The school day came to an end, the students dwindling as the minutes pass and what was left huddled in groups. The day was colder than usual but it began to get worse as the rain settled in. Lily held Valie's hand as the group waddled closer together, but, Lily was concentrated on Valie's face. There were dark circles under her eyes, her cheeks began to grow paler, and her fingers were rougher and covered in scars and burn marks. She worried for her childhood friend and her concerns had grown for the past few years. She was sleeping less and becoming more distant, she was more prone to hurting herself, and she was completely alone since her parents went to their conferences. She never told Lily what her parents did, all she said was that they both worked in the medical field. She had met them a few times throughout the years and they always seemed to adore their daughter, doting on her and trying to spoil her, but she never let them. Valie turned to Lily and smiled, " I know I'm gorgeous, but you don't have to stare too hard. You're making me blush", Valie cupped her face with her free hand and fluttered her eyes toward Lily. Everyone snickered a bit, but Lily was caught off guard and began to laugh. Seeing this made Valie's heart flutter a bit as she began to stare too.
The group dwindled as each one was picked up by their respective ride. The only ones left now were Lily and Valie. Now sitting on a bench, Lily began to question Valie about her growing concerns. "Valie...are you okay still living by yourself in that house? You can live with me ya know, our parents know each other well enough and they won't worry?", Lily gave a comforting smile but was let down as Valie only held her hand and shook her head. "Honestly, I like how it is now, it gives me time to breathe-", Valie was interrupted as Elis walked in front of the two girls and just smiled.
Lily stared in confusion and was questioning why he was just standing there and not saying anything. Valie had already told the rest of their friends to stay away from Elis and Lily was adamant to follow that request. Elis quickly broke the silence and was fixated on Lily, he stared at her, almost as if examining her from head to toe, "Sorry if I startled you, but I just wanted to clarify something since I don't like rumors." She became uncomfortable the moment he began to ask her questions. "I just heard from a friend that you looked completely different in elementary school, did you? ".
Lily stared at Elis for what felt like an uncomfortable amount of time and resumed talking with Valie. Valie smiled and continued as well. Elis continued to antagonize Lily, but she decided to stand and move away from the annoyance that was being presented in front of them. She again resumed her conversation with Valie, but the headache came back, and began talking to the girls. Valie was getting distracted and agitated that some idiot was taking her time away from Lily. However, before she could say anything, Lily chimed in,
" Do you really like the sound of your own voice that much? I'm trying to talk to my friend and I don't know how obvious it is that we don't want to talk to you. Are you an idiot, socially inept?".
Elis tried to retort but was interrupted by Lily, " Calm down I was just-".
"Hm? Just what? Joking, fooling around, trying to make conversation? I don't care. Learn how to read a fucking room and stay the fuck away from us.
The girls again moved away, leaving Elis by himself, and his smile faded. The dwindling students around them only stared at what they thought was a friendly interaction, possibly an apology towards Valerian. However, those who were closest caught snippets of what was being said and snickered at Elis's embarrassed face. One by one they moved further away, minding their own business. However, Elis was enraged and was about to make a bee-line towards Lily, but, Lily saw her ride enter the school gate and she walked towards the car. A worried expression covered her. She looked at Valie and offered her hand as she stood in place. "Please don't refuse, it's raining, it's cold...just come with me and stay over", Lily whispered as she pleaded. Valie looked at her precious friend and smiled," I can't, you need to rest without any distractions this time. I know everything still hurts". Lily could only smile as she gave up. She zipped up Valie's coat and headed into the car. The driver waved at Valie, Valie waved back, Lily shut the door and the car drove off.
As Valie saw the car exit the gate she saw no one was waiting to get picked up anymore. She was left alone with Elis. Valie saw Elis standing near the bike loops, she needed to walk past him to get her bike. Her face was stoic, looking through him and walking past him. As she did this his smile came back. He quickly grabbed the folded umbrella she was holding, and she stopped at the slight tug. "I'm not a patient person, Valie. You're getting my attention, so just listen for a sec", his words were demanding and angry, but, in just a split second his friendly facade resurfaced. "Look, your friend was very rude. It wasn't my intention to offend anyone", his 'apology' passed through Valie's ears due to not being an apology. Elis continued as Valie turned slightly to meet his gaze, she was unimpressed. Elis wanted to get on Valie's good side and he saw he was failing tremendously. Nothing moved her emotions when she was in front of him, she just kept seeing through him. Elis sighed, he let go of the umbrella and decided to reach out to her unattended hand. However, as their skin just made contact, Valie swung her umbrella towards Elis's arm, and a violent collision was heard. Elis quickly backed away with his arm in his hand, trying to not let out a single noise, but a whimper was still audible. Valie began to open the yellow umbrella and flashed a smile toward Elis, "I warned you. You see what happens when you don't listen and keep running your mouth, people get hurt. Now, if you are not stupid and can keep up with my words, listen carefully: Keep your distance, be invisible, and school life will be a breeze." As Valie said these words, she unchained her steel blue bike and cleaned the seat from the rain, she got on, and without another word, she left. Elis was left in the cold, he saw the blue metal bike pedal away and the small dent on the back held a few drops of water, his previous annoyance was turning into anger as the water splashed out. However, he wasn't bored. His life was always based on avoiding the mundane. He loved people. The best part was seeing how they acted trying to get his attention, but no one could touch him or blame him for anything atop his pedestal due to a flawless reputation. But, with her, he felt like he was the one who couldn't reach her, as if, she were always looking down. No one came close to touching her on her elevated tower. She was much higher, somewhere he could never reach. Elis was not accustomed to being the one chasing anybody, and the more he did it, the dirtier he felt." She thinks she's better than me...no one is better than me".
Valerian is as normal as can be, she goes to school, does her assignments, has friends she adores, and even has a crush. However, she can also be irrational, cold, and unforgiving if you catch her eye. Whatever you do, try not to get her attention, leave her alone, and as anybody can tell you, she loves beautiful things.