Chapter II: The Beginning of Something More
"Promise me if you're not feeling well, you'll tell me." –Rachel Evans
His only friend, his only comfort…his worse enemy.
All he ever knew was sorrow, anger and loneliness—all he ever experienced was death and despair.
At the tender age of five he had witnessed his own parents' deaths. He saw his mother's beautiful green eyes the held so much warmth turn into soulless pools of nothingness; his father's strong body that had protected him so many times before, fell like a feather left behind by a bird.
His childhood and innocence ended that night, as did love and hope.
"Mother, father…I will get my revenge." He whispered into the shadows of his room. He picked up an old, tattered photograph from the table next to him and stared at the smiling faces. The picture reminded him—taunted him of things that he could never have. A normal life. A normal happy life.
"Put that away. It will only make you weak." Said a voice from his doorway, shattering his solitude.
He quickly tucked the most cherished of all his possessions under his pillow and got up from the bed he had been resting on.
"What is it that you want?" he asked the older man.
A smirk, "We have a new task for you to do."
Crying, all around her, she heard crying.
She tried to figure out where it was coming from but the darkness that engulfed her denied her the truth.
She could not see anything yet she felt them. All of them. Their hurt; their pain, even their tears.
A silver glow caught her attention as it suddenly dropped out of nowhere, falling upon the dark floor causing many tiny ripples to cascade from it.
The ripples spread, growing wider and wider, until it reached her toes. Her brown eyes looked up and saw many more silver droplets erupting out from the darkness; they fell heavily like torrential rain.
A small glow landed on the corner of her mouth and she licked it. It was salty. Her eyes grew wide with realization—they were teardrops.
Confusion hit her and was then replaced by panic. Tears began to flow everywhere, quickly rising towards the height of her hips.
In a heartbeat, she found herself drowning in the sea of tears. She choked. She couldn't breathe. Her limp body was carried into the depths of the silver sea. Darkness embraced her once again.
I wonder if I am dead.
Then an image.
An image of a dark haired boy with green eyes mourning for the death of his family. He suddenly lifted his head from the body he had been crying on and looked at her through tear filled eyes.
Instead of finding sorrow, she saw only hate within them. His green eyes burned with the fires of hatred and they burned because of her.
Celeste awoke finding that she had been crying in her sleep.
"So she fainted? Are you sure she's okay?" Rachel asked Aaron the following morning.
They had met up early to make sure that Celeste was okay but were surprised to find out that their friend had already left for school.
"Celeste's mother seemed pretty worried. I wonder what's going on." Rachel continued as they reached the school gates.
Aaron shrugged. He had taken Celeste home after her strange fainting spell on the road. Her mother hadn't been home so he had helped her into bed to get some rest. As soon as her head hit the pillow she had fallen into a deep sleep. Aaron sat there, just watching her sleep all afternoon until her mother came home from work.
There was something definitely going on. First the mysterious bruise on her arm and then the fainting.
Rachel stopped just before their homeroom door and looked at Aaron intently, "I hope she's not sick."
Aaron was about to say something but Rachel interrupted, "I mean, you know—really sick."
Aaron put his hands on his friend's shoulder, remaining optimistic about the whole situation. "I'm sure she's fine Rach. In fact," he nodded towards the door. "Once we enter that door, we will be greeted by the normal happy 'Hey guys!' hello that she so typically not to mention annoyingly does every morning."
Rachel gave him a skeptical look and pushed the door open. A few people were gathered near the front talking animatedly and gossiping before the bell. Aaron narrowed his blue eyes as he scanned the room looking towards the back where he and Celeste were assigned to sit.
And there she was. But there was no happy 'Hey guys!' greeting from the dark haired girl on this particular morning. She was, instead, slumped on her desk—her head pillowed by her folded arms.
Rachel gave Aaron a look and rolled her eyes, "Some happy welcome." They were both at her side at an instant.
"Hey girl, you okay?" Rachel questioned softly while Aaron put a comforting hand on the small of her back. Celeste lifted her head slowly and gave a small smile. Aaron knew she was doing quite the opposite of okay.
"Yeah, I'm feeling better than what I did yesterday afternoon, that's for sure." She laughed but even her laughter was hollow. Rachel gave Aaron a worried look—a look of which had not gone unnoticed by the third party.
"Guys, I'm okay, really I am, just didn't get enough beauty sleep." Celeste replied trying to lighten the mood, especially for Rachel who she knew always worried herself silly.
Aaron followed suit. He laughed and with mock seriousness said, "My god woman, you do look like hell!"
That did the trick. His remark was received with a grateful chuckle from Celeste and a punch on the arm by Rachel.
Aaron pouted, "Damn Rach that really hurt."
Celeste laughed, "She let you off easy with that one."
Aaron felt himself began to relax. He hadn't noticed just how anxious and hung up he'd been for the past twenty-four hours. He quickly glanced at the girl who was the primary cause of it all. There was more to the bruise and the fainting—he just knew it. Something else had happened, but the question was what?
Celeste caught his gaze and gave a small smile. Aaron winked, a grin forming.
"Well, just as long as you're okay Cel, but promise me if you're not feeling well, you'll tell me." Rachel persisted.
Aaron let the girls talk while he took a seat at his table, which was just adjacent from Celeste's. The blonde that sat towards the right of his table gave him a flirtatious smile and a 'Hey Aaron.' Kelly was her name and he would have normally flirted back, but for a while now, the novelty of flirting with any girl had worn off.
He stole another glance at Celeste and his grin formed into a smile.
The bell soon rang prompting Rachel to head over to her front row, second from the left desk that she always complained about ever since they were given assigned seating at the start of the semester. She gave Celeste a small hug before she left.
"She was really worried about you, y'know. She thinks you're really sick or something." Aaron said, watching Rachel take her place at the front.
Celeste gave him a guilty look, "I know, she gave this whole lecture about best friends not keeping secrets from each other and that I can always talk to her about anything." She bit her lip and looked down on her desk. "Thanks for not telling her about the bruise."
Aaron shrugged, "She flipped out when I told her about you fainting—lucky I didn't say where you did it, she would have had a mini-heart attack. I figured telling her about the bruise would kill her completely."
Aaron realized he was beginning to stare and cleared his throat, "So, you are better, right?"
Celeste's smile wavered, "Yeah, I'm better. It's nothing."
Aaron grinned and shook his head leaning closer towards the girl. "You're a crap liar Celeste, but don't worry. I'll let you get away with it for now."
They were so caught up in their conversation that they hadn't realized that their teacher had already arrived.
"You two at the back, please be quiet, unless there's something that you want to share with everyone else, who I'm sure are all feeling a bit left out." Their teacher snarled.
Celeste winced and bowed her head—she was never one for public humiliation and unfortunately for her, they had a teacher who thrived on it. Aaron took it in his own stride.
He gave an easy going smile, "Well Sir, now that you mention it there is something that I did…"
The class chuckled in unison while their teacher gave him an irritable look and continued on with his daily ranting, "I have a special announcement for you today. We have a new student attending here at Eden High. He will be arriving here in a moment and I want you—."
He was cut off by the principal's entrance into the room, "Mr. Freon, may I have a word please." They left the room and as soon as they did, the class burst back to life.
"I wonder who he is."
"I think I saw him this morning at the office, he was tall, totally cute."
"Why would he move here so late through the semester?"
"Who cares, just as long as he's hot…"
Aaron watched and listened with amusement. The only one who was unaffected by the news was Celeste who had resumed to her slumped position, her head cradled by a hand to keep it up.
"Fresh meat," Aaron said.
"Poor kid," Celeste replied, wearily.
The room suddenly fell quiet as their teacher and the new student clad in the dark blue Eden High uniform appeared in the room. Aaron could practically feel the whole female population in the room swoon over the new guy.
Except for the dark haired girl next to him—she had gasped with surprise as soon as they entered the room.
"It's him." He heard her say. Aaron narrowed his eyes back towards the front and sized the new guy up. He was only a couple of inches taller than Aaron with black hair and peculiar green eyes. Aaron thought of him as being rather on the lanky side because of his height but there was also a silent strength about him that radiated from his eyes—eyes that were so intense, so cold, and completely focused on Celeste.
What the hell? Celeste knows this guy? Aaron's clear eyes turned into a deeper shade of blue. This guy was definitely trouble.
"The name's Emmanuel." The raven-haired boy had said with a smirk playing about his face, his gaze never once leaving Celeste.
Celeste played around with her lunch. Her appetite had left her long ago but Rachel had insisted on her eating, "So you can build up your energy," she'd said, before putting a tray full of food in front of Celeste.
Celeste hadn't even taken a single bite. Fortunately for her Rachel couldn't stay the whole lunch period to police her eating as she was picked by Mr. Freon to take the new guy around. Scratch that. She was the first to volunteer to be his tour guide. Ironically, sitting in the front row, second from the left helped Rachel be noticed by Mr. Freon when he asked for someone to look out for Emmanuel.
Sighing, Celeste dropped her fork and pushed the tray away. First the dream and then meeting him again—the day was definitely getting weirder by the second. She closed her eyes as she remembered the morning's events.
She had recognized him instantly and she knew he remembered her by the way he kept his strong stare focused only on her. His voice was deep when he'd shared his name with the class—he didn't even explain why he had moved like what new kids normally did—it was as if his name was enough to explain everything about him.
Mr. Freon had then instructed Emmanuel to sit at any spare desk; Celeste had winced inwardly at this. The only desks that were not occupied were the one at the front of Aaron's row or the one right behind her. It was no surprise which one he had chosen.
Biting her lip she had stared down at her desk, avoiding Emmanuel's gaze. He had walked down the isle as if he had all the time in the world and had taken a seat behind Celeste. She had glanced at Aaron who gave her a questioning look back.
All morning she'd had to sit through classes knowing that the guy who had bruised her shoulder, with only a slight touch, was sitting right behind her. Celeste shivered; his eyes had been so cold, so intense…Celeste's own dark eyes widened at that moment. Oh God! Just like the boy in my dreams.
It wasn't the first time she'd had the dream; it had haunted her when she was a child but had been forgotten for a couple of years now. It was no coincidence that it had come back after meeting Emmanuel. In fact, ever since her encounter with the strange guy there had been numerous bizarre occurrences. The red mark on her shoulder, the white cat and then the dream. There were too many things to call it a mere coincidence. No, there was something much bigger at work here and Emmanuel was the center of it all.
Celeste whimpered to herself and slouched in her chair. Now she was thinking like a mad woman. This is getting way too crazy for me, her mind concluded.
She let out another whimper.
"Having one of those days, huh?"
Celeste looked up and found a smiling Aaron. At least she could count on him being normal in the midst of all the chaos she was going through.
"I passed Rachel on the way here, she said to make sure you ate so…" Aaron sat down across from Celeste and pushed her discarded tray towards her. "Eat up."
Celeste slowly picked up an apple and took a small bite. "Aaron, it's okay, I'm fine. I don't need to be mothered. Don't you have basketball practice?"
Aaron ran a hand through his messy hair, "Well yeah, but—"
Celeste shook her head, "No buts Ron, go where you need to be. I'll be fi—"
Aaron leaned across the table and pinched the girl's nose before she could finish her sentence, "Fine? Quit lying Pinocchio; now tell me why I had to sit through watching you be weird around the new guy all morning—especially through Math—when we could have just mucked around like we usually do to pass time. Now I want the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth or else I'm not letting go of your nose."
Celeste bit her lip. She couldn't tell Aaron, he'd think she was going insane, and not talk to her—it had happened to her many times in her previous schools. She wouldn't let herself loose another friend—especially Aaron. He was way too important to her. She looked away from Aaron's inquiring gaze.
Aaron exhaled softly releasing her nose, "Celeste, c'mon, please. You can trust me."
Anxious eyes met that of gentle, comforting ones.
"Ron…Aaron, if I tell you, promise me you won't say anything to anyone."
Celeste's face contorted into a fearful expression, "And promise you won't stop speaking to me."
Aaron chuckled, "Why would I stop speaking—?"
"Promise me Aaron."
Aaron looked deeply into Celeste's face, "I promise."
I had the dream again and I made the mistake of telling my friends at school. How could I have been so stupid? They all hate me now. They think I'm a freak. I hate this. All of this. I just want a normal life. I thought the nightmares would be over. They did stop. But last night it came back. It was so terrifying. So much anger. So much sorrow. I had to tell someone, I had to! I'll be moving to a new school by the end of the week—Eden High. I hope that these nightmares will leave me alone…
- Taken from Celeste's seventh grade journal
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Hope everyone had a great time over this festive season, which haven't been too festive in other parts of the world. Please spare a thought to all those who have been affected by the Tsunami that hit Asia
On a less somber note—I hope you all liked the second installment of this story. I tried not to make it too dark and luckily Aaron's character creates that light in the story. Bless him.
If you have anything to say please drop me an email or review—suggestions and criticisms are very much appreciated, especially with this story, which seems to be writing itself really.
To Springish: Look I updated! Reward me now! And I will NOT be cooking your breakfast NOR lunch NOR dinner tomorrow! I'm the one sleeping over! Remember, I like my eggs scrambled, toast slightly brown and freshly squeezed oranges! Heheheheh!
To my beautiful reviewers:
w1ngle55-ang3L: I hope your yearly exam or whatever it was you were studying for went well. I'm glad that you're enjoying this story. To be honest with you, I wasn't quite sure about it myself, but this story has a life of its own right now. Hehehehe! And yeah, Aaron is quite a character—well loved by everyone in Eden High, but he will face a new rival—Emmanuel! Be sure to look out for that in the next chapters!
whacked: You're a little inquisitive one aren't you? I like that and I'm glad that this story is making you guess what's happening and am even more happy that you're liking it. And thanks heaps for your more than wonderful complements about my writing ::Blush::. Hopefully you enjoyed more Aaron moments in this chapter! Thanks again for the review!
Salt and Vinegar Pringles: I always look forward to your kick ass reviews! You rock! Hope you had an awesome new year! I read your bio and dude, you MUST update! You hear me! ::Shakes fist:: Heheheh! I even reviewed ya a couple of times in hopes of getting you to write again!
XYZ: ::Pinches cheeks:: My little anonymous reviewer, will I ever get a name from you? You left me with one word in your review—creepy. Does this mean my cute anonymous reviewer does not like? Hehehe, I know it's different to Say It Isn't So but I promise it will have just as cute slash hot guys as there is in the other story! I promise you will not be disappointed!
Kudos to all of you who reviewed! You all kick ass!
Anyway it's getting late kids! Bedtime for me! ::Goes off to dream nice dreams of candies and lollipops::
•·.·´¯·.·•I await for you to wake me•·.·´¯·.·•