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Chapter Fourteen

[TRAVIS]

I sighed, reaching a corner to meet Alex sharply turning away. How on earth am I going to convince someone that won’t even look at me to date me?

“Are you okay?” Jasper asked. I turned to find him giving me a worried look. We’d been talking about the upcoming game before I had stopped suddenly.

“Nothing. I’m fine,” I muttered, shaking my head before we continued on our way to class.

Having building tech as the first period lifted my mood in a way, at least that was one class I was good at. I had history next, and a very unusual thing happened. I actually answered a question.

“You’re getting better.” Miss Smith had commended me after class.

“I guess,” I had said, shrugging before looking away. It had definitely been one of the most awkward situations I’ve been put into. She had talked to me for a while, asking me how I was fairing. You know, things along that line.

The rest of the morning went by in a flash. Lunch was unusually quiet. Sam and Casey were texting each other, (I don’t even get it, they’re sitting next to each other for heaven’s sake...) Jonah was doing homework, (Wait, what?) and the rest were just eating quietly. Looking around I turned to find that Sky’s former seat was now occupied by a newbie.

“Okay, is something in the food?” I demanded, making everyone look up, even Sam.

“No...” Tony dragged, sipping her juice from her straw.

“Then what?” I asked, turning the make-believe spaghetti on my plate.

“The semester’s test has been moved forward,” Jonah groaned, making my eyes go wide.

“What?” I asked in disbelief. He’s joking, right?

“Yeah, something about making us head for break early so they can fumigate the place,” Sam said before returning her attention to her phone.

“Shit,” I groaned, gripping my forehead. How on earth am I actually going to pass? I’ve spent all my free time thinking about him.

“Why are you so bothered? That Alex guy is still tutoring you, right?” Jonah said, disturbing my line of thought. I shook my head, before waving my hand at his open mouth, indicating that I didn’t want to talk about it.

“Alex? You mean that quiet guy, right?” the newbie said. Everyone turned to face her, most of us giving her the ‘what are you doing here?’ look. It was as if most of us forgot she was even there. Even Tony who she seemed to have tagged along with was giving her the same confused look.

“Sorry, but what’s your name again?” Jasper asked, raising a brow at her. The girl turned red in the face, before looking down at the table. It was as if she was praying for her long chestnut bangs to consume her face.

“Queenet,” she muttered. And that’s when it happened. Sam dropped her phone, Casey choked on her water, while the rest of us burst into laughter.

“Queen-n-net?” Sam choked, trying to get the name out through her laughter.

The girl’s face got redder, and I knew she wouldn’t dream of approaching our table ever again.

“Stop it guys, we can just call her Q,” Tony said, putting her hand on the girl’s shoulder sympathetically. No matter how much Tony tried to be the good guy, in this case, I didn’t miss the awkward grin forming at the side of her lips.

“Queenet?” Sam asked again, trying to digest the name. We burst into another round of laughter... God, damn Sam. I think the girl had enough of us because she was up and gone in a flash.

“Damn... Queenet? Was she serious? Tony, how did you meet the girl?” Sam asked shaking her head as she banged the table with her palm.

Tony rolled her eyes, lifting her Juice box for a sip.

“She’s just some random girl from my algebra class. She did my homework for an opportunity to sit here,” Tony said, motioning to the table with her free hand.

“Well, see how that turned out.” Jasper butt in making everyone laugh again.

“Hey, is Sky ever coming back?” Jasper asked, making half the table look towards the table she now shared with Alex and Paul. She and Alex had their head over the same textbook, while Paul was using his phone.

“Of course she is. She’ll get bored eventually, just like that time with those emo kids,” Tony said as she cringed visibly. I rolled my eyes. Tony’s Emo hate just came from the fact that she didn’t just like their music.

Listening to Tony, the rest of the table nodded in agreement apart from me. Sure Sky was fond of trying new things, but unlike the others, this probably wasn’t a phase. Whether the rest of the group believed it or not, I believe Sky’s found better company.

*

I took a deep breath in then out before knocking. I was at the front door of Alex’s boyfriend’s apartment. I know, I know. I’m not meant to be here, but I’m just here to sort things out.

The other side remained quiet so I knocked again. I looked down at my chucks. It had taken me a while to pinpoint this address. I brushed my hair back and adjusted the ankles of my blue shirt. I gulped forcing myself not to flee as the door flew open.

“Who are you?” the dark-haired boy asked, giving me an up and down look. I gave him one as well. I eyed Alex’s boyfriend, studying what he liked.

The boy looked two or three years older than me. His wavy nape length hair was pulled back in a ponytail. He was wearing a navy green sweater and had his hands tucked into his joggers.

I couldn’t miss the way his eyes moved technically over me — as if he had a procedure of how to go over it.

“Let me guess,” he said, snapping his fingers as he closed his eyes in thought.

“Travis?” he asked, opening his eyes as a single brow of his rose up.

“Yes. Has Alex been talking about me?” I asked as a little bubble of hope formed inside me.

“Yes, he did mention a Barbie doll Ken figure that kept bothering him.”

Great. He couldn’t just let me cherish the possibility.

“It might have been someone else,” I said, feeling my face heat up with embarrassment.

“Green-blue eyes, blond hair. No, I’m sure it’s you,” he said, shutting his eyes. To say that I was creeped out would be an understatement.

“Come in,” he said, standing aside.

“No, take your shoes off, don’t do that,” he scolded sharply as I made to enter. I raised my hands up in surrender before kicking my shoes off and walking in.

The floor was covered with a simple gray carpet. Everything looked so — organized.

“People seem to have that expression when they walk in,” he said, coming up behind me.

“Have a seat,” he offered, motioning me to the small seating area. I complied walking towards the largest sofa.

“Don’t, that’s for Alex,” Chris said waving his index finger. I gave him a puzzled look, not even trying to hide my confusion. Do you know how weird this is?

“I’ve calculated the probability of Alex cuddling up to me in any of these chairs...” He trailed giving me a look, as if expecting me to understand. I still don’t get it.

“And that has the highest. Just pick somewhere else to sit,” he said as I walked towards a single sitter. I stopped by it, looking towards him to give me approval before I sat down.

“So why are you here?” he asked, taking the seat across the one I was sitting on so that we were facing each other.

“We need to talk,” I said bluntly, giving him a steady gaze.

“Man to man I see,” he said, chuckling.

“Sort of,” I said, turning away from him. Damn, he reminds me of scarlet overkill’s husband — yes, I watched that ‘Minions’ movie, okay?

“So, what about?” he asked, making me turn my gaze back to him, and then back to the floor.

“I want you to break up with Alex,” I said in a rush. The room went quiet, apart from the creak of the slow moving fan above us.

“I can’t do that. That’s like asking me to get rid of my cardiovascular system.”

His what now?

“My cardiovascular system,” he said again, giving me a wary look. I shook my head. What the hell is that?

“My circulatory system,” he tried again, but I shook my head. He sighed, rubbing his forehead.

“My heart and blood vessels,” he said, making my mouth form a small ‘o’. Really, he could have said that before.

“He said you were not exactly the brightest, but I didn’t know it was this bad,” Chris said, shaking his head with a pitiful expression on his face.

I’ve never felt so dumb in my life — ever.

“Let’s ignore your stupidity and carry on. Now, where was I?” Chris asked, wrinkling his brows. It was so odd how he reminded me of Alex.

“Oh, I said on. No, I can’t annul my courting with Alex, I love him too much,” he said as his eyes half closed as if thinking of him.

I didn’t say anything, just watched him. If this is what I have to be to get Alex, I might as just give up. Chris was so — so mature, and it wasn’t in that good kind of way. It was in that creepy ‘I know too much’ kind of way.

“But he doesn’t love you, does he?” I said. Alex had always pointed out that he didn’t. I watched as Chris’ mouth formed a thin line as his eyes turned cold.

“I don’t appreciate that being pointed out, thank you very much,” he said, giving me a death glare. It made me want to sink into the sofa, but I had to man up and make my proposal.

“If you dump him, you could see if he really wants you...” I trailed, starting to think what I’d dimmed quite sensible for the past day was starting to sound ridiculous.

I gulped, watching him get up and stroll towards me.

“Ever heard of the Ivory coast tribe that dress up in Chiwara antelope masks and dance?” he asked me with a serious look on his face.

“Err—no,” I said, blinking.

“Well they do that to thank the antelopes for teaching them how to plant and harvest corn,” Chris said, sitting on the arm of the Sofa I was sitting on. I scooted away, a little uncomfortable at his closeness.

“Well, how does that sound?” Chris asked.

“I—”

“I want a truthful answer,” Chris demanded, turning to face me. I looked down at my lap complying.

“Stupid?” I answered, looking up at him.

“Good, you understand perfectly,” he said undoing his ponytail and doing it over.

“It sounds stupid because we all know antelopes can’t plant, not to talk of harvest...” He trailed.

“But the dance itself is beautiful. Do you know why?” he asked, looking straight at me.

“No—”

“Well, it’s because they do it with faith. It’s their belief anyway. The situation sounds quite stupendous, but it’s not any different from the things we do from day to day in the basis of hope, and it’s so beautiful it almost seems true,” he finished as the side of his mouth twisting in a smile.

“What are you getting at?” I asked, lost somewhere between faiths and stupendous.

“What I’m saying is that...” He trailed, stopping suddenly before sighing.

“I’ll do something stupid — that is, annulling my relationship with Alex, and just ‘hope’ he’ll come back to me,” Chris finished, getting up at his final word.

“Like I said, I’m a little frustrated about getting just a bit of his affection,” Chris sighed as he returned to his seat.

“You want all of it?” I asked and he nodded.

“Greedy of me? I know.” Chris shrugged.

“What if he goes for me? What will you do then?” I asked, feeling a bit suspicious about how he was taking all this so casually.

“Don’t fan your ego kid. He might not go for any of us,” Chris said, giving me a steady gaze. I have to admit he’s right. Alex might as well pull the middle finger at both of us.

“Then why are you agreeing to this?” I asked, looking towards him.

“That’s where this faith thing comes in. having faith in other terms is taking a risk,” Chris said getting up.

“You must be going now, it’s past six,” he said, ushering me out the door.

As I walked out of the apartment complex I started to fidget. He’d said by Monday it’d have been over between Alex and him and I’ll have my chance. But I started to think if it was worth it — if Alex would really want me.

I took a deep breath in then out. I decided to do one of the dumbest things on the planet according to Chris and have faith.

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