Sisi was a year older than her. She was seventeen, Sisi was eighteen but they were both in the same grade, grade 12. Also Keisha and Selena, who were also eighteen.They were in the cafeteria after having the first half of their classes.The cafeteria, as expected, was crowded and noisy. She and her friends sat on their table at the far end of the cafeteria."I love your braids" Selena said to her and she gave her a look."Girl, I've been on this braids for two weeks now"Keisha snickered while Sisi typed away on her phone."It looks new to me" Selena shrugged."Madeline is just an attention seeker" Keisha commented and they all looked to the group that was making the most noise."You're a cheat! You hear me! A cheat! I can't believe I fell for you, you liar!" Madeline, the ever pompous girl of their set shouted at her boyfriend, Niel, now ex-boyfriend.Niel was sitted on his table with his friends, a bored look on his face as he twirled his car keys in his fingers while Madeline shouted and screamed."I'll make your life a living hell in this school, you hear me! East wood high, hear me now!" Madeline shouted, turning to face the rest of the students, "I'll make this two lives a living hell! Mark my words!"With that, she stomped out of the cafeteria."Epic!" Sisi laughed."Who's the second cheat?" she asked, turning to face her friends."Lady beside Niel" Selena smirked.She turned and noticed Pen, Penelope Chopra; the Asian girl with the extremely long hair and doll- like beauty; sitting beside Niel on his right. There was no one on his left. She widened her eyes then chuckled, turning back to her friends."I didn't expect that. I thought she was decent"Sisi clicked her tongue while Selena and Keisha made funny faces."She is..." Sisi started then laughed."Ok, she is decent but I heard she is like head over heels in love with Niel and she did what most people blinded by love would do, cheat with him" Selena explained."So they are like dating now?" she asked."No, still friends. I actually don't think Niel likes her much. I think he's just having the fun of his life" Keisha answered.She turned to look at them again, to see them already laughing and chatting like the drama that had just played out didn't happen. As she turned back to her table, she caught eyes staring at her from across the cafeteria. She smiled at him, Koty, short for Colton. He smiled back at her and she looked away."He's very much single and searching" Sisi wriggled her brows.She gave a sarcastic look."I don't know why you guys think it's important to date in high school. I mean, why would you even date? You still have a whole life ahead of you and you're rushing into relationships that would end up collapsing""Teach" Keisha rolled her eyes."I'm going for my sixth boyfriend soon" Sisi said.Selena said nothing. Of course, she knew they wouldn't listen to her and they always ended up paying the price. Sisi had experienced two heartbreaks already, Keisha had been seduced to give up her virginity, after which she regretted it and had suffered depression for months; and Selena,well Selena had not joined the boyfriend game but she was already being initiated. Initiated being that she had something going on with Kennedy McCarthy which she refused to let them in on, claiming it was her personal business."We have a short time before school ends. Like high school ends completely" Sisi deadpanned, demonstrating with her hands."Like I don't know that" she gave Sisi a look.Sisi rolled her eyes, “High schooldoesn't happen twice. Just date Koty, even if its just a week.""I won't.""He likes you. I mean, girls, isn't it obvious?" Sisi asked, looking at Keisha and Selena for affirmation."Yeah" they affirmed."He's always looking at you" Selena added."So is Ken" Keisha added drily.Selena turned around and immediately turned back, blushing heavily."Are you guys like dating?" Sisi asked curiously."Na" Selena answered , her mood dropping."You can just ask him out yourself." she suggested. They stared at her and then bursted into laughter."What happened to no relationships?" Sisi mocked."I'm just saying that so you'll get embarrassed and then learn your lesson."She joined them this time in laughing."Savage." Selena muttered."Wait! Aren't we getting food?" Keisha asked suddenly.It was then they noticed that their table was empty. They had not bought any food.They bursted into another round of laughter.*Classes had ended for the day. She needed to get home quickly so she could do all the things she had to do quickly and then settle down to read. Exams were fast approaching and waiting for Sisi was impossible.She bade Sisi bye at her locker then made her way through the Sea of people out of the hallway. Someone tapped her from behind and she turned seeing Koty."Hey" he greeted."Hi, good afternoon" she smiled, stopping to listen to him.He opened his mouth to say something then closed it, shaking his head. He handed her a paper bag. She raised a brow."I saw you and your friends didn't get anything today and I figured you must be hungry." he explained."Oh." her smile widened as she looked down at the bag."But..." She looked back up at him, "I'm sorry. I can't accept this"He stepped back as she stretched the bag out to him."I'm sorry also. I can't accept it back."She laughed and he laughed with her. He had a cute laugh and his dimples peeked out through them. She liked it. She liked hat he kept his black and curly hair neat and smooth and that he was tall, two inches above her and that he worked out and that he dressed neat and cool and that he was nice and friendly and that he didn't behave like the other football picks even if he was a member of the team."Well Mr. Koty, I'm afraid I'll have to refuse you" she said after they stopped laughing, her hand still stretched out. They looked funny; standing in the middle of the hall way, laughing with her hand stretched out like a scarecrow .She was hungry but she just didn't feel comfortable accepting things from him especially when she knew he had a crush on her. She didn't want to lead him on or any of that stuff."And I'll also have to refuse you" he spoke, taking slow steps away from her, laughing slightly, his eyes bright and happy. She chuckled, watching helplessly as he disappeared round the corner.She sighed, putting her hands down at her side. She would just have to accept it then.Getting home, the house was empty as expected. Her mother wouldn't be back from work until about 8pm and her father was non-existent. Her mother had never spoken about him and she had never botheted to ask her about his whereabouts, if he was alive. She was beginning to get curious now.An hour and a half later, shevwas done with the house chores she had avoided that morning and also had her bath and changed clothes. She just had to get a few groceries from the grocery store a few streets away and then make dinner. She glanced at Sisi's bungalow as she came out of her duplex. Sisi was not back home yet; if she was, music would be blasting heavily from her room.Sisi was one girl.They had been neighbors for as long as she could remember but they had become friends at the end of middle school. They weren't close. Though they she rode in Sisi's car almost everyday to school and they spent a good quality of time together, she was never totally free with her.Sisi was far too different from her. She was loud, crazy, boy crazy, short tempered and she, Joan was more in tune with her behaviour than Sisi would ever be. Despite all that, she still valued Sisi as a friend, Sisi was irreplaceable.She smiled, remembering when the nickname Sisi had stuck. Sisi's real name was Susan but she told anyone who cared to ask that she was Susie. Of course, everyone knew it was short for Susan but she had misheard wrongly when Sisi had told her. Sisi didn't mind and now the nickname had stuck and virtually everyone called her Sisi.She flung her braids behind her neck and began humming to a song as she walked along. She would have to make fewer braids next time. She didn't like hair being a nuisance as much as she loved fashion. Better still, she would go natural until she was ready to braid her hair again. She glanced at her wristwatch, it was almost 6pm. Perhaps King would be home.She sighed, that was highly unlikely. She worried about him. It seemed like lately he was becoming more closed off, more distant and she didn't like thatHe was the only person she was ever totally free with and so his recent withdrawals made her feel lonely.She considered going over to his house but discarded the thought as soon as it came. He had warned her not to and she didn't even know his address; she only knew the name of the location; there was a huge probability he would not be home.Besides he lived faraway, she would have to make two stops to get there if she took a train and if she decided to use a cab, it was too expensive.She wished he lived closer, she wished he attended the same school with her. He was her best friend yet they were so far apart in everything that she wondered how their relationship had lasted this long."Hey, watch it!""Sorry" she quickly apologized to the teenage boy she had bumped into absentmindedly. He didn't respond, he just walked on. She shrugged, entering into the grocery store.In a few minutes, she had bought all she needed and made her way out and hastened her steps home. She had to make dinner before she could settle down to read and she had to give King a call before hand. It was a habit, to check up on him everyday.She brought out the keys to her home as she made her way up the porch unaware of the hooded figure coming up behind her.She fitted in the keys and pushed the door open just as a hand closed in on hers. She jumped. Her heart leaping in her chest, the bag of groceries and her keys falling to the ground; as she turned around to see who it was."King!" She exclaimed in relief and annoyance.He bent and picked up the fallen groceries and keys while she calmed her racing heart and then he led he inside the house, locking the door after."How many times have I told you to stop sneaking up on me!? I could have had a heart attack!" She shouted at him as he dissapeared into the kitchen."And why are you looking like a gangster with your face covered that way!? ... King!"She huffed, following after him when he did not respond. She paused, noticing his stance. His hands were placed on the kitchen counter, his head bowed; the bag of groceries was kept carelessly at a corner."King?""Why are you covering your face?" She asked. She walked up to him when he still did not reply and turned him to face her. He was surprisingly receptive and then she threw the hoodie of his face."King!" Was what she could utter, anger boiling in her chest. He hugged her, burying his face in her neck.
"How many times have I ... Why do you let this happen!? What is wrong with you!?" She shouted, her hands hanging loosely at her sides, not making any move to hug him back but not pushing him away either."I'm sorry" he murmured."No!" She continued, "You're not! You're not, King! Everytime this and you keep complaining yet you don't do anything about it. What's wrong with you!?""I'm sorry"She opened her mouth to shout again but then closed it, shutting her eyes and taking deep breathes to calm herself."I'm sorry" he repeated.They fell silent."Just let me go" she spoke upon opening her eyes.He did slowly and reluctantly, his eyes searching hers. She looked away."Sit there" she nodded at the dining. He complied. She opened a cupboard, bringing out a first aid kit from there."You see this?" She asked him, bringing out an almost empty pack of cotton wool from the kit as she walked up to him."Most of it ended up on your face" she slammed the kit angrily on the table.
“Why would he stay the night when he has a home?”Joan stared at the floor.“You have not given me a tangible reason, Joan. He cannot just stay the night whenever he wishes. He has parents, he has a home. He needs to be more responsible. So, NO King cannot stay the night. If you don’t have anything else important to say, you can leave my room. I am angry with you enough.”Her mother turned the other way on her bed, concentrating on whatever it was she was doing on her phone. She sighed, shuffling her feet. She wanted to tell her mother the truth, everything about King but there was something holding her back, something she couldn’t quite figure out.“Mum, please. I wouldn’t ask you if it wasn’t necessary, he'd leave very early tomorrow morning, I promise.”Her mother didn’t reply. She moved the distance and stood in front of her.“Its late. You can’t expect him to go out by this time.”“I’m pretty sure the streets are still overflowing with people. He better leave now.” her mot
He didn’t have much yet he spent a good amount each day, going back and forth. No matter how many times she pleaded, he wouldn’t let he visit him, she didn’t even know his address.Plus… “King?” she called when she stepped into the sitting room and didn’t find him there. She checked the kitchen and her room and the guest room but there was no sign of him.King was gone.*“You could have told me you were leaving. I was very worried… Just get out of my phone.”Joan cut the call, entering into Sisi’s car where Sisi was already waiting.“Who was that?” Sisi asked curiously. “Someone.” She replied curtly. Sisi didn’t know of their relationship, didn’t know that King was her best friend neither did any of her other friends. Sisi had seen King a few times but she hadn’t suspected anything. She didn’t feel the need to inform them, she wanted her relationship with King private.No toast?” Sisi asked, seeing she wasn’t in a good mood.She face palmed, realizing she had forgotten
“Whatever it is you have to say, say it and stop beating round the bush.”“Or I may lose interest.” She added, smirking.He laughed nervously, and ran a hand across his face then he stopped, his smile dropping.“Okay. Joan Michaels” he started, looking her directly in the eye, “Would you like to go on a date with me this week?”*Flashback…“Joan Michaels, would you like to go on a date with me this week?”She pretended to think about the question, her lips forming into a pout and her brows, furrowing.“I don’t know, King Johannson. What does this date have to offer?” she questioned after a long moment of silence.15 year old King blinked innocently, looking up at her.“A lot, Joan Michaels.” He said, “A princess crown, the best dress ever made in this universe, specially prepared food and my heart on a platter of gold.”She twirled her hair around her fingers, her left hand on her in a pose as she stared down at him, knelt down on one knee, a single rose held up in his two
“Avoid him from now on.” Beck warned, as all three of them shot her accusing looks. She glanced at Koty who couldn’t even keep his eyes open.“I’m sorry… I …” she stuttered in confusion.“Just do what I said.” Beck repeated harshly then they walked away. Beck and Francis supporting Koty on either sides. It was then she noticed they had a small audience gathered around, her friends included.She watched helplessly as they moved farther and farther away from her.*She wasn’t allowed into the clinic where Koty rested; Francis, Beck and Jude made sure of that. She couldn’t concentrate on her books, she avoided her friends perpetual questions and then hurried home immediately the bell rang. Koty was the only thing on her mind, she felt guilty but then she consoled herself with the fact that she had not done anything wrong. She had not known Koty was asthmatic and even if she knew, was she supposed to have accepted his proposal out of pity? Koty didn’t deserve that, he deserved someone
“There’s Koty.” He pointed out.“That’s different. I only felt like giving in out of pity.”“Glad you've figured that out.”“And besides he’s just one guy.”He nodded.“We'll just get married to each other.” He said after a while.She chuckled, “That sounds nice. Our kids will have your eyes.”“I’m joking.”“I’m not.”“I’m not.”They burst out laughing.*King looked back as the train began moving. He watched as she became smaller and smaller until he could see her no more then he turned around and looked ahead. He adjusted his bag to his other shoulder when he noticed it was inconveniencing the old woman sitted next to him and then he leaned back into his seat and immersed himself in thoughts of her; his best friend, Joan Michaels. She was always on his mind. He had teased her about thinking of him always but he was also guilty of that. She was not exactly the first thing he thought of when he woke and the last thing he thought before he slept but she was constantly on h
She would pet him and clean his wounds and then send him back with a kiss; so that every time, no matter the injuries he sustained on his body, his soul wasn’t broken. He still felt happy, like a normal eighteen year old adult living a normal life with the best friend he loved.*Joan stood in front of the school's clinic door, glaring at it. Koty was in there and also his latest bodyguards; Francis, Beck and Jude. Koty was fine, he had come to the clinic for something and she found out and followed him. She had to speak to him whether his friends wanted her to or not; they weren’t his parents.The door opened and Beck stepped out first. His calm look changed to an accusing one when his eyes met hers and he glared daggers at her, stopping his movement.“I have to speak to him.” She spoke regardless, arms folded. It seemed like Koty was directly behind him because he turned back and said,“Colton, no. You’re not speaking to this girl.”“This girl has a name.” she interrupted rudely
She wanted to enjoy a father's love too like Sisi.She wanted to have grand parents and grand relatives, uncle’s and aunts and nieces and nephews that came over for Christmas and thanksgiving like Selena. If possible, she wanted to have little siblings too like Keisha.She would ask her mother when she returned. She would find out why they always lived alone and what secrets her mother guarded so carefully and then she would unravel them ,one after the other.She would find her family.*Her mother stared at her in shock. Her mouth hung open, her bag that she had wanted to place on the kitchen counter hung in mid air and her lashes batted repeatedly over her eyes that seemed like it would pop out any moment.Emotions flitted quickly across her mother’s eyes. There was worry, pain, regret and another emotion that got Joan curious, fear. Why would her mother be afraid?“Mum?” she called and Mrs. Michaels snapped back to reality, her expression becoming masked. She shut her mouth