“What’s wrong?” I looked up, into Blaue’s eyes, and couldn’t help but smile.
“I’m just nervous, is all.” I said. He smiled at me, and tugged on my hand, pulling me towards him. “Why would you be nervous?” He asked, putting his finger under my chin, and lifting my head up to look into his dazzling blue eyes.
“Because it’s exam time. I’m worried I’m going to fail.” I pointed out. He chuckled and shook his head, which made me lose confidence. Great. I was definitely going to fail. I tugged away from him, and sat down on the bed.
“You won’t fail.” Blaue said, attempting to assure me, as he sat down beside me, one arm wrapping around my shoulders to give me a gentle, affirming squeeze. “You’ll pass with flying colours.” I shook my head firmly.
“How can I? I haven’t even had a chance to study yet!” I said. I glanced at the table. In my room, there was a pile of textbooks there. Textbooks that I should be reading now, instead of dreaming.
“Bella Rosa, you can speak French fluently.” He said. I sighed, and nodded. I was even beginning to think in French. “And you’ve read the books that you need to for Simlish years ago.” Okay, also true. “You know everything there is to know about art.” I laughed, so hard I actually fell off of the bed, before shaking my head.
“Are you insane?” I asked. “I know nothing of art. I can just paint. And draw. I mean, sure I know some techniques, but I’m way behind.” He smiled, and helped me up. “Well, your painting and drawing is amazing.” He said. “The best I have ever seen.” I sighed. I hated his compliments, sometimes. Because I didn’t feel I earned them. But he continued to insist. I couldn’t stop him.
“You know your musical theory-”
“Because I can’t even beat the drums in time.”
“-You know everything there is to know about drama theory, and the plays you were supposed to learn-”
“Because the only character I can act is Rose Nerds.”
“Rose, you don’t need those for your written exams.”
“But I still need to study!” I yelled, practically waving my arms around in exasperation. He was supposed to agree with me. Point me to my books. Get me to study.
“You also need to relax.” He said, turning me around so my back was towards him, and he began to give me a massage. I melted in his hands. His hands could work magic.
“Okay, you can keep doing that.” I said, closing my eyes and letting myself relax in his hands.
“I was planning to.” He said, with a grin, before shaking his head.
“But after, I’m studying.” He sighed, but nodded.
“Alright. Afterwards, you’re studying.” He agreed.
“Here.” He said, and I turned around to face him again, feeling so much more relaxed, as he pinned a heart pendant around my neck. “So I’ll always be with you.”
It was difficult to open my eyes. It always was after a dream with him. He always made me feel so happy, and relaxed, that I just didn’t want to wake up. Opening my eyes was a chore I didn’t even want to go through. But I had to. Hawthorn was meowing at me.
“What do you want, Fatso?” I asked, rolling out of bed, and picking myself up from the floor. “You can’t possibly want food.” I grumbled, as I picked him up. “You weigh a tonne.”
Looking down at my waist I realised I wasn’t exactly setting the best example for him. He purred, and I sighed, before heading downstairs. “Come on. It’s exam day.” I said. Jasmine was downstairs, digging into a stack of waffles that made my mouth water. Why was she eating waffles? She didn’t even eat waffles when Aunt Mully made waffles. I glared at her, as Aunt Mully handed me my oatmeal. Yay. Oatmeal.
I glared at my oatmeal as Val and Kico came downstairs. Kico looked rather flushed, and Val looked really happy with himself. Well, at least that explains the mysterious noises I heard last night.
“Here you go.” Val whispered to me, sneaking me some of his waffles. I thanked him as I devoured the delicious morsels. Okay, so maybe I could do with losing a few pounds.
Couldn’t she just buy an exercise machine or something? I mean, I didn’t want to give up waffles. Every day without the maple syrup, and the delicious fluffiness… I was growing insane, I swear it.
“Love your necklace.” He smiled. I looked at him with wide eyes, before realising that the heart pendant Blaue had given me in my dream was still around my neck. I couldn’t breathe for a moment.
“Ready for your exams, you three?” Aunt Mully asked, sighing as she realized that Val had given me some waffles. Kico and Val both nodded. Val had slept over last night “officially” to study with me. And of course Aunt Mully didn’t mind him sleeping in Kico’s room… In his bed…
Which had made Jasmine angry, because of course she’d been trying to get permission for Spicy to stay over, all year. With no luck, whatsoever. For good reason, too. Kico had told Aunt Mully about him beating her up. And I knew now it was true – She’s come home with even more bruises, and mysterious cuts.
I sighed, as I started eating my oatmeal, making a face.
“Wosie Wosie!” Papaya giggled, at my face. I made a silly face for her, and she giggled more, so I made a few more faces.
“Are you excited for your birthday tomorrow?” I asked, and she nodded exaggeratedly, her head bobbing up and down.
“Birfday, birfday.” She cried happily, clapping her hands together. “Birfday birfday.” She grinned.
After breakfast, I hurried up to get dressed. Though I was half tempted to just wear my pyjamas to school. They were comfy. And I wouldn’t need to get changed.
Brushing my teeth, I despaired at my image in the mirror. That was the worst part about waking up, away from him. In my dreams I was beautiful. I was slimmer. Not thin, exactly.
But beautiful. And definitely less fat. My hair was different, and I looked, well, I looked happy. And the clothes I wore, were amazing. I truly wish I could look, for one day, like I did in my dreams with Blaue.
The exams went better than I expected. I actually knew most of the answers without needed to think too hard. I was really surprised. My last exam was French, and boy did that have a surprise waiting for me. I’d barely sat down when Miss Rainbows gestured wildly to me from the front of the room. Frowning, I got up and walked over to her.
“Rose, I want you to take the senior’s exam.” She said. My eyes went wide.
“What?” I asked. No way was I ready for that. I’d studied for the freshman’s exam. Thinking about it I started hyperventilating. I was barely even ready for the freshman’s exam. No way could I do the senior’s.
“You’re ready for it.” She said, giving me a look that said she had faith in me. “I promise you, you will get an A. Next year you can still have your pen pals over. And you can still talk to them, but it will give you a free class, so you can have some more time.”
“Okay.” I said, too quickly. Okay. I could do this. My breath came quickly as I sat down, worried that Miss Rainbow’s faith in me was mislaid. Okay… Okay.
Miss Rainbows placed my exam in front of me with an extra flourish. And I was astonished that I knew all of the answers to the questions I could immediately see.
In an excited rush, not wanting to lose them, I jotted down the answers. When I got to the essay question, the words flew out of my pen. When I was finished, I looked at my test with astonishment. I was sure I’d done well. But only thirty minutes out of the alotted two hours had passed. Looking through my test, I double checked my answers, but nothing immediately jumped out of me. Feeling more nervous than ever, knowing that it wasn’t always the best thing to feel confident about an exam, I handed in my paper. Miss Rainbows glanced through it, shot me a grin, and a wink, and said I could go home.
It wasn’t a horribly long walk home. The other day Aunt Mully had suggested something about us getting some bikes, when Papaya was older.
I wasn’t surprised to see Aunt Mully home. Her exams were all in the morning. She didn’t like leaving Papaya with the babysitter for too long.
I was a little surprised to see Uncle Luxor home though. I had work later that afternoon. He should be there now… Why was he home? There was silence as I stepped into the house.
I frowned, and looked around. I couldn’t even hear Papaya playing her xylophone. She was inseparable from the thing. Worried, I hurried up stairs. Halfway up I paused hearing a thumping sound coming from Aunt Mully’s and Uncle Luxor’s room. Eyes wide, I ran to their room. Something had to be wrong!
Barging in, blood rushed to my cheeks as I realised what I was seeing.
“S-sorry!” I stammered, closing the door, and feeling myself fall to the floor.
“Rose? Are you okay?” Aunt Mully asked from my door, as she knocked on it gently. I shook my head, regardless of the obvious fact that she wouldn’t be able to see it. I wasn’t okay. And the truth was, I was beginning to doubt if I would ever be okay again.
“Rose? Sweetheart…” Uncle Luxor was there now. “Please, talk to us.” I shook my head again. I was doing something I hadn’t done for years. My thumb was in my mouth, and I was sucking it. Part of me felt bad for sinking back to it, but another part of me felt a great sense of relief.
There were only three people in the world who could make me feel better right now. One didn’t exist, but the other two might just be online.
I ran to my laptop, thumb still in my mouth, and quickly logged on. Still wasn’t on, but Cinna was.
Our conversation was in French. She was alright at Simlish, but she had a while to go before she was fluent. It was easier for her to just chat in French. Of course, we continued to do all of our longer, more “official” emails in the languages we were supposed to.
She comforted me just the way I knew she would. One moment I felt horrible. I didn’t think I could face the world. And certainly not Aunt Mully, or Uncle Luxor. But talking to Cinna… I was opening the door, and I even managed to look them in the eyes.
“Thank you, sweetheart.” Aunt Mully said, with a slow smile, before sitting down on my bed. “Well, I bet you’re wondering about what you walked in on.” She started, before stopping, and obviously wondering just how she was supposed to continue from that.
“It’s… I…” I started, not sure how to continue, either. We all sat there in silence for several minutes, awkwardly just staring around. All the confidence Cinna had given me to speak to them had gone.
“Well, it’s just that sometimes… We like to spice up our life…”
“Can we just… Never speak of it again?” I asked, trying hard not to bite my lip as I gave her a pleading look. She looked relieved, and nodded.
“We just want to make sure you’re alright. Just know that it’s a normal thing for some couples.” I nodded hurriedly, hoping that she would hurry up and stop talking about it.
“And know that you can always tell us anything.” Aunt Mully said, with a smile, before hugging me. I froze, unable to stop myself from thinking about what she’d just recently been doing. Uncle Luxor hugged me, too, though again I froze.
Once they were gone, I started talking to Cinna again. She was such a wonderful friend.
She didn’t once mention what had happened. Though things weren’t going so fantastically around her way, either.