I was casually lounging in a Firefly class spaceship, talking with the greatest crew to be found when Wands by The Midnight Beast started blaring throughout the ship. Everything faded away as I desperately tried to hold onto the moment. Then my bleary eyes blinked open, and I laid in my bed nodding to the music I never managed to sleep through. I rolled out of bed and looked at the time. Five in the morning!? “Oh wait.” I told myself I was suppose to be awake, not wanting a lecture from father. I laid back down to enjoy the warm soft bed for a minute longer. I surely dozed off. What seemed like a second later, I was suddenly sitting up, hearing the Song of Storms Dubstep Remix by Ephixa blaring at me. Why did I have to set a second alarm.
I apologized to my bed for abandoning it, saying how much I would rather keep it company, and then went to my computer to turn the music down slightly. Whoever wrote the alarm program I used was a hero. He, or she, chased away the need for bells and beeps to wake me, replacing the horrible sounds with anything I felt like using and allowing me to set as many alarms as I wished. I blinked when I stared at the screen and counted; I apparently set five alarms for this morning. I looked out my window at the cloudy, black sky and knew I must be losing my mind. No sane person would want to beat the sun to rise. Sleeping sensibly until the sun was a good ways into the air was a far better option.
I clicked a random playlist for VLC media player and checked my business email. I shut my email, rubbed my eyes, and checked my email again. This was impossible. Fifteen new emails confronted me even after waiting for reality to resume. I considered for a moment that waking up earlier might not be a reasonable solution to my dilemma if, in fact, it compounded the problem with a greater workload. A groggy part of my mind was claiming the two things could not truly be linked. I stated to myself that this was what morning was like, and firmly shut the door on any sense of reason. I started pouring through the emails from the first that arrived through the last, and stuck my tongue out at the sixteenth email that arrived shortly before I responded to the tenth. I had no clue what happened to increase my business popularity, but I no longer felt like advertising at all.
After answering the last email, no more having arrived after the sixteenth, I looked longingly at my pile of video games laying beside the stand mother had bought for them. The rest of my room was generally pristine, so my parents ignored this one little lapse of mine. I didn’t get a chance to play at all last night, since I worked more on my website after getting home from Timothy’s apartment. “James! You’re going to be late,” my mother called as she knocked on my door. I looked at the time and found that she was right. I needed to start replying at other times more often instead of just in the morning. I couldn’t keep up like this. I also needed to stop the first-come-first-serve method and have my site prioritize requests by their listed time-frames. I showered and dressed in a blur, packing jeans in my bag so I could jog to school.
When I got to the kitchen, ready to apologize about missing breakfast, I found five breakfast bars and a sports-cap bottle of water waiting for me on the table. “I didn’t bother cooking for you when you didn’t answer your door the first two times.” My mother was the best. “Sorry. I didn’t hear you. I actually got up early today, but I think I need to spread replying out a bit.” Mother smiled and shook her head. “Just don’t overdo it, James. This is a good experience for you, but I expect your grades to stay up. You also need a social life, or your friends will feel neglected.” I smiled and interrupted her before she could mention Regina. “Oh, I will. I’m going on a date with a girl named Emma soon. Anyways, I better run!” I grabbed the food and took off out the door before she could respond.
I freshened up in the locker room quickly before heading to homeroom and nearly feel asleep there. I hated mornings. Jarod and I got a disapproving stare from Mr. Traber during first period when I was conveying my morning to Jarod a bit too loudly. Whoever came up with the idea of a first period English class needed to rethink life. A person needed to talk just to stay awake through that part of the day. After the bell rang, Jarod and I started walking to Physics, so I asked him if he knew of any girls that were interested in me. He gaped for a moment before saying, “My man! You’ve finally decided to wake up to the wonderful world of ladies. Half the girls in this school have been interested in you.” I looked at him and tried ascertaining if he was mocking me. “If that’s true, why haven’t I heard about it?”
Our conversation continued into Physics and through the lab with a long break for Mr. Harrington’s lecture. “Well, it’s like this. Remember in seventh grade when Emily Baker had that splotchy green hair? She had written you a note to see if you were interested in her.” I looked at him, completely surprised. “I remember the hair, but she never gave me a note. She told me that her mother had spilled dye in it when I asked, and didn’t really say much to me after that.” Jarod shook his head with a sympathetic look on his face. “That’s because Regina found out about Emily’s scheme and convinced the girl that you weren’t available.”
“What!? No way. I’ve never seen Regina hurt a fly. She’s just.. well.. her eyes. She’s always planning something.” Jarod laughed and replied, “Yeah. She’s planning on how to get you to ask her out and how to punish any other girl that tries. If she weren’t evil, I’d think you were nuts for not dating her.” He then went into a long list of other girls that had unfortunate things happen when they supposedly showed an interest in me. The evidence was pretty convincing. “But I can’t really see Regina being openly cruel to someone.” Jarod gave me a serious look. “I never said she lifted a finger. If I had some way to prove any of it, I would’ve stuck it in your face long ago. It’s all just too convenient, y’know?”
Third period found me watching Regina for signs of a ruthless tyrant attempting to dictate my love life. She simply looked perfect as ever. Well-manicured fingernails softly clicked against her desk as she idly tapped them. She didn’t really belong here. Her purse probably cost more than most people’s entire outfit, since everything she wore was by one popular designer or another. The girl was like a princess from a fairytale living among commoners in a small village, although this high school’s three thousand students outnumbered any small village in tales I read. I could easily imagine Regina manipulating people, but I just couldn’t see her brutally hurting anyone.
When I told my mother about my date-to-be this morning, I wanted to shock her and open the possibility of her breaking the news to Regina. After talking about her, I wanted to find out if what Jarod said was true, so I stopped Regina after class and asked if she’d give me a ride home. Her smile was gorgeous as she gladly agreed. “Sure, James. You know I’ll always help you in any way I can.” The suggestive tone of her voice made my skin feel hot. “Well, I’ll see you after track,” I said, quickly departing as she replied, “I’ll be the one in the bleachers.”
My phone buzzed in my pocket several times as the day continued. I felt excited at the possibilities that came with new clients. Who knew what I would be doing next? I also felt uneasy about the complete lack of time that came with more business. I still needed to finish high school with A’s, or my parents would be more than a little peeved. Then there was this feeling of exhaustion which came with a lack of sleep threatening to claim my consciousness at any moment.
I zoned out as I ran at track and likely had poor times. True to her word, Regina was waiting for me in the stands again. “Hey, handsome. Need something special to put a little more perk in your step?” She smiled suggestively and my tired mind gathered too many ideas about what she could mean. I briefly considered going back into the locker room for a cold shower but dismissed the idea, knowing I had work awaiting me at home. “Regina, we need to talk about some things.” Her smile faded and that calculating look claimed her eyes. “Is something wrong, James?” We were walking slowly to her car. “Well, I know that you like me and have for quite some time. You wouldn’t hurt someone else interested in me, would you?”
There was a long pause before she responded. “I thought you knew me better than that. I don’t want to hurt people James.” Her response wasn’t a denial. “Do you remember Amy Wright having that accident in Chemistry two years ago shortly before homecoming?” Regina slowly nodded. “Her skin wasn’t purple for that long really.” I frowned. “She was apparently going to ask me to the dance that day. Weren’t you in her class?” Regina nodded again. “Yes, I was at the other side of the room working on the lab when we all heard her scream.” There were plenty of witnesses I could ask to verify that story, so she was probably telling the truth. Jarod surely would’ve caught a mistake that big otherwise.
“So why are you bringing that up, James?” I looked at her face which held an annoyed expression, and wondered if everything Jarod told me could truly be coincidence. “Well, I am going on a date with someone, and thought you should know.” Regina rolled her eyes, “Your mother already told me about Michelle, James. I think it’s nice of you to be helping the girl like that.” She was too cavalier about that, and her smile didn’t touch her eyes when she glanced up at me. I wondered what she was planning. “Actually, I’m planning on a date with a girl named Emma. Her grandfather wants us to hangout.” I was looking forward when I spoke, but I felt the daggers her eyes buried in me and winced.
“I see” was all she said to me. The ride home was horribly uncomfortable with her barely responding to anything I said. She just waved as I got out of her car, and her tires squealed slightly as she took off. “I see that you told Regina about this date of yours. Care to tell your own mother now?” Mother was standing in the doorway with her arms crossed, but her voice was still warm. I told her about Timothy’s offer and how nice the idea of meeting someone new sounded. She protested slightly when I said that I never went on a date but eventually conceded that a lack of choice in matters could make prior events seem far less date-like. She smiled and hugged me. “You certainly are growing up, but I still think you should give Regina a chance. The girl truly cares about you, James.”
I cleaned up for dinner, ate, and continued thinking about how complicated life was. I then replied to two more clients before working on homework. Luckily, I didn’t have a client tonight, or I never would get the essays for Business Management finished. I was suppose to meet a Georgina Martin at the mall to assist her in shopping after school tomorrow, which sounded more like being a hired baggage man from the description the woman gave. Nonetheless, I needed to get as much homework finished as possible while I had the chance. Life was getting busier and busier, but I would prove to my father that I could handle whatever came my way.