The Gentiles

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I wanted to drive her home.

Callie pleaded to me with her huge pacific blue eyes hiding behind thick glasses to help her escape the questioning that would surely commence once she was alone with her parents in their car.

How did they even arrive so soon?

The school must have informed them as soon as Callie was taken to the clinic. It was a serious matter, I’d have done the same thing if I didn’t know how Callie would feel about it.

Despite being beautiful, smart and talented, Callie refused to believe that she was a knockout. And she was the only one.

Even her best friend Ophelia knew this.

Callie has the signature Cristo blonde hair like me. The shades of our hair were almost identical, more alike than any of the rest of our family.

I used to love that similarity about us.

I love how we have the same shade of blue eyes, the same skin tone. Mine had become more tan due to playing basketball outdoors often but when we were young, Callie and I were both pale as fuck. Her skin had more color to it now, although still fair. It doesn’t make me love it even less.

The two of us looked the most Cristo out of the rest of the younger generation, and there were only four of us. We even appeared more like twins than Abe and Ane does.

Ane has blonde hair, too, although hers were bordering closer to light brown with its ashy tone. On the other hand, Abe couldn’t look anymore different than the rest of us. He was the only one in the family who had brown hair so dark it seemed black. He had the same eye color as us, though, so we weren’t worried about his heritage. I mean, one of the two parents who both have light hair have a recessive gene for dark hair that they could pass on to a child, right? At least that’s what I remember from Biology.

These traits that I shared with Callie I used to be proud of, feeling somewhat closer to her because we have a lot in common.

As I grew older and began to develop more than filial emotions for her, I began to hate being so akin to her.

I still love everything about her, I truly do. I just hated that when noticing those things, I now remember that we are a family.

Same surname. Same blood.

From the passenger’s seat, Taylor Swift belted out the chorus to the song, “Our Song”. With one hand, I reached out and put the brown bag on the car floor from where I placed it on top of my jacket.

My lips stretched into a smile. Callie had set that song as my ringtone three years ago and I had no plan to change it, ever.

I answered the call at once, and with clear joy in my voice, greeted who I assumed was my girl.

“Took you long enough.”

“Hey.” The girl on the other line sounded relieved. “I’m sorry. I tried to call earlier but you weren’t answering.”

I had not thought about her since I walked her to her first class.

I pinched the bridge of my nose.

Even to my ears, the depletion of my enthusiasm was evident. “Hannah.”

Here’s a girl I had been keeping on a leash for a while now. Really nice but not really my type. Since the fiasco with that other girl Callie caught me in bed in, I’d never really wanted to get back out in the game.

So here’s my solution.

Hannah was a simple girl, she told me shyly that she never expected me to take interest in her and truth be told, I never would have.

I was clear with her from the beginning and told her that I just wanted a friend. I never asked her out on a date, never insinuated or tried anything with her. And I was upfront when I told her that I wasn’t looking forward to us having a relationship.

I had a gut feeling that she somehow knew that I was just using her to keep other girls from approaching me but she’d been very cool about it all.

I just couldn’t handle any girl right now, maybe ever.

I was out of focus. I had lost my appetite.

When I used to date to satisfy my needs, since that night I saw her heartbroken face and remembered how she distanced herself from me like I’m the plague, I’d lost my interest in getting it on with anyone else.

It’s her face in my mind when I was looking at another girl and even when I close my eyes, her image still clouded my thoughts.

I’d wanted to release all of the pent up emotions I have for her, I wanted to forget her and free her from the monster that was my true self.

That night, I admitted defeat and with all honesty I told myself that I couldn’t do it. Not anymore. Not ever again.

I knew she was hurt by what she saw, and wasn’t that what I wanted? So she’ll keep herself away from me. Because that was the only way for her to stay safe.

But something changed that night as I realized something, as I hoped what I saw was real and not just wishful thinking.

There might be a possibility, the slightest of a chance, that Callie feels the same way about me.

It couldn’t just be an innocent crush, or a sort of possessiveness a sister had for her brother.

Shit, even thinking about that makes me wanna puke.

I love Callie more than as a sister.

Is it possible that she loves me the same way, too?

She tried to avoid me and acted like nothing happened but I know her all too well. She couldn’t hide from me. She’s an open book I could read even with the lights out.

The way her eyes pooled with tears and her labored breathing echoed through the empty house as I tried to chase her told me there might be something there. The hurt I saw in her eyes tore me apart. It was deep and palpable. I almost went crazy for being the one who caused it but that had to count for something, seeing my own heartbreak in her.

I was either too blind to see or too daft to believe it.

There was only one way to know and I’m willing to risk everything for a chance to be with her.

I’d lose her anyway if I did what I ’d done before when I thought it was the right thing. These past few weeks just showed me that.

Knives plunged deep in my chest every time she’d act unnatural with me. Every time I notice her being careful with her words and actions, her touch which I crave the most were gone and her laughter couldn’t be any more fake.

It gutted me to see her be wary of me, when little by little I feel her drawing farther and farther away from me.

If I can’t keep her when I tried to be with another girl just for her sake, there will be no stopping me from unleashing my true desires for her then.

And, my god, if she feels the same way…

“Is your cousin alright?”

I took a deep breath before answering.

As I expected, the news about Callie had spread like wildfire. I could only assume it was those perpetrators who began to defend themselves early on to free themselves from blame and change the narrative before the real victim could speak up.

“Yeah, she needed stitches but she’ll be fine.”

I hope so.

Kim and her nasty lackeys should hope so or I swear to god, the whole school’s about to see me as they’ve never seen before.

Hannah hummed agreeingly. “That’s great. I hope she gets better soon.”

There was an awkward silence on the line as I didn’t respond. I just wanted her to hang up. I was almost home.

“Um, listen. If you want, I could stop by and…”

Deciding to save her from being so embarrassed, I took initiative to turn her down. “It’s alright, Han. We’re fine. Callie’s parents are with us. And you still have school tomorrow.”

“You’re not going to school tomorrow?”

I had to do a double take. For such a simple looking girl, she’s intuitive.

“Yeah, I need to watch Callie.”

When Hannah showed no signs to hang up, I again took it upon myself to end the conversation.

“Listen, I’m driving. Thanks for your concern but really, there’s no need. Don’t worry about it. I’ll talk to you soon, okay?”

A split second had passed before she replied, “Okay. Talk to you soon. Take care, Harry.”

I would have probably felt guilty right now if my concern wasn’t still with Callie.

Hannah sounded like she genuinely wanted to do something to help but I can’t deal with her right now. I don’t need her. Meanwhile, Callie needed me and I’ll be damned if I let her down again.

I parked in the driveway almost the same time as uncle Ted switched his engine off.

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