The Academy:The Other Side of Envy(2)

By: C. L. Stone

“I don’t really know where you are with us,” he said. He turned his face to me, looking at my eyes. “Mr. Blackbourne wants you in. Kota wants you out. Not out of the family, but you know. Kota’s protective. It’s because he’s the male with two women he looks after. He wants to keep them out of danger. He’s reluctant to put you in the same danger he puts himself in.”

“Shouldn’t I make the decision?”

“Yes, but we’d have to vouch for you. If we’re divided on it, we’ll…” He pursed his lips and shook his head. “See, I can’t say it.”

There were some complicated rules. “So Kota has to agree before I’m allowed in?”

“We all do,” he said. “Your home team, I guess you’d call it. We’d be responsible, so we all have to be in agreement. Kota’s not the only one to think we shouldn’t let you in, either. I think Nathan’s hesitant on it, too. Maybe North. It’s hard to tell with him. One day he says it’d be okay and the next he’s saying it’s not a good idea.”

“So I have to convince all of them I could?”

Silas focused on the road and remained quiet for a long time. “You don’t have to,” he said in a deeper tone. “You don’t need us all to agree to be accepted into the Academy, just that we think you’d be good material, which you are. I’d prefer, though, if you waited. If you’d wait for all of us to agree fully that you should be included.”

I understood there must be something more to the rules, something I wasn’t seeing, to get into the Academy. However, I agreed with him about wanting the others to be okay with it.

“If you want in,” he said.

“I think I want to.”

“You should be sure.”

“It’s hard for me to tell if I want in because you’re in there or because I want to be part of it, but I’m pretty sure it’s both. I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to say it was partially because of you all.”

“It can be both,” he said. “Did they tell you the first rule of the Academy?”

“Family first?”

He nodded. “What’s a better reason than if you feel connected to us, and share our causes? The whole group is centered around family. Why not join for family?”

I curled up tighter in the seat, looking out the window. Silence fell between us. It was a lot to think about.

And yet, it wasn’t. I knew. I felt it inside of me. Knowing about the Academy now, about the things they did, and how they felt so strongly about what they did was enough for me. It was also in every time I participated in a job with them, and felt exhilarated after. I did want into the Academy. What else would I do with my life? Could I keep a normal job later and ignore the thought of the Academy out there somewhere aspiring to some better purpose?

But that meant I had to convince the others to let me in. Kota, Nathan and North. Silas hadn’t mentioned the others. I thought Victor was on my side. What about Gabriel and Luke? What about Dr. Green? How did they feel?

It meant I had to spend more time with each of them. I needed to figure out which ones were happy with the idea, and if they weren’t, find a way to convince them I should join.

Mr. Blackbourne had said the same thing. My heart started to beat harder in my chest, as I realized that he had been right, and that I’d need his help to fix this. I had to trust someone who could help me do it right, and since Kota wasn’t keen on the idea of me joining... I needed Mr. Blackbourne’s help to figure out what to do to convince the others.

As Silas drove, I slipped my phone out of my pocket and typed a quick message.

Sang: Mr. Blackbourne, I know you’re busy, but sometime this weekend, could we talk?

His reply was instantaneous.

Mr. Blackbourne: Always. Is there something you need now? Are you okay?

The response rattled through me like a shiver. I was excited and relieved he didn’t think I was silly or call me out for disturbing him now when we were on our way to a mission.

Only I couldn’t talk about what I was thinking over the text message. We’d been told to limit Academy information going out over text messages or phone calls.

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