Chapter – 14 : New Beginnings !!!
I informed about my sudden exit in the night college and though they were taken back still they wished me luck. The students thanked me and said that they were going to miss me.
The next day passed by in a blur. Pearl came to help me while I assume Bert went to help Drake. Pearl wanted to stay in the apartment and I couldn’t be more than happy for her. The landlord was kind and since he already has a new tenant everything with lease went smooth. I packed my stuff and most of the things I bought for the house I left it for Pearl to use. As promised Mrs. Johnson had asked someone to clean up my villa in Amsterdam and I was informed that Drake had now the keys of the villa with him. I was okay with it because we both were going to share it and we would be reaching there together. Later Pearl and I went to shopping and then had dinner in a nice restaurant and once we came back, we had a movie night.
Pearl was happy for me. She asked me to enjoy my life and take chances even though if risk is involved. I knew what she was trying to imply, but I choose not to speak and just nodded.
“Hele I am serious. You need to enjoy your life”
“I am enjoying Pearl. Why do think I am not?’’
“that’s because you are not’’
“What does enjoyment mean in your terms?’’
“Umm…” she started tapping her lips with her index fingers staring towards the roof as if thinking hard. I rolled my eyes as I ate my breakfast.
“Umm yeah. Enjoyment is finding happiness in every thing you do. In your case I know you are happy when you work but after work?”
I looked at her and nodded my head
“Pearl, what do you want to say exactly. You know you need not beat around the bushes”
“Hele I want you to give a chance to Drake. Allow him to take care of you. Allow him to be present in every happiness and pathos in your life.”
“Yes that’s me Hele. I know you pretty well. You like him, I can see that in your face. The way you react to every word and action of Drake, the way you yourself asked him to share the villa, you agreeing to work with him…”
“You know why I am sharing the villa, you know why I agreed working with him…” I shook my head “We are not having this discussion Pearl.”
“you may try to convince me that you don’t like him , but atleast be honest with yourself Hele. As much as I know , that guy likes you way too much that he is ready to take whatever you offer him. He has been crazy for you since the first day of our university. I don’t know your reasons to …”
“reasons to what Pearl? To keep him away….you seriously are saying this. Out of all you …I cant believe. Don’t you know I will be leaving for NY after 5 months then what? If I give a chance he and I will be heartbroken once I move to other fucking continent. I can bear a heartbreak Pearl but I never would want to break his heart for my selfish reasons. So its fair we both keep distance and be friends and nothing more than that.”
“Are you fucking serious Hele? You are not willing to take a chance just because you would be moving to NY. How can you be sure he would be willing to give up on your relation if ever formed? How can you make a decision of what he should and shouldn’t do? That’s the first ever time you are sounding ridiculous. For God sake don’t assume and leave what’s right infront of you which you like”
Her words made sense, but yet I don’t want to risk my heart. I have never experienced love and what if I get it from Drake and cannot return the same way, where will we be? This is not right. This is just…
“I am sorry for shouting at you Hele. But I really want you to have happy life and I am sure Drake can give you that.”
“So you are trying to set me up with him?’’
“Why would I when I know you already like him. You had crush on him since Uni days Hele and you were not good in hiding that, I could see that but I chose not to intervene till you come out yourself. I even asked him not to pursue you because if I got you wrong you would be disturbed and with everything going on your life , I knew your aim was to achieve a success in education and then a job. Now since you attained both, all I am asking you to get the one person whom you like. I know I shouldn’t interfere in your private matters , but I care too much for you that I thought of finally speaking to you. Rest whatever you decide I will always be there to support you.”
I hugged her tight as tears rolled my eyes and I knew Pearl was also into tears, this is the first time we will not be seeing each other everyday. While we were still hugging, Drake and Bert barged in without knocking.
“I said you Drake, they will be in tears, now pay me that 50 euros for loosing the bet” Bert demanded making Drake roll his eyes.
Pearl and I gave a death glare to Drake and Bert and they both made excuses to put the boxes Drakes car. Sometime later my belongings were already in Drake’s car and we four were standing next to the car.
“So, Helena, just remember if this annoying creature annoys or troubles you, all you need to do is give me a call and I would be coming to take pretty good care of him” Bert said pulling me into a hug
“I will miss you Bert” I spoke amid tears
“Ohh..No…Did Pearl not tell you?”
“What?” I frowned
“We would be visiting you guys every 15 days during weekends and if we cant you both would be coming here. Amsterdam is just a couple of hours drive so no big deal “ he kissed my forehead and turned towards Drake
“You better take care of Helena, Man. Else I wouldn’t mind kicking my best friend” he warned making Drake nod in acceptance
“Give a thought about what I said Hele” Pearl once again hugged me and moved on to hug Drake and stood along with Bert. That was our cue to move and as Drake opened the door for me I sat while he rushed to the other side and started the engine indicating the start of my new journey.
Drake was silent while driving and his silence was bugging me.
“all good right?”
“you always ask me to speak or start a conversation while driving. But today you are silent”
“Ohh. Its just..Its nothing”
“Okay if you say so. But if there is something please let me know. I am not used to you being silent”
He didn’t answer and I felt hurt. Was he avoiding me? Yesterday in office he was fine, what happened afterwards. He has never been so with me. I tried to put stop to my negative thoughts but it was getting impossible.
Two hours later we reached my Granny’s villa. He came and opened the door for me and I thanked him getting no reply again. Why is he acting weird?
We went in and memories of me being here while I was a kid came back. The ground floor of the villa has a fully equipped open kitchen , a huge dining area and a living room with comfortable couches and sofa sets. The floor was carpeted. The walls were with brick and were never painted to give that authentic feel. The living room had a chandelier hanging. Vases, antique art pieces were neatly decorated at appropriate places give the best look and feel. One end of the ground floor had stairs leading to the first floor. The first floor has 4 bedrooms each with attached washrooms and walk in closet. Every bedroom has a balcony. Almost all the bedrooms barring my childhood bedroom has blue and white shades with king and queen size beds. My childhood bedroom was painted pink and yellow with a queen size bed. The whole villa is surrounded my a landscape garden and the backside of the villa has pool, a garden and sit out area made of brick and glass. There is an underground parking which can accommodate around 4 to 5 cars.
I looked at Drake and I could see he was impressed with the villa making me take a relaxed breath.
“Drake the bedrooms are upstairs, since it’s mine I mean ours, please feel free to chose anyone of the three bedrooms excepting the corner one”
“Whats with the corner one?”
“Umm… that’s my childhood bedroom and I would want to stay there”
He nodded understanding. You can park the car in the underground garage. I took the garage and extra key from my satchel and handed it over to him.
This is the extra key and this is the key to garage. I will help you to get the boxes in and after getting freshened up, we can go to buy the groceries.
“I don’t think we need to run for errands. Mom informed me that she asked one of her staff here to fill the fridge and the kitchen.”
“ohh… I will have to call and thank her for the help. Then I guess, we can get the boxes and then I will make us some lunch. Let me know if you have any preferences”
“no. But I will help you with lunch.” I nodded and we went to get the boxes in. After setting up my closet and taking a relaxed bath, I entered the kitchen in my shorts and tank tops to see Drake only in his sweat pants.
“Holy fuck” I murmured
“You back” he asked taking a look at me from top to toe. I couldn’t meet his eyes as he being shirtless was raising temperature within me.
“Umm yeah..you.. you”
“me what Hele?”
“Why are you shirtless Drake?’’
“I generally don’t when I in home. Do you mind if I be myself here?’’
“no..It’s …its okay.. lets get back to cooking”
“You sure Hele?” he took few steps towards me making my breathing hitch.
What am I supposed to do now? I just want to run away and take a deep breath. Is this how its is going to be everyday for next 5 months. I gulped at my thoughts
“Relax. I will put on a shirt and be back” he winked and left from there making me release my breath which I didn’t knew I was holding.
“What can I help you with?” he looked at me
“you’re back! I was just chopping the vegetables, do you mind if I make some salad and soup. I can make something better for the dinner “
“No that’s perfect. We can order something for dinner. I really don’t want you to cook everyday when we can afford having take outs once in a while “
“Can you pull out the silver ware from that drawer and set up the table. Lunch would be ready in about 30 minutes. I will bake the garlic bread.”
We sat to eat when Drake asked “So Hele why don’t you tell me more about your memories with your granny. I am sure you loved her very much”
A smile adorned my lips as I remembered my granny. She was a beautiful woman with golden heart. My father was her only child but that didn’t make her over pamper him. She was definition of how a mother should be strict at times loving and caring at other times. I heard telling me that when Steve was born she asked my father and mother to let her take care of him, when they denied se stopped speaking to them for 3 years. However she never failed to send Steve gifts on every occasion and showered love on him in any way possible. When I was born without her even asking I was sent to her. She was happy to raise me, but even after 6 months when my parents didn’t turn up to take me back or never even made a call to know about me she suspected something wrong. That’s when she took me to Ghent and confronted him. They asked her to raise me up, but she thought that I needed the love of parents more than anything. As I grew up she started feeling guilty for the decision she took of sending me to them but it was too late because, afterwards I was never allowed to travel here except for Christmas. And when I was here she would pamper me as if I am the princess, much to dismay of my family. I used to speak to her regularly and she was the only person apart from Pearl who knew how I was being treated and how bad my life was.”
“Why didn’t you come and stay with her?”
“My Granny was paralysed from neck to toe when I was 16, I was too young to take care of her. She could listen and talk but nothing else. Besides my father wasn’t keen in sending me back to her for reasons unknown. “ I took a deep sigh
“I am sorry you had to go through all that” Drake held my hand
I shook my head “It wasn’t your mistake. I am just not lucky to experience love and the love I experienced was short lived. In short I am most unlucky person you would have ever met”
“What should I do to make you feel better than what you think you are?”
“Nothing. You are already making me feel better. You are listening to me and not judging me”
He got up and came near me. I stood up confused. All of a sudden he hugged me “I am none to judge you Hele. I wouldn’t ever do that” he whispered making goosebumps arise on my skin.
God this is just the first day !!!