The morning after the Costume Ball, Zyla woke Raiki with a cup of hot tea and a plate of toast. She smiled broadly as she passed them to a weary Raiki. Raiki eyed her suspiciously.
What do you want? She grumbled and rubbed her eyes sleepily.
Well I was wondering if you had a chance to speak to Xsal last night? About me? And how he feels for me? Zyla grinned and pushed the plate of toast onto Raikis lap and placed the tea on Raiki's bedside table.
Raiki starred at the toast then at Zyla. She had completely forgotten that had been the main reason she went out with Xsal in the first place.
Actually no. She replied honestly. He left me after the first dance and I didnt see him again until the last dance so I didnt get much chance. Sorry. She picked up her cup of tea and sipped at it, How could I be so selfish? she thought to herself.
'Oh,' Zyla sounded a little disappointed, 'Oh well never mind. I got a chance to dance with him anyway! He didnt comment on my gorgeous dress, but I could read between the lines. She laughed, Oh Raiki Ive been so close to him for ages that I just know any day now well be together!' She clasped her hands together and held them by her face.
'Yeah.' Raiki forced a smile, 'Im sure youll be very happy with each other.' She turned away from the daydreaming Zyla. Why does it bother me so much anyway? she thought, Im just worried for Zyla thats all. Yeah, that must be it. I cant fall for that jerk.
Xsal woke the next morning and performed his morning necessities in the bathroom. When he had finished shaving he strolled casually out of the room and pulled on his trousers and a white shirt. Just as Lyga was heading for the bathroom Xsal noticed him.
Lyga. He started. You danced with Raiki? He tried to sound casual, You liked her? You thought she was a good dancer?
Lyga rolled his eyes and lent on the door frame. Shes a nice girl if thats what you mean. He shrugged, Id hate to see her messed around by you Xsal.
Xsal gave a cold chuckle.
But I have a feeling that shes different. Shes somehow important to you Lyga continued.
Xsal laughed harder, Oh Lyga, buddy. he slapped his thighs, Surely you know me better than that? Shes nothing more to me than an accessory.
Sure whatever. Lyga shrugged. Then why did you seem so angry when you saw me dancing with her last night? Why question me about it this morning?
Xsal remained silent.
Just be careful or youll loose her. Lyga finished and headed into the bathroom.
Since when do you know so much about love anyway? Xsal mocked the word love with two fingers either side of his head.
Since I bother to listen to what people have to tell me. With that Lyga closed the bathroom door. Subject finished.
Xsal stomped around his bedroom furious at how his brother had spoken to him. He hated his brother voicing his subconscious mind. He glared at his costume which hung up on the wardrobe. On closer inspection he noticed that it had a few patches of fluff from Raikis bunny outfit attached to it. He laughed and pulled the pieces off, tossing them out of the window.
He lent on the window frame and looked out onto the school grounds. Students had the day after the Fancy Dress Ball off so they could recover from the night before. The once busy grounds of Tadwin's were now empty. Most students were inside their cozy cottages sipping coffee and talking about the night before. He was stuck inside with his lousy brother.
Xsal placed his head on his hands and let his thoughts drift to the night before. How much fun he had. He thought of all of the different dancing partners he had managed to get through in one night. Then he thought of a certain girl dressed in a bunny suit. Raiki. He immediately shook his head to clear his thoughts.
This is crazy! He admitted. Why am I still thinking about her. He turned his back to the window and lent against it. I need to stay away from her. Ive never thought about anyone this much before. He pulled on his shoes and stepped outside into the fresh morning air. The grounds were quiet. He walked to the lake and threw a few stones into it, skimming a few on the surface. He stayed there for a while staring at the water as it reflected a few of the suns beams.
I need to know if I can still be myself. He mused, I need to take a girl out for the day. Just a random girl. He thought for a few moments. Ill take Zyla, He grinned, Then I can see if Raiki gets jealous. He stood up and brushed himself off. Alright then. Its decided. With that he headed over to Raiki and Zylas house.
At 1:30 Raiki and Zyla were still lounging around in their pajamas, laughing and watching television. There was a knock at the door. Zyla stood up and looked through the peep hole in the door. Suddenly she let out a huge squeal and came running back into the living room.
Raiki! Raiki! Raiki! She screeched, Its Xsal! Xsal has come to our house to see us! Zyla was practically hopping up and down.
So? Go and answer the door then! Raiki laughed.
I cant answer the door looking like this? Zyla frowned, Please could you do it for me while I hop in the shower?
The door was knocked again.
Please? Zyla pleaded desperately.
Raiki sighed and got up. This is two you owe me now! Get in that shower.
Oh thank you thank you! Zyla darted into the bathroom for cover.
Yeah Im coming. Raiki bellowed to the door.
She unlocked the door and swung it open. For a few seconds she stared at the sight of Xsal in a loosely buttoned white shirt. Then she managed to clear her thoughts.
Can I help you? She asked.
Actually I dont think you can. Xsal cocked an eyebrow and looked her up and down.
Yes, I see youve noticed Im wearing my pajamas. Congratulations. Raiki glared back. She wasnt too pleased at the way he was speaking to her.
Right. Well I was actually wondering if Zyla was here? Xsal flashed a smug smile.
Shes in the shower. Raiki replied coldly. Feeling rather stabbed in the back.
Oh. Xsal thought for a moment. His plan temporarily on standby. Well I guess I have no choice but to wait with you then. He pushed the door open further and walked in past Raiki.
Oh do come in. Raiki said sarcastically.
Xsal had walked into the living room and was staring around again. Raiki threw herself down on the sofa and flicked through the television channels, unpleasant thoughts about Xsal running through her head.
Xsal sat down next to her and forced himself to look at the television. He side glanced at her a few times and she failed to notice.
Why is she so different? He thought to himself. Why isnt she following me around like everyone else? I need to make her fall for me. I have to. My reputation is at stake here. He turned his head so he could look at her properly. She had her legs tucked up by her side and her head rested on her hand. The sleeves of her pyjamas were too big and they covered most of her hands. Her hair fell messily around her face but she was still beautiful.
Xsal forced his eyes back to the television and waited for Zyla to return.
Sure enough Zyla burst in moments later. She was wearing one of her most beautiful dresses, obviously going out to impress.
Oh! My! Hello Xsal! She tried to sound surprised, I had no idea you were here.
Raiki rolled her eyes but continued watching the television.
Ah! Just who I wanted to see. Xsal smirked giving a side glance to Raiki who kept her eyes firmly on the television.
Oh really? You wanted to see me? Im flattered. She giggled and batted her eyelids at him.
Yeah. Xsal said awkwardly. You look lovely by the way.
Oh this old thing? Zyla lied, I only wish I knew you were coming, I would have dressed more suitable for the occasion.
Raiki gritted her teeth and glared at the television.
You look perfect to me. Xsal stepped closer to her, Actually I was wondering if you would do me a favour today?
What did you have in mind? Zyla asked still grinning.
Well I was wondering if you wouldnt mind spending the day with my good self? He smirked.
He had done it. Raiki pushed the power button on the television and stood up quickly.
Oh excuse me. She glared, I have to go to the shower now so you two have a lovely day and dont worry about me. Ill be fine. With that she slammed the living room door and headed towards the bathroom.
Xsal smiled, pleased at her reaction.
Id say that was just a hint of jealousy wouldnt you agree Zyla? He pushed his face close to hers, So? What do you say? Fancy spending the day with me?
Oh nothing would please me more! She practically squealed, You wait here! Ill just go and grab a jacket. She hurried out of the room and into her bedroom.
Xsal sighed and slumped back into the sofa. He stared at the door that Raiki left through and nodded.
This is for the best. He said sadly.
Raiki stood still in the shower letting the beads of water fall on her body. She stared at the floor sadly. As much as she hated to admit it she had hoped for one brief moment that Xsal had actually come to see her. She wiped her eyes as the water fell into them.
How can I be so stupid. I promised myself. I dont even know him! Its just
last night was so much fun. He makes my heart beat faster. But I cant fall for him. I wont. She turned to face the shower and scrunched up her eyes to let the water hit her face.
I wont be ensnared by him! Its exactly what he wants. I wont be another of his lambs he leads to the slaughter! She repeated these words in her head as she remained facing the shower.
Xsal is nothing to me. She lifted her head and glared at the ceiling.
When Zyla had finally decided on a jacket to match her dress they headed out of the door. Xsal offered Zyla his arm and they set off around the grounds.
So what exactly did you have planned today? Zyla giggled hanging off Xsals arm.
To tell you the truth Im not sure. He replied honestly. Just wanted to spend some time with you. He lied.
Oh you! Zyla shoved his arm playfully and laughed.
yeah. He laughed half-heartedly. So how about we hit the shops?
Sounds like a great idea! She agreed excitedly.
Great, well pick up the car from my place. He smiled and they walked in the direction of Xsals house.
On the way many people were finally stepping out of their houses, gradually a crowd of angry teenage girls had begun to follow them. Zyla clung harder to Xsals arm loving that she was the one Xsal had chosen to spend the day with. All of her hard work had finally paid off and she was finally by his side.
They finally arrived at his house and walked up to the front door.
I just need to grab my keys, He explained, You wait in the hall okay?
Zyla nodded and examined the house. It was set up in the same way her own was set, from what she could see. The door on the left leading into the living room, the door on her right leading to the bedroom and the door in front of her the bathroom. Suddenly she heard the sound of a toilet flush. Moments later the door opened and Lyga appeared.
Lyga looked straight at Zyla then blushed slightly. He coughed to try and hide his embarrassment. Zyla shuffled her feet and stared at the floor.
Hello. Lyga finally said.
Hi. Zyla replied, You okay?
Yeah, I cant complain. Lyga looked away from her again.
Thats good. Zyla looked at the wall in front of her as if it was particularly interesting.
So, you going somewhere? Lyga tried casually.
Zyla nodded, Yeah. Xsals just looking for his car keys.
His car keys? Lyga shook his head, Our parents gave us the car between us. But he went and personalized the license plate. I mean X-5-4-L 1? How obnoxious can you get?
Zyla thought for a moment.
Oh! I see! It spells XSAL 1 She giggled finally catching on.
Lyga smiled fondly at her. Shes such a ditz. He thought.
Xsal emerged from the living room and shook his keys to show he had found them.
There we go. Ah Lyga. He slapped his brother on the back, Dont wait up for us okay? He winked and lead Zyla out of the door.
Bye Lyga. Zyla waved as they left.
Lyga smiled and waved before the door was shut in his face. He let his smile fade and he slid down against the wall.
Its just not fair. He finally said as he let his head fall into his hands. Why Zyla?
When Zyla and Xsal arrived in the shopping centre they walked with arms linked. Zyla pulled Xsal around many clothes shops.
Ive always wanted a guy to come clothes shopping with me! She smiled with arms full of clothes.
Hmm this is per- per- perfect. Xsal failed to stifle a huge yawn.
Im going to try these on! Zyla exclaimed. Ill come out in each one and you can tell me what you think! She ran off into the changing rooms and Xsal sat down.
What is it with women and clothes shopping? I should have never suggested shopping. He scratched his head and slapped his cheeks to keep himself from falling to sleep.
Zyla finally emerged in a black and white polka-dot dress.
Whoa! Xsal covered his mouth quickly before he could say anything insulting.
What do you think? She asked posing.
Its different. He admitted.
Its horrible isnt it? She looked at him sadly.
Well its not something Id wear. Xsal laughed trying to lighten the mood.
Zyla hurried back into the changing room. She ran in and out seventeen times, each outfit seemed more ridiculous than the last. There was only one dress that Xsal actually liked. It was a purple backless dress that had lace flowers embroidered onto it.
When Zyla had finished trying almost everything in the shop on, they decided it was time to move onto another shop.
There was a small craft store that Zyla loved going in. She walked towards some beautifully carved wooden elephants.
Oh theyre so cute! She explained picking one up, Elephants are the cutest animals that walk this earth! Dont you think so?
Xsal stared at the wooden elephant. Well this one is pretty but the real ones arent so hot. He admitted. The real stars are the big cats! I mean check out the lion, hes king and he knows it, and the cheetah, nothing can out run it!
Zyla laughed, You sound like Raiki. She loves her big cats too.
Really? Xsal panicked a little, Well theyre not all that great. He added hastily, not wanting to think about Raiki or how much they had in common.
They headed out of the craft shop and towards a small gadget shop that was Xsals favourite shop. As they entered various things flashed or beeped at them. Zyla stood in awe of the items.
Xsal spied a young looking sales assistant who was playing with a remote control car in the corner. Xsal made his way over to the young man and spoke to him for few minutes. Soon Xsal was controlling the car, badly. It sped around the shop floor smashing into gondola bays and peoples ankles until finally the young sales assistant managed to get the controller back off Xsal.
I guess Im better with the real thing. Xsal laughed as several people walked out of the shop in disgust, many rubbing their ankles.
Zyla giggled at him.
So how about we head to some CD shops? Theres a new album I want to get my hands on. Xsal grinned manically.
Zyla looked at her watch, Well we better be fast, its nearly closing time.
Oh we will be! He smirked back and grabbed her arm, dragging her to the shop in question.
When they finally reached the CD shop there were a few arguments on which bands rocked and which clearly did not.
I swear you are the male version of Raiki! Zyla laughed.
Why so? Xsal almost growled at the mention of Raiki again.
She loves that band as well! You guys should party some time! Zyla continued browsing through the sale section.
Xsal glared angrily at the CD of his favourite band and slammed it back down into its spot on the shelf. When it neared closing time and Xsal and Zyla were still in the shop, the store manager became impatient and turned most of the store lights off. Luckily they took the hint and headed out of the door as it was being closed hastily.
Whoops! Xsal laughed and scratched his head.
Oh you didnt get your album. Zyla whined.
Ill get it some other time. Xsal replied shortly.
As they walked through the shopping centre they noticed that many of the shops had closed or were closing and many staff members were heading home for the night. The centre was empty and silent. The silence was only broken by the sound of their feet on the smooth tiled floor.
When they finally reached the car both of them got into it in silence. For most of the journey neither of them spoke. Zyla was off in a dream world thinking of everything that had happened in the day, Xsals head wall full of one girl he didnt want to be there.
Xsal sighed on the inside and thought to himself. Why? Ive spent most of the day with Zyla and Im still thinking about Raiki. Why did Zyla have to mention all that stuff we have in common? I just have to spend more time with her obviously.
He cleared his throat loudly.
Say Zyla, want to have dinner with me? He smiled falsely.
Oh my gosh! Id love to! She clasped her hands by the side of her head eagerly.
Okay then! Dinner it is. Xsal turned the car round and headed off to a nearby restaurant.
They pulled up in the restaurant car park and walked into the entrance. The noise of many people greeted them and soft music played in the background. Zyla looked around her in awe, clinging onto Xsals arm smiling.
There were waiters running around dressed in suits, the walls were decorated with old black and white photographs and the tables each had their own candle sat in a plain glass. It was a very warm and inviting place, covered in knotted pine.
Oh this is so romantic! Zyla giggled as they were shown to a table by one of the waiters.
They took some time deciding what to order, all the while the waiter stood beside them. Finally, when they had decided on their meal (Oh gosh! Raiki would have chosen that I bet!), the waiter left them in silence. They sat opposite each other, Xsal looked everywhere but opposite him as he wanted to avoid Zylas oh so intense loving gaze.
Well Im here arent I? Xsal thought to himself, I managed it this far! Heck this is the longest time Ive ever spent with a girl!
Finally their meals had arrived. They were delicious and devoured quickly. After their dinner they ordered coffee and mints.
That was great wasnt it? Zyla grinned eagerly.
Sure was. Xsal responded sipping his coffee.
I mean I had a really wonderful time! Zyla spread her arms out wide knocker her coffee over. She watched as a tidal wave of coffee swept its way onto Xsals lap.
D-Argh! Xsal screamed and leapt from his chair.
I am so sorry! Zyla gasped. Help! She called to one of the waiters.
Xsal glared at her as the waiter brought over a towel to mop up most of the scalding liquid. Zyla hung her head in shame.
Im okay. He finally slumped back in his chair, giving up trying to mop up the coffee from his crotch. Whats a little spilt coffee? Hey waiter? Well need another coffee for my lady friend.
Zyla avoided eye contact with Xsal as she carefully drank her coffee, not letting go of it for the remainder of the evening.
They got back in the car. Xsal thought hard about how he could spend more time with Zyla. They drove once again in silence.
This is no good. Xsal thought again, I need to spend an entire day with this woman. I dont know if my trousers can take another scalding though. He moved uncomfortably as the wet material stuck to his legs.
Do you want me to drop you off at home or would you rather take a walk around the grounds with me? He asked smiling again.
Id love to! I mean that is if you dont mind
She trailed off.
Nah, I dont mind at all. He turned back to the road. But I might have to change fist
Eventually they pulled up at Xsals cottage. He parked the car and let Zyla take his arm once again. They walked around the deserted grounds as the sun was setting in the sky. Xsal led her to a bench by the lake and they watched the remainder of the suns rays dance on the surface of the water. Gradually the stars came out and lit the otherwise dark night sky.
I had fun today. Xsal finally smiled at her.
You did? I mean me too! Zyla corrected herself, I must admit I was a little shocked when you asked me to go out with you
I mean not go out with you but spend the day with you. I mean you hardly ever make house visits
not that youre expected to..
Xsal burst out laughing.
You always do that! He laughed.
Do what? Zyla looked genuinely confused.
Trip over yourself. He explained.
Xsal looked up in awe at the stars in the sky.
Theyre beautiful arent they? He said not taking his eyes of them. I mean, the universe is just so big, so intense. It makes you realise how small and insignificant we really are. He looked at Zyla to see she wasnt looking at the stars but was staring at him.
She replied dreamily.
Xsal looked sadly back at the stars. She hadnt listened to him at all.
Want me to walk you home? He finally asked.
Oh! Zyla snapped out of her trance, Are you sure? I mean youve done so much for me today!
Nah, You did me a favour in coming out with me. He smiled and stood up. Shall we get going? He offered her his hand.
Okay then. Zyla giggled once again and took his hand.
Raiki lay awake in her bed. She had turned all of the house lights off so that when Xsal and Zyla returned she wouldnt have to listen to all the details of their wonderful day together.
Its not like I care for that idiot. She told herself. Im just worried for Zyla. She shouldnt get too involved with him. She tossed and turned a few times looking repeatedly at her bed-side clock.
Suddenly, unmistakeably the sound of Zylas laughter filled the air. Raiki sat up in her bed as she heard Xsals low dry laughter joining Zylas girlish giggles. She slowly peeled the purple bedroom curtain back when she heard their footsteps cease outside of the door.
Zyla stood with her back to the door talking to Xsal who stood opposite her.
Thanks for today. She smiled, I really needed to get out of the house! I would have probably spent the day in my pyjamas watching television with Raiki otherwise. She laughed.
Raiki, watching through the crack in the curtains felt slightly stabbed in the back at this remark but remained where she was. Straining to see and hear the conversation.
No problem at all. Xsal smiled, I needed it as much as you did.
He looked at Zylas smiling face and sighed.
Its not enough. He thought, I need to know if I can still kiss a girl. I need to kiss her to see if I can still be myself.
Zyla, He stepped closer to her, Theres something else I need from you. He pushed his face closer to hers and took hold of her hands.
She dared to whisper.
This. He replied softly and kissed her slowly.
Raiki quickly let go of the curtain and let herself fall back into her bed. She put her arms over her eyes and sighed. She didnt even realise she was crying until she felt the tears roll down by her ears and wet her pillow.
Oh, why am I crying? She asked herself wiping the tears away as more followed. Its not like I ever thought anything would happen between us. She sank her voice to a low whisper, At least now I know why he asked me to the dance. He wanted to know more about Zyla. She hiccoughed slightly between her tears, I should be happy for Zyla. Maybe hes a nice guy after all, he was just too afraid to show it. She turned to face the wall, her eyes burning with tears. Lyga was right, I should have never gotten involved with him. Last night
last night I loved being close to him. I thought there was a chance
I was a fool.
Xsal and Zyla pulled apart from their kiss. Zyla starred at Xsal for a few seconds then flung her arms around his neck almost crying with joy. Xsal patted her back awkwardly and sighed.
Oh Xsal I knew it! I knew one day Id be your girlfriend! Zyla Squeezed him harder.
Uh... Wait a second- Xsal began slightly taken back.
This is the best day of my life! Ive waited so long! Thank you so much! She broke apart from him and practically beamed at him.
right. Xsal smiled back slightly confused.
Well, Ill see you at college tomorrow. She paused in the open door way and took a last long look at him. Good night. She said softly as she closed the door.
Good night. He replied smiling.
Xsal walked down the path from their house and sighed. He scuffed his feet as he walked slowly across the grounds.
That didnt feel right. He whispered in the darkness. Ive kissed loads of girls before. He almost boasted, but now I cant? Whats up with that? He turned his head to the moon, I never had to think twice about it before! So why now? Whats happening to me?
The moon remained silent in the sky, lighting up the grounds with its silvery beams.
Yeah, that figures. You never have the answers do you? He sighed and looked once more on the path in front of him. Did I make a mistake today? He shook his head to clear the thought, I dont make mistakes! He stopped still. So how come I ended up with Zyla as my girlfriend? Sighing again he continued on his long walk home. Oh Nikko is going to eat this up in the morning.
Raiki stayed quite still as she heard Zyla enter the room calling her name. She didnt want to speak to her, not right now so she pretended to be asleep.
Zyla eventually gave up, assuming Raiki had gone to sleep. She quickly slipped into her pyjamas and hopped into bed. Raiki waited until she was sure Zyla was asleep before peeling back her own duvet and gingerly stepping out of the bedroom. She heaved a sigh as she closed the bedroom door behind her.
I need some air. She said to herself placing her hand to her head.
She carefully unlocked the front door and stepped outside into the cool night air. She breathed in the fresh cool breeze and felt the damp grass poke between her toes. Heaving a great sigh of relief she set off on a midnight walk.
A bench not too far from the house proved to be her resting point. She tucked her feet up by her side and looked up at the stars and the brilliant white moon. A gust of wind blew her hair over her eyes and she smiled.
Apparently she was not alone in thinking that midnight was the best time for taking a walk. She heard the sound of a small twig being stepped on. Immediately she began to panic. She realised she was outside all on her own - in her pyjamas no less! She held her breath expecting the worst.
Beautiful night isnt it? A voice behind her finally said.