AT 3:11 ON A MONDAY AFTERNOON, a brunette can be seen walking down the halls of the huge academy, eager to get to her destination before 4:00 pm hits.
Aubrey restlessly pads down the stairs with books pressed to her chest and her small purse crossed over her shoulders. Sweat is dripping down the sides of her face which only reminds her that winter is ending and summer is approaching.
She looks at her wrist watch, shrugging the sleeves of her white shirt. "Crap, I'm going to be late."
This counts as the third time she is getting to work late after she swore to her boss the last time never to be late. The reason for her lateness isn't because of extra hours of class, neither is it because she woke up late, but because she merely lost track of time from being mentally exhausted— she barely got any shut-eye throughout the weekend.
The robbery of Friday night still sits in her mind, fresh.
Throughout the weekend, she worried that the thieves would come back, especially the tall, dark-haired and she hasn't been able to get any sleep till now. Not being able to handle the stress alone, she decided to call her parents earlier in the afternoon but she ended up being scolded for forgetting to shut the door to her apartment.
She pushes open the huge glass doors, walking into the warm sun. She doesn't take notice of her environment as she is focused on getting to the coffee shop. She places her book on a bench right at the side of the entrance, ties up her hair in the most comfortable yet stylish way and resumes walking.
Her mind flashes back to the conversation she previously had with her parents over the phone.
-"Was your brother there last night?" Her mother had asked in a distressed voice.
"He wasn't home, he slept over at a friend's house." She replied guiltily.
"Oh good, I thought you called to inform me of his death."-
A sigh leaves Aubrey's lips. Even when the situation is about Aubrey, her mother will always find a way to make her brother more important. She stares at the distance between the school and the main gate; she is definitely going to be late.
"I'm coming with you."
A short girl with burgundy colored hair catches Aubrey's attention with her statement. However, she tries to ignore the girl by hastening her steps but the girl eventually runs up to her, intertwining her tiny arm with Aubrey's.
"Were you trying to run from me?" the girl glares up at Aubrey.
Aubrey sighs, knowing she can't get away from the talkative of the school. The short girl known as Harper is one of the people Aubrey despises in her department; she doesn't like her that much even if Harper is such an amicable person that smiles at everyone around her. The source of the hate is the fact that Harper tends to tell everything to everyone, making her a blabbermouth and a terrible secret keeper.
Unfortunately, of all the great people in her department, Harper happens to be the person that overhears her conversation with her parents about the robbery.
Since the call with her parents, Harper has been following her around, trying to get more information.
Aubrey turns her head to the tall, blonde girl walking beside Harper. She recognizes her from the same department as hers but she has never spoken to her; she doesn't even know her name.
"Oh, hi." She smiles back, trying to hide her discomfort.
"So where are we headed?" The air moves Harper's curly, burgundy hair around her small, round face.
Aubrey tries detaching Harper's arm from hers, her perfume choking but Harper only tightens her arms. "I'm kind of in a hurry now, Harper."
"That's why Joe is here." Harper happily points to the blonde girl. "She will give us a ride in her car. She owes me anyways."
Aubrey stares at the tall girl -apparently known as Joe- for a long period, trying to decipher the ulterior motive behind Harper offering her a ride. She then looks to Harper, thinking about the tempting offer. She is already late for work and a free ride will also save up some money but she can't stay indebted to others, what if Joe needs her help someday and she is not able to return the favor?
"No thank you, that's okay. I can get there easily."
"I don't mind, honestly." Joe also offers.
"Oh, stop being modest, Aubrey. It doesn't look good on you." Harper nudges the brown-haired.
Aubrey looks around the Campus in thought. They're currently walking towards the garage where cars of different magnificent brands -owned by students- are parked but Aubrey was originally heading towards the gate.
"You really don't have to drive me, I won't want to inconvenience you, I'll take the bus." She tries to escape the offer.
Harper cuts Joe off. "Don't listen to her." She tells Joe before turning to Aubrey, "You're coming with us." She states, leaving no room for arguments. "We have to escort you everywhere you go from now on, since you got robbed."
Her last statement makes Aubrey squeeze her eyes shut.
"You got robbed?" Joe's eyes are wide with concern.
Aubrey curses under her breath.
"Yeah she did." Harper starts talking, "I overheard her talk with her parents. Apparently, they took her toaster, thank God it wasn't so serious or else she could have ended up in the hospital." She narrates the story like it's hers to tell. "I heard her tell her parents she got chased down to the end of the hallway."
"I didn't say that." Aubrey snaps, irritated as she still tries detaching their arms.
"Then tell me what really happened." Harper snaps back. "I know you were really scared, tell us."
She turns her head away, ignoring the two.
—"I put everyone in this town to sleep." She recalls his statement, memories of Friday night seeping in.
She laughs inwardly by how dumb that sounds. She cannot believe she got scared by that. After she slept and woke up the next morning, she thought over all that happened, realizing how completely funny it was. They did a great job in making her scared, the dark-haired boy probably used some device to tone his voice.
All that for her toaster.
They really must have been very desperate to the extent that they put on a show of falling asleep and trying to scare her by talking gibberish just to steal her toaster. They are skilled robbers, she admits.
"Tell us, Aubrey." Harper whines.
Aubrey sighs, eyeing the beautiful Campus and at the same time, looking for a perfect excuse to run towards the gate. The cider painted walls and the small green trees planted around, along with the smiley looks on the students faces doesn't make Aubrey feel pleasant since Harper is clinging to her like a leech.
Moving her eyes about the Campus, something catches her attention.
She stops in her tracks, causing the other girls to also halt.
"What? What's wrong?" Joe asks with furrowed eyebrows, trying to sight what Aubrey is staring at.
Harper groans, finally removing her arm from Harper's, "Come on, don't tell me you want to give a silly excuse again."
"Harper." Aubrey impatiently hits her shoulder, her eyes still on the figure. "That's the thief who broke into my apartment."
She says that to Harper even when she knows she is the wrong person to tell. However, she needs someone to confirm that she isn't seeing things.
Harper only frowns, "Who? Matt the bachelor?"
Aubrey groans, frustrated when she doesn't sight what she is pointing at. "No, not him." She moves closer to Harper, then points again. "The man standing beside that red car."
Out of all the reactions she expects to hear, laughter is the least.
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