The day was swift and, before I knew it, the boring classes ended for the day, without too much staring or suspicious behaviour. The safety of my dorm welcomed me back like an old friend. I was disturbed too quickly, my peace lost, by a knock on the door just as I got my phone out. I considered ignoring it and not making a sound so that my ‘guest’ would leave me alone, but I’d already made such a noise. I had been rummaging loudly through my bag and playing Daft Punk through the crappy speaker on my iPod.
I trudged to the door, frustrated, and pulled it open, not bothering to fake a smile for Sunny who leant against the wall across the hall with his arms folded across this chest. Now that he was alone and I could see his whole body, I looked him up and down.
He had strong-looking shoulders that burst out from his shirt collar and his arms and legs bulged with muscles. It was clear he was tensing them, preparing if I were to snap at him. Pity I had nothing to get upset about, apart from the fact that he was possibly too fit to be alive.
What itched at me though, was that his eyes were similar to Maisy’s in a fascinating way. Their eyes were the same shape, snow white with a blast of colour surrounding the dark pupil in the centre. They both had long, spidery lashes and had the ability to hold your gaze without feeling remotely uncomfortable. But, in one way, their eyes were completely opposite. While Maisy’s eyes were brown with only a touch of green, Sunny had more green than brown. Interesting.
Sunny had messy, golden hair that looked as if he had just hopped out of bed without even looking at it, yet gel sat in clumps at his roots. I blinked at his thin but bushy eyebrows and suddenly noticed him staring at me, smiling at me checking him out. Averting my gaze, I willed myself not to blush. When I’d built the confidence to look up after my face returned to a neutral colour, he was grinning at me, his eyes catching the light and making small diamonds in the corners.
All I could concentrate on was how much he looked like Maisy. The same eyes, – well, almost - the same perfect body shape, the same cheek and jaw shape – the same allure.
‘Your eyes, they’re intriguing,’ I choked out before I could comprehend what I was about to say. I bit my lip, awaiting his response and looked down the hall. Empty.
‘I’ve been told their pretty but not … intriguing.’
He was making fun of me. I snapped out of the dream and my tone turned grouchy in an instant. ‘Can I help you then?’
He laughed. ‘Yes. You can apologise.’
‘Before I apologise for something I didn’t do, I’m just going to say that you made fun of me. So, for whatever I did, you don’t deserve an apology as you just practically insulted me. You can go now,’ I took and unsteady step backwards and reached for the door to close it.
‘That’s not what I’m talking about.’
My hand stopped around the handle. Sunny was being serious.
‘What’s your real name?’ I asked, meeting his very familiar eyes.
‘I can’t tell you.’
‘Fine.’ My hand on the handle bent closer to my stomach and the door closed a little.
‘Because you wouldn’t believe it or me. But that’s not why I’m here.’
I scoffed. ‘Oh, right, I forgot. Well, sorry, Sunny, but I’m not apologising for something I didn’t do.’
He gave me an odd look. It reminded me of when I was speaking to an adult about something way above my head and I was the only one who didn’t understand what was going on.
‘I am here to talk about your glare.’ He crossed his arms and became comfortable against the wall.
‘Okay, I am sorry I glared at you and for not accepting your offer to sit with you and be your date to the party!’
Sunny smirked down at me, stepping a little closer, raising his arm up to the door frame. ‘I didn’t ask you to be my date, Violet.’
He said my name. He said it and it sounded so right, so magical, so dreamy. I blinked and cursed myself for losing control.
‘It doesn’t matter,’ I snapped. ‘I’m not going.’
Without thinking, I removed my foot from the corner of the door and slammed it in his face. I waited behind the door for a while, hearing my own loud breathing and hoping he couldn’t hear the hammering of my irritated heart. I could feel him standing on the opposite side of the door and we were silently trying to pick each other’s minds, but I soon heard the sounds of his feet walking away. In relief, I threw my phone back into my drawer and fell asleep on the cement bed with Maisy’s teddy staring at me from her pillow.
‘As you all know,’ Mr Dallas yelled across the cafeteria at dinner that night, ‘I have arranged a school party in three weeks, which is not compulsory, but will involve no alcohol. There will be only punch and fizzy drinks and I will remind you that there are ways to enjoy yourself without indulging in alcohol.’
‘What kind of party is it, then?’ a girl with spiky hair stood up and yelled angrily. The whole school turned to look at her with agreeing nods or shakes of disapproval.
‘A school party.’ The way Mr Dallas replying matter-of-factly made a smile wobble upon my mouth. The cafeteria was silent, apart from a few murmurs that were travelling between tables about smuggling alcohol into the venue. I shook my head and thought about how childish they were. I’d done the whole alcohol obsession thing, thinking I’d be cool if I got drunk, and I’d learnt my lesson and paid the price – the disappearance of my ex-boyfriend. I didn’t need more alcohol and drugs to make people at this school start vanishing from before my eyes.
‘Now, it says on the posters around the school that you can bring a date, but I want no inappropriate behaviour!’
Maisy and a boy next to her exchanged glances and she shook her head at him. The boy grinned at her and their hands folded as one above the table, making my stomach turn in disgust.
‘If I could just find …’ Mr Dallas turned his body around and, just as he did, something landed in my salad, tossing lettuce aside and into my lap. I glared down at the paper aeroplane, considering the writing scattered over the index page of a science textbook and a growl burned in my throat.
Come to the party with me. I need a way to make up for what I said yesterday.
I snorted and wrote back a quick, messy but cunning response. I threw it back, making it create an arc as it flew, but it hit a post before it reached Chadding. A blonde head bent down, picking it up with curiosity written plain on his face. Sunny’s face hardened when he read the first message, but chuckled at my rejection. I couldn’t help but smile when he looked up at me, eyebrow raised and his lip curled up at one side in an amused sneer. Turning back to Mr Dallas, Sunny slid the plane under his chair and to Chadding’s feet.
‘Yes,’ the principal continued, ‘I have music requests here and they will be pinned up soon for the party. Now, off to bed you lot. Lots of sleep for the young ones.’
Knock. Knock. Knock.
Maisy groaned, tossing her doona to the ground, and opened the door with squinted eyes. Her shoulders were tensed when she opened the door wide enough to see who was on the other side. When she saw who it was, I could’ve sworn I heard her hiss through her teeth.
I pulled myself into a sitting position, adjusting my singlet straps back over my shoulders, and ran a hand through my hair, blocking out the harsh light of the hallway. When my eyes properly adapted to the sudden light in the pitch-black dormitory, I found myself looking around Maisy’s head to Sunny’s calm trance.
He stood half in and half out of the door frame, and was dressed in the same clothes he’d been in earlier that afternoon when he’d supposedly asked me about my glare. I cocked my head at him silently. What did he know of it? I’d glared at him. It hadn’t worked. Couldn’t we all move on?
‘What do you want?’ Maisy groaned, wiping at her eyes like a child.
‘Her,’ he said, nodding his head in my direction. I glanced down at myself, probably appearing a mess with smudged makeup and wild, purple hair if I used a mirror, and was suddenly grateful of wearing a bra to bed and my long, green silk pyjamas.
‘No. She’s asleep.’
‘No, I’m not,’ I croaked, flipping off the covers and sleepily side stepping in the dark towards the door. On my way, I think I tripped over about three shoes and stubbed my toe on the set of drawers beside the desk. I chomped down on my lip in an attempt to bear the pain.
‘See? I’m right here.’
‘Look, Sunny,’ Maisy began with an impatient tone edging into her voice, ‘It’s late.’
‘Maisy, just go to bed. I’ll get rid of him soon enough.’ I grumbled, stepping out from beside her. She held firm, trying to pull me back inside, but I was strong enough to wriggle out and push her away, closing the door behind me.
It was dark in the corridor, too dark to have lit up an entire half of my room. The moon’s light streamed through the windows, making the long corridor lit with a ghostly glow. The colourful building, basically made up of activity posters and flyers about not taking drugs, looked creepy with minimal light. The floor twinkled.
Sunny had with him a flashlight, providing the bright light, but apart from that, we were in complete darkness. The idea that he couldn’t see my bound-to-be embarrassing faces was almost comforting.
‘Hey,’ he whispered whilst taking my hand and pulling me down to the ground. I noticed our arms and shoulders were touching and, even though his touch felt like tiny fireworks bursting through my skin, I ignored them and slid away.
‘What do you want, Sunny? Here to make more fun of me?’
Sunny rested his head up against the wall, turning it so we could look at each other. ‘Here to ask why you told Chadding you already had a date to the party.’
‘Lying,’ I choked uneasily, blushing in the dark.
‘No, not lying. Telling the truth. I knew you’d come around.’ I felt his wink, regardless of the lack of light.
‘You know what your problem is?’ I asked, uncaring if he offered an answer or not. ‘You’re over confident about yourself and that bothers me. Clearly Maisy as well!’
‘Maisy and I have our quarrels,’ he said casually, ‘and the only reason I am confident is because you make me.’ He slid closer to me on the tiled floor and I couldn’t be bothered to move away. Or was it that I didn’t want to?
I growled and stood up, stealing the flashlight and pointing it at his face. His hand reached up to stop the bright light on his eyes, peeking at me through his long fingers.
‘You don’t know me, you only think you do. I don’t do the guy thing. I’m not interested in them and especially not you.’
If I was being completely honest, that part wasn’t exactly true, but to him it could remain that way. Boys were of no interest to me. I used to be one of those girls that was popular and had all of the boyfriends, but it was only to cover the pain I went through. Unlike most of my friends at my previous school, I wasn’t rich. I lived in a family where money wasn’t short but it wasn’t growing off trees either. My mum never gave me money when I went shopping and I had to always watch my friends shop in the section of the stores that only the rich people went to. When the leader of the group, the meanest of all girls, found out that I never brought money because my family couldn’t afford it, I was bullied and ignored. My last three months at that school were spent recovering.
‘I’m not going to the party unless I go alone. I don’t need or want friends so back off, dude.’
And with that, I ran back into the room, slammed the door, climbed into bed and cried until sleep took over me. I hated myself for triggering memories of the past. It was obvious that Sunny had an interest in me, but my body forced me to ignore the butterflies that fluttered in my stomach whenever he smiled at me or touched me.
I’d been here two days and I was already going mental. I’d been at the school for two days and all ready had boys following me around. Fantastic.
I wondered why Maisy and Sunny hated each other so much. My thoughts went to their eyes, their similarities, wondered if it was just coincidental that they looked alike. They couldn’t be brother and sister - I would have known - and, while they were similar, they were also too different to be siblings. I suppose they didn’t have to be brother and sister to share some same characteristics, though. Maybe they were second cousins or something, and their family was at war?
I dreamt of them both that night, a bad hallucination, but it became much worse when I woke up; Maisy was absent form the dorm again, her bed messed up and her teddy lying on its side with his eyes catching the moonlight as it stared at me.
I did as I had before, and with Sunny. I brushed it off and fell back into a deep, dreamless sleep.