I watched the small town I become fond of for the last few months. I had almost visited each of the restaurants and cafes each weekend. The views of the town houses were gone in minutes and replaced by the huge compound of the institute. I admired the majestic building we are heading to, the Angels. It does have the resemblances of church a little bit here and there so yeah it kind of the place for angels but of course the interior would totally confuse the angels itself unless they are trained as the tyros. It’s only been three days since we left our institute so I’m not getting any home coming feelings. Well, I would be lying if I say I don’t miss anything, I do miss something I mean someone that I didn’t see or talk for these three days and it felt kind of off to me. We were unbelievably quiet in this trip back to school. We all received the message from the headquarters, so without a question we left the college. We have no idea what is going on. We are not familiar with the mission system so we are clueless to what to do now.
“Welcome back, tyros.” Miss Gabriella received us at the compound. She smiled brightly at us as though we are coming back after achieving a great victory. She was beautiful as ever. Her hair was left lose and it played with the wind playfully. I watched her enviously. “Hey Natasha, I missed you.” Ivy is the only one greeted her while the rest of us gave her half smile. “Can we meet Mr. Henderson now?” Anna asked her. “Not now. He is busy. He will see you tomorrow.” She informed us. She’s here to pass us the message, of course someone as important as her would not simply wait here for us. We didn’t talk much and she was naturally not someone that is chatty so we walked back to our dorm in minutes. We were required to hand in the gadgets tomorrow. The Angels was quiet. I barely saw any tyros around. It’s a semester break so probably all the tyros went home. We crashed in our dorm for the rest of the evening. As always my friends decided to stay in and skip meals. I wasn’t feeling tired or sleepy so I decided to take a walk.
I wrecked my head as I stroll along the corridors. I am as curious as my friends about our mission that had been canceled. We were doing fine, actually my friends was. To be honest, I felt guilty when I saw the message. I knew I hadn’t contributed much as to investigating the disappearance of the two college students. I managed to be friends with the missing girls group but I couldn’t dig for more information without raising suspicions. Maybe the Agency realized we are not good enough so they extract us out and might have replaced us with better tyros. That is possible. I didn’t give much thought to where I’m heading to until I stopped in front of Bloc E. I looked up at the top floor where my combat class located. It’s twilight. I know I had no business up there at this hour plus my class with Hugh Henry had ended last week. I don’t think, he will ever teach me again. I was a real nuisance to him and I know that. A small smile form on my lip as I thought about my combat master.
I went to the cafeteria that is next to Bloc E. I didn’t want to eat anything but my stomach is not in agreement with me. Only one counter was opened and my jaw would have hit the floor if that’s possible because as everybody know the Angels only sell good and balanced meal. Never once they sold junk food or my kind of food. To see a few cupcakes lining up on the food counter, I smiled happily. I grabbed a few of them before leaving the empty cafeteria. I’m sure my friends would love to have these after a gloomy day. I walked back to my building. As I past the mini garden in between the buildings, my eyes felt on the stunning white statue. I almost looked away but I saw someone sitting on the bench beside the statue. I walked over and found a dark blonde guy reading a book, oblivious to his surroundings. I took a few steps closer to gain his attention. He closed the book and looked up. I opened my mouth to greet him but stop midway when he smiled at me warmly. Despite his handsome face, his smile was stunning and new. He never smiled that way before, well at me.
“Hi.” I said to him. As usual his young feature and now the heart swelling smile made it hard for me to address him formally. In the combat class I used to call him Mr. Henry and now since I’m no longer his student, I don’t have to treat him that formal, I guess. “You know, it’s getting dark. I don’t think this is the best place to read.” I told him the first that came to my mind. “Naomi, aren’t you supposed to be somewhere else?” He asked me but I’m pretty sure he knows the reason I’m here. “Oh come on, I know you know.” I simply stated. “What are you reading? Something classic?” I sat on the closest bench to him. “Do I look like someone that likes to read classic?” He asked me in amusement. “Sort of.” I said to him. “You didn’t go home?” I watched him as I talked to him. It’s been a while since I seen him so I drank in his features. His clear water blue eyes were intensifying as ever. “No.” He answered curtly and for a moment his gaze lingered on me. All of a sudden, the whole garden lit up literally. I lifted my eyes from his gaze and looked around. Each corner of the garden had lamps which I failed to notice before. It gave out bright light throughout the garden. “Are you sure it’s a bad place to read?” He questioned me. “I had no idea.” I admitted and admired the night view of the area. Tyros are generally not allowed to walk around at night and I don’t think they lit up the place during school sessions.
“You’re strangely quiet. Something troubling you?” He asked me after a moment of silence. “Yeah, a lot of things actually and all of them related to my mission that had been…” “Naomi.” He interrupted me with a stern look on his face. “Don’t you remember the basics? No matter what or who you’re talking to, you should not talk about your mission ever unless it’s your higher authority who have the right to know.” His voice was back to Mr. Henry that I knew well.
“Sorry.” I apologized quickly not wanting to ruin our evening talk. He stared at me for awhile. “You’re not arguing. This is new. I’m guessing the field work caused some doubts in you, am I right?” His voice was gentler. I nodded.
“It’s normal. This happens to everyone so don’t beat up yourself. You will get better as time goes on.” He advised me.
I told him and smiled my winning smile at him. I felt better to hear that from him and I had some other thoughts forming in my head right now. “Since I’m not allowed to talk about missions, is it okay if I ask about something else?” I asked him in careful tone. I expected him to walk away or go back to reading the book beside him but instead he waited.
“Okay.” I started, feeling nervous as usual whenever I know I’m about to ask him something personal.
“I can’t believe it’s only been three days. Some things changed.” I told him. He regarded me curiously.
“Really?” He had no idea.
“You changed. What happened?” Just like that the question flew out of my mouth naturally. And again he surprised me by simply giving me a small smile, not glaring. He got up and started to walk around the garden. “You are more than aware about me and my history. You always know ever since you came here. Why?” He stopped three feet away from me. I have no answer for him. I don’t know what to say but at the same time I don’t want him to think of me as a stalker.
“Why the concern?” He stressed on.
His expression was genuinely curious so I tried to be honest even though I still don’t get it myself. “Well, maybe I care about whomever that is around me. I’m not sure. Actually, at first I kind of disliked you because you always criticize me but you made me wonder a lot. You were too quiet and alone. After I heard about your story, I felt guilty even if I didn’t do anything wrong so I can’t keep my mouth shut. I can’t stop myself from saying what’s in my mind.” I stopped and looked at him. He is now sitting on the bench, listening to me.
“And now to see you warm and nice, it’s a good change and I was curious again. Sorry for getting curious about you.” I scoffed a laugh at that to hide awkwardness. I wanted to go on and say I don’t know why I’ curious about you maybe there is something in you that is attracting me to you, but I didn’t.
He didn’t reply anything. I was scared that I might have said too much.
“You don’t have to worry anymore. I won’t torture you with my questions and thoughts after this since we will not be seeing each other much anyway.” I added on. I found myself praying and hoping he would not think me as a nuisance. I realized I cared how he sees and think about me. I’m so doomed.
His carefree smile was still there, “I don’t mind actually.” He said. I stared at him in confusion. What he mean by that? “Where are your friends? I barely see you all by yourself.” He asked me casually. I was still recovering from the shock of seeing him being way too good. It’s like I’m dreaming.
“Back in the room. Oh right.” I looked at the cupcakes in my hand. I wanted to give it to them. “I should go.” I got up and left him at the garden.
I know I could have stayed there and continue talking to him but few revelations is enough for the day. I did not only share my thoughts to him but I also learnt something about myself. I like him and I want him to like me too. Today, the way he regarded me only gave me hope that this thing might actually work. All this while, I cared and worried about him. But now I’m hoping for more and that’s why I had to leave.
I’m usually used to the hectic routine everyday ever since I joined the Angels so when I got up the next day, I stayed on my bed for awhile wondering what to do today. My friends were the same. We can’t stay in here forever so we decided to have a breakfast. There were a few groups of tyros at the cafeteria. Apparently some of them stayed behind at the Angels and one of them is Ray. He waved at us when he spotted us. And just like always we had our breakfast at our table, only two were missing, Steph and Ronald.
It was obvious Ray was curious about mission and the reason we are back early but he didn’t badger us with his questions. But we couldn’t do the same, “So what happened to Tyra and her friends? Tell us everything.” Anna demanded. Ray shrugged, “I’m not sure what happened to them.” He continued eating his second waffle.
“But you were the one who brought them to the Agency.” Ivy stated.
“Yes, I did but that’s the only thing I was asked to do. After I hand them to the Agency, they dismissed us.” He told us.
“What will they do to them? Torture for information? Is it possible they already have whatever information that could be related to us?” Jane wondered out loud.
“That’s possible. The Agency can be very persuasive if they want to.”
I slumped on my chair in frustration, “This is not helping us.” I claimed.
“What do you mean? About the reason you’re back even before the mission completed?” Ray asked us and we stared at him.
“You knew? How come? Shouldn’t this stuff supposed to be confidential?” Anna asked him. “Yeah, it is confidential but there this rumors going around since you came back. Someone might have leaked it out but don’t worry it’s only that that we heard.” He assured us. “The thing is even we don’t know any further.” I told him. “Rumors again and again. Don’t they get tired of it?” Ivy grumbled.
“Nope, you’re sensational.” Ray mocked.
“I don’t know how more sensational we will be when we get the answer.” Jane muttered. As per Miss Gabriella, Mr. Henderson would see us today so we will get the reason.
My afternoon was slow and lazy so I decided to visit the gym in the evening. I miss working out, been days since I’m out. The gym was not entirely empty. Most of the tyros that stayed are here as per their routine. Nobody I know is here and glances and whispering started as soon as I stepped in. I pretended the room is empty and went to the last thread mill and started to jog. Though I’m not facing any of them, I could feel their burning gaze at the back of my head, reminding me of our first few days here. After a good hour of work out I decided to practice my combat skill, only that I can’t do it here so I went to bloc E. As I expected, the room was empty and unused but not locked. I went in and saw the equipment I used before are still there. I stared at the dagger, long sword, skipping ropes, kick bag and others at the back of the room, wondering which one to start with. I took the dagger and started to swing it around as though I’m attacking someone. I watched my reflection at the mirror as I moved. I looked short and funny, not threatening at all. I thought about the fight at the auditorium, I knew I was lacking because I struggled to fight those two.
I used to learn each movement by watching Hugh so I tried to recall some of the steps he taught. I closed my eyes and pictured him showing it to me. It was easy to picture him since I had almost every day practiced with him. I imagined he was standing at the back, leaning against the wall as always and watching me. I mimicked his movement. I never thought I would enjoy practice my combat moves. I almost smile as I throw each punches and kicks. Almost half an hour later, my eyes darted to the mirror and saw Hugh leaning against the wall and watching me. I turned around and found him there for real. “Hi, what are you doing here?” I asked him. “I saw the lights were on so wanted to see what’s going on. Miss training?” He questioned me. He was still the new Hugh I met last night. “Never thought I would say this, but yes I do.” I told him. “Don’t worry when your class resume your trainings will start too.” He told me. I nodded as though that’s new information. “Will you be teaching next semester?” I asked him. “No.” He answered.
“Oh. You will be out there?”
“Most probably. Still curious?” He gave me a small smile. I smiled back and for the first time ever, the room was warm and tension free.
“You should know, I almost got beat up out there. I’m still not good.” I told him.
“Of course, you’re still in practice and you only been learning for half a year now. You need more time and patience, especially. You could do a lot better.” He told me as my trainer. I stared at him. I’m going to miss him so much.
“Will I ever be as good as you?” I have heard about his reputation and the fact that he’s one of the best in the field. It’s one of the reasons I found him amazing and though I’m here temporary I want to be as good as him or at least close to it.
“That I couldn’t be sure.” He said to me casually. I narrowed my eyes at him. Why he have to be too straight forward? I really want to beat him in his own moves one day.
“Hey, could you help me practice since you’re here?” I asked him, wanting to practice with him one last time and also to try my luck. His lip twitched at the corner as though he knew what I was thinking. We danced around each other with the dagger in my hand. I swung a few times and missed. Of course, it’s not easy to beat him. Unlike our usual practice, this time it is fun and I can see him smiling every time I miss and sigh. He was way too relaxed while I tried to get him. I dropped the dagger and started to fight him with my bare hands. He didn’t expect that but of course he was prepared. I advanced forward with my punches. He evaded me effortlessly as always. I grew frustrated as I attacked him. He did block and shove me away but never directly hurt me. I grabbed his arm from the back and twist it to the back but he simply pulled me to the front with his strength. I tried to get away from his hold but couldn’t. I struggled and ended up kicking his leg hard causing him to stumble forward. I went down first and he fell on top of me. I yelped in pain when his weight crushed me. He quickly recovered and shifted to his side. His eyes were concern. “Are you alright?” he asked me, his eyes searching for any sign of pain. I could feel the throbbing pain at the back of my head. I landed on my head. “I’m fine.” I told him. I don’t want to be the weakling. The pain was not that bad anyway but nevertheless my hand involuntarily touched my forehead. His body relaxed at my side. Normally whenever we happened to fall or get injured we would quickly get over it and continue practice but today he stayed down. Both of us still on the floor close to each other. I could feel the warmth of his body as he was still pressed on the left side of my body. He reached for my forehead, the spot my fingers were on seconds ago. His fingers touched my forehead and my skin tingled. “What were you trying to do just now? Kick the air like a stubborn kid.” He laughed at me. “I’m not sure actually.” I laughed with him. His eyes were warm and electrifying as ever. He stared at me and I couldn’t look away. His gaze could say a million words. Could the blue in his eyes get anymore clearer? The look his giving me right now, I have seen it before. Today he didn’t look away. There is a difference in the way he looks at me now. I knew I missed him these couple of days and now I know he missed me too. Something changed in the days we have been apart, did he realized that he liked me? Did he miss the fight we had? Or to be precise did he miss the physical contact we had each time we practice? I could feel a sudden heat spread through my body, to every limb of mine. My breathing grew heavy and it has nothing to do with the fighting I did just now. His scent was overpowering and I could feel him watching my every slight movement. His jaw was set hard and his eyes were tight. There is hesitation in him but that didn’t stop him from bending down, to me. I knew exactly where this is going. Every part of me was screaming. This is trouble. I welcomed the trouble. I met him halfway, tilting my head and my lips met his.
My first kiss with Hugh Henry, my trainer, god am I on fire?
His lips were rough and smooth at the same time. I melted every time his lips parted and met mine forcefully. I could feel his longing in his every touch as his fingers trailed my neck to my shoulder blade before slipping between my hair, freeing them from the bun I made. We were gone to our own private world. We were savoring each other in another world of us until I heard a creak at the door. Unwillingly, both of us stop and looked at the door. The sight of Ivy staring at us in shock was more than enough for us to spring apart from each other. She cleared her throat and said, “Mr. Henderson wants to see us uhm you. I mean the four of us now.” She stammered as she looked away from us. She stood there for another few seconds, not sure what to do. Then without sparing me a glance she went away.
Now the moment of the truth, I shifted my gaze from the entrance to Hugh, who is now awkwardly standing at the other end of the classroom. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have…” He struggled to explain. His expression was not what I expected, as though the sight of Ivy made him realize what he did was wrong. “I’m not sorry.” I told him. He stared at me, first in confusion and then slowly he realized. I didn’t wait for his response, “I like you. I really do and not just as my trainer, more than that.” I got up and started to the door. “We should do that more often.” I told him before walking out of the room. He stared at me in surprise. I just stunned Hugh with my boldness. I grinned and I could feel my cheeks were red as an apple.
I walked into Mr. Henderson’s room and it was crowded. Miss Fiona and my friends were there. “Where were you?” Anna asked me when she saw me walking in. “Having intense make out session.” Ivy mumbled. I momentarily panicked, thinking everyone heard her but no. Both our superior are in serious mood and my friends in confusion. Mr. Henderson got up from his seat. “Before I start explaining, we have guests to meet.” He informed us before walking out of the room. I looked at my friends for explanation but they were clueless as well, “We are about to find out the reason.” Jane whispered to us. We followed Mr. Henderson along the corridor and to the other of the office, a meeting room. We entered the huge room. A long table in the middle, the door was not glassed. It is fully covered, unlike the other rooms. There were two people waiting for us. The older one stood up and greeted Mr. Henderson and Miss Fiona. He was wearing a suit but his beard and the pale blue scarf around his neck differentiated him with the usual agents we met before. The other guy was much younger, probably our age. He stood up in sign of respect. He looked behind and saw us. He was in a black shirt and white slacks. His eyes fell on us. His gaze was sharp on Jane. I heard Jane cursed under her breath and as though he heard her, he smiled at her mischievously.