Second Chance

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Chapter 8

I stepped through my café and the aroma of coffee greeted me. I managed to smile at my staffs and customers without continuing any conversation with them. I know they’re being friendly but I wasn’t in any mood to have any friendly chitchat with them. No, I didn’t wake up from wrong side of my bed but definitely woke up alone.

Last night, he left the house after locking my room and not sure if he returns back. This morning, the house was awfully empty and let me wonder his whereabouts. My mind didn’t stop me from replaying Carlton’s words. My heart sunk when I recalled the scenario but I didn’t want it to rule my whole day. It doesn’t matter anyways!

I realised my life had never been the way I wanted no matter how much I tried to be optimistic in every lesson life throwed my way. Without my knowing or even before I could register the storms, I was at end of my day.

Surprise, surprise! I know.

For two years, I saw and felt vividly the echo of my empty soul. I wish I could unheard or witnessed the painful conclusion of my life.

But now, whatever I have been feeling completely foreign for me and I want to experience more. I love this vulnerability and badly want to solve the jigsaw puzzle just to see clearly the end result. At the same time, I feel unnecessarily sad and feeling empty at the same time.

Confused? Exactly!

The voice never stops whispering at the back of my mind. It was like two people pulling and pushing me at the same time. This was a rollercoaster, feeling everything at once and overwhelming. Blurrily the time passed and I when I buried my head in the work but it was completed. I left the café and went to Rhea’s, the only person who can help me to get my head straight.

I drove to her place with a frown on my face, it had been there since morning. As I pulled over in front of her, she greeted me with a beautiful smile but a tired sigh escaped from me while I hugged her. “Hey, what’s wrong?” she asked with a concerned eye.

She closed the door behind as let me in the house. “Nothing” a short answer from me never convinced her but still I lied. I dragged myself lazily to the kitchen to find for food but unfortunately, no food to be found. Understandable and acceptable! As I sat on the kitchen stool, I noticed Rhea’s eyes were scrutinizing me and moved closer.

“Wait, where’s your maid?” I quickly changed the topic. She groaned, “I don’t like her cooking and Aidan asked her to do house chores.” My eyes raked through the kitchen to spot any food while avoiding her continuous stare on me. “What you’ll be eating then?” I asked while opening the cookies package.

“Aidan is cooking and today I feel like eating McDonald’s. And tomorrow we will solve our meal issues together. I’m losing my patience, Adele. Are you going to tell or I should find my way?” Clearly, I ignored her words and gulped a glass of water that she poured for me earlier.

“ADELE RAQUEL!” Her voice boomed.

Shit, she shouldn’t get stress during this time and she made use of the advantage. “Nothing, I swear. Something bothering me, I feel weirdly heavy.” I answered her.

She went into a deep thought, “Is it about Carlton?” I shook my head immediately not in denial but rather as a matter of fact. It wasn’t about him, he never made me feel this way no matter how we much quarrel or even when he pulled away from me.

Damn, things getting pretty messy and chaos! “It’s not him. Believe me, it’s something else Rhea and I can’t put into words.” She took a deep breath and nodded at my words. I stared at her because I knew what coming next, “Harriet then?”

And with she mentioned his name, everything seemed like made sense for me but it didn’t calm me for whatever reason. The storm in my head got worst. My eyes welled up with tears, I looked away because I didn’t want to upset this poor lady.

“Ele, you-,”

I interrupted her, “No, we’re not talking about accepting and moving on in life. Something is bothering me Rhea. Why don’t you try to understand?” My anxiety began to trap and eat me slowly. “God Ele. Where is this coming from? I thought everything is getting on track but look at you.”

Pregnancy really improved her skin as it was soft when she touched my hand. “Adele, I know it’s hard for you but Harriet wouldn’t like to see you in this state. He wouldn’t be happy Ele.” I gulped at her words. It was true, he will be upset but what I could do? I was helpless and if he didn’t leave me at the first place, I wouldn’t be this way. We both could be happier than anyone else.

What am I even thinking?

My mind was in tumult but sat up straight when the maid walked in, “There is someone to see you.” And she was looking at me, horizontal wrinkles appeared on our forehead. I took sometime to answer the door as slowly neared the door while my heart was racing impossibly fast. I had no clue for it. As the door open widely, my heart and everything else stopped all at once, when the figure turned around to look at me.

The pair of brown eyes greeted me with a warm smile. The smile that I once admired endlessly and someone who was there for me when I was down and broken. But God, why now? I can’t afford anymore plot twist in my life and anything regarding this person. I couldn’t stop smiling when I saw the person who made my previous job quite interesting.

Kayden!

“What are you doing?” I asked while leaning against the doorframe.

“I went to your café, they said you left then I went to your house, no one was in. And I figured that you must be here.” He replied.

But only one thing went in my head; no one at house! Where he went? Oh yes! Of course, I wondered about him. I made Kayden to stand outside without letting him in and started to question me until Rhea came along and welcomed him.

Meeting Kayden after so many days brought back Harriet’s memories that I was trying to keep it lock at the corner of my heart. I never want to go back there even though it was colourful but currently the colours faded away. I didn’t have the power to visit that corner, I had to admit. I decided to brush off my thought and looked up at Kayden.

He looked at me with a smile that quite didn’t match his expression. “How are you, Raquel?”

It wasn’t the ordinary ‘how are you’ but a question that demands truth. I was afraid to lie to him because he gave me a questioning look. “I’m good. Enjoying my so-called life.” I replied with a tight lip. Only if I can tell him whatever running in my head but I can’t and I don’t want to. They will use this phrase like, ‘I get you’, ‘I feel you’, ‘You can do this’ but no, nobody understand you better than you, yourself.

So, I dropped the topic right there even though his face was no longer friendly and warm.

“You always been a good liar, Raquel.” He replied after a moment. So much of meanings hidden by that one jolted sentence but I chose to close the topic.

Later once Aidan back to home, I had the chance to witness a lover boy taking care of his pregnant wife. The warmest sight that I’ve been seeing and nothing should come their way. A genuine smile appeared on my face; seeing Aidan and Rhea growing old together. Before I left their place, we four planned to hang out together since it had been a while since we drink together. I agreed immediately because I badly need more time with my friends.

But not to forget the warning Rhea got from her husband, ’no alcohol baby!’

I headed back to my house to get ready for tonight. As I stepped into the house, I was hoping nothing would spoil my mood and it was good that the house was empty. I jogged slowly to upstairs but my step halted right in front of my room when I heard heels clicking against the stairs.

I couldn’t help but annoyed. It was Giana with a small luggage. I repeated a mantra that I was chanting this whole day, ‘Do not react. This marriage is nothing.’ Marriage never been a joke for me and I took it to my heart yet with whatever happening to me, I had to react this way because he had all the rights to do whatever he wanted. Remember that Adele, don’t be a loser!

Her face turned pale when she saw me glaring at her. “Hi, um- we both have a business dinner tonight.” She spoke with a bit of satisfactory that I traced in her voice.

‘Don’t react’

“I’ll be his date for tonight. And I’ll be getting ready here because we don’t want to be late. Important client for our company.”

I blinked few times to see if I’m having a nightmare but I heard it right. He asked her to be his date. I scoffed. Why am I even surprised? But I was surrounded by the flame of jealousy and the last bit of my calm was hanging on to a thread.

“Adele.” Carlton called me out as he walked out from his study. I was staring off jealousy toward him and the mantra seemed losing also. Then he looked at Giana who was excited for tonight, “Giana, you can use the guest room. It’s at downstairs.” Her smile dropped.

Adele, don’t react. Don’t react! – I unable to hear my inner voice anymore. “Haah! Why guest room? You can use this room. I’ll be at the guest room.” I snapped at her as I opened our bedroom door for her.

Phew, the relief when you released the anger!

She just turned away and went down without saying anything. She better knows her place by now. Once she disappeared from my sight, I looked back at Carlton, “Oh Carlton, stop her. She must use this room.” He huffed out as he gazed over me and closed his eyes tightly before he looked at me again. He probably ran out of words, “Adele. It just business.”

“I never ask! We’re nothing, remember? Feel free to do whatever you want.” I reminded him, in case he forgot. I went inside the room and slammed the door.

We both were fools! The only thought came into my mind while I was having my shower. Fools who chose to ignore everything!

When I walked from the wardrobe, he was ready to leave. His dark hair was combed neatly and he wore a well-tailored suit. My breath caught in throat when our eyes locked. His eyes went over me and his perfect eyes stopped at my face. I took a breath when he closed the distance left between us. He studied my face and I was looking away, not letting myself drown in his strong gaze.

“Take care of yourself, okay. Don’t get drunk. Enjoy your night.” With that, he kissed my forehead.

Why dude? Why? Please let me stay mad at you!

I can’t let him treating this way. “I’ll be fine. Kayden is there to take care of me.” His face tensed but nodded quickly with his best disapproving stare. I ignored it as I combed my hair using my hand and wore my heels.

This night better be a good one, for me!

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