CHAPTER ONE: ON MISSING HOME AND STALKING LOVESTRUCK BOYS

They  weren’t supposed  to be there. at least,  as far as Solenn was concerned.

It had been quite a while since they were last home, and she was getting a bit sick of listening to the professor’s impassioned speeches about things she could not relate to. Today was a particularly bad day because the air conditioning unit of their classroom was out of order, so they had to open the windows and spend three hours discussing media ethics inside a concrete furnace.

Solenn glared at the professor who droned endlessly about the socio-political implications of some pop star’s music video and wished she were anywhere but there. He was gesturing wildly to the video flashing on the LCD screen while talking about moral degradation and child labor.

She couldn’t care less about the video, because from where she came from, pop stars didn’t sing in front of the audience or camera half-naked, and they didn’t slither on poles in a pathetic attempt to look sexy. She was two blinks away from passing out, but she had to stay awake because if she pissed off the professor one more time, she’d be sent to the Discipline Office. Again.

She glanced at her partner and smirked when she saw him fighting back a yawn with a scowl.

At least she wasn’t the only one. It was nice to know that she and her partner would always go down together.

She shut the professor out and daydreamed about flashing broadswords and glorious battles. She dreamt of running amok in the woods behind her house, her huge fat cat and her oversized dog in tow. She dreamt of warm bread and hot soup on cold rainy nights. She dreamt of home.

It  took  an  eternity  before  the  bell  rang.  Solenn  would  have flitted away faster than the professor could say “Dismissed,” but duty demanded that she stay until their charge decided to leave. He looked like he had no plans of leaving, though.

Said charge was taking his damn sweet time gathering his things, because he was getting all moony over a tall, willowy girl with long, straight, jet black hair. One bat of her black almond eyes was enough to send the boy panting after her.

“You want to get this over with and just kidnap him?” Solomon asked as he approached Solenn. The noonday sun cast golden highlights on Solomon’s hair as he walked by the open window. He gave a small grunt as he plopped down on the seat next to Solenn’s.

Solenn shook her head. “Love to, but I don’t think the old man would appreciate that. He said to ‘escort’ him to the headquarters. "‘Only when the right time comes,’” she said in a deep voice, in mockery of the older man who gave them the order. She honestly didn’t know why they were wasting time in this place when there was trouble back home.

Solenn snorted as she watched their target charm the girl into agreeing to a date. “Bet you five rons she’d shoot him down,” she told her partner.

Solomon grinned. “I’d take that bet.”

“So, Selina,” they heard him say as he picked up the girl’s books, “How about that coffee? You think we could have a cup this afternoon after the org meeting?”

The girl’s voice was soft and low, almost like a hum. Solenn strained to hear it. “I’d love to, Gabriel—” Solomon smirked and held out his palm, “but I have to go home early today.” Solenn grinned and slapped her partner’s outstretched arm. “How about tomorrow?”

The boy named Gabriel smiled, nearly splitting his face in two. “Really? Great! Tomorrow’s my birthday, actually!” He followed Selina as she walked to her next class, his voice trailing off behind him, chattering all the way.

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