Faye flopped down on the carpet of her room and lay there. She didn't know how long, but it was long enough for her fidgety roomie.
"Not a good day, huh?" Kali asked sympathetically. Faye groaned into the carpet.
"What was your first clue?" she asked, muffled by the carpet trying to get itself eaten. "I got sent to the councillor. I hate mother-fucking-councillors."
"Glasses or no?"
Faye thought for a moment. "Glasses."
"Soooo," Kali said. "You've met Randy."
"I thought her name was Ko-somthing."
"It is, but he's a bit of a creeper, so-"
"Wait...she's a DUDE?" Faye had to sit up at that one. Kali nodded sagely.
"Yup. The gender of a few of the teachers is an ongoing, school-wide debate. Don't worry, you'll get into it."
Faye thought Kali was making a joke - in which case, kudos to her. But this was all such a huge change from Dublin. At her old school, the red-tie-wearing future super-models had practically oozed through the halls in the genteel hush that money seemed to lay over everything. More often than not, the other girls gave her a don't-smudge-the-walls-with-your-fingerprints glance. She tried to imagine Kali there: lazing in the dorm room, making a loud, crude joke in her rich voice. Faye tried to imagine what Rowan might think of Kali. There'd been no one like her at St. Angela's.
"Okay, fess up," Kali ordered. Plopping down on the floor beside her and motioning for Faye to scoot over, she said, "What'd ya do to get landed in the councillor's office your first day?"
Kali's tone was playful, but Faye felt nervous. It was ridiculous, but she'd half expected to get through her first day of life in Japan without the past creeping up and biting her in the ass. Of course, people here were going to want to know the agonising details. She could feel the blood humming at her temples. It happened whenever she tried to think back to that night.
She'd never stop feeling guilty about what had happened to David, but she also tried really hard not to get weighed down by her feelings, which by now was the only thing she could remember about the accident. That strange, intense feeling that she could never tell anyone about. Scratch that - she'd started to tell David that she was feeling funny, how whenever she'd felt that way, something bad seemed to happen. Of course, by then it was already too late. David was gone, and she was...guilty? No one knew about the feelings she sometimes had, feelings that always said something bad was going to happen. They'd come and gone for so long that she couldn't even remember the first time she'd had them. But she could remember the first time she realized that this feeling didn't come for anyone else, only her.
When she was five, her family had been on holiday in Brighton and her parents had taken her on a boat trip. It was just about sunset when she'd gotten a feeling, and she'd turned to her father and said, "What do you do when your feelings scare you, Daddy?"
Her feelings weren't anything to be afraid of, her parents assured her, but her repeated insistence had gotten her several appointments with the family doctor, and then appointments with the ear doctor after she made the mistake of describing the way she sometimes stopped hearing when the feelings came - and then therapy, and the prescription for anti-psychotic medication, and then a trip to the nut house in Donegal. But nothing ever made them go away. By the time she was seventeen, Faye refused to take her meds. That was when they found Dr. Browne, and St. Angela's nearby. They drove down to Dublin and planted her in front of a woman in a lab coat and asked her if she still had her "feelings." Her parents' hands were sweating as they gripped her wrists, terrified that something was wrong with their daughter. No one came out and said that if she didn't tell Dr. Browne what they all wanted her to say, she might be back in Donegal with a free straitjacket. When she lied and acted normal, she was allowed to enrol at St. Angela's, and only had to visit Dr. Browne once a month. She had been allowed to stop taking the meds as soon as she started pretending she didn't feel things any more.
Faye sat up properly and gripped her elbows with her hands tightly. If she was going to make it through the rest of her time here, she had to move past her memories and leave them in the back of her head. She couldn't handle the memory of that night by herself, so there was no fucking way she would air all the gruesome details to some stranger. Instead of answering, she simply stared at Kali, who was chewing some poki. Everything was quiet, until Kali sneezed, the motion jerking her head forward. Faye couldn't stop staring.
"Oh my God," she whispered before she could stop herself. Kali whipped her head around to look at her, her dark hair swishing and settling around her.
"Eh? What's up?"
"Kali. Your back. It's-"
"Scarred?" she guessed. "Gruesome, isn't it?" The skin on her back, from the middle of her left shoulder blade down until the rest was hidden beneath her halter top was marred and shiny. Kali grabbed Faye's hand and pressed it gently to the skin. It was slightly cool, and smooth to the touch.
"I'm not afraid of it," Kali said. "Are you?"
"No," Faye said automatically, though she wished Kali would take her hand away so she could take hers away, too.
"Are you afraid of who you really are, Faye?"
"No," she said again quickly. It must be so obvious that she was lying. She closed her eyes. All she wanted was a fresh start, a place where people didn't look at her the way Kali was looking at her right now. She tugged her hand away.
"So how'd it happen?" she asked, looking down.
"Remember how I didn't press you when you clammed up about what you did to get here?" Kali asked, raising her eyebrows. Faye nodded, as her room-mate hufffed. "It happened a long time ago. I'll tell you when you tell me your dirty little secret, 'kay?"
"So, how was your first day?" Riku asked as they sat outside for lunch. "I looked for you when the bell rang, but couldn't find you."
"I had an appointment," Faye mumbled, choosing to chomp on a rice-ball rather then elaborating. "Sorry."
"No problem," Riku said easily, flicking her hair behind her ear in annoyance. "I hate my stupid hair!"
"What?" Faye choked. "Your hair is gorgeous."
It was true: Riku had long, thick locks that she was surprisingly envious of, even more so when she found out that it was natural, not dyed. Her smooth ruby hair sparkled in the sunlight. Faye thought wryly of her own hair, the typical auburn that was so common back home.
"No, it's not," Riku frowned, setting her lunch aside. "It's too long. Cut it for me?"
"Oh, um, okay," Faye said uneasily, "Where are we going to get—"
"RISA!" Riku shouted suddenly, making Faye cover her ears, "Come 'ere a sec!"
A girl detached herself from a group across the courtyard and made her way over to them. She was clothed in a rose-pink dress and a matching hair ribbon, her long brown hair whispering past her elbows as she came closer.
"Who is that?" Faye asked quietly.
"My sister," Riku answered shortly.
"It's not ladylike to yell, Riku," Risa said primly, in a very fluttery, sissy, frilly kind of voice. Faye snickered quietly.
"Whatever," Riku waved a hand, "I need your penknife."
Risa sighed and dug around in a little shoulder-bag that matched her dress, bringing out a bright-pink Army knife and handing it to her sister.
"What do you need it for?" she asked, as Riku opened it and tested the sharpness of the blade against her fingertip gingerly.
"I'm getting a haircut."
"WHAT!" Risa exploded. "NO WAY! You only just finished growing your hair to the right length! You'll never find a boy if you keep looking like one!"
"Newsflash Risa; I've had a boyfriend for the last three years," Riku snapped, passing the knife to Faye, "And he doesn't care how I look."
"But-" Risa started whining.
"Shut. Up. My hair, my choice." She turned to Faye as Risa started blubbering. "Now cut."
"Yes ma'am," Faye grinned, tugging Riku's hair, "Any particular style?"
"Yeah - hang on," Riku fumbled in her pocket for her mobile, then held it back to Faye. "Like that."
Faye studied the picture carefully, before putting the phone on her lap.
"And don't tell me you've never cut hair before," Riku said laughingly, "Not another word until you tell me how fantastic I look."
Faye was sure there had to be a more practical method of cutting hair, but as a lifelong haircut avoider, the chopped-off pony was about all she knew. She gathered Riku's hair in her hands, wrapped a hair tie from her wrist around it, held the pen knife firmly, and began to hack.
The ponytail fell to her feet. Risa gasped and covered her face. Riku picked it up and held it to the sun, examining it. She let a wide smile spread across her lips. She ran her fingers through the ponytail once, then dropped it into her bag.
"Nice," she said. "Touch it up in the back, would you?"
"Sure," Faye answered, rolling her eyes as Risa huffed and stomped back to her friends. While she attempted to even out the first haircut she'd ever given, Riku continued eating her lunch.
"So, Riku," Faye said slowly, "Who's the boyfriend?"
Riku paused, and Faye could distinctly see her blushing.
"He's just some guy," she mumbled.
"Uh-huh, and I'm actually Scandinavian," Faye snorted, snipping another lock. "Come on, spill it." When Riku said nothing, she nudged her. "Start with the basics. Y'know, where you first met, that kind of thing."
"Uhm, we were both in the same middle school," Riku said quietly, her cheeks still scarlet. "And he's in this school too."
"Awh, that's adorable," Faye teased, as Riku turned and scowled, making her accidentally hack off a chunk of hair she'd meant to trim. Whoops. Hopefully Riku wouldn't notice. "What are his hobbies?"
"Art," Riku answered immediately. "He's an amazing artist."
"And what's he like?" Faye asked curiously, lowering the pen knife.
"He's...he's just him," Riku said softly, sounding exactly like a girl head over heels.
"And you're nuts about him." It wasn't a question.
"Your haircut's done," Faye said after a few moments, running her hands through Riku's hair to fluff it up a little. It looked so much better shorter, if she said so herself.
"Thanks," Riku said. She turned to face Faye, a grin on her face. She wondered whether she'd be sitting here with that sassy smile in her chocolate brown eyes if she knew the entire truth about Faye. The longer she could keep her past quiet, the better off she'd be.
"No problem," she replied after a few moments, pinning a smile on her face as she handed over the penknife. "Any time."
"You want to come over tonight and hang out?" Riku asked suddenly. Faye blinked.
"I don't know...Kali might get really weird ideas." Riku waved a hand.
"Trust me, she already has them." She surprised Faye by taking her hand. "Please?"
"All right," Faye agreed.
"Cool!" Riku laughed, putting away her lunch. Faye copied her, standing up as Riku started jogging away and she trailed after her.
"Dammit Riku, slow down!" she called. Riku laughed.
"Never!" As they came around the corner of the reception, Riku skidded to a halt.
"Just relax," she said quietly. "No-one's going to eat you."
"You never know," Faye quipped. A ton of other students seemed to be clustered around the lockers. There'd been a uniform at St. Angela's, so Faye wasn't used to the variety displayed by the student body.
A group of tattooed girls standing in a crossed-armed circle wore studded bracelets, hoop earrings, and black bandanas in their hair. A guy and a girl with thick-rimmed glasses were holding hands. Every few seconds, one of them would pull the other in for a kiss on the temple, on the forehead, on the cheek. It was so obvious how much in love they were. Every time they pressed a soft kiss to their partner, Faye felt a lonely pinch inside her chest. Behind the lovers, a cluster of boys stood pressed against the wall. Each of them wore a blazer. And they all had on white pressed shirts underneath, the collars stiffly starched. Their black pants hit the vamps of their polished dress shoes perfectly. Of all the students on the quad, these boys seemed to be the closest thing to boys from home. Boys like David. Riku noticed Faye's eyes running over the rest of the kids.
"We're all really different," she said, shrugging as she stopped in front of her locker. "But we stick together."
Faye clicked open her locker, but just before she reached inside, she noticed something. A very attractive something, that was lurking in the reception. It was far from cold, but he had on a black leather motorcycle jacket, with a trilby hat tugged low over his eyes. Nothing too weird by any standards, but he was all that she could look at.
She took in his long dark coloured bangs and golden skin. His high cheekbones, the lean physique, the soft shape of his lips. She'd always had a weakness for the sublimely gorgeous. Like this guy. He leaned up against the desk with his arms crossed lightly over his chest. And for a split second, she saw a flashing image of herself folded into those arms, her back against his chest as they laughed together over something silly. She shook her head, but the vision stayed so clear that she almost took off toward him.
No. That was insane. She didn't even know him. He was talking to a shorter kid with spiky red hair and a warm smile. Both of them were talking and they both laughed over something that was said, in a way that made Faye jealous. She tried to think back and remember how long it had been since she'd laughed, really laughed.
"Who's that?" Faye whispered to Riku.
"That guy in reception. The one talking to the guy with red hair."
Riku poked her head around the door of her locker and had a squint.
"Hn. Well, the red-head is Daisuke Niwa. He's a student here, and my boyfriend-"
"Really?" Faye gawked, then nudged Riku. "He's adorable."
"Shut up," Riku hissed, blushing. "I think the guy he's talking to is his...tenant."
"I barely talk to the guy," Riku mumbled, going back to her locker. "I can tell he's attracted somebody's attention."
"Maybe," Faye demurred, embarrassed when she realized how she must have looked.
"Yeah, well, if you like that sort of thing."
"What's not to like?"
"Oh, you know." Riku emerged from her locker, an armful of books with her. "He looks nice, but he's a bit of an asshole."
"I'm no stranger to assholes," Faye said quietly. After what had happened to David - whatever had happened - she was the last person who should be making character judgements. She glanced again at that boy. He pushed his hat up slightly, revealing dark eyes, then turned to look at her. His gaze caught hers, and she watched as his eyes widened and then quickly narrowed in what looked like surprise.
But it was more than that. When his eyes held hers, her breath caught in her throat. She recognized him from somewhere. But she would have remembered meeting someone like him. A warm tingle shot through her. She felt her lips pull up in a smile at him, as he raised his hand in the air.
The bell rang as if on cue, and everyone started the slow shuffle towards their lockers or classrooms. Riku was tugging on her hand and Faye had to grab her books for her next few classes. Her momentary goo-goo eyes over the boy had vanished, tucked away under a dark sheet to be investigated later. Just before she started up the stairs, she dared to glance back. His face was blank, but there was no mistaking it
He was watching her go.
Diary Entry 3.
At least they didn't treat me like I was about to slit my wrists or anything like that when I introduced myself to my new teachers. One of them did keep on trying to get me to show them, though, but I just ignored her. I missed Riku. I don't know why. She's someone to hide behind. She doesn't judge.
Faye Alexandra Clarke.