“Well, at least we know she is as strict as ever…”
Maximilian couldn’t stop laughing, trying to keep his voice as silent as possible, as his friend purposely (and discreetly) made an outraged face at the teacher’s comment. The year had barely begun and his friend was already very noticed. Of course he wasn’t so innocent himself but it pleased him not to have been caught, and so he laughed at his friend’s reaction with even more pleasure. As he did he tried to explain to his friend the gravity of the act that he had committed, and that to Ms. Blois it seemed like as outrageous as a terrorist attack. But it proved to be difficult for him as he couldn’t stop laughing. As his friend explained to him how he was supposed to be as stealthy as a ninja he tried to stop the hiccups that followed his silent giggle outburst and to calm himself, which proved very difficult with Simon Veyras besides you. He listened to the list of names that the English teacher recited, hoping to hear if ever he was called. When the brunette arrived to Chatterton, Marina he knew she had passed all the B’s and he wouldn’t be called ou yet. The redhead was now talking about the books that had inspired the Saw series as the teacher continued with the C’s.
“Christenssen, David…” A blond teenager got up near Maximilian. “Ciennda, Maya…” The dark-haired turned around to look at the next person who would stand up. As he did so he had a very strange feeling, like something was not right, as if what was going to happen couldn’t be true. Impossible. Thought the teenager. It couldn’t be. She can’t be… His brain was trying to calculate the probability of this kind of event, the possibility that their paths would cross once more. A one in a million chance, or maybe even less… It was not possible… His mind was viewing this as impossible but his instincts were telling him that anything was possible and that it was happening. After all, didn’t he himself have an impossible ability? All his doubts were washed away as he spotted the young woman who was walking down the gray stairs towards the teacher. Her short brown hair, her lightly tanned skin and her dark blue eyes were unmistakable. Maximilian blinked a few times, trying to ascertain the reality of what his eyes were sending to his brain. But it was true and as he opened them after the third time he knew. Of course she was taller and her face was one of a teenage girl now, even her hair had grown a bit, but it was her, there was no mistake.
Maya Ciennda was there, only a few meters away from him. All the sounds around him had drowned in a low and continuous buzz, all his attention was centered on the slender silhouette. As he watched her moving towards the center of the amphitheater questions buzzed in Maximilian’s head. How ? Why ? Since when had she been there ? Had she noticed him ? What was the minute probability for them to meet again already ? She who he had thought never to see again after that summer in the second year of secondary school. How could she be here ? It had been so long since then. How long ? Almost five years… Did she still remember him ? As he tried to answer all these questions he didn’t notice his friend mocking him to get his attention. Only when he heard the word “shrimp” did he snap out of his daydreaming. He noticed the amused look that Simon was giving him and immediately knew that he had seen him looking at that girl, the large smile plastered on his face was unambiguous. Damn, he’s going to bug me to the end of days with that !
He quickly thought of an excuse he could give his red-haired friend to escape the military questioning he was in for. But all that came to him was to tell that he thought he had recognized her. Maximilian saw that his friend didn’t really believe him but he let te subject drop for the time being, which wasn’t really reassuring. The fact that they were called not so long after that relieved him as it prevented Simon to ask too many questions and him to answer tricky questions. He knew his friend found that strange that he would look at a girl so intently, but he said nothing. As they were climbing the stairs to their classroom his mind was still focused on the tanned girl. Maya Ciennda was here, at his school. Who could have thought this would ever happen ? They had met for so little time and had never contacted each other since. Not that I could have, Maximilian sighed. He still couldn’t believe it.
“Really, it’s cool to finally be in the same class as you again !”
Classes had ended a few minutes ago and the two teenagers took advantage of the lunch break to fill their growling stomachs at the cafeteria. They were sitting at one end of one of the huge wooden tables that furnished the huge room. Many students now started to fill the empty chairs, talking and eating at the same time to not miss a single second of their free time.
“Yeah, last year wasn’t really what I would call a great year…”
“Meh, we were together two years straight at the end of secondary you know, we can’t always have it as we wish.” Said the redhead. “But they must have finally understood what an efficient team we make !” He added with a smug smile. The two of them scoffed at that comment, remembering all the pranks they had pulled back when they were in the same class.
“Well I hope all our classes will be like this morning because Physics with Mr. Brevski is definitely something !”
“Very true, I hadn’t found science this interesting since our arrival here. But unfortunately it’s not the only class we have, and this afternoon we apparently have English lessons and Math. That’s gonna be great…” Retorted Simon, trying to sound as depressed as possible.
“So, what have you done during your holidays ? Else than watching movies and going to parties ?” Asked Maximilian. “No trips this time ? I thought you said you were going to Canada this year.”
“Oh yeah ! Well I read some books. Yeah I did !” Exclaimed Simon facing Maximilian’s shocked face. “Yes, me, reading books, you heard me perfectly well ! Okay, they were not huge ones, I read mostly short stories. But I read never the less !”
“Wow ! You never cease to amaze me Mr. Veyras !”
“Anyways ! Yeah, we went to Canada with my parents for two weeks mid August, it was really cool. It’s great even without snow ! We visited Ontario and the coast around the Hudson Bay, it was really amazing !”
“I bet, I’ve never been up there but as soon as I can I will !”
“Oh you should !” Agreed the redhead. “And you, anything special this summer ?”
“Well, I’ve been working on this game software I talked to you about.” Simon nodded as Thrista said that. They had talked about his project of creating a video game for the school project for the final year. Simon had told him he was crazy to start so early but the brown-haired young man had simply laughed it off and said he wanted it to be perfect. “It’s coming nicely for the moment, I’ve had a complicated bug popping up recently but it seems I managed to fix it.” He added with a smile. Then his face became serious again as he remembered the other big news of the holidays he had yet to tell his friend about. “Oh yeah, there’s also something I want to talk to you about…”
“What is it ?” Asked Simon, sensing his friend was being serious now.
“Well… How to put this simply…” Maximilian hesitated for a second. “I… I’ve had a talk with my parents and, well, they’re not my parents…” The redhead stayed silent a few seconds, trying to figure out if his friend was pulling a prank on him. But he couldn’t sense any signs that the dark-haired teenager was joking.
“Wait, you’re serious ? What do you mean by not your parents ?”
“Well I learned I was adopted, Jeff and Doris are sort of my foster parents…” Answered Maximilian.
“And… when did they tell you that ?”
“Last week, on my birthday. Apparently my parents disappeared when I was a young boy. Jeff and Doris were good friends with them and decided to adopt me. They explained to me that my father had asked them to do it and to tell me about my real mother and him on my sixteenth birthday” As he said that he took out his phone and showed the picture of his parents that Jeff had given him a few days earlier. “Though I don’t know why he wanted me to know now.” He added before showing to his friend which couple were his parents.
“Wow, you really look like them ! I’ve never noticed it before but it’s true you have almost nothing from Jeff and Doris, but here… it’s so obvious…”
“Yeah.” Nodded the teenager. “I remember wondering about that a while back but it didn’t really strike me like an evidence either… Their name, my name, is Desrhodes. My father was Alexandre and my mother Sophia.”
The first bell rang, indicating the end of the first sitting. Most of the students had already vacated their seats but the two teenagers hadn’t noticed the time pass. They stood up and walked towards the exit of the big room, piling their trays on top of the used pile. As they did they continued talking, Maximilian described how he had reacted at first when he learned that he was adopted and Simon told him he would’ve freaked out if he had been in the same situation. Then the dark-haired then told his friend about the strange gift his father had left him.
“Yeah, a wooden box.” He said. “I don’t know why and I don’t know what’s inside it since I can’t open it. It seems to be locked but there is no keyhole nor any lock. I think it might be some sort of riddle, Jeff told me my father loved riddles and puzzles. I studied it for hours but I haven’t got a single result…”
“A wooden box that doesn’t have a visible lock, you say ? Hmmm, interesting.” Said Simon thoughtful.
Maximilian knew his friend was a big fan of riddles since his youngest age. When he was younger he had compiled every riddle he had ever heard of in a binder that he sometimes brought to school to impress and entertain his friends. The young man didn’t know if he still was as passionate as before or if he was even interested in this brain teaser but if anyone could help him open the box it was Simon.
“I can show it to you if you want, I have a picture here too.” Said Maximilian, full of hope.
“Yeah, I’d like to see that !” The redhead seemed really excited as they walked in the corridor leading to the staircase. Maximilian smiled. So he is still as passionate as ever, he thought with a smile. He handed the other teenager his phone with the picture on it and waited for him to study it. After a minute of observation Simon looked back up and handed his phone back.
“Yep, it’s a riddle, I’m sure of it. Though how to open it, that I don’t know. There are many boxes like that, it rings a bell but I can’t quite put my finger on it… I’d have to see the real thing to know for sure.”
“Well I can bring it here tomorrow if you want or you can come home tonight if you’d like.” Offered the teenager.
“Nah, tomorrow is good.” Replied Simon. “I have an appointment at the doctor this evening so I can’t.”
“Oh, okay. As you wish my friend !” Smiled Maximilian.
They walked up to the last floor where their Math class was set to take place and entered a packed corridor. Some greeted the two boys as they walked through as they knew each others from the previous year but most were first years and stayed amongst each other. As Maximilian and Simon walked up to the room where their class would take place in a few minutes the dark-haired teenager looked through the window at the schoolyard bellow. He watched the students flowing in and out of the buildings and as he did so he caught a glimpse of a familiar brown-haired girl going inside the building on the right. I’ll have to go talk to her later on, he thought with a smile. I wonder if she’ll even recognize me. They stopped in front of the closed-door number B-3 and waited patiently for the teacher to arrive.
“That must be really weird for you. You know, to be told by your parents they are not actually your parents…”
“Yeah…” Maximilian let out a light sigh. “But you know, I still love them, they ARE my parents after all. They raised me and they taught me everything I know. So, even if I they are not my biological parents they will always be my family.” Simon smiled.
“True that my friend, very true…”
After that we just sat in silence, waiting patiently for the class to begin, occasionally making faces at each other. I knew that this year was going to be a good one. With Maya around it was going to be interesting, very interesting. What I didn’t know, though, was that interesting it would be, even more than that, it would defy any expectation I could have of an extraordinary year. All the pieces were being set at their place and the game would soon begin…