I. Carpe Diem
It was the first day of high school when I met him, the guy who became my world for the next four years.
Growing up, I was a daddy little princess, a girl fed with a silver spoon. My family wasn’t as wealthy as most of the students at Pandora Academy, the school for future leaders of the world, but we were doing well for ourselves.
I remembered that day so clearly, my first day out of homeschool. Dad cherished me saying how cruel the world is, and I shouldn’t be out there until I’m ready.
He was right.
On my first day of school, I realized one thing about being a dark-skinned lady is that you’re part of the minority. To gain leverage, you had to achieve much more than others your age, or you’ll be isolated. I wasn’t as wealthy as the other ladies or mildly smart, but I was content where I am with my small circle of friends.
Amoli grabbed my shirt, and I almost choked on my chicken nugget. “Oh, my goodness! It’s them,” she squealed.
I looked up, seeing the it crowd walking in. The it crowd consists of five of the most wealthy families in North America. Within the group consists of the five heirs.
They are smart, wealthy, and attractive.
I look up at the ceiling, “You’re not there, are you?”
Amoli grabs my shirt, “You got to stop blaming God for your laziness. You’re the one who chooses to watch MeTube last night instead of studying for the quiz.”
I pout, my cheeks in an expanding tug. “I didn’t know there was going to be a quiz. I mean, who gives a surprise Tuesday pop quiz on a Friday? That should be a crime.”
“No, wearing socks and sandals is a crime.”
“What’s wrong with socks and sandals?”
“Socks are meant to keep your feet warm,” she reasoned. “It loses all its purpose if you wear sandals! It’s like skort all over again. I mean, is it a skirt? Is it shorts? What in the damn world is it!”
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong as long as they feel comfortable in it.”
She scoffed, “Hard to believe you came from a fashion family.”
I shook my head, knowing she won’t change her mind. My focus reverts to the sins with legs.
First, standing smack in the middle would be Matthew Greyson. The Greyson had been ruling the business world for nearly three generations. Any imports or exports of products in America have to cross paths with the Greysons.
Matthew blink, rushing his dark hair back and revealing his icy blues causing all the girls to squeal with delight. I don’t have anything against Matthew or any of the guys present, but out of all the guys, he is the least trusted when it comes to a relationship. You can’t trust him with your heart.
His weekly ice cream flavor walks up, batting her long lashes at him as he threw an arm over her. Tall, blonde, bodacious, and beautiful is Matthew’s type of girl. Matthew is a guy who changes girls more than I eat, and I eat a lot of food.
No matter what people may say, to me, Matthew is not a player but a whore.
Beside him was Jackson Martinez, best friends. Matthew and Jackson had known each other since primary school. He blinks his beautiful blues, filling the air with a fantastic atmosphere. A smile crosses his lip as he winks at the group of girls he passes, causing two of them to faint.
Martinez industry fits its name with its monopoly in alcohol. Despite its name, it works with more than mere alcohols. As many would say, it’s not a party without a Martinez.
Beside him was Mauricio Laghari - arrogant, rude, shallow. He got it all. I couldn’t hold back my scoff as he stopped by a window and checked himself out. If I had to choose one word to describe Mauricio, it would be narcissist.
Mauricio is a lover.
He loves himself more than anything in the world.
The Laghari own the majority of the oil industry, where they import oils across America. Not only that, they are the founder of the brand Laghari, one of the most expensive and exclusive car brands in the world. Even my family can’t afford their cars.
To the right would be Vincent Acharya, ruling the pharmaceutical industry. Even though everyone dressed in the same clothes, Vincent stands out with his top-notch Italian shoes and customized ties that seem to change every day along with his wicked circular lenses.
Vincent and I have chemistry together.
Literally, we are lab partners, and without that, he probably doesn’t know I exist. He only knows I exist because I’m the one who does all the lab experiment reports.
Vincent is the nicest guy in the group. However, there is one thing that he lacks. “I still can’t believe Vincent is gay,” Amoli mumbled, releasing an exaggerated sigh.
I look back up to see Vincent’s boyfriend coming up to him. Colored blue hair was flickering across his deep emerald eyes with a smile that can be seen for miles. He had a guitar suitcase behind him, a silver earring twinkling in the sunlight, and a laugh that can win any hearts. I remember the first time I heard him play, and the word genius is an understatement. From an outsider point of view, they look like normal friends, but everyone knows - Vincent places his hand on Larry’s ass - Larry belongs to him.
“Ohh... there’s your future boo,” Amoli teased me since she knows about my crush.
My eyes perk up, seeing none other - Liam Everhart.
The chicken nuggets crush in my arms as he walks closer and closer to me: Liam Everhart, my first and only love.
There are small things that throw you off when you first meet him, such as his English accent, which I find drool-worthy. Liam was raised in the United Kingdom until high school, and I had the privilege to meet him right when he moved to the states. Don’t allow the last name to fool you, despite the last name Everhart - Liam is actually Asian, mostly Chinese-Korean. He may have a little English blood inside of him, which makes his small European structure sexier.
I still remember that day - with clean dark hair and a suit that’s pressed to impress - Liam caught every girl’s hearts, including mine.
When he walks towards my table, my brows furrow, and I start pinching myself, wondering if it’s all a dream. If this is a dream, he would grab my wrist and dipped me down, crushing our lips together. I need to stop watching romantic comedies.
Amoli grabbed my arm and began vigorously tugging me. “He’s coming! Your husband is coming! He’s coming!” she squealed.
The crushed chicken nugget drops onto my lap. There is an erratic pace inside my chest as he walks closer and closer. He stops right in front of me with a crumpled piece of paper in his shaky palm. Liam tilted his head as if studying me with his delicious dark chocolate eyes.
For the last three years, I’ve been walking around the halls with my head held low, particularly after that incident. I was content with watching Liam at a distance similar to every other girl.
Of course, I imagine confessing to Liam repeatedly ever since the first year of high school, but I’m not stupid enough to do it.
Eyes widened, breaths ragged and harsh. My chicken nugget hands trembled on my lap. If I could, I would run, but my legs froze into place.
He tilted his head, motioned a hand near my face, and I stopped breathing. His brush across my nose, and I automatically suck in a breath inhaling the sweet green apple and lemonade. “You got chicken nugget here,” his sweet voice rang into my ear.
My cheeks redden with embarrassment as his friends from behind burst into a peal of uncontrollable laughter. I look down and brush the rest of the residue from my face, trying to gather what’s left of my dignity.
Inhaling a deep breath, I look up, “What do you want?” my voice was cold without bearing any comfort.
Living in the social upper class, I had learned to be heartless. To survive, you shouldn’t hold a heart and if you do - hide it.
He lifted a brow and sat down on the empty chair in front of me. My body shook when he slammed the crumpled piece of paper down. Jackson blew out a whistle and continued chewing his gum as the cafeteria fell silent. “Shit is about to go down for real,” he sang in complete amusement.
I grab the paper and turn it towards me - Contract of Marriage.
My eyes scan the paper until I land on my name. “Why is my name written here?” I whisper, feeling everyone burning stare.
Liam grabs the paper and shoves it back into his pocket. “You tell me.” He stood up and leaned towards me with both palms planted on the table. His tone was strained, accusing: “What did you do?”
My hands pull and twist on the pattern skirt. “I didn’t do anything.”
He leans in closer, lips brushing against the lobe of my ear as I attempt to stabilize my breath. Inhaling a breath through my nostril, his musky scent invades any rational thoughts lingering inside my mind. “I will never marry you,” he whispers deviously.
He pushes himself back, wonderous muddy browns glaring at me with pure disgust before walking away.
Inhaling a deep breath, my eyes refuse to motion away from the back of his head. “Don’t think you’re all that great!” I screamed without thinking, wishing a hole would appear beneath me so I could disappear.
He stops walking, and slowly he turns around, looking at me with seductive eyes. At that moment, I thought he was going to lash out at me, but instead, his lips curved up into a devious smirk.
The buzzing noise aches through my ear, and I tilt my head. “Why is there an al-”
“Viv! Are you sleeping in the bathroom again?” Amoli screamed.
I turn towards her, “Why are you screaming about me in the bathroom? We are clear-” I look around to see the cafeteria empty.
Amoli stood up and folded her arms, “I told you sleeping in the bathroom isn’t good for you-”
My head jolts up from the sink beside the toilet. Shorts still wrap around my ankle, and my butt is still resting on the toilet. I analyze the bathroom, to see...the bathroom.
“I-I’m awake!” I responded to my grouchy roommate.
“Viv! Don’t you have that interview at eight?”
I flushed the toilet and began washing my hands and proceeded to brush my teeth. “Yeah!”
“Aren’t you going to head out?”
“Why? It’s only six.”
There is a long pause. “Viv! It’s seven-thirty.”
The toothbrush almost flew out of my mouth, but it still manages to stay inside. “What? What are you talking about! Last time I ch-” I click on my phone that never leaves my side. “Holy crap! I’ve been sleeping on the toilet for almost two hours!” I scream and spit out the foam.
Quickly, I rinsed out the rest, threw water on my face, and then slapped some lotion on my desert skin. Escaping the bathroom, I rush towards the bedroom to gather some work clothes. “I set out your interview clothes for you.” Amoli’s inner mom’s surface.
I kiss her cheek when I pass her, “You’re the best.”
Once I changed into my interview outfit, I ran out. “Papers on the counter and heels near the front door. I call someone to take you,” she said.
I gave her a huge bear hug. “What am I going to do without you, Li?”
She smiles, resuming her dishwashing, “Probably become a hobo in the streets.”
After my divorce, I didn’t want to return home and show my parents my shameful face. Mom and dad know my infatuation with my ex-husband, so they did everything they could for me to be happy.
So, I got married to Liam after I graduated from high school. I was 18 years old the time I said: “I do.”
I can’t tell them that their little girl is not happy at all. Then again, even if they are in South America, they would hear this news by now. The news that I left my husband almost a year ago.
It isn’t easy getting a good-paying job at the age of 20, but I didn’t want Amoli to continue providing for me despite still being in school. She encouraged me to go to college, but I knew college isn’t for me. I’ve never really been a book type of person despite going to one of the most prestigious academies.
I prefer hands-on and working in the field, something that colleges don’t offer much. We met in the middle, and I told her I’d take a class or two once a job settles. The hard part isn’t getting into college; it is getting the finance to pay for the courses.
Amoli offer, but how can I ever take more advantage of my friendship with the most wonderful girl in the world?
I return her smile, “Thank you for not turning me into a hobo.” I said while she shoves a waffle into my mouth.
“Now, go.” She waves her hands at the door.
I nod and grab everything, before tugging in my heels. I turn towards her. “Wish me luck.”
She gives me a thumb up, “You don’t need it. You got this girl. Carpe diem, right?”
I smile and return her thumb up, “Carpe diem.”