Chapter 1:

Act 1

I'll carry you

It was the same routine. Waking up. Getting ready. Going to school. Sitting in classes. Avoiding any social interactions if possible. Going back home. Falling asleep. Repeat. I have been doing the same thing over and over again since last year. And I will be doing it this year too. And it will continue on next year. It comforted me but it was annoying at the same time. I never liked change. The slightest variation or alteration made me nervous. Talking to strangers or having to go to a different coffee shop as the one I used to go is closed for a day. It wastes my time. I have to put in effort to get everything correct and not to get myself in embarrassing situations. How many people were around me? How many eyes would be staring at me? Who would be listening in while I would order my coffee? Will I know how to order a coffee at this new place, or will I mess it up? Will they get my order correct because I’m a new customer? But in the end, I knew that I needed my coffee in the morning or else I would be falling asleep during those seemingly long classes.Bookmark here

I liked to keep a low profile. Hence, I had not made any friends since starting my high school life. I am the student who arrives too early and sits by herself while listening to music and sipping on her coffee. Luckily my seat was near a window. Whenever I feel bored or just suffocated by the people around me, I look outside. It was a short commute from my house to my school. I take the train. The train station was only a 10-minute walk away from my house. The train ride can vary between 20 minutes to half an hour. And then it was another 15-minute walk to get to the school campus. Unfortunately, my train station is quite popular. Meaning it gets pretty crowded in the morning. I usually get the early train when it is less busy, but I was running late this morning. I got into an argument with my mother. And it was not pretty. Bookmark here

I was trying to concentrate on the delicious taste of my sweet coffee, but a group of girls were being very loud and annoying. It was irritating me. I increased the volume on my phone. They were talking shit about another student from their class. A guy had rejected one of the girl’s confession and she was pissed about it. It was none of my problem, but it quickly became one when they bulldozed into my personal space. They were too close for my comfort. Completely ignoring my entire existence. Their high-pitched voices surrounded me; gossiping and badmouthing the same guy. Bookmark here

“What if we start a rumour about him? Like him buying drugs from a dodgy-looking guy? Or him being with an older woman? I bet that will get him suspended at least for a week,” the girl with brown hair suggested.Bookmark here

The others started giggling and kept coming up with even more ridiculous ideas. I had reached my breaking point. I was already in a bad mood and they just tipped the full glass over.Bookmark here

“Can’t you just shut the fuck up? No one wants to hear your stupid, obnoxious gossiping. It’s too fucking early in the morning,” I said out loud.Bookmark here

The girls became silent but only for a very brief moment. People who were standing near us looked over to see what was happening. Bookmark here

“What did you just say to us? Who do you think you are?” the girl with pigtails asked. Bookmark here

I was being pushed back against a wall. I instantly regretted opening my mouth. These vicious hyenas intended to shred me to pieces. Bookmark here

“Say that again, loser. Are you jealous? I bet it sucks to be you. Forget boys. No one in this world gives you any attention,” the girl with short hair said in a condescending voice.Bookmark here

“Not that you got any attention from that guy you confessed to,” I said under my breath. It clearly struck a nerve. Her face went red and she raised her hand, ready to slap me.Bookmark here

“What are you going to do? Slap me and throw a tantrum? Fucking grow up,” I said and walked away. Bookmark here

She followed me and grabbed me by my arm. There was no turning back. She just crossed the line by touching me. And now she would learn the consequences of doing so. I was ready to drop kick her when a guy came between us. He was trying to resolve the confrontation by telling the group of girls to leave me alone, but I was not willing to let go yet. I pushed the guy aside. The girl with short hair seemed to be even more angry than she was before the guy interfered. She slapped my coffee out of my hand and on to the guy’s shirt and blazer. Without saying anything else, they left and got on the train that had just arrived. Bookmark here

The only ones left at the train station were me, my spilled coffee and the guy. He stayed behind to clean up his coffee-stained clothes. I picked up my cup and threw it in the trash bin. The next train got delayed by a couple of minutes. I will be late to school, all because I meddled in something I shouldn’t have. A long sigh escaped my mouth. Bookmark here

“Thank you for defending me,” the guy said who had decided to stand next to me for some reason. I kept quiet and wished for him to go away. But that didn’t happen.Bookmark here

“Can I help you?” I asked him annoyed. He looked at me confused like I was speaking in a foreign language.Bookmark here

“I just wanted to thank you for telling those girls to stop gossiping about me,” he said with a smile.Bookmark here

“I have no idea who you are, and you don’t need to thank me. I did it for myself. To be precise, for the sake of my ears,” I said disinterested. The train approached the station. The doors opened and I stepped inside. So did the guy. He was wearing the same high school uniform as me. That meant he went to the same high school as me, but what I didn’t understand was, why in the hell was he standing next to me and kept staring at me?Bookmark here

“You really don’t know who I am?” he asked and laughed out loud. “I am in the same class as you. I know it’s only been a month since the new year started but you don’t even know how your new classmates look like? I understand not knowing names, but you see our faces nearly every day. By the way, those girls are in our class as well.”Bookmark here

I shrugged my shoulders and looked outside to see the scenery running past me. There was still some time left until my first class would start. I picked up my pace. The guy was taller and had longer legs than me. It was easy for him to keep up with me. I was getting more and more irritated. Why was he still following me? I get that we had to go in the same direction, but he could easily overtake me and let me go by myself. It felt like I was running from a stalker.Bookmark here

“You look grumpy,” he said.Bookmark here

“Of course I’m grumpy. I lost my coffee,” I muttered. Bookmark here

“I’ll buy you a coffee tomorrow. I feel like I owe you. I also feel like we will see each other more often from now on.,” he declared.Bookmark here

I took my earphones out of my ears and put them into the pocket of my blazer. We were at the entrance gate of our school.Bookmark here

“We have already been crossing paths. You have been using my train station since the beginning of this year. You didn’t use it last year,” I said and looked at him.Bookmark here

“Oh, so you did notice me. We recently moved and your train station is the closest one to me now,” he explained. Bookmark here

“Let’s just say I am aware of my surroundings,” I whispered and entered my high school. Also called hell.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.