“So, remember about your heroes?” Angelique asked in a slow approach.
I nodded, “Not heroes. What about it?” and gave her an odd expression.
“Well...” she began, twisting her fingers in the process like she does when nervous. “I may have something that I haven’t told you about- yet.”
I checked my watch, and it was nearly 3:30 pm.
Angelique and I stood by the entrance of the school gate and were waiting to get picked up. She didn’t drive to school today since her Dad offered her a ride in the morning.
“Whatever it is, I need you to hurry up. Dad’s going to come pick me in 15 minutes,” I told her. I wasn’t allowed to drive, for now, in case I had another “break down” - which could possibly kill me this time.
Till then, it’s either the driver or Dad, but lately. I was startled when Dad started coming at first but eventually got used to him carrying out his supposed role.
He hasn’t done that in a long time, not since-
“Well, actually, I didn’t thank both of them. I only talked to one of the guys who carried you and not the other one,” she announced, causing a scowl to appear. “But I have a totally legitimate reason! I did try searching for them, although it was arduous because they’re always in a group, and I can’t just walk in and thank them like that. It’s going to be awkward,” and edgily rubbed her nape.
“Angel, breathe,” I chuckled. “You are rather derelict about this.”
“True, I am,” she reddened.
I nodded with understatement. “So, what’s the other piece you haven’t told me about?”
She took a moment to spill about the occurrence she had while I had a staycation at home. And I knew my consciousness was right; she had secrets that were relevant to me.
I expected she’ll blurt out the truth anytime soon like she always does, although after hearing her account, I still had a question in mind.
My lips quivered hard as she shared how funny the scenario looked when the guy slid and almost crashed into my brother. God, I would’ve fucking laughed my ass out so hard.
“His name is Evander, huh,” I whispered, gazing dreamily at the car park. “And you say that he kept asking about me?”
“Yup,” she said, popping the “p”.
I was shocked. We don’t even know each other.
Why would he want to know how I had been the last week? If so, why hadn’t he approached me yet?
Idiot, because you kept avoiding him!?
“I think he has a thing for you, sweetheart.” She teased, winking at me.
“No, he doesn’t, Angel. He’s just acting nice. I presumably scared him out on his first day and thought of me as some freak.”
“No, he wouldn’t! He was very considerate about it. He even sounded desperate just as I was about to leave and demanded more about you.” Yikes. Seriously?
“Haha. That’s ridiculous, dude.”
“I swear! Ask Ivan if you don’t believe me,” she frowned.
“Well, forget about it. It was a week back. You already thanked him, right? So, I don’t have to worry about it like you said,” I meekly glanced at the time. “Angel, you haven’t told me how you answered him when he asked you the cause of my sudden dramatic act,” I said.
Angelique gave me a docile face. “That wasn’t dramatic, Gab. What if I was the one who collapsed, then would you still call that an act?”
“Tsk, before I answer that, I think I mentioned this to you before already. Damn, where’s your brain at nowadays? I told you that I responded by saying that you had some traumatic-past incident, and you’re not over about yet and needed him to drop the topic because he kept on invading that personal history.” I listened to her blabber.
“Why is he so nosy? He’s beginning to get on my nerves,” she grumbled. I shrugged as I looked at my watch again - nearly 15 minutes.
And just in time.
A shiny black Mercedes Benz rolled up the driveway and stopped right in front of us. It was Dad!
“Hey girls,” Dad called, bringing down the window of the passenger door.
“Hey, Dad,” I greeted.
“Afternoon, Mr. Gawan,” Angelique replied.
“Your Dad not here yet, kid?” Dad asked as I opened the door to the passenger seat. Angelique shook her head.
“He has an important meeting this afternoon and wouldn’t be able to fetch me. He sent our driver, but he seemed to be caught in traffic.”
“Why don’t I drop you home then,” Dad suggested.
“Yeah, the school’s almost empty anyway, and you’ll be all alone,” I insisted.
“No thanks, dude. I’m sure Uncle is going to be quite busy later,” she declined.
“Oh, don’t worry about that. I’ll just give Ernesto a ring later. Hurry inside, Angel. I’ll drop you off at ours.” Dad said, unlocking the door to the back. “Vamanos, hop in.”
Angelique sighed and didn’t get a choice but to ride home with us until her Dad would come to pick her up later that night.
“How’s school today, girls?” Mom asked us at dinner.
“The same, Mom,” I answered, chewing on my spaghetti.
Mom frowned at me. She didn’t like me talking like that to her.
“It was a very tiring day!” Angelique spoke, noticing the daggers Mom was giving me. “And guess what? You would never believe this! Gabriela was appointed as the new Volleyball Captain this year and was even called on stage by the principal.”
“Oh, really? Whoa, nice job sis,” Ivan congratulated and he gave me an evil smile. The brat. I knew he was there when it was announced. The whole damn school met at the assembly. “Never thought they’d choose a devil-like you though.”
“Tsk, I bet you’ll end up on the cheerleading squad with an attitude like that little brother,” I fired back, making him kick my leg under the table, shaking its contents.
“That’s enough you two! Ivan, I’m disappointed with you tonight. Grounded.” Dad spoke in an authoritative tone.
“No video games for a week understand,” Dad continued. “Fix up that character, and I’ll think about it. You don’t actually think I don’t check your grades, do you? Well, guess again, young man. That C you got for math better turn into an A soon, or else I’m banning you from using any gadgets till that little brain of yours gets fixed up.”
Ivan’s face was priceless. He tried so hard to hide his grades from Mom and Dad last term, but somehow they found out through the office. Served him right.
“Now back to you Gabriella, what’s this about volleyball?” Dad asked taking a bite of his garlic bread.
I shrugged. Honestly, I didn’t know what made me get into that position. I have played for the school team for almost 2 years now and ever since then became a constant player. Although I don’t know why they’d pick me as Captain, I mean have you seen me? I’m perfectly incapable of leading anyone let alone the freaking school team! There were tons of people on the list ready to capture that place and out of them all I was chosen.
“Guess you’d have to thank your lucky stars Gab because that is amazing honey! I’m proud of you,” Dad beamed with pride and turned to Mom. “You know dear, she reminds me so much of you, she even has your strength in volleyball.”
“Oh, not this again Dad.” I huffed. I already know where this is going.
Mom was a pro at volleyball and everyone kept comparing us about it. She was, let’s just say, the eye of her senior year, guys would come and ask her on dates, even propose but she always turned them down. She said she didn’t have the least interest in them at all. I wondered if it took a lot of willpower but she said it didn’t since she had a lot of things to occupy her.
My parents love story started during their college seminars, where they met and started officially dating. Unfortunately, it didn’t go well and went somewhat unsteady - they both had gotten into some huge fight that they won’t share with us because it was too complicated to understand and would explain it when we’re older but almost everybody gets their share of a happy ending.
They got theirs after 5 years and by that time Mom was already working in a huge company and Dad a multi-billionaire at the age of 24. Somehow they patched things up and knotted the tie after a year of dating.
Eh, beats me what their whole story is, all I care about is that they’re happy being together.
Mom had often mentioned she wanted to get out of the hole she was in and start living life freely while at college. Her parents were very strict people back then and didn’t tolerate any useless behaviors from her or her siblings.
That’s how she finished her studies and got her degree in Accounting and Commerce, soon she got promoted and had made her family very proud. Being skilled in sports was one thing but maintaining studies without distractions was another. She had the foundation of her family to keep her balanced.
I always admired my mother, she was a great role model to me but Dad was another thing. He was the one who passed his disastrous personality to me and my sense of adventure was always making them uneasy as I liked it rough and challenging.
“Yes, who do you think she got that from,” Mom grunted, ridiculing Dad.
“By the way, Mom, remember when you asked me the names of those boys? Well, Angel just told me today the name of one of the guys who helped us. She already thanked them for me but I was curious and the guy she spoke to was called Evander.” I said interrupting their conversation as I slurped my noodles.
The table suddenly became silent and I looked up to see Mom gaping at me and Dad with a grim face. They were both looking at me.
“W-what’s wrong? Is there something on my face?” I asked, staring at them confusedly. Mom shook her head and resumes eating. “Or is it something I said?”
“Nothing honey, I just thought I heard my phone ringing upstairs. God, it’s probably because I’m getting old, right dear,” she laughed but it was forced. Dad nodded but stayed quiet, silently finishing up his dinner as Mom started a new topic with Angelique about some new cake recipe since she likes baking. Angelique doesn’t mind our family fights since she’s almost like family to us, she even joins it sometimes.
Dinner went on normally except for - Dad - who occasionally talked if mentioned.
Angelique and I soon trudged upstairs with a full belly. I ended up lying down on my bed while she started her homework.
“Did you notice the way your parents were acting weirdly after you blurted out Evander’s name?” she said.
“Yeah, that was queer,” I agreed. “I know Mom was lying because I saw her left eye twitching and Dad definitely had something going in his brain. And I most certainly didn’t hear any phone ringing while we ate.”
“So did I. Do you think they know something?”
“Probably. I’m going to try to open Mom up next time about this. She’s clearly up with something along with Dad.”
She nodded her head. I couldn’t think less about the awkward silence during dinner, I had tons of projects to finish and also had to prepare.
Later when Angelique went home, Mom came up into my bedroom and knocked. I was working on an essay on my laptop when she came in.
“Hello honey, going to sleep late again?” she asked sitting at the edge of my bed.
“Yeah, Mom, this essay for history is making me go crazy. I’ve been on this for almost a week now thanks to my busy schedule.”
Mom chuckled. “Yeah, I forget you in your last year of senior high now.”
“Is there something you want to ask Mom?” I prompted.
“Yes. About dinner, I know you are wondering about our unusual behavior.”
“And you’re implying that I completely ignore it like it never happened,” I deadpanned as I typed down words making clicking sounds along the way.
“Yeah, how did you know?”
“Because you only ever come here if you want something or want me to do a favor for you.” Mom smiled. I knew her well and her little plan isn’t going to work tonight. I needed answers but I guess my questions have to wait. This project needs to be handed in tomorrow.
But before I do. “Mom, do you know him by any chance?”
I gave her a grim face. “Evander.”
She just stared at me like I was someone she didn’t know. “Well, I know a person by that name years ago. But the guy you’re talking about is your classmate - the person we’re talking about is someone we knew in the past and have some small history with, so nothing to worry about,” she assured. I only nodded my head. Seems like a good answer.
However, I feel like this conversation was going to reopen after I’m done with my infinite projects.
I promised Mom I’d put it out of my mind - for now - since I was busy at that moment and soon I was left banging keys for another hour.
After an exhausting evening, I retired to bed. Still, there was a matter that’s been bugging me as I jumped into my warm blanket.
And it’s glued to my mind for the rest of the night because - I knew it.
Her left eye...twitched.