Whos there? Raiki shouted in a would be calm voice apart from the fact she was trembling.
A little late and
dangerous to be walking out alone isnt it? the voice loomed in the darkness.
Raiki dared to turn her head to look at the cluster of trees behind her. In the darkness it was impossible to distinguish the stranger. She gulped hard as she squinted.
Well shes not alone. Came a second voice that almost made Raiki jump off the bench. She turned her head back to see Lyga in front of her glaring towards the trees.
Hmm. No It appears youre right. The strangers voice continued. Well that's no fun at all. With that there was a definite shuffling as the stranger disappeared.
Creep. Lyga snorted before turning to Raiki, You know you should listen to that guy though. It is dangerous to be out here alone so late.
But Im not alone any more. She smiled back at him.
Lucky for you. Lyga pointed to the empty seat beside her on the bench. May I?
Why not. Raiki shuffled over to make the space a little larger for him. So what brings you out so late then?
Well both me and my brother are night time wanderers usually. He loves to look at the stars. Lyga tilted his head back and laughed, But thats not for me, I just like the exorcise. I can only look at twinkling dots above my head for so long before the novelty wears off. He laughed harder.
Wow that was unexpected. Raiki smiled, I love looking at stars, I really didnt have you pinned as a guy who wouldnt.
Lyga smirked at her. You should never judge a book by its cover.
True. She nodded in agreement.
Seems like Xsals done a lot of walking tonight. Lyga started, He seemed pretty tired when he got home. Even grumpier than normal. he stared dead ahead.
Grumpy? Well I doubt that. I dont think Ive ever seen Zyla so happy. They kissed right on the door step. Raiki hid her face.
Really? Lyga tried to hide the tone of disappointment in his voice but failed. I hope he doesnt hurt her.
Whatre you talking about? Raiki cocked an eyebrow. You like her dont you?
So what if I did? Lyga retorted. Shes special to me. She always has been. But its like she doesnt remember anything. He sighed.
So tell me already? Raiki shoved him in the ribs.
Lyga sighed. Okay. Back when we were kids, I used to get along with Xsal pretty well, before he discovered hair gel and women, Raiki Laughed despite herself. But I was always picked on because of my glasses. He took them off, looked at them and sighed before putting them back on. One day Xsal was off sick, he was kind of a barrier between the rough kids and me, so without him there, I got beat up pretty bad.
They pulled my glasses off me and stamped on them.. Then laughed at me because I couldnt see to find them. He clenched his fist as he continued, It must have gotten pretty boring to watch after a while because they left. I was scrambling around the floor for ages before I heard Zylas voice for the first time.
She handed me my glasses, luckily the lenses werent smashed only scratched a little, but the frame was snapped in the middle. She took me by the hand and lead me inside where she taped them back together with sticky tape.
It seems like nothing really, but back then, she was the only person who would have even thought about talking to me besides my brother. Only after then did I start to realise that she was in my class. She never came up to me again though.
Thats so sweet. Raiki smiled, So ever since then?
Well we moved away for a few years, we only came together again when I started this college last year. I couldnt believe it when I saw her again. Of course, I didnt have the guts to even speak to her. He laughed.
And she doesnt remember a thing? She probed.
Why would she? He smirked, She was just helping out, it comes naturally to her so why should she remember?
Oh Lyga. Raiki sighed. Dont worry, Im sure shell wake up soon enough! Youre a great person, and Im sure she realised that at the dance!
He turned to face her. What about you? You like Xsal right?
Me? Xsal? No way! Raiki answered too quickly and waved her hands frantically.
You keep telling yourself that. He turned to look straight ahead.
I cant fall for him, I mean not only is he Zylas boyfriend now, but hes a total jerk! I mean hes a complete player, Id never be able to trust the guy.
Lyga chuckled, Well Im glad to hear you say that. He stood up and offered Raiki his hand Come on, its getting late and cold. We should both be indoors.
Raiki nodded and took Lygas hand. Thanks.
They walked in silence back to Raiki and Zylas cottage, neither of them really knowing what to say. Because of the cold night air, and the tension between them the walk home seemed much longer than usual.
When they finally arrived Raiki unlocked the door noiselessly and turned back to face him.
Are you sure youre going to be okay? She whispered.
He nodded, Ill be fine. He whispered back, Now you go to bed and get some sleep.
Right, hurry back home yourself then! Raiki stuck her tongue out, See you in class. She waved as she closed the door behind her.
Good night. Lyga waved and walked down the path back to his own cottage.
Raiki opened the door to their bedroom carefully. Zyla was still fast asleep. She sighed and crept back into her own bed. She pulled her bed covers up next to her chin, grateful for the warmth.
It was a little cold out there! She whispered to herself in the darkness. I wonder what would have happened if Lyga hadnt have come out? I wonder who that guy was behind the tree? She sighed. I wonder what would have happened it Xsal had been out there instead of Lyga? She buried her face in the bed covers. What am I thinking. No way!
Finally, with her head full of what could have been, Raiki lay down and gave in to sleep.
Having to sit through your best friend talk about the fantastic night she had with the guy you might have a crush on is not to be considered fun! Raiki sat through Zylas rants and raves about the fact that she was now his self appointed girlfriend. Raiki inserted her nods and uh huh when she thought appropriate and tried to keep a smile on her face.
I just hope he doesnt hurt you. Raiki finally spoke up.
What? Why would he? Zyla asked obliviously.
Raiki Sighed, I dont know. I just get the feeling hes a player thats all, and youre too nice to be messed around by someone.
My, my! Do I detect a hint of jealousy? Zyla teased.
Whatever! Raiki snapped, Im just looking out for you thats all! But if thats how you repay me then forget it! She stood up and snatched her Theatre Studies book up off the table. Ill walk to class now. See you later.
Just as Raiki opened the front door she was greeted by a bunch of flowers which she promptly stuffed her face into and began to choke.
Oops, sorry. Wrong person. Came Xsals voice from behind the flowers.
Raiki continued to cough and splutter.
are you okay? Xsal asked almost concernedly.
Raiki coughed some more and made violent gestures towards him before finally slapping him with her Theatre studies book and storming off to class.
Whats with her? Xsal asked Zyla who had come to see what the commotion was.
She has hay fever. Zyla responded tonelessly. Are those for me? She looked at the flowers.
yeah if you like. Xsal tossed the flowers in her direction whilst still staring after Raiki. But you best put them somewhere where she wont get too bad of a reaction to them. He indicated he was talking about Raiki by jolting his head in her direction.
Ill put them in the bedroom. Zyla said almost bitterly.
Kay. Xsal Rolled his eyes and began to walk back down the path.
Wait! Zyla called after him, since youre here why dont we walk together?
Xsal stopped and sighed, Ill walk you as far as the school, Im supposed to be meeting Nikko.
Thank you! Zyla called, Ill just get my jacket.
Raiki spat petals out of her mouth as she strode down the main path to college.
Stupid Xsal, She coughed why'd he have to show up with flowers? Why did I have to walk into them? Why didnt he just ring the doorbell like a normal person?
Thats just not his style. Came a familiar sneering voice.
Raiki turned round sharply to see Nikko leaning against one of the trees apparently waiting for someone.
Hi. She paused long enough to smile at him.
Hi. He smiled back, Raiki Colt right?
right. Her smile turned awkward. Okay well I better be heading to class now.
Wait. He called after her. Sorry, I didnt mean to scare you. You just dropped your student ID card thats all. He smiled sweetly and handed it to her, Here. Nikko Clarkson, one of Xsal's close friends. He announced himself. Pleased to meet you.
Oh you too! Raiki felt instantly sheepish for what she had said about Xsal. Hey um
I was only saying that because
he suffocated me with flowers this morning.
Nikko cocked an eyebrow, Wow, you should be flattered! He smirked, He doesnt give flowers to just anyone you know.
They werent for me. Raiki answered bluntly.
Ouch. Nikko turned his head away quickly.
Anyway, I really should get to class, I was late on my first day and I really dont want to repeat that again. Raiki drew herself up ready to run.
Well what class have you got now? Nikko asked politely, It looks like my friend isnt going to show so I could walk with you.
Really? Raiki asked enthusiastically, Thats great! I have Theatre Studies with Mr. Pattison in the theatre quad.
Youre kidding? Nikko laughed, Me too! I cant believe Ive never seen you there before!
Ive not seen you there either. Raiki eyed him suspiciously.
Ive been sick for a while. He grinned and scratched his neck embarrassedly. Shall we? He bowed slightly and pointed towards the college.
Thanks. Raiki giggled.
The two walked into the theatre quad and sat on the floor talking. The theatre quad was painted black with black curtains to cover up the doors or windows. There was an array of students in Raikis Theatre Studies class. Nikko was one, Ami was there but no Emerii and several people Raiki had not really acquainted herself with, among these people was a relatively tall boy with dark curly hair and a girl that seemed to be always by his side with enviable red curls.
Soon the class tutor arrived. He was a man of average height and proportion, light brown hair and a small beard to match. He usually wore a woollen yellow jumper over a shirt and tie, and had a strong fondness for coffee.
Right then folks! He announced his entry. Is this it for today?
Unlike Mrs. Neville who was awful to get along with, Mr. Pattison was a friendly man who would always give encouragement to those who needed it and not just the ones who got the best grades. Raiki always enjoyed her classes with him.
Everyone in the group looked around to check there was no one missing.
Just the usual suspects then? Mr Pattison scanned the crowd and spotted Nikko, Goodness me! The mighty Nikko has attended class! Now if only your friend could do the same. He made a blot with his red pen on one of the slots on his register.
Raiki made a side glance to Nikko who merely winked in return before looking at Mr. Pattison once again.
Right Then, Mr. Pattison boomed, Were going to need a group of four today, so arrange yourselves pronto and Ill tell you your exorcises!
Mind pairing up with me? Nikko asked Smiling.
Not at all! Raiki beamed. But we still need two more. She looked around the room and spotted the curly haired boy and red headed girl. How about those two? They seem nice?
Sure why not. Nikko turned to them and jolted his head for them to come over. They made their way sheepishly towards Raiki and Nikko.
Hi! Im sorry I cant remember your names. Raiki laughed at herself and stuck out her tongue slightly.
Im Helba. The red head smiled back, and this is my friend Yoshim. She turned to the boy who struck a pose confidently.
Raiki laughed. Nikko glared.
Right then, Mr. Pattison roared again, Ill tell you your exorcise for today then
At the end of the theatre studies lesson Raikis group had become good friends. She now knew someone she could get along with in both of her subjects so she was in a great mood, and shed found a link to Xsal through Nikko. Shed accidentally let it slip that Xsal and Zyla were something of an item to Nikko, under the impression that he already knew. He had found this most amusing.
As they walked along the corridors, they bumped into a rather angry looking Xsal. Nikko flinched slightly, stood in front of Raiki and straightened up.
Came Xsals bitter statement. Forget our arrangement did we?
I hardly think youre in a position to say that. Nikko replied smugly, I was there at the arranged time. What kept you?
Xsal flushed slightly and lost his composure, I had a
problem on the way there.
Oh? Nikko attempted to suppress his laughter, Was this problems name Zyla?
Wha- Xsal tried but quickly turned his head away, What makes you think that?
A little birdie mentioned something to me. He replied.
Raikis heart beat faster as she stood behind Nikko, listening to their conversation. Would something come out that she shouldnt hear?
Ha! Xsal suddenly burst, What makes you think that it matters?
Howd you end up with Zyla as youre girlfriend Xsal. Nikko placed one hand on his hip and smiled, Didnt plan for that to happen did you?
Ill deal with it. Xsal gritted his teeth, Besides, youre not getting off Scott-free here, we arranged to meet and you werent there. Why?
I had my reasons. Nikko reached behind his back and pulled Raiki out, It seems this little flower was walking to Theatre Studies all on her own, and I couldnt allow that.
Xsal spotted Raiki and his face somewhat twisted. He looked back to Nikko who had a sense of pride on his face.
Well, I hope he didnt hurt you. Xsal turned back to Raiki and smiled. I guess Ill see you round then. With that, He walked away giving a little backhanded wave as he left.
Suddenly, Nikko burst out laughing. That was better than I thought! He gasped clutching his sides.
Did I miss something? Raiki asked, slightly bewildered.
Dont worry yourself over it. Nikko wiped his eyes and put his arm around her shoulders, So whats next on todays agenda?
Raiki blinked hard, Well I think Ive got the rest of the day free. She looked at Nikkos smiling face, Hey
Nikko? She asked almost sheepishly.
Yeah, whats up? He beamed down at her.
Well, I was kind of wondering what Xsal meant when he said I hope he didnt hurt you?
Oh that, Nikko stared off in front of him, Its just a scare tactic thats all. He doesnt like the idea of any of his girls hanging out with anyone else.
His girls? Raiki asked, both shocked and Disgusted. Who says were his girls? Who does that guy think he is? Is he that full of himself that he thinks he owns everyone on campus? She posed the question to Nikko, almost shaking with rage.
Well, yeah. He laughed, You seriously hadnt noticed?
Well I suppose I had but I thought there was more too him than that. She glared in front of her. The nerve.
Nikko grinned slyly, Take it from someone who knows him, theres nothing more to him. And hes not about to change either. Nikko noticed the look on Raikis face soften with a little sadness. He smiled.
They walked around the school grounds for a while before finding a spot near the lake to sit on. Nikko picked up blades of grass and shredded them in his hands before throwing them into the lake. He repeated this several times.
Raiki couldnt stop thinking about the other night when shed gone walking. She hadnt seen Lyga since then, she wanted to thank him. With these thoughts in her head, she watched Nikkos movements, ever aware that the longer they didnt talk at this moment the more awkward it would be between them.
Nikko looked up from the grass in his hands and smiled back at her. Something on your mind? He asked.
Not really. She lied. Hey Nikko, do you like stars?
Whered that come from? He asked bemused.
Well I was out walking the other night-
Were you alone? Nikko cut in Sharply.
Well yes but- Raiki began.
A little dangerous to be out walking alone isnt it? He asked with a slight grin on his face.
I wasnt alone for long, Lyga showed up. Raiki answered rather puzzled.
Ah, thats okay then. Nikko looked back to the lake, I wouldnt want anything happening to you while you walked alone at night. He turned back to Raiki, We may be on a campus but that doesnt mean were totally safe you know. He turned to face her and laughed.
Right, Ill be more careful then! She smiled back.
Oh, and in answer to your question, Im not a huge fan of Stars, but I like them being there. They give mood to an otherwise unromantic night. As he said this, he produced a flower and presented it to Raiki.
Thank you. She blushed slightly and turned her head.
Its not quite the bouquet Xsal choked you with but its a start. He grinned.
To tell you the truth
I have hay fever, so Im not too good with flowers. Raiki laughed.
Nikko slapped himself, And here I was shredding grass right in front of you! Raiki I am so sorry! He moved closer to her and took her hands, I promise Ill never do anything like that again.
Its okay. Raiki laughed and pulled her hands away.
There you are! A huffy voice came from behind them.
Raiki turned to see Zyla stood with her hands on her hips, slightly behind her was Lyga.
Zyla! Hey Raiki waved relieved of someone else to talk to.
What are you doing? I thought we were going to meet up seeing as we both had the afternoon off? Zyla seemed really angry.
Zyla Im sorry
Raiki began I tried to but-
On no is this my fault? Nikko stood up and took Zylas hands. Please dont be angry with her on my account, you see I took her away at the end of class, and we lost track of time.
Zyla stared hard into Nikkos face until finally she accepted that it was all Nikkos fault. She laughed with him for a while and became unaware of either Raiki or Lygas presence.
Raiki shuffled over to Lyga. Seems like Im off the hook. She giggled.
Looks that way. Lyga laughed back.
Hey listen, I wanted to thank you for scaring away that pervert the other night. She turned to him, That was pretty noble of you.
Lyga laughed, Noble? Nah, I did what anyone would have done, but thanks for the gratitude. He smiled.
So hows things with you and Zyla. She whispered in case Zyla should snap out of her trance with Nikko.
Ha. Lyga replied bitterly, Well I was just in Design with her and she didnt notice so I guess you could say things were going great.
Sorry to hear that. Raiki said awkwardly.
How about your last class? Anything interesting? Lyga asked.
Yeah I made some new friends!! Yoshim and Helba, theyre a great team. I wonder if theres anything else going on there besides Friendship? Raiki plotted.
I doubt it, those two are such good friends theyre more like brother and sister than anything else. Lyga looked into the distance.
How do you know that? Raiki asked admirably.
Lyga smiled. Helba once asked Xsal out. When he said No she cried for hours onto Yoshim. Thats how I kind of figured. You wouldnt go cry on your boyfriend if someone had just rejected you for their girlfriend.
Heh, I guess youre right. Raiki felt a little sheepish for asking the question now. So has every girl been rejected by Xsal at some point?
Pretty much. Lyga answered coolly, Makes you wonder why he chose Zyla doesnt it?
Raiki looked at Lyga as he said those words, she couldnt help but notice the look on his face, as well as his tone, had completely changed when he mentioned Xsal and Zyla again. She put a hand on his back and sighed.
It does make you wonder. She finally agreed.
Xsal walked along the corridors of Tadwins all alone. He didnt notice the gaggle of girls that had grouped after him all declaring their undying love. His mind wasnt on popularity right now. All he could think about was Nikko and Raiki. What had they been doing all this time?
Damn it! He shouted as he kicked one of the lockers in passing.
Whats wrong Sugar? One of the girls screamed after him, need some tenderness?
Xsal stopped and turned round slowly to see the corridor heaving with desperate girls. He simply smiled, waved and ducked into the mens room.
Luckily he was alone in there. He glared at his reflection glaring back.
Fine. He nodded, Fine! If thats the way shes going to be
He turned his back on the mirror. Everyone in this school loves me. Everyone. Theres no room for exceptions. He paced the mens room devising a plan. Ill make her more jealous. Ending up with Zyla as my girlfriend might not be such a bad plan. It means I have to spend more time over at her place. He nodded and turned back to the mirror. Raiki Colt will love me. No question. Even if I have to resort to forcing her!
Xsal burst out of the mens room purposely and smiled at the crowd that greeted him, Sorry ladies, Im momentarily taken, Ill keep you posted on my diary. Ciao for now! With that he continued along the corridor, making a beeline to Zylas house.
Raiki had already begun sketching in the living room when Zyla finally entered their house. Raiki waved with her free hand and continued sketching.
Wow! Zyla exclaimed as she threw her keys into a dish that was left on the side for this purpose. Youre eager. She looked at Raiki who was desperately trying to balance a large sketchpad on her lap that was clearly to small. Do you really love art so much that youre actually doing your project?
Raiki looked up and glared, Well its not like I have anything else to do. We cant all have boyfriends. She continued to scribble.
Ouch! You jealous or something? Zyla laughed.
No. I just want good grades. She countered.
Ah well Im sure either Nikko or Lyga would be interested in you, they both seem to spend time with you. Zyla sighed, Although, compared with Xsal theyre more like the consolation prize. She laughed.
You know, Im starting to feel really good about myself right about now. Raiki said sarcastically. Want to help me feel better?
Im trying hon! Zyla laughed and waved her arms.
Raiki shook her head and closed her sketchbook loudly. She picked up all of her supplies and headed out of the room.
Touchy! Zyla shrugged and walked into the kitchen.
Raiki slammed her art work on her bed and walked towards the door.
Im going out. She hollered and opened the door to see Xsal once again. His finger poised by Raikis nose where the doorbell had been only moments ago.
Will you just leave me alone! She screamed in his face before pushing him over to one side and running as fast as she could in the opposite direction.
Xsal stood up, brushed himself off and stared after Raiki. He looked towards the door which had been left slightly ajar then back towards where Raiki had disappeared.
Raiki? Who were you talking to? He heard Zylas muffled cries from inside.
This seemed to make up his mind, he took off after Raiki faster than Zyla could come to the door to see who it was.