He spoke in a way that was incoherent.
Strangely, it felt as though my surroundings were neither in color, nor in monochrome. Neither black, nor white. It seemed dark, yet I couldn’t quite settle on a correct shade-- or whatever it was. I was never left with enough time to mull over what, or where I was before the figure revealed itself to me.
Though I visited this place many times throughout my life, it felt distant, and new to me, still. I knew this person who stood before me. This man--I figured--haunted me every night though it was only this night that he opened his mouth and spoke to me. Shortly after he finished his first statement, he spoke again, and again I couldn’t make out his words. It was as if they were tumbling over each other; coarse then smooth during some intervals-- at least that was what I picked up from reading his lips. The sounds I heard sounded far from what his mouth formed, more like a hushed slurring.
I couldn’t make out his face just as I never had, though when he finished his second statement it felt as though he was disappointed that I was unable to understand him. I felt a twinge of guilt after realizing that my stupid mind made this person feel bad, and then instinctively, I reached out for the man in my effort to apologize for my lack of knowledge. Abruptly, the scenery changed and the pale, cloaked man had disappeared.
He had invaded my dreams more than enough for me to notice that he donned a dark cloak, which concealed whatever it was that he hid. Sometimes he would drape the hood of his cloak over his head, nearly covering his eyes.
He had come to me many times, and though he never had any distinguishing features that I could remember. Just his pale skin, and cloak which he wore every time he visited me. The only differences would be how close or far he was from me, or whether he had his hood on, or not. Usually, it would just be me watching him, and he would watch me back, forcing us to just stand there for what seemed to be eternity, until my dream would yawn in boredom and shift scenes. Other times, I would watch him pace slowly through the dark room. While he walked, I would notice the translucent glow that flowed behind him, especially the bright white his pale skin left behind. It seemed to look like bits of him were being left behind as he walked slowly, in and out of the slow-moving world that was my dream.
Shifting my attention to where I was now, I realized that I sat atop a hill with tall, soft grass that brushed against me while it danced along with the wind. On lower ground there was nothing, just the long grass that seemed to sway in unison, and a scrawny tree or two. It struck me as odd how the golden grass seemed to flourish, while the
--supposedly--once beautiful, tall trees withered. Maybe there used to be many more trees, but seeing how the remaining ones are now, they probably withered and died long ago.
My dream was interrupted by the creaking sound my door gave when it was opened slowly, forcing my eyelids open as I shot out of bed and sat upright; ready and waiting for whoever it was that entered. I was always a really light sleeper, and it came in handy plenty of times.
Silver Lining 1
I jolted from my bed and quickly turned to face my door; sitting upright and ready for whoever it was that entered my room this early in the morning. I didn’t need to look at my clock to know it was early, the dim lighting gave it all away along with the slight chill that usually came along with early-rising.
“Easy. It’s just me, Ashe.” Jaxx assured, just as he poked his face through my door. Usually, I didn’t see his sly mug until seven-- and it was well before that hour.
“Jaxx, it’s called knocking” I replied, easing up as I recognized the familiar voice. “You have no idea what kind of hurt I would have brought on you.” I continued, sarcastically before he could speak.
Jaxx calmly walked inside my room and over to my study table while he spoke. “Yeah, a tiny sixteen-year-old girl would be the death of
‘I’m not tiny. You’re just huge.’ I thought to myself
I let out a soft scoff as I breathed outwards, when I realized that I’d never grow tired of Jaxx’ witty comments. It was a part of him that was purely dominant in his characteristics, consequently making him who he is; and is one of the reasons why he held the title of my best friend.
I pulled the right corner of my mouth upwards, forming a sort of ‘tired’ grin as I gestured him to leave the room; which he did with much obedience. It didn’t take a moron to figure out that I needed time to ready myself for school, and Jaxx was certainly no moron.
Hesitantly, I rolled out of bed and made my way to the small bathroom that was only accessible through my room. Groggily, I undressed myself and stepped into the shower where I then spent the next ten minutes of my morning singing a few of my favorite songs while the water helped wake me up. After I dried and clothed myself again, I groaned while I undid the towel that wrapped my hair in an attempt to dry it. My hair never looked pleasing after every shower, and I found it a chore to blow dry it every morning before leaving my house. But my efforts were always in vain, as it always ended up looking like a hippie’s kind of do, with my hair being dark, long and wavy. I shouldn’t be one to complain, though. My hair would be considered ‘tame’ by most people, but it was never really neat enough for my liking. Shortly after drying my hair completely, I was able to make out loud shouting from downstairs.
“Ashera Card Wyndham!” my mother exclaimed frantically “How long do you plan on making poor Jasper wait down here for you?”
I laughed a bit when I heard Jaxx’ reply on my behalf as his voice faintly resonated through the corridors of my house. “It’s perfectly alright Mrs. Wyndham. I’m not in a hurry to get to school.”
I could clearly imagine him smiling as he uttered those words, it was just something he did. I’ve known Jaxx for a little while now, and we’ve become so close that we sometimes end up finishing each others sentences. Sure, it was a little scary. But it just comes natural to us.
I made my way down the wooden stairs and met up with Jaxx, who was seated on one of the small cushioned stools near the front entrance. Jaxx hunching his back while he had his elbows on his knees to support his head with his fingers interlaced. He made a sort of pose that sculptors would ask their models to pose, something like they were in deep thought, or simply relaxing. Jasper straightened up when he saw me trod heavily down the last few steps of the stairs, before I joined him by the door. My mother greeted us there, only before talking me off about how I wasn’t supposed to have men wait for me, which I then retaliated with the solid point that it was Jaxx who woke me up early. At a sign of defeat, my mother dismissed the topic and handed my weeks worth of lunch money-- Which was usually that sign that I had best be going.
We walked out the door of my home, with Jaxx bidding the final goodbye as he assured my mom “Don’t worry Mrs. Wyndham, I’ll make sure Ashe is brought home safely right after school.” He ended with a sincere smile while he shut the door behind him. I had gotten a short head start but it didn’t take long for Jaxx to catch up with me.
Damn him and his long legs.
As he heaved a sigh, Jaxx straightened up and pulled on the strap of his black backpack while he walked beside me.
“It’s still early” I began “now you owe me breakfast”
Jaxx grinned slightly, before sliding his backpack off his broad shoulder and zipping open one of the outer pockets with his free hand.
“Already taken care of, milady Ashera.” He stated jokingly as he handed me a bagel that he placed in his bag only a few moments before he left home. I could tell even through the paper bag that held it, the bagel was still warm.
With a grin of obvious satisfaction, I looked up to him “-and thank you for the lovely sustenance, squire Jasper.” I replied, going along with his medieval role play. He laughed a little, and so did I-- Before I quieted myself and enjoyed my favorite bagel.
Not soon after we arrived at school did we get bombarded by questions of a few old friends. They usually went along the lines of “How was your summer?” or “How’ve you been?” Which then Jaxx would respond to questions about summer for my behalf as well, only with a simple “It was fine.” Because we both knew that I wouldn’t have said it any differently.
The morning slowly became a little warmer as the sun rose higher into the sky, which pleased me in many ways. I never really liked the cold, so I’ve been known to be more of a ‘sunny’ person. Rarely did I ever pass up the chance to soak up some sun.
Though it always struck me as odd that I didn’t get dark, no matter how long I stayed out while the sun was bright; or even on those rare trips to the beach. I mean, it’s not like I stayed white. I tanned a bit, and maybe I would turn as red as a lobster and get horrible sun burn, but I never really got as dark as the others. Jaxx would just say that ‘Someone’s trying to tell you that dark skin isn’t your thing.’ which I would then shrug to.
After the barrage of questions, we miraculously found our way to the familiar main office for our schedules. By some stroke of luck, we caught two of our close friends waiting for their schedules as well.
“Daniel, Kamille!” Jasper called out as he passed me again; with the annoying power of his long, quick-moving legs.
In reflex, Daniel and his tall, muscular frame turned to Jasper, which Kamille then mimicked but instead she looked at me in excitement as she hopped over to where I was as I lagged behind Jaxx.
“Wow, I haven’t seen you in a while Ashe. How were things while I was off in
“Same old, just me and Jaxx bumming. Since Daniel went to some summer varsity thing for the soccer team.” I replied as straight to the point as I could; that was pretty much all I did for the summer anyway, no different that the years before.
Kami opened her mouth to continue our conversation, but stopped as she heard her name being called for by the vice principal’s assistant. “Miss Kamille Harper?”
“Oh, right! I’ll talk with you later Ashe, I’ve got some things to sort out.” Kami voiced just before she hesitantly returned to speak with the vice principal in his office.
I took this time to walk over to Jaxx and Daniel while they were in a very animated discussion about this year’s sports selections. It seemed that Soccer varsity try-outs were open this year, and that they needed hard workers for all the upcoming competitions; this alone had gotten Jasper excited. In fact, I was actually excited for him as well. Jaxx always wanted to be a part of our school’s soccer varsity, but by the time he mustered enough courage to join, they closed their try-out sessions for a whole two years. But now that the previous senior batch is gone, they’re looking for new players to replace them.
“Isn’t that great, Jaxx? You get to try out this year!” I verbalized cheerily.
“Yeah, Daniel tells me that the soccer coach mentioned that he’s had an eye for me since that term last year when we took up Soccer.” He grinned, but just a bit.
I smiled widely, my eyes almost disappearing into slits as I expressed my sincere joy for Jasper’s behalf. The Varsity was always his thing, and the natural reaction would be that I’d be happy for him; which I was. Obviously.
When I noticed that there were no longer any people at the front desk, I walked over to greet the familiar lady that handed everyone their all-important schedules and dished out much needed information for the new students.
“Hello charlotte, it’s good to see you again.” I smiled. “Can I have my schedule? and Jasper’s too. He’s a little busy with soccer talk” I continued with a small laugh at the end as I pointed my thumb to Jaxx and that smile on his face while he spoke with Daniel.
“Why, of course you can Ashe.” The middle-aged woman responded with a smile while she dug out two folders from the stack (Wow, the faculty knew us so well as to put our folders beside each other.)
When I returned, I handed Jaxx his schedule which he then opened on the spot; abruptly stopping from his conversation with Daniel. He didn’t mind the sudden shift in attention though, Daniel knew Jaxx too well.
Jaxx lifted his head from the paper and probed “Do you have Trig for your second period?”
“Nope, mine’s Literature.” I sighed.
“--Fourth period History?”
“Yeah, with Mr. Baker right?”
“Is that the only subject I have with you?” Jaxx groaned.
I wrinkled my nose, as I snatched Jasper’s schedule from his hands and held it next to mine for comparison. I couldn’t only have ONE subject with Jaxx, could I? It was unthinkable! Either someone made a lot of typos, or the person in charge must have been in a really foul mood when organizing this.
To my relief, I shared Chemistry and The elective foreign languages class with him. Though my heart sank when our P.E schedules were at different times; we always made a great tag-team. I sighed as I returned Jaxx’ schedule and relayed what I’d discovered.
“Seriously? History, Chemistry, and the elective subject?” he whined. “It was better last year when we had almost all our subjects together.” Jaxx continued while he frowned.
The look on his face made me feel worse, so I couldn’t help but give him a hug. My slender arms wrapped around his body and I squeezed as tight as I could (Granted, probably wasn’t all that hard compared to Jasper’s wall of muscle).
“It’s fine.” I sighed comfortingly “At least we have three subjects and not just one.” I smiled as I looked up at Jaxx with all the happiness I could muster. I smiled wider as Jaxx lightened up and returned the favor with one his bear hugs that were especially for me. --And I say ‘especially for me’ only because he makes sure not to squeeze too tight that I might end up snapping into two; Titanic style.
“I’d hate to impose on the happy couple, but class is starting in say... ten minutes, and we’ve all got to get a move on.” Daniel interrupted, glancing over at his watch to check exactly how many minutes we had to get to our respective classes.
Realizing this, I jumped in my place and right before leaving I gave my two boys a group hug. “See ya later, guys! Play nice!” I wished the both of them a farewell shortly before I darted out the office door to head for my homeroom class.
The rest of the morning droned on annoyingly, as we were introduced to the teachers who would be teaching our subjects. Teachers I already knew, but they made it a habit of introducing themselves strictly for the benefit of the new students. Everything was such a bore without my bestie to share it with me. No one to pass notes with, or to talk about irrelevant things, or anything to keep my busy during these slow hours.
It was near the end of recess where I spotted Jaxx walking up to me in the hall.
“Hey, you wanna play hookie till lunch?” Jaxx probed.
With a exasperated sigh, I answered “Oh god, I thought you’d never ask!” upon hearing the reply he was hoping for, Jaxx smiled widely.
“Let’s go then, milady”
“Surely.” I smiled wryly-- again, going along with his medieval role-play idea.
With that, we locked arms and marched towards the small --concealed-- area behind the gym; where we then stayed for the next couple of hours talking until the both of us fell asleep.
At first, we shared how our mornings went through, how our teachers re-used their introductory speeches, and I even shared the moment where I caught the quarterback --secretly-- pick his nose; obviously failing at it. We shared a few laughs, and got a little tired as the first hour wore us out. Then by the second bell, our jaws were sore. Making a game out of it, we decided on going through a temporary oath of silence until lunch. It didn’t turn out as much of a game, as we both ended up sleeping after only ten minutes of playing. First, it was Jasper who leaned against a tree with his legs spread out into the slightly damp grass. Then I started feeling drowsy shortly after he’d already fallen asleep. Instinctively, I made the most of his tall-genes and leaned my head against his shoulder for a comfy head rest. The last thing I remember was snuggling closer to Jasper’s radiant body heat right before my eyelids closed on me.