December and her friends hung out until evening, returning to their dormitory only after sunset. She thanked them for taking the time to cheer her up, which they did; she had never felt so refreshed and fun just walking about with them, shopping, taking photos and trying different foods; it was the first time she had had Chinese noodles and dumplings.
The only thing that almost ruin her day was the accidental meeting with Karen. However, that wasn't enough to dampen her mood for the rest of the evening as she had defended herself and was pleased with the achievement.
It was close to 9 P.M., and as soon as they reached their dormitory, Serena went to meet Weston after he called her while Brooke walked off with Raven when they were called by some of the other girls in the lounge. Taking her time, she took a long shower before getting dressed in her black sweatpants and comfy t-shirt. She pulled out the scarf from the bag, admiring its black and blue striped design before folding the item and putting it in her bedside drawer.
Since she was sure both Brooke and Raven would be away for a little while, and with Serena being occupied, she cracked her mind for something to do – the first being the homework which her friends had brought for her. 'Nope, definitely don't want to do that just yet,' she thought grimly, certain it would take most of her time to even focus on one. She wasn't completely over the day and certainly didn't want to focus on her school work after having so much fun.
Besides, her mind was too worn out for assignments at the moment.
Figuring she'd have to find something else to do as she wasn't feeling sleepy just yet, she decided to walk around – remembering immediately of a place she could go to that would pass time faster. December wasn't worried that she would be caught and reprimanded since the curfew on Saturdays were an hour later than usual compared to weekdays. During the opening hours until curfew at 11 P.M., students were allowed to be about, as long as they were on school grounds, with the exception of the restricted areas.
Since the academy and both the guys and girls dormitory were near each other, it didn't pose any problem much to them.
Between the dormitories, there was one named the Common Suite, the only building besides school that enabled the students to meet and fraternize there. December didn't understand why the school couldn't just name it a hall or something else, instead of a name that sounded like a room that was part of a hotel.
Nevertheless, she told herself she could understand the logic of it.
A tall double-story establishment, it was built like one of those completely white structure building that reminded December of a square research facility centre. It looked out of place compared to the dormitories' historic brick building. The only thing that doesn't remotely resemble a place of confinement was the wide balcony at the side of the building and some glass windows.
Consisted especially of a line of vending machines and game stations on the first floor, the spacious living room had an LCD set up along with some sofas and necessary access to the television as well as a jukebox. The second floor contained of the same things with only two game stations and a space for reading that wasn't too private nor too open, with the exception of a jukebox.
The premise was monitored by a shift guard until the curfew where the only way to access the place was to have students scan their identification card by an automatic recognition system designed by the school board.
The school wanted their students to use and enjoy the privileges they paid for but also within appropriate bearing. Hence, there weren't any rooms that would guarantee complete privacy, with the exception of the restrooms respectively and a strict curfew and rules that was embedded in a glass plaque on the wall.
Walking on a cobbled pathway that was lit with multiple lamp posts, even in the dark December could appreciate the beauty of the yard. The clean pathway to her destination were surrounded by trimmed plants and shrubs done by gardeners who knew what they were doing. The dormitories were bright with lights, and even the school building didn't seem too harsh and looming with the bright moonlight. She passed a patrol guard and smiled at him, receiving one with a nod.
Aside from her experience with a certain blonde throughout the years, her adoration for the academy and her friends was the only thing that kept her from begging her parents to leave this place.
Even before she reach the building, she could hear music blaring from the jukebox along with raucous laughter from inside. It sounded like a party, a lively one at a place that was almost quiet - breaking the stilled air as the sounds echoed.
With the exception of days such as Sunday nights, the building was relatively quiet and almost looked abandoned.
The nearer she walked towards the place, the louder the music – a pop tune that was recently played on the radio – became. Flashing a quick smile at a few students chatting outside with a drink, she scanned her student identification card and were immediately engulfed in the catchy tune of the music once she entered. The place wasn't as rowdy as what she imagined an out of control American high school party looked like but she figured that if this was a normal, out of control high school party, both the cops and the principal of the academy would be forced to come here.
It looked to her that it was more like a gathering of people from detention forced to find their own amusement instead.
There were at least ten to fifteen students sitting or hanging about, drinking sodas or playing a game – she thought they might be playing 'Spin the Bottle' - while some couples sat on a loveseat being discreetly intimate, if that was possible. Of course, no one really tries to break the rules but they weren't going to follow all, if not most of them either, December thought with a grin.
Her purpose of coming here had revolved around either chatting up some people who was friendly enough to talk to her at school or getting access to a variety of choices the vending machines have. She definitely couldn't have gotten a delicious ice cream back at the dorm if she wanted. That, and she couldn't miss out the opportunity to hang out at the balcony.
Despite being surrounded by a bunch of loud teenagers, she was going to do just that.
Glancing around, she noticed a few girls whom she had talked to before waving and smiling at her. Among them, two were making their way through the throng of crowd towards her.
A girl no more than a couple inches shorter than her beamed before slinging her arms around her shoulders. "December! I haven't seen you in a while."
Fiona Lee was the first person who came up to her out of nowhere and insisted they become friends. Skeptical at the sudden interest, she didn't loosen up until after she noticed that there weren't any malice when the girl approached her. She learnt that Fiona was on the swimming team and despite being a cheerleader, December couldn't help but be surprised when she realized that the girl was also humble. She did not possess any traits fitting the stereotypical label of the sport.
"Yeah, we didn't think we'd ever see you around here anymore," an ebony skinned girl joked before adding with a mock-serious look. "Of course, that's pretty understandable when you realized that this is not what a real high school party looks like. I mean, look," She gestured her hands around and shook her head. "It's like we're back in middle school again."
December laughed as she looked around in amusement. Most of the guys and girls were huddled in a large circle, playing the game which she had guessed correctly while some were just talking. She nodded emphatically and joked, "It's dreadful, isn't it?"
December met Theresa Walters in the same building through Fiona when they hung out here, as they were both in the same cheerleading squad and were some of the nicest girls she had encountered. They weren't in any of her classes but they did share some electives together.
"Hey," Fiona suddenly piped, her brown eyes sparkled with excitement. "Why don't you join us? We could play some games."
"Ah, sorry but I think I'll pass that." At their crestfallen expressions, she amended quickly. "I mean, I thought I'd just get some snacks and chill upstairs today. Maybe next time, yeah?"
Theresa nodded in understanding and smiled. "No prob."
Fiona shrugged helplessly. "I guess next time it is. Don't be a stranger, yeah?" She blew a raspberry kiss before they walked back to their friends.
December made her way upstairs and was relieved to see not many students wandered about on this floor. As she stopped on the top staircase, she noticed on her right a few students sitting on the sofa cheering a couple of their friends who were dancing on a mat – while they followed the ministrations of an anime looking character. She passed by a guy by the vending machines and almost didn't notice him when they collided into each other as he turned around.
She started to apologize but her words died on her lips when she realized that he was the guy who threw up his breakfast on her once. Isaac froze in his spot, feeling his cheeks flushed as he avoided meeting her gaze.
December took notice then of his face that were pinked and she thought that he must have been remembering that unfortunate incident as well. Apologizing for their collision, she gave him a small smile to show that she didn't care about it anymore and was relieved when he smiled back, their eyes met.
"So, uh, do you always come here?" he suddenly asked, his eyes lit up under the illuminating light of the incandescent bulbs.
December was momentarily struck by his sudden question before she answered, "No, just sometimes."
He nodded nonchalantly and said, "Oh, yeah same here."
There was a small pause which could have lapse into minutes of silence. December would have seize the moment had he not smiled apologetically and rushed out, "December, I, uh really just wanna say that I'm sorry about what happened before. That was a really humiliating experience.
She shook her head and said, "Look, Isaac. Whatever happened then…I got over it. Let's not think about that, yeah?" Then, she added in a whisper with a look of embarrassment, "Like you said, it was really humiliating."
His cheeks flushed as he chuckled and nodded. "You're right." Taking a step back towards the lounging room, he stopped himself and smiled at her. He waved at her slightly and said, "I'll see you 'round, December."
The balcony was a spacious area of rectangle surrounded by wooden balustrades. It could somehow fit two hammocks, a small table with intricate designs of iron chairs by the left corner and some cozy couches on the other side. A string of light bulbs hung above, successfully making the area looked brighter than the incandescent bulbs embedded on the ceiling. Walking over to a lone vending machine, she chose an iced drink and turned to find a place to seat when her eyes fell on three laughing males sitting at a corner.
Jethro, Caleb and Blake were sitting around on the couch when December approached them.
Caleb was the first to notice and he said brightly, "Hey! Good to finally see you up and about, December."
"Yeah, we were going to visit you but you know guys aren't allowed at the dorm." Jethro rolled his eyes disgustedly.
She chuckled at Jethro's remark and waved them off casually, inwardly touched by their caring attitude. "It's alright. I'm just glad I'm not injured at all." Then, she glanced at Blake, who had been watching the exchange with interest. "Hey Blake. How's the practice coming?"
Blake was tutored by Raven and both he and Caleb were in the football team. They were currently preparing for a friendly match with another school.
Blake flashed a quick smile. "It's a bit tiring but I think we'll do alright."
Caleb looked at his black friend in disbelief, "A bit tiring?" before turning to December and said in an almost painful voice. "Coach is working us through hell. I wonder if he secretly hates us."
Jethro shrugged and cocked an eyebrow with a smirk. "Who cares? What matters is that you guys won us winning points."
"You cocky bastard. Let's see if you'd say that once you join us." Caleb slapped his hands on Jethro's back. Despite that, he and Blake grinned and murmured their approvals at Jethro's words.
Jethro winced and rubbed his back but grinned weakly. "I appreciate the offer but I'm a little more committed to my current club now."
A while after, they were all joking and teasing one another when a lone figure walked up to them. December was immersed with listening to the guys and casually joining them that she didn't realize there was an addition until Jethro looked up and spoke. "Didn't think you were coming at all, Pierre."
December froze on her spot and glanced at him, seating just across from her between Caleb and Blake. Their eyes met but they didn't say anything.
It wasn't until someone in the group cleared their throat that they realized no one had spoken when Jethro did and that they were all looking at Pierre and her oddly.
Pierre broke the silence. "And what, miss seeing this place? Not a chance. You did say this was the coolest crib you've been." He joked with a grin.
The guys laughed while December's lips quirked a little. To Jethro, every place that either has a balcony and vending machines are the coolest places to him which was no secret, really – he'd made that announcement to them the first day they all met.
"So, what do you think about these?" Caleb swept his arms and gestured around.
Pierre glanced, appraising the surroundings. The place was nicely set up but it screamed 'glorified confinement' all over that was meant to keep them all in check so they wouldn't sneak out and leave the campus at night. Unfortunately for some others, it wasn't exactly working out because he'd overheard at least a few students talking amongst themselves that they were going to some party tonight.
What did he really think of it? He thought it was a pleasant enough place to relax but he would probably be tired of it if he came here often. He kept that notion to himself, however.
He nodded slowly and leaned back on the couch. "Just nice."
Blake laughed while the others grinned. "Please. That's code for ridiculous, right there. This is a pseudo party, all right."
Pierre fixed the glasses on the bridge of his nose with a finger and smirked. "If this place is so beat up then why don't you go somewhere else?"
Jethro replied with a dramatic finger paused at his direction. "I never said it was beat up." Then, he beamed and exclaimed, "Because despite all the rules and shit, it's a pretty cool place. I mean, come on, vending machines and game stations all at one place? It's crazy, I tell you!"
Caleb shrugged and sipped a soda. "Not a big deal. It's kinda like an arcade. A bit lame, though."
"Hey, as long as they have Pac-Man and Donkey Kong, I'm cool. Besides, I am not gonna let my ass get whooped for sneaking out on a Saturday." Blake said before he added thoughtfully with a finger under his chin. "Unless it's Friday then I might do that, though."
"Well, then you could have sneaked out yesterday." Caleb said, amused.
Blake gave him a 'really, man' look before shrugging. "We had late night practice and coach would definitely kick me out. I can't afford that!"
Jethro pushed Blake and rolled his eyes, "Yeah, right. I bet you've never sneak out in all your life."
A little miffed, Blake challenged, "Say what, you wanna bet now?"
Finding all of this amusing, December almost didn't want to interrupt but decided to do just that.
"Hate to break it to you, but I'm afraid no one's gonna do any betting 'cause that's against the rules here. Unless, you don't mind getting your ass whooped?"
Blake rolled his eyes. "Come on, no one really gives a damn about rules." Then, he stopped and thought with alarm. "Shit, I think I just contradicted myself."
Jethro, however, winked playfully and said, "Damn D, didn't know you were that kinky. I see your true colours are showing now."
He received a pillow smacked right in his face for that.
A good one hour had passed and they relaxed, continuing their playful banters while Pierre sat in silence observing them, putting in a few words here and there, momentarily lost in his own thoughts. While she was busy talking to them, Pierre glanced at December - something he wanted to do for no apparent reason to him.
Pierre was taken by surprise, actually. He didn't think he'd meet December here at this place, and during the night too. Since she had taken that sudden fall, he thought she was resting at her dorm. At the thought of that unfortunate thing, he wondered if it was callousness or someone tripping her that caused it.
Pierre had been sitting on the bleachers with Caleb and some other guys to catch a break when he glanced up mindlessly to watch other people playing.
Unsure of what he was seeing since he had taken off his glasses and wiping it, Pierre couldn't comprehend what exactly happened since one moment he was looking around and the next, people were crowding in a corner where he followed along with Caleb and saw December on the gym floor.
Caleb, Pierre and a guy of lanky stature named Darren had been the ones who volunteered to bring her to the infirmary but it ended up being just the two of them because they couldn't stand him. He remembered how annoyed he felt all the time the curly haired boy was talking.
"Man, did you see what happened?" Darren said to the two silent guys walking beside him, assisting a slightly aware but confused December to the east wing, where the infirmary was. As a matter of fact, the only 'useful' thing he did was leading them the way while chattering his mouth off. Pierre wondered why he even came with them at all.
December moaned a little in discomfort before going still. Caleb and Pierre looked at her and tried to get her to stand upright but her legs were starting to give out on her. They knew that by the wobbly steps she took.
Darren was oblivious to that and kept chattering on, half way turning to them to tell his point. "I mean, that was horrible! I wonder who did that to her."
Interpreting Pierre's dark look as agreement to what he said, he continued with an expression of what the guys thought was empathy, "I know right? And I don't really talk to December but I think she's pretty cool. Anyways, did you see Karen today? Man, that shorts she wore could-"
Caleb, who had been restraining himself to be patient had been counting to himself until one hundred. He only managed until forty when he couldn't take the chattering idiot anymore.
"Dude, why are you even coming along with us?" His voice was mild but it seemed greatly constrained and Pierre immediately noticed that.
Fortunately for Darren, he was still oblivious to it. "Oh, well I thought it would make chicks like me more. I heard they're attracted to sympathetic guys and if I just make it known that I was helping someone out, well…y'know." He shrugged and had the audacity to look bashful at them.
Pierre couldn't believe the moron actually said that. There should at least be a limit to how stupid people can be but Darren apparently surpassed all that and sunk lower. Pierre threw a look of disgust at him and glanced at Caleb, noting he had a blank look. He knew not to be fooled by that. Hell, anyone with a common sense could see that Caleb was contemplating different ways to murder Darren.
He was going to say something when December suddenly collapsed. It was completely unexpected and took them all by surprise that both Caleb and Pierre lost their grip on her for a moment. She fell into Darren's arms – who unwittingly held his arms out in defense, actually hoping she wouldn't fall into them – but managed to catch her in time.
Until she took him down with her.
"Oww…" He winced as he rubbed his head and elbow. December was sprawled beside him on her side, immobile. Pierre felt a sense of alarm rushed through him and immediately went beside her, slapping her face lightly to will her into becoming conscious. He had heard that those who suffered a fall could either have concussion, be it severe or minor, lose their memory completely or die if they fall asleep or lay unconscious – before consulting a doctor or a specialist. He didn't want to take any risk of that, even if that person was the girl who grated on his nerves.
Caleb looked worried as he asked Pierre, "Dude, is she alright? She needs to see our school doctor immediate-"
"Damn, I didn't think she'd be so heavy! She didn't look like it," grumbled Darren who had unknowingly sealed his fate to a now glowering Caleb.
"What did you just say?" He exclaimed in disbelief, advancing towards a startled Darren.
The guy was stupefied as he struggled for words. Looking towards the big jock, Darren didn't know why Caleb was even mad at him. "D-did I say something wrong?"
Caleb looked at Pierre, their eyes communicating as if saying, 'Can you believe this guy?' before he turned to look at the target who was cowering away. "Damn right you did, you insensitive little fucker. That girl right there is my friend and I suggest you keep your ugly mouth shut or else…" He threatened slowly. "You know what I'm getting at, don't you?"
Petrified now, since he had no doubt Caleb could ruin him anytime he want, he nodded vehemently – willing to do anything now that he sense his life was in danger.
"That's right. Now get out of my sight!"
He didn't have to be told since Darren was already on his heels before the sentence was completed.
Having hoisted her onto his back while Caleb told Darren off, Pierre looked to his friend trying to get his nerves under control. With a grin and eyes lit with mild amusement, he said, "Remind me not to get on your bad side, Caleb."
His friend only responded with a weak smile and said lightly, "Shut up and let's get her to the infirmary."
On their way there, they walked briskly in content silence, reaching towards the now near infirmary. The emotion Caleb expressed for December earlier tugged at Pierre in a sense that bothered him a little, although he couldn't point out why. Still, he admired what he saw in Caleb, for it showed that one was loyal – a rare thing, one that he could vouch.
Caleb glanced at Pierre who had hoisted December up properly on his back. "Do you want me to carry her? We could take turn."
Pierre shook his head. "It's fine. She's not that heavy." 'Though it's annoying how she managed to slip down on my back every now and then.' Pierre told himself irately.
Caleb suddenly piped up. "I don't think we should tell her she collapsed on her way here."
Pierre quirked an eyebrow at that odd statement. "Why not?"
"She'll probably panicked and apologize a hundred times."
At Pierre's nonplussed look, Caleb shrugged. "Don't know why, but she always apologize for everything even if she didn't do it. Trust me, you do not want her to do that because that'll drive us all nuts. We could avoid all that if we don't mention it."
Pierre still found it odd but he shrugged. "It never crossed my mind."
Dr. Olivia, or sometimes called as Nurse Olivia by the students since she was a professional and capable of doing both job, took December to examine her. They were still waiting when Zachary Wong came up to them and said he would wait too.
"You look like you ran a marathon." Caleb appraised Zach, his eyes laughing.
Zach gave a small smile and said dryly. "I feel like I've just done that." He paused for a while to catch his breath and evened his heart beat. "How is she?"
Pierre answered, but kept his eyes on the locked door. He wasn't sure why but there was something slightly off about the Asian guy. "We don't know yet."
Zach blinked at what he thought was a tone of hostility in Pierre's response. A bit baffled, he shrugged that thought away and looked to Caleb who had been watching their exchange with a curious look.
"I see," Zach muttered to himself before saying, "Well I hope she'll be okay."
Ten minutes into the waiting, a scrawny looking boy jogged up to the trio and stopped in front of Pierre. He took a deep breath before saying, "Mr. Hoffman needs your help down by the office. Said there's some information that you needed to complete."
Pierre raised an eyebrow at the way the skinny kid behaved. The boy was acting all nervous and being fidgety for no reason as he looked at Pierre wide-eyed.
On top of that, he was sure any information that was needed had already been filled in by his father when he was forced to attend this school and so he was puzzled by this bit. 'The old man probably forgot to fill something up,' he thought with a slight annoyance. Deciding he won't find out anything if he stayed, he shrugged then nodded at the two guys watching and followed after the student.
So lost in his own thoughts that Pierre didn't realize the guys were now conversing with the other students until he noticed that December wasn't among them but were now looking at him oddly.
He snapped out of his reverie and asked defensively, "What?"
December frowned a little and said almost snappishly, "Nothing."
Looking away, she sighed inwardly. How does one thank a frenemy who had helped her – could she even consider Pierre her friend in the first place? She had no problem when it came to other people. After being told that Pierre had also brought her to see the nurse, she had trouble believing he would do that for her. All the time she sat there, she struggled in deciding.
It was an honorable thing to do, she thought, because he didn't have to, but did it anyway.
A few guys from the swimming and football team had approached them and immediately Jethro, Caleb and Blake were pulled into their conversation. With the guys now focused elsewhere, she looked around and sipped her drink quietly. December wasn't offended, actually. After all, she was used to being ignored instantly by others in general.
She watched as two guys pulled on some jokes on a girl – no doubt it was a pick up line - by the hammock. The girl was clearly amused by their attempt by the way she quirked an eyebrow up with a smile tugging at the corner of her lips.
A sudden gust of wind breezed through the air and she reveled in the moment; taking notice of the decorated light bulbs lightly dancing above; the big tree that towered and shaded the balcony making the leaves rustle; people chattering excitedly and laughing jovially in the midst of the music that played downstairs. It reverberated quietly through the whole building and effectively made the night feel pleasant and peaceful.
She had noticed then that Pierre had stayed silent a while after he joined them and chanced a glance at him – only to see him preoccupied with something on his mind by the frown on his face.
Unable to bring herself to look away, December continued to stare at him, feeling almost creepy for doing that. As she willed herself to stop, that was when he broke out of his trance and caught her.
She sat still, biting her lip before deciding to just get the words out. "Pierre."
A pair of startled hazel-green eyes met her electric blue ones. "What?"
She swallowed and said quietly, "Thanks…you know, for bringing me to the nurse."
He had to lean a little towards her because she had said it so softly, but he was sure he caught it. Surprised, he was quiet for a moment before he shrugged and said, "It was no problem."
She could have sworn she saw a small smile tugged at his lips.
December prided herself for not arriving late that Monday, which she was sure to have done so if she hadn't set her alarm clock an hour earlier than usual. Still feeling a bit disoriented even after having a couple of classes, she went to the vending machine that served various snack bars and drinks and chose her preferences of mocha malt and two granola bars.
It wasn't nearly as satisfying as cereals but she took what she could get at the moment.
December had left the Common Suite after hanging out with the guys on Saturday night, remembering how she had had a pleasant conversation with Pierre without bickering. That was also another amazing feat, she thought, because the next thing she knew, they were all laughing and talking as if they were old friends. As if she and Pierre were old friends.
When she returned to her dorm, Raven was already sound asleep and after brushing her teeth, she succumbed to the temptation of her bed. The following day forced her to stay to the routine of waking up, freshening herself, eat breakfast and later immediately throw herself into the piles of work she had missed when she stayed in bed due to a fall. Since December didn't want to prolong her suffering by completing the tasks until the day before the work was due, she tried to finish them all so she could have some free time later.
By the time the clock struck 2 A.M., she had only managed to finish three assignments out of six.
She had Arts in a few minutes and as she entered the almost filled classroom, December went straight for her seat in the middle back and slumped down on a chair, her chin resting on her elbows. The laughing faces of her peers and their carefree attitudes didn't match the bleak morning weather that day nor did they do anything for her boredom, but she watched them anyway.
In the middle of the class stood Veronica, the chirpy class rep and Felicia, her polite friend. They were both engaged with some students around their desk, talking in excited murmurs amongst them.
"I should have brought my earphones," she muttered to herself. Fighting against sleep, December stifled a yawn while she glanced around until they met with a girl she hadn't seen before.
A beautiful girl with long, shiny black hair was sitting sideways in her seat at the front row. A little startled by the intensity of that, December tried to hold up their gaze but soon admitted defeat when it was apparent she couldn't withstand the piercing look.
"What is her problem?" December mumbled to herself, wondering of such an odd reaction from the stranger. It was as if she was being scrutinized or…judged.
December frowned at that.
'Is she a new student or something?' She wondered why her classmates seemed to be ignoring this girl – since they would have flocked around any new faces, eager to make their impressions on them. She noticed some of them, even from Veronica's group, glancing at the girl from time to time, though their gaze were cautious instead of malicious. Feeling slightly perturbed but curious, she glanced at the girl quickly and saw her now staring out the window.
Her attention then flew to Karen Joyce, who just entered before their Arts teacher, Ms. Kelley followed suit.
"Take your seats, class. We'll begin shortly right after I've sorted out some papers." Then, she turned to a beaming Karen, smiling in a way that looked superficial to December. "Thank you for your help, Karen. Do take your seat now."
"It was no problem at all, Ms. Kelley." She said sweetly.
December wanted to gag very badly but caught herself in time before she made that a reality.
On the way to her seat among the people she called friends, even though it looked to December that they were more her followers than friends, Karen flicked her gaze towards December and smiled that sickly grin at her. 'What is wrong with her, really?' December thought, peeved.
She had stood up for herself against the Queen Bitch last weekend, and she thanked the fact that her friends were with her for such a feat. Although none of them shared this class with her, she wasn't going to hide behind them and wait for their rescue. She had told herself to woman up, and that's what she was going to try to do.
Forcing herself to look composed, she merely looked at Karen in a bored way, carefully masking her expression so she wouldn't betray the anxiety within her. 'Just be brave, December. You will not be intimidated by her.'
The odd smile were still on Karen's face but she shrugged at December before greeting the people who wanted her attention around her.
"She's really pretty, isn't she?" A random guy on her right said.
Startled, December turned to him and asked, "Who?"
He almost rolled his eyes and pointed out, saying impatiently, "Her. That new girl, right there."
His finger aimed discreetly at the same girl who had freaked December out. She was looking out the window, her midnight hair shined in the glow of the sun. She couldn't see the girl's face but she imagined there was a passive look on her.
December thought she looked like she belonged to a royal family; elegantly poised and calm on the outside. Even the way she sits made December straightened her posture self-consciously.
Having the feeling that someone was looking at her, she turned her gaze from the window and looked at December, eyes then narrowing into slits.
Taken aback, she returned the look and answered the guy with a scoff, "Maybe." She then turned her attention elsewhere, ignoring both the girl's stare and the guy's constant sigh of bliss beside her.
December tuned out her surroundings as Ms. Kelley started the lesson, silently counting the minutes on the ticking clock until free period.706Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡyTEdUuPKVr
December quickly gathered her things and rushed out of the classroom, wanting to avoid the girl who creeped her out and Karen's evil look when she bumped into the mysterious guy. He looked startled before his mouth curved into a smile.
"Rushing to the next class?" He teased, his soft accentuated voice catching her off guard.
"What?" She asked distractedly. 'His teeth is whiter than mine. He probably doesn't drink tea too much. Does he even drink tea?'
He shook his head but his smile widened. "You seemed to be in a hurry so I made a comment on that."
Feeling her blood rushed to her cheeks in embarrassment, she could only respond, "Oh."
A thought then occurred to her and she gave him a curious look. "You know, I don't think I've gotten your name yet."
His amusement were apparent. "And why would you want to know?"
She rolled her eyes at him, her hurry to get out of there temporarily forgotten. "Because it's rude not to introduce yourself to someone who'd known you for five minutes." She was referring to their first meeting by the lake and he knew it too by the wide grin on his face. "It's custom, you know."
"Well, it should be."
He laughed softly and gestured his hand to her. "Ladies, first."
She grinned. "Oh, but I insist."
He pretended to be upset and sighed. "If you insist." Then, he fixed his smile on her and said, "Maksimillian Jovovitsch. You may call me Max."
She quirked an eyebrow and gave him a quizzical look. "As in the actress in Resident Evil?"
He laughed. "No, I'm not related to Milla Jovovich. Mine has a 't' and 's' in it."
She nodded and hummed noncommittally, "I see." before casting him a mock pity look and said with a sigh, "Well that's unfortunate because she kicks ass." December grinned then and held out her hand, "December Scarborough. December, or D if you will."
Their reunion were interrupted by a voice. It was the pretty girl whom December think was out to get her now by the look on her face. 'Great, from the looks of it, she could be Karen number two.'
She was saying something foreign to him and he replied in the same way. It hit her then that she must be Russian since she recognized the language they spoke in. Max's tone seemed friendly - like they were talking about the weather or something based on the one word answer they gave each other - so she felt relieved that she wasn't the subject of discussion.
Until, her piercing gaze locked onto hers. December was already peeved by then.
"What is your problem? You've been glaring at me the whole time in class." She said impatiently at her.
The girl raised a perfectly plucked eyebrow and smirked before replying in her language.
Confused, December turned to Max as he quirked up his eyebrow at the girl before smiling at December. 'She said, 'Now where's the fun if I tell you that?'"
'She's even used the punch line Karen said once! Although this was in Russian. Oh, she's definitely Karen number two, alright.' December thought sourly.
A sudden squeal jolted them from their conversation as Karen wedged herself between Max and the Russian girl.
She turned to the girl. "Hi! You're Katie, right? I haven't been here last Friday so I totally missed out on getting to know you. But, I'd be so thrilled if we get along together now. I'm the captain of the cheerleading team and I cordially invite you to be one of us." When the girl, Katie, just seemed to stare at Karen, the curvaceous blonde then piped out, "Well, what do you say?"
"I'd say you've gotten my name wrong. It's Katya." She said with as much indifference she showed to December. Katya then pulled a laughing Max along with her, leaving a shocked Karen Joyce behind.
December was also shocked and surprised.
Despite the girl's cockiness, she had to give her credit for shutting Karen down like that. December looked at the wounded blonde and felt her lips twitched in laughter. 'What a priceless expression.'
Karen, seemingly out of her stupor glared daggers at December. "Shut up, December!"
Perhaps it was because of Katya's bravery or Max's easy going attitude, but December didn't give any thought of fear or anxiety as the words slipped out from her mouth before she could even think them. She said in a calm but final tone, "You shut up. And go away."
Preparing for a battle, she locked her gaze onto an astonished and furious Karen and waited until one of them made the first move. As if a haze had disintegrated, they were only now aware some students milling about the hallway, watching them in either shock or amusement. 706Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡaPmKN1ooEo
Karen flashed a smile at them in embarrassment, and in doing so she had admitted defeat. She turned to December and gave her a deadly look before turning away, and December guessed she was probably going to find her cronies.
December smiled to herself at the victory.
She turned towards the path both Max and Katya had gone to and taken only two steps when she stopped in her tracks, a few feet behind a couple of students.
They were standing in the midst of the hallway facing someone. Shrugging herself as she made to walk around them, she was surprised to see Pierre standing in the path too although something about him seemed different.
As she stared at him, December thought she was accustomed to a few reactions from Pierre, but expressionless was not one of them and she had no idea what to make of that.ns 18.104.22.168da2