Today... will be another crappy day.
“God, I hate Mondays,” I cursed and groaned in pain. A pounding headache in the abyss of my brain made its presence known, promising mental pain that I could barely lift my eyes open.
I was up all night having a K-Drama marathon that Angelique recommended and wouldn’t stop the torture till I followed her orders.
There’s no other bigger Korea fan than her, and I was too, except that I was now busier than before and didn’t have the time to catch up with it.
Eventually, I sleep knocked on my door at 2 AM. I finished nearly 4 episodes of Scarlet Heart Ryeo; Moon Lovers since I completed my homework around 3 hours earlier. She should be proud of me for at least trying and now thanks to her I could barely wait to know what happens next.
Groggily, I reached up and glanced at my clock.
“Bloody shit!” I cried and rushed towards my bathroom.
After a good quick 10 minutes, I dived into my school uniform and headed downstairs.
The front door flew widely to reveal Mom looking through a package that now blocked the door. I was surprised to see her there, usually she’d be in her office by 7 AM.
“Mornin’ Mom,” I chirped, rushing down the final flight of stairs and into the kitchen to grab some goodies and a tablet.
“Oh, hey honey! You’re still here?” she asked as she studied the paper she’s holding. “You’re going to be late, Ivan already left.”
“Yeah, but I’m heading out now,” I kissed her cheeks and looked at the box. “What’s this and where’s Dad?”
“Oh, this is a new antique item for your Grandmother’s collection. You know how obsessed she is with them.”
Nana Iris has a whole room specially made for her valuable artifacts, she wouldn’t even allow us to go in there--sometimes, let alone the household keepers. She prefers to clean them by herself now that... Abuelo Sylvester wasn’t there. I suppose it keeps her happy.
“Dad left the same time Ivan did. He had an important board meeting this morning with some Russian dealers. Now, why are you still here, young lady, get going!” Mom gestured with pushing hands for me to get lost.
“Sheesh, so bossy,” I complained giving her a quick hug.
“And drive safely!” she shouted.
“Don’t worry, you won’t hear another speed ticket from me!” I yelled back, hearing a chuckle as I exited.
Clutching on the gearstick, I reversed and sped out of our mansion’s main gates. After a lot of persuading and promises, they finally allowed me to drive my precious car again.
Dad wasn’t at all keen about it, but I knew Mom would back me up on this. Every day, since I couldn’t drive it outside our home’s gates, I would speed it around the property to make sure its functions are still up, and polishing it became a daily routine.
Once I was out of sight, I decided to have a little detour. Ironically.
Instead of taking the lane towards my school, I took another road to a place I enjoyed to drive recklessly. I could be late for a few 10 minutes.
The abandoned construction site.
Located a few miles apart from the edge of the city, not far away from my school, was once supposed to be a massive theme park but the project got shut down. Now it was completely barren and empty.
“Here goes nothing,” I smirked pressing hard on the pedal, and the arrow on the meter shot to a 90 km/ph. The area was huge and been ignored for ages. Restless teenagers and young people come here to party or explore the area, creating urban legends of some dead workers. Others, like me, come for the thrill of driving to the limits of the laws.
It was a place of freedom and to show off my dangerous personality. I aimed at almost a 100 now and I was killing it. Small rocks, sand, and dust had covered up my windows, and the sound of wheels screeching expertly made my veins angrier.
I dodged obstacles and made sharp twists and turns. The feeling of the fiery rush of excitement coursed through my blood at an incredible speed. It ignited inside like fireworks as my free side sprung to the surface for the morning.
I drifted with ease as I guided my car through the middle of a half-constructed stadium. I relished solo moments, it’s one of the many memories I treasured. It made me feel so relieved and alive.
Pretty soon the area was going to look wrecked. Earth covered the machines and painted the half-built buildings with mud from the damp areas I had skidded by. But I was alone and that meant I could drive around the whole area.
My plan of 10 minutes turned to 20 and by the time I calmed my adrenaline had died down.
I checked for damage before I left and there was just a tuning needed for my tires that can be fixed back home.
8:30 AM. The last to enter the parking lot. Or so I thought.
I had a feeling trouble was waiting for me; with my phone on airplane mode so I wouldn’t get calls or messages.
As I parked my car in my parking spot, another showed up behind and placed itself beside the space to my left. “Looks like I might be spared,” I muttered as my legs shuffled out to check my reflection on my car’s tinted windows.
Wavy red locks of hair thrown into multiple directions, sunken eyebags completed with a blazing stare made it impossible to not think that I just stepped out of a huge slumber party.
Not noticing the approaching figure, I quickly braided the nest of a hair into two long fishtails and a little powder on my face. I always wore light makeup and nothing more. Otherwise, I’d have my natural face when I’m at home.
“Well, well. Look who it is, but the one and only Ariel.”
My hands instantly stopped braiding my hair and my heart froze. Thick saliva started pooling under the length of my tongue and had to gulp, hard. “Shut up.”
I glanced at the surprised guy and my face turned into a scowl.
“Don’t ever call me that,” I spat out each word through gritted teeth, slamming the door of my car, locking it. I tried to walk away from him but he was fast.
“Why are you mad?” he asked innocently. Why? Because only one particular person was allowed to call me that. Oh, and he’s dead!
“I hate princesses," I revealed, sensing my headache returning, and quickened my pace. Finished with the braid I started, my fingers dug themselves deep into my pockets and away from the cold.
“Well, I’m sorry if that pissed you off, but your hair reminded me of Ariel. You know the one in Disney’s Little Mermaid and-”
“I’m already late Evander, so if you don’t mind I need to run,” I announced not sparing him from my fury. I couldn’t believe I compared him to Leo. This guy talked too much and has no way of slowing down while Leo was calm, observant, and quiet. He always acted like a gentleman to me and never showed me his rough boyish side.
“Me too! What happened to your car by the way it’s covered in dust,” he rattled on, making me stop on my tracks and look him square in the...in the...eyes?
They were so beautiful, like the fresh grass you see growing in a meadow early in the morning. The sun’s light was making his eyes shine brighter and could even see myself in them. I was so mesmerized that I almost took a step closer.
“That’s none of your business, Evander,” I told, it sounded a bit too harsh, but I couldn’t help it, he was starting to annoy me a lot. I turned away from him and looked at where we were.
At the entrance of the school building.
“I haven’t even entered through the doors.” I sighed heavily.
I turned back to him and was taken aback. He wasn’t smiling anymore, instead a sullen one met my gaze. His eyes were now dull and a sad expression was on his face. ”God, how am I ever going to get out of here?” I breathe in deeply and thought.
I haven’t been the nicest to him lately and I’m pretty sure he noticed it by the way I avoided him in the corridors and class. Poor thing, he’s trying hard to not make me his enemy. However, I wanted nothing to do with him.
“I’m sorry for being rude, Evander. I’m not in a great mood today.” His frown lifted a little, “So can we please get in before we end up in detention?”
His mouth lifted an inch until it turned into a full-blown Cheshire.
Gosh, he’s so weird.
“Urm, so, that’s a yes?”
“Yup, and by the way, you haven’t been the brightest face for a week. You keep acting like I don’t exist when I come near you,” he stated the dreaded revelation into the air with knitted brows.
Why does he have to be so straight forward?
“I apologize about that too, Evander, I’m having a rough time nowadays, so, don’t mind my moody face,” I shot not trying to hide the fact that I wanted him to shut up.
“I still don’t get how that’s relevant to me,” he said confusedly. But it was. Seriously? Which idiot taught this child? “Care to enlighten me?”
I rolled my eyes. Because my mission is to avoid you. “Nevermind, I’m heading to class.”
Literature was my first lesson and that meant I had Evander with me. ”GOD!" I wanted to screamout in frustration as he scooted a bit closer to me. Whenever he gets too close my brain starts going haywire and all the logic suddenly just leaves me.
“I liked it better when you called me Eve that day, you sounded cute.” he chuckled.
“Cute?” I grumbled and shot him a glare. He raised his hands in surrender.
“Sorry, sorry. Not cute, I’ll remember that from now on,” and sounded like he was swearing to an oath. I kept quiet not saying a word till we were standing outside our classroom.
“Damn it.” Whoah, actually he cursed for the first time since we met.
It looked like he was having an internal debate before he looked down at me from his tall height and his eyes twinkled. Oh-oh.
I threw him a nonchalant stare,“Coward.” And knocked on on it.
The door burst open and Mrs. Cooray was standing there with her glasses at the tip of her glasses and eyebrows hiked. She hates when someone disturbs her class, never failing to drill it in our heads that it interrupts our train of thought.
I sweated my pores out by just standing there. I didn’t know whether she was mad at us for being very late or planning to kick us out.
I gulped, sweat trickled down my back.
“Gabriella and Evander, how nice to see you both! I was wondering when you’d show up,” she smiled her face breaking into a beam.
I blinked twice. “What?” God, she’s so unpredictable. Even though she was my favorite teacher, she also has her negatives; shouting at anyone who butts in uninvited when she’s teaching, asking a simple question and that list goes on. I never wanted to be that next victim.
“Come in kids so you can join the class.” I was shocked and my mouth was dry as it was wide open. My heart started to slow down and relax with relief. Weird, I thought she’ll start giving smart comments that will tarnish the mutual connection I’ve created with her.
We headed to our assigned seats and my cousin Alex gave me a puzzled look.
“Later,” I mouthed and took out my textbook.
“I had a feeling you guys were either going to be late or skipped school. I’m surprised you’d be this late, Miss Gawan, are you still not feeling well?” she asked in concern.
Phew, she remembered about my situation, thank god. I thought I was going to be discovered.
This was a nice part I like about her. Out of all the teachers working here, she was the best because 1) she can be so motherly to us and 2) she was very understanding.
Teachers would confuse her to be a strict and grump, a person who talks out whatever was in her mind, but others see her as an inspiring and dreamy person. Either way, she was a strong independent woman, she had too, ever since she lost her husband in a train accident.
It was a very depressing tale that lead me to cry. They had two kids, a boy, and a girl and they had to grow up without a dad and only a widowed mother. Bt that didn’t change anything. Thanks to their mother’s hard work, they both ended with fantastic careers and were doing so well. They were in different countries but Mrs. Cooray always kept in touch with them.
And 3) She knew how to deal with hormonal teens and knew each of us like the back of her palm since she’s been out Literature/English teacher since forever.
“Yes ma’am, thank you for asking. I, er--was having cramps this morning and woke up late.” I lied hoping it sounded natural. I sucked at lying.
“What about you, Evander?” Everyone turned their attention to the new blonde.
Now that I’ve come to my senses, I wonder why he was late today. Probably partying or doing crazy guys stuff all night.
“I too woke up late, ma’am. I came from a late appointment yesterday from my psychiatrist and had to do my homework till 11 last night,” he reasoned. Whoa, that sounded very real. Mrs. Cooray nodded her head with acknowledgment.
“Well, I need you to write down your explanations in the Record Book before you leave school today,” she said as she flipped through her textbook. I nodded my head.
“Now, before you both came in, the class and I were discussing our Fiction Prose section and planned our coursework for this year. You guys have two choices. Remember, you can either write it on the exam day or start typing it from next month to save up time for your other subjects. Most votes were on coursework so that’s what we’re going to do.” Mrs. Cooray lifted her eyes from the page and looked up at us. “I also mentioned that you’ll be doing it in pairs.”
“Oh yes! Me and Alex were planning to be partners,” I looked at her but she only made an apologetic face. My cousin suddenly nudged my rib. “What?”
Mrs. Cooray coughed to get our attention back. “Like I said we do it in pairs, and since Mr. Leos and Miss Gawan here were late today they will be pairing up for the coursework project.”
“What?!” we both cried in unison causing people to stare at us. Mrs. Cooray cast a stern face. My eyes grew wider than my tires that it threatened to pop out of its sockets.
This can’t be happening!
“I already made the list and paired you guys up. No one is going to be choosing who wants to be with whom because you guys will start changing partners after a while and I don’t want to clean up your mess.”
“Keep in mind that this is not a game, it’s a serious matter that needs time and effort. Now, back to you two, if you had been early today I would’ve kept you both with your original partner. Alex with Gabriella and Xander with Evander.”
“Then why didn’t you?” I asked in frustration.
“The office unexpectedly needed the list of students immediately to set the work as a Go project and those who were absent or late were to be paired up. And since the only people not present were you both I had no choice but to make Alex and Xander as partners.”
Dang! I knew some kind of consequence was going to happen.
“Why didn’t you text this piece of news to me?” I hissed under my voice at Alex who gave me an odd face.
“I did!” she retorted back.
“No, you didn’t!”
“Check your God damn phone, woman,” she prompted and I secretly did, only to find still on Flight Mode. Fuck, I’m so dead, but this will have to wait.
“Are you both alright with who your partner is?” she asked me and Evander. I hesitated for a while but Evander immediately answered, taking me by surprise. He agreed.
Why? I haven’t the flimsiest idea.
I didn’t have an option but to agree with a silent yes.
“Class?” Everyone agreed.
“Good. Now let’s begin our lesson. We have a long period ahead of us.”