High School Life
Part Four: The Result
It's been two weeks since school started; a chilly Thursday.
Jay's already well enough to sit and stand, but if he took a step too much, he could just immediately collapse, which is why he is staying at the hospital. Apparently, he has only allowed me to visit. Why? I did not ask, afraid to be stripped of this privilege. Before coming back to school, he asked me to bring homework to him everyday. I agreed.
Today's my first day 'back', and the school's front door seemed so cold, every face staring at me seemed so unfamiliar.
A lot of people came up to me and questioned, "Where's Jay?" or "How is Jay?" or "Jill, what's up with Jay?" or "Is Jay doing ok?" I ignored all of them.
Not purposely, not revengefully for the way they treated me before, simply because I just felt unable to comprehend their words. I feel so tired lately. Really. From being stressed so much. I wouldn't be surprised if my hair is white from worrying.
Oh Jay, I owe you so much! I'm such a stupid girl; someone you would so bravely rescue yet had used to try to make your life a misery. You have such a big heart…
Who's calling my name?
Stop saying my name!
I blinked. "Who?"
I came face to face with a boy around my age.
He smiled and ruffled at his dark brown hair. "Are you ok?" He asked.
"Yeah, I'm ok." I tugged a strange of my chocolate-coloured hair behind my ear.
I am repeating the very beginning of my story – when I first met Jason and Jay –, I know. Except this time, I didn't think about Jason's beautiful turquoise eyes. I only repeated everything because he felt like a stranger to me, as if we had just met.
"Jill… you're looking rather and pale and confused." A note of concern was in his voice. "What's wrong?" He reaches forward to touch my shoulder.
I flinched visibly. He seemed hurt. "Umm… who are you, again?" I asked.
He took a step back. "It's me… Jason… Jason Riley…"
"Jason Riley… familiar…" I murmured to myself.
He gasped. "Oh, what have they done to you?" He hugged me tightly, but I squirmed out of reach.
"Stop…" I muttered.
"Jill! I'm Jason Riley, your loving boyfriend!"
At that moment, my life flashed before my eyes. I remembered everything that has happened to me, and not just Jay.
All of a sudden, I became Jill Lorisset. I am Jill Lorisset, not Jay's worrier. I remember loving Jason, how happy I was when he asked me out, how I had a friend name Lera Khan, and she was in love with a guy I nicknamed Lee Something.
At once, I saw myself as a cheerful girl, someone with a lively spirit, instead of a dead soul like I have now.
That's what Jason loved about me. It was my gutsy cheerfulness he loves, and also me being the first to… to stand up to and make a fool out of Jay. Jay. Oh, Jay! I'm so horrible!
A smiled forced on my expression. "I'm sorry, I just had a bad headache, that's all. Well, I'm going off to class now. Bye."
Before he could say one more word, I left.
Then I met Lera. My one and only friend. I was so grateful for her simple presence before, but now, I'd be happier without her. It's amazing how one incident could change you so much.
"Oh my God, Jill!" She gave me a half embrace. "Good to see you back!" She smiled brightly. "So what's happening? How's Jay?"
I was irritated. "You're not sounding like a real friend, you're sounding like a typical gossiping bitch."
She blinked. "I'm sorry. But it's just that since you wouldn't give out any information to our student body, they're all coming to me to dig stuff out, and frankly, I don't know what to say to them… c'mon, just tell me something!"
I glared at her icily. "So, after all the severity of things, all you bunch of morons care for is juicy gossip, eh? Even after the fact that Jay and I encountered criminals that are capable of committing murder, and we almost died, it's nothing but the "in" stuff for our school. Is that it?"
My harsh tone surprised her. "Ok, ok, you have a reason to be mad and grumpy, so I'll be understanding today… Oh, but guess what? I seriously think Lee likes me! Honest! He's starting to flirt with me now, and he often wants to have lunch with me alone! But he's like trying to tease me, because I'm just getting so desperate, and he's still not asking me out! Ugh! It's driving me crazy! God I love him. Why can't he just get it over with? Just ask me out already! Oh, I'm getting insanely desperate! It's not like he doesn't know I'm obsessed with him! But I'm also feeling sort of insecure, 'cause you know what if—"
"Lera! Please! Shut up!" I screamed. She appeared startled. Then I looked at myself and realized how ugly my words were. I cried. "I-I'm so sorry…" I chocked while dabbing at my face. "L-Lera, I'm, I'm s-so sorry! I d-didn't mean to say, say th-that! Oh my G-God! I'm going c-crazy, ho-honest, too much happened in my life lately… I'm so sorry!"
Lera was sympathetic. "I'll go…" and she left.
I was left there alone, crying, letting all my stress flow with my tears.
The day passed in a blur. Jason and Lera came and went. For once, I was surrounded by people at lunch, but I didn't enjoy it. For once, I wanted to be alone.
At the end of the day, Lera gave all the homework to me, knowing I probably didn't listen to half a word the teachers said. I thanked her lamely, just feeling desperate to get out, and visit Jay at the hospital.
"So," I said, piling a CN tower height stack of books by Jay's bed the minute I got there. Some of his colours were returning, but he was still rather pale and skinny. "It's no big deal, all we have is, pages 370-382 for math, numbers 1-30, 33-59, 62-100, 120-135. That's about it. Oh, and the seven handouts.
"And then for English, write a story, minimum 6000 words, have it peer-edited, at least three copies, good copy computer typed, double space, font 12, Times New Roman. Geography; two major tests on everything we've learnt so far plus the three handouts.
"And that's the important things, the rest I'll inform you later."
He groaned, but nodded. "Thanks Jill."
I left for a walk around the back of the hospital, just leaving Jay to do his homework. This may sound silly, but ever since the accident, I felt sort of more related to the hospital than anything else. As if I belonged here. I would prefer to come here more than to go home, or go to a friend's house, or an amusement park. Just staying makes me feel at peace, where nothing disturbed me, and my heart was calm.
I wonder if this is normal or is this the symptom of a sever mental disease. But really, if people from the "outside" world would just stop bugging me and leave me to be, maybe I would be more comfortable there.
Hours later, I came back to Jay's room, only to find him unconscious on his bed. "Jay!" I cried. The doctors came rushing in, and they explained later that he was experiencing too much pressure, and I knew it just had to be the homework. However, giving me a brave smile, he said, "I'm ok Jill, I need to get used to this… after all, isn't hardship what real life is about?" It was supposed to be a joke, but his words sounded so true that I could not laugh.
Next day, though he waited on his bed for me, I told him the only thing I could force myself to say: "Oh, um, we had TAP day today, so we didn't get any homework."
He was shocked, suspicious, but believed me anyways.
I was so relieved, especially seeing him at least somewhat healthy and under no strain at all.
It continued on like this. I made a new excuse everyday, and he believed me everyday, and I must say, he is recovering much faster. However, soon, the principal began to go against me.
"Jill Lorisset, I would like you to please inform Mr. Ranson that he is failing." Said my principal. "I understand he had quite a bad accident, but not doing his homework day after day really is not helping. His average has dropped from 96 to 71, and if he keeps this up, he'll be very close to failing."
"But he passed out the last time he tried actually doing all his work! I cannot pile all this pressure on him; you really should see how well he's recovering already—"
"Well," he interrupted, "if he's already fainted once and getting better, he should be prepared this time."
How I hated him then. I wanted to rip out his guts and shove it up his ass. But instead, I walked grumpily away, having no choice but to nod. For now.
At my visit to Jay, I found myself unable to bring up the failing matter to him, and neither did I have the heart to give him the homework, which by now is a whole month worth piled together. "Oh, nothing Jay." I smiled convincingly. "Luckily, we had a supply teacher today, and everyone was fooling around—you know how it is." I waved my hand carelessly. "No homework. Ain't that a treat?"
"Yes," he replied suspiciously. "We seem to be getting real lucky lately…"
And I just continued to smile.
After I was home, however, I began to worry. Jay's failing… I can't let that happen! What would he do once the news gets to him? How would he react? Would he get even sicker? Even if I don't tell him, the teachers will phone his parents soon!
There's only one thing left to do.
I have to do his homework for him.
But if I print out two identical copies of everything, the teachers will surely notice!
After balancing things out, I realized that I won't have time to make two perfect works, there can only be one level four while the other one will have to be sloppy and just passing. I'll be handing in the bad copy as mine. Why? Because Jay's the one failing, I'm not. My average is still maintaining 90s while Jay's is close to the line. A few 50s and 60s won't affect my mark to the point of unacceptability, while the good marks will pull Jay's average back up. So when he returns, he'll just continue from then on.
Of course, to make things less suspicious, I'll be printing out 'Jay's good copy' of absolute splendor out of the computer, while doing mine all hand written.
It was a lot of work, probably more than I had ever expected as it was proven days later.
Every night, I went to bed at twelve, every weekend, I spent at least six hours doing projects, and even so, the results of my 'crap copy' was even worse than I had prepared for. I knew my mark will take a nosedive, but I only realized now that I'm not sure if I could hold on much longer, because lately, for my assignments, not to fail was the only thing I could pray for. And to make it worse, the teachers left all the major marks that are more than just a large chunk of our mark till the third semester, a.k.a. this term.
Yet another Rose Day passed and finally, Jay made a declaration that he'll be back the next week. It's already near the end of April, and the weather is delicious. Jay's mood beamed like the sun as he drank in the healthy nature day after day, deprived of pressure. He lives like a free blue jay. Really, and that's a good thing.
Another week passes and Jay came back to school.
Boy did I feel relieved. Already, during the three weeks, I managed to keep Jay's mark remaining an 85, while my average plunged from a 91 to a 72. That was how miserable 'my work' was, due to lack of time.
That day, Jay was surrounded by more people than usual, and that's saying an awful lot. But I think he's changed, because he doesn't seem to enjoy and take advantage of the extra attention anymore, instead, he was very gentle and told everybody nicely that it wasn't necessary.
At the end of the day, after he'd finally been able to get rid of all his fan club members, he came to me. "Hey Jill…" He greeted softly.
"Hi, Jay." I replied, just happy he's still alive with no permanent damage.
"You, um, wanna walk home together?"
"Sure, but don't you have your butler here to pick you up?"
"Yeah… but I can tell him to go home without me."
"In that case," I said with a smile, "I'd love to."
"Great!" Just as we were about to walk away, somebody stopped us.
"No so fast." We turned around to see Mrs. Godley, our science teacher. "Mr. Ranson, I would like a word with you." She said pointing at an empty classroom. "And Ms. Lorisset, you will wait outside."
She led Jay inside and didn't bother shutting the door. I wasn't eavesdropping but she had spoken pretty darn loud for me not to hear, so I listened to their whole conversation casually.
"Mr. Ranson." She said, handing a stack of paper to him. "I am so proud of you. Though you were sick for the past month, I'm overjoyed that you were still able to produce such exquisite work! That girl Jill, lying about how you were in too much pressure and couldn't do all the work. Pity."
"What?! Miss, I wasn't even aware we had homew—"
"Now, now, Jay." She comforted. "There's no need to be modest now, it is quite okay, I've never stopped believing in you."
"No miss, really, you've misunderstood something here. I can hardly stand the pressure of just carrying so much work never mind actually doin—"
"Mr. Ranson, it's not bad being complimented." She cleared her throat. "The sole reason I came to speak to you is to suggest that you please find another lab partner, because Ms. Lorisset's recent work were either barely passing or just plainly failing. This will not be good for you seeing as that I give partners the same mark. It's quite shocking actually seeing as that she used to be a straight 90s student all year." She handed him one of my 'crap copies'. "This is her recent work's condition." She then handed him an assignment I did from semester one. "And this was her work from before. I really cannot understand why, except her work began failing same time you were doing a terrific job even in the hospital… perhaps she assumed your work was going to be crappy so she would have an excuse to say she was busy taking care of you…"
Jay analyzed her words, doubtfully, especially since I had told him we didn't even have homework. He then looked at my good assignment from before, then at his 'own work', and perhaps because of the similar font, or style, but whatever it was, he suddenly took an abrupt step back and spun his head towards the doorway.
Unfortunately I was standing there, and the realization across his face and in his eyes was undeniable, and when he locked gaze with me, I knew I was caught.
Without hesitating, I ran.
I didn't know what he was going to do, but all I knew was that I ran and ran, with the pounding of my heart ringing next to my ear. My house was within steps and I was so relieved! But I have underestimated Jay's speed. I was fast, sure, but he was faster. Just as I ran up my street, he tackled me from behind and spun me around roughly to face him. "WHY?" He demanded loudly.
"Why, what?" I replied weakly.
"Why did you do that? You stupid girl! How could you be so dumb, huh?" I thought when he raised his hands he was going to slap me, but instead, he embraced me in a breathtaking hug. "Why… why? You stupid girl… " He kept saying over and over again. I thought he was furious with me, but then his voice cracked and I felt liquid on my back. Is it raining? I turned around and realized Jay was crying. "Why are you crying?" I asked softly. I have honestly never seen a guy cry in my life… they were supposed to always be brave…
He hugged me even tighter. "Never, Jill, never in my whole life has someone been this good to me, has someone gone through so much pain only to give all the credits to me willingly. Oh Jill, you're too stupid, too kind to me!"
I leaned against him because it just felt so comfortable, and I replied, "No, Jay, what I did was nothing, you risked your life for me." And at those words, I felt like crying too, and this I did against his chest.
"And now, I know it has been worth it…"
We just stayed like that for a while, when I felt something compelling inside me. At once this realization poured into me and soaked me from the top of my head to the end of my toes, and I couldn't help but to say it. "Jay… I love you."
He was stunned for a moment, but then squeezed me tighter. "About time too…" He murmured, then let out happy laugh. "You should know by now that I obviously love you too."
There was a sudden intake of breath but it was from neither Jay nor me. We turned around to see Jason Riley. Oh, shit. Now Jay and I gasped with pure horror. "Jason! God, what are you doing here?!" I asked.
He had hurt written all over his face. "It's my birthday today… I was going to take you to dinner with me…" Then he chuckled bitterly. "Well, thanks for giving me this as a birthday present. And just for the record, I've certainly had better." He shrugged as if he didn't care, but deep inside I knew he was aching. "Oh well, at least it'll be an unforgettable one."
I saw how much I was killing him, but I also saw how distant he was from me. I took a deep breath. "Jason, we need to break up."
"Oh no," he said, backing away. "Go ahead and love Jay, I understand you've been through a lot with him, but you're not breaking up with me." Then he sounded so desperate. "We just need to spend more time together. Everyday after school, I'll take you to a different park, and every weekend, we'll—"
"Jason, stop this!" I cried. "I feel distant towards you, as if we've hardly met, do you understand?"
He was silent. "So, so this is it, huh."
"I'm sorry, but, I love Jay." Jay took my hand and squeezed if affectionately.
"What about you, Jay?" Jason asked his best friend. "Don't you have a say in this? I am your best friend."
"Sorry man, I'm never letting Jill go for the world. I forgave you when you dated her, now it's your turn to give me the same support."
"Oh would it just goddamn rain already!" Jason screamed at the sky. But the young sun continued shining healthily on his face. He looked at me one last time. "I hope you're happy." And he dashed away.
Now it's just Jay and me. I turned to face him. "Well?"
"Well, what?" He was confused.
"Aren't you going to make it official?"
"Oh you can be so silly sometimes… ask me out already!"
His face broke into a grin and he picked me off the ground and spun me around and around, then he whispered against me, "There's no need. You're mine, and you know it."
I'd say things worked out great, because as luck would have it, all the 'signs' Lee sent Lera were all false, as the same day I broke up with Jason, he asked a girl out right in front of Lera.
So there she is, crying, and who else runs by her other than our dear, dear heartbroken Jason?
And according to Lera, one minute they were telling each other their sad, sad, love life, and the next, they realized that they had so much in common and began to kiss and Jason and her became like a couple just like that.
Of course Jason's account of what happened was slightly different, but the ending results is the same: they're a couple, are very happy, and have gotten over their last heartache.
But who am I to complain? Lera's got her special 'J' and I've got my 'Jay', and all four of us are still friends so what else is there to say? I suppose now that everything worked out for the best and everybody's happy, this leads us to—
"Why are you talking into a tape recorder?"
I jumped and turned around to see Jay coming up into my room. "What the hell are you doing here?"
"My, aren't we just so sweet today." He shrugged. "Your mom let me in. And stop recording everything into that damn tape recorder." He peeked at the time displayed on the machine and looked at me as if I were mad. "You've been talking for two damn hours and 37 minutes?! What are you doing? Recording your life story?"
"No…" I frowned. "Just starting from when I met you."
"Okay, I know I'm so interesting and everyone wants to hear about me, but turn that thing off will ya? You need to get a life. I'm taking you to Wonderland right now." He stepped forwards to turn it off, but I slapped his hand.
"Don't you even think about it Jay Christopher Alexander Ranson."
"I hate that name…" He muttered. "I hate every single one of my middle names…"
"Me too." I giggled. "Hold on, let me just give a conclusion and then we can go."
If anyone ever told me before that Jay would become my future boyfriend, I would've screamed, 'AAAAAAAAAAH! The world is ending everybody! The sun is freezing, the sky is falling and the ground is sinking! I tell ya insanity is switching positions with sanity! Pack your bags and escape to the next nearest galaxy I tell ya, don't get contaminated! Wait, screw the bags! There's no time for that! Just run while you still can!' ("Hey, I take that offensively!" Jay growled in the back.)
But now, I'm going out with Jay, and nothing's happening. The seasonal pattern continues and the sky didn't fall. The ground isn't sinking and there's no need to run.
I remember before I used to imagine being Mrs. Jill Riley. But now that I really think about it, I'd say Mrs. Jill Ranson isn't bad either.
Yeah, in fact, I think it sounds even better.
Author's Note: God, I started this story at third semester of grade 8, and it's now the summer of grade 9 and I'm going to grade 10 next year and I'm finally finished! What a miracle… but I was actually done long before, just had to edit, then type it out. Phew.
Constructive criticism is VERY MUCH WELCOMED! This is probably the longest story I've written (not counting fan fiction, I'm saying longest as in proper editing, written on actual paper, took time to plan and etc, etc), and I would like to make it as perfect as I can. So if you spot something that's not fitting or lame, I can think about it and maybe edit it. But stupid no-reasoned flaming, I will drop a landslide on your house and hope you get buried in there. 'Cause you're just being stupid. Lol.