December 20, 2009

When the Autumn Leaves Blush - Part II

As dictated by Faranza Syns

I've actually already posted another continuation for the story that had been published in the school mag. Which reminds me - the story that had been published was not the final version of my work. I've edited the piece a few times before the final cut, but somehow, the original version went to print. Technical problems, I guess. But from the good comments I've received, I guess that's okay. Anyways, if you guys want to read the final cut, check my sidebar. I've edited that version so that it's the same as the one in my computer. As to the matter of the old continuation I've written, ignore that. I have a feeling you people prefer if I keep Sean the way he is.

p/s: I recommend you copy this, then paste it elsewhere and change the font to black. Green hurts the eyes too much, I think.

When the Autumn Leaves Blush
Faranza Syns

Chapter 1

Sophia Dorwood liked some things hot, and some things cold. She liked her tea hot, and she liked her floors cold. In fact, she liked a lot of other things hot. But then again, at the age of thirteen, it really had not occurred to her that there are other things in her life that should be hot.

Boys, for example.

"I swear, Danny, if only boys didn't exist!" she scrawled on a piece of paper, tore it off the test pad on her table and stormed towards school, her heavy bag in tow. On the way, she paused at the door of her cousin's house, folded the piece of paper and all but tore the paper with the tip of her pencil as she wrote her cousin's name. Huffing indignantly, she bent and slipped the paper under the door. Satisfied, she walked on towards school.

Danielle, a more articulate and highly more lucid correspondent than her irate cousin, snatched the paper up from the other side of the door and read the message. Smiling to herself, she took out a small stub-like pencil from behind her ear, and leaned against the wall to scribble a reply.

As she rushed to her class, her white shoes made thump-thump noises that were drowned out by the somewhat comforting noises of adolescents being the rowdy creatures they were. She skidded to a halt in front of a row of lockers. Folding the piece of paper into a smaller strip, she slid the paper through one of the crevices of the locker's air vent. Smiling giddily, she ran to her class and plopped herself into her seat.

Sophia turned the dial on her locker key, and the door swiveled open. Her hawk-like eyes immediately caught sight of the paper as it fluttered down to the floor. She snatched it up, and unfolded the paper. She held her breath as she read, anticipating the full force of her cousin's wisdom and understanding.

Oh, how she could strangle Danny.

Soph, despite popular belief, we really didn't come from storks.


"Har, har, very funny."
Danielle looked up at her cousin, beaming. "Well, it made you laugh, didn't it?" She grinned, and shifted her books aside to clear a spot on the canteen table for her cousin.

Sophia pouted, then put down her sandwich and took a seat. "It did not," she huffed, nose high. Taking out the note, she read out loud. "'You still need boys, if not for anything else, then for giving you babies - you know, those thingamajigs that you've been dreaming of having since 5. No, not your Barbies.' Indeed. Very funny, Danielle."

Danielle nodded indulgently as she ate her yogurt. "It was brill, if I do say so myself." Then, putting down the spoon, she looked at Sophia, her eyes softening. "You want to tell me what that was all about?"

She jumped in her seat when Sophia slammed her books onto the table. "That boy. He is so aggravating. I feel like just... crushing him. Shrink him, then tear him limb from limb like Aunt Leticia's roast chicken, dip him in lye then toss him in a vat of toxic by products of -"

Danielle's eyes widened at the colourful outburst.

"- a million primates from the beginning of creation!"

Smiling, Danielle propped her chin on her fist. "But he seems rather adorable, don't you think so?"

Sophia gaped. "Collin?" She made a disgusted sound. "Boys are vulgar."

"You know, I think the reason Papa doesn't worry about me talking with boys is because I have a cousin like you. My own Virtue Protection Programme."

Sophia gave a snort. "We're Dorwoods. No one dares to besmirch our virtue," she stressed with confidence. When Danielle merely looked at her with an amused look, Sophia gave her cousin's arm a resounding smack and unwrapped her sandwich. "I don't know why I amuse you."

"Besmirch is a new word - where did you see it?"

"It was in one of Papa's books." She took a mighty bite out of her sandwich, chewed as delicately as she could, then swallowed. "And the other reason your Papa doesn't mind you being around those atrocious boys is because you are so very good."

"I don't think I sensed any sarcasm in that."

"I was not being sarcastic. Truly," Sophia said. "Since you saved that boy's life a few years back, people look up to you. Truly!"

Danielle smiled softly and stirred her yogurt, staring absently-minded at the milky, opaque swirls of the strawberry colouring. "I didn't do anything. Just made sure nurse made it there on time. She did, so it was fine."

Sophia took another bite, then mirrored her cousin's pose before, chin on palm, and stared into nothingness. "I heard he was very likable. All his friends fairly loved him."

Eyebrows furrowed, Danielle looked at her cousin. "What happened to him? I haven't seen him around."

"Oh," Soph straightened. "I heard he moved four years back. Some people said that his parents were outraged at the school administration because of the bad food. But I think that was very mean of them to move him just because they think it was the school's fault. How could you do that? That was very mean."

Hemming, Danielle thought for a while. "But then, there wasn't a health inspection carried out here, right?"

Lips parted, Sophia stared at Danny. "Oh. I keep forgetting that you moved away a while after that. No, there wasn't. Why?"

"Then, maybe his parents shifted him for a whole different reason. If the issue did come up, they'd have done the inspection, you know. Who knows, right?"

Sophia inhaled sharply. "You're right." She gave a sheepish smile. "I guess I shouldn't listen to people that much. But -" she lifted her index finger to make a point. "I heard he looked for you for about a week before he left. He never approached me, though, so I didn't say a word."

Danielle smiled. "It was probably just the girls trying to make gossip. Don't mind them - you're smarter than that."

Sophia smiled. Then, her face changed, and she sighed."God, Danny, I'll miss you a lot when you leave. Can't you talk to your Papa and beg him to let you stay with us for a while? We can go to school together. It wouldn't be fun without you here. Who's going to keep me in line?"

"Gee, Soph," Danielle grinned. "A few minutes ago you didn't even like my jokes, and now you can't live without me?"

Sophia pouted. Then, real sadness crept into her eyes, her shoulders slumped in inevitable defeat. Danielle grabbed Soph's hand. "I'll call daily. You wouldn't even miss me."

"This sucks."

"I'm still coming back to Harlow's Bayou, you know. I'm not leaving like that boy - whatever his name was."

Sophia nodded listlessly. Then, knowing that it was a much too depressing subject, she tried to ease both of them away from it. "Do you suppose he'll come back?"

Danielle grinned, and let go of Sophia's hand. "Maybe?"

"Hah! Imagine if he came back when you leave again. Wouldn't that just make you laugh?"


Sean sneezed. It was more than once, so he immediately discarded the notion that someone was talking about him. Really, lately he felt insignificant enough to know that no one was going to repeat his name more that once. And even if they did, they'd get it wrong.

"Hastings - 50 push-ups. NOW!"

"Schwayze, wash my plates!"

"Haynes! Get that bloody arse off-"

Well, the myriad of names are nearly countless, really. And he did not get how a simple name such as Hayes could be mistaken for Hollander in the first place. Out of all names, Hollander. Geez.

Sean looked out the window of the airplane and sighed through his nose. These four years had been agony. He gritted his teeth and pursed his lips into a straight, mulish line.

"Dear?" his mother called. Tensing up more than before, he did not move. Sighing, his mother placed a hand on his hand. "I'm so sorry." Sean did not move, his rigid, unforgiving back still facing his mother as he stared out at the blue skies and clouds below. He knew she was sorry, but dumping him at military academy was something he really found hard to forgive.

It was one thing if the academy had been an outstanding academy with strict discipline and a no-nonsense philosophy. It was another when they beat the crap out of you - daily. Sean gripped his fist on his thigh, feeling the dull throb of the lacerated skin. He blocked out what had happened and shut his eyes. His breathing labored as he felt the anger rise and echo in his chest. One of his toes was missing a toenail. He curled that toe and welcomed the pain.

He did not want to think about that place.

His mother took a ragged breath. "We'll reach Harlow's Bayou in a few hours."

Harlow's Bayou.

Sean opened his eyes and stared straight ahead. It sounded like something so distant in his memory. His friends, his class, his seat, his lunch-table, the pranks, the jokes, the laughter.

And her.

The prettiest girl he had ever seen. It had been four years. How much had she changed? Was she still there? Did she still smile the way she did? Did she still go around being the kind soul she was?

Sean shut his eyes once again, and tried to envision her - her smile.

Nothing came.

With a mounting sense of panic, he opened his eyes. He could not remember. What was the colour of her eyes? How did she look like? He remembered the feeling - he just could not remember the image. He knew how much giddiness and happiness suffused his being whenever he thought of her.

But he could not remember how she looked like.

Harsh, scalding tears filled his vision. The frustration escalated, and he leaned his forehead against the window. What else could they take from him?

He clutched his thigh and took in a haggard breath. Just once, he wanted things to go his way.

He wanted to see her. Just once was all he asked for. And if she weren't there... just the thought made him pray harder.

Please, be there.


Danielle rubbed her neck as she felt something call out to her.

"You ready, punkin'?"

She smiled up at her Mama. "Nearly." Disconcerted, she looked around the airport, twirling strands of her hair around her fingers. Someone - she needed to see someone. Did she actually miss out on saying goodbye to someone important? Surely not. She had said goodbye to everyone.

Pushing her bangs back, she scanned the bustling crowd. There was a boy, jumping up to get his parents' attention. There was an older woman, scolding her grandchildren for making a ruckus.

There was a boy - and the sight of him tore her heart out. One of his arms was in a cast, and his face was battered and bruised, one eye swollen shut. He limped, and kept his eyes down. But despite the impairment in his movement, he moved fast. He looked to be about her age, although he was shorter than her. Anger and outrage filled her. He was wearing normal clothes that looked clean and comfortable - he had a family. So why did they let him suffer that way? Had he been hit by a fast-moving vehicle? Her thoughts raced on as she watched him rub his thigh and saw how he shook unsteadily. Was he in pain?

Disgust filled her as she saw none of his relatives or guardians deemed it necessary to help him out, opting to let him move on his own, not wanting to trouble themselves.

Then, he looked up and stared at her, his bruised face still, unmoving.

"Punkin'! We have to leave now!" Mama called out.

He looked familiar.

"Danielle?" her Papa called.

She squinted to get a better look.

"We're late, sweetheart!"

For some reason, she lifted her hand - and waved.

Hopeful, she stared at the boy - waiting for a response.

When seconds passed and he merely stared, Danielle dropped her hand in disappointment, pursed her lips as if saying it was okay, then she turned.

It was time to leave.


Sean took in a deep breath and shuddered.

Thank you.

-end of chapter 1-



Melissa said...

OK this is awesome hana pls i can't wait for the next chapter !!!! make SEAN HOT HOT HOT ! WOOHO :D:D