CHAPTER ONE: WELCOME SILENCE
The first time I met Silence was at the back of an empty classroom. My new classroom to be exact. I thought I'd come in early, get used to the room and start from there.
"Lessons begin at nine-thirty and it's only eight so I've got some alone time." The statement I held in my head was strung up in hope and sheer belief.
"I mean there's no way there'll be students here at this hour. I'm sure they're all still asleep after the Spring festival last night... right?"
The confusion of this being a question or statement rolled about in the quietness of The Academy halls. Come to think of it, whoever named this school must've been really lazy because it just starts with "The" and ends with "Academy".
"Good-morning Mr. Fairchild." The suddenness of the voice made me jump and I dropped my helmet, the sound echoing down the corridor. My eyes met the teacher before me, and I relaxed slightly.
"Good-morning Ms. silver." Smiling she helps me pick up the remaining books.
"Sorry about that, it seems I interrupted something. You looked deep in thought, I thought maybe you were nervous," the smile she gave me was definitely sweet but I felt something else hidden behind them as she continued, "I can assure you Sensei that the students are all looking forward to meeting you and I'm looking forward to getting to know you too." There it is. That glint in her eyes. That subtle yet very visible look indicating her new target. I sigh inwardly. Great, just great.
"It's my first time at a private school so I look forward to meeting and getting to know everyone," I bow my head in respect returning her smile, "I hope you and the other teachers take care of me from here on out, Ms. Silver." The chuckle that escaped her lips made my skin crawl, but I just continued to smile.
"There's no need to be so formal. We are colleagues now after all. Call me Samantha," she held out her hand and I shook it, "plus you are older than I am are you not, Mr. Fairchild?"
"I... I am. But only in age Ms. Silver, in this environment you're far more experienced so I still believe I can learn many things from you and everyone here."
I notice her eyes roam the entirety of my body. From my messy helmet hair to my boots still on my feet as her lips curl into a smirk. Waw. So much for subtlety.
"I'm sure I can be of help to you in many ways Mr. Fairchild. If you ever need me, you know where my desk is." And with that she walks off, exaggerating the movements of her hips. Great, just great. For a near thirty-year-old male, you sure know how to attract those women, don't you? I exhaled a breath of relief as she disappears and continue to my classroom in silence.
My father has always been big on education, so I was in a learning environment quite often. I guess that's why I still find myself entangled in its web to this day. Being adopted by strangers was in many ways difficult. That, plus the language barrier was a pain in the ass to get over, though I guess learning English wasn't that hard and father did learn some basic Japanese from dad before I moved here.
All in all, it wasn't all that bad. I guess I have an affinity for difficult things. Maybe that's why women are no longer fun. Brother keeps insisting on me getting married. I swear that guy really enjoys annoying me. I feel a smile creep across my face as I think of William. I was never jealous of him and he never used my origin against me. In more ways than one, he was indeed the perfect older brother.
And he's the one stuck in that boring office so I guess we both struggle every day.
Classroom three-two, three-three, ah there it is, classroom three-four...
I freeze as I entered the room. A ghost? A corpse? Shaking the thoughts from my head I move to my desk at the front of the room and place my things down neatly before moving to the lifeless body at the back. As I moved closer, I could hear the music coming from her headphones... All time low. Hmm, she's got good taste in music.
A manga laid across her chest rising and falling with each shallow breath she took. Phew, at least she's not dead. That would’ve been one hell of a first day. Her uniform draped neatly down her frame. I stare down at her face... well the half I could see. A baseball cap was pulled low over her eyes and nose, but her mouth was... visible. I blinked, shaking my head clear.
"Excuse me..." Silence. As I reached out to shake her awake, she sits up abruptly instead, the cap still on her head. Closing the book, she got off the desk and moved to the window. Silence. Wh-What was that?
"G-Good morning, I wasn't expecting there to be anyone here at this hour..." Silence, "I guess you're one of my students. I'm..."
"I know who you are Fairchild Sensei." Her soft yet hoarse voice seemed to echo in the quiet room. The slight unrecognizable accent played with my ears ever so slightly and I was rendered speechless... Is that all?
"Ummm. Your name?" She seemed to tense at the question, but it disappeared as quickly as it came.
"S squared," she said it so matter of factly I almost believed her.
"S squared... as in mathematical terms?"
"I refuse to believe that's your real name." I study her as she seemed to think about what to say next. She was neatly and properly dressed minus the headphones and cap. A badge attached to it read 'F*CK CANCER'. Well then, that hits the spot.
"Of course, it's not. It is simply the simplified form of my nickname."
"What does it stand for?"
"Silent Student or Student Silent. I guess the order depends on your own imagination." She shrugs and I chuckle at her tone when she says that. I guess she's not so bad.
"Were you given that name by the students?"
"The teachers also participate, so I guess I was renamed by the entire Academy." I notice her jaw tenses as she says that.
"Are you being bu... I mean do they..."
"Don't worry Sensei. I'm not some bully victim so please erase the thought," she gets up from the window and moves back to the desk picking up the manga before heading to the door, "I just don't talk much. I suppose they all forgot that I still have a voice I'm afraid." She opens the door and steps through.
"Wait," I follow her to the door, "if that's the case. Why did you talk to me?" Silence. "And how did you know who I was."
"I heard of you in the teachers' lounge," she replies with her back still to me, "as for talking. I suppose I thought it would be rude to ignore you on your first day." She replies and starts walking away again. Somehow her voice sounded, sad. Who is she?
"Welcome to The Academy Sensei." Was the last thing she said before disappearing down the stairs, leaving me to the silence of the empty room once more. I moved from the doorway, making my way back to the front, checking the time. Eight-fifteen.
"Well damn, it felt like hours." I study the room for a bit longer, my eyes lingering at the desk she’d laid on and the window a bit longer than they should've.
I sigh and look away from the window, "Welcome to the first day of the rest of your temp life Yuzuki." After what seemed like ages, I pick up my backpack and helmet and make my way to the teachers shared office.
My first day flew by and before I knew it, I was already on my way home. I'd somehow managed to avoid Samantha all day so kudos to me. However, I don't think I saw ‘her’ for the rest of the day. It’s not like I looked or anything. Plus, I don't even know what her entire face looks like so even if we did run into each other again I wouldn't really know. A couple of the girls didn't speak when I called their names during attendance and just raised their hand and one student seems to have been absent. Pretty unconventional name wasn’t it? So much for my first day.