Once she left her bedroom in a new change of clothes, Esther found Rihana leaning against the frame of a wooden arch, waiting for her most likely. "Oh, Rihana," the blonde girl smiled, but despite the calmness in her voice, the brunette jumped to attention. It almost made Esther laugh, but she stifled her chuckle behind pressed lips.
"Did I scare you?" she asked, but Rihana ran her fingers through a strand of hair and shook her hand. "No," the brunette began, "Well, yes actually. I was...just thinking."
With an eyebrow arched, Esther replied, "Oh? What about?" Interestingly, Rihana was hesitant to speak, glancing to her left and right, shifting her weight to one foot then the other. A frown began to form on Esther's face, but she forced herself to simply shrug and ignore the odd behavior. "Whatever," she mumbled, "You don't have to tell me. Let's get to dinner, or Mister Broody will get mad if we're late."
Rihana's mood changed instantly. She crossed her arms over her upper body and gave Esther a look that could be considered maternal, but disappointed.
"What?" Esther whined, proceeding down the stairs and to the garden.
""Mister Broody"? Don't you think that's a bit...mean, Esther?"
"Suits him perfectly though..." the blonde girl muttered, opening the glass door that led outside. They were met with the sight of a stone path that trailed onto the center of the garden which was a small patio were outsides meal were held. A hedge surrounded the patio with only an opening in the grass wall that was the entrance for the trail to end. Trees and shrubs decorated the background, standing over them as dawning giants in the night while the lamps that hung from the branches lit the way for the two girls.
"Wow..." Rihana had said, looking up in awe and not moving from her place at the doorway.
"Agreed." Esther replied, allowing her previous frown to disappear as her face matched the brunette's. "I've never seen anything more beautiful."
"And that, I agree on," laughed the other girl. All of the sudden, Rihana stopped her gawking and directed her eyes towards the patio. "Hey?!" she cried make the other flinch. The brunette pointed at the unknown man who went unseen before, "Who are you?"
Esther could see the smirk, even though the two weren't face to face, as Bishop dropped his newly taken form and returned to his normal appearance of raven hair and olive skin. Again, the urge to snort came over her as she pushed past Rihana and moved from the doorway and to the patio.
"Show off," she said, giving him that same irritated eye roll she seemed to have a habit of doing, and stood up to him with her hands on her hips. By now Esther's distaste for the boy was quite clear. And even though Bishop had not given Esther any real reason for her to not like him, but it seemed as though the blonde girl was bound to feel this way for the boy. No one could tell whether Bishop's feelings were of mutual dislike, but with such a plain and stoic face, it would be difficult to tell without pressing him for questions or reading him mind.
Neither option was possible at this point...
When Rihana appeared behind her, she warily looked from Esther to Bishop and back as the boy spoke, "You can practice, just as much as I can. You have the ability, yet you roll your eyes at me like a petulant child who can't get their way,"
Now, the brunette could see Esther's hands and fingers fidgeting and turning into a fist. The boy may or may have not seen this reflex, but he was admittedly adamant in making the blonde girl mad. Her outburst had yet to come though, as Esther waited there, standing and anticipating her breaking point. "My dear girl," Bishop dryly continued, "I believe it is you who is showing off. Your words and your actions are all designed to garner some form of attention....And not all of it is good."
Esther's teeth clenched. ‘"My dear girl"?! Showing off? I'm...what...I don't even....I'm going to kill him!' was the first thought that came to her.
Her face twitched as though she couldn't decide whether to be angry or to speak. But she knew if she opened her mouth whatever swear word that swam in her head would fly out in a screaming rage as moved to punch or strangle him. Bishop, on the other hand, leaned back in his chair and observed Esther and her fury that boiled a little too close to the surface.
"No words, dear girl?" He mildly teased as a ghost of grin touched the corners of his mouth.
Esther held a hand up, and Rihana noticed the girl's expression turning into something that resembled a stern woman, attempting to remain calm, or a monster about to snap. "I have plenty of words to use, Bishop. But...I don't want your tombstone to read "Bishop, the boy who died with a fork up his behind"!", she nearly screamed, but Esther took in a deep breath and moved around the table that acted as a barrier between her and the boy, "So...I'm going to sit down, as will you Rihana, and eat dinner. And if one more comment comes out of that pretty little mouth of yours, I'm going to... Stitch. It. Shut!"
The harsh noise of a metal chair being dragged came soon after Esther's last comment and she sat down, cross-legged, and took a fork in her hands. Bishop stayed quiet, his eyes dancing with accomplishment while the brunette edged herself close to Esther at the table and began to eat, as did the others. Rihana attempted to ease the air with conversation and small talk, but no dialogue was shared with the blonde girl and the raven-haired boy. Every word was directed to Rihana as she sat on the invisible line between them.
When dinner ended, and the mysteriously prepared dinner was eaten, their teacher had yet to join them. Her absence added another level of tension and anxiety upon the three. Hesitantly, Rihana asked, "Where's Ivory?"
"Enjoying solace, probably." Bishop replied, his expression and tone like stone, but not cold; just empty.
Esther said nothing and continued to finger the pendant around her neck silently.
"Maybe we should go look for her," Rihana attempted again. "Right Esther?" The girl in question glanced the speaker's way and her tense look softened slightly.
"Fine," the blonde girl muttered and glared at Bishop as stood. "Coming Bishop?" Esther asked, her tone still full of annoyance.
He shrugged and got up, beginning to walk away. "Let's go look for her then," and with that he lead the search for their missing teacher while Esther spat a few comments under breath.
The three eventually found Ivory before the night ended. Their teacher was lounging in the library, her head facing towards another direction when they interrupted her silence but the opening of the door directed attention to the students. When she began to speak (and practically ordered Bishop to sit down, much to the pleasure of Esther), she offered them to accompany her on a trip, "I'm going to be visiting someone tomorrow. You can either come with or remain here," she said, but the blonde girl did not take her up on that offer. In fact, her eyes were trained on the book on the table next to Ivory's seat. It had the most curious cover...Even from where she sat she could tell that it was very old.
"Esther? Would you like to this practice?" Ivory asked, noticing the girl's obvious interest.
"That would be gracious," the blonde girl replied, "Thanks." And so, it seemed that it was decided that she would stay behind while Rihana and Bishop went with Ivory as their teacher departed from the room soon after instructing the two what to do with their pendants. Everyone returned to their rooms that night, three to sleep and rest for the next day, while one stayed awake, attempting to read the old words with what little light she had.
The next morning, Esther got no sleep. Well, spare for the few hours that she nodded off when the light from her cell phone made it difficult to read. The book that was gifted to her was thick, with uncountable pages possibly, and she could see the dust and age that riddled the pages. It was difficult to read the print as well, since time had not treated the book very well, but she could read it slowly and carefully when she tried.
‘Maybe I'll ask for Ivory's-' The sound of a knocking at her door stopped her train of thought.
"Come in," she called from her bed, looking away from the book lying before her on a pillow. The door opened and the brunette walked into the room wearing new clothes for the day's journey. "Rihana," Esther smiled, "Hello."
"Hi, Esther," the other replied, matching the look on the other girl's face. "I just wanted to tell you that Bishop, Ivory, and I are leaving now so..."
"Oh!" The blonde girl jumped from the bed, closing the book shut. "Well I'll see you off then."
"No need, Esther. I mean we'll be gone for-"
"Yeah, yeah. Just get your bag and I'll wave you off, ‘kay?" Without another word, Esther rushed Rihana out of her room and met her downstairs later, at the entrance. Bishop and Ivory were already there, waiting for the missing third.
Esther guided the brunette down the front steps and stopped on the last. "I would come with you, but that book is...tricky to read," the blonde girl began but trailed off.
Rihana simply nodded her head, softly laughing at Esther. "Of course. Uh, well... see you later, Esther."
"Ditto. Don't die while you're out there." Esther grinned.
"Why would we -"
Ivory broke in, calling for Rihana. "We must go now, Rihana. And don't wander anywhere you shouldn't Esther! Especially my bedroom...Now, Rihana if you would..." their teacher gestured for the brunette to follow, and quickly. She did so, walking as fast as she could to the older woman. For the sake of the moment, the blonde girl couldn't resist one last comment before the group departed...
"Be careful you three! Expect for you Bishop, I won't hold my breath!" And the last sound the three heard was Esther's laughter as she returned inside to study the old words written in the book.