0 4 | d i s a p p o i n t m e n t

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it was close to mid september, and every day was slowly becoming a repeat of the last.

kai found that this happened around the same time every year, when the days and nights began to follow each other seamlessly in one long, endless continuum of time — and being in sixth year only added to the monotony.

the one thing that differed was the mountainous pile of work she got for each subject that made fifth year look like a holiday.

kai panted, struggling with the straps of her bag as she rounded a corner.

home ec had been a gruelling double period of puff pastry making that ended up eating into the first three minutes of her next class, hence why she was now desperately storming the corridors to biology, a subject she was not so eager to lose time in.

it didn't help that her home ec teacher had refused to let her leave until her station was spotless, despite knowing that she was already running late for her next lesson. in some ways, she was thankful the corridors were so empty, lest it would have taken her twice as long to get to biology.

she reached her destination in record time, and pushed her way into the classroom, stumbling in an uncharacteristically haphazard fashion through the doorway with flushed cheeks and a disheveled french plait. heads turned in surprise to find her struggling to catch her breath at the door.

"i'm—" she wheezed, and paused to swallow a dry breath,"—s-sorry—i'm late."

her teacher, unfazed, clicked her pen and scribbled into her agenda, marking kai's tardiness, no doubt.

"what was it today, kai?" she inquired coolly, noticing the tupperware clutched in the girl's dainty hands. kai was almost doubled over in exhaustion.

"cream— h-horns, miss." she panted breathlessly.

"right," she sighed, and closed her notebook,"sit down, then."

kai relaxed her shoulders, thankful she had not received a lecture. fixing her bag straps, she made her way to her assigned desk near the back, all while consciously trying to steady her uneven breathing. although she was hyper aware of the twenty-odd pairs of eyes that burned through her, she made an effort to block them out with her tunnel vision. it was something luke had recommended she try if ever she found herself in paralysing situations.

her cheeks blazed, more from embarrassment now than exhaustion, but she maintained a steady course to her desk. it wasn't until she got close enough to it that she realised one of its seats was already occupied.

her walking pace faltered abruptly, and her breathing hitched at once, for there, resting relaxedly in the seat next to hers, sat calum hood himself.

she gaped on at him in unmistakable panic. oh, she'd completely forgotten what tasia had told her over the weekend, about his return from santa ponsa. and just looking at him then, anyone would've been able tell he'd been away.

his naturally warm skin was now an enriched golden brown colour, courtesy of the abundant spanish sunshine, and his dark hair had grown out into charming little curls.

he did not look like he belonged in a classroom as dismal as this; he was radiant.

he conversed in a murmur with a friend of his that just so happened to have been sitting at the next desk, and hadn't noticed kai staring. she tore her eyes from him in the meantime, and continued to her seat. sliding into it, she didn't utter a peep.

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