All the students were already inside the auditorium. Some were sitting on the chairs but others were just standing, just like the current situation of Tricia and Danica right now; standing. The fears within them a moment ago were already subsided. They were now much more worried for the announcement, and even if it had not been revealed yet, most of them were already in tears. Maybe those two—who were involved in an accident were really important. Or just the other one whom they believed was dead.
The principal went in front, she greeted everyone. Despite most of them were not in their sanity, they still managed to greet back. But did it matter? No. That was not their concern right now. Even Tricia did not waste saliva to greet. She was not in the mood to speak.
When the principal started her testimony, the crowd just became noisy. They could feel the pain from the fresh memory of what happened yesterday. But Tricia, however, did not feel the same way.
Their principal told them about what happened, which was they already knew. Two senior high school students were bumped by a mercedes car, that’s it. She just made it too long by telling them what was her current situation when she found out what happened, how the Emergency Medical Service Team arrived, and how terrifying and painful it was to see the two students lying unconscious on the road with their own blood. Tricia wanted to go out. She just really wanted their principal to direct it to the point. She wanted to her to finally tell them if the two students were still alive or the other one was indeed dead. She couldn’t just believe the gossips she heard. She wanted it to come out from their principal right now.
“So, we are deeply and profoundly saddened to announce that one of our students in Senior High School, Kyle Hernandez Agonzaga, has become fatality in the very unfortunate incident. We are also giving our deepest sympathies to Agonzaga family—”
That was it. Tricia ran out of the auditorium after she finally heard it. Danica called her name but she didn’t give any glance. She did not want to hear more. It’s confirmed—the guy died. But how could she be this affected? It was frustrating her. She really didn’t know. There was no reason for her to worry this much but she couldn’t stop herself. She wanted to think that it was just normal. Maybe yes. She had always been cared for everyone, so it was not far for her not to feel worried to that Kyle Agonzaga.
Her thoughts were preoccupied going through the doorway of the auditorium that’s why she didn’t notice that there was also someone who was going through the door. The worse was she almost stumbled down the ground because of the impact. ‘Again.’ That’s what she wanted to utter. She was supposed to say sorry but the moment she laid her eyes on the guy, she suddenly felt immobile. She was frozen from where she was standing the moment she recognized who was in front of him. Her eyes widened. Again, her heart. Her heart was just fucking pumping so fast. She wanted to shout.
What the hell on earth was happening? Why this guy again? She wanted to cuss just to slap on her face that it was not a big deal. On the contrary, the laid-back guy looked stunned—far from her anticipation. Tricia expecting him to smile, but no, he was not. He looked surprised.
“How. . .” he uttered, staring at her.
“E-excuse me,” she said and ran away out of the auditorium.
Tricia didn’t mind what he said, she didn’t care what he was talking in the first place. They barely even knew each other, but part of her saying she was thankful. She didn’t know why she was thankful, maybe because that guy was not the Kyle Agonzaga she thought he was? Yeah, that’s it.
Running back to the building, Tricia came into a halt when someone suddenly grabbed her arm. It was unexpected. It was as if she got electrified by something. And she was more startled when she finally saw who was it. She purportedly grabbed her arm back and faced him.
“W-why did you follow me?” she asked.
Guess who it was, though.
The guy she didn’t know the name just stared at her. He said nothing. Both of their hairs were flying due to the cold breeze that suddenly blew upon them. It was as if an artificial wind. As if it was intentional to make the scene more romantic. She wanted to think that she was an actress and the guy was an actor. They had to stare at each other on the hallway. No words, just stare. But no, they were neither in taping nor were they artists, and especially, there was no camera around them. She shouldn’t think nonsense in this weird situation.
They were staring at the second time around. The distance between them wasn’t as close as when they were in the library, but it was enough to make her feel the unfamiliar throb in her heart.
Tricia was waiting his response, but she thought the guy didn’t have any plan to speak. Okay, so what should she do right now?
She supposed to speak again but she stopped herself. She even thought the opposite possible scenario—where the guy would be the one to speak first, but it opposed from what was happening right now.
Tricia just shook her head, walked and passed him. Besides, she never heard a word from him, so it was much better to just go back to the auditorium. Her best friend might be mad now since she just suddenly went out of the auditorium without saying anything.
But she didn’t even step a lot from where she was when someone already grabbed her arm again. Guess who?
Another palpitation. Her heart pounding so fast that she wanted to stop it for seconds. She indeed wanted to cuss.
“Hey, get your hand off me!” Tricia shouted, made the guy get surprised again. She closed her eyes. Wrong choice, wrong move.
‘Why did you do that? You are shame,’ she insulted herself.
She cleared her throat before she spoke up again. “Look, I’m s-sorry, but are you following me? What do you want? Who are you?”
Despite of the heat that she could feel in her cheeks she still endured to face the guy whose face was now unreadable. Okay, that was weird.
“You can see me.” That should be a question but it sounded more of a statement.
“Obviously.” Tricia furrowed her eyes.
She actually wanted to sarcastic the guy and laugh at him but she chose to just keep her mouth shut. Her lips supposed to curve but not until the guy gradually held her arms again which made her taken aback.
“You can definitely see me and I can also touch you.” The guy weird actions made her feel the goosebumps. “I can’t…it’s impossible.”
Tricia saw how the guy smiled, but she was sure it wasn’t a happy one.
The guy examined her from head to toe as if he couldn’t still process what was happening.
“What do you mean?” Tricia stayed calm. She was thinking maybe the guy was just insane or what.
The guy immediately took his hands off her arms, and she felt relieved.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t intentionally want to touch you.” His eyes darted on her ID—again.
“Miss Ferret, I’m really sorry.” The guy even clasped his both hands, as a sign that he was indeed sorry. His smile was back. A smile that Tricia once saw the first time they met in the library. Wait, did they really meet? Or just saw? Bumped? Whatever it was, it was not important to her.
Her eyes furrowed while she was trying to smile back. She had to smile back. It was not bad.
“It’s fine, Mr. . .” Tricia supposed to look at his name on his ID but he turned it back.
“What’s the matter?” she added.
The guy just smiled, shaking his head but refused to avert each other’s gaze. “Just call me King.”
Tricia witnessed how his dimple aroused in his cheek. She found it cute, but she preferred to ignore fantasizing his face.
“K-king?” she asked, feeling confused. Of course, what the heck was he thinking to ask a girl like her to call him that? Like hey, it was awkward—for her.
“Yeah. King. I am a King without. . .” he thrilled while smiling, seemed waiting her to continue what he wanted to utter.
Did he want them to chat? Tricia didn’t know why she rolled her eyes and couldn’t stop her lips not to curve.
“King without a queen, is that it?” she asked, but the laid-back guy shook his head and rubbed his nape.
“Without a throne,” he uttered.
Tricia heard him laughed. The laugh was relaxing. She didn’t even realize she snickered. Not too obvious there was nothing to laugh about.
“Wait, why King?”
Tricia shook her head in her mind. Asking herself what was happening to her and why was she talking to a stranger this instant.
“It’s my nickname. My mom made that for me. I once asked her why on earth they made that as my nickname. You guess what she said,” he commanded.
Unconsciously, Tricia smiled. “If I will guess it right, would you tell me your real name and what do you want from me?”
The guy laughed, his eyes even sunk. “Alright, Miss Ferrer. Cool.”
Tricia thought for a moment before she spoke.
“Of course, I couldn’t guess what were the exact words your mother told you. But for me, I think, it is because you are the King of their lives. You are important to them and so much valued for afraid to lose. The realm and the throne will be useless if there was no King in it.” She took a lump. “Just like you, their world and their lives will get worn if you will gone. And that where the realm and family relate to each other. They will feel useless if there is no King.”
Tricia couldn’t imagine herself saying this to the guy in front of her. But she had no choice, she already did. She should deal with it. Thus, this was her first rule, to be nice to everyone and should love talking. She was a transferee student, she shouldn’t act like a bad stranger.
The guy smiled, but it wasn’t a debonair one.
“Did I say something wrong?” she asked. She scrunched her forehead, sign that she was embarrassed.
The guy nodded.
“Yeah, you said something wrong.” He suddenly laughed. “Because the real reason why my mom made that, is because she wanted to let me know that a king cannot remain in a higher position forever. He can be replaced by another person who is much deserving, and the King is even possible to be thrown away from the realm.” He started to wander around. “You know, Miss Ferret, the reason why a king is replaceable because once he gets his demise, someone can get his seat. There are also some out there who want a ‘king’ dies because of their thirsts for the throne. And when they successfully dispatch the king, they can now get the seat. They can freely own the throne. Simple as that, Miss Ferret.”
“R-really? That was what your mom told you? I mean…why?” Tricia just couldn’t believe his Mom to be mean like that.
She was about to speak when he heard the guy laughed.
“Kidding.” And he laughed over and over again. Laugh? Yes, he was definitely laughing in front of her.
Tricia wanted to punch his face. He shouldn’t have to joke like that. He shouldn’t have subjected that kind of thing into a joke. If this guy was just his friend, she had been already smacked him on the arm. But while she was staring at him laughing, her eyes also landed on his hand which was still holding his ID.
“Was it really funny? Well, I don’t care about the joke anymore.” Tricia rolled her eyes. Rolling her eyes was her way to hide the truth in her eyes. She felt pity towards him just to find it was just a joke.
“Alright. I’m sorry, Miss Ferret. The truth is, she made that nickname of mine because. . .of me.” He smiled, his dimple aroused.
Tricia raised his brow, indicating she didn’t get it or she bothered with the smile. “Pardon me?”
“Because of me. I look like a king, can’t you see?” He even raised his two arms showing his two biceps.
Tricia just eventually realized that they were just fooling around. His mother didn’t actually say anything like that and especially his nickname wasn’t King. They were just wasting their time. The guy seemed had no one to fool around, not until he found her.
She was still looking at the guy laughing in front of her. It seemed like the guy was very happy that he had fool her. And she really wanted to pinch his dimple as her vengeance.
“Okay, if you’re done, I’ll go ahead, ‘King’. I still have classes to attend on. And I don’t have time for some jokes of yours.” Tricia supposed to take a back when the guy gently grabbed her arms.
She tiredly faced him. “What? Are we going to have another round of your jokes? I’m sorry to say this to you, sir, but I don’t have time for that. My best friend is waiting for me there.” She pointed the auditorium. “And why am I even talking to you? I don’t even know you, okay, you said King—but you were just fooling me around. So, if you let me, can you please take your grip off my arm, sir? Let me go back to the auditorium if you don’t mind.”
The guy blinked his eyes and let her go. “I just want to say see you around.”
Tricia starting to feel the embarrassment again.
‘Shame on you, Tricia!‘ she uttered to herself.
If that’s what he only wanted to say, why did he have to grab her arm, right? He could just say it without any physical attachment. So therefore, her reaction was considerable, right? She was right to assume things.
‘Was this the result of reading too much fiction?’
“Okay, s-see you around, too.” She quickly turned back and walked away. She intently closed her eyes. She wanted to scream because of embarrassment. She was already adapting that kind of behavior from her best friend. She didn’t want to be impulsive like her. Danica used to do things she hadn’t thought much about.
She wasn’t really far from him when she heard him again.
“Tricia Ferret!” The guy shouted. The moment she heard him called her name, goosebumps prickled on her skin. She didn’t want to turn back but her body already did. Too late for her.
“Regarding to my joke, they did it. They successfully dispatched the King from the throne.” He smiled.
Her heart beat was pumping so fast not just because of his sad smile, but because of what he said. What did he mean? She really wanted to ask why he was so cryptic.
When she didn’t respond, the guy spoke again. “And my joke is the hint of my real name!”
She was about to open her mouth but the guy already did.
“Thank you, Tricia, and it’s nice meeting you again! I’ve waited this for so long.” The guy smiled and winked. She hadn’t completely heard the last thing he said. And before she could even react, he was already running away.
Tricia just found herself smiling. Watching the guy’s back made her heave a sigh.
“You’re welcome, and nice meeting you again, King…or whatever your name is,” she murmured.
She came back to the auditorium just as the students were coming out. Danica immediately asked her why she left without saying anything, and the only thing she said was, she was tired and was having a seizure, so she just wanted to go back to their building. But she couldn’t fool her best friend. Danica knew whether or not she was telling the truth. But eventually, Tricia was surprised her best friend didn’t push the subject and just nodded at her.
On that day, they decided to continue the class but not as much as smooth like yesterday where everyone was laughing. But Tricia at that moment, she felt relieved. She didn’t know why, the only thing she knew, was that she was okay. And after the whole class, they found their way home.