"Don't ever scare me like that again!" Rowan scolded Faye on Sunday evening.
It was just before sundown and Faye was secluded in the boarding house waiting room, a beautifully traditional room with a blooming cherry blossom tree painted across the shoji screens. It was hardly private; any goof could listen to her entire conversation through the thin paper doors, but at least no one else was in there with her. Her hand was aching due to the six essays she had from her deranged teachers, her curiosity still piqued from the strange boy she'd seen on Tuesday. But for now, she was trying hard to push all that out of her mind, to soak up every blissfully random word her best friend could spit out in the allotted time. It felt so good to hear Rowan's familiar voice, Faye almost didn't care that she was being chewed out.
"We promised we wouldn't go a day without speaking," Rowan continued in agitation. "I thought someone had kidnapped you! Or that maybe you'd never arrived and that your plane had been beamed up into a flying saucer. For all I knew, you could have been probed in the-"
"Take a breath there mum," Faye giggled, settling into the familiar role of Rowan's insane imagination keeper. "Relax. It's been a busy week."
For a split second, she felt guilty that she hadn't used her phone call to talk to her real mum. But she knew Rowan would kill her if she ever discovered she hadn't seized her very first opportunity to get in touch. And in a weird way, it was always soothing to hear Rowan's voice. It was one of the many reasons the two were such a good fit: her best friend's over-the-top paranoia actually had a calming effect on Faye. She could just picture Rowan in her dorm room at St. Angela's, lounging on her bright purple fluffy rug, with a mud mask smeared over her face and pedicure foam separating her still-wet red toenails.
"Don't sass your mother!" Rowan huffed. "Start talking. Where are you staying? Any room-mates? What's school in Japan like? What about your classes? What are the other kids like? How's the food?"
Through the phone, Faye could hear Hercules playing in the background on Rowan's laptop. Their favourite scene had always been the one where Hercules first caught sight of Meg, at the waterfall in the hand of that perverted river-god. Faye closed her eyes and tried to picture the shot in her mind. Mimicking Meg's sassy tone, she quoted the line she knew Rowan would recognize:
"I am a damsel. I am in distress. I can handle this."
"What? Oh now you've got to spill," Rowan teased. "I'm sensing something wonderful here."
Unfortunately, there was nothing about her life in Azumano that Faye would consider describing as wonderful. Thinking about that boy for around the ninetieth time that day, she realized that the only parallel between her life and Hercules was that she and Meg had an eye on a guy they didn't even know. Faye rested her head against the peach material of the cushions beneath her head. Under normal circumstances, this would be when she would tell everything about said boy to Rowan.
Except, for some reason, she didn't.
Whatever she might want to say about him wouldn't be based on anything that had actually happened between them. And Rowan was big on guys making an effort to show they were worthy of you. She'd want to hear things like how many times he'd held open a door for her, or whether he'd noticed how good her Japanese was. Rowan didn't think there was anything wrong with guys writing sappy love poems that Faye could never take seriously. She would come up severely short on things to say about him - heck, she didn't even know his name. In fact, Rowan'd be much more interested in hearing about someone like Satoshi.
"Well, there is this guy here," she murmured into the phone.
"I knew it!" Rowan squealed. "Name."
See, that's the thing - I don't actually know. "Uhm-"
"Wait, hold that thought. Start from the beginning."
"Nothing's really happened -"
"He thinks you're gorgeous, blah blah blah. I told you guys like the foreign girls. Get to the good stuff."
"Well, actually-" Faye broke off. The sound of footsteps coming down the corridor silenced her. She lifted her head and trained her eyes on the wall opposite her.
Kali was walking down the corridor - she'd recognise that silhouette anywhere. She swallowed the horrifically lame words on the tip of her tongue: He looked at me once and my heart decided to go all erratic on me. She still had tingles just thinking about it.
Kali's demeanour was casual as she pushed open the door, as if by some stroke of luck she hadn't heard what she'd been saying. She was twirling a golden pocket watch that swung from a long chain looped around her index finger. Faye followed its bright arc for a moment, almost mesmerized, until Kali clapped the face of the watch to a stop in her hand. She looked down at it, then up at her.
"Sorry." Her lips pursed. "I signed up for the seven o'clock phone call, newbie." She shrugged. "Best say your goodbyes now."
Faye's heart sank when she glanced at her own watch. She and Rowan had barely said thirty words to each other - how could her thirty minutes already be up?
"Faye? Hello?" Rowan sounded impatient on the other end of the phone. "You're being weird. Is there something you're not telling me? Have you replaced me already? What about the boy?"
"Shut up," Faye hissed into the phone. "Kali, wait," she called, holding the phone away from her mouth. She was already sliding the door closed. "Just a second, I was -" she swallowed, "I was just getting off."
Kali slipped the pocket watch into the front of her red hoodie and doubled back toward Faye. She raised her eyebrows and laughed when she heard Rowan's voice growing louder from the earpiece.
"Don't you dare hang up on me," Rowan protested. "You've told me nothing. Nothing!"
"I don't want to piss anyone off," Kali joked, gesturing at the telephone. "Take my slot, you can pay me back."
"No, it's fine," Faye said quickly. As badly as she wanted to keep talking to Rowan, she imagined Kali probably felt the same way about whomever she'd come here to call. And Kali had been nothing but nice to her. She didn't want to make her give up her turn at the telephone, especially now, when she'd be way too nervous to gossip with Rowan.
"Rowan," she said, cutting through her friend's angry babbling. "I have to go. I'll call again - much love." She sank the phone back in its cradle, her next call seeming to stretch out for ever.
"Your friend?" Kali asked, sitting down next to her. Her dark eyebrows were still arched. "I've got three younger sisters, I can practically smell the friend vibe through the phone. She wanted to know all about the Japanese bad boys, right?"
"No!" Faye shook her head to deny vehemently that guys were on her mind at all ... until she realized Kali was only kidding. She huffed. "I mean, I told her there's not a single good one here."
"Good. Cause if you did find a boy, you'd tell me wouldn't you? Room-mate code of honour and all that."
"Course." Faye fidgeted. "I'm going to have a bath."
"Fine with me," Kali said, stretching. "Just don't drown yourself or anything babe."
"Oh, bite me," the red-head huffed, turning to stand. Kali grinned wickedly, darting forward and nipping Faye sharply in the arm.
"KALI!" she yelped, practically jumping to the other side of the room, "WHAT THE HECK!"
Kali shrugged, unperturbed. "You said bite me."
"Oh, you're impossible," Faye growled, throwing her hands up and stomping from the room.
Police officers swarmed outside the museum to try and catch the infamous phantom thief. The museum was dark and quiet and seemed peaceful enough.
"I don't like it," the police officer in-charge muttered, "Send everyone inside. Now."
From his perch, Dark had a perfect view of his target: a small sculpture of a lady holding two roses on a stand inside a glass case. He smirked and threw a feather at the case. The feather passed through the glass as if it was made of water and landed on top of the sculpture, making it glow for a few seconds before it disappeared and the feather darted back to Dark, glowing once more as the statue appeared in Dark's hands.
"That was too easy..." he grinned as he jumped out of the window and took off into the night. However, half-way through the journey home, Wiz seemed to grow more exhausted with every wing-flap, so he started looking for a place to land. A brightly lit room caught his eye, and with a sigh of relief as he saw that the window was open, he landed inside.
Faye shut the bathroom door behind her, towelling her long hair dry as she crossed the room and opened the window. The breeze was cool and felt refreshing on her heated skin. Tiredly, she put her hair in a towel turban and dressed into her usual tank-top-and-shorts nightwear, before releasing her hair from its confinement and throwing the towel over her shoulders, slowly untangling the curls with her hair brush. The action was calming, and Faye felt herself beginning to relax as the tension seeped away.
A small sound behind her grabbed her attention. Her eyes snapped open and she whipped around. A boy was standing by the window. He stood out starkly against the pale colours of the room; dressed in black, with rich purple hair, he cut a tall, striking figure. And the wings - huge, black as night wings that sprouted from his back as if they'd always belonged there. He was absolutely, heart-stoppingly beautiful. And absolutely, heart-stoppingly familiar.
She didn't dare move; she didn't dare breathe. To break the spell, to move from this moment would wreak havoc on her system. She just wanted to stay there forever, to rejoice in his beauty, to bask in his presence, and to gaze into his amethyst eyes until she was dizzy.
Dark froze as he landed in the room. A girl was a few feet away from him, shrugging on a tank top, the pale skin of her back deliciously bare to his gaze. He hadn't seen her before. Dark prided himself on knowing what every girl in town looked like - which, truth be told, wasn't hard; most, if not all of them, were fans. She was petite, her curves slight, while her skin was cream and roses, with small freckles, like tiny grains of brown sugar, scattered across her shoulders. She pulled the towel from her hair, throwing it carelessly over her shoulder and picking up a brush to run through her hair. He swallowed. If Dark ever claimed to have any type of fetish, it would have to be this girl's hair. Long and damp, it waved and curled as though it were untameable, and the colour was exquisitely unique to his gaze. Whatever products she had used on her skin while she bathed were now taunting him, a fruity scent tickling and enticing his senses.
He must've made some kind of noise, since she whipped around to look at him, her eyes wide and frightened. As if drugged, Dark let his eyes linger on her features. Another smattering of freckles were along her cheekbones and her nose. Her mouth was full, sulky and sensual, while her eyes were green, the colour of emeralds, hidden lakes and secret pools.
He stood up properly, and it seemed to snap her out of whatever trance she'd been in.
"HOLY SHIT!" she yelped, standing up and holding her hairbrush against her chest. "WHO THE FUCK-"
He had to shut her up. He darted towards her, intent on silencing her. He'd forgotten, however, about the wet towel she'd dropped earlier. He stumbled, and she moved towards one of the two bunk beds in the room.
"Listen, calm down!" he soothed, and he saw her shoulders shake for a moment. "I'm not going to hurt you."
"As if!" she snapped, leaning from one pale foot to the other as he approached. "Why are you in my bedroom, you creep?"
"It's kind of a long story - come here-" he reached out and grasped her wrist. Or tried to. She slipped away from him and darted to the other side of the room.
"Back OFF!" she snarled. He approached again, his temper starting to fray as she eluded him again and again.
"Just come here and shut up!"
"Leave me alone, you purple pedo!"
"I'm NOT a PEDO!"
"Says the guy lurking in my bedroom!"
"Just come here and calm down!"
"YOU FUCK OFF!"
"I'M NOT A GODDAMN PEDO!"
She eluded him again, but stumbled on the towel as he had and took a staggering step back. The backs of her knees hit something hard as she fell back into nothingness. There was nothing behind her, nothing to catch hold of, and she was falling, falling, falling, and eventually go splat down in the garden-
But then, there were arms around her, holding her carefully, tenderly. Her head fell back, exposing the creamy whiteness of her throat to the world as slender fingers brush the palm of her left hand. Desperate to anchor herself to something, she entwined those fingers with her own as a second hand slid around her waist. She looked up, puffs of air pushing softly past her lips as she realised that she was in the mysterious boy's arms, and his jet-black wings were spread wide as they floated in mid-air. Their feet touched the cool grass of the garden and his wings folded behind him gracefully. He stared at her, with some astonishment in his eyes as she stared back.
"Still think I'm a pedo?" he asked sarcastically. She blushed and ducked her head, pulling away from him.
"That remains to be seen," she mumbled, looking up. "Thank you, for catching me."
The corner of his lips quirked up.
"Faye?" a new voice cut through their conversation. "Faye, are you out there?"
"Shit, that's Kali," she murmured, looking anxious. "You'd better go."
"I'll see ya around sometime," he grinned, winking at her as he spread his glorious wings and took off into the starry skies, leaving a girl standing in the garden gazing after him - and another watching with calculating eyes from the window.
Diary Entry 4.
I met a boy today.
Faye Alexandra Clarke