Letters to Romeo: Bad boy good girl

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Halloween costumes

Stepping into her room, Julie closed the door and leaned her back against it. A soft sigh escaped her lips.

Back then, when the door of Roman’s room had opened, it had turned her pale. He had even gone to the extent of pushing her against the wall, and it had frightened her. But she hadn’t expected Roman actually to walk her until her Dormitorium, and now that he did, she wondered what had changed his mind.

“Everything is okay,” whispered Julie to herself.

She had escaped Roman Moltenore’s wrath and had delivered Eleanor’s letter. Pushing herself, she walked to her bed and sat down. Picking up the letter placed at the window, she noticed her letter had not been picked. Putting it back at its place, she laid on her side with her back facing the window.

She remembered the little brush of Roman’s finger on her wrist, and it had created a jolt in her body. She quickly shook her head.

A few minutes passed, and Julie heard a rustle behind her, along with the night wind that passed through the window.

She quickly sat up and noticed the letter had changed its original position. She quickly pushed open her window and put her head outside to catch sight of the bully, but all she saw was darkness. No one was outside. As tempted as she was to catch the person, she looked at the time and noticed it was thirty past eleven.

“Rule breaker,” muttered Julie under her breath and took hold of the letter that was left for her. She opened it to read—

‘I have a deal for you.’

What was with everyone trying to strike up a deal with her? Asked Julie to herself before continuing to read.

‘If you answer my questions, I will answer certain questions of yours. Your letter will be delivered back to you when I receive all your answers to my questions. PS: But the mummy costume for Halloween stays.’

Julie stared at the letter with suspicion in her eyes. Did the person mean he would give the letter back to her? Taking her book she started to pen down a reply to the person—

‘Do you really mean it when you say you will return it back to me? What if you decide to make copies of it and then give me the original one?’ Taking a pause, Julie continued to write, ‘And what questions do you want to ask me? You won’t bully me anymore?’

Considering how he had written that she could ask him a question, she decided to test her luck and added, ‘What is your name?’

The next day Julie woke up, her reply was waiting for her, and somewhere she was eager to discover who this unknown person was, who had her letter. Unfolding the letter, the first thing she was greeted with was the expression of annoyance.

‘-_- Good try, but no. You wasted your chance on asking a better question, so my turn. Let us start with simple questions. Why do you wear your glasses?’

Reading the last line, Julie’s eyes widened. The way he had framed the question, it was obvious that he knew the truth. After gathering her thoughts, she replied to his question—

‘It makes me feel safe and covers my face. Like I am being protected by it. How did you know that I don’t have an eye sight problem?’

She received her reply in the afternoon when she had gone to the dorm during the lunch hour. As slow as the communication was between her and the letter thief, somewhere it had turned to be the highlight of her days in Veteris.

The thief’s note read—‘I saw you once walking without the glasses and happened to guess it. It looks like the mummy’s attire for Halloween is quite right for you. Might as well start practising using it as you love to hide. Did you know that the more you hide, the more a person gets curious? When did you start wearing the glasses?’

Julie stared at the words. He was so curious about her glasses, did he want to buy one like hers? She wrote back to him—

‘I can tell the same about you hiding your identity. I started wearing them more than a year ago. Are you going to buy glasses that you are interested in them?’ At least this way, she would know to minus the people wearing glasses not to be the letter thief.

Leaving the letter near the window, Julie locked her dorm before heading back to the class with Melanie. They still had two more classes to attend, one being physical education to keep the students healthy and fit. On their way, Julie caught sight of Eleanor, who stood with her friends huddled around her at the side of the stairs.

Though Julie had delivered the letter last night, she was glad that Eleanor had not come knocking on her door to ask if she had successfully delivered the letter.

When they walked closer to the stairs, Julie saw something she would have never expected to see. Eleanor held a handkerchief in her hand. Her nose had turned red and her eyes puffy as if she had been crying the whole night.

“What happened to her?” Melanie whispered to her.

“I don’t know,” replied Julie.

Julie then heard one of Eleanor’s friends say to her, “You don’t have to be hurt over it. He probably was in a bad mood and didn’t mean it,” and she rubbed her back as if to console her.

“That’s true, Eleanor. He would have never hurt you, you are an angel,” said another girl. Hearing this, Julie suddenly felt her throat itch, wanting to clear it.

Eleanor looked as if she was in shock and she said, “Last night, when I opened the door I was happy to see him there. So handsome, I thought I was dreaming, and he had my letter in his hand. But then,” she paused so that she wouldn’t cry, “He tore my letter into small pieces. So small that I cannot even use a tape to fix my first love letter. He looked so mad at me, and I was so scared.”

Roman had entered the Dormitorium with her last night, and he had said he had work. Was this the work? Asked Julie, not knowing he would go to Eleanor and give his response to her personally.

“Why don’t you go and talk to him now? He must be near his classroom-”

“No!” Eleanor looked as if she was scared. “I don’t want to test him. He told me if I don’t stop stalking him, he will make me regret it. That I don’t deserve him and that my letter sucked.”

Her friends looked at each other awkwardly while Eleanor tried to cope with Roman’s words.

“He must have mistook someone else’s letter to be yours. Did that Mary Jane really give him your letter? Maybe she switched the letter,” suggested one of them.

Julie internally rolled her eyes. She didn’t have that much free time to do something like that. Maybe if she switched, Eleanor might not have been scolded for her bad letter.

“No, it was my letter didn’t,” Eleanor shook her head.

“But she-”

“I don’t want to talk about her!” Eleanor glared at her friend, who immediately closed her mouth.

Julie and Melanie didn’t stay there and continued to climb the stairs before disappearing from their sight.

Melanie said, “She looked upset. Roman must have scared her.”

With the way Eleanor looked heartbroken, Julie wondered what exactly Roman said to her, not to mention, the girl didn’t even want to blame her for it. On reaching the floor where their class was, Julie turned her head, her brown eyes looking at the classroom that wasn’t hers.

Julie caught sight of Roman standing outside his classroom with Simon in front of him. He leaned against the wall, his head tilted as he listened to Simon speak with an aloof expression on his face. She noticed a crooked smile on his face, before replying to his friend.

When Julie had almost reached her classroom, Roman’s eyes shifted to look at the corridor, and he noticed her disappear into her classroom. Simon followed Roman’s line of sight, wondering what or who he was looking at. He said,

“What do you think is better, Rome? Joker or a pirate?”

“Does it make a difference?” remarked Roman, turning back to look at Simon. “If you want people running away from you, then joker. If you don’t, probably pirate.”

“Joker it is then. Sinking teeth in terrified people’s neck can be done only during Halloween in this place,” a chuckle escaped Simon’s lips. “It is true. Max is working on convincing Olivia to be Sally so that he can be Jack from that Tim Burton thing. Knowing how he gets under a person’s skin, so I think it is already fixed. Tori I don’t know. Have you decided what you are picking for a costume?”

Roman had a thoughtful expression on his face and the corner of his lips pulled up. He said, “An archaeologist.”

“How boring,” muttered Simon.

It was the time of the evening, and the sky had started to change its colour. Three motorcycles rode towards the main gates of Veteris University. Seeing who it was, the watchman pulled open the gate for them to pass, and soon the five students left the campus.

They travelled away from Veteris and heading towards the mountain area, where they could spend their time hunting and doing what they wanted in leisure from the humans’ eyes.

“For the hundredth time no,” Olivia glared at Maximus, who was trying to persuade her to pair up with him for Halloween. “Why don’t you choose one of your playthings?”

“But they wouldn’t know how to be a grim woman-Ouch!” Maximus yelped when she hit the back of his head. “What? What did I do?”

“Maybe it is what you didn’t do,” murmured Simon, and Maximus turned to give him a look.

“But I am asking Sally-I mean Olivia to be my partner,” said Maximus, turning back to look at Olivia with a dashing smile.

Roman had taken a seat on one of the branches of the tree, watching the sun subtly moving towards the horizon. Years had passed, but the feeling that this place gave was still the same. The tree was located at the outer edge where his friends were sitting on the rocks and near the cliff. He could see them bickering with each other.

He had removed his leather jacket, sitting there wearing a black T-shirt and his ripped jeans. The two plain rings hung in his chain, the metal reflecting light. Pulling out the letter from his jeans pocket, he unfolded and read with a steady gaze.

He knew she was hiding. With glasses that she didn’t need and the sweater that she religiously wore that were of different colours, it was something that he associated herself with. Reading the last line, he rolled his eyes.

“Why would I need glasses for,” he muttered under his breath.

To Roman, Julianne Winters was his prey, and he didn’t want her to be someone else’. As much as he wanted to see her break the rules, he had decided to pause it after what happened last evening. He was territorial about his things and space, preferring no one to step into it.

When he had opened the door of his dorm, the nerve on his forehead had popped. But the more confusing sight was Julie making his bed proper, and his lips subtly twitched on remembering it. When his thumb had caressed her hand with a mind of its own, he finally understood.

There were scars on her wrists. He couldn’t help but wonder if it was inflicted by herself or someone else.

When he had pushed her against the wall, he noticed the innocence mixed with anxiousness in her eyes. Her heart beating loud and clear for him to listen to. And he meant it when he had written to her that the mummy attire suited her as she was fond of covering herself.

Pulling out the pen and pulling out the cap with his teeth, he wrote the reply back to her on the same letter with his left hand—

’Why do I need glasses for when I can just steal them from you? After all, neither of us are short or farsighted. What happened a year ago?

Also, word has been spreading that you went to one of the boy’s dorms to hand your love letter. Too in love with the person that you felt the need to break in? Would have never thought you to be this daring.′

A small smirk appeared on Roman’s lips as he finished writing it.

Away from him, Olivia turned to look at where Roman was sitting. Looking at the paper in his hand, she asked Simon, “Do you have tests?”

Simon turned his head to look at Roman, “None that I am aware of. Maybe he finally decided to follow Mr. Evans’ suggestion of writing down his thoughts and making a journal to handle that temper.”

“On paper?” Olivia raised her eyebrows, and Simon nodded his head.

“Carrying pages is easier than carrying books,” Simon shrugged his shoulders as if he didn’t know what else it could be.

“Rome would never write a journal,” commented Victoria, who was sitting on a rock. After a few seconds, she asked, “Is it true that he’s tutoring her?”

“Whom?” asked Simon with an oblivious look on his face.

“The human,” replied Victoria, and at the same time, Roman jumped down from the tree and landed on the ground, dust lifting up and around his boots.

“I am right here. If you have something to ask, it would be better to ask me directly, Victoria,” stated Roman, walking to where everyone was. He had hung his jacket over one of his shoulders.

Simon didn’t reply to Victoria’s question as Roman was here, and he pulled out a pack of cigarettes from his pocket. Though blood was something that the vampires survived on, some things curbed the thirst, like smoking or consuming alcohol.

“Okay,” replied Victoria, and she asked, “Is it true that you are teaching the human girl? I am sure she has teachers and her friends for that.”

“She isn’t your concern. And neither is whom I teach,” Roman’s words were blunt.

The long-haired blonde girl pursed her lips, her eyebrows drawing in close, “During Sophomore year, I asked you for your help and you refused saying you don’t tutor anyone.”

Roman calmly looked at her, “You are a smart student, Victoria. I don’t think you need help from me and can figure out things on your own,” he raised one of his eyebrows. “Unless you are telling me that you are finding it hard even though you have spent more years than the human who joined this year?”

“I never said that,” responded Victoria.

“Good,” and Roman walked to where Simon was, picking up one of the cigarettes from the pack.

When he placed the cigarette between his lips, he heard Olivia speak, “Did you know that a few days ago Evans caught her and some of the girls in the forest? One of them being Eleanor, the one whom you went to speak to. Since when did you start tearing letters in front of girls instead of throwing them in the trash?”

“It was an eyesore. I thought it would deliver the message quicker to the others too,” Roman lit the cigarette with the lighter while using one of his hands to shield the flame from the wind.

“What were they doing in the forest?” asked Maximus, his interest piquing.

Taking a drag, Roman blew the smoke into the air and said, “Who knows. I only saw him walking her and the girls to the dorm near the edge of the forest. It was the same night when they found Stacey Hopkins’ body.”

“Sometimes I feel Evans is the one who kills people and brings them back to the private infirmary,” Maximus casually said, and Olivia’s lips twitched.

“You should say that in front of him. I am sure he would be very delighted to hear it,” commented Olivia, getting up from her seat and dusting her back.

“If I don’t want to survive the remaining days in Veteris, sure. Looks like it is finally time to hunt,” said Maximus, cracking his fingers and stretching his body. “Do you remember the first time we came to hunt here?”

Roman turned to look at the forest that looked dark with the crickets chirping in the trees and the bushes. He responded, “I don’t think anyone can ever forget it.”

“I don’t think it is anyone’s fondest memory,” muttered Victoria, coming to stand next to Olivia.

When one of their watches beeped, the ones who had been sitting stood up and stepped into the forest, starting their hunt.

After returning to Veteris, the five went to their dorms while Roman made his way to drop the letter. He looked behind him, making sure no one was following him, licking the corner of his lips that had traces of blood as he walked towards his former room.

He noticed the study lamp still burning in the corner of the room, and Julie was sitting at her desk, studying. Looking at the time, he saw it was past twelve.

A few minutes later, Julie yawned and decided to call it a night. Closing the books and turning off the study lamp, she climbed on her bed and noticed the window ajar.

“How do you do that?” whispered Julie, locking the window again and picking up the new envelope. After reading it, she closed her eyes. Did everyone know that she had broken into Roman’s room?! How embarrassing. God only knew why Eleanor had not come banging on her door.

Julie replied to the letter—

‘It wasn’t my confession letter! I was only delivering another person’s letter to him and I am not in love with him! How do you open my window every time? You must be a robber to be able to open my window that I lock with so much ease. This time it is my turn to ask, I didn’t ask you last time either. Two questions.’

Julie paused for a moment, trying to make her questions worthwhile so that it wouldn’t be skipped. There was something she wanted to confirm, and after some thought, she wrote down—

‘You are a boy, aren’t you? Why are you always outside the Dormitorium past the curfew time?’

The following day, Julie received her answers—

‘Your guess is correct, Troublemaker. For the second question of yours, it is because I can. Impressed with my skills? If I am robber, you should be careful of your things, you never know what I might steal one day. I have climbed in and out of the dorm that you are living in countless times in the past. Which is why I know exactly how to open the window without making a sound.’

But Melanie had told her that this room had been locked since she had joined Veteris.

Pulling her blanket close, Julie brought her book and placed the letter on her lap. As he hadn’t asked her anything, she asked—

‘What did you mean by climbing in and out of this room? Was this your secret hideout, because my source said that this dorm has been locked for quite some time now. By the way, do you know the history of these Dormitoriums?’

Would the letter thief know about it? Julie asked herself. It was something she had been curious about since she had discovered a note in the walls of this room.

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