So, another week…time is passing ridiculously quickly!!
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SO, episode 3! Just as a recap:
Mei Shinenaga, a 23 year old Japanese-born student-doctor has recently moved from London with her energetic and determined best friend and colleague, Emilia Jacobs. As they leave London, they somehow come across an old friend of Emilia’s, Yue Russell. Exotic (being half-Chinese, half-English), attractive, flirtatious, a joker, it turns out that Yue is following Mei and Emilia to their university to do a Masters. But to Emilia’s great dismay, Yue is being accompanied by none other than the distant, cool, and surprisingly untalkative Tristan Leannán*, the heartthrob of Emilia’s high-school, who disappeared right after A-Levels. By the time that everyone collects for the start of the new term, Tristan, with no place to live now that Yue has found a new girlfriend to sharing his accommodation, ends up living with Emilia and Mei, despite their hesitation.
(* Yes, I have changed Tristan’s surname…!)
If you haven’t read them already, you can read the previous episodes by clicking the links below:
Okay, I’ll have to admit that this episode is also a bit slow. But isn’t the fact that Tristan is living under one with Emilia and Mei already quite dramatic?!
Enjoy! I might be cheeky and release Episode 4 slightly early…so keep watching this space!
~ THE RED THREAD ~
Light. A chink of light. I struggled to open my eyes. That single chink of light penetrated my room, dispersing as bright shards as it reflected against the vanity mirror; and from that single glass globe that my brother gave me emitted a kaleidoscope of colours across my ceiling. I gazed up at it, my eyes adjusting to the light, and then turned to look at my clock. 06:36. Twenty-five minutes early. Seriously? I sighed deeply, and stretched, and yawned, and struggled to get out of bed. Now in both hands, I held the curtains, the warming chink of light now against my face, and then threw them open. Unbelievable brightness. The light consumed the entire room, the medley of colours suddenly disappeared, a ray of light reflected miraculously against the mirror. Never did I think that the morning sun could be this destructive and yet, it was such a beautiful morning.
I stretched, and opened the window overlooking the street. A smooth breeze ran through the air, fluttering the leaves of the hedges and trees along the pathway. With it, however, floated a scent which made my nose twitch, leaving behind a bitter, smoky aftertaste. I looked down on the front-garden, to see him: from above, I could only see the sun shine off his dark hair, illuminating its dark chocolate colour, and him just leaning against the wall next to gate, facing the house, his face down and his eyes closed as if he was resting there to catch his breath. He lifted the cigarette to his lips, breathed in deeply, and sighing out its toxic smoke, the greyness dispersed amongst the morning breeze. That image of him lasted just a few moments: on hearing my window unlatch, he looked up, letting out another puff of smoke, revealing those olive eyes again, their colour only exacerbated by the destructive light of the sun, so much so that he was forced to squint. He didn’t smile, or grin, or smirk, just simply nodded lightly so as to acknowledge me, eliciting the same from me. I only owed him as much.
I turned away. Seriously, did I need this at 6:30 in the morning? I rubbed my eyes, readjusting them to the light of my room, and tied up my hair with the scrunchie on my nightstand, and checked my phone. Text from Mum, at 01:07: ‘Taken Hiro into hospital. Had a high fever, but doctors said nothing to worry about. Wasn’t an emergency, but just call him when you can. Have a great first day, okay? Love Mum xx’. I sighed. Good…
I looked out of my window again and he had gone. Good…
I got myself ready, had a shower, washed my face, brushed my teeth. I wasn’t sure what the protocol was, especially on the first day of his being here. Did I have to be ready and give him breakfast? Or did I just have to assume that he was self-sufficient? Or did I just leave him to his own devices? Why wasn’t Emilia awake yet?! I looked over at the clock. 07:05. Of course it was. I sighed. Coffee was the only thing that could remedy this…
Making as little sound as possible, I got myself to the first step, and then took another, but it creaked. I stopped. This was ridiculous. Why was I creeping around my own house? I breathed in deeply, and then strolled down them, walking into the dining room, where Tristan was sitting, his attention on the morning paper. This time he didn’t even look up.
“Morning,” I said politely, eliciting a grunt in return. “Coffee?”
“Please.” The kettle boiled, and the cafetiere was filled with enough for five mugs of coffee. I took over a tray of milk, sugar, spoons, mugs, and the cafetiere. At the rattling of the mugs and spoons, he looked up. “You really didn’t have to do that. A mug would have been fine.”
“Ah, not to worry. Emilia will wake up soon anyway, and she’ll come down once she smells the coffee,” I smiled. But on seeing it, he looked back down at his paper sullenly.
“If you say so.” Um…okay…such a weird attitude. I poured him and myself a mug each, and pushed it over to him, in return for which he whispered a ‘thank you’.
“Do you want anything to eat? Toast? Eggs? Cereal? We should probably go shopping at some point…I don’t really know what kind of things you like to eat for breakfast.”
“Toast will be fine, if you’re making some,” he answered, again his focus solely on the newspaper. Seriously? What was up with his attitude? Bread into toast, butter on the table, jam and marmalade, knives, plates, everything placed onto the table without as much as a thank you. My gosh, this guy…was maybe not a morning person?
I sat down, and buttered my toast. He didn’t take anything at all, just continuing to read his paper. I watched him. His eyes were so intense as he read the articles. After a few minutes, he would delicately turn the page and raise his face ever so slightly, so that I could see the rest of his features. Everything was so emotionless…inexpressive, sullen. He was perfect, and yet everything was restrained. Despite how handsome he was, and how his olive eyes distinguished his features even more, despite how serene his face was, it was also hesitant. How could someone like this be friends with someone as loud and energetic as Yue?
He finally shut the paper, and folded it up, before gazing at his toast, taking a knife and buttering it gently.
“So much shit going on in the world. The government has no idea what they’re doing; Ban Ki-Moon can just go and resign now; the US President is ridiculously useless; and they’re complaining that people can’t make their results because the teachers are crap. But what hope do the teachers have if the Education Minister wants to cut everything from the curriculum? So useless,” he ranted suddenly, his eyes closed as he took small bites of his toast.
“That’s all in one newspaper?”
“The first seven pages…just proves that newspapers need to publish bad news for people to talk about it. Though,” he stopped, and opened his eyes with a slight mischievous grin: “Seems like they won’t be dropping those charges on Justin Bieber, so it’s not all bad.” That single change of expression hit me. I don’t know what it was. Whatever it was, it was such a minute transformation, and lasted only a moment, yet it forced me to think that there was something about this guy that was highly, highly unnerving.
Before I could even answer, we both heard stomping down the stairs, only to reveal Emilia just out of bed, hair strewn everywhere, still in her pink pyjamas, groggy and her eyes still failing to open fully, as she sat down beside me, her knees up as she sat huddled up on the chair, groaning from exhaustion. In that situation, I could only pour her the largest cup of coffee as possible. Tristan looked at her and then back at me.
“Does this happen often?”
“Every morning,” I informed him. He looked back at her.
“If this is a daily thing, can’t you wear more attractive pyjamas? These look frumpy on you,” he advised Emilia. She just glanced at him groggily and groaned.
“Keep quiet, or we’ll kick you out and you can live with Yue and his crazy girlfriend,” she threatened him. He raised one eyebrow in response, re-opened the newspaper and returned to reading.
So rude. I just watched as he continued to read the paper. I had no idea what his problem was, but regardless, now, having dealt with him a bit more, he didn’t seem to have the best of personalities…
“I’m off then,” I told Emilia. She took another sip of coffee, and tried to smile, but yawned instead.
“I’ll see you there then. We can meet for lunch?”
“I’ll meet you then,” I confirmed with a smile.
“Where are you off to?” Tristan asked, now looking up at me.
“The hospital,” I told him, as I cleared away my plate and mug. “Work.” I could only answer abruptly. I was beginning to get irritated with him. How did Emilia think that such a person was so attractive?
“I suppose I’ll see you tonight then,” he told me, returning to the paper. I nodded, and then continued to clear away my things into the sink. “By the way, thanks for breakfast.” I stopped, and looked at him, but he was still stuck on the newspaper. “Very much needed.”
I said nothing. Instead I left Emilia with Tristan in silence, and got ready to leave for work. Despite my frustration, I could only think of one thing as I walked out the door: at least he thanked me.
Two weeks passed quickly. After that morning, Emilia started getting back into her normal routine, but this still meant that her alarm would sound from six in the morning, ringing through the walls. This meant that at six every morning, regardless of whether or not my alarm was set for much later, I would be wide-awake only to lay in bed until she banged the snooze button; and every morning when I opened the curtains, there he was, leaning against the wall with a cigarette pressed between his lips.
Yue always arrived just after seven-thirty, bright and energetic, to collect Tristan. He would wink at me with a smirk, make a joke, laugh at Emilia, and then leave with Tristan, who would walk out the front door without as much as a ‘I’m off’ or ‘See you later’.
The evenings were the same: Tristan would return late, sometimes with Yue and other times without him. However, it was one evening that caught both Emilia’s attention and mine.
“I swear that Dr Yeates has it in for me. She is such a slave-driver!” she complained, sitting crossed-legged on my bed, as I sat on my window-seat with a mug of hot chocolate, some light music playing from my computer. “Who is this anyway?”
“HY, and her collaboration with Shota Shimizu.”
“I need to know more Japanese music,” she sighed.
“Because that’ll definitely help you deal with Dr Yeates,” I laughed. As I gazed out of the window, I saw two figures walk towards the gate of our house. One of them I immediately recognised as Tristan, and the other, a tall, slender woman, with long dark hair, wearing a very fashionable coat that fell to her knees and high-heels, and a beige handbag hanging off her arm. They both stood standing facing one another, and she adjusted his jacket gently, then leaving her hands on his chest. He held them delicately, and leaned in so that their noses touched. But she recoiled ever so slightly, and a kiss was left unfulfilled.
“What are you looking at?” Emilia finally asked, getting off my bed, and standing over me, and also stared out of the window. “Oh my god, that’s her!”
“Fiancée.” I glanced at Emilia in surprise.
“Fiancée? Seriously?” I looked back at them. “He kept that quiet…how do you know about that?”
“Yue knows her. Not well mind you. There was a rumour that she had proposed to him. He’s way too distant for that sort of thing. But he’s definitely in love with her. Yue noticed him change quite a lot since they met a couple of years back.”
“That’s so weird…he doesn’t seem the type.” I looked up at Emilia, who was still gazing out of the window. She shrugged her shoulders.
“Oh well. Not a big deal. It’s not like we need to meet her.”
“I suppose you’re right.”
I looked back out of the window, and both of them were gone. Emilia and I heard the key turn in the front door, and then someone walk up the stairs. Tristan finally walked past my open door, but stopped.
“Welcome back,” I said hesitantly.
“Lip-locking on the street, I see,” Emilia commented.
“Isn’t it rude to stare at people?” he gazed over into the room, but his eyes were locked on me. They were softer than usual, as if he had been crying, slightly red and bloodshot.
“Not when it’s outside our house. Who knows, you could have been a stalker yourself,” Emilia quickly retorted, taking another sip of hot chocolate.
“Whatever. Just don’t be so obvious next time,” he advised us.
“We’re waiting to see what Yue’s girlfriend looks like, and then we can be discreet.”
“Up to you.”
“How’s Delilah?” Emilia asked.
“Is that really any of your business?” he asked coldly.
“Not really. But just curious,” Emilia told him honestly. It was a good thing that Emilia was so determined and unwavering. It meant that she could ignore a lot of Tristan’s off-hand comments and Yue’s unnecessary jokes, and still fight back with her own sass. What threw me, though, was that his attention was mainly on me.
“There’s nothing for you to be curious about, so don’t worry about it,” he told her, before an abrupt goodnight, and the slamming of his door.
“Oooh, he’s in a bad mood,” Emilia affirmed. “My god, never did I think that I would ever see the great Tristan Leannán in a bad mood! He was so distant and cool and attractive in school,” she recalled nostalgically. “Now he’s just a grumpy guy in his twenties.” I didn’t say anything. There was nothing I could really say, apart from:
“Do you want more hot chocolate?”
“OH, and marshmallows! Yes, yes, yes!” Emilia cried out energetically, walking out of my door with her mug, and down to the kitchen. I followed her, but stood on the landing and stared at his door.
“Mei! Come on! Friends is on!”
“Coming!” And at that, mine and Emilia’s evening continued, whilst Tristan sulked in his room. A part of me wanted to invite him, and the other part of me hesitated, for fear of becoming more involved despite…well, despite Tristan not wanting us to. So I left him, not really sure what to expect of him next.