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The Legacy of Androva Series

New Book, New Series, Fourth Chapter!

And it's on to Chapter Four! Luca finally meets the person he's come to the earthbound dimension to save and it doesn't quite go according to plan. He also discovers something unexpected about Devin. You can catch up on any of the previous chapters via the New Series label at the top of this post. Thank you very much for visiting my blog today .

4 A Bad Start 
When Devin walked into homeroom he was with Mina and Gabe. They were arguing about a television series they’d watched on Sunday. Mina seemed convinced the main character was no good.
“You wait, he’s going to break her heart. I can see it coming a mile off.”
I recognized their voices straight away and lifted my head. Mina had her fingers curled possessively around Devin’s upper arm.
During the weekend I’d memorized everything the computer could tell me about the school and its student/teacher population. I’d been the first to arrive—well, technically, I never left—choosing a seat near the back so I could see everyone else. I stayed hunched over my phone, which I’d learned how to use, more or less. I had earbuds in my ears, and so far none of the other students had tried to talk to me, though I’d sensed them looking.
Devin noticed me first, and his animated expression immediately faltered. Gabe and Mina turned to see what he was looking at. I held my breath, wondering just how much he remembered of our parting the week before. Dedisco wasn’t infallible.
I’m holding my breath. Like I’m earthbound. How weird. It’s not like I even need the air.
“Avi…” Devin’s voice sounded almost relieved. “I thought I might have imagined… well, I guess not,” he added with a self-conscious laugh.
“I told you,” muttered Gabe. “We all saw him, didn’t we?”
Mina’s lips curved in a delighted smile. “We certainly did.” Her voice was a little louder than it needed to be. “And he looks just as stunning as he did last week, don’t you think?”
She glanced left and right, confident in the attention she was attracting. Look at me. I already met the new guy before any of you. Although she was ostensibly complimenting me, her behavior was pretty outrageous. I was now the center of attention whether I wanted to be or not. As was she.
“Not as stunning as you,” I replied, meeting her smile head on with one of my own and keeping my eyes half-closed. I leaned back in my chair and balanced one foot on the opposite knee. If she wasn’t going to allow me to remain anonymous, I certainly wasn’t going to allow her to dictate the terms of my visibility. She laughed in surprise.
“Why, thank you,” she said. “Where did you get to on Friday? Dev wouldn’t tell us.”
She gave Devin a sideways glance, but he ignored her. I knew he was still looking at me. Damnit. With his soft brown eyes and tangled emotions, he was like a walking distraction, customized to resemble the kind of assignment I liked most. I doubted my attempts to avoid a connection with him would succeed for much longer.
Mina’s perfectly painted lips tightened. “I was sure you and Dev would spend the rest of the afternoon together,” she added. Her voice was even louder now. “You were getting on so well. I think he… likes you.” Her eyes, surrounded by their long, curling lashes, gleamed with something that looked a lot like malice.
By this time our little exchange was really attracting attention. Everyone was waiting for either me or Devin to say something. Devin glared at Mina, but before he could speak, the teacher arrived, carrying a large pile of folders. She kicked the door closed behind her and shouted for us to sit down and shut up.
Apparently this teacher was not like Mr. Mason. Most of the students scrambled to take their seats without any hesitation. She dropped the folders onto the desk and surveyed the room, only having to raise one critical eyebrow for the two students not yet seated to hastily find chairs.
Authority radiated from her, despite her petite frame and delicate features. She took a few steps forward and her gaze landed on me. “Name?” she said.
I blinked. “Samantha.”
There was a gasp of laughter from the row behind me, which was immediately quietened.
The teacher narrowed her eyes. “Your name,” she said. “Obviously.”
Oh. That makes more sense. “Avitus Sequani,” I told her. I refrained from adding that she could call me Avi. Informality did not seem to be her thing.
Mr. Sequani,” she said, confirming my suspicions. “You may think that using my first name is amusing. However, I can assure you that as long as you are in my classroom, you are alone in that thought. If you do it again, I will reward you with a week of detention to give you the time you need to reflect on your sense of humor.”
She waited expectantly. The boy next to me kicked my foot. “Dude, apologize,” he whispered urgently.
“Oh, er… I’m very sorry, Mrs. Stanton.”
After a brief nod, she returned to her desk and began calling out names one by one to confirm attendance. Everyone received one of the folders when their name was mentioned. I took the chance to look more closely at the other students. I could see most of them easily from my position near the back of the room, and it was as I suspected. She definitely wasn’t here.
Had I made a mistake when I was changing the schedule? Or had the changes somehow reverted back to the way they were before I interfered?
“Present,” I answered, when Mrs. Stanton called my name, copying the response everyone else had given. As she was reaching the end of the alphabet, the door was thrown open so forcefully it banged against the wall. The girl framed in the doorway was rigid with indignation.
“Miss Vryson,” said Mrs. Stanton, without even looking up. “I was just about to call your name. Why don’t you take a seat?”
“It’s true, then? You’re still my homeroom teacher?”
“Apparently so. I received an email yesterday afternoon with the scheduling change. I can only assume Mr. Mason changed his mind.”
“He can go to hell.”
The silence was absolute. Mrs. Stanton’s eyes were like chips of ice.
You can go take a seat. Right now. We’ll discuss your plans for Mr. Mason when I say so and not before.”
Cassandra Vryson. I put one hand onto the desk to steady myself. Her emotions were overwhelming in their intensity, and I felt every single one of them. Anger, hurt, regret. And fear. So much fear.
It’s worse than I thought it would be. I’ve never successfully brought someone back from this.
She looked nothing like her photo and nothing like the boy I’d known. But underneath her physical appearance, it was there. I recognized him. Her. In that moment, I understood that gender was utterly irrelevant. I recognized the person. My eyes filled with tears.
She took the only spare seat, which happened to be right in front of me. I could have reached out and touched her. I tightened my grip on the desk as a reminder I should do nothing of the kind. The boy next to me was shifting sideways, like he thought putting a bit of distance between us was a good idea. Yeah, it is.
Really, all I wanted was to throw my arms around her and shout my thanks to the gods. I wanted to restore every single memory we’d ever shared so she could relive them with me. I wanted to hide somewhere he could never find us until I found a way to fix this. “Contego,” I whispered, and the emotion emanating from her softened a little.
“Mr. Sequani?”
Mrs. Stanton was tapping one foot against her desk.
“Sorry?” I said, attempting to subdue the turmoil inside my head until it was at a more manageable level.
“You will be, if you continue to ignore me. It is customary for new students to introduce themselves. One or two sentences will do. We don’t need your life story.”
I cleared my throat. “Well…”
“And stand up,” she added.
I pushed my chair back and got to my feet. Shit. All that time I’d spent learning about everyone else, and I’d neglected to construct even the most basic of backstories for myself.
“I’m… I mean, my name is Avi. I… er… I’m from Europe originally, but I’ve moved around a lot. I guess I’m… ordinary.” There were a few suppressed sniggers from around the room. Mrs. Stanton sighed.
“No one is ordinary,” she said, making it sound ominous and encouraging at the same time. She was quite impressive, really. I grinned before I could stop myself. She gave me a faint smile in return, apparently unaffected by the eye contact. Yes. Impressive.
“I have to partner you with a mentor for your first semester, Mr. Sequani. I know you’re a senior, but you might still have questions about the school that another student can help you with. Are there any volunteers?”
Several hands went up, including Devin’s. “Yes, Miss Vryson,” continued Mrs. Stanton. “You’ll do very well.”
“I didn’t volunteer.”
“No, but it’ll be good for you. I’ll let your comment about Mr. Mason slide if you accept.”
“Fine. Whatever.”
“Excellent.”
The bell rang and everyone starting moving and talking at once, most of them heading straight for the door. The girl in front of me stood up slowly and turned around. We were almost the same height.
“Cassandra?” I said.
“Cass.”
She had black hair, olive skin, and brown eyes. Her bangs were heavy, almost long enough to touch her eyelashes. Her expression was severely unimpressed. She wasn’t even looking at me properly.
“Don’t expect me to hold your hand,” she said.
I pushed my hands behind my back. Touching her skin was the last thing I wanted to do after Devin’s reaction on Friday.
She rolled her eyes. “Oh my God. I meant it figuratively. Just keep the questions to a minimum. If you can.”
She bent down to lift her purple backpack from the floor and pushed her folder into it. “I’m going to assume you know how to read a timetable and a map. See you around,” she added, and turned away.
“Please don’t hate me,” I blurted out before I realized what I was doing.
She hesitated, then turned back and gave me an incredulous look. “What?”
“Please,” I repeated, unable to stop myself.
“I hate everyone,” she said. “Why should I make an exception for you?”
“Because hating everyone is as irrational as loving everyone. At least save the extremes for people who are worthy of them.”
She took a step closer, lifting her chin. “Is that supposed to be wisdom or something? Keep talking, you patronizing loser, and you’ll prove yourself worthy in no time at all.”
“I…”
The boy who’d been sitting next to me put his hand on my shoulder as he passed. “Just don’t,” he muttered.
“Avi,” said another voice. It was Devin. He was alone. Mina and Gabe must have already left. “What class have you got next?”
“Math,” I answered.
“Me too,” he said, brightening. “I’ll show you the way, if you want?”
I glanced at Cass. I still hadn’t made eye contact with her. I didn’t realize it was going to be quite this bad. If I have to use magic to get her to even talk to me, it’s never going to work.
She gave an exaggerated sigh. “Are you done with your little lecture? I have to find Mr. Mason and ask him why he broke his word about homeroom.”
Oh, hell. I was the one who’d changed the schedule, using Mr. Mason’s login details. And although Cass and I had gotten off to a terrible start, I didn’t want him changing it back. Homeroom was the best chance I had to see her on a regular basis.
“He won’t change it,” said Devin. “He can’t. Not now you’ve been partnered with Avi.”
“Shit,” she said. “You’re right.”
“I’m right,” he repeated. “Really?”
He smiled, gesturing in my direction. “I have a witness, you know.”
“Yeah, the new guy,” said Cass dismissively. “His word won’t mean anything for weeks yet.”
“Avi,” said Devin, ignoring her, “I’m sorry about my sister. She’s… well, she’s complicated.”
I stared at him.
Half sister,” corrected Cass, making a face.
“Your better half,” said Devin.
Wait, what?

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