CHAPTER 1

Oh My God, I'm so in Love

[OMG by Usher, featuring Will.]

It wasn't love at first sight. No, I wasn't that much of a romantic. But it came close; I had never, ever felt so strongly about a person within such a short period of setting eyes on him.

Strictly speaking, it wasn't exactly the absolute time I first saw him; the first time was during summer camp at my new high school, when I saw a tall, thin guy in a black baseball cap stand up and tell us about one of their group experiences.

Why did I only remember him out of the other eight people? Well, it might be because he demonstrated whistling (as some kind of code for one activity or other) two sets of scales into the microphone, one going up and one going down.

Part of the reason he was so memorable was because the motion was so abrupt and so very loud. All the other people only went on, muttered a few unintelligible sentences, and hurriedly got off the stage.

But the first time I really met him, really talked to him, really got to know him, was much more interesting.

I found you finally, you make me wanna say

A month before my first ever year of high school was to start, there was a joint "welcoming" event held by most of the high schools in our city.

Along with around half of the guys from my group at camp and one other girl, we decided to meet up at the MRT station right beside the venue to go together.

As the people I knew emerged one by one, he suddenly appeared. I recall being slightly annoyed then, because, of course, I didn't know him yet (a few people from other groups were going with us, as well. At that time, I'd rather it was just the bunch of us from the same group). That was soon to be changed.

It turned out we couldn't get in, for none of us had bought tickets. Didn't matter; we could have fun on our own.

Which was why we ended up playing cards at a tea shop across the road from the MRT station.

He didn't join us at first; I watched, a little enviously, as the bunch of boys he was with laugh uproariously while playing. They seemed to be having a pretty good time.

But for some reason, soon after the food (tea and some unhealthy, but delicious, fried stuff) came, he scooted over to us and joined in. I thought it was perhaps because that, out of all the fifteen people there, only three were girls, and we were all sitting together.

The tea, which had loads of milk bubbles on top of it, looked pretty interesting (I had gotten some kind of soda cocktail for myself). He looked dubiously at it and asked no one in particular, "How am I supposed to drink this?"

I turned to study him. He had a face no one would classify as handsome, but it wasn't unattractive. "Just try drinking it straight out of the cup, then."

He took my advice, but when he set the tall glass down, his mouth was rimmed with white. I started laughing then, because he hadn't seemed to notice it at all.

Still giggling a little, I motioned for him to wipe the cream off. Instead, he stuck out his tongue and licked his lips clean. The little gesture was unexpectedly…disturbing.

From the moment he joined us, the atmosphere noticeably livened. Someone later observed to me that he was very good at pretending to be friendly with people he didn't actually know yet.

A few rounds of Heart Attack (the waitress kept glaring at us, so we decided that it wasn't exactly a good idea) and other games later, we were at a temporary loss of things to do. I jokingly suggested, "Why don't we play bridge?" Jokingly, because, of course, I didn't actually know how to play bridge.

I hadn't expected anyone to take me seriously, but he said, completely straight-faced, "Good idea!"

"Wait, wait," I was a little startled. "I don't know how to play it at all." The other two girls chimed in, agreeing with me.

"No matter," he said. "I'll teach you."

Which was how he ended up trying to explain how to play bridge to a bunch of clueless girls. At least I more or less understood what he was talking about; I'd watched the boys in my class play bridge before in Junior High (when they weren't playing Yu-Gi-Oh!, that was. Another story).

Since he sat opposite me, we were on the same "team", and we kept winning the practice rounds. Of course, that also meant that I had an excuse to stare blatantly at him.

Halfway through the game, he stopped and looked at me with a strange look on his face. "Hey, you're that girl, right?" he said to me.

I was completely caught off-guard. "Which girl?"

It didn't help when the girl sitting next to him joined in, staring at me. "Yes, you're her."

"Just what are you talking about?" I asked them, a little annoyed that no one would answer my question.

He finally answered. "You're the girl with very good English, right?"

I smiled. So that was what they were talking about; that was what came out of showing off too much during camp (actually, I'd only stood up and recited a sentence in English, and everyone was stunned. Well, I don't live in an English-speaking country, that's why). It was all because the teacher speaking offered a lollipop to whoever attempted the feat; else I wouldn't have done that. Later on, when another speaker (still during camp) took a poll of people who'd passed the GEPT (General English Proficiency Test) high-intermediate test, I raised my hand. So I guess everyone remembered me.

As you can see, it, ah, kind of blew up in my face later. In a good way, though.

When it was about time to get lunch, we decided to split into three groups of five. Of course, because we had happily played poker for something resembling two hours, the bunch of us was in the same group.

Since I actually lived in the area, they made me lead the way, and we ended up at Yoshinoya, a Japanese style chain restaurant.

Over our food, he leaned towards me and asked curiously, "So just when did you pass the high-intermediate GEPTs?"

As I've probably mentioned before, I love when people ask me that. Call me vain, or proud, or whatever-I don't care. It's one of my few accomplishments that actually mean something.

"Actually," I felt my face spread into a grin. "I've already passed the Advanced level GEPTS, last year."

Suffice it to say that the five of them were all stunned into speechlessness for a beat, before he recovered and started pelting me with questions.

The other guy there also asked me, "Have you heard of TOEIC, then?"

Ah, I was enjoying this.

"Of course," I answered, a trifle smugly. "I got 990 on it."

Somebody asked hesitantly, "How much is full marks?"

"990, of course," I replied promptly. This was how I stabbed myself in the foot. Why?

Very simple. Because from then on, every time we met someone new, he would point to me and go, "She's incredible! She passed the GEPT advanced level test and got full marks on TOEIC!"

Okay, I'll admit that it did feel good. But after a while, it started to get a little embarrassing, because I wasn't sure how to respond without making myself look stuck-up. In the end, I decided that my natural charm could cover that, and I got kind of used to it. People gave me weird (worshipful, according to someone or other) looks, and I even got christened with a new nickname: God of English.

In short, I found it all hilarious.

But that's not the point. Maybe it was because he felt the need to prove himself (translation: show off) or something, for he started to tell us about his various accomplishments.

For instance, he was in the gifted program (and his junior high was quite famous for its gifted program, too) in both elementary and junior high, was the conductor of his school's brass band (their brass band wasn't half bad, either; apparently, they had gone overseas to compete before), and got some kind of prize for the national Science exhibit.

By the time he was finished, I didn't know if I wanted to laugh or hit him. So I laughed.

But of course one question reverberated through my head: if he was so smart, why didn't he get into the first-choice senior high? I knew the answer, though: he had to have slipped up during the BCs and wound up here.

Have I mentioned that I kind of have a thing for smart, funny guys? Yup, I still vividly recall myself thinking then: I'm pretty sure I could like this guy. A lot.

Little did I know that I would soon be proven right.

Talk about self-fulfilling prophecies.

Back to story: after lunch was finished, we started discussing what to do next, since no one wanted to go home that early.

I mentioned the fact that there was, sadly, no KTV around the place.

For some reason, he seemed to like the idea, so he went to the aunty manning the counter and asked her, "Are there any KTVs around here?"

The aunty smiled indulgently (is that the adjective I want, I wonder?) at us and said, "No, but there is one a few MRT stops from here."

"Good!" he announced to us. "Let's go sing!"

We called the other people and soon, we were on our way. The KTV was actually only two stops away from where we were and right outside the MRT exit, to boot.

Happily, we trooped inside the (kind of smoky) room, and he started choosing songs right away.

Suffice it to say that, once he started singing, we were all shocked, not just me. The guy could sing. And the songs he seemed to be good at were kind of difficult rock songs that seemed to include a lot of yelling, which he mimicked to good effect.

Hmm, I've always wanted a guy who could sing.

Oh-oh-oh-oh, oh my god


Author's Note: Everything in this story has happened. If interested, go visit my other story, "Diary of an Asian Kid".