Claire lazily opened her eyes, trying to remember when she had slept. The bright blue numbers on her alarm clock showed that she was actually quite late in waking up. She repeated her usual routine of the mornings, feeling more exhausted than ever. She still had not had a proper meal and she was feeling nauseous again. She made her way downstairs and was greeted by the sight of Sebastian, cooking something in the kitchen.
"What are you doing?"
He jumped slightly, which Claire noted was absolutely adorable, and turned around with a smile.
"Good morning. You weren't awake this morning, so I, uh, made breakfast. Do you like eggs? If you don't I could eat them. I mean… Yeah." He trailed off a bit, mumbling a few things under his breath, but Claire couldn't hear what. She smiled and laughed.
"Eggs are fine."
And then her sickness from the morning disappeared completely. She ate her first meal in a while, enjoying the slightly burnt taste. Sebastian could cook, yes, but he couldn't cook that well. Maybe one day she would teach him and they could cook for each other. He apologized for the burns, blaming it on his short attention span, but that could very well be a lie. It probably was, but she pretended to believe it. At least that would make him feel better.
He left early, well, his usual time, and Claire stayed behind to clean the dishes and the mess he had left behind. There was a bit of food here and there, but she found it amusing. It showed that he actually did try.
She put on her shoes and left, locking the house behind her.
The time it took for her to take to school seemed to be longer on that particular day. She had taken her time, too much time, and arrived late. Her teacher didn't scold her or even mention it, but she apologized and took her usual seat. There were a few curious stares directed at her, but she ignored them as she usually did.
The day progressed as it usually would. Eventually, the bell signaling the beginning of lunch rang. Claire managed to get some food, deciding she would eat outside. Eric joined her, something she did not complain to, and tried to figure her out. It wasn't a good attempt, seeing as she avoided most of his questions, but she mentally applauded him for his persistency.
Although, one thing he brought up caught her attention.
"I've noticed something though. You don't smell like most of the girls around school."
"Excuse me? I'm sorry, but that is just a tad creepy. Why were you smelling me?"
He held his hands out in front of him, trying to defend himself.
"Wait, wait, I know that sounds creepy and weird and all, but it's not like I actively try to smell you or anything. I just happen to get a whiff every now and then when you pass by. Most of the girls here smell like cheap perfume. Some smell like expensive perfume. You smell…" He paused, trying to think of the word. "…Kind of 'smoke-y'?"
She froze in spot and went over the possible responses in her head: she could tell him, which wouldn't really change anything; she could avoid the question, just like before; or she could just ignore it completely, which was sort of rude. Deciding to go with the second option, she gave a short reply, which was really more of a question.
"Yeah, you do."
"Are you going to explain?"
"There isn't really anything to explain. I cook in the mornings; maybe the smoke comes from that."
"Oh. I guess that makes sense."
He appears to believe her and doesn't bring it up again.