C for Curiosity
Three days had passed since the last time that girl named Rev and I met on our school’s rooftop. My days were back to normal, and I can enjoy my own time during snacks and lunch breaks. Now I’m here at the back of our school’s academic building. It’s pretty cool here. The air breeze is cold. I want to thank the tall trees for that. I think it’s nice to take a nap here.
I knew she’s one of them, like those people who come and go. Temporary as what they called them. That’s because I have those answer keys Audi stole that our lives crossed each other. A weird girl who met a boring boy is not going to happen.
“It’s just a coincidence.” I closed my eyes.
“What do you mean coincidence?”
That lifeless tone made me jolt more than my alarm clock. Do I hear things? I looked around just to find a familiar set of gray eyes looking behind me. What is she doing here?
“Hi, nice to see you again.” She smiled.
“Hi, it’s been… three days?” I asked her.
“Nope, I saw you yesterday and even in the morning today, but you completely ignored me.” She sat on the grass across me and put her chessboard in front of us.
“Now, you have to pay for what you did by playing this with me.” Her tone was different this time. It was a bit deep and dark. Her smile made it even scarier. Do I have another choice?
“I don’t know how to play chess.” Honestly, yes, I really don’t know how to play it.
She looked at me right after I said those words, and her attention went back to her chessboard.
“What about checkers?” she asked me while she opened and started to arrange the pieces bit by bit.
“I do, but I’m not really good at it. I never played it before. I just watched my neighbors play.” I should have said no. Now I’m stuck with this girl again instead of enjoying a peaceful nap. ‘So long, my sleep~.’
“That’s good enough. Help me arrange these pieces.”
Yes, I did what she told me. I looked at my watch and saw it was 11:48 pm. Do I have to play with her for an hour?
We’ve been playing for 30 minutes, and we had five matches already. For someone who doesn’t know how to play something like this, of course, you wouldn’t expect me to win. I’m not one of those novel characters who looked weak but still managed to win in the end. I’m not even suited to become a novel character. The story might end up boring.
“That would be a total of 6 losses,” she said as one of her pieces ate one of my last three pieces. I lost again since the other two would end up getting eaten anyway, anywhere I go.
“I think you should find someone who matches your level. I’m not even considered as an amateur since I don’t play this kind of thing.”
“You’ll learn,” she said while starting to arrange them again to start another match. I stopped her hands from doing so, and she looked at me like what I am doing is weird, and it creeps her out. I realized it right away and released her hand from my grip. “Sorry,” I told her.
She continued arranging those pieces slowly as she handled it with care.
“You want to know why Audi stole the answer key?” she asked me.
Of course, she told me before that those are not for Audi, and maybe she had done it for someone. I was almost got involved at that time. But that would prolong this conversation, so I answered what I usually answer if someone asked me.
“I know you’re curious. That’s where it all started, from being curious. Say ‘yes,’ and I’ll tell you everything you want to know.”
Those words gave me an unfamiliar feeling. I want to know, but I don’t want to say yes. I feel like if I said it, I’d lose another set from her.
How much does she know about that incident? Is she the one who made Audi stole it? A scene flashed back in my memories.
“I know you have it. I saw it,” she said in a lifeless tone.
“What do you mean?” I asked her.
“I’ll give your name to our Prefect of Discipline, or you hand it over and come with me?”
“Did you do it?” She stopped and looked at me. The confusion was written all over her face.
“Did you made Audi do it for you?” I asked her, she smiled.
“See? You’re curious, but you don’t want to admit it,” she said, placing the last three pieces.
I hate that she could easily read through me and how stubborn I am for still denying it even though it’s obvious.
“Okay, tell me,” I told her, giving up. At what amount of curiosity can kill a cat? Maybe just a little bit won’t hurt him.
She was about to place the last piece on the board but chose not to. She held it tight, and she smiled. I saw her think for about a couple of seconds before deciding to place the last piece on the board, making a soft sound. She took a deep breath before she asked me a question.
“What do you know about Audi?”
That stopped me from thinking. What do I know about her aside from her name and the fact that she didn’t graduate last time? I don't know anything.
“Is that question necessary?” I asked her.
“Of course, I want to know where to start, so I should ask you first.” That made sense.
“Well, I know her name, section, the reason she’s still here and…” I don’t want to say she’s a gangster or a delinquent. I think that isn’t nice even though it's true. It seems like we're talking things about her behind her back.
“Don’t try to sugar-coat the things that are obviously bad,” she said. She got the point, though.
“… a bad girl.”
“She is but is she still a bad girl even if what she did is just because to help a friend?” she asked me.
“Of course, if she really wanted to help that friend, she should help him or her study for the exam, not stole things. That wouldn’t make her a hero. Even Robinhood might be against it.”
“How can someone bad at studying help a friend to study?” Again, she got the point.
She gestured me to make my first move for our seventh match this time.
“That’s true, though,” I said.
“Maybe they could ask for a tutor or someone who excels in academics just like Tux Yu from section A. But seeing Audi talked with Tux is impossible. That nerd guy is just so hard to spoke with,” I added, moving my piece forward.
“He is,” she said, moving her second piece at the corner to her right. I was observing her since our first match. That was a move she really does when it’s her second time moving. I even tried to copy it on our third match, and she got this weird look on her face while looking at me. Obviously, she's not happy about that, and that was also the last time I copied it.
“I don’t know about her friends. I barely even see her since I think she spends most of her time on suspensions and community service as a punishment.”
“She’s a friend with my cousin, Jim.”
“Oh, yeah. I’ve seen her with him that last match before Audi got suspended. Are they close like buddies or best friends?” I asked her. I made my fourth move unconsciously.
“Not really. You know Audi’s ex-boyfriend, Kier Cortez, was Jim’s senior at baseball. So when they have their practice matches before, Audi was around and hanging out with them,” she said. And you know what happened when you move without giving it a thought or a plan? You’ll be defeated right in a second.
“Woah, and I lost four pieces in one go? I really sucked at this game. I told you, you should find someone who could play this with you, Rev,” I said while having all my hands above my head, thinking what I should do next.
There was silence for about twenty seconds while I’ve been thinking about my next move. That was weird, we were talking just a while ago, but she went silent. I looked at her, and her deep gray eyes met mine. Those again? Is there any way to avoid those pair of eyes? It really doesn't feel very pleasant to me.
And now she’s smiling. The feeling of being awkward came back into my system. “You said my name. You were comfortable with me a while ago,” she said.
I am? I didn’t even notice. Did I talk too much?
“Umm, so do you want to tell me about the incident?” I asked her. Let’s just forget who I am and talk about what we are supposed to talk to.
“I want to,” she said.
“What do you mean?”
“I have a hunch of who made her do it, but I still need some evidence, though,” she said while moving her pieces at the back-row forward.
“So, you know nothing?” That question made her stopped and stared at me, saying, “Nothing is not a word to describe it, and everything is too much.”
What? Am I playing checkers or riddles? She sure has a lot of games in her pocket.
“It may be impossible to see these two people hanging around with each other, but they’re schoolmates and could be more than that, so the possibility of them talking at the back of this building is high,” she said.
My eyebrows furrowed since I can’t follow what she told me. My brain is handling too much from the 6 losses I’ve got from playing with her. How can she still throw riddles I can’t solve?
“6 o’clock. Don’t make noises when you turn around, or else we’re both dead,” she said.
I turned around and saw the two people we were talking about minutes ago. It was Audi and the smart guy, Tux. They were facing each other. If one caught us watching at them, Audi would notice us first since Tux had his back on us. I think they were talking about something important based on the looks that they have on their faces.
But things went out the wrong way when Audi catch a glimpse of us, and the next thing I knew is that this weird girl, the girl whom I play checkers with a while ago, the girl who owns those pair of deep gray eyes, had her hands at the back of my head saving it from Audi’s eyes and her face an inch closer to my face.
D for DesiderataWe were in that position for five seconds, but it feels like it’s been five years.“They’re gone,” she said as she stood up while fixing her skirt.My arms felt numb, and my heart almost went out of my rib cage. I sweat like an athlete running for 10 laps in hot noon. I can’t feel my legs, and I tried to stretch them, but they felt so soft and wiggly. This was the first. The feeling is unfamiliar, and I'm not too fond of it that I overthink it this much.“I’m sorry,” she said.She sat on the grass again and started to clean up the board. She flipped it and put the pieces inside it one by one. Her wavy brunette hair covered almost her face making it impossible for me to see it. I felt weird. It feels like if I don’t see
E for an ExcuseI thought I couldn't spend my Fridays aside from the arcade. I mostly spent most of Friday’s free time there until I have no coins to drop. I’m not really a gamer addict. At least, I want to do something fun, and the arcade is my word to describe it.But now, why am I here at the burger shop near the city sitting across a girl who looks stronger than I am? This scenario looks like a boy being bullied by some badass girl who wants to eat a burger, and he has no other choices but to buy her one or else his life would end up pure tragic the next day.“Here’s your cheeseburger extreme, beefy nachos, soda, and a milkshake.” The waitress made sure she served our order right.“Really
E for ElatedSunday for us is where we should spend our time together. My mom always cooks food, but Sunday is her exception. My dad and I decided to have barbeque today. We were having trouble with who should cook and who will set up the backyard.
F for FearlessThe good news mom announced yesterday made our simple barbeque dinner became a celebration. We called Jurien through a video call since she’s out of town. That made her extra happy. I never thought we would have another member in our family.I’m looking forward to it. Now they won’t have to call me their baby.I smiled while I was walking my way to school without even realizing it. That’s why some people who passed by looked at me like I never smiled before.“You look so happy today,” that voice wouldn’t get me surprised anymore.“You don’t look surprised? You’re getting used to my presence now, or you’ve been waiting for me?”“Why are you still following me?” I asked her.&ldquo
F for FervidWe were invited to a small celebration party tonight at Miss Jon’s house, our club adviser. I’m not supposed to go, but I was told that my application would be rejected if I’m not coming. I think they’re just trying to scare me, but maybe they’re really doing it if I don’t show myself up.Our club’s secretary, Wenna, has my number and promised to text the address not later than what was planned. I went home from school, having hopes that maybe I could see Reverie on my way. I wanted to ask her if she could come, but unluckily, she didn’t show up when I expected her to.“You’re going somew
G for GratefulI was told to stay in the club room if I have time to spare every Tuesday and Thursday. Since Miss Jon allowed me to be a club member, I should learn how to play chess, even just the basics since we are small in numbers, and our key players didn’t have enough people to practice with. If my performance increases, she might let me stay in the club whenever I want, as Reverie does.Reverie and I have been hanging out regularly for two days now, and she’s been teaching me ever since. Of course, I could not win against her. She’s too strong. I wonder why she didn’t become a key player even though she has skills like the others.We decided to have our lunch together on the rooftop today. She said she has something to tell me and didn’t even say what it is all about. This is the first time I’m
G for GlareI’m in the arcade playing one of the games I play in here. The time comes so fast that I didn’t even realize it’s already Friday. I took my cellphone and saw one new message received. It was her.‘Look around you,’ she said in her message.I looked around and found it odd to see no one was with me. I looked at the clock. It was 8:56 pm. The arcade’s going to close minutes from now. I stood up from where I was sitting, but my left foot happened to be tied up in a chain. I started to think that maybe I’m just dreaming. Yes, this is just a dream.“It’s not a dream. It’s your subconsciousness.”
H for HomeJarren’s POVSince it's Thursday, I have to do my clubroom responsibilities. After our class finally ended for the day, I went straight to our clubroom. I found Maki as well as the other players doing their practice matches. Wenna greeted me as soon as she saw me. She already started cleaning, so I took some of the cleaning tools and started my job. While I was cleaning, I also observe them how to play. They look really into it, just like how Reverie so into it every time we play. Unlike me, who just carelessly made my move as long as my King won’t be eaten in an early game.Jules moved his Horse upfront, wanting to eat Ricky’s Rook. Ricky moved his Queen and ate Jules’ Horse.“What? I didn’t see that coming. I’m so stupid,” he said, neither I didn’