Over the next few days, one thing became glaringly obvious: Azi was furious with me.
If I wanted to be brutally honest with myself, I would admit that I deserved it. Ever since the night of Lucy and ice-cream had failed miserably, I'd avoided him even more studiously than before, if that was possible.
However, I preferred not to take this route, and, instead, engaged in the thing girl's do best: attempting to make the subject feel horribly guilty and apologize.
This, one may have argued, is impossible to do while simultaneously avoiding said subject.
Objectively, yes. However, I wasn't thinking objectively. I was mad that he was mad, and I wanted him to know it.
It became obvious that a confrontation would be necessary. I switched around my plans and began stalking Azi. During this slightly-creepy period, I discovered something very interesting: Azi was ignoring me just as much as I ignored him.
So, you might be able to understand my surprise when, after a day of snow-shoveling, Azi actually sought out my company.
"We need to talk." It was all he had to say. Silently, I pulled him aside, under the cover of a very useful pine-tree.
"Yeah." I sighed. "So, where do we start?"
Most boys would have waited for me to start an angry tirade.
Azi wasn't most boys.
"Why are you avoiding me?"
I didn't know how to answer without sounding like an idiot. I settled for a shrug.
Azi's dark skin was a subtle red. Either he was cold . . . or more angry than I'd ever seen him.
"How can you not know? There has to be a reason for this discourtesy. If I did anything to offend you, you have my sincere apologies. I would just like to know."
I stared at a pine-branch, just over his shoulder. "You didn't do anything. It's just . . . I can't . . . It's dumb."
"That does not mean I do not want to know." His voice was calmer now, more intense. "Rayne, up until now I have enjoyed my stay in your country very much. Now I feel as if I have done something unforgivable. If that is the case, please forgive me. We can let it stand at that if that is what you need. Just let me know."
It was the most I'd ever heard Azi say at one time. They cut through the annoyance I'd surrounded myself with and penetrated my heart. My eyes watered as I realized just how true my earlier thought had been.
He wasn't like other guys. Azi was smart, gorgeous, sensitive and oddly stoic all at the same time.
Maybe I'd known it all along . . . sudden realizations just didn't happen for me.
I wanted to tell him something . . . something that let him know just how much I appreciated his quirks.
"Azi-" It was all I could say. He looked down at me. His eyes made me shiver. "I- I-"
I knew what was about to happen. I could almost taste it . . . He was closer now that I'd ever let him be before.
"Abbadon." He whispered. The smell of scorched cinnamon made it hard to think.
I giggled. "I'm Rayne."
He shook his head. I turned around.
My jaw may have dropped open. I don't know. It was certainly drop-worthy.
It was her. Blond ringlets, blue eyes, porcelain skin and all.
The girl from the dream.
"Hello, 'Azi.'" Her voice was out of place on such a young looking body; it was smoky, sultry as a summer day. "It's been far too long."