I tried to help clean the dining table after eating awkwardly with Helena, Yuno, and my dad. But when I was about to grab the plates and utensils, Helena slapped my hand lightly and insisted to me that I should let her do it.
I just shrugged at her and left the area.When I was about to climb the stairs, I spotted Yuno turning the knob of her door, probably resuming on unpacking her things.
"Hey!" I started.
"Hey," she echoed. There was a small awkward pause between us. I pretended to clear my throat to begin a conversation with her since I'll be stuck with her for the rest of my life until my dad and Helena annulled their marriage.
Yuno was a tall girl, standing at 5'9" taller than most of the girls back in my school. Though I noticed that she kept on slouching. It was like she was hiding her height. But I am taller than her since I stand at 6 feet flat.
"So, I have early practice drills tomorrow at school. Would you like to hop a ride with me?" I offered to her.
"What time tomorrow?"
"Hmm.. 6:30 AM. But my - er- our school starts class around 7:30 AM." She thought carefully for a seconds. I was expecting her to decline since it was too early, but then she smiled at me and nodded, agreeing to my offer.
"Good! Since I'm just saving you for a 20-minute walk to school."
"I agreed since I want to roam around the school before students arrive. So which part of the athletic team are you?"
"Oh, I'm part of the school's fencing team."She looked impressed when I mentioned it.
Then she pushed her door and peeked her head outside, smiling at me. "Before I forgot, thanks for the offer, Rayven! I know we are still too awkward with each other. But I appreciate the effort of trying."
I returned her smile and nodded at her.
I was hurrying myself going downstairs since I'm too late for the 6:30 AM promised time to Yuno. Upon landing my feet in the dinner area, I saw Yuno was about to finish her toast and dressed in a school-issued uniform (blue coat, red tie, white sleeve, and checkered blue skirt) while Helena and Dad were already dressed for their work.
Dad was working as an engineer for the local electrical company in the town. While I heard from him also that Yuno's mother will start her first day of work in a local food corporation as Advertising and Promo Manager.
"Sorry, I know it's already 6:40 AM, but I forgot to turn on my alarm clock." I apologized to my new stepsister. Yuno waved me off while still drinking her hot chocolate.
"Don't apologize to me. I'm not the one who has drills commitment with his club. I'm just a passenger. Is it okay to wear t-shirts and shorts in our school?" She eyed my attire carefully.
"Oh, I will just change after our practice drills. I have my uniform in my bag."I just shook my head to her and grabbed two slices of toast from the table and beckoned Yuno to follow me to the parking area.
We climbed inside my blue car and strapped our seatbelts. I revved the engine and turned the wheel. We passed several houses in the neighborhood. There were only a few houses in our district since most residents wanted to live near the commercial area. You could call our district as the suburb version back in the big cities.
"So.." Yuno started. "..just to break the ice. I would like to ask you several questions. This is to check if our personality will clash or compliment each other."
"Here I am expecting to have an awkward drive going to school since I thought you're the shy type. But shoot!"
Shaking her head at me, she chuckled at me. "Since we will be stuck with each other for a very long time, might as well get to know you this early. So first question, coffee or hot chocolate?"I was taken aback by her question, but I cheerfully replied to her.
She distorted her face after hearing my answer and formed her fingers with x-mark. "I hate the taste of coffee! Next question, Star Wars or Star Trek?"
"More of Harry Potter." Then I saw her mouth left hanging open and quickly composed herself. "I can't believe you don't like Star Wars! But I will credit you since I'm also a fellow Potterhead."
I turned my head to her, intrigued by this sudden turn. "So which one of the houses were you sorted?"
"Hey! I'm the one asking questions. But to answer that, I was sorted to Hufflepuff. How about you?" She replied haughtily.
"I was sorted to Ravenclaw." Then I returned my eyes to the road. I turned left and I could already see the buildings at our school - La Orden Academy. One of the two major high schools in this small town. The other one is a public high school, while La Orden Academy is a non-sectarian private school.
Yuno was also peeking from the window and amazed at the size of the academy. La Orden Academy was beautifully built for a high school. The exterior walls were composed of red bricks, looking like a western school. The whole compound of the academy was made of five large buildings, catering to junior high school and senior high school students.
We entered the academy and parked my car to the available parking slot. I hurriedly climbed out of the car and ran hastily to the building where the Fencing team was housed. While running, I noticed that Yuno was trailing behind me. "I thought you are going to roam around the school?"
"Later. I want to watch your training."
We passed the football field and spotted a few football players were already running around the field. And there I saw Taylor Montez or Tay as he preferred to be called. He's my best friend since seventh grade and the school's ace in football. They have been winning the regional competition since Tay joined two years. Now, he's helming the team as their captain.
Surprisingly, Tay caught me running from afar and wave at me. I nodded at him and hastened my steps again. I would probably get an earful of a lecture from our coach.
We entered a building, and upon entering the hallway, we could already hear that the fencing team started their session already. I turned the knob of the Fencing Room and saw that my team was already in the zone parrying their thin swords at each other. I told Yuno that she could sit anywhere if she just wanted to observe us. She nodded at me and gazed at my fellow fencers.
Coach Milo Carlos spotted me and shook his head. He left the fencers he was observing and approached me.
"Are you too early for tomorrow's practice, Ortega?" Coach Carlos said mockingly.I simply bowed at my head, since there were no words to soften the disappointment of my coach to me. He instructed me to grabbed my equipment and protective gears, and I obediently followed him.
After the hellish drills ordered to me by Coach Carlos which served as punishment for my tardiness also, I quickly hopped to men's athletic team common bathroom. I heard a buzz from my cellphone and found a text message from Yuno. She typed that she already left the fencing team's room and started roaming around the school, ending the message to see me later.
There were already several students walking around the room with their bare chests and towels draped, covering their lower half. I tried to look for available cubicle when I felt someone tapping at my back. Turning around, I saw Tay smiling sheepishly at me while his football's jersey was drenched with sweat with some dirt all over the places.
I sensed that he was about to do something nasty when his towering physique of 6'3'' looming over me and stretched his long arms like he was about to embrace me.
"Tay! W-What do you think you're doing?" I stammered. I could already smell his sweat emitting from his body.
"I just want to hug you!" He laughed at himself and tried to push forward.
"For starters, you're drenched from sweat, and you're covered by dirt!"
"Exactly! I want to share my blessings."
Some of the guys in the bathroom heard his joke and simply chuckled at him. That was when someone exited from the cubicle and I hurriedly entered it. I was stripping my clothes when I heard someone knocking at my cubicle.
"Hey, Rayven! Let me enter too. The room is jampacked. I can't be late for my first class. Please!" Tay pleaded at me.
"We're not kids anymore, Tay!" I shouted at him though it made me blush at the idea of sharing a bathroom with him. "I'll be quick, then you can have this cubicle all for yourself."
I could hear Tay's moaning from frustration and just laugh at him.
I left the bathroom and Tay and walked towards my classroom building. There were already students flocking the hallway while leisurely chatting on their lockers. I was looking for any sign of Yuno, but to no avail, she was nowhere to be found.
She'd mentioned to me before we left the car that she had to go to the principal for some introduction about the school. I walked lazily to the direction of my classroom when someone called my name from behind.
"Rayven! Rayven Ortega!"
I turned around and found two male students smiling at me. I noticed that they have identical pins on their blue coat. I tried to look at it and saw letter B embossed on their pins.
"I'm Caden Delos Santos," said the guy who has short and trimmed black hair. He was tilting his head since he was shorter than me. "And my companion, Rig Dante. We're here to recruit you."
"Recruit? Sorry, but I've already joined a club."
"Oh. This is not a club. It's more of a brotherhood. Other members are not exclusive to this school only."
"Sorry. It sounds creepy. Thank you for the offer! But no thanks! I need to go to my classroom now."
I turned my back to them but then someone grabbed my arm, halting my steps. The arm was connected to the guy who introduced himself as Caden.
"Please consider it." He smiled sweetly in a sickening way.
"Hey, Rayven!"I heard a familiar voice and found Tay now wearing his school uniform. He noticed that someone was grabbing my arm and inched closer to me.
"Is this guy bothering you?"I was about to answer him when Caden removed his fingers from my coat and nodded at his companion.
"We will no longer waste your time. But Rayven, hope you can consider it." Before he left, he glared at Tay and walked in the opposite direction from us while his friend trailed after him.
"What was that?" Tay asked me, puzzled at what just happened.
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