Don't Stay Close to Me

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CHAPTER NINETEEN: SHOPPING SPREE

The Auditorium is filled with the freshmen from different colleges—almost 500,000 newbies. I guess you can now imagine how big it is now—the auditorium and student’s population.

The crowd cheers every time their college’s name is called—some sort of icebreaker before and during the program. The faculty members are present though not all, the deans and the associates and of course the Academy Chairman is around. I craned my neck looking for him. I want to see Professor Vex.

“Hey! Who are you looking for?” Jacob asked and I immediately turned to him.

“Uhm. No one…I am just checking out the crowd…?” I said a little bit asking than telling.

“Okay…Let’s go, Sef will be looking for you.”

“Yeah.” I agreed.

He put his arm across my shoulder as we walk in and I took a quick glance behind for the last time, but no luck he’s not there.

As we wait for our turn, we rehearse our dance then I went out few minutes to the stage for the introduction of the Science club of our college then goes back to the backstage to rehearse again.

“Let us welcome the Brooks wind Academy’s pride—The Black Panther Dance Troupe!” The Mc called to us, we heard back there.

“It’s time.” Sef said confidently.

The sea of crowd amazed us as we came into the edge of the stage. I felt a sudden awkward churning of my stomach. Butterflies in my stomach. I’ve been here for years, dancing yet I still get nervous.

“Chill. Everything’s in rhythm.” Sef told me patting my shoulder. My big bro in school. I nod in response.

The music started and we came in and the crowd just got wild. They are cheering on us and call on our names. And we let the rhythm of the music take us—synchronizing with our steps. Every change of beat is a package of surprise for them—the stunts amaze them unfailingly. Then the girls squealed as the boys dominate the dance floor—shirtless. They really enjoy it…The boys and the crowd.

‘They are boys and irresistible…. what can I say?’

We finished the dance with a dare devil stunt leaving the crowd in a gasp and applaud astoundingly as they stood up.

Panting, we compressed together and bowed, grinning with pleasure.

We head to the backstage as Mrs. Kittles took over to speak about our troupe. The guys pull in their shirts as we walked in.

“Great job, guys!” Sef praised as we came in the backstage.

“That was awesome!”

“Yeah! The crowd loves us!”

“Nice flip J.” Andrew says to me putting his arm on my shoulders.

“Thanks.” I said and punched his chest playfully.

Then, we were called out to the stage to be introduced as a group and Sef as our troupe leader.

The orientation lasted until twelve thirty in the afternoon—a bit over time. But it was successful and grand as usual.

Right after a brief meeting with Mrs. Kittles, I rushed to my car and went to my house. I headed straight to my room, stripping I came in my closet and rummage some ‘shopping clothes’ and then I brushed my hair. I hurried down stairs.

“Where are you going?” Mom asked emerging from the kitchen I guess because she’s carrying a tray with sandwiches and a pitcher of pineapple juice.

‘Any visitor?’

“Snacks for you two.” Mom said, smiling, as someone came.

I turned and my mental question is answered.

‘What does this Jerk do here? Wasn’t he in the orientation this morning?’

“Yes! I am famished thanks Mom!” Ace rushed to Mom digging in the sandwich.

“Thanks Mrs. Avis.” Professor Hanely said to my Mom politely.

“Cecil, please.” Mom said and he nods.

He is all sweaty with his white t-shirt and sweatpants. There is sweat dripping from his forehead and then to his face and neck. His hair wet with his sweat and completely, neatly messed up sweat trickle from it. His muscle was made obvious from his shirt, revealing a hint of his abs.

“I was in the orientation briefly and went here because Ace invited me to play basketball.”

“Oh.” I muttered. My mouth went dry.

‘Shit! How could he know the answer to my question?’

He just stood there and run his fingers through his hair, pushing it back neatly and looked out of the garden, the afternoon sun reflects on his face.

‘Heck, I can’t stop to check him out…. he’s way so hot.’

“We’ll take this to the garden, Mom.” Ace said

“Okay.”

He carried the tray to the garden.

“What?” Professor Hanley asks as he looks at me with head a bit tilted on a side and I snap out of my reverie.

“What?” I repeated his question feigning innocence.

“You were staring at me.” He said and I flush so I looked away.

I was about to talk back to taunt when I remembered Mom was behind me.

“I was not.” I said.

“Fine.” He said and I felt him grin.

‘Shit! Was it so obvious? Well, he just so tempting and I hate it. Do I?’

“I’ll be out with Ace now, Cecil.” He said and went out with a smirk, trying to hide his smile.

‘He’s so JERK! Lucky him Mom is around!’

“So where are you going?” Mom asked again and I retrieve my flush.

“Shopping with Shane and Rich….” I said.

Then Dad came.

“Do you have money?” He asked.

“Yeah, I do…a little.” I said shyly.

‘What’s with probing??’

Dad sighed and exchanged looks with Mom.

‘What now?’

“Well, you’re turning twenty few months from now….” He trailed off and looked again to Mom that nodded.

“Okay. What’s happening?” I snapped getting their attention.

“I guess you’re responsible enough to manage things like this….” Mom said.

“So, here….” Dad continued handing a thin plastic card.

I took it but didn’t really examine it first.

“What’s this?”

“See for yourself.” Dad said.

I flip it over and saw my name printed on it with some numbers. And my eyes widen in awe!

“Oh! Oh! My gosh!” I said, giddily jumping up and down like a kid.

Then I rushed to hug each of them, they were both grinning.

“Thank you! Thank you so so much!” I said with a face-splitting grin. Then I pull away and held the card with two hands—grinning to my cute shopping friend.

“Okay, Okay. You can use it to swipe in shopping or anything…”

“Provided you’ll budget it and add your savings there.”

“Okay! I promise!” I swore.

“Good.”

“I’ll go now.” I said and kissed them both.

“Take care!” They shouted at me and I nod.

“I love you both!” I shouted at them as I walk out of the house.

‘Cute unexpected gift!’

I pull in the mall’s parking lot and went out of the car when my phone vibrates.

From: Shane

At Pen Shoppe with Rich. :)

****END of MESSAGE****

I texted back.

To: Shane

Coming! :)

****END of MESSAGE****

“Hey!” I greeted as I approach them.

“Hi Jadyn.” They chorused.

“Where’s Mike?” I asked looking around.

“He’s not yet here…” Shane answered.

“He doesn’t answer my calls and texts…” Rich added.

“Okay. I’ll try.” I said fishing my phone from my back pocket.

I dialed his number, no response. I tried again…nothing…again…still he didn’t answer.

“He still doesn’t answer. This is frustrating!” I breathed.

I dial again.

“Stop it.” Someone said behind me and so I turn to look at him.

“Mike!” I said hitting the ’end call’ button.

“Your number is flooding in my call log.” He grumbled.

“Because you don’t answer my call and or text me.” I quipped, glaring at him.

“Sorry...I have to escape from my Mom just to go with you here.” He said with a surrendering post.

“Ah~ Mom’s baby boy!” I said mocking a baby.

“Stop that! You’re…” He paused.

“I’m what???”

“Nothing! Let’s just start with your shopping madness!” He said and I grin.

“Yeah!” We three chorused.

We started to visit and looked in every store we see. They have so much to offer but a store named ‘Closet’ caught our attention. There are so many pretty and trendy dresses in there.

“This pink off-shoulder dress is cute!” Rich gushed.

“This blue dress is cute too!” Shane said holding close the dress to her and swirls around.

“This one too!” I said holding on a black halter cocktail dress.

“Why not just take them all?” Mike retorted.

“You’re such an impatient baby!” I said and tweaked his nose.

Then he pulled away and rubbed his nose.

“Don’t do that again.” He warns but I just smiled sweetly.

We took any dress of our choice and tried it on. And Mike instantly became our ‘fashion’ consultant.

I got myself a black chiffon dress, off-shoulder cream cocktail dress; a pencil cut gray skirt and three pairs of killer heels.

‘Well, I am not yet done!’

However, Shane and Rich haven’t decided what to wear.

“I don’t know what to get!” Rich sighed.

“Me too.” Shane added and pouts.

“Well, I guess this is harder than I thought.” I said.

“We don’t know if they’ll bring you in a formal dinner or just hang around.” I continued and we sighed.

“You just need to be true to yourself wear what is comfortable with you….” Mike said.

“Eureka!” I exclaimed.

“What?” Shane asked while Rich and Mike are looking at me.

“The solution to your problem is to wear something that even anywhere you put it, it will suit with the place. Come!” I said and drag them both on the displays.

When we came back, we had a handful of dresses. We mixed and matched them and Mike with me acted to be their consultant. We tried several styles until we got the perfect one for them!

“So?” Shane asked,

We grin at her. She does look lovely. She is wearing a pink three-fold sleeve coat over a peach tank top tucked in white waisted shorts and silver pumps.

“You look stunning!” I said clapping my hands.

“True?” She asked and I nod.

“Okay, I’ll get these.” She said, smiling and sauntered back in the fitting room.

By then, Rich went out of the fitting room.

She is wearing an off-shoulder pink shirt with three black diagonal line from left down to the right where a ribbon is located and skinny jeans hugging the curves of her thigh and legs and she had black stilettos to match her outfit.

“How do I look?” She asked as she swirls.

“Sexy.” Mike answered and we just looked at him brows raised.

“What?” He asked, confused with our reaction. Then we chuckled.

“Hey! What’s the matter with you?” He asks again.

“Nothing.” I said but still can’t manage chuckling.

“You look great with that Rich. Two thumbs up!” I turned to Rich.

“Sure?” She asked.

“Yeah.”

“Totally.”

“Okay. Thanks.”

After getting the clothes, we paid and sauntered out for another round, hoping we could see more.

An hour later Mike is already carrying thirty shopping bags with shoes, dresses, jeans and shirts, also bags.

“You should treat me for carrying these burdens!” Mike said as he fixes his grip with the bags’ handles.

“Don’t worry I will.” I said and smiled to him.

“I want a whole pizza for me only and a large chocolate shake.” He said.

“Demanding?” I reacted.

“Thirty bags….” He said lifting the bags. And I just smiled.

We went to the food court and bought what Mike said—or demanded. I used my card for this—for the first time! My savings will be transferred here already…. the thought makes me happy.

“Here are your orders!” I said as I put down Mike’s request and our snacks.

“That’s more like it!” He said and started digging in his food.

After a short talk after snacks we had a couple of rounds in the mall until we decided to go home.

“Have fun tomorrow girls.” I said and they hugged me.

“Thanks, Jadyn…” They said then released me.

“Thanks too, Mike.”

“No prob…anything for my friends.” He said with a warm smile.

“Bye.” They said as they got in the car.

“Bye, too…have plenty of rest.” I said to them and they were off.

“And as for you Mister!” I said turning to Mike.

“Thanks for being our baggage carrier today.”

“No prob…I’ve said it anything for my friends.” He said, grinning.

“Ah~” I said and tweaked his nose, and then he pulled away.

“Hey!” He said, rubbing his nose while I chuckled.

“Well, I’ll go ahead now.” I said and climbs in my car.

“Sure, you take care…”

“I will. You too, Mike.” I said and he nods then salutes me.

I pulled out of the parking lot and went home…happily.

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