Let's Go to the Hill
He kissed me and it felt... enchanting. My heart pounded like it wanted to jump out of my chest. He was pulling away for a little just to deepen our kiss every time it touched. His lips felt so soft, like a young bird’s feather.
Maybe Katrin was right; that I am desperate. But how could I stop when I don’t even know if I want to? His touch and his kiss have ignited something inside me. Something grand and deep.
He slowly pulled his hand away so I opened my eyes. His mask is back on but I can see enough emotions through his eyes.
“Who are you?” I asked.
He caressed my cheek and I felt like there’s a small, warm hand touching my heart. How can someone be so silent, but is able to shake my ground like this?
I heard a few kids laughing in a distance so I turned behind me to see them. The boy who handed me an orange earlier was about to scream but I gently cupped his mouth. “Sssh, if you behave, I’ll give you... a dollar?”
He nodded slowly as the other kid beside him stared at Don cluelessly. Too young to know his story, I bet. When I tilted my head to see Don, he’s gone. I stood straight and looked around but he’s really gone. We’re in the woods and it’s not dense so I got really anxious when I couldn’t find even a shadow of him.
Was I hallucinating? That really happened, right? When I looked at the kids, I instantly sighed in relief. They saw him too. It’s real.
The kids began running away so I went back to the venue. Nikki and the others got high on playing some games with the guests. I stared at the table as I recalled the pleasure of Don’s lips on mine. He didn’t say anything but I let him kiss me. Katrin used to kiss strangers in the clubs, but what I did was dangerous. I just don’t know why I felt safe around him. Is he someone I know?
I sighed in dismay. My feelings—or whatever this is called—is so weird.
After some time, the boy with an orange ran towards me and laid his palm. “Where’s my money?”
I smiled and took a bill from my purse. “Here, don’t spend all this on candies.” Then I pinched his cheek and let him leave.
“Did you enjoy it?”
From the boy, my eyes shifted to Dwight who was now seated from across the table.
“Enjoy what?” I asked.
He pointed to the cabin behind him with his thumb. “I know what happened back there.”
He smirked as he placed his hand on the table and the other was on the chair beside him. The girls around started watching us. “He’s younger than I expected. Just around 30, I guess?”
I held my breath. “You’ve seen his face?”
He leaned forward and stared at me. “You kissed a stranger. A possible criminal. You’re so cheap,” he mumbled.
I felt a sting in my heart as I retracted to my seat.
“Were you so sad that you could do something like this, Ginny?”
I failed to utter a single word when I felt a lump form in my throat. I can’t bring myself to be mad at what he said because I’m scared that it might be true. My heart cramped so hard that I felt it even at the tips of my toes.
I grabbed my purse and stood up. His eyes got so good at making me feel small.
“Ginny...” he called.
I kept walking until I reached the roadside where the cars were parked. He followed me and has called me a few times but I just bit my lower lip to keep myself from lashing out. I walked past the cars until we reached our van.
“Ginny, I’m sorry. You know how much you mean to me, I’m just concerned—”
“Shut it, Dwight.” I chewed on my lips as I looked around, gathering my thoughts. “You know what, you’re right. This is cheap. I’m 22, but I act like an ignorant teenager. Happy?”
“I didn’t mean it.”
I nodded slowly. “Sure.”
I hopped on the van and let the door open to let the cold air in. I laid my head and closed my eyes.
The sting in my heart slowly faded. I kissed a stranger and it felt good. Maybe Katrin and Dwight are right, I’m desperate and cheap. I just can’t admit it.
I heard a crackling sound from the outside so I opened my eyes and cocked my head. I gasped at the sight of a red rose on the seat beside me. I recalled a few rose plants at Don’s mansion so I picked it up and went outside.
“Are you there?” I asked, scanning the area.
No one answered and all I heard was the sound of rustling leaves. I got pissed and threw the rose on the rocks.
“If you won’t show up, then stop lurking.”
I boarded the van again and pulled the door harshly. My head is spinning so I closed my eyes to get some sleep.
I heard some noises, indistinct conversations, so I opened my eyes as Nikki pulled the door from outside. I glanced at my watch and scratched my eyes.
“Hey, you okay?” she asked.
I nodded and moved to the backmost seat to let them in. I darted my eyes outside so I won’t have to see Dwight in the rearview mirror.
“Dang, I enjoyed that kind of reception. It’s so fun!” Katrin uttered lively. “Unlike the ones with my relatives. Feels like a business convention. Ugh,” she added.
Nikki chuckled and checked her phone. “It’s fun, right? We’ll go home first then Von and Dwight will head downtown.”
“Gotchu,” Von affirmed.
I laid my head again as they talked about the wedding reception on our way back at Nikki’s resthouse. I changed into a black tunic dress to make myself comfortable.
I tied my hair with a pony and watched Katrin sweep through the boxes and pick up a pack of cake powder.
“Hell for the dogs, but heaven for the humans: chocolate!” she joked.
I smiled and shook my head. Katrin is the one I always have arguments with, but she’s bearable to be a friend when she’s in the mood. We started baking and cooking when Olevia came to help us.
I was leaning on the edge of the table as I stared at the oven when Nikki poked my arm. “Where did you go earlier?”
“In the van. I slept.”
She shook her head as she stood beside me, mixing the batter in a bowl. “No. Before you came back to the tables. I looked for you, you’re nowhere. Dwight and you.”
I darted my eyes at Katrin at the other end of the table, helping Olevia slice the ham, then I turned to Nikki. “Behind the cabin. I saw a bird dropped so I went to check.”
“What kind of bird?”
I stared at her. “What’s your point, Nikki?”
“I’m just saying...” She slowly pulled the potholder from my hand. “Don’t take what is not yours.” Then she glanced at Katrin before turning to me. “Knowing Kat, it’s gonna be war.”
I furrowed my brow as I watched her pour the batter into the tray. After two hours, we’re done preparing, and when Von and Dwight got back, they grilled some fish and barbeque.
We gathered in the cottage for dinner and invited Olevia, Andres and their son Benedict to join us.
“Let’s sing!” Katrin announced.
We sang Happy Birthday and watched Nikki make a wish before blowing the candles. They exchanged jokes as we ate but my mood has already turned sour since this afternoon. I just force a smile from time to time so they won’t suspect anything.
“Okay, guys. Since we’re done eating, let’s dress up!”
“Dress up?” Katrin asked.
“Didn’t I tell you that I found my parents’ gowns and suits? Come on!”
The three made sure to make their boredom obvious by making faces. Nikki placed her hands on her hip as she stood at the end of the table. “Come on, guys. Let’s just think that we are in the 1900s. Look at the house, let’s seize the night!”
She clapped her hands so the others stood up and trooped to the mansion. I helped Olevia clean the table but she insisted that I go with my friends so I followed them. Nikki opened a large cabinet where suits and dresses were hung according to the color of its dust cover. We unzipped some and tried them on. I settled with a white A-line dress with a ruffled collar and see-through long sleeves.
I stared at myself in the mirror before heading to the sala. Katrin was wearing a nude shirt-waist dress with ruffled sleeves while Nikki wore a red wrap dress. Von and Dwight both sported black suits. Don’s figure flashed in my mind and comparing it now, he really was well-built.
Olevia has prepared the finger foods and drinks on the round table so we all grabbed a bottle of beer. I nestled on the couch as I watched them dance to the music played at Dwight’s phone. I’ve already got zero energy for tonight but when I saw Olevia with a plate of fried oreos and a pitcher of juice, I stood up to lend a hand.
She smiled at me. “Wow. You look beautiful, Ginny.”
I smiled too and glanced at my dress. “Reminds me of my mother.”
“You look like an angel.”
I chuckled and watched her head back to the kitchen. I sat down and stuffed a piece of fried oreo in my mouth as the others played paper dance using the sheet of old mags from the rack. When they were all tired, we gathered at the couch and watched Von play the piano. I leaned against the couch’s armrest so the window is now on my left. Nikki and Katrin laid their heads on each other as Dwight sat on the floor at the other end of the couch with his arm resting on his left knee.
“The results will be out next week,” Nikki announced. “If I top this sem, Dad will let me go with Von in Italy.”
We all smiled as Von cheered, “Finally!”
The sound of the piano echoed beautifully in the whole room. With the same sweet music, I kissed a stranger. Who would’ve thought? I mentally slapped myself. I’m lucky that I’m still alive at this rate. If the rumors are true, am I in danger now?
When Von was done playing, he picked up an empty bottle and smiled at us. “Truth or dare time!”
Von sat on the floor opposite from me and they talked about the instructions. I can hear them but my attention diverted to the hill at the distance. It’s perfectly lit by the moonlight and the driveway looked more magical. I gently touched my lips, that kiss was just a one-time incident, and it’s not gonna happen again so might as well forget it.
Von spun the bottle and it’s lid pointed to me. Great.
“So...” Katrin smirked. “Truth or dare?”
“Truth,” I replied.
It took them a while to think as Von placed the bowls of finger foods on the floor. Moments later, Katrin raised her index finger. “Here. Have you had a crush on Dwight?”
Von chuckled while Nikki gave me a bored look. I slowly shook my head as I hugged my knees resting sideways on the couch. “Of course not. He’s not my type.”
I raised an eyebrow. “I thought it’s one question at a time?”
She rolled her eyes at me and picked a piece of chocolate brownie. Von spun the bottle again and it pointed to Dwight.
“Truth,” he declared.
“Are you crushing on Ginny?” Nikki quickly asked.
Dwight didn’t answer right away as he played with his necktie. “Hmm. She’s nice, but she’s way out of my league.”
I sighed in relief as he spun the bottle and it was Nikki’s turn.
“Dare,” she said.
Von chuckled and pointed at the door. “Let’s go to the hill, then you knock on his door.”
“What!? No way!” Nikki protested, sitting straight now.
Katrin laughed while Dwight and I stared at each other. I looked away first when I saw the spite in his eyes.
“Come on, Niks! You’re just going to knock,” Von was still at it. “Then after that, let’s just toss coin on to see who’s next.”
“I also want to stargaze,” Katrin added.
“No way! It’s my birthday, guys. Don’t ruin my night!”
Von shook his head as he chuckled. “Fine, just kiss my feet then.” He removed his slip-on shoes and rested his foot on Nikki’s knees who was just sitting beside me.
Katrin and Dwight burst in laughter but I just smiled watching Nikki kiss Von’s feet. Then she shoved it away and rolled her eyes. “Don’t tell anyone!” she warned.
Von spun the bottle and it’s my turn again. Since I’ve already chosen Truth, I have no choice but to accept the dare.
Von pointed his finger to me as he gripped on his beer. “You, then. Let’s go to the hill, and you knock.”