Almost forgot about this little project of mine! Anyway, here is the long-delayed continuation. Like always, if there is something wrong, like grammar or spelling or stuff, just give me a heads up in the comments below. If you forgot the story so far, here are the previous ones.
This is bad. This situation is really, seriously bad. I look as my classmates start to stand up and talk to each other, shouting, and calling for their friends. Everybody is lively and very eager. This is the dreaded choose-your-own-group situation. It may look ordinary, but it is actually an oppressive caste system designed to crush the weak, the unpopular, and the loners.
It’s an obnoxious version of natural selection. If you don’t respond rapidly to the stimuli, you get left behind in the arms race to grab the smartest group members in class. If you are fortunate enough, you might end up with the hard-working ones, which is also a good alternative when you run out of all the smart people. If you’re a tad slow, you might get the slightly above average types and probably some average members as cannon fodders. If you really are unfortunate, you get to be with the rejects of the class. The litter box. They are basically gathered out of sheer necessity because they are the bottom feeders. The others don’t want to group with them, and most likely they don’t even want to group with each other, too.
Of course, I do not want to be groupmates with such people. I especially do not want to be grouped with the outcasts and the creeps in class. If I do, it would mean that I am at the bottom of the class caste system, and the same with them, which I’m not. Wait. Actually, why am I thinking like being at the bottom is a bad thing? Do I want to be popular or something?! Hell, why am I suddenly getting thoughts like this? Thinking about it, being at the bottom is the best place to be for a shut-in like me! Nobody has to talk to you, everybody leaves you alone, and you get to live your life peacefully! I’m forgetting myself. This is all Mia’s fault. Her bubbly personality is infecting me.
Hey, hey, Maria, how about him? He seems okay, though he’s been grinning to himself…
Dude, he’s a shut-in, think we could like, trust him?
What do you say about the new guy? Whaddya think?
This group is made of fun!
He’s kinda cute~ But he might be a weirdo.
…not a transfer student, he was enrolled all the time.
Heard he was a shut-in…
Probably…but I have no lunch
…text her? She’s ugly! Wahahaha!
Derek…don’t know him…heard he’s a creep
Seriously? No way~
Ugh. What the hell, they are all so noisy. The others have been really staring at me for a while now…are they talking about me? Are they making fun of me? This is bad, this is bad, this is bad! I knew I shouldn’t have come here, worse it would seem like everybody is finish grouping. Why the hell did I agree with Mia’s stupid plan! I want to go home now, I want to wrap myself in my blanket and blast the air-conditioning till it’s like the freaking North Pole inside my room! So unlucky. The first day I come to school, and this happens. The universe itself is probably telling me not to—
“H-Huh?” How long has this guy been talking to me? I might have come off as rude to him.
“Oh, I was asking if you had any group already, Keith.”
“W-What?” This guy knows my name?
“You know, the grouping, we still need a member, we were kinda the one’s left. Hehe.” No way…in the end, I get to be with the litter box?! I can handle myself with whatever requirements this group project needs. I can pull my own weight!
“W-Well, uhm…who are you?”
“Derek. My name is Derek. I’m grouping with the other guys who were not able to find any group mates. I saw you and I thought that you might want to join us.”
“Huh?” So this guy immediately judged that I wouldn’t get picked, huh. Is that how all the people in class view me?
“Getting groups is quite hard here, you know. Most of the guys here are either classmates last year, or really close. Some are really quite popular, and the others have their own circle of friends. We usually get left out so we usually group together. We guys have to stick together, right?”
Quit lecturing me! And don’t lump me in with your kind. Geez. Treating me like it’s my first time going to school or something. I’m very much aware that most of the people here are friends. Heck, by the looks of it, everybody seems to have formed their own tight social circle. It’s nearly impossible to just barge inside their little worlds, especially since three months have already passed so most groups are solid by this time.
From the looks of it, I didn’t have any previous classmates from my freshman or sophomore years. It might have been completely awkward if they saw me, especially knowing that I became a shut-in. Oh, what am I saying, they probably even wouldn’t care if they ever did—I’d probably be lucky if they remember my name.
It’s a good thing there’s basically, like, nine sections in the third year. The students do get mixed up a lot every year and I got quite the lesser of the unlucky picks.
“Hey, what do you say? Join us.”
“Huh, why? Uhm, is there something wrong? The other groups are kinda full, you know—”
“I’m feeling sick! Sorry!”
“Whoa, really? Oh, let’s tell the teach—”
“Don’t worry. I can do it.” Geez. This guy should seriously stop treating me like I don’t know what I’m doing. I head towards the front to get an infirmary pass from our teacher. I could strangely feel the stares behind my back. I quickly grab the pass while ignoring most of my teacher questions if I’m okay and immediately took off from our dreaded classroom.
The classroom felt absolutely nauseating. Upon going outside, I walk around to find some fresh air. I really didn’t want to go to the infirmary. I don’t want to answer questions from our school nurse—actually I don’t want to talk to people for now, period. I have exhausted my talking-to-people quota for today, I am very much depleted. I head to the flower garden used by the Gardening Club since it’s one of the few relaxing places in the school. Not that I am a flower person, it’s just that the aromatic and relaxing atmosphere in the garden is what I really need right now. I sat in one of the benches in the garden. I still have three more classes to go before all school is finished. I could try to escape, but if I get caught, I would surely get into deep trouble. Besides, Mia might just scold me and I don’t want to embarrass myself further in front of her.
“I guess it was too much for you.”
“Eh, you don’t need to apologize, Keith. I’m the one who needs to be sorry! I didn’t think this would have this of an effect on you. Sorry, really.”
“What? No! I was doing really fine in class the first few minutes, then the grouping thing…well, the grouping thing was horrible, honestly.”
Currently, I am in the guidance counselling office with Mia. As to why I am here, I apparently fell asleep in the bench till one of the teachers found me. I don’t know why a teacher got to the Gardening Club’s flower garden, it’s far from the main building and only the club members usually visit it. I suspect something fishy…could it be some sort of illicit student-teacher love affair? Geez, what the hell am I thinking anyway. Mia had to go to all sorts of trouble explaining the situation to that teacher.
“Hmmm…ah! As long as there are no groupings, you can handle it, right?”
“You’re most likely safe with subjects such as Math, Science, History, and Literature classes. The lab classes in Science usually require partners and the teacher assigns it, so you got no problem with that, right?”
“Y-Yeah…actually…what are you planning?”
“Lit is pretty dodgy, it’s usually essays, or critique and reflection papers, but for the recitation part, you’d probably have to rely on luck there.”
“Okay…so, what are you planning?”
“History, not really much of a problem there. The problems would be your P.E., Home Economics, Arts, Theology, and Morality and Etiquette classes. P.E. is only two times a week, replaced by Art class on off days, so not much of a problem there, I guess. We saw what happened to your Home Economics class today, but basically, individual output wouldn’t really be a problem to you. “
“Yeah…like I said. What are you planning?”
“Your problem is Theology, and Morality and Etiquette, which also seems to be the most group-based classes. Coincidentally, also the last two classes for the third years. Hmmmm…”
I give up, she’s in her own bubble right now.
Still, Mia is right on all those accounts. Those two classes, Theology, and Morality and Etiquette, are your typical team-building classes. I’m not remotely interested in both subjects, especially Morality and Etiquette. Seriously, why do I have to spend studying that subject for a full hour, from Monday to Friday?! Theology, I can understand a bit, this is more or less, a Catholic school, but Morality and Etiquette?
From experience last year, it’s basically one of those classes where it tells you that kicking kittens sends you to a special place in a far corner in the world, and that being courteous and graceful will make you some kind of good karma popularity magnet. That’s basically it. You get to study that for four freaking years, just so you could have the proper posture and speech, and to avoid intents of murderous rage. The most horrible thing about this class is how it always forces you to do situational role-plays and re-enactments. It’s useless because nobody really takes it seriously.
Besides, in the end, it’s a dog eat dog world out there. Just in high school it’s all raging hormones, even the elite of the elites here have some severe cases of having a bad attitude.
Theology, on the other hand, is all about group projects for the sake of fostering love and friendship between the lambs of God. It’s usually some volunteer sister who teaches in this class, or some pastor, anyway, most of them dump all the work to the students for group presentations and such.
These two classes are the last two classes of the day for the third years, just like what Mia said. Meaning I have to endure almost two hours of suffering before I can finally come home to the warm comforts of our house. Geez, I’d be happy if I could even step out of the classroom alive after those two classes, considering what happened in Home Eco a while ago.
“Can’t I just skip the class?” I ask Mia. Really. Pretty please. If you really value my life and you consider me as a friend, do this for my sake!
“If I would have my way, I would let you. But, I think most of the grading comes from the group projects, and if I recall, only Theology has an exam—and it’s only a final exam. Doing make-up exams are as good as useless. Oh! Speaking of make-up exams—“
“I don’t want to go. Can’t I have some sort of alternative class? Like Music class, perhaps? Or some foreign language thing? Those two classes would be torture,” I lightly bang my head on the desk. Can I bang my head strong enough so that I can have some sort of amnesia right now? Or a coma, perhaps?
“That’s right! An alternative class!” Mia suddenly stood up with her eyes filled with excitement.
“I totally forgot about it! Considering I was told about it early on…Keith! I know how to save you from this predicament. There’s a solution!”
She’s definitely up to something, and I just hope it’s not some ridiculous plan she has come up with. I’m seriously spent, and anything more extreme will result in me passing on to the afterlife to be reincarnated as a cat. A cute mean-spirited solitary napping cat.
“What would the solution be?”
“Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it! Also, before I forget again, go take your make-up exams! I talked with your class adviser and he agreed to it,” she says nonchalantly.
“You’re seriously making me take my make-up exams right now?”
“No, silly! You can do it tomorrow or the following days. You can take a rest for a while. I’ll arrange your alternative class! Okay? Wait for me, I’ll take you home when school ends. We could grab a bite or something, if you don’t mind.”
“Err…okay.” Well, you just gave an irresistible offer. I’ll take on whatever you’re planning.