The football stadium was still littered with kids when Varrick got there. His chest lifted as he sucked in a breath and suppressed a growl at the same time. This part of his job always frustrated him. He understood that Ariana was seventeen and therefore entitled to a certain amount of angst, but he hated having to deal with it. They had bigger problems to deal with. Of course, she was blissfully ignorant of them.
He scanned the stadium through his dark sunglasses, trying to assess where she would be. A group of girls were running on the track that encircled the grass of the stadium, ponytails bouncing as they chatted with one another. When he noticed the cheerleaders edging the track, he knew where she would be and marched over.
He cocked a brow as the girls began chanting in time with their moves. Sure enough, directly in front of them in the stands stood Ariana with camera in hand, snapping away pictures. She was wearing a dark blazer over a cream top, giving the same curtaining affect her jet black hair lent to the light skin of her face. She noticed him and lowered the camera, revealing a scowl. She sat down on the stands, digging around in her bag for another roll of film as he walked across the bleachers to stand before her. He felt the fear that had allowed him to track her fade, predictably shifting to anger. He glanced to the sky as if to ask for aid in dealing with the teenager and the temper she had inherited from her true mother.
"How'd you find me?" she asked briskly.
Varrick couldn't help but let out a gruff laugh. "You're the only teenager I know that sneaks out of the house to come back to school after hours." He didn’t bother to add that her fear of getting caught sneaking out served as a sort of honing beacon for him, allowing him to track her as long as they were on the same world. If she was scared, he would be able to find her. Fortunately for him, Ariana was a goody-two-shoes at heart and always scared of getting busted when she did something wrong. It had caused more than a few false alarms in her teenage years. Her twin sister, on the other hand, was on the opposite end of the spectrum. Zelene was too brave for her own good, rarely feeling real fear even when she was actually in trouble.
Needless to say, being Cyneward to the twins was a bigger job than he had imagined when he was called.
"Well," she said as she zipped her camera bag closed with a little too much force, "maybe I wouldn't have to sneak out if my freak show parents would loosen the reigns just a bit."
"I understand that you're mad at them—“
Her deep set lavender eyes snapped up to his. "They told you? Good. Now maybe you'll understand why I hate them so much."
He sighed, suppressing a groan as he took a seat on the stands beside her. He pulled off his sunglasses, revealing a set of Caribbean blue eyes that were both impatient and understanding at the same time. "Look, Ariana—“
"No," she interrupted, "you look! I have worked my butt off for the past four years so that I could get into a good college. A really good college, Varrick. Like NYU or UCLA. And now they aren't even going to let me apply! How unfair is that! I'm getting ready to turn eighteen and they think they can rule my life once I'm an adult! I hate them!"
He placed a calming hand on her shoulder. "No, you don't."