Walking in Slow Motion

Axi is just a normal girl in a gifted family. She isn't amazingly pretty, or intelligent, or popular. She's just a girl who gets bullied in school because her sister's dating the most dreamed-about guy there: and he's two years old than her.
Then she meets Seymour, a friend she never knew was always right beside her. When their teacher walks out of class, Axi begs him to teach her film editing-- a talent nobody in her family has.
But Seymour's teaching brings a new responsibility. In the middle of her first editing session, Axi discovers that she has skills. Special skills. Supernatural skills...
Who is Axi? WHAT is she? And will she ever be the same again...?
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4. Friends

"Hey, Ugly, watch it-- I'm comin' through!" Brian, a guy from my class, shoves past me in the hallway, making me stagger for the fourth time today. I'm getting sick of it.

"You watch it, Brian," I retort, and slam my schoolbooks into his gut. He gasps and bends over, trying to catch his breath. I sprint towards my classroom, ignoring his shouts of, "You're gonna get it now, witch!"

I skid into my classroom, shut the door and sit down on my desk. I'm the first one here. I leave the lights turned off and the curtains closed, and wipe tears off my cheeks in the dark.

"Axi?"

I freeze, and look up slowly, no really wanting to know who just called my name. If it's one of Brian's cronies, I'm dead. Almost literally.

"Are you okay?" Seymour Heath asks,

Thank goodness it's just him. "I'm fine, Seym," I say, brushing hair out of my eyes.

"Oh," he says. "I just thought that... Brian, maybe..."

"I said I'm fine..."

"Axi, are you telling--"

"Stop it!" I say. "Just-- just stop, okay?"

Seymour looks hurt, and I instantly feel terrible. Quiet, kind Seym... what has he ever done to me? My head drops to my chest in shame.

"Look, Seym, I'm so sorry. It was Brian, but please don't tell anyone, okay?"

"I understand," he says softly. I can feel his bright green eyes trained on me. I start to feel uncomfortable, and look up. "Thank you," I say.

Something is happening in my chest: an awakening, a feeling I last felt a long time ago. What is this? I think.

Then I understand: it's that thing which is a mystery to even adults, which gossipy girls casually fling about and guys understand in stranger ways. And no, it's not love.

It's friendship.

I hear scuffles and talking outside from the people who are gathering outside the classroom, not knowing that it is unlocked, that their favourite teasing target-- or should I say targets-- are right here, under their noses, within reach.

In that moment, I decide to do something rash-- or, at least, something which will make me a bigger target, but at the same time will give me protection.

I walk up to where Seym is sitting and place myself on the chair next to him. He looks startled.

"Do you understand?" I ask. I look at him, willing him to. Willing him to understand that this has nothing to do with crushes or love. Willing him to understand that friendship will do more for us.

"I do," he says. And he does.

The door hinges creak. Seym and I quickly turn on computers and pretend we are waiting for them to boot up.

We share a secret smile as the light trickles in and the lesson is upon us.

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