5: Alone
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No. He couldn’t do this. It wasn’t fair. He didn’t do anything. No effort. Nothing. He didn’t deserve this award. And, frankly, he didn’t want it, either. Something about it just felt wrong. He couldn’t do it. It felt like every single clap in the ensuing applause was a slap in the face.

So he did the only thing he reasonably could that wouldn’t result in a panic attack in front of the whole campus. He turned around and ran home as quickly as he could.

 

He didn’t care what the people thought of him as he ran through the streets. Jack didn’t bother checking the bus schedule, he just wanted to get away. The running provided some distraction from his thoughts, at least. He could just concentrate on going as quickly as possible, not looking at anything he didn’t need to be seeing. Just him and the way ahead.

The fact that he made it to his front door in record time was no surprise, he could feel that he was lighter and more athletic even while being so focused on running. He already knew that he had somehow lost a bunch of weight, but now he really felt that difference.

He hurried up the stairs and unlocked the door to his apartment, immediately throwing off his shoes and jumping into bed.

 

This wasn’t fair. He didn’t deserve this. He had put no work into this, it was all just that stupid wishing well. Why him of all people? Why did he get this opportunity? Why not any of his friends? They could’ve immediately solved the issues they have had for so many years, just like that.

He reached down with one of his hands and rummaged through his backpack, picking up his phone after some searching. He looked at the blank screen, seeing his face in the reflection. He realized he hasn’t even gotten a good look at it ever since seeing it for the first time when he woke up.

 

He still looked like himself to some extent, but also different. Did it just look like make-up to the others? Did they never look at his face long enough to see the differences? Jack was deeply familiar with all the things that were wrong with his former face, but they all seemed to be gone.

As he looked at his hands, even they looked different. Still his, but prettier, better, like a girl’s hands. He moved the hand over his face, feeling the dried streams of his tears, but smiled when it felt so, so smooth.

As he turned his phone on, he immediately saw the notification for 14 new messages from Jeanine. He must’ve worried her. Why did he have to run away? He should’ve just accepted the prize like a normal person. Now everyone would think he was weird.

 

After bracing himself internally, he looked at her message. She thought she had done something to upset him, and she should’ve seen the signs during the time they spent on campus. Jack had looked super uncomfortable, apparently.

He really ought to get better at hiding that, idiot.

She wanted to meet up tomorrow if that was okay with him, just to clear up some things. He checked the time, it was 7 PM by now. Yeah, not much they could do today.

She suggested a café they both frequented at 10 AM. Jack was okay with that, he could just say that he felt sick and she would be fine with that excuse. He made a mental note of it, tomorrow, 10 AM.

That means getting up at 8.30 to be on the safe side, so he has enough time to get dressed…

 

That made him stop. Would he still be like this tomorrow? Was this permanent or just for a day? Would he turn back or stay like this? He didn’t actually know what scared him more.

What did he wish for, again? He read from stories that genies are often really peculiar about these kinds of things, like if you said you wanted you crush to fall in love with you but she was a lesbian, it’d turn you into a girl. You had to formulate your wishes in a really precise manner.

But what exactly did he wish for? Did he mention that it was just for the day? He tried his best to recall, but it was pointless. What an idiot, it hasn’t even been a day and he’d already forgotten.

If he were to turn back, it would probably be while he’s asleep. At least that was when the initial transformation occurred, so that seemed reasonable to Jack. He made a plan to go to bed early and wake up at 6 AM so that he has enough time to deal with whatever was gonna happen.

 

As he went to shower, he saw himself in the mirror for the first time. His whole body, that is. He didn’t know why, but he was happy. It actually looked like it had been taken care of, like something that he would want to take care of. It hasn’t been ruined by his irresponsibility, it was like a fresh start.

If it lasted.

 

Jack has had a few snacks that were offered during the event and ample breakfast, so he really didn’t feel the need to order a pizza as he tended to do. Maybe he was less hungry now in general? Or maybe he just didn’t want to fill every moment of boredom with eating now that he cared about how he looked.

As he put on his old pajamas, he let out a chuckle at how goofy he looked. It was so big! He got out his smartphone and took a selfie. He wanted to have at least one picture to remember this by.

 

As he headed to sleep, he realized he hasn’t checked in on the group chat with his online friends at all ever since his wish. He didn’t want to tell them about this, it wouldn’t be fair. Especially if this was all gonna be back to normal once he woke up tomorrow.

While trying to sleep, he thought back to the similar dreams he previously had, and how he woke up back in his old body whenever they were over. At this point, he just wanted to fall asleep and get this over with. Get a definitive answer and that’s it.

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