Another day of being in college was hell for every student and teacher on campus. Fortunately tomorrow was a holiday and almost everyone was filled with joy.
Everyone except one girl.
Her short hair was as white as snow while the remaining long strands of hair were dyed black. Among her classmates, she was the only one not cheering. Only silence stayed with her.
Soon the bell rang and everyone rushed out as soon as possible, feeling the sweet sense of freedom. The quiet girl was the last one to walk out of the classroom only to be stopped by a group of students.
The strange white haired girl stopped in her tracks and turned around.
One of the girls in the group came forward and asked, "Do you want to hang out with us tomorrow? There's going to be a party at "
"No thanks," she simply replied. Veno pushed up her glasses and fixed the books she was carrying in her hands. Before she left to go home, she told them, "I'm busy tomorrow."
The next day came and Veno was silently walking down the streets. She made her way to the park, avoiding any paths that involved any cars.
It was great day to go walking especially with that great autumn smell with a hint of pumpkins wafting around. The wind blew through her long black strands as her feet crunched on the fallen crisp leaves. It was a wonderful sound to hear when fall comes by. The scenery was just wonderful.
The quiet girl walked along the path as she saw people walking their dogs and couples being lovey-dovey on the benches. But she didn't mind at all. Veno had only one place in mind to go to and nothing was going to get in her way. Well, until someone suddenly grabbed her shoulder.
Surprised, the white haired girl quickly turned around, ready to defend herself from the stranger. When she was close to hitting the suspicious person, he was able to catch her hand in time.
"H-Hey!! Sorry! I didn't mean to scare you," the stranger gave a nervous chuckle. He rose up his hands in surrender in a jokingly manner.
Veno studied his face then she recognized it one of the guys from the group inviting her to the party the other day. Even if she dropped her hand down that didn't mean she let her guard down.
"What do you need?"
He put his hands down. "Well, I'm Vincent. You probably don't know me but I'm your classmate. I just need some help."
"What do you mean by 'help'?"
"I've been doing bad in Math for a while so the professor advised me to get a tutor. My friends told me to ask you and "
"What happened to that party you were supposed to attend?"
"Oh that? I didn't go since I really don't want to fail this year. So how about it? Can you tutor me?"
"No," she said and walked away. The boy stood there shocked. To think that Veno would reject him just like that. The sight of her walking farther away brought him back to his senses and ran after her. "Wait! I really do need your help!" Vincent managed to catch up with her but she still ignored him.
"Come on, please? I really need to pass Math this term otherwise they won't let me join the football team."
"I told you I wouldn't."
"I am desperate right now. Why can't you just help me?"
Veno sighed and turned to him. "Do you need help in English too because it seems like you don't understand the meaning of 'no'."
Vincent held onto his 'heart'. He acted hurt and mockingly said, "Oh wow. That really hurts right here." He pointed to his heart. "Come on. I'm willing to do anything for you to tutor me." He hated to beg but it was either pride or being able to continue long years of being in the football team. He chose the latter.
"I already said no. Why can't you just ask someone else? I'm busy at the moment if you haven't noticed."
It's true though. He could ask someone else but the thing is the people he would ask either sucked at Math too or the girls would use it as an excuse to date him. Veno was the only girl who would never want to that and that's why he needed HER. Yes, there's the option of an outside tutor but he didn't want to use any of his money for that.
"Fine. But just think about it at least. I won't leave you alone until you give me an actual answer"
A moment of silence passed by and eventually Veno agreed. "Okay I'll think about it. But don't expect me to tutor you."
Vincent pumped his fists into the air and cheered, "YES! Thank you so much, dude!"
Veno rolled her eyes. "Yeah yeah whatever. By the way, my name's not 'dude'. It's Veno." With that being said, she left him alone and walked away towards the subway station near the exit of the park.
The boy was left there stunned. 'Wait so how will I know the answer?' The raven-haired boy stood there processing what happened. Then his eyes widened in realization. 'She just tricked me! She didn't give me her number or anything so she can contact me about it. Shit! Didn't think she was that sly. I'll just have to look for her again.' Vincent groaned in frustration. And he thought that this would be easy.
In his search for the white haired girl, he raced to the train station so he catches up to her in time. Fortunately, her white hair stood out in the crowd. After getting his ticket, he instantly went after her. Vincent made his way through the crowd and successfully got into the same compartment as her. Like a stalker, he hid somewhere where he could see her and she couldn't see him.
The train ride became longer than he thought. It was dark outside by the time she finally got off. He raised his eyebrow. "I wonder where she's going at this time at night," he muttered before he stealthily followed her.
Vincent walked after her, wondering where she could be going. 'Maybe a relative's house? Nah I think that they would've picked her up instead of making her walk all the way here
A few minutes later, the raven-haired boy realized that he was entering a cemetery. He gulped. It's been a long time since he actually visited one. It just gave him the shivers. But he still decided to pursue after Veno.
He went inside and noticed that there were some people still visiting at this time. Then as he scanned the area, he finally found her. She was kneeling in front of one of the graves on his right. He went to one of the graves near her, curious on what she was doing.
"Hello, brother. It's been a year already
Vincent heard a hint of sadness in the tone of her voice. It was strange to hear that after being yelled by her just a few hours ago.
"How are you up there? Are Mama and Dad with you right now? I hope you're happy." Veno started to trace the letters on the grave. "I'm starting college now. It's been
entertaining I guess you could say. I don't think college is as hard as you say, James. It's fun with all the books that the libraries have. I learn more each day."
The white haired girl started to ramble on about other things that Vincent didn't bother listening to until one part caught his attention. She placed some flowers on the grave and then hugged her knees. "But you know James, something strange happened to me this year. It actually happened a few minutes ago. This guy named Vincent from my class asked me to tutor him in Math but you know I would reject it. I know that you would tell me that I should talk to people more but I just don't want people to use me just because I'm good at something then forget me afterwards. Anyways, I was finally able to pay the rent on time
The rest of the time Veno was just talking to her brother about who knows what and Vincent was surprised to think that she was this kind of person. And what she said was true. Being used by others is hurtful. After a few minutes, he decided to give her some privacy. The raven-haired boy stood up and took a step away from the scene before he suddenly heard a loud 'CRUNCH' sound. Vincent looked down and forgot that there were fallen leaves everywhere. So much for leaving silently.
He hesitantly turned around to see Veno glaring at him with her arms crossed.
"Oh hi there, Veno! I didn't know you were here," he grinned sheepishly while rubbing his hand on the back of his head.
"What are you doing here?"
"Oh well um you see
The white haired girl rolled her eyes. "Did you follow me?"
Psh. No I didn't. Why would you think that?" As you can see, Vincent was never really a good liar on the spot.
She pushed up her glasses. "Well because I saw you at some point at the train station and I could hear someone following me through the sounds of the leaves."
He slumped his shoulders in defeat. "Okay fine. Yeah I did. But that's because I needed to know how you were going to contact me.'
Veno raised one of her eyebrows. "That's all?"
yeah." It was a pretty pathetic excuse but that's really all he needed.
She sighed. "So that means you heard everything I said earlier?"
Vincent rubbed the back of his neck. "Not everything. Just a few parts
Another awkward silence passed by and it made him anxious. Each passing second made him slowly die of guilt inside. 'Is she mad, disappointed or whatever feeling towards me? Speak woman. I can't handle this pressure.'
Finally, she spoke up. "Since you heard some of it then I'll ask you this. Do you really need my help in Math?"
He quickly nodded. "Yes! Yes I do."
At first she seemed a bit hesitant but decided to go through with it. "Okay. I'll tutor you but only if you follow my two conditions."
"And they are
"First, I need you to put your 100% attention into our study sessions. It'll be very difficult for me to teach you if you get distracted. Second, I don't want you to tell anyone what you heard right now."
"You can count on me, Veno," he saluted. "Also don't worry. I will still talk to you even after I pass Math."
"Whatever. You don't need to force yourself. It's not part of the conditions," she said as she walked pass by him.
Vincent watched her walk away and thought, 'This really wasn't a bad idea,' before catching up to her and walked beside her. Veno tried to shake him off but of course he stayed while bombarding her with random questions.
"So when are we going to start on the tutoring?"
"Sometime next week."
"Ha? But that's too soon."
"Well too bad. If you really want to pass Math and get into the football team, you have to sacrifice some time."
"By the way, do you live far from here?"
"So you live near campus?"
"How long are you going to ask me questions?"
"Until I get to know you better."
"That won't be happening anytime soon."
"Then that means I get to stay with you for the rest of college then."
She pushed him away. "Go away."
"No can do, Miss Veno. I have to make sure you arrive safely to your house. A true gentleman never lets a girl walk alone especially at night."
"You got that from the videogame didn't you?"
He chuckled. "Um
"Anyways, are you really planning on following me to my place?"
"I'm not following you. I'm just walking you back home. There's a difference. And yes I don't want you to get kidnapped or anything."
"Well don't you have an active imagination."
"You bet I do. So anyways, what's your course?"
"Why do you need to know?"
"So I can pop up and visit you during the breaks."
"Don't you have your other friends? The ones who invited me to that party yesterday."
"Oh them?" Vincent shrugged. "I don't consider them much as friends. They are more like acquaintances that like hanging around me. Besides
They finally reached the subway and took their seats. He casually plopped down next to her. "
I'd rather much hang out with you than with them."
Veno nodded along. It was weird for someone especially a guy to talk to her this long. Yeah she had friends in the past but they pretty much lost contact with each other after graduation. She just found it strange.
They walked home with Vincent rambling along to whatever came to his mind and Veno listening. No matter how many times she told him to go home, he strongly refused and said he'll stay until she's at her apartment.
Finally, they reached her place and she quickly went inside leaving him out in the mildly cold weather. He thought that she was tired so she decided to go in to sleep already. 'I guess I better go then.' Vincent was about to leave until he heard someone call his name.
The raven-haired boy turned around to see Veno leaning against her doorway, holding onto a scarf. He ignored the 'idiot' part.
"You need something, Veno?"
"Here." The white haired girl threw it to him and he caught it on time. "It's getting colder outside since it's almost winter. Make sure to bring that back to me on Monday."
Vincent chuckled. "Of course I will." Veno just nodded and went back inside. With a feeling of success, he went happily downstairs, thanking the Lord that Veno was a bit more open to him now. As he went back to his place, the scene kept on replaying in his head. Then he remembered:
"Make sure to bring that back to me next Monday."
His eyes widened as he inserted the key into the lock. "Wait
next Monday? As in THIS Monday?!" Within a few minutes, he stumbled into his room and landed on the bed.
He muttered into his pillow, "Well at least it's not another fangirl. I better work hard so that Veno doesn't give up on me."
With those last words, he went to sleep, wondering if there was any way to make her feel more friendly. Meanwhile Veno was there, lying on her bed wondering if it was the right decision in accepting the favor. 'It'll just have to wait until the actual session,' she thought before drifting back to sleep.
Once upon an autumn night, two people of different worlds of reality met under the warm colored trees with many misunderstandings. But to think that it would lead to a peculiar but beautiful friendship that could unconsciously change both of their lives is what was amazing.