I hate this waiting.

You know whenever your really anxious for something, the time seems to stretch? That's how I feel, like the hour hand on a clock that never seems to travel anywhere. What time is it? 5:00. What time is it now? 5:01. Ok…how about now? 5:02.

Stupid clock. Surely, it must be broken, right?

Impatiently, Melfina tapped her foot harshly on the floor, the sound making a loud //tap tap// on the tile.

Melfina frowned slightly, the gesture tugging at her pretty face. She had long, ebony black hair, and startling honey-brown eyes. Tall and slender, she was athletic and attractive, as well as intelligent. Yet, she was popular for all the wrong reasons. It was because of her boyfriend that she was considered in the social circle.

"Honey, can we go now?" complained Andrew, her boyfriend. "This is taking way too long."

"Don't I feel just like Guinever in Once and Future King," commented Melfina sarcastically.

Andrew frowned, looking confused. "You feel super happy?" he guessed.

Melfina gave him a weird look. "Nooo…it was sarcastic expression, as in the atmosphere isn't romantic. " When she saw his further baffled face, she sighed. "Never mind. You can go if you want. You don't have to stay with me."

From across the room, a young man snickered. "'Well, look at the two lovebirds having an erudite conversation," he remarked.

Melfina blushed. Whirling around, she saw the speaker. Jared. "What's your problem Jared?" she glared. "And what are you doing here?"

"Same think you are. Waiting for our class ranks," he answered casually, slouching against the wall.

Oh yea. Melfina clenched her fist. "I swear Jared. This year, I'm going to beat you. That'll wipe that ambitious, pretentious grin off your face," she vowed.

Jared laughed. "No offense, but didn't you say that last year, and the year before that? What makes this year so different?" he teased skeptically.

Melfina fumed. Ever since they were in second grade, when Jared had dumped a bucket of paint over her head, they had been fierce adversaries. For academic grades in school, volunteer hours, extracurricular activities…It made her so mad. She worked hard for everything, and it seemed that Jared just woke up and did everything perfectly. She'd never seen him study once. Yes, he was a jerk and extremely conceited, but in terms of being a senior at Yumi High, he was perfect.

She hated him for that.

"We'll see who's number one Jared," was all she said. Last year, Jared was ranked as class valedictorian, with Melfina behind as number 2. She was so close…

Suddenly, he was right in front of her. "Good Luck." When he saw the scorn on her face, he added,'' I mean it." He held out his hand, and for the first time she realized how handsome he was. With dark brown hair, and deep hazel eyes that seemed to see right through to your darkest secret, it was no wonder he was declared the hottest guy at Yumi High.

Melfina grinned, thinking he was sincere. "'Then may the best win." They shook hands on it.

There it was. That enigmatic smile, replete of charm and grace. The smile that caused each and every girl at school to fall for him. Except her.

"I will," he said snidely.

"Ugh…Jared, you jerk!" Melfina blew up. "You…presumptuous, pig-head misogynist."

He was laughing at her now. She could tell by the way his eyes looked, and the lopsided smile on his face. Oohh…that cocked eyebrow drove her insane…

"Misogynist? What am I, an antisocial Boo Radley?" Jared repeated, that infuriating grin every-present on his handsome face. "Has my reputation preceded me? Or, perhaps it's just you that I just hate. Or is that just inconceivable. Ever think of that?"

Andrew sighed, rubbing his temple. "Can't you two get along? And stop using such big words. Please shut up; you're giving me a headache."

Melfina noticed him, having forgotten he was there. "Oh, sorry. But he started it!"

Sigh. "Listen. I got to go now. I'll see you later, baby." He bent down to kiss her briefly on the lips, then he walked out of the door.

"Bye Andrew." Melfina sighed. Andrew was never around, and they never spent time together. She really liked him, because of his kindness and consideration, but she wished they could be together more often.

When she turned to face Jared, there was a dark shadow across his face. Quite imperceptibly, he glared at her. "Really Mel, I though you were smarter than that. Going out with pretty-boy over there with a paucity for brains. Mr. "you feel happy." I don't trust him."

Her brown eyes blazed furiously.

"Damn it Jared. What the heck is your problem? Do you have to criticize everything that I do? And don't degrade Andrew. He's the best boyfriend I could ever hope for. He's more sensitive, compassionate, and oh yea, nicer than you could ever be. So take this subtle hint and stay out of my life! And stop calling me Mel. That's only what my friends call me," she said meaningfully.

Melfina gulped, surprised at her words. They were harsh, but didn't he deserve it? Afterall, he did provoke her.

Jared shrugged, refusing to look at her. "Whatever. And you're right. Your business is your own business. I'll stay out of it."

An uncomfortable silence ensued, and the air hung heavily with unspoken words. Finally, after what seemed an eternity, the door swung open, and the principal appeared in the doorway.

"Are you okay?" he asked the two teens. "I heard shouting." There was no answer from either of them. The principal sighed, and rubbed his eyes tiredly. It had been a long day. Perhaps his ears deceived him.

"Melfina Meimei, I'm ready for you. I take it you're Melfina?" asked the principal, looking to the girl with black hair. Melfina nodded politely. "Jared Milfield, you're next."

Without a word or a glance towards him, Melfina strode inside the office. This was her year. The year she would be class valedictorian.


"Melfina, are you okay?" called Jared worriedly. Melfina burst out of the room, storming down the hallway with her head down.

He followed her, grabbing her shoulders to stop her. She was crying. "What's wrong Melfina?" he demanded, shaking her.

She sniffed, trying to rid herself of the tears coursing down her face. She was determined not cry in front of him. Instead, she looked up, brown eyes blazing defiance. "You should be happy. You're number one, Again. Congratulations. Now please let me go." Her tone was high, but controlled. Sort of dignified in a way.

And for that, he respected her.

He released her. And she ran outside. Straight into the rain. "It's raining outside!" he called. She ignored him. He laughed bitterly. It was no different from everyday; she always did ignore him.

He sighed. Did he have to do everything for her? Reaching in his locker, he procured a jacket and an umbrella. Hurriedly, he followed her. But when he open the door, she was gone.

"Melfina! Damn it! Answer me Melfina Meimei!" he screamed. There was no answer.

The night air had swallowed her up, leaving only a vast expanse of blackness.


"Dumb Jared," sobbed Melfina. "He did it again. He beat me. How could he!" Heartbroken, she ran down the sidewalk, soft-tears mixing with the rain falling from the sky.

He's…he's always one above me. Always. No matter how much I try, or all the energy or effort I put into anything, he's always the better one. But it makes me so mad, because he doesn't even try. He's the genius next door who knows everything, and can do anything, without a second thought. As for me…people say I'm smart, but what for? I work hard for it. Jared falls into it.

It was cold. The rain was like ice, and she was lost, a bunny in a truculent snowstorm.

Wait…there was a Starbucks up ahead. Ahhhh…the thought of soothing coffee and a heater endeared to her, and she increased her pace until she was pushing open the door to the café. Then she saw them.

"Oh my God…ohmygod."she gasped.

Inside was Andrew, with his arms around another girl. She looked at least a few years older than him, with glamorous sunny-brown hair.

How could he! No wonder he was in a big hurry to leave she thought bitterly.

Melfina's face contorted in betrayal, and the tears continued to fall. How could he kiss her one moment, and kiss someone else the next? He was supposed to be her boyfriend. She whirled around only to bump headfirst into someone else.

"Watch where you're going!" demanded a familiar voice.

Through the tears and the surprise, her eyes widened. Could the day get any worse?

There, looking unfathomly warm and solid, was Jared, the one person she hated beyond any other person alive. And yet, he was there, holding an umbrella over her head, shielding her from the rain.

"I'm already wet," she said miserably. "But isn't it ironic?"

"How so," he asked cautiously. His dark eyes probed hers, searching for her within.

"I feel how I look, on the inside and outside," she admitted.


"Andrew cheated on me. You were right."

She expected laughter. A "you deserve it for being an inane wench." Or at least the conventional "I told you so." But she got neither.

"Come here," he said softly. Her eyes, which had remained glued to the ground, slowly moved to his face.

"W-w-hat?" she asked, startled. Was there a hint of sympathy and care that she detected in his voice?

Gently, he raised here chin to him. "Andrew is a jerk. He doesn't deserve you." he offered. "Do you want me to call him a load of expletives? Would that help?"

Melfina said nothing. But the tears kept flowing down.

"I mean, who says that Guinever is "super happy"? How ignorant do you have to be?" he mocked.

At that, Melfina cracked a tiny smile.

"And…and who has the attention span of a half-wit donkey?" he added helpfully. "And the looks of curious George, only with half the brain and not so much of the brawn?"

From that, Melfina couldn't help the smile that erupted onto her face. It seemed to light up the night sky, and it made the golden specks in her eyes sparkle.

"Ah-ha! A beautiful smile from a lovely girl!" exclaimed Jared, only half joking.

Unexpectedly, Melfina threw her arms around him and cried on his shoulder.

Instead of drawing away,he held her, his eyes watching her kindly. Suddenly, Melfina looked up, and she saw him look at her like she'd never been looked at before. Like…it was a difficult feeling to explain. Like how one holds a delicate flower, or wraps a warm blanket around a loved one.

But the look was instantaneous, and she wasn't sure it even existed. Maybe she was going crazy. Jared looking at her like that? Ludicrous.

Her body stiffened. "Thank you Jared." she moved away from the door, but he stopped her.

"Do you want to end it just like that?" he demanded forcibly.

"What do you mean?" she asked, puzzled.

"Go in and confront him. Don't let him walk all over you."

The ground seemed interesting at the moment, because she refused to take her eyes off of it. "I can't do that. I guess I can't blame him. I suppose no one wants to go out with me," she said bitterly. She indicated brunette making out with Andrew. "What does she have that I don't?"

Jared sighed. "Surely you don't believe that? Look at me. Stop looking at the ground." Reluctantly, she lifted her eyes, full of tears, to face him.

"That other girl…she's probably as brainless as Andrew. And you're prettier anyway." Melfina widened her eyes in surprise. "You're special, okay? If any guy gives you trouble, I will personally make sure he doesn't ever do it again. Ever. Now, why would guys not want to go out with you? You're obviously very smart, number 2 out of 900. And while you lack in the attitude and looks department- Ouch!"

Melfina slapped him lightly on the back. "You're so mean!" she exclaimed, pretending to be mad.

But he saw the smile she hastily tried to hide. "Don't give me that. I saw it. Now you have to smile."

Hesitantly at first, like the faint harbingers of the sun, Melfina smiled, not a fake or forced one, but an unmitigated smile untarnished by hate or corruption.

"You know what I wonder?" she asked pensively.


"How someone as infuriating as you can make me feel so much better," she admitted. This time, there was no scorn or sarcasm, and no double meanings. Just truth her words.

"I guess I'll take that as a compliment," Jared decided. "Are you ready?"

Melfina nodded, and together they walked into Starbucks to face whatever pain was inside.


What do you think? Please review, as I have no idea whether I should continue or leave it here. I love reviews! Thanks for reading! And happy thanksgiving!