The Night I Met You

22/12/2013 § Leave a comment


CHAPTER THIRTEEN

29th October XXXX

“Dana?”

I almost jumped at the voice that greeted me before I managed to slip outside of my apartment. This was the one thing I was afraid to happen – to be caught going outside at this time of the day.

“Where are you going?” I heard her asked and, of course, I did not miss the hint of incredulity in her voice.

“Uhm…I made plans with a friend, so I’m going out now.” I answered turning on my heel to face one of my closest female friends.

“At this time of the day?!” She remarked in great disbelief. “Wait! Don’t tell me it was going to rain snow in this tropical country?”

“Oh, c’mon Kyle. I can wake up early every now and then.” I answered.

“Yeah, like every once in a blue moon, which by the way, never really happens…” She responded as she crossed her arms over her chest. “So…Where. Are. You. Going?”

“To buy a new phone…So, later!” I opened the door and quickly slipped out of the apartment. “Tell my cousin that. Thanks!”

“You’re so dead tonight!” I heard her response behind the door. I suppressed a giggle from escaping my lips and turned to head for the lift. Upon turning on my heel I came face to face with a broad chest which obviously belonged to a guy. It surprised me so much that I suddenly took a step back, bumping my head to the door.

“Ouch!” I cried at the same time I heard a masculine voice say, “Angel, are you okay?”

It was only him. Why was I so surprised? I knew that he was waiting for me outside my apartment. But I just had to act all dumb in front of him. It seems like he always caught me in my worst and clumsiest every time.

“Yeah, I’m fine. Let’s go before she came chasing after us.” I started to walk fast towards the lift, watching the door carefully for someone trying to peek through.

“Who?” He asked as he fell into steps beside me.

“My friend. And probably my cousin too.”

“Did you tell them where you’re going?” I heard him ask. He sounded like a big brother, although he really was one.

“Roughly.” I simply answered.

“So you did not tell them exactly where?” He questioned me. “Actually, where are we going?”

“Hmmm…” I pretended to think. “Somewhere?” I wanna tease him for once. He was always doing it and I never really had the chance.

“Angel, if you’re forgetting, I’ll be the one doing the driving.”

“You’re no fun.” I puffed my cheeks and eyed him. Of course, I knew the very fact that I am not the one who’s going to drive his sports car. But he could at least play along with my mood. That little annoyance was instantly replaced with relief when I heard him let out a soft chuckle. At least that meant that he was in a better mood.

When I woke up this morning – yeah I was surprised at myself too – I saw him standing outside my apartment’s building just staring at the window of my room. How he knew where my room’s window was located, I had no idea. I was more curious about when he had arrived. If he was already in the place, why had he not gone up to my unit then? I left a message at the reception that I was expecting him. But I found him waiting outside for who knows how long, so I came down to pick him up. Even if I was already standing in front of him, he still continued to stare at my room window. He was definitely deep in thought.

Watching him was half-amusing and half-bothering me. He seemed totally out of it like he was not in his best of his moods. That was the amusing part because he seems to always be the bright and enthusiastic kid. But today, he was so out of it that he actually looked lost…or lonely?

It was funny because it seemed like our characters have been switched. Talking to Nate made me realize that I have not been talking much whenever I was with him. So, since it felt like I was filled with energy today and I actually woke up early, which usually happen next to never, I wanted to try opening up to him a little. He shouldn’t be that different from his friend. Birds of the same feathers flock together right?

We got to the place I wanted to go without any problems. Well, that was what I wanted to say but remember that I was not good with directions? I bet you know what I mean. So getting to the place took us forever even with the aid of the map that I got my cousin to draw for me. At least we managed to get to the area which looks similar.

“I’m really sorry!” I said for the hundredth time. I said the same thing over and over again even during the drive.  I could say that I excel in both academics and athletics but geography was just not in my league of abilities. And I bet that he already figured it out.

“Angel, it’s cool. It was pretty fun to be honest. I don’t get to be lost always so it was kind of a new experience.” He responded. He had said the same thing as well for the hundredth time. For all I know, he was just trying not to make me feel bad about it.

“But if I listened to my cousin properly I would be able to tell you the correct direction.” I said lowering my voice.

It was my fault that we got lost and wasted a lot of time and gas on the road trying to find the right place. It has been a long time since I came to the place so I only had a vague memory of it. I knew however that it was still in operation.

“I’ll treat you to as much coffee as you like as an apology. I heard that their coffee there is really good.” I mentioned and he seemed to think about it for a moment because he fell silent.

“That’s it huh?” I heard him say almost to himself.

“Yeah…Huh? What?” I asked confused at his words.

“Oh, nothing. If you were right about the coffee then you better prepare.” He informed me, smirking.

As we were walking along the street lined with several old looking establishments and variety of stores, what we didn’t expect happened. I started to feel cold drizzles on my skin. I took it for granted thinking that it could just be from one of the stores sprinkling water on the plants. But minutes passed and the cold feeling I had on my skin increased and without knowing it, it started to rain lightly.

I was lucky that I always bring an umbrella with me. Usually it would just be fine for rains despite the small size. But it wasn’t like the usual this time. I had another person with me who I needed to share the umbrella with. To make it worse, the weather just had to be so playful. What started as a bright sunny day became a cold pouring one.

His car was far from our current location and there was not much place we can take shelter from the rain. There were several stores but it was not like we can just barge in anyhow without any business there right? Just where is that freaking shop?

Despite the heavy down pour of the cold rain, we continued to walk looking for the store. I had offered that we just try out the other restaurants in the area so we could let the rain pass. But he insisted on sharing the small umbrella and walking under the rain, saying that the store might be nearby. And he actually said that in his usual sappy manner. That made him seems a lot better than in the morning, so I just went along with it.

“Hey, can I ask you something?” I said out of the blue.

“Shoot.”

“I know this could be so random but I was just curious. I’ve been thinking about this for a while now and I just need to have a guy’s opinion…” I trailed off trying to see his reaction.

“Hmmm.” He side-glanced at me as we continued to walk along the wet pavement.

“D-do you think I could forget my ex?” I said the words pretty quickly that I was afraid that he did not understand it.

I didn’t know if he actually understood my question or not, but he turned his head to face me. He stared at me as if studying my expression, looking for an answer to a mystery equation. I took in his facial features as he continued to stare at me. His furrowed eyebrows, the twitching of his eyes, the way he pursed his lips, and how his fringed touched his forehead. It is then that I noticed something that took away my irritation due to the heavy rain. What stood behind him was the garden-like small building that we have been looking for.

“Hey, there’s the store!” With a big grin on my face, I tapped him in the shoulder quite heavily but it did not seem to hurt him.

He looked over his shoulders, towards the old English-styled building. Most part of the walls was covered in vines and its tiny white flowers. From the street, we can see the alfresco area. It was covered with fiber glass acting as a roof, so that the vines could crawl freely without the customers having to worry about dried leaves falling on their food or drinks. Behind the building would be a completely open area where you can savor the sun while having a tea time. At least that was how I remembered it to be. But it would probably be not available on rainy days like today.

“I told you. We’ll find it if we continue to walk.” He said quite cheekily.

“Right, right. Let’s go. My jeans and sneakers are soaking wet now.” I remarked and looked down on the hem of my denim jeans and my plum-colored Converse. The colors have darkened. They are completely wet. I can even feel my soggy sock being all squishy which is plain uncomfortable.

He opened the door of the cafe allowing me to go in first…such gentleman. We were both greeted by the staff standing behind the cashier counter, together with the appetizing smell and warmth of the cafe. We were seated at the window-side table overlooking the backyard area. And as I have thought, the backyard remained as I have remembered. The ground covered in rubbles and grasses; a white-painted bandstand at the far end; and a small white-painted, rustic looking fountain at the center. Nothing had changed from how it was carved in my memory, even after several years.

We gave our orders to the cheerful-looking waitress attending to our table. I got myself a seafood marinara and a pineapple drink while he had a burger and, of course, a bottomless cup of coffee. We even had a little argument as to who should settle the bills in front of the waitress, which was a little embarrassing. But when I tried to sneak a look at the waitress, she seemed to be enjoying our chatter than annoyed that we were taking too much of her time. I bet that we looked like five-year old kids bickering at that time.

We have been engaged in both eating and talking during our meal. It was quite fun and it actually feels normal. I don’t know why I was too wary of him the previous days but as we were, I was fine being with him. I never heard him complain about his wet jeans and sneakers or how it was such a trouble to have a heavy down pour during our trip. Perhaps he has too long of a patience.

“So, are you going to answer my question earlier?” I asked out of the blue. We have finished our foods and I was just having a slice of cake while he was having his fourth cup of coffee. I still find it odd how he can drink so much coffee in a single meal.

“Hmmm…What was your question again?” He asked.

“I know you remembered, so I’m not repeating it.” I answered.

“Ah. But I really don’t remember your question earlier?”

I stared at him trying to figure out whether he really has forgotten, while mustering enough courage to ask the same question again. I couldn’t come up with an answer. I also don’t want to repeat the same words I said earlier.

“Then, let’s just forget about it.” I simply said and continued on eating my slice of cake.

“Alright, alright.” He sounded alarmed by my reaction. “But why are you asking anyway?”

“Because I was thinking. It wouldn’t help me to be hung up on him anyway so why not try to forget him right?”

“Well, even if you ask me, I couldn’t really give you a firm answer.” He informed me. “And aren’t you guys childhood friends?”

“Exactly the point. And that brings you back to my question. So, what do you think?”

“Ah, well…you can try. Then you’ll know the answer. Surely it will be difficult but not impossible.”

“I’m afraid though.” I said.

“Of what?” He asked curiously.

“That I might not be able to forget him.”

“You’ve been together for so long, so technically you wouldn’t be able to forget him. But, your feelings for him, eventually those will change.”

“How?” I asked.

“Uhm…like when you meet someone that you like more than him. Someone who will affect you more than he did.”

His words made me silent for a while. I pondered upon them and they actually made sense. Sure, what he said was like something from the book of general knowledge but to actually hear the words out of a guy…

“Sometimes you get too sappy. Did you know that?” I teased.

“Now, I know.” He rolled his eyes at me. “But hey, be a romantic sometimes and believe in fate. Like, you’ll meet your destined lover someday. Don’t girls normally like that kind of stuff?” He countered.

“I guess so. But unfortunately, I’m not one for normal things.”

“I figured.” I heard him respond and I only smiled to myself at his words.

“What do-” My words were cut off when something caught my attention. No that was not quite right. That something was actually a person…a person I knew but did not expect to see. Just why does that person have to be in the same place I intended to be?

“Angel?” I heard Jacob say as he pulled me out of my little dimension.

I immediately shifted my gaze back to Jacob, afraid that the person I saw would take notice of me. But it was already too late. That person already noticed me and paced slowly towards my table. The person came closer and closer until he reached our table.

“Dana?” I heard him say. I hesitantly looked at him. He was there in flesh, standing beside me.

“Hey.” I tried to answer confidently, giving a small smile while trying to hide all the uneasiness that was building up inside me.

“How are you?” He asked me and sneaked a glance at Jacob who was sitting across the table. I couldn’t see Jacob’s reaction because I can’t take my eyes off of the guy standing beside me. He was there in flesh. He wouldn’t dare go in the store by himself. So where is she?

“Uhm…I’m fine.” I answered briefly, afraid that my voice would give out what I was really feeling.

“Do you think you could spare me some minutes?” He asked, glancing once again at Jacob.

“Right now?” I confirmed.

“Yeah.” He simply answered.

I shifted my gaze to Jacob. I can see that he wanted to ask me who the person was. Of course, he must be confused who the guy was when he just suddenly showed up without introduction of any sort. I wish that he would intervene with what was happening in front of him though. I don’t want to be alone with him. Nor do I want to talk about what happened. There were a lot that we need to talk about, but I just wasn’t prepared to know the truth. At least not yet.

“Uhm…I’m not sure. It would be rude to leave my friend here alone.” I answered.

He glanced at Jacob again as if asking for permission. I did as well and tried to plead silently for him to come up with something, anything so we could leave.

“Jacob?” I called out to him.

“Well,” Jacob started, looking at him with a stern atmosphere. “To tell you the truth, we we’re running late for our next plan.” He shifted his gaze back to me and gave me his gentle smile. “Angel?”

“That’s how it is.” I told the guy beside me uneasily. “Next time maybe?”

“Yeah. Next time.” He said.

“Sorry bro, we really have to go now.” Jacob informed him.

“No, it’s fine. Sorry to disturb you guys.” He told Jacob before he turned to me. “Danica, I’m really sorry.”

Then he left, leaving me the same parting words he told me last time. It rang inside my head but I fought the tears that were trying to prickle my eyes. At least this time, he was the one that walked away. Not me.

“Can we go now?” I asked Jacob quite pleadingly. He only smiled at me. It was the same, gentle smile that he always gives me.

“Sure, Angel.” He answered softly.

He stood from his seat and started to walk towards the exit. He did not wait for me but I took no notice of it. I just wanted to leave the place just as quickly as he probably did. I checked our table for any personal belonging that we might have left behind. There was nothing notable besides his cup of coffee that was still full. I couldn’t help but feel odd about it. I was aware how he loved coffee. But I don’t know whether he would usually leave his coffee behind? Maybe he already had too much?

He had already paid for the bills before I managed to reach the counter. I did not try to argue with him about it. I had no energy, or maybe my mind was too preoccupied to do so. I had never expected to see him in a while but he appeared in front of me, as if nothing happened. I wasn’t ready to speak to him yet. Or to her for that matter. I wasn’t prepared to learn the truth that happened behind my back. At least not today when I was feeling all happy inside.

I woke up in the morning thinking that this would be a great day. I felt happy and alive as compared to the previous days. But life always doesn’t go along with your plan. It always finds a way to screw with you. Like today. In an instant, my entire happy mood just went down the drain.

We walked back to his car sharing the same small umbrella under the drizzling sky. It was quiet. So much that I could hear the rain drops falling on the pavement and our footsteps trailing along it. He was not speaking a word. I had no intention of breaking our silence. I don’t want him to ask. Nor do I want to answer. We stayed like that as we walked along the street lined with the same rustic-looking buildings we passed by earlier. It was the same street but everything seemed different to me. And seeing him again made it feel all the more real.

 

<< Chapter Twelve

Chapter Fourteen >>


I planned to have no update for next week because I am really slacking off in writing this story and I will be celebrating Christmas during post-Christmas days. But chapter fourteen just got a proper ending. Yay for me! Am I finally back on track?

By the way, Merry Christmas! Enjoy the holiday season. And as a gift, I will be posting the next chapter on the evening of twenty-fifth. Ho ho ho!

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