10: Chinese Whispers

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Games We Play

"Because when he sings...even the birds stop to listen." 

― Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games 

10: Chinese Whispers

                  When the end of the first semester and year were nearing by, the layers of my clothing had also increased.

                  The day after Eduardo's party was the first sign of cold that was approaching and I knew soon enough there'd be the first term exams as well as ever-falling snow in my hair. Along with the cold and exam prep starting now, there would probably be no way I could be out riding horses or in the stables or reading a book with time to spare and I dreaded the thought.

                  But things weren't looking all that bad. At least in my eyes.

I was seeing Ales less and less but she was like air. Invisible - yet still everywhere.

The scene she had created at Eduardo's party was having its aftermaths and I was the first to know - people were talking about me. Saying things. Treating me oddly. It was all Ales' doing.

                  It didn't bother me though. At least that's what I liked to think - I only had a few true friends to consider anyway. She had left me and changed. But Damien and Caius were still the same old - we had our jokes and our laughter and I left no ends unturned to tease Caius about his kiss with Michelle and the idea of the two of them together and I never missed an opportunity to make fun of Damien being jealous of Michelle either.

For once I wasn't even burdened by Armin either. He wasn't at the back of my head like a lingering bad aftertaste - but instead, I realized he was just company that I wouldn't mind back.

                  "I hate exams," Caius said amidst our hour-long silence. Things had been quiet - calm, but this time I knew what the storm was. "I don't even know what's going to kill me first. Exams or the death like feeling I get in this studying."

                  "Shut up," Damien snapped with his stare intently frozen on a page of his English book.

                  "Dixie, how do you do it?" Caius yawned in complaint. "You're so nerdy. Look, you even have the glasses. Teach me, senpai," he scrunched his nose in disgust at his books.

                  "Well first - try shutting up," I gave him a pointed look before pushing up my red glasses on the bridge of my nose. "Then, just read the words on the page till they make sense. Once they make sense, memorize them."

                  "Dixie, please help," Damien cried out before pointing to his book. I immediately got up to help him out before Caius began protesting.

                  "Hey - no fair, I asked first," Caius groaned. "Twin bias!"

                  "Do you even know what you're studying to be asking questions?" Damien retorted and the two of them started a row at each other. I sighed - this was expected. It was exam time, and the stress would eat us all alive and regurgitate a brand new person out. Someone who snapped at everything and pulled out their hair and ate coffee beans because they didn't think they had the time to make actual coffee.

                  "Guys," I shook my head. "Okay, that's it. I'm going to the stables."

They both glowered at me.

                  "Relax! I won't ride, I promise!"

                  "So what? You study better while in the presence of horse muck?" Caius retorted and Damien chuckled.

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