Mending and Rebellion
Leah's POV :
I’m woken up on New Year’s eve by a hyperactive Maggie jumping on my bed while Tracy sad on my window sill arguing with Kevin who is sitting on the window sill of his room over something stupid as usual. I groan and hide myself under the blanket but nothing deters Maggie’s enthusiasm.
“Wakey, wakey Leah. It’s half past noon already. And we have a big day ahead.” She sings.
I groan further, realizing that I missed my daily Cafe session but I didn’t want to disturb Axel when the cafe was closed. Who knows, he might be partying with his friends too.
“Fine, I’m up.” I say and roll over making the comforter fall on the ground.
“Finally.” Maggie jumps and falls beside me, bouncing twice on my bed.
“I don’t even know why you guys are here early. The party doesn’t start until eight.” I mumble and get out of the bed, combing my hair with my fingers.
Tracy’s attention is back on us now that Kevin has disappeared into his room. She rolls her eyes and Joins Maggie on the bed. “Well, duh. We’ve got to prepare to look like divas tonight.”
“Yeah, and that can’t be done under three hours before the party?” I scoff and take out fresh pajamas and head into my ensuite to shower.
“Looking like diva takes effort!” Tracy shouts before I close the door.
I shake my head and lose myself in the warm water. Because of the party, I decide to wash my hair too. I enjoy myself in the shower, taking a whole hour as the music blasts in the background. It’s when I have replenished all the hot water when I decide to exit.
When I come out, Tracy and Maggie are scrolling through a selection of Netflix movies on my laptop I quirk an eyebrow at them. “This is the effort you were talking about?”
Tracy pouts and nods. “Yep. We need to take diva lessons from Mean Girls and Legally Blondes before we act like it.”
“Besides, you were taking too much time to shower.” Maggie reasons.
I chuckle. “I wouldn’t mind some Mean Girls before I throw myself in hell trap at Yana’s.” I put on lotion on my body and dry my hair before joining the other two on the bed. We spend the next four hours watching both the Mean Girls movies and Legally Blonde movies and munching on chips from my secret stash in the closet.
When Tracy’s phone gives out a loud shrill indicating that it’s six pm (leave it to her to set an alarm for the party), she jumps on the bed frantically screaming that we’re late.
“Calm down, Trace. It’s just six. We have two hours before the party starts.” Maggie tries to sooth her.
“No, Mags, you don’t understand! I calculated the time it will take each of us to get ready and we have to start at five to be able to finish around eight. Now we’ll be late.” She paces around the room clutching her head.
“Fashionably late, Trace. Like the divas we are.” I say. My words calm her down as she grins at me.
“Hell yeah, bitches, the divas are coming. Now hurry your asses before we waste anymore time.” She says and pushes Maggie and me towards the dressing table. “I’m wearing red.” She announces.
“Good, because I decided on black.” Maggie says and they both look at me with expectations.
I roll my eyes. “Neither. I have a gold colored dress.” I answered their answered question making them sigh in relief. [Her dress is the same as Hailee Steinfeld’s silver dress from Most Girls MV, just in gold color instead of silver. Her look is same too.]
“Thank God. Now I’ll get on with the hair and Maggie can do the make up.” Tracy announces.
“And what about me?” I ask.
They both grin at me. “You sit back and look good.”
I shake my head. “Not happening. I know what I want to look like and I think I can manage well.”
They both pout but don’t argue. I don’t want to put too much make-up, not that I know much about it, just the basics. All I do is straighten my hair and give it a messy look and apply a blood red lipstick to achieve a bold look. By the time I’m dressed and ready, Maggie is still doing Tracy’s makeup while her hair is curled into soft waves. Maggie’s make-up is done to perfection and her hair is made in a messy but sophisticated half up-half down hairdo.
I collect my thinks, namely my phone and some cash in case of any emergency. I also take my id that I hide in my phone’s back cover. Now if I lose the phone, I lose my money and id along with it. For occasions like this, I have a garter with a pocket I asked Mom to make for me and hide my phone there on my thigh, under my dress.
I put on my sparkly red heels that match the color of my lips and shine of the dress and I’m ready. I turn to look at Tracy who is twirling in a flowy red dress that is tight just after the boob area and ends a few inches above her knee. The straps are an inch thick and cross over each other giving her a model like look She completes her look with matching red heels. Maggie has also put on her strapless black dress that is sequined at the chest and ruffles flow from below till her mid thighs. She is wearing black stilettos looking sexy as ever.
“Damn, we really look like divas.” Tracy says in awe as we stand in front of the mirror and admire ourselves.
“Whatever do you mean? We are divas, babe.” I grin and pull them closer as Maggie makes several boomerangs for Instagram.
When it’s finally eight, we decide to head out. After another session of pictures that Mom forced us to take, we walk out and find Kevin leaving against Grant’s Mercedes in black dress pants and white dress shirt and a thin-only-for-fashion lose red tie. Maggie and I share a knowing look as we climb into the backseat. Tracy huffs and takes the passenger seat and Kevin backs out of our driveway.
“You guys look good.” He compliments during the ride.
“We know.” Tracy comments back and sticks out her tongue at him.
He raises an eyebrow at her. “And I thought I was talking to Leah and Maggie?” We suppress our laughs in the backseat and thank Kevin.
“I still can’t believe Grant let you drive his car tonight.” I huff. “He never let me drive it.”
Kevin chuckles. “He made me give him a written vow that I won’t drink tonight and will get you hone safe before handing over the keys to me.”
“That sounds like him.” I chuckle. “But you can enjoy and drink. I don’t plan on drinking among those people so I’ll drive. And I will have an excuse to drive this beauty for once too.”
He chuckles. “Maybe I’ll take you up on that offer if I feel like. But I’m not a fan of alcohol.”
“Yeah.” Tracy snorts. “You prefer butter beer.”
He smirks. “Damn right, I do.”
Beside me Maggie mutters, “These two should kiss it out already.”
I sink back in my seat. “Just wait for the clock to strike twelve.” I snicker and low-five her under the seat.
We reach Yana’s place under thirty minutes and the place is packed with drunk teenagers dancing to the beats of loud bass. The houses around also seem to be hosting their own parties so no one minds good loud music. We all get out after Kevin parks the car at a safe distance from drunk out of their minds teens and we walk the rest way.
“Leah!” Yana greets me with a hug. “Thank God, you came. I though you were gonna ditch me alone in this mess.” She giggles.
Yeah, I think, I had to come to your rescue, bestie.
She waves enthusiastically at my friends and stumbles indicating she’s drunk and walks away to greet more people as they continue to arrive. Tracy leaves me to get us drinks and Kevin follows her. Maggie squeezes my arm telling me she’s their and I smile gratefully at her. “I’ll be fine, Mags. You can go and enjoy.”
“I can enjoy with you.” She shrugs and I roll my eyes.
“Don’t baby sit me and go, dance or something.” I push her and she giggles. She looks hesitant as she gives me a look as if thinking hard but another nudge from me has her walking towards a cute guy and soon, they are both dancing together.
I sigh. If not alcohol, I’ll need a soda to go through with this party.
Three hours later, I have roamed all around the house, had five cans of sprite, made two trips to washroom and am bored out of my mind now. I found Maggie making out with the same guy from before about an hour ago but she has been lost since then. About Tracy and Kevin, well, I found them fighting just a few minutes ago upstairs and left them to solve their matters themselves.
Walking down the stairs, my eyes roam around the makeshift dance floor and land on a couple slow dancing to a romantic song playing. It doesn’t take long to guess who they are as I recognize Ronnie in a knee length blue dress and Sean in casual jeans and a black shirt. My heart clenches and I tighten my hold on the railing. My face remains stoic as a few eyes dance back and forth me and the new golden couple.
I feel vulnerable and broken but I don’t let them see it. Instead, like the bitch I am, I walk down with tall, measured steps. It seems like I’m walking towards them and some of the people stop doing whatever they were doing in hopes of some drama but I won’t give them any satisfaction. Okay, maybe I could give them something.
I walk straight towards the couple and break them off, walking past between their bodies and straight towards the main door.
“Leah.” Sean grits out in anger but I don’t stop and continue walking.
I want to snap, I want to yell, I want to scream. I want to demand answers but no words are ready to come out of my mouth - only tears. So I don’t say anything. But people are watching and they want drama. I look to my right and meet Yana’s eyes who’s smirking, knowing I’ll give her what she wants and I do.
I stop just in front of the door, turn around and face the couple. Ronnie is holding onto Sean’s arm who is fuming in anger. I scoff at first and then I smirk. Before making my diva exit, I grab a cup of beer from someone’s hand and throw it at my aim. It hits her square in the face and she gasps like people must have wanted to and I grin a cheshire grin before turn on my heels and make that dramatic exit.
As I step outside, cold, chilling air blows over my skin but I don’t feel cold. Instead, I feel like the ice princess I have become.
I have no doubt that the whole incident must have been recorded on someone’s phone. It will be soon over the internet and I will be Insta famous. The whole school will know, Tracy, Kevin and Maggie included even though I know that there will be three people to understand my side, I myself am one of those who feel disgusted by what I did. I wasn’t so petty but look what he made me do.
I know this will not end with this. As soon as the school re-opens, Sean is going to approach me and I won’t give him the satisfaction on confronting me. I won’t give him answers he wants. Not now at least. Not until I get answers to my questions. And right now, I don’t think I’m strong enough to know the answers. All I know is that I’m in a rebellion with myself. I want answers but I won’t take them. I want to move on and heal but I don’t allow myself to.
With these thoughts in mind, I walk down the street and pass Grant’s car. I could have stopped and waited for my friends, texted them to take me home but I don’t. Instead, I continue walking down the street without a particular destination in mind.
I don’t know for how long I walk but I soon find myself in front of Cafe Holden. It’s a few minutes past eleven but I see a faint, yellow florescent light on inside. The closed sign is facing outside but my feel still walk up to the glass doors. Somehow, I know the door isn’t locked and I push it open so hear the familiar sound of the wind chime.
Axel looks up as the door closes behind me and I walk in but he isn’t surprised to find me here. He is sitting on my regular booth table with a bottle of beer half empty on the table and I walk towards him. “Fancy seeing you here, all dressed up. Is it for me?”
A giggle escapes my lips and I take a seat across from him. “Maybe.” He smiles. “Why didn’t you lock the door? It’s almost midnight.” I ask.
He takes a sip of his beer without breaking an eye contact and sighs as he gulps the liquid down. “Maybe I was waiting for you to come.”
There’s something about the air at night which isn’t making our situation any awkward. There are no scowls or coffees but smiles and beers. The air is intense and find myself being comforted by it. Maybe it’s the florescent light glowing above the counter giving the cafe a dimming, intense look, or maybe it’s the night air. Or maybe it’s Axel himself. I’m not sure but I know I feel good right here.
“What if I didn’t come?” I ask and lean on my arms crossed on the table.
He copies my stance and wets his lips, eyes locked with mine. “I knew you would.”
My breath hitches as the atmosphere grows tense. If he notices this, he doesn’t do anything to break it. I find myself unable to look away either.
“Hungry?” He asks after a while, leaning back and finishing off the beer in one large gulp.
I raise a brow. “You have something for me?”
He stands and starts walking behind the counter and towards the kitchen and I wordlessly follow him. “Maybe together, we could fix something.”
“Like?” I ask, my heart fluttering with excitement at the idea.
He turns to look at me. “Pizza?”
I grin. “I’m in.”
Axel takes out two pre-made bases and spreads sauce on them. He tells me to chose my choice of toppings and within minutes, two pizzas are being baked in the oven.
I lean on the square shaped marble counter in the middle of the kitchen right in front of a large fridge. He leans just beside the fridge and folds his arms on his chest. He takes his time to check me out, hips tongue darting out to wet his lips. He meets my eyes and smiles softly. “You look beautiful tonight.”
My breath hitches but I laugh. “I’m not sure if you’re drunk because the Axel I know won’t ever say something like that.”
He chuckles and looks down before meeting my eyes again. “Maybe you don’t know the real Axel.” He pauses before adding, “And just because I don’t say doesn’t mean you aren’t. You will always be beautiful, Leah. Whether someone tells you that or not. You should know that and you knowing should be enough.”
I’m speechless and unable to break our intense eye contact, unable to move. His words race through my mind and touch the softest corners of my heart making me feel funny. The oven beeps, cutting off any response I could have mustered and he goes to take them out.
“Maybe I want to get to know this Axel, the real Axel.” I say softly, mostly to myself but he hears it.
He turns to face me and smiles as if he’s hiding a big secret. “Maybe you will.”
I sigh and shake my head, pushing away these feelings and thoughts out of my mind and concentrate on the pizza we made. As I go to pick up a slice, he slaps my hand away. I look up at him and frown. “What?”
“Kitchen isn’t the best place to eat pizza.” He says.
I quirk a brow and fold my arms. “Yeah, and where is?”
He smirks. “I’ll show you. Meanwhile, pack these in a box.” I do as told and he goes over to the fridge and brings out two beer bottles. When he packs everything in two different plastic bags, he drags me out by elbow. He locks the front door from the inside and witches off the lights and leads us out of the backdoor.
“Wait here.” He says and hands me both the bags and rushes up the stairs. Moments later, he returns with a sweatshirt over the full tee he was wearing and another for me along with a bag over his shoulder. Suddenly feeling cold, I put it on me and smell in a scent of musk, mint and Axel. He gestures me to get in his truck as he does the same and backs out once we’re both seated.
“Where are we going?” I ask, confused as he rides up the hill on the unfamiliar road.
“You’ll see.” He vaguely answers. I shrug, trusting him and pull out my phone to see it’s fifteen minutes to twelve.
Soon, he’s pulling up at a place I’ve only seen in newspapers and Instagram. We’re on the cliff that looks over at the whole town and from up here, everything looks so bright since almost every house is lighted up, waiting for the new year to arrive. He parks his truck in such a way that the truck bed faces the cliff and I mentally agree that it’s the best place to eat pizza as I get out.
Axel follows my suit along with his bag as I take our food. He goes around the back and climbs up, spreading the blankets he brought in the bag. When he’s done, he pulls me up. We both get comfortable with another blanket around our legs as we sit facing the city from up here and devour our food.
“So? Best place to eat pizza or not?” He asks after we finish the first box within minutes.
I nod taking a sip of my beer. “Totally. I never thought places like this existed in real.”
He chuckles. “Neither. Julie told me about this place. She was proposed right here.”
I smile giddily. “Wow, so romantic.”
“Only five minutes left before the clock strikes twelve. Don’t you wanna be with your friends or family right now?” He asks.
I turn to face him and smile. “I’m where I was supposed to be. Plus this view is a bonus.”
He grins. “Just wait till you see the fireworks from up here.”
“Can’t wait!” I say, genuinely excited.
After we’re done eating, a sudden tiredness engulfs my body and I lay down and cover my legs up until my waist.
Axel lies beside me and whispers, “Ten.”
“Nine.” I count with him.
“Happy New Year, Axel.” I smile softly at him.
He pushes my hair back from my face and covers up both till chest under the blanket. “Happy New year, Leah.”
We both turn towards the sky as fireworks explode, coloring the sky in mesmerizing colors. I smile at the view and sigh in content. As the cool winds lull me to sleep, I snuggle closer to him and he wraps and arm around my shoulders, all while wishing this new year to be a good year for me.