"Our subject aims to provide students with knowledge regarding the key concepts and different strategies and methods in performing quantitative research. It also explains the stages that students should go through to successfully conduct quantitative studies. So after this semester, I'm expecting each and everyone of you-"
I didn't bother standing up because I have no plans on spending money on their luxurious cafeteria. My poor ass can't afford the expensive prices of their foods. Even their mineral water is too pricey. It would have been good if it can graced students with decent attitude, might as well drown my classmates there.
I chuckled at my own thought. Damn, they will surely murder me hearing all my insults to them.
"Lauren, why are you still sitting there? Let's go," Lei called me. Amber's other friends are with her as well.
They actually belong to one circle of friends. Even though Lei and I are best friends, I'm not close with them. They are not directly saying it, but I can feel that they don't want me in their group.
I shake my head. "I have no appetite. Besides, I'm still full."
"Excuses. You just simply have no money," Aerin, one of her friends, interjected.
"No! You will come with us. Come on, get your fat ass out of your chair, you dimwit," she said and pulled me up. I just sighed heavily in defeat and let her pull me.
Amber immediately frowned after seeing me that I choose to ignore. I know that she doesn't want my presence. She doesn't need to worry because I don't like her as well. If it's not because of my best friend, I will never ever let my self close to them.
We promptly go to the cafeteria. There, sitting on the table situated in the middle, are their closest friends. Ashley, Sloane, Ethan, Evan, and Pierce.
Sloane sneered upon seeing me. "Oh, Lauren's with us. You really like me that much that you even want to eat lunch with me? You know what, just confess your feelings to me, we can talk about it, babe."
I momentarily close my eyes to collect my composure after hearing Sloane's arrogant remark. I swear, his haughtiness ticks me off than anything else. I just rolled my eyes in annoyance and raise my middle finger as a retort.
I sit next to him resentfully because that is the only available chair. Too bad for me, really.
"Lauren, what do you want to order? My treat," Pierce said while smiling.
Aside from Lei, if there is someone who's decent enough on this group, it's him. He's actually the president of the class. He's smart and responsible, and don't start me with his looks, he can definitely weakens someone's knees just by staring at them. Rich people and their stupendous genealogy.
"Pierce is asking your order. Unfortunately, he's not on the menu, so stop gawking at him like a creep," Lei teased me with a playful smirk that makes my cheeks heat up. Remind me to smack her head later.
"T-the fuck are you saying?" I asked, annoyed, before turning my attention to Pierce. "Don't mind this psycho. Anyway, no need, I can handle myself," I said.
"Rights, she has her own money, she doesn't need yours," Sloane butted in. His mood suddenly changed. Weird.
I thought Pierce will stop already. "No! I insist, let me treat you. This is the first time that we get to have a lunch together, so please, let me?"
I'm still hesitant to accept his offer but his pleading face makes it hard for me to refuse. He seems to noticed my reluctance and smiled.
"Alright, if you don't want me to treat you, then...“ I sighed in comfort on what he said. "our lunch for today is on me. Order whatever you want, guys.”
They look at him in surprise.
"Are you sick, Pierce? Perhaps your head is not in right condition?"
“When's the last time that he treated us guys?"
"The parsimonious guy is acting weird. Don't you think?"
I bit my lips in embarrassment because of their reactions.
"I didn't know that you have something for a trash." But of course, the self-proclaimed queen will never let someone outshines her. She always wants to hoard all the attention.
The light mood suddenly changed and was replaced with tension.
"Amber, you don't need to say that," Pierce reprimanded her.
She looks at us with feigned apologetic look. "What? Stop looking at me as if I committed a crime. I didn't mean anything," she reasoned out. "Why Pierce? Do you like Lauren?" she taunted, raising her eyebrows.
"N-No, it's not like that. I just want to give Lauren a warm welcome."
I don't know why but my heart twitched a bit because of his answer.
"See? Come on guys, stop putting colors on my void words," she said with a snigger and sips on her frappe.
Deafaning silence filled the table, it's a good thing that Pierce's order arrived. And when I told you that it's a lot of foods, I mean it. I even saw some unfamiliar dishes, my indigent ass can't relate. I'm pretty sure we can't eat all of this.
We're in the verge of eating when Evan open up a topic.
"Guys, why don't we have an outing this weekend? We can have a short two days vacation in our rest house. It's just four hours drive from here."
They stop and look at him.
He gulp down the water and continue. "Let's spend the first weekend of the school together. It's been a long time since our last hang out."
"Count me in."
They all said in unison, except me, of course.
"Alright, it's settled then. We'll be using our Van, we'll just pass over your houses to pick you up. Don't you dare ditch us or else I'll flip your houses."
They started talking about the outing, excitement is visible on their faces. But their beams disappeared when someone shouted out of the blue, catching everyone's attention.
"Guys! There's a dead body found on the girls' comfort room!"
Mayhem ensued. It only took a few minutes before the whole cafeteria became agitated, with noises and various comments from the students filling the perturbed atmosphere. Some came out because of curiosity, including us. But the only thing that we found was the victim's covered corpse.
I roam my eyes around. The gossiping students were staring at the crime scene in horror. I frowned when I saw scattered black petals on the ground. My eyes followed the trail of petals, and when I found its stem, I confirmed that it is a rose- a black rose.
Does that kind of flower even exist? And why on Earth someone would bring a flower inside a comfort room? Weird. Does that symbolize something? That thought gave a strange shiver to my whole body.
"What really happened?"
"I don't know either. We’re just surprised when a student shouted, saying that he saw his older brother hanging in a cubicle of the girls comfort room, cold and pale."
"For real? That must be terrifying. You think that's suicide?"
"I don't know, maybe? I heard from someone that he's suffering from depression, so that angle could be possible."
I heard the whispers and gossips from the girls next to me. Suicide? Possible. But I'm wondering, why is the victim inside the girl’s comfort room. Not to mention the peculiar black rose on the floor. Isn't it a bit odd and weird? It became a big puzzle for me.
I turned my attention to the people whom I was with a while ago, my forehead furrowed even more. Why are they so serious? Not that I want them to laugh at the situation, it's just a bit weird. Do they perhaps know this person?
They look so distressed and apprehensive. I became more confused when Amber started crying. What the hell is going on? I want to ask them questions, but I choose to keep my mouth shut.
I look at the wrapped corpse once again. I don’t know why, hell, I don't even have the slightest idea who this guy is, but his death left a big question in my mind. I feel like there is something wrong with what is happening, that it is not the last.
The cold wind blow, the hair on my body stands on its end. I have no idea what’s going on, but there is one thing I'm sure of- I should not let my guards down.