Enrique was looking at the horizon from the top of a tree. It was almost the sunset and he wanted to see it. Even if it was only the image of the sun going down it brought peace to his mind. He would have loved to share this image with Veronica but he knew that was impossible. Veronica had gone to a nearby mountain along with Carlos to collect fruits. He had heard Yenny and Cynthia whispering that they were really friendly to each other. A pang of jealousy seized Enrique.
-You knew this would happen...- he said to himself- it was obvious since we fought.
Some days ago Enrique had noticed Carlos had become silent and sulky, he seemed to feel bad for his lacking of powers. He felt kind of a burden for the rest of them. When he mentioned this to Veronica she agreed with him and told him that Cynthia had said Carlos felt kinda inferior. Enrique felt pity for Carlos since he was the only one without a power. Veronica had revealed her power to Enrique and to him only. So for the rest of the group Carlos and Veronica were the ones without a special power.
- If Carlos knew…-said Enrique- he would feel even worse.
- And I think he suspects of us- Veronica had said with a worried expression- lately we've been holding arms while walking. We talk more and we disappear from the rest.
Veronica started to walk in circles while thinking in silence. Enrique looked at her fascinated. She was so beautiful when she had that expression in her face.
- If this goes on like this… things could get complicated- she said after some minutes and Enrique returned to reality- we have no choice… even if I don't like it we have to…
She looked at Enrique worried like choosing the words very well. He felt uneasy and knew that he wouldn't like what she was going to tell.
- Enrique…-she said at last, but again she remained in silence- listen… we'll have to meet less times and… I'm going to… get near to Carlos.
Enrique felt a rush of outrage and he wanted to complain but he remained in silence and after a sigh, he just said "if that's what you want… ok." Veronica explained herself knowing that Enrique didn't like the idea.
-You know Carlos is very unstable and he could get depressed- she said and every word tried to show her insatisfaction- if that happens he will be in the way and it will make all more difficult. Maybe he will get so down he won't want to even work… you know…
-…Yeah…-replied Enrique without any expression. Veronica got near and hold his hand.
- You know I love you…-she said looking at his eyes tenderly- … but I don't want to hurt Carlos and I know you either. He… he's our friend after all.
Enrique knew Carlos and he was aware Carlos was stronger than he looked like. He was sure he would recover but he didn't complain with Veronica and just said a "I understand." Veronica seemed angry for that reply. But after a while she smiled and kissed him. Enrique couldn't say no to her.
- All will be fine- she said looking at him lovely- soon we won't have to hide anymore.
Enrique wondered when that would be. As she had said there was a bringing near with Carlos and his attitude improved a lot. He seemed happier and more energetic. But Enrique was afraid. Afraid of Carlos thinking he had any chance with Veronica and also afraid of Veronica liking Carlos. He trusted his girlfriend, but sometimes she looked excessively worried for Carlos' reaction and him finding out their relationship. He would never say it but that made doubts appear. Besides that, when she spent time with Carlos she looked having a lot of fun. He had to admit Carlos was funnier than him and many times he had wondered if maybe Veronica had gotten bored with him.
-"…When I'm with her I'm happy"- he thought feeling a very unconfortable pressure in his chest- "But… did she feel the same?"
Maybe she was using Carlos as a excuse to create a distance between them because she had gotten bored with him. These and many other doubts ran in Enrique's head and they continuously torture him even when he fought with all he had to eradicate them from his being. But he was fighting in silence. He was not the type of person that would publish to everyone what he think. He preferred to reason and only to speak when it was necessary and opportune. For this, many said he was an eccentric and lonely person and maybe they were right. He didn't mind being alone and think things only for himself. This was his way to be and his friends and loved ones had accepted him the way he was and he was fine like that.
- Is there anything wrong?- asked Veronica looking at him analytically.
-… No... - Enrique replied picking up a lot of branches for the bonfire- everything is fine...
Veronica got near with a frown. She softly turned him around to her and held his face with her hands. She caressed his face cleaning a small piece of wood in his face.
- I know there's something wrong- she said smiling softly while making visual contact- you can tell me anything your know.
- "Not this"- thought Enrique- "If I told you this you would think I'm stupid and you'd get mad so I'd better save it for myself."
- It's nothing- said Enrique trying to fake a smile and looked aside trying to escape those eyes who seemed to see every thought he had. He started to walk in direction to the camp.
- Enrique. Look at me!- demanded Veronica with a serious tone- I don't like when we stay like this. If you have something to tell me, just say it!
- It's nothing. Really- said Enrique who just wanted to get far and be alone to think and calm down, but Veronica's face turned ugly.
- YOU NEVER TALK!!- she said raising the voice while getting closer- YOU ALWAYS STAY IN SILENCE AND TELL ME NOTHING!!! YOU DON'T TRUST ME!!!? TELL ME WHAT HAPPENS?
- Nothing!- said Enrique getting mad also. It was obvious what his problem was. It wasn't necessary he tells her. He walked to the camp but Veronica stood in front of him very angry. She looked at his eyes.
- Tell me what you feel now!!- Veronica demanded. Enrique felt his mind getting relaxed. A feeling of confidence and peace seized him. He felt he was floating and that he wanted to answer Veronica's voice. He looked at her and spoke.
-The truth is I'm fed up of this situation!- he said and Veronica got surprised for the tone of Enrique's voice- I'm tired of hiding our relationship. I want to be able to hold your hand, hug you and kiss you without having to hide as if we were doing something wrong!!!
An intense flushing appeared in Veronica's cheeks. She seemed confused by his words as if she did not know if feeling flattered or angry.
- I thought we had agreed about this together- Veronica said trying to gain time and organize her thoughts- that we weren't going to expose to avoid problems with the other guys.
- You worry too much for them and specially…-he held for a minute but Veronica's order forced him- especially for Carlos. Sometimes I wonder why you worry so much for him.
Veronica's face changed and she showed a great outrage. She felt really offended now and she advanced to where Enrique was with a red face.
- I'M NOT THE ONLY ONE THAT WORRIED ABOUT HIM- she shouted with wrath- YOU HAVE ALSO SHOWED CARE FOR HIM BUT I'M NOT AROUND HAVING WEIRD IDEAS, AM I? I THINK I'VE GIVEN YOU ENOUGH PROOFS THAT I LOVE YOU AND ONLY YOU… SO DON'T INSULT ME!!!!
Enrique just said a very sarcastic "huh!" which only increased Veronica's anger who used her most gelid voice.
- You and I know very well that Carlos is not a normal person. He's very sensitive and moody. If he notices our relationship who knows how he would react. He could end up making a crazy thing to himself or us. That's why we decided to keep this hid for the moment. Am I wrong?
- Let him think what he wants!!!- said Enrique and Veronica stepped back for the strong aura he was showing- I know him!!! He's better and stronger than you think and if he wanted to do something to you… you think I would allow it? Trust more in the rest… TRUST MORE IN ME!!
After this his features softened and now it was him who was flushing. He was confused. Why he had reacted like that? Why had he said all of that? It was as if… He looked Veronica with a painful gaze. He just couldn't believe it. Veronica just turned aside her eyes. Enrique felt really disappointed and angry.
- You… you hypnotized me?- he asked knowing the answer very well and he just stood there trying to calm the anger and dissapointment he was feeling- how… how could you…?
- It was the only way you would open up- Veronica defended while looking aside- other way you wouldn't tell me a thing! I did it because I wanted the truth!
- So that's your excuse- said Enrique in low voice. He just turned back and went for other road.
He didn't even look back to see if she was following him. He just wanted to be alone and think about what to do in peace.
- How could she do that to ME? TO ME!!!- he shouted in the middle of nowhere- to the person she says to love!!! Forcing me to say those things…. DAMN!!!!
He hit a tree and he hadn't noticed his arm had changed into stone. The tree was torn apart and a big piece almost hit him. This made the anger ceased and it changed for a feeling of sadness.
- This is over…-he said feeling very miserable- this is the end…
The next day she ignored Enrique and she looked more interested in Carlos. It was her revenge and Enrique knew how effective it was. Those days Enrique missed the company of the girl he loved. But even when he wanted to fix things the pride stopped him. He knew she wouldn't try to do it.
- If I'm proud- he said- she's 50 times more.
That day they had arrived to a mountain which seemed very high and showed interesting and funny formations. Carlos had volunteered (or rather the girls had made him volunteered) to collect. Enrique was about to say he was going with him. But Veronica volunteered before and after leaving the rest make the camp there, she hold Carlos' arm and they disappeared.
- K, that was unexpected- said Cynthia to Yenny and Enrique felt horrible.
The wind lashed Enrique's face. While he saw his girlfriend walking arm to arm with his friend he just made the camp and went for a walk. He was jealous and angry. He felt a great wrath towards Carlos and he couldn't help it. He still thought Veronica gave Carlos an excessive attention. She said it was only a friend caring and she didn't want him to suffer. But again… he was terrified. He was terrified with the idea he would lose the woman he loved more than his life. He just couldn't stop thinking that behind that "mercy" she maybe was feeling "love"
-No… no… - only thinking in that was painful. He just couldn't bear the idea of losing her. It would be better to die.
He looked up and he found himself surrounded by a dozen or more nasty humanoid creatures that held daggers and maces. He remembered some games he had played and he supposed these were the so called "goblins" that low level players would encounter. However, this was not a video game and he was really outnumbered. Instead of worrying though, he felt really refreshed and a smile appeared in his lips.
- You couldn't have chosen a better moment- he said while transforming his arms into stone and grabbing the dagger he had made using the claws of the werewolves he had killed before.
He jumped to them fearing nothing and shouted in fury while remembering the times in school.
When he entered it almost nobody spoke to him. They probably thought he was a pampered and snobbish person. Even so, Carlos had come one day and he just talked to him after introducing himself. Enrique remembered the surprise he felt when he sat next to him and check the book he was reading.
- You know? I read that… - he always talked about about something he had read. He later discovered that he had advanced one year due to his excellent scores so he was one year younger than him. His notes could be explained by his addiction to read. He was a self proclaimed bookaholic who also played all kinds of games. He also discovered that he lived only with his mother and brother since his father had abandoned the family. Since he had lost his father too, this was the factor that started the friendship.
- This one is really funny...
Normally it was Carlos who did the most of the speaking he always gave Enrique the opportunity to talk. At the beginning Carlos was kind of annoying but with the time they formed a nice friendship. Some time later Enrique noticed many drastic changes in his friend. At beginning he was serious and sticked to rules. He was direct and he didn't care if other didn't share his points of view. Many of the class considered him annoying and he knew many classmates wanted to give a nice hitting time. However, he realized that he smiled and laughed more. He looked more relaxed and outgoing. Enrique was happy for these improvements and he was curious for knowing the reason for them.
- Enrique, I want to introduce you someone- said Carlos one day while Enrique was about to sleep in the break- This is Veronica and she will be in our group for the project of Geography.
Enrique raised the head and he saw the girl. The effect was incredible. He thought he was in front of an angel. A shiny aura seemed to surround her figure.
- It's a pleasure to meet you- said she with a voice so sweet and nice Enrique thought she could stop all the wars in the world If she said so.
It could be said that it was thanks to Carlos that he met Veronica. He was the first to make contact and somehow that beautiful girl knew of his existence. Since that moment he fell for her but of course he thought it was impossible that someone so pretty, intelligent and mature would be interested in him. And also, Carlos was obviously after her, so it was also a matter of friend loyalty. So he cast aside the idea or at least he tried… the more he knew her, the more he thought about her. With the time, the group consolidated with Cynthia and Yenny and they were the best group in class. They presented the best works and they were always in the top rankings.
-Hehe, this time it was near- said one day Carlos- but I'm still the first one
- Ha! Only for now… next time I will defeat you- Veronica showed him the tongue.
Enrique noticed the relationship between Carlos and Veronica was improving. Even when they weren't a couple. All the classroom and even teachers thought so. For them it was obvious since they always were talking and laughing together. They went home together and many times they had been seen walking in other hours that were not classes or project meetings. One day he had seen them get into a café. It was obvious they were dating or at least that's what it seemed. Even when he was happy for Carlos, he couldn't stop feeling jealous… he would have liked to be like Carlos. He had never had any problem in showing what he felt and that's why he was with that amazing girl.
-No! I can't accept I'm sorry!- said Carlos and he showed decided. This time, even Enrique was angry at him.
One day they had received an announcement that they were going to travel to make a project. All classmates didn't like the idea but they made preparations since it was for a final score. However, a day the teacher decided to cancel the trip and all were happy. But then a week later the teacher changed his mind again and said that the trip will be settle anyway so they had to be ready for it 2 days after. All the class exploded in anger and confusion. The teacher left the class and the committee made an emergency meeting. After a lot of discussion, a student stood up and pointed a classmate called Maria.
- I saw her talking to the teacher yesterday- the classmate said with a furious expression- it was her the one who convinced the teacher to have the trip again.
All the students looked at her. She tried to defend herself but that only confirmed the information. After that all students yelled at her and it were so hard the words they used with her that she started to cry. The president raised and started to insult her. Enrique thought this was too much but he remained in silence. It was Carlos who stood up and asked the president to shut up. All students looked at him with surprise.
-Why do you tell me to stop?- asked the president- it's her fault we in these problems. Do you know how much we have to prepare for that trip?
-I know-said Carlos. Enrique hadn't seen him in that serious expression in a while- but whatever you do now it's useless. The decision is up to the teacher. It won't change a thing if you insult or hit Maria.
-I WOULD NEVER HIT…
-After the insults you have sent to her you only have to hit her to finish- said Carlos. The president turned red and got offended.
-So you're defending this… this person?
-I'm not-said Carlos- but whatever she had done this is not the way a man should talk to a lady.
-A lady?? Hah!! I don't see any here!!- the president was using a sarcastic voice- She has never been part of this class. She always manipulates things so she profits! And you;re telling me not to insult her? She doesn't deserve a damn thing!!
-Everyone deserves respect- said Carlos not backing down- no matter if it's a criminal. You should know this better than me. You want to be a professor, right? I don't imagine one losing himself as you doing now.
-Even so… This whore!!! She doesn't…. You're on her side? You approve this???
Carlos was surrounded by many classmates who were furious. Maybe he had stopped the insults against Maria, but now the new target was him. They asked him if he was going to go to the trip and he said that yes. The class wanted to cancel the trip not appearing that day as a protest but Carlos said he couldn't do that in his conscience. It was here when many classmates were about to punch him. Even Enrique, being his friend felt betrayed. When he saw Veronica, she was looking Carlos with a face of total unbelief but he also noticed she was hurt. The classmates started to go out in anger with Carlos. Enrique thought he was going to be hit but somehow he managed to be left unscathed. He was left in the classroom alone with Enrique and Veronica.
-Is that your last decision?- asked Veronica. She seemed really angry.
-Yes, it is- said Carlos.
-Fine- said Veronica and she just left the room. Carlos looked at the floor very sad and Enrique left him alone.
He went after Veronica. She noticed and after a while she stopped.
-I'm fine, Enrique- said she even though she was trembling- but I need to be alone please.
Enrique wanted to be with her. But he noticed he didn't have any words for her and she just went home. The days after that, all class left Carlos alone, including his group. He was alone and although Enrique wanted to talk to him, all the group had decided to leave Carlos out. He was asked if he would be with the group or with him.
- You must decide…-said Veronica and her face showed a faint of resignation, after all, she knew Enrique had been friends with Carlos long before her so she thought he was going to support Carlos. Enrique looked at Carlos who seemed sad and lonely and then she looked at Veronica.
It was the first time Veronica showed such sad face and Enrique couldn't help wanting to cheer her up. He gave a last look to Carlos and their eyes met. Carlos smiled and for some reason he just nodded and looked aside. Enrique understood the message and even if he felt guilty he knew Carlos telling him to stay for Veronica.
- I'll stay with the group- he said and Veronica looked at him with surprise. After a moment she gave him a beautiful smile and he knew he had done the correct thing.
Veronica took care of the group and they continued the projects, but it was not the same. The works were not as good as before and Enrique knew it was because of the absence of Carlos. However, that time together seemed to make a difference. Enrique and Veronica started to get closer and little by little a bond started to grow. Without noticing a mutual feeling appeared. He knew Carlos was still interested and he had to fight against those feelings. Nobody rules the heart and he was in loved and she seemed to feel the same.
-So I decided to fight for my happiness- he said while slashing the neck of a goblin who had tried to sneak behind him.
And finally he got that he thought it was an impossible dream. It was now a beautiful and happy reality.
-I'll get her back- he said while fighting with all his might- even if I have to swallow my pride and be me the one who apologizes.
He sliced the leg of the last goblin and ended its life by stabbing its head. Enrique stayed in that position for a while until a huge pain attacked him. He hadn't be left unscathed and he had multiple cuts and bruises in all his body, but this pain in particular made him bend and put his head on the floor. It was a kind of pulsation inside his belly, like a very piercing stomachache but more intense that he had ever felt. His breathing accelerated and the pain seemed to increase so he forced his body to assume a sitting position and started to do the breathing techniques. The pain decreased immediately so Enrique continued.
-What is this?-he wondered when an image entered in his mind- what is that thing?
For some reason every time he closed his eyes, the image of a rock next to a drop of water appeared. The rock was expanding and cracking while the drop of water seemed to expand and leaking part of its liquid. Enrique didn't understand what was happening but somehow he thought there was a link with these images and the pain he was feeling. He focused on the images and he noticed that there was a reaction every time he absorbed the energy from the air. It was as if the rock and the drop of water were absorbing it.
-The rock pulses and emits a yellow shine while the water trembles and leaks more energy- he thought- the pain is unbearable, but I can only continue absorbing to calm it down.
He did so for a lot of time in which he wished to die due to the pain. In his mind the rock increased its pulsation and number of fissures until the moment when it couldn't resist anymore and exploded revealing another piece of rock which seemed stronger and finer.
-Is it granite?- he wondered. The drop of water also transformed by leaking water to the side and creating another drop that was connected to the first one. Both connected drops grew bigger than the one that had existed before.
The pain stopped almost immediately being replaced by an intense pleasure. He felt the energy circulating by all his body making it stronger than it had been before. He felt his bones being hardened and his veins and arteries expand. He felt his eyes becoming sharper and he could feel more things around him. It was such an amazing transformation that needed a lot of time to control himself. When he finally did, he noticed how dirty and bloody he was and decided it was time to return.
-What happened?-asked Cynthia who almost dropped the things she had on her hands when she saw him.
-I was attacked- he said simply while feeling extremely dirty and smelly- could you heal me, please?
After being healed by Cynthia, he went to the river nearby saying he was going to do watch and bathed himself. After he cleaned he felt really powerful and better than ever before.
-So… here you were- said a soft and sweet voice just when Enrique had changed clothes and was sitting on a high rock. When Enrique looked down there it was Veronica with a shy expression like not knowing what to say- can… can I go up?
Enrique helped her to climb and she sat next to him. They looked at the horizon without a word for a while.
-Are your injuries ok?- she said timidly
Enrique just agreed with a guttural sound. Enrique wanted to say something. He felt this was his last chance and he desperately thought in what to say. But his tongue was tied and couldn't create any word.
- Enrique… I…- started Veronica but when she moved she slipped and fell. Enrique reacted immediately and threw himself. He put under Veronica and received all the impact of the fall.
-Enrique!!! Are you OK???- Veronica looked at him and Enrique felt happy seeing she was worried for him. He would have fall from the highest mountain if Veronica was worried for him.
-Yes… now I'm fine- he said caressing her face.
Veronica started to cry and hugged Enrique tightly. She then kissed him many times.
-I'm sorry… I'm sorry… I'm sorry- she said still crying not stopping her kisses- what I did was wrong… you have no idea how I missed you… I'm sorry… when I heard you had been attacked by monsters… I… I thought...
She continued crying while kissing him and grabbing him very strongly as if she believed he would escape the moment she let go.
-My jealousy started this- said Enrique returning the kisses- the idea of losing you is unbearable and that's why I reacted like that.
-You will never lose me- said she kissing him again- we'll be together forever.