By the time December reached her room, Raven, Brooke, and Serena had already gathered around.
"You look like someone punched you in the gut." Brooke commented, unaware of the irony of it.
December felt her lips twitched. "Is it obvious?"
Brooke stared at December, her eyes wide in surprise before furrowing her brows. "Okay, is that a joke? For the first time, I can't tell."
"By the way you said that, I can't even tell if you're joking, Brooke." Serena said lightly.
Raven had been observing December; the girl's face was a little pale but she thought there was something amiss with her eyes.
"D, have you been crying?"
December looked at her in surprise which fueled the curiosity in Raven. And when her friend didn't answer immediately, she continued, her eyes narrowing in suspicion. "This has something to do with you missing classes, right?"
"It's Karen, isn't it?"
December looked wide-eyed at them, amazed at their quick deductions. "Yes, and yes," she sighed. At the look of their faces, furious yet shocked, she figured she needed to get things under control.
"Wait, just listen. It's true that this has something to do with Karen, but me missing out on class isn't entirely about that." She started calmly.
"Really, you expect me to believe that? She's always got something against you." Brooke retorted vehemently, steam practically rolling off of her. Then, she made a show of rolling her sleeves, "Oh, I'm going to pummel that conniving bitch!"
Brooke was always known to be the expressive and dramatic one in their group and while they appreciated her show of concern, their expressions faltered when they realised Brooke was actually not just expressing it, she was going to prove it with her fist.
It was then December stopped her, pulling her with her and sitting on the bed. "Okay, I really appreciate this but there's no need for some action." At Brooke's incredulous look, December smiled a little, trying to appease her. "Maybe for now."
Brooke nodded with firm satisfaction.
With Serena and Raven listening quietly, their worry apparent on their faces, December continued, "Believe it or not, I just didn't feel like going to class today. And I was deeply engrossed with something…" she trailed off and furrowed her brows.
"Which reminds me, do you guys know that Pierre and Max are twins?" Then, she quoted his words, "Fraternal twins, to be exact."
She got the reaction that she wanted – the appropriate reaction – regarding the situation.
Brooke's mouth was agape, her eyes wide. "Wait, hold up. Twins? How did you ever come to that? When did you know?"
Serena blinked once, but she was still in disbelief. "That's very surprising. I never would have expected that."
"Right? See, this is the correct reaction to this. I hadn't even known that either. So, what I'm wondering now is why didn't Raven reacted the same way." December cast an accused look at her close friend.
"Yes, Brooke," the girl in question chuckled before she sighed and said, "I've always thought there was something about those two and come on, December, when Max smiles, you can't deny the striking resemblance in that, especially when Pierre laughed – "
"Pierre laughed?" Brooke couldn't seem to get over what was being revealed to her. December patted the girl's shoulder understandingly. After all, she was in that exact situation earlier too. It still feels surreal, though.
Raven grinned and continued, "Still, I had to know, though and when Pierre confirmed it, it was like something in my chest got lifted, you know?"
December, and the rest of her friends took that in.
So, Raven figured out it was their smiles too.
It baffled December how she could have missed out on such things. After all, since she often bump into Pierre, meeting him at the oddest of places and they're friends now too, she should have noticed some things about him, shouldn't she?
"You're right. I guess I just never made that connection." December said, her lips curling into a smile, though it didn't reach her eyes.
"So, tell us – oh, what's wrong?" Unaware of the tender wound, Brooke had jabbed December's side, making her friend wince in pain.
December looked at them, their expressions alarmed. Despite her brave talk earlier, she still had some hesitancy in her, and she hated that even though she made her mind up, she still struggled with telling them. After all, it wasn't as though she had been upfront about the problems before and so this was a new territory for her.
She took deep breaths; in and out, in and out.
She hadn't showed them any proof of Karen's cruelty to them before, only verbal insults that they had been present to witness, but showing this would be on a new level. This was the main thing that she was worried to show them, but she knew she had to.
Without a word, she lifted up her dress shirt, showing them the bruise that had already formed, and waited.
None of them spoke, eyes fixated on the coloured bruised that contrasted with her fair skin.
"Oh my God." Serena whispered in astonishment, her hands immediately went to her mouth.
"Oh, D," Raven said brokenly, "how – what? She did this?"
She felt the absence of Brooke rather than see her, but before the girl could leave the room, December had a firm grip on her forearm. "Brooke."
"No! December, I can't believe you're going to let her go after she did that to you." Brooke's blazing eyes looked at her. Overwhelmed with how much they care for her, December blinked her eyes from letting the tears fall.
Brooke's gaze softened at that. "I'm not mad at you, I'm just so freaking mad that she thinks she can just bully people and get away with it."
December sniffed and rubbed her eyes with her shirt sleeve. "No, I know but let's think this through, okay? Let me finish first."
Brooke, torn with marching up to the enemy and staying there as her friend said, decided December had some point. "Ugh, fine! But make it quick. My fists can't wait."
At that, suddenly the tense moment was broken. Everyone found themselves chuckling at Brooke, even the girl herself who was moments away ready to create damage.
They sat down and December went into the full explanation; the moment she had been walking in the hallways to the showdown with Karen, and how she had been through them before but was afraid of what they would think of her, worrying that Karen would make her life more hellish than she had if she did something.
"Aw, December. We wouldn't do that to you," Serena said, gripping her friend's hands in hers as Raven hugged her friend, nodding vigorously.
"I know. I was just too scared back then." December said and giggled when Raven planted a kiss on her head. I'm really thankful to have them as my friends.
"And now?" Brooke asked, her arms crossed.
"I'll be honest, I'm still scared but I've just had enough with this. With her."
Brooke grinned. "That's what I want to hear. You have to get her back, you know?"
"How?" December mirrored Brooke's expression.
Raven sat back and pondered. "Third floor hallways, right? Do you think anyone saw you?"
December paused in thought. She had been too immersed in her thoughts to notice anything else, but she knew that it had been empty, and there was only Karen. She tried to think harder, in case she might have missed something but having found nothing, only shook her head.
"Hmm, without any witness, this will be a little hard."
"But do you think having a witness will make things in our favour? She could have bribed them." December said.
"If she knows there's a witness." Brooke pointed at her in an 'a-ha' look before saying triumphantly, "But if there's none, we could just make one up."
"Oh, Brooke, as much as that's brilliant, but do you think it would stop her?" Raven patted her friend's shoulder. "That's something that she would do, right? We can't stoop to her level."
Serena, who had a pensive look on her face then piped up before looking at December. "Were there cameras around? People may lie but cameras don't."
Everyone stopped, before turning to Serena and pulling her into a group hug.
"Of course!" December gasped as the thought occurred to her. She wasn't sure but there had to be a possibility, right?
"Why didn't I think that?" Brooke said out loud.
"You're a genius, Serena!" Raven chirped, hugging her.
"I'm not sure but there has to be some around, right?" December grinned before it faltered a little. "But wait, how are we going to get our hands on it?"
Serena smiled, for once a twinkle of mischief glinted in her eyes, leaving her friends stupefied.
"Leave it to me. I know a guy."
After telling them, December felt as though a chunk of block has been lifted off her chest. While they left the camera surveillance checking to Serena, they reminded her to be careful and be mindful of her surroundings.
She couldn't argue any of that with her friends because they were right. They had left soon after, both having plans for the evening. Serena went on a hunt for the guy – Weston, she had revealed after they asked her persistently – to help her out. She wondered if he wanted to help them.
December also knew Weston was good with computers but she didn't know to what extent.
There was also a nagging thought that made her worry her bottom lip. She could only hope in doing this, none of them would be in trouble.
December had contemplated against seeing Nurse Olivia because surely the woman would recognise signs of accidental injuries and those inflicted by others, wouldn't she? After several moments, she decided to take the chances and go to the nurse. The injuries then hadn't been bad enough to require a trip to the infirmary or hospital, but this time, December had a feeling that she really needed the proper treatment.
Thankfully the nurse seemed to buy the excuse, although she knew the woman's suspicions hadn't completely alleviate from the matter.
She needed only a solid evidence to get Karen.
December wasn't sure if there was any but maybe there had been at least one camera that captured their scene and she could finally give Karen what she deserves.
That thought filled her with an adrenaline, but she focused herself to calm down. As much as she was tired and exhausted of Karen's bullying, she shouldn't get ahead of herself, due to the lack of evidence in her hands. When dealing with Karen, showing the bruise to the authorities simply wasn't enough.
December sighed, then made herself think about Zach. He was an effective distraction to her problems because her worries had disappeared as soon as she remembered the way he smiled at her, and that kiss back at the dorm the night of their date.
Subconsciously, she brought her fingers to her cheek where he had kissed her, and found herself blushing. His lips.
His soft lips on her skin…
She brought her fingers to her lips and rolled herself on the bed excitedly, glad that no one was around and uncaring of her silly behaviour. Even though it was just a peck on her cheek, he had lingered there long enough that her body felt hot and her mind dizzy with euphoria.
Now that she knew what it felt like, she wanted them on her lips. December imagined it would be mind-blowing. Stars and fireworks alike.
And earlier at the café, he had said they were going on another date….to any place of her choosing. Giddy with want and excitement, she decided to call him. Or maybe she could text him instead?
But she wanted to hear his voice….
December sighed. Stop being so indecisive already.
She chuckled quietly to herself, thinking that if her friends saw her like this and knew of her indecisiveness, they would probably call him up themselves.
She shook her head and sat up, determined to just do it. Grasping her phone, she paused in thought, figuring what she wanted to say to him. Besides, wasn't he busy at this hour with the Student Council?
She glanced at her phone. 14:30.
She had no idea what he does at the Council or how long he spent there, but she decided to just ring him up. Hopefully he's alone and not in a meeting or something.
She heard the phone ringing and as the sound drone on, her nervousness picks up. Maybe it's a bad idea to call him. I should have just start with texting fir –
And just like that, nothing else mattered. Hearing his smooth voice, she could imagine him sporting a boyish grin by the sound of it.
"Hey, Zach." She said, her voice taking on a shy tone. I don't think I'll ever get tired of hearing him.
"I was just thinking about you, actually, and I was about to call you since I'm done wrapping up in the Council." There was some noise too garbled that she couldn't differentiate them going on in the background that seem to drift away, but she heard him move to a quiet place before speaking again. She felt him smiling. "So, to what do I owe this pleasure of your call, Miss Scarborough?"
She bit her lip as she grinned, and not knowing what to do with her other hand, played with the edges of her skirt. "I miss you." She said quickly, shy and a little unlike herself, to be saying such things boldly. She didn't know what to do with herself now, but it warmed her heart and face nonetheless to know that finally told him what she wanted to say.
The line was quiet for a while and December's heart quickened in anxiety. "Um, Zach?"
"I'm here." She heard him sigh before he chuckled into the phone. "You're driving me crazy…December. I miss you, too."
She wanted to fly to the sky like the butterflies in her stomach and scream out in bliss because how much more perfect can this whole thing be?
You're driving me crazy too, she wanted to say. She giggled. "So, about our next date you were talking about…"
"Yeah, do you have any place in mind?"
She smiled to herself, mulling over the places she wanted to go in her head but seeing as she wanted to have another perfect date, she'd need to do some research about her choices and so, she told him, "Not at the moment. I'll let you know about it."
When he suddenly groaned, December's brows furrowed in concern. "What's wrong?"
"I just forgot about some papers and my assignment in the Council. I'm already walking towards my dorm and now I've got to make a second trip back."
December tsked. "Forgetful, are we?"
"You know, that doesn't happen at all, and I'm definitely blaming this one on you, sweetheart."
Sweetheart. He just called her sweetheart. All she ever wanted was him, and now she had him and his term of endearment. She wanted to combust – no, she imagined herself already combusting into stars.
Where was all this sweetness coming from? She knew he was a great guy but this was too much for her heart. If he doesn't stop making her insides flutter every few seconds, she was going to be in a serious situation.
She covered the mouthpiece to her chest, took one pillow and scream into it, the sound muffled. Face red and breaths heaving, she quickly said, "Zach?"
He sounded like he was sprinting towards the Council. "December?"
"That's a blame I'm willing to take."
Zach sounded a little out of breath, though he laughed a little. "I'll see you soon, December."
"See you soon." She said softly, smiling widely to herself.
After they hung up, December exhaled a sigh of happiness. Talking to him felt great and it didn't make her think of the unpleasant things that happened earlier. She still wasn't over her cloud nine moment but she knew she needed to clear her head soon or she wouldn't be able to focus on anything else.
December decided to freshen herself up before getting some snacks from the vending machines.586Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡEUseMNkyCtns22.214.171.124da2