"... And that's all," the adult finished, bringing a small smile to his face. "Ask me for anything at all, okay?"
"Got it!" the child in front of him chimed. Cerulean orbs flickered back to the man with ashen hair to the sheet of paper placed on his desk. 'Con... tact?' the girl made out with squinted eyes before directing her gaze back to her new caretaker. She still couldn't read all that well, but she was learning.
She wasn't sure if he noticed her staring at the paper, but it didn't seem like it. Instead, the man stood there, patient as ever before saying, "By the way, all of the kids here call me Teacher. It'll be nice having you here, Efina."
"Yeah!" The hyper blonde couldn't help but give him a toothy grin. Maybe Teacher's smile was too contagious. After a few moments, Efina asked, "Where am I gonna sleep, anyway?"
"Since this orphanage only has a few rooms, you'll probably be staying with..." Clinging to her chocolate brown dress in shock, the new addition to the orphanage felt a chill run through her body.. She could've sworn that Teacher was staring at her with hard eyes. Eyes as hard as coal, even. The caretaker continued talking once his concentrated expression disappeared from his face. "... one of the girls, maybe. It's possible for you to stay with one of the boys... but I doubt that's a good idea."
"I don't mind," Efina mentioned, still shaken up by the odd chill she just felt. Either way, her words were true. She was just excited to make friends at her new home. It was obvious by the energetic aura always surrounding her, sticking to Efi like a lonesome ghost haunting her as if it wasn't obvious enough.
"I think you should introduce yourself to the other kids," Teacher recommended as he picked up a turquoise notebook and handed it to the short girl. "And here's your notebook! I tell the kids to write down their thoughts here when they're sad or happy, but some like to doodle in them, too."
Once the notebook was in her hands, she eagerly opened it and flipped through the blank pages before remembering that she couldn't write all that well either. Her mood instantly deflated until the adult said, "I think you're ready to meet everyone. Have fun, okay? And be safe!"
"Yep!" Efina saluted the colossally tall man before marching out of the room, her notebook in hand.
The first person she met was a girl named Stella, Efi barging into her room like it was no problem.
Maroon eyes stared straight at the intruder, and the girl with the black-purplish hair frowned. She scooted as far as possible from the blonde, hoping that she wouldn't talk to her. After all, Stella was one who liked the atmosphere around her the same as she liked people; dead and quiet.
Too bad Efina was the exact opposite.
"Hi!" Efi greeted, a bright smile on her face. It made Stella want to cringe.
"... Hello," the gothic lolita responded, voice flat. She attempted to scoot as far as she could from the odd girl, but it appeared futile. Every time the quiet girl moved away from the newcomer, Efina moved even closer. "You seem to be... very pesky and loud. How annoying."
At Stella's comment, Efina grew offended, staring at her as if she grew two heads. "I'm not annoying!" the girl protested. "I'm Efi!"
"You are both." Stella's words were as sharp as always, but Efina wasn't exactly used to the sudden rudeness. She didn't even want to ask the girl to play with her, which was pretty odd on Efi's part.
Efina puffed out her cheeks. "Hmph!"
If Efina learned anything from her encounter with the stoic girl, the blonde knew she didn't want Stella to be her roommate.
Besides that one scuffle with Stella, Efina had grown to like the other orphans.
Chelsy was the shy girl with hair as brown as chestnuts. She liked bears, and the girl's scent reminded Efi of medicine. Chelsy had offered Efi her room to share, with much difficulty on the timid girl's part, but Efina immediately agreed with enthusiasm.
Joshua was the mischievous prankster of the kids, always playing tricks on everyone. He sometimes made inappropriate jokes, but Efina still giggled at them anyway. He was definitely fun to talk to, that was for sure.
Letty was the silver-haired girl, who was as almost as hyper as Efina. The happy lolita loved sweets like the new girl, and she even wished for a house made out of candy. Both of them were positive that they would get along just fine.
Rick was Letty's twin brother, but Efina hadn't met the boy yet. Letty told the blonde, though, that the silver-haired boy was extremely smart and well-mannered. Efina couldn't wait to meet him.
The last person Efina had met was a quiet boy with unkempt, blond hair. He wore a buttoned up, white blouse, with a cyan blue ribbon tied underneath his collar. He looked a little funny with his oversized overalls and blue striped stockings, but Efina decided that he didn't look bad in his attire. Besides, her outfit was pretty similar anyway, with her black jumper, green ribbon, and yellow stripes. They could almost be mistaken as... twins!
Efina beamed. 'Like Letty and Rick, right?'
Eyes as mysterious as the sea gazed up from the book they were directed to and blinked at her. Feeling obligated to say something, Efina greeted the boy. "Hi! I'm Efi, and you're Allen, right?"
The blond promptly closed his book once the new girl had started to talk. "... Hello. And yes, you're right."
Efina strolled to Allen's bed and plopped herself down right next to him. "What's that?" the girl questioned, obviously curious. She craned her neck to read the cover of the book, although this proved to be difficult for her. "Li... Liffle? Liffle... Prine?"
"The Little Prince," the boy corrected, smoothing out his trousers. "... It's a good book."
"Oh! Never heard of it!" Eyes as bright as the sky gazed into eyes as dark as the sea, and Efina asked, "Hey, Allen? Can you read The Liffle-"
"-Prince to me?"
Allen blinked at the blonde once he registered what Efina was asking. This was the first time anyone had asked him to read to them. After all, all of the other kids didn't exactly want to sit and read a book for hours on end. They probably felt like it was extra homework. Of course, Allen didn't feel the same.
Without much of a warning or two, Allen opened The Little Prince and began reading from the first page.
Efina didn't really know why, but she found Allen interesting.
Allen didn't really know why, but he found Efina interesting.
'She's pretty,' the boy thought to himself as he kept his nose in Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince, yet his greyish-blue eyes stuck to the new girl like hot glue.
And pretty, she was. An antique-looking green ribbon was tied around the girl's thin neck, enhancing the white collar of her dress. The brown dress looked a little bit poofy, yet there seemed to be a yellow striped skirt with white frills underneath it. Her silky hair cascaded down her petite back like a pinkish-blonde waterfall, her hairclips and oversized bow being the only things keeping her hairstyle neat. With fingerless gloves and black & white boots complementing her outfit, she looked even more than pretty.
She looked beautiful.
Allen shoved his whole face in his book.
It was time for supper, and Allen grew anxious. He wasn't sure what he was feeling at the moment, but he could guess. 'Fear, maybe,' the blond thought, scrutinizing the empty plate in front of him. '... If fear made your face really red, anyway. ... And maybe it could... if your face was painted with blood...'
Allen forced his imagination from expanding any further.
At any rate, Allen and all of the other orphans (except for Rick, since he was sleeping. Or at least, that's what Letty said) were sitting at the table, waiting for supper, with their caretaker making their food. He didn't know what Teacher was cooking at the moment, but whatever he was making smelled delectable.
"So, Efi," Joshua began, voice friendly. For some reason, it irked Allen the way the violet-haired kid called Efina by her nickname with such casualness. "What's your favorite animal?"
"Hmm..." The newest addition to the group carefully stroked her chin with a focused facial expression before chirruping, "Dragons, I think!"
"Dragons aren't real," Stella bluntly stated, blank red eyes cautiously eyeing Efina, as if she was a bomb about to explode. "They're mythical creatures from fairy tales."
Efina, surprised by the sound of Stella's voice, looked to the poker-faced girl's direction, Allen noting that Efina's cerulean eyes looked like a nice shade of lilac at the right angle. The blonde pouted before saying, "But I bet you've never seen any before, right?"
If Stella was confused, she didn't show it. "Correct."
"Then you don't know if they're real or not!" the blonde countered, puffing out her cheeks in defiance.
Stella sighed, still expressionless as ever. "But I bet-"
"Do you think we'll have cake today?" Letty skillfully interrupted, a twinkle in her grape-colored eyes. She ignored Stella's quiet, "How rude," and Efina's loud, "They're definitely real," and instead focused on lighting up the atmosphere. "Maybe? Possibly?"
"I-I don't think so, Letty..." Chelsy stuttered, twirling her fingers nervously. Her gaze was directed to Stella, though, as she rambled on. "Teacher is still making supper, so..."
The girl with silver hair looked disappointed, but Efina only blinked and questioned, "Do you guys have macarons or candy? Or something sweet?"
"I have a frog!" Joshua shouted before Stella gave him a stern glare that was almost enough to kill a person twice. "I'm joking, of course! It's in my room!" the mischievous boy quickly added with a chuckle, knowing that he wasn't supposed to bring back frogs to the facility anyway.
Efina had curiosity written all over her face. "Don't frogs taste like chickens, though?"
"... D-do they?" It was the shy girl's turn to be confused, hazelnut orbs fluttering rapidly from one end of the table to the other.
"... Yes," Allen answered in a hesitant tone. He could feel everyone's eyes staring at him now, especially Efina's, but he pretended to be the calm and collected boy he always was. Not knowing what else to say, he threw in a meek, "I read it in a book," and zipped his mouth shut for the rest of the conversation.
With Efina and Letty mumbling amazed "ooh"'s and "aah"'s, Teacher entered the dining room with the children's freshly made soup and mashed potatoes. And as the seven of them devoured their meal, Allen couldn't help but stare at a certain blonde sitting at the opposite end of the dining room table.
"Thank you for the meal, Teacher!" all of the six kids said simultaneously, with their dishes clean of food and their stomachs filled to the brim.
Well, except for one.
"For some reason, I'm still hungry..." said a certain blonde girl, as she wiped her mouth with the back of her hand.
"Wow," the peppy lolita gasped in awe, her petite hands covering her mouth in shock. "You sure can eat a lot!"
"I could make some more soup," Teacher sheepishly suggested, rubbing his neck, "but that'll take a while."
"Hmm..." Efina hummed before shaking her head, her long hair moving as she did so. "No thanks! ... I think I just want some cookies or macarons or something. Do you have any?"
"No, sorry," the adult apologized with a contrite smile. "I could buy some tomorrow, though. How does that sound, Efina?"
"That's good!" The new girl (although, it seemed like she had been with the whole group forever) nodded in agreement, her floppy bow shaking with her.
Teacher clapped his hands, as he stood up from his seat. "Well, that's that! Now, go to your rooms everyone. You can play with each other for a little while, but make sure you don't go upstairs, okay?"
All of the kids shouted at the same time. "Yes, Teacher!"
Efina, Allen, Chelsy, and Joshua all sat in the hallway, playing cards as they chatted with one another. The blonde decided that today was the best day ever, ignoring Stella's rudeness earlier on in the day.
"I really like steak," the boy with the beanie rambled. "After all, only men like meat!"
"I-I don't think gender has anything to do with liking a certain type of food, Joshua..." Chelsy weakly protested, as she picked one of Allen's cards. "Eek! I got the Old Maid..."
Joshua frowned at the girl in red and sighed. "Well, whatever. This conversation is boring. Let's talk about something else!"
"Um, I recently learned how to spell my name!" Efina shouted out one of her accomplishments, causing Joshua to snort.
The purple-haired boy smirked. "Your name? I could write more than that!"
"Your writing is extremely messy, though," Allen pointed out, causing Efina to send a smile to his direction. The blond swore that he felt his heart skip a beat.
Joshua's face grew as red as an apple before barking, "Well, I know almost all of the words in the dictionary!"
Suddenly, the four kids jumped back and screamed. In front of them was an odd, black monster with round eyes. And it was staring directly at... Efina?
"Wh-what..." Allen breathed, eyes as wide as saucers, "... is that?"
"... The new girl?" The boy with the long silver hair tilted his head at the black-haired girl in front of him. "She's here? I should go and greet her."
"Yes," Stella flatly answered, "but there's something wrong with her. It's as if she doesn't fit in here."
"And why is that?" Rick questioned, raspberry-colored orbs fixated on the girl in front of him.
For the first time in their conversation, Stella looked away from Letty's 'twin'. "She feels too... alive."