Back to the present, earlier in the library, I got the nerves to half-way confess. Does he know it all this time? Is he just pretending he doesn’t know? Then, he asks me because he wants to confirm it? Ugh! This is stressing me.

“Hey! Tess?” I called then standing up in my seat.

“Yeah?” she replied.

“Skylar’s hotter than Vaughn. Remember that he is also part of the team in football. We’ve seen his abs when he removed his shirt in the field. Remember?” I rebutted to her comment earlier.

I get my tumbler and walk away, before I closed the door, I turn to her. She looked above with her mouth slightly open.

“Yeah, right. I forgot.” She said. I laughed.

I turn away, now heading to cafeteria. Then, I saw him, Tessa’s and I topic back in the classroom.

He is leaning his back in a wall. There are bullets of sweat rolling down from his hair to his temple then his cheeks. His shirt is wet, so I can see his abs forming in his shirt. I noticed he is holding his bag in his left hand.

Why is it so hot here? I looked around just to see there is no one else in the hallway, but us.

“Don’t look in my abs.” he said then turn his head to me.

“I’m not looking.” I denied.

“Yeah, you’re not looking like you’re not stealing glances in the library earlier, right?” he mocked at me.

Shoot! I don’t know what to say now! I’ll just walk pass by him. Yeah, that’s right Avis and don’t look in his way.

I did walk, but he blocked my way. Shit! Help me Tess. Get out of the stupid room.

I tried to get out walking in his side. But he blocked me again, and then in other side, still he blocked me again.

This time I look up to him. I noticed he still had the same haircut and style, but his eyes are more intense than in 8th grade.

“Excuse me.” I managed to speak. I thought I’m gonna drown again because of his eyes.

“You said you like me.” He said, looking down to me.

“I don’t” I denied again.

“You said maybe earlier, now you don’t, but I’m not asking.” He casually answered. There’s amusement in his eyes.

“I ---.” I didn’t finished what I was saying when he talks again.

“Stop liking me.” He said.

“What?” now I’m the one who’s amused.

“That way we can be friends.” He answered.

“Why do you want to be friends with me?” I asked again. What the hell is happening?

“You’re mother says so.” He proudly answered.

My mom? Come on mom. Don’t manipulate my love life just like how you manipulate my dreams. I’m gonna talk about this to her later when I got home.

“Business thing, our parents were business partners.” he added.

“What if I don’t?” I challenged him.

“What if you don’t what?” he asked confused.

“What if I don’t stop liking you?” I answered.

“So you really like me, huh.” He said then leans his back again in the wall.

“No.” I denied stupidly.

He laughed amusedly. I’m annoyed, but his laugh is mesmerizing. It’s like music in my ears. Stop it, Avis.

“I’m thirsty.” I said and start to walk away.

“I’m serious.” He said.

I looked back at him and he is giving me the same stare he gave back in the library.

Then, I felt something wrapping around my shoulders. I look to my side and saw Vaughn standing on my side. Unlike Skylar, he is fresh from shower. And I smell his perfume. It is addicting.

“Yeah, you should stop liking him.” He said smiling, but he is looking at Skylar. 

I was just supposed to get water.

They look at each other intensely. The sky also becomes somehow dark. It was hot and sunny earlier. It’s weird.

I felt like the atmosphere changed.

It felt like...

I was watching a romance drama between them.

I face palmed myself with what I imagine. Honestly, they look so good together. I annoyingly looked at Vaughn, good thing you are not a girl, if you will be, all hell would break loose.

Vaughn noticed my stare and asks, "What?"

I just still look mad at him and he chuckled. He stopped midway and looked at Skylar, "Mind me interrupting your conversation? Let's talk, Avis." He said to Skylar and talked to me too.

I was about to talk when he already dragged me by his hands on my shoulders pushing me. I looked back at Skylar and already saw him turned his back and walked away.

I kind of felt a pang in my heart when he just walked away. Of course, I know, I'm just nobody to him, so why would he hold me down when someone's dragging me? Of course, he wouldn't.

He even said to stop liking him. Coming from his own words and own mouth.

I kind of felt my eye teary for some reason and my throat seems blocked. It didn't process me much earlier by his words but now, I felt so hurt for some reason.

I inhaled and exhaled deeply because I want to stop some bit of the tears that wanted to drop. I pretended it didn't hurt when he said those but now, I really wanted to cry. I mean I know I have no hope. I didn't even try to approach him, I didn't even confess. But I got straight up rejected. How miserable was that.

How could he just say it straight? How could he just casually say that?

4 goddamn years. I didn't confess, but got rejected. I want to laugh...and cry.

'Stop liking me' seems simple to say, but for 4 years, don't you know how much I tried?

One drop. Another drop of tears came out. I just looked down so it won't be noticeable. Damn tears, they don't know how to stop. I was trying to stop my tears when a big palm covers my eyes.

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