Disclaimer: I do not own any characters from the original Mythos Academy novels by Jennifer Estep. I own the characters I have created myself, and the plot.
It was scary, entering the large gates, sphinxes stationed at every corner to ward off magical and mortal intruders. I gulp down my mixture of fear and anxiety, and enter the academy grounds. Tugging my peach wool coat closer to my shivering body, I drag my tote and suitcase further into the school grounds, my eyes flickering from building to building, trying to find my dorm. A slender, tall boy approaches me, his eyes mischievous yet friendly.
"You new?" He asks in a direct, short tone.
"Yes," I nod, my head bobbing quickly. "Do you know where the dorm buildings are?"
"Depends, sweetie," He smirks, chomping down on his gum. "What building are you in?"
"Valhalla Hall?" I offer, unsure of his reply.
"Ooh, a little rich girl?" He grins, showing off his sharp, almost blindingly white teeth. I shrug, not sure what his definition of "rich" was. To me, rich was having more money than we actually needed. My grandfather and I occupied a large historic Victorian home in New Orleans, and we had excess money we usually sent to the local orphanages and nunneries.
"I guess." I reply simply, my shoulders moving up, then down. "Want to show me where Valhalla Hall is?"
"Sure, as long as you do me a favor." He says seductively. "Go on a date with me?"
"If that's the deal, I think I'd rather just find the building on my own." I roll my eyes at him, and pick up my resting luggage.
"Oh, don't go yet." He pleads. "I don't even know your name!"
"Mia." I grin at him, although I still begin to step away from him.
"Well Mia, I'm Stewart, but if you need anything, let me know." Stewart waves as I walk off. "And be sure to stay away from those nasty Reapers! I'd hate for that pretty little head to be off that gorgeous body!"
I turn my head and smile at him one more time, then continue my walk. I eventually spot signs that pointed to the dorm buildings, one reading Valhalla Hall in fancy decorative script.
"Finally," I huff under my breath, pushing the door open with my free elbow. As the door opens a blond snarky-looking girl steps through, her head down and locked on her phone's screen. "Excuse me!"
She looks up at me, startled, a clipped apology spilling off her lips. "I'm so sorry, I thought you were-"
"Its fine," I reply breathily, pushing past her to get inside. "Is the elevator at the end of the hall?"
"Yeah." She calls as she exits the building. I drag my bags and suitcases to the end of the long, brightly lit hallway, and manage to stab the up button with my pinkie finger. The elevator springs down quickly, a mob of blond and auburn heads exiting in a giggly rush.
"Ooh," One girl gapes, her eyes locked with mine. "Look what the ghetto dragged in."
I glared at her and enter the now empty elevator, my bags in tow. As the doors begin to close, an agile male body dodges inside. He flicked his long dark hair out of his tan face, his chocolate candy eyes glued to my own soft amber ones.
"Sorry, I'm on my way to my girlfriend's dorm, and she'll kill me if I'm late." He huffs breathily. I nod, understanding.
"Sweet how you're at least trying to be on time." I try to smile at him, but my lips are locked in a half smirk half frown. He smiles gently at me, and then turns away. "Who's your girlfriend?"
He looks at me, dumbstruck, as if of course I should know. "You new here?"
I nod quizzically.
"Gwen." He tries to smile. "Frost."
"Oh." I say, even though I don't know her. "What is she?"
"Gypsy." He laughs, as if it's funny. I look at him coolly, not seeing the amusement. "What are you?"
"A mixture. My father was a Celt, my mom an Amazon." I reply simply.
"Cool." He nods awkwardly. "I'm Logan, by the way."
"Mia." My name rolls off my tongue automatically, my voice sounding rigid and clipped. The elevator arrives on the second floor and I follow Logan out. "Nice meeting you." I call as I begin to unlock my door.
"See you around." He smiles, two dimples appearing on his cheeks. I pull my luggage into the bare room, a small bed propped against one wall, my white ornately carved wooden vanity and dresser also there. Grandfather must have had them shipped. I flip open my suitcase and begin shoving folded clothes into my dresser, each drawer for one season, top summer, next spring, then winter, and lastly fall. A sharp knock on my door startles me as I begin winter, and I spring up to answer it.
I pull the door open to see a pale, dark haired girl with Logan on her arm. "Hi," She gushes, smiling at me shyly. "I'm Gwen, and I just wanted to welcome you to Mythos. And this is Logan, but you've already met him."
"I'm Miami Davis, but you can call me Mia." I smile back at her, brushing my overgrown bob off of my shoulder. "It's really sweet of you to come up here."
"No problem." She replies simply. I stick out my hand for her to shake, but she eyes it, as if it'll hurt her.
"Sorry, Mia, no hand-shakes for Gwen." Logan says, patting my hand. I frown, not sure why.
"It's my Gypsy gift, touching people and things give me…visions, I guess you could say."
"And she just got back from a traumatic experience-"
"It's fine," I interrupt. "I understand." I'm not exactly one for sappy stories, long explanations, or anything that takes up too much of my time, which I guess is conceited as hell. Gwen nods at me, appreciating me not pressing her for information. "You don't need to explain anything to me."
"Thank you," She says breathily in relief. "I really appreciate that."
"It's no problem. I mean, treat others the way you'd want to be treated, or whatever, right?"
She smiles at this, and then looks at Logan lovingly. "Spartan, I've got to head to the library, or Nickamedes will kill me, and he just started acting nicer to me." She pecks him on the cheek quickly, which makes her eyelids shut for a brief moment. Gwen pops her eyes open just as quickly, and says goodbye to me before heading down the hallway.
"Now I've I met the infamous Gwen. She's a keeper, Logan." I grin at him. He nods, smiling back at me. "Her Gypsy gift seems complicated, though."
"We get through it," Logan remarks gently. I can't help but study the wistful, dreamy look in his eyes as he thinks of Gwen. It's as if they're meant to be.
"You must love her a lot." I say, happy yet a bit sad for the two of them. When could I have a love like that?
"Yeah, I guess I do." He murmurs quietly. I want to ask him if he's sure that he loves her, but I guess that would sound kind of jealous of me. Am I jealous? I'd hope to say no, because Gwen and Logan truly are adorable together, and I'd hate to separate them. But there's something about Logan that draws me to him, even if I don't want to. Logan stares at me, his eyes studying me curiously. "What about you, Mia? You have a boyfriend?"
"Had one." I shrug. "Cupid doesn't seem to care for me too much. Always get shot by the wrong archer."
He nods understandingly. "When did you split?"
"Before I left for Mythos, actually." I murmur, remembering Travis's stony, hurt, expression as our limo pulled out of the cobblestone driveway. I had turned around in my seat, and hadn't looked back. I suppose it had been for the better, my swift yet tearful goodbye to him, but he was unnerved, as if he'd known it would end like that. But he was, after all, a fortune teller's son, and he did know our future. I'm still confused why he didn't say that he knew we'd break up, but a part of me wants to believe he did it out of love. "We knew it wouldn't work."
"Oh." Logan mumbles, looking at his shoes. "Need some help moving in?"
"No, I've got it. Thanks though." I refuse politely, shaking my mangy bob.
"Ok, I guess I'll see you…later?"
I nod, smiling at him. "Later. Thanks, Logan."
He returns the nod, and turns to go. I begin to shut the door, but his voice draws me back to him. "My pleasure, Mia." His voice is steady, sweet, and kind. I smile at him once again, and shut the door gently. I turn around to face my bare room once again. Unzipping my tote, I pull out my three posters, a 2000's Coldplay, a newer Usher, and a Drake, each mounted on one wall. My Blackberry rings gently in my pocket, and I pull it out to see who's calling. My affectionate grandfather's face stares up at me; his wrinkly smile making my eyes water. Gosh, I miss him. I press the green "Talk" button, and answer, "Hey Grandfather."
"Miami, sweetheart. How was the drive in?" Grandfather's voice asks me kindly through the speaker.
"Not too bad, but it's much chillier up here than in Louisiana." I say simply. "I miss you so much already."
"And I you, my dear." He sighs. "Travis is still here, standing in the driveway."
"What!" I cry out, my body trembling. We'd left over four hours ago. "Is he alright?"
"Yes, dear, he's fine. He'd like to speak to you." Grandfather murmurs.
"Of course." I swallow a lump of anxiety rising in my throat, and take a deep breath.
"Mia?" Travis's voice croaks.
"Travis!" I say excitedly, my voice sounding high-pitched and squeaky, out of possible desperation. "How are you doing?"
"Fine." He says coolly. "You?"
"Fine." I repeat shortly. "I miss you."
"I miss you, too." He says softly. A tear begins to slide down my cheek, and I wipe it away quickly. "I'm sorry, Miami."
"About what?" I say angrily. "You don't need to be, I should be the one who's apologizing. Leaving like that..."
"But you had to." Travis murmurs. "You were looking out for the both of us."
"What are you saying?" I definitely hadn't been thinking of him when I said we couldn't be together. "I don't understand."
"I just want to say thank you. And that...that..."
"That what, Travis?"
"That I'll always be here for you. Ok?"
"Ok..." I don't really understand his meaning that he'll "always be there for me". But what if I don't need him to be there? I tuck the phone under my chin and finish unpacking. "Travis, I really am sorry about how I handled the situation when I left."
"Oh, Mia. You did us both a favor." Ok, ouch? That hurt. "I mean..."
"It's fine." I reply dismissively, but the ache is painful. "Now we can just be friends."
"What if I don't-" He begins, and then stops himself. "Met any cute guys at Mythos yet?"
"A few, but they're unavailable." I say simply. I can almost hear Travis sigh of relief, or am I playing with myself? "You?"
"It's only been four hours, Mia." Travis says playfully. "I mean really. I thought you'd at least give me a week before you asked that."
I laugh softly, smiling through my tears. "I must apologize for doubting you, Travis." I giggle.
He laughs gently, and murmurs, "Gosh, I miss you so much, Mia."
I sniffle for a moment, another round of tears spilling down my pink cheeks. When I don't respond, Travis's voice cries out, "Mia, am I upsetting you? Mia?"
"I'll survive." I whisper in reply. "It was sweet of you to call."
"Are you hanging up, Mia?" Travis's voice is hurt, and sounds farther and farther away.
"Soon." I sigh, leaning back on the uncovered mattress. "I have to go to the cafeteria for dinner."
"Oh." He mumbles, disappointed, maybe? "Well, I miss you."
"You said that like three times already."
"And you only said it once. We're so not even."
"I miss you." I murmur gently. "I miss you."
"I better head to the cafeteria." I say breathily.
"Ok. I'll call you tomorrow."
"Ok. Love you." I say out of habit. After the doting farewell escapes my lips, I immediately regret it. I was the one who dumped him!
"Love you too." He says, as he's always done, and I hang up. We're a complicated mess, that's for sure.
I step out of Valhalla Hall cautiously, avoiding glances from the other students. I follow the mobs of students to the cafeteria and get a plate of an expensive looking part of a cow and some sort of sautéed veggies. Gwen waves me over, and I slide in across from her and Logan, who's stuffing a buttered roll into his mouth.
"Hey Mia." Gwen says kindly. I smile at her, and cut up my cow part with my knife.
Logan smiles at me, his eyes still twinkling mischievously. He swallows his mouthful of roll expertly, and begins to speak. "Hello Miami. How are you this evening?"
"Fine," I laugh. "And you?"
"Quite well, thank you." He chuckles, wrapping his arm around Gwen's shoulders. I feel my lips turn upwards at the affection, the casual yet sincere motion Travis used to do to me. Another bullet of sadness pierces my heart, and my eyes water. I manage to eat a few pieces of cow part, a few heads of what looks like broccoli, and half of a roll. Gwen excuses herself, pecking Logan on the cheek before she exits. Logan's face doesn't redden as Travis's used to, and stays calm.
"You alright, Mia?" Logan asks me.
"My boyfriend, well, I'm not sure what to call him, called me." I gush, wiping my hair out of my face.
"So...you're back together?"
"I really don't know. Does saying "Love you" mean you're in a relationship?"
"Not all the time." Logan shrugs.
"We always say that before we hang up, and it just slipped out of my mouth." I sigh.
"Did he say it back?" Logan asks studiously.
I nod in response. "It's what we always do...well did."
"You guys broke up like...today. I'd give it a week tops before he says anything."
I give it tomorrow. Knowing Travis, he'd call me as soon as he woke up, even if I wasn't awake. Instead of disagreeing with Logan, I nod, because arguing isn't worth a dime.
"Do you know what your schedule is yet?" Logan asks, peeling me away from my thoughts.
"No, I'm supposed to see Professor Metis about it. You know where her office is?" I ask him, resting my head in the palm of my hand. A yawn escapes from my lips, a loud obnoxious one. "Excuse me."
"Yeah, I'll show you tomorrow." He says, laughing at my yawn. "Sleepy?"
"Mmhm." I grunt, nodding, my hair bobbing with me. "I think I'll head back to my dorm." I balance my tray on one hand, and touch Logan's shoulder with the other. "Good night."
I feel his muscles tense, and immediately remove my hand. "Uh…good night."
I guess he's hands off, too, unless Gwen's the one touching him. I swallow another rising lump of sadness, and put my tray away, my head full of smiles, Travis's and Logan's. Used-to-be looks darted my way, smirks, grins, and playful expressions I used to get regularly. Is that how I'd end up with Logan? Awkward and emotional? It was hard enough with Travis.
Stepping out of the warm café and into the brisk late autumn breeze, I notice Gwen at the gates, her cell phone to her ear, but her voice is soft, adoring and gentle.
"Of course not." She croons, into the receiver. "I would never think that. I'll call you later; I have to get back to Logan." Gwen presses a button on her phone and shuts it, and then begins to stride back to the cafeteria.
I try to keep walking, to not wonder who she was talking about, because it's none of my business after all. As I enter Valhalla, my own phone rings, an old Harlem blues song playing softly, a quiet, sweet voice crooning, "You and I, said goodbye, I thought I'd die…three hundred flowers."
I pick up without hesitation, thinking, more or less knowing, Travis is on the other end. "Hi, Travis."
"Mia," His voice croons sweetly. I feel my heart skip a beat, and I immediately regret the sensation. I'm not supposed to feel love for the guy I dumped. "I'm sorry if I interrupted your dinner."
"You're fine; I was just getting into my dorm house, anyway." I murmur, pressing the up button on the elevator. "What's up?"
"I need to talk to you about us. Are we together or not together?"
"Well, do you think we can do this "long distance" thing? I don't want to start dating again and it's doomed from the beginning."
"I understand…but wouldn't you rather find out if it's doomed once we start dating again?" Travis says coolly.
"I don't know, Travis. I'd love to date you again, but we'd never see each other and…"
"We'd just have to trust each other." He murmurs, his voice crisp and sweet, dripping with raw emotion. Love, possibly? "Do you trust me, Miami?"