I was tired of his constant stare by now. I swear to god, he made this break way awkward than it was supposed to. Not to mention the fact that I’m desperately wishing for the clock to just tick on and end this break soon and that never happens- never.
“What?” I snapped, turning around to see Alex with his eyebrows still furrowed as he studied me. I was going to kill this boy someday. He might be a year or two older but trust me, I wouldn’t even hesitate to do so.
“Nothing,” he shrugged, raising his shoulders and dropping it while cocking his head to the side, not once paying any attention to my words. I looked up dramatically and silently scolded god for landing me in front of him.
“Then can you stop studying like I’m an alien from another planet?!” I whispered as harshly as I could without Cecilia and Brad- who were in a deep conversation- noticing.
“Nope,” he popped the ‘p’ with a smirk on his face just to annoy me further.
I groaned and hid my face in my hands. “No, like seriously, stop.”
“No can do,” he replied smugly that stupid and irritatingly annoying smirk still on his face.
“I would have called you a retard, but that would be an insult to retards,” I rolled my eyes while giving him an annoyed expression.
“Woah, all offense taken,” he placed a hand on the right side of his chest.
I laughed and pointed out, “Dude, that isn’t even where your heart is.”
He blushed red and hurriedly switched his hands so it could go to his left and finally actually land on his heart.
I shook my head at his behavior. He narrowed his eyes at me and did the thing that was annoying me for over twenty minutes now: he stared yet again.
“Okay, why are you staring?!” I had enough of him already. Thankfully, the two cousins were in a very, very deep conversation so they didn’t hear my sudden outburst.
“How can you run that fast?” He wondered out loud. I sighed and muttered rather stupid words under my breath.
“Are you kidding me?! You’re still hung up on that?” I asked incredulously. That’s why he’d been staring at me for the past few minutes?! Was he actually looking for any abnormal features that could prove I’m not human or something?
“Well, you do run really fast. Too fast for my own good. I mean you’re still not Usain Bolt fast, but damn girl, you’re fast,” he remarked but then shook his head, his confused expression matching one of mine, “What did I even say?”
“Finally you realize that you don’t make sense!” I clapped my hands together.
“Shut up,” he grumbled. I laughed at his pathetic comeback but rolled my eyes nonetheless. He was never going to change.
“Oh my god! Brad look at that! They both are laughing together!” Cecilia pointed towards us with her finger, showing us to Brad.
I huffed, all signs of amusement gone from my face as Alex did the same, his expression mirroring mine. I was about to tell her that we weren’t really laughing ‘together’ but we were laughing ‘at’ each other but I shut my mouth against my better judgement. I wasn’t craving for a death wish right now. Especially after Cecilia told me to co-operate.
I could see Alex opening his mouth to comment on what she said when I punched him lightly on the knee under the table where no could see.
He gasped out loud and clutched his knee tightly where I hit him, glaring at me.
“Yeah, Cecilia. We were getting along just as you told us to do!” I said as happily as I could, but I think I overdid it because all I got was some blank stares.
“What?” I asked, “I thought you wanted us to get along!” I complained.
"Right,” Cecilia dragged the word suspiciously.
Just then, a group of boys came over to our table. “Wassup, man,” one of the guys out of fifteen or so greeted- including the two guys who ran with us today, one of them being Mason, I think that was his name. Yup, it was.
“Sup man?” Alex fist bumps and did the half hugs which I seemed to have mastered over the years.
“Where you been, lately?” Another spoke up.
“Ah, you know, just hanging around,” he replied. It didn’t take a lot of brains for me to know that these people were from the football team considering the fact that they were all wearing the same varsity jacket Alex was wearing a few days ago.
“Who are the new girls?” Another one asked. They just sat on our table without a warning.
“The girls are named Cecilia and Sam,” I intruded, speaking up for the both of us.
“Feisty,” the guys mumbled.
“Don’t I know it,” Alex retorted, rolling his eyes.
“Okay, then. Alex, who are these people then?” Cecilia asked, obviously noticing that I wasn’t in the best of my moods right now.
“Right, I keep forgetting that you’re a freshman along with klutz here,” he looked over to me, “This is my football team.”
I knew that already but I don’t think Cecilia had a clue until now. I don’t think she knows much about football cause if she did, she would have noticed the jackets they all were wearing.
“I think they introduced themselves,” he muttered under his breath, hoping I wouldn’t hear it, but if the idiot is by any name such as ‘Alex Chase’ then you’ll always hear him because he can’t whisper.
“Hey,” The team waved at us. They were nice, so I wasn’t going to be holding a grudge against them just because I hate Alex.
“Hi!” Cecilia replied enthusiastically and I chuckled at her.
Just then, Mason bend over to tell a guy something and not soon after the guy’s eyes widened. This passed along until I was completely sure it was about me because their eyes were on me while the other one whispered into the ear. Alex could definitely not whisper but I was really hoping they didn’t too because I really wanted to listen to what they were saying.
Finally one of them spoke up, “You were the one who beat Alex in running?”
I gave Mason a flat look. Ugh! Why didn’t they understand that this wasn’t such a big deal?! I swear to god, my team back home was faster than him!
“No way,” a guy commented.
I raised my eyebrows. “And why is that?” I inquired.
“It just... isn’t right,” he answered while smirking, “after all girls aren’t meant for these types of stuff.”
“I still don’t get why. . .” I pushed him further. “Give me an example.” If he thinks like that, then so be it, but I wasn’t going to sit there and do nothing. I hated these sexist insults. With a passion.
He burst into laughter and looked at his group. “One, for instance, is football.”
My breathing fastened. I was angry and I think everyone knew. I glanced at Cecilia who was trying very hard to keep her mouth shut by the fact that I did play football and I was a quarterback. I gave her a silent warning and shook my head.
“You’re dead wrong because I know quite a few girls who can play football better than you,” I retorted. I don’t know when it happened but I was standing in front of him with a determined look on my face.
“Well, can they come up for the challenge?” He challenged, feeling overconfident about himself. Everyone in the whole cafeteria had crowded around us by then, listening to our argument. Even the teachers were standing by the side- unless it wasn’t physical or a bit too verbal, they were fine with it.
“He’s right,” Alex butt in.
I simply glared at him. This was literally me versus a group of I don’t know how many boys because I hadn’t counted with Cecilia and Brad at the back not interfering in our argument.
“Back off,” I glared.
“Why? This is my team after all, I’m quarterback,” he told me, laughing slightly as his team clapped him on his back. I was one too, I wanted to tell them but kept my mouth shut.
“I don’t care,” I narrowed my eyes at him. Suddenly, it wasn’t me and that other guy who were fighting anymore... it was was me and Alex.
“Girls can’t play football,” he stated whilst smirking.
“I’m pretty sure they can,” I narrowed my eyes at him, angry at his judgment.
“Well, then, prove it.”
He was getting to me. He knew it and I did too, so I did what was best. I ran away from there. I ran away from my problems and fears once again- just as I’ve always been doing. I couldn’t get carried away too easily. It just wasn’t right.
I rounded a corner until I was pretty sure I was lost. The place looked completely isolated with no lights turned on and no one there. I leaned against the wall, shut my eyes and slid my back against the wall until I was fully sitting down. I held my head in my hands and just tried to shake all the bad thoughts away. But they just wouldn’t go! I knew a few of them would haunt me for the rest of my life...
“Sam! Sam, are you alright?” A voice called out.
I quickly got up from my position and dusted my hands against my jeans. Finally, she found me.
“I’m sorry about him. He’s a jerk and we both know it,” she laughed sadly.
“Yeah,” I sighed, a forced smile on my face.
“I know that you can play football. So why did you back down from the challenge?” she asked softly.
“Ceci...” I sighed,“I promise to tell you when I’m ready. But that time isn’t now... I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay, I understand,” she replied. “You know, you have that strong aura around you. Even if I only knew you for a day or two, I know that you’re a very strong person.” She seemed genuinely honest with me and I felt like nothing more but to cry that time. I wanted to shout at her and tell her that I wasn’t strong. Because if I was, none of this would be happening right now. None of it.
But I kept my tears in me and swallowed it up. I hated crying in front of people and I wasn’t planning on doing so anytime soon. Sensing that it was getting really emotional in here, she quickly changed the topic.
“Business calls for us!” She yelled, her voice echoing in the abandoned place and then turned back sharply towards me. “Wait... you do have Business now, don’t you?”
I laughed and nodded, giving her the answer she wanted. She sighed in relief while smiling before linking her arms in mine. It was then when she realized something and the smile faded away.
“Oh, sh*t. I forgot we were lost.”
It took us half an hour to get back. The most ironic thing was that it took us only two to get there and thirty minutes to find our way back. I took notes though... so I could come back whenever I wanted.
Business wasn’t very fun- especially because I wanted to fall asleep every five minutes. The teacher wasn’t helping either (with her scary look and all).
The rest of the subjects that followed were the same.
At the moment, Cecilia and I were walking towards our dorm, retiring for the day. And boy were we glad that the second day of university was over.
“I’m gonna have a quick chat with my parents and the boys. Do you want to come talk with them as well?” I offered, remembering how attached she had grown to them in just a few minutes.
She winked at me. “Wouldn’t turn down that offer for anything.”
“Hey, Sam?” She asked after a minute of silence.
“Has... has your family always been this happy and amazing?” She asked hesitantly. She was fiddling with her fingers and she sucked in a breath hoping she hadn’t said anything wrong with her eyes downcast.
I smiled warmly at her and put my hand on her arm soothingly as if to reassure her. “Hey, it’s alright to ask,” I told her softly before I realized that we were still standing in the middle of the corridor. I took her hand in mine and tugged at her hand to get her to follow me. “Come on in.”
“I’ve got the keys,” she jiggled the keys in front of my face but inserting it in and twisting it around so the door would open. From the corner of my eye, I saw Alex come in and I quickly went inside to avoid confrontation- I needed a break from him.
“Phew!” I exclaimed happily once we were in- whether I was finally happy to be in because of the exhausting day or happy to get rid of Alex, I didn’t know.
“What happened?” Cecilia asked, not knowing why I was so happy.
“Nothing,” I waved it off figuring that she’d go back out just to say a ‘hello’ to him. Or maybe break his face right after. The latter option was a good one but who could predict Cecilia? Just leave it to be so that you could make sure nothing wouldn’t go your way.
I also realized how she wasn’t being very pushy about what she asked earlier. Hmm... she giving me my personal space and hoping she didn’t say anything wrong. Noticing her nervousness, I would like to assure that I’m right. She’s stupid. Why would she think I’m mad at her about earlier? It’s okay to ask. Even if I’m not sure I’m ready to tell anyone yet, I think she’d understand. Still, she gave me a bit of background about hers, it’s only fair I do the same.
“Cecilia, don’t be stupid. I’m not mad- at all!” I laugh while I say so, as I reassure her softly. She calms down a bit, but not a lot.
Awkwardly, she scratched her arm. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to be very pushy and-”
“Ceci, it’s fine,” I told her in a firm tone. It wasn’t wrong to ask and she has to know it.
“No,” I denied. “The answer to your earlier question, I mean. No, my family wasn’t entirely perfect, it wasn’t this happy. We had a huge gap before that.”
She looked down at her lap ashamedly, as if internally kicking herself for just speaking out. But I need her to know that she can trust me... even if I’m not ready to tell her everything just yet.
“Look, Ceci. I know that your family isn’t one of the brightest ones from what you’ve told me,” I paused, and just then realized how she had not commented on me calling her ‘Ceci’, “but I need you to know that you can trust me. I can’t tell you everything just yet- not because I don’t trust you, but because I’m afraid to do so. I’m afraid of it.”
I didn’t realize my voice was shaking until Cecilia pulled me into her arms. “It’s okay,” she whispered soothingly as she buried her head into my hair.
“Thanks,” I smiled at her. “You know, even the best and most happy families have gone through some troubles... none of them are a go-lucky, happy family as we all imagine it to be. I realized this when I broke my own family for a very long time,” I choked at this as the painful memories came into my mind, “but they stayed with me through it.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Sam, but I know that you’re a very good person. There’s nothing you would do intentionally. I’m pretty sure whatever it was, it wasn’t your fault-”
“Then how can it be yours for staying under your sister’s shadow?” I questioned interrupting her and also preventing a breakdown that could have happened to me just a few moment ago. I watched her closely as she was rendered speechless and went silent, unable to come up with anything.
“How can you blame yourself?” I pressed on.
“I-I just thought I was not worth it,” she said quietly. It was barely audible and I had to strain my ears to hear it. But I knew what I heard and I wasn’t going to let this slide easily.
“Hey, Cecilia,” I pushed her chin up, forcing her to look at me. “I know it isn’t easy but I’m telling you this, and don’t you forget it- I think you’re worth everything. Without you, I wouldn’t have been able to make myself a friend, without you I wouldn’t have been able to feel welcome over here, hell without you I wouldn’t have thought I fit in over here!”
She smiled at me and pulled me in for a very tight hug. “Thank you,” she whispered. “Thank you for everything- even if it’s just been two days. It seems like we’ve known each other for eternity and I wouldn’t have asked for a better friend than you.”
“Geez, it’s only been two days?!” I asked incredulously, making the moody change from sad to enthusiastic in a matter of seconds. “You’re right, it does seem like forever.”
“Yup,” she popped the ‘p’. “I’ll change now so then we can just talk ourselves to sleep. Sound like a plan?”
“Definitely does. I’ll go in after you!” I called out as she went into the bathroom. I heard a faint ‘okay’ from in there and just chuckled and rolled my eyes.
She came out ten minutes later and I went in. Once we were done changing, we had talked for a bit before Cecilia fell into a deep slumber. Ceci did look as she was really tired today but still had insisted on talking about random stuff for some odd reason. She’s Cecilia after all- unpredictable.
“Goodnight, Ceci,” I said to a sleeping Cecilia as I pulled up her blanket so it was reaching her chin. Then, I went to my own, grabbed some water and swallowed down my pill.
If we skip the Alex part, I was enjoying it over here. It wasn’t as bad here as I expected it to be.
But, little did I know that the night would prove to be otherwise...