Chapter 2

Jules was wide awake.

He pulled an all-nighter just like last night, rewatching his favorite scenes from Attack on Titans.

He was in his Math class just like yesterday, but this time he was wide awake. Why?

Venus Chambers.

She was three rows beside him, with her legs on her table and her chair tilting back. Mrs. Rinehart was talking but her words washed over him like water. Why?

Venus Chambers.

She was three rows beside him, three different bodies blocked her from him but he could still see her. Hear her.

"Petunia?" Venus was speaking. Even though he wasn't looking, he knew. Even though she had only just said two words to him the other day, the second she spoke he knew it was her.

Her voice wasn't loud but the class immediately shushed.

"Who's Petunia?"Jules heard from behind him. Then, absentmindedly, he thought to himself, who was Petunia?

"Yes, Venus?"

The class was already silent but if silence had levels then it dropped even lower to subzero. Why?

Because Mrs. Rinehart, his math teacher was Petunia.

"That's wrong." Venus was still talking. Jules turned to look at her. He didn't feel awkward, all eyes were already on her anyways. Venus said some more, pointing at the board, her sentence using quintic, triangle and quartic in it. His head hurt just from hearing it. His head started to hurt even more because of what had happened after—

Petunia smiled and walked over to Venus with her notebook , "show me exactly what's wrong."

In a second, he replayed her words, taking them apart before coupling it back together. But still, it felt wrong.

Why? Because teachers didn't like to be corrected. 

More specifically, Petunia didn't like to be corrected. Petunia had once given Know-it-all-Sally detention for interrupting her class to tell her she spelt Pythagoras theorem wrong. So why was the same Petunia smiling down at Venus as she dissected her work?

How did Venus—who just moved here—even know her name was Petunia when Jules who had been here his entire life didn't. Why was she calling Mrs. Rinehart by her first name? More importantly why wasn't Petunia chewing her out?

The questions kept on piling.

Murmurs broke out, their words buzzed around Jules. But he only had ears for one.

"Really, to think that the textbook is wrong."

"...okay, I'll change it just like you said."

"...thank you, Venus."

Venus's voice was so small that he couldn't catch her words but he heard the other half of the conversation. Petunia's half.

Jules thought it was a one-time thing but that's how all of his classes were.


"You forgot the latent heat, Dan."

"Oh, thanks, Venus."


"It's pronounced [pan-kres-tuh n] Mark."

"Slip of tongue, thanks, Venus."

All of his classes except one that it is.




"Hello, Ken?"

Three things popped into his head as Venus kept calling the teacher.

One: Mr. Kennedy Alston was his favourite teacher. 

Two: Biology was his least hated class. 

Three: Venus was beginning to annoy the hell out of him.

Mr. Alston finally tore his eyes from the board to look at her. While he looked calm, Jules noticed the way he clenched his pen. "Miss Chambers, I'm pretty sure I introduced myself as Mr. Alston, meaning that is what you should refer to me as."

Venus cleared her throat.

He hated her.

"Ken, I just wanted to tell you that tussie-mussie is a small bunch of flowers or herbs."

"Miss Chambers, kindly leave my class."

"But Ken..."

"Right now, Miss Chambers!"

When she pushed her chair back all, he could hear was metal against metal.

He really hated her.

She didn't say anything as she walked out.

She was just...just.

Mr. Alston called the class to order, but it was near impossible. This was probably the most entertaining thing that has happened since the Jules's incident and the class still buzzing.

"What's wrong with her?"

"She's such a drama queen."

"She's so annoying."

"Like ew, who the fuck bleaches their hair that color and leaves the house?"

"Dude! She's dead sexy. I heard she calls all the teachers by their first names."


"Yeah, and they don't care."

"No way!"

"...she's so cool."

"Bitch much..."

Their words were still resonating when Venus came back...with the principal. Mr Alston excused himself and met them head on outside.

"Oh wow, she came back with Mr. Hinata."

"I wonder what they are talking about."

"I can't believe she would go to the principal when she's the one at fault."

"Shut up! I can lip read."

From the small window in the door, everyone could see them. Venus and Mr. Hinata's back faced them but Mr Alston face was still visible.

"Hurry quick! What's Mr Alston saying to Venus? He's holding her hand."

Jules was no lip-reader but even he could understand the soundless words.

I'm sorry, Venus.


"He's apologizing? No way, I thought you said you could lip read Alex."

"Really that's what he said—shit, quiet they are coming..."

Mr Alston entered the class with Venus in tow, everyone watched silently as Venus took her seat, curled up on her table...and went to sleep.

Just like that.

Mr Alston went on with his class like nothing happened. Like Venus Chambers wasn't snoring.

Damn, he hated her.


"This makes it two times that you have decided to grace me with your wonderful presence and yet again because of my sister," David said when Jules cornered him after class. 

Jules paid no mind to his tone. Just answer the question.

What is Venus' story?

David sighed. "I don't know what you want me to say J, Venus' dad passed away when she was a kid to cancer and since then it's been her and her mom...she's just an oddball and she's trouble, you know you should steer clear."

Isn't that your sister you are talking about?

"Why?" Jules swallowed. Why is she so devastating?

Everything she did pissed him off so why did he feel like offering her his bleeding heart?

"Why does she act like an I-know-it-all and, why do all of the teachers let her." Jules said instead. 

"You picked up on that, huh? What am I saying, of course, you did." David laughed. "Venus acts like a know it all because she is. She has an IQ of roughly 197 or around that number."

His eyebrows flew up. "Crazy, huh? I'm not kidding I've known her for months now, and there isn't a question that I've thrown at her that she hasn't answered yet. Dad says she's a walking talking encyclopedia—wait, here she comes! I'll show you." 

Just as David finished that sentence she arrived right next to him. "Venus, what's the population of Moscow?" Jules couldn't make out exactly what emotion was splaying on her face. 

"12.19 million." Her answer was fast and clipped. Like David asked what was the color of the sky— blue, obviously.

"What's the capital of Pakistan?"


"What's the square root of 349,824,390?"


"See?" David laughed again, "I'm not making this shit up!"

Jules finally realised the emotion on Venus's face, and a second later, she grabbed David's shirt and pulled him off to a corner. Anger.

He watched as they started arguing and after a few moments, Venus reared her fist back and slammed it into David's face. Funny enough the force sent her spiralling back, rather than David who just cupped his jaw glaring at her.

Venus caught herself in the last second and barked out one last warning to David. With a flick of her finger, she turned and marched towards...Jules.

Jules stood stock still. It was like he was transported into the animal documentary that he watched three nights ago. That second where the prey arches its ear forward sensing danger, but it's too late. The predator has already pounced.

Venus grabbed his shirt like she did David's balling it up in her fist, she pulled him down so their eyes were leveled.

There was nowhere to look but her eyes, her washed up blues so Jules succumbed to the whirlpool that was Venus. He was trapped in the intensity of her gaze, of anger. He didn't know how long they stood there. His neck was beginning to ache, but he couldn't look away. Her eyes reminded of a tornado he was able to witness. The violent air, whirling around sucking everything in its vicinity, including the air in his lungs. He had been a good distance away from it but for all Jules knew he was at the centre. There had been people running past him and he stood paralysed, unable to hear, to move, to breathe. That's what he felt then, and right now.

He was trapped in the eye of hurricane Venus.

Time managed to move again and the shock waves lessened. She must have felt her eyes had said everything for her.

I hate you.

Stay away from me.

Why are you so sad?

She released his shirt silently with a push that was supposed to send him spiraling back, but he didn't budge. It was Venus who took the tumble, just like last time, but this time she couldn't catch herself.

He didn't remember moving, but suddenly Venus was in his arms probably saving her from a concussion, and a number of thoughts pulsed through his head.

His arms were built for her. Whatever he had been using them for before now was a waste of potential, because his arms—from his shoulder down to his pinkie was carved, molded to hold Venus Chambers.

Why was she so light though? He didn't see himself as an overly strong guy, he was never one to stop himself from complaining loudly about his mom's weight anytime she tried to jump on his back—which was frequently. So, Jules knew what heavy felt like. He pulled her body upward. She was so light that he could forget he was holding her.

He was still standing there holding her. Was he crazy for wanting this moment to last forever?

This was Venus Chambers.

The girl with pale hair, paler skin and red lips. Venus from Jersey. Venus the step sister. The know-it-all with the high IQ. 

He hated her, but he didn't. Looking at Venus then, her eyes closed, the bags under her eyes were a crystalline of purples and blues—his hand itched to take them away, to paint them. The pallor of her skin was a canvas for the blue veins underneath to shine. Her lips were red...too red. Jules adjusted her in his arms and brought his thumb to her mouth, the second it made contact her eyes fluttered open, ensnaring him once again.

He froze. What was he doing? He had wanted to wipe it off. Wipe off the red, her lipstick. 

Her mouth was warm, so soft. "It's so quiet."

Her words were soft, so soft he barely caught it. Quiet? He could hear noise coming from the classroom right beside him. Damn, even his heart was beating so loudly that he was sure she could hear it. Venus raised her hand, and he watched frozen as it came in contact with his face and rested there. Her small, dainty 


"It's always quiet when I'm with you. I like that." She smiled then, the first one he had seen.

And then the ground opened up underneath him and he fell. 

Boy, did he fall. 


David was nowhere to be seen. Sometime between Venus's nearly cracking her head on the concrete and the next second David had walked off.

Where was he supposed to take her? The nurse's office or home?

"Don't take me there."

She was still looking at him and his heart was still doing weird flips. How did she know what he was thinking about?

"I don't have to be a mind reader to know what you're thinking." Venus said with a conspiratorial smile, "I can read your expression. Don't take me to the clinic."

"Then where?"

"I'll direct you."

He weaved through Oak High with Venus's voice as a guide. It was like he was the new student and she was the veteran. The spot they arrived was all too new to Jules, outside the school on the field. Behind the bleachers was a patch of grass that was made to be someone's hangout.

It was Venus' hangout.

By the time they reached the field, Venus seemed better. Her pallor had cleared and she looked like she could stand again without collapsing again. The only problem was that he didn't want to let go.

He could hear her heart right next to his. They were beating together. He didn't want to let her go.

Venus. Venus. Venus.

The way she looked at him made him want to hold her forever.

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