• Present Day


    “Lexa, aren’t you coming down for school?” I heard my dad’s voice from downstairs, but I didn’t want to move from my bed. “Do I have to? I’m not feeling well.” I lied. I was never really fond of school, or of anything else in my life. Joy seemed to have been squeezed out of it thanks to a certain event in my life, which I would have been happy to live without.

    “C’mon, Lexa! You don’t want to keep us waiting, do you?” I quickly sat up at the sound of Hayner’s voice. Hayner was one of my few friends who I had at school, and helped me get through tough times. “I’m on it!” I called down, forgetting all thoughts of staying home and moping around yet again. I made a mad dash down the stairs and toward the door; I was too eager for my own good to see my friends.

    I immediately saw Hayner’s spiky, short, blonde hair. His bright, blue eyes were separate, and different from my other two friends standing behind him. “So, what happened to sulking again?” Pence joked from behind. His brown eyes matched his overly spiky hair, and a smile extended across his face. My other friend, Olette lightly pushed against him. She was the only other girl in the group, so the gender was evened out. “Pence don’t bring that up. It’s been a while since she’s been at school, and I’ve missed her. I don’t want her to lock herself back up just because you opened your mouth.”

    “Hey, don’t worry. I’m over the whole Alex thing, and now I’m a better person.” I lied again. I had said this so many times to everyone else that it sounded like the pure truth. The only ones who were worse than I was were my parents, who had put away every single picture with my brother in it just a few weeks after his disappearance. They hardly mentioned his name either, and whenever the dreaded word ever exited someone’s mouth, mom ran off, crying, into the next room.

    “Okay. Remember though, if there’s anything you want to talk about, no matter how hard it is, I’ll always be there for you to talk to.” Hayner said. “Hey, man. Don’t take all the credit. We’ll be there to.” Pence said. I smiled at their words. Being around my friends always made me feel better.

    We made our way to the Twilight Town high school, walking our normal, everyday route. “So, Hayner. How’s Struggle going for you?” I asked him, trying to stay as far away from the Alex subject as possible. “It’s going fine. I just know that I’m going to beat Seifer this year. Nothing is going to keep me from winning.”

    “Is that so, loser?” I looked up from the ground that I usually found so marvelous to see Seifer and his ‘gang’ just five feet in front of us. “Speak of the devil and his crew.” I said. “Well, well. If it isn’t Lexa. Are you actually coming to school today? I’m shocked. You’re over your brother?” I could feel anger growing inside of me. Before I could do anything irrational though, Hayner moved in front of me, as if shielding me from Seifer’s hurtful blows. “Knock it off, Seifer. Leave Lexa out of this.” One of Seifer’s cronies, Rai, stepped forward. “You can’t threaten Seifer, y’know.”

    “Well, Seifer can’t hurt my friend and not expect any of us to stand up for her.” Hayner shot back. “Hayner, I’m fine.” I said, now stepping out from behind him and at his side. “I’m not going to hide from Seifer anymore.” I stated, but the strength in my voice was false, and Seifer seemed to notice my little fault. “Humph. Yeah right. As if you really think I’m buying that. You’re still scared.” He started toward me, but I held my ground. “Seifer, I’m warning you.” Hayner threatened, standing up to the creep. Seifer stopped, now looking toward Hayner, then sneered. “You never could really stand up for yourself, let alone your friends.” He lifted his right hand and pushed Hayner to the ground. I glared at him while helping Hayner back to his feet.

    “You don’t scare me, Seifer.” I stated, this time the words were almost true. I needed to be strong. “Well, we’ll just see about that.” He said, stepping toward me. “Hey, why don’t you listen to her for a change?” I turned toward where the voice had come from, and a man stepped forward from the shadows. I took a step back as he came closer, and I couldn’t believe my eyes. His hair was a brilliant red, as bright as mine, and his emerald green eyes, which were still locked on me, made me take another step back. He had a blue upside down triangle under each, and he was wearing a dark black coat.

    “It couldn’t be…” I said to myself under my breath. I had remembered seeing a picture in the basement a few months ago… a picture almost similar to this guy now stepping toward us. It couldn’t be him though, could it? If this guy was my brother, though, it would have meant that he hadn’t aged a day since he had disappeared.

    “She said that she isn’t scared of you, so you have nothing to gain.” The guy said, now stepping in between the two of us. From the little I could see of Seifer, he was completely dumbstruck, and at a loss of words. All he could do was continuously open and close his mouth. Eventually he gave up, turned tail, and ran. “Ha. I guess that took care of him. Are you okay there?” He was now looking at me, and I realized that I was just staring at him with my mouth gaping open. I shook my head, clearing it, and then answered, “Yeah. Thanks for helping out.” I helped Hayner up, who was also completely silent from the appearance of this strange man. “Wh-who are you?” I managed to say with great difficulty.

    His smug smile disappeared, and he had a look of sadness on his face. Thinking that I had said something wrong, I quickly added, “Of course, I’m not in the position to be asking. I’m Lexa.” My rephrasing didn’t seem to help any, but instead, he seemed to become even more depressed. “Lexa. We have to get going or else we’re going to be late.” Olette said, seeing how downhill things were heading. “Oh, you’re right. Thanks again. Maybe, we’ll see each other again.” I called over my shoulder as I ran off with the others, but he was already gone.