Chapter 2: A Friend

Ser ran into the school Atrium, by then it was already 7:30pm. He looked around, unable to find Kaya anywhere. The rest of the school was locked, where could Kaya had gone? Of course Ser was worried about her. At night you wouldn’t know the creeps that tried stuff on you, for both a girl and a boy. Beside that, those guys who ran off in the Community Hall, they were a threat to everybody if you weren’t careful. And being as clueless as Kaya was, it was bad.

When he saw a student coming by, Ser realized who it was immediately. It was his cousin. "Hey, koj pua tau pom Kaya?" [Have you seen Kaya?] Ser asked his cousin right away in Hmong.

"Kaya?" the boy tried to put the name to the face. His eyes glancing up to the corner of his pupils as he scanned his mental lists of girls. Then, "About this tall, black hair, brown eyes?" he estimated Kaya’s height with his hand. Ser stared at his cousin with a deadly look. What typical Asian girl didn’t have black hair and brown eyes? Realizing Ser was serious his cousin let out a laugh. "Yeah… Kaya Cheng, right? She left already, said she was going home. Why are you looking for her?"

"Why would you let her walk home alone?" Ser growled at his cousin with rage. What was wrong with that guy? A girl walking alone in the cold night, didn’t he realize how cold it was or how dangerous? All Kaya had been wearing before was a sweater, and it was the mid of winter. Everything was cover in snow practically every morning. "Which way did she go?" he immediately questioned his cousin.

"You’re going after her? She left fifteen minutes ago after watching the Breakers," Ser’s cousin responded. "Dude, you know how cold it is?"

"And you let her leave! Man, what kind of man are you?" Ser snapped suddenly.

"I thought you and Trace were together, why you worrying about a girl?"

"She’s a GIRL!"

"Dude, come on. You’re talking like she’ll get rape or something," came the next response.

It took Ser so much to keep from attacking his cousin. What was wrong with his family anyway? They’re all cool but so stupid when it came to being cautious. They never had the backs of others—not even family. That was the stupid thing about his cousins, too cool to have someone’s back. "Walk home alone," Ser hotly snapped at his cousin and ran out of Adridged to find Kaya. A girl, at night, without anyone to watch over her. Ser was truly annoyed with her clueless stupidity by then. Of course, could you expect any less? Ser was truly worried.

"’Ey," Kaya heard a rough voice from behind her as she was walking, blowing into her freezing hands for warmth. She could literally see her breath in the dim moonlight. The yellow lights of the lampposts didn’t help her much. The white and cold of the snow blinded her path, and the darkness limited her vision. Kaya could only see a couple yards ahead. "You the one that saw Trace and Ser, rite?" the voice asked as Kaya turned around. The boys that ran off from the Community Hall when they saw Ser and Trace kiss. She indicated they were juniors, because she’d seen just about every face of the sophomore class and all freshmen that year were short and scrawny. Seniors... Well, seniors wouldn’t bother hanging around when they had other things to take care of like college.

"Them two serious freaks," the Hmong boy before her said. The Hmong, Kaya finally recalled as well, weren’t too open about homosexuality. Hmong of the last generation tended to be prejudice of many things, stereotypical and traditional. Whereas the new generation, Kaya knew quite well from seeing it and being part of it everyday, was very close-minded as well. The new generation was Americanized, doing as it pleased them without a care in the world. Kaya never understood why parents and children had to be so different. Why did parents have to be so strict about beliefs, and why did children have to be close-minded to what wasn’t ‘in’? Keeping in track of things made her head hurt. Was it because she just thought too much that she couldn’t see everything before her eyes?

"They f***** made-out in school, that’s messed up," the Hispanic boy spat in disgust. Though Kaya couldn’t see them clearly, all five boys seemed harsh and scary. Kaya could see before her were the enemies of Trace and Ser. But the question was why they were approaching her.

"I heard Trace was gay, but never thought he was doing Ser," another scoffed.

"’Ey, what’s your name? Let’s ‘bout we hook up, girl."

The situation suddenly shifted from Ser and Trace to her. Kaya didn’t know why but she felt like she had to run. Backing away Kaya burst into a run. She fell to the sidewalk when a brutal hand grabbed her ankle and yanked her down. Landing on her forearms, Kaya cried out as she felt the bitter cold snow and the thin ice beneath her. She closed her eyes tightly as tears breached her eyelids. The fear of what could be done to her finally struck her hard.

Kaya, with all her might, tried to close her mind. She didn’t want to think of anything, she didn’t want to know or experience the situation. With all her might she drowned out the sounds around her, and she listened to her aching heart. Darkness enveloped around her as her tears streamed down her face. She no longer could feel the cold snow biting her freezing skin, nor the touch of the boys. Neither could she hear their movements or footsteps. Everything, all her senses dulled, and the darkness protected her.

"Hey, Kaya," a hand shook her shoulder. She shook her head as her tears dripped, she was trying so hard to keep in the darkness that told her and made her feel nothing. When she felt strong hands pull her, pulling her in towards someone’s warmth, she started screaming. Why couldn’t she keep in the darkness? "Kaya! Kaya!" the familiar voice entered her ears like sweet music, and she opened her tear-filled eyes.

"Kaya," the person twisted her around to face them and pulled her into their embrace. Their hair, their voice, their hands, they were all familiar to her. Even though those familiarities caused her to remember that distant far night in her childhood, Kaya still knew who it was. Ser Her. "You idiot," he sighed pulling her from his embrace, but his strong arms were still around her waist. Kaya saw through her tear-blurred eyes the drips of blood on his face, and his snow wet hair. "I told you to wait for me. Do you see how dangerous it is?" Ser looked her in the eyes with worry more than anger. "What were you thinking, dummy?"

All Kaya could do was cry out loud. She gripped at his snow-wet dirtied shirt underneath his opened jacket. As tightly as she could clutch to him, Kaya cried. With Ser, he pulled her into his embrace and held her tightly to keep her warm and comfort her. He couldn’t stay mad at her, not when the clueless-wonder was so frightened and so afraid. It was obvious that Kaya had never had such an experience before. Never in her life. Ser was just grateful to be there in time.

Kaya felt regretful for disobeying his words. When she was watching the Break Dancers in the gym, she’d thought Ser had wanted to lecture her about ‘not seeing anything’. All she could think about was herself. She didn’t want to hear those annoying words. She didn’t need to be told to keep a secret. So Kaya left after the Break Dancers finished their break dancing. No need to wait for a scolding.

In reality, Ser wanted to be a friend.

The End

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