The rest of the day flew by like a flash. My last subject for this day, Chemical Reaction Engineering, ended with a ring of the school bell. The class was unusually quiet. I noticed the grim faces of most of my classmates who had gotten their test papers from our professor, Dr. Charles Wilson. I couldn't blame them though. That exam was horrendously tricky. I was deeply relieved I got a satisfactory A- grade. After the bell rang, I went out of the classroom silently as I headed straight to my gym locker. I admit that I had been aloof in my classes here in UCLA. Most of my classmates would only approach me when they needed help. All my high school buddies went separate ways after our graduation. But even so, I'm not totally as lonesome as my classmates think I am. At least I still have my varsity friends, Nick and, of course, Ava. Hadn't been because of my childhood friend, my college years would definitely be dreary. I wouldn't have someone to tease with, to laugh with, to chat with and so on. She's one of my driving forces why I had survived in this university for years. Come to think of it, I hadn't seen her this morning. She must be in the video shop right now. I might as well go to the girl's dormitory later to visit her. Funny as it seems, I feel my day isn't complete without seeing her.
Walking my way to my locker, I had heard a bevy of girls murmuring in a corner just a few strides away from the locker room entrance.
"Hey! That's the three-point shooter, Phineas Jones, of the basketball varsity right?" said one girl.
"Yeah! That's him!" exclaimed another.
"He's without doubt cuter up-close, isn't he?"
"Yeah! I agree." Then all of them giggled together. I shook my head smiling. It honestly feels good when people appreciate me but I'm certainly not the type of guy who would relish the enchantment of being a popular person in the crowd. I didn't enter the basketball varsity to become famous for crying out loud. I only did that because I purely like the sport. I opened my own locker and got ahold of my varsity uniform. While changing my clothes, the murmurs outside were still audible.
"But have you heard he ignored a girl who once confessed to her that she likes him?" I paused, intrigued about what they are to say, and listened to them intently.
"Y-Yeah. Poor girl."
"Is it because of another girl?"
"Wow! The girl must be sure lucky to capture the heart of a hot athletic guy who's a real knack."
"Haha! But here's the deal. I heard the exact words Phineas said to that girl."
"What? Tell us about it - " said with an eager tone.
"He said - I'm not interested with girls." A brief silence dominated the group. I continued listening calmly.
"So you mean - "
"He's a...he's a...homo?!" blurted one girl.
"A GAY?!" The rest bellowed. I flinched with eyes wide open. I could also picture in my head the horrified looks on these girls' faces. My mind clouded suddenly with visions of my past.
To be honest, I had absolutely said those words to a girl batch mate back in my freshmen year. Her name is Amelia Rose Cooper. At that time, she was just a member of the school theater club. Now, she's already the president. I haven't heard much about her lately after that incident.
Amelia took up B.S. Pharmacy. She has a cheerful and friendly personality which immediately captures the attention of people. Her acting skills are superb - had she smiled, the audience would sigh with ease; had she laughed, the audience would go frenzy of her adorned beauty while she chuckles; had she wept, the audience would want to cry with her. Not only these, she's also endowed with a well-balanced figure and untainted beauty (tall, slender woman with long wavy mahogany hair, slightly large proportioned breasts, a high forehead, full rosy lips, dark blue eyes that have long voluminous lashes - all of which perfectly matched with her white glowing skin). She is also fond of trendy clothing which makes her look even more attractive. I had known her that much since we had been close friends for the first year of my college life. She was one of my classmates in my General Chemistry classes that whole school year.
Amelia (I call her Eli) was my first and only close friend in class during my freshmen year in UCLA. Ava wasn't in the scene yet since she was still high school back then. I may act so aggressive in front of my childhood friend but not in front of anybody else. I'm not good at befriending people 'cause I do not want to initiate conversations especially in class. I really felt desolate during the first few weeks of that school year. I had been secretly wishing that Ava would just accelerate one year so that we'd be batch mates. Circumstances made Ava and I afar but she never broke her contact with me even if she was still in Danbury, Connecticut - and I was truly grateful for that. Anyhow, I do not know exactly what did I do to make Eli notice me. She just approached me one time and asked me if we'd be good friends. Then I agreed. As simple as that. From then on, she had been my partner during class activities. She shared a few of the silly stories of her life. She told me her joys and her pain. I also did my part as her good friend. I tutored her in subjects which she found difficult and shared to her some of my sentiments in life. Those were some memorable days to recall. She gradually became a part of my few trusted friends for life not until that incident happened.
It happened on an evening after our varsity practice, two weeks before our finals. She bravely confessed to me that she likes me. I became speechless for a couple of minutes. I had great difficulty swallowing up what I just heard. It was so abrupt and I felt defenseless. She was waiting earnestly for my reply. I tried my hardest to formulate words in my head when suddenly my lips parted and began speaking those words absentmindedly "I'm not interested with girls." Her eyes widened with contorted lips in which I could trace the deep hurt feelings shown in her face that moment. Just then I realized what have I truly done to let her feel that way. I chose the wrong words - which I discerned to be an unforgivable mistake when our friendship never mended. She backed away when I went close to her. I was about to explain when she suddenly ran far away from me, sobbing. My mind was telling me to chase her and never let her go until I have explained to her what I truly meant by those words but my body didn't cooperate. She never gave me a chance to explain that I'm not interested with any relationship yet since I wasn't ready to handle everything (home, school, and heart matters) after all the difficulties I've been through - I had just defied my parents from the kind of life they wanted me to have and I just chose a path where I should prove to them that I'm capable of doing things on my own. I knelt down from where I stood, panting. I stated the words "What have I done?!" in outrage. I despised myself for doing such a terrible mistake.
The following morning, I tried talking to her but she ignored me. I pursued day after day but she never let me. My days were numbered since the finals week was so near and I would never get to see her again during the summer break. The last day was my only hope but nothing happened. From then on, we never heard of each other ever again.
That was a tragic story. I never wanted to experience that tormentuous feeling again. I learned to treasure everyone dear to me (no matter how few) and to never let our relationship be destroyed by my mere clumsiness.
I hadn't realized how long was I standing in front of my locker when my mind snapped to reality. This happened just in time when the varsity captain and center, Douglas Wright, called my attention.
"What on earth is the vice-captain doing here?" Douglas blurted.
"I'm sorry captain. I was...z-zoning out." I said sheepishly. He raised his eyebrows and sighed in response.
"I'll give you 20 laps as your punishment for being late." Our varsity captain commanded.
"Yes sir." I responded firmly and seriously. I hurriedly went to the court and started jogging 20 laps all alone.
I didn't notice my exhaustion from jogging since my mind was so preoccupied of those memories I wanted to fade. My mind also recalled what those girls were talking about earlier. Man, I'm doomed. I'm seriously being mistaken as a homo. What extreme luck does Ava have for making her almighty words and suspicion come true about me being a homo? I shook my head in disbelief and uttered "Ava, you're really something." soft enough only for me to hear. I came to my senses when the captain blew his whistle.
"Okay. Twenty laps finished." I halted and nodded quickly, walking towards the nearest bench. The rest of team were worriedly looking at me. I squinted, not knowing what they were thinking.
"What?" I inquired ambiguously.
"You seem to be not in yourself today." answered Jared Taylor, the varsity point guard. The rest nodded in agreement. This is bad. I need to do something. I must not let them know anything about what I was thinking.
"Matters of the heart?" I winced as the varsity power forward, Larry Patel, interrupted me while winking. The rest cheered in amusement.
"W-What do you mean Larry?" I asked nervously.
"Well, what he's trying to tell you Phin is that you've been missing your 'girlfriend' already." replied Blake Thompson, the varsity small forward. My eyes widened, bewildered. What the hell is going on? I've been mistaken earlier as a homo. Now, I already have a girlfriend without me knowing? Dude! Am I dreaming? Surely, the world is turning crazy!
"Girlfriend? W-Who are you talking about?" I looked at them wearily. Seriously, I might go to the mental ward after this.
"Your childhood friend, Alice, of course! Who else?" said Blake in a matter-of-fact tone. The cheering grew wilder this time. I, on the other hand, remained dumbfounded and speechless.
I sat silently in my seat and focused my mind for a moment, not minding the painful sounds of laughter and wailing surrounding me, and instead trying to take-in everything that is happening today. One thing I always do during the critical moments of my life was to contemplate and have a peace-of-mind so that I could discern properly on what to do.
This day, I found out that I had been regarded with two opposite fake reputations: (1) I'm a homo/gay and (2) I'm the boyfriend of Ava. What do I do? Should I explain to them the truth? Or should I lie?
I was still in deep thinking when something came to my mind.
Wait. I still have an option. An evil grin formed across my lips. Now, I'm certain on what I should do.