“Remember to take your studies seriously, kiddos. Don't spend your days in this school dating yourselves. Especially you, seniors,” the principal announced through the loudspeakers, to the murmuring of the students. “High school is all fun and games until heartbreak takes the stage!”
“What the?” Michael smiled as he overheard two guys grumble while passing by him. “Why are you so bothered? Have you ever dated anyone?” the taller guy teased. “Fuck you, Bryce,” shorty returned with a meowish voice. “Aww, you're so cute when you keep your face like that,” Bryce(?) teased even more, making shorty walk faster.
Stop eavesdropping, Michael. He zoomed his ears off their hearty conversation. Why are they so cheesy? he thought with a smile that may have burst into a chuckle but palmed his face immediately after. Stop eavesdropping. But it wasn't his fault, was it? I mean, they were both ten feet away from Michael when the last statement was made by Bryce or whoever; they were loud. Michael shrugged these thoughts off with a smile, walking his way over to the administration building.
Imagine being unknown in a grade of two hundred peeps, but then being placed as their treasurer. Imagine not being able to handle money carefully, but still being given this job? No, no, no. Michael was determined to turn it down, so he marched to the ASB* office to file a complaint for the seventh time. Why were they refusing to let go of him?
*ASB = Associated Student Body.
When he got there, he saw some students register for, and collect their AP* instructional materials. Damn, he forgot about this. It was AP Collation Week, and Michael couldn't let this slip out of his fingertips. Oh well, he could come again tomorrow, he thought. So, he went to the desk at the western end of the office, which no one stood in front of. “Oh boy, you're here again?” the girl behind the desk drove daggers into him, with her eyes. “Sorry, but I just can't do this. I told you this has to be solved by the student president herself.” It was obvious, the way she rolled her eyes, that she wanted no more of the conversation.
*AP = Advanced Placement.
“I know,” a determined Michael replied, “but when can I see her?” He looked around. “This is the second time I'm here.” Yes, seven was an overstatement. Or rather, he had emailed five times, and got only one reply, to visit the ASB office. “You just have to wait behind a little,” Ms. Secretary insisted, so he gave up with a deep-inhale sigh. “Uhm… just a few minutes?” he asked, but she only nodded, saying nothing else.
A few minutes passed, and she still wasn't there. Thank goodness he did not have any classes for the first period, which began at 8:30, and ran through to 9:25. After that, the passing period would last for eight minutes, for students to prepare for their next class, starting at 9:33. He was to attend Geography class during that period, and time was flying a little bit too fast. And then...
“I've been waiting for thirty minutes, Tricia.” Ms. Secretary just ignored him. He was on his own now. Then the silence broke when the student president finally walked in. Michael wasted no time approaching her, especially with the awkward air surrounding him and Tricia. “Good morning, *SP,” Michael greeted warmly. “Hey, morning,” she smiled at him, “uhmm,” almost forgetting his name, “yeah, Miguel, right?” Of course, miss. “Yes…?” The air around here was heated up too. Or was it that the air around the ASB office in general felt this way?
*SP = Student President.
“Okay, I perceive you need help with a bit of something?” she asked. “Yeah, ma,” Mike nodded. “Jeez,” she chuckled, taking her seat. “Just call me Ivana.” Michael smiled, though uncomfortably. He was definitely not used to exchanging conversations with people other than family and friends, so he formed a fake faint smile. “Yeah… Ivana.” “I assume you are the vice president of the Class of ‘27. Am I right?” She did not know him after all. “Class of ‘27 it is, but I am the treasurer.” Probably not feeling good that she could not identify who her subordinates were, though being the student president, she simpered. “Oh, I forgot, Mike.”
“It's not a problem,” he responded, avoiding her name, so he wouldn't sound weird. “I tend to forget people's faces as well too.” To clear the atmosphere, Ivana came up with a sorta lame joke. “Sounds like prosopagnosia to me,” she jested. He joined her in tittering until they both got their minds made up to get on with it. “Okay, how may I help you, Miguel?” Ivana popped the question. “But before that, please take a seat already,” she smiled, a little bit too casually. He did, breathed in and out, ready to lay his complaint. “I was wondering… why must I be the treasurer of my homeroom?” Michael was not so sure of Ivana's response. “Uhmm, you see, Miguel,” she heaved a sigh. “Being a class captain or holding any position in your grade is based on requirements. At least, in this school.”
“You're missing my point,” Mike cut in. “I was trying to say I don't want any position. I don't think I am carved out for such responsibility.” Ivana shook her head, placing both elbows on the desk. “And I think you should take it as it is, Miguel,” she replied, “you deserve to be someone with responsibilities. A good guy like you; well mannered and kept.” “I know. I know, but—” “—but what?” Ivana interjected. “Have you been given a position in your previous high school grades?” “No, but—” “—you don't know what this means, do you?” She interposed once again. “I… I know it's a good thing, appearing in my portfolio and all that. But I have good grades already, so it's a bit unnecessary.”
“It is not, Miguel.” “And why do you say so?” Mike inquired. “See, you got a position in our treasury, because of nearly perfect grades, not just good ones; unlike the presidents and vice presidents, who get elected.” Michael had no choice but to listen to what she had to say. “You got appointed, not elected. Now, put your CGPA to work, and you would have fun doing so, I assure you.” Hey, she was making sense, wasn't she? It seemed like he had to lay down on this cliche procrustean bed which lies that only brainy individuals deserve such strategic positions in society. But her speech sounded like fun, and he wanted to try it out, with the help of his friends (especially Erin). “Yeah, thank you, Ivana.” It was time to go, so he stood up, extending his right lower arm over the desk, at her, to shake her palm. She returned the handshake with a pretty, warm smile. “You're welcome, Mike. Reach out to me anytime you have a further problem about it.”
“You know, a part of me wishes that doesn't happen anytime soon,” Mikey put on a smiley face, causing Ivana to almost burst into a belly laugh. “Just reach out to me anytime you feel like it. Preferably via social media.” The student body's president's social media handles were known by almost eighty-five percent of Gilroy High. Yes, including Michael and friends. “I will, Ivana.” A part of him was surprised at how he said her name without discomfort. The school bell chimed and fortunately cut the conversation. “I think it's time to go,” he said and waved her goodbye. “Talk to you later,” she said, while he searched with his eyes around, for Tricia. It turned out she had left her desk a while ago.
“Aren't you glad?” Erin asked her friend. “I am,” Michael replied. “This wouldn't have happened, definitely, if I hadn't completed my community service for last year though.” All Gilroy High students needed to complete their service to the community before the end of junior year, according to the prorated five hours per year quarter. Not participating meant being ineligible for prom, homecoming, and other school programs, as a senior, which is shameful because juniors would be able to attend these events but you as a senior would not be allowed entrance. There was no way Michael's friends would have wanted him skipping the Winter Ball over such a minor requirement.
“It's about damn time we start preparing for the ball, Mikey,” Erin smirked, as she grabbed the video game console off Michael's television countertop. “You're crushing hard on that guy, Erin,” Mike chuckled. “Shouldn't you tell him or something?” “A big NO,” she objected. “I'd rather stay this way for the rest of my life.” Mike chortled this time, his index finger pointed at her. “You mean single?” “Hell no,” she threw a joystick at him. “But you know, it's just so tiring when I have to be around Gianna, shooting the breeze with his friends, while his eyes don't even lock with mine for five seconds.”
“You know, three secs are enough to prove that he's got his eyes on you too,” Michael gave her an encouraging smile. “I know, but I think he's interested in Gianna, and I don't wanna be a bad egg to our childhood friend, you know?” she implied. “Is Gianna into him, as you're tryna say?” Mike asked, obviously doubting. “I don't know for sure, Mikey,” she shrugged. “Then I guess I have to ask her,” Michael put on his signature smiley face but ended up getting hit on the shoulder by Erin. “Don't you dare,” she laughed. “I wouldn't make it so obvious, Erin. You really have to know about her perspective.” Taking some seconds to think, Erin finally concluded with a “yeah, that's right,” before changing topics. “How about we get on with Mortal Kombat?”
It happened that Gianna found him cool to be with, but was not interested in him. She only saw him as a “fellow dude,” and loved to call him that. This was a relief for Erin, but it did not mean she could boldly walk up to his face and tell him she had been crushing on him since that day in Long Beach during the just concluded summer.
“Uhmm, y'all,” Michael called for attention from his friends. It was a Saturday evening, and they were cramped up in the bedroom of their athletic but introverted friend, Manuel, chitchatting as usual. “While we're on the issue of what Gianna thinks of him, I think we should talk about mine as well.” “What's yours?” Knock asked, quite interested in this topic. “You've got any boy in mind?” They all chuckled. Yes, Michael was gay, and so was Knock. “Oh, please,” Mike rolled his eyes. “I haven't seen him before, though. No, I think I have, but I can't remember.”
“Don't beat around the bush, Miggy,” Knock rolled his eyes too. “Who's the guy?” At this point, everyone had their eyes glued on Mike. “Okay, okay,” he inhaled and exhaled, “his name is, uhmm… Adrian Hunter. Or was it Hurter?” This made everyone giggle. “Okay, H-o-r-t-a, Horta, yeah.” Gianna slapped her palms. “Hey, he's that guy from the wrestling team, isn't he?” “I think something like that was mentioned on his profile, but I don't remember what exactly,” Michael shrugged. “Where did you meet him?” Knock asked. “Yeah,” Erin seconded, “and why didn't you tell me earlier?” A scowl was on her face, though not as serious as one of the hyenas in The Lion King. “Maybe he wanted to discuss it with us all,” Manuel cut in. He rarely said much, but when he did speak, everyone listened carefully. “Yeah,” Michael fist-bumped him, then began his story.
“Erin, y'all, it happened yesterday. Went to clear out my schedule for the week, and I came across our sophomore yearbook. Can you believe we were 251 in number at the end of the academic year?” “What's so big about that?” Erin asked, a smirk on her face. “I was thinking we'd be up to 440, honestly,” Knock shrugged. “Yeah, we are so many at school,” Gianna concluded. “Yeah,” Manuel seconded, dipping his hand inside Knock's cup of popcorn. “Don't touch it, thief!” They all laughed and let the air die down before Mike could continue his story. “Okay, so, in the yearbook—” “—hold on,” Manuel interjected. “I think I've got the yearbook in my drawer.” He stood up to go search. “That stuff is so expensive, at $120. I didn't get it,” Knock scoffed. “Or your parents would say it's too expensive?” Erin smirked. She was good at this facial expression. “We all know your parents don't really like to spend money, except when it is about your Thai or other Asian cuisines,” Gianna, almost bluntly, said. “Blah blah blah,” Knock rolled his eyes. “C'mon, Erin, Gianna, that's not fair,” Mike chuckled. Manuel then came back with the yearbook, dropping it in the center.
“I wasn't sure about his name, so I'm going to search and show you all.” He opened it and found the guy's pic. “Here he is.” And almost immediately, they fixated their gaze on the cutout. Turned out that Michael had gotten his name right. ADRIAN HORTA. “He's the one I was talking about,” Gianna confirmed, “it's the wrestling champ.” “He looks delicious,” Knock said, gazing and chewing on his popcorn. “Thief,” Manuel replied, and everyone jeered at Knock, seeing the trick had been played. But Michael's gaze was on Adrian all the while.
“My problem is what got me attracted to him, of all people in this book,” Mike soliloquized, but everyone heard him. “That's what we are also wondering,” Manuel agreed. “Speak for yourself, man,” Knock got back at him, making the girls chuckle at their battle. “What?” Manuel shrugged. After some eight seconds of silence, Erin inquired, “why has he gotten your eyes so glued to the book?” “I don't know, and I wanna find out,” Mike replied, red flushing over his cheeks; and so visible that Gianna calls it out. “Awnn… we can see you blush. This is love at first sight. Want me to link you up?”
“What if he's not gay?” Michael replied. “But what if he's bi?” Knock opposed; Erin, Gianna, and Manuel backing him up. “I just don't want to see him one-on-one yet. Just from a distance. But I think we've had an encounter before, though I can't remember.” “Let's wait and see what would happen in the following months, then,” Erin shrugged. “It would be fun, seeing you blush all day, you know.” “Oh, just shush it.”
Merci pour la lecture!
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