2017; Excerpt from The Orb of ‘Unlimited’ Power. I love these two so much!
I texted Matthew.
Lainy: CLUBHOUSE. NOW. ASAP. DROP WHATEVER YOUR DOING AND COME NOW.
He came fifteen minutes later, wearing a plain white t-shirt and black jeans, with a pair of headphones around his neck. He struggled to get into the small clubhouse. “Okay,” he grunted. “We need a bigger clubhouse.”
I agreed. The poor thing was nearing the end of its life. Grass had sprout through the cracks in the floor; the wood was old and slightly rotten from the years of rain and snow and heat. But anytime Mr. Hart even suggested getting rid of it, Matthew and I turned into a mama bear protecting her cub.
“What’s up? Wait, hold on.” He whipped out his phone from his pant pocket. His fingers flew across the screen.
My phone buzzed.
I looked up at him, a grin breaking through. “Really?”
“That was really bugging, sorry. So what’s up?”
I crossed my legs. “Um . . . a lot.”
“Okay. Hold on.” He turned his phone off. “My dad’ll be out with Maria for the rest of the afternoon, but he might call for me to start dinner.” He put his phone away. “Okay, go.”
“Right.” I rubbed my hands together. “I think I’m ruining everyone’s lives.”
“Mostly Michael’s. He’s taken quite a beating because of me.”
Matthew leaned up against the back wall. “Well, from what you’ve told me about that place, you’re a being of magic, and you’re practically frolicking around in this kingdom where you are not allowed to be.”
“I know, but . . .” I lowered my head. He was right. “I know. So what? Should I just stop going there?”
“Uh,” he scratched the back of his head, “I’m not sure, Lainy. Are you in any danger besides causing others to be in danger?”
“Michael said the king wanted my head.”
“Ah. Well, then yes, stay away.”
“But for how long?”
He shrugged. “I don’t know. Maybe this Corwall just isn’t the right place for you to explore. Maybe go to another kingdom and have Mr. Hartkins show you around.”
“You said you had a lot. So next.”
I leaned back against the splintered wall. “Michael thinks I should be queen.”
Matthew bit back his lip, but a laugh forced its way out. “What? You queen?”
“Is he insane?”
“And it’s not just that. I think I finally figured out why Fileus gave me Portia in the first place. He wants me to stop the whole human and mage civil war.”
He stopped laughing. “What? So, some people want you to be queen and to put an end to a civil war?”
Matthew stared at me as though I had grown an extra head. “No. No, you can’t do that.”
“Look, I’m not saying you aren’t able to, but you can’t. I mean, I don’t exactly picture you saving a country, no offense.”
“But . . .” He pulled the headphones off his neck. “It’s not you. When I look at you I don’t see a leader or a queen. I see my closest friend, who is evidently scared. Stop biting your fingernails.”
I pulled my finger out of my mouth.
“Look. You don’t have to go there. No one is forcing you to. And I know, there’s magic, dragons, and it’s an entirely different culture, but you shouldn’t let them force you to be someone you’re not. Yes, you were born there, but you’ve lived your life here. This is your world. This is who you are.”
“But who am I exactly? I have no clue anymore. Not since Portia came.”
“You’re still Alaine Turner. You just have magic. That’s it.” He scooted closer until our knees knocked together.
“But have I changed?”
He rolled his shoulders. “A little. You’re more quiet than usual. You frown more often. But it’s not like you’ve completely changed. You’re still Alaine. The sweet, somewhat sporty, dragon-loving, introverted girl I love spending time with.”
I cringed. “I’m not sweet.”
“Eh . . . depends on the situation. But the point is. No, you haven’t changed. Now, what’s next?”
I stared up at him. “Nothing. Thanks.”
“Of course. Now, you so rudely interrupted me zoning out, and during a particularly good song. I am going to have to start it over.”
I smirked. “Sorry. Mind if I listen?”
“Sure. I’ll get the splitter.”
We went to his small room. He laid on the floor, while I took the bed.
What was I going to do? Mom always hated it when I avoided responsibilities, but it wasn’t like me being queen was a responsibility. It wasn’t my job to take up the crown. And that Anthony guy seemed to be doing all right. Why didn’t they just make him king?
I closed my eyes and listened to the soft jazz. A trumpet played a smooth solo.
“Alaine Turner, not only do you possess power that is nearly infinite, beyond any mage’s wildest dreams, you are the only heir to an even greater power. If you became the high queen, you could stop it all. You could change everything.”
I placed my arm over my eyes. Shut up, Michael. He didn’t know anything. He didn’t know me. And how could he possibly think that I could change everything? I was sure society wouldn’t appreciate the jarring change in their daily lives. And I didn’t know that world. I didn’t know how the people thought, what they wanted, what they needed, what they loved, what they hated. I didn’t know what a typical childhood was like. I didn’t know what kids did whenever they were bored or even if they did get bored. I didn’t know . . . anything.
I knew the sun apparently rises in the south and sets in the north. I knew a little about the monarchy through Michael. I roughly knew the laws of Caledonia.
But to rule a whole world? No. Never.