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Rainy Summer Nights
3 more weeks. Only 3 more weeks to go then I’m free, I whispered to myself. I have had it with this school. It’s not that I’m complaining about the fact that I am labeled as a school loser here. I would rather be a loser than be one of those hypocrites, show-offs and wannabes, who are of course only brainwashed by what the TV shows and dictates them. And yes, I’m the only one who thinks like this in my school. And since I’m the only one who refuses to follow the orders of the “Ideal Social life” based mostly on television, no one really wants to make friends with me, because they all know that being friends with me would mark them as a loser at once, which of course would mean the end of their lives. The only thing these artificial people like to do everyday in school is to play mean jokes on me, which if they successfully achieve, would mark them as cool. But I no longer have to keep up with that, because finally, I’m out of this place in three weeks.
Ding Ding Dong Dong. Recess was over. Even if most people enjoy recess, it seems like I never really cared if it was time for break or not. It’s not because I’m a genius addicted to studying, but because I feel lonelier knowing that there’s actually no one I can talk to. There are moments when I sit on the stairs and pray that this wouldn’t happen after I graduate. I don’t want to end up isolating myself. I’m just looking for someone who I can actually talk to. And of course a place where people won’t harshly treat me by playing jokes on me. I’m not really sure what I want to do after school but I’m sure hoping that life after graduation would be different from now.
“Hey 4 eyes! How ‘bout you carry my books to class?! I sure am tired.”, remarked Ian. Ian Anderson. How I hated him. The only thing he can actually do is to show-off his “skills”, which aren’t even that impressing and interesting. I don’t even know why many girls are falling from him, when he’s nothing but a spoiled brat who has a bunch of cocky brats following him everyday. Who does he think he is?! The king of the world?! “Why don’t you use those lovely muscles of yours and bring your own books to class. And I have a name ok?! So can you please stop calling me 4 eyes?!”, I replied. I have had it with this people. Especially with Ian Anderson who thinks he’s some kind of rich billionaire. But at that moment I couldn’t stop wishing I had a time machine to make time go faster. “Whoah Ian. D’ya hear that?! The chick with glasses just answered back!”, cheered the boys. Ian grinned, turned towards me, bowed and looked me in the eye. His face was so close to mine and I could see the smile on his lips grew wider. I could do nothing but clench my fists. What does he want?! He’s not gonna do anything right?! He looked at me closer and put his mouth right beside my ear. I froze. “Nice comeback. I like that”, he whispered. Ian stood up straight and winked at me. What was that for?! I didn’t really care, but I wanted to get out of that place So I ran through the hallway straight into class. That boy! Probably wants to make fun of me again. I’m pretty sure he’s laughing at me with his friends behind my back, seeing that I couldn’t react properly to that wink. I bet they’re going to tell that to the whole class so I can be the laughing stock again. Ding Ding Dong Dong . The bell for the lessons rang. I took my seat and put my bag to my side. The teacher came with Ian and his friends right behind him. Ian passed by me and smiled. I blushed and looked away. He’s probably laughing very hard right now. Geez. Of all the jokes he and his friends played on me, why this one?! I’m not going to give in that easy. Ian sat behind me. Even so, I didn’t pay any attention to him nor did I even take a glimpse of him. I just got my books, put them on my desk and prepared myself for the lesson.
“Class, you are aware that your graduation ball is in two weeks. I know you have been all waiting for this day and here are the following details on the program for the ball. So I would like you to listen attentively.”, said the teacher after checking our attendance. “The ball will take place in the school’s hall room. You are to come in formal wear. And the election for Senior High King and Queen are to be elected starting next week. You are to nominate your own king and queen. Other information is written here on this sheet of paper I am going to give you.” Great! Everyone is obliged to vote and I don’t even know who to vote or to nominate. What’s worse is I don’t even know where the heck I’m supposed to get a gown. I obviously can’t go in jeans! I can sense that the school year will end with me being the jerk of all seasons. If I needed help then it’s now more than ever!
I took the keys out of my pocket and silently opened the front door. “ I’m home!” , I shouted. And yet again, another exhausting day, I thought to myself. “ So how was school?!”, asked my mother. “ The usual. Me being picked on until school finally ends. It doesn’t change and I don’t expect it to either.” “As long as they don’t hurt you , then just ignore them”, mom replied. Ignore, huh?! As if I could just ignore…… Geez! Did I really have to remember that wink now?! Ok Rachel, it’s nothing but a mere joke. Just forget about it. And soon enough I did.
Dinner with my mom. Why just with my mom?! My dad left us 2 years ago and we , or at least I, don’t expect him to come back. And yes, I’am the only child in the house, a reason why my mom never stops worrying about me everytime I’m out of the house. But that’s not the point. I have to ask my mom for a gown, without having her freak out at the imagination of all the upcoming expenses.
“Mom”, I said after swallowing my dinner. “You know that I’m going to graduate right?!”
“Yes, of course I know. Why?!”
“Well, it’s tradition in our school to have a graduation ball before we all graduate, and uhhmm it’s necessary that we attend this ball.”
“And uh, I’m supposed to attend in formal wear.”
“So you need a gown?!”
“Uh huh.”, I replied with a worried smile.
“I have one upstairs. I wore that in our graduation ball.”
“Really?!”, I exclaimed , quite surprised at the answer my mother just gave me.
“Yep. You’ll be surprised at what the gown looks like.” , my mom said with a wide grin.
After cleaning the dishes we both went up the attic to look for the dress. Everything was covered with dust. I just hoped that the dress would be spared from all this dirt. “Ahhh, there it is.”, squealed my mother. The way she smiled just made me burst with curiosity. She reached for the big black box from the corner of the attic. “Come on downstairs. It’s too dusty in here”, mom told me. I followed her to her room closing the door behind me.
Soon we found ourselves both sitting on her bed. “You’ll be quite shocked.”, remarked mom. She lifted the cover of the box and put it aside. “Go on.”, she said. I lifted the white gown and to my surprise, it wasn’t just a gown. It looked like the dress Marilyn Monroe was wearing in one of her famous posters. I looked at my mother and she smiled.
“Mom. I can’t wear this. I don’t have the figure for it.”
“Don’t talk nonsense. I had the exact same body when I was your age.”
“But mom, I don’t think I’ll look good in this.”
“Of course you will. Unless you’re trying to tell me that I probably looked stupid in the dress….”
“No mom. What I’m trying to say is that biologically there is still a genetic difference between us.”
“Genetic difference or not, you’ll still look great in it. I’ll tell Ellaine to come over to help with the manicure and pedicure, since I’m the one who’s going to do your hair and make-up.”
“You don’t have to call Ellaine. She might be working or something.”
“No. We both have our day off in the salon. You’re surely going to be the prettiest girl in that ball.”, and with that my mother smiled.
“Whatever you say mom. Thanks.”
“No problem sweetie.”
The day of the ball came. Everyone was excited except for me. I didn’t know why Ellaine and my mom were very excited about today, when I, the attendee, am not even the slightest bit of happy. Preparing for a ball is really exhausting. It took me half an hour to take a bath and Ellaine spent 2 hours doing my nails. Then came the part I hated most. Putting on the contacts. I have to cry every time I put them on because I just don’t get used to them, plus they itch sometimes. And my mom?! It took her thirty minutes to finish my hair and another thirty minutes to bring my make-up to perfection.
“Wow! You look amazing! You’re definitely the brunette version of Marilyn Monroe”, Ellaine squealed with joy. My mom was gleaming with pride after she saw me in the dress. “You look great dear.” , she remarked. I looked in the mirror and I did have to admit I looked really good, well at least only today. I smiled and thanked both her and Ellaine. “ I’ll be going now.” “Where’s your date?!”, Ellaine asked. “Date?! Oh, I don’t have a date and I never expected one.”, I replied. “You better get going now dear. The bus arrives in a few minutes.” I gave my mom and Ellaine a hug and thanked them before I left. Then I went down the stairs to catch my bus.
The moment of truth finally came. I stood in front of the hall room door. I went to the homeroom teacher standing at the entrance and had my attendance checked. I entered the hall room which was already quite crowded and for a moment something impossible just happened. It seemed like I got everyone’s attention and now everyone just kept glaring at me. I felt nervous and again, I didn’t know how to react. But why all of a sudden and how?! Did I look weird?! Was there something on my face?! On my dress?! Before I started running away to look in the mirror everyone continued to dance and chat with their respective partners. Thank God that it’s over. I would have had a nervous breakdown if they didn’t stop staring at me.
I wonder if I could leave?! It’s been almost an hour and the only thing I have done is to sip the glass of water on my table. I did attend anyways. Besides I’m not really interested in who’s going to be King and Queen, because it’s already obvious that Ian Anderson and Geraldine Whitefield are going to win.
“Hey from which corner of the world did you get that dress?!” I turned my head and to my surprise it was Geraldine and her friends. “My mom gave it to me.”, I replied.
“Uh huh.. just because ya come looking like Marilyn Monroe don’t mean you can brag that ya look better than me.” , she said. “I’m not bragging. In case you haven’t noticed I’ve been sitting for an hour doing nothing but play with this glass of water” ,I answered sharply. “And now you dare answer back just because your nominated for best gown. Tell ya something, you can stop trying because even if ya were nominated I’ll still beat your a**, cause no one gives a damn about you ‘nyways. Even with you in contacts and that Marilyn Monroe appearance.” Best gown?! I never even knew someone nominated me for that. Probably another stupid joke some brat did. “I’m not arguing. Besides I just wanted to leave.”, I said. “Oh you didn’t finish your water.”, giggled Geraldine, who picked up the glass and poured the water over me. Everyone started to laugh. Great! Now everyone is going to remember me as Rachel, the jerk who got soaked in water. I clenched my fists and stood there like an idiot. I felt the tears coming down. I didn’t want anyone to see it so I ran out of the hall room, out of school going to the bus stop. It was quite dim and I was wearing high heels so fell down and sprained my foot, and that when I was a hundred and 50 meters away from the station. Could it get any worse?! Soaked in water, sprained my foot and got left by the bus. Is this my punishment for being someone I wasn’t?! I couldn’t help but sit on the sidewalk and cry. It’s not fair. Life always has to be cruel to me. I let my hair open, so I could dry it with my hankie. I tried to get up but my foot just hurt so much. I couldn’t take it anymore and I knew that sobbing wouldn’t help yet the tears wouldn’t stop flowing. I just sat there, feeling helpless.
“Looks like you could use a hand.” The voice sounded familiar but I couldn’t guess who it was so I looked up to see who it was, and again another shock of my life. Ian Andersons. What could he possibly want?!
“If you want to play another joke on me, then forget it. Geraldine has already crowned me the loser of all seasons.”
“Hey I’m just here to help. Of course I saw what Geraldine just did.”
“Oh yes… Amusing huh?! You’re probably here to take a video of my current situation, so you and your friends can find pleasure in laughing at me behind my back.”
“Just because I played some jokes on you doesn’t mean I do them all the time. And definitely not now”
“Just because?! Some jokes?! Thanks to you other people have considered me as their target for their stupid pranks. And your “jokes” aren’t even funny.”
“Ok, I’m sorry I didn’t mean it. I acted stupid I admit and made your life miserable, but can’t you give me a chance?!”
“A chance?! For what?!”
“To show that I’m not such a bad guy after all”, he replied scratching his head.
“I’m ok. You don’t need to help. I’ll take the bus going home.”
“Your foot is sprained. You obviously can’t get up. I’ll carry you home.”
“No. I’m not going to your place. And you are absolutely not going to carry me.”
“Stop being stubborn headed, Rachel!”
And in less than a second I was in his arms, and could do nothing to resist. Rachel. For the first time he mentioned my real name. It felt quite strange to be carried by the guy I hated most, yet it seemed like my heart leaped for joy. Was it because he finally mentioned my name?! I was very nervous. I closed my eyes and prayed he wouldn’t notice me blush and hear my heart beat so fast.
“You look pretty with your hair open.”
“Why are you doing this?!”
“And you look beautiful without your glasses too.”
“Ian! Answer me!”
“Well, let’s just say I like you.”
“Like me?! Yeah right. Are you trying to be funny again?!”
“You’re cute and you’re not like the others. I admired you from the very beginning. You were the only one who could reveal one’s true identity.”
“Yeah right. A reason why you played jokes on me almost everyday.”
“That way, I easily get your attention.”
I could do nothing but blush. Everything he said made me feel so special. It made me want to believe that he was serious. His arms felt warm and his voice was comforting. I didn’t want him to put me down.
“So where do you live?!”, he asked.
“Oh it’s just two more blocks. My house stands on the right. You can let go of me. I can go home. Besides you’ll miss the coronation. Geraldine will be mad.”
“Geraldine?! Oh forget her. I’m not interested in being her king. I’m not interested in the crown either. I’d rather carry you home than go back there.”
“Oh…. Ahhh.. uhhmm.. thanks.”
“Hey, I’m just curious but did ya ever have your first kiss?!”
“Did you ever have your first kiss?!”
“No… uh ... what about you?!”
“Would you believe me if I said no?!”
“Believe me but I haven’t yet.”
“It’s really hard to believe that someone like you hasn’t kissed yet. I mean you’re a so called chick magnet.”
“Doesn’t mean I have to kiss every single one of them. “
“True. So how do you want your first kiss to be?!”
“I want to fulfill the wish of the girl I will kiss. You?!”
“It’s actually quite funny that I’m talking about this to you. “, I grinned. “It’s quite corny but I want to have my first kiss under the rain.”
“It sounds romantic.”
I couldn’t help but wonder if the Ian Anderson I was talking to right now was the very same Ian Anderson in school that I hated most. He seemed like a different person. He was open, funny and he actually doesn’t talk nonsense. I was amazed. Soon enough everything had to be put to an end. My house was three doors away. Then, as though it were expected, it rained, and Ian and me got soaked. I asked myself what this was supposed to mean.
“ Hey thanks for carrying me home. You can put me down now. And I’m so sorry you got wet.”
“ That’s no problem. It’s just a little rain.”
“ Would you like to come in for some tea?! You can dry yourself and wait ‘till the rain subsides.”
Before I could even ring the doorbell, Ian grabbed my hand. He looked at me in the eye and held my hand tightly. Then he led me under the rain.
“Ian?! What are you doing?! You’ll get wet.”
“I am wet already.”
He grabbed my waist and pulled me next to him. He was warm and I could feel his body against mine. The cool water seemed to evaporate every time they dropped on his shoulders. He wrapped his arms around me for a moment, and then he put his hand on my face.
“Can I fulfill your wish?! I prayed for the rain to come.”
Tears filled my eyes. My heart as telling me it wasn’t a joke. I knew very well that this could be the last day that we ever saw each other. Then there was the fact that I barely knew him. I also knew well that his feeling for me might not last. I had to admit that I was scared that he would leave my side the next morning or act as if nothing has happened and forget everything. I wanted to hesitate but my feelings took control over me. Despite the flowing tears, I smiled back at him.
“Yes. Fulfill my wish.”
I closed my eyes and pressed my lips against his. I was overwhelmed. I simply forgot everything around us and had the rain pour on our skins while we kissed. My very first breathtaking kiss on a rainy summer night. I could only wish for more nights of this kind.