Mask

I couldn't concentrate in class that whole day. I could tell Kian was the same, though he was also irritatingly proud that I'd wavered in my opinion on the whole Oliver thing. I hated to agree with him on it too - but there really was something about the girl in his class. Nerual. There was an aura about her - something I couldn't quite put my finger on - that just didn't seem right. She was like a piece of one jigsaw that had been forced into another. Out of place entirely, yet seemingly blending in with everyone in the other world. And I was sure that somehow, she had felt my hand that time in class.

Maybe this was how Oliver seemed to Kian...

"Iris? Iris?"

Suddenly I realised that this supply teacher was addressing me. I must have not even noticed her calling me my real name in the register.

"Um, it's Siri, miss. I don't usually-"

"Alright then, I'll make note of that. Now if you'd like to answer the question I just asked, and stop staring at the boy in front of you..."

As the class began to laugh I realised that I'd been looking directly at Oliver the whole time, who was sinking towards his desk as if to try and hide, his face going slightly red. I attempted an apologetic glance, but he just stared at his book like he was trying to imagine being somewhere else altogether.

Irritably, I looked at Kian out of the corner of my eye, expecting a snigger and a sarcastic comment. But there wasn't a hint of a smile on his face. In fact, he had an expression that I couldn't quite identify; he was deadly serious, his eyes only giving away something similar to... no... why would he be angry? Nothing usually made him angry like this...

He was looking straight at Oliver, and didn't talk to me for the rest of that lesson. Or for the rest of the day.

Finally, when we got back from school, I lost my temper.

"What the hell is your problem, Kian?" I glared at him, trying to work out something from his expression. He wouldn't make eye contact.

"Keep it down, your parents will hear. What's wrong with you, anyway?" his voice was as dull and robotic as when he spoke to his parents.

"Don't pretend you don't know! For god's sake, I've known you all my life, do you think I won't notice when you act like this?!"

This time he just shrugged, so I attempted to calm down a bit and think this through. Something had to be bothering him. I sighed and sat down.

"Is it something to do with the new kid?" He almost looked at me but changed his mind. I took this as a sign that I was on the right track, so I continued. "Did you notice something else?"

"It doesn't matter."

"You looked... angry."

"Well I'm not. I'm fine. Just drop it."

I couldn't say any more. I couldn't stand it. Clenching my fists, I stood up.

"Fine" I said it quietly and as calmly as I could, but I could hear my voice tremble. My stupid voice, giving away how I felt. Unlike Kian, who could cover everything up under his cold, serious performance. The performance he always gave to everyone, other than me - until now.

I left the room a little too quickly, but I couldn't pretend to be fine any longer. He could keep up his uncaring act for as long as he wanted to, but mine was collapsing faster than I could leave and slam the door behind me.

The End

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