Note: This entry was originally posted on 20 May 2014.
“HELLO, CUPCAKE!” MARC approached me with a hug on my shoulder whilst I was sitting down alone in the cafeteria.
Each sweet gesture he does makes my heart flutter and butterflies swarm in my stomach. But, we are kind of used to it anyway. Apparently, he is, but I am not and I am sure I’ll never be.
“So why is this sweet best friend of mine late?” I asked with a little annoyance but failed to hide that small smirk.
“Oh, she’s upset. I’m sorry, but I had some important errand that needs to be done,” he falsely cooed as he sat down across from my seat with his tray of lunch.
I couldn’t help but ponder on this errand. What was that important task that made him miss half of lunch time? Asking won’t kill me, right? So I decided to tease him to get some answers. “So, what is this errand that seems to be much more important than your beloved food trip every lunch?”
I saw a blush in his cheeks. Now, this was becoming more interesting. He gulped on his juice box before looking at me with dreamy eyes, “I just did something important for the dance Ms. Miller is hosting tonight.”
I started to feel a sense of excitement and nervousness at the same time. Marc has been my best friend since the start of middle school. He was the reason why bullies never bother me again. He was my knight in shining armour. We became inseparable. And from this spot, I couldn’t help but wonder what he was planning. I also remembered the dance Chloe’s mum is hosting tonight. I think it’s about the success of her project in their company, and yes, we were invited.
“Cupcake, hey, Earth to you!” I saw Marc’s hand waving in front of me. “Why do you keep on zoning out?”
“N-nothing,” I tried to hide my embarrassment by just looking down at my food and continuing on munching that slice of pizza.
“Come on. Hurry up! Lunch is almost over,” I saw him stood up from the seat and I realized he was really that hungry. He finished all the food in his tray for a matter of minutes.
I finish my meal and stand up from my seat. If you’re wondering why I eat so slow, I wanted let you know that being the nerd that I am, I make my morning classes homework at lunch. Yeah, Marc is okay with that. However, to be honest, I don’t exactly know why he chooses to hang out with me.
It actually started when a group of girls in the 7th grade picked on me on my second day of school when I transferred on the middle of the semester. A tall lad with ocean blue eyes stood tall in front of me when the meanest girl was about to hit me with her hand.
Turns out, it was Marc Johnson, a popular but quiet 7th grader. Plus, he was the meanest girl’s crush too. Imagine the horror in her face when Marc stopped her hand preventing her to slap me on my face.
“It isn’t nice for a girl to slap an innocent girl like that. Especially if it should be the other way,” I never forget the first words I heard from his mouth and I never fail to remember it was about defending me from those bullies.
How did it begin if you would ask? Let me tell how it all started.
~if only you knew~
“HEY, NEW NERD,” I was grabbing some books from my locker when I heard a voice which was instantaneously annoying from the first time I heard it.
It was followed by a bunch of displeasing fits of giggles. Then she added, “Make my Math homework if you want to survive in this school.”
How dare her threaten me on my second day of school? Am I that milquetoast girl that they thought they could just intimidate and humiliate in the hallway? If they thought yes, well then, they were right. I wasn’t that kind of girl who would fight back. Needless to say, I just let others bully me.
But this time, I didn’t know how I had the gut to speak what I really felt and it was late before I was able to take it back, “I wonder why people choose to just roam around the hallway like a supermodel asking others—or I should say—commanding others to do her own job instead of studying. That’s what she’s supposed to do. This is a school anyway, not a runway.”
Things went by too fast and I saw her right hand rose from her hip. I was expecting a hard contact on my face and that was when I saw Marc with his back facing me and stopping her hand which was supposed to slap my face.
That was when I first heard Marc’s voice which was intimidating but had this safeguarding vibe in it. The former was for Ms. Mean Girl and the latter was for me, I supposed.
Suddenly, I heard her say, “And how should it be the other way around?”
“We both know what I mean. However, I know she won’t slap you no matter how much you deserve it. So stop bothering people and do your own business.”
“Y-yes Marc,” I heard her voice tremble in fear. I wouldn’t blame her. Marc could be scary if he wanted to, and that time, I was also terrified.
“Hey! Don’t be afraid. They’re gone. And I’m pretty sure they won’t harm you again. I’ve got your back. By the way, I heard you’re Chloe’s cousin. I’m her friend, by the way. I’m Marc Johnson,” He stretched his hand for me to shake.
I shook his hand whilst saying, “Yeah! I pretty much heard a lot about you since yesterday. I’m Jasmine Scott.”
~if only you knew~
FROM THEN ON, Chloe, Marc and I became inseparable except in the eighth grade when Chloe and her dad transferred to England leaving her mother, Aunt Kristen and her younger brother, Lloyd behind. Her parents divorced and she decided to live with her dad across the continent.
So, I guess, it is Marc and I who stick with each other up to today.
I was currently walking out of the last period of class and I saw Marc leaning on his car with headphones on his ears. When he saw me, he dashed to the driver’s door and said, “Come on, Jasmine. Hurry up!”
“What’s going on?” I asked whilst buckling up in the passenger seat.
“It’s a surprise,” He smiled genuinely at me then he faced the road as we moved from the school’s parking lot.
I smiled at myself thinking about it. I didn’t want to expect but because of this, my feelings for Marc just became deeper and deeper each day.
I still have no idea what Marc feels towards me. I always feel like he sees me as a sibling so I try to act like that to him. Nevertheless, as every day passes by, I can’t help but feel something different about the way he acts around me.
I never ceased thinking of the late-night movie marathon we spent with each other. I also remembered that day in sophomore year when he asked me to ride with him in his new car that his parents gave him when he got his licence. I never forgot the constant annoyance he does to me but makes delicious cupcakes as an apology; which is also the reason why he calls me ‘Cupcake’.
“Are you ready for the dance?” he asked as he pulled on the front of my house.
“Yeah! Sure,” I said as I opened the passenger door.
Before I could go down from the car, I felt a hand stopped me. I saw Marc smiling at me, “I’ll pick you up at 7:15.”
I nodded before I got down. I went to the front porch before he stormed off in his black BMW. ‘Boys, they will never change. At least he doesn’t speed up when I’m with him,’ I thought.
I went inside to see my older brother sitting comfy in the couch watching some random football game. Wait, what was he doing here?
“Hey, sis,” He greeted nonchalantly. Was he kidding me?
“You haven’t seen me in like, five months, and that’s all you’re going to say to me?” I asked in disbelief whilst running to him and hugging him tight.
“Oh, did my baby sister miss me?” he messed up my hair whilst enveloping me in a warm embrace. It annoyed me a lot but I just missed him so much I just let go of it. I nodded as I was stuck in his embrace. I just really missed my annoying brother.
“Jack, you better hurry up and fix yourself. Your Aunt Kristen is expecting you,” I heard Mum’s voice and her footsteps getting louder and louder.
She was going down the stairs when she saw me with Jackson on the couch, “Oh, hello Jasmine. I didn’t know you’re here already. Pretty late, huh? What did you do this time with Marc?”
“Mum, I was just at the library and I need to finish printing my project so I was late. Good thing, he waited for me at the parking lot,” I said as I stood up from the couch.
My brother followed after me saying teasingly, “Oh, you’re still with Marc Johnson, huh? He’s doing a pretty good job at being your knight in shining armour.”
I hit him in the arm lightly. I couldn’t fight the blush in my cheeks, “Stop it! You know, we’re just best friends.”
“Ouch!” He yelped in fake pain before deciding to tease me again, “But your blush says something different.”
“Kids! Better hurry up. It’s a quarter to six pm already.” Mom called from upstairs.
“Shut up!” I told Jack before running to my room to get ready for the party Aunt Kristen was hosting.
I took a quick shower and fixed my blonde hair into curls. I put on light make up to match the white gown my Mum and I bought in the mall a couple of days ago.
Just as I finished applying my make-up, I heard the doorbell ring.
“I need to get that!” Jack said as I heard heavy footsteps sprinting down the stairs. What’s the matter with him?
Whatever. I mentally rolled my eyes. I still need to find the matching heels I forgot to look for. It’s 7:15 pm and I’m sure Marc is down there waiting for me.
Not long after rummaging through the shoe rack, I found the heels I was looking for. I quickly put it on my feet and slowly went down the stairs careful not to trip. When I almost got to the living room, I saw Jack and Marc talking seriously.
Instead of interrupting, the nosy side of me chose to eavesdrop on what they were talking about. ‘Curiosity is always at its best,’ I tsk at myself.
“Seriously, man! What’s with you and my sister?” Jack queried playfully.
“We’re best friends. That’s what I’m sure of. We’ve gotten closer when Chloe left. Chloe made me promise that I’ll take care of Jas the day she flew to England,” Marc leaned on the smaller couch at the right as he answered, making himself more comfortable.
My brother sat straight on the couch at the left and coughed lightly. I sensed he was about to say something real important, “Be honest, dude! Do you like my sister?”
My eyeballs seemed to come out of their sockets upon hearing the blunt words my brother just asked to my best friend I was secretly crushing on for years now and no one even knew. As much as I want to go to the living room to stop the further interrogation thing my brother is doing, I wanted to know Marc’s answer.
“What?!” I saw Marc’s eyes bulged exactly imitating my reaction earlier.
“I’m waiting for a yes or no. Come on! I see the way you act around my sister; I just want to know what to call those gestures,” My brother mocked him with a chuckle probably at Marc’s earlier frightened state.
There was an awkward pause in the air and I knew it was the best time to get Marc out of the ‘hot seat’ as they call it in talk shows. Just as I was about to do that, I heard him say the words which made me think, ‘Curiosity did kill the cat.’
“I like Jas, but never in the way that you’re implying. She’s more like a sister to me. I am ashamed to admit this, but at first, I just really looked after her to impress Chloe. However, when I got to know her, she’s fun to be with and I’m sure she’ll eventually find the right bloke. Jasmine Dianne and I are better—or best, at being best friends. That girl who left for England five years ago still has my heart,” He explained as he looked the ground mumbling the last sentence, nonetheless, I clearly perceived.
My heart shattered to pieces upon registering those words in my mind. Why was I so affected? Didn’t I already know from the start that he wouldn’t reciprocate the feelings I have for him?
I guess what really hurts is hearing those words of indirect rejection from his mouth. I feel tears brimming from my eyes, but I try to fight it no matter how hard it is. So I plaster the best smile and walk to the living room in my white gown and matching heels.
“Hey guys!” I tried to say without a faint crack in my voice. I mentally high-fived myself when it turned out pretty convincing.
The two boys appeared to be startled at my presence, “H-how long have you been here?” Marc stuttered.
“Long enough to hear you confess your feelings for my favourite cousin who lives in England,” Now where did that come from? I mentally scolded and face-palmed myself at that tease. Good thing, my voice didn’t crack.
“That’s all you heard?” They asked simultaneously and I couldn’t fight back a giggle. It eased the tension a bit, anyway.
Nevertheless, I still hated my brother. I hated him from making Marc speak about his feelings for me—which he never has. I looked at Jack and saw his face full of concern and sorry like he knew about my feelings for Marc. Maybe, it didn’t give the idea of being hidden after all.
However, I will never look defeated. One thing I’m sure of what I’m thinking is that—I’M. NOT. THINKING. So I said the biggest lie I have ever said in my entire life. “Marc’s right. We’re best at being best friends. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s not like we’re not good at being partners because actually, we’re good at being—”
“Partners-in-crime,” Marc and I said at the same time with him laughing wholeheartedly and mine being forced.
“Yeah, with those perfectly pulled pranks, ‘partners-in-crime’ is a hilariously appropriate word,” Jack agreed just as Mum stormed in the room in her purple gown with matching heels and purse.
To say I was insecure would be an understatement. I wondered how Mum could stay beautiful all through these years. “It’s 7:30 pm. We need to go. Kristen’s party starts at quarter to eight. Oh, hey Marc! You look really more handsome tonight,” Mum said in a sincere but hurriedly way.
“Hi, Mrs. Scott. You look extra lovely too. However, I’m giving this lovely m’lady a ride to the dance. We need to go,” Marc said as he opened the front door and gestured me to go first. His gentleman actions were really torture for me.
“Thanks, Marc. But please call me Sandra. Mrs. Scott is my mother. By the way, see you at the dance,” Mum called as we got into Marc’s car for what seemed like the longest car ride of my life.
~if only you knew~
THE DRIVE TO the venue was silent. Maybe for Marc, it was comfortable, nonetheless it was awkward and plain torture for me.
Whenever I look at this boy beside me focused in the road, I couldn’t help but notice his features. The way his blonde locks stand messily in his head but perfectly matches his ocean blue eyes. Those eyes that appears twinkling every time light reflects on them. His body not so big but strong and muscular enough to make him the Captain of the basketball team and MVP of the season; not to forget how hot he looks in his suit and tie right now. His height which makes him completely tower over me, but his presence never fails to make me feel protected. Lastly, his pink, plump lips that looks more and more desirable when he speaks witty words or even the sickest joke. It just makes me feel sad—I should say miserable—knowing that I would never feel those against mine.
“Jasmine Dianne Scott!” I was snapped out of my thoughts when I heard the car stop and Marc’s voice.
“We’re here. Why do you keep on zoning out today, Cupcake?” He lightly pinched my right cheek and chuckled.
“If only you knew, it’s all because of you, Marc,” Oh, how I’d like to tell him that.
“N-nothing. Come on, let’s go,” My voice came out as a stuttering mumble. Fortunately, he just shrugged and we got out of his car.
We come in the venue and there sure as hell lot of people. Sorry for the cursing, but I’m not just used to it. Yeah, my family really knows a lot of the people because of the company but I still remain anti-social.
Just in time we went to our table, Aunt Kristen went to the stage and everyone’s eyes focused on her.
“Good evening, everyone!” She started. “As we all know, this party is held for the success of the new project for Prestige Hotel and Real Estate. But—”
She paused for a couple of seconds, “It is more than that. I’m glad to tell you that my eldest kid is back from England. I’ve just missed her so much. Please welcome, my lovely Chloe Taylor.”
Out of nowhere, I saw Chloe walking to the stage in her red long gown, beautiful as ever. Everyone applauded for her. I was surprised to see my cousin and best friend but terrified at the same time. Marc’s true love is back. This made me feel insecure; I would like to shrink in my seat until I heard my name from the stage.
“I would like to surprise my cousin and best-est friend, Jasmine Scott. Turns out, Marc and I kind of did a good job. Come here, best!” Chloe called from the stage.
Marc accompanied me and we walked to the stage to hug Chloe. Aunt Kristen said to the mic, “The trio is back!”
We walked down the stage and Marc was ecstatic than ever, “You should see your face, Jas. This is my—I mean—our surprise.”
If you only knew the reason why I had that face, Marc; the way you said ‘our’ is like stabbing my whole body mercilessly. Your love is back and I don’t know what to feel.
Chloe hugged me again and squealed, “Surprise!”
The three of us laughed and mine came out as pretend. I really needed to be happy for them; maybe I need to keep this feeling to myself.
We were enjoying the party, and the two of them told me the exact details. It turned out: Marc was late at lunch time today because he fetched Chloe at the airport. He didn’t tell me because he knew I would be so happy knowing that Chloe would be here with us again.
I am happy for them, sincerely, I am. But I feel sorry for myself, knowing that my first love experience isn’t the best experience, not even good.
Chloe and I got back to our table to rest our feet for a while. Dancing was really hard if you were wearing four-inch heels. Marc sat across the circular table whilst Chloe and I sat beside each other.
All of a sudden, the lights dimmed and a slow song came. I saw Marc stood up from his seat and walked to us—I mean—to the person next to me.
“Chloe, can I have this dance?” he asked. Of course, Chloe agreed. Who wouldn’t, right? But when he took her hand, I died from the inside. I watched the way he looked at her; it broke every bone in my body to know he’ll never look at me like that.
And there I was looking at the two of them happily as they walked to the dance floor but I feel pain inside. I saw my brother looking at me with sympathy but I just shrugged still denying the fact that I have feelings for Marc Johnson. I smiled at him and he returned it. What Marc said wasn’t forced by my brother, so it wasn’t his fault that Marc doesn’t have the same feelings I have for him.
At least, nobody knew that I’m hurting. No one knew I’m breaking every time he looks at her the way he never looked at me. No one knew I’m tearing apart every time he speaks to her the way he never does and never will do to me. The pain will remain but I wouldn’t ruin other people’s happiness. Maybe hoping to be the one holding his shoulder and his hand was wrong. But I was sure, however, that keeping these feelings to me was wrong, too.
Although, when Marc glanced at me from the dance floor, I gave him thumbs-up and the best smile I could show. I could see the twinkle in his eyes. He was really having the time of his life with his love dancing with him.
Nonetheless, deep inside, I kept myself from saying this to him, “If only you knew, Marc James Johnson. I wish that was me.”