Amaya took a deep breath, tightly gripped the shoulder bag, steeled herself, and knocked on the door. After the third knock, the door opened. The first thing that Amaya noticed was the loud blaring music that had previously been muffled by the door, then the door opened wider to reveal her cousin Victoria. Her face shining with a light covering of sweat and she was smiling widely. She smiled even wider when she saw Amaya by standing in front of her.
“Amaya!” Victoria shouted. She stepped outside and closed the door behind her, muffling the music once more. “I didn’t think you’d actually come. I’m so glad you’re here though!” She quickly jumped and tightly hugged Amaya, much to the confusion of the latter.
“Y-Yeah,” Amaya stuttered. She wasn’t used to having a person be so affectionate to her. Especially since she hasn’t really talked to Victoria for weeks now.
Victoria let go of her and she looked at Amaya. “C’mon, come inside! I’ll have you meet some of my friends!” She grabbed Amaya’s hand and led the girl into the house.
“Th-That’s really not necessary! I’m gonna be fine on my—” Amaya cut off when Victoria threw the door open. The loud music came back to Amaya’s ears with a vengeance and she winced from the loud sound. The party was as big as she thought it would be. The sound of pop music mixing with the darkness that was illuminated only by the the multi-colored lights overhead made her feel like she was in a club. Add in the heavy stench of sweat, cheap perfumes and cologne, and the hot and slightly humid temperature and she felt her stomach flip and head dizzy. She looked around and saw the different people that she went to school with and shuddered at the thought of having to actually interact with them.
A girl approached the two and she looked at Amaya in curiosity. “Hey, Tori. Who’s that?” the stranger asked.
“Oh, hey Olivia!” Victoria greeted, turning around to look at the girl. “This is my cousin Amaya. She doesn’t usually go out a lot so she’s probably really nervous right now.”
“M’kay,” the Olivia girl answered. “Hey, there’s something that Chad wanted to ask you about the blender? Said he’d be making some milkshake or something.”
“What?! Where is he? That little— take me to where he is!” Victoria turned to look at Amaya. “Is it okay if I leave you here for a little bit? I have a little… problem to take care of.”
Amaya shook her head and gave her a small smile. “It’s fine, I’ll be right here. Go take care of it.”
Victoria looked at her warily, then smiled and hugged her. “Thanks. I’ll be back before you know it okay? Sit and hang tight.” Then both the girls disappeared into the crowd.
Amaya looked around and sighed. This was going to be a long night. She searched for a couch to sit on but all of the couches in the living room were taken by people so she just stood there, hoping that one person would stand up so that she could finally sit down. Her palms were sweaty and kept trying to regulate her breath. To breath normally. To be normal.
Just as she was about to walk away she saw a person stand up and she gave a sigh of relief. She made a beeline for the seat and sat down, satisfaction written on her face. Standing for such a long time gave her legs pain. She sank deeper into the seat in comfort. She knew this couch, it’s been here since she was a little girl. The old, brown, leather couch had been something that Victoria’s parents have had for years. And despite the couch having peels here and there, they still kept. Probably for the sake of memories with this couch. And that gave her comfort.
She took her dragon journal and a pencil out of her bag and began to read over her latest addition last night. She had thought about the appearance of dragons depending on their habitat and whether they migrated or not. She was still puzzled about the need for migration though. She had been so deep in thought that she nearly jumped out of her skin when she heard a deep voice speak next to her ear.
“There are many reasons why they might migrate.”
She yelped and whipped her head to see a boy around her age looking at her, a bored look on his face. He was far too close for comfort. “W-What did you say?” Amaya asked, backing away from the boy cautiously.
“I said that there’s many reasons why the dragons might migrate,” he replied, backing away from her. “Think about it. What are some of the reasons why animals migrate?”
“Um, I don’t know? To find food?” She felt uncomfortable. She didn’t want to be in this party.
“There’s one!” he smiled. “They may also need to find better living conditions. Or maybe to reproduce.” He gave a small smile and continued. “Maybe they require different climate patterns. Or maybe need a warmer or colder place for certain tasks. Their food could have also migrated, so they follow the trail. There’s many reasons why the dragons would migrate.”
Nodding her head as she wrote, she stopped and looked at him curiously. “How do you know all this?”
He gave her a bored shrug and grunted, “I watch a lot of Animal Planet.”
“Oh.” With that, she went back to working on her journal. There was a comfortable silence between the two. As Amaya wrote, she did noticed that the boy had come closer to her again. She had only briefly glanced up to survey the party when she noticed him looking at her journal.
“Does writing in your journal calm you?” he asked briefly.
“Yes. It helps me a lot,” she sighed and went back to working on her journal, flipping between different pages to look over what she wrote. She got to a page about how dragons could fly when she heard the boy beside her tsk.
“Dragons can’t fly like that. If they did, they won’t get much air time and their bones would probably break.” She looked at him puzzled, as if asking him to continue. “Look see, if that’s how their bone structure worked, then it wouldn’t be able to support their weight, much less fly as high as an altitude that they could. Not to mention that the hind legs wouldn’t be able to support their weight when they land.”
Confusion evident on her face, she looked down at the page then looked back at him. “Th-That doesn’t seem logical. It all depends on their bone density and how strong their bones are. Not to mention that having solid bones would make it harder for them to fly because the bones and body mass would be too heavy.”
He laughed. “You’re talking about logic when the subject are dragons?”
She huffed in annoyance. “Logic is what makes sense in situations like these.” She went back to working on the journal when she heard snickering coming from the boy next to her. “What’s so funny?”
“Well you’re so serious about this whole dragon business,” he smirked. “If I didn’t know any better, I’d have thought that you were some crazy loon trying to build some interdimensional portal to get to those dragons!”
“Doesn’t sound like such a bad idea,” Amaya shrugged. “Anything to escape this horrendous party.”
He chuckled at her reply. “I’d love to join you there.”
“Who were you talking to just now Maya?”
Amaya turned her head to see her cousin in front of her. She turned towards her male companion next to her, but found that he was no longer there. She shook her head. “N-No one. Just my anxiety…” God, she thought, I can’t believe that I did that again.
Victoria narrowed her eyes at her cousin before she smiled. “Okay dragon girl,” she laughed, ruffling Amaya’s hair. “ I hope your anxiety isn’t getting the better of you right now.Oh by the way, there’s someone I want you to meet,” Victoria exclaimed, a wide smile on her face. “Maya, this is my friend David.”
“You can call me Dave,” he continued.
Just as Victoria opened her mouth, she heard a voice in the distance call her name. “Tori! There’s another situation with Chad!”
Victoria groaned in annoyance. “I really need to stop inviting that guy over,” she sighed. “You guys just hang tight. I’ll be back real quick.” Then she walked away.
“Is anybody sitting there?” Dave asked.
“No one really,” she answered meekly. She didn’t want to engage in conversation with this boy. So she took out her journal and stared at it. She flipped to a random place but found that she couldn’t concentrate on the page in front of her.
Amaya didn’t acknowledge the boy that sat next to her and instead focused on her breathing. In, out. In, out. You can do it. Just don’t be weird about it, and he’ll leave you alone, she thought. Her breathing was shaky and shallow, and her chest hurt from how hard her heart thumped. It didn’t help that her palms were sweating like crazy. Her mind turned hazy and everything blurred around her, her head pounding from the music and headache. She gulped as she tried to not vomit from the nausea that overtook her senses.
“Hey, you okay?”
Amaya turned towards Dave and smiled weakly. “Y-Yeah… I’m fine…” her voice quivered. She didn’t want to bother Dave with her problems, but she didn’t want to leave either. That idea just had “bad” written all over it.
He raised an eyebrow at her. “Are you sure? Look, I can tell you’re breathing is uneven. Just let me help okay?”
She could only nod her head, her body doubled over in pain. She couldn’t hear anything anymore and her body continued to sweat as her face paled. She covered her mouth since the nausea increased. Her panic continued to increase until she felt a hand running over her back gently.
“Okay. Take deep breaths. In, out. In, out,” he commanded gently. His voice sounded more like a lullaby and it calmed down Amaya.
Her breathing returned to normal and the color returned to her face. She sat back up slowly and closed her eyes. “Are you feeling better?” Dave asked.
“Yes,” she murmured. “I’m feeling much better. Thank you.” She sank deeper into the couch, then opened her eyes. “Thank you so much for helping me through that.” She rubbed her neck sheepishly and averted her gaze from him. “Sorry you had to see me like that…”
“It’s no problem,” he assured her. “It’s good that you’ve calmed down. I seriously thought you were going to puke all over me and the floor.”
“Haha, yeah… That would’ve been embarrassing.” She sat in peace, clutching her journal tight in her hands. She felt oddly calm, like she was alone in her room. Just her and her journal. Hopefully that’s the last panic attack for today, she thought.
She didn’t even remember about the boy next to her until he spoke up. “There’re many reasons why they might migrate.”
Amaya’s eyes widened and she turned her head slowly to face him. “W-What did you say?” It felt all too familiar. Heck, even their distance was the exact same. She backed away from him, suddenly feeling the discomfort she had felt earlier that night.
“I said that there’s many reasons why the dragons might migrate,” Dave replied, backing away from her. He had a small smile on his, happy that he was finally able to have a proper conversation with her. “Think about it. What are some of the reasons why animals migrate?”
Her mind was racing with thoughts as she tried to rationalize the situation that unfolded before her. As she thought about the reasons, she noticed that he was looking at her quizzically. It was at that moment that she decided that maybe she could just let this flow for now. Let the logistics come later.
“Really?” she asked, a small smile on her face. “Can you please tell me more?” She readied her pencil over the page and wrote as he spoke.