The party was going on well, I had not yet seen anything amiss and everything seemed in place. If at a party, the event planner is enjoying herself and not in the least bit worried, then that is a flawless event. Charlotte was immensely enjoying herself. In fact, she was talking to a young woman right now who had an uncanny resemblance to Daniel.
“Hey, hope you’ve not neglected the fact that I’m standing right here next to you” Brian asked me as he touched my left hand gently, the touch jolted me back to my immediate surroundings.
“Oh, I’m really truly sorry for everything, It has been a while since I have been at an event with a date so to me, I feel like I am on my own”
“Apology accepted. Funnily enough, I was like you some years back until I got my inheritance and of course some extra responsibilities. This life was handed to me after my father passed on. I was saddled with the responsibility of attending social functions, meetings grand openings and a lot of similar events. It took some getting used to and gradually I realized I had a natural charm and that helped me become who I am today. This has helped me adapt to any circumstance, if I don’t get any attention, it doesn’t bother me at all because as much as I am used to the attention, I was always in the solitude.”
“Wow! That is quite interesting. I guess Lizzy and I can be described as the two sides of you. I’m quiet and introverted while Lizzy gets the crowd and the attention”
“I think you also have it in you to be quite good with the crowd and attention, you have the potential but you just don’t utilize it, you refuse to get used to the crowd, you refuse to even be seen by the crowd.”
“No, I really doubt that. Besides, no one would pay me any attention.”
“Do you want to put that to a test and then we would verify if you can get attention or not. Perhaps you are a complete coward who is afraid of her own shadow, afraid to come out of her shell, afraid to be seen, afraid of what she will become when she is seen” he said those words so close to my ears, so teasingly close, I could feel his breath on my neck, temptingly close to my skin, that if I leaned a little closer, I would definitely have felt the touch of his lips on my neck. It was an insane moment and I had a momentary lapse in judgement because honestly, who could think clearly under those conditions.
“No! I am most certainly not and I’ll prove that to you” I rose to the bait
“Great. First of all, you have to make a grand entrance, since you pleaded with me to come in through the kitchen because you said that you wanted to check up on something. Now, we will both pass that same kitchen door out and we would re-enter through the front door where everyone can admire your dress. Darling Katie, a dress as wonderful as that, should not go unnoticed. So, are you ready or are you going to finally accept that you are a big coward”
“Who said anything about cowering? Let’s do this”
I grabbed him so fast that he almost lost his balance, if not for his strength and will not to fall. I ran out through the kitchen and didn’t stop pulling on his arm all the way to the front entrance, I didn’t consider that he was not yet completely balanced. But when we got to the front entrance, I stopped moving all together. I didn’t know why but my feet refused to move, Brian gave my hand a gentle squeeze and waited. He didn’t push me or make any sarcastic comment or tease me, he just waited. I was quite confident when Brian made the suggestion at first. However, being in front of the entrance felt like a total unveiling of my quiet life but then I thought, when wouldn’t it be revealed, so why not do it now. Yeah, I was coming out into the light, I do not know what this will mean but I was doing it that very minute. In order for me not to change my mind and act like a big coward, I firmly held Brian’s elbow, stood up straight, took a deep breath and walked majestically into the hall, and for the first time in years, going through the front entrance. I did not know why but I was terrified to my bones but that didn’t deter me from walking. I kept telling myself, just breathe and but one foot in front of the other. Brian gave me gentle squeezes whenever he felt my tension. It was like he understood me in a way nobody else ever had. It felt like he understood me even more than my brother at that moment.
As we walked in, the music stopped abruptly and that got everyone’s attention as they looked for the cause of the disruption of the music, I stopped in my steps but Brian put a little pressure on my hand forcing me to move along with him, we then went to a table and sat down, soon thereafter the music continued and as if by magic, most if not all of the party guests returned to whatever they were doing before the music stopped. After what seemed like forever, I started to relax, it was only then that I dared to look as Brian, surprisingly he was scrutinizing me.
“What is wrong?”
“Nothing, I’m just wondering what kind of female creature you are.”
“So, have you figured it out yet?”
“No, that’s what I’m still pondering on”
“If I may ask ‘sir’, what are the attributes of this mysterious female creature?”
“Why are you interested in her attributes? Will you help me discover what kind of creature she is?”
“Well, I was extremely good at biology so maybe I could help”
“Ok, but I wouldn’t tell you now, I’ll tell you later, under more favourable conditions”
“Why” Brian just shook his head and laughed
“Female creature, you are too inquisitive, but don’t worry you’ll know”
“Well, well, well. If it isn’t the shy Kat coming out of the bag” a young man said as he moved closer to my table, I was slightly irritated that he was disturbing my conversation with my new found friend. I turned slightly and saw that he looked tall, well-built and ruggedly handsome with a wicked smile. it was at that moment recognition hit me and I wished I was in my father’s house and not in that house. I honestly thought I wouldn’t have to run into him considering the amount of people invited to this event but who was I kidding? How can you run away from the host of a party?
“It seems my eyes are deceiving me or are you truly in my house, I thought I would never live to see this day” those were his words but my sentiments exactly, I thought he would never live to see the day.
“Hello Andrew, I can see your tongue has not been removed yet. That is such a shame”
“No darling and now it’s haunting you”
“Oh my God!! Somebody please help me!! I’m scared!!” I said sarcastically
“I can see you are still rude, sarcastic and yet very adorable. Who’s the hunk?”
“His name is Brian and he has far better manners than you can ever dream of”
“No kidding. Wow, then I am honoured. I’m Andrew”
“Hi, you are one of landlords at haven layout on the outskirts of town, right?”
“Yeah and it is safe to assume that you work with Alfred Alexander.”
“Yes, as a matter of fact I do. Excuse me please” Brian, being the gentleman he always was, went towards the bar to refill our wine glasses.
”Rumour says that he is a big time billionaire. Shy Kat, I’m proud of you”
“Thank you, I did quite good for myself then, am I not just so lucky?”
I looked up and saw Alfred coming towards us, I couldn’t conceal my joy.
“Well, it was dreadful seeing you again. Wow and in perfect timing, it seems to me like your friend is here.”
Andrew turned just in time to almost butt heads with Alfred, thank God for good reflexes
“Hey man, thanks for honouring my invitation and I am glad that you brought your sisters along”
He hugged Alfred and the two guys started grinning. Alfred and Andrew had been friends since they both started in nursery school and even with the distance and a lot of other things that happened along the way, they still remained very good friends. Alfred called Elizabeth and Daniel over. Elizabeth saw Andrew and being typical Lizzy, immediately left Daniel and gave Andrew a big hug. Andrew being his obnoxious self, whistled and did a catcall. He then carried her up and span her around. Lizzy had always had a mad crush on Andrew and those feelings obviously were still very present
“I’m so happy to see you; you have grown to become one incredibly beautiful young woman with your lovely soft brown hair, Lizzy pumpkin. God, this is unbelievable! You were such a fragile looking child when I left. Are you sure that you didn’t do plastic surgery on yourself to make you this perfect? With the curves and the face and the smile. I’m so loving the grown up Lizzy pumpkin.” He gave her one of his wicked smiles and made things worse by giving her a peck on both sides of her cheeks. If she was not dark skinned and she were capable of blushing; she would have been scarlet red
“Stop Andrew, you are embarrassing me. You have definitely not changed one bit. You aren’t looking bad yourself. In fact, you look devilishly handsome”
“You haven’t changed yourself, talking to you is never boring. Wow, it seems a lot hasn’t changed since I left the country, it’s like I never left. It’s just feels like a few minor changes were made but not too significant generally. This town especially, is just like it was before; empty and dry. The whole state is still the same. Except, now we have a lot of pollution thanks to the factories that are around but I still can’t find a decent and safe place for relaxation. There is no reputable place for fun and enjoyment in this city. It’s so crazy for a town not to have these and children have nothing to do but read their books and watch the rain pour and, my favourite of all, invent games for ourselves. The only other option is spoiling our eyesight with the rays from technological devices that is consuming all our attention and precious time. It’s just absolutely crazy. You know what I mean”
“That’s why we need lands to go about our projects, we have great plans for this city, life changing, evolutional plans”
“Hey Al, it’s downright insulting to have women in our midst and be talking about business issues, how does after the party sound or during lunch?”
“Lunch is ok with me and my colleagues. Meet Mr. Daniel Smith” Andrew then noticed that there was a man beside Elizabeth, a man dearest Elizabeth had forgotten.
“Lizzy pumpkin, you didn’t forget that there is a gentleman beside you, now did you?”
“Dan, I’m so sorry; I completely forgot you were there.” She almost ‘blushed', but honestly who expected her to remember, her first crush was back in town
“Hey man, I’m Andrew”
“Daniel but you can call me Dan, nice meeting you”
“Really, the pleasure is mine” the two men shared a handshake
“So, are you and Lizzy pumpkin an item?”
“No Andrew, we aren’t an item. We’re just friends” Lizzy said a little too quickly
“It is really funny that you, Andrew, can be talking about what is insulting and what isn’t. I honestly don’t think you consider anything insulting or that you even know what the word means. Daniel, aren’t you now the one denied and rejected by the almighty ‘Lizzy pumpkin’. Lizzy!!! Lizzy!!! Lizzy!!! When would you actually amaze me and do something remotely out of your usual selfish routine. I can’t believe you’ve not gotten over your crush on Andrew. That is what they call a long term crushing problem. I suggest you go and check that out at the hospital, it is definitely not healthy. Oh, Daniel, I guess that makes Brian better than you and that teaches you that a woman like Lizzy aren’t worth good business partners and friends fighting over and making a fool of themselves over. Oh don’t cry, it only gets better, at least she kissed you, twice. Oh my God, you got a record with her so don’t let it bother you. Some guys didn’t get that lucky and trust me there are a lot of guys. You know….”I was suddenly cut off as Alfred grabbed me.
“I think we should dance” he said through clenched teeth
“No, I don’t think so; I still have some more to say”
“NOW, please excuse us for a while” He stated with a forced smile
He pulled me to the dance floor and we started to move to the music, he looked very upset, his jaw were firmly clenched and he was talking through his teeth
“What was that all about? Now, the poor girl is crying. You have embarrassed your baby sister”
“I’ve just started with her and why would you be siding with her?”
“Katie, whatever differences you have with her can be settled between yourselves and not by making a scene or making her look stupid. She might not want to show her face outside again and you didn’t just embarrass her, you embarrassed everyone there”
“The less society sees of her, the best for our family, she is too loose and promiscuous and no one is saying anything to her, or trying to stop her. She is getting worse and doing so many disgraceful things. She is not only disgracing herself but the whole family and I can’t take it anymore”
“Katie, this is not the place or the time for such a conversation and you very well know it. Please don’t give the rumour mill more fodder about our family because this time you will be the one putting the icing on the disgrace Lizzy is inflicting on this family. I know how you feel but you really have to be more careful when handling situations like this. Before you do anything, just think of our parents and how they will feel. Okay? Now, do you want to talk about Andrew and yourself?”
“There is nothing to talk about, he is always going to keep being classic Andrew, Alright, so do I have to go and say sorry?”
“Do what you think is right but you shouldn’t return to that gathering, it’s definitely not the best thing to do.”
“Let me take you to Charlotte, she is way better at dealing with your temper.” Alfred held my hand a little tightly like I might change my mind and bolt. He got to where Charlotte was at the bar and kept my hands in her hand
“Please, take good care of her and make sure you keep her out of trouble, she is having a rising temper and you know how she can behave with a rising temper. Thanks but I have to go now.”
“Okay. Spill Kat, what got on your nerves this time” Charlotte said once Alfred was out of eavesdropping range
“It’s nothing” I turned away from Charlotte
“Spill, what made your short fuse even shorter? I’ve known you for a very long time and I am so sure that something is wrong. Something is seriously bugging you, I can tell. Come on; if you can’t tell your best friend then who can you tell”
Okay, it’s Almighty Elizabeth”
“I guessed as much, what did that brat do this time?” I smiled at my best friend’s choice of words; truth was that there were only a few people who truly liked Lizzy’s personality.
“Well, she is so annoying”
“Come on, we all know, that isn’t news. What did she do to cross the line this time around?”
“It’s her promiscuous behaviour. Firstly, she was all over Brian, ‘I like him. I know that he is the one for me. He is the perfect husband blah and blah’ Endless chanting of his name until you start having dreams about him yourself, and then as if by magic, the whole chant stops altogether and the name is but a memory. When we finally start to enjoy the peace of mind, she starts chanting again but this time she is chanting another name and the name is none other than the all too proud Daniel smith and as we are still suffering from this chant, trying to get earplugs or ear phones to block out the noise, she is beginning to charm another man with her deceptive innocence which is false and soon she would start another chant which I would totally hate so I dug up a little dirt before he falls for her chant”
“You did not?”
“I most certainly did and the public humiliation felt good”
“I bet it did. I wish I was there but then I’m glad that I wasn’t there”
“That humiliation was not for her alone but for everyone present because after that kind of humiliation, nobody would know what to say and whatever mood everyone was in would change drastically. You’ll have spoilt the mood of everyone in that group”
“Yeah, I guess that is what happened. I just felt like saying it at that moment. I guess Alfred was right, that was bad timing”
“Yeah, it definitely was, I think you hurt more people than you think”
“I have that same feeling too and I don’t know what to do”
“You are smart, you’ll figure it out yourself and don’t worry about Lizzy. You have lived with her for so long. A few more years wouldn’t matter.”
“Yeah, I guess you are right. I stand corrected again”
Brian then coughed; obviously, we did not notice that he was there all along, at the recognition of his presence, my friend and I looked at him and gave him nervous smiles. Brian noticed our distress and being a gentleman that he is, decided to ease our minds.
“Please ladies, pardon me for eavesdropping, I really didn’t intend to do so but you ladies were addressing a rather intriguing topic which I could not shut my ears to. Also you were too engrossed in your conversation to notice my presence. It would have been terribly wrong and extremely rude of me to announce my presence. I sincerely beg your pardon. Katherine, wouldn’t you introduce me to your friend”
“Of course, Brian, meet Charlotte. Charlotte, this is Brian.”
“I am most certainly glad to make your acquaintance”
“The pleasure is mine”
“Your English has a funny accent.”
“I’m British but I spent a great deal of time in America so I guess it sort of affects my accent and choice of words”
“Oh. Well, that explains things. How does Britain look like? I have never been there before”
“I have no idea of how to describe it to you, I lived there for the first few years of my life and all I can use to qualify it, is that it’s elegant, beautiful and magnificent. I think that you are the only one that can make a good appraisal of the place. There are some things that I would take for granted but I am sure that there would be hardly anything that you would take for granted. You, Miss Charlotte, if I may be so bold, strike me as a woman who pays extraordinary attention to detail. Everything that is connected to you has a certain precision to it”
“Well, that’s mind-blowing, he is handsome as he is charming. I think if I am not careful, I might just find myself in love with you Brian. If you’ll both excuse me, I think my attention is needed somewhere else” Charlotte took her purse and went away looking extremely pleased with herself and well, a bit flummoxed
“So, you heard all what I said.”
“Why? Are you worried that I’ll tell that you are jealous of Lizzy?”
“No, I am definitely not jealous of her, what does she have that I don’t?”
“All I want you to understand is that you can have all that Lizzy has, if you really want to have it. Don’t be envious of her. Believe me when I say that Lizzy herself is tired of the attention. She is always begging to just blend in with the crowd but somehow she still tends to be different, to be outstanding and noticed. Do you know that she is extremely jealous of you. She so much envies you but she is too proud to let you know. If what you said about you insulting her is true, then you are not the gentle, understanding role model of a sister that she always ‘chants’ about. Lizzy thinks that you understand her and I think that is where the problem lies. You have to stop being jealous of her so that you’ll be able to understand her. I’ll go with your best friend’s advice especially the first part of her advice, you’re very smart, you’ll figure out how to handle the situation. Hey, I got to go and talk to some land owners around here, after that, I’ll love to dance with you if you do not mind?”
“No, I don’t. I also have to go do some stuff; I’ll catch you later. So I got to go. Save me a dance”
“One more thing before you go, I’ve been meaning to ask, what dreams of me do you have? You said, because Lizzy talked about me so frequently, you started dreaming about me”
“See you later, tease” Brian made me smile a lot since the moment we got talking. He was such a great guy, with a wonderful sense of humour and a very alluring yet subtle sensuality, he was so likable. How could a guy as great as that be single? I guess, that’s the million dollar question.
I left the bar area and went out of the house. I walked towards the car and found Elizabeth sitting in the boot of the Jeep looking at her legs with her gorgeous hazel eyes and in that moment, I noticed my sister’s lovely dress, it was a dress that I bought for her on her birthday; A yellow v-necked top with a mini skirt and black boots. I sat down beside Lizzy and looked at the sky, I began to hum her favourite childhood song and suddenly with a serious face, I stopped to look at Lizzy closely
“I always wondered what you liked in that song. I always broke the disc whenever someone gave it to you, it was so annoying”
“I knew that you were the one always breaking those discs but I never had any evidence to prove it”
“Yeah, I made sure of that. It was always a leave-no-trace kind of mission. Do you know that I always envied you with the way your life was, so easy and so much fun with very little responsibilities. Your life was the perfect trouble free, happy, work free life”
“Is that what you think? You have no idea how life was for me. A lot of pressure was on me while you took up all my responsibilities which would have helped me escape from the pressure”
“Pressure, Pressure from whom? Pressure from what”
“From mother, I had to be the perfect last child, the perfect handbag, follow your sister and brother’s example but not literally of course. You have to do things like I instruct you to do just like your sister and brother. Be at different lunch parties where all that is being discussed is the hottest gossip in town. The perfect hunk in town. You need to see how these old women fantasize about young ‘hunks’. It was totally disgusting and getting home wanting to puke and also wanting to tell you to please keep me busy so that I wouldn’t have to attend such again. You were either too tired, too busy, not in the mood to talk, or you'll send me to go and play with my dolls. I attended events that if I could choose between those events and sweeping a gutter, I would have been overjoyed to sweep the gutter if it meant that I would escape such events but no breakthrough came. You think I was born the way I am now. No sis, I was made. You have no idea what I’ve been through. When I grew older, at least old enough to go out on my own, I started making excuse so that I don’t have to attend such occasions again. Never”
Elizabeth started to shake and I pulled her towards me and gave her a comforting hug, I had absolutely no idea of what was going on in my sister’s life, can I even truly say that I know my sister? I felt like the very worst elder sister in the universe.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t know. I’m so sorry, I have not acted like a good big sister and I am extremely sorry for the way I blasted you in there. I didn’t understand at all, I’m so sorry”
“Hey, it’s okay; considering the fact that you were saying the truth. That nail hit home so I’ll say that I was getting on your nerves”
“Not really, I was just acting like a jerk”
“No, you were acting like an angry elder sister. I’m sorry if I got on your nerves, I’ll do my best to change for the better, and I really want you to be proud of me”
“Lizzy, I am very proud of you. You are beautiful and you are intelligent and above all I love you just the way you are. You are just acting like the neglected younger sister that you are so I’m the one who was out of line. I guess it was because you always get what you want and I never get what I want so I guess that I was jealous”
“But you got what you want, you got Andrew and that was the main reason for you snapping at me, I would always like Andrew but you loved him, you still love him even till this moment”
“No, I don’t and besides he left me and travelled. Also do not forget that throughout his stay abroad, he didn’t even bother to get in touch with me. Even if I did love him, which I am not saying that I do, he definitely didn’t and still doesn’t feel anything for me. He is a very selfish man. He was just using me while he was here. Besides we were young so it was nothing really. I have a feeling that what we had was just a fling”
“Well, the only way you can know is if you talk to him, you would be surprised at how much talking can do. At first it would be difficult to start the conversation but once the conversation begins, it wouldn’t be difficult to continue. Look at us, for instance, the powers of a good, deep and honest conversation can never be over emphasized”
“Thanks sis, I’m so happy that we have finally stopped insulting each other, I’m glad that we are now acting like sisters. Come on, let’s go inside, and don’t let me spoil your day”
“Thanks but I really want to sit alone right now and think, I’m okay here, Thanks for everything, Sis, I love you so much”
“I love you dearly too. I have to go back in so that I can make it in time for the dance, I promised Brian a dance”
“Bye, have a good time there and try to talk to Andrew”