Part VIII: Amber
I woke up before Ahti this time. They were really adorable when sleeping, holding on to their plush like their life depended on it. As they were on the floor side of the bed, I had to either wake them up or climb over the computer desk at the foot of my bed. I opted for the former.
“Hey little guy. Time to wake up.” I said shaking Ahti awake.
They mumbled something in Ibarian and I had to shake them a little more. “It it time already?” They finally said, their brain remembering english.
“Uh… I was having a dream; I was swimming through some caverns and there so many glowing fishes.”
“That sounds beautiful.”
Ahti started describing everything in their dream and I gently pushed them toward the edge. They understood the signal and get up.
“Why don’t you get cleaned up and dressed?” I said interrupting their story.
Ahti gathered up their things in a ball and went back to their room to drop them.
“Man, you guys are loud…” Yougen said hoisting herself up from her bed using her arms.
“Sorry for that, Ahti doesn’t have a very good indoor voice at times.”
“I see…. So, you’re sleeping with Ahti now?”
I shrugged. “They get scared at night.”
“Oh. So it’s not like a… y’know thing?”
“What? No…” I said. “Not only is Ahti just a child but I’m pretty sure neither of us is into the other’s species.”
I gathered got some fresh clothes before politely excusing myself and running over to the shower, getting cleaned up as best I could.
Once I was back in the common room, I shot a glance around, but didn’t see Amber, which made me untense, but only ever so slightly. I couldn’t stop thinking about last night, about that moment we’d shared; her skin and mine touching, her deep gray eyes meeting mine, her warm breath on my skin.
The memory of the moment electrified me and made my skin crawl at the same time. I had no clue what I wanted…
I went to the breakfast counter where Caroline, our self appointed cook was making a butt load of pancakes. She gave me a plate and I took it to the living room section. Sanjay and Jaeger were talking there but I sat on the other end of the massive modular couch. Watching the TV without really watching it.
A few minutes later, Amber came in the common room, of course she decided to head toward me as soon as she saw me, removing the chance of me getting my head in order before we would talk…
“How’s it going?” She said sitting beside me all the while trying to act casual with mixed success.
“It’s a little early for me…” I said.
“Yeah, I’ve never liked waking up in the morning.”
“So, would you consider playing HotM again?” I spontaneously asked without thinking.
“Sure, it looks interesting. I might get my own computer to play these games on, but I don’t think my parents would appreciate me bothering them.”
“I’m sure they’d like to hear from you?” I said, hesitantly making it a question.
“Heh, I doubt it.” She said, looking at the carpet, her shoulders slumped.
“You’re not close with them?” I asked, hoping I wasn’t prying in.
“No. Mostly because I’m not…” She stopped midway through her sentence, but I knew that the words she’d omited were ‘good’ and ‘enough.’
“They put expectations on you, right?”
“Something like that.”
I just knew how she felt, I was all too familiar with being the family disappointment. Being Schizophrenic, I’d never performed to the level my peers had and my nerdiness didn’t translate to academia. My parents weren’t the worst but while Emma, whom unlike me had dodge the neurodivergent bullet, was winning at both school things and sports thing which made her the favorite, all I’d get were ‘at least you tried’ from them…
“It’s okay, I understand. You should still talk to them, though. It couldn’t hurt.”
“I might. I don’t want to go yet, though. I’d rather talk to you.” She said, my heart skipping a beat.
“I’m not sure if you mean that…” It was my turn to look away, trying to conceal the blushing.
“Why wouldn’t I?”
“There’s really no reason for you to want my company.” I said evasively. I knew I wasn’t very interesting, I wasn’t attractive and I’d never been able to maintain any friendship without them being damaged by my messed up brain…
“I’d think the same thing when it comes to myself, to be honest. Most people see me as abrasive and generally unpleasant.” The way she spoke was calm, she wasn’t putting herself down, but rather just being sympathetic.
“You’re strong and confident, a number of people would kill to have those qualities.” I said, smiling at her.
She frowned and there was a few seconds of silence before she spoke again.
“I’m not as confident as you think, or strong, either. I have times when I break. Why I almost did so earlier when Mace said some bullshit.”
“Really? I didn’t see him as the type to do something like that?” Clingy, unable to understand personal space and a horndog, yeah that was Mace. But I hadn’t seen anything from him to suggest he was abbrasive.
“I guess I gave him a good reason.” She said with a shrug.
“I’m sure he didn’t mean it, whatever it was.”
“I seriously hope not.” Her eyes returned to the ground.
There was another moment of awkward silence.
“Anyway. Did you want to play some more HotM sometime?” I said, trying to change the conversation to something less depressing. Sadly videogames were the only thing I knew…
“Yeah, that sounds nice.” She said, thankfully taking the bait.
“Say, did it bother you when we were, um, that close?” I asked.
“Nah.” She said, giving me a tiny unconscious smile.
“Well, we have a few minutes here before class starts…did you want to?”
“Okay, I’ll be right back.” I said.
I got up and went to pick my laptop and my charger from my room before going back. In the meantime, Amber had gotten her own plate of pancake.
I sat down with her and removed my computer from sleep mode, I had a bad tendency to keep it on all night which had costed me a few computers… The computer came to life and displayed the last thing I’d worked on.
Which was the result of a long but fruitless search I’d done before going to bed. Unsurprisingly, googling ‘magic’ and related terms mostly gave you a mix of card tricks, trading card games, wicca and new-age websites and a whole lot of harry potter fan sites… I quickly closed the window before booting up Heroes of the Metropolis.
“So we’ve got twenty minutes before class.” I declared.
“Actually…” Sanjay said from a few seats away. “We’ve got a free period this morning.”
“We do?” I asked.
“It’s in the schedule.”
I hadn’t actually bothered to check it at all…
“More time is good.” Amber said, looking rather happy for it.
“I know, we could totally get you a group for the newbie villain dungeon; Brickville Prison Break.”
“Sounds like a plan.” She said, giving me a smile.