10 The Difference

It was Monday, so Riana had to return to school, even though she really wanted to stay home and think about Dmitri. She thought about her daring kiss last night, and blushed. She never knew that she would do such a thing!

Riana smiled and then searched through the piles of laundry for her school papers. She was not sure how some of them got under the laundry, but she needed to get those papers out. Some of them were due that day.

She looked at the portrait of Dmitri on the wall, and thought about how great it would be if he was real. Unfortunately, he was not real. Riana's smile slowly faded, but then it returned with a blush when she thought of the kiss again. She could not stop thinking about that kiss!

She finally finished grabbing all her necessary papers, or she thought that she finished, and she closed her bag. She checked to see if her mother was home, but she did not see any sign of her. She was usually a bit sad to find that her mother still has not returned, but today she was in such a good mood that she hardly thought of it. She mainly wanted to go through the day as quickly as possible so that she could return to Dmitri's side.

Riana walked out the door and all the way to her school. She ran into William as she entered the door, but they hardly spoke more than a few ordinary greetings. Today was a normal day, a completely normal day. There was no sign of anything from the dreams about Dmitri, and Riana could not help but feel ashamed when she thought of the fact that she fell in love with an imaginary boy. If anyone found out, Riana would certainly be mocked.

She arrived at her locker, and when she opened her bag she found that it was stuffed with papers, but every single notebook and all the textbooks were missing. She messed up. She forgot to bring anything besides the papers, and all the papers were wrinkled and folded and many were torn and shredded. She had no clue how she was going to survive the day.

Riana searched through to find her geometry papers. She should at least bring those, but she could not find any papers for geometry at all! She looked closer at all the papers, and found that most of them were actually her drawings! She did not bring any school work at all!

She fell to the floor helplessly, and a grimace was now on her face.

"Is something wrong? Do you need anything?" she heard a girl's voice ask.

Riana froze and quickly removed the grimace from her face. She turned to see who was talking. It was one of her classmates, Stella. Riana never really talked to Stella before, but she remembered what she heard from the gossip-lover Maddie. Stella was a kind girl who got along well with everyone, or almost everyone, in the class. She also had good grades, second only to Evan. She was the perfect model student for the girls: beautiful, kind, and smart, and also well liked by the boys.

Riana smiled and told Stella that she forgot all her school work and supplies. Stella smiled and helped Riana off the floor.

"Here, borrow my notebook. I always carry an extra with me, so you don't need to worry about it." Stella said, "Just return it to me after you're done with it."

"Thank you… thank you so much. Sorry for troubling you." Riana said. She seemed to have a light of hope returning to her eyes.

Stella laughed lightly. "Don't worry about it. It's no problem at all. It happens to everyone."

After grabbing Stella's extra notebook, Riana closed her locker. She then walked together with Stella into the classroom. When she walked in, she found that all eyes were on her.

"Why is everyone looking at me?" Riana asked, looking back and forth between all the students.

Stella replied, "I think it might be because you are here earlier than usual."

Riana did not know how to respond, so she just nodded and looked at everyone around her. Stella walked over to her seat, which was on the opposite side of the classroom from Riana's desk, and Riana walked over to Maddie and Elizabeth.

Maddie was not talking, probably because she was staring at Riana like the rest of them, but when Riana came over, she snapped out of it and greeted her. However, she did not say much besides the greeting.

Riana thought it was strange that Maddie did not start a whole conversation talking about Evan again, but she reasoned that Maddie was probably not in a good mood, that or something else happened that Maddie refused to talk of. It was most likely the former, the latter did not seem too much like Maddie, since Maddie always gossipped.

"Is something wrong?" Riana asked.

"N-nothing! There's nothing wrong! Just…" Maddie said. There was definitely something wrong. Riana leaned forward slightly. She knew that Maddie was going to say the reason soon.

"Just… like... you seem slightly different today…"

"What do you mean?"

Maddie avoided looking Riana in the eyes. "You s- seem…"

"Seem what?"

"More distant." Elizabeth interrupted. Maddie nodded quickly in agreement.

"More distant?" Riana asked, puzzled. How did she seem more distant? She was acting as she normally did.

"You came early to class. You're not walking around in a daze like you normally do. You talked to Stella. You never talked to Stella before." Elizabeth described.

Riana thought that Elizabeth's description was absurd. So what if she came early? Does walking in a daze make her who she is? What does talking to Stella have to do with anything? She was still Riana, wasn't she? What is with the way they were acting? They were being too dramatic!

"Oh, Riana! You should go to your seat now! William just arrived and he probably would want to talk to you!" As Elizabeth spoke, she pushed Riana gently all the way to her desk, and made sure that she sat down.

Riana was under the impression that Elizabeth and Maddie were avoiding her. She did not understand why. She thought it might have something to do with the fact that everyone was staring at her as she walked into the classroom.

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She thought of Dmitri again. Dmitri would never avoid her, right? Right. Dmitri was too good to her. He cared about her so much; he would never avoid her. Besides, Dmitri loved her, and he did not care about what anyone else thought about her. He would let her act as strangely as she wants.

Riana would never suspect Dmitri in the least. He trusted and cared for her, so she would do the same for him.

***

William sat at the desk, and again he was pushed into a tiny corner by all of Riana's stuff. He did not really seem to mind. It seemed that only William was acting normal around her today.

Riana thought it was strange that her friends would push her over to William, but she thought it would all be back to normal by lunch time. She would soon go eat lunch with Maddie and Elizabeth as she normally would, and nothing would be different. The day would go by normally, as it always does.

***

William glanced at Riana, and saw that she was not bothered much. He thought that the way her friends were acting was strange, but since Riana did not seem to care, William believed that he should not step in and do anything. It was not like she was getting bullied or anything. He saw that they were still kind and courteous, after all, but he was still slightly worried. He was worried that whatever was going on was not as simple as Riana thought.

He thought about telling Riana, but decided against it. She would probably turn against him if he did. She was very defensive about her friends, so she would dislike any warnings he could give her.

And he did not want her to dislike him.

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