The Yellow Hippo

Romance is in the air at St Francis' School. And it seems to be arousing desires from several particular students.

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6. A Blessing in Disguise

Ximena wiped her  eyes furiously, and stared at her reflection in the mirror. Her eyes were red, and her waterproof mascara, not so waterproof after all. She made a frustrated growl then stalked out. She grabbed her bike and pedaled as furiously as she could home. "I hate how she makes me feel. Small and insignificant. No I hate how HE makes me feel."  Ximena frowned. It didn't use to be that way. She could still remember a time when she was just the quiet one. She could remember it vividly. She'd been sitting by herself in private study, her conscience barley registering those around her, just the words on her economics book. She could remember everything down to the tiniest details like the tiny nick she'd got from a paper cut the night before, down to the exact pair of socks she was wearing. Ashley had come striding up to her and drawled "Sooooo your my study buddy?"

Ximena had to take a moment to adjust to the outfit that she was wearing. Ashley had on a black silk bustier with corset ties, her bright tutu jutted out almost knowing off her neatly aligned pencils.  Ripped tights with rainbow socks over the top, military boots and a leather jacket completed the outfit. She definitely stood out.

After she'd come striding up she'd inquired quietly "Study buddy?"

"Yeah we have seats assigned to us, and expected to help each other and stuff. And I know that I'm like totally an audio learner, I mean I talk enough that it's obvious! So yeah, I have to talk to learn and everyone else looks like they talk about all that modern pop crap that soooooooo annoys me. And beside you kinda look lonely. SO buddy what you doing?" With that she'd swung a chair around and was straddling it looking eager, and eyes that darter around, slightly like a lunatic.

"......um I'm doing economics? Do YOU do economics?" Ximena was uncertain of how to proceed in such situations. She hadn't talked to anyone beside her parents in such a long time. She'd always been quiet, it was just a matter of time before she became invisible. But it seemed that Ashley saw past that. Or peharps saw something more.

A car honked at Ximena snapping her out of her daydream. It was a fond memory of Ashley, she had few of those. And sometimes she wondered how much did they really mean to her, how much was Ashley's friendship actually worth?

She swerved to avoid it, and landed violently on the floor. Her head hit the tarmac, and she could feel nothing but pain. Pain from the gash on her head, and pain from inside her heart.

She made a pathetic attempt at moving, but she didn't want to move, and she was out of the way of any cars so she wouldn't be run over. She just wanted to stay like that, it'd be even more painful trying to get up. Suddenly and coincidentally the lyrics "When I get knocked down, but I get up again " came to mind. She sniggered, if slightly hysterically. 

After a few moments she felt a warm hand on her shoulder "Are you okay?" 

She slowly rotated her head and came face to face (quite literally) to the wiry face of Rudy Stevens.

His face was usually lit up by a cheeky grin, dimples and baby blue eyes that glistened. His coppery hair usually gelled, lay limp against his hair as he'd been swimming.  And his face was definitley not grinning.

"Ximena isn't it?" he asked when she didn't reply.

"Yeah," she whispered.

"How about I help you up, and back home?" She paused, before nodding. Or nodding as well as she could. Her head and neck felt severely sore. He a small and gentle smile, and using his arm hoisted her up. She wobbled, her legs slightly stiff. "Maybe you should lean against me?" 

She agreed quietly and leaned her body weight against him. They began the slow walk home. 

"Wait! My bike!" She made to turn, but his arm had a firm grip on her waist.

"No," he said firmly, "That's probably the least of your problems right now. I'll come back for it later." 

She gave a soft chuckle, thanking him. She hadn't laughed in a long time.

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