X-List: Intro

X-List

Xavier is one of the coolest guys in the school. Everyone thought so including me, until I found his list.

♣♣♣

I’m neither. Always in the middle. And I’m Julie Lisment.

This particular story started around August when I accidentally found a newly dug mound and out of curiosity dug the little box containing a list from it. The list includes having sex with Aurora Missibon our History Teacher. And there are a lot of other things you’ll enjoy knowing from the list especially if you know who it belongs to.

Alexander Green.

Along with the list is a pocket size notebook which became a journal. This journal explains most of the list and reasons behind every bullet. They are 20 items on the list, five have been accomplished, 5 on-going and the rest are yet to come.

I’m really going to enjoy this school year!

Emman Knows

This is getting worse.

Other new photos on the web and another ad. What the hell is Peter Mclean thinking? Good thing it wasn’t catch by the news yet or else I’m doom.

I can hear the busy morning going on downstairs. Mom probably setting the breakfast table already. I got up to my closet, opened it and pulled a shirt that was hanging lousy from the pile, jeans and undergarments. Throw them at my bed and went to shower.

I took a cold bath thinking it may do some magic and transform this day into something more lively and fun. But I was shivering when I got out of the shower and right at breakfast I started to sniff and sneeze.

Great! Now I have a cold!

“No coffee Noel.” Mom said, observing me from my right. “Take the juice. And we have medicine for colds. Take one after you eat.”

“Okay.” I said. I can still feel her eyes following my every move after I ate. She knows I’m not a good fan of capsules and tablets that’s why she’s watching me if I’ll really take medicine for this cold.

Sighing I reach for the medicine box on the top most cabinet in the kitchen, straining my feet for tip-toeing. Emman got the box first before my hand even touch the bottom of it. He reached inside and produced a foil, handed it to me and patted my head. I shrugged it off. “I’m 23 for crying out loud, I’m not a kid anymore!” I snapped.

“Wrong side of the bed?” he asked fetching the news paper on the counter.

“No.”

“So what’s with the pimples?” he asked teasingly, poking the one on my nose.

“Nothing.”

“Oh. I thought it was about the ‘I’m Looking for her. Can you help me find her?’ thing.” He said smiling mockingly.

“You know that!” I hissed, quietly trying not to catch Mom’s attention. Only Mom’s since I have been shutting Dad off this past weeks.

“Well yeah. Sandra saw it actually and told me about it.” Sandra is his loving and cute girlfriend, I said cute because she likes me, unlike the previous one.

“Don’t tell me Mom that! Or you will say good bye to your comic collections.” I threatened him.

“Wow, I’m scared.” Emman said sarcastically. “I sneaked into your room last night and took them.” he said beaming proudly.

I downed the pill, hardly. Took my bag from my chair on the table, kissed Mom goodbye, snubbed Dad and scowled at Emman before I took off for work.

I’m really in a hurry to get out of the house, first because Emmen knew about this whole madness and secondly, I can’t take to see Dad acting normal around us, as if nothing is happening.

I’m sure Emman will pester me again later. But right now I have to see the new photos and think of a way to get rid of them without meeting this Peter Mclean.

Six in the Morning Phone call

I woke up with the sound of my phone. It rang a minute before my alarm clock. One eye opened I search my side table for the noisy phone. Fumbled through the keys and found the answer button, clicked it and said “Hello,” in my drowsy morning voice.

“Hi, rabbit!” Toby greeted in a very lively and annoying way, calling me in the nickname he gave me.

“Hi…uhm, give me a minute to wake up.” I said, rubbing my eyes and sitting up.

“Sleepy head. What kept you awake late last night?” He asked with laughter in his voice.

“I didn’t stayed late, and it was just” I look at my alarm clock, “6 in the morning. You were a minute early than my alarm.” I said letting sleep leave my tired body.

“Oh I thought since you change career you too busy to fall a sleep” he said teasingly.

“Change career?…What?

“Saw your pictures on the net”

“Oh right….yeah…those from Galera…It was really crazy and maddening.”

“No, these are not from Galera, they were from Ayala Avenue.” He said, matter-of-factly.

“Ayala Avenue?! Wait…what? I have pictures in Ayala? There’s a billboard too?!!”

“What billboard? No the pictures were taken while you are walking along Ayala.” He explained. “Hey rabbit! You really look good on these pictures. Good enough for magazines”

“Try having a billboard.” I said weakly. I felt more tired than ever even if I just woke up. There are new sets of photos of me out there. When is this going to end?

“What Billboard?” he asked.

“The one along EDSA” I said, and then I realized he hasn’t seen it yet that is why he is asking! “I’m just joking” I said muffling my panic. Now I’m fully wake.

“Oh.” He said, Thank god he bought it! “Peter Mclean, huh?”

“Hhhmm…?” confused for I forgot about the man named Peter Mclean.

“The guy looking for you.” There’s a tone in his voice that I can’t recognise.

“Oh yeah. The one who took those pictures. I think he’s paparazzo wanting an audience using someone’s face to catch attention.”

“Really? You think so?” he said, thoughtfully.

“Yeah”

“So you haven’t met him?”

“Hell no. He might be some serial killer or a maniac or, or…or something.”

“You think he’ll do something bad to you right after publishing all these photo on the web along with his name?” he asked teasingly.

“Well…who knows. Where did you see these pictures anyway?”

“A friend posted the link on my page. I recognise you so I got curious.”

“Oh.” I said, disappointed. So he just got curious.

“So yeah…I just made a wake up call…have a nice day Rabbit…”

“Yeah. Thanks uhm…bye?”

“yeah…bye”

Clicked.

The moment I set the phone down I know this day will be as tiresome and ghastly than yesterday.

At 6:15 in the morning I’m already disappointed and tired. Damned that Billboard and those Ads!

walking thoughts

It has been two weeks yesterday and still got no calls or text from him. All kinds of explanations and all sorts of excuses crossed my minds. Scenarios plays inside my head about him, about the suddenly distance, about me.

I was playing his favorite song – a song I’m not even certain for whom – when I saw that billboard yesterday. For some reason I was thankful for that awkward and embarrassing moment for it stopped me from thinking.

I am not sure where we are now or are we going somewhere. I’m not even sure if he is real or just another sad joke of my freaking mind. At a point during these two weeks, I thought he was just an imagination I created. All that happened just isn’t real at all. I mean, you got to think this way since you are not even sure at this point if he is even alive and breathing somewhere. No signs that he exist except for those left memories.

I don’t even know what to think. I gave up on all those explanations and excuses. Clearly I’m not in the position to ask since it was only a kiss. Damn those kiss. Was he ever real?

And now these, some Ohio guy looking for me. Is he aware that some guy is looking for me? The real question is, does he ever think of me?

I assume having a new job is really time consuming and stressful and all sorts of things. So I think I’m a huge bothersome for him at the moment. Let it be. I’ll be right here, pretending not to wait for him.

I hate long walks! Because of this walks I have time to think about him and a lot of other things I can’t find solutions yet. If only the bus stop is much more nearer! But maybe I can plan a good revenge to that slut. Oh yes! I will rip her hair until I can already see her skull.

I don’t care if she was the first love of dad, she is still a slut. Oh! I’m gone rip her apart! Her life, I’ll ruin it. But how? And first I have to confirm it, see the real thing going on between them. And I will going to kill Dad for doing this to us.

How could he? We are happy. We are enough. How could he…

And what will happen if Mom discovers this?

Great! I’m the only one who knows about this and I haven’t even confirmed it. I bet people will send their pitiful remarks on our way seconds after hearing about this.  I hate that. We are not pathetic. Emman has already got his license and off to Japan anytime soon. We’ll be okay even without Dad. Emman doesn’t know either, how can he be so ignorant?! He’s older than me!

I hate it when I rack my brain and find nothing even in it deepest recesses.

I just hope no one would give me away to that Ohio guy. Does my family know about it? Oh god Please no…

The bus was full when I came up except for a seat right next to a blond foreign looking guy. I was hesitant to sit, still paranoid, however I got no other choice so I did settled there for the next 10 minutes.

Romantic?

The day went as uneventful as the rest aside from the unusual staring from the people from the other departments. I already knew why so I didn’t bother to ask them.

Layouts done, already sent to the printing department and I’m just waiting for other revisions and I could call the day a wrap. Just as I was preparing to leave a knock from the door came along with Ricka, one of the trainees.

“Noelle? Mr. Ferrer is asking you to his office.” she said and left.

Now what?

The office of our editor-in-chief is as cold as a freezer and that added to the nervous that I’m feeling. He bid me to sit and I did cautiously. I can’t understand how a fifty something guy will want his office to be less than 17 degree.

It’s the lay out and some revision matters that runs in my mind as the reason why I’m feeling being called inside the Principals office. Or was it the late nights stay for the passed three months? Did he discovered that I’m the doing the crossword puzzle now?

I breathe deeply preparing myself for a long interrogation of my boss.

“Noelle…” He started in a low growly voice ready to bite anytime. “What’s the billboard about?”

I stared at him in disbelief unable to come up with any answer plus I’m starting to shiver from the cold of the air-conditioning. He sat there waiting for me answer so cornered as I am I resulted in telling him what I know about that madness.

“Uhm…sir,” I smiled awkwardly. “I really have no Idea, maybe it was just a mistake” I explained.

“Have you seen it?” He asked with the same growly voice and unchanging expression.

“Ye-…yes sir,” I swallowed hard.

“I don’t think it is a mistake.” He said quietly.

“Uhm… I can’t really explained this to you because I myself was stunned seeing that ad sir. I’m also clueless about it.” I said feeling smaller that a plankton.

“You didn’t know what happened? How your Photo got there on the ads? And all over the internet?”

“Oh so you saw the online ads too. Well yes sir. Uhm… this is what I know. I went to Galera a month ago with some closest friends. That’s where the beach came from. I just happened to spent an afternoon at a dock their and I swear I didn’t have any one around me that time. It was a quiet afternoon and I was alone. This is really not my doing sir. I swear.” I explained on the verge of being imploring him to understand.

“Well think you look beautiful. That photographer really captured you.”

“I was really having an alone time for mysel- what? Did I heard you right sir?”

“He really is a good photographer.” He said with a small grin on his face. Not the mocking grin.

“Oh. Well I guess thank you.” I said confused.

“So no plans on talking to him? I mean it’s your life. I just found it Romantic that’s all.”

“No sir. I think I’ll just leave it be…You think it’s romantic? You’re not firing me?”

“No, Noelle. Why would I do that? Besides you are just having your life.” He stood up and so did I. He moved around his table and patted my on the shoulder which made my body swayed back and forth. He’s in his fifties but his still have strength to carry a small human being like me in one hand.

I smiled weakly and said, “Thank you sir. Can I go now?”

“Are the lay outs in?”

“Yes, an hour ago.”

“Good! Off you go and start that life of yours!” he patted my shoulder more and very enthusiastically.

When I went out of the office I found three people were waiting for me. Andy, one of the Editorial staff pulled me in and Seth, the cartoonist and Macky, one of the writers circled around me, making it impossible for me to escape.

“Come one guys, what?” I said dropped shouldered.

“So how does being searched for feels like? Huh?” Andy inquired teasingly.

“What you think it’s romantic too?!” I whispered trying not to be heard by Mr. Ferrer.

“Well the oldy is one heck of a romantic guy. You heard his playlist?” Macky said laughing.

“Shut up.” I said pushing him away so I can pass. I walk fast away from those three.

“”You haven’t answered me yet!!” shouted Andy.

“I’ll put your face up there in exchange of mine, probably then you’ll know!” I shouted back.

Yeah. If only they knew. I took my things and went out of the office. Sun is in the horizon turning it into orange and pink.

If only you everyone knew I’m already in a middle of a search, more of a wait-and-see.

Peter Mclean

The moment I opened my Computer at the office I search the website he announced along with my face on the billboard, imustfindher.com.

I was more stunned with what I found there. There is the same photo from the billboard in his webpage and the same inquiry about who is the owner of that face.

The page is simple. The black and white photo of me and an introduction that goes like this:

Hi!

I’m Peter Mclean and I’m looking for her. Can you help me find her?

I saw her on the beach but I haven’t got a chance to ask her name.

If you happen to know her, please tell her about this. Thanks!

All my body hair went up after reading this. But I continued to browse his page. I went to his Information.

Peter Mclean is a landscape photographer from Ohio, USA. He is 28 years old currently touring the Philippines for his photography. And from the looks of him from his picture, also posted there, he looks legit and real.

I went to his gallery and I must admit he really is a good photographer of landscape and he is pretty well-known too. And then there was another page in his website labeled as “Looking for her” I have a weird sense that it was me he was referring as her.

I clicked the page and found five other photos of me there.

At this point I’m not sure if I’m shocked or amazed. I really looked great on these photos. Only one is in colored the rest are in black and white. I was actually admiring myself for the first time from these photos. It is as if it was not me but some pretty model from some well-known magazine.

Realizing I already spend an hour on this craziness I closed his page and went off to check the things I need to finish today. Lay outs, photo corrections and scanning are already lining up for me now. So I let go of that craziness for awhile.

Around lunch I remembered my phone and as always I need to rummage inside my bag to find it. I snatched it from under some other things that reside inside my bag. Turned it on and waited until it is ready to be use. It registered 34 text messages and when I was just about to open them it rang and I was obliged to answer it.

“Noel?”

“Yes, Jake?” from being his friend for such a long time since high school I can’t mistake his voice from any other.

“Have you seen your billboard?” he asked in a voice mixed with worry, thrill and laughter.

“Unfortunately Yes. I get it that you also did.”

“Well yes and the website and his other online advertisements.”

“He’s other what?” I asked bewildered.

“An officemate saw this Add at her SNS page with the same photo and inquiries about who you are. She told me it was two weeks ago.”

“uhuh…” I said weakly.

“Noel, I think this guy is really looking for you for weeks already. We browsed more and we saw other ads about you on the internet.”

“and you look so pretty at all those pictures. I think he is in love with you. Madly if you ask me.” He added when I did not reply.

“Yah think?” I said sarcastically.

“Yes and we think it’s romantic.” He said with a giggle.

“Wait, we? Who’s we?”

“Uhm my officemates. We think you should answer him.”

“Oh no…no, no, no, no…okay…You and the rest of those giggling people at your background will not do anything about this. No one will tell him anything. You understand me?!”

“Uhm…yeah of course. Sorry.”

“Yeah okay. This is all crazy. I’m getting dizzy, I’ll call you back. Okay?”

“Uhm…yeah okay”

I hung up really feeling dizzy. This is getting out of hand. Way out of hand.

Paranoia

As for reason on why the hell my face is being advertised I still got no Idea. I got a better looked at the billboard when I passed by it on the way to work. I kinda look pretty on it. Lovely actually, that’s why I can’t understand how the hell the guy from yesterday recognized me immediately to be the girl on the billboard.

I put on a cap this morning out of paranoia. I’m still on my usual shirt, jeans and sneakers so I can’t under done it anymore to not to be noticed anymore.

As I prepared this morning a thought came in, the days of anonymity which I enjoyed are already over. It felt horrible and that was when paranoia came in.

I think it is being asked already to tell me something about myself since I’m already on the spotlight. So this is how I see my self.

I am not ugly, but I’m not beautiful either. Although my looks are not really that common, I’m neither, still. I have a frizzy – not curly, since my hair is beyond being curly – hair. You know the cartoon As told by Ginger in Nickelodeon? See her hair? That is exactly my hair only black. I was almost teased as a nigger if not only with my fair skin and my considerable height. But still I get attentions because of that. I have a spotted face. Acne strike and left dark spots around my cheeks that now looks like freckles. So Imagine Archie from Archie’s Digest Comics with the hair of Ginger, That’s me.

I’m generally friendly and approachable but it’s for a show for the sake of my job. My job is killing me and my life is at stuck at the moment at every aspect. I have a sarcastic nature. And I used to make fun of my friends in a sarcastic way. But generally I’m a good person.

Some people have this weird attitude around me. They are not mean, they just don’t get me. I speak in a toneless manner except if I’m really interested about the topic, which rarely happens. I don’t scream in sight of cockroaches and house rats. I don’t fuzz about commercial actors and other girly stuff. Maybe that is why I have more guy friends than girls yet I still have plenty of friends. I don’t think I’m weird, just different.

These exact things are very apparent but not as apparent why this certain Peter Mclean is searching for me.

%d bloggers like this: