"What?! How?! How do you know me, I mean?" Reyansh was baffled.
"Well..." Vansh began with weird facial expressions. He looked at his left with the corner of his eyes and then to his right. Really, just what the hell was wrong with him? "...That's a secret hehehe~." he said with a grin.
Vansh was getting more and more annoying but before Reyansh can find out how Vansh knew him, how can he possibly get away from the conversation?
"No, tell me," Reyansh said. "How do you know me? I am really curious."
"I told you, it's a secret." Vansh pouted.
Vansh was getting more and more creepy as well. First he helps Reyansh, then he acts rudely, and then he starts messing up with him... Reyansh really had enough of his bullshit and he decided he was going to avoid him from that point. He was on the verge of walking away from the conversation when Vansh said, "ummmmm, okay, here's a deal - you help me with something and I'll tell you how I know you the next time we meet. However, that is IF you agree to help me. How does that sound to you?" Vansh asked pleasantly.
Reyansh had a wide variety of emotions swinging around his mind at this point. He was annoyed, surprised, confused and just so many other emotions he was not able to comprehend himself. Did he really want his help? HIS help? Couldn't he find anyone else? How did he know him? What was the deal with him?
"Well?" Vansh asked, snapping Reyansh out of his thoughts.
"What kind of help do you want from someone like me?" Reyansh asked with downcast eyes.
Before Vansh could answer that question, he got a phone call. "Hello?" he picked up the phone. "Hmm, yes mom? ...I'll be right there... No, I am just at the park... Mom... I think I finally found a friend! Yeah, he is realllyyy interesting! ...No, I didn't ask him where he studies... No mom, I also don't know if he is a Science student." he looked at Reyansh and gave him a grin as if he was lying to his mom. Reyansh wasn't sure if that's what the grin implied but he decided not to think too much about it for now. He had no idea what the hell was going on anyway. "I just met him today... Yeah, for the first time... I am sure he is my friend now because... I think we are similar in some way. Anyway yes, I am on my way to home. I'll be there soon. See ya." He cut the call. He wasn't as creepy-sounding while talking with his mom.
"So Reyansh, my friend, I think I am going to head home now because my mom is reallllyyyyy strict and she wouldn't at all be pleased if I am late, you know. She wants me to study aaaaaaa..." he said with a crying voice but was obviously deadpanning. "About the deal... I think it'd be fair if I tell you what kind of help I might want from you when I am ready to tell you how I know you, eh? So... till the next time~." he gave Reyansh an extremely polite smile, waved his hand and left the park. Reyansh was too baffled to say anything. So many thoughts were running in his mind.
Reyansh went back to his usual seat.
Oops, Reyansh forgot to ask Vansh's contact number or address. He didn't want to meet Vansh anymore but he definitely wanted to know what kind of help he wanted from a "loser" like him. He was surprised when he asked for his help. It made him feel like he was... Needed? Reyansh wasn't sure but he was kind of glad that he asked for his help even if he was joking. Another thing that he didn't understand was how he looked interesting to him. He wondered what Vansh meant by "later" when he told him that he was going to see him later.
Reyansh was too depressed because of the exams so he decided that he was not going to go to the park before he is done with his exams.
Two days later on their Chemistry exam, when Reyansh entered the class, he realized that Rin and Madhuri had already arrived. He went to his seat and looked at Madhuri to greet her but she ignored him, feigning unawareness about Reyansh's arrival. She was pretending to study before the exams start.
He had downcast eyes.
Reyansh turned to his back. "Hey Rin... I... I am sorry for misbehaving two days ago..." He said nervously.
"Don't worry about it," Rin said. "I should've known that you might have your own reasons for not taking a stand for yourself. But perhaps you should talk to me about these "reasons" of yours someday and maybe that would convince me that you're actually not weak and maybe there are other reasons." she said with a low smile.
'Weak... What does she mean by weak? Am I weak? Not taking a stand for myself makes me weak? Does... Not doing anything and keep getting bullied makes me weak even if Aryan is ten times more powerful? Is that what she is trying to say?'
"Hey, are you okay?" Rin asked, snapping Reyansh out of his musings. "What happened?"
"No... I-I am fine. Don't worry." Reyansh said with a nervous smile.
"Oh, okay. Anyway, I'll try to help you pass this exam. If you pass this and the rest of the exams, you can just give a re-exam for Physics if you fail in it overall and move to the next grade." Rin said.
It seemed there was still some hope.
Madhuri heard the entire conversation and was more curious to know about Reyansh now than she ever was. She had so many questions like why Reyansh apologized to Rin, why Rin asked him to take a stand for himself from now when he was the one misbehaving and insulting teachers even when he was a failure. Even though what she saw two days ago totally contradicted her opinions regarding Reyansh that she previously hat. Now she was curious and confused. She decided that she will ask Rin about it after their exams end.
He was wrong. There was no hope. Their Chemistry teacher was definitely not as unbiased and strict as Mrs. Tanya was but just like her, the teacher's eyes were seemingly fixated on Reyansh. Other students were cheating as well but the teachers wouldn't catch them as often. However, the same couldn't be said for Reyansh. He tried to cheat once and he was warned. It was obvious that the teachers would look out for him though, as not only was he failing the year but he was also the most infamous student in the school. Anyway, he was not going to take any risk just like he didn't take it in his last exam.
He slept depressively. He had an ominous feeling that the teacher was going to casually come to him, snatch his answer papers from him and ask him to get out of the class as a punishment but thankfully, something like that didn't happen this time.
Later that day, Madhuri went to her home and greeted her bed-ridden mother happily. "How are you mom?" she asked enthusiastically.
"I am fine... Though, Nevermind about me... how was your exam?" her mom asked slowly.
"It was great mom. You'll see...! I am going to become a great doctor!" she replied energetically.
"Yes... You'll be a great doctor... My blessings are with you." her mom smiled.
Madhuri couldn't suppress her tears so she left her mother's room, wiped off her tears and went to the kitchen to cook.
Rest of the exams were mostly uneventful.
After the exams ended, Aryan and Dhairya were seen going somewhere in their car.
"It would've been great if Arsh was with us," Aryan said. "It's almost sad that he is no longer a part of this group. Imagine all three of us beating that piece of shit (Reyansh) together..."
"Haha, yeah. Would've been a sight to watch." Dhairya agreed.
After driving for a few minutes, they reached their destination. In front of them stood an apartment. They went to the second floor and knocked on the door of one of the rooms. Mr. Kashyap opened the door and shoed them in.
"Please have a sit." Mr. Kashyap asked politely but when Aryan and Dhairya didn't comply, he became sure that they were there to talk about Reyansh. Aryan had a serious look in his eyes.
"I am going straight to the point," Aryan said intensely. "I don't want you to interfere in my personal matter with Reyansh." he said.
"Are you really asking me to just do nothing and watch you guys bully an innocent and weak student?" he asked with an undercurrent of anger in his voice.
"Innocent...? Bully...? Oh, first of all, I am not BULLYING an INNOCENT weak student, okay? And second of all, it's none of your business. So yes, I am going to repeat what I said - I want you to stop interfering in my personal matter." He warned.
"Things you do to him... That's clearly bullying." Mr. Kashyap corrected him.
"NO!" Aryan yelled. "That's not it... You... You don't understand... ANYTHING!" he protested.
"Bu-" before Mr. Kashyap could argue, Aryan interrupted him. "Enough! You do know that my uncle is the trustee of the school, right? Well, now, he is planning to buy the school itself. And you live in a relatively small place..." he looked around. "What's the rent here? Will you be able to pay if, for some reason, you lose your job tomorrow?" he looked at Mr. Kashyap. "Are you getting my point? You have mouths to feed as well, don't you? It would be good for you if you comply." he threatened as he walked towards the door to leave. "One more thing before I leave. I don't like this place and I don't want to come here again. So listen, if you don't do as I say, you'll lose your job. And if you still don't stop interfering, you might lose something more." he threatened again as he and Dhairya left. Mr. Kashyap couldn't say anything, being too shocked at the threats.
The day after their exams ended, Reyansh's class teacher Mrs. Tanya entered the class with a boy around the same age.
Reyansh was sleeping as he didn't get enough sleep in the last few days because of depression and anxiety.
He had avoided informing his parents about the results of his previous minor tests. He was able to do that because the school wasn't necessarily strict on making their students get their answer papers signed by their parents but that was only for the minor tests and not for the semester exams. Who knows, the school might even arrange a parent-teacher meeting this time.
Reyansh woke up because of the commotion in the class. He looked at the teacher and the boy with fuzzy eyes. After wearing the glasses, his eyes immediately widened out of surprise when he saw Vansh standing with Mrs. Tanya.
"Dear students, this is my son." Mrs. Tanya said. "His name is Vansh and he is the new student in this class. Please welcome him."
Vansh had a smile on his face as he started to look around the class. Reyansh took a book and covered his face because he had a hunch that Vansh was looking for him and he was in no mood to talk to an extremely annoying person at the moment. That, and he was creepy as hell.
Vansh eventually found Reyansh and before Mrs. Tanya could say anything, "yay~!" he jumped and sprinted towards Reyansh. He quickly sat beside him in an empty chair.
"Hello, my young friend. We meet again~." he said with a creepy smile.
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