To Ana's intense surprise, nobody glared at her as she entered the classroom the following morning. Instead, they either had their eyes fixed on the front, or they were immersed in conversation with the person sat beside them. Paige and Sarah weren't in yet. Lukah was sat at the back though, staring out the window thoughtfully.
Ana couldn't help the smile that crept onto her face as she took her seat beside him.
'Hey Ana,' he murmured without looking at her.
'Hello,' she replied, suddenly overcome with crippling shyness.
As he turned to face her, she had to stop herself from gasping. His eyes, impossible as it was, seemed to have gotten darker over the night, looking completely black. They were now fixed on her with unsettling curiosity. However, as he shifted his head slightly, the sun caught them as she spotted a thin layer of brown circled round his iris.
Eyes can't be completely black Ana, don't be stupid.
'Did you have a pleasant night?'
She grimaced. Pleasant wasn't the word she would use. Her stepfather had been drunk and she had gotten in his way. Her back still stung from his vicious strike and she had to use an extra layer of foundation to cover the mild bruising around her cheek.
'Not particularly. Did you?'
'Mine was boring. What did yours consist of?'
Same old same old. Drunk bastard of a stepfather. Absentee mother. Overprotective brother.
'Just homework. It wasn't that exciting.'
He nodded. 'Yep. I know that feeling.'
Paige entered the room at that moment, but she wasn't interested in Ana. She actually looked like complete and utter shit today. She didn't have any makeup on, the bruises around her eyes were more prominent, showing the lack of sleep she had obviously had. She had thrown on a pair of baggy jeans and a scruffy jumper and her normally pristine blonde hair looked disheveled and unwashed.
Even I look better than her, Ana thought to herself, genuinely surprised. The class seemed to lapse into total silence as Paige took her seat, just as mystified as Ana as to why Paige looked like crap today. Paige was renowned for her shallowness and rule of never wearing clothes two days in a row. She had made that rule clear and obvious which meant that the other students rarely wore the same outfit twice, for fear of Paige's scrutiny and judgement. It was a ridiculous notion, but one they all followed anyway.
Apart from Ana, obviously.
Paige didn't seem to notice everybody's stares or the complete silence. She appeared lost in thought and mildly upset, her blue eyes glazed over slightly, in a place much further away than the classroom.
Ana frowned at her, trying to figure out what could have changed Paige so much in such a short space of time. She was focussing, really thinking, so when Lukah spoke she nearly jumped out of her skin.
'She's looking a bit rough,' he mused.
Ana stifled a giggle, delighted at the way the roles had been reversed. Miss Bridge breezed into the room, not bothering to tell the class off for being here alone, and Ana noticed that Sarah still hadn't arrived.
Well, looks like today is going to be alright for once, she smiled.
* * *
'I wonder what happened to Paige,' Ana murmured, half to herself. She wasn't expecting an answer, but Lukah gave her one anyway.
'I'm guessing something drastic must have happened,' he shrugged.
It was the last lesson of the day and nobody was listening to the teacher waffle on. The hand on the clock ticked by irritatingly slow. Still twenty minutes until home time. Not that Ana liked that idea either. She probably preferred being in Maths than stuck at home with her stepfather.
'You know what you should do? You should come round my house after school,' Lukah suddenly announced.
'Oh,' Ana couldn't contain her surprise. 'Where did that come from?
'Well I'm gonna be bored again tonight, I'm guessing you are. Plus it's a great opportunity for us to get to know each other.'
Whilst Ana didn't know him all that well and she wasn't entirely comfortable with it all, it sounded a lot more tempting than going home. Plus it could be fun. Before she could really mull it over she had agreed.
Lukah's house was big. It was one of those houses secluded off to the outside world by huge iron gates and a large patio driveway. Granite statues stood on either side of the marble steps that led up to the huge wooden doors of his house. A shiny black BMW convertible was parked just outside.
Ana whistled under her breath.
'This is nice.'
'It's a little too pretentious for my liking,' Lukah told her, leading the way inside.
The interior was just as ostentatious as the exterior. A huge crystal chandelier hung from the ceiling and Ana had a ridiculous feeling that it would collapse on her at any given moment. Carpeted steps took them onto the next floor where they were greeted by a wall full of closed cream doors. Lukah took her to the very end one, which she presumed was his room.
As she stepped inside, she faltered in her tracks. His room was...massive, and completely immaculate. A huge bookcase lined one of the walls with all the books of a library, some titles Ana recognized and others she didn't. He liked a lot of the classics though; she spotted some Bronte and Oscar Wilde in there. A huge double bed sat in the corner of the room, freshly made. A few posters scattered his walls, of small local bands that Ana had heard of but never listened to. It was the room of intellectuality and a modern day music lover. She spotted an acoustic guitar propped up beside the bookcase.
'You play?' she inclined her head towards the guitar.
'Sometimes,' he headed over to the guitar, picking it up and sitting on the bed. Ana sat beside him.
As he began playing, plucking the strings with long, elegant fingers, Ana found herself slowly becoming lost in the music. He had the most beautiful voice, complementing the melody he was now creating. It made her heart flutter, her cheeks warm and her breath escape her.
After he had finished, she was stunned for several moments.
'You're really good,' she finally murmured. She was starting to see Lukah in a new light, completely different from the person she had met yesterday. She realized he had a whole other persona, one that was yet to be explored.