Chapter 49 - Winter Break in a Summer Villa
༻ Kristopher ༺
I rubbed my tummy as I leaned heavily on my seat. I was so full. Breakfast was splendid.
Sean was still eating some leftover bacon and Danny was quietly reading in his phone--the phone we cracked.
He's probably just gonna buy a new one anyway so I don't need to feel bad about it.
The girls were having a small chat and not long after, I noticed Anne looking a bit strange. She hid her sinking expression from the girls and excused herself from the table.
Sensing that something was wrong, I followed her.
Sounds a bit stalkerish but I figured she wouldn't want anyone to make a fuss about it.
She was leaning against a wall in the lobby, somewhat glaring at her phone. After seeing that sight, I was cleared of my suspicions. Or at least, had an idea why she was acting that way.
I made my presence known. She didn't even look surprised. She probably knew I was gonna follow her.
I sent her a faint smile for reassurance that her secret was safe with me and then motioned to her phone.
"Is it Richard or Chie?"
She looked at me weakly before handing me her phone to show me the screen. She sighed as I scrolled down the many, many missed calls in her call log. "It's Uncle."
"He's been trying to get in touch with me all week," she explained, walking over to one of the rattan furnitures in the lobby to take a seat. "But I'm not going to answer his call until I know he has good intentions for you and Danny. I need him to tell me in person so I know if he's telling the truth."
I sat on the couch facing her and leaned in a bit. My hands rested on my knees as I prompted her to tell me the things that were bothering her.
We've been avoiding the subject since the last time we talked about it. It was that time when Tinz overhead us talking at school.
"Don't you trust them?" I had to ask. They were her closest family after all.
It took a few seconds before she thoughtfully replied. "I do, but what they're doing right now is making me question that trust. They didn't say anything to me even though they knew I was directly involved with you guys. Shouldn't I be the first to know of such plans? Shouldn't they know that it directly affects me too?"
I hid a sad smile.
I had a hunch. Maybe they didn't tell her because they're plotting something and if Anne knew, she'd take our side no matter what and spoil their plans.
On the other hand, maybe they didn't tell her because they didn't want their little girl to know how ruthless they actually are.
But I had no right to judge. I didn't know them as well as she did. They were still her family.
"Still," I said, shrugging my shoulders slightly. "I think you should answer his call. He seems like he has something to say. It might be important."
She pouted and looked at her feet. She knew I was right but was still being stubborn about it.
Anne could've come back with us to London but she refused to see her uncle. Plus, she wanted to finish school here and didn't want to further delay her education since she recently just transferred here.
"Okay," she mumbled, defeatedly. I stifled a chuckle as I set my hands on top of hers for comfort. "But not now."
I nodded. She already knew what to do. She just needed more time to think. She was always like that.
"Okay." I said. Then I winked at her, catching her completely off-guard. "Wanna go have fun now?"
A sly grin was on my face and she mischievously returned it. We both knew it was best not to dwell on matters that we couldn't control. We had no idea what was going to happen next so it's best to just relax and loosen up before the real game begins.
We went back to our friends and found them on the exact same spot we left them. They haven't moved an inch and their eyes were glued to their phones.
Typical. I would've done the same if I wasn't the host right now. But due to our circumstances, I wanted this little trip to be memorable for all of us.
"Suit up ladies," I started, stealing the attention of everybody, and yes, including Sean and my cyborg cousin. The boys didn't even look fazed but that wasn't anything new. Anne giggled beside me as I smirked at all of them. "We're going swimming."
"Alright!" Sean wiped beads of sweat from his forehead. We had just finished setting up a pool volleyball net and doing the task itself was rather... taxing.
We were the first ones to finish changing and thus prepared the props for our activity today. It took us about an hour or more since Sean dropped the tiny screw in the pool and had to retrieve it underwater.
He refused to wear goggles so it wasn't long until his eyes turned red from the chlorine.
Sometimes I really question this guy's decisions in life. He's a great guy in all honesty. But I mean, is he really okay? Is he punishing himself or something?
When he finally found the damned screw though, I didn't realize I started cheering for the little bugger, even though it was his fault it got lost in the first place.
After we finished setting up the net, he went to get a ball.
The weather was great for a game. I missed playing a team sport and thought this would be the perfect time.
I briefly scanned the area while I stretched my limbs and found Anne and Ella chatting animatedly by the benches. They were already in their swimsuits and were on the process of applying sunscreen.
I approached them while scanning the area again for a pair of troublesome kids. They weren't anywhere in sight. It had been more than an hour since we agreed to meet by the pool. "Where are those two?"
Ella just giggled as if she knew something and Anne just shrugged.
"Lost in their own little world, perhaps?" She kidded. Ella snorted loudly and I resisted a grin. "Tina went ahead of us. So I'm not sure where she is. Should I call her?"
"No, no," I replied, eyeing a certain tent. A few tents lined up our thirty-meter pool beside various plant decorations, but one tent just seemed suspiciously occupied. I could feel it. "I'll be right back."
The girls shrugged as Sean suddenly appeared and threw the ball toward their direction.
Ella swiftly caught the ball and threw it back with impressive force, smacking the poor fellow into the pool.
Damn. I didn't expect that from Ella at all.
"Oh you asked for it." Anne cackled when she realized they had been ambushed.
She started stretching her arms and legs as a wicked grin curled up from the corners of her mouth. At the same time, Ella started rotating her shoulders and cracking her neck, like she was preparing to throw someone down.
I tiptoed away from them and toward the tent as the girls jumped in the pool, splashes of water already hitting my legs. I had to fetch those two before the girls obliterate Sean.
I opened up the tent and my suspicion was right--they were hiding in here all along. Of course, this was the tent furthest from the pool.
I found the two lazily lying their backs against the cushioned benches inside. Danny was already in his swim trunks and Tinz was probably also in her swimwear underneath the baggy shirt.
Strong rays of sunshine spilled inside when I opened the tent. The sudden brightness caused the two to squint and make rather irritated expressions. I just snorted.
"Why do you two look so exhausted?" I asked, a hint of teasing in my tone of voice. "What'd you do last night?"
They ignored me and just continued what they were doing--and that was having a nice nap, hidden from the sun.
I stepped inside and folded my arms at them. They were both stubborn to a fault and it was gonna be a bit difficult to drag their arses out of here.
"C'mon let's play!" I tried persuading them. Laughter and loud splashes of water could be heard all the way here. "The girls are crushing poor ol' Sean as we speak."
I kicked the bench Danny was resting at and he sighed in complaint.
Like I said, what did they do to be this exhausted? Or were they always this weak under the sun?
"C'mon Danny, it's gonna be fun!"
He peered an eye open and met a toothy grin from me. Instead of accepting my awesome invitation, he watched me accusingly.
Then he closed his eyes again and pretended I didn't exist.
I sighed. Well, this wouldn't be Danny if he agreed to my request so easily. He's always in energy-saving mode.
Spotting tall glasses of cold iced teas on the table between the benches, I had a great idea.
I cautiously took a glass from the oblivious couple and smirked. It was half-full and still had plenty of ice cubes to spare.
Without a speck of guilt or shame, I poured the drink all over my unknowing cousin's body, making sure the ice slid across his bare skin.
He writhed quite violently before sitting up straight in an abrupt manner. The death glare he was giving me right now didn't affect me in the slightest seeing as I was already used to it.
I shrugged my shoulders as I set the empty glass back on the table. "You're gonna turn into an old man earlier because you're so lazy. I'm doing you a favor by letting you have some fun."
He scoffed before shooting me another scathing glare. He was trying to wipe the iced tea from his skin but no doubt it was getting sticky.
"Favor my butt." He said, picking up an ice cube and flicking it to my face. I was able to block it with my arm just in time.
Tinz suddenly laughed, interrupting what could've been another battle and pulled our attention towards her.
Her eyes were still closed and she was still relaxing as she openly made fun of my cousin. "He just loves his butthead name, doesn't he?"
I ended up chuckling a little harder than I had intended. Her laugh and Danny's reaction to it was funnier than the actual joke.
And Danny, unable to bite back, grabbed a cold iced tea from the table too and I held my mouth in anticipation.
Here we go...
He moved stealthily towards his unknowing girlfriend, quickly pulled the collar of her shirt open and poured the cold contents of the glass inside.
Welp. He was the only one brave enough to do that to someone like Tinz.
It was nice knowing him.
Her eyes widened from the shock and she shrieked from the surprise. She instinctively grabbed Danny's wrist, almost throwing him down on the process The results of their daily training was showing.
But Danny was the teacher, so her attack didn't do a thing. He easily retrieved his hand from her grip and chuckled in amusement at the outcome of his actions.
She was fuming at him as she knelt on the bench and started shaking her shirt, cubes of ice falling down one after the other.
I laughed at the scene in front of me like it was pure entertainment. These two were like a living sitcom.
They both glared at my direction but I just laughed it off.
"Not exactly what I initially intended to get you two out of here, but this works." I snorted, seeing their drenched selves. "Now that you two rockheads are sticky and ready, head for the showers then jump in the pool. We'll be waiting."
I didn't wait for a reply. I stepped out the tent as soon as I finished. There was no way they were gonna stay in that condition in there.
Without a second thought, I jumped in the pool and helped my poor buddy out. We practiced passing the ball and splashed water at each other while waiting for those two.
They didn't take too long. After hitting the showers, they joined us in the pool. Now it was boys versus girls, three on three.
"You ladies are going down," Sean held his nose up high now that Danny and I were on his side.
The girls scoffed and flipped their hairs behind their shoulders at the same time. I swear that was scripted.
Damn it, why don't we have a signature pose?
"Don't go easy on us now," Tinz smiled at us sweetly. She was at the center, holding the ball and getting ready to serve. "Because we obviously won't."
Excitement and energy was evident in the air. Everybody's competitive spirits were as high as the sky.
Tinz went for a spike--yes, in the pool--and earned their very first point. The ball passed by us so quickly that we couldn't react on time.
The girls cheered and gave each other high-fives before returning to their positions and sneering at us.
The corner of my lip curled up into a smirk. Oh it's on, ladies.
Danny was holding the ball now, and was spinning it between his hands. That smug expression on his face told me he was getting serious now.
Now this was gonna be fun.
I had no idea how many sets we played that morning, but my body was aching all over.
Trying to catch the ball while in the water was a challenge in itself.
Trying to win a game against three spartan ladies was just asking to be kicked on the arse.
The three of them were especially skilled and loved challenges, which made it all the more enjoyable.
We kept count at the beginning of the game, but forgot the score and just kept playing anyway since we were having too much fun.
Danny had to exert twice the effort than usual too. He probably wanted to look cool for Tinz.
We had barbeque for lunch and decided to play some games in the VR Arcade. Again, the girls were keen on winning each game, and surprisingly, they beat us in almost every game.
They even snatched the highest scores each.
"Are you sure this is your first time playing VR?" I asked them, still can't believing it. I played games all my life... How could they defeat me?
Anne chuckled as she placed a hand on my shoulder, shaking her head at that. "Your games are just all about strategy, love. Nothing too complicated."
I made a funny face which made her laugh in reply. At the moment, Danny and Tinz were competing in a multiplayer game and have been neck and neck the entire time.
I smiled at the two, honestly happy that they were enjoying their selves. This was great. We should really do this again when we come back.
If we come back...
No, no. That's not what I should be thinking about right now. Nothing's for certain yet.
We didn't notice the hours that had gone by. It was already dark outside.
"Aaaah hey!" Tinz yelled in frustration. She was losing. She blindly kicked Danny beside her and he swiftly dodged it while laughing.
It was a both amusing and impressive feat since they were each wearing Oculus headsets. Lover's telepathy maybe? Haha!
"You'll never win against me, Poopy," Danny said, to spite her even more.
"Don't provoke me, Silver." She replied, still focused on the game. She knew he hated his second name.
I snorted at their little exchange. Anne secretly took a photo of them too. They were the only ones left playing. Ella was on the corner of the room, her eyes glued to her phone, and Sean...
...was no where to be found.
I just realized that he's been gone for a while now. What kind of host am I? I subconsciously turned to look at Ella. Then mentally smacked myself.
Would I sound like a jerk if I asked her if she knew where her ex went? But then again I was the one who invited the both of them here. But Anne did say that Ella said she was okay with it. I privately asked Sean as well and he said he was cool with it too.
I keep forgetting that they used to date because they seemed so natural at pretending like they were just ordinary classmates.
Now Ella was seeing Chie. And Sean was probably seeing someone else too since we caught him skipping school last time to go on a date with a girl we didn't know.
But I still keep getting worried about them. They're quite cheerful people and that worries me because I could never read what they're thinking. I myself am an open book so I could never know.
I don't know about Ella, but Sean seems like he still has feelings for her. He doesn't talk to us about it and gets unusually quiet whenever her name comes up.
But putting that aside for now, where the heck did he go? Maybe he just needed a breather since being in the same room as his ex was mentally exhausting?
Maybe he went to the bathroom and got lost?
I was about to tell Danny when I remembered.
This is Sean we're talking about. He's a big boy. He'll come back when he smells dinner.
"I'm gonna go for a little night swim," Sean announced. We had just finished dinner.
This guy fell asleep in our room due to the exhaustion from our pool volleyball earlier and then woke up when he smelled dinner, like I had predicted.
Now that he has rested and eaten, it seemed like his energy's back in full.
Truly a mysterious creature.
I worried for nothing.
"Let's go," Anne smiled, taking my hand. I was honestly tired already but since she invited me with that beautiful smile of hers, how could I say no?
Ella came too and we all dipped in the pool.
I had the lights in the water turned on and my guests were fascinated by the unique transitions. Truth be told, no matter how many times I've seen it before, it looked even more wonderful tonight.
It might be because I was in a great mood. It might be because I was with great company.
I did a headcount as I adjusted the temperature in the pool to something warmer. My two other guests were no where to be seen. Again.
"Just leave them be," Anne giggled, as if knowing what I was thinking. "They might want to be alone and do some couple-things."
I chuckled at the term. She lightly splashed water on my face.
"Couple-things, huh," I mumbled, wiping my face with my hand and closing the distance between her and I. She discreetly walked backwards as I advanced forward.
Everything was in slow-motion since we were in the water.
When her back hit the pool wall, she narrowed her eyes at me. I just hid a smile. The lights reflected on her eyes and it was tantalizing.
"Do you want us to be alone and do couple-things too?" I slyly suggested. I don't know where I suddenly got the confidence to approach her like this, but I had better make the most of it.
Her face flushed a light pink before she started hitting my shoulder. I just laughed as I took her hand and pinned it against the wall beside her.
Anne realized her trapped situation and shot me a small grin.
"Getting bolder by the day aren't we, little prince?"
I couldn't suppress the laugh that came out when I heard that nostalgic nickname.
The close proximity between us was making her flustered but she liked it. Her eyes kept flickering down to my lips, tempting me to take the bait.
"You hate it?" I asked, leaning even closer so our breaths mixed. I knew what her answer was gonna be. I just wanted to tease her.
Her hands reached for my shoulders as she rolled her eyes at me. We both laughed.
When my lips were barely brushing her's, she smiled. My heart did flips in my ribcage. It was so unreal.
"I love it."
Without another word, I kissed her.
It was our very first kiss from the twelve years we've known each other, and it was as sweet as I always imagined it'd be.
Her lips were warm and the feeling was tender. It was truly a dream come true. This was the girl of my dreams after all.
When we broke the kiss, she was blushing slightly and I was sure I mirrored her feelings. I could feel the heat travel up to my ears.
I can't believe.
I really kissed her.
After taking a peek at each other's reactions, we bursted out laughing. It was ridiculous how flustered we were, but it was wonderful.
From that sweet moment alone, I saw my future in her and held her hand under the water. She smiled at me. I'm never letting this hand go again.
At the far end of the pool, Ella quietly smiled at the sight. Sean swam towards her and they seemed awfully calm about being alone together in that part of the pool.
Sean had a faraway look on his face though. He wasn't as energetic as he was earlier.
"You know..." He began, his voice getting smaller every time he spoke. Ella didn't move her head but glanced at him from the corner of her eye. "We could've... been like them."
She was silent for a couple of seconds before she looked away. She probably wasn't expecting him to say that. She looked at her distorted figure under the water and replied thoughtfully. "But we didn't."
Sean lowered his head until his chin was touching the water. "Yeah... We didn't."
༻ Kristina ༺
After dinner, Daniel said he was tired and decided against joining our friends to go night swimming.
I didn't feel like wearing a swimsuit again too and the evening was too cold for me so I followed Daniel to their room.
He crawled to his bed and looked so relaxed when his head hit the pillows. I was still hesitant to enter.
"Can I really come in here?"
He sat up. "Of course. Why not?"
"It is the boys room."
"And the boys aren't here." He stated.
That's not the point.
He chuckled before patting the space beside him. "It'll probably be a few more hours until they come back. Come here."
I sighed before kicking my slippers off and climbing on the bed with him. Well, whatever. I'll leave when they come back.
Without warning, he pulled me closer to his side, wrapped his arms around my waist and laid his head on my chest.
He released a contented sigh before looking up to my eyes, grinning.
"Comfortable enough?" I asked while raising a brow. Sometimes he was like a big baby when we were alone.
He snuggled closer and nodded. "Yep. I found the perfect pillow for a nap."
I laughed. Right.
I didn't feel like napping, and I especially didn't want to fall asleep here in their room. For sure, they won't wake me up if I ever did fall asleep here.
Daniel's phone slid off his pocket and before I could place it on his side table, I noticed the cracked screen.
I turned to look at him and noticed that he was still awake, still staring at me with his sleepy eyes. I would've told him to sleep already but I just had to ask.
"When did your screen get cracked?"
He cleared his throat and snuggled closer to me, burying his face on my chest. Was he trying to avoid the subject?
And where did he think he was touching?
"Hmm," he mumbled, marking the end of our conversation. He did sound exhausted. Aside from the games earlier, maybe his brain overheated from overthinking?
I tended to do that a lot. I think he just needs to sleep, and I was happy enough to provide him the warmth he needed for a better sleep.
A few minutes went by. The room was silent.
I took the remote from the side table and turned the TV on. I selected the Netflix icon and browsed popular movies. After what seemed like forever of browsing, I found one that piqued my interest.
"That's a great movie," Daniel suddenly said. I placed a hand on his hair before I met his eyes slowly. He definitely looked sleepy. This felt like deja vu somehow.
"I thought you were sleeping."
"I heard my old lad Eggsy's voice," he replied with an English accent. I snorted at how sudden it was, but I honestly wanted him to continue.
"Yeah?" I prodded, hiding a laugh.
"Oh yes, you're going to love what he's to become. It's a fascinating story, really." He continued, his accent sliding down his tongue so smoothly.
He sounded fluent in it and it was impressive. It made sense though. He lived in London for the last twelve years. It's still amazing how he kept himself from being completely influenced by it.
I think it was even Kristopher who was influenced by this butthead's accent and slang; not the other way around.
I smiled at him as I continued caressing his soft hair. "Go on."
"You like it when I talk like this?" He asked, a teasing smile playing on his lips. "Does it make me more attractive?"
I failed at stifling a laugh. He was looking at me all suggestively and the accent was just making me feel giddy.
How he was able to fool around and look charming at the same time was aggravating.
I hate to admit it but yes, it did make him a lot more attractive. It was rather refreshing.
"Go to sleep," I giggled, placing my hand on his face so he'll close his eyes.
"Ah yes, sleep," he persisted. "Quite a lovely experience that is. We should do it together some time. Turn it into a much more thrilling, passionate experi--ow!"
He didn't get to finish because I hit his chest. I couldn't contain my laughter. This butthead.
He was laughing too; his chest was vibrating against my palm and his subtle movements were unusually soothing.
Simply being with him was calming and gave me a sense of tranquility.
It didn't take long for him to really fall asleep this time. I'm not sure if he was really tired or if he was just that comfortable.
I watched his sleeping face and felt a small smile tug on my lips. He looks so innocent when asleep. I'm really going to miss this.
I sighed quietly as I shrugged my thoughts away and focused my eyes on the TV screen.
The movie had finished a while ago. It was as great as he had said. I saw that there was a second movie but decided to watch it in another time.
I browsed through the categories for another movie and it felt like forever. There was just too many to choose from. I chose one in random and pressed play.
Not long after, the boys already came back, looking exhausted. They acknowledged my presence without question before collapsing in their beds.
It was getting really late after all.
I looked at the giant baby sleeping on my chest and debated whether to leave or not. I didn't want to wake him. He looked so peaceful, so comfortable.
But I didn't want to sleep in this room.
I decided to leave after half an hour. By that time, he probably won't notice I've gone.
My phone vibrated and I read Ella's message, asking me if I was with Daniel and if I was coming back to the room tonight.
I told her I was coming back in a bit and asked her to keep it unlocked because I didn't bring my key with me.
I didn't want to wake them up in case they were already asleep.
"Kristina?" I felt Daniel shift from his position. Oh no, did I wake him?
The room was deadly silent. The boys were fast asleep.
He looked up at me, his eyes still squinting from the light. He reached for my face and cupped my cheek so gently.
With eyes half-open, he rubbed a thumb across my cheek.
"Are you crying?"
It took a moment of confusion before I shook my head. "No, why?"
He fully opened his eyes now and watched me in silence, as if making sure I was telling the truth. He then sighed in relief before going back to sleep, his words already trailing off. "I thought you were crying."
It was only then that I realized that it was probably due to the movie that was playing in the screen right now. The main character was crying. He probably heard it and thought it was me.
I took a deep breath and quietly sighed. He can't even sleep properly because he's always worrying about me.
I pressed my lips on his forehead, planting a chaste kiss before running my hands on his hair. What can I do for him? I feel so useless.
He was too good for me.
"I love you."
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