“Kelly let’s go! It’s time for the Opening Ceremony,” her best friend, Annette, called her from the front door of her classroom.
Annette was in the hallway, checking her make-up from her handy mirror while she was frantically packing up her things from her table. She just got there and almost late.
Almost! But wasn’t! Thank goodness!
“Coming!” she quickly replied as she arranged the scattered papers and placed it in her table’s drawer.
It was the first day of school, and it was the Opening Ceremony – where they were required to introduce themselves as part of the faculty members. They’ve been doing this every year and it wasn’t new to her.
She has been a First Grade Teacher for almost five years now. She loved her job just as much as she loved the kids. They were so cute and adorable – and innocent from all the things that were happening to the adults. She tends to forget her problems whenever she was with them.
“Kells!” Annette called her again – with her nickname this time.
She couldn’t help herself but to roll her eyes upwards and shook her head slightly.
Her best friend was getting out of hand every year. Perhaps, she needed a little taming up. Good thing, she was already married last year to the love of her life. Ashton Roberts – her childhood sweetheart.
Until now, she was really puzzled by how they got along. They were total opposites. Annette was so talkative and lively, while Ashton, on the other hand, preferred to be a listener and just go with the flow.
“Why are you so agitated, anyway?” Kelly asked Annette while she was locking up her room.
“Goodness gracious, Kelly Andrade! The bosses will come today. We need to be-” she was about to start her unending sermon again when she saw horror in her eyes while looking at her from head to toe.
Kelly was straightening her black pencil-cut skirt uniform while looking at her overacting friend with her forehead creased.
“My gosh! You don’t even bother wearing even a simple lip balm? Kells, are you out of your mind?” Annette exaggeratedly asked her.
She raised her brow and couldn’t help but roll her eyes again. How could she forget? Her best friend was so fond of wearing make-up and other accessories – which she disliked using.
“Do I need to? This is not a beauty queen pageant, Anne,” she told her – calling her by her given nickname – in a matter-of-fact tone.
“I know right. But this is the Opening Ceremony, duh?! You need to be presentable.” Annette exclaimed – putting some deeper tone to the word ‘the’ as if it were the most important thing in the world.
“Being presentable doesn’t require wearing make-up, Anne.” She reminded her best friend and made her way towards the school gymnasium where the Opening Ceremony was being held.
“Whatever, Kells. But this one was important, you needed to wear make-up…”
And her best friend continued blabbering about the ‘advantages’ of wearing make-up as she walked by her side.
Kelly just kept her silence. She wouldn’t win with Annette’s reasoning – she just knew it.
Well, she wasn’t surprised, though. Every faculty member made out the best of their looks during the Opening Ceremony. It was the moment where they introduced themselves, not only to the pupils that they would be teaching, but also to their parents, and guardians. A lot of visitors would come, and the bosses who loved to give pressure at them every single time – bless their soul! – would also be present.
“Kells, are you listening to me?!” Her exaggerated best friend almost yelled at her.
She rolled her eyes for the nth time as she tried to stop herself from scratching the back of her head – for she might ruin her ponytailed hair.
“Anne, you know, I can’t wear those, right?” She patiently told her as she raised her brow – reminding her.
She thought that would made her shut up, but she continued her endless lectures. She just shook her head in disappointment.
It was not about her, not being confident in wearing any make-up. But it was about her, getting so itchy and worse – having rashes on her face – whenever she wore one. Unless the make-up was organic-based or something like that, she could use it. But it was pricey, so she’d rather not wear any of it.
Besides, she needed more money for her family and those things would just cost her more than she should be spending. She was there to do her job, and that was to teach these beautiful kids and nothing more.
She was in the middle of empowering her reasons inside her pretty little mind when she suddenly bumped into someone. She unconsciously closed her eyes and braced herself for her imminent fall.
Kelly counted one to three…
But instead of the painful impact – as she thought she fell on the floor – she felt a strong arm that held her waist and stopped her from falling.
The man smelled like a mint with divine aroma that was so familiar to her.
Kelly could feel the rushing of electricity from her waist to her whole body. Her heart began to beat faster than it should have. A tingling sensation started to tickle her stomach – her typical reaction whenever she was close to someone – so dear to her.
His deep voice sent sparks everywhere that made her open her eyes – hoping she was wrong – and stared at the man in front of her.
All of her hopes crumbled down as she watched him with wide eyes. The man whom she wished she wouldn’t see anymore.
His rounded cobalt blue eyes, that spoke a thousand words every single time that she looked at it. Kelly saw a glint of amazement, confusion, and longingness crossed his eyes, then it turned cold all of a sudden.
She could feel his body tensed – like her – as she stared closely at his blank and stoic face.
Annette cleared her throat while she was gaping at the familiar man in front of her.
“Kelly,” the man breathily called her name, and she felt a shiver crept down her spine.
His voice was now colder. Gone were the days she heard him say her name in a softer and loving tone.
Get a grip of yourself, Kelly!
She nagged herself and she instantly gained her composure. She tried to stand with her wobbling knees.
“Uhh…” Her voice was hoarse, and she abruptly cleared the lump in her throat.
“Uhm… W-we need to g-go.” She coldly told him, trying to fight her stuttering voice.
She quickly grabbed Annette’s arm, who was jabbering lots of what-so-evers, as she pulled her and agitatedly walked down the pathway.
Her senses were in heightened mode as her mind was in deep haywire.
“Kells, stop it! We’re already here.” Annette frowned at her with the what-the-hell-was-that look plastered on her face.
She could still feel the shaking of her entire system. Her heart was still booming as if it wanted to break her rib cage down.
Kelly heaved a deep sigh as she held her chest with her hand – trying to calm her raging nerves.
Annette just looked at her patiently with her arms crossed in front of her chest and her right brow shot upwards.
“Anne,” Her voice cracked as it seemed so blown away.
“W-what?” Annette stared at her with confused and concerned eyes.
“H-he...” She began to stammer again.
“Hey, calm down.” Anne’s voice was laced with so much worry now as she tried to reach her back and slightly tapped it to give her comfort.
“H-he’s here,” Kelly worriedly told her.
“W-who?” Annette’s forehead creased as she tried to comprehend what she was trying to say.
“Johann Baker,” she finally said while closing her eyes as her hand flew to her forehead.
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