Fifteen

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Arden
•••

   "Yes, Arden. You don't get things handed to you at this school. You need to earn it." He smiles coyly.

   "Ok, I can earn it off. What do you want me to do? Clean, chores, help the younger kids?" Those are all easy things.

   "No, you must win in a fight."

   I know what he's expecting, me to be worried or nervous. But my dad trained me in fighting. I'm pretty good, if I do say so myself. "Easy." I grin, "Pick the girl, I got this in a bag. Oh, but don't pick Lily though. I don't want to hurt her."

   Headmaster Andrews turns and looks at the small blonde girl. She nods, "Yea, I don't want her to hurt me either."

   "Hmmm." Andrews says scratching his beard.

   "Oh, please Andrews I'm serious." Lily begs, "I suck at combat, and she used to train with her dad. She would squash me like a bug." Andrews looks at me and I nod agreeing.

   "James." He says, I curl at my fathers name. "I also used to train him. Very skilled fighter. But very arrogant." So my father and mother were both trained by him.

   "Sounds like him." I mutter embarrassed.

   "So you would train with your father?" Andrews asks and I nod. "If you as good as a fighter as him, which I'm guessing you are, you're probably at the level, if not better, than all the females here."

   I shrug, "Maybe." Maybe more like most definitely. But, now I'm highly debating if telling him about my history of training was a smart thing.

   "That wouldn't be too much of a challenge then." He says still thinking. Fuck. I should of kept my mouth shut. I can tell an idea pops in his head by the cocky smile that spreads across his face.  "I have an idea!"

   My stomach drops, "you look evil when you smile like that Andrews."

   He laughs and shakes his head. "We are just as much about fighting with our bodies and with our head."

   "You want me to head butt someone?" I joke.

   "Brain, I meant brain Arden."

   "I knew that I was just kid..."

   He continues to talk. "You'll be fighting William."

   My jaw basically hits the floor. "What?" Levi and Carter start to crack up. I shut them up with a quick look. "I'll be fighting William?" I turn and look at Will. He's always ether wearing a smirk.

   "Yes, that is what I said." Andrew states. I turn and look at Will again. I give him, a not so subtle once over. My eyes stop at his muscles. They aren't huge and bulky, but they are there. Now that I look, he has great muscles. Practically perfect ones. And I don't know how I could forget how attractive this man was.

   Call me what you want. A dumb, easily distracted, horny, but after all. I am just a girl, and he is a good looking boy.

   A very attractive one. And no matter how much one tries to fight it, it's hard to fight attraction.

   "You done staring?" I look up to see Will's smirking face.

   "Yes, I am."

   "She was checking Will out." Levi snort and teases. I give him a sarcastic smile.

  "Yes, I was." This earns a snort from Lily. And laughs from Carter and Levi. Oh shit. I forgot, that there's a chance there's something going on between Will and her. I turn back to Andrews. "But yes, I checked him out. More specifically his muscles. And do you know what I saw?"

   "What did you see?" Andrews asks humoring me.

   "Not a fair fight."

   He laughs, "Arden, every battle is a fair fight. If you can't win with your strength..."

   "Win with your brain." I finish the line my father used to say to me.

   "I'm glad you get it!" He chuckles patting my back. "You two go strength on opposite corners and get ready."

   "Come on," Lily says grabbing my hand and leading me to the far end.

   "Any advice?" I ask Lily, stretching my arms. We both look at Will. Laughing and stretching with the other boys.

   "Left hook, right hook, Don't her knocked out?" She shrugs.

   I laugh, "Do I have any chance coach?"

   "Will's a fair person." She starts to explain. "I know he wants to help you get the bracelet off, but he's going to give you his all. He's not about throwing fights."

   "Oh great."

   "If he could, he would." She defends him. "But Andrews knows Will's abilities. Will is our top fighter here. So if he saw that he was throwing, he wouldn't consider it a win for you. So he's not going to go easy on you."

"So I'm screwed."

"Basically."

   "So I do have to win with my brain." I groan, retying my shoes.

   "Yea, I have faith in you though." She nudges my shoulder smiling. Liar.

   "Thanks." I smile back.

   "I was hoping you would get to fight Gwen." I look over to Gwen and a couple girls around her. All chatting and laughing with the boys.

   "Yea, me too."

•••

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