"Yousef, I suggest you do what she says," a male voice said.
Everyone looked at the person who said it.
It was Vincent.
Vincent was only 5'7". However, he was friendly, smart, the captain of the football team, handsome, and he came from a rich family. With all these qualities, he was one of the popular kids in school.
In regards to why he chose to go to a public school instead of a private school despite coming from a rich family, it was because he wanted to spend his student life with his childhood friends, Nathan and Karen.
Seeing Vincent come to the rescue, the eyes of many girls shined, including Karen's.
"Mind your own business, Vincent," Yousef, one of the bullies, said.
"Or else what?" asked Vincent as he immediately approached Yousef who was 3 inches taller than him.
Yousef found himself tongue-tied because he also noticed that a couple of Vincent's friends more than seven were nearby, waiting.
"How does it feel being bullied? If you don't like it, then don't do it to others!" Karen said on the side.
Yousef's companions glared at Karen.
However, Karen wasn't afraid. To her, she and the others were on the good side.
"So, what's your decision?" Vincent coldly asked the bullies.
Yousef stared into Vincent's eyes. He clenched his fists and unclenched them before finally calming down.
"It's our fault. Sorry," Yousef said nonchalantly and turned around to leave.
He was well aware that if a fight broke between his group and Vincent's group, with so many witnesses around, they will surely be painted as the villains and would face punishment from the school and from their coach.
"Wait, say sorry to Jessie, not us! And make sure you mean it!" Karen said.
Hearing what Karen said, Jessie, the nerd pushed by the bullies earlier, had mixed feelings. One part of him was grateful seeing people stand up for him, while another part of him felt fearful for the future.
Vincent, Karen, and Therese were graduating students and will graduate next week. On the other hand, Yousef and his companions were in the same year as he was, juniors. Despite him being part of the student council, it held little effect to prevent bullies from targeting him.
Thanks to this moment, although Yousef and his buddies won't bother him for the time being, the bullying he will experience once they decided to target him again will be harsher.
Naturally, this was also one of Nathan's concerns.
In Nathan's mind, a school without bullying is nothing but a fantasy. There will always be hierarchies. If one doesn't want to become a victim, one needs to learn how to protect oneself.
Fortunately for him, his childhood friends were among the popular kids in school. However, with his so-called lone wolf attitude, he disliked the idea of relying on them so he still chose to build up his muscles and play along even just a little bit with the politics of high school.
"No, it's fine. It's my fault after all. My vision has always been blurry so I always bumped into people," Jessie meekly said on the side.
"No, that's unacceptable! Bullying is something that must never be tolerated!" Therese said.
Vincent crossed his arms and said, "You heard them. So what is it gonna be, Yousef?"
Yousef turned to Jessie and said, "Sorry, Jessie. We didn't mean to do it."
"It's fine. Really," Jessie replied.
Yousef and his companions immediately left.
Vincent looked at Jessie for a moment to see if he was hurt before turning to Therese and Karen.
"You girls okay? Did they hit you?"
"No, thank you, Vincent," Therese replied and smiled.
Karen, on the other hand, slapped Vincent's back.
"You really know how to make an entrance!"
Vincent shook his head and smiled.
"I'm just doing what any person must do."
"Oh yeah, where's that woman you're courting?"
Vincent looked at the direction where the woman he was courting was and waved at her to come over.
The woman came over.
She placed a hand on her chest and said, "That was so scary. I thought you guys were going to have a fight. You know that I hate violence."
This woman was a junior and her name was Nikki. She was 5'5", slim, elegant, and had white and flawless skin. In their school, she was crowned as the most beautiful woman and many people, both from this school and other schools, had a crush on her and were trying to court her.
Karen snorted at the side and said, "How can you say that? Vincent was only trying to protect us."
Vincent smiled and said, "I think we only have about 15 minutes left before our recess ends. So where's Nathan?"
"Nathan? He's there," said Karen as she pointed at the bleachers.
They saw Nathan sitting alone at the bleachers with a bored expression. He was looking at his phone and eating, acting like what happened earlier didn't happen.
They approached him.
Karen punched Nathan's shoulder.
"You're really obsessed with workout. Don't get too big or girls won't like you."
Nathan raised his head and looked at Karen.
"Yo!" said Vincent.
"Hello," said Nikki.
Nathan looked at Vincent and Nikkia for a moment and nodded before returning his attention to his phone.
Seeing Nathan's actions, Vincent felt helpless.
As Nathan's childhood friend, Vincent was aware that Nathan hates small talk and would rather be left in peace.
But although he may appear to be cold to people, he is actually the most loyal and dependable person you can depend on if things go south. You may be the shittiest or the most evil person in the world, but if he considers you his friend, he will take your side even if it means going against the whole world.
But despite knowing Nathan's attitude, he was still hoping to introduce Nikki to his childhood friends and have them form a good friendship. However, it looks like it would take a lot of effort for that to happen.
Putting aside Nathan's loner attitude, in the case of Karen, he noticed that she and Nikki never see eye-to-eye.
They started eating their snacks.
Nathan and Karen were walking together, while Vincent and Nikki were behind them.
"Come on, let's have lunch at Vincent's place," Karen said.
"Next time," Nathan replied.
Nathan, Vincent, and Karen are neighbors and they sometimes have lunch together.
Vincent invited them to have lunch his place, but this time around, Nikki was coming along.
It wasn't that Nathan didn't like to eat with Nikki. Unfortunately, he already planned to skip school in the afternoon because he wanted to watch the premiere of this new sci-fi movie. If he were to have lunch with them, he wouldn't be able to cut classes.
His original plan was to watch it in the morning, but he needed his second allowance of the day which will be given to him before he goes to school in the afternoon which is why he decided to watch in the afternoon. As for watching it after school, that was out of the question because the cinema will be crowded and he hates it.
"Bye," said Nathan as he opened the gate to his house.
"Nathan, come on," Karen begged and made the Disney face. Her lips started to quiver and her eyes fluttered but didn't actually close.
"Sorry, I can't today. I promise, next time," Nathan said with an apologetic expression.
He opened the door to his house and entered.
Karen let out an exasperated sigh and turned towards Vincent and Nikki who were happily chatting together.
Seeing Vincent's happy expression, Karen snorted.
"Come on, I'm hungry."
Vincent looked at Karen.
"Nathan's not coming?"
"You didn't notice?" Karen replied.
"Did he say why?" Vincent asked Karen.
However, Karen ignored him and just continued walking.
"It's okay. There's always next time anyway," said Nikki.
Vincent looked at Nikki and smiled.
"Yeah, you're right. Why don't we all go out this weekend?"
"Um… About that… I'd love to, but…" replied Nikki.
"You already have plans this weekend?"
"Yes, I promised my friends that we're going to watch this new sci-fi movie."
"How about we all watch it this weekend then?"
"That's a great idea."
"What's the movie about?"
"Um… I think it's about a group of humans going to some planet to meet a bald, pale-looking humanoid alien who is supposed to be the creator of humankind."
"They say it's a prequel to another alien film that was created 10, 20 years ago. I'm not sure of the exact details."
Karen was listening to their conversation and would roll her eyes from time to time. However, when she heard about the movie, an idea immediately came inside her head. She knew that Nathan liked sci-fi movies that's mixed with mystery, psychology, religion or anything that's thought-provoking.
'Nathan… If what I suspect is correct…' Her eyes gleamed.
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