The rest of the week was uneventful - so much so that Faye wondered if she had dreamed up her strange encounter with the winged boy. She got used to the routine of her classes. By Friday, she was able to recognize, if not name, most of the kids in her class. In Art, the teacher left the students to their own devices after assigning them a project, she informed them boredly, that would last the entire semester and was worth half of their grade. They could choose to work alone, or form groups of three to complete the project. Faye's stomach twisted anxiously, though her face remained impassive. Looked like she was going solo for this one.
Her first weekend in Azumano passed without incident. Kali worked most of the weekend, arriving home at midnight and gone before six the next morning. Faye cleaned her room, finished her homework, and emailed her parents, saying that she was fine and was settling in. The weather stayed warm over the weekend, so she was able to relax outside in the garden for the most part.
People greeted her on the way to school Monday morning. She didn't know all their names, but she waved back and smiled at everyone. All in all, Faye was feeling a lot more comfortable than she had thought she would feel by this point.
After school, Riku invited Faye to the opening of a new student café down town. She agreed, and they arranged to meet at four thirty, which gave them plenty of time to go home and change. Faye's clothes were covered in paint; some boy in her class had knocked over the bottle of yellow paint she'd been prepping and covered her clothes with the stuff. Arriving in her room, she threw her bag on the floor and all but exploded into the shower, tossing her clothes into the sink as she scrubbed at her skin.
An hour later, she was at the café, dressed in paint-free clothes and queuing to buy food with Risa, who'd tagged along. Faye glanced around her out of habit as she waited. And then she froze. There was a very familiar person sitting in a table near Riku.
"Hello? Miss? What do you want?"
Faye looked back; her cheeks were hot. She had no reason to feel self-conscious She hadn't done anything wrong.
"Is something wrong?" the server asked.
"Sorry," Faye answered. "Just a Coke, please."
"Aren't you hungry?" Risa asked as she paid for her salad.
"Actually, I feel a little sick," Faye replied. She waited for Risa, and then followed her back to the table, her eyes on her hands. She sipped her drink slowly, her stomach churning. Twice, Riku asked how she was feeling. Each time, Faye told her it was nothing, but she was wondering if she should play it up and leave. She kept her head down and glanced up under her lashes.
He wasn't looking her way. She lifted her head a little. He was reading. She blinked. Yes, he was reading, and sipping at a cup of something or other. He was just enjoying the day, just like everyone else - only he looked more like a movie star than the rest of the café's occupants.
"Faye, what are you staring at?" Risa intruded, her eyes following her stare. At that precise moment, his eyes flashed over to meet hers. Faye dropped her head, letting her hair conceal her face.
"Oh I see," Risa giggled in her ear. "You've spotted the town heartthrob."
"He doesn't look angry, does he?" Faye couldn't help asking.
"No," she said, sounding confused by the question. "Should he be?"
"No," Faye answered quickly. She still felt queasy. She glanced over at Risa who was staring openly at the boy with the most obvious goo-goo eyes she'd ever seen. Her stomach churned.
"Stop looking at him, Risa," Riku commanded, taking a calm sip of her smoothie. Risa huffed, but she looked away. Faye raised her head enough to make sure that Risa obeyed, contemplating violence if she resisted. The conversation steered to safer topics. For the rest of the conversation, Faye kept her eyes on her own table. After a while, Risa detached herself to join one of her equally frilly friends, and Riku went to order another smoothie. The room buzzed with quiet conversations and the occasional laugh. Faye sat quietly in her chair, idly playing with the bottle cap of her drink. She heard very clearly when the chair opposite her moved, and she glanced up curiously before she felt her face stiffen.
"Hey," the boy opposite her said, looking like a model in his jeans and shirt - how someone could look so good was beyond her. His hair was tousled, messy even - and he looked like he'd just finished shooting a commercial for shampoo. His perfect face was friendly, open, a slight smile on his heart-stopping lips. "The name's Dark," he continued. "I didn't have a chance to introduce myself...when we met before. You must be Miss Faye Clarke."
Her head was spinning. He was calm, polite; charming even - nothing like the boy she'd met before. Maybe he was bi-polar.
"How do you know my name?" she questioned, then groaned as he laughed, a rich, deep sound that was intoxicating.
"I keep an ear to the ground," was all he offered. They sank into silence; Faye shifting uneasily in her chair, and Dark merely watching her with slanted eyes. She glanced up, and caught him staring at her, a look of frustration in his eyes.
"Did you dye your hair?" she asked unthinkingly. He blinked at her question.
"No. The colour's natural."
"Oh," she mumbled. "There's got to be something funky in the water here."
"Probably," he agreed. "How're you finding Azumano? Is it all you thought it would be?"
"Not really," Faye answered honestly. "I'm finding a few quirks here and there."
"You don't like surprises." It wasn't a question.
"Not so much, no."
"Home's probably looking good, so," he mused.
"Anything's better then home," she muttered darkly. He looked fascinated by what she said, for a reason Faye couldn't imagine. His face was such a distraction that she tried not to look at him - lest she start drooling.
"Why did you come here, then?"
No one aside from Kali had actually asked her.
"Complicated," she managed.
"I can keep up," he teased. Faye considered her chances of just making a run for it, and then made the mistake of meeting his gaze.
"There were problems at home," she said eventually, beginning to play with the bottle cap again.
"That doesn't sound too difficult," he disagreed, but he was suddenly sympathetic. "What happened?"
"Life threw a curveball." Her voice sounded so pathetic.
"And it wasn't a nice one," Dark surmised, his voice gentle.
"Why couldn't you work through it with your parents?"
"They didn't really want to know."
"And they sent you here so that didn't have to know."
Faye's eyes narrowed. "No, they did not send me here. I sent myself."
"I don't get it," he shrugged, glancing at her for an explanation. Faye sighed, shifting in her chair.
"I was given a choice. Come to Japan and finish school here, or go to a place I never wanted to see again. It wasn't very hard. Mum and Dad didn't even argue."
"But you're not happy," Dark pointed out.
"And?" she questioned.
"That doesn't seem fair." His eyes were intense. Faye laughed shortly.
"Didn't you know? Life isn't fair," she said sourly.
"Think I've heard that before," he agreed dryly, as his gaze became thoughtful. "You put on a good show. But I'd bet that you're suffering more than you let anyone see."
Faye glared at him, but sadly, she couldn't disagree with him.
"Am I right?"
"As usual," he answered smugly, folding his arms.
"Why do you care?" she snapped, her fingers squeezing the bottle cap tightly.
"Good question," he answered quietly.
Diary Entry 6.
In Art, we were paired up and had to draw our partner. He made me look beautiful.
I made him look like a duck.
Faye Alexandra Clarke
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