🕊WINGLESS AND BEAUTIFUL🕊
Friday night, Denise shared some news that she hoped
would excite us as much as her.
“It’s a kind of an exchange program,” she said.
“Students from another school will come to our school and a
couple of our students will come to theirs, for two weeks.”
Chaise rolled his eyes, showing us that he didn’t share
Denise saw this and stuck a tongue out at him before
turning to me. “Anyway, you are looking at the chairman of
the first ever Interschool Immersion Program!” she said
The look that she gave me actually made me nervous. It
was one of those looks that said ‘No’ is not on the options list.
“Wh-what help would you need from me?”
“Well, you need to help me organize the activities. I’ve
already got a lot of ideas listed down but I would need your
opinion on them. These kids will be attending our classes
but we need to organize some activities for at least two
weekends. We want to make sure they get to experience the
best of Leighton High.”
I rolled my eyes at her. “Excuse me? I think your spiel
should be delivered to that table over there.” I pointed at
the table where Chelsea and the rest of her squad were.
“Oh please! They’re a disgrace not just to this school
but to the rest of humanity.” This time it was her turn to roll
her eyes. “Anyway, as I was saying, I have been tasked to
organize some activities to make them feel welcome here.”
“What, genius?” Denise asked, raising a brow at him.
“Come on, Denise. Who are we kidding? I’ve been here
for months and I still didn’t feel welcome,” he replied.
I smiled at Denise sympathetically. “Sorry to side with
Chaise on that one. I feel exactly the same way.”
Denise sighed. “I guess you’re right. If we didn’t feel
welcome here, how could we make them fit right in?” She
was thoughtful for a while and then as if she decided she
wasn’t gonna let anything dampen her enthusiasm for her
project, she said, “Well, I’m not aiming to impress them. I’m
aiming to impress our principal. I will not fail the first project
she entrusted to me. She expects a grand event on the final
weekend and maybe a bonfire by the beach. Anyway, we’ll
discuss them all later.” Denise beamed. “I can’t wait for next
“Wait, what? Next week? As in they are going to be here
next week?” I asked, almost in shock.
Denise nodded. “Yep. And you are going to help me tour
“Denise… you certainly can’t do that.” I protested
instantly. “I can be a crew member of some dance, I can
help you organize stuff, but please… I’m no usherette
smart, you know your way around and you’re probably the
only one in this school who had read the school history.”
I shook my head. “These kids hate me! Surely, you can’t
make me more vulnerable and visible to scrutiny than I
Denise was about to open her mouth for an argument
when Chaise interrupted, “I can read the school history for
your little game, Denise. Leave Alice out of it.” His voice was
cold and firm and before Denise replied, I thought I saw her
mouth curve a little bit, like she was preventing herself from
“O-okay. If… if you insist,” she said to Chaise. “I’ll email
you the names of the kids and the schedules.”
She then gathered her stuff and before she stood up to
leave, she gave me a wink, confirming my suspicions that
she wasn’t really thinking of making me go through the
worst nightmare of being the school’s tour guide. She
wanted Chaise to volunteer for it, but she was too proud to
When she was gone, I turned to Chaise, “I can’t believe
you fell for that too easily.”
I was afraid that he would get mad when he realized
what Denise had just done, but he simply shrugged. “I can’t
believe you didn’t see that coming before I did.”
I grinned at him. “I guess you and Denise are more
compatible than you’d like to admit.”
“Nope. It’s just that most psychopaths think alike.” He
grinned back at me. “Aren’t you scared of the company
I laughed. “I’d take you and Denise any day over the
airhead bimbos on that table.”
“Yeah, I’m worried about what they will do to our visitors
when they get here.”
“I’m worried too. You know how those kids want to show
the rest of the world they were better than everybody else. I
hope they don’t see them as the embodiment of what the
rest of us are really like.”
“Yeah. Some of us have brains you know.” Chaise
“I hope they don’t try to pull off the usual tricks they
pull on me. They have the tendency to prey on creatures
they thought were weaker than them.”
However, it turned out that we didn’t need to worry that
the popular kids in our school would embarrass us in front of
the exchange students. One week later, a luxurious bus
bearing the banner “Jacksonville Titans” parked in front of
the school grounds. Almost all the students lined up to get a glimpse of our visitors. And one by one, they got off the bus
looking more like runway models going to a fashion show
than students going on a field trip. I thought they didn’t look
like a bunch of high school students at all.
weren’t the most beautiful people in the universe. At least, I
hoped for the time being, the presence of the new kids
would get them off my back.
The whole school was in awe of our visitors. Everybody
seemed to want a piece of their attention. Denise did not
have trouble finding volunteers for the activities she lined
up. As for me, I almost got what I was asking for since I
stepped into Leighton High. I was invisible. This could
probably be the best two weeks of my high school life.
I barely saw Denise and Chaise. I missed their constant
company. But in return, I got a little reprieve from the insults
and pranks. I thought it was not so bad. Unfortunately,
having more time by myself made me constantly think of
Hunter too. I couldn’t deny the fact that I was always
looking for him. I didn’t see him in the school grounds or
even in the cafeteria. It seemed we were the only two
people in school who didn’t care much about our new
One day, as I was eating lunch by myself in our usual
corner, I got to observe the exchange students, sitting in the
tables in the middle of the cafeteria. There were five boys
and five girls, all looking rich, confident and privileged. No
wonder even Chelsea and Don looked like groupies hanging
There was one girl that caught my attention. She was
tall, with supermodel looks. Perfect curly blond hair and
chocolate brown eyes. She looked like a snob, but with
every right to be. She had a pair of designer glasses
perched up her head, and she was slinging a Gucci bag on
her arm. She barely smiled, unlike the rest of her group who
all looked enthusiastic about the amount of attention they were getting. She was looking around, observing or
scrutinizing every corner of the cafeteria.
I was fascinated with the bored expression on her face.
It was obvious she didn’t want to be here. But something in
the way she was eagerly looking around told me that she
was very curious about Leighton High.
Suddenly, she looked over in my direction and her
haughty, oblivious expression changed to something that
looked like shock or awe.
I rolled my eyes. As if I wasn’t used to that reaction
already! I decided to be brave about it and raised my chin to
look at her straight in the eye. But it seemed that she was
not looking at me at all. Instead, her eyes were glued to
something behind me.
I slowly turned around and saw a guy wearing a red
jacket standing a few feet away from me. My heart pounded
in my chest so loudly, I was afraid he was going to hear it. I
hadn’t seen him in days. And seeing him again now
reminded me just how much I still missed him, and how
desperately I wished he would remember me… remember
our time together when he said he was falling for me.
I found that Hunter was looking at me. His eyes met
mine and right then and there, the world froze. It turned
quiet, like somebody just hit the mute button on the
cafeteria. He was wearing the same arrogant expression on
his face, but somehow, something was different, though I
could not fathom what it was. I wasn’t sure if he wanted to
say something to me.
He moved, like he was starting to walk towards me and
then we heard somebody call, “Hunter!” That seemed to
break the spell that momentarily enveloped us, or me at
I turned to the direction of the voice and saw that
beautiful girl, the haughty exchange student, walking
towards Hunter. I thought I heard him curse softly behind
The next thing I saw was the girl jumping into Hunter’s
arms… and the next thing I heard was the sound of my
heart jumping out of my ribcage and breaking into a million
pieces on the cafeteria floor.
As I watched her embrace Hunter, I felt reality sink in.
That girl was as beautiful as I was flawed. She looked
perfectly matched for Hunter, the way I knew I would never
I turned away from them, gathered my tray and quickly
dashed towards the next exit. Tears blinded my eyes. I tried
to blink them back before I had the misfortune of running
into either Chaise or Denise who would definitely ask what
was going on.
For a moment there, I thought that Hunter was going to
finally speak to me… that he finally remembered that I was
his girlfriend once upon a time in his life when he was not as
perfect as he is now.
I wiped the tears that rolled down my cheeks. Hunter
may seem perfect now that he got his eyesight back, but
damn! He was a much more beautiful person when he was
blind and had nothing to offer me but the goodness of his
I made it through the entire day without running into
Who was the girl?
She seemed to know him very well. Maybe that’s why
she looked uninterested in any of the boys around her circle,
desperately pining for her attention. She was looking around
trying to find her target—Hunter.
Did Hunter go back to Jacksonville after his surgery and
met her? Was she the reason he forgot about me?
Of course… I guess I could not blame him either. He
didn’t know what I looked like when he said he fell in love
with me. Hunter and I existed in our own little world… that
garden by the lake. He had nothing, and had no one….
except maybe for his guitar and me. It was easy to feel affection for me then. He didn’t seem to have a choice. But
now… he’s back to his normal self. He’s got everything
going for him again. His life now was full of choices, some
more wonderful than the others. He could have any girl he
wanted—girls as perfect as she was. Why would he settle for
After school, when I got to the front gates, I saw Hunter
getting into his car with that girl. And just when I thought
my heart was maxed out, I felt it break just a little bit more.
Tears rolled down my cheeks without me knowing. I quickly
wiped them with my fingers before somebody could notice.
Hunter didn’t deserve my tears. He made me fall in love
with him, and then he left me. He asked me to wait for
him… only to replace me with somebody who was like a slap
in the face for me.
I knew I couldn’t score like that in a million years!
“Wait!” I heard somebody shout behind me. Then I saw
Denise rushing off to catch Hunter before he drove off. They
spoke briefly while the girl patiently sat on the passenger
seat, without even a side glance at who Hunter was
Well, if I was that pretty, I wouldn’t have to worry that
my boyfriend will flirt with somebody else.
When Hunter drove away, Denise approached me.
“Sorry I didn’t see you there,” she said.
I just smiled at her, afraid that I would burst into tears
the minute I opened my mouth.
“I just asked Hunter to tell my folks I would be late
“Why? Hot date?”
Denise’s eyes lit up. “Yes, if you must know. And it’s
dates, not date.”
“Dates? As in more than one?”
She nodded. “As in Chaise and you.”
“Yeah. Chaise and I are hanging out in the bookshop
tonight. He already promised to drop both of us home.”
“Because you, guys, are going to help me plan next
weekend’s bonfire. And no buts! I know you won’t be too
busy. More than half the population of this town are morons,
who wouldn’t even make it past chapter five of a book. So, I
know you don’t have a line of customers impatiently waiting
for your assistance. But I, on the other hand, am in dire
need of help.”
“My boss will not be happy if I brought a friend while I
was supposed to be working,” I argued.
“But ahh! Did you forget that Chaise’s aunt owns the
place? Surely, she wouldn’t mind. And besides, it’s school
work. Not like we’ll be there drooling over boys and plotting
how to lose our virginities.”
“Haha! Sometimes, you can be very funny,” I said,
forcing a grin on my face.
“Is that Hunter Vaughn taking Tania Jameson home?”
Chaise asked, appearing behind us.
Denise nodded. “Hunter used to go to Jacksonville. He
and Tania are sort of an item. On again, off again type of
thing. But for sure, Hunter did not really go out with
anybody else other than her. And all the other guys in
Jacksonville felt it was pointless to even try asking Tania out
when they were up against the ‘King of the World’. And
besides, their parents are business partners. They had been
matching the two of them since they were ten or something.
It would be beneficial to their family’s wealth if they ended
up getting married in the future.”
The problem with keeping your boyfriend a secret to
your friends is that you have to endure minutes or hours
hearing about him and another girl. It’s killing you inside,
slowly but surely and yet, you couldn’t even cry and scream
from the heartache.
I bit my lip to the point of feeling pain. I didn’t want to
believe that one pain lessens another, but right at that
moment, I would cling on to anything that would decrease
the shattering pain I felt inside my chest.
On again, off again, huh!
Funny how he forgot to mention that! He had a girlfriend
already when he met me. And yet, he still asked me out…
kissed me, made me believe that he could really fall in love
What a fool I have been!