The end of lunch was punctuated by a hand descending on Stephanie’s shoulder.

She jumped, then glanced over her shoulder.  Ms. Delaney smiled at her.  “Stephanie, I’m sorry to startle you.  Principal Delaney would like to speak with you after class.”

“Yes, of course,” Stephanie said.  She watched, a little warily, as Ms. Delaney shifted her gaze to another student and began to walk away, saying, “David, a quick word. . . . ”

Why didn’t she wait until the end of the day? Stephanie wondered.  Ms. Delaney continued to circulate around the lunchroom, speaking to students.

“Does she always do that?” she asked Aurelia.  “Deliver messages at lunchtime, I mean.”  It seemed highly irregular; Ms. Delaney, and indeed the other teachers she had met, went out of their way to befriend and communicate with students.  At her old school, they would have just done the minimum–unless–

Ah, but this isn’t my old school.  She tried to relax and listen to Aurelia’s response.  It wasn’t her old school, and old suspicions weren’t necessary.

Right?

Alicia, Mask 3.

March 17, 2013

Alicia looked at what was left of her spaghetti, wincing as the noise in the cafeteria went up another notch. Kids shouted over each other to be heard, and the noise was beginning to give her a headache.

“The cafeteria is one of my favorite places in the school,” Kiva said cheerily, raising her voice to be heard over the din. Her gung-ho attitude hadn’t faded as they walked to the cafeteria–on the contrary, she seemed to get even more bubbly and excited, listing random facts, criticisms, and comments about whatever part of the school that they were in at that time. “It has such a cheerful color scheme, and the food is always really good! Have you decided what dessert you want? I recommend the apple pie. Or the chocolate cake, if you don’t feel like apple pie. Both of them are delicious!”

Suddenly Alicia couldn’t take it anymore. She had to get away from all the noise and bustle of the cafeteria. Putting on a smile that she didn’t feel, she stood up.

“Alicia?” Kiva said questioningly.

“I’ll be right back,” she replied. Then she turned and ran out of the cafeteria.

~

Alicia stared at herself in the mirror, gripping the edge of the sink tightly as she leaned closer to her reflection. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, calming herself down. Someone knocked on the door of the bathroom.

“Are you okay?” Kiva asked, her voice slightly muffled by the door.

“Yes, I’m fine,” Alicia called, the fake smile appearing on her face again. She inspected it in the mirror. For a fake smile, it looked very real–in fact, if Alicia had seen that smile on another girl, she would have thought that that girl was having an amazing time, and not that she was hiding her feelings. It’s like I’m wearing a mask, Alicia thought.

“Well, don’t take too long, okay? Apparently Principal Delaney wants to talk to you–and he doesn’t like to be kept waiting.”

Aurelia: Vision 4

March 12, 2013

Aurelia smiled. She answered all but the school-related question…. “I enjoy the dessert, they usually have a different dessert everyday. I’ve never seen them repeat a recipe.” It was true. not once in her three years at the highschool did she ever see a repeated dessert.

“He is interesting, I never thought I would meet a man as lively as him. I can’t say that he isn’t an interesting character, but sometimes I think he relies on his cookies as distraction too much.” Aurelia said carefully. She respected the principal, but sometimes she found him quite… annoying.

Aurelia noticed the looks everyone gave Stephanie, she knew something was up. Aurelia wanted to be a friend of Stephanie’s. Partially because of pity, but mostly because Stephanie seemed like an interesting person in general. The thought made Aurelia chuckle.