Afterglow: Of Spirits & Apparitions

Chapter 2: Just My Luck


"Aurora," Banryuu practically hissed in my ear as I sprinted down the hallway and down the main stairs. "what on earth are you doing?"

"Running—obviously Banryuu, Jesus." I reply back, barely hearing him over the fireworks going off in my head. I have but a single thought.

Go. Go. Go. Go.

I stumbled forward, but caught myself by grabbing onto the railing.

"Wait. Listen." Banryuu reasoned, "You cannot leave that boy up there."

I pressed my head against the wall.

He placed one hand on my shoulder, the other gestured wildly back the way we'd come. "He may be up there all night…"

I closed my eyes.

"Someone will have to let in come morning…and he'll have to tell how he got there."

My eyes snapped open. "Shit."

I turned and flew back up the stairs.

"I knew it would come to you eventually." Banryuu mused.

Another thing that came to me was a plan of action. The first: an explanation. The other: run like hell.

I don't think I need to explain which way I was leaning.

Begrudgingly, I clear my throat before walking back into the science room, prepping myself to take off running again the moment I got window open. I wiggle my arms around, getting loose for this marathon. I creep up slowly, staying low and turning my head slightly so just in case he didn't remember my face, I still had a chase of escaping this thing without becoming a pariah on the first day. And again, I'm reminded why I was homeschooled most of my life.

I take a deep breath. I pull up the blinds…and…

My heart leaps into my throat. the sun hits the silver railing hard, making my eyes squint, before they're well adjusted. I look up and then down, left and then right. Automatically, I start to laugh. I laugh because if I don't, I might scream.

He's gone. He's escaped.

And he's probably telling everyone and their mother about me.

What the hell have I done?

I'm not a student of stealth otherwise I wouldn't have taken the front entrance. I also probably would not have made myself a target either but….

Anyway, it's too late now.

I debate running straight home, but decide my best bet would be to make friends while I still had the chance and call whoever that was a liar, if they threw me under the bus. Which, they would, because…who wouldn't?

Of course, I could apologize or…I could claim ignorance? I could say I was flirting. I'm sure that's a thing. I could just see it, "Yeah, back where I'm from we flirt by locking people in lockers and on top of roofs. It's wild stuff."

Would that work?

I pull at my bracelet on my right wrist while Banryuu has a breakdown over my shoulder. Really though, what did he think was going to happen?

My eyes are watching for a flash of rose. I keep waiting for the pretty boy to show up five officers deep and take me away. It doesn't happen and when I walk up to Tohru and she smiles I don't feel like sprinting in the other direction.

I can do this. I just need to get her on my side and I'm good. I tell myself, Tohru practically runs this school. I'm golden.

Really.

The next day I feel pretty good. Tohru, Momo, Karin and I were together for three hours after school. I was even invited to have dinner with Tohru's family, if mine approved. When I wasn't making psychotic decisions to lock people on roofs, I could make myself likeable, I guess. Plus, I think it helped that I was new. From what happens in the movies, everyone loves a new person.

I had a new set of classes every other day, so like yesterday, it would be more syllabus coverage. I'd also have the opportunity to lock myself down a new alliance—you know, like in the tv show Survivor? I'd have to make it through the day, and press repeat. Odds are, homeboy probably had a laugh and forgot all about little ole me.

I sat down in the third row next to the window. I pulled out a highlighter and a notebook to underline points Ms. Yamamoto wanted us to remember. I watched the clock for a while, anxious to start, to lose myself in it. I wanted to give my brain something meticulous to do before I got too bored and did something else stupid.

"Are you feeling better now?" Banryuu asked me. He's been asking me that every thirty minutes.

He's just over my shoulder, so I give him a nod.

"Do you want to me go back into your bracelet for now?" Banryuu asks this with a little hesitation, but if I don't cut him off now, we'll talk the whole class period. "Alright. Just let me know if you need anything."

I rubbed my thumb against my bracelet, turning it over as my energy swelled within me, heating my skin. Banryuu turned to smoke and made himself at home. I held the bracelet to my lips and kissed it as discreetly as possible.

I hear the seats in front of and behind me fill with occupants.

Three more minutes.

I tap my fingers against my desk. I like the click-clack of my nails on smooth wood. I even relish the overwhelming smell of industrial floor cleaner.

"Excuse me," a soft voice to my right whispers, "may I borrow a pen?"

I reach into my bag, trying to hold back a smile. Mentally, I am patting myself on the back, starting up the grill, and high fiving myself for a job well done.

I have the best luck, honestly.

I turn to give it to him, trying to turn the charm on, and secure myself an ally, "A little unprepared aren't we—"

I stop, and his electric green eyes brighten as my smile falls from my lips. His lashes bat innocently at my while his lips curl in amusement.

The red head from the roof, brushes his fingers against mine as he removes the pen from my death grip, "Funny… I could say the same about you."