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C4 Chapter 4

Elena Sergio.

Frustration and exhaustion were taking turns gnawing at the endings of my nerves. At the end of every day at school, I was undeniably tired, but today's took the top. All that energy I'd acquired on first seeing KJ, and all that plotting on how to talk to him now that he'd already made the first move when we were in history class, seemed to have dissipated by the end of the day and for the entire forty minutes of the last period, PE, all I wished for was to go home.

To go home and tell Karen all about today. About KJ. How he'd talked to me, how it seemed like he was an angel that'd been dropped from the sky only to turn human once his feet touched down.

Of course, I'd have told Matt about it first, before anyone else, because he was my best friend and that's what best friends do, but he was being a party pooper and was unsupportive of me admiring KJ, and if there was anything I needed at the moment, it most definitely wasn't a killjoy to frustrate me even further.

And to crown it off, the weather was so freaking hot! Running around the tracks under the hot sun in sweaty clothes and equally sweaty bodies weren't exactly my idea of fun, even though I was an amateur at having fun anyway.

At first, we were doing sprints, short bursts of running, 50m, 75, 100, and then back again, but now I was tired.

Panting, my shirt sticking to my body, I slowed to a jog. And then to a walk, trying to catch my breath.

"Pick up the pace, Sergio!" Coach Daniel, our PE teacher yelled and blew his whistle.

Feeling I could go no further, I raised my hands in the air, shaking my head. "I'm burned out, coach. Tapping out."

"Well then, leave the line. To the bench!" Again, he blew his whistle.

To say he loved blowing his whistle would be an understatement. If Coach Daniel could go one day without blowing a whistle through one or his lips, I'll break my piggy bank and give away all the money I'd been saving for the year.

Taking off my glasses and using the bandanna I'd tied around my wrist to wipe the sweat on my face and going down my neck, I sauntered over to the bench where other exhausted or lazy students sat, fighting for their breaths too.

Taking out my water from my bookbag, I took two huge gulps of the water sloshing inside it before I sat down on the wooden bench.

"Look who's tired." The voice came to me as I put on my glasses.

I looked up at once and my gaze fell on Anabel. She had PE with me too.

"Look who's getting a sunburn already too," she spat, crossing her arms and shifting her weight to her right leg so her hip protruded. "Are you sure you didn't put on sunscreen today? Don't want you getting skin cancer at only what, 18?"

I rolled my eyes. "What do you want, Anabel?"

At my words, she gave a mirthless laugh. "What could I possibly want from you? Your pale skin? Hell, no. You look like some plucked chicken or something."

"As do you," I muttered under my breath.

"What was that?" She raised her voice.

I remained silent.

"Yeah, that's what I thought," she said and uncrossed her arms. "I'm just here to warn you to stay far, very far away from KJ. Do you get that?"

I raised my gaze back to her then. "Would it hurt you to do the same?"

"You know, it's bold of you to even think KJ would be interested in you. I mean, have you looked in the mirror lately or something? What would he possibly want to do with someone that has your type of face."

"You mean my pretty type of face?" My eyebrows shot up with a smile on my lips.

And you look like the back of Coach Daniel's knees, I thought but fought back the urge to say it out loud.

Just then, Coach Daniel came up to both of us, his whistle in one hand. Speak of the devil.

As if telepathically aware of the next thing he was going to do, I raised my hand to my ears and clamped them shut. The second after, Coach blew his whistle, right into Anabel's ears.

"Ow!" She winced, stepping back.

To that one, I had a good laugh while she glared at me.

"What's going on here, girls?" He finally decided to ask.

I spoke up before Anabel could. "I was on my own here, by myself, when Anabel couldn't help but stop by me for a chat about KJ."

"Who . . . the new guy?" Coach's eyebrows pulled down as he looked from me to Anabel and back again.

"The new guy." I nodded.

For a moment there was silence, even from Anabel, until finally, Coach said, "Get back to the track, Anabel." And blew his whistle once again.

The school was finally over and the moment I realized this, I made a beeline for the girls' locker room. There I took a shower that did a great deal in lifting my exhaustion by a notch. But not my frustration.

How was I going to get KJ to notice me? To see me. Not just as a history class partner but as someone in his league. Someone he can be in a relationship with? Someone he could fall madly in love with.

For what it's worth, I believed I was pretty. With my blue eyes, brown hair, and freckles, people often referred to me as cute. But that was just it. I didn't give off any other vibes. And I needed to change that, but I didn't know-how, and from the looks of it, Matthews wasn't ready to help.

Speaking of Matthews, I spotted him walking up to me after I'd bolted my locker for the day.

"Look who I stumbled upon!" He exclaimed with a beam as soon as he got to me. "What a pleasurable coincidence. Let's get married, don't you think? Since we have so much in common already!"

I sighed and rubbed my temples. "I'm tired, Matt. Really, really tired, and you're not helping. I want to go home."

For a second, he remained silent, and then he said finally, "Oh, okay. I'm sorry. You want me to drop you off?"

Again, I sighed. "No, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have sounded that way."

"It's fine." He shrugged. "I was being a dick. Would you like ice cream on our way back?"

At his words, my eyes lit up. "Mint chocolate cream?"

"Your favorite." He nodded.

"Yes, I would love to get mint chocolate chip ice cream, Matt!" The mere thought of the sugary nature of the ice cream lifted my spirits.

"Alright!" Matthews smiled. "Let's be on our way then."

15 minutes later, we were leaving the ice cream parlor a couple of streets from my house.

"You're the best friend ever, Matt." I smiled at him as he opened the door for me since my hands were full with two cones of mint chocolate chip.

"What are friends for?" He said and shut the door to the passenger seat of his Ford.

A moment later, he got into the driver's seat, his ice-cream favorite, bubblegum ice cream, in his left hand. With his free hand, he turned on the car and began driving once again.

"So what was up with you in school today?" He asked after a short while into the drive. "Why were you so cranky?"

Scooping ice cream with my tongue, I let it melt in my mouth before I swallowed it and spoke up. "Oh, it was nothing. Anabel was being a bitch again and I just was worried about KJ. The competition I'll have when it comes to him."

Matthews chuckled. "So you've got a thing for KJ, huh."

"I guess." I looked at him. "Why did you laugh though?"

"I chuckled, Lee," he said matter-of-factly. "Chortled, whichever one, but it wasn't a laugh."

"It sure sounded like it." I slurped more ice cream, moving my gaze back to the road.

"Is it a bad thing though?" I frowned.

"Is what?"

"Me having a crush on him?"

"Who?" Matthews asked.

Having finished one ice cream cone, I slapped a hand on my forehead. "KJ."

"Oh, KJ," he said. "I don't know, Elena, it's just unlike you."

"What do you mean by that?" I asked softly, noting that he used my full name. That meant he was serious now.

"The Elena I know wouldn't be this way on the first day. She's guarded so she'll watch him closely first of all."


"I mean, I get he's your "dream" guy and all." He stopped to make air quotes. "And he turned up just exactly the way you'd wanted him to, but it's only been what, a couple of hours? Heck, it hasn't even been up to a day."

A drop of melting ice cream on my hand reminded me of the best thing in the world—the ice cream I currently held.

I took a scoop with my tongue before I said, "But he's so freaking hot, Matt."

"And I'm not?" Matt raised a questioning eyebrow at me.

"There you go again with the jokes." I rolled my eyes and took another scoop of the cold liquid which was heaven to my dry tongue.

"No, seriously." Matthews looked back at the toad. "You don't think I am?"

"Of course, you are, Matt," I stated. "Obviously."

"Yeah, right," he scoffed. "How do I know that's not sarcasm?"

"You're the one that makes jokes a lot, you should know," I said and took the last scoop of the ice cream.

Eventually, we got to my house and I stepped out of his car after telling him I'd see him the next day.

"You want me to come in for a moment?" He asked as I was about to shut the door to his car.

"Uh, no, sorry. Karen's back. She just got back from uni yesterday."

"Oh, damn," Matthews said, "maybe tomorrow. Let me give her some space."


By the time I got to the front door, Matthew's car had pulled out of the street.

Exhaling, I pressed the doorbell and stepped back. Karen always locked the door when she was home. It was her standing rule. Being an avid reader and watcher of true-crime mystery and investigations, she was an equally avidly paranoid person.

It took a second ding dong for Karen to get to the door and unlock it.

"Don't tell me you were sleeping," I began as I walked into the house.

"Pfft, of course, I wasn't," she said immediately, but the redness in her eyes told a different story.

"Yeah right," I smiled and shook my head. "You're just lucky it wasn't mom or dad."

"And if it was?" Karen asked, coming back into the living room with a glass of water in her hands.

"They'd freak out thinking you were dead or something and you wouldn't hear the last of it, you know how dad gets."

Karen laughed and took a sip of water. "I guess I am lucky then."

"Did you take the school bus home?" She asked. "Or you still have Matt to bring you back."

"Matt," I told her. "Always Matt."

"Oh, okay." She emptied the glass and dropped it on top of the glass table before she sat down on the couch and put her legs up. "So, how is Clevemont High without me?"

Karen had graduated from high school last year and was currently studying at Clemson University, majoring in nursing. Yeah, she was that smart.

"It's the same." I shrugged, relaxing back into the couch I was seated on, opposite hers. "Mrs. Green keeps asking me about you though. Every single day."

"Mrs. Green, the biology teacher?" Karen asked.

"Yep," I said.

"Oh," she muttered. "I do miss her. She was my favorite."

"I'll tell her you said so."

"So, is it the nerdy Elena we still have?" Karen smirked. "Or the good girl turned bad."

"I was never nerdy," I retorted.

"Oh, yes you were," she chuckled.

"Was not!" I reiterated before I thought to seize the opportunity and tell her about KJ. "But there is this one boy."

"Ouu," she cooed. "Now I'm listening. Tell me all about it."

At her words, I blushed, looking down at my hands shyly.

And then I began.

Libre Baskerville
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