About 4 years later…
"Oh my gosh!" I covered my mouth with my two hands, but still my squeals can be heard. I have started to jump up and down because of the exciting news that was just posted in the student bulletin board. Bianca, my best friend, hugged me and started to jump and squeal with me too.
“Congrats, girl! It’s a given already, you know!” Bianca chided.
I cannot believe I am about to finish my junior year with a bang. I am part of the cheerleading squad and it was just announced that I was given the position of the squad captain for my senior year. I was supposed to be the captain for the junior year too, but declined the position as I would like to give way for the senior members as it was their last year in high school. But then for the last few days, I had doubts that the position will be given to me. There were also other juniors who were after the position and had been sucking up our adviser for the whole year.
“Can’t breathe!” I must have squeezed Bianca a little too tight.
“Sorry!” I said laughing.
It was lunchtime and students were flocking in the hallway. By now, a lot of them has been congratulating me and I could not help smiling and thanking everyone. It was kind of hard to get away from all the people around us, being one of the popular students of the school.
“Come on. We got to get our lunch. Your treat of course.” Bianca tugged my arm towards the cafeteria.
Bianca has been my friend since the day I transferred here in Aunt Becky’s town. We had our dinner in a pizza place, where Bianca was dining also with her parents. Her parents and Aunt Becky was exchanging pleasantries before we go to our table. I can say that Bianca was a little bit enthusiastic, to say the least, during that first encounter. She suggested to her parents to have us dine with them. And then that was the time our friendship has started.
Bianca and I stand at 5’6” with long wavy hair. But she’s a brunette, while I’m a honey blonde. She has hazel eyes, while I got sapphire ones. We are both tanned, as we were always hanging out at the beach. Bianca is on the slender side. I am more of on the hour glass figure. Not sure if dancing helped me achieve this body.
“Really, cafeteria food is all you want? I could treat you to pizza or burger and milkshakes after school with the squad.” I know Bianca will not be able to resist this. We like our burgers and milkshakes! We love food!
“Aaargh! I can’t! I have student council meeting later. How about Saturday lunch? A pool party at your house? We could set up the grill? And I need you to come with me later. Please? For moral support?” Bianca is currently the vice president of the student council and will be running for president for our senior year. From what I have heard, the only one who has guts to run against Bianca is the basketball team captain, Richard. It was just a rumor, but I am 100% sure that Bianca will win the race, because she has me!
“What moral support? You will just wrap up the whole year at the meeting! You do not need me at your boooring student council meeting.” I said emphasizing the word ‘boring’.
“You are so cruel, Olivia Adams!”
“Okay! Okay! I will be there! And as to the pool party, I still have to ask for Aunt Becky’s permission. I will just send a message to everyone tonight in case we’re good to go on Saturday. If ever, since it is already Thursday, we have to go buy food and drinks tomorrow after school” Bianca tried to slap me at my arm, but I immediately moved to the side to avoid her arm. That is when I bumped into a wall.
“Hey, princess! Congratulations on being the new squad queen! How about a get together party – the squad and my boys?”
I do not have to turn around to know who I bumped into. Ever since the start of the junior year, he has been pestering me to go out with him. I know he is a great guy. But even if he is the school heartthrob and football captain, I could not possibly date him as my heart already belongs to someone else.
“Hi, Chase! So sorry, I did not see you there. A party sounds great! We can organize one for the summer.” It’s only a party, not that I would date him. From the start I have told him that I could never be in a relationship with him or with anyone just yet, my reason being I cannot give time and attention. He seemed to have accepted the “rejection” nicely, as he still greets me every time we bumped in the hallways. I have seen him at times with a girl in my class, but nothing has come out if they are officially dating. Though time and again, he would ask if we could “hang out” just the two of us. I never said yes.
“Hate to interrupt you guys, but I am really starving! I need my food now!” Bianca is now gripping my elbow.
“Would not want to make our future president mad, would I? Go get your food, pressie! I will just send you a message, Olivia.” Chase winked at me and saluted to Bianca.
We had our lunch at our usual table with the squad, with Bianca being an unofficial member. Stress has just flowed out from my body to know that the whole cheerleading squad is happy with me being their captain, even those who tried to get the position from me. I got worried that some members might take the announcement lightly. I told them about the plan on Saturday, but that I would message them later if it will push thru. If not, I will still treat them to food somewhere else.
Lunch was a little chaotic, as from time to time, students will come by our table to congratulate me. The rest of the day was steady. There was nothing else to do as it was almost time to close school for the summer. We were just in school for those who have pending concerns with academics and for all those necessary things that the seniors were to turnover to the juniors.
Now comes the meeting I agreed to go to with Bianca. We are inside the guidance counselor’s room, as the counselor is the current student council advisor. I was just seated beside Bianca and writing down notes in my planner. Yes, I am one of those people who loves planners! The meeting has started minutes ago and I was just being quiet when someone mentioned my name. I straightened by back and looked around me. Seems like all of them are looking at me too.
Mark, the current council president, got my attention when he cleared his throat.
“Olivia, the council is wondering if you would like to run next school year together with Bianca as her vice president. All the upcoming senior members will be running, but will keep their positions, except for Bianca. The positions left open are vice-president and treasurer, a few committee heads. We find you fit as VP and I know you will be able to work well with the team. We can open up the nomination for treasurer and other positions for upcoming juniors. You do not have to decide now. You have the whole summer to think about it.” Mark smiled widely.
I could not believe at what I just heard. How could they think of me running, when I am already heading the cheerleading squad next year? I looked at Bianca as she was smirking at me. This must be why she pushed me to go to this meeting!
“Uhm, Mark, I am very honored for everyone to think that I can handle a position in the council. But I am inexperienced and you may have heard that I am now the new cheerleading squad captain. I would be busy with the squad and I would not want to disappoint -”
“That will not be a problem, Liv.” Bianca interrupted. “You just have to stick with me. You were practically my co-VP! You were with me through all the council activities. Half of the ideas I pitch in the council were yours! Oops! And don’t forget that it will be good for your college applications” Bianca grinned at the last part making the others laugh, while I glared at her. Well, what she said there were all true.
I took a second to look at everyone and sighed. “I will think about it, guys. You will hear about it from Bianca.”
Everyone seemed to be in cheerful mood, as most of them clapped. Some approached me and patted me at my arm.
The meeting finished with a plan to have a movie night at Mark’s house the next weekend. I gave Bianca a ride home, with her talking all the way. She was getting excited with us working together for the student council. Being the new cheerleading captain and thinking about running for VP has taken a toll to my day. It was overwhelming. I feel so honored, but at the same time I can already feel the big responsibility on my shoulders.
When I got home, I went straight to the kitchen, where I know I will see Aunt Becky.
“Hi, Aunt Becky.” When she’s at home, most of the time, she’s in the kitchen trying out new recipes for the bakery. Some times she has orders from special clients, that she can only do in the peace of her own kitchen. Today, she seemed to be making a special dinner for us.
“Hey there, sweetheart.” Aunt Becky stopped chopping the vegetables and turned to me. “So, any good news?” She knew I was waiting for the announcement for the new squad captain. I could have called her earlier, but I would want to give her the news in person.
I pretended to be sad, frowning a little, then I shouted, “I am the new squad captain!”
“Oh, dear! Congratulations!” We hugged, then she kissed me on my forehead. “I am so proud of you, sweetheart.” She then let me go and held my hands. “That position is yours since the year started anyway. Well, since I know you will get the position, I am now preparing a special dinner for you. Go and freshen up. We’ll talk again later. Dinner will be in an hour. You can rest for a bit.”
“Thanks, Aunt Becky. I’ll just take a shower, then I’ll help you with dinner. Oh, by the way, Bianca would like to celebrate me being the head cheerleader. Can I have a pool party over lunch on Saturday? It will be just Bianca and the squad. ”
"Sure thing, sweetie." Aunt Becky replied as she finish preparing the salad. "Actually, that's a great idea. Let me know the things you need so we could get them tomorrow."
"You're the best, Aunt Becks! Thanks!" I pecked her cheek and gave her a quick hug before running straight up to my room. I dropped my bag, sent a short invite to Bianca and to the squad, then went inside my bathroom to have a shower.
Dinner was great. I am now in my bed with my mind running through with what happened earlier. The food was delicious and I had a great talk with Aunt Becky. We had lasagna, salad and blueberry cheesecake, which I helped to prepare. Aunt Becky has never failed me with her cooking skills. Actually, when you think of it, Aunt Becky has never failed me in anything. From the moment that she took me in, she has always considered me in all her decisions.
Two weeks after my parents died, I remember arriving at Aunt Becky’s house. It was a beautiful 3-bedroom house, with a small garden and medium sized pool at the back. As to why she got a house with a pool, when she was living alone, she said she liked swimming, but did not have the time to go to the beach all the time.
She gave me the room that was supposedly her son’s. I was about to decline, but she stopped me before I could even talk. “He’s not here, is he,” she says. I was given the liberty to decorate the room and that she would like to take me shopping the following day for everything I would need. She told me not to hesitate to tell her what I wanted to do with the room, if I would like to have it painted in a different color, as it is painted white, or if I would like to put on a wallpaper instead.
Her work at the bakery has changed too. Instead of her being there from noon to closing time of 7pm, she opted to work from 7am to 3pm. She told me not to worry, as she has trusted employees working for her. She told me I would need her more when I get home from school. When I still did not have my driver’s license, she would drive me to school and fetch me after class. I would also let her drive my dad’s car, the one I have decided not to sell. When I turned 16 and got my license, I get to drive myself in my dad’s car, feeling nostalgic for a moment.
Aunt Becky had also enrolled me in a dance school. It’s not as good as the one I was in LA, but I could not complain. I still like to continue dancing and I do not also want to be idle, with nothing to do much at home. I told Aunt Becky to just get money from the funds my parents left me for all my expenses, for school, food, clothing, down to my daily allowance. She told me she will not touch it. She has more than enough money and she would like to spend on me. She considers me as her own daughter, a part of her family. During that time, I could have just accepted everything that she says and anything that she gives to me. But I have decided that I would somehow have to return the kindness and generosity of Aunt Becky. I asked her if she could give me part-time work at the bakery few hours a week, so I could somehow work for the money that she is spending on me. We fixed my working hours at the bakery, working around my school time and dance classes.
There were no idle moments with Aunt Becky. She knew I was also enrolled in voice lessons, but I told her I do not want to proceed anymore, because I took interest in the piano that was standing in one corner of her living room. From then on, every Sunday morning, she would teach me how to play the keyboard. But before the session starts, she would let me vocalize, so I could still stretch my vocal chords.
Thinking about how busy my days were during the past years got me thinking on how I would fit in being VP during senior year. That is if ever I win. I brought this up with Aunt Becky when we were eating the blueberry cheesecake. She agreed with Bianca that it will make good in my college applications and that she sees me as a great leader. She also said that if I would really like to run for the council, I could just give up working at the bakery and that would not be a problem at all with her, or she could minimize my working hours or days at the bakery. I am currently working 3 days a week. She said she could cut it to 1day only. I would just have to let her know and she will give me her full support. “It’s the people around you who are encouraging you to run, and that means they trust you and see the potential in you. You never cease to amaze me, Olivia. I would not like to hinder you from opportunities like this. I am proud of your straight As, but these experiences will further build your character. Whatever you decide, you know that I am so proud of you and I know your parents are very happy and proud of you too, wherever they are."