Picture Day. For me, whenever I hear this I think of three words.

What to wear? 
I’ve never been so concerned about what I wore, only hoping to look good, but this year I was in full panic-mode. Perhaps there’s more stress on what to wear now that I’m older. Middle school is the time where you start to take notice of yourself and what you do, so naturally, looking good for picture day would be a big deal. Or so I thought. Before I share my recent picture Day experience, let’s travel a few years into the past.

Elementary School. The time where we would have everyday outfits chosen by our parents, until we were allowed to do so ourselves. Hence, the numerous pictures of us dressed up extremely fancy for picture day. Slowly over time, we've started to grow out of that, like I’ve said, and we start to have our own choices. Some kids don’t dress up at all. Some do. Either way, it’s simply for a picture. But, this year’s Picture Day has been playing on my mind, and that’s why I’m bringing this up.

This year was a shock to me. As soon as I stepped into the school, I began to grow more and more unsure of my outfit after seeing the other students. I had worn something semi-fancy that day. It felt as if no one dressed up at all, and I had made a fool of myself. Everyone wore something so basic, I wondered whether they remembered it was picture day or not. I was even more surprised seeing how many of the girls also didn’t dress up as well. Almost every year I would see stylish blouses or flowery dresses for pictures, but instead it was the regular ripped jeans and shirt. I couldn’t understand what changed through the past year, causing this to happen. It wasn’t until later where I had a possible theory.

Maybe it’s just that people have started to care less for Picture Day. Well, I doubt many people would be excited for Picture Day. Maybe they are, but generally, kids don’t like Picture Day that much. It’s a hassle to have to dress up and pose nicely while giving your best fake smile. Other than possible pictures to buy for updated portraits, what else is Picture Day for? ID’s? I don’t mind if it’s used for ID’s or maybe for the yearbook, but otherwise it feels so unnecessary. For me, I don’t even keep my pictures. I can’t be bothered to buy pictures of myself that will be replaced after a year. Not only that, I can take better pictures in places besides photoshopped green screens. ( No offense towards the Picture Day photographers.) So, really what is Picture Day meant to be for. Other students might have also realized that by now, and that’s probably also why they stopped dressing up. But, there is also one more possibility.

Dress Codes. Dress Codes are there for a reason, but right now, I want to state some opinions. Dress Codes suck. This may stray a bit from the Picture Day topic, but I believe this must be brought up. I feel like every Dress Code that exists, is meant just for the girls. I was reading through my school’s Dress and Grooming section in the Student Handbook, and frankly, it seems to be mainly towards girls. There are a few points directed to both, but in a given diagram of appropriate wear, there are far more labels for the girl than the boy. There are logical reasons for this, and I agree with them. But it seems so wrong. With the number of guidelines towards clothes for girls, it’s almost like they can barely wear anything we like. In fact, most of the time, girls doubt their favorite outfits or clothing choices because they’re worried about whether they will get dress-coded or not. And even when they are sure they won't, they still can’t help but remain tense the whole day. So, that could also be a reason for the lack of dress up on Picture Day.

Apart from girls, boys have also started to dress up less. Even less than they usually do. Every year, I only see a mere handful of the boys dressing up. Boys aren’t that concerned about dressing up as girls normally have been. Even now, I don’t recall seeing a single boy stick out who was dressed up. Maybe they wore a simple, nice shirt with slicked back hair, but otherwise it wasn’t that “grand”.

It doesn’t bother me if people dress up on Picture Day or not. Never has. But, the reason I wanted to write about this was because of the strange interaction I had that day. I just found it unbelievable how not many people, especially the majority of girls, didn’t dress up. I thought that now we were closer to high school, even more people would dress up. Never expected the opposite. Still, it was a good insight into what Picture Day really is like these days. But I genuinely want to know, what was the cause of change this year?



Hey! I wanted to apologize for writing such a short post this time. Usually the topic would be much more detailed and way better, but since Picture Day became the highlight of my week, I really wanted to write something regarding it. There wasn’t much to explain, but I still wanted to share what it was like compared to what I had seen in previous years. I promise, the next post will be much more interesting and hopefully, much better. Thanks!

Recently, when I came back to middle school in person, the biggest change I recognized was the appearance of makeup. Seeing this made me think that they were trying too hard to be someone else, or that they were doing something unnecessary or their faces. But through the weeks, I’ve started to discover that there was more to makeup. It seemed that most people wore makeup to fit in and not be different. This led me to a big question. 

Is makeup necessary to fit in, in Middle School?

Yes, and no. Makeup can be used to fit in, but that isn’t the main reason why it would be worn. For example:


  • Insecurities

  • Self-confidence

  • Performances

  • Drawing attention away from something eye-catching


I’ll talk about these more throughout the post. Along the way, I’ll share my views on these, as well as the opinions of many others on this topic.




In order to collect this data, I sent out a survey to several of my classmates and teachers. Throughout the week, responses have been flooding in with so many different perspectives, that my own opinion on makeup has changed a lot. 


Here’s what they were asked: 

  • Do you think girls at this age should wear makeup?
  • Why or Why not?
  • How much would some makeup be?
  • How much would a lot of makeup be?
  • Why do you think others would wear makeup?
  • Is makeup a need or a want? Why? 
  • Is makeup only for girls? Can boys wear it as well?
  • Does wearing makeup make boys girlish and less manly, or not?


When I first saw the responses, I was shocked, yet pleasantly surprised. I thought that the general answer for whether girls should wear makeup or not would be no. It was the opposite. The most common answer for why was expression. A lot of people replied that makeup can be used to express their feelings or even themselves in new ways, as well as to become more confident in their appearances. Reading this, I realized that they were right. In my mind, I thought that makeup showed a fake appearance of someone, and was used only to look good. I didn’t realize how it could be seen as something completely different for others. 


 For some, it helps define their personalities and even can help improve their confidence and self-esteem. Middle school and high school are the ages where we start to become more aware of our appearance to others. We become self-conscious about every trivial thing about ourselves and become insecure about them. Makeup is a way we can hide these insecurities. By doing so, makes us feel more physically attractive, and make us feel confident. 


How? By using makeup, it allows us to present ourselves in a way we want to be seen, and be comfortable. 


I can relate to similar concepts. When I dress up or change my appearance through nails or hairstyle, I feel a different personality. The adrenaline and excitement from it peaks my mood, and I feel absolutely incredible. It’s like acting. With a new boost of confidence, I feel like a whole other person. I think that those who wear makeup might also feel the same way. Wearing it makes them feel special and lets them become a different version of themselves. It lets them be themselves, and because of that, I think that they should be allowed to wear makeup. However, I also believe that kids should try to feel confident by being themselves. Once they are confident with who they are, then they should use it. I will say though, that they should only do so if their parents allow them to. Makeup can be harmful to your skin and wearing it every day will damage it even more.


Another reason for makeup is, taking attention away from something eye-catching. A blemish is an example of this. Blemishes are usually the first thing one would notice since it’s something eye-catching. These things draw our attention from the main thing and make us focus on it instead. For people, it can make them insecure, or even annoyed. Perhaps, when they’re talking, the other person’s attention might be drawn from the conversation to the blemish. To prevent this, that person could conceal it with makeup.


Scars or even wounds are also examples of eye-catching marks. For example, in The Karate Kid, Dre uses his mother’s foundation to hide his black eye so she wouldn’t find out about his fight. Dre is using makeup to hide something eye-catching so attention is not drawn to it. 


Besides insecurities and self-confidence, makeup is very commonly used in performances. Be it movie filming, dance performances, plays, etc, makeup is used. It’s used to take on the appearance of the character or act they’re performing as/for. A lot of theatrical makeup can be used to really portray the character to the full extent so the audience can be convinced. 




How much is some makeup? How much would a lot of makeup be? 


The responses to these two questions were very similar. For some makeup, the most common answers were mascara, lip gloss/lipstick, eyeliner, some blush, and concealer. I agree as well. I don’t know much about makeup, these being the only ones I know and think that at this age, this should be the most used. I would consider anything more would be too much, and perhaps improper for school. It doesn’t feel necessary for people to use so much every day. 


Everyone expressed the same answer for a lot of makeup. A full face, or an amount that changes the natural appearance of someone to the point they are almost unrecognizable. I have a connection to this. I see a girl every day, and she wears makeup. There’s nothing wrong with it. But, whenever I see her, I get confused. On the first day of school, I mistook her for a high schooler. I’m not sure if it’s how her face is, or because of the makeup, but she looks as if she’s in 10th grade. I don’t want to assume anything, but I  couldn’t help but wonder about it. I remember trying to figure out what she would look like without makeup. Perhaps that’s the type of look she’s going for. I’m not criticizing or throwing any hate at her. I’m really just wondering. But, to me, it feels as if her appearance is different because of it. So, would that be considered a lot of makeup?


Why do you think others would wear makeup?


I’ve already shared my opinions, and I’d like to share the responses here instead. 


Some respondents mentioned insecurities and self-confidence like I mentioned before, and others mentioned dressing up. Someone mentioned it makes us feel special. I can easily relate to that. I’ve always felt different, in a good way, whenever I got to wear makeup for special occasions. It felt…magical. 


Another respondent talked about how girls are raised to believe that their value lies in how they look. That’s true as well. On social media, influencers show photoshopped and filtered images of themselves, creating an unattainable beauty standard. These fake images have a bad influence on others. It can become a social norm to reach that standard and develops into pressure. 


There was also a mention of “artistic flair”. After all, isn’t a face also like a canvas? Using makeup is very similar to painting something. I remember when I was younger, I and my friend would use her makeup kit on each other. Well, I would use it on her. What I would do is try out different styles and looks on her, and would experiment with them. ( With her consent of course.) I really enjoyed those moments because I was able to try a new form of art and try to express myself on a different canvas. I liked to find what matched my friend and to try and make her look amazing. Others could feel the same way. They might like expressing art through makeup and enjoy trying different styles and shades of colors on themselves. 


Someone also said that it could be worn to impress someone. I’m not sure if that’s a common reason in middle school, but definitely in high school. Girls will often try to change their appearance or use some makeup to make themselves appealing for a crush, or even in general. Boys as well. They could try to be strong or amazing at sports in order to impress someone they like.


Is makeup a need or a want?


Once again, everyone had a similar response. It’s a want. It’s not something you cannot live without. It can be seen as something important in one’s life if people use it every day, but it’s not a need. 


The respondents said the same thing. One said makeup is a want and is used to feel beautiful, but it’s not needed to look so. Very true. Even though makeup can help boost our image, it cannot compare to the natural beauty you already have. Everyone is beautiful, and we all don’t realize it. Another said it’s not something needed to function in everyday life. Makeup isn’t something you will die without. Food, water, and oxygen are some of the main things we cannot live without. Everything else comes after that. 


People say that makeup is something they absolutely cannot go without. Some people use makeup to hide excessive scarring or permanent wounds. Because they use it so much, it’s almost like a habit for them. Even so, it’s not to a point it’s a need. It may be something really important and a way to not make them stand out, but it wouldn’t count as crucial. It is not something that they will die from if they don’t have it. I’m not trying to sound harsh, but state the facts. 


If you were in a situation where you were stranded, would the makeup be the number one thing you would need at that moment? No. You would first have to find some kind of shelter, food, and water before planning a way to get some help. Your first idea would be to survive in a new environment. How you look would, and should, be the least of your worries. 


Is makeup only for girls? Can boys wear it as well?


In this discussion, I’ve used the word ‘us’ many times. By doing so, I’m not just referring to myself and other girls/women, but also to boys and men as well. In my opinion, makeup shouldn’t have a label and should be considered gender-neutral. I’ve expressed this before in an earlier post, and want to say it again. Shirts and shoes are seen as gender-neutral, but when it comes to dresses or makeup, it’s immediately labeled as feminine. Why is that? One of the earliest cultures to use cosmetics was ancient Egypt, and even then both men and women wore makeup. Back then it was considered gender-neutral, yet because girls use it more often today, has it started to become feminine? The gender that uses it shouldn’t necessarily define what it is. Makeup shouldn’t be only for girls if they use it more commonly. Boys shouldn’t be afraid to use makeup if they like it, simply because it’s only for girls. Makeup should have no label, like clothing. 


The respondents also felt the same way. In fact, the majority of responses to this question were very positive. Many of them answered it as if addressing a boy instead of a survey, and were encouraging them that they were allowed to wear it if they wanted to as well. They were very open to the idea of boys wearing it as well. 


I also received some responses about how it would be strange for guys to wear makeup. There’s nothing wrong with that as well. Despite that makeup can be gender-neutral, it can still be seen as awkward whenever boys wear it. Since makeup has become more common with girls, seeing a guy wearing makeup can be strange.  I think that makeup is gender-neutral, but if I see a guy wearing it, I might be hesitant. It seems out of place and we might wonder what’s wrong with them, or why they want to do such a thing. It doesn’t feel right. 


I think the answer to this depends on society. It really depends on what you’re exposed to or sees commonly. In America, it’s not very common for guys to wear makeup, making it be seen as something only girls would wear. In other countries, it’s different. For example, in Korea, it’s typical for boys to wear makeup. Several male K-pop idols wear makeup, and it’s considered normal. But to other countries, they can be seen as gay or feminine. Because of the society, they are around all the time, seeing something completely different is a shock. 


Does boys wearing makeup make them girlish and less manly, or not?


The responses for this were similar to the previous question. Many replied that makeup can be for both. Someone said that if a guy wears makeup, people can be confused about their sexual identity. Since it’s not common, seeing it makes us find a reasonable explanation for it and assume something different, even if the guy really just likes to wear makeup. 

A couple of respondents also mentioned how makeup can also be used for guys to express themselves and enhance their looks like girls do. 


I want to point out one response that caught my attention. This respondent replied that a guy wearing makeup isn’t girlish, and is more manly because they are not afraid to be judged for their actions. I wholeheartedly agree. When a guy wears makeup in our society, he’s indeed very brave. That guy is defying social norms for something he likes and isn’t worried about others’ opinions. He could be terrified, but then again, he wanted to do something outside of what is normal. That courage is truly remarkable. 


Another respondent also talked about makeup being gender-neutral and explained how there’s a huge stigma around men/boys wearing makeup. They also said how it shouldn’t be girly as it’s a form of self-expression. This also relates to K-pop idols. Makeup can be used to help them with performances, and can also give them a boost of confidence like it does for girls. I know that Jimin from BTS finds eyeliner important when it comes to performances. For him, without it, he feels shy and cannot dance in a more powerful manner. Aren’t the situations similar?


Both boys and girls use makeup for similar purposes. It lets them express themselves, and feel confident. So why should makeup be labeled as feminine? By taking that away from boys who like it, aren’t you restricting them from being themselves? If makeup is how they want to do that, then shouldn’t they be allowed to? Don’t classify it as only a girl-thing, when the purposes of it are common between boys and girls. 



Let's go back to our question. 

Is it necessary to use makeup to fit in, in Middle school?

No. Makeup is not NECESSARY to be used to fit in, but it can be. We shouldn't use makeup only if others are wearing it, but only if we want to. It's something that should be your choice. Not everyone has to wear makeup if they choose not. If it's your choice to wear makeup to fit in, that's fine. But try to be yourself when wearing it.

Makeup can be used to not stand out and be different, but it also serves as something greater for others. It can be a form of confidence, a way to hide insecurities, draw attention away from eye-catching marks, and so much more. It also can be used by both genders. I believe that makeup should not have a limit to what it is used for, or to who uses it. It should be used by anyone, anyway, they want, no matter what. 




Welcome back to Part 3 of the “Middle School Tales: Experiences from a back-to-in-person-learning middle school student” series. Yes, I did just come up with that name and yes, it is very long. Anyways, I wanted to share some more funny and interesting stories from my in person learning experience.

Like I’ve said many, many, many times before, I have been an online learner for 1 and ½ years. Coming back to school in-person has been extremely challenging, and very different. Everything in your learning environment changes. But, what changes in the students during middle school?

Growth Spurts:

You know how when you go to a new grade or advance to a new level of school, you always admire how tall the oldest, senior-most kids are? Well, that’s similar to what happened with me and my friend. Except, it was us who were amazed at how tall our peers were compared to ourselves. Standing next to them, we look so small! And yet I was so proud to be 5’3 and the tallest in my friend group. Some kids in my grade are extremely tall, no doubt there, but overall, if you line up all the students in my grade, I will most likely be somewhere near the front. In fact, we actually did that in two of my classes, and both times I ended up near the beginning of the line. ( It went from shortest to tallest.)

It’s funny how that happened because it only felt like yesterday when we were all in elementary school and were all the same height. It felt like we were on the same level as one another but now it’s surprising seeing how we’re not. I remember a girl who was in my 2nd grade class who was the same height as me, and now, she’s at least 3-4 inches taller than me. When did that happen?

Not to forget the boys. Oh my god, when I came back to school, I was so shocked with how different the boys were. The most specific thing to me was the voice. I’ve always known that boys’ voices deepen during puberty, but I was so caught off guard when I heard them. There’s a boy who was in my 5th grade class before, and his voice used to be a bit high-pitched. But now, it’s deepened. Hearing him speak feels awkward now.

Conversations:

A lot changes over time. Both boys and girls talk about similar topics; what new cool things are going on, and joking around. But as the years go by, the conversations start to become more…dry. 
Lately, I find myself growing more distant from the usual girl groups or in the topics with girls. Before, when we used to talk about silly fantasies and make jokes, we now talk about who’s cute and hot and what shampoo you use and stuff. I don’t mind from time to time, but I have one specific example of this happening that I really want to share.

So in CCR- College Career Readiness class- we were supposed to share our results from a personality assessment we took the day before, with a group of three. My tablemate invited me to join her group with her friend and we all shared our results. We finished our discussions early so we ended up talking the rest of the time. Or more like, they ended up talking. They started talking about haircuts and what lotion or shampoo they use and stuff. Less than 5 minutes in, I was already bored. I didn’t want to sit around and listen to how you wanted to cut your hair or what products you used. Giving up on listening, I turned my head forward, as our seats were currently in rows, and found a more interesting conversation with the boys.

Boys are interesting. There may be times where they can be incredibly stupid and will make you want to kick them in the leg, but, at least they have a conversation of variety that’ll make you want to listen further. And that's exactly what happened. I don’t remember the exact conversation going on between the boys, but I do remember how they were all joking around and talking about the most random things.

It made me remember a specific memory I kind of cherish back from 6th grade. I and a few other students part of my Leadworthy Class got to help out in an 8th grade parent-student lunch event. We were supposed to give each parent a name tag, hold the doors open, and take them to the lunch area. Anyways, I and two other boys were on door-holding duty for some time. It got pretty boring as no one showed up for some time, so we started making small talk with one another. Standing some distance away from us was an 8th grader waiting for his parents, and had been waiting for a while. I don’t remember exactly how the conversation was initiated, but I do remember how we were all coming up with these crazy theories about how the boy could have gotten here. Teleportation, aliens, undead armies, etc. It was probably one of the best and most interesting conversations I’ve ever had in my life.

I’m not saying that all conversations with girls are boring, but definitely most of them have started to become so. Of course, I do enjoy listening to my friend talk about her crushes and giving my opinion every now and then. 

Comparing:

I’ve also noticed how comparison has become more common in middle school. At this age, everyone looks to be the -est. Who’s the prettiest, smartest, funniest, kindest, etc. It’s all about who’s better than each other and a competition that drives it. 


In this past week, I have had numerous experiences with classmates and friends comparing themselves in grades with me and with others. I don’t mind from time to time to share my scores, but it really upsets me when a person starts sharing my score with another person when it wasn’t necessary. Firstly, that’s not yours to tell, and secondly, why? If I stay quiet in that situation, then isn’t it obvious I don’t want to bring it up? I’m not criticizing anyone who did it, but I’m just saying that it makes the person in that situation uncomfortable. We can’t always control the fighting ambition in us to become the best, but there is a line that shouldn’t be crossed. 

Blending in:

Blending in is probably one of the biggest factors in middle school. At this time, nobody wants to be different. If you’re different, it’s a problem. Everyone’s looking for some kind of group or some category where they can belong and not stand out. It’s terrifying to stand out. Standing out draws attention. It makes everyone see that you’re different, and because you’re different, you get judged. For that reason, everyone wants to fit in. But in high school, everyone decides to be different. We realize that we cannot blend in all our lives and need to show a level of unique within ourselves to become the best. But until then, no no. 

I don’t have an examples of this happening to me, but I’ve seen it happen a lot of times with different clothing styles and activities. 

I’ve only listed a few changes that happen in middle school. Of course, there are many other that I’ve encountered this past week, bit these are the main ones I wanted to share. It’s interesting how only a day ago we were all elementary kids, and now we’ve all grown up and are in our last year of middle school. Not only that, the change from 6th to 8th is huge! How much have I missed from online school?! Still, I enjoy discovering what I’ve missed, and look forward to finding out what is next. Until then, bye!





For the last 1 and ½ -ish years I have been doing remote school. That means, I have not been to school for over a year…until now. I’ve only given you a small glance into what the first few days have been for me, and now, I’d like to share my experience after a full week.


Before I talk about my week, let me give a quick explanation of how school last year was like for me. 

In remote learning there wasn’t much expectation set for us as compared to in-person students. For example, several activities or projects would be taken from our curriculum because we were digital learners. Because of that, most of the assignments were extremely simple. (With the exception of Shakespeare.) Not only that, the teachers were very easy going on us. There was no pressure on us about coming into Tutorials to make up/redo  work or any “before class ends” deadlines. From that type of relaxed mindset, it was easy for students, including myself, to quickly lose a lot of the good study/working habits we used to have and develop some unhealthy ones. For example, listening to music all the time, completing assignments during another class, taking advantage of the off-camera feature of zoom and snaking messages to friends, or even just procrastinating and lazing around a lot. 

( I’m not saying all remote students were like this as some did really well throughout the online school year, but I’m giving out some of the habits I, and possibly many other students, developed throughout it.)  


I didn’t think much about it at first, but during our school’s awards ceremony, the realization dawned on me. And when it did, I was unbelievably upset. Throughout that night, my friends each went home with at least two awards, including an A honor roll. I went home with just an A honor roll. I never got called again, and watched and clapped as my friends got called up many times. Later, as the auditorium emptied out, we all came together and talked for a bit. We all laughed and chattered as if it was no big deal how they all could barely hold their medals while I held onto a measly paper. Nothing clicked  in my mind that anything went wrong. Not even when we took a photo all together. In that photo we’re all smiling, and even through my mask, it looks as if I’m proud. I hate that photo. I hate how I  have the audacity to even smile. I hate how it looks as if I’m fine and it was the greatest thing that had happened to me. Later when we were driving home, my parents pointed it out to me and I agreed. Even at that time, it still did not come to me what had happened. It was only until we came home and were reviewing for my Marathi finals that I realized what happened. It was as if the weather followed my mood. The grey clouds had darkened more and more as we went home and poured down on us as soon as I left to use the bathroom, and cried my eyes out. Everything came to me and I realized how the year became. I scolded and criticized myself for everything I did, and believed I had failed. I felt low and realized how foolish I must have looked hours before. I couldn’t blame anyone but myself for wasting a potential year and for dropping to a level lower than acceptable. I felt extremely humiliated with myself and swore that it would never happen again. From that moment onwards, I decided that I was going to pull myself up and make next year the best I can, no matter what it takes. 


Starting a new year is always challenging. But it was especially challenging for me as I had been remote for more than a year. I forgot how I’d have to skillfully navigate through the densely packed halls of students bustling to get to their next class within a span of 4 minutes, work in a fast-paced curriculum, manage and use my time in class effectively so I have less work at home, and so much more. In addition to that, I also have kickboxing, tutoring, and the usual Friday Marathi class after school, giving me less time to complete my work. So, the first week of school pretty much drove me mad. Maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration.


With a new environment and fully-packed weekly schedule, what else is left? Goals. I had decided last year that I wanted to work hard this year. How hard? So hard that I need to maintain a 100 average in every class, on every test, assignment, activity, etc. I needed to fully ace everything I did this year, and that meant by going beyond what is expected. It’s a challenge, but a necessary one. I needed to pull myself up from where I was last year. And so far, it’s been a rocky start.


One, I’ve already gotten a few grades below a 100. Two, I’ve taken on kickboxing and tutoring my neighbor who has just started his middle school era, leaving me with less time than before to complete my work. Third, I got sick. 


Let me start with the last one. No, it’s nothing major, just the common cold. After doing online learning for over a year, you pretty much stay at home for the whole day. As a result, my immune system didn’t get much exposure to any viruses, causing me to get easily sick within my first week out. That’s pretty much why I spent 3 days of school acting like an alien. It was incredibly awkward when I get up in the middle of class to randomly blow my nose or when all of a sudden I make a sound that sounds like I’m laughing. Good thing masks hide most of your face. 


I have kickboxing every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday- 6 to 6:45 on the weekdays while 10:45-12 on Saturday- and have decided to tutor my neighbor on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I then have Marathi School on Fridays. AT the end of the day, I’m already exhausted from school, and half an hour to get only the review portion of my work done. After that I’ve got to go to class or help out my friend, and resume my work by around 7-8:30. I’m not used to having such a packed schedule like most students do so I’ve been having some trouble with getting all my work finished. Hopefully it’ll get easier soon and I’ll be able to complete everything without any worries. 


Lastly, grades. For me, the main reasons for some of my “worst grades” so far is because of 7th grade review and working with partners. I don’t like to work in groups that often, but when I have to, it stresses me out a lot. For example, on Friday in my ELA class we got an official seating chart, and I am table mates with two boys. I don’t mind boys, they’re pretty chill and I like hanging out with them. But, my problem is that our next grade in that class, analytical paragraph, involves working with our table mates. Oh boy. We barely got a proper topic sentence within the 30 minutes given because the boys would do everything but focus on the assignment. Who knew boys would talk about haircuts and stuff? I was so done with them, and it had only been a day. Apart from that, there was a measuring activity in my engineering class which we had to solve with a team. We ended up getting a terrible score, and so we’ve planned to go fix that. 

And then there's the 7th grade review. I had a Science quiz on review from 7th grade science, and I got an 86. Saying that I remember at least half of what I learned in science last year, is a lie. I took the entire course through an app, and I barely remember 30% of it. So, when I took the quiz on Friday, even after reviewing the concepts, I blanked out and got an 86.  But, the past is in the past. The most I can do is assure that my next grades are all 100’s. 


Long story short, online school sucks. It’s not really the curriculum’s fault, but rather mine. I was the one who got into the relaxed mood and took everything so easily. But, I have to say the way that online school works is what causes the mood to be developed. In the end, I am extremely glad to finally be back at school. I have missed going to school in person and actually participating in projects and activities a lot, so, going back was really special for me. I hope that I can get used to the feeling though. Hopefully everything will calm down soon. Until then, bye!

 I want to bring up this topic because it's become more common around me. Even if I find it more commonly in the typical back-to-school drama going on, but also in between some international levels. Before that, let's have a quick refresher. 
School started for me last Wednesday, and despite being there for only four days, there has been A LOT of drama. There have been a lot of different aspects within all this, but there is one very specific part I want to talk about.

So, there has been a lot of disagreements over who sits with who at lunch. One main argument happened Thursday-ish where two of my friends had a disagreement with one another, and one friend texted me about it. Let's call this friend...Coni. Coni and the other is Glasses. What happened is, Coni sat with another friend of hers. We cannot control who she is friends with, but this certain friend is currently on bad terms with me and is not very much liked by Glasses. Since Coni decided to sit with that friend instead of the two of us that day, Glasses got upset and texted Coni about it later that afternoon. As a result, the two had a disagreement, and later Coni comes to me saying how Glasses unfriended her. Coni talked about how mean Glasses was acting, and when I soon became annoyed at her rants, Coni says that I was being mean as well and did not defend her. And here's where the pinnacle comes.

Should we fight others’ battles?

Yes. An immediate response. Well, why wouldn’t you? Isn’t it right to help others when they need help? Yes, and no. Helping others is right, but it depends on whose battles are more worth fighting.

This question comes from one simple text I got from my friend. “You did absolutely nothing to defend me.” Amid a minor argument between us two, a question was burning in my head after a text. “Why should I defend you?” To any onlooker, I might sound harsh or even cold. But, I had my reasons. When I first read the text, I immediately asked myself if it was ever established that I was supposed to stick up for her by default. Sure, I’m a pretty kind person and I’ll stand up for anyone in trouble, but it just didn’t feel right. For instance, it felt like she expected me to always fight her battles or always be on her side no matter what. Second, my friend was never in a place where she could not stand up for herself or was struggling to fight. She was more than capable to solve the matter herself, yet she expected me to help her.

One should not fight anothers’ battles unless they are worth fighting. If someone cannot fight their battle, then someone should help them. If some freshman kid is being bullied by a bunch of seniors, shouldn’t someone step in to help that kid? Someone should help him stand up for himself until he is strong enough to stand up for himself. Similar with countries. When some allied countries are suffering or cannot fight in their battle, shouldn’t a friend come and support them until they can once again? Yes. They should. But they should also be aware of the ones that are not meant to be fought in.

If you unnecessarily get in someone else’s battle, not only will there be a bigger problem, but you will also be gone against by the original opponent, and the one you were trying to help. You are interfering with someone’s personal matter. The only time it is necessary to interfere, is when it shows they cannot fight their own battle, or when they ask you to help do so. Otherwise, it is best to stay out of it and let matters be.

So, should I have defended Coni? What if she really could not defend herself and believed I would help her? Wouldn't that make me a bad person? But, based on what happened, I believe that I should not have defended her. Do you think otherwise? Should I have fought her battle, or should I have not? 
You may be wondering why I’ve chosen to write a story instead of a research-blog this time. Well, I wanted to try something new out. I’ve always loved to write my own stories, and I’ve always wanted to share them with other people. So, I thought it would be fin to try and publishing one on my blog. I also wanted to try a different style when writing and see what you think. This  is my first time writing a short story and having a completed story, so it may not be on of my best works. But, I do want to know what you think! Presenting: Between Worlds.

Between Worlds

A shot straight to the head. That’s all you need to finish a job. Adonis lowered the gun before turning away from the body. He tossed the weapon at one of his men before wiping away the splattered blood with a towel.


“You know what to do…” He growled, giving a sharp glance at the others before walking away. Being the most feared criminal under lord in the world, it was common to have enemies, no matter how low they were. A few petty criminals were child’s play for Adonis. After leaving the scene, Adonis boarded the car waiting for him and closed his eyes. The silence in the car was frightening as a man with a dark, king-like presence sat in the back. 


“Sir,” The driver called out. Adonis glanced at the driver before closing his eyes again. The driver continued after receiving the okay. 


“Housekeeper Adler called earlier and wanted to remind you of the gala that was tonight.” Adonis hummed in approval. 


“He also wanted to remind you to dress sharply. Perhaps for the ladies?” The driver suggested, glancing into the rear-view mirror. Adonis glared at the driver.


“Do you have a death wish?” The driver chuckled and turned back to the road. The hushed sound of rain followed as silence once again fell. Shortly after, the driver slowed to a stop. 


“Identification?” A gruff voice asked. The driver rolled up his sleeve and showed the emblem crest burnt into his flesh. A mark of Adonis. Anyone who was involved with him in any way had the mark on themselves. Close members had it in the flesh while minor associates simply wore a hidden accessory. The security guard acknowledged the mark after comparing it to his own, and let the driver go. The towering gate ahead creaked open and welcomed them. The car drove forward to the house beyond.



Even in the gloomy weather, the house ahead shone brightly and showed signs of warmth. The driver drove to the smaller building in front of the house and stopped. The door next to Adonis opened and a man in his late 40’s held an umbrella out for him. Adonis got out of the car and the driver drove off. 


“Old man, you will break your arms if you try to cover me with the umbrella.” Adonis said, taking the umbrella out of the housekeeper’s hands. The housekeeper looked helpless as Adonis ended up covering him instead. The two walked to the second level of the building and to the wide entrance in the middle. Adonis closed the umbrella once the two stepped inside, and slung it over his shoulder.  After a lengthy walk through the tunnel, the two took the lift that emerged to the surface and stepped inside the mansion.


“Adonis, the maids have already prepared a suit for you. The driver will come back in another two hours.” Housekeeper Adler instructed. Adonis nodded and made his way upstairs to his room. About an hour later he came back down in a dark grey suit, looking extremely noble. 


“How do I look?” Adonis asked Housekeeper Adler. The housekeeper smiled, his light grey mustache lifting upwards. 


“ Excellent as always. Apart from that, there are some things you have to know about the gala.’ Housekeeper Adler led Adonis to the study and typed something into the computer. The computer then projected a profile on the huge TV screen in front of them.


“ This is Maddlestrom, the host for tonight. Rich, powerful, handsome, name it all. However, he is not the focus.” Housekeeper Adler paused and pulled up the gala details. “ There will be an auction tonight. I’m not sure what it will be on, but according to our resources, something important will be in number 305. ” The housekeeper looked at Adonis. Adonis nodded.


“Got it.” 


“Well then, have fun tonight. I hope you know your limits.” Housekeeper Adler reminded him. Adonis shook his head helplessly before heading out the mansion. He boarded the waiting Rolls Royce, and they drove off. About twenty minutes later the car stopped in front of a grand hotel. Rolled out on the floor was a long, red carpet and cameras were being feverishly clicked. An assistant opened the door, and Adonis stepped out. He straightened his suit and walked down the carpet, ignoring the cameras. As soon as Adonis stepped into the hotel, he could tell the atmosphere was dangerous. Of course, with over 30 different underlords attending, one would have to be on their toes. Adonis, however, remained at ease and casually strolled through the crowds. Short pleasantries were exchanged between the guests. Adonis acknowledged a few of them before finding his seat near the VIP area. He preferred to stick to himself and only chose to mingle when necessary. Adonis observed the room, noting the guests’ expressions, actions, and small details. 


“Ah, Adonis, thank you for attending my gala,” A voice came. Adonis turned around and stood up. 


“Thank you instead for inviting me.” Adonis replied, taking the champagne glass held out to him from the man.


“ Well, I could only try. It’s more of my honor to host you tonight.” The man replied humbly. Adonis smiled.


‘Well then, shall we have a drink to that, Maddlestrom? Here’s to your gala.” The two clinked glasses before taking a sip. Maddlestrom exchanged goodbyes with Adonis before venturing to the next guest. Adonis sat back down, and continued observing the guests. He swirled the drink thoughtfully before chugging it down in one go, and taking another. Despite having a high alcohol tolerance, Adonis rarely drank. But, since this was a special occasion, he didn’t mind being a bit reckless. Soon, everyone settled down and the night began. The atmosphere became lively as people ate and drank with one another. Excited chatter resounded through the room. Adonis remained quiet the whole time, eating peacefully. Soon dinner had also ended. 


“Ladies and gentlemen, if you could please make your way to the first floor, to the right will be an auditorium. Our auction will begin shortly there in just a few minutes.” Maddlestrom announced. Everyone excitedly got up and made their way upstairs. Adonis found his seat,and picked up the guide and bid paddle. He scanned through the guide before his eyes caught a particular one. 305. Adonis chuckled to himself. Housekeeper Adler was right, this bid was going to be important. All the guests slowly began to fill the auditorium. 


“Welcome ladies and gentlemen. The auction will now begin.  As you know, this time’s auction is from the recent underwater find. It consists of ancient treasure rumored to be from multiple kingdoms in the past. We will start with number 273.” An assistant brought out an antique chest filled with gems and rusted swords. “ Starting with 5 million, anyone for 5 million?” The bids began one by one and the auction items moved down one by one. By now Adonis was already bored to his wits.


“Number 305,” The auctioneer announced. Adonis sat up in realization and watched as two assistants brought out a glass chest. In the chest, settled securely between the velvet were 5 gold rings, each fitted with a different polished jewel. Even after being abandoned underwater for thousands of years, they still looked dazzling. 


“ These beautiful jewel encrusted 5-set rings will start at 25 million.” Adonis remained quiet. It wasn’t just the time to bid. Soon the others started to bid. 30 million, 45, 60… 


“ 65 million!” The Auctioneer announced. By then only one person was willing to bid that high. Adonis quickly snatched the opportunity and raised his paddle.


“80 million.”He announced. The other bidder stayed quiet, unable to bid higher. 


“Going once, going twice, SOLD!” The auctioneer announced. Adonis let out a satisfied grin before relaxing once again.Compared to the start, after the bid on 305 the event started to speed up. Items were being sold as soon as they came out. Adonis paid no attention to them and started to space out.


“Thank you, ladies and gentlemen for attending the auction tonight. Have a lovely night, everyone.” The auctioneer said. Adonis snapped back to reality and immediately stood up. Before he left, Maddlestrom quickly approached him.


“Ah, Adonis, before you go would you mind participating in a special raffle?” Adonis raised his eyebrow. Maddlestrom started to panic and reject the idea seeing the expression. However, a simple reply stopped him.


“Why not?” Adonis had a slight, goofy grin on his face and followed Maddlestrom to a group of people. 


“All right, now that we are all here, please write down your name on one ticket, as well as an address.”


“Why an address?” A tall, proud woman asked. Maddlestrom chuckled.


“It’s a simple gift, I assure you.” He replied. The guests nodded and each filled out the ticket as instructed. One by one they all submitted it to Maddlestrom before taking their leave. Adonis was the last to submit his, but was stopped by Maddlestrom before leaving.


“I really do appreciate you coming, Adonis.” The man said. Adonis looked at him  and nodded before leaving. His Rolls Royce soon pulled up to him, and Adonis boarded.


“Busy night?” The driver asked. Adonis chuckled.


“Not really. It was mainly a flashy event to show off Maddlestrom’s apparent humbleness and generosity.” The driver also chuckled.


“Did you drink much?” The driver couldn’t help but ask, seeing Adonis’ lively tone.


“A bit. Not that much to get too tipsy though.” Adonis replied, looking out at the pitch black sky. The driver nodded and the rest of the ride was in silence. 


“Here, sir.” The driver said, pulling up in front of the mansion. Adonis nodded and wished the driver a good night before making his way to the mansion.


“Good evening, Housekeeper Adler,” Adonis greeted. The housekeeper momentarily froze before smiling. 


“ Good evening, Adonis. The heirlooms are being polished and will be ready for you to see tomorrow morning. You should go to bed. It’s already late.” Adonis nodded before heading upstairs. Adonis shut the bedroom door, and immediately collapsed on the bed. After waiting for some time, Adonis got up and prepared to sleep. As soon as he turned off the light and was under the covers, sleep hit. 


Adonis woke up the next day drowsily. After a quick shower and breakfast, Adonis made his way underground to his private study. Even though he had his own office and a company building to work at, he preferred being here. Here, the true work was done. It was here that all the missions and deals were planned, and here where Adonis controlled the entire underworld. Adonis stayed in that room the whole day, continuously meeting with other underlords, his own men, and even government officials. The hours passed by slowly , and Adonis eventually returned upstairs. One hand rubbed his temples as Adonis walked up to his room.


“Adonis, where are you going?” Housekeeper Adler stopped him. Adonis looked at the housekeeper tiredly.


“To sleep.” Adonis said hoarsely.


“What about the child?” Housekeeper Adler asked. Adonis’ ears perked up. Suddenly it felt like sleep had never come to him.


“What child?” Adonis questioned.


“ The child that is currently roaming around in the living room.” The housekeeper deadpanned. Adonis’ eyebrows huddled together as he walked back down the stairs. Housekeeper Adler led him to the living room.


“This child.” Housekeeper Adler said. In the living room was a small girl, no older than 3 or 4, looking around innocently at the two men. Adonis’ eyebrows lifted up in surprise before the quickly pulled Housekeeper Adler to the side.


“When did a child enter the premises?” Adonis asked through gritted teeth.


“ I also am not sure. One of the maids said she came as a gift. Something about a raffle.” Adonis realized what happened. Soon, his face began to turn red from anger. 


“Get Maddlestrom on the phone, now!” Adonis roared, storming into the open study room. Housekeeper Adler quickly searched through the contacts as Adonis paced back and forth. After a few rings, Maddlestrom picked up the call.


“Hello?” A voice answered.


“ Maddlestrom , you better explain as to how a child is currently in my house at this very minute!” Adonis shouted through the phone. The other line was silent before Maddlestrom replied.


“Ah, Adonis… Erm, that would be from the raffle.” Maddlestrom said timidly.


“Oh, like I didn’t figure that out! I asked what a child was doing in my home! I hope you didn’t kidnap her or something and wanted to put the blame on me. Well that wouldn’t be a lovely ending for you would it?!” Adonis asked, voice dripping in malice.


“N-No! S-Sir, I promise, n-nothing l-like that ever happened. T-The raffle was meant t-to be a surprise a-adoption. A-An orphanage I-I collaborated with s-suggested the adoption as a gift.” Maddlestrom said shakily. Adonis closed his eyes and took a deep breath. 


“ I see.” Maddlestrom thought there was some hope after hearing Adonis’ reply.


“S-So,”


“Did I let you speak?” Adonis asked. Maddlestrom fell silent. Adonis took another deep breath before continuing. “ Is there any way I can give her back?” Maddlestrom paused before speaking.


“N-No. I’m sorry, but the orphanage will not take her back.” Adonis remained silent before hanging up. Housekeeper Adler hesitantly spoke up.


“What do we do with the child?” Adonis let out a laugh. Soon the laugh became a chuckle,and then a roar of laughter as he fell backwards. 


“Oh, what a joke! Me, the biggest criminal underworld has adopted a child. What more, he accidentally did so after stupidly agreeing to take part in a lousy raffle by some lousy host! HA!” Housekeeper Adler fell silent once again. Soon the laughter died down and Adonis regained his composure.


“Do whatever you want with her. Give her a place to stay or not, as long as she stays out of my way and sight, it'll be fine.” Adonis said harshly, storming out of the room. As soon as he left the study, he saw the girl looking up to him innocently, clutching a ragged stuffed bunny. Adonis glared at her.


“Move, kid.” The girl quickly moved to the side as Adonis continued walking without a reply from her. Adonis made his way upstairs, not sparing another glance towards the girl. Not even the sorrowful look in her eyes made him think twice about his actions. To him, she would be nothing more than an unwanted liability who would only get in his way. 


Weeks and months passed by, but Adonis never changed his cold behavior to the girl. Occasionally, they would cross paths. But it wouldn’t last for too long until Adonis glared at the housekeeper who quickly whisked her away. He often caught a  glimpse of the heartbroken look in her eyes, but brushed it off. After all, she had no meaning in his life whatsoever. 


However, the girl, Viola,  thought differently. Everyday,whenever Adonis came upstairs, she would try to please him. A small drawing or a flower she found in the garden. Everyday she tried to get some love from the man she wanted to call father. But everyday, he would simply ignore her and leave her to be taken away by the maids. 


Until one day….


It was late at night, and Viola woke up by the sudden roar of thunder. She became frightened by the sound, and huddled up in the blankets further, trying to shut out the sound. The sudden downpour of rain made her wake up once again. Viola sat up and wrapped herself in the blanket, shivering. Her eyes widened when she heard a sound outside. Viola hurriedly left the bed and made her way downstairs. She quickly hid behind a couch in fear as footsteps were heard. Viola’s eyes filled with tears as she tried to look for one of the maids. Viola’s head snapped towards the door as it eerily creeped open. A whimper left her mouth as she stared at the door. She gasped as a figure entered the house, soaked in rain. It wasn’t until a sudden flash of lightning went by, that she realized it was Adonis. Relieved, Viola ran over to him and desperately clung to his leg.


“Daddy!” She wailed, sobbing loudly. Adonis on the other hand was startled by the sudden contact. His mood had already been ruined by the rain and a few mishaps at work, and the addition of Viola clinging onto him made him even more upset.


“Housekeeper Adler!!” He roared. Viola suddenly jumped back in fear. Housekeeper Adler and a few other maids quickly rushed into the room and the lights turned on. 


“I thought I told you to keep her away from me! Is that so hard?! She’s just a useless child!” Adonis yelled. Viola started to quiver in fear again and began to sob even louder. 


“Get her out of my sight!” He growled, shooing her away. The maids quickly picked her up and tried to calm her down but Viola continued to cry.


“No! Da-Daddy!” She continued to shout, grasping for Adonis. Adonis didn’t even look at her and went in the opposite direction. Adonis slammed the door shut and threw his coat on the floor. He began to thrash around, messing up the room. The day’s events began to come to him and he started to tear apart the room even more. A good 20 minutes went by and Adonis finally calmed down. Breathing heavily, Adonis grasped onto the sides of his sink. His chest heaved in anger, before it eventually returned to normal. It somehow angered him how the child suddenly ran and clung to him. But, what surprised him was how he felt when he called her daddy. For some reason, his heart ached when he saw her pitiful state. At that time there was a small urge to console her. But he stubbornly pushed it away, believing it was only his mind playing tricks on him. She was practically an outsider! Adonis closed his eyes and tried to clear his mind. 


“I should just forget about it,” He mumbled to himself. Adonis looked at himself in the mirror one last time before turning off the lights. 

Days passed by that incident. Adonis tried his best to forget it, but he couldn’t help but remember how harsh he was. No matter how hard he tried to deny it, he felt his heart soften for her. Not only that, Adonis found himself thinking or even looking for her more often. When working, his mind would wonder what made her call him daddy. Or even when he returned from the office or came upstairs from the study, he tried to look for her. But he had no luck. Adonis sighed and knew he was the only one to blame. After all, it was him who screamed for her to be out of his sight. 


Adonis’ mind was in chaos. He was currently in his office and was trying to plan a mission. But his mind wouldn’t let him. He couldn’t focus on anything, and it felt kike his mind forgot everything he knew. Frustrated, Adonis left the office early and left for home. Along the way, he noticed a stuffed bunny in the window of a nearby shop. The stuffed animal reminded him of the ragged one he had always seen Viola carry around. Adonis told the driver to stop, and before he knew it, he had returned with the bunny in his hands. 


After entering the mansion, Adonis roamed around the house in search of Viola. It didn’t take that long to find her drawing happily in the kitchen. She was so focused on her drawing she didn’t even notice Adonis sitting next to her.


“That’s a lovely drawing,” He said. Viola stopped and looked at him wide eyed. She unknowingly began to tremble. Adonis panicked, seeing her terrified state.


“Hey, hey. It’s all right. Shhh, calm down. I won't hurt you.” He slowly calmed her down until she stopped trembling. The two stared at each other for a while. Adonis finally broke the silence by handing her the bunny.


“I-I got this for you,” He said. Viola hesitantly reached for the bunny. After it was in her grasp, she began to admire it. Seeing her cute behavior, Adonis couldn’t help but smile to himself. Viola then turned to look at him. 


“Oh, I…I wanted to apologize for that night.” Viola looked at him curiously.


“I-I didn’t mean to yell at you. I’m sorry. I was stressed, and I shouldn’t have taken it on you of all people.” Adonis explained anxiously. Viola continued to look at him, listening silently. 


“Can you forgive me?” Adonis asked hopefully. As soon as those words left his mouth, Adonis felt different. Here he was, the most powerful man in the country, pleading for forgiveness from a small child. Viola looked down at the bunny in her hands and then at Adonis. She slowly nodded her head. Adonis smiled in relief. Viola resumed drawing again and Adonis continued to watch her.


“What are you drawing?” Adonis asked, trying to start another conversation. Viola glanced at him and then at her drawing.


“ A flower,” She answered.


“Ohh, can I see?” Adonis asked, leaning forward. Viola showed him and he grinned at the messily drawn flower. “It’s very pretty.” Viola nodded and smiled. The two soon began to talk more. Even if it was through one-sentence answers or brief nods, they communicated well together. Viola started to open up more around him, now that Adonis let her. The two were fully immersed in their own world that they didn’t notice the fond looks the maids and housekeeper had when they saw them. Seeing the two different personalities open up to each other melted one's heart instantly. 


This went on for a while. Everyday Adonis would come home in search of Viola and she would eagerly be waiting for him. Even though he was extremely busy, he tried to change his schedules so he could spend every evening talking to her and hearing about her day. It was the best way for him to forget about his worries and stress. As his heart began to soften, he slowly started to accept her, and even started to think of her more in a daughterly way. Even Viola felt happier. She began to feel the love she didn’t know she craved for, and cherished every ounce of it. But she didn’t know that it would come to an end.


As usual, Viola waited patiently for Adonis to come back. She glanced at the clock often, even if she couldn’t read it, and stared at the entrance of the mansion. She suddenly heard a click and gasped, knowing that Adonis had come back. However, just as she was about to embrace him, he glared at her coldly and went up to his room. Viola froze. She didn’t expect this cold reaction, and was overwhelmed with emotions. Crying, she suddenly ran out of the house. The maids were too late to notice she left, as they were all in the kitchen. Even Housekeeper Adler didn’t notice. It was only 2 hours later did someone take notice and the house erupted into panic. 


“What;s happening?” Adonis asked, rushing downstairs.


“It seems Viola has run away,” Housekeeper Adler said in a panicked voice. Adonis’ eyes widened. 


“W-what? How? And why didn't you notice?!” Adonis suddenly yelled. The housekeeper could only hang his head down, ashamed. “NO! It wasn't supposed to be like this! She could be anywhere by now! Where-“ Just then, Adonis’s phone rang. An eerie silence immediately filled the room as everyone listened to the ringtone. Adonis picked up his phone.


“What?”


“I did what I said, didn’t I? Your precious friend is with me, and if you want to see her again, I suggest you follow what I say.” Adonis remained quiet, listening to the voice.


“ Good. Now, in exchange for her, I want 10 shipments of firearms, and all of your top three resources. Meet me at the abandoned carpark near Lilac Valley at 11:30. If not, she dies.” The other line hung up before Adonis could speak. Frustrated,Adonis smashed his phone on the ground. 


“What did that mean?” Housekeeper Adler asked.


“H-He called me before. Maddlestrom. This morning, at work. I-I took it lightly, but I-I didn’t know she would run out. I-I thought s-she would be safe, and that h-the was bluffing. B-but now…” Adonis’s voice trailed off as tears began to fill his eyes. Everyone watched as tears streamed endlessly down his face. After some time. He quickly wiped them off and a deadly expression was seen. 


“Assemble everyone. Let them know to meet me in the armory. We’re getting back Viola, and killing that bastard tonight.” Adonis left the room and drove to the office. As soon as he arrived, everyone was already assembled. 


“Listen up! Tonight you absolutely cannot screw up. Tonight we are going to be saving a child and I don’t care who does it but, kill Maddlestrom. That bastard already thinks he's won the world when he tries threatening me with her. Now,it’s time for him to pay.” Adonis turned around, ready to leave but was stopped by one of his men.


“Sorry sir, but who are we saving?” Adonis looked at him dead in the eye.


“My daughter,”


The clock struck 11:20. Adonis watched as 30 of his men quietly entered the abandoned car park. They all confirmed their positions before Adonis made his way there. The clock struck 11:30.


“Adonis, welcome!” Maddlestrom greeted Adonis, pleased that he had arrived on time. Surrounding them were many bodyguards, all focused on the two people speaking. 


“Where is Viola?” Adonis growled dangerously. Maddlestrom chuckled.


“Anxious to see your daughter?” Adonis’s fists clenched.


“Bring her out,” Maddlestrom instructed. Two bulky men dragged Viola out. Adonis’s heart wrenched in pain as he saw her gagged and tied up. A few minor wounds were on her body, but she was terrified. 


“Let her go,” Adonis ordered. He tried not to plead, but the slight crack n his voice gave it away. Maddlestrom’s grin widened.


“First, the resources.” 


“They’ve already been shipped to your dock.” Adonis replied. Maddlestrom immediately called someone as soon as he heard this. MeanwhileAdonis couldn’t help but sneer. This greedy bastard took the bait so easily. Maddlestrom’s face dropped in disappointment as soon as he heard that there was no shipment. Maddlesrom turned to look at Adonis, and pulled out his gun. Adonis quickly reacted, doing the same. 


“Wrong move, Adonis. Wrong move.” Maddlestrom warned. Adonis only chuckled.


“I think it’s the other way around.” Adonis gave his cue and suddenly gunfire erupted. The bodyguards pulled out their guns in reflex and started shooting as well. Maddlestrom began shouting curses and orders while trying to retaliate. Adonis on the other hand swiftly took out the men holding Viola and ran over to her. Quickly freeing her, Adonis dropped his gun and embraced Viola. 


“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry my dear. I’ll never leave you again.” Adonis whispered.Viola cried and clutched onto his shirt tighter. Adonis quickly glanced at Maddlestrom before signaling one of his men to protect Viola.


“Viola,dear, listen. This man will protect you, okay? He will take you outside. Make sure you listen to him. Go!” Adonis quickly handed Viola to the man and the two quickly left the scene. By now almost all of Maddlestrom’s men were dead. Maddlestrom was shooting recklessly at the others as they continued to do the same. Soon no one was left. All of Adonis’s men had retreated and Maddlestrom's men were lying unconscious in pools of blood. While Maddlestrom’s gaze was distracted, Adonis shot him in the shoulder. Maddlestrom jerked back before looking at Adonis.


“Heh,” Maddlestrom was about to shoot Adonis but Adonis beat him to it. Two more shots. One to the stomach and one to the leg. Maddlestrom was now on his knees. Adonis took one last aim before killing Maddlestrom. A shot to the head. 


Months after that incident, Adonis officially claimed Viola as his daughter. Even if their first meeting wasn’t perfect, they would always be together after that. They were father and daughter. Two different worlds that came together, in between.