For What It's Worth

Author: Kei

Summary: One doesn't know. One doesn't want her to know. One doesn't want to know. And one knows everything, but wishes she doesn't. Four friends, one story. Chaos much?

Author's Notes: This is another story I was inspired to write and just wasn't able to get out of my head. I know I should be focusing on OTABH and start updating more often but this story's practically hammering me on the head and wouldn't leave me be! It kept bugging me on my way to school, and in the middle of my classes, and finally back home. It kept whispering to me and I should probably tell everyone that I'm not good when it comes to temptations. I believe in the saying that the only way to resist temptation is to yield to it. So…yeah. What's a girl to do?

Author's Notes2: To those who are annoyed by my unstable updating habit, I think you'd be glad to hear that I've written several chapters of this little baby already, so yes, updates would come regularly. Or until I run out of pre-written chapters, which we hope won't happen in the near future. Each part is told from one of the friends' POV and there will be more character background as the story progresses. Anyways, without further ado, here's the first part… and once again, I appeal to your hearts. Read and review. Keep me inspired, and I'll keep you guys happy. Deal?

Part One: Perrie

I'm rushing to class again – a seven a.m. too early class – and knowing that I'm already probably fifteen to twenty minutes late. It isn't really the first time I've been late to my math class, and fortunately, the professor is lenient enough to not mind his tardy students, as long as they understand the lessons and eventually pass the class.

Midterms are nearing though, and the lessons are being discussed hurriedly so I don't really want to miss anything of importance. Calculus has never been my strong suit and even though I know I could pass the course without much effort, I need to put a little extra and gain a little more in terms of final grades so I could shift to another major.

Taking up engineering is the last attempt to please my mother and fix things with her. I'm done with doing all these attempts though, because most of the time, I do them at the cost of my own happiness.

Ever since I came out – or more like was forced to, given the circumstances – back in my junior year of high school, my relationship with my mother started deteriorating. At first, she didn't want to believe it, even though she was metaphorically slapped in the face with my so-called 'deviant preferences' (her words, not mine). And then, when she eventually 'accepted' it, she also figured out the fact that I'm not the child she had dreamt of. That I could never be the average, professional, successful, perfect daughter and eventually suburban mother and wife that she wants me to be.

Before all that, my mother and I had an easy-going relationship. We had interesting conversations and I told her things about school and my friends and the like. We never fought and I always thought she was a level-headed woman. I admired her cool, calm, and collected personality, even in the midst of crisis, like her and my father's eventual separation. She inspired me to do well in school and she was always supportive of me.

Now, there's this barrier between us that just wouldn't go away. I've been trying so hard to break that down, but no matter what I do, I just feel this coldness from her. The calm, cool, and collected person I admired before has turned into someone I barely even know – distant, closed-off – and inevitably, I had no other choice but to give up trying. My mother still speaks to me, but it's as if the woman I knew before is gone. It hurts too much to be treated this way, but now, I'm starting to realize that I want to live my life for myself, not for my mother or for anyone else.

My father was my main source of support and overall foundation during the time that my mother began shutting me out. Those constant phone calls from my father and his reassuring voice made me strong. His never-ending love and affection brought me out of my lows. Even though he was thousands of miles away, he never forgot to call me everyday for months. Now, we still talk regularly, but only on a bi-weekly basis because I know he couldn't really afford the phone bills and he wouldn't allow me to be the one initiating the calls unless absolutely necessary.

My friends also kept me going on. They were actually the first ones I came out to and they accepted me wholeheartedly. I've always known how difficult I am to deal with sometimes and I'm nothing less than grateful that they stood by me and continues to stand by me despite all my episodes. I feel like they'll always be there to rescue me when I'm about to drown in my insecurities.

It's funny that only two weeks after I came out, Jan came out too. And then, just a year ago, Claire said that she's probably bisexual. We've been friends for so long but to tell the truth, before I told them of my sexual orientation, I never once entertained the idea that any of them would also lean the same way. As it turns out, Lizzie's actually the only heterosexual in our little clique.

I never really saw it coming.

My friends always tell me that when it comes to people, I don't see things clearly all the time anyway, so I guess it's acceptable. Give me school work and I could ace them any time. Emotions and humans in general, on the other hand? I'm pretty sure I'm probably on the top of the list when it comes to being a lousy judge of character.

I've just entered the classroom and the professor spares me a brief glance before proceeding with his lecture. Most of the students don't even bother looking at the newly-entered student – me – because they're already used to students coming in and out of the classroom in the middle of class. I see Claire smiling at me, and I move towards where she's seated.

She's chosen a middle seat this time and I see her picking up the bag and book she placed on the seat beside hers. This kind of thing is already like a ritual between us. When I happen to come earlier, I save a seat for her. She does the same when she's the early bird, like now.

"I finished up a lab report for Physics lab last night. Ended up sleeping a little late and you know the rest," I turn towards her as I sit down and she looks at me.

"Maybe I should give you a new alarm clock for your birthday. Yours suck," she replies in a whisper so as not to disrupt class and catch the prof's attention.

"Jan's going to sock you if she ever hears you say that. She's pretty much protective of that damn defective clock. I'm considering giving it back to her so that she could try it out for herself and think twice before defending it."

Claire smirks at me, "We both know that if you do that, you're just going to break her fragile little heart."

I shake my head a little mainly because of two reasons. One, if ever a fragile little heart there is, it most likely would not be Jan's. Two, I still have no idea why Jan is so adamant in defending that alarm clock she gave me for Christmas last year. "I still don't see what's with that clock. And every time you guys come over, she makes sure she sees that thing on my bedside. I don't get it."

"It's not about the clock, Perrie." Claire is smiling again, but I can see that it doesn't reach her eyes. Her statement sounds like an implication for something more, but before I ask her about it, she shifts her attention to the professor. I let the comment go. If Claire wants to tell me something, I know she would. The fact that she seems to have forgotten what she just said means I also am intended to forget or ignore it.

I move my attention forward, to the lecture going on, after I look at Claire for a little while. She's undeniably very pretty – one of the prettiest girls I've seen in my life – and I know for sure that she also easily catches the attention of a lot of guys and girls. She's very picky though, when it comes to the people she dates and as of late, she's never had a relationship that actually lasts longer than maybe four months. Most of the time, her partners end up being jealous because of all the attention she gets, and Claire really has a thing against jealousy. She's okay with people being clingy, because she admits she has a tendency to be clingy too, but she can't stand jealous green-eyed boyfriends or girlfriends.

Claire says she's all about the trust and I totally get that.

Of course, she also says she's never been in love with any of the people she has previously dated. She keeps telling us that she'll only ever really be in love with someone who can trust her a hundred percent and she could trust back the same way.

I totally get that too.

Claire pokes my shoulder and I realize that my mind has started wandering again. I don't look like I'm daydreaming or anything, but if there's one person who could catch me on my unguarded moments, it's certainly Claire.

I really should pay attention to this course.

Not that I want to.