Don't Look Back
A ray of sun hit my face so I turned to the huge window on my left, pulling the sheets up to my neck.
My breathing hitched when I saw Hugo standing by the window and gazing outside. He’s wearing a black hoodie and a pair of black slacks. He didn’t have his mask on so I took my time admiring his side profile, the thin stubbles on his jaw, shined beautifully with the sun.
He looked at me and smiled, sliding his hands in his pockets. “Good morning.” His baritone voice echoed in the whole room and it sent me shivers. Why does he have to stand, talk and smile so perfectly?
“Have you prepared breakfast? I want to cook before I go. Just to thank you for taking care of me the other night,” I muttered.
He crossed his arms and turned his gaze away. A smile made it way onto my lips when I noticed his sudden change of mood.
“Will you miss me?” I teased. He sighed and I pursed my lips, realizing that he’s serious about something.
“What happened here was traumatic for you. The other night, I was… violent.”
My shoulder dropped when he reminded me of what he did to Dwight. But thinking about what Dwight has done, his wound won’t amount to what he should be paying for.
“So it’s better if you’re back in New Orleans,” he added.
He proceeded to the door but I quickly took the sheets off my legs and walked up to him. “Wait.”
He opened the door but stopped upon hearing me. I gently pulled the sleeve of his pullover so he would turn to me. I’m 5’7 but he’s about 5 feet taller so I had to lift my chin to meet his gaze.
“If I should be away, then why are you frowning?” I asked.
“I am not frowning.”
I quickly shut my mouth and looked away. I must’ve been too comfortable around him. He sighed and gently caressed my shoulder.
“Are you overthinking right now?”
“I’m not,” I replied, sounding a little defensive, I admit.
He smiled and gently brushed his thumb against my cheek. “You’re blushing.”
I took a step back as my cheeks heated up. “I’m not.”
His smile grew wider before walking out. I kept my eyes on the door as I felt the little butterflies in my stomach. He’s someone that people feared for because of those rumors, but there was him, smiling at me, and showing some emotions.
I took a bath and saw another set of med kit on the sink. I changed into a sky blue off-shoulder sundress and put on light makeup. Atop the table by the wall was a black shoebox and I found a pair of Converse sneakers inside.
I stared at myself in the mirror and heaved a deep sigh as I thought of how the others would react once they found out that I’m alive. They all matter to me, but they left me here and it made me want to crush them literally.
Pablo waited downstairs and led me to another hall that goes to the mansion’s backyard. A cold wind ruffled my hair as I looked around.
“Wow,” I muttered.
This is pretty much the same than the front yard only with more flowers and a set up round table in the middle. Down the hill were huge hectares of woodlands. “It looks better here,” I added.
I turned around and saw Pablo walking back inside so I made my way to the white round table where the breakfast was set. I turned around when I heard the back door click and found Hugo. He walked up to me with a small smile on his face.
My heart melted at the sight of him. If he’s this charming, why would he let the townspeople believe the rumors?
“Hi,” he muttered as he pulled a chair for me.
I smiled and sat down. “You talk as if you didn’t sneak into my room and we hadn’t had a little chit chat already.”
“I didn’t sneak in, I walked in confidently. It’s my house.”
I chuckled and looked away. “Silly.” My eyes roamed the area as I let the cold wind brush freely against my skin. “What if someone sees you without your mask on?”
“No one lives nearby. Except, of course… the caretakers in your friend’s house.”
“The townspeople will find out what happened. What if they gather and come here?”
“My living room is huge enough for them.”
A smile made its way onto my lips. I’m worried, but he seems to know what to do with everything.
“If I leave, you’ll be alone. Why don’t you come with me?”
He picked up the bottle of chocolate syrup and poured some on the pancakes on my plate. “Eat well. You might get hungry during your trip.”
I forced a smile. So that’s a no.
We ate quietly until I recalled something from the other night. I turned around to look for a fuse and my breathing hitched when I saw a metal box attached to the wall beside a glass window.
“Is anything wrong?” he asked.
I turned to him and bit my lower lip. “I’m really sorry for what happened to Hunter.”
He clenched his jaw as he sipped on his coffee, not responding to what I’ve said. I sighed and stared at my plate. “What are you going to do with Dwight?”
“That knife is supposed to land on his neck.”
His words sent me shivers. I took a sip of my own coffee and lifted my gaze. “But he’s alive. So what now?”
He slowly shook his head as he leaned against his chair crossing his arms. “He’s your friend. I know you’re somehow mad at them, but you won’t like it if I kill him, right?”
I don’t know what to say, but a part of me wanted to nod. Dwight is my friend and I would never want him dead, but I still believe that he needs to pay for what he did. I looked away and watched the trees from afar, thinking about the others.
“Will they be happy once I go back? Will they treat me better or will they blame me for what they’ve done to me?” I turned my gaze back to him. “Because truth be told, they aren’t the nicest people and I always knew that. It’s just that… we grew close and I got attached to them.”
He furrowed his brows. “Other than trying to get back at them for what they did, you should get back to how you used to live your life. What happened here was not good, you may have nightmares about this, and it bothers me that I will be part of those nightmares.”
I blinked when I didn’t get his point. He sighed and licked his lower lip, scratching his right brow with his index finger. “What I’m saying is… I’m sorry.”
My gaze remained at him and he did the same.
“I’m guilty for what happened as well,” I replied. “If I didn’t bother you, Hunter wouldn’t have been… gone.”
He heaved a deep sigh and drummed his index finger atop the table. “Even if we turn back time, I’d still choose you. You’re the only right thing that has happened to me for a very long time.”
I bit my lip as my heart raced. Why does he have to say all that early in this morning? My cheeks heated up again especially when he smiled, a teasing one.
I cleared my throat and shrugged as I leaned against my chair. “This is different and this doesn’t happen often, but I love how we differ from the others.”
“I’m more complicated than you think, but for now, I want you to live a normal life. You’re young, you can still do anything you want.”
My smile slowly faded as I laid my arms on the chair’s armrest. “What do you mean?”
He didn’t take his eyes off of me and it made my heart jump. I feel like what he’s about to say isn’t good.
“Live your normal life, and don’t look back.”
I pursed my lips as I felt my chest quiver in pain. This means that he doesn’t want me? After last night? After everything? He kissed me and now he wants me to go. After everything I said… he wants me to go, and not look back. How could he show me his face, make me remember every part of it, only to shoo me away on the next day?
I slowly nodded and stood up, wiping the side of my mouth with a napkin. “Alright, then. Thank you for the breakfast.”
He blinked and clenched his jaw as he stared at the table. For a while there, I thought he regretted what he just said, but he remained silent so I turned around and began walking away.
My eyes caught something shining on the grass just below the window so I stopped and stared at it. I made my way to the wall and picked up a familiar necklace. When I stood up, I stared at my reflection in the mirror.
This room is…
“You, okay?” Hugo asked behind me.
He’s now walking towards me but I refused to look at him as I entered the mansion. In the living room, my duffel bag was now sitting atop the coffee table. The double doors were open and from outside, a black car parked at the end of the driveway.
Pablo appeared from a hall and pointed at my bag. “I put a kit inside.”
I smiled curtly and took my bag. The cold wind blew in my face but it didn’t comfort me one bit.
“Caloy will drive you back in New Orleans,” Pablo told me as he tailed behind. He walked past me and opened the car’s door, staring at me like I’m a hard question in a test paper.
I smiled at him. “Thank you for everything.”
He sighed and slowly nodded. “You’re an extraordinary girl. I sincerely wish for your safety.”
I sighed and nodded too. “So do I.” I cocked my head towards the door and didn’t see Hugo from anywhere so I slid into the back seat and let Pablo close the door. He tapped the roof twice before Caloy started the engine.
As we distanced from the hill, I felt like I’m slowly freeing from a magical spell. My eyes welled as I stared at the quiet roadside.
I feel so stupid. This isn’t a fairytale and I didn’t find a prince charming. What were you thinking, Ginny? Just because you did some weird things and kissed a stranger, you thought you’ll live happily ever after?
I bit my lower lip as hard as I could. I need to open my eyes to reality. I almost died, my friends gave me away. I came here with them, but I’m leaving alone, carrying this anger for what they did and my sweet memories with Hugo.
But I don’t want to just go back. They almost killed me, so I’ll show them how to live.