Emma scrambled to the school library, knowing Amanda couldn't be anywhere else. She ran past the loans desk, ignoring the librarian's instructions to calm down and read the no-running signs. She ran down each aisle, carrying her sweaty body through the lounge area and down the computer lane at the rear of the library. In the study area sat Amanda and a strange boy, both hovering over a text book.
Emma paused. She'd never seen Amanda with a boy, she wasn't sure if she should have interrupted. She'd seen Victoria, of course. Her only friends were boys. And Holland got boy attention whether she liked it or not. It wasn't that Amanda wasn't attractive because she was, Emma had always thought she tried to hide her beauty by hanging in the shadows of others - a little like herself.
'Emma?' Amanda asked, looking up from her text book. The boy turned around, smiling at her. He was attractive. He had short brown hair and dark eyes that held your gaze. Emma felt violated by the way he sunk into her as he took her in. Flushed, she looked away and hurried to show Amanda the note.
She read it with wide eyes and then looked back at Emma, catching her breath. Bastien had a hand on her shoulder, asking her what she'd been running for.
'Emma, when did you get this?'
'Just before. I ran all the way here.'
Bastien glanced between the two girls. 'Well, what does it say?' He reached for it, but Amanda scrunched it up in her hand.
'It's nothing. It's just someone playing a joke on Emma.'
Bastien didn't look convinced. 'Well, who was it? Do you recognise the handwriting?'
'It's fine, don't worry about it.' Amanda handed him the text book. 'Thanks for helping me with the homework. Merci beaucoup. Maintenant, je comprend.'
Emma shook her head, trying to figure out if they were speaking another language or if all the running was making her see things. She rubbed her temple with her fingers and sat down on the opposite table to Amanda's.
'De rien, mais . . .'
'Bastien . . .'
'Whoever did this should be reported. Here, maybe I recognise the handwriting.'
Amanda shoved the paper in her pocket. 'No biggy. See you tomorrow, okay?'
Bastien glanced a wary look at Emma and grabbed his bag. 'Alright. Look, don't worry, Emma. Whoever it is will stop eventually.' And then he walked out, looking back once at Amanda before disappearing behind an aisle of books.