18. I'm here
I was leaning on the back of a couch and playing with Captain in the living room while I waited for my Mongrel.
Sometime later, I heard her come down the stairs and ask, “Isn’t he Captain Jack?”
I looked up at her towards the stair and smiled, “He is.”
“Wow. Still alive.” She kinda gasped as she continued down the steps.
“Yup. Alive and still as strong and handsome as the master himself,” I winked at her and Captain began to get frenzy. He started to jump up and down while standing up on his hind legs in between my arms.
She didn’t recognize me that fast but she recognized the dog, who ate all her startbursts in elementary, within seconds. Oh well.
“How old is he?”
“Almost ten. He was four years old when I took him in.” I answered while I held his ear and shook him fondly. He enjoyed it so much he almost purred. I made him face Alana and said, “Captain Jack, meet your old client, Alana.”
With a light chuckle that I keep falling head over heels for, Mongrel waved back when I made Captain wave at her.
Claire came down the stairs in her night wears just moment later and stopping on her track, she eyed both me and Mongrel with her mind already racing towards the . . . You know.
I rolled my eyes and said, “It’s not what you think, Claire. My virginity is still hibernating inside my pants.”
And then Alana whipped her gaze at me immediately. Only then did I realized she didn’t know about that at all. I really hadn’t even thought of whether she knew or not. Almost every youngsters in Carlos understood that part of me so I just took it for granted. And now judging by her reaction, she most probably thought I’d had sex before. Or who knew if she thought I was a manwhore.
I was pleased for some reason that, at least, now she knew.
I introduced Claire to Alana, Alana to Claire. They chit chatted for a while and for once I felt like handing an Oscar to my sister when she mentioned I hadn’t brought a girl home before while asking if Alana and I were a thing. I mean, she was unknowingly speaking in her brother’s favor. And then, she shot me down right after that by telling my Mongrel that I was a douchebag and she shouldn’t fall for me.
Come on, Claire.
Right after Claire went into the kitchen for breakfast, Kendra called up.
“Hey, Kendra,” I answered.
“Hi, Xavier. Alana’s phone is with me so I can’t reach her. I guess she’s with you?”
“Yeah. She is. I’ll pass it to her. Here,” I called my Mongrel and handed the phone to her. She was looking around the living room and facing the glass wall.
She turned back to me. “Who?”
She took the phone and answered, putting it close to her ear gingerly and then almost immediately she pulled it away, wincing.
“No. We didn’t. Well literally yeah . . . But . . . We didn’t . . .” She stuttered shyly and peeked over at me.
I smirked at her knowingly. I was sure Kendra probably said something about me and Mongrel sleeping together. She gave me a dead glare and gestured a finger over her throat . . . Cut-throat. I laugh, throwing my head back.
“I’ll tell you everything when I get home,” she told Kendra and after a while they hung up.
When she handed the phone back to me, I teased her. “We did sleep together, didn’t we?”
She rolled her eyes in response.
“What else did she say?”
“That she told my father I was sleeping over at her place when he called me up last night.”
I nodded. “Good for you.”
“Your house is amazing,” she said, when we walked towards my car where it was parked near the fountain.
I glanced back, looking up the house once, and replied, “Thanks.”
It was a pretty nice modern mansion so I figured there was no need denying it like a polite young man. Facts remain facts.
“What does your parents do?” She asked.
That question put me off a little but I answered anyway since she was just curious, “He’s an entrepreneur. And I don’t know about her anymore. It’s just me, Claire and my grandmother living here.”
“I didn’t see your grandma.”
“She’s at my . . .” I paused. “Dad’s,” I oddly added later.
“Oh. Where are your parents?”
“Then why are you here? I mean, New York is New York, right?”
My footsteps immediately came to a halt as if my system was suddenly facing a functioning problem.
New York is hell. Hell. Pure hell.
“I like it here. And neither of them matters to me,” I answered, gradually starting to get pissed. “You should never accept anything from anybody when you’re in a party. You understand that? Trust no one. Only fools would.” I said, walking beside her.
Only moments later did I realized I was walking ahead of her in brisk steps and when I looked back, she was quietly staring at me like a guilty student being scolded by a teacher.
I pinched the bridge of my nose and sighed, “Dammit. I’m sorry, Alana. I have temperament issues.”
“Not surprising.” She smiled back kindly.
I slowly smiled back too, glad she was understanding and considerate enough to let it slip. Even after six years had passed, I still couldn’t get over it. I still couldn’t think about my parents without losing my head.
I dropped her home around seven and a half. We got down at her driveway and I asked if I should walk her to her door. I never used to do it because well, I didn’t think she would appreciate it.
“Maybe next time,” she replied, “Dad might be still there. And if he sees you . . . Then . . .”
“Then he’ll know that we slept together.” I teased her with a naughty grin.
She rolled her eyes and laughed in return. I could see she was starting to get used to my teasings.
“Alright then, I’ll see you at school.”
“Yeah. Thanks for everything.”
“There’s no need to say that between husband and wife,” I joked around casually and she started to laugh. For a moment I stood transfixed, watching her laugh.
She looked so carefree and so beautiful. Shame to all the other beautiful things in the universe.
“Jerk,” she said, still laughing, “Go home. I’m going in.”
“Yes ma’am.” I saluted her, suddenly feeling so wonderfully pleased and happy.
She beamed back and turned towards her house. With a contented smile on my lips, I watched her walk up the footpath.
“Wait a minute,” I called her back, remembering something.
She looked back.
I went over to her over. “There’s something you need to know.”
“What is it?”
I plucked up my courage and cupped her chin. Sometimes, it really took all of my strength and courage just to even look at her. Touching her was a whole new level. But this morning, since she even laughed at my joke, I just figured she wouldn’t murder me anytime soon so I held her.
She seemed a bit amazed at my action with the fact that either of us were not joking neither high.
“You’re always beautiful, Alana,” I told her. She deserved to know.
She stared back at me without a word. Our moment. Her lips parted slightly in an attempted to speak but no words came out. I clenched my teeth. I was always getting this demanding urge to kiss her.
“I think you should know that,” I said, hurrying up so I wouldn’t end up kissing her.
But I took my chances and at least placed another kiss on her forehead again. I let it linger on for a while because it was so freaking hard to pull away from her. She was just so . . . Lovable.
When I pulled away, I smiled down at her and fresh shades of pink started to gleam on her cheeks. My Mongrel was blushing again. And in that moment when our met, it felt like everything was alright. The whole situation seemed so far from conflicting, like she didn’t mind me at all. It was seriously boosting my confidence but I pulled myself back.
You never know.
Without another word, she turned back towards her house and continued to walk up to her door. I got into my car and watched her through the window.
Alana. Come on, look back.
I was kinda betting on myself for no reason. Maybe I just wanted her to just look back simply just to see me and only me, acknowledge me.
Look back, Alana.
All the wind that’s left in my lungs seem to leave me all at once and then came right back just to make sure I don’t die of happiness when she finally looked back.
I felt like whooping out so loud, start jumping and pumping my fists, celebrating like I won an Olympic model but I kept my cool and instead, presented a very solemn smile. Sometimes, I just wanted to seem cool in front of her. You know, just seem really cool and attractive?
Then I started my engine and I saw her turn away with a small smile tracing her lips so pleasingly.
′Mmhmm. Arquette?′ I internally smirked.
I could feel things were starting to slowly change between us and it felt good.
′Dude. No expectations’, I reminded myself.
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