December 27, 2010

Headful of Coconut Trees

As dictated by Faranza Syns

Currently listening to: Love is Ouch - 2NE1

It's the holidays now. Wheeee~

Actually, at first, I was a bit reluctant to go on a midterm break because I know with utmost certainty that I would definitely not finish any of my assignments at home (article review, research fieldwork, poetry presentation on William Wordsworth, article for BENSS Newsletter, Arabic phonetic research for Linguistics - GAH, SO MUCH!) which is definitely what I am doing now.

Am currently at my grandma's house in Penang. Dad set up the internet - WHOOT! I guess I feel kinda bad for making him go to such lengths for me. Usually we just sit around - bored - at Maktok's house. Hence, I showed great reluctance in coming here. And I hate having to pack and having to rush in the morning (no matter how early I wake up to get ready, I always seem to be late). But now, I don't seem to feel so bad - partly because of the internet, and partly because I don't have to clear the table since we had dinner outside. Teehee.

Currently playing: Genie (Japanese Version) - So Nyuh Shi Dae

I'm fine with doing the dishes, but I prefer to leave it in the hands of my sisters since all this time I've been doing the dishes while they lazed away. I know, I know, lazing around is not a good example for my sister, but turnabout is fair-play.

Anyways, I've been thinking of resuming my writing career, since I'll be having a very long holiday after my finals. And I'll be going to the main campus in Gombak within 6 months - WHOOT! Since I'm not taking a short semester (7 weeks), I'll be getting a damn long resting period.

Aim for pre-Gombak hols:

  • Get back on the road - renew driving skills.
  • Work at Kumon with Aunt Atie
  • Brainstorm with Amanda on new, realistic novel (driving skill will come in handy for research purposes)
  • Attend Arabic classes with Mama (might have to pay for classes with own money?)
  • Go on a run at least 4 days every week
  • Hunt down new 2NE1 songs

Hmm, maybe a bit ambitious.

Listening to: Go Away - 2NE1

There's a 80% chance that I'll be doing then what I am doing now - not doing what I've told myself I'd do.

Gahaaa. I've got my head in the clouds - and it's damn hard to be any way else.

Signing out again,
Faranza Syns


November 30, 2010

To The Virgins, to Make Much of Time.

As dictated by Faranza Syns

Read through this post from ages ago. And since it would be such a waste to let it stay in my drafts folder... POSTED! A piece of memory preserved.


Today, in Poetry (which is awesomely taught by the extraordinarily dry-witted Mdm. Adibah), we were analysing the poem "To The Virgins, Make Much of Time" by Robert Herrick (amid lots of sniggers and double-entendres and meaningful glances at the brothers.

Madam: Alright, Syafiq, will you do the honours, and recite the poem to the virgins? *turns to look at us girls* Of course, I'm saying this on assumption.

Girls: Gahaha.

Syafiq: *stands up and faces Ata', another brother*

Madam Adibah: Is Ata' a virgin, then, Syafiq, because you seem to be facing him.

Girls: *sniggers*

Doubtlessly, it was a wondrously hilarious session (albeit very harrying for the brothers).

Madam: Alright. Now, "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may." What does the word "rosebud" signify here?

Someone: Virginity?


Madam: Gather virginity? Really? *mock-surprise*

That was epic.

Madam Adibah: "Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may, go marry."
Alright, what is the speaker telling the "virgins"?
Someone: To go get married! *excitedly*
Madam Adibah: *sighs, rolls eyes* Yes, but what's before that? That is just the add-on. What's the main message?
Everyone: ...*silence*... (in our heads: "...GET MARRIED. GET MARRIED..."
Madam Adibah: *cocks her head to the side with mild aggravation* In the 1st line...
Someone: Gather experiences!
Madam Adibah: *sighs* Finally.


November 28, 2010

Epiphany #23

As dictated by Faranza Syns

Will I ever get to leave Malaysia?

Or be bigger than I am now (not in size)?

I guess when I chose to study English (not TESL), I expected to be in an environment most conducive to internationalization. But I don't feel any bigger - I feel smaller. Like my life is ... dull.


Maybe it'll be better in Gombak.



As dictated by Faranza Syns

I admit, I've been a very bad girl.

I haven't been to debate practices. Gah.

My superficial reasons:

Excuse #1: To go to practice, Nilai campus debaters have to board the bus that leaves for the PJ campus at 5 o'clock every Thursday so that we could have the practice at PJ.

...which leads to the next superficial excuse...

Excuse #2: When we finish with our Thursday night practice, we'd have to find a friend in PJ so that we could sleep over in their room (which is needless hassle, I'd say, though it does tighten bonds)

...which irreverently brings the third reason to effect...

Excuse #3: We have to wake up bright and early to board the bus back to the Nilai campus.

...which in turn makes the following occur...

Excuse #4: We'd reach the campus late and as a result, we'd be late for our Friday morning classes.

...and ultimately...

Main excuse: Madam would be pissed and strike us off as tardy. And we get marks cut off for attendance.


What's more, it's Arab class I'll be missing. Despite the 8 contact hours that has been set per week (which is a lot of hours to meet your lecturer), I know I wouldn't be able to survive the term with two hours lost each week. I'd get an exam barring letter. GAH.

And so, I didn't go for practices. Haha.

But actually, if you scratch the surface, I guess the real reasons would be that I was petrified when I realised just how high the stakes were. To debate in the IIUM team, be it that it's just the CFS (Centre for Foundation Studies) team, it means a lot. It means guts and grit.

I once had it in me. But then, looking at the level of the debates, I got scared. Petrified. International debates at Macau and what-not - heck, the furthest I've ever been on a plane is Sabah!

But last Thursday, I got dragged to PJ to see the Dean (most people thought it was because I got the Dean's List last term, but it's WAY WORSE...).

Ata': Farhana, you HAVE to go to PJ! The Dean wants to see us (debaters). It's COMPULSORY.


And so, despite the fact that I had a presentation (that I had not prepared for) the next day, I got onto the bus with Nadia (and got bus sick from doing the work on the bus).

When we got there, I didn't recognise ANY of the debaters, except the Nilai debaters. I felt like a fish out of water, like Bambi on ice. Awkward. Guilty.

When we got into the meeting room to meet the Dean (OMGWTFBBQ), I panicked. Before the Dean came in, the Deputy Dean for the Leadership and Training Department (LEADTRAIN) told us to introduce ourselves and tell him our achievements so far in debating (OMGWTFBBQ again).

In my head: Um, sir? Yes, My name's Farhana. My achievement's AWESOME. You know why I say so? I'm the only debater here who has SUCCESSFULLY managed to skip trainings since day one. I mean, seriously, Sir, I am awesome. Everyone's been to at least ONE session. Me? NIL! Awesome, right? I knew you'd say so, sir!

Another senior debater from the Gombak campus who is also named Farhana told us to pretend it was a beauty pageant question. All I heard in my head was "OMG. WTF. BBQ." I was so distraught and strung up that I turned to Kak Mastura (our senior debater in Nilai) and grabbed her arm. "WHY THE HELL DID YOU DRAG ME HERE? I'VE NEVER BEEN TO ONE FRIGGIN TRAINING."

But it turned out that the Dean merely wanted to talk to the leaders of the team. All of us who sat at the outer circle heaved sighs of relief.

But still, my nerves were so shot that even when the Dean stepped out, I couldn't relax.

I told myself, "at least the worst is over."

Hell no. The trainer for the team then turned to us all and said that he wanted to see us all for a short meeting.


I thought of hiding in the small pond in front of the meeting room, but even that's denied me; I'm not good at holding my breath, and seeing as I'm HUGE, that's never gonna work out (the water would be overflowing. Duh.)

But as it turned out, it wasn't so bad - the meeting, not the idea of hiding in the pond. The trainer thought I was a new debater. Yay!

But I guess this time I'd have to be really dedicated to debating.

I just wanna adjudicate, but it would be fun, I guess, getting a new team. Of course, I still love my old team: Dharr, Sheng Rei, Jasmine, Amanda, Kim, Eugene, Pave and the others. But...maybe a new team's not so bad.

Besides, did I say how hot English debaters are? ;D

Not a Villanelle, nor a Riddle;
Just a Sestina, broken up in the middle.


A Petrarchan Sonnet of sorts.

As dictated by Faranza Syns

Except I'm no Italian and all I have is introductory info on it.

Did you guys know that there are stressed and unstressed syllables in the English words that you use daily? Like the word "republic". If you check an Advanced Learner's dictionary, you'd see the apostrophe-like sign either before or after the syllable "pub" (my old Collin's dictionary puts it after the syllable. My friend's latest edition Cambridge placed the sign before the syllable "pub". No idea why). This apostrophe sign that you is an indication that the the syllable is stressed. It's accented a lot more clearly within the word. Re-pub-lic. If you listen to a native-speaker with that thick-as-molasses accent, you'd hear it ten times clearer. Fascinating, yes?


There's a pattern of stressed and unstressed sounds in poetry. The pattern is called a metrical pattern. That's why poets take up to 10 years sometimes to finish a poem. Just to get the right word, the right tone, the right rhyme and sound. To choose the right word with the right stress pattern.

That's when I realized how awesome literature can be. The little thing we've learned in form 4? Pfft, nothing compared to this awesomeness that I've learned in Reading and Analysing: Poetry. Whoot!


October 19, 2010

Memory Lane's Not Closed at 10.

As dictated by Faranza Syns

I've forgotten just how much I loved words. Not until I read my older posts from days gone by.

Just because you've fallen, it doesn't mean that you're too broken to stand up again.

Just because you've lost, it's no excuse to forget the way you've once roared.


Finally got to catch Scha (one of my besties at National Service) at FB. It's surprising how much I miss her, and how hurt I felt when she never replied to my wallposts. But I guess she felt ever the more hurt that I never called, texted, or met up with her.

Hence, I've decided that we WILL meet when term is over, or when our holidays somehow collide. Me, Iza Ramos (of Sabah) and Scha Izzati. It'll be like NS all over again, except we'd do it in KL.

These past few days, I've wondered what I could do or post in my blog to bring it to life once again. Because once upon a time, it used to be a happening place where people read my posts, laughed and came back for more. And I was a proud writer who was rarely out of things to discuss. So what happened? What should I do to get that back?

When I reread my older posts, I recognised a pattern in them - they involved people around me. My cousins, my friends, my acquaintances and my family. I wrote about them - their stories.

I suppose I've always liked telling other people's stories. I guess you could call it my story as well. Our lives are all intertwined. And we can't really undo that knot that we've made, we can't unravel that connection that we've fostered.

What I had learned from Usrah, my IIUM unofficial family programme, is that friendships and acquaintaceship - all sorts of relationships - when broken or cut off, hurts. No matter how new it is.

And so, when me and Scha stopped connecting, it hurt. When me and my other friends stopped connecting, it hurts. It began to ball up into a ball of frustration in my gut - like an uneasiness I can't soothe away.

But just now, when Scha and I finally got some time to talk, it sorta faded into the background.

Me: Schaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

Scha: sob sob, I'm only gonna be online for a while. I've got a Bio paper tmrw. btw, congrats on making Dean's List!

Me: Thanks! Alaaaa... I miss you lah. =(

Scha: Though you say you miss, it's not like we've ever hung out together at KL, huh? It's like Iza says "korang duduk kehel (KL) pun ndak (tak) pernah jumpa kaa?"

hahahaha. lain masa la cuti. aku dh nk habis cuti, ko plak baru nak start nanti, kan? xD takpe2. habis 2nd term, kita jumpa kalau free. xD
Scha: i'll take that as a promise. kite jumpa 3 ekor sekali.
imy farr..
rindu tgk kau bawak palmolive shower gel pg toilet.
rindu tgk kau sembur febreze kat baju.
rindu tgk kau bukak tutup poket kt baju loreng.
...rindu tgk kau minum air teh kt dewan.
rindu tgk kau main netball.
rindu tgk semangat kau.
rindu sangat.
*dah,dah. nanti terserlah kelesboan aku.
tc sistaa. ily. aku out dulu tau. buhbyyye. :)
Haha. It's funny how other people remember things about you that you never even remembered about yourself. So hey, it's not harm to walk down memory lane, and maintain that friendship, because inside everyone you know, there's always one itsy-bitsy part of you. You just haven't seen it yet.


October 17, 2010

Your Two Extremes

As dictated by Faranza Syns

He's gonna kill me.

Reason #1: I didn't get any form of sleep last night despite the fact that I told him I'd be asleep by 2.

Reason #2: Refer to Reason #1.

He gets freaky when I a) sleep late or b) eat late or c) bathe late.

I get pissy when he a) replies late or b) picks up my calls late or c) wakes up late.

If you look at it real close, you'd probably see the major distinction between us two.

Yup. His pet peeves are actually things that are good for me if I avoid.

Mine? ... Well, they're good for him to avoid if he doesn't want me to kill him. So my list is not all that bad either, eh?


October 15, 2010

Mutilated and Misunderstood.

As dictated by Faranza Syns

I didn't stop blogging because I didn't have time. I didn't stop blogging because there was no WiFi at campus (which I have now obtained, so that excuse is null and void). I did not stop blogging because I lost the feel for it.

Hell, I stopped blogging because my Public Speaking lecturer once asked the whole class, "Who here has a blog?"

A lot of us raised our hands.

She then proceeded to make a bored-slash-annoyed face (which most of us had quickly idealized into the expression of a wondrous eccentric since the first class) and clicked her tongue. "So you are all apart of the self-centred generation, eh? No wonder."

Mind, she studied in the UK and she had insulted the Dean during her interview to become a lecturer but still got the job (to her chagrin since she didn't want it in the end). So, it stands to reason that we all practically revered the very air she breathed.

"I mean, look at you. Bloggers. What more do you do but write about yourselves?"

Granted, she said this months ago, and I'm a little dicey as to the words she really used, but all in all, this was the gist of it.

It felt like lightning struck me.

Hell, no, I thought. She's friggin right. I am self-centred. Heck, all that moaning, and whining, and secret posts with the font set the same colour as the background - that was all drama. All pathetic, all desperate, all attention-hungry drama.

I was so moved by my involuntary epiphany that I sat back for a while and tuned out my lecturer's lecture.

And then, I stopped blogging. Every time I open the main page, log in and reach the dashboard, I find some lame-brained excuse to not write that day. The most common and most effective excuse being that I haven't written in a while, and heck, I'll never be able to write as good as before, so why bother? The excuse gained strength the longer I stayed away from my blog. And here we go, another cycle, not so vicious yet harmful still.

It all went okay I suppose, until lately. I find myself crying more and more as I get ready to sleep. And my poor Hariz has had to bear the brunt of it, being the only one I regularly text - and him being a slow learner at how to not tick me off was a definite contributor to him being threatened by yours truly too.

Until today. Today, this morning was the worst. The suffocation that I felt was nearly driving me insane. Then, I realised... when I stopped blogging, I've lost my channel of catharsis. I couldn't purge my bad feelings as easily as I used to. I couldn't just laugh things off like I normally do. And this... this was bad.

So, here I am, writing again, and discarding my lecturer's words for a later time when I think I don't need my blog anymore. Other people kept diaries, but I have a blog. It's just the way I am, just the way I like it. And I see no reason to stop something I like, as long as it doesn't harm others.

Blog, I missed you so. Being apart from you has been hell.

Or maybe it's because I'm gaining the 10 pounds I'd lost.

But hey, that's a story for a later date.


October 7, 2010

When the Autumn Leaves Blush - Part IIX

As dictated by Faranza Syns

When The Autumn Leaves Blush
Faranza Syns

I've gotten sloppy with language. I feel like retiring.

Chapter 7

Drake's roar of frustration rent the air, so alike that of an enraged lion that Danielle was quick to jump off her make-shift bed on the floor, tangled hair standing on end, eyes bleary from disturbed sleep.


Danielle flinched at Drake's bellow, and closed her ears while her tired eyes tried to adjust to the piercing glare of morning sunlight.

Through the blur shadowing her vision, Danielle saw Drake stalk around the room, going down on his knees to check under beds, then moving towards a closet, pushing aside clothes in a flurry of movement. "Where the friggin' hell is my Chemistry assignment, you--"

Clark, in total contrast, sat on his bed, calmly lacing his black class shoes. "It's in your bag - where you ordered me to put it."

With the final remnants of sleep finally rubbed off her eyes, Danielle took in Clark's smart, sharp-looking uniform. The crisp white shirt had nary a stray crease on it - all clean lines and near-perfect, smooth planes. The dark gray pants had been pressed neatly, and a smartly designed tie of black, gray and silver diagonal stripes with the emblem of the military academy boldly emblazoned in the middle, swung between his opened legs.

"Robin," Sean called out from the other side of the room. "Your tie—” A gray blur swung in an arc above Danielle's head and she watched as Robin snatched it out of the air. Taking a deep breath and sitting still on the pile of jackets the boys had turned into mattress, Danielle took in the general state of the room, somewhat buzzing with activity.

They had all had a late night last night, finishing up some last minute revisions on various subjects that would be tested at school the next day. It turned out that none of them had any visitors and since Sundays were really resting days, they were all bent over their books, ignoring Danielle who merely slept the day through, trying to reserve as much energy as she could to fight the lingering fever. Also, sleeping kept the pain of her throat at bay. Occasionally, Sean or Robin would approach her and ask her if she wanted food or water. Once, when the other boys had gone to the mess hall for lunch, her fever had spiked, and thoughtfully, Sean had cradled her body against his, patiently spoon feeding her isotonic drinks. Then, although very, very uncomfortable (she could tell by the dark slashes of crimson red across his cheeks and the way he gritted his jaw), he had sponged down her body with a cool, wet cloth.

Now, come to think of it, it was very endearing how he really avoided the 'Danger Zones' of her body. When he was done wiping down her arms, her legs up to her knees, her face and her neck, he had dampened the towel himself, then handed it to her. "Here. Do it yourself,” he had muttered. Although very lethargic, Danielle had been thankful for the cooling feel of the wet cloth. And only when Sean had removed her from his embrace did Danielle realise where she had been the whole time.

And it was odd how she had not responded negatively towards it.

Thinking back to yesterday, Danielle pressed her palm against her forehead, testing the amount of heat given off there. Not bad. Sean had sneaked out again last night, and had gotten the results of the throat swab done, and found out that she was clear of strep throat. But just to screw with Drake's head, Sean had pretended like he had not gotten the results yet. It was adorable how Drake had practically begged to go on Sean's behalf.

Danielle smiled to herself as she watched the boys prepare for school. She had only been here two full days, and yet, she felt like she had adored them since forever.


She looked up as Sean sat on the bed beside hers. He smiled, looking extremely smart in his shirt and tie. "Good morning," she croaked, and then closed her mouth in surprise at the sound, embarrassingly aware of her parched throat. Sean laughed low in his chest, and passed her a bottle of mineral water. He watched pleasantly as she twisted the cap then chugged down the water like it was the last droplets ever to be given to her to quench her thirst.

"Good?" he asked. Danielle nodded, smiling, when she was done drinking. "We have classes till four today. It's extended because we have intensive classes for the major exam we're sitting for." Danielle nodded as she absorbed this information. "So... we might not be back for lunch."

"Oh." At the mention of lunch, her stomach gurgled for attention. Danielle pressed her hand against her stomach, as if pressing it would muffle the sound and lessen her embarrassment. Too bad, Sean had already heard it. He stared at her with concern as he got up. He moved to his closet, then opened it wide, he grabbed a few packets of instant everything - soup, noodle, porridge. He then put them down at her legs, practically showering her with food. "Here. If you're hungry, feed on this for a while. I'm gonna have to figure out how to bring you food."

He could always bully one of the junior boys to bring their food over to this room, but Sean really was not up for a bout of ragging. And besides, he did not want anyone dying of hunger. Buying some food at the canteen should be okay. But how to bring the food over to Dee Dee when he most probably needed to be back in class as soon as lunch was over?

Oh well. He was an SUO. He'd figure something out.

He turned back to Dee Dee. "Will you be okay?" He inspected the not-unhealthy flush on her cheeks. She still looked a bit peaked, but none the worse for wear. Thank god her health was turning around. He could not be here for her on the other times if she had been sick. He had classes to attend to, and SUO duties to perform. Again, Sean was astounded by the amount of energy he expended on worrying about Dee Dee's well-being. He shook his head mentally, and pushed the thought aside for a while.

The remnants of his worries were allayed when Danielle smiled up at him. "I have all this," she motioned to his secret stash of emergency food, and Sean could not help but grin. "I'm gonna be a-okay."

It was 2 o'clock. Danielle O'Connor was definitely not “a-okay”. She hated to admit it, but Sean's predictions were coming true - she was feeling slightly restless from being cooped up. The need for fresh air pressed on for dominance in her brain, making her stare yearningly at the windows. Should she open the window, or keep it shut? Was it a hostel rule to keep all the windows closed when at classes? Should she take the risk and crack it just a little? The military people were no doubt very freaky about neatness and discipline. She hated to be the one to get her new friends into trouble. A flashback of how Clark had closed the window as if on automatic this morning helped Danielle make her decision.

No open windows.

The final say given by her logical mind agitated the restless creature prowling inside her head. She really needed to get out. Just for a while. A bit of fresh air, after being so weak for so long. Again, Danielle gazed at the windows with dejected hope in her eyes, the realisation of how much the outside world had become a part of her touching deep into her heart. After being something of a nomad for months on end, having no place to stay was a bitter fact that she had been forced to accept and live with. Little had she known then that it would soon become the only way she knew how to live, the only fact that sat well with her.

Humming to herself in boredom, she moved to the row of study tables lined up against one side of the wall. The way they kept their things neat and tidy somehow felt a bit alien to her. Everything had a place of its own - even the pencils and pens looked like they were grouped together in a complex arrangement that made a disturbing sort of sense.

She moved towards Drake's study table, seeing that it had the highest pile of books stacked on one side. Browsing the titles, she felt a daunting sense of inferiority. The books consisted of serious titles, discussions of serious matters and eye-opening subjects, some of which were slightly political. Despite Drake's general air of lackadaisical whimsy, the books he read were scarily grave.

Robin's table predictably held books of medicine and also a few fictions that Danielle would never have thought to read in a thousand years. On Clark's table, there were mostly revision books with very little evidence of any other sort of books. Danielle smiled at that. So, Clark probably was not much of a reader. Smiling to herself, envisioning how the quiet boy had talked with her last night, as if he knew at that time that she was feeling a little bit neglected what with the other boys really ignoring her in favour of their books. Danielle moved on to the last table - Sean's table.

If the other boys' tables were merely clean, his was extremely spick-and-span. Everything was organised, from the tallest book, to the widest, it all had a system of its own. Danielle was almost scared to breathe around the table for fear that she might misplace or shift something with that breath.

Moving cautiously, she leaned over the table, and scanned the books that were held up together by two bookends. Some of the books were those that she had read years ago, some were titles that looked rather interesting - thrillers and also a few contemporary literature, nothing overtly grotesque or embarrassingly feminine, but eye-catching titles all the same. She grabbed one book, biting her lip like a child who knew she could get caught anytime, but still unable to resist the temptation of the forbidden. She chanted in her heart that she would put the book back at the exact same spot when she was done, as if the silent avowal was a silent promise and assurance that she could channel to Sean.

With keen interest, she turned the book over and read the general description of the story. Fade Away, by Harlan Coben. Again, she gnawed on her lower lip, looking out the window. It was so long since she'd read a book - a long time since she had the time and luxury to. Hugging the book close to her chest, she walked over to the window, leaning against the windowsill as she stared out - staring at the green lawn of the hostel building. It was a bit scary to start reading this book. What if being able to read again became the wonderful addiction it was once upon a time in her past? She would be leaving this place soon. There might be very little chance for her to read again - she would need to find work, and a place to stay.

The question of leaving brought up millions other in her head, more than a few tearing her heart apart; would she be able to continue her studies, would there be people who would hire an unkempt little girl who really had very little market value, how long would she need to work to be able to afford a roof over her head, would she ever be able to retrieve what little respect she had once had in her life, would she ever be able to find a small sense of security ever again...

She shut her eyes and gripped the paperback to her chest, her knuckles turning white from gripping the book so hard. She took a deep breath, as if the air rushing into her lungs would soothe the open wounds in her heart. She held the breath, then released it. It was probably best to let go of the problems too, and not worry about the bridge too much until the moment came when she had to she cross it.

Calming down to a degree, Danielle smiled to herself.

Until her eyes caught sight of something that made her heart freeze.

It was a familiar face, with familiar hair, and familiar features. A face she had seen contorting in pain, twisted with anger and agony. It was her - that woman who had been--

The woman looked up. Both sets of eyes collided.

Danielle pulled away from the window swiftly, her heart hammering a loud staccato beat of fear and anxiety. Did the woman see her? Oh God, if she had seen her...

Swallowing, she gripped onto Sean's book tighter, moving further away from the window, eyeing it like it was about to grow fangs and chomp away at her bones. God, what should she do? The boys would be murdered if the woman had seen her.

Looking around in distress, trying to figure out what to do, Danielle ran her fingers frantically through her short, brown tresses. A million prayers were sent up in her heart, hoping beyond everything that she would not be the death of Sean. She just could not bear the thought of being a disappointment in his eyes. She had only been here a few days - what more damage could she do?

"Hold up, Hayes."

At that call, Sean stopped jarringly in his heated tracks, and spun around to look at the direction of the voice. His eyes scanned the hallway, and landed on Fahran Maiza, immediately recognizing the Echo SUO in the crowd. He raised an eyebrow as Maiza strode towards him, the SUO's walk as proud as it was confident. The other Heroes made way for him, as if he released a powerful wave that shifted them without them realizing it.

Sean stood sideways and waited for the SUO, his books held lazily at his side. "What do you want, Maiza?" he said as soon as the SUO stopped two metres away from him, forcing the two of them raise their voices, letting the stern notes of their vocalizations stand as their show of authority.

"A private word," Maiza nodded his head sideways to the general direction of the common toilet. Sean narrowed his eyes at that, his lips thinning with annoyance. He needed to get back to his room to check up on Dee Dee, and then rush back to the Mess Hall for lunch and limp back to class for some extra classes right after that.

"We can talk fine here," Sean stated, his voice hard and unmoving.

Maiza's stare hardened at that, turning swiftly into a controlled glare. "You really don't want your crap blurted out all over the hallways, Hayes."

Sean's cheek muscles twitched, then he gritted his jaw harder. He sensed Maiza's challenge and hated the bastard for it. Since day one, Maiza had been out to get him. In fact, it was a resentment that ran deep and old. It was an eight-year silent feud between them, and it did not look like their animosity for each other would ever abate.

"Then don't blurt my crap all over the hallways." His tone was cool, calm and scarily controlled. Just like that, he turned on his heels and went on his way, leaving Maiza staring at his back disgustedly.

Maiza turned around and walked away, his mind racing as he focused on what he had been about to tell Hayes. That bastard really wanted his ass screwed, Maiza fumed. This was an important matter, and as much as it pissed Maiza off, he needed to warn Hayes, or that idiot was going to get what he's asking for.

He paused as he recalled the direction of Hayes' hasty retreat. The guy was headed towards the hostel, probably going to grab something in his dorm. Maiza smirked at that. He should intercept the guy in his room. The other SUOs in his dorm probably needed to be warned off, too. Good. Killing two birds with one stone always appealed to him.

Danielle had wound down enough to stop cowering in the hidden corner of the room and instead of that, she sat on Sean's bed, reading his novel as she munched on a packet of biscuits. Crumbs fell on his bedspread, but so entranced was she by the book, everything else ceased to matter as much as the next word in the book - the next twist, the next heart-gripping phrase, the next impossibility overcame.

Her stomach growled a little louder in protest, the biscuit working its way leisurely down at a pace not fast enough to please her stomach. She sat up straighter and patted her stomach. "Chill. I'll get something else to eat soon. You're very noisy," she chided.

The next sound that came to her ear was one that made her jump with joy at one second, and caused chilling dread to trace its way down her spice.

The doorknob rattled. And continued to rattle. Danielle sat in frozen shock as she stared at the doorknob being tried, and she felt the blood drain from her face. People who sleep in a room have keys for the door – and people who have keys do not try the doorknobs...
Loud staccato knocks on the door echoed inside the room, and the sound reverberated within Danielle’s chest.
…neither do people who have keys knock.
“Open up!”
Danielle jumped at the sound, but relief quickly consumed her.
It was Sean. She knew that voice. Smiling giddily with a lightened heart, Danielle got up and chuckled at her silliness, trying to soothe the remaining jitterbugs that hopped around in her stomach. Jumping off the bed, she paused for a while to catch her breath. Then, she moved to the door and twisted the knob open.
Swiftly, Sean hustled her deeper in, closing the door behind him. “Sorry, left my room key in the locker and I had to come back here quick.”
“No, no, that’s ok,” Danielle replied, unable to cease smiling widely. It was not entirely something she was even aware of; hence, it was hard to stop. She watched as he lifted a small gift bag of sorts.
“Yours,” he said.
She was quick to snatch it away from him. Sean smiled at her reaction, pleased at first. But then, he slid his hands into his pants pockets, when a sudden sense of insecurity crept out from nowhere as he watched her rummage through the bag. Would she like what he got her? Would she eat it? Was it enough? Gauging her reaction was nearly impossible since she had her face almost buried inside the bag. Unnerved at himself for worrying about her reaction, he balled his hands into fists in his pockets. “There are only cans of tuna, and some canned fruits. I’ve bread, so you can eat it with that. The bread should be okay. I bought it last week, but it’s still recently, and it should be okay. And it should be enough, right? And the canned fruits – they might be a bit sweet, but if you put it in plain water it should taste okay. The sugar makes it sweet. The tuna – I’m sorry if it tastes bland, it’s a new product and I wasn’t sure—it was all I could get.”
She looked up from the open bag, seemingly amused. “Canned fruits?”
“It was gift basket—” he began defensively, but stopped when he saw her bite her lower lip, her eyebrows crinkled with emotion, her face giving the message that she was touched.
“Thank you,” she said quietly.
“It’s no big deal,” he muttered. Silence passed by for a few seconds as he avoided Dee Dee’s eyes. He cleared his throat at the end of it, and moved to the door again. “I guess I’d better get going. Gotta go to the mess hall.”
Dee Dee smiled, her expression softer than before. “Okay.”
“I’ll see you tonight.” Sean paused at that. The atmosphere felt oddly intimate, and suddenly, it came to him that the way he said it sounded like he was telling her he would pick her up on a date that night. His eyes quickly met hers, and the way hers were wide open showed that it sounded the same to her.
Sean rushed to the door, all awkward movements and jerky motions as he straightened his ever smart-looking uniform. “I’m off.”
“Bye,” he rushed out, closing the door loudly and quickly when it registered to him that she sounded just as awkward as he did.
See you tonight? What was he – insane? Grunting at himself in disgust, Sean picked up his pace and rushed over to the mess hall before anyone would miss him.
Danielle blinked once, as if to pull herself away from the spell-binding web Sean’s words captured her in. Why did it feel so … warm yet so awkward? She bit her fingernail, then turned to stare at the things she had been given. She smiled. He remembered about her, despite his busy schedule. It was… sweet. To have someone mind about her at all once she was out of sight was a great feeling – a feeling she had not experienced for a long while. She never stuck around long enough for anyone to start caring who she was. All they knew was that she was a runaway, and they left it at that. No one cared if she had eaten or not. But Sean did.
It felt good. Sean made her feel good. It was enough to make her smile wider—
She nearly jumped as the door slammed shut again. She caught her breath, then turned to stare at the door. She grinned gleefully. It was probably Sean again. After that one “tonight” statement, he probably would not feel too good having to talk to her again. Danielle sat on Robin’s bed and shook her head. His awkwardness was endearing and endlessly adorable.
And she would never want to be the one who would cause him any trouble.
That thought brought her worries to the forefront again. The woman who had or had not seen her…would that come back to haunt her one day?
Danielle’s eyes quickly went to the door. At the sight of it unlocked, she lunged at it, and quickly locked it.
Once that was done, she heaved a sigh of relief. She was safe now. Perhaps. But again and again, the image of that woman staring up at her came to her mind’s eye. Somehow, doom and disaster felt like it hovered over her shoulder, and this time, unlike her pain and her sorrows, this was one feeling Danielle could not put away into a little box. It lingered throughout the day, and Danielle felt an ache in her gut, knowing full well that those same piercing eyes that had found her this morning would one day stare at her again as punishment is meted out. And she was not the only one being punished.
That thought ached her the most.

Chapter 7 - End

Gah, I need to re-read the whole thing again. I've gotten REALLY sloppy.


July 4, 2010

What are scratches made of?

As dictated by Faranza Syns

He disappoints me yet again. I wonder how many times he intends to apologize because frankly, that nearly cliched line from "Gone with the Wind" keeps on playing in my head.

Maybe one day, I really won't give a damn.

Sigh. Off to bed. And a long night of nothing.


June 25, 2010


As dictated by Faranza Syns

I think the impulse that I have to constantly be around awesome people has lessened lately. Because I'm already so awesome! =D

Lol. Masuk bakul angkat sendiri.

I used to feel so attracted to witty, humorous people, wanting to be close to them, to get to know them (and impulsively add them on Facebook. After either challenging them, or joking with them in comment boxes, of course. I'm no cheapo stalker), to drink in the essence of their joie de vivre.

But lately, since I seem to be constantly surrounded by that type of people without me even bothering to look for them, I don't feel the need to trawl profiles on Facebook to feel awesome (whoa, how much more Life-less can you be?).

Kudos go out to Madam Adibah: "I hate humans. I don't even like my husband. Don't worry. He knows it." - her Ta'aruf (introductory) speech for Oral Communications class.

Madam Azimah : "No, sister, BLEEP, YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BLEEP AT THE F-WORD PART! Hahahahaha!" - to me as I read the character "Person" for Drama class on the drama Tape. I had forgotten to *BLEEP*, and said out the F-word with much passion instead. Well... I was on a roll. Couldn't stop myself. Haha.

Madam Anisah: the best Human Sciences teacher on earth. I like how she uses touch to make me feel good. ... That sounded wrong, but I meant it in the most platonic way possible. Haha.

BEN Core Course, Group 6: We are the Awesome Possum ;D


Madam Adibah says the funniest things. And sometimes without meaning to.

It was Oral Comm. (Public Speaking), and we were reorganizing the Speech Outline that Madam Adibah had jumbled up as an exercise. The speech was about a jump shot. Something related to basketball. Naturally, since the class has mostly girls, a lot of us got the answers wrong, but what the hey.

Madam Adibah: Alright, let's go through the answers. Oh, does anyone play basketball here?

Azham (Am): *silence*

Class: AMMMM!

Azham: *acts shocked*

Madam Adibah: Oh, so you play basketball, then?

Azham: *nods*

Madam Adibah: Hmmm... no wonder you're so long.

Zaffan: Soooo LONG.


If you didn't get it, you'll never get it. ;)


She also sometimes veers away from the main subject... and say some funny things without meaning to. Again. We were discussing Architects, blueprints, and how much it costs to just sign a blueprint (RM 5000!) and then somehow, we got to discussing her husband's snoring habits.

Madam: My husband snores. ALL THE TIME. There are people like that, you know. And there are idiots who married them.


And there's also Zaffan (a girl, by the by) who always sits in front of me, and seems to be the only one besides me who understands the double entendres in Madam's words (ref: the "LONG" conversation above)

A few seconds later...

Madam: I like Sketchers. My husband has to wear Crocs though. He has big feet.

Zaffan: Whoa... BIG FEET *looks at me suggestively*.


I love my class. It's just so awesome.


June 20, 2010

They Mentioned Your Name.

As dictated by Faranza Syns

It never really occurred to me what my family's latent response to me studying English would be. I suppose it was no big deal - something that would not make ripples, much less waves - that I am studying English. Heck, I've been studying English since I was in preschool, so going to college to study English felt almost... normal.

But yesterday, I got the first indication that my family really feels the impact of me doing BEN at IIUM (Bachelor of English).

We were all going out for dinner with my relatives. While everyone was getting ready to drive over to the restaurant, one of my cousins, Abang Arnez, walked over and charmingly reminded dad about where we were all headed to (since his parents are the ones who planned the outing). As he walked away, I admired his profile and smiled. Abang Arnez was such a good guy, you can't help but want to give him a huge bear hug. He was so unlike my other male cousins that even my sister could not help but comment.

Jaz: Abang Arnez is a good example.
Me: Mmmhmm.
Mama: What? (she didn't catch it because my sister mumbled)
Jaz: Eh, no, nothing.
Me: Just say it out loud. Jaz said that Abang Arnez is a good example.
Mama: Yes. He is.
Me: Yes, yes. *nods enthusiastically*
Mama: Very dependent.

It struck me as odd. Being dependent meant that he was dependent on people to survive. That he needed help consistently. Which could not be further from the truth.

Me: You mean, independent?
Mama: No, dependent.
Me: Oh, you mean dependable?

There was a general moment of 'Aha, yes, that's the word' in the car, then Mama laughingly turned and said "I'm the mother. You keep quiet."

Dad then said something along the lines of, "We have a pro in here now."

It clued me in that in their head, I'm most probably very, very good at English, just because I'm doing BEN now. But to be most truthful, I think I'm still the same as before. I do correct people's English occasionally - it's what I've been doing for years. Yet somehow, the knowledge that I am one day going to pursue a degree in English - the fact that I've narrowed down my studies to just learning English - would make people somewhat intimidated, or a bit defensive with me when I correct them. Like I know too much, and I'll find all their faults, and bring them down. A few months back, they would not have put too much weight on my off-hand correcting habits, but now it seems the impact of my correcting people are just increasing two-fold.

I don't want people to be too intimidated by me. It's bad.

And to be really honest, I'm a bit scared that even my family will think that I'm full of myself, when it's the last thing I want to be.

I'm still me, despite BEN.


June 4, 2010

Because he lives and loves to the fullest.

As dictated by Faranza Syns

LOL. My dad just forwarded me a link to my Uncle's (who's now actually 50 plus) youtube video account.

OMGAH, I rolled on the floor laughing at a short video clip he made of himself and his daughter lip-syncing to "Don't Lie" by the Black-Eyed Peas. The daughter is now only in form one, but the video was taken when she was in standard 4. Lol, in one part of it, it showed them both wiggling their bodies, dancing in the most cute manner to the song.

I can't believe Pak Teh (or some of us occasionally call him Uncle Malik) has time to do all these cute things. There was once he sang "Sway", and sounded a lot like Michael Buble. I was definitely awed.

Pak Teh is in some ways very awesome. But to know that he's already more than 50 years old, I sorta stopped short for a while.

I swear, he has the vitality of a someone much, much younger. I always think of him and my dad as being nearly the same age, but the age gap is actually very big. Of course, my dad is more handsome (ahem), but Pak Teh is still quite a catch (gah, these fair-skinned males. They turn pink when the sun hits).

I heard from mom that Pak Teh once never wanted to come back to Malaysia, wanting to spend his life in Australia, even after he has long finished his studies.

But I'm glad he came back. I would've been one awesome uncle short had he stayed there.

And of course, I'd probably never be able to see those videos coming up. xD


Of the Mushroom Fritters and the 5-year Delusion.

As dictated by Faranza Syns

My first direct close encounter with a male at CFS IIUM:-

Me: *Spots a boy who looks like a BEN-ner*
Him: *sees me spotting him, and tries frantically to avoid eye-contact*
Me: *wants to find out if the boy got an exemption. very determined, approaches, smiles* Eh, awak budak BEN kan?
Him: Um. *stares at me, stares at my Matric Card* Bukan. Saya budak Econs. *stares at my matric card again, reading the details there*
Me: OH. Ya? *smiles beatifically* Sorry! *walks away*

I must've blown a fuse in my mind for not sticking around for a bit and making a male friend. Sigh.

But just for shits and giggles, the next time I see the bewildered boy, I'll wave at him. That should probably make him start thinking that one of us has lost his/her marbles.


I got the upper bunk of the double-decker in Room A-1-8 of Mahallah Ummu Salamah (MUSA). The funny thing about the dorm is that all the beds are lined up against the wall, and the fan is placed smack dab in the middle of the room, nowhere near the beds. And OH MY LORD, I think someone raped the ceiling fans till they're lifeless because apparently speed 5 feels like speed 3.

Have I ever mentioned that Nilai is hot? I got blacker just by standing outside in the sunshine.

But despite these trials and tribulations, I've survived (by chickening out and going home every weekend).

The upper bunk is hot as hell at night. What with my bed being so close to the neon-green EXIT sign that flashed eerily at night. After Night 3, I gave up, and dragged my mattress down on the floor, sleeping with Alifah who had also placed her mattress under the merciful cool wind of the fan on the first night. We put our mattresses together and slept peacefully till the Subuh prayers in the morning.

At Night 4, Kinah and Mira dragged down another mattress, and all four of us slept on the 3 combined mattresses.

Is it any wonder that I love the girls with all my heart now?


Anah, from Kelantan, somehow likes having someone else reply her text messages for her. Or so I'm assuming from her blase attitude towards Dilla's question of "Anah, aku jawabkan, eh?" when her phone flashed with a new message.

And Dilla... omg, Dilla.

She replied the text messages in the Kelantanese dialect at first, getting guidance from Anah.

Next, she went full-throttle Javanese.

Then, it became Mexican (getting much inspiration from the telenovela, Rosalinda).

Laughing our asses off, we then composed a sentence in Hindustani (which translated into "I'm sorry. Do I know you?")

There we all were, cackling like a bunch of loons on the three mattresses on the floor, the sheets untucked at most places, limbs sprawled on top of each other, each of us full from eating Kulat Goreng (our nickname for mushroom fritters) and reading novels.

A few days before, I cried in frustration of not having anyone whom I could relate to.

But yesterday, my heart was so full, it was bursting.

The sixteen of us: Fathimah ("Ada H, ya. Bukan Fatimah, tapi Fathimah."), Awatif (we call her Awat, just for fun), Mira (a BEN-ner like me), Wani (with her checkered pants that she wears everywhere), Rosmah (the gal who always waits up for her friend), Dilla (of the broken phone key-pad persuasion), Anah (the youngest of the lot, and always being teased that she'd take 5 Tahun 5 Bulan to finish a novel), Alifah (the quiet girl with goo-goo eyes and a welcoming smile), Syima (the other quiet girl with the big, big heart), Pija (the adorable Econs girl), Yati (the one who pretended to be me by wearing my Matric Card when she goes out), Ain (the one who compulsively grabbed me to take a picture with me), Mirya (with the hard to pronounce name. And we both love Big Bang. Wheee!), Sakinah (with the incredible humour, and so-awesome warmth), and Mastura (our lovely Sabah-Kedah BAR student).

Singularly, we're pretty quiet, pretty normal. But when combined...

I think I busted my gall bladder.

Is it any wonder why I love 'em to bits?


May 21, 2010

While we were making lurrrrrve...

As dictated by Faranza Syns

It was weird listening to the main actress for Carolina Moon say "making love" in a scared, anxious statement because how she said it was sort of like "making luuuuve". It seriously spoiled the whole scene.

But that aside, I digress. Tomorrow is the registration day for IIUM. The funny thing is, I haven't even finished packing. I've signed the contracts and agreements and the dastardly declaration form, but I haven't put all my stuff into my bag, nor have I completed the Personal Details Form... and I have to fill up two copies of it. Eeesh.

Seriously, I don't think I'm even mentally prepared for IIUM. I keep thinking "Hey... you have more than 17 hours left - what's the rush?" when really, in stark reality, I really don't have that much time to prepare, if I discount sleep.

Gah, I'm doomed.

*deep breaths*

Wish me luck for BEN, guys. I think I'll need lots of it. Lots, lots of it.

Oh, and as a silver lining of sorts, I think I can now proudly declare myself a legal user of the road. (translation: I finally got my P license. Whoot!)


May 18, 2010


As dictated by Faranza Syns

When you've been a slacker for more than two months, it's nearly impossible for you to not develop the habit of sleeping in. Heck, you don't have school to rush to (and homework to finish last minute) so why bother? I have to be honest, I've completely forgotten what it feels like to have an early morning shower. The first time I did take one this month (because I had to get ready before 7 a.m. to go for my driving exam) I shook, shivered and basically walked out of the bathroom stiffly with my teeth chattering non-stop - it sounded like bones rattling in a bloody coffin. It was that cold (and the fact that my sisters didn't switch off the air-conditioner really wasn't contributing to my comfort and peace of mind).

Anyways, today, I went to school with my sisters. Hence, again, the early morning shower. Let me tell you something about early morning showers - you go in, get under the shower for a minute (quick! Wet your body, lather on the soap, wash your body, exit!) dry your body, get out of the bathroom, and jump into your clothes. That was my routine for early morning showers this morning. Partially because I had 5 minutes to get ready, and my dad was already starting on the Subuh prayers.

But it's purrrty ("pretty" said in a very blearghy tone) nice knowing that I've not lost my touch at getting ready under 5 minutes. Gad, we were trained to be quick at NS, damn it. The JLs (jurulatih) cheated, I tell you. We had to go for Wirajaya, and the KJL (Ketua Jurulatih) told us that we would be going on the next day, and that day itself was "full-dress rehearsal", to make sure that we could get all the materials and stuff we needed (mess tin, check; backpack, check; ponchos, check).

But it turned out that at around 2 in the afternoon, we were all called to the hall to supposedly listen to a briefing on Wirajaya. Fair enough, we thought, and sat there on the floor, hunched with our sleepy faces (briefings were bohhhhring, but since I'm a goody-goody two shoes, I listened). After the briefing, we were called to get into our groups within our platoons, and the group leader and assistant group leader (me. Hee. I was assistant to the Ketua Wirawati, you know. She was from our company, and she hand-picked me to be her assistant. Wah, bangga) had to go get the stuff that we needed for Wirajaya.

What was suspicious about it all though, was the fact that we were all given a tablet each to be eaten (in case we get malaria and stuff). We all ate it, but went sort "Eh? Wirajaya hari ni ke?"

So, me and Pui Yi (Ketua Wirawati) went to take the stuff for our tent. After we've stuffed everything into our backpacks, and everyone was settled, the KJL got us all to sit down. Then, he said, "Baiklah, sekarang, saya nak kamu balik ke bilik kamu, dan pack barang kamu macam mana kamu nak bawa pergi Wirajaya esok. Sekarang pukul 2.40... saya nak kamu siap pukul 4."

That was when everyone went "Alamak, mati! Wirajaya hari ni, dowh!" Me being a person who doesn't fall for rumours and conjecture, I ignored that, and went back to my dorm. In Pollux (the name of my dorm, It's the name of a giant star, by the way. Bigger than the Sun) however, all the girls were in a frenzy, moving about in a nervous wreck of worry. Everyone believed that Wirajaya was going to be on that day. And suddenly, it clicked. I knew that they were really serious. The staff were bamming us! Saja-saja nak kenakan orang! So, we packed seriously, half rushing off to the bathroom to take a bath, half stuffing as much stuff as they can into the given backpacks. My darling Ketua Wirawati (whom we joked was actually secretly a Wira in disguise due to her very short hair and very tomboy-ish tendencies) even put a can of red beans into our team backpack. It was hilarious. But it wasn't hilarious when they blew the whistle at 3 o'clock.

Heck, we got ready within 20 minutes! We weren't given a chance. So, there we were, in full celoreng, jumping around with our boots half on, half off, our feet clad in worsted grey socks, and "PREEEEEEEEEEEET!" the whistle went.

I think the one sound we all hate (and probably miss till this day) is the sound of the whistle. Morning Physical Training at 5.30, "PREEEEEEEEET PREEET PREEET!"; rollcall (6 times a day), "PREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET!"; emergency meetings, "PREEEEEEEEEEEEEEET PREEEEEEEEEEEEEET!"; when Pui Yi gets annoyed that we haven't made a move to where we were supposed to go, "PREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE-PREEEE-PREEE-PREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET! (otherwise translated into "Cepatlah, bodoh. Nanti kena kawad kaki, kau juga yang bising)".

Mahai. (note, the length and degree of annoyance of the sound depends on who blows the whistle, Pui Yi or Qayyum)

And so we rushed to Dewan Wirajaya again, with our stuff in tow.

That was when the bomb was dropped on us.

"Sebenarnya, kamu akan pergi Wirajaya hari ni."

There were a lot of excited faces amidst the pissed-off glares.

"Tapi cikgu bangga yang kamu semua boleh siap dengan begitu cepat. Memang hebat."

Hmmh. Silver tongued, I say.

After giving us a briefing, we were given 10 minutes to do with as we will. To the Muslim candidates, it was either pray, or get your evening snack. It was a tough decision, but I'm proud of those who forwent the meal. We only got to eat about 6 hours after that. Well, it depended on when you're called out to do a mission (navigation, search and rescue, Kembara Duga, etc.)

I was leader for Navigation. =)

Wirajaya is a very big deal. It's when they take us into the forest and they test how we apply what we've learned up to that point. It's the climax of a pretty awesome adventure, or something like that. We were be brought to our "base camp" in the forest, and we set up camp according to platoons and company. Then we guarded our camp from intruders, namely JLs who were given the role of spy, which was a funny scenario, but we pretended it was damn DAMN serious. And that just made it even more fun.

I can't post up any photos since we went into the forest pretty late and by the time the missions were underway, it was already dark. Only Kembara Duga was done in dwindling daylight. Even Cikgu Jach (the acknowledged "pro" photographer) couldn't take any pictures because we were guarding our camps so tightly. If any of the "spies" get into our camp, we're considered inept Wira and Wirawati and our training pointless since the it would be assumed that we have failed Wirajaya, the final exam of sorts.

... Wow... I think that was my longest digression. I was talking about how we were trained to prepare quick and fast at NS and I ended up reminiscing.

But it feels good to reminisce once in a while.

I think it's a bit... weird... and sad that I was the only person at the NS camp who shed merely a tear or two instead of a whole river when it came to the time for us all to part ways. I was the one comforting people and taking things very sensibly. Even the Commandant looked at me with some sort of admiration (he later on texted me asking if I were an elder child and I said yes. He said "patutlah you tak menangis.")


I don't like crying over things that I knew I was going to lose. And I don't like acting like we're never going to see each other again. There's always that chance meeting, one day. And even if you do not meet each other again, why cry over it? Instead of regretting the parting, you should rejoice in the meeting. Because we were lucky enough to have met each other, and to have had to share a special bond (heck. 3 months of sleeping together and bathing together counts for something no?). Don't cry and regret the fact that you won't see another person again. It's not like technology died in the wake of you leaving. There's still ways for you to keep in contact.

Move on, but keep in touch. Eventually, in this world, you'll have to part with things and people you think you can't live without. But then, till you do, you'll never know your own strength.

That's what parting is I guess - a test of your inner strength.

Or maybe just a test of how hardhearted you can be when you want to be. =)


As I've mentioned before, I went to school this morning. And decided on the new debate team. Before that, I lingered around school and met a lot of teachers (who most went "Wah, dah kurus!") and also bumped into a few prefects and students who knew me ("waaah!", *gasp!* and "hiiii!"). Gaik Xuang's reaction is the best; she looked at me, and then went in her most monotonous voice "hi...". Sigh. So happy to see me till you get lethargic? I wonder. Sheng on the other hand merely looked guilty (itu la dia... skip debate yesterday lagi.)

Didn't do much today except I had three contracts in my bag that needed to be signed by the Principal.

Until I found out that the Principal was not around. *cue: dramatic music (dun dun dunnnnn)*

Then, I re-read the guide to the contract and found out the Principal's Right Hands (as in the Head of Administration, Head of Students' Affairs and Head of Co-Curricular) can sign it too.

So I looked for Pn Rohana. And found out she was not around too. *cue: dramatic music (dun dun dunnnnn)*

Nearly giving up hope, I looked for Pn Ng instead. Alas, I was quite brutally cut off by a very busy Pn Ng (*cue: discordant sound of piano key being smacked*) so I searched for Pn Rozita next.

*cue: heavenly sound*

She finally signed it.

Now, I am free!

By the way, I read the Declaration form inserted in the Admission Form Booklet for IIUM and CFS.

This was very interesting:

"...not to indulge in an form of relationship with the same or the opposite sex as is forbidden by the Shariah (divine law) in and off the campus..."

I told you I can't get a boyfriend in IIUM.

"...This Declaration Form is a very important LEGAL DOCUMENT..."

Yeap. Very serious. I can't break that deal I made. Nope, no boyfriend. My sabbatical is safe.

Wow. That means I really don't have to worry about boyfriends. Ever. For five years. Wow.

.... Awesome.


Mom's bouquet. I wonder who took the picture.


May 13, 2010

Not a moment for crossing fingers.

As dictated by Faranza Syns

This is the fifth post that I guess might end up as a draft because I can't seem to force myself to finish it.


I got an email from someone a few days back. It made me get that "awwwh" sensation all over again. Honestly, I'd thought the said person would not be reading my blog anymore, but instead, this person has tried to read my blog. Yay!

Hence, I've decided to make my blog temporarily public again, but of course, I'll keep the old reader's list.

I think the reason I've seemed to stop blogging is because I feel pressured to finish the next chapter of Hayes, and if I don't, and I post something else instead, it would feel like I've disappointed a lot of people. So, I think it might be a wise idea to shift the WALB novel to another blog. To the 2nd blog that I have. What do you guys think? Should I?

Hell, I'm gonna end up doing it anyways, so what the hell.

Any updates will be posted on FB, and here, I suppose. =)


I think I can handle the "jalanraya" part of my driving now. It really helps that Abang Nizam doesn't snap and wrench the wheel like Abang Man does whenever I drive. He talks calmly, and chides me in a firm, but reasonable tone. Of course, he does get pissed off, but that's only because I keep doing stupid mistakes. But hey, I learn better when you don't bite my head off, so kudos to Abang Nizam for figuring that out.

Abang Nizam is... funny. He, of course, teases me about falling asleep, and he also sings out loud when I drive. Yesterday, he was singing a malay song about "satu pasangan tak cukup, dua simpanan juga tak cukup". Finally, I said to him "Hai, Abang Nizam, bila nak kahwin, oi?"

When I drive, he also turns on the air-conditioner full blast, and my fingers end up being freezing cold, and involuntarily numb. When I complained to him, he adjusted the air-conditioning vent, and it ended up being more focused on my hand. He cackled in amusement when I grumbled about it.

In the car, when he drives me and Lyn to the circuit and back home, he always comes up with funny things to say and mostly, it had a lot to do with old Malay movies, Malay movie stars, Malay music, Malay artistes, so on and so forth. When we talked about it, the only contribution I made to the conversation was me laughing. After a while, I sorta realised that I really have not been brought up to care much about Malaysia. Somehow, I've overlooked whatever happens here, and skipped right ahead to what happens outside.

Not very patriotic of me, I know. But then again...

Oh well.

Speaking of driving, I'm having my driving exams tomorrow. And courtesy of the worry and paranoia, I ended up dreaming all about driving last night. Went comatose at 12, and dreamt all about me in a car. Which is pathetic, really.

Today's my last class before the JPJ test tomorrow. I hope it goes well. I really hope it does.


April 11, 2010

When the Autumn Leaves Blush - Part VII

As dictated by Faranza Syns

When The Autumn Leaves Blush
Faranza Syns

The one thing I learned from writing WALB: Roman numerical.

Chapter 6

Danielle massaged her lower arm - around the bandage of her wrist - as she stared at Sean leading the way in the small, narrow tunnel. Her back was starting to ache from bending over as they walked. She had to wonder how she had ever gotten in and out of this tunnel before.

Just hours ago, she had been prowling the area outside of the military camp, stalking in the relative darkness as she sensed the oncoming rain threaten to unfurl into a full-blown storm - or so she believed it to be in her head.

Suppressing a shiver at the remembrance, Danielle paused in her walking.

"You alright?" Sean asked.

Nodding, she pressed on, trying to push aside the lingering fear she felt at being so exposed to the elements. Her breathing became shallow as she felt the fever that she had pushed to the back of her mind start taking over again.

As if sensing Danielle's weakening state, Sean turned and grasped her uninjured hand. "Come on." And they pressed on in silence.

It was by pure, unexpected and shocking chance that she had found this one and the same tunnel a few hours before. The entrance had been hidden amongst bushes and covered by layers of dead leaves and roots. The entrance had also been so narrow, like it had been dug out by some small creature as a burrow. Frustrated and wound up, Danielle had stamped the dirt ground in fury. When the ground shifted, Danielle had paused and went back down on her knees. Working mostly on auto-drive by then, her fingers clawed deep into the earth, and she dug, tearing apart roots and shifting the soil. Little by little, the hole grew bigger and bigger.

When the hole had expended enough to allow her to slither in, she had stepped in gingerly, holding on to the sides of the hole as she tested the with her feet to see how deep the hole is, hoping beyond hope that it was big enough for her to huddle in as she waited for the rain to stop. When her feet had touched solid ground, she was dismayed as she had only gotten in as far as her waist. But holding on to a shred of hope, she had wiggled in some more, and found room for her legs to bend. As she slid into the hole, eyes closed, almost sitting on the dirt, she lost her balance, and rolled down an incline.

That was how she had rolled into the tunnel, bumping her head against the hardened wall. Not really thinking ahead, she had dusted off her jacket, stood up and began walking.

After that, it was all a blur of actions that had been carried out without taking into account possible consequences - hence the twisted wrist and the worsened fever.

And her landing a spot in a military school's hostel - with only boys.

The gravity of the situation struck her at that moment, with her hand in the grip of a boy. She would soon be surrounded by many, many males - and that was an abundance of testosterone.

She looked up ahead at Sean. It was funny, but after spending so much time alone with him, she finally registered in her head that he was a guy at that point. The ramifications of that realization came soon after as well. But as he looked back at her, his face contorted with focus and sheer determination, Danielle felt her fears sit back on its haunches, wary, but not yet ready to attack.

He seemed like a decent enough person - a person who respected a female and knew the limits. He had after all been the one who was so adamant against her staying in his room. She finally saw his logic now. There would be four very male, very virile boys sharing their room with her. It was bound to stir up many, many problems.

Oh boy.

She nearly jumped when Sean used his other hand to uncurl her fingers from around his. She swallowed as she realised just how hard she had gripped his hand but let out a sigh of relief when he did not comment on it. "Wait here. I'll open the trap door, check if everything is secure, then I'll boost you up. Got it?"

Danielle nodded and he did likewise, his firm, almost regal nod an antithesis of her weak, wimpy one.

He reached up above their heads and slid the metal door open to the left. He boosted himself up on a ledge, then peeked his head out. Almost as stealthily, he came back down. "It's safe, but you need to be really quiet."

"Okay," she whispered, but her throat was so dry, she was not sure whether he heard that pathetic sounding croak or not. He positioned himself on her right, his feet braced apart, his knees bent. "Here, step on this with your right foot, hold on to the top and boost yourself up. Use your elbows - and please God, don't grab the ledge with your twisted hand."

Danielle frowned, but did not complain. He was the pro here after all - he could bite her head off all he wanted, she would not say a word edgewise.

She did as he said and struggled to pull her weight up with her elbows. She could feel herself slipping - almost shrieked when it happened - but a push from below steadied her and she found that she was already up to her thighs. She manoeuvred herself up and out.

Only after she was fully out and sitting on solid earth did it dawn on her where the push had been exerted.

Her ... behind. It was probably the wrong time to worry about it, but out of nowhere, her refined up-bringing reared its ugly head and began tinging her cheeks pink.

Sean emerged a few seamless seconds later, crouching beside her with nary a catch in his breath. "You okay? Damn, that fever's acting up again, isn't it?"

"I'll be fine."

"Good girl."

He then grabbed her hand and they were off.

"Where're we?"

"Behind the Chief Instructor's place."

"Is he important?"

It took a while for Sean to answer through gritted teeth. "Basically, if we screw up, he's the one who gets to cut off a chunk of our asses with a carving knife and feed it to the sharks."

No wonder his whole body was tense.

"Why are we going through here, anyways?"

"It's the only spot that's the least guarded around here. Come on," he urged as they stalked through the trees, trying to move as silently and as quickly as they could. Danielle's feet were almost flying off the ground as they crossed the back of the fenceless house, which made the crash even more powerful when Sean stopped abruptly.

Stumbling, Danielle held onto Sean tightly, trying to regain her balance and her wits. "What's going on?" she asked.

Sean was silent, staring with wide eyes and slackened jaw at the Chief Inspector's house.

"What's wr--" Danielle never got to finish her sentence as she saw what Sean was seeing.

It was a horrifying scene to stomach. A man, full-grown and muscled, stood over a woman who was on her back on the bed, her upper-body lifted up and supported by her elbows. From the fast and furious movement of her jaws, Danielle could only deduce that she was angry and was demanding for her own pint of blood. The man roared in response - it was freaky and weird to watch. There was no sound that accompanied the disturbingly turbulent feelings on display.

What happened next made Danielle's stomach churn further, made chills and shivers run a maddening stampede all over her body.

The man tore open the woman's clothes and lunged. Again, no sound. No rustling of the sheets, no snatches of quickened breath, no cries of desperation. But those were all sounds that began to echo in her head.

She saw the man lift a hand, and saw it strike. Saw the woman's head snap sideways. Saw him take off his clothes. Saw hands claw and grip viciously.

Saw more than enough.

Sean turned her around, then began pulling. When Danielle did not budge, but continued staring with wide eyes and choppy breaths, he turned her fully to face him. "Forget all you saw," he commanded with a harsh voice she had never heard him use before.

" could--"

Was that her voice that shook and faltered?

"Listen, Dee Dee. We need to go--"

They both jumped when they heard a muffled thump of flesh against a window. On instincts that were unquestionable, they burst into a run, trying to save their lives, affording themselves a narrow escape.

An escape that Danielle knew would never extend to the catharsis her soul so desperately craved - a chance to maybe, just maybe, allow her to live her life without the haunting shadows stalking her dreams. Visions of what she saw kept coming back to her. With every step she took, her heart shook with a potent mix of fear and outrage.

But at least now her heart was brutally aware of the fact that she was not the only who has suffered through such show of bestiality.

Sean shoved Dee Dee's small body into the then empty room and tried to not slam the door closed.

Before he even had time to catch his breath, she was all over him, fury and fired-up indignation flaming in her eyes. "How could you! That woman was - was ... was being ra--"

He pulled her deeper into the room and dragged her into the bathroom, locking them in. He then turned to her again. "Listen, I need you to forget everything--"

His head snapped back at the vicious slap dealt by her small, seemingly harmless hand. As the sting faded and as his vision cleared, Sean stared down at her small frame, not really taking in the heavy breathing, the tears, the clash of emotions in her eyes. Instead, he saw the hand that shook from the force of the blow she had delivered and he felt anger burst like an inferno in his chest.

"What the hell!" he snapped.

"She was being raped."

"She wasn't," he gritted out, seeing the crushed expression on her face. Unable to accept the fact that someone else was emotionally affected as him - knowing that he could not handle both their emotions for them - he turned away from her, only to be pulled back by a surprisingly strong grip.

"How would you know?" she hissed, moving up and forward on tip toes. "You've never been raped, have you?" she jeered. When her eyes were close, he finally saw the confusion and anguish - the shattering pain and suffocating fury. For one moment, he was still - everything inside and around him seemed to cease moving for a breath, and understanding dawned in him. With that enlightenment, came the expected squeeze in the vicinity of his ribcage.

A thousand questions raced in his mind. How? Why? How could someone like her have gone through something as vile as...

Sean stopped himself from contemplating. All he knew now was that he had to be gentle - as gentle as he could allow himself to be.

"Dee Dee..." he began, trying to reach out for her arms. But as he saw her stiffen and shift backwards, he dropped his hands, trying to not let the frustration gnaw at his composure. "Calm down," he told her.

"You're telling me to calm down when--" she heaved in breath after breath, looking both sick and sickened. Pushing aside the fact that Dee Dee most probably did not want a male touching her, he dropped the cover of the toilet seat and forced her to sit down. He sat on his haunches and stared up at her. "Deep breaths," he whispered, trying to convey as much calmness as he could, hoping she would accept what little strength and equanimity he could offer. "Come on, you can do this," he urged gently.

She began with ragged breaths that soon slowed to deep, forced inhalations. She reached out, and Sean was quick to extend his own hand in offering. She grasped the tips of his fingers with an iron-strong grip, her nails digging into his flesh, but he held steady, looking up into a face of such open naivete, he could not help but grip her own hand tighter.

"Are you okay?" he asked. Her nod was slow in coming, Sean almost expected her to not respond at all. But respond she did, and her tiny, defeated nod sufficed for Sean.

He held onto her hand with a firmer grip as he tried to gather his wits. They should not have seen what they did. It was something that bordered on catastrophic to have accidentally stumbled over that scene. The fact that it seemed like forced intercourse was one thing, but the fact that the woman was not the Chief Instructor's wife was another.

But his hands were tied - Sean cannot say anything. If he did, one thing was that he would be questioned as to how he knew. Second, the Chief Instructor would make his life a living hell. He was going to graduate in two months. Two months was a long time, and it was a long enough to time for the Chief Instructor to bring him down to a level lower than dirt. He was an SUO. The shame would be monumental - he'd never be able to hold his head up anywhere if he had been demoted out of the blue.

Sean rubbed his temple with his free hand in exhaustion. It had been one thing on top of another since three o'clock in the morning. He really did not know what had made life deal him this deck of cards, but it sure sucked to high heaven.

But he had to handle this, before it got worse, or out of hand.

He looked back up at Dee Dee who sat stiff on the toilet seat, her face impassive, but her hand shaking in his grip. She was another problem. Sick as a dog, and in no condition to be wandering around on her own outside of camp - what with the rough weather that's bound to come around. It was mid-August after all. Soon, it would be autumn, and rain would be the least of her concerns.

But she saw something that even Sean wanted to erase from his mind. The gut-churning scene replayed in his head, and he shuddered.

"You have to tell someone."

Sean stared into eyes that were green and clear. "We can't. That was... the Chief Instructor."

The calm, nearly lucid face then contorted again with anger. "Even if he were the bloody Prince of Russia, he should be hanged!"

"You don't get it!" he cut her off. "If he finds out I know, I'm as good as dead."

"He can't kill you--"

"Yes," Sean forced through gritted teeth. "He can."

That seemed to take the winds out of Dee Dee's sails, but she was quick to regain it. "Rape is serious, Sean. How can you just ..." she waved her hand around in a sign of helplessness. "You can't just let it go like that." There was a loud plea in her voice, but Sean closed his heart off from her voice.

"Yes, I can," he said, his voice laced with cold steel. "And so can you." He yanked his hand away, and stalked towards the sink, leaving behind a disillusioned girl in his wake.

Danielle could not stop the shaking of her body as she stared at Sean's broad back. She could just let it go? Danielle did not know what to feel at that point - anger at the boy who had so callously regarded a helpless woman's dire situation as something that could so easily be pushed aside? Sheer disappointment because she had expected something short of a miracle?

Before she could separate and examine the feelings, Sean turned and looked at her. "You know, I'm starting to think it might not be such a hot idea to have you around here."

She inhaled sharply, unexpected pain in the region of her heart making her breath stuck in her chest. "What?"

"Two months is a long time - who knows what could happen within that period of time."

"But..." An alien yet strong feeling of needing to convince someone overtook Danielle, making the words tumble out of her mouth, unchecked and unfettered. "You just need to keep me here for a few days - it won't even be that long!" Danielle leaned back on the toilet seat when she realised how frenzied she sounded - like a desperate woman clinging onto the arm of a lover who was leaving without a backward glance. With a sinking feeling, it came to Danielle that this feeling was something familiar. She had done this once before, and failed.

She had thought the pain of the past had been dulled by time. Alas, time merely made the pain slice like a finely sharpened blade - the sting was unbearable, and it lingered.

Sean hesitated. Feeling the familiar taste of bitterness rise up like bile within her, Danielle looked away. She should not have expected anything. Nothing at all. It was a lesson she should have learned years ago with what used to be her family.

It was apparent Sean did not trust her to be around here and keep a low profile. He probably thought she would somehow slip up, and proceed to make everything blow up in his face. His SUO position was such an important thing for him, and she was just a stranger. What right did she have to demand his trust?

But it still made her feel betrayed.

Pissed off, Danielle forced herself back up onto her feet. "I'll leave tomorrow morning. I'm sorry for being an inconvenience, but I need to stay here until tomorrow morning. After that I'll leave - and your life will be saved." Sean frowned at the jeering note in her voice, but Danielle could not give a damn. "I'm sorry about the money you guys had to fork out for the throat swab - I'll repay you somehow. You probably don't trust me when I say that, either," she laughed at herself.

Sean pushed his hair back frustratedly, feeling his resolve slip and flounder. This SUO spot and graduating with it would be the final frontier for his catharsis. If he graduated with this rank - one of the highest ranks to be held by a hero in the military school - it would prove his mettle to himself, thus banishing the feeling of agitation that seemed to grow more and more restless by day.

He wanted to face his ghosts and come out the victor - the only way was to graduate with a high rank, to leave this place being one of the people whom many looked up to. And Dee Dee was going to ruin. She was bound to blow her cover. No matter how careful they were, someone would eventually find the hidden fuse - and that's when everything would fall apart.

This was too important to him - it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to exorcise his demons.

But listening to Dee Dee's jaded laughter, Sean felt his heart contract painfully. Something inside him did not want to disappoint her - at the price of his own downfall. Oddly, he found a part of him willing that to happen, having no qualms against it at all.

"Dee Dee," he began, his tone grave and low. "This is difficult for me. And this is a military school!' he said, trying to reason with her. "You'll be surrounded by guys - it'll be horrible for someone like you."

"Someone like me?"

Sean held himself back. He didn't entirely know for sure that Dee Dee had gone through what he thought she had, so it was probably best to hold keep that scrap of suspicion to himself for the moment. "You look... refined." With that said, he finally realised that she did look refined. Like someone from a family with old money. Someone who would probably never end up on the streets even if an earthquake shook her home into shambles - there would be plenty who would give up their beds for people like her.

But what bothered him most was how familiar she looked. Those eyes - whose did they look like?

As it came to him that he was deviating from the matter at hand, Sean shook his head and recollected his last words. "You won't feel so good around so many--"

"I've been on the streets for over a year. I'll survive." Again, that jeering tone. Somehow, it didn't suit her.

"No, you don't get it --"

"Are you trying to convince me, or you? Because I said I'm leaving tomorrow morning. If it makes you feel so scared that I'll ruin things for you, just put me under a bed and I swear I'll keep quiet till tomorrow morning."

It was probably best to leave it at that.

But he did not want it to end that way. Despite it all, despite the surety of this turning out to be a disaster, he knew he could not kick her out. He just could not.

Angry at himself for being so weak, he grabbed her arms. "Fine. But I need you to keep this in your head - you must keep quiet. It'll be hell for you here. You won't be able to walk around outside. If you get cabin fever, I'm sorry, I can't do anything for you."

"I won't get cabin fever."

"Not if you're staying in here for 2 months."

It took her a few minutes to get what he was implying. "You want me to stay here for two months?"

He really thought the question was stupid, so he deemed it not worthy of an answer. Besides, answering it would most probably make one of his veins pop, so he shut up.

Doubt clouded Dee Dee's eyes, and despite her less defensive pose, he knew she was still wary. He had after all changed his mind half-way through, just because she saw a crime in progress, and he had told her to keep it quiet when she wanted him to do the right thing.

It was something he could never do. It would jeopardize too much of what he had worked so hard to achieve. It was too important to him - he could not do it.

"You don't have to keep me here for two months," Dee Dee spoke after a while, her voice small and faltering. "I just need a bit of time to get my feet back under me."

Unbeknownst to him as to the reason, Sean felt a deep, ingrained sense of responsibility for her. It was as if now that she was in his care, she was his responsibility until he left school. He felt a need to set her up somewhere and make sure she was fine.

It was definitely a need he was not going to voice. It was weird enough that he was giving in to the softer side of him - but to eagerly take up the responsibility of looking out after a runaway girl?

No, thank you. He would do some intense psychoanalysis on himself some other time.

But in spite of that, he still could not deny the fact that he felt as if something deep within him had made a promise to her, and breaking that promise would be going against the grain of his whole being.

And so, he let her think that she was leaving soon. He'll think of some other way to make sure she stayed safe, although he had no idea why it meant so much to him.

"But you need to tell someone about what ... happened."

He let go of her arms and stepped back. "I can't. I'm sorry. There are times you just have to keep quiet about these things."

He saw the disappointment on her face, but he steeled himself against it.

"I need you to keep quiet about it, too. No telling the other guys. If word gets out about it, it's bound to circle back to us, and there'll be hell to pay."

"But a woman was... raped."

"And we can't do anything about it. I'm sorry. I hate doing this, but we really can't."

Danielle watched as Sean moved to the door leading back to the dorm room. She stared at her hands - one bandaged and the other roughened by a year of scrounging the streets.

It was not a matter of could not but a matter of would not. And it was because her family would not do anything that she had ended up like this.

It was painful to know that it was now her turn to close one eye - and let someone else suffer the same fate she had had to endure, to swallow the same bitter pill that did nothing but destroy whatever faith she had in life.

Vicious cycles were always a bitch.

"So?" Drake snapped as he saw the door crack open.

Sean jumped backwards in surprise, bumping against Dee Dee who followed close behind. He frowned at Drake when that movement caused Dee Dee's head to smack against the doorjamb, hissing painfully at the contact. "You don't have to kill anyone to get information from us, Drake." He grabbed Dee Dee's head and pressed around for the sore spot. "Where? Here?" Dee Dee nodded as he found it, and she grimaced as he proceeded to rub.

"So? Was it strep?"

"Not sure." Sean moved her hair around to look at the scalp, looking for bruises and cuts.

"Not sure?"

"Yeah," Dee Dee said, biting her lip. "I'm fine," she said, grabbing Sean's hand to remove it.

"What do you mean 'not sure'?" Drake's voice rose in displeasure at being ignored.

Annoyed, Sean threw him a sharp look. "The doctor says the results will only be out tomorrow."


"So you're staying here?" Robin asked from his study desk, turning in his chair to fully absorb what was going on. Dee Dee looked up at Sean in question, but Sean was already staring ahead at a point on the wall as if bracing himself for a blow.

"Yes," he answered, the one word sounding like a death-sentence on his lips.

"But... doesn't she have strep?" Clark asked.

Dee Dee shook her head slowly. "Doctor says it's most probably tonsillitis. Besides, I don't feel so bad anymore."

At that, Clark got off his bed in an energetic leap and moved to Dee Dee's side. He put his arm over her shoulder. "You should lie down," he led Dee Dee to his bed. Sean frowned at Clark's over-familiarity, noting Dee Dee's wide eyes of surprise.

"Yeah," Sean put in. "Lie down on my bed." He threw a look of silent challenge at Clark as his fellow SUO turned to look at him. The boy of very little words stood still for a few seconds. Then, he said the words that won him the argument -- point-blank.

"I washed your sheets."

Sean's eyes widened at that, and he gaped at his bare bed. That was right - he told them to wash his sheet for him. From the corner of his eyes, he saw Clark throw him an 'oh well, too bad' look.

That boy better watch out. Sean stared as Clark guided Dee Dee to the bed at the farthest corner of the room. His glare was intensely fixed on Clark, reading every move like a leopard calculating the moves of its prey.

He only relaxed when Dee Dee shook her head, telling Clark she was fine, and she got into the bed - dragging the sheet over her body, and turning away from Clark. A silly sense of cockiness enfolded Sean at that. It almost felt like Dee Dee had chosen him over Clark. At that line of thought, Sean's eyes widened and he mentally slapped his head. This was stupid. He turned away and cleared his throat, moving towards his desk in an act to put it to rights.

"You guys spent quite some time in the bathroom," Robin commented.

"Just laying down some ground rules about her staying here." Sean kept a bland face when Robin looked like he did not buy that explanation.

"In the bathroom?" Drake asked, his arms folded in front of his chest.

Sean looked over his shoulder and raised a challenging eyebrow at them, his face cool and calm. "Do I look like I care what you think?"

Drake looked over at Robin. "I hate it when he does that 'I'm above you, so move over, you plebe' thing."

Robin shrugged and turned back to his work. "He never does it to me. Probably respects me more than he does you."


"By the way, Sean," Robin called out without looking up from his work. "Maiza from Echo was looking for you again at lunch."

"What did he want?"

"Another fight, most probably," Drake surmised. "He hates your guts."

"I don't see why."

"We don't, either," Drake shrugged.

"That aside," Robin began, finally looking up from whatever he was doing. "Is your mom coming tomorrow? I need some detergent."

Sean paused. That was right. Tomorrow was Visitation day. The thought of his mother coming to see him always put him a little bit on edge. But he was not sure if his mother really was coming tomorrow, or if she would come the next week, so he tried ease the knots in his stomach, telling himself that maybe she won't come this week.

"Oh, and is Sophia coming tomorrow, too?" Drake asked eagerly.

At the mention of that name, Sean smiled. Really, that girl would not let him forget her. She came almost weekly these days (the joys of coming from a rich, and influential family), and when she came, she almost always rendered the guys speechless. She was a whirlwind of energy, and it seemed like Drake really fancied her.

Sean shook his head at that, chuckling to himself. Sophia thought of Drake as an annoying little puppy - she was not sure what to make of him. Hell, Sean was looking forward to watching another episode of 'Sophia Murders Drake Without Really Knowing'.

It could not be, could it?

After all, what were the chances that the person who would be visiting Sean was the one person Danielle missed so dearly after months of separation?

Nearly down to nil, that was how high the chances were.

Danielle closed her eyes again, and told herself it was alright. Sophia Dorwood was not about to see her in this sad state anytime soon.

...Or ever.

That thought brought tears of sadness and regret to her tightly shut eyes, but Danielle dealt with them the same way she dealt with her pain.

She ignored it.


End of Chapter 6

Author's note: I had to slap myself a few times to get the real feel of a slap. Am I taking this a bit too far? Hell no. It's good experience. =)

The part where Sean was having his inner battle on whether to let Danielle stay was a bit of a funny part for me. I kept on thinking "sepandai-pandai tupai melompat, akhirnya jatuh ke tanah juga." I've been on a mental block for a long time, so idioms don't come to me as quick as they used to. So I sorta winged it, and tried to type non-stop to see what idiom would come to mind off the bat. I wrote down a part of a song instead -

"someone would eventually find the burst pipe, and as fast as they bow down they'll leave you behind." It's from Baby, Be Brave by the The Corrs. Haha. What the hell.

By the way, I wrote this after going through a rough week, so I would really appreciate comments on how bad I've written this chapter - it'll teach me to not be so down on the dumps too long.

Apologies for typos or grammar mistakes. I am only human (and a lazy one at that. I need a BETA reader, la).