Chapter 15: Facing Xander, After All This Time
The coach welcomes Gia and I before we can even make into the restaurant. The waitress scanned the crowd, shook the coach’s hand then led us to the very back of the building. It smells like Sesame oil and incense in this place. It’s kind of making me sleepy. So far in a room filled with 24 men, Gia and I are the only girls.
We arrived later than the rest of the team, but we caught up with just in time to meet them at the entrance. Gia practically snatches away from my grip to get to Kevin. He laughs and swings his arm around her, waving at me sympathetically.
Xander approaches me, “I think that they should stop playing around and just make it official.”
I snicker, my face flushes, “You and me both.”
“Kev probably thinks my dad won’t like him anymore if he tries to get with Gia.”
Well, that makes a lot more sense.
You could always tell that Gia and Kevin have a certain chemistry but it’s always so guarded. I have never seen Gia this comfortable with any other guy besides Kevin. It’s almost like they know what boundaries not to cross.
“I mean why not, he respects Gia, and she looks like she feels safe when she’s with him.” The coach waves us away to follow the clerk to the table in the back room of the restaurant.
Xander sighs, “He’s very protective over Gia, ever since she was adopted he’s treated her like she really was his own daughter, you remember when he started saying no to you and Gia’s sleepovers when you became close friends with Aster?”
I remember that very vividly.
At the time Aster came around, everything changed for Gia and I, but it wasn’t on our own accords. Everyone thought Aster was very extreme when he expressed himself in a lot of situations. The grown ups started gossiping to my parents about our friendship. That was around the time Gia’s father became short with me, and started denying Aster and I when we came over to hang out. I always thought that it was because he hated when Aster and Xander would wrestle around Gia and I. We sure did enjoy the show.
I blink, “Oh sorry, I zoned all the way out.” The clerk finally stops us at a large black rectangular shaped table around 2 square griddles.
Xander slides a chair out for me.
“Thank you.” I take a seat along with everyone else, it’s so loud in here.
“You have this way of doing that every time you hear his name.”
Do I sense jealousy?
He takes a seat behind me, gripping the back of my chair, “You know, wherever he is, I’m sure he’s thinking of you as well.”
“That’s a comforting sentiment coming from his arch nemesis.” I say leaning back in my chair.
He smirks at me, “I wouldn’t make such a strong statement, he was very young, bitter-”
“Xander.” I scowl at the table.
Xander continues, “-Independent, vigilant and an excessively violent guy, nonetheless a great person.”
The Asian chefs, one very slim and the other average in height and weight, file into the rectangular space of the tables, greeting the group kindly. It doesn’t take them long to put on a very entertaining show with our various orders, hearing us laugh and cheer their culinary skills on.
Once the food has been fully prepared, they go around attempting to toss different vegetable pieces in the guys mouths. The slim one tossed a shrimp piece my way and only by my extreme amount of luck today did I catch it.
They fill our plates like small hills, and even after all of that, Xander still won’t stop talking about Aster.
“So what happened to him anyway, one day he was here and then he just left.” He asks placing his fork on his empty plate.
I’m going to need a take out tray, “I don’t remember. I know it happened,” I sigh, “It isn’t that I don’t want to, but the very fact that I do that I believe is hindering me from remembering.”
“I always thought he just moved,” Xander faces me full on, “have you asked your mom if she does?”
“The last thing I would want to do is worry her about something so inconsequential.” My mood is slowly sinking, and to be in this atmosphere with everyone enjoying themselves, It just seems inconsiderate of me.
Xander says something to Trey beside him, and then looks back at me, “Give me your hand,” I glance in his direction, “your brother’s going to take care of your take out Trey, I promise.”
Trey peeks at me, “Don’t worry, Saph I won’t let anything happen to it.”
This must mean that Xander and I are leaving. He slides from out of his chair still holding his hand out to me.
I take it and he leads me from the back room and out of the restaurant doors.
Xander steps inside my car, in the drivers side.
I stand outside, crossing my arms, “What are you doing?”
He raises an eyebrow “Can you please get in the car?”