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Gorgeous Geek Chapter 9: Hot-Tempered and Serious

Chapter 9: Hot-Tempered and Serious

If it isn't Shortie. There were a lot of things Rin hated in this world and one of them at the moment was Jezebelle Phoebe Tilly or Fi for short. For someone like Rin who preferred jeans over miniskirts and sweaters over spaghetti straps, she despised Jezebelle's appearance a lot. Jezebelle appeared to not care how much attention she attracted out of the idiotic half of the human species as long as she did not have to return their affections. Seriously, Rin swore that men only cared about a woman's physical attributes more than anything else. Who cared if they had a brain or not? Personality? Forget that! Jezebelle was everything boys wanted- a hot body, a pretty face, and sparkling brown hair. And for those very reasons, Rin and Tiffany hated her. That's not my name, said Rin, rolling her eyes at Jezebelle, who smirked. My name is Rin Hamada, you bitch. All by yourself again? asked Jezebelle teasingly. She winked at Wendy, who was by her side. What happen to Giant? Or cuddle bear? Cuddle bear? asked Rin in disbelief. His name is Jin for your information. Does it matter? asked Jezebelle, surprised. He's my man slave. Jin's not your slave, said Rin, growing angrier by the minute. He's a human being like you and I. If you want a slave so badly, go back in time when they still allow it. So bitter, said Jezebelle with a cruel smile. Did you get dumped or something? No, said Rin, huffing. How did she run into Jezebelle on her way to fourth period? Why won't you leave Jin alone? He only obeys you because you're the girlfriend his parents forced upon him! I'm sure that once your father comes back for you, he will never want to see your face again. Are you sure about that? asked Jezebelle in a daring tone. Actually, said Rin bitterly. He might be too damn nice. No shit, said Jezebelle, laughing and hugging herself to Wendy, who laughed as well. I get it, Shortie. You don't want me to enslave your secret crush anymore right? I don't like Jin that way, said Rin fiercely, hugging her books tightly. Sure, you don't, said Jezebelle, waving it off. Fine. I'll make you a deal. Like I'll trust you with any sort of deal, said Rin, narrowing her eyes considerably. True, said Jezebelle, thinking. I wouldn't trust myself either. Hey, Leader, said Wendy, edging closer to Jezebelle. I'm here. I'll be witness. Rin Hamada, you can trust me. I'll make sure Jesse here holds on her end of the deal. If it were the old Wendy, said Rin, lifting a brow. I might. However... I am the daughter of a cop, said Wendy quickly, grinning at Rin. You can trust me, even if I'm with this whore. Shut up bitch, said Jezebelle, slapping Wendy against the arm playfully. Okay, said Rin at last. Go on Miss Jezebelle. What's your deal? Let me think of it first, said Jezebelle, sticking her bottom lip out. You want to make me a deal, said Rin, glaring. And you haven't even thought about it? What the heck? Oh, I got it, said Wendy, lowering her head slightly and whispering into Jezebelle's ear about something. A devious smirk played on Jezebelle's lips now. How about it, Leader? It's quite a deal right?

I love you, Willis, said Jezebelle, winking at the co-leader of her group. I know you do, said Wendy, laughing. Lesbians, said Rin under her breath. Listen here, Shortie, said Jezebelle, smiling widely at Rin. You want me to stop bossing my boyfriend around? Steal him from me then. It's quite simple actually. You have known him for how many years now? Shouldn't he care about your opinion more than mine? Even if I get him to break up with you, said Rin slowly. He won't. He's too nice. You don't have to get him to break up with me, said Jezebelle with wide eyes. I sense danger, said Rin, scanning Jezebelle suspiciously. If you manage to kiss him, said Jezebelle slowly with sparkling eyes. I can break up with him and arrange to live somewhere else. Seriously? asked Rin in disbelief. I can live with Willis here, said Jezebelle, placing her head against Wendy's arm. How about it? One kiss and I'll leave him alone. No hard feelings or anything either since we've only been together for three days. I'll... consider it. Oh, look at the time, said Jezebelle, glancing at the time on Rin's watch. Rin always wore a watch to school. Shouldn't you be moving now, dear? You are Miss Perfectionist after all. I hate to make you get a tardy so early in the school year. Go to hell, bitch, said Rin, moving past Jezebelle and Wendy and running to her next class in a hurry. As for Jezebelle and Wendy, they were close enough to their classroom not to rush themselves. Jezebelle watched Rin left with a frown on her face. Her partner rested her arm on Jezebelle's shoulder and smirked. Why do you look so worried, Leader? asked Wendy, almost mockingly. She won't kiss him, would she? asked Jezebelle, a bit uncertain. I've been in this school longer than you, said Wendy confidently, nodding. Chances of Rin Hamada kissing Jin Song are close to none. Heck, she'll kiss Bo Sungwoo before she kisses Jin and that's saying something. I'll kiss anybody, said Jezebelle, shrugging. It's just a kiss right. I don't think Rin Hamada had her first kiss yet, said Wendy, frowning. And knowing her, she will never kiss Jin no matter what. You don't kiss your best friend, that's not right. That's like saying I will never kiss you, said Jezebelle, amused. Do you want to kiss me? asked Wendy, leaning toward Jezebelle. If your plan works, fuck yes, said Jezebelle, laughing in her usual manner. Just warning you, said Wendy, linking her arm with Jezebelle. I've kissed Jordan before. You probably don't want to go there. Are you kidding me? asked Jezebelle, gasping. Are you sure that's the only place Jordan's kissed you before? Fuck you, bitch, said Wendy, releasing her hold on Jezebelle. Chill, girl, said Jezebelle, forcing Wendy into linking arms again. Let's enter the classroom already. This hallway smells like shit. For sure. At the time, Wendy and Jezebelle had no idea what they forced Rin into. During fourth period, Rin had a hard time concentrating on her class when she thought about the deal she made with Jezebelle. There was something wrong about it. Usually, deals were made so that one side would win and one side would lose. In this case, it did not seem that Jezebelle would get anything out of it. Why would she make such a deal? During lunchtime, Rin found herself unable to face Bo or Jin so she stayed inside a classroom and called someone instead. While she waited, she anxiously glanced about her

to make sure no one was watching. At last, the other person on the other line picked up. Hello? Hello Tiffany, said Rin softly, hugging herself on top of the desk. How are you? Still in bed, said Tiffany in a low tone. That nasty cold has been affecting quite a number of students, said Rin, coming up with three names off the top of her head. Rin Hamada, said Tiffany in a solemn tone. Is this about Jin? When it comes to Jin, said Rin slowly, keeping her eyes to the wall. I can only trust you with information since we both have known Jin longer than anyone else. And I know Bo will spread things for fun, just for laughs. What's wrong? asked Tiffany worriedly. Jin's girlfriend- Yes, I know the bitch, said Tiffany, impatient. What did she do this time? She made a deal with me, said Rin, adjusting the watch around her wrist impatiently. She said that she'll never boss Jin around again if... If? If I kiss him, said Rin, shaking slightly at the idea. What should I do? Jin has never kissed a girl before, said Tiffany, thinking back. It'll be his first kiss. Isn't it your first kiss as well? Actually, said Rin, blushing. No, never mind. You had your first kiss before? asked Tiffany, raising her voice incredulously. Maybe, said Rin, thinking about Kristian kissing her quickly earlier. It doesn't matter anyway. What should I do, Tiffany? Even though I don't want Jin to have his first kiss already, said Tiffany, hesitating. It's better with you than with her at least. The thing is, said Rin, hugging her knees closer to her chest and hiding her head against them. I am very uncomfortable about this. Do you have feelings for Jin, Rin Hamada? asked Tiffany with anxiety in her voice. No, no, said Rin, shaking her head. I don't like Jin in that matter. That's what bugging me so much. I can't see myself marrying Jin... kissing him... sleeping... with him... it's all out of the question. I've known him back when he used to have trouble taking a bath by himself. I did not need to know that, said Tiffany, blushing on her end. Sorry, said Rin quickly. I've just known Jin for way too long to have such feelings toward him. It's like... having a crush on your brother. That's icky. Agreed, said Rin with a heavy sigh. That's why I can't do it. We agreed to protect Jin right? asked Tiffany, determined. Wouldn't this solve everything? We wouldn't have to worry about that Jezebelle anymore. I know, said Rin fiercely, cutting Tiffany off before she could lecture any further. I really want to kiss Jin and stop her from using him but I can't. That's what's tearing me apart right now. If he weren't Jin... if he were anyone else... then maybe... maybe... Rin Hamada, listen to yourself, said Tiffany suddenly. You are doubting yourself. Ask yourself this question- what is Jin to you? Jin is... said Rin, thinking hard. She closed her eyes and spoke softly. Jin is the most important person to me besides my mother. Exactly, said Tiffany, urging Rin on. Shouldn't you sacrifice a little to protect him like we agreed upon? You protect him in school while I protect him at home? Tiffany, I think I know why I am hesitating so much, said Rin, widening her eyes. And that is?

Jin is the most important person to me, said Rin, shaking slightly. But I don't know if I'm the most important person to him anymore. For the past few days, I feel like I've been replaced by Jezebelle. That's not possible, said Tiffany, defending Rin immediately. I have this feeling, said Rin, frowning. That he doesn't care about me anymore. You are over-analyzing everything like always, Rin Hamada, said Tiffany quickly. Of course he cares about you. You're his best friend after all, right? I have to make sure, said Rin, standing up now and curling her other hand into a fist. I'll ask him myself. I want to know what I mean to him. Is kissing him worth it? Should I be protecting him at all if he doesn't care about me anymore? Rin Hamada, stop it! You are doubting your friendship by asking these questions! That's how I work, said Rin, almost shouting. Tiffany did not say anything. I'm not good at making assumptions. I'm not good at understanding how someone feels about me. I need that person to tell me loud and clear- to lay the facts before me before I can believe it. That's just how I am, Tiffany. Thanks for listening to me. I'll talk to you later. Wait Rin- What does Jin mean to me? asked Rin out loud after hanging up on Tiffany. I know the answer very well. He's the person who has always been there for me, like a brother. But what do I mean to him? Am I just another classmate? Another friend? I need to know. I must hear the answer from his own lips. Yo Hamada-sama, said Bo, greeting her immediately when she tried to escape the classroom. He glanced once at her face before he said. Did I miss something? Where's Jin? asked Rin, impatient. I knew you would ask for him, said Bo, rubbing his chin and grinning. Because nowadays, all you do is ask for him. You should have stopped by our usual place during nutrition since he came today with his new game and everything. Bo, said Rin, grabbing a hold of Bo's shirt since she was not tall enough for his collar. Stop stalling. Where's Jin? Is he with Jezebelle? If my memory serves me correctly, said Bo, pointing in the direction toward the basketball courts. He told me he was heading for the tennis courts during lunch. Why? asked Rin, surprised. Is he starting to practice for tennis? Actually, said Bo, following Rin's side as the two of them went in that direction. The Femme Fatales or Fi's group hangs out there during lunch or so I heard. It's always Jezebelle, said Rin, annoyed. Always. You can't blame the guy if he wants to hang out with his girlfriend, said Bo quickly. Are you on his side or my side? asked Rin, whirling on Bo. Yours, said Bo, lowering his eyelids considerably. Hamada-sama, you have an obsession with Jin, don't you? What? asked Rin, glaring. I do not! Let him be, said Bo, placing a firm hand on Rin's shoulder and grinning down at her. When Jin buys himself a new video game, he uses so much time on it that he rarely talks to us. It's the same now, yes? But this isn't a video game, said Rin stubbornly. Jezebelle is a person. You'll be less stressed if you think of Fi as a phrase in Jin's life, said Bo calmly, still continuing the walk with her nevertheless. He's helping her adjust to a new school like a nice boyfriend. Give it a week or two and he'll return to our side as JinRinBo. How can you guarantee that, Bo? asked Rin in a deep, hurt voice. I have to ask him for sure. I can't assume things. What if it's too late for him to turn back? If that is your decision, said Bo, nodding his head. I'll stay by you to the end. If only Jin can be more like you...

Hamada-sama, thought Bo to himself, watching her take a few steps ahead of him. How long will this cycle continue? Jin wants to protect Fi. You want to protect Jin. I want to protect you. Am I selfish to ask who will protect me? ************************************ Lolita! The freshman girl with fuzzy, light brown hair beamed at the sight of her adopted older brother running towards the tennis courts' fence. She waved at him and called Oniichan a couple of times when she froze at the sound of a fast tennis ball whizzing past the side of her head. Spring! cried Jezebelle with indignation in her eyes. Pay attention! Oy, said Xuan Lan, shaking slightly at the tennis ball that almost hit her head. I'm sorry, Jesse! I'll pay attention now! Hey Jin Song, said Wendy with a playful smile the minute Jin arrived next to her. Have you been kissed lately? I never kissed a girl before, said Jin, confused. Hello Jin... said Juliet, flushing bright red and glancing away. Hey Juliet, said Jin, beaming at the two girls. Lolita's back. Why not... said Juliet, widening her eyes slightly. Oh nothing, said Jin quickly, remembering how Juliet had no idea what happened yesterday afternoon. I need to speak with Lolita. Fi! What do you want, honey mustard? asked Jezebelle, serving the ball right at Xuan Lan. Instead of hitting it back, Xuan Lan jumped and ducked, surviving the fast serve. Get up you baby! How are you going to make the Varsity team at this rate? Oy... said Xuan Lan, shaking on the ground. I wouldn't enter there if I were you, said Wendy, warning Jin, who was trying to unlock the gate and enter inside to save Xuan Lan. It's like a torture chamber. If you value your life, you should stay away. But Lolita- She'll be fine, said Wendy, laughing loudly and clicking her tongue. She's used to it I think. If you enter there now, Jesse will be so mad that she'll smack Spring with the racket if necessary. Yeah, said Jin, closing the gate. You're right Wendy. Call me Willis, said Wendy, edging against Jin, who paled considerably. Juliet was watching with wide eyes and blushing cheeks at the two. So Mister Jin Song has virgin lips eh? How awesome is that? Wendy? asked Jin, flushing bright red. I like kissing, don't you? asked Wendy with a wicked glint in her eyes. Wendy, we shouldn't- Bitch, said Jezebelle, grabbing a hold of Wendy's collar and dragging her backwards. Jin gaped at how fast Jezebelle was by their side. It's an offense to steal your best friend's boyfriend, you know that? See Jin Song? asked Wendy, laughing now. She's a jealous whore over you. Really? asked Jin with sparkling eyes at Jezebelle. Don't listen to her, said Jezebelle, releasing her hold on Wendy and smirking. Like I'll ever get jealous over a pitiful slave. Oh... said Jin, a bit disappointed. Onii-chan! cried Xuan Lan, running over and jumping into Jin's arms. Good afternoon to you, Onii-chan! Lolita, said Jin, almost tearfully. You're back and safe! Why wouldn't I be? asked Xuan Lan, cocking her head to the side.

Yeah, why shouldn't she be? asked Jezebelle, amused now. You were taken away by Alejandro the other day, said Jin, uncertain of his memory now at the sight of a normal Xuan Lan in front of him. Alejandro needed my help to calculate the football team's expenses, said Xuan Lan, thinking back with a frown. I am sort of team manager for the football team... You knew about this didn't you? asked Jin at Jezebelle, who was laughing her ass off at him. You dork, said Jezebelle, removing Xuan Lan from Jin and rubbing her on the head. That morning, I saw Spring surrounded by the football players. I saw her interacting with the Beast like they were good friends. Of course, I didn't know he was Alejandro until later when he came to the tennis courts. So why didn't you tell me? asked Jin, upset. And lose an opportunity to see your drama queen side? asked Jezebelle, smirking. Again, said Wendy, sitting back down next to Juliet. Are you two really going out? Do you two even know anything about each other at all? He plays video games and reads graphic novels, said Jezebelle, pointing at Jin. As for Fi, said Jin, digging up the gray kitty from his backpack and handing it to Xuan Lan much to her delight. She likes to eat healthy by following the triangle food chart, takes care of her skin with her infinite skin care products, owns a hundred hats at least, checks how much she weighs every time she takes a bath, stores all her makeup supply in this huge black bag, wears red and black for most of her clothing, owns a pet turtle and teddy bear named after herself, despises manual labor, likes to watch football and basketball on television as well as reality shows, hates to use the hairdryer because it damages her hair, believes that men and women should have equal rights, bites people to thank them, leaves her shoes out next to the door when she gets home, drives like a drunk, wears extremely frilly underwear, dislikes old people, sleeps without wearing any- Ashoo! I'm surprised Jesse hasn't stopped you yet, Onii-chan, said Xuan Lan with wide eyes, hugging her gray kitten. Oh wait. Both Xuan Lan and Jin finally noticed that Wendy and Juliet were both holding Jezebelle back from tackling Jin and probably hurting him with scratches and punches. The reason why she didn't say a thing was because Wendy had her hands over Jezebelle's lips. Jin smiled weakly and backed away from Jezebelle until Wendy spoke into her ear to calm her down. At the sight of Jezebelle relaxing, Jin gave Wendy one grateful look. I can see how much of a one-sided relationship this is, said Wendy with a fine lift of her brow. I can also tell who is trying harder to make this relationship work. You don't know anything, Willis, said Jezebelle through gritted teeth. And of course, he has to know everything about me. He's my man slave. Though, Jezebelle glared at Jin who hid behind the tiny Xuan Lan. You shouldn't have listed them all! Keep them in your dirty head you idiot! Sorry, said Jin, scratching his head and reddening slightly. I got carried away... Jin! Oh no, said Jin, recognizing the voice. It's Rin-chan. Turning around quickly with a bright smile on his face, Jin waved at his best friend making her way over with Bo. Hey Rin-chan! What's up? Who is more important to you? asked Rin, pointing her finger at Jezebelle, who narrowed her eyes slightly. Me or that bitch? Oh, Hamada-sama, said Bo with a shake of his head. Is that how you will go about this? You should not ask such a vague question. Both of you are important to me, said Jin, lost. See? asked Bo, grinning and wrapping an arm across Jin's shoulder. Jin here is not

as stupid as he looks. He can give you answers like that to leave you both satisfied. Whose side are you on anyway? asked Jin, tossing Bo an accusing look. Hamada-sama of course! said Bo, feigning complete surprise. You are such an awesome friend, Bo, said Jin with a deep sigh. Indeed, said Bo, widening his grin. What should I ask then? asked Rin at Bo, a bit anxious. Obviously, you have to ask in such a manner that he has to pick one or the other, said Bo with a firm nod. For example, if both Fi and you were both stuck in burning houses on opposite sides of the street, who would he save first? You know that saying about adding oil to fire? asked Wendy to Bo. Oh yes, said Bo, flashing his white teeth at her. It's one of my favorite sayings. I thought so, said Wendy with a smirk. You're absolutely right, Bo, said Rin, pulling Jin down to her height. Who would you save Jin? Who is more important to you then? Why are you asking me this? asked Jin, groaning. Answer me! cried Rin, shaking him. I'll save Fi of course, said Jin, blinking blankly. I knew it, said Rin, releasing him and whirling on her heels. Let's go Bo. Did I say something wrong? Why is Rin-chan still angry? asked Jin to Jezebelle who was staring at him wide-eyed. And what's the matter with you? Really, said Jezebelle, leaning toward Jin with an accusing look. If I were in a burning building, you would save me first? Yeah... I'm not that helpless, sweet potato, said Jezebelle, irked. However, she quickly bit his earlobe before she grabbed Xuan Lan's arm. Jin blushed softly. We can't waste any more lunch time. You need to practice your forehand, young lady. By the time Jin whirled around to search for his two friends, they had already left a while ago. Frowning, Jin did not understand and sit down next to Juliet. Wendy took her spot on his other side and frowned at him after Xuan Lan and Jezebelle went back into the torture chamber. You do know you might have lost your best friend right? asked Wendy suddenly. What? asked Jin, lifting his eyes from the PSP that just turned on in his hands. What do you mean by that Wen- I mean Willis? Oh man, said Wendy, leaning back and shaking her head. You know... being honest isn't always a good thing. You should have told Rin Hamada that you would save her first because I'm pretty certain Jesse wouldn't mind. In other words, said Jin with a frown now. Rin-chan must be really mad at me... No duh, Einstein, said Wendy, sighing. I knew Jesse and I shouldn't have provoked her earlier... You and Fi provoked Rin-chan? asked Jin with wide eyes. We were messing around, said Wendy with an innocent shrug. I'm pretty sure Jesse enjoyed it a lot more than I did but yeah. Rin Hamada did not take us taunting her quite well. She really cares about you, Jin Song. She might even have feelings for you. That's impossible, said Jin with no doubt in his voice. We're like siblings. That's what I figure, said Wendy, watching Xuan Lan accidentally sent the ball over the fence along with her song. I'm almost certain she's jealous of you and Jesse though. Even if it's not romantic feelings between a man and a woman, it's not uncommon for a younger sister to hate a sister-in-law and vice versa. I guess you can say it's always hard to deal with the male's attention being divided up among many. Now, you tell me, said Jin, closing his PSP. Still, I know Rin-chan well enough and

I'm certain she will forget it by tomorrow. She doesn't stay mad for long. If you're sure, said Wendy, standing up and removing a black wallet from her backpack. I'm getting a water bottle from the vending machine. I'll do it, said Jin, accepting her wallet and jumping off the bench. I need time to myself to think things through. What a nice fellow, said Wendy, watching Jin ran toward the closest vending machine with his hand firmly around her wallet. I wonder what he will do about Rin Hamada at this rate... When Jin left the area, Jezebelle immediately noticed and turned to Xuan Lan, who was practicing her serves right now. Jezebelle watched her serve the ball out of the court multiple times before Jezebelle stopped her and moved in closer to the younger girl. What is your relationship with Alejandro anyway? asked Jezebelle curiously. That's a secret, Jesse, said Xuan Lan brightly. It seems like you two are friends at least, said Jezebelle, smirking now. You don't happen to see Alejandro often do you? I see him in the morning and after school once at least, said Xuan Lan, blinking innocently. Do you need to talk to him, Jesse? Rumors have it that he and Shiratori had a talk this morning, said Jezebelle, pretending to be apathetic to the situation overall. Who's Shiratori? asked Xuan Lan with wide eyes. It doesn't matter, said Jezebelle, waving it off quickly. I want to know what they talked about this morning. May you please find out for me Spring? Jezebelle hugged Xuan Lan to her and petted her on the head. It's really important to me. If it's important to you, Jesse, said Xuan Lan, readying her racket. I'll do whatever it takes to help you! Good girl, said Jezebelle with a devious smirk. Leaving the tennis courts area, Rin Hamada glanced back once and noticed that Jin did not chase after her. Defeated, Rin took tiny steps next to Bo, who did not say a word. Quietly, Rin told Bo that she needed alone time to herself. As understanding and calm as ever, Bo simply grinned at her and left without another word. Rin hugged herself and checked the time around her wrist to find that she had less than ten minutes until fifth period started. For once, she was not looking forward to class. Jin was in the same fifth period as her and she did not like that. Unfortunately for her, she had to run into Edwin and other members of his violin section near the band room. Edwin and his section was heavily devoted to orchestra so they usually played during lunch every day. Now and again, they would practice after school too. Even though Rin practiced her sax, she was not as consistent as them. Of course, at the sight of her, Edwin had to say something. Hey Rin, said Edwin with a playful smirk. I found three pianists already. Why do you keep talking to me? asked Rin angrily, glaring at Edwin, who blinked in surprise at her bad mood. There are a lot of other girls who envy your musical talents. You're a musical genius and everyone knows it, Edwin. You have a lot of fans from your second violin section and bass section. Bother them instead! I knew it, said Edwin, unaffected by her words. He leaned against the nearest wall suggestively. Rin Hamada couldn't find a single pianist. I told you so didn't I? No one likes you because you're arrogant. You think you're so smart and look down on people. It's the same with you and your stupid violin, said Rin in retort, walking away. You think you're the best and you tell people off when they hit one single, damn wrong note. What makes you think you're God huh? I'm in no mood for you today Edwin. Sorry about that guys, said Edwin to the other member of his section. I like to

tease her because she's really serious about her values and such. What does she have against you? asked one of the girls of his section. Beats me, said Edwin, shrugging. She calls me a jerk. She has no heart anyway. When a boy like says a girl has no heart, said a gorgeous Caucasian girl with long, wavy hair. She was leaving the band room with her music folder under her arm. It is almost guaranteed that she has his. Don't be silly, Bailey Bambridge, said Edwin, beaming at the former member of the Populars. Stick to your Hispanic Joseph Cruz. Edwin Gilliam and Rin Hamada eh? asked Bailey with a teasing twinkle in her dark eyes. She twirled a rubber band around her finger. Maybe you should like confess before it's too late, am I right? Me liking Rin Hamada? asked Edwin, laughing loudly. As if! Denial, said the rest of his section. During fifth period, Rin was resolute in ignoring Jin. It did not take much though since he was too busy playing with his PSP under his desk while the teacher was giving a long lecture. In the back, Rin noticed that Jordan had already fallen asleep, though surprisingly with a couple of bruises along his arm. Was Jordan stalking Jin or something? They both switched to AP English Language at the same time. Before the bell rings, said Mrs. Meyerson, picking up a stack of papers. She was a tall, white-haired woman in her late fifties that had red-rimmed glasses. Unlike most of the teachers, she was always dressed in a formal manner. I must pass out the essays from yesterday. Even though I gave a letter grade on them, I did not record the grades. Then, what's the point? asked Kristian loudly from the back, smirking. He's the same like always, said Rin under her breath. Though for one reason or another, I am not as furious as before at his interruption. I wanted to see the writing level everyone's at, that's all, said Mrs. Meyerson calmly, walking down the first aisle and passing out the papers faced down. So, said Kristian throwing his legs on top of his desk. I can throw mine away since it doesn't matter anyway? Mrs. Meyerson did not say anything. Kristian's smirk widened. Thank you for your permission, Mrs. M. I appreciate it. Since you are optimistic about your grade Kristian, said Mrs. Meyerson, checking through the papers and taking one out. Rin was surprised at how yellow his paper were. They were definitely recycled paper. How about I read yours out loud? I don't mind, said Kristian, shrugging. Let's hear it! Are you trying hard to be a delinquent Kristian? asked Mrs. Meyerson, waving his paper in the air. Because you are not very good at it. The Asian girls leaned forward to look at his grade since almost all of them had a crush on him. Rin merely glanced at the paper since she was curious and gaped at the definite, red 'A' on his paper. Although both her and the girls took it quite well, Kristian did not. He stood up, grabbed the paper from her, and threw it in the nearest trash can. You are very rude, Kristian, said Mrs. Meyerson, pointing at the detention slips with his names already written on them. Pick a color. Your choice. How considerate of you, said Kristian, tossing her a smile. Thanks Mrs. M. When Kristian passed by Rin, she held her arm out to stop him in his tracks. Usually, he would ignore her and move on or make a funny remark. However, this time, he stopped and looked down at her with questioning eyes. You shouldn't do that, said Rin softly, hiding her A- paper under her binder. I told you before. You shouldn't think so lowly of your intelligence. You don't know how lucky you are, Kristian. When is this Jazz Band tryout? asked Kristian suddenly.

Today and tomorrow during sixth period and after school, said Rin with wide eyes. I have detention after school, said Kristian, petting her on the head. But sixth period is fine. That is my free T.A period anyway. See you then, Rin-chan. Y-You'll tryout? asked Rin in complete surprise. Of course, girlfriend, said Kristian, winking at her. We'll talk in five minutes. But I didn't agree- By this time, Kristian had already went back to his seat at the end of her row and started showing off his detention slip to Cory and then Jordan. She heard a quick cough to the seat next to hers. Jin was staring straight at her with serious eyes. Even though Rin tried to ignore his eyes, she could not ignore his words. Why did Kristian call you his girlfriend? asked Jin, concerned. Why do you sound so surprised? asked Rin in retort with hardened eyes. Maybe because you hated him for the past two years? asked Jin, blinking blankly. As far as I know, said Rin, wrapping her arms in front of her arms. You don't like girls. You're not interested in real life girls and look where we are now. You have a girlfriend before me and she's a lot more important than I am. About that- I don't want to hear excuses, said Rin, narrowing her eyes dangerously at him. I heard your honest answer loud and clear. I understand that Jezebelle is prettier than me... probably smarter than me... and definitely has a lot more experience than me... but nevertheless... Rin felt tears emerging from her eyes. Nevertheless, you are my best friend. I would have expected you to support me to the very end. Not Bo. Not Kristian. It's a misunderstanding, said Jin quickly, frowning. Let me explain my answer better- There's no need to, said Rin, cutting him off. She felt her body tremble. You have already made your decision and I already made mine. If you can get yourself a girlfriend, I can get myself a boyfriend too. I am not going to sit around and sulk about you. Rin-chan- The bell rung. Rin shot up to her feet and left the classroom before Jin could catch up to her. Her whole body shook further the minute she was in the hallway of the building. She said such awful words to Jin and somewhere deep inside, she definitely regretted it. However, Rin told herself to remain strong. If she showed any sign of weakness in front of Jin, he would not take her seriously. This time, she was going to stay mad at him for sure. Unlike before, she was not going to forgive him after one day. Jin was probably counting on that and she was not falling for it. Rin-chan, said Kristian, calling her name and coming up to her. Jin was right behind him. What's with you? You look like you're about to cry- Unable to suppress her emotions, Rin hugged Kristian in front of Jin, who was shocked at the realization that Kristian and her might actually be going out. Before Jin could protest against this, Jordan went up to Jin and started talking and blocking his way to Kristian and Rin. At this chance, Rin grabbed a hold of Kristian's arm and left with him. When Jin finally escaped Jordan for a second, he had already lost sight of his best friend. Are you and Jin fighting? asked Kristian, frowning at Rin. Something like that, said Rin in a low tone. You two can't be fighting, said Kristian, slightly disturbed. I mean you two are Rin and Jin. You're only one letter apart in your first name! Very funny, said Rin sarcastically. If you two are fighting because of Jezebelle, said Kristian, lifting a brow. It's not worth it. She's probably laughing at you right now. Kristian, said Rin in a deadly, cold tone. Why did you ask me out?

I don't know, said Kristian, avoiding her question. You do know, said Rin, lifting her serious eyes at him. You may seem like you don't care about anything but you think before you act or say something. I know that at least. Be honest with me. Why did you ask me out? Answer me, Kristian. It's because you sound like you have such a nice family, said Kristian suddenly, glancing away. Rin's eyes widened dramatically. For me, I rather stay in school than go home. I hate my house and I despise my cousin Jinx. But for you, you seem to really love your family and your home. I do, said Rin, lowering her eyes to the ground now. I like coming home every day and talking to my mother during dinnertime. Mother and I are very close. That's exactly what I mean, said Kristian, smiling and grabbing her hand all of a sudden. Rin jerked slightly at the warm touch. You are a very serious, ethical girl. You can't possibly come from a bad family. Too bad high school boys don't like serious, ethical girls, said Rin under her breath. Who says? asked Kristian, gawking at her now. Rin's eyes widened in shock at how serious he sounded. You're so wrong, Rin-chan. It's not even funny how wrong you are. Explain yourself, Kristian, said Rin, almost afraid of his answer. So what if you never had a boyfriend before, said Kristian, gazing intently at her. So what if you're still a virgin. What's so great about a girl with multiple boyfriends anyway? What's so great about a girl who sleeps around anyway? You know what we call them- we call them whores. Bitches. Sluts. Boys always prefer them anyway, said Rin with a defeated voice. Like Jin for example. Why do I even try in the first place? Boys do prefer them, said Kristian, stopping next to the band room along with Rin. She dropped her head at this but Kristian lifted it up slightly. For benefits only. Boys enjoy easy girls. They like those types of girls because they can make out with them. They never really like them for real. Love is definitely out of the question. They always prefer girls like yourself, Rin-chan. You're lying, said Rin, wrapping her arms in front of her chest and lowering her head slightly. No one likes me. You only look at what's there in front of you, Rin-chan, said Kristian, shrugging. I can think of at least four guys off the top of my head who probably have a thing for you. Who? asked Rin, shaking him. I can't tell you that, said Kristian, smirking. There's no fun in telling you is there? It's not that I trust you anyway, said Rin quickly, releasing her hold on him. You should now, said Kristian, licking his lips. You know it's not easy asking someone who has been hating on me for the past few year. I misunderstood you, said Rin regrettably. Sorry about that. No harm done, said Kristian, laughing slightly. I didn't hate you back so it's okay. Your hate was always one-sided. Ah, said Rin, a bit speechless. Now, I feel like the ignorant one. Anyways, said Kristian, cracking his fingers. Right now, the chances of me getting into Jazz Band is around 80% but someone were to encourage me- Before Kristian could get away with stealing a second kiss from Rin, he heard a cough behind him. Kristian stopped and whirled around, smiling innocently at Edwin who was in front of two girls and one boy. Rin blinked in surprise at Edwin since he was obviously upset at her or at least more than usual. Hey Kristian, said Edwin, completely ignoring Rin. What's up? Oh, you're in Jazz Band too? asked Kristian, smirking. How interesting. I believe your class is that way, said Edwin, pointing the other direction.

Oh no, said Kristian, widening his playful smirk. I'm here to tryout. You? asked Edwin. He had to hold the urge to laugh out loud. No offense to you Kristian since I love you in class and everything. Everyone loves you for your rebellious nature but this is Jazz Band, not a boring class. I don't want you fooling around during tryouts. I hope you understand. I know Jazz Band and Orchestra are your passion, Edwin, said Kristian, laying his arm on Rin's shoulder smugly. But since my girlfriend here asks me to tryout, I think I should give it a try don't you? You going out with Rin? asked Edwin, bursting out laughing. Rin glared at him. That's a nice one, Kristian. Do you pity her or something? Why would you let your reputation take a plummet like that by going out with her? You know what Edwin? asked Rin, ready to argue with Edwin when Kristian clapped a hand over her mouth. Let. Me. At. Him. Hush Rin-chan, said Kristian, moving up to Edwin. On the contrary Edwin, I believe that if Rin-chan goes out with me, her reputation will take a leap. Mine is too fabulous to take a plummet now. Jealousy is such a a cruel emotion isn't it Edwin? I am not jealous, said Edwin, scowling. Let's head inside, Rin-chan, said Kristian, urging her toward the building. Once inside, Kristian gaped at the line of students trying out for other positions as well. I wonder where the line is for the piano... Kristian, said Rin suddenly, gaining his complete attention. Why did you change your mind and decide to tryout anyway? I thought about it and, said Kristian, licking his lips. If I can get to school earlier, I don't have to deal with Jinx bothering me in the morning. The less time I spend at home the better. That's it. That's my only motivation. I see, said Rin, a bit disappointed for some reason. Oh, said Kristian, noticing her face. He lifted her chin slightly. What other motivation did you have in mind, Rin-chan? It's Kristian! shrieked the hordes of Asian girls trying out for the piano part. Oh, hey there, said Kristian, waving back at them. In a matter of seconds, Kristian was surrounded by countless Asian girls. Rin watched him, uncaring. For as long as she have known him, he was well-known throughout the school. Detention had never been so popular before he came to this school or so Rin heard. Thanks to Kristian being in detention so often, other students would come to keep him occupy. Besides that, Kristian always helped girls in need around the school, gaining him more popularity among the female gender. Of course, Rin always thought he did this in order for them to fall in love with him and then scoop them up as girlfriends later. That was all she ever thought of him. Rin-chan, said Kristian, breaking her out of her thought process. About that encouragement- Without warning, Kristian stole a second kiss from her. Rin smacked him on the head, though he simply licked his lips. Thanks. If I don't make the band, you can scream at me and blackmail me all you want. Just do your best, said Rin lamely. Seeing Kristian in line after them, the girls from earlier vowed to play better to impress him. However, they kept glancing at Rin in the corner since they obviously saw Kristian kissed Rin. This was normal for Kristian though so they didn't put much thought into it. For Rin, however, she did not pay attention to the pianists before Kristian because of her situation with Jin. Instead of kissing Jin and freeing him from Jezebelle, she kissed Kristian instead. Was this right of her to do such a thing? Both Kristian and her didn't like each other like that but they benefited from each other more than anyone else.

Who's next? asked Mr. Chan, holding up the next piece of music. Hey Mr. C, said Kristian in a friendly manner, accepting the sheet music. Long time no see. Kristian Shiratori, said Mr. Chan, smiling with a dangerous glint in his eyes. You're that kid who always sneaks in the band room without my permission. Caught red-handed, said Kristian with a quick laugh. He sat down in front of the piano and stared at the music. But today, I am here to audition for Rin-chan. If you're here to play around, said Mr. Chan in a stern voice. I'll kick you out. I won't be playing anything but the piano, Mr. C, said Kristian confidently. Rin, said Mr. Chan, motioning her over. She came up to him obediently. He can read sheet music can he? Rin blinked innocently, not too sure herself. I don't want just any pianist in Jazz Band after all. I want the best pianist and a pianist who can't even read sheet music is no good. I have confidence in your choice, Rin. Out loud at Kristian, Mr. Chan continued. What's taking so long? Can't you read the music? One more second, said Kristian. Rin noticed that his eyes were scanning the sheet music Mr. Chan gave him. At last, Kristian turned the sheets over on their blank side, much to everyone's surprise, especially Rin and Mr. Chan. Got it. Ready. Get set. Go! Miraculously, like nutrition today, Rin gaped to see Kristian playing the piano before her eyes. He did not need the sheet music to play. Actually, he was closing his eyes and playing the piano like an expert. This was when Rin realized that she was jealous of Kristian. Not only did he memorize the piece, he was arrogant enough to play it without looking. Even though this irritated Rin, it brought gasps and squeals from the other girls. In the end, Rin sat in her lonely corner while Mr. Chan shook Kristian's hand to congratulate him for making Jazz Band. The other girls surrounded him to congratulate him. Besides herself, Edwin did not look pleased either but it was probably due to his three pianists losing to Rin's single one. Although Rin was glad she beat Edwin this time, she felt uneasy nevertheless. At what price did she pay for this victory? Every morning at six? asked Kristian to Mr. Chan. That's fine with me. And- Kristian noticed that Rin had disappeared from her corner. Excuse me but where's Rinchan? She was there a second ago. She went to get some fresh air, said Edwin, grumpily. You watch her often, don't you? asked Kristian, amused. No, said Edwin, blushing. Not at all. It was obvious when an unattractive, arrogant girl stomps out of the room... She's probably off to see Jin, said Kristian in amusement. Like Kristian said, Rin found herself sitting on top of the bleachers and watching Jin below. He was being bossed around by Yvette to pick up the tennis balls. On the far court, Jezebelle was in a challenge match against Tasha Chanthachem, Singles One for last year. It seemed like Tasha was enjoying herself while Jezebelle appeared to want to kill her with the tennis ball. They were almost dead even with Jezebelle in the lead. Rin sighed deeply and jumped when she noticed clicking sounds next to her. Oh Roselle, said Rin, noticing the President of the Writing Club next to her. You scare me for a second there. I didn't mean to sneak up on you, Rin Hamada, said Roselle Young, elevating her eyes from her laptop and grinning brightly. Roselle Young was in Rin's AP English Language earlier but Rin didn't notice her because she hardly spoke up in class. She sat next to Rin on her other side. Roselle was part Native American and part Filipino. The girl usually typed during her free time during nutrition and lunch. Other than typing, she usually hung with the tennis girls. She did not belong to any specific group and was labeled a 'wanderer' for the most part since she liked

to jump groups often. She had tanned skin, light brown hair, and dark brown eyes. Why aren't you playing tennis? asked Rin curiously. Shh, said Roselle, leaning over to Rin and giggling softly. If Coach knows I'm here, he'll make me play tennis for sure. I need to finish this chapter by this period! You don't need to, said Rin in response. I do, said Roselle with a determined face. She usually wore one earring. Today, she wore a sparkling, golden one shaped like a maple leaf. Tomorrow is Friday. I have three tests I have to study for! I can't spend time typing on Thursdays! Your Coach is heading this way, said Rin, pointing at the furious Coach Marshall, who was now screaming at all the tennis boys to catch Roselle. You should run for it. He's such a meanie, said Roselle, slamming her laptop shut and running down the bleachers. She met Vance jogging up. Oh hey there Vance! Eek! Why are you giving me such a scary glare! I haven't killed your family or something! Jesus Christ! That's so like Roselle, said Rin, shaking her head. Her imagination is outrageous. No, said Vance, sitting down next to Rin. She's not the only one. Hello Vance, said Rin with a grateful smile. Watching Jin? asked Vance, pointing at the tennis courts. No! cried Rin, flushing. I'm watching that evil girl Jezebelle. You're not practicing today, said Vance, uncapping his water bottle. Jazz Band is trying out so I don't have to practice for Marching Band today, said Rin with a soft smile. Vance did not smile back. He kept his eyes on Jin, who was now trying to maneuver around the crowds of girls around Jordan. You watch Jin a lot, Vance. It's because of him, said Vance, frowning. That I can't be with you. He's not the leader of JinRinBo, said Rin suddenly with a fierce look on her face. You can join if you want to! Both Bo and I have as much power as he does. That is what makes our trio in comparison to other groups. We don't have a leader! Rin, said Vance softly after a quick gulp of water. He gazed at her without blinking. What's the matter with you? You sound confused. Actually, said Rin, glancing away. I sort of am... Is it Jin again? Yes... answered Rin, turning all the way around so that she faced Vance. Would you hate me if I go out with Kristian? Kristian? asked Vance, tilting his head. You mean the class clown? Yeah, him, answered Rin, pouting. I can't see you going out with him to be frank, said Vance, shrugging. You're always frank, said Rin, amused. That's what I like about you, Vance. Heh, said Vance, stretching slightly and standing up. He noticed that Coach Marshall was chasing Roselle around the track and football area. Do I look mad most of the time? Girls run away from me constantly. Not that I mind. I sort of like it actually. Less useless, babbling people bothering me. That is so like you, said Rin, laughing softly. No, you don't appear mad. If I have to describe it, I say you look scary and very anti-social. Perfect, said Vance, jogging around Rin now. That's how it's supposed to be. But seriously, Vance, said Rin, lowering her head. Would you be upset? It's your life, said Vance, stopping his jog and leaning against the rails on top. It's not like me saying anything will change your mind anyway. You don't have to say it like that, said Rin, sticking her tongue out at him. I thought you said you like me being blunt? asked Vance with a fine lift of his brow. Still, said Rin, sighing. So you don't care? I guess I don't care if you're going out with him or not, said Vance, rocking back

and forth. More like why? If it's out of revenge, said Rin under her breath, lowering her eyes. It's better than love at least, said Vance, receiving an unexpected glance from Rin. Vance shrugged again at her surprise. What kind of revenge is this? Does it have to do with Jin or Bo? You see through my plot so easily, Vance, said Rin slowly and miserably. Bo's working on getting back together with Joyce. Jin's with Jezebelle now. I guess I'm the only lone member of the JinRinBo trio and I'm kind of sick of it. You know why people feel lonely? asked Vance suddenly, watching her intently. Why? asked Rin, a bit scared at the answer. Because they've felt the happiness being with people who are important to them before, said Vance softly, almost dreamily. And they don't want to lose it. That's why people feel lonely- to tell them that there are people who still mean something to them. How do you know something so deep, Vance? asked Rin carefully, standing up and leaning against the rail alongside him. Before you have feelings for others, you're perfectly fine being by yourself, said Vance, a bit amused at Rin's question. No feelings of loneliness whatsoever. Do you feel lonely, Vance? asked Rin weakly. If you go out with Kristian, said Vance, moving away from her and jogging down the bleachers. However, he stopped and threw a sad glance back. Maybe I'll feel it then. He's so odd, said Rin, sighing. He doesn't mind, does he? Maybe he does mind but pretends not to? I can read Jin and Bo well, but Vance is still a total mystery to me. Rin curled her hand into a fist and went down the bleachers with determination on her face. I'll understand him better when we become better friends! All right then! Young! cried Coach Marshall, grabbing a hold of Roselle's arm at last. She was trying to run away still. Go and practice before I kick you off Singles! But I didn't even bring a skort to change into today, said Roselle, groaning. Ten laps for you! Coach is a big meanie! You're not going to kick her off the team are you? asked Rin, watching Roselle enter the football field and running laps alongside the football players. No way, said Coach Marshall with a satisfied grin. I'll kick Bautista before I kick Young! Young's way too creative of a tennis player to boot off the team! Speaking of Joyce, said Rin, glancing over at the tennis courts. The Filipino girl was sitting along the fence with her head buried in her knees. She's still depressed as always. Did Bo not help at all? Bautista is really losing it, said Coach Marshall with a shake of his head. That Bo is so useless- Yo Hamada-sama, said Bo, waving at Rin as he passed by where she and Coach Marshall stood. Your sweater is unbuttoned! How naughty! Excuse me, said Rin to Coach Marshall before she jumped over the low fence and ran alongside Bo. I dare you to repeat that line. How did the Jazz Band tryout go? How dare you change the subject on me! And how did you know about it? Oh, said Bo, thinking and rubbing his chin. Bailey told me about it. Bailey's well-informed for an ex-member of the Popular, said Rin, buttoning her sweater. She had this feeling that Kristian did it. But yeah, I got our band a pianist! Nice, said Bo, grinning. Who? Kristian, said Rin, smiling back at him when she slowed down slightly. Bo slowed down with her while the other football players continued on, snickering about Bo.

Actually, I was thinking of going out with Kristian... Cool, said Bo, picking up the pace once again. You're okay with that? asked Rin, surprised. She hastened her pace too. No, not really, said Bo, still grinning. If so, said Rin, punching Bo without warning. Stop grinning like an idiot! I didn't know Hamada-sama has the hots for Kristian, said Bo, confused. I always thought Hamada-sama hated Kristian. You complain about him to me over a hundred times by now. I guess it's a love and hate relationship then? It's a hate-hate relationship, said Rin in correction. But now it's more like... I don't even know what it is anymore... You have always done everything based on impulse, Hamada-sama, said Bo suddenly, kicking a can out of his way. This is one of those times. You should think carefully before you make such rash decisions based on feelings of hurt and vengeance. It's not only vengeance though, said Rin softly to herself. When I talked to Kristian during nutrition, I feel like he's telling me the truth about himself- how he hates living at home and taking care of his cousin. He doesn't seem to be in the mood to lie. He's a lot deeper than I took him for. I judged him too harshly. And that is enough to go out with him? asked Bo, raising his brow at her. No, but, said Rin, a bit embarrassed. I always wanted to know what it's like. To tell you the truth, Hamada-sama, said Bo, embarrassed. If you go out with Kristian, everything will be in your favor. Jin will pay attention to you more. Kristian and you can work on assignments together. More than that, Kristian will show you what it's like to be in a working relationship. There's one problem though. And that is? asked Rin, worried. He's a Virgin-Killer, said Bo suddenly, uneasy. As long as you promise me that when you go on dates with him or do anything in private with him, you'll bring me along. I want to at least makes sure he won't do anything funny to you. I am a big girl, said Rin furiously. I can take care of myself! I know, said Bo, laughing softly. But believe me when I tell you that when a boy force you down, you won't have enough strength to fight back. You're not the strongest girl around, Hamada-sama. No offense or anything since you'll always be my Queen. Shut up, said Rin, scowling. Though I see your point. I really can't see Kristian raping me though. Come on, Hamada-sama, said Bo, petting her on the head. Accept my kindness and loving protection without complaints for once okay? It'll make me really happy! Like I want to make you happy, said Rin grumpily under her breath. Glancing at Bo's shining face though, Rin sighed. If you have this much time to protect me, why don't you try harder to protect the person most important to you? You and your kindness. Yes then? asked Bo hopefully. Sure, said Rin, shrugging. You'll probably bother me anyway. I'll make sure to wear clothes to outshine Kristian then, said Bo teasingly. Before Rin could react, Bo ran faster to catch up with his other team members. See ya Hamadasama. Talk to you in the evening over tutoring! At least with Bo around, said Rin, voicing her thoughts out loud. Kristian won't dare steal another kiss from me. Bo turned around to find Rin heading back to the band room. But I am protecting the most important person to me. Bo saw Alejandro standing to the side, talking to Coach. Oh, he's back and... not practicing. ******************************************** Trying hard to cheer Joyce up, Jin went on about one of his favorite video games

when he felt something cold and hard on top of his head. He glanced up to find that Jezebelle just dropped a water bottle on him. Smiling innocently up at her, Jin was smart enough to remove himself next to Joyce and excused himself for leaving her so soon. I heard you won your challenge match, said Jin, trying to start a friendly conversation. However, that failed miserably when Jezebelle threw herself next to him with an angry expression on her face. Did I hear wrong? No, said Jezebelle in a deep growl. Jin backed away from her since he sensed negative feelings omitting from her body. I won the challenge but that is one of the most annoying matches I ever played in my fucking life. Oh, said Jin, speechless. Tasha's a pretty nice girl. She's going to make my time on the tennis team a living hell I tell you, said Jezebelle, shivering. She spent most of our challenge match talking about her poodle. Her poodle? asked Jin, surprised. Right then, the talkative, Thai Tasha Chanthachem left the tennis courts, chatting alongside Venus about how her poodle won another dog competition last weekend. Right when Tasha went on about getting new ribbons and brushes for her poodle, she spotted Jezebelle and Jin. Much to Jin's amusement, Tasha greeted and waved at Jezebelle in a friendly manner despite her former opponent's haunting glare. Shouldn't you be sadder about your lost? asked Venus to Tasha as the two headed toward the gym to change out of their tennis clothes. Why? asked the bright-eyed Tasha to Venus. The match was so much fun! So enjoyable! I don't see why I should be down about it! The better tennis player won today and I had a blast! It's a win for both of us. You should spend more time on practicing tennis rather than walking your poodle, said Venus, twirling her hair around. But I love Tinkle Bell! You see that? asked Jezebelle, shaking Jin. It's going to be hell. Can you imagine how bus rides will be like? My poodle this and my poodle that. Just sit very far from Tasha then, said Jin, smiling weakly. You're sitting next to me on bus rides, steamed buns, said Jezebelle, latching herself to Jin with a cute frown on her frown. I can't stand any of the other girls except for Spring and she might not even make Varsity. Sure, said Jin, amused. Anyways, what was the final score? I hate her and her doggy obsession, said Jezebelle bitterly. She drove me nuts. She sat down next to me and talked about nonsense every time we switched sides. I wanted to just finish the match and get it over with. Because of how much she bothered me, I couldn't concentrate half the time. It ended up being 8 to 6. That's close, said Jin in amazement. I thought you would have a huge lead. I thought so too, said Jezebelle, hitting the back of her head against the fence. But she was so damn annoying on the court! She was being all nice and friendly too! I wanted to like smack the ball into her face! So cruel... I couldn't concentrate half the time because she kept running back and forth, picking up the balls for me when it's my turn to serve, said Jezebelle through gritted teeth. I have enough fucking balls for one fucking serve. I should have just served it while she was running around. Relax, Fi, said Jin, petting on the back. You two are teammates. You should get along with her. Why are there so many annoying people on this team? asked Jezebelle out loud, receiving a frown from the tearful Joyce nearby. And why do they all look like they want

to jump you? Eh? asked Jin, bright red. What? Never mind, dork, said Jezebelle quickly, glancing at the band room. Shouldn't you do something about Shortie? What do you mean? asked Jin, clueless. I mean she's mad at you and all, said Jezebelle, rolling her eyes. You two are fighting over such a dumb reason. Why did you pick me over her anyway? You dumb ass. The thing is, said Jin, lowering his eyes to the ground. You don't have anybody. What? asked Jezebelle with an unbelieving tone of voice. I mean, said Jin with red cheeks. If you were really stuck in a burning house, I would save you first because you don't have anyone else to depend on. No family members. No close relative. Nothing. As for Rin-chan, she has a loving mother and a lot of people who she can depend on. If I'm not there to save her, Bo surely will for example. Maybe you should tell Shortie that, said Jezebelle, checking her fingernails. I should, said Jin with a frown. Do you think it's too late? Try? asked Jezebelle in disbelief. Thanks Fi, said Jin, smiling. You're being nice for once. It's not being nice, said Jezebelle curtly. It's about getting rid of two annoying people having one stupid fight over random crap. I just can't help but butt in then. No matter, said Jin, standing up. I'll find her and explain it to her. About the football tickets- We'll see, said Jezebelle curtly. Coach has to announce the spots first. I bought them online already, said Jin with a sparkling smile, taking a few footsteps backward. You better leave next weekend empty. He has that much faith in me? asked Jezebelle out loud right after Jin left her side and headed toward the football field. Then, she noticed Roselle being dragged back to the courts by Coach Marshall. Roselle was hugging to her laptop like her life depended on it. Let me guess. The lineup, Coach? Yes, said Coach Marshall with a grin. I decided on the lineup for Singles and Doubles One. I guess I have to type during practice after school, said Roselle, pouting. No, you won't! screamed Coach Marshall at Roselle who ran and hid next to Joyce. If you dare touch that laptop, I'll break it in half! But I paid for it with my own money, Mr. Meanie, said Roselle tearfully. I don't care! said Coach Marshall, glaring at her. Now, girls, gather around. Obediently, all the tennis girls gathered around. The main Single boys Jordan, David, and and Patrick sat with the girls with anticipation as well. Boris was busy doing push-ups nearby. Doubles One is the same as last year- Yvette Kwan and Venus Hermosa. It's not like anyone can steal my spot anyway, said Yvette, painting her lips glossy pink. Nothing comes as a surprise to me anymore, right Venus? We're the strongest Doubles team, said Venus, removing some loose short brown hair from her eyes. Both Venus and Tasha had returned from the gym and were dressed in jeans. It'll be stupid to break us apart. Singles One is Tasha, said Coach, reading off the list. I'm not even going to try pronouncing your last name. I can't wait to tell Tinkle Bell, said Tasha with a bright smile. That's not fair, said Jezebelle bitterly. I won my challenge match, Coach. I know, said Coach, smiling at Jezebelle. But you're new. I'll give it a couple of matches before I think about bumping you up. You better, said Jezebelle, rolling her eyes.

Jezebelle Tilly's our new Singles Two, said Coach Marshall, flipping over the pages. Roselle Young has moved up to our Singles Three. I want to type, said Roselle, groaning. Shut up, Young, said Coach Marshall, throwing a pen at her. Joyce Bautista, you're Singles Four. If you dare cry on the courts even once, I'm kicking you off the team immediately. You got that? Yes... said Joyce, sniffing back tears. Sophronia Stevens, said Coach Marshall, pointing at the only White girl on the team with shoulder-length, pure blonde hair. Since Tilly took your spot of Singles Two, you are now Doubles Two along with the three newcomers I have picked. I will introduce you to them in a second. Why Sophronia? asked Roselle to Yvette. Obviously, she's the most versatile of our group, said Yvette, tapping a glittery purple pen against her cheek. Sophronia's been moved around so much that she's quite used to it. For the past three years of tennis, she had been Singles One, Singles Three, Singles Two, and Doubles Two multiple times. She doesn't mind either and she's pretty easygoing with any partner Coach picks for her. I don't mind moving to Doubles, said Roselle, watching Sophronia follow Coach to the new group of girls. Sophronia's better than me anyway. Less work for Doubles. You should be motivated, said Yvette, hitting Roselle multiple times on the head with her glittery pen. I'm only in tennis to not take P.E., said Roselle, running away and hiding behind Tasha in a protective manner. You're a big meanie, Yvette. If it were me, I would never choose you to be Captain! That's it, said Yvette, grabbing her racket. I'm giving her a spanking. Watch out Roselle, said David, laughing at the chase between the team captain and the part Filipino girl. Yvette's ego might be too huge for you to escape. Oh shit! David joined Roselle in running around the area. Hey! Don't hit me Yvette! Us Koreans should stick together! Ow! Ow! I see, said Jezebelle with a playful smirk. Not everyone on the team loves Yvette. I can make use of this. Xuan Lan turned to her leader with wide eyes to find Jezebelle laughing evilly to herself. Blushing, Xuan Lan wondered what was so amusing that her leader was in such high spirits. As for her, she didn't make the team at this time but she was determined to be on Doubles Three by the first official game even if her life depended on it. It would be even better if she could become Sophronia's partner. Nodding, Xuan Lan decided this was her short-term goal for now. You! said Coach, catching Roselle on her run by the arm. What's going on here? She's only taking tennis to skip P.E., said Yvette, pointing at Roselle accusingly. Young, said Coach, glaring down at her. Have you been talking to Greene a lot recently? Yeah, said Roselle with wide eyes. He's one of my closest friends. Greene! screamed Coach, gaining the attention of Jordan, who was too busy chatting with the crowd of girls around him. Have your laziness been rubbing off on Young? What have you done to my perfect Varsity Girls' Tennis team? I didn't do shit! said Jordan, dropping his jaw. What have I done this time? Ten laps for you, Greene! That's not fair, Coach, said Jordan, holding onto Coach's sleeve like his life depended on it. You've sent me on laps every single day so far! And besides, the bell is about to ring!

Run now, Greene, or else you'll be running every day next week too! Sorry Jordan, whispered Roselle when he passed by her with a dropped head. Anything for a girl I guess, said Jordan, running yet ten more laps even when the bell rang for the end of the school day. Before the bell rang though, Rin was already ready to leave campus. She had already talked it over with Mr. Chan about feeling sick. In the end, he sighed and gave her permission to skip band practice for today since she was one of the hardest working member of his band in the first place. While Rin headed toward the gate, Kristian tagged along with her. He was not ashamed to place his arm over her shoulder, which brought more attention to herself from others than necessary. So we agreed right? asked Kristian, beaming. Yes, said Rin with a firm nod. Let's talk over our agreement again. All right then, said Kristian, licking his lips like always. I agree to play the piano for Jazz Band, teach you everything you need to know about relationships, and help you with studying if necessary. And in return, said Rin, giving Kristian a serious stare. I agree to have you sleep over at my house every weekend, talk to my family, and take me out on dates. Nice, said Kristian, stopping at the front gate with Rin. I have detention so see ya later, Rin-chan. Do you need my phone number, Kristian? asked Rin, taking out her cell phone. First of all, Rin-chan, said Kristian, placing a finger on her nose. It's Kristiansama. And second of all, I already have your cell phone and home phone number. In your dreams, Kristian, said Rin, flicking his forehead once before taking off. And how the hell did you have my phone number in the first place? Jin? asked Kristian with an innocent smile. He will pay for that, said Rin loudly before stopping at the street lights. At the corner of her eye, she noticed Alejandro hanging in front of the coffeehouse with a group of girls. Narrowing her eyes slightly, she ignored them and went straight to her house. Unlocking the door, she entered. I'm home, Mother. I'll be going straight to bed! Are you sure you don't want any bread? asked Mrs. Hamada, popping her head from the kitchen with a twinkle in her eyes. I bought this adorable container filled with cheese wrapped up in mini-packages! Mother, said Rin in a stern voice. How old are you when you had me? Eighteen, said Mrs. Hamada, beaming. Why Rin dear? You seriously need to stop buying things just because they're cute, said Rin with a deep sigh before she went up the stairs. Collapsing on top of the bed, Rin closed her eyes and told herself to rest for a few minutes. I'll take this short break before I study for three tests tomorrow... An hour later, Mrs. Hamada heard a knock on her door. Surprised, Mrs. Hamada hurriedly pushed the container of cheese behind the toaster and ran to the front door. When she met Kristian, she gaped. For a second there, she thought it was Bo bothering her daughter again. Instead, she met who she believed looked like a cool-looking, athletic male that was probably a friend of her daughter's. Hello, said Kristian, bowing slightly. You look like KT Shiratori, said Mrs. Hamada, blinking. That was the first thought that came to her mind. Oh, excuse me for my rudeness... You know him? asked Kristian with a sudden dark glint in his eyes. I'm a fan of his, said Mrs. Hamada, moving aside for Kristian to move inside. Are you related to him? I can tell you are a fellow Japanese like myself, young man. I'm half, said Kristian quickly. Where's Rin-chan?

She's resting in her room, said Mrs. Hamada, observing Kristian from top to bottom with interest. Rin only slept for two hours last night since she was too busy worrying about Jin and studying at the same time. That baby face, said Kristian with a chuckle. You called her baby face, gasped Mrs. Hamada at Kristian. Are you... are you... I guess I should introduce myself properly, said Kristian, licking his lips and smiling brightly at Mrs. Hamada. My name is Kristian Shiratori and yes, I'm related to the guitarist you mentioned earlier. As for my relationship to Rin-chan... In her dream, Rin kept seeing herself trying to get closer to Jin while he was with Jezebelle. At last, after stalking him around the school, Jezebelle left his side and went off with her friends- Wendy, Juliet, and Xuan Lan. Rin timidly went up to Jin with blushing cheeks. Surprised at the sight of her in a pink dress, Jin backed away slightly. Rin-chan? asked Jin, flushing. Why are you dressed like that? I don't know, said Rin shyly. Jin... I... Edging closer to Jin, Rin was about to kiss him when suddenly, she woke up and found herself staring at the ceiling. She was supposed to rest for a few minutes! Not take a nap! And what was with that dream? How could she let those words from Jezebelle and Wendy affect her this much? She could save Jin... if she kissed him... but it was so wrong. Very wrong. And plus, she was mad at him. Stupid Jin! Stupid Jin! Stupid Jin! cried Rin tearfully. She closed her eyes and felt her heart beating rapidly. I even consider doing the unbelievable to save you because I care about you so much. But you're just an idiot who cares about video games and bitches! You'll rather save her than me! Suddenly, Rin's eyes widened dramatically. She felt a warm hand squeezed her left hand. Glancing to the side, Rin noticed that Kristian was sleeping next to her with his right hand entwined with her left. How could someone like Kristian look so peaceful asleep? Like he had no worries in the world? However, this helped her loosen up and relax to see him at such ease. Rin used her free hand to wipe the tears from her eyes. Finally, she closed her eyes and squeezed his hand back. This was enough for now.