Our next go-to gig (yes, I call it go-to gig now) was on a sunny Sunday morning. By 9 am, we were supposed to meet them at their house again. But then mom suggested that we would take our SUV today, instead of theirs. And because it's Sunday, all of us went to church first. I wore my flowery Sunday dress for today, with a matching brown ribbon belt around my waist, paired with a pair of brown flats. Mom was wearing a peach blouse and a black skirt, while dad was wearing his polo, the same with Uncle Joe and Jeff, while Aunt Manna wore a red dress.
After the mass each of us entered our SUV, the same seating arrangement and went to our destination, which was about 2 hours away. It wasn't the same occasion that we went to before. We were just meeting with one of my dad's friend who lives out of town.
I sat beside Jeff at the back, who was looking sharp and handsome as usual. He was looking straight at his laptop, looking very serious, so I decided not to talk to him for a while. Our moms and dads kept talking at the front, as usual. Since I didn't want to look out of place, I decided to read the book that I brought, Inferno.
Jeff saw me taking out the book and fiddling with the pages. I saw him grin.
"Dan Brown?" FINALLY. He spoke. I was kind of feeling awkward for the past 30 minutes now.
"Yeah." I raised the book to let him see and let out a small smile, then I continued to read. Every now and then, I could see him glancing and looking towards me. I didn't like it when people do that, it makes me conscious and weird. But when it comes to him, it was strangely flattering.
"What?" I asked him. I finally looked at him when I realized that he was just staring longer than usual. He just moved his head from side-to-side and then smiled, looking at his laptop screen. Now, I stared at him.
"Haha. Nothing! Nothing. Continue with your reading." He said trying to stop laughing. His cheeks were turning red.
"No way. I can't unless you tell me", I said angrily. I was just pretending to be angry, but I'm not. Not THAT angry, though. "And what are you doing anyway???"
"I'm readying my college applications if you must know."
"Oh. Okay", I said in a non-caring way and went back to reading.
"Hey, sorry. You want to help me?"
"And why on earth would I help you?"
"Come oooon!" He immediately grabbed my arm and pulled me closer to him. "Look, these are the ones I'm applying to. The first one is Oakland University, which is just about 3 towns away, it's a little expensive, but I guess I could apply for scholarship."
I looked at the university's website and wow, their campus looked beautiful! "Oh yeah. That looks like a great college. But, what course are you going to take?"
"Okay, so I've decided to take a course related to business. Since I think it would really be important, and I think all of this is kind of a sign, you know."
"Jeff, that's great! Look at you all decided! Last time I asked you, you were so clueless!"
"Oh, and this is the other, it's a State University just an hour away from our town. Plus, they're already inviting me and John to attend a consultation, they're willing to give us a varsity scholarship."
"What?! Dude that is awesomeeeee!" I was literally so happy for him that I immediately gave him a hug. It was a right time for a hug? Right? Well, he was a little shocked, but hell, that was great news! "So, which one are you gonna take?"
"I don't want to reply to the State University first, since I want to apply to Oakland too. It's a more prestigious college. I mean, it's awesome! But then, it's really expensive, and I'm not 100% certain that i'll get the scholarship, unlike the State, plus it's really far away from here. I don't know, what do you think?"
"Wha----? What.. what do I think?! Well, Oakland is great! And I think there's a strong chance you'll get the scholarship, I mean, State is already giving you one and you're only starting senior year." He looked happy, but I could see his eyes and feel that he's worrying about something.
"Well, yeah. But..... it's so far away from here. And I'd have to leave mom and dad, my friends, and you guys."
"Aww. That's really sweet. But come on! That's a normal thing when it comes to college right?"
"Yeah, haha. See you're so cute when you're excited", he smiled and immediately pinched my cheeks. I hope I didn't turn THAT red, but I swear, I felt a warm rush circling my face. "Come on, help me out fill the applications for Oakland."
Throughout the whole trip, Jeff completed his application form while I read everything that he typed. It was weird, now I know a lot of things about him. Even his blood type, which was weird. It was already 12 noon and we haven't arrived yet. So we decided to eat lunch at a little hole in the wall restaurant called Quiche.
"Hey, by the way, you haven't replied to my message", he said while taking a bite of his food.
"On Facebook? You haven't seen it?"
"Oh sorry, I haven't. What was it?"
"WHAT", I said disappointed. Way to go. He just laughed.
"Hey, what do you like better: an expensive necklace or a trip to Disneyland?"
"Disneyland for the win! Helloooo duh." I said excitedly.
"Well, first of all, who wouldn't want to go to Disneyland. And second, adventure! Besides, I don't really know what to do with jewelry, I don't even wear any, just my watch. Why are you asking?" I said while eating my Eggs Benedict. Yes, for a restaurant named Quiche, they serve Eggs Benedict.
"For a gift." Wow, that's one lucky friend.
"Okay! My turn. Uhmmm... sunny side up or scrambled???", I said while playing with the egg.
"What?! God, you ask such weird questions."
"Hey! We agreed that we'd play this game to know each other better. You broke the rules thought, your last question wasn't."
"WHAT? We don't even have rules!"
"We do now! And that is rule number 1", I said pointing my fork towards him. "And for every violation... the violator shouuuuuld... do a dare!"
"YES. And I dare you to finish my Eggs Benedict because, oh god, I am so full." I pushed the plate towards him and I saw Aunt Manna smiling at us.
"You're kidding me right? I didn't even know we were playing already! Come on I'm counting my calorie intake."
"Blah blah, blah blah. That's what happens when you brake the rules." He gave me a blank stare, grabbed my fork, and started finishing my meal. "Well, scrambled or sunny side up?"
"Sunny side up I guess. I like it when the yellow part is gooey."
"Oh, really? Bleh, I don't like it when it's gooey."
"Then we are SO not compatible!" He said jokingly. "My turn! Hogwarts or Panem?" He smiled at me. "I know you're a fan."
"As much as I loooove Hunger Games, I am not as tough. So Hogwarts for the win. That place is AWESOMEEE!"
"Hahahah. Yeah I agree."
Mom and Aunt Manna suddenly faced the two of us looking confused as ever.
"What are you guys doing?", mom asked us.
"Oh, we're just asking random questions Aunt Catherine, to keep us busy", Jeff said to my mom. Aunt Manna and my mom smiled at us like weirdos. I know that they're thinking of something. There was something behind those smiles.
"Well come on now, we're leaving. We have to be there at least before 2 pm", Aunt Manna told us. We went outside the restaurant and went inside the SUV and straight to the road. Of course, Jeff and I continued where we left off.
"Go back in time or travel to the future?"
"Woooow, now that's a good question instead of how I want my eggs cooked. But i'll have to say: go back in time." To be honest, I thought he'd choose the future.
"Really? Why?", I said while I smiled at him. I was quite impressed.
"Well, for me, I'd like to know my ancestors more than my future grandchildren or something. I mean, if you knew what would happen in the future, then it wouldn't be a surprise anymore. Plus, the future that you might see may always change depending on what you do today." I stared at his face as he answered my question. He never looked so honest and intelligent until now. "And, I'd like to know who my ancestors were, what their jobs were, which country they came from, what they looked like... you know. To explain how this masterpiece was made", he sat up straight and motioned his hands around his face.
"OH GOD", I said with a horrified look (well for me, deep inside, he was one hell of a guy). "PLEASE STOP. That's enough for now."
"Oh come on! I know you agree. You love me." He suddenly grabbed me by the shoulders and hugged me so tight I couldn't breathe properly.
"...Okaay", I said struggling to speak, "First of all, I do not love you yet. Second, I was really impressed by how you chose the past than the future, but then it got ruined when you said that horrifying thing. And third, masterpiece? Really?"
I felt him tighten his arms that were wrapped around me, which really hurt right now. My parents were just chatting with his in front and I don't know why they're not making him stop this harassment. Then suddenly, Jeff asked me a question that made my heart stop.
"You don't love me, yet?" He released me from his tight grip and looked at me with a huge grin on his face. HOLY CRAP. This is humiliating! Why wasn't I careful with my choice of words?!
"That was not what I meant." Well honestly, it was.
He didn't stop smiling at me.
"NO!!! Come on! Love, you know. Like, friendly loveee!" I gestured towards our parents, just to make him stop looking at my red face. I can really tell they were red now.
"Yeah, okay." He looked away, but I could still see he was smiling.
"You know what, time out, okay? You are clearly making this feel weird!" I said while slapping his arm.
"OW!" He shouted so loud that our parents looked towards us.
"What happened?!", dad said looking shocked.
"Nothing! Nothing, we're okay. Carry on."
"You guys have been laughing the whole time now. Slow down", Uncle Joe said slightly laughing too, but looked straight on the road. After they all looked front, I gave Jeff my angry look.
"I'm sorry. I'm sorry", he said while still laughing a little. "Hey it's okay. I still don't love you yet."
"Okaaaaaay, okay." He stared at me again. This is one hell of an uncomfortable moment for me. "Come here!" He grabbed me again and hugged me, but not as tight as before. "You wanna ask me something?"
Suddenly I felt a lighter feeling around my chest. I was so humiliated, but then he kind of cheered me up too. These were the times when I felt like he was my big brother. He teases you first until you get mad at him, and then apologizes after. But at the same time, I liked him even more right now. So much more that my mouth just needed to spill some of my true feelings. It was humiliating. But I'm glad he took it well. I know he wouldn't believe my 'friendly love' lie, but whatever. I can't take it back anymore.
We continued asking super weird questions about one another even though I knew mom was looking at us every now and then. We kept laughing like retards and we kept teasing each other. This was us.