OK, back with the next chapter. Saphira and Arya are introduced in this one, Arya more briefly but they'll be back in the next one and featured a lot more, don't panic. R&R folks, thanks in advance again. Appreciate the reviews, I really do. Also, just want to thank Unrivaled Mind and Tamerlain85 in helping me get this story together and out. Cheers guys.
P. S. Any clothes descriptions are courtesy of my fashionista sister, who for seem reason thought it was imperative that I make the characters have a good fashion sense. Don't ask me why, just don't. Enjoy.
Chapter 2 - Deal With It
We head back inside and sit down in the living room.
"So, Eragon." Why does he keep saying that?
"Now that you've had a look around and eaten, we thought we'd talk to you about your new school which you'll be going to on Monday that is the day after tomorrow."
Oh yeah, I had totally forgotten about school. Clever me.
"Now, the school you'll be going to is called Holland Park School. It's the one I went to when I was your age and it's a good one for sure. I'm certain you'll make new friends and have a good time. What AS-Levels are you, or were you doing in Dagenham?"
"Maths, Further Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Economics." I reply instantly.
"Five? Impressive, that's one more than I did. And Further Maths? I see you like your number crunching and calculus then. Good. Good."
"What's the uniform like? I mean as in colour scheme and all that?" I ask hesistantly, fearing it might be something idiotic like pink and fuchsia.
"Oh, in 6th form college you can wear casual clothing. Nothing too casual mind you so don't get too relaxed Eragon. And before you ask, yes there are girls. It's a mixed school."
Thank the Lord! I was worried I'd been roped into an all-boys school. The guys back in Dagenham wouldn't let me live that down, I'd be called gay the rest of my life. Roran had already been teasing me saying I needed to get a girlfriend but the fact of the matter is, no matter how mushy it sounds, I wanted to find a girl I actually liked. I'm not saying all the girls at my old school were sluts or anything, none of them just seemed to click with me.
"Casual clothing? Really? I thought I'd be wearing a suit or something more…" I trail off, not wanting to unintentionally be insulting.
"Posh? Upper-class? No, Eragon. Not everything in Kensington is aristocratic. Controversial, I know." I think I just irritated him slightly.
"Now, travel plans: you can either cycle or walk to school, your choice. Cycling takes approximately 10 minutes and walking twice as long. What's it going to be?"
"I think I'll cycle, I don't really want to have to wake up early just to walk."
"Typical, lazy kid." he mutters softly. Deal with it, I think to myself.
"Ok then, that's all done. I'll ring the school now and finish setting you up. You're lucky only half the Winter Term has passed, any later and this would be a mess to sort out. Feel free to look around more or if you have any questions, ask your Aunt."
With that, he walks off somewhere down the hallway into his study.
"Aunt Selena, is he always like this? I mean, straight to the point, and a bit conservative?" I ask.
"No dear, not always. I think he's just getting used to having someone else around who he has to take care of. We've never had to look after a child before; it's a fairly new experience for us."
As she says this, that same look of longing returns to her eyes. Was I missing something? Her words trigger a distant memory…
"Listen, Selena, it'll be fine. I need to send him away from here or he's going to end up hurting himself one day. No- just- Selena! Calm down. He doesn't remember anything; he thinks he's never met you two before. It'll be fine, like I said. I'm really worried for him, his results are starting to slip and I don't want him to end up failing his AS levels. The school he'll go to is great, you know that. And, more importantly, there's none of this street racing business in Kensington. I know. I know. This will be hard for him but it's for the best. The sooner he quits racing, the better. I don't know why I permitted it in the first place…'"
That conversation, where Garrow was on the phone, happened about 3 months ago. It'd completely slipped my mind and now I know what the hell he was talking about. He'd planned this! He'd bloody planned this for ages! And he never told me. Not one word.
"I think I'll start unpacking my things, if that's Ok?" I ask, trying to get away quickly and contain my rising anger.
"Of course. I need to talk to your Uncle come to think of it. If you need any help unpacking, don't hesitate to call us. And your bedroom is the second door to your right when you get to the top of the stairs."
Slowly but surely, I started to pick up my boxes and carry them upstairs. My rage all but dissipated when I saw my spacious bedroom with an en-suite bathroom. I practically jumped for joy when I found out. My bed had already been set up with a mattress, some pillows and a blanket and there was a large wooden desk in the corner of the room. A wardrobe, chest of drawers and bedside drawers also occupied the room.
"Eragon! Eragon! I almost forgot to give this to you, here." shouts Selena from the bottom of the stairs. I jump at her voice and then head downstairs.
"A laptop?! Aunt, you really shouldn't have… I mean…" I stutter, truly grateful for the gift.
"Nonsense, your Uncle and I thought we should get you a welcome gift and Garrow told us you had wanted a new laptop for a while now, so what better gift than to get you a new one?" I give Aunt Selena a quick hug and thank her over and over while running back up to my room.
I spend the rest of the afternoon putting my things out and testing out my new laptop: it's a silver HP Ultrabook with Windows 8 on it. Perfect, I couldn't have asked for anything more. After eating dinner, I decide to go out and see what nightlife Kensington had to offer.
"Guys, is it alright if I wander about for an hour or so? I feel like stretching my legs."
"I guess so, just be careful and wear a jacket. It's cold outside now." says Brom, sort of reluctantly.
"Yes, make sure you wear a jacket dear." says Selena. I pull on a thick grey hoodie and go out the front door.
"Right, where to?" I say to myself. I start wondering off down the street and I find out I now live on 'Victoria Road' apparently.
"Typical British name." I mutter.
"It is rather droll, isn't it?" someone says behind me. I spin round, ready to fight if need be.
"You don't need to go hostile on me, I don't bite. Promise." the stranger says cheekily.
"Who're you?" I ask, still tense and unnerved from her, it seems, sneaking up on me.
I quickly take in her appearance and look her over: she had medium length blonde hair that was tied up in a ponytail and ocean blue eyes; her nose was small and rounded and her mouth looked like it was always edging towards a smirk. She had a slim figure and, judging from my height of 5'11", was about 5'8" tall. Her clothes composed of some dark blue flats, black leggings, a blue hoody which matched the shade of her shoes, a white tunic which showed underneath the top of her hoody and some bracelets on her left wrist. She also wore glasses, designer by the look of its shape. All in all, it looks like she'd been out having a good time and was walking back home.
"Ah, yes. Sorry, I forgot to introduce myself didn't I? My name's Saphira, Saphira Jensine. I live on Canning Street, about a third of a mile from here. I'm 18 and I go to Holland Park School-"
"Woah, woah. Hold up. Are you sure you should be telling me all this, like your age, where you live and so on? Didn't anyone ever tell you not to speak to strangers?"
"You asked me who I was. I was only answering your question. Besides, you don't seem like a creeper to me. Or am I horrendously wrong?" She widens her stance while putting her hands on her hips and tilting her head, giving me a curious look.
"No, you're not. Why the hell would I be a creeper? You're the one who creeped up on me! Wait, you said you go to Holland Park School? I'll be starting there this coming Monday."
"Just starting? Oh, I see. You must have just moved in around here right? Did your parents change jobs? Did you get expelled from your old school? Or am I grasping straws here?"
"Yes. Yes. No. No. And… Yes. Any more questions?"
"How about you introduce yourself to me? I think somebody's forgetting their manners too, huh?"
"I'm Eragon Trent. I live in the… well the big house down the road, I think it's number 12." My cheeks redden slightly at her comment.
"You think it's number 12? Wow, somebody certainly pays attention to their surroundings."
"I'm sorry, it's not like I wanted to move here in the first place." The stress of having moved was still getting to me.
"So it's not my fault I don't give a crap about the house number I live at."
"Stressed? You sound like you are. What are you doing out here anyway?"
"Trying to 'de-stress' myself by walking around, just taking a look at Kensington. Admiring the views you might say and all that."
"Views? If you mean big houses and blocks of flats then by all means, go ahead and enjoy yourself."
"Look, your snarky remarks really aren't helping. Cut it out, alright?" God, this girl really knows how to push my buttons. I feel like hitting something now.
"My, testy aren't we? Okay then, I'll just carry on my way then. See you at school then, Ery."
"It's Eragon, not Ery!" I holler at her as she walks away.
"Whatever… Ery!" she cries back. I roll my eyes at her antics, she's not so bad I guess.
"Women these days, sheesh. Well, one good thing came out of this: at least I'll know someone at school on my first day. Now, where to?" I check my watch, it's already 11:20p.m.
"Better get a move on, Aunt Selena will probably start getting worried soon knowing her." I chuckle slightly at the thought. She acts like she's my mother half the time but I guess that's altogether not a bad thing.
I head towards the town centre, on Gloucester Road, and pass a McDonalds, Burger King and Subway consecutively; all of them were pretty busy surprisingly. I thought the 'rich folk' were supposedly big on healthy eating? What bollocks. Hang on, what's that sound? A V12? I'd know that low, roaring noise anywhere. I quickly glance back to see what car it was: a Murcielago? A Zonda F?
No. Way. I freeze while turning around halfway. The sight before me is one of 4 cars all power sliding onto the road, burning rubber and producing huge plumes of smoke. I manage to identify them all: a metallic gray Porsche 991 series, a lime green Lamborghini Diablo, a blood red Ferrari 550 Maranello and a bright yellow Chevrolet Corvette C5. What's curious though is the paintwork: all the cars had some custom painted logos or signs on them. One was a pair of crossed war hammers, one an elegant bow with 3 arrows nocked, one an armoured knight flourishing a broadsword and shield and the other a horned demon skull. They hurtle down the road while weaving about, desperately trying to get in front of one another. All of them are doing speeds of 120mph at least as they zip past me, if not more likely. Other bystanders gasp and shy away in fright as the cars race by.
Holy shit. That's all I can think: my mind is awestruck. I dazedly walk on down the road, with the image of those cars replaying over and over in my head. I must be in heaven. The only cars I've seen today have all been V8's or V12's! And there's street-racing? Here? In Kensington?! Mark told me that street-racing was non-existent in central London because of the insane amounts of traffic during the day. He didn't say anything about the congestion at night though; the streets are pretty calm right now, apart from that brief commotion a few seconds ago.
I was excited. Motor racing in general always set me buzzing and made me pulsate with a certain energy. How I wish I could be in one of those cars that just drove past, right now. I would actually cut off my left testicle for the chance, no joke.
I'm jerked out of my excited state by a pair of cars unexpectedly pulling up beside me. One car rolls down its driver's window to reveal a man with a stubble and cheap sunglasses at the wheel.
"Hey kid! Yeah, you, with the grey hoodie on." The driver calls. "You up for some fun?"
"Depends what fun is. Why are you interested in me?" I reply, wary of his question.
"You, me and these cars. Race. How about it?"
"Seriously? What if I wreck the car or something? And how do I know you're not some gay paedo trying to kidnap me?"
"Fuck you. I'm offering you a free car to race in kid, take it or leave it. I haven't had a decent challenge for a few days now and you look like you might be what I've just been looking for. Also, I don't give two shits on what happens to the car; I won it off some punk last week. So, final offer: yes or no?"
I know I shouldn't. I should say no and just walk away, leaving it at that. But I can't help it, the car calls to me. All those street-racing memories I have from Dagenham fill my mind. Screw it. I pause for a moment then consent to his offer.
"Alright, I'm in. How are we doing this?"
"Start at the lights ahead, straight down to till we come to Southwell Gardens. That's the one before the main road. Turn right onto it, then right onto Grenville Road. Head straight until we hit Victoria Grove and turn right-" That's a one way road, isn't it? I saw the sign when I walked past it. I voice my concerns to the man.
"That's one way though, ain't it? How-"
"I know it's one way but what, you too chicken shit or something? Huh?" He says this with a jeering look on his face. That does it, he's gonna eat my dust.
"No, I was just making sure. What next?" I reply with my jaw clenched and fists balled by my side.
"Good, didn't think you were a pussy. Just head down the road, turn left back onto Gloucester Road and first one to cross the lights wins. Got it?"
"Yeah." I give him a stiff nod and walk over to the other car as the other driver climbs out.
Before I get in, I give the car a short assessment and do a double-take. I hadn't noticed it was a Nissan Skyline, the car in which I won my first race. It was a newer model, an R34 GT-R which was a metallic fallow brown colour. I take it as an indicator that luck is hopefully on my side for this race. However, in my haste to accept the driver's offer, I'd forgotten to check out his car properly which, turns out, was a big mistake. He was driving a white Porsche 993 GT3 with red alloys and lower trims. Ballsacks. There's a substantial difference between the ability of our vehicles: the Skyline only has 280bhp and the GT3 has 300 odd, but it looks like he's tuned the engine from the sound of his exhausts. That means it's probably got 350, if not more. I shake my head bitterly and open the drivers' door.
As I do though, I feel the hairs on the back of my neck prickle me as they stand up, as if someone's watching me. I look up sharply and scan the pavement across the road. I see a girl examining the cars and myself intently. Normally I flip people off who stare at me but this girl is simply stunning.
Her eyes are a deep emerald-green shade and seem so… alive and fiery. The rest of her face is fairly narrow, but not overly much, and angled near the bottom where her chin was. Her ears were slightly tipped and her red, lush lips pursed in unease. Her hair is of a raven black shade, smooth, naturally straight and tied up in a topknot, with a sliver hanging down the side of her face. Her skin looked smooth and probably felt better than silk, as well as being unblemished. I take in the rest of her figure: she's of an athletic build and isn't overly muscular, more slender. She's wearing a patterned white t-shirt, a pretty tight one at that, leaving little to my active imagination, underneath a black leather jacket. A pair of mid-rise denim skinny jeans, that snugly fit her hips and accentuate her curves, are tucked into a pair of black leather boots which end just below her knees.
My mouth has dried completely and my brain has literally malfunctioned. I want to know who she is. Badly.
"Hey kid, stop gawking and get in!" the stubbled man shouts at me, breaking the spell the girl seemed to have put on me. I tear myself away from her and get in, giving the Nissan a few revs and lining it up next to the other car in front of the traffic lights.
"This is hardly fair, I've got a Nissan and you've got a bloody Porsche! What's that about?" I yell at him over the sound of the cars' engines running.
"Should've thought of that earlier kid, no backing out now." He laughs and then faces the lights.
"Alright, when they go green, we go. Got it?"
"Got it." I confirm.
I stare straight ahead, keeping the lights only in my peripheral vision. That was trick Gunnar taught me back in Dagenham: keep your eye on the road, not the lights. You lose precious milliseconds when you have to move your vision from the green light to the road ahead and that can cost you the race before it's even started. I keep my foot on the brake, ready to switch to the accelerator pedal in an instant. My left hand grips the gear stick and my right holds the top of the steering wheel. I feel my grip loosen slightly as my hands start to sweat with nerves. God, even my forehead is perspiring: a bead of sweat rolls gradually down the side of my face and drops onto my lap. My heart's thundering, my blood pumping. This was it. Time to see if I still had the skills I did back in the Daggers.
The lights change to amber. I take my foot off the brake and hit the accelerator hard as the lights change to green. As the car lunges forward, I can't help but look in the left wing mirror and take another glimpse at the girl with the emerald-green eyes. Why was she glowering at the cars? And why did she have a logo on her jacket that matched one of the ones on the cars that raced by earlier?
So, mysterious Arya and cheeky Saphira appear. What did you think? Again, reviews appreciated and more than welcome. Next chapter out in another couple of days hopefully, if not, then it's probably because I've fallen asleep on top of my textbooks while revising. I kid but in all seriousness, delays will be only on the order of a few days or so.
P.S. About the whole 'gay' thing in being in a single gender school, it's just a thing here in the UK. Basically, you don't go to a mixed school then you're teased and called gay but it wears off pretty quickly. And Selena is not going to pamper Eragon with gifts, this was just a one off present to be nice, etc.