Authors: Wanitta Praks
Tags: #sliceoflife, #contemporaryromance, #teenromance, #teenfiction, #contemporaryfiction, #dramaromance, #romeojulietstoryline, #schoolromance, #starcrossedlovers, #teenfictioncontemporary, #tragedyromance
“I don’t know,” I shout back. “And please
“He’s super gorgeous… from behind anyway.
Did you get his name?”
“What was he doing talking to you?”
“He didn’t talk to me.”
“Then what was he doing?”
“He was ki—” I almost tell her but stop
myself before I let out the embarrassing truth.
“He was asking me where the toilet was.” I
“Toilet?” Mandy scrunches her face in
confusion. “What’s a hot guy doing asking you about the toilet?
Isn’t that a tad embarrassing?”
“He’s clearly not embarrassed.” I lie again,
avoiding eye contact.
“Whatever. Let’s go back inside.”
Mandy takes my hand and is about to lead me
back in when I stop her.
“Come on. Zac’s going to make another
“Then you go. I’m going home.”
“How are you supposed to get home?” she asks
like she’s my mother.
“Bus,” I tell her.
“Please. The bus doesn’t run at night. Plus,
I drove you here, remember? So just stay for a bit longer, okay?”
she pleads and slumps her head to rest on my shoulder. “It’s not
like we get to have fun that often. Plus, Monday’s school. Let’s
enjoy ourselves now. Okay?”
“Please stop it.” I massage my head. “I’m
getting a headache. Please, let’s just go home.”
“But Zac hasn’t made his good-bye appearance
yet,” she whines again.
“You already saw him when he was onstage
half an hour ago. Plus, you’ve taken heaps of photos of him
“Yes, I did, but he was too far away. When I
got near the stage, he’d already disappeared back inside. So I want
to see him fully this time and take heaps of good shots. So please,
just half an hour more. I’ve missed you. We haven’t hung out since…
you know… Please?”
I really want to say no, but she’s right.
Since the accident, I never had a chance to ring her. There have
been so many adjustments in my life that calling Mandy was the
least of my concerns.
Mandy’s my childhood friend. We went to
primary school together, but by the end of primary school, she
moved to Dunedin in the South Island of New Zealand. I stayed in
Auckland, the North Island. It was only a few months ago that my
grandma, sister-in-law, little six-year-old niece, and I all moved
to this city to start a new life.
“Urgh. Fine, just half an hour. Then we go
home.” I finally give in.
“Promise.” She hugs me and bounces back into
the crowd, dragging me along with her. “Once I get to kiss Zac
Elliot, I’ll deliver you straight to your doorstep.”
Forty minutes later, with me continuously
thinking about the kiss from that mysterious Phantom mask guy, I’m
finally able to return home.
“You should have seen him, Ivy. Why did you
need to disappear to the toilet when he appeared onstage? He is so
super gorgeous! Ahh, I want to be his girlfriend.”
I close my eyes while Mandy chitchats away
in the car on the drive home, narrating how she missed the chance
to kiss him because she was too far from stage. Otherwise, she
would have jumped onstage and kissed him senseless.
Talking about kissing, my thoughts return
like a vengeance to the mysterious Phantom guy. I can still taste
that sweetness on my lips.
I wave good-bye to Mandy from my front
porch. Immediately, I dash inside to the bathroom. Once inside, I
shut the door and look at my lips in the bathroom mirror.
They look plump and slightly swollen. I’m
glad the festival happened at night because it prevented Mandy from
seeing my lips clearly. Otherwise, she wouldn’t stop bugging me
with her endless questioning.
I start tracing my lips again with my
fingers, outlining where he kissed me. My upper lip. My lower lip.
It feels so nice.
I smile at myself in the mirror like an
idiot, wondering if I’ll ever get to see the mysterious guy who
stole my first kiss. From the corner of my eye, I see Moon, my
niece, walking in.
“Vivi,” she calls when she sees me touching
my lips. “Did you eat something bad? Why are you rubbing your
“I know! I know! You’ve been kissed.”
“Moon!” I clamp her mouth shut. How does a
six-year-old know about kissing?
“Vivi.” She unclamps my hand from her mouth
and prods some more.
My headache is coming back. School is
starting on Monday, so I don’t want to be bothered by this right
now. There’s so much work to do.
“I haven’t been kissed. My lips, they just…
I collided with something,” I tell her.
I don’t consider this lying since I’m just
bending the truth slightly.
She looks at me like she doesn’t believe me,
“Seriously. It’s like a train crashing into
another train. A train wreck. Just something like that.” I try to
“What’s something?” she asks. Suddenly, her
face lights up. That girl, she’s got something up her sleeve. “Oh,
I know. A boy’s lips?”
“Moon!” I shout again, picking her up and
taking her to her bedroom. “I told you it was a train crash between
and my lips.”
“It’s okay if you’re too shy to talk about
stuff like that. Tommy told me all about kissing and stuff.”
“And who’s Tommy?” I ask. I can’t help being
curious. How can a six-year-old know all about this stuff? I don’t
remember my teachers teaching me this stuff when I was in primary
“He’s my boyfriend,” Moon replies
“Moon!” A little alarm bell starts ringing
in my head. “I forbid you to have a boyfriend at your age.”
“But we play together. He’s my friend. So
just because he’s a boy, he can’t be my friend?” She complains.
I scratch my head. Since she puts it that
“It’s fine to be friends with a boy,” I tell
her, “but no talking about kissing or anything from now on. Not
until you’re sixteen. Got it?”
“Mmmm.” She nods and gives me little kisses
on my cheeks.
My little niece, she sure knows how to turn
sweet when she wants to. I’m completely at her mercy.
We end up lying in bed. I read her favorite
. Eventually, she falls asleep. I’m
tired too. I think I should head to bed as well.
I tug Moon in first, making sure she’s
comfortable before I head to my room. I kiss her good night and
leave. Except a hand prevents me from leaving. I turn and see Moon
gripping my fingers.
“You want to know Gigi’s behavior tonight?”
She holds on to me tight. Gigi is Moon’s way of saying
I sit back down and nod at her.
“Gigi didn’t cry. She kissed grandma,
grandpa, and daddy’s photos good night, sent a good prayer to them,
and went straight to bed.”
I smile, glad my grandma is slowly
recovering from that tragic accident five years ago.
“But she did mention something about some
man before going to bed,” Moon finishes.
“Oh.” I gasp. Maybe Gigi hasn’t fully
Moon gives me her furrowed brow, which means
she doesn’t understand what I’m gasping about.
I give her a smile, despite it being a dry
one. I think it’ll suffice for now. “It’s nothing. Just forget
When the accident happened, I was only
twelve years old. I was in the backseat with my big brother, while
Mum and Dad were in the front. We were driving home. And that was
when it happened. A car came out of nowhere and crashed into us. I
survived. My parents and brother did not.
What’s maddening about the whole situation
is we didn’t get any justice from the case. The man was clearly
drunk. He tested positive. That aspect I can remember clearly
through those many painful memories.
During the trail, he was released, saying it
was our fault. We drove into him.
I didn’t believe him. Not back then and
certainly not now. Dad was never a reckless driver. He never had a
ticket his whole life. Sometimes, I ask God what he did to deserve
such an unjust death.
Everyone in my family hates him. Gigi hates
him. My sister-in-law Clare hates him. I hate him. Him, that man.
His mother and his father all standing there holding on to him,
protecting him like he was the victim in the whole incident, when
in fact, he was the murderer, the one that should have been
I can still remember being huddled up close
to Clare and Grandma, all of us crying, all of us trying to fight
for our rights, until Grandma couldn’t take it anymore and she
fainted and was admitted into hospital. She never came right after
“And how about Mommy?” I ask, trying to
change that painful subject.
“She’s still at work.”
I check the time. It’s already nearing
midnight. Clare’s job as a waitress requires her to work until
midnight, so it’s usually me who puts Moon to sleep.
“And your shots. Have you taken them
“Already did. Gigi helped me.”
“And your blood sugar? Did you check that
“Already did that too. Gigi helped me
“Good.” I smile, brushing my fingers through
her blond tresses.
How unfortunate of my little niece to
develop type-one diabetes so young in life. She’ll need insulin
injections for the rest of her life. But this small fault doesn’t
stop her from being robust. On the contrary, she’s always brimming
with energy. It would be great if I could steal some of her
enthusiasm and forget about the past.
Kissing Moon’s forehead again, I bid her
good night and go to wash my face and brush my teeth, my normal
nighttime routine. After changing into my pajamas, I head back into
my room and sit in front of our home laptop. It’s quite old, but it
works fine. I don’t have the heart to throw something out when it’s
still useful to me.
I log onto my bank account and check my
Two thousand dollars.
I sigh, my shoulders slumping in
disappointment. I have a long way to go if I want to go to law
school after I graduate high school.
I plan to become a lawyer. I want to revisit
that injustice put upon us. But with only two thousand in my bank
account, I’ll need to find a lot more money in order to achieve my
I’m quite advanced in education, gaining top
marks in calculus, algebra, biology, and chemistry back in my
previous high school. I wonder if there are any jobs available in
this city that can make use of my skills. Tomorrow, I’ll ask Mandy
to see if anyone needs a tutor.
I flick over to Facebook to check my
updates. Mandy has already posted the photos she took of us at the
festival. She’s always fast with social media.
I scan through the pictures quickly. One
catches my eyes. It is of me looking bored and Mandy looking like
she’s high on coke. Underneath the picture is a caption that reads,
“Me and my BFF having a fun time at the school festival. Sadly, I
didn’t get to kiss Zac. Boo-hoo.” At the end of the caption is a
sad face icon.
I laugh. Trust Mandy to tell the whole world
how much she loves this Zac guy.
A stifled yawn passes my lips and my eyelids
droop closed a few times. I glance at the time. It’s already past
Crikey! I better log off. Clare should be
home soon, and she doesn’t like me on the internet if it’s not
anything to do with studying.
I log off the laptop and shake my head,
trying to wake myself from the drowsiness that’s threatening to put
me to sleep again. I walk to the living room and make myself a cup
of hot cocoa. Ten minutes later, Clare walks in.
Clare looks like a train wreck—hollow eyes
and messy blond hair bunched up like she hasn’t brushed it for
days. I think she’s just tired. It’s the side effects of supporting
all of us since she’s the only breadwinner in our family.
I know she must work very hard to support
us, and sometimes I wish I could grow up faster so I can go to law
school and be the breadwinner instead. Let her relax for a while,
while I’ll provide the family with the monetary support. But being
seventeen has limitations, and one of those limitations is that I
can’t work all hours around the clock. My first priority, she tells
me often, is to study hard and go to law school.
“Hey.” She smiles tiredly at me. “How’s
“She’s asleep now.”
“And how was the festival?”
“It was fun.”
“Did you meet any hot guys?”
I feel my cheeks flush crimson. Thoughts of
that stolen kiss plague my mind again.
“No.” I lie, looking at my cup of hot cocoa.
If I were Pinocchio, my nose would be as long as a broomstick by
Clare smiles and sits beside me. “Did I ever
tell you I met Brian during our teenage years too?” she says, a
little tear almost escaping the corner of her eye. “It was love at
first sight for us.” A moment later, her body starts shaking. “Oh
God, I miss him so much, Ivy,” she cries into my shoulder. “I love
him so much.” Then she looks up with vengeance in her eyes. “I will
never forgive that man and his family for taking Brian from
Even after five years, our family is still
affected by that accident. Gigi is sick and needs regular
medication to keep her stable. Clare is still upset and vows
vengeance against him and his family. And I’m constantly haunted by
I hug her and tell her everything is going
to be fine because I’m here to protect them, then tell her to go
wash herself while I microwave some food for her. She does as I
tell her to.
After Clare has eaten and goes to her room,
I check all the windows and doors to make sure they’re all locked
and secure. Then I check up on Moon. She’s sound asleep. I poke my
head through Grandma’s door. She’s also sound asleep. Fully
satisfied now that everyone is in bed, I sneak into my own bed,
feeling the comfort of the soft cotton blanket enveloping me, safe
and secure from the outside world. Soon, I fall asleep.