Skipping class again?
Rhys’s text flashed across my screen as I flipped through the same old music on my phone.
Yea. Sorry I didn’t tell you.
I took a seat on a nearby bench, and looked out over the lake.
His replies were always quick. This time was no different.
Don’t be sorry. Just don’t have fun without me.
I’ll try not to.
I let out a slow sigh. Isn't’ fresh air supposed to be good for you?
I felt something fluffy land on my head. I peered up at it as it peered down at me. A little puffy ball of fluff was staring down at me, it clutched a few strands of hair in it’s fingerless hands.
“Good afternoon,” I said to it.
It winked at me.
I don’t come to this lake very often, so I’m not sure if this sort of thing is abnormal.
If only Rhys were here, he would know how to react.
“...Want some tea?” I asked, pointing to the nearby vending machine.
It seemed to ponder the idea for a bit before waving me off.
With a soft leap, it left my head and began to float away from me, towards the plaza.
At first, I just sat and watched as it floated away, but then it looked back, confused, as if to say,
Are you coming?
Well, I wasn’t exactly doing anything anyway.
I stood up, grabbed my bag, and followed it.
As we walked, the little wisp danced around the air. It wasn’t long until we came to the south entrance of the school, and there by a post board, was a girl. She was reading the map displayed there, turning her head this way and that.
The wisp looked at me expectantly.
The wisp looked at her, and then to me. Back to her, and then to me once more.
I walked towards the girl, and as I did her head turned and she peered over her shoulder at me.
“Uh… Hey,” I said.
“There’s a scary looking stranger approaching me. Maybe he’s lost,” she said.
“Actually… I was wondering if you were…” I murmured.
“He spoke to me… Although he seems afraid… Maybe if I smile,” she grinned excessively.
I turned around to walk away, but the wisp was leering at me.
“Are.You.Lost?” I asked.
“Oh great, he knows. Is it that obvious?” She frowned and clutched her bag tightly.
She’s worse with communication than me…
“I’m not going to hurt you,” I said.
She looked unsure.
I sighed and approached the map. I pointed to the north end of the lake.
“We’re here,” I said. “Just south of Kleinenkade Academy.”
“Kleinenkade academy? I asked him,” she said.
Now she’s narrating her own actions? For crying out loud.
“It’s a school for Artemis,” I explained.
“Is this the only school for Artemis in this area? I asked,” she said.
“Probably. I think. Yea, I’m almost positive.”
“Hm… then he must be a student here,” she said
“Yes, I am, although I’m skippi-”
“How does he know what I’m thinking!... How do you know what I’m thinking!? I asked,” she asked.
I’m getting a headache.
Before I could speak, she interjected.
“Furthermore, I wasn’t thinking about you, I was wondering if my childhood friend attended this school. I’m looking for him. I explained,” she explained.
It was becoming difficult to distinguish her narrations from her actual intended speech.
“What’s his name?” I asked.
“I don’t remember, I said. But If I see him, I’ll recognize him for sure,” she said.
“...I… Here.” I handed her a piece of paper.
“He gave me a piece of paper with a phone number on it. I looked him over. He’s not really my type, I should let him down softl-”
I held up a hand.
“It’s not my phone number, it’s my friend Rhys’s. He’s a very good person. If you need anything, please call him. You can trust him.” I said as I walked away.
“Again with the mind reading…” I heard her say.
As I sat in the club room, my mind wandered back to the girl in the park.
Was it wrong of me to just leave her there by herself?
I’m sure she’ll be fine.
“Hm? Sorry. I’m not all here today,” I said to Rhys.
“Are you ever?” He said with a wink.
I took a broom he had been holding out to me and began cleaning the club room. It’s hard to believe it’s already been a year.
I guess in a way I can say I’ve enjoyed myself. I don’t think I would be very well off had I not let Enari drag me in here for the first time.
I want to be happy. I want to smile when everyone else does. I want to tell jokes and laugh, but I can’t. It’s not that I don’t enjoy Rhys and Enari’s company. In fact, I would say were it not for them I would be worse than I am now. But there’s a wall within me that I can’t seem to scale. A challenge I’m not yet strong enough to overcome.
But as I look around this room, I see evidence of the moments we’ve spent together. Enari’s pictures of us plastered to a board by the door. The broken chair Rhys refuses to admit was his fault. And my one and only contribution to the Art Club. Draped in a sheet and hidden in the back of the room. A canvas on which I had painted a scene from my life during a time less clouded by the pain of today. Rhys and Enari praised my work, but for now I would like to keep it out of sight, and out of mind.
As we exited the room, Enari locked the door with an exaggerated flick of the wrist.
“As if anyone would want to steal anything you painted,” Rhys teased her.
“My paintings have meaning to them!” She whined.
“What do you think, Laine? You’re the resident cynic.”
“I… I like to watch you as you paint,” I said.
“Y-y-y-y-you wh-...wha-wha-wha-wha,” Enari was desperately trying to form some sort of coherent sentence.
“Even I’m surprised to hear that. Care to explain?” Rhys said with a raised brow.
“I mean… I’m not sure what I mean,”
I’m not embarrassed about being on the spot, I just can’t think of the words to use.
“-I guess I just admire anyone who can put that much emotion into what they’re doing,” I finally said.
“That’s a very Laine sounding response,” Rhys said as he rubbed Enari’s shoulders. She looked annoyed.
“I think there was something Enari had been meaning to ask you,” he said with a nudge to Enari.
Her face was as red as ever.
“Um…” She pressed her fingertips together as she looked at my feet.
Rhys pinched his brow. He seemed frustrated with her.
“Well I was wondering…”
Her knees began to visibly shake.
“Do you want to eat?”
Rhys slowly turned and softly tapped his forehead against the wall.
“I… Enari… I… I have no idea what you’re asking me.”
Rhys’s tapping intensified.
“I mean… In a special way, with a girl.”
Rhys’s tapping evolved into a concerning pound.
“Enari, whatever you’re struggling with is going to give Rhys a concussion.”
“Will you take me to dinner, please?” Enari blurted out with clasped hands. I feel like I’m being begged.
“I’m not against it. Rhys do you wanna co-”
“-NO!... I mean… Nah… No thanks. You two go ahead. I’ve suddenly got a headache.” Rhys slowly stumbled away from us with a sideways wave over his shoulder.
Enari and I looked to one another. She wasn’t at all concerned about his recent antics.
I’m still not entirely sure what just happened.
What a strange day this has been so far…
“Sooo… Where do you wanna go?” She asked me.
“I... haven’t thought about it yet,” I admitted.
“What have you been thinking of all this time? Looks intense,” she said.
“I met a girl in the park today. She’s been stuck on my mind all day.”
Enari looked like she just had the wind knocked out of her as she doubled over.
She held up a hand.
“It’s fine. I’m fine. Wasn’t ready for that,” she said.
“You were like this when I mentioned Krism, too,” I said.
“Yea… Maybe stop bringing up the new girls in your life?” She pleaded.
“Speak of the devil,” I said.
The strange girl from earlier stepped out of an alley ahead of us.
“Speak of the devil? Is he talking about me? I feel like he is,”
Here we go.
“Hey, it’s you. I said,” she said.
“Hey. Lost again?” I asked.
“Pfft. Yes. But I’m not gonna let him know that. No! I said,” she said.
I glanced at Enari. She was at a loss for words. I feel like I need to do something here. I’m always so reserved. Take some initiative.
“We’re about to go to dinner. Do you want to join us?” I asked.
“Of course! I said. But his girlfriend doesn’t look too happy about it,” she said.
My girlfriend? I looked back to Enari. Her eyes were suddenly hollow. A single vein was throbbing in her forehead.
“Is that alright with you?” I asked Enari.
“Sure. That’s...Just fine…” she spoke through gritted teeth.
We settled on a little hole in the wall diner not too far away.
A young man greeted us and showed us to a booth towards the back. He laid the menus out on the table, two on one side, one on the other.
I took a seat on the side with two menus. Enari and… actually I don’t know her name yet… looked at one another.
“Go ahead, sit wherever you like,” Enari said. Her voice was cheery but her eyes were slanted.
“No, by all means! I said. Though, I kind of want to sit next to him just to see what she would do,” said the mystery girl.
Enari practically dove into the seat next to me.
The mystery girl took her seat opposite us.
“I see you guys are pretty close, I said... He’s oblivious.” She said.
“We’re not that close,” Enari said. “We’re in club together.”
“Do you normally sit shoulder to shoulder in the club room? I asked,” she asked.
Enari’s face turned bright. But she didn’t move.
“That’s adorable… I remember when I was like that with… actually… who was I like that with…?” She was speaking, but I could tell it was her own thoughts, not meant for us.
“Why do you talk like that?” Enari asked.
“What’s wrong with the way I talk? I asked. Is my accent that obvious?” She said.
“No, I-... Laine, help me out here?” She asked.
“I think she’s probably just weird,” I explained.
“Hey who is he calling weird?! Hey who are you calling weird?! I asked,” she asked.
“What?” I asked Enari.
“I think you might be insulting her,” she said.
“I’m not insulting her I’m describing her,” I explained.
Enari stifled a laugh, but the other girl did not seem amused. I’m not exactly sure what’s funny.
“Just for that, I vote you treat us girls tonight. I said. Please pay for my food. Fingers crossed. Toes crossed. I’d cross my eyes if I could.” She said.
“Sure,” I said.
“That was a lot easier than I expected,” I said. She said.
“Wait for it,” Enari said as I pulled my phone from my pocket.
Rhys answered quickly as he always does.
“Hello?” Rhys said. His voice on the other end was a bit distracted.
“I’m at dinner with Enari,” I said.
“I am well aware of that,” he replied.
“The weird girl is here too, and she wants me to buy her food,” I said.
“I am NOT weird!” I said. The weird girl said.
“I see,” Rhys said. “And you called me because…?”
“Because I told her I would pay for her food, but now I won’t have enough money to buy my own food. So…”
There was a long pause on the other end followed by an equally long sigh.
“I’ll be there in a few minutes,” he said.
“Was that your sugar daddy? I asked.” She asked.
“-Yes,” Enari interrupted me.
“Interesting, I said.” She said. “So it’s like that, huh?" She looked at Enari and I in a very coy manner.
“N-..No… surely not,” Enari said to no one in particular. Her eyes were glazed over as if she had suddenly realized something very traumatic.
“There’s no way Rhys… Oh my god it IS like that.” She rambled with a shocked look on her face.
“What are we talking about?” I asked.
“Nothing!” They both chimed in unison.
In the end, Rhys didn’t come after all. It was a pain, until Enari volunteered to pay for…
“Wait, what did you say your name was, again?” I asked her as we left the diner.
“Oh right! We never introduced ourselves! I said,” she said.
“Well, My name is Laine, and this is Enari. We’re studying at Kleinenkade academy here in town,” I said.
“Enari?” I asked. She asked. “You mean, like the country, Enaria?”
“Yea yea everyone asks me that. But no. Enari like Enari, the teenage girl standing in front of you,” Enari chimed in.
“Ah! I see, I said. She’s so sassy.” She said.
“I am quite jealous. My name is Eiley Evermay. I’m here looking for someone. I explained” She explained.
“Oh yea? What’s their name? We might know them,” Enari said.
“I don’t know, I said.” She said with a smile.
“Uh… well… what do they look like…?” Enari continued.
“No clue, I said.” She said.
“Ah… Ahem… Well then.” Enari mumbled.
What a weird girl.
If you liked it, leave a comment at the bottom, please. I have no way of knowing if people are reading and enjoying any of this otherwise!
Krism, a quirky young Elf, finds herself sent to another country to study magic. Her family name rests on her success there.
But don't hold your breath, because unlike the long line of Life Artemis that came before her, Krism is terribly inept. To this day she has never cast even a single spell.
She quickly finds herself locked in a heated battle of raw stubbornness with the school's prodigy.
He may have intellect, but she has... something! Probably.
It's a long story.