It was quite strange, if I might say, that I couldn't concentrate in my class this morning. My thoughts were all about Gee Kay and Brenda and the man who, only by hearing his name, made me annoyed --- Genesis. However, the time before I came into class, I overheard the same talk about "Genesis deserved it". Only this time I saw who had been talking with that group of people. It was a redheaded girl who turned out to be the "hot chick" type. The group of people she was talking with were all guys. How could that kind of girl befriend only guys? I thought that she'd hang out with other attractive girls, or maybe my hobby of watching movies might have given me a wrong concept about how real life could be.
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School time was over. I could finally go to the hospital as I had promised. I walked out to the front of the university to catch a bus. I missed the bus that came at ten sharp, so I needed to wait for the bus that came fifteen minutes later.
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While waiting for the bus to come, I saw the red-headed girl again. She was alone at that moment and she was walking towards me. I pretended not to look at her. She turned out to be sitting next to me. She was also catching the bus, I assumed.
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"Hey." I tried to be polite, thinking I might be able to dig up some information about Genesis. Well, I had no reason to know about him, but there was this urgency to know about him.
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"Hey." she responded simply.
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"Where are you going?" I asked. "If I may know. If you mind.. Just forget what I said."
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She shook her head. "Chill out," she chuckled. "I'm a friendly person."
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I smiled, but I thought inside my heart about how she could be so friendly when she said something bad about Genesis. Well, at least, that was the tone she used when she said 'Genesis deserved it.'
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"I'm heading to my house in Evans Ave." she told me. She didn't seem too worried about telling me where her house was even though I was a stranger to her.
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I nodded and smiled again.
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"And where are you going?" she asked.
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"Saint Mary's Regional Medical Center." I replied.
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"Who's sick? Your family?" She looked concerned.
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I shook my head. "I'm not from here. I'm from Indonesia," I answered. "It's my friend there. He got hit by a car last night."
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"So, you're the Indonesian?" she looked surprised.
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"Uh.. Yeah, it's me," I responded in doubt. 'How could she know me? I mean what does she know about me? What has she heard about me?' Those questions suddenly popped up in my mind.
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She smiled mischievously. I knew it. I could differ smiles. I saw in movies this kind of smile. Well, at least it was pretty much the same in reality.
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"So, you're his girlfriend?"
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I furrowed. "What do you mean? Whose girlfriend am I?" I asked in confusion. "I just arrived here last week and I didn't have anyone to fall for here. I barely know anyone here."
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"Don't kid with me," she sniffed. "Word spreads fast like wildfire around here."
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"But what did you hear?" What is happening? I have no idea at all.
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"You're pretty silly, or do you really not know what's going on with you? I mean, who's been with you all this time??" she looked like she was thinking of something. She probably was thinking about if I was being honest or lying to her. As for me, I would say I'm being honest!
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"WHO?" I raised my tone.
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"Genesis!" She snapped.
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"I have no idea about Genesis!" I snapped back. "Yes, I heard a lot about him, but as for who he is, I don't know." I was really confused. I felt like my brain had been dipped into water filled with mud.
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She shook her head in disbelief and sniffed again. "Your friend who's lying in the hospital is Genesis!"
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I was startled. How could it be? "NO. My friend's name is Gee Kay." I told her. I still didn't believe what she said was true. She might have the wrong person.
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"Gee is for Genesis, Kay is for Kennedy. Initials! He is Genesis Kennedy Hampton." she disclosed what I had never expected to happen before.
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'So, all this time, the one who's been with me was Genesis, the one I don't like? Well, if Gee Kay is Genesis, why does this girl sitting next to me want to hurt him? I mean, she really did! She put Gee Kay, um, Genesis in the hospital. If Gee Kay was Genesis, whom everybody adored, why did a guy in his residence seem to hate him?' I was thinking over and over again about this as if I was alone, neglecting the existence of that girl.
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"Hey," she brought me back to reality. I looked at her. "Let me tell you, if you don't want to get hurt now, stay away from him. End your relationship."
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"I'm not his girlfriend." I snapped.
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"Okay, okay," she raised her open palms. "Relax. Whatever you are to Genesis, stay away. I hate this guy, and I don't want him to have any more friends. I want to make his life a living hell. He stole my popularity."
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"What is this? Are you threatening me?" I raised my voice. "And is popularity that important to you? There are so many things that are much more important to keep than popularity, I'm telling you."
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She shook her head. "You won't believe me if I tell you." She crossed her arms in front of her chest.
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I didn't say anything in response, though I wanted to know why she sounded like she hated Genesis so much. That was unbelievable. However, when she was about to tell me, the bus came.
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"You know what, I'll tell you later when we meet again." She said.
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"You don't need to." I refused. I was afraid I would get into trouble if I met her again.
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"Yeah, actually I don't want to, but it's a must. You need to be saved from him," She said. She then entered the bus when the door opened, and I followed behind her. She sat behind, but I chose to sit in the front row.
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The atmosphere of hospital was always creepy to me. I never did like it. Hospitals also made me itchy. I had no reason for it, but it just happened I guess.
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Brenda texted me that Gee Kay had been moved to another room. I went to the room she mentioned. When I entered the room, I saw nobody but Gee Kay, or Genesis, alone. His right leg was wrapped in a white cast.
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"Hey." I was a little bit surprised to see Gee Kay wasn't sleeping.
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"Hey." I approached him and sat on a chair that was placed beside him. I assumed Brenda had been here. "How are you?"
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Gee Kay sighed. "You see me. I'm sick." He replied.
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I smiled. "Yeah." I responded. "But you must be happy."
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"How could you say that? I'm sick, how can I be happy?" He furrowed his brow; questioning my statement.
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"You have a really wonderful sister." I brought up this topic, one that I had talked about with Brenda. I could use this time to help these two sister and brother become closer.
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He smiled, gazing at the ceiling of the room. "She is." He said. His confession made me glad. They didn't need as long of time to get as close as they used to be.
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"So, where's Brenda?" It was the question I was first going to ask when I came into the room.
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"She's out there, but I don't know where she is," He answered. "Oh, Cynthia, could you pass me my iPad over there?" He pointed to a square thing covered with blue leather on the table beside me. I took it and gave it to him. "Excuse me for a while."
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I nodded. Then I was waiting and doing nothing while he did something with his iPad. I didn't know what he was doing but I was really curious about it, because he was smiling over and over again about something on his iPad.
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"Why are you smiling?" I asked. I couldn't keep my curiosity in again.
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"It's just something nice." He answered.
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"Can I see it?"
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He shook his head.
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"Why? Is it something private?"
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"Okay." That's all I could say. I couldn't insist on him telling me what was inside his iPad. Whenever someone had something private, though that person was my best friend, I would keep my nose out of their business. You could say that that's what my friends liked about me.
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We didn't say anything to each other for some time but then it was a long time before Brenda came and broke the silence between me and Gee Kay. She approached us and stood beside me, with her right palm resting on my left shoulder.
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"So you made it," Brenda said to me, I guess. "Thank you, Cynthia." The mention of my name confirmed it.
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I gazed up at her and smiled. "Never mind. You and Gee Kay are my friends now, so why can't I give my friends something as simple as my help?"
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"Well," Brenda was drawing a chair beside the table and placed it next to the one I was sitting in, and then she sat there. "I was going to ask more of you, not just simply helping anymore."
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"Hey, don't burden her, Brenda." Gee Kay interrupted.
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Brenda looked at her brother and furrowed. "No, I won't. That's why I was going to ask her. If she minds, then I won't impose upon her," she said.
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I rested my right hand on the edge of the bed and looked up at Brenda. "So, what is it that you were going to ask?" I asked.
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"You know, I'm working on my thesis, and I believe you remember you were going to help me translate my script," She breathed. I nodded, and then she continued. "So, after you finish translating it, I need to work on my film. That means I won't have as much time to wait on Gee Kay."
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"Ah," I understood what she was going to ask me. "You're going to ask me to wait on Gee Kay?"
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Brenda smiled and nodded. "Is that okay? Would you mind?" She wanted to make sure I'd say yes. I saw hope in her eyes.
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"Sure, why not?" I shrugged while smiling at her. "I think I have told you about this the other day, right?"
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"See, you treat me like I'm a nine-year-old boy," Said Gee Kay. I turned my gaze toward him. I could see he was a little bit annoyed, but he was happy to be cared for by his sister. "Brenda, I'm okay. I can take care of myself."
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"Is the reason you say that because you don't want me to be around you? Because I'm a stranger?" I teased him.
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"NO, NO!" He said as fast as lightning struck. "I just don't want to be a burden for you. Please don't think that. You're my friend, as you told me that I am your friend."
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I chuckled. "Hey, I'm just kidding," I said. "I know. You're a good friend."
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Brenda smiled. "Well, I guess, it doesn't take a long time for you guys to fit together." She sounded pleased.
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"I guess so," I shrugged. "Right, Gee?" And then I chuckled again.
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"Yeah." said Gee Kay.
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"Ah, I have a question for you, Brenda." I stopped chuckling when I remembered something I'd been pondering over since last night.
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"What is it? Go ahead." She said.
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I hesitated for a while, but I thought that it was okay to ask her. "Why did you ask me to come last night? I thought you'd have other friends you'd known before me, so why'd you choose a complete stranger?"
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Brenda's facial expression changed. I thought I had done something wrong. I shouldn't have asked her this.
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"I'm sorry. You don't need to answer me." I told her. I was afraid that she was offended, or she might have a reason to keep it to herself and couldn't tell anyone else.
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"Well, actually I was wondering the same thing." Gee Kay confessed.
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Brenda took a deep breath before she spoke, "Yes I have a reason and I think I need to tell you this." I fixed my eyes on her, waiting for her to continue. "Everyone here knows Gee Kay, but you don't. Everyone here seems to adore Gee Kay as if he's an idol, or maybe he is, but you don't."
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I have her a confused facial expression. I just didn't understand what she was talking about.
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"You are the only one whom I can trust." She continued, "I know somebody who hates him and caused him to be like this."
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I felt like a rock just hit my heart. 'I know it too,' I said inside my heart. The one she meant was the red-headed girl.
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"And I couldn't let anybody know what had happened to my brother, because I don't want to see him get hurt again," She finished talking and tears dropped down her cheeks. "If those who adore my brother knew about his condition, something bad would come of it."
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I was startled. She knew that her brother was in danger and she was really distressed. It was a dangerous situation caused by a red-headed girl, who seemed fine from the outside but held onto hatred inside of her for Gee Kay.
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"Sooner or later, everyone will know of his condition, Brenda. I hope there's nothing to worry about." I said to calm her down but she was still crying.
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"Brenda, why are you crying?" Gee Kay asked. I guessed he didn't know anything about what had come and what was about to come to him in the future. "I'm okay, you see me. Nobody is going to hurt me, not even Kyle."
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'Who is Kyle?' I was pondering. I had no idea about him.
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"I broke his nose the other night. Was he the one who caused me to be like this? Just tell me, Brenda." Gee Kay insisted.
Then I knew Kyle was the guy I met at Gee Kay's residence.
Brenda shook her head. She was still in tears but she tried to stop it. She wiped her eyes over and over again but the tears wouldn't stop.
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"It was Meredith, your best friend. Former," She finally told him the truth, I could tell. "I'd been keeping it a secret for a year now. She hates you so much because you stole her popularity, ever since you became like an idol for many people by what you always do through Ins-"
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"Brenda, stop." Gee Kay prevented her from letting me know, I guessed, about who he was, but I interrupted quickly.
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"It's fine. I already know who you are, Genesis," I said. He looked startled. I knew he had never expected this. "But I promise I am not like everyone else who adores you so much." I was looking right into his eyes so as to ensure him. "Brenda, Gee Kay," I turned my sight from Brenda to Gee Kay and then to the wall in front of me. "I met a red-headed girl when I was catching the bus on my way here. Like what Brenda's said, she hates you. I could feel it. She also told me to stay away from you if I didn't want to get hurt."
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Brenda moaned. "Oh no, now I put you in danger. I'm so sorry." She apologized.
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"Brenda, look." I looked at her and touched her hand. "Don't worry," I convinced her. "God is on my side, so I believe I am safe. No one can hurt me. Trust me."
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I turned my gaze upon Gee Kay and saw him resting his head on his palms. "I'm sorry if this is all because of me," He said. "I'd never known that all this time, the reason why Meredith suddenly stayed away from me and acted as if she never knew me was because she's angry. I knew that she's always liked to be known and cared for by everybody because of her bitter past. She was rejected by her family and the only way she could escape from it was by getting everyone's attention, to feel loved. I stole it from her. I am such a bad friend to her. I had no idea about it."
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At that moment, the atmosphere between us was full of sadness. Both Brenda and Gee Kay regretted something they did. However, I couldn't stand this. I was getting annoyed because I always hated sadness. I couldn't let my new friends feel this way. I also couldn't let my life, which was just starting here and was supposed to be exciting, become full of sorrow.
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"Hey, both of you," I called on them without mentioning their names, in a raised tone that took them aback. "I have no idea about your past, whatever it was, but I won't let either of you live your lives in sorrow like this. Now, stand up and finish this." They didn't say a word to me, so I continued. "To me, Meredith's wrong. She chose popularity for temporary happiness over the true happiness she could get from her friend, you, Gee. Whatever she plans to do to you, or even to me, we'll stop her. Brenda, stay strong. Forget what you did and join me and Gee Kay. We need to fix this."
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"Well, I think I need to stop what I've been doing on Instagram." Gee Kay said.
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I shook my head. "Just keep doing it. I believe many people are being encouraged by you," I suggested. I turned to Brenda. "Brenda, go about your day like everything's just fine."
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Brenda nodded slowly.
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"No matter what happens, let's face it together. Deal?" I stretched out my hand over the bed between Brenda and Gee Kay. They looked at each other and smiled, then they put their hands over mine. I put my other hand on top of our pile of hands to break.
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I went back to Argenta around two in the afternoon. I was planning to translate Brenda's script so that I could focus on anything else after I got some rest. Julie was there reading a book. She seemed so busy with it that she didn't say anything but 'hi' and 'how are you' to me. It was weird how she was so involved in what she was reading. I didn't think that in her new week of study there would be any assignment given. It might be something else she was reading. I didn't bother to check up on her because I was so tired, so I lay on my bed and went to sleep.
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When I woke up, it was five. I took a bath for five minutes, then decided it was time to get to work. I looked for Brenda's file and started working on it. Brenda's script was only ten pages. It wasn't too difficult for me to translate all of it in a short time. I was used to doing that since high school. I finished in only an hour and a half.
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"Hmm, I think I'm pretty good at this," I complimented myself and chuckled. "Thank God I got the Translation subject when I was taking my bachelor's degree so that I'm used to translating this fast."
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There was a knock on the door but it opened before I had time to answer it. Cassie appeared from behind the door. "Hey!" she greeted with a broad smile.
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"Hey," I replied. "How was your day?"
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"Pretty good." She answered while she was approaching me, and then she sat on my bed. She was still smiling.
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I furrowed. "What is wrong with you that you're smiling like that?" I asked. I turned my chair to face her. I remembered she'd smiled this way before too. "Are you okay?"
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She nodded. She smiled even wider.
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"Hey, don't make me curious." I warned her.
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"I'm glad that my roommate is Genesis' girlfriend." She stretched her arms out to hug me.
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"Who told you that?" I made her let go of me.
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Her eyes widened. She looked happy. "So it's true?"
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"NO, NO, NO," I shouted. "I asked because it's not true."
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"But everyone knows it," she didn't seem to believe what I had told her. "Just confess it. It's okay. I won't be jealous or angry, even though I like him too." She teased me, poking my right cheek.
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I shook my head. "I have no idea about this. It doesn't make sense, you know." I said.
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She shrugged and smiled.
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"Seriously," I felt so annoyed that I needed to convince her. "I'm not hiding anything. Someone's spreading a rumor that I'm Genesis' girlfriend. Please, Cassie. Believe me."
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She still kept her mouth closed and shaped a broad smile across her face.
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"Cassie," I shook her body. "Believe me."
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"Cynthia," she held my hands. "I don't care if the gossip is true or even if it's not true. I just care for you."
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I furrowed. "And then?" I was wondering where she was taking me in this conversation.
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"Listen," she said. "Starting tomorrow, there will be so many girls who will try to get closer to you because they think you're dating Genesis--"
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"But I'm not,"
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"I know," She interrupted when I tried to interrupt her. "Just let me finish."
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"But on the other side, there will be bunches of girls who hate you because of that," Cassie rested her right hand on my left shoulder. "Cynthia, no matter what, I'm on your side. This is America. I know there are a lot of differences between here and Indonesia regarding the case about Genesis and everything that follows him, but I'm standing by you."
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I didn't know. Or precisely, I didn't want to know. Seriously. I knew it was different from my country living in this place, with different reactions from people my age in Indonesia compared to this place, Genesis, and everything that followed him, repeating Cassie's words; but I just didn't care. I wanted to live my life normally here. Or at least, just let it flow. No matter what would happen to me here, I chose to put my trust in God.
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"Hey, Cynthia!" Cassie brought me back from my musing by shaking my body. "Are you okay?"
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I nodded repeatedly. "Yeah, sure. And thanks, Cassie, for being on my side." I gave her a smile.
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"Yeah. You're very welcome, Cynth," she said. "Though we just met and live as roommates, I already consider you as a sister to me."
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I was really glad about this. Inside my heart, there was a great gratitude I gave to God. I had never expected that I would have a roommate like her. Speaking of roommates, my mind was drawn to Julie, about what was happening to her at that moment.
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"Anyway, Cassie, have you realized there's something up with Julie?" I asked.
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"I don't know, like she's feeling sad. She didn't want to tell me about it" I was really concerned for her. These past days I'd seen her remain quiet most of the time.
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Cassie shook her head. "Honestly, I've never known about that," She admitted. "You know, usually when I get back from the university, she's gone out. When she gets back, I've usually fallen asleep."
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"Okay," I said. "Maybe it was just my mind being so troubled by the whole Genesis thing that I thought Julie was feeling bad."
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"Let's hope she's okay."
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"Oh, hey, would you mind giving me some time alone for a while here?" She requested. "I need to talk about some important things with my family over the phone."
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"Oh, sure. I was also going to have some dinner."
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"Never mind," I told her. I got up from sitting and left her alone in the room.
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I walked out and made my way down to the first floor to grab some food. I entered the café and ordered dinner. I got some food and something to drink, paid, and then sat at a table somewhere near the window. There was always a good view from this place.
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I started eating, but my mind was full of too many things -- Genesis, Julie, and also myself. How complicated it all was. I wondered why this had happened in my life, my life which was supposed to be beautiful. Well, it was still beautiful of course, but I mean why? I took a deep breath. I needed to stop all the "why's". I needed to start saying "thank you" more. I believed God had a plan for me in letting me be here, surrounded by burdens. Everything happens for a reason.
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"Hi, Cynthia," I gazed up and saw Meredith, the red-headed girl. "Genesis' girlfriend."
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I hated it when she mentioned that. Not because I didn't want to be Genesis' girlfriend. Well, I wasn't expecting it to be true, but still, the way she mentioned it was rude. I hated it.
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"Hi," I held myself back from feeling annoyed and tried my best to be polite. "What are you doing here?"
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"I'm here to meet you."
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"Hey, listen. If you want to keep telling me bad things about Genesis, or if you're still trying to convince me to stay away from him, or anything else that's unimportant to me, please leave. There are plenty of better things for me to hear than that." I said. I didn't mean to be rude but it just came out of my mouth.
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Meredith smiled treacherously. "Hey, so you mean you will stick together with Genesis and let yourself suffer because of it?" She threatened me.
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"What do you mean?"
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"You don't remember what I said to you earlier today at the bus station? Okay. Let me tell you once more," She looked at me sharply. "Stay away from Genesis...Or. You. Will. Suffer." The tone of her voice was low but she sounded really serious.
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"Look, Meredith. If this is all because Genesis stole your popularity---"
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"Oh! He told you something against me regarding this popularity, reversing the fact, didn't he?" She sounded bitter with her cheerful-like tone. "Such a baby!"
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I thought I should've never mentioned it, but I already did. I couldn't take it back. "Let's stop it here," I said. "I don't know why you hate him so much. What I do know is that Genesis is not the way you think he is. He's never trying to steal anything from you. And I, I'll do what I've been doing." I got up and stepped out from the table to leave her, but I remembered to say something to her. "Once more. Popularity only gives short-term love and happiness. Think about that." Then I left her.
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I was really angry from my talk with Meredith. She'd ruined my good Friday night. I couldn't understand why there was someone like her who would choose popularity over friendship.
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I went upstairs and sat on the couch when suddenly my cellphone started buzzing. I took it out from my jean pocket and read the new message from Brenda. She asked me if I'd finished translating her script. I replied to her message and wrote that I would send it right away, then I opened the file I'd saved in Dropbox on my cellphone just like what I always did so that everywhere and every time I could access all my files. I made sure to send it to Brenda's email address, which she'd sent me via text message.ns126.96.36.199da2