Hope took a deep breath as he fiddled with the books in his hands. He was standing in front of a strange door, the door that lead into the house that Vanille lived in. She hadn't been to school for a few days and he volunteered to bring her the missing work so she could work on it so she wouldn't fall behind. He hadn't seen her for a few days and his stomach was becoming uneasy and he didn't understand why. It couldn't have been anything that he had eaten; it was all the normal items that he usually ate so he was very confused on why his stomach seemed so upset and fluttery. Hope knocked on the door and waited.
A woman opened the door and looked down upon him. Her face seemed sharp and her eyes gazed into his eyes, her dark hair barely swinging into her eyes.
"May I help you?" she asked the accent the same as the one Vanille had.
"I came to see Vanille, I have her work," he stuttered, his stomach doing flips. The lady glanced at him and then behind her. Hope felt like she was stalling, trying to find a reason to not let him into the house. Before she could say anything, bright eyes appeared and smiled at Hope.
"Hope!" Vanille squeaked and pushed by the woman and gave Hope a big hug. Hope felt his face get hot when she embraced him.
"Hi Vanille," he said softly, taking deep breaths as she pulled away from him. "I brought your work for you," Vanille made a sour face at the word work and grabbed the books from Hope.
"Gosh, why is there so much work to do?" she complained as she looked at the books in her arms.
"Well, we are one of the top schools in Cocoon…" Hope said quietly and gave a small smile. Vanille grinned at him and looked up at the lady next to her.
"Oh, I'm so sorry! You don't know Hope do you?" she asked her friend. She shook her head. "Hope, this is Fang. Fang, this is Hope. Fang is my guardian, she moved here with me."
"How about your parents?" asked Hope. Vanille's eyes shifted and she looked down. Hope should have known that he shouldn't have asked.
"They… died. I don't remember them really, but I do know that they were kind…" she said softly.
"I'm so sorry Vanille, I should have thought before I spoke." Hope said quietly. Vanille gave a small smile, but Hope could tell something was going on inside of Vanille's head, something she couldn't figure out.
"It's okay Hope, you didn't know… I was going to ask you in but I'm not feeling too well anymore… If you could excuse me? I'll talk with you tomorrow at school, okay?" Vanille said softly, her small smile still upon her lips.
"Oh, yeah, sure no problem, see you tomorrow then. Nice to meet you Fang," Hope said as he turned and walked away. Fang closed the door.
Vanille dumped the books on the end table by the door and slowly walked away from the door. Fang watched as Vanille walked slowly away.
"Are you okay?" she called. Vanille turned her head and gave a small smile.
"Yeah… I am just a bit dizzy. I'm going to go upstairs." Vanille walked up the stairs and made her way to her room. She sat on her bed and laid down upon it, curling into a small ball. Her parents… She couldn't remember them. She knew that they had died right before they moved but she should be able to remember them but she couldn't. She had no faces to go with the people she knew as her parents. This was starting to make her go crazy, not being able to identify who her parents are when they had just passed. Tears began to stream down Vanille's face as she tried to put a face to the name and she slowly cried herself to sleep.
Hope walked slowly down the road towards his house, his head bowed down. He felt awful that he hadn't thought about the question he asked, he had really hurt Vanille. His heart felt heavy at the thought of Vanille looking so helpless and small. Hope felt rage build up inside of him for his stupidity and he clinched his hands into fists.
"Damnit!" he cried and kicked a trash can as hard as he could. It went flying, trash scattering all over the sidewalk. Hope stared at the trash and sighed, picking up the can and setting it upright. How could he be so stupid? How could he not realize that when she didn't say she was living with her parents that meant her parents weren't around anymore?
Hope sat on a bench and looked up at the sky. Why was he getting so worked up over this? Why was he getting so mad that he has been so inconsiderate? It shouldn't bug him as much as it was. Hope sighed and looked at the ground. Maybe there was something wrong with him.
Hope walked through the door to his home and noticed his mother sitting on the couch, drinking a cup of coffee and reading a book. She looked up and smiled at her son when she noticed the gloom look upon his face.
"Hope, dear, are you okay?" Hope sat next to her and shook his head. "What's wrong?"
"I did a stupid thing today and I'm beating myself up over it."
"What was it?" Hope took a breath and looked at his mother.
"I went to give Vanille her work and she was living with a woman. She introduced me to her and said that she was her guardian. I asked about her parents and Vanille said they were dead. I feel awful," Hope said, his heart pounding quickly. Hope's mother put her book and coffee down and pulled Hope into an embrace.
"Don't feel too bad sweetheart, it was an innocent question. You had no idea." She said softly, rocking Hope a bit.
"I feel so guilty and I don't know why. Saying something that embarrassing in front of her makes me feel really awful. I know I shouldn't feel so humiliated but I do. Why is that mom?" Hope pulled away and looked up at his Mother. His mom met him with a small smile and put her hands to her side.
"Could you possibly like her?" she asked with a small sparkle in her eye. Hope cocked an eyebrow and held a confused look upon his face.
"What do you mean by like her?" he asked.
"Well, do you feel butterflies in your stomach when you are around her, feel your face flush or your heart race quickly sometimes?" she asked. Hope thought for a second before he replied.
"Well, yeah, but I just thought something was wrong with me." He said. His mother smiled at him.
"I think you like her and that is why you are so upset about that simple thing. It's just natural to feel really guilty when you say something to the person you like and it upsets them," explained Hope's mother.
Hope stared at her, not truly comprehending at first what she was saying. The more he thought about it, the more it made sense to him. He never really talked to girls, not until he met Vanille. She seemed so nice and was fun and caring that he couldn't help but be drawn to her. His face turned red as he thought about his feelings for her. He did like her, he liked everything about her.
"Thanks mom," he said as he shot up. "I'm going to go upstairs and work on my homework, call me for dinner!" he grabbed his bag and raced up the stairs, walked through his door and closed it. He threw his bag on his computer chair and fell onto his bed. He had never liked a girl before and just thinking about it made him extremely happy. He didn't know how he was going to act around Vanille from then on out but he knew he was going to see if he could get her to like him.
Hope sat in his chair while he fidgeted. She should be here by now, he knew it. He looked up and smiled as she stepped into the room and the bell began to ring right after. Vanille took a few breaths and composed herself before she took her seat next to Hope.
"How far did you get on your work?" He asked. Vanille gave a sheepish smile.
"I didn't do any of it, I didn't understand what was going on," she said, her cheeks going red.
"I can help you today after school if you want me to," Hope suggested, his stomach fluttering while he asked. Vanille gave him a warm smile.
"That would be great!"
"Settle down now kids," the teacher said and the room turned silent. Hope couldn't help but keep a smile upon his face. He was going to help Vanille with her work, spend more time with her.
"Now, as you know, the class field trip is upon us. Our destination this year is Bodum so we can see the fireworks. It will be an overnight trip. I'm passing out permission forms so your guardian will have to sign it. Also included with this form is a form for your parent if they wish to be a chaperone. I will need these back by tomorrow." Hope looked at the form and then glanced at Vanille. Vanille stared blankly at the form.
"Hey," whispered Hope, "We get to go to your home town! How lucky is that?" Vanille stared blankly at the form, tears forming in her eyes.
"Real lucky," she whispered as a tear drop touch the paper.