This part is REALLY emotional. If you easily start to cry by sweet, sad, and deep conversations, grab a tissue or two, because this is going to be an amazing part!
“You aren’t really thinking about using that Black Crystal, are you?” asked Sam as she sat on the couch.
“Queen Valerie said I’d become immortal on my eighteenth birthday. It could work. But for now, I just have to survive,” sighed Clara.
“Well, while we’re figuring this out, can we chill?” Sam said. She opened a few doors and pulled a bag of chips out of one. “This place is sick! You even get free snacks.”
“Toss me one,” said Clara. She sat down next to Sam and started examining the crystal. “I’m going to town. I’m half-hoping I’ll meet Jack along the way.”
“The jerk?” Sam cried. “Why would you want to meet him?”
“To have an argument.” And then she left.
About an hour later, guess who showed up? Jack.
“I’m hoping you’re enjoying–” Jack started.
“No, no, no,” Clara interrupted. “I will win this battle. I’ll find a way.”
“Never,” Jack said as he flashed a wicked grin. “I have help, you know. From someone who knows about this. You know, unlike your useless Sammy.”
“She’s not useless!” Clara yelled. She stormed away.
Jack turned around and changed his grin into a scowl. He walked into a bush and down a small tunnel.
“Jack,” boomed a voice. “You took very long.”
“She knows, my lord,” Jack said, kneeling. “I will take her power from her on her eighteenth birthday.”
“Listen, Jack,” said the voice. “You are my most powerful warrior. I will not accept mistakes.”
Jack’s face was beaded with sweat.
I will win this battle. I’ll find a way.
He rose unsteadily. He dusted off his pants and looked up. “Y-yes, of course, sir.” Jack ran out, his head spinning with thoughts. He knew the voice was trying to manipulate him. But if he could get his revenge on Clara, he would do anything.
Back in Suite 31, Sam was talking to Clara, who had just returned from a long walk.
“So,” Sam said, “how’d it go?”
“Well, I…” Clara’s voice trailed off. “I saw Jack. I regret it more than ever.”
“Oh.” There was a minute of silence. Sam knew by Clara’s expression that she was disappointed, or even panicked. “Why does Jack hate you so much, anyway?”
Clara’s eyes widened. She turned away from Sam and looked out the window. The sun was setting and the sky was like a bed of roses. “I… um, he’s just mean to everyone. There’s no specific answer,” Clara stammered.
Sam looked at Clara’s face. She put one hand on Clara’s shoulder. “Clara, I’m your best friend. You can tell me.” She smiled sympathetically. The warm glow in her beautiful blue eyes made Clara feel a lot better.
Clara sighed. She sat down on a brown recliner. “You know, Sam, it’s a long story.” She glanced out the window again. She leaned over and touched the glass with the tips of her fingers. “I did something to him a few years ago. He’s hated me ever since. I… I wish I didn’t. It was so mean.”
“Go on,” Sam said, nodding.
“We were in… seventh grade, I think. We were both in the same homeroom class. Back then, my best friend used to be a girl named Zari. She was kind, friendly, and she loved to joke around.” Clara could see the jealousy in Sam’s eyes. She cleared her throat. “Uh, anyway,” she continued, “one day, Zari said I should play a prank on Jack. She told me to embarrass him in front of the class. I didn’t want to… because, well, believe it or not, I had a small crush on him back then. Of course, I don’t like him anymore. But Zari insisted. And so I did. He… um, he was forced to stand outside for an hour because I blamed him for ripping the teacher’s lesson plans.”
“You did that?”
“Um, yeah. He knew it was me, so whenever no one was looking at him, he gave me an icy cold stare. I felt so sad. And really mad at Zari for ruining all my chances with him. One day, I tried to apologize to him, but he shoved me away and… I got hurt. Real bad. When he looked at me afterward, his expression was strange, like a mix of sadness, pity, and anger. Then he just rolled his eyes and walked away. I sat there, right in the middle of the hallway, weeping. Then Zari helped me up. I called her a rude, manipulating traitor, and she quit being my friend.”
“What happened to you and Jack? And Zari?”
“Jack kept giving me his icy cold stares. Then he took it to the next level by insulting me whenever he got the chance. He ruined my life. There was no one to even help me. Zari was my only friend, but then I lost her. And then I found you just months later. Honestly, I’m not sure what happened to Zari. I think she moved or something.”
Sam smiled. She grabbed Clara’s hand. “I will always be on your side,” she promised. “No matter what happens.” They hugged each other and stared out the window with their arms loosely around each other, to see the ball of fire drift just below the horizon.