Adamaris fluffed out her hair for the tenth time. She frowned at her reflection and parted her hair again in the opposite direction, a smile spreading across her face.
“Finally. Why do I even try new things on my hair?”
She grabbed her bag and headed to the door. Swinging it open she stopped short. “Hi Daddy,” she said. She threw her arms around his waist and hugged him.
“Hey. That boy is here.”
“Do you mean Max? Daddy, we have been friends for years. You know his name.”
“Yeah well I don’t like that he wants to date you.”
“Seriously? He really said that?” Adamaris said, excitement clear in her voice.
“Not out loud. I read his mind. He wants to ask you out, but he is too chicken.”
“Stop reading his mind and we won’t have this problem.” She rolled her eyes and walked past him into the narrow hall of their home.
“I need to know what he plans to do to you.”
She looked back at her father for a second and touched the handle of the front door. “Dad. I can handle myself. I’ve been practicing my ice magic and if he tries anything funny, I’ll impale him.”
Her dad grunted. “Adamaris. I can read your mind.”
“That’s an invasion of privacy and we have talked about this.”
“I just don’t want to lose you. After your mother, I—.”
“You worry too much. Rebels won’t attack us with how much security is in this place. It’s not like we’re leaving town. I’ll be okay. I’ll see you later dad. I promise we won’t be long.”
“Be home by 11, Adamaris.”
“I know. Okay.” She opened the door caught Max’s attention. He turned around as she shut the door behind her a smile on his face. His skinny shoulders and his rosy cheeks made her smile.
“You look cold,” Adamaris said. She stepped off the step of her home and started down the busy street of Grimpaitra.
Max shivered a bit and pushed back this thick black hair as he followed her. “Just a little.”
“Why don’t you heat yourself up? You’re not a fire mage for anything.”
“I tried that, and I set my gloves on fire.” He held up his hands and shoved them back into his pocket.
“Hey one day you’ll be able to,” Adamaris said. “So I was thinking of having a bonfire later. What do you think?”
“Will I be the fire in this scenario?”
“What do I look like starting a fire like a common person?”
Max chuckled, a smile on his face that made her just want to grab and kiss him. “You know how to start a fire.”
“But you can do it with little effort.”
Max looked at her. She made her eyes extra big as she hung onto him.
“I can’t resist when you do that.”
“I know that’s why I did it.”
Max chuckled. “Where did you learn the art of manipulation?”
“Last summer with my grandma Ophelia,” Adamaris beamed.
“What time will you have to be home tonight?”
“He said 11, but what he really meant to say was 12. I’m practically 16 he can’t really tell me what to do,” she said. “What about your dad?”
“Uh I’m not really sure I should call him my dad, your majesty the King—.”
“It’s been 10 years. He’s your dad.”
Max cleared his throat. “Your Majesty, King Ason said to be home by 10:30.”
“10:30? That’s child’s play. Can you at least stay out til 11 or 12 like me?”
“You’re not allowed to stay out that long either.”
She groaned and folded her arms across her chest. “Why is everyone so afraid of the rebels? We have security and we have magic. We’ll be okay.”
Max shrugged. “King’s orders.”
Adamaris rolled her eyes. “We definitely don’t have time to do what I wanted to do. I guess we can go back to your place and hang out in the gardens by the lake.”
He raised a brow. “What did you want to do?”
“We can do it another day. It was a surprise.”
“What kind of surprise?”
“One I thought you’d like,” Adamaris said. “But all won’t be lost, I guess.”
“You’re not answering my question and it’s making me anxious. You know what happens when I get anxious.” Max said. “Remember when I set that tree on fire?”
Adamaris grabbed his hand and offered him a smile. “Just trust me.”
They travelled up the hill through the marketplace, the only path to get to the castle. Past all the merchants selling jewelry, hand sewn tunics, and food, the two finally reached the castle gates.
“Max, back already?” Evan, one of the castle guards said.
“We’ll hang out in the garden tonight,” Max said.
“I see. Well, you two have a good time. Nice to see you again, Adamaris.”
“Good to see you, Evan,” she said.
Evan cranked open the castle gate and allowed the two of them to enter. After walking down the winding path up to the large doors of the front entrance, Max pushed open the door. Not a soul around.
“Hello!” She yelled, her voice echoing down the hall.
Max shushed her. “Mari, keep it down.”
“It’s so eerily quiet here. There needs to be a lot more life in here.”
“I don’t want him to get angry that you’re yelling,” Max said, heading in the kitchen’s direction.
“Your loyalty is adorable.”
Max stopped and turned to her. “Stay here. I’ll grab some peanuts and marshmallows to roast.”
“Alright. I’ll be here.”
“And try not to make too much noise.”
“Aye. Aye. Captain Max.”
Max scurried off to the kitchen, his hair bouncing as he jogged. Her heart thumped in her chest, causing her hands to frost up. She quickly tried to warm them under her armpits.
Calm down, girl. He will love your surprise. YOU will love your surprise.
She paced the foyer, scraping her heel across the large red and gold area rug. She glanced around at the handing pictures of scenery and the giant painting of the King Ason just over the staircase. She meandered over to the red and gold bench near the entrance to sit.
“Adamaris. How are you?” King Ason smiled at her as he walked down the stairs. “Are you here for Max? He’s supposed to be heading over to your house.”
“I’m actually with Max. He ran to get us some stuff for the bonfire we’re about to have.”
“Ah, I see. I thought the two of you would hang around Grimpaitra for a little while.”
“We were, but I didn’t want to keep him out past curfew.”
“It’s best for your safety,” Ason said. “Alright well if you need me, I’ll be in my office.”
Max came back from the kitchen and stopped just beside Adamaris. “Sorry.” He huffed. “I almost didn’t find it.”
Adamaris looked at Max, a soft smile on her face. “But you did. No worries.”
“Max, your facial hair is growing back in. I taught you how to shave, son. When you get back, I want you to cut it.”
“Uh yes sir. Sorry. I will. It just grows back so fast.”
The stubble on his chin was cute. Adamaris’s face grew warm and her hands frosted up. Not that she didn’t notice it earlier or any other day, but tonight he was particularly attractive.
“Thank you. I’ll let both of you get back to hanging out,” Ason said. “Have fun.”
The two of them went out back into the garden and walked toward the lake. They stopped by a pile of twigs that Ason allowed Max to use for practicing his magic to gather some for the fire.
“This would be much easier if we had telekinesis instead of elemental powers.”
“Do you need me to carry some for you?”
“No, I got it. I’m just complaining.”
Max laughed. “I agree. Life would be easier if we could just move stuff with our minds.”
Stopping at the site, they piled up the sticks. Max started a fire in the palm of his hand, the soft glow reflecting off his face. He was so cute. He tossed it on to the sticks and watched them slowly burn.
“So what’s the surprise?”
“Why do you think I would tell you?”
“I don’t know poor judgement if just for a second.”
“I’m a safe you cannot crack, Maxikins.”
“Maxikins? That’s new.”
Shocked that she let the nickname she called him in her head slip, Adamaris bit the inside of her lip for a moment. “I just thought maybe I needed to give you a nickname. Since you know, you gave me one. Mari and Maxikins.”
“I can’t say I enjoy that name, but you worked hard on it so I guess. Just no one can find out about it.”
“Hey. Consider my lips sealed.”
“I mean it, Mari. If Laird finds out—.”
“He won’t find out. Laird can shove it up his—nope nevermind. I told my dad I’d stop swearing. Grandma Ophelia said a lot of words over the summer.”
“You’ve done well in the past week.”
Adamaris giggled. “I’ve been keeping a tight lock on my lips especially when I get angry.” She sighed. “But seriously, if Laird finds out somehow, I’ll just impale him on an icicle.”
“I’ll practice just for that occasion.”
Max chuckled. The fire had gotten bigger and Adamaris scooted closer looking up at the stars.
“So about that surprise,” Max said. His voice was low and sent a shiver down Adamaris’s spine.
She blushed. “Right. Well, I’ve been working on something. With my powers.” Adamaris’s hands grew colder. “I wanted to show it to you.”
Max stretched out his legs and leaned back. “Alright then. I’m ready.”
Adamaris folded her legs in and closed her eyes, drawing deep breaths. She wiggled her fingers and rolled her shoulders a few times. Lifting her hands, she swirled them in a small circle and formed a huge snowball in her hands.
In one swift motion, she threw it in the air and forced and icicle. She hurled it into the snowball and it exploded into tiny snowflakes that fell over them. Max’s mouth dropped open as she caught her icicle and threw it into the fire.
“Wow. It’s snow. You created snow.”
She watched his goofy smile get bigger and her heart began to pound. Her hands frosted up, and she quickly hid them under her arms.
“Max?” She mumbled. She moved closer to him and put her cold hand on top of his. He looked at her and in one motion, she kissed him.
Max only heated up as she got colder. His hands were so warm and she could feel the ice forming on her cheeks. The two stayed in the kiss for a few seconds before she broke it.
“Surprise,” she said, stroking his face.
“I wasn’t expecting that.” Max stammered.
“I wanted our first kiss to be something magical.”
“It was magical and definitely warm.” Max said, taking off his jacket.
Adamaris fiddled with her hands. She furrowed her brows and turned to Max. “Do you have something to say to me?”
Max stuck out his lip and shook his head. “No. What do you mean?”
“I mean anything. Do you have anything to say to me… or ask me?”
Max sat there for a moment. He gulped and looked at Adamaris. “Well, there was something.” Max said, his voice cracking.
She leaned in closer to him. “Yes?”
“I wanted to know.” He cleared his throat. “Are we sure it’s still winter?”
“I’m sure.” Adamaris said. “What do you want to know?” Her father never misread thoughts, and she wanted Max to ask her out more than anything in the world.
“I wanted to know if you would like to be my.”
“Yes?” She leaned in closer to him, a smile on her face. His eyes were on his hands as he had now sat up and twiddled his thumbs.
“Would you want to be my girlfriend?”
“Max I’ve been wanting to be your girlfriend for so long. But I didn’t know if you like me that way. I mean I thought maybe, but you said nothing. But then my dad read your thoughts and he sai—.”
Max cut her off with a gentle kiss. “I like you,” he said. “A lot. How could I not?”
Adamaris blushed and moved closer to him. She grabbed and snuggled his arm. “I’m Max’s girlfriend and I’m so happy.” Adamaris squealed. “I have to tell someone. I can tell Zara and Tess. And daddy! Even though he doesn’t trust you.”
“He doesn’t? I have done nothing wrong.”
“I’m his only daughter and you’re a boy. He wants nothing bad to happen to me.”
“I can assure, Adamaris Leak. That I will let nothing happen to you. If I can, I’d care for you for the rest of my life.”