“So, what about you?” Rachel asked, scoring another goal and hitting the handle, causing the rod with the plastic football men to spin as Joey cursed under her breath, “I apparently have lost my ability to play foosball.”
“Not that, you idiot, the report.”
Joey looked at her for a second, confused and squinting her eyes at her, she blinked, “Oh, right that … It’s finished.”
“Finished?” Rachel stopped for a second, leaving the goal post undefended, giving Joey a clear shot, which she took.
“Yeah,” she smirked.
“When did you do that? I swear I haven’t seen you study once since … since forever actually.”
“No seriously, bud … Do you even own textbooks?”
“Yeah, but I just …. Don’t sleep.”
Rachel snorted, “Yeah right, you sleep more than Connor … and that’s saying something.”
“Connor? Since when have you been timing his sleep?” Joey was grinning, hinting at Rachel’s slight, if not as obvious as a neon sign, crush on him.
“Shut up.” She grimaced as her annoyance got the best of her and Joey scored again.
“I’m nocturnal, Raich” she bragged, “A creature of the night.”
“Liar. You’re too hyperactive during the day” Rachel argued
“Oh that? … I just drink lots caffeine.”
“That’s … that isn’t healthy!”
“Stow it, mom. I’m fine.”
Rachel sighed, promptly losing the game.
Rachel went back to the library that night before heading back to the cabins.
“Emma?” she called out to the librarian as she approached her
She raised her eyes from the ledger that she was scrawling on, “Hey, Rachel – a little late isn’t it?”
“Yeah, Emma … I need a favor.” Rachel began, pausing for a resigned sigh, “There is an archives section right? Old newspapers, magazines, stuff like that?”
“Yeah, why?” She got up deciding to head over there, “Is everything okay?”
“Oh, stupidly ironic history project.”
“This is an orphanage … and our history teacher wants us to submit a report about our family history.”
“Did you talk to Wesson about that?”
“Nah, none of us did. We’re just too tired to even bother with her right now. God knows what’s going on in her head.”
“It is a little cruel…”
“So, listen … Could you try and look up my dad? The name’s Davis Fayne.”
“Yeah sure, what year?”
“Go for November 2002.”
“Got it, boss” she smiled and winked, “Drop by tomorrow and I’ll let you know if I found anything.”
Rachel walked out of the library, shoving her hands in her pockets. The rec center was empty now and everyone had gone to bed. She stepped outside, surprised to find Joey leaning against the wall, “What took you so long?”
“Do you always do that? Lurk around the shadow, waiting for me to come out?”
Joey just looked at her and smiled, teeth glinting.
Joey went into her room and Rachel walked towards her own room. She spotted light coming from beneath the door and wondered who was in her room past curfew. She inched the door open, surprised to see Wesson standing in front of her bookshelf.
“You have a lovely taste in literature.”
“Uh, thanks Mr. Wes”
Wesson turned around, “its Wesson” he stressed, “Joey seriously needs to stop with the nicknames.”
Rachel plunked down on her bed, wondering how to begin, “Uh … what brings you here at … this time of the night?”
He shrugged it off, “I had to ask you something … then you crossed curfew.”
Rachel glanced at her watch, “It’s only been five minutes”
“Yes, well I was worried.”
“I was just at the Rec center … got caught up in some research” she defended, “Lost track of time.”
“Ah, well … I was just concerned. Rachel, I need you to tutor Jake for a couple of weeks.”
“Uh, sure, why not?” she smiled, “He isn’t that bad”
Wesson smiled, “Teaching him math is no piece of pie. I swear, he has the world’s shortest attention span.”
“I don’t mind.” Rachel smiled and started taking off her shoes.
Wesson nodded at her, “About the curfew … I don’t want that happening again okay?”
“Yes sir.” She smiled despite wanting to repeat that it had only been five minutes…
He was about to leave when she spoke up, “Mr. Wesson?”
“Yeah?” he asked from the doorway.
“How much do you know about my parents?”
“Why?” he turned to look at her from over his spectacles
“Miss Camilla … she gave us a project about our family history … and unless you want my grades to go down again, I’d appreciate if you could help me out with it cause I don’t want to hand in blank pages”
“Yeah, yeah! Sure … umm, what would you like to know?”
“Just some quick facts: Birthdays, anniversaries, what they were like – just something I could work with”
Wesson’s demeanor had changed since she mentioned her parents. He seemed a little squeamish but answered her nonetheless.
“Sure, I’ll help you out. But, well, obviously not now cause its past curfew and all.” He said quickly
“Yes. Alright, thank you.” Rachel nodded, narrowing her eyes a bit at his behavior.
“Good night, Rachel.”
He was out the door before Rachel could wish him a good night. She blinked in confusion but shrugged it off along with her jacket.
She pulled the blanket over her and fell asleep almost instantly. Jake wasn’t all that bad.
“Dude, come on!” Rachel groaned as Jake messed up the multiplication for the fifth time.
“What did I do wrong?” he looked up at her with his large, hazel eyes. He looked genuinely hurt.
God, those puppy dog eyes!
Rachel’s features relaxed and she began softly, “Sweetie, you’re supposed to carry the number here.” She pointed out the mistake with the back of her pen.
He nodded his head vigorously and started erasing his mistake.
Rachel closed her eyes and pinched the bridge of her nose. Mark came by, “Having fun, Raich?”
Rachel narrowed her eyes at him, “Two weeks, Marcus, two weeks and he’s your headache.”
He smiled and ruffled her hair; Rachel huffed and threw a pillow at him.
Jake tugged at her sleeve to grab her attention.
He thrust the notebook into her hands, eyes bright and smile wide, bangs falling into his eyes. Rachel smiled, brushed the hair out of his eyes and looked at the notebook.
She grinned wider when she saw that he didn’t make a single mistake. She was about to hand it back when he turned the page for her.
He had attempted the next five questions, all of them correct.
He was over the moon when Rachel told him that he did great. He rushed outside to play and bumped into Anna on the way in.
“That was quick” she pointed out
“It takes Mark hours to get him to do his work.”
Rachel shrugged with a smirk on her face, “I guess he likes me more.”
She headed to the library right after the tutoring session and walked up to Emma. She saw her approaching and starting smiling really wide. Emma was just one of those people that had contagious smiles. She wasn’t unconventionally beautiful or anything but something about her ever smiling nature made her stand out in a crowd.
“You look happier than usual.” Rachel commented, “Which isn’t a bad thing … it’s just … what’s up?”
“I FOUND SOMETHING!” She squeaked, only to be shushed by the people in the library.
Rachel was lost for a moment before it struck her, “Dad?” she whispered.
She was answered by a thin rectangular box being thrust into her arms and a vigorous nod from Emma.
“Go on!” Emma was still smiling, “Don’t open it up here though…” her smile dimmed, “I mean, you don’t know what you’re gonna find or even if you’re ready for it…”
Rachel felt strange. She was grateful and nodded in agreement but almost out of polite habit. Her head was moving but thoughts were racing already, she turned around and walked out of the library, box clutched in her arms.
She closed the door with her foot and placed the box on the bed. Rachel spotted a piece of paper on her table and picked it up, making herself comfortable on her bed.
Rachel unfolded to sheet and immediately recognized the handwriting. It was the list of facts and dates that Wesson promised:
Davis Tristan Fayne 8th October 1971
Melissa Fayne (Benson) 29th December 1975 – 17th April 2001
Married: January 14th 1992
These were dates were followed by some details about the architectural firm which Rachel skimmed over, deeming unimportant.
Rachel froze. Rereading:
Matthew Fayne: November 20th 1997 – 18th January 2000
Rachel Fayne: March 15th 1999
Rachel let out a shaky breath and stared at the page. Her hands had started to shake and tears were brimming on her eyes.
There is a stage, right before you start crying, when you know that if you blink, you can blink back tears but then, a little past that stage, part of you screams that you cannot cry but blinking just makes the tears fall faster.
So you don’t blink, but then the tear falls anyway, despite the fact that you are as still as can be, almost frozen. Not thinking straight, not blinking, not moving, not sniffling, barely breathing … but that tear still falls.