An indistinctive tolling of a clock somewhere far away could be heard and I looked at my watch to find it was nearly seven in the evening. Noah told me earlier that he was heading back to his hotel suite and informed me about Chelsea hauling a taxi back to the hotel.Earlier, what Chelsea told me flashed through my mind and I heaved a sigh. Is she right? Am I really being judgemental, judging her for the things that she did fourteen years ago and being blind to what she is now?
Well, she has been remarkable in her work and she was always careful with what she did, but fourteen years ago, we were just kids. A very ripe age, influences... Is it good to punish someone for their childish acts?
I mean, I was not really punishing her or something, but I do agree that I was just avoiding her. Precisely, just avoiding her. I can tell, that I was just being my normal self, but somehow I had managed to miff her. So, I got up as I held my jacket in my hand and made my way towards the door.
My hands trembled a little as if having a mind of their own, refusing to go with what I have decided. Then again, I rubbed my forehead out of agony and then again went against my mind and finally pressed the buzzer. I waited for some minutes and soon the door opened and I looked at the person, pursing my lips thinking what to speak. She furrowed her eyebrows and pushed her wet hair back as she came out and looked here and there and then at me.
“Do you need anything?” she asked. Her eyes blood red and I wondered if she had been crying or it was the effect of the shampoo going inside her eyes.
“You told me earlier, you wanted to see the city,” I told her and watched as all of a sudden a smile appeared on her face and she bit her lips, probably stopping herself from smiling hard.
It was only silence between us as I looked to my right to find her looking out of the window, a small smile plastered on her lips as she tapped her finger on her lap. Her body language indicated she was happy and somewhat satisfied with my behavior.
“What made you change your mind all of a sudden?” I heard her talking for the first time and I watched as the car’s driver looked at us through the rearview mirror.
I shrugged and shook my head, obviously not having an answer to it but then chose to speak up not wanting it to be awkward. “I need some air. Probably, changing my ways,” I told her and saw her smiling as she nodded at me. She had changed into a light pink colored dress and left her hair open and for the first time, I thought that I was noticing a woman and what she was wearing. Is it because, I have got nothing to do?
“Sorry,” I heard her.
“Sorry what?” I asked and she shrugged this time.
“I said sorry. I shouldn’t have talked the way I did, a few hours ago. Sorry,” she told me and I shook my head. “No, it’s alright,” I mumbled as I looked out of the window.
Truly, beautiful city. Now, when I think of it, I actually needed a time off and it was not really Chelsea but I wanted to get out, have some air too. I watched as our car passed away from sophisticated cocktail spots to hard-partying clubs, diversity nightlife of Vancouver. We were heading to Yaletown for dinner. I thought might we have dinner before roaming around, taking in whatever way possible.
“I have already reserved a table for dinner,” I said wanting make some small talks and she did was nod at me with a smile.
Is she really the same girl from fourteen years back? She used to have urban hairstyle and badass clothes, talked nasty with nasty remarks that reflected her work and that was bullying, students like me. Actually most of the time, it was only Elliot and she would only tag him everywhere he went. In the beginning we didn’t even knew her name but when she became his girlfriend, everyone noticed her and soon the bullying started.
“Are you always like this?” I heard her when the car came to a halt before the restaurant. I raised my eyebrows at her and she replied “So quiet and calm? Were you like this in the school too?” she asked and I turned to open the door.
“How would you know Ms. Kinsley, we never talked,” I told her as got out and came to her side to open her door and she came out and looked at me with something in her facial expression, which told me she wanted to ask many questions but couldn’t.
“Shall we?” I asked as I looked back at the restaurant’s entrance door and she nodded.
“No, really were you really like this?” she asked for the second time and though she didn’t complete her sentence, I knew what she was asking about. I looked back at the menu card and then ordered the food. The waitress smiled at me and took the menu, brushing her finger with mine. As I looked up, she winked at me and I adjusted my suit and as I looked back, I saw Chelsea giving a pointed look at the waitress.
She snapped out of her thoughts and took the lap scarf from the table and placed it over her lap as she clasped her fingers and looked back at me.
“Earlier, you told me that you liked keeping it professional. So now are we on a business dinner?” she asked and that made me furrow my eyebrows. “No,” I replied and that made her inhale deeply.
“So can you not call me Ms. Kinsley when we are not working?” she asked and that made a smile break out on my face.
“So, can I take your smile as a yes?” she urged and that made me nod.
“Thank god,” she whispered and looked my way. I watched as she grew more confident and smiled brightly.
“You have changed,” I told her and that got her attention. “Sorry?”
“I said you have changed. You used to have a different fashion sense back then,” I told her and she shrugged. “You noticed?” she asked to which i remained silent which made her chuckle. “I take it, you don’t really like to talk, do you?” she asked and I just smiled in return.
“Well, but I like it. At least you are not giving me cold shoulders,” she laughed at her own joke and I gulped down the water from the glass hearing her laugh.
“But answering your question, yes, I have changed, a lot.” she gave stress on the last two words and I looked back at her as she sat their fidgeting with her fingers. “And what about your boyfriend?” I asked and she looked up as she furrowed her eyebrows. “Boyfriend? I don’t have one,” she said and that made me literally scowl at her.
Is it possible that they are no longer together?
“I’m talking about Elliot,”
“I am not in contact with him. We broke up on the prom’s day,” she said and something flashed through my mind.
The last time I saw her was the prom. Everything was going so well, but then she disappeared.
“Oh,” I said and she sighed. “I know what Elliot had done to you and also to the other students. I can’t even speak up, because I was the same. I know Ace, you can’t forgive me for what I did, but please at least try to forget it. I know I have been really really bad, but I have changed. I am apologising to you for what I did. I was very immature,” she spoke up and I inhaled deeply looking up at the restaurant’s interior.
The restaurant was booked and I looked to my side to find many famous celebrities having dinner, with their families. It was an expensive and famous restaurant in Yaletown called, Yaletown Davie’s Kitchen. It was the restaurant of a well known celebrity chef where only the rich could afford to have a dinner but the best part was, the money the restaurant collected from the bills, went straight to make food for the homeless people in Vancouver. Davie is a well known person famous for his incredible cooking skills and also for his charity.
Many celebrities, even contribute while exiting for the charity and it was what made Yaletown Davie’s Kitchen the most famous restaurant in Yaletown.
“Ace can we please start from the beginning?” I heard her and looked back at her when the waitress showed up with our food and kept it before us. She pour the wine for me and was just going to pour for Chelsea when she stopped her, denying her offer.
“I don’t drink,” she replied and I nodded.
“So, what made you change?” I asked and she looked up picking up her fork.
“Actually, I am still the same,” she replied and that made me smirk.
“No, what’s with your smirk? Listen first! What I mean is that I was the same as I am today. It was just the influence and wanting to get notic-”
“Noticed?” I completed it for her and she stopped abruptly as she opened and closed her mouth a few times, shocked. “How do you know?” she asked and I shrugged. “I have eyes,” I told her.
“Is that why, you came to check at me when into boy’s toilet when the chewing gum was stuck on my head? And also the time when Elliot dumped me into the junk bins or also the time when you opened the door for me when he had me locked in the janitor’s room?” I asked and i watched as the fork slipped for her hand and fell down on the plate making clanking noises, and everyone looked towards us. Embarrassed, she picked it up quickly and I put some food into my mouth watching her move in her place.
“You knew? How?” she asked more like whispered and I shrugged “Told you, I have eyes. I saw you peeking from the washroom mirror, I recognised the scent that lingered near the bin when suddenly someone opened it and went out of sight, I also saw you hiding behind a wall when someone again opened the door for me.”
She gasped and had her hand over her mouth.
“Look, that gum on your head was an accident. You slipped and I was caught off guard which made me choke on the gum and I spit it out, but it landed on your ha-”
“Can we please change the topic?” I asked and she stopped looking at my way for a moment but then, picked her fork and started to eat.
“My problem is not the fact that you bullied me or anyone else. My problem is what is with your behavior of acting a way, you are not. Do you even realise, people won’t be able to rely or trust you if you do that. What’s the point of being something else, if you are nothing enjoying it? Why did you bully people if you didn’t enjoy it? You made some students feel horrible only because they don’t speak up or fight back. Not everyone’s the same,” I told her and she closed her eyes, nodding.
“I understand what you mean and I’m really sorry. I have already apologised everyone, I bullied. I just wanted to be cool and get noticed. You know London School of Business is a great deal and it was pressuring my mind. I wanted to get noticed and I had no idea, that enjoying a little with Elliot would do such damage to others. I was really stupid! And it was why I broke up with him in the end, because I realised I couldn’t carry this on any longer and it was how, I finally changed.”
“Do you know what?” I told her and she looked straight into my eyes.
“Don’t blame Elliot for this. You chose it!”
“But coming to the end, will you forgive me or not?” I heard her as we walked on the pathways of the Spanish Banks beach. The breeze hitting our face and I looked down at her as she made sure to walk to my side, with me.
“I will think about it,” I joked and she groaned.
“C’mon Ace, forgive me, what do you want? Oh I know, eat a chewing gum and spit it out on my hair. I will chop off my hair and will it satisfy you?” she asked and I looked down at her with a narrow look. At first, I thought she was joking but then the serious look in her eyes made me scoff at her.
“Isn’t hair the special possession of every woman? And you are willing to sacrifice it just for my forgiveness?” I asked and she nodded clutching her purse, tight.
“Liar!” I told her and walked further when she called my name and caught me as she stood before me blocking my way.
“I don’t really care about how I look. Currently, I only want your forgiveness. I’m tired of you giving me a cold shoulder in the office. I want it to be warm and comfortable,” she said and that made me arch my head as I looked down at her petite form.
“That’s the point Ms. Kinsley. What’s the use of taking something away that you don’t really care about?” I told her and she realised.
“Oh smart!” she spoke up as I side stepped her and walked further.
“So that means, you are never going to forgive me?” I heard her frantic and exhausted voice when something caught my attention.
“I think, I can,” I said and looked back at her when all of a sudden she smiled brightly and ran to me. “But on one condition,” I told her and she looked confused for a second but then I signalled her something far away and then she realised what I meant. An ice cream stall near the beach.
I looked at my chocolate peanut butter ice cream and then looked at her sitting to my side on the bench, facing the beach. Her hands folded on her lap as she looked at me, smiling.
“You sure, you don’t want one?” I asked and she shook her head.
“I am diabetic,” she told me and that made me look back at her.
“What? Really?” I asked and that made her laugh. “No, I am just on a diet!” she said and I nodded.
“How come you grew so taller? You were of my height as much as I could remember. What’s your height?” she asked and I had a bite from my wafer as I looked towards the beach. Only the waves of the beach could be heard and it was already dark. Nothing could be seen but the chilly wind from the beach was soothing, and I loved it.
“Five-Four,” I said and she nudged me on my stomach which made me chuckle at her reaction. “No! Mr. That’s my height! What’s your?” she asked and this time I stood straight replying seriously “Six-three,” I said and that made her gasp.
“How did you manage to grow so tall? Why do you boys always get so tall? Damn!” she had a scowl on her face.
“Genetic. My dad is Six and I joined basketball back in the college days,” I told her and that made her nod.
“So? Did you forgive me?” I heard her voice and looked at her.
“Yeah,” I told her truthfully. Infact, I was never really angry on her. The fact that she used to behave like something she wasn’t disturbed me and I really hate people who do that. Just why can’t you be yourself? I don’t really trust people who does this. I believe the person has some secrets within them that they don’t want to get out. And that makes me skeptical of thinking whether to trust them or not. The person doesn’t even have confidence upon themselves than how could anyone thinking of trusting such people with anything?
“Really?” I heard her surprised voice.
“Yeah,” I told her and realised a burden getting off my shoulder. I realised I have something against Chelsea from a long time and as I told her that I forgive her, a huge burden got off my shoulder, and I felt fresh.
“Oh my god! Thank you so much, Ace” she whispered and I looked back at her to find her hand clamping her mouth as she looked down. I realised she was sobbing, and I thought of leaving her alone. Like me, perhaps she also felt a burden getting off her shoulder.
“You realise we do mistakes in our tender age but when we get old, we realise how stupid we were and how absurd are the things that we did,” I told her and heard her hum.
“But did you seriously forgive me Ace?” her voice was timid and I looked back at her and told her with sarcasm “Do you think a twenty-nine year old adult would joke with you about something like this?”
“Nah, probably won’t,” she replied and looked up.
“Oh and I have something to share with you,”
“Do you remember that girl, what was her name again? Sullivan... Victoria Sullivan ...right?”
“Veronica Sullivan,” I said and she nodded.
“After that chewing gum incident, she came to beat me. Gosh! she made my life a living hell after that. I had bruises for months. That girl was truly fierce and that made me wonder, I often saw her hanging out with you guy-”
“It’s getting cold and we are already late. I think we should head back,” I told her as I threw the tissue paper into the bin and walked straight towards where we had our car parked. “Wait! Ace,” I heard her following me.
The ice cream’s sweetness turned sour all of a sudden as I thought about of our school days.