A whole year passed by and Yumi, Aelita, Jeremie and Ulrich and I were all separated. Yumi and Aelita talked...occasionally. But, it was too awkward for them to be together without me, or so I've been told. I hadn't spoken one word with them since the day I told them that I could no longer be friends with them.
Some people thought it was because of my new image; they thought it was because they were hurting my rep or vice-versa by hanging out with them. People thought that because Sissi was so mean to me, she would start being mean to them too if she caught us together. But, the truth? The truth was that I just had to let them go. Their happiness was making me too unhappy and my unhappiness was making them feel bad. And if there was one thing I hated the most in the world, besides Sissi right now, it was pity.
I've gotten pity from all kinds of people over the years, but I've never gotten them from my friends, who were the closest things to me and whom I trusted more than myself. I just couldn't handle the fact that they too now thought of me as someone who "needed help". I was fine by myself; I was used to it.
I didn't necessarily leave Kadic; I couldn't even if I wanted to, because there was just nowhere for me to go in the first place. Back home was a lot worse than it was here in Kadic and I don't even think I had a home to go back to. When I ran away, I was determined to make things better for myself. I was going to be the one who provided things for myself, I was never going to rely on anyone else for help. I was the only one who could fix the things in my life, not anyone else.
It was pretty hard at first since Aelita and I were related and even if I wasn't near during school hours, I had to see her when I was forced to go home for the holidays. And though I had absolutely no classes, except for lunch with Yumi, I missed her most, because she was my first friend here and we've been together for many years.
But, that was all months and months ago, by now I was used to all of this. I was Saphire Stonez, someone you didn't dare mess with unless you wanted to get your face punched in.
Right now, I was rolling - literally, I mean - as fast as I could on my skateboard to get to homeroom before the bell rang. Someone had damaged my alarm clock in the middle of the night, so it didn't ring in the morning at the time I had set it at. When I finally did manage to wake up on my own, it was 7:15. Class started at 7:30, so I didn't have time to take my morning shower or even eat breakfast.
I just quickly pulled on some clothes and brushed through the knots and split ends in my hair. Luckily, there weren't too many and I was done just in time. I fixed the bangs to hide the front of my hair as usual and grabbed my board since there was no way I was going to make it on time on foot; I only had five minutes.
I've already been late to Mrs. Burne's class twice this month and she had warned me that if I was late one more time, something bad would happen to me. I wasn't quite sure what she meant by that, but I also wasn't in the mood to find out either. I tried rolling harder and faster, but my legs were getting tired too quickly and my eyes were starting to droop again. I knew I should have at least grabbed an apple from the cafeteria or something, but that would've only made me later.
As I got closer and closer to my destination, one name burned in my mind: Sissi. It was her fault for all of this. She had her little helpers, Herve and Nicholas, but I could never hate them more than I hated her. Herve, her little lover, picked the lock on my door while I was asleep and Nicholas, who had a knack for breaking whatever he touched, probably dismantled my alarm clock.
I scoffed. Was that really the best she could do?
'God, Sissi, you can do so much better than that,' I thought to myself. 'Something like this was so immature, even for her; she must be losing her edge or something.'
Involuntarily, my mind went back to all the times Yumi complained about Hiroki doing the same thing. Her little brother was always making fun of her and playing around with her about Ulrich, and her style and the way she was always the tallest out of all the guys in her class.
I knew this wasn't good for me, but I just couldn't help it. I shut my eyes tight and shook my head hard to pull myself away. The next thing I know I banged into something - hard - and I was flying. I fell to the ground with a loud thump, my skateboard sliding down next to me, turned upside down with the wheels still spinning. I slowly opened my eyes, expecting to see a tree in front of me or something, but instead I found a pair of shoes.
I looked up and saw legs, looked higher up and saw two arms reached forward, and then finally a face and hair. It was a guy my age with his mouth open and there were words coming out.
"Hmm?" I stuck a finger in my ear and started shaking it until his words became clearer.
"...hey, can you hear me? I said, are you OK?"
For some stupid reason, I couldn't tear my eyes away from me. What was the matter with me? Did I get a concussion or something? Was that it?
"Um, hello?" he tried again.
"Huh?" I snapped back to reality. "Oh yeah."
"Oh good, I'm so sorry, I didn't see you until you came right at me." he held out his hand for me, but I just ignored it and got up on my own.
I bent down, wincing a little in the process, and grabbed my skateboard from the ground. There was dirt caked on it and little pieces of grass stuck to the wheels. I pulled my cell out of my back pocket, which had fortunately stayed intact. I had less than three minutes left and if I didn't move now, I was done.
I was just about to leave when the boy in front of me spoke up again.
"Wait, do you know where the main office is?" he asked.
"Uh...." I racked my brain, trying to think. In my hurry, I had all but forgotten everything.
I got on my skateboard and began rolling away, calling over my shoulder, "It's on the first floor; third door to your right!"
I managed to get into the school under a minute, but I didn't get off my skateboard and I didn't plan on it either. One of my old teachers from last year, Mr. Belmar, started yelling at me to get off my board, but I just ignored him and rode past him.
'You're almost there!' I encouraged myself. 'Come on, Saph, you can make it!'
When I was in the hallway that my classroom was in, I got down and stuffed my skateboard into my bag. I didn't bother looking at the time on my cell phone again, because I could see the huge clock that hung from the ceiling over my head that told me I had only seconds left before the bell rang.
I ran into the class, my foot just hitting the floor inside as the shrill bell rang overhead. I saw Mrs. Burne's standing in front of the door with a sneer on her face and her arms crossed over her chest.
"I see you actually made it into class on time today," she said to me. "But next time...you won't be so lucky." her face darkened and she smiled evilly. When I didn't say anything and just glared angrily back at her, she uncrossed her arms and looked genuinely angry. "Now if you don't mind, I do have a class to teach."
'What was it with the teachers at this school?' I thought to myself as I walked past her to my seat in the back of the class; just where I liked it. 'God, why were all trying to get rid of me? What did I ever do to them?'
I'll tell you what - nothing. Just because I wasn't liked by the students, I was hated by them as well. Most of the teachers hated me and thought of me as a nuisance, when really they were actually scared by me. They've seen me when I was angry and they knew what I could do; they knew I wasn't afraid of raising my hand on a teacher either.
And there were many times when I just really felt like punching old Mrs. Burne's wrinkly, sagging face in until she lying in a pool of her own blood. That blood would be staining her perfectly pressed gray clothes along with her gray hair and eyes and whole body. Everything about her was old and gray, boring and bitter.
As I walked past Sissi, I saw her give me a smirk. I just glared back at her and gave her the finger when I knew Mrs. Burne's wasn't watching. Aelita was also in this class with me and I could feel her eyes on me as I walked to my seat.
-♥- -♥- -♥-
Ten minutes into Mrs. Burne's boring lesson, there was a knock on the door. Everyone else looked up, but I didn't bother with it.
"Um, hi, I'm new." I heard someone from the front of the room say. I frowned, where had I heard that voice before? If they were new, there was no possible way that I could know that voice.
I looked up and I saw the guy from before; the one I had banged into. Our eyes locked and I found it hard for me to look away - once again!
"Ah yes, I was expecting you to be here yesterday though." Mrs. Burne said to him, looking him up and down.
"Y-yeah," the guy tore his eyes away from mine and turned to face Mrs. Burne. "But, my ticket got changed in some mix up and so the date had to be changed, and well here I am." he gave a bright grin that made more than a few of the girls swoon.
I groaned and rolled my eyes; that type of thing no longer fazed me.
"Well, welcome to Kadic. What is your name?"
"Odd. Odd Della Robbia." he answered, sounding breathless. His eyes somehow found mine again, but I ducked my head and pretended to be interested in my notes.
"Well, that's a peculiar name." Ms. Burne commented.
I felt something in me burn.
'Whoa, what's wrong with me?' I asked myself.
"Yeah, but it's a pretty common name in Norway."
"You're Norwegian?" one of the girls in the front row, Claire Girard, who I assumed was also Norwegian, raised her hand and asked him.
"Well, I was born in Italy, but I do have some ancestors that were Norwegian, so I guess you could say I am sort of Norwegian." Claire obviously satisfied with that answer, grinned sweetly up at him.
"If you don't mind, Odd, may I see your schedule?" Mrs. Burne spoke up again and held out her hand even before the guy had answered.
"Uh, sure." He dug around in his pocket and brought out a folded piece of paper. He handed it to Mrs. Burne who inspected it carefully.
"Hmm, homeroom AB," hearing that, I shrunk back in my seat even more and tried to hide my face even more underneath my hair. "Who has AB homeroom?"
No one raised their hand; I was the only one in the entire class that had class AB, but I wasn't about to raise my hand and let everyone know that. Not many people had class AB and it was actually a class for the special kids. Special didn't necessarily mean they had a disorder or that they were the bad kids of the school, special just meant they didn't want to be near anyone else and would rather prefer learning alone. All the other classes were probably full, otherwise this guy wouldn't have ended up with AB homeroom instead of the other ones such as A or B separately.
"No one?" Mrs. Burne looked around the room once more. "Oh, well, that's a shame."
'Yes!' I smiled triumphantly.
Which turned out to be a mistake, because at that same moment, Sissi turned around and saw me. I immediately frowned, but I was too late and she ended up seeing the look on my face. She began smiling and my eyes widened, hoping she wouldn't.
"Uh, Mrs. Burne," she raised her hand. Oh, she would - that b*tch! "I know Saphire has homeroom AB."
"Really?" both Mrs. Burne and the new boy turned their heads toward me in the back row. I had started to move deeper and deeper into my seat by then that I was practically on the ground. "Saphire, is that true?"
"No!" I immediately said, but my voice ended up coming out too loud and sounded fake. Mrs. Burne shot me an evil look that told me that I better tell the truth or else. I could see it clear and fine even through the dark fringes of my hair. "Y-yes." I slowly nodded my head.
"Well, unfortunately, since we don't have anyone else in that homeroom, you're going to have to be stuck along with Saphire," from the way she said that, it was as if she was the one being forced to put up with me. I tried my best not to sneer back at her or make any sort of face whatsoever. "Saphire, raise your hand high this time, so this young man can identify you." I did as I was told. "Go on, Odd, you may go take that extra seat next to Saphire Stonez."
As the guy, Odd, walked around the room and over to the empty seat next to me, he kept his eyes on me the whole entire time and everyone could tell too. The closer he got to me, the bigger his smile got. I tried my best not to let my eyes wander off to him again, but as the class went on, I could constantly feel his eyes on me. There were more than a few times when I just couldn't help looking at him through the corner of my eyes.
Like, what gives? This guy was just staring at me like I was some kind of long lost friend of his or something. What was his problem? No guy had ever looked at me like that - with, with intrigue in their eyes or any interest at all - since the change.
And it was basically the same in like every other class that we had together, since the seat next to me was the only one left empty; no one liked sitting next to me and I liked it just fine like that.
For most of the day, I've been trying my hardest to avoid Odd, even though I promised I would watch out for him and make sure he got to his classes safely and on time - which I kind of thought was stupid, because he was a sixteen year old and what sixteen year old guy didn't know how to read some room numbers and get directions from people in the halls?
And I did a pretty good job, until that is later on after classes, when I accidentally ended up banging into Odd in the middle of something, something very bad. I didn't mean to, he just sort of ended up being in the wrong place at the wrong time, even if it did save my life.
-♥- -♥- -♥-
It was after school and like most afternoons, I felt like going out and taking a little walk in the woods to cool my nerves from the long, exhausting hours that I had each and every day. It wasn't too long before I felt the air around me tense. I suddenly got the shivery feeling down my spine that told me that I was being followed.
I heard the too familiar sound of a someone stepping forward on a twig echoed through the many trees and bushes of the forest. Though I knew better, I gasped and spun around. I saw nothing though, as expected. My spine tingled again, but I reacted too late this time and I wasn't the only one who knew that.
I felt the hot breath of someone on my neck; it smelled vaguely of cherries.
"Saphire," they whispered hoarsely in my ear. "I knew you'd be back; I just knew it!" I felt a pair of warm lips pressed against the top of my ear.
I gulped and felt a wave of fear wash over me as I recognized the voice.
"Landon." I whispered so softly, it didn't seem like I had actually even said it in the first place.
It had been a whole year since I last heard from him. One year ago, Landon had appeared before me once again to haunt me and make me "pay for what I've done with him". That was the same day that HE came in front of me saved me from Landon. Ever since HE broke my heart, I've been calling William anything but his name and it suited me just fine, but after seeing Landon like this, I could feel the pain in my heart starting to escalate.
His name brought back memories, which brought the horrible sobs and wet tears, which were impossible to hold back if I were to even think of him for a minute. But, right now was not to time to be thinking of all of this past stuff, now was the time to run for my life and get the hell out of that forest while I still could.
I leaned back and pushed Landon in the chest as hard as I could and then took off in the direction that I had come. I sprinted back towards the school and while I did, I realized something.
'Why was Landon here all of a sudden?' I wondered, helplessly. 'Today wasn't any special day like either of our birthdays or the anniversary of the day that we met; nothing specific happened on this day, so why did Landon pick today of all days to come and haunt me?'
The sun had gone down and the sky was dark by the time I got out of the forest and was back on school grounds, and there was like no one out. Not that I could blame them, it had been a really long day for not only me but a lot of students, so they were all probably inside doing their homework or resting.
I could hear the rustle of the bushes behind me and shut my eyes tight, urging myself to go faster and to keep the tears from blurring my eyesight. The sobs that I had kept contained made my throat feel tight and I knew that this time it wasn't tears from the past, it was the tears of the present, of now, of the fear that was getting close to taking over me and making me want to scream out loud.
There were no witnesses outside, so that meant that Landon could do whatever his heart desired and no one would know about it. Images of the horrible things that I knew Landon was capable of flashed through my brain like a never ending slide show.
I opened my eyes up slowly knowing that if I didn't I would only end up getting nowhere and for the second time today, I banged into someone. I fell to the ground on my butt once again and in fright, thinking that it was Landon that I had banged into started crawling backwards trying to get away.
"Oh, hey, sorry." Though the voice didn't belong to Landon at all, I was still scared out of my skin.
My heart was hammering hard in my chest and I was panting, trying my best to catch my breath. The figure in front of me stood up to their full height and I felt my breath catch.
"Here, let me help you." they stuck their hand out in front of me, but I could stare back at it as if I'd never seen it before.
My mind was racing and my head spinning; I was tired and I was hungry. Everything felt wrong. Messed up. What was going on? What was happening to me? And most important of all, what was I doing? Cowering in fear on the ground like a wimp? I should be up, fighting back with all my might and winning!
But, I couldn't get up even if I tried. My breathing and heart rate dropped back to normal, but I couldn't get myself up off the ground and back on my feet. The figure in front of me sighed deeply and I saw a puff of smoke float out of his mouth from the cold. He bent down then all of a sudden and wrapped his fingers around my wrist. I flinched back and gasped even louder this time. I squeezed my eyes shut just as I was being lifted off the ground.
"There you are." his voice sounded closer now, clearer.
I reopened my eyes and found myself face-to-face with the one person I never expected to see out here at this time - Odd. Odd Della Robbia.
"Uh, uh." I couldn't help stuttering.
"Hey," his voice was soft and his breath warm on my face. "Saphire, right?"
That was enough to make me snap back to reality. I suddenly knew what was going on and what I had to do. I stumbled back from his gaze and tried to run, consciously realizing that Odd still had a tight grip on my wrist.
"Let go of me!" I cried aloud.
"Whoa, hold on!" Odd's fingers squeezed my wrist even tighter, but it wasn't like I was giving up either. I had somehow gotten all my energy back and I planned on using every ounce of it. I placed my hand over his to try to make him let go, but he just wouldn't. And that made so angry, I let out a frustrated cry. "Why are you always in such a hurry to get away from me? And what's the matter; why are you crying?"
Odd reached over and wiped away at a tear on my cheek that I didn't even know was there. I pulled, I tugged, I even tried pinching him, but Odd just wouldn't budge. Why? Why is all I wanted to know!
"But, I-I ne-need to go now, or-or h-h-he'll k-kill me!" I stammered, trying to guide my tongue the right way so the words came out making sense. I figured that I might as well just tell Odd the truth about what was really going on, because maybe he might actually let me go then.
"What?" he sounded shocked, but then again anyone else would be too. "Where?!" he demanded to know.
"I-in the woods."
As soon as those words left my mouth, I felt Odd starting to drag me back the way I had come. He was taking me back to the woods! Before, I could even stop him or try at least, I found myself back in the spot I was in just a while. The air was cold and I could feel goose bumps all over my arms and legs even though they were all covered under my thick layers of clothes.
"So, where is he?" Odd turned to look at me.
I thought for a moment, wondering how Odd knew that it was a guy I was running away from. But, then I realized that if it was a girl, I probably wouldn't have been so scared or running away from her.
"He-he was right here!" I told him.
Odd swept his eyes all around, while I moved my head left and right, frantically trying to figure out where he might have been hiding.
"Are you sure it wasn't just your imagination?"
It was a possibility yes, but I knew better than to know that it wasn't.
"But, it wasn't!" I exploded out on Odd. "I-I smelled his scent, I heard his voice and I felt his hot breath on my neck! I'm not lying!" For some reason I stopped myself before I could add the part about Landon pressing his lips against my earlobe, but I don't know why.
Odd sighed and I felt my wrist being squeezed. I snapped my head down in surprise, but didn't try pulling my hand away this time.
"Well, he's gone now, so you don't have to worry anymore," Odd said to me. "Who was he anyway?"
I contemplated whether or not to tell Odd about Landon or not. I didn't know Odd at all, but then again it wasn't like we were going to be friends or anything, so him knowing about something as trivial as Landon shouldn't make such a big deal to me. Right? Well, I hoped so anyway.
I looked up at Odd and wiped away at my tears with my free hand before answering him, "Landon."
"Who-" his eyebrows furrowed, but I cut him off before he could go on.
"He's nobody you would ever want to meet." I hoped that clarified things enough so that Odd wouldn't try to press me for more information.
And it seemed to work, because even though Odd opened his mouth and looked like he was about to say something more, in the end, he just closed it back up and didn't say anything.
"So, um, why is your hair always in your face like that?" Before I could realize what was happening, Odd had his hand raised and his fingers softly grazed against the bangs on my forehead. "I mean, it's no wonder, you're always tripping and banging into me all the time." he sounded amused, but I was far from it.
"It's none of your fr*ckin' business!" I cried aloud.
I smacked Odd's hand away and shoved him away as hard as I could. He stumbled backwards a little, clearly caught off guard by my reaction and his fingers loosened on his grip. I took that as an advantage and pulled away from him.
I ran away from him then. I'm still not sure why I ended up reacting the way I did, but I guess it was just too much to handle in one day. The exhausting day, plus the terrifying afternoon and then that! He just had to go and try to move my hair back didn't he? And let's not forget the fact that he even tried to make a joke out of it!
When I got to my room, I slammed the door shut and locked it as well. I ran towards the window and secured them also. Then, I took a seat on my bed and tried to catch my breath. There were a million things running through my head and it was hard to focus on one thing at a time.
This day had been so similar to the day when William first saved my life - wow, I was really freaked out, or else I wouldn't have ever said his name out loud like this. But whatever, back to the problem at hand. I half expected a phone call from Yumi just like I had that day a year ago. But, since Yumi and I no longer talked, she didn't call.
And this guy, Odd, who the hell was he? And why the hell did he make me feel like this? What was he doing to me? Why was I acting like this? What was happening to me?
'God, so many f*cking questions and not a single f*cking answer!' I cursed.
This all had to be connected or something, because it didn't make sense. I mean, I guess it did; one year ago, I was attacked by Landon and it was William who saved me that time and now it was Odd. What did that mean? That Odd was going to enter into my life the same William did and he was going to end up hurting me the same way?
But, no, that was impossible. Things like this didn't happen twice. There were no coincidences in my life. There never has been! So, this has to mean something else. But, what?!
I dropped my head back on my pillow and stared up at the ceiling. The lamp next to me was casting a light on it and blinding me a little, but I didn't move my eyes away.
'God, why did this have to be so confusing?!' I groaned.
I shut my eyes tight and tried to rack my brain to think harder.
-x- -♥- -x-
I didn't know it then, but that I was actually kind of right in a way; Odd was going to enter into my life just like William had, but, but he wasn't going to leave the same way. No way, he was going to leave in such a way that it was more grand than heartbreaking. He was nothing like William, I could tell that from one look at him, but I never knew that he could possibly be so....I don't even know the right words for it, but he sure was something.