The Indigo Spell

Page 40

"What a waste of tuition. This is ruining all my collegiate dreams," I shouted to Adrian. "Isn't there anything to do that's not drinking or being stupid?"

He scanned around, able to see more of the room from his greater height. He brightened. "That looks promising." He caught hold of my hand. "Come on."

In a surprisingly nice and spacious kitchen, we found several girls sitting on the floor painting blank T-shirts. Judging from the sloppy job and paint spills, they too had been indulging in alcohol. One girl had a cup of beer next to an identical cup of paint, and I hoped she wouldn't mix them up.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

One of the girls glanced up and grinned. "Making shirts for the winter carnival. You want to help?"

Before I could say no, Adrian was already on the ground with them. "Do I ever." He helped himself to a white T-shirt and a brush with blue paint on it. "What are we putting on these?" The girls' shoddy work made that a valid question.

"Our names," said one girl.

"Winter stuff," said another.

That was good enough for Adrian. He set to work painting snowflakes on the shirt. Unable to help myself, I knelt down to get a better look. Whatever his faults, Adrian was a decent artist. He mixed in a few other colors, making the snowflakes intricate and stylized. At one point, he paused to light a clove cigarette, sharing one of the girls' ashtrays. It was a habit I didn't really like, but at least the rest of the smoke in this place masked his. As he was finishing up the shirt and writing out the sorority's name, I noticed that all the other girls had stopped to stare.

"That's amazing," said one, her eyes wide. "Can I have it?"

"I want it," insisted another.

"I'll make each of you one," he assured them. The way they looked at him was an unwelcome reminder of the breadth of his experience with other women. I shifted a little closer to him, just so they wouldn't get any ideas.

He handed the white shirt to the first girl and then set to work on a blue shirt. Once he fulfilled his promise to each girl, he sifted through the T-shirt stack until he found a men's-size black one. "Gotta pay tribute to my fraternity."

"Right," I scoffed. "Alpha Yam Ergo."

Adrian nodded solemnly. "A very old and prestigious society"

"I've never heard of them," said the girl who'd claimed the first shirt.

"They don't let many people in," he said. In white paint, he wrote his fake fraternity's initials: AYE.

"Isn't that what pirates say?" asked one of the other girls.

"Well, the Alpha Yams have nautical origins," he explained. To my horror he began painting a pirate skeleton riding a motorcycle.

"Oh, no," I groaned. "Not the tattoo."

"It's our logo," he said. Adrian and I had once had to investigate a tattoo parlor, and to distract the owner, he'd gone in and pretended to be interested in a tattoo that sounded very much like what he was drawing now. At least, I assumed he'd been pretending. "Isn't it badass?"

"Badass" wasn't quite the word I would've used, but despite it being such a ridiculous image, he actually did a good job. I made myself comfortable, drawing my knees up to me and leaning against the wall. He soon stopped with his banter and grew completely absorbed in his work, meticulously painting the skeleton's bones as well as that of a skeleton parrot sitting on the pirate's shoulder. I studied his features as he worked, fascinated by the joy in his eyes. Art was one of the few things that seemed to anchor him and drive that darkness in him away. He seemed to glow with an inner light, one that enhanced his already handsome features. It was another rare and beautiful glimpse of the intense, passionate nature lying beneath the jokes. It came through in his art. It had come through when he kissed me.

Adrian suddenly glanced up at me. Our gazes locked, and I felt like he could read my mind. How often did he think about that kiss? And if he really was crazy about me, did he imagine more than just kissing? Did he fantasize about me? What kinds of things did he think about? His lips on my neck? His hand on my leg? And was that leg bare . . . ?

I was afraid of what my eyes might betray and quickly looked away. Desperately, I groped for some witty and nonsentimental comment. "Don't forget the ninja throwing stars."

"Right." I could feel Adrian's gaze on me a few moments longer. There was something tangible to it, a warmth that enveloped me. I didn't look back until I was certain his attention was again on the shirt. He added the stars and then sat back triumphantly. "Pretty cool, huh?"

"It's not bad," I said. In truth, it was kind of amazing.

"You want one too?" The smile he gave me stirred up those warm feelings again. I couldn't help but smile back.

"We don't have the time," I managed to say. "We've got to check on Lynne."

"I'll make you a fast one."

"Not the pirate," I warned. He found a small purple shirt and began painting on it in silver. "Purple?"

"It's your color," he insisted. A thrill ran through me at his words. Adrian could see auras, the light that surrounded all people and was tied into their personalities. He'd told me that mine was yellow, a color most intellectuals had. But he'd also said I had flares of purple, which indicated a passionate and spiritual nature. Those weren't qualities I usually thought I possessed . . . but sometimes, I wished I did.

I watched, enthralled, as he painted a large silver heart with flames edging one side. The whole design was Celtic in style. It was beautiful.

"Where did you get that from?" I asked in awe. I'd seen a lot of his work but never anything like this.

His eyes were on his heart, completely caught up in his work. "Just something kicking around in my head. Reminds me of you. Fiery and sweet, all at the same time. A flame in the dark, lighting my way." His voice . . . his words . . . I recognized one of his spirit-driven moments. It should've unnerved me, but there was something sensual about the way he spoke, something that made my breath catch. A flame in the dark.

He swapped out the silver paintbrush for a black one. Before I could stop him, he wrote over the heart: AYE. Underneath it, in smaller letters, he added: HONORARY MEMBER.

"What are you doing?" I cried. The spell had shattered. "You ruined it!"

Adrian regarded me with a mischievous look. "I figured you'd be flattered at being accepted as an honorary member."

"How can I get in?" asked one of the girls.

Copyright © novelfull All Rights Reserved.