Authors: Wanitta Praks
Tags: #sliceoflife, #contemporaryromance, #teenromance, #teenfiction, #contemporaryfiction, #dramaromance, #romeojulietstoryline, #schoolromance, #starcrossedlovers, #teenfictioncontemporary, #tragedyromance
“No,” she says simply, cutting it short and
simple and all the way to my bones too.
Ouch! That kind of hurt.
I know I’m not into the whole lovely face
thing, but this feels like I’m losing face. So I want to take
revenge, maybe just a little teasing, just to get back at her for
hurting my ego. I smile, leading her to the desk, a plan prominent
in my head.
“Right. I’m all ready to learn.” I square my
shoulders and sit down right beside her. In fact, I’m almost glued
to her side.
“Can you tell me which areas of algebra you
need help with?” she asks uncomfortably, moving her chair an inch
away from mine.
I love this reaction.
“The whole lot,” I say, moving my chair an
inch towards her again. “I failed my year-eleven test.”
“Well, shall we start with the basics?” She
stands to sit across the table from me. I hide a grin, knowing
she’s affected by my presence. Once all comfortable, she says, “You
know about the simple equations and simultaneous equations?”
“I know about them, but I can’t seem to
solve them. All of those X’s and Y’s,” I tell her. “And especially
when the XX and the XY are together in one equation.”
“That’s fine. We’ll start with that,” she
comments with a straight face, ignoring my connotation. “If you can
organize and gather your pens and papers, we shall start.”
I hide another grin. When is she going to
admit I’m the one that kissed her? Clearly, we both know of that
fact, but we’re both too scared to admit it to one another. Well,
I’m scared anyway. Plus, I’m too embarrassed. I wonder if she gets
the hint. Maybe I should find another tactic. She’s not reacting to
any of my suggestions at all.
Ivy places her pens and paper on the table
in front of me. Then she goes to rummage through some more stuff in
her bag. Seeing the pens and paper on the table, an idea pops into
“Oh!” I pretend to shout with a jolt.
She looks up at me in surprise. “What’s
“Why did you leave your pens out? You’re not
scared someone might steal them?”
I’m referring to the time she accused me of
stealing her grandma’s money. She seems to know what I’m referring
to because her cheeks instantly blush pink, but she puts on a scold
instantly before returning to her rummaging.
“Want some tea?” I suggest when I don’t get
the desired response from her. “You might get thirsty after all the
“No thanks,” she answers and starts opening
the textbook she took out of her bag.
“Come on,” I say, urging her with a
mischievous grin on my face as another idea brews in my head. “I
didn’t steal this tea. My dad got it from China when he went over
for his conference.”
I see her breathing heavily as if she’s
trying to suppress her anger. I just want to laugh. It’s so funny
seeing her frustrated like this. She gives me a death glare and
turns back to her work.
I really want to listen to what she’s saying
about the X and Y, but my mind just goes off on a tangent. Whenever
she moves her lips or opens her mouth to speak, it just reminds me
of that kiss, and I can’t help but keep staring at them. When I see
her biting her lips, I know she must be thinking of the night we
Whether she’s pretending she doesn’t
remember me in that mask, I decide to grab the bull by the horns
and go for the kill. There’s no point in beating around the bush
when it’s clearly not working. It’s best to go for the direct
approach. So I ask, “Have you ever been kissed?”
Ivy, who can’t seems to stop biting her lips
between explanations, suddenly stops and screeches off her chair.
She stands up to her full height, staring at me with her fiery
“Zac, if you keep on going like this, I
won’t be able to teach you.”
I only give her a sly smile. “Are you
intimidated or something? It’s a simple question. I just asked if
you’ve ever been kissed?”
“How is that related to algebra?”
“Nothing. Just curious.”
“Well, if you’re curious about algebra even
a little bit, you would’ve passed your algebra test already.”
“Well, letters and numbers aren’t my forte,
but lips are something else.”
My answer only makes Ivy grind her lips even
more, and without telling me what she’s doing, she gets up, grabs
her bag, and stalks to the door.
Oh shit! I think I’ve gone too far.
“Okay, okay. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I was
only trying to break the tension. You seem so tense.”
“I’m not tense. I’m only doing my job as
your tutor,” she tells me calmly. But I know inside she must be
boiling. I think I did go a bit overboard there with my
“Fine. We got off on the wrong foot. Let’s
start over. My name is Zac Elliot. I need help in algebra. Thanks
so much, Miss Hamilton, for tutoring me.”
I hold out my hand, ready for a
Oh, please, say you’ll forgive me.
She looks at my extended hand like it’s a
lethal weapon. Eventually, she takes it and shakes.
Wow, it feels so nice and warm. Did I
mention soft too?
I actually want to hold that hand a bit
longer, so instead of letting it go, I hold on to it. My hand must
be sweaty because Ivy instantly yanks hers away.
“Sorry.” I apologize and give her my best
“Let… let’s get back to algebra,” she says,
looking nervous all of a sudden.
She takes her seat opposite mine again. I
don’t want to intrude on her explanation, but I really can’t see
what she’s doing on that side of the table. All the numbers and
letters are upside down.
I stand up and hobble over to her side. I
take out a chair and sit beside her. But this time I make sure I
leave breathing room for her. She gives me one of her weird looks
Before she has the chance to speak, I say in
my own defense, “I can’t see what you’re writing. It’s easier this
way. I can see all the equations.”
She seems happy with that answer.
From that point on, we’re like little
bunnies with tails up in the air while our heads are almost
plastered to the table, nibbling on carrot sticks. Except these two
bunnies are nibbling at algebra.
Our lesson ends on a good note. Ivy
immediately starts packing her bag. I don’t want her to leave just
yet. It’s fun having her around.
Maybe I can make up some excuse so she
can stay a bit longer
“My dad said that if I don’t pass algebra,
he’s going to take Elsa away from me.” I start telling her my true
reason for learning algebra. That grabs her attention.
“Elsa?” she asks.
Yeah, I think I got her attention all right,
what with that shocked look on her face and the disappointed
expression in her eyes.
I’m not sure why she’s disappointed, though.
It’s not like Elsa belongs to her. Maybe she feels sorry for
“Yeah. I’ll show you.” I hobble to my guitar
case and take out Elsa. “Ivy, meet Elsa.”
Ivy stares at me for a long time. I can feel
my cheeks burning. Then she turns to stare at my guitar. This goes
on for a full minute, until finally she says, “So Elsa is your
guitar, not your…”
Wait! Let me get this straight. Did she
think Elsa is my girlfriend?
I laugh when I think about this. “What? You
thought Elsa is my girlfriend?”
I think I have the answer right because she
just blushes again.
Ivy’s the type of girl that doesn’t need a
blusher. Her cheeks color in response to any word I say. And right
now, I really like the rosy color on her face. And I want to keep
it that way too. So I say, “Just so you know, I’ve only had my kiss
stolen once. It was when I was wearing this mask at the school
I show her the photo hidden in the strings
of the guitar.
She blushes again, nods her head, bites her
lips, and looks away. I know then she must know it was me, but she
still won’t admit it.
Damn, that stubborn girl.
Some time later, she asks, “You named your
“Yeah. Silly aren’t I?”
Don’t ask me why I named my guitar Elsa.
Maybe it’s the two-syllable thing. I like names with two syllables.
That reminds me. Ivy has two syllables.
I abruptly shove the thought to the back of
my mind, scared of this revelation.
“No, not silly at all,” Ivy says. “It’s a
beautiful instrument. I’ve always been fascinated with music. But
unfortunately, I’m not gifted enough with instruments.”
Her fingers caressing the strings softly as
she speaks. It would be nice if those fingers were to run across my
lips and jaw too.
What the hell? What has gotten into
One kiss from her and I want her to touch my lips and
I shake my head out of the thick cloud.
“Yeah, well, music isn’t going to feed you.
That’s what Mum always says. So I don’t know whether I should
pursue music or not. I love it dearly, though.”
I don’t know why I’m telling her all my
hopes and dreams. It’s so weird. But I find being with Ivy really
soothes me, like she’s a calm stream, cool to the touch, supporting
me from below, and I’m floating above her pristine blue water.
Shit! Now I’m being all sentimental.
“That’s not true. One should always follow
one’s dream. I believe you will never be happy unless you do
something you love. I think if you like music so much, what’s
stopping you from pursuing a career in that field?”
“Well, it’s not easy being a musician.”
“You’re already in a band. What’s so hard
“Yeah, but we’re not famous outside of
school. No one knows about us.”
“Yet,” Ivy says. She smiles. And my heart
kind of melts.
Shit, I’m in deep now.
“No one knows about you yet. You just got to
let them know you exist.”
“Well, it’s not that easy,” I argue.
Why are we talking about my hopes and
dreams? I don’t feel comfortable with this subject.
“Who says hopes and dreams are easy to
accomplish. If Thomas Edison didn’t try for the thousandth time,
the light bulb wouldn’t exist, would it? And if Alexander Graham
Bell didn’t try so many times, we wouldn’t be able to speak to each
other through the telephone.”
It takes me only a second to fully
appreciate what Ivy’s trying to tell me. I can see bright light
shining at the end of my high school years.
Yeah, it looks bright all right. I know what
I want to do, and with Dad’s support… and Ivy’s, I’m sure I can do
“You really think so,” I ask for
“I don’t just think so. I know so,” she
Ivy only shows her generous face for a split
second before her guard is up again. Now she stands looking at me
with a scold on her face.
I only shake my head and laugh. This girl
has many expressions hidden in her bonnet, and I bet she doesn’t
like to show her sunny side to anyone.
One day I hope she’ll show them all to
Ivy looks nice in her purple cardigan today.
Somehow her hair is neater looking too. She looks pretty.
My mind and eyes are not focusing as she’s
explaining. I’m too busy thinking and looking at her. Luckily, the
lesson flies by. Just to make sure she doesn’t ask any questions,
though, since I won’t be able to answer her anyway, I distract her
by bringing Elsa over. Her eyes glaze with excitement
“I’m going to play you a song,” I tell
She smiles and closes her eyes.
The whole atmosphere transforms into one of
wonder. I feel at peace, yet my heart is also racing. I don’t know
“I’ll be leaving now,” she says when I
finish my song. “Don’t forget to do that homework I gave to
I nod and accompany her to the door.
“Thanks for today. I learned a lot. I’ll be
waiting with tea.”
She smiles back at me. Suddenly, the door
yanks from the other side, almost knocking her over. Luckily, I
catch her in time. She falls into my arms, and I end up circling
Wow, this is intimate.
She looks up at me. Her brown eyes aren’t
boring to look at at all. They’re the color of chestnuts. They’re
so mesmerizing that I feel like I’m stuck in a trance.
Seriously, this girl is gorgeous. Why didn’t
I see this before?
We look into each other’s eyes like this for
some moment when someone at the door slurs out like a drunken fool,
“Wow, she’s a hot one.”
I snap out of my trance and turn to stare at
Shit! What’s he doing here?
That intruder just happens to be my older
half-brother Dillon. He’s like a virus, always appearing in places
he’s not invited.
I turn back to look at Ivy and her face
turns pale. She clings to my shirt. I can feel her fingers digging
into my skin.
Something isn’t right. I can feel the
tension in the room.
“Hey, you okay?” I ask in concern.
Ivy just keeps shaking. I’m really worried
now. By this stage, Ivy’s safety is my main concern. So I tug her
behind me to protect her from Dillon.
“Would you be careful when you open the
door? You might hurt someone here.”
Dillon doesn’t bother replying. He’s too
busy making eyes at Ivy. I shift my body a bit more to hide her
behind my frame.
“She’s your girlfriend?” Dillon asks.
“Get off it, Dillon. Just go inside. I’ll
talk to you later.”
“Okay, little brother. And good job, by the
way.” He laughs, slaps my shoulder, and disappears inside.
I turn to Ivy. “Sorry about that. My brother
can sometimes be like that.”
She looks at me fiercely, like she’s angry
with me or something. She tears herself off me, then says, “I’m
going home now.”
I don’t like this change of atmosphere. We
were friends before, and now she acts all frosty. I try lighting up
the mood by chuckling. It sounds a bit strained even to my ears.
“Okay. Thanks for today. I’ll see you in two days time, then.”