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Chapter 7

Recitations. They were having an oral recitation. He was nervous as hell. He notices the teacher look at their direction. He forces a smile. He hears the teacher call out her name, and he watches her stand from beside him. He doesn’t look at her. The teacher tells a question. She answers it and gets it right.

He’s told to answer next. He purses his lips as the teacher starts her question. It was one of those he had no idea of. He thinks for a while, although he was sure he would not come to say anything correct. He hears her talk a faint word. He catches it, and it was familiar, despite the low voice. He was reading the terms after all, though he skipped their long definitions. Way to go for studying!

He speaks and the teacher lets him sit down.

He looks at her. She doesn’t look at him. His head turns away.

“Say thank you, you dork.” She says after a while, though she was still not looking at him.

He lets out a silent laugh before saying his “Thanks.”

Car Rides. They had to go somewhere for the completion of their class requirement. It was somewhere really far. His father drives, and his mom is in the front seat. They were at the back and for some unknown reason, she was in the middle. A classmate was on her left; he was on her right. They were silent on the whole ride because they were tired. She was tired and her head was bobbing up and down in a cycle of sleep and wake. The girl on her right was already asleep and was resting her head on the window. She tries to stay awake but she can’t. She tries to sleep peacefully but there wasn’t anything to steady her head.

He was still awake and he was resting his chin on his hands while looking through the car window. He gets bored and a little tired and leans back on his seat. Her head then drops on his shoulders. He tries to shake so she’ll wake up, but she won’t. He blushes and her head stays leaning on his shoulders until they got home.

She wakes up when the car stops. She notices her position and suddenly jerked to her side. She looks at him and he looks at her. He doesn’t say anything and opens up the door. He goes out and she follows. Her classmate wakes up.

None of them talked about it for the next days, until one morning when they were both a little too early.

Thoughts. He ignores it: The way they associate her with him. The tone in their voice is that of how you tease people. How’d they get the idea anyway? They never get along too well. They rarely speak to each other. She ignores him most of the time; he ignores her most of the time. They can see it perfectly well, but still they continue their false beliefs. She doesn’t like him, and he doesn’t like her, he thinks. He doesn’t say it out loud.

Yearbook Pictures. They were getting ready for the yearbook. It’s Picture Taking Day and the girls were combing their hair. The guys were doing nothing except talk about how the girls were putting too much effort on it.

The graduating students were lining up. She notices the photographer was bored and was a bit fast. He flashes his camera. Snap. That’s it. You have a very short span of time before the next flash goes on. Snap. Done.

They put on the common toga as they sit. She smiles. Snap. And she’s done. She takes off the toga and hands it to the next – she hands it to him.

She watches as he sits on the chair and smiles. She can’t help but laugh. He notices this but he ignores it while he’s in front of the camera. When his turn’s finished, he looks at her.

“What?” She asks.

“What?” He imitates her.

“Is that actually face powder?”

“Shut up.” He says a little too defensively. He gets red for a moment. “We were just playing, and my face was sweaty and the camera had a flash and I’ve seen photos of people with sweaty faces and it’s like they reflect the amount of light and it just looks awful.”

She covers his face with her palms, because she can’t stand looking at him as she was giggling.

Victories. The presentation was finally over. All the awkward practices had finally paid off.

“Did we actually just win?” He says as they were walking back to their classroom.

“I guess. And your hands were clammy. Why were they clammy?” She asks.

“Because I was nervous, duh.”

“You were so stiff.”

“I was uncomfortable with the attire. And you stepped on my foot.”

“The judges didn’t notice. And I was wearing heels!”

“Yes and I was afraid you’d be taller than me. But you still stepped on my foot.”

“Nobody noticed!”

“You stepped on me like… thrice. The third one actually kinda hurt.”

“So that’s why you suddenly jerked for a moment.”

“You think?”

“Sorry. But at least we won!” She flashes him a smile.

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