When I made you smile

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There's always a dreamer

‘New girl.’ a male voice hissed. Sweeping the library for the source of my irritation my eyes stop on Ed. Oh joy. My partner from social here to get to know me better. Knowing I couldn’t blow off the assignment depressed me even more. Sliding my iPad into my backpack along with the books I had already checked out I slid my crutches into place before stalking out of the library. He catches up with me outside.

‘What? You couldn’t even say hey back?’ He leans against the wall beside me. ‘I would have if you had addressed me properly. Hey Eddie. You want to work on the assignment for social now? I have some time free if it works for you.’ scuffing my shoe against the floor I raise my eyes briefly allowing him to see the humour behind my bitchiness. Tossing his head he examines his nails, ‘Well gee let me check my social schedule and get back to you.’ We both burst into laughter at the same time. ‘I’m Edward Stephen Black the fourth.’ He introduces himself before holding out his hand. ‘Ciara Grey the first of her line.’ I reply performing an awkward bob.

‘We look like a couple of weirdos.’ He runs his hand through his messy hair. ‘I guess you could come over to mine to work before dinner unless you’ve got team training in something.’ I offer internally grimacing at the memory of the way I had left the yurt that morning. ‘Chess club doesn’t meet today.’ he offers watching me work my way slowly down the stairs. ‘Where are we going?’ he asks finally as I step onto the path that leads away from campus into the trees. ‘My place.’

Unlocking the door I shift the few incriminating items floating around into my hamper. ‘Oh gods baby girl why?’ he looked horrified at my current living arrangement. I don’t recall giving him permission to be so familiar with me. Must be a private school thing. ‘There was no room in the girls residence. Apparently the yurt is the overflow accommodation.’ I had lived in worse accomodations in Russia. I honestly wasn’t seeing the issues he was. Placing my bag on my table, I motion for him to join me. ‘The project is worth 30 % of our final grade. I can’t afford to lose any more in Social if I want to pass it.’ he admitted easily before pulling up a blank document on his laptop, ‘Catherine the Great.’

‘Yekaterina Alekseyevna.’ correcting him absentmindedly, ‘The palace at St Petersburg was a dream to my nine year old self the first time I visited it.’ ‘I’m sure it was something else to little Sophie Friederike Auguste to be uprooted from all she had ever known to marry for duty.’ he rips me from my day dreaming by reminding me, ‘the task is to compare the historical fact behind the fictional show The Great citing resources used. Target areas to include: Palace life, events leading up to and including the shift in the balance of power from Peter to Catherine and how Catherine’s reign still benefits Russia as a nation today.’

‘I haven’t seen the show.’ admitting it seemed like such a chore. ‘That’s where we’re going to start then.’ He decides easily before eyeing up the comfortable couch in the centre of the living space, ‘I’ll bring snacks and we’ll binge watch it tomorrow.’ Arching an eye brow at him, ’Sure make yourself at home. Moy dom-tvoy dom.’ He shook his head, ‘Russian isn’t one of my strongest languages.’ ’You’d know it better as mi casa es su casa.’ it was hard keeping a straight face when a bubble of laughter threatened to escape at any moment.

‘You’d better keep this casa for the females on campus. Not sure you’d want a bunch of guys hanging out in here when you’re getting your beauty sleep.’ He stated seriously. Hadn’t he heard the gossip on campus? Bella’s rumors effectively kept anyone else from talking to me unless a project demanded direct team work. ‘Haven’t you heard Bella’s edict from on high?’ disbelief coloured my voice. ‘Yeah, but the only question anyone is asking is what are you going to do about it?’ steel underpins the silent demand to pick myself back up and show them all who they were messing with. Hands drop heavily onto my shoulders to prevent me from avoiding the conversation. What could I do? I was a no one here. ‘Nothing.’ the thin whisper of sound escapes from between my lips, ‘I’m going to do nothing and hope they ignore my existence until the end of time.’ His mouth settles into a grim line and I know I haven’t heard the end of the subject.

‘Jealous, insecure bitches the lot of them.’ Raising an eyebrow at him he stops ranting only to explain, ‘Don’t raise a white flag. Trust me when I tell you that Bella is lying through her teeth about what really happened last month in the thunder storm. Emily’s only pissed because Atticus is entranced by the new shiny toy and Flame is too busy to care. If I were you, I’d be seen at the party over at the tree house tonight. Might be fun to check out together.’ He’s quick to add, ‘As friends, I’m already seeing somebody exclusively.’

‘She’ll be okay with this?’ No way do I want to ruffle any more feathers in this chicken coop. ’He’ll be fine. He graduated last semester.’he reassures me calmly. He whips out his phone and dials a number that quickly picks up, ‘Yeah Meg I have a situation that requires your expertise.’ Tuning out the rest of the conversation I focus on the fact that I’m about to willingly socialise with people I don’t particularly like.

Meghan. Quirky, lovable Meghan turned into a piranha at the sight of my mother’s next collection all hanging neatly in my wardrobe. I stood well back out of the way as she surveyed each piece with a critical eye. Reaching into the space as if something would bite her hand she extracted a pair of artfully ripped pale blue jeans and an a line white tunic with a shark bite hemline. ’Put those on. You and I need to have a talk about your all areas access to Dove Fashion House.’ She turned her back and waited while I wriggled my way into my skinny jeans. Tapping on the interior wall of the yurt, she let Ed know it was safe to enter the bedroom. Examining my skin minutely while rubbing a lock of my hair through her fingers to familiarise herself with the texture Meg finally spoke, ‘Keep it natural with a lot of sparkle.’ Silently pointing at my make up trolley she followed the line of my arm before her squeal of happiness threatened both my ear drums and Ed’s. Exhaling at the touch of his fingers in my hair he grins at me in the mirror, ‘Easy girl. I got sisters. She’s makeup and I’m hair. Think of us as your personal fairy godmothers.’ He reassures me before placing his phone in my hands, ‘Choose a game and let us work our magic.’ ‘I’m no one’s fairy anything.’ Meg grumbles from her position behind me. I find Candy Crush and try to zone out from my own make over. I soon give up when Meg starts brushing a natural beige eye shadow with sparkle in it over my eye lids. Mascara, eye liner and nude bodyography lip stain soon followed.

Raising a hand held mirror in front of me I smiled. I hadn’t seen myself in make up in quite some time and it always seemed to be the confidence booster I needed. War paint before a battle. Laughing at the thought silently, the smile I send Meg’s way lets her know that I’m happy with her work.

Running a critical eye over me once more she declares, ‘You’re alright for a newbie.’ My brain short circuits. I hadn’t had to go through the motions of actually making real friends in a long time and I was rusty. ‘Speak your digits into my watch.’ I struggled to find the acceptable words. ‘Oh that’s precious.’ she laughs delighted at my ineptitude, ‘I thought I was the only one who didn’t have all the right words until Edward here schooled me in all things private school.’ ‘And you have learned well my young one. It is time for you to try your wings and another to take your place.’ Ed intoned wisely imitating Master Yoda poorly leaving us both laughing.

‘I think that’s my cue to go get ready.’ Meghan rolls up her beauty bag and zips it back together. ‘Don’t ruin my work.’ she warns me before leaving the way she entered dramatically, ‘Damn I made you look fine.’ Waiting a few minutes I ask Ed, ‘Is she…did she just hit on me?’ ‘Little miss innocent. Don’t tell me you haven’t been hit on by one of your own before?’ he’s digging around for all the juicy information. ‘No. I never had the time to date. I went to school, I went to training and I went to bed repeat for the last five years of my life.’ I shrugged. ‘A dancing robot.’ his eyebrows drew together, ‘You don’t know what you’ve been missing out on. We’ll take it slowly so that you’re not overwhelmed. It’s in the small details that reminds us that we’re not invisible. You have crutches-own it. bedazzle the shit out of it. shout it out for the whole world to see. This is a part of who you are. It isn’t everything you are. Don’t be that sad girl sitting in the corner that thinks she can’t join in or the bitter girl in front of the class giving up her knowledge for free to people who will never appreciate it. Do something! Be something. Chase that dream. It’s not over and its definitely not out of reach.’ In a world full of contradiction it was refreshing to meet someone with so much conviction. ’Cliche much?’I couldn’t help but comment. ‘Not at all.’ he grinned showing his thousand watt smile, ‘Seriously do something with those crutches before we go out.’

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