The Bully, His Ex-Stepsister
I think I elbowed someone on the face.
I didn't stop to look though. I continued to run up the stairs as fast as I could like the wrath of a thousand chickens was after me.
Besides, broken bones could easily be fixed and plastic surgery was getting cheaper.
"Ow!" a girl yelled as I bumped into her in the stairwell.
"Sorry!" I yelled back.
A guy removed his guitar from the floor seconds before I could trip over it. "Watch it!"
I ran through the halls, my breath puffing out like little clouds of smoke.
"What's a sophomore doing in the junior hall?" I heard someone ask.
"Hey you! Don't run!"
Sorry, sorry, sorry, I thought but I continued to run because unless they tackled me to the ground I was not stopping.
When I saw the Class-3A sign out of a door, I stopped running, almost stumbling in the process. I brushed the hair out of my face, straightened my uniform and tried to look presentable as quickly as I could. I placed a hand on the door handle and quickly pulled the door open. But I must have done it too fast because the door hit the wall with a loud bang.
With a wince, I looked at the students inside who were staring at me in various states of confusion. I straightened and gave them a small wave. But it only served to confuse them even more.
Then I found him.
He was sitting at the back of the classroom, his gaze out the window, his headphones on his ears.
My chest tightened and my face split into a huge grin.
"What's wrong with her?" a girl whispered as I walked through the rows of tables, my eyes only on him.
"Isn't she a second year?"
"Is she lost?"
"You're here," I said breathlessly, halting in front of his table. "You're really here."
Hazel blue eyes met mine.
I was giddy with happiness and relief. Rohan just stared at me blankly but I knew him very well by now to know this indicated extreme unhappiness. I ignored this and kept grinning widely at him because I still couldn't believe he was actually here, in the flesh.
Rohan still looked exactly the same the last time we met.
Dirty blond hair. Beautiful hazel blue eyes. Piercings in his ears and lower lip.
And the ever present indifference and boredom in his features.
The only difference now was that he was wearing the prescribed North High Academy uniform, a blazer, vest, shirt, tie and trouser set, when usually he was in a hooded jacket, shorts and sneakers.
If I hadn't heard from a friend that she had seen him walk into the school, I wouldn't have known he had transferred.
Oh, my God.
He was actually here!
Rohan turned his head and looked out the window again. I frowned at him. He was still acting the same toward me too.
But I was in no means discouraged by his lack of attention. I tapped my fingernail on his desk and he still ignored me. The music from his headphones was loud, I could hear it even when I was just a foot away. Still not deterred by the cold shoulder, I leaned over, put my hands on the cups and slid his headphones down his neck.
The look on his eyes said he was ready to commit murder and I grinned.
"What the hell?" he muttered darkly.
My grin widened. "Are you finally talking to me now?"
"Get out, Schuyler."
"Now, now, brother. You shouldn't be calling me by my last name. We're too close for that."
His eyes narrowed. "I'm not your brother."
I put my hands on top of his desk and leaned into him. "So you're not denying we're close? Like really close?"
"I'm this close to pounding your head in, Schuyler."
Everyone in the room gasped.
I blinked and looked around.
Everyone was staring at the two of us with ill-concealed interest and some were looking a little scared.
This didn't look good.
"I think you just scared your new classmates," I muttered to Rohan. "That's not cool, considering this is your first day and all."
"I don't give a f**k," was his reply.
I frowned at him again. "Language, brother. We're at school."
And Rohan finally lost control of his temper.
Slamming his fist down on his desk, he shouted, "For the last time, I am not your f*****g brother!"
Even though this wasn't the first time he had told me those words, it still hurt, hearing it from him.
Because for almost six years, he was my brother, stepbrother technically, but a brother nonetheless.
I opened my mouth to answer him but before I could, a voice called out my name.
And the voice didn't sound happy at all.
Cringing, I slowly turned my head to see the sophomore year representative, Christine Torres, glaring at me from the door.
"It's the first day, the first day of a brand new school year," she told me with a scowl. "Couldn't you have just waited for at least a week before you cause a commotion?"
"I'm talking to my brother," I tried to reason out.
"He said he's not your brother," Rohan's classmate who was sitting in front of him supplied unhelpfully and I wrinkled my nose at him.
"Brother or not, you can only flirt with him at designated areas within school grounds. You know that you can't do this in a junior classroom, Emmy."
"I wasn't flirting with him!" I denied hotly.
Christine rubbed her forehead and sighed. "I swear you're the only Korean I know that's this pigheaded and frustrating to deal with."
"Well that explains it," she shot back sarcastically. "Can you please just go to your classroom? The junior rep is going to have my ass if we linger here for longer."
"No buts! Let's go."
With a groan, I turned to look at Rohan, who was looking out the window again, his headphones back on. I leaned over and pulled them down again.
Before he could lose his temper again and snipe at me, I told him, "We'll talk later, okay?"
And before he could reject me again, I ran out of his classroom, thinking how awesome it was that he was here in my school.
I was 11 when my father re-married. My mother had died when I was around 9 years old. Initially, I didn't like the idea of him replacing my mother so quickly with a woman he hardly knew. They've only been dating for three months before the wedding and of course, everyone, including me, balked at the idea of them getting married right away.
But my father was lonely and sad. I wanted him to be happy. I wanted to see him smiling again. And my sister, who was two years younger than me, needed a mother.
So my reluctance soon turned into excitement, especially when I heard I was going to have a brother too.
Rohan didn't feel the same way like I did when he first came to live with us. On the first day, while everyone was in the dining room chatting about my father and my new mother's approaching wedding, he'd snuck upstairs to be alone.
I followed my new brother. As a child, I was nosy, energetic and a little bit precocious. He knew I was following him but didn't seem to care. So I took it as his approval to be nosy.
I watched Rohan examine his new bedroom. He was staring at everything with boredom in his features. The interior designer Dad had hired promised to have the room furnished with all the things a 12 year old boy would want and by the looks of his room, I was sure she delivered.
But Rohan didn't change his expression. Not when we were introduced. Not even when our parents married. And until then, he kept the same blank expression.
"Do you like your room?" I asked conversationally. He didn't answer so I went on, "Dad said you liked playing video games. He bought you a lot of new games, by the way. Maybe we could play together some time?"
He still didn't talk. He turned away from me, rested his arms on the windowsill and stared outside.
I tilted my head to the side. "Can you talk?"
"Usually, when someone asks you a question, you've got to say something back," I went on, tugging on my pigtails. "How about you ask me a question and I answer then I can ask you a question and you'll answer. Deal?"
"How about you piss off and leave me alone?" I heard him say and my brows went up.
Well, this was new. This might have been the first time I've heard him speak.
"You know, you look like you're twelve but you're acting like you're about three," I pointed out. Also, as a child, I spoke what was on my mind, uncaring of the consequences.
Rohan finally turned around. "And you might be eleven but you have the intellectual capacity of a year old," he bit out. "Don't you understand the word leave?"
"You have a temper," I observed. "And you're not much for small talk, big brother."
"Not your brother."
I stifled a laugh at the scathing look on his face. "You're even already playing the part so well."
When the scathing look on his face didn't fade, I decided to retreat. "I'll be going so you can rest. We can get to know each other later."
"Don't bother," he mumbled. "Because I'm sure we'll be gone before the year ends anyway."
I paused and glanced over my shoulder. "What do you mean by that?"
Rohan didn't answer.
But later that day he would tell me why.
He would make it clear early on that he wasn't here to play family, that he wasn't even going to bother memorizing our names since his mother would probably get tired of our father soon enough and that he wished to be left alone until then.
At first, I couldn't understand this attitude.
Who wouldn't want to have us as a family? My Dad was kind and gave him everything he could ever want. My sister and I did everything to make him feel welcome and never treated him as a stranger.
But then I learned his mother had four ex-husbands.
Four ex-husbands in the span of five years.
And I finally understood why he was so angry at the world.
"I heard you got chewed out by the Student Council," Cassie said beside me as we walked in the hallway. "Again."
"It's our first day back," Anna said with a sigh from my other side, turning her head around to frown at me. "What did you do this time, Emmy?"
I ignored them and pushed the door to the restroom. My best friends followed me in. Looking in the mirror, I saw my blue eyes staring back at me. Stirring the bangs on my forehead, I ran my fingers through my brown hair that spilled over my shoulders. Then I smiled.
"Was that how you got the council to forgive you again?" Cassie observed dryly as she straightened my school ribbon. "By smiling and acting cute?"
I looked at her. "Do you think I'm cute?"
She rolled her eyes, exasperated. "I give up. You talk to her, Anna."
Anna raised a blond brow at her. "Aren't you vying for captaincy of the soccer club next year? Don't give up. Take this as a practice for when the time comes."
"But you're going to be the vice-captain to my captain. And vice-captains do what the captain tells them do."
"You're hopeless, Cassie."
I left them to relieve myself. When I came out of the stall, they were both staring at me unhappily.
Another person would have been intimidated by the sight of them.
Both being members of the soccer club, Anna and Cassie were tall, tough and formidable. With light blonde hair and gray eyes, Anna was a beauty, scratch that, a super-smart beauty since she had always ranked within top 5 of our year. But though she was good academically, she loved soccer ever since she was little and was hoping to get into a team when she gets into university.
The same went for Cassie, who was bossy, loud and sometimes a little abrasive. She had smooth, milk chocolate skin, shining black hair and almond-shaped tawny eyes. Even though she was still in sophomore year, she was deemed as the soccer goddess of her club, not because she'd won the lottery of good genes but because she was amazing at the sport and was their ace player.
For some reason, even though I was in the music program, we hit it off as friends when we became classmates back in middle school. And that close friendship continued until now. Anna and Cassie were very nice, loyal and caring to me.
But they were also really protective of me, hence the unhappy expressions.
I ignored my friends again. Humming quietly, I went to the sink and washed my hands.
"Why do you look so happy, Emmy?" Anna finally asked, breaking the silence.
Cassie suddenly groaned. "Now I get it. I should have known when you said you went to a junior classroom. It's because he's here, isn't he?"
"Who's here?" Anna asked curiously.
"My brother," I piped in. "He transferred here."
Silence, then Anna ventured slowly, "Are you telling me that Rohan Kane transferred to our school?"
"He's not your brother anymore, though," Cassie pointed out. "Didn't his mother divorce your father last year?"
"He'll always be my brother," I told them.
Anna and Cassie exchanged glances.
"Didn't he tell you he wasn't your brother, that he'll never be your brother?" Anna began. "And wasn't he always mean to you and to your sister?"
"Yeah," Cassie agreed. "He was always rude to you."
"He never really treated you like family, did he?"
"And didn't he tell you he didn't like you? And that you annoy him?"
"Didn't he also call you ugly once?"
"Guys, guys." I raised my hands to interrupt their rapid inquisition. "It's called tough love."
Both my friends snorted.
"And you don't get along with your brothers too, Anna."
She sneered at me. "Yeah, I don't. But they never told me to go jump off a bridge, Emmy."
Cassie leaned into me. "Or tell her to drink cyanide."
"Or throw the breakfast I made for them into the trash bin."
"He wasn't hungry," I tried to defend myself.
"He's a boy. And boys are always hungry."
Maybe I should have just kept my mouth shut.
Cassie and Anna had never gotten along with Rohan.
Not since he kicked their soccer ball over the fence and told them to stop making so much noise.
In his defense, they were playing under his window quite early on a Saturday morning.
In their defense, he should have just asked nicely instead of doing that.
As a child, Rohan was cold, easily angered, distant and often got into trouble.
Over the years however, he learned to control his temper. But he was still the same cold and distant person I knew and still got his self into trouble.
And that was the last thing I ever wanted to happen to him here in North High Academy.
"We just don't want you to get hurt, Emmy," Anna said to me in a gentle tone, wrapping her arms around me. She must have thought that my silence meant I had been offended and was mad at them.
"That jerk keeps on hurting and disappointing you." Cassie patted my head. "Maybe it's time to give up on him."
I pulled away from Anna and looked at Cassie.
"I'm not going to give up on him," I said firmly.
Too many people had given up on Rohan.
I wasn't going to be on that list.
Cassie and Anna exchanged glances once more.
Then Anna told me, "Fine. But just know that if he hurts you again, we'll kick his ass."
I smiled at my two best friends.
The day couldn't end soon enough for Rohan.
Slinging his backpack over his shoulder, he left the classroom, ignoring his classmates' stares, and navigated the crowded halls alone.
"That's Emilia Schuyler's stepbrother," he heard someone say as he went by the lockers.
"Not anymore. I heard their parents have already divorced."
A girl eyed him as he passed her and muttered to her friend, "He's supposed to be really smart."
A giggle. "He's really good looking, isn't he?"
The whispers continued to swirl around him and Rohan clenched his jaw.
All morning, people had been ogling him, talking to each other about him like they f*****g know him already. They stayed away from him, afraid they'd sent him into a violent rage the likes of which would make network news. But they clearly weren't afraid enough not to talk about him within hearing distance.
He didn't get this when he was still in East Private. With Skull, John and Leon around, he tended to be overlooked since the trio were much more infamous than he was.
It didn't help that his stupid ex-stepsister barged into his classroom. He knew she was crazy but he didn't know that she'd go to that extent. Now, because of her, the rumors were getting out of hand.
Hell, but he couldn't wait to get out of this shithole.
She was waiting for him by the main entrance.
Leaning against the wall, she was kicking her foot forward and backward. He couldn't see her face from the distance but he knew she was humming. She was always humming to herself.
Rohan wasn't the type to flee from the enemy or hide.
Emilia Schuyler wasn't an enemy.
She was dangerous, however.
So he waited until a large group of people were making their way out of the school to conceal him as he walked past her.
And she never had a clue.