Jacob walked nervously, a crunching sound coming from everyone of his footsteps. He checked his surroundings before crossing the road. Students all around him laughed and seemed to have fun. On the other hand, he felt terrified. “It’s fine, it’ll go well.” He tried to reassure himself.
After going to the temple with Kath and Jeremy, the days had been pretty uneventful but now it was Friday. Usually, you would go to the temple on the weekend, asking for different things associated with love. The following Friday was the day to know if your prayers had been answered. People would go to those they like and offer something to declare their feelings. Exactly two weeks later, those that received something would need to answer back with something else.
It used to be flowers and cloth that people would offer but now chocolate was the most common. You would give the chocolates for those you hold dear, be it a friend, a family member, a lover or a crush.
Jacob jumped at every shadow. He knew he would receive somethings. He had braced himself all week but, now, his courage was failing him. He clenched his fist, trying to find comfort in the sky but only found a sea of grey and a misty cloud escaping his mouth to dissipate higher above.
His bag felt heavier than usual. He thought about the chocolate he had place in there. One tiny bag for Jeremy and another for Kath. Kath… He felt his skin crawl. She had acted as per usual when he had met her on Monday but he couldn’t help but see her stare when he wouldn’t be looked. From the corner of his eyes, sitting at her desk, always looking. When he’d turn to check on her she would turn around. When he’d talk to her alone, she’d become incredibly bashful and would even run away from time to time.
Jacob couldn’t help but feel sad about this. He believed he really had screwed up. She felt uncomfortable with him around and it made him feel like crap.
“I’ll hand it to her casually.” He thought. “Just like friends do.” Sadly for him, school was already within his sight. He felt like turning around and running in the other direction but he controlled his urge.
A girl ran to him. She stopped and bowed, handing him a small package. It was made of transparent pink plastic and Jacob’s eyes fell on the chocolate within. He tried his best not to turn around and leave.
-“Ah~ You don’t have to answer. It’s just to properly thank you…” She said shyly, a cute little smile on her lips.
-“Thank… me?” Jacob asked slowly.
-“You know… The day you transferred, you saved me from those bullies.” She said twisting her fingers around the plastic of her package. “I made them myself. Maybe you don’t like chocolates?”
-“Oh.” Jacob said, Suddenly remembering. “Hyenas.” He slowly wrapped his hand around the gift and the girl looked surprised. “It was nothing, really.” He said trying to look calm.
From the girl’s point of view, he must have looked completely calm and posed, almost too unaffected. She muttered some kind of thanks and nervously turned around.
-“To be honest, I thought you would refuse them.” She said.
-“If they are to thank me I have to reasons to deny them.” He said blankly and she bowed again before running off.
When he entered the classroom, he felt eyes turning to him. Trying to empty his mind, he walked to his desk. The room was quiet and every of his footsteps were thunderous. He sat down on his chair, uncomfortable, and Jeremy jumped to his feet.
-“Honey, I got you something.” His friend said, tapping him on the back. He handed him a cheap branded chocolate bar. “Let’s go out on a date again next time.” Jeremy exploded in a fit of laughter.
At this point, his classmates had grown uninterested by Jeremy stupidly clowning around and they had started to chatter and laugh again. Jacob got his own chocolate out of his bag and threw one of the package at Jeremy who caught it with ease.
-“Aw, you shouldn’t have.” Jeremy cackled.
Jacob was trying to shove the girl’s package down his bag, ignoring the stupidities Jeremy was throwing at him. But from the corner of his eyes, he could see Kath looking at him. He turned around and she looked away but turned around again only a second later. When she saw he was still looking at her, her expression switched. She suddenly looked embarrassed and he cheek were tainted with red. He ignored it, signaling her to come to him. Hesitantly, she got up and walked to him.
-“Don’t give me that look.” Jacob said. He thought he would sound nervous but his voice was a posed growl. “Here.” He said, handing her the chocolate he had prepared for her. Her eyes danced between Jeremy’s and her gift and sadness flashed in her eyes before she smiled awkwardly.
-“Thanks.” She said, grabbing onto it.
-“I’m not that cheap.” Jacob scoffed despite himself. “They might look the same.” He said, pointing at Jeremy’s little bag. “But the content is different.”
Kath suddenly flushed and bowed awkwardly before walking back to her desk. Eyes were on him again.
-“Who’s that from, anyway?” Jeremy asked, pointing at the pink package.
-“Ah, the girl I helped when I transferred.” He said, spacing out. “I thought she was mad at me for rejecting her. I guess she’s not as childish as I thought.”
He took his cheek in his hand lazily and sighed. A crumpled paper came to hit him right between the eyes and he looked around. Kath was throwing lasers from her eyes and he knew it was hers. Slowly, he fetched the ball from the floor and straightened it.
It read: “Rooftop at lunch.”
Jacob frowned and raised his eyes to her. She was still staring. He grabbed his phone and texted her: “A paper? Really?” He saw her read the message and frown. He received a reply shortly after: “Yes, I really felt like hitting you with something.”
Jacob tried to hide a chuckle under his fist and Kath gave him a annoyed look. He heard people whisper but they were interrupted by the teacher entering the classroom.