“An Egg and a Kiss”
I shove the doors open with a frustrated sigh. First day of my Junior year back at Magik Prep Academy, and the two things I want most are still out of my grasp.
My best friend—the one I’ve known since kindergarten that morphed into a gorgeous geeky demi-god of a guy two years ago—still has no idea that I’ve been in love with him since seventh grade. And I still don’t have my own dragon egg to hatch.
A piece of silvery-blonde hair falls across my face and I whisk it back behind my ear and sigh wistfully at the scroll feed curling up the wall. I desperately want to take my heirloom golden quill out of my purse and boldly pen my name on that scroll feed. I’ve wanted to be a part of the Dragon Hatcher’s Apprentice Guild almost as long as I’ve been in love with Reid. But you have to have your own dragon you’ve hatched from an egg to be considered. When Mom finally gave her blessing to let me join the Guild, I was overjoyed. I literally did a cartwheel in the living room. Mom’s one condition: I had to purchase the egg myself.
Because dragon eggs are prohibitively expensive and Dad’s life insurance money is planted firmly in a protected fund that neither Mom nor I can touch until I’m twenty-three, I’ve been saving since freshman year. And it would have been fine.
Except Mom came down with a nasty case of Sorcerer’s Pox. They’re not deadly, but they’re painful. And the cure, because it’s made from the rare black angel hair orchid, is wicked pricey. Mom would have recovered on her own. But it might have been months. I couldn’t watch her writhe in silent agony that long, even if she insisted she was fine.
So, I spent my hard-earned dragon egg money. And Mom is fine now, thank the Maker.
Sighing, I absently brush another piece of silvery hair that’s fallen in my eyes. Mom still feels guilty that I used my egg money for her cure. She’s happy to be well again, but she can’t pay me back. And that’s okay. I’d rather Mom be healthy. But I’m still disappointed.
I clutch the straps of my bag as I slowly make my way to my locker.
It’s still early and I’m not in a rush. The halls slowly fill, the old stones soaking in the noises and releasing some of their age-worn magic into the air. I reach out and twist a bit of the iridescent stuff. It shimmers and my lips tug into a smile in spite of my grumpy attitude. Until I see the banner for the Back to School Dance dangling from the arched buttress.
My teeth find my lip as my stomach drops. I want to go with Reid. But I’m afraid I’ll ruin everything if I ask him.
I kick the toe of my boot against the flagstone floor. Orange light shimmers down the hallway, and I know I need to start thinking about getting my things ready for class.
Several people exchange greetings with me as I walk down to my locker. I frown when I realize there’s a magiked lock on it. I didn’t put it there.
Lifting the lock, my shoulders relax. It’s a bio lock. I put my finger on the bottom and feel the quick pull of magic as it springs the mechanism loose and it drops to my hand.
Putting it in my purse, the locker door creaks open. And then my mouth hangs loose like a Drop-Jaw waiting for its prey. I blink. I swallow. Quickly I check the locker number.
Nestled there in a soft cloth is the most perfect dragon egg I’ve ever seen. I’m almost afraid to touch it. It’s shiny magenta, speckled with amethyst sparkles.
Reverently, I cup my hands around the precious egg and lift it to my chest. My eyes close as soft warmth and the slight must of dragon envelope me. I leave my eyes shut until I’m no longer afraid the tears will leak out.
Glancing back into my open locker, there’s an envelope. It’s thick white parchment with gilt edges. Just seeing it there makes my belly quiver.
Carefully placing the egg back in its soft nest, I nearly cut my finger on the paper as my hands shake trying to open it.
Heat rushes through me when I recognize the writing and tears spring to my eyes again.
I know you’ve wanted one of these for half of forever. This one is yours. No strings. Go put your name on the scroll feed.
But there is one other thing. And I’m writing this so my words don’t get all tangled when I try to say them to you.
I smile as I picture how words seem to stick in my friend’s mouth when he’s frustrated.
My smile fades as I read the last line.
Will you go to the Back to School Dance with me? As my date?
My mouth goes dry and my eyes bulge in their sockets when I read his closing.
Your best friend who would like to explore the possibility of being more,
He’s here. He’s watching me somewhere. He wouldn’t miss seeing my face when I found his gift and read his letter.
Wildly searching the hall, I find a pair of sea-green eyes staring at me from underneath a mop of dark hair. His face is as steady and handsome as ever, but there’s a vulnerability there that I’ve never seen.
Snatching my egg, I dash over to him. Flinging caution to the wind, I plant my lips on his.
Momentarily stunned, he’s still as stone for a full second before squeezing me tight.
“Is that a thank-you for the egg or a yes to something else?” he says when we break apart.
“Both,” I say with a huge smile.
Sometimes dreams do come true.
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