“Can you believe it? Us, in our last year of high school?” Amaya whispered incredulously as we walked towards one of the benches to wait.
“Hardly. It’s crazy,” I replied, looking around. It was crazy to think it would be my last year sitting here on this bench waiting for school to officially start, my last year watching the buses come up as the trees waved in the wind. Crazy, yes – but not bad at all. I had many memories here, but overall, I was glad to be done with school.
“It’s crazier that we’re all here together,” Emily pointed out.
“Damn, true,” Aya laughed, “I still don’t know what convinced my parents not to move to Sakura Province just yet, but I don’t care. And you, Emi! We weren’t sure if you’d be going to school in San Myshuno since that’s where your brother is.”
“I thought about it, but I wanted to finish my last year of high school here with my best friends,” she replied, pausing. “…even if it means having to live with my parents again.”
“They’re still living together?” I asked, surprised.
Emily nodded. “Oh yes. How I wish they weren’t.”
“Why doesn’t one of them move out?” I questioned.
“To where? We don’t have money for that,” Emily sighed.
“Oh. Right. Sorry.”
“Nah, don’t worry about it. If it was an option, they’d have done it. It’s seriously a fucking nightmare to live there, though,” she muttered.
My eyes widened by her use of a swear word. She wasn’t one to do that very often, but she did hate the whole situation with her parents. I’m lucky my moms are so in love. It’s insane to think people once believed gay couples couldn’t be happy together.
The bell rung just then, and everyone instantly got up, going towards the door in a very un-orderly way. Today would be pretty chill, the first day back always is, thank goodness, unless you get one of those teachers with a stick up their ass that gives you a packet on the first day. I swear, I better not get one of those, or it won’t be fun for either of us, I promise you that.
“My first class is over there,” Emily said, pointing left, “Room 104.”
“Mine’s upstairs, Room 237,” I said, looking at my sheet.
Aya nodded. “So is mine, 251.”
“See ya, then,” Emily told us, going left as we went right towards the stairs.
“Damn it,” I groaned, catching a glance of Kyle.
“What?” Amaya asked me, looking around.
“It’s Kyle. I didn’t think I’d have to see him since he graduated.”
“What’s he doing here?”
“I have no idea,” I sighed.
“Wait,” Aya whispered, grabbing my arm, “Why don’t you want to see him?”
“Cause we broke up, duh. And on the last day of school last year, he… he said he loved me.”
“Aya, be quiet!” I shushed her, walking up the stairs.
“He said he loved you?”
I rolled my eyes. “Yes. He stopped me before I got on my bus and said he loved me.”
Amaya’s eyes widened. “You’re kidding.”
“No, I am not.”
“Well, what did you say?”
She looked excited, like she was listening to some juicy love story. Shame that I have to cut it short before the ‘happily ever after’. “I told him it was over and we wouldn’t work out anyway.”
“Shut up. Besides, it doesn’t matter now, since I’m taken,” I reminded her.
“Of course, the cute guy from Del Sol, how could I forget,” she winked.
“Amaya, stop!” I laughed. “Well, he is cute. But you’re the one with the exotic boyfriend, so who’s talking?”
She blushed. “He isn’t exotic!”
“He’s not from here, so I’d say so,” I replied simply.
She shook her head. “Switzerland isn’t exotic!”
“Switzerland. Well, everyone I’ve ever known is Byzantine, not Swiss, okay, so trust me, he’s cool,” I smirked. “Anyway, why is he here again?”
“He’s an exchange student for the year. His family is renting out the place next to us.”
“Damn it, Vali, stop!” She laughed.
I shook my head. “I looked at the pictures you sent, the man is hot. Why can’t they make them like this around here?”
Amaya turned beet red. “Valentina!” I just grinned as she took a second before saying, “Well, what about your man, he’s pretty hot, right?”
“Trueee,” I laughed.
“Alright, see you,” Amaya giggled, shaking her head as she went into her classroom.
“Yeah,” I replied, continuing down the hallway to mine.
School is as boring as ever, like it all goes downhill from kindergarten, seriously. But… knowing it’s my last year here makes it just that much better. The adults say we’re going to miss these times when we’re older, but I highly doubt it. I’d rather die than want to go to school. Luckily, lunch came soon enough, and I went over to join Aya and Emily.
“Did any of y’all get homework yet?” Emi asked.
“Nope, praise the Watcher,” Aya replied.
“Yeah, I didn’t either. Did you?” I added.
“Nothing real, just a few of those ‘get to know you’ things,” she replied.
I laughed. “Those don’t count.”
“Hey, Vali,” I heard from behind me, and I turned to see Jaden.
“Oh, hey,” I smiled. He nodded and went to sit with his guy friends, and I turned back to Aya’s and Emi’s eyes glued on me.
“Does he still like you?” Amaya asked.
“He better not, cause he has a girlfriend now!” I replied, “And are you forgetting I have a boyfriend?”
“Speaking of boyfriends…” Emily grinned, nodding towards the door.
I turned and looked back with a smirk on my face. “Amaaaaya,” I singsonged.
“Don’t be weird, guys!” She pleaded, “It’s his first day in school here!”
“Fine,” Emi and I both said.
She stared at us suspiciously. “Oookay,” she said to us before waving to her boyfriend. “Hey, Ansel!”
“Amaya!” He grinned, coming over. “Can I sit here?”
“Of course,” she replied, taking his hand. “Guys, this is my boyfriend, Ansel. Ansel, these are my best friends, Emily and Valentina.”
“Γεια σου,” Geia soy, he smiled.
I blinked. “Wait, you know Greek?”
“Yeah, a little,” he nodded, “it’s part of why I wanted to do an exchange here, to practice.”
“Oh, that’s cool,” Emily grinned. “A lot of us speak English most often, though.”
“Yeah, a lot of people speak English everywhere, because of the big influence English-speaking countries had. It makes it nice to communicate, though,” he replied.
“Definitely,” Amaya nodded. “Don’t worry, we still all know Greek, they made sure of it at school.”
“Good,” he laughed, “or I’ll have learned for nothing.”
“Why’d you even choose Greek to learn? I’m surprised they taught it,” I said.
He shrugged. “They can teach basically everything with online courses. I chose it because my grandfather was born and raised here in Byzantium, and I wanted to get more in touch with my past.”
“That’s pretty cool,” Emi said.
He smiled. “I’m glad you think so. Most people at school just cheated and did French, German, or Italian, which we already hear often.”
“Sounds like what I’d do,” I laughed.
“Do you guys have to take a language?” He asked.
I shook my head. “Nope. Apparently, they think Greek and English is good enough.”
“I mean, English will take you almost everywhere,” he pointed out.
“True, but learning a new language has a cultural aspect, it’s not just about communication,” Aya replied.
He nodded. “Exactly. I’m glad English didn’t completely take over.”
The bell rung for the next period and we all got up.
“Nice to meet you, Ansel,” Emily smiled.
“Yes, what she said,” I grinned, and Aya and he had a quick kiss before he made his way out of the room.
“His next class is on the other side of the school,” Amaya explained.
Emily nudged her with a grin. “He’s nice.”
Aya blushed, nodding. “He is.”