Identity

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 7 (v.1)

Submitted: February 18, 2014

Reads: 151

Comments: 6

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Submitted: February 18, 2014

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Chapter Seven

Snow had began falling from the ashen sky. Small delicate snowflakes drifted gently and settled on the whitened pathways and clung the threads of thick woollen coats. Students buzzed with the excitement, eagerly gathering the flurries within their hands and gazing at the glistening snow with awe. Other were not so romantic about the snow. Rowdy boys threw hard snowballs and groups of squealing girls. Miserable students pushed by, grumbling about the crisp winter air and the slippery pavements.

Amelia smiled at the many scenes around her, attempting to brush the flecks of white from her long hair. Leigh whizzed past her with a fistful of snow and Ryan quickly ensued. Mia yelped at the incoming rampage; shielding herself from the powdery balls. Her two friends laughed as they lunged and dodged between well-aimed shots, shaking off each hit and grabbing at the sheets of white around them with reddened hands and wet sleeves. As the bell rang for lessons, there was an encore of groans. It was time to leave the glory of the snow and childish instincts to return to the reality of boring lessons.

"Ha, call yourself a man! I completely pounded you!" Leigh declared victoriously, pointing accusingly at Ryan who glared back at her. She always was overly competitive, Mia thought. Sometimes it was a gift but most of the time it was just incredibly annoying.

"Shut it shrimp, I'll get you back at lunch." Ryan threatened, swinging his bag over his shoulder. He may have bore the face of a disgruntled teenage boy but there was a glimmer in his eyes that revealed just how much he'd enjoyed the snowball fight.

"Sure you will, loser." Leigh rolled her eyes, pushing past Ryan with a smug grin on her face. "Catch up with you later, Mia."

Mia waved to Leigh as she pushed past the Juniors on her way to her Biology class. Leigh really had no patience for anyone younger than her.

"You will take part in the snowball fight at lunch, won't you?" Ryan asked her, his hand gently tugging at her arm as they reached the steps to the main building.

Mia shrugged. "I don't know. Maybe not... I'm just not very keen on being hit by cold hard snow. I don't mind watching though."

He was smiling at her - not his usual lopsided grin that revealed itself whenever he cracked a stupid joke, but a soft one that mostly rested in his eyes. They concealed a labyrinth of secrets, chocolate caramel pools encased by snowflake-encrusted lashes, yet she noticed a hint of sadness within their waters. She realised that his question had held an entirely different meaning.

His infectious happiness had crept on to her soft features, pink lips curving into a small smile. The air had changed between them, the spine-chilling winds faded, and they were left with the comfortable warmth of content. She watched him curiously; eyes begging to unravel that tight ball of secrets. "What?"

He sighed, lifting a finger to catch a loose strand of her hair and tucking it neatly behind her ear. "I want to ask you something, but not now. Lunch?"

Her smile widened. "Lunch."

With pounding hearts and flushed cheeks, they parted ways; he to his business class and she to photography

 

 

*

 

 

Mia shifted in her seat, becoming impatient with her teacher's talk on filters, boredom seeking through her pores and drilling into her brain. She picked at her eraser mindlessly, eyes fixating on a blank stretch of wall, counting down the minutes until the bell. Curiosity, excitement, and anxiety warred in her mind; what on earth did Ryan wish to ask her? Her heart fluttered somewhat, and for a moment she craved to hear the words she'd been longing to hear for weeks now. Imaging his lips brush hers wasn't helping her concentration. She could almost feel his hands around her waist and the burn of his eyes exploring her face. She realised that she was acting like a child, fantasizing about all the different scenarios that could occur, she suppressed a giggle.

"Amelia, am I boring you?" Mr Roberts barked at her, his glasses sliding down his nose as he glared intently at her.

"No sir." She murmured, dropping the eraser loudly on the desk. It lay in shreds, surrounded by tiny white flecks of its former self. She attempted to pay attention after that.

It didn't last long though; merely minutes had passed when her phone buzzed from her pocket. She pulled it out and slid it inconspicuously between her desk and her pencil case; out of her teachers eye line. Jacob's name flashed across the screen. Amelia's lips twisted into a faint smile, pleased to hear from her unlikely friend.

It had been several weeks since she had submitted to her curiosity and phoned the number he had given her. She hadn't been sure about why she dialled that number; the young man it had belonged to reeked of bad news and gave her the eeriest feeling, yet she felt as if it were something she had to do. At first she thought he had given her a fake number, she had contemplated hanging up and throwing the card into the nearest bin. But then he answered. Both of them were surprised to hear the others voice. She didn't know what she was doing and was mildly embarrassed. He hadn't expected her to phone at all, let alone the next day.

Neither of them expected to get along so well either. Weeks later and they had exchanged dozens of long (and arguably expensive) phone calls and hundreds of texts. It was a very unlikely friendship that had blossomed from the weirdest of beginnings.

'Having fun?' The text read.

Amelia raised her brow nonchalantly, almost able to hear the thick sarcasm of his voice through the pixelated words. She glanced up at the clock hanging on the wall, it was almost noon. 'You're up early.'

From the other side of the city, Jacob pushed the warm sheets away from him, wiping the sleep from his eyes. He laughed when he saw the girl's reply, glancing down at his bare chest and pyjama bottoms; damn she knew him too well. ''Course not. Been up for hours.'

'Liar. ' Her reply accused.

The lesson passed quicker now that she had company. They chatted aimlessly as Mr Roberts drabbled on, Mia occasionally taking notes when something important came up, then returned to the comfort of the tiny screen resting on her desk. The easy conversation between her and Jacob helped the time flow, and before long the bell rang for lunch.

 

*

 

"Keep walking, pip-squeak." Leigh barked at a Junior. The kid, who must have been around 12, he looked up at the group with wide Bambi-eyes. Shock, horror and embarrassment crept on to his face. He ducked his head and shuffled along, lunch tray clutched desperately in his tiny hands.

"Leigh, lay off, the kid did nothing wrong." Ryan rolled his eyes at the defensive blonde.

"Hell he didn't, that kid's been eyeing our spot for weeks. You think I'm just gonna let him claim our territory?" Leigh barked a reply, eyeing the back of the kid's head suspiciously, black-painted nails tearing at her orange.

"Come on, this is the school cafeteria, not the Sahara desert. No need to get so territorial." Mia laughed, picking at her chocolate muffin.

A smile crept on to the corners of Leigh's lips. "Maybe I like being the king of the jungle. Hey, if we started a gang, we should so call ourselves The Lyons."

"What? After you? Miss Leigh Lyon." Ryan raised his brow at her.

"Well duh. It's not gonna include either of your names, no offence but Brookes and Lowe both suck. Lyon is ferocious but suave. It's the obvious choice." The blonde shrugged, throwing a horrifically mutilated orange segment into her mouth.

"We are not starting a gang." Mia shot her best friend a look of thehellhasgottenintoyou with a twinge of youneedtobecontained.

"Jeez, Mi, you're no fun these days." Leigh muttered. She stood from the table, collecting her peelings from the surface of the table and swinging her bag over her shoulder. She looked at the other two expectantly. "We better go get us some snow before the Juniors use it all. Coming?" 

"You go ahead, we'll catch up with you in a minute." Ryan said dismissively to Leigh. Mia was about to follow her friend when Ryan's hand caught hers, and gently tugged her back to the bench. She sat down on the flaking varnished bench, her heart drumming against her chest. She barely noticed when Leigh muttered some obscene insult under her breath and stomped out.

Her eyes searched Ryan's face; that rare smile had returned, the one that made her heart melt into warm pool of delight. She found herself smiling too, nerves slipping away.

Ryan looked down at his fingers entwined with hers, resting neatly against the bench, and let out a long retrained breath. He was nervous; she could feel him tremor in her grasp, see it in his smile. But when he spoke, he spoke with a strong and honeyed voice."I've been practicing this in front of the mirror for a few days now, and every word I'd rehearsed seems wrong. Too cheesy, too fake, none of them quite fit what it is I have to say. So I'm just going to say it."

"Go on." Mia gave his hand a light squeeze. He looked up at her with those brown eyes swirled with gold. And she knew. She knew what he was going to say and everything that he had wanted to say.

"I'm falling in love with you, Mia. I love the way bit down on your lip when you're nervous. I love the way you listen to someone as if it's the most important thing you've heard. I love how your eyes crinkle at the corners when you smile..." He trailed off.

"That's quite a list." She said quietly, attempting to restrain the large grin blooming on her lips.

"I want to take you out somewhere, this weekend if possible." Ryan said.

"Like the day we first met?"

"Better. And I swear I won't abandon you like I did last time."

"Promise?"

"I promise. Now, we better go find the lion before she starts murdering Juniors." He stood from the bench and offered his hand again, which she took gladly.

They stepped outside into a snow crazed mania, dodging off-target shots and clinging to each other when walking on the icy path. They finally found Leigh in the centre of the football pitch, surrounded by reinforced snow-barriers, manically assembling her ammunition.

"Get in or get lost." Leigh barked to them.

They both looked at each other, and Ryan shrugged, dropping down beside Leigh. She briefed them with her strategy, speaking of the 'assailants' as if it were a warzone. And it was. Amelia's previous reluctance to join the fight had been completely discarded when the fort went under siege; she dodged and hurled snowballs as if her life depended on it. Ryan would have laughed at her sudden bout of ferociousness if he too hadn't been too busy doing precisely the same.

After the battle had died down - literally, most of the students had crawled off of the battlefield nursing injuries and swearing vengeance - Amelia had suggested building a snowman. Leigh had responded with as much enthusiasm as a two year old, jumping to her feet to find the perfect spot for their newest wintry friend. The three of them began work on Clarence, as Leigh had insisted on calling it. When Clarence's body was pretty much completed, Ryan's phone emitted a loud and desperate ringing, he told them that he'd be back in a moment as he pressed the phone to his ear and walked away. He didn't come back. After that, Mia didn't really feel like building a snowman. Clarence stood headless in the centre of the field - abandoned.

 

 

*

 

All the wonder of the snow soon faded as the sun dipped behind the skyline, the marbled black sky seeped with clumps of white, it was snowing heavier than before. Amelia turned the keys in the ignition, her battered old car groaned as it awoke, and slowly the heaters started to kick in. She sighed in relief, thrusting her raw fingers in front of the fans, silently thanking her car for behaving for once.

Her dad had threatened to replace the poor thing three times that week, claiming that it was too old and unreliable, yet Amelia clung to it and refused to let go. It may be unreliable, and the heaters rarely worked, but it had been her first car. She had rescued it from being scrapped not long after she got her license. The moment she'd seen the adorable 1957 Fiat 500 she knew that it was the one for her. She'd very almost emptied her savings account to pay for it, as well as the many repairs, but to her it was worth every penny.

That particular evening, the bug-eyed Fiat crawled through salted roads carefully, with Amelia gripping the steering wheel with white knuckles. The windscreen wipers hastily blinked away the persistent snow; smearing the glass with its melting remains. Water droplets clung to the city lights, illuminating Amelia's face with the dappled light of passing traffic and street lights. As she approached her house she was enveloped with blurs of red and blue, the sound of sirens singing loudly in her ears. Abandoning the Fiat on the side of the road, she leapt from the warmth of the car and fought through icy blades and men in fluorescent coats.

She saw her mother on the door step, weeping into a police woman's shoulder, a mug of cooling tea clutched in her hands. A conflict of emotions passed over Mia's eyes as she approached the chaos, numbed by the harsh chill in the air, blinded by the glaring lights. Her mother's hand grappled on to Mia's, desperate and tear-ridden eyes searching her own.

"What happened?" Mia heard herself whisper.

"They took him..." Her mother said with a strangled and desperate voice. "They broke into the house, attacked him, and dragged him away..." Her words were soon drowned with tears.

It felt as if her whole world was being torn apart. She stood there motionless on the doorstep, unable to hear those who asked her questions, looking far past the lights and police officers. Her father... the man who had told her extraordinary stories well after her bedtime when she was little girl...the man who'd rescued her after her car broke down time and time again... who always smelt of chlorine and whiskey... was gone. All that remained of him was the dark stain on the carpet in his office.

It felt like hours had passed when the last police car finally pulled away. Exhausted after making an endless amount of coffee and struggling to answer question after question, Mia slumped on her bed and buried her head under her pillow. And she cried. She cried until her throat was raw and her cheeks burned. She cried until there were no tears left to cry.

***Note***

Major apologies for the long wait. This chapter almost killed me. The story will be picking up from here on, this is the end of Part One which is mainly character building etc. Part Two is when the real fun begins. Thank you for your patience!


© Copyright 2019 Emma Richards. All rights reserved.

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