It’s like turbulent energy slamming into a hard object.
Intuition can predict that you’ll lose the battle before it starts.
I don’t lose battles.
As soon as the coach’s usual pep talk ends, I grab my messenger bag and stride out of the locker room without speaking to anyone.
Nash calls my name, but I zone him and everyone else out.
I get lost in my head more often than not, and they know better than to barge between me and my own mind.
Besides, they spent almost two decades with me, they should be used to it by now.
I pull out my phone and dial Elsa.
It’s turned off.
Elsa doesn’t turn off her phone.
She won’t admit it, but she’s always conscious about not answering if either of her guardians calls her.
I stop outside the locker room and try again.
I usually put the negative before the positive because the positive fucks you up.
But at the moment, I wish there’s an exception to my perception.
I wish there’s some positive before the negative.
I wish Elsa’s fucking phone isn’t turned off.
And I don’t even do the wishing thing.
“Yo, King!” Astor crashes into me from behind and wraps an arm around my shoulder.
His uniform is tucked all wrong and there’s still some shampoo in his damp hair like he couldn’t bother to rinse properly.
He’s an anomaly to his last name. If the great earl Astor sees him this way, he’ll probably lock him up and teach him manners all over again.
If I weren’t so preoccupied, I would’ve sent him a photo just to watch Astor’s reaction.
He’s entertaining sometimes.
Despite his appearance, the girls passing us by bat their eyelashes at him. He winks at one and motions for the other to call him.
This school needs to up its standards.
“You look like shit,” I deadpan. “And remove your arm before I break it.”
“Aaaand there’s my mate.” He grins at me. “I thought I lost you for a moment there. Now, where was I? Why did I come to your grumpy arse again…?” He snaps his fingers. “Right! Was Jonathan meeting the principal for the Premier League’s scouts? Put a word for me, eh?”
“Jonathan was here?”
“Bah alors, mate. Everyone in the school knows your father was here, but you don’t? What the fuck, seriously?”
Jonathan was in RES.
Elsa’s phone is turned off.
I want to chuck it up to coincidence, but there’s no such thing as a coincidence.
Coincidence is an excuse weak people use when reality hits them in the face.
It wasn’t a coincidence when I met her again.
And it’s not a coincidence that she disappeared now.
I told her not to talk to Jonathan. I made it clear that she’s to stay the fuck away from him.
The sound of an ambulance cuts through the air.
And it’s not an ambulance passing by.
No. It’s coming straight for the school’s back entrance.
“Ooh,” Astor tiptoes to look through the window. “Drama. Let’s go watch.”
Jonathan came to RES.
Elsa’s phone is turned off.
An ambulance is in RES.
The thing about intuition? It’s always right.
At least in my case.
“Hey, King.” Knight runs towards us, his brows drawn together. “You might want to see this.”
“That’s what I’ve been telling him,” Astor says. “It’s drama and we should always take part in drama —”
“It’s Elsa.” Knight cuts him off. “She was found drowning in the pool.”
* * *
“You can’t be mine if you’re weak.”
The haunting voice becomes a buzz. A long, forgotten buzz.
Water fills my mouth, my nose, and my ears.
“Fight!” The voice shouts on top of me. “Fight, Elsa!”
My limbs flail in the water. My chest constricts with the pent up energy.
I can’t breathe.
Please let me breathe.
That familiar dizziness lures me into its clutches. My limbs barely move anymore.
I’m hauled from the water. I gasp for air, choking and spluttering saliva. My heart almost beats out of my chest.
My vision is still blurry even after I blink several times.
The gloomy, cloudy air coats my skin with a sheen of stickiness. My clothes are glued to my body like paste as I shake. My teeth clatter, but them monsters wouldn’t leave me alone.
I want to say a name, but if I do, if I say it, I won’t only be thrown in the water, I’ll also have to be the one who shall not be named.
So I call the other.
The only name I have left.
I’m thrown into the water again.
I don’t even get to take my fill of air this time.
I don’t get to fight.
What’s the use of fighting if them monsters won’t let me fight?