"Dixie, are you sure?" she asked again. "It won't be much work to find another flight. You can just meet your brother in Canada later."

I bit my lip painfully. The decision had taken less than a heartbeat to make but for some reason, I was at ease with it. The truth was, I didn't think I could take another game for the life of me. Everything that had happened to me felt like a weight tying me down to VAc and I wanted to break free as soon as possible. I wanted to go home.

"I'd like to travel with my brother," I reaffirmed. "I'm okay with this."

"Dixie," Damien hissed under his breath. I ignored him and continued smiling politely at Counselor Clara, grabbing the folder of our tickets.

"So it's settled," Clara gave a final smile. "Have a safe flight back this Friday. Take care back home," she said as a parting message before sending us out of her office with a folder of tickets and details that we were to follow when returning home this week.

In only a few more days, I would complete my penultimate term at VAc and I'd go back home. The thought was unsettling, yet it calmed me... I was so torn between leaving the comfort of my school and having to deal with everything else inside of it, I didn't know how to feel about going back.

"Dixie, are you really okay with missing the game?" Damien asked disbelievingly as we stepped out. "I don't think you should just give up like this. We should talk this over."

"I'm not giving up," I replied defensively. "There's so much happening around us, I don't really know if I care enough about the Victor's Tournament to add it to my plate."


"Damien," I cut him off warningly. "I have you to worry about. And everything we have to do before we go back. It'll be fine," I smiled brightly but he didn't buy it. He looked at me worriedly, frowning. "What?"

"Nothing. It just... it feels a lot like you're running away," he quietly admitted.

"Running away?" I brushed off. "I'm just focusing on us. A lot's going to happen when we go back home," I argued.

Damien continued staring at me weirdly as I kept my stare in the hallway ahead of us, carefully placing the folders into my bag.

"Dixie?" he cleared his throat after a moment of silence. "What's gotten into you recently?" he asked with a nervous laugh.

I blinked. "Nothing, why?"

"You've been acting weird since this weekend. You won't talk about anything but me and getting better and how much you can't wait to go back home so I can start seeing a doctor," he blankly said. "Is this to do with Ales? I saw her smile at you at the breakfast hall yesterday. Are you two friends again?"

"No," I rapidly answered. It was almost an instinctive response. "We're... somewhat okay. But not friends."

I had avoided every conversation with Ales I could since that night we talked. The next morning, when we woke up, I acted as if nothing had ever happened and walked right out of the room without a word.

It was a cold move but I didn't know how else to act. I'd never thought to be in a situation like this and it completely overwhelmed me, taking over my every waking thought. It was hard enough having every thought be about Ales' conversation that night - the last thing I wanted was to have to talk about it to her.

It was a temporary plan. A temporary solution to a long term problem. I'd drag this out till Friday, leave to Canada without a word and spend spring break keeping myself busy with Damien and my studies. 

It seemed childish and stupid but in my mind, I really had begun to ache for home these days. Or at least some isolation. I wanted some release from Victore Academy and all its well kept secrets in these walls. I desperately wanted a way out to pretend that nothing wrong had happened to me by getting involved in the messes of others.

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