Previously on “Decisions in a Halo – Episode IX: Sagittarius”
Adam is in his element: a hunter seeking out helpless, juicy deer, to lock in his charm. “Right here,” Adam hands them a sign-up sheet with several empty slots indicating: name, mobile, faculty, and email, alongside a pen. The two “potentials” giggle as they write down their credentials; give Adam a unified bye which he reciprocates with a charming smile and a glint in his eyes. This only spurs on their teenage attitude as they walk away heads together, chattering… probably about how hot Adam is.
Adam watches them climb up the stairs, their hips synchronized in a motion that makes his heart pump harder. Something about making girls ogle and shake to their knees makes him feel accomplished, desired, and most of all, on top of matters. He feels strong, feels like he is in control, that there’s nothing that would stand in his way, nothing that would keep him away from being the best.
Feeling in control helps him manage his focus: everything that transpired in the last twenty-four hours is lodged deeply in the back of his head, echoes of what happened slowly dissipating into nothingness except for that one image of that family he met, of the child who clung dearly to his father, the martial arts Master, of the mother who – so petite and tiny in the arms of her husband – looked lovingly at her man and child.
Hello!? I know you’re there…
Shaking his head, Adam turns to Wael, his PR Vice Manager.
“Great score, boss!” Wael exclaims, his eyes almost bulging out of their sockets in admiration and zealousness. Wael is a dorky third-year commerce student, who has made it his life’s goal to become Adam in every way possible.
That’s why Adam likes him; because he looks up to him, because he gives him a sense of importance that Adam believes exists, but can’t quite tap into.
“You see, Wael, the important thing about charming the ladies is to be a fun guy. You’re cool, you’re suave, you’re mysterious, you’re looking into their souls,” explains Adam as he puts on his expert look and pulls his protégé under his arm, “You have to feel like you own the place. You have to feel like you’re the boss and everyone around you is beneath you. You’ve got to BE the man!” He ends his note with a slight punch to Wael’s chest, which makes him slightly cough.
“Now, onto the next prey!”
At the finish of his sentence, Adam’s dark eyes fall upon a girl whose innocent, yet very judgemental, bright brown ones somehow dismantle the balance of his psyche.
I’m talking to you bro!
Their eyes get caught in each other’s gaze, oblivious to the fact that both their destinies would intertwine at that exact moment. An imbalance like he’s never felt before strikes him harder, causing more static noise and disturbance.
Adam’s phone vibrates for the umpteenth time – breaking the “connection” – and he doesn’t need to check who the caller is.
“That’s like the millionth time you’ve called today…” says Adam under his breath, as he shuts his phone off.
Deciding to touch base, Adam and Wael make their way back to the info desk, located in the back courtyard of FEPS (Faculty of Economics and Political Science). With his black shades glinting in the sun, his charming smile flashing here and there, the “heys” and “hellos” bombard him as he makes his way through the crowd, confident and invigorating.
Wael, by his side, basks in the aura of popularity and coolness that bounce back off of Adam. Everyone loves Adam, everyone laughs with Adam, everyone jokes with him, everyone likes to be around him, to have a small piece of his aura shower them, hopefully making them a tenth as popular as he is. But for now, the fact that he dominates the social scene makes him feel elevated.
“This is what it feels like to be the king” says Adam as he throws a fist bump to a guy whose name he couldn’t even remember.
As he approaches the info desk, Adam spots a distinctive girl making her way through the crowd rather hurriedly and immediately registers her, so that he could pounce. Vaguely remembering her face, Adam decides to check her name on the list of interviewees that was completed yesterday.
“What was her name?” Adam asks, eyes still locked on the girl making her way through the crowd.
“Mmm…Salma something I guess,” Wael answers, shrugging, and takes his leave to help a colleague with the banner.
“I tried calling you,” Samir asks, to the annoyance of Adam. “The usual,” Adam lies, placing his clipboard on the desk and turning to Wael, asking him about the list of interviews they have lined up for this week.
“Well, I really need to talk to you…” Samir adds; further annoying Adam. It’s time for another hunt; one that he feels would be his greatest one yet.
With that thought in mind, Adam doesn’t answer. His face as stiff as can be, looking through the list of interviews lined up for the week, taking note of the ones related to PR, and gathering his focus so he can maintain his game.
“I gotta go.” Adam drags his clipboard from in front of his friend then takes his leave and dives through the sea of students, signalling to Wael that he’ll be in the interview room, Room 22.
He just wanted to talk –
As he makes his way towards Salma, Adam goes through the multitude of personas he has in store, to try and play the game a bit differently. Now, it’s time to play the brooding, distant guy, for which some girls fall. Putting on his stiff face and remembering just enough of what happened over the course of the week to put him in the mood, Adam is set.
“Salma Al-Maleb, is it?” he asks, broodingly.
“Yep, that’s me!” She replies with a perk in her voice.
With a lot of effort not to be charming in the face of Salma’s perkiness, Adam doesn’t smile back. In a few seconds, trained to do so since his more adolescent years, he makes a quick assessment of his prey: black ebony hair pulled up in a bun, an asymmetrical style that seems to struggle between normal wear and gothic influences, a fit physique and proud yet lively face.
Having registered these facts, Adam takes his leave and enters the building, smiling to himself.
The most enjoyable of all moments are those spent in the hunt. Adam enjoys being this version of himself; distant from all the drama, the madness, the yelling, and the screaming. A version of himself that doesn’t really listen or engage in conversations with any substance that could make him feel worse about himself.