Chapter 2: Princesa
I probably looked like an idiot when my face turned white as a ghost. His hard eyes flickered to my face and then back to the envelope and back to my face again. A long moment of silence passed between us. I came to a conclusion that needed to stop standing here like an idiot and leave as soon as possible. So that's exactly what I did, before he could say something I whipped the note behind my back and tried to move around him muttering a quick excuse me.
As you could guess I didn't really get too far until he grabbed my wrist and turned me around. His grip wasn't rough at all but it was enough to make sure he wasn't planning on me leaving. I faced him again and narrowed my eyes, I was trying to look intimidating but I don't think that worked well. It was hard glaring at people, I don't understand how Luca does this on the daily.
To my luck he finally blinked and let go of my wrist and he was the first to speak up.
"What the hell is in that envelope?" he growled out viciously. His deep husky voice was laced with anger and his whole body was tense. I could tell this is the last thing he wanted to be talking about, he was probably wishing he was roaming the halls having his daily dose of happiness from scaring the crap out of freshman. He may even be dreaming about beating some jocks to a bloody pulp but I guess I'm ruining his sweet little plans.
"It's just a letter I wrote for my grandma, is there a reason you're asking?" I swiftly lied. My grandma died a long time ago but he doesn't need to know that but a letter to her seemed like a good excuse. It was pretty reasonable. People send letters to their loved ones all the time, right? I certainly wouldn't know, I hardly had any family around anymore.
"I'm asking because I fucking want to, plus you looked suspicious." He answered. He wasn't buying my grandma hoax at all and I could tell by the way he crossed his arms over his broad chest and how he raised one bushy eyebrows accusingly. How can a guy have nicer eyebrows than me? It doesn't make sense, I spend so much time on them and they simply don't turn out as good. I stopped thinking about his eyebrows when he cleared his throat waiting for me to answer.
"I-I'm not being suspicious I'm just worried a teacher will see I left school." I said quickly. I could go along with this. Totally didn't sound suspicious.
"It is not."
I scoffed before adjusting my bag on my shoulder. If I made a run for it I wonder if he would catch up. I had tiny legs and from the looks of it Luca did not. He could easily catch up to me in seconds and drag me away from any bystanders. I could see the image now, Luca latching onto my arms and my feet dragged against the floor while I kicked and screamed at him to let me go.
"Look I need to get to class, the letter is for my grandma end of story." I scoffed.
His eyes flashed and then he looked back down at the letter. I turned around to stride toward the west wing but he snatched the paper out of my fingertips. I gasped and whirled around to glare at him. His amber eyes were still narrowed and vicious, I nearly cowered away from him in fear.
He stood towering over me holding the letter above his thick head. There was no way I could get this, he was fucking huge, maybe even a whole foot taller than me. My eyes took in his arms that were raised above him, the black shirt he was wearing fit snug around his biceps, I could even see the faint outline of his muscles bulging as well as the inking wrapping around the top part of his arm. I let out a small huff before crossing my sweater clad arms across my chest.
"Give it back...please."
"I'm not fucking stupid, you're the one writing all the notes for me." It wasn't a question, he was sure I was the one writing to him. I couldn't read his face anymore, his previous stony expression was wiped off only to be replaced with a passive one. He's probably pissed though. Luca is always mad about something.
There was no way I was getting out of this alive. If some axe murderer could come running down the halls I would highly appreciate it.
"Stop being delusional, I'm not some stupid admirer writing you notes." I scowled making sure I still remained eye contact with him. Losing eye contact was a huge sign of lying, I saw it on some YouTube video the other day. It was pretty useful, stuttering, avoiding eye contact, and fidgeting were all major traits of a liar. So I tried my best to look straight into his eyes, I wasn't about to make my fake story obvious. "I don't even know you."
"Cut the bullshit, you use the same envelopes." He scowled.
Okay he got me there.
"I really don't know what the heck-" I couldn't exactly finish my sentence because I heard a loud body bang against the lockers.
My previous widened eyes narrowed to get a better look at the culprit. Theo came speeding down the hall while Alex chased after him yelling very harsh profanities, I didn't even know some of the words that came out of his filthy mouth. Upon further inspection I could make out their laughter, they were always laughing which made me wonder why the hell they hung out with the guy who always had a permanent scowl on his face.
Theo skidded to a stop right next to me and slowly frowned when he saw the predicament I was in with Luca. I was standing on my tippy toes trying to reach the letter and Luca looking like he wanted to slam his head in the wall, over and over again. Luca looked over at Theo with a hard stare and I took his small distraction as an opportunity. I leaped up snatching the letter from Luca's hold and shoved it in my pocket. I swung my bag over my shoulder and started walking away with a huge grin on my face, a grin of victory.
"Nice talk, sunshine!" I yelled over my shoulder and snickered at his shocked form that was frozen in place.
"Hope you find the person sending you stuff though, because it's not me!"
Right before I was out of hearing range I heard the faint quiet voice of Alex speak up. "Did you just talk to a...girl?"
"Bro she called you sunshine." Theo booming voice teased with a chuckle.
I just walked down the hallway sighing with relief. He has no proof that I'm the one writing the notes and the envelopes were common but not completely basic. I could just come up with another excuse about being eco friendly, besides recyclable paper was important nowadays. It wasn't a complete lie but hopefully it won't draw any suspicion for having the same envelopes.
It was fine, he'll forget all about this tomorrow and I'll carry on with the notes next week. It's a simple solution. Maybe I won't carry on with the notes at all. It was stupid of me to even start them. What would he do if he found out it was me? It's not a huge deal sneaking notes into someone's locker. It's not like I was sending him love letters or some bullshit like that.
I tried to reassure myself but I knew he was gonna find out sooner or later. It was bound to happen at some point. I'm just scared to what he'll do once he knows. Will he tell the whole school that some loser was sending him notes since last year? Will he keep it a secret? Will he yell at me for writing them out? Or will he thank me? I didn't know what to do. I didn't know what he'll do.
I felt for the letter in my pocket and pulled it out. I ran my fingers along the edge and flipped it over to glare at the metallic gold wax seal. Stupid, stupid stupid. This whole thing was fucking stupid. I gripped the paper tighter than I needed to and looked around the hall before tossing the envelope in the trash.
I whirled my keys around my finger while I walked up the uneven gravel driveway. I could see Mochi sitting on my bedroom windowsill licking her paws. I carefully walked up the creaky front steps and unlocked the door.
Those steps were bound to collapse some day.
It was eerily quiet when I walked into my home but it was nothing new. The house is always like this when my dad isn't here, quiet and lonely, leaving me to drown in my own toxic thoughts. The deadly silence reminded me too much of my past.
I opened my bedroom door and made my way over to my record player to turn on some music. Mochi must have saw my figure because she started meowing for me to pick her up. For a cat she was very needy and constantly craved my attention. I picked up the huge ball of fur and cuddled her to my chest. She started quietly purring when I ran my hands through her thick coat.
With one hand holding her up I shrugged my bag off and slipped off my shoes that survived the rain from last night. I padded across my room to the bathroom and filled up a cup so I could water my plants. I had a lot of them that I've been collecting over the past couple of months, it made my room like my own personal jungle. I started to water all of them making sure to waste time while doing so. It was a hassle especially when I had to hold Mochi close to my chest while doing it.
I plopped down my bed when I was all done and sighed at my body sinking into the mattress. I focused on the soft beat of the guitar playing throughout my room while I hummed the lyrics to my favorite song. If I didn't have music playing then I would have to wallow in the silence and I would try anything to try to avoid that. I let out a loud sigh and turned to Mochi that was laying on my pillow.
"I wish you could talk to me." I truly did, I needed someone to talk to, someone who I can trust and confide in. If I told my father what was going on he would send me straight back there, I know he only did it to help me and it did for a while, but not permanently. I focused back on my sweet cat, she looked at me with her bright orange eyes and just simply blinked back. I rolled my eyes before sitting up.
I needed something to do.
I had an hour or two before it got dark so I quickly threw on my shoes and flew out the front door grabbing a small cardigan on my way out. I needed to kill some time so what better way to do it then going to some lame event. The square was having an annual festival to celebrate god knows what and I wasn't planning on attending until now.
Ms. Maisie has been begging me to attend for the past week, she owned the florist shop near the square but also sold accessories for the plants as well. That's how I met her, she was the one who got me into gardening and I always found myself visiting her shop to help her out whenever I could.
It felt wrong not to help her out.
She lost her husband last year and was left to take care of the shop all by herself, I couldn't imagine how hard it was for her to jump into working after she lost the love of her life but she told me it was a way of connecting with her husband. It was something that they bonded over and she wanted to carry on his dream for him.
When I reached the small festival I saw the flood of people surrounding the square. Tents littered around as well as food trucks and bouncy castles for the children to play in. To my left I could see a white tent filled to the brim with vibrant plants, inside I saw a mop of curly grey hair handing over an orange pot to a young couple. I skipped my way over to the figure in the tent excitedly.
"My little Ivy, I'm so glad you came sweetheart!" Ms. Maisie beamed as soon as I reached her. I let out a full blown smile, dimples and all. She brought such joy to the people around her, she was always happy around people and I made sure to do the same as well. I entered the tent and bent down to give her a tight hug which she returned with much strength she could manage.
She abruptly pulled away from our hug letting out a loud gasp and lightly slapped my arm. "You have not visited the shop in days, are you getting tired of my old self?" Her southern accent drawled in between her words.
"Of course not Ms. Maisie, I've been busy with school is all." I chuckled softly.
"I'll make sure to visit you at the shop tomorrow, how does that sound?" I hope that would please her, a mad Ms. Maisie was not a good one. She may be short and frail but she could easily grab me by the ear and drag me down to the ground in seconds. "I'll even make some banana walnut bread too."
"You better or I might have a nice long talk with your dad about how you're neglecting me." She laughed loudly before moving to the other side of the tent to attend some customers. Her dark skin glowed brightly in the sunlight, for being 72 she's simply aging like fine wine.
I helped her arrange some pots and plants on the table and also sold some stuff to the townsfolk. The festival was the best way to make some money quickly, many shop owners would pack up tents and also do some business during these events. I eyed the various venders scattered throughout the square, crafts, clothes, books, whatever you named was getting sold here. Overall the event was a huge hit and it's been going on for years where nearly have of the town shows up.
The sun was seeping through the small cloth of the tent above us, sweat prickled across my forehead the more I helped around. The heat grew uncomfortably quickly leaving me to shrug off my beige cardigan. My hand clumsily brushed against a ceramic leaving it tumble to the ground and shattering into bits and pieces.
"Oh no, I'm so sorry." I rushed out and started picking up the pieces of the pot with my bare hands carefully.
"Don't worry about it sweetheart, I have tons of those in stock anyways." Ms. Maisie looked back at me with a small smile. She offered to clean it up but I swiftly declined, it was my mess to clean.
I picked up the last piece and tossed it in the trash next to me while dusting off my hands. When I finally twirled around I staggered back when a little girl with blonde pigtails stood way too close to the table with a cheeky smile.
She was staring at a small pottery owl that was filled with a small pink tulip. The grin she had grew to her ears while she made effort to show off her front missing tooth.
she was beyond adorable.
The more she gazed at the owl the more her bright honey eyes lit up. She couldn't be older than 7 so that left me confused on why she was here alone. I looked around trying to see if her parents were around but she was all by herself while everyone seemed to ignore the lone little girl standing in front of me.
"This is soooo cute, oh my gosh." She squealed jumping up and down excitedly. She then proceeded to pat the white heart pockets on her pink dress with a growing pout.
"Aww, pookie has all the money." She whined looking around the square searching for someone.
Pookie? As in pookie bear?
"Hey cutie, um where's your parents?" I muttered still glancing around the area to keep a look out for anyone who seemed to be missing a child. She seemed to be a lot like me when I was younger, I used to remember constantly running off whenever something caught my attention. For her this pottery owl was the culprit.
"Momma is at work but pookie bear brought me here. I don't know were he went though." The lisp in her voice was evident as she slowly pronounced the sentence she made out. She then rocked back and forth on her feet with her hands held behind her back, she blankly stared at me with wide amber eyes. I cocked my head to the side when I finally noticed the color of them, her eyes looked so familiar.
She cocked her head mimicking my action while looking over my face. "Y-you're pretty, will I be pretty like you when I'm older?" She stuttered out quickly making me almost completely miss what she said.
My cheeks flushed when the words came out of her mouth. When a kid compliments you, you know they're being 100% honest, so the same applies when a kid points out you're ugly. It was quite contradicting, I just had a boy last week say I looked like a troll but now some girl is calling me pretty. I wonder which one was the truth, I was guessing the latter.
"You're beautiful now and you'll be beautiful when you're older." That's the best comment I could come up with but it wasn't a lie. She really was beautiful, I'm sure shes gonna be breaking boys hearts one day.
“Everyones beauty is unique, what a boring world we would live in if we all looked the same, right?"
She giggled before jumping up and down, her hair bobbed up and down with her. Her laugh brought a warm feeling seeping in my chest, and for some reason I felt very attached to her...that made me frown. I've hardly talked to her for a mere couple of minutes and I was most likely never gonna see her again, that thought was a punch in the gut. I was about to tell her something else but a voice rang loudly behind me.
You have got to be kidding me.
"Athena, where the hell did you go!?" I knew that voice and figure all too well and it brought a rack of chills throughout my body. Of course he would be here, just my luck.
Luca’s towering body came running up to the little girl while he swiftly picked her up and cradling her head to his chest. She giggled loudly before hugging him tightly around the neck and tucking her face in the side of it, I could clearly make out his harsh pants of panic.
That was the most emotion I have ever seen on his face, and he looked beyond worried. Was this girl his daughter? He's never been seen around with girls but who knew what went on in his personal life.
The girl which I'm assuming is named Athena untangled herself from his neck and spoke to him in a hushed voice that I could still make out.
"Look pookie, isn't she pretty?"
He furrowed his eyebrows before finally paying attention to my figure standing behind the table. His honey eyes hungrily racked slowly up and down my figure leaving no shame to him checking me out. My cheeks flared up and I held my hands together in front of me while shifting on my feet glancing away. He eventually tore his gaze away from me before muttering something to her that I couldn't make out this time.
Athena wiggled out of his tight grasp and jumped down from his arms. She then ran up to the counter while pointing to the owl clay pot she was eyeing earlier. I silently watched her beg Luca to buy it for her. He shook his head before grasping her hand trying to walk away but she planted her feet to the ground making no effort to leave so quickly.
She looked at him with a hard glare before her eyes lit up like some light bulb went off in her head.
Her lips turned downwards in a pout and her wide eyes filled up with tears. It was the classic puppy dog eyes, I played that game plenty of times when I was a kid. She was damn good at getting her way, if Luca doesn't buy it for I gladly will.
His face that was once hard turned panicked again as he realized she was about to start crying. He rushed out some words to try to calm her but she wasn't having it. He glanced up at me before looking back down at the little girl.
"Here, she can have it, she's a cutie by the way." I gave him a smile before handing him the owl pot. I remember making this pot with Ms. Maisie and she loved it so much she started to make mass product to sell them.
Our fingertips slightly brushed together and I had to hold myself from gasping at the shock the ran through me. It left tingles running up my fingers through the rest of my body and heat rush inside of me. That definitely wasn't normal.
"It's okay i'll pay for it, how much is it?" He handed the pottery to the Athena who's tears were no longer evident, she was beaming like a little kid on Christmas. I told him the price and he reached in his pockets but he carefully made sure not to touch my hand when he was handing me the five dollar bill.
"Thank you so much, thank you, thank you." Athena jumped up and down and rushed to hug Luca's leg. He glanced down at her and I could see his lips twitch upwards. He brought his large hand down and rubbed his ringed knuckles on her head messing up her hair in the process. She tried to pry his hands away from her hair giggling. I silently watched the exchange between them and almost melted on how cute it was.
"Wait, what's your name?" Athena blurted out turning her head to glance at me. I stared back out at her in shock. I didn't know if I should tell her my name with Luca standing right next to her. He already suspected I was the one sneaking him notes and I wrote my initials on one of the notes before. Crap, crap, crap. What do I do?
But before I could say anything Ms. Maisie yelled something from the other side of the tent.
"Ivy, baby can you help me pack up some of the stuff tonight?" I almost smacked my hand against my face, that traitor. I told a quick yes and then glanced at Luca who was already raising an eyebrow at me. This secret note shit was not working out well for me.
Athena broke the silence by gushing over my name explaining how pretty it was. I sadly tore away my gaze from Luca and smiled down at her in response.
"Your name is prettier." I answered back.
"No, your name is prettier."
"Well your name is the prettiest."
"No way." She shook her head laughing.
I watched her clutch the pot next to her chest. "Take good care of that flower okay?" I beamed down at her.
She nodded her head up and down and grabbed onto Luca's hand and tugged harshly. I looked up at his towering figure and saw his golden eyes staring at me. He didn't look mad at anything so that was surprising but I noticed he does a lot of staring, especially staring at me. I'm guessing he's just trying to figure me out.
"Bye Ivy!" She gave me a dazzling smile before tugging on Luca's hand again. I waved at her and glanced back at his unmoving form.
He then whispered something to me that I'm pretty sure his sister couldn't even understand. "The conversation with those notes isn't over."
"Oh yes it is, I don't know what you're talking about." The hard glare that I gave him earlier was back.
"I don't even know why you're denying it at this point everything goes back to you, Ivy." He scoffed and stared into my brown eyes. He was too intimidating, if he stared any longer I was sure I would break and confess everything. I bit my lip and still continued staring at those eyes that looked like captivating pools of honey.
"Pookie, come on I want to go get some ice cream." Athena mumbled pulling him away from me. Again he was the one who broke our staring contest before she dragged him away.
"I'll see you around, Princesa." His eyes swirled with amusement and his lips twitched. But before he completely turned around he looked back at me and winked finally letting Athena drag him away.
I stood there in shock. I could feel the heat coming from my face and I could only imagine how red my skin was. Ms. Maisie bumped her hips into mine and then looked at Luca's retreating form. "He's a cutie isn't he?" She muttered, I nearly choked from the words that came out of her mouth. She smirked and walked off to other side of the tent.