Riding The Wave(Dragon Within Book Three)

By: Kyra Dune


Standing ankle deep in ocean water with the warm sun on my cheek and the cool breeze in my hair should have been relaxing. But under the circumstances of the moment, it was anything but.

“Try again.”

I breathed out through my nose. Zack wasn’t being intentionally irritating, or at least I don’t think he was. He didn’t make for a good trainer, especially since I couldn’t seem to think of anything except the way beads of water were rolling down his bare chest. Okay, so maybe it was sweat, but give me a break. Sweat is gross. Beads of water sounds way sexier, don’t you think?

Anyway, I was supposed to be training, not ogling Zack’s perfect six pack abs and daydreaming of how it would feel to have his hands on my skin. And I was not succeeding. It would have been easier to have Hannah train me, but she had flat refused, and Derek was in no shape for it. So I was stuck with Zack.

I looked down at my toes covered in sand because it was way less distracting than looking at him.

“Remember not to try too hard,” Zack said. “Your powers are growing. You’re ready for this.”

“Right,” I agreed, even though I didn’t really feel ready. I tried to concentrate on what happened the night before, which was what prompted Zack to suggest we start my training in the first place.

I was in the kitchen using my power of air manipulation to slide a glass of water back and forth across the bar. I was getting pretty good with the air, if I do say so myself. I didn’t want the power, but I had it and I was determined to learn to control it.

Steve and Trudy were giggling over the stove as they cooked dinner. Well, Trudy was cooking and Steve was ‘helping’. Kyle and Hannah were in the living room yelling at a football game on TV. Curtis was at the table muttering over Brandy’s laptop. All the distraction was good, it kept me from concentrating too hard.

Then Zack came into the room. He stopped, looking at the glass, and said, “You’re letting that thing get a little wild, aren’t you?”

I admit I wasn’t holding onto the glass as tightly as I might have and it had come close to sliding off the edge a few times, but I didn’t need him to point it out. I was edgy and out of sorts with way too much on my mind and his comment hit me all wrong. The next thing I knew, the water was flying out of the glass and hitting him in the face.

It surprised me when it didn’t irritate him, since irritated seemed to be his default emotion. All he said was maybe it was time I started training again. Which was why we were out on the beach working on my new power.

The water around my feet swirled and I managed to draw it up to my knees before losing my grip. I looked back at Zack, wondering if this would earn me praise or criticism. Turns out, I got both.

“You did fine,” Zack said. “It’s a long way from being able to pull water out of the air, like I do, but it’s a good start.”

I resisted the urge to say something snarky. Zack didn’t really mean to be a jerk, it was the way he was. He couldn’t help it. “Should I try again?”

He nodded. So I tried, again and again and again, with the exact same result each time. It was exasperating, as I’m sure you can imagine. Bad enough to fail, but so much worse to do so in front of him.

“I think that’s enough,” Zack said.

“Why?” I asked. “I haven’t made any progress.”

He shook his head. “You’re doing that thing with your lips.”

“What thing with my lips?” I reached up to touch my mouth.

“The one where you pinch them at the corners until they turn white. It means you’re getting frustrated and that’s dangerous. I watched you train with Alice, remember?”

Alice. A name I so did not want to hear. I looked away from him, out toward the softly rolling waves of the ocean, and waited for an apology. It didn’t come. Zack stared at me for a minute, then walked off. It was a very Zack-like thing to do. I don’t know if he didn’t care he’d upset me, or if he didn’t understand why I should be upset. And I couldn’t decide which would be worse.

I waited until I was sure he was gone before stepping out of the water. Which was when I spotted Derek standing up the beach from me. I trudged toward him and tried to smile so he wouldn’t know anything was wrong.

“Hey,” I said. “Were you watching us train?” The idea made me uneasy. I knew Derek didn’t like me being alone with Zack, but I didn’t much care for an audience to my failure.

“Only for the last couple of minutes.” He stared at me so intently I had to look away. “Everything okay? Zack looked a little... tense.”

I laughed, pushing my hair back from my face with both hands. “When does Zack not look tense?” Derek gave me a look and I sighed. “I’m tired, okay? I don’t want to talk about it.”

Derek frowned. “If he said something, or did something, you didn’t like, you can tell me.”

“Why? So you can kick his butt?”

“I’m serious.”

“I know.” I looked toward the house. “Zack is not a bad guy. I know you can’t be friends, but I wish you’d at least try to not be enemies.”

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