“These… feelings… that you are feeling right now… They aren’t real, Lex. It’s only because you have this very strong urge to protect me.”
“STUPID! STUPID! STUPID!” Xander yelled as he kicked his clutter around the room. He sat at the edge of his bed and ruffled his hair in annoyance. Grabbing a pillow, he lay down his bed and buried his face in the pillow to muffle his screams as the memory of their fight replayed clearly in his head.
There were several knocks on the door before Jerome, still in his basketball uniform, entered the room with a worried look on his face.
“Hey, dude. You okay?”
“Nw im nwt” he replied. He then turned to his side so Jerome could see his back. “Everything. Is just. So. Messed. Up.”
“I know how you feel, dude. Being a rebound sucks. I never thought that Aurelia could be that kind of a girl. She looks like the perfect girlfriend.”
“Pft. Perfect my ass.”
“Dude, you shouldn’t have agreed to that contract in the first place. I mean, since you knew you were a rebound and all that. Seriously. Someone ALWAYS ends up falling in love. And that just makes the separation more painful.”
“It’s NOT pretend, Jerome. Our relationship IS real.”
“Don’t lie to me, dude. I heard everything. You two agreed to pretend that you are in a relationship on the condition that neither of you can fall in love, right? Probably to make her ex jealous so that she can reel him back in. I really hate those kinds of manipulative girls. They make us think we are heartless puppets of theirs.”
Xander quickly turned to the other side so he can look at Jerome. “Wait. How did you know all that?”
“Hey, dude… are you crying?” he asked as he noticed the redness of Xander’s eyes.
“No! How did you know about the contract?!”
“Well, you see… I was still at the basketball court cleaning up when you two started yelling at each other. “
Xander sat up and ran his hand over his face. “Oh sh*t.”
“Sorry for eavesdropping, dude. I thought you were in trouble or something. I couldn’t help it.”
“No, Jerome. That’s not it. I think I just blew our cover. Argh! I’m such a jerk!”
Jerome sat beside Xander and placed one hand on his shoulder. “You really like, Aurelia, don’t you?”
“I think she likes you too, dude. She’s pretty confused I think… between you and her ex.”
“What?” Xander frowned, more confused than ever. “First you tell me that she used me. Then you’re telling me that she likes me. Next thing I know, you’re going to go ask me to apologize to her.”
“Seriously, Jerome. Not helping. You two are just giving me migraines.”
“But I’m serious here, dude. I’m positive that she really likes you.”
“Take it from me, dude. I’ve been a rebound twice, and not one of those two cried for me as much as Aurelia did when I saw her.”
“Yeah. Not crocodile tears, mind you. Real tears. She didn’t even notice that I was already beside her until I gave her my towel.” Jerome continued. “When I asked her what happened, she refused to talk about it and told me that she’ll just return the towel to me later. After thanking me, she retreated to the washrooms and then I went here.”
Xander stared at Jerome in disbelief. Did what he just told him be possible? Could it be that Aura had fallen in love with him? Maybe that was the reason why she chose him to protect her. And all these things about being her Collector must be some well planned plot to keep him close. But if that’s true, then why does he feel that he really is connected to Aura? If she had been faking it, why tell him that he can’t fall in love with him? Does that mean there really is an ex-boyfriend in her life? Is he really just a rebound to her?
“Hey, dude. If you want to apologize, you better get dressed already. According to her schedule, she’ll be having Finance at our class in one hour.” Jerome smiled. “You gotta go out there and show her that you are the guy for her. Show that ex of hers how to treat Aurelia right!”
“Thanks.” Xander smiled. Though he was feeling more confused after Jerome’s explanation, it did feel a little bit better now that he knows a bit of his situation (even if it was a bit far off from the real one.) “Wait a minute! Why do you know Aura’s schedule?”
Jerome grinned as he showed Xander his notebook where Aura’s class schedule was written. “Got it from her Registration Form. I thought it would come in handy if I were to court her. But since you got to her first, well… I gave up on her the moment you two kissed.”
“Why didn’t you show me this before?!” Xander asked. It would have saved me from this trouble if I had known she’ll be in the same P.E. class as I am.
“Well, I didn’t think you’ll be interested. Besides, I thought you already know since she is… or was… or still is… your girlfriend.”
“She is NOT—“ Xander stopped when he saw Jerome grin. “Yeah. Right. Whatever.”
“Be sure to give me an update afterwards, okay?” He gave Xander a light nudge before making his way into the washroom. “I’ll catch up with you later.”
“You’re not going to class?”
“You’re not the only one with a girl, you know?” Jerome grinned. “I have a date with Destiny.”
To be continued…