“That’s Olivia Morris and the quiet one is Lucy Bailey. Also, Olivia was his ex.” Stephanie answered our unasked question. We were all in a very bad mood except for the curious Ray.
His eyes were still on Anna.
“How many times do I have to make it clear? She’s not my ex.” He quickly denied Steph’s words.
“You went out with her in Year 1.” Steph said cutting him a look.
“Two dates, I went out twice and that’s it. We realized we were not right for each other.” He claimed.
He was wearing a black striped t-shirt with black jeans. His hair was neatly brushed today. His attire was just a faint reminder that he’s one of them, the tyros, they call the students here. Olivia’s words rang in my ears, ‘Don’t act as though you belong here’, she said. I couldn’t reply anything to that. I remembered Anna’s words last night. I’m sure those words would have hit her hard. Well not only her, my friends were all trying to distract themselves from it.
“Are you sure both of you realized it?” Ivy asked.
“She’s still crazy about him and he knows that.” Steph answered Ivy. Ray sighed, obviously trying not to get angry. He pursed his lips tightly. “I don’t understand why are we even discussing about this?”
“Because minutes ago, she yelled at me to stay away from you.” Anna said, keeping her voice steady but there was a glint of dangerousness in it. She fixed her glare on him. He shifted in his chair uncomfortably. I had to interfere, worried Anna might say something that she will regret later. I can see she’s trying to control herself.
“Calm down, Anna.” I told her.
She turned to me, “I still don’t get it. Why would she yell at us like that?”
“Oh that is because, there’s another rumour. That something is going on between you and Ray.” Steph told us, she avoided Anna’s eyes.
Anna’s frustration grew, “But why?”
“Maybe because you two walked in together yesterday and also that was the day Ray was back after a month. He had been hanging out around you too, people notice that.” Steph explained, now only looking at Jane, who is sitting next to her. I found Steph very amusing, she was brave enough to talk about it but not looking into Anna and Ray’s eyes.
“Oh.” Ray sank in his chair.
“I didn’t know that.” He looked up and met Anna’s eyes. His dark eyes were concerned. His jaws were tensed.
“I’m sorry, Anna. I didn’t know any of this would happen.” He apologized but Anna stayed quiet. She didn’t say a word.
I hated this situation. Obviously, Ray is not at fault. We felt quiet for awhile. The awkward moment made all of us uncomfortable.
Ray stood up, “I have some things to do.” He awkwardly excused himself when the silence stretched. I think he may not want to talk to us after this. I watched him walk to the corridor. I felt bad. He was just trying to help us, our first friend in this institute. Though we only knew him for two days now, I think he would have been a great friend.
“So, we have another four hours to go before going back, I mean going back to our the dorm.” Jane stumbled with her words, trying to break the tension.
“Yeah, it almost time. We should move.” I told them.
Steph looked at us in confusion. “Four hours?”
“Yeah, we have a class and combat whatever later.” Ivy mumbled.
“What? Oh right, I almost forgot your extension classes. We don’t have class after 3.” She stated.
“But we have.” Ivy said.
Jane gave her timetable to Steph. She studied it and her eyes went wide. “What is this? All of you share the same timetable?” She asked us.
“No, our classes in the morning are different.” I told her.
“Can I see?” Her brown eyes were huge. I wanted to know what makes her this edgy.
“Why?” We gave her our timetables. She looked at each of the papers and then gave it back to us.
“There’s something big going on here right?” She eyed each of us as she tossed her question.
“Big? What do you mean?” Anna asked. She had recovered herself from the earlier tension. “No wonder they were making a big fuss about your classes. It is big.” She went on.
“Steph, we are clueless.” I told her. She looked at me, frowning.
“This is really strange. To see you clueless about what is going on but still you’re following whatever placed for you here. I mean, I’m not saying you’re pretending but then I do wonder if you’re actually. I could also sense, I mean the whole institute knew you’re something.” She continued her rambling. Her words scared me. The way her eyes looking at us, she was clearly curious. And at the same time she sees us as though we’re somebody important.
I cleared my throat, “Steph, you’re scaring us.” I told her.
“I wonder who you really are, you are worth something.” I saw admiration in her eyes. That look, I saw that in few of other kids’ eyes this morning.
“Explain, Steph.” Anna said, her voice was no longer patience and her eyes were scrutinizing Stephanie. Steph noticed us growing impatient and she quickly told us,
“Sure, your timetable is all over the place. You’re having a mix of Year 1, 2, 3 and 4 classes. I think they picked up the essential ones. And we, normal tyros don’t have personal trainers. Each of you had been given your own trainers. I’m sure you don’t know this but all the tyros here know that the four trainers chosen for you are one of the best in the field.” She stopped and we stared at her. I looked down at my timetable and noticed my trainer’s name, Mr. Hugh Henry. “I think they are trying to train you as much as possible. The Angels are preparing you for something big.” Her eyes were wild as she analyzed the situation but we can’t stay to hear her further theory as we are running late for our next class.
“We will talk later.” I told her and we left the cafeteria in hurry.
We went to the first floor of Block B and walked to the end of the corridor. We went into the class and found our French lecturer sitting on the front desk. She was the only one in the class.
Where are the other students?
She looked up when she heard our footsteps. We greeted her and sat at the front desks. I looked out of the class, expecting students to pour in but nobody came. Our lecturer closed her book and faced us. Her face was hard as she studied each of us.
“Why are not wearing the clothes given to you?” She asked us. “The timetable didn’t state what to wear so we thought we could wear this.” I could not say formal clothing since we are not wearing one.
She nodded and stood up. “I will give you five minute. Come back in your combat attire.” She looked at her watch and then at us. Realizing our countdown had started. We ran out to our dorm and changed into the black tight attire. I stopped to gulp down some water before rushing back to the class. I was sweating when I reached the class. She glanced at her watch once again and smiled at us.
“Not bad, young tyros.” We smiled back at her, satisfied with our little challenge. I was relieved to see her as our lecturer for afternoon classes. Ivy asked her the reason for the class to be empty. She told us this class is specially held for us, the other students won’t be attending.
Again, we’re treated differently.
She sat on her desk and told us, “This class is for you to learn lessons that you will miss out because of your unusual schedule. I’m here to make sure you’re well taught and for today, I will help you out with the details of this institute. I was told by the management that you’re here without any knowledge about the Angels.”
We gradually started to shoot our questions. I asked about our new timetable and she explained that the management indeed trying to fit all important lessons in the next six months. We asked our never ending questions about every single detail regarding our classes and this institute in general. She patiently answered our questions. I didn’t realize the hour went by fast. She understood how confused we would be and even went extra length to explain how the system works. We listened intently and at the end of the class our questions turned into complaints.
We told her about the other students, the rumours and the fact that treating us different causes us troubles too. She listened to us quietly.
“It could have been better if the principal told us about our timetable, we would have prepared ourselves.” I told her.
“Tyros, I could understand the difficulties you’re going through but it had only been two days. I am surprised to see you struggling to go through school days not even less than 48 hours. Is this your worth?” Her voice was stern. We stopped talking, realizing there’s a change in her voice. She walked back and forth as she continued. Her voice was rising. “Mr. Henderson had gone through a great length to add you in this prestigious spy school. He took his own personal time to set your schedule. He picked the best lecturers and trainers to provide you the best. And this is what you could show me. Is this your worth?” Her words were cold. I looked down at the floor, unable to meet her gaze. I felt terrible as her words sink in.
“Mr. Henderson have many important work to put his mind on and you are upset that he didn’t caution about the drama you would be facing in this institute. Each of the tyros here trained to be best, they, the one that had been chosen fairly, are going through each and every lessons designed for them without any complaints. And here you’re complaining about how confusing each subject is. The management prepared the best to make sure you’re no more or no less that the other tyros and all you worry about is the tension and stress of yours. This institute had been built to create fully disciplined and independent spy, not someone who will be taken care of and spoon fed all the way.” She stopped at her desk.
I looked up and stare at her sweet heart shaped faced. Minutes ago, she was the nicest and sweetest teacher ever and now she just took another form of Miss Fiona. She didn’t yell at us but each of her words stung. My friends were all fidgeting in their chair. I could not bring myself to hate her because I could reason her point. She is trying to make us to face the reality. The fact that we are here, now, this second, we should try to fit in even if it’s hard because that is the only right thing we could do.
“I was under the impression that Mr. Henderson had sent me tyros who are worth to this special attention but I’m wrong. He sent me a bunch of teenagers who care nothing but themselves, the comfort of their lives.” She paused again. I bit my lips from denying her. I had the urged to tell her that we are not the one she is describing but I didn’t.
“We’re sorry, miss.” Ivy muttered. She came and stood in front of us.
“Are you truly sorry?” She asked.
“We’re.” I said. My voice was rough. I cleared my throat and tried again, “We’re truly sorry.”
“I am not here to lecture you about your attitude but I had to today. Mr. Henderson would be disappointed to see these faces of yours. Here is my advice. The first thing to put in your mind, you’re no longer a normal student. You’re tyros, the one that had been chosen by the principal of Angels’ himself. Your demeanor would reflect his choices. Every mistake you make would raise questions and doubts on the choices of the principal. Bear in mind, you’re not treated special as you claim. We are simply providing what is necessary for you, just the same as the others but in much less time frame. You’re expected to grasp every single lesson that is thrown to you. All I could see now is that you’re not even trying, all you do is whining. I don’t see any benefit in that. If you really are sorry, prove to me. I want to see changes and better tyros starting from now. Show me and this institute the reason Mr. Henderson had personally chosen you.” I was staring at her face when she was done. We were speechless. She sat down and picked up the book she was reading, she looked up at us.
“The questioning ends today. I expect you to learn the general information by yourself. I want you to wear this for the next classes. We would mostly have sessions involving physical exercises. Your session ends here. Your combat class will be at Block D. You may leave now.” She said and then resumed reading her book. We went out of the class in silence.
“That was…” Anna started but didn’t finish her sentence. “Scary?” I suggested.
“She was right.” Jane muttered. Her voice was weak. “But they are expecting more from us.” Ivy mumbled.
“Did the old man went through all trouble to get us here?” Anna asked. Mr. Henderson, I recalled his name.
Miss Raina words replayed in my mind. I had to admit, her hair rising speech not only a splash of reality like a cold water onto our face but also the motivation we needed to survive in this new world.
We didn’t have much time to talk. We separated as soon as we reached Block D. Block D is placed at the far end of the institute. It is the sole building situated at the back without any attachment to other buildings. The cafeteria was at the opposite and the huge field in between them. We crossed the field in hurry. Five minutes given for students to get to the next class, I think they should reconsider the time length again. I was two minutes late, my class was at the top floor that is the fifth.
I was sweating terribly and breathing heavily when I reach the class. I stopped at the doorstep and peered inside. The class was empty, no chairs and tables. The floor was made of wood and the right wall was a mirror. The room reminded me of my childhood ballet room.
I walked in and found a man standing at the back of the class, where a table was at. The man, whom I assumed to be Mr. Henry, was in his black tracksuit and a black t-shirt. The t-shirt was tightly hugging his body showing off his lean and muscular body. He was standing so still that I was not sure if he was even breathing. I purposely dropped my bag on the floor at the entrance. He shifted when he heard the small thud. He kept something in his pocket before turning to face me. I reminded myself that the person standing in front of me is one of the best trainers but I was taken aback when I got the full view of his face. I was expecting to see an aged man or at least a man who would be ten years older than me. The one standing in front of me was a very young man. He must be somewhere around twenty to twenty two years old. He stepped forward as his eyes bored into mine. His piercing blue eyes reminded me of electricity because my whole body jolted as his eyes studied my feature from my feet to my face. His eyes held mine when he came and stood a few feet away from me. I took an involuntarily step back, suddenly feeling intimidated by his presence. In that few seconds, I studied his face. Apart from his crystal blue eyes, his dark blonde hair was neatly cropped. My eyes travel down past his long nose to his full lips. I saw an almost healed cut on his lower lips. He cleared his throat and my gaze that was lingering on his broad shoulders and biceps snapped back to his gorgeous face.
“What’s your height?” He asked me.
Do you really have to ask me that?
I was momentarily grateful that it only two of us in this room. I was fully aware of the difference between our heights. He was super tall and I’m super short.
I struggled to address him formally, “5 feet, sir.” I lied effortlessly. I had been saying that for some time now. I don’t see any wrong in adding a few inches.
“How many times do you workout in a week?” He asked. His face was serious as if he’s questioning a prisoner.
I had hard time talking while staring at him, “Depends, four or three times in a week.” I said.
He nodded, “What types of workout and how long you exercise per day?” He folded his arms and I looked at his now budging muscles. Show off.
“Mostly cardio workouts and normally an hour to two per day.” I recalled my routine for the last two years.
I started to have interest in keeping my body fit couple years back simply because I hated the fact that people always assume that I’m younger than my age. I was noticeably the shortest girl in my senior year and that only made me feel unhappy. I don’t want to be the timid little girl so I started exercising to gain my confidence and muscles. My combat master raised his eyebrows and nodded. I was expecting more questions but he simply walked back to the desk at the back. I hoped I made an impression on him. I was smiling and my finger brushed the lock of hair fell out of my ears. Only then I realized, my hair was a mess and I’m still sweating due to the summer sun. I quickly took out my tissue and wiped my face. Then, pulled out my elastic hair band to retie my hair but he walked back to me while ticking something on his book. He stopped and stared me as I was brushing my hair using my fingers. I wonder how my hair looked like all this while. Usually I have no trouble showing of my perfect mixture of black and sandy blonde hair with perfect big locks but today I’m not so sure especially when I’m in a combat class. I tied my hair in pony tail.
“Starting from tomorrow braid your hair or put it in bun.” He stated when I was done. I nodded reluctantly.
“Since you have been working out, I think it’s the best for me to proceed to tests itself.” He went on.
“What? Test?” I interrupted him. I panicked. Just because I did some exercise doesn’t mean I could do whatever test he gives me. His lip twitched a little looking at my reaction.
“Today we will only concentrate on your test and as soon as I’m done recording your result you may leave.” He further stated.
“We will start with beep test.”