Don't Stay Close to Me

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CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX: IT’S OVER.

‘I’m okay. I’m okay. This will be over.’

This I chant to myself every time I remember that day, when my stupidity came into realization and my pride was slapped out of my ass.

I avoided him in all possible ways. His face makes me want to jump on him and beat the leaving shit out of him—but I can’t. I just can’t because I feel guilty for it too--being stupid to be deceived.

“Earth to Jadyn.” Rich said to me and I snapped.

“W-what?” I stuttered.

“I said the result of this test is positive.” She said and I nodded, writing it down on my notebook.

‘*Sigh* I should focus on my studies instead of thinking about that.’

“So, we all had the correct results for this experiment.” I said, tapping my pen on the library table.

“Yup, so we don’t have to explain for any discrepancy.” Mike answered and we nodded in agreement.

“A bit light work for a report.” Shane said.

“Yeah, I guess.” I said.

After finishing our work, we returned the books and grabbed our things. We headed to our college building to attend a make-up class with Prof. Tan.

“Is she really mentally stable?” Mike grunts as we go out of the room.

“I think so.” I said and she looked at me with a ‘you-kidding-right?’ face and I laughed.

“Don’t tell me you fell for that?” I asked with a raised eyebrow.

“Oh, yeah…I missed that.” He said and I held a confused face.

“What are you saying?” I asked.

“I missed the eyebrow raising Jadyn. You’ve been quite a non-Jadyn these days.” He said and chuckled.

‘Have I really become not like me? Have I been weak?’

‘What do you think?’ My ego snarled at me with a ‘you-stupid’ look.

I shook my head in defeat and removed myself from musing at once. My phone vibrated and I pull it out my pocket. It’s a text from him.

From: Sir Vex

Let’s meet. I really need to talk to you.

****END of MESSAGE****

‘What do we have to talk? This is nuts.’

I deleted it and ignored it. Putting my phone back to my pocket I keep up on the conversation of my friends as we go to the canteen.

‘I just need time. Yes, that’s what I need. I need time to forget it and get over with it. I really don’t know why I take hold of this for so long now—because of hurt? Or hate?’

“Hey, are midterms really on to the week after next week?” Mike exclaimed; eyes wide opened looking at his phone.

“Yup. Why, don’t you know about it?” I asked sarcastically before biting my chicken biscuit.

“Duh. Everyone already knows about it.” Shane added sardonically and he just rolled eyes making us chuckle.

“Why, the human newspaper doesn’t know about the midterms.” Rich said teasingly.

“Well, it’s because it’s not that interesting.” He said defensively and we just smiled.

“Hey, why don’t we have a bet?” I said out of the blue and they all turned to me.

“What kind of bet? If running naked is included I pass.” Mike said.

“YUCK!” We shout on him making puke faces.

“What? You haven’t seen me naked.” He reacted.

“Enough, the thought is sickening.” I said.

“Yeah.” Rich agreed.

“True.” Shane added.

“I don’t how do we became friends.” He said and pouted.

“You know why.” I said grinning at him and a small smile formed in his lips.

“Okay. Back to the bet! I was thinking that whoever fails even just one would treat us—unlimited eat-all-you-can treat!” I said and they were just quiet probably weighing on my suggestion.

“DEAL!” Mike said first. As feisty as usual I grin and looked hopefully with Shane and Rich.

“Hey, it’s just for fun!” I said and they exchanged looks and then turned to me again.

“Okay. I guess that might help me to focus.” Shane said and shrugged.

“Well, what can I do? I know you don’t take no.” Rich sighed and I clapped like a kid with a goofy grin on my face.

“So, it’s settled then! The game is on!” I declared.

“And on cue, let’s go home.” Mike said and I looked at him, puzzled.

“Why?” I asked and he smirked.

“So, I could study. I don’t want to lose in this bet. You know.” He said.

“Ha-ha. Very well then, let’s go.” I said and they agreed.

We took our dishes and gave to the canteen staffs, then move out with our usual noise. When we reached the parking lot Mike set off with his Audi while Shane, Rich and I were left.

“Why don’t you go now to your practice J?” Shane asked me.

“Uhm…our practice will start at 5:30 and it’s still quarter to four.” I said and she nodded.

A horn broke the silence in the parking lot as Shane and Rich’s chauffeur arrived.

“They are here. We’ll go ahead J.” Rich said, kissing me on the cheeks before leaving.

“Take care. You’ll be okay.” Shane whispered in my ear while she hugged me before running to the car, leaving me surprised.

‘What did she mean? Does she know? But I am sure no one knows about it….’

Their cars left and I was left frozen in the parking lot. Then I felt a tear trickle on my cheek.

‘Maybe it was obvious that I’m not okay, what can I hide with my friends…. *sigh* I should be okay.’

I wiped the tear with the back of my and turned but stopped. He is standing in front of me, face stern but calm. I tried to ricochet but he grabbed me.

“We need to talk.” He said firmly.

‘Talk? Can’t he see it’s over since that day?’

“There’s nothing more to talk about.” I turned to him.

I tried to get my hand in his grip but he just doesn’t let it go.

“There are too many things that we need to talk about.” He said and drags me inside the building and into an empty room.

“Okay, speak.” I said and he let go of my hand.

“I’m sorry if I didn’t tell you I’m married. But seriously, I like you.” He said with pleading eyes.

‘No. I won’t fall for that again. I am slapped hard enough to keep my wit awake.’

“Stop that shit, I’m not buying it anymore.” I said confidently with arms crossed across my chest.

“That isn’t shit. That’s true.” He said with his convincing voice, yet I didn’t make a move, or anything that will make him think that I believed him.

“Shut up. You made me feel like a slut for making me stupid. Sorry Sir Vex but I don’t go for twice stupidity.” I said and turn on my heels, leaving him before he could ever answer me.

‘I don’t want to hear more lies. I don’t want to be deceived again… I don’t want to feel like a Slut again.’

And as I walk down the hallway, I felt warm tears pool in my eyes and roll down my cheeks—I started crying.

‘I don’t know why I am crying.’

‘Why?’

‘Is it because of him?’

‘No…it’s because you’re hurt of being stupid.’ My ego miraculously, for the first time, comforted me.

‘Yes, I am hurt. My pride is hurt.’

I duck my head, my hair covering my face as I sob and walk pass the rooms and into an empty hallway again. Suddenly, I bumped someone; I stopped for a moment keeping my head down. I saw a pair of well shone black leather shoes and black funnel pants.

“I’m sorry.” I blurt out and hurried to walk away from the person but he suddenly grabbed and swirled me, encircling me with his brawn arms. His spicy scent perfume drowns me as I came in contact with his hard rock chest—that familiar smell. Professor Hanely. Squeezed in tight I can feel the rising and falling of his chest, hearing the beating of his heart, the warmth of his body radiating my body and his minty breath fan my head.

“Cry. I won’t ask anything but you can cry.” He said, his voice is deep and husky from his chest, I even felt it vibrate. And like a signal, I started to cry—sob hard. As I sob, he comfortingly touches the small of my back while my tears ran down my eyes endlessly.

‘Stupid.’

‘Slut.’

‘Mistress.’

The words come around my mind, my alter ego now quiet. I grip on his shirt as I cry harder in pain—pain of stupidity.

“It’s was not your fault…. You’re innocent.” He said, his voice sounds deep from his chest.

‘How could he say such words…. after that?’

“I-I’m sorry…” I said in between sniff and I felt him move, his head looking down at me but I kept my head on his chest, eyes shut and tears still running down my cheeks.

“Sorry? To me?” He asked bewilderedly.

‘Has he really forgot it already? Or is he just lying?’

I just nodded as a response and he just sighed.

“Oh, that. If you’re thinking about you slapping me, don’t think about it anymore.” He said calmly.

‘How could he say that? I slapped him over a crap reason.’

“Y-you were right…. I felt like…like…a slut.” I said, swallowing a lump in my throat.

“No. You’re not a slut. I should be sorry for saying that, I was just mad.” He said soothingly.

‘How could he say such caring words? And be sorry? Mad? Why?’

“You’re just so stubborn and I have nothing to do that can wake you up from his deception, but to say that.” He said and chuckled, I can feel his chest vibrates and a little smile formed in my lips.

‘Oh, how could his words make me feel relieved so easily?’

We stood there silently, him holding me around his arms and me, gripping on his shirt for seconds? Or minutes? I don’t know. I’m just so comfortable and feel so secured in his arms—and I just don’t know why. The beating of his heart was my lullaby and his breathing, the rise and fall of his chest and the warmth of his body against mine are all calming.

“Okay now?” He asked, breaking the silence. I nodded. He released me and I remove myself from him, head down. He pats my head.

“Is the feisty Jadyn back?” He said and I had a small smile in my lips. And then, he removed his hand on my head.

‘Yes, am I back now? I have been weak for so long and stupid even…why didn’t I notice that?’

“The one who snide me when we first met in the hallway? The one who spilled cappuccino on me but said it’s also my fault?” He added and I glared up at him.

“It was really your fault too!” I said and he smiled.

“Whoa, whoa, hold on there, feisty Jadyn. I get it. You’re back.” He said with a whimsy tone and I chuckled, and him too.

“Here, feisty one. Clean up yourself. You look like a mess.” He said pulling out a handkerchief and hand it to me. It’s a white cotton handkerchief with black borders, folded into a small square. I hesitate to get it.

“C’mon, get it.” He said getting my hand and putting the handkerchief on me. It’s so soft and smells like him. I stared at it for a moment and then I started to dry my eyes and cheeks.

“You can keep it.” He said before the thought of cleaning it and giving it back to him. I stared at him.

“I’ll give it back.” I said, feeling a bit uneasy of keeping it.

“Nope. Keep it. Just think that it’s a gift from a jerk.” He said with a smile, tucking his hands in his pockets making his muscles in his arms. He’s wearing a navy-blue button-down shirt tucked in his funnel black pants hanging from his hips and his well-polished leather shoes. Then, I notice a wet mark on his right chest.

“I’m sorry about that.” I said and he looked down to his chest.

“Oh, this one. It’s okay it’ll just dry off.” He said looking back at me.

“So…I guess, I’d be going now.” I said squinting.

‘Why do I feel uneasy when he looks at me now?’

“Okay. I’m going this way.” He said pointing to the direction that I’m going too—to the auditorium.

“I’m going there too.” I said a chuckling a little.

“Well, we could walk together…don’t worry, Jerks don’t always bite.” He said and I smiled a little. He started to walk.

“But can be a complete asshole.” I said as I my feet started to walk.

“You and your words Miss Avis...” He said looking back at me.

“I guess you’re totally okay now.” He said with a smile. A concerned smile?

“I’m always okay. Sometimes I just need to let it out.” I said looking away from him and I felt him smile and when I looked back, I saw a small smile on his lips as he looks forward. His pinkish red lips.

‘I guess the whole situation last Sunday is something that I can thank for…the kiss is not so bothering me anymore. I dream about his eyes though….’

Then, suddenly he turned to me and I immediately took back my look—and to all inappropriate time, I blushed now.

“Did I just make you blush?” He said smug evident in his voice. And I hate it.

“Whatever.” I said looking away from him.

“After how many decades I made you blush…the feisty Jadyn blushed. And it’s because of me? I must be dreaming.” He sarcastically teased.

“Shut up.” I shot back at him and he chuckled.

Then his chuckle died out all of a sudden making me look up and I saw Sir vex is walking opposite to our direction, he looks naïve and staring at me accusingly—of what? And then, I looked at Professor Hanely. His face is stern and impassive, stare so cold that even I can sense it. I felt the heavy tension as we walked pass by each other and was relieved when he was now gone at sight.

“Creep.” I heard him mumble and I looked at him. And I can see a stern and mad Professor Hanely.

“It’s over. I can live with that and heal my Pride.” I said trying to distract him. I’m not really used to see him like that. And I succeed. He looked at me with a closed-lip smile.

“Take your time Feisty.” He said.

“Stop calling me feisty…it’s not my name.” I said and he grins.

“It’s my nickname for you.” He said, smiling and it is just so contagious that it made me smile too.

“The nickname sucks.” I retorted.

“But I think it’s cool…it’s so you.” He said.

’What so me? The feisty? Or…the ‘it sucks’ one? —Oh you! Jerk!’

But before I can even react a voice came out of nowhere.

“Jadyn!” He called and I turned to see. It’s Sef.

“It’s nice to spot you here; we’ll have a meeting now.” He said as he approaches us.

“Good afternoon Sir.” He acknowledges Sir Kent and he nods.

“Uhm as in now?” I asked.

‘Well, I still need to answer back this jerk.’

“Yup. Mrs. Kittles orders.” He said and I sighed. I felt him smiled at that and I glared at him through my lashes before turning to Sef and I saw him repressing his smile—amusement, I guess.

“Okay, let’s go.” I said.

“Bye Sir.” We chorused and started to walk away from him but a distance away I looked back at him.

“I’ll get back at you!” I mouthed at him and he smiled.

“I’ll just be around…Feisty.” He mouthed back at him and silently chuckled. And then he turned and waved a goodbye over his shoulder as he walks away while I straighten myself up.

And then I saw the handkerchief still in my hands then remembered how he held me in his arms and how he comforted me and how I felt so secured in his arms—like I’ve never felt it before.

‘I’m glad it’s over. I’m over with it. Thanks to Professor Hanely I guess. *Sigh. * You’ll never know who is who until you thoroughly knew him.’

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