ENDS

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8- kitchen

Iris's p.o.v.

" I'll get it" Megan says as she rises from her sitting position by my side to answer the door.

I briefly wiped my tears and rose to my feet also. Megan's mom tried to hold me down a bit but I passed her a weak smile and stood.

" My goodness Bonita.. how are you!? Where's your brother and Brooks junior?" A sopranic voice rang through out the living room and I suspected it had to be their aunt Laurel.

Soon, there was a clatter of voices. The exchange of pleasantries created a buzz of excitement through out the room as everyone here was familiar with her, including Edward, Cheryn, Claudette, Guillermo and Jenny.

Perks of living with Hunter.

The rest of the family appeared jovially, with bright smiles on their faces out of their various locations to come welcome their sister/aunt. I think she came with her husband cause there was a bellow of barritones, filling the atmosphere.

Feeling left out of the reunion, I sidestepped out of the living room into the kitchen to get myself some water to drink and moisten my dry throat.

It didn't help that I had suddenly caught a cold after all the crying I've done. I literally had to sniff every ten seconds.

I had to search for the refrigerator cause I hadn't been into any room asides from the living room since last night or should I say early this morning. None of us had even shut our eyes to sleep since then, meaning we couldn't even locate the bedrooms.

Everyone literally had to be exhausted. I know I am.

I let out a voluntary cough to clear up my throat as I began walking towards the refrigerator.

Opening it, I was thankful that the water was in cans as I took one out and finished it at a go.

I cleared up my throat again and disposed the bottle. Having nothing else to do, I leaned against the counter and shut my eyes to take deep breaths and see if I could think my way out of this situation.

Only God knows what they're doing to my baby girl right now.

What if she's crying? I pray they don't hit her, she's just recuperating from an illness.

What if they really don't care about that and hit her?

God please she's so small.. they'd kill her...

I didn't know when another array of tears began flowing down my face.

I need Louisa here and now.

But I also need to be strong for this. If I'm crying what do I expect Louie to be doing?

Wiping away my tears with my shirtsleeves wasn't doing much because as soon as I clean them, they got replaced quickly.

Soon enough I gave up on trying to dry up my face and allowed myself to cry it all out.

Slowly, my cries turned into sobs that I couldn't control. I became a mess.

" Iris your-" Megan's voice invaded my thoughts and I lifted my face to acknowledge her presence.

She held her phone in her right hand and her face morphed into a crestfallen image when her eyes met with mine.

From the way she was looking at me, I'm pretty sure I knew the words that we're running through her head.

Iris it's okay.

Her face couldn't hide how bad she wanted to make that statement but she couldn't because she knew the truth.

The truth is, it's not okay.

The truth is I wouldn't stop crying till I have Louisa by my side once again.

We just stayed there, staring at each other but then I made an effort to wipe my face once again. At least to prove to her that I'm trying.

Immediately, she broke out of her trance and completed her previous statement.

" Your parents want to speak with you" she says as she hands me the phone with a sorry expression in her eyes.

After handing over the device, she walked out of the kitchen to give me some privacy.

I put the phone on my ear and finally said something.

"Hello?" It came out too airy and damn cracked.

" Iris?"

"M-mom?" I stuttered as I felt another ocean of tears coming.

" Baby Louisa is gonna be alright. Take it easy on yourself okay?"

" Ok-kay" I whispered and sniffed once again. But that didn't stop the silent tears from dropping.

" I've been calling your number. You haven't been reachable" mom questions as her voice lowers by an octave.

" I lost it with the building" my voice came out too hollow.

" Huh? I didn't hear you" I knew it'd be too quiet to hear.

" I lost it, my phone, with the building" I repeated, a bit louder than before.

" Oh, honey should we send another?"

" If you can. Thank you"

" You're welcome baby. Your father wants to speak to you"

" Okay"

A few seconds go by and I hear some ruffling and movement taking place on the other end of the line before I heard my mom's voice in a distance like she'd held the phone far from her ear, telling my dad that I was on the line.

More seconds of adjustments and then it all went silent.

" My baby?"

" Yes daddy"

" Please don't cry okay? I don't want to see you cry anymore. You've shed enough tears in this life"

Sadly, that was very true.

" I'm trying"

" And I know you can do it. You're strong baby, okay?"

" Okay"

" We'd keep in touch to know how everything is going. Your mom and I might catch a flight to come see you. If everything is becoming overwhelming you can always come home"

" There's no need to come down here. I'm fine. I don't think I'd be coming home yet but that's a good suggestion"

" Always keep it in mind yeah?"

" Yeah"

" What about Hunter and his family? I hope everyone is doing well?"

" Yeah, they're all together in the living room right now. His dad's sister came in"

" Must be a full house"

I sniffed up another tear and nodded, then realized that he couldn't see me so I spoke up.

" Yeah it is"

" Take care of yourself hun. We'd keep contact through Megan for now"

" Thank you".

" We love you baby" I heard mom shout in the background and it caused me to giggle a bit.

" I love you too" I replied with a small smile before the line went dead.

" It's finally nice to see you smile again"

I looked to the source of the voice and met Hunter leaning against a distant wall.

Surprisingly, even with my distressed mind my brain couldn't deny the fact that he still looked appealing to the eyes. Despite being deprived hours of sleep.

Sadly, my angry ass is more dominant than my brain.

I only shunned him and placed Megan's phone slowly on the counter, then taking a deep breath.

" Are you really gonna keep mute with me?" He speaks up again but I didn't dignify it with a response.

" It's not my fault you know" he says and I turn to see him strolling towards me.

I on the other hand walked towards the sink so I can wash up my face.

I feel like I look so horrible.

Hunter released a sigh, clearly tired of my reaction.

" Aunt Laurel found a letter on the front lawn. It was addressed to me from Soldo"

That perked my interest but I wasn't going to show it so easily, so I continued washing my face.

" It says they've got her"

Now felt like the best time to respond.

" Who? You mean the kid?" I spat as I turned off the tap and reached for a paper towel.

" Is that what this is about?"

I didn't answer that again and he released a second sigh.

" I'm sorry okay? I just panicked and that was the first thing that slipped out of my mouth. I'm really sorry"

" I don't need your apology" I said curtly and walked out of the kitchen.

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