Chapter 19
It Started Slow, It's Coming Fast

I was unable to stop myself from rushing to the class on the third floor even though I knew that Michael was following me. He'd called out my name, his voice sounding concerned but I interrupted him, saying that we were getting late and started quickening my steps even more.

When we'd finally reached the classroom, I hastily went up to Mofiz and said that I'd brought along a friend who was deeply passionate about learning how to play the classical guitar.

'He really wants to see how the classes take place,' I fumbled even more. I wrung my hands together, balancing the guitar with my feet as I waited for the over-the-top reaction.

Mofiz peered across my shoulders to stare at Michael standing behind me. He beamed, his eyes squinting as Michael looked back at him, smiling a little.

'Hello, my name is…' Mofiz stopped with a blank look on his face.

Oh my gosh, not this again, I thought frantically even though I wanted to double with laughter. I automatically slapped my forehead with my hand; the motion and sound weren't lost to Mofiz who glanced at me in confusion.

'Mofiz,' he finally said to Michael, who still had the small, polite smile plastered onto his face. The smile momentarily widened as he took in Mofiz's words.

I was surprised to find out that even after the awkward, disappointing conversation at the bus, I'd found the smile so incredibly endearing. I immediately shrugged my shoulders, turning away from him.

'Classical guitar really is amazing,' Mofiz announced loudly, trying to sound as smooth as possible. He looked meaningfully at the other students who were flocking inside the classroom, oblivious to whatever he was saying. 'It's nothing like anything you'd ever experience. It's better than… Well, it's hard and not for everyone. So think about it if you're planning to join. Think about it all the time. And wonder if it's the right life choice you made…'

Mofiz sighed audibly, looking lost in thought and giving such a dramatic sad smile that both Michael and I felt like guffawing as we caught each other's eyes.

I had to clutch at my guitar and bite my lips so that I could forcefully look away from his gaze. Why did I always feel so many contrasting emotions whenever I was with him? One look was all it took to make me forget the hurt for a few seconds till the thoughts once again overwhelmed me.

I forced myself to concentrate at the surroundings instead.

Mofiz was now greeting some other students who were coming up the stairs on their way to the class.

'Come, come!' Mofiz yelled out in excitement. 'Today I have…'

Mofiz turned blank once again. This guy will not be a good announcer, I couldn't help muttering under my breath.

Michael actually gave a snort of laughter and grinned at me as if he'd just heard what I'd said. My breath got caught for a split second before I composed myself and turned away once again.

Meanwhile, everyone on the stairs and near the door remained frozen as they waited for Mofiz to finish speaking.

'I have such good news!' Mofiz finally yelled out, swinging his hands around his head in excitement.

'You're not taking this class?' a small boy quipped hopefully. 'You're leaving early?'

'Joy is fired?' another boy demanded.

'Wrong! Wrong! All wrong!' Mofiz answered cheerfully. 'You all failed!'

Mofiz waited for a few seconds for everyone to digest the news, not realizing that most people were too busy yawning or looking at their phones.

'Today we will be doing a mock performance for the upcoming show as well as an incredibly difficult lesson about harmonics!' Mofiz cried as loudly as he could. He looked as if he was about to hyperventilate at any second.

A sudden silence fell amongst everyone. Most of the newbies, including me, looked surprised and fearful while others merely rolled their eyes. They were all used to Mofiz's eccentric ways of handling the class. I'd heard that his idea of fun was taking an unannounced quiz in the auditorium during last year's performance when nearly everyone's family and friends were present.

'How is that good news?' someone complained loudly to Mofiz as we all entered the class and started putting our guitars down.

'None of you will be able to accomplish anything with this sort of attitude,' Joy called out irritably from the corner of the classroom. He narrowed his eyes and glared at nearly everyone. 'When I started out, a performance is all that I ever wanted. I'd learned about harmonics in my second week. Didn't I, Sir? You guys don't practice enough or…'

This wasn't exactly what anyone wanted to listen to the first moment they entered the class. Most people rolled their eyes or ignored Joy's usual rants and focused on increasing their voices so that they wouldn't have to listen to him.

I glanced at Michael whose eyebrows were raised at Joy's indifferent and cold way of teaching the students.

I drew up a chair for him in silence at the corner of the classroom before pulling out another one for myself. As Michael silently stared around the classroom with interest, I took my guitar out of the case and begun tuning it, trying to distract myself over what had happened at the bus.

I was trying my best not to care or make a big deal out of the past conversation because it wasn't something involving me. But I couldn't muster a fake smile and act cheerful when I was feeling a whirlpool of emotions, mostly disappointment and the fear of rejection. I'd already created a plan on what Michael and I should've done today—bunk the class and roam around the place. But with this state of mind, I hardly felt like doing so.

So after tuning the guitar and strumming a few notes that suddenly made Michael whip his head in my direction, I'd started staring around the classroom too but mostly so that I could avoid his gaze.

It wasn't working really well. Mofiz was busy chattering with some students about the upcoming performance who all seemed excited or bored to be performing.

Was I the only one who'd still fumbled through the notes and became filled with nervousness at the mere thought of standing in front of an audience?

This didn't sound very promising at all. The performance was looming up too closely. I really needed to concentrate, I thought to myself with a sudden surge of determination. I'd to stop obsessing over Michael and his reactions.

'Umm…hmm…' I actually started humming a tune very softly, hoping to distract myself. It didn't really work. Maybe I should compose a song or something…

Instead, I found myself glancing around at some of the girls who were seated near us. One of them had openly gaped at Michael when he'd passed her by on the way to his seat. A few of them were fumbling with their hair, trying to fluff it up and toss it in several directions to get his attention.

But Michael just kept on staring at me. Mostly because I was strumming and plucking at the strings in a state of nervousness and sudden inspiration.

However, my attention was diverted when suddenly Joy came near me, pulling a chair way too closely. He sat down, gazing at me with an intense stare.

'So how's it going?' Joy said in his usual barking tone. 'You've been practicing?'

'Um…good, yeah,' I said quietly, feeling thrown off at the close proximity. But I knew what he was doing.

Whenever someone brought their friends to class, Joy would immediately go over to them and tell them to play anything. If they couldn't, Joy would take the guitar, looking incredibly smug, and play it properly. Even if the students had perfected their pieces, Joy would still take the guitar and play because he just happened to be better than everyone else. Or so he claimed. Sometimes he'd play the whole piece incredibly loudly so that even more people would get awed by him and immediately enroll in Mofiz's class.

It was a clever strategy since most people who came to accompany their friends actually ended up enrolling straightaway.

Then again, these people might have wanted to join from the very start. But I knew that Michael didn't have any such interest. So this was bound to get awkward.

'How about you show me the piece you're going to play at the performance?' Joy asked.

'Um…sure,' I whispered, feeling Michael and almost everyone near us staring at me.

I played a little but when that many eyes kept following my every move, my fingers started shaking. Ugh, I'd been practicing this one piece for hours. I knew how to play it, of course. But at that point, I just couldn't get my fingers to make the right sounds.

'That was pretty okay but you need to practice more,' Joy said, sighing. 'The performance is really close.'

Then, to my vast astonishment, he grabbed my hand, which was plucking at the strings and curled his fingers around mine. Then he moved them over the strings to show me exactly how I should be playing.

Beside me, I could feel Michael shifting on his chair.

I was pretty embarrassed to be the recipient of such notice but I couldn't really blame Joy. He was just trying to show me how to play; it was also part of the business image he'd had to adopt to make the best first impression.

But I did feel surprised when Joy suddenly came behind me, bent down close and placed his free hand on top of mine that was holding the fret board.

'Now you move it like this,' Joy instructed, moving both my hands exactly the way he'd wanted.

I couldn't help but blush as I felt Joy's shoulders brush up against mine. Damn, this was getting too weird and awkward.

Joy had never given me any attention before. I'd doubted he'd even know my name. I was one of the newbies but most importantly, I wasn't pretty enough for him.

I rolled my eyes at his so-called professional image when it was clear that during next class when there wouldn't be anyone new, he'd resort back to his old ways. However, suddenly Michael moved his chair backwards with such a loud sound that even Joy stopped playing and stared at him with narrow eyes.

'What?' Michael said in the snappiest voice I'd ever heard him use. It was so unlike him that I gaped.

'Just don't make anymore noise, please,' Joy finally said, looking surprised. He glanced at me, still holding my hand before I'd finally freed it off slowly. His expression turned smug as his gaze went back to Michael's face, which appeared very strained.

'Whatever,' Michael said in the same annoyed voice.

'Anyway, you really have a knack for the classical guitar,' Joy said, ignoring him and turning to me as he placed one of his hands on my shoulders. 'You really do…that sounded, well, better.'

I nearly jumped with fright as he gave me the largest smile I'd ever seen him give to anyone.

'You know, Sir, we should have duets at some point in our performances,' Joy suddenly called out to Mofiz. He was still gripping my shoulder as if trying to knead them. I didn't even dare to look at Michael now. 'You know, a girl and a boy playing pieces like My Heart Will Go On!'

'That sounds very dreamy, Joy,' Mofiz said in an equally dreamy voice. 'That will make the audience swoon.'

Mofiz immediately gave a dramatic version of himself swooning to imaginary music. If the whole situation was less awkward, I'd be having a blast at today's class.

'And Alice,' Joy now said, turning to me and bending way too closely so that I could smell his breath. I didn't even hide my surprise that he knew my name after all. 'If you continue to practice like this…maybe we can be the first performers.'

Then, finally letting go of my shoulders, he slouched away to his chair at the front of the room, giving me a small wink. It felt so weird.

I stared at him, wanting to laugh till my insides hurt. What was that about?

But as I turned around and saw Michael's scowl, I'd suddenly realized what Joy had done. He'd been trying to make Michael jealous so that he'd join the class with me. Man, Joy was manipulative, I thought to myself, shaking my head in disbelief.

Then I did a double take.

Michael looked exactly the way I'd looked and felt when he'd been talking about his ex.

He was jealous of Joy? I didn't know whether to laugh at the ridiculousness of the situation (who'd have guessed that Joy could have been an accomplice) or feel thrilled that he'd been caught off-guard just like yours truly.

However, just then, the class started.

Mofiz told everyone to lower their voices as he wrote some notes on the board, taking his time to perfect every symbol.

At the front, Joy was arguing with one of the smaller boys who'd begun saying that he'd already mastered the piece that he was supposed to be performing. However, Joy clearly wasn't agreeing with that information.

I rolled my eyes, suddenly catching Michael's attention. Even though Michael gave me a very tiny smile, as if trying to appease me and forget what'd happened with Joy before, I continued feeling perplexed and once again turned away. Even though I did feel thrilled that Michael had momentarily turned jealous, I wasn't really glad or flattered about the situation. Michael's ex had been real; Joy's sudden display of affection was entirely fake.

And that smile from Michael made me feel as if he'd thought I didn't care about Joy at all. And now I wished I could pretend so that I could really make him jealous.

Ugh, what was going on? I was really starting to act incredibly insane.

I decided that I just needed a bit of time to think over everything. I was pretty sure I'd be feeling okay tomorrow morning after a quiet night of contemplation.

'So now we are going to give you a demonstration!' Mofiz suddenly cried out, pointing knowledgeably at Joy.

My friend sitting next to me started whispering and asking whether I had prepared for the upcoming performance. I immediately launched into conversation with her, trying my best to avoid Michael at any cost.

Even though we do have to talk at some point, I realized. I just wished that I didn't take everything too much to heart and could resort back to my old self.

Maybe I'd feel okay after the class was over. Even if I didn't, I could pretend that everything was alright. Right now, I should just concentrate on the class and my playing.

But before I could even strum my guitar, Mofiz waved his arms wildly, crying out for everyone's attention once again.

'Everyone, please be quiet, we have a new student!' Mofiz yelled excitedly. 'Right there!'

I shied as far as I could from Michael as everyone's heads turned around and looked at us. I could feel some sort of a collective quiet amongst the rest of the girls who hadn't bothered looking at the corner before.

To top off the embarrassment, Michael held up his hands and said solemnly, 'I'm not going to join—'

Mofiz's eyes almost flew out of his head. He looked like he was about to faint any second.

'But you must!' he cried out urgently.

Michael's lips quirked upwards as he shook his head and said determinedly and loudly, after glancing at Joy's direction, 'I'm here with Alice.'

It sounded like some sort of an announcement.

I immediately felt too many eyes looking at us, a few with eyebrows raised.

I didn't know why it was a big deal. Many people had brought along guests before. Maybe it was because of the way I was seating and trying to create space between Michael and myself.

'Sir, should I play something?' Joy immediately interrupted, standing up and strutting forward with as much swagger as he possibly could demonstrate. Except nobody's attention was caught.

I felt like guffawing. Gosh, this sounded like the beginning of a competition.

Sure enough, Mofiz and Joy appeared to be engaging in a heated conversation with each other as they tried to come up with pieces to showcase to the entire class and hopefully win Michael over.

Besides me, my friend Karen who'd been ogling at Michael over my shoulder, nudged and said, not bothering to keep her voice low, 'He is so good-looking! Is he your boyfriend?'

'No, no, no,' I almost shouted out before I could stop myself. I felt like banging my head repeatedly on my guitar. This day was getting more embarrassing than anything I'd known.

'Why not?' Karen asked me, looking intrigued. I wanted to chug her.

'I don't—I mean…' I wavered off, not entirely sure what to say. I meant to say that we were just friends but then again, there was something between us. Even I couldn't deny it any longer. And he'd been momentarily mad and jealous at Joy's attention upon me. But before I could come up with something coherent, Joy had already taken center stage.

'Okay everyone, be quiet!' he screamed out. I didn't dare to look at Michael's reaction because I was pretty sure that he'd been staring at me and hearing the conversation with my friend. Gosh, this was so mortifying, I thought, feeling disillusioned.

At the same time, I couldn't shake off the intuition that Michael's feelings weren't perhaps equal to what I'd felt for him. It was so evident in his reactions when he'd reminisced and talked about his ex.

I wanted to kick myself. Why couldn't I stop thinking about it?

'I am going to play this piece that only a group of selective people around the world who understands music knows!' Joy chimed in, interrupting my thoughts. He was glaring at Michael with immense distaste as if blaming him for taking away the attention in class. Not that anyone ever usually paid any attention to him, I wanted to point it out.

Without wasting another second, Joy immediately pounced upon his guitar and started playing this annoyingly long piece of music. I felt sure that nobody in this class had ever heard of it.

But it was brilliant: Joy was undoubtedly an amazing classical guitarist. Despite the fact that no one really liked him because he was so rude and weird, we'd still become automatically enraptured every time he'd play something.

Even though it was pretty hilarious to look at Joy when he seemed so determined and lost whilst playing, it still felt amazing to see someone have so much passion for music. Joy clearly did, I knew that.

Damn, he really was unbelievable, I thought, as I watched his fingers move so effortlessly from the top to the bottom of the fret board. If he weren't so mean or serious or plain manipulative all the time…wait, what was I thinking? I was having a sudden, strange vision where Joy and I were standing together on stage. He was playing this piece whilst I sang an equally difficult song in tune with the music. The whole crowd was going wild as they clapped and stamped their feet in excitement.

It wasn't anything else, of course. Just the two of us sharing the stage. A union of kindred spirits, I thought to myself.

Next to me, Michael suddenly got up from his chair in a great haste. He moved it with a resounding scratch, almost slamming the legs up the wall as he stood up.

Some people's head whipped in his direction. I glanced from Joy to Michael's carefully guarded face. He seemed angry…and hurt.

A twinge of guilt filled me.

However, just then, Joy started plucking the strings so fast and rhythmically that my attention was once again diverted.

I couldn't help but feel mesmerized by his playing. I'd always gotten lost in music when I'd practice at home. So much so that I couldn't remember the times my parents had called me down for dinner or to receive a phone call. However, witnessing someone else go through it in front of so many people made me quiver.

I wished I could've gone up to Joy and ask him how he did it. How could he tune out other people so well when he'd play the guitar? How long had he been practicing to get to that stage?

Meanwhile, out of the corner of my eyes, I watched Michael walk towards Mofiz and whisper something in his ears.

Joy was still playing as if oblivious to the entire world. A couple of girls stared fixedly at Michael as he exited the room and went down the stairs.

I felt very astonished and guilty. Why hadn't I said anything to him? He must've been feeling very awkward and lousy sitting next to me whilst I remained mum.

'Your boyfriend didn't seem to enjoy the music,' Karen whispered, nudging and giggling loudly.

I couldn't help rolling my eyes.

'He's not,' I repeated through tight lips.

'Well, he looked seriously jealous when you were staring at Joy with those gooey eyes.' My friend rolled her eyes this time.

'I—' I closed my mouth, trying to compose myself. 'I was merely taking in the music.'

'Well, your boyfriend didn't seem to think so,' Karen said, smirking.

'I don't know…' I trailed off, not sure what to someone who wasn't likely to listen to anything I would say.

'Yes, he did,' Karen said, nodding her head vigorously. Thankfully this time she had her voice lowered.

Even though Michael had left the room with a frown stuck in his face, I wished I could have grilled him some more, especially after hearing Karen's words. I couldn't help but feel a slight vindictive satisfaction watching him squirm.

That should teach him a lesson for reminiscing about his ex like that.

When Joy had finished playing the guitar, I was the first one to clap.

'This is exactly how you should play!' Joy said, rolling his eyes. But he stared at me for a few seconds before I shrugged my shoulders in reply. How could you not clap after such a marvelous performance?

Joy continued to gaze at me for a few more seconds in slight confusion. It didn't feel like anything I'd experienced when Michael stared or looked at me.

It made me shiver and feel strange.

It made me wish I could play my guitar that well. It made me want to play or perform with someone.

Karen looked at me, intrigued and flabbergasted by the direction of my gaze. I'd immediately looked down, thinking of a chance to escape and find Michael. Today's class was getting weirder by the second.

Just then Mofiz's phone rang out loudly. Smiling sheepishly, he went outside and talked for a few seconds, his voice sounding muffled through the glass door.

I'd begun wondering about Michael's whereabouts. Had he gotten too offended by my lack of interest that he'd caught the bus?

Maybe he'd felt too bored and decided to check out the place.

Maybe he'd thought I'd acted too weird when he'd made such a simple confession.

And what was Karen's idea? Could Michael be so jealous after I'd stared at Joy? Did I honestly give the impression that I liked the guy? That was so ridiculous considering the way I'd talked about Joy before. And I'd only stared so earnestly at him because he was such a marvelous guitar player. I couldn't help but be awestruck.

'Alice, can you come outside?' Mofiz called out from the door. I immediately jolted out of my daydream. Joy was now playing another long and complicated piece that sounded so difficult and awe-inspiring I couldn't believe my ears.

How could someone play like that?

'Your dad just called, and apparently there's an emergency!' Mofiz said, sounding worried.

A bloodcurdling chill ran down my spine.

'What happened?' I asked, my voice trembling. What the hell was happening today?

'I don't know…but it's quite an emergency!' Mofiz said, nodding vigorously. 'But it's okay too…'

Mofiz tried altering his expression as he noticed how panic-stricken I was becoming. If it'd been any other situation, I wouldn't have been able to bottle up my giggle.

'Just a quick trip to the hospital, that's all,' Mofiz hastily explained. 'But you should pack your stuffs and leave soon. Don't worry. I won't mark you absent. Just keep on practicing at home and hopefully come prepared for the performance this weekend. I will email you more about the mock performances that will happen before.'

'Okay…' I managed to speak out, feeling extremely broken and frightened. I quickly ran back inside to pack up my stuffs as fast as I could. Joy had finished playing his second piece and was finally going to transfer the spotlight onto someone else.

But his gaze locked onto mine as I took the guitar and left. Trust me, his gaze reeked of mistrust and suspicion. Nothing else, of course. I shouldn't be surprised.

At this point, I didn't care about Michael's whereabouts at all. I'd text him on my way home, explaining the situation. He'd understand why our outing had been ruined.

Maybe after that, someday, we could talk about everything that had occurred today…

But as I started running down the stairs, someone suddenly grabbed my arm and pulled me away.

I looked up in shock to find that I was staring at Michael's face, a smile dancing across his lips.

'Mofiz is pretty easy to convince…' he immediately explained quietly, the smile turning guilty as he put one of his hands across his hair, making it extremely messy and cute. His other hand still remained firm around my arm. 'His number was on a flyer downstairs…'

It took me a few seconds to understand what he'd just done.

'I didn't expect it,' I finally said softly, feeling dazed. I really hadn't expected Michael to do something like that. He always seemed so serious most of the time. He'd even mentioned last night that it was the first time he'd carried out a prank when we'd scared the manager.

I got a sudden rush of delight that he was willing to take me out of class so that I'd be with him. It just felt very random and dare I say it, romantic.

But not crazy enough, the voice inside my head whispered. That wiped the smile straight out of my face.

'Well…there's a first time for everything,' he said softly, looking serious.

He looked at me straight in the eyes; my knees immediately felt weak. I pressed myself closer to the wall behind, mostly to get some support.

'Joy was playing really well,' I blurted out before I could stop myself. I desperately wanted him to get the impression that I had a crush on Joy even though it was such an epic lie. 'I was so mesmerized by him…and his playing. He's incredible.'

Did I seriously say that? Did I seriously ruin what could have been a moment I'd dreamed about?

But the undeniable truth remained. I was still feeling ridiculously hurt to discover that he hadn't done anything crazy whereas I'd done something so extreme that it'd made Alison proud.

I really wanted to throw him off his guard at this point. I wanted to be the person to do it. Not Joy or anyone else.

And Michael indeed looked surprise at my outburst. Surprised and nettled. The frown came back.

I couldn't believe it. Karen was right. Michael was jealous.

'He was pretty good,' he responded shortly.

'You didn't hear the whole part!' I continued incessantly. 'It was…it was mind-blowing.'

'Alice, it was alright but—'

'I swear, he was so incredible,' I gushed, interrupting him. I didn't care if I sounded rude or plain crazy. 'I just wish I can play as well as him.'

'Well, he's been playing way longer. How about you play something for me and I'll decide—'

'I just really wish I can play with him,' I interrupted, clenching my teeth. I didn't know why my voice sounded so broken. 'Maybe form a band. A duet. Or…or a trio with Alison as the flutist. That'd…'

That'd be so weird. That'd be the dumbest thing in the world. That'd be equal to Alison burning his guitar in rage and Joy breaking her flute into million pieces. We'd be the worst trio the world had ever seen.

My expression must have changed from anger to horror because Michael now looked like he was about to burst into laughter at any second.

Seeing this made me want to stamp my feet in frustration.

'I swear…I want to!' I lied, trying to sound incensed and not horrified by my own vision. 'You don't know—'

'Alice, I'd cheer for you even if you play with that weirdo,' Michael interrupted me, sounding serious, even though his eyes gleamed with laughter. 'I'd be right there in the backstage.'

'I don't know what you mean—' I said quietly, almost gasping at his words. My heart had already started beating uncontrollably. Did he really mean it?

'I was there when you played the piano for me that day,' Michael replied seriously, taking my other hand in his and curling his fingers protectively around mine. 'It was… mind-blowing.'

'What?' I said, my voice trembling. I gulped, feeling every part of my body hum with heat.

'I swear. You were so incredible…I...I wish I can play with you. If I knew how to play…but I don't.'

'What—what are you saying?' I said, flabbergasted and surprised at how nervous he sounded too.

Michael opened his mouth but closed it, without saying a word.

We stared at each other for a few seconds in silence.

Until it felt like it was dragging on for too long.

'M-Michael?' I finally breathed out, even though I'd no idea what to say. I could feel both of our loud heartbeats as he stood so near me. I felt engulfed by the heat radiating from our bodies. His hand felt incredibly warm in mine. His eyes were so dark and intense and beautiful; his mouth seemed so kissable. I found myself pulling a bit closer to him.

The next moment was a blur. As if he'd been unable to stop himself, Michael also reached out towards me. But he ended up pressing his lips against mine.

It was so fast that I wasn't prepared for it. At all.

I didn't even remember responding to it. I just felt his lips softly press against mine while I remained paralyzed against the wall, my arms now completely motionless and cold.

I couldn't even breathe.

When he'd finally pulled away, both of us stood near the deserted stairway, looking at each other in shock. Michael touched his head against mine for a split second as he let out a slow, raspy breath.

'Uh…' he stammered out before clearing out his throat. I didn't think he'd any idea what he just did.

I stared at him, feeling the contours of a smile slowly come onto my face. I'd been so close to crying but this one moment—one breathless kiss—had wiped everything away.

'Alice?' Michael asked, staring back at me curiously.

I gave a small smile that seemed to tremble.

'I just didn't…expect this at all,' I said softly, trying my best to sound normal.

Michael smiled back—a really large, reassuring one—possibly at my sudden shyness.

'Neither did I,' he said, agreeing.

'T-there was always a moment before,' I said, wondering whether people made small talk after their first kiss. Or would this count as babbling moronically because I'd begun to feel so excited and nervous?

'Yeah, there was,' Michael replied, agreeing.

'I-I…' I gulped, pretending to stare at the walls opposite him. I was very much out of words. I couldn't digest the fact at all: Michael had just kissed me! I'd just gotten my first ever kiss!

If I were in my room, I'd have blasted music and danced around in sheer happiness till I'd gotten tired and dropped onto my bed with a large smile.

'Okay,' Michael said, making me look up at him. He tenderly pressed my hand that was wound around his. The other hand remained on my arm.

'Um…okay,' I said, wishing my voice wasn't squeaky.

'Okay…what about now?' he finally asked, his eyes flashing and looking immensely dark.

'Okay…' I said. Then I gaped, almost melting on the spot. 'You mean like…right now?'

What was I saying? Shut up already, a voice chanted inside my head.


I guess, he demonstrated it even better since he dipped his head and brought his lips onto mine again. This time, the motion was slower since we both knew exactly what was going to happen.

It was the headiest feeling ever as he kissed me. His lips felt so soft and warm as he brushed and pressed them against mine. He held onto my lower lip for a few seconds till every part of my body felt like mush. I pressed my lips onto his, trying to memorize the way his felt. Trying to make sure that I was responding and matching his movements.

I clutched his hand almost feverishly as his lips moved slowly across mine. It was so tantalizing and amazing; my entire body hummed with heat and incredible excitement.

Michael's other hand, which had been holding my arm, slowly came around my waist in the heat of the moment. I found my body pressing closer to his; my free arm moved up to his shoulder and curled around his neck. We were almost enveloped in a searing hug. My knees trembled violently at the excitement of it all.

This was honestly the best feeling I'd ever experienced.

I didn't know how long we'd stood there kissing but suddenly I could hear footsteps.

'I-I think someone is coming,' I whispered, gasping. I started to feel embarrassed as we slowly broke apart. My lips were trembling as we stood there motionless, our hands still holding each others' as if we were never going to let go.

I'd never been more aware of his arm around my waist. At that moment, I didn't want to jump away either. I'd want to stay in this position for a long, long time.

'Well, do you want to get on the bus?' he asked, looking dazed. His breath was coming out in pants; it felt gratifying to realize that the kiss meant as much to him as to me.

'There's a deserted auditorium…' I couldn't help saying, much to my astonishment. A month ago, I'd never thought I'd have such an incredible presence of mind.

'Sounds great,' Michael said quietly but he didn't move. His hand moved up to brush the hair from my cheeks as he laid it gently on my face.

Until we heard the sound of footsteps again and I scuttled out quickly, grabbing his arm, trying to hide in my giggle as we headed off to find the deserted auditorium.

Where I felt that we'd certainly waste no time since nobody was likely to interrupt us at all. We could actually make out in the darkness as long as we'd like.

Author's Note:

So the kiss finally happened. Like after so long. Whaaaat?

(Actually I didn't plan on making the characters kiss at this point. It sort of happened. I feel like fictional characters sometimes have minds of their own. It's so awesome XD)

Anyway, hello, there! Thank you so much for the reviews XD I would appreciate it if more people review the chapters because it really encourages me to update faster and work harder on them. I'd never thought of finishing it by this year, considering the rate I'd started in January, but now I feel that the scenes are solidifying. Thanks to you, guys, for the support!

Of course, let me know your thoughts about anything. What do you think of the last scene? How do you feel the story is going? All of your words matter immensely to me.

Honestyfirst: I hope this chapter makes up for it XD! Hahaha I'm so happy you like him so much. Wish I could have what Alice and Michael have. Oh well…:/ haha Michael was inspired by an actual guy that I'd seen at a bus and at a furniture shop (two scenes that really inspired the older chapters), but nothing ever came out of it. Well. Anyways, no worries! The next chapters should be up soon XD

Dear-llama: I just really wanted to bring out how depressing it could be to realize that someone you like may still be harboring older affections…my friend and I were joking about unrequited love and I just had to include some aspects of it in this story at least once. Haha I'm a master of subtlety when it comes to real life lol hence why my characters are like that. The British accent is just an old favorite of mine (I have crushes on so many British celebrities)…if my ideal guy has that, it's a bonus :P XD haha hope you like this chapter! Woo-hoo. The kiss happened…like finally!