I am standing in front of a crowd of people I do not know. Their eyes are all trained on me, of disgust or awe I am not sure. The one thing I am sure of: I want to go home.
I know I can't wish for that anymore, I am only setting myself up for more hurt. It's still to early, casting my thoughts back to the flooded house and screams that protruded from my lips.
"Does anyone stand for the newcomer?" A stoic girl asks with an icy voice. Her hair is curly and long, brown and wavy. I hate her. Her eyes are penetrating green and her armor is decorated with more gleaming gold medals than I care to count. The scowl on her face screams for me not to trust her. And I don't.
A sandy haired boy stands next to the girl. His medals are fewer but just as impressive. His eyes crinkle in a sort of sad smile, he doesn't say anything but the look on his face is pure sympathy. I don't know if I want his pity.
A silence hangs in the air and I shift my right foot uncomfortably. The dirt beneath my feet is hard and crunchy, it is the only sound. No one says anything, not a word is uttered into this heavy atmosphere.
Then, miracles of all miracles an older boy steps forward. I am immediately taken by his good looks and gentle smile. He has astounding brown hair and dark mysterious eyes. He is the most handsome person I have ever seen. "I will stand for her." He has a soft yet commanding voice and I am drawn to him even more than before, if possible.
"Looks like a new rookie for the third," Someone mutters behind me. I can hear them plainly, and I wonder if they had wanted me to pick up on their unkind words.
"If the Third Cohort Centurion of the Twelfth Legion accepts, Elisa will join your ranks." The sandy haired boy nods to a group of people who must be the Third Cohort.
A girl with stunning white/blonde hair steps forward and casts a disapproving glance at the handsome boy who spoke for me. "We...accept." Her voice is flat and unenthusiastic but I am glad that we do not have to go through the unbearable silence once more.
"Elisa you have been spoken for. We now honor you as a Probatio in the ranks of Rome." The sandy haired boy smiles and thrusts out his hand, beckoning a girl who is holding a golden pole with an eagle perched atop, forward. She steps closer until she is in range of whacking me with the eagle and lifts it to the sky. "Twelfth Legion Fulminanta!" She cries.
The rest of the crowd immediately stand resolute then slam their own weapons and feet into the ground. I am amazed as I watch them take up the chant. "Twelfth Legion Fuliminata! Twelfth Legion Fuliminata!"
I watch wide eyed in wonder and confusion. I jump when I feel an arm on my shoulder.
"Are you okay?" It's him,, the gorgeous boy with his twinkling eyes.
I shrug, scratching the back of my neck nervously. "Yes thank you..." I trail off, nothing more than a memory of my pointless words. What is his name? I have not the slightest idea of which to call this handsome stranger by. Is a 'thank you' sufficient for what he has done for me? Is it even Roman to say that- do I have to say it in Latin?!
He smiles widely and takes my hand. I'm dumbstruck as our fingers connect and he slips a piece of paper into my palm. Alright so he wasn't trying to hold my hand- but our fingers collided. I find myself hoping he felt that spark, the connection between us. Who said love was only for stories and fairy tales?
I unfold the parchment clumsily. It crinkles and makes strange crunching sounds. "What's this?"
"My name and my barrack. If you need me, I would be more than willing to help." He winks at me, and inside I melt all over again.
The papyrus has these words inscribed: Christopher Douglas. Barrack 4.
I read it twice, then against my will let out a faint snort.
"Is something funny?" Christopher asks, the ends of his lips beginning to curl up in yet another grin.
"It's like a business card." I can't help but laugh.
"Business card," He repeats then scowls boyishly. "Your probably in barrack six," He continues on to say. "Most of our new ones go there."
It's silent again- I don't know how much of this silence I can take- until I say: "Okayyy...."