Amelie stared off into the distance, chin resting comfortably in the palm of her hand. A small, wistful smile tugged at her lips, not quite managing to gain a place in her vacant expression. To anyone else, she was just another bored student, trying her hardest to stay awake in class. She glanced down at her notebook every so often, pretending to take notes on the lecture, but instead doodling letters and hearts across the page. Time slipped away, and before Amelie realized class had ended, the others around her were packing up their books and hurrying out the door, chattering with their friends about the weekend's projected party life. Amelie silently packed away her pencils and closed up her backpack. She took a moment to admire the day's artwork, considering possibly taking a picture to preserve its memory. Finally, she ripped the page from her notebook and crumpled it into a neat ball, which she dropped into the trashcan on her way out.
Erial dug her lunchbox out of the bottom of her backpack, where it had lain, crushed under the weight of her textbooks, for several hours. She opened the sandwich bag full of potato chips and popped a few into her mouth before slinging her backpack over her shoulder and standing with the rest of her classmates. On her way out the door, she casually dipped down to drop the now-empty sandwich bag into the trashcan. Erial closed her hand tight as she walked out of the classroom and turned left. She entered the bathroom at the end of the hall, which was almost always empty. As she leaned back against the wall by the sinks, she opened up the ball of paper she had strategically removed from the trashcan as she left the classroom. The mild scowl she usually wore melted into a warm grin. She giggled at the sweet discarded doodles.
The bathroom door creaked open as Amelie entered, face blank as ever. Her eyes ventured upward, coming to rest on the crumpled sheet of paper in the hands of the girl before her. She felt the heat in her face rise with her gaze as her mind registered to whom those slender, elegant hands belonged. Amelie saw the last hint of what might have been a smile disappear from Erial's face, replaced with a decidedly furious glare, softened by a faint rouge tint coloring her cheeks. Amelie watched in horror as Erial held the sheet of paper up and slowly tore it down the middle before dropping the two pieces into the nearest sink and twisting both faucets until water poured out, soaking the paper until it dissolved, marred beyond all recognition. Tears formed in the corners of Amelie's eyes; she staggered backward into the door. Her mouth hung open and she choked back a tortured sob.
With a final, withering glare, Erial left Amelie to cry herself into drowning. The sobs could be heard for several feet outside the bathroom. Erial put on a vicious face when she attracted curious stares from bystanders. She pointedly rolled her eyes and sneered when one girl wondered aloud whether she should go see what was wrong. Erial cringed when she heard the bathroom door open behind her; the cold expression she wore melted as she watched Amelie run past with her face buried in the books she now clutched to her chest, her shoulders hunched, her unzipped backpack threatening to vomit a sea of papers. Erial's shoulders dropped lower with each heavy step she took down the stairs.
Tears flowed freely down Amelie's face. A few clung to her eyelashes, obscuring her vision, but she did not raise a hand to wipe them away. Her pace increased; she took the steps two at a time, not even bothering to keep hold of the banister. Amelie was on the last flight when the inevitable finally came. Her right foot shot out too far, missing the edge of the step and sending her sprawling forward. Unable to do much else, she tucked her head in further against her books and followed gravity's direction. In the moment the world should have turned upside-down, a pair of arms wrapped around her torso, stopping the fall. Amelie looked up into the face of her savior, a tall, good-looking girl with a serious expression.
At the top of the bottom flight of stairs, Erial came to a halt. Standing at the bottom stood Amelie, safe in the arms of some other girl. The temperature of Erial's body rose rapidly. Her scowl returned as she took the final few steps slowly, shaking visibly. Erial shouldered her way past Amelie and the girl holding her. She went a few steps more before turning on her heel to face them. She shot fire at them through her eyes; she saw more tears gather in Amelie's eyes. Again Erial turned and continued toward the exit. She heard a high hiccup followed by a low whimper, but continued forward, shooting a glare at anyone who dared look her way. She left the building and entered the next, where she sought out the nearest empty bathroom. Erial ran into the handicap stall and slammed the door closed. After waiting a moment to make sure no one was going to intrude upon her solitude, she burst into tears of her own.