“Vannomi, wait!” I ran after her through the halls, trying to get her to talk to me. She ran into class and sat all the way in the back. There were no other available seats around her, so I sat in the front and began to sulk about losing my first real friend. I glanced over my shoulder at her. She immediately turned her head when I did. She was scared of me. I sighed and directed my attention to the teacher in the front of the class.
Vannomi, please don’t fear me, I anxiously thought.
At lunch I tried to catch her before she got away, but she was sitting with Lance and his corny friends! He was sneaking little kisses in on her. Did she really make a deal to be his girlfriend just to get away from me? She seemed miserable, but anything to get away from the monstrous Opal, huh? She had a right to stay away from me, I didn’t want to drag her into my mess in the first place. I got it together and went over to her.
“Move!” I snapped at Lance.
“Back for more, huh, short stuff?” He gave me a cocky smirk. Vannomi was petrified next to him. “I told my friends all about how I beat you in the hall the other day.”
He did what?! I took some deep breathes. Vannomi looked me straight in the eyes, studying my every move closely. She already thought I was a psycho, but it’s not like she was far from wrong. I had to show some self control now. I needed to revert back to my “princess” behavior, and that was going to take a lot.
“Everyone, can I please have a moment alone with Vannomi?” I politely asked.
“One of you has to stay,” Vannomi quickly replied. She looked so vunerable and scared.
“I’ll stay, baby,” Lance kissed her on the cheek. She grunted aloud and slapped him.
“Go away, you obnoxious idiot! How do you expect us to believe that you beat up Opal when I just slapped you like it was nothing?! Forget what I said, nobody has to stay! Everybody, just go!” she barked at him. The whole cafeteria went silent and stared at us. She was kind of like an animal: aggressive when scared.
You tell him, Vannomi. I couldn’t help but smile at her boldness. Everyone at the table, including him, immediately rose from the table and darted off, leaving Vannomi and me alone. I took a deep breath and sat next to her.
“Vannomi, look. I want to apologize first off.” Apologizing made me sick. Being so submissive made me feel like I was talking to Chance again. “I know you found out about me severely hurting your brother’s friend, and I honestly don’t blame you. I thought you’d call the police actually.”
“No, because I’m scared you’d do worse to me when you got of jail.” She fearfully avoided my eyes.
“I’m not saying we have to continue being friends, but I just want to tell you that you’re the first person who’s ever really made me feel accepted in the real world. You were my first real friend. Thank you for being the first person to make me happy in a long time. I think you’re a good soul for that.” She seemed moved by my words.
“That’s very touching, Opal, but...you put that boy in the hospital.”
“I know.” And I don’t even regret it. Crazy, right?
“Please, just don’t hurt anyone else. Being vindictive isn’t going to solve your problems, Opal.”
“...I’ll think about that.” She gave me a tiny, frightened smile and left me there. I stood up and made my way to the bathroom, all eyes on me as I made my way through the tables of kids. A girl was already in one of the two stalls. I took the other stall.
It’s been quite some time since I’ve done this, huh? I thought with a pathetic smirk. I rolled up a ball of tissue from the dispenser and blew my nose into it. The girl in the stall next to me left her stall and squealed, “Ew, what are you doing in here, you pervert?! I’m telling the teachers!”
“Aw, come on, baby, you don’t want to play with me a little in here before you do that?” My cheeks went red after he said those flirtatiously bold words. Ryder? I forgot he was undercover here at school.
“Yuck! Ahhhhhh!” I heard her hand slap his face before she stormed out of the bathroom. Then, there were some knocks on my stall door.
“Opal, please let me in.” His voice became gentle but still deep and husky. I opened the door without another word. My cheeks becoming even more flushed at the sight of him, but they were only red because I was crying so hard. He entered the stall and closed the door, locking it behind himself. I turned away from him; crying only made me seem weak. I didn’t like crying around people.
“What was all that, you perv?” I chuckled.
“Um, I wanted to make you laugh.”
“Sure, now go away. I don’t need you to babysit me.”
“You’re a difficult girl,” he said. “I want you to talk to me; tell me about your problems so you can feel better.”
“So basically,” I turned back around and looked him in his sapphire blue orbs, “you want me to feel better?” I shoved him into the door. “Love is only a sick distraction, it doesn’t solve problems! You shouldn’t care that I’m upset! Just do your freaking job, Ryder!” He rolled his eyes.
“Do you know that I don’t care about a word you’re saying right now?” I gasped and tried to punch him in his gut. He took my wrists and pinned me to the wall, painfully standing on my toes so I couldn’t kick him. “You’re only saying that because you assume things. You assume that I love you, I don’t. I’m just not heartless, but I don’t think you are either. I think you need someone to talk to so you don’t drive yourself crazier than you already are. Take offense to that if you want to; I’m stating facts here.”
I didn’t want to say that to her, but she needed to hear it. I let her go. She sniffled and hid her face in her hands.
“Vannomi was my first real friend. When I was in Noon, I didn’t have anyone, just maids. Prince Chance and his parents were always abusive towards me. When I met Vannomi, I was just so happy that someone didn’t see me as “the Princess” or a nuisance, like the people in Noon and its royal family. Chance could’ve been my friend, if he didn’t have his bipolar disorder.”
“Oh yes,” I nodded my head remembering what I’d heard about Chance before then, “we have more realistic perspectives of big icons like Chance in the Defense Agency. I heard of his disorder, and his abusive attitude towards you.”
“So why didn’t come you save me right away if you already knew?!” she yelled at me at the top of her lungs. She calmed down. “Whatever, it wouldn’t have been a big deal to the Agency. You all have bigger issues to handle.”
“I don’t feel that way. I thought it was big deal, and I certainly felt for you. I wasn’t in any position to help you, unfortunately.” Her expression softened.
“Back to his disorder. One day he was so nice to me, then he’d beat me the next. His servants felt his wrath too. I just started avoiding him altogether. I wanted to help him, but the only thing I could feel for him was pure hatred. I guess his parents’ abusive relationship, his father’s strict attitude towards him, and the pressure of running the country made him that way. I was so happy to finally get away from all the chaos.”
“I...don’t know how to respond.”
“I wouldn’t either if I were you. Thank you for listening to me, and… Nothing.”
“Being...nice to me.” She was blushing again. “Do we hug now?” I opened my arms for her and she fell into them. “This is the first time in awhile that I’ve hugged someone and it wasn’t at a formal event.”
“Really?” I smirked.
“Yes, really.” Her voice became soft again. “You’re a nice person.” I was bashful towards her comment.
“Let’s hope my words hold true after some time.” She parted the hug. “If they don’t, I’ll have to beat you harder than I did Vannomi’s brother friend.” I laughed at her joke. It wasn’t a joke. She wasn’t laughing. She was staring daggers at me.
She’s still crazy, I thought.
“Uh, anyway,” I awkwardly changed the topic, “I have to take you somewhere with me.”
“Some special agency business?” She rose an eyebrow in question.