Specific Taste

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Chapter Two

What an actual fuck?

Ada just woke up and the first thing she did was to check her mobile. It was not—never—a good idea. Ada woke up with five messages from Colton, two messages from Leslie, one message from Cassy and one from Fred. Colton’s message and Leslie’s were related, it was about this specific arsehole who decided to cheat with Leslie then on the other hand, Cassy’s and Fred’s messages baffled her—which was an understatement since they were saying that the engagement was called off. To put a cherry on top of this mess, the press released another article about her.

Fredrick Nixon was secretly engaged but now called off! Was Simone the reason?

Simone broke the private engagement of Frederick Nixon and his secret fiancée!

Ada groaned loudly and put her mobile down on her bed. She pinched the bridge of her nose as she shut her eyes.

Fuck. Fuck. Can’t they just leave me alone? And what was with that lame excuse of a man who cheated her best friend? Did she warn him not to hurt her?

Letting go of the bridge of her nose and opening her eyes, she sighed deeply before pushing herself up and sat on the edge of the bed. She grabbed her mobile again and dialled Colton’s number. He answered at the first ring.

“Helloo,”

“What an actual fuck happened?”

“Good morning to you too,” Colton replied and she rolled her eyes.

“Colton, I need the details now.”

He sighed audibly, “We were in the mall yesterday and we saw the git with someone else….”

Before Ada could say something, he continued, “Before you ask if the girl was his relative or friend. Baby girl, they were sucking their faces. If they were family, it’s incest. Gross!”

She bit her lip to supress a laughter and cleared her throat before she spoke, “What did Leslie do?”

“Our friend broke up with him right there and then.”

“Good. Good,” Ada said, nodding to herself.

“Yes, but knowing her…”

Ada grunted remembering how soft was Leslie sometimes, “Alright, did you hear anything from her since then?”

“No, you?”

“None at all. Probably she’s expecting an I told you so from me.”

“Wouldn’t she?”

Ada sighed audibly, “I’ll hold my tongue.”

“I doubt.”

This time Ada did not stop herself and she laughed, “Damn you, trust me I can hold my tongue.”

“Sure, sure whatever you believe, baby girl.”

“Anyway, I’ll pick you up at ten so we can go to Leslie’s together?”

“Yes, bring wine. You have better stash than us and I’ll bring chocolate ice cream,”

“Consider that done.”

“Alright, got to go and prep,”

“Ah, of course, tell your one-night stand to go home now.”

“Oh shush!”

She laughed loudly, “Bye, Colton.”

“Bye, baby girl!”

As soon as Colton hung up, Ada messaged Leslie that Colton and her was coming over. She then dialled Fred’s number since she’d known him longer than her fiancée. The mobile rung three times before it went to voicemail. She tried again three times and on the last one, she sighed defeatedly.

“Fred, we need to talk. Message me or call me. ASAP,” Ada said and hung up.

She contemplated for a moment if she should message Cassy as well. They were not so close but maybe, maybe, she was more willing to talk to her. She bit her lip as she looked down at her number on the screen.

Ah, fuck it. Just send her a message.

Ada typed a message for her asking her if she’d like to talk to her and if so, they could meet tomorrow. She already sent it when she tilted her head to the side. Tomorrow. Meet. I think I am forgetting something. Her brows furrowed as she tried to remember what she obviously forgot but instead of remembering she got the starting of a headache. She groaned.

It was just eight in the morning and she felt tired already, not to mention she’s starting to have a headache. She looked through other news for the day and the only ones who made things better were the great news about the sales of her newly published book. After reading one last article, she decided to take a lengthy hot shower and taking a painkiller before heading down.

She left her room clad with black track pants with semi-fitted grey t-shirt and paired with white rubber shoes and she opted to wear her contact lenses. She pocketed her mobile as she walked down the hall and headed towards the dining room.

“Good morning,” she greeted as soon as she entered the room and her mother was just putting her sandwich together.

“Is it? I saw the news.”

“I’d like to be optimistic. For this situation,” she replied not bothering to sit yet and instead, she picked up her plate, placed four slices of bread and two bananas on her plate and took the peanut butter with her.

“Did they already reach out to you?”

“Well, they responded with my message last night with ‘the engagement is off’! I tried calling Fred but he did not pick up the mobile. I also tried to message Cassy and she hadn’t replied to me just yet.”

“It was truly surprising,” Luciana said before sipping her water.

“No way in hell, did I expect that to happen!” she cried as she carried her food to her place in the table.

“Excuse me, Miss Blewitt, would you like some coffee?” Camille asked and she shook her head.

“A black tea with a spoon of honey would be better, Camille, please.”

“I’ll prepare it now,” she replied with a curt nod.

“Thank you,” Ada responded as she sat down and Camille smiled before she left for the kitchen.

“And what, pray tell, is the reason you are dressed like that?” Luciana asked as Ada put peanut butter on her bread.

“I am going to Leslie’s today, unfortunately the Nixon issue is not enough for me.”

“What happened to Leslie?”

“That boyfriend of Leslie cheated so Colton and I decided to visit her since she hadn’t contacted either of us.”

“I always knew that person was no good.”

“I’ve told her that but I gave her my support because she loves him so much and she said he loves her as much.”

Luciana snorted before she bit her sandwich and Ada did the same with her own sandwich. Camille then walked in with Ada’s tea. Ada whispered a thank you and proceeded to take a sip of her tea.

“Will you be home at a decent time? Or at an ungodly hour?”

“I won’t promise anything.”

Her mother just sighed and shook her head before she resumed eating her sandwich and so did Ada. Their breakfast continued quietly and once Luciana finished her meal, she excused herself to go to the gardens where usually spend most of her time.

Ada went down the cellar after she finished her sandwich and tea to pick a wine to bring at Leslie’s. She pulled out a Syrah wine that aged well in thirteen years but before leaving she stepped back and surveyed the room that held stacks of their wine collection. Ada tried to recall what she learned about wine pairing but came with little memory of it so she just shrugged it off before a wave of headache come.

♦♦♦

Ada reached Colton’s flat after a one-hour drive from her home, thankful that traffic was bearable at that time in the city. She found the parking space right in front of the building and paid the parking fee. She strode in the building and straight to the lifts, beforehand, she sent a quick message to Colton that she was on her way to his floor so if there are any clues of his rendezvous last night, he already cleaned it up in case he got distracted.

Colton’s flat was located on the fifth floor and when the lift stopped on his floor, Ada walked out of the lift and was welcomed by a grey marbled floor of the foyer, black painted walls and a dark brown oakwood French double door—the only extravagant thing in his simple flat.

Ada crossed the distance from where lifts were to the door. She raised her hand to knock but someone opened the door and a blond guy in plain black shirt, dark blue denims paired with sneakers had his wide blue eyes looking back at her.

“Oh, hello,” Ada drawled with an arched brow and knowing smirk.

“Ah…uhm ah…,” he stuttered, looking left and right.

“Ada, stop harassing him!” Colton shouted from the kitchen if she was correct.

“I wasn’t!” she shouted incredulously.

“Just let him go home!” he shot back at her and she just rolled her eyes.

Huffing, she stepped aside and gesture for him to pass.

“Ah… thanks,” he mumbled and scurried away.

Ada walked in and shut the door behind her. She was met by Colton who walked out of the kitchen. He was wearing a fitted green tee which showed off his lean physique and emphasized his light blue eyes and he paired it with faded denim jeans and brown loafers. His wavy brown hair was finger combed but what everyone had envied about him since college years was his long eyelashes.

“I looked underdressed,” Ada commented but Colton just rolled his eyes.

“You could always buy and change, baby girl.”

“Nope, waste of money. Anyway, I thought I won’t be seeing the one-night stand.

“Well, I don’t mind a breakfast in bed…” he said with a shrug, “Are we going now?”

She snorted on the innuendo and smirked, “Who doesn’t? And yes, let’s go.”

“I know right but you scared him off!” he accused as they walked to the door and Ada’s face scrunched up into disbelief, looking up at him since he was taller than her—he’s around six foot if she remembered accurately.

“I did not,” she said as she opened the door for them.

“Yes, you did, thanks to you they always don’t comeback,” Colton said turning to lock the door of his flat after Ada shut it.

“If we are to count today, I only met four…?” she said with furrowed brows, unsure if she counted right.

“Six, duh,” he corrected with a roll of his eyes and Ada just shrugged.

“To my defence I did not do anything to them and the only words I say to them was oh hello. I don’t know why that was detrimental.”

“I don’t know, maybe because you are an intimidating person!” Colton cried as they wait for the lift.

“It had nothing to do why they shouldn’t come back! It’s not like I am the one they fucked!” she defended.

“They are getting scared of you, period.”

“Oh shush, let’s be honest they are not scared of me but they are scared of commitment,” she said crossing her arms over her chest.

“Whatever,” he said waving off her comment. Ada knew that he was thinking that she was right but did not want to acknowledge it all, in respect, she did not press it at all.

They entered the lift that stopped on his floor, Colton started conversation about his involvement about another charity that focused on suicide awareness. Ada, as always, was proud of her friend’s active involvements after what happened five years ago—a painful memory, a reminder that even the happiest person you knew could be dying inside with depression. Ada never wanted that to happen again. She was greatly thankful that she and Leslie was able to help Colton just in the right time.

“We were able to raise funds to thirty-five thousand as of last night,” Colton was saying as they left the lift.

“I’ll donate. I’ll send you a check…maybe tomorrow but you have to remind me because you know…,” Ada said pointing to her temple. “Forgetful.”

Colton laughed, “I’ll send you and Nola a message.”

Nola. Why does it feel like I am forgetting something and it had something to do with Nola?

Her brows furrowed momentarily and she shrugged it off for now, “Where are you going to buy the chocolate ice cream?”

“Oh, there’s a mini mart nearby,” he said and they turned to the left. He led the way to this mini mart and once they reached the place, they went straight for the ice cream.

“Did you tell Leslie that we’re coming over?”

“Yes, I did.”

“And?”

“Nothing. Probably ignoring her messages.”

He sighed, “If only we can castrate the man without getting arrested.”

“If only it’s bailable, I’d do it but on second thought, I might not be able to stop myself and murder him.”

“You, baby girl, are brutal as hell,” Colton said as he closed the freezer with one hand while the other held the tub chocolate ice cream. Ada just chuckled.

“Maybe I am,” she said as they walked to the cashier. Colton rolled her eyes at her and she nudged him slightly on the shoulder. And they started laughing.

Colton paid for the ice cream and they went back to the front of his flat to ride her car. As they fasten their seatbelts, Colton found the wine and scrutinize it closely.

“What on earth are you doing?” Ada asked, slipping the key in the ignition.

“Admiring, expensive vintage things…” he replied and Ada scoffed. He carefully placed it back between them.

Ada pulled out her mobile but no messages from Fred, Cassy or even Leslie so she returned it to her pocket and started her Audi RS 5 Sportback. She pulled out of the parking space and drove away. Colton decided to connect his mobile to her speaker and blasted Lady Gaga songs. Along the way, they were singing on top of their lungs. Ada was shameless singing off key.

They were still singing when they reached Leslie’s house. She lived within a subdivision an hour from Colton’s place. Ada parked right in front of her house and Colton climbed out of the car first. Ada picked up the wine bottle and stepped out of the car. She slammed the door close and followed Colton who was knocking on the door already.

“Leslie?! Mr. and Mrs. Evans! Anyone?!” he shouted as he knocked harder but no one answered.

“Why don’t you use the doorbell?” Ada asked pointing at the doorbell on the left side of the door.

“It’s just the same.”

“No, it’s not. Try using the doorbell.”

Colton rolled his eyes nonetheless pressed the doorbell. Once. No one answered. Twice. Thrice and still nothing. Colton turned back at her and gestured to the doorbell with hunched shoulders and mocking face.

Ada pulled out her mobile and dialled Leslie’s number but it did not even ring.

“I think no one’s here,” Colton said, sighing.

“She turned off her mobile,” Ada said and returned her mobile in her pocket.

Ada started fumbling for something in her other pocket and Colton was watching her with a scrunched-up face, confused as to what she was doing but before he could ask, she pulled out a set of keys.

“This will do the trick,” Ada mumbled more to herself as she chose one key from the holder. Colton’s eyes bulged when he saw her stick a key in the doorknob effectively opening the door.

“Why the fuck do you have a key of Leslie’s house?” he asked but Ada just ignored him then an idea struck him, “Do you have a key for my apartment?”

She shrugged as she pushed the door open and muttered, “Maybe.”

“Ada! That’s—”

“It’s for emergency. I won’t sneak into your house if not necessary,” she cut him off and pocketed the keys.

“When did you duplicate our keys?”

“Close the door please,” she said instead of answering him and Colton turned to shut it.

“Ada, when did you—”

“It doesn’t matter,” she cut him off as she led him to Leslie’s room upstairs passing the parlour then through the formal sitting area.

“Sometimes I don’t know how you cross boundaries and make it sound logical.”

“Because it was logical,” she replied and took the stairs two at a time.

After walking through a long hallway, she halted in front of a lavender coloured door that contrasted the white walls of the house. She knocked.

“Leslie, I know you’re there. I know that you knew we’re coming….,” she trailed off, giving her time to respond but none.

“Maybe, just maybe, she’s not really here,” Colton suggested but Ada just knocked again.

“Open this door or I will force this open. I swear,” Ada’s voice dropped at the last part, warning Leslie and Colton watched with arms crossed over his chest. The plastic bag with the ice cream dangled in his fingers.

“Leslie… I will count to three, if you won’t open the door, you know what will happen…” she trailed off and they could hear faint shuffling behind the door but it did not open.

“One…Two….”

Ada stepped back preparing to kick the door open, “Th—”

The door creaked open and Ada put her foot down. A scowling woman stood between the door and the doorframe. Her short black hair that fell just inches above her chin was a mess, her eyes were puffy and red and her dark brown irises looked so tired and hurt. She was wearing her lavender pyjamas and wrapped in a fluffy purple blanket.

“I wanted to be alone,” she said, her voice cracking and sniffing.

“Nonsense. You have been alone since yesterday,” Ada said, waving off what she said and she walked right in front of her, putting her arms around Leslie’s shoulders. She dragged themselves inside her room, waddling her feet like a penguin and Colton followed swinging the plastic bag. They plopped down on her bed, Ada on Leslie’s right and Colton on the left.

“We brought comfort,” Colton said, putting the plastic bag on Leslie’s lap.

“Let me get spoons and glasses for this wine,” Ada said swinging the wine bottle a little.

“It’s too early for wine…”

Ada blew a raspberry, “There was no specific time to drink wine… or any alcoholic drink.”

She then left Colton and Leslie. She went downstairs and straight to the kitchen. Like she owned the house, Ada found the spoons, wine glasses and the corkscrew immediately. She opened the bottle and picked up the cork, spoons and wine glasses after replacing the corkscrew into the drawer.

She went back the room, now unlock and she could hear Colton talking to Leslie while she was sniffing more.

“Alright, I got the spoons and glasses,” she announced as she walked in.

She handed the spoons to them while she put the glasses and the bottle of wine on the nightstand.

“We’ll let that breathe for a moment or two…” she trailed off as she made her comfortable sitting on the floor, legs crossed, in front of Leslie and Colton.

She opened her mouth but Leslie cut her off, “I know what you’re going to say…. Go on with it.”

“Huh? Now, I forgot what I was supposed to say….”

“Just spit it out!” Leslie cried but Ada just looked at her like she spoke a different language.

“What?!”

“Just say I told you so,” Leslie said with a mocking voice at the end. Colton immediately snorted with a spoon between his lips. Then he started laughing.

“Why are you laughing?” Leslie demanded but Colton was already bent over on his side, laughing continuously and Ada’s shoulder was shaking as she tried not to laugh out load.

Leslie huffed, letting go of the ice cream tub she crossed her arms over her chest. They were busy laughing when she stomped her feet on the floor and the ice cream tub tipped dangerously on her lap.

Ada scrambled forward, catching the ice cream tub on time and mumbled, “Shit.” She took the tub from Leslie’s lap and cradled it on her lap instead to start eating, “Let’s not waste this.”

Colton was still laughing and Leslie’s was still huffing while Ada was devouring the ice cream since she’s still waiting for the wine to be ready.

“C’mon, you two tell me!” she cried out grabbing a pillow at the head of her bed and hit Colton straight on his face and he rolled to the edge of the bed.

“W-we…” Colton wheezed, blocking her pillow hits with his arm.

Ada chuckled quietly but when she saw Leslie turned to her, she shook her head as she gestured down to the ice cream.

She gulped down the ice cream she just put in her mouth, “If you don’t want your floor to be covered with this sticky mess, I suggest you don’t hit me.”

“Tell me, why were you all laughing!”

Panting and clutching his sides, Colton sat up and cleared his throat, “So, Ada and I talked earlier and we kind of predicted that she will tell you I told you so.

“But I am not saying that,” Ada interjected.

“Because she can hold her tongue,” Colton said and laughed loudly.

“Well, you don’t have to hold your tongue. Go on, say it!” Leslie demanded with her chin up.

Ada shook her head, “I don’t have to.”

“Why?”

“Because I know, you already realized the lesson of this situation,” she paused and looked at Leslie sternly, “That is if you did realize it.”

Leslie averted her eyes from her and started fiddling with her fingers, “I-I…”

“Oh goodness gracious, don’t tell me….” Colton gasped, placing a hand on his chest dramatically.

She swatted his left arm and he yelped. Leslie then hugged her pillow and mumbled, “Itsnotlikethat.”

“What?!” Ada asked and she yanked the pillow away from her, “Speak clearly, dear.”

Her shoulders slouched forward and she sighed, “It’s not like that. I love him but I cannot deal another betrayal. I came from that kind of relationship already and I thought he was….”

“Different,” Colton completed the sentence for her and she nodded.

“He made you think he was different,” Ada said matter-of-factly, pointing the spoon at her.

“And I was the fool who fell for it,” Leslie said with a sigh.

“We are nothing but fools living a stupid life on earth,” Ada declared, placing the ice cream tub on the floor and stood up to go for the wine on the nightstand.

“Poetic Ada,” Colton commented reaching for the ice cream tub on the floor. Ada just scoffed and poured wine to the three wine glasses.

She handed them each with a glass and Ada went back to her place on the floor.

“To all the foolish things we do,” Leslie said, lifting her glass for a toast.

Colton then lifted his own glass, “To all the men who served as our lessons.”

They both looked at Ada who was about to sip her wine, she paused and then rolled her eyes before lifting her glass, “To men who act like they can find the clit but cannot, y’all have small dicks!”

“Ada!” Leslie admonished but Ada just shrugged before clinking on their glasses and drunk her wine. Colton laughed then downed his drink. Leslie shook her head and took a sip from her drink.

They spent the rest of the time pouring wine into their glasses, finishing the ice cream and talking about each other’s recent venture at work or outside work. Leslie, out of the blue, recalled about the time that they sneaked in rum during the school’s foundation day. And they drink through the various events they were supposed to be hosting—no one ever noticed it. They looked so sober. From that one topic they jumped to another memory and then another making them giggle.

“Anyone hungry?” Colton asked before he downed the last of his wine.

“My goodness, what time is it?” Leslie asked and Ada pulled out her mobile.

“1:30.”

“We’re all out of wine and we missed lunch completely. I can conclude this is a good day,” Colton said and they all laughed. They all looked flushed, face hot.

“Do you want to go out and eat? Or… I could cook!” Ada said, waggling her brows as she put her mobile back to her pocket.

“I prefer to stay and eat here. I missed your cooking…” Leslie said with a smile, rolling the stem of her glass in between her thumb and index finger. Ada grinned and took the empty bottle of wine beside her.

“Alright! Let’s head downstairs and we can talk while I am cooking,” Ada said, standing up and collecting their glasses while Colton held the empty ice cream tub. Luckily, she and Colton can still stand straight because Leslie was slightly wobbling.

Abandoning her fluffy purple blanket, Leslie followed her friends, swaying a little side to side. They went downstairs then headed straight to the kitchen with the spoons, glasses and empty ice cream tub and wine bottle. Colton threw the empty ice cream tub while Ada put the spoons and glasses in the sink before throwing the empty wine bottle. Leslie settled on a stool in the counter isle, cradling her face with both hands, her elbows on the counter and Colton followed her, sitting beside her while Ada rummage for anything she can make into a decent meal for the three of them.

“Don’t you think that aside from having online fund-raising events, it’d be nice to have a gala or soiree?” Colton asked then as he looked up from his mobile and Ada paused looking through a cabinet but did not turn.

“Maybe you’re thinking more of a charity ball, the purpose of such is nearer to your intentions.”

“It’s a lot of work, yes?” Colton asked while Ada continued looking around.

“I believe so, I never hosted a charity ball but hosting a gala or soiree was exhausting as fuck.”

“I have to pee,” Leslie announced to no one in particular and they just nodded at her. She slid off the stool and wobbled her way to the loo.

“I’ll take it up to our team on our next meeting,” Colton said and Ada nodded in agreement.

“You will need all the help you can get if that’s approved.”

“Are you going to have an auction for this event? As far as I know, that’s what they do,” Leslie stated as soon as she walked back in and Colton pursed his lips.

“I am not sure yet but I’ll think about it before I present the idea to the team.”

Leslie sat back beside Colton and they busied themselves sharing ideas for the charity ball but not without Colton asking her if she washed her hands and Leslie slapped him on the arm before she exclaimed, “Of course!”

On the other hand, Ada put together the ingredients she gathered. She found enough ingredients for a linguine with shrimp scampi—something she found online. It was perfect for the three of them. Ada started preparing the ingredients.

“Ada,” Leslie called her while Colton was searching something in his mobile.

“Hmm?” Ada responded without looking up as she peeled and deveined the shrimps.

“What are you doing?”

“Peeling and deveining the shrimps…”

“No,” Leslie chuckled, “Silly, what are you cooking?”

“Oh, uh… linguine with shrimp scampi. I saw it online…” she said as she finished peeling and deveining the last shrimp.

“Les, look at this, a masquerade charity ball,” Colton said as he tapped Leslie’s shoulder. She turned to him and he showed her a bunch of images for this motif.

“Yes, they all looked elegant. You should have a strict dress code for this.”

“I agree. Then, we need items to auction. Anything to donate, Ada?”

“I can take a look. I’ll ask Theo too,” she said as she finished squeezing lemons. A pot was already boiling in the stove to cook the linguine.

“Perfect, thanks…” A pause. “Speaking of Theo, I haven’t seen him for a while.”

Ada grabbed a large heavy-bottomed pan from the bottom cabinet, put it over the other burner and set it to medium-low heat before she spoke, “He’s still in France. It’s either I don’t know or I don’t remember when he’ll be back….”

She sautéed the garlic and added the shrimp, salt and pepper, “Why? Do you miss him already?”

Colton rolled his eyes, “If I said yes, what would you do?”

Ada just removed the pan from the burner and added the parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon slices, and red pepper flakes. Then, mixed them together.

“Nothing, really but I am glad you’re open about your feelings for my brother. I’d support if you need even though it hurts me because I like you since college,” Ada replied, turning to face them and put a hand over her chest. Leslie’s sniggered at that.

“You’re lucky, I have nothing to throw to you,” he said. Ada chuckled while Leslie laughed louder as she turned back and drained the linguine and put it back to the pot. Quickly, she added the shrimp and sauce then mixed.

“You know, I have no issues if you like my brother.”

“Stop. Theo is just like a brother to me, you crazy woman.”

Ada took three plates and forks then set it on the counter. She sing-sang, “Sure, whatever you say…”

“My eyes hurt from eye rolling, stop being stupid,” Colton said with a grimace but she just smirked at him.

“Anyway, going back to the charity ball, maybe Simone can grace us her presence,” Leslie said with a smile. Ada came back with the pot and a pasta fork to the counter.

“I am not sure about that. I am trying to minimize my exposure with media because some of them love to disrespect boundaries or rules…. they are often called paparazzi.”

“We can ban them,” Colton said and Ada paused as she put the last serving to her plate.

She pursed her lips, “I don’t think that’s a plausible idea. Media should be your friend in this kind of event because to make sure the publicity works the media should be fed with something interesting. So, if you’ll ban them, it will hurt the charity ball.”

“You’re pretty much well-known so why try hiding?”

“Because I love my kind of peace and quiet.”

“Oh, c’mon… one night won’t hurt! Plus, it’s good press for you,” Leslie said as Ada went to the sink and placed the used utensils there.

“I don’t have a good relationship with the press already and I am okay with that,” Ada replied with a nonchalant shrug.

Ada was about to get water when Leslie slid off the stool and beat her to it, “Go and sit, I’ll get the water.”

“Alright,” she replied but made sure to get clean three glasses and set them to the right places.

“I think Leslie is right. If the press doesn’t not like you then this is good publicity for you! You’ve been supporting the same charities that I have been supporting, it’s high time to get it out there,” Colton said as he twirled pasta with his fork. Leslie returned with a pitcher of water with lemon slices. Ada sat right in front of them and shrugged.

“Is it really that big of a deal for you that I’d come as Simone? I can just come as me also known as my brother’s chaperon—as usual because he, for the love of his life, cannot ask Nola. It’s frustrating me,” she grumbled as she started to twist the pasta with her fork.

Colton hummed as he chewed and after he swallowed, he spoke, “This is good. You should seriously consider cooking always. Anyway, to answer your question, yes. I think so.”

“I think so, too,” Leslie chimed in. Ada narrowed her eyes at her two best friends. They rarely agree with each other and if they did, there’s a ninety-nine percent probability that they were planning something.

“Whatever you two are planning. Stop,” Ada said in a clipped tone but they just looked at her innocently—or as innocent as they could.

“We’re not planning anything,” Leslie said and started eating her food.

“None at all,” Colton said, reaching for the pitcher and poured water into his glass without looking at Ada.

“You two cannot lie even your lives depended on it,” Ada commented with a shake of her head before she resumed eating.

“By the way, how on earth did you two get in here? I am sure that I locked the front door,” Leslie asked after a while and Colton’s lips curled up as he sipped water from his glass while Ada almost choked with her pasta.

Colton slowly put his glass down, grinning at Ada like a Cheshire cat and Ada did not even bother to hide rolling her eyes. Leslie looked between the two of them, baffled at how they are acting.

“What’s happening this time?” Leslie asked, straightening on her seat and crossing her arms over her chest.

“Go on, Ada. How did we get in here?” Colton goaded her. Ada held a hand up as she chewed her food.

She swallowed her food and spoke, “I have a spare key of your house.”

“Huh?! How?” Leslie asked, gawking at her.

“Right, how exactly, Ada?” Colton then queried as he twirled his pasta for another bite.

“I duplicated your keys…?” Ada answered, a little more like a question than an answer.

“No, you need to tell me how and when?” Leslie demanded, her hands now on the counter and she’s leaning forward.

“Fine,” she said and picked up the pitcher to pour water for herself, “I don’t exactly remember when but there was a time that both of you were drunk and we had a good swim in the lake that you needed to change and afterwards passed out….”

“Right…?” Leslie probed then Ada put the pitcher down.

“I took your keys and pressed them on one of my clays…”

“Why?” Leslie asked incredulously while Ada took a gulp of her water.

Ada finished her drink and put her glass down before speaking, “For emergency purposes.”

“Emergen—” Leslie started but whatever she was about to say died in her lips when she saw how ferociously serious her stare was.

She sighed, “I understand the logic but you went too far… don’t you think?”

“Yes, I know… but I am not sorry about it,” Ada defended as she stared down at her food.

“I know why, Ada and really, you’re doing too much,” Colton finally spoke and Ada snorted, her lips tugged in a smirk.

“Ada, you won’t always be in control,” Leslie said gently.

“You always look after us but have you tried to look after yourself? Ada, you’ve been ignoring th—”

“I am not ignoring anything,” Ada interrupted Colton then she looked up to stare at her friends, “I am not ignoring anything, I just accepted it. There’s a difference.”

“But there are options you can take to….” Leslie started but Ada was already shaking her head.

“I don’t want to talk about it now. Today is not about me,” Ada butt in and she sighed deeply and smiled, “Let’s finish this and go shopping, yes?”

“Sure. I am pretty sober now,” Leslie uttered, trying her best not to sound hesitant.

“Perfect,” Ada said smilingly before she resumed eating.

While she was not looking, Leslie subtly gave Colton a sideway glance who was already looking sideways at her too. He made the tiniest movement of shaking his head and she faintly jerked her chin downward. They continued eating quietly for a while before Colton spoke up.

“I assume, you have other plans after shopping,” he said with a knowing smirk and Ada raised her head to look at him.

“Maybe,” she drawled and saw Leslie shaking her head, “What?”

“If you two are planning to drink again, I had to pass,” Leslie stated seriously as she put her fork down.

“Why?” Ada asked, tilting her head on the side.

“I have work tomorrow.”

“Me too,” Ada answered but Leslie looked at her with mocking face.

“You can come in anytime, Ada. I don’t. I need to be there before seven in the morning.”

“No, I do—… Oh shit,” she exclaimed and scrambled for her mobile from her pocket. Nola, meeting. Damn it, that’s what I’d been missing earlier.

“What’s happening now?” Leslie asked, looking confused for the third time today.

“Shh…. I just remembered something. I don’t want to forget it. Again,” Ada replied, typing a quick message for Nola. Right after she sent the message, she audibly sighed.

“Right, I really need to message Nola about the donation you promised because you are getting more forgetful,” Colton stated matter-of-factly while he stacked their plates.

“Yes please,” Ada responded as she put her mobile back and Colton nodded in agreement.

“I’ll clean the dishes and since we are shopping, I need you baby girl,” Colton announced and bumped his hips to Leslie’s, “to shower and change. We’ll wait here.”

“Fine,” Leslie replied and slid down the stool.

♦♦♦

“I’m ready,” Leslie announced as she walked back in the kitchen making Colton and Ada looked up from their mobile.

Leslie came down after almost an hour wearing a green knee-length dress with small floral designs and it had square neckline, short puffed balloon sleeve and flowy skirt. She paired it with white flats. Her hair now neatly combed and volumed.

“Ok girl,” Colton uttered with a high-pitched voice while snapping fingers. Ada looked at her, up and down, appraising her then nodded with a smirk.

“Alright, let’s go so I can bring you home early because you have work,” Ada said, standing up. And just like before, Colton and Leslie dashed outside to race for the front passenger seat as soon as she unlocked the car. She smilingly watched them as she casually walked out of the door and turned to lock it. Once she checked it thrice and made sure it was closed, she turned back then headed to car with the expected winner grinning and the loser was pouting.

“I really did not expect that Colton will win,” Ada said as she slid inside the car’s driver’s seat.

“He just got lucky this time,” Leslie countered and Colton chuckled.

“Yeah sure, I just got lucky like last time or like every fucking time we do this,” Colton goaded and Leslie groaned in irritation then kicked Colton’s seat.

“Please don’t damage my car seat,” Ada said as she put her seat belt on, “Guys, seatbelts.”

They put on their seatbelts and Ada turned the ignition on then pulled out of the driveway. Colton decided to manage the music within the car during the drive so he hit the shuffle in his Spotify playlist and Glad He’s Gone by Tove Lo played. Colton started singing, Ada followed(shamelessly) and Colton looked back at Leslie, urging her to sing along. At first, she tried to ignore him but as the song went on, her lips tugged up and in no time, she began singing along.

They were belting Fuck You by Lily Allen when they reached the mall and Ada looked for a parking space. Once parked, Colton disconnected his mobile and got out of the car following Leslie and Ada.

The three of them walked in the mall and their first stop was a boutique that was selling vintage dresses. Next, they visited a small perfume shop though Ada had to step outside after staying inside thirty minutes because she’s not risking an allergy attack right that moment. Then, they went on and visited a lingerie shop and to Leslie’s horror Colton and Ada picked up pieces for her next adventure soon. Lastly, they went to a shoe shop. Ada made sure that they get something from the shops they visited and made sure that she paid for them. Her only reason to them was ’It was my idea.’

With tired feet and a handful of shopping bags, they decided to stop by Big Mugs Café to get macchiato for Colton then chai latte for Ada and Leslie. They were enjoying their drinks when Ada’s mobile chimed. She pulled it out of her pocket and almost choke with her chai latte but to her relief, Colton and Leslie did not notice it. Cassy had agreed to meet her tonight to talk about what was happening to her and Fred.

Ada just sent a reply to Cassy when someone knocked her fee under the table and when Ada looked up, she met Colton’s eyes who slid his eyes to Leslie and she followed. Leslie was looking far away and Ada tracked where she was looking. To say that she did not like what she was saying was an understatement.

Leslie was looking at a man, tall with dark brown hair, fairly chiselled jaw and porcelain skin. He was handsome, that’s not something they would deny but what they hate about him was he was Adriel Brewer and he’s holding a woman with long black hair, light brown skin and long—slender—legs with him. And when he found Leslie, looking he smiled smugly. Ada wanted to smack that smile off her best friend’s ex.

Great way to end Leslie’s day, fucking Adriel.

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