I'm so sorry for the long gaps between updates. Uni work is trying to kill me at the moment, so finding time to do basic household stuff like washing is a struggle :/. Hope the wait was worth it, and as always please review :)
Chapter 6 - The Journey
To say the flight was awkward was the understatement of the century. Being stuck on a plane for hours with the entire Drake family casting me sympathetic looks made me want to scream. I knew they weren't trying to make me feel bad, quite the opposite in fact. But all it did was make me think about my parents. Every time I manage to move my thoughts away from that photo, one of them would give me a sad smile or be overly helpful and my mind went snapped straight back to the grim reality I had been thrown into.
Well I say all the Drakes, but that wasn't fair. Solange and Logan weren't obvious with it; they tried to talk to me about other things, or just left me alone when I didn't have the energy to respond. And Nicholas was, well, he was perfect. It's like he just knew what I wanted, sometimes even before I knew myself. There were times where I found myself being frustrated by my own attempts to distract myself, and he would just hand me a book or my iPod, or talk to me about stupid Youtube videos, and I would find myself calming. And when I needed to talk about what had happened, or just cry he would sit and listen and hold me, and despite the chaos that had become my life, and the overwhelming grief and guilt I felt over the loss of my parents, I felt safe.
About an hour before we were due to land in Heathrow, Liam handed around a note:
When we arrive, someone will be there to greet us. The
Wiccan are secretive people, who are very conscious of
tradition and formality. So check yourself before you
speak, don't make jokes, be polite and formal and don't
ask any questions. I know that's why we've gone all this
way, but if we offend them we will never get our answers
without which we risk losing something very important.
The ghost of a smile played on my lips as I read, knowing that by 'something very important' he meant me. But there wasn't long to savour the warm feeling the note had left me with; as soon as the wheels touched tarmac my stomach dropped and my grip on Nicholas' hand tightened. He squeezed back, and gave me what I'm sure was meant to be a reassuring smile. Unfortunately, I knew him far too well, and I could see panic swirling in his eyes, which I'm sure was mirrored in my own.
I've never been a patient person at the best of times, and this sure as hell wasn't this, and the wait for the plane to slowly role up to the terminal, for the seatbelt sign to switch off, for other passengers to casually gather coats and pull bags down from the overhead compartments, shuffle down the isle and off the plane was agonising. I fidgeted constantly, earning a few glares from tired travellers. I gave them my best bitch face back, but had a feeling my anger was somewhat spoiled by nerves. By the time we'd reached arrivals I was at breaking point, my eyes darting around the crowds in an attempt to find our help. My hand clasped Nicholas' pocket watch, nervously opening and shutting in.
Nicholas came up behind me, winding his arm tightly around my waist. Leaning down, he whispered softly in my ear, "You look like you searching for an escape rule, so you can bolt." His tone was trying to be joking and light, but she could hear the true concern hidden underneath. She smiled weakly, wrapping her arms around him and snuggling in.
"I'm not gonna bolt, idiot. Just planning an escape route in case all," I made a dramatic sweeping gesture with my free arm, "of this is a trap." Nicholas gave me a bemused expression. I pinched his side. "Don't give me that! Several situations of one or all of us needing everyone else to save our arses has taught me caution. Always have a plan B, always have an escape route."
The rest of the family had crowded round by this point. Logan slid into step with us, giving me a wink as he said, "She's got a point. Plan B should always be there for us." I smiled, and for the first time since my birthday it was a genuine smile. Admittedly a little lackluster due to epic levels of tired, but a smile all the same. It fell quickly as my gaze swept over arrivals. I could see people waiting for relatives and friends, all so happy. This was what it should be like, life. Not near death experiences and epic adventures, just mundane, safe and nice. The crowd began to thin out as we waited. The Wiccan seemed to like control, as far as I could tell, having only told us they would meet us here, but giving us no clue who we were meeting and where we were going. This pissed me off, not just because I hate being out of control, but also because it was us going out of our way to accommodate them, they could have at least been a little bit more forthcoming.
Eventually us and one other woman were left. To say she wasn't what I was expecting was an understatement. Perhaps having hippie parents and knowing vampires had warped my world view a bit, but the woman in front of me was about as far from Wicca as I could imagine. No beads, of flowey, delicate clothing, nope she was wearing a black tailored skirt suit, simple black heals and had an iPhone in her had which she was busily tapping as she approached us. Looking up, she extended a hand to Liam, "Liam Drake I presume?" she said in a polite, but detached voice.
"Nice to meet you. I'm afraid we weren't told much so I don't know your name." Liam responded equally politely, but with an equal level of apathy.
"I'm Clara. I'll be your guide of sorts. Now we're running a bit behind schedule, so if you'll follow me, I'll take you to the cars." And with that she turned a briskly led up out the front to the taxi area, were three black cars were waiting. Nicholas, Logan, Solange, Kieran and I dropped back.
"Well that was… interesting." Solange whispered, her eyebrows slightly raised in bemusement.
"Hmmm, definitely not the image "Wicca" first brings to mind." Logan agreed. Me and Nicholas nodded. My eyes never left Clara, whose perfectly straight blonde hair swished along with her brisk assured step. There was something about all of this that put me on edge, but I kept my reservations to myself. Well, I kept my thoughts to myself. Unfortunately my new powers were clearly big on sharing. It was July, the height of the British summer, and the evening are, still tinged with heat from the setting sun should have been pleasantly warm. But the closer we got the car, the lower our microclimate became. The group in front of us either didn't notice, or decided to ignore it, but Nicholas tightened the arm around my waist, Solange took my hand and Logan said in a voice hushed enough that the others wouldn't hear us, "Deep breaths, we don't want to play any cards just yet." His usually mischievousness was gone, his voice calm and deadly serious. I knew he was right, they couldn't know how little I could control this just yet. So I took his advice, breathing deeply, the temperature slowly returning to almost normal.
When we reached the car, Liam turned. "Me, Helena, Sebastian and Clara will take the first car. Lucy, Nicholas, Logan and Marcus take the next. The rest in the last car." No one questioned this, although I could tell Solange and Kieran would have preferred to stay with drive was quite, with none of us wanting to say anything, certain it was all being reported back to Wicca HQ. The drive took about forty minutes, almost all of which was motorway. We turned off at Junction 11, heading down a long road surrounded by expensive houses and gated communities. About five minutes down this road we turned off at a small private drive almost entirely hidden by trees. The drive went on for a good five minutes before any sign of life was shown. We passed through a large gate, flanked by two gatehouses and several security cameras. Clearly no one went in or out of here without permission. This did not bode well for Plan B. 100 yard past the gate the trees suddenly disappeared, and in front of us was an entire village, at the centre of which stood a green and opposite that a huge white building. The cars circled the green and stopped in front of the building. The drivers got out and opened the doors. As we gathered at the grand steps, my had found Nicholas'. Solange came up on my other side and took that hand, giving it a squeeze. I glanced at both of them, there faces both saying the same thing: We are sooo out of our depth.
So there it is :D Again, sorry about the wait. My last exam is on the 15th June, and I'll be home for the summer on 17th, with nothing better to do than write :) As a little side note, to anyone who's interested, the Wiccan village is in about the same place of my own little village, Byfleet. :) Anyways, as always, please review :D x