They were concerned.
Amity could feel their stares on her back, and she knew how she must've looked; hair disheveled, hand clutching a pen, and thousands of crumbled papers surrounding her desk.
She was a mess. And she felt like one.
"Don't call me that," she snapped, venom dripping on her words. Her shoulders slumped. "Please."
"Do you want anything? Homework? Or do you have a new prank idea?"
"I'll do whatever you want later if you leave me alone. I don't-"
"Are you okay sis?"
'Sis... Haven't heard that in a while.'
She placed her pen down. Her hands twitched as they treaded through her hair. She refused to look at them as she released a shaky sigh. A while ago she would have screamed at them to get out. She would have thrown anything so they would leave her alone. But now, she knew she made a promise. And she said wants to keep it.
"I'm really not sure," she mumbled in a meek voice. She curled in on herself, and she knew she was vulnerable, and she knew she wasn't supposed to be, but she was tired. She was just.
So when they slowly approached, and Emira took one of the many pieces of paper on her desk, she braced herself for more humiliation, tensing up and begging in silence, since that's all she gets when she lets her guard down. Her walls are heavy, and it's so hard to keep them up sometimes. She just wants a break, at least for tonight.
"I think you're making them too long," Edric said after reading another scratched out message. Amity loosened her shoulders in surprise.
"Agreed. It makes it seem like too much, and knowing you, you're probably overanalyzing every sentence you write." She placed a hand on her shoulder. "Try a more direct approach."
Her brother did the same. "Yeah. We think that'll help."
Her eyes were getting wet, and she willed her lip not to quiver. The knot in her throat came loose, and her chest almost burst with relief.
'They're sorry. They're actually sorry. They're helping me. They're helping me...'
"Thank you," she answered. She knew her voice sounded choked but at this point, she didn't care. "Do you... Can you give me suggestions?" She was so, so reluctant and frightened, but they weren't joking. They were trying to be of use. "Please?"
They tightened their grip on her shoulders, a reassuring squeeze that made her want to weep and spoke in unison, "Of course."
She didn't sleep. At all.
Her siblings helped her for an hour or so. They sat with her, giving advice or a different perspective. That was the most recent interaction she had with them that was somewhat decent and not screaming and teasing. In hindsight, it shouldn't have taken that long, but there were long breaks in their conversations. They weren't awkward, not in the least, but for some reason, they all felt like they needed to stop from time to time.
At least they got results.
She looked at the pink square in her hands. Her looped handwriting stared back at her, making her heart twist and turn in a nervous way.
'Luz, will you go to Grom with me? Amity.'
One simple question, and yet it plagued her for the rest of the night. She feared the outcome and knowing principal Bump, it would be a miracle if it wasn't outed to the whole school.
Grom Queen, huh?
For once she wished she wasn't a top student.
The next day she was more of a mess. She actually woke up late, and she barely dodged her parents. She was stressed. So very stressed and anxious.
Her hand gripped the folded note, books held tightly to her chest. She looked at it fixated and so troubled, that she didn't watch where she was going.
She bumped into someone, books slipping from her grasp and on the floor. Her head throbbed a little where she hit it. Her knees hit the ground and she bit her cheek not to hiss. She suddenly felt furious.
"Watch it, nitwit!" Amity opened her eyes, and her whole face shifted. Surprise and a bit of embarrassment.
"Oh. Hi Luz..." From the corner of her eyes, she saw Willow and Gus. "And co." She quickly grabbed some of her books and stood up. "Sorry about that," she said as she looked to the side, away from them and from-
"No problem! Lemme help you, " Luz handed her the rest of her books, and then expended her hand with- "Here, your note!"
Amity took it away at lighting speeds. She couldn't do it at all what was she thinking-
"Man you got some quick grabbers," Luz stated, a bit surprised, making grabby hands in front of her face. Her face was so sincere and filled with a bit of a child's wonder, so, so beautiful and breathtaking.
"I-its just it's..." She looked down, "Private."
The speakers in the hall blared, and her fear came to life without Grom to help.
It was a blur honestly.
She knew she explained to Luz about Grometheus, since she's a human without historical knowledge of the Isles. She knew she told her about how embarrassing her fear was (it was more than that if her parents found out she would be terrified of what they would do-) and she was presented with the opportunity to talk to Bump. He said no.
She was much braver than her. Fearless. Not a coward.
She switched places with Amity. Within a heartbeat. No one in the entire school would have changed places with her, and this human, who she had been treating horribly the first time they met, would show her biggest fear just so Amity would not. So she would be safe from humiliation.
Her heart swelled, and hurt all the same.
When she saw her in that dark hallway, attire so strange yet so her, the knot in her throat got bigger. She looked strange yes, but so beautiful. She looked beautiful, and as she hid the note in her pocket she realized that she couldn't do it.
She couldn't give it to her.
She saw her go into the arena after that, a flail with a glyph stuck to it in both her hands, marching with the determination and courage of an army.
'Wish me luck!'
"Luck," she whispered a second time, guilty but hopeful.
'I was selfish.'
She was running through the woods, heart beating and so terrified for Luz.
'I was a selfish Blight.'
She had no right to be a coward. She should have just swallowed her fear, just got it over with. Maybe if she had made it seem like it was not a big deal she would have been able to fool everyone.
Afraid of rejection.
Now Luz is in danger.
"I don't want to be Grom Queen anymore! I give up the throne!" She heard Luz yell from the woods.
Her heart broke a little more.
The note was torn apart, the sound striking pain into her damaged heart. She clutched her dress as she forced her eyes shut.
When that slimy, disgusting monster slithered away, she took one of the halves, cradling it to her chest.
It had her name in it.
Luz rapidly approached, looking at Grom, then at the dirt ground, picking up the other piece and opened it.
Amity clutched at the paper harder, refusing to look at her.
Luz gasped. "You were afraid of being rejected..." She smiles reassuringly and opens her hand in invitation. "Amity, it's okay... What if I went to Grom with you instead?"
What? Her heart fluttered, a warmth in her chest she only felt when Luz was around.
"Really?" She tucked the note back in her pocket, reaching out to place her hand in Luz's.
The human smiled wider.
(Why did it seem just the slightest bit forced to her though?)
"That's what friends do."
Amity returned the smile. Even if it wasn't exactly what she wanted to hear, for an odd reason she was still on cloud nine, thriving with happiness.
'She really sees me as her friend. A real friend. She wants me by her side.'
And Amity will stand beside her. She will help Luz, and she will fight for her, with her. She may not look at Amity the way Amity looks at her, but she wanted to be in her life and it was enough.
Grometheus roared. Amity straightened her back, looking at him with defiance she didn't know she had.
"Well if that's settled," she said, turning to look Luz in the eye, smirking, "may I have this dance?"
And she was twirled in the air, Amity never felt freer.