At Kaminari Academy the next day, Angelica Wolfe strolled into the building with her head held high and her astronomy homework completed.
“Isn’t it a wonderful morning?” Angelica asked, grinning widely.
Beside her, Angelique shook her head in exasperation. “Right. You would say it’s a wonderful day where there are thirty-mile-per-hour wind gusts outside. Not to mention we haven’t made much progress on our mission.”
Angelica shrugged. “I’m just trying to be optimistic.” Her grin grew dreamy. “And we get to see Orlando first thing on this fine morning.”
“We see him every day,” muttered Angelique. Angela remained silent.
“I know,” Angelica agreed. “Isn’t it wonderful?”
“Call it whatever you want, dear sister.”
Angelica rolled her eyes and threw her hair over her shoulder. “I don’t care what you say. I’m going ahead to class.”
With that, Angelica left Angelique and Angela on their own. Once Angelica was gone, Angelique turned to Angela worriedly.
“You’ve been quiet,” Angelique noted. “I’m sure you’re disappointed with our progress.”
“I am more disappointed with Angelia,” Angela replied evenly. “I know she knows we’re here. Lina told me that she got the note.”
“Lina’s transferring into one of her English classes. Perhaps she can knock some sense into her during that time.”
Angela shook her head. “It’s not going to work.” The sisters paused in the doorway to watch Angelica as she held a conversation with some of the popular girls in the class. “We are going to have to accelerate things. There is no way that we can do what we were sent here to do at the rate we’re going now.”
“I second the motion,” Angelique said, nodding. “So what are we going to do?”
There was no time to discuss it further because the bell rang at that moment and Orlando came rushing in with the textbook and his lecture notes. Everyone settled into their seats. He greeted the class and asked everyone to pass in their homework. Angelica was extremely enthusiastic to do so and Orlando noticed.
“Miss Wolfe, you seem very happy to turn in your homework this morning,” Orlando commented.
Angelica grinned at him. “I am happy, Orlando. I am also very happy to be here right now.”
“Good. I’m glad you’re happy. Hopefully this will spread to your classmates because I now have to pass back the quizzes from yesterday morning.” Groans erupted from the class but Angelica still wore her dazzling smile. Orlando took some papers from the stack he entered the room with and began to pass them out. Angelica’s smile faded a notch. People around her chatted to their friends about their scores. Most of them were pretty good, but Angelica heard Shane swearing behind her. Good. Just what he deserves.
“Let’s go over some of the most frequently missed answers so we can clear up any confusion.” Orlando paused at the front of the room as the shuffling and lamenting stopped. “What is an equinox?”
Sae Sasaki, the brunette who had attempted to gain Orlando’s attention before Felice’s arrival on his first day, raised her hand.
“Okay, Miss Sae. Delight us with your intelligence.”
Sae would have started beaming if she hadn’t of had more self-control, but she kept the right balance of excitement and coolness in her voice. “An equinox occurs on the days of the year on which daytime and nighttime are equal.”
The wind picked up outside and Orlando frowned. “That’s good, Sae, but that’s not quite what I’m looking for.” Sae looked utterly shocked. “Anyone want to clarify?” He looked down to his left when the class offered no more volunteers. “Felice?”
Felice stopped writing in a spiral notebook and peered up at him. “Yes?”
“Give us your definition of an equinox, if you don’t mind.”
Felice did mind, which could be seen as she slapped her paper back onto the desk, but she read her answer aloud with stony efficiency. “An equinox is the time of year at which the Sun moves either north or south of the celestial equator. During the autumnal equinox in September, the Sun moves down the ecliptic from north to south of the celestial equator, and the opposite of this occurs during the vernal equinox in March when the Sun moves from south to north.”
Silence. Felice put her paper away.
“Thank you, Felice,” Orlando murmured, then addressing the class, he added, “That, my fine pupils, is the kind of answer that I want. Some of you gave me something similar to that, but others of you need more work.”
Felice went back to scribbling. Angelica gazed thoughtfully at her but put in a thought to talk to her later. She would have to tone it down a little. Something told Angelica to look behind her, and she did, just for a second.
Sae Sasaki was seething.
Angelica felt some strange vindictiveness well up in her. Girls like Sae would not be upstaged without a price.
This would be good.
* * *
Like she always did, Felice left the class after all of her classmates had exited. She didn’t really talk to any of them because they were not important. She had one thing to do here and one thing to do only. And that one thing was not to become the most popular girl at Kaminari Academy.
Unfortunately, she had pissed off the holder of that coveted title and her royal committee.
In true leader and mob fashion, Sae Sasaki and her uniform-wearing followers were waiting for Felice at her locker.
Felice rolled her eyes and pushed past them to get to her locker.
Sae pushed her back, and because she was expecting it she didn’t fall to the ground.
“Felice dear,” Sae began, “we have to have a little talk.”
Felice raised an eyebrow and didn’t speak. Meanwhile, Angelica, who had watched Sae and her friends approach her ally, observed with rapt interest.
“Aren’t you going to say something?” Sae demanded.
Felice opened her locker, which threw Sae off a couple of inches. “I prefer not.”
Sae slammed Felice’s locker in anger. Many people stopped to watch as if they were at Madison Square Garden. Angelica inhaled as Felice decided whether or not it would be a good idea to punch Sae’s lights out.
In this case, Felice opted not to. It would only make matters worse.
“You little bitch—”
Someone cleared his throat behind Sae and her mob. Felice stepped aside Sae to look her benefactor in the face.
“What’s going on here?” Felice’s “benefactor” inquired.
Sae jumped and whirled around. “Mr. Bloom!” she exclaimed. “I was just–”
Orlando shook his head, disgusted, and walked around Sae. He took Felice by the arm and led her away through the growing crowd of people as Sae called after him.
When they reached the lobby of the building, Felice shook her arm out of his grasp.
“You didn’t have to do that,” Felice snapped. “I could have taken care of that narrow-minded sycophant myself.”
Orlando inhaled. Women. “I was doing you a favor, Felice. I think—”
Felice held up her hands as if to shield herself from whatever he was going to say. “Oh no. I hardly care what you think, Orlando Bloom, because there’s no telling what kinds of stuff goes on in your head.”
Pause. Orlando paled. Felice blinked rapidly at her slip.
“But how–?” he choked out.
Felice straightened and backed away. “It hardly matters. Besides, anyone with eyes can see that you’ve been sleeping badly. I can imagine something is bothering you that you need to take care of.” She turned to leave. “Good day, Mr. Bloom.”
Felice stalked away and, much to Orlando’s surprise, out of the building. He watched her leave with a growing confusion…and the feeling that Felice was more than just a mere student.