Sun streaming in through her small window told her it was morning. The light wasn’t much because of the thick curtains blocking out whatever light they could. But the one hole the sun did find almost blinded her. It was like the window was the size of her wall and not a tiny hole near the roof of her room. Not wanting to get out of bed she pulled the think covers over head. Willing the sun to disappear and make it night again. But the sun had its own plans for today and I didn't include going away anytime soon. More sunlight spilled into the small crowed room as the minutes ticked by. It wasn’t even close to the time that she had to wake up. Her alarm wasn’t even tense; counting down the moments until it buzzed with sadistic joy. No it was quite. 'Probably sleeping' Lee thought. 'Lucky'. Sighing she throw off the warm covers and dragged her heavy body out of her small twin bed. Groggy and tired she pulled herself up to the small mirror above her dresser. Looking at her reflection she made a face. Her dark brown hair fell around her face in long waves. It was a little tangled from her sleep but otherwise stayed down in place. Her long hair was always a little tangled and wavy but never seemed to frizz out at all. Sighing she ran a brush through her thick hair. She didn't really think that she was all that pretty. After all she was seventeen, almost out of high school and never had a boyfriend. Never even kissed a guy. So there must be something wrong.

Scrunching her nose up she made a few more faces in the mirror before turning around to face her room. Cloths everywhere, bed still unmade and a bag of chips lying on her cluttered desk. It looked like any normal teenage room. Posters of her favorite rock band hung slightly crooked from the walls; homework strewn about her desk. Most of it wasn’t done yet. 'I guess I should work on that...' Lee thought and dragged herself onto her chair- dragging it until she faced her desk. She knew that she had plenty of time before she even had to think about getting ready for school. After all what school was mad enough to start when the sun rises anyway?


Jolting up Lee slammed her head on her desk lamp sending the piece of black painted tin flying off her desk. Her history paper was a little damp from her hot breath and maybe her drool. Her hair was once again a slight tangled mess and her body felt heavy. "Must have fall asleep again" She said aloud to her room. It didn't answer back. Stretching from her spot on her chair she set about trying to find her alarm clock under her mess of papers. She swore that that little machine from hell had legs and loved to play hide-and-seek with her every morning. Cursing under her breath she searched through her desk tossing papers around not caring where they landed. Cursing under her breath she started to make her way to the floor area around her bed; leaving a path of fabric carnage in her wake. If she was late for school no one there was going to have a very happy day. Her alarm clock was the only thing that told her what time it was- and if she slept through her alarm again...

Sighing in relief she picked up the piece of black plastic and help it so she could read the glaring red numbers. Blinking a few times she let her vision clear. 6:14 am. "Good still time!" Lee said aloud as she tossed the little machine back onto her desk. Just as it landed on her papers she heard it blare out its music; screaming at her to wake up. Sighing at the irony she reached over and simply unplugged the tiny device. 'That would be enough from you!' She though as she stood up and looked around her room again. "Time to get ready I guess" She said again to her room. Sighing she mumbled a curse under her breath at the habit she had picked up of talking herself. Turning around she grabbed a towel from the end of her bed and made her way into the hallway and towards the bathroom to get ready for school.


Wind wiped around her face flapping her long hair around her eyes and mouth. It wasn't a windy day; and the weather was nice enough, but today Lee didn't want to take her usual slow biking pace to school today. She wanted to get there as fast as she could and leave this dirty street behind her. Like a bad cold the one-way street pulled at her and irritated her throat. Like most mornings as soon as she stepped out of her room, fully dresses in her uniform and ready for breakfast, her parents exploded in another one of their loud fights. Shouting, screaming, pushing and shoving like a pack of wild animals. Lee knew it was one of their worse fights in a while because of the hateful, spiteful words being tossed around like a ball in a tennis court. And today it had gotten so bad that she didn't even bother with breakfast. She simply darted down the stairs and out the door, biking farther and farther away from the noise as fast as she could.

Hamahaki High wasn't far away from where she lived. It was only a few minutes away on a bike. Maybe fifteen minutes with her slower pace. But today there was no such pace. Today she pedaled as fast as she could, weaving in and out of cars, people and several boxes. Her breath came heavy and sharp. Trying to forget what she heard she didn't stop for anything or anyone that called out to her as she turned the corner off her street. As she gained speed she felt the weight of her parents’ anger slowly lift off her shoulders. Easing up on her pace she let the sturdy bike coast along. Taking deep breaths she leaned back and let her body relax. The building where getting less crowded now and the people thinned out more and more. Hamahaki High was built in a unpopulated part of town, so many people had to be bussed there from around the city. But Lee liked to bike much better. It let her think a little bit more and gave her chance to get some healthy exercise in. Taking in more deep breaths she closed her eyes and sighed. School sucked but it was ten times better than being at home.

Come to think about it school was kind of nice. This year was better than most. She made a few friends; and was getting better at her subjects. And getting more homework done because she understood what she was doing now that she had a tutor on her side. Not that she was very accepting of the idea at first. After all, the guy who helped her she didn't even know. He was in a way different clique than her. He hung with all the really popular kids- the ones who really ruled the school. It was different for her to talk so openly with someone like that. Lee laughed to herself as she remembers her nervousness over meeting him. In Hamahaki High if you weren’t popular you didn't talk to the popular kids. But that didn't seem to bug him. He even stopped to talk to her in the halls now; seeming not really to care about what the kids whispered about them. As she coasted down the bare road she caught sight of the school looming before her. Almost four stories tall it was one of the biggest buildings in her entire town. It cast a shadow over the road and over the nearby trees and fields.

Lee felt herself slowing down and started to petal again. She knew that she was quite early and the bell wouldn’t ring for another half an hour yet. So she took her time pedaling to the bike locks that where cemented at the front of the building. Smiling she remembered when the rusty bars had been colourfully painted in blues and yellows when they had first been cemented in. Now they were covered in rust- the painted long gone and chipped off. She grunted as she wrestled her bike in between the bars- her wheels grinding against the bent poles. Standing back to look at her handy work she felt a way of nausea pass over her as she remembered about her bike lock. In her rush to leave her house before her parents roped her into their argument she had left her bike lock at home. Steadying herself on the steel poles she thought to herself, 'There’s no way I can leave my bike here without a lock. It’s going to get stolen.' Another wave of sickening nausea passed over her causing her to double over as she thought of what would happen if she told her father that her bike had been stolen because she forgot her bike lock. Surely it wouldn't be anything good.

Lee heard the shuffling of shoes against the dirt ground. Growing closer she heard in soft spoken words, "Hey are you alright?" All she could see from her vantage point was a pair of dirty mucky shoes and frayed jeans. But she knew from the voice and the smell of horse and mud who it was. "Hey Matt. I'm fine thanks." Matt bent down and craned his neck to look at Lee in the eyes. She felt weight in her shoulder and back and saw Matt gently lay her hand on her back- his eyes darting off; staring into the distance beyond her head. "You sure man? I mean you don't look okay..." His voice trailed off as his eyes flickered momentarily making eye contact with Lee. "Just another panic attack Matt." Lee said; and Matt shook his head as he helped the brunette onto her feet. "Dude- that’s not being fine, man." He explained as he leaned against the bike rack his long red hair falling into his face making him look older than he was. "What happened?" He asked his voice going soft and low. Lee didn't know how but he always knew when something bad had happened to her. She swore that the redhead who stood before her was some sort of physic or something. "Stuff happened again..." She started her voice horse and gravely. Matt nodded and kept looking at her; his eyes darting around her face as if searching for hints of what happened in her face. "I forgot my bike lock again okay?" Lee said.

She could practically hear Matt’s face light up with glee. "Why didn't you say so? Silly Lee Lee!" He laughed and messed up her hair a little. Lee let out a small shy smile as she watched Matt rummage through his heavy backpack. She had no idea what Matt kept in there sometimes but whenever she had a problem there was always something to fix it in Matt’s backpack. "Here you go!" He smiled and produced a rusty black bike lock. Lee looked at the checkered backpack with sheer amazement. "Why are you carrying around a bike lock Matt?" She asked watching him as he set about locking up her bike. "Aw well you never know when you going to need it!" She heard laughter through his thick straight hair. Matt was the only guy who could get away with long hair in her school. Every other guy who attended Hamahaki High was forced to cut their hair short. "Thanks Matt- I really appreciate this." All he did was wave her off and continue rummaging through the bag. "Think nothing of it! You’re a friend! It’s what I do!" He laughed and handed her a tiny pink box. It was heavy and made completely of wood. Lee looked at the box than at the smiling Matt. "Hang loose Lee! You call me if you need more help 'Kay?" And with that the boy disappeared into the school leaving Lee alone with the small box. Opening the lid with due care she looked inside and smiled to herself. Neatly packed inside were four tiny plums. In her rush to escape her house this morning she had forgotten about eating. "Matt..." Lee shook her head. She always knew that boy was physic.


Music blasted into Lee's brain blocking another noise that knocked at her ears. The volume turned out as loud as it could and she still could hear too much. The sounds of girls giggling, the teachers’ heels silencing the banging on lockers in the hall. It was all a little too loud for her. Her mind kept wandering; ebbing and flowing between thoughts like a restless tide. She couldn't keep her focus on the task before her with so many thoughts and ideas pulling her mind from her writing. Her English essay lied before her teasing her with its foolish themes and words, and endless scribbles. Words crossed out upon words crossed out like a castle of cards threatening to collapse her ideas wouldn't hold on the page. Nothing seemed to make sense, and it was like a hurricane of words. Nothing fitting together right anymore. Sighing Lee crumpled up her newest attempt at her essay. She had a good beginning- but everything else just wouldn't fit: wouldn't live up to what she started. She's worked tirelessly at the same paragraph over and over for countless minutes. Running her long boney fingers through her hair she tapped her pencil on her lip. Minutes ticked by, her brain counting the seconds that she lost to her flurry of thoughts. "No good..." She said aloud her habit of talking to herself making its presence known again. She couldn't even hear her words as they left her lips with all the sound being pumped into her brain like radiation.

Shoving her pencils and books in her side bag Lee stood from her table in the Old Area Library. Scrunching up her nose she pushed her hair behind her ear and set off on a quick pace. Her essay was due in a few days and at this rate it would never get done. She knew that she had a ally though. Her assigned tutor might help her. He was a good writer she knew that. He'd never admit to it but Lee knew that he was amazing with words. But he was shy and private about it and so she never pressed it. Her flat soled shoes made little sound as she walked through the halls in search of her tutor. She'd grown used of his presence enough to approach him with a question but only if he was alone. His friends made her nervous; they all whispered when he would stop to talk to her, or when he would sit beside her in math. It wasn’t natural for them to speak to each other and they didn't like it. But he seemed to have none of that and refused to stop helping her. Lowering her head to stare at her feet she helped herself to a small smile. If only she could be that brave.

It took her minutes to walk to where she knew he would be. The school was big and it cost her minutes off working on her writing, minutes that she knew was needed. "Science Green Lab." She spoke out loud reading the ageing wooden sign that was nailed beside the door. Everything around her smelled of dirt and wood; the smell of outdoors or a forest. It was like a different world beyond the doorway before her. Sun poured into the hallway from the many large panel windows in the room and Lee stood in the doorway watching it dance on her shoes. Taking a deep breath Lee stepped over the threshold and into the room. Light streamed in from the windows and lit the musty room as all the lights hanging above her never seemed to work. It was like another world and Lee could see why he liked it so much. Looking around the long room her hands turned white as she held her side bag close to her. "What’s she doing here?" Whispers from the centre of the room fell over her open ears. A group of people where clustered around staring at her. They whispered some more in harsh tones and Lee stiffened. Her eyes desperately searched around the group for a familiar face, and found none. He was nowhere to be seen. They girls snickered at her as the boys joked around. She felt the nervousness start in the pit of her belly and slowly felt it creep up upon her like a spider in its web. Panic washed over her in a wave as she felt her head go light and she braced herself on the table. Too sick to move she stood trying to catch breath in her lungs as more and more jokes fell on deaf ears.

"Hey what are you guys laughing at this time?" The voice was clearer than the rest and the group silenced as someone came into the room from another entrance. Lee didn't even care who it was, all she wanted to do was run from the room and away from the sneers and jokes of her so called peers. But her head was spinning so much that it hurt to even blink and her chest was tight. Panic washed over her in waves, crashing into her chest over and over. "Hey...." Soft words reached her ears as someone gently put their hand on her back. "Are you okay?" The room seemed to grow quite and the only sound that remained was Lee’s sharp breaths. "Hey hey... Shhhhhhhh... Shhhhhh..." She felt warm arms around her as she tried to calm her nerves. "Lee what happened?" The room remained silent as she felt her long hair being smoothed under a warm careful touch. "Hey Matt what’s up why are all..." A new voice entered Lees’ hearing, and she stiffened at the sound her body becoming rigid and her breath coming back in gasps. "Hey Billy." The soft voice spoke quietly and the arms returned to their owners and she pulled away from their embrace. "Matt- I... I'm sorry." Her voice cracked as she groped the table beside her to help her stand."Hey Lee. Are you okay?" Billy asked as her face shadowed heavy concern for the girl. Lee closed her eyes and took in another careful breath of air, letting it settle deep inside her lungs before pushing it back out into the air again. "Yes. I'm okay. Thank you Matt. Sorry to bother you like this." Picking up her bag she had dropped Lee started to turn to leave. "Hey!" Billy yelled and grabbed her by the arm stopping her from her much needed escape. "Are you okay?" Matt’s pale face slide into her vision his long hair falling over his face. "Lee what’s wrong man; and please don't try and lie." He asked voice stern but light.

"Just another panic attack. Please Billy let go I-" "What did they say?" Matt’s voice was dark, sharp and unnatural, his eyes flashing to look into Lees. The sudden rare eye contact made her stiffen. "They just-...." Her voice faded as Matt sighed and leaned against the door frame. "Did you need help?" He asked the sharp faded from his voice and his eyes returned to their normal spaced state. "Yes I was just have problems with my English but I can see your busy so please-" "Lee they all left, your okay." Billy spoke up her voice clear and loud. She had let go of her arm but stood firm in her way of leaving. Lee turned her head to look at the girl that stood before her. Her eyes were the same deep brown as Lee's but her hair was a faded brown, and her clothing pushed the limits of the dress code for school. Pants instead of a skirt and long hair that fell in dread locks were held away by a black bandana. She was the polar opposite of Lee in almost every way. "Hey I didn't mean that..." Billy's voice failed as she shifted nervously taking Lees silence for some sort of negativity. "Relax Billy she’s just shy." Matt spoke up letting a smile crack his face, and lighting up his green eyes. "Hey girl what do you need help on?" He asked smiling at Lee with genuine happiness that made Lee blush. "I just don't know what to do about this English essay. Nothing I write seems to work but I think I have an idea right now. Sorry for bugging you." Matt laughed and reached out to mess up Lee’s hair in a playful manor. "Silly Lee Lee I can see right through you. Come on let’s see what you have." She couldn't help but smile along with his playful nature. "You’re very cute when you smile Lee. You really shouldn't let those guys get to you. They're all losers anyway." Billy said sharing the lighter mood in her eyes. "Can I help you with your essay? I got a good mark in English last term." Lee blushed harder at her question and her eyes flickered to Matt for a second. "Why not Billy! It will be fun Lee!" Matt laughed as he slung his arm around Billy’s waist. "Come on Lee Lee! Those losers have ruined the rooms Wa! Harmony! Let’s go to my place instead!" Matt laughed again and grabbed Lee by her hand and led her out of the room into the sunlight of outside. "But last class I have English." She said in protest, but she let herself be dragged along anyway. "Hey Lee think of us as independent study for English!" Billy offered up smiled at Lee like old friends and she blushed.

"I guess so yea." Lee let herself relax and laughed a little. She had only spoken to Billy a few times but she seemed to be honest and her smile was warm and inviting. And already she felt more relaxed around the taller girl than with most people, and for that she was glad. Lee smiled back as Matt lead them to where her bike was locked up. "Well I walked to school... And Billy didn't you drive?" Matt asked as he looked up in thought trying to find out how they were all going to get to his place. "Well you could just throw your bike into my car Lee. I'm sure there’s enough room, and I could drive us all to your place Matt." The blonde offered up and Matt’s face lit up again. "Perfect idea! You alright with that Lee Lee?" He asked as she unlocked her bike and handed back the lock. "Yea." She smiled shy as Matt through the lock into his backpack. "Okay but I need to change okay? So do you mind if I run home first?" Billy asked and motioned to her cloths that she was forced to wear and laughed. "Okay; why don't you take Lee Lee with you? And lend her some cloths so no one thinks that we're playing hooky." Matt laughed at himself at the idea. "And I'll meet you two girls at my place okay?" He said. Lee nodded as she helped Billy sit her bike into the small beater car. "Bye Matt!" Billy called as she waved the boy off. Lee waved back as the redhead went off on his way, red hair bouncing behind him. "Hey so you don't mind right? I mean borrowing some on my cloths." The blonde asked as the engine roared to life underneath them. "No its okay." Lee said trying to relax without Matt there, and Billy noticed her discomfort. "Hey,"She nudges her gently with her elbow. "Relax okay? We're friends are we not?" She smiled as the brunette looked at the driver with a little surprise, which was returned with a light friendly smile. "Yea. Friends. Defiantly." Lee laughed and felt her body relax in the car seat and her hands loosen their grip on the door frame.


Lee held her arms tight around her eyes down cast trying to hid her nervousness. Billy's room was much larger than her own but that was mostly where the differences ended. "Hey how tall did you say you where again?" Her muffled voice reached her ears from within the bounds of her closet. "5'2"...." Her head spinning a little as she mentioned her short height to the taller girl. Ever shy in front of new people her discomfort was heighted by her embarrassing height. Whatever reply was made to the information given wasn't heard by Lee as she was too busy trying to calm her delicate nerves. "Okay so I'm not sure if these will fit you Lee; but they're too short to fit me anymore and I'll think you'll like them." Billy appeared from her closet with a few cloths bundled in her arms. Lee nodded slightly and tried to smile a little but her heart wasn't in it. "You can change in the bathroom." Lee nodded and followed the gesture of limbs into the bathroom. Door closed Lee leaned against the counter staring into her reflection and ran her finger through her hair. Her eyes looked dark and hollow, skin pale. Sighing at her reflection she turned to address the small pile of cloths that was set on the counter. Sorting through the cloths she rummaged around for something that would fit her. Billy looked quite different from her in shape with their curves in different places, making for a difficult and awkward fit; with everything lying on her body wrong. Hugging her body tight she looked in dismay at herself in the mirror, feeling her head spin a little. Nothing hung right on her frame and she was barley skinny enough to fit in some of the tighter skits that the slim and tall Billy had given her.

A soft voice was heard through the solid door behind her Lee barley even heard it over her pounding head. "Lee- does anything fit?" Giving a shake of her head she realized that the wooden door barred any sight between the two girls. "No sorry- but it’s okay really I'll just wear my uniform-" The door creaked momentarily as Billy stepped inside the small white room with grey fabric draped across her sleeved arm. She instantly crossed her arms across her body in a long standing habit to hide her body from prying eyes. "Um hey... I wasn't sure if anything would fit you, seeing has we have different body types and all, and I thought that this might fit you better. Here" With the mess of grey held between them almost like a peace offering Billy's rushed words faded out and her voice faltered. Biting her lip and trying to smile and appear thankful she reached out to claim the object in front of her. Billy let a slight smile part her lips before quietly shutting the door and once again putting up the solid wooden screen between them. Lee realized the stale breath from her lungs as she set the cloths on the counter and closed her eyes. "Lee... How do you know Matt?" Her voice was much clearer, like her body was pressed heavily against the heavy object her lips drawn closer to the crack between the wall and the door. "He helps me with my school work. He’s my assigned tutor..." A pause and silence cut through the girls like a cold knife than, "That’s all." Rushed like she hadn't said enough. "You know... He talks about you...Your writing I mean. He seems proud of you; and always says how great of a writer you are." Laughter was heard as she moved around the soft light grey fabric that revealed itself to be a dress. "He says that you could be a really great writer one day. I've never read anything of yours...." Voice fading out Billy tapped and pushed her body slightly into the room. "Does it fit?" Lee didn't answer as she stared at her reflection in the glass with wide eyes and arms fallen to sides. "It looks good on you. You should keep it; it makes you look pretty." Reaching up she pushed her messy locks away from her face and blinked thinking the mirror was somehow lying to her about what it reflected: there was no way that she looked like that. "Come on Lee, we'd better get going or Matt may think we died or something. You know how Matt is." She laughed and let the brunette linger and stare at herself before tugging her arm. Remembering to breath she turned to follow the taller girl down to where she had parked her car. "And hey... about those stories you write..." Like testing the water that stretched out before her Billy's voice faltered again. "I'd like to read them some time. If that’s alright with you." With added strength to her voice her eyes smiled as they stepped into the rusty steel beast. "I think I'd like that." Lee spoke softly not wanting to her to see the honest smile playing about on her face.


Stretching out before her was vast fields covered with grass on yellow and green. Matt lived farther away from Hamahaki High than Lee would have though, and since every day without fail he walked to school what she had thought wasn't far. "Strange how he lives so far away and yet he still walks to school while people like us drive shorter distances huh?" Billy spoke with almost awe in her voice at the strange boy’s actions. "Billy... How do you know him? Matt I mean; how did you meet him?" Lee asked carefully stepping, choosing her words with great care pausing between each sentence making sure not to sound rushed. Her face faired up in red as Billy looked at her strange but warmly. "I've known him a little over a year; yet it feels like forever. He helped me a lot in Visual Arts class with my sketching... and after awhile we just started hanging out more and more." Soft lines formed around her eyes and mouth as she remembered him. "He taught me how to ride his horses a few times... and even helped me with home work. He said he would do anything for me..." Trailing off her eyes clouded over with warmth as she thought of all the times she'd been comforted by his long arms. Lee took in her face and studied her eyes much like Matt often did with her and held the air in her lungs before she spoke again. "He’s a kind person Lee. We're lucky to know him huh?" She smiled and nodded slightly as Billy laughed her face glowing. 'Billy.... do you like him?' She asked silently in her mind as she studied her face over again.

Fields gave way to tall green trees as they seemed to slip away into another world. Lee lived in a packed city were houses where packed together closely marring the open fields that surrounded Hamahaki High. Eyes wide she looked though the window trying to take in the strange land around her, for living in the city all her life all she knew was open fields and crowed buildings. Taking a slight glance at the shorter girl she smiled and watched her gaze through the window like a child. "It’s pretty isn't it?" Lee nodded shyly as she saw her smile at her childish behavior. "Very Matt like. Yes?" Billy laughed as she nudged her playfully causing only the slightest of smiles. "Yea. Very Matt like." She echoed.

Trees gave way briefly revealing a dirt road and the cars movement slowed as it rounded the turn onto the road. Long and winding it spanned out before them lined with grass and shrubs; covered with dirt and rocks. Unused by a metal creature it didn't softly give way underneath the pair as they bounced around and the swaying beast moaned in protest. "How he even gets to school on time is amazing yea?" Nodding she squinted her eyes trying to see if the road ever ended but each attempt was fooled as it veered off in directions trying to avoid the trees that it ran around. "It’s like another world..." Breathless she tried to sort out her thoughts towards the magical land that he claimed that he lived in. Billy did not answer for Lee sharply took in more air than her lungs could hold; a building no less than four stories appeared out of the forest like it had been in front of them the whole time: only letting itself be seen by the deserving. "My God...." Head spinning she slowly let out her breath to calm her beating heart. "It never gets old huh? Come on let’s see if he made it here." Shoes crunching on gravel as the taller girl stepped up to the almost out of place doorway, and she bit her lip stepping into the dirt with her soft shoes. There was a knock and some noise from inside that if Lee had been listening she would have noticed the voices of people arguing playfully. Air moved around them making Billy's hair sway around her long face and drawing her waving hair into her eyes. Brushing it aside with a hand, a man much taller than she, stool at the door water and steam spilling off him into the air. "Jeezes Tom Tom, have you even heard of the term 'shirt' before?" Matt’s soft voice barely rang in her ears she as bit harder on her lips staring awkwardly at the man before her. He turned sheepishly around as Matt shoved black fabric into his chest with a sour look. "Sorry Matt Matt but I couldn't leave them waiting like this and all." He scowled at the boy’s nickname turning to face his shocked guests. "Sorry about that guys Tom Tom here hasn't learned to read yet." Her eyes followed his gesture at a sign hanging next to the door and briefly read the words carved into the wood before being ushered inside welcomes spreading from everyone’s lips. "Glad you could make it Lee Lee!" Strong yet thin arms wrapped around her tightly and she could feel the red hair brush against her bare arms. "This is Tom- he sometimes feels like going to school," A pause as glared where exchanged and ignored, "But mostly he 'borrows' my shower and parades around my house shirtless." Brushing off the insult Tom smiled shyly and watched Matt warp his clothed arms around Billy taking a few moments longer with his tight embrace than with hers. She sensed something pass between them before they parted and questions about feelings were exchanged, and although no longer hugging they stayed close to each other. Lee looked away from them with her face heating up as she slowly stuck her hand out in greeting to the taller boy. Looking at her hand he stared at it before flickering his eyes back to the other pair, before returning to her hand. And with a slight shrug he reached out with both arms and crushed her closer to him in a awkward hug holding her arms pinned to her sides. Breath slowly being squeezed out of her lungs she tensed under his weight feeling his warm body against her and his braided hair pass over her head as he leaned over to completely envelope her. Body tingling she awkwardly patted his back in return and he released her with a wide smile seemingly ignoring her frazzled face and shaking hands. "Hey if Matt can do it why can't I? I get to hugs a pretty girl once in a while don't I?" He laughed as the shorter boy reached up to swat him over the head gently. "Tom Tom your such a flirt..." Signing laughter was passes around the room as Tom brushed off the accusations with his hand and she could feel his eyes pass over her with deep interest.

Lee wrapped her bare arms around her chest as she felt her body shacking from the boys touch. Closing her eyes she shivered as chatter went on around her and she tried to organize her raging thoughts. 'A feeling like no other...' words that someone had once spoken to her about their boyfriend rang in and out of her brain like a loud car alarm. Chest on fire her organs fought to escape their bone prison and slammed against her ribs cage in waves of great force. 'What the hell is this?' She wondered; dizziness flooding over her. Nails bite into her skin as she breathed in deeply catching Matt’s worried gaze briefly she nodded in response. Eyes locked she felt a shiver go through her skin again as he searched her eyes directly before flickering off into the distance. Smiling his face returned to his almost normal cheerful grin. "So do you guys want to start on the essay now or take the grand tour of Matt’s Castle?" Laughter and a groan echoed around the small room that they stood in and she smiled feeling calmer by the cheerful nature again. "Matt Matt did you really just invite these lovely girls to do school work?" He asked seemingly mocking his shorter friend. "Unlike you Mr. Grade 11, I think they want to grad." Cringing at the jab he laughed it off and turned to face her eyes glittering lips curved into a sheepish grin. "Well you know where to find me if you... change your mind."

Slouching he walked off feet dragging behind him up a flight of stairs. She followed his movements from the noise he made above her trying to memorize which rooms were traveled through. "Such a flirt..." He whispered under her his breath turning to face her hair hanging low over his eyes. "So shall we start? I want to read what you have so far!" Laughing he linked arms with them and guided them towards what she guessed was the kitchen chatting cheerfully on the way. Smells of pasta and spices tingled her nose as the messy room entered her eye sight. "Matt do you ever clean?" Laughing she nudged him with her elbow as Lee licked her lips at the aromas filling her brain. "Hey a real cook shouldn't have to clean! Besides half of this is Tom Tom's fault." Adding quickly he crossed over the floor and leaned over the counter hair falling over his shoulder staring at Lee with lips curved into a smile. "So lets see if the three of us can't come up with something!" Humming to herself Billy set about moving through the kitchen cleaning things and setting food on plates. Her humming was the only sound as Matt's moved over the papers spread in front of him and Lee bit her lip nervously. He didn't seem to mind her fiddling around the room and didn't intervene other than to quietly point out something on the papers or to answer a question she asked. But always with a quiet soft voice and never breaking his gaze from the writing. And only when she heard shuffling above her and the creak of stairs did her waves of nausea and nervous biting stop.

"Before you come in here can you get me my bag? It’s in the bathroom." He called out softly yet it carried throughout the house as she heard the shuffling take a sudden turn. "Thank you." Lee licked her lips trying to remain calm feeling put on the spot although no one had yet to speak to her. "I won't ask why it was in the bathroom Matt; but I will ask what you put in this thing!" Swearing he lifted the bag onto the counter with much effort and she felt it shake a little under the weight that rang out through the almost silent building. "What I can't believe is that you had so many issues lifting it. Need to work out a little Tom?" Laughing a little under his breath he resumed his reading tapping a fresh pencil from his bag on his lips. She felt his body move closer to her as Tom perched on a stool next to her. "So what has the great Matt Tsuki been doing to you now?" Leaning against the counter black shirt falling around his body in soft curves lips lifting up into a shallow smile, he stared directly into her eyes. "He uh- hasn't said anything yet." Holding the counter with her finger tips staring back into his dark eyes she heard Billy ask him something. "Coke." A lip curving more as a can was sent gliding across into his hand, without his intense eyes leaving hers. Breath stopping it swirled around her chest becoming stale her question went unanswered and they remained locked in a different world. "So, Lee is it? Where did you meet Matt?" Again swearing as pop fizzed over his sleeved shirt she laughed slightly tension mounding on her brain easing over the swears and running water.

"Tom...." Dull thud echoed across the kitchen the pencil from Matt’s hands dropping to the white floor. "Stop swearing so much." Soft and monotone red bangs shading his eyes from heavy kitchen lights. "Okay Matt: whatever you say Matt; Yes Matt..." His words faded out under a harsh but loving look smiling he looked over at Lee starting again into her eyes. "Hey Lee; what time do you have to be home by?" Billy flicked her eyes to the clock face waiting for an answer before resting against the counter body swaying closer to his. Panic rose slamming against her chest gripping her hands together blood pounding in her ears."I don't know when but-" "She can sleep here tonight." Snapping attention to his hunched over features he sipped warm liquid that was placed beside his hand. "If that is okay with you Lee." Shivering with relief she felt his eyes upon her, nodding slightly she licked her lips staring at the ground. 'I don't know what I'm going to tell them tomorrow though...' Her mind flashed images like a bad movie her parent’s angry faces and loud voices. Rough hands fell on her shoulder and she stiffed under the strange touch her mind sensing danger but her body screaming at her to relax. "Wicked - but unlike you guys my parents love me and like it when I see them." Sliding away she heard fabric sigh and twist around his body and felt his presence soon close to her. "Hey Billy do you mind driving me home?" Laughter followed her eyes glinting under the lights she nudges him slightly. "Looks like I've become your personal taxi service Matt." Arms gently wrapped around his neck they embraced softly saying their farewells’ and Lee blushed feeling strong rough arms trap around her. Feet echoed and silence followed the slam of the door and from outside the beast roared to life rain pelting its hide. "Didn't realize it was so late huh?" Again he reached the fragile cup to his lips hair spilling around him she nodded voice cracking to life from its slight sleep. "Time flies huh?" Papers fluttered as he stood slipping the stray hair from his eyes soft smile playing over his lips, her body relaxed breath coming more freely. "It’s late Lee Lee. I've done what I can for now; but I think to really work on this you'll need a fair night’s sleep." Lips curving gently he slid the paper aside briefly turning to give a glance out the darkened window, she silently listened to the pelting rain. "Here let’s show you to a room." Arms gently taking hers Lee was lead up the steps her mind tracing the places where Tom’s feet would have been placed.


Silence greeted Lee as she escaped her deep slumber warmed by the sprawling sun her body pleasantly comfortable underneath checkered quilts. Long breaths filled her lungs with fresh pure air the room that was laid out before her seemed dream like in its perfection. White upon white sprawled out before her, smells of salt and dirt washed over her fermenting from several pots lining the single window cell. ‘Is this a dream?’ Wondering she slid from the bed and over her grey cloths placed a robe. “Not a dream I guess.” Speaking almost too loud her body became cold, shivering and drawing it closer around her body Lee started for the door. Eyes closed a shock screamed up her arm; knowing who had touched the handle before her and feeling his presence over her body. Breath stopping heart pounding his face flashed over again in her mind, warm arms wrapping around her own. Cold breeze wiped around her hair slashing her eyes bringing her back body shivering hand trembling. Stale air rising to free itself from her lungs: feet moving across the white carpet, Lee made her way down stairs and through the maze of rooms.

Matt sat hair washing over his bare back, skin pale and clean he hunched over the counter steam spilling into his eyes fogging up his glasses. Pure white counter lied unmarred under his weight holding nothing but the small porcelain tea cup. Silence greeted her footsteps muffled by thick carpet Lee could feel the air shift, becoming heavy and think in her lungs. The mood was somber and angry and she could feel something off. “Matt?” Voice cracking she pulled the cloth around her body watching his body not react. Feet placed on in front on the other she crossed the floor careful not to make noise, careful not to stir Matt. “Hey…” Faltering and biting her lips closed his eyes snapped up to directly meet hers, the eyes green bright and alert. Stepping back Lee sucked in air as his eyes stared him down through carved glass, atmosphere changing rapidly under his gaze.

“I’m so sorry.” Barley above a whisper he dropped his gaze slowly returned to stare above the dark liquid marring the porcelain. “Are you alright?” Treading carefully she kept her distance waiting her body on edge like a grazing deer. “Billy. And Tom.” Cutting in and out like a radio static covering his voice faltering with every word. She waited still tense, still breathless, without understanding. “Last night, the rain…” Bone straight hair covering his face scattered over his body and into elastic slid off his naked back and onto the counter spilling into the tea. A shaking hand rested on smooth skin and she felt the body shake under its pressure. “It was so cold… so cold…” Like soft petals falling Lee knew the sound that echoed through the kitchen as it dripped and dripped and dripped. Like a mother hen in care on her young, soft cotton fabric was placed over the shivering Matt and brown hair mingled with red; sea of hair falling like a halo around his head.

“She was so young. So beautiful.” Hands clasped around her arms his whole body shaking his flesh cold like ice. “I never ment this. I never. I never wanted to. I should have told her. Before.” Cracking again Lee felt the crushing emotions that washed over him, crashing into the pair of them; and the thoughts flooded her mind. His smiling face flashed again, the warm arms, intoxicating smell from his hair. Nails biting hard into flesh and salt flared her nostrils out as more stuttering cracker her memories. “Why… Why did it have to be… Lee? Oh Lee why?” Pleading like a starving child the green eyes cried out in body and spirit; her breath caged in her lungs. “I loved her. loved her so much. Now… Oh Billy now.” Fading out his grasped loosened on her arms; but still Lee couldn’t stop thinking about what happened; what she may have gained for the few moments; what she may have lost forever.

Cloths slid and moved around the rising body dark liquid bleeding across the counter staining the perfect room. Without a word arms were left cold and soft feet slid across the hard floor. “I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.” Over again, over again, over again like a broken record Matt repeated long fingers gripped on the edge spilling into the still steaming tea. But he did not seem to notice the scolding liquid and how it burned his flesh, marred his skin. “Billy I’m so sorry. So sorry. I love you. I love you.” Lee bit her lip feeling the single salty fluid slip from her dark eyes.

Spellbound and dream like she didn’t hear the pleads or confessions. Just his voice. Just his smile. Just his presence greeting her with warm arms and soft dark braids brushing her cheek. Nothing stirred Lee as she heard the crashing of glass or the screaming. Smells of salt and blood didn’t wake her. Standing still her body present and strong; her mind elsewhere weak and crying. “I loved her. I never told her. She never knew. She never…” Thoughts passed through minds and neither recognized the person staring back at them. Like a storm that wouldn’t stop the thoughts the feeling pressed on in her mind not even the pale lifeless stare breaking her trance.

Knowing what had happened. Knowing what was true yet didn’t seem real, what wouldn’t be excepted. Who they wouldn’t see again. An embrace that wouldn’t be felt ever again or a smell that could not be recreated. And for them. For the two people who stood bleeding and crying , those things where what they lived for. To see that face. To see those eyes. Without them.

Well without them to live for. What could they live for?

“I’m so sorry.”

“I’m so sorry too.”