"Hey Theo, did you see what that girl did?" my best friend, Karl, leant over and whispered, a wide smirk greeting his pale face.
I looked over at him and shook my head, the curious smile on my face belied my impassive features. He grinned and told me of the mishaps of the girl. Of course, the said girl was Ophelia Jones, the new student at the school, and also the loner of the class. Keeping to herself in the right corner of the room, the others constantly murmured about her, their judgemental eyes boring holes into her as they mocked and ridiculed her. Not that the girl ever seemed to care; her eyes always trained on the blue poster a student had done about Shakespeare, her gaze never leaving the fine print that were nought but small dots on the large paper. She was beautiful, granted; her long wavy dark hair always tied up with a red ribbon and her clothes an immaculate trendy style that further enhanced her beauty.
Her impassive gaze unnerved all from the start and her quiet attitude furthered us to think that she was plotting something malicious in her head. Yes, I know it sounds silly, but if you had managed to survive the look she gives you - she hardly looks at anyone unless forced to - with her grey eyes, you let me know. However, it was not due to the impassive gazes nor the jealousy of the girls that made everyone shun her to this extent; but the fact that she had killed someone that had given everyone the instinct to run from her. It was only during the first week that she had been here that the girl had died. She was the kindest girl in the room and was the first to talk to Ophelia, giving her tons of smiles and friendly words that attributed to the first time we had heard that voice of hers. At the end of that week, the girl was found dead in Ophelia's house and she had gone into hysterics, leaving the police to no choice but to keep her in the hospital for trauma. When Ophelia had returned, the police had found the murderer and she had been proven innocent. But not to everyone's eyes, no, the deceased was my girlfriend and she was friends with literally everyone. Ever since then, the girl had not uttered a single word to anyone, keeping the pretense of being mute for the world to see.
As Ophelia stepped into the room, its occupants quietened, eyes of different colours following her as she made her way across the room in a series of clicks by her heeled boots. "Watch this." Karl said, looking ready to bounce on the spot with anticipation. I raised a brow in question to his excitement but was given nothing more than a nudge to look at the girl.
The girl sat on her seat for no more than five seconds before she ended up sprawled on the floor, impassive eyes still gazing at the poster that hung on the wall, not seeming to care about her current position. The air was now speckled with muffled giggling, and Karl hi-fived a friend that sat next to him, congratulating each other about their successful prank. Ophelia stood up, brushed off some dirt that had sullied her shirt and dragged a chair to her table, sitting on it as though nothing had happened before.
"Good one, man." I said, grinning at Karl and nodding.
Mr Robinson walked into the room, glancing at the class through his silver frames, the mirthful green eyes falling on everyone and greeted them with a cheerful welcome. The young teacher placed his large black bag on the ground with an audible thump to show the heaviness of the package. "Good morning, class. As I know how tiresome it is to have Maths first on a Monday, I have decided that..." he grinned mischievously for a moment and pulled out a large folder stuffed with what had to be ten kilograms worth of paper. "We are to partner up and design a maths board game!" he exclaimed happily, looking very proud of his new invention, lips threatening to burst with the wideness of his exuberant grin.
The class groaned in synchronisation and the teacher looked slightly crestfallen. "Come on, guys! It is either this or calculus. I was intending to give you a pop quiz this morning." the teacher piped up, frowning slightly.
The students immediately looked at their friends across the room, nodding and sending notes around to agree on their partnership. "Wait! Now, I know this is unfair, but I am going to choose your partners today." Mr Robinson smiled.
Karl sighed next to me, rolling his eyes at me and pursed his lips. "This must be revenge for me stealing his lasagna last night." he mumbled. Did I forget to mention? Karl and Mr Robinson were brothers, and they had lived together ever since their parents' deaths.
"Affected the whole class, man." I mumbled, noting his apologetic smile. A pink note landed on my table, and upon glancing up, Cherry's eyes met mine and winked, her largely made-up eye seeming to have gained a large ring not unlike a raccoon's with the amount of eyeliner she had applied.
Darn. Seems like another girl was about to stain my shirt with tears when I tell her I never wanted anything after that our one night. No doubt her note was filled with love hearts and girlish handwriting with pink glitter. Karl sighed once more next to me and I realized that he had been partnered with Melissa, his ex and enemy. He looked at me pleadingly and begged me to swap with him, though the triumphant voice of his brother's stopped him from doing so. "Hope for my safe return." he grumbled, glaring at his brother as he made his way to the frowning redhead.
"And finally, Theodore Jenkins and Ophelia Jones, please partner up, thank you." Mr Robinson smiled at us. My head snapped up in surprise and I briefly caught my friends' sympathetic gaze.
"But-" I argued.
"No buts, Mr Jenkins, you shall have to learn to cooperate with Miss Jones. Now, hurry up, guys! We will be here till Christmas if you are this slow!" he clapped his hands, silencing me
I rolled my eyes and willed the girl to come to my desk, feeling all too lazy to move. Several more seconds passed and we continued to sit on the opposite ends of the class, each minding our own business and not bothering to move at all. "Mr Jenkins, would you please move towards Miss Jones? I am about to explain the rules of this project." the teacher asked.
I frowned, deciding to lollygag and play on the teacher's annoyance before moving to the table behind hers, crossing my arms. Apparently happy with my participation, the excited teacher moved on to telling the class that the project was due in two weeks' time, using multiple hand gestures to inform the class on its information. When he finally ceased yapping, he returned to his table and allowed us to discuss among our groups. Not that I wanted to discuss anything with her. I hadn't uttered a single word to her since she came that day three months ago, and even more so now, that I am to keep my mouth shut and my eyes narrowed at her.
Ophelia stubbornly refused to turn around - not that I minded - with her eyes still glued to the poster. What was so interesting about that damned poster? For sure it was made by some lazy person, given the lack of aesthetic properties. Hey... wait a minute... that was mine. I blinked before realizing that the poster was created by me not one year ago. Why was she so obsessed with staring at my poster? That gave me the creeps and I shivered subconsciously. "Miss Jones, would you please turn around and speak to your partner, please?" Mr Robinson smiled at her benignly, looking pleased when she had abide his instructions.
The girl still kept her eyes downcast, refusing to meet my own green eyes. More minutes ticked by and we sat in silence amongst the chatter of the boisterous classroom. I sighed and decided to take a risk, if I had died, please do tell all that it was due to the girl sitting opposite me, and hopefully get me some revenge. "So...any ideas?" I asked, my tone tentative as I raised my gaze to meet her heart-shaped face. Such a pity, that girl was stunning and her attitude ruined it.
She shook her head slightly, fingers fumbling under the table. Well, that wasn't too bad...I hadn't died...not yet. "Uh, okay." I replied, straightening my back as I tried to get comfortable in this hard chair. The rest of class past with the pair of us not speaking to either; her nails seemed much more fascinating than I and my poster more intriguing than her.
I was only too glad when the insufferable period ended and I met with Karl in the cafeteria.
"So how was it?" Karl asked, bright green eyes that mirrored his brother's looked at me, smiling with anticipation and worry. He was afraid that the collaboration of me and the girl would cause me to dig up memories of me and the late Serah.
"How was what?" I replied in an ambiguous tone, grabbing a tray and pushing it along the metal bar, waiting for the crowd to disperse to get to my lunch.
"You know, Ophelia?" he continued, urging me on, the smile growing wider by the second.
"What about her?" I asked, grabbing a hamburger from the shelf and a stack of fries to follow. Karl pursed his lips and took a tuna sandwich instead.
"I saw the two of you talking, so...?" he nudged me, his tone getting softer as he reached for a hash brown.
"She didn't speak. I asked her what she had wanted to do for the project. I am sure we are going to fail." I shrugged, placing a large cookie and a coke onto my already packed tray.
"Don't worry about it, we can just ask my brother to swap your partner. If he had heard about your situation, he would have to swap, right? Don't worry, man. Hey, Kylie!" he waved enthusiastically to a girl with flaming red hair across the canteen. She smiled and walked over to us, her pigtails bouncing as did her chest. Damn, she was hot, too bad she was a friend.
"Hey guys! What's up?" she smiled, the bubbly personality of the eighteen year old shining through.
"Not much." I paid for my food and left to join the soccer team at our usual table.
"You wouldn't believe it. Our Theodore here just got partnered with that Ophelia chick." my ever excited friend declared.
"Oh gosh! Is that true?" Kylie grimaced, looking at me sympathetically with warm blue eyes, "That must be awkward. Did she speak? Did you two talk? Did you see her eyes? She must be really weird. You must be upset!" She bombarded me with different questions, it seems like all my friends were just that happy all year round.
I sat down on the bench and punched Jason's fist, the two of us nodding at each other before returning to our conversations. "No, it was just me, no, yes, she is very weird, and no, I am not upset." I replied, taking a bite out of my long anticipated food.
She seemed to want to ask me more questions, but my silence deterred her and she turned back to Karl for more gossips. Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted Ophelia walking into the canteen with her blue bag slung over her tiny shoulders as she made her way towards the counter. Wolf whistles blew at her from the juniors who obviously didn't know her well enough from the rumours that had not yet reached their ears, and narrowed gazes followed her every movement taken with her brown boots. The only reason to that was that this was the first time in three months that the girl had stepped foot into the canteen. What was she doing here now?
She grabbed a couple of things from the shelf, food enough to feed three hungry jocks at the very least, after paying for it, she walked to the nearest empty table and ate. The silence that followed was deafening, louder than any other sound in the world but managing to be soft. My friends looked at me with worry and several eyed her for any movements towards me. I felt somewhat thankful for having such protective friends around me. The bell rang a few minutes later and the girl left for class. It just so happened that I was stuck in the same class with her and I was notlooking forward to it. After myriads of pats on my back and 'good lucks', I went to my next class to face my fears.
Serah was gone because of her and I didn't think to forgive her for it. Never.