Astra

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Engrossing

The librarians are always sweet enough to let me eat lunch in the library, even though it’s a strict rule that there be no food or drink near the books. I think it’s because after four years of high school I have yet to damage a book.

I smile at them as I walk by, the two librarians who sit and adamantly read, wave back but barely look up from their books.

I flop down into a chair, pulling my legs under me and popping the cap open on my water. My aunt would be happy to see me hydrating, she’s always softly nagging that I need to keep my body healthy.

I’m a few pages deep, delving hungrily into the end of the series I’d told my aunt I’d finished. I find myself so into the book I almost don’t even feel the eyes boring their way into my forehead; almost.

I look up, searching for who’s causing the sensation of glaring. There, across the room, two people stare at me. A girl, whose eyes are filled with a mild curiosity, and a boy whose eyes hold a certain amount of disgust.

They say nothing to me, only stare. But to be honest, I’m used to people staring, the golden eyes freak people out. So I choose to ignore them, giving them only the slightest nod before returning to my book. I’m very determined to finish today, that way I can’t hold the guilt of the lie anymore.

Only, I can’t focus on the book. All I can feel are the eyes, staring deep into my head like they’re trying to set me on fire. I put my book down, the pages slapping my legs with the force.

My eyes meet his, and electricity shoots through me at an unbelievable speed. From my hair to my fingertips to my toes, I feel a buzzing sensation that causes me to gasp aloud. His gaze drops instantly, and the girl stands quickly; crossing the room to me without changing the smile from her face.

“I’m sorry, my brother can’t help but stare at pretty girls.” She says to me once she gets within earshot, her voice is soft and has a twinkle to it. My tongue feels like glue in my mouth, I’m not used to people approaching me and honestly, I’d never seen these two in my life. I can see his eyes raise to me again from my peripheral, the constant staring makes the air feel tight like I can’t breathe.

“Oh—... Ummm…” I start, trailing off. I’m shocked, and at a loss for words. “Thanks?” I mentally kick myself in the ass, that’s all I can say to this girl? It’s not my fault, I suppose, that they are acting so strange. But she laughs, it sounds like bells.

“You must be Astra? I heard whispers through the school about you.” She says to me, and my jaw goes slack. Is she joking around with me? Who is this girl, and why isn’t she shying away from me as others do?

“All good things, I bet,” I say sort of coldly, but my off-putting tone doesn’t send her away. She tucks a thick strand of her dark black hair behind her pale ear, exposing a long thin neck and bare collar bone. Oh boy, all the boys in this school will be tripping over each other to get to her.

She’s beautiful, conventionally so. With long dark hair that tumbles down her back, pale unblemished skin, warm blue eyes, and a full mouth. She’s kind of hard to look at, at least straight in the eyes. I can tell from my seat that she’s short and thin. Dainty, almost. But she holds her head high and speaks with a certain confidence I know I’ll never speak verbatim.

“Well...no. But, that’s ok. You don’t seem scary like they all say.” I drop my head, I knew that the people at this school were off-put by me but hearing it still throws me off. I’m sure if I could feel emotions, I’d be devastated. But alas, I’m numb as always.

“I’m sorry, who are you?” I figure to just ask, I’m not used to people approaching me and honestly, I’m wondering if she has an ulterior motive. If it’s for the guy then she can just stop while she’s ahead, he weirds me out more so than her with his angry eyes and the electrocution I felt.

“Oh, my apologies. I’m Ember, and over there is my brother Beckett. Today’s our first day.” Ember explains, her lips pulling back into a full tooth smile. Perfect white teeth smile, may I add.

“It’s your first day and the rumor mill already told you I'm scary?” I can’t help but prod, she seems honest. She laughs sheepishly, indicating back to her brother; who still stares at me.

“I should get back, but I just wanted to come to say hi and apologize for the staring-” I cut her off, rather rudely.

“He’s still staring.” I’m sure if I cared about anything I’d feel bad for my rudeness, but I don’t. Even though she looks a little taken aback.

“Yes well, I’ll tell him to stop. Have a nice day, by the way.” And then Ember leaves, her hair swishing with each step. The intense staring from Beckett stops, and I finally feel like I can breathe again.

Beckett looks like his sister, with thick dark hair and fair features, I’m sure all the girls will be after him soon enough. His jaw is tight like he is clenching it, and his eyebrows are furrowed with frustration. What’s gotten under his skin? Whatever it is, seems to be bothering him.

His eyes shoot up like he’d felt me staring, and makes eye contact with me. Beckett’s eyes aren’t a warm blue like Ember, they’re an icy gray that cuts me like ice. My skin breaks out in chills and the electricity comes back, making my body feel like I’d stuck my hand in a socket.

Then just like that, they both stand up, Ember smacking his arm so that he averts his eyes. They exit the library smoothly, without a second glance back. My eyes follow them out the room, unable to look away. I’m completely intrigued by these two new people, the girl who is not afraid of me and the boy who is angry at me.

Who are these people? I can’t help it, I want to know more about them. Shaking my head I force my eyes back to my book, something that is safe and isn’t threading onto new territory.

I need to forget these people, I don’t know why but my gut tells me I need to. Still, icy gray eyes stay at the forefront of my brain for the remainder of the school day.
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