Pablo appeared in my line of sight. “Why are you still here?” he called out. “Do you want to die?”
I raised an eyebrow. “Is that how you threaten those who stumble here?”
He smirked at me and slid his hands in the pocket of his loose jeans. “It’s fun to watch them run away. But Don doesn’t like being disturbed, so don’t come back here again. If he wants to talk to you, he will come to you for sure.”
I froze as he looked at me from head to toe.
“Why did you come here?” he asked.
My eyes scanned the dark surroundings of the hill. I shook my head, disappointed at myself. “I don’t know...”
“Go home.” He began walking back to the mansion until I couldn’t see him anymore. I faced the downhill and sighed painfully. Why am I like this...
When I reached the rice field, my steps went smaller when I noticed that everyone was outside, pacing back and forth as they tried to see in the dark. Shit. Was I gone that long?
“Ginny? Oh, my God!” Nikki cried.
She’s the first one who saw me as the others stride towards us. Nikki held both of my arms and eyed me all over.
“Where did you go?!” she yelled.
“It’s late. Why did you stroll alone?” Von asked behind Nikki.
I stared at all of them. Even Olevia is here and she’s giving me a knowing look.
“So?” Katrin crossed her arms. “Where did you go?”
My train of thoughts went haywire. Should I tell them? If so, what would they say? My heart raced as Don’s figure flashed in my head.
“Uh, I just... strolled.”
Dwight pointed at my body. “Wearing that?”
I huffed. “If something happens to me, it’s not because of my clothes.”
“Hey, why are you bitching us?” Katrin sneered. “You’ve got us worried if it wasn’t obvious.” Then she rolled her eyes at me.
I shrugged. “I’m sorry.”
Olevia inched towards me and caressed my arm. “It’s fine. You should rest now. You need to wake up early tomorrow for the wedding.”
We all trooped back to the mansion and went to our rooms upstairs. I’m alone in a room because the lovers were together in the other two rooms. This is nice though; to have a little silence. I pushed the wooden casement window to watch the moon. It’s so clear and bright but my head is the opposite.
What is happening to me? Am I being enchanted or something? I shivered at the thought. It’s 2020 and witchcraft is not really 21st century-sh. I think.
I recalled Don’s figure in my mind. He’s tall and huge, but by the way he moves, he seems prim, cautious and observant. Like he’s expecting me to be there. Okay, that might be a bit too much.
He’s truly weird because of the mask, but he’s not scary at all. The townspeople fear him but there was I, returning his damn hat. Now I think I am just as weird as him.
The next morning, I woke up with a feasty breakfast in the kitchen. Von and Dwight were already seated across from each other and instead of sitting beside Dwight, I settled on the seat at the table’s end.
Von nodded at me, pouring too much syrup on his waffles. “Morning,” he greeted.
I leaned over to reach a plate of Kolaches. “Morning. Where’s Nikki and Kat?”
“They’re at Olevia’s to get the supplies. They said you’ll bake today. You left last night so you don’t know.”
I cleared my throat and scooped a spoonful of scrambled eggs from a bowl. “Sorry.”
“After we attend the wedding, Von and I will buy drinks, you wanna come?” Dwight asked with his eyes glued on his plate.
I saw Katrin walking towards the door so I didn’t bother to answer. She quickly hugged Dwight from behind and kissed his cheek. “She’ll help us with the cooking so settle with Von, alright?”
Von huffed at Katrin’s remark. Dwight nodded and slowly freed himself from Katrin’s embrace. Nikki soon came in and we finished breakfast. Her first cousin will be married today so we decided to attend then we’ll celebrate Nikki’s birthday in the evening.
I dressed up in a maroon bodycon dress and slipped on a denim jacket. We finished preparing at 9 am and boarded the van to head to the church.
When we drove past the hill, my heart raced again. Last night was a blur now. I can’t believe I returned a stranger’s hat just because something about him felt familiar. My head ached all night, like there’s something buried in my head and digging its way out.
When he reached the church, we immediately caught the attention of everyone, maybe because we’re not locals. We sat at the farmost available seat from the altar and let Nikki talk with her relatives. The others occupied themselves with offline games since there’s no cell reception here.
I leaned against the chair as I used a hand fan to keep myself from sweating. Everyone’s busy talking to each other and at a glance at the side door, I saw Pablo. He’s wearing a pair of rubber boots just like last night and a pair of faded jeans and a black shirt. He just stood there with his arms crossed as he watched all these people.
I stood up but Katrin suddenly grabbed my wrist. “Where are you going?”
Von and Dwight lifted their heads as well. I pointed Pablo’s direction without looking at him. “CR.”
When I turned to the side door, he was gone. I walked away and went out of the church but I couldn’t see him anywhere. I sighed in disappointment and smiled at the few locals eyeing me.
Someone held my hand and when I turned to look, I quickly pulled away. Dwight pursed his lips. “Where are you going again?”
I cleared my throat as more people stared at us. “Just looking for someone. Why?”
“Enough with your curiosity. I know where you’ve been last night.”
My heart skipped a beat. “What?” I asked, almost whispering.
“I know you’ve gone up the hill. Did you see him?”
“Did you follow me? You’re creepy!” I snarled.
“Stupid. Look who’s talking. You went to a stranger’s house.”
I was lost for words as I tried to calm myself. Dwight’s jaw clenched. “Stop obsessing over that man. We don’t even know how old he is. Maybe he’s already 60.”
“Why are you worrying about his age?”
He smirked at me as he slid his hands in his pockets. “When you went to him, you didn’t think for one moment that he could be a possible love interest—”
“Hey.” I cut him off. “Don’t let the movies you’ve watched get into your head. I saw his caretaker, I just want to apologize for disturbing them.”
“If you want to go somewhere then, I’ll be with you. You can’t be left alone.”
“I can handle myself.”
“I’m just concerned, Ginny.”
I shoved my hand fan on his chest. “Your girlfriend is already a handful. Don’t concern yourself with some other girls’ business.”
I headed back to our seats first as the ceremony began. After a few hours, we drove to the woods just a few blocks away for the church. At the end of the rocky pathway is a huge yard with a wooden cabin.
After we ate, the program started with a few messages from the relatives, followed by party games for the newlyweds then everyone was called to join the dance. I remained seated as Nikki and the others enjoyed the music.
I cocked my head a little to my right when a small hand showed me an orange. “Can you peel this for me?” a boy asked, smiling sweetly.
I kept myself busy with peeling but I tilted my head upwards when I heard a faint sound of a gunshot. A few guests have heard it too but ignored it. I realized that it could be a pellet gun that the kids running around were playing with.
A bird caught my attention when it flew unsteadily until it dropped behind the cabin. I finished peeling and handed it back to the boy. “Here.”
He smiled. “Thank you!”
I smiled back and stood up heading to the back of the cabin. My knees got weak at the sight of a rather familiar figure. I watched his back as he sat on his heels and since he hasn’t seen me yet, I get to observe him from here.
He’s wearing a trilby—not sure if it’s the one I returned—and a nice black suit. I cocked my head to see if anyone’s around but the kids running everywhere earlier were gone. Fiddling the hem of my dress, I cleared my throat to get his attention.
He slowly turned to see me and I had to step back when his black mask scared me a bit. He looked like a horror villain for a while there. I sighed and watched him cautiously. I wasn’t afraid last night, but seeing him in broad daylight brought me shivers.
He scanned the area then turned his gaze back at me. I took a step closer so I could clearly see his eyes. It’s jet black.
“My friend said that only a few have seen you. But why am I seeing you twice now? Is this beginner’s luck or... You’re purposely showing up?”
He remained silent so I tilted my head to see the bird on the ground. “What happened?”
I walked past him to attend to the bird. The tall grass almost covered the weakening bird so I had to pick it up to see it better. My shoulder dropped when I figured that it’s dead. It has an open wound on its neck.
“We should bury it,” I suggested. He didn’t speak so I glanced at him before walking to the pile of firewood beside the cabin’s back door. “It doesn’t feel good to just leave it here,” I added.
I picked one and used it to dig a small grave. When I finished burying the lifeless bird, I rubbed my hands against each other to shake the dust off. As soon as I turned to him, he laid his gloved hands in front of me.
My attention shifted to the love song banging from the speakers at the venue. I cocked my head to his direction and raised an eyebrow. “I don’t dance with strangers. I’m Ginny. What’s your real name?”
He blinked, probably thinking, until he decided to pull his hand away so I slowly reached for it. “Fine, I can make an exception.”
He gently pulled me closer as his hands slipped under my jacket and landed on the small of my back. His gloved palm felt warm against my dress and it got me weak in the knees.
I placed my left hand on his shoulder as we slowly danced with the music. His eyes are calm and steady just as his other hand that was holding mine. My heart raced as I stared at his eyes and smelled his scent. He pulled me closer until I felt the fabric of his suit.
My mouth hung a little when a nice sensation travelled throughout my body. I smiled in disbelief and stared at his eyes. “What have you done to me?” I whispered.
In a snap, I felt like everything was just right. That even if this is different and possibly dangerous, it felt like this is where I should be. I don’t know where I am getting these thoughts, I’m confused as fuck, but one look in his eyes, I couldn’t think of anything else but us. He’s making me feel things that I’ve never felt before. I don’t know how this is happening, but I think this is attraction in its oddest form.
Slowly, he pulled away and lifted my hand so I could make a turn. I smiled and did so but when I faced him, he gently covered my eyes with his palm. My heart skipped a beat and I froze for a moment. I let my mouth hang a little, forcing myself to breathe calmly,
After some moments, I felt his warm breath on my face. I gasped in anticipation as my heart pounded against my chest. He caressed my cheeks and gently pressed his lips on mine.