The end of my second year… The most commonly thought about thing is summer. It’s the thing that most everyone anticipates. I mean, who wouldn’t? Students are given two months of no school… They can use that time to relax… They can use that time to have fun at beaches… They can use that time to stay inside playing video games… They can use that time to hang out with friends… And with the completion of final exams just recently, everyone craves that academic break…
But that’s not me…
Speaking of final exams, I did extremely well on them. So, after doing some math, I calculated that my average final mark, including my marks from the past semester, will be ninety-nine per cent. Of course, that’s an excellent mark… I mean, every college and university would kill to get the person who achieved that mark to attend that school.
However, I can’t be happy about it… It’s Ren Morales again… What were his scores on the exams? One-hundred per cent… So what are his final marks? One-hundred per cent… And what is the average of all of his marks during the school year? Obviously one-hundred per cent!.. And that was the same score he got last year… He got one-hundred, and I got ninety-nine… That’s why he was constantly at the top of the Top, and honestly, I don’t think his momentum will slow down…
It was the last class of the day — the last class of the school year… I’m in the same class as Ren. Actually, all of my classes since the beginning of this school year were shared with Ren. I chose the same courses as Ren, and whenever our schedules differed, I argued with the staff. And, I made sure that we both had the fairest teachers. I hate Ren, but there’s a good reason I did this — actually, it’s because I hate him. He’s my rival… And in this competition, I want total equality — I can’t have a fair teacher while Ren has a BS one that gives perfects and lollipops to every student that writes their names on tests. I gave both of us fair grounds to compete on because a win is worthless unless the winner can actually verify that it’s a win — advantages discard the thrill of succession…
Since it’s the last day, all of my peers weren’t doing anything serious— either talking with each other, watching the movie on the screen, playing on laptops they brought from home, or just stayed at home altogether… With my head down, I was staring at Ren… Not doing anything but peering out of the window. He was wearing the black and yellow school uniform and had his back straight with his feet firmly planted on the ground… His stance kind of perplexed me — he isn’t doing anything serious, but he looked so professional and serious. It doesn’t concern me, but why did it look like it was his duty?.. What was he thinking about?..
My thoughts were interrupted when someone called from beside me. I didn’t raise my head and instead just rotated it while still on the desk. Connie Capperman…
“Oh, hello, Connie…”
I think Connie Capperman is the most annoying person in this school — obviously, that’s an over-exaggeration. But I just don't like him. Always in people’s businesses… So annoyingly loud and cheery in attempts to be friendly and likeable… Sure, he does succeed in getting others to like him, but he’s still annoying to me. I just don't like being around him.
“So, are you just sitting here? Ah, that's boring… Come join us!”
I shook my head.
“Nah, I’m fine, thanks…”
“Okay… Then I’ll join you!”
He pulled a chair from a close-by desk. He spun it around — wannabe cool teacher style — and sat in it with the back in front. He leaned so that he was at about the same level I was at.
Why is he sitting with me? Obviously, because I’m not doing anything, but doesn’t he want to sit with Ren more? I mean, they seem to be friends. Ren and Connie usually sit together at lunch and in classes they have in common… And I’m not entirely sure if they’re friends because Ren usually has an expressionless face, so he’s hard to read. To me, it seems like Connie just likes bugging his introverted classmate, but that might be false…
“Fine, whatever… But if you annoy me, I’ll dismiss you immediately, and forcefully if necessary…”
Honestly, I don’t care at the moment. I’m preoccupied with my feelings of aversion towards Ren to be pestered.
I listlessly sat in silence discreetly staring at Ren for a few seconds… Loathing him for a few seconds…
“Smash or pass?”
I sat up and looked at Connie in shock.
“He’s hot, right? I mean Ren…”
“W-What are you saying!?”
“I mean, you’re staring at him. C’mon, you weren’t being very discreet about it. I mean, your head was pointing in his direction.”
“O-Oh… Well, I wasn’t! I was just, um, spacing off…”
He started waving his hand teasingly… His signature annoyance…
“Yeah, yeah, sure… But let’s do without the lies. Do you like Ren?”
What an immature question! He’s a child! Now, he’s a teen-child! In the future, he’ll be a man-child! And further past that, he’ll be an elder-child! And beyond that, he’ll die with a tombstone saying ‘Here Lies a Massive Child’!
“W-What type of question is that? And of course, I don’t!”
“You can’t hide it… I mean, it’s written all over your face.”
What face are you reading!?
Connie shrugged while smiling indulgently and sat up straight.
“But I can’t really blame you. Ren is extremely handsome.”
Are we looking at the same person? Like, Ren Morales, right? The boy sitting at the window? The boy with the dead fisheyes? The boy that looks like he’d be many years older than us? Seriously, how can he be considered attractive? Or likeable? Or tolerable?
“Hey, if I were gay, I’d be all over him!”
“Okay Connie, please leave. You’re annoying me…”
“What? Why? Are you embarrassed that I’m just telling the truth?”
I pushed my chair back and faced Connie’s aggravatingly ardent face.
“Just admit it — you love Ren!”
“You want to be near him…”
I was too tired and preoccupied to be annoyed by Connie.
“You want him to care for you…”
I spoke uninterestedly.
“You want to get to know him…”
But that could change if he pushed me over my tolerance limit.
“You want him to hold you…”
I was reaching my limit quickly.
“You want to start a future with him...”
“You want him to do loving things to you…”
Okay, I’m officially over the edge.
“You want him to-”
“Gah! Connie, stop it right now!”
As I screamed, I quickly lifted my hand and dragged it across Connie’s face — I slapped him with all my might…
And there was a loud sound that followed the collision of my hand and his cheek… And silence ensued after — the movie was the only sound that was heard because everyone was dumbfounded. Everyone stared at us… My classmates… The teacher… Even Ren… And Connie was just sitting in his chair looking down.
Oh, shoot… I messed up because I couldn’t contain my temper… But it was partly Connie’s fault for annoying me, right? No, I have to be the bigger person when dealing with an idiot…
After a few seconds of silence and disbelief, the teacher called on me.
“Ms Hollow? Excuse me, what was-”
“Ah, how terrific!”
The teacher stopped and stared at Connie in perplexity.
“Ah, what an amazing slap!”
When’d he turn into a masochist?
“Such power… Such tenacity… And how stylish!”
Style? Nothing stylish about a slap…
Connie slowly jutted his head up and smiled at me.
I inched my eyes to look at the teacher. He stopped staring at us and instead went back to working, or watching the movie, on his computer. He seemed to not think it was serious when he heard Connie praise it like it was asked by him.
I was still kind of confused about the situation. Connie helped me? That’s fine, but I think a punishment would have been more suitable. I mean, I failed to contain my anger…
To avoid any more attention, I decided to leave.
I rolled my eyes at Connie and got up.
“Um, Teach, I’m heading to the washroom.”
As I started walking towards the exit, Connie called to me.
“Oh, and Bailey…”
“I think I know the real reason you’re going to the washroom…”
“Oh, shut up.”
After what just happened, it would be wise to contain myself… But damn, it’s hard.
Perhaps Connie contributes to my hatred for Ren… I mean, he claims that he’s his best friend, and they mostly hang out with each other. Hanging out with a moron like Connie… Ren can’t afford to do that. To be carefree while being at the top of the grade… That’s impossible! Why is it that I’m so determined but only placing second, while he’s frivolous but constantly taking the top spot!? It’s just so irritating!..