"I wonder if she'll like it?"
"I'm sure she will, what girl wouldn't?"
Why were they talking so loud? My head felt like it was about to split open. Forcing my eyes open I expected to see my parents stood in the door way or even above my head with how loud they were being, but the room was empty. Dizziness hit as I sat up, sending me crashing back down to the mattress.
"You ok, Phoenix? "
"Yeah just got up too fast, I'll be fine in a moment."
Moving much slower I managed to get up and out of bed without falling over, quickly taking some pills to get rid of the pounding in my head. My parents had finally decided to shut the hell up, so that was helping at least.
Oh my god! How the hell could I have forgotten that. Today was the day, the day I turned 17, the day of the dance. I needed to get ready, pack my things. The whole lot of us were getting ready round at Bailey's place, her parents we going out so we wouldn't have to worry about getting out the house in the dresses we had chosen. If Anita's parents saw what she had picked she would be locked away until Christmas. It wasn't even that bad, only showed a small amount of cleavage and the back wasn't all that low, but they were so strict it was crazy.
"Thanks Reidar. Today is gonna be so great, I just know it will."
"Well let's start it off with your first gift shall we?"
"Gift?" turning back round towards the bed. Why I was turned as if to look at him as I talked to him I have no idea, just habit I guess. Sat on the floor just under my bed was a small box wrapped in green paper with silver ribbon. "Who's it from?"
Laughing,"Who do you think?"
"I don't know."
"Well the best way is probably to check the tag instead of standing there staring at it."
Good idea. Moving over to the bed I knee down beside it and slowly pick up the beautiful package, lifting the tag.
No? How the hell is that even possible? "It's from you," the disbelief clear in my voice.
"You don't say," he chuckled. "Well are you going to stare at it all day, or are you going to open the damn thing?"
"But how? How did you do this?"
"I have my ways."
"But I thought it was impossible for anything to be passed between where you are and here."
When I was young, not long after he had first spoke to me, I had painted a picture that I had wanted to give him but he'd told me that nothing could be passed between us, that it was impossible.
"I found a way. Now open it."
Quickly tearing the paper off, revealing and opening the box beneath. "Oh wow, Reidar it's beautiful."
Inside was the most beautiful silver necklace I have ever seen. A delicate rope chain, and the gem it held, I have never seen anything like it. It was a similar green to that of my dress, but as I looked deep into the stone the colours seemed to swirl within it, as if it was hollow and filled with smoke. "What kind of stone is this?" and what was it with all the green lately. I had never really cared for it before but suddenly it was like my favourite colour.
"It's called Diamongre. It is rare gem from my world. The colour is unique to the area in which it was mined."
"I love it, thank you." I had never considered him getting me a gift before, or in fact getting him one. I mean what was the point when I couldn't give him anything? We had the whole wish thing we did every year but they were just silly things I asked for, not physical gifts that I knew he could never supply.
"Your welcome. I'm glad you like it, I was wondering, could you by any chance wear it tonight for the dance. I'm not sure if it will go with your dress or anything but the chain is long enough to hide the stone out of site."
"Of course I will."
Well my fantastic day was going to hell. Everything was fine at first but now the headache was making a reappearance and it was worse than ever. What the hell was wrong with me? Did I have some kind of brain tumor that had suddenly decided to put in am appearance? Grabbing my head between my hands and leaning my forehead on the desk I tried to block out and the noise going on around me.
"Shakespeare's globe was built in..." Mr Davis yelled over the usual chit chatter that was usual in his lesson. No one ever listened to his lectures. His English lesson was just before the dinner period and after science with Mr Parker, who we all knew was having an affair with one of his A-level students. Every lesson when he left the room Henry and some of the other lads would hack his email account and quickly print the latest emails between the pair, and Me Davis' English lesson was where everyone got a good look at them. I usually joined in reading them but today my head pounding in my ears I just wanted the bell to ring so i could leave.
"You ok Phoenix?" Anita's hand rubbing up and down my back.
"Headache," I croaked as a new wave of pain shot through my head.
"Maybe you should go see the school nurse, get some pills down you. You can't be ill tonight."
'I need her there.'
"Thanks," I smiled.
"Thanks for what?"
I was stopped from answering by Henry who at that moment chose to start having an argument with Frankie over who the girl Mr Parker was messing around with was. He was careful in his emails never to use her name so this was always up for debate. "Will you guys shut up," Anita hissed. "Phoenix has a major headache."
"Oh good, then maybe she can fuck off and not torture James by being all over that doushbag she's dating right in front of him." 'Or me for that matter. I couldn't stand seeing her with James, never mind that new fuck wad.
"Leave her alone Henry. If James has a problem with her moving on then he can keep away tonight." Turning her back to them. "Ignore him chick. I swear, the way he's been going on lately since you met Finn I'd say it's him with the problem, not James."
"Didn't you just hear what he said?"
Couldn't stand seeing me with James? What the hell?
"Course I did, and I think he's being a nob as usual."
Just as I was about to open my mouth the bell rang signalling dinner, the noise seeming to vibrate painfully through my brain.
"Come on, lets get you some food, hopefully that might help."
I let her drag me from my seat, out the door and through the corridors to the quad where our small group of friends were waiting at our usual table. Or should I say Anita's friends, I was just her weird, crazy friend she couldn't seem to get rid of. According to them anyway.
All through dinner I sat quietly, again trying desperately to block out the ever growing noise around me, but it just kept getting louder and louder.
'Why does Anita insist she sit with us?'
'I can't believe she has a date and I don't.'
'James is so lucky to be rid of her, now I can have him.'
Looking around I could hear them all. Stephanie, Tracy, Lisa. But none of them were talking. What was happening to me? Had I finally gone crazy? I had to get out of here.
"Anita, I'll see you later. This headache seems to be going nowhere so I'm gonna skip and see if I can get some sleep before tonight."
"Your definitely coming tonight aren't you?" her eyes pleading.
"Course, can't miss my date with Finn." There was no way I was doing that. Even with this terrible pounding headache, and the fact that I was clearly losing my mind, there was no way in hell I was going to miss seeing Finn again.
My parents were at work thank god, so I didn't have to explain why I was home so early from school. Heading straight upstairs I crashed through my bedroom door and collapsed onto my bed. All the way home, every time I was near other people, I kept hearing things. Only now that I was alone did the voices seem to stop.
"Phoenix? What you doing back so early?" Reidar's voice drifted from below.
"Headache," I moaned into my pillow. "Really bad headache." Though it was beginning to improve now that I was alone.
Searching blindly I stretched out my arm and grasped the box of painkillers off my bedside table I had used this morning. I needed to get rid of this before I headed over to Bailey's later. "I'll just take some painkillers now then hopefully after a nap it will be gone completely before the dance."
"Maybe it's best if you stay in tonight."
"I can't do that, I have to meet Finn."
"You don't have to do anything, and if it's so bad that you had to come home early I think it's best for you to not go."
Why was he saying this? Tonight was important, it was my birthday! Didn't I deserve to go out with my friends and have fun.
But just the other week I had been determined not to go, was actually looking forward to spending the night alone with Reidar. Maybe...No! What was I thinking? I had to go tonight, I had to see Finn.
Popping two pills into my mouth I swallowed then dry. "No," I croaked. "I'm going tonight, headache or no headache."
"But nothing Reidar, this is my life, I can't spend all my time staying trapped in my room taking to you. You're probably not even real, I clearly am crazy."
"You're not crazy Phoenix, you know that."
"No I don't. Hell, earlier today I could have sworn I could hear what people were thinking, I'm clearly delusional. It's about time I started living in the real world, starting now."
Climbing under the covers I pulled a pillow over my head desperate not to hear his voice any more.
But why am I being like this? He's my best friend...
No, he's not real. He's just a figment of my imagination.
Eventually it went silent, or maybe my ears just chose not to hear anymore, and I slowly drifted off to sleep.
Waking up I waited for the pounding in my head to begin, or maybe the strange voices that just proved I was losing my mind. But there was nothing, everything is quiet. Dragging my self up and our of bed I looked over at the clock on my far side wall... 5pm.
I needed to get to Bailey's house, like now. Everyone was meant to be turning up just after her folks left, which would be any minute. Ramming everything I might possibly need, make up, hair products, etc, into my backpack, I made my way to the door. "Reidar, I'm going now. Talk to ya when I get back." No answer came. "Reidar?"
Moving back into the room, crouching down to look under the edge of the bed. Nothing. Of course there was nothing, there was always nothing. But why wasn't he answering?
Oh no. I'd yelled at him. Said I didn't believe he was real, that I had lost my mind.
Blinking back tears I made my way back over to the door. I had done the right thing. It was time I grew up and stopped pretending. But still, the pain in my heart now that he was gone was very real.