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Confessions of a Bookworm: Part Two

by shadowcristal


The next day, I spent my breakfast half-heartedly eating the waffles that Lila had made before she went off to restock. I could just imagine my owner sitting out at the Bakery and trying to nab a delicious cake, and hopefully succeeding. Considering that it was morning, she had extra good chances. Unless it was one of those bad days...

     No one joined me on the way to school, but I didn't mind. After all, a bookworm's supposed to be alone, right? I think that if Isabella or Marilyn or Ken had talked to me, I would've fainted from the anxiousness. Instead, I tried to indulge myself in that social skills book and review what I had read.

     It worked pretty well until I reached the noisy schoolyard. Screams, giggles and shouts were killing my concentration. I shut the book and walked down the cobblestone-laid road that led to the main building.

     The whole school, or at least our grade, was buzzing with rumors about the new student. Miss Lynch came running down the hallway every five minutes and asked stupid questions such as, "You'll all be nice to her, right?" I noted that the Meepit eyes worked every single time.

     A few dignified steps made the unspoken words freeze, and we all turned around to see the new girl. Her fur was plain blue, and she had the typical chubbiness of a Chomby. However, the way she was walking and the laid-back steps instantly revealed that she was... cool. Not to mention those wicked black sunglasses!

     The sensible part of me moaned. I was stuck with someone like her? Someone who looked like she would be utterly popular and didn't need a guide? Someone who had that much confidence in herself?

     "Hi, y'all," she said.

     The part that I had mentioned before was now shaking its head in horror. The more realistic part of myself wondered if I even had to show her around. That coolness radiating from her would attract a lot of pets, and surely they could show her around?

     "W-welcome to our school," I found myself stutter before I even knew it. What in the world was going on with me? Oh no! I was turning into someone who wanted to be cool, someone I had promised myself not to be. I had chosen the style of the bookworm because it was so traditional... I had chosen it myself!

     "Thanks," she said in that cool way and flipped her shades. All of us gawped, even Miss Lynch, when we saw how the light was reflected. I took an extra look at my teacher. Maybe she was right... maybe that new student was a bookworm. Then again, maybe not. No pair of original glasses would reflect the rays like that...

     "I'm Cassidy," the Chomby stated cooly and looked around. She scanned the hallway and stopped at me. I wondered why, but one thing I knew for sure was that I would be her guide.

     "The classroom is this way," I said, and that was the beginning of my career as a guide. As the day went on, I showed her around and basked in Cassidy's coolness. It was pretty nice to be noticed and still stand in the shadow.

     "Freaky... Some weird bookworm showing the coolest person we've ever had around..." I could hear some pets whisper.

     "Preposterous!" another pet exclaimed. That group... Perhaps they were jealous? Anyhow, I probably wouldn't last long around Cassidy.

     The whole tour finished, and soon everyone was crowding around the new student and trying to make friends. I picked up another book that I had brought and distanced myself from Cassidy and watched as all the pets came up to talk to her.

     That's one of the good things with being a bookworm. People think that if there's a book in front of your face, then you won't hear anything they say. What they don't realize is that like everyone else, bookworms have feelings too.

     Cassidy attended the classes like a model student and did everything perfectly. The way she spoke, the posture... everything. That Chomby was what the creator of words thought of when he or she invented 'cool'. Still, the results were unmistakably perfect, like a bookworm's.

     I think I got a little suspicious by then, but like everyone else, I was too awed by Cassidy's coolness to think clearly.

     Surprisingly Cassidy invited me to sit down with her for lunch. The whole day progressed with me being a shadow beside her, and I was surprised that it ended up like this. Some of the pets were green of envy. I had to admit that it was really unlikely... Me, the bookworm, hanging out with a 'cool' person?

     I didn't really mind people disliking me. I had been a bookworm long enough to know that most pets don't particularly like bookworms. Bookworms were usually considered either really dark and depressing, shy and quiet or somewhat of a besserwisser.

     Standing with Cassidy in the limelight, I could see the whole world in a new way. It felt so exciting, so many emotions rushing through my head while my bookworm-self tried to stop them all. But it was no use... And the fact that Miss Cool worked as hard as a bookworm only made it feel natural...

     I was already on the brink, and I could just imagine what would come next. Me being dazzled by all this coolness and ending up disliking bookworms... No way... I tried to stop my horrible imagination, and I squeezed my book too hard. It resulted in a paper cut that brought me back to reality.

     "You okay?" Cassidy asked in a calm and collected manner, her eyes full of concern. At that moment, she didn't seem like someone cool at all. Someone with Cassidy's image would've probably just looked at the sky and told us all that a paper cut wasn't a big deal.

     That was the thing that got my suspicion going. Earlier I had glimpsed Cassidy being different, but I had never imagined the Chomby to be this concerned over a little paper cut... Cassidy the Cool was not all she was hyped up to be. Then again, she had never claimed herself to be cool...

     "It's no big deal," I said and got a band-aid. Some of the pets gawped at me, unused to seeing me acting so... cool. I couldn't help but to grin a little bit. Cassidy's coolness was sure infectious. If it continued like this, I would not be a bookworm for much longer.

     Somehow a part of me was longing for that, but there was also this sensible side that reminded me of the bookworm status I had worked so hard to achieve. My love for books...

     I sighed.

     "What is it?" Cassidy asked.

     "Nothing," I lied. For a cool person, she was sure sensitive to other people's feelings...

     "You're thinking of something, aren't you?" There it was again. That seriousness which didn't suit the cool Cassidy, despite how she might look or act... Maybe it was natural instinct?

     All of a sudden I felt guilty. I was judging her, despite the fact that I had promised myself not to pre-judge anyone when I accepted myself as a bookworm.

     "I guess I am..." I said, wanting to make up for that. The air just entered my lungs and the words were just spoken, one by one. "I guess... You know, you're pretty cool. I think I'd like to be cool too... I've been a bookworm for a long time, and to experience such..." I stopped and sighed wistfully. "But it is just a dream, like any other. And books are the best... making your dreams come true in an alternate worlds, letting you escape..."

     "Yeah," the Chomby said, with misty eyes. I could sense that she was thinking of something, imagining something far away. But a cool person... they wouldn't need to imagine, would they? "Books are the best." Then she looked around, though we were alone in that garden.

     There it was again. That other personality of Cassidy, which showed up occasionally...

     "Hey," she said, interrupting my train of thought. I was somewhat grateful for that, not wanting to judge a pet though my brain wouldn't let the matter rest. "Do you want to try out all this coolness?"

     I blinked. That had just so not happened. The Chomby was smiling!

     "Well? It's only the first day... I'm sure you'll be cool around here... for a week, if not anything else." She seemed to enjoy to toy around with the idea.

     "That was just a ramble, a rant..." I muttered.

     "No," she insisted. "It was the confession of a bookworm."

     Shocked, I couldn't help but to utter, "Y-you... You knew it the whole time..."

     "Of course," she said, eyeing me with those sunglasses. "Who wouldn't notice? Anyway, I'm gonna be generous now and ask you if you want to try being cool and popular for once. To be surrounded by pets who admire you, who look up to you..."

     "No one would look up to someone who spends all her time reading books," I said pessimistically, but my heart was skipping faster. All those books... those self-help books... They had all told me to take a chance when I see it, to try something new. Perhaps this was the 'something new' that they always talked about in books? A chance to change my life?

     Pfft. As if that was real. Things like that only happened in fairytales, and my life wasn't a fairytale.

     "Well, why don't we try it?" Cassidy said.

     "No," I said stubbornly.

     "We'll just have to see..." she smirked. "At least let me be your friend, okay? You need it."

     Those words hit me right in the heart. Cassidy was such a people person... It would seem that she knew things just by looking at me. Then I thought of how I had observed her for the day and realized something.

     "Okay," I said quietly.

     "That's the spirit, bookworm," my new so-called friend said, pronouncing the syllables in the last word very clearly, as if I would give up being a bookworm soon.

     No way. I loved my books, and I'd never let go of them for anything. Not even for coolness. I recalled an incident two years ago when Mary Alice Lee, the most popular pet around, had asked me to join her group and be the 'brain'. I had refused even though they were the glamorous people. I wasn't about to sell my intelligence to be popular.

     Though I had to admit that Cassidy's coolness was way above Mary Alice's, but if it came down to the most profound thing, books versus some shallow coolness, I knew what my heart would choose. Still, I felt a part of me succumbing. Nothing was set in stone, except for one thing: It would definitely be an interesting week, and this was only the beginning.

To be continued...

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Other Episodes

» Confessions of a Bookworm: Part One
» Confessions of a Bookworm: Part Three

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