The sky seemed to be clear after pouring for continuous two days. Finally, the rays of the sun hit the drenched leaves of the trees and plants as the birds who sat on the birdbath shooks their beaks and looked up towards the sky before flying off to their nests. I watched all of this standing on my balcony.
The view was quite something. It was soothing and calming compared to the one I see back in the city. There was no chaos of traffic, no skyscrapers to block the sky and my view, no people around, and no noise. It was only trees in place of the skyscrapers, birds, and animals in place of traffic and humans and quietness in place of noise. I loved this place. Away from everything...away from every hustle and bustle of the city....away from every single problem but alas like every day gets over and is replaced by the darkness of night...the time to be spent here is soon going to be over and even if I don’t want it to get over so soon...still it had to and we have to leave this soothing place to go back to our old forms of living in that concrete jungle that we call a city.
“Master, your luggage has been packed and the car is ready,” the butler told me as I turned around to face him.
“Where is she?” like everytime my voice was void of any emotions and I expected a clear answer from him.
The old butler clasped his white-gloved hands on his front and bow down his head before replying “Miss Ungur is on the way. She has desired you to meet her at the front. She said she needs to pack a little more before she is ready to leave,” he bowed once before turning around and vanishing inside the woodland mansion.
I looked back when I heard the sound of the car honking and like the butler told me a few seconds ago...the car was ready for us. The driver stopped the car and got out holding a piece of cloth and he began to wipe the windscreen oblivious to the fact that I was watching.
“Oh...you all are already leaving,”
“Grandma...” I turned around as soon as I heard her voice. There she was walking down the stairs as she made her way towards me and engulfed me in a hug.
“I don’t want you to go...” she whined and that made me smile softly at her. For... she was the only person who ever showed me affection and made me realise what care truly means.
“We shall be back soon beautiful,” I kissed her palms and smiled at her. She tried to return back the smile but failed when her eyes watered and she withdrew her hands and hid her face in her sleeves.
“Grandma...” I engulfed her in my arms.
“Join us. Come with us...” for the umpteenth time I begged her to come and live with us but then once again she nodded her head no and smiled up at me.
“It’s alright. I’m fine here. I love this place and I don’t want to live your grandfather alone... here...” her voice broke down at the end and automatically my hold tightened around her.
“I know he must be watching us from up there and I believe he wouldn’t like seeing you like this everytime Grandma...”
“Still. I can’t leave this place. I don’t want to. I feel as if your grandfather is right beside me in here. I don’t really feel lonely...” she sighed and looked up at me as I took a step back removing my arms from around her.
“It feels as if you two just visited me yesterday but now you both are leaving...” her eyes saddened but before I could reply a voice stopped me and both of us looked towards the source.
There she was..standing on the porch as she looked towards us with a smile on her face. Her jet black hair flew up into her face as the wind blew around her and with a smile, she raked her hand through her hair removing them from her face as she made her way towards us.
If you want I can stay here for more days Granny...” she ran up to us and engulfed Grandma into a hug.
“Oh, Ivona...” Grandma laughed as she patted her arms that were around her neck.
“Is it possible?” she asked blinking her eyes at me. Both of them looked back at me with a pleading look.
“She can’t Grandma...you know we need to be present in the con-”
“Please, Alex! I don’t want to leave this place yet. At least let me stay here for a week. I promise I shall be with you on time for your conference. Please?” Ivona pleaded.
“Ivona you have never been out without me and y-”
“She is not alone Alex.” Grandma huffed at me and that made me instantly close my mouth.
“I am here with her. And be honest here, will you? It’s not about her being out alone in nowhere in this island in the middle of a forest but its everything about you not wanting to leave your fiance alone for a second isn’t it Alex?” Grandma wiggled her eyebrows at me. Wrinkles formed on the side of her eyes and her green eyes sparkled up with mischief as she mocked me.
“Grandma it’s nothing like tha-”
“Alex please?” Ivona pleaded for the second time and I looked back at her. Her blue eyes pleading me to give up on the decision to take her back to the city...back to normal self...back to family...back to work.
My eyes roamed on her face before I turned around and looked at my surrounding. Surely, we were in the middle of nowhere. The woodland mansion was surrounded by trees and there was no other infrastructure visible to my vision. We were on an Island that my Grandma owned. A very small island but it took only twenty-five minutes to reach the nearby port by a speedboat. And it was how she and grandfather used to live. Away from everyone.
“Fine,” I muttered as I looked back at them.
“Really?” Ivona’s eyes lit up and she walked to me. I nodded and it was when she flung her arms open and pulled me into a hug.
“Oh Thank you so much! Alex!” she beamed with happiness.
“Yes! Thank you, my baby,” it was Grandma who was the second person to engulf both of us into a tight hug.
“What are you two doing? L-Leave m-me!”
“Oh I’m so sorry!” both of them said in unison as they let go of me. I huffed out a breath of air which they managed to choke by hugging me at the same time.
“Fine! You can stay here for a week. I will send Rica to escort you back to the city. I’ll be leaving now,” I said as I took a step towards Grandma and kissed her temple.
“Take care... I shall come back to visit you soon okay?”
“Hmm...” she smiled fondly at me and patted my cheek.
“If you need anything... Just give me a call” I told Ivona and took a side step when she took a step towards me wanting to hug me.
I was still not comfortable with her being my fiance. This marriage deal was getting on my nerves.
Sadness marred her face as she looked down and hummed at me as a reply. Still, I chose to ignore it as I looked at the wristwatch that read nine in the morning. I had two more hours to reach my office for my meeting. It was when I sped up my pace and walked up to the car where the driver was ready to drive me off to the boat.
The clock read ten in the evening. I plopped down on my couch as I held my forehead and rubbed my temples feeling the exhaustion growing up inside me even though I just returned from a week holidaying at my Grandma’s. Leaning against the couch... I looked out of the glass window towards the building when I heard my phone beeping.
A text message.
It was Ivona.
There were three text messages and two missed calls from her. The day was hectic with me attending three meetings and catching up with the works that I left pending before I went on the holiday. I didn’t even had the time to check the phone but I surely had the idea that Ms Ivona Ungur my supposed to be fiance would have surely called me to check on me. It was her habit to call me every day and talk to me even though she knew I barely had any interest in her stories and what she did the whole day. According to her, she wanted me to socialise with her to know me better. And even though I hated it, in the beginning, I grew up to accustom with her ways. And finally, I would call her back or text her back letting her know that I got her text messages.
“Alex..Hi..” her voice seemed down compared to other days where she would talk breathlessly in a single go.
“You alright?” I poured the water from the jug into a glass and gulped it down feeling thirsty all of a sudden.
“Yeah! I mean yes I am alright.”
“What happened? I do remember you being the one insisting on staying in there. You are tired just in a single day. How Peculiar..” I chuckled at the thought and leaned back as I stared blankly at the roof unbuttoning the first few buttons of my shirt.
“No, I’m not tired. It’s just that my head hurts.” she groaned a little.
“It must be because of travelling. You have been travelling continuously past these months. It’s probably because of lack of sleep.”
“Hmm. I think the same,” she said and then she coughed.
“You alright?” I asked as I heard her breathing in deeply.
“Oh dammit! I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Ever since I met that woman in the mall in the morning ...my head has been hurting tremendously. I can’t bear it any longer,” she groaned and I raised an eyebrow at her before sitting up on the edge and bowing a little wanting to get rid of my shoes.
“Who was that and what did she do?” I asked as I removed the shocks and was just going for the other one when she replied: “I don’t know. I don’t think I have ever met her before. Grandma and I went to the mall today and it when I met that woman who ran after me yelling at me like a maniac,” she exclaimed and I chuckled at it.
“Why? Did you steal something from her shop?” I couldn’t help but to joke and she huffed in response.
“No... I didn’t! And she wasn’t any shopkeeper or sales girl. She looked like a customer. I don’t have any idea what she meant when she ran after me all of a sudden calling me Juliette,” I froze on my spot.
“What do you mean?” my voice void of any emotions.
“I don’t know. I was in the shoe shop when that woman saw me and yelled at me ’Juliette? Wait! Juliette! I’m Kiara! Juliette is that you! Juliette!’... I even told her that I’m Ivona but she didn’t seem to understand...I think she misunderstood me for someone else...I don’t even know her...and finally the saleswoman and the guards came to my rescue and it was when I ran away and hid myself in the mall’s washroom until Grandma called me and we came back home straight after that...” her voice seemed low much to my dislike.
“The woman seemed possesed. Hugh!..What a day!” she sighed and it was when I lost my control.
“Pack your bags. I’ll be there in an hour to bring you back!”