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Chapter 12

"Bro, are you serious with that goldfish?" Brandon just couldn't believe that his friend was serious about Merida.

"Dude, I am," Jacob answered and swiftly turn to get a drink.

Brandon shakes his head. No, he's not convinced that Jacob has a thing for Merida. "What makes you into her?"

Jacob frowned making deep furrows in his brow. He looks at Brandon with a look that indicates he is annoyed.

"Bro, do I really need a reason to like someone?"

"Yes, bro! You can't just like a person because you feel like you like her! What about Elise? What if she comes back all a sudden and—"

"Elise is not coming back, Brandon! She made her choice," Jacob fires at his friend, tossing his head to the side. "Don't mention that name again!"

They were in silence for few minutes until Brandon broke it off.

"I'm going home. It's kind of getting late," Brandon stated, frowning at him. It was time for him to leave Jacob alone.

"You know you're just seeing her in Merida," Brandon uttered before he went out of Jacob's game room.

Jacob crumpled his plastic cup and throw it away. He facepalmed, thinking about what Brandon told him. No, he knows the difference between grief and liking somebody. Elise might have his heart but he moved on. She's not coming back anyway, he thought.

•••

Brandon was driving when he saw someone at the side of the street. A lady wearing a dress, giving food to the street kids. He was curious so he pulled over and saw it was Merida.

"Was she an orphan?" He asked himself but then he remembered meeting Mrs Hollyn. He couldn't just keep watching so he went out of his car and approached Merida and the dirty kids.

"Are they your family? You stink like them."

Merida immediately raised her head and saw one of the bullies in school. She smiled at the kid, "You go back there and eat well."

The kid then went running to the other kids. She got off her knees and stands up to face Brandon. Her face showing she didn't like his presence at all.

"What are you doing here?" Merida asked, completely ignoring his first insulting question.

"Well, I was walking around and—"

"People like you are too lazy to be walking on streets like this. Don't play nonsense with me," Merida said with a straight face.

"So you decided to be brave?" He scoffed, moving closer to Merida.

"No, I'm just saying."

Brandon stared at Merida, the corner of his mouth curved up. This girl in front of him doesn't seem like the Merida who Candice and her chicks bullies, this one was better and proud. It made him smirk and back off.

"Did you stood Jacob like this? Because if you did, that's maybe why he resembled you to Elise."

Merida frowned.

Brandon can read what that meant. She doesn't know about Elise. It made his smirk grow to a full evil grin.

"Oh well, whoever she is, I don't care. I hope you have a nice walk on this street." Merida turned her back on him and started walking away.

No, he doesn't agree that she walks away like that. So, he out of nowhere catches up to Merida and held her hand.

"Let go of me!" Merida yells trying to shove away Brandon's hand.

"I'll walk you home."

That surprised her.

"What?"

Brandon let go and looks the other way.

"I said, I'll walk your ugly ass home."

Merida glared. This guy must have something bad upon his sleeves. "No, thank you. I can manage," she scorned and continues to walk away.

Brandon released a sharp breath and tossed his head back and forth. He strode to catch up with her tiny legs.

Annoyed, is what the look on Merida's face was. This was just like how Jacob started to follow her. Birds with the same feather flocks together. Oh well, she thought as she stops walking and turned to Brandon.

"Why are you still here?" She asked.

Brandon was mesmerized at the sudden turn Merida did, that made her hair bounce in the air. His lips slightly gaped for some reason and scoffed at his reaction. Shit!

"Hey!" Merida yelled, snapping her fingers in front of Brandon.

Brandon caught her arm and put it down. "I told you, I'm walking you home."

Merida didn't argue any more. She just let him follow her way home. It feels nice walking with someone, it makes you feel safe. The only thing not nice is it's one of her bullies. But Brandon wasn't as bad as the others. And she knows so.

Merida and Brandon first knew each other when enrolling to kindergarten. Brandon didn't want to sit beside Merida and calls her ugly. Then in middle school, he started bullying her. He would put a dead frog or some insects inside her bag on the first few years and then when they were a little older he would push her on their halls, laugh at her and pull some really bad pranks on her.

But Brandon wasn't all that bad. When he and his friends spill water on Merida's favourite notebook, he'd secretly get her another one. If they steal her pen in the morning, then at the end of the day he'll put it back in her bag. That's Brandon, he secretly adored Merida since before.

What a shame, tonight, it seems like he's still really into her. That's why he asked Jacob about those things. Brandon secretly still cares for Merida somehow.

"How is Mrs Hollyn doing?" Brandon asked all of a sudden.

"The usual. It's just... she's a little lonely sometimes," she answered. "Why talk to me all of a sudden?"

"Why not? Can't I talk to you because you're in a relationship with my best friend?"

Merida raised her brow. She thought about it and her eyes widened. "Wait! Are you going to say that I should stay away from Jacob because ... you like him? You're gay?"

That made Brandon's jaw dropped. What on the heavens is this girl talking about? How could she think like that? Brandon felt attacked and insulted.

"The hell! You're really stupid!" He yelled and shake his head.

Merida laughed softly at the way Brandon reacted. "Gosh! You call me stupid yet you're in the lower section! You're just good at bullying!"

He raised a brow and sneered at her. "Hey, I stopped bullying the ish out of you! You should be thankful."

Merida just made a face.

"Why do you still care so much about those street children?" Brandon suddenly changes their subject.

"Hmm... because my father told me to share my blessings. And those children, they make me feel happy. My human nature."

"Pfft!" That escaped from Brandon's mouth. He was holding a chuckle. "I'm sorry," he apologized, trying not to laugh at how dramatic Merida sounds.

"Tch!" She scorned at him.

They fell silent again, enjoying each other's presence. Brandon never really thought that he'd actually get to walk Merida home. It made him somewhat happy.

"So uhm, here's my stop," Merida said when they were in front of her house.

"Yeah... well, have a good night." Brandon flashed her a smile and walked away.

Brandon was almost out of the block when Merida shouts his name.

"Brandon!"

It made him look back.

"I knew it was you! You gave me those paints and I still have them! Thank you!" Merida yelled, waving her hand up in the air.

Brandon waved back, grinning at how she acted and continues to walk away. Yep, that's Merida Love Hollyn, she sees the beautiful side of people but she doesn't see hers.

He continues to get lost with his thoughts not aware that Leo was following him from behind.

"Happy huh?"

Brandon stopped walking and immediately turned around. His happy mood suddenly dropped and replaced with a blank expression. "Were you following the ish outta me?"

Leo mockingly laughs at Brandon. "Why the heck would I follow you?" Then he shakes his head. "Geez, man!"

"Then why the fudge are you here?" Brandon wasn't playing this time. It's all written on his face. He's pissed at this guy.

"Chill! I am not telling your best friend that you like his girl." Leo flashed a big evil grin.

"The fuck are you talking about?" His face was throbbing with madness. This guy is playing games on him. "I don't like that ugly girl!"

"Oh, you do, bro. You obviously like her," Leo insisted still keeping that grin. "Don't worry though, you're not the only one who likes her. I like her too if that makes it fair."

Brandon was surprised at that sudden confession Leo just told him. This asshole, was he serious?

"Why the hell are you telling me this? Maybe you just want Jacob and me to end up like you and him."

Leo's grin went away.

"Jacob was stupid and you know that. You know that Elise loves me. I never liked that bitch but whatever. He had a choice which side to believe in." Leo sighed and walked ahead of Brandon. "You could've had her if you had just stood up for her before Jacob did."

"Then what about you? You said you like her!"

Leo stopped walking.

"Yeah, I know I said so and I mean it."

Brandon froze right there. He's so damn confused now. What he should do is stop liking Merida No! He should find out if Jacob really likes Merida. That's what he should find out first.

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