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Last Year of Seventeen

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Haven't we all heard this story before? A boy. A girl. A bet. He's too rich. She's too smart. Then what makes it different? The beginning? The middle? The end? No. Not even close. Even now, I don't know. But it's high school, everything's uncertain. A bullet dodged or eternal pining. Let me give you a little warning-- Happy endings rarely happen, On the last year of seventeen.

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“Do you wanna make a bet?”

Theo finishes his cigarette. It was his second stick and yet he reached for my pack to start another one. He has been in a sour mood the whole morning. And I can only guess it was that August girl.

“That August girl–”

And I was right.

“–how can she be so infuriating?”

I didn’t want to start another conversation about her, but I asked him anyway, “Why? What did she do this time?”

“Didn’t you see how she looked at us in the parking lot earlier?”

I didn’t.

“She walks around here like she owns the place when technically she never even paid a cent to get in.”

“That’s what being a scholar is.” I huffed the last of my cigarette and felt my pockets for gum. “It’s not her fault she’s smart.”

Theo only rolled his eyes. He’s a fucking bully. Always had been. Ever since we were kids, he’d find someone whose life he’d make a living hell. I am his friend yet I know this. That would make me a terrible one I guess. But I don’t care enough about anyone here to stop him. And the more time he spends bothering them, the less he spends bothering me.

“It’s our parents’ money that got her here. She should forfeit the audacity to condescend us.”

If anything– I wanted to say, we’re the ones condescending her.

For years, Theo mostly spent his school life torturing other students until they crack. Some transferred, some left for another country, others just completely gave up on socialization and opted home-schooling. This is the first time someone really grinded his gears. He has tried to shame August ever since freshman years. Saying she didn’t belong here or that she was a trash parasite. But the girl wouldn’t budge. She would only look at him with such patronizing eyes, with such pity that the shame rounds back to him.

He has never physically hurt her, but his treatment towards her has gotten worse. He spends days thinking of ways to make it difficult for her. The worst one yet was when he threw her bike at the river. It was her only mode of transportation. She spent hours looking all over for it and Theo laughed so hard she kind of figured out she’ll never see that bike again. Still, she paid him zero attention and that really pissed him off. He taunted her about it for days and only stopped when she turned to him just to say,

“No. I’m not angry Mr. Brandiles in contrary to the belief you’ve been parading the past three days. I just don’t think you’re worth any of my time. In fact, this is the longest one I’ll ever spend with you.”

I could have sworn I saw him smile. Sometimes I think he might actually like her for dedicating this much time to make her notice him. Sometimes, it’s already bordering obsession.

“So do you wanna make a bet?” He asked again.


I wanted to take it back. But I’ve gotten so resigned to his every whims that it has become my automatic response.

“I want you to humble that Ice Bitch down.”

That got me a bit confused and he read my face easily.

“Are you still with Pam?”

“Which Pam?”

“From Holy Bernadette?”

I laughed, “That ended a while back, didn’t I tell you? Maybe you meant Pam from Trinity?”

“Yeah, sure that one.”

“That ended too.”

“You are a whore. Which is perfect for my plans.”

Now I know where this is going. I might do it of course, not for anything but because I’ve got nothing better to do.

“You make the bitch made of ice fall in love with you. Not impossible, I guess–”

I shrugged. She could be a tough act.

“–then you break her heart. Publicly. I want everyone to see her fall. If you’re successful, I will give you a hundred grand. If not, you give me Philip.”

What does he think of me?

As if I don’t already have that money in my bank. And Philip’s a Thoroughbred. Spoilt to the brim. He has his own therapist, own blacksmith and a dedicated Equine Veterinarian tuned to all of his needs. Heck, he drinks the 1907 Heidsieck in a marble trough.

A hundred grand is not even a penny for Philip and Theo knows that.

“I think August is a hard shell to open. You’re lowballing me with just a hundred grand. I also won’t wager my horse. He’s worth more than even you.”

“So what do you propose my friend?”

I thought for a while. What do I even want from him? To be honest, I’d probably do this for free because I’m bored. But my father often says never do anything you are good at for free.

“Make it two hundred grand. And I want your yacht.”

He looked as if he would say no but then thought better of it. What’s two hundred grand for the youngest and only son of a business tycoon who owns lands and properties in every inch of the world? As for the yacht, well he can always buy a new one.

“And what do I get if you fail?”

That was a hard question. He’s a spoiled thing who already has everything. Well, maybe not everything.

“I’ll be the best wingman you’ll ever have. You’ll have a girlfriend before the year ends.”

The bet is stupid, childish and shallow. I only really said that because I thought we were joking. But Theo took the deal. I didn’t care because August is just another girl. And Theo, well, he doesn’t care about the money or the yacht or even Philip. Theo really just wants to see the Ice Bitch burn.

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