Chapter 14 || When A SetUp Turns Into A LockUp...
My body was numb as if I had been struck by a lightning, still staring at the screen of my phone.
I was mad.
Not because of what Alex said to me but because of the fact that he was right. Actually, Alex never really gets mad at anything or anyone which means I now have completely screwed up. Like the type of screwing up that you can’t undo, no matter how much you want it.
It was foolish at me to think I could turn back to normal like nothing happened. My mind was so occupied with getting back to how things were, that I didn’t realize that there might not always be a way back.
The gala is next week and I really don’t want to go after what happened, but I can’t let Jana down and Jayla only provokes me to keep me away from Alex. Bitch, you thought.
Stepped on the escalator which was located directly in front of the store, I saw that people were slowly making their way out of the mall. The setting sun was shining through the enormous panes of glass. The warm orange colour illuminated the floor, filling the huge building was a pleasant warmth.
Exiting the mall, I was searching for my car on the parking lot until I realized that didn’t park it in front of the mall. I walked down the street when I observed the birds, floating through the sky.
I sighed deeply as I reached my car, not feeling in the mood to drive. Putting my key in the steering lock when the control lamp when the petrol gauge started blinking.
Great. Everything that could go wrong actually went wrong.
Rummaging around my back, I grabbed me phone and called Emma. Begging for my sister to pick up, I nervously listened to the beeping.
“Hello, Jess.“, my brother Max answered the phone.
“Max ? Where is Emma ?”
“She is still preparing the rest of the dinner. She told me to answer the call.“, he explained.
“Wait. I thought Nate and his mother had already arrived.“, I said, pushing the loudspeaker button.
“No, they said they’re coming later because something happened.”
“Okay, let me talk to her for a second. I need to ask her something.“, I leaned against the back rest.
I heard rustling in the background and blurred voices of Max and Emma talking to each other. “Jessica, where are you ? You are lucky they’ll be late otherwise dad would have killed you.”
“It’s not my fault. Well, passively it is. My car ran out of gas and I need you to pick me up.“, I heard Emma groaning on the other side of the line. Oops.
“Jessica, you really need to be more responsible. You-”
“Please, don’t.“, I interrupted her rant. “One lecture on one day is enough. I really don’t need you to continue that. You can postpone it to tomorrow but I’m done for today”
Although, I definitely deserved it but I just wanted to leave this place and concentrate on other things than my incompetence.
Wow, I really do sound whiny...
I have never been like this, ever. Normally, I just don’t care or I’ll move on immediately but seems like the tables have been turned.
“What happened ?“, Emma asked concernedly. “I’ll tell you later but please just come and pick me up. I have parked my a few minutes away from the mall, I’ll send you my location.”
“I’m on my way.“, she said quickly and hung up.
A sigh escaped my mouth, turning my head to look out of the window. I remembered that one time when Alex’ big sister Genoveva, Veva for short, drove us to Cherry Blossom ten years ago. Before everything was torn down, there were several little shops like the little ice cream parlour we used to visit every time along with Nico and Kai.
The parlour belonged to an cute old Italian couple which has died several months before the town council has passed the resolution to turn Cherry Blossom into something I wish I could have prevented. Actually, the owners of the stores were allowed to keep them since they couldn’t be legally forced to just give up their existence, but their son Marco was a selfish idiot who only thought about the profit and sold the shop.
The other owners eventually took their cue from him and sold their shops as well because they had lost their faith in succeeding to stop this project after Marco gave away the parlour.
Childhood memories are always joyful and sad at once because a feeling of bliss is filling your body when you think about it, yet it turns into melancholy the moment you realize things will never be the way they used to be.
A sudden honk made me snap out of my thoughts. I looked to the left out of the passenger side’s window to see Emma, waving her hand. Quickly, I opened the door, jumped out of the car and walked around it, approaching hers.
The moment my butt touched the passenger seat, the whole atmosphere turned into something really uncomfortable. The blue sky was abruptly covered by clouds and the only thing audible was the spring rain beating against the windshield. Awkward silence was ruling the ambience of the whole car ride, just as the car came to a halt in front of a red light Emma decided to break the silence.
“Care to tell me what happened or do you want me to guess ?”
“Pff.“, I uttered. “You can try but I don’t think you’ll be able to.”
“Does it have something to do with Jayla.“, she questioned me.
“Also, but not primarily.”
“Then it has to be something like...”
“Something like Alex snapping at me and being mad at me because of the way I had behaved.”
“Yeah.“, she laughed. “Very funny, Jessica. I’m actually trying to help you and you are being childish as always. Did you have a fight with Sofía ?“, she asked me, being oblivious to the fact that I wasn’t joking.
I turned my head to her, raising my eyebrows to signal her that I was being deadly serious.
“Wait ? Seriously ?“, Emma exclaimed almost running over a little squirrel as she turned to me.
“Gosh, Emma.“, I yelled. “I don’t have a death wish, are you trying to kill us.”
“Don’t even try change the subject.“, she scoffed accusingly. “What the hell did you do ? Alex is never mad at anyone, nor yells at people, especially not at you.”
“It’s not exactly something I did, but more something I didn’t do, like acknowledging his presence for the past years and always using the past as an excuse for everything.”
“I’d be mad too. I actually understand where he is coming from but you will handle this. I mean you and Sofía used to hate each other so much, but turns out you work better as best friends than enemies. If you manage to make your worst enemy becoming your best friend, you’ll also manage to find away to bring him around to forgive you. Stop overthinking and focus on the here and now. The gala is in one week, maybe this is your chance to sort everything out.“, she smiled at me, turning the wheel around to bend in the road to our right.
“Until then, focus on different like the fact that you are trying to set Jana up with Nate.“, my eyes widened at the mention of their names.
“Wait. How do you know ?“, Emma chuckled at my perplexity. “Well, she is already at our home, playing cars with our little brother and she told me you wanted to study math with her.”
“Which wasn’t a lie.“, I defended myself. “I know she has a crush on him and I thought this might help her a little to get to know him better.”
“Well, rumour has it that he is about to get back together with his ex.”
“Rumour has it ?“, a confused expression spread on my face. “Why is everyone pretending like he is a major celebrity ? Besides, how do you know that ?”
“I have my sources.“, Emma shrugged indifferently. “The chances are pretty high that this is going to happen.”
“Not on my watch.“, I said. “She had already cheated on him once, at least that is what he told me, and Jana would be so much better for him.”
“Wait.“, she raised one eyebrow. “You keep complaining about the dinner and how snobby they are and everything and now you want to set him up with Jana ?”
“Actually.“, I intervened. “He is not that bad, it’s just him and his stepmom together because when he is around ‘his people’, the requirement to join their conversations is a Harvard degree, at least. You know that because were present on the few times we had met them. He is not a bad person, but I believe it’ll do him good if he is forced to look at the other side of the coin, or a hundred dollar bill in his case.”
“True.“, she nodded in agreement. “But how do you want to do that ?”
“I’ll think of something and if it doesn’t work out now, I still have the gala to make it work. If that doesn’t work out too, I’ll just lock them up in a room together.“, Emma grinned at my sarcasm.
“I mean, it worked out in the movies, then why not in reality.”