Chapter 64:

Bailey Hollow: Painful Past Part 3

New Leaf!

 It is currently my third year of attending Laurent High School, and I am studying in my room. It’s the end of the first semester, just before final exams are supposed to occur, so of course, I’m studying. I usually do a lot, but this time, I was doing way more than usual — I do not want to be bested by Ren Morales again… I increased everything in order to retain more information — my handwriting is messier so that I can write more, I take quicker breaks less frequently, I demand that my parents do not bother me, and I forbid myself from contacting others…Bookmark here

Speaking of other people, I noticed something peculiar with Valerie… I’ve noticed that she’s been hanging out with Ren and Connie more often — I’d call her a traitor, but I honestly don’t care. She’s also such a hard-working student that mostly obtains high marks, but I noticed that they’ve been dwindling since midterms. And strangely enough, that’s when she started hanging out with Ren and Connie more. I never confirmed it, but I suspect that they did something. But I can only speculate the reason… Did Connie do something? That’s my best bet… But could Ren have done something? Someone like him discouraging learning is highly unlikely…Bookmark here

Tomorrow is the last day of exams… But what should I do? Should I try to repress my antagonism for Ren for now? If I do, it’ll clear my mind and I’ll be able to focus and do better… Or should I let myself be consumed by my hatred towards Ren? I feel like that’ll motivate me into doing better…Bookmark here

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We don’t officially have school today, however, the school was open. Today is the day where some people can choose to come to the school to know their marks on the exam. And I desperately wanted to know what my marks were. And honestly, I wanted to know what Ren got…Bookmark here

I was running a bit late because my parents needed help with something unimportant… I was rushing to see my marks for my last class. So, while wearing my school uniform with my bag hanging over my shoulder, I barged into the classroom.Bookmark here

“Gah! Mrs Torrez, sorry I’m late! But I’ve come to check my marks…”Bookmark here

The lady with short brown hair in a clean style turned to me from behind a central desk. She showed me a friendly smile.Bookmark here

“Ah, good morning Ms Hollow. Of course, you would never miss a chance to view your progress…”Bookmark here

Mrs Torrez is more amicable with me than with other students. Others think that I’m a suck-up trying to score higher, but that’s not true. I firmly told Mrs Torrez to not give me an advantage. I think she likes me more because I frequently ask questions, participate in discussions, and try my hardest.Bookmark here

“Yeah, good morning…”Bookmark here

I was rushing… Not only because I was a bit late, but also because I really wanted to know what I scored… I was being frantic.Bookmark here

I ran to a table of booklets and desperately searched through them. It wasn’t long before I found the one with my name on it.Bookmark here

I didn’t bother to open it. Instead, I looked to the top-right corner of the first page…Bookmark here

One-hundred per cent… It’s good — I mean it, a perfect score on a major exam is extremely exceptional for everyone! But for me…Bookmark here

“Oh good morning Bailey!”Bookmark here

I quickly turned my head and noticed Valerie walking towards me. And behind her was Connie, still with an obnoxious smile on his face.Bookmark here

“V-Valerie… Good morning…”Bookmark here

Connie tried waving, but I interrupted him.Bookmark here

“Hey guys, do you know if Ren was here?”Bookmark here

Connie smiled suspiciously.Bookmark here

“Oh, looking for Ren? Interested?..”Bookmark here

I quickly smacked him on the back of his head.Bookmark here

“Not in that way… It’s serious, so shut up!”Bookmark here

Or at least it’s serious to me… Bookmark here

Connie’s smile faded when he heard the severeness in my voice. I guess he can act according to other people’s moods if someone explicitly tells him…Bookmark here

“Sure, Ren was here. But he left just a couple of minutes before you arrived.”Bookmark here

I clicked my tongue angrily.Bookmark here

“What? Where’s he now?”Bookmark here

Connie raised an eyebrow.Bookmark here

“Oh? Well, I assume he’s on his way home. He usually exits through the exterior door because- Okay, see ya!”Bookmark here

“B-Bailey? Why are you in a rush?..”Bookmark here

I ran off with my results before they could finish their sentences. I just needed to meet up with Ren. I needed to find out his mark. I needed to see if I finally surpassed him. I needed to find out if my hard work and preparation paid off… I needed to confirm if my theories were correct…Bookmark here

He’s making fun of me…Bookmark here

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After a while of running down hallways, I finally caught up to him… I entered a stairwell and saw him nearly at the bottom. I stared at him.Bookmark here

Ren Morales… He was wearing the school’s uniform of a black and yellow button-up shirt with a collar and the school’s logo, and black pants. On his shoulder was his bag with the same colour scheme and logo, matching the uniform. His dark brown eyes were staring forward as he descended… I always knew that Ren was taller than me, maybe by about a head.Bookmark here

But I snapped back to reality when he reached the bottom. He walked down the corridor on the left of the stairs, leading behind to a door leading outside. When he left, I ran towards him.Bookmark here

I pushed the door open… I then took a deep breath.Bookmark here

“R-Ren… Hold up!”Bookmark here

We were on a concrete path next to a brick wall. Despite it being February, there were only occasional patches of snow on the grass. It was also pretty warm despite it being still winter.Bookmark here

He turned around to face me… His expressionless face… So proper… So professional… So polite… So… So irritating.Bookmark here

I slowly walked up to him.Bookmark here

“Hm? You’re Bailey, right? What do you need?”Bookmark here

His unfamiliarity is understandable. I’ve talked to him to ask about his progress once or twice in the past, but I mainly get the information through teachers and overhearing…. Bookmark here

But this time, it was different — I was directly confronting him. But why? I didn’t want to ask Connie… I doubted that Mrs Torrez would have told me and instead suggested I find Ren… I’m pretty sure Valerie would have known… I’m pretty sure other people asked Ren… So why didn’t I ask my other sources? Well, my theories made me curious, so I had to confront him personally.Bookmark here

“Ren… Tell me… How did you do on the exams?”Bookmark here

“Oh? I got one-hundred on all of them…”Bookmark here

Tch… But why did I think he would get a lower mark?Bookmark here

“Is that so? Well, congratulations to you, I guess…”Bookmark here

My voice was gradually sounding more annoyed… My voice was gradually getting louder… My face was gradually getting warmer… Bookmark here

“Dammit… And how about your classes this semester? What did you get in them!?.”Bookmark here

Ren looked up and put his shoulder on the back of his neck.Bookmark here

“Oh… I got one-hundred in all of them…”Bookmark here

Tch… But why did I think he would get a lower mark?.. He got the same scores last year and the year before, so it’s not very surprising…Bookmark here

“I see…”Bookmark here

Ren turned around and began to leave. But…Bookmark here

“Hey, Ren… It must be nice, right!?”Bookmark here

I felt the bones in my body tense up… I felt my teeth grit together… I could feel myself getting a lot more irritated.Bookmark here

He turned back.Bookmark here

“Hm? What do you-”Bookmark here

“Oh, shut up! It must be so nice to be you!”Bookmark here

He tilted his head.Bookmark here

“It pisses me off… Seriously, it pisses me off!”Bookmark here

I clenched my hands into fists and bent my knee, leaning towards him.Bookmark here

“To be you… Gah! You’re so smart!.. You always get the highest marks!.. You are constantly at the top of the grade… But…”Bookmark here

I quickly shook my head and took another step towards him.Bookmark here

“Tell me, Ren… What am I lacking in!?”Bookmark here

“Hm?”Bookmark here

“Tell me! Ren, I’m second in Laurent’s Top — I’m always second! Second to you! So what are you doing that I’m not!? What do you have that I don’t!? Why… Damn it, tell me, Ren, why are you so superior to me!?”Bookmark here

“Oh…”Bookmark here

He averted his eyes. The same monotone voice… The same deadpan face… Why? Does he just not care? What is he thinking!?Bookmark here

“Well… I guess you have to work harder…”Bookmark here

Taylor Victoria
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