The office door in front of me led to a roomful of people.

Because of this knowledge, fear amounting to terror tore at me. My breath quickened and my heart beat pounded harder, thudding against my ribcage. Suddenly it was like I simply couldn't get enough oxygen, couldn't breathe. The knees supporting me started shaking uncontrollably and I was trembling all over, fear and panic sinking its ugly claws into me. I couldn't force myself to move a step, couldn't budge an inch. I could hardly think with all the terror swamping me. The fear was a physical force deterring me from assuming action. I told myself the people in there were human just like me. I told myself they eat and sleep like I did. I told myself they were just ordinary people, desperately chanting it over and over in my head, wanting so badly to believe it. They weren't going to hurt me. But fear was irrational. It didn't matter how many facts I told myself; I was scared shitless. Memories of the past popped up, haunting me, taunting me. Images assaulted me, cornering me and trapping me. I couldn't do this. I couldn't go in that room.

No.

No! I was beyond sick and tired of being terrified. I was sick of myself. I could do this, I could do this. Forcing my body to stop shaking, I pried my foot from the ground to move closer to the door. Forcing my hand toward the knob, sweat started beading up on my palms, my hand trembling uncontrollably. Air passing quickly and shallowly through my nose, my hand started to become impossibly heavy, unwilling to budge. My pulse skyrocketed as the raw terror hit, wrapping around me, unwilling to let go. Sweat rising to the surface of my pale skin, rolling down my face, I edged away from the door, hyperventilating. My back touched a warm solid and I nearly screamed, plastering myself against the wall, the back of my head slamming against it. The pain signals were temporarily fried by my monopolizing fear, so it didn't hurt.

A girl smiled apologetically at me. "Sorry for scaring you, hun." She held out her hand. "I'm Sofia, but you can call me Sofi."

Words couldn't squeeze through the panic choking in my throat, nearly strangling it. She looked at me, a little puzzled. Then, she seemed to understand and smiled sweetly at me with sympathy. The girl grasped my sweaty hand, not at all minding the perspiration and interlacing our fingers. I was about to jerk my arm away—why was she being so nice to me?—when her warmth seeped into my skin. It was just so... warm.
Reveling in it, the thirst for more grew. I didn't know how alone I had felt until she held my hand. I'd always thought I didn't need any friends, that I was fine making my own way. Surrounded by her warmth, I was starting to realize it was the fear dogging me to isolate myself from people, but I didn't want to be alone anymore.

"Let's go in together," Sofi said gently.

My breathing sped up and my heart was starting to pound a hole in my chest. I stared at her helplessly, unable to move my mouth, desperation and terror reflected clearly in my eyes. She squeezed my hand. For some inexplicable reason, somehow, it comforted me a little.

"Hey, I know somewhere we can go." She tugged me away from the door and I allowed it, breathing a little easier as the distance between the door and me increased. Anything. Anything to get away from that door. My guardian had dumped me here at this private school to help me get over my fear, but I was too big of a coward.

She led me across the deserted courtyard, down an empty hall, around a corner to the front of a door, all the while her hand holding mine, her warmth a comforting opiate. It was night when I had arrived here with my baggage at the front entrance, so the average person would be in bed because curfew had long since passed. We were the exception. I had just been enrolled here in the middle of the school year and didn't knew where was where. I was going to go to the office, but I couldn't make it past the door.

I didn't know about her.

By now, my heart beat and breathing had reverted to its normal pace. She smiled kindly at me, murmurimg softly to me. "Don't worry. No one's in there. It's my room and currently there's no roommate." She opened the door and thankfullly, as she said, the room was empty of people, but there were two beds, one with a plain white one blanket and the other black with blue and white designs. I would bet the black one was Sofi's. Sofi pulled me to a couch and quickly swiped away the clutter before she gestured me to sit and plopped down beside me. "So what's your name?"

"Aimee," I breathed in my usual soft whisper. Now that panic was out of the way, I could clearly see her. She had pale, pale skin and a little longer than chin length ginger hair. There was red, gold, brown, and orange strands mixed in with some of the ginger. She had a beautiful mixture of green and blue eyes framed by long eyelashes. She was... pretty and I was ugly with my limp colorless hair and boring almost white-gray eyes. I should've felt so self-conscious, but strangely enough I was still comfortable around her. I don't know why, but I didn't fear her.

"Aimee," she said, hugging me. Strangely, I didn't recoil from her. I didn't move at all. It was so... nice. Comforting. She was a safe haven. "If you ever need someone to talk to, I'm all ears."

Even though I didn't truly believe her, it felt good to hear it. I didn't know why she was being so nice to me, but I wanted to stay in this warmth a little longer... I didn't want to be alone anymore.

Maybe... just maybe... with Sofi... I could overcome my fear.