Chapter 20 - How to Make a Butthead Jealous
I don't feel comfortable leaving her alone with that guy. Who knows what he'll do? Stupid people are rather unpredictable.
I groaned quietly as I entered the faculty room, where as soon as I stepped inside, a group of teachers were already anticipating my arrival.
"Daniel!" Mr Oak smiled when he saw me. He offered me a seat before he went back to his desk. There were four teachers staring at me aside from him.
Did I do something wrong?
"You might be wondering why we called you," one of the teachers began. "Well, you see... um..."
"The press has been calling all day since last week, asking if you attend in this school." Mr Emerson (I think) continued.
Oh. The press.
The loud ones.
I wasn't as surprised as they had expected. I knew they'd find out where I am somehow, but not this soon. Mr Oak cleared his throat, maintaining his stern expression in front of his colleagues.
"You don't have to worry about having your identity exposed here," he said. "But when they do find out you're attending this school, that's where we'll step in. One thing we're worried about is that if they find out about your engagement with Kristina, and they'll bother her with that. I'm sure she's not used to that kind of situation."
My eyes were doe as he went on with his explanation, but when his point came through, my eyes widened a bit.
Of course I've also thought about that. That's why I'm keeping a low profile as much as I can.
That's why I'm not telling her the whole reason why my dad and I came back here after twelve years. Not yet at least.
"That was true?" An unknown teacher asked. "The engagement? I thought it was just a joke."
I avoided eye-contact with that teacher. Hey don't ask me. I have no idea about that either.
"Lucky for us, the same time the press started investigating this school, Kristopher Walls transferred here and diverted their attention to him." Mr Emerson said, changing the topic. "Don't know for how long though. They're bound to find out about you sooner or later."
Huh. So I actually have something to thank that dolt for.
The teachers went into a friendly argument I didn't pay any attention to. I don't know how long it went on. I sighed mentally, glancing at the clock every now and then. I also looked around the faculty room, where almost all of the teachers unrelated to our discussion were not so subtly eavesdropping.
My presence wasn't fully needed in this discussion.
"I'll be careful." I told them, hoping to end this right now and leave. I don't want to imagine what Tops might be doing to Poopy at this moment. That's my biggest concern as of this moment. I stood up and looked at Mr Oak. "Thank you for informing me. May I leave now?"
He quickly nodded with a smile. Kinda scary how this guy... respects me?
As I walked away from them, I heard some of the teachers from faraway desks whispering about me, and some were staring at me as I went off.
"That's the genius boy who saved their company from bankruptcy at the age of twelve?"
"I heard his IQ's over a hundred and eighty."
"I saw him in TV before. He can memorize a thousand words just from reading it once. He even recited all of them without error."
"I can't believe someone like that is in this school."
"Last I heard, his dad's company got into a huge conflict with that Japanese billionaire Richard Watanabe."
I stopped in my tracks when I heard that name. That man's name.
I turned my head slowly, just enough for me to look at those gossiping staff from the corner of my eye.
Rumors about me are always exaggerated. They shouldn't have any idea about my identity. Did they research me since the press started calling?
When they noticed that I heard everything, they immediately stopped and went on to what they were doing, distractedly.
Everyone in this school was nosy.
I shook my head as I exited the faculty room. Whatever. It doesn't matter.
I took my phone out of my pocket and quickly sent a text to Poopy.
| Where are you |
I knew where she was. I just wanted to text her. I've never texted anybody since I got back except for my dad.
| Who's this? |
Ahh. So she hasn't saved my number yet. I typed in my reply.
| Your loveable fiancé. |
| Ugh. Rooftop. |
I snorted. She didn't deny it though.
I practically sprinted on my way to the rooftop. I don't know why. Maybe I was already hungry, maybe I just wanted to shove Tops away, maybe I was just excited to see her.
I cringed at my scarily honest thoughts.
As soon as I arrived, I was met with an unbelievable sight. A horrible sight. An ugly sight.
Tops was telling Poopy something. And she was nodding excitedly.
Then he said something again.
Then she laughed.
Then he laughed.
Both of them were laughing. Both of them were... communicating.
I blinked to make sure I wasn't just seeing things. What... was happening? I thought he annoyed her? Now he's actually making her laugh?
I walked towards them, purposely making my footsteps louder so they'd notice I was already here.
They didn't notice.
Annoyed, I casually sat between them and only then did they stop to acknowledge my presence.
I hated all the attention I got back in the faculty room, but I hate getting no attention from these two even more.
I feel like such a kid.
"You're finally here." Poopy said. She took something from her side, a take-out box, and gave it to me. "Here's your lunch."
I quietly nodded as I took it from her. It was still warm, the fried rice.
As I was about to take my first bite, Tops scooted closer to Poopy, pushing me away on purpose. I glared at him but it was pointless since he wasn't looking at me.
I put all my weight in my butt and feet on the ground so he won't be able to shove me around as much as he wanted. It was a success. I was always physically stronger than him.
My stubbornness didn't affect him one bit though.
"I swear Tinz," he said before closing his eyes and sighing. He was probably continuing their conversation before I arrived. "It was the best chicken I have ever tasted."
"Aw." She pouted jokingly and then a smile appeared on her face. "I wish they sold it here. Is it only available in Hong Kong?"
What were they talking about?
"Yes, sadly." He replied. "I'll bring you some when I go there for my shooting in a couple of weeks."
Thoughts of shooting him right now invaded my mind.
"Really?" Her smile just got wider. "That'd be awesome. Thanks so much!"
My eye twitched as I ate my rice. How did they get along? When did they get along? I glanced at Tops from the corner of my eye and noticed that he was smirking at me. And then he smiled so innocently at Poopy.
Did he put something in her food?
"Hey, isn't it exhausting?" Poopy asked as she sipped on her drink. "Your job, I mean. You work and go to school at the same time. How can you balance them?"
He doesn't. He's too lazy to do something like that. He's probably too stupid to know what that is too.
Aahh. I can't explain this unpleasant feeling lingering in my chest.
"Remember when I told the class I was home-schooled?" He said. She nodded. "Well, I've already taken most of the subjects they offered here. And because of my job, this school credited those subjects and allowed me to pick my own schedule."
He sounded so smug saying all those things. I restrained myself from shoving my chopsticks up his damn nose.
"That's pretty cool." She said, sounding impressed.
What. But why?
He isn't as smart as he's making himself sound to be. I bet he still has problems with his grammar and use of pronouns, this brat.
"Most schools in the UK are advanced," I explained, looking at Tops with narrowed eyes. "You should be more impressed at their educational standards rather than him."
I took those same subjects too but I just chose to take them again to blend in with the other students and hopefully be invisible until I graduate with Poopy. Yeah, I still wanted to graduate with her, even though I already graduated in London because I skipped a few grades.
I had so much time left as a teenager. I didn't want to be an adult yet.
Tops knew all these. I wonder why he isn't spilling the dirt. Maybe he still had some decency left in him? He scoffed before rolling his eyes.
"I see..." Poopy nodded, sounding so interested. Then she looked at me with a convinced smile. "You studied there for a long time too. That explains why you're so smart. That's awesome."
You have no idea.
It was my turn to make a smug grin at Tops. Beat that.
He cleared his throat and shook off his defeated frown before changing the subject.
"Look at this, look at this." He said in a hurry as he showed her something in his phone. In a blink of an eye, he was already sitting dangerously close to her. The weird thing was, she didn't seem to mind.
Her eyes widened in great interest as he proudly held his phone in front of her.
What was it?
"Amazing." She whispered. Then she looked at him. "That's you?"
He shook his head with a silly grin. "Yeah. This was from my first action movie."
"I actually know this movie. I watched it with Ella before. The lead actor was actually you?"
Tops chuckled. "Yup."
What movie were they talking about? I've never seen his movies before. Were they that good?
"I almost couldn't recognize you in this photo." She smiled, still looking amazed.
I keep getting annoyed.
Stop praising him.
"Must be photoshopped." I mumbled bitterly, earning their attention. "Or too much make-up."
Tops chose to ignore me despite meeting my unpleasant stare. He swiped the screen and showed her something else in his phone.
I just got more annoyed. Why the heck was he ignoring me? Why was she entertaining him?
Poopy placed her food down to hold Tops' phone. Her eyes were glued to his screen. "How do I play this?"
"Just press all the black tiles." He explained. "Avoid the white ones."
Piano music started from his phone and Poopy's eyes brightened, as well as her smile. "The melody's nice."
"It is." Tops agreed, staring at me with a grin. "There are a whole lot of songs to choose from. But that one, Bluestone Alley, is my favorite."
They were playing Piano Tiles. I saw Sean playing that game last week.
After a while, we were quiet. Poopy focused all her concentration on tapping the black tiles to continue the music. Tops and I exchanged a brief glare.
Damn it. I feel so annoyed.
"Oh no!" She exclaimed, leaning over and moving her thumbs as fast as she can. "It's getting faster! I can't--NOO!"
Tops snorted before laughing at her curses. I couldn't meet her eyes or even say a single word to her since she played that same song again and again until the end of lunch.
"Oh." She lowered his phone when the bell rang. "That was fast."
She quickly gave Tops his phone back after saying thanks with a big smile. Did she enjoy that game that much? Should I install that game in my phone too?
I mean. I mean.
After collecting the empty boxes of our take-outs, she threw them in the nearby trash and led us back to our classroom.
When we arrived and sat down in our seats, I breathed a silent relief. Good. That guy was seats apart from us.
I held my face with my hand and supressed a groan. A very confused groan. Why am I getting worried? Annoyed? How? When? When did they get so comfortable? How long was I in the faculty room?
In the middle of my thoughts, I saw Poopy standing from her desk.
"Where are you going?" I asked. I probably sounded like I was afraid to be left alone since she had that funny look in her face.
"Council room. Gonna pick up the notebooks we passed last week."
I slowly nodded. Then I looked at her quickly. "I'll he--"
"I'll help you out, Tinz." Tops' damn butt appeared right in front of my face, blocking my view.
"Really? Thanks Kristopher." She said with a grateful sigh.
She zipped her bag close as Tops peered over his shoulder and sent me another one of those smug grins.
"Loser." He mouthed.
I released a quick huff as I stood up as well. I shoved him off lightly since he was blocking me on purpose. He didn't move from his spot but he was close to losing his balance.
I tried to get her attention. "I can help too."
"It's okay," she replied. "Kristopher and I can handle it. We'll be right back."
I was still caught in my shock and somehow disappointment as she and that idiot walked out of the room side-by-side, enjoying a casual chat along the way.
"Whoa." A voice snapped me out of my trance. It was Ella. "Since when did those two get along?"
I suppressed a sigh as I sat back down. What was happening?
Was he gonna take her away?
"You look like a lost kid." She teased. I just looked at her. Then she giggled before slapping my back. Ow. "Well? Make a move later! Don't wait until that guy gets his way with my best friend. I already swore to Tina that I'll only be her maid of honor if you're the groom."
I released a short laugh.
Ella gave me a thumbs up before returning to her group of friends. I'm speechless. And a bit confused.
Moments later, they were back with the stack of notebooks. They placed it on the teacher's desk before distributing it to the class.
I was looking at them the whole time. The air between them definitely changed. Or was I only noticing it now?
Tops gave her her notebook and as she was about to take it, he stretched his arm backwards and hid it behind his back. She rolled her eyes as she punched him playfully, demanding it back.
I can't believe what I was seeing.
Classes started as soon as they finished giving out the notebooks. Poopy gave me mine when she returned to her seat, but she didn't say anything to me. And I didn't say anything to her.
Well this day sucked.
Class was longer than usual. Maybe it was because I kept staring at the clock. I don't know. I just wanna go home now. Random thoughts started stirring in my mind. Tops and Poopy. Tops and Tinz. Kristopher and Kristina. Both of them have Kris in their names. Well aren't they the perfect couple.
When it was finally over, I just sat in my seat, my hand on my cheek, and stared at the board. Stupid thoughts, disappear.
Poopy was fixing her things, and as usual, she was gonna stop by the council room first. I saw Tops jogging towards her with that stupid grin on his face. I quickly stood up.
I'm not gonna let him have his way.
I blocked his view and his path as I stood beside her, placing my hand on her chair and my other hand on her desk to protect her from the approaching idiot.
When she noticed my presence, she looked up and gave me a brief smile before continuing what she was doing.
She was smiling a lot these days. I wasn't complaining or anything, but I just hope she gave me a warning or something.
Can I slap myself. Shut up thoughts.
"Poopy." I said a loudly, blocking Tops' stupid voice. "Let me help you with the journals today."
"Why, what's in it for you?" She asked as she slid her bag on her shoulder.
It's so sad to be this distrusted.
"Nothing. Just bored." I replied.
She nodded before checking her watch. "It's for council members' eyes only, but since you already saw our records and even helped last time, sure. Thanks."
Tops walked over the opposite side of her desk and successfully avoided my block. "Presidential duties?"
"Yup." She replied.
"Well," Tops said with a warm smile. I raised an eyebrow. That...didn't look fake. Was he getting better at acting? Was it real this time? "See you tomorrow Tinz."
"See you." She replied with a smile as well. They just smiled at each other for a while, and there were knowing looks in their eyes. Something only they understood.
Ow? What was that for?
Before he left, he looked at me and gave me a brief nod. "You too Danny."
Then he left.
Did he just talk to me? I have no idea what's going on.
The heavy air between us was still there, but it seemed different somehow. I guess? I don't know anymore. I blinked a few times.
"Let's go." Poopy said as she walked towards the door as well.
"It only needs to be updated since it's not the end of the month yet," she said as she reviewed some papers. "But thanks for checking if there were any errors in the previous days."
I nodded as I placed the journal back in its rightful shelf. It didn't take long for me to do the task I volunteered on doing. I don't even know why I wanted to do it.
No, I didn't actually want to do it. I just needed an excuse.
"You gonna take long?" I asked.
She didn't look up. "Just a sec."
We were the only two in the council room right now. I stared out the window and sighed. What do I do now?
My phone vibrated in my pocket and I took it out without tearing my eyes off the view from the window.
Tops and her were getting along pretty well now. Was it gonna progress? Should I stop them? Can I?
I felt like my head was gonna explode. I never analyzed something this much before.
When I finally looked at my phone, I saw my dad's contact name flashing in my screen. I felt like this call was a business matter so I went to the furthest corner of the room before answering it.
"Are you with Kristina right now?"
I glanced at her. She was too focused on what she was doing to hear anything. "Yeah."
I heard my dad sigh from the other line.
"What is it?" I asked. He sighed for the second time. I have a bad feeling about this one.
"You know we're keeping the fact that we're branching out a secret from Richard, right?"
I held my phone tighter. That man again. I knew it.
"Well you see, Dan," he explained. "I heard from a trusted source that he's sent someone here to spy on us. And that someone just happens to be his son."
I nodded, although I knew he couldn't see me. That man's son? The guy Tops hates so much? "Anne's cousin?"
"Yes." He replied. "We haven't formally met him yet, but I have a feeling we'll meet him soon."
"Nosy brat." I mumbled. Dad heard me and chuckled.
"He's your age."
"Still a nosy brat." I said. I peered over my shoulder and noticed that Poopy was cleaning her desk, which meant she was done with her work. "I gotta go dad. See you at home."
"Take care of Tina. Drive safely." He teased. Ugh.
I ended the call the slid my phone back in my pocket.
The heavy feeling I had since this afternoon became heavier when dad told me about Richard's kid. Not to mention the bad news the teachers told me at the faculty room-- bad omens.
They were such nuisances.
I looked at Poopy, and she was already looking at me. I didn't want her to notice how I was so annoyed earlier, so I acted like the usual.
I'll mope around in my room and question today's events later.
"Done?" I asked. She nodded.
I grabbed my things and both of us went out of the room. Our way back to the parking lot was awfully quiet. I needed to say something.
"You and that new kid seem to be getting along well."
Well poop. That came out of nowhere.
"Yeah," she easily replied. Huh. "He's actually nice now that I got to know him... er, a bit."
"What'd you guys talk about?" I tried to sound as subtle as possible.
"Random stuff." She shrugged her shoulders. "Why do you ask?"
I hate that question.
"Nothing." I mumbled. "Just curious to know how an idiot and a smart person made a decent conversation possible."
She laughed lightly as she shook her head. "He's actually not an idiot. Surprisingly."
Was she defending him?
"Huh," I mumbled again. My voice was getting smaller. Why do I feel so restless? So uneasy?
After a small silence, she spoke up. "Hey, are you okay?"
Of course not. Next question.
"Yeah." I said.
She didn't look convinced but kept quiet on our way to my car. When we were inside, the heavy silence was a killer.
I decided to ignore it as I started the engine.
"Daniel." She said again. "Are you really okay?"
I turned to look at her. "Why do you keep asking?"
My tone gave away my true feelings. Damn it. So much for acting like the usual.
Screw it. I'm not good at acting anyway.
She held my face and looked me in the eyes intensely. If I didn't know any better, she was glaring at me. "What is it? What's bothering you?"
You paid me no attention earlier and kept entertaining that guy right in front of me. And I'm so stupidly bothered about it. That's what's bothering me.
I just looked at her.
Damn she's so beautiful.
"I told you already," I said with a lazy grin. Or a restless one. I don't know. "I'm fine."
"Then why were you so sulky the whole afternoon?"
She noticed that but she didn't notice that she and Tops were the reason?
"I wasn't sulky." I replied.
"You were." She pulled my face closer. Her intention was probably to make us talk face-to-face and so I wouldn't avoid eye-contact.
Too bad. The proximity of our faces gave me a lot of ideas.
I pecked her lips and sent her a weak smirk. "Fifteen."
She glared at me as she released my face. "Don't change the subject."
I just sent her a quiet grin before I stepped on the gas pedal and drove her home.
When we arrived in front of her house, she refused to leave her seat. Her arms were folded against her chest and her eyes were narrowed into slits. She wasn't gonna let this go, was she?
"What now?" I sighed.
"We still haven't finished talking."
I groaned. "Why does it even matter if I'm okay or not?"
Damn it mouth would you shut up? You made me sound like I was whining. So not cool.
"Of course it does, you butthead!" She exclaimed. I looked at her in surprise. Then she looked at her hands in surprise.
We kept surprising each other these past few days.
"Alright then." I said, taking her seat belt off. "Get on the back seat."
"You said you wanted to talk."
"We can talk right here." She said. I shook my head.
"Can't move as much as I want to. Now go. Just climb through here." I said. She looked at me unsurely before climbing to the back, struggling to keep her balance as she did so. I can't deny the nice view she provided me with too.
Spare me the judgement. I didn't choose the perverted life, the perverted life chose me.
When she reached her destination, I took my own seat belt off as I got out of the car and opened the door to the back seat, meeting an annoyed Poopy as I slid right next to her.
"Why the heck did you make me climb back here while you--"
"Punishment." I simply replied. It was meant as a joke but she somehow took it seriously since she stopped and slowly looked down at her hands. I tried to ignore the fact that she made herself look so defenseless right now.
"Is this because of Kristopher?" She asked, quietly.
Was she aware of it after all?
"Count to twenty." I said.
She slowly raised her head up, but didn't meet my eyes. "Why?"
"Because by then I'll know when to stop."
I don't think I will stop.
She looked nervous and guilty as she nodded her head and began counting. She had no idea what I was gonna do. I had no idea what I was gonna do. Everything was just out of impulse.
I took a deep breath as I took her hand, slowly squeezing it before I tilted my head to the side to meet her eyes facing downwards.
She was still counting when I kissed her again. Slowly, deeply. She squeezed my hand back.
I just think I lost something earlier. I felt the need to win it back. Was it probably my pride?
Her lips felt soft against mine, and I felt hurt just thinking about things. Things like, what if some other guy comes along and kisses her like this?
I don't think I'll be able to forgive myself.
And of all people, if it would be Tops? What will I do if he kisses her? And what if she doesn't mind? What will I do then?
Fine, I admit it. I am jealous. Pathetic.
I can't believe I got jealous over such small things. I know in my head that it's too childish, but I can't stop this prickling in my chest.
She isn't even mine, and I'm already thinking like this. I know don't have the right to. But still, I think like this.
I think she forgot to count, but it didn't matter anymore.
Our hands loosened and then I intertwined our fingers, both of us gripping each others hand as I refused to break the kiss. She wasn't complaining, she wasn't resisting. Was it out of pity? Guilt? Acceptance?
"...and now you're saying you don't love her? Pathetic, Danny."
Why does his annoying voice have to enter my mind at a time like this?
The kiss turned into something gentle, until I finally pulled away. She was flustered; her cheeks were red, her eyes were doe and she was out of breath.
I felt like I could hear how loud her heartbeats were, if those heartbeats I could hear weren't my own.
That was the sixteenth kiss.
I looked deep into her eyes and almost lost myself. They were narrowed, and they were beautiful.
She was... dazzling.
My vision had some kind of filter whenever I stared at her. It was so biased.
I held her hand tighter again, I wouldn't be surprised if our fingers were turning purple at the moment.
She looked like she wanted to say something, but I didn't let her. I should tell her. I should tell her this. I had a thousand things to tell her, but I didn't know what to tell her. It's crazy. I'm going crazy.
What should I tell her?
I took a deep breath before releasing it quietly, admiring her soft features. I'm so hopeless. I don't know what to do anymore. She was just staring at me, quietly waiting for what I had to say.
What should I say?
Ella's right. I am lost.
I can't let her go. Now that I'm back, now that we're together again, I don't want to let her go. I don't want her to leave my side. Her eyes were turning darker as she looked at me, and I knew I was getting hypnotized.
What the heck are you gonna do if I fall in love with you?
What am I gonna do?
"Please." I said, noticing I was out of breath myself. "Please don't fall in love with Tops."
I was too distracted to notice that I called him by his nickname. I wonder why she didn't look so surprised.
"Please don't be in love with some other guy."
It was painfully quiet when I delivered those words. Those sincere words. Those suppressed pleas. Was I actually confessing right now?
To the same girl from twelve years ago? I swallowed hard.
Yes I was.
Well damn. Another surprise.
I feel faint.
"You idiot." She said through gritted teeth. She was mad? Even when she's mad she still looks beautiful. I can't focus at all. She lifted our intertwined fingers up, her eyes glassy as she stared me down. I braced myself. "Why the heck would I--"
Her expression softened as she looked down and loosened her grip.
Please don't hate me.
"...fall in love with someone else..."
My eyes widened the same time hers did. When she realized what she had said, she quickly withdrew her hand and jumped out of the car, running as fast as she could into her house.
I was still left in a trance, trying to process everything. I was quick to process things in academics, but regarding these things, I was pretty slow on the uptake.
Maybe I was just hearing things out of my own convenience? Maybe I was just imagining what I wanted her to say?
I sunk in the backseat, my head staring at the car's ceiling. Don't even get me started at the stupid grin forming on my face right now.
"Oh," I mumbled to myself, covering my eyes with the back of my palm. My heart is racing. I can't breathe. "God."
Did that... just happen?