Chapter 21

"Woah, jumpy." He said, retracting his hand and raising both his hands in surrender when he saw my reaction.

I stopped myself from screaming and just stared at him, mouth still agape.

"Why do you keep doing that? Do you have like a disorder that causes your mouth to unhinge like that at the most random times?" Alex asked me, tilting his head in confusion.

I snapped my mouth shut, my teeth clacking as they hit each other.

"Why do you do that? Do you enjoy scaring the souls out of people or something?" I threw back at him.

"Sorry, I didn't know you were so easily scared." He lowered his hand slowly.

My jaw threatened to drop open once again. Was that an insult? It sounds like an insult.. but is it just me?

I shook my head to stop myself from arguing further with him. I was hungry. All I wanted to do was walk through those doors that lead to the restroom and occupy one of the stalls and eat my lunch in peace.

I stepped to the side to walk past him but before I could take another step towards the restrooms, he grabbed my wrist again, stopping me.

I looked down at the hand holding my wrist and turned to look at him questioningly. "What?"

Alex didn't let go of my hand, he gave it a light tug and nodded to the opposite direction of the restroom that was only a few feet away.

I raised an eyebrow before shaking my head. Wherever he thought he was taking me, I wasn't interested. God knows being seen anywhere with him will only fuel the rumors even further. I was counting down the days that people will start to actually move on and forget about that dumb rumor and I'd be damned if I do something that will only prolong that wait.

"Come on, don't be silly. I know that you're only going to sit in there and eat your lunch by yourself on top of a toilet seat." Alex said, calling me out.

I could feel my face heat up with embarrassment at the fact that I got caught by someone.

I knew that the sound of eating in the toilet might sound disgusting or at least disturbing to some people but when I stole a quick glimpse at Alex, I detected no judgment whatsoever. He was just standing there, waiting for me to come with him.

I was dumbfounded. The fact that he wasn't giving me a 'what the hell are you doing eating in the toilet' look rendered me at a loss of words, because I honestly wasn't expecting him to be so.. understanding?

But the look that he was wearing showed none of the things that I just mentioned.

I don't know what prompted me to finally give in and let him drag me to wherever he wanted to go, maybe it was the effects of being caught off guard or maybe I wanted someone to do this for me from the very first time I ate lunch in a restroom stall but I just didn't know that I wanted it.

My hand stayed limp in Alex's grip as he led the way. We stepped out of the building and walked all the way to the parking lot. Alex's stride were confident and sure, a stark contrast to my own that were meek and unsure. I was half dragging my feet across the ground, the sound of my soles scraping the surface of the ground was the only sound that came from me.

He stopped by his car and opened the door for me, letting me climb into the passenger seat. I had the urge to look around to see if there were anyone watching us before getting in the car. I mean if we were going to fuel this absurd rumor, I might as well mentally prepare myself to face the music tomorrow. That is if we're lucky. If we're unlucky, we won't even need to wait until tomorrow.

I swear gossip spreads like wildfire in this school. If only one kid sees us right now, the entire student body might as well catch wind of it 5 minutes after we leave. I wouldn't even be surprised if the teachers hear about it 10 minutes after we leave.

That's just how nosy people in this school are.

Insert a mental picture of an upside down smiley face here.

When I got in, I looked up and met his eye before he closed my door for me and walked to the other side of the car to get behind the wheel.

I buckled my seatbelt just as he opened the driver's door and got into the car.

"Where are we going?" I asked him as he turned the car's engine on and used his phone to turn on the GPS.

He typed in something that I didn't quite catch and set his phone on the stand by the dashboard.

"You'll see," was his only response as he pulled on his seatbelt and slid it into the buckle with a click.

Now, don't get me wrong, I do like surprises. But I have a love/hate relationship with it. I like the elated feeling when you find out about the surprise and everything gets revealed, you know. But I hate the part before things get revealed. The suspense and the wait. Call me impatient because I am.

I feel like the suspense of the unknown just feeds my ever growing anxiety.

But I chose to bite my tongue and let Alex drive. I didn't want to start blabbering nervously, get on his nerves and have him ram the car into a tree with me in it just to get me to shut up.

I don't think he was the violent type of person but you just never know with people.

After a few minutes of driving, we stopped at a McDonald's branch and Alex parked the car. I looked at him with a single raised eyebrow, giving him my best 'really?' look.

"What?" Alex asked defensively.

I shook my head, clicking the buckle of my seatbelt and slipped out of the safety belt, letting it snap back gently to the side of my seat.

Alex, however, wasn't willing to let it go. "What's that look supposed to mean?"

It was my turn to raise my hands in surrender this time. "Nothing, nothing. Nothing at all."

I unlocked and opened my door and stepped out of the car. I closed the door just as Alex got out of the car from his side. I didn't wait for him to lock his car, and just started walking towards the entrance to the fast food restaurant, hearing Alex's rushed footsteps catching up with me.

"Hey, admit it, this is still better than eating in the school's little girl's room, right?" He teased, earning a glare from me.

Will he ever forget about that?

He chuckled at the hostile look I gave him as we walked through the automatic sliding doors and towards the counter to order our food.

The sandwich I had ordered from the school's cafeteria still sat inside my bag but looking at the McDonald's menu, I convinced myself that I can just eat it for dinner later.

I mean who could possibly resist McDonald's fries. Alex let me order first before putting in his order and paying for the both of us, despite my countless objections.

"Don't-" I began to say before Alex reached out to tap his card against the EFTPOS. The machine beeped and the word 'approved' appeared on its screen and it started printing the receipt before I could say anything else.

"Okay, yep, I'll just repay you later." I muttered.

Alex waved his hand dismissively. "It wasn't much, chill."

I shook my head. I hated feeling like I was indebted to someone.

But before I could say anything more, he walked away with out number and reserved a table for 4 for us.

I sat down across the table from him and placed my bag on the seat beside me, taking our number from him and playing with the acrylic triangle, tracing the printed number on it as we waited for the food to come out. I didn't know what to say to him or what we could talk about without risking making things awkward between us. I kept in mind that I still have to sit through the car ride back to school.

When our number gets called out, Alex stood up and stopped me from following him to the counter. "I got it," he said, putting his hand on my shoulder and getting me to stay seated.

I silently obeyed and watched him walk up to the counter and picked up the tray of food. He balanced it with both of his hands and carried it to our table.

I noticed the two cups of McFlurry on top of the tray with the plastic spoons sticking out of it. I didn't remember ordering a McFlurry, though. I brushed it off and simply took Alex's burger of the tray and gave it to him once he had placed the tray on the table.

"Oreo McFlurry, right?" He asked, nodding towards the cups of ice cream.

I raised an eyebrow, looking at the topping on top of the ice cream and realized that it was Oreo crumbs. I turned to look at him again, "You remembered?"

He shrugged, picking up his burger and unwrapping the paper around it. "Kinda hard to forget when you would squeal about getting one every day after school ends."

I chuckled, taking the cup from the tray and bringing it to me. "How would you know that I was squealing? All I did was text you when I was about to get it."

Alex raised both of his eyebrows, giving me an 'are you dumb?' look. "Uh, yeah, in capital letters. You were very expressive on text."

I laughed at that, knowing that I probably was. I remembered the texts that I sent him and the ear-to-ear grin I would always wear as I typed down the words in bold and capital letters.

"But admit it, it's worth all the hype." I teased him as I slid the other cup across the table to him.

I spilled the fries all over the paper that covered the tray and picked one, dipping it into the ice cream.

Alex gave me a weirded out look and I raised my eyebrow for the nth time that day. "You haven't tried it?"

Alex looked at the fry skeptically, slowly shaking his head.

I wanted to mock gasp but I swallowed the urge and refrained from doing so, knowing that he'll just roll his eyes and call me out for being dramatic.

Instead, I looked at the fry and then at him before slapping my hand over his.

The second that his mouth opens to whine, I shoved the fry into his mouth and hit him under his jaw to close his mouth.

Alex was so stupefied that he sat there, staring at me for a full 10 seconds before what I did finally seemed to register in his head.

His eyes widened, probably to start spiting me, but I guess after the shock wore off, his tastebuds started kicking in. I saw his jaw move as he chewed the fry slowly, savoring the taste.

"Not bad?" I asked him expectantly.

He slowly nodded. "Not bad." He finally admitted.

I clapped my hands, feeling overly delighted that we agreed on this particular matter. "See! I knew you'd like it!"

Alex's eyes widened again at the volume I was using to talk. He clamped his hand over my mouth to get me to shut up and my eyes almost bugged out of their sockets. My eyes looked around and caught people staring.


When Alex saw that I've realized how loud I was being, he slowly took his hand away from my mouth and sat back on his seat.

"Sorry," I apologized sheepishly.

Alex chuckled, "You seriously haven't changed a single bit."

I shrugged, "Well, what can I say? I'm consistent."

"I am too." Alex piped up.

I let out a sardonic laugh. "Right, right, consistent my ass. I bet you can't even remember those pinky promises we made years ago."

Alex let out a laugh, " I remember what you said about pinky promises. I remember 'this bitch is fucking crazy.'"

This time, I let out the mock gasp that was bubbled up. "Rude," I said with an attitude that only made Alex laugh harder.

"I remember Oreo McFlurry, doesn't that earn me some benefit of the doubt?" Alex reminded. I paused for a moment to consider it. I mean he's not wrong.

"Well, if you did forget the pinky promises that we made, but still remember what pinky promises mean, you know what would entail upon the breaking of any one of them." I said, trying to scare him and epically failing.

"Oh no, my pinky!" He cradled his hand to his chest, covering his pinkies from me.

I scrunched up my face, cringing at how lame that was. "Don't do that again, ever, please."

Alex chuckled, going back to his burger as he picked it up from the table and bringing it to his mouth to take a huge bite out of it.

We fell into a comfortable silence as we munched on our own food. Alex had finished his burger first before I took the last spoonful of my McFlurry.

We were having such a good laugh that the worries that haunted me when we left the school grounds completely slipped my mind. It was not until a few minutes into the silence that the thoughts came back to me and I felt like I was going to go crazy if I don't bring it up to Alex.

"Aren't you scared that people saw us getting into your car and driving out of the school compounds together? Especially with everything that's been going on, don't you think that it'll just make things worse?" I asked him.

He wiped his mouth with a napkin and looked up at me. "Don't worry about what's happening in school, it won't be long before they forget all about the rumors surrounding us and move on to the next hot topic."

I didn't know what to say.

No, actually, I knew what I wanted to say.

I just wasn't sure if it was okay to say it.

So I simply stared at him and let the thought bounce within the walls of my mind instead, forever to be left unspoken, and its existence unknown.

"But I don't know if I want that to happen if it means that I won't get to spend time with you like this."

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