I looked at her and took it all in. I could see her looking back at me and expected her to chirrup something back at me but neither of us had chance.
My phone buzzed and we jumped. I tried to laugh it off but I didn't get any reaction from her so I quickly read the message. 'Look up at the sky and smile.' Part of me wanted to look up but I remembered that there was a roof between me and the sky so I carried on, now with a tiny smile on my face. 'Because if you keep playing tricks like that then it will be your last.'
My eyes slid upwards to check Paiva. She seemed to be distracted by something that I couldn't see. My phone told me that the message had come from an unknown number. I started to sigh but the phone buzzed again. I hit the button before it made any audible reaction.
Another message from the same number: 'Thus quoth the raven.'
"Sora." I hissed under my breath as I typed a response. 'Not funny Sora. Try again.'
I placed my phone down and looked at Paiva in more detail. Her red hair seemed to ripple in a breeze that I couldn't feel - maybe it was part of who she was. She was clearly beautiful - that we could all see - but there was something in her eyes. Something more. Something that made me consider her.
I opened my mouth to speak and got a short burst of blood. My tongue ran over my lip and I found where my teeth had pierced the skin. It wasn't anything serious so I carried on. "You know that this is hard to believe." I watched her retreat into herself slightly so I picked up the pace. "But then, so was what I saw at the pool. I have no other logical reason for what happened there. And what you just told me was too fantastic to be a lie. So for now I'm prepared to accept your explanation. I'm not sure whether I believe it or not. But right now I just don't have a better scenario."
She sat there silently. She was clearly scared but she nodded gently. I wasn't completely sure about her and that surprised me. Paiva seemed so genuine and truthful. It felt like there was an aura of innocence about the world coming from this girl - like she couldn't lie, not like that.
But I knew that if I had taken her at face value then I would have been more surprised at myself.
Regardless of that I knew that I couldn't turn her in to anyone. For starters, who else would believe that crazy story? I doubted the police would take me seriously. And I didn't want any awkward questions coming my way so it was better left alone.
My phone broke the silence. I checked the message: 'Think you can do any better? Ball's in your court, winterfox. Come get me.'
I flashed the girl a smile and got up. She turned to look at me. "I'll be right back." I explained with a couple of nods.
I pushed into the nearest toilets and entered the end cubicle. I groaned at the phone before tapping at the buttons and placing it next to my ear. "I don't like the fact that I got the feeling that I was summoned."
I could only hear him breathing down the phone. I sighed and took a deep breath. "I don't like the fact that I got the feeling that I was about to be threatened."
Part of me wanted to smile at his childishness. "Are we going to have an entire conversation of you practically mirroring what I say?"
He paused to breathe. I could hear the slight rasp as he inhaled followed by the faster exhalation. "You aren't good enough to play with the big boys so don't try it."
I hesitated, trying to weigh him up. For a moment I just listened to his breathing. My mind tried to drag me back but I clamped my eyes shut and trapped the sprouting droplets. I knew that I couldn't let it get the better of me.
"You clearly haven't done your research, Sora - I don't get frightened so easily." I stopped talking before a slight whimper found its way into my voice. I heard what sounded like a soft chuckle before silence fell on us both. At first, the way he'd spoken to me sounded like he was toying with me, like a cat with its prey. But by the end of our conversation, he was clearly the bird in the cat's mouth. Perhaps he wasn't as strong and tough as he tried to lead me to believe.
He hung up. I placed the phone back in my pocket and hit the door to the cubicle.
"Everything alright in there?" A voice asked from outside. I sighed and opened the door slowly.
Paiva offered me a gentle smile. I surveyed her face for a moment - there was something mystical about her. Something that that soothing smile was trying to hide. Something that made me want more from her.
I looked past her at the mirror. My eyes were slightly puffy and my lip was still dripping a little blood. Paiva looked at me quizically before grabbing a tissue and wiping away a couple of tears. I heard a little yelp of pain as one of my tears trickled onto her skin. I took the tissue from her hand and finished the job. My face showed my gratitude.
But I could also see a little mischievous grin growing in the corner of her lips. I sighed. "What do you want?" I asked.