Chapter 1: Prologue
She never expected this day to come.
In the fourteen years that she’s roamed amongst this Earth, she never thought that this would be the day she would be forced to say goodbye to the two people she loved and cherished the most.
Especially on this very day.
The funeral was all black clothes and white waxy faces, every one of them with puffed red eyes. Her little sister, Anna Anderson included. And part of her blamed Anna’s baby face and her quivering lips that was responsible to provoke her own tears to flow down her cheekbones. The other part of her had blamed herself. Her stupid and selfish teenage self or causing this unfortunate event to take place.
Then again, everything was always her fault. That was according to her aunt. The darling aunt that she would shortly be having to live with until the day her eighteenth birthday arrives.
That would be another four years away.
And starting the next day, it will be the first time ever in her life that she would be forced to wake up to tomorrow without her parents. And the thought viciously punctured through blood and tissue and had already made its home through the depths of her bones. She hated that thought. She only longed for the feeling of emptiness to vanish from her system.
But it wouldn’t. And even she was too smart to know that.
Ironically, the sun was shining brilliantly and the virescent colour of the spring day under its glare was offensively bright and cheerful. To her, it was as if they conspired to show her how the world would go on without the both of them. It shouldn't. It wasn’t supposed to. Everything was supposed be as grey and foggy as the emotions that were lingering inside her. It was supposed to be cold and damp with silent air. But the birds still sang and the flowers still bloomed.
She walks through the churchyard like a silhouette of herself. Her head was bowed, unable to look at the various faces of her family members, tears flowing down her cheeks, her little sister’s tiny hand was grasped in her own. But she didn’t dare take another look at her face. She wished so hard that she really could as insubstantial as the shadows so that her insides wouldn’t feel so mangled. But unfortunately, her wish was not granted. As she solemnly took her seat near the front, the long held back tears began to flow. Her aunt would give her grief for crying. As always, stating that this wouldn’t have happened had she just kept her mouth shut. But she was not ashamed to let her loved ones see that her in mourning. After all, she had a right to. They were her parents. And she loved and cherished them dearly.
And now that they’re gone forever, a light had been extinguished forever in her heart. Her world beginning to crumble slowly around her.
And it pained her to think that she couldn’t take that back. No matter how many times she would beg and plead and cry for her parents, they weren’t coming back.
They were gone forever.
She would never see them again.
She sits in her silent grief and patiently awaited the start of the funeral service.
The priest spoke. His words were kind. The tone in his voice laced with compassion. For the rest of the service, it was slower than she could’ve imagined. Sure, she’s attended both her grandparent’s funeral. But she was very young at the time. Only the little memories she had of them were the only thoughts she could keep.
So to say, she had never gotten the opportunity to know her grandparents.
And what hurt her the most, was the fact that her little sister would not get the opportunity to love and cherish her parents as much as she had.
Her relatives had the opportunity of sharing their last words. Some were a little bit of humorous, and others were heart felt mixed with a touch of sorrow, and the last bit of words were honest and meaningful.
She couldn’t find the courage to conceal her emotions any longer. And as the priest encouraged the rest of the attendees to project their final words, she was unable to hold back the pain that was wedged in the base of her throat.
Struggling to hold back the grief, tears flowed steadily and silently down her immobile face and pale cheeks. The bruising she felt inside, the numbness and emptiness she felt as she drags her feet with her head bowed down behind the mahogany coffins that were slowly being wheeled away. She couldn’t bear to let her sister see her like this any longer, so she had walked ahead without her. Knowing full well that her aunt had made sure to pull her sister aside and to let her niece get lost in the crowd alone.
The burial was the most difficult.
The priest had read one last passage. Her eyes become wet, yet she hadn’t realized she was crying heavily until her ribs begins to heave like they suddenly weight too much to allow breathing.
The caskets are slowly being lowered into their respective graves through tear stained eyes. So slow that the mere sight robbed her of each breath she tried so desperately to take. Her vision was blurred, the salted liquid leaking from her eyes met her taste buds as the most painful part was taking place. Saying goodbye, although she knew they were already gone, was the most difficult event she ever had to experience.
Prayers were said first. And now funeral hymns were being sung in acapella. Others mourned and grieved. She could feel her sister’s curious, but tear-filled gaze boring into her back, but still, she refused to look back.
The other family members slowly dispersed from the grave.
All except for her.
She stands by their graves. Her breathing becoming rapid and uncontrollable.
The numbness of both her parents’ loss didn’t take long to make its appearance inside her system. And almost instantly, the pain had hit her out of nowhere. And she doubled over, her body racking with sobs. It was more than crying, it was the kids of desolate sobbing that comes from a person drained of all hope. She sank to her knees at the graves, not caring for the dirt that would stain her dress. The pain that flowed from her was palpable.
And she couldn’t stop.
She cried until there was nothing left inside but a raw emptiness that nibbles at her insides like a hungry rat. Her irises were threaded scarlet and her eyeballs hung heavy in their sockets. Her whole body hung limp like each limb weighed twice as much as it had before and just moving it about was a slow, painful effort. The sun still shone in the sky, but not for her, the birds sung in bursts of melody, but not for her, for her there was no beauty left in the world.
She was alone. She would never receive the never-ending and genuine love from her parents ever again.
They were gone.
And they were gone forever.
This was all her fault. Everything was always her fault.
She blames herself.
And she would blame herself until the day she died.
And when she’s on her knees, her shoulders shaking with heavy sobs, it was the sudden change of temperature that forced her to slowly lift her head upwards. The wind picked up slightly, kiss her cheek as the cool frost bit and nipped at her cheeks. It was the sudden clump of wet flakes that clung to her warm flesh.
She uses her arm to wipe the tears from her eyes, though she’s still whimpering. But it was the mere sight in front of her that caused her to gasp so suddenly. The wind whispered as the snow fell like confetti onto her lap. She gazes as the swirling white flakes and the lush grass around her collided.
Snow? In Spring?
She looks upwards. The sun was shining brightly above her. Its rays almost blinding her. And yet, tiny specs of snowflakes were falling onto her face, colorless confetti like a wintry ballroom. Alighting on her face softer than the sweet kisses her mother used to plant.
And they hugged her like a day old baby. New and clingy. It was comforting in a way. The wet flakes embracing her with the warmth that she desired. They welcomed her like an old friend.
But with more tears escaping that she couldn’t seem to control, more flakes appeared. And they did not stop. They surrounded her and clung onto her like a mother protective over her new babe.
Though she questioned how on earth it could be snowing while spring had just arrived, it never occurred to her of the pair of eyes that stood and watched her from afar.
She was unaware of the figure that hadn’t taken his intense gaze off her from the minute she had arrived at the funeral.
To say that death was something that was a good thing would be an egregious error. And the truth was, no one could really give a definite answer of what something like death felt like. It wasn’t something that was necessarily a good feeling. However on the other hand, it wasn’t something that could be described as a bad feeling either.
So the question was, what was death? What did something like death feel like?
No one would ever know.
The only way to find out what death truly felt like, was only if that person had actually experienced the sudden feeling.
She was fairly certain she knew what death felt like. Death was cold. Unwelcoming. Dark. Death was water filling up your lungs. Death was slowly going dark, until it melted to a place of darkness. It was loneliness and fear-filled.
At least, that was what others had told her.
Death wasn’t kind. She knew that. It snatched where it could, taking people who were far too young, far too good. It didn't pretend to care, it didn't pretend to distinguish. The hooded vale of death had hung over the world for a long time, always threatening.
But again, no one really knew what death felt like.
And right now, death was nearly ripping her apart. Tearing through the blood and tissue and sinking its way to the depth of her bones. Right now, death was leaving her frail and weak. Sure, in the eleven years she’s roamed this earth, she knew how to hold her breath underwater in a pool before. But this was, this wasn’t like that at all.
Not even close.
The pain that once burned like fire was slowly beginning to fade away to an icy numbness. Black was starting to fill the edges of her vision and the only thing she could hear was her own heartbeat. Her breathing came in ragged, shallow gasps. Seconds passed as she could feel herself laying there, then, just barely, she was able to decipher the voices and the piercing chimes of sirens surrounding her being.
“IS SHE RESPONDING?!”
“I CAN’T FIND A PULSE!”
They were desperate to save her. But even she knew that there was no hope left. She was on the verge of crossing over to the other side. And soon, she would be free. Free from this place that was supposedly called ‘home’. When really and truly, ‘hell’ would be a better way to describe it.
“I NEED MORE TOWELS! THE BLOOD IS COMING FASTER! NOW!”
“Sweetie, I need you to stay with me, okay?”
But they lied.
They lied to her. They said so often that when one dies, that they will meet a robed skeleton holding scythe. Others said that one would go to either Heaven or Hell. Others said that one is reincarnated. Others said that one turns into a ghost, while the rest say one sleeps for eternity. Maybe one of those things could happen to someone.
But it was much different for her.
She was fortunate in a way when she felt herself surpass the gruel meetings of Grim Reaper’s scythe that would’ve taken her soul. She didn’t find herself walking down the stairs to Hell that waited patiently for its next victim. Nor did she feel the warm greeting of the pearly white gates to Heaven ready to welcome her with open arms. She didn’t feel like she was being trapped on Earth as a ghost, nor did she feel like she was sleeping for eternity.
None of this was making any sense to her.
“Stay with me, honey, okay?”
There was a voice that she couldn’t perceive.
“THERE’S TOO MUCH BLOOD!”
“HURRY! GET ME MORE TOWELS!”
There was that voice.
The voice that she always hears in her dreams.
She couldn’t see him. Not yet. But she could hear him.
She knew that voice. It echoed in her eardrums, pulsated through her veins. Every time he said her name, it was like a soft lullaby drifting her back to her slumber. That was one of the things she loved about him. She loved hearing his voice. Hearing her name on his lips brought a rush of comfort and security to her heart. She yearned to hear him say her name once again. Just once. Just so she could go back to sleep.
There it was again. His voice calling out to her. That same, melodic lullaby moving through her eardrums and throughout her entire body. His voice had muted the chaos that was fluttering around her. The energy that leaked off his body surged through her own. She still couldn’t see him. Though she wanted to so badly.
She wanted to see his face. To see him. To see his eyes. To hear his low, bassy laugh that was infectious. To hear her name rolling off his tongue just once more. But instead, all she could see was the darkness surrounding her. Various shapes moving around her as foreboding as the shadows slipping in and out of the light. There jumbles of blotchy colors flashing in and out that made no sense. And there were patterns that were changing and shifting.
Frankly, she wasn’t sure where she was.
Instead of feeling pain, and more pain piling upon her tiny body, she could feel a sense of warmth surrounding her as she floated.
She was floating.
To where? She had no absolutely no clue.
Wherever she was floating to, she hoped so much that she would be led to him.
There it was again.
‘Just ten more minutes’, she wanted to say, ‘just ten more….I promise.’
“Moana…. koʻu aloha, stay with me, please…..”
‘I said ten more minutes!’
She wanted to shout at him. Scold him for once again, ruining her peaceful slumber. Her attempt to move her head, or even open her eyes had failed. No part of her body would allow her the chance to find a response.
‘I just wanna sleep! Is that too much to ask for?’
The warmth continued to surround her. And it was almost in an instant that the she could no longer feel the pain that she had been suffering from. It was the warmth that was surrounding her. The warmth that was making her sudden death feel….strangely comfortable.
Just seconds ago all she could feel was nothing but gentle nudging, the poking and probing, and a wave of immense pain slamming into her body like a shot put hitting the ground so viciously. And the next, she could feel nothing but warmth spreading throughout her body. A tingling feeling almost. Or it could’ve have been the large massive arms surrounding her body.
He held her close to his chest. Gently rocking her back and forth. And right away, she knew she had found her destination.
She was safe.
As long as she was with him, she was safe.
Nothing could ever hurt her again.
A light was beckoning to her as she could feel the weight of the gravity pulling her upwards from the paved grounds below. Floating up towards the sky. She was wrapped in his arms as he carries her in his embrace. Rising through the blue sky and just mere inches from soaring that bright, beautiful ray of light, so close to the point where she was almost able to taste it-
“I’M LOSING HER!”
“WE NEED MORE TOWELS! SHE’S LOSING TOO MUCH BLOOD!”
That’s what it was. The warmth abruptly shifting into something else. Burning and uncomfortable. It oozed around her, bubbled and frothed. She wanted to swat it away. But her arms and legs wouldn’t let her. They were being pinned down against their will. Unable to move. More warmth dripped off her fingers, and gushed down her cheekbones. It dripped down her neck and flowed down past her shoulders, her hair matted against her tender flesh, clinging to the back of her neck.
“LET ME THROUGH! PLEASE! LET ME THROUGH! I NEED TO SEE HER!”
She knew that voice.
But it wasn’t the voice that belonged to him.
“Sir, you have to stand back-!”
“SHE’S MY DAUGHTER!” Her father’s voice. He was weeping and wailing. “I NEED TO SEE HER!”
“Sir, please! I need you to stay back!”
Her father’s voice bounced off the walls of the buildings. His wailing voice pounding against her skull. She wanted to call out to her father. To tell him that she loved him. And that she never meant for this to happen.
But she knew her time here on Earth was up.
She would be departing from this planet very soon.
And right now, her body was screaming to her. Screaming for her to let go and leave so that she didn’t feel any more pain. And pain was all she felt. Pain. More pain. So much pain like never before, shooting through her. Burning and ripping and slicing and tearing. Her mind went haywire as she lay on the ground, her heart slowing, breathing too calm and skin paling as her life was slowly, gently, draining from her body like the crimson red blood which was pooling around her.
She never wanted to die. At least not like this.
But that didn’t mean that she feared death.
No. She didn’t.
And right now, she was ready to make her departure. To leave for good and never come back, no matter how much it pained her to hear her father’s loud and bellowing mourn that echoed around her. Crying and begging for her to come back.
And she was ready. Ready to leave. To be free, and to-
There he was.
And at just the mere sound of his voice, the pain had disappeared almost instantly. Her body cradled in his arms. Her eyelids were fluttering, struggling to lift themselves from the surface. Her breath hitched in her throat, and she lets out a long, breathy sigh as her eyes flicker open.
She sees him.
Really sees him. Her vision becoming clear as her eyes decipher the brown orbs staring into hers. His gaze so intense, so warm, so loving, it brought nothing but immense comfort to blanket her body. She listens to his heart beating.
Thump. Thump. Thump.
It was like listening to a soothing melody that she could fall asleep to. His curly mane of locks spilled down his broad and massive shoulders. And the sea of tattoos concealing the skin on his arms was nothing like she had seen before.
He was beautiful. And that’s all she knew.
“Koʻu aloha….you can’t die….” He whispers reverently. And he sounded like he was choking on his own sob. “Stay with me….please…”
‘But….I want to be with you….’
She wanted to say. But just like the rest of her body, her voice refused to work.
She could only see the light.
The bright shining light that was calling out to her. Beckoning for her to soar through. But she couldn’t move. Her body wasn’t working. She was stuck. Unable to move forward any further.
The man stared into her eyes. The man in her dreams that she’s come to know and to cherish. And she couldn’t live without him. She wouldn’t.
And it was almost instantly when the world around her suddenly threw itself into reverse.
“I can’t let you die….”
‘Yes, you can.’
Yes. He could.
His lips are on hers. Their breaths mingling. Her heart flutters, and her eyelids slowly close shut. And as she’s drifting back into unconsciousness, it was the bitter, metallic taste that met her taste buds and trickled its way down to the base of her throat, allowing the warmth to surge through her body once again.
And the feeling in her body drained away until finally, everything was all black.
Chapter 2: Chapter 1
Ko'u aloha: "My Love" in Hawaiian
Disclaimer: I do not own anything. All the rights belong to Disney and DreamWorks
Main Pairings: Moana/Maui, Elsa/Jack Frost
Warnings: Sexual Content, Mentions of Rape, Hurt/Comfort, Emotiona/Verbal/Psychological Abuse, Death, Attempted Rape/Sexual Assault, Language
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
*10 years later*
Elsa Andersen massaged her temples and silently wished on whatever stars that this damn migraine would just disappear forever. But that would be asking for too much now. Wouldn’t it? Yes. The answer was indeed yes. Yes it would be. The day seemed to be going much longer than she had anticipated. For others, that may be a good thing, as this would grant those poor unfortunate souls to have some more time to cram for their midterms that are most likely to take place the next day. And it may have been a good thing for others (who had decided that it was a good idea to leave their eight page essays to the last minute) the opportunity to cram at least two thousand words in twelve hours of the day that were left.
So to say, there was an upside to why the day seemed to be dragging by with less worry.
But for Elsa, well, that was a different story.
And sadly for her, she found herself being one of those poor unfortunate souls that had left studying for her biology midterm exam until the last minute. Not only was her midterm around the corner, but she had suddenly remembered that she had a ten page essay that needed to be completed in two days. But then again, it wasn’t like she had even started the paper in the first place. So to say, it looked like another all-nighter was something she needed to put down on her schedule.
After all, it wasn’t like her midterm and her paper weren’t worth a big chunk of her mark.
Not to mention, the weather outside was colder than the forecast had predicted. Sitting at a temperature of twelve degrees Celsius. To majority of the native citizens that lived in Florida, that was what winter felt like to them. But Elsa on the other hand, she didn’t necessarily mind the cold weather. After having lived in Norway for twenty two years of her life, she was considered to be a pro at being able to survive living in what they called the ‘Arctic’. So living in twelve degree weather versus having suffered living in minus twenty degrees, this was nothing.
As a matter of fact, she would much rather prefer to be sitting outside and basking in the warm heat that the sun offered. But her conscience got the better of her, and had convinced her that her grades were far too important to just brush aside. After all, there was no way she could allow herself to flunk out of school. That would be thousands of dollars wasted. And she absolutely could not let that happen.
Even if she was exhausted. And stressed. And sleep deprived.
There was no room for excuses to be made.
They library on campus was much busier than she had anticipated. But then again, it was exam season. So it would make sense that the library would be much more crowded than usual. When she had gotten there around 9:30 in the morning, she couldn’t help but feel frustrated and annoyed at the fact that practically every single chair, as well as tables were already occupied. Part of her had convinced herself that maybe she should’ve just stayed in her dorm and studied there. But even Elsa knew herself well enough to know that she could never get work done back at her dorm. She knew from the get go that assigning her to the Magnolia apartments (home to party central) would be a recipe for disaster.
Why she had chosen to attend the University of South Florida was a mystery to her. But then again, their writing program was what had caught her interest. Not to mention, the university itself was said to have offered an excellent writing program with a degree that would guarantee her a placement in her field.
So there was the upside to that decision.
Fortunately for her after having to spend twenty minutes roaming about the library to find a decent place to study, she was able to have found a secluded spot near the bookshelves. Though having to sit on the carpeted floor was not exactly how she had wanted to spend her hours studying, it was better than nothing. And the good news was that the library was quiet. Despite the fact that it looked like a zoo. Sure, Elsa was grateful for that.
But unfortunately, spending three to four hours sitting crossed legged on the floor was definitely not a walk in the park.
So now, here she sat on the ground. The feeling in her buttocks had transitioned to a feeling of clumsy numbness. The bones in her back were part-taking in the tango. The muscles in her shoulder blades were aching and digging at the surface of her skin tissues. Purple bags were coated under her eyes, her pale cheeks were slightly sunken (lack of food), and her icy blue eyes were surrounded by blotches of red. Proof that the lack of sleep was catching up to her.
Her papers scattered in puddles around her. Each page colored coated with splashes of various colors to highlight the information that seemed to have higher standards over the rest. Yellow being the king to have the higher power. (Labelled as the biological definitions that required the most attention). Pink was the queen, the information that supported the biological definitions and proved to be valuable and needed to be paid close attention to. Orange being the back-up information. Purple being the follower. Blue being the least important. All twenty pages worth of valuable information that was responsible for guaranteeing the marks she needed to earn at least a B plus or higher.
Not that she ever dreamed of becoming the next phenomenal scientist that discovered the true meaning behind the string theory or anything.
But then again, it was amazing to know that general education courses were the ultimate key holders to one being able to receive that piece of paper in their hand.
After all, it wasn’t like her grades were going to earn themselves.
Elsa heaved another heavy sigh, tilting her head to the side, wincing at the sound of bones crackling and unwinding. Proof that the stress she was feeling had deviously ventured its way into the depths of her neck. In all honesty, all she wanted was to pack up her books, head back to her dorm, bury herself in her cocoon of blankets and sleep for the rest of eternity. But with the thought of her grades that were hanging on a thread, realistically, sleep would be out of the picture. Possibly even until the semester ends.
And so, from now until the end of the school year (which wasn’t for another six months), for Elsa, this would be ‘cheers’ to yet another stressful semester.
Elsa didn’t have to think twice to figure out who the culprit was. The feel of those warm, clammy palms that were pressing hard against her cheeks, the familiar scent of sweet, berrylicious body spray filled her nostrils and leaves her feeling slightly dizzy, and the tarnished edge of the silver heart ring leaves a smudge on her pale skin. Not to mention, that same perky voice that left a rather endearing melody ringing in her eardrums definitely gave the suspect away.
After all, this ‘unknown’ person was no stranger to her.
“Hurry up and guess already!”
She stalls, thinking of the last person the suspect ever wanted to be mistaken for. “Uh…is it Kylie Jenner?”
“Ew! No! Guess again!
The hands on shielding her eyes press tighter. And if it wasn’t for the fact that she was innocently being held against her will, Elsa would’ve rolled her eyes and gave up long ago. But she knew this person well enough to know that she definitely wasn’t going to be letting her off the hook so easily.
“Is it….Jennifer Aniston?”
The hands suddenly disperse from her eyes, and she’s granted the opportunity to gain her vision back. Laughing, the culprit finally reveals herself. And Elsa definitely wasn’t surprised to find those bright, turquoise blue eyes enter her line of vision.
Eyes that were all too familiar to her.
It wasn’t like her strawberry blonde pigtails were the ones to give away her identity. Nor was it those cute light freckles that littered amongst her fair skin, standing out from the rest. No. It wasn’t any of those things. But then again, it wasn’t like anyone could really compare to Anna. After all, Elsa knew her little sister well enough to handpick her out from the rest.
And then again, Anna’s different versions of excited voices never really failed to uplift the otherwise calm and collected Elsa. Especially in the twenty years since she first came to know her younger sister from the minute she captured her first breath.
Anna definitely stood out from the rest. And that’s why Elsa always found herself fiercely protective over her.
After all, what were big sisters for?
Elsa, in return, only rolled her eyes and shook her head. All the while trying to supress the chuckle that somehow managed to find its way out of her mouth.
“You got me.” Elsa plays along with the sarcastic edge to her tone. “Shouldn’t you be in class?”
Anna giggles in response as she moves from behind her sister and plops herself down right in front of her. The bright smile from her features failing to disperse any time soon. Elsa was just glad that she didn’t seem to mind sitting on the murky, carpeted ground as much as she did. Nor did she seem to care that had somehow stumbled her way into the library.
And even Elsa knew that the library was the last place on Earth that Anna ever wanted to be.
Elsa furrowed her brows. “So….what are you up to right now?”
“Cheerleading, big sis!” Anna says in a matter of fact tone. “It’s not like I’m wearing this for a reason!”
Elsa’s gaze trails to where her sister’s finger is pointing. Of course. How could she have failed to notice the orange clothing that appeared so bright that it could nearly knock someone to the point of temporary blindness? Though Elsa always questioned why their uniforms just had be orange. It wasn’t like the color did any people justice. And as much as Elsa loved her sister to pieces, despite the fact that the color orange in general was considered to be the warmest of the spectrum, it certainly did a good job of painting Anna in a portrait of translucency, making her skin look paler and more fragile than usual.
But then again, it wasn’t like Anna seemed to care.
Nor did she seem too bothered by the fact that her mini skirt had its own reputation of hiking itself up higher to the point where a little too much skin was visible. (Though Elsa found herself questioning as to how on Earth those girls didn’t find that feeling a little breeze entering their backyard didn’t seem to cause them any sort of discomfort). And of course, if you were someone like Anna, you wouldn’t be too concerned that the little, sleeveless shirt you were wearing allowed your midriff the opportunity to shine.
It was no wonder Elsa had at first disapproved of her younger sister joining the cheerleading squad in the first place. But again, it was Anna. And with Anna’s personality (stubborn, yet daring), there was no way one could really argue with her. After all, at twenty one, it wasn’t uncommon for one to start developing minds of their own.
Those were the perks of having a little sister.
“And I see you’ve managed to find yourself in the library.” Anna’s perky voice pulled Elsa from her thoughts. “Again.”
“My biology midterm is tomorrow.” Elsa smirks. “So unlike you,” A wicked smile, “I have to study.”
“But you’re always studying!”
Elsa finds herself chuckling at the whine that came out of her sister’s mouth. It was the typical trait of her sister that she was no stranger to.
“Don’t you ever take a break?”
“Not if I want get good grades and graduate next year.” Her gaze is focused on the colored coded ink in front of her. “I can’t afford being a student forever, y’know.”
“Well obviously I know that.” Anna rolls her eyes. “Can’t you just take a break for a bit?”
Anna puffs out a sigh and a groan. “Well, there’s a homecoming game later on.” She twirls one of her pigtails around her fingers.
“The Bulls are playing against the Armadillos.”
“And you’re coming.”
Elsa snaps her head up. “What?”
“You’re coming.” A Cheshire grin spread over Anna’s face, wide and open, showing her over-whitened teeth. In that moment, her motives were laid bare, and Elsa found herself wishing to take a step backward. She knew that grin all too well. “Whether you like it or not, you’re coming.”
Elsa blinks rapidly. “Wait, wait, what-“
“No ifs, ands, or buts missy!” Anna points a menacing finger in her sister’s face. It was cute how for once, she was trying to be the one in control. “I mean it! You’re coming!”
“No. I’m not going.”
“Yes you are!”
“Anna, were you not listening to anything I was saying?” Elsa shakes her head. “I can’t. I have to study-“
“No Anna, I already you, I a midterm-“
“Oh come on Elsa!” She throws up her hands. “You always blow me off whenever I ask you to do something!”
It was a good thing that when 12:30pm hit, that most of the students that were here, studying in the library earlier had eventually filed out to get to their afternoon classes. Which meant that the library itself right now was pretty vacant. Because with the way how Anna’s tone was beginning to rise a semitone above her normal octave, Elsa was just slightly grateful that her sudden outburst wasn’t coming off as disruptive.
“Anna will you keep your voice down!” Elsa hisses with a dent in her brow. “And I don’t always blow you off.”
Anna scoffs. “Yes you do!” She crosses her arms over her chest. “Even when were little, you always used to blow me off!”
“What are you talking about? I never used to do that.”
“Oh yea? Remember that time when we played hide and seek?” She pouts, her lip quivering just slightly. “Well, I did the hiding part, but you just stayed up in your room with your door locked!”
Elsa flinched at the memory. “I never did that.”
“You made me hide for over an hour! And not once did you come and look for me!”
“Anna, you’re just exaggerating.”
“If I’m ‘exaggerating’,” She makes air quotes around the magical word, “then how come I remember that so well?”
“And now, you won’t even come to root for your baby sister in the stands while she’s performing her cheerleading routine!”
Elsa stifles a groan and throws her head back. Anna definitely has her pegged. At this point, what kind of sister would she be, really, if she chose her biology midterm over her? In Anna’s eyes, not a very good one.
“Oh fine! I’ll come!”
Anna’s face instantly lights up. “Really?”
Elsa draws a hand down her face. Her grip tightening around the defenseless carved pencil in her other hand. “If I say yes, will that shut you up?” She mumbles into the clammy meat of her flesh.
And judging by the piercing squeal that came in a repeated refrain, Elsa was certain that that was indeed a ‘yes’. But this was so typical of Anna. To beg and gravel on knees with those irresistible puppy dog eyes and quivering lips, and that baby voice to add to the mix. And then play the guilt card until you eventually break down and comply.
But then again, you couldn’t really say no to Anna. She was used to getting almost everything she wanted. Even from the time she started wearing diapers, Elsa even knew that Anna wasn’t exactly the person you could deny, or to be too harsh or demanding with.
Anna was spoiled. Elsa had come to that conclusion a long time ago.
But that didn’t stop the immense love she still had for her.
After all, what were sisters for?
“You’re the best!”
Elsa is caught off guard as Anna literally throws herself at her sister and embraces her in a tight hug. And as much as Elsa wants to be angry and extremely annoyed at her domineering little sister, she couldn’t find it within herself to continue down that path. So instead, she lets the anger subside and embraces her sister back. A small, but audible chuckle rolls of her tongue.
“You’re welcome.” She mumbles in generous tone, though it’s slightly bitter.
“Great! So the game starts at 5:00pm!” Anna untangles herself from her sister’s grasp. “Rapunzel will be there too!”
A sigh escapes from her lips. “Alright. Where’s it gonna be?”
“At the Morsani Football Complex like it always is!” Anna giggled and bounced on her knees. “Be there by 4:30 sharp!”
“4:30? But you just-“
“Gotta go! Practice starts in twenty!” Anna jumps to her feet with a big, wide smile. “See ya later!”
She disappears around the corner before Elsa could get another word in. Elsa couldn’t help but huff another deep sigh, her fingers going to massage her temples yet again. She was questioning what she had gotten herself into. And most importantly, she was beginning to question her integrity.
There was no way she could risk taking three hours out of her studying to go to some stupid homecoming game. Having to sit on those medal seats until everyone’s bottoms got cold and numb, while being forced to watch a bunch of meat heads tackling and head butting each other over a stupid little ball was the last thing she wanted to be doing.
But then again, she was doing this to support Anna.
After all, she had promised her that would be there to watch her cheer. And frankly, what kind of big sister would she be if she didn’t give her sister this one chance? It wasn’t like their parents were around to come and cheer her on.
Ten years ago, they would’ve been the ones to cheer their daughter on from those stands.
But they weren’t here.
Her parents were gone.
And they were gone forever.
The thought of never getting to see her beautiful mother and her handsome father ever again had abruptly caused the anxiety within her system to arise. Her parents were the last thing she needed to be worrying about at this point.
She tries to shake away the thoughts and get back to her studying, but something stops her hand from writing any further. She inhales a deep breath through her nose, and gently blows air out through the seam of her lips. And suddenly, it was no longer her biology midterm that became consumed in her mind. Nor did that damn essay find a single place in her brain for her to stress over.
Reality hit her. And it hit her hard.
Her parents were gone. They were never coming back. She and Anna would continue to grow up without their loving parents being present.
And the thought suddenly scared her. And almost instantly, those painful memories didn’t long to resurface.
Elsa looked up to see a new batch of students beginning to make their way through the library. Their laugher and playful bantering etched its way in the depths of her eardrums. How is it that they were able to be so happy when she suddenly felt so stressed and so sad. Part of her was silently wishing for them to feel the sudden pain she was feeling so that she would no longer be lost in the bottomless pit of loneliness. It was selfish, she knew that. But at the same time, part of her was glad that they couldn’t. She was glad that they were living in bliss, and that they had gotten the chance to have lived their childhood properly. It was private after all.
Her eyes suddenly swam with tears, and Elsa found herself hurrying to scrub them from her face. After all, it wasn’t like she needed any sympathy. Sympathy at this time, was dangerous. And she knew that sympathy would lead to more tears.
Now was not the time for tears.
Nor was it the time for any more feelings of sadness and loneliness.
She had other things that were far more important to focus on. And she would focus all her attention on those things.
But right now, this was the least of her worries.
And although, the thought of her parents’ sudden departure from the Earth plane was beginning to increase the throbbing pain that was squeezing onto her heart valve, it was the clump of wetness she suddenly felt on her cheek.
They weren’t tears.
It couldn’t be.
Elsa immediately lifts a hand to her dampened cheek. And when she slowly pulls her hand away, the gasp was out of her mouth before she could catch it. What was laying in the palm of her hand proof of that it wasn’t the tears that were held accountable.
A tiny spec of a crystallized snowflake lay amongst her warm flesh.
It was cold. But it didn’t freeze her fingers into clumsy numbness.
Another clump of wetness lands on her other cheek. And then another. And then another.
What the hell? It never snowed here in Florida!
No! Of course not!
Her hands are held outward. Sprinkles of snow fell into her lap like confetti. And then she gasps as a tiny puddle of snowflakes surrounds her. Replacing her scattered papers. She looks upward, hoping that the ceiling had somehow removed itself from the roof. But the ceiling was still intact. As well as the brightly lit light bulbs that stared down at her.
This sight was all too familiar to her. The feeling of the snowflakes hugging her and kissing her lightly was familiar too.
The memories flooding back to that dreadful day of her parents’ funeral.
It took her back to that day where she had broken down in front of their graves. And out of nowhere, she was greeted by little specs of snowflakes that had some mysteriously made their way down from the sky on a warm spring day.
And after that day, the snowflakes never stopped.
They never stopped following her every move.
Elsa wasn’t sure what this meant. But all she knew was that this wasn’t the first time she’d experienced seeing snowflakes appear throughout all the seasons. It was a mystery to her. And for the ten years that these snowflakes had begun making their appearance in her life, it would continue to be a mystery to her.
Her thoughts were cut short when the sound of her alarm chiming from her phone signalled that she only had ten minutes to get to her next class.
She hisses under breath as she gathers quickly gathers her papers, binders and textbooks and clumsily shoves them into her backpack. The snowflakes that were around her suddenly erased themselves from the Earth plane. She couldn’t afford being late for the third time to one of her favorite literary lectures. Once she finally manages to stuff everything into her bag, she bolts from the ground and sprints toward the door without looking back.
But little did Elsa know, that a certain pair of eyes had been watching her from the minute she stepped foot into the library.
‘Deep breath in….’
Moana Waialiki pushes her feet from the rock and dives forward. Her body slicing into the water so smoothly that barely a ripple pinged across the glassy waves. The feel of the salt water was warm, gentle and refreshing amongst her skin as she glided her body to where it was deep. Truly, a morning swim out in the sea was exactly what she needed to get her day started.
Quite frankly, for a sunny October morning, the temperature outside was still manageable. For Moana, it was manageable. To the regular Florida citizens, not so much. And that would explain why the beach itself was still pretty vacant. With the exception of the only two lifeguards who had their bright red jackets zipped all the way up to their chins while wearing winter hats and their hands shoved deeply into their pockets. It was obvious that if it wasn’t for that pay check that would help pay off some of their rent, that they would gladly have called in sick as an excuse not to show up for their shifts.
But then again, it wasn’t like Moana was complaining. She was much too busy enjoying the way how the warm waves hugged her body and inviting her to delve deeper into them. So she does, part-taking in some breast strokes to help her glide further through. She swims in the tranquil turquoise, making sure to allow her air bubbles to rise to the surface in their clustered way every now and then. The water is uncommonly clear, so much that it was impossible to gauge the depth.
But its lovely deep down under the water, Moana thinks to herself. It was like being in a different world, and all of her worries were drowning away. The water was very clear, and her lips curve into a tiny grin as the schools of bright-hued fish and strange sea flowers decorate the sand floor.
Being this deep in the sea was nothing that was unfamiliar to her. In fact, being in the sea was like swimming in her own blood. It had grown to be a part of her the minute her tiny feet were able to move on their own. Being out in the sea was a place that Moana was able to call her second home. And right now, being so far deep in the sea, there was freedom. To Moana, the sea had so many secrets, so many stories that have yet to be told. Being out in the sea meant that her body has no weight that meant anything. Here, she could find the freedom to glide in any direction without falling. And being in a place where the warm depths of crested waves embraced every inch of fibre being, the ocean was the wonderland to her dreams.
No rules. No responsibilities.
Nothing but freedom was what she felt.
The freedom is as intoxicating as if she were swimming in fresh coconut milk. She allows herself to move and spiral in any direction she wanted. Truthfully, if Moana was granted to the opportunity to make a decision of choosing between having to listen to the boring drone of lectures and being able to swim out a sea for the rest of her life, it’s pretty obvious of what her answer would be. And for a young woman who was adventurous as Moana, she had made that discovery that being lost in the fluidity of life far below the waves brings a sense of liberty and longevity. The longing to swim forever, and never return. When it came to the aquatic world, money, status and education meant nothing. It was all utterly irrelevant.
After all, it wasn’t like a dolphin would be too concerned over what their interest rate was.
Come to think of it, what are mortgages and rent payments to a beluga whale? The questions were left unanswered. And truth be told, they always would be.
Not that Moana herself was concerned.
Instead, she lets the filtered light gently caress her skin. Enjoying the way how her senses were altered down below, the sounds around her are lazy and the three dimensional world around her was welcoming her back ‘home’. The sandy bed below softly tickling her toes. She only wished that she could disappear under the sea forever, and to never be found.
But reality was beginning to get the better of her thoughts. Being out the in sea was not going to pay her tuition debts. Nor was it going to get the grades that she needed in order to secure her spot in the next year.
The sea wouldn’t be able to do any of those things.
And as much as the watery world would call out to her on a daily basis, even Moana knew she could only be a visitor from the dry world up top. And right now, the fresh air of the Florida land was calling out to her. Before she can stop herself, she’s kicking with powerful with quick powerful strokes, pushing her feet against the gravity trying to pull her downward.
She rises to the glint of the light of shimmering above and bursts through the glassy ripples. The fresh air of the Florida weather embracing her, and the ocean shore of Florida’s land entered her line of vision and greeted her like an old friend. The abusive light of the sun’s yellow rays viciously assaulted her eyes, giving her a few moments for her vision to adjust. Though she’s not complaining that the beach laying in front of her was still pretty vacant. But there was certainly more bodies that were visible than she remembered seeing when she first got there.
Her legs and hands tread gracefully in the water as she keeps herself steady and balanced above the surface. She breathes a heavy sigh, she tilts herself backwards and allows her body to lay amongst the gentle waves that were supporting her. Her limbs were now the ones that were in control. She stretches out her arms, opening out her palms and allows all tension in her body to be released. Her worries being taken away, and she lets her body float mindlessly, the waves gently swaying her from side to side.
Surely she still had time to relax a bit longer until her classes start.
At least, that was what she convinced herself.
Those lectures and assignments could wait. There was no rush.
She lets breathy sigh slip through the seam of her lips. Eyelids slowly close over her brown orbs as a cool breeze steals away the warmth, the taste and smell of the brine signalled that it was still present around her. The ocean’s music takes command of her ears, her body dancing to the rhythm and the cries of the seagulls soaring above joined in with the tune.
Her body floats amongst the waves. Finding temporary rest.
Then she sees him.
That same man that’s been appearing in her dreams from the minute she grasped onto her first breath. His brown eyes gazing into her own. His hulking figure hovering over her tiny form. His curly mane of luscious locks spilled down his broad shoulders. And those sea of tattoos coating his arms was all too familiar.
Truly, she was dreaming.
She was dreaming......
She tries to fight against the drone of his voice whispering her name. But she can’t find the strength within her to do. His voice has her trapped, enveloped around her being. His voice that same, soothing, bassy melody that she had grown to desire. The same voice that always seemed to lull her back to a peaceful slumber.
This had to be a dream.
There was no way it couldn’t.
When her eyes opened, she found that she was no longer floating on the gentle waves like she had been. But instead, fluffy cottons of white clouds were now her temporary bedding. A bright light shone above, beckoning for her to come.
And then she sees him. He was there. Everything behind him a filtered blur. His voice still maintained its authenticity. Low and husky. But his tone was always soft. Never did it rise an octave above its usual tone. His arms and body were wide and massive. Just like how she remembered. And as much as she tried to stretch her limbs, or find a single sound to move past her lips, unfortunately, she had no luck finding any of those things.
He murmurs. His breath is warm against her flesh, blanketing her body in such a way that she couldn’t even describe. She sputters a delightful sigh as his thick fingers gently stroke her cheekbone. The warm contact of his skin amongst hers was comforting. Love from the tips of his fingers soaked into her flesh, a jolt of energy surging through her body. And though even Moana knew that after ten years that neither of this would ever seem to make sense at all, it was true.
It’s like he’d distilled it. The love that is. Purified it and let it flow right from his skin to hers.
None of it made sense.
But it was true.
She suddenly felt his presence beginning to slip away.
But she didn’t want him to leave her.
‘Don’t go!’ Her brain is yelling at him. ‘Don’t-‘
And without further warning, she suddenly drops her body below the surface at the sound of the piercing shrill of the whistle that drummed in the depths of her ears. Lifeguards needed their lunch break. Which meant that everyone needed to vacate the ocean ASAP.
So much for the rest of her relaxation.
Rolling her eyes, she swims to shallow water so her feet touch the bottom.
The sudden sharp impact of synthetic leather meeting flesh had failed to give Moana enough time to have ducked from the round and spherical item that came flying at a rapid pace. Had she had more of an advanced warning, she would’ve been able to have flown right out of the ‘danger’ zone and be on with her day.
But hey? What fun would that be if she hadn’t experienced feeling the excruciating pain that her delicate flesh had to endure?
Then again, she had spent most of her life wondering what a goose egg would feel and look like.
She’s knocked off her feet and her back meets the sand. The warm, sandy molecules massaging their way through her skin. A groan slips past the seam of her lips, and the sun’s abusive rays were nearly blinding her eyes. Her vision became slightly blurry, blotches of various colors (red, purple, orange, green, yellow and blue) clouding her sight. None of them made sense. Her head was pounding viciously from the unexpected impact. The pain scatters and sears through her brain better than a branding iron. Everything suddenly feeling scolded.
She could barely make out the audible sounds of the laughter dying down, until the voices around her shifted to notes of concern and panic. She had trouble finding the will to make her body move, but gravity trying to pull her back.
“Is she okay?!”
“Omigod! What the hell did you do to her?!”
“Is she dead?!”
“Should we call an ambulance?!”
All these voices around her made no sense. They were becoming muffled as she was slowly beginning to ease out of consciousness. The world around her transforming to a shade of black. Dark.
Darkness surrounded her.
The faint sound of his voice was like a sweet melody being whispered into her eardrums.
There it was again. So sweet. So loving. So gentle.
And another. Clearly she didn’t want this moment to end.
His voice begins to diminish. Fading.
‘Come back! Please! Don’t-“
Her eyelids flutter. And then they slowly lift. It’s blurry at first, seeing what looked like rising mounds surrounding her being. At least they were blocking the bright rays from invading her privacy any longer.
“Moana!” She knew that voice. But it wasn’t his. “Can ye hear me, Lass?!”
Of course she knew that voice.
Her lids finally open. A small groan from her lips follows. Her sight clearing itself up, as it lands on various heads of brunette, blonde, red and black hair spilling and faces with curious blue, green or brown eyes hovering and crowing her personal space. Whispers of worry accompanying the looks for apprehension and fear that were plastered amongst these individuals’ faces. But she was able to pick out one face in particular.
But then again, it wouldn’t have been hard for her to notice those fiery red curls that spilled down her shoulders, those blue eyes and light freckles that coated her semi tan (but still pretty pale) rosy cheek bones.
“….Ma….” She manages to gasp out.
“How many fingers am Ah holdin' up, Lass?”
The shape of her fingers enter her line of vision. Now was not the time for mind games. That was the last thing she needed at this point. To put her brain through too much stress when she could very well a goose egg beginning to rise on the surface of her head.
She groans. “...I don’t want to-“
Another groan for her. “…Fine….” She slowly brings a hand up to her forehead. “Three.” She mumbles.
The red-head sighs with relief along with the rest of the others. She puts her hand down and turns over her shoulder.
“Al’right! She’s guid!” She shouts. Moana winces at the sound of her thick Scottish accent booming. “Nothin’ tae see haur!” She gestures with her arms for the rest of the curious civilians to disperse. “Now shoo!”
Moana could make out the shuffling from the others as they all scattered back to the respected posts. Which left only herself and the fiery red-head that was still present. She stifles back a smile and she reaches to grasp Moana’s hand in her own.
“Yur’ al’right, Lass.” She grins. “Come on. Let’s get you up.”
Moana gasps sharply as her body was pulled so suddenly from the ground. Thankfully, she was able to stand on her two feet. And though she felt slightly wobbly, she managed to push herself through it as she shook her head, which was a big mistake she could’ve made. Another groan slips past her lips, and she brings a hand to her now throbbing head.
“Ye took a bit of a nasty fall thaur, didne ye?”
She lets out a mix between a groan and a scoff. “Was it that bad?”
Merida Ferguson lifts her lips into a tiny grin. She nods as she releases her grip from Moana’s and squats down to pick up the culprit that was responsible for causing this unnecessary chaos. She tosses it in the air, and catches it back in her hands with ease.
“Weel, judgin' from how ha’rd this ball hit ye, Eh’d say so.”
Well, this was embarrassing.
Moana rolls her eyes. “Of course.” She moves her hand to perch on her hip. Grimacing at the demon round sphere resting in the palms of Merida’s hands. “I knew there was a reason why I always hated volleyball.”
Merida chuckles. “Ey, volleyball isnae' 'at bad.”
“You weren’t the one that was just assaulted by one.”
“Guilty as charged.”
Despite the throbbing pain that was burning around the insides of her brain better than boiling water, she manages to find a smile that was tugging at the corners of her mouth. Typical, yet genuine of her good friend to make a joke out of a serious situation. But then again, that was just Merida’s personality. And over the years from when they first started out as freshmen at the University of South Florida together, it was one of the many traits that Moana had grown to love and appreciate.
After all, the chances of replacing a good like Merida Ferguson, were a million to none.
“Lit me tak' a look at yer head.”
Moana had tried to protest. But with Merida’s determined personality, Moana finds herself miserably sitting down on one of the beach chairs where her bag is sitting. She winces at the feel of Merida’s fingers poking and prodding gently through her curls to get to the tender, round bump that was beginning to surface itself.
“Hm.” She mumbles. “Eh’d get th' nurse tae check 'at out fur ye, Lass. Ye’v got a goose egg.”
The last thing she wanted to let people see her going to the nurse’s office with curious gazes following her person.
She sighs. “I don’t really think that’s necessary.”
The red-head pauses from her actions and takes a slight step back to observe her friend sitting in front of her. The look on her face signalled that she indeed thought her friend was insane. But then again, it wasn’t like it was anything serious. It was just a goose egg. It would disappear in like two or three days.
“Mo, yer goin’ tae th' nurse, wheth’er ye like it ur not.”
“Really, Mer, I don’t think that’s-“
“They dorn’t caa me Ms. Lifeguard fur nothin’!”
Which was true. Moana’s gaze follows to where Merida’s finger is pointing. Her bright red jacket that pretty much resembles the color of blood. But not the browning red of old blood, but more of the vivid red freshly spilled. All lifeguards were required to wear one. It was policy. If not the red jacket, then at least a red one-piece bathing suit to match. Which she was wearing also. But no track pants like the others had bundled up in.
But then again, just because her jacket and bathing suit read “Lifeguard of Florida Beach” in white blocked letters, that still didn’t mean that she had to listen to her. After all, friends come first before lifeguards do.
“Merida, I’ll be fine.” She tries for a reassuring smile. “It’s just a goose egg, there’s nothing to worry about.”
“Mo, Ah still think ye shoods go-“
She wasn’t dreaming this time. No. She was wide awake. Fully alert. His voice, his voice rings through her eardrums. Merida’s voice suddenly becomes muffled, unable to reach her.
There it is again. Ringing loud, but sweetly. Proud and demanding.
‘For what?!’ She wanted to shout. His words weren’t making any sense. None of it was.
All of sudden, Merida’s form begins to blur in front of her. Almost like she was disappearing. That is, until it his form that entered her line of vision. He stood in Merida’s place, his large form towering over hers. His body was massive. His dark curls were long and luscious. The lake of tattoos coating his arms, his perfectly sculpted pectorals and his abdomen.
Moana lets out a sharp gasp as she jumps slightly and tries to pedal herself backwards. Only she couldn’t. A wave of gravity was holding her still, preventing her from moving elsewhere. Her jaw is dropped, her breathing goes heavy and her eyes are blinking rapidly. She can’t make out his facial features clearly. But the mere sight (blurry) of his presence was intimidating. But yet, it was comforting at the same time.
Who was he?”
What did he want with her?
He’s person starts to dissolve. Fading slowly into the light. She wants to reach out and grab him. But she can’t.
“Earth tae Moana!”
She shuts her eyes and shakes her head. Then she opens her eyes again. Merida is in front of her now. Her hand waving in her line of vision to get her attention. Her brows were furrowed, and the look of apprehension was plastered amongst her features.
Way to go for trying to be convincing.
“Sorry! I um….I just-“
“Told ye!” Merida places her hands on her hips. “Ye need tae go tae th' nurse!
Moana groans. “Fine! I’ll go!” She hefts a sigh and leans forward to rest her elbows on her thighs. Her fingers go to massage her temples. “What time is it anyway?”
Merida gives her an amused look and flicks her wrist to check her watch. “It’s ten after one.”
Her head snaps up suddenly. And she immediately regretted it when as the pain throbbing in her brain. “What did you just say?”
“It’s ten after one.”
Her eyes bulge out of their sockets. Class for her started at noon.
She jolts up from the chair and nearly falls over, but was able to catch herself in the nick of time. Much to Merida’s dismay. “I’m soooo late for my lecture!”
“But whit a'bit th' nurse?
“I don’t have time, Mer!” She shoves her wet towel into her bag, throws on her shorts over her damp bathing suit and flip-flops. Her wet hair she could worry about later. “I gotta get to class!”
And before Merida could get another word in, Moana dashes past her and sprints off to building A. It was a shame that it was fifteen minute walk from the beach. But then again, free exercise had its benefits as well. She makes beelines around people, trying her best not to send anyone flying to the ground.
As she’s sprinting, it never occurred to Moana that a certain (large) figure had been watching her from the moment she stepped foot onto the beach.
She managed to arrive at her lecture in the span of seven minutes. That was thanks to her fast legs. At least there was and upside to have gone for a much needed morning swim. It was too bad her professor didn’t exactly seem to agree with her. Nor did was she granted the opportunity to dodge the numerous pairs of eyes that gazed over her in wonder when she barged through the doors. And nor did she have the time to head back to her dorm and change into a pair of different (preferably a drier) pair of clothes. The perspiration on her body mixed with the salty residue of the sea water that still clung to her skin. Her curls were a matter mess, untameable with a bunch of knots that were going to be painful for her to approach later on tonight.
So to say, she tried so hard not to let the blood rush to her cheeks so much that she resembled a bright tomato as she stood awkwardly in her wet swim suit and shorts. Her flip-flops covered in a strings of sand that puddled on the ground around her feet.
But unfortunately for her, that ship had sailed.
So with what little dignity she could muster to find, she solemnly makes her way to her seat. Thankfully she didn’t have to climb over different bags and legs to get to her destination. She pulls out her chair as the professor resumes back to his lecture on “Wuthering Heights”. Something that was Moana’s least favorite novel to read on the planet.
But it beat having to listen to the drones and monotones of her chemistry lecture.
So to say, there was an upside to this lecture in particular.
“Don’t you ever take a break from the water?” A voice beside her whispers.
Moana didn’t have to think twice of who the voice belonged to. It had been familiar to her since the first day she began university as a freshmen. She turns to give her best friend, Guy, a pointed look.
“It soothes me.” She whispers back.
Guy couldn’t help supressing the chuckle that erupts from his throat. “That’s a lame excuse.”
He gives her an amused smirk, his brown hair falling into his wide dark brown eyes and his skin beautifully tanned. It was no wonder why guys (and even girls) were jealous at the fact he tan was natural, as opposed to having to undergo the disasters of the tanning salon.
Moana rolls her eyes. “Well, it does.”
“Whatever you say, Flounder.”
She punches him in the shoulder. He snickers, though he tries to mask it with the sharp sting that follows. Then again, he deserved it. Ever since he came up with that nickname for her since their freshmen year had started, it stuck with him ever since. And sadly, even though they’ve grown over the past three years, Moana still finds herself a victim that temporary identity.
“Ow!” He hisses through his laugh as he nurses his now bruised shoulder. “What was that for?”
“I told you to stop calling me that!” She hisses. Though there’s an amused smirk at the corners of her mouth.
“Well hey! It’s not my fault that you swim so much! No one told you to go make a home in the ocean!”
She sticks her tongue out at him. Though she giggles quietly as she rolls her eyes and shakes her head. “Well I can’t help that I love to swim!”
“Yea, yea, whatever.”
She rolls her eyes. “Well, at least I got some exercise.”
“I’m not the one who walked into class late.” He looks her over. “Nor am I the one wearing my bathing suit.”
Her fist meets his already bruised shoulder yet again. A sharp hiss and a whispered “ouch!” eases their way out through his teeth. It was a good thing they were sitting at the very back of the lecture hall. Out of the three hundred students, the both of them were lucky that their professor wasn’t paying attention to the two disruptive individuals. Though they received some annoyed scowls and whispered shushes from their fellow classmates.
But then again, they always sat at the back. It had pretty much become their designated seating.
“So what did I miss so far?” Moana leans over and whispers.
“Ah, nothing much.” Guy whispers back. “Just the same crap about how stupid these characters in the book are.” And he shrugs. (He wasn’t lying about that) “Nothing really special.”
“Hm. Did he assign anything?”
“Any essays? Group assignments? Or upcoming tests that we need to worry about?”
Guy takes a moment to focus his gaze briefly on their professor (who couldn’t quite seem to keep still). Then he leans in closer to whisper in her ear.
“Assignments? Yea. He assigned one to us right at the beginning of the lecture.”
She scrunches up her nose at this. “Group assignment?”
Hurray! What great way to start the day with a lovely group assignment!
(All of it were lies)
“Ugh. Do we have to?” The hushed whine was out of her mouth before she had a chance to catch it.
He shrugs. “Afraid so my friend.”
She huffs a quiet, long sigh. “I hate group assignments.” She mumbles as she slides lower into her seat and folds her arms over her chest.
“Eh, you and me both.” Guy leans back in his seat. “But the good news is that it’s partners only.”
She immediately perks up. Eyes twinkling. “Really?”
A sly smile as he nods. “Aren’t we always?”
“You’re the best.”
“Of course I am.” A smirk. “Isn’t that why you love me so much?”
A snicker from him. “I thought so.”
‘Why did I come here?’
The same question was ringing in her head like an annoying, repetitive melody. If the decision was hers, she would’ve gladly given up her ‘free time’ in order to work on her English essay in comfort of her own dorm. But then again, it was the thought of being present to support her sister in the crowd while she ‘strutted her stuff’ (quoting Anna’s words) on the field.
Damn Anna and her demands.
‘You’re here to support your little sister. That’s all that counts.’
Which was true. She was. And right now, she needed to put her pride aside and be the supportive and loving big sister that she needed to be. Even if meant she needed to venture out of her comfort zone to do so.
Elsa awkwardly shifts her weight on the bleachers. She was trying to keep her attention focused on the game that was taking place on the field in front of her, but found herself having difficulty doing so. For starters, a sport like football was something that never seemed to catch her interest. The game itself never made any sense to her. The running up and down the field, the chaos of having to watch a bunch of big and bulky guys pushing, punching and shoving one another just to get a disfigured looking ball to the sidelines? None of it made sense.
But then again, no sport that included fighting (to Elsa that’s what it looked like) over a ball just to score a goal was something that was ever a desire for Elsa to grow attached to.
Especially a sport like football. American football specifically.
They say that all that armour in football just encourages young boys and grown men to hit each other harder. One is unable to see the bruises, but their brains get rattled around their in their skulls, causing bruising and damage for the rest of their lives. But then again, people get a lot of injuries in other sports too. And to Elsa, well, that was just concerning.
And again, it was such a shame that the United States has the reputation of glorifying these sports on public television.
But that’s how it’s like to live in States.
If you weren’t into sports, then you’re considered a ‘nobody’.
Plain and simple.
(Damn stupid America)
Another thing Elsa hated about sports, were the crowds. Something about sitting with a bunch of sweaty strangers (with cups of beer spilling in their hands and hot dogs falling from their mouths) who were more rambunctious than being surrounded by a swarm of hyper active eight year old little students proved to more intimidating. Had this been a more professional team to be watching, maybe the audience would be a little bit more tolerable. But because this was a university team, well, that was a different story.
Elsa finds herself massaging her temples and silently praying for this fiasco to be over much sooner than intended. The crowd of hundreds of people around her were not helping at all. They had been so jubilant, loud, rambunctious, singing the songs that to the inebriated and joyful, and shouting (drunken) slurs of incoherent words that Elsa couldn’t even fathom. They rubbed shoulders never minding their toes were often trodden on or that they were in closer proximity to these strangers than they usually were to friends or family. The atmosphere was one of elation, the warm chilly air occasionally punctuated by whoops and hollers. Then from the corner, came a throng of armored civilians and alumni jogging down the field in orange colored uniforms. The volume of the cheering transcending to three octaves above their original key.
Surely the crowd was massive, and Elsa immediately felt a lump forming in her throat. Part of her was tempted to just get up and run in the direction she came in. But then her thoughts flickered back to Anna. She would be disappointed to find that her sister didn’t stay. And right now, that was the last thing Elsa wanted to do to her little sister. She couldn’t afford to disappoint her sister again.
After all, this wouldn’t have been the first time she had done so.
A few minutes into the game, and the guys were in the lead. Leading seven to nothing against the other team. So far, they were doing Florida proud. That was, according to the overgrown crowd that managed to grow two sizes bigger than what their original number was. And when the whistle blows, and one guy from their team was running to kick the ball over what looked like funny looking goalie’s net, another score was earned, earning them ten points in the leading. The cheers erupt like a volcano. At first, it was dimmed down just a tiny bit, and then deafening the next, rising to a crescendo and then falling to a trickle before the same nervous tension commands a touch of silence once more.
But Elsa wasn’t having the least bit of fun. No. She just wanted her sister to come out, do their thing, and then be on her way back to her dorm.
After all, this essay wasn’t going to write itself.
The first quarter (whatever they called it) ended much quicker than Elsa had been expecting. An announcement boomed through the speaker and blankets the crowd down below. More cheering erupts, and Elsa turns to her left to see a throng of preppy and over-excited girls dressed in tiny little orange skirts (skirts that were so short that even their mothers would demand them to go change out of) galloping their way onto the field.
Thank the gods that it was Anna’s turn to shine.
Seconds later, the music blared through the speakers. The bassy beat was loud heavy, shaking the ground underneath. They lunge into their routine as they move their bodies along with the music. With each swaying movement of their hips and each alluring twist of their bodies, it was no wonder why the drunken guys were hollering and blowing amusing whistles. And then a string of words signifying sexual proposals followed.
Words that were being thrown at the girls.
Anna was one of those girls.
Elsa was suddenly beginning to regret her choice in coming here. Especially to watch her little sister dance and prance around in a mini skirt with pretty orange pom-poms and glitter amongst her cheeks, while a throng of horny guys were shouting sexual advances towards her and the rest of the girls on the field. The last thing Elsa wanted to do was to be held accountable for sending one of these guys to the hospital with a broken nose. And to avoid possibly being charged with aggravated assault.
None of that was really necessary. Even though she tried to fight the sudden urge to knock one of these guys out.
Sure. She was much skinnier and smaller than them.
But there’s more that an adrenaline rush can do to a person. Especially to a person, like herself, who was insanely protective over her little sister.
“Two-Four-Six-Eight! Who do we appreciate?!”
Truly, cheerleading was amazing. Especially being a cheerleader felt amazing. Right? It was all about the radiant smiles and pom-poms? All fluff and pretty outfits? Nope. To Elsa, it was gymnastics without safety precautions. No mats, no nets, no room for error. Topple from the pyramid of girls one would experience the wonders of potentially getting their pretty little face smashed in for them.
So to say, Elsa was never one for cheerleading.
Did she want to cheerlead, ever? Hell no.
Though she constantly would question to herself why Anna would be so keen as to join such a sport.
The answer would still and forever be a mystery to her.
“My, if it isn’t the infamous Elsa Anderson.” She hadn’t been aware of the person having found their way onto the seat right next to her.
The hair on her back immediately stood. A cold shiver ran up her spine, cancelling out the warmth she was feeling before. Her breath hitches in her throat and her eyes instantly close themselves shut.
She knew that voice. How could she not?
She knew who owned that voice. The voice in which she practically grew up with.
And it was the voice that she never wanted to hear ever again.
His presence nearly sends her into catatonic mode. She shifts her weight slightly, trying not let her shaking hands be visible. His low, husky voice sends an unpleasant feeling surging through the depths of her bones, puncturing its way through the blood and tissue.
Without even thinking, her eyelids slowly open and she sputters a deep sigh through the seam of her lips. Then she takes a deep breath, and slowly turns to meet the eyes of the man whom she wanted to burn from her memory.
“H-hello, Hans.” She mumbles, but it comes out more like a stutter.
Hans. The man that she wished to never see again.
And the man that she greatly feared.
He scoots closer towards her. So close that their knees are touching and his shoulder meets hers. A wave of fear mixed with nausea washes over her at the sudden impact of their bodies touching. A feeling that would forever make her sick to her stomach. And a feeling that she wished to never have to go through again for as long as she lived.
“I’m surprised to see you here.”
Elsa shifts under his scrutiny gaze. She instantly turns to focus on the chaos playing out in front of her, but found it to be quite a challenge to pretend like the man sitting beside her had become nonexistent. Especially with the way how he was staring at her. She didn’t have to look to know that the desire of the lust burned in his pupils. His intense gaze hungrily drinking in every inch and curve of her delicate body.
That was something she always hated about him when they had dated on and off since she was sixteen.
Every time he stares, it was always intentionally cold. Intimidating. But that was Hans’ personality. He longed for intimidation. He was used to getting his own way. And he was used to gaining unlimited attention from various girls. Even older women. He was one to put on a show. Be the man that every girl couldn’t live without.
Elsa had fallen victim to that charade of his.
She shrugs lightly, making sure to keep her gaze trained on the game. “I-I’m just here to support Anna.”
“Ah. I see.” His lips tugs into a sly grin. “That makes sense, seeing as you never liked football.”
He takes this as an opportunity to slide closer. So close that their practically cuddling and people mistaking them for being an item. Her breath hitches in her throat again, but she manages to let out a shaky exhale. His gaze boring right into her person.
“What are you doing later?”
He whispers into her ear. His lips brushing the tip and his minty fresh breath grazes her cheek. Her heart picks up in speed. Racing. Hammering and pounding at her chest. She struggled to pull herself away. But found that she couldn’t. She was trapped. She knew that. And unfortunately (as always) he knew that too.
“Hans,” She takes a deep breath, “things between us are done.”
She feels his lips curve to a grin, though they still lingered on the tip of her ear. “They don’t have to be.”
“You’re the one that broke up with me.” She grimaces as the words leave a bitter taste amongst her taste buds. “Y-you….wanted to end things.”
He lets out a sigh. An aggressive one that hits her face. His breath was warm and intoxicating, just like how she remembered. It delicately blankets her flesh, and she fights with the butterflies in her stomach that are mere seconds from erupting.
“You’re right. I did want to end things between us.” He whispers, then moves to press his nose against her cheek and breathe her in, earning a small gasp from her as she suddenly feels the liquid beginning to fall between her legs. “But it’s obvious that I’ve made a huge mistake.”
Not again. Please not again.
She blinks rapidly. Her body shaking. “H-Hans, please don’t do this…..”
“I miss you, Elsa.” He uses his hand to cup her cheek and gently turn her to face him. Her eyes glossy as she looks into his (supposedly) remorseful ones. “I miss us.” His thumb strokes her cheek.
Her bottom lip begins to quiver, and she chomps onto it instantly. Behind those eyes that conveyed a sense of guilt, she knew what was behind them. And she knew him for he truly was. Manipulative. Determined. Selfish and unkind. And yet, she mentally scolded herself for finding it such a challenge to pull herself from that charming and hypnotizing trance.
He was no good for her. And she knew that without a doubt.
But at the same time, she just couldn’t seem to detach herself completely from him. He was no good. But being with him was an intoxicating thrill.
“I want to be a better man for you, Elsa.” His words were the only words her ears could decipher. Forget the roaring crowd and the rambunctious game playing out in front of them. “I lost you too many times. I don’t want to lose you again.”
“Hans, p-please stop-“
“If you come to my dorm tonight, I will show you how much of a better man I will be for you.”
She knew what that meant. It was one of the many lines he’s used to manipulate her into falling back in his trap. And to the both of them, well, it was just another way of saying ‘let me fuck you so sweetly that you see a glimpse of the Gods’.
Her body was all for it.
Her mind on the other hand, well, that was a different story.
She tries to pull herself from him. But his grip on her cheek dangerously begins to tighten. The smile completely dissolve from his features. His gaze fell like an act of violence, a glare to stop her heart. For in that moment, she knew that the man she had once fallen completely in love with was nothing more than a character. An act. This was the real Hans. And just like always, he was never afraid to show it.
“Why not?” He grits through his teeth.
She swallows. “I-I have….an e-essay I n-need to f-finish….”
He laughs heartlessly, looking through her soul like as if she was just another one of his victims begging him for pity. His fingers sink deeper in the flesh of her jaw. Though the laugh didn’t meet his face, his eyes glared with intensity that tightened Elsa’s chest. She should’ve kept her mouth shut. Should never have refused him.
After all, no one says no to Hans.
He shoves his mouth against her ear, and whispers, “you’re meeting me tonight, whether you like it or not.”
His voice was harsh. Demanding. Cold and rough. It provoked the fear inside of her to emanate. But she couldn’t let him see the fear clouding her eyes. She found it a struggle to breathe with how hard his grip tightened around her jaw. But she sucks on her teeth, her bottom lip quivers as his brown eyes bore angrily into her soft blue orbs. The blood inside of her turned to an icy chill.
“Are we clear?”
‘No!’ She wanted to shout. “Y-yes….”She manages to sputter whisper.
Just as instantly, his face lifts to a wide grin. Though the smile didn’t quite meet his eyes. “Good.”
He releases his grip on her jaw, and she breathes a sigh of relief. Though the fear inside of her still lingered. Her body instantly going numb. He doesn’t take his eyes off hers, and she bows her head down in shame. Unable to look at him for much longer.
The game had just gone to half time. Which meant that there was still an hour and a half left until the end.
She jumps slightly as he uses his thumb and forefinger to gently pinch her chin and tilts her head up to look at him. “Be at my dorm by 8:30 sharp.” Then his face shifts to a tight glare. “Don’t be late.”
She manages to nod and bows her head down once again. She winces as his lips press amongst her cheek. There was no love or compassion in the kiss that he gave her. Then again, with a man like Hans, there was never any love or compassion present in a single bone in his body. Instead, it was greed and power. Nothing that he would ever change.
“I’ll see you tonight, my little Angel.”
She hated that name.
“And,” He whispers as his lips linger on her cheek, “wear something that’s easy for me to take off.”
He leaves without another word. Elsa still keeps her head bowed, trying to hold back the tears that burned her eyes. She immediately felt the vile wanting to rise from the contents of her stomach. But she would save that for later upon her arrival back to her dorm.
But one thing she was happy about; was that she was just grateful that the people around her were too busy to notice the brutal scene that managed to play itself out in front of them.
Or so she thought.
This wasn’t the first time Elsa had caught herself in a dilemma over which outfit to wear for the night. To wear the icy blue mini skirt that was short enough to draw a breeze with her white, off the shoulder crop top? Or to go simpler; a pair of her favorite denim ripped jeans (big enough to expose too much skin) with her fitted black tank top that popped enough cleavage?
She didn’t know.
And frankly, now was not the time for her to mess up.
Feeling Hans’ wrath was definitely something she never wanted to relive again.
The outfits were laid out on her bed. She was biting her nails from the anxiety bubbling in her belly. Right now, if it was up to her, she would’ve preferred to have been worrying like crazy over her ten page essay that was due in barely forty eight hours. Her ribs gave a little twisting ache. The sweat beginning to form on her brow.
Her books were abandoned on her desk in the corner. Her dorm room a mess. Scattered array of clothes and garments were puddled at her feet, while some were hanging off the edge of her bed. She brings her fingers to her temples and massages them. Whilst attempting to get that menacing voice out of her skull.
‘Be at my dorm by 8:30pm sharp. Don’t be late’
Taunting. Like it had a mind of its own. It knew what it was doing.
‘And….wear something that’s easy for me to take off.’
Damn him to Hell.
Because that’s where he belonged. And that’s where he deserved to be.
‘Don’t be late…..don’t be late….late…..late….’
“Whoa, did a tsunami hit our dorm or something?”
Elsa jumps with a startled yelp. Her hand goes to clutch her chest to grasp onto her pounding heart. She whirls around sharply, but breathes a sigh of relief at the sight of her roommate closing the door behind her.
“Jeez, Moana! You scared me!” She scolds the beautiful Polynesian girl standing before her. Though there’s a hint of playfulness to her tone. Then her brows furrow. “You’re back pretty late.”
Moana shrugs, making sure to hold the object close to her head. “Eh, had to stop by the nurse’s office. Merida’s orders.”
“Why?” Elsa suddenly noticed the icepack that Moana was holding to her head. Then her nose scrunches up. “What happened to your head?”
“Ugh, some idiot on the beach decided to show off during a game of beach volleyball.” She moves around her and tosses her bag onto her own bed. “Knocked me out cold.”
“Oh my god! Are you okay?”
Moana lets out a chuckle. “Relax, it’s nothing to fret over.” She plops down on her bed. “It’s just a little goose egg.”
“A goose egg?” Elsa gasps and places her hands on her hips. “Well, what did the nurse have to say about that?”
“That I’ll survive.” She says in a matter of fact tone. Another chuckle follows. “Don’t worry, Els, I’ll be fine.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes mom.” She sneered with a grin. “I’m sure.”
Elsa shakes her head with a chuckle. “Hey, I’m just looking out for you. You are my best friend after all.”
“Pft, well obviously I know that.” She shakes her head with a smile. “I mean, you have been looking out for me since freshmen year.”
“And you continue to do so.”
“Well, of course I do!” Elsa plops herself down at the foot of Moana’s bed. “I mean, who’s gonna remind you not to get hit in the head with a volleyball?”
Elsa barely had enough time to react before her face was met with the sudden impact of the pillow. A giggle followed, noting the playful scowl that was etched on Moana’s face. It was a good thing that the pillow was soft.
“Hey!” She holds up her hands in surrender. “I’m just saying!” Then she noted the bathing suit and slightly tangled locks that Moana wore. “I’m not the one who told you to go swimming out in the ocean before your classes.”
Elsa smirks. “Let me guess,” she says with a sneer, “you were late to your lecture again, weren’t you.”
Moana blinks once and then another. She blows out a long sigh and rests her back against the headboard. “Hmph, I hate it when you’re right.”
Elsa shrugs her shoulders innocently. “Eh, I always am.”
Moana sticks out her tongue with a dent in her brow. Elsa chuckles as she lifts herself off the bed and heads over to her messy pile of clothes.
“Anyways, so what did you do for the rest of the night?” Moana grins as she places the icepack on her dresser, crawls toward the foot of her bed and lays on her stomach. Feet sticking up in the air, and her hands resting on her cheek as she watches her friend, curiously waiting for an answer.
Elsa pauses briefly from her actions. Her back still turned to her friend as she tries to come up with some sort of answer. But she shakes it off and continues rummaging through the pile of clothes on her bed. Though her two choices in wardrobe for the evening are still patiently waiting for the ultimate decision.
“Oh, I um….” She hesitates. “I went to homecoming.”
“Homecoming? As in football game homecoming?”
“You went to homecoming?” Moana unleashes a mock gasp. “You, Elsa Andersen,”(she winces) “my best friend, actually watched a football game?”
She sighs. “Yea.”
Moana can’t hold back that guffaw that escapes from her mouth. “Okay, so this definitely calls for a celebration!”
“Anna made me go.”
“Well, gosh, remind me to ask Anna for some tips!”
Elsa keeps quiet. She bites her lip and focus on rummaging (or at least making it seem like she was) through her pile of scattered clothes and garments that puddled around her feet, and were scattered all over her bed. Maybe on the one hand, it was a good way to keep Moana distracted on what she was really planning on doing.
“Anyways, so what’s your closet barfing up all your clothes?”
And…there it was.
“Ooo la la! Somebody’s got a hot date, I see?”
“What?” Elsa hisses and sharply turns her head to look over at her friend over her shoulder.
“The clothes on your bed.” She follows to where Moana’s finger is pointing. And her stomach sinks as she spotted the outfits that were laying on her bed. Proud and conspicuous. “Surely you can’t be wearing those to spend the rest of night indoors.”
Elsa subtly inhales a deep breath through her nose and blows one out through the seam of her lips. Sure, Moana was right. About the ‘date’. But it wasn’t just any random date. Elsa knew that. But Moana couldn’t. Especially not after all those times when Elsa vividly recalled those times where her best friend has expressed nothing but concerns and disgust over her choice in guys.
Especially this guy in particular. She couldn’t let her best friend down again. Nor could she risk seeing the disappointment etched on her face.
“So….who’s the lucky guy?”
Her breath was hitched in her throat. “Um….” She grabs the outfits and holds them to her chest. “It’s….no one.”
She already sensed that Moana was rolling her eyes. “No one? Really Els.” She rolls onto her side and rests her head against her palm. “You expect me to believe that you’re wearing one of those outfits for no one?”
(Think Elsa, think!)
“Yea, because…..I’m actually going to meet up with Anna and Rapunzel.”
This reels in Moana’s interest. “You are?” She furrows her brow. “For what exactly?”
(Damn you and your million questions, Moana!)
“…Just to talk about….boy stuff.” She finally decides on the blue skirt and black tank top. (Hopefully Hans will approve). “Nothing really special.”
“Oh…..” She uses her finger to trace the designs on her covers. “Well then….mind if I join you guys?”
Moana’s brow creases at Elsa’s quick and sharp response. Even Elsa knew the error in her tone and how quick her rejection slipped out of her mouth. She knew she was hiding something. But she couldn’t seem to put her finger on it.
Elsa takes a deep breath. “Because…I-“
“I know Anna’s your sister and Rapunzel’s your cousin and all.” She’s got her pegged. “But, they are my friends too. I’m sure they wouldn’t mind if I tagged along. Right?”
She most definitely had her pegged. She knew that. And unfortunately, Elsa knew that too. True, Moana may be younger than her, but that didn’t mean that she was naïve.
“I need to talk to them in private.” Was Elsa’s response. “About….family stuff, that is.”
Moana blinks. “Oh…..” She says quietly, deciding to back off once and for all. “Well….alright then.”
Elsa breathes a sigh of relief. Though her guilty conscience is still poking and prodding in her belly. Truth be told, this was for the best. No harm needed to be committed here.
“I’m gonna get changed.”
“Tell them hello for me?”
Elsa pauses by the bathroom door. Her hand grasping onto the knob as she takes a deep breath, closes her eyes and manages to breath out a “sure,” and quickly disappears behind the door and shuts it with a slam.
Moana only stares at the door that separated her and friend from one another. She knew something was up. She wasn’t stupid. After three years of friendship, it was almost impossible not to be able to notice when something was off with your friend. But because she knew Elsa’s personality so well, she knew better not to keep drilling her with questions that even she knew she couldn’t answer.
But for now, the best thing to do was to ignore what her gut was telling her and to just continue on with her night. Sighing, she rests her head on the bed. Her eyelids are fluttering and soon they close shut. And all the while, it never occurred to Moana, or to Elsa for that matter, that two pairs of blue and brown orbs had been keeping tabs on them through their window.
Both were blind to the fact that they were being watched.
So, what did you guys think? Comments are much appreciated!
I know that things might seem a bit confusing at first, but I promise that throughout the entire story, there will be more answers to your questions. For now, this is just the beginning. And because I only plan on having twenty chapters, the chapters will be much longer.
Hope you guys enjoy! Until next chapter guys! Mwah!
Chapter 3: Chapter 2
Ko'u aloha: "My Love" in Hawaiian
Disclaimer: I do not own anything. All the rights belong to Disney and DreamWorks
Main Pairings: Moana/Maui, Elsa/Jack Frost
Warnings: Sexual Content, Mentions of Rape, Hurt/Comfort, Emotiona/Verbal/Psychological Abuse, Death, Attempted Rape/Sexual Assault, Language
Tere_Earth: LOL! Your comment had me dying of laughter! Hans is indeed an asshole, and he will definitely get his 'just desserts' in the later chapters. Just you wait and see my friend!
LeslieTheSorceress: I appreciate you so much. Thank you so much for your kind reviews. I appreciate when readers take the time write detailed reviews on what they liked and what they didn't like in stories. So thank you my love. You are amazing!
BelgiumShady: Awww you! You are too sweet! I appreciate that enjoyed the other characters from different movies. I've always enjoyed doing that in my stories!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
While she was asleep that night, Moana got the strange feeling that the mattress she was laying on had somehow shifted into a bed of puffy clouds. And when her eyelids flutter open and her vision is now well adjusted, she slowly eases out of her slumber to find that she had been right all along. She was no longer on her bed, but on a blanket of white and cottony clouds. She was no longer present on the Earth plane, and the clouds she was laying on was floating. The gravity effortlessly pulling her upward, eager to rid her from the toxic environment down below. She wasn’t sure where she was being taken to, but part of her trusted that wherever it was they were guiding her to would provide nothing but warmth and safety.
But then again, this wouldn’t be the first time that she was being taken to a faraway place. A destination that remained a mystery. A faraway place that was one to never exist on planet Earth.
She was curious as to where it was she was being taken to this time. But it was only a matter of time and patience it would take for her to arrive.
It was him. A slight gasp slips through the seam of her lips. Her head is turning from one side to the other. She’s searching for any sign of his presence that may deviously be lingering. Gaze frantically looking to one direction, then to another. Behind her, or in front of her. He was nowhere to be found. She’s still sitting on the marshmallows of the cottony clouds as they continue to float upwards. There was still no sign of him.
He calls out her name smoothly, the baritone of his voice reverberating through her bones, sending a surge of warmth flushing about in the depths of her stomach. Her heart banging violently against her chest.
She gasps. Her widened gaze casting upwards, the force of gravity gently pulling her higher and higher above as she feels her body parting with the paved grounds of the Earth plane down below. Her soul separating itself from her earthly body, desperate to free itself from the grasps of evil and to finally be able to taste the freedom that it’s been craving.
“Ko’u aloha…come to me…”
The echoing of his voice rolling like thunder that echoed in her eardrums, told her that she was mere seconds away from being with him. She loved hearing him call out to her. The low rumble of his voice was always comforting and it would wrap itself around her being, blanketing her with the warmth and love she desperately desired.
She listens for the vibration of his deep vocal cords. Them being her only sense of direction she officially deemed as trustworthy. A broad bar of sunlight hovers over her, temporarily blinding her in the process. She shields her eyes, its golden pale trickling rays painting her lips a light coco color, and streaking her hair a dull chocolate brown. She casts her gaze downward, a breathy sigh in delight as she watches the bright sunlight playing over her red bathing suit and white shorts, alighting softly on her coco skin and outlining the small crevices of the clear coat on her fingernails and toes.
She makes sure to carefully survey her surroundings. The blue skies that were around her had been transformed into honeyed tones that were streaked with by brilliant yellows, oranges and light pinks. High, ice-crystalized clouds with the bright and pale sunlight streaming through them in great watery shafts of gold. Truthfully, if this was what travelling to Heaven felt like, then she wanted nothing more than to bask in its glory and its comfort that it was offering her.
His voice rumbles again. Soft and gentle. She could feel it in her bones. Almost taste it. She was getting closer to her destination. Nearing the pristine white gates that would grant her the access that she desperately wanted. She reaches out her arm as she is pulled nearer towards the gates. Chewing on her lip, her fingers wiggling for something to grasp on, eager to merge with his.
“You’re almost there.” He whispers. “Come to me…..”
The glowing bright light outlined his form. Massive, but gentle. Just like she remembered. Just like he always was. His hand reaching out to grab hers. And when their fingers meet, Moana gasps as a jolt of energy surges through her entire being. He’s pulling her from the clouds. The light so bright that it blinds her again. And she has no choice but to squeeze her eyes shut. His energy tugging on hers, pulling her from the depths of the clouds, pulling her through the gates.
Her eyelids flutter open. Gaze widened and fully alert, a sharp gasps slips through her teeth as she frantically surveys her surroundings and whereabouts. She didn’t make it to Heaven like she thought had. And to add to her disappointment and sudden sorrow, still, he was nowhere to be found. Instead, she was taken to a waterfall. A place that was all too familiar to her. The slight humidity of the air was soft and warm amongst her delicate skin. The carpet of grass was warm and dry underneath her toes. The bright sunlight decorated the evergreen grass with hues of beautiful golden rays, like wearing gold diamonds to a ball. The trees stood tall and proud the way she remembered, healthy and eager to give life to whomever deserved it. Their leaves painted in various shades of green, red, yellow and pink.
Her eyes find purchase on the water sitting before her. A breathy gasp as she gazes adoringly at the curtain of white water that poured languidly over the rocks and tumbled into the brilliant blue river below. The sound was calming to her soul, penetrating her eardrums so sweetly, it nearly became a soothing lullaby. She immediately felt herself tuning into the noises of birds singing sweetly as they eagerly flew in the sky above. The soft whooshing of the trees’ leaves hummed delicately in the humid air. The curls of her hair blew and swayed lazily in the sudden shift of temperature, as a tiny gust of wind gradually began to pick up. Though its touch was warm and comforting.
This was her sanctuary. And nothing could stop her.
On each conjuring of her sacred place she felt a frisson of joy, the same kind as she felt when she often swam in the depths of the blue sea of the ocean. And it wasn’t long until she moves her feet to join with the water. Its lukewarm embracing her with open arms, its waves softly blanketing her skin. The feeling so beautiful, so kind and honest, she was drunk off of it already.
And as her lip curl into a smile, a breathy giggle slips through the seam of her lips as she squats down to cup her hands in the water, and brings them to her lips, her tongue dipping into the clear liquid and letting it trickle down her throat. The water was sweet like coconut milk, dancing on her taste buds, eagerly greeting her as it brought back a taste of what ‘home’ back in Hawaii felt like. She hums, the memories of ‘home’ greeting her like an old friend.
She turned sharply, her breath hitched in her throat at the man perched on the grass standing behind her. There he was. He was standing tall and proud, his form was massive and bulky like she had remembered. The feeling of getting to be near him, to see him up close again left Moana feeling breathless. His figure was not reflecting the sunlight, but emitting it, glowing from within. His skin was looked almost more metallic, though his coco skin still remained bronze just how she liked it. The light traced and outlined every curve of his muscular physique, and they traced around the crevices of the dark ink of his tattoos that were painted on his flesh. The white light brushes his curly mane of locks a darker brown. His eyes were like fire, shifting from brown, to red, to orange and yellow that flickered and sparked.
He truly was beautiful. Everything about him resembled nothing but peace and serenity.
“Ko’u aloha…..” His bassy voice a whisper, and it blankets her skin with delicate little kisses. “Moana….”
Her lips draw in a deep breath. She’s blinking rapidly, her bottom lip shifting to a tiny quiver. Immediately, her eyes turned glossy, salted liquid beginning to burn in her eyes.
“Y-you’re….” She chokes out. “Y-you’re here…..”
His lips curl into a smile. A genuine smile that was so warm, so sweet, so loving, Moana had to do everything in her power not to let her knees give out. And to not let the tears that were caught in her eyes to burst forth like a broken pipe.
She watches as his arms open, and Moana knew what that meant.
“Come to me, Ko’u aloha….”
She doesn’t waste a moment when she finds herself jumping out of the water and barrels into his arms. She was tiny compared to him, but she didn’t care. All she cared about was the fact that her arms (though they were very small) were wrapped around the large frame of his stomach. And when she feels his bulky arms closing around her small frame, it reminded her of how much she had longed to be trapped in his arms once again. He holds her close, her head resting against his chest, enjoying the music of his heartbeat thudding gently against her eardrum.
Thump. Thump. Thump.
Despite the heaviness in her stomach, it fluttered greatly at the feeling of her body pressing against his. She allowed herself to melt into the warmth of his loving embrace, grateful at the fact that she was here. With him. That’s all she cared about. Nothing else. Everything around her was muted and put on pause whenever he was around. And frankly, she did not care one bit. If being with him meant that the chaos of the world around her would stop, then this was where she wanted to be.
Only here. With him.
No one else.
His touch always made everything around her feel much warmer. And truth be told, it had been such a long time since she’s had this feeling.
“I’m here, Ko’u aloha….” Her breath catches in her throat at the feeling of his lips softly pressing amongst the crown of her head. “I’m here…”
His words were like vanilla pudding, sweet and out of the ordinary. It was the richness of his tones, luxurious and warm that always released a sweet jolt that always left a tingling feeling to dance gracefully in her system. Honest, sweet and loving.
She hadn’t realized she’d been crying. And when he gently pulls her away to look into her eyes, the blurry vision was what had given it away. His two meaty thumbs meet her delicate flesh, and she lets out a breathy sigh as they softly caress the tears from her face, the dampness on her cheeks being another clue to give away the sudden rush of emotions she was feeling. He holds her face gently in the large palms of his hands, her breathing becoming slightly hysterical, the sob was wedged in the base of her throat. She knew she looked like complete sobbing mess. But that didn’t seem to bother him.
And judging by the warm smile he was giving her, in his eyes, he looked at her like she was the most beautiful piece or artwork on the planet.
“Of course I came back…”
Another breathy sigh slips through the seam of her lips as he leans down to place a tender kiss on her forehead. Then he peppers soft kisses to her nose, her cheeks as he kisses her tears away. And when his lips gently capture hers, his mouth dances with hers softly. His lips were full and they were warm and inviting.
His lips were just like how she remembered. The moment where they shared their first kiss, she remembered because she was only eleven at the time. But now that she had grown into the young woman that she was, things had changed for the better. And frankly, Moana was not complaining.
She would cherish every beautiful moment with him each chance she got.
“I-I’ve missed you.” She murmurs against his lips. “….so much.”
His forehead is resting against hers. Their breathing mingles with one another like old friends greeting each other after having been torn apart for years. He holds her close against him, his arms around her waist was inviting. Comforting and loving.
“I’ve missed you too…. ” He whispers. “I’ve always missed you….”
She wasn’t sure what it was that was coming out of her. Before she knew it, a pair of tears were racing down her cheeks. The sound of his voice vibrating in her eardrums was comforting. She could listen to it all day. It was unlike any other, and it was a voice she always found herself sinking in as it lovingly wraps her up in its embrace. Low and soft, sending nice chills up her spine each time he spoke.
“Ko’u Aloha….” He gently pulls her from him. His hands going to cup her cheeks, his thumbs wiping away at her wet tears. “Why are you crying…..?”
It wasn’t only his question that had somehow caught her off guard. But it was the way how his gaze met hers. Despite the salty tears that were falling down her face. The look in his eyes always remained the same; soft, loving, honest and accepting, it was moments like this where she wished that a planet like Earth never existed. But then again, whenever she was with him, no other place ever existed to her. He was her world.
And she was his.
“Don’t cry, Ko’u Aloha….”
The flesh of his lips softly meet her forehead. His lips were warm and gentle amongst her skin. A breathy sigh sputters out through her mouth at the contact of skin connecting to skin. A sob is wedged in the back of her throat, threatening to make its grand entrance.
His voice muffled softly as his lips stay attached to the flesh of her forehead. He was in no hurry to part from her any time soon. And frankly, neither did she seem too eager herself for this moment to end. She loved feeling their bodies being pressed together. And it was the loving look in his eyes that made her realize that the emotions she was feeling was beginning to make sense.
“I-I….I don’t want you….to leave me again…”
He kisses her forehead again. She chokes on another sob, eyelids fluttering closed at the feel of his lips now peppering sweet kisses to her wet cheeks. Then to the tip of her nose. Then they reach her own lips.
“I’m not going to leave you…..” He whispers. “I’ll never leave you….”
“P-please….” Her voice wavers in pitch. “…Please…stay with me….”
“Ko’u aloha….I’m not going anywhere….”
He pulls her closer towards him and wraps his arms around her. His embrace was warm, just like how she always remembered. Something about him that’s come to love. His massive, strong arms was always protective when they wrapped around her small being. Moana focused on nothing else but the man she was leaning on. As always, the world around her melts away as she buries her face into the beef of his muscled chest, clutching onto him desperately, not wanting the moment to end. Her body wracks with quiet sobs as his fingers tangle themselves in the soft curls of her hair. He whispers words of love in her ear, and his lips press softly against the crown of her head.
“Shh…” He coos. “I’ll never leave you again. I’ll always be here….Ko’u aloha….” His words were honest. “I promise…”
Salty tears were dripping into her mouth as she snuggles further into him. His fingers are combing gently through her hair, and he clutches her closer towards him. Refusing to let her go.
“Aloha wau iā 'oe…..always and forever….”
Always and forever….
Always and forever….
She wakes suddenly, every thought in high definition. Jolting up from the bed, she her eyes are searching frantically around her. Making sure to survey her exact surroundings. Her heart was pounding and her mind was suddenly empty. Feeling as if the hypodermic of adrenaline had been emptied into her carotid. She strains into the almost utter darkness, breathing rate gradually beginning to steady. The noises and muffled sounds seeping through the crack of her door are unfortunately of a night that consisted of low, bassy beats that rumbled. The students in her dorm were having what sounded like to be party that lasted well beyond its curfew. Proof she had woken up in the last place she wanted to be.
It was all just a dream.
A dream that felt real.
A stupid dream.
A stupid, beautiful dream that always felt real and vivid.
She suddenly felt that longing of wanting to be back in that forest where her dreams had taken her. She longed to be with him.
Him. And only him.
The nausea swirled unrestrained in her empty stomach unexpectedly. Her heart feeling as if it had become tar as it still struggled to find a steady beat. Moana found her measly twin bed to be cold and lonely. Incomplete. Nothing about it felt right. Her cheeks were wet and moist. But it wasn’t sweat like she had thought. Her vision was slightly blurry through the dark, and her lashes were wet. Tears. She had been crying. She was crying in her sleep, and the tears seemed to have followed her back to the Earth plane. It was then she realized quickly that she immediately missed his big muscular arms wrapped around her being. She missed the smell of him. She missed his voice. His beautiful smile. His spirit.
But that was it.
He was merely just a dream.
He was a dream that consistently appeared in her thoughts.
He wasn’t real. Others have told her that. And she had forced herself to believe them. But there was a deep part in her heart that couldn’t. She couldn’t just let him go.
He was real.
To her, he was.
But others would never believe her.
For ten years, no one ever believed her.
And that was something she had grown to live with ever since.
She stifles a muffled yawn, though her breathing was still uneven. She rises from her stomach, and sits upright on the mattress. She realized that she had somehow fallen asleep on the opposite end of the bed where your feet were supposed to go. Running a hand to move the loose strands of her now tangled curls from her face, she rubs the tears and sleep from her eyes and turns to look over at the clock sitting on the wooden end table wedged beside her bed.
It read in glowing red letters. How she ended up having woken up in her red bathing suit and white shorts was a mystery to her. She runs her hand over the mattress and is slightly frustrated to find that tiny little molecules of sand had managed to spread its way over her bedspread. The smell of dampen salt water was still pretty fresh, and it still coats her everything; skin, hair, clothes especially, bed. Her curls were tangled and dry. But it wasn’t those things that seemed to be bothering her.
Nor was it the intense partying from her dear dorm mates that seemed to causing her a distraction.
It was the bed next to her. It was still empty and freshly made. Aside from the numerous clothes that were loose from their rightful places. Skirts and tights hung at the edge of her bed, tank tops and tight-fitted t-shirts were in puddles on the floor. Not to mention, the sight of her bra and thongs were piled on top of various types of skinny jeans and Lululemon tights.
Moana furrows her brow and tilts herself up to fold legs and sit cross legged on the bed. Elsa had said she would be out for only a few hours. But that had been around the time of 8:15pm. It was now 3:00am and Elsa was still AWOL.
Which was strange because from the time Moana had first roomed with Elsa back in their freshmen year, she knew that a person like Elsa was not one to miss curfew. Curfew for her was at midnight the latest. Unless she was pulling an all-nighter to cram for an exam or finish a major essay that she had abandoned until the last minute. But tonight (well, technically very early morning) was the first time that Elsa had skipped out. And frankly, Moana herself wasn’t really warming up to this supposedly ‘new’ Elsa like how all of their friends wanted her to be.
Not to mention, the sight of this would usually repulse Elsa to the point where she absolutely needed to keep her side of the dorm room clean at all times. Even if she was running late for a class or for an appointment.
If anything, the ‘old’ Elsa was the person whom she’d become best friends with. And frankly, she wanted that person back. Stifling another muffled yawn, Moana quickly jumps off her bed, ignoring her feet swimming in the scattered array of garments and clothes on the floor. The important thing was that she managed to find her backpack that was lying on the ground by the foot of her bed. She pulls out her IPhone, immediately tapping a few buttons and the screen’s bright light was harsh amongst her eyes in the dark surrounding her. She had two text messages from Merida (probably making sure that she went to the nurse after her temporary head injury), and four or five messages from Guy (which had most likely been sent at around 8:30pm, complaining about having to be stuck in his boring physics and biology lectures that lasted until 10:00pm). She ignores them both. Instead, her fingers tap on the little ‘messenger’ icon and they scroll downwards until they locate Elsa’s name.
To: Elsa Andersen – Bestie 4 Lyfe Xoxo
It’s 3:00am. Where are you?? Text me back!
-Mo mo, xoxoxo
As if on cue, the door to their room creaks open. The sound of heavy beats and loud music briefly follows. Not long after a small click lingers afterwards. Moana snaps her head up, noting the white light that outline the curve of the silhouette that had just snuck in. Unfortunately, her attempt at sneaking in had been the least successful.
“There you are!”
Elsa jumps with startled squeal mixed with a pitchy yelp. She whirls around, her back leaning against the door and a hand grasping onto her chest for dear life. Gasping and breathing, her eyes wide like golf balls as if she had just seen her attacker for the first time in years. Elsa blink rapidly, trying to make out the silhouette crouching down on the ground on the other side of the room. Highlighted by the thin columns of the white moonlight spilling in through their window that remained bare without their curtains shielding them and stretching their way across the floor.
She furrows her brow, still trying to catch her breath. Her other hand reaches across the wall and shaking flips on the light switch. It was on with a quick click and the room was filled with a hazy yellow light. Noting the familiar dark curls, Elsa manages to breathe a sigh of relief.
“Oh….” She gasps. “M-moana, it’s just you.”
“Umm….yea.” She says matter-of-factly, though her voice is still gravel with sleep. “Who else would it be?”
“You scared me. I wasn’t expecting you to still be awake.”
“Well, it’s kinda hard for me to be asleep knowing that my friend is still out in the wee hours of the morning.” She stifles another yawn. “I just sent you a text.”
“O-oh! You did?” She immediately stuffs her hand down her shirt to retrieve her IPhone from her bra. “Oh…” A small chuckle as she taps her phone and sees the message from Moana pop up. “…Guess I didn’t realize.”
Moana takes another look at their clock. 3:05am.
“It’s literally five after three in the morning, Elsa.” Then she turns back to her friend. “Where were you all night?”
“Moana, I told you already.” Another chuckle, though it lacked humor. “I was out helping Rapunzel with a presentation.”
“Until three in the morning?”
“Y-yea!” She tries for a giggle, but it didn’t sound convincing. “I mean, you know how Rapunzel can be when it comes to presentations.”
“Oh? Was Anna there?”
Moana furrows her brows. “Funny, I thought you said were gonna meet up with Rapunzel and Anna.”
A muscle twitched involuntarily at the corner of her right eye. The hesitation and anxiety travelled in Elsa’s veins but never made it to her facial muscles or skin. Her complexion remained pale and matt, her eyes as steady as if she was trying to focus on the demands of her presentation. She curls her lips into a convincing smile, but even Moana was no fool to know which was phony, and which contained truth.
“Anna was there.”
“But you just said she wasn’t.”
“She came late. You know Anna, she’s....always the last person to show up to things.” She clears her throat. “I um….I had to help her with an assignment too.”
“I thought you said you were meeting up with them to talk about….boy stuff.”
“Well……” She could feel the sweat forming on her brow. “We talked about boy stuff too, Moana.” She grabs onto her braid. “What’s the big deal if we…did or didn’t?”
Moana just stares at her friend. Noting how her fingers were shaking while holding onto her braid. The look of uncertainty clouding her ivory blue orbs. The way how she couldn’t seem to stand still. Something she always did whenever she was caught in a lie. After all, with three years of friendship, it would be impossible for one not to pick up on these kinds of things. She turns to gaze at the clock once again. 3:07am. Clearly, this was much too early to be getting into some sort of debate. Her body needed sleep.
Stretching her mouth into yet another yawn, she lets a low groan slip through the seam of her lips.
“Y’know what, I’m….” Another yawn. “…too tired right now.” Then she flops herself back on the bed. Her head landing roughly against the pillow. “..I’m gonna sleep.”
Elsa watches her friend. Not sure whether to feel relieved, or to feel guilty. But for now, she chalked it up as an opportunity to escape from another possible interrogation. Instead, she steps over her pile of clothes and quickly slips into the bathroom without another word.
It’s all rude and obscene, Elsa thinks to herself as she leans against the bathroom door that’s closed behind her. She pinches the bridge of her nose, silently cursing herself for having been so stupid. Once again, she had acted on impulse, and that unfortunately had put her in a very difficult position. First, she lies to her best friend about her whereabouts. Second, she had done so again after her failed attempt of trying to sneak in at five after three in the morning. And third, well, that one spoke for itself.
The third was something she wished to the Gods and Guardians that she could get rid of for the rest of her life. ‘It wasn’t your decision’, she tried to tell herself, ‘he didn’t give you a choice. He made you do it.’ Did he though? Did he really make her do anything? The answer to that inquiry was something that needed to be solved on its own accord. Most people would say that it wasn’t her fault. Others would argue that it was. Some would even go as far as calling what had happened to her ‘rape’ to a certain extent. But then there were others that would blatantly say that it was she that had made the decision of showing up to his apartment at exactly 8:15pm sharp.
She did have a choice.
But at the same time, she didn’t.
And truthfully, she wasn’t sure which one would seem more valid. She didn’t know. And frankly, she didn’t want to. At the end of the day, it was she that will most likely end up finding herself in the ‘hot seat’. Everything was her fault. It always was, and it always will be.
‘You never do things right! You will never be good enough!’
Sticks and stones could break one’s bones. But words could never hurt someone. That saying was a lie. A big, fat lie. Elsa could attest to that one hundred percent. Those were the first words that she’s heard starting at the very beginning of her teenage years and throughout. And those were the last words she took with her on her way out the door with her suitcases and belongings packed and ready to disperse from the ‘hell hole’ she once called ‘home’.
And still to this day, those words stuck with her. They continue to taunt her. To plague her with self-doubt and insecurities.
And those words had played a significant role when it came to choosing her relationship with Hans.
Hans was every young woman’s ‘Hollywood Night’s Dream Guy’ that every young woman would die for the opportunity to marry him. Elsa herself had even fallen for his handsome looks and his irresistible charm during her freshmen year at the University of South Florida. He was every girl’s ‘prince charming’ and ‘dream come true’.
But little did Elsa know, that his ‘charm’ was all a charade. There was different side to him when they were behind closed doors. His ‘charming’ words turned into words of abuse and criticism. His ‘to die for’ kisses and ‘sweet’ caresses had been swapped for violence. And unfortunately, it was Elsa that had to discover that at the time, that she was Hans’ main target for his boxing practices. Bruises up and down her arms for one week, a black eye on Tuesday’s and a split lip on Friday’s.
Hans was the living proof of the devil lurking his way amongst the Earth plan. Scoping various cities and countries for innocent people to prey on. And Elsa had blamed herself for continuing to have allowed herself to be a victim in this game.
After all, tonight stood for itself.
Immediately, the events of the night had managed to find its way back inside her skull. Painting her brain with atrocious images. How he literally dragged her inside his dorm and locked the door shut. That devilish smile that Elsa only wished she could erase from her memory for the rest of her life. His hands literally ripping her clothes off her body. His wet tongue forcing its way down her throat. His rugged body mounted on top of hers, using and abusing her body like he always did. His hot breath blowing in spurts with each heavy pant. The strong stench of coffee mixed with alcohol rolling off his tongue and viciously attacking her nostrils….
Elsa shakes her head. Shivering at the memory and immediately forcing her thoughts to shut them out once and for all. She already hated herself for having been so stupid to fall for his demeaning act like she always does. The last thing she wanted to make room for was the self-loathing part. Now was not the time.
She pushes herself off the door and throws open the shower curtains. She switches on the tap and is relieved to hear the rushing stream of the water guzzling from the faucet. She grabs her towel that’s hanging on the left side. Just like how she preferred. She wastes no time in throwing her black tank top over her head and letting it fall to the ground, unclasping her bra and tossing it to the floor. The blue skirt soon followed and her panties were the last to drop from her body. She doesn’t forget to unravel her now messy braid and lets her hair fall in loose icicle, ivory waves down her back and over her shoulders. She quickly grabs her towel and wraps it tightly around her frail form. She lets the water run for a bit, turning the knob slightly to the left, and she reaches her hand underneath it, and lets a relaxing sigh slip through the seam of her lips as the water’s warm temperature soothes her skin.
A shower was much needed.
She lets her eyelids drop slightly, enjoying the feel of the warm water rubbing her skin. After a few minutes, she turns the dial, and thousands of lukewarm drops are released. She lets the towel fall from her body and puddle around her feet on the ground. Steam eventually seeps its way around the bathroom, leaving its foggy print amongst the glass mirror and the stained window. She takes a step into the tub and closes the curtain behind her. Warm droplets of the water darkens her hair and gently trickles down her back.
She stands in the shower. Allowing the water to pour down and cascade its warm temperature over her body. For once, she allows her mind to fade into dullness, and pretty soon, everything around her becomes a foggy illusion. The sensation of the steamy water calms her, taking her mind off the things that she would usually be stressing over. She allows her mind to swirl, and suddenly, she feels like she’s standing under an everlasting waterfall. And she wishes she could stand there forever. One that was ever so beautiful.
But she unfortunately knew that it could never last.
She reaches for her rag, bathing her skin lightly, taking careful notice not to touch the bruises that scattered her body. Bruises that she failed to look at in the mirror before she stepped in. Because she only knew that it would make the situation worse for herself.
A chill runs up her spine suddenly.
Followed by another.
And it wasn’t just the ‘feeling’ itself that caused her to jolt out of her daze and snap open her eyes so abruptly. The lukewarm water’s temperature was dropping. And it was dropping drastically. Cold water suddenly makes its grand entrance. It seeps underneath her bare feet, stealing the heat from her soles just as fast the now ice chill droplets of water steals from her face. Her face now soaked and her body shivered violently against the cold chill attacking her.
She wanted to scream, but found that her voice wasn’t able to find a single sound in her vocal cords to do so.
Elsa immediately reaches for the knob of the faucet, desperate to turn it off. But the water wasn’t stopping. Nor did the faucet continue producing water like it should’ve been.
It was the clump of wetness she felt on her cheek.
That same feeling that was all too familiar.
She takes in a sharp inhale of breath and snaps her eyelids closed. Her hand immediately goes to her cheek, though her fingers are shaking once they come in contact with the sudden coldness that is planted on her flesh.
‘Please no….Not again…’
She slowly pulls her shaking hand away, her eyelids gently lifting. A sharp gasp slips through the seam of her lips at the tiny crystalized snowflake that lay in her shaky palm. And suddenly, a high pitched scream was wedged in the back of her throat. But it refused to make its entrance. Her jaw is dropped, her ivory brown orbs widened to the size of golf balls, the anxiety and fear bubbled in the depths of her bones.
Another clump of wetness splashes on her other cheek. Another landed on her shoulders and lazily slid down the flesh of her bare back. Another had fallen. And then another. And then another.
‘No, no, no!’
White, cottony snowflakes sprinkle and surround her entire being. With a sharp gasp, she clutches the rag tightly to her naked body that was surrounded by the sudden chill. She finds her legs beginning to tremble with panic, and she yelps and stumbles slightly backwards as she noticed that her feet were concealed in piles of wintry snowflakes. And when she looks upward, the sight was enough for her to grant herself the opportunity to allow a high pitched shriek to pour out of her mouth.
The shower head was no longer spitting out water like it should’ve been.
Sprinkles of cold, white dust poured from above. She quickly reaches toward the faucet to twist the knob, but it was stuck. No matter how much force she tried to use, it was no use.
She couldn’t take it any longer.
With another shriek, she drops her rag in the now snow filled tub and lets it disappear in the depths of the fresh white snow. Tossing the curtains aside, Elsa jumps out of the tub and reaches for her towel, wrapping it tightly around her shivering body. The sight before her is terrifying. The snowflakes falling from the shower head were now pouring ferociously. And suddenly, she feels the throbbing of her own eyes, the ringing screams vibrating in her ears, the thumping of her heart against her chest.
‘It’s only a dream! It’s only a dream!’
Only it wasn’t a dream.
Her fingers curl tightly around the woolly fabric of her towel, there was barely any pigment left in her skin. She stumbles backward, her back hitting the door behind. She could no longer hear her rapid breathing, but she could feel the oxygen moderately beginning to flood in and out of her lungs. Fear had grabbed hold of her body, torturing her guts and making her stomach churn.
The bathtub and shower was now a swirling storm of screaming silver. The air around her suddenly shifted to stillness. Another clump of wetness lands against her cheek. And then another.
She yanks herself from the door with a yelp and clutches the towel tighter to her body. Pretty soon, the entire bathroom transitions. Flakes fall from the ceiling above, now thick like oversized confetti falling towards her. The white flakes suddenly whirling around her in an angry vortex, falling so thick that it begins to blind her.
She has no choice but to duck her head, and she immediately lets her body drop to the floor and she crouches in of herself. Flakes were pelting ferociously against warm cheeks, and they clung to her eyelashes and hair. She uses one arm to shield her face and eyes, and the other still clutches tightly around her towel. She remained with her chin tucked towards her chest, silently begging for the sudden blizzard to put a stop to its vicious attack. The soft crystals found their way onto her skin. She could feel her blood cool and her skin become icy.
And it was in that moment that Elsa was beginning to accept that the world was gradually being erased all around her. In time, the blizzard would swallow her up whole and leave her to die….
“Elsa! Elsa! Is everything okay in there?”
The pounding on the door was enough to pull her from the vicious attack of the sudden ‘curse’ that had just been assaulting her. Everything around her stopped. She slowly uncurls herself from the fetal position she was in. The ceiling was vacant with only the impudent yellow haze from the light bulb shining above. The air transitioned back to its warmth. And the shower head gone back to producing normal and languid water.
“Elsa? You still in there?”
Elsa didn’t have enough time to digest everything when the door was suddenly thrown open.
She jumps with a startled yelp and turns her head sharply. With a quiet sigh of relief, Elsa would admit that seeing none other than Moana standing in the doorway was the most comfort she felt all night.
“O-oh….” She croaked. “Moana…it’s just you….”
“Yea…who else would it be?” She stifles a muffled yawn, all bleary eyed and her curls were still a tangled mess. “What happened?”
“You were screaming.” She furrows her brows and cups a hand around her hip. “I just wanted to make sure that you were okay.”
Elsa blinks rapidly. “O-oh….I was?”
Moana nods. “Yea, you were.” A look of apprehension forms on her brow. “Did something happen?”
The question had caught her off guard. Elsa opens her mouth, then closes it. Unable to produce any word or sound. She chances a solemn look over her shoulder, the stream of steaming water pouring languidly from the shower head was both a relief and a curse.
She turns back to look at her friend.
“Are you okay?”
‘No!’ She wanted so desperately to say, but couldn’t find the willpower to do so. Elsa swallows hard. Trying her best to drum up any saliva, or sound that could be audible even for her. Truth was, her mind was still in catatonic trauma over the unexpected events that had just taken place.
Moana slowly finds herself squatting down to the floor so that they were both at equal eye level with another. There was a look of uncertainty etched onto her features that made Elsa wish that she had been quieter as opposed to having a full blown panic attack.
“Hey…” She coos. “Talk to me.”
Elsa flinches slightly at the feel of Moana’s fingers coming in contact with her skin. Her hands were placed on her bony lithe shoulders, and she had to force herself to swallow down some saliva that was wedged in the back of her throat. Moana’s brown orbs stared curiously into her ivory ones.
But Moana doesn’t look convinced. “You sure?”
Elsa gives a curt nod. “Y-yea…”
“Elsa….you look like you just a saw ghost….”
She blinks rapidly. “I-I am?”
Moana’s brows dent to a frown. Apprehension was etched onto her features. She doesn’t take her hands off Elsa’s shoulders, though Elsa had begged her to. The last thing she needed was to have a pair brown orbs burning into her soul with numerous questions that she couldn’t find the mental capacity to answer.
She tears her gaze from Moana’s, casting them downwards to stare at her hands that were clutching onto the fabric of her towel wrapped around naked body.
“You know you can tell me anything…” Moana whispers. “…Right?”
Yes. She did know that.
Moana Waialiki was her best friend.
Had been for three years.
Her lips began to tremble, though she failed at trying to conceal it. The hairs on the nape of her neck bristled. A gaggle of goose pimples laminated her frigid, naked skin. She was trapped in her own psychosis, a living nightmare that she couldn’t seem to get rid of.
Not for the last ten years.
With a slow, shaky sigh, Elsa finds herself crumbling. Her body tilts slightly and Moana wastes no time in gently allowing her to fall into her arms. Before she had a chance to blink, Elsa finds her head resting in Moana’s lap, her fingers gently stroking her hair to calm her down. At this point, Elsa would admit that this was the last thing she had wanted to endure. And that was her being the age of twenty-four, lying pathetically on the floor in the bathroom of her dorm room, practically naked (with the exception of her towel) while lying in her twenty-one year old best friend’s lap.
But Moana, being the sweet and selfless person she always was, didn’t seem to mind. She never minded actually.
“You’re okay, Elsa.” She says softly. “I’m right here.”
Elsa couldn’t find the strength to a muster a mumbled ‘thanks’. Her body and brain was in too much shock to operate fully, that it left her feeling exhausted and drained. She continued to let Moana tend to her, the feeling of her fingers stroking her hair was comforting and it was exactly the care she needed. Especially from her best friend.
They stayed like that for a long while.
And for that while, both Elsa and Moana had failed to notice not one, but the two pairs of eyes that were watching them contentedly from the now foggy window outside in the warm night.
Not even a week had gone by when Elsa Andersen unfortunately finds herself back in the one place where she least expected to be.
Considering the fact that the time was now 10:35am, Elsa couldn’t help but feel that skipping her three hour lecture on Shakespeare’s Othello was probably the biggest mistake she could ever have allowed herself to make. Not that that specific play had been one of her favorites. It was more so the matter of missing out on note-taking and having the opportunity to go back to her dorm and review it in case there was a day when her professor decided to be an asshole and surprise the entire class with a pop quiz containing the information that was given.
Being the responsible adult she had to be, it was clear that her priorities over her mental health would have to take the lead for this day.
Though she was silently beginning to regret her decision.
She finds herself staring at the black-framed wall clock for the fourth time this hour, scrutinizing the second hand, which seemed to linger an extra minute at every passing second. Then she takes her gaze off the clock, silently vowing to not look at it once more until absolutely necessary. Immediately, Elsa felt the need to move almost without end; truth was, if her limbs were moving, then the anxiety would soon disappear. But realistically, ignoring it would be the better way to go. Her heart twisted and sunk with nerves as she shifted uncomfortably in the padded seat of her chair, refusing to allow her eyes to wander back to the clock a fifth time.
The walls around her were still painted white, with various diagrams of the anatomy of the human body. In front of her, there was a picture of the beach that was sprawled on the wall, depicting a beautiful scenery; rolling waves on idyllic sand, proven to be calming to look at. Across from her was a tiny black wooden coffee table holding health magazines. Underneath it was a dull grey carpet that covered the whole room. A television hung in one corner displaying boring commercials. The clacking of the keys coming from the receptionist along with the dull undertones of monotone voices coming from the TV was quickly beginning to drive Elsa insane.
Not to mention, the other patients that were gazing into space didn’t seem to be making things any better. Everything was exactly how she remembered it. And it was the one place where she hated having to make daily visits to. Being in this place brought back memories that she didn’t want to remember. And it was the main reason why she desperately wanted to get out of here as fast she could.
Which was why she was silently begging for her psychiatrist to call her in.
She chances a look at the door to her right, and stares at it intensely. Feeling the tension and anxiety building up inside of her as she keeps her gaze glued to the mahogany door blankly, her mind full of emptiness. She was too anxious to help herself to reading any of the magazines or watch TV, so she settles on tapping her foot impatiently, her eyes never leaving the door.
After deciding that keeping her eyes glued to the door was only provoking the anxiety to increase, she reluctantly finds herself shifting her gaze to glance back at the clock. The second hand continued to move in its persistent manner, and she almost instantly regretted the decision to look back at it. However after a couple of seconds, it was as if the Gods and Guardians had magically heard her silent pleas as her concentration was disrupted by the sudden (and familiar) sound of the door creaking open. A familiar woman in her late thirties stepped out with a tender smile etched onto her features.
She stood up almost too quick, not expecting to send a sharp searing pain along her ankle as she painfully jerked her knee on the wooden table in front of her while getting up. Her lips clamp shut, trying to supress the yelp of pain that was dying to escape through the seam of her lips. Of course, the sound of flesh smacking against the leg of the wood was enough to break the other patients out of their dazes and cast curious glances her way. Even the receptionist had been interrupted from a supposed phone call that had needed to be answered.
“Oh! Honey, are you alright?”
She swallows, and gives a curt nod. “Yup.” She hisses against the pain through her teeth.
The woman at first doesn’t look convinced. But instead, she stretches out her arm and gently waves for Elsa to come in.
“Come on in honey, why don’t we start your session.”
Elsa nods, following her psychiatrist into the room. As she was approaching the slightly open door from which the sunlight was pouring out through the crack from the window inside, she finds herself biting hard on her bottom lip, filling her mouth with the metallic taste of blood as she forces herself to struggle against the pain in her knee that trailed down to her ankle.
The door behind her closes shut, and Elsa finds herself immediately trying to catch up on subtle breathing exercises to help her relax. ‘In through the nose (Inhale), out through the mouth (exhale)’. Her psychiatrist always reminded her to do that on a regular basis. And it did help…to a certain extent.
Her office hadn’t changed much. It was the same as Elsa had remembered it.
The fragrance in her office always brought Elsa back to the meadows that were back home in Norway on a cool, spring morning. But then again, maybe it was the fact that her psychiatrist always had long grasses and strings of meadow flowers in cream vases with subtle floral print to wallpaper. Something she believed would make her patients feel more comfortable.
“Do you want an icepack for your knee?”
It was an odd question, or so Elsa thought it was. But that was typical Helen. Always being the ‘mother’ as opposed to acting like the usual ‘psychiatrist’ she was licensed to be. But then again, it was one of her many traits that Elsa deeply appreciated.
“No thanks, Helen. I’m fine.”
“Mhm.” She tried for a small smile. “It’s just a little bump.” That was a lie, considering that the burning pain digging into the bone of her knee spoke for itself. “I’ll live.”
The woman, Helen Parr, just gives a warm smile. “Alright, well, why don’t you take a seat?” Then she pauses briefly and looks around her. “The couch, the bean bag chair, or the straight-back chair?”
Elsa doesn’t even think twice before she walks (with a slight limp) over to the chair that was the most obvious. She shifts her weight onto the cushion, and the smile is still etched on Helen’s features.
Elsa immediately begins to feel herself relax. And it wasn’t just because of the fact that the soft and bouncy texture of the bean bag chair was literally beginning to swallow her up. But she finds a small smile tilting at the corners of her mouth as she nods.
“Yes. Thanks, Helen.”
“Any time, honey.” She walks over to the beige curtains and tugs on them so that they’re slightly closed, which was usually how Elsa preferred it. “Do you want any Chai tea?”
Another thing she admired about Helen’s personality. The fact that she kept a kettle on the coffee table beside the bookshelf and always looking out for her patients. Elsa finds herself nodding.
Helen wastes no time in putting the kettle to boil. Elsa finds herself watching the woman in front of her. It was no wonder why many students (and even professors) had highly recommended a psychiatrist like her to visit on a regular basis. She never wore the typical white lab coat the way how psychiatrists were portrayed in films and television. She wore elegant high waist skirts (that showed off her curvy hourglass figure that most women envied) with classy button up French cut blouses with closed toe 2-inch heels, often referred to her patients as ‘honey’ or ‘sweetie’, and always preferred her patients to address her as Helen as opposed to ‘Dr. Parr’. But she still maintained her professional attitude, and her hair was cut into the shape of a bob with an auburn tint to her brown hair. Elsa knew that she was married. A woman like herself without a husband or three kids to add to the mix would be an odd image to grasp. Especially considering her motherly approach. And she didn’t have to wear glasses, which was lucky for her.
“Here you go, honey. Hope it’s hot enough for you.”
Elsa happily accepts the steaming hot cup from her. She cradled the mug in both hands and leaned her head over the rising steam. Pursing her lips, she blew softly over the clouded surface and let her eyelids drop. Her shoulders rose slightly as she breathed in, and hummed quietly with her head held low. She catches a glimpse of Helen, noting how she herself had lifted the porcelain kettle and poured a rotating arch of white into the black depths of her own cup.
Helen takes a seat in her straight-back chair with her clipboard rested against her lap and places the cup of the little table next to her.
“Alright, so it’s been a little while since I saw you last.” Helen crosses her leg over her other knee and grabs a pen. Elsa suddenly finds her fingers shaking around her cup, and in turn, Helen sends a warm smile her way. “So tell me, how’ve you been lately?”
Elsa finds herself pressing her lips into a thin line. The feeling of comfort had dispersed from her body so suddenly. And right away, she was back to the very first day she had ever stepped foot into a psychiatrist’s office ten years ago. Her aunt sitting in the chair beside her, judging her and feeling ashamed to have ever called this teenage girl her ‘niece.’ The look of weariness clouding the psychiatrist’s eyes, trying to figure out if she was indeed a ‘psycho’ like her aunt had referred her as. The feeling of anxiety rising to the top of her skin like fat. The feeling of being labeled a ‘freak’ like her peers had done. The feeling of being obsolete.
Helen’s soothing voice pulls her back to reality. She blinks rapidly, struggling to find the words that were desperate to escape. The woman across from her smiles a reassuring smile.
“Are you alright?”
‘Yes’. She wanted to say. But even Elsa herself knew that that was a big fat lie.
She immediately casts her gaze downward. Too ashamed to maintain keeping eye contact any further.
“Honey,” She looks up. “That’s why you’re here.” Helen smiles. “I don’t want you to feel ashamed. You’re here to tell me what it is that’s been bothering you.”
She was right. Elsa knew that. It was one of the reasons why Elsa had been coming here for three years to see her. Being in Helen’s room was a much different feeling than those times she had been in Dr. Weaslton’s office back home in Norway. Being in Helen’s room was a ‘space for the mind’ and a metaphor for the mind at the same time. Back home in Norway, most patients who sought help for their mental illnesses would never find themselves on a psychiatrist’s couch (or in this case, a bean bag chair), and yet, their minds would be perilous if one did not make space for their mental health. Elsa could attest to that. And it was no wonder why sitting here in Helen’s room felt like she was sitting in the comfort of her own bedroom. In this space, Helen always encouraged her patients to hold up a mirror and acknowledge their search for meaning, a metaphor for allowing her patients to dig deeper into themselves. And for the three years that Elsa has lived on this campus, she had to remind herself that coming to this room felt more rewarding and more resourceful.
She looks up. Helen stares at her for a moment. The smile from her face had slowly faded. And her brows were furrowed with concern. She hefts a heavy sigh, before she opens her mouth to speak.
“Have you been….seeing those snowflakes again?”
A swallow grates her chest. The color from her face draining from her system, her features now a portrait of Casper the Friend Ghost. Hearing that word was like a haunting melody that punctured her eardrums. Sometimes, Elsa had to wonder if even Helen thought that she was crazy. But because she knew Helen to be a woman who was more helpful than judgemental, she manages to allow herself the opportunity to release the words that needed to be heard.
“Yes.” She says softly. “Yes, I-I have been.”
Helen nods slowly. “I see.”
“I keep seeing them.” Elsa finds herself admitting again. “They won’t go away.”
“What about those times when you said that they had stopped?”
Elsa sighs solemnly, and leans back in her chair. “They did. Only for a day or two.” She mumbles miserably. “And then I started seeing them again.”
“How often do you see them?”
“Before, I only saw them once a day.” Her brows dent to a frown. “Then it started increasing to two times. Then three times.” Her hands start to shake. “Now….I-I see them almost every second of the day.”
“And you’re scared.”
It wasn’t a question. More like a factual statement. And it was more so Helen herself trying to get Elsa to admit she was scared. But it was more so the fact that she wanted her to know that being ‘afraid’ was perfectly normal and acceptable. She wasn’t in the wrong if she did so.
“…Y-yes….” She admits.
“Honey, have you been taking your medication?”
“Yes. I have been.” Her voice is wavering in pitch. But like Helen told her. She was scared, and it was acceptable for her to be. “But…they’re not working.”
“Elsa,” Helen leans slightly forward in her chair. “When did you first start seeing the snowflakes?”
She swallows. “…when I was fourteen….” She says softly, so soft.
“Where did you start seeing them?”
She was quizzing her. “….the day of my parents’ funeral….”
“How recent was the last time you saw them?”
‘A week ago’ “….last night….”
“…I-I was taking a shower….” She says. “…And then…I saw them…”
“And did you see them any time before that?”
‘No’ “…Yes…when I was in the library…”
“They’re getting stronger.” She casts her gaze downward, sinking lower into the bean bag chair. “I-it’s too much.” Then she gazes with a pleading look at the woman sitting across from her. “…I’m scared Helen…I-I don’t know what to do…”
Helen gives her an apologetic look. “It’s okay to be scared, honey.”
It was. It was okay to be. It was normal to be scared. But right now, Elsa knew that she didn’t want to be scared any longer. There was no time for that. She knew what she would need to do in order to not be scared anymore.
“Will I get more medication?”
She had blurted without having properly formatted her words and phrases. Helen’s eye slightly widen, proof that her question had caught even herself off guard. And truth be told, it was the last thing she had expected to come out of Elsa’s mouth.
“Um, well,” She struggles with her own words, “Honey, I didn’t really plan on-“
“Elsa, I really don’t want you-“
“Please Helen,” She found herself begging. She knew what she needed. “I need them.”
Helen sighs. “Elsa, I don’t want you to have to rely on the medication.”
“But I need them.”
“Please.” She whispers.
Judging by the fact that her lips were pressed into a tight thin line, the look on Helen’s face was enough to tell Elsa that she was very reluctant in proceeding with her request. She didn’t want to. And in all honesty, she didn’t really believe in medication being the ultimate key into solving people’s emotional problems. But because she was licensed to do so, she had no choice in having to meet the demands of her patients.
Another heavy sigh from her. “I’ll see what I can do.”
And though those were the words that she needed to hear, Elsa had failed to recognize a pair of icy blue eyes gazing at her through the window next to her.
There are exactly four calls that have Moana Waialiki wanting to hide for cover.
The first one had come in around 6:00am this morning. She had overslept and missed her alarm, resulting in her being half an hour late yet again for her two hour Chemistry lecture. It was too bad the Guy had his own Chemistry lecture later in the afternoon, his company would’ve been greatly appreciate. Then her second lecture on Grammar and Essay Writing had started soon after. She had fallen asleep after ten minutes, and she had slept for the entire three hours that the lecture had run for. She had skipped out on breakfast that morning, so she had settled on grabbing a quick meal to go. Her lecture on English and Literature didn’t start until 3:00pm in the afternoon, so she had some time to kill in the library to kill.
Although, a nice swim out in the ocean had been tempting.
She’s sitting in the library, scanning over the numerous words and phrases from her notes in boredom. Her phone vibrates loudly on the wooden table, and she quickly grabs it so that it didn’t disrupt the other students who were patiently trying to catch up on their own work. The caller ID that popped up on her phone was enough to provoke the anxiety to rise in her system. It was the person whom she dreaded having to talk to on a daily basis.
But it was the person whose finances were responsible for getting her into the University in the first place. Her thumb reluctantly hits the green ‘answer’ button, and she slowly brings the phone to her ear.
“Hi dad.” She answers respectively.
“Hello Moana.” Tui Waialiki, the last person whom she wanted to be speaking to. “How is everything?”
Brief silence. “Just ‘good’?”
“Great, actually!” She tries her best for a cheery tone (though it’s clear that it’s fake). “Just been really busy with schooling and such.”
“Ah. And you’ve been keeping up with your classes I hope?”
“You’re sure about that?”
“Of course, dad! Absolutely!”
There was a strange bout of silence between the phone lines. One that lasted a little bit too long for Moana’s discomfort. Something was tugging at a knot in her stomach, telling her that her father was on to her. After all, a man like Tui Waialiki could never be under estimated. And he definitely wasn’t a stupid man. He could smell a little white lie from miles away.
“How are your grades coming along?”
Moana clears her dry throat, hesitating before she speaks. “Umm…they’re good.”
“All A’s and B’s like we talked about? Yes?”
“Yup.” She pulls out a copy of her AP format essay on Lord of the Flies. The number of 64% was circled in bright red ink in the top right corner of the page. A swallow grating her chest at the number. “A’s and B’s alright.”
Another bout of silence returned between the phone lines. And this time, Moana was absolutely sure that her father had eventually caught on. Usually when he was silent for a few seconds, it was a bad sign. Right now, this was one of those times.
“I hope you’re not lying to me, Moana.”
A swallow grates her chest.
“I’m finding that very hard to believe.”
“…I wouldn’t lie to you, dad.”
She chews on her lower lip. It was now or nothing. Admitting the truth that her grades right now were not in the greatest shape may have been a better route to take as opposed to saying the words that her father wanted to hear just to please him. And right now, she had about five seconds to get herself out of this mess.
Moana heaves a deep sigh as her fingers go to pinch the bridge of her nose. “L-look dad….I-“
“Moana, I did not spend thousands of dollars to send you off to Florida so you can waste time and neglect your studies.”
A swallow grates Moana’s chest. The iron in her father’s voice was intimidating. And it was the last thing that she needed to stress over. At this point, she had lots of other things on her plate to worry about. Hearing her father’s stern voice was only provoking that same feeling of being obsolete that she so desperately wanted to escape from.
“Yea…” She admits. “…I-I know…”
Tui sighs deeply on the other line. “I should’ve just kept you back here in Kohala.” There was an insult there. “Maybe you would’ve been better off going to College here instead.” A grunt. “That way I could’ve kept a better eye on you.”
That was another thing about Tui that Moana found herself needing to distance herself. He never needed to dive into too much detail when it came down to him getting his point across. The less words he used, the more bitter and hurtful his thoughts and opinions were.
“I’m doing my best, dad.”
“Hmph, it does not sound like you are.”
There’s another insult. And this time, this one cut deep. His voice couldn’t have gotten colder, and it merely steeped in its own ice when it spoke. She numbly sets her pencil down on the table and slumps back in her chair. Her head tilted back so that she’s looking up at the ceiling. Her hand comes to run their fingers through her curls, her eyelids slowly closing with her phone still held to her ear.
“Think of your mother and your grandmother.”
Her breath hitches in her throat at the mention of those words. And immediately, a large lump is wedged in the back of her throat. Painful to gulp down.
“Think of how much you’d be disappointing them.”
She hated when he did that. She could feel the liquid beginning to burn her eyes. A constant reminder of why she needed to leave Hawaii in the first place and venture off on her own. Away from her father.
“…I know….” She says softly. So soft.
Tui huffs on the other line. “I trust that you’ve also been seeing your psychiatrist?”
Of course. He just had to go down that route too. Her eyes snap open and she slowly tilts her head back forward. She slumps further into her seat, cursing under her breath. Of all things she could neglect, it was that.
“Have you been seeing your psychiatrist, Moana?”
“Do not lie to me again.”
He’s got her pegged. At this point, there was no use trying to hide it. He had caught her in a lie just a few minutes ago. He already knew that she was lying right now.
“…I’ve been seeing her.”
Another grunt from him. “Moana, you better make sure that you see Dr. Parr ASAP.”
She takes a deep breath. “…Y-yes dad.”
“I mean it. You know that this is not something that can be taken lightly, Moana.”
“And…..” Moana finds herself wincing at the iron grip in his tone. “….you better be staying out of the ocean.”
She swallows. Thick and terrible. The color from her face beginning to drain. Sometimes, Moana had to wonder if leaving Hawaii was even worth it. After all, maybe her father had been right. It would’ve been better if she had stayed and attended College there as opposed to moving across the states.
“..Yes sir.” She settles on instead.
Tui huffs again. “I will be letting you go now.”
“I will be calling you in the next couple of days to check in.” He wasn’t offering. He was demanding. “I am hoping that things will have changed by then.”
“Good.” He says. “Goodbye Moana.”
Moana barely has a chance to get another word in before the phone clicked and her father was gone. Her gaze was cast downward, staring blankly at the sheet of papers piled in her binder laying before her. The phone was still held to her ear, and the line was now hollow.
If there was one thing Moana had begun to realize, is that she knew that there was a reason why she had avoided her father’s phone calls all this time.
However, there was one thing Moana didn’t seem to be aware of.
And that was the fact that she failed to realize the pair of brown eyes attached to a rather large figure who had been watching her from the minute she stepped foot into the library.
“Ugh! I can’t believe I have a major essay that’s due by next week!”
“Pff, you think that’s bad? Try having to study for a two hour exam that’s two days from now!”
“Och please! Ah hae an essay an’ a test that’s due aw fur next week!”
Well, that was a one good thing that came out of the day.
Meeting up with her sister, Anna, their good friend Merida and lastly, their close friend (also known as Elsa and Anna’s cousin) Rapunzel Engel seemed like a decent way to end the day off. Spending it at Starbucks seemed to be their usual tradition on a late Wednesday afternoon. It was a good thing that the Starbucks wasn’t entirely busy as it usually was.
Normally on a nice sunny day like this, it was almost impossible for anyone to find a place to sit. Line-ups were always overflowing outside the entrance and tables were always taken by loud and rambunctious people; mainly students from the university itself, since it was the closest coffee shop to the campus. Not to mention, considering the fact that Starbucks was also the most popular place in Tampa. But considering that mid-terms were around the corner, it was generally a neutral day. Not that Elsa herself was complaining. And frankly, Moana could agree with her.
“So….I guess asking how all your days went would be out of the question.” Moana’s lips curl into a grin as she uses her straw to stir, concentrating on the ice clattering about inside her Blackberry Mojito Iced Tea Lemonade.”
Rapunzel shoots her a deadpanned expression. “Ya think?”
Elsa forces a chuckle through her teeth. “Guess we’ll take that as a ‘yes’ then.”
Which didn’t seem like Elsa was complaining at all. The last thing she wanted to discuss was her unfortunate event of having to force herself to visit her psychiatrist and missing her three hour lecture. Come to think of it, Moana herself was in no mood to discuss the unexpected phone call she had received from her father. Nor was she in the mood to discuss how her plan to get A’s and B’s were resulting in her receiving C’s and D’s.
“Ugh, I don’t wanna talk about school anymore!” The whine was out of Anna’a mouth. Something that didn’t come as a surprise to Elsa at all. “Can we please talk about something else?”
“Ah cooldnae agree wi’ ye mair, Lass.” Merida miserably folds her straw in her teeth. “School has got me drained!”
“You don’t have to tell me twice!” Rapunzel rolls her eyes. “Sometimes I think that I should just quit school and become a stripper instead!”
Moana nearly choked on her lemonade. Elsa’s jaw literally dropped to the ground and in and instant, everyone at the table stilled. All eyes on Rapunzel. Her words stunning them into silence with widened eyes and curious gazes.
“What?” She suddenly becomes self-conscious with all the gazes being sent her way. “You guys know I’m joking right?”
They all stared at her. Though the smirk on Merida’s lips tilts higher. Gazes all amused. For a second, Rapunzel couldn’t help feeling as though she was being not only judged, but at the fact that her friends were beginning to take her words seriously. And it was in an instant, that her cheeks were suddenly kissed pink like a spring rose, the blooming color against her pale skin only made her look more adorable and innocent.
“Guys….I’m not actually thinking of becoming a stripper…” They all blinked. None of them budging. “I was just joking! I swear!”
They all exchanged glances with one another. After that, it was Merida who suddenly doubled herself up and burst into a loud harsh cackle of laughter. And it wasn’t long until not only Moana herself, but Elsa and Anna too began to titter. Soon, the ripples of laughter become the great waves of hilarity. Of course, the only one who wasn’t laughing was Rapunzel, who right now, looked more confused and mortified at the sight of her friends doubling over with laughter like hyenas in front of her.
“What is so funny?!”
But they’re still killing themselves with laughter and cackling.
“You guys say stuff like that too!” Rapunzel slides down lower in her seat, crossing her arms over her chest. “What’s the big deal?”
“Yea!” Anna’s laugh slowly begins to die down. “But…” A cackle. “It’s funny…” Another cackle. “B-because-“
“We usually don’t expect things like that to come from you!” Moana snickers into her straw.
Rapunzel furrows her brow. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
And just like she expected, the answer to her question remains a mystery. They all laughed until their insides hurt. All except for Rapunzel, whose lips were tilted into an amused smirk as she shook her head and rolled her eyes. She knew she couldn’t stay mad or embarrassed. After all, it was funny. Her own words even came as a shock to her. Her friends were right. She was never used to saying stuff like that.
“You guys are so annoying…..” She mutters with a smile.
Curious gazes were being sent in their direction. But neither of them lifted their heads to notice. All too busy laughing into their coffees and iced teas to realize who was watching them. In fact, they were all so busy laughing, that all of them failed to notice the figure that had made elusively stepped in through the entrance doors of the café. Rapunzel noticed, though the smile was still etched onto her features. And while her friends were laughing and joking with one another, Rapunzel couldn’t take her eyes off the young woman that had entered.
She appeared in the shop with a pair of sunglasses shielding her eyes. She had a paler skin tone, though her Grecian looks and high cheek bones was made her stand out. She looked to be in her mid-to late twenties. Her beautiful thick brown curls were thrown in a high ponytail and the way her hips swayed with each step she took was enough to make the guys in the shop (including the men) to stop what they were doing and focus all their attention on her. Though the girls gave her a look that signified envy. Even Rapunzel herself couldn’t help feeling self-conscious with her simple blonde hair and purple t-shirt and denims shorts and flip-flops. The girl (or woman) takes her seat at a far table, though she had no bag or wallet with her. It was an odd sight, but Rapunzel had forced herself to focus on her friends instead.
“Anyways,” Moana takes a breath as her laughter comes to a stop. “I’m gonna go get a muffin.” She rises from her seat. “Be right back.”
From the corner of her eye, Rapunzel notices how the woman immediately perks up in her seat. From the looks of it, she seemed to have been taking an interest in watching Moana leave her table of friends. Again, Rapunzel tries to shake it off. Suddenly feeling like she’s being paranoid.
“Bathroom break.” Elsa quickly rises from her table. “Be back in a little bit.”
Rapunzel watches as Elsa makes her way towards the ‘ladies’ washrooms. And again, she turns her attention to focus on the woman now gravitating her attention towards Elsa. There was something about this woman that felt off. Not normal. Really and truly, Starbucks was always a place for rambunctious, high class University students who overdosed on caffeine for late night assignments that needed to be crammed in. Every possible table was filled with cliques. Yet at the far end, that young woman sat at a table by her lonesome, statue-like in what looked like a designer dress. Her face was free of any blemishes and was smooth and supple and utterly serious. And yet, her eyes still remained hidden behind a pair of round sunglasses that mirrored the scene in front, muting all the chaos around her. She definitely stood out from the rest.
“Hell-ooooo! Earth tae Punzie!”
Rapunzel shakes her head and focus on the pair of eyes that Merida and Anna were sending her. She blinks rapidly.
“Ye kinda zoned out thaur, Lass.”
“Yea…whatcha staring at?”
Rapunzel opens her mouth to speak. Then closes it. Then she turns briefly, only to find that the young woman had disappeared. She surveys her surroundings. Relieved to find that Moana was still in line, and that Elsa had exited from the washroom. Then she turns back again, making sure that what she saw was real. The woman was gone. Not a single trace of her was left.
She turns sharply back to Anna’s voice. “Y-yea?”
“Ye a’right Lass?”
She blinks once. And then another. “Uh…yea!” She forces a chuckle through her teeth. “I’m fine.” Then she shakes her head again. “Just…just thought I saw something, that’s all.”
Elsa had found her way back to the table. And Rapunzel had tried her best to remain normal as possible. Though there was something that had left her slightly spooked. Pretty soon, Moana had come back with her muffin, and the five friends were back to chatting and laughing amongst each other.
However, the five friends had failed to realize a pair of two eyes, plus the brunette Grecian woman that were watching them through the glass window.
“Patience boys.” The Grecian beauty spoke with her sultry voice.
“How much longer?” The larger figure asked.
“Yea, and how much time do we have?” The other implied impatiently.
The woman looked between them. Then she focused her attention back on the five friends.
“The time is soon.” She says. “Tomorrow, that’s when you both make your move.”
They nodded. And neither of them took their eyes off the view in front of them.
Meh, not my best chapter. But I hope it was enough to win you guys over! Lots more answers will be revealed in the upcoming chapters! Stay tuned everyone! Mwah!
Until next chapter!
Chapter 4: Chapter 3
Disclaimer: I do not own anything! All rights belong to Disney and Dreamworks!
Main Pairings: Moana Waialiki/Maui, Elsa/Jack Frost
Warning: Implied Sexual content, Attempted rape/sexual assault, Emotional/psychological abuse, Language
BelgiumShady: I am so glad you loved the chapter love! Thank you for continuing to follow my story and I'm so sorry it took me this long to update! I hope you enjoy this chapter! Mwah!*
LeslieTheSorceress: GIRL! I love and appreciate you so very much! I'm sorry it took me this long to update! I'm hoping I will be able to update this story more frequently! And if you are still available, I could really use a proofreader? I hope you enjoyed this chapter! Mwah!* Thanks love!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Elsa made sure to take her usual seat in the back.
Her lecture on the ‘Introduction to Art History’ started promptly at 10:00am. Elsa made sure to allow herself enough time in the morning to have taken a quick shower, brushed her teeth and scrubbed her face, brushed and braided her hair, change into her clothes that she’d already made sure to lay out on her bed and to beat the breakfast rush at Tim Horton’s to pick up non-fat Chai latte for a quick pick-me up. Breakfast itself was something that she could skip, seeing as it was never usually her favorite (or preferred) meal of the day.
It was something that made her stand out from the rest, and not in a good way. It was no wonder why she had garnered the nickname ‘odd’ and ‘weird’ from the time her childhood started. Well, it mainly started after her parents died. It was something she forced herself to get used to, seeing as it was nearly impossible for her to be able to please everyone. But right now, something as small as not (or never) eating breakfast in the mornings was the least of Elsa’s issues.
The lecture hall was almost full, and there was only one empty seat right next to her. Despite the fact that her professor was presenting the content of the topic they were discussing, and despite the fact that she had made sure to lay her textbook, her notebook and pen neatly on her desk, Elsa was in the process of tapping the buttons on her IPhone. Her fingers scrolled up and down her mailbox. She held the screen down and watched the little circle load at the top of the screen, refreshing the page. Her inbox read ‘0’, and she had to do everything in her power not to let the anxiety inside of her bubble over. Hefting a sigh, she places her phone down on the side of her desk, picks up her pen and begins scribbling down the notes in her notebook.
Then a couple minutes later, Elsa picks up her phone for the fourth time and is slightly agitated to see that her inbox was still sitting at ‘0’.
Not a word from Helen.
Truth be told, she didn’t really care what Helen said to her. Or tried to tell her. She needed that medication. And she needed it fast. There was no way Elsa could allow herself to endure having to see those snowflakes once again. She couldn’t. She had been suffering from those hallucinations ever since the tragic day of her parents’ funeral. That was the time she had been fourteen. They started in her early teen years, tormented her throughout her entire high school years, and they had followed her all the way to adulthood. Now, at the age of twenty-four, they hadn’t stopped since. And if she didn’t get that medication, they would continue to haunt her.
Maybe forever. Until the day she’s old, wrinkly and on her own deathbed.
Helen promised her that she would see what she could do. And if it was one thing about Helen that Elsa knew, was that Helen was a woman who always kept her promises. Not once did she ever break them. Today could not be that day when she would.
She needed that medication. And she needed it now.
There was no way she was going to through the turmoil of being branded a freak. Especially now that she was officially a third year resident/student at the University of South Florida. She couldn’t let others around her find out that she was suffering from Schizophrenia (or so she was told). She had done enough damage to her aunt for allowing her to have to see that on a daily basis. Anna didn’t know. She couldn’t know. And today was not the day where she was going to figure that out. She couldn’t let that happen. She wouldn’t let that happen. For the sake of her sanity, and mostly for the safety of her friends. Including Moana.
‘Come on, Helen!’ She chews on her lower lip. ‘Message me back!’
She reluctantly places her phone down at the corner of her desk yet again. Her fingers go to massage her temples. Though that didn’t seem to settle the anxiety bubbling in the pit of her stomach. In other words, maybe it was a good thing that ‘Introduction to Art History’ was one of her least favorite courses. Seeing as she was falling behind on note-taking, and didn’t seem to be the least bit worried about it. Which was something that was completely against Elsa’s nature.
The buzz from her phone vibrating against the wooden desk had Elsa immediately perking up and reaching to grab her phone. She hesitated, heart beating rapidly against her chest as she eagerly prayed to herself that it was an email from Helen. So when she presses the standby button, the anxiety is still there, and her hands begin to shake as she swallows down a big lump. The little red icon on her phone signalling that she had a new text message from the last person she ever wanted to see again.
New Message (1) From: Hans
Be at my dorm at 8:30. DON’T be late!
~See you tonight my little Angel xoxoxo
Immediately, Elsa could feel the sweat drench her skin, the throbbing of her own eyes, the ringing screams vibrating in her ears, and the thumping of her heart against her chest. What started as a contortion in her stomach became a feeling of being smothered by an invisible hand. Fear curls up inside her and clings itself to her ribs, settling uncomfortably in her chest. She didn’t doubt that the feeling was there to stay, reminding her of his existence every time she opened her mouth to breathe. She knew what would happen if she had told him ‘no.’
She could never say to ‘no’ to Hans.
He would hunt her down if she declined his requests.
That was the last thing she needed to worry about.
And if there was one thing Elsa learned about Hans, it’s that no one ever said ‘no’ to him. It was never a vocabulary in his books. It was never a word that ever existed to him. And still to this day, it would never exist to him. And most importantly, Elsa knew that if she wanted to keep herself alive, she needed to comply with his requests. Even if he was now her ex-boyfriend, he still had her wrapped around his finger. He knew things about her that a lot of people didn’t know.
Not even her sister.
Or her best friend.
Her fingers hover over the keyboard. Her teeth sinking into the flesh of her lower lip. Fighting with herself not to give in. And just as she’s about to type, her thoughts are put on hold as she looks up from her phone at the sound of her professor’s voice calling the class to his full attention.
“We have a new student joining us today.” Professor Porter announces. Then he holds out his hand and gestures to the person standing next to him. “This is Jackson Overland Frost.”
The whole room, including Elsa, drop their jaws in awe. Her thoughts immediately became recycled. Unable to take her eyes off the person in the room.
“He’s a transfer student from Oxford University.” Professor’s Porter’s words suddenly become the least of everyone else’s interest. “So please, make him feel at home.” Then he turns to glance at the young (gorgeous) man. “Feel free to grab that last seat in the back there.”
The young man’s (who apparently goes by the name of Jackson Frost) eyes followed in the direction to where Professor Porter’s outstretched finger was pointing to. All heads immediately snapped around towards the back, glancing towards Elsa. She herself was too much in her own little world to clue in to what Professor Porter had just said. Nor did she seem the least bit concerned with the fact that all eyes seemed to be on her. For a second, she felt the whole word around her stop. No other voices were audible and no other presence’s seemed to be seen. Usually (aside from Hans) Elsa was never one to ogle, or go goo-goo eyed over guys and young men. Nor was the type to allow herself to feel like silly puddy the moment a guy made eye contact with her.
Until this young man, Jackson Frost stumbled his way onto this campus.
There was something about him that she couldn’t quite put her finger on. Yet the moment his crystal blue eyes were able to meet her own from down below, it was like she was caught under some sort of a hypnotic spell. She watches as he slowly takes his time climbing up the stairs, neither one of them taking their gazes off one another. To some girls, some would agree that he wasn’t particularly special looking compared to the average burly football player with an IQ of a chipmunk. However, the girls in here (including Elsa herself) would disagree and believe that he definitely stands out from the rest. There’s something about this Jackson fellow though that all the girls in the lecture hall seem to be cracking their necks just to stare at him with dreamy eyes. Some wishing that he was looking at them, while some others had that green-eyed monster look in their eyes. To Elsa though, there seemed to be something about this Jackson fellow that seemed to display a slight confidence mixed with an inflated ego. Something that seemed to have her words suddenly muddled and her cheeks blushing a deep shade of pink the closer he was approaching.
“So, as I was saying before, Van Gogh was a man of-!”
The booming voice of Professor Porter through the tiny microphone was enough to immediately alert her to the fact that she was indeed drooling like a chimp. Not to mention, her phone was still clutched in her now clammy hands, and her notebook still remained with only the first half the line paper filled with the scribbling of her handwriting. Shaking her head, she tosses her phone to the side and quickly grabs her pen, attempting to keep up with the material that Professor Porter was verbalizing. She made sure to keep her focus placed on her writing as opposed to the handsome young man that for some strange reason seemed to be making his approach towards her.
‘Please don’t take that last seat! Please don’t take that last seat! Please don’t-‘
Even the sound of his voice was enough to make any girl melt into a puddle goo. Jackson slides onto the seat right next to her (much to Elsa’s dismay), her book bag making a muddle thud as he gently drops it to the ground. Normally, something as small as someone moving her bag off the chair was usually a major pet peeve of Elsa’s. But there was something about Jackson that forced her to keep her cool and to not want to scold him for such behaviour. She pauses briefly from her writing, a chill immediately running up her spine. Goose flesh rolled over her arms and legs. She silently clears her throat and gives a slight nod, refusing to look anywhere else than his polished, white sneakers that seemed to appear as though they must’ve cost a fortune. The kinds that obviously looked like they were purchased from ‘Guess’ as opposed to ‘Payless’. The kinds that looked so out of place among the rows of multi-colored flip-flops and torn up running shoes that grazed the deep carpeted turquoise colored floor. The kinds that even made Elsa feel insecure with her own choice of plain white flip-flops that she’s had since she was nineteen years old.
“You can call me Jack for short.” He whispers as he leans in slightly closer. Her shoulders hunch as she fidgets in her chair. Though she couldn’t seem to ignore the delicious shiver running up her spine, like a million bolts of electricity. “What’s yours?”
She immediately turns to face him with a furrowed brow. “W-what?” Though she instantly regrets it.
He lifts a brow. “…Your name?”
Her mind had responded for her. But the word faltered on the tip of her tongue as their eyes are locked with one another. His eyes were blue, just like hers, only the color blue of his eyes was something that she’s never seen before. They were the blue that immediately had her freezing in place, captivating not only her body, but her entire being in the slightest of moments. They were so mesmerizing that it was as if they were staring deep into her soul. And much to her dismay, Elsa was finding it almost impossible to take her eyes off of his. She could’ve sworn there was a sky trapped behind his pupils, seeming to extract farther than she could ever comprehend. In that moment, she only wondered how many stars his eyes were holding. His hair was as white as the purest snow, and his skin was like alabaster powder, clean and smooth. All characteristics that seemed to match her own. Not to mention, his jaw was chiselled, yet had a softness to them. But there was something else about him that seemed to captivate her even more.
Something about him that seemed strangely familiar. As if she’s met this young man before.
…Could they have met before?
Impossible. Not a chance.
…But…was there a possibility that maybe, just maybe…
“So…you gonna tell me?”
His voice broke through her thoughts. She blinks rapidly and shakes her head. Realizing that she’s still present on planet Earth. His lips are tilted upwards, brows raised in amusement.
She blinks once. Then another. Then she tears her gaze from his and quickly goes back to jotting down the information that was being given.
“….Elsa.” She mumbles without making any eye contact with him.
“Elsa.” He vocalizes her name. Even something as simple as that sounded so much better coming from his lips. “That’s a beautiful name.” She ignores him. “…For a beautiful girl.”
She pauses briefly. Her fingers shaking, her grip tightening around the defenseless pen as she presses her lips into a tight line. A breath is hitched in the back of her throat. There was absolutely no way that she could be attracted to this guy. Nope. She wasn’t allowing herself to go down that path again. Nope. Nada.
“Now if we can all turn to Chapter 6 in our textbooks please!”
Professor Porter announces as everyone flips open their books. Elsa tosses her pen aside and quickly flips open her textbook. Not bothering to look to her right at the young man sitting beside her. She could feel his gaze weighing in on her presence. Almost as if he hadn’t taken his eyes off her the minute he stepped foot into the lecture hall. But of course, it was no surprise that Jackson (or Jack) was the only one out of the one-hundred and twenty students that was missing a textbook.
And to no surprise, he leans in, and whispers in Elsa’s ear, “Mind if I share?”
His breath is warm amongst her skin. And Elsa immediately finds herself hesitating, dreading over the close proximity between the two. It was already nerve-wracking enough that he just had to take the last seat beside her, what more did this guy want? Releasing a deep breath, she musters up the courage to slide the book over to him, making sure that it was smack in the middle and not much closer towards her. And when Jack decides to move closer, sliding his chair closer towards hers so that the bridging gap between them is no longer existent, Elsa finds herself scooting the farthest part of her seat, her thigh hanging over the edge. Of course, it’s no surprise that Jack catches wind of this and releases a small chuckle under his breath. Elsa of course wasn’t sure what it meant, but all she knew was that it sounded light and amused. Almost as if it held something more.
Not that the sound of his laugh was of any importance to her. Besides, Professor Porter’s interpretation of Van Gogh was the main thing that needed to be focused on.
“Seems like someone’s a bit on edge.”
Her brows furrow. But she doesn’t look at him. “Excuse me?”
Jack chuckles again. “You seem very tense.”
She frowns. “No, I’m not.”
“You sure about that?”
She presses her lips into a tight line. “Yes. I’m sure.”
“Hmm…” He nods, his gaze fixated on her. “Could’ve fooled me.”
This time, she does turn to look at him. More like glare at him was the better word for it. “I…what the hell is that supposed to be mean?”
When her gaze meets his, he immediately felt drawn to her eyes. The icy-blueness generated a feeling like he was being pulled into a lake of frozen emotions. It was like all the myriad shades of blue swirled together to form a whirlpool of apprehension. And he could tell that the spark they had shared just a few seconds ago had vanished. Judging by her sudden shift in demeanour and her body language, he could tell that she was no longer a fan of his, and those flickering azure orbs confirmed his thoughts. But that didn’t mean that he was going to give up easily.
“No need to get all defensive,” He holds up a hand, though a small grin still linger amongst his lips. “I’m just saying that…” He pauses. “Maybe you should just lighten up a bit.” A small smile. “That’s all.”
Elsa opens her mouth to respond. But closes it back just as quickly. Her mind unable to produce any more words. Though there was a lot she wanted to say. Their gazes are locked with one another’s once again. And with an agitated huff, Elsa breaks the eye contact and rolls her eyes. Deciding that focusing her energy on Professor Porter was a much better option at this point.
Though as much as she was tapping her foot impatiently, waiting for the lecture to end, she couldn’t shake the feeling that it was she who seemed to be the topic of Jack’s interest for the remainder of the lecture.
It had only been an hour and a half on the ‘Imagery and Word Painting in Classic Literature, and Moana could already feel her eyelids growing heavier with each passing second. And it didn’t help with the fact that Professor Tremaine was the most monotone, uncreative and unenthusiastic woman on the planet. Her pet pig back home in Hawaii, Pua, could deliver a much more exciting lecture than this garbage she was forced to attend on a weekly basis. Why Classic Literature was so significant in her wanting to become a writer was beyond her knowledge. She would never understand why it was listed as one of the mandatory courses she needed to take in order to get the credits to be able to graduate eventually in the next year or so.
Keyword being eventually.
Surprisingly, the lecture hall itself could fit about close to three-hundred students at a time. That was the number of people that showed up maybe during the first couple of weeks or so. By now, the hall was probably occupied with maybe only one-hundred students. Moana couldn’t blame the other two-hundred that had probably made the wise decision of dropping the course after the first month or so. The course itself had the potential to be interesting. But it was too bad that the English department had made the mistake of allowing Professor Tremaine the opportunity to present the content.
Frankly, it was no surprise that pretty much every single student in the Creative Writing program had absolutely despised her (Professor Tremaine) with every part of their fiborous being. Moana was one of them.
She was a tall scrawny woman who often wore a small grey bun on the top of her head that was so tight that it pulls the skin back, giving her a strained look. Her nose is a hawk’s beak (according to Guy), her small eyes are sharp as she pauses every few seconds from her rant and scans the hall to make sure that her words are being met. She often worse business-like blouses that hang from her bones and her knees were always looked like they were squished together due to the pencil skirts she attempts to look good in. The woman herself is clearly old and fighting every step of the way. Her lips were fattened, and her eyelashes were false. She never smiled, or laughed. She always looks angry, as if being at the University of South Florida was the last place on Earth that she ever wanted to be. Despite her frail appearance on the outside, even Moana knew just by looking at her what truly lay behind that facet of wrinkles. Stubborn, headstrong and stuck-up like that of a wild boar, with a tongue so sharp, one could clearly be sliced in two if the woman herself believed you to be worth her time in the very least, let alone bother to utter a word to you at all.
From day one, Moana had made sure to avoid any form of contact with this women until the semester was over. Even though she had numerous questions about specific topics, it was a good thing that the internet was able to be the ‘teacher’ that she needed.
As the lady rambled on and on about the importance of William Shakespeare’s journey through life, Moana herself was fighting to keep her eyes open for the remainder of the lecture. Then a voice from her left disturbed her sleepy thought. She knew who the voice belonged to, but she didn’t make the effort to look in his direction.
“Someone’s sleepy.” Guy chuckles.
She says nothing as she lazily rolls her eyes and allows the weight of her head to teeter forwards slightly. She hefts a mumbled sigh and she rests her arms on the desk. Before she knew it, her head along with her whole body lowers itself forward and she rests her head in the crook of her arm. Her eyelids flutter themselves closed. Though her brain is still aware of the information that is being presented. Guy snorts a quiet laugh and leans in.
“Fine, I’ll take notes for you, again.”
She makes no attempt to respond back to the sarcasm that dripped off his tongue. His voice became muffled, as well as that dreadful sound of Professor Tremaine’s words suddenly transitioning into slow motion. And all of sudden when Moana discovered that her thoughts were becoming nonsense, and all the more interesting for it, she knew she was falling asleep. Now all she had to do was let go. And as her consciousness ebbed, her mind immediately went into free fall, swirling with the beautiful chaos of a new dream. Her heart thumped in accordance with slow, shallow breaths. Serenity was plastered across her face as she slept. At peace, her consciousness swirled in the land of dreams, oblivious to the physical world around her.
There it was again.
He was here.
She could hear him. Feel him. His presence was near.
She squeezes her eyes tighter. Mumbling incoherent words. From out of the very depths of her being, flowed all her emotion, as the groaning and murmuring flow passed her lips.
‘Maybe if I just stayed quiet…..’
“….Don’t fight with me!....”
His voice booms and echoes against her skull. It was more aggressive than she’s ever heard him. A tiny whimper slips past her lips and she shudders against the violent sound of his voice.
‘….Five more minutes…..’
There was her voice. She wanted to say the words out loud. But it was merely what she was thinking in her mind that silently communicated the words for her.
‘I said five more minutes!’ Her mind fired back at him.
She couldn’t see him. How much she longed to see him. How much she only fought against the numerous shapes and colors that blocked her every move to where she needed to get to. And there was darkness. Darkness suffocating her body like a damp, musty, thick blanket, clinging to every inch of her coco skin.
“…Wake up! You have to wake up! Now!...”
‘I need to sleep!’ Her mind speaks for her again. ‘Is five minutes too much to ask for?!’
“…Now is not that time for that! Pay attention!!...”
‘Quit nagging me!’
“I said stop nagging me!!”
She wakes faster than a cat in ice-water, every sense urging her to claw her way to standing. Though her eyes are open, Moana couldn’t think of why is was; her heart was pounding, her mind empty. His voice was gone. It was if the hypodermic of adrenaline had been emptied into her carotid. She tries to strain into what she believed to be darkness, only it had vanished. Instead, she’s met with the familiar rays of the fluorescent lights shining above, greeted with the familiar scent of wooden tables and musty carpets. She surveys her surroundings, and realization finally hits her.
She’s still present in her lecture on the ‘Imagery of Word Painting’. There was a stillness around her that clawed at her insides. She looks around, and suddenly, all eyes are on her. He rows of heads from her fellow students are in mid-pause of what they were doing, and are now focusing their attention on her. Some of them had looks of confusion marked on their face. While there were others who scowled at her to ‘shut up’. The silence fell around her like a void, swallowing her up and dragging her down its hole. She turns slowly to find that even Guy was giving her a rather crooked look. His brows were furrowed and his eyes were creased.
She jumps at the sound of Professor Tremaine’s booming voice shouting out to her from down below. She turns to look at her and she gulps.
“If you’re needing to talk to your...” The woman scoffs in disgust. “…imaginary friend, please do so outside in the hallway!”
‘Was I speaking out loud?’
‘Did everyone hear what I was saying?’
“Do I make myself clear, Ms. Waialiki?!”
A mortified look stretches across her features, frozen to the spot. Which could only mean one thing. They heard me. They heard every word. She sits, soaking in the cruel laughter, snickers and whispers of judgment from her peers. Her head begins to spin and all of sudden, her vision goes slightly blurry. Her heart beats violently inside her chest, so hard that it hurts.
She winces at Professor Tremaine’s voice.
It was in that moment that Moana only wished that the Earth could just open itself up and swallow her whole. Blushing would’ve been no problem, but it was the fact that she had gone as red as a beetroot and the heat radiated underneath her skin like a hot pan frying grits on a hot stove. But even she knew that there was no escape from this embarrassment. It was absolute. Torture. Utter Humiliation. The memory would forever be seared into her brain forever, ready to pop up and torment her again when she was ever in a quiet moment.
‘They know….oh gods! They know!’
“As I was saying…” Professor pauses with a scoff. “…Before I was so…rudely interrupted…!”
She gasps and jumps as Guy places a gentle hand on her shoulder. But she refuses to look at him.
She couldn’t look at him.
But his voice doesn’t quite reach her. Instead, his voice begins to fade out into a muffled blur. The warmth underneath her flesh had now bloomed into a full blow, sweltering heat wave bursting through her pores and triggering the waterfalls in her eyes.
She starts to hyperventilate, and she finds herself gasping for air. Her heart thumps ferociously against her chest. However, it was too erratic for her liking, and without thinking, triggering her to grab her bag, bolt from her seat and totter away across the hall and rush up the stairs in cruel, judging silence. She bolts through the door into the massive hallway and leans her body against the wall, heaving and panting. Just as the door was closing, she was certain she could still hear the leftover sounds of their snickers, harsh and cold, inside her head as a sort of ringing bell. She drops her bag to the ground, and lets out a deep breath. She closes her eyes, fighting against the tears burning in her eyes as she claws her fingers in her scalp and slowly lets her body slide down against the wall.
She makes sure to pay no attention to the numerous bodies of students walking past her, up and down the hallways as some were eagerly making their way to class, while some were most likely finished their lectures. She pulls her knees up to her chest and buries her head into them. Her forehead presses against the flesh of her legs, and she makes a mental note to herself to count down from twenty. Then to fifteen.
‘This can’t be happening….’
Moana breathed as if no air would ever be enough, as if she were a drowning victim suddenly brought up from the depths. Her fingers were buried in the valley of her curls, her long hair almost curtained around her entire being.
‘Deep breath in…
‘Deep breath out…’
In and out.
Out and in.
Her breath stuttered in her lungs before she let go another one. Slowly, the tension drained out of her body. Her breathing instantly returning to normal and she felt that now, she was ready to face the problem.
She had a problem.
And it was up to her whether or not she was willing to fix it.
Right now, she had no choice.
And she knew she needed to find the one person who could help her do so.
Her father’s stoic voice makes its appearance inside her brain.
‘You better make sure you that you see Dr. Parr ASAP.’
Without thinking, she snaps her eyes open and reaches into her bag. She pulls out her phone and taps the buttons. Her screen comes to life. The time on her screen reading 12:15pm. ‘Her drop ins are only until 1:00’. She still had some time. But just barely. With shaky fingers followed by a deep breath, she uses her thumb to scroll through her ‘Emergency Contacts’ list. Right away, she hits the contact and the dial tone immediately rings. With a deep sigh, she brings the phone to her ear and patiently waits.
Her heart drops into the pit of her stomach at the sound of the click interrupting the dial tone mid-way.
“Dr. Parr’s office.” The woman on the line speaks. “How may I help you?”
She takes a deep breath, and then speaks. “H-hi…um…this is Moana…” She pauses. “M-moana Waialiki.”
“How may I help you, Moana?”
“Umm…do you know if Dr. Parr is available right now?”
By lunch, almost the entire campus was talking about Jack Frost.
(“Have you seen that new guy, Jack Frost?” – “Oh my gosh! He’s so hot!” – “Where do you think he’s from?” – “I don’t know, some kind of foreign country for sure!” – “He looks Swedish…” – “No…I think he looks more like he could be from Germany.” – “Did you see his eyes? Ugh! Soooo dreamy!” – “I know right! There’s something so mysterious about him.” – “So sexy!” – “I’m totally asking him out!” – “You don’t even know him!” – “Don’t worry, I will…” – “No fair! I call dibs!” – “Ha! In your dreams!”)
‘If I hear that….that Jack Frost’s name one more time, I swear I’m gonna-’
Elsa shakes her head as she massages her aching temples. This whole thing about ‘Jack Frost’ seemed utterly ridiculous. Especially considering the fact that Florida’s campus was literally the size of the Earth’s entire land mass. Not to mention, there was over two thousand students that attended this school. How word about Jack Frost was able to travel around to practically every single person on the planet? She would never know. And frankly, she wasn’t interested.
“Omigod! Omigod! Guys, you will never believe what I’ve been hearing!” Rapunzel rushes to the table in a frenzy and sits down across from Elsa. She was wearing her cheerleading uniform (the annoying ‘outfit’ that Elsa always despised).
“What?!” Elsa jumps slightly, nearly forgetting that Anna had been sitting next to her the entire time. “Omigod! Tell me! What is it?!”
“Eeeeee! Okay, okay!” Rapunzel leans across the table with a wide smile. “SO…I’ve been hearing that there’s new guy that goes to our school!”
“Omigod! A new guy?”
“Omigod! Omigod!” Anna squeals as she claps her hands. Elsa rolls her eyes, miserably grabs her fork and stabs at her Greek Salad. “What’s he like?”
“Ugh! I don’t know!” Rapunzel groans as she dramatically drops her head to her outstretched arm across the table. “And I don’t have any classes with him!”
‘Could they be anymore annoying?..’
“We have to find this guy!” Anna immediately begins drumming her fingers amongst the table in deep thought. “Is he hot at least?”
“He’s more than just hot!” Rapunzel quickly lifts her head up with a bright smile. “That’s what I’ve heard the other girls say!”
Anna gasps. Elsa rolls her eyes. “Sexy?”
“Smokin’! And apparently he has the most dreamy eyes!” Rapunzel sighs like a fan girl. “All the girls on the cheerleading squad are dying to see what he looks like!”
‘Dreamy eyes?’ Elsa pauses from her actions. There was only one person on campus who had dreamy eyes. ‘Oh no…’
“Omigod! We need to find this guy!” Anna nearly pounces out of her seat. “What’s his name?”
‘Oh no! Oh shit! Please don’t say who I think it is! Please don’t say it! Please don’t-‘
Elsa froze. Jack Frost…Jackson Frost?! Her heart starts racing. Her brain on fire. Adrenaline levels dangerously beginning to increase. A building of an unstoppable snowfall forms in the pit of her stomach. Not again...not him…
“Omigod! Even his name sounds sexy!”
“Girl! We have to find this guy!”
If Elsa didn’t know any better, she would’ve thought that she was reliving her old high school days all over again. The days of being looked down upon by snobby cheerleaders and having to eat her lunches in a corner by her lonesome, while the hottest guys on the football team would never dare consider even looking in her direction. Not that Anna and Rapunzel would ever think to brand her as an outcast. But unfortunately at the rate they were going, Elsa couldn’t help but think that they her cousin and her sister both had the potential of becoming one of those girls. And frankly, high school was the absolute last thing that Elsa herself ever wanted to remember.
“He definitely doesn’t sound like he’s from here…” Anna lifts a brow in thought.
“I know!” Rapunzel mirrors her cousin’s actions. “Hm…where do you think he’s from?”
“He could be Swedish!”
“That’s what I’ve heard!” Rapunzel slams her palm against the table. “Omigod! What if he’s Russian?”
“Omigod! Russians are so hot!”
‘What the hell did Anna really know about Russia?’ Elsa shakes her head once again.
“What if he’s German?!”
“What if he’s from Norway?!”
“Oh for crying out loud!” Elsa drops her fork and growls, finally finding her voice and making her appearance. Much to Anna and Rapunzel’s chagrin as they immediately shut their mouths and turn their heads to focus on Elsa. “Will you both just drop it already?!”
They both stare at her, like two deer in headlights.
“He’s just a guy!” She scoffs. “Get over it!”
Rapunzel gasps. “Just a guy?!”
“Whoa, who pissed in your salad sis?” Anna smirks.
“Just a guy?!” Rapunzel gasps in offence. “What do you mean he’s just a guy?! Are you insane?!”
Elsa rolls her eyes. “Well he is.” She shakes her head. “I’m just saying that it’s not that big of a deal.”
The blonde haired beauty, looking absolutely mortified, turns to gape at Anna with a wide mouth. “What the heck is wrong with your sister?!”
Anna frowns. “Hey! She’s your cousin too!”
“I’m still sitting right here y’know?” Rapunzel and Anna both turn to look at her. Their brows were raised. “And frankly, I find it absolutely ridiculous that you’re both obsessing over a guy that you don’t even know.”
“You would so not be saying that if you’d been privileged enough to actually see him.” Rapunzel glares, peeling her vanilla cupcake from its wrap and licks the white frosting right off the top. Then she turns to look at Anna, pleading. “Seriously! What’s wrong with her?!”
“Beats me.” Anna casually shrugs her shoulders without a bother, sipping her orange and mango smoothie from her straw. She turns to her sister with narrowed eyes. “Seriously sis.” she reaches out to place the back of her palm against Elsa’s forehead (much to Elsa’ annoyance). “Are you feeling okay? Do you have a fever or something?”
Elsa groans and bats Anna’s hand away. “Like I was saying before, he’s just another guy.” She glares between the two of them. “Get. Over. It.”
“Well it’s not like you know him either.”
“Yea. Or actually seen him.”
‘You don’t know the half of it…’ Elsa mutters inside her brain. Shivering at the memory.
“I think I’ll invite him to be my next boyfriend.” Anna’s lip curve into a grin. “He sounds way too hot to be single.”
“Whoa! Hey! You can’t just claim him like that!” Rapunzel gazes at her with narrowed, green eyes. “And besides…” A wicked smirk, “I’ve already called dibs.”
“Umm, excuse me? You haven’t even seen him!”
“Well neither have you!”
“That’s not the point!” Anna slams her smoothie down on the table. “You can’t call ‘dibs’ on someone that you haven’t even met!
Elsa rolls her eyes and stabs her salad.
“Well you can’t just invite a total stranger to be your next boyfriend!”
“Okay, Whoa. Time out here.” Elsa holds up both her hands, preventing the two from going at it. She looks between her sister and cousin. “I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but how do you suppose Kristoff and Eugene would feel about this whole thing?”
Anna and Rapunzel blink once, and then another. They glance at each other, sharing confused glances. Elsa heaves a heavy sigh and shakes her head once again.
“Hello! Your boyfriends?!” She says matter-of-factly. “Do I need to spell it out for the two of you?”
“Oh…” Anna thinks about her blond haired and blue eyed boyfriend, Kristoff. “Right…him.”
It catches Elsa by surprise when Rapunzel starts to snicker. “Elsa, what on earth would Eugene and Kristoff have to do with any of this?”
Elsa narrowed her eyes at the two of them, wondering exactly how, for the next few years, she was going to deal with both her sister and her cousin. Sure, she loved them with all her heart. Anna was her little sister, and Rapunzel was practically like the second little sister she and Anna never had. But it was moments like this where she wondered if both Anna and Rapunzel were always like this, or if it was the fact that their taste for freedom was playing a role in their sudden obsession over guys.
She didn’t know. And frankly, Elsa wasn’t sure if she would ever know.
“Whatever.” She shakes her head, mumbles something under her breath and continues to pick at her salad.
“Oh. My. God.” The gasp was out from Anna’s mouth before she had time to catch it. Her eyes were widened, jaw was dropped and her face had fallen faster than a corpse in cement boots. Her face was flushed and she looked like she was seeing something out of a horror movie. “Punzie…look!”
Elsa watches at Rapunzel gazes over past Elsa’s shoulder and with that, her own face had fallen. Her tongue was just inches from licking more frosting off the cupcake’s top. Both Anna and Rapunzel’s face were pale, mouths hanging open with lips slightly parted and both their eyes were as wide as they could stretch. They sit like gormless guppies.
Elsa cocks a brow. “What is wrong with you guys?”
“E-Elsa…” Rapunzel manages to whisper. “…B-behind you…”
Elsa rolls her eyes and follows Rapunzel’s command to look over shoulder. So she does. She takes a deep breath and turns to look behind her, and what she sees instantly leaves her unable to speak, blink or move. As much as she was begging herself to abort the mission, and to stop staring like a drooling chimp, she couldn’t. Because what (who) she hadn’t expected to see, was none other than Jack Frost stepping through the entrance doors to Coffee Culture.
It wasn’t only because of the fact that Jack Frost was undeniably beautiful, with his translucent white hair that was neatly brushed, gelled and curves around his wonderfully sculpted cheekbones. But when his gaze meets hers, she sees his eyes. The most striking, and the most beautiful almond shaped blue eyes that are so deep and are framed by lashes so lush they almost seem fake, and strangely familiar. As both their eyes were on each other’s, immediately, it’s as if the whole world around them stopped, and every single sound was put on mute.
“Elsa! Psst! Hel-Lo!” That was Anna. Hissing under her breath. “You can wake up now!”
Only Anna’s words didn’t seem to register. Nor could Elsa, for that brief moment, even remember what the English language sounded like. But it wasn’t like she didn’t know she had to stop. Get over yourself! He’s just a guy! She knew she needed to stop right now. But Jack’s eyes are fixed tightly on hers, and only hers, and their color grows deeper as his mouth begins to curve. And right away, that was the second (most gorgeous) thing that ended up catching her attention.
His lips are a pale pink that are ripe, immediately reminding her of a rosebud. The top was thinner, but not too thin, and it had a natural Cupid’s bow, while the bottom one was larger, more plush and inviting. And not to mention, the body that holds it up is long, lean, tight and clad in a long sleeve navy blue top with a pair of dark jeans.
“Elsa! Hel-lo! You still in there?!”
But it wasn’t just his gorgeousness that has her so transfixed. Despite all of that, it’s mainly the fact that all the chaos around him seemed to just disappear. And quite frankly, Elsa couldn’t help but feel that despite those blue eyes that probably resembled what Antarctica felt like, there was a sudden warmness that crawled and tingled up her spine. It’s as if by just looking into his eyes, that the warmth was pouring out of him and was radiating inside of her.
Warmth that was only reserved for her.
But she must’ve been so transfixed on only him, that she misses the whole scene playing out in front of her, because one minute, he’s by the entrance. And by the next, he’s standing right above her, gazing down at her with those beautiful eyes that are incredibly irresistible.
“Elsa, right?” Jack says, his face warming into a smile, revealing just another one of his perfections – dazzling white teeth.
Elsa says nothing, and just stares wide eyed like a guppy treading water.
“S-sorry!” Rapunzel’s voice squeaks, laughing nervously. “You’ll have to excuse my cousin here.”
“Y-yea!” Anna giggles, one that lasts a little longer than expected. “She’s not really used to having hot-“
-Rapunzel nudges her in the ribs-
“-oomf! I mean gorgeous-“
-Rapunzel kicks her shin under the table-
“-Ow!” She glares at her cousin. “Punzie!”
Rapunzel’s glare was the only message Anna needed. Then when she turns back to look at Jack, the bright innocent smile reappears almost instantly. “So, what my dear cousin was trying to say…” She hesitates, then giggles nervously, “umm, is that…my cousin,” She points to a star struck Elsa, “Elsa here…”
Jack waits patiently, grinning. While Anna on the other hand can’t seem to disperse of the piercing glare she directs toward her cousin.
“…She’s not used to having…” She searches for the right word. “…really nice guys coming up to her.” Then she finishes with a nervous laugh.
Jack just chuckles. “Don’t sweat it.” Then he looks back at Elsa. “So…Elsa?”
Elsa sits there, willing her eyes to leave his, as both Rapunzel and Anna make a show of clearing their throats. And remembering how they both hate to be ignored, she immediately snaps out of her trance and turns to briefly glance behind her and look at them. “Oh…I-I’m sorry.” She motions toward them. “Anna and Rapunzel, Jack.” Then she turns to glance back at Jack. “Jack, Anna and Rapunzel. My sister and my cousin.” And the whole time, her eyes never waver.
Jack glances briefly behind Elsa’s shoulder, flashing his brilliant white teeth at them. “Ladies.” He nods, which has them swooning and sighing like high school girls. And it was crazy to think that for the brief second his eyes moved from hers, she felt cold, weak and unstable. But the moment his eyes are back on hers, there’s a strange sense of warmth and stability.
“How are you?” He asks with a smile.
Elsa furrows a brow. “…Fine. W-why do you ask?”
He shrugs casually. “Ah well, I just wanted to make sure that I didn’t make things awkward between us.”
“What are you talking about?”
“You know, back in class.”
Her brows dent to a frown. “Nothing happened between us in class.” She lowers her voices, well aware of the fact that Rapunzel and Anna were leaning in to listen closely.
Jack chuckles. “Relax, that’s not what I was getting at.” He grins. “You just seemed a little bit on edge earlier, so I-“
“I am not on edge.” Her gaze falls immediately like an act of violence. And almost instantly, all previous she had of him before were slowly beginning to vanish. “And frankly, I-I don’t even know why you’re here and I-“
Elsa balked. ‘Snowflake?!’
“I just came to give you your textbook back.” He reaches into his backpack and pulls out her copy of Art in the Classics. “Thanks again for letting me borrow it. You’re a real lifesaver.”
Elsa glares down at the book dangling from his fingertips, leaving Rapunzel and Anna to gasp in the background. So when she quickly snatches the book from his hand and shoves it into her backpack, her frazzled nerves jumped all together in different directions. Her cheeks are flushed and for once, she’s silently wishing for him to just leave.
“I hope it wasn’t too much of a hassle for you.” He says.
She turns sharply to look at him, gaze pleading for him to leave. “Look,” She sighs, “You um…you really didn’t have to come and thank me.”
Jack chuckles again. “Well, I wanted to.” And when he leans down towards her, his breath is hot against her skin, and that same shiver races up her spine and has her breath hitching in the back of her throat. “Besides,” he whispers, “If it weren’t for you, I’d be flunking right now.”
At this moment, blushing would’ve been no problem, but what Elsa did was go as red as a beetroot and radiate like a hot pan. She was certain that if Anna, or Rapunzel, or heck even if Jack wanted to, they could’ve cooked a three course meal on her face. And despite the fact that her belly was part-taking in various flips and her heart was beating violently against her chest, at this point, she only wished that the Earth would just open up and swallow her whole.
Jack lets out another chuckle as he rises to stand upright. “How come you’re so tense?”
Elsa scowls. “I am not tense.”
He grins. “Whatever you say, Snowflake.” Elsa feels the heat boiling up inside of her. “I’ll see you around.” Then he nods towards Anna and Rapunzel, sending them a seductive wink, leaving the two to sigh in unison. Elsa turns away from him, bringing her fingers to massage her temples. “See you, Elsa.”
She says nothing as she listens to the faint sounds of his footfalls trailing away. And once he exits the shop, she breathes a sigh of relief and looks upwards. Only to be met with accusatory glares from Anna and Rapunzel.
She sighs. “What now?”
“You and Jack Frost are in the same class?!” Rapunzel hisses. “And you didn’t think to tell us?!”
“And you gave him your textbook!” Anna gasps with a scowl.
Elsa groans. “Guys, it’s not a big deal.” She massages her temples. “He didn’t have his own book so…I just let him share with me. That’s all.”
“That’s not the point!” Rapunzel slams her hand against the table. “And besides, I saw the way you were looking at him! I hate it to break to you, but I already called dibs!”
“Seriously Elsa! How could you not tell us that you’ve met Jack and-“
Both Anna and Rapunzel continue on like that, yammering on and on for pretty much the rest of the afternoon. But Elsa just lets them talk, and argue with one another on who was going to get Jack as she massages her temples.
And as she lets them continue on with their banter, though Elsa was certain that Jack had left the store, she couldn’t shake the feeling that his presence somehow still lingered. Nor did she seem to be aware of the fact that a pair of icy blue eyes were keeping their eyes trained on her being through the glass window.
“Something’s wrong with me.” She mumbles, a breathy sigh then follows. “I’m crazy. I just know it.”
“You’re not crazy, Moana. And there’s nothing wrong with you.”
The sigh that slipped through the seam of Moana’s lips was a signal, not of her resolve leaving but of the level her tension had reached. She was more like an old-fashioned kettle – still full even when some steam forced its way out. A sigh that was softly deflating, as if the tension had lifted, yet left her with a melancholy kind of relief. She stares up at the white ceiling looming amongst her, teeth sinking into her lower lip as she slowly closes her lids shut and sucks in a shallow in-take of breath. Mentally counting down from ten. Then to five.
“I think I’m cursed.”
“Honey, don’t talk like that.” The woman spoke gently. “You’re not cursed. Okay?”
“But I am, Helen.”
The woman sighs. “And why do you think that?”
“I don’t think.” A bitter pause. “I know I am.”
The couch where Moana lay in Helen’s office was beige leather and very soft and cozy. Helen liked the couch (she had said one time), as did Moana (her usual place she preferred to make herself cozy on), very much so, because to Helen, it often relieved her patients of the burden of feeling like they were trapped in some sort of psych ward. Moana herself could definitely attest to that. It was no wonder why every time she made her usual visits here that Helen’s office was beginning to feel more and more like being in the comfort of her own home. Maybe it was a good thing that she came here after all.
Helen crosses her left leg over her knee, pressing her lips into a thin line. Brows furrowing up with concern. Clipboard resting against her thigh. Pen tapping on the white lined paper that was still blank.
“Talk to me, sweetie.” She says gently. “What’s on your mind?”
A wavering sigh from Moana. “I’m crazy.” She rolls her body over so that she’s laying on her side looking at the window which was facing the street. “I’m cursed.” A grimace. “That’s what’s on my mind.”
“Well, that’s why you’re here, Moana.” She explains. “So I can find a way to help you.”
There was something about Helen’s words that sounded believable. Deep down, Moana knew that she wanted to believe her psychiatrist. She wanted to believe every word that came out of Helen’s mouth. She really did. And if Moana was the type to always be naïve and to believe that everything would be okay, even she knew that she’d have to be an idiot to believe something like that. And most importantly, if Moana was being honest with herself, she was fully aware that her mood was now ricocheting between low and lower. She could no longer find the energy or motivation to accept the help that she knew she needed mentally.
“I don’t think you can help me.” She mutters. “I’m not normal.”
“Honey, you are normal.”
“No I’m not!”
She hadn’t meant to raise her voice slightly above its original octave as she impatiently rolls her body back over so that now she’s facing the woman sitting in the chair across from her. It was a good thing that Helen was so patient, even when her patients would sometimes get defensive with her. Moana’s brows were dented to a frown, her lips trembled while Helen’s were pressed in a tight line.
“I’m not normal, Helen!” She jolts up the couch. “I never was and I know that I never will be!”
“And why do you think that, Moana?” Helen’s tone is gentle. Sympathetic.
“Because, normal people don’t go through what I have to go through!” She points to herself, her voice is shaky and slightly louder than usual. “Normal people don’t hear his voice! Or-or…see him in their sleep! Or talk to-!” She pauses. Then she bites her lower lip that’s still quivering.
“…Or speak to him like he exists.”
Realization of what she had just said caused the rest of her words to become caught in her throat. She casts her gaze downwards for a brief second, then she slowly tilts her head to look up at the woman sitting across from her. The look of her features was anything but judgmental. Of course she knew everything that was going on. It wasn’t like she was a stranger to these things. Immediately, Moana feels the heat rising to her cheeks, though she prayed it wasn’t noticeable. She swallows down a large lump, clears her throat then pushes her curls behind her ear, even though she was well aware that everything was laid bare.
Right out in the open.
She’s pulled back to reality. Her teeth sink into her lower lip. Her eyes beginning to fill up. But she refused to let any fall.
“It’s alright, sweetie.” Helen’s words are kind. Gentle. “You don’t have to feel ashamed about any of this.”
At least there was someone who for once, didn’t look at her as if she were a ‘freak’. Unlike those times where she was back home in Hawaii, where every single individual would quickly run for cover as if she were the Tasmanian devil ready to prey on its next victim. For once, it was refreshing to have someone who saw her as an actual human being. Not one who was clearly mentally insane. (Or so she was told to believe).
“Why don’t you tell me everything that’s happened so far?”
Moana blinks once. And then another. “I um…I don’t know where to start.”
“Why don’t we start with what happened yesterday.” Helen suggests kindly as she leans back in her seat. Chair teetering. “What were you doing then?”
Moana stares, blinking rapidly. The question had caught her off guard, but it was the same question she knew all too well. The only problem was the fact that had absolutely no idea how she wanted to present her answer. In her heart, she knew what she wanted to say, but it was moments where in this case, answering such a question proved to be intimidating. No matter how many times had gone over the answer in her head, it was the strength within her that was lacking.
So when she swallows, she opens her mouth to speak. But Helen, sensing her hesitation, beats her to it.
“Why don’t I make you some tea?” She says softly, a warm, motherly smile. “Will that calm you down a little bit?”
Moana nods. A small smile.
“Honey lemon and ginger?”
“Yea.” She nods. “Oh, and could you please put in three sugars?”
“Three?” Helen gazes at her with slightly widened eyes. “You sure about that?”
Moana innocently shrugs her shoulders. “…I kinda need it?” A small chuckle as her cheeks flushed to a shade of pink.
And the smile that reappears back on Helen’s face tells her that she would grant her request.
“Alright. Three sugars it is.”
Then she rises from her seat and heads over to where her kettle is sitting on one of the small end tables right beside her desk. She flips the switch and the kettle begins to boil. Moana sees that she already has two cups neatly placed side by side on the desk. And as Moana’s watching her carefully scoop out exactly three teaspoons of sugar, she finds that there’s just something special about Helen. Moana knew that she had three kids of her own, and she just looked like the type of mother that always just loves everything her children do, praises them and makes jovial conversation. But she was like that with all her patients, which was all the students here loved her so much.
Moana herself being one of them. And as she watches Helen, she only wished that she could experience that mother’s love all over again.
“Here you are, sweetie.” Helen carefully hands her the cup of steaming hot tea. “Careful, pretty hot.”
The smell of sweet honey and lemon fill her nostrils. Moana breathes a sigh of relief as she cradles the cup in her hand. She smiles up at her.
“Any time.” Helen takes her own cup and sits back down in her chair. “Now,” She blows lightly over the clouded steam, “let’s continue where we left off.”
Moana gives a small nod.
“So, tell me what happened yesterday.”
She presses her lips into a thin line. Her heart sinking and twisting with nerves as she shifts nervously in the couch. She’s sitting with her knees now tucked to her chest, her honeyed ginger and lemon tea resting on the tops of her kneecaps. She sucks in a shallow breath, and then finds a way to release the tension. Her palms are beginning to sweat, and the adrenaline that was coursing through her system was shutting down her ability to think logically. In this moment, she wanted to run, but she knew she couldn’t. She was here for a reason. And it was up to her to want to figure out exactly how she could make herself normal like the rest of her peers.
“I was…” She hesitates, staring down at her cup, “I was in the library yesterday afternoon, wanting to catch up on some homework.”
Helen nods, patiently waiting for her to continue.
“…I’d gotten a phone call from my dad.”
“Oh? Did you talk to him?”
“And what did you guys talk about?”
Moana shrugs. “The usual.” She blows over the steam and tilts the cup to her mouth to take a small sip. “He asked about how I’m doing, how my grades are, making sure I’m staying out of all trouble and getting straights A’s…” Another shrug. “All that stuff.”
Helen nods. “I see.” She places her cup on the little table next to her, and she grabs her pen and paper pad. “So your dad always calls you once in a while.” She says. “To see if you’re keep up with your grades.”
“Yea.” Moana nods. “He does.”
“So then tell me.” Helen crosses her knee over her leg. “How did that phone call with him make you feel?”
She has to think about that question for a moment. And once she does, her shoulders slump and her eyes are cast even farther downward in a rather mournful gaze. Her mouth set in a semi-pout. She traces her thumb around the rim of the cup.
“It made me feel…” A pause. “…worthless.” She slowly lifts her head up, her gaze meeting Helen’s. “Every time I talk to him…I always feel horrible.”
“Like you feel inadequate.”
A solemn nod. “Yea.”
Helen gives a sympathetic gaze. “And what is about him that makes you feel that way, Moana?”
Moana just stares at Helen with guilt-filled, shimmering wet eyes. She loved her dad. She loved him with all her heart. He was the only close living relative that she had left. And without him, she would have no one else left. But it was moments like this where she desperately just wanted for him to see that she was trying.
“Sometimes,” She begins with a wavering tone, “…I just feel that I’m a disappointment to him.” She sighs, a sad sigh. “He makes he feel like I’m insignificant, or that I’m not trying hard enough.”
“And are you?”
“Am I what?”
“Trying hard enough?”
“Of course I am.” Moana says with a frown. “I try to get good grades. I try to make it to my classes on time.” Another pause. “I…I even try to stay out of the ocean…” Another sigh. “…just like how he wanted me to for all those years…”
“It’s hard for you.” Helen sympathizes with her. “Isn’t it.”
Moana heaves another sigh. “Yea…” She takes another sip of her hot drink. “It is.”
Helen stares at her, studying the young woman sitting in front of her. Her eyes radiating with nothing by sympathy.
“You know,” Moana begins softly. “Things were never usually this hard when my mom and my grandma were still here.”
“Mhm.” A soft chuckle. “For some reason, they both seemed to make things easier.” A small smile. “My grandma especially.” A sad sigh.
“I understand.” Helen says. “You really miss them.”
“I just…” A pause. “I just wish I could see them one last time.”
Without a second thought, Helen reaches into her bag resting at the side of her chair and pulls out a mini clipboard along with another pen and some paper. She holds it out for Moana, a warm smile on her features.
“Why don’t you use this?” Moana looks at the clipboard. “Everything that you’re feeling right now, write it all down. And once you’re finished, you can show me afterwards. How about that?”
Moana finds a smile tugging at her lips as she places her mug down at the table beside her, and graciously reaches to take the clipboard and pen from Helen. She rests the board against her knees and immediately begins jotting stuff down on the piece of paper.
Helen smiles, watching Moana as she eagerly scribbles across the paper. And as she’s allowing all of her feelings to pour out into her writing, neither Moana, nor Helen for that matter, seemed to be aware that a certain presence had appeared behind the glass window.
How Moana eventually found herself in the café at the corner was beyond her reasoning. But then again, it was one of the most popular coffee shops located on campus. Not to mention, the shop itself was only a five minute walk from residence anyways. So to say, coming here wasn’t a complete waste of time. Or maybe it was also the fact that Helen’s remark on a nice warm beverage had unknowingly drawn her to the small coffee shop. Well, small was a bit of an understatement. On the outside, yes. Indeed, the coffee shop did look small. However on the inside, it turned out that there was indeed much more to this coffee shop than meets the eye. Lalotai was one of those buildings that once you step foot through the entrance, it opened up to a much larger room, a room that was spacious enough to fit around twenty customers at time, or sometimes more. Even around 5:00pm, there was almost never a time where the shop wasn’t never busy with the hustling and bustling of loud, chatty and obnoxious college students.
And suddenly, Moana instantly reminds herself that it was no wonder why Elsa usually never liked coming to this place.
The lights in the shop were always low, which casted a slight shadow over the room, causing this to illuminate the deep purple walls in an apocalyptic way. To Elsa, it reminded her of her fear of being trapped in one of those haunted houses at those amusement parks. The gloomy and haunting effects wasn’t exactly a lot of people’s favorite. Mostly the mature and elderly crowds weren’t usually ones for all that ostentatious kind of stuff. Not to mention, the music that was playing wasn’t all that bad. It wasn’t Elsa’s favorite, but Moana never usually minded. She could easily pick out the undertones and heavy basses of a glam rocky bass-line. But as always, the crowd was too loud for her to tell what it actually was.
Speaking of Lalotai’s customers, as she squeezes herself through the throng of the impatient Florida citizens, almost every table had been taken up. And not to mention, the line itself stretched from the tills almost close to the entrance. Now that was just fantastic. One thing Moana herself would admit that she didn’t like about this shop, was feeling the claustrophobia slowly begin to creep up to her bones. Barely any seats or tables were left open, with the exception of loners occupying a whole table to themselves. Tables that were usually seated for between two to four people at a time.
Huffing a breath and solemnly finding her way back to the end of the mass line-up, Moana immediately pulls out her IPhone and quickly decides to busy herself with it. Her fingers tap impatiently amongst the screen as she sends out a brief text.
To: Merida ‘Fiery Red’ Ferguson
At Lalotai now. Waiting in line. ALL the tables are taken -__- Still wanna come? Or find somewhere else to go instead? Lmk!
A reply came back almost immediately. And frankly, that was one of the things Moana grew to appreciate about Merida; she was a fast texter.
From: Merida ‘Fiery Red’ Ferguson
It’s Lalotai, LOL, what else is new? On my way there. If anything, just get the drinks. We don’t have to stay. Lmk how much it costs and I’ll pay you back as soon as I get there??
She looks up for a brief second. Slightly grateful that the line was beginning to move. Slowly but surely. She quickly decides to fire a text back.
To: Merida ‘Fiery Red’ Ferguson
Alright. Sounds good to me. I’ll let you know when I’m close to the counter. See you in a bit!
Sure. Caffeine would probably due her some good right about now. Because after all, well, why not? No one said it was against the law for her to consume caffeine while she was still stuck on her meds. Those annoyingly stupid meds that would ‘keep her sane’; like almost every single human being on the planet was told to believe. Maybe her father would’ve had something to say about that, seeing as he often stood firm in his believe that caffeine should not be mixed with any kind of medication. Immediately, Moana finds herself sending out another quick text.
To: Elsa Andersen – Bestie 4 Lyfe Xoxo
Wanna go for a walk later? Really need to vent about some things. You cool with that? Lmk!
Almost a second later, her phone buzzes in her hand.
From: Elsa Andersen – Bestie 4 Lyfe Xoxo
Was just about to text you! Yes, definitely. I need to talk about some things too. Rapunzel might tag along. Wanna go to that vegan place around 7:30??
She wastes no time in shooting out another text message.
To: Elsa Andersen – Bestie 4 Lyfe Xoxo
Sounds good to me! See you l8er!
The mass of customers still remained and was still suffocating. However, thankfully Moana was able to quickly lose herself in the world of the internet and technology. Her phone vibrates in her hands yet again. This time, it was a message from Guy.
From: Guy the ‘boy!’ – Bestie
Hey, I’m bored. Wanted to check in and see if you were okay? Wanna meet up later or something?
However, Moana was so lost in her own little world and was just about to respond back that she barely even noticed when she got to the front of the line.
“What’ll it be, kiddo?” A smooth, baritone voice reverberates through Moana’s bones and instantly brings her back to the land of Living
Almost immediately, Moana feels her face flushing red. The frustration radiating from within her veins. She could feel the wet spitballs accumulating in her hair. If it was thing she absolutely despised, was hearing that word that had somehow just slipped out of some complete stranger’s mouth.
“What the hell?!” ‘I’m NOT a kid! I’m just SHORT, okay?!’ “Excuse-!”
And when her eyes draw from her phone and she snaps her head upwards, the words on the tip of her tongue falter down towards the back of throat a she came face-to-face with the last person she ever expected. Standing behind the counter, slightly out of place but completely at ease, was guy. No, scratch that. A man. A young man. No, scratch that again. A God of a man. Moana immediately finds herself gaping openly as she observed his sharp jaw, chin and cheekbones. His curly mane of locks was worn down and spilling over his broad (super broad) shoulders and his eyes were a beautiful dark brown, framed by thick graceful brows with one raised in obvious amusement. His skin was sun-kissed and tanned. His cheekbones were prominent, not to mention, his chin was well-defined, and so was his nose. Muscles rippled across every part of his body, his huge hands rested on the counter separating them, and a black mandatory shirt with sleeves rolled up to expose a sea of tattoos scaling his bare arms. Not to mention, the smirk was spread across his beautifully chiselled lips was enough to make any girl fall weak in the knees.
But it was his eyes that has her instantly captivated.
His eyes were deep brown pools that she instantly finds herself mesmerized by, and they were the most unforgettable as she had never looked upon a human another human being who possessed eyes of his color. To say they were just brown (which they were) is to say the sky is simply colorful at sunset, accurate by not giving true description to their uniqueness. At first glance, she was able to see the beauty they behold. But once Moana finds herself gazing into them, it was as if she was seeing everything differently. The coffee color is just the beginning as the etching of black and gold seem to intertwine around the edge of his iris. The colors mingle together, cascading an array of different shades throughout his gaze. And for Moana, though she was silently begging herself to pull out of this trance she was suddenly trapped in, the minute she looked into his eyes, she became lost. Doomed for all eternity, simply because deep down, no other eyes would ever compare to the pair that were gazing intently into her own.
But there was something strangely familiar about those (his) eyes that lead her to believe that she’d seen this man before.
Eyes she’s dreamed about.
…Was he? The man that she’s been seeing…
“…Hellooo? Anyone still there? You’re kinda holdin’ up the line.”
She snaps out of her trance and is brought back to the land of the Living. The man behind the counter staring at her with an amused smirk, all the while attempting to ignore the strings of impatient remarks that the customers were spitting at her from behind.
“I…s-sorry – w-what?”
‘No! Absolutely not!’ Her mind argues with her. ‘He’s not! He can’t be!’
“I said, what can I get you? Y’know, to drink?” He chuckles. ‘But he has to be! Even his laugh sounds just like his…’ “I mean, that is what you came here for, right?”
She balks, and she felt heat begin to simmer in her cheeks her brows dent to a deep scowl. It was almost instantly that all thoughts she was feeling towards him for that brief second had erased itself from her brain.
“What-I didn’t-that’s not what-why would I-,” She cuts herself off, holding the last remaining word on the tip of her tongue. Glaring, she manages to grind out, “Two vanilla bean frappucinos. Hold the ice.”
“Alright.” He grins. “Any specific size?”
The man clucks his tongue, smirk growing in size. “Seems like someone’s on a bit of a sugar rush.” He grabs two medium sized cups.
He chuckles. “I’m just saying that it seems like a lot of caffeine for just one person.” He pulls out a Sharpie from his pocket, though his eyes never leave hers. “…Unless you’re stressed, that is…”
She blinks rapidly, mouth hanging open as her scowl deepened. “Okay, first of all, one of those,” she points to the second cup, “is for a friend.” She cups a hand to her hip. “And second, I am not stressed.”
“Really?” He cocks an amused brow. “You sure about that?”
“I just said-!” She cuts herself off and takes a deep breath. “Can you – just – ugh! Can you just make my drinks please?!”
He chuckles again. “As you wish, kiddo.”
“I’m not a kid.”
‘Definitely not him…’
“Sorry.” Though he didn’t really mean it, judging by the way how his smirk grew in size. “So…can I get your name?”
She finds herself spluttering. Her mouth was hanging open just as the heat inside of her cheeks was beginning to boil. Her eyes flash heat waves, ready to give this man a piece of her mind, when he beats her to it.
“Relax, Curly.” ‘Curly?! What the fu-‘ “It’s for the order.”
She blinks once, and then another. Then she manages to calm herself down and push a strand of hair from her face. All the while harsh words and impatient slurs were continuously being thrown at her from behind. And with what little dignity she managed to find, she manages to say through gritted teeth,
He blinks. “I’m sorry, what?”
“Moana?” She says matter-of-factly. “You know, my name?” He just stares at her, seeming to be transfixed by just the near sight of her. “For my order?”
“Ah! Right!” He grabs a cup and scribbles her name down. “I must say…” He peers at her over the rim of the cup. “You got an interesting name there, Curly.”
“My name is not Curly.” She protests, fishing through her backpack for her wallet. “And what is that supposed to mean?”
Another chuckle. “Man, guess my suspicions were right all along.”
“Meaning that someone’s a little uptight today.”
“Ugh! For the last time, I am not-!” She cuts herself off again. This time, she closes her eyes and inhales deeply threw her nose. Mentally counting down from ten. Then to five. “How much?”
She sighs. “For the drinks.” She slowly opens her eyes. The glare still plastered on her features. “How much do I owe you?”
She pulls out a twenty dollar bill and slides it across the counter towards him. He cocks a brow, eyes darting between the wrinkled up bill and her. ‘And he says I’m the one holding up the line?’ She blows a sigh, patiently waiting for him to make his final decision. Though at the same time, the frustration inside of her was beginning to build up, hoping to the Gods that she wouldn’t explode any time soon.
Especially for her sake.
…And surprisingly for his sake too.
After a few seconds of contemplation, his gaze finally lifts to meet hers. And when a grin instantly spreads over his face, wide and open, flashing his brilliant over-whitened teeth, Moana wasn’t sure whether that (gorgeous) smile was of something good. Or of something bad. It was a smile that belonged to a man used to charming girls speechless. A smile that was undeniably inviting.
And Moana immediately finds herself trapped yet again.
Refusing to ignore the rush of warmth that surged through her veins.
“It’s on the house.” He places his massive (familiar) hand on the bill and slides it back towards her. “My treat.”
“But – I – “ She opens and closes her mouth. “Why – what – huh?”
“I said, it’s on the house.” He makes enunciates each word carefully, warmth surges through her cheeks. “Your order will be ready at the end, okay?”
She stares at him. Face pinched. “Fine.”
“Good.” He drops one eyelid in a slow wink, leaving her dumbfounded. Then he calls over her head, “Next in line!”
Blinking once, and then a second time, Moana huffs indignantly as she steps to the side to allow him to serve the next customer, though she’s painfully aware that a pair of eyes (his eyes) were focused solely on her. No one else. Only her. Even as he’s serving his next customer, every few seconds, he sends that same flirtatious (and irresistible) smiles that he knows would have girls falling weak in the knees.
‘Get over yourself! He’s just a guy!’
But when he sends her another slow wink, Moana finds herself fidgeting. Her mouth goes dry and she was certain she could feel as the drool was starting to pool at the corners of her lips. Her heart beat immediately doing a tango of its own.
‘A beautiful, gorgeous, incredibly sexy looking-’
“Two vanilla bean frappucinos for Moana!”
It felt like an eternity to hear her name being called. She shakes her head, barely registering that a female barista with spiky black hair was holding out her drinks for her. She quickly approaches the counter.
She sighs as she graciously takes the drinks from the girl’s hand.
“No problem.” The girl smiles, then turns to glance over at the burly islander, who was in the middle of taking another customer’s order. “Maui there told me that your drinks were on the house?”
‘Maui…So that’s what is his name was…’
Moana blushes. “O-oh – I-I’m sorry – he-“
The girl chuckles. “It’s okay. Don’t’ sweat it.” Then she nods towards the drinks. “He claims that it’s his way of apologizing.”
She frowns. “For what exactly?”
“Well…” The girl shrugs. “He said something about how you seemed a little bit…uptight? And-“
“Wait a minute!” She gapes suddenly. “He said that?”
The girl smiles apologetically. “I’m sorry.” She really means it. “His words. Not mine.”
‘That slimy son-a-!’
“I have to go.”
She whirls herself around (smacking herself in the face with her hair) and marches from the counter. Though she accidently finds herself bumping into other girls and bouncing off other guys. She manages to stomp her way through the throng of customers that were still lined up, fuming and cursing under her breath with a piercing scowl.
‘I am not uptight! That ignorant, ignoramus-!’
“Mo! Ower 'ere!”
She halts in her tracks. She breathes a sigh of relief as she spots her curly red haired friend standing off to the side by the entrance. She makes her way over towards her, drinks in tow.
“Mer, thank the gods you’re here.”
She hands Merida her drink, lifting a brow as she watches the way how her friend is inspecting her frozen treat with narrowed eyes.
“Vanilla bean?” She asks.
Moana nods. “Yup.”
“Double whip cream?”
Merida gently twirls the cup in her hands. It was a good thing that Moana was no stranger to this. It was typical of Merida. A trait that she knew all too well. But Moana almost misses it when a grin forms on Merida’s lips.
“Huh, looks lik' triple whip cream tae me.”
She blinks. “What?”
Merida chuckles. Then she looks up to meet Moana’s confused gaze. She looks past her shoulder. “Either ye git pure guid at bargaining…” Her grin grows with size. “…Or that barista thare haes th' hots fur ye.”
“Huh – what the – what are you-?”
Merida points over her shoulder. Moana turns in the direction where Merida was pointing. Much to her dismay (and chagrin), there he was. Behind the counter. Though he continues to serve his customers, his eyes are trained on hers. Trapped in his intoxicating trance. Her breath is caught in her throat and silent gasp escapes through her lips as she stares into those deep coffee brown eyes branded by flecks of gold that, from even standing four feet away, shine like kaleidoscopes, reflecting her image thousands of times.
And though Moana was certain that this man was nothing but obnoxious, just looking into his eyes showed a whole different side to him. In those eyes, there was a man who loves and holds compassion and kindness as his as highest treasures. From deep inside her chest, the warmth from his gaze that radiated through every cell in her body welcomed her like an old friend. A feeling that was all too familiar.
But there was something else in his eyes. Something glistening. It glistened like an old copper penny being examined in the warmth next to powerful flames that were licking the safety glass door of an old fireplace. They held secrets, the same way a pot holds layers of deep solid cradling – because only the gods knew that it was essential to keep the planet, and to keep all of mankind safe. The roots are held in place the same way his dark, liquid eyes held so tightly onto his secrets.
Secrets that he was willing to share with no one else, but only her.
‘He has to be him…’ She argues with herself. ‘He has to be-‘
“Hellooo! Earth tae Moana!”
She blinks rapidly, waking herself up from her thoughts. She turns to look at Merida, her brows were raised in obvious amusement.
Merida snickers. “Looks lik' someone is head o’er heels.”
Moana gapes. “What?”
“Ye lik' him?”
“I do not!”
“Calm doon, Lassie!” She pinches her straw between her teeth. “A'm juist messing wi' ye!”
Moana groans and miserably takes a sip of her drink. “Whatever.” Then she use her straw to stir the sugary contents.
“Though… Ah think he likes ye…”
She scowls. “No he doesn’t.”
“Mo, ye'r nae fooling a'body.” Merida snickers. “A clocked th' hail thing.”
She freezes. “W-what are you talking about?”
“Th' wey howfur he kept giein' ye a solid time...teasing ye..” She says with a coy smile. “He likes ye.”
Moana sighs. “No he doesn’t.” She takes another sip. “He was just…being annoying, that’s all.” Then she frowns as she notices the grin that is still plastered on Merida’s face. “What now?”
“He keeps lookin' at ye.”
“Ugh! You know what – let’s just go! Now!”
Before Merida could protest, she’s caught off guard when Moana’s hand grips her wrist and yanks through the door as they march through. All the while as they exit out of the café, Moana can’t help but shudder at the feeling that his (Maui’s) eyes were burning a hole through the back.
“I’m just saying that you didn’t have to be so rude to him earlier today!” Rapunzel scolds Elsa later that evening. “He was definitely checking you out, and you just-“ she cuts herself and pressed, “you totally just flipped him off!”
Rapunzel’s reaction, of course, had been predictably over-dramatic. Or so Elsa thought. They’re sitting in Full Bloom, their usual go-to place whenever they needed a break from meat and decided for a quick vegan run. The place is pretty quiet, but that’s not unusual. The restaurant usually serves up to six people at a time. And right now, there was only three other people besides them. But Elsa was just thankful that Moana was there with them. She wasn’t sure how much longer she was able to put up with both Anna and Rapunzel.
“Punzie for the last time. I did not flip him off.” Elsa sighs as she slowly stirs her straw in her freshly squeezed strawberry smoothie. “And he wasn’t checking me out either.”
“He so was!”
“Okay, whoa.” Moana pipes in, gaze darting between the two. “Sorry, but who are we talking about?”
Rapunzel knowingly smirks at Elsa, her brow lifts up in obvious amusement. Elsa’s body goes stiff, deciding to focus on the crushed ice cubes clattering about at the bottom of her cup. But when she slowly lifts her gaze up to her cousin’s, Rapunzel’s eyes are pinched, lips pursed with a look that says ‘tell her or I will!’
Before Elsa has a chance to open her mouth, just as she dreaded, Rapunzel beats her to do it and turns to Moana.
“Elsa met this really hot guy in class today-“
“-She let him borrow her textbook-“
“-And he came back and returned it to her!”
Elsa groans as she slams her cup down against the table and slides downward in her seat and pinches the bridge of her nose.
“A guy?” Moana’s voice portrays the slightest bit of curiosity. Elsa doesn’t have to look up to know that Moana’s gaze was now focusing solely on her. Nor did she have to see that her lips were curling upward into a knowing grin. “When were you gonna tell me this?”
‘Umm…never!’ But she lets out another groan instead and drags a hand down her face.
“…Did I mention how incredibly sexy he is?”
“Rapunzel will you just zip it already?” She glares at her through the cracks of her fingers. “Just…drop it. Okay?”
“Hey I’m just saying!” Rapunzel holds up her hands in surrender, fighting a grin. “And besides, it’s not my fault that you can’t seem to appreciate when a hot guy is totally into you!”
“Will you stop saying that?” She hisses. “He is not into me.”
“He so is!”
“Really now?” Moana’s brow quirks up in amusement. “…Does this hot guy have a name?”
“Moana please, not you-“
“What?” She asks with an innocent shrug. “She has to know.”
“Jack Frost, huh.” Moana reiterates the name in thought. Then she shakes her head. “Never heard of him before. Is he new?”
“Totally!” Rapunzel beams. “The entire cheer squad is talking about him!”
‘I wish they weren’t...'
“So…” Moana quirks with a brow with a grin. “Hot guy named Jack Frost has the hots of Elsa?”
“YES!” Rapunzel cheers. She turns to shoot Elsa scowl, then turns to beam at Moana. “I’ve been trying to tell her that only for the past three hours!”
“And you’re sure he’s into her?”
“He’s not into me.”
“Positive.” Rapunzel grins and lets out a dreamy sigh. “He could not take his eyes off her.”
“That doesn’t mean that he’s into me, Punzie.” Elsa shakes her head with a heavy sigh.
“But you let him borrow your textbook in class?” Moana asks with a cock of her brow. “Didn’t you?”
Another sigh. “What’s your point?”
“You usually never let anyone borrow your textbooks from class.” Moana says with a smirk. “Well…besides me of course.”
“So?!” Elsa throws up her hands impatiently. “That doesn’t – Ugh! That doesn’t mean anything!”
“Oh it definitely does.” Rapunzel nods with encouragement as she wiggles her eyebrows, stealing a small sip of her mango smoothie. “Not only does he have the hots for you…but you’re totally into him too.”
Elsa blinks, gapes. Then a hardened glare dents her brows. “I am not into him!”
“Hmm…you sure about that Elsie?” Moana asks coyly.
“Moana what the hell?!” Elsa grumbles. “Don’t encourage her!”
Moana chuckles. “Sorry Els…” She says with an innocent shrug, “but I can’t help it.”
As Elsa begins scolding Moana, though Moana on the other hand somehow finds the scolding to be humorous, it was then when Rapunzel immediately feels a chill run up her spine. All of a sudden, something didn’t seem to feel right. So when she looks to peer over Elsa’s shoulder to look at the figure that elusively enters into the little restaurant, her throat goes tight and her smile slowly begins to fade, color from her cheeks starts to drain. She’d seen that person before.
The same young woman that she’d seen while they were at Starbucks.
She recognized those beautiful, bold Grecian looks that were striking.
She wasn’t wearing those big round sunglasses like she had the day before, nor was she dressed in the same outfit she’d worn. But her chose in wardrobe looked like it cost a fortune. She worse a Marciano deep velvet red strapless dress with a V-neck line low enough to pop just a peak of cleavage, a slit ran up her from her ankle all the way to just top of her knee cap to show enough thigh, and it was tight enough to hug her voluptuous curves like a mother clinging onto her babe. Her dress being the color of blood, fiery and sizzling hot. Her shoulders were sun-kissed with a golden pre-wedding glow, having looked like she’d just come out of the sun, her lips are a pale pink and plush. She wore gold sandals that were property of Michael Kors, and just like before, her beautiful long curls were pulled into a high ponytail.
Rapunzel keeps her eyes trained on the young woman, watching as she takes her seat at a far table. And just like yesterday, there was no purse or wallet present with her. Instead, her eyes are trained on their table, but she’s not watching Rapunzel like she’d hope.
Just like the day before, her gaze is trained on the two individuals that were sitting with their backs turned towards her. It was a good thing that Moana and Elsa were engaged in their own bickering. They hadn’t seemed to notice that a pair of eyes were watching them intently. From what Rapunzel could see, the woman’s eyes were unlike any other she’s seen. They weren’t brown, nor were they even blue. Or green. They were a deep shade of violet. But violet didn’t even seem like the word to describe it. Her eyes stood out like vibrant flowers in the moon. Mesmerizing, striking and unusual. Rapunzel couldn’t take her eyes off her even if she wanted to.
She watches the woman. The woman has her eyes trained on Moana and Elsa. Though Rapunzel wouldn’t exactly use the word ‘staring’ to describe what she’s doing. Her eyes rest, not unblinking but slowed. Though Rapunzel finds herself having a reason to panic, the effect of her gaze looked to be soft and inviting instead of harsh. Perhaps it was her lips that gave away her intention, not quite smiling but tilting as if they mean to.
Who was she? And what she did she want with-
“You-who! Punzie? You there?”
Rapunzel shakes her head and is instantly brought back to the land of the Living. Elsa and Moana both stare at with raised brows and pursed lips.
“Sorry!” She blurts, then shakes her head again. She stares briefly at the woman, who was still sitting at her table, ordering from the waitress. Rapunzel cocks a brow, blinks once, and then another before she diverts her attention back to her friends. “I um…I kinda zoned out there.”
“Yea we could see that…” Moana says with slight smirk. “You okay?”
“Yea are you?” Elsa asks with slight concern. “One minute you were babbling on and on. And then the next, you just turned into a zombie.”
“Oh…well, I uh…” Rapunzel carefully surveys her surroundings. One table was filled with maybe two other people. One waitress was scurrying around mopping up the floors while the other just sat behind the counter, bored whilst filing her nails. “I just thought I saw something, that’s all.”
She looks around again. Then her blood runs cold when she sees that the far table is empty. The young woman disappeared again without making any sort of sound or causing any ruckus.
“Yup.” Rapunzel nods with a tight smile. “Positive.”
“Alright.” Moana sighs knowingly. “What’s up?”
“What do you mean?”
“Punzie, you look you just saw a ghost.” Elsa says softly. “Are you sure you’re okay?”
“What are you talking about?” Rapunzel forces a giggle through her teeth as she sticks her straw between her teeth and sips. “I’m perfectly fine. It’s not a big-“
“Three Strawberry Sunshines?”
The three girls immediately looks up to see the perky waitress standing over them with bright smile, balancing a tray of three cups with three straws placed in each one of them.
“Excuse me?” Elsa asks with a confused look.
“One for a…” The waitress takes a cup and twists it to inspect the name written on it. “Moana.” She places Moana’s cup in front of her. Rapunzel’s eyes widen. “Another one for…” She takes the second cup, inspects the name. “Elsa.” She places Elsa’s cup in front of her. “And the last one is for a…” She inspects the name with a raised brow. “…Blondie?”
Rapunzel bawks, choking on her smoothie. Moana and Elsa turn to give her a confused look. “I think she means you.” Moana stares pointedly at Rapunzel.
“F-for” (cough) “me?” (Another cough) “But-what-how-“
“Umm…” Moana carefully inspects her cup. Then she looks up at the waitress. “We didn’t order these.”
“Oh they’re from that really pretty girl at the back.” The waitress smiles, looks over at the table, and then furrows her brows when she sees that it’s empty. “Well, at least I thought she was at the back.”
“What girl?“ Elsa blinks. “What are you talking about?”
“Well she was just sitting at that table there.” The waitress says with a frown. “Believe me, I saw her.”
“Look, thanks.” Moana says with a nervous smile. “But…we really can’t accept these.”
“But she insists-“
“Well that would be a waste of money now wouldn’t it be?”
A sultry voice interrupts the waitress. A voice that sounded all too familiar. A voice that sends Rapunzel almost bolting for the exit doors. But instead, she freezes in her seat as her face pales. The young woman had reappeared, standing behind Moana and Elsa with her hands perched on her hips. Moana and Elsa turn to where the voice had come from. When they see her, much to Rapunzel’s surprise, their eyes widen, and a gasp slips through Elsa’s mouth.
“Oh my god!” Moana gasps with a wide smile. “Meg?!”
The young woman (who apparently goes by Meg) lets out a chuckle. “Duh! Who else would it be?”
It takes Rapunzel by surprise when both Elsa and Moana jump out of their seats and rush to embrace the young woman in a group hug. Part of her begins to calm down. But then there’s still a part of her that has her eyebrow raised in suspicion. It was too bad Elsa and Moana were too busy engaging in some sort of reunion to notice.
“It’s so good to see you!” Elsa gives the woman a big hug. “Gosh we missed you!”
The young woman (Meg) chuckles softly. “I missed you too, Frosty.”
“Oh god!” Elsa groans. “Are you ever gonna stop calling me that?”
“Well, what kind of friend would I be if I didn’t?” She asks with a smirk. “I mean that is why we love each other right?”
Elsa rolls hers eyes, but chuckles and embraces the woman. “You are so annoying sometimes.”
A chuckle. “I know.”
“But seriously girl!” Moana gives the woman an accusatory look. “Where have you been? You like…just disappeared off the face of the Earth!”
“Yea! We thought we were never going to see you again!”
“I know, I know.” The young woman laughs as Rapunzel watches the three of them with narrowed eyes. “Relax my loves, I’m here now, aren’t I?”
They both stare at her, then they each let out a laugh. “I guess so.” Elsa says.
“But just know that you’re not leaving us again.” Moana gives her a pointed look. “Ever.”
The young woman (Meg) only giggles. “Aww I missed you too, Mo-Mo.”
“Well I missed you more!”
It didn’t take long until Rapunzel clears her throat as they three were chatting amongst each other. Only to have Elsa and Moana turn in her direction, along a pair of those violet eyes to train themselves on her own.
“Sorry to break up your little gathering…” Rapunzel forces a laugh through her teeth. “But…kinda feeling lonely over here.”
“Oh! Right! Sorry Punzie!” Moana smiles apologetically. “Punzie, this is Meg.” She gestures towards the beautiful woman. “Meg, this is Punzie.”
“It’s Rapunzel.” A small smile. “But I usually prefer Punzie for short.”
“Ah, so you’re Rapunzel.” Meg says with a smile. “I’ve heard a lot of about you.”
Rapunzel quirks a brow. “You have?”
“Yea.” Elsa chimes in. “Meg was mine and Moana’s old roommate back in Freshmen year. I used to talk to her a lot about you.”
Rapunzel narrows her gaze. “You did?”
Meg chuckles. “Not to worry, Blondie. Only good things were said.”
She looks to Elsa, her gaze pinched with a look that said ‘they better be good things…’ “It’s funny how you refer to me as Blondie.” She looks to Meg this time.
“Oh? Don’t all your other friends call you that?”
“Only my boyfriend.”
Meg nods. “I see.” A smile. “Well, it’s nice to finally meet you, Blondie.”
“Alright then.” Meg grins. “Rapunzel.”
Elsa gives her a cousin a tight scowl, lips pursed with the expression ‘why are you being so rude?’.
“So...” Moana breaks the silence. “Elsa? Why don’t we all head back to our dorm?”
Elsa nods. “Sounds good to me.” Then they both look to Meg, much to Rapunzel’s disapproval. “You okay with that?”
“Why not?” Meg grins. “It’ll be nice to pay a visit to the good ol’ Magnolia complex.”
“Alright!” Moana says excitedly. “Let’s go!”
“Awesome.” The three of them turn to leave, only to have Rapunzel watch after them with a hint of jealousy. Moana and Meg go on ahead, chatting amongst each other while Moana had her arm tucked into Meg’s. Elsa pauses, then turns to look at Rapunzel with a raised brow. “Punzie?”
Rapunzel looks at her cousin. “Yea?”
She blinks once, and then another. “Uh…yea! Sure.”
She rises from the table to catch up with Elsa and the two exit the restaurant. As the four of them are walking side by side, it’s Rapunzel who can’t seem to shake the feeling that they were being watched.
So...I think dialogue is the most challenging thing for to me write! Gah! I'm not sure if this turned out okay, but I hope I was able to win you guys over! So now we know who this mysterious woman is! But it turns out...she's just an old friend of the girls...or is she? What do you think?
All will be revealed next chapter! Stay tuned my loves! Mwah!*