The One

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Chapter 9

CHAPTER 9
A whole week with no Hal wasn’t exactly the best but I found myself painfully managing. I stayed at Alma's house. I loved it there but my mind still remained on Hal and how I messed things up in just a few minutes. Also how Arsenio had reacted while we were at the mall parking lot the last time I saw him.
‘’hey’’ Alma said walking into the guest room which was basically my room for the meantime.
‘’what’s up?’’
I sat up on the bed covering my exposed thighs. I was just scrolling through some of the photos posted on the Leo Luca Instagram.
I was currently staying with Alma for the week not because I didn't want to go back to my apartment but because I really needed someone to talk to and it's been long since I spoke to her.
"are you okay? You've been in here since morning" she stated referring to the room.
"don't you see?, I've been soaking up in luxury" I stated with a shrug.
Truly, her house was a mansion. She lived with her parents and siblings but had a whole floor to her self. Her floor was just about three times of my apartment.
One thing is that Alma never bragged about it. She didn't feel like it was the appropriate thing to brag about since it was still her parents money and not hers. She lived a luxurious life, yes but stayed as low key as possible.
She shook her head and sat right beside me.
"You know that's not what I mean" she had always been a lie detector and so was I. But at that moment I was actually soaking up in misery and not the luxury I lied about.
"Can't you both just meet somewhere and talk?"
I shook my head. "yeah!" I said and I think that gave a little too much hope. "We can but we won't" I added.
"its because you're strongheaded. But how long can you keep up with it?" Alma narrowed her eyes at me and she instantly reminded me of my friend, Ayishèr.
"Hal's strongheaded too." I defended.
She rolled her eyes. "But you started it. Anyways, who's the Stefano guy you were ranting about yesterday? I wasnt really listening"
"Are you serious right now, Alma?" I said in annoyance but she only shrugged sadly.
"Well you can't blame me. I was half asleep a-and I couldn't tell you to shut up because I didn't want you to feel bad" she said trying to defend herself.
"Ofcourse" I rolled my eyes and focused back on my phone."now I just feel worse." I added.
"Its not your major problem at the moment so quit giving me an attitude" she said sternly.
"Whatever" I muttered.
"Just so you know, my family and I are having dinner with the Parkers this evening so I don't exactly know if you want to attend or-" I cut her off before she could finish.
"Nope I'm fine. I'll be leaving later lets saying about an hour time." I said.
"And you'll go straight to Armella? Or Hal's place?"
"Wherever my car takes me" I lied.
I was definitely going to Armella. There was no way I was going to Hal's apartment just yet.
I got off the bed and began to put my stuff together while Alma just sat there staring.
"Alma you know what?" I told her.
"What?" She squealed.
"Nowadays you're much happier and positive than you used to be. Who's the man?" It turned to a whisper at the end as I wriggled my eyebrows at her playfully.
I had known her for so long and she had never been like this before or maybe I just have never seen her that way. But there was a very slim chance on the latter.
"There's no man!" Alma blushed. I decided to leave that topic for when she was ready to tell me.
Just then, we heard someone knock. I already knew who it would be so I shouted a 'come in'.
It was Alma's personal butler,Nathan. He brought us coffee.
He seemed to be in his late twenties or early thirties. He had dark brown hair that matched his golden brown eyes perfectly. He marched towards me. I was just packing my stuff and shoving them into the bag. He bowed to my level.
"Your coffee miss" he said in his very prominent british accent.
I honestly didn't like drinking coffee a lot but I loved the smell. It was hot chocolate anytime anywhere.
I took the cup of coffee and the saucer off the tray he was holding out for me. I noticed that he hadn't realized Alma was in the room as well.
"Oh!" He said when he turned around and saw Alma. "Miss Oria we've been looking everywhere for you" he said with a little bow of his head.
"What's the matter?" Asked Alma.
"Well your parents wanted me to inform you about the dinner and that the plans have changed"
"What plans changed?"
"I honestly don't know but she said something about reservations somewhere. Perhaps a nearby restaurant? Mrs. Oria is going to tell you all of the details herself." He stated before leaving.
"Its fine" Alma said lowly and he excused himself.
"She's probably going to make them come to Armella"
I jumped in excitement at that.
"Yayy! More money" I joked and she laughed.
-----------------------

After a tiring afternoon of cleaning my apartment, I decided to step out just to get a glimpse of the british family Alma and her family were having dinner with also to check how things were going with Sarah and the rest of my employees.
I got dressed in a black abaya along with my walking shoes and my pouch which had my phone and debit card.
On walking into the restaurant, the first thing I saw was a man that was maybe in his late fifties sitted at the largest table by the left. I purposely had them build in that table for family gatherings like that or even dinner meetings for business people since they loved coming here to eat.
The man was dressed in an expensive grey suit while the woman who seemed to be his wife was sitted beside him dressed in a sleeveless blue gown that was complimented by the shimmery white Pearls around her neck and on her ears as studs.
Every once in a while, Alma's father would say something that caused all of them to laugh. I looked away and walked over to the counter but suddenly a very loud laughter got everyone's attention in the restaurant.
It was Mr.Parker's.
The man had some pipes in him. My head jolted towards him and so did everyone's but he never stopped. He continued laughing and I could see Alma from my point of view. She kept on rolling her eyes and giving fake smiles to the lady beside her who seemed to be around my age. The girl wasn't pleasantly dressed instead she looked more like she was dressed for a concert or the club preferably.
I found Alma's eyes roming about until she met mine. I waved at her sadly and she waved back.
I could tell that she wasn't enjoy the dinner one bit.
There was a young man sitted right across from her. He was wearing a navy blue button-down shirt and his hair was gelled backwards. He was the Parker's son from the looks of it because he looked just like his father. He was continually staring at Alma in a weird way.
Everyone brought their attention back to what they were doing.
The employees at the counter happened to be Madison, my cashier and the waitress,Maria.
"Good evening boss" they greeted in unison. A little too loud for my liking and besides I didn't want people finding out that I was the owner of the restaurant. The last thing I wanted was drama and I loved my privacy.
"I'd prefer if you guys treat me like a regular customer so don't call me 'boss'. Not in front of all these people." I smiled.
"Where's my manager?" I asked referring to Sarah. Sarah was my everything. I didn't know what I would've done without her. She runs the restaurant so effectively.
"I'll get her" said Maria and I nodded.
A waited until Sarah came. She didn't look happy. I immediately got worried.
"What's wrong Sarah?" I asked.
She shook her head and lowered her eyes so she was looking at her shoes.
I realized we were still standing in front of the counter so I held her by the wrist and brought us to the corner table. No one was paying any attention thank goodness.
"What's the matter, Sarah?" I asked her again.
"Its Danté" she blurted.
"Yes? What about Dante?"
"He got into a fight at school with a very rich man's son and he couldn't make it here." she said and I had to admit I was scared at first.
"Is that it?"
She shook her head." The boy's Guardian is pressing charges."
"Why? But it was just a random fight. " I was shocked. Why would they do such when the fight was between the two people and I knew very well that Dante would never be the one to go looking for trouble. He only ever defended himself the way I thought him to.
"Dont worry about it Sarah. I'll handle everything. Do you have the boy's guardian's contact?"
She nodded her head and held out a piece of paper, a pen and her phone.
She copied down the number and gave me the paper.
"Cheer up Sarah. You're not supposed to worry about things like this while I'm still here." I said in attempt to cheer her up."if its money they want, then fine I'll give it to them".
I gave her hand a gentle squeeze before she disappeared back into the kitchen.
After Sarah left, Maria came and asked what I'd like to have and I ordered a chocolate milkshake. My mouth had longed for it for so long.
I still worried about Dante but I knew I was going to handle the situation very well.
Just as I was about to drink my milkshake, I saw none other than Arsenio by the entrance of the restaurant.
He was in his signature black suit, a white shirt and black tie. I saw two people by either of his sides. One which was a girl wearing a pair of black three-quarter palazzo pants, a pink body hug and a pink chiffon scarf on her head had her hand in his while the person by his other side was a boy wearing a pair of Jeans and a white polo shirt. I noticed the body guard behind them in a black suit and black shades. He had stopped to stand by the entrance. Well at least he was guarding everyone now.
The three looked very classy as they walked right in and found a table just like mine but by the wall. If Arsenio looked straight up, he would've seen me and I didn't like that fact.
I decided to focus on drinking my milkshake and forgetting about them until it hit me.
Arsenio had children. Those were his kids and I wouldn't accept any other explanation for that. All that while, he acted like he was just a regular single person but no, he wasn't.
I wondered where his wife was.
I watched as he listened attentively to the young girl he was holding earlier rant while the boy seemed to be in his teens.
I suddenly noticed the steri-strip above his right eyebrow. The area was quite bruised and also looked freshly gotten.
Maria finally went over to their table to take their orders and left after a while.
Their food arrived and they dug in almost immediately. I found Arsenio looking around the restaurant to take in all the beauty. I soon got lost looking around as well.
Well, until...he caught my gaze.
That which I had been avoiding since I saw him walk right in.
I got up and headed towards the restroom which wasn't too far so thank God.
I could still feel his eyes burning holes into my back but I could only care less.
I stared at myself in the mirror while washing my hands which wasnt necessary. I heaved a loud sigh of frustration.
"What have I gotten myself into?" I whispered to myself alone.
I heard someone walk in. I turned and was met with the young girl that had come with Arsenio. She seemed very cheerful.
She shot me a small smile and walked to the sink beside mine. I noticed she had a sauce stain on her shirt and was trying to get rid of it by using water only. It obviously didn't work.
"Hi" she said all of a sudden looking towards me.
"Hi" I said back. She seemed to be twelve or thereabout. She turned back to look at her stain and her failed attempts in removing it.
She just made it worse. I stared at her for so long until I eventually decided to ask her if she needed any help.
"Do you perhaps need help with that?" I asked while waving my index around.
"Sure, thank you"she said and moved slightly closer.
Wasn't she ever told about strangers and the bad things they could do? I wondered.
I dabbed some toilet paper with water and cleaned the oily area first before proceeding with the rest.
"I think you're all good now." I announced and threw the used toilet paper into the trash can.
"Thank you very much. My brother would've eaten me alive if the stain hadn't gone." She said and I chuckled.
Her brother didn't look so much older than her so I didn't understand why he would even yell at her for staining her top.
I waved at her and she exited the restroom.
Well it was just me once again.
"Come on?Carmella" I whispered trying to encourage myself. Why was I hiding away anyway?
As soon as I stepped out, I felt slightly more refreshed so I went over to my table and grabbed my stuff to leave. It was 6:30pm so I decided to go to Hal's apartment. I could only hope that everything would go well.
I glanced at Arsenio and saw that he was giving the intimidating look. I quickly looked away again and walked out of the restaurant.
I went to the gift shop and got lots of chocolate for Hal. When it was time to pay, I checked my phone to see my account balance. I hadn't checked it in so long because I left Sarah in charge of it. I saw that I actually had seventy thousand pounds that was untouched. The details below it read March 2nd which was nearly three months ago. It had been there since march.
I gave the cashier my card and she processed it and gave me back after I typed in my PIN.
---------------
"Who is it?" I heard Hal say from the other side of the door.
"Your worst enemy at the moment" I joked hoping she found it funny too.
"Carmella Castello, it better not be you" she replied back.
"well it already is and I brought you company uuhhhh............ in a basket!" I yelled while holding out the basket as if she could see me.
"What kind of company?" She yelled but before I could answer, she turned on some loud music. I could it was from her living room. She obviously did it on purpose so that she didn't have to listen to my explanation. I waited in front of her door for about five minutes until she turned the music off.
Suddenly I heard it unlock. I jumped away from my resting position on the door and picked up the basket.
"Twominutesisalliask" I said way too quickly because I thought she was going to shut the door again upon seeing that I was still by her door.
I watched as a small smile played on her lips as she was fighting back àa laugh.
"Two minutes" she whispered and opened the door wider for me to pass.
As soon as I entered her living room, I began to explain everything and apologise.
"Hal I'm sorry for the way I acted, I'm sorry for picking up an argument-"
"An unnecessary one" she corrected.
"I know, an unnecessary argument. I feel terrible for stooping so low. A-a-and I shouldn't have said those untrue things to the whole class about y-you and I'm sorry for not coming to a-a-apologise sooner because I-I knew that if I had come here, you'd probably kick me out or something and I don't know how you can forgive me but I b-brought you chocolate" I stuttered.
I held the basket of chocolates out for her to carry and she did with a huge smile on her face.
"Well I forgave you ever since." she said nonchalantly.
"Why?"
"First of all, I had to because I have been collecting free food in your name from your restaurant"
"As pay back?"
"Oh yes" she nodded.
It was fine by me. I didn't really care about the fact that she had been collecting free food at all. She obviously had been ordering the most expensive meals. That was Hal for me.
"So you still appreciate the chocolates?" I asked curiously.
"I would've actually preferred a LeoLuca handbag but I can manage the chocolates" she sighed though It was a lie and she knew I noticed she was lying.
"I forgive you" she said sharply.
After a moment of awkward silence, I decided to speak.
"I'm seeking medical help." I blurted.
"What?" She looked up from the chocolate bar she was already eating.
"Is it because I called you unstable?"
"Nope" I said with a small fake laugh.
"I just want to make sure I'm fine in everyway ..... and stable" I said.
Hal rolled her eyes.
"Goodluck with that"
----------------
I woke up on a couch later in the evening to the bell ringing. I got up to get it but remembered I was in Hal's apartment. I peeped to see who it was and saw Enzo Emilio. What was he doing here?
Hal was probably in the bathroom so I just got the door.
I was immediately greeted by Enzo.
"Good evening miss"
"Ciao, how are you today?" I asked him.
"I'm great, thank you and you?"
"Same" I replied. Before the awkward silence could take over, Hal appeared from her bedroom.
I didn't fail to notice the awkward eye contact between her and Enzo.
Normally, I would question her about Enzo, what he was doing in her apartment and why they had an awkward eye contact but no. It was her business and if she wanted to tell me what was going on then fine.
I went over the the couch to take my pouch and phone.
"Hal, I'll see you uhhhhmmm when you come." I said to Hal then turned to Enzo.
"I'll see you another day,goodnight."
I waved at both of them until the door was shut. I checked the time on my phone and saw that it was already 9:00pm. I hurried and called an uber.it was here in less than five minutes. I figured there were alot around here.
My phone began to ring as soon as I boarded the uber. It was Alma.
"Hey Alma, what's up?"
"I'm so exhausted, Carmella. Something came up again." She said.
"What?"
"My parents are trying to seal a deal with the Parkers and it involves their son and I." She sighed.
"Are you serious? Like......this is bad. What do your parents want so much?"
"They're at a loss in the industry. I think they'd do anything to get back on top."she said.
"Really? By selling you off to the parkers?"
"Nooooo" she laughed. "They aren't selling me off. They just want Clinton and I to act as if we're together for a two months, you know for the popularity. The public are longing to see who the popular Clinton Parker will end up with and that would really help my parents if I'm the One." I could tell she shrugged.
"And you're comfortable with it? I mean, I wouldn't even picture myself in that kind of situation with an unknown man"
"Come on, Carmella I don't think it will be that bad if he ain't a playboy. I know if you were in this situation, you'd handle it better than I am since you're the better actress." She exclaimed.
"Whatever Alma. I just want you to be safe and-" she cut me off before I could continue.
"Awwwwn!"
I facepalmed myself.
"Oh my God!" I whispered to myself but I knew she heard me.
"Just stay safe. I dislike the way Clinton looks at you" I said.
"Wait how do you know the way he looks at me?" She asked in surprise.
"Duhhh! I was at my restaurant earlier" I explained shortly.
"Oh! I almost forgot. You're so nosy!" she accused.
"Well I obviously would want to see a millionaire family who were visiting my restaurant. You should consider yourself lucky that I didn't come over to your dinner table to announce who I was." I said.
"You're such a douc!"
"What? Only Hal calls me that!" I whined.
"She gave me permission the last time I spoke to her four days ago" she said and I huffed but before I could say anything else, she ended the call.
How rude! I thought but brushed it off since she never did that except when she was very busy.
I began to look through my recent mails randomly and found out that
Mr. Gregory had sent me three mails since two days ago. I began to hyperventilate. That was what usually happened whenever I paid less attention to my phone for days.
I tapped the mail and read it.
'University of Oxford
Medical department.
Dear Carmella Othman Castello,
You have been elected as head of the Obs/Gyn group operating at the theatre on Monday the 21st of May. The required time to be in the block is 7:00am for all except you as the Obs/Gyn head whose arrival time is two hours before all other staff or student. The list of names has been sent to your mail for you to make the roll call upon arrival. Be warned that lateness may also attract failure.
Sincerely,
Gregory Malford.

I felt my hand get so sweaty all of a sudden. We hadn't had any operations or practical work at the theatre in quite a while.
God! How stupid could I be?
How could I forget the most important thing about being a final year medical student?
My last two and a half years had been purely practical work and a few paper exams here and there.
So I was really the group head and I need to be there by 5:00am.
"Shit!" I cursed under my breath.
"Excuse me ma'am are you okay?" The uber driver asked while looking back and I realized we had come to a stop by my apartment building.
"Yes why?" I didn't think I showed any visible sign of distress so why would he ask me that?
"Well, I've been trying to get your attention for almost five minutes now" he stated and I immediately felt pity for him because he was so frustrated.
"Oh I'm sorry." I said. "Do you have a POS?"
"Ofcourse'' he said and held it out for me.
He let me type in the digits when I placed in my card so I typed in an extra twenty pounds for getting him so frustrated. He was very thankful and drove off.
I walked into my apartment. The first thing I did was get a large laundry bowl from the washroom and filled it up with cold water.
I changed into a tank top and some shorts, ate some leftover pizza from the refrigerator, grabbed my textbook of surgery and birth and went over to the balcony.
I put my feet into the bowl of cold water and began to read. The cold water stuff always worked for me and I knew I wouldn't sleep off until morning.
--------------------
The next morning,Sunday morning.
I only had less than twenty-three hours. I knew I was somewhere near ready but also had in mind that it wasn't possible to be hundred percent ready.
Alma invited me to go shopping with her and I agreed.
I hopped into my car and headed to the mall. No other than the LeoLuca mall.

A/N
I hope you enjoyed it.
@ minaola as Alma Oria.
Don't forget to vote, share and comment.
Love you.❤
Haj~

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