She insisted on sleeping alone.
After an evening of pasta, that Callie insisted we cooked together when the only thing she did was boil the pasta and sneak little bites here and there while I cook the meatballs and the sauce, she was still embarrassed by what happened earlier in the bathroom when I was blessed with, lord have mercy, the sight of her young glistening pussy.
Lying here on the couch alone with the television playing muted in the background, I was tempted to run back upstairs where I’d deposited the sleeping Callie and snuggle with her on the bed. She’d freak out once she wakes up in the morning and finds out but I could already feel her arms circling my waist, hugging me tight, asleep and unaware. Yet she could feel that it was me beside her.
On the other hand, I’ll just be torturing myself once again if I go to her right now.
Fuck it. I need to hold her. I need to feel her safe in my arms and make up for being such a shitty protector and a perverted cousin. I need to feel her to calm down my nerves, the feeling that I’m only an impostor posing as this perfect image of a man with a promising future because when she looks at me with those lovely, lovely blue eyes of hers, there’s more than adoration and love. Something inherent to only the both of us that no one would ever understand.
With a deep groan, I flew from the couch and reached out for the remote to turn the television off when the doorbell rang.
I glanced at the clock on the wall finding out that it’s already a quarter past eleven. Too late to be staying up on a school night.
Who could possibly be the person outside?
The doorbell rang again and I was more annoyed by the interruption than by the oddity of someone knocking at our door when we weren’t expecting any visitors, that I didn’t even bother to look through the peephole, yanking the door wide open only to have my jaw and frown drop at the sight.
I couldn’t speak at first but when I found my own voice, it was hoarse with confusion. “Miss Holly?”
Her frown doesn’t match her gentle smile. “Mr. Cristo.”
Her voice is weak and trembling slightly, just like her body. Something is wrong. I stepped back, ready to invite her in and only now did I realize what she was wearing.
To her chest, she was clutching a black leather jacket on that’s a few size larger than her frame. It’s almost as if she was naked from the waist down and that got me flustered at first but I quickly noticed her sheer black fishnet stockings tucked inside a pair of black glossy high heels. Her hair was pulled in tight in a ponytail but had gone disarray, and the makeup she had on mad mostly melted off her face.
She doesn’t look like the Miss Holly who teaches English Literature in our school. Still, no matter how different her clothes are now from her usual ones when she’s in class, I still see her as a teacher. It’s still her and she needs help.
“Sorry to bother you so late at night,” she says with a broken voice. “Are your aunt and uncle home?”
Everybody knew of my relationship with the Lane’s and how in the past year, Ted and Michie had been traveling a lot lately and leave their teenage daughter with her cousin.
“I j-just need to use the phone. I l-lost my mobile phone somewhere.”
Even if she didn’t ask me, I’d still give her what she needs. My eyes searched the dark neighborhood behind her and I notice her catch her breath. Okay, something is definitely not right.
I motioned for her to come inside. “Sure thing, miss Holly.”
I made sure that I locked the front door before I led her to the kitchen. “There it is,” I tell her pointing at the landline phone hanging on the wall.
At first, she looked disoriented, like she didn’t know what it is that she was supposed to do, then like a zombie, she walked over the phone and took it from the receiver. She stared at the dial pad long and hard and I took that moment to secure the backdoor lock as well. To my surprise, it was unlocked. I must have forgotten to lock it after I threw the garbage out.
When I was sure that we are safe inside the house, I went back to her.
“Miss Holly,” I tried. She was still where I left her, motionless. “Miss Holly,” I tried again, a little louder.
This time, she jolted. “Oh, uhm. Sorry. I forgot the number.” She frowned, putting the phone back in its place.
“Are you alright? Do we need to call the police?”
At my last word, she swiftly turned to face me. “No!” she exclaimed in a panicked tone. “It’s alright.”
Miss Holly was tried to make her voice sound normal but something already slipped in her cracks. I was cautious when I began to approach her.
“Miss Holly, don’t worry. We’ll get help and whoever – ”
She shook her head hard. “No, it’s fine. Really, Harry.”
Now she’s really making me worry. She never called me by my first name. Ever.
“I just need to – ”
I bet my eyes matches the wideness of miss Holly’s.
“Is that… Miss Lane?”
Callie sounded like she was at the stairs. I don’t know if she’s about to go down or not. I don’t want her to see miss Holly like this or ever know of this encounter. Miss Holly is her hero and I’ll be damned if I let her image in Callie’s head be destroyed by just one late night visit.
“Miss Holly, I can’t believe I’m saying this but can you please hide behind the counter?”
Her eyes cleared up and there was determination in them that wasn’t there before. She nodded her head and I ushered her to crouch behind the said counter.
“I’m really sorry,” I whispered to her. “I just don’t want Callie to see you like this.”
There was no time to move away as Callie walked in the kitchen. She rubbed her eyes, like an adorable little kitten, and my heart melts at the mere innocence of the gesture.
“Who were you talking to?” she yawned and I couldn’t help myself. I walked over to her and wrapped her in my arms.
I kissed the top of her head, gently smoothing her hair.
“Nobody. I was practicing my speech for when I ask you to prom.”
That earned a giggle. She pushed at my chest.
“You can’t ask me. Besides,” she tilted her head up and looked at me and even with her bedroom eyes and lazy smile I felt it, that connection. That adoration and something else a little bit more than love that is equally as unexplainable as why is there an exception to every rule. “How do you know I’ll say yes?”
I stare a little while on her beautiful face, knowing that I must look like a painting to her without her glasses on, but still feeling the warmth of her gaze. She might be kidding but I’m not.
“I’ll plan the unbeatable and best proposal ever,” I tell her sincerely, sliding her hands from my back to my chest where I want her to feel just how wild she makes my heart beat. “I’ll do it one spring day, preferably on our break, so we’re both free and the weather is the nicest.”
Callie loves spring. One who gets to know her might think that she’s an autumn person, and while she also loves that season, spring is her favorite. Rightfully so as she’s as wonderful as every living thing that blossoms with the flowers and shines after a day of light drizzle of rain.
There’s that bright look in her eyes again and I can’t help but lower my head to hers and plant a soft kiss on her parted lips.
Sooner than I would have wanted to, we broke apart because of the sound of crash coming from behind the kitchen counter.
I couldn’t let Callie know about miss Holly.
With a smooth sway, I turned her back towards the stairs before she could even take a step forward to investigate. Her neck cranes to the side, trying to see through the dark.
“What’s what, sweetheart? You probably just need to go back to bed. Your mind is still half asleep.”
Callie doesn’t look like she’s convinced. She’ a smart girl, more intuitive than other people give her credit for because she seems gentle and sweet, which she is, it’s just that people often think she can’t stand up for herself and that she’s weak.
Her eyes zeroes in something for a moment and I catch my breath, tensing up, thinking that she might have finally seen her favorite English teacher in probably her worst.
But she’s staring at the sliding glass doors that lead to the backyard, way beyond the kitchen island where miss Holly was hiding crouched down low.
A sad smile crossed Callie’s lips that was gone as soon as I noticed I had to rethink if it actually had been there or the shadows are just playing with my vision.
“You’re right,” she whispers. “It’s nobody.”
Her choice of word confused me but Callie didn’t give me the chance to ask as she hurriedly hops up the stairs on step after the other. I have a gut feeling that something is not right so I immediately follow her.
She’s about to slam her door when I caught it with the palm of one outstretched arm.
“Hey,” I call out to her.
Strangely, she heads for her bathroom and not her bed. The lights are on and I enter without warning. I watch her take her contact lenses off then sliding her glasses in place.
“Why are you wearing your lenses on?” I ask.
It’s unusual. She rarely puts them on, not even for school where it would have been a lot. More convenient for her if she does so. Callie only switches her glasses for contacts when the situation demands it, like when going out for swimming or the park. I doubt she’d even wear them to prom if I prod her. I know I have to force her into it.
She looks at me sheepishly and I momentarily forgot the sadness that I saw in her eyes that was the thing that was bothering me which is why I followed her in the first place.
“I woke up and my brain just reminded me how my contact lenses are supposed to be expiring soon,” she explains shyly. “I panicked and I checked the box and it says that once opened, I need to replace it after three months. We bought it three months ago, remember?”
Of course, I do.
It was before the incident that broke us apart. One of the few beautiful memories I have with her before I broke her heart.
That day at the mall, I had it in my head that we were just a normal couple who was having a date. Me, as boyfriend of the year, took her to everywhere she wishes to after we got her order of lenses, playing at the arcade and buying her ice cream before eating dinner. We went to the movies and she got to buy all the snacks she wanted, got to pick the film we watched before we ended the day with casually strolling around the mall and enjoying each other’s company.
The day ended with us on the same bed, me reveling in the moment and burning it in my mind, knowing full well there would never be a time or place in this world that I could get more than that.
I settled too early which was why I hurt us both.
I’m not willing to lose Callie.
Not in this life or the next.
“So I tried it on to see if it’s still okay.” Callie’s voice sent me back to the here and now, when I have no other way to go but towards her even if it means a one-way ticket to hell.
Hey, everyone! I hope you’re all safe and doing well 🥰 I would like to take this opportunity to thank @mayalang for reviewing this story 🥰
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