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Reckoning

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Rain battered the walls and windows as thunder shook the house. Lightening temporarily blinded the inhabitants, as a storm roared overhead. A very young girl and her mother were curled up in a nest of pillows and blankets, in the corner farthest from the wall of windows in the child’s bedroom. The young girl was watching the light and rain cast shadows on the walls and floor. She had been celebrating her birthday when the storm hitand everyone was forced inside. Her mother had brought her to her room to dry off after getting drenched in the downpour when the lightning started. While she loved the light show the thunder scared her and hurt her sensitive ears, so her mother had curled up with her in her nest while they watched the lightning, stroking her hair when she cowered from the thunder. Her mother noticed that stroking her hair wasn’t working well enough when her daughter’s tail started flicking anxiously, so she started singing softly into her daughter’s fluffy ear to distract her. It was working well and slowly her daughter relaxed until a lightning bolt struck the metal frame of the windows. The young child jumped squeaking in surprise reaching for her mother in instinct, suddenly she felt a rush of energy flow into her and her heightened hearing heard a steady thumping sound slow down dramatically. She turned to her mother in fear…   

“Fayline, what about you? Do you know the answer to question six?” Came a loud voice in time with a clap of thunder. The feline girl in the back of the class started, ears and tail flicking in surprise. She glanced at the board and sighed in relief.   

“$1236.75 Sir”   

“And how did you get that answer?” asked the teacher sceptically.  

“170,000 equals R bracket one minus bracket one plus zero point zero seven nine one over 12 bracket to the power of minus 360 bracket all over zero point zero seven nine one over 12 all times zero point zero seven nine one over 12 to cancel them out, so you get 170,000 times zero point zero seven nine one over 12 which equals 1125point five eight three three three three, so that’s 1120 point five eight three three three three equals R times the brackets which was zero point nine zero six zero seven zero seven two six three which you divide by itself to cancel out, so R equals one thousand one hundred and twenty point five eight three three three three divide zero point nine zero six zero seven zero seven two six three which equals 1236 dollars and 75 cents. Sir” She recited confidently glancing briefly at her working out. The teacher, still looking sceptical, came over and looked at her work to check it was her handwriting.   

“Hmm well your right, but pay attention, you might miss something important.” He said sternly, she nodded, and he turned and got back to teaching the class. Fayline could hear the disgruntled students muttering among themselves.   

“Know it all.”  

“Goody two shoes.”  

“Teacher's pet.”  

“Just ignore them, they’re jealous,” came some soft advice from her right, she turned to look at her boyfriend, smiling sadly, as she returned to work. Softly, she brushed her tail against his leg to show she appreciated it. He shook his head sadly and got back to work. Soon the teacher was ending the class, and everyone was packing up.   

“Oh, and Fayline, stay back for a minute would you?” She nodded tri-blue eyes widened in dread.  

“I’ll wait outside okay,” her boyfriend assured her, brushing his russet locks from his eyes, and kissing her forehead. She nodded and walked to the teacher, book bag on her back, handbag over her shoulders, furry ears drooping slightly. The teacher looked at her seriously.   

“Is everything okay Fayline you’re generally much more focused in class?” he asked kindly.  

“Yeah, everything’s good. The storm just distracted me a little, I’ll be better tomorrow Sir,” understanding dawned in his eyes and he looked down at her, pity shining in his eyes. Her tail flicked aggressively, she didn’t want his pity. She didn’t want anyone’s pity.   

“Because it was just once I won’t tell your aunt, and Fayline, my doors always open if you need someone to talk to.” 

She nodded her head and quickly exited the room, walking straight into her boyfriend’s open arms. Together they walked outside the school gates to where their limo was waiting. Stowing their bags, Elijah sat in the right window seat, with Fayline curling up on his lap and he stroked her long curly raven hair.   


 

Once they got home, Fayline checked to see who else was there then, finding them alone, walked up to their room. Stowing both their bags, she changed into some more comfortable stretch skinny jeans and one of Elijah’s oversized hoodies, before joining him in her music room. He was lying on the viewing couch with some snacks on the ground in front of them. She turned on her Bluetooth speaker, grabbed their songbooks and two pencils and curled up with him, handing him his. Together they chilled, listening to some music and maybe writing some more songs.   

An hour or so later the front door opened.  

“Happy Birthday my sweet Niece, time to get ready for your Ball,” cried a voice ringing with joy. Fayline grimaced, and moaning, burrowed into Elijah’s chest, he smiled and lightly pushed her.   

“Come on the sooner it’s done the sooner you can get it over with.”

She glared at him but got up.   

“Coming Aunt.”  

“There’s a good girl, your outfit is hanging on your door.”

Finding it she frowned before rolling her eyes and walking into her ensuite bathroom, closing it behind her so Elijah could also get changed. Once she was dressed, she risked a glance in the mirror and balked.   

“Oh, come on, she can’t be serious!” she cried in disgust.   

“What’s wrong this time?” asked Elijah amused.   

“This is not funny, I look ridiculous!” she cried in response, “I can’t go out in this!” she growled as she opened the door to show him. He had changed into his tux, dark purple with a tie the same shade as her dress. Turning to look at her, and he blinked in shock then smirked.   

“Oh, I don’t know it brings out your eyes.” She glared unamused. She was wearing a dress, if you could even call it that, given that it barely covered her ass, her tail not helping matters, showed her entire back with a halter and heart keyhole that showed way more of her chest than she was comfortable with, and, to make matters worse it was pale pink.  The shoes were even worse. Seven-inch stiletto velvet pumps in dark purple.   

“Just put some stockings on underneath and the purple, leather, shoulderless, long-sleeved top that you love it’ll be fine." She tilted her head considering it then nodded and flicking her wrists, slitted tri-coloured eyes glowing blue she created and modified the necessary fabrics. Now she stood, her shoulders and upper back bear with dark purple velvet sleeves that started an inch down her shoulder and ended with fingerless gloves, over that was the dress back let down slightly for her tail, cinched under her bust with a velvet belt, the skirt had been lengthened slightly with pleats added, black stockings underneath disappearing into knee-high dark purple velvet boots with a 5 inch wedge heel. She looked in the mirror pirouetting to see how the flair worked, then smiled and hugged Elijah kissing his cheek.   

"You’re a lifesaver." He just smiled, shaking his head slightly at her antics, and after letting her get her do her makeup- a little eye shadow and lip gloss- and waterfall braid her hair led her to the ballroom that was set up for her Coming of Age Ball. They waited outside the door to be announced as they had practised the day before countless times until her aunt had deemed it acceptable, so they knew how to enter.   

"I now would like to present the birthday girl and reason you're all here, Fayline JenaVieve turning 16 and her escort Elijah Ayatan age 16." They heard through the door. Taking a deep breath, they plastered identical fake smiles on their faces and stepped through the opening doors.   

Straight into hell.    


 

After a short speech about coming of age and such, the dance floor was cleared, and Elijah led Fayline to the centre so they could perform the Coming of Age dance. Similar to the tango but customised, to show her personality and maturity. Once that was done Fayline was passed off to another of age boy for the next dance and so on till she had gone through all of them, as well as a few females. A custom to expose her to the prospective partners of her class.   

Finally, after a particularly grabby male, Elijah returned and led her to the refreshments table to relax a little. As soon as she had her back to the dance floor her smile dropped, and she leaned into Elijah.   

“That was horrible, my god. Some of those boys were bold,” she moaned quietly.  

“There there, it could have been worse,” she raised her eyebrow at him sceptically, “You could have been wearing the original dress,” she grimaced and acquiesced, he did have a point. Sighing she grabbed a glass of water and turned to the stage to sit down before her next performance when Elijah caught her arm and offered her a mini quiche, she waved him away, but he held firm,  

“I’m fine I ate before remember,” she tried,  

“That was three hours ago, and you’ve just done lots of dancing,” he retorted offering it to her again, she once again refused, he just raised his eyebrow at her challengingly. Sighing she took the quiche and nibbled at it heading to the stage.   


 

“Really Elijah I don’t know why you bother with her.” She heard from behind her.   

“You could do so much better,” the voice continued. Elijah sighed,  

“When I want your opinion, Lucy, I’ll ask for it, until then butt out of my relationship.”   

“I’m just trying to look out for my little brother. Just because she was the only option when you were younger doesn’t mean you have to settle for it. Honestly, Eli, you could soo much better than damaged goods,” she drawled.  

“Be careful how loud you say that Lucinda, you know what happens if something tries to ruin her reputation.” He hissed.  

“Exactly! So cut yourself loose, she’s dead weight.”   

“Mind your own damn business, or I’ll tell mum exactly what you just said, and you know she loves Fayline.”   

“Of course I do, you both have a helper complex a mile wide, always taking in stray cats, oops I mean dogs,” she giggled at her own pun.  

Fayline flinched and turned her ears away hurrying to the stage. Half an hour later, it was time for her performance.  

“Now let’s listen to Fayline’s  On My Way .” Fayline walked onto stage avoiding Elijah’s eye as he got into position at the drums.   

Move in circles at night  

You've given up the fight  

Like the streets that you're always walking on  

You died inside  

And you don't know why  

So you try to turn the light on  

 

But stand up and never say never  

Cause  this life is gonna get better   

Take a breath, shake it off and say  

I'm on my way  

 

You been down and feel so fed up  

When they tell you, you might not get up  

Might not be on top of the world but hey  

Here's what you say  

 

You might work but I work harder  

You might fight but I fight smarter  

Might not be on the top of the world but hey  

I'm on my way  

You might fly but I fly higher  

You're so hot but I'm on fire  

Might not be on top of the world but hey  

I'm on my way ay  

I'm on my way ay  

I'm on my way ay  

I'm on my way  

I'm on my way  

 

All alone in your bed  

You tried when you said  

What you said  

Yeah you poured your heart out  

But nothing's changed  

Still a picture in a frame  

And you try but you just can't break out, no  

 

But stand up and never say never  

Cause  this life is gonna get better   

Take a breath, shake it off and say  

I'm on my way  

 

You been down and feel so fed up  

When they tell you, you might not get up  

Might not be on top of the world but hey  

Here's what you say  

 

You might work but I work harder  

You might fight but I fight smarter  

Might not be on the top of the world but hey  

I'm on my way  

You might fly but I fly higher  

You're so hot but I'm on fire  

Might not be on top of the world but hey  

I'm on my way  

 

So stand up and never say never  

Cause  this life is gonna get better   

Take a breath, shake it off and say  

I'm on my way  

 

You might work but I work harder  

You might fight but I fight smarter  

Might not be on the top of the world but hey  

I'm on my way  

 

You might fly but I fly higher  

You're so hot but I'm on fire  

Might not be on top of the world but hey  

I'm on my way ay  

I'm on my way ay  

I'm on my way ay  

I'm on my way ay  

I'm on my way ay  

I'm on my way ay  

I'm on my way ay  

I'm on my way  

I'm on my way  

The audience applauded as she curtsied.   

“Okay, so the answer to the burning question on everyone’s mind. What am I going to do? Well here’s your answer. I have enrolled in the Specialist Academy for next year,” she declared then walked off the stage to mingle. Spending the rest of the night avoiding Elijah as subtly as she could. 


 

Once everyone had left, she walked to her Aunt’s office for her performance review. Knocking on the door she waited for her invitation.   

“Enter.” She did so, keeping her head down as she stood in front of the door.   

“Specialist Academy huh? Following after your mother, I would think. Well, what’s done is done. Do well and don’t shame the family name. Now for your performance review. Your dance was acceptable, as was the song and your mingling could have better but could have been worse. You passed, no punishment tonight. Now go to your room you have school and talent practice in the morning.”   

“Yes Aunt,” she exited the office and dashed up to her room. Elijah was in his bathroom when she got in, so she quickly showered and changed before curling up in her nest.   

When he came out, he saw her hiding in her nest on the top bunk and sighed, settling in their bed on the bottom bunk he softly called a goodnight before flicking out the light and turning the speaker on.