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YA Fiction - Serial Novels - The Sunshine Time

The Sunshine Time Season 1 Episode 9

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Lea Chantry’s first day at the Eirwen College of Art takes an unpromising turn. Professor Shuman takes a strong dislike to her. The college bully, Rune Angarkh, decides she’s an easy target. She has a suspicion that the seemingly helpful Arriana Wellesley is really pulling her leg. On the brighter side, she is pretty sure that she has found a soulmate in the beautiful and headstrong Sanne de Waal.

The train entered Monzaemon District, and the city with its sky-scrapers and crowded pavements and heavily trafficked streets gave way to a more heightened ambiance. Wide boulevards and squares dotted with parks and tree-shaded cafes and shops and heritage buildings began to appear, with droves of trendy, youthful groups swarming everywhere, boys zooming on motorbikes, girls with streaming hair in open, gleaming cars. A self-conscious knot started inside me, then subsided as the University buildings, their golden-gray stone walls decked with green and russet ivy and their red tile roofs shining in the sunlight, came into sight, stretching far and wide in undulating structures. Suddenly I was exhilarated. It was such a glorious sight, it was like reaching back into history and stretching forward into the future. My grandparents had studied here, and my parents, and some of the greatest and most influential minds the world had ever known, and now it was my turn. I was going to be a part of that long, rich tradition and perhaps someday I too would be remembered for my positive contribution. This was my chance to leave a legacy and I felt all choked up with emotion, proud and awed to have been given it. I was not going to fail. I was going to work hard and be the most brilliant art student Eirwen had ever known. In my first year, I would be better than the people in the graduation class, hell, I probably already was, and when I graduated, I would be completely without parallel.They would put my most famous work up in the hall so that everyone, for centuries to come, would be able to admire it and learn from my example. She wasn’t just a great artist, they would tell new students, she had a great spirit. She never let herself be bogged down by anything. She was always up for a challenge and she was always ready to help people. She was immensely popular with everyone she met. Every single person that knew her liked and admired her...

“I know,” said Billy’s voice in my ear. “It’s going to be a real drag coming here every morning, but do stop gawping like a goldfish, kitten.”

I gave him a cold look and moved to my brother’s side. I wasn’t speaking with Billy anymore and I ignored him totally when we parted from him at the Redmond Square station. He went off, unbothered as ever, and I burned up with rage. Despite Tavi’s efforts to prevent me, I phoned Aunt Zarrin and told her that her son had tried to murder me and she had better do something about him before I killed him.

“Tch, kitten,” she said. “Calm down, I’ll talk to him.”

“Don’t talk to him,” I said. “It’s gone way beyond that now. Beat his brains out!”

“You should start an advice column,” said Jaap, as I switched off. “Tell all the frustrated parents in plain language how to deal with their wayward sons.”

“Hush,” said Declan. “You want her to phone your Mummy next?”

Jopie tucked her arm through mine, letting me know that she at least was totally on my side. She didn’t like Billy any more than I did. He was always making snide, smartass remarks about Davey, her mother, and their dog Josh.

“I feel for you,” he had once said to Mrs. Ashton. “With a son like that and a dog like that, no wonder you always feel compelled to make excuses.”

“What?” Mrs. Ashton had said, affronted. “When did I make any excuses?”

“Didn’t you?” Billy had said. “Forgive me, what was that about their pedigree then again?”

Mrs. Ashton had gone, like everyone did, to Aunt Zarrin to complain, and Aunt Zarrin had said to Mum, “I only gave birth to him, how can I be held responsible for everything he says?”

She called Mum, naturally, and Mum called me to ask WHAT had happened, what was I boiling about NOW, and Tavi, irritated by the whole thing, seized the phone to speak to her and then told me that he had heard Mrs. Roussel, our nosy neighbor, tittering in the background and that meant the news would be relayed all over the neighborhood in a short matter of time. What would they all do without getting daily bulletins about our fights? Was I happy now?

“Like I care,” I said.

“Obviously, you don’t,” he said. “Spread it around campus too. Why leave the folks here bereft?”

“Tavi,” said Valerie.

“Is a life without drama too much to ask?” he said to her. “Of course, it is. It just has to be one thing after another with the little firecracker here. You even look like a firecracker,” he told me, which, of course, upset me all over again, and, later, made me feel gaudy, self-conscious, and demoralized amongst the classy crowd at Eirwen.  

Every single person there seemed soberly dressed and seemed to know where to go and what to do. Except me. I felt abandoned and adrift. Valerie and Jaap had been willing to see me right up to my classroom, but Tavi vetoed the idea.

“Enough mollycoddling,” he had said. “It’s bad enough we have to see her up to the front door. Let her figure things out for herself. How difficult is it anyway to find her own way to class?”

So they had deposited me on the steps and gone off to drop Jopie at her college. I had followed the flow into the high-vaulted hallway and up and down a few corridors, trying to keep the panic in control and failing miserably. I clutched my bag and my portfolio tightly and there was a distinct tremor in my voice when I stopped a girl and asked her for directions.

“Oh, ask someone,” she said, ruffling her hair distractedly, and hurried on.

“Can’t you see I’m busy?” said a boy that I asked next, not even looking up from his tablet.

The third person, a trendy-looking boy lounging at the edge of a group, sent me the wrong way, and when I returned from having traipsed up to the men’s loo, the group was waiting with broad grins and crass comments. I passed them with as much dignity as was possible, which was very little in the circumstances, and went back to the hall and might have grown roots there, except a hand tapped my shoulder and Billy said, “Did you sign at the office?”

I looked about, startled and so relieved too that I quite forgot my animosity. “No,” I said.

“Let’s go sign then,” he said and steered me in the right direction.

“I...I thought you had classes.”

He looked down at me with a wry expression. “I did,” he said. “But I had to come make amends for nearly murdering you, didn’t I?”

“Oh. I see. So Aunt Zarrin twisted the screws, did she? Good. Serves you right.”

His mouth twitched, but he only said, “Watch where you’re going,” and saved me from an imminent collision with a girl coming the other way. She gave me a dirty look as she passed on and I said to Billy, “What’s wrong with the people here? They’re so rude and unfriendly.”

“It must be the artistic temperament,” he said, but I let it pass, I was too grateful to him for turning up in my hour of need. I clutched at his sleeve to keep up, and, with a sigh of sufferance, he reached to release my grip and took my hand instead. My inner panic subsided further.

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