Adam looked around, but couldn't find Anixa anwhere. If this was her idea, she could at least show up, he thought.
A voice behind him made him jump. "Sorry I'm late, Mr. Kingston."
The teacher nodded as Anixa took her place with the other students.
"Now to make sure this gets done, I will assign you partners. And yes, how well you do out here will go towards your participation grade. After I tell you who your partner is, grab a bag and start working. Miss Maelstrom and Mr. Holmes."
Anixa glanced at Adam out of the corner of her eye as he walked over. He handed her a bag and they started walking down the coastline.
"So Anixa, why were you late today?"
She stopped walking and looked at him. "Adam, does it matter where I go and what I do? Not to be rude, but who put you in charge of my life?"
"Well no one, and I'm just curious. I mean, you're the new girl, no one knows anything about you, and I want to see if any of the rumors that have already started are true."
For the first time, Anixa actually laughed. "And what rumors are there?"
Adam shifted his weight as he picked up a candy wrapper. "That you're in the witness protection program, your parents abandoned you and you're living on your own, you father's a drug czar in Russia and things are getting to dangerous so he sent you here, things like that."
Anixa laughed again, a noise that sounded like waves crashing on the beach, bubbles bursting when they hit the surface. Adam smiled, her laughter contagious.
"Well, the last one's partially true."
Adam nearly dropped his bag. "Your dad's a drug czar?"
"No. Things were too dangerous at home. I had to leave."
Adam nodded. "So where are you from?"
Anixa smiled again, a secretive smile. "Far away."
She turned and walked farther down the beach.
Adam stood there for a second and then followed her. "Well, can you give me a hint? How far?"
Anixa shook her head. "All I can tell you is farther than you've ever been."
Adam nodded again slowly. "So kinda like on the other side of the world?"
Anixa looked at him. "Yeah, I guess you could say that."
Adam smiled. "So I'm getting closer?"
Anixa nodded and then reached down and pulled something out of the sand. She brushed stray sand off of it and revealed a glass bottle with something folded up in it. Anixa uncorked it and dumped the note out in her palm.
"So what does the mysterious message in the bottle say?"
Anixa shrugged and read the note before stuffing it in her pocket and looking out towards the sea. "Nothing. But we shouldn't be here too much longer. Let's go find another spot."
Without waiting to see if Adam was following her, she quickly walked off, leaving the bottle in the sand.