Lost to the Flames

Meet Rune Oakes: notoriously badly behaved, too smart for her own good, and the new fourth year at prestigious Borthwick Academy Boarding School. But when you're told you're destined to be a murderer, how can you begin to fit in at a school for the best pupils in the country? And even worse, how can you stop yourself from getting close. As Rune tries to stop herself from getting too attached, she becomes caught up in a spiderweb of secrets, magic, and, perhaps most frighteningly of all, love.

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2. A Little Chat

The burning sun streaked across the dark sky, pulled by the strength of Rune's utter, utter exhaustion.

 

"You do realise we have to get up right now, right?" Suzanne huffed at her, clambering out of her own bed.

 

"Aye, but it's really early. Am tired."

 

"You're tired? Well, then maybe you should have gone to sleep at a better time, and not gone sneaking out of our room at one in the morning." She took in Rune's angry expression. "You didn't honestly think that I wouldn't wake up when you - quite stupidly, actually - left the door wide open?"

 

Rune glared at her. "How was a tae ken?"

 

"Rune, I don't even know what you just said. Look, what's wrong? And, if you can, tell me in English."

 

"A - I'm just totally fed up of being here already. My parents don't even care, they're glad to get me away from them, and I miss my friends back home. I seriously messed things up before I came here, and I just... I miss them okay. I never wanted to be here. And for the record, what I said was, how was I too know."

 

A grin danced lazily across Suzanne's lips. "So you do speak English," she laughed. "Sorry. But, I mean, I don't really know how to deal with things like that - the kids here are the only kids I've ever known, the only friends I've ever known. But the family thing - I can relate. My dad never talks to any of us - me or my siblings - and my mum barely even comes out of her room when we're at home. And I know that you miss your friends, but maybe you could at least have one you don't have to miss." She held her hand out to Rune, who was still lying in her bed.

 

"Fine. How long dae we have to get ready?"

 

"The word is 'do', Rune. And we have ten minutes, then we have to go to breakfast in the main building. I'll introduce you to a couple of my friends if you want."

 

Rune's thoughts immediately went to Avery from the night before, and oddly, the way that his eyes had looked in the night, like ice. "Sure. Sounds like fun."

 

As they got changed, Suzanne and Rune were silent, pulling on shirts and skirts and tights, dusting on makeup and tying up hair and double checking that they had what they needed in their bags. Suzanne held a large maroon handbag as the two of them headed down the stairs, where Rune had sat the night before. Rune, on the other hand, had dug out a plain black leather rucksack from the depths of her wardrobe a couple nights before, and held her phone in her hand just in case it fell through the tearing bottom.

 

As they crossed the grass to the main buildings, Rune noticed one girl walking by herself, her pale ginger hair tumbling freely down her back. "Lealia!" Suzanne hollered at the girl, who turned around, startled.

 

Immediately, her face broke out into a smile, and she raced over to them. "Suzie!" she laughed, engulfing Suzanne in a tight embrace, which she willingly reciprocated. "I've missed you so much, oh my god!"

 

"I've missed you too, Lealia!" Suzanne pulled away from her friend, and turned to Rune, who Lealia had only just noticed. "Oh, this is my be roommate, Rune Oakes. Rune, this is my girlfriend, Lealia."

 

Rune blinked. "Oh. Cool."

 

"That's not a problem, right?" Laelia's voice was sweet, but Rune knew that if she said it was, she'd be murdered. But she had no reason to say no.

 

"Of course it's no. It's nice to meet you, Laelia."

 

Lealia and Suzanne beamed at her. "You, too."

 

"Guys, we're late for breakfast," Suzanne said, with a laugh.

 

The three of them walked together towards the main building, Laelia's head leaning on Suzanne's shoulder. Rune could see Laelia's beauty as clear as the clouds; her hair was like a waterfall of fire, her eyes dancing like the sky above them, glowing with her youth. There was something about her, something that seemed like she was everything and nothing all at once, and it was beautiful.

 

"Can you see Avery yet, Suzie?" Laelia asked, and Rune's head snapped up. "He said he'd be here early, but I can't see him anywhere."

 

"I'm sure he's here, Laelia," Suzanne said, scanning the dining hall in which they now stood. "Look, there he's there." She pointed to the far left corner, where a boy sat, dark head bent over a book and a plate of what looked like sausages, but from a distance Rune couldn't quite tell. It didn't really matter, anyway.

 

They were getting closer to him now, and he cast his eyes towards the three of them, grinning widely. "Finally," he laughed, high fiving Suzanne and Laelia. "I thought you two had fallen into a ditch together somewhere."

 

A loud laugh erupted from Laelia's mouth, as she and Suzanne went around the table and sat down opposite him. "I think you're just a little bit jealous here, Avery, aren't you?" She wiggled her eyebrows jokingly, as Rune hovered around next to Avery, uncertain of what to do. "Oh, and Rune, please sit down."

 

Avery turned to Rune, looking up at her from beneath his dark lashes. "Oh, hello there. Are you Suzanne's new roommate? Or has Gwendolyn here finally managed to get rid of the special snowflakes?" Rune wondered how he didn't remember her. It was irritating.

 

"Please don't call me Gwendolyn, Avery," Laelia sighed. "You know I hate it."

 

"Of course I do, that's why I called you it. And you didn't answer my question."

 

Suzanne rolled her eyes, but Rune answered, "Am Suzanne's roommate."

 

Avery's eyes twinkled silver. "Of course you are."

 

"Come on," Suzanne said, standing up. "We need to get some food. Avery, they haven't handed out the timetables yet, have they?"

 

"No, not yet," Avery told them. "Count yourself lucky."

 

Rune followed Suzanne and Laelia to a counter, behind which there stood a couple of women in red dresses, serving the breakfast. Rune looked around desperately, almost throwing up at the smell of the bacon and sausages. She spied another counter to the left, and sighed as she saw the racks of toast there. "I'm just going over there," she told Suzanne, and went to grab her toast, with butter, and sat down again next to Avery.

 

"Do you not like the hot stuff?" Avery asked, frowning.

 

"This toast is hot stuff, actually. But if yi mean the fried stuff and that, then nut, I dinnae like it. It's... Weird."

 

"You vegen or something?"

 

"No, I just don't like fried stuff like that." What Avery thought she meant was she was a health freak, but that wasn't it. She just knew nobody could fry food as well as her parents could.

 

"Well, I'm going to make you like it, by the end of this term."

 

"Yeah? Have fun." She started buttering her toast, ignoring Avery's not at all subtle eye roll.

 

"So, what subjects did you decide to take?" he asked, sounding way too enthusiastic for it to be normal.

 

"Drama, art, maths, english, music, modern studies, dance and RMPS," she replied, deliberately sounding unenthusiastic. It was too early in the morning for people to be excited about school stuff. "What about you?"

 

"Maths and English, of course," he laughed. "But I also chose Chemistry, Spanish, Business Studies, Modern Studies and Mandarin as the important ones. I can't remember what I decided to do as my extra, it was either Drama or PE, but I don't really care. They're not proper subjects anyway." He laughed, not quite realising what an idiot he had just been.

 

"I took drama, you bloody nit!" she hissed, elbowing him in the ribs, which caused him to yelp, as Suzanne and Laelia came back to sit with them.

 

"I can't believe you only got toast, Rune," Laelia said, watching and wrinkling her nose slightly, as Rune shovelled toast into her mouth. "These eggs are great."

 

"She's vegan," Avery said.

 

"I'm not vegan," Rune huffed. "I just don't like fried food."

 

"Yeah, sorry. Vegans aren't as crazy as that. Fried food is good."

 

Rune just rolled her eyes, and continued eating her toast, until she heard a banging on a table, and jerked around. An old woman stood at the head of a table, grey hair pulled back into a bun that seemed to pull her wrinkled skin with it. "Good morning, students," she said, no laughter in her smile. "I trust you all have had an enjoyable holiday, but now it is time for learning once again. We have a few new students this year, and I hope you will welcome them all graciously and courteously. Your year heads will call out your names shortly, and give you your timetables. Please check school notices for when your year assemblies are. And welcome back."

 

A faint smile graced the woman's lips, as she sat back downed, pleased with herself. "That's the headmistress," Laelia told Rune in a whisper as the year heads began calling names. "Mrs Worracha's her name. Don't get on her bad side, I'd say, but she is nice enough."

 

"Suzanne Foreman," called Mrs Anderson, from beside the food counter.

Suzanne smiled, and went to collect her timetable, grinning at it. "They've given me extra periods for music," she whispered across the table.

 

"That's awesome!" Laelia said, and Rune nodded.

 

"So, are you really intae music then, I take it?" she asked Suzanne, which caused Avery to laugh.

 

"Obviously," she laughed. "I play piano, violin, drums, guitar and flute. And I sing, too, but not very much."

 

Rune stared. "Geez, I can barely even play the piano, let along all those," she laughed.

 

"I'm sure you're great, Rune," Laelia said, to which Rune rolled her eyes.

 

"Aye, well you've no heard me before, have yi?"

 

"Rune Oakes," Mrs Anderson called her name, and she jumped up, earning a snigger from Avery.

 

Grabbing her timetable, she read over it, sighing with relief as she saw that she'd been given seven National Five level subjects, just missing out on her Modern Studies. Maybe her father would be proud of her for it.

 

"What did you get?" Suzanne asked, pulling her timetable from her, comparing it to her own. "Ugh, you've got Stanton for Maths."

 

"That bad?"

 

"For you, definitely; he's a prick. I've got Miss McDonald, same as last year. She's lovely."

 

Avery nodded solemnly in agreement. "She's really hot."

 

"Avery's jealous," Laelia laughed, earning her the sight of his middle finger, which only made her laugh more. "Oh, I'm sorry, Avery, have I upset you? So sorry, really."

 

Avery shook his head. "Piss off, Richards."

 

"Sorry, I don't think I can today. Very busy schedule."

 

Once they'd all received their timetables, they compared them, finding that between the four of them, they shared very few classes. Laelia and Suzanne had managed to both get into the same English and Maths classes, while Rune shared only Music with Suzanne, Modern Studies with Laelia, and both Drama and Maths with Avery.

 

As they got up to leave the hall, Rune caught Avery smirking at her, and fell back to stand beside him. "What are you smirking at?" she laughed, though she didn't exactly find it funny. She had to go to music with Suzanne, who hadn't realised that she wasn't right behind her yet. She couldn't lose sight of her.

 

"Just you, Rune," Avery laughed. "You fail to realise that we share not one, but two classes, one of which appears to be your favourite."

 

"And?"

 

"The other is my favourite. I hope we don't ruin these for one another."

 

"So do I."

 

"Good. So that means we get to sit next to each other in those classes, then?" He didn't wait for an answer. "Awesome. See you later then, Rune!"

 

He dashed away, leaving Rune to try and find Suzanne again.

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