A Long Way Home: Chapter 8

A Long Way Home: Chapter 8

A Chapter by Izabellla
"

Suzan finds out that the world is stranger than she thought. After a mysterious warrior comes to her rescue, she is pulled into a dangerous circumstance that will change both of their lives forever.

"

Chapter 8


Two days later, I was leaving the school building in a really bad mood. I couldn't stop thinking about Izabela and Lightningale. And on top of that, I was heading towards my French lesson. Gee, just what I'd always wanted: two hours spent the same room as Sinagra.


"Why are you so somber? I've never seen you so dull before. And you have bags under your eyes. You haven't slept well lately, have you? Can you tell me why?" Magda inquired, as I walked with her through the school courtyard towards the gate. Mag. Lately, I had been constantly neglecting her. I would have to make it up to her somehow.


I gave her no answer. Slowly moving forward, I alternated between looking at my sneakers and at a small beetle that was putting all its energy into escaping the before mentioned. I almost stepped into a puddle, so engrossed I was in my thoughts. I squatted to look at my reflection in the water. Under the big greenish-blue eyes two 'bags' were clearly visible. My lips were chapped and I had a small scratch on my cheek; apparently I must have happened upon some branch while running away from the drunken men. Long, brown hair, usually shining in the sun, now resembled hay. Excellent. I felt awful, and looked equally bad.


I stood up, brushing my trousers off any dust, and continued on with my walk. Mag bid me goodbye with a worried glance and turned towards her apartment building. I would be infinitely more happy to be able to go with her now. We would have a girls' night again; popcorn, ice cream, third-rated chick flicks…


Before I could wrap my head around it, I was already standing in front of the Foreign Languages School. A gloomy, long-time-since-renovated sign was casting shadow on the pavement. I didn't remember this place ever being more depressing. I was just standing there, looking at the knob, not really in the mood to enter, when the door fell open.


Gaston, as if sensing my presence, came out to meet me. He greeted me politely and was probably about to say something but, luckily, I managed to squeeze past him and escape into the room. I changed my seat in class so I didn't have to sit in front of the teacher. I squeezed myself into a desk in the back corner, hoping to get out of there as soon as the lesson was over. However, my fears came true the minute the period stared. Since Gaston now couldn't see me from where he sat, he started circling the class, his eyes glued to me. My face was beat-red and I was dreaming that I could dissolve in the air or sink into the ground. When half of the classes passed, I ended up with a book propped up on my desk to hide my face behind it, trying not to think about what my classmates were probably thinking about me at that moment. For me, the most important thing was that Gaston could not see me.


Impatient, I was gawking at the clock. My bag was already packed and ready 5 minutes before the end. Ridden of my protective shield in the form of the book, I was staring intently at the back of the girl sitting in front of me.


"You can leave now." That was how he ended the lesson, as if he didn't know what to say.


I jumped to my feet and rushed to the door. My mind was doing happy flips at the thought that I could finally run away from Gaston, but then I felt something tugging on my shirt. As I tried to move, I was met with another tug. Glancing back, I noticed that it was just my luck striking again; my shirt got stuck on a nail sticking out from the wall. I looked around in sheer panic. The teacher was approaching so quickly I would not be able to escape. Just what I needed. I struggled but the nail didn't budge.


"Need some help?" Sinagra stood beside me with a wide smile on his face.


I started to suspect that it was all his doing; I almost slapped my forehead at the silly thought. And just how would he have done that? How could he have known I would brush against the wall in this exact place? I'm really starting to go out of my mind.


I ripped my shirt from the peg, tearing a hole in the material in the process. "There's no need for your help as you can see."


"Suzanne, Suzanne. I think that you don't like me. And I have no idea why. I could help you with your French sometimes." He smirked. It was probably supposed to be an inviting smile, but for me it was sinister. Clearly, he wanted something from me. After a short pause - added for a better effect, I'm sure - he continued, "Just one number, that's all I need. Or an address. Whatever. But, not any address. Not so long ago, I met your charming and very fascinating friend." He winked significantly. Is he really so dumb that he can't see I'm avoiding him?


"I'm not in the habit of giving away my friends' personal details to everyone I meet. And I don't need any help with my French, thank you very much." I snorted, turning on my heel, and left. But I couldn't help shooting a discreet look behind me; Gaston was still standing there, his hand outstretched as if waiting for a number/address, a dumbfound expression on his face. I giggled quietly.


Without any particular reason, my legs took me back to the building of my junior high school. From there, it was only several steps to Magda's home. I really needed some cheering up and entertainment after those unfortunate two hours. In addition, I would get to spend some time with Maggie.


I fished out my phone.


"Hello?" she picked up in my first go. Incredible.


"Hey! You up for a cruise through the shops and some sweet treat?" I knew she wouldn't be able to resist such a combination; I was being cruel.


"I'm up for these anytime and anywhere. Pick me up?"


"I'm near the school."


"O.K. I'm just gonna change and I'll be right there." She hung up. I smiled, thinking about my friend and her clothing habits. For Magda, the look must be perfect. I don't think she had ever left the house in the same outfit twice in one day.


I propped myself up on the barrier and let my thoughts wander, looking at the spot Mag was supposed to come from. After a while, I finally saw her form in the distance. I recognized her at once because of her blue fluffy bag that differed from my dark brown mailman bag in almost everything, and perfectly showed the unique style of the owner.


"Hi. French lesson already over? Where are we going? By the way, you rarely go out in the evenings nowadays." She was right. But it seemed only understandable, considering the fact that recently I attracted trouble wherever I went.


"I had a lot of learning to do. So what now, shopping first?"


Mag, delighted and seemingly satisfied with my answer, nodded and we set off to conquest the mall. My friend had a thing for unusual outfits but I was used to it by that time, so it didn't surprise me when the strangest things ended up in our basket: a huge straw hat with small golden elephants hanging from it like tassels (she said they were supposed to bring luck), Roman sandals painted green on the front and yellow on the heel, and a frilly dress covered in little suns. I was satisfied with purchasing only a pair of blue sneakers and a navy tank top decorated with a delicate frill (on sale). When Magda was trying on another pair of shoes, I suddenly noticed that someone was watching us. I was sure it was a man; I couldn't see his face though, because he was too far away. However, I observed something familiar in his figure, in the way he was moving. I turned my back to him and grabbed Magda's elbow to drag her out of the shop, leaving all the shoes she was trying on scattered all over the floor.


"What the…?" Magda growled, snatching her elbow away. "If you were bored you only needed to tell me that!"


"That's not what I meant. I could sit there with you like that for a few more hours, just watching you find all those funny shoes. But someone was watching us. I didn't like that."


"But who? And-and why?" she was clearly shaken.


"I have no idea. How about some coffee and cake?" She looked at me as if I were crazy. Right, first I tell her that someone's watching us and then I invite her to coffee. Maybe I should really try out some therapy.


Mag pulled me out of my thoughts. "Erm… Sure. I have a craving for double chocolate in my cake." She smiled brightly at me before glancing inside her shopping bag. "It's been so long since we had such a successful shopping trip, won't you agree?" Not waiting for my answer, she ran into the café garden and sat at the table in the corner, right beside a creeping rose.


It was our place; whenever we were shopping we would go there. The cream-colored building was covered in all kinds of creeping plants. Dark brown wooden doors, windows in retro style and indigo leather-upholstered furniture gave the place a specific cozy climate. A light gold sign was welcoming the customers. We always sat beside the rose because it smelled wonderful and in fall it shed petals all over our table. We liked that.


Before I joined her at the table, I went to order our usual treats. Two chocolate cakes (well, actually three because Maggie took double portion), a latte macchiato and a small cappuccino. I paid and rushed to sit beside Magda.


"The usual?" she asked from behind a leaflet of some cosmetic she bought.


"Sure."


The waiter arrived with our order. Mag ate her cakes at once; she was so tiny and still she could eat just as much as a full grown man. We didn't talk about anything in particular; just some casual chit chat. The school year was coming to a close so Mag got into talking about holiday plans. I didn't plan on going anywhere; not now, when I discovered a girl with a dragon living in our city. Sipping my cappuccino, I noticed someone watching us again. I looked closer. I was sure it was the same guy from the shoe shop. I nudged Magda discreetly.


"Mag. Mag! Look, it's the same guy I saw in the shop. He's watching us again." I tried to talk as quietly as I could as he was sitting just a few tables away.


Maggie looked around nervously. "You're right. I think he's following us. But why? Do you know him?" She was starting to panic a little.


"No. I mean, I don't think so. I'm not sure. I seem to recognize his figure, but I don't know exactly. He's always too far away for me to take a good look at his face."


She stared at him for a while before drinking down her coffee, grabbing her things and ordering that we leave.


We walked to the bus stop through the park. At this time of the year, the lake was already occupied by ducks that were the perfect object for observation. We made our steps silent and ceased talking. The evenings here were always quiet and we didn't want to change that.


"How can you know they would walk right here? ...No! I refuse to follow them all the time! Maybe she won't go there to-… But… But… Oh! Why do I have to work with YOU? You're irritating and spiteful… Ouch! Don't take revenge on me this way, you know I hate it!" Someone was talking to himself, it appeared. That was strange; usually no one came in there at this hour. Even more strange, the man seemed to wait for answers in his conversation. Maybe the other person was very quiet? Or he was talking on the phone? Wait a minute… I had heard this voice before!


I stopped. Magda looked curiously at me but nevertheless followed my lead.


Suddenly, the voice went silent. A head sneaked out from behind a tree standing a few feet away from us. I looked closely. It was Gaston! He must have noticed that he had been spotted because he fully emerged from behind the trunk. Wait a minute. Isn't he the man we saw…


"Suz! Isn't he that guy from the shop and the café?" Mag was repeatedly nudging my arm. She was standing with her eyes bugging out and glued to Gaston, who looked like he was about to flee.


"GASTON! GASTON!" I yelled so loud it was impossible for him not to hear me. However, he didn't turn back. I breathed in deeply, quickly searching my memory for his full name. "GASTON FLORIANO SINAGRA! IF YOU DON'T STOP RIGHT NOW I WILL TELL IZABELA THINGS ABOUT YOU SO BAD SHE WILL STEER CLEAR OF YOU TILL THE END OF YOUR LIFE! DO YOU WANT THAT?" My throat was sore by the time I ended my threat. But fortunately, it worked. As soon as my words reverberated through the air, Gaston stopped as if paralyzed. He turned around and headed toward us, reluctantly.


"You know him?" Magda's eyes widened even more, which had seemed impossible to me.


"He's my French teacher." Gaston was getting near. "If you please, tell me why you've been following us all day! If you're counting on learning Izabela's personal details, don't even bother! I will tell you nothing!"


"Suzanne, it's not my fault! It's the fi-… I mean… Ekhem… Forgive me for my impudence, but I hadhoped that you would visit your beautiful friend. That's why I followed you. If I couldn't count on getting her phone number, I tried to find out where she lives." I granted him an uneasy glance. What an infuriating guy! And overly optimistic on top of that.


"Okay, I get it." Seeing hope appear on his face, I added emphatically, "But if I spot you hiding behind a newspaper or playing a passerby tying his laces, even once, I promise you that every little chance you could get to fawn Izabela will disappear! I will make sure of that!"


Clearly frightened (which surprised me), he nodded enthusiastically, bowed to us and walked away with his chin raised and pointing towards the sky. Something was burning on him again, this time inside his briefcase. And he seemed not to notice that. He looked funny, walking straight forward, his head high and a smoking briefcase in his hand.


A sudden thought occurred to me. What if this fool keeps following me and one day I will unconsciously lead him straight to Izabela's place? In my mind's eye I saw Lightningale, half covered with tissues. I had to warn them, immediately! I waited for Gaston to disappear from sight.


"Maggie, I just remembered that I still have to attend to something very important today. I'm sorry. You'll have to go back alone." Made speechless by this whole situation, my friend asked nothing, just hugged me goodbye and went her way. And then I started the arduous process of recreating the way to Izabela and Lightningale's house.



© 2012 Izabellla


Author's Note

Izabellla
English is not my native language, so if you spot any mistakes, please, let me know. :)

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Added on June 16, 2012
Last Updated on June 16, 2012
Tags: fantasy, dragon, warrior, girl, world, danger


Author

Izabellla
Izabellla

Warsaw, Poland



About
I'm materialistic, selfish feminist with homicidal tendencies, who live with Horacy's life philosophy (stoical-epicurean philosophy). I have music addiction and pink-repugnance. And you wouldn't want .. more..

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A Story by Izabellla