Twenty One

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Arden
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Darkness. That's what I see, but for not even a millisecond. It's as if that I had just blinked, and have opened my eyes to a whole new place.

Feel weird? How would I feel...

A wave of nausea hits me. "Holy shit." I gasp bending over and holding my knees. Not just nausea I feel, but a ray of other things. Things I couldn't even put to words. One thing I can say I feel though, is pain. "That hurt like a mother fuck..."

Someone clearing their throat stops me from finishing my sentence. I slowly look up, and all I see are men. Men everywhere. Not hundreds, but a solid seven. This is way too much testosterone.

"Where are the women?" I whisper to the boys next to me.

"There aren't any in his sector." An older man approaching us answers.

"Oh, cool." I reply awkwardly. Super cool, not.

"General Thomas." Will greets him with a nod.

"Umm, I'm going to bounce." Ben speaks up, "I don't want to be late for taco night." I groan at his words. Taco night, you lucky son of a...

And in a flash and a wave, he's gone. Take me with you, I wanted to plead. I turn back to the man. General Thomas. My eyes widen slightly. "Gwen's dad." I say after realization.

He smiles at the name of his daughter. "Yes, are you friends with her?"

I laugh at that and turn to Will, "So, what's the game plan? Let's talk to your pops and dip. Maybe we can make it back in time for tacos."

Will rolls his eyes again. I hope his eyes get stuck that way. He starts to speak, "This is an over night trip, remember?" I hold in my groan, as I remember the bag on my back. No tacos for me then. He turns his attention back to the general. "Where is my father?" He asks.

The general moves his gaze from me to the young prince. He clears his throat and starts to talk. "He will be here in the morning. Then we will go over the discussion. For now, I have been informed to not speak of the matter until he is here."

William gives him an understanding nod. The general then excuses himself and heads back to what I assume, is his tent. Leaving us with seven pairs of eyes on us.

"Did you see how he was looking at me?" I whisper to Will. "Like I was some kind of weirdo."

"You are one."

I scoff, "I am not."

"Will!" I turn my attention to a dark boy running up to us. I look at the other men, he seems to be the youngest here. My age, maybe a year older. Would that make him Will's age? I have to make a note in my head to even ask William what his age was.

"Christian!" Will's face morphs into a huge grin. They greet each other with a huge hug.

"I haven't seen you in a whopping minute." The boy named Christian says.

"More like a year." Will jokes shoving his shoulder. Whoever he is, Will has a great deal of love or respect for him.

"And whose this?" He asks turning towards me. I forgot that I've been just standing here awkwardly. "You must be Will's girlfriend. Rose?"

I snap my head snaps so fast in William's direction, I'm surprised I didn't get whip lash. "What?" I ask unbelievably.

"Christian you're such a little shit." Will laughs shoving his shoulder.

"Whose Rose?" I ask, still confused. Will has a girlfriend?

"Oh fuck." Christian laughs, "Is she actually your girlfriend?" He asks pointing at me. "I'm just messing with you, there's no girl or other girlfriend named Rose." He laughs again.

"Oh, well..." I was going to say it didn't matter anyways. Tell him I wasn't Williams girlfriend, but he cuts me off before I can.

"So, real talk. Why are you dating a chump like Will?" He smiles swinging his arm around my shoulder. He starts walking, leading me with him. "Is he packing, is that why?"

"Christian!" Will laughs running up from behind us. "She's not my girlfriend."

"Oh," Will's friend stops. "Better news for me." He jokes pulling me even closer. I can't help but laugh at the sour face Will makes.

"That's a no from me." Will says grabbing my arm and pulling me away from him.

"Ahh, so there is something going on between you two?" Christian smirks. Will let's go of my arm so fast, you would think that I had just burnt him.

"What, no. Definitely not." He says quickly. "This is Arden, Arden Pierce. She's the daughter of..." he stops and looks at me. Say it. The evil man that is the whole cause for why you're fighting.

"Ooo, the bad man up north." Christian finishes for him. "Are you as bad as they say you are?" He jokes.

Christian has this sort of charm. Where anything he says, sounds nice and not like an insult. I smirk at him, "Worse."

"Oooh, please explain." He laughs again, once returning an arm over my shoulder. But also putting his other one around Will's. He leads us over to an unoccupied bonfire.

•••

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