Chapter 12 - Annoying New Student #2
"You sure you want to go in today?" Dad asked as he leaned against my doorframe, watching me as I fixed my tie in front of the mirror. When I concluded that it was presentable, I took my bag and made my way out my room, but he stopped me.
He frowned, looking like he was debating whether or not to send me to school. "Is your stomach okay now? Do you want me to give you a ride?"
I chuckled shortly before politely declining his offer. "I'm fine dad. Her cooking wasn't that lethal."
He didn't look convinced in the slightest.
I gave him a wide smile for reassurance. "I'm fine. See? I'm smiling."
"Which makes me all the more worried," he sighed. "Goodness, look what that girl's done to you."
I was expecting some more words of worry or advice, but instead, he gave me a warm smile as he held both my shoulders.
"Well, whatever it is, I'm glad. You're practically glowing every day, and I'm sure it's because of her. It always has been her."
I didn't reply. I just nodded. Stiffly.
His grin grew wider and I was sensing another annoying tease-attack. He roughly ruffled my hair while making cooing sounds. I groaned and tried avoiding his hands but he was persistent. "Dad!"
When I finally broke free, I made a sprint for the door. Before I left the house, I hollered at my old man at a safe distance. "See you later dad!"
I parked my car in front of the black gates of her house. Glancing at my reflection on the side-mirror, I fixed the rebellious strands of hair going off in weird directions.
I usually didn't care how my hair looked, since it looked fine messy, but today was a huge exception. It looked like a bird's nest because of dad's golden touch.
It looked horrible. I looked horrible. I can't get out of my car and meet her looking like this -
What the hell. Am I getting conscious of my looks now? Ridiculous. I'm Daniel Curtis.
I got out of my car, ignoring my current hairstyle and headed to her front door. I was mostly doing it for myself, to prove to myself that I wasn't at all conscious of my looks. Or how she thought about it.
I'm sure she won't notice anyway. She doesn't even look at me that much unless it's to clobber me. She won't notice.
Maybe she liked it messy tho--
The door was opened before I even got to ring the bell. Standing before me was a beaming Aunt Lizzy, and a weary looking Poopy beside her. I swallowed hard all of a sudden.
Why am I getting nervous? This is just another ordinary day picking her up for school.
"Hi Danny!" Her mom said. Almost too enthusiastically. "Are you alright now? Is your stomach fine? I'm so sorry about last night. I'll teach Tina some good meals so she can cook you something better next time!"
I could see how her daughter flinched at the mere suggestion. I normally would've smirked to tease her again, yet I found myself smiling awkwardly while running a hand on my hair, blindly attempting to fix whatever was wrong with it.
"I'm looking forward to it."
"Great!" Aunt Lizzy clapped. "Well, it's best you two get going now. Bye hon," she kissed Poopy's forehead and gently pushed her towards me. "Have fun at school!"
"What's wrong?" I asked as soon as we got in the car. She looked weary and somewhat annoyed. She released a heavy sigh before turning her head towards me.
"Mom kept teasing me to you the whole morning. What's wrong with your hair?"
I almost jumped out of my skin when she began studying my hair. Oh God. What was wrong with me? Of course she'd notice. We see each other every day. Of course she'd notice damn it. I wish I ignored my ego and just fixed my damn hair when I had the chance.
And when did my hair become such a big deal to me anyway? I usually didn't care even if I went to school with a rat's nest for a hairstyle. Why now?
"Teasing you to me huh?" I said, to distract myself from my horrid thoughts. "What'd she say about my hair--me. What'd she say about you? I mean me. Me. What?"
I hate myself.
She let out a small giggle at my stupid stuttering. Great. I finally made her laugh, and this is how I did it. Way to play it cool, asshead.
I gripped the steering wheel firmly before I started the engines. This is so humiliating. I hope I drive fast enough to school and we'll both forget this whole thing ever happened.
Before I got to step on the pedal though, she leaned in towards me and placed her hand on my hair.
I think I just died for a second.
She began pulling some strands from one direction to another. While she continued to fix it, I just stiffly stared at the road; not daring to move my head or even move my eyes for that matter.
So this is what they meant by the expression 'petrified.' It was a horrible, horrible feeling.
Yet wonderful at the same time.
Ahem. I mean. You know.
"There. You look human now," she quipped, returning to her seat and putting on her seat belt.
I let out a shaky sigh, releasing the breath I forgot I've been holding. What was wrong with me? What was wrong with her? Why was she so touchy all of a sudden? It was strange, but I wasn't complaining either.
I risked a quick glance at her from the corner of my eye. She looked comfortably quiet as a small smile played on her lips. She had a softer look in her eyes than usual, and she looked so radiant. Again, I swallowed hard.
Didn't I already notice these things before? Why was I being so conscious of it all again?
"So are we going or not?" She was staring at me again, and I was pretty sure she was mentally making fun of me.
"Um. Yeah. Sorry."
Dude. Snap out of it.
Meters away from school, we could already see a crowd pushing towards our school gates and a dozen guards resisting with all their might.
The gates were already closed, and there were a few students who managed to squeeze through the crowd. When the guards recognized their uniforms, they let them in, and pulled back two reporters who attempted to enter the gates as well.
Seeing that it was impossible to enter the school premises with my car, I parked outside.
"What's all this?" Poopy knitted her brows, staring disapprovingly at the huge pack of people holding microphones, cameras and cellphones.
I felt a familiar twinge in my stomach with all the clicking sounds of the cameras, the consistent flashing, the nauseating crowd, the persistent reporters.
"Daniel?" she tugged my sleeve. "You look pale. Are you sure you're alright?"
She had worry written all over her face. As much as I wanted to stretch my luck and feign sickness so she could worry some more and take care of me, I shrugged my shoulders. "I'm fine. I just hate crowds."
A relieved smile crossed her face. I wasn't sure which expression I liked more. The worried-Poopy or the relieved Poopy who was smiling like an angel. I feel like I'm taking advantage of her.
"That's good." I said, ignoring my thoughts. "Now c'mon, we're running late for class."
Before I could check my watch, she already dived into the crowd. I felt myself make a horrified gasp.
I quickly followed her tail and held in my laughter as she tried her best to squeeze past a reporter. She released a frustrated groan before glaring at that reporter's back. "I seriously hate crowds."
"That's 'cause you're a midget," I couldn't help but say. It was just the perfect thing to say at that moment. She transferred her glare to me. I wasn't surprised.
"Shut up. You said you hated crowds too."
"Yeah, but I'm in a better advantage than you."
She rolled her eyes before attempting to squeeze through two reporters. It was hilarious seeing how hard she pushed her feet on the ground. It was like she was running on a treadmill. Such a hopeless case.
"Excuse me!" She irritatingly yelled at one of the reporters. "Student coming through!"
The bell chose this time to ring, and the crowd of people began to push even harder, dragging her away like a small fish caught in a tidal wave. She let out a strangled cry when somebody stepped on her foot. She looked like she was suffocating and I couldn't just stand there and watch, as amusing as that would be.
She didn't seem to notice me, because she kept scanning the crowd, probably looking for me. She had the face of a little kid lost at the supermarket. "Daniel? Daniel! Where are you? Did you leave me?"
Did you leave me?
I don't know why I felt a familiar tinge in my chest when she said that. And I don't know why I feel like I should take responsibility or something.
I didn't wait another second. I slipped through the crowd and grabbed her wrist, earning a surprised yet relieved expression from her. Man I just loved that face.
I mean. What I meant to say was... Her face was pleasant to the eyes. Um.
"Didn't you hear the bell? Move it, midget." Of course, don't forget my customary insults to cover my affection.
Ahem. I mean, not affection or anything. I meant something else. You know.
"Ugh, don't call me midget!" She huffed, and then accidentally got hit by a large camera on her arm.
A guy wearing a red cap and gladiator sunglasses turned around and gave her an apologetic smile. "Oops. Didn't see you there kid."
I snorted. That, was indirectly proving my point. Poopy was not pleased at all.
"I'm not that short," she convinced herself. She was almost hit again, but due to her current experience, she dodged it pretty well. "Daniel."
"Yeah," I said softly.
I put my arm around her shoulder and covered her head with my free hand. I pushed our way through the crowd, and after a good five minutes, we finally managed to reach the school gates. I gave a brief nod to one of the security guards, and when he recognized our uniforms, he let us through.
I casually slid my hand off her shoulders and put them in my pockets.
Somehow my skin was tingling. Her shoulder was small and delicate, and warm. That warmth was still lingering in my hand.
"Thanks," there was a hint of a stutter in her voice. I pretended not to notice.
We sprinted towards our classroom. We were already late; the corridors were quiet and empty, and our footsteps were loud enough to echo across the hallways. We were late. Too late.
It didn't bother me, to be honest. But to Poopy... well.
You get it.
When we entered the room, Ms. Stanford abruptly stopped her discussion. We were the center of attention again. Just great.
The middle-aged woman looked at us disapprovingly. I stifled an eye-roll and peeked at Poopy at the corner of my eye. She looked tense. Was this the first time she was late?
"How nice of you two to join us," Ms. Stanford started. "Kristina, you're the council president, being late yourself is setting a bad example."
Poopy lowered her head. "I'm sorry. It won't happen again."
"Ms. Stanford!" A loud voice startled us all. The attention of the whole class including the teacher's turned to Ella, who was now standing from her seat and pointing outside the window. "There was a huge commotion outside and they couldn't get through the crowd. We saw them from the window--they couldn't help it."
Our attention then turned back to Ms. Stanford to see how she'd react. Before that though, I saw Poopy mouthing a silent 'thank you' to her best friend. Ella grinned and gave her a thumbs-up.
The teacher looked like she was thinking for a while, and then when she looked like she just remembered something, she nodded her head.
"Oh I see, yes. I forgot." She faced our classmates and it was like she already shrugged off our case. "Class, there will be another new student joining this class starting today. You may all know him very well, so be nice. He should be here any minute," she glanced at her wrist watch.
As soon as she delivered the news, the class broke out into murmurs. So all the commotion outside was because of this new student? Was he the son of a politician or a celebrity or something?
Somehow I'm getting a bad feeling.
Excited chatters spread around the room as Ms. Stanford tried to calm the class down.
And we were still standing in front. I'm already losing energy doing just that.
Poopy nudged my arm. "At least she let us off."
"Yeah," I mumbled. "Can we take our seats now?"
It wasn't long until we heard a knock from the door. The whole class shut up.
There was a moment of suspense and a dramatic silence as everybody in the room looked at the door with anticipation.
The door slowly creaked open, everybody was leaning on their desks to get a closer look. Before I could see the whole figure of who it was, the students from the back gasped and squealed.
"May I come in?"
My heart just stopped.
That voice. That accent. It can't be. No way.
My suspicions were confirmed when he finally entered the room. Those eyes that were always twinkling with mischief, that dirty blonde hair he hated so much, that expensive sense of fashion, and that stupid grin on his face that fooled everybody into thinking he was a nice guy.
It was Tops.
My whole body tensed up at once. It really was him, but he didn't notice me just yet. What the hell was he doing here?
I was so distracted trying to figure what he was scheming this time, and it was only the intolerable squeals of the females and the deep howls and applauses of the males that snapped me out of my thoughts.
"OH MY GOD. THAT CANNOT BE KRIS?!"
"NO WAY! SERIOUSLY?!"
"KRISTOPHER WALLS TRANSFERRED TO OUR SCHOOL?!"
Oh right. The dolt was a celebrity, a famous actor, if I didn't mention that earlier. How he managed to become famous is still a mystery to me.
Poopy gasped herself, much to my surprise. Did she know him too? God please don't let her be his fan. If she was then I'll have more than enough reason to kick him in the shin.
"That guy! At the principal's office!"
"Principal's office?" I asked. Did she meet him there before? More importantly though, I gotta make sure she wasn't a fan. I groaned internally. What am I panicking for?
"Nothing," she quickly replied. "Is he famous? To make the class act like this."
"I think I saw him in TV once. He's a huge celebrity I think," I blurted out. Damn it why the hell did I lie? It wasn't like I was gonna hide that I was related to the guy. But it'd be safer if I hid it. Or not.
I don't even know anymore.
"Oh Kristopher! You're finally here," Ms. Stanford was beaming. Huh. Just a minute ago she was cranky. "Come in. Come in and introduce yourself to the class." She was smiling the sweetest smile ever.
Tops nodded his head and gently closed the door behind him. Tops was his nickname, but only Anne and I called him that.
When he looked up the front, I froze up. His face lit up with recognition and I wanted to either hide in a hole or punch his face if he ever comes near me.
I still can't forget what he did three years ago.
He smiled up to his ears as he made his way through the class, all eyes staring at him. Instead of coming to me like I had expected though, he walked right past me and unexpectedly hugged--hugged--Poopy.
My eyes widened and my fists clenched immediately.
What. The. Hell.
"Tinz!" He said as if he just saw an old friend. He hugged her tighter and I could feel myself burning up. Why was he touching her so casually? And Tinz? Who the hell was Tinz? "I missed you!"
Before Poopy and I could react, the class beat us to it.
"They know each other?!"
"Could he be another one of the president's childhood friends?!"
"HUH?!" The girl in question was surprised herself. She pushed Tops away and glared at him with all her might. There's the Poopy I know. "Who the heck are you?! And did you just call me Tinz? Suddenly hugging me--"
"You don't remember me?" Tops interrupted quickly. He shook his head disappointedly and massaged his temple. "That hurt. I've never forgotten about you--not for a single day!" He said cheerfully.
I tried to maintain my stoic expression, but my eye was twitching. What was this sick bastard playing at? Poopy already made it obvious that she didn't know him. Unless she really did know him.
And he wasn't acknowledging my presence. Did he really not see me? Or is he just purposely ignoring me? Is he trying to piss me off? Because it was certainly working.
But the biggest question was, can I hit him now?
"Sorry, but I don't know you. Excuse us," she coolly replied. She politely nodded at our teacher while tugging my sleeve, then we went back to our seats.
I peered over my shoulder; his eyes were following her every move. What the hell. Why am I feeling so irritated right now. And he hasn't spared me a glance.
There's no way he didn't know I was here. That's too much of a coincidence. And he was home-schooled all his life. Why attend school now? What was his purpose?
It was silent after we sat down, all eyes on us. Great.
"S-So Kristopher," Ms. Stanford chose this time to speak up. Sometimes I pity this teacher and question her capability to handle eccentric situations like this. "Do you mind introducing yourself to the class now?"
Who the hell was that guy? And why was he acting like he knew me? I know I bumped into him twice this week but that doesn't immediately qualify us to become 'like old friends' without my knowledge. He just freakin' hugged me out of nowhere!
And in front of Daniel too.
I tried to steady my heartbeats, but I still can't get over it. He's in the same class as me. And he was a celebrity? Seriously? No wonder he had a different air about him. And his accent was different. But it sounded nice.
"I am most sorry for my rudeness, messieurs et mesdemoiselles," he sent the class a bright smile and playfully bowed down with his arm around his stomach. The coat he was wearing looked so thick and smooth. Another branded piece of junk he loves. "Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Kristopher Walls, age seventeen, status single and heart ready to get broken again."
Then he winked at me.
I don't like him already.
In contrast with my current thoughts about him, the girls in my class sighed as if they were having a dream. I heard a few squeals and giggles too--it was nauseating.
"Gosh, he's so cute!"
"He's just like a prince!"
"More like prince charming!"
"More like conceited," I mumbled to myself. I felt Daniel glance at my direction when I said that. I pretended not to notice.
Ms. Stanford nodded and blinked fast. Guess she wasn't so used to students like this? "Alright, alright. Silence class. Now, where are you from, my dear?"
"Well," he scratched the back of his head shyly before he chuckled. "I moved here because of my work as an actor, but I actually used to live in London."
Whispers spread across the room as soon as he mentioned London.
"I didn't know he lived in London."
"Did they mention that info in the media?"
"I read about that somewhere. He used to live with his cousin or something."
"I thought he was from Canada?"
"Idiot, Canadians don't have British accents, eh."
I don't understand why everybody was making such a fuss. Maybe it's because they knew him since he was famous? I didn't watch a lot of television so I had no idea.
While the silent chatters continued, I peeked at Daniel from the corner of my eye.
He was in his usual laid-back position with his head resting on his palm. Although it was like that, he was staring intensely at the new student.
He looked kind of... pissed.
"I was home-schooled until now, so this is actually my first time attending a real school. I want to try and live a normal life. I just hope that we'll all get along well and have some fun!"
Did he just come here to play around?
"Of course!" Ella yelled. I just knew she would say that.
"Welcome to our class!" Sean loudly greeted.
Both girls and boys began yelling their acceptance of him. The fact of having a famous celebrity in our class probably made them excited. Only Daniel and I didn't share the same enthusiasm.
Me, because I don't know him and because he suddenly hugged me. Instant dislike.
And Daniel? I'm not sure if he knew him or not. But one thing I'm sure of is the annoyed look in his eyes. Maybe the new student was too loud for him.
In the middle of their cheering, Kristopher looked my way and winked again.
After a little while, the class quieted down and Ms. Stanford decided to look for an open seat. I almost cried when her eyes stopped somewhere near our area.
"Over there, please make yourself comfortable," she pointed at an empty seat, two seats behind Daniel. As he walked his way towards his new desk, he stopped at my desk and smiled at me.
"Hm." I quickly said, attempting to brush him off. I wasn't planning to be rude, but it was just so awkward. What should I do?
"Oh," Ms. Stanford called out. "You two may already know each other. Kristina is this school's student council president. If you have any problems or questions, you can ask her. And if you want to tour the school as well, she can be your guide. Kristina?"
Now I have two idiots to tame.
I reluctantly nodded my head, for the sake of my reputation as president, and smiled at the new student. "Yeah. Nice to meet you Kristopher."
He flashed me a toothy grin before he proceeded to his seat. My eyes attempted to follow him until his seat, but stopped at my staring seatmate. My breath hitched in my throat. Why was he looking at me like that?
He broke contact with me and glanced at Kristopher behind him. I didn't know what that new kid did, but it caused the usually cool butthead to scoff and make such an annoyed expression.
Okay, what was really going on?