I’m not usually the praying kind,
But lately I’ve been down upon my knees.
I’m not looking for a miracle,
Just a reason to believe.
I was cold. That was the first thing I noticed. I looked down at my arms but they weren’t there. None of my boy was. I was just a floating cluster of thoughts. Thoughts to be read. I was in a forest but the forest ended about ten metres in front of me. There, it dropped suddenly and I could hear the familiar sound of London traffic below. I turned around and saw a bronze haired boy staring at me. His eyes were dead but he was smiling slightly. He raised his pearly hand toward me, as if to touch my face and…
I opened my eyes abruptly. There was no point in sitting up. It just wasted energy. I had done it for the first few times I'd had the dream but now it was just routine to stay lying in bed. My encounter with the family of serial killers may as well have been a dream. In fact, I was pretty sure it was. Apart from the note. About three weeks had passed and I may as well have framed the note and plastered it to the wall. It was so… so… different and alien to my usual life of luxury and schedule, that just made me love it more. Especially now that I was back at school.
I attended Barnsley High School, a co-educational private school made up of either brats or nerds. I was neither of the two. I mean, I kept up with the fashions and had an A - average, but it still wasn’t enough to keep up at a school like Barnsley where even the geeks could dress. As I entered the lunch hall, I could see the distinct markers of this season’s trends-in-the-making. Short, pleated skirts and over the knee socks seemed prevalent in the more rich-bitch area of the hall where as the intelligentsia were preferring cutesy florals a la Bettina Liano. Nice.
I made a beeline for one of the few empty tables and sat down, sliding my denim D&G side satchel along the bench to make room for myself. I slid my pale fingers over the poppy seed bagel and began to pick it apart. I was too hungry to eat. The courtroom of the lunch hall burbled with conversation. I looked over to Katherine’s table, where she, Tess, Lily and Anna were in discussion over who was the hottest guy sitting at the table next to them. Lily’s boyfriend, Josh, sat next to her looking annoyed, as you would be if your girlfriend was talking about how good looking some other guy was. I rolled my eyes slightly. Everyone in the whole goddamn school was so predictable. Next week, Lily would dump Josh because she thought he was too clingy and Josh would leave it two weeks before asking out Anna. Anna would be unsure but eventually say yes because it would be the best offer going for her. Lily would pretend not to care but somehow create an evil scheme to break them up so she could end up back with Josh. And the cycle would begin again.
I sighed and decided I had to eat something, for my health’s sake. The bagel was looking less and less appetizing by the minute as I mangled it further. I pushed it away and reached for my juice. I find stabbing straws into juice boxes helps to relieve anger. The juice tasted funny, like a mix between a rotten peach and sweaty socks. Ew. I gagged but swallowed anyway; there wasn’t any point in making a scene.
I used to sit with Katherine and her posse but as of late she’d been avoiding me and slowly untangling herself from my friendship. I pulled my eyebrows together. Fine, they could be like that. Of course I cared. Having no friends meant no parties, no gossip sessions and no real fun. But I could live. If my father did it, surely so could I.
Suddenly, a hush descended on the room. I looked over to where the greater consensus of the student population was looking. Stupid move. A group of supermodel-like creatures stood in the doorway. I recognized them. Alice. Jasper. Emmett. That goddess of a girl. And then, the other one. He was a tall, well-built boy, his hair shining a vivid shade of copper in the artificial light of school. It was the same boy that haunted my dreams, the same boy that had been on my roof, the same boy that had written me that puzzling note. Why was life so fricking odd?
A glint of humour flashed across Copper Boy’s deadened face. He looked into my eyes with his light golden ones. Stalker, I thought bitterly. Like I didn’t have enough to deal with. The entire school thought I was on crack and now the “family” that had tried to kill me the other night was planning to share some of my classes. Great. Just great. I found myself wondering what years they’d all be in. Copper Boy couldn’t be two years older than me but as for the others, they looked oddly mature like they were frozen in time… Why was I even thinking this? The serial killers were walking towards me at quite a pace and as I looked around me, I realised mine was the only empty table left. In the name of all things holy!
They sat down silently, the bench didn’t seem to squeak for them as it did for me. I fished my D&G bag onto my lap to make room for the goddess girl. Oh my God. Oh my God. They could kill me at any moment. I felt like screaming, RUN; THESE PEOPLE ARE MURDERERS, to everyone. Copper Boy shot me a glance and rolled his eyes slightly. What? What?! Ok, that guy was weird.
No one spoke. No one even breathed, apart from me. It was as if they didn’t want to dirty themselves with me. Fine. If they didn’t want to dirty themselves with me, I didn’t want to dirty myself with them. I stood up and emptied my tray into the bin. I had to get some air, and there’s no air like library air.
I breathed in the heady smell of books. God I loved it. I could smell all the classics. From Austen to Tolstoy, they were all here. I headed into the ‘H’ set of shelves to look for my favourites. I had read all the Georgette Heyer books from cover to cover but I needed some comfort and I needed it now. I flicked open Black Sheep and began to read.
“A little before eight o’clock, at the close of a damp day…” Even the opening sentence sounded like home. I must have been enveloped in the story as I looked up to see a pair of black trousers strolling up and down the shelves a few rows away from me. My eyes widened. It wasn’t as if it was a bad library, in fact it was a great library, but no-one ever went in there apart from me. A lot of them thought it was haunted. And a lot of them just really hated books. It must have been one of those serial killers. As the realisation hit me, I began to feel slightly nauseous. Oh no. Oh no, oh no, oh no. I busied myself with my bag and made to stand up only to find a pair of black trouser-covered legs standing a few feet away from me. I gasped and looked up. It was Copper Boy.
“Excuse me - I …” I trailed off. His eyes were the richest yet most delicate shade of honey I had ever seen. To call them honey was a crime but what else could I call them? Delicious? He seemed to roll his eyes slightly. I stared at him. What the..? How the..? Wait a minute, I told myself, how dare he invade my property like this! The library was my territory and everyone should know that, even new glamazons who were secretly serial killers. I cleared my throat.
“You must be new here.” I smiled wryly at him, “Only junior librarians are allowed in at this stage of lunch. You should be in the canteen.” I prayed he wouldn’t sniff out my blindingly obvious lie.
“That’s not true.” His voice was so soft and magical yet so dead that I wanted it to stop and continue at the same time.
“And how would you know that?” I challenged him. I may have been the school loner but at least I could stick up for myself.
“I asked the librarian if I could come in.” Damn. Him - 1, Me - 0. I had no more excuses. At that moment I had two realisations; the first being that I was still sitting down, staring up at this guy and secondly, that I simply couldn’t give up my space to a newbie. I stood up and squared my shoulders.
“What exactly is your problem?” This threw him, he wasn’t expecting that from me. Yeah that’s right, I thought, I’m tougher than I look. He looked as if he wanted to laugh. Probably to cover up for his failing confidence.
“I don’t believe I have one,” he said quietly. It seemed he said everything quietly. I pursed my lips. This guy was such a smart arse.
“So why were you on the roof of my apartment?” I had to ask this question, it had been puzzling me for a fortnight and a half. His eyes widened slightly. Oh he definitely wasn’t expecting that one. Him - 1, Me - 1.
“Excuse me?” He raised an eyebrow, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I cocked my head and narrowed my eyes. Why was he lying? I’m the school loner remember, I felt like yelling to him, I keep everything to myself. Who could I possibly tell? Surely he didn’t think that I would have forgotten about his family’s little escapade. Surely he wouldn’t expect me to magically un-remember him.
Or maybe he really hadn’t been on the roof and I’d just royally embarrassed myself in front of a complete stranger. I made a small shake of my head and turned on my heel to get away, we could continue our little war later. I stormed out of the library only to find the small, pixie-ish one, Alice, outside. I was so full of angry adrenaline that I said loudly, “Excuse me, Alice?”
She eyed me warily, “I think your brother or whoever is an arrogant, obnoxious prick, whatever his name is.” She stared at me, shocked. We stood there, silently, for a moment before a she became misty-eyed as if she wasn’t seeing me. Jeez, they were all such a pack of stoners. I rolled my eyes dramatically and stomped out, just like a five year old.
God it was fun being a kid.