Faye yelped at the loud noise, sitting up in bed hurriedly and hitting her head off the ceiling with a 'thump'. Clutching her sore head, she fell back onto the pillow cursing fluently. Her eyelids drifted open and, almost immediately, she scrunched up her face in surprise. A curvy Indian girl with a pouty mouth and raised eyebrows was watching her with mild interest. Her hair fell neatly to her hips, while her dark eyes watched in amusement. She wore yoga pants and a stretched camouflage tank top.
"Good," she said in a cheerful voice. "You're awake."
"Who are you?" Faye asked, annoyed. The other girl mimed heartbreak.
"That hurts," she said tragically. "No, really. How cold can you be, babe?"
"It's early, I've only just woken up, and I'm seriously confused; be thankful I haven't thrown something pointy at you," Faye growled.
"Ooh, I see. Not a morning person. I'm Kalinda Verma. We met yesterday."
Faye sat up in bed (carefully this time) and looked around. The room was a little cramped, but it was nice, with light-coloured hardwood doors; two small desks; and built-in bookshelves that doubled as a ladder to what she now realized was the top bunk. She could see a bathroom through a sliding door. And an ocean view out the window. Not bad for a girl who had spent the past month gazing out at shitting cows. She took a glance at the décor instead. She'd never really decorated herself, maybe stuck up an odd poster, but that was it. Her room at St. Angela's had been pecan-panelled and bare. Sterile sophistication, Rowan remarked once.
This room, on the other hand...there was something about it that was...soothing. Varieties of potted plants she'd never seen before sat by the window; prayer tags in several different languages were strung across the ceiling in multicoloured thread. A patchwork quilt in vibrant colours was sliding of the top bunk across the room, half obstructing Faye's view of an astrology calendar taped over the mirror.
"Earth to newbie!" Kalinda called, laughing at Faye's disgusted face. "Come on, we need to eat breakfast and head to school. Can't be late on your first day."
"But it's five thirty in the morning!"
"You need time to eat breakfast too, newbie."
Faye nodded and slithered out of her bunk, landed on her bum on the cream carpet. She huffed, sat up and ran a hand through her hair as Kalinda popped off her own bed and went into the bathroom to brush her teeth. Faye had a sudden flashback to St. Angela's, where Rowan had taken her under her wing when they'd first met. Her new room mate's exterior was a lot like Rowan's, and she remembered a similar how-will-I-ever-make-friends feeling her first day at St. Angela's. But though Rowan had seemed quirky and even a little loud, she'd been shy and studious from the start. Her new room mate, on the other hand, seemed like she was in the mad-house with her. After digging through her toiletries bag to find her toothbrush, Faye followed her in and gestured sheepishly at the toothpaste.
"I forgot to pack mine."
"No problem," Kalinda replied easily, picking up the tube and handed it to her. They brushed in silence for about ten seconds until she couldn't control her curiosity any longer. She spat out a mouthful of froth.
With her head in the middle of the porcelain sink, Kalinda spat and said, "Just Kali. Or Linda if I don't pay attention. What's the problem?"
Instead of asking one of the questions that had been running through her head a minute before, she asked, "How long have you been here?"
She stared at Kali's calm face in the mirror, as she stuck some large golden hoops into her earlobes.
"Intrusive," Kali replied cheerfully. "But since you ask, about five years or so." She left the bathroom and slipped on a pair of orange flip-flops. "It's breakfast time. You coming?"
Faye scurried into the bedroom. "What do I wear? Is there a uniform for the school?" She was still in her pjs, for crying out loud. Kali shrugged.
"Nah, they got rid of it a couple of years ago - it looked friggin' retarded. Just pick anything."
Faye jumped into a pair of black cargo pants and a black wraparound sweater. She would have liked to spend a few more minutes getting ready, but she just grabbed her backpack and followed Kali out the door.
The hallway was different in the daylight. Everywhere she looked were bright, oversized windows with ocean views, or built-in bookshelves crammed full of thick, colourful hard-cover books. The doors, the walls, the ceilings and steep, pencil-straight staircases were all made from the same maple wood used to build the furniture inside their room. Two flights of stairs later, Faye and Kali stepped through a set of intricately-painted screen doors and into the daylight. The sun was bright, but the air was cool enough to wear something other then a light shirt. It smelled like the ocean, but not really like home. Less salty than the wild Irish sea.
"Breakfast is in the mess hall. The garden is for relaxing." Kali gestured at a large-ish garden as they walked along the porch. The garden was bordered on three sides by thick, multi-coloured hydrangea bushes, and on the fourth by the porch. It was hard for Faye to believe how very beautiful the setting was. She couldn't imagine being able to stay inside long enough to make it through a class.
The mess hall was lined with more maple-wood furniture and about fifty of the most laid-back-looking people Faye had ever seen. Most of them had their shoes kicked off, their feet propped up on the tables as they dined on elaborate breakfast dishes. Eggs Benedict, fruit-topped Belgian waffles, wedges of rich-looking fruit covered with honey, flaky spinach-flecked quiche. Looking around, she caught the eyes of a couple of students. A pretty girl with olive skin, a white dress, and a polka-dotted scarf tied in her glossy golden hair. A green-haired guy (SERIOUSLY? Faye wondered) with broad shoulders tackling an enormous bowl of Frosties.
Faye's instinct was to turn her head away as soon as she made eye contact - always the safest choice when it came to keeping those little secrets secret. But neither one of these kids glared at her, or gave her the 'freak' look. The biggest surprise about this damn town was not the sunshine or the mess hall. It was that everyone here was smiling...well, except for the house mother.
When Kali and Faye reached an unoccupied table, a girl with ice-blue hair (dyed, she decided) approached them, an easy smile on her face.
"Hello ladies," she greeted in a surprisingly deep voice, considering her petite stature. "What can I get you?"
"Badam milk, and some toast," Kali replied, glancing at Faye, "What about you?"
"Um, strawberry smoothie," Faye answered. "And toast as well."
"No problem. Back in a flash."
Kali winked at Faye as the girl darted away to get their breakfast.
"She spoke English," Faye said slowly, "And you've been speaking it all morning."
A neatly plucked brow rose. "And your point?"
"Why didn't you speak Japanese?"
"Well," Kali said slowly, folding her arms, "Azumano is Japanese, and they do speak it of course, but since this is a popular tourist destination, most of the locals speak English. Easier to communicate."
"Why the hell did I learn Japanese so?" Faye groaned as their waitress appeared with their food. When she was gone, Kali took a big slurp of her Badam milk and wiped her mouth with the back of her hand.
"Sexy," Faye couldn't help remarking. Kali grinned.
"I know. My milk brings all the boys to the yard," she quipped. Faye snorted, nearly sending smoothie out of her nose. A gong sounded somewhere, and everyone started to stand up and leave.
"Time for school, newbie!" Kali cheered, plucking Faye by the arm and whisking her out of the room.
"Riiiiiiiiiku!" Kali sang, dancing towards a girl with shoulder-length light red hair. Said girl turned, her brown eyes curious. She was dressed in a pair of jeans and a blue hoodie.
"Morning Kali," she answered with a smile, her eyes darting towards Faye, who'd finally been released from Kali's iron grip. "Who's your friend?"
"Hm?" Kali turned, finding Faye lying on the ground gasping for oxygen. "Oh. That's my new roomie. She's from Europe. Say hi, newbie.
"Fuck...you," Faye snarled half-heartedly, as she tried to slow her breathing down. Kali made a 'tsk' noise.
"I think she's shy," Kali sighed, turning back to Riku. "Anywho. She's new, I think she's in your grade. Keep an eye out for her."
"Sure," Riku replied, her eyes still resting on Faye who was slowly getting up. "You can count on me."
"Knew it," Kali cheered, throwing her arms around the startled girl. "You're an angel, Riku." Releasing Riku, she turned to Faye and picked up her book bag. "I'll pick you up after school."
"Wait, you're not in the high school?" Faye asked nervously. Kali was really the only person she knew right now (even if she did want to strangle her).
"Nope, I'm in college," she said cheerfully. "Which I am going to be late for if I don't move. I'll see you later, newbie!"
"Is she always this...hyper?" Faye asked absently, watching Kali cartwheel along the road.
"Pretty much," Riku answered, as she watched too. As Kali turned the corner, she blinked and stuck out her hand. "Sorry, never introduced myself. Riku Harada, aged eighteen. And you?"
"Faye Clarke, aged eighteen," she replied, shaking Riku's hand firmly. Riku smiled, dropping her hand.
"Come on," she gestured. "I can bring you to the office and get your schedule sorted out."
"Thanks," Faye said in relief, picking up her backpack and following Riku towards the school.
The door of the biology lab loomed like the gate to hell, and Faye had trouble keeping a calm face. But she managed to walk through it and into the quiet buzz that was a class before a bell was about to ring.
"What you need to do is go up front and tell the teacher that you're new," Riku had explained before she'd darted off to math. "They'll take care of the rest."
Following Riku's instructions, she introduced herself to the teacher, Ms. Ano and explained she was new, feeling the eyes of the students on her back. She didn't glance back. No need to freak myself out.
"I've got an extra textbook," Ms. Ano said. "And outlines of my lectures. But as for notes-" She turned to the class at large. "Okay, people. Miss Clarke is new, and needs a little help. She needs somebody who's willing to share their notes, maybe copy them-"
Before she could finish her sentence, hands went up. Somehow that brought everything into focus for her. She was standing in front of a classroom with everyone staring at her - that in itself would have been enough to terrify her. She twitched her fingers, and sat swiftly next to a boy with blue hair (seriously? What's WITH the weird hair colours?) and thick glasses, her cheeks flaming.
"Thanks," she said softly as she perched on the empty stool behind him. The boy inclined his head, and she noticed that his eyes were the same colour as his hair. But he was polite to her the entire class. He promised to have his father's secretary photocopy the thick sheaf of biology notes in his notebook. He lent her a highlighter. And his gaze kept flicking towards her, studying her when she wasn't looking. Eventually, the bell rang.
"I can have the notes ready for you by tomorrow," the boy (who was called Satoshi) was saying. "Is that all right?"
"That's perfect," Faye said in relief. "Thank you so much."
"No problem." He glanced at his watch. "What class have you got now?"
"Uhm..." Faye glanced at her schedule. "Art, in room 193."
"Me too," he said, a hint of a smile on his lips. "I'll walk you there."
Diary Entry 2.
I was called to the councillor's office before I was halfway through Art and had to spend the rest of the day in the nurse's room since I screamed bloody murder at the fucker. All the teachers are going to be made aware of my little 'problem', according to the councillor, which pissed me off hugely. It isn't any of their business - they can check my file; I've never hurt a single person or animal - heck, probably not even a plant - EVER. But apparently, this is for my own protection. I can SMELL Dr. I've-got-a-degree-to-fuck-with-your-life Browne's input in this new pile of shit in my life.
I miss Rowan. I miss her a lot. I'm tired now.
Faye Alexandra Clarke.