Rick dreaded going back to school. He did not look forward to seeing her again. Not a single bit. He broke up with May before the year-end break and it was violent. So he was literally afraid of going back to school. But who was he to defy all the rules set by the school, the scholarship board, the ministry of education and his parents? To school, he had to go.
He noticed a girl while commuting to school. She was cherry blonde. And she looked oddly familiar. She looked young, like she was still studying. He wondered why she looked so familiar to him. But he did not get a good look at her throughout the ride, so when he finally reached his school’s bus stop, he hoped to catch a clear glimpse of her face as he walked past her. But when the bus doors opened, she got off too.
He walked fast, trying to get ahead of her, but she walked faster. She reached the school doors before he did and she walked into the administration office. He gave up chase – you needed an appointment to enter that office. But he did finally get a glimpse of her face on the office door glass before she went in. He thought he made a mistake because the girl he saw was Carmen, his childhood sweetheart.
Rick and Carmen went to the same kindergarten and primary school. They were tablemates for four years. Everyday, he would write a love poem – or at least it is a love poem if you considered the fact that an eight year old wrote it and gave him some slack – to her. And then she would giggle as she read it and afterwards flirt with him. It took them six months to start holding hands and then another year after that to peck each other on the cheek. But it was not until the day before she transferred that he gathered the courage to kiss her on the lips. It was not French or a sloppy kiss rather than both kids just putting their lips in contact and then sort of smiling and holding it there. Then he never saw her again.
So he could not believe his eyes when he saw her reflection on the glass and he thought it was just someone who looked very similar to Carmen, but was not actually her. His doubt did not last until first period.
Ms Junie walked into the classroom, sending students scrambling to get to their seats before her books reached her desk. He plopped into his seat too, and adjusted his hair, ready and attentive. But then someone was following Ms Junie into the classroom. Carmen. At last, Rick got a clear look at her face and all his doubts washed away in an instant. Indeed, it was Carmen. What was she doing here? But god, she looked beautiful. She had grown out her hair – which used to be in a bob cut – and it framed her face perfectly, with a fringe dangling just above her eyes. Her body has grown too, she had curves in all the right places and she was slim in all the others. Her legs were the stuff of every model’s envy and every guy’s fantasy. Her lips were thin but curved upwards in an amiable smile while her hazel eyes scanned the class. When her gaze eventually settled upon Rick, her smile faltered.
“Feel free to seat at any of the empty tables, Carmen.”
Carmen’s gorgeous smile returned as she thanked the teacher then walked hesitantly towards an empty seat. Unfortunately, all the seats around Rick were taken, so Carmen had to pick a seat that was two rows behind his and two tables to his left. Rick’s eyes followed her as she walked past him, while her gaze never left his face. It was one of those dramatic moments that were always in slow-mo when they happened in movies.
Rick had a good reputation with Ms Junie so he did not dare to write notes to Carmen. He did not even dare to risk turning his head. But he watched every agonizing tick of the minute hand of the clock above Ms Junie’s head.
When the bell rang, he remained in his seat. He was looking down, thinking of the perfect words to say. Carmen was right behind him waiting for the last person to leave the class – Ms Junie was the first to leave, anxious to avoid the stampede of students. All of a sudden, Carmen grabbed Rick’s shirt and pulled him out of the chair and pushed him against the wall. Then she pressed her lips against his, hard.
“I’ve missed you *smooch* so damn *another smooch* much.”
“Carmen!” Rick’s pulse was beating so fast from the excitement and also the shock. “Carmen, wait!” He pushed her off. “Why have you come back?”
“Okay, I’m guessing you have a lot of questions. Can’t it wait?” Carmen pouted and Rick thought, damn she has grown so cute!
In a fluid motion he wrapped her in his arms and was kissing her passionately on a desk. He ran his hand through her long blonde curls, getting acquainted with the length. He could feel her fingers digging deep into his waist and back, pressing him against her. Then he heard someone who was not Carmen clear his throat.
The two looked up and stepped away from each other when they saw that it was Mr Pah that has walked in on them. Mr Pah was one of the nicest teachers in their school – but also the strictest. He behaved like a fluffy gerbil to his favorite students, but he could be an unforgiving Rottweiler to students who infringed the school rules. Right now, his eyes were pure dog.
“Two of you come with me. Now.”
Rick muttered a curse under his breath. He never saw this side of Mr Pah, nor has he gotten on the bad side of any of the other teachers. He was the perfect student. ‘Was’ being the keyword here, he thought.
Carmen heard him sigh and saw him walk with his shoulders visibly hunched forward. She grabbed his hand as he followed Mr Pah out into the corridor and held it tight, giving it a squeeze. He looked up, surprised, then he smiled.
He could get used to this, he thought.