A/N: Do you hear that, my friends? That is the sound of my graduation march getting louder and louder. I'm graduating! Yey! Finally... after 3 years and 7 months, I get to wear a toga again. Maybe this time will be the last time. Sorry for not updating soon. After the Christmas Break, a lot of stuff happened and I left almost all my things at the dorms (including my laptop, clothes, and many others). That is why I didn't get any work done aside from imagining a new story play out in my head. Anyway, belated MERRY CHRISTMAS and have an AMAZINGLY INTERESTING NEW YEAR! Read, Review & Subscribe. :D
Sorry for not updating soon. After the Christmas Break, a lot of stuff happened and I left almost all my things at the dorms (including my laptop, clothes, and many others). That is why I didn't get any work done aside from imagining a new story play out in my head.
Anyway, belated MERRY CHRISTMAS and have an AMAZINGLY INTERESTING NEW YEAR!
Read, Review & Subscribe. :D
Chapter 009: The Trial Period
Whatever rumors you've heard about me that day, it was probably true.
However, if you also heard about the story wherein I punched Vivian Rhodes in the boobs, your sources were obviously misinformed.
So here's the breaking news – I was now dating Sebastian Lawrence.
Although we decided to call it a trial period of our dating relationship, it kind of felt a little official. We were finally a couple.
Of course, the very first person that found out was Trina and my, she was so thrilled that all she managed to say was, "Finally, fuckers." Sebastian and I had one-on-one conversations with her. From our long talk, I knew she sincerely meant both of us well.
"He was always yours, Mage. Remember that."
It was Monday and I was half-excited and half-petrified about what the entire day had in store for me. I hitched a ride with Caleb and the twins despite the fact that Sebastian had insisted on picking me up from my home. I did not want to give my brothers any opportunity to meddle with my newfound love life.
As soon as Aiden's car pulled up at the parking lot, I jumped out of the car and headed for the school entrance. At the steps, I saw Sebastian leaning on the handrail.
The moment he saw me, he grinned so wide that for a moment, I remembered his five-year old toothless self the first time we had met. He came towards me as I walked to the entrance. Face to face, I was about to greet him hello when he just crashed his lips onto mine.
Sebastian Lawrence was kissing me. In public.
I was partially aware that every student in the area stared at us during this intimate moment but for some reason, I didn't seem to mind. The kiss was sort of… distracting.
"What the hell are you doing with our baby sister?"
Despite the similar modulation of voice of the twins, I was eighty-five percent certain that was Aiden.
Automatically, Seb and I jumped a meter apart from each other as if nothing had happened. I fidgeted and tried to look at anywhere except at my brothers. It seemed Seb was a tad bit braver than I was, only coughing lightly despite his reddening cheeks.
"Hi, Aiden." He nodded at Aiden then turned to Evan and then Caleb. "Evan. Caleb. What have you guys been up to lately?"
"We should ask you the same question," Evan answered, crossing his arms. "It seems you've been busy finding your way into our little sister's pants."
"And succeeded," Caleb added, folding his arms as well.
"Boys…" I warned them, trying to sound threatening but my brothers ignored me.
"Come on, guys. It's not what you think," Seb tried to wave off the issue, taking a step forward. But my taller brothers towered over him, refusing to back down.
"We just saw you kissing Maegerie. Are you trying to seduce her?" Aiden pressed on.
"Are you forcing her to engage in any intimate and sexual activities together?" Evan queried, demanding.
"What? No! Evan, listen –"
"Are you dating my little sister?" Caleb interrogated further, looking as if he was about to pummel my poor boyfriend out of his wits.
I couldn't take it. The queries were bound to get weirder and weirder, knowing how twisted the imagination of Caleb and the twins could get. More and more people were bearing witness to the humiliation my big brothers were causing me.
"Yes! We're dating!" I screamed out at my two brothers, placing myself between the twins and Sebastian. "Satisfied?"
Evan and Aiden looked at each other. Their facial expression remained to look stern. But for a moment, I saw a flicker of understanding between the two.
"Not satisfied," Evan answered, a smile finally forming his lips. "More like relieved."
"Finally," Aiden remarked almost with a sigh. "About fucking time."
My two elder siblings tackled the both of us in a tight embrace. I groaned at how ridiculous the whole ordeal had been. I looked at Seb and he seemed quite pleased at how the situation turned out.
Once the familial moment was over, my two brothers kissed my cheeks simultaneously (despite my resistance and disgust). Then, they both shook Seb's hand.
Aiden all of a sudden pulled Seb towards him. He leaned closer to my boyfriend's ear and I faintly hear him whisper.
"Break my sister's heart and we will break everything."
"Noted," Sebastian responded, nodding in a civilized manner.
Although I was very much aware of how much my big brothers were rooting for Sebastian to be my boyfriend, they still considered my best interests at heart.
After all, as much as they liked Sebastian, I was still their baby sister. And no one messes with the Young family's prized girl.
For some reason, Caleb remained silent for the most part. He was observing us, especially me as if there was something wrong in this social experiment.
As soon as he noticed my staring at him over his unusual reception over my newfound romantic relationship, he shifted his eerie gaze with a vibrant persona. He had easily reverted back to his more laidback and happy-go-lucky self. However, the look he gave was something I was certain to remember for a long time.
"So, you know what this means right?" Caleb approached me as Sebastian and the twins were bickering with one another.
"What?" I wrinkled my forehead in deep thought.
"You're going to have to kiss your infamy goodbye," he answered, placing a hand on my right shoulder for added gesture of concern.
"Just because I started dating doesn't mean I'm gonna start being nice to other people, Caleb," I retorted as lightly removed his arm from my shoulder.
"The fact that you are dating already changes things, Mage," Caleb whispered as he reasoned, both earnestly and jokingly if such a thing were possible. "From now on, you're no longer the badass chick of Lucien Heath with the really bad attitude. You're Mage Young, Sebastian's new squeeze."
"It may change things, Caleb, but some things will always stay the same."
Caleb raised his eyebrow at me as he waited patiently for me to go on.
"I will make damn sure that they will always remember that I am the meanest bitch in this academy, single or unavailable. "
Sebastian Lawrence gets bewitched by the Demon Lady of Lucien Heath Academy.
Oh, I could already imagine the headlines in the gossip section of the academy's so-called school journal.
I didn't understand why the entire student body was creating a big fuzz over the apparent change in Sebastian's Facebook status from "single" to "in a relationship with Mage Young." Sebastian is only one fish among the hundreds swimming in the lake of LHA. Granted, he was one of the best fish but still… is it anybody else's goddamn business?
Of course, it was. No one dates one of the hottest guys in school and gets away with it… especially if you're the kind of person that is highly associated with the Wicked Witches of the East and West.
Trina had fairly warned me about the possible consequences that may come out since Seb and I have decided to begin a romantic relationship. People will not like it. People will not like me. People will find ways to make sure our romance will end in bloodshed. For the first consequence, I had no fears. It didn't matter if they didn't like it. They're not the ones pursuing the relationship so why should their opinions matter? As for the second, I had always known the student body abhorred me. I don't think it could escalate into an even more alarming rate than that. However, the latter consequence was the one that bothered me. From this point forward, people were going to be more invested into making sure that Sebastian and I would not stay a couple for very long. Whether the presence of blood in the whole plan was figurative or really literal, I had no plan on finding out.
As for now, I must continue to live my life as how I'm used to it. It was the only way to keep me sane. I attended all of my previous classes with the resolve that nothing much will change other than the fact that I have started dating again. I will still be a prized pupil. I will still be feared. I will still be Mage.
For the most part, my intentions were achieved, that is, until I got to Advanced Biology Class.
As soon as I entered the classroom, the students buzzing noises had abruptly dissipated. That would usually be the sign that whatever they were actively discussing about, they could no longer mention because the person involved was already there. In this case, that's me.
I was still stubbornly holding on to both my resolve and my thinning patience. I had no intention to punch the faces of all my classmates today. That would just hurt my hand. So I did that peaceful thing to do. I glared at all of them until they all looked away. Then, I took my seat.
"Rumor has it Mage Young has gone from "Single" to "In a Relationship" in her Facebook profile," Byron began, sounding very amused.
I did my very best to ignore whatever the person who sat in front of me was trying to say to me. It was too early to be dealing with the likes of Byron Heath. I simply did not want to waste my energy in order to tolerate him today. But the way he just remained sitting awkwardly there while he smiled so vibrantly as he awaited my response was just to disconcerting to ignore.
"None of your goddamn business, Heath," I almost snarled as I slammed by hardbound textbook on my desk.
"Perhaps," he nodded in agreement. "But it's your business. And anything that concerns you is a matter of great interest to me, Maegerie."
"I'm dating Sebastian." I opened up the book and flipped through the pages. "So?"
"So?" His tone expressed how he found my response so incredulous. "When did this happen? Everybody knows of his feelings for you, no matter how absurd it seems to others, but when did you realize that you actually reciprocated them?"
I scoffed as I tried to find the page for today's class discussion. I responded, "Why should I be explaining myself to you?"
"If you need to be reminded, recently, we have shifted our relationship paradigm," he explained cockily. "Unless, you want me to say the words out loud for everyone to hear."
We're friends now. It's an unwritten but highly recognized law that friends are so supposed to know about the life of the other person. Friends tell each other things.
"So, tell me."
I rolled my eyes at how ridiculous the direction of how our hushed conversation were going. Looking at him again, I finally answered, "Last Friday night. After we watched the movie and you left, Seb and I got to talking about things. Then, we decided to give it a try."
"Give dating a try? Like an exercise?" His eyebrows slightly furrowed.
"Yeah. A trial period."
"Mage, there's no such thing as a trial period in a relationship. Either you're dating for real or you're not dating at all."
"We are dating," I stressed pretty strongly. "It's just that we're also trying to see if it's a good idea or not so we're going to try it out until we're sure."
"So you're dating to test if you really can date each other?" He raised his eyebrows at me with that almost patronizing look. "How ridiculous."
"Your opinion is always unsolicited and unwelcome, Heath." I turned my attention back to my Biology textbook. "But I appreciate the concern."
Byron turned his attention back to the class as soon as our teacher, Mr. Dixson had arrived. It almost dumbfounds how we have different professors for our lecture and laboratory classes when in fact it would make sense to have the same professor for both. Besides, Mr. Dixson seemed like a better teacher than Mrs. Steiner so why not just make him our teacher for both lab and lecture?
The bureaucracy of the academic system is the culprit, I tell you.
"Good morning, people," Mr. Dixson greeted us as he was looking through his atache.
"Good morning," the entire class murmured in response.
"So, I finally got around to checking your previous exam." The other students groaned while my stomach felt like fluttering in excitement. "I'm not sure how to describe the outcome other than the diagnosis that the whole class is suffering from Biopolar Disorder. Some did well. Some did awful. The rest were just unremarkable."
Mr. Dixson proceeded with calling out all the students in alphabetical order to return to them their tests and maybe to converse with them at how well or how badly they did. My last name started with a 'Y' so I was quite sure it would be a while until I would be called.
Mick Abernathy looked dreadful once he looked at the mark on his test paper. Obviously, his parents would not be letting him crash college parties anytime soon.
The roll call went for a while. The faces of each student varied from horrified, mournful, relieved, and just insanely ecstatic.
Byron approached Mr. Dixson's desk. As soon as our teacher handed the paper over to him, a small frown had formed on his lips. Clearly, that did not mean anything good or relieving. For a minute or so, the two of them were talking about a few things that no one else in the class could manage to hear. Once they were done, Byron went back to his seat and went silent for a few moments.
"How did you do?" I couldn't control my curiosity.
"I got a D," he answered, handing the paper over to me.
There were certain moments of my life that I regret that things that I may have said and done to people. One of those moments was this one. As soon as I saw the large red marking of the letter "D" on the top-right corner of his test, I laughed.
Don't ask me why I did it. But maybe I just found it a little ridiculous for anyone to get a 'D'. I mean, I never even got a 'C' so getting anything lower than that was a bit unreal for me.
"How nice of you to laugh at other people's failings," he snapped at me, brusquely taking his paper back.
"I'm sorry," I said, trying to control my giggles. "It's just that for some reason, I assumed you had a brain. Apparently, I was mistaken."
"And I used to wonder why people don't seem to like you. Wow, Mage, this is such an eye-opener."
"Are you quitting on me now?" I challenged, slightly amused.
"Never." A smile had formed his lips. "But you can't just laugh at my grade. You probably did just as bad. Wait and see."
Shaking my head and feeling the urge for another fit of laughter, I responded, "I hardly think so."
Inhumanly intelligent Rickard Matthews was also in the same advance class as I was. I still hate the fact that despite his lack of experience and knowledge of the real world, he still kicked my ass in academics. That was not cool.
Besides, the way he shoved in front of our faces that he got an A+ was not only arrogant but sadly reflects his need for social approval. Poor kid.
As soon as my name is called, I abruptly stood up and approached out teacher's desk. Mr. Dixson acknowledged me with a smile on his face and I just knew that I did well, as always.
"You're really intent on becoming scientist, Ms. Young." He handed over to me my test and I saw that I got an A+ just like Rickard Matthews did.
"That's always been the plan." I shrugged.
"Keep up the good work. Two years from now, you're on your way there."
I went back to my seat but not before subtly showing Byron the large A+ marked on my paper. Seeing that, he made a hissing sound and sank even more in his seat.
"I never do bad in academics." I whispered loud enough for him to hear. "I'm a good student."
Suddenly, he turned back to me with a playful smile etched on his lips. "You just gave me a wonderful idea, Maegerie."
"What?" I asked, already sounding very suspicious of him.
He just gave me that unreadable facial expression of his and turned his attention back in front. Mr. Dixson began his lecture so there was no opportunity to talk about anything else.
Mr. Dixson discussed lengthily about photosynthesis. They used to tell us that photosynthesis was the way for plants to get food by trapping light and all that. However, now they tell us that photosynthesis is highly complicated biological mechanism for plants which greatly serves the ecological balance of life in Earth. Then, everything else becomes insanely detailed that you eventually get lost at realizing why it was like that to begin with.
Oh, I really love science.
Eventually, the school bell rang, which meant lunch break was pretty much in order. I made arrangements to meet Sebastian for lunch so I wanted to leave soon. However, the disadvantage of being seated at the very back of the classroom always meant that you were the last to go.
In my periphery, I saw Byron trying to talk with Mr. Dixson. Perhaps he was trying to convince him to increase his grade or maybe to give him extra credit work to keep up. It was none of my business so I had no intention of staying there for very long just to know what the outcome would be.
"Ms. Young," Mr. Dixson all of a sudden called me. I abruptly halted and turned.
Unassumingly, I replied, "Sir?"
He beckoned for me to come over where both he and Byron stood. I did so but slowly and slightly hoping that he would eventually change his mind and kick me out of the classroom. However, the closer and closer I got Mr. Dixson's desk, I was certain that there was no longer getting out of whatever Byron Heath had gotten me into.
How the hell did I know that he had something to do with this? His teasing and arrogant smile said it all.
"Mage, I'm sure you are quite acquainted with Mr. Heath here." He gestured towards Byron who in turn gave a wave my way.
"Yes, sir." I stared into the British boy I swore I was going to murder one day. "We know each other well enough."
"Wonderful, wonderful." Mr. Dixson clapped his hands as he stressed the word. "Then, I don't see any problem at all."
"Pardon me, sir?" I asked, dreadful of where the conversation was heading.
"Mr. Heath is having trouble adjusting to the culture here at LHA so he's having difficulty with this course... And both of us were wondering if..."
"I could tutor him."
"Yes." The two of them sighed in relief as I caught on.
"No," I said flatly as I turned upon my heel.
Mr. Dixson is one of the more decent and intelligent teachers at Lucien Heath Academy. If I had any affinity towards any teacher at all, he would be my favorite. But even if it came to the point that he was my favorite teacher of all time, I was not going to be Byron's tutor.
I turned to my professor again and retorted, "Why me?"
"You're the best student in this class, Maegerie." My ego shot up at around 10% higher than it normally was when I heard my teacher's honest comment. However, flattery won't get anyone anywhere. Well, that's what they say anyway.
"Rickard Matthews is the smarter one."
"Intelligence does not equate to excellence, Mage," Mr. Dixson stated. "Not in this case. Rickard may be intelligent but he is not as versatile as you are."
I love to be on the receiving end of flatteries especially if it comes from good authority. I smiled a bit at hearing my teacher's honest opinion of me. I almost forgot that his touching compliments were meant to woo me to follow the dark side.
"Besides, I don't think Rickard would be very much able to explain the Crab's cycle in a dumbed down version," Byron interjected in the conversation.
"Crab's cycle?" I reiterated in wild retaliation. "Seriously, you call it crab's cycle?"
"Why? What are you supposed to call it? Lobster Cycle?"
I slapped palm of my hand against my forehead in both defeat and disbelief. What kind of idiot would have mistaken Kreb's Cycle as the cycle of crab development and even worse, a lobster?
"You're a hopeless case. I don't think anyone would want to help you."
"I'm sure you would if I offered you the one thing you have always wanted from me in return for doing me this favor," Mr. Dixson responded chirpily.
I gasped, my mouth hanging open and my eyes flaring. "No way."
"Letter of Recommendation to Oxford University for Ms. Maegerie Young from one of the most accomplished alumnus of the same university – me."
Mr. Dixson proudly laid the all his cards on the table to force my hand. He knew me so well. Oxford University had always been my life-long dream. All my future plans were solely dependent on the hope that I would be able to get in. Although I still have two years to go before I reach college, one can never really be truly prepared enough to qualify for Oxford.
That is unless, of course, you receive three of the highest recommendations from the most respected figures in the academic field. Mr. Dixson is one of those respected figures.
Seriously, I was pretty certain Mr. Dixson would win a Nobel Peace Prize one day. To be recommended by someone of that caliber, my fate in Oxford University would be sealed.
So, I guess, my answer was fairly obvious enough.
"Fine, I'll do it! I'll tutor Byron."
I'll do anything to get into Oxford University.
The moment after I agreed to be Byron Heath's new tutor, the stir of dark regret came over me. I mean, what the hell was I thinking?
I have been blinded by the temptations set by my own teacher before me. In short, I did not only take a bite of the fucking poison apple. I swallowed the damned fruit. Now, there was no going back to my own word. I was going to tutor Byron and I needed to do it well enough for him to pass the course satisfactorily.
Otherwise, regardless of my efforts, there will be no letter of recommendation for me. That was the catch.
Kill me now.
"So when do we start? Where do we meet?" Byron inquired excitedly as we exited the classroom.
"Your place," I replied abruptly, trying very hard to control my urge to just beat the shit out of right there and then. It was all his doing. This was what he planned all along, that asshole. "I'll tell you when. Now, go before I really decide to smash your head against the water fountain."
"See you later," he said. To my surprise, he added a bonus bear hug along with his farewell.
"Get away from me, you maniac!" I tried to push him away. However, Byron remained stubborn and squeezed me tighter, almost losing my natural ability to breathe.
"I think she's had enough of you for one day, Heath," I heard Sebastian's voice behind me speak out.
As soon as Byron loosened his grip, I took the first chance to pry him away from me. Once I did, I stood beside Sebastian, holding on to his left arm.
"Hello, Sebastian," Byron greeted with an unusual stiffness in his voice, which was never present whenever he was talking to me. "Always a pleasure to see you."
"I wish I could say the same," Sebastian countered bluntly.
"Seb!" I tugged on his arm as I tried to warn him from doing anything stupid. I whispered, "Byron is my friend. Be nice."
"Don't worry about it, Mage," Byron assured me, trying to shrug off the tension. "I know how my general incandescence can be quite threatening to some people of diffidence. Goodbye."
Byron wasted no more time to walk towards the other end of the hallway, leaving Sebastian and I alone together.
"Why were you acting like such a jerk?" I used my backhand to hit his chest while I chastised him.
"No man wants to see his beloved lady in the arms of another man, especially if he's a dead ringer for the likes of Cassanova," Sebastian retorted, his jaws locking.
"Oh, dear. It looks like I got myself a jealous boyfriend," I teased, nudging his stomach with my right elbow. "I'm going to enjoy messing with your head. This is going to be fun."
"Don't push your luck." His anxiety finally simmered down noticeably. I flashed him my crooked smile, which he automatically returned with a small grin.
"Come, on. Let's go have lunch together." He then took my hand in his, intertwining our fingers together as we strode down the hallway.
I savored the next few moments as we were walking, slicing through the swarm of students surrounding us. I felt their gazes on me, the emotions of each were an amalgamation of fear, amusement, interest, curiosity and perhaps, even envy. A week ago, I would have panicked if such a change in the school environment would affect me so. But who I was a week ago was not the same Maegerie Brooke Young that was now holding hands with the boy of her childhood dreams, Sebastian Lawrence. I was now braver, even bolder of showing to the rest of the world that I was his and he was mine. This small act of intimacy was enough to convince the entire student body that the Demon Lady of Lucien Heath Academy was just as vulnerable to romance just like the rest of them.
The illusion was soon to be shattered. I, Mage Young, was nothing special after all. In time, people will no longer find it in them to fear me or resent me. In fact, they may eventually start to appreciate me.
That wasn't so bad, right?
It was a good thing Vivian Rhodes screamed out the accusation loud enough for everyone else to hear (including the dozing beast inside my hormone-flushed body and logically-impaired mind). Otherwise, I would have just about to make one of the biggest mistakes of my life.
For a moment there, I had almost forgotten that Mage Young was not a woman to be appreciated but a lady to be dreaded. Thanks to Vivian Rhodes, I now remember who I was – the most badass bitch this academy had ever seen.
Everyone, including the daring Vivian Rhodes, must also be reminded of that.
"Who are you calling, slut?" I asked her, sounding a bit innocent and ignorant.
"I'm sure you've met her. She's studying in the same school as well," Vivian took the bait and cattily remarked in return. "In fact, I'm talking to her right now, slut."
I raised a hand to stop Sebastian from interfering with the confrontation. This conflict was my own and I will solve it in the way I always knew I could.
"You should be ashamed, Mage. You're just eating the spoils of Trinity North."
"Oh, am I?"
"Why would you steal your best friend's boyfriend? No human being could do such a horrible thing!"
"So you think I'm evil?"
"Yes," she replied, her voice getting even more challenging after every response. "And I'm not afraid of evil sluts like you."
"Care to test that theory?" I inquired, smiling almost dementedly as I took short and slow strides toward her.
As expected, every inch I stepped closer to her, she took a step back. This game went on and on until finally, she pushed herself into a corner – a locker, to be precise.
Once I was fairly certain she had nowhere to go, I inched closer to her and whispered to her ear, "You think you could have the guts to call me a slut and then I would let you get away with it? Listen, Vivian Rhodes, if I'm a slut, then what are you? How many guys have you slept with in a month, a week, or how about a day? Rumor has it you were just slamming it away at the men's shower room with Bryce Fender this morning. Isn't he dating one of your friends?"
I deliberately increased the volume of my voice so that the very friend I was talking about, whom was standing beside Vivian, would be able to hear the unforgivable crimes of her so-called best friend.
"Is that true, Viv?" I heard her friend ask. Vivian's silence was enough for her to know the truth in my words.
"You bitch!" her friend had finally said, slapping her hard on the left cheek, before finally walking away.
Vivian caressed her reddening cheeks as she winced in pain. She looked left to right, noticing the judging glares of our peers. Realizing the damage to her reputation, her eyes began to water.
"Why did you do that?" Vivian shrieked at me, it almost hurt my ears. "You're a heartless bitch, Mage!"
"I know," I replied, simultaneously followed by my right fist punching the locker door that was only an inch away her face. I let my fist rest there against the surface of the metallic door, ignoring the burning sensation beginning to swell up. Then I leaned in closer again to add, "And don't forget, I am also a very, very, very violent woman. So you better be careful the next time you try to insult me. The next punch might just hit your face."
As soon as I removed my hand from the locker's surface, a dent could be seen forming around where my fist used to be.
I shook my hand and massaged my knuckles for a brief moment. Once I found myself away from any serious injury, I wasted no more time to do what I needed to do.
I pulled Sebastian by his shirt and kissed him with burning passion that I could almost hear the imaginary fireworks inside my pounding chest exploding rapidly. It took a few seconds for Sebastian to react but I felt a smile form in his lips as he returned my intentions with the same ardent desire.
And just like the purpose of fireworks, the kiss was a bold display. It was statement to the rest of the world that I, Maegerie Brooke Young, the infamous Demon Lady of Lucien Heath Academy, was now dating Sebastian Lawrence and everyone else should just suck it up and fucking deal with it.