New Students, New Friendships (Pre-Words of Faith)
I felt like writing a bit before the entire Words Series, since I really wanted to write in more Anthony-Jesse relationships and establish their histories properly.
“Are you ready, Nomis?”
Nomis took a deep breath. Denly’s stare told him that it was time to go.
He stepped into the transportation chamber, watching the doors hiss shut. He closed his eyes.
The whirring was unforgettable. It began as a low rumble, then intensified into a loud roar that ringed in Nomis’ ears. He felt himself being transported.
I’m going to miss this place.
He vanished out of the chamber.
Jesse knocked over the mug.
It smashed onto the floor, separating into tens of pieces. He scrabbled on the ground, trying to pick up the broken china.
“Let me,” murmured a quiet voice. A hand gently gripped Jesse’s arm.
Jesse leant backwards as Anthony bent down, sweeping up the remaining pieces of the mug with a brush. He noticed that Anthony rubbed the floor before standing up.
Jesse clambered to his feet, nearly bashing his head on the low dining table.
Anthony didn’t seem concerned. He looked at his watch, putting the brush down. “Come on, it’s nearly eight, we’re going to be late for school.”
Jesse ducked back into his room, picking up his bag where he had left it last night. He spotted the photo frame and took it from his shelf.
Three people smiled back up at him. A young child was at the centre, with two adults; one male, one female; standing at either side. They were waving at the camera, their faces frozen forever in the picture.
Jesse felt a familiar jolt in his stomach.
“Jesse! Hurry up!” Anthony’s voice shouted from the hallway.
“I’m coming!” he replied, replacing the frame on the shelf and slinging the strap over his shoulder.
It was a quick two minute run to the school entrance, but the cold temperatures and high humidity meant the Jesse and Anthony were panting when they finally arrived.
“Phew,” sighed Anthony. They raced up the corridors and slid into a classroom door around halfway.
The rest of the form was already there, chatting away as they sat down on and around tables.
Jesse let his bag fall onto one of them and followed Anthony into their traditional corner.
“Hi, Anthony. Jesse,” greeted one, nodding.
“The ceiling, duh. Okay, we were just discussing the new student in our form.”
“We’ve got a new student?” questioned Jesse, puzzled. He swung himself onto a table, leaning closer to listen.
“Yeah, this random guy who just transferred in. I don’t get it; we’ve barely got any spaces left as it is, so how on earth did he get in?”
“I think that’ll be him, Gavin,” said Anthony darkly.
Jesse craned his head to get a better look. An unfamiliar face has just entered the room, his black hair dropping low over his forehead.
“He looks… unnatural,” commented Jesse.
This newcomer certainly looked different. He glanced around quickly, his face confused and… was it possible? A little afraid?
He decided on the empty table by the window and sat down. Reaching into the dark blue bag he carried, he tugged out a large book and flipped it.
“I didn’t guess he would be an avid reader,” said Gavin.
Jesse looked at Anthony, who nodded. “Here goes,” he muttered under his breath.
He walked up to the new figure and stuck out his hand.
“Hi, you must the new student. My name’s Jesse, what’s yours?”
The newcomer carefully bookmarked his page, and looked up. Jesse caught sight of deep brown eyes not unlike his own scanning him.
“Nomis Wade,” he offered finally. They shook hands.
Anthony chirped up behind him. “I didn’t realise that you enjoyed the Dominance of Life,” he said. “I thought it was a pretty controversial book. Anthony Cheung,” he finished.
Jesse silently slid out of the way as Nomis and Anthony shook hands. “It’s pretty interesting,” Jesse heard Nomis say.
“I always thought the bit with fairies was quite extraordinary, though,” Anthony stated.
Nomis had shrugged. “I just like the way the logic works, that’s all.”
Jesse caught Gavin’s unbelieving glance further down the room. He smiled.
“So how did you get here, Nomis?”
Nomis sighed. “My family moves a lot,” he said. “I keep getting transferred from school to school, using for about two years. It depends on where my parents get sent to work. How about you?”
Jesse felt a familiar knot in his stomach. “My parents died when I was young. I was being taken care of by Social Welfare, and that’s where I met Anthony.”
Nomis’ face darkened. “I’m sorry,” he said.
“No, I’m fine,” Jesse dismissed, although the knot in his stomach didn’t. “Anthony’s parents died too. Car crash, he says.”
“How did your – your parents die, then?”
Jesse’s shoulders felt heavy. “They were held hostage by a fired police officer during an overseas holiday. A kind lady was nice enough to pretend that I was her son. My parents were shot.”
The first time that Jesse had started doubting Nomis’ account of his life was during a lunch break.
Jesse grabbed the basketball, spinning around to search for a way out.
Players were converging on all sides, blocking off any routes he could use.
In a flash of desperation, he jumped up, aiming for the hoop. He threw the ball.
“You suck,” taunted Nomis. The books tucked under the arm informed Jesse that he had just been reading. “I could have done better than that.”
Jesse doubted it; in all the time they’ve spent together, he had never seen Nomis play any sports unless he had to. And even then he was terrible.
He just didn’t fail because Anthony was worse.
“Let’s see you try, then,” Jesse said, spinning the ball to Nomis, who caught it deftly.
Nomis, with the books under his arm, raised the ball, aimed, and threw it upwards.
It went in, right on its mark.
Jesse wiped the sweaty hair out of his eyes, refusing to believe anything he saw.
“As I said,” finished Nomis. “Easy.”
The time when Jesse actually started to notice Nomis’ abilities, however, was when Anthony told him.
“Nomis is a bit weird, don’t you think?” asked Anthony, walking back towards their shared apartment.
Jesse opened his mouth to say no, but then closed it. Anthony had a point.
“He knows more than I do, but he rarely contributes. From what I’ve noticed, he just stays either in the form room or the library all day, reading.”
“Yeah, I know,” said Jesse slowly. “Nomis is definitely more than he appears.”
Jesse felt something under his foot. He knelt down, searching for it, until he came across a plastic card holder with a name and picture printed on it.
“What is it?” questioned Anthony.
“It’s Nomis’ student card,” Jesse said, holding up the pale blue plastic holder.
“Oh, okay. Let’s give it back to him tomorrow.”
They continued to walk. Jesse glanced at the card again, and noticed the address written on it.
“Hey, it says Nomis doesn’t live too far from here. I’ll go and give it to him later then; I wouldn’t mind meeting his parents.”
They didn’t get much further before Jesse took his keys out, unlocking their apartment door.
“Gods. We have so much homework to get through.”
Ring. Ring. Ring.
Jesse waited outside, hoping that Nomis was still at home.
“Who is it?” demanded Nomis’ voice.
Jesse’s heart leapt. “It’s Jesse!” he shouted. “Could you open the door?”
There was a lot of scratching and sliding. Eventually, the wood swung inwards, revealing Nomis standing behind it.
“Here,” Jesse said, thrusting the card into Nomis’ chest. “Don’t lose it next time, Nomis, it costs for a replacement.”
Nomis looked down and took the card in his own, heated hands.
“Thanks, Jesse.” He began to close the door.
“Wait-” Jesse protested.
“I’ll see you tomorrow, then.”
Nomis had pushed the door firmly shut. Jesse sighed, turning away.
He had seen something just before the door closed. Something that looked suspiciously like a gun.
The lift doors dinged as they opened.