31st day of January 2014
Miles was too mortified to go near me for the next few days. Though his actions greatly annoyed me, I let him have some space. I didn't mind. It's not like he's going to flirt around if I did. The thought somehow amused me and at the same time wanted me to drag him away and lock him in a closet.
Anyway, Miss Homeroom came to me one morning, giving me the certificate from the ceremony last Friday. Mel and Mr Playboy already explained that this was the reason our plan failed. They announced the fact that I was at the hospital at that time. Not that the plan was a complete failure, the emcee was clever enough to somehow convince the people that Miles didn't skive and miss the ceremony on purpose but that he came running to me.
"It was bad timing for me to have that fever last week." I told Miss Homeroom.
"Why is that?" Miss Homeroom asked.
"I can use it as an excuse to take a picture of Miles' embarrassed face when receiving a certificate for getting a perfect score on last year's N.A.T. exam." My plan was for everyone to see that Miles wasn't much of delinquent if he's capable of random academic feats such as that one.
"Oh?" Miss Homeroom rolled her eyes in annoyance. I guess it wasn't enough then. I hate it when they give weird looks whenever I talk about Miles. It's like they continuously telling me that he's the worst decision I ever made. "Ugh... Miss Garcia! You know how uncomfortable it is for me to hear you talk about Mr Vera. I'm already at that age where I should have changed my last name due to change in Civil Status," she paused for the sake of dramatization, and then she held my shoulders and looked at me in the eyes. "So stop being a pest,"
I'm glad at the improvement.
Miss Homeroom turned away to probably get to her last class but then again when at a mid-pace, she turned back, remembering something. She took out a lamination from her folder, similar to what I'm holding, and handed it to me.
"Oh, could you pass Mr Vera's certificate to him for me, will you? I kept forgetting during class and I can't seem to find him during free periods." Yeah, me too.
When Miss Homeroom finally took a turn, I had a wonderful idea.
"I'm going to his house!" I declared, raising my right fist in the middle of the corridor to anyone within earshot. Then, I remembered my earlier thoughts about giving him some space. And then, I decided that it didn't really matter on the next second.
Miles had already made a zip-line home when the second the last period announced dismissal. So, I guess he's at home right about now since that was almost an hour ago.
I made my way to the oh-so familiar tracks, remembering the times that I can only look at him from afar. That was when I'm still afraid of judgemental remarks.
I guess those were the times that I was most normal, just a normal girl in that age of boy-craziness. I got interested at the sight of a lonely boy almost my age, looking like every living existence had abandoned him. Although he looked bashful and timid, he also looked so sturdy, despite the fact that he didn't look like he's being taken care of properly. That must be the time when that rush of what most people mistakes for as love came to me, a rush of infatuation. Back then, despite not knowing what love really meant I decided that he's going to be mine. Oh fond memories…
Finally, I arrived at where he lives. It reminded me of the time when Miles and I weren't close yet, those afternoon strolls on this street for a chance to steal a glance at him. Ironically, when we started to become close I spent less of my time in this area than before.
Now, in front of his door I tried to think of how to start up a conversation with one, two, or possibly all the three witches that live in this place. Well, there is a chance for a non-witchy encounter provided that Miles himself would be the one to answer the door. Deciding that I should just go with the flow, I knocked on the door. And indeed, the youngest witch answered it.
We examined at each other before I decided to actually speak.
"Er… Is Miles home?"
"Miles? Who's Miles?" I frowned at her response. Was she joking?
Are they hiding Miles? They didn't do anything to him, did they?
"You know, Miles. He's a boy my age and I'm very sure that he living here."
"Oh, you mean Alicia's kid…" She seriously doesn't know Miles' first name?
"That's probably him," I nodded. The girl looked at me with a complicated look.
"Who are you to him?" she asked. Why can't she just call him? It's not like she actually cares for him. Not knowing how to response to Miles' first name was enough evidence. And as far as I know, they treat Miles here more as a maintenance guy than family. Oh wait, why can't I JUST CALL HIM?
"Well?" The girl in front of me was waiting for a response. I might have zoned out for a moment there.
"Could you just tell him that it's Chloe? He'll know." As I said that, she sighed looking like she was trying to figure out something.
"Look, sister, I'm not going to go up there. You should probably go too." What does that mean? I know that he's being neglected and they sometimes lay their hands on him but would they really physically assault him.
"W-why not?" I was afraid of asking so afraid that I never heard myself say something so silently before.
"I don't know, the boy is acting up. He even yelled at us. He doesn't usually do that." She said while keeping her uninterested poker face.
"Who are you talking to Seam?" Another woman appeared behind her. She looked like how my mother dressed when she's on day off from work. At least, when she was still employed-that is. She looked groggy as she took my appearance, laying her beady eyes on me.
"Oh, it's you. Marie Garcia's daughter…" She was a family acquaintance, I guess, Clarabelle. But I usually ignored every person who converses with my mother.
"Hey, boy! Get down here!" Clarabelle yelled, making me flinch. Miles seemingly intentionally ignored her, that or he fell asleep, a few of the possible reason of the lack of response.
"Why that—" Clarabelle looked back at me, making her bite her lip. I didn't know why exactly, but my legs felt like pencil lead all of the sudden. Maybe, it's because of the sight of an agitated Clarabelle's retreating back rushing upstairs.
The agony of waiting for her to come back was short, much to my relief, but I grip the hem of my top as I helplessly watch Miles being dragged down like unimportant package.
"Look, I don't want to see his face for a while," she said as she let go of him. Miles rubbed on the spot the witch had gripped him. He kept looking down, refusing to look at her, me, or Seam. "He's yours."
Only now that it became apparent in Miles face that he finally realized that I was there. Clarabelle pushed us out of the door and slammed it. I was now liable to the boy besides me who was just standing there not making any reactions. I sighed as I realized that he still felt awkward around me.
"Hey, I came for you."
"Well, duh, what do you think? That I came to see Clarabelle?" He smiled, ugh, the nerve. "I'm glad it finally sunk into your dense shell that some people might actually have the capability to care for you," I said, crossing my arms for added effect. He blushed but his cheery smile did not waver. At this point, I started to walk somewhere other than here. And Miles struggled along trying to follow me.
"Yeah, but I care for you too, Chloe... and I think, it's not the best decision for you know—and I just want… whatever you're not listening anymore."
And, I had the audacity to say that he was dense. Oh, well, that's sweet of him.
I turned around to wait for him to catch up but instead I noticed something. A thick cloud had blotted out the twilight sun.
"Did they hurt you?"
"I know that they don't exactly like you but they wouldn't, right?"
"Well, Clarabelle hits me sometimes but I don't think it's enough to catch the authorities' attention. So, I can't say they do."
"Are you sure? You're not hiding bruises or anything?"
"Are you sure?"
"Are you really sure?" Okay that third one was mixed up with the thought of having an excuse to inspect him but that's borderline abuse itself so I didn't give him a chance to answer. "Well, okay then… if you say so."
"But if you didn't come for me—." I only planned on just seeing him for today. "They might have done it or at the very least, they'd ignore me all night and won't let me have dinner."
"Oh, Miles, don't worry! You can stay at our building until they cooled down. We can cook meals together. Oh, Charles might want to cook though. Oh, I know! I'll ask him to approach the au—"
"Charles? Your older brother?"
"Oh, that's right. He and his girlfriend are in fight right now. Well, it's probably because of my hospitalization. Anyway, he's staying at my place for now. Well, it was his to begin with, so – Miles?"
"I'm going back. I'll just make do and stay under some tree." He started to withdraw but I got a good hold of his arms so he wouldn't get away.
"But Chloe—He'll KILL me,"
"No, he won't…"
"Don't be ridiculous. He'll like you," but my insistence didn't shy away his doubts. I guess, I'm just having my fun.
As we reached the building and up to the elevator, Miles tried to persuade me that he'll be thrown to oblivion the moment he met my older brother.
"Ninety-one percent of the time, older brothers beat up the boy their younger sister brings home."
"Well, he's part of the remaining nine, then. And you just made that statistics up. I'm sure you'll get along," I said. He finally accepted his fate, the drama queen.
And I was right. They did get along… eventually – to the point that it made me jealous of how much they got along.
After much, much later though, much later for me to do anything, Miles confessed something. He confessed that he committed a half-lie in our conversation. And he tried his best to sway me away from our original topic. I forgave him, of course, but I think I would never forgive myself, for letting him do that.