The Face of Reality

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Chapter 5

Just don’t spoil the book for those who don’t speak Hindi! 😊


I literally felt thick and sticky with sweat when I finally reached the apartment, strands of hair sticking on my face. Blame it on all the walking, the bear suit and the humidity of the summer air. Jessica hadn’t yet returned from work at the store since I had come back earlier than I was supposed to.

I checked into my Wattpad account for a while. 16k notifications. I hadn’t checked it since afternoon. I replied to some comments I could, checked my message board and some private messages, left most of which was just ‘hi’ and ‘heys’ with no specific reason. Replying to each and every message was impossible and as much as I would love to talk to each one of them, I didn’t have the time to simply exchange greetings and keep up with silly casual conversations. Besides I had learned my lesson from one encounter where a girl literally begged me to be her girlfriend for a month or so. From then on, I replied to messages related to books and writing only.

Twenty minutes later, I stripped off my clothes and stepped under the shower. The feeling of the cold water washing my body, reviving each of my benumbed nerves and cells, was beyond amazing. I felt. . . Born-again. I heard Jessica return while I was in my room wearing my clothes.

“Girlfriend, you home?!” I called from my room.

“Yeah! I’m boiled, girlfriend. This heat is torture.” She groaned from the living room.

“Touche!”

“When did you come back?”

“Around 6:30 maybe. Got to leave early today.”

“How was work?”

“Interesting. Tell you all about it at dinner.”

“Great. Will take a shower now.”

“All the best!!” I shouted as I pulled on a short.

“Thank you! I needed that!” She laughed in return.

Smiling, I unwrapped the towel off my head and gently pad them dry. From my rented dresser (most of our furniture were rented), I picked up my lotion, squeezed some into my palm and rubbed them over my arms. My phone rang on my bed. Rubbing the lotion over my palms, I went to receive it. I picked it up and stared at the screen for a moment - Unknown number.

“Hello?”

“Hey, baby. It’s me, Ben. How you doing?” The other on the line replied with a trace of a smile in his voice and my breath stuck on my throat. Absolutely not in a good way.

No way.

“B. . . Ben. Ben Carter?” I stammered in shock, a frown on my face.

“Yeah. Your Ben. I’ve missed you, Soph.”

You bastard.

“Why are you calling me?” I returned with solid anger in my voice.

“I told you I miss you,” he replied in his very own Benjamin-soft, Benjamin-manipulative voice. “Listen Soph, I know I have been unfair to you. . . I just. . .”

“Unfair?!” I seethed incredulously, my hands tightening on the phone. “Unfair is not even the word, you fucktard. You have been nothing but a devil to me and you will always be! You fucking disgusting, rotten beast. . .”

“Hold on, Soph. Come on.” He chuckled softly in return like he always used to when I got angry at him, like he was smitten even by my anger. “I wanna make things right to you. I’ve been thinking of you for so long, Soph. I have realized how wrong I have been.”

I could clearly picture his doe eyes sparkling prettily on his pretty face as those sweet words sailed out of his honey-coated mouth and I scoffed. I wasn’t going to fall for his tricks anymore. “Took you long enough to realize you’re wrong. About a year now. How slow are you exactly?”

He groaned a little as though he was dying to make me understand how his dirty heart is beating for me. If I hadn’t known him better, I would’ve been shaken to my heart with love and pity for him. “Baby, please.”

“Don’t baby me!” I snapped into the phone, my body beginning to boil in fury.

“Alright! Soph then.” He chuckled again.

“Fuck you.”

I hated him. I hated that he still dared to call me Soph. He knew exactly how much I liked him calling me that way. He knew what affect he has on me whenever he calls me his Soph.

God. What an idiot I have been.

“I just want a second chance.” He breathed faintly, heartbreakingly.

“There is no second chance. You screwed up enough for me to hate you for a thousand lives. Besides, do you really think I’ll even trust you again? Like, I’m not that stupid.”

“I know I don’t deserve your trust anymore. I’m really sorry. . .”

“Oh shut up please, Benjamin. Don’t even call me again.” With that, I closed the called, switched it off before he try calling me again and threw the phone down on my bed.

I hadn’t realized that my eyes were burning with rage.

How dare he.

After one year, he calls up and says he’s sorry. What has he been doing all this time? Couldn’t sneak in a minute in three hundred and sixty five days to apologize for what a pig he had been? Or better yet, when I confronted him at his porch. . .

Get lost, Benjamin Carter.

Benjamin Carter, brother of my ex-best friend Kristen, my lifelong crush, had become a living example of a bloodsucking demon during the summer just before my senior year. If the younger me were to see me now and how much I despise him, I would definitely call a mental asylum on me for hating someone so damn adorable and amazing.

Benjamin was the poster boy ever since high school. He was funny, athletic and smart. He had the body that boys in school envied, girls would die for. And to top it all, he was nice to everybody! He was the epitome of the perfect boy and I had been in love with him ever since I hit puberty.

He knew that. Mostly because his younger sister Kristen was my best friend and I spent a lot of time at their place. He got the hint through the way I used to get all super-blushy around him. And he took a chance in that to have a little fun.

I fell onto my bed on my back and stared up at the ceiling, wiping away my angry tears. With just one call he had reopened the wound. I hated this side of me. I hated the part of me that was vulnerable to him. I hated this part of me that used to love him with all my heart and I still feared that I might have not fully recovered from the heartbreak, that there might be a part of me that still loves him. What I wouldn’t give to turn back time and change it all.

Jessica and I barely talked during dinner. We did talk but just not much. Benjamin fucking Carter had spoiled my mood. I told her about his call and even she was seething with anger. Although we hadn’t been that during high school, most people in town knew Benjamin was dating me and that he had also fucked it up. So, most of the dinner was me grumbling and poking through my veggies.

I barely slept at night. Regrets and reopened wound kept me tossing and turning like a mad bull. I bit my pillow and even assaulted it with my fists.

“I fucking hate you!” My muffled voice screamed into the pillow as few drops of tears seeped into the cotton. Only after that could I get some sleep.

The next morning, I woke up in a bad mood since I had lost my sleep. But I went on with my routine since I reminded myself that a bastard doesn’t even deserve the privilege of me to losing my mood all day because of him. I dressed up in my favorite navy-blue flare end jeans, tucked in a black blouse that hugged my body in it, put some make-up, left my blonde locks flowing over my back, grabbed my backpack and walked to school as happy as a girl high on sugar.

I spent the rest of the day with Lina Ackles, the first friend I made in college. And by 2:45 in the afternoon, I was at the bus stop ready to babysit Princess Arizona de la chop chop Daisyqueen. As I sat there alone, I laughed at the name Romeo had given her.

Funny.

And then my mind slowly drifted off to Benjamin. I still had a habit of thinking about him when I’m alone. Once in a while. I had been too much in love with him that even one year was not long enough for me to forget him. Sometimes, I’d wonder where we would be if he hadn’t been a bastard and if things had really gone good like a movie.

I trusted him.

My eyes were on my phone just starting and not doing anything, lost in my own thoughts when two loud and long honks woke me from my daydream. With a start, I looked up to see a black 2019 Honda Passport parked in front of me. The window of the front passenger seat slid open and I saw PuddinPants looking at me.

“Where to?” He asked from his seat.

“Your house.”

“Get in.” He gestured with his head.

I sprang up from the bench, a smile instantly appears on my face, and got in.

“You’re early,” he stated as I pulled the door closed after me.

“Didn’t want to be late again since I would’ve to take the bus.”

With a nod, he pulled into the street looking ahead. Both of us remained silent for moments. Clearly, he wasn’t kind of person who took pleasure in small talks. Good thing is neither was I a big fan of small pep talks. But remaining completely silent in the car grew to be awkward and since he didn’t seem like he would speak, I decided to initiate a conversation.

“What’s your name?” I asked.

“Augustine.” He replied, turning into another road.

“Oh, I know that one. I mean that your siblings call you August. What’s your full name?”

“Augustine Urban.”

For no reason, my face split up into a wide smile.

“Augustine Urban.” I echoed to myself in a faint voice as I leaned back on my seat and stared ahead at the road.

“What’re you smiling for?”

“Huh?” I turned to him, still smiling. I met his eyes and even he had a small smirk laced on his lips. “Oh, it’s nothing. I just. . . I like your name. Nice name.”

Face easy and bright with amusement, he shrugged. “Glad if you think so.”

“You know you don’t really look fully. . . white. You’re kinda exotic. Like, are you a cocktail?”

“Indian mom.”

“Really? Wow.” I gasped enthusiastically. “Do you speak Hindi?”

He shook his head. “No.”

“Not even a word?”

“A word or two, maybe.”

“Tell me one.” I shifted on my seat and face him directly, eager to learn. “I like learning languages.”

“Chutiya.” He said.

“Chutiya.” I repeated after him. “What does that mean?”

“Thank you.”

“Oh.” I settled back on my seat again. “Chutiya. So different from English. What a beautiful word.”

“Indeed.” He gave a nod of agreement and tucking his tongue on his cheek thoughtfully, he looked the other way.


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