School year starts pretty well
“Well, see you later!” Exclaimed the dark-haired teen as he walked towards the stairs to go up a floor.
“Arigato Vogt sama!” Replied Alexandre with a smile as he stayed on the ground floor, he saluted his best friend before taking a left towards room 004. He was not the first to arrive there as a middle-aged woman who appeared to have Japanese origins was already sitting at the desk reading a leaflet. The teenager also noticed another student was already there, on the second row to the far left side of the room, he noticed she was hiding a few piercings on her ears under her medium length blond hair as she turned her head towards the window. He greeted both of them before settling on a table on the right of the blonde girl and started taking out his stuff before waiting patiently. He almost thought they would only be two to follow the class when a dozen students walked in the room and also sat down.
“Not in the back please.” Simply said the woman who was now standing and was looking at them. Two of the students had to relocate to closer tables, one sat on Alexandre’s right.
“Thank you.” She said with a nod as she took out a pen from her pocket and turned towards the board. She wrote a few kanji characters before adding her name directly below.
“My name if Fumiko Saito, I will be your Japanese teacher this year. I don’t know you well enough yet to know if you are really motivated but this year I will ask consequent efforts from each of you to study and learn Japanese so I do hope that you will prove determined enough to make these efforts. If you don’t feel up to it, I’m telling you now that it is not necessary to come.” She paused and took time to look at each of the students sitting in the room. “It seems you’ve understood, good. I do not view myself as a strict teacher but I do enjoy working with people who are motivated and who show it. Today we are going to start slowly, I would like to first start with each of you introducing themselves, in Japanese of course. Let’s start with you young man.” She added as she turned towards the teenager sitting a Alexandre’s right.
He hesitated for a moment, seemingly searching for his words, then he started by giving his name and got his confidence back, little by little, as the Asian woman nodded positively to his sentences. Alexandre listened carefully in case his turn would come but he was slightly relieved when he saw the teacher was going the other way around, that would give him time to prepare his answer. He was thinking about what he would add when he heard the strange whispering that sometimes came interfere with his daily life, he had managed to keep the voice and its existence locked in a corner of his mind since he had woken up that morning but he knew that it was only time it to disturb him, after all it never appeared in the best situations. He found himself listening intently to try to understand what it was saying but as always, the monotone sound did not reveal anything clear or understandable. He was pulled in a semi-lulled state by the hypnotic rhythm of the voice and did not realize it was his turn to introduce himself until he heard the teacher clear her voice.
“Well, Mr. Parson, we are waiting for you.” Declared the dark-haired woman who had very few white strands for her age. Alexandre quickly shot a look around him and noticed they were just waiting for him to speak, looking at him with slightly amused smiles. He must have looked as if he was daydreaming again. Well, at least I’m not doing crazy stuff while I’m not focusing… He thought.
“Sumimasen!” He apologized before beginning his introduction.
The remainder of the class went by pretty fast, Ms. Saito gave them small oral test to evaluate their levels a bit more precisely. Alexandre managed to focus the entirety of the lesson after his presentation even if he could still hear the faint sound of the voice in the back of his head. He managed to keep it there until the bell rang the end of classes for the morning. He met with his best friend who was already waiting for him at the cafeteria and they both went in, taking the stairs on the side instead of the ones on the front to go around the usually long line.
“I’m so hungry I’m dying…” Exclaimed Bryan as he massaged his belly with a frown.
“Yeah, me too. I ate a good breakfast though, but it wasn’t enough apparently…”
They went to sit at one of the smaller tables by the window after taking their platter and filling it with food. From where they were sitting they had the view on a good part of the campus.
“It’s really cool here…” Commented the dark-haired teen as he looked outside towards the three other buildings and the large courtyard where many students were now walking.
“Yeah, you’re saying that just because of the all the cute girls here, all the potential victims of your deadly charms!” Exclaimed Alexandre with a mocking smile as he took large bites of his plate of boiled eggs and mayonnaise. Bryan looked at his with apparent dismay as he defensively put a hand on his torso.
“What?!” He exclaimed, sitting straight. “Are you accusing me of being a heartless Don Juan?”
“Yes, I dare my friend.” Replied the brown-haired teen as he pointed at Bryan with his fork which was still holding part of his egg. “I’d even add this: J’accuse!” He exclaimed in a false french accent before gobbling down the rest of the egg on his fork and pointing it once more at his friend.
“I can’t even… Why…?” Asked Bryan in a flabbergasted tone as he indignantly placed his hand back on his chest. They stayed like that for a few seconds, taking great care in not paying attention to the stares the other students gave them. Putting on a show was both something they enjoyed doing and something they did naturally when there was a certain number of people around. Bryan had loved doing this since long before they had met and he had slowly convinced his best friend to join him, and although the brown-haired teen had been reluctant at first he now enjoyed acting out with his friend very much. The key to the trick was to do it with as much exaggeration as possible while trying not to give the impression to the public that it was intentional. One had therefore to focus on the scene and not look around to give in to the surprised atmosphere and to drop the act too fast. Bryan often shot discreet looks around to see the results of their little game but never in an obvious way, he had mastered the art of using his peripheral vision.
“No but seriously, you can’t deny being attracted by these beautiful young women even a little can you?” Asked Alexandre as they settled back in their spots once they had managed to suppress their giggles.
“I must admit that you are not completely mistaken.” Replied his best friend as he ate a large bite of his rib steak. “There are indeed a few girls that I find cute, maybe even beautiful, but know this my dear friend, I am not looking for just any girl who I would find attractive. I am now searching for the One, the girl that will make me realize it is her, the one who will stir something inside my heart. The one whom I’ll immediately know is right. Unfortunately, for the moment, this fine establishment has many possibilities to offer but non that deeply attract me. Though we are still only the first day, who knows…”
“Wow. Who are you? What have you done with my best friend?!” Exclaimed Alexandre, not bothering to hide his genuinely surprised look. “Would you suddenly have become a hopeless romantic? You the mass seducer, the James Bond of high school students? What in the heavens changed your mind?”
“Somewhat of an illumination I might say.”
“Yes, exactly, an illumination.” Said Alexandre’s tanned friend, repeating himself on purpose.
“Will you explain yourself or not?!” Exclaimed Alexandre, getting slightly irritated by the provocation.
“I said no. You can whistle for it, I won’t tell you.”
“Ugh… Very well then…” Sighed Alexandre. “As you wish.”
“As I wish indeed if you please!” Exclaimed Bryan with a small provoking smile before changing the subject. Alexandre did not insist, he knew how stubborn his friend could be and that he wouldn’t make his talk by insisting. He preferred to drop the matter and to wait for the right moment, eventually he would find a crack in that tanned, well-built muscle shell that was his best friend. For the moment he would be patient and keep his questions to himself. But still, he thought, what could have made him change like that? It wasn’t a bluff, his friend seemed serious under his carefree appearance and it piqued his curiosity.
They finished their lunch more quietly and as they walked out of the cafeteria after checking that their meal had been counted it wasn’t even past noon. The two teenagers then proceeded to spend the rest of their free time to study their timetables more closely, only to notice they varied very little, only the foreign language classes and some sport classes diverged -depending on the choice of options for the later-. They then decided to tour around the school a little to see where their classes would take place and to make sure nothing big had changed since the previous year. Finally they checked in to get their school books, having finished their meal so early they were among the first students of their level to come retrieve them in the main hall. When the bell finally rang the beginning of the afternoon classes they had already been standing in front of their classroom for five minutes and only had to wait for their comrades and teacher to arrive. Alexandre felt as if time flew during the afternoon classes, the two hours of math followed by an hour of philosophy and an hour of English passed so fast he barely noticed them. Part of the reason was that he and Bryan managed to quietly talk through almost the entirety of the three classes, which helped greatly. They usually were more attentive and focused during classes, but this being the first day they felt that they could slack off a bit without suffering too large consequences.
The brown-haired teenager didn’t have any other interruption of his focus by the “little voice in his head” as Bryan called it and managed to spend a normal few hours, which was surprising due to the events of the morning. The duo soon found themselves on the way back home as the sun was still high in the sky and the air was still warm. Bryan walked beside his bike so that they had time to discuss some more before having to each go his way, they also made sure they took the long way around, by the riverbanks. Finally, when he wasn’t thinking about it anymore, Alexandre’s strategy of not appearing too curious seemed to pay off and Bryan finally decided to bring the subject back up on his own.
“So, you probably wondering what I meant during lunch about me repenting from my seducer life?” He was walking just a bit ahead of him, looking at something towards the horizon, Alexandre couldn’t see his face but he knew his tanned friend had a large smile on his face.
“Well of course I do, what do you expect you idiot?!” He exclaimed, Bryan laughed.
“Well, you might find me stupid but…” The taller of the two teenagers stopped and turned towards his brown-haired friend, looking directly at him. “Alex, I…”
“Yes, you…?” Tensions was almost tangible around them and Alexandre had trouble restraining from struggling his friend for making him wait so long.
“I… Well, ok here I go, I love you Alex. Since I met you my life has completely changed and I- I think about you all the time, day and night, when it rains, when it’s windy, you are always in my mind and in my heart and I-” But the dark-haired teen was interrupted by his friend who suddenly had put a finger on his lips to make him stop talking.
“Yes, I know. I know. But don’t be sad or afraid anymore Bryan, your senpai has noticed you now…” He replied in the most suave tone he could manage, then he took a step back and punched his friend in the shoulder.
“Now you imbecile, stop screwing around and tell me what’s going on! Or else, you’ll get more from where that came from!” He exclaimed as he struggled to keep his serious face, it wasn’t easy now that Bryan’s face had split in two.
“Hahaha! I must admit that your improv is not bad, ‘your senpai has noticed you now’?! That was awesome! Your best performance in years my dear Alexandre!” Exclaimed the dark-haired teenager as he burst out laughing. His outburst didn’t last long though as he saw his friend walk off towards without him. He was still holding his ribs and still displayed a large smile as he caught up with him.
“Okay okay, grumpy. I’ll tell ya what’s going on, but smile a little, it was funny… Wasn’t it?”
“Meh, a bit…” Admitted Alexandre with a small smile of his own.
“See?! Anyways, about me. Well, as I said earlier, you might think I’m stupid but the reason I’m thinking about my life as a mass seducer is because of, uh, a dream…” Started Bryan, a bit hesitant.
“Huh?” Simply replied Alexandre, surprised.
“Yeah. I had this dream not long ago, I think it was during the holidays, second or third week of August. I think I fell in love with a girl… in my dreams…”
“What? Really?” Scoffed Alexandre, looking genuinely take aback at his friend’s revelation. But what surprised the brown-haired teen the most was that Bryan seemed serious about what he said.
“Yeah, I know it’s weird but hear me out. Have you ever had this kind of dream where you really have the feeling that it’s real, like you dream it happens to you and once you wake up you don’t immediately realize it’s not real? Well I got one of these during the holidays and it seemed so real I tell you… It had never happened to me before… I”
“So, you’re really not making fun of me with this?”
“No, I swear I’m not telling you complete crap this time, scout’s honor!” Exclaimed Bryan as he made Hunger Games’ rebellion sign with his hand.
“Okay… So, you fell in love… with a dream? I knew you were weird but still…”
“Well yeah and no. In my dream I did yes, I was madly in love with this girl that I had met. But I’m not really in love with her, I don’t even remember what she looked like, it’s more that I miss the feeling that I felt during the dream. I was sleeping but I swear it was so real… And I genuinely felt depressed after waking up and realizing it wasn’t real… Plus, I don’t care what you think, I wouldn’t be the first one to fall in love with something not real.”
“And so, this has what to do with your lack of motivation to seduce every cute girl in sight?” Asked Alexandre, knowing he had stricken a sensitive subject, and letting his curiosity take over his skepticism. Bryan gave him a knowing look and a mocking smile, making sure his friend knew he had picked up on his thoughts, before continuing.
“Well, it’s not that I don’t want to seduce cute girls anymore, it’s just that -ugh, you’re going to think I turned into one of these hopeless romantics- I somehow want to feel what I felt in that dream again… I feel like I want to find not just a girl but the girl.” He paused. “I know it may just be some melancholic phase I’m going through, perhaps you’ll even find me eating ice cream while I watch the Twilight movies on my couch in a few days. It really bothers me, not in a bad sense thought, but it’s really strange…”
Alexandre noticed that his friend was being serious, he hadn’t seemed to be kidding at all during his explanation and that was rare. It was a sign what he had just talked about was important to him. Was the great lady-killer of the Bartholomée Santana high school really turning into a faithful romantic? He couldn’t be sure but he was somehow happy to see his friend at least thinking about his seduction habits, he had seduced and broken so many hearts during these last years that he seemed not to care at all about it anymore.
“I don’t know man. I can’t tell you if you’re going to find her soon or if it’ll take time, perhaps she’s already at our school or perhaps you’ll have to wait a bit more. But if it’s really what you’re looking for, I’m happy for you and I’m sure you’ll find her someday! Meanwhile, don’t forget you have me!” Exclaimed Alexandre with a mocking smile.
“Ha! Yeah, how could I forget that! If you find someone to love one day, remind me to come ruin some of your dates, it’ll teach you to mess with me!” Replied the dark-haired teenager before taking a right towards his family’s dojo.
“Yeah, as if you didn’t mess with me at all!” Yelled Alexandre, continuing straight forward as his best friend crossed the street. “See you later, ex Don Juan!” He added before running off toward his house.
As he walked along the long row of buildings built in red bricks leading to the peaceful neighborhood where his house was located, Alexandre felt the strange but familiar sensation that foreshadowed an acute episode of the voice coursing through his back. He stopped and leaned against one of the building, closing his eyes and taking deep breaths to try to calm down. But it didn’t help, he felt the buzzing in his temples increase and heard the whispering get louder. The voice always whispered, no matter how loud he could hear it, it was never anything else than a whisper. That was the only constant in his strange case. It didn’t change the fact that it could go from barely audible to a deafening, almost maddening, volume, on the brink of blowing his head off.
The brown-haired teen felt it, this time it was going to be really loud. So much for a quiet day, I guess this morning wasn’t enough after all! He cursed as he crouched against the wall in a corner and grabbed his head in his hands. He hadn’t had an episode like that for some time now. Alexandre pressed his hand on his ears, trying to reduce the sound he could hear louder and louder, but he knew it wouldn’t help, it never did, it was bad no matter what he did. The voice steadily got louder, ending up covering every other sound that he could have heard before and drowning the sound of life around him. He could only hear the incomprehensible whispering now, nothing else existed but that at that moment. He winced and groaned in pain as an eternity seemed to pass. He thought he was going to die as the voice got to its strongest yet volume yet.
He struggled a lot just to keep himself from not yelling and forced himself to hold his breath to keep the pain at bay. It didn’t work one bit but as he thought he was not able to handle any more he heard it speak three words more distinctly than ever. As he felt like he would never be able to utter another sane thought in his life he heard the distinct syllables of the word coming from the whispering voice. Six distinct syllables that he willed himself to remember after this just before the voice completely went silent and disappeared. Noctar ares lot’to. Three words… He thought, opening his eyes as the searing pain started to fade away. He took in a deep breath. I heard three words… This thought almost made a smile appear on his lips. Finally, he had something new! He was still catching his breath and struggling to see as his eyes still re-adjusted to the bright light but he fumbled through his bag and took out a small notepad and a pen from his pencil case. He proceeded to write the phonetics of the words he had just heard, or at least that he thought he had heard, as he didn’t know the correct spelling. Once that was done he tucked the pen and the notepad in a pocket of his jacket and closed his bag before taking in a few deep breaths and slowly standing up. He looked around to see if anyone had seen him like that but fortunately he had managed to partially hide himself in a corner.
Alexandre started walking towards his house again, slowly massaging his temples as he felt a headache coming. He thought about talking about this incident to his father this time but quickly decided against it, he didn’t want to go back to that time when he was barely living for anything else than the exams and tests. That period of his life was over and he didn’t want to go back to it. But why am I hearing this voice then? Is there a reason behind this or am I just crazy? That was the million dollar question that he couldn’t answer, was he schizophrenic like some had thought, or was it something else? It had eluded him since he had started noticing it and he felt he wouldn’t find out about it very soon… He had made some progress though, three new words in one episode, that was a good number. It raised the list to eleven now.