Truth and Lies
Let’s see, editorial office. Where the hell is it? I think to myself as I walk down the hallways of our school. Gray told me to go there at lunch, but I can’t even find it. I didn’t even know that a room like that existed here.
I pass a couple of students and ask, “Hey, you know where the editorial office is?”
The shorter girl shakes her head and turns to her friend for help.
“Just turn right at the computer lab then turn left.” The girl with curly hair instructs. She gives me a weird look before continuing on their way.
“Thank you,” I flash them a smile and go on my way.
I pass by the empty computer lab where I take my basic programming class. Was there an office like that around here? I trudge in the corridor looking left and right, searching until I see a room with a sign at the top of the doorway, “Editorial Office.”
I knock twice. I wait for a few seconds, but no one comes out. I knock again, and this time, I speak, “Gray?” Still no sign of anyone. Is she playing a prank on me? I turn the knob and realize the door was unlocked. Hoping I won’t get scolded, I step inside.
The place looks like a real office. Papers are stacked on top of each other. Magazines, books, and other reading materials are scattered around the desks. Two flatscreen computers lined the wall, and another one is at the far end of the room with its rolling chair. A coffee maker is perched on top of a desk, which explains the aroma that filled the air. A rectangular table took up most of the space in the room.
Sitting at the end of the table is the person I was looking for, in a state I wasn’t expecting. I slowly walk towards her, my lips tugging upwards with every step I take. I giggle at the sight of Gray’s sleeping face. Her head and her arms were resting on a pillow on top of the table. I do the thing that people usually do when they see someone sleeping. I take a picture of her sleeping face.
The sound of the camera shutter breaks the silence of the room. Crap. I quickly put my phone back in my pocket.
Gray stirs. Her eyelashes flutter as she slowly opens her eyes. She blinks the sleep away from her eyes a few times and stretches her arms upwards while yawning, completely unaware of her surroundings.
Then she sees me.
She blinks twice. When she realizes that I’m real and she’s not dreaming anymore, her eyes widen. She stands up abruptly and stumbles in her seat. I catch her by the arm before she falls over. “Careful.”
She tugs at her arm and takes a step back. “What are you doing here?” She asks, shooting daggers at me.
I show her the math notebook I’m holding as a reminder that she was the one who told me to go here. “Oh, right.”
“You look cute when you’re sleeping,” I tease her and take a seat on the chair adjacent to the one she was occupying a minute earlier.
“Shut up, Alvarrez.” She rolls her eyes as she goes to the coffee maker. “You want some coffee before we start?”
I shake my head, “I’m not a fan of coffee.” I admit.
Gray looks offended. “How can you not like coffee?”
Not knowing how to answer her question, I shrug. It’s not like I don’t drink coffee, I just don’t crave for it.
“Whose office is this?” I find myself asking her while she was pouring herself a cup.
“The editorial club’s.” She sits on her chair, coffee in hand.
I lean in closer, interested. “And you’re a part of it? What do you do?”
“I’m the editor-in-chief.” She answers nonchalantly, but I see a gleam in her eyes. She takes pride in what she does.
“Wow, that’s Gray for you.” I beam at her, feeling proud.
She brushes off my comment and opens her notebook. “Let’s start.”
The reason she called me out here was for me to teach her the lessons she missed in the two days she was absent from school. She never told me the reason why she was absent; she just came to me asking for my notes.
When I handed her my notebook this morning, she examined it for a moment before returning it to me, saying she asked for my Science notebook, not stenography. I told her that it was my Science notebook. She looked at me with a puzzled expression and took it from me again. After a minute of trying to decipher my notes, she finally gave up and told me a 5-year-old kid could write better than me.
I ended up borrowing Kris’ notes for her. Being the genius she is, she can definitely keep up with the lesson even with just the notes she borrowed. However, it’s not the same for our Differential Calculus class. You can’t really understand it if no one explains how things happened, which led me alone in this office now with Gray.
“I already told you I’m not good at explaining,” I complain.
“It’s not like I have any other choice,” she says. “You’re the only one who understands the lesson.”
I let out a defeated sigh. “It’s not my fault if you still don’t understand anything after this.” I tie my hair up in a ponytail before starting.
Only a few minutes have passed, and surprisingly, Gray was able to understand me. By the looks of it, she’ll be able to keep up with the lesson now.
“That’s the gist of it,” I tell her and lean back in the chair.
“Thank you, and sorry for asking you to help in your free time,” she says.
“No big deal, I’m happy to help,” I tell her. “Is this where you go every lunchtime?”
“Nothing, I just noticed you’re always nowhere to be found during lunch. Now I know where to look.” I smirk.
She takes a sip of her coffee. “Did you need anything from me?”
“I met your ex in a bar last Saturday.”
Gray chokes on her drink. The coffee splatters on the gray v-neck shirt she’s wearing, and her face was beet red. “Shit.” She curses under her breath.
“Are you okay?” I ask her as I quickly try to wipe off the remains in her mouth with my handkerchief. She takes it from me and wipes it herself.
She glares at me. “Do I look okay to you? Look what you did to my shirt.” She gestures to the huge coffee stain in the middle of her shirt.
“What I did? I’m not the one who splattered coffee in it.” I defend myself.
She stands up from her seat and paces the room. “How am I going to class in this?”
“Chill, I have an extra shirt in my bag. I can lend it to you if you want.” I offer.
She stops and turns to me. “You will?”
I nod and stand from my seat. “Wait here. I’ll go get it.”
I run from the office to our classroom and back. Lunch is going to be over soon, but I still haven’t gotten any of my questions answered. I stay in front of the office to catch my breath for a minute before entering. I don’t want to make it obvious that I ran.
I go in and hand her my plain black t-shirt.
“Get out,” she orders.
Confused, I ask, “What?”
“Get out. I’m going to change.” She answers as if it was obvious.
“I can just turn around, you know. It’s not like I’m gonna rape you or something.” I face the other way while she was changing. It was over in a second. When I turn back around, I couldn’t help but laugh at the sight of Gray.
She looks like a kid who’s wearing her father’s clothes. My shirt was a few sizes bigger than hers. It went all the way down to her butt, and the sleeves were too long. It didn’t come as a surprise though, seeing that I have a full 5 inches over her.
Instead of complaining, Gray tucks the shirt in her pants and folds the sleeves as if she’d done it a million times. And boy, is the result amazing. What looked like a kid seconds ago now looked like a sexy teenager wearing her boyfriend’s clothes. And I’m the boyfriend.
Smiling like an idiot, I cross my arms and lean on the rectangular table. “You look good in that. You can keep it.”
“No thanks, I’ll return it to you as soon as it’s laundered.” She pulls her long black hair from beneath the shirt, letting it fall on her back.
How the hell is she able to make everything she does look sexy? Dammit.
“Your choice.” I shrug, acting natural. “Now, back to what I was saying, your ex attacked me.”
Her mouth sets in a hard line. “What makes you think she’s my ex?”
My mouth curves into a smug smile. “The fact that you know who I’m talking about is proof that she is your ex. You addressed her as ‘she.’”
I’ve been thinking about it since that night, the line that Janelle asked as we were leaving, ‘Is she your new girl?’. If there’s a new girl, that must mean there has been a girl. Moreover, if my hunch was correct, that girl is Janelle, which means that Gray is gay. I didn’t want to confront Gray about it without any evidence—until Janelle showed up at the bar.
Gray doesn’t argue any further; she knows there’s no way out of it. “Why did she attack you?”
Taking note of the fact that she didn’t deny her relationship with the girl, I answer. “She accused me of cheating on you.”
She rolls her eyes at that. “And what did you do to make her think you were cheating?”
“She saw me kissing a girl,” I confess.
Gray looks surprised. “Well, that’s cheating.”
“I don’t think you understand,” I say, standing straight. “It’s only cheating if we’re in a relationship, which we aren’t. So it’s not. I can kiss whomever I want.” I say a matter of factly.
“I didn’t say you were cheating on me.” She crosses her arms. “I’m talking about your girlfriend.”
“Girlfriend who?” I ask, having no idea whom she was pertaining to.
“You know, the pretty girl you’re always with. Tall, blonde, the one who looks like my do—” She catches herself before finishing the word. “—a supermodel.” I thought she was talking about Kris until she added, “I think her name’s Diane.”
I shake my head. “We broke up a few months ago.”
“What?” She had this face on that looks like she doesn’t believe what I’m saying. “Then why are you still hanging out with her?”
“We’re friends,” I state.
She squints her eyes at me. “How can you still be friends with your ex? Why did you guys even break up?” She asks, her sudden interest piqued my own.
I walk towards her until we were only a foot apart. “Why are you so interested?” I smirk, looking down at her.
“I couldn’t care less about what happened to you and your ex,” she counters. “But do you really go around kissing random people in a bar?” Her tone was accusing.
“I didn’t really kiss her.” I try to explain.
She raises an eyebrow. “You just told me she saw you kissing the girl.”
“Well, she did,” I say, rubbing the back of my neck. “But I didn’t kiss the girl.”
I don’t know how to tell her the truth without sounding like a liar.
“Why should I believe you?” Her tone of voice ticks me off. It feels like she was waiting for me to say something wrong and prove her point.
I realized I don’t have to explain anything to her. She’s not my girlfriend. “You don’t have to. I also fail to see the reason why you would care.” I retort.
She looks up to meet my eyes, her gaze unflinching. “You are exactly whom I thought you would be.”
“You go around playing with people’s feelings, breaking their hearts in the process. The kind I hate the most.” Her eyes were filled with disgust, and her words were seething with hatred.
I have never been more offended in my life.
“Wow,” I shake my head in disbelief. “First I get accused of cheating, and now I get this?”
“I guess that just means you’re not trustworthy,” she surmises.
I want to tell her that I’m not like that. I want to tell her that I never have, and will never cheat on anyone. I want to explain what happened in the bar. But what’s the point? Clearly, she won’t believe anything I say.
I look into those gray eyes that were boring holes into me. “I didn’t know you were the type of person to judge others quickly. I thought you were just a misunderstood girl who uses harsh and cold words as a defense mechanism to not let anybody get too close because you’ve already been hurt before. I made myself believe that you are a good person deep inside.”
I stare at her, hard. “But I misjudged you, Alex. Don’t worry, I won’t bother you anymore.”