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I was never one for sunny weather. While the sun seemed to have a positive effect of most other people, for me, it was the opposite. I hated the way its light always seemed to find a way to spill into my room, unhindered by the blinds firmly shut over my window. I hated the way it tore me from blissful, dark slumber, warm on my face and yellow in my eyes.
I knew, I just knew, from the way the sun did exactly that this morning, that this was going to be a bad day.
I stumbled out of bed, tangled in a cocoon of sheets and lurched towards the window, pulling up the blinds.
It was winter. The sun had no place here in the winter. Yet there it was, all f****** cheery and bright and good morning, world!
No. Just no. Not a good morning.
My first instinct was to roll back into bed, snuggle back into the dark depths of my comforter and succumb to sleep once more. But a glance at the clock said this was not to be the case ' I was, in fact, already running late.
With a heavy sigh, I threw my blankets back onto the bed and trudged into the shower.
I just barely made the bus. Just barely. And, just my luck, Jervis was driving today. We shared a mutual hate for one another. As soon as he saw me running towards the stop, backpack bumping between my shoulderblades, bag of crackers in my right hand, a dollar-fifty in the other, he made to close the doors. But, alas, it seemed the a** wasn't to get his bi-weekly dose of piss-Amelia-off, because there was one last suit climbing the steps into the bus, granting me more time.
'Morning, Jerkvis.' I said breezily, depositing my change into the slot.
He grunted at me, flipping me the bird when he thought no one was looking.
With a smirk, I headed for my usual seat; near the back, by the fourth window after the second set of doors. Hidden from the sun quite thoroughly. The blue plastic seat squeaked as if protesting my weight as I slumped into it. 'Oh, shut up.' I muttered. 'I'm not that heavy.'
'Talking to the plastic again, Amelia?'
I sighed and turned around to face the scruffy haired boy who always took up his seat behind me. Or I in front of him. Whatever. He smirked at me with crystalline eyes set under dark lashes and over sharp cheekbones.
'Do you ever get tired of asking me the same question each morning?' I shot back.
'Not at all.' He said, leaning back and propping his feet up on the back of my seat. 'We've been over this,' he said in exasperation at the glare I shot him. 'My legs are too long. They cramp!'
'Just don't get mud in my hair.' I muttered, turning back around and suppressing a smile.
I pretended I couldn't stand him simply because that was my attitude with everyone and I wouldn't ever want him to suspect that I sort of'kind of'maybe' liked him. His company, I mean. His presence. Not his smile (brilliant) or his hair (thick and dark) or his eyes (deep blue) or his jean-clad legs (impossibly long, as he liked to mention).
Then again, I only ever saw him on the bus, this bus, specifically, so it didn't really matter. All the same, he never got worked up over my perpetual bad mood. Usually.
'You weren't so annoyed yesterday.' He noted in his light, dispassionate voice.
That was one of the things I liked about him. He never seemed to care whether I answered him or not. Like he spoke just for the sake of speaking and couldn't care much for the answer. That was a good thing, in my eyes. Caring means clinging. And clinging is annoying. I answered him because I felt like it.
'It was raining yesterday.'
'Ah, you thrive in the rain. Like earthworms.'
I snorted. Only this boy could get away with comparing me to an earthworm.
'Still,' he continued. 'Even earthworms don't mind the sun every now and then.'
'I guess I'm just a particularly unusual earthworm.' I replied, rolling my eyes.
'I saw that.'
No, he didn't.
I felt the weight lift from my seat as he dropped his legs back down to the ground, and all of a sudden his breath was near my ear. 'What's wrong with the sun?'
I started, annoyed, but he was too close for me to turn and glare at him. If I moved my head just the slightest bit' I swallowed convulsively.
'The same thing that's wrong with people invading other people's personal spaces: it's annoying.'
He chuckled, low and quiet and seductive and still far too close to my ear. He clearly couldn't take a hint.
'Well, I think the sun is beautiful.' I could hear a smile in his voice.
I rolled my eyes again. 'You're a dude.'
'Your point?' He seemed genuinely baffled.
I chose not to reply and was graced with a few moments of silence. When he next spoke again, his voice came from behind me.
'Guys can think things are beautiful too.'
He sighed. 'Give me one good reason why the sun sucks.'
'You really aren't going to let this go, are you?'
'Not a chance. I stand up for what I believe in.'
'The sun?' I turned around to face him again.
'My personal religion.' He smiled lazily.
'Right. Well. I worship the rain. The clouds. The dark.'
'You still haven't answered my question. What's so bad about the sun?'
'Like I said; it's annoying! Now would you let it alone?'
'That's not a reason.'
'Yes, it is.'
'No, it's not. But I have an idea.' He leaned forwards eagerly.
This was new. Eager?
'What's your idea?' I was curious, in spire of myself.
'I bet I can make you like the sun.'
I let out a brief laugh. 'Oh, this should be good.'
The bus stopped abruptly and I was jolted backwards, definitely heading for the floor.
His hand, warm, came around the top of my arm, pulling me upright. 'Come on. Let's do this.'
'Are you kidding me?' I said indignantly, dusting myself off. 'I'm not going anywhere with you! I have school! I don't even know your name!'
'Yes you are. You've skipped out before. Tristan.'
It took me a few seconds to understand what he'd said, and by the time I had, his hand, still locked around my arm, had tugged me off the bus.
I watched it leave, feeling a curious sort of detachment from the fact that it was leaving and I wasn't in it. It suddenly didn't seem so crucial that I attend school at all today.
'Okay, let's see you attempt this.'
He smiled. 'Patience, Amelia. Follow me.' He released my arm and started walking, clearly expecting me to follow behind him like some sort of puppy. Into the woods. He was insane. I didn't even know him!
He kept walking.
I looked around the short grassy field uneasily. It was cold. It was deserted. I hurried to catch up to him. 'Where are you going?'
'We're going to this little spot I know.'
'How descriptive.' I said dryly.
He threw me a grin over his shoulder. 'Not long now.'
And sure enough, after a couple more moment of walking in relative silence, dry leaves and twigs crackling and snapping as we trod on, the forest gave way to a little grove of sorts. A little stream ran through it, rushing past rocks and low-hanging branches. And it was filled with bright, blinding sunlight.
I groaned and instinctively threw a hand up in front of my eyes.
'Oh no you don't.' I felt his fingers gently pry my hand away. 'How do you expect to see the sun like that?'
'I don't. That's the point. It's too bright!' I whined.
He laughed. 'What are you, a vampire? Come on Amelia, a little sunlight isn't going to melt you.'
'That's what you think.' I muttered, turning away.
'Actually, you may be on to something there.' He mused. 'Your hair is on fire.'
'What?!' I brought both hands protectively over my head. 'You're not funny.'
'I'm not trying to be funny. The sun through your hair makes it look as though it's on fire. It's quite pretty.'
I blinked and cleared my throat. Was he hitting on me? 'Well. Anyways. I still don't see how this is supposed to make me like the sun more.'
'Oh, it isn't. You distracted me. Come here.' He held out a hand to me.
I took it, hesitantly, and he drew me in closer. 'Now, close your eyes.'
With a sigh, and a final glare, I did as instructed. All his attempts were futile ' there was absolutely nothing that could make me change my mind about the sun. Nothing.
'Can you feel it on your face?'
'Yes.' I grumbled. 'Too warm. Just my face and the rest of me is frozen. Too bright. It's in my eyelids.'
He laughed softly, and then a breeze blew past, smelling faintly of mint. Hmm, herbs grew here, useful herbs. I should come back when it's raining to gather some.
'Do you like being cold?'
'Well, no.' I said grudgingly.
'Then feel the sun, silly. Not just on your face, but all the rest of you too. It's there.'
I started to open my eyes, whining. 'This is stupid. You're losing ' I don't and never will like the ' '
'No.' He said firmly, clamping a hand over my eyes. 'I'm not finished yet. The longer you stand here without acknowledging the sun, the colder you're gonna get.'
'I am acknowledging the sun. I acknowledge that it's annoying.' I muttered.
He ignored me. 'Feel it.'
I sighed, unwillingly turning my face up towards the source of heat. He took his hand off my face and I almost wished he hadn't. But that was just because his hand was such a handy (ha, ha) shield against the blinding sun, I swear.
The heat washed across my face and down my neck, an annoying contrast to the chill in the rest of my body.
'Feel it.' His voice was part of the environment, blending in with the soft bubbling of the water, the distant squawks of a crow, the shifting of wildlife in the leaves and moss.
And, damn it all, I did. The wave of heat kept moving down; past my collar bone and down my stomach and my legs, out to my arms'until I was just'Amelia. Not hot or cold, just my perfect human temperature.
And then, ever so lightly, I felt the brush of his lips against mine, tentative and soft and sweet. Without any conscious decision made on my part, I moved forwards into him, pressing his lips against mine with more force than he'd dared exhibit. His arms came around my waist, held me to him securely. He tasted like mint and chocolate and ' Tristan. Oh, I was glad I knew his name now.
After a moment he pulled away, resting his forehead against mine. I looked up into his crystal blue eyes, a little afraid.
His mouth twisted up into a smirk. 'So, what think you of the sun now, m'lady?'
I sniffed indifferently. 'I suppose it's a little more bearable now.'
He laughed and rested his chin atop my head. 'Hmm, we'll have to work on that.'
'Not that you really care. This was all a ploy to kiss me.' I said confidently. Not that I minded.