CHAPTER 8: UNWANTED ENCOUNTERS
I groaned, annoyed at the sound of my phone ringing. I knew who it was without even looking at the caller ID. He's been calling to wake me every weekday for the past two weeks, at the same time to ensure I don't sleep in, so I'm not... late. Sigh. Sensei, you need a better hobby.
"I do have an alarm you know." I answer with a sigh.
"Well, it doesn't seem to stop you from turning up to tutorial after the last bell, so, I'm your alarm." He sounds slightly sleepy still, a soft yawn escaping him causing me to smile broadly. I haven't been able to tell him that I do in fact arrive an hour early every day but just choose not to go to lessons till the last minute. To be honest, after what happened between us that night I still haven't told him much about me and he doesn't push me to answer the questions I know he wants to ask. I haven't told him exactly who and what I am and I don't think I have the guts to, well not now anyway. I mean how would anyone react when they find out that a nineteen-year-old has been running one of the richest and most prestigious Academies in this city according to our academic records and the statues of the students that attend here and has been doing so for the past three years. Thanks a lot, father.
"Are you sure that's why you call every morning? Or do you just want to hear my voice that badly?"
"Nothing gets past you huh Atlas?" I bite down on my pillow to stifle my moan as his chuckle travels through the phone.
"Hmmm. You're meant to be an educator Yuzuki-San."
"Oh, I think I am being an educator." I could see the smirk that spread across his face by the tone of his voice and I couldn’t help but laugh.
"How exactly are you doing that Sensei?"
"Well, I got you talking did I not?"
"Well, I suppose. But I have always been able to speak, I just choose with whom."
"I taught you the art of kissing A-Chan." The chuckle he let loose triggers a warmth in me I didn't know even existed until I met him. Hmm, maybe he is an 'educator’... of sorts.
"Kissing and the art of skin-ship I believe." I reply sarcastically causing him to laugh before falling silent.
"Why didn’t you ever have a boyfriend or anything? I understand that most of the guys you know may be younger but..."
"I'm very picky, Sensei."
"Are you wondering why you?"
"Well, kinda. I mean I'm - in good terms - an old fart, when compared to boys from The Academy."
"Your appearance begs to differ."
"Atlas." I could tell he was trying to be serious but I couldn’t help the laugh that left my lips.
"Alright. I guess you looked like you were warm." I could hear the wheels turning in his head as he tries to understand what I meant and how to reply. How cute.
"I guess what I mean is that I've been so used to running away and avoiding everyone I figured you looked like you'd be the perfect anchor for someone as fucked up like me." He’s silent before his sigh rings through the phone.
"There's a lot you're not telling isn't there."
"Everyone has graveyards in their closets sadly."
"I'm sure there's a way to change your path Atlas."
"I have thought of the possibility, but it seems like all great tragedies are destined from the beginning. Therefore, no matter how many times you change direction, you are bound to hit that wall sooner or later." The pause this time was uncomfortable and a soft rustling told me he'd sat up.
"Atlas, I know you're technically a young adult, but your view and perceptions of things are rather... sad. Detached, even."
"That must disappoint someone as calm and carefree as you, huh Sensei?"
"On the contrary. Although I hate that you've had to face so many hardships already, I am rather impressed with your ability to see reality for what it is and not some rainbow filled world. It helps me understand you even more. I can understand how you're able to maneuver yourself in a world you don't fit into and still have the most beautiful smile around." I roll my eyes at the less than subtle compliment he squeezed in at the end.
"You are quite weird you know. Isn't this where you're met to go, oh Atlas you need to make friends and get out there. Be more sociable." I chime trying to mimic his pitch.
"And why would I do that?" He chuckles.
"Well. That's what..."
"Everyone else says? Come on A-Chan you should know me better by now."
"I guess I learn about you every day."
"That's good too. I'm happy."
"Because it means you won't get too bored and I won't become too predictable." We both laugh before ending the call as we get out of bed.
Yawning, I get up tucking my books and necessities into my satchel before taking a shower and getting dressed. Finally making my way to the kitchen, I can’t help but sigh at how my apartment now feels sort of too large once again . Come on Atlas, you're used to the lack of human contact, don't tell me you've gone soft. Sighing I fix myself breakfast while checking my routes and traffic. Since I know he’ll call and complain if I drove again today public transport will have to do for the next few days.
Walking through the lobby I greet the lobby guard with a short smile and wave which he returns. Damn you Martin and your stupid spies everywhere, I swear at the eyes I feel on me as I head to the exit.
"Have a good day today miss.""
"I've told you before to call me Atlas. Also, I'm expecting a delivery, can you please collect it for me?"
"Of course mi... Atlas."
"Thank you." I reply with another smile. Turning on my music which is shortly cut of by my phone ringing.
"Yuzuki?" Is he already heading in?
"I don't quite like seeing you smiling at other dudes Ms. Winters." His voice was teasing with a stern latent tone and confusion crept through my mind.
"Huh?" Looking up as I exit the building I spot the frowning face of annoyance.
"What are you doing here?!" I ask, ending the call as I walk towards him, looking around cautiously.
"Waiting." He said still frowning. I look in his direction and realize he's still staring at the guard.
"Jealous?" I ask smirking. Without answering he gets off his bike to stand before me putting on my helmet and fixing my scarf and jacket.
"Shall we go?" I can't help but stare at the man stood before me.
"Atlas?" The softness in his voice feels warm compared to the chilly March morning makes me smile and before I know it I'm hugging him. I could feel him tense at my unexpected movement but in time he relaxes, one arm hugging across my shoulders the other at the back of my head pulling me closer to him.
"Good morning Atlas." He says kissing the top of my head. God this man smells good. So warm.
"Good morning Yuzuki." We finally pull away from each other reluctantly, getting onto his bike and taking off.
"So, how long have you been going in this early?" The questions cut through the silence hugging us.
"You mean every day?"
"So you coming into lesson late isn't because you're actually late but you choosing to?"
"Yes." He chuckles, looking slightly over his shoulder, bumping my helmet with his jokingly.
"You are indeed a weird specimen A-Chan." I poke his side and he laughs, taking my hands pulling me even closer to him, "A weird and beautiful specimen." A blush creeps along my face and I bury my face in his jacket.
"How did you know by the way?" I ask as we slow down to a stop at a red light.
"I'm a teacher Atlas. And I know you well enough to know you coming late even when I've been waking you up was weird."
"You weren't stalking me or anything weird right?" I questioned teasingly.
"If only," he chuckles, "I was heading in early on Tuesday when I thought I saw you but dismissed it... then as I was coming in on Wednesday I saw you head towards the roof and so..."
"You put two and two together."
"Yup. I must say you've got a pretty nifty hide-out up there."
"Thank you," I smile, "Wait. Even though you knew that I've been coming in early, how did you know what time I left home?" We pull into the empty parking lot and begin making our way to the classroom my hands full of the marked assignments his hands in his pocket. I’m sure this is some sort of abuse. Slave labour.
"What would you say if I said I stalked your apartment building yesterday?"
"I wouldn't be surprised." We laugh as we entered the classroom but the smile on my face instantly dies as I notice the man sitting calmly in Yuzuki's chair.
"Ummm... Good morning, can I help you?" The crooked smile that forms across the man’s face made my blood boil and I slam the papers onto the desk, Yuzuki's eyes mirroringing shock.
"You must be Jason Fairchild, yes?" The smirk still dancing on his face.
"Ah, yes. I am and you are?" He looks from the anger on my face to the man sitting in his chair.
"Oh right, how rude of me. I'm..."
"What are you doing here?" My question comes out as cold and venomous as I intended and his faces distorts in anger before he quickly covers it with his sly smile.
"Atlas?!" Obviously shocked he stares from me to the stranger.
"Oh, don't worry Mr. Fairchild. Atlas has always been such a querulous child."
"Excuse me but who are you?" Annoyed I stepped in between them anger boiling in my blood like a volcano about to erupt.
"Are you not going to answer?" I knew the venom in my voice was not lost as he flinchs again. Good.
"...?!" Yuzuki looks between me and the old man.
"It's a pleasure to finally meet our fine new teacher, Mr. Fairchild," he says looking me dead in the eye, "I'm Frank. Frank Ingram."
"N-Nice to meet... Ingram?! As in..." He extends his hand out for a handshake before pausing to look at me, as though waiting for approval. I sigh and look away and he steps forward taking the old man's hand.
"Yes, Chairman of The Academy. Well, ex-chairman, it's complicated." he says looking over Yuzuki's shoulder at me, "I hope you enjoy your time here." Smirking he gets up and exits the room. My feet, however, couldn't move and I was stuck in place before they gave away and I hit the floor, my chest heaving. The old man's face and tobacco smell still playing around in my head as though laughing at me. I felt his arms wrap around me but I couldn't hear anything. The look on his face was a mixture of shock and worry. Trying to move my hands, I reach for the pill bottle but it was to no avail. My shaking hand wraps around the bottle but my fingers were shaking too much to hold onto it. Yuzuki seems to realize my aim and I see him through blurred vision, dig through my bag pulling out my water bottle and the pill bottle before helping me take one. Before long my panic attack and my breathing becomes stable again, and the realization that I was still in his arms hit me.
"Are you alright now?" He asks, soothing my hair.
"I-I... I'm sorry about that," I say forcing myself to my feet, "I'm fine now." I gave him a somewhat reassuring smile but I could tell he wasn't having it.
"Atlas..." The tone of his voice... I hated it.
"You always say later!" He digs into his pocket taking out the pill bottle pushing it into my chest, "Care to tell me why you have a portable pharmacy in your damn bag? Or why you just had a panic attack because of that man?" he said pointing towards the door. His tone wasn’t a shout but his authority spoke through.
"I won't take later for an answer either." I keep my eyes glued on the bottle in front of me. Fuck. Just when I thought I'd have a break from the old man and Yuzuki's questions. Sighing, I sidestep, moving away from him.
"I really want to tell you everything... but..."
"Let me guess, it's complicated?" His brows frown and I sigh again. I still felt uneasy being in the same room the bastard was just in and I couldn’t seem to stop pacing. He's about to start his game again. Why so soon?! I only just got back! What is he thinking?! Rage built up in the pit of my stomach and I cease my pacing before finally looking at Yuzuki. He's sat on his table looking at me, the frown still at his brows, arms crossed. I really don't want him to get hurt. Father always takes away from the things most important to me and he's now become someone I can't bare to lose. He’s after him.
Now that father knows, I hate myself for even thinking of giving him up. Fuck. Why is everything so fucking complicated. Why did I have to have an attack at this exact moment? That bastard knew my rage would trigger it.
"Are you mad?"
"Shouldn't I be? It kinda hurts a man when he feels he isn't trusted by his..." his voice trails off and the rest of the sentence is lost. His what? I go towards him dropping the pills in my bag before parting his legs with my own standing between them. Relief washing over me when he doesn't stop me or pull away. I have to answer at least one of his questions if I want to keep this man by my side.
"The pills... remember I told you I was sick as a child?" I slacken my tie and begin to unbutton my shirt. His eyes widening at my sudden actions.
"Y-yes..." His eyes following my fingers before snapping back to my eyes. So cute.
"Well, it was because of this." I take his hand and put it to my chest.
"W-wha..." he jerks away slightly.
"Look." he's hesitant before looking at where I’d placed his hand, and the shocked expression that follows made his face look grim. My heart sinking at the look on his face. His eyes find mines again but he was silent as his fingers traced the scar that ran down the center of my chest.
"I already mentioned that I was born prematurely and so since birth, I'd always had heart problems. My blood type is pretty rare apparently so it took quite a while to find a suitable donor. Only my mom had my BT but since she'd died when I was born it took a while to get my type; well enough of it for my surgery. So when I finally got the surgery done, father sent me to stay with grandma as taking care of me had became a burden…” I couldn’t meet his eyes and only looked at our joins hands, “... adjusting took longer than planned so I stayed in the hospital in grandma’s town and then spent the next few years at her villa till I was well enough…” I could feel my mouth becoming dry but I knew I had to continue, I had to tell him, “I've got three pill bottles in total. The red pill bottle is for my heart, the blue is painkillers cause I get headaches often and the black,” I pause pointing at my bag, “is because I have panic attacks. I wasn't trying to keep anything from you I just didn't want to seem pitiful or like some weak, vulnerable rich girl. Plus I don’t have panic attacks that often and I hated how people looked at me when they saw the pill bottles so I got coloured ones so no one knows what pills they are... well except for Martin as he got them for me. So, that's that." I begin to move away but he pulls me into his embrace burying his face in my shoulder, inhaling sharply.
"Just a moment." His voice was hoarse... is he crying. Ugh. I felt my anger building.
"I told you I hate people who pit...!" His warm hands across my cheek stopped the words dead in my throat.
"I'm not... I promise" he says looking into my eyes, "I'm not pitying you nor do I believe you're weak or vulnerable... I... I think you're absolutely beautiful. With that scar and all. I wouldn’t dare judge you so selfishly based on your past." His hands travel along my shoulders, nestling at the small of my back.
"You're a weird man Sensei." The look in his eyes as he smiles at me warms me in places it shouldn't, especially not here. He moves his hands from my back before tracing my face again, eventually fixing my shirt and tie.
"As much as that look was extremely sexy on you, I'm afraid we're still in school and I wouldn’t want to lose all my self-restraint." I smile, kissing his forehead before licking his ears and jumping out of his reach.
"I promise I won’t tease... much." He rolls his eyes, running his hands through his hair.
"You are indeed a devil, woman." Smiling, he looks at me but it disappears quicker than normal.
"What do you want to know?" The smile he gives is weak as though he was caught in some act.
"Ummm... why'd you have an attack earlier? What's your relationship with the Chairman. From what I’ve heard isn't he supposed to be an acquaintance of your fathers?"
"An acquaintance my ass." How exactly do I go about explaining all this shit to him? From a long time ago, he's always seemed so light and far away. Now. Now, here he was. What would you think of me now Yuzuki Sensei?
"Why do you hate him so much."
"Because beyond that snake’s smile, he is nothingness. A poisonous bastard. And one I very much detest."
"I have a feeling that's as vague as you'll be going with your answer."
"Do you remember the game I told you my father has me playing?"
"How can I forget. You still haven't explained it to me." He replies rolling his eyes slightly. Too cute.
"Well, let's just say the chairman's a player... of sorts." As I said that, his brow quirks as he stares at me and I laughed, "No-no, please don't think it's like that," I move between his legs again, our lips inches apart, "I can assure you, you are the first and only guy I've ever allowed to get so, forward, with me Yu-San. Well without me being in charge that is."
"What?!" Shit. Maybe I shouldn't have said that.
"I-It was a jo..." His hands move to the back of my neck pulling me further covering my lips with his. Soft and gentle at first but it gets deeper and more determined. A small groan escapes him as he deepens the kiss before pulling away, reluctance in his every move. Thank god we're in the classroom so it thankfully doesn't go further than that. I could practically feel the heat radiating off my face and that's not the only storm raging in me right now. Damn you, Fairchild.