Alicia: Mask 2

September 19, 2012

Alicia swallowed nervously. She had been in class for a couple of hours now. The teacher explained things well, and the work itself wasn’t too hard. . .

But everyone was staring at her. Some were only stealing glances at her out of the corners of their eyes, but others were outright staring at her, watching her every movement.

Needless to say, it was starting to freak her out.

It doesn’t help that I’m a head-and-a-half shorter than everyone else, Alicia thought, glancing quickly at the boy sitting next to her. She had to look far up, just to meet his gaze. He was staring at her, but he looked away hastily when his eyes met hers.

She had always known that she was small, but being among kids her own age and having them tower above her really drove the point home. Alicia gave a small sigh. Well, she thought, noting down what the teacher said in her notebook, I hope my neck doesn’t get cramped from looking up all the time.

The bell rang, and Alicia flinched. It was so loud!

“Lunchtime.” the teacher said. “Before you all go. . . Alicia Engla?”

Alicia looked up at the teacher.

“Yes, Ma’am?” she asked, trying to ignore the whispers that flew around the room.

“You’re new, correct?”

Alicia nodded. “Yes, Ma’am.”

“Then you’ll require a guide. Who would like to show Alicia around the campus?”

Instantly, at least half the class raised their hands. Alicia leaned against the back of her seat, her eyes wide. Nobody had mentioned having a guide. . . and so many people volunteered. . .

“My, my.” the teacher said, amused. “You can’t all show Alicia around. Let’s see. . . Kiva, you can be Alicia’s guide. Dismissed.”

There was a couple of ‘aww‘s, but for the most part the volunteers took the news good-naturedly. Kiva, a slender girl with fair skin, brown hair and laughing brown eyes, came over to Alicia’s seat.

“Hello!” she said, holding out a hand to help Alicia up. “I’m Kiva. I’ve studied at New Bruntum Preparatory Academy since kindergarten. You’re Alicia, right?”

Alicia took the offered hand and stood up.

“Yes, I am Alicia. It’s very nice to meet you, Kiva.”

Kiva smiled, gesturing towards the door.

“It’s nice to meet you, too. Are you hungry?”

Alicia nodded.

“So am I. Since it’s the first day, the chefs like to make an exceptionally good meal.” Kiva said with a smile. “So, our first stop in your grand tour of the school will be the cafeteria! Let’s go!

Alicia shook her head slightly as she followed Kiva out of the classroom. Kiva seems like a sweet girl, she thought. Maybe school won’t be so bad after all?

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Alicia looked at herself in the mirror, reaching up to tug the bow in her hair straight and fluff her hair. She could see nothing wrong with her appearance, but she still lingered, not wanting to have to go outside and face reality.

The door opened, and her mother came in.

“Alicia? Have you finished changing?” she asked.

“Yes, mor.” Alicia said, managing a smile.

Her mother smiled.

“You look adorable in that uniform, Ali.” she said, taking her daughters hands and twirling her around the room. Alicia’s smile flickered, just for a moment before it came back again, but her mother saw and stopped.

“Oh, Ali. Are you still unsure? Do you still have doubts?”

Alicia hadn’t meant to say anything, but suddenly all of her worries and fears poured out.

“What if they don’t like me? What if they tease me for being so small? What if–” she swallowed. “What if it’s like what Marlin says it is?”

“Marlin?” her mother searched her face questioningly. “What has Marlin been saying?

“He-” Alicia started, but a few tears escaped, and she couldn’t finish. “He-”

“Shh, min alskling. I understand, and so does your far.” her mother said soothingly, pulling her daughter into a hug. “We think that this will be a good experience for you, but if it is not, you don’t have to finish the term. I’m sure Monsieur Benoit would be more that happy to continue tutoring you.”

“Really?” Alicia asked, rubbing her eyes with one hand.

“Really.” her mother said firmly.

“O-okay, mor. I’ll try it.”

“That’s my girl. Now, go to the bathroom and wash your face, alright?”

“Alright.” Alicia said, a small smile on her face.

Her mother smiled and left the room, and Alicia took another long look in the mirror. She took in the sight of a small girl wearing a private school uniform. She remembered the surprised look on the tailor’s face as her parents ordered a sixth grade uniform, extra extra small. She remembered the kind look on the headmasters face as he offered her and her parents a cookie. She was just starting to relax when she remembered the spiteful look on Marlin’s face as he sneered; “I heard that you’re starting school this year. Not just any school either, you had to choose a ritzy private school. Well, I’m sure that your school isn’t much different than my school, and trust me; you wouldn’t last very long in my school.”

She shivered. Trust Marlin to ruin school for her before she even started.

~

Mor: Danish for ‘Mother’. Far: Danish for ‘Father’. Min alskling: Swedish for ‘My darling’.