I arrived at school early and I’m kind of the only person roaming around the halls this early-- well except for the janitor who I just passed by, cleaning the office of Mr. Frasier, our principal.
I love the aura of school early in the morning, especially on the school’s garden. I’m currently sitting on one of the benches there as I inhale the aroma of green leaves swaying on the trees, the cool breeze sweeping on the side of my face and looking at morning dew’s falling of each flower’s petal. I closed my eye momentarily and I heard birds chirping at a distance which sounded like they’re singing along with the whistle of the winds. This place definitely gives me a solaced feeling.
I looked at my watch -- hmm still a bit early -- so I opened my backpack and took out a novel, scanned a few pages and started reading to where I left off. A few minutes later, I heard distant noises and saw a few students entering the gate. I took out my iPod and headphones and played random music then I flipped on the next page.
“I never thought I’d find a love like this”
“There’s no need to hide that feeling we get”
“Whenever we touch we can’t resist”
“We go back to our first date, our first kiss”
I flipped another page and shifted on my seat.
“Every time feels like the first time”
“Looking back on what we have it never went away; she still makes me feel it every day…”
I was about to sing to the chorus of First kiss by A Rocket to the Moon when someone tapped my shoulder. I looked back.
I arrived at school 2 hours early -- which I really hate very much -- thanks to my most idiot friend Ellis.
Note the sarcasm there.
My friends and I went to Jamie’s --the school’s hottest cheerleader-- annual first party last night. It’s been her tradition since freshman to host the biggest and most talked about party of the year. Usually she only invites the cool kids of the campus but this year, she invited everyone, and by everyone I mean the school’s lower ranks like the Goths, the Nerds, the nobody’s and some others, included – not that I actually care about such caste system and all.
Ellis got so wasted last night that he can’t anymore distinguish between a floor and a foot. So I had to take him at our hiding place since two of my other friends were nowhere to be found.
This hide-out that I’m talking about is a wooden cabin some place that only I and my trusted friends know. One time, we wanted to get out of each of our family’s drama and decided to hangout somewhere far from our homes, breathe fresh air, forget and have a different fun. Then somehow, we discovered a good hiding place and so when the owner of the wooden cabin decided to sell it, we immediately bought it, and then got few renovations and viola! good as new. At front, the cabin looks old and boring but when you get inside you’ll be really surprised, plus it is located near a river so you can have a picnic or have a swim anytime you want. It is actually a very awesome cabin, you know…
Anyway, I decided to just drop him off at the cabin and leave but then he started talking gibberish so I called Ash and Seth to stay at the cabin for a night which without hesitation, arrived at the doorstep minutes later after we hang-up. It’s been months since we last hanged out on this cabin so Seth was pretty excited amidst all the tipsiness he felt.
This morning since Ellis left his car at Jamie’s, he kept bugging me to drive him home before his parents wake up or his dad might kill him if he finds out Ellis never came home last night-- such a pussy.
Seeing that the campus was clear and peaceful, I changed into my running shirt and shorts and ran laps around the soccer field. After a good 6 laps, I went to the locker room, showered and got into a clean uniform. I was walking towards the school’s cafeteria when I heard a loud moan and some rustlings from the huge bushes along the path.
I approached the bushes and inspected what was behind it and found Ellis lying on the grass.
“Ellis? What are you doing here man?”
“Mmmm...” I walked towards Ellis and took off his sunglasses
“Hiss! Oh the light! The light! I can’t look at it. I’m burning. Don’t you know I’m a vampire?” And he screamed. What the-? A vampire? That is gay. Is he still drunk?
“What the f*ck dude?! You’re not a vampire so stop whining like a baby and get up” I grab his arm and pulled him up.
“Oh! Why must you disturb my solitude?” He answered and attempted to stand up in an upright position but he ended up slouching.
“Ow! My head” he massaged both his temples.
This always happens to him when he had too much for a drink—ending up a total mess. It’ll always be a hassle to either Seth, me or Ash-- and right now, I happen to find him at a situation like this which is very unfortunate. Lucky me.
“Your fault. You were drinking last night like it’s the end of the world. And why do you have to stay here of all places?”
“Need sleep. First place that I saw. And the grass is soft” He attempted to touch the grass but he lost balanced and fell head first.
“Ow!” If it weren’t for the grass it would’ve hurt, I thought
“How about the tavern?”
“Oh yeah! Forgot ‘bout that” He grinned wide. I scratched my head-- Gosh I don’t know what to do with him anymore.
“Come on” I pulled him up when he pointed at someone at the garden.
“Hey, isn’t that ‘Luce’s friend’? Quite an early bird is she” I squinted at the direction he’s pointing and confirmed it really was her.
“Yeah. Go. To the tavern. Now. Be there in a minute”
“Nooooooo! Puhlease downt weave mweeee” He spoke in an annoying strangled pig tone. My eyes widened. I shook my head. I can’t believe this guy.
“F*ck dude, Stop that. It’s making me puke” I scrunched my nose
“Shut up. I’ll punch you when you’re in your right mind”
“Oops Sorry! Aye, see yah lay-tah mate” he gave me a high five and left.
I approached Des and called her name as I got closer but she doesn’t seem to hear me so I tapped her shoulders the moment I arrived. Her shoulders jumped a little and she turned back.
“Hey Des!” She stared at me blankly for a second before recognizing who I was. Her eyebrows suddenly knit.
“What?” She barked. Whoa! She’s grumpy today.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to disturb you” I raised both my hands in surrender. She just glared at me.
“I guess it’s time for me to go? Uhmm…yeah” I waited awkwardly 5 seconds for a response but she just kept on glaring at me. Sensing that she doesn’t want my presence, I turned on my heel and started walking away, slowly. I heard her sigh from behind then called my name.
“Uh Yeah?” I looked back and smiled at her.
“I’m sorry, I was in a middle of something and then you popped out of nowhere” She shrugged then took off her headphones.
“It’s okay. Mind if I sit with you?” I asked her politely whilst walking towards her.
“What? Mind if I sit with you? Psh, quite the gentleman aren’t you?” she gestured towards the empty seat beside her so I sat down.
“That’s why all the ladies love me” I grinned at her.
“And arrogant” she rolled her eyes. I chuckled and she did too. Then silence befalls amongst us, not awkward but calming silence. I glance at her and saw that she is closing her eyes with her head tilted on the sky. Next thing I knew I was just staring at her calm and beautiful face. A ray of light hit her rosy cheeks and just by looking at that makes me feel relaxed. First thing that came into mind is to take a shot of the beautiful image right in front of me, so I opened my backpack without breaking my gaze and was about to take out my camera when she started talking. Instinctively I swiveled my head towards the ground and fidgeted awkwardly on my backpack’s zipper hoping she didn’t notice me staring at her or that would be very creepy on her side.
“You know, this place is really soothing” A breeze passed by us and I felt a chill run through my hands. I rubbed it together to keep warm and I glanced sideways at her. I sighed with a relief when I saw she still has her eyes closed.
“Yeah! Didn’t know this place is capable of doing that” This time she opened her eyes and looked at me.
“Your first time here?” She asked quite surprised.
“At this hour, yes”
“Oh” Is all she replied and she continued to stare ahead of her.
“Quite the early bird, aren’t you” I asked her.
“Yup” She emphasized the sound of the letter P. Quite conservative with the replies eh? Topic. I need topic-- hmm…something to talk about? -- think fast!
After internally debating at what topic to open up, I ended coming up with none. So I was just sitting there staring at space.
Even though we just sat there in silence for a few minutes, it never felt awkward at all. I am actually enjoying it -- but a conversation would be nice? Still, I decided to let it be, even for just this moment.
After more minutes passed, I felt the need to really open up a topic – I mean, I’m a really curious person and somehow, I find myself eager to know stuff about Des—I wonder why. So I started asking random questions which she gladly answers. In turn, she also asked me random questions and we ended up exchanging stuffs.
“Favorite color?” I asked her this time.
“Favorite sport?” Her turn again.
“Do I need to answer that?” She rolled her eyes as I asked her that.
“Hey, you can’t answer a question with another question! Plus I ran out of questions okay?” She raised her hands in surrender and laughed. I too laughed with her. After a few seconds of laughter, silence befalls us once again, but this time with a shorter duration. The expression of her face suddenly changed, and the aura around us went serious.
“Uhmm…Caleb. Why are you suddenly talking to me now? I mean you hardly even notice me during sophomore and junior years, and now we’re here” She gestured at both of us “Is it because at this very moment we’re the only ones here?” She chuckled softly.
It didn’t surprise me that Des asked me that question but it was unexpected for her to ask sooner and I was caught off guard.
I hardly talk to her these past few years but that doesn’t mean I don’t notice her. I wanted to be her friend too but there’s this aura of hers that makes you decide otherwise. It seemed like she has this wall or barrier -- or whatever you call—between us. So when I knew that she was Luce’s best friend, I grabbed the opportunity to be close to her.
“I…I don’t know. I just wanted to get close to you, get to know you better. That’s all” I just shrugged like it was nothing but there was truth in what I said.
“If it’s about Luce, don’t worry I’ll tell her you’re a great guy” What she said this time surprised me. I swiveled my head towards her direction as my eyebrow creased with confusion.
“Luce? What about her?”
“Oh Please! Its obvious Caleb, you’re into her. After her break-up incident, you two seemed… close” Oh. I’ve never thought about that.
“Really? That’s what you noticed?” She was right. Luce and I seemed pretty close especially after her break-up but I was just there to comfort her. I knew how that Dale guy could be a big-time jerk. Okay, so maybe I liked Luce a bit? I don’t know.
“Yes” She answered, never turning to face me. I turned my entire body to face her. She noticed this but still kept her focus at a distance.
“Ok honestly Des. There was this memory of mine about my first day here in West Valley Academy. And there was this girl, who was actually my first real friend. We became friends for a week or two then she became distant. I don’t even know why. She also gave me this key chain” I showed her a crescent shaped key-chain which I took from my pants’ pocket. She now turned her head in my direction and I saw the surprised look on her face, her mouth opened half an inch but instantly closed it. Then she composed herself.
“You remembered” There was now amusement on her tone.
“Of course I remembered. Who would want to forget that memory?” I smiled at her, with this gesture it made her smile too--and did she just blush? Aww she looks cute.
“The boy who looked like he was about to pee in his pants because a senior bullied him…” Ok. I didn’t see that coming.
“Hey! Shhh! That was supposed to be a secret. No. Wait. That didn’t happen”
“It did! Wait. You even looked like you were about to cry”
“No. There was just dust in my eye” This is embarrassing.
“Yeah, right” And then she laughed harder. I too laughed with her. After the tummy clenching laugh, I paused to get some air. When my breathing was restored to normal, I asked her another question.
“So why? Why were you distant to me? Or why did you – uhh -- ‘un-friend’ me?” I wanted to know her reasons. Her face suddenly turned serious.
“You became one of the ‘IT’ crowd” She looked at me for a few good seconds but I noticed the sad look on her eyes.
“How about Luce? She’s part of it and yet she’s still a friend of yours” I said it with an obvious sarcasm.
“Her situation’s different” She answered sharply.
“And mine’s not? Why do you seem to hate us so much?” My tone came out a bit harsh but I really needed to know why.
“Hate is a strong word. I prefer dislike”
“Ok, dislike. Why?” Ok I’m being inquisitive now. She might think I’m a jerk. But well I already said it-- might as well go with it.
“Some past I don’t want to talk about” she said flatly. And with that, I can feel a part of her shutdown like there was a door to her past that was now locked because I forced my way in. Now I regretted everything I said.
“Oh. Sorry” I now focused my attention at the pebble beside my shoe, hoping a wizard or whatever will turn me into one and just be invisible for a while— this is childish, isn’t it? My thoughts were soon interrupted when Des started to speak again, only this time with a calmer voice.
“So what’s the deal with you and Dale? You two have been getting on each other’s skin lately” The sound of that name made my jaw tighten. I shifted in my seat so that Des wouldn’t see my reaction.
“Some past I don’t want to talk about” I returned her exact words at her. I dropped the subject immediately. I really don’t want to talk about Dale right now. It makes my blood boil.
“I guess now were even” I glanced at her sideways thankful that she wasn’t inquisitive. I don’t want other people to be prying on my past -- the reason they call it past was because it already happened and whatever happened should never be brought up again.
Wait. I just did that to her, didn’t I? I was prying on her past. Wow. I’m such a d*ck.
I was thankful once again because I will be out of this awkward situation with Des. But somehow, something inside me cursed that ringing bell for ruining the moment. I really like talking to Des, much more since this is the first time we’ve spoken longer to each other after we parted ways during sophomore years.
“Ok time to go!” She spoke and stood up.
“Yeah!” I too stood up. Another breeze passed by this time making my whole body shiver.
“Uhh…See you around” With that she turned around and walked towards the other side of the building.
“Sure” I replied
I swung my backpack on my shoulders then approached the opposite side of the building.
Hope you liked it! Thanks once again to my amazing editor steeeeeph!
A video of First kiss by A rocket to the moon
And Caleb's picture below ^_^