Damn real: chapter 9

It was the next morning, and Namie woke up grumpily to the smell of bacon and eggs wafting through her apartment. However, there was a noticeable absence of coffee, the aroma of another item that would normally accompany her breakfast. “Fuck.” She cursed to herself. Emiri must have been in her apartment this whole time. Walking into the living room, she almost hissed at the sight before her. Emiri, her husband, and two children were there. Her son and daughter, both still infants, were playing on her living room rug while her husband, Kenta, was on the sofa. Emiri was cooking breakfast, working furiously in the kitchen. “Morning, sleepy-head. Or should I say afternoon? You slept in a lot!” Emiri smiled. “Liar. It’s fucking 7am.” Namie growled. “Hey, language. Especially in front of the kids.” Her younger sister glared at her. “Says the group of robbers who broke into my house, used my ingredients, and are just planning to inhabit my living room without my consent?” She rolled her eyes. “Look, we don’t have a whole lot of time to salvage you. Plus, Kenta, the kids, and I, we all need to go to church soon. It’s almost 8.” She frowned. Namie could not tell if it was the skull-splitting hangover or the ringing in her head or just the fact that her little sister, the embodiment of her idiot parents, was trying to lecture her on how to live her life, but the accountant really wanted 8am to roll around so that she could eject them from her apartment. “Alright, breakfast is ready, Makoto, Yuzu!” The two children, no older than the ages of one and two respectively, eagerly waddled over to the table while Kenta helped hoist them into his lap. “You’re more than welcome to join us, Namie.” Emiri offered. “Well, it’s my ingredients. But I think I’ll pass.” “As you can see, my family and I, we are the picture perfect lifestyle. You should really reconsider how you are living your life. Being married and raising a family and a home, it is the most fulfilling job I could ever have had.” She smirked. “Oh wait, kids, eat up. We have to go to church soon. And we have to fly back to Utah in the night!” Namie was in disbelief. Her parents flew out Emiri and her family just for a day to try and make a point to her.

“Oh my gosh! Jerry proposed to me!” An 18 year old Namie looked up to see her roommate at the time, Jenny, showing off her ring. Like Namie, Jenny was 18 and  college freshman at Birmingham Young University. “I’m so jealous. I still need to find myself a man first.” Their other roommate, Debra, frowned. “You’ll find a man eventually. You’re so good at cleaning up after yourself. It almost feels like we don’t even have a third roommate half the times because of how little of a mess you make.” Jenny pointed out. “Well, I’m sorry that I create a noticeable mess?” Namie frowned. “Oh, no, don’t worry, Namie. You might not be a good housekeeper, but I’m sure you have other qualities about you that make you a good homemaker. Besides, you are really pretty. I’m sure you’ll find a man in no time.” Jenny reassured her, although Namie was not in need of her reassurance. “Thanks, I guess?” She did not even mention anything about dating or finding a man. Yet, Jenny forced their conversation to feature that topic. Seeing Jenny, a young 18 year old, barely legal, getting married, it started to dawn on Namie how odd it was to marry at such an early age. Jenny was still naive and did not know a lot of basic things, such as how to use a calculator, pay her own taxes, or how to use Microsoft Powerpoint. Yet, this whole time, Namie was so used to young people being married, and with children. Her own mother, she was pregnant with her by the age of 20. The same with her grandmother. At the time, it sounded perfectly fine. But seeing somebody like Jenny, who was a complete airhead, passing that huge cornerstone in life, it was unsettling. It was at that point that Namie started to see the concept of dating and marriage differently. She decided that she was in no rush to get a boyfriend or get married. She wanted to focus on herself.

“Yeah, your mother was not in the best relationship with my parents.” Uncle Juntaro sighed. “Wait, because she converted to Mormonism?” Namie looked at him. This was back when she first met her uncle, and he was telling her about his relationship with her mother. “Exactly. Our family, the Ishigos, we were a heavily Buddhist bunch. Some of my uncles, aunts, and cousins are even monks in temples. So when your mother, my sister, Yuko, denounced her Buddhist ways, it really upset my mother. And when she announced that she was going to become a Mormon while she was studying abroad in America, that was when our family cut ties off from her. They view Mormons as really backwards people, and we were confused why she fell in love with a Mormon man and would so quickly convert, despite knowing how we all felt about it.” He explained. “We kept in touch at first and when you were born, I would used to get all of these photos in the mail of you. Our parents did not know about it. For me, she was my older sister. Yeah, she did something bad, but she was my sibling, and I still saw her as my family. But then the photos and letters stopped, mostly because I had moved from Hokkaido to Taipei, and eventually, I moved again to D.C., so she probably just did not know where to send the photos and letters to anymore.” He sighed. “I think she must have moved too, because when I tried to send letters to her address, I could not find her.” He frowned. “But we both have our own families and we are both happy. It was such a shame that she kept your entire Japanese side of your family a secret from you, but I’m glad that you found out eventually.” He grinned.

Finally overcoming her hangover, Namie was getting brunch with Wei, who was shocked to hear that her other cousin was in town. “Well, you know how I feel about Mormons. Granted, mom and dad would always tell me about what kinds of 18th century values people in that religion have, but even without him imposing his opinion on me, I still believe that myself.” She shook her head. “How old is your sister again?” “She turned 22 this year.” “Holy fuck. And she has two children and is married?” “Yeah, that’s her.” Namie sighed. “Oh shit, she said she was going to grab lunch with me soon.” She frowned, looking at her texts. “Make her come here. I want to meet this girl.” Funnily enough, Emiri had no idea who Wei was, despite them being related. A lot of it had to do with the fact that Wei’s side of the family was obviously not in contact with Emiri, but the performer did not care. It took about half an hour more, but eventually, Emiri, Kenta, Makoto, and Yuzu all made their way over to Blue Duck Tavern, where the two young women were. “Good afternoon. I am Kenta, Namie’s brother-in-law. This is my wife, Emiri, who is also Namie’s sister, and our two lovely children, Yuzu and Makoto.” Wei tried her best not to recoil at the sight of them. Kenta himself was around the same age as Wei and Namie. “Nice to meet you. My name is Wei Ishigo, and I am Namie’s friend.” She intentionally omitted the part about being related to the sister, as she did not want to draw any additional attention from the young family. “Nice to meet you. Can we join you guys at the table for lunch?” “Well, isn’t that why you’re here?” Namie frowned as the four took their seats. Needless to say, it was an awkward, but in Wei’s eyes, hilarious meal.


Damn real: chapter 5

Finally arriving at the studio, Namie eagerly made her way to the dance room, where she was with several other aspiring waack dancers. “Good morning, everyone. Glad to see that everyone made it to today’s class.” Melissa walked into the room, eyeing everyone. “Alright, so let’s get the warm-ups aside right now, and then we can get into the forms.” She suggested. As they began doing their stretches, all Namie could think about was what form they would be learning today. Waacking was already an art that was considered “lost” in that it had only survived through few performers. It was an exhilarating feelings being able to learn something this unique from somebody as talented as Melissa. Last weekend, they learned how to do steps while folding their arms behind their heads and backs. The week before that, they were learning how to fold their arms in. “Today, we are going to learn how to incorporate leg movements in with the arms and the hip movements we learned in the first month of class!” Melissa announced. Namie nodded eagerly, racking her brains to recall what they were doing back then. She remembered doing the technique that involved thrusting with her arms and hips, as well as when they were practicing moving their arms along their entire bodies. “Okay, just follow me.” With a click of a remote, the radio turned on, as Melissa began demonstrating. “1, 2, 3, and 4!” She counted, moving her arms while taking steps at the same time. “Let’s do that first. And we’ll keep doing it until we get faster.’ She decided on the spot. Everyone began to shortly copy.

“Good job, everyone!” Melissa clapped her hands as the waack class ended. “And also, before you all go, just a reminder. We will be having our dance showcase in a few months. Only the best dancers will be chosen to perform, so try your best and keep up the good work in the following classes! And if you’re wondering why you should want to be involved in it, just keep in mind that some of the biggest mainstream artists and producers actually recruit dancers from my studio. They will be attending the showcase, that much, I can guarantee you. That being said, good job, and I will see you all next week.” The instructor adjourned the class. Everyone got up and started to leave the studio. “Namie, you did wonderful, per usual. I can’t wait to see how much more you improve in the following months.” Melissa grinned suggestively. “Thanks. I’ll keep trying my best!” Upon hearing her compliment, Namie was hoping that she could be in Melissa’s showcase. To think that she might have an opportunity to dance full-time, and to leave behind her career in accounting, it felt surreal. But being able to do something she was good at and loved would be a definite improvement over just doing something that she simply was doing to give herself a sense of monetary worth beyond her almost million dollar, self-made fortune in stocks, or that she was going to be more than just somebody’s wife.

“Wait, you mean she’s not still in Utah?!” Mr. Merrimen was fuming red. Just one week ago, his eldest daughter, Namie, graduated BYU, and this whole time, he was under the impression that she was still there, packing up her things. But that was not the case. She apparently moved to Maryland just a day after her graduation and had been living there, with Yuko’s brother, this whole time. “Yes, dear. She just moved into her apartment in D.C. earlier this morning.” Yuko reminded her husband. She told him how she let Namie decide her own life choices and be her own person. However, all Mr. Merrimen could think about was how betrayed he felt by both his oldest daughter and his wife. “I promise you, she’ll come around to. Just give her time.” She tried to calm him down. “Don’t you even dare talk to me about this. You’re the one responsible for ruining our daughter’s future. She’s never going to get a husband now.” “Dear, why does it matter if she has a husband?” “She’s not going to stay young and attractive forever. I refuse to let her purity wither with old age. What sensible Mormon young man is going to want to marry an old bag?” He glared daggers at her when he said that. “She’s never going to heaven if she never has a husband who will let her!” Yuko rolled her eyes at him as she left the living room angrily. He was not listening to her, but what could she do about it? He was the man she married for the green card, and that was the religion she married into.

A much younger Namie was unpacking her few belongings into the apartment when she received a phone call. “Oh shit, it’s dad.” She sighed, as she put down a small cardboard box. Albeit nervously, she picked up her phone. “Hello?” “Why are you not in Utah or back in Idaho?” His almost hushed tone was filled with a deep-seated furiousness that just made Namie uncomfortable. “I’m going to live my own life. If you want to stop me, you can try. But even mom doesn’t know which building I live in, nor am I going to tell her what kind of job I’m working in. So you better just give it up, dad.” She replied, trying her best to fight the urge to just submit to his desires and return to Idaho with her tail between her legs, head bowed in shame. “Why you little-! Don’t you dare talk to a man in that tone!” He barked, his voice ringing in Namie’s ear as she pulled the phone away from her head. “You’re going to fail and when you do, you’ll realize how much better your life would be back in Idaho! I’ll be waiting for you to come back home!” He growled. “Wait all you want. I’ll never come back.” And with that, she hung up her phone. It did not matter to her, what he said. She had committed to moving to D.C. at this point. She signed her lease. And on top of that, she was now more determined than ever to make a career for herself out here in the greater D.C. area.

“Dear, I know you’re mad, but she will come around eventually. She’s young. Let her make her own decisions. I did, and that’s how I met you, right?” Yuko pointed out to her husband. “That’s true. But I needed to give you a little push so that we could get married after our first date. I need to make sure that she has a husband. Even if he’s all the way out there.” Walking out of their bedroom and into the living room, he pulled out his phone. “What kinds of dating apps can I use here?” He pondered aloud as he started looking through them. He was determined to find her a husband, preferably a Mormon husband, or at least somebody willing to convert, and force her to move back to Idaho or Utah with him. However, that was years ago. Mr. Merrimen did not go through with his plans, and he did accept that Namie was going to come around eventually. However, he did not stop pressuring her to find a husband. He wanted to make sure that his little girl would not go to hell because she dyed unwed or a sodomist. He was going to be damned if even one of his daughters ended up in hell because of youthful impulse. Many times had Yuko needed to talk him out of flying over to D.C. and tracking her down himself. It was hard to see his daughter doing something that could jeopardize her entry into heaven and not do anything about it. But he knew that being physically forceful would only drive her away completely. So for the time being, he stuck to weekly phone calls, reminding her to get a husband.

Sky Bird: Chapter 7

“I just can’t believe him! I thought we were friends!” Jared was sobbing into Fanny’s shoulder as the Chinese boy comforted him. “It’s okay, Jared. Kendall’s… always been this way. He’s never really been terribly nice.” Fanny sighed. “Oh, Jared’s over. That’s a first.” Chloe smirked, before realizing that now was not the appropriate time to be acting that way. “Oh, wait, why is he crying?” “So Kendall found out…” “Wait, that Jared is gay, or that Jared is dating you? Or both? Because that’s like a huge truth bomb for somebody who hates you and is friends with your boyfriend.” Chloe was already fatigued from having to process all of this herself. “Hold on, I need to tell Megan. Maybe she could get through to him.” Chloe suggested, pulling out her phone. “I don’t think that Megan can get through to him. Nobody can! He just hates you, Fanny, and I don’t get why.” Jared cried, shaking uncontrollably. “Sh, sh, sh, calm down, Jared. It’ll be okay. Kendall, he has a good heart. I’m sure he’ll come around to this, and if he doesn’t… then I’ll break up with you.” Fanny promised. “I don’t want that, though!” Jared protested. “I should be able to date who I want and be friends with who I want.” “It’s not fair that you have to make that sacrifice!” Chloe added while sending a text to her best friend. “It’s Kendall’s fault. He’s been so irrational and he just hates our family for some reason. Jared, do you know why?” Chloe looked to the blonde for answers. “He always mentioned money. Something about you being rich, and that you don’t deserve the success you have in life.” He weakly groaned. Jared’s voice had gone hoarse from how long he had been crying. “I can sort of see that. Dad always got us tutors so that we didn’t fall behind in our studies.” Fanny noted. “I think there’s something more than just tutors, Fanny. He hates the fact that we’re wealthy.” Chloe sighed. “What’s wrong?” Mr. Chiang arrived home from work, only to see his two children comforting a sobbing classmate. “Dad, do you know why Kendall Skye hates our family?”

“Kendall Skye? Oh, Chris’s son! Oh. Chris’s son…” Mr. Chiang trailed off. “Kids, did I ever tell you guys about how your father got his first big promotion?” “Yeah, you worked your ass off for 20 years, and got the promotion you deserved, and right when you needed it, since mom’s cancer got really bad.” Chloe stated. “Did I ever tell you about how I used to work with Christian Skye? And that we were both up for that promotion?” Mr. Chiang looked at his children and Jared. All three of them shook their heads. And Mr. Chiang began to tell that side of the story. “So we had to let go of several of our associates. I didn’t want to let go of Chris, but he insisted and threatened to quit if I fired somebody instead of him. I tried to recommend him to other jobs, but he was unemployed for a little while and he had a son on the way.” “That’s when Gil was born, right?” Chloe looked up. And slowly, all three of them began to realize why Kendall might have developed a grudge against their family. Even though their parents did try to help Kendall’s family, that promotion, looking at where it got Fanny and Chloe’s family, it’s obvious that no job recommendation could have helped nearly as much financially.

“Kendall, you know that it’s because of Mr. and Mrs. Chiang that our parents still have jobs, right? And dad volunteered to get fired! Mr. Chiang didn’t want to fire him!” Megan tried to explain. “I think that’s a load of bullshit. Let’s wait until dad gets home from work, and then ask him!” Kendall scoffed. He didn’t want to believe that the Chiangs were good people. “He’s only going to tell you the same thing that I did.” She grumbled, walking off to her room. “I’m home!” Gil walked in, only to go quiet from sensing the awkward tension in the living room. “Uh… well I don’t really have a room to retreat to… so I’m just going to chill in the bathroom until you feel better, okay, bro?” The middle schooler headed off into the hallway, knowing he needed to give Kendall some space.

“Guys, Megan just texted me back. Kendall’s still pissed. He said that dad screwed his family over.” Chloe read off the message, horrified. Chloe, Fanny, and Jared were still in Fanny’s room. Their parents were out for the night for dinner with their friends. “I get that he might hate our father, but why does he hate me?” Fanny frowned. “Especially since he doesn’t hate you, Chloe. Or at least not as openly, apparently.” He shrugged. It was just starting to sink in that Kendall had a lot of unaddressed animosity towards him; Fanny always assumed it was playful banter. “First off, don’t make everything about you, drama queen. Secondly, that’s a question I really don’t have an answer to.” Megan sighed, leaving the room. She needed some time to process the entire situation. “But what can we do?” Jared sighed into his boyfriend’s shoulder. “I just don’t know why he hates you specifically. And it’s clear he hates you more than he values our friendship.” The blonde was bitterly hurt at this point. “However much Kendall hates us, I’ll just love you fifty times as much. Because you see me for being the real me, not for my parents’ money.” Fanny reassured, kissing the blonde lightly on the forehead.

“I’m back!” Mr. Skye had returned to his home, only to be approached by Kendall almost immediately. “Dad, I have a question.” “Sure, what’s up?” “What exactly is our family’s relationship with the Chiangs?” “Well, Kendall, we’re family friends. We go way back. Mr. Chiang, or Hugh, we had a little rivalry when we used to work in Goldman Sachs together. I was the ambitious young gun and he was the capable and seasoned veteran. But when he got promoted, and then we had to let people go, I volunteered, because I knew he was going to fire older, more experienced associates. It didn’t feel right to stay. But Hugh was a great friend. He got me a new job at Bank of America and I managed to get promoted to being a manager there.” Mr. Skye looked at his son, confused by why he wanted to know this. “Wow, so the Chiangs have been helping us this whole time?” “Yep! Even Mrs. Chiang helped your mother get a job at a bakery she used to work at, and now your mother is the general manager of it.” A few things went through Kendall’s mind in that moment. At first, he felt embarrassed; this whole time, he was wrong, even though so many people had told him that the Chiangs, specifically Fanny, were good people. And then remorse. He had spent so much of his life, feeling antagonized by Fanny, thinking that Fanny’s wealth was the reason for his success. And finally, regret. Not only to the things he had said to and about Fanny, but also for wasting so much of his own time being angry at Fanny, and blaming him and his wealth on the brunette’s own shortcomings. “Oh, would you look at the time! I have an investor’s gala tonight, and your mother is coming with me! We’ll see you guys later tonight!” Mr. Skye dropped off his bag, and left the apartment.

Jared’s phone started vibrating. The blonde looked at his boyfriend hesitantly. “Is it from Kendall? Do you want me to pick it up?” Fanny’s face was gravely serious; he didn’t want Jared to have to face his ex-friend in either of their current states. “No, this is between me and him.” Jared hiccuped. “No, you’re wrong. It’s between all three of us. He’s got beef with me too, in case you haven’t forgotten the past however many years.” Fanny frowned, placing his hand over Jared’s phone, and hitting the green button. “Jared?” Kendall’s voice sounded hesitant. “Hey, it’s me. And yes, he’s here too.” The blonde’s passive aggressive side was definitely surfacing through his tone of voice. He wasn’t going to let Kendall’s words hurt him any more than they already have, especially not in regards to his boyfriend.

“Jared, I was wrong about Fanny. Fanny, I owe you an apology.” Kendall started. “Wait, you’re going to apologize for a decade long grudge over the PHONE?!” Fanny raised his eyebrows in disbelief. “Look, I appreciate that you’re trying, but this sort of thing, you better say it in person. And not even to me, but to your sister, my little sister, and Jared. Show them some respect!” Fanny shouted, grabbing the phone from Jared. “But-” “Shut up, Kendall. If you have anything to say, say it to our faces. Bye.” And with that, he hung up. “Fanny, that was a little brutal, don’t you think?” Jared was stunned. He wasn’t expecting Fanny to do that. “Well, if he wants to apologize like that to you, then he better do it in person. Or else he’s just a coward. And cowards aren’t worth your time or patience.”

Kendall sat there, in the living room, unsure of what to do. On one hand, he needed to go to the Chiang residence, but on the other, he’s spent years resenting them. He doesn’t know what do to. He knew he owed Fanny and Jared an apology in person. But he was unsure emotionally. He was too scared. Ashamed of knowing he was in the wrong for so long. “What the hell am I supposed to do?” He started tearing up. He was feeling overwhelmed at this point. “Why can’t I ever do anything right?” He started sobbing. “Kendall?” Megan opened her door. “Bro?” Gil peaked his head out of the bathroom. “Oh no!” The two younger brunettes ran over to comfort him. “What’s wrong?” Gil was the first to speak. “I-I-I-” Kendall started, to drown himself out with his crying. “Kendall!” Megan ran over to hug him. “It’s okay! Just take a few breaths.” Gil joined in. “Megan, I’m so sorry. You guys were right. The Chiangs aren’t bad people.” He said between deep pants. “I take it dad told you everything then?” Megan eyed him. “Yeah. I just feel so dumb now. I’ve said so many horrible things about Fanny. And earlier, I tried to call Jared to apologize to him and Fanny, but-” “Wait, you couldn’t do that in person? Especially to Fanny?” Megan frowned. “Yeah, Kendall, you should say those kinds of things face to face so that they know you’re sincere!” Gil added. “I’m scared, guys. I don’t know how to feel around Fanny or Jared anymore.” Kendall sighed. “Especially for Fanny. I’ve spent my entire life hating him, and now he’s somebody I owe a huge apology to. And then Jared, he tried his best to be my friend, even though they were dating.” “Here, we can go with you. If it gets too hard, let us know, and we’ll just take you back home.” His younger brother insisted. “Alright. Let me get the car.” Kendall got up, his siblings following.

Sky Bird: Chapter 6

“Alright, I hope you’re all ready for your skit projects!” Kawaguchi-sensei eyed his Japanese 2 class deviously. It was the Friday two weeks after the Malibu hike, and the class was wrapping up another chapter. “Oh crap.” Fanny crossed his arms and shook his head. Even though he had a theatre background, these skits were brutal: they needed to be entirely in Japanese, contain all of the grammar taught in the most recent chapter, and each person had to incorporate at least 10 vocabulary words taught in that chapter into their lines. Basically, a lot of things needed to be accounted for in this assignment. So it was horrible for everyone. And to make manners even less pleasant, Kawaguchi-sensei would choose the pairs randomly. Or in his own definition of that adverb, by choosing whoever he wants to pair together. “I’d like to see Puckchareon-san and Gomez-san together.” Sophia saw that her partner was Grant Gomez, a stout half Filipino, half Caucasian boy. “Well, could be a lot worse. I mean, Gomez-san tries really hard.” She sighed in relief. “Chiang-san, you will have Gong-san.” “ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!” Fanny slammed the desk as he glared at Kawaguchi-sensei in disagreement. He was paired with Yubin Gong, a heavier Korean girl who had a fascination with her own reflection, cosplaying as anime characters half her girth, and making her hair shinier by not washing it, and not paying attention in class to the point where she would hardly ever get above a D average in most assignments. “Shut up, Chiang-san and make it work. What was that saying? In the theatre, the show must go on!” The bald teacher was having too much fun for his own good. “Ahn-san, you can work with…” Please pick me. Please pick me. I want to work with Carly! Kendall crossed his fingers. “Nelson-san.” Carly was partnered with Sharquiqui Nelson, a very sassy Afro-English girl who was somehow the sophomore class’s valedictorian, despite her vulgar vocabulary. “Mmmhmm! I know you just said my name!” Sharquiqui pursed her lips and shook her head in agreement. “And Skye-baka, you can work with your little sister. Maybe she could pick up for your slack.” Kawaguchi laughed, oblivious to Kendall and Megan’s earlier conflict. Wow, just my luck. I get to be with the unappreciative little sister. I’d rather have Gong-san to be honest. Kendall frowned to himself, frustrated at his bad luck. The one time he’d prefer to work with Yubin and he had to work with her instead.

“Hey, partner!” Yubin tried to talk to Fanny, who was visibly uncomfortable; Yubin was suspended for allegations of sexual harassment and blackmail; she threatened to leak nude photos of herself, claiming that they were photos of other girls, in an attempt to sleep with their boyfriends or just to take money from them. Despite that, the school board let her stay, because the superintendent felt that Yubin’s personality, being so different, could make her a unique individual in the school. As awkward as Fanny’s experience was, Megan’s was only worse. She was completely silent, while Kendall was writing the entire script on his own, his little sister just watching uncomfortably. “So what’s your script about?” Kawaguchi-sensei walked by the siblings. “It’s about a dumb little sister who needed to keep her mouth shut about the dumb things she said. And the older brother who decided to put her up for adoption.” Kendall began. “Oh, well that could be funny, but you’re not allowed to use dumb in your script. Sensei-privileges only to call somebody dumb.” He finished, walking off, still oblivious to their conflict. “Kendall, I know what I said must have hurt you, but what you’re doing with this project, I’m sorry, but it’s really immature and just as hurtful. Saying that I’m dumb and being disowned-” “Who said you’re allowed to talk?” He cut her off coldly. “Okay, that’s it. I’m sorry, but Kawaguchi-sensei, my brother is being a grade-A asshole to me.” Megan looked up. “Okay, younger Skye-san, normally I have to give a detention for that sort of language, but you do better than your grade-D dumbass brother in this class, so I’ll let this one slide. That being said, Skye-baka, why are you treating her that way? She’s your sister, not your slave. Respect her.” Kawaguchi scolded the male. The entire class went silent at that retort. “I’m sorry, Megan.” Kendall muttered begrudgingly, before looking back down at the script.

“And what I hope to accomplish by being the first Black female molecular biologist is to properly clone human beings. I would love to meet my great grandma Theodoralina, you nasty-ass bitch!” Sharquiqui snapped her fingers and bobbed her head. “Uh, I don’t quite get the reason why you needed to call me that, but I’m rooting for you, Sharquiqui. Your great grandmother Theodoralina must have been a pleasant person.” Carly laughed off the unusual title Sharquiqui had bestowed upon her, trying to not take it as an insult, but perhaps as a sign of affection? “Nah, she got shot like 50 times for trying to rob the National Mint. I just want to meet her so I can understand her crazy better. But whatever you say, yellow Cracker jack. But I managed to already write the script for this stupid shieeet. I knew he was going to do that, because he did that last year, and that fool is a predictable motherfucker.” Sharquiqui insisted, handing over the script to Carly. “Wait, what’s this about…” The Korean-Japanese girl looked at the paper, analyzing the text. “Wow… this is actually really deep. Honestly, this could be the premise of an Oscar-winning movie.” She was at a loss of words. Sharquiqui’s script was beyond reproach. It was a well-written epic with deep meanings, symbolism, and used all of the requirements. Inspired, Carly wholeheartedly agreed to use Sharquiqui’s script. It was the right thing to do.

“Away, foul beast!” Fanny hissed, crossing his fingers at Yubin, trying to form a cross at her. “Oh, I knew you wanted to finger me. Come here, you big boy.” The Korean girl tried to climb onto Fanny, who immediately raised his hand while pushing Yubin away with his other. “Kawaguchi-sensei, Gong-san is trying to touch me inappropriately!” “Chiang-san, try reporting that to the superintendent. It’s not going to do you any good.” The older Japanese man snorted, watching in amusement. “I am so taking krav-maga classes after this!” Fanny growled, trying to kick Yubin. Meanwhile, Sophia and Grant were quietly working on their script together. “So, Puckchareon-san, are the rumors true?” He looked at her. “Wait, what rumors?” She eyed him, curious but also nervous. “That you have a crush on Skye-san?” “Wait, so they think I’m a lesbian and cougar?” Her mouth went agape in disbelief. “Oh, no, wrong Skye-san. I mean Skye-baka.” Grant chuckled. “Hey, Gomez-san, you’re not allowed to use that word! Only sensei can!” Kawaguchi-sensei frowned. “But yeah, do you?” He looked at Sophia curiously. “Wait, why does this matter?” “Well, you’re like close to Ahn-san, and he’s obviously into her, so I was wondering if there was a love triangle, mayhaps-” “Just shut up, Gomez-san. That’s none of your business.” Sophia frowned. She was offended just by the fact that he being essentially a stronger would interrogate her on who she liked. That was just a violation of her privacy.

One by one, the pairs would recite their skits. Sophia and Grant’s skit was awkward, especially due to Sophia’s earlier scolding at Grant, but not nearly as bad as Fanny’s. Predictably, Fanny and Yubin’s was a cringe-filled act, where Yubin attempted to grope Fanny, who screamed for help in desperation. Megan and Kendall’s skit went over decently, after Kendall changed the entire script, making it a heartfelt apology, to which Megan accepted tearfully; the majority of the class was confused about why she was crying, but thought it was a touching sibling moment. And lastly, Sharquiqui and Carly’s skit left the entire class speechless. Even Kawaguchi-sensei, who was normally angry, critical, and sarcastic, was brought to tears of awe and amazement at how well-written and thought out the entire plot of their skit was, even dubbing it s new age Shakespearean tale. They received a standing ovation, to which Sharquiqui would scream obscenities over. Overall, Kawaguchi’s pairings wound up being for the best. Kendall was able to make up with his little sister, while Fanny failed his first assignment in Japanese 2, due to not finishing his skit while trying to fend off a lusting Yubin.

“So I take it you had a good day in Japanese?” Jared and Kendall were doing stretches on the track during soccer practice. The blonde normally had to cheer up Kendall because of how bad his experiences in Japanese are due to Fanny, so he was relishing this rare moment. “Yeah. Megan and I finally made up, and Fanny failed his first assignment.” Kendall snickered triumphantly. “Well, that fag deserved it. He’s been really rude to you, and that’s what he gets for messing up for your family!” Jared snorted. “Hey, wait, what did we say about calling gay people ‘fag’?” Kendall looked at Jared, frustrated. His homosexuality was not what made Fanny unbearable to him, so Kendall didn’t understand Jared’s continuous need to use that word. “It’s like using the n-word around black people. It’s rude.” The brunette finished. “Jeez, okay, I get it. Surprised that you’d be so against the usage of that word, but-” “It’s because I’m pretty sure that you are. And I want to be supportive of you.” Kendall assured.

“Huh? Me, gay?” Jared sputtered in disbelief. “Don’t worry, I knew for a while. The reason why you keep saying fag is because you want to not be associated with being gay. But I don’t care if you are or aren’t. You’re my friend either way.” Kendall smiled at the blonde. “What? I swear, dude, I’m not-” “I guess you’re not ready to come out yet. But I’ll be supportive of it whenever it happens.” The brunette insisted. “Okay, fine, I was hiding it. But for good reason.” Jared whispered to Kendall. “Wait, why? Just because you’re an athlete?” Kendall was curious about Jared’s rationale. “It’s because I am in a relationship… with Fanny.” He confessed, knowing full well how his best friend would react. “On… Fanny? Wait, why Fanny?! Are you fucking dumb?! You can’t be serious! This is a joke!” Kendall growled angrily. Terrified, Jared shook his head timidly. “What about Fanny is so appealing to you? He’s a rich, snobby, arrogant-” “You don’t see anything about Fanny other than his rude remarks and his money. But deep down, Fanny is a kind-hearted person!” Jared insisted. “He always offers to proof-read my papers for English 2, and he gives me help in Chem whenever I struggle-” “Wait, since when has Fanny been your tutor?” Kendall was angry. “I just went to him for help because Mrs. Johnson and Ms. Ling recommended him.” Jared admitted. “For how long?” The brunette glared at him. “Maybe for the past six weeks?” The blonde’s voice squeaked, him feeling increasingly more uncomfortable.

“Oh, look! It’s Kendolt and his friend!” Fanny laughed, pointing at the pair as him and the rest of the varsity boy’s team was running back to the school campus. “Fanny, the jig’s up. He knows.” Jared covered his face in embarrassment. “Oh shit, really?” The Chinese boy stopped in his tracks, dumbfounded. “Yeah. I tried.” Jared shook his head, defeated. “Well, Kendall, you can’t stop love. Jared and I-” “You don’t love Jared! You’re only in a relationship with him to spite me! Jared, I swear to god, Fanny is not-” “Shut up, Kendall! You’re one of my closest friends, but you have no idea how hard it was for me to have to stay in the closet. I knew you wouldn’t be supportive of this relationship, and that you’d let your hatred of Fanny completely override our friendship! Seriously, it’s either you accept us together, or lose me as a friend. Your choice.” Jared glared at Kendall while Fanny stood there, stunned speechless.

“You.” Kendall turned to Fanny. “You keep trying to take away my family and loved ones. You might be able to woo them over to your side, but you’re never going to fool me with your money and cheap tricks.” He spat, beyond infuriated at this point. No matter how happy he makes his own life, Kendall’s happiness was always overshadowed by Fanny’s. He could never have anything for himself. He could never live his own life, without knowing that Fanny has it better. And that frustrating, it was exhausting to Kendall. He was sick of dealing with Fanny and the people who like him. “Jared, it’s either him or me.” “Okay, that’s it. We’re done as friends.” Jared got up, and walked away, dragging Fanny with him. Kendall was fuming. First his little sister, then his own best friend chose this guy over him? All Fanny had to offer was his money. From what Kendall had seen and knowing Fanny since they were in grade school, the Chinese boy was rude, not smart, and just not a good person. He was always plotting something against him. It was like a strategy to systematically take apart his life. It was incredibly frustrating.

“Hey, man. Are you okay? I heard from Jared that you guys got into a big fight.” Matt was messaging Kendall on Facebook. The brunette was slouched, alone, in the living room of his apartment, still letting it sink in that he had just fought with one of his best friends. “Yeah, I’m fine.” The brunette began. “I’m just frustrated. Jared kept that relationship a secret, and then obviously, Fanny is just not a good person. He knew that Fanny wasn’t good for him, but he didn’t want to tell me because he knew I would state the obvious.” This was getting frustrating. No matter what, Fanny always seemed to find a way to win over people. “Maybe Jared didn’t want to tell you because he knew how you’d react? He wanted to spare your feelings, because he knew it would hurt you to know that your best friend is dating somebody you really don’t like.” Matt reasoned. “Either way, I think you owe Jared an apology.” “Hey, Chloe just told me what you did!” Megan stormed into the apartment. “Look, I get that we had that whole argument about Fanny, but it’s because we just don’t get why you dislike him and his family so much! Why, Kendall? What about him pisses you off?” “It’s because the Chiangs screwed us over!” Kendall finally admitted.