Chapter 21

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"You haven't decided yet?" Mrs. Rivers said with a sigh when I came to return her magazines and pamphlets. I nodded, wondering if it was okay for me to leave the classroom, or if I should stay put until she said otherwise.

"Okay, can you explain things to me. I'm having a hard time understanding what you want to do," she said, walking over to the nearest table before drawing out a seat and sitting down. She pointed at the chair across from her on the table, making me walk over to it before settling down.

"Okay, so I'm just going to let you talk," she said, folding her arms as she gave me a small smile. I looked away from her, feeling concerned. I knew she was trying to help me out, but it wasn't working.

"I don't want to work at my dad's tech store," I started, watching as she nodded, "but I don't want to go to college either," I finished, watching as she frowned in confusion.

"The thing is, I want to work with software, not hardware like they do at my father's place, but I don't want to sit through lectures and whatnot," I said, watching as Mrs. Rivers held onto her chin.

"Hmm..." I heard her trail as I fidgeted in my seat. She nodded suddenly, muttering an 'okay' under her breath after a while.

"What exactly don't you like about college?" she asked, making me crease my brows in thought. I bit my bottom lip, trying to put my thoughts into words.

"Paperwork, lots and lots of paperwork. I do fine with anything practical, I just simply suck at essays and the like," I said, looking up at her.

"How about a polytechnic? They're practical schools and they learn more about what you can do with your hands versus what you can write on paper." I shrugged. Many people looked down on practical schools, and I don't really see the point in attending a school for years and then coming out with a degree that people would question because of the type of school I attended.

"I don't know," I said, watching as she nodded.

"I'll let you think over it. Let me get you a late pass," she said, getting up.

"I don't need one, it's a free period now," I informed her, making her turn back to me before nodding. I got up from my seat, picking up my bag before heading to leave the classroom.

"Ben."

I almost jumped at the sight of Felix when I opened the door. I held onto my chest, bending a bit as I tried to recover from the shock.

"Why would you just pop out of nowhere like that?!" I scolded him, standing up to find him looking at me with guilt in his eyes. I closed the classroom door behind me, before turning to look at him.

"What do you want?" I asked, my tone a bit harsh.

Felix opened his mouth before closing it and sighing. He shook his head, looking straight at me with his dark eyes. "I just want to talk."

I narrowed my eyes at him, wondering what to do. He had bags under his eyes and looked like he hadn't had proper sleep in a while — well, that makes the two of us.

"Talk about what?" I asked, watching as he blinked before looking up at me.

"I don't know, anything? Sure you don't want to date me, but at least value me as a friend." His voice came out as choked, and I found myself looking away in guilt.

"Okay," I said. "We can go to the physics lab, it'll be free," I said. I watched as his lips twitched into a happy but tired smile. We headed up the stairs together and slipped into the physics lab before closing the door behind us.

I headed to sit on one of the stools at the far end of the room. Felix came to sit beside me, and he stayed quiet. I didn't say anything either, and we just sat in silence until Felix spoke up.

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