• I tapped my fingers on the arms of the wooden chair. I stared at the clock, and then at an unconscious Cana. She was unconscious in the hospital. She had snuck out and somehow fell off a building. She nearly died.
    I got up and brushed the wheaten hair off her face, revealing stitches lining her pallid forehead. Poor Cana, injured, unaware of her own tragedy. I carefully continued to push the hair out of her face, strand by wheaten strand. Before I knew it, I was slowly pacing the ground, breathing as quietly as my lungs allowed. I refused to sleep, or go back to the dorm for that matter. That’s why I hid when everyone left, Drea, Maureen, Jerri. I’m surprised they didn’t notice me missing, well Drea at least. They would be back in the morning for me, realizing I was gone. And I still wouldn’t leave for that.
    I stayed for one reason. Last time I saw someone out cold with paper white skin; it was my mother, dead. I couldn’t bear see that happen to Cana. I couldn’t let someone else slip through my fingers. For me it was like trying to hold water, it leaks through. Only if you cup your hands tight it remains. And I wasn’t going to have Cana slip through; I was going to hold on to her until I couldn’t hold on to myself. I wasn’t going to let the water seep through my hands this time. Nor any other time.
    Cana feebly sat up, rubbing her eyes sleepily, and then opening them to see me. “Hai?” She switched her confused look for an intimidating one. “Where am I but more importantly what are you doing here?”
    “You’re in the hospital, Cana,” I muttered the words in a gentle whisper not wanting to aggravate her more, nor frighten her by any means. “You fell off a building remember?”
    “Yeah I do, but what are you doing here?” I could literally taste the disdain of her words; it tasted bitter, very bitter.
    “I was worried about you,” while her words were heavy with disdain, mine were painted with abashment. The remark lingered in the air; I could tell it wanted to kill me. Why not, Cana probably did too.
    “Worried about me? Stop lying Hai; you wanted something more out of this. You hate me don’t you?” She smirked, as if she knew something I didn’t, like the fact I was going to be murdered.
    “I don’t hate you Cana. I care about you. I would never hate you. I made a promise to my mother that I would never hate anyone. And you always keep your promises especially to the dead.”
    She skimmed her eyes across the room. “You don’t hate me?”
    “I care about you a lot,” I breathed, “that’s why I stayed behind. I didn’t want to leave you. I didn’t want to be wind to a candle flame.”
    “What do you mean by that,” the intimidating look in her eyes was starting to fade.
    “My mother would say that a lot. Don’t be wind to a candle flame. It’s like when you blow out candles, you have to completely light them over again, start over. It’s like putting hate or pain into a person’s life, all the love and good they have dies out and they have to completely start over. I don’t want to do that.”
    “That’s why you stayed? You didn’t want me to get hurt. Well that happened a long time ago so you’re very late!”
    “I know, but your flame isn’t out yet, it’s just flickering, that’s all, and I didn’t want to add more wind, I wanted to light another match. But I see that isn’t working, so if you want I’ll leave.”
    “No, its fine, for now,” she held her hand to the stitches and flinched. I realized then that Cana was much like a candle flame herself. She was flickering, and what do you do when a candle flickers. You take it slow and cup your hand before the flame. And then the flame is strong again, and has become something more. It could be light, warmth, peace, hope, remembrance, and even and offering. All Cana needed was the good in her life to be sheltered, and then she would be strong again. But most of all I could tell that she would be something much, much more.
    I sat back down quietly in the chair.
    Cana, the candle flame girl.

    Bonus Junk

    This is one of my partners chapters (hers are really long and she has a ton!) this chapter is a bit farther back in chronological time but i really like this one so enjoy

    AFTER WANDERING AROUND CAMPUS for about an hour in search of his dorm, John was happy to finally arrive. The building was a giant with its grey stone exterior and golden accenting, and John found it slightly intimidating, it was one of those sorts of buildings that called for you to be smart, and John felt that with his white polo, dark blue jeans, and Converse sneakers that he didn’t even belong stepping foot in his dorm. But John felt the sun beat on his back and decided that feeling out of place in his dorm was way better than standing outside it with his shirt clinging to his back. So he fumbled with his key before finally managing to grasp his sweaty fingers around the base tight enough to unlock the door. Finally, he thought managing to haul his hefty suitcases through the door and onto the fluffy white carpet.
    John gave a sigh of relief at being out of the scorching air outside and finally into the cool and air-conditioned building as he gave a glance around. He swallowed, I guess I’m the last one here, John thought as he glanced at his sheet of crumpled white paper. There were two black haired boys arguing on the couch about the television (John heard the one in the black tee-shirt say Saints and the Asian one say Giants and realized that they must’ve been fighting about football.) One honey-skinned boy with black dreadlocks lit a cigarette, and John wondered where he had gotten it. They weren’t allowed at school. Another boy with curly brown hair and bright blue eyes sipped a Coke from a stray, and John noticed the two girls near the corner- one with long red hair down to mid-back (John only saw the back of her head) and another with straight shoulder length black hair and foggy grey eyes (more foggy than Cana’s, and John had never seen that) - were yelling at each other.
    The black haired girl stopped midsentence and pointed a black-nail polished finger at John, “Hey,” said her loud and raspy voice, “You’re late!”
    John was startled by her voice and stammered, “Sorry. I didn’t know you had to be here at a specific time.”
    A smile formed on her perfect lips but for some reason, John noticed, it didn’t reach her eyes, “Naw, that’s okay,” her beautiful eyes shifted
    over to one of the boys on the couch, “Isaiah, let me see your sheet. I wanna know what this kid’s name is.”
    The boy in the black tee-shirt peered over his shoulder and smirked, John noticed his eyes were equally as foggy and grey as the girl’s. His dark hair fell into his face and John noticed the piercings in his bottom lip and lining the edges of one of his ears. He snatched a folded up piece of paper from one of pockets, “Here you go, Lana,” he said in some sort of Boston accent that the black haired girl had too, or something close to that, John thought and wondered if maybe they found his Midwestern accent weird.
    Lana’s heels smacked the ground as she snatched the sheet of paper from his hand, “Well, since everyone else is here, you must be John. No offense, but I can’t pronounce your last name.”
    “Let me see,” Isaiah grabbed the sheet from Lana’s hand and gave a laugh, “Wow. Good luck fitting that on your tests.”
    John frowned. Sure he had expected that question but these two’s tones were so arrogant and cocky that John’s anger began to boil up, “It’s Papathanasopoulos,” he growled.
    “Damn,” Isaiah snickered, “that’s a mouthful!”
    Lana nodded, “Do you like, shorten it and stuff?”
    John shook his head and wondered if Kamali found these comments disrespectful. John sure as hell did.
    Isaiah tossed the black remote in the air and caught it while the Asian boy’s eyes narrowed, “Just give me the remote, Isaiah,” he growled.
    Isaiah’s smile grew wider on his face, “Hey, John, Edan over here,” he jabbed his thumb at the Asian boy, “thinks that we should watch the Giants game, but I think we should watch the Saints.”
    John crossed his arms over his chest, “I don’t see how it matters, taking into account that their playing each other today.”
    “Thank you, John! That’s exactly what I told him!” Edan yelled.
    John smiled, he still hadn’t moved from the spot he was now standing since he’d walked through the front door, “Well, we are in Chicago. I say we watch the Bears game. They’re playing too, you know.”
    Isaiah shook his head, his shaggy black hair whipped against his pale face, “Saints game it is.”
    “Thank you!” Edan sighed, “That’s all I wanted!”
    Isaiah gave him an incredulous stare, “You and your Giants-fan-ness are gonna taint this couch. I want you off of it.”
    “What?!?” Edan asked, “No!”
    As Isaiah and Edan continued to fight (it seemed as if Isaiah was winning) John snorted and Lana walked up next to him, “Wow, it looks like they get along really well.”
    “Yeah, well Isaiah likes to start fights. Well, if you consider this a fight. He enjoys annoying people and actually, it’s really entertaining.”
    “Are you and Isaiah related? I mean, you two kinda look alike.”
    “Oh, hell no! We’re from the same place though. We’re from New Orleans,” Well that explains the accent and the fact that Isaiah’s a Saints fan.
    “I take it Edan’s from New York.”
    Lana nodded, “Want me to share with you my knowledge of these people? I’ve learned quite a few things.”
    John shrugged, “Sure.”
    “Alright,” Lana rubbed her palms together, “You see the guy smoking over there?” John nodded, “That’s Rocco and he’s from Orlando, Florida. Poor kid probably won’t be able to stand the weather you guys get up here. Well anyway, he managed to sneak like five packs of those,” she meant the cigarettes, “on campus. I’m not sure how, well anyway, he’s been here for like an hour and he’s already used up like two packets, there’s no way he’ll make it through the day with only five. So he’s a big pot-head, one day it’s gonna kill him but death ain’t that bad if all you got to live for is a couple packs of weed and the hope that you’ll someday get a date. Believe me; weed sucks if you try to quite it. But I managed alright.”
    She nodded her head towards the kid drinking Coke out of a pink striped straw, “That’s Bobbi from Seattle. I can’t say I know too much about him yet, so far he’s been smart enough not to talk to me all too much, but I know his favorite color is pink and he loves monkeys, which is just weird. He’s also trying to grow an afro, so far he’s succeeding, I don’t see why he would want an afro, and not only does he want an afro, he wants a rainbow afro,” John snorted, “I think maybe he’s been visiting the same guy as Rocco for that Marijuana.”
    Lana then pointed at Edan, “You already know Edan. All I know is he’s from New York and he has a little sister. If Bobbi’s smart this guys Albert Einstein! He didn’t tell me nothing at all about him! I keep hoping that maybe Isaiah can get him to blurt something; he has that affect on people, but not Edan, apparently! I mean seriously! If he doesn’t tell me anything, how am I supposed to blackmail him? The time will come where I want to do that. I can just tell.”
    John looked at her, “You enjoy blackmailing people?”
    She gave a smile, “I must say that Isaiah and I make a pretty good team,” she seemed to notice why John asked the question and then said, “Oh, stop worrying. We’re not gonna blackmail you. I actually kinda like you; I think we could get along. Just don’t do anything to piss me off, and then beware.”
    Actually, John was beginning to like Lana himself, “What about the girl over there?” he asked nodding toward the red haired girl, she was wearing some short, plaid skirt and John thought she had really hideous legs and a bad body. She was talking to Bobbi who was currently smiling and saying something that John couldn’t make out.
    Lana snorted and started laughing uncontrollably, John was wondering why until she said, “That’s not a girl!” Lana finally gasped, “That’s Luemma! Name fits him, eh?”
    John’s eyes widened, “But the hair and the skirt” he stuttered.
    Lana rolled her eyes, but they held no expression. They never seemed to and it was giving John the creeps, “He thinks the skirt complements his legs and makes his butt look hot. I told him his butt wouldn’t look hot if the world’s top plastic surgeons collaborated on it. Then he got all pissed and said that my butt wasn’t much better, which we all know is a lie. Let’s face it, my butt’s just plain sexy.”
    “Wow,” John said sarcastically, “you must have some serious self-esteem issues to be thinking like that.”
    “Yup, well you know. My self-esteem problems make me even more attractive. I’m just hot through and through.”
    John laughed again, “So where’s your dorm? I know for certain you’re not staying here.”
    “Oh, well my dorms all the way on the girls side, in the far, far distance. Close to the lake. Speaking of my dorm, I’ve gotta start heading off to it. Don’t want my roommates thinking I’m late like you were.”
    “But there was no specific time.”

    She shrugged one of her lean shoulders, “Whatever. I’ll see you later? Maybe you could hang out with Isaiah and me.”
    John smiled, “Sure.”
    “Awesome,” she then strolled out of the room with her overly confident gait. As soon as the door shut, John gave one more glance around the room, with Isaiah sitting on the couch and Edan, who finally gave up, sitting on the floor. With Rocco smoking his pot and Bobbi and Luemma giggling to each other in hushed voices, I guess I got stuck with the freaks, he thought and right he was. So right actually, that it was freaky itself.