After 15 minutes.......
Nyle was so tired and sleepy, so we both retired to the waiting room. He was almost asleep in my hands when someone tapped on my shoulder. I carefully turned, so that I won’t wake him up, to face with an old lady.
My eyes widened in shock, and my heart started to beat frantically...
“Granny.......” was all I could muster.
“Yes dear, I am his grandmother. Have we seen before?”
Am I mistaken?
No. How can I mistake my own grandmother for another lady?
Same white hair, same eyes, same face... This woman is my granny.
“Granny don’t you remember me?” I said with teary eyes.
“I am afraid you are wrong Atarah.” Ryan’s velvety voice didn’t register in my ears.
I got up, placing a half awoke Nyle on the seat and caught her wrist gently.
That similar skin warmed my entire body.
“Granny, it’s me Atty.” Now tears were rolling down uncontrollably.
“Sorry dear. I guess you have mistaken me for someone else.” She said getting a little tense.
“What’s taking you so long, Sara?”
Near the empty door behind, now stood the man whom I have called ‘grandpa’ for the past eighteen years.
“Grandpa?” I swallowed a lump that was now forming in my throat.
Ryan briskly walked towards me and murmured
“Calm down. Everything has an explanation.”
I wanted to argue and scream at him but just stood still, staring at my ‘once gone missing’ grandparents.
He then slowly picked a pouting Nyle and handed him to granny.
She bowed her head and said a thank you. Then she looked at me with worry filled eyes.
I remained silent till they left the waiting room for signing the papers and verification purposes.
“Do you want some water?”
Ryan handed me a disposable glass with the transparent liquid.
I slowly sat there, looking at him, defeated.
“Why are they avoiding me? Why is she pretending like she doesn’t know me?” I completed with a sob.
He took the seat next to mine and placed his hand over my shoulder.
“Maybe that’s because they actually don’t know you.”
“How can they forget me so easily.... unless?”
I looked at him with deadly eyes...
“Unless you did something to them.”
He bowed his head a little, avoiding eye contact with me, and that was all I needed as a confirmation.
I grabbed his shirt’s collar and started to shake it vigorously.
“How could you? How could you do this to me when they were my only family left?”
“They are not your family Atarah but your care takers.” Ryan said roughly, removing my hands from his collar and straightening it out.
I looked at him with betrayal filled eyes, but his posture remained same.
Without wasting much time, I got up from my seat and was about to leave when I heard him say something.
“What?” I asked angrily.
“I thought they lived in Spain.”
“You were tracking them?” I said getting back to my seat, impatiently.
There was no response, but just silence.
“You told me there’s an explanation.”
If I give way to my sentiments now, then I am seriously not going to know about it anytime soon. I have to learn to control my emotions and let this be a start.
“There’s not much explanation here. After your parents’ death I hired these two people, who were struck with poverty, to look after you. They left you often to meet their kids, whose existence was unknown to me till a few years back, and when you got bigger, they literally stepped out of their responsibility. Realizing they are no more useful to me, I fired them and erased their memory over the course of time. According to them, they went for a certain job somewhere else and then returned after being dismissed.
Now, because of some sucking coincidence, here we are, in this situation. I just wish they leave soon and never come to our life again.”
He spat with venom in his voice and covered his face with large palms.
I kept silent as I stared at the unknown person in front of me.
How can he be this heartless?
I regretted giving in to him so easily.
Only if I knew this was his true self...
I recollected my composure and looked at him with emotionless eyes.
“You are right. After all, I have been grown up with my mom, dad and so many others to look after me. So the existence of these mere caretakers, whom I thought were my grandparents all this time, shouldn’t affect me. In fact, I should be glad that they left me.”
He lifted his head with guilty eyes and strode towards my retreating body.
“Sorry Atty that came out wrong.”
“No Ryan, each word you said was right.”
I didn’t even flinch when he took my tender arms in his enormous one.
“I screwed up, right?”
With that I stormed out of the room but slowed my pace when I found my caretakers (to be precise) with teary eyes.
Grandpa or Michael was looking gravely at the two cargos that held his daughter’s and her husband’s bodies, while Sara held both the kids close to her chest.
There was something I saw in her eyes when she looked at the boys.
It was love.
Pure love of a grandmother which was exactly opposite to what I received when I assumed that I was their granddaughter.
The thought that they looked after me only for money made my heart ache.
A delicate finger wiped the tears that rolled out of my eyes with no knowledge.
Helena side hugged me and ran her hand up and down my back.
“You see, life is a drama. Just play along with it if you want to survive.”
I didn’t give her any response, but heard it very clearly.
There’s only one mission for me now, and that is to find Ignacia.
Both Nyle and Kyle kissed my cheek before entering their car.
The bodies have already been placed inside the Ambulance, which will soon be taken for funeral services.
Sara and Michael gave a brief handshake to each one of us and were about to get in when I stepped forward.
“Sara, one minute, please.”
She looked at me questioningly but was taken aback when I hugged her all of a sudden.
“Please take care of them.”
She nodded, wondering why a complete stranger was talking about her own grandsons like this.
I straightened up and asked Sid to hand over a pen.
A paper was obtained from the cab driver, and I scribbled my name and number on it.
“Keep this with you. Don’t hesitate to contact me for help, financially or for anything. Nyle and Kyle are like my own brothers.”
She looked at me gratefully. Now it was her turn to hug me, which I happily reciprocated.
After they left, I sensed four pairs of eyes staring at me with different emotions. The most intense one was Ryan’s.
Two cars were waiting outside for us. Unlike our previous journey, we have an extra person to be accommodated.
“I and Atty will come by the second car.” Helena said, already dragging me.
“No, it’s not safe. You have to take one man with you.” Adrian said seriously.
“I am a witch.”
“But right now you are just a normal girl who came here for a vacation.” Adrian stared blankly.
Helena was cut off by Ryan.
“You three will go by this car while I and Atarah take the other.”
There was no one to cross his orders, so it was finalized.
I looked at Helena with pleading eyes before they drove off.
“Shall we?” I now looked at Ryan who was holding out the door for me to get in.
I slowly walked towards him and entered forcefully. He took the seat next to mine and closed the door behind him.
I fixed my gaze on the passing scenery, though I could sense timely glances from him.
“I am sorry, Atarah. I shouldn’t have said those.”
“Yes, you shouldn’t have.”
I am not going to fall for him again.
But that was proved wrong when he suddenly pulled me towards him.
I was held in a trance by his captivating jet-black eyes.
“You know I didn’t mean that. It just came out all wrong. I cannot see you like this and I don’t want to. Please. You can give me any punishment you want.”
That was a mistake from his part as I instantly slapped his right cheek. He looked at me with utmost disbelief, but I remained just like that.
He pursed his lips into a thin line, constraining himself from snapping my neck. Still, I was unmoved. To my astonishment, he chuckled and pulled me even closer.
“This is why I love you.”