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Waking up to the bacon aroma sizzling from the kitchen was something I could use right now. My mother gets up early on Saturdays simply because she runs errands, does breakfast, and cleans the, house. She likes to keep herself busy and discuss weekly updates with me and my sister through breakfast.
“I can use some bacon,” I say to my mother while getting into the bathroom hallway.
“Mel!! M-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-ll!” my mother calls out my sister.
“Is your sister awake yet? Because I called her twice and no answer,” my mother asks.
“I mean, have you tried going in her bedroom?”
“Ok, go get your sister, please. I need to go to the bank after serving breakfast. I can’t stay.”
I walk into my sister’s bedroom and I throw a huge heavy pillow on her head. But I fail to notice she wasn’t there.
“Mel? Are you here? Pssst! Psssst!”
Checked the bathroom. Nothing. Uh oh. Look who’s in trouble.
“Ok, Maria tell Mel, food is getting cold! I need to run. See ya in a bit!”
My mother rushes out the door and doesn’t even lock. I look at the scene my mom rushing out as I’m walking out Mel’s room knowing she wasn’t there and suddenly I’m confused.
“Alrighty I get to eat all the bacon, then.”
I dial Mel’s number and call her to see where she is hiding. Phone dial goes straight to voicemail and I sigh. I check my text messages and I see an unread text from her. Duh.
[Hey! Sis, I will be at Julian’s house today. I will tell Mom myself. Don’t worry! Love Ya. Mel x]
Well, there’s that.
[Did your sister wake up? Tell her to call me since her phone is off. Xoxo Mom]
Ugh. I hate being in the middle. I won’t reply. After all, my sister took me to the party last night and I won't snitch out on her.
Then I reply to my mother. [She’s taking a shower. Will do! X]
An hour later, my sister Mel calls me back and asks me if Mom found out she was gone. I said she shouldn't worry and that Mom had no idea. I asked her if she was ok and if she was coming home soon since our mother would be back home anytime soon.
“Maria, I am on the way right now. Julian is taking me. I slept over his house last night. Thanks for covering me up, sis!”
“Sure. Hurry up,” I replied.
Monday arrives too soon and also confrontation. While walking towards my 1st period class, I see George standing outside the door waiting for me, I’m assuming.
“What are you doing here?” I ask.
“Listen, I never meant to hurt you but I gotta say you’re keeping yourself busy nowadays, huh?”
“Excuse me?” I puzzled.
“I saw pictures of you on MySpace and you were all over Chris. What are you thinking? He probably has diseases after all the whores he fucked. Now you?” he says.
“First of all, I am late to my class. Second, we are no longer together. We’re not even friends! Third, I can mess with anyone I want, loser boy. Now, go on and mess with my replacement. Who I call a low resource,” I say in shock.
George storms away and the bell rings as it was the perfect ending to a breakup. The fire alarm sprinklers should’ve been a nice touch, too. Hmph.
“Damn, you go girl!” Beverly says, a classmate of mine walking by me after hearing my argument with George.
“Haha, thanks. It’s called self-confidence,” I joke.
“Where do you usually sit?” she asks.
“Is this your first day in this class?”
“Yes! I was overseas with my family. My father travels a lot so he took us on this one and I started the one week after school started.”
“Oh, that's great. The desk next to me is empty if you want to sit there.”
“Okay!” she says, relieved.
“Wait… how come you weren’t here last week then? This is the third week,” I asked.
“I was in another class. I made my counselor switch it because I have a beef with one of the girls there. It’s a long story but I’ll tell you one day!”
“No worries. I have no interest in knowing. I dislike a lot of people here anyway. And my crush already graduated from here, so…”
I immediately couldn’t believe I said that last sentence out loud. I have a crush? Am I going crazy? Is it Andres? For real? He is in a relationship, Maria.
“Oh yeah? What’s his name? I’ve known many people who graduated from here. Class of ’07 and ’08,” she says.
“Eh, I don’t quite remember his name… but I’ll get back at ya." I hurried up to end the conversation as I see Mrs. Coleman stand up and spy over me while she hushes around the classroom. I gulped and smiled as if she would smile back at me but no, of course. Who am I kidding? She hates us. She hates everybody. She hates the Principal, despises Open House reunions, parents, etc. She’s terrifying and intimidating. She could make you feel ashamed in a split second.
“Maria! Please stand up and explain to me in a brief passage what you learned in last week’s topic.”
Relax. It’s just giving your opinion on last week’s chapter. That’s all. Now go on and impress Mrs. Coleman. Go on now. Everyone’s watching you.
“W-e-ell, the part that I-I-I suggest is my all time favorite is the fact that Emily can fly. She permitted justice and control over her sisters and protected them until the war was finished. She deserved the medal and I can’t wait what happens next...?”
“Good start. Weak ending. Sit down and please remain quiet, Maria,” she says.
“Yes, Mrs. Coleman,” I say as I sit down in relief.
Class starts with Mrs. Coleman projecting a short film on the board based on The Crucible and I yawn throughout the next 20 minutes. I raise my hand to excuse myself to the bathroom and I'm surprised to find out Mrs. Coleman is handing me the bathroom pass from afar. "Make it quick, Maria," Mrs. Coleman says.
I get out of the classroom to find a familiar face walking towards me. Chris, the shirtless football player who made me chug from the keg at Sarah's party.
"Hey girl, hey!" Chris shouts.
"Hey! I hope you remember my name," I say.
"Maria, wasn't it?" he jokes.
"Where are you going?"
"Bathroom!" I lift my huge bathroom pass from Mrs. Coleman.
"Well, if you are brave enough I can wait for you after this period ends and we can ditch to my place. A couple of my friends are going, too. I even invited Sarah. Would you be down?" Chris suggests.
"I don't want to get in trouble, really. My mom is already hunting me down at home," I joke.
"Well, it'd be for a few hours, really. Give me your phone, I'll save my number on it so you can text me after this class," he says.
Chris saves his number on my cell phone and I completely blush as I suddenly find him attractive but I stop myself from smiling.
"Ok! Talk to you later! Bye," I quickly say once I get my phone back.
My mind swirls during the last 30 minutes left in Mrs. Coleman's class to think if I have the guts to skip school to go to Chris' house. He invited me which means he likes me or wants me in his clique. This is my chance. Second chance! I need to have the guts to go!. I am going to text Sarah and ask her if she is going. Chris mentioned she was invited, after all.
[Sarah? Where are you? Are you going to Chris' after? Call me when you get this. X]
[Hey girl I wish! I have to present a project after this period. Let me know how it goes! Don't get in any trouble with Chris! ;) :P ]
Ugh. Now I'm assuming Chris likes me as per Sarah's text message. Well, I'll just text him and tell him I can't.
[Walking towards your class. Meet you there! ;) ] Chris texts.
Oh god. Oh god.
Riiiiiiiiing! The class bell rings and I can't even get up from my desk.
"See ya tomorrow, Maria!" Beverly says.
I am the last member to get out from the class and I find Chris standing right in front of the door against the wall looking through his phone looking all handsome. Oh god. Look at his spiked hair and those well-toned arms. Maria, concentrate.
"Ready, my lady?" Chris jokes.
"I am not your lady. But yes, I am ready," I say with a smirk.
I've never thought the most popular kid in school would invite me to his house on an adventure but it seemed like he really wanted me to come along. After all, I was still in the process of becoming popular, too. We were skipping class on a Monday morning after the first period to God knows where. Chris mentioned he had Work Studies class as the first period so he had an allowance to get out of school and be idle until the next period. Go figure.
Chris and I walk to the senior parking lot and his car lights up as he unlocks it from his keys remote. A Jet black Chevy Camaro. It definitely brought up my attention.
"You must get around with this toy! The joy of rich parents, I'd tell ya," I say.
"You bet." He laughs.
"Where are we going, first of all?"
"I live around the corner. Don't worry, I'll take good care of ya. Watch out, let me put your seatbelt on." Chris reaches to my belt as we lock eyes for a slight moment.
"Sorry I usually put my passenger's seat belts on. Only if I think they're beautiful. Hehe!" Chris laughs nervously.
Cheesy ass phrase. But I'll take it.
Chris rides around a circle and turns in a narrowed one-mile driveway which transforms to an entrance that happens to be his house. He dials a 6-digit password and the gate opens slowly as we are in the clear.
"Is it only us here? Or your friends are driving on their own cars?" I asked.
Chris suggests I stay in the car while he gets out to quickly open my passenger door.
"Aw! What a gentleman. You live in a mansion. How nice," I say in delight.
It was a Spanish Villa Mansion and overlooked the morning sun shining throughout all the trees around the house. Its color was a soft yellow and had black and white shutters. Each room overlooking the front patio had its own balcony. Simply beautiful architecture.
"Please come in. I'd give you a tour if you're interested," Chris suggested.
"Please, do!" I say excitedly.
Chris' mother comes out of the front door as we walk on the stairs. She holds her cellphone on her ear and has a purple face mask on it.
"Hey doll, aren't you supposed to be in school? Your father is inside but don't disturb him. He's in a meeting with some Chinese businessmen. Who's this delightful lady?" Chris' mother directs to me.
"Hello, Mrs. Ferns. Pleased to meet you," I say.
"This is my new friend, Maria. I met her through Sarah Wells. I invited her to come by for a bit and then we're going back to class.
"Great! Come in, make yourself at home, dear. There are some home-made pastries I've made earlier! Chris, let her try some of the pastries! I'll see you later. I'm late for my Pilates class! Don't get into any trouble," she says.
"Thanks, Mom. Will do! I'll catch up with you later," Chris says.
"Your mom is so cool! I wish my mom was like that. Inviting and happy," I say.
"I'm sure she is! My mom is always running out the door to avoid panic attacks... Honestly, she doesn't hover much around the house because she suffers from panic attacks, often. My father and I try to be there for her and keep the environment settled," Chris exclaims with sadness in his eyes.
"I'm so sorry. I can keep up," I say.
"It's a long story and very sad, too. I come from a large rich family. A little crazy for the most part. But let's not continue your tour with depressive stories. Now—this is what they call it the foyer. Where you're standing on right now. So unnecessary, right? [Ha-ha]." Chris laughs as he tilts his head to the right and watches me.
I stare at Chris' eyes for a good minute and I glance at the fear in his eyes facing mine as he tries to hide his sadness.
He comes closer and whispers, "Come upstairs with me."
He grabs my hand and pulls me up upstairs. The first door on the right happened to be his room; a very tall white narrowed wooden door with a fancy knob and his initials dotted under the key lock.
"Welcome to the Chris-Jungle," Chris says with a bit of pride.
"This room is enormous. Tell me you didn't switch your parents' master room," I say.
"[Ha-ha] No, actually my parents have the master bedroom," Chris says and then opens up a drawer to get something. "By the way, I'd like to show you something. Feel free to tell me what you think."
Why do I get so nervous easily? Stop it. Stop gulping. It's not like he's going to take advantage of you. You're in Chris Ferns' bedroom waiting for a surprise.
"Now. Close your eyes," Chris says, holding something minuscule as the projection of his hands together.
"You are honestly making me nervous. I want to trust you but I can't if you demand me to close my eyes."
"Trust me. I wouldn't put you in any danger. I like you, Maria," Chris confesses.
"Fine. I'm closing my eyes," I say.
"Good. Wait for it. Two seconds here. Now—open."
I opened my eyes to find little paper-brown gift boxes adorned with a wool string as a bow. I used those to gift jewelry to my friends and family. I must say I was surprised and eager to find what's inside those brown boxes this time.
"What's inside those? Why are there four them?" I ask.
"Pick one and open one."
I grab one box and it weighs nothing. Once I untied the string and opened the box, my eyes flare close in confusion and frown to find a green pill with a rare symbol engraved on it.
"I do believe these are drugs, Chris."
"I am just simply showing you."
"Fine. What does this one do?"
"It's Ecstasy. Have you ever done Ecstasy?" he says.
"I haven't. But I'd rather not. I already promised my mother I wouldn't be involved with drugs," I say.
"Because you're committed and loyal. I can see that."
"Well, I am. But I think one day I'll try them, though. Just not now. Once I'm ready."
"I like that," he says.
"Well, we better go. I don't want to miss next period class," I say.
"Of course. Let's go."
Chris pulls out the front of the house and drives away to our school. Chris glances over my legs being shined from the sun. They looked pale but toned enough to be noticeable. I looked over to him and he quickly looks away to watch the roadside.
"That's right." I joked.
[Ha-ha-ha] He laughs hysterically.
I look at the time and I see we were very late for school. We turn right to the corner of the school and there they were. All our class alumni standing on the side of the school because there was our first Fire Drill Practice. We were the ultimate Walk Of Shame parade. I quickly covered my face with my binder and Chris laughs and waves at everyone including pulling the middle finger out to his colleague friends. Everyone knew we were some sort of thing after that appearance. I wonder what Sarah thinks since they used to date back in Sophomore Year.
"That was crazy. I bet we are in trouble," I say.
"Naaah. You should be fine."
"How do you know?"
"Because it's not a big deal, honestly."
"Well, hey, thanks for the invitation... I better go now! Catch you later," I say.
"Hey! Wait! Am I going to see you later or—?"
"I'll text ya!" I smile.
"I'd like that," he says.
The minute I get into my third period, I instantly feel different. Like I resurrected into this new day. Maybe it was those brown boxes Chris presented me earlier. The shock but instant curiosity was injected into me. I'd call them Glory Boxes. I wonder if I'm ever going to try drugs. To try Ecstasy for once. I honestly don't feel myself being a drug junkie but I don't doubt myself for one day to be full experimental.