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“Do you know that we are being train to kill people?” Ivy asked us as soon as she reached our table. “Did you just realize it, Ivy?” Jane asked her back. Her expression was shocked which is kind of comical. “I know we have to learn self defenses and offenses but it’s just hard to believe that we are taking classes on how to kill people legally.” She unwrap her sandwich and took a bite. “Only if it’s necessary.” Anna added. “So does that mean if it’s necessary we have to kill people during our mission next month?” She countered Anna. Anna shrugged, “I don’t know, if we have to. God, I can’t believe we are having this discussion. What are we?” She shook her head in disbelief. “Spies in training.” I answered. “Who still have trouble accepting that fact.” Jane stated. We didn’t disagree with her. It’s the truth. The days are flying away too quickly here. One day we are in the new class with new subject then suddenly we are taking test and moving on to the next. The only thing that doesn’t change is our combat class, same trainer and same subject matter. There’s only one more month before our semester ends. That means I won’t be seeing Mr. Henry after this. I’m not sure if I like that. I have grown too comfortable with him, more than I should have. His classes are not that bad lately. After I apologize to him, I manage to keep my mouth shut about his history and concentrate more in our training. He was well the same not talking much but he did stop yelling at me. I can see him trying to not scold me if I make mistakes. The air around us is no longer tense as before.

“Hey.” A young boy came to our table. He ruffled his hair twice nervously. His eyes were on Jane. “Hi Milo, you have anything to tell me?” Jane asked him. “Yeah, I wanted remind you about my notes.” He told her. “Oh that! I will give you later. Is that okay?” “Yeah, sure. Actually I don’t mind if you want to use it for another week, it’s just my test is tomorrow so I need it for tonight.” He said to her. “Oh, I’m sorry. You should have asked me earlier. I will hand you today before dinner okay.” “Okay, see you later then.” He flashed a big smile at Jane and walked away. “Is he the one that have been helping you a lot lately?” I asked her. I knew there is this mysterious guy that helped Jane in her studies. “Yeah, I told you I met him at the Spanish class. He was the only one cared to explain to me what was going on. He is good. He always lends me his notes especially law. I can’t be running to the library all the time.” She explained. “Why would you need his notes? What happened to yours?” Anna asked Jane. “Our classes are the simplified versions. He had a whole semester of law class so his notes are so much better.” “How old is he?” I asked her.

“He’s in Year Two.”

“I think he has a crush on you.” I told her.

“What? No, he’s really a good friend.” Jane rolled her eyes. “Yeah, didn’t you see how he was being too smiley just now. He gave you his notes until the day before his exam. That’s too good, Jane.” I went on. She wanted to argue with me but didn’t. “I hope not.” She sighed.

It’s Miss Raina’s class after lunch. We changed our clothes and went to her class. Instead of Miss Raina, Mr. Henderson and Miss Fiona were in the class waiting for us. “We will be taking over Miss Raina’s class for the day.” Miss Fiona told us. We sat on our usual spot at the front row. Miss Fiona was in her plain dress pants and Mr. Henderson, in his usual hunting jacket. Both of them sat in rigid posture facing us. “Your field work will be in one month time. You should know your mission to prepare yourselves. In these two hours we will brief you on the details of your jobs. We had come up with the plans and the roles. Listen well and ask your questions later.” Mr. Henderson told us. I was beyond curious. For the past two months, we had been cracking our heads for this. Miss Fiona tossed a file on my table. “Girls, I will not repeat myself. Listen carefully. As you’re well informed, all four of you will be in this job but that doesn’t mean you will be together. Each of you has your own assignments. The core reason for this investigation is two girls went missing two months ago and we suspect some of the students at the college have something to do about it. To top that, there are rumours about underground illegal activities happening at the place recently. We don’t have any real evidence to take action and since it’s a learning environment, we are asked to investigate the matter in hand secretly. That means you will be in disguise while you collect the information.” She paused for half a second, giving us time to process the information.

“Questions?” She asked us. “So we are going there to find out what happened to the girls and catch the responsible students?” I asked her. “Negative.” She replied. “You’re only required to collect the information, the necessary details that would lead to the suspects and the possible criminal activities going on. As soon as you gotten your leads, we will take care the rest.” She stated. “From what I learnt, this investigating sort of job is only done by one or at most two agents. You don’t need all four of us.” Jane spoke up and Miss Fiona raised her eyebrow, I was not sure if she’s impressed or being sarcastic. “You’re right, one or two are enough for investigation purpose. But the agency itself wants to send out four agents, in your case four under qualified agents. As I told you, this mission can’t be done in quick paced manner. We need to gather clues and information that could bring us to more than one crime. And that should be done efficiently and unnoticed.” She explained to us. There were no any sarcastic remarks or scolding from her. She was acting all business and I felt like a very important person all of a sudden. Both of the head of the institute are here, discussing with us about a possible crime that will be our first mission. “Is there any suspects so far, any clues in regards to the person that could possibly be related to these criminal activities?” Anna asked her. “If you’re concern about who we will be dealing, I’m afraid we hadn’t got any clue. This issue had been brought to our attention one month ago. The illegal activities are done in a very confidential manner. It took some time for the enforcement to notice that. The possible student suspects are working under ground like a professional and that is why we need to take this seriously.” Mr. Henderson answered her. “You mentioned about roles and us being in disguise, will we be the college students?” Ivy questioned. Both of them answered our questions in details. Despite saying she would not repeat herself, Miss Fiona went on to explain the details one more time, making sure we got it right. The briefing went on for hours. We didn’t realize it’s almost five thirty now. My friends decided to go back to our dorm after the meeting ended.

I paid a visit at the washroom before heading to my combat class. It’s a must for me to check on my reflection, not wanting him to see me like on our first day. As expected he was in the room, reading a book. He looked up when he saw me approaching. “I’m sorry I couldn’t make it to the class because we had a briefing with Mr. Henderson and Miss Fiona.” I clarified to him. “I know. He informed me this morning.” He told him. “Oh.” I smiled sheepish at him. Maybe I should have followed my friends back to the room. “I thought you didn’t know.” I said, feeling stupid. The corner of his lips twitched, obviously finding this amusing. “Since there’s no class I should go.” I told him and took a few steps further but stopped to ask him a question. “What are you doing here?” He put his book on the table and gave me a questioning look. “I mean you knew there is no class today, so why are you here?” I rephrased my question. “Obviously, I’m reading a book.” He pointed at his thick book on the table. “You can read elsewhere like at the park, or cafeteria. You know outside.” I said matter of fact. I always wanted to bring this up. I don’t get the reason him staying away from people. I barely see him anywhere but this room. I’m more than curious. I’m a little concern about him. “What are trying to say, Naomi?” He asked me, his voice was light not tensed so I chose to continue talking to him instead of running before he starts throwing daggers with his eyes. “I heard a few things about you from my friends.” I started, avoiding his eyes. “They said you’re a very friendly and fun senior. Well used to be. Since you’re all friends anyway why not go out and talk to them like always.” I started to stammer. I didn’t expect to sound like I’m giving him advice. I wanted to sound casual. “It’s not like us, you know. Nobody cares to talk to us even if we want to except for some good people. I was just wondering and it’s kind of bothering me to see you here almost all the time.” I bit my lips as soon those words were out of my lips. Did I just say that? “Bothering you?” He asked me. I expected icy cold voice but strangely his voice were light and amused again. I took a few steps backwards, preparing myself for a quick exit if necessary. “No, it didn’t bother me. I was just curious. That’s all.” I made up excuses. “You sure heard a lot about me constantly.” He stated and I looked at him reluctantly. His eyes were on me, not glaring. “So how was the briefing? Excited for your first trip out?” He asked me. I was pretty sure my eyes went wide when he mention the mission. “You knew?” I asked him. “Yeah, Mr. Henderson informed us so that we could prepare you for the job.” He told me. “I thought it was a secret.” I muttered. “It is a secret. Only those involved would know.” He told. “Oh okay. I suppose I shouldn’t be discussing the details with you.” I wanted to ask him a few questions in regards to our job. There are so many questions in my head, almost similar like my first day here. “No, you shouldn’t.” He said. “It’s a very important ethic every agent should obey.” “Of course.” I nodded. “Do you think I’m ready for this work?” I asked him before I leave. “Honestly, no.” He answered without any hesitation. I looked away, feeling embarrassed to raise such a question. “But you will manage, I guess.” He continued. That was very unlike him. He always opined in a clear and sure manner. “There is a reason why the Agency willing to send six months old tyros to work out there. Though it could be dangerous and risky, from what I heard of the job nature, you sure will get through it. I have seen that in you.” He went on. My jaw almost dropped open in surprise. Did he just mention good things about me? “Thanks.” I said. I left right after that. I couldn’t suppress my smile all the way to my room. He can be nice. A little nice out of him is a big deal. I wasn’t sure if it’s his words made me happy or his mood. I remembered Anna saying how he affects my everyday emotion, maybe she’s right. I feel happy to see him relaxed and not cold. It is odd when I think about it but I forced myself to focus on the happy mood and not dwell into the dangerous area that would raise questions like what is wrong with me and why I am happy for him.

The rest of the week went well. Our classes in the morning were the same but after lunch classes changed course. We stayed indoor most of the time. Miss Raina was basically preparing us for our mission and the combat classes were focused on ways to avoid or run or escape or staying alive kind of stuff. Knowing our mission most probably would not cause any fight, Mr. Henry focusing more into other training. It was rather slow for me without the action but there is plus to it. We had more reason to communicate. He constantly lectures about every single moves and how I should execute it. I nodded most of the time without really hearing what he’s trying to say. The next week Monday was not entirely ordinary, well to be precise for me especially. I walked into the cafeteria with my friends, barely noticing my surroundings. We joined Stephanie, Ray and Ronald at our table. They didn’t even greet us, too fixated staring at something. I followed their gaze and dropped my pursed down. It was Hugh Henry, my combat master standing in the middle of the cafeteria socializing with a group of tyros. Some of them were staffs too. “Naomi, that’s your trainer right?” Jane nudged me. I nodded not looking away from him. “Oh, I never really got to see him clearly before. Yeah, he is young and cute. Now I understand why you have trouble in his class.” She said mockingly. “He seems very friendly too.” Ivy stated. “I know, it unbelievable.” I muttered, more to myself. He was talking, like normal people. “Wow, he can smile.” I said acidly. “You don’t like him happy?” Anna questioned me. “No, that’s not it.” I told her. I thought her question was ridiculous. I was stupefied to see him this way. I guess I always pictured him serious, stern and icy cold at times. I’m glad to see his other side, the one I heard about. I was just feeling a little annoyed that it was not me he’s being happy with. He sat on one of the table not too far away from mine. The table was half occupied by the staffs from administration and half year 4 tyros. I noticed Ray and Ronald throwing some glances at his way. “You guys not talking to him?” I asked him. I bet every Year 4 tyros had gone over and had a chit chat with him. “We sort of greeted him earlier. We are not that close actually.” Ray admitted. I kept on looking at him while having my breakfast, it’s looked surreal. The more I see him smile, a slow smile started to crawl on my lips, plastered there. I was feeling genuinely pleased to see him out here. I always thought his sister’s death and the way he kept on looking at his family picture, maybe because he lost his way. Thank god, I think he simply needed some time to recover. I got up to leave to my first class. I threw one last glance at him and at the exact second he looked up, at me. Our gaze locked and I momentarily froze. Normally, eyes locking situation would always end by looking away but mine was different, his gaze held mine pretty intensely. It’s a wonder nobody at his table noticed but mine did because I was not following them. Anna and Ivy called me. His eyes flickered at my friends as if noticing them for the first time then he looked away. I reluctantly turned to my friends and walked away. “Mr. Henry was staring at you.” Ivy stated. I didn’t say anything to her. There is one more troubling thing about him, his name. Mr. Henry is what I normally call him as my trainer but whenever there is a change in the air like just now, Mr. Henry didn’t sound right. Call me crazy but I preferred his first name Hugh, the one everyone else were calling him at the cafeteria. It’s like his name has two personalities. Mr. Henry, my kick ass trainer and Hugh the one I can goggle at without feeling odd.

What was that? Is what I wanted to ask my trainer as soon as I entered the class, but I didn’t. We started the class with the warm up, as always and then we resumed yesterdays’ practice. I am still lacking in escaping from his firm grip fast enough. The first time I heard about this practice, I almost mocked about how childish this sounds like but when I couldn’t escape his one hand grip on my shoulder in a minute time totally shut my mockery up. The more we trained especially him attacking me from the back causes me to get the eerie feeling of being back at the parking lot. At that time, I was pretty sure I was fine with the incident but to see it coming back to me once in awhile made me wonder if it was a trauma to me. My mind was no longer at the awful memory when I realized the closeness of my body with my trainer. He had just positioned himself in front of me, grabbing my shoulder hard but the pain shooting through his grip was not sharp enough compared to his piercing electric blue eyes that I’m staring into. I vaguely remembered that I should escape from his arms but I didn’t. I wanted to stay there. His gaze expression turned confused and he moved away. “Naomi, are you even here?” He asked in his strong voice. I blinked away for no apparent reason, trying to get a grip of me. “What?” I asked him and then I recalled his question. “Yeah, I’m here.” I told him. “Doesn’t look like that to me.” He pointed out. Was my expression that out of place? I guessed probably my face would have looked dreamy. Obviously I was staring at his face after all. “Sorry.” I apologized to him. “What is the matter? I need to know what is going on in your head. This can be serious if you zoned out like that again out there.” His tone was concern and serious. There is no way I would have any of the problem out there since you’re here, I wanted to say that loud but decided to keep that to myself when his look turned very concern. “I, uhm, was thinking about that incident when I almost got robbed.” I blurted out. “Tell me more.” He insisted. I gave him the brief version. I was thinking about it earlier so this would not count as lying. “You should snap out of it. That attack might have affected you more than you think it does. Naomi, I can’t do much to help you. You must learn to not be intimidated by that attack. But for now, we could practice more of it until you do well.” Our practice resumed to where we stopped. He went on commenting about my situation. I was not distracted by him after that. His words panicked me. I only told him about the parking lot attack to hide the fact that I was unfocused because of him and his unbelievably attractive eyes. I didn’t expect him to give a huge lecture about how serious my condition could be that now I am seriously having thought about how screwed up my mind could be for real.

“Is this what people call trauma?” I asked him in curiosity. “Will I recover from it?” An hour ago, I had no idea I will be having this traumatic thing going on in my head. “Of course, you will. It’s all matter of time and practice.” He assured me in his sure voice. I was not that certain, “Did you?” I asked him, genuinely wanting to know. He need no further explanation, he knew what I’m referring to. He hesitated for awhile before answering me, “As I told you earlier, it requires time and practice.” I nodded in understanding. On my way back, I realized that it is our first heart to heart conversation in a very random manner, quite an improvement in our relationship.

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