A Filter Chapter
"Je suis chez moi.."
With a turn of the doorknob, Arissa closed the entrance door and locked it, emitting a satisfying 'click!'. She heaved a sigh and took off her shoes, taking a glance around her apartment. So far, there were nothing that screamed 'idiotic brother'. In fact, seeing the lights unusually turned off was a bit suspicious. She flipped the switch, blinking when the rays of light blinded her for a moment.
"Frère?" She paused and shook her head, remembering to speak English. Her brother did not understand French as well as she did. "Brother, are you home?"
A momentary silence was heard before a crash reached her ears, followed by the sounds of grunting. Adam's door opened, and the messy brunette poked his head out.
"Kakak! Welcome back!" He exited the door and closed it quickly. "How's college?"
Shrugging, she walked past her brother and into the kitchen, loosening her ponytail. "College was fine. Sabrina... We had an argument, but other than that, nothing happened. What happened that made you call me earlier?"
"Oh, that's good." He nodded before freezing. "W-What? Nothing happened, kakak. It was just a stray cat following me home."
"...You mentioned a weird deliveryman."
"Ah, that!" Adam snapped his fingers. "Just a package. Wrong address. Those kinds of things."
"Hmm." She raised a skeptical eyebrow but said nothing. Her brother merely laughed. Uneasily, she noted. Opening the refrigerator, she took out an egg and dug through the vegetables section. "I'm making omelette. You want one?"
"No, it's ok. I need to do my homework, if you don't mind."
"Yep. Good night, sis."
As Arissa opened the microwave, wanting to defrost the chicken for tomorrow's breakfast, she paused in surprise. There was a stack of well-made, well-cooked pancakes sitting inside. She blinked, wondering if it was an illusion. As far as she knew, her brother, though he would always deny it, couldn't cook. So why..?
"Yep?" He poked his head out of the door again. "What is it?"
"Why is there a stack of pancakes in here?"
Adam gave out a sigh of relief as he entered his bedroom, making sure to lock the door. Inside, Matthew sat crossed legged on the bed, reading a novel that Adam... borrowed from his sister's room. He seemed absorbed in the plot so the brunette went to his closet and opened the door before taking out a blanket.
"Help me out here." He grunted as he struggled to carry the object. Matthew glanced up and made a small 'oh' sound as he closed the novel, bookmarking the page by folding the top of the page. Together, they made a substitute bed on the floor using the blanket. A while later, Adam sat at the desk, face scrunched up in frustration as the pencil he held in his left hand made a constant tap on the table.
Matthew noticed this from his position on the bed and stood up. He wondered what made him so annoyed at... He glanced at the clock. One-thirty in the morning. Wow, he hadn't even realised that he lost track of time.
"What are you doing?" At the corner of his eyes, he saw his bear, Kumakichi.. Kumabear? He didn't remember, at the headboard, softly sleeping. Adam looked at him confused before gazing down at the mess of papers and book he had scattered on the table.
"Just.. Maths.." Adam shook his head as if to clear his mind, probably feeling drowsy from staying up so late. "Actually, who am I kidding? It's Add Maths, which is about a hundred times harder than the regular one. Or so what Arissa says at the time. I didn't expect it to be true..."
"C-can I see?" Murmuring ever so quietly, Adam had to strain his ears to hear what the blonde was saying. "I might be able to help. I'm not as good as Alfred though.."
He paused in slight surprise. Matthew wanted to help him? It wasn't that he didn't want help, it was just that he was not used to people offering help. Regularly at school, he was always the one helping out. He pushed back his reading glasses and shifted slightly for the other to observe. "Sure, knock yourself out."
Matthew gave a small smile at him, before focusing on the rather complicated questions. He took the pencil on the table and wrote down the calculations, checking the answer at the back of the book. The brunette could practically see the victorious glint in those violet eyes.
Really? He peeked at the calculations, rubbing his eye. On the first try, too?
Depending on the perspective, Adam supposed the questions were actually easy comparing to the others. Perhaps he was getting too sleepy. He cleared his throat, wanting to get this over with. "Alright. What do I have to do here?"
Darkness. That was all she could see. Black floor, black walls, black ceiling.
Tentatively, she called out, shivering. "H-hello?"
"Hello?" She called out more confidently and rubbed her bare hands to gain warmth from them. "God, where am I?"
Just then, an echoed voice spoke softly.
"What are you afraid of?"
Eyes opening wide open, Arissa gasped and sat upright, trying to get oxygen into her lungs. Clutching the royal purple comforter, she tried to calm her erratic heartbeat.
"What.. What on Earth?" She coughed out the words, shivering despite the fact that she was sweating. Slowly, she began to calm down, heartbeat slowing down as the adrenaline wore off. She wiped the sweat off her face and neck. "What the Hell was that?"
Arissa tried to recall the strange dream. It wasn't even a nightmare, that much she knew. Why was she feeling like this?
"Weird... Why can't I remember it?" The panic and fear she woke up with was replaced with mild confusion. She realised just how thirsty she was. "Maybe I need a glass of water."
With wobbly feet, she struggled to gain stability before reaching for her black cardigan, slipping it on. Opening the door and entering the kitchen, the black haired woman took out a mug from the cupboards, filling it with clear water. She stared at it, and drank. The cool water was a relief to her parched throat. Sighing, she tried to rearrange her jumbled thoughts.
Just what was that? A nightmare? I don't think so. A dream? Didn't feel like it. Usually dreams don't make you wake up like that.
A thought began creeping up at the back of her mind. As if confirming her suspicion, the hairs on her arms stood. She glanced around, alarmed. "Is someone there?"
But there was no one around her. It was just her in a dark kitchen with the connecting hallway fluorescent lights glowing brightly. Forcing herself to calm down, she gazed tiredly at the ceiling.
"What if it is?" She whispered wonderingly, a soft but sad smile on her lips. "Was it really a visit from someone?"
Then she shook her head. "I should get some sleep. No use wondering about a dead person visiting me... No matter how weird that sounds."
A voice sounded vaguely like her sister's woke Adam from his sleep. He groaned, rolling so that he was facing the ceiling. Come to think of it, what happened yesterday?
Let's see... I went to school, met up with classmates... Then..
Unknowingly, he drooped his eyes and let out a yawn. He was sure there weren't anything major that happened..
"Adam? Why did you lock the door?"
Above him, on the bed, Matthew, who was already awake from the first knock, reached down and shook him awake. Adam woke up with a jolt, immediately glaring at the other, who shrunked back. What do you want? He mouthed. The Canadian pointed at to the left of him before sitting upright. He moved his gaze to see the door.
"I swear to God, Adam, if you're not awake this instant-"
"Yep?!" Adam yelped and sprinted across the bedroom, reaching the entrance as well as turning on the light within five seconds flat. Motioning Matthew to stay back, he opened the door to see his sister there, arms crossed, feet tapping and a stern look on her face. He was dimly aware that she was wearing blue today. A dark blue long sleeved shirt with a large translucent ribbon of the same shade resting just above her collarbone, lighter jeans as well as a black headband on top of her single braid hair. "Aris? Yeah?"
"What time did you sleep last night?"
"Uhh.. Well.." He strained his brain to think properly. "I think it was around twelve?"
"Really?" That tone meant that she wasn't convinced at all.
"Yeah..." Tap... Tap... Tap... "Damn it, kak. Alright, I slept at two, okay? I was doing homework. Happy?"
She smirked and uncrossed her arms, already walking back into the kitchen. "Pleasantly. There's coffee on the table if you want to drink. And get dressed too."
"Yeah, yeah." He grumbled, about to close the door before opening them again. "Did you cook anything?"
Arissa stared at him. "Of course I did. I'm human too, I need to eat. I still don't know where that stack of pancakes came from, but I'm pretty sure you didn't cook it. After all, my tongue can taste the difference between edible and inedible food."
"Thanks.." He almost closed the wooden door before her words processed in his mind. "Wait! What do you mean by that? I can cook!"
She snorted and behind him, he could hear Matthew coughed. Adam scowled, mentally cursing at the both of them. "Thanks. I really need that.."
Arissa raised her mug as if to salute him, but he heard a meek 'sorry'. "No problem, brother. I'll do my best. Now, go get dressed."
"Oui, oui." With that he closed the door. Inside, Matthew, no doubt wanting to apologise, opened his mouth to speak but the brunette simply raised three fingers whilst leaning against the door. He curiously watched as the fingers dropped to two, then one-
"Damn, Adam. I didn't teach you to be sarcastic."
"I believe it runs in the family." Adam called out to his sister, who probably snorted again before drinking that tea of hers. Seemingly satisfied, he pushed himself off the entrance. Much more quietly this time, he spoke to the Canadian as he dug through the closet. "Listen, ah, Matt-Can I call you Matt? Matthew seems a bit mouthful and plus, I know at least two other Matthews, so I don't really want to confuse myself. No offense."
"Its okay, you can call me that." Matthew smiled at his nickname, petting his bear. "What was that?"
"Great! Thanks, Matt." Then he paused, turning to face him, puzzled. "What was what? If you mean by the whole spectacle that happened, it's a regular thing between the two of us. If you mean by what was thrown earlier, that's just a squeaky toy."
At his confused face, Adam elaborated. "We used to have a cat. Aris bought it a toy, and it liked it. In the end, it ran away. Don't ask me why. Now which is it? First or second?"
"Both, I guess." The blonde shrugged. "It feels odd. Usually I prefer to be alone, especially when Alfred talks a lot."
"Alfred.. He's your brother, right?" A nod. "I sense a reason behind that."
"Yeah, it's really funny when you think about it." He took off his glasses, observing them as he tried to calm his nerves. "Whenever I tried to talk, they end up not noticing me. And when they do notice me, they'll just end up forgetting me. Even with my previous owners, it's all the same. In the end, I gave up. I got sent back when they called service. So, I won't blame you for forgetting me when the other units come."
The brunette went silent. He seemed to be staring at him with those deep blue eyes, reading glasses taken off. Then, he closed his eyes and muttered. "Arissa and I.. We don't always get along as we did. If it was possible, we prefer to stay away. She was always the moody one, and I'd always harass her."
That was a subtle change of topic. Matthew frowned, deciding if he should go on with the subject or not. "What... Changed?"
"Our parents." Adam gave a forlorn laugh, sniffing. "You noticed there's only two of us, right? There were five of us. There's Mama, Papa, our older brother, Mikail, Arissa and lastly, me. Three years ago, our parents.. passed. It didn't really improve our relationship though, in fact, it got worse. We'd frequently fight, our brother had to break us up. There were pretty much a lot of screaming.
Then.." He trailed off when his voice cracked, wiping his eyes. "One year later, Arissa.. She.. got in an accident. Just a really bad car crash. Almost cost her life. At that time, Mikail already went to UK. That incident made me realise just how lonely I would be if she died that day. It made me regret everything I did to her. She could've left me, but she didn't... What I want to say is that, nobody deserves to be alone, Matthew. Just know that. Even though I didn't really want you, you're here now. So, suck up 'cause you're already part of our family. We won't forget you, I promise. I'm sure Arissa will say the same."
"Thank.. Thank you." Matthew truly felt grateful. He put on his glasses, the blurry surrounding becoming much more clearer. Adam was looking at him with slightly red eyes, chuckling.
"No problem. What were we talking about by the way?"
A knock sounded on the door. His heart leaped to his throat and he looked at the brunette, a similar panicked expression on the other's face. The younger have previously told him to lay low until he found the right time to tell her. Adam cleared his throat. "Yeah?"
"Oh good, you're not sleeping." Arissa's voice held a slight urgency. "I'm leaving, adik. Make sure you don't sleep in this time. Go to school."
"And what make you think I would do that?"
"..Just go to school." As she walked away, they heard her grumbling. "Goddamn little brothers."
"Just what one would expect from a sister, especially one that was raised in a household full of men. Thanks sis."
Adam could imagine her snickering at his remark. After taking out his school shirt from the closet, he glanced at the Canadian. "I seriously hope you don't mind me going to school, Matt, because, while that would be awesome... I need to hand in my homework."
"No, you can go." Matthew had a genuine smile gracing his lips. "Go ahead."
"Then I'll take my leave. There's food in the kitchen, probably in the microwave. There's the TV if you're bored." He grinned. Perhaps having these units here wasn't so bad after all. He turned to leave, but stopped mid-way. "Now I remember. Matt, you wanna follow me go shopping with a friend?"
"Eh?" The blonde, who stood up feeling hungry, raised his eyebrows in surprise. "Shopping?"
He nodded. "Yeah. Shopping. I need to-" He glanced at the clock. Six-thirty. "Oh, come on! Don't make me late!"
Matthew watched as he dashed into his sister's bedroom. A sound of a door slamming was the heard. Arissa's room probably have a bathroom, he mused.
Soon, as he was munching on a sandwich on the dining table, the blue-eyed brunette emerged from the bedroom, entering the tiny space and taking out a sandwich from the microwave. He finished it quickly though he seemed to take his time on savouring his coffee, even though it was cold.
"Anyway," He gulped the last of his coffee, placing the mug in the sink. "Expect me to be back around one-thirty. There's leftovers, I think, in the fridge. If you're bored, you can use my laptop. Its under the bed, I won't stop you. And please, I know you won't like this, but please, don't go exploring, whatever you do."
He ran to the main entrance door, grabbing his bag on the way there. "Oh yeah. If you happen to see that man again, do me a favour of smacking him. He won't like it, but it'll satisfy me."
Adam probably didn't register the fact that the Canadian had no clue on who was he talking about. But it didn't matter. It was seven, he was way beyond late. "See ya, Matt!"
With that, the door slammed close and he was gone.
Matthew stood in the hallway, Kumajirou paddling to his side. "It's just us now. Who do you think he was talking about?"
"No idea." The bear replied. Then he placed his front paws on his owner's legs. "I'm hungry."
"Alright," He knelt down to pick him up, walking back into the kitchen. "Let's find something to eat, eh?"
"Who are you?"
What do you know? I'm back. I'm not going to abandon this story, I'll give you that much. But I can't give you promises on updates though. I only have time to work on one story, and I chose this. Yay, lucky you. :)
This has been sitting around a while so I decided to finish it. Let me know on what you think of the story so far, you can also choose who should I enter next. Just leave it in the reviews or Pm me.
I.. uh.. I guess I would say I would want to request for a translator, but with my schedule a little bit wonky, I'll put it on hold. :(
French~ Taken by my good friend, Google Translate.
"Je suis chez moi.." - "I'm home.."
"Frère?" - "Brother?"
Random fact. Most of Malaysia's education system, in the beginning anyway, was based on England. But of course, we changed it a little to suit our needs. Yay for England. Good heavens, that sounded like sarcasm..
Did you enjoy my ongoing story so far? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, WinterSparkWrite a Review