It was raining outside; not simply rain, but waves cascading down in a ceaseless deluge. Wall-like
sheets of the stuff were the only thing visible out the window, casting a watery grey light into the
Burnwood common room - which, as only a few daring souls had ventured out of doors, was rather more
densely populated than usual. And as a direct result, substantially louder.
Off in a (relatively) quiet corner of the room in a kidnapped armchair sat - sprawled, rather -
Theodore Gainsfeld, a tall dark-haired older boy, maybe sixteen, thoroughly absorbed in a book. Also
in the corner were Mallory Waters-Kingston, a tousle-haired boy with an insouciant smile, and Justice
Babbet (full name Justice Abides, which his schoolmates treated predictably), a younger freckled boy
with curly brown hair and a permanent air of resignation.
Mallory, being the older of the two, had claimed the also-kidnapped ottoman belonging with the
armchair, relegating Justice to the floor as the two did their best to talk over the general chaos.
“How d’you like Smythe so far?”
Part of this
setting, but except for a couple unimportant references you don’t need to know about it.
I tossed yet another dozen red roses into the discard pile, flinging myself back into the pile of
cushions with a pained sigh. As much as the idea of a day entirely devoted to professions of
romantic inclinations appealed to me, the sheer quantities of trite poetry and overpriced roses had
led my enthusiasm to wear thin.
Now I must admit, I am quite fond of chocolates, flowers, jewelry, and being showered with gifts from
my devoted admirers. That was all well enough. The irritating part was how cheap they all
were! Oh, not in terms of cost; they were all quite evidently the most expensive roses and chocolates
they could lay their adoring hands upon. Which only served to emphasize their complete lack of
Although sometimes one of them did get things right. There was that one gentleman, David I think his
name was, who had a true eye for flowers. He hand-picked a half dozen musk roses in an absolutely
beautiful shade of pink and, I could tell, had lovingly arranged the bouquet himself with a few sprigs
of purple lilacs and delicate ferns. Now that had been a bouquet to be proud of, both in
giving and receiving.
There were a lot of other ways this could have gone. A bullet to the head, a tear-filled reconciliation, a mysterious third party interrupting the confrontation…
Falling off the roof of a fifty story building was not really the one I’d have picked.
I reviewed the chain of events as windows rushed past. We’d met up on the roof, as planned. We’d given our respective ultimatums, as expected. She’d pointed a gun at me, I’d pointed a strategically chosen finger at her, and then…