Chapter Five: Deepening the Sea
“Put more conviction in your voice when you’re at the 2nd paragraph, Belle.”
“Kris, mind your posture.”
Tuesday afternoon, DESI high YDC members were busy practicing. Participants were trained with facial expressions and voice levels, non-participants were made practice opponents or watch to point suggestions to help the competitors.
“Okay, let’s do it again for the last time.” Coach Allan turned to the rest of the members. “Watch them carefully guys, point out anything you’ll find wrong. Yes, even if it’s on Scary Jy-Jy. Don’t be afraid, I got you.”
“Wha– ! I am open to corrections!” Frowned Jane.
“If you say so.” He grinned at her playfully.
Jane just stuck her tongue at him, while everyone tried not to laugh out loud.
Everyone had fun, even though it was exhausting. Jane wasn’t as scary as they thought she would be after what happened yesterday. In fact, she was kind of nicer, as long as you don’t ask her about it. Still, she’s Scary Jy-Jy no matter what.
Everyone at the club was taken by surprise, however, when, when they finally left their club and saw ‘The Mark’ of the SLI high waiting by the school gate.
“Is that really The Mark I’m seeing?!” Gushed one sophomore, the moment she saw Mark.
“Who?!” Frowned one of her club mates. Obviously, one of the few who still hadn’t heard of their club secretary’s adventure the other day.
“The Mark. SLI’s The Mark.”
“An SLI student?! What’s he doing here?!” She frowned again. “Is he spying on us?!”
“OMG! Didn’t you here the rumors?!” Piped a third student who joined the two.
“The rumors about our Scary Jy-Jy dating SLI’s The Mark, right?!” Giggled the first one. “It was all-over school yesterday. I heard that it was such a big news at SLI high too. I really can’t believe it, but seeing The Mark on DESI’s doorste–”
“You can’t be serious! Scary Jy-Jy doesn’t date guys, she turns the ‘down’!”
“What are you talking about?! Don’t go on making Jy-Jy sound like a lesbian. She’s not like you.”
“That’s right. Just accept the fact that she’s not available anymore.”
“B-But why an SLI student?!”
“Guess no DESIan is good enough for her.” Giggled the first one again.
It’s true that there are DESIan who didn’t just have brains but looks as well, like their club president, but it doesn’t change the fact that girls like Jane don’t fall for guys just because he’s good looking and brainy; and SLI’s The Mark definitely had what she’s looking for.
“Tsk. He looks like a womanizer to me.” Was the bitter reply.
“Because he is.” Giggled the other two gleefully.
Meanwhile, in front of the YDC club room.
“Jane, hurry up!” Karen tugged on Jane’s sleeve.
“Stop it, Kar. I can’t lock the club room like this.” Sighed Jane. She doesn’t understand why Karen still wants to wait for her until she’s done with club activities when she’s just going to complain about wanting to go home early. “If you wanted to watch that show so much, you didn’t have to wait for me.”
“It’s not about tha–! Oh, yeah! Today was supposed to be the end of the Arrancar Arc!” Karen shook her head. “No wait, that’s not important right now. Jy-Jy, we have to get to the gate…ASAP!”
“Why?!” Jane finally turned to Karen. “Is there a celebrity hanging around in our school gate?! Sorry. Not interested.” She regarded her friend dully.
“It’s more than a celebrity, Jy!” She exclaimed excitedly, and dragged her to the direction of the gate.
“Wha–! Hey, slow down!”
Karen dragged her until they got passed their crowding club mates near the school gate. She only stopped when they were already in front of Mark, before she pushed Jane towards him that she almost lost her balance.
“Kar, what on earth are you do–”
“Yo.” Was Mark’s greeting when he caught and steadied Jane.
Jane widened her eyes at the sight of him, and quickly pushed herself away from him. She glared at her so called ‘best friend’, who just grinned, and club mates, who were staring at them curiously.
“What are you doing here?!” She hissed at him.
“Don’t be so cold. I was waiting the whole time, you know.” He smiled charmingly.
She just raised a brow at him.
“I’ll walk you home.” Mark suddenly snatched Jane’s bag and books from her and walked ahead.
“What the– Give them back!” She demanded, trying to snatch them back but he pulled it out of her reach.
“I told you, I’m walking you home.” He said seriously. “And I want to apologize for canceling our date yesterday. Something came up. But I promise it won’t happen again.”
“What are you–!” Jane frowned at him in confusion, and then realized the reason for his words. She looked behind her to see her club mates looking at them attentively. When she looked at him again, he was trying to hide his snickers. “Why you little–!”
“Let’s go, sweetheart.” He said coyly, smiling at her meaningfully.
“What do you think you’re doing?!” She demanded to him, and then looked back at her club mates. “Whatever you’re thinking, you’re wrong! I’m not going out with him!” She snapped angrily, and then hastily run after him.
“I guess that confirms the rumors, whatever Jane says.” The club vice president said, while some of the members begun chatting excitedly. “Too bad huh, Mike?!”
“Don’t rub, you heartless buffalo. My cousin is holding up every last strength he has left not to cry, you know.” Karen rubbed her cousin’s back with mock sympathy. “Don’t worry, cousin dear, you’ll find someone else.”
The cousin and the vice president looked at Mike as he walked away angrily.
“You’re so cruel. And you call yourself his cousin.”
“My dear Eric, cousins are just like siblings…we live to make our cousins lives easier.” Was the grinned reply.
Not far from the DESI high school.
“Why are you doing this?!” Demanded Jane, trying hard take her things back while attempting to be in Mark’s walking pace.
“Because I’m a caring boyfriend.” He grinned at her boyishly, putting ridiculous emphasis on the last word.
“We don’t have an audience anymore, so you don’t have to spout such nonsense.” Growled Jane, still not giving up.
“It’s not nonsense, Jy-Jy. It’s the talk of town…not just from your school, not just from mine.” He whistled. “I bet after this afternoon, all doubts that everyone has will disappear. That’s just how good we look together, sweetheart. Everyone wants us to be together for real, that they’re blinded from everything else.”
“I’m not buying it. For one, I don’t care what everyone thinks. And from what I heard, you don’t too. So I’m going to ask you again, what are you really planning?!” She glared at him.
“From what you heard?!” He grinned. “Does that mean that you researched about me, Jy-Jy?! That’s so sweet. I knew you’d fall for me too. What else did they say?!”
“Hah! Believe me, none of them were good.” She rolled her eyes at him; and noticing that he stopped walking, she did too. Only to gape at him when she realized where they are.
“How’d you–! Are you stalking me?! You pervert!” She yelled angrily.
“Jane dear, what’s happening here?!” A woman’s voice asked from behind them.
“Mom!” Jane spanned around. “W-What are you doing here?!”
“Oh! Well dear, I just got back from buying the ingredients for our dinner.”
“Huh?! But I already–”
“It’s not enough since Mark’s eating dinner with us, Jane.” Her mother told her disappointingly.
“I think it’s because she’s still upset with the date I cancelled yesterday, ma’am.” Mark said, looking regretful.
“Oh, shssh! Now, now. It’s just a date. Janie dear, forgive your boyfriend.” She smiled at her daughter kindly.
“And you, Mark dear, I told you to just call me Aunt Jaimie.”
“Now, both of you get inside. It’s getting cold here.” The elder woman said as she went in ahead.
“What did you tell her, you shameless pretentious monkey?!” Thundered the girl.
“Yes, yes. Let’s get inside now.” Mark said nonchalantly, stepping ahead.
“Why are you doing this?! Does this have anything to do with the match?!” Jane asked seriously. “Will you just stop?! I’m telling you, you won’t gain anything from this.”
“Aww. Don’t be like that, sweetheart. You’re saying it like I’m a two-faced shameless bastard.”
“Which you are.”
“Hey! That’s too much accusation, you’re hurting me here.” He pouted while hitting his chest like it really hurt him.
“And stop calling me ‘sweetheart’!” She snapped angrily.
The evening went not at all in favor of Jane. Her mother seemed to be really captivated with Mark; both of them enjoying each other’s company so much, it just made her moodier and moodier as the night grew deeper.
“Really, kids these days. When did you start dating my daughter, Mark?! She honestly didn’t say anything to me. Even though, I always told her to entertain suitors.”
“Mom, I hope you noticed I’m here.”
“Whatever is the matter, dear?! You don’t need to be so embarrassed.”
“I am not!!!” She shrieked.
“There you go again. Why are you so moody tonight?!” Frowned the mother. “It’s a good thing that your boyfriend doesn’t mind your mood swings.”
“It’s one of the things I love the most about her.” Mark said cheerily. “It’s actually the reason why I met her. She can be really feisty, but that’s one of her good points.”
“Aww. You’re adorable, sweetie. You’d be the third guy saying you love her mood swings.”
“Yes, the first two are her father and Mike.” Was said with a genuine smile. “Speaking of Mike, I really thought that he’s in love with Jane and even told them to date.”
Jane unexpectedly coughed out the food she just took to her mouth. She glared at Mark as he snickered and her mother scolded.
“I never knew there was something like that between you two, it makes me kinda jealous.”
“Tell me something I’d actually care about.” More glaring.
“Now, now, that’s enough. I’ll go get the dessert. Janie, behave.”
Jane just pouted after her mom’s retreating back. After Jane’s mother stood and went to the kitchen though, Jane gave Mark her sharpest glare.
“Whatever you’re planning…stop it!”
“Hey, can’t you just see that I just want to be your friend?!”
“Friend?! By pretending to be my boyfriend?!” She spat. “Not only were you giving everyone the wrong impression, you’re also flat out lying to my mom!”
“I’m not really lying.” Mark grinned at her, which she returned with a ‘Yeah, right!’ glare. “You’re going to be my girl, Jy-Jy.”
Jane just rolled her eyes at him. “That will only happen when SLI finally beats DESI on something, and I’m telling you…it will not happen anytime soon. Not as long as I’m using a DESI uniform. And just so you know, I don’t give a d*mn about you.” She told him with so much intensity.
“Ouch!” He flinched. “And here I thought Mike was exaggerating when he said he can’t deal with you.”
“He did, did he.” She looked at him dully, not really caring for his opinion.
“But don’t worry, I’m different.” He smiled smugly. “Whether you’re just being difficult or you hate men in Mikeral, I assure you I’m going to tame you.”
“Ohhhh…I’m shaking in fright.” Jane responded sarcastically, even hugging herself for dramatic effect. “Am I allowed to faint now?!”
“Sure you are, only if you’ll fall in my arms.” He wiggled his brows at her meaningfully.
“Are you serious?!” She raised a brow at him. “You sounded really pathetic, didn’t you hear yourself?!”
“Hey, those are one of my killer lines.” He sounded hurt. “Something is really wrong with you, Jy-Jy.”
“Hah! Just because your sorry excuse for pick-up lines doesn’t work on me, something’s wrong with me already?! Couldn’t it be because I’m just not like one of your shameless fan girls, who’d be willing to throw themselves at you even if they know you’ll just break them?!” She spat heatedly.
Mark whistled at her words amusedly. “For someone who claims to not care about me, you seem to know me pretty well. Admit it, Jy-Jy, you mind me being popular with girls hot, right?!”
“Oh, please. It was not a compliment. Never was, and never will. I hate your kind the most.”
Jane said it while looking at Mark straight in his eyes and with so many emotions that he knew she was really serious about it. And somehow, he felt very protective of her; like he wants to beat up whatever made her that way.
“Okay. What did I miss?!” Jane’s mom returned with a large bowl of fruit salad, smiling from ear to ear.
“His dad just called, he said he had to go back now.” Jane lied without batting an eye.
“Aww…is that so?!” Said the elder woman disappointedly.
“I…uh…yeah…” Was the only thing Mark managed to say, still overwhelmed by Jane’s words.
“Well, just send my regards to your parents then.” She smiled at him warmly. “Wait, let me pack some salad for the– ”
“He really needs to go, mom. His dad said immediately. Right?!” Jane glared at him.
“Y-Yeah. Sorry. Maybe next time.” He smiled apologetically and slowly stood to leave; leave the table, leave Jaimie, and leave Jane.
At least for the time being.