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“Val… Val… VAL!”
 

She shot up from her bed, the white blanket covering her face dripped down quickly from her cheeks as her body left it. She let out a heavily gasp, awoken by the voice; yet she did not know if it was real, or just a shouting dream. She turned her head to both sides of her room, seeing the white-painted wall with picture frames hanging from it; she saw her desk with her laptop on it; her stuffed animals sitting on small pillows just underneath the pictures. And then her eyes landed on her room window, seeing faint yellow and orange leaves as the day came autumn. After she hears the bird’s morning chirp, she took a breath and closed her eyes as she lifted her head.
 

“It was just a dream,” she concluded and quickly laid back down on her colored pillow, with her messy chestnut brown hair going everywhere. She took a deep breath when she was about to go back to her wonderful sleep, just before.
 

“VAL!” someone shouted from a distance not so far, it made her head leave the pillow; for she recognized the voice.
 

“VAL DEAR! YOU’RE GOING TO BE LATE!”
 

“Oh shi- I’LL BE RIGHT DOWN MOM!” She jumped out of her bed, walking towards the bedroom door whilst trying to put her slippers on, leaving her bed unmade and messy; and her brown eyes struggling to get rid of the sleepy blur, but was fixed when she grabbed her glasses from the end tables. Valeria Rose was her name, late for school as she was late to sleep last night; she opens the door and bolts out of the room hastily, trying not to fall down as she goes down the stairs. She quickly went down to the dining room with only one of her slippers on her feet to greet her mom; seeing her clean the plate she used, but left one more at the table for her daughter.
 

“You’re going to be late again, dear; this is the third time this week!” Her mother continued to wash the dishes on the sink of the kitchen, but stuck her head slightly out for Valeria to hear.
 

“Yeah, of course Mom! Good morning Mom!” she said quickly, not knowing what her mother said or where she was even; afterwards, she pulled a chair to sit on, grabbing the plate and food to place on it. She hurryingly took hold of the rice bowl and poured a cup of it on her plate, then she dropped it — quickly yet gently — she then grabbed a pair of scrambled eggs on her plate, in which she quickly munched on afterwards, along with the rice; she munched so quickly that she forgot to use the spoon and fork her mother prepared for her.
 

“Where’s dad? Is he still home? Is he at work?” she asked in a low yet hurried tone, followed by the sounds of her mouth filled with food.
 

“Oh, he’s already at w-“
 

“Yeah! Yeah! Nice talking to you mom!” and there Valeria goes, leaving her chair to go back upstairs and change, not even hesitating to give her plate to her mother.
 

She ran upstairs, missing a few steps when her feet were about to land but her hands prevented her from falling face down. She reached the second floor after a few more missteps, then she grabbed a corner to help her body flung towards the hallway then into the bathroom. Unlike before, she was a bit more careful and slower when she entered the bathroom, trying not to slip as she goes over to the shower and slowly lifts her feet over the shower rail — she took off her clothes then threw it all out of the shower before she instantly turned it on, but it was quick.
 

“Come on! Come on! Come on!” She paced her breath with her head underneath the shower of water, waiting for her hair to be completely soaked. And after it did, she immediately grabbed the shampoo and soap; using the soap on her body with her left hand, and opened the shampoo with her left; lifting it above her head then squeezed, and what came out was a bit more than an average person would use on a daily basis; in fact, the bottle almost went empty. But she didn’t care, she continued to shower after the soap and the shampoo; and after a few minutes of soaking her head with the showers, she turned it off; although her head still had some residue and bubbling of the shampoo, she went out of the shower and slowly walked out of the bathroom, grabbing her old clothes that was thrown on the floor then toss it down inside the hamper.
 

After her feet went through the bathroom door, she continued to run at her previous pace; going through the hallway then into her room; instantly going over to her wardrobe to grab new clothes for her to wear, “Hmm… red or… wait! This is not a good time to be deciding Val!” she told herself, putting back a few clothes with her eyes close until only one of a type of clothing were present in front of her; in which it was a brown blouse and jeans.
 

“…This will have to do!” she exclaimed, quickly putting them on afterwards.
 

She rubbed her glasses and grabbed a pair of sneakers and socks — but it was not the same pair — from her room, then walked out back towards the stairs. She stopped at the final step, sitting down on it to put on the socks and the sneakers.
 

“Don’t forget your bag, dear!” Her mom shouted from the kitchen as she placed the cleaned plates on a cabinet.
 

“Oh right! My bag!” After putting on the last sneaker on her feet, she immediately went back upstairs to grab her bag that was lying underneath the window, just below the rims; she went down on knee to check her bag if everything she needed for school was there, and it was. She stood up straight and grabbed her bag from the top handle, lifting it up to her back as she placed it over her shoulders, “There, time to g-“
 

Her mouth stopped at its track when her eye caught something through a big gap of the leaves; her mind went blank, seeming to forget what was before. She saw a house from across a street, where the door was ajar, but what was inside the house could not be seen from hers; yet her eyes were locked. She was waiting for something, or perhaps other than that. And after a few seconds, what she waited came running out of the house’s door: a tall young boy hurrying out of the house with his brown bag over his left shoulder, his jet-black hair became messy and ruffled as the wind went against his head; he slowed down just as he reached the side of the house, where a red convertible sat on the driveway. Valeria’s eyes continued to follow the young boy until he placed his bag on the back of the convertible, before jumping over the drive seat door.
 

“Hehe, I guess he’s late too,” she said under a soft smile, her eyes glistening as the young boy drove the convertible away from the driveway and into the road where it continued. Then she finally realized.
 

“Oh yeah… SCHOOL!” she shouted before stumbling away towards the staircase running, trying not to waste any more time than she already did. And as she reached the bottom, she suddenly ran over to a table near the front door, instantly grabbing the drawers to open them; and she does so, her hands quickly searched its entirety, but it felt nothing.
 

“Mom! Do you know where the car keys are?!” she shouted from across the room.
 

Her mother replied with a sigh after drying her hands with a towel, then she walked out of the kitchen; going over to Valeria, grabbing something from the counter before she did. Without a word, she let out her hand towards Valeria, revealing a key with a tag hanging from her finger.
 

“Thank you so much, mom!” said Valeria, immediately walking towards the front door with her hand ready to open it.
 

“Be careful, dear!” said her mom, with her hands crossed as she looked at Valeria leaving.
 

“I will, mom! Love you!” said Valeria, opening the front door.
 

“Oh I forgot, there was a package sent for y- “ but her mom was too late, Valeria already closed the door shut behind her, and so she instead sighed, “What am I going to do with that girl…?”
 

Valeria was already opening the car door of her family’s BMW, which she quickly got in and slammed the door before shoved the key into the socket, turning it over as the engine began to roar softly. She placed her bag on the other front seat before backing up the car out of the driveway, proceeding to move down the road towards her school. She panted although she was at rest, but her chest said otherwise. She stepped on the pedal hard, moving her head to search if anyone saw her speeding up, but luckily there were none; just an empty street with parked cars and trees. She took a breath before finally laying her back on the driver seat, with her hands firmly gripped on the wheel. But her rest ended with a ring.
 

A noise came into the car, a buzzing yet muffled noise. She moved her eyes around the car to see where it came from, but she found nothing, “What the hell?” she exclaimed, moving her eyes back to the front. She continued to attentively drive, but the muffled sound still annoyed her ear; and she looked again, and found nothing. She grabbed the stick to shift gear, but something felt different. Her knuckle gave a faint shake, she moved her eyes down on the stick, and she saw it; her knuckle was laying against her bag, which she quickly opened it after shifting the gear. She paced her eyes back and forth between the bag and the window, trying her best to quickly grabbed what was causing the noise. She relied on her touch, frantically moving her hand inside the bag, but she found the source; it was her phone ringing.
 

Turning the phone over to see who was calling, she saw the name — or nickname — of the one who called; the name showed “Bestie!!”
 

She pushed the call button, placing the phone on her left ear as she flicked her hair away, “Hey Ava, I’m heading over there no-“
 

“YOU’RE LATE AGAIN VAL!” a girl’s voice shouted from the phone, “It’s already Wednesday and you’re wasting the prep for sleeps!”
 

“Yeah, I know, spare me the lecture will you!” said Valeria, slowing down the car after leaving the suburbs, “And you know the reason why I’m like this the past few days.”
 

“Oh believe me I do,” said Ava with a judging tone from the phone, “You really need to stop obsessin-“
 

“It’s not obsessing!” said Valeria quickly, interrupting Ava,” It’s just… I don’t know what it is.”
 

“…Yep, you’re obsessing,” said Ava briskly, with Valeria already imagining her judging face looking at her through the windshield.
 

“Shut up…” said Valeria slightly annoyed, but she donned a small smile even though Ava couldn’t see.
 

“And… speaking of obsessions, guess who walked in into school,” said Ava, with her happy tone and smile being heard from the phone.
 

Valeria suddenly sighed, “Matthew Williams… isn’t it,” said Valeria, her obvious disgust visible through her tone.
 

“YES!!” exclaimed Ava, like a puppy that just saw a treat, “I just saw him walk into the school, and he glanced at me!"
 

"Ava... you know he has a girlfriend, right?”
 

“Way to ruin a good daydream! Thanks for reminding me! Now these thoughts are just going to be buried!”
 

“You’re welcome hehe.” Valeria pressed her foot on the brake as the car reached a red light from an intersection. She wanted to continue to drive despite of the red light, but there was brown car in front of her and then another that just arrived behind her; and so, she waited.
 

“Oh, and you really need to come now,” said Ava attentively.
 

“I’m a little bit busy here, traffic and all Ava.”
 

“Really? Well, I guess you’re going to have to wait to see your prince charming, hehe.”
 

“Wait! He’s already there!” exclaimed Valeria, with her voice shaking and her eyes locked on the red light.
 

“He is leaving his car — now he is coming up the stairs — now he is at the door with his friend waiting for him — and he is looking back over at the other parked cars — he is probably looking for you Val!”
 

“Not funny Av- Wait… how are you seeing them?”
 

“Um, what do you mean?” asked Ava.
 

“You’re at school… right? Aren’t you supposed to be at class already?”
 

“Um… I’m… taking a break?”
 

“You lying — You’re late too, aren’t you?!”
 

“Oops oh no, the signal is starting to break; I need to go Val!” said Ava, faking static noise through the phone as she starts to walk towards the school, “See you at class!”
 

And beep goes Valeria’s phone, her mouth frowned and her eyebrows flaring; she dropped her phone on the dashboard before holding the wheel with both of her hands. At that moment, the red light finally turned green and the car ahead of her began to move. As the car moved away from hers, she stepped on the pedal, turning the wheel to the left; and from there she continued straight to the school, passing by a few buildings and parks until she saw the school sign, “Pineberry High: Where Hearts Are Made to Grow”
 

She drove to the side of the school, where the parking lot for students were located; she went through the opened gate and parked her cat at the nearest empty lot. She quickly grabbed her phone then placed it in her pocket before grabbing her bag and placed it over her shoulders. She stepped outside the car and slammed the door shut as she immediately ran towards the entrance doors; but she gently opened and closed the doors behind her, trying not to make a loud sound echo through the empty halls filled with red lockers and white tilled floors. Instead of continuing to run, she walked fast towards her classroom; quickly turning checking the corners if there were any hall monitors or teachers roaming about the hall. And as she turned the last corner, she saw the name of her class: Class 4-Y-Senior. Without a second glance, she walked over to the room, trying her best to walk faster before somebody caught sight of her.
 

Luckily, she made it without any more complication; in fact, she was very lucky. She entered the room, expecting to find her teacher already scribbling something on the blackboard; but at her surprise, her teacher was nowhere on sight. She scanned the room and saw her classmates chatting about with each other, with some seeming to be writing something on an envelope, but she didn’t know what it was. She took a deep breath, calming her heart down and lungs; then she continued over to her desk and chair, taking off her bag from her shoulders to place it beside her.
 

She was about to lay her head down on her desk after she sat, but it was interrupted, “Ow!” she groaned, as a sudden strike of pain hit her elbow. She immediately turned her head over to see what caused it, and at her satisfied and annoyed dismay, it was Ava sitting on a chair and desk just beside her.
 

“Glad you got here in time girl! You are the only one late for class!” said Ava excitingly, trying to hide the fact of hers.
 

“Yeah yeah, please stop lying; I know you’re glad that Mr. Jones isn’t here yet,” said Valeria, seeing through her sarcasm.
 

“Okay, Fine! I was late, but at least I wasn’t the one that was late for three straight days!” said Ava, glaring at Valeria.
 

“I know, we’ve been through that a few minutes ago.” Valeria hovered her eyes on her classmates, particularly the ones who was writing on envelopes when she arrived, “What… are they writing on those envelopes for? Is that some kind of assignment I forgot to answer?”
 

“Oh those? Those are just the invitation letters for the ‘blast to the past’ ball on Valentine’s Day,” said Ava with a hint of annoyance in her tone, “Apparently, placing your signature on the invitation then passing it to the Committee of the ball gives out a ‘Vintage Tone.’”
 

“You really aren’t going to stop making fun of the committee for the theme selection, are you?” asked Valeria, raising an eyebrow at her.
 

“I prefer modern and free; not in an era where you can barely breath while wearing a dress, and I also forgot.” She reached out to the other side of her chair, where her bag laid on the ground; grabbing something from it as she lifted it for Valeria to see, “This is your invitation.”
 

Ava reached the envelope out for Valeria, prompting her to grab and examine the invitation: a medium sized white letter with drawings that resembled etchings from old architecture, and of course, a seal that showed an amulet with a heart on it, “… They really did go all out,” commented Valeria, unsure if she was impressed or worried about the theme.
 

“And guess who gave it to me to lend it to you?” She winked her eye and Valeria, with her lips being hidden in her mouth. Valeria saw and instantly knew.
 

“No… don’t tell me,”
 

“Yes, and you don’t need me to tell you; he is sitting just right over there you know hehe,” said Ava with a squeak at the end.
 

As Ava pointed Valeria where the student was, she slowly turned her head behind there; and although there were other students filling the view, only he was in her eyes. The young boy with jet black hair and eyes, broad shoulders and a defined jaw; she stared at his eyes as he was talking to somebody else, they were round yet as she continued to look, she was lost in its depth. After what seemed to be just a split second, the young boy turned her head towards her; and their eyes finally met. Her brown eyes met with his, and she continued to stare despite this, and she was glad that she didn’t turned her head. For the boy smiled at her, his teeth flashed and his eyes lost in hers.
 

Suddenly coming back into her senses, Valeria quickly turned her head back and hugged the envelope; but not before her cheeks turned strawberry as her heart played like drum beats. She covered her smile behind the envelope, unknowingly daydreaming about the boy that made her heart sing: Damien Woods, the one that she let away.

 


Submitted: August 05, 2022

© Copyright 2022 Dante Blake. All rights reserved.

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