The Other Valentine

3629 Words
    An overwhelming feeling of anxiety swept over her while she sat there under the large, old Ash tree; her odd-colored eyes skimming through the words written across the pages of her novel robotically, while her mind was undoubtedly elsewhere.     The unsettled feelings that she had weren’t particularly placed. They never really were; her misplaced feelings, always considered more so a side-effect of whenever she decided to make the reckless decision to neglect her more primal needs.     A sudden overbearing shadow, aside from that of her favorite beautiful tree, hovered in the remaining light that the tree captured of the sun, averting her attention but not her gaze. After all, she already knew who the statuesque guy was that was standing before her.     Of course, he did not say anything to her, but she knew he greeted her with a small smile of sorts. It was his norm when in initiation to a discussion he knew would cause tension. In fact, she had already had an inkling as to what the subject of discussion was about. Or at least one of the subjects.     When it was confirmed that he was not going anywhere any time soon, she took in an annoyed breath, keeping her eyes on her book before she spoke again.     “May I help you, brother?” she asked in her antiquated accent, haphazardly pushing a frost blue strand of her birthmarked hair from her eye.     “I was going to ask you the same thing,” he said, arms crossed.     “Oh were you now?” she asked rhetorically, though it was clear that he missed the hint of her not expecting an answer.     “Yes, actually I was-”     “No, you cannot help me. I am fine.” She cut him off before he could finish his sentence. His patronizing tone quickly starting to get under her butter-pecan-toned skin.     “Do not lie to me, Ro,” Jeriko scolded, his accent suddenly changing into something more...original…..older. “I saw what was going through your head when you walked out of the building a minute ago. You know you cannot just-”     "I know that you saw what going on in my head, brother," She said under her breath in irritation. "I wanted you to see it," Her eyes shifted from the pages on the book past her twin.“What did I tell you about going inside of my head, Jeriko.” She hissed. “Just because I think those things or feel those things does not mean that I plan to act on them.”     “You are right. It does not mean that, but I see that twitch-the way you’re nibbling at your lip. That means you are weighing the options and are dangerously close to choosing the wrong one.” When she decided not to respond to him, his concern heightened. “When’s the last time that you gave in?”     She did not bother to make eye contact and certainly was not going to bother in answering him. She was aware of the fact that her refusing to answer was frustrating him. The change in the air signaled her to that.     “How long, Ro!” he snapped, slamming his hand against the table.     Ro, however, did not budge nor did she even look at him. Nevertheless, the feeling of irritation was very mutual. “Not that long.” she simply replied.     Realizing that she was not going to be completely honest with him, he grabbed her wrist aggressively, turning it over. When he saw the tattoo on her wrist disappearing, she yanked away from him, eyes still averted.     “How...long?” he asked again, signaling his warning tone. Yes, he knew that his little sister was depriving herself. He could almost feel it within himself; he could not explain but he could feel it. Still, Jeriko needed to know the extent of her malnourished troubles.     Ro, was in no way intimidated by his threatening demeanor, knowing that he would not necessarily do anything to cause attention. But still, she did not wish to upset him even more. After all, he was doing her a favor in staying with her for as long as he had. Or at least, that’s how she saw it.     “Four days.” she simply answered.     “Four-four days?!” Jeriko was in disbelief. “And the markings are nearly gone already.”     “Well what can I say?” she simply returned. “It’s that time of the month. Auntie flow is revving up the appetite,” she added, still in nonchalance.     “Ho-how can you be so cavalier about this?” Jeriko spat. “This is not a joke, Ro-” when she did not return his concern, he further added. “Not only are you not taking this seriously, but you’re also being very callous!”     “Callous, huh?”      “Aurora do not act like you have no idea what I am referring to!” He snapped. When he realized that he may have been causing a bit of attention, he glanced around to assure that no one had been paying too much attention to the heated conversation that he was having with his twin.     “Well, considering the fact that you have cut me off from your thoughts, I’d have to say...I do not read minds. And, I am not sure that twin-tuition necessarily works concerning our relationship. Not all of the time, at least.” She added. “So, no. I have no idea what you are referring to, big brother.”     Jeriko frustrated, countered her, ignoring her last comment. “Ro, you man-handled a member of the football team today!” he hissed.     Eyes still on her pages, though her mind was fully un-concentrated at the moment due to hunger and the add on of her brother's interrogation, Ro spoke again. “Oh, that.” there was amusement hidden in her tone.     “Ro-how could-”     “He deserved it.” she simply defended. “Besides, you speak as if mundane females cannot handle themselves. What I did was perfectly normal.”     “What you did, was not normal at all.” He argued. “You should have called me to handle him, Ro,” Jeriko said, knowing what happened earlier to cause her outburst.     “Why? I was there.” she pointed out. “And last I checked, you were not the one that got groped.”     “Neither were you!” Jeriko exasperatedly stated.     “Oh, right,” Aurora admitted, still a trite amused by what happened earlier. “I was being nice, Jeriko.” She attempted to defend herself. “Standing up for the little people-those that cannot stand up for themselves and all that rubbish.” She lost interest quickly in what she was saying. “I’d think you’d be proud that I was being helpful,” Aurora added, though knowing that she could and would never win with her brother. “Besides, he hurt my feelings.”      Jeriko could not believe that she even tried to pull that card. “I find that hard to believe,” Jeriko said.     Aurora looked up to the shade of the Ash tree as if she were thinking for a moment before she shrugged. “Hmm, okay-hurt feelings are a little...over the top, I guess. But you know how I feel about the...B-word.” she pointed out, turning her gaze back to her book. “You know, sad how this generation so freely uses such an inappropriate and downright unattractive word.” She muttered. “In our day, we did not need to use such profane language to get a point across-”     “You’re missing the point, Ro.” Jeriko cut her off.         “Hm? Oh, am I?” Aurora glanced at him once more before returning her gaze to her book. “Run the point across me again.”     “Aurora, the way you’re acting-the way you handled that situation today was-”     “Was what, brother?” She cut him off, her amethyst gaze slowly rose to meet his. Without words, her brother knew exactly what that stare meant; she was tired of talking about this.     “It was not the human way!” Jeriko hissed.     “Human, what a funny word.” she sneered. “As if either of us has ever known such a satisfaction.” Aurora sarcastically stated. When Jeriko did not respond immediately, Aurora knew that she pricked a sensitive spot with him. “Oh, brother. I am sure I do not have to repeat myself in constantly reminding you that humans are not immortal.” She said in an underlying tone, reminding Jeriko that just because he did not possess her insatiable appetite for the unholy, did not mean that he was human.     Jeriko, although in agreeance with Ro did not say so. Instead, he returned to the subject at hand. “You cannot manhandle the defensive line’s starter, Ro. He’s two times your size. In every sense of the word. It would not even be logical for you to have done what you did in this society-”     “What good is the size if you have nothing to show for it?” Aurora cut in. “Funnily, he's certainly larger and not stronger. What a pity, really.”     “Ro, you know that this is not how we are supposed to do things.” Jeriko attempted at reason to no avail, however.     “I would drop the Incredible Hulk-like a ragdoll if he disrespected me as your little team member did,” she added.     He shook his head, knowing that he would get nowhere with her. “At the very least, you could have erased his memory along with everyone else’s of the incident.”     “Well, then there would have been no need for the lesson if he was not going to remember what he learned from it.”     “Poor guy was near petrification when I got to him.”     Ro started to speak again, when she read between the lines of what her brother had said, coming to a realization. “You erased his memory didn’t you?”      Jeriko did not say anything at first and just exhaled. “Someone had to clean up your mess, Aurora.” Ro scoffed at his choice of words. “You need to realize that I am only looking out for you.”     A chuckle escaped Aurora, harsh and dragged. “You still try to convince yourself that looking out for me is what you are doing,” she mumbled.     Knowing that she meant offense, he countered in a defensive manner. “And what exactly is that supposed to mean?”     Aurora did not answer, however. She only scoffed, as she knew that her brother read between the lines of her words. Instead, she approached another subject-one more bothersome to her at this point than the wrong that she had apparently committed earlier.     “Never complimented you on the pretty new toy that you have,” Aurora said.     Rolling his eyes with frustration, Jeriko glared at his younger twin. “What do you-”     “One question, though.” Aurora cut him off. “Why is it coming over here?”      Jeriko started to answer Aurora with a question, confused as to what she was talking about. That is until he heard that familiar voice calling from a distance.     “Hey there!”     Caught off guard by her presence, Jeriko doubled back when he saw Jennifer approaching. “Jen! What are you doing?”     Jennifer gave a sheepish smile. “Well, you were taking so long, I figured I’d come get you.”      Jeriko sighed, shaking his head. “I wish you hadn’t.”     “Was I interrupting something?” Jennifer asked in an abashed sort of way.     Jeriko knew that it was just a front as Jennifer knew good and well that she was interrupting something.     “I don’t know.” Aurora interceded before he could even say anything. “Was she? Interrupting something, brother?” She asked sarcastically. She even waited a moment or two; but when Jeriko did not respond, Aurora shrugged. “Guess not.” She closed her small book, keeping a finger between the pages to keep her mark before she stood. “We’re done here. You can take him back now.”     As Aurora maneuvered to remove herself from between the wooden bench and the table that it was connected to, Jennifer approached a little closer.     “Actually, I came here to meet you.”     “Oh, is that right?” Aurora replied in a disinterested manner.     “Yeah,” Jennifer replied. “I actually came to talk to you about-”     “Yes, yes. I know dear. You’re-” She then suddenly paused.      Usually, at that moment, Aurora would have delved into the girl’s mind and her whole life’s story. Not this time, however; this time she seemed to have a mental block on her. And Aurora already knew who the culprit was. She looked at her twin, brow raised, wondering what he was up to.     “What is this, Jeriko?” Aurora asked.     “Jennifer,” Jeriko responded, his gaze still heavily on his sister as he spoke, frustrations and all. “This is my sister-my younger twin sister; Aurora...Aurora Valentine.”     Jennifer held out her hand for Aurora to shake it seemed before she spoke. “It’s nice to finally meet you!”     “I know, sweetie.” Aurora simply replied, her gaze still appointed to her brother as she wondered what he was playing at. Never had Jeriko blocked someone’s thoughts from her before. So why now?     “You’ve probably seen me around before.” Jennifer suddenly said, attempting to break the awkward tension.      “Zastoj,” Aurora said, with barely a wave of two fingers when Jennifer’s whole form froze in place. She looked at her brother.      Realizing what she had done, Jeriko looked around, in hopes that no one would notice. “Aurora! What are you thinking?!”     Aurora looked at him a moment and then glanced at this Jennifer girl before turning back to her novel. At this point, the novel was nothing more than a prop in a means to show her uncaring attitude toward what she had just done.     “So, are you going to tell me why you shut me out of her thoughts?” Aurora simply asked.     “Aurora.” Jeriko hissed in an attempt at calm. “Free her.” Unfortunately, he could not counter what she had done. Their twin bond was so off sync, it was harder for him to sync to her magic and void it.     “As soon as you tell me what this is all about,” she said. “There must be a reason as to why she felt it alright to approach me. Usually, that only happens when you’ve okayed it.” When he didn’t respond right away, Aurora chuckled. “See, I knew...I knew that it was more to do with this little acknowledgment than me embarrassing a football player or you caring for my well-being.” She glanced up for but a moment. “So are you going to tell me? Or not?” She then returned her gaze to her book. “Tick, tock, brother. Time is of the essence.” She said. “I’d hate for someone to find that she has been in that position a moment too long.”      Jeriko was nearly inclined to use force with his younger sister. However, in her current state, knew that it was probably not the best idea. “Just let her go.”     “You know how this goes, Rik,” Aurora said, alerting him to the fact that she would do no such thing until he answered her.     Jeriko paused, still looking around to assure that no one realized that Jennifer had not moved for over a minute now. Fortunately, the pose she was stuck in was not too revealing.     “We’ve been talking...she and I,” he finally said. “And she as well as I...think it would be a good idea for you to join the spirit squad. That’s not such a bad thing.”     Aurora finally looked at her brother again. She did not know whether to laugh or grimace. Unfortunate memories were connected to such an idea and Jeriko knew this. So it surprised Aurora to know that her brother came up with such an idea. Still, she knew why he thought of it in the first place.      With another flick of her wrist, Aurora spoke again. “Rezime.”      Jennifer suddenly resumed her actions, speaking as if nothing had ever happened. “I’m the head of-”     Aurora, whose gaze was stuck to her brother, her hand still nonchalantly raised from releasing the girl from her pause. A harsh willingly escaped her. “Let me stop you right there, sweetie,” she said, her eyes still on Jeriko. She shook her head at her brother’s reckless thinking. She took out a Black n Mild and lit it. She blew the vanilla-scented smoke from her lips before getting up. “I’m not interested in what you or my brother are selling,” she informed and started away.     “Wait!” Jennifer said grabbing at Aurora’s arm.     Alarmed, Jeriko quickly grabbed Jennifer. “Jen, don’t!”     Jennifer, seeming confused, looked at Jeriko and then back at Aurora. “I’m sorry-what did I-” Her words were cut off by further confusion of the awkward silence that ensued, following what just happened.     Aurora looked down at the spot where Jennifer held her hand to her arm. Her eyes then met Jennifer, only one still showing while the other covered with again with her frosted hair. She did not say anything. It was obvious that Jennifer was not aware of the danger that she was in. Aurora, however, amused, entertained her by simply standing there. She forced herself not to heckle at her brother’s concern. It was sort of unfortunate that she did not have the capability to block him out of her mind.     "I’m sorry! “ Jennifer finally found her words. “You don’t look like you necessarily like to be touched.”     “Your assumption is correct Jennifer,”  Aurora replied cooly.     “Well, I apologize. But I really think you should hear me out before you decide.” Jennifer started. “I know you’ve probably been to other schools where they asked you to join. But I assure you that we are not like-”     “Other spirit squads?” Aurora said. Jennifer’s expression became sheepish. “Yea, sweetie I’ve been on this earth for nearly two centuries. Trust me...after a while, all of you are the same.”     Quickly, Jeriko attempted to chime in to cover up his sister’s very literal statement. “Ha, ha! That was just a joke. The-century thing.”     Both Jennifer and Aurora looked at Jeriko before Jennifer gave him an expression of awkwardness. “Yea, I kind of figured that,” she said before turning around.      “Yea,” Aurora mockingly agreed. “Way to make things awkward, Rik.” she grinned before chucking up the deuce sign and walking away.     Jennifer watched Aurora walk off, and quickly reached after her when she thought better of it and just called out to her instead. “Wait! Wait, look, I’ve heard such great things about you! And-and your moves-”     “Who would you have heard that from beside my brother. I don’t like anyone else enough for them to know so much.” Aurora said, in a nutshell letting Jennifer know that even if Jeriko bragged about her past skills as a cheerleader, she would not be impressed by it. Especially knowing that her older twin brother had ulterior motives.     Jennifer sighed. “Okay, I get it but we have two of our members out for the season due to injury and we have a whole season left. We have new recruits but they won’t have it down packed in time for-”     “I fail to see how this pertains to me,” Aurora said.     Jeriko knew that Jennifer was not getting anywhere with Aurora and decided to chime in. “And you’ll be able to travel with us during the games, Ro,” he added.     And that comment confirmed Aurora’s suspicions about the real reason behind Jeriko being so supportive of this ridiculous notion-the reason why he okayed his little girlfriend to approach her.      Still amused at her brother, however, Aurora took another puff of her cigar before she spoke again. “Like I said, sweetie. Not my cup of tea.” she turned away, walking off. “Nice try though.” That last part was meant for Jeriko, Aurora confirming that she knew exactly what he was up to.     Jennifer turned around and looked at Jeriko as his twin walked away. “Well, that went nice.”     Jeriko wrapped his arm around her and kissed her head. “Believe me, it could have been worse.”
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