September 22, Thursday.
I guess my earliest arrival at school was just pure luck, ’cause it’s 9:15 and I’m still on my way to school. And I thought I was doing such a good job.
I practically just left the house. Well, my teacher’s probably not surprised, but out of all my subjects this semester, Literature was the one I always enjoyed. And that turns out to be the first subject every Monday and Thursday.
Yes, it was a Thursday. And I had no idea what I had in stored for myself on that day.
So, yes. I was currently running at the speed of light that I thought I was able beat the record of the fastest athlete ever to sprint. One downfall of living in the suburbs, is when you don’t have a car, or a bike, you get late pretty easily… especially in my situation.
And unfortunately, even though I felt like the Flash, with my legs going completely numb, I still didn’t make it.
Time check, 9:25. Just five minutes before dismissal, and I don’t think they’d let me enter the room if the time’s that short, already. So, I just headed straight towards my next class. But, when I made a turn towards my locker, I saw Principal Thompson and the Vice Principal with some group of people.
I froze for about a second or two before I hid behind the wall. I turned around slowly, making sure not to make a single noise with my step or bag – My backpack has a lot of keychains that tend to sound like bells when they clash with each other whenever I make the slightest movement.
“Ah. Ms. Scarlet Gonzales.”
“The meeting won’t be delayed. It starts after 10 minutes,” Principal Thompson said.
“Got it,” Mrs. Robinson smiled and headed back to her office.
Principal Thompson gave me a glance that clearly meant I was dead.
He faced to the group of boys who all wore – If not beanies – hats, “Would you boys excuse me for a moment? I won’t be long.”
The group nodded.
Principal Thompson immediately walked hurriedly towards me with an evil grin. He crossed his arms and smiled, “Well, for once, I’m not mad at you for being late.”
“Is that so?” I said in a sarcastic tone.
“Okay,” Principal Thompson placed his hand on my right shoulder to lightly turn me around to face the other side, “I’m gonna let you in on a little secret.”
“Do you see those kids over there?”
I glanced back at them, then looked back at Prinipal Thompson, “Yeah.”
“Take a good look at them.”
I turned my head and stared at each one of them for a few good seconds. My jaw actually dropped; I froze with my eyes widened, and faced back to Principal Thompson, “T-they’re…?!”
My eyes widened even more, I was dumbfounded. I was completely speechless.
“Now, as you heard earlier, I’v got a meeting in…” he took a glance at his watch, “… 8 minutes.”
“And apparently, I promised these boys to give them a tour of the school. It’s just like a headstart before the foundation week. So, if you wouldn’t mind…”
Before I could even say anything, Principal Thompson turned me to face them, and before I knew it, I was already walking towards them.
“Gentlemen, I would like you to meet Ms. Scarlet Gonzales.”
One of them removed their sunglasses, and gave me a warm smile, “Hey, Scarlet. Lovely to meet you.”
“Unfortunately, I have to attend a meeting, young lads. But, don’t worry, Ms. Gonzales will be taking care of the tour,” he patted my shoulder with a huge smile, assuring them.
“Well, only if you make me excused from my classes the whole day,” I shrugged.
“Sooo, boys, I will be leaving you in the hands of Ms. Gonzales over here. Scarlet, be sure to that they’re not recognized by anybody. Oh, and, make sure they have fun.”
Principal Thompson made a light tug on his coat and started walking away, “Enjoy.”
I pressed my lips together and crossed my arms, facing back to the group.
“Well, hello, Scarlet,” Patrick shook my hand with a smile. I can see why girls go gaga over his Australian accent.
Patrick Bennett, the drummer.
“Pleasure to meet you, Scarlet,” another one of them shook my hand, as well.
Louis Hudson, the bassist and second voice.
And another one, Alvin Dawson, on rhythm guitar.
Then, I noticed someone who did not even dare take a glance at me. I mean, that’s kind of rude. I would appreciate at least a simple wave, but there was absolutely nothing.
“Hey, Cal. No need to be disrespectful, lad,” Patrick said, patting Caleb’s shoulder.
Caleb Heverly, the lead guitar and vocalist of the band. Also the ultimate crush of all their fangirls.
Not that it’s a surprise; almost all of the Vocalists are the ones girls go crazy for. I usually wonder how that fact affects the other members in other bands. But, it seems like they’re all okay with it. I mean, they didn’t sign up in the music industry just to be some world-known heartthrob.
Caleb walked closer to me very slowly, as if he was hesitating. He was wearing a beanie, and with his long, messed up bangs, I can pretty much say it does make him unnoticeable. He was wearing this army green jacket, with a checkered polo inside, straight cut jeans and a pair of Timberlands. He fitted the role of a film geek, rather than a Rockstar.
He took off his fake glasses, and gave me as how I see it, a forced smile.
“… Hi,” he didn’t reach out his hands, but he instead gave me a deep, warm gaze.
I stood there frozen. I was a bit surprised about the way he looked at me. I couldn’t pull away.
“H-hiii, Caleb. Great vocals!” I exclaimed in a jolly tone, just to break the stare.
Caleb blinked his eyes in confusion, tilting his head a bit, “… Vocals?”
“Yeeaah. Well, I admit, I’m not one of your die-hard fans, but I like your music enough. No offense,” I looked at all of them.
All four of them chuckled, “It’s fine. We get your point.”
“So… Janette?” Caleb asked.
“Scarlet,” I clarified, glancing back at Caleb.
“Right,” Caleb smirked and snapped his fingers, as if I was making a point. “Are you a senior?”
“Ummm… is that a serious question?” I scoffed.
Caleb shrugged in a self-aggrandizing way, “Maybe? ‘cause you know, there’s this thing I do with new people that’s called ’getting to know each other’. Ever heard of that?”
Well, he talks pretty conceited, “Yeah, I’m a senior.”
“Oh, by the way, I’ve got this blog. And I was wondering if I could feature you guys in it. Like, just take a few pictures of you here in school, if that’s okay,” I asked in a very humble tone.
“No problem. It’s the least we can do for you,” Caleb said, “Any objections, guys?”
I gasped in excitement. It was as if my eyes were sparkling from glee, “Thank you very much!”
“Pound it, Scar,” Louise said, with his fist hanging.
“Oh, God. Did you just turn me into Simba’s uncle?” I scoffed playfully.
“Damn right, Scar,” Louis chuckled.
I giggled and pounded his fist with mine.
“So…” I clapped my hands once, “What do you guys wanna see first?”
“Restroom, please,” Alvin said, “I need to check if the plumbing in this building can handle the piss of awesomeness.”
The three went inside, leaving me and Caleb outside. It has been quite a while that I was starting to think that they were taking a dump rather than just a piss. Also, the silence between Caleb and I was getting a little bit too awkward, already.
We were leaning on the wall; I was busy deleting photos in my camera while Caleb seemed to observe ever little detail of the halls.
“Want something to drink?” Caleb pointed to the vending machine.
“Oh, sure. What do you want?” I asked, taking out my wallet from my bag.
“No, don’t worry, I got it. What do you want?”
“Time’s ticking, Scarlet. Limited offer only,” Caleb smiled.
“Okay, uh… Latté, I guess?” I threw one of my hand in the air.
Caleb’s smile just wouldn’t get wiped off from his lips, “Got it.”
I stared at him as he walked towards the vending machine, letting a trivial smile escape the tips of my lips.
“Here you go,” Caleb handed me my can of latté, with a can of Mountain Dew on his other hand.
“Thanks,” I gave him a warm smile before I opened the can.
Caleb let out a deep breath through his nose as he pressed his lips, “So, Scarlet, what’re plans after this?”
“Well, nothing really. I might go to the park or the diner like always – Hey, you guys could with me, if you want to.”
Caleb chuckled, “Wasn’t exactly what I meant, but sure. We can even go there at lunch.”
“Oh, sorry,” I scratched the side of my head, a bit embarrassed of what I said, “What did you really mean by that?”
“I meant plans after high school. Like college or something?”
“Well, um…” I glanced back at my camera.
I had a huge passion for Photography. It was how I expressed my emotions. I mean, I also write songs to express my emotions, but songs took time for me. The quickest way I was able to show my thoughts were through photographs. And I have thought about going to college, taking up a major on Photography or Music. I have basically been arguing about that with myself since I discovered my passion for those 2 forms of art.
Caleb bent over a bit as if he was peaking at my camera and bag. I had printed copies of my best shots, had them laminated, and stitched to my bag. He snorted a smile and looked back at me.
“I’m guessing you’ve got it all figure out?”
“Actually, that’s the problem. I don’t,” I said lighter, serious way.
Caleb made a frown, “How come? Your pictures are awesome.”
“Well, I just can’t choose between Photography and…”
“And…?” He seemed so curious.
I bit my lip, as if I was stopping myself from saying anything. Then I just exhaled deeply, “Okay, sometimes… I write songs.”
“Seriously?” I could see Caleb’s smile getting bigger, and his eyes as if they were sparkling.
I smiled sheepishly and nodded.
“You gotta let me hear them,” he said in such an insisting voice.
“No way, I’d die of embarrassment.”
“Oh, c’mooon. I write songs on how tequila tasting like vanilla. What could be worse than that?” He laughed.
“It’s just too personal,” I said, tsking in a playful tone, followed by a giggle.
Caleb slightly threw his hands on the air, “Even better.”
“You’d get sick of it, I know it. Almost of my songs are just about--…” Fuck.
I blinked recklessly, as if I was being blinded by some light and turned to my side, leaning against the wall, “Nothing.”
“Well, either way, you still gotta let me hear some of them,” Caleb said.
“Is this a compulsory now?” I laughed.
He shrugged as he chuckled, “Probably. Yu shouldn’t have told me, I would’ve spared you.”
“Aw, shit. Me and my big mouth,” I teased.
“Why ’Scarlet’, by the way?” Caleb asked right after.
I took a sip of my latté, “Well, my mom said I used to have hair as red as the leaves of Autumn when I was still a kid. Although if you look at it now, it just made me look like a ginger.”
Caleb seemed to find it amusing, or at least I think so; seeing him chuckle a little bit.
God, this guy just loves to stare directly at me. And to tell you the truth, his gaze was starting to get to me.
“Then, can I call you Carly?”
My eyes widened. I stood frozen, looking at him completely dazed.
“… Is… there a problem?” Caleb fluttered his eyes and looked behind him, trying to figure out what had gone into me.
‘I’ll come back, Carly. I promise.’
“O-oh, nothing.” I tried to fake a laugh, but it still sounded stiff. “I-I just thought you and the others have officially named me ‘Scar’?” I crossed my arms, forcing myself to smile.
“No, they are the ones who named you Scar. I, on the other hand, wanna call you Carly. It suits you better,” His smile was still there, as pure as ever, “Also…”
I looked back at him, as if I was expecting another answer.
“… It’s pretty easier to remember.”
I let out a laugh, finding myself a little stupid for expecting a serious answer from that.
“Is that okay with you?”
I smiled widely, “Yeah, totally.”
I suddenly felt a pat on my back.
“Oooh, Caleb baby, you’re targeting our new friend that fast? Calm yo tits, bro. You’ve just met,” Louise and the others were finally done with whatever they did in the restroom.
“Go fuck yourselves, assholes,” Caleb laughed.
“Ew, did you even wash?” I asked Patrick teasingly who still had his hand on my shoulder.
Patrick and the others laughed hard, “Your ass is in trouble, mate.”
“I did wash. Scar, I know proper hygiene.”
“Tell that to your mushroom-growing underwears back in the apartment, Pat,” Caleb chuckled.
It was a classic boy group riot.
And it was the perfect time. I took out my camera, and while they were busy humiliating each other, I took some candid shots that depicted the exact joy that you could see from them personally.
They were really good people. On and off the cameras.
“Hi, Scarlet! What’ll it be?”
“Just the usual.”
“The one with a milkshake or the one with a sundae craze?”
I chuckled, “Sundae craze, please. Oh, and I brought some friends,” I pointed to Caleb and the others.
Ben is the cook of Dani’s Brunch Diner, also the co-founder of it.
“Welcome! Always nice to see new faces. Steph, give Scarlet and the others a menu, please,” Ben peaked out of the small mirrorless window in the kitchen, that was placed right at the counter.
“Gotcha,” Steph handed us out 3 copies of their menu.
“I’m by the counter if you’re done, okay, Scarlet?”
“Thanks, Steph,” I replied cheerfully.
“Well, their cheeseburger looks fucking promising. Is it, Scar?” Alvin asked.
I nodded, “Yep. Definitely. And for someone who’s mad about burgers, I couldn’t even eat dinner after eating that as my lunch.”
“Then, cheeseburger it is,” Alvin clapped.
“So, what exactly is your usual?” Caleb glanced at me.
I pointed to the pictures of the meal in the menu, “2 bacon cheese sandwiches, one well-done steak with pizza potato wedges & Nacho cheese dip on the side, and a Sundae craze.”
“Well, you sure got a huge appetite,” Caleb smirked.
“And… a huge obsession with cheese,” I pointed it out with a huge smile.
Soon enough, everyone was ready to order, I raised my hand to catch Steph’s attention.
“So, what’ll it be, boys?”
Patrick pointed to the menu, “You guys up to test little Scar’s theory?”
“Bring it on!” Alvin shouted, flicking his hands in a gangsta way.
“Not for me, dude,” Caleb declined, “I’ll have whatever she’s having,” gesturing to me.
“The whole thing?” Steph clarified.
Caleb smirked, “The whole thing.”
“Alright,” Steph scribbled down on her little notebook, “And for you guys?”
“Three of your best cheeseburgers, buffalo wings, pizza cones and 1 strawberry milkshake, banana milkshake, and a regular one.”
“How ’bout desserts?”
“You dicks almost forgot about the best part,” Louis slapped Patrick’s arm, chuckling.
It was a complete riot, but it was pretty fun. Those dudes really were easy to get along with.
“Damn, I’m stuffed,” Alvin burped piercingly.
Patrick made a face that seemed to be grossing out, throwing him a napkin, “Ugh, dude. Your breath smells like a dying cow, what the fuck.”
Everyone was just too full to even make such massive movements.
“Well, look at you, Mr. Geeky pants. You actually handled my ultimate cheese meal pretty nicely,” I had to admit, some of my friends just can’t stand that much cheese. But for me, it was complete heaven.
“That’s ’cause you’re not the only one that has a cheese fetish,” Caleb laughed.
I snorted a giggle, “Welcome to the club, then.”
“So, your tour’s officially over. Where’re you going next?” Caleb leaned on the couch-chair that served as our seat in the diner.
I shrugged. I haven’t thought about that, maybe I should just go attend class, “Depends, if I’m still required to babysit rockstars, then I’m probably just follow you guys anywhere.”
Caleb chuckled, glancing back at me with his never failing to captivate smile.
I couldn’t help but let a small smile, as well, escape the tips of my lips. His stare seemed to drown me, as if I couldn’t pull away. There was this feeling of peace and familiarity that I just couldn’t get enough of.
Caleb seemed like he was about to say anything, his mouth was open but he was not uttering a sound. Then, he suddenly looked away and sighed.
When suddenly, a napkin was thrown perfectly at Caleb’s face.
“No smooching with random girls today, bro!” Louis and Patrick shouted, all of us laughing in response to that comment.
Alvin suddenly took out his phone, “Guys, hold on. Principal T.’s calling.”
The guys’ laugh slowly faded, while chowing down on their remaining desserts.
After a few minutes, Alvin put back his phone in his pocket, “We’ve got some business with him. His meeting’s over, so I guess we need to head back now.”
“Aww, but we haven’t interviewed Scar in full detail yet,” Caleb pointed to me.
Patrick pointed at him, as if he was warning him to be good, “You have had enough intimacy with his innocent young girl, mate. It’s our turn to ask the questions.”
“Exactly. So, Scar, got anyone waiting for you back at school, ready to scold you of all the jealousy they’ve build for spending the whole time with a bunch of dudes?” Louis asked, emphasizing the word dudes very proudly.
I chuckled, “Well, if you mean someone that’s gonna strangle me of envy and jealousy, just to experience being in my shoes right now, then yes. Two of them, even.”
All four of them laughed, “No, Louis actually meant if you have a boyfriend.”
I shook my head with a huge smile, “Completely clueless on how it feels,” I rose my hands lightly, giggling.
The interview went on for maybe about 10 minutes, with questions from real stupid, to normal questions like in a scrapbook.
And soon afterwards, we went back to school.
“I am soooooo jealous of you right now, Scarlet!”
“And you left us all alone just to be with them. I’m hurt,” Ivan teased.
“Hey, I just got dragged into that. I had nothing to do with it,” I said in defense, but couldn’t brush off the smile on my face.
Laura closed the door of her locker, “Well, at least you didn’t have a shitty day.”
“So, are we gonna celebrate this day with Netflix & chill at Laura’s?” Ivan smiled, glancing at Laura.
“Aw, hell yeah!” I exclaimed in excitement.
“Well, you did have a shitty day, didn’t you? So, now, you’re the host for tonight. Perfect timing, let’s go straight to the department store right now,” Ivan laughed.
I giggled as well, then I suddenly felt my phone vibrate. I took out my phone, and stopped on my tracks.
My hands started to shiver, and I could feel my chest tighten up. I read the text message over and over, and still would not believe what I read.
“Scarlet, what’s that?”
Tears started to blur my vision, I slowly turned to face Laura. I couldn’t utter a single sound; I slowly handed my phone to Laura, for them to see it.
Hey, honey. How’s your day going? :) Just wanted to tell you to come home right after school, okay? I got a call. Guess who’s coming to pay us a visit at 4 pm?
It’s Ansel. Still remember him? :) ’