The sweet taste of an iced coffee as you sit on the table right next to a window is a pleasure that is not often enjoyed every day. I take a bite of the soft blueberry muffin as I excitedly wait for Jason to arrive on this sunny Sunday morning.
Yesterday, he texted me if I wanted to go to the local café with him to study for the upcoming A.P. exams. I quickly texted him back a short yet nice yes with a smiley face.
I even got out of the usual family breakfast by telling them that I needed to an emergency cram session with Benji because he has a big test coming up. My mother was practically shoving me out the door, while my dad quietly ate his breakfast. Basically, it's his way of saying that he's okay with me leaving.
I look at my phone to check that there's still about five minutes left. Trying to look busy, I scroll through Facebook on my phone until he arrives.
"Forest," I hear Jason catching my attention. I can't help but smile unconsciously when I see him. I've hung out with Jason before, but we've never been together by ourselves. Maybe something might happen.
"Hey," I greet him and lock my phone. "How are you?" I ask him as he sits down.
"Good," he says, "You?"
"Good," I respond back nervously. Good? Out of all the words in the vast English language I can only think of good?
"Sorry to call you out so early."
"No. Don't worry about it," I quickly tell him, "I'm not busy on Sundays," I say coolly while opening my study guide. Maybe I shouldn't have said that. Now, I sound like I don't have a life. I take a sip of my coffee to wet my suddenly dry mouth. "So, A.P. exams," I start off a new conversation.
"I only have to take Calc and English Lit exams. Those are the only two classes that my college accepts," he says.
"Where are you going?" I ask him.
"I'm staying local," he says.
"Really? I thought you were going to go out and play baseball," I ask him curiously. I was pretty sure he told me one time that scouts came to see him play not that he wouldn't be able to get in with his grades. I wonder why he would go to the local community college he could easily go to colleges that are much better.
"Yeah, but I don't need to go that far in order to take over my family's business. Plus, there are more interesting things here," he says mysteriously.
"What do you mean?" I ask him once again. There is nothing that can possibly be interesting in our town. We are the quintessential small town where every one knows every one's business.
"Well, my family has been living here forever. My ancestors moved here after the Salem Witch Trials," he says while stretching his arms to the ceiling. "My family just has a connection with this town."
"Really?" I ask him. "Was your family being persecuted?" I ask him.
He laughs loudly as if I told him the funniest joke in the world. Confused and wanting to be in on the joke, I ask him, "What?"
"No," he says in between chuckles. "It's just that my family were more involved in the persecuting than being persecuted."
"Oh," I say awkwardly. "That's interesting. I guess it means that you don't like witches, huh?"
"No. I don't like any supernatural creatures like witches, vampires, especially werewolves."
"Are you scared of them?" I joke.
"No," he says coldly and with a scary glint in his eyes that makes me regret for even trying to tease him. "So, where are you going next year Forest?" he changes the subject. It's as if Jason was a totally different person before. Not wanting to venture more into this topic, I just decided to go with the flow of conversation.
And, on to the more awkward topic… I haven't chosen which school to go to next year. I got into a lot of great schools, but I can't get myself to commit to any specific one. I've always gone with the fact that I'm going to be a doctor, but now that I actually have to take a step towards that future all I can feel is fear.
"No," I tell him with my best smile to disguise the tumult I feel inside.
"Playing hard to get aren't you?" he playfully teases.
"What do you mean?" I ask him.
"Well, you got accepted to the colleges that people would kill to be accepted, and you haven't decided one which one to go to," he chuckles.
"I wouldn't say that it's playing hard to get," I get flustered. Jeez, I can feel my cheeks heating up. "I just can't decide which one to go to yet."
"I bet you just can't decide between Harvard and Princeton," he continues to tease me.
"It's not like that," I blush even harder. "I'm just really indecisive," I try to justify myself. "But unlike you, I just want to get out of here really badly." I surprise myself at the confession. I don't think I really told anyone this before, but I've always had the desire of leaving our small town for bigger things. I guess that's why I want to go to France so badly even if it means that I have to tutor someone as difficult as Benji.
"Well, I'm sure wherever you go, you'll be awesome at it," he says with the cute dimple that makes my heart flutter.
We proceed to do some work together. Because we also have the same Euro assignment due, we both started working on it. We worked well together as a team as we tried to solve this annoying assignment. I might have pretended not to know how to do a couple of questions just to talk to him. If it worked in Mean Girls, doesn't it mean that it'll work for me?
It's refreshing to have someone actually listen to what you say and be considerate unlike a certain German boy I know. Actually I haven't actually heard from him at all today. If he's not interfering with everything, he usually sends me a text here or there. I mentally slap myself for thinking about Benji while I'm with Jason. Who cares what he is doing? All I know is that I'm studying with Jason, and it's going well.
I pretend to look out the window or look up something through the book, while Jason is talking on the phone with someone. Out of the corner of my eye, I see the same stony expression that I thought I saw just before. He gets off the phone and says, "Sorry," with the familiar smile that I'm used to. "I'm really sorry bout this Forest, but I got to go right now," he says and starts packing stuff quickly.
"Is everything alright?" I ask him concerned because of the speed he is packing up his stuff.
"Yeah, I totally forgot about a commitment I made," he says as he finishes packing everything.
I check the time to see that we have been working for a long time already and stretch my arms, "Yeah, I think I should also get going." I start packing my stuff as well.
"Well, I got to go now, but I'll see you later Forest," he says and leaves. He goes away before I could even tell him bye. I sigh disappointedly before going back home.
I quietly walk back home and head for the kitchen for an apple to munch on in my room. When I step into the kitchen, I hear my father's voice. "Where were you this morning young lady?"
I recognize that tone very well. It's lower than his usual voice, and shields the anger that I know is brewing inside of him.
"I told you where I was," I tell him innocently and grab for an apple on the fruit bowl, which is luckily located farthest away from my father who is seated in the living room.
"Come into the living room this instant," he demands of me as if I were a five year old.
"I know that you're lying to me young lady now tell me where you really were," he says.
The jig is up. "I was at a café studying with a friend for A.P. exams," I confess.
"You lied to me young lady!" he raises his voice. I instinctively shut my mouth tighter to not make any noise or move any part of my body hoping maybe I'll blend in with the furniture. "I can't believe you're gallivanting around with your friends when you were supposed to be eating breakfast with your family! I allowed you to do this and that on the basis of you helping that boy. I trusted you to be where you have told your mother or me."
He goes on his grandiose lecture about how trust is very important in family. Honestly, I admit that I'm in the wrong for lying to him, but he doesn't have to lecture me about trust for ten minutes.
My father then goes onto the one topic I know he's been dying to yell at me about. "It would be one thing to be hanging out with your friends if you decided on a college, but you haven't even said you were going to any of these schools. How long are you going to keep waiting? When are you going to stop acting like a spoiled child?"
This is why I hate Sundays the most. Sunday is the one day my father has day off from work, which means that the chances for me too see him are also greater. That's why I tend to be out of the house all day just to avoid him.
"Dad," I try to calm his anger, "I told you that I need time to decide where I want to go. It's not a decision that I can easily make in one day."
"What are you talking about? Didn't you put my alma mater as your first choice? You know what? Just don't even bother with the other colleges. I know that school, and I know that you'll have a good and stable education there," he says with a tone of finality.
I can feel my stomach sink at his mandate.
"Dad, I can't just can't go just because you said so. You even said that I'm not a child anymore. Let me make this decision like an adult rather than a child leaning on her father's decision," I argue back.
"It's already too late. You were too slow to make a decision, so I have already sent in the forms to inform the school that you are going there. I wouldn't have done this, if you made a decision."
My mouth falls in shock to hear what my father has just done. He just sent in the forms? Just like that without even batting an eye? Flabbergasted, I search for words to say, but only said the one sentence that makes me sound even more like a child.
"This is not fair," I argue back and can't help but cry from hopelessness.
"No, just do as I say, and you'll be on the fast track to being a doctor," he dismisses any of my arguments.
"I—" I try to think of any argument, but he cuts me off.
"I don't want to hear any more, go to your room," he orders just like he always did ever since I was a little girl.
"Yes, sir," I tell him bitterly through tears, but instead of listening to him obediently like I did when I was five, I walk out of the house.