"That's....nice." I cringed at the guy who I happen to be on a blind date with, I just wanted to leave, but it seemed rude so I stayed.
He kept talking for hours and I couldn't grasp a word he said, apparently my college roommate Tessa thought it would be a good idea to set me up with someone I know nothing about.
I was still not ready to start a relationship with anyone else even after three years of no calls, no text or mail from him.
At the beginning, he called every day, but after just six months he just stopped, without much of a warning,
I tried calling him several times, but it always went to voicemail. I even tried writing but he never replied not even once.
I spent the rest of that year in total wreck, but luckily I had my roommate Tessa, she helped me through it and I managed to scale through.
"I can't do this." I let out instantly picking up my things to leave, "I'm sorry." I said and ran out of the door before he could stop me.
"Wait!" he ran after men as I tried to stop a taxi, "Alison, please wait." he pleaded,
I turned and gave him a guilty smile,
"I really have to go josh."
"Was it something I said," he asked, sounding hurt.
I sighed and stared him in the eyes, saying.
"You're amazing josh. It's me, I'm not ready for a relationship right now, please understand, it has nothing to do with you."
He nodded sadly,
"I understand, take care."
"Bye, Josh." I said and got away.
This wasn't my first date apparently, and sadly they always ended the same way. So I had to rehearse the end speeches, pathetic, I know.
I just couldn't find that one person that made me feel the same way David made me feel.
He ruined my life.
I quietly slide into the apartment and dropping my keys on the counter, I went poured myself a cup of coffee,
While sipping onto my coffee I thought of so many possible ways this date could have gone without turning into a complete disaster like the rest of them,
'David Hertz! What the hell have you done to me.' I screamed in my head.
"That bad, huh?" Tessa walked in on me.
"You have no idea." I rolled my eyes and sipped my coffee.
She chuckled slightly and poured herself one. Surprisingly, the weather was really cold in L.A, It was freezing, it rarely happens.
"Ali, this it the 5th date you're rejecting in this month alone, let's not even add the numerous one night stands you've had."
She sat and stared worriedly at me,
"You can't keep going on like this."
"I know." I sighed, taking a seat,
I had casual flings once in a while trying to see if I could find that one person that would make me feel exactly the way David did, but sadly nobody even came close to him.
"It's time for you to move on." She reached and gave my hand a tight squeeze. Tessa was the only one besides Olivia that I have opened up about what David, I just told her the basics, I haven't told her the guardian and ward part, or the way older than me part. I didn't want her judging him without actually knowing him first,"Do you know if he still has feelings for you?"
"I doubt...It's been such a long time." My heart hurt at the thought of it.
"Have you thought of going back to Sydney? I'm sure you have questions.."
I went quiet reasoning all the multiple scenarios that could happen if I saw David again, what if he was with someone else or worse, what if he was married with kids, a lot could happen in four years,
My heart wasn't ready for that sort of trauma.
The doorbell interrupted,
"Are you expecting anyone?"Tessa asked.
I shook my head,
"Unless it's Dylan."
Tessa rolled her eyes in disgust,
Tessa and Dylan never seem to get along for some reason, they become like cats and dogs anytime they are around each other.
"I'm shutting the door on his face." Tessa yelled as she went to get the door.
I chuckled and then thought of David, his smile, his body, his touch,
I closed my eyes and replayed every one of them in my head, "Alison, you have a visitor." Tessa interrupted.
I got up and motioned towards the door.
"Who is it?"
Tessa made way for me to see who it was,
"Olivia?" I gasped in shock.
"Hi," she beamed.
"I can't believe you are here." I pulled her into a hug. I just couldn't express how I was feeling, the last time I saw her, was a day before I left for L.A.
I had tried so many times to reach her but it just always went straight to voicemail.
"I missed you too, Ali," She broke away from my hold,
"Oh, my! I'm sorry." I realized we were still standing outside the door, "Come in, this is my roommate, Tessa." I said, shutting the door behind.
Both exchanged pleasantries,
"I would leave you two." Tessa excused herself to her room. I dragged Olivia by the arm and into the kitchen excitedly,
"What would you like to drink?" I asked opening the fridge, "We have coffee, soda, milkshake, champagne, ice cream...vodka." I emphasized on the vodka, we have a lot of crazy memories associated with it, those days we were silly."
"Beer is fine."
I took out a can of beer and handed it to her.
"Thank you." She smiled briefly,
"God! I can't wait to show you around L.A, there are a lot of amazing places to go and I heard Shawn Mendes is having a concert tomorrow---" I went on and on, although it felt like I was mostly talking to myself though.
I was just really excited to have someone from home.
"Ali?" She cut through, there was this sadness on her face that immediately had me in panic mood.
"Olivia, what's wrong?" I moved closer to her.
That was when I noticed the white envelope in her left hand, she had it all along. I was just too excited then to pay attention.
"What's that you're holding?"
She handed it to me with trembling hands, I was reluctant for a bit before I took it from her,
It was an invitation card,
"Are you getting married?" I chuckled.
She doesn't reply,
I gradually strode to the door side of the room as I opened it. I unveiled the card and read it's content, and just like that, brick by brick, my walls crumbled as I realized what it was.
"I'm really sorry, Ali."
"Ali, open up?" Tessa yelled from the other side of the door, "Please, you can't keep doing this to yourself."
I swiped my tears and trudged to get the door,
"Ali?" She whispered concerned.
I threw her a faint smile and crawled back to bed. She stepped further and sat at the edge of the bed, staring at me.
"Are you okay?"
"I'm...fine." I lied,
My heart was hurting a lot.
Henna was dead.
Henna was like a mother to me and I loved her. I didn't even get the chance to say goodbye or thank her for raising me.
Even though I betrayed her trust,
"It's been days...it's time you pull yourself together. I'm sure wherever Henna is at the moment, she's smiling down at you really proud."
"Thank you, Tessa....I will be fine," I gave her a quick smile.
She nodded and decided not to push further,
"I'm heading for work, do you need anything?" she asked and got up to leave, "And, I already called Dylan--"
"I'm going back to Sydney." I interrupted her, "I won't forgive myself if I don't at least attend her memorial service."
She turned back to face me with a questionable look on her face,
"Are you sure that's the only reason?"
"This is not about David, Tessa. I'm going home because I owe it to Henna to at least be in her memorial service." I was irritated that she brought him up knowing how I was feeling at the moment.
"Fine...I'm sorry." She apologized, she went quiet as if thinking of her next words carefully, "So when are you leaving?"
"Thursday morning." I answered.
"Great...I'm coming with you."
"Tessa, you don't have to do that."
"It's not up for discussion, I'm coming with you and that's final. I don't trust you being alone at the memorial service with that ex-boyfriend of yours. Seeing how nuts you are for him you, you would probably throw yourself on him at the first chance, but luckily I would be there to stop you before you make a fool of yourself."
"It's not about him." I said bluntly.
"Tell that to your David crazy hormones."
"Tessa!" I warned.
"Well, it's the truth."
She was right, I do need guidance around David.
"Fine, you can come." I said and she beamed, "But remember we are going for Henna and not David."
"Yeah, right."She snickered,
I shot her a glare,
"Fine...for Henna," She said sarcastically and finally left the room.
As soon as she left I laid back on the bed and flooded my mind with memories of Henna, just the thought of never seeing her again tormented me.
The rush of emotion passing through me was too much for me to handle, so I just cried myself to sleep.
After the long and stressful hours on the plane, Tessa and I made it into Australia in one piece. We got our bags from the baggage claim and went to catch a taxi.
Henna spent her most of her days with us, she was family, so the service was at David's place. Luckily, we had enough time to get ready before it started.
I looked out of the window, my mind counting the passing trees. This wasn't how I planned to come home, or how I planned to face David again, I wanted more time.
No matter how much I tried, I couldn't deny that I was afraid of what awaits me.
"Are you okay?" Tessa asked, noticing how tense I was.
I nodded and threw in a smile.
Moments later we arrived at the penthouse.
I wouldn't call it my home anymore.
I nodded and we got down from the car.
I stood on the sidewalk and fidgeted at the penthouse right in front of me.
"Holy fuck!" Tessa exclaimed standing next to me with both our bags in her hands, "Who the hell his your ex- boyfriend, Ali....fucking Bill gates."
I chuckled at her outburst,
"C'mon." I dragged her towards the door,
I wonder how she would react once she sees David Hertz.
"Seriously Ali, who is your ex- boyfriend?" She let out, admiring the front yard as we made it towards the entrance.
I stared at the door for while,
Tessa came and gave my shoulder a reassuring squeeze,
"Everything will be fine, just pull yourself together and be strong."
I smiled faintly at her and rang the doorbell.
Seconds later, the door opened revealing an elderly lady in a blue uniform,
"Welcome." she said assuming we were guests
We stepped inside and she helped us with the bag,
"Make yourself comfortable." She shut the door behind us and went upstairs.
"Woah! Ali...I can't believe you grew up in this house, it's so beautiful." Tessa admired in awe,
The house hadn't changed much, besides the decorations for the occasion everything still remained the same.
"Shit!.." I heard Tessa squeal from behind,
I was too engulfed in recalling the memories I had in this house to pay attention to her, "Ali?" A familiar voice waved in and I turned to see Micheal walking surprisingly towards me,
He looked exactly as I remembered him,
I grinned as he pulled me into a hug,
I hugged him back, overjoyed to see him again.
He pulled away and noticed Tessa.
"My roommate..." I waved in and he chuckled, turning his attention back to me.
"God! look at you." He exclaimed, scrolling down my body.
I laughed and punched his shoulder playfully,
"Someone's been working out!" I teased.
"Yeah, the perks of working with David Hertz..." He said, but didn't notice how I lit up at the mention of the name.
"It's nice to see you again, Micheal," I said.
I didn't realize how much I missed everyone else until now.
"I'm really sorry about Henna." he says sadly, "She was really special."
I nodded and tried hard not to cry,
"Thank you."I managed to say, before Tessa walked up to us.
"Hello, I'm Tessa," She said.
"Nice to meet you Tessa. I'm Micheal, Alison's one and only partner in crime."
Tessa laughs louder than supposed.
There was an awkward silence between us after that,
"Where's the restroom?" She felt embarrassed.
Micheal and I pointed towards the stairs,
"If you'll excuse me." She rushed towards the way we pointed.
I gave Micheal an apologetic smile,
"Gotta to love her." I say slightly,
"So, How's school? L.A?"
"I have one semester left to be done with business school," I said, proud that I was almost done with college.
"That's amazing, you're going to be a successful businesswoman soon. Let's toast to that." he said and led me towards the bar, "I'm guessing you're old enough now."
"What would you like? beer." He pulled out a bottle of beer. But quickly my eyes snapped to the bottle of bourbon,
"Bourbon." I exclaimed.
He turned to me with a shocked expression on his face,
"Bourbon?" He repeated, unsure he heard correctly.
"Ali is a strong drinker." Tessa said from behind, "She drinks like a wild man." She added, gaining a murderous look from me. I admit, I learned some bad habits in college.
I'm not proud of them, but I had to manage somehow.
Micheal poured me bourbon, then him and Tessa had beer.
"To Henna and better headings." Micheal raised his bottle,
"To henna." Tessa and I repeated, and we clicked glasses before taking our various sips.
Where the hell is he? My mind scavenged for him---
"You shouldn't be drinking liquor." Came the voice I have been craving for years.
I spurned around and my heart stopped in place, standing in front of me were the sexy blue eyes of the Man I love,
"Holy shit, Ali!" Tessa exclaimed behind me.
He looked as electrifying as I remembered.
I had to fight with the demons tempting me to reach and kiss him. What's wrong with me? This is the same man who caused me so much pain and yet I felt no animosity staring at him.
Tessa bumped me on the side.
"Hi..." That was the best I could manage.
He chuckled and came to me.
"Welcome home, Ali." He pulled me by the waist and hugged me.
As he held me in there I could feel my body start to betray me, inhaling his fresh scent, which brought back a lot of memories.
Tessa appeared over his shoulder and threatened me. I used every ounce of self-control I had left in me and broke away from him.
"Hhm, It's nice seeing you, David." I whispered deciding not to give away the depth of his effect on me.
"I'm sorry about Henna. We all knew how much she meant to you." he said with sincerity in his eyes.
I nodded with a smile, not able to trust my voice.
We stood there in silence staring at each other, lost for words. I couldn't tell what he was thinking staring at me, but I was recalling every moment we spent together, such memories were the only closure I had to keep me sane.
"I really appreciate--" He was interrupted.
"David, I have been looking everywhere for you." A tall lady appeared in front of him and fixed his rough collar, "There are guests here just to see you."
Who the hell is she?
"You were supposed to handle the other guests, Lydia?"
"They insisted, I think they are from the firm." Please, let it not be what I'm thinking, my heartbeat accelerated.
"Oh! Hello." She noticed me, "You must be Alison, I'm Lydia, It's nice to meet you. I have heard a lot of good things about you, everyone keeps singing your praises around here, it's good." Her smile appeared unnatural, anyone could see she's faking it, "I'm also very sorry about Henna.."
I ignored her and eyed David,
He better have not replaced me with that, I glared at him.
"Ali---" He was about to explain himself when the bitch cut him off. Who does this woman think she is?
"The guests are waiting, David. You two can catch up later, there is a lot of time." Anger boiled inside me.
He nods to her,
"I will get back to you, Ali." he said apologetically and left me with her.
She watched as he walked away, still with that fake smile on her face, but once she was certain he was out of sight she turned to me with disdain, I knew that smile was a fake.
"Who the hell are you?" I spat.
She snickered like she found my question offensive.
"His girlfriend." She said and scowled as I completely fell apart.