By Forgotten Sunrise
AN: So you may think of this as a prelude to a bigger story to come….i hope you enjoy!
Artemis sat at his desk busying his self with homework not really think of anything in particular. And not really thinking about any thing was driving him crazy. After a another moment of answering tedious math questions, Artemis laid his pencil down and leaned back in his plush leather chair.
“Bored?” said a boyish voice that came from behind him. It would be his roommate. Roger Douglas.
“Why, isn’t obvious Roger?” Artemis said apathetically. He was not in that mood for any of Roger’s antics at the moment, but knew that there wasn’t anyway to avoid it.
“Prep schools are a bore huh?” Artemis rested his head in his hands and sighed.
“Roger please, not today. I’m not in the mood.” He said turning around to find Roger propped up on his bed.
“Why are you on my bed?” he asked coolly, though he could feel his temper raise some.
Roger smiled a toothy grinned and clapped his hands together.
“Now I got your attention. So what will it be? Heads or Tails.”
Artemis sighed yet again. He was growing impatient with Roger and he knew that Roger was well aware of it. But he also knew that Roger wouldn’t stop regardless.
“What am I doing this for?” he asked wryly after a moment.
“C’mon. Humor me, just pick heads or tails.”
“Fine heads, and get off my bed.” Artemis commanded as he turned back around and turned on his desk computer. Roger flipped the coin. It landed on heads.
“Well, well now! It’s your lucky day! So are you staying or are you going?” Roger asked hopping out of Artemis bed.
“If I say that I’m staying, will you leave me alone?” Artemis asked without taking his eyes off the computer.
“Fine I will, but you’re staying?”
“Well since you’re staying in here, you had better not do anything. Or I’ll kick your ass.” Roger warned as he left the room. Once Roger had gone, Artemis sent in his english essay and then turned off his computer and laid down on his bed facing the ceiling. Sometimes, he guiltily wished that he hadn’t saved his mother’s sanity.
The next morning, the dining hall opened at seven o’clock for breakfast and classes began at nine. Artemis awoke around seven forty-five and looked for Roger, but was a little shocked to fine that he was already gone. After two years of being roommate’s he had grown accustomed to going to breakfast with him. That, and the fact that Roger wasn’t exactly who you’d call a morning person. Artemis got out of bed and got dressed for breakfast.
As he entered the dining hall he looked for Roger, but he wasn’t there either. A frown creased Artemis’s pale face. Though he liked his privacy, he did not like sitting alone in the dining hall. So instead he settled to sit with two of Roger’s friends. David Johnson and Nathan Smith, like Roger, were pranksters and football jocks. All three made varsity there first year. Artemis generally did not to talk to David or Nathan, and when they spoke to him, he responded with short and pointed answers.
“Dude! I just remember!” David spouted as he slapped Nathan on the back. “Xia’s here man!”
Nathan’s face went pale with shock.
“Ah-un man, you’ve gotta be lying. Is he serious?”
It took Artemis a few moments to realize that Nathan was talking to him.
“Is he ever serious?” He said callously as he looked up at the two
“C’mon. About Xia. Is she really here?”
“Sure, what ever you want. She’s here.” Artemis said as he finished his toast.
“Dude seriously.” All wonder and excitement had left Nathan’s voice. “Is she here or not?”
“Honestly, I haven’t a clue to who you’re talking about.” Artemis said standing up to leave.
“She’s Roger’s cousin! C’mon you have to know her.”
“I’m sorry Nathan but I don’t. Now if you’d pardon me.” And with that, Artemis left, leaving a confused and shocked Nathan and David behind.
It was only eight thirty, but Artemis headed out for his first period anyway. He stopped by his dorm to pick up his Notebook and safety goggles then headed towards the school house. It was early November and foliage littered the ground with all shades of red and brown. A chill had settled in and was made worst by the whipping wind. On any other day, Artemis would have ignored this; he’d be to busy think of other things. But today his mind was blank and it was taking everything in. He never really noticed how beautiful it really was.
He walked causally down to the school house seeing groups of fellow student just hanging around. He didn’t envy them. Why should he? Most of them would only be able achieve a B.A .The rest, perhaps, would grow up to become lawyers and doctors. Not to belittle there importance, but really. He had already done more significant, more memorable things.
“Excuse me?” spoke a soft, timid voice that was tick with a mixture of Italian and English accent. Artemis didn’t though. He was curtain that the voice wasn’t talking to him.
“Excuse me?” He heard again. It was feminine and melodic and strong in its shyness. He stopped and turned around. Her voice matched her face.
She was short, only about 4 foot 11 with shoulder length brown curly hair that complemented her face, particularly her polished oak wood colored eyes that were wide and wondrous and her dark skin seemed to glow even thought the sun was no where to be seen.
“Yes.” He said coolly to her.
“I was just wondering if you’d point me in the direction on the laboratory. I’m supposed to meet my cousin there.”
She smiled faintly.
“Yah, that’s me” she confirmed meekly.
“Follow this path to the school building, enter from the main building, go strait down the main hall and turn left. It’s the third room to the right.”
“Thank you. May I ask what your name is?” Xia asked
“As in, Fowl?”
“So, you’re Roger’s roommate.”
“It’s nice to meet you then Mr. Fowl” Xia said smiling, extending her right hand for him to shake. Artemis stared at her for a moment before taking her hand and shaking it
“A pleasure to meet you as well Miss…”
“Perry. Xia Perry.” She said cheerfully as she skipped off.
“It’s a pleasure Miss Perry.” He spoke dryly he watched her skip down the path and out of sight.
After chemistry Artemis headed back to his dorm. He had dropped his math homework off with Roger and could turn his Language Arts paper in electronically. He pushed open his door, set his school bag by his bed and then took a shower. He needed to think. He needed to be alone. St. Bartley was just too populated for him and he didn’t feel comfortable in the presents of so many strange people. Artemis got out of the shower, dried off, and put his robe on. He smoothed back his hair out of his eyes and step out the bathroom.
“So, do you always cut class like this?” Xia raised. She sat cross-legged on Roger’s bed watching Artemis’s every move with her eyes.
“What are you doing in here?” He questioned back. He felt more than a little expose standing there with just a robe on yet Xia didn’t seem to mind.
“I’m staying here. For the next two day at any rate.”
Artemis made his way to his closet and pulled out a white button up polo and black trousers.
“How long have you and Roger been roommates?” Xia asked.
“Long enough.” he mumbled as he made is his way back to the bathroom. Xia just watched him with her docile eyes.
He came out after ten minutes. He thought that she would have left but she was still sitting cross-legged on the bed.
“I’m a bother, aren’t I?” Xia asked.
Artemis looked over at her, but didn’t answer her right away.
“I think you are just a bit too frank.”
“You don’t do small talk do you?” she asked unfolding her legs and letting them dangle over the edge of the bed.
“No I don’t. There is no point to it.”
Ida bobbed her head up and down as she got off the bed.
“How do you get to know anyone then?”
“By cross-examining them. Finding out the important details.”
Xia tried to stifle her laughter by covering her mouth with her hand, but with no avail. Artemis turned and raised a pale brow at her.
“Pardon me, but important details like what? It doesn’t sound like you actually talk to people. More like interrogate them.”
Artemis did not reply. There was nothing for him to say. The silence between them at that moment was cold and dry and Xia began to fidget at the eeriness of it.
“Why are you like this?” Xia asked him warmly after about five minutes.
“Are you always this open?” He asked her looking straight into her eyes. Her eyes were becoming more captive by the moment. Filled with a fierily warmth that was slowly starting to melt his icy exterior some.
Xia seemed to consider his question, mulling it over for a few moments before answering.
“I guess that I would be, in your eyes anyway. Most people see me as private.”
Artemis half smirked at that.
“I like to find out about others, but I don’t like talking about myself much.” She countinued.
Another silence fell between them, but it wasn’t as awkward this time.
“You know what? I should get going. I promised Nathan that I’d meet him for lunch.” Xia said anxiously, as she tucked a brown curly lock behind her right ear. For no apparent reason at all, Artemis suddenly felt a little hurt but dismissed the feeling. Instead he nodded and raised his hand to say goodbye.
The next time he saw her, it would be at dinner. Like always, Artemis sat with Roger, David and Nathan. Xia sat in between Roger and Nathan and directly across from Artemis. She looked a little different from earlier. Her curly hair was pulled into a bun that rested at the nape of her neck. Her nails, now painted, were shiny from a recent manicure and she had a light, natural layer of eye shadow on with a tone of lip gloss. Though she still was beautiful, the look didn’t suit her.
Throughout the greater part of dinner, Roger, Nathan and David talked about football, Artemis kept quite, looked down at his finger nails and Xia looked at Artemis, only turning her glance when he looked up for a few brief moments.
Her look was piercing, intensifying with every passing moment. Frustration was clear in her eyes, yet the other boys couldn’t pick up on it.
“What is it Xia?” Artemis questioned coldly, seemingly out of nowhere. Xia jumped a bit, startled.
“You’ve been staring at me for the past fifteen minutes with this escalating glare that could bore a whole through this table. What is it Xia”
“Fowl, no offense but why on earth would she want your attention?”
Artemis looked to Xia. Her eyes were burning with an enraged passion, but the rest of her demeanor was collect.
“Why do you just brush everybody off?” her voice was soft, but he knew she wasn’t asking: she was demanding an answer.
“I don’t. It’s just that I have nothing to say.”
“So? Say something anyway. I mean really I’m sure you have more to say then these three.”
Roger and David laughed but Nathan looked kind of hurt by it. Seeing Nathan’s hurt expression comforted Artemis is an odd way, but he made sure it didn’t show.
“I’m not familiar with holding general conversation.” He said leveling his tone so that nothing could be read from it. Xia continued to push.
“It isn’t hard. So familiarize yourself with it.” He looked up at her. Her words made him feel contentedly ghastly. He felt pleasantly confused. He wondered if she knew what she was doing to him.
Artemis retried to his room after they finish dinner. Xia, Roger, David and Nathan had left to go play a game of football. As he laid on his bed he couldn’t help but wondered how long Nathan and Xia had known each other and what their relationship was like. Though, it was clear that Nathan was more fascinated by her, than she was by him. It didn’t come to a surprise to Artemis at all that Nathan held her in awe. Her gentle and inquisitive nature seemed to evoke people to come off their selves. He hadn’t known her for more than a day, and yet he already yearned to get to know her better and a share bits and pieces of himself. Yet something held him back.
He was not alone in his dorm for more than an hour before he heard the door softy creek open, then close, as someone tip-topped their way across the room. Artemis ignored the new presents and turned to face the wall. Artemis felt the bed rise ever so slightly as s slender shape sat before him, demanding his attention.
“You are a very persistent young woman.” Artemis said coolly but didn’t turn around.
“I know,” She said resting her palm on his shoulder. Artemis could feel his skin creep with a new scene of exhilaration with the tiny gesture. “And you’re a stubborn snob.” These words stung, a lot, but again, he wouldn’t let his true emotions show. He turned around to face her.
“How could you know? You don’t even know me.”
Xia shrugged. “I just assumed that you were a snob, forgive me. But you are stubborn.”
“How do you figure?”
“Well, you refuse to say ‘hi’ to me.”
“That’s all your evidence?”
“You’re interrogating me.” Xia giggled. But Artemis pulled back from her.
“I’m sorry.” He said with a bare hint of coyness in his voice, but Xia picked up on it.
“Nothing wrong.” His voice was cold now.
“Don’t feel uncomfortable.”
“I don’t feel uncomfortable.” Artemis was thankful that the room was pitch dark. Else wise, he knew that Xia would be able to read his facial expression. She moved closer to him and laid her head on his shoulder. The mysterious sensation of wonderment was running through his body. He wanted to push her away, but lay paralyzed.
“I’m sorry that I made you feel uncomfortable but…”She trailed off as she searched for the right word. She spoke again after several minutes. “It’s normally not this hard for me to become friends with someone. How long has it been? Say nine, ten hours that I’ve known you and yet because of your cold exterior, I feel completely drawn to you. In a friendly way.” Artemis didn’t know if he should take this as a complement or an insult so he decided not to reply. The silence between them this time was comfortable and welcomed. After a long while Artemis finally spoke.
“Roger should be back soon to get his things. He might get the wrong idea if he saw you in my bed, and Nathan would surly be very jealous. ”
Xia couldn’t help but laugh as she got up from his bed and over to Roger’s.
“You know Fowl, you’ve left such an impression on me.”
Artemis smiled fully in the darkness.
La Fine Della Storia