Home Can Be You

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Chapter 20

“I don’t think it’s a good idea for us to go in with you, so, we will go and bother your dad in his office. Bye-bye,” Alaska announced and dragged Evan with her. I loved them so much and so did Emilia, Franky, the boys, and my family. However, in the midst of all the events, I didn’t forget about Zeno and that text message. I will try and ask him about it, later.

After the school day was over, I called Zeno and told him to meet me in Ruth’s Caramel shop. He agreed and I informed my family as well so they won’t be worried about me, they trust Zeno and so did I. I couldn’t just leave him alone, he looked so troubled when he read that message and I wanted to know if I could be of any help to him. Andro insisted that he’d give me a ride to the shop and I didn’t refuse it because I felt tired and didn’t want to walk and be late for our meeting. My brother understood that I needed some alone time with Zeno, that was why he didn’t ask me anything. “Thank you, Andro. I will be back before it’s too dark and you could eat without me, I’m not hungry so don’t wait for me. Bye,” I instructed then closed the door and walked inside the shop.

As Ruth saw me, I gave her a big smile. She came closer and hugged me. “Hello there, how are you, my dear?” She asked with a warm smile. “I feel great after seeing you, of course!” I told her the truth and she kissed my cheek. “You are here today to talk with Zeno, am I right?” She asked and I nodded. “He’s waiting for you in the back garden, he told me that you guys needed to discuss something very important and you didn’t want anyone to interfere. Go,” she added and then pushed me lightly on my bum and I thanked her. As I walked to the back garden, wild thoughts clouded my mind. What if he was told to move city? What if someone died? I was afraid to even continue thinking, therefore, I smiled when I saw him.

“Welcome to our secret spot!” He cleared and I laughed. “Except, it’s not so secret when almost everyone from the inside can see us,” he added and I laughed even more. He was right. Every customer could see us but luckily, they couldn’t hear us. “Have a seat,” he said and I sat next to him, on the swing. “How was your day?” I asked first so I could form what I was about to ask next. He sighed and looked at the sky.

“It was... pretty good, nothing abnormal, I think,” he replied and I arched my eyebrows. His reply was definitely not normal. I just nodded and decided that it was the time to ask him the real questions. “Are you okay?” I asked again and he gazed at me, trying to read my face. I was not hiding my concerns. It was written all over my face that I was worried about him.

“Yes, I am. What’s with the sudden question?” It was his turn to ask and I tilted my head a little and sighed. “I’m asking you that because I saw you get uneasy when you got that text message from your dad, sorry, I saw it by mistake.” I countered in a calm tone and his eyes widened for a second then he regained his composure and ruffled his hair.

“Oh,” he said and I crossed my arms and waited. “Um, that’s, um...” He stuttered and I felt bad for urging. “If you don’t want to tell me, it’s fine. I just want to know if you are okay,” I clarified and he shook his head. “I want to tell you, just give me a second.” He requested and I agreed. I looked at the sky and I was able to see the first star of the night, even though it was not night time yet. Everything and everyone held a humungous secret. The cosmos held the secret of its greatness and Zeno held the secret of his mysteriousness.

“Okay, I’m ready.” He announced and I crossed my legs and faced him. “So, my dad is always absent because of his job, he works as an FBI agent and not many people know that fact because it’s safer that way, even Oriana doesn’t know what he does.” He stated and I halted. I was startled because I did not expect that. I thought that his dad was in prison or something but it turned out that he put the bad guys in prison instead. I judged too quickly and it was a bad thing to do. “Wow!” I said and stared at him.

He smirked. “Yeah, you didn’t see that coming, right?” He asked and I chuckled. “No,” I replied and he smiled. “He’s an FBI agent and he works undercover most of the times. The text that he sent to me, demanded that I should be in his workplace, immediately. I went, although, I was hesitant because he never called me to his work. I had my dark ideas on why he called me over and when I sat with him, what I expected, happened. He gave me bad news and these bad news are related to your family and the fire.” As he said those words, I raised my eyebrows and opened my mouth. The fire? My family?

“What? Wasn’t that supposed to be an accident?” I asked in a whisper and he shook his head no. “I’m afraid not. When the house next to yours was on fire, the police came to investigate it. Dad tagged alone because he was free that day. As they searched for any clues to show that it was an intentional act, they found a ribbon made of iron. It was unusual and out of place so they asked the family if it belonged to them but it wasn’t, so, the police department decided to treat the fire as arson and they released a notice in a few of the states that faced these unfortunate events as well and Virginia was one of them. When they searched through their database, they came across your house. The one that burned down. It turned out that they also found this ribbon after the firefighters cleared all the fire.” He explained and I was too shocked to do anything. “Evelina, I think, whoever did this, is targeting your family. Dad told me all this because he knew that Oriana and I come to your place often. He never shared anything with me, so it must be serious.” He added and then he grabbed my hand.

Dear God, what have we done to deserve this?

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