Hello my dear readers. I have finally chalked up enough courage to finish this story. However, before I add new chapters the old ones need to be updated so that they will fit into my new story plan. This chapter follows closer to the book than it did before. The story won't follow the book forever though, just for the first few chapters more than likely. I made this chapter extra long as an apology for leaving you all hanging for such a lengthy amount of time.
Italics are inner thoughts.
The story begins around the time Aislinn heads to Comix and meets Keenan for the first time.
Aislinn picked up her pace. Her worn out sneakers made squeak noises in protest as if to tell her how ridiculous she was being.
If I'm not careful I'll break grams' rule. Aislinn grimaced.
The number one rule was to never under any circumstance attract their attention. Aislinn's strange behavior, running away from things she couldn't see, would be a red beacon to the faeries. Breaking even one rule could mean the difference between life and death. Grams had warned her how cruel faeries could be. She had seen their cruel behavior. The sickening yet beautiful bodies committed many ghastly crimes that would forever go unpunished. They thrived by causing havoc-groping, pinching, tripping. These were among the minor discrepancies the fey would partake in. Her heartbeat had picked up the same pace as her feet and she feared the ones following her would be able to hear its irregular pattern.
Finally, she reached Comix and with shaking hands pulled the door open and quickly ducked inside. Comix was the same as always. Eddy flipped unceremoniously through the newest addition of his favorite car magazine. Every now and then he'd swivel in his chair and take note of the happenings in the store. Aislinn took a deep breath of the familiar air and worked on calming herself, letting the scent sink deep into her. The place always had a lingering smell of stale bubblegum mixed with book pages. She carefully roamed the metal shelves looking for something to keep her grounded in the human world for at least a little while until she could get a grip on herself. The door rattled as someone entered. Aislinn glanced up from the bookshelf and stifled a gasp. The unnervingy beautiful faerie had donned a human illusion, dulling his shimmering, coppery hair into a sandy blonde and cloaking the alluring appeal of everything summer had to offer to avoid any gawking glances. Aislinn watched as he approached Eddy, leaning slightly over the counter to ensure his words were heard. From this distance Aslinn couldn't make out the exchange, but easily recognized the formation of her name slip from Eddy's lips. She quickly ducked behind the worn shelf and tried to quietly escape across the frayed, grey carpet.
"Aislinn?" a smooth voice called out behind her. Even with his strange aurora doused, she recognized who it was immediately. Grabbing the first book her hand made contact with on the bottom shelf, she hastily stood hoping to play off the strange position he had discovered her in. "That's me," she answered nonchalantly, flipping though the book, City of Bones, as if it had been the one she was searching for. She immediately sympathized with the poor Clary girl. There situations were similar yet opposite. One being thrust into a world she never knew existed and the other trying to run from the world that had always haunted her. "Is that any good?" he gestured towards the book she was clutching. Despite his efforts to blend in, he had done a terrible job of becoming someone she would want to associate with. From the store-bought worn out jeans to his forest green over coat, he screamed rich and preppy. Not her type even if he had been human. Aislinn briskly stepped around him.
"Not interested," she tossed over her shoulder as she half stomped to the counter. He was in front of her in a moment, blocking her path.
"My name's Keenan. I was heading to get a coffee. Would you like to join me? It's my treat." Aislinn sighed.
Remember what Grams told you. Play along and get away as quickly as you can.
"How about a rain check then?" he asked unperturbed by her lack of interest. His dazzling smile never faltered. In fact, Aislinn swore it gleamed brighter as if a small sun lay trapped beneath his pearly whites.
"I don't think so." Aislinn stepped around him again hoping he'd take a hint and leave her alone. This time his hand grabbed her jacket sleeve.
"Could we exchange contact information then, a phone number or email?" Aislinn tried not to panic. Even through her jacket she could feel the intense heat coming from the hand he had rested on her arm. It wasn't painful, but it sent a sensation through her core that she was never to feel towards a faery. She wanted him. Her inner conscience was at war with her heart. Her heart encouraged her to step closer to the mysterious faery that radiated summer. The other more reasonable voice reminded her just how dangerous it would be to stay near this boy. Aislinn flinched away from him before the feelings consumed her.
"I'd rather not," she managed, trying to keep her voice steady. Placing the book on the counter for Eddy to ring up, she fumbled through her pockets for some money praying she had remembered to stuff at least a few dollars into her coat. She jumped when a hand reached around her to place a few bills in front of her. Aislinn turned around fuming. Faery or no faery he had no right to do that. "Don't think you can just waltz up to me and pretend to be some chivalrous prince," she spat. "I refuse to be a damsel you can rescue." Aislinn had never spoken to anyone in that tone. Today was different though. She was scared and overwhelmed by the circumstance that had arisen. A fey buying me things cannot be a good sign. Keenan didn't look the least bit abashed. His posture still conveyed a 'sexy-and-I-know-it' attitude.
"Why are you so opposed to my company?" he asked dangling the plastic baggy containing the book in front her. She quickly grabbed it from his fingertips and fumbled for an explanation.
"My grandmother wouldn't like me hanging around you," she said finally settling on a half-true excuse. He followed in step behind her as she made her way to the door.
"That's too bad. I'd really like to get to know you better." He pulled out a crisp, white paper that was folded in half and handed it to her. "Take mine instead," he paused to open the door. "In case you change your mind.
"Thanks," she replied taking the paper and placing inside her front jean pocket. "But I won't changing my mind."
Keenan watched bemusedly as Aislinn fled the store. This girl was a puzzle to him. Any normal girl should have been begging him to take her home, dying for a chance at his affections. Yet this girl wanted nothing to do with him. She wasn't his usual type-someone feisty and hot tempered. Those were the qualities he expected his summer queen to have. Aislinn was just the opposite. She seemed timid and level-headed. Despite her desperate attempts to conceal it, Keenan had noticed her fear of him. She appeared ready to flee the store and disappear at any moment. Despite this girl's stark contrast to the females of his past, Aislinn reminded Keenan the most of summer. She was the calm, beautiful summer's day. The type of day that could turn blazing hot or terribly stormy in the blink of an eye if provoked. He decided in that moment that Aislinn would be his.
"She's my summer queen." In that instant, his whispered words sealed Aislinn's fate and her mortality began to slip away.
Donia, astride her large wolf, stopped next to him. "That girl doesn't seem to like you very much." She sneered. "She's smart," Donia's deathly pale skin reflected the sun like a mirror. At one time, her cold beauty had pained him, a reminder of what she wasn't and would never be. This time I've found her. For better or worse, Aislinn's mine. Keenan didn't bother acknowledging the girl he had once believed who'd be his summer queen. Keenan didn't have time to humor Donia. Instead, he motioned to two fey who were using a rusted lamppost as some sort of exotic dance partner.
"Follow the girl. Report back if anything happens." Keenan looked back to Donia just in time to see her slink down an alley way. He wasn't worried about where Donia went. Donia's job was to warn the girl, not to cause her any harm. With one last look in the direction Aislinn had gone, Keenan headed back to his home. There were several preparations he needed to make if he was to win over the heart of his soon-to-be summer queen.
As soon as Aislinn had rounded the corner of the street where she had parted ways with Keenan, she broke out into a sprint. Responding to faeries she wasn't supposed to see wasn't a smart idea, but her encounter with Keenan had already scared her in ways she didn't care to admit. A large wolf-like faery nipped at her heels and she picked up her pace, running faster than she ever thought she could. In order to keep her pace she focused on anything but the terror behind her, the sound of her sneakers on the pavement, the sickly birds cooing a top power lines, a homeless man rifling through a garbage can. Aislinn's speed didn't falter until she neared the neon sign for the Crow's Nest. She slowed slightly as she passed the place people she knew were likely to be. There was no need to alarm them, especially when there was nothing they could do to stop the unseen menace.
"Hey Aislinn!" Glenn called out, startling Aislinn. She stumbled to a halt just short of running into the man. She did her best to flash a smile.
"Oh, hey Glenn. I was just running," he looked at her at her seeming to ask if she really thought he believed that. "To keep warm. The adrenaline warms me up. Plus I thought I could use the exercise." Aislinn rambled on despite his unbelieving look.
"Right. Say, will you let Seth know his speakers are in?" She could tell the subject change was mostly for her benefit.
"Sure," she replied heading past him to the alley that served as a shortcut to Seth's place of residence.
"Seth wouldn't like it," he gestured towards the alley. "Going down dark alleys is just asking for trouble. He wouldn't like it if something happened to you." She nodded, glancing one more time into the darkness that would have allowed her to reach Seth's house much faster. Life just wouldn't give me a break, would it? Aislinn turned away from the shortcut and picked up her earlier pace, taking the long way to the old train yard Seth called home.
As soon as she arrived at the train yard, Aislinn let out a sigh, relieved to finally have a moment to rest. In the small piece of barren and forgotten land, Aislinn had found a safe haven. The entire place could be considered a faery death trap. Faeries were 'alergic' to iron. Fortunately for Aislinn, iron was abundant in the train graveyard. Some of which could be found in the form of abstract sculptures Seth had formed in his spare time. It was that quirkiness, the strange artistic side of him, that made Aislinn love him. Seth opened the door before she could even knock.
"I was wondering when you were going to show up," Seth smiled at her, making her terrible day slightly better.
"I didn't know you were expecting me," Aislinn replied, admiring the way Seth looked standing in the door way. His faded jeans hung low on his hips and his vintage t-shirt hugged all the right curves. Seth wasn't overly masculine, but his body had an alluring definition. On many an occasion, it had lead Aislinn to have some promiscuous thoughts involving the two. The idea of the two together had long since been scrapped by Aislinn. Seth was somewhat famous for his one night stands. Aislinn had quickly decided having him for a best friend was better than risking his company and the safety he provided.
"I'm always hoping to see you here. Are you going to stay outside or are you coming in?" Seth moved aside so she could step in. "There's food in the fridge if you're hungry or I can make you tea."
"Tea sounds wonderful," Aislinn replied, plopping into a chair next to Seth's snake, Boomer.
"I saw Glenn on my way here," Aislinn called into the kitchen as she stood to move Boomer to the couch. "He says your speakers are in." Seth soon came into the train car he used as a makeshift living room and sat a steaming cup in front of her.
"It's oolong, just got it today." He gestured towards her cup and Aislinn watched him as he picked up his own tea. "I'll stop by later to pick up the speakers. I'm glad you didn't go inside. They've had a problem with raids recently." Aislinn simply nodded, swishing the tea around in her cup before taking a sip.
"Are you okay?" She blushed a little realizing he'd noticed her staring at him.
"I'm fine," she murmured around her cup. "Just a little tired I guess." He stared at her, obviously not accepting her explanation. Suddenly he sat his cup down. The clang caused Aislinn to flinch involuntarily.
"Don't shut me out, Ash. I know you better than most. Something is bothering you." He waited for her to respond. When she didn't he stood up and scooped her out of her chair and into his embrace. "Let me help you, Ash. Please."
She had already broken a few other rules that day. What could one more hurt?
I'll do it. It's finally time to tell him the truth. She took a moment to muse over her decision. It will be nice to finally have someone to confide in.
"There is something troubling me," she admitted. "But it's nothing you'll be able to help me with."
"I'll find away. There are people I know. One of them could surely take care of whatever you're dealing with."
"The reason you can't help me is because you can't see the problem." She took a deep breath, steeling herself for his reaction.
"Faeries. My problem is I can see faeries. And now I've attracted their attention."
The next rewrite will hopefully be up in the next few days. I want to fix the current chapters before I upload new ones so that the story will flow better. Let me know what you think of the changes and about the chapter length. Is it too long or would you prefer most chapters be this length? You don't have to review of course, but if any of you have time and wouldn't mind terribly, it is truly appreciated.