Happy bank holiday Monday and welcome back for another chapter of All that I Can Be!
If you’re new to this series, I recommend you catch up first:
All that I Can Be is a continuous series and should be read in order.
Now, make a tea and enjoy! <3
“Let me see!”
Ralu tried to tear the fabric covering Elena’s newest painting away from her, but Elena gripped it tighter. Ralu was grinning at her, excitement radiating off her, but Elena was nervous.
Nervous because she didn’t want Ralu to feel that Elena had wasted her grandfather’s paints.
Nervous because Ralu’s approval meant so much to her.
And nervous because just the thought of unveiling her new painting to Ralu made her stomach dance.
Ralu had made this possible. Elena didn’t want to disappoint.
“Okay,” Elena said, her heart in her throat. “Are you ready?”
“Yes, show me already!”
Elena pulled off the fabric and revealed the image of lavender underneath.
Ralu gasped. “It’s beautiful, Lena!”
Her heart leaped when Ralu used her nickname. It sounded sweeter coming from her lips, and Elena giggled.
“Really? You’re not just saying that?”
“Of course not, silly. Can’t you see the difference?”
Elena nodded. Ralu was right, the painting was good. It had been hard to see on the cheap canvas and old paints, but it was easy now. Smooth fabric. Vibrant purples and greens.
What a difference they made.
Ralu laughed, and Elena’s soul lifted.
Ralu winked. “I did nothing, I just gave you better tools. I could never paint like you.”
Pride swelled within her. She’d never been better than someone else at anything.
“I should go,” Ralu said. “Will you be at the market tomorrow?”
Elena nodded. “Mum is happy I volunteer more.”
On market days, Ralu hung out at Elena’s stall. At first she’d only stayed for half an hour, then the whole day, and now she came over to visit, too. Elena had friends before, but no friendship had ever meant this much to her.
Talking to Ralu was easy. Elena forgot her fears around Ralu, smiled more–she could tell by the sting in her cheeks–,and even felt more confident. Her parents had remarked that she looked happier. She forgot the hours around Ralu–
which was a treat, until a shadow visited her bedroom one night.
“Good evening, Elena.”
She jumped and hit her toe on her bedside table, bouncing on her uninjured foot to soothe the pain in the throbbing one.
“Didn’t expect to see me? How odd, I could have sworn we had a deal.”
She closed her door with trembling hands–trembling because of her toe, and trembling because she was scared.
“There was a full moon last night,” he said.
Her eyes darted to her window. The moon was partially hidden behind clouds, but she could see the tiny missing edge confirming his words.
“I’m so sorry!” she whispered as loud as she dared. If her parents walked in and found her with a man in her room… She wanted to call for help, but what would she say? That the devil was threatening her because she’d missed her half of the deal? Or lie and say that a handsome man accidentally found his way into her bedroom at night?
Neither was appealing or convincing.
“I wanted to, I just–”
“Had too much fun deceiving dear Ralu?”
She nodded, not daring to object. Chances were he knew the truth no matter what she said.
“Yes! I have the potion right here.”
She rummaged around underneath her bed, and found the love potion under whichever jacket she’d thrown over it last.
The devil grinned. “So I see.” The low rumble of his voice scared her. It was ancient, predatory, and lethal like thunder.
She placed the vial on the table next to her bed, hoping the brief contact would help steady her. It didn’t.
“I’m impressed, Lena.” Suddenly, he stood behind her. She hadn’t even seen him move. “Now you just need to give it to her.”
His voice was a low murmur in her ear and hot against her shivering skin.
“I will!” She hated that her voice shook. “I really will, I just need the right moment.”
“I’ll look forward to hearing all about it next month. I trust you will check the moon’s phases more accurately this time? I would hate to have to remind you again.”
Perhaps she imagined it, but Elena could have sworn the light dimmed in her room. She had got lucky tonight; she didn’t doubt it.
She swallowed. “You won’t.”
“Good.” But his voice was already nothing but a whisper in the shadows of her room, leaving her to tremble and wonder how she’d been so stupid.
End of Chapter 10
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All writing belongs to the author, Sarina Langer
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