Adoring December - Chapter 5 | Penana

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Adoring December
Writer Emoddess
  • G: General Audiences
  • PG: Parental Guidance Suggested
  • PG-13: Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • R: Restricted
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Adoring December
A - A - A
Chapter 5
Dec 5, 2016
35 Mins Read
No Plagiarism!CaCVJkz2QDRzesrqp7cIposted on PENANA

A month had passed since December found out that the guy from the music store had enrolled into her academy.copyright protection163PENANASav919iWmd

After what had occurred between them, both December and Pierre decided to limit their contact with each other. The only time when they had to acknowledge the other’s presence was when their eyes inadvertently met in the hallways, or when they were chosen to pair up for some teamwork. That, however, did not went well since they could barely communicate without sending snide remarks to one another.167Please respect copyright.PENANAhvpugIm1dJ
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December was still upset with him over the integrity on his part, and by the scowl on his face whenever he saw her, she didn’t think he fancied her much. Apart from the class work, December didn’t mind it all, because she was glad that they had ended up somewhat strangers. There wasn’t anything to say to each other, after all, and even if they did, she knew they would just resort to insults.copyright protection163PENANAaZnMU77u9Y

The unfortunate part, however, was that a certain blonde namely Karen Joyce had taken to pestering her – by sending death glares, making scathing remarks, and even tripped her multiple times afterwards – whenever she spotted December and Pierre being in the same vicinity. It was highly annoying as it reminded her of the first few months on how Karen had humiliated and mocked her during their first year.copyright protection163PENANA71xltZMT6Y

Once, whilst talking with a guy from her Math class whom she begun to like at the time, Karen came out of nowhere and proclaimed to anyone within hearing range that December had a huge crush on him. If that wasn’t enough, the worst part of it all was that he had laughed in her face along with the rest of the student body who had witnessed her second demise. She remembered crying for many days after that.copyright protection163PENANABZ879agr6D

If she had to be honest, she really didn’t know what had fueled Karen’s interest and anger to target her, since they barely knew each other.copyright protection163PENANAFgC33xab2k

Regardless, December was thankful that she now had the support she needed from her friends and she thought that was enough for her to ignore and avoid the girl.copyright protection163PENANA99mHvQHhJN

Everything had been going well for her.copyright protection163PENANAflMosVyJnF

She had seen both Karen and Pierre less now except during the times where they shared the same classes, but even so, she’d managed to elude herself from the bully and the arrogant guy whenever she spotted them. Most of the times, she hung around and spent her morning and afternoon break with her friends, either at the student lounge, their usual spot under the tree or their dorms.copyright protection163PENANAn3V07ZyiaA

It was a foggy Saturday morning, but she loved it nonetheless. In fact, after moving away from England since her family took up residence in San Francisco, December felt like the place was already a second home to her. She remembered behaving like a tourist, beaming in awe, and took photos as she walked around the places, visiting the famous landmarks in the city.copyright protection163PENANADjJZ1fPIwz

Among many other things, she remembered one gloaming Wednesday, when her parents decided to tour the city by taking a helicopter, so they could view the city a whole lot better.copyright protection163PENANAwMUiameJ6C

Her camera had ran out of battery and she was sweating, as was the result of trekking up the steep streets and hills. Still, she had walked with them while her mother took some pictures – some of which included them posing for a photo.copyright protection163PENANAotFktMj14t

“As much as I’m exhausted, why can’t we just walk around a little bit more? I think that’ll help us be more local, don’t you think?” Fifteen year old December asked her parents. They had been walking around since noon, and had found several interesting places. Surely, they had covered at least most of the things her parents wanted to see on their list, right?copyright protection163PENANABHNlHOAwx7

Olive green eyes looked at December fondly. “We’re far from being local, dear. Just look at your father, he’s wearing a typical Hawaiian shirt, for goodness sake.” Florence Reed rolled her eyes exasperatingly at her husband. They had been walking around town for the most of it, and she was beginning to ache all over.copyright protection163PENANA63T0l3nANt

Theodore Scarborough stared at his wife with a smile, his eyes twinkled. “There’s nothing wrong with my shirt, Flo.” copyright protection163PENANAcbXRwqEPsJ

Florence muttered something about how her husband liked to infuriate her and when he grinned wider, she knew he caught on to it.copyright protection163PENANAi3r5p8U0Fr

As silly as their arguing went, December couldn’t help but laugh at her parents. Her mum and dad had been married for 25 years and as far as she knew, always had a teasing relationship but were full of love and happiness. Although she had stumbled upon them fighting over something a few times, she was thankful that they managed to solve that and stayed together. copyright protection163PENANA7Lu0MQ4arR

“Uh, dad, this is San Francisco, not Hawaii.” She said while miserably failing to keep her laughter at bay. copyright protection163PENANAED3Bvz29ou

Her father chuckled and ruffled her hair. “Oh, alright. I just wanted to be funny, that’s all. Besides, your mother may not mention this, but haven’t you notice how she hobbled for the past two hours? I figured it’d be simpler to finish the tour using a helicopter.” At that, he sent his wife a charming wink and grin. He knew she had been aching and had even subtly asked her if she’d wanted to take a break, but his stubborn wife was too resolute in her ways sometimes. Still, it was one of the things he loved about her. copyright protection163PENANATHykNYtHY9

Florence gasped and hit him on the arm, pursing her lips, “I do not hobble, Theodore! I was only a bit tired, that’s all.” She smiled, the corners of her eyes crinkled a little bit. She was still touched at how thoughtful and caring he was to her, even after years of marriage. copyright protection163PENANA96VE6HvbRW

For the next hour, they had gotten a broad tour of the city and area. December was glad at her father’s idea to use a chopper. One, because she was relieved that her mum could rest her limbs and relax, enjoying the view of the vast land while talking to her dad. The other was because if they hadn’t chose to see the view from up above, then December would have never witnessed a beautiful phenomenon of the fog rolling in and covering half of the land and the Golden Gate bridge. copyright protection163PENANA3wz674G9e4

The evening sky was filled purple with a mixture of light yellow and orange glow as the sun started disappearing. As if that wasn’t enough to awe her, she noticed then how the bridge had these little lights on the cable that lit up, as well as the city lights that started glimmering not far across the horizon of buildings; it complemented the whole setting. copyright protection163PENANAE8McszaWh9

It was at that moment that December truly felt blissful and content. She looked at her parents who were teasing each other at the front, laughing while enjoying the view laid out before them. copyright protection163PENANA5rf05mIAyA

‘Very much content,’ she thought as a radiant smile lit up her face.copyright protection163PENANAxB66Hdbonq

December grinned fondly as she strolled along the memory lane. At the thought of her parents, her mind immediately shifted to her hometown in England.copyright protection163PENANAs1yfe1PpX6

She loved Bristol and its greenery landscapes as well, with the historical structures and the vibrant city that was always buzzing with excitement. Still, she never really had the chance to travel elsewhere due to the demanding schedule of her academic and curriculum performances back in her hometown. That, and she hadn’t felt brave nor confident enough in going to another continent alone.copyright protection163PENANAy2xO3DbLeJ

Therefore, when her parents mentioned that they were going to move across the world due to their line of occupation as consultants and auditors, she was thrilled to experience something new.copyright protection163PENANAlLlrS3F4r2

What’s more interesting to her was that, despite moving away to the States, December thought that both Bristol and San Francisco aren’t that much different either. In fact, there are some similarities that she found intriguing such as The Golden Gate Bridge which reminded her of The Clifton Suspension Bridge that also happened to be one of the landmarks in Bristol. When she had walked on the sidewalk on one of the steep streets in the town that was lined with shop lots and houses, it had also reminded her of both Park Street and Vale Street. Even the colourful painted houses in Haight Street made her think of the ones in Totterdown, which she had discovered when she went on a little tour with her parents.copyright protection163PENANAvU439j5YI2

She didn’t know if it was a coincidence that her parents had gotten a promotion in San Francisco or if they had deliberately chosen the city because it bore some resemblance to their hometown, but December thought she should thank them for it. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have known the beauty of San Francisco and it made her loved not only her hometown, but the current one she reside in more.copyright protection163PENANA5h5D68giTv

That was over three years ago when she first set foot here, and while some things had changed over the years, the city’s feeling of wonder wasn’t lost on her.copyright protection163PENANA2ehnGaqleR

She woke up at eight thirty, then washed up and dressed in only a pair of navy blue skinny jeans and an oversized sweater. Her roommate, Raven, was still sleeping so she left a note on the table drawer beside the bed, explaining where she would be off to. December figured she could just grab a quick breakfast in one of the café downtown, and with that in mind, she set off for the bus stop that was nearby the academy.copyright protection163PENANAoJLtNVMSTv

Most mornings on weekends in the academy looked very peaceful and quiet rather than the week days, and today was no exception. Perhaps it was because the academy was almost empty saved for a couple of students walking about, or maybe it was the fresh dewy air that filled the atmosphere on the school grounds, but she thought that just added to the school’s charms.copyright protection163PENANAVZN0CT9Tb3

By midday, however, the quiet charms would have lost its effect because that was when students would start milling about around the campus.copyright protection163PENANApeiGBYQ2k5

She took a muni bus, paid the bus conductor then took a seat in the back. Besides her and the driver, there were only an elderly woman sitting in the front and an older man dressed in his work attire, giving her the impression that he was late for something, if the notion of looking at his watch every few minutes showed any indication.copyright protection163PENANATIPFbDBYwv

December turn her attention to the world outside just when the bus made a turn. She looked out the window and watched as they came around a corner and down the hill to a neighbourhood, where the streets were lined with apartment lots of two to three story on both sides. She took in the surroundings of people jogging on the sidewalk, a cyclist passing by them leisurely, and a citizen walking their pet.copyright protection163PENANAtrugs6aC0m

After a few pick up and drop offs, the bus entered the downtown area. The town was slightly busy with people walking and sitting in the cafés and restaurants, talking to either on the phone or to their companions, enjoying the breakfast while they did so. December smiled at the whole scene before her.copyright protection163PENANAFpAX6bVWdg

She stepped down from the bus, walked past a couple of stores and boutiques, then stopped at a nearby café, a mocha cappuccino and a couple of sweet looking pastries being the choice for breakfast. She sat down at an empty spot outside of the cafe and went to savour her meal. Just as she took the first sip of her drink, her phone rang.copyright protection163PENANA27YSNavo91

She answered in haste without looking at the caller ID.  copyright protection163PENANATDsnUVu4xu

“It amazes me how you can be such an early bird for music but somehow manages to be late for our classes. And you don’t even work there.” Came an amused voice which December recognized to be Raven.copyright protection163PENANAqcU1a0d6Xr

She laughed. “Good morning to you too.” She checked her watch and saw that it was only ten past thirty. “Yeah, you and me both. By the way, I was just getting breakfast before heading there. You’re welcome to join me if you want to, though.”167Please respect copyright.PENANAxS9y3aCDlG
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“Oh cool, I was planning to grab some anyway before I leave for tutoring. Where are you at?”copyright protection163PENANAmZzkSmvnKE

December double checked the café’s name before she answered, “I’m at Gia’s Coffee & Crème. You know, the café besides that one floral boutique with the full pink décor?”copyright protection163PENANAoEhR2cNwgk

“Yeah, I know which. I’ll be there in a bit!”copyright protection163PENANA1HxVIHWWOT

By the time Raven arrived, December had already finished her pastries, and was dusting the crumbs off her hands. Raven was dressed similarly to hers with the exception of a black long sleeve shirt being her choice, and December watched as she took a seat across from her.  “Sorry, I thought I could make it in fifteen since I was in a cab, but the driver misheard me and almost drop me off at the wrong place.”copyright protection163PENANAnaTWvLj094

December shook her head but wave off the worry on her friend’s flushed face. “Don’t worry about it. I’m just glad that you got here safely.”copyright protection163PENANAFxIXpK9chq

“Thanks. You’re done eating?” Raven looked at her friend’s clean plate as she sat down.copyright protection163PENANAxi75eQNaNB

December handed her the menu. “Yeah, I thought I’d wait, but they looked so delicious that I just can’t resist.” She gave the girl a sheepish look before pointing towards a spot on the menu. “By the way, you should definitely try their cream cheese puffs. They’re so fluffy and heavenly.” She sighed in bliss.copyright protection163PENANA4aLX7gJrhS

Raven chuckled. “Yum." She scanned over the menu before making her choice, " I guess I’ll have that and some sausage croissants then.”copyright protection163PENANAvXqeUPZ42g

A waiter passing by stopped at their table as Raven called them. The dark brunette gestured to December if she wanted anything, in which she declined so he only took down her order and brought a tray of food a few minutes later.copyright protection163PENANAuzzCEOtrZg

“So, who are you tutoring?” December asked.copyright protection163PENANA23rO1z5L0m

She knew that Raven was good at her studies, besides Serena and Weston. For Brooke and Jethro, however, although they were also good at it, they tend to excel more in the sports department.copyright protection163PENANADvk4KeTJjW

They were often recommended by the teachers to help their peers, and December was glad that she had them as friends. It took a whole lot of patience to teach December her weakest subject, Math, and she was thankful that they came in with that extra package.copyright protection163PENANAZOvzqanUCm

Raven ate the last cream puff before she said, “Blake. He’s from the football team? You’re right about the cream puffs, by the way. They’re so good.” She moaned.copyright protection163PENANAaEqBtrbycb

December chuckled but nodded. “Told you. I think he’s part of Karen’s clique. Doesn’t seem to me like he needs much of a tutoring though, since he’s actually pretty good at his studies. ” Then, she added, “I mean, he almost beat Weston’s score in the last History test for goodness sake. Can you imagine how hard it was to even score a pass? I’m surprised I survived it.” She blew a puff of air exaggeratedly. copyright protection163PENANAVQHfUruOaN

Raven laughed. “Yeah, I heard it from Serena.” She drank a bit before continuing, “The test wasn’t that bad if you know what to study, D. That, and if you stop dozing off in class.” She reprimanded her lightly.copyright protection163PENANAKaCgK3q7X2

“Hey, now. It wasn’t my fault the lecture was boring. Who wants to know about what happened centuries ago, anyway?” December asked nonchalantly.copyright protection163PENANAu7HUJamUJy

“Um, the archaeologists? Historians? I’m pretty sure you owe them an apology for that.” Raven laughed at her own smart remark.copyright protection163PENANA6EpNTjeo8p

“They’ll understand.” She grinned then looked at her friend pointedly. “Since I’m neither any of those options you mentioned, then this is all pointless, isn’t it?”copyright protection163PENANAcSAO9kRzsO

Raven shook her head at her roommate and sighed.copyright protection163PENANACXWjSGueBe

“Fine, then. I’ll talk about the tutoring.” Raven wiped her hands with a napkin and asked, “So, you know Ms. Peyton?”copyright protection163PENANANHScvMwKaE

December finished her mocha cappuccino then nodded as she continued, “Well, she was the one who suggested I tutor him. Said he was pretty behind most of our lessons, and since I’m part of the Help-Your-Peers society, she assigned for me to do it. I can’t say no to that.”copyright protection163PENANA9mxKaG52gx

“Of course, you’re too…,” December pretended to mull over a word before she said jokingly, “…much of a teacher’s pet!”copyright protection163PENANAQSvNcntHB4

Raven threw a napkin at her friend, gave her a mock-gasp and tried to sound like an arrogant, insulted English old man. “Well, how preposterous! I think you meant to say the word ‘magnanimous’. I’m too magnanimous, you mean. ” She sniffed in disdain jokingly before breaking out of her act into a wide grin.copyright protection163PENANAVpMNChA81L

December doubled in laughter and wheezed out, “What was that supposed to be, a pompous 17th century merchant?”copyright protection163PENANANb8lWj21li

“I was aiming more for Mr. Harold, actually.”copyright protection163PENANAzcb4Znrs43

Mr. Harold was their English substitute whom always looked like he had something against the world. Immediately the image of a sour faced, sixty-eight year old man came to her mind, where he was giving a lecture in class while sporting a ridiculous outfit of a trunk hose with a long white curly wig. She then imagined him adapting the tone that Raven had imitated, tilting a goblet of wine ever so slightly as he did so.copyright protection163PENANAx0sjO4BodC

Both December and Raven had tears in their eyes as their body wracked with silent laughter.copyright protection163PENANAa1OimKBoLX

It was at noon when she decided to check out the music store. The place was located in the middle of a downtown lot, and although it was the weekend, the store that morning was mildly packed. She always thought that it should be the other way around, packed on weekends but only mild with customers on weekdays. It didn’t matter to her, however, because she didn’t particularly like crowded places too much.copyright protection163PENANAHk9Sp8gQBl

She entered Emphasis, and took in the vanilla scent of the store mingled with old records, the loud indie song which she recognized to be from the ‘90s and the people chattering mildly all at once.copyright protection163PENANAT8lms9r3yE

As she stepped on the floor and felt something soft under her shoes, she looked down and noticed that the store now had a carpet covering the granite floor. She smiled, remembering the suggestion she gave to Lara a month ago and was pleased that they had covered the hard ground.copyright protection163PENANAGIFv12fCq1

“Thought you had disappeared for a little while there, December.” A feminine voice spoke beside her.copyright protection163PENANAA7mJ0LSgCt

December looked to her right and saw Lara grinning, and she knew that the girl was joking. Her eyes widened as she noticed something. “Your hair is blue.”copyright protection163PENANABwCXS46k8E

Lara laughed, and threaded her fingers through her hair. “Uh huh. Was kinda sick of the old colour. It’s bright isn’t it?”copyright protection163PENANAYOnEkoGA16

December nodded then smiled. “Yup. I like it though.”copyright protection163PENANABBeYkfKdvm

Lara put a hand over chest and gasped dramatically. “Thank you! Gabe didn’t even notice it at first.” Then she muttered under her breath, “That idiot.”copyright protection163PENANAG7Sj4Lna5v

December didn’t know what to say to that, and she was sure that the remark wasn’t meant to be heard, so she just patted on her friend’s shoulder. Just then, a male voice sounded from the cashier counter.167Please respect copyright.PENANAcp2nNjwUdU
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“No slacking, Lara! Get back to work.”167Please respect copyright.PENANAB7jNcqfYUJ
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Lara rolled her eyes at a bronze skinned guy. He grinned at his irritated co-worker then nodded at December, which she returned the gesture back.copyright protection163PENANAP4kcIEBoeC

“You didn’t have to yell, Gabe. I’m practically right beside you.” Lara sighed. She gave December a look of apology before sliding in behind the counter where the guy was. He was stacking a bunch of CDs in order and gave Lara a new stack to manage. She frowned at him but did as she was told anyway.copyright protection163PENANAvQdKOyZzLv

“Oh, c’mon. You’re still mad at me?” Gabe asked incredulously as he raised a pierced eyebrow at her.copyright protection163PENANAVsCOLGA9RG

“It’s bright blue!” She exclaimed, oblivious at a few people looking their way as they watched the scene amusedly.copyright protection163PENANAEHLZUuEvSS

Gabe smiled at a few of their customers before he looked at Lara emphatically said, “You’re right. And I’ve told you about a hundred times that I’m sorry I didn’t notice your bright hair.” He then rolled his eyes at her.copyright protection163PENANA7oJl9yT87F

Lara sighed in frustration then grumbled, “You don’t even seem sorry.”copyright protection163PENANAD37gSTXt2O

December grinned at the two of them. They seemed like a couple of friendly co-workers but the red hues that tinged Lara’s cheek made her think otherwise. She watched as the pair now ceased their bickering while they worked on their task together, occasionally sending covert smiles and glances to one another. December thought they looked really good together.copyright protection163PENANA9GwVGqpkVi

 She took in the guy’s appearance. He had a dirty blond curly hair with a slightly lean physic, and a charming smile, as well. When he spoke, it reminded her of a Puerto Rican friend that she had once in elementary. She noted that he was at least a few inches taller than her. ‘Maybe even taller than Pierre. Like a tower. If he’s a building, I bet he would be the Eiffel Tower. Or perhaps the Empire State building? But then again-’copyright protection163PENANAd3GXoPviYD

‘Wait a bloody minute,’ she thought with a frown, ‘why on earth was I even thinking that?’  copyright protection163PENANAXCG5SyYP10

She took a moment to gather her thoughts before started muttering to herself, “This cannot be happening. I was definitely not thinking about him. I’ve never even noticed his height…” She trailed off with a stricken look.copyright protection163PENANAEbHa6oBvIw

As soon as that thought flittered across her mind, she shook her head vehemently and tried to reason with herself. “I must be tired…Yes, that’s it then. I did slept pretty late last night and me thinking about him is completely ridiculous.” Her heart slowed down at a normal pace and she sighed slowly in relief.copyright protection163PENANAOWAuTZkohj

She heard someone cleared their throat, and immediately looked up only to see both Lara and Gabe – as her friend dubbed him – staring at her like she was some kind of an unexplainable phenomenon. Realizing too little too late that she had spoken that aloud, she tried to save what was left of her pride and composed a neutral look.copyright protection163PENANA2fVIkOhjEj

‘Great, now they think I’m weird. Way to go, December,’ she thought sarcastically to herself and sighed inwardly.copyright protection163PENANAkjv2tCq489

Lara had a concern expression on her face. “Are you alright? You’ve been spacing out for a while now. I even called your name a few times.”copyright protection163PENANABW5crZbMos

‘I should have make my escape earlier!’ she thought frantically.copyright protection163PENANA5qH192Qqlu

December felt her face getting heated up and she laughed nervously. “No, sorry, I was just….lost in my thoughts.” She stammered before adding quickly, “But don’t mind me. I think I’m gonna go check out some stuffs. Good job on the carpet though!” December managed to grin as she gave them a thumbs up and briskly walked past the people around her towards the Indie section.copyright protection163PENANAKGNfIhS8m0

She stopped in the back section in front of a tall rack of CDs and cassettes, and started looking mindlessly at the items. She had done some online searching about where and when her favourite bands would release their music but decided to check out the store anyway. She didn’t consider going back and forth to the place a dreadful task, rather a pleasant one.copyright protection163PENANAhYWnanmm9K

December couldn’t exactly tell why but she figured it was because the store had a pull on her that she couldn’t help but wanting to visit whenever she had time. Perhaps it was the way the place feel and looked to her, or maybe it was the familiar but pleasant smell that would make her feel at ease the moment she stepped into it, but coming here seemed to be a habit that she wouldn’t want to change. She also liked the people working in the store, so that may as well be why this was one of her go-to places to hang out.copyright protection163PENANAOfbwhky7LU

Since there hadn’t been any releases yet, she decided to just search some of the stuffs that she had already listened to about a hundred times and even came upon a couple of new bands. December spent the first hour of the afternoon either listening or chatting up with Lara, and occasionally Gabe before she had to find something else to do since she didn’t want to keep them away from doing their job.copyright protection163PENANACvBqLjHDr4

She sat in a corner in the ‘Listen-To’ section and picked up the vintage headphone. After choosing a genre, she scrolled down to the lengthy list of songs and settled on listening to Young Folks by Peter, Bjorn & John. copyright protection163PENANADJ3A7eYtA8

As soon as the first few beats of the song came along, she started to pretend whistling to the beat then lip synched to it. December knew she couldn’t sing to save a life, much less hers, but the need to just sing it out loud to her hearts content was nagging in the back of her mind. She couldn’t, however, because she was in public despite sitting in a secluded area. That, and did she really want to publicly humiliate herself like that? Not if she could help it.copyright protection163PENANAeonqVEKuMv

She liked listening to different genre of songs, but her main scene were always Indie, no matter what the sub-genre was.copyright protection163PENANApo00OMjwqL

As she closed her eyes, she felt herself being drifted away to the catching beat of the music. Whenever she was lost in her own world, she would start daydreaming, letting the music embrace her mind as she live out the scenes she created and just let her imagination went wild with it. It was one of the things she loved to do, and it certainly kept her away from thinking about her worries or anything else.copyright protection163PENANAB4vEECTD6t

Perhaps that was also the reason why she didn’t notice someone’s presence beside her until they tapped her shoulder. Completely taken by surprise, December jumped slightly in her seat which caused the headphones to shift away from her ear.copyright protection163PENANALlS9LNOviA

Wondering who it was, she looked up and was met with a pair of chocolate brown eyes. Immediately, a hot sensation started to form in her cheeks.copyright protection163PENANA1HY2HNO1je

‘You cannot be serious,’ she thought to one in particular as her heart started to beat faster.copyright protection163PENANANUiizXVsA1

Of all places in the city, she just had to meet not a guy, but the guy that she had a crush on since her junior year in the music store she always frequented to.copyright protection163PENANAVlnOu8CjEU

He was the captain of their archery club, the guy who couldn’t care about the cliché stereotypes of staying in your own clique, and he was always so soft spoken and patient that it made her insides melt.copyright protection163PENANATFBSHjFwlY

Could this be fate? She couldn’t help but wonder.copyright protection163PENANAK8T3rt1mVB

“Z-Zach?” she stuttered out, mentally cursing herself for the stutter as well as trying to calm the traitorous blush that was spreading across her face. She was sure she looked like a tomato right now.copyright protection163PENANAoRXLFsUhLz

Zachary Wong smiled at her, his brown eyes twinkled in amusement. “Hey, December. Didn’t think I’d see you here.” His gaze then landed on the hand that clutched her chest and looked at her in concern. “I scared you, didn’t I?”copyright protection163PENANAbEeNwW7css

She blinked, then looked to where his eyes were before composing herself, pulling the hand away from her chest. She hadn’t realized she had clutched her chest in surprise. “No, you didn’t,” She lied. “I, uh, I didn’t expect to see you here. Yeah, just that. Heh.” Her heart still hadn’t calm down so she focused on evening her breath, while managing a weak grin.copyright protection163PENANAbdB4h2xipt

He smiled apologetically, “Sorry about that. I just wanted to say hi since I recognized you.”copyright protection163PENANATNkQz0juh4

‘He just wanted to…? I think my heart’s going to burst in happiness!’ she thought giddily.copyright protection163PENANA3tJihgeosH

December shook her head vehemently, telling him that it was alright and not his fault at all that she was easily startled. She couldn’t look away from him, not with the slight dent of dimple on the right corner of his mouth when he smiled, and his warm and calm voice when he had spoken to her.copyright protection163PENANARDVsIcvfvU

It was hypnotizing.copyright protection163PENANAJpI3gi3zMl

“S-so…what are you doing here?” December asked with a smile that seemed to be more of a beam.copyright protection163PENANADQPm86Cnv5

 “I was just searching for some CDs for my little sister. She likes listening to Carly Rae Jepsen so I thought of buying one for her birthday. What about you?”copyright protection163PENANA5nI0QqdmGJ

She shrugged with a smile, “I was just searching for some new stuff.” Then, with a look of awe, she said to him, “That’s sweet of you to do that for her, though. How old is she?”copyright protection163PENANAhp8ZtoixX5

He chuckled. “Well, she’s my only baby sister. Turning nine this month but could be a real pain sometimes.”copyright protection163PENANATAVIX4PAsl

December didn’t have any little siblings, so she couldn’t exactly relate, but having babysat the neighbour’s eight-year old hellion back in Bristol when she was fourteen, she understood the meaning of that when applied to some of them. ‘Thank goodness they had moved out within a year,’ she thought with relief. Still, she couldn’t fault the child since she wasn’t exactly an obedient one when she was younger.copyright protection163PENANAFxInyzOMVu

She chuckled and said grinning. “Yeah, but weren’t we all like that, once?”167Please respect copyright.PENANAWTiI5Byrw1
167Please respect copyright.PENANA889sVlTbjN
Zachary laughed and she decided that she liked the sound of that even better. “You do have a point there.”copyright protection163PENANAvcUDcn1uUZ

“Well, well, well, what do we have here?”copyright protection163PENANAzNzvwxAm72

Both December and Zachary looked towards a teasing voice to find Sid, a brown-skinned guy with a thick curly hair grinning at them. He then looked at her with a smile and said, “Hey, December.”copyright protection163PENANAHNAqa9ZZWV

She nodded at him and replied back.copyright protection163PENANAtr8n5kL7PF

Although they were in the same club as him, aside from Brooke, Raven and Jethro, December had never really spoken to Sid Patel much, except the occasional hi-byes and when they were brainstorming ideas for their club’s benefit. But from the way he was with his friends, she knew he was someone that one could count on. He was also one of Zachary’s closest friends. Because of his easy going attitude, as well as wearing his usual beaming smile, he was known to be pretty popular among the girls, as well as the sunshine in their group.copyright protection163PENANA6otGU0eumm

Zachary grinned at his friend and said, “We’re just talking.” Then, he asked, “You got what you need?”167Please respect copyright.PENANAUiU3jpZEqQ
167Please respect copyright.PENANAcnJv5O7EgE
Sid nodded and raised up a plastic bag with the store’s name on it. He grinned. “Yup. Got these for my girl.” Then, he composed a neutral look and said nonchalantly, “Under different circumstances, I would reply your remark with a ‘yeah, right’ but I could see that there isn’t any lack of clothes on you guys.” He narrowed his eyes at them as he rubbed his chin. “That, and you didn’t look guilty or flushed to me.”167Please respect copyright.PENANAGpMPRHaKTu
167Please respect copyright.PENANAyOMsR6RQLi
As soon as he said that, December felt her face went hot. Sid didn’t know anyone who could react immediately the way December did and he was thoroughly amused. His eyes went as wide as saucers.167Please respect copyright.PENANAHYFqtLeAqu
167Please respect copyright.PENANAf6U1VLJ6wC
“Well damn, there it is! She’s getting red faced now.” He laughed.copyright protection163PENANAx398ukhujd

Zachary, having been familiar with Sid’s antics, just shook his head and said, “Sid, you’re making her uncomfortable.” Turning to face December, he said apologetically, “Don’t mind that about him. He just gets too comfortable with people sometimes.”copyright protection163PENANApMFxaLRVTG

“Most of them don’t ever complain, though.” Sid grinned.167Please respect copyright.PENANAA4qnxitp9f
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December patted her face as she chuckled. “No, it’s fine. I just couldn’t seem to control myself from blushing. It’s like, the more I tried to force them down, the more apparent they become. You know, like lamps. Whenever something triggered them, the light switches on. And sometimes off.” She rushed out before letting out a short laugh.copyright protection163PENANABZ54G04Uvq

There were silence.copyright protection163PENANAg2uqaYKss3

She looked up to find both Sid and Zachary looking absolutely still, and by the way they stared at her, much like Gabe and Lara, she concluded that they were horrified by her.copyright protection163PENANAGRPmp07hV0

Before she could chastise herself for looking like a fool in front of them, they surprised her by bursting out in laughter. They were both clinging on to each other for support as soon as their laughs turned silent.167Please respect copyright.PENANA0wGUyBGhIc
167Please respect copyright.PENANAUihlFOD9dM
“You’re an odd girl, but there’s nothing wrong with that.” Sid said after his laugh subsided. Zachary’s dimpled smile as he looked at her made her face warm again, and she felt the familiar pleasant sensation in her stomach.167Please respect copyright.PENANAoVDBjTitpA
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She spent some time chatting with both Sid and Zachary while they were at the music store. She found out that while Sid had preferred more of the Pop scene, Zachary on the other hand shared similar taste in music as her, and that made her extremely happy. It was always a good thing when there’s a similarity between one and their crush because that meant that they would have more chemistry together, or so she thought.copyright protection163PENANA6SCBiNA3g2

Even as the clock turned one in the afternoon, December still couldn’t believe that she was spending the Saturday away with her crush. Granted, his closest friend was also there but her object of affection was her first priority. That doesn’t happen to just anyone, does it?copyright protection163PENANA6WUWijWqBR

December felt like she was floating on a mass of clouds.copyright protection163PENANAqzorD08IGK

It wasn’t often that she had the chance to see him, or even bump into him at school. She figured it was because he held different important roles such as the captain of their archery club, an avid chess player and president of the Student Council. The only time where she would see him was when the club held a meeting for seniors to attend and discuss on an upcoming match or planning an event they would host or sponsor.copyright protection163PENANAiNCVoVIYYZ

They were now outside of the store, and as Sid was about to suggest they grab a lunch, his phone rang. December watched as his face went from cheery to annoyed, thoughtful and surprise before he nodded in understanding and hung up.copyright protection163PENANA15VV1efXER

He turned to Zachary with a serious look. “There’s an emergency so we gotta go. Apparently one of the servers fell and broke his ankle.”copyright protection163PENANAP5qex4eFMU

Sid then looked at a dubious December and said, “Zach and I volunteered as servers for my brother’s event. Our shift starts in two hours’ time but now this happened.” He sighed.167Please respect copyright.PENANAdRlud1jQbw
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Although she would have liked to spend more time with them, she knew they had to leave. She sighed inwardly and thought that such chances like this does not always happen but she was grateful enough with today’s event.copyright protection163PENANAp4H2Z6YI4X

December said with surprise etched across her face, “I didn’t know you guys volunteered,” before composing a smile at them. “You should probably hurry, though.”copyright protection163PENANAH62D13Rh1w

“Yeah. I’m sure we’ll make it in time since it’s not too far from here, but the dude’s scary when he’s angry.” Sid then pretended to have shivers before he flashed a grin at her.167Please respect copyright.PENANA4i0b2lRnlO
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They waved their goodbyes albeit reluctantly, or so December thought but as they were a few steps away from her, Zachary surprised her when he stopped in his tracks and then said, “You know, I was thinking that maybe we could hang out next time?”copyright protection163PENANA8QCz49DjOp

She could hear Sid’s phone ringing again as he walked a little bit further and answered with an annoyed sigh.167Please respect copyright.PENANATozmGL8Rfo
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December’s wave was still in mid-air, with a smile frozen on her face. She couldn’t believe what she had heard. Could he mean it? Did he really just said that?copyright protection163PENANAdeuVht1gc6

Zachary was looking at her with that brilliant smile of his and she knew that it wasn’t just a dream. Besides, he was looking at her with a hopeful expression and was she really going to let this opportunity pass by?copyright protection163PENANAdUcgxdkpvl

She nodded and answered yes at the same time Sid yelled, “Dude, just give her your number already!”copyright protection163PENANAWEcydhHQAw

A faint of red tinged his cheeks as he said, “Damn, he’s really persistent, isn’t he?”copyright protection163PENANAfNLKJ3eKjq

December glanced at Sid and saw him grinning at them. She chuckled and tried to ignore the heat creeping up her face when she said, “Can’t blame him since he seems to be in a hurry.”copyright protection163PENANAQxk2NSg8hM

They both exchanged their numbers and with that dimpled smile, he said, “See you around, December,” before walking away with Sid, who gave her a quick wave before they turned around a corner. copyright protection163PENANAtdqFMDXttx

If she was skipping down the sidewalk, she must have not been aware of it. After they had exchanged numbers, December had been feeling extremely happy and cheery. She even petted a dog that was taking a stroll alongside its owner. She scrolled down the list of songs on her phone and chose Russian Red’s The Sun, The Trees because she felt that the song expressed her feelings of jollity. 167Please respect copyright.PENANAbyISlMMa9x
167Please respect copyright.PENANAa3WKpCwytL
Although she was stepping on the grounds of the earth, it felt surreal, as though she was flying in the air or in a land of euphoria. December mouthed the words to the song, and if someone had looked at her funny or in amusement, she paid no heed to it. ‘Today has got to be one of the best days ever to have happened to me,’ she thought excitedly. Since her friends knew of her crush on Zachary, she thought about telling them later.copyright protection163PENANA0JlLt4PHO8

After all, it wasn’t always that she had news to share with them about it, mostly because she hadn’t any courage to start a conversation first. That, and if she had seen him around campus, he was always surrounded by his friends. If she couldn’t even brave herself to talk to him in person, what are the odds she could do that while surrounded by his friends?copyright protection163PENANA8FGtHulYCD

December couldn’t take that risk.copyright protection163PENANAK5RaLEOI7i

But he had approached her first, so that had to be a good sign, right? She hoped that it was.copyright protection163PENANAg82BTvGIdu

Her exuberance was short-lived, however, when she apprehended the situation a bit later that she was about to collide into someone. And the person in front of her was walking fast toward her while busy talking on the phone that he hadn’t realized it too. It was only a scant before they collided that his eyes widened in alarm.copyright protection163PENANARmaxPS1bQE

The damage was done.copyright protection163PENANAPBJHMvlAdt

December would have wanted it all to happen in slow motion, at least then she could imagine how things were when everyone and everything didn’t move so fast. But the impact of the sudden crash landed her on her butt in no time at all. Papers were strewn everywhere, in the air, on the ground and because nature decided to make the city windy at that very moment, she even managed to spot a man jogging towards a cab when a paper flew then landed on his face unexpectedly.167Please respect copyright.PENANAWU6DnBmaYt
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December would have laughed but the situation at the moment didn’t call for that.167Please respect copyright.PENANAmJ1iurU0Zn
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A sound of expletive was heard and she turned towards it. A man dressed in a business suit was desperately trying to collect his now wrinkled and strewn out papers all over the place. She looked around and noticed several onlookers who didn’t so much as glance or help him. Anger coursed through her veins at the thought of no one wanting to help the poor man. He was probably late for work or an interview. Do they not have any conscience?copyright protection163PENANATtBV5vrLeE

She tried to stand and test her limbs gingerly, so that she wouldn’t accidentally put pressure in case her bones were fractured, swollen or broken. Satisfied that it didn’t feel as though anything needed immediate treatment, she approached the man and tried to collect his things that were near her.copyright protection163PENANAg61qERiG39

After gathering most of the papers that could be saved, she handed it to him and asked with concern, “Excuse me, are you alright?” Then, said with guilt, “I’m so sorry, I should have really watched where I was going.”copyright protection163PENANAkSL3AxzV8N

He had already stood up, having gathered some parts of the papers himself and was now giving his phone a thorough check when she had asked him that. He looked at the extended hand holding his documents and took it from her. With a frown, he snapped, “Yes, you really should have! If you did, I wouldn’t have lost most of my documents.” With one last disapproving frown, he walked away from her.copyright protection163PENANAp1g1Xmwo7L

December was both stupefied and taken aback.copyright protection163PENANA3oR4OvW7bZ

As she watched him walk away while angrily stuffing his papers into a briefcase, she started to feel angry too. She was only trying to be a helpful Samaritan and sure, it was partially her fault that she hadn’t been careful but she was not the only one. Had he watched where he was going, then they could have avoided this.copyright protection163PENANAhvR2zsA9oJ

“Some people.” she muttered bitterly.copyright protection163PENANAWNLcOIzl6H

She had been sympathetic, too. Did she deserve that snappish attitude, especially from a stranger that she was trying to help? December didn’t think so.copyright protection163PENANA7a5YeTua1G

She walked away from the place, letting her legs be the guide while her mind was too busy fuming.copyright protection163PENANAaic1lMuVVS

Then, another thought struck her and she became even more incensed. She realized that it wasn’t once but twice now that she had gotten yelled at, and in public too.copyright protection163PENANAERFq4u8EQf

“What did I ever do to deserve this?” she asked helplessly to no one in particular.copyright protection163PENANAlXpqWEkrPl

Everything had been fine, she concluded. She had a pleasant breakfast with her friend, then hung out with Lara and even Gabe whom she was beginning to like. Not to mention, today out of all days, her crush who was at the store had approached her. If she had left sooner, then she would have missed that opportunity to spend the afternoon away with him and his friend, whose presence she had also enjoyed.copyright protection163PENANA8ZEk107vW3

So why did she have to go through that? If wasn’t as if she was rude to anyone today. Was it not enough with Karen’s torment?copyright protection163PENANAnBU31Zy9Do

The thoughts that struck her came like a wave, forming one after another. As she had gotten rid of the last thought, her conscious started to creep in. She knew she was beginning to sound and even feel like a spoiled child that threw tantrums when things didn’t go her way or handle it when it gets awry, but she couldn’t shake them away.copyright protection163PENANAoYmOpjsJKh

 Still, she dared to call others a brat?copyright protection163PENANA5SgKdhKlNH

‘Speak for yourself, December,’ her mind shot back at her.copyright protection163PENANAoaijdjiMtW

 She took a deep breath before exhaling it out, repeating it like a mantra. ‘In and out, in and out.’copyright protection163PENANAaSVwGkP84A

Having regained most of her rational thoughts and drained the anger, she started to think with a clear mind. She realized that this was unbecoming of her, to blow things out of proportion. Besides, everyone in the world would have probably experienced something like that, and wasn’t she a person who doesn’t like to dwell on things too much? How ironic, she thought.copyright protection163PENANAq9tHUGZF1M

She hated herself for being such a whiny person sometimes.copyright protection163PENANAmpWEIaY1Wr

“You’re better than this, December.” She muttered to herself.copyright protection163PENANAX7jTEZdu8i

As that thought left her, another one immediately came to mind. Something about the man whom December assumed to be in his mid-twenties kept bothering her. Although he had only said a few sentences to December, in her mind, she could still hear the words loud and clear, as well as his tone and the way he had spoken to her.copyright protection163PENANA4zrygmef1g

Not that his words were slurry or too garbled that she couldn’t understand them, rather, she felt as though it was both something foreign but familiar as well. She was determined to find out why it was bothering her…copyright protection163PENANA2nGZ2p90q6

A few minutes later, she knew why.copyright protection163PENANArodKiSKvmT

After what had happened briefly, December didn’t know whether she should laugh, scream or cry. Perhaps she should just do all three because she couldn’t believe it took a stranger with the same accent as Pierre to figure out that small piece of missing information. That particular piece that had been nagging at her mind ever since the day she had collided into him.copyright protection163PENANANrtfZJCdZD

What should have been more puzzling was how easy her mind reeled back to the one guy she couldn’t get along with, but at that very moment, she was only thinking about how good it felt not to have her mind feel like an incomplete Math homework anymore.copyright protection163PENANAu11a03Aa41

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