It was horrible. The screams, the blood, the tears...
Frightened, she turned around and ran away, but the shrieking got closer and closer. And suddenly a cold hand grabbed her shoulder,
And she woke up.
"Ray, wake up.." a familiar voice made her alert all of the sudden. Blinking her eyes a few times, she waited until her vision becomes clear, and at last she could recognize the owner of the voice, none other than Faine, her best friend, her house-mate, her classmate.
"Damn, it's below 4 and you're sweating?? Are you sick or something??" she asked, and Ray sat up, also realizing the same thing, replied; "Nightmare."
Faine stood up and sighed, "Amethyllia Gray, get up, get dressed, and get going! It's 7:20."
"WHAT?!!" Ray looked at the clock and realized that bad things about nightmares are that they will make you wake up either too early, or too late.
"Oh darn! She left me!! Darn that girl!" Ray ran, and stopped in front of the classroom door, peeking inside and saw the lecturer, Mr.Ross giving handouts. Gulping, she lightly knocked on the door. Yet, a light knock is enough to awaken the class, and everyone looked. "Oh, there you are Miss Gray. No, no, don't trouble yourself of coming in. You can just stay out there." Mr.Ross snickered, and Ray just stood there, detecting Faine among her classmates. Faine looked worried, but Ray IS late, after all.
But it wasn't a problem for her.
Ray smiled, and spoke, "Then can I just listen from outside, and sir, can I have one of those?" she pointed to the stack of handouts.
Two hours she sat in front of the door, sitting as if it's her own personal space, looking at Mr. Ross and jotting down notes. Embarassed?? That rarely happened. People who walked at the hallway laughed, and even said hi to her, and she replied them back, with the same wide smile that she gave to Mr. Ross.
Jotting down notes, she listened carefully, and heard footsteps coming. Must be one of her friends. She looked aside.
Faine, from inside, saw the change on Ray's face. Ray looked...frozen. Nailed to the ground. Then Faine saw a guy walking outside the class and she immediately knew what's wrong. And she knew what she should do. Distract Ray.
"Hey, Ray! You need a sweater?? You look like a frozen sitting statue out there! Not that I mind~ You'll make a very good house decoration if you freeze!" Faine teased and got Ray's attention. Eventually, upon hearing it, Mr. Ross finally let Ray in with a slight guilt, just about 15 minutes before the class ends. Ray sat on an empty seat next to her best friend, and murmured "Thanks."
"I couldn't love you. I love her." he spoke.
As if the knife was real, she felt the pain of the back stab. She was frozen. It was freezing, it was snowing. And she wanted nothing except to be buried under the thick, cold snow. So that she could feel nothing but numbness. Slowly with her feet dragging, she entered the house, greeted by Faine at first, but the girl didn't get a reply. Ray looked dead.
She died that day. He killed her. He ripped her chest, he took her heart, he stole her smile.
He killed her.
"Ray," Faine called. The girl with a black-framed specs turned, and looked at Faine. Faine couldn't read the expression on her best friend's face. A mix of joy...and pain. She knew she couldn't ask whether Ray is okay or not, because Ray would always answer that she is couldn't possibly be better than that, but somehow Faine knew..somewhere very deep in Ray's heart, there's a plea for help.
Well, that is.. if she still has it. The heart.
Faine smiled, and took Ray's hand. "Your hand is cold. Looks like Mr. Ross really got you today, huh?" Upon hearing that, Ray chuckled. "Well, sitting outside the class isn't that bad. You get to see the falling snow outside. Tho I have to agree that it IS freezing cold. It makes me feel like having a mug of hot chocolate...Anyhow, I hope that old man felt hella guilty for making me sit outside!" Ray laughed.
Faine felt insecure, in a way of concerned about whether Ray is really smiling her smile or not. Ever since that day, Faine was almost protective of her best friend. Almost everything could hurt the girl, and almost everything could make her cry. Ray knew better, not to show that side of her to the public, which made Faine's heart wrench even more. Ray was in pain. And probably still is, but refused to share it.
Finally Faine decided to ask. "Are you really okay, Ray? I just want to make sure.. It has been two weeks..." Faine tightened her grip on Ray's hand, waiting for an answer. Ray stared at her for a while, and took a very deep breath. "You know, Faine.... It's still painful. The wound, the scar, the moments, everything. But you have been nothing but supportive. I may have lose him, I may have lose some of my pride, but I am so glad I haven't lose you. I will recover from all of these horrible feelings, I will move on, but I will still need you."
Faine felt a tinge of happiness in her, to know that she is really needed. And she got this feeling of things are going to be alright afterwards, where she no longer have to worry about whether Ray is really fine or not.
"Stop it...!! Go away!! Leave me alone!!"
But the shrieking got louder and louder, it began to hurt her ears, hurt her head.
"Ray! Ray! Wake up!!" Faine's voice snapped her back to reality, and she found herself lying on the sofa, sweating. She was panting as if she had run five miles, and she noticed that Faine is looking at her. "Another nightmare?" Faine asked and handed Ray's specs to her. Ray nodded and apologized, whisper style. Faine sighed, but then gave Ray a slight smile. "Come on. Let's go out and have a cup of coffee. Hayden and his friend will be joining us. It has been a while since I saw him. And you need to get out once in a while." Faine pulled her up on her feet. " But it's cold out there..." said Ray. "Well, it's better than locking yourself up in this house. Come on, get ready." Faine pushed Ray playfully, earning a laugh from the other girl.
"Oh My God! Faine, it's cold!!!! Hurry up and get insideee!!" Ray pleaded and pushed Faine to enter the cafe quickly. "Alright, alright! Stop pushing!! People are looking at us!" Faine laughed. As they get inside, Faine was ogling the cafe, as if looking for something, and Ray noticed Hayden, a handsome guy with black sweater waving at them. Faine had the biggest crush on him and he's a nice guy anyway, so Ray had no objections if Faine asks her to come along to meet Hayden. After all, Hayden studies arts and designs in a different university, so it's quite hard for Faine to see him.
It was then, when Ray walked to Hayden's table that she realized that there was another guy sitting next to him. "Faine, Ray, meet Matthew. He's my housemate, currently studying architecture, and Matt, this is Faine and her housemate, Ray."
Ray observed Matthew, a guy with dark hair and dark orbs, but with little smile. He seems somehow cold, and she wondered how did he got along with Hayden, because Hayden is the opposite of him.
Throughout lunch, it were mostly Faine and Hayden who talked. Ray and Matthew listened, already sensing that something is really going to happen between those two. "Hey guys, do you mind if we leave you for a while? I need to get a present for my sister." Matthew spoke. "We?" Hayden asked. Matthew looked at Ray, earning a shocked gasp from her. "I'm coming along?" she asked. "Well, I'm not good in choosing presents for girls." he said, and somehow Ray could see the expression on his face, which translated :
"Let's let them have their own quality time."
Ray smiled and got up. "O-yeah. Let's go. I have some fabulous ideas for presents." Ray smiled and followed Matthew out of the cafe, but as soon as the cold air hits her skin, she shivered. "Are you okay?" he asked. "I'm fine. I just have low tolerance for coldness," she replied with equanimity even though it was clear to Matthew that she feels extremely cold at the moment. "Come. Let's find a bookstore." Matthew suddenly pulled her hand, and it shocked her. His hand is so warm.
They managed to find a bookstore somehow, and it was warm. "I thought you want to find a present for your sister..?" Ray teased. Matthew gave a slight smile, which shocked her for the second time. "I wish those two would get together soon. It is so damn obvious that they like each other but no one's making a move." he joked, and earned a laugh from Ray.
"So what is your full name?" Ray asked. "Matthew Samuels. Yours?"
"Wow." he simply said.
"My parents have this obsession with gemstones. My name came from Amethyst. I'm just glad they didn't name me Ruby or Moonstone or Lapis Lazuli or worst, Diamond."
Matthew laughed out loud, and Ray immediately realize that her first impression of that guy is totally wrong. He is..... warm.
"Thanks, Matthew." she murmured.
"Your hand was warm."
Matthew smiled. "Glad to warm you up." At the moment Ray saw that smile,
An epiphany occurred. It hit her.
She's moving on. For real.
In the cold December, she had found her fire. She stared at Matthew, earning a questioning look from him. "Is there something on my face?" he asked. "No, but you made me realize something."
she replied. "Really? What is it?"
"Being in the coldness isn't that bad...cuz I get to appreciate warmth."
Matthew looked at her. "I'm not really following you."
Ray smiled. " You will...someday."
:) THE END.
[A/N] This short story is full of underlying meaning... it takes quite a few pondering to really get what some lines reaaally mean.