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Authors: Kaitlyn Hoyt

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BOOK: Scorching Secrets
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“That girl is the most selfless person I’ve ever met. Sure, she tends to rush into dangerous situations without thinking, but she does it because she cares. She cares about every single one of you. That’s what sets her apart from Dravin. Dravin does things for the sake of gaining more power. He doesn’t care about others. He wants everything for himself. He wants control. Ryanne doesn’t want any of that.

“That girl has saved all of our lives more than once. When she was kidnapped, she didn’t reveal anything about us. It would have lessened the pain they inflicted on her, but she kept us a secret. She saved Claire from being stabbed.” Larkin at least has the decency to look guilty. Tom continues, “She then just turned around and saved that same man tonight. She knocked all those arrows out of the way, so no one got hurt.” Tom looks at me. “She knocked Adam away from you during the battle, so he didn’t kill you. She even saved Jane. We all owe that girl.

“This isn’t going to get any easier for her. She’s going to have visions she doesn’t want to see. She’s going to be put in situations she doesn’t want to be in. She’s going to have to fight her hardest, and she’ll get hurt.” I glare at him. “Don’t look at me like that, Colton. It’s going to happen, but she needs all of us to be right beside her, helping her every step of the way. She needs to know that someone is rooting for her. She needs to know that she’s doing the right thing. There’s no point telling her not to do something because she’s stubborn and will do it anyway.” Tom attempts to add a little humor to the situation. It works though; everyone laughs.

“Ryanne has been through so much in such a short time, but she’s overcome all of it. She’s got more power in her body than she knows what to do with. None of us know the extent of her magic. She keeps surprising us with it. She needs you guys to be there. Don’t be so hard on her. She’s got more pressure on her than any of us.”

He finishes his speech and then leaves the room. The rest of us remain in our seats, silent. He is right. Ryanne’s been through so much and hasn’t let it affect her yet. She’s much stronger than any of us are giving her credit for.

David speaks up first, “Who knew Tom could give speeches like that?”

*****

I roll over and slowly sit up. Blinking away the sleep, I turn toward Emma’s bed. It’s empty. I reach down for my phone to check the time. It’s 12:30 in the afternoon. Wow, I slept for a while. I get out of bed and get in the shower, letting the water rinse away all the dirt.

I grab my blue t-shirt with the Superman logo and a pair of shorts and get dressed. Everyone keeps telling me to me stop trying to be a superhero, so this shirt amuses me. I towel dry my hair and walk downstairs to search for everyone.

As I walk out of the room, I pause in the middle of the hallway. My chest tightens. There’s something I need to do. Instead of going downstairs, I turn around and head past all the bedrooms. I stop when I walk past the room with the piano. I look both ways to make sure no one is in the hallway; then, I enter the room. I know that once I start playing, everyone will hear me. I didn’t realize how much I missed playing until Colton forced me to play it the other night. Silently walking across the room, I sit down in front of the piano, place my hands on the keys, and start to play and sing “Get It Right” from Glee. I loved it when Rachel Berry sang it on the show. It resonated with me, and I knew that I had to learn how to play it.

Lately, it feels like everything I do ends up going wrong. No matter how hard I try, I don’t know if I’ll be able to do this, and I want so badly to be able to fulfill this. How many times will it take for me to get this right? How many mistakes can I make before I don’t get any more second chances? If I can’t even protect myself, how am I supposed to protect everyone else? Like the song said, “My best intentions keep making a mess of things. I just want to fix it somehow.”

I take a deep breath and belt out the long note, not caring how loud I am anymore. I know that they aren’t far from this room. They can hear me, and they are listening. I’m sure of it. I play the last note on the piano but don’t move from the seat. I wipe a single tear from my cheek as the low note echoes through the room. Outside of the door, I hear quiet footsteps running down the stairs.

With a small smile, I close the lid over the piano keys and stand up. I wait until I can’t hear their footsteps anymore before I walk out of the room. No one looks at me when I walk downstairs and sit on the couch beside Colton. Seeing all their guilty expressions, I say, “I know you guys were outside of the room while I was playing.”

“We’ve been down here for a while Ryanne,” David says.

Seeing three young teens filming a webshow, I try to hold my smile in. “Watching iCarly reruns?”

He looks toward the TV and laughs. “That’s not very believable, is it?”

“No, it’s not.” I bring my knees up to my chest and wrap my arms around them. Larkin is sitting on the ground, staring up at me. Squirming under his gaze, I ask, “What? What are you looking at?” He just shrugs and looks away from me. Everyone else is watching me as well. “Guys, stop staring at me. You know I hate that.”

Logan walks over and crouches down in front of me. “How are you feeling?”

I groan. He’s such a worry wart. “I’m fine. Would you like to make sure?” I ask jokingly and put my hands in front of him. He grabs my hands and closes his eyes. I look toward Colton, “I was kidding about that.”

He opens his eyes and pats my leg, before standing back up. “She’s good.” I mumble an
I told you so
as he walks away. Being the childish girl I am, I also stick my tongue out at him.

“Ahh, she’s back.” David winks at me then continues flipping through channels. “Hey, is that the guy on some of your shirts, Ryanne?” I look up at the TV and see Dr. Sheldon Cooper.

“Yes. I love this show!” He laughs at my excited response and puts the remote down. “You don’t have to watch this if you don’t want to.”

Shaking his head with a smile on his face, David ignores me and continues watching the show. After a couple of minutes, I double over laughing. I can’t breathe; I’m laughing so hard. Colton is laughing at how hard I am laughing.

Larkin is smiling at me, amused at my response, and asks if I’m alright. He watches me for a few seconds after I nod before he looks away.

Everyone is watching me. I can’t help it. “Bazinga.” I start giggling all over again. A few seconds later, I take a deep breath and calm myself down, “I’m good now.”

When I stop laughing, Tom places a plate on my lap. I look down at the sandwich and turn around and look at him. “What’s this for?”

“You missed dinner last night, breakfast this morning, and lunch. You need to eat something, Ryanne.” I nod and thank him.

“No need to thank me. We should thank you.”

That’s an odd statement. I lean toward Colton. “What does he mean by that?” He smiles at me, but shakes his head. Everyone glances at each other, but no one answers my question. “Fine, be like that you bunch of secret keepers.” I take a bite of my sandwich and watch the show. “If I really wanted to know, I could just read your minds.”

“So Ryanne, are you able to train today?” Liam asks me, changing the topic.

I put a finger up and quickly swallow the food in my mouth. “Yeah, just no more giant shields.”

“Ok,” he laughs. “We’ll work more with your magic though.”

“I want to blow something up. I like doing that.” Everyone laughs at me. I put on the most deadpan expression that I can muster. “I’m serious.”

“We know. That’s why it was funny,” David says.

I pick up my plate and walk into the kitchen to clean it and put it away. The sink is full of dirty dishes. For a few moments, I just stare down at the stainless steel in front of me. Claire always had the dishes clean and the sink spotless. Turning the water on, I grab the soap and get to work. Someone has to do it.

I am scrubbing the dishes when someone bumps into me. I look up and see Larkin standing beside me waving a towel. “I’ll dry.” I pass the plate to him and let him dry while I grab another.

“Look Ryanne, I wanted to thank you again for showing up when you did. I don’t know how you did it, but thank you.”

“I don’t know how I did it either,” I laugh and hand him another plate. “You don’t have to thank me, Larkin. You’ve helped us a lot lately. I should be thanking you. Last time you helped me, I yelled at you.”

“Let’s call it even then.”

“Sounds good to me.”

Chapter Nine

Colton

I am training with Logan today, but I can’t get into it. “Dude, what’s gotten into you lately?” I glance over at Ryanne, who is working with Larkin again. It’s been a few weeks since Ryanne rescued him and since then, he’s been hanging around her more often and helping her train with her magic. “He’s just helping her.”

“I know. It’s just….Ugh, I don’t know.” Larkin steps closer to Ryanne and whispers something in her ear. She laughs and shoves him away. “I don’t like him.” They’ve been spending a lot of time together. Larkin watches Ryanne just like Liam does. Emma says that it’s just his way of showing his gratitude for what she did for him, but I don’t like it. She’s always with Larkin or Liam. I trust Liam, but I don’t fully trust Larkin yet. There’s just something about him…

Logan stops trying to punch me. “You’ve got it bad.”

“I keep telling him that!” Emma yells over to us.

I turn to Logan again. “How does she do that? She’s not even near us.” Emma stops sparring with David and walks over to us. “Look, Larkin’s flirty, but he’s harmless. She’s not into him like that.” She winks at me and turns her attention back toward Ryanne.

The wind picks up, so we know Ryanne is concentrating on doing something. Her ponytail is whipping around her. Dead branches are collecting into a pile at the end of the yard again. We collectively take a couple steps closer, trying to hear what Larkin is telling her. Tom is standing on the porch, watching the scene play out as well. He’s been watching over our training sessions lately, trying to see if there is anything he can do to help Ryanne out with her magic training.

“If you start to feel weak at any time, stop. I’ll make sure to catch you. Don’t push your limits, Ryanne.”

“He’ll catch her?” I ask Liam as we get a little closer. “What are they doing?”

“You’ll see.”

Ryanne backs up to the house again. “Is she really going to try that again?” I glance between Ryanne and Liam. Is he really going to let her do that again? Liam shakes his head, not taking his eyes off of her. I watch as she closes her eyes and concentrates. The wind picks up even more.

“Are you ready?” Larkin asks her. She zeroes in on the wood and nods. Turning toward us, he says, “You may want to step back a little.” We all take a couple steps back as Ryanne runs forward. Lifting her hands above her head, she does a couple back-flips and twists her body mid-air. Instead of landing back on the ground, she shoots upward into the air, squealing as she goes higher. Hovering above the ground, she turns around and faces the pile of wood. “Don’t push it, Ryanne,” he warns.

Emma gasps behind me as we watch Ryanne float about ten feet in the air. She slowly brings her hands above her head and thrusts them forward, shooting magic toward the pile of wood. The pile explodes. We duck to avoid the flying pieces, but like the other day, an invisible barrier blocks any advances.

“Ok, let go of the shield,” Larkin tells her once the wood stops flying toward us.

“I don’t know how to get down,” she yells. The wind is still picking up. “I’m afraid of heights!”

“Pull in the energy. Grab onto the strands and slowly reel them back in.” Larkin takes a step toward her, arms outstretched as a precaution. She concentrates on the energy. You can always tell when she is concentrating. Her nose crinkles up in this adorable way.

“It’s not working!” She is starting to panic. She rises a couple more feet in the air.

“Concentrate, Ryanne.”

Nothing happens for a few moments. We’re all silent as we watch her.
Come on, Ryanne. You can do this
. I push my encouraging thoughts toward her. I know that she can’t read my mind, but as I think those words over and over again, she slowly begins to float toward the ground. Larkin reaches out and grabs her around the waist when she is less than a foot in the air and helps pull her the rest of the way down.

With her eyes still closed, she asks, “Am I back on the ground?”

“Your feet are firmly planted on the ground,” Larkin tells her through his laugh.

Ryanne opens one eye and looks down at her feet. With a relieved sigh, she opens both eyes. “Short people are not meant to be that high up. I’m low to the ground for a reason.”

Logan walks up to her, “How do you feel?”

“I feel good. I’m not dizzy. I didn’t push out as much magic toward the wood, and my shield wasn’t as big this time because you weren’t on the opposite side of the yard. Yeah, I’m good.” She grins knowing that she’s slowly strengthening her magic.

I smile just because she is so happy. She glances at me, and her smile widens before she looks away. Is she blushing?

“I think that’s enough for today!” Tom yells from the porch.

*****

I hate when he looks at me like that. He doesn’t even know what it does to me. He looks at me like I am something special, and I can’t help but smile back at him when gives me that look. His green eyes twinkle as he smiles down at me, and I find myself losing focus on everything around me. Yeah, I just said his eyes twinkled. How dorky am I? Now, I’m talking to myself. Get it together, Ryanne. Looking down at the grass, I can feel a blush coming on. I’m so glad that no one can actually read my mind.

Tom mentioned that we’d trained enough for today, so I start walking toward the door. Oh wait! I turn around. “I forgot to clean up the yard.” Colton grabs my elbow as he walks past me and pulls me toward the door. “I need to pick up all the wood!” Instead of letting me go, he laughs and continues pulling me. His deep laugh almost causes me to stumble. Get a grip girl! Once inside the house, Tom hands me a water bottle. “That was an impressive trick you just did.”

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