“Isola!” I hear shouted from the stairs, but I keep my headphones on as I stare at my laptop, and pretend I didn’t hear her shout my name for the tenth time. The music blasts around my head as I try to focus on the history paper that is due tomorrow.
“Isola, will you take those things out and listen to me?” Jules shouts at me again, and I pop one of my headphones out as I look up at her. She stands at the end of my bed, her hands on her hips and her glasses perched on the end of her nose. Her long grey hair is up in a tight bun, and she has an old styled dress that looks like flowers threw up on. Jules is my house sitter, or babysitter as I like to call her. I don't think I need a babysitter at seventeen, not when I'm eighteen in two days anyway, and can look after myself.
"Both headphones out, I want them both out while you listen to me," she says. I knew this was coming. I pull the headphones out and pause the music on my phone.
"I did try to clean up after the party, I swear," I say and she raises her eyebrows.
"How many teenagers did you have in here? Ten? A hundred?" she says and I shrug my shoulders as I sit up on the bed and cross my legs.
"I don't know, it’s all a little fuzzy," I reply honestly. My head is still pounding; it was probably the wine, or maybe the tequila shots. Who knows? I look up again as she shakes her head at me, speaking a sentence in Spanish that she knows I can't understand, but I doubt it’s nice. I don’t think I want to hear what she has to say about the party I threw last night anyway. I look around my simple room, seeing the dressing table, the wardrobe, the bed I’m sitting on. There isn’t much in here that is personal, no photos or anything that means anything to me.
"Miss Jules, looking as beautiful as always," Jace says, in an overly sweet tone as he walks into my bedroom. He walks straight over to Jules and kisses her cheek, making her giggle. Jace is that typical hot guy, with his white blonde hair and crystal blue eyes. Even my sixty year old house sitter can't be mad at him for long, he can charm just about anyone.
"Don’t start with that pouty cute face," she tuts at him and he widens his arms, pretending to be shocked.
"What face? I always look like this," he says and she laughs, any anger she had disappearing.
"I’m going to clean up this state of a house and you should leave, you're going to be late for school. I don't want to have to tell your father that as well, when I tell him about the party," she says, pointing a finger at me, and I have to hold in the urge to laugh. She emails my father all the time about everything I do, but he never responds. He just pays her to keep the house running, and to make sure I don't get into too much trouble. If he hasn’t had the time to talk to me in the last ten years, I doubt he’s going to have the time to email a human he hired. Jules walks out of the room and Jace leans against the wall, tucking his hands into his pockets. I run my eyes over his tight jeans, his white shirt that has ridden up a little to show his toned stomach and finally to his handsome face that is smirking at me. He knows exactly what he does to me.
"You look too sexy when you do that," I comment and he grins.
"Isn't that the point? Now come and give your boyfriend a kiss," he teases, and I fake a sigh before getting up and walking over to him. I lean up, brushing my lips against his cold ones and he smiles, kissing me back just as gently.
"We should go, but I was wondering if you wanted to go to the mountains this weekend and try some flying?" he asks. I blank my expression before walking away from him and towards the mirror hanging on the wall near the door. I smooth my wavy, shoulder length blonde hair down and it just bounces back up, ignoring me. My blue eyes stare back at me, bright and crystal clear. Jace says it’s like looking into a mirror when he looks into my eyes, they are so clear. I check out my jeans and tank top, and grab my leather coat from where it hangs on the back of the door before answering Jace.
"I’ve got a lot of homework to do-" I say and he shakes his head as he cuts me off.
"-Issy, when was the last time you let her out? It’s been, what, months?" he asks and I turn away, walking out my bedroom door and hearing him sigh behind me.
"Issy, we can't avoid this forever. Not when we have to go back in two weeks," he reminds me and I stop, leaning my head back against the plain white walls of the corridor.
"I know we have to go back. We have to train to rule a race we know nothing about, just because of who our parents are. Don’t you ever want to run away, hide in the human world we have been left in all these years?" I ask, feeling a grumble of anger from my dragon inside my mind. I quickly slam down the barrier between me and my dragon in my head, stopping her from contacting me, no matter how much it hurts me to do so. I can’t let her control me.
“Issy, we were left here so we would be safe. We are the last ice dragons, and our parents had no choice. Plus… being a dragon around humans is a nightmare, you know that,” he says, stepping closer to me.
“I don’t want to rule; I don’t want anything to do with Dragca,” I say, looking away.
"I guess it’s lucky we have each other, ruling on our own would have been a disaster," he says, stepping in front of me so I can’t move and gently kissing my forehead.
"I know. I just don't want to go back, to see my father and everything that has to come with it," I say, and he steps back to tilt my head up to look at him.
"You're the heir to the throne of the dragons. You’re the princess of Dragca. Your life was never meant to be lived here, with the humans," he says and I move away from him, not replying because I know he sees it differently than I do. He is the ice prince, and his parents call him every week. I haven't spoken to any of my family in ten years and I have never stepped back into Dragca since then. It’s the only thing we disagree on, our future.
"Issy, let’s just have a good day and then maybe I could get you that peanut bacon sandwich you love from the deli?" he suggests, running to catch up with me on the stairs.
"Now you're talking," I grin at him as he hooks an arm around my waist, and leans down to whisper in my ear,
“And maybe later, I could do that thing with my tongue that you–“ he gets cut off when Jules opens the door in front of us, clearing her throat and ushering us out as we laugh.
* * *
"Little Issy, are you coming to my party this weekend? I know I’d love to show you my house and-" Michael asks as he stops me outside my English class, but I’m not listening to whatever he is saying. When I hear the bell ring, relief that it’s the last class of the day fills me. Learning human things all day isn’t fun, especially when you know you won’t ever need to know any of it. The only class I love is my study period, where I can go to library and find a new book to live in. I lift my bag on my shoulder and look around Michael for Jace, not seeing him anywhere. I look down at my arm as Michael steps closer, and he strokes a hand down it, making me shiver, but not in the good way.
"I don't know, I would have to ask Jace and see if he wants to go, but I don’t think he likes you. Also, I’m not little, short is a better word," I say plainly, wanting to get as far away from Michael as possible. Michael is a good looking human, with black hair and is covered in tattoos, which I usually find attractive, but my dragon still wants to eat him, so even being friends with him would be a disaster. Plus, Jace would kill him if he saw how Michael was touching my arm. Dragons see their future mates as treasures, precious, and they don’t share often.
"He doesn't own you; you could come alone," Michael snaps, clearly not happy I don’t want to sneak off to his stupid frat boy party.
"Why would I do that?" I ask the idiot football player, as I try to move away. I shove his hand off my arm, turning and walking away before he can reply.
"Because you're so much better than him. Come to my party," he shouts at me and everyone stops to look at us. They begin whispering, stupid rumours that will spread around the school by tomorrow. I don't even know Michael really, he’s just another human I grew up with and I know he isn't acting like himself. It’s the dragon side of me that is attracting him, and every male human in this damn school. That’s why I have always stayed close to Jace's side; male dragons have the opposite effect on humans. All the humans are scared of him here, everyone except for Jules. I stand on my tip toes as I look around, before remembering Jace’s last class was sports management, on the other side of the building. I walk out the school, going around the main entrance and see the gym across the field. I walk slowly across it, just thinking he must have had a shower or something after class, and he is running late. I stop dead in my tracks when I pick up an unfamiliar scent in the mixture of human smells. I smell a dragon, a fire dragon that shouldn't be here.
“Let me out,” my dragon hisses in my mind. I slam the barrier down again, holding my head when she fights me, making me have to stop running towards the gym.
“Enough, Jace needs me,” I shout at her in my head and she stops fighting instantly, as she realises that I won’t let her out, and I can’t help Jace like this. Overwhelming worry for Jace is the only thing coming from her as I run, and it floods my own emotions, nearly strangling me with panic. I run towards the door, pushing it open, and running across the small room that leads to the gym. I open the doors and immediately freeze at the sight in front of me, until a loud scream rips from my throat and I fall to my knees. Even then I can’t believe it, not until the pain threatens to strangle me, not until I can’t see anything other than the truth that is lying right in front of me.
“NO!” I scream out, my dragon’s roar following my words as her sorrow and shock mixes with mine. In the middle of the room is Jace, a large red dagger sticking out of his heart, his head is fallen to the side, and facing me, with wide eyes in the dimly lit room. I can't look away from his eyes, open in shock as blood drips from his mouth and makes a tiny noise as it hits the floor. I force myself to look away from his eyes, only to look at the blood that makes a circle around him, so much blood that pours from the wound. I crawl across the gym floor, tears running from my eyes and I don't stop, even as my hands get covered in his blood once I get to him. I pull his head onto my lap, stroking a blood stained finger across his cheek.
"No! Jace, baby, wake up. Please don't do this to me," I plead, my hand shaking against his cheek as he remains still. I know he is dead, my dragon and I both know it, but I can’t believe it. Everything in me feels like it's breaking into a million pieces. I hear footsteps behind me, but I can't look away from Jace, as I raise my hand and close his eyes, leaving bloody fingerprints on his eyelids. I take a deep breath, committing to memory the smell of the fire dragon that did this to Jace.
"I vow revenge, I vow to never let this be forgotten. I will always love you," I whisper, my tears falling onto his face as I press my forehead to his, and then scream, and scream, until my throat cracks.
"Don’t. Let her say goodbye, we have time," I hear a male voice say behind me. I turn and look over my shoulder, the shock from everything just seeming to merge together as I see my father standing at the door. Ten royal guards stood around him and his ice blue eyes watch me. There’s no sorrow or remorse in my father’s eyes, not that I honestly expected anything else from him.
"Time to leave, there is nothing to be done here Isola," he tells me. I look back at Jace, not wanting to let him go, but knowing my father’s suggestion to leave, wasn't really a suggestion at all. I have to go, whoever did this to Jace, would kill me in a heartbeat.
"Isola, we must leave. Danger is near," my father warns me once more and I gently rest Jace's body on the floor.
“I love you, and I’m so sorry I wasn’t here. That I couldn’t save you,” I whisper. As I lean down and kiss Jace’s cold cheek, another sob escapes me, and I wipe my eyes.
"Give him a true dragon’s burial, or I will not leave," I warn my father as I stand up, blood sticking to both my clothes and my hands. I step back, seeing a young guard my age come to stand next to me. I look up into his blue eyes, the only part of his body that I can see, thanks to the black uniform that covers his head and all his body. The only other colour is the ice blue dragon crest over his heart. All the dragon guard wear uniforms like this in the human world, and what I remember of them in Dragca is not much different.
"You have my vow," he says and something makes me believe him as we stare at each other. I step back, turning and walking over to my father after one last look at Jace. My father stands tall as he holds a hand out for me, like I'm a child that needs his comfort. I ignore his hand and stand in front of him, feeling the dragon guards close ranks around us.
"I am sorry we were late, we didn't know of the threat until it was too late," he says and I don't say a word, I can't. Jace is dead, my dragon mate and the dragon I was meant to marry. We should have run away, not stayed here.
"What will be done now? There are no ice dragons other than me and you," I comment. needing to focus on anything other than the broken feeling in my heart, as the smell of smoke fills the air. The dragon guard will be burning Jace’s body, and the thought makes me want to crumble onto the ground.
"Remember that our bodies are just shells for our dragons, that Jacian will be free to fly the night skies and you will see him again one day," my father offers advice, and I still stand completely silent. I watch tiny red sparks float into the air around the gym, the soul of Jace leaving this world. They disappear slowly, each time they go it shatters me a little bit. No words will take away the pain that feels crushed into my heart.