Just as Terry finally came to grips with what was being said, he yawned and lost all concentration. Science was definitely not his best subject so he needed to pay attention to keep his B average. It was hard to stay awake when the relief teacher only read from the text book and didn't demonstrate like Mr. Brown did. They were learning about light and the various things that it could do. Terry found this information useless and decided to find something else to get him through the period without sleeping. To his fortune a scrunched up note hit the side of his head just as he was about to drift off.
He picked it up and read it knowing instantly where it came from when he unfolded the scented paper.
"Is this boring or what?! I reckon this guy could be the reason kids hate school! Anyway, meet me at the tree at lunch with the others; we need to plan something,"
Terry nodded slightly at the note and inhaled the scent deeply before stashing it in his pocket and giving Clair a brief smile.
The gang assembled at their favourite meeting spot under the shade of the huge willow tree at recess. A spring breeze rustled the long branches as the group played around in their respective characters. Janet was talking to her best friend Holly about the two things they lived for, cosmetics and boys.
"Yeah that new kid is so cute. He's really innocent and all but you can tell he's been around the block," Holly said as she flicked her brown hair.
"Yeah I know I might just ask him to the dance! I've got the perfect azure dress and it'll go well with the new eye shadow I just bought," Janet said dreamily already making plans.
Janet and Holly seemed to be the shallowest girls one could meet but they were the most reliable people Terry had ever known. From his vantage point next to Clair inside one of the willows massive roots, Terry watched his friends play around with nonchalance on his face. His eyes wandered towards Tai and Diego. Terry lazily chuckled as Diego and Tai exchanged fake blows in their mock sparring session.
Clair cheered on the boys and Diego waved to her and blew kisses to her for her support. Terry laughed as he was nailed by Tai. Diego was a Spaniard and as such he had the manly chiseled features that the women went crazy for. His wavy hair and his ladies man persona gave him that special something that made the women drool over him. Although a hit with the ladies, Diego was a firm believer in monogamy and decided that he wasn't going to miss much if he just kept that in mind. He was true gentleman despite his behavior.
Recovering from the punch to the gut Diego managed to right himself and retaliate. Tai spun away from the counter attack and snapped his foot lightly behind Diego's knee and made him stumble over a tree root. The kick was amazingly quick. It was no surprise to Terry, or Clair for the matter, since he was a seasoned martial arts student. Terry had met Tai when Terry convinced Clair that it would be fun to learn self defense over the summer break back in middle school. Tai was their senior at the dojo but because he was the same age as Terry and Clair, they simply hit it off when they found out that they went to the same school.
Tai was a hard bodied guy. Every inch of him was tone and limber. He was athletic in every sense but there was more to him than his body. While he had the appearance of a fun loving teenager, at times he could be quite philosophical. His grades at school were always above average. He was a thinker by nature. Terry had once asked Tai why he was so smart and so fit. Tai replied in the oddest fashion. He said that to be truly smart was beyond his grasp so he was simply trying to be strong of mind and that he needed to balance his mind by keeping his body strong. It was a strange saying that stuck in Terry's mind.
"Hey man that was below the belt ya?" Diego said recovering from his brief trip.
"I was just showing you how unbalanced you are," Tai said knowing that the comment would irritate Diego.
Diego ignored Tai's comment and rubbed his legs in annoyance then smiled as a thought came to him.
"Yeah well, balance is something that won't get the ladies," he replied and ran a hand through his wavy brown hair.
Tai smiled and knew that in the women department he was hopeless but being friends the two chuckled.
"Yeah I know. I've still haven't been able to get Ming's number," Tai said chuckling at himself.
Diego smiled and launched straight into his 'Women accumulation lessons' he often gave to Tai.
"Tai my boy, like I said women go crazy for hair. You got the looks and all but do you really think you can pull Ming's number with that messy lot?"
Diego went on and on with his lesson and Tai was listening intently although he wasn't the only one. Clair was listening to the advice too but not to the extent that Tai was. After a few minutes of just listening and giggling Clair decided she would probably be better off without Diego's advice. Clair looked at Terry instead and wondered about many things as she watched his aloof manner. Clearly he was off in some other land but who could tell what he was thinking.
Terry must have felt her gaze on him and swung his head to meet hers and gave her his famous smile. His white even teeth made Clair melt inside but it didn't make her squeal like it did with other girls. Clair smiled back and as her mind wandered to thoughts of his well being, other thoughts broke through and she started to wander what it'd be like to kiss him. With a shock Clair looked away ashamed that her hormones were taking over.
Terry was fantasizing about kissing Clair too and was wondering why he wasn't when his friends decided to join him.
"Hey Terry! Earth to Terry! Yeah we were kind of wondering why we need to meet?" Holly started.
"Yeah we got like other things to do that are more important," Janet finished.
"Hey let the man breathe girls! Step back eh?" Tai said from his perch on the willow root.
"Well I don't think that I'm capable of trying to answer any of those questions because…" Terry started but was cut off by Diego.
"No need to explain primo," He drawled in his Spanish accent "We can all safely say that you clearly have something on your mind and you need to get it out so we're here for you ya!"
"Thanks but I'm not the…" Terry began.
"Mushy type ya? I know primo it's okay, I mean being a man and all that, I can respect that but if you're not going to let it out of ya then it'll eat ya up inside ya? So allow me to break the ice? You're worried about the upcoming election and you are also worried about the dance? Don't know who to take ya? Well I can help in both areas,"
"Diego thanks but…" Clair interrupted not liking where this was going.
"Hey man no need to thank me now, we're friends ya? I'll support ya in the elections and I'm sure everyone here would too ya?"
There was loud agreement from everyone but Clair and Terry.
"Hold up Diego. That's not…" Terry started.
"Now with a date for the dance well I just want to tell you that Clair is the best answer ya?" Diego said winking at Clair "You two have been best buddies since you were in diapers ya? Why not go further eh?"
A shocked silence passed and only Diego was brimming with glee at having broken the ice. Terry's face was red and being quiet was his best defense. Clair looked equally embarrassed but she had the luxury of long hair to shield her face.
"Haha! Hey Clair you know this was a coming eh? Come on senorita, I was right ya? I mean if there weren't anything between you two then why the red faces eh? Haha!"
"Diego you have no shame..." was all Clair said she was too embarrassed to say anything else.
"Hey I got something better than shame and that's getting things straight ya senorita? I mean you feel better now ya?" Diego asked some of his arrogance slipping away.
"Diego better shut up now before you say too much," Tai said silencing the motor mouth.
After calm was restored Terry began again but more relaxed than when he started.
"Thanks Diego but I was going to say that Clair arranged the meeting not me,"
"Wha?! I…I…just made a fool of myself…" Diego said slumping.
"Yeah but through your botch up we managed to find a…" Holly started
"…Better subject to talk about?" Janet finished looking at Clair "But first lets listen to Clair first, it is her meeting,"
Clair lifted her hair out of the way and straightened it. Her face was now void of the red hue but her neck was still red.
"I just wanted to discuss and plan a new campaign for Terry but in light of what was just said I think it'd be best if I just drop that for now," Clair said clearly struggling with something as if she was going to say something but decided it was going to rock things up a bit too much.
"I agree, but the best thing to do when struggling with feelings is to let them out," Janet said quoting Oprah.
"Ditto," Holly agreed.
"Fine then I'll start," Terry said his voice filled with resolve "It's better this way anyway. Look I know you all think that Clair and I have something between us and you'd be correct,"
All eyes shot to Terry even Clair's. Terry then turned to Clair; sincerity reinforced his words as he spoke.
"Clair and I are friends. We will always be friends," Terry said smiling at Clair.
Clair smiled back. Her heart almost skipped a beat when Terry delayed his answer. She didn't know why either. It wasn't like she was romantically interested in him. Clair didn't give it another thought. They were friends and that was how it would remain. Still she couldn't help but feel a slight irritation from within. It must have been Diego's stupid and insistent prattling.
"Hey you two, we know that you're friends so no need to get embarrassed just because this idiot comes up with conjectures," Tai said.
"No," Clair agreed. "Still it wouldn't hurt to filter your brain from your mouth Diego,"
"Hey hey! I was just saying it like I saw it ya? If I'm wrong I'm sorry but I just got a different vibe," Diego said shrugging off the hostility.
"Well it was good while it lasted. I suppose we can go back to talking about the boring elections," Holly said.
"We can go back to talking about who we're going to take to the dance?" Janet suggested.
"Nah that ship has sailed with Diego's motor mouth," Tai said.
"So the elections it is," Diego pouted.
"If you want a change of subject, how about we talk about Terry?" Clair suggested.
"What about him?" Holly asked.
"What are you talking about?" Terry asked slightly apprehensive.
"Tell them why you're always around my place in the mornings. It's ok we're all friends here. I'm sure they won't laugh at you," Clair reassured.
"Laugh or not. I'm not going into it," Terry said defensively.
"Ooh. This has got to be good. If the great Terry does not wish to speak of it then it must be good," Holly said.
"Yeah spill it Tezza," Janet chimed in.
"Now, now ladies if the man doesn't want to talk about it, he doesn't talk about it ya?" Diego said coming to his aid.
"Right it's nothing really," Terry added quickly.
"What's on your mind?" Tai asked.
"Nothing," Terry said.
"Nothing? You're losing sleep. You're around my house early in the morning and you think that it's nothing?" Clair said "Just tell them already. I would like to know as well,"
"Now the suspense is killing me," Janet said.
"Come one Terry. We're all friends here," Holly added.
"Is it a girl problem primo?" Diego asked.
"Hell no!" Terry said frowning.
"Money issues? I could lend you some," Tai offered.
"No but thanks for the offer," Terry replied.
"Come on just spill it!" Clair spat.
After a moment of convincing Terry gave in.
Terry stared into space clearly at a loss at where to begin.
"You said something about dreams once," Clair prompted.
"I don't think that's something I want to discuss that," Terry said getting back to Earth.
"Please we've come this far," Clair pleaded.
Terry was determined not to speak about it but was subjected to Clair's pleading eyes and hated her for looking at him with her submissive look. Terry looked to his small circle of friends and there was once again silent agreement.
"Okay! Just stop looking at me like that!"
Satisfied that she won the little struggle Clair smiled triumphantly.
"As you all know, Terry has been acting weird lately and it all has to do with this dream and…well he explains it better,"
Once again all eyes to Terry. He sighed and decided to let it out.
"You'll all think I'm crazy but this dream has kept me up for weeks and even that isn't normal. It all starts…"