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"Kei?" I knocked on his door three times. No answer.
Still sleeping, then. And we were gonna be late for school.
I opened the door to wake him up. But then, I was surprised when a pair of arms grabbed me around the waist and began tickling me.
"S-s-stop it!" I gasped, laughing uncontrollably, swatting my hand furiously at Kei.
And I accidentally elbowed him. Hard. On the chest.
"Ow!" he gasped, backing out in pain.
My eyes widened. "Oh my gosh, I'm sorry Kei! Are you alright?"
"Not quite," he answered, attempting to smirk but it turned out more like a grimace. "I should remember not to tickle you again."
I went by his side and supported his back with one arm. "Does it hurt?"
He chuckled and said, "Not much now. Anyway, it's my fault I tickled you." He kissed the top of my head and said, "C'mon, we're gonna be late for this thing called 'school'."
I chuckled and we went down the stairs for breakfast together. Mom and Mark were already there.
"Morning," Kei and I chorused to them as we took our usual chairs, right in front of each other.
"I hope you weren't doing anything silly this morning," Mom said pointedly at me. "Honey, I really think we need to move your room because of—"
"Mom," I cut in, scowling at her. "I already told you about this. I'm a responsible girl. I won't do anything stupid just because…just because my boyfriend is living in the room next door." It felt weird to refer to Kei as my boyfriend, especially in front of my parents. Ugh.
Mom sighed and turned to Kei. "Be good to her, okay?" she said to him. "I don't know what'll happen but if you ever break her heart—"
"Mom," I cut in again. She could be so tactless at times. Right now, all I wanted to do was sink in on the floor to hide from her straightforward opinions. "It's not your problem if anything happens between us, okay? We can handle it."
Mom opened her mouth to respond but Kei beat her to it. "Don't worry, Emma," he said. "Lily's tough. She elbowed my chest really hard just this morning. I think I have a bruise."
"You what?" Mom gasped, turning sharply towards me.
"He was tickling me," I said, holding up my hands defensively. I glared at Kei before turning back to her. "It was his fault, I accidentally hurt him."
"That must be painful," Mom directed at Kei. "I know she looks so girly and all but her strength's brute and manly."
Ouch. It made me sound like a macho girl, which was not something I'd rather be called as.
"Emma," Mark intervened, smiling patiently at her. "Let the kids have breakfast."
"Oh, right," she mumbled, as if just remembering that we were supposed to be having breakfast. "Sorry."
I am so gonna need this to save energy for later, I thought as I remembered the impending doom—or not doom—of telling the whole school about, well, us.
"You ready to come out, babe?"
I smiled and answered, "Of course."
We came out of Kei's yellow Porsche at school as usual. Except this time, once the doors were closed, Kei came over and took my hand as we walked.
You know that feeling of Hollywood stars when they were walking down the red carpet and the paparazzi were shooting photos furiously at them? That was how I felt right now, except that no one's taking pictures. Everyone was just gaping at us, their mouths dangling open. It was funny how the crowd parted as we walked, like we were some kind of royalty or something. I'd never purposely shove them off the sideways, though. It just really felt that way.
"I wish they'd stop staring," I whispered at Kei.
He chuckled and said, "Get used to it."
"I don't think I can ever get used to this," I admitted, although inside, I was really happy. It was definitely better than hiding our relationship. I felt like boasting to every girl around school that Kei was definitely mine.
"Oh my God, are you two really—so it's true!" Jamie gushed upon seeing us at the entrance of the main building.
I smiled sheepishly at her and said, "Does news travel really that fast?"
"Yes!" she squealed delightedly. "Especially since Kei's been single for quite some time now and you know how almost all girls are in love with him."
"Hey, don't gossip about me in front of me," Kei teased, grinning.
"What's all the commotion about?" Claire said, appearing behind Jamie, with Maddox on tow.
Jamie pointed at the two of us.
Claire beamed at us. "Whoa, you've gotten over me so fast, young man," she teased Kei. Sometimes, I almost forgot how Kei used to like Claire.
"You're lost," Kei said, laughing.
"Hey, I'd really love to chat with you guys but we're gonna be late to class," I said, being the good student that I was.
As if to second my motion, the bell rang and we all went to our classes. It was overwhelming how people stared at us. Kind of like my first day at school when all womankind was mad at me for 'hanging around' Kei, although it was the other way around back then. And besides, we didn't like each other that time.
Now, though, the evil glares of these witches were worse. So much worse. Well, their anger was quite justified this time. I really was dating Kei now.
I sat on my usual seat in English, at the back between Adelaide and that girl named Jess, who was staring open-mouthed right at us.
"Hello, Jess," Kei said, smiling warmly, using up his charms against the poor woman, who looked like she was going to hyperventilate any minute now. "Is it okay if we exchange seats?"
"O-Of course!" Jess squeaked and practically bolted off her seat, dragging her things clumsily with her.
"That was mean," I scolded Kei as he took Jess' seat.
"I could come back to my seat if you want," he said playfully.
I grinned at him and said, "You know I want you here."
A cough from my left made me turn around. Adelaide was staring at us with a suggestive look on her face. "So I heard the news," she drawled, raising an eyebrow. "Just please don't make me suffer during English class. You know…stopping those puke-worthy, cheesy comments would be much appreciated."
"As if you and Daniel aren't like that all the time," I retorted, sticking my tongue out childishly at him.
Just then, Ms. Clifford arrived and that was our cue to shut up.
"Since when have you two started dating?"
"How did it happen?"
"Why didn't you tell us anything?"
"Okay, girls," I said, holding up my hand to stop Kayla, Jamie and Claire to stop gushing. Imagine if Adelaide didn't know about it as well? She'd be like, the gushiest of them all. It was good that she already knew. They instantly shut up. God, telling the truth had more consequences than I thought it would. Like being bombarded by my girl-friends. "First, we've been together secretly for about a month now. Second, I don't know how it started; it just did. And lastly, there's something complicated about why I didn't tell you."
"And that is?" Kayla probed.
"Tell you that later," I said, looking around to see if anyone was eavesdropping. I caught a couple of people staring. It wasn't safe to say it here. "D'you mind following me and Kei at his home?"
They nodded and we continued eating our lunch. I stuff my mouth with food so I wouldn't have to answer any of their questions anymore. Honestly, I was happy to finally be able to tell my friends about me and Kei but there were times when a girl gets too overwhelmed.
During our last period, gym class, the girls and I went to the locker rooms to change. Unfortunately, Kate and her little blond minions were there already. As soon as we came in, they all looked at me with such passionate hate.
"Oh, look girls," Kate singsonged in that annoying little girly voice of hers. "It's the—"
"If you ever finish that sentence," Kayla cut in sharply. "You're gonna answer to us."
"I'm going to say what I wanna—"
"Don't you have your own life?" I snapped at her. "You know what? You may be pretty but you're the most superficial person in the world. Look at those little blondies behind you? Do you really think they're your friends? Do you think you and them are really friends? Yeah, girls like you are popular but that doesn't give you the right to tell me or anyone else what you wanted. Take a good look in front of the mirror and see what a horrible, ugly person you've become."
That struck a nerve. She opened her mouth as if she was gonna say something, but decided against it. Besides, it wasn't as if she could say anything that could really hurt me anymore. She turned on her heal and marched outside the locker room, her minions following her.
"That was cool, Lil!" Claire said, clapping me on the back.
The two other girls nodded in agreement. "No one ever dared badmouth her except Claire before," Jamie said.
I smiled sheepishly and said, "I don't usually say awful things, but she's really being herself—which is awful—so I just had to say those awful things to her. I would've felt awful if it wasn't her but, jeez, she's such an awful person that—"
"Okay, stop," Jamie said and we laughed. I had a tendency to babble things sometimes when I felt a very overwhelming emotion.
As we went outside locker rooms, to the gym, I saw Kei and the guys sitting and laughing on the bleachers. When Kei noticed me, he jumped from his seat and jogged towards where I stood. The girls, giving me a wave, went over the benches to give us some space.
"Hey," he said, looking flushed and excited. "How's it going?"
"How's what going?" I asked, confused.
"You're still alive," he said, grinning. "I guessed you weren't eaten by Kate and her army at the locker room, eh?"
I smack his arm, laughing. "How'd you know about that, anyway?"
"I could practically feel her anger as she and the blondies went out the room," he said. As if proving his point, I saw Kate on the other side of the gym, glaring at me and Kei.
"I thought she was dating that awful football team's captain," I mused, suddenly remembering that the two went together during the Homecoming and that they were like seen together almost every day at school, doing stuff.
Kei nodded. "They are. But you wouldn't believe how much she had liked me way back when we were still children. She used to be a nice girl at that time, though."
"Really?" I could hide the surprise in my voice. How could I? I had only seen this mean girl side of her. I wondered if she still had that good side of her Kei was talking about. She probably did, although I didn't know if it will ever resurface again.
"Surprising, right?" Kei said, sensing my reaction. "But let's not talk about that. You know, I told the guys to come over at home after school so I could tell them about the 'step-sibling' thingy that we'd be facing sooner or later…and our house arrangements."
My eyes widened. "Okay, I did exactly the same thing," I said. "I asked them to come over to your house.
"You asked the girls to come over?" Kei repeated, alarmed.
"Is there a problem with it?" I asked, raising an eyebrow.
He nodded almost immediately. "Of course there is," he said, wincing. "We'll be up for one hell of an interrogation."
As crazy as this sounded, Kei was right. It wasn't the smartest idea to invite the girls over. They kept throwing questions at us, as if they didn't know what 'privacy' meant or anything.
"You're supposed to be step-siblings soon?"
"You live under the same roof?"
"You're rooms are like, in front of each other?"
"Oh my God, you've done it, haven't you?"
"How convenient is it, living at the same house as your boyfriend?"
My mind throbbed with all their questions and reactions. I wanted to ask them to shut up, but even my mouth felt dry and unresponsive.
Luckily, Kei spared me the need to use my malfunctioning vocal chords and said, "Girls, please stop being, well, gossip girls."
Okay, that shut them up, alright.
Kei continued. "This is a very delicate situation, you know," he said, his tone more serious. "We told you because we didn't want to keep secrets from our friends. It's not that easy to tell you, though. So please, don't put much pressure on us."
The girls nodded, looking guilty. I sighed in relief.
"Anyway," Paul suddenly said, breaking the ice. "I think this calls for a party, don't y'all think?"
I winced. I wasn't that eager for parties. "No, thank you," I said.
"No, I think he's right," Claire agreed, turning to me. I scowled at her. She grinned and added, "Let's have a slumber party at my house."
"With us?" Maddox asked playfully, grinning at Claire.
She rolled her eyes at him and said, "Strictly for girls only."
"Yay!" Kayla cheered. "I'm gonna go home to get some clothes."
"Me, too!" Jamie said.
"Me three," Adelaide said, standing up as well.
They all waved goodbye. Claire turned to me and said, "Pack some things. You're coming with me."
So then, I went up to my room, grabbed my plain dark blue JanSport backpack and put two pairs of clothes inside—one for tonight and one for school tomorrow. I called my mom—who was in the hospital for her checkup—telling her about my plans and she told agreed, of course. For all I knew, she was on her protective mom phase because I now had my first, real boyfriend, someone that I really loved. Not that she knew I was really in love. I never told her. But sometimes, even as farsighted as she was, Mom could be sensitive to things sometimes.
"Hey, I'm ready," I said loudly as I was running halfway through the stairs.
"Let's go, then," Claire said, standing up from her seat. "Oh, and by the way, the boys are having a sleepover here as well."
It took a few seconds for that to register in my mind. When it did, I turned around sharply to face the boys and said, "Don't enter my room."
"Yes, Ma'am," Nate said just as Paul was saying, "That makes me wanna enter it."
I scowled at Paul and said, "You wanna mess with me?"
He grinned and said, "Oh, I mess with girls all the time."
I rolled my eyes at him and said, "Let me rephrase. You wanna meet my not-so-girly side?"
Kei chuckled and said to his friend, "Man, trust me. You don't wanna mess with her if don't wanna lose a couple of bones." He turned to me and said, "Don't worry. I won't let them enter my girlfriend's room."
He surprised me by giving me a lingering kiss on the lips before waving goodbye.
I blushed. It was one thing to be kissed by your boyfriend. It was another to be kissed by him in front of our friends.
Life is so much sweeter when you can tell the whole world how much you love someone, I thought as we headed towards Claire's home.
A/N: Yay or nay?
Anyway, next chapter will be written in both Lily and Kei's perspectives :))
Thanks for reading! Please review! I'll update sooner, I promise :D