TAYA's POV :
"I am the furthest thing away to a Kate Winslet or Claire Danes. I can't possibly do this!" I stated firmly, tossing the script back to Hallee on the cafeteria table.
"I have faith in you, bestie, you can totally do this," she beamed. "Plus with your whole new blonde look, I could easily have mistaken you for a young Kate Winslet. And did I mention how much I love your hair, by the way, you are slaying it girlfriend!"
"Get your nose out of my ass, Hal. I'm not doing it," I rolled my eyes at her. "I can't act,"
"But you're so perfect for the part of Rose,"
I sighed and eyed her suspiciously. "Not enough people signed up for the play, huh?"
She replied with a sheepish grin.
"I told you I'm joining the theater club as a stagehand. There's no way I'm gonna be out there on the stage, acting, let alone be the female lead!"
My best-friend Hallee had been a theater geek all her life. This year I finally decided to join her and the theater club, since I needed to impress colleges with interesting stories about my life. The most exciting thing about me so far was the incident of last night and I doubted that colleges would be interested in that.
This year's production would be a play called 'Jack & Rose', which was written by non other than Hallee herself. All summer long she locked herself in her room working on it. It was about two star-crossed lovers and how they loved each other but couldn't be together, because the girl was a vampire. She drew inspirations from Romeo and Juliet, Titanic, and of course, the Twilight series.
"Please, do this for me, I'll owe you best-friend brownie points for the rest of my life," she pleaded again.
"You got a strong puppy-eye game there," I replied. "But the answer's no,"
"Look, you're the one who said it yourself, you need an extracurricular activity to help you stand out with your college essay. This and your perfect grades and all that community service you've been doing will land you an acceptance at any college you want, for sure,"
The girl does have a point.
"And you were the one that said you needed a change. You want to try new things and take more risks. Well, voila!"
Using my own words against me, touché.
"Alright, fine," I drew a long sigh and Hallee's arms swung open to hug me.
"Yay! This is gonna be so great!"
"Stop! You're choking me," I squirmed, but she wasn't letting me go. Only when Hallee noticed a guy walking past our table, did she let me go.
"Oh hey, Gabe, come sit over here!" she waved at the guy.
Gabe Serrano or I used to call him "guitar kid", was one of our classmates. I nicknamed him that was because he always had a guitar with him everywhere he went. I heard that he wrote songs and posted them online. I thought that was pretty neat, but the cool kids always made fun of him for it.
Yeah, high school's dumb.
"Hey guys," he said, grabbing a seat next to Hallee.
"Gabe, guess what? Taya's agreed to play Rose,"
"Cool," he nodded approvingly.
"Did Hallee blackmail you to be in the play too?" I said to Gabe.
"Hey!" Hallee screeched.
"Sort of," he shrugged. "I'm composing the music for the play,"
"Music? There will be singing?" I gaped.
"Just a little! It'll be fine, I promise," Hallee patted my shoulders and gave me her most reassuring smile.
I immediately regretted having agreed to this.
"Vampires singing on a sinking ship. What a great romance story you got there," I rolled my eyes at Hallee's sense of humor. "So anyway, who's playing the male lead?"
"We don't know yet. But Mrs. Zee said she might have someone. There's a new kid that just transferred in today and she thinks he'd be perfect for the role," she said as she munched loudly on her apple. "I wonder what he looks like,"
"He's alright. I met him this morning. We have a few classes together, so the principal asked me to help show him around," Gabe replied.
"The principal's making him join the theater club or else he can't graduate," he said again.
"Why's that?" Hallee beamed suddenly. Leave it to her to know every gossip and secrets regarding the kids at our school.
"It was like a punishment or something. Apparently, he got into some kind of trouble at his old school—"
* DING! *
My phone chimed suddenly and I quickly swiped it off the table.
"Your cell's been ringing all day. Who's that?" Hallee asked.
"Oh, nothing," I was trying to hide the phone behind my back, but Hallee was too quick. She snatched the phone right out of my hand.
"Wait! Is that Blake Harrison sending you DMs?!"
"Ssh! Keep it down!" I smacked her arm quickly as I attempted to get my phone back, but to no success.
"Hey Taya, I had fun last night," she read aloud. "Bitch hold up, what is this? Explain, now," she demanded.
"Okay, I was gonna tell you earlier, but we were debating over theater stuff," I took a deep breath and finally grabbed my phone back. She was still waiting for me to continue.
"Alright, so last night I went to Blake's party with Ryder and... Blake and I just sorta talked,"
"Whoa, wait. Did you go to a party? Then you and Blake Harrison talked? You really are coming out of your shell, I'm so proud—"
"Um, excuse me losers. You're sitting at our table," suddenly Viviane Taylor had decided to grace us with her presence. She was standing over our table, followed by her minions, Maddie and Peyton.
On the first day back to school, all tables at the cafeteria were fair game. Everyone knew that. But of course, Viv wanted to exert her territorial power, and I knew exactly why. She wanted our table because it was the one closest to the surfers' table.
I noticed Gabe's body immediately tensed while Hallee just rolled her eyes.
I gave Viv a bored stare and pretended to be checking under my food tray. "Nope, didn't see your name anywhere, sorry,"
She was taken aback, but quickly pulled her composure. "Nice wig, by the way, Taya. But you know, Santa would want his beard back before Christmas," she said and the girls giggled along.
"Gee thanks, but it's made out of your mom's chest hair," I said coolly and Hallee gave me an approving look.
"Mean Girls reference, nice. I'm really liking this new Taya vibe," she winked at me.
"Anyways, did I hear you were at Blake's party last night?" Viv called out, wanting our attention back.
"That's funny. I was there too. But I didn't see you,"
"I was there. I came with Ryder,"
"Yeah RJ was there, but he came alone. There was no way you were at the party,"
"But I was,"
"Aw, how sad. Without RJ around, she's just a loser nobody, desperate for any shred of attention, she even had to lie for it,"
"But I wasn't lying. I was there,"
"Then how come no one saw you?"
"Hey guys," said a familiar voice and my heart doubled in size as soon as I heard it. It was Blake, followed by a few other guys behind him.
"Blake... Hi," I perked up quickly.
"Hey baby, I've been looking everywhere for you, I missed you last night," Viv threw, and I meant literally threw herself at Blake.
"Uh yeah, I got busy, sorry," he said, shuffling uncomfortably to get away from her. I stifled a laugh and Viv narrowed her eyes at me.
"Taya here was telling everyone how she went to your party last night. But clearly, no one's seen her there,"
"But you've seen her, right Blake?" Hallee interjected. "I heard you guys talked?"
"Uh..." was his response.
"You've seen her? Where?" Viv demanded again.
"Um no. I—I don't know. I was pretty hammered last night, I don't remember,"
What the actual fu—
"Aw, look at that. How pathetic," Viv purred, batting her eyelashes at me. Then she leaned in closer to my ears and whispered, "Next time if you want to come up with a lie, make a better one,"
It took everything in me not to bite her head off like she did my Barbie doll. I was upset at her words, sure. But I was ten times more upset by what Blake had said.
"Catch you later guys," Blake couldn't be more eager to get out of there. I tried to catch his eyes before he left, but he was totally avoiding eye contact with me too.
"Let's just sit somewhere else, this table's contalinated anyway," Viv said, motioning her minions to another table.
"Contaminated," Halle yelled out, but Viv pretended like she didn't hear anything.
"She will do great things," Halle said again, rolling her eyes and Gabe chuckled.
I pushed myself to smile with them. But really, my mouth tasted bitter.
Blake had lied. I knew he wasn't hammered. And he clearly remembered everything since he even had the audacity to send me a DM. So why did he lie? Was he embarrassed to say that he was with me?
That thought hit me like a boulder to my stomach. Translation: it felt shitty as hell.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Throughout the rest of the day, I just wanted to keep my head down. Hallee sensed something was wrong, but she knew enough not to pry. She knew I'd come and talk to her when I'm ready.
All I wanted to do right now was to get through the day and get myself home and under my duvet, where I could forget everything that had happened, forget stupid Viviane, forget stupid Blake and the stupid kiss.
I knew last night was too good to be true.
Sure, I made a promise to myself that this year was going to be different. But still, even Taya 2.0 wouldn't be prepared for such heartbreak on the first day back.
I let out a relieved sigh when the school bell finally rang. I had survived my first day of senior year. But I still had one more thing to do before I could actually leave, the theater club.
I was starting to regret this decision more and more.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I was mostly uninterested, sitting there in the auditorium with a blank expression as Mrs. Zee, the drama teacher, welcomed everyone to this year's theater club.
"I'm very excited to start this year's production. Hallee had worked really hard on the script, and it is fabulous. I'd also like to welcome Taya Williams for joining the club. She'd be playing the role of Rose," Mrs. Zee spoke and I heard hands clapping as all eyes were suddenly on me.
So much for keeping my head down.
I forced out a smile and nodded at all the people around.
"And we also have another new member joining us today. Everyone, say hello to Judah Hudson, he just transferred here from California. Judah will be playing the role of Jack," she announced again, her hand motioned to the back of the auditorium.
I turned my head around lazily, following what everyone else was doing. But nothing could prepare me for what I was about to see.
A tall figure stood in front of the auditorium doors. He was wearing a familiar-looking denim jacket and black ripped jeans.
My mouth literally fell to the floor as soon as I caught a glimpse of those dark amber eyes. I definitely had seen those eyes before. And that messy dark brown hair and strong features...
It was him! The guy I met, or rather, jumped at the party last night!
He had such a presence about him that everyone in the room just had to stare. But that didn't seem to faze him in any way. His face held no expression as he casually scanned the area, looking for a place to sit. My hand instinctively went to cover my face and I slumped lower into my seat.
Damn it, where's Harry's invisibility cloak when you need one?
Through the cracks of my fingers, I could see that he was looking straight at me. His eyes zeroed in on me completely. Then, as if he got the confirmation he was looking for, he let out this devilish smirk, with dimples popping out.
He strode over to where I was sitting, all the while I was wishing my chair would swallow me whole. I could only sit there in horror as memories from last night swept over me like those flashbacks in the movies: how I fell on top of him from jumping out the window, how my lips slammed onto his, and how I gracefully puked my guts out in front of him.
Should I just roll over and die now?
He took the empty seat next to mine. Cocking his head to the side, he studied my expression. It must have been an amusing sight as he stifled out a laugh in response.
"Well, hey there Blondie, we meet again,"
- - - - - To Be Continued - - - - -
TAYA's POV :"Well, hey there Blondie, we meet again," he stifled a laughed."I told you not to call me that!" I hissed under my breath, firmly but soft enough so that no one could hear us."Well, I never got your name," he shrugged.Being cheeky are we?"Everyone, we will take a short five minute break, and then we'll start rehearsals when we come back, alright?" Mrs. Zee's booming voice shouted over us all.Everyone started dispersing to different directions and Hallee raced over to us."Hi Judah, welcome to the theater club. I'm Hallee, co-director and writer of the play. And this is Taya, she's going to be playing Rose,""Taya?" he raised an eyebrow and nodded. "That’s a unique name. I like it,""It's Japanese. Her mom's half-Japanese, so—" Hallee was just
TAYA’s POV :Please, don’t tell me Judah saw Blake and me kissing behind the bleachers! Oh god, what if he tells other people? We live in a small town. Ryder’s gonna find out in no time and I’m gonna die!"Hey, how long have you been here?" I said nervously."Long enough," he raised an eyebrow at me playfully.Of course, he’s sneering. Pretending to be unfazed, I strode over and took the seat next to him. He leaned back and threw his gaze up to the sky. He was huffing and puffing smoke like a freaking chimney."Those things will kill you, you know," I commented."We all die in the end,” he replied. “This is just helping to smooth out the process,"I didn't expect that answer at all. What a crazy ass, depressing dude!"Wh
TAYA's POV :Remember when I said that my love life was drier than the Sub-Saharan desert? Well...For the next couple of days, Blake and I were inseparable. We texted nonstop, we met up in secret every chance we got, and we made out, a lot.It had been a full week of secret rendezvous with Blake Harrison now. We did a great job at keeping things a secret too. I didn't even tell Hallee about any of it, when normally I'd tell her everything. This should be some kind of an accomplishment for me.* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *Today was a Friday, and just like any other ordinary Fridays, the day began with my first period chemistry class. I was in the middle of listening to Mr. Deutsch's boring speech on molecular composition, when I saw Blake's head popped in front of the glass door and mo
TAYA's POV :"Mom, I'm going out! See ya!" I was racing down the staircase in my tight sequin dress and high heels, one wrong step and I'd snowball down the whole thing.I never wore heels before, ever. We lived in Hawaii, so slippers were always my go to. But for last Christmas, mom got me these cute silver heels and I had been saving them for a special occasion— such as this.I didn’t even wait for my mom’s response. I was out of the house within seconds. And as soon as I got out of the house, I spotted Blake's car waiting for me outside. My heart fluttered at the sight."You look really pretty," Blake smiled widely as soon as I got into his Audi."Thanks, you look really pretty too," I replied.He did look amazing. His hair was neatly pushed back, and he was wearing a crisp white shirt and jeans. If Paul Wesley and Robert
BLAKE’s POV :“If you can't make up your mind about me already by now, maybe you shouldn't even bother,"Her words were haunting me as I drove down the empty road. I wasn’t expecting to have this talk tonight, so I didn’t have the best answer, but I was only trying to be honest."So, am I just another Viviane to you?"Of course not. She was totally different from whatever Viviane was to me. Hell, she was different from all the girls I had been with before."Blake, are you ashamed of me?"Again, no. I was never ashamed of her. But I was scared about dating a girl in general. And not just any girl too, she w
TAYA's POV :"Just one grand romantic declaration, was that really too much to ask?" I groaned as I threw my body lazily on Hallee's bed."All I wanted was for Blake to turn the car around, get out, and declare his undying love for me. I would've taken him back in a heartbeat!""What a stinkin' bastard! I still can't believe he left you on the side of the road just like that," Hallee followed suit."Well, maybe it was my fault. I was the one who told him to go and I was being a real bitch too," I shrugged."Still, how could he do that to a girl? Maybe we should tell RJ about this, so he can have a little talk with Blake?""And bring about the second wave Coronavirus? I don't think so. Hals, you've promised you're not gonna tell anyone about this,""Ah, fine," she sighed in defeat.After the fiasco tha
TAYA's POV :"The kissing scene had to be real," Judah says matter of factly."The hell it is!" I gaped."See here Blondie, I don't do anything half-assed. So if I'm gonna do this for real, I'm doing this for real alright,""But — wait -- that's not — I can't —""We'll look hella stupid if we're faking it and expect people to believe it was real," he interjects."But... it's... actual kissing?""So?" he scoffed. "It's just kissing. It's just like eating cake. You do it. Most times it tasted good. Sometimes not so much. That's it,""Maybe for you, you've done it like a thousand times. But that's not the case with me,"Judah shot me a look I couldn’t decipher. Suddenly, he licked his lips and said, "If experience was the issue, you know I could help with that
TAYA's POV :Our school had just won the first game of the season and everyone was ecstatic. The excitement levels were off the charts.But as everyone else flocked over to Zippy's, our town's favorite local diner, to celebrate our homecoming victory, I found myself surrounded by my only friends in the world, Hallee and Gabe at a Walmart parking lot. We were sitting in Hallee's car, blasting LANY on the radio and munching on a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos."Gabe, you need to settle this argument once and for all," Hallee said in a commanding tone."What's this all about? I'm hungry, I thought we were going to Zippy's?" he whined."We will once this argument is settled. Now listen to this, Taya here has decided to make a deal with Judah. They're going to do the kissing scene for real and not only that, they're becoming kiss buddies now; friends with kissing benefits&