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Chapter II

7 years ago

Since it’s the first day of classes, we can sit anywhere we want to. The tables are arranged by twos, so we decided to pair up. I sat near the window next to Keeno, while Mabelle and Clary sat at the chairs in front of us. The homeroom teacher is nowhere to be found and all the other students are still piling in, so I just stared outside in the meantime.

From this window, I could see the garden, canteen, and sports fields outback. We always hang out there after school and during our free time. Keeno and I have been friends since grade school. Rock Lake has been our second home because we practically grew up here. Then we met Mabelle and Clary in third grade. From then on, the four of us did everything together.

Noticing that things began to quiet down, I looked at the front of the classroom and saw our homeroom teacher fixing her things on the table. After standing up to greet her, we all settled down and listened to the usual introductory greetings and announcements being done on the first day of classes.

Looking around, I saw Killian seating on the last row too. He sat on where he and Nathan usually sat back in grade school – near the back door.

I stared at him wondering what happened. Nathan and he are cousins and have always been together ever since I knew them. I kinda got lost on my own thoughts that I didn’t realize Keeno complaining beside me.

“Why does every teacher in our school always assign our seats? It’s not like it helps.” Pulling my arm, he added “Aine! Aine! Do you think luck will be on my side this time? I want to sit next to one of you guys.”

Shrugging my arm out of his hold, I said “Stop being dramatic Keeno. Also, don’t get your hopes up. You know how unlucky you are when it comes to this.”

I just laughed at him when he looked at me hurt. It’s true though. Every year he hopes for one of us or someone he at least knows to be assigned next to him, but it always never happens. Although, for our sake, I wish he gets lucky this time around because if not, he’ll be complaining to us every day for the whole year again!

“Okay class, I have put all your names in this box. We will be immediately starting our lesson next meeting so I would like to settle the seating arrangements now that we still have time.” Mrs. Hill announced while her soft gaze sweeps the room.

With that, we all gathered our things and stood in a line outside the classroom as each one of us is called to our assigned seats.

“Keeno Clarke!” Mrs. Hill called out. I let out a snicker when I peeked at the classroom and saw who Keeno was seated next to. I moved back to Mabelle and Clary and whispered, “He is seated next to the new student.”

“Poor Keeno. At least the girl looks nice.” Clary said

“Don’t you remember that girl? That’s Leilah” Mabelle whispered to us

With wide eyes, I answered her, “Wait, Leilah? Keeno’s fifth grade crush Leilah?”

“Oh! I see it! That is Leilah! She looks like an entirely different person from when we last saw her.” Clary said excitedly

“Do you think Keeno remembers her? She only went here for a year. Do you think he still likes her?” asked Mabelle suddenly

Peeking at the classroom again, I observe Keeno. He is already talking to Leilah animatedly. I guess he does remember her.

As I step back to tell the girls that we wouldn’t be suffering from Keeno’s complaints this year, I didn’t realize that there’s someone next to me. When I looked up to say sorry, I was cut off by Killian.

“Careful Aine,” he said while holding my elbows to steady me. “Ah yeah. Sorry.” I murmured back.

Walking up to my friends, I realized that the only ones left outside are Mabelle, Clary, Killian, and me. After telling them what I saw, I heard my name being called.

“Aine Cleary, you sit next to Killian Fox.” Mrs. Hill said, so I followed Killian inside. When we are near our seats he suddenly stopped. I looked at him to ask why but I saw him gesture for me to sit first. In doing so, he let me sit next to the window.

“Thank you!” I told him in return. As I was fixing my things, I realized something. This is the exact same spot I was sitting at before. Did he know that? I didn’t think he noticed. I thought he didn’t even know me until he called my name earlier.

Sneaking a glance at him, I was shocked to see him already looking at me.

“Hey!” I say startled

“Hi!” he answered back with a smile.

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