When the exciment had passed, it turned out, to their disappointment, that the discovery didn’t help them much.
Elly guessed each symbol in the earring could have a meaning, very likely to be a kind of number. In the end, though, that led to nowhere. Vera came up with some ideas about using those symbols to go to desired time, but tried hard as she might, nothing worked the way she wanted.
“Oh right, they’re just like buttons on a machine,” said the black-haired girl mockingly.
They had to conlude that those runes were only runes, and Elly came back with their plan to trigger the earring’s power when she slept at night, if that could even be called a plan.
“I think we’re coming to an dead end,” Elly shared what was on her mind.
“Come on, cheer up. If you’re reluctant it might not work,” said Vera before leaving, “Isn’t it something cool when we can control time? Imagine the merits!”
Elly led Vera to the front door and they said goodbye. Somehow, the dark-haired teenage wished it didn’t work as some unreasonable foreboding rose in her heart.
The alarm clock rang, showing the sign of a new day.
At the studying desk sat a young girl with long black hair and a slight frown on her delicately shaped face. She was turning the silver-like earring over and over in her palm for the umptenth time. It was a quarter to six in the morning and as usual, Elly had woken up long before the bell. Sometimes she wondered why she even bothered to set the clock. Her parents reassured that she was just being careful not to get up late and Vera, to put it blunt, said she was paranoid. On the top of the desk was a calendar marking August 29th.
‘It didn’t work,’ thought Elly to herself. Of course, it was expected not to work easily. On the other hand, going back to the past might have been her own illusion. ‘No,’ she shook her head. She was certain the time had changed from September to the previous month and she was not insane at all.
Vera would be displeased knowing that their little so-called plan didn’t succeed. Elly’s lips curled into a small smile as the thought proceeded through her mind. They might be friends, but it was not any less fun when one of them was upset. Their being best pals was sort of funny.
The whole thing not working lifted up pretty much stress for Elly to tell the truth. She didn’t like anything uncontrollable lying in her hands, and time-reverse was one of those. The teenage definitely detested dealing with the aftermath of such uncertainty.
Elly stood up and walked out of her room. It was time to go downstairs and start a new day without worry. It might be better that the earring became none other than a mere accessory. It couldn’t be helped if she found it impossible to find her real family. After all, she had told her mother that she was fine with her life then and it wasn’t a lie. It felt weird letting all go after more than a day of thinking, researching and discussing to have a day just as boringly ordinary as any other days, but she wouldn’t complain. It was unbecoming of her to quit so soon. She yearned for knowledge and challenges, however, she had a feeling that the less she knew, the better it would be.
The dark-haired girl went into the kitchen to prepare breakfast. It wasn’t time her parents got up yet, so she had to deal with the meal herself. She thought about going to the library again since she didn’t have anything to do in the morning and the thought of having Vera whine about the failed plan didn’t sound comfortable to anyone. Perhaps she could grab some good books for her future studies. Senior Lia might lend a hand if they happened to meet each other. She seemed to like reading and she gave the impression to be a helpful upper-class girl.
At a little past eight o’clock, after being sure that Vera was sleeping and wouldn’t bother her in another hour or two, Elly said good bye to her parents and caught a bus to the city library. She had brought along her earring, not for researching purpose, but for having a part of family beside her. There were no reasons stopping her from keeping a memory although she didn’t try looking for them anymore.
“Well, hello. It’s nice to see students nowadays taking their summer time to read useful books.”
Elly looked away from her book and saw the senior from the day before approaching her. The older girl didn’t smile, but some humour had entered her voice and also affected the glint in her pretty eyes.
“Good morning, senior Lia,” Elly nodded politely and gestured to a seat.
“Good morning. Elly, isn’t it? Why are you here this early?” Lia settled in a chair opposite the younger student.
“I don’t have much to do and reading sounds like a nice idea. What about you?”
“My life sticks to books and all my free time is spent in libraries of all sizes,” said Lia, half kidding, half serious. “Are you still researching about the earring of yours?”
“Actually, I have given up,” answered Elly with a sheepish smile. “It turned out there wasn’t any real good information about it.”
Lia showed a kind smile. “It’s alright. From here to the next city you can go by car, by bus or by boat. The same thing happens to your research. The wanted result will come in one way or another.”
“Thank you, senior, but I don’t intend to carry on the search,” Elly’s smile became more awkward.
“What do you mean?” asked Lia, her eyes narrowing in confusion, the humor had totally dropped from her voice.
Elly glanced from the book in her hand to the upperclass-girl. She didn’t like sharing much to people around her. Even to her parents or her best friend Vera, she had tried to express herself and open her heart, but she was still always hiding some little stuff from them time to time. Perhaps Vera was right about her being paranoid and not fully trusting anything, or anyone.
“If you don’t have the mood to talk, then I’ll take my leave. Have fun reading,” said Lia with another smile while rising from her seat.
“The same to you, senior,” Elly smiled back.
The purple-eyed youth wasn’t ignorant. She could feel the change in Lia’s voice. May be she had given the other girl the impression that she easily gave up, but she didn’t want to give it any further thoughts. To someone she had just met, it wouldn’t do to tell her that she was adopted and all the trouble looking for her real family. After all, it wasn’t like the weather to be discussed, not to mention somebody wouldn’t bother to care her case if they weren’t her friends. And Elly wasn’t looking for any new friends, that was that.
A familiar voice distracted Elly from her thought. Elly put her book down and looked at the new comer, frowning.
“I thought it would take you the whole morning to welcome dawn.”
“Thank you, a nice sarcasm in the morning is always a good greeting,” retorted Vera, her hands on her hips. “I’m not that much of a sleepyhead.”
“Yes, you are,” smirked the sitting girl. “If there were fire in your house, you would still try to have five more minutes dreaming about your knight in shining armor.”
“Oh please, I’m not a kid,” Vera dropped herself on a chair next to her friend.
“How did you find me?” asked Elly.
“What could I possibly do? I asked your mom, she told me where you are and I came here, end of story,” Vera attemped to be innocent, but her voice, which was thickly laced with derision then, had betrayed her.
“What is the point in seeing me anyway?” Elly raised her eyebrow, “You know too well it didn’t work.”
“What is the point in not seeing you?” Vera mimicked her friend’s expression. “Because it didn’t work, I have to drag myself here to ask the great lady Elly.”
“I don’t have any more clues than you do,” said Elly turning back to her book.
Vera pouted. She didn’t like it when Elly regarded her as a bother and ignored her by doing whatever she had to do, just to stop talking with her. Vera wasn’t known for being patient, but knowing Elly, her best friend would never appreciate having her book snatched away while she was reading. The hazel-eyed girl had nothing else to do other than sitting, tapping her feet in beat and looking at her friend.
Elly was sure Vera was trying to make her uncomfortable. She hated being stared at when she needed some privacy to read in peace. If she spoke, however, Vera would go on forever and she wasn’t going to have a peaceful morning. ‘Who am I kidding? The peacefulness had already been ruined,’ Elly thought to herself.
The brunette started to smile slyly when she noticed the fidget from her friend. She widened her puppy eyes and continued staring. Observing someone while they were ignoring her wasn’t fun, but observing a certain someone to make her annoyed was really amusing, especially after all the sarcasms she had thrown at her during their time of being friends.
“Give up already, I know nothing from the book is coming through your mind,” Vera beamed happily.
The beautiful black-haired girl huffed in annoyance, “If you have that much free time, why don’t you go home and leave me alone?”
The smile turned into a smirk. “Even when I leave, I don’t think you can focus.”
Elly finally put her book down to look at her friend. “I don’t like it at all when you make it like you know something I don’t.”
“Now you got my feeling,” chuckled the brunette, her voice suddenly became softer, almost as a whisper, “Somebody has been watching us for a while.”
Vera didn’t point or turn her head towards the direction of the observer, and Elly didn’t try to find him or her, either. She had set her eyes fully on her best friend now. “Behind me?”
“Oh I don’t know, perhaps behind me?” asked Vera mockingly with large innocent eyes, “Two bookshelves away, but I bet she’s been keeping an eye on us.”
“Description would be appreciated.” The black-haired girl smiled sweetly, but her words were like a death threat.
“Let see,” the other girl made a ‘tch’ sound, “Long platinum blond hair, pretty silver eyes, oh, El…”
“Hmm?” From what she heard, she was able to guess who that was, but the sudden interruption in Vera’s words made her quirk an eye brow.
“I think she knows that we know,” said Vera wryly.
“How do you-“
“Oh, hello! Are you an librarian?”
Elly narrowed her eyes when Vera raised her tone of voice without any warnings. She spun around to see Lia standing very near her. Now she was frowning inside. What soft footsteps this senior had! She didn’t know someone was approaching, which was unusual. Oh, what did Vera say again? Hadn’t she been two book shelves away two minutes ago?
“No, I am not. I am just a normal reader like both of you,” the platinum blond smiled in greeting, not showing any expressions about the unreasonable question from Vera.
“I don’t read much, only she does,” shrugged Vera, “but anyway, it’s nice to meet you.”
Elly turned back to her friend to send her a mocking smile which clearly indicated “You should know how duress you sound.”
The hazel-eyed girl had to use all of her restraints to stop herself from glaring. The new girl was looking straight into her face after all.
“Let me introduce. This is senior Lia from the school we’re going to attend,” Elly put on her friendly mask, “Senior, this is my best friend, Vera.”
“Ah, it’s nice to meet you, too, Vera.”
Vera nodded shyly, which, she guessed, probably gained her an internal sneer from the black-haired teenage. She almost pouted, her eyes slightly watered from embarrassment. What could she possibly do? Acting like a shy girl would best explain why the way she talked to senior Lia was awkward, but Elly wasn’t a bit sympathetic. ‘El’s always difficult to get along,’ thought Vera distractedly.
“I thought you have gone home, senior,” asked Elly.
“I should have, but I realised that I had dropped my task note somewhere. I had to check all the places I had been,” Lia bent down on the floor to pick up a piece of paper. “Thank God it’s here.”
Vera once more had a chance to use her nearly nonexistent restraint and impatience to not say something.
“Is it really important?” asked the black-haired girl.
“I wrote down phone numbers of some acquaintances. Without them I won’t be able to finish my assignments, so yes, it is,” the platinum blond carefully put the note away. “I am going home now, are you?”
“We intend to stay a bit longer.”
“Have fun reading then. If you need help in finding useful books then you can ask me.”
“I thought you weren’t a librarian?” asked Vera now that she found back her natural voice.
The older girl smiled kindly. “I am not, but I have read quite a number of books.” Then she walked away.
Vera sunk deep in the chair she was sitting on, taking deep breaths. “I thought you were already weird, but she’s even weirder.”
The black-haired girl chuckled, but since Lia was no longer watching them, Vera didn’t hold back her glare.
“I am serious here. ‘I had to check all the places I had been’ blah blah. Like we’re 4-year-old kids. She’s been watching us for not less than ten minutes. If she really lost something, why didn’t she just show up and ask us? What’s with her smiles anyway? She knows that we know, and she just smiles. It’s just c-r-e-e-p-y, creepy!” The shorter girl burst out. “And you aren’t that oblivious not to notice there wasn’t a note on the floor before, are you?”
Elly was looking at her friend amusedly, but when the enraged girl mentioned Lia’s piece of paper, she had to frown. “Keep your voice down, Vera.”
The brunette realised that she had been talking pretty loudly. There were no solid proofs that Lia had gone far, yet she was talking all of her suspicions aloud. She was an impatient and petulant girl, but at least she was aware of one thing: Knowing too much is dangerous. Lia was suspicious and clearly lying, so showing that she knew the truth would only bring her disadvantage. Vera couldn’t help it when a shiver ran down her spine.
“How long have you known her?” asked the shorter girl once her volumn came back to normal.
“Just yesterday,” answered the amethyst eyes’ owner nonchalantly. “I was finding books about the material my earring was made from and she offered help.”
Vera grimaced, “She’s not picking her nose in our research, is she?”
“She doesn’t know anything at all. We only had a short conversation, if it could be called such, and she left.”
“Not trusting anybody, are you?” the other girl smirked, but her eyes were full of relief. “In this case, though, I agree with you. She is suspicious.”
“Are you concerned about me?”
“Don’t be smug,” snorted Vera. “I just don’t like that girl. The atmosphere around her just screams ‘Stay away from me!!!’”
Elly only chortled at her friend’s unbelievable excuse, “Thanks for caring.”
The brunette huffed indignantly but didn’t retort. If somebody wanted to make her admit that she was concerned about her friends, step over her dead body first. When one stated out that fact, though, she would keep silence and never deny. She didn’t have the tendency to watch her surroundings before. But ever since she met Elly, who was a weird girl with all kinds of weirdness around, she had unknowingly learnt to be sensitive with weird gazes planted upon them. Perhaps she was being protective of her friend.
And yes, perhaps she cared.