"We've been calling you," Mirel said. "Are you sure you're okay?"
"I'm sorry," she said.
"It’s okay," Micah patted her on the head. "Just skip the Arts Club meeting. I’ll have you cover."
"I'll take her home," a voice behind them said. When they looked, it was Pete with a broad smile. “So?”
Micah nodded, "We'll count on you."
Mirel gripped on Micah's shoulders and whispered, "Hey, do you want her to die in that weirdo's hands?"
“Are you crazy?” Mirel whispered back.
"Give me your stuff," Pete asked Mikhaila. "I'll carry it for you."
"It's okay. I can carr--"
Micah took Mikhaila's bag and gave it to Pete even before she was able to finish her sentence. Pete took the bag and waited for her to stand up.
"Yo! You know Simon will appear and hunt you if you mess this up, right?" Mirel shouted, her finger pointed at Pete.
“No need to remind me of that. Simon is a very good friend of mine and I really..I mean really admire his skills- when it comes to gaming of course. And I do believe that, it’s a great honor of mine to walk this charming lady home who is very precious to him, in this most wonderful and amazing weather--”
“I told you, she’ll be in danger,” Mirel whispered again as Pete continued with his dialogue.
Mikhaila stood up with a faint smile. She waved goodbye to the two girls with a little worry plastered on their bewildered face. “It’s okay,” she said as she followed Pete out of the room.
"You sure is fine?" Pete asked her when they passed through the school’s main gate.
"Cool,” Mikhaila nodded. “I guess."
For a few minutes neither one of them spoke. They quietly walked down the streets until they reached the crossing. When the traffic light turned green, they stopped. Pete looked around as they waited for the light to change.
"What is it?" Mikhaila asked as she looked around the surroundings too.
"Uhm, I felt Mirel's dark presence," he said with a deep sigh. "She must be bad-mouthing me again, saying stuffs like I'm a weirdo or something horrible like that"
"Ah," Mikhaila tried to suppress her laugh. "Please don't take it to heart. You know how childish she is."
"Yeah, it's nothing really." Pete said and shrugged his shoulders. "By the way, did he contact you?" he asked her.
"I mean, were you able to talk to Simon this morning? We are all worried too, you know."
She shook her head and didn't say anything.
“Actually,” Pete made a quick look to check her face. "I was worried about him, so I called him last night and asked what's going on. You know...it may be nothing, but that girl in the arcade- don't you think she's suspicious? Am I right or what? C’mon tell me. Whatcha think ‘bout that?"
"Hmm, I’m not sure.." she said, her face flushed. “You think so?”
"Well yeah, when I asked him about her, he said he'll have to talk to you first. It sounded like he needed to tell you something extremely important. Do you have any idea where he is right now?"
"I wish I knew.."
Pete sighed. "I wish there’s something that I can do. But I'm just a useless weirdo. Damn that nerd, I can't even help him. I’m sure there’s an explanation for everything, right? Simon is just a gamer, he’s not a hacker or anything like that. That is Simon, I just knew it! But in times when he needed help, I felt a little betrayed that he didn't rely on us. If only he told me to help him, I will not hesitate to come to his side."
Mikhaila shook her head as Pete blabbered on and on. She tightened her lips and slowly brushed her hair with her fingers.
The traffic light turned red and the two started to cross the pedestrian lane. When they reached more than half-way across the street, Pete was surprised when Mikhaila suddenly grabbed her bag back from him.
“Sorry Pete, I forgot I have something to do,” she pushed him to the sidewalk as she sprinted back to where they came from.
"Mikhaila!" Pete shouted. From the sidewalk, he watched her ran in full speed. When she made it back to the other side, she turned around and waved her hands at him. Pete nodded and waved his hands back, “That was fast,” he whispered as she watched her walk towards the main road. “And cool.”
When she was gone, Pete made a dark expression on his face . He took his mobile phone and typed, "She turned left on the corner of 9th St." and pressed Send. He moved his gaze back to the pedestrian signal. There was only seven seconds left on the countdown timer before the light would switched back to green again.
His phone suddenly vibrated. When he saw a message, he immediately opened it.
Good. We'll take it from here.
He deleted the message and returned the phone in his pocket. He watched as the vehicles from both lanes started to move. Across the street, he saw several students walking towards the pedestrian lane. Juniors. Seniors. All dressed in pink and gray. Chatting incessantly and waiting for the walk signal to turn green.
Pete loosened his gray tie and hid behind a nearby tree. When the students started to cross the street, he put a white cigarette in his mouth and lit it with a lighter. He leaned on the back of the tree as he pulled a little smoke in his mouth. I'm sorry, Simon. I really like you and that girl. He slowly pushed the smoke back into the air and sucked it in with his nose as he deeply inhaled. But I’m just doing my job.