Jacob was staring at the ceiling of the classroom, discovering new patterns and shapes in the dots above. He titled his head slightly and his bangs came brushing over his eyes.
-“Are you done?” A petite voice asked from his side. “What are you looking at anyways~”
Jacob turned to see Kath, looking at the ceiling too. She looked a little silly and he fought a laughter.
-“Never mind, let’s just eat…” He said, finally facing his meal.
Jeremy had soccer practice more often than not and he barely ever came to eat with them anymore. Jacob could tell that Kath was sad. She picked at her food, obviously feeling down. He had told himself that he would confront Jeremy but he could never find the right timing for it. In the end, he couldn’t do anything.
-“I think…” Kath began. “I think I’m going to forget about Jeremy now… I knew it wouldn’t work out anyway. I can’t really help it now, huh?” She smiled bitterly.
-“Why~” Jacob started.
-“You wonder why I’m telling you this again…” She cut him off. “I told you before, didn’t I?”
-“Still…” He hesitated.
-“Jeremy is still my friend, but I don’t think I can forgive him for what he’s doing now… She dragged her words, her eyes foggy and unfocused. “So I don’t think I should like him anymore?”
-“Why is that a question?” He asked.
-“I’m not sure.” She laughed, embarrassed.
Her laugh caught his green eyes for a moment and he couldn’t help but stare. She stopped and looked back. He looked away.
-“What?” She asked, sulking.
He said nothing and picked at his food. She tilted her head to the side.
-“You’re being weird again, Jay…” She said, taking her face in her hand. Her sleeves were too long and her delicate hands were barely visible.
-“I’m always weird…” He said, biting in a cherry tomato. His eyes glided to the red flesh and he sighed.
-“Not that day.” She said, distant. “That day, you were cool.”
He chuckled without smiling but he couldn’t help but feel bashful.
-“I can’t be cool, Kath, I’m too much a coward…” He said.
-“I don’t think that’s true…” She said, picking at her food once more. “I think you’re lovable.”
Jacob choked on the juice and bit at his straw. He felt his cheek reddening but he frowned, trying to recover his breath. Kath laughed, this time genuinely.
-“Never mind!” She said. “You’re not cool, you’re just really cute, like a kitten.” She laughed even harder.
-“I told you I’m not a pet.” Jacob said, frowning, his face was flushed and he tried to hide himself under his hair.
-“Yes, Jay, you’re a little kitty. All cute and fluffy!” She said again, laughing even harder.
Jacob tried to poke her forehead with his finger but she dodged and ran away from the desk. She turned around to make a silly face and he got up.
-“You forget the kitten is much stronger than you.” He growled. In two big steps he was next to her and, lowering himself, he grabbed her by the leg and slumped her over his shoulder.
-“Wha! I get it, I get it. Let me down!” She said, trying to escape Jacob’s grip.
She hung up there like a potato bag and banged at his back but he almost felt nothing. She couldn’t manage to move her feet either and after a moment, she went limp.
-“Fine, you win. You’re not a kitten~” She was interrupted by the door opening.
In front of Jacob, Jeremy stood. He stared at the scene for a second, a strange bewildered grin on his face.
-“Huh, I came to talk to you two.” He said, timidly.
Jacob felt Kath tensing up. He should have put her down, there, but he felt like she wouldn’t want Jeremy to see the face she made. He felt her face in his back. She must have sighed because he felt hot air through his clothes.
-“What?” Jacob asked, defensively.
-“Uhm, I asked Sarah to go to the Snowfall Festival with me. She’s going with friends and I was wondering if you two would like to~”
-“We can’t.” Jacob interrupted, his voice as sharp as razors.
-“Why?” Jeremy asked hesitantly.
-“It’s uh… We’re uh… Me and Kath are going together.” Jacob blurted out, cursing himself at the same time.
-“You two? Together? Uh… okay… I’ll ask the soccer team then…” Jeremy tripped over his words and left, closing the door behind him.
Hesitantly, Jacob put Kath down. Lifeless, he went back to his chair and carelessly plopped himself on it. Kath approach with a complicated expression and he recoiled in fear of her hitting him.
-“Thank you.” She said. Slowly, his gaze slipped to her face. Her eyes were glassy but her tears weren’t falling.
-“I said something dumb… Sorry…” He blurted out, trying to stay calm.
-“You helped… Thanks…” She slowly sat on her chair, distant. “I don’t think I could have faced him… I think you knew, right?”
Jacob nodded gravely, staring at his juice carton. He grabbed it and squeezed and a pained sigh escaped the straw.
-“Were you serious?” She asked after a moment of silence.
-“We don’t have to go together.” He answered flatly.
-“If he sees me or you there alone…” She started.
-“Our plans changed.” He said.
-“He will ask why we didn’t call to say so…” She looked grimly at her food. Her eyes went from it to Jacob and she took her face in her hand again. “I wouldn’t mind going with you.” She said, bashfully.
Jacob’s eyes widened and he stared bewildered at her for moment. Her face was still as a statues and she looked completely serious. He shied away, fidgeting with his straw. For a while, his head was blank and devoid of any thought. He felt anxious, but then his eyes were on her again and his fears washed away. She looked worried, almost scared. He chuckled. Kath was his friend. She didn’t want to be alone. She would like to be with her good buddy. He understood and so he said:
-“Let’s do just that.”