Chapter 17 Part 5
~: FLASHBACK CONTINUES:~
Soon we reached the hotel.
“Are you staying,” In a low voice, I asked him the hard question which was weighing me down? I stared at his face to judge his mind.
“Haven’t decided yet,” he smiled weakly.
We met the girls in the lobby. Aaron received an urgent call, so he started talking on the phone.
“You look flushed, Jess.” Sage winked at me. I blushed.
“So your Amour—is he staying or leaving?” Alice’s expression was bleak.
“You don’t like him, do you?”
“Jess, wake up. You’re about to fall, head first from this fantasy.”
“Don’t you think I know that, Alice?”
“You guys stop arguing?” Sage tried to stop us.
“We’re not, we’re discussing.” Alice pointed. I rolled my eyes.
“Hey,” said Aaron while ending his call. “Is everything okay?” He asked since he felt the tension.
“Oh, we just couldn’t decide where to eat?” Sage cleverly covered up and changed the topic.
“There’s a great place just outside the strip,” he suggested. “They have a great selection of hot dogs.”
I was pondering over, Aaron is prosperous with money to burn on luxury cars, well dressed to the nines, unlike today, his food suggestion was ordinary. Maybe he must be bored having deluxe meals every day.
“Sounds great, Alice loves hot dogs,” I said only to annoy her more, and it worked.
We all then squeezed into the Limo. The ride was pleasant but quite. Alice and Sage were sitting close with their fingers entwined with each other. Alice was whispering something in Sage’s ear, and Sage laughed. I was watching them. I’m so happy that Alice found the better half of herself,—the one person in the world who completes her. My two best friends were in love.
I understood what Alice was implying earlier. Because she loves me, she meant well for me. She expressed her opinion and tried to protect my feelings, making me aware of the heartache coming my way. I could only appreciate her friendship.
The ride came to an end. Aaron got out and offered his hand for the girls to climb down. On my turn, our fingers knitted together.
A tall metal grasshopper—‘The praying mantis’—greeted us at the entrance, shooting flames from its antennae.
“Oh... Wow!” Us girls synced together.
“What is this place?” I was curious–we all were.
“It’s a Container Park,” Aaron answered.
“A what?” Alice asked; her eyes were still on the mantis. She was waiting for the fire.
“This entire place it’s made of shipping containers,” he pointed at the building.
The park had built out of colorful shipping containers. It had a garden surrounded with, spruced up with real trees and fake grass, decorated with strung lights, a courtyard, and a play area. I was amazed that Vegas had a little oasis of fun and games—for all ages. I wondered how Aaron would know this place.
We all placed our orders and sat outside. I was sitting next to Aaron, just like a couple would sit.
“So Aaron, what do you do?” Alice began the interrogation. All questions were now slightly intrusive—I thought.
Aaron well received a whole lot of probing questions asked by Alice. Both Alice and Sage seemed comfortable after conversing with him. I was worried initially, but now I think Alice was starting to trust him—just a little bit. Somehow the conversation evolved into my blast from the past.
“In school, Jessie had a crush on a fat boy. What was his name again? It was related to a cartoon character...” Alice was snapping her fingers while trying to remember.
“He was not fat, just slightly plump.” I clarified. I was annoyed with her for speaking with disrespect. “He was an adorable boy,” I added.
“What was his name again? I forgot.”
“His name was Vince,” I glared at Alice, but she didn’t pay attention; she just ignored me and continued talking. “Kids made fun of him, calling him ’The V—innie the pooh.”
'Kids at school were so mean to him. They teased him and called him that because his belly used to hang out of his shirt. Nobody should get bullied; it hurts people's feelings.'
“Here’s something you might be interested to know, Aaron,” Alice said purposely to tease me more with unfortunate events from my past.
Ugh, I closed my eyes. I was getting tortured by my friend, who had decided to embarrass me. However, Aaron was just enjoying the company of Alice and Sage.
“When Jess was nine years old, she thought kissing a boy would get her pregnant,” Alice continued with her wicked mouth.
I gasped and threw my napkin at her.
“She also thought the fog was smoke.” Alice blurted out and laughed. Sage gave out a peal of half-suppressed laughter.
“I was four.” I glared at Alice, and then at Sage for not saying anything to shut her girlfriend from humiliating me.
Aaron’s dimple deepened. He was quietly finding everything very amusing.
“Excuse me, but I think I’m gonna go play now.” I wiped my hands with a napkin. I was quite shy about all the attention. “Anybody care to join me?” Nobody moved a muscle, but the snickering and guffaws continued. “Alright, it looks like it’s just me then.”
I went down and began playing touch—a—light on poles. It looked easy— all you had to do was touch the light when it flashes randomly.
“This is stupendous.” I was huffing from horsing around. “Come on, you guys, have some fun, you get points for touching the lights.” I tried to influence them.
Aaron came to play, and we competed with each other, striving to gain points. A while later, Sage joined us, and then Alice tagged in. And then it was Aaron and me against Alice and Sage.
We also played giant foam LEGO blocks—stacked them up high and then knocked them off. Aaron impressed me with his roundhouse kick, showing his martial art skills and then made me laugh when he stacked them for karate chop.
Sage and I knocked the blocks like a bull. It was so much fun. I felt like a little kid again.
Aaron and I sat in the treehouse holding each others’ hands and sparing a moment observing the crowd below us.
“This was a wonderful idea, Aaron.”
“Well, I sensed some tension between you girls, and since I was selfish for having you all evening with me, I couldn’t have thought of a better place than this.”
“Thank you.” I rested my head on his shoulder. He took me under his arms. I felt like hiding myself from everyone.
A pleasing silence fell over us, and I started complaining to myself slowly.
“Don’t overthink, Jess.” Aaron stroked his thumb on my arm.
“You’re going back tonight, aren’t you?” I didn’t have to look at him. It was a painful hope.
He pressed his lips on my temple for a little more than a second. The pain of Aaron’s soul revealed. He was miserable too.
Even though both of us wanted to cry—we couldn’t. Us lovers could not express the pain of this test.
“Hey guys, can we leave now?” Sage yelled from below.
“We should go now.” Aaron stood up and offered me his hand for support.