Echoes of Power
Parts 6 – 10
The first two hours passed quite slowly. The salt-and-pepper-haired man called each one of them one by one to make sure everyone was there, with the exception of Karl every student of group 3-B was there. The tall man then moved on to explaining what the year would consist in and reminded them of how important the final exams were if they wanted to be able to freely choose where they wanted to go the following year.
“Remember, the better you do, the more doors you keep open!” He said with a smile as he stood up and took out a pile of paper sheets from his bag.
He then proceeded to give one out to each of the teenagers before explaining that it was to be their time-table for their classes until the end of the first semester.
“After that they might change a little, we will give you the updated version once they have been decided.” He sat back in his chair and gave them a few minutes to discover what each week of the first months of school would be like.
“Nice!” Exclaimed Alexandre in a loud whisper with a large smile as he took a look at the sheet of paper.
Bryan, who was sitting immediately to his right thanks to their quick placement decision earlier turned towards him.
“What it it?” He asked his light-haired friend.
“We have sports class in the afternoon, it’s great because I hate it when we have to run in the morning…” Explained Alexandre, still smiling.
“Wow… We have math almost each morning of the week and you worry about not having to run in the morning?” Said Bryan with irony as he shook his head in disbelief.
“Hey, we each have our own priorities!” Replied Alexandre.
He really didn’t like to have to do straining exercises in the morning, he didn’t know why but it irked him a lot. Bryan was about to make another comment on the subject but was thankfully cut off by the teacher. Mr. Brown, once he deemed they had had enough time to look at their timetables, started to explain the program of the year for his class of history: they would finally reach the most recent part of their own history and study the period going from the mid 19th century up to the beginning of the 21st. He was interrupted once by a, discreet but still too loud, ringtone and had reprimanded the user, Rebecca Cruz, a red-haired girl who Alexandre knew was often getting caught doing similar things during class. He smiled when he saw her face redden a bit as she quickly turned off her phone.
“I also need to give out a few papers to you that you either need to take a close look at or fill in and return to the secretary asap.” He added as he took out another pile of paper from his bag and started distributing it.
“Also, here are a few dates you might want to put down somewhere.” The teacher added as he started writing on the board.
The next hour and a half passed quite rapidly with the history teacher giving them the documents and the information they needed to begin their year and then explaining in more details what he would be teaching them that year. Finally he gave them a few minutes to ask questions if they had any.
“The books will be delivered today, after lunch. You’ll have to go and check them out from the school library. Make sure to bring you pass with you and to have them by this afternoon or you won’t be able to follow the classes. Any other question?” He asked, his eyes looking around the room.
“No?” He asked again to make sur. “Very good! Now, the bell won’t ring for another five minutes but I will exceptionally let you go before the time is up today. I have a meeting with some of my colleagues and I have to go. You are dismissed for now.” The man added with a smile as he clapped in his hands once before standing up and grabbing his bag.
The students didn’t wait for him to add anything and stood up, grabbing their own bags and rushing out of the room. Alexandre took his time, preferring to wait until the biggest part of the crown had already left the room to move. As he finally stood up he saw his best friend waiting for him near the door.
“Damn! You’re slow!” Complained Bryan to his friend as they both wished a good day to the teacher.
“I know, I know.” Replied Alexandre with a smirk. “But you know, slow and steady wins the race.” He added before passing the doorstep and starting to walk along the corridor.
“Yeah yeah, whatever.” Replied Bryan in a falsely annoyed voice. “So, what do we have now?” The tan teen asked.
“I have Japanese apparently.” Replied his friend. “So, you should have Russian I believe.”
“Great.” Said Bryan in a joyless tone as they proceeded to walk down the stairs.
Alexandre knew his best friend had never loved learning Russian, even if it had been his own choice since the beginning of high school. It wasn’t that the well-built teenager didn’t like the language but he seemed to hate the way they taught it at school. And apparently it had a lot to do with the teacher that he had since their arrival to Bartholomée Santana.
“He definitely does not make me want to learn it…” He had lamented one afternoon after his class. “That old fart doesn’t know how to make anything interesting, worse! He manages to make me almost hate Russian when I’m around him…”
He had never really explained why it was that he didn’t like Emilio Verref, the man who was in charge of teaching them Russian, but it since the first day things had been extremely tense between the teenager and his professor. Alexandre had tried to ask why on several occasions but never had got a very conclusive answer.
“Meh, you’ll survive.” Said the light-haired young man with a smile. “Just one more year and you’re done with him!” He added as they reached the first floor of the building.
“Well, see you later then!” Exclaimed Bryan as he walked outside through the door.
“Yeah, we meet near the library!” Reminded Alexandre as he took a left towards the language labs.
The Japanese classes took place in this building, in the language laboratories, while Bryan had to cross the whole courtyard to reach the adjacent building where his classes took place.
Fumiko Saito, a middle-aged woman with short dark hair, greeted the students as they entered the room. The Japanese teacher seemed to have already been waiting for them for a few minutes when they arrived, inviting them to take place as soon as they walked in. Alexandre greeted her with a smile as he walked towards a nearby table, the asian-american woman had been his teacher for the past two years already and he always enjoyed her classes despite her very formal and strict attitude.
“Not in the back please.” She said with a wave of her hand towards the first rows as a few of the students were about to choose the furthest seats.
As soon as everyone was seated she began introducing herself, writing her name in both Roman alphabet and kanji on the board, and then asked each of them to do the same in a few words. Once it was done she promptly began her lesson, not bothering to tell give them details about the program of the year which was, to her, not important. They began with a short exercise where they had to talk about their summer holidays which, the light-haired teenager knew, would allow the older woman to get a better understanding of their level.
Alexandre was listening intently to the others as they gave a few details about what they had done in the last few weeks, he like to be prepared for his turn to speak and picking up a few words of vocabulary here and there could never hurt. It was the turn of a blonde girl, her name was Mary if he remembered well, when he felt the unpleasant albeit familiar buzz ring in his ears. The teenager heard the strange whispering that sometimes came to interfere with his daily life, he had managed to keep the voice and its existence locked in a corner of his mind for some time now.
But, predictably, it always came back at one point or another. He had felt it since the early morning, that it would surely come up at some point. Why now? He thought with a silent curse, this was definitely not the time. But after all, had it ever appeared at a convenient time? Before long he found himself focusing entirely on the voice and the words it was whispering in a low and monotone sound, trying to understand what it might be saying, however he was unable to understand anything. Exactly as usual, he sighed. He was pulled in a semi-lulled stated by the hypnotic rhythm of the voice and did not realize the teacher was calling him so that he would in turn talk about his holidays until she loudly cleared her throat.
“Well, Mr. Parson, we are waiting for you.” Declared the dark-haired woman who seemed to have very few strands of white hair for her age. Alexandre quickly looked around him and noticed the others were all looking at him with slightly amused smiles, waiting for him to speak. He must have looked as if he was daydreaming again. Well, at least I’m not doing crazy stuff while I’m out of it… he thought with a small sigh of relief, could be worse.
“Sumimasen!” He apologized, clearing his throat too before beginning his introduction to give himself a second to catch his thoughts.
As soon as he did so the voice’s power seemed to die back down and it faded back in the background of his mind, allowing him to focus. He thanked whoever or whatever was the source of this parasite noise in his mind for giving him some breathing room and began speaking. After speaking about the few trips to the beach, the books he had read and the movies he had seen the rest of the class went smoothly. The teacher gave them a small written test to evaluate their levels and finally dismissed them after telling them to prepare a list of books in Japanese for the next lesson.
“We’ll study one or more books of your choice along the year, in Japanese of course, make sure to write down a few names that you’d enjoy.” She explained before allowing them to stand up and rush out of the room.
The light-haired teenager met with his best friend, who was already waiting for him near the library, a few minutes later.
“Well you took your time!” Exclaimed Bryan in a faux-annoyed tone.
“Yeah yeah, unlike you we were actually working during this hour!”Exclaimed the teenager to his tanned counterpart.
“Whatever.” Replied Bryan with a small dismissing wave before entering the school library. “I’m hungry so let’s do this quickly!” He added as he walked towards the young librarian.
The young woman who had replaced Ned, the previous librarian, a years before, was a bubbly twenty something woman names Melissa with thin glasses, shoulder length wavy blonde hair and a large smile. Her smile got a bit larger when she noticed the two teenagers entering the quiet room.
“Well hello there boys!” She exclaimed as she finished placing a few magazines on the shelves. “You came here to find something good?” She asked, turning around and walking towards them.
“Hello Miss Campbell.” Replied Alexandre with a polite nod.
“Hi Mel!” Exclaimed Bryan, returning her large smile with one of his own as she approached. “No, actually we came here to get our books for this year you see.” He added as he took out his student pass.
“Oh!” The young blonde exclaimed. “Yes! Of course! Follow me!” She added before turning around and proceeding towards her counter.
The two teenagers had both known the new librarian quite closely since their first year at Bartholomée Santana when they had been requested to help her settle in during her first few days. Bryan, being his usual seductive self, had been quite motivated to get on the young woman’s good side and had done everything he could to help her, even going out of his way by coming early before classes and staying late to help around, dragging his unwilling best friend in his attempt of conquest.
Unfortunately his plans had been shattered after a few weeks when they both had learned, from the woman in question, that she had in fact been engaged to a charming young attorney-in-the-making for a few years. That hadn’t stopped the more muscular of the two from becoming good friends with her. Alexandre had, by obligation towards his friend at first but then by genuine interest, also become friends with her over the years.
She led them towards the library’s reception desk before asking for their respective passes.
“Good!” She exclaimed after having scanned both of them. “Everything’s in order. Wait a second I’ll be right back with your books you two!” She continued before hurrying towards a room behind the desk.
The young woman came back a few seconds later with a tall pile f books that she divided in two on the counter of the desk.
“Here are your books. Yours are in this pile Bryan and the other pile is your Alexandre.” She explained as she waved towards the piles in question.
“Thank you!” Exclaimed the tall dark-haired teenager with a smile as he started putting his books in his bag.
“Yeah, thanks Miss Campbell.” Added Alexandre as he did the same. “But don’t we have to sign anywhere?” He then asked.
“Nope.” She replied with a smile. “Not this year, the whole thing is digitalized now, I just have to swap your cards in the machine and to validate once you’ve retrieved them.” The young blonde explained as she sat down on her armchair.
“And I told you already Alexandre, call me Melissa.” She added with a smile as the two boys closed their bags.
“Yeah, will do!” Nodded Alexandre with a smile. “Have a nice day then.” He added as he and Bryan started leaving.
“See you later Mel!” Added Bryan as he followed his friend.
“Thank you boys, you too!” She replied, waving at them before focusing on her computer screen.
“Damn…” Whispered Bryan as they walked out of the library.
Alexandre turned towards him and his mouth curve into half a smile.
“Still having trouble letting go huh?” He asked, half mocking half serious.
“Yeah, a bit…” Admitted Bryan with a sigh as he looked back one last time towards the librarian before walking out of the large room.
The dark-haired teenager had had trouble accepting the fact that the young woman was out of his reach and his best friend enjoyed teasing him about it from time to time. The tan young man was quite popular in the school and he knew it, he was often playing with the girls that revolved around him, in the hope of capturing his heart, or at least his eye, for a while. But since his romantic deception with the older blonde woman he had remained single, sometimes enjoying a short thing with a girl but never getting into anything serious.
Many a best friend might have become jealous of his popularity over time but Alexandre had learned to live with it. Plus he still had his moments of glory, even if they were rarer than his friend’s. A small smirk spread on his lips as he thought about the new he still had to break to his best friend about the previous week. Yes, he did have his moments sometimes. Bryan had often told him that he was as popular as him but that very few people dared to come up to him because of his ‘mysterious aura’, as the tan teen qualified it. Alexandre had often scoffed at that remark but sometimes he did wonder if it was true, after all Bryan was a real lady-killer when he wanted.