Chapter 1 – A day like any other
A shrill beep resonated at regular intervals in the otherwise silent room.
With difficulty, Benjamin finally managed to wake up, turning his phone’s alarm off at the same time. After a few more minutes, he got off from his bed and exited his room. He walked to the bathroom while yawning and opened the door. There, he found Olivia washing her face. She noticed him and was a bit startled.
“Oh, Ben. I-I am almost done now, just a second.”
He was a bit surprised at that since she usually either ignored him or frowned whenever they met.
His answer seemed to make her panic a little bit more.
“F-finished now, it’s all yours.”
She then passed by him in a hurry and escaped to her room, closing the door so fast that he didn’t even have the time to react.
He felt it was a bit strange but time was running out for him since he lazed in bed this morning. Or more like every morning, really. He was not the best at waking up.
Today was Tuesday, a school day. He quickly went to wash and prepare his bag for the day.
Going down the stairs, he saw the table was ready with a simple breakfast. His mother, Chloe, and Nova were already sitting there and finishing eating. He greeted everyone in one go, the classic way to avoid thinking too much about anything. It was still early morning in his dictionary, after all.
“Good morning, dear.”
His mother’s greeting seemed to come out a bit more rough than usual. She was smiling but her smile seemed sort of weird to him.
Chloe was the same as usual, grinning and full of energy.
“Morning. Hurry up or you will be late.”
Finally, Nova was also her usual self, frowning at his usual laziness.
He sat down at the table and started eating his breakfast quickly. For some reason, he felt like he was receiving more stares from his family members than usual. When looking up at the culprits, they quickly avoided his eyes and pretended that they were doing something else. Once again a feeling of unfamiliarity hit him but he couldn’t pinpoint what was wrong exactly.
The TV was turned on and he focused his attention there.
“Half a year after having been elected as the first male president in history, Jayden Hardwood continues his reforms to the country. He possesses both ardent supporters as well as extreme haters. He is visiting the countryside today in a continuation of his tour of the country.”
It took Benjamin a short while but he finally reacted to what he just heard.
“A man president? And what do they mean first male president in history?”
It seemed his table neighbors heard him because they responded to his muttering, starting with his mother.
“Yes, it was a big surprise. Who would think a man would win?”
“Well, it might be a good thing. And also... he is sexy.”
Nova added, the last part a bit more quietly. That didn’t stop everyone from hearing it though.
“Is that your type of man, Nova?”
The energetic little sister couldn’t miss such an interesting topic.
“He is okay, I guess.”
While they were chatting, Benjamin was completely out of it. He remembered that a woman was elected six months ago and was the first woman president in the history of the country. Was this channel some sort of troll information channel? No, that was the same public channel as usual. Then, what about the reaction of his family? He checked the date to be sure, it was definitely not the first of April today.
He was really confused now but Olivia eventually went down the stairs. Everyone checked the time and prepared themselves to leave. He also had no choice but to finish eating his toast in a hurry and go to school together with Nova.
Going to school together might be a bit of an exaggeration, since unless she had something to scold him about, Nova usually pretty much ignored him.
It seemed today was one of these days though. She remarked, a frown on her face.
“Your clothes are all wrinkled.”
Benjamin sighed internally but didn’t protest in any way. He just waited until she “arranged” him to a satisfying level according to her criteria. But, after a few seconds of nothing happening, he looked up at her. She was just staring at him and waiting until he did it himself, apparently. Another odd development. She always did it herself and he always let her do it because if he didn’t, she wouldn’t stop nagging him until he was perfectly neat. Since he knew about that, he couldn’t help asking her, pushing his chest out.
“What are you waiting for? We are going to be late.”
“Heh? W-well... Are you sure?”
“Sure about what? Hurry up.”
He had pretty much never seen her acting like that. She was always so authoritarian.
She approached him and started to smooth out his T-shirt. Her hands seemed hesitant and sometimes would linger in some places more than necessary. She was also blushing a little bit. After a few seconds of a clumsy and sloppy job, she removed her hand as if she was burnt and shouted.
“A-all good now! Let’s go quickly before we arrive late.”
Her attitude was all wrong compared to usual. Benjamin was now sure of it. Something today was different from usual. Perhaps, for the first time in his life, he was looking forward to going to school. There, he could try to confirm what was wrong. It had the most number of people out of all the places he frequented, after all. He followed her in a hurry and they both arrived at school around ten minutes later.