Chapter 27: Phone
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt,
All I see is pitch black or nothing if you are one of those people.
“Jay,” I call reaching for him with my hand but he isn’t where he was last stood.
The fact that it is dusk doesn’t help me. I feel for the wall and touch it after some time. I go along the wall and find the switch. By the time I flip it on, I’m panting. Playing maze in the darkness isn’t fun. I relax for a moment and turn to go search for Jay. Where is he even? Is this some murder mystery? I enter the living room calling out for Jay.
“Surprise!” I see a gathering of people cheer. I jump a little and a scream escapes my mouth while I take in the scene in front of me.
“Happy Birthday my daughter,” Ace says as he comes towards me and plants a kiss on my forehead.
Still not able to get a grip of what is happening around me, I stare at him like he’s a ghost.
“What’s going on?” I ask and look around. There is a series of chuckles for a few seconds but it immediately dies down.
“This didn’t go as planned,” Jay raises his hand and walks forward, “I kind of told her that today is not her birthday and that it’s tomorrow. She must still be in shock.”
I was right! I was completely fooled by him.
Though what I am actually surprised about right now is the amount of people here. Who are they even? I’m sure they are only here for the twins.I know for a fact that millions of people would kill to be in my place.
“Happy Birthday Kelly,” Livia says and hugs me. I hug her back at once.
“Happy Birthday Kels,” Jayden says while hugging me and kisses me on the cheek. I just look down with a smile playing on my face.
Jayden is wearing a white T-shirt with rolled up sleeves and brown pants. He is adorable. God, concentrate. I look up, only to see him smiling down at me. Is it weird that I feel a tingling sensation on the place that he kissed me? I resisted the urge to place my hand on my cheek.
“Thank You,” I say and he smiles and steps back letting Veronica to the front with Lydia.
“Happy Buday Kewy!” Lydia cheers as I take her from Veronica’s arms, embracing her.
“Thank you baby,” I kiss her cheek, “So you were a part of this whole thing. I can’t believe you were able to keep it to yourself all day.”
“That’s because she’s smarter than you, duh,” Jayden whispers in my ear. I step on his foot with my right leg making him let out a yelp and turn back to Veronica with a smile, letting Lydia to play with her friends.
“Happy Birthday Kelly,” Veronica says engulfing me in a hug, “Let’s get you changed into something good, come with me,” She says and leads me to my room, “Here, she hands me a beautiful pink knee length dress.”
“I... I can’t wear this,” I say hastily.
“What? Why? I bought this for you,” She says, “Alright Kelly, seriously, why can’t you wear anything sleeveless or short?” She asks.
I think I should just tell her. Not about the bully but the scars. Maybe then, she will understand why I don’t like short-sleeved stuff. Might help me.
“One minute,” I excuse myself and take the dress from her and change into it in the bathroom. I walk out of the bathroom and let her take a look.
“See, you look pretty,” She says as I walk towards her, “So what is wrong with this?”
I walk closer to her and show her the scars on my hands and legs. “Woah! Where did you get so many scars from?“, She asks.
“I get hurt a lot owing to my clumsiness. That is exactly why I don’t wear short dresses,” I lie through my teeth.
“No way! Being clumsy doesn’t leave scars like the ones you have and what angle do you even fall in to get hurt at these places,” She says with a frown, “ I know you are hiding something and you’re telling me later,” She adds and leads me to the closet.
The closet is full of new clothes. There are a lot of different shades of jeans and tights The shoe rack is full of flats and a few heels.
She takes out a pair of tights which suits my skin tone.
I wonder why they have to do all this for me when I will be leaving in like a few months. I feel loved in this family. Everyone is so nice to me. I really wish I could hole up here forever, get Megan out of my life and live in peace. I will be able to start my life afresh.
“Earth to Kelly!” Veronica exclaims, snapping her fingers in front of my eyes, “Everyone is waiting for us, wear this fast,” She gives me the tights.
I wear them and hide the few scars in my hands with make-up. We both descend the stairs observing.
I stand by the railing and look down at the huge wave of people dancing around the entire hall.
I can’t believe this is my birthday party. If a year ago someone had told me that I would be standing in the Brandon mansion and having a huge birthday party, I would have laughed in their face and walked away.
As I walk down the stairs, with Veronica beside me, I see a photographer take a photo of us. I hope I don’t get captured with a goofy face.
When we reach everyone, Jay comes forward and takes my hand, “May I have this dance?“, Jay asks in a British accent. I chuckle at his attempt then nod and let him take me to the middle of the room.
A new song starts as we start dancing to the beat and the others join us. At first, I just move a little not wanting to make a fool out of myself. But suddenly, I want to let myself loose and feel it in me. So, dance to Jay’s pace and I smile with relaxation. Just as we are dancing, the music stops and the spotlight falls on me and only me.
This is making me uncomfortable. Well, the whole party idea is, but I love these people.
“Everyone put your hands together for the birthday girl Kelly!” Jayden says and everyone claps with a few whoops, “Kelly please come forward and cut the cake.”
Jay pulls me to the middle and uncle P comes with a cake on a trolley and places it on the table and smiles at me.
“Happy Birthday Kel,” He says.
“Thanks Uncle P” I reply with a grin.
He hands me a knife and gives others space to come forward. Alex, whom I didn’t see coming, kisses my knuckles and wishes me a happy birthday. Alec and Bianca also wish me with hugs. The twin sisters hug my legs before I crouch to hold them in an embrace.
I cut the cake as everyone sings the happy birthday song. We feed each other cake. The boys reach for some cake to smear it on my face but get stopped by Veronica who smacks their hands away.
“Nothing of that kind,” She orders and they all just pout and fold their hands which makes me laugh.
“Party popper,” Jay mutters and sticks his tongue out at her. She gives him a glare which makes him stop. This is amusing.
“It feels so good to be the oldest sibling in the house, especially to the twins,” She flips her hair.
“Ok, may I get everyone’s attention,” Ace says clinking on his glass with a spoon and everyone turns to him, “Thank you all, for coming to Kelly’s birthday party,” He says. Everyone cheers. “Kelly please come up here,” He points to the spot near him. When I make it next to him, he wraps his arm around my shoulder.
“Kelly, did you miss your Mom today?“, He asks and I nod, “Well... My wife Livia,” He says smiling at her, “And I have arranged a surprise for you. 3 seconds countdown,” He shouts and everyone counts down: 3, 2, 1…
Once the count ends, I look around hoping for my mother to pop out of somewhere but she doesn’t. Well she does, but not in person, on the wall.
It’s a pre-recorded video projected on the wall.
“Hello everyone! My beautiful daughters, how are you doing? Kelly, I’m very sorry that I couldn’t be with you on this day. 18 years ago, on this day I received a very beautiful gift from god. I have watched you grow and have always celebrated this day with you but this is the first time I’m not able to be there with you. Happy Birthday dear, I am a very proud mother to have a daughter like you who always makes sure to never cause me too much trouble. You might be 18 but to me you are still my little girl. Words are not enough to express my love for you. Happy Birthday my daughter and many more happy returns of this day,” Mom’s eyes are pooled by now.
Her words bring me to tears. I really wish she were here with me. I wish I had the perfect family like everyone else.
I wish I were never bullied; I wish there were no Megan and Julian; I wish my father never left; I wish I could be able to live a perfect teenage life. I could only wish
“Hey! You mom loves you and doesn’t want you to cry. What would she think if she finds out that I let you cry?“, Ace asks, wiping my tears. I hug him for a few seconds and let go when Jayden asks me for a dance just as a slow song starts.
He places both hands on my waist which gives me tingles. This boy is definitely giving me the hibie jibies. I look up at him, a shy smile dancing on my face, and place my hands on his shoulders as he leads.Ahhhhh! I’m dancing with Jayden!
We saw slowly to the music as I let it get to my head. I feel like I’m in a cheesy cliché story right now. I smile at that thought. Fairy tales are to stay only in movies. One can’t expect any of that to happen. Just as I come back to my senses, I notice Jayden’s face inch closer to mine. I look up into his half-closed eyes and let at his wet lips. As if on instinct, I close my eyes waiting for him.
“I wanna tell you something, come with me,” He whispers in my ear which sends shivers down my neck. I open my eyes and nod, a little disappointed. He takes me to this corner where Alex is standing scrolling through his phone. I look at Jayden puzzled.
“Finally, now go ahead,” Alex rolls his eyes and comes behind me and makes me face Jayden by my shoulders.
“I... Uhh... Kelly... Would you like to be my girlfriend?“, Jayden asks, his hand on his neck and eyes wide.
When I start to feel like we are having a moment, Alex screams a whoop and fist bumps in the air, ruining the whole mood. For a minute, I wonder if Jayden asked Alex and not me. I chuckle at that and turn to Jayden with a shit-eating grin.
“I... I will uh... tell you my uh... answer in a few minutes. Just give me some time,” I mic him and start laughing. He tries to smile but ends up frowning. Cute. From the side of my eye, I can see Jay looking over here with curiosity written over his face.
“Ok, but for now it’s a yes right?“, Alex asks. I just shrug and run away from them.
Where is Olivia when I need her?
I cannot give him an answer without talking to Olivia, can I? I’m not the weird one, I’m a girl.
The door to the house opens and I see the silhouette of my bestie walking into the house with Julian beside her. I run over to them and hug Olivia.
“Where have you guys been? You missed the cake and the dance,” I say as loud as I can.
“He was delaying,” She screams over the music pointing at Julian who doesn’t even spare me a glace, “Anyways, Happy Birthday honey and dang! You look gorgeous,” She screams and pecks my cheek, “Here’s your gift.”
“You look beautiful too,” I say loud enough for her to hear, referring to her beautiful blue gown.
I turn to Julian who is wearing a green shirt with white jeans. And here I thought he hates green.
“Hi... Julian,” I say, catching his attention.
“Oh, yeah hey. Happy Birthday,” He says giving me a wrapped gift box and walks away before I can even thank him.
“Don’t mind him Kel. He’s just being a jerk,” She says and waves it off, “Now, anything you want to tell me, I see you’re so excited,” She asks.
“Well,” I start slowly and look down blushing, “Jayden asked me out.”
Olivia stays still for a few moments, staring at me like I grew two heads. Next thing I know, she is jumping, hugging me, kissing my cheek and every other weird thing in this world but then freezes when she looks behind me.
I frown and turn to see what made her so, only to see Megan staring at me like I killed her entire family. My eyes widen but she doesn’t even say anything. She just walks away, swaying her hips and clicking her heels.
“I’m in deep trouble,” I mutter.
“Calm down girl, she can’t do anything as long as I’m here,” Olivia says.
“She’s right. She or Julian can’t do anything to you as long as we’re here,” Alex butts in. We acknowledge each other and separate out into the crowd.
“Hey Kel, I want you to meet my other cousin Jacob,” Jay says, and I spin around to come face to face with someone I’d never expected to meet again. He’s standing right in front of me and looking at me with a face of recognition.
“I know you...” He says, pointing at me, We stare at each other for a straight minute. I know him, it’s a face I will never forget “Wait! You’re the girl at the hospital, the one with the peeing problem,” He finally spills. Bad pun, I know.
“I don’t have a peeing problem,” I say and pout at him.
Yup, he’s the one. The cute guy at the hospital. The same one who gave me the hoodie.
“I still have your hoodie you know,” I tell him.
“Right... My hoodie, it was my favorite,” He chuckles.
“I can give it back to you,” I say but he shakes his head.
“No, consider it a gift from me,” He winks.
I have to admit, he looks way better than before. He’s hotter and more good looking now. I guess good looks run in the family. Everyone in this family is good looking. I wish I were a part of this family.
The party continues on with Jay introducing me to new people. He introduces me to his uncle Levi.
Turns out his even Livia has a twin brother and his name is Levi. He’s an Architect.
Alex and Olivia are already missing of course. So are Megan and Julian. I search for Olivia and give up when I see someone resembling Alex and go after them only to find that it isn’t him
With this much people, it will be hard to find anyone.
My phone which I have been holding tightly for a while now dings. I unlock it to find a message from Jayden.
Jayden: Hey, before you give an answer to my question, I would like to show you something. The party can wait, we won’t take long. Meet me at the address I’m sending you rn
A few seconds later, I receive the address. But I can’t just leave like this, can I? I look around the house, until I find Jay.
“Hey Jay, umm I’m gonna go out for a few minutes. I’ll be back,” I tell him.
“What? It’s your birthday, you should stay and enjoy. Whatever it is, can wait” He screamed back with a frown.
“I will be back, soon, I’m going to meet Jayden. He has asked me to meet him,” I say and show him the text to make him understand.
“Oh... Ok fine,” He smiles, “I will cover up for you. You guys, have a good time,” He pats my shoulder and grins.
I nod and give him a hug and headed out of the house. I hail a cab and show the driver the address after getting in and proceed to forward the address to Olivia.
Oli: K! U go gurl, have fun and I want all the dets When ur back��
“Fine! Keep him in check, I will be right there,” I hear Julian say as he frantically searches for someone. I follow him, till I see him stop in front of Megan and they talk to each other in hushed voices and nod.
I try reading their lips but it doesn’t work. Then they start fast walking out of the house and I follow them. As I follow, I see Olivia flirting with a guy.
Of course, I’m not surprised. Olivia is a different girl. She obviously loves to flirt with boys just like I flirt with girls. I don’t wait to talk to her; instead I grab her and drag her with me, “Julian and Megan are going to meet someone. Let’s go,” I whisper before she starts objecting.
We follow them from the back till they enter a car. So, we run to my car and start following, making sure to keep a distance so that they don’t suspect.
A few minutes into driving, we reach a dark and creepy looking place and park a good few meters away from them behind a wall.
“You stay here and if I don’t come back in 10 minutes, you come in, alright?” I tell her.
“What!? Why me?“, She complains.
“Because If one of us gets caught, the other can get help,” I replied then got out of my car and followed them as quietly as I can. I tiptoe behind them, when they reach to a door and enter. When I peek in through the window, I gasp at the sight.
“God! Where is it?“, I mutter to myself as I walk through the crowd but bump into someone.
“Jayd?“, Jay calls through the music with a frown then pulls me to a corner, “What are you doing here?”
“What do you mean what am I doing here? I have been here all day,” I reply, confused.
“I thought you were supposed go, meet Kelly at some location she showed me,” He says, “You sent her an message and told her to meet you there.”
“How am I supposed to text her when I don’t even have my phone. I lost it somewhere,” I say.
Knowing that it is pointless to argue, we go up the stairs to my room where the music can’t that loud.
“Jayd, where did you tell Kelly to meet you?“, He asks me.
“For God’s sake Jay, my phone is not with me. I lost it the last time I was talking to... Megan,” I say. The last part comes out quieter that I intended “She asked me to send Jacob’s number to her"