The Face of Reality

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Chapter 25

Timothee stalked out of the hall soon after Shirley wrapped up the conversation. I bolted up from my place and went after him. I noticed Sophia’s eyes darting between Timothee and me but she said nothing. Aware that I was following him, he sped up his footsteps. I did too and once we were outside, I took a hold of his collar and pinned him against the wall.

Nostrils flaring as he breathed, he demanded lividly, “What the fuck do you want?”

“Nothing,” I answered. “Just wanted to ask you if you’re okay.”

He snorted vulgarly and shoved me away from him. “Is that your business?”

“No. But I wanna know.”

“Fuck off.”

I grabbed him by the shoulders and pushed him against the wall again from walking away.

“Timothee, look!” I said firmly under my breath so that the rest inside wouldn’t hear us.

With ragged breaths, he scowled up at me in defiance, his hazel eyes flashing like a deer caught in headlights. He was fighting to put up his face but I could see right through the facade that he was afraid. Deep in his eyes, I could see a terrified boy fighting and trying to run away from himself. I knew it. I had been afraid too.

In within seconds as he met my eyes, he could hardly hold himself any longer. One by one, the guard and layers of disguise he’d drawn over himself seemed to fall off and he dropped his face to the ground.

“It’s okay. I know,” I assured him and loosened my grip on his collars.

“You don’t know a fucking thing.”

“Trust me.”

“So, you told everybody else?”

“No! I didn’t. . . just Sophia. She was asking about you. . .” I added after a moment.

Eyes on the floor, he scoffed and looked up to me with tears pooling in his eyes, “Great. She’s my only friend and you just had to ruin it for me. Now, she’s going to be very proud of being my friend.”

“No, Tim. . . Sophia cares about you. . .”

With a furious punch on my gut, he pushed me aside and stalked off.

“Fuck,” I cursed under my breath. With his bony knuckles and everything, it did hurt a bit.

Sophia came out with the rest of the people.

“Timothee left?” She asked me gingerly, mindful of the rest around us who were busy chattering among themselves.

“Yeah.”

“So. . . did you talk to him?”

“Not really. He needs help.”

“Hey, handsome! You’re coming this Friday, right?” Remy called out for me over the noise.

“Friday, where?”

"Phaleeease. . . you don’t know? The Concert! Coldplay’s coming!”

“Oh, that. I haven’t really thought of it.”

“Boy. It’s about to be sold out. Buy it now.”

“We should go too,” Marlon said.

“How much is the ticket?” Sophia turned to Remy.

“I already bought it for you.”

The moment Remy said it, Sophia literally leaped up in the air and threw her arms around him. “I LOVE YOUUU!!!”

“Honey, the feeling is mutual and I was thinking. . . I’ve never actually seen you in full make-up. Like I’d love to try my hand at you, how about on Friday?”

“Oh, sure sure sure sure. Coldplay!” She shrieked again, hardly able to say another word. She obviously didn’t care about the make-up or anything. All that was left in her mind was Coldplay. For all I knew, she would gladly go to see Coldplay looking like Joker.

Never knew she likes them this bad.

“So, are you coming August?”

Sophia is going to be there so. . .

“Sure.”

On Friday, Romeo’s best friend, Lucas, and his group came to pick him up in the evening. I’d bought a ticket for him too.

“Going, August!” Romeo shouted from the stairs as he scurried down for the door while Lucas kept honking the car outside.

“Be back in time and don’t do anything stupid!” I shouted after him from the kitchen.

“Right. Right,” he returned trivially before shooting out the door.

“Will you be late?” Ari asked me gloomily from the counter, where she was sitting with her favorite bunny in her arms.

“I’ll try to be early, Princess.”

“Will you be back before I fall asleep?”

“Not sure but I promise I’ll try my best to be back before you know it. Until then, you stay with Cam and Leo. I’m sure you’ll have fun with them.”

She scrunched up her face and sulked a little. She hated it if I had to leave her without Romeo with her. No matter how much she liked playing with Sonya’s kid, she had a habit of sulking a little every time I leave her.

She continued to sulk and nag until Sonya and her kids finally answered the door. The moment she saw Leon and Camilla, she moved down from my arms and ran inside with them in her PJs and the bunny in her arms.

Marlon and I picked up two of her cousins on the way, Cindy and Laura. When they came out of the house, I hadn’t expected to see Winona with them. She’d left town right after we graduated high school. What the hell was she doing here now?

The moment she laid eyes on me, I knew I was in some sort of trouble from the way she was smirking at me. Laura and Cindy got inside Marlon’s car while Winona came and sat next to me.

Wearing jeans shorts and nothing else but just a top that was more of a bra, she crawled over and kissed me on my jawline. “Hey.”

I could have easily seen the whole of her chest if I actually looked at her.

“Hey,” I returned. “What are you doing in town?”

“Looking for some fun. What else?” She said, placing her hand right on my dick through my pants.

In front of us, Marlon started to drive so Winona settled in her seat as I ignited my engine.

“You know I have nothing else to do after the concert, nowhere else to go. I could be with you all night. . .”

I nearly laugh for no reason. “Thanks but I’ll pass.”

Winona immediately turned to face me directly and then, she gaped at me in shock. “Are you kidding me?”

I glanced at her and she broke out laughing. It amused me too somehow. She wasn’t at fault for laughing over my response. With the number of times I’ve knocked her up and other girls, the Augustine she knew would never pass such an offer. Back in those days, I fooled around a lot. I still do sometimes but, ever since I took responsibility over my siblings, I hadn’t had much time to fool around.

Come to think of it, I hadn’t been having sex for a long time, except that one time with Sophia. Ever since she started babysitting Ari, I hadn’t brought any girl home. I hadn’t even thought of it. And I wasn’t even aware of it until now.

All along, the rule had always been ‘fuck and done’. But probably because I had so much respect for Sophia, I never felt like bringing another girl home as long as she was around. I just didn’t feel like it. Neither did I want her to feel weird nor uncomfortable in the house. And when I did sleep with her, it wasn’t just a one-time sex but I lied to her. I foolishly denied her, someone so amazing.

I didn’t see Sophia until the end of the concert. She’d arrived at the stadium with Remy and other friends earlier than we did and in the wild crowd, it was impossible to look for anybody. I called her the moment I reached the place, she’d shouted into the phone that she was already inside and that she couldn’t hear a thing I say.

Later when I called her again after the concert ended, she screamed back to me again, “I’M ON MY WAY OUT! HEAR ME??!!”

“Yeah! Okay. Got it.”

I waited for her in the parking area, eyes focussed on the main entrance. Ten minutes later, she came out with Remy, Jessica and some other friends with her face glowing with laughter as she chattered away to those around her. She was dressed in high-waisted faded jeans with a simple orange cropped top that flashed her midriff. She ended the overall look with converse and left her long, platinum blonde hair open.

It would be an understatement to say I was floored the moment I saw her. Remy had put some make-up on her but she still looked effortlessly beautiful as always. She still looked the very same Sophia.

Maybe it had to do with Winona trying to talk me into having sex with her throughout the ride that, the little sight of Sophia’s skin made my mind raced toward the night I slept with her. Every single detail, the feeling of every single touch flooded my mind in an instant and my body ached with the urge to touch her again. That night, I saw her, I touched her, I made love to her and I still craved for more of her. More.

When they spotted us, Sophia gave me a bright smile that made me feel ten thousand times better after having Winona cling onto me the whole time. I was exhausted. Thank God she was now passed out drunk in the backseat of my car.

“Hey,” Sophia smiled when she approached me.

“Hey,” I returned. “You liked it?”

“Of course! It’s Coldplay and it’s my favorite time ever to a concert.” She beamed brightly.

“Want something to drink?”

“Yeah. I could. My throat is dry after all the screaming.” She laughed and I simply had to keep my urges under control.

There she was close within my reach and I couldn’t even touch her. I could only dream of her, thanks to my stupidity. She was still being friendly to me but I knew that if I try making any move to her, she would just run away from me.

Sophia wasn’t stupid like me. She had enough intelligence and self-respect to stay away from idiots who know only how to mess up and make her feel miserable. She didn’t deserve that and she knew that. Maybe that was why I liked her more. The self-respect and love she had for herself made her even cooler than she was. Maybe that was why I couldn’t even think of sleeping with any other girl anymore. She’d just. . . captured me completely under her charms. I wanted only her now. She was significantly different from the rest of the girl I ever knew.

I called Marlon to come with me as I walked away from the parking lot to go buy some drinks.

“August!” I heard Sophia call after me a moment later.

I looked back toward where I left her and her friends next to my car.

“I’ve got my jacket in Remy’s car. I need it. We’ll be waiting for you on the other side. Cool?”

“Yeah! No problem!”

[ Sophia’s POV ]

On the way to Remy’s car to get my jacket, I heard a familiar voice call for me among the crowd we passed and I froze in my footsteps.

No.

“Soph! I didn’t think I’d see you here!” Benjamin approached me from my right, obviously drunk.


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