Such A Silly Game We Play

Leena is one of those goody-goody teenage girls who is obedient to her parents, maintains high grades in school, has an average social life, and zero night life. Even more, she's the usual shy-type, terrible at making new friends, and even more terrible when it comes to oh-so-cheesy relationships, which was surprisingly coming her way now.

With so many things on the line that could go wrong if she ever followed what she truly wants, will she ever have the guts to let it all out? Would the guy do the same? Or, would both of them just sit down and wait until some miracle happens?

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31. Do Not Hurt Her

Jeff's Point of View

 

 

"Short afternoon break, Seniors! We'll be back in 30 minutes. And please do not be late! Don't make me mad on a Monday," our school director said. We've been practicing for our graduation ceremony for 3 days now, and only 2 more days to go.

"Jeff," a guy's voice said. I looked at my back and saw John. "Snacks at the cafeteria, bro."

"Oh, no thanks. I'm going with Caroline," I replied. Caroline was getting a little clingy since we would be graduating soon.

John looked at me with a straight face. "That wasn't a question," he replied, grabbed my arm, and dragged me towards the cafeteria. We bought the usual: 2 slices of Pepperoni pizza and a can of Coke. We sat down at the farthest end. I think he's kind of off today.

"What's up?", I asked while taking a slice.

"Well, first of all, congrats on receiving the scholarship. That's awesome. So... I guess you're choosing Oakland?", John asked.

"I guess," I said sounding very unsure, "How 'bout you?"

"Hmmm. I'm sticking with State," he said after drinking. He paused for a moment then asked something again, "How about Caroline?"

"Well, if you didn't drag me here against my will, we would be talking about the plan she proposed," I said while nervously fiddling with my can of coke.

John just stared at me, so I just continued.

"After I received my confirmation at Oakland, she kind of thought that it would be a good idea that we'd go on the same school."

"But she didn't even take a test there, how could she do that?!"

"Well, she said she's going there with her dad this weekend so they would know what to do. And you know her dad, good at pulling some strings."

"Aaah, typical," John said, "So... uh, how are you two?"

I rolled my eyes. Here we go again. "Dude, this question again?!"

"What?! I was just asking! Geez," he replied.

"Seriously, where are you going with this?"

"Fine, straight to the point! I just wanted to ask if... Leena knew about Caroline," he said while slowly lowering his voice, almost like he was already whispering.

"No, not yet. Why?"

"Why? Oooooh nothing," he said sounding a little whinny, "I mean, it's okay for her to know right?!"

"What?! No!," I shouted, "Why does she have to? She doesn't have to. I bet she doesn't even care about Caroline."

"Okay, first of all, slow down with the talking," he said while raising his hands, "Second, I think she does care."

"And how would you know?"

"Well, not to be a bad eavesdropping brother or anything... but, I kind of listened to her and my sister's conversation inside her bedroom last Saturday. They should learn to keep their voices down, I mean our rooms are right next to each other. Just sayin'!" 

And now, I just stared at him looking pretty confused, "Okay, so?"

"And I've heard that you've given her one of your shirts and a sweet bracelet?," John said suspiciously.

"It's nothing. Just a Thank You gift," I replied.

"NOTHING. Okay, GOT IT," he said sarcastically. He took one last bite of his second pizza and left the crust back to the plate, then he finished his coke before saying something again. "Dude, you have got to stop that."

"Giving people gifts? Geez, I know right, it's just a terrible thing to do, huh?," I said sarcastically.

John was quiet for a moment. "I'm serious," he replied. And in fact, he really did look serious right now. "You don't just give to someone something expensive like that and something that's one of your favorites just because of 'NOTHING, I JUST FEEL LIKE GIVING IT TO HER'. I don't even give my sister any of those things! For her birthday, I just got her chocolate bars so she could eat them."

"So, what? I'll just walk up to her house later, knock on the door and say: 'Hey Leena, sorry I haven't told you this but I have a girlfriend'?"

"Are you fugging kidding me, bro? When you do those things she expects even more! First, you guys were all goody-goody, then you gave her your favorite Beatles shirt, followed by that expensive necklace, and lastly the things that happened during their Prom! I don't know if you're blind or something but, she obviously likes you!"

"Really?" I asked, even though deep inside of me that I knew already.

 

"REALLY. And if you keep doing what you're doing, she's going to be expecting something," he said. Our conversation was getting pretty serious, but we kept our voices low so no one else would hear. "Look, I've known her since she was just a little kid hanging out with my sister at home. She's a great girl! And up until now, I treat her like she's my own sister too. And for the whole time I've known her, you're the first guy she's ever liked. Well, the first she's liked THAT much," he said and paused for a while.

 

I didn't say a word.

 

"And also, you're the first guy who gave her special gifts. But sadly, you're not available because you have Caroline and Leena has no clue about it. And before, I thought you were just going to end things with Caroline so I thought: 'Oh, that's good. I guess she may have a chance with you', especially that I found out you were giving her gifts. But then I realized, you still didn't tell her that you had a girlfriend," John stopped for a minute and gave a deep breath, "honestly, I feel like I'm overreacting, but I really feel like a very protective 'brother' right now. I'm just saying that we should tell her so she doesn't expect anything."

 

"Well, that's the thing. I kind of, sort of, don't want to tell her," I said, almost whispering.

"WHAT? Why?", John asked angrily.

"I just... I don't know," I said, stuttering.

"Oh, you don't know. Dude, what, are you playing games? You wanna keep her by your side just in case you get mad at Caroline or something so you could have her company and cheer you up?"

"No way! It's not like that! I'm not that horrible," I replied.

"Yeah, I know. Look, I love 'ya, bro. But come on, DO NOT do anything bad, or sad, or horrible to Leena that would make her upset and mad. Do not hurt her. Or else," John said as he looked very serious. Thumbs up for him though for being a great and protective 'brother' to Leena.  "Phew, all this protective vibe is rising up on me all of a sudden, you know? First my sister and Zander, and now this?! Good god, it's exhausting!"

"You're doing a good job, though."

He looked at me and grinned, "I know. I'm awesome."

"Don't worry, I'll figure out a way."

"Good," he said then immediately looked at his wristwatch, "WOW, that was a whole 30 minutes! Unbelievable! Let's go man, enough with this drama."

 

We stood up and went straight back to the gymnasium to continue the practice. I kept looking for Caroline to say that I'm sorry for not spending the break time with her, but after everything that John and I have talked about, I realized I didn't want to talk to her right now. Every single word that John said to me was stuck in my head. And I really think he's right, but there's this small gut feeling inside of me that still didn't agree with him.

 

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