiscing, and in no time I arrived at Teahwhit Head where I pulled myself out of the water at the base of the cliff. Here the rock wall curved around to the left, creating a small sheltered cove, a private place away from curious eyes.
Once out of the water, I relaxed and concentrated on the change. It wasn’t really painful; it was more the knowledge that it should be that made the sensation an uncomfortable one. My lower half tingled - as well as the places along my arms, back, and chest where my scales were discernible - and then began to reform, my bones shifting and shrinking, tapering themselves until I stood on two legs once more.
After I had changed, I lifted myself to my feet, taking a short moment to find my balance as I leaned against the cool rock. I then started up the stone steps that Mother Nature had cut into the side of the cliff long ago. Emerging from the top, I quickly found where I had hidden my clothes, and once I was dressed, stretched and set out at an easy lope in the direction of my “above” home.
Roughly a mile away from the manor house, I called out mentally for Olivia – my lady’s maid – instructing her to have my bath ready for me. When I arrived, she was holding the back door open and waiting to greet me.
“Welcome back, my lady. I trust your outing went well?” Olivia asked as she closed the door and followed me up the stairs to my suite.
Olivia and I had grown up together, and I hardly went anywhere without her. She and I were nearly the same in stature, but where I was lean and corded from years of training, she was softer and a bit more curved about the hips. I glanced at her perfectly pressed gray and blue maid’s uniform and neatly braided, waist-length hair, and sighed. While we matched each other in temperament, we differed in appearance. She had beautiful wheat-blonde hair that was never out of place, where as mine was dark green in color, and was just wild – there really was no other way to describe it. It could lie down and look sleek, but it took a lot of work that – lately - I just couldn’t seem to find the patience for. Brushing my hair out had always been Eilis’ favorite thing to do.
I winced at the reminder, and shot a look behind me at Olivia’s uniform again. I have told her several times over the years that she needn’t wear the now mid-calf length suit, but I had yet to be listened to on this point.
“I met one of the locals today,” I said, sending her a mental image of the child.
Olivia gasped, and I abruptly withdrew from her thoughts as she too noticed the similarities. Wisely, she did not comment.
Reaching my master suite, I pushed open the door to my private lounge, and proceeded to walk quickly through the coral-colored room into my bedchamber.
As I passed my plush king-sized bed, I couldn’t help but think longingly of a nap. As I paused momentarily in front of my walnut four poster to lightly run my hand across the smooth surface of my purple and green comforter, Olivia walked over to the bathroom door and held it open for me.
“Your bath, my lady,” she said.
I sighed in protest, but did as I was prompted and entered my washroom.
It was painted in varying shades of blue and green to imitate my ocean home, and a large black stone wash tub was set into the floor on the right side of the room. On the other side was the door to the lavatory, my dressing screen, and my vanity. My clothes for my interview were hung neatly between my vanity and the screen, while several fluffy white towels sat upon a dark wooden bench next to the tub.
I slid out of the long green sundress I had worn to go swimming earlier, sighing gladly as I slipped silently into the perfumed water.
Olivia came over to wash my hair as I relaxed and prepared myself mentally for my next task. The story I had constructed was that I was the granddaughter of the woman who owns this manor. Upon her passing, it was bequeathed to me with the understanding that I was to restore it to its former glory – the manor not having been looked after much since my grandmother had left in the early nineteen hundreds. I had been living abroad until now, and teaching at a university. I was a child prodigy, and had completed my teaching degree at the age of sixteen. Now at nineteen – I could not believably pass for any older – I was making a new start here in America.
I sighed. I hated having to come up with a new story every time I stepped out of the water, but it was necessary to protect me and my people. More to the point, it was my duty.
Olivia finished washing my long hair, and set it up out of the water for me. “It is now half passed two, my lady. If you are finished, I will dry your hair for you.”
I nodded and rose from the tub, the sweet scent of my special oils clinging to my pale skin, and picked up a towel to dry myself. Olivia brought over my green silk robe, and helped me into it. Once I was seated at my vanity table, she began to draw a brush through my unruly curls, straightening them. When at last my hair was dry, Olivia took my robe and hung it up again as I retreated behind my dressing screen.
Olivia and I silently ran through the possible questions that might arise during the course of my interview while I slipped into my forest green dress suit, continuing as I returned to my vanity to pin the top half of my hair up in its usual partial bun. By the time I climbed into my little green car at a few minutes past three, I was confident that I could handle whatever might be thrown at me.
It did not take me long to reach the school – one of the perks of living in a small town is little to no traffic. I parked in front of the white and blue sign announcing this part of the small lot as ‘guest parking’. I got smoothly out of the car, pushing the button on my key ring to lock the doors, and made my way into the little room that served as the main office.
The room was long, but not very wide. A long counter separated the rows of chairs that served as the lobby from the three offices behind it. Seated at the desk was a weathered looking older woman who I was certain had seen several generations pass through these halls.
The door swung closed behind me, and at the sound of the click the woman lifted her head, and upon seeing me, became instantly cautious.
“May I help you?” She asked in a voice made harsh by both age and skepticism.
I sighed internally; these people still had some real trust issues. In response to her abruptness, I nodded and answered her in an equally brisk tone.
“My name is Alex Selke. I have an interview with a Mr. Weaver at 3:30.”
The woman seemed to both relax at my explanation, and harden at my sharp tone. She reached over and picked up the telephone, dialing a well known number from memory as she refused to take her eyes off of me.
“If you will have a seat... please,” she indicated the carved wooden chairs behind me before speaking into the receiver, “Ms. Selke has arrived.”
She hung up and gestured once again to the seats, but I was no longer paying attention to her for the office door to the far right had opened. A man of roughly forty stepped out into the lobby, his long graying hair was tied back at the nape of his neck, and the beaded vest he wore over his button up shirt and charcoal slacks was richly decorated.
I studied the beadwork for a few moments as he skirted the counter and crossed the room to greet me. I shook his proffered hand while he introduced himself as ‘Principal Adam Weaver’, and I replied with my own name and greeting.
He then asked me to follow him back to his office; leading the way around the counter and past the scowling receptionist. I followed him silently into his office where another older woman sat in one of the two wooden chairs in front of the principal’s large desk.
I took a moment to scan the room and noticed that all of the wood used in this office was much darker than what had been used in the lobby, and much more decorative. The front of the desk had a wolf pack running through the forest carved into it. I then turned my scrutiny to the woman who was now rising to be introduced to me.
She had a stern face, and eyes that had seen much over the years. While several laugh lines offset the firmness of her mouth, only to have her fiercely short hair cut reinforce it. Her tanned skin held an almost coppery glow to it. I imagine she must have been a real beauty in her younger days, although she was still rather striking.
She held her hand out to me, and I shook it firmly as the principal introduced her as ‘Councilwoman Sue Clearwater’. I simply nodded and repeated my greeting. He then gestured for us to be seated as he walked around the desk to the big chair behind. I took the seat offered to me while Mrs. Clearwater – she wore a smooth gold band on her left hand – resettled herself to my right.
“Thank you very much for having me,” I said as I positioned the chair so that I faced them each equally.
I quickly scanned their thoughts, and was heartened by the approval the gesture had won me. They understood that I was giving each of them my respect and attention.
“Now, Ms... Sel-kay?” I nodded to show that he had pronounced my name correctly. “As you know, we only employ those who live on this reservation, and due to the agreement made with your... family, this includes you. We are also a cultural school that strives to pass on the histories and traditions of our people. Being of European origin, will this affect your teaching performance?”
“Not at all, Mr. Weaver. I am quite familiar with most of your traditions and mythology, having been instructed about them by my grandmother. I assure you that I have the utmost respect and admiration for your people and your customs.” I smiled gently at them both, careful not to show them my teeth. I did not wish to alarm them as I had the Child earlier.
I quickly halted my thoughts as they tried to stray back in the direction of this morning’s encounter, but I was not able to completely quell my longing to see the girl and her companion again. Furious with myself for losing focus, I shoved away the pictures of the two of them playing by the water, and locked them away with all of the other memories that I had been fighting to repress since my arrival.
“It says here in your resume that you have been teaching at The Sorbonne University in Paris. That is a very prestigious school. May I ask why you wish to teach a small, high school-level class when you could easily apply to any of the colleges in the country?” Mr. Weaver asked.
I smiled at the barely hidden compliment.
“As I explained in my letter,” I nodded toward the green envelope and purple folded paper Mrs. Clearwater held on her lap. “My grandmother has recently passed away and bequeathed to me the manor house in which I now reside. While it is true that I could apply to the state college, I have found that I have grown weary of trying to teach the... closed minded, for I have either to receive those only there to appease their parents and not to learn, or those who wish to learn but who do not listen. When I read your advertisement, I found myself longing for the... intimacy of a smaller group...” I frowned, trying to find the proper words to accurately describe the need I had nagging at the back of my mind, “And for the awareness of younger generations.” I smiled at their slightly stunned faces, and shrugged. “Not to mention it is a much shorter commute.”
The principal grinned widely at my bit of humor, but the councilwoman did not relax her firm posture.
She leaned forward slightly and asked me, “Your resume states that you taught philosophy, science, and the arts at your last school. Here you would be required to teach only the core classes. Do you think you can handle teaching language and arithmetic as well?”
I nodded solemnly to the woman. “Yes ma’am. As you can see from my transcripts, which I also sent to you, I was at the top of my class in all of the core subjects. I may not have actual experience teaching them, having chosen only those subjects I was most passionate about, but I do know the material.”
“Your record is certainly commendable,” Principal Weaver replied, shifting my transcripts to the top of his stack of paperwork and scanning it. “It says here that you graduated from high school at the age of twelve, and completed not only your teaching degree, but degrees in Philosophy, Mythology, and Practical Sciences by the age of sixteen.”
The principal lifted his awed gaze to mine. “That is a most impressive feat, Ms. Selke.”
Shaking my head gently, I replied, “I have devoted my life to the pursuit of knowledge, Mr. Weaver, and have done well. I do not look at my achievements as anything notable, simply what can be accomplished through hard work and determination.”
From the way the principal smiled at me, I could tell I had his approval, but I had yet to see more than a subtle change in the woman next to me. I peeked once more into her psyche and discovered that approval and admiration were warring with caution and concern... for her son. So she was the mother of one of the students here. That wasn’t much of a surprise as I reviewed her lack of reaction to my academic assurances. Maybe a more... maternal approach would work?
“May I ask if either of you have children in school?” I inquired, keeping my face innocently curious.
“I have two sons currently attending Washington State.” Principal Weaver stated proudly.
“I have a daughter in college, and a son,” the councilwoman answered reluctantly. “He is just finishing up his junior year under Mrs. Sweets... the woman you would be replacing.”
“Then it would truly be an honor,” I replied humbly. “He must be a good student.”
Mrs. Clearwater nodded. “He is in the top percentile for his grade.” A hint of pride snuck into her voice as she spoke about him.
“I look forward to meeting him, in school or out. He sounds like a fine boy.”
She nodded. “Since we are on the topic of children... do you have any of your own?”
I flinched inwardly at the mention of children, and once again suppressed several images I didn’t want to see. “No ma’am, I do not.” Ouch. I had to hold my hands still to keep them from moving to my chest as I was forced to admit that.
“No one special?” She continued.
“No ma’am.” Another sting, although this one was not as painful as the first. Why was she asking me this? Was this a normal line of questioning for humans during an interview?
“Why do you ask?” I inquired as calmly as I could.
“While you are qualified academically, I am concerned about the age difference between you and the students.” She answered me straightforwardly.
This both confused and troubled me. Did they know that I was much older then what my current birth certificate said? Or were they referring to the lack of difference in our ages?
“I’m afraid I do not completely understand, Mrs. Clearwater. I am only nineteen. To what difference are you referring?” I asked.
“As you yourself said, you are a single young woman who would, if hired, be teaching a class full of people who are practically your peers. Many of them are less than a year younger then yourself. My concern is whether or not this will cause a conflict of interest.”
Oh! She was worried I might fall for one of the students, or maybe the other way around. Her son is only a junior, so he would be seventeen, maybe eighteen? That was most logical reason I could think of for her inquiry. Well, as long as we were being honest...
“You need not worry about things of that nature, ma’am. I have my peop-family and my work. They are the most important things to me, and I would never do anything to jeopardize either of them.”
The councilwoman nodded her head and sat back against the chair.
Principal Weaver, looking quite relieved to have that discussion over, asked, “Do you have any more questions for us, Ms. Selke?”
“Well yes, I do have a few. I would like to know the approximate size of my class, whether I am to be left with any notes or lesson plans by the previous teacher, and exactly what my schedule will be. If I were to receive the position that is.” I said, back to my business demeanor.
The principal immediately began answering my questions, telling me about my potential class of twenty-two students, the booklet that Mrs. Sweets was preparing, and the hours and shifts in class schedules. I was back to feeling confident as I shook hands with them and we parted with the promise of a phone call by Monday.
As I stepped through the double doors and back out into the parking lot, I couldn’t help the slight jubilation I felt at the thought of once again teaching younglings.
“Just be sure not to get too close,” my conscience butted in.
“I won’t!” I answered back angrily, before realizing that I was answering myself.
I sighed. What was the matter with me? Ever since returning to this place... no, since I first felt the ‘call’, I had been acting strangely. What had started as a whisper in the back of my head had gradually turned into an urgent – and irritating – tugging. Finally, hot and weary from my last dessert mission, I had succumb to its call, and after nearly a century, I returned to this place that had once held so many happy memories... memories of my family.
For an instant the memories took over and filtered unchecked through my mind. The next thing I knew I was folded in on myself with my arms wound around my chest as pain tore through my body. Slowly, I straightened up, still keeping my arms wrapped tightly about myself.
About halfway up, a warm and strong hand gripped my bicep gently. I was so surprised that I allowed the hand to assist me the rest of the way unattested.
“Are you alright?” A familiar and concerned voice asked me softly.
At the recognition of his voice, my head snapped up and I found myself looking into the deep brown eyes of the young man from this morning.
Aleccea (Al-ek-sea-a) Selke (Cell-kay)
Preview of the Next Chapter:
Sam gets more edgy as the scent they have
been following seems to all but disappear;
Reneseeme and Alex grow closer,
and Seth finds himself in the middle of his
first ‘normal’ teenage crisis.
A/N: Please, please, please! Review and tell me what you think. –Snow