Shades

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Chapter 4: September 4th, 2000

Monday, 2:06 A.M.

Victoria and DJ were playing tag in their backyard, laughing happily as they always had when they played together. He ran from Victoria and then into the house, “You can’t run from me bro!” she laughed as she ran inside as well. Upon entering, she wasn’t met with her house, but instead a hospital room, DJ bandaged up and connected to a few pieces of medical equipment, a bleeding wound in his stomach, having oxygen pumped into his chest keeping him alive. She gasped and ran to him, “DJ!” she shouted, only for a voice different from her own to escape her lips. She held her throat in surprise and then spoke again, “Wh—Wait… This isn’t my voice… That’s…” She turned around and screamed in shock, seeing her mother’s bloody face, her eyes rolled back, blood leaking from her head, eyes and nose. She screamed in horror as did the reflection in the mirror she’d been looking into.

Just then, she shot awake screaming, alerting Aria who shot up awake and ran over to her, “Victoria, are you alright?!” she said in surprise before suddenly being hugged tight by the crying girl. She gasped and hugged her back, rocking her back and forth to try and calm her down.

“Vicky, Aria! Are you two ok--” Juliet called before seeing Aria holding and trying her best to comfort the sobbing girl in her arms. Juliet walked in with Elizabeth behind her, “Are you two okay?” she said worriedly, kneeling down to their level.

Aria nodded and stroked Victoria’s arm gently, “Yeah… I think Vicky had quite the nasty dream… She’s really shaken up…” She spoke in almost a whisper as she continued to rock Victoria back and forth in a soothing, fluent motion. She could just barely hear her saying ‘Mommy’, ‘DJ’ and ‘I’m sorry’ over and over again.

Juliet sighed and picked the two of them up, placing them both in bed as she gently shushed Victoria, who continued to keep herself clung to Aria, who sighed and kept her arms around the shuddering girl. Soon, Victoria calmed down to a soft sniffling and then finally she ceased her crying completely, tiring herself out as she lay there in Aria’s arms.

Later on, about five hours later, Vicky had awakened to see that she was now alone, looking around to make sure she was actually awake and not in another dream. She pinched her cheek and stretched it, “Ow, ow, ow, ow!” She groaned as she finally let go and rubbed her cheek, “Yep… I’m awake…” she said before deciding to lie back down and get a little extra sleep, ‘That dream though… It was… Awful…’ she thought with an irritated sigh, ‘Whatever… I’ll just try to get some extra winks…’

Walking into the room, Aria looked down at the sleeping girl she’d been comforting earlier that morning. She chuckled and reached out to nudge her, only to remember what she’d gone through not a few hours ago, the look on Victoria’s face as she screamed and cried, calling out for her mom and brother in an agonizing way and now seeing her how she was now. Peaceful, calm and undisturbed. The thought that sleep was now possibly the only escape she had from the problems in her life, and now that was being corrupted too. It was almost enough to make Aria start crying from the thought.

She looked down and slowly retracted her hand, kneeling down and hugging her tightly, “You’ll be okay Victoria… You’ll be okay…” She said softly, only gaining a groan from her. She smiled and rose to her feet, walking out the door once more, a pack slung over her shoulder. She proceeded to then softly close the door so that she wasn’t woken up, ‘She’ll be alright without me here… I mean, mom and Juliet will be here today, so they’ll be here to keep her from freaking out again, right?’ Aria reasoned with herself as she sighed and went down the steps to breakfast.

Walking to the table she saw Elizabeth taking a sip from a coffee cup, a plate of bacon and eggs with a cup of orange juice sitting off to the side of her, which Aria instinctively took her seat. She looked around and then to her mother, “Where’s Juliet?”

She sighed, “She said that there was an emergency with a patient and she was needed to help out. I think it may have been Victoria’s brother or someone else, I was only half awake when she said she had to go.” She said with a shrug as she kept drinking her coffee, a magazine in her opposite hand as she stayed leaned back in her seat.

This discovery greatly concerned Aria. She panicked internally for Aria’s well-being for a moment, but she then remembered that her mother would be staying home today, which brought her some form of ease as she began to eat, taking fork of the cheesy, golden eggs on her plate and lifting it to her lips before Elizabeth spoke once more, placing down her cup and sighed, “Alright, I guess I should get going soon. Eat up and I’ll take you to school.” She said with a sigh as she stood to her feet and walked away. Aria held the fork to her mouth, twitching slightly with her mouth agape.

She then dropped her fork and began coughing hard, forcing herself to do so until Elizabeth ran back into the dining room, “Hey, are you alright?” she said worriedly as she began softly patting her back.

“I-I’m not feeling too good… I think I’m going to be sick…” She gasped out painfully as she kept forcing out more coughs as she fell over a little and groaned in pain.

“Oh jeez… Go ahead back upstairs. You’re too sick to go to school today.” She sighed as she helped her up the stairs.

Just outside the door of hers and Victoria’s room, Aria coughed a little less and wheezed out, “Mom, d-don’t you have to get to work soon? I’ll be f-fine getting into the room…” She said softly as she hugged her and watched as Elizabeth walked down the stairs. She walked out to her Ford Focus and stepped into the driver’s side, a ringing sound coming from her jacket pocket, reaching in and pulling a black flip phone. She opened and answered it, “Hey Sweetie.”

“She bought it?” Juliet’s voice said from the other end of the line, almost as if she was slightly panicked.

Elizabeth chuckled and nodded, “Yep, hook line and sinker. Once again, you were correct. She’s staying home with Victoria.”

A happy and relaxed sigh came from the other side, “Thank goodness. See, I told you never to doubt me, and look who turned out to be right. Again.” Juliet said in a playfully snarky tone of voice.

Elizabeth laughed lightly, “Yeah I know, Don’t doubt the all-knowing Juliet. So what is you prize this time milady?” she said as she drove down the street and out of sight from the house.

Inside, Aria sat at her desk which was in-between hers and Victoria’s, who was still unconscious. Every now and then, Aria would look over to the side to check on her, making sure that she wasn’t having a sudden panic attack or start screaming again. But while she did, she seemed to be doing Algebra work, which would be complex for someone of her age and grade, but she seemed to be doing perfectly fine regardless of its difficulty. ‘So if I carry this number over…’ She sighed and leaned back, turning to Victoria.

‘I can’t concentrate… I’m right next to her, and yet I still feel worried for her… Why is that? I mean, she just came to stay with us a little less than a month ago… It’s not that I she doesn’t still make me worry, but…’ She groaned and looked to the ceiling, ‘Pitty? Maybe, but I doubt it… I know she’s had some really bad attacks but this time it was almost… Scary.’ She thought and kept working on the papers in front of her, ‘It doesn’t matter right now… I just need to keep an eye on her and later, if she’s awake, maybe I can ask her.’ She reasoned as she continued to solve the problems.

Her focus was soon torn away from the math work when Victoria’s groaning by her side. She swiftly turned her head to take a look at the sleeping girl to see that she had risen her hand up and began rubbing her eyes, ‘Oh, you’re awake…’ she thought to herself as she smiled at her, “Good morning Vicky.” She said with a soft, caring tone.

Victoria took her arm down from over her eyes, looking over to Aria, her eyes slightly red from her crying earlier and glazed over from just waking up again, “Oh… Hey Aria… She looked at the alarm clock on her desk and groaned at the time, “Crud… I woke up late.” She sighed but then looked to Aria with a look of confusion on her face, “Wait, what’re you doing here? Shouldn’t you be at school or whatever?”

Aria kept her smile upon her face, a tinge of an embarrassed blush on her face as she rubbed her arm, “Yeah, well… Mom and Elizabeth called me out today. I’m not feeling all that good and they said I should take it easy for the next few days, and they said the same of you. You’re not enrolled at the school yet, so you shouldn’t worry too much, alright?” Victoria groaned and rose up a little so she could sit up, leaned against the wall as she looked down at her sheets, as if investigating them thoroughly. This confused Aria greatly, so she decided to ask, “Um… Vicky, what’s wrong? Are your sheets dirty or—”

“Uh… I didn’t… Ya’ know…” She blushed and clung to the sheets. Aria looked more confused than before but had a sudden jolt of realization at what she was saying and blushed as well, covering her mouth and rose red cheeks, which made Victoria blush brighter, “Hey, I said I didn’t! The sheets are dry!” That was all that Aria needed to be pushed over the edge. She couldn’t hold it in any longer. She broke down laughing at Victoria’s embarrassment. After a few seconds of laughter from her new roommate, Vicky sputtered as well and began laughing with her, holding her stomach tight as the two continued their laughing fit.

When they calmed down, Aria walked to the door of their room and turned to her, “Are you hungry? Mom left something for you for when you woke up.”

Victoria sighed and smiled, “I’m starving.” She said as she rose up out of the in her white shorts and sky blue tank top with a white heart in the center, a sky blue bass clef in the center of that. They both headed downstairs while Aria went to the kitchen to go warm up what Elizabeth had made for her earlier before she left. Victoria however, at Aria’s orders, sat at the table to wait. She laid her head down on the table and sighed softly, still feeling tired even though she’d been sleeping for the last seven hours undisturbed. It was odd, but when she went to sleep the second time, she didn’t have a single nightmare or anything. As a matter of fact, she had good dreams, unknown to her why his was so.

Reappearing into the dining room was Aria with a similar plate like she had earlier, placing he seaming breakfast food down in front of Vicky, who smelled the food and nearly drooled at the smell. She quickly took the bacon into her hand and shoved it into her mouth, chewing happily, the crunch of the crispy slips of pork resonating from her mouth as she sighed happily, “This is so good!” she exclaimed eating greedily. She then went to pick up the eggs but was stopped when Aria grabbed her wrist. Victoria, confused by this action, turned to Aria to see her shuddering as if she was freezing. “Hey Ari, you okay?” she said with slight worry in her voice.

Aria trembled with an odd smile on her face, one of her eyes twitching as she looked at her. She stopped and released her hand, “Uh… “ Aria said in an unsure tone before smiling and nodding quickly as Aria gently released her hand and giggled, a small blush on her face. “Everything is perfectly fine Vicky, don’t worry about it.”

Victoria rose a brow and blinked, shrugging as she went back to eating, picking up her scrambled eggs and devouring them no different than she did with the bacon. Aria however kept her sweet smile upon her face, though her eye did continue to twitch as she watched. “Do you often eat like this?” she said curiously as she leaned over and looked at her, her head resting in the palms of her hands.

Vicky finished the eggs and rose a brow, “Uh… No, not usually. C’mon, I’ve been living here for almost a month and you’re questioning me about this now?” she said jokingly as she smiled at her, “I only eat like this when there’re no adults around. Or when my bro is…” She stopped and looked down slightly bothered by mentioning her brother, “When my bro’s watching me for the day…” She said as she sighed and stopped eating, pushing away the rest of her plate.

Aria gazed at her with a softer look in her eyes as she patted her shoulder, “Victoria…” Aria said gently as she kept her hand on her shoulder, “I know you’re still shaken by your brother, but mother has told me that he may be okay… Soon enough. He’ll possibly be, as she puts it, out of commission for a small while, but he will be alright.” Victoria looked at her and smiled, hugging Aria tightly, making her gasp in surprise as she hugged her back, “You can trust me Victoria… If you ever need to speak to anyone, I’m here…”

“… Thanks Ari…” She replied quietly as she kept her in a tight hug, as if refusing to let her go. Regardless of this action, Aria didn’t seem to mind whatsoever. She simply nodded and hugged her back, giving a soft sigh as she patted Victoria’s back.

A few hours later, Aria and Victoria sat on the couch watching a cartoon, Victoria laughing while Aria stared at it in confusion, “I don’t understand the humor in this show.”

“What? How don’t you get it?” Victoria said surprised.

“It’s just a hunter being outsmarted by a rabbit and being injured in multiple ways when it does so. I see no humor in the pain of others, cartoon or not.” Aria explained simply as she leaned back in the couch.

Victoria sighed and leaned back with her, her hands behind her head, “Well, since cartoons aren’t really your thing, than whattya you wanna do?” Aria thought on the question and smiled, grabbing her hand and pulling her away from the television, “H-Hey! C’mon Ari, it’s about to get to the good part!”

Aria dragged her up the stairs and onto a newly furnished balcony painted a fresh coat of snowy white in some places. On the balcony was a few flower pots, some other pots with fruits and veggies in them. Directly in front of them was two large lounge chairs, just barely enough for the two of them to sit in. Victoria looked confused by the setup and was then dragged to the chair, aria taking a seat and lying back in the bed-like cushion as she patted the spot right next to her. Victoria blinked and shrugged, leaping over the arm rest and sitting next to her, almost falling out of the seat when her right side began to dangle, quickly turning over and latching onto Aria who looked at her and smiled, blushing a little as she giggled, “Are you okay?”

Victoria’s face turned a bright red looking at Aria before quickly getting up, “Okay, too close. Way too close…” She said as she moved back a bit and sighed.

Aria blinked and chuckled, “You’re so easy to fluster. Just lay down, I really want you to enjoy something with me. It’s much more interesting than your cartoons.”

Victoria turned slightly and looked at her over her shoulder, “Really? More interesting than my cartoons?”

She nodded and held a hand out to her, “It’ll be fun, trust me.” She said with a kind, caring tone.

Victoria gave her an unsure look but nodded, walking over and lying back down next to her, “Okay, so what’d you—” she was cut short and gasped, looking up in the sky. It was a night sky full of beautiful stars and the moon in the center as if to say it was the star of the show, not its smaller followers. She stared in awe of the beautiful night sky, not a single light in the town ruining the sight.

She turned to Aria to say something but she saw that Aria was cuddled up to her, her amethyst eyes shut closed as she took soft, even breaths, a smile on her face as she slept. Victoria blushed and sighed as she hugged Aria close, slowly but surely falling asleep as well.

Later on, Elizabeth and Juliet walked into the house, Juliet softly rubbing her stomach with a satisfied sigh, “That was great! I’ve always loved seafood.” She said before kissing Elizabeth’s cheek, “Thanks for treating me darling.” She said with a bright smile.

Elizabeth chuckled and kissed her cheek back, “No problem. I’m glad we got some for the girls too.” She then looked around and saw that they were nowhere to be seen, “Speaking of… Where are they?”

Juliet shrugged, “Maybe they’re in bed already?” she guessed. Elizabeth put down the food and went upstairs with Juliet, walking up and looking in their rooms, only to see that it was empty, “… Um… I’ve been wrong before.”

Elizabeth ran downstairs to look for them elsewhere while Juliet looked around on the upper level. She soon walked past the balcony door and stopped, backing up and walking outside, seeing the two girls asleep in one another’s arms. She smiled and softly giggled, walking back inside and down the stairs to the living room where Elizabeth was still frantically searching for the girls. “Honey, I found them,” Juliet said with a smile.

When she heard this, the panicked woman ran to her wife and held her arms, “Where? Where are they?” she said in an equally frantic tone of voice, only making Juliet giggle more as she grabbed her hand and lead her up the stairs, walking to the balcony and showing her the two sleeping girls. She stared and smiled, sighing softly as she looked to Juliet, “Come on, let’s get them to bed.” At this, Juliet nodded in agreement as she picked up Victoria and Elizabeth grabbed Aria, walking them back to bed, placing them back into their beds. When they began to make their way out, they heard a grumbling from Victoria, patting around for Aria.

The two women looked at each other and gave a light giggle as Elizabeth picked Aria back up, walking over and placing her back next to Victoria, who instantly clung onto her. They smiled at the heartwarming sight and kissed the two girl’s foreheads, heading out of the room and to their own for the night.


The next morning, Aria awoke and saw a pair of arms around her stomach, turning over to see Aria’s peaceful sleeping face, a bright blush appearing on her face as she smiled and softly pinched her nose, waiting for her to wake up. Which she did so, frantically and gasping awake as she looked at the black haired girl lying by her side whom giggled and poked her nose, “Morning Vicky.”

Victoria turned and glared at her black-haired roommate, “Did you have to do that? I thought I was gonna defecate.” She said as she forced herself out of the bed. Aria blinked and broke out into a little laughing fit, holding her stomach and a hand over her mouth. This made Victoria even more annoyed when she turned around to speak, “What? What’s so funny?”

“V-Victoria… I think you meant ‘Suffocate’ not ‘defecate’.” She said uncontrollably laughing at her slip.

“Uh… Okay, what’s the difference?”

“To suffocate means have or cause to have difficulty in breathing. To defecate means…” She giggled and smiled, “It means to poo yourself.” She said as she broke out into laughter.

Aria blinked and blushed a dark red, “… Oh… W-Well, you know what I meant!” she said before stomping out of the room embarrassed and through the door to the bathroom, the sound of the door slamming shut, the sound of a lock clicking following afterwards.

Aria sighed and chuckled, “She’s funny.” She said as she walked to her desk and began collecting pencils, papers and other school-related supplies, putting them away in a purple backpack, a musical note hanging from one of the zippers on the bag itself.

After finishing up the stuffing of materials into her bag, she heard the bathroom door open back up, Vicky walking back into the room in a blue and white towel wrapped around her as she searched around in her drawers that they’d been spending most of the first days after she moved in unpacking and then filling with her clothes.

She grabbed a select outfit and walked into the bathroom once again. Aria blinked and tilted her head, “Why didn’t she just do that to start with… Odd.” She said with a shrug as she stood and walked downstairs, walking to the table and sitting down as her father walked in with plates of pancakes, blueberries sitting atop the fluffy stacks of grain and sugar with a cup of juice and a small cup with a clear, brown liquid within sat next to the plate.

Aria smiled and sat at the table, fixing her skirt so it wouldn’t ride up as she picked up her fork and knife cutting into the discs of sweetness, some of the tiny blue orbs slipping off to the sides as she picked a piece off and was about to take a bite before the sounds of heavy footsteps and a tired yawn came from the stairs, Victoria standing at the bottom, now clothed.

She walked down wearing a cyan blue tank top with a record on the chest, white khakis and a pair of blue and white flat-tops, her shades sitting atop her head. With an exhausted march, she made it to the table and sat down, rubbing her eyes as she groaned, “Why can’t school be cancelled… Like, with snow or something?” she complained as she looked down at the pancakes in front of her.

“Well, it’s probably because it’s October… And it rarely snows around here.” She said plainly as she took a bite, closing her eyes as she continued to cut small pieces off to take dainty, precise bites.

“Oh yeah…” Victoria said before giving a curt shrug, proceeding to pick up the whole top pancake, the blueberries falling off and onto the plate, some onto the floor as she started eating her breakfast ravenously, as if she hadn’t eaten in days. Aria sighed and shook her head and sighed, continuing to eat as her mother, Elizabeth, walked out with a cup of coffee, sitting down and taking a sip at the end of the table, giving a soft sigh as she leaned back in her seat and gave a sigh of relaxation.

“Mom, did Juliet already leave for work? Again?” Aria asked in a somewhat expectant tone of voice, as if she’d already known the answer far before she was given one.

Elizabeth nodded and sighed, “Yes, sadly. Apparently she had an emergency patient arrive a little while after you two got back to sleep. Again.” She said as she took a sip of her coffee.

“Of course…” Aria said in a depressed tone, her gaze centered on the food as she played with a blueberry sadly. Her eyes that held a small joy not moments ago now held disappointed, upset dullness. Victoria noticed this and seemed surprised by it. In the month that she had been staying with them she hadn’t seen her look so upset over anything. She looked at her worriedly but decided to ask her about it sometime later.

“Anyway,” She said, turning to Victoria, “Victoria, Did you two sleep well? You seemed rather comfortable.” She said placing the mug down and clasped her hands together, placing her head upon them, a knowing grin on her face. “But if you don’t want to talk about it, I completely understand.” She said in a playfully sweet tone of voice.

Victoria blushed and shook her head, “I-I’d rather not talk about.” She said with a dark blush as she continued to eat her breakfast. After finishing, she and Aria got into her mother’s car, a VW Paethon, and were then driven to school.

As they went past the school Victoria would’ve been going to, she half-heartedly gazed out the window at all the people she used to see in class at her elementary school, memories of her friends she would hang out with after school, her teachers that she’d gotten to know so well. She forced herself to look away and sighed lightly, catching Elizabeth and Aria’s attention. Aria looked at her sad expression and reached over to grasp and gently squeeze her hand to make her feel better. Victoria looked up and over at Aria as she flashed a small smile at her, making her smile a little back.

They slowed to a stop sooner than they’d thought as Aria opened the door, “We’re here.” She said climbing out of the car, Victoria looking out the door and sighing in uncertainty if she wanted to get out of the car.

“Do you want to try next week?” Elizabeth said worriedly to Victoria who looked down, weighing her options. Her thoughts were interrupted when Elizabeth spoke once again, “There’s no pressure on you to go now, I know it may be difficult to switch schools and all so suddenly.”

Victoria had a lump of fear in her throat and swallowed it as she answered, “Nah, I can go today. Don’t worry about it.” She said with a sudden smile on her face as she leapt out of the car and closed it behind her, strapping her backpack onto her back.

Elizabeth looked at her with minor surprise and smiled, “Alright then, have a good day you two! I’ll be back to pick you up this afternoon!” She called out before she drove away down the road further into the city.

Victoria ran to catch up with Aria and walked next to her, sticking close to her as they made it to the door of the extravagantly made structure before them. It was a large, brick building with columns across the front, stain glass windows, automatic doors that swiftly opened when they came close. Upon walking through the door, the sound of students talking with one another, their steady footsteps upon the marble floors, the echoing of announcements in the halls. All these sounds blended together, showing that regardless of the school looked like on the outside, it was still a school on the inside. She smiled a little but soon was taken by the hand by Aria who spoke, “Come on, we need to get you to the main office.” She said as she lead her through the multitudes of students, some taking notice of the two and could then be heard talking after they passed by.

Arriving at the Main office, the two of them walked down a hallway and up to a door with the words ‘Principal Carson’ etched into a small sign next to it. Aria opened the door and walked in, “Excuse me ma’am.” She said as she and Victoria made it through the door.

At the desk was an elderly looking woman, her hair a greyish red, her skin a pale tan, wrinkled and old. She had a pair of studded earrings as well as a silver necklace with a gem in the center. Her outfit consisted of, what Victoria could see, a grey suit jacket with a white blouse underneath, a black tie over top of that. Principal Carson was currently typing away at her computer before being alerted by Aria’s calling of her name. She looked up and smiled, “Aria, good morning.” She said as she stood and walked around the desk, being a little shorter than Elizabeth. Upon walking to the front of her desk, the rest of her outfit came into view as a pair of black stilettos and grey slacks could be seen covering her bottom half. She then directed her gaze onto Victoria, “We missed you yesterday.”

“I’m sorry Principal Carson, I—“

“No need to explain Aria, your mother called and explained the situation yesterday when she called you out of school. I do hope that you’re feeling better than you were yesterday,” she turned her attention to Victoria, “And you must be Victoria.” She said holding a hand out for Victoria to shake. Glancing down to her nails, they weren’t like the long, fake nails that Victoria had seen before on women Principal Carson’s age, which she was very glad to see. Even so, she hesitantly grasped her hand and shook it, feeling the veins within her hand.

She smiled down at Victoria and released her hand, crossing them behind her back as she walked back behind her desk and sat back down in her chair, placing her arched elbows onto her desk, gesturing for the two of them to sit down. Aria looked to Victoria and nodded, leading her over to sit down in one of the comfy seats in front of the desk with her. “Aria’s mother has told me much about you from the short time you have been staying with them. I am very sorry for what happened to your brother. No one should have to go through such a terrible ordeal…” She said with a sympathetic tone, looking, or trying to look, the girl in her eyes.

Victoria looked down at the ground to avoid eye contact, sighing sadly at the thought of her brother. Aria placed a hand upon and patted her shoulder to comfort her. At this action, Victoria’s head once again rose up to look at her. Aria then turned her gaze to Ms. Carson, “Ma’am, I believe that may still be a bit of a sore subject right now…” she said solemnly.

“Ah, I see… Please do forgive me for my rudeness Victoria.” She said with an embarrassed and ashamed tone to her voice. She then cleared her throat and a smile once again plastered itself to her face, “Now then, to get you registered and such.” She said as she pulled a paper from her desk, pushing it over to the two of them, “If you wouldn’t mind Victoria, would you please fill out this form? It’s nothing too bad. It’s just a few rules and regulations, information about you and whatnot. There are a few spots that Miss Orson came in and filled out for you.

Victoria nodded, looking down upon the paper and the principal wasn’t lying, it was mostly just asking about her name, birthday and other things like that. A few more personal inquiries laid upon the paper before her: Weight, height, personal strengths, weaknesses, and etcetera.

“Aria, if you want you may head to class. It’s almost time for the bell to ring.” She said noticing the time looking at her desktop.

Aria looked at the watch she had upon her wrist and then at Victoria who was currently having difficulty filling in the form, a sad, confused look on her face. She then turned to the principal and shook her head, “That’s quite alright ma’am… I would like to stay and help Victoria with this form, if that’s alright with you.” Principal Carson smiled, not at all surprised by her choice as she nodded in agreement.

Victoria was a bit hesitant to fill in some of them, mainly because she’d never kept tabs on such things. At this, Aria giggled and took her hand and within the boxes for weight and height, she wrote ‘Similar to Aria’. As the two continued her sheet, she felt more and more like her normal self, before all the things that had happened earlier, before the nightmare. Before seeing her brother. That is, until one inquiry caught her eye which was already filled out.

She stopped writing suddenly, confusing Aria as she looked down at it, “What’s wrong Vicky? Are you stuck?” she said turning to her. Victoria stared at the paper, her eyes wide as dinner plates, her pupils pin pricks. She hesitantly pointed at the question, allowing Aria to read it.

The question read ‘Parent/Guardian?’ and below it was written, ‘Elizabeth and Juliet Orson’ in the family the same names were written as well as ‘Aria Orson’. That final name confused her greatly. Aria sighed and smiled, “That’s the last one. Let’s go ahead in.” Aria went into the room and handed the sheet to Principal Carson with a smile, “Ms. Carson, she’s finished.”

This quickly stole her attention away from her typing and smiled, taking the paper and handing her another, “Wonderful. Here’s Victori--”

“Vicky, if you would please Ma’am.” Aria interjected.

“Oh, very well Aria. Here’s Vicky’s schedule. I do hope you approve.” She said before having the paper taken from her hand. Aria smiled and read over the schedule, a surprised look appearing on her face as she looked at her to speak, only to be met by the elder woman’s smile as she made a gesture for her to go. Aria smiled and handed the paper to Victoria, both of them leaving the room.

Victoria stared down at the paper and read through it: Chrous, Guitar, Art, Study Hall, Pre-algebra, Biology, World History, Music Appreciation. Victoria smiled at the musical artistic classes and turned to Aria to see a large smile on her face. “What’s up Aria? Why the big smile?” She asked in confusion. Aria chuckled gleefully and pulled a piece of paper from her backpack, showing her that it was the exact same schedule as her. Victoria’s eyes widened once again but this time, it was joined with a bright smile as she hugged Aria, the both of them laughing excitedly.

Inside the office the two had just left, Ms. Carson was reading through the paper Victoria and Aria had filled out, typing the information into the school ID she was making for the new student, laughing lightly at the answer for weight and height. Before long, she got to the parent/guardian question and she blinked confusedly for a second, but soon, a warm smile graced her lips. Victoria had added a category of her own ‘Best Friend: Aria Orson’.

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