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|Espresso and Blackmail|
February 21, 2016
-"Jinora, get up, you're going to be late," Pema walked into her room, waking the teenager up. She wasted no time, and drew open the curtains, bathing the room in light, and making Jinora groan. "Mom, it's early..."
-"If you don't get up now, you're going to be late to school, and you have that calculus test you spent all week studying for." She eyed her daughter up, seeing Jinora still looked exhausted. "Are you alright?"
The younger girl sighed. "Barely slept." She knew she had to think up a lie quickly, the real reason would be a little awkward to share. "That test has me worried, you know? And it's stupid, I can probably do it, but it's like my mind keeps telling me I can't."
Pema slowly nodded. "Okay. You just go take a shower, I'll make you some eggs for breakfast, how does that sound?"
A smile appeared on Jinora's face. "Sounds great, Mom. Thanks." With that, her mother turned around and went back downstairs. Jinora willed herself out of bed and gathered her things quickly and went to the shower, making doubly sure she'd beat Ikki, who was notorious in their household for taking long showers. She'd set the record on two and a half hours once, which was actually kind of amazing.
Jinora felt lousy. What she'd told her mother was true, she barely slept over night. Numerous times of telling herself to get over that damn kiss hadn't gotten her anywhere, she'd gotten up twice to drink something, but that just resulted in her having to pee fifteen minutes later both times, and nothing else she had tried worked.
Looking in the mirror, she saw the massive bags that had formed under her eyes. "I'm gonna kill Kai when I get to school," she grumbled to herself.
After her shower, she sauntered down for her breakfast, where Pema was waiting for her with a plate of scrambled eggs. The smell of it was simply delicious, and exactly what Jinora needed to motivate herself to look a little cheerier.
-"What period do you have your test?"
This made her sigh. "First period, so I'm only gonna be half awake for it, along with the rest of my class. I swear, that woman has it out for us."
Pema raised an eyebrow. "I suppose you mean your well-respected math teacher, Mrs. Hou-Ting?"
"Yeah, that would be her." This had Jinora slightly worried. Normally, she wouldn't be this sassy. Perhaps Jin was carrying over from last night? Would make sense though, since she didn't get any sleep.
-"You should keep those kinds of opinions to yourself in school. It can only damage you if teachers know you don't like them."
Jinora nodded. "Thanks, Mom, I'll keep that in mind." She finished her breakfast, and went back to her room to finish dressing herself. With generous amounts of make-up, she managed to cover up the worst of the bags, even if she did look a bit like a plastic doll now. (Lesser of two evils and all that.) She put on her glasses, bunched her hair up in a simple bun, and was ready to face the day. Her wardrobe consisted of a simple pair of jeans, a white button-up, and a loose waistcoat.
As soon as she came back down again, Pema handed her a small cup. "Drink this."
Jinora sniffed it, and it was most certainly coffee. "Mom, I don't even like coffee."
-"I know that, but if you go to take a test like this, it takes the edge off you. Just hold your nose shut, and drink it in one go. It's a shot of espresso, it'll keep you awake, because I have rarely seen you so tired."
With a sigh, the younger girl conceded, took the cup, and drank it in one go. Somehow, her mother had managed to cool it down to a temperature where it was drinkable, and it wasn't long before she felt a lot less tired than she did a few minutes ago. "Whoa, that's strong stuff."
Her mother chuckled. "I know. Now go on, your father is gonna take you to school."
Over the course of the ride there, Jinora felt more and more energetic, to the point that she practically bounced out of the car. "Are you okay there, Jinora?" Tenzin asked when they were nearly there. "You're acting like your sister."
-"Hey!" Ikki protested from the back seat.
"Yeah, I'm good, Mom just made me some coffee to keep me awake."
-"Oh boy," he said, pinching the bridge of his nose. "Your mother's espresso is very potent, to say the least. Well, we're here. Good luck with your test."
"Thanks Dad! Bye!" Her father had been right, she was very excitable. This was probably the first time Jinora made it out of the car and into the school before her sister.
Fen, Jinora's best friend, seemed surprised by the energetic nature of her ordinarily collected friend. "What the hell was in your breakfast?"
"Eggs and espresso, I'm telling you, it was good stuff!"
-"I can see that. Are you even allowed to take a test on drugs?"
Jinora just saw the golden opportunity to shrug. "Meh, if caffeine is a drug, all of the teachers would be addicts."
Fen chuckled, and they made their way to the classroom, where Hou-Ting let them in. The girls sat next to each other in their usual seats, against the left wall, third row from the back.
Right before the teacher started handing out the test, Kai came walking in, his usual self-satisfied grin on his face. What wasn't usual though, is that he made his way to Jinora. "Morning. Sleep well after last night?"
If looks could kill, Kai would be firmly in his grave by now. "What are you doing?" she brusquely asked him.
-"I'll take that as a 'no'," he said, raising his eyebrows. With that, he walked over to the other side of the room, sitting with his own friends.
-"What was that about?" Fen immediately asked. "And what happened last night? Did you not tell me something?"
Jinora loudly sighed. "He's just being a bigger douchebag than usual, is my best guess."
Fen didn't look convinced, but she decided to drop the issue for now, as they had to get through a calculus test, and it was promising to be hard.
In all honesty, Jinora had no problem at all to stay awake during the rather difficult questions, even towards the end, when the effects of the caffeine were starting to wear off. It was mostly that she couldn't help but distract herself by stealing the occasional glance of Kai every now and then.
Most of the time, he seemed to be slagging, and not at all focused on his test, which kind of amazed her. Either he had become absolutely brilliant at math and was breezing through it (which seems very unlikely), or he knew he was going to fail anyway and didn't even bother to try (probably that one).
Towards the end of the test, he looked back at Jinora, giving her a sly wink, which had her both blushing and internally fulminating at the same time. Why did he have to be so devilishly handsome? Maybe it was just the fact that he had about four inches on her. Or the little ring in his left eyebrow. Or the leather jacket he always wore that accentuated his slightly muscular frame. (She suspected that wasn't a coincidence.) She quickly shook her head, and forced herself to focus back on her test, making sure she could still scribble down the last answers before the hour was over.
After they'd handed their tests, Fen went to Jinora again. "Alright, time for you to come clean: what is going on between you and Kai? You kept looking over to him, and he kept looking back."
Jinora sighed. "There's nothing going on, okay?"
-"You're not falling for him, are you?"
"What?! No! Come on, you know we don't even get along a little bit!"
At this, Fen shrugged. "Weirder things have happened. Besides, you're getting awfully defensive here, which does point in that direction."
Jinora knew her friend had a good point there, so the best thing to do now was to silence the trickle of doubt with a flood of truth. "Look, he's handsome, I've always admitted that, and I've hated that I feel that way for equally as long. Happy now?" Fen stayed silent just long enough for Jinora to break away from this conversation. "I gotta get to history, and you have geography to worry about. See you later!" The girls each went their respective ways, Jinora to the top floor of the building, where all the history classes were.
It was a dreary lesson, and even though history was one of her favorites, even Jinora was struggling to keep her focus on the blackboard. Kai being in the same class didn't help, and her mind once again wandered off to their kiss of last night.
-"Mr. Fong, could you keep your attention on the board, and off your phone?" her teacher mentioning Kai's name had Jinora looking up as well, and she glanced over to him, seeing the phone in his lap. "Next time you use that, it's mine for the week."
Kai raised two empty hands in defense, though he'd simply put the phone on his leg. "I got nothing, sir."
-"Don't take me for a fool. Now..." he continued his lesson in his monotonous voice, droning on about years, and events, and trade disputes that didn't really end up mattering, and Jinora already knew all of this, so she glanced over to Kai again.
He made a gesture of typing and pointed at her, which she interpreted as him sending her a text. When their teacher was writing something on the board, she gracefully leaned down, taking her phone out of her bag, and seeing that Kai had indeed sent her a text.
06 376 82 947: You seem very distracted. Finally believe I'm a good kisser?
Jinora shot him a death glare and put her phone away before she would get caught as well. She'd need a heart to heart with him, so after the bell had rung, she stopped him before he could make it out of the classroom. "Auditorium. Take the long route," she brusquely told him, and he just smiled.
-"Will do, Gyatso."
The auditorium was in the furthest corner of the school, and was typically empty in the first break. It was the only place where they could talk, far away from prying eyes. The room itself was rather beautiful, as it used to be a chapel, so the stain-glass windows were still in place, bathing the room in a very soft light.
As soon as Kai came in, Jinora sprung up. "What the hell was all that about?!"
He nonchalantly shrugged. "Just a little bit of fun. I'm even looking out for you, I thought you might appreciate that."
Jinora groaned. "We had a deal. I kept up my end, now you keep up yours, so no more innuendos and texts, got it?"
-"A true stick-in-the-mud, as per usual. Though if you're honest, that stick might just be somewhere the sun don't shine."
She sighed. "Come on, focus. If people figure out what happened because of your carelessness, I'm taking you down with me."
Kai scoffed, but it did succeed in capturing his attention. "And how would you plan on doing that?"
"Tell the truth: that A) your word is useless and B) you have to blackmail girls into kissing you." He stayed silent, but the look on his face told Jinora enough: she had him backed into a corner. People would have no reason not to believe her, and Kai already had reputation for not being the most trustworthy person in school. It wasn't terrible, but throw something like this on top of that, it certainly wouldn't help him. "Oh," she snarkily finished for him. "Just keep your mouth shut, and we'll be fine." Jinora made for the door, but he stopped her before she could walk through.
-"You wanna know what I think?"
"Not particularly." She meant that, but did stop and turn to hear him out.
Kai was unfazed by her blank response, and continued. "Part of me wants to believe this whole charade is sincere, that you're actually pissed about me being careless. But the other part of me thinks you're just frustrated, that because of all people, it was me who gave you your first kiss."
This had her shocked. How the hell did he figure that out? Sure, she wasn't exactly known as the school slut, but that she hadn't had her first kiss until last night was something that she kept carefully under wraps.
By the time she realized she had been quiet, flustered, and flabbergasted for too long to deny it any longer, it was too late. "Wha... How did you..."
His slanted smirk grew. "You're not my first rodeo, Gyatso, and neither are you my first first. If you want to practice a little more, just give me the heads up." Jinora was unable to say anything, so Kai just made for the exit himself. "That's okay, you think about it. Meanwhile, I think you should wait a few minutes, don't want to have people talking about where we were." He gave her a sly wink and was on his way.
Jinora just stood there, rarely having felt this embarrassed. He had completely figured her out and was able to do all that from just her reputation and one kiss. (Damn him for that.) "Fucking hell, Fong," she muttered.
Whether it was Jin or Jinora saying that, she honestly couldn't tell.
|Who We Are|
|First Base • Espresso and Blackmail • The North Point Mall • Do or Do Not • Groundwork • Shattered Like Glass|
|Hospital Run • Skeletons • Straight-A Students • Falling • Family Weekend (Part 1) • (Part 2) • (Part 3)|
|Now What? • Stargazing • Officially a Big Girl • Second Base|
For the collective works of the author, go here.