Staring out the window of the old Jeep, Bishop watched as the scenery flew by. The colors mixed and blurred to create a dizzying kaleidoscope effect. He sighed; car rides were always the least enjoyable thing about travelling. Back when he lived with his uncle, they constantly took planes wherever they went. Being a thief had its perks and first class flight was always in the budget.
He loved the feeling of flying, the sensation it gave him, freedom. That’s all he had ever desired in life was to be left alone to his own devices, but the world had other plans. After his parents left him for dead, Bishop was always looked down upon; whether it was for his intelligence, his stoicism, or his looks. He was always the loner, the outcast, the person someone blamed to get out of trouble.
A small scowl flickered over his features; it was the constant teasing and bullying that had caused him to learn to hide his emotions. He grew a cold, icy exterior to protect his soft inner self. His steel blue eyes took in a large business building as the car slowed and stopped. Ivory lead the two into the building and left them to sit in a small seating area just before the receptionist.
"Stay here" she said gesturing to the seats. He nodded and took his seat, Rhianna sitting just across from him. Bishops eyes never left Ivory, he searched her body language for the tell tale clues that would lead him to her thoughts. As the adopted son of a thief, he had learned to read people’s expressions, their body language and stance. The smallest smirk or twitch of a muscle could clue him in to who they might be visiting. A friend, a family member, a business associate…the possibilities were endless.
“Bishop,” Rhianna asked, waving her hand to get his attention. “Who do you think she’s here to visit?” Licking his lips, he thought but so far he was in the dark.
“I’m not sure, this person must be very important to her…for us to come all the way from the cottage.” Rhianna nodded another question behind her eyes.
“How do you think Esther’s fairing without us?”
“She probably misses you and Ivory, on the other hand she may be celebrating my absence.” He sighed. “I’m not sure why she despises me…” In his thoughts he continued Except that she just hates guys in general, or she’s stuck up and can’t accept who I am. Just like everyone else in this world.
“Come on." Ivory called to them, pulling Bishop out of his thoughts. As the two reached their teacher, the chime of the elevator invited them in.
"Why are we here?" Bishop asked, trying to glean something, anything from Ivory.
"Just come on." She curtly replied, stepping out on the third floor as the doors opened. The three walked over to a small waiting room with couches and a Television set. Ivory laid down the ground rules, they had to sit here till she returned and if they wanted the TV was available for use.
She then spun on her heels and disappeared down a long corridor. Bishop sat on a three seat couch; he leaned back massaging his temples with his fingers, displaying an almost tired or agitated feeling. His face was a mask of calm hiding the seething wrath of his emotions.
“Bishop,” Rhianna called her voice just above a whisper. He looked to her face, seeing that she was a bit nervous. His gaze then turned to the floor, dreading a question he knew might come.
“The other night, how…how did I get in my room?” He let out a silent sigh of relief, she didn’t know. She stood and took a seat right next to him. He didn’t want to look her in the eyes; they memorized him and made him melt on the inside. But his entire being, his instincts rebelled against these feelings.
He wasn't supposed to show emotion, he was supposed to be the silent, brooding yet witty guy. Feeling love, attachment, to anyone would ruin him. It would be like putting an anchor around his neck and letting him sink to the bottom of the ocean. There would be no escape and in the end it would destroy him. His heart rate picked up as he framed his words carefully, his face remaining placid and calm.
“You fell asleep by the tree; I figured it would be very rude to leave you outside. So I picked you up and took you in the house to your room.” He paused a second, wondering how much he should actually tell her. “I set you on your bed and tucked you in, placing your sketch book and pencil on your dresser. You really are a good artist, Anna. You shouldn’t be so embarrassed about it.”
A small smile tugged at his lips, his peripheral vision caught a thoughtful look on her face. Could she share my feelings…does she know, suspect? He blinked and looked towards where Ivory had disappeared to, No, she probably just pity’s me, just like the rest of this world. I’ll always be the on the outside looking in.
“Thank you,” she said kindly, patting his shoulder lightly. The touch sent jolts of electricity up his arm and down his spine. They hadn’t been this close since he last…No…no attachments, not emotion. Movement flickered at the end of the hall and Bishop stood, taking a few steps from Rhianna. Their teacher walked toward them, her eyes glimmering with happiness and excitement.
She didn’t exchange words with them the entire ride home. It was dark as they stepped inside the cottage again. Ivory disappeared into her room, without even a word to say goodnight. Bishop nodded, maybe she was expecting something…or she wanted to hide her brimming excitement.
“Goodnight Bishop,” Rhianna said, walking into her room. He nodded a small smile appearing on his lips for the first time in a long time, though the expression was unconscious.
“Night, Anna,” he said with a small chuckle. Her frame disappeared behind her bedroom door and all the emotions within him disappeared. His face was again a mask as he began walking towards the garden. Another night under the stars would do him some good, maybe even clear his thoughts. The small sound of a kitten mewling then caught his ears, his gaze flicked to see Esther cuddling the tiny golden and white animal.
“Did you miss me?” he asked the hints of a dark grin on his face. Esther scowled and turned away from him, directing all her attention to the animal. He shrugged, fine…ignore me. His feet carried him back into the garden and to the tree Rhianna had fallen asleep again. He sat against the bark, amid the grass, and looked up into the stars. His thoughts were jumbled and mixed for only a few moments, eventually returning to his calculating and ideas.
Teasing himself with thoughts of Rhianna had come to a stop; his mind’s eye had turned to a much more painful memory...
The tall red claws of fire tearing at the house around him, his voice was hoarse from screaming and inhaling smoke. His tiny seven year old form stumbled weakly from the collapsing structure and he collapsed on the dew covered grass.They had left…left him for the hungry fire in his own home. Always alone…Always.
A small tear dropped from his eye and streaked down his cheek. Everything felt so knotted and backwards. Lying down on the grass he curled up in a ball and was whisked away by the comforting grasp of sleep.