Seven: Pizza

Barb stared intently at me, not saying anything. We were seated in the school library, studying together. But, obviously, how would I study with a person like her? She was a great distraction to me. 

"What?" I waggled an eyebrow at her, pressed my lips against each other. 

She batted her eyelashes, a weird smile on her lips. "Behind you," she whispered. 

I rolled my eyes. The drama Queen was back. 

"You've got a test. You know that, right?" I said. 

She dropped her elbow on the table, cupped her jaw in her palm. "Yeah. I know. Don't tell me what I hate."

"Okay." I returned to studying. 

"Hey, Renee?" That voice startled me. Oh, no, no! Not again!

I shut my eyes, ready to see the dude who had been stalking me. 

"Hey," I returned his greeting as soon as he sat on the chair beside me. 

"Okay, guys." Bella sprung from her seat, packing her textbooks into her backpack. She grinned, giving me that teasing look. "I'll leave you both here. I wanna—"

"No, no." I chuckled nervously. "It's fine to stay here. Besides, we've—"

"Bye." She wore her backpack, turned around to take her leave. 

I bit my lip. I guessed I'd just have to be alone with him. Again. 

"You need something?" I wore a fake smile when I turned to him. 

He shook his head. "Um, will you be working at the club tonight?"

"My biz," I answered. 

"You don't always have to be harsh, huh?" He smiled. Why was he never angry? Irrespective of how I tried to get on his nerves, he'd just smile like a… cow. 

I scoffed. "You wanna ask for a hookup, right? Wait, are you not gonna give up on that?"

"Do you like pizza?" He diverted from our discussion. Jeez. 

"Um, yeah?" I replied in more like a question. 

"When I was younger, I hated it." He leaned his back against his chair, crossed his leg over the other. "And then, my mom would ask me what type of child I was."

I felt the need to shut him up, but that'd seem rude. I had a test in two weeks, so I had to study. But, here he was, telling me a boring story. 

He moved his eyes to me, tucked his tongue in his cheek. "Do you mind getting pizza with me? Pizza reminds me of my mom. I haven't seen her in two years."


Woah, he hadn't seen her in two years? That was a long time. I knew how that felt, because I also hadn't ever seen my dad. 

"Is she… dead?" I debated with myself before asking that. 

The corner of his lips formed a small smile, then he shook his head. The cheerfulness in his eyes reduced, and I couldn't tell why. 

"Nope. She just has to be away. It's good for her," he said. 

Sensing the way he was talking calmly, I began to consider being friends with him. He had been begging for it for some weeks now, so should I give him a chance?

"Let's get pizza," I prompted.  

Again, that cheerfulness beamed on his face. Woah, for a pizza? 

"Good." He stood up first. 

After putting my books into my backpack, we made our way out of the library. Since it was evening already, there weren't so many students around. Of course, the place was crowded, but not as usual. 

Walking gently in the corridor, I felt uncomfortable with the silence between us, so I decided to cut it first. 

"So… you're like, you know, so famous here, so why do you wanna be friends with me?" I requested. 

He glimpsed at me, sighed. "I want something new."

"Really?" I furrowed my eyebrows, pretty perplexed. "That's crazy. It sounds quite… weird?"

"Yeah." He sighed for a second time. "Sometimes, you've just gotta distance yourself from some people, if you wanna be happy."

"Are you saying you're not happy with the friends you have?"

He pressed his lips against each other, walked into the elevator after me. "Maybe. Not really though. But, in a way."

Oh. He was confused. 

"Don't get you," I indicated. 

"Being from a rich family, I grew up with people in the same status as me. My dad never allowed me to be around, you know, normal people like you," he explained. 

I chuckled at that. "So, you're not normal people?"

"Maybe." He shrugged. 

Walking out of the elevator, we headed to the school's cafeteria. Since a couple of students had night classes, there was a probability the cafeteria would still be open by this time of the evening. 

"So, that means you don't really like the way you live?" I queried. 

His smile turned faint, and there was an unexplainable expression on his face. He looked quite disturbed. "Yeah. But many people don't understand that."

"Hm." I nodded. I nodded because I was one of the “many people”. "I guess we've all got a personal problem. You're right, no one should be quick to judge."


"Hey, Roy," two ladies greeted him, as they passed us, giggling like blushing cats. So awkward. He just waved at them, and smiled. 

In a short while, we reached the cafe. About walking in, I stopped. I had completely forgotten I had little money with me. 

"I don't wanna eat pizza anymore," I announced without being hesitant. 

He wrinkled his face, giving me a what-the-heck-are-you-saying look. What? I couldn't tell him I didn't have money, huh?

"You don't?" His left eyebrow rose. 

I nodded quickly. Not knowing what to do, I pressed my palm against my stomach, squeezing my face. 

"I-I've got… constipation." Oops, that came out so fast. If he was smart enough, he'd know I had just lied. 

In order to cover up my craziness, I chuckled like an idiot. And to worsen my anxiety, he kept staring, blue eyes being blank. What was he thinking? Why did I even say that? I ought to be cool with him. He was a famous person. 

"Hehe." The moment I tried to do something, that spilled from my mouth. Again, to cover up my mistake, I squeezed my face further, faked a “ish” sound to denote I was in pain. 

He bit his lip, obviously not wanting to smile. "Okay. Maybe you should…" he pointed a finger at the cafeteria door. "Use the toilet in there. That should be of help, right?"

"No," I retorted. "I'll go home. I'll go home immediately. My dorm isn't far from here."

"Should I drop you with my car?" He offered. 

"No, no, no." I shook my head.

"Hey, Renee?" Oh goodness, Barb hard to appear. She was definitely gonna ruin my lie.

I swallowed, chuckled anxiously. "Oh, Barb. You're here?"

"You're done with your date?" She stood beside me, stared at me, grinning. 

Oh, gosh, what date?

"No date," I said that amidst gritted teeth. Staring back at Roy, I pinched the fake pain on my stomach. "My friend's a joker. Don't mind her. Um, I guess I'll leave now."

"But why?" She pursed her lips, knitted her brows like a confused child. Oh, gosh. "I mean, it's only a few minutes since I left you guys, right?"

"She's got constipation," Roy told her. Uh-oh. Why did he tell her that? 

She gasped, put her hand over her widened mouth, opened her eyes widely. "Oh my goodness! What did you eat?"

"You know what? I think we should just go home." I gripped her arm, looked at Roy. "Bye, Roy. I'll see you tomorrow."

"But we're not—"

"Barbara," I called in a low voice, glaring at her already. With clasped teeth, I bit out, "Let's. Go."

She just blinked as if a hammer hit her head, and turned around with me. I sighed in relief. This was the first time she wouldn't have to argue too much. 


Walking in the silent street, I sighed. It was about eleven already, and I was on my way back to my place. 

After Barb and I had left school, I came to work straight, and asked her to go home. Now that I was done with work, I was heading back home. 

Just about to walk into the next street, my phone rang from the pocket of my jacket. And about to pick it up, I halted on hearing a footstepnbehind me. 

Gradually, slightly dreaded, I twirled my neck to check who it was. To my surprise, no one was there. Was someone following me? Oh, no. This was one of the reasons I didn't appreciate working at night. 

Trying to ignore that, I turned to my phone. Seeing it was mom who was calling, I smiled. 

"Hi, mom?" I greeted first. 

"Renee." She hyperventilated, her voice cracky, holding some fear. "Dear, are you home? Are you alone? Are you fine?"

I creased my face, so confused. Why was she fretting? 

Wanting to say something to her, I heard the footsteps again. I turned around quickly, but I saw nothing. This time around, I was scared. Not knowing what to do, I started to walk fast. 

"Honey? Are you there?" Mom sounded more worried, panting harder. "Please, go home now. Hurry up. I need you to leave where you are."

"What's going on?" I walked faster, and faster, and faster. As well, the footstep sounded sharper, and sharper. Also, the fear in mom's voice worsened. 

"Renee! Leave there please! Go home!" She cried. I could sense she was crying. What was happening?

"Mom?" The fear I felt made my eyes water, my heart racing fast.

"Hurry now, dear! Go home!"

"What's happening?!"

"Just run! Run home! Please!"

"What's— Ah!"

My phone fell from my hand, when a hand grasped my arm. I gasped, closed my eyes due to my uneasiness, my heart pounding against my chest. What was happening? 

Slowly, I opened my eyes, breathing really hard. And seeing this tall figure, I swallowed, trembling so much. 

Who was this? What did he want from me? 

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