III. The Sidekick Meets Number 1
Lily wished she could say it in the way she wanted it to, with more power, conviction, and a firm authority only a senior writer was afforded. Sadly, she ended up resigned to being a patient, polite and tolerant superior.
With a long inhale and heavy exhale, she finally said instead, “It’s time, Jean. Go outside, talk to people, and complete the List. Please, you are not going to be the cause of my headaches. Again.”
The reply she received was a pout.
With a wavy, vibrant red hair and a pink-cheeked smile lifting her dancing green eyes to the beat of her playful heart, Jean could be the simplest definition of beautiful. However, that afternoon, she was giving Lily an ugly headache. Why? It was because she was being a lazy ass as usual.
Resigned, Lily said, “Seriously? You’re pouting?”
The List was a campus popularity poll of students in Fram Hill High. Every school year, The Bugle conducted a survey among students and its results published. Conducting the survey should not require too much effort and energy from Jean. It only asked for: a deadline, inputs, a process and outputs.
What Lily got at the moment: a deadline – tomorrow night; input – Shit! It’s blank; process – Jean’s mouth and long eyelashes; outputs – Nah. Forget about it.
Jean replied, “Come on, Lily. No need to worry. I still have the entire afternoon tomorrow to do the survey. Right now, I have other plans… more interesting plans.”
Though distracted by Jean’s stunning tresses, Lily glared at her.
Tossing her hair, Jean added, “I promise, cross my heart. Swear to die later. Just let me do some other things today other than the survey, Lily.”
There went another toss of the hair.
Lily always envied her best friend because of her hair. And the redhead? She loved it that Lily was jealous.
Nice try distracting me from the point here, Lily thought. “No. It can’t wait, and you know that. What are these things you have to do first anyway? What are these more interesting plans?”
She sat and tried to sort out all the submitted feature articles for the next week’s publication. She almost forgot that she still had to write her own editorial and hadn’t come up with an idea yet; she thought that she should write about how terrible a certain “Pee-sick” class was and why until now she could not move on even after already passing it last year.
“Jean, please don’t make me worry about the paper especially the List. You know that the whole school is waiting for it. I’m dying here because I have this Physics tutorial with some juniors and guess what? It’s happening today. We are talking about pressure from Mr. Simper, okay? It’s killing me.”
The pressure was due to the fact that she was not sure if whatever she researched was anything helpful. Of all the seniors in school, why did she have to be the Physics students’ tutor? Well, she was a student tutor for the frustrating reason that she agreed to it in the first place.
She wanted to pull all her hair off so bad for being a sucker for grades.
Jean blinked. “Oh! Since it is already killing you, you can just play dead. You know.” The she-devil, oh she was, leaned in to Lily and said, “Please, Lily, I promise I’ll do it tomorrow. Here, a pinky promise.”
Before Lily could reply, someone knocked on the office’s door.
“Ahh, no pinky promise yet. Come in.”
Lily thought that it must be Duncan Teller, a good friend and The Bugle’s Editor-in-Chief. It should be him.
If he was here, he could help getting rid of Jean’s procrastination and get her ass to work, she prayed.
However, it was a moot point. Why? It was because… it wasn’t Duncan.
Right there and then, Lily knew exactly why Jean had other plans for the afternoon because Jean’s plans involved Frank Bosworth, who Lily thought for a second there, was a certified heartthrob with his surf blond boy looks and a footballer lean body.
And he just made everything impossible for Lily.
She looked at Jean and raised an eyebrow. “More interesting plans I see. Like unbelievably interesting.”
Jean gave Lily a silly look. “Yeah, you got to believe it. Super! So, Lily, I guess you know Frank Bosworth, right?”
Unbelievable. Was she kidding her? Of course, Lily knew Frank Bosworth – the football team’s most popular blond jerk and Jean’s ultimate crush. He, in the flesh, was gracing both Lily and Jean with his presence. Lily felt the need to shield her eyes from his superstar sparkles. Insert sarcasm.
Deep inside, Lily was trying so hard not to frown. Jean’s blushing was too obvious that Lily couldn’t help but pinch the fool’s forearm. Sometimes, Jean having a super crush was bad news. She couldn’t be stopped from flying to the clouds; she was a romantic to a fault.
Great! Jean was smiling like an idiot now. Oh god no!
Lily observed Frank Bosworth who had a particular smirk on, an attractive yet annoying sly smile. Well, she had to admit that he was not only good-looking but also way too good-looking. He was also a jerk and had ogling fan girls, and she always felt that he did not like her. Much of it was her opinion though – no proof or whatsoever. The emphasis would always be on him being a jerk.
The jerk opened his mouth. “Just so you know. Appleton invited me for a little chat this afternoon. She told me it has something to do with The Bugle. This may be one of the only few occasions that you get to do interviews properly. I remember you people used to eavesdrop inside the team’s locker room. Or is it in the shower room?”
He smirked even more.
Oh. Lily blushed.
It was not really a secret that The Bugle did some eavesdropping but in the shower room?
Okay. She did sneak into the shower room a few times but that was before she became one of the senior writers; it was in her first and second years in high school. The editor that time was still Duncan’s older sister, Becca who was notoriously bossy and nosy. Heck, Lily bet that Becca asked her to do all those embarrassing shower room adventures because she wanted to spy on the then football team captain – Kerr Hapman.
Kerr Hapman was Becca’s boyfriend. Point taken.
And what was this? Did she hear him right? An interview for The Bugle? What the heck?! Lily shot Jean a questioning stare, and, in return, the redhead innocently shrugged and turned to Frank, “Lily and I were just talking about the chat with you. We are convinced that the interview will be great for The Bugle. The football team is our readers’ favorite. Let’s have it somewhere else, right Lily?”
Jean didn’t give Lily enough time to argue and said, “We can do it in the library. It’s quiet there. Perfect.”
Frank Bosworth was Frank Bosworth. “Library would be nice because I am not in the mood to handle fan girls today. Hey! Maybe you can also help me with some homework.” He winked, “I’ll just wait outside,” and went out the office.
“Did he just? Did he just flirt with you?” Lily turned to Jean. “What is this? Tell me. No, don’t tell me. I changed my mind. Don’t tell me that this is your idea of getting to know Frank Bosworth.”
“Lily, I have been waiting for this since summer. You know how much I like him. Just today please,” she pleaded like a five-year-old kid and kissed Lily on the right cheek. “And yes, I am telling you that this is my idea of getting to know him and he did just flirt with me. Can you believe that? He’s my number 1.”
“Right, the number 1 in your ‘Boys I’d Like To Make Out With’ list.”
“I know you love me so much.”
“And I hate myself that I do.” Shaking her head, Lily added, “I guess I have to save your ass again from Duncan. I may be the senior writer here but he is still the boss of us both. We’re lucky he’s not as bad as his older sister.”
“Roger that.” Jean searched for her tote bag, grabbed it, and headed for the door. “I love you too, Lily.” Her eyes as green as emeralds, she winked at her best friend. “And always remember, you are the best sidekick.”
Then, she was gone like the heroine out to rendezvous with the love of her life.
Did she just call her a sidekick? Lily could only smile at the idea. She was supposed to be the boss of Jean and not the other way around. She guessed she had to do the survey herself then. She knew that Jean Marie Pampalon Appleton always kept her promise – pinky promise or cross her heart – but Lily did not want to risk missing the deadline. If she was a sucker for grades, then Duncan Teller was a sucker for deadlines.
In the end, she made mental rants. To hell with her Physics tutorial session! To hell with Mr. Lou Simper because he made Physics sound like a brain tumor or a brain hemorrhage! She shook her head and sighed small relief – her mental rants would not reach Mr. Simper’s ears anyway so she was pretty self-assured.
Resolved to forget her duty as a senior student for only a little while, she grabbed her stuff – bag, notebook, the Atomic Physics module, and the survey questionnaire – and headed for the door. She had also decided that Physics students could wait and saved them some of their sanity intact. Who wanted to die of being “Pee-sick” anyway?
Certainly, not her.