The first encounter
“Sweetheart, you need to get down now. We have to travel for 2 hours on the road to make it in Chicago!” I heard my mom shouted at me from the living room.
My things were already set and I’m ready to go. I held my luggage, slung my bag pack to my right shoulder before turning myself to leave the room. But stopped when I was going to lock my door and took a glance to it one more time.
‘There’s a lot of things that I’m going to miss in here’ I smiled to that thought then made my way down the stairs to meet my mom.
“Mandy-sweetheart, what took you so long to finally show up? I’ve been calling your name.” she said.
“Sorry, I was just taking my time to pack everything up, since this will be the last time that I’m going to see my room”.
Mom placed our stuffs at the back of the car as I slid on the passenger seat. I put my seatbelt on and sighed.
“Are you ready?” she asked.
“Yeah, I guess.” She had put her hand on my right cheek and said,
“Everything is going to be okay, just relax.” She paused and turned the ignition of the car.
“For sure, you’ll have a lot of friends in there” My gaze drifted on the passing trees from the window, as mom drives.
“You think?” I said. She hummed in response with a smile plastered on her lips.
The weather wasn't too sunny and so, I decided to write on my recycled notebook that I made from pieces of unused papers i tucked on books.
It was a bit old as I kept my eyes on it, probably considering to buy a new one when a sound of dried leaves fell into the grassy field as it rubbed against my almost unblemished skin.
A warm wind passed and my sweat trickled down on my neck. It was 5 o'clock in the afternoon as I glanced on my wristwatch, thought that I had to be in the house by now but a man came into my view.
I cannot see his face properly as sun's bright rays shone down at me that completely blocked him on my sight, it startled me. I pulled back and rest on the tree as he spoke.
"Hi, you're new here?" he asked.
"Yeah, i-I am. Who are you? And, why are you here?"
"Mandy.." I stopped when I heard my name being called repeatedly.
"Wait, what?" Confusedly asked myself as I sensed someone slightly nudged my shoulder.
"Mandy, Come on."
'So it isn't he then?'
My body went stiff as I got my butt numbed from sitting. I opened my eyes.
“Mandy wake up! We’re already here. C’mon we have to move our things now inside the house.” Mom stroke her hand on my arm then lightly patted my cheek. With wide eyes open I straightened my hands upward and did few stretches.
“I still want to sleep.” I said and felt myself being lazy to get out of the car.
She was about to leave, when she snapped her head back giving me a spiteful look.
“Like really? You’re saying that to me now, Mandy?” she said and rolled her eyes at me.
“Okay, okay! Fine.” I said as I raised my both hands.
“Geez, I’m coming.” I said.
Soon as I got out of the car, my eyes stayed a little longer on the house that was in front of me. ‘Not bad, but it’s pretty cute’
“It’s beautiful isn’t it?” My mom asked, and stood beside me.
It was a two-story house, nothing more that it look like a Governor’s mansion that has Golden gates; with marching guards all in one package. But there, I was definitely okay with its simplicity. The place was very inviting, which made me feel comfortable just by looking my surroundings.
I was walking all the way to the house when something caught my attention that made me stopped on my tracks. I slowly swung my head into the other side and never did I anticipate that the house look exactly what I’ve been dreaming to see.
‘Why just now? I didn’t even know that we have a very rich neighbor here’
“What’s wrong? You should better come ins-.“Mom didn’t finish her sentence as she noticed where I was looking at.
“Wow.” That was all I could say to describe it.
“It was.” she said as she left me clueless.
At night, I was busy watching my favorite series of 'The Big Bang Theory' on Netflix when I heard mom knocking on my door.
“Come in!” I said.
She opened it then started to peek inside my room.
“Mom, what are you doing in there? Just get in already” I said laughing. The hands instantly covered her mouth as she closed the door behind.
“Ooops! Sorry.” She giggled.
“So, how’s my baby taking this new place hmm?” she asked while she sat down at the edge of my bed.
“Well, so far so good. I think I’m starting to like it here.” I said happily as I shut my Laptop and buried myself more from the thick comforter. She inched closer then brushed her fingertips on my wavy hair.
“I’m glad that, you are happy. I’m so sorry that I didn’t talk to you sooner about this.” She said as her eyes saddened a bit. I grabbed her hand and clasped it with mine.
“Mom, I understand okay? And who says I can’t manage the adjustments here? It’s fine really. You don’t have to worry about that anymore. The important is, we are here. You don’t have to travel that far anymore to get on time for your work.” I said then genuinely smiled.
“Thank you.” She whispered before putting a kiss on my forehead.
“Well, if you need anything, I will be in the other room right next to yours. Just knock okay?” she said and stood up from her sitting position. I nodded as I pulled her back to me and gave her a small hug. She laughed a little.
“Okay, that’s enough for now. Sleep well, Goodnight sweetheart.” She bid her goodbye then walked out of my room.
My mom didn’t also miss in switching the mini chandelier off hanged on the ceiling, as the only light in my room was my lampshade on my bedside table. I turned to my right side; facing the glassy windows when the curtains danced because of the strong wind from the outside. I tried to ignore it and just closed my eyes, but it was no use. Then finally, I decided to get up to arrange my pillows when I felt another light from my peripheral vision just across my room that leads to the balcony.
I looked closely to see what it was as I peeked through the white curtains. There was no one in the room, but my eyes didn’t stop from roaming around. It was huge, and it has a ‘royal’ aura that made me appreciate more how they designed it so classy. I also spotted a wide book shelve near at his study table from the right side of the king-sized bed. My jaw just dropped from what I saw,
‘Is this even true? It almost looks like a palace, just what I imagined while reading Princess Diaries of Meg Cabot. But wait, the style is too manly. Still, whoever owns that room, she/he is Lucky.’
I was already turning myself to leave, when a man showed up with a towel on his hands.
‘Is he a model from the famous brands of sports gear? I bet I’ve seen his face somewhere on the magazines I’ve read.’
But, I would be lying if I say, he doesn’t have that masculine figure. Based from his appearance, assumed that he may gone out of shower with the way his hands rubbed the towel on his black straight locks. Beads of water ran from his still wet face down to the soft cotton shirt he wore, the shoulder part were almost soaked. The Man indeed delineated that he has fair white skin, sharp jaw, broad shoulders, some freckles on the tip of his nose and cheeks, rosy lips and a large tattoo printed on his left arm; that i can hardly decipher. I felt my cheeks heat up, as I checked him out without him knowing it.
‘You are way better than that, Mandy.’
As much as I wanted to enjoy the view, I couldn’t see the color of his eyes ever since he showed up, even got busy the moment he sat on his bed and started to read. This man could surely drag girls from his back; he got a handsome face, a well-defined body, and a rich profile to show off. Of course, who wouldn’t dream to have a guy like him, right?
‘So you’re not going to sleep anymore, just because you have find out that there’s a hot guy over there who is unaware of what you are doing.’ And from that it made me think.
“This is wrong. I shouldn’t be doing this.” I said to myself. I pulled the curtain on the other side to close it, when I felt his gaze on mine.
At that moment, I had heavy breathing as I walked all the way to my bed.
“Why are you being so stupid, Mandy?! Could there any be more embarrassing than this?” I scolded myself.
‘Now, you are being caught. Cheers to that!’
On my last step, I stumbled upon the hind ballpen. It rolled forward until it disappeared under the shoe rack near the bathroom, located on its side. Just before my butt lands on the floor, my elbows reached the mattress to lean back on with my legs were emplaced slantly. Both feet on the small furry matt.
“Hey! I saw you there. What’s your name?” he said while his voice was getting nearer.
“Oh, shoot! Great! Just freaking great!” I whispered to myself. Due to my Uncomfortable position, knees curled slowly then pushed my hands off the bed to be able to seat properly. I threw my hands up in the air, fully irritated. But then again, he seeks for my reply.
“Hello? Is anyone there?” he asked. I was on the verge of ignoring him and let it pass for the reason that the alarm clock beside my lampshade confounded me, it was almost midnight.
'I should be sleeping by now.'
My normal sleep was around 9 in the evening, especially when there's nothing to work on. Summer was not completed yet on my calendar check list, main reason I wanted to stay awake and made myself occupied at night with bunch of movies to watch. But must not forget mom's set bedtime or else I would be grounded. Well, I hate to admit that I broke that rule again and the only thing that gave me hope was her boisterous snores that can be heard even in my room. Atleast, she wasn't just catnapping.
I let my body collapsed on the bed with confused mind whether it was necessary for me to acknowledge him or not. Totally frighted to talk as I cannot find my own words.
“C’mon, I don’t eat if that’s what you think.” He said.
“My name is, Mandy. Sorry if I-I” I stuttered.
I hesitated at first, clearly didn't know what he has been thinking about me. Got more intrigued about the idea of what kind of expression did he exactly look like.
‘Maybe he was silently laughing at you now’.
There, still lost of where our conversation has went and from what my subconscious replied didn’t help at all to ease the tense I was feeling.
“You’re saying sorry for what, Mandy?” he asked.
“How about if we just forget, it ever happened? Look, I was about to sleep when the light that was coming from your room caught my attention. A-and I was just curious who’s in that room- which I just learned by now that it is you who owns it. That’s the truth, I’m honestly telling you.” I said. Then a hearty laugh came, probably enjoyed my uptight moment.
“What the hell is funny now?” I rolled my eyes and asked him.
“You.” He paused for awhile then continued.
“You know what, you seem to be actively combative. I like it. I’m just hoping that I could see your face. So that I’m aware who is this beautiful girl, with a beautiful voice, that I’m talking to.” He said.
It was like a bomb just explode on my face that made me blush. ‘What are you waiting for, show yourself to him. The handsome man wants to see you!’ But I refused.
“I can’t” I said as bit my lower lip.
“Why? Are you scared of me at any chance, Mandy?” There was a hint of frustration on his voice that made me frown.
“What? No it isn’t like that-“ He had cut me off as he spoke.
“Prove to me then. Show yourself to me.” His words were short, but very intimidating to hear.
‘I told you to not make him wait! See, he was just trying to be friendly to you! There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s not like he’s asking for a date, Mandy.’ I sighed heavily and made my way to the balcony.
My bare feet met the coldness of the tiled floor while my chocolate brown hair danced from the strong wind that blew inside my room. I closed my eyes for seconds before I shoved the curtains to my both sides, then there he was.
My breath hitched on my throat the moment I saw him leaning both of his elbows on the center curve of his royal balcony. He was wearing a pair of silky dark green robe and Pajamas. His robe were open enough to make his white fitted shirt on view. I could see traces of muscles from his shirt, and said to myself ‘wow, he’s a sturdy man.’, I shook my head and shrugged those thoughts in my head, encouraged myself to face him.
“Ehrm, well I-I know how awkward this is but,” my voice aquiver. I crossed my arms into my chest then tucked some strands of my hair on my left ear as I diverted my eyes off him.
“I’m really trying my best to be comfortable around you, so. If you feel like, going inside and-“but he had cut me off by his thick-rough voice that made me snapped my head back to his.
“And then what? Forget that this ever happened?” he said.
I can feel the intense gaze he had on me, piercing through my almost glistening eyes. I breathed hard and licked my almost dried lips while he followed my movements.
When I thought things were getting complicated and very disturbing without tearing his gaze on mine, it was my turn to speak.
“Well, what do you want me to say? That, hey there will be next time as I would like to look forward in keeping this conversation with you.”
To be honest, I was running out of patience at that time as I felt he was not planning to end it anytime soon. The night was cold, and so I had to tighten my cotton robe around me when another round of strong wind hit my skin.
“Yes. I mean look Mandy, it’ll be too hard to ignore each other’s presence since your room is just across mine. We will be seeing each other more often, so why not just consider us establishing a simple relationship? Without killing each other’s throat.” He finished his sentence with a firm on his voice. I saw his lips turned into a small smile as he waited for my reply.
‘Woah! That easy? You don't even know the guy and now he wants to get in to your pants? That’s unbelievable!’ I glared at him then crossed my arms closer to my chest.
“Establish a simple relationship? With you? Is this a joke you’re trying to say ‘cause it isn’t funny.” He furrowed his eyebrows then proceeds.
“What’s wrong with that-“He stopped talking when he realized something into his head then started to laugh.
I was beyond pissed, and was trying my very best to be nice to him, but he was so good at playing this game.
“You know what? I’m done with this. I’m already going to sleep so will you please stop this nonsense because it is downright irritating.” I turned my back at him and was reaching the curtains for me to get in to my room when his words rang in my head that kept me awake the whole night.
“This doesn’t mean that it has to end this way. You can’t hide yourself to me Mandy” I swung my head to see him once again as he walked backwards and gave me his heart-melting smile.
“Goodnight.” He said and winks at me. At that moment when I was laying down on the mattress, my heart was beating so fast and that I can’t get my proper night sleep because my head kept on thinking about him.
I checked my phone and it was already 2:00 in the morning, and still my eyes were wide open. I sighed as I looked up into my ceiling while trying to calm myself.
“You can do this, just…. Breathe.” From that my eyelids started to get heavy as I fell into my deep slumber.
By the morning, I was in the kitchen as I quietly stirred my coffee on the countertop when someone showed up that jolts me to my standing position.
“Oh My Gosh mom, you scared me!” I said when my breathing were still uneven.
“What? Who would you expect to come here, early in the morning rather than me?” she said. Slightly laughed from my shocked appearance.
“We’re only two in this house, mom. That’s why I want you to be loud as possible. Don’t be such a creep.” I said and caught her smile got wider. She sat on the other stool beside me and leaned her right hand on the table to face me.
“Seriously? This is getting nowhere.” She said.
“Whatever mom. Just, please, stop looking at me like that. I’m starting to think if you have become uncanny because of what you’ve dreamt last night.” I said, smiling.
“Well you can say that.” She said and went to wash her hands on the sink.
“Not unless, you tell me who you are talking to last night.” She said. That was the time it made me choke. I was coughing badly when mom rushed to caress my back.
No way, did she find out? So what was next made me more anxious. Mom might tell me that I won't be using my gadgets for one week. I didn't follow the bedtime rule, surely mom would not be so happy about that.
“Sweetie, are you okay?” She asked, and gripped the strands of hair that blocks my face as I continued to cough.
“Wa-wate-er, p-please.” I can feel my throat clenched because of the hot coffee I drank a few minutes ago. Later on, Mom handed me a glass of water.
“Thanks, mom.” I said as I can totally breathe fine now.
"How did you know that I'm talking to someone last night? You were sleeping soundly." I said. My index finger reached the table napkin near the center display and slowly wiped my mouth.
"I woke up and heard a man saying 'goodnight' to you on the phone. It was a bit loud tho, your call was on speaker mode. After that I went back to sleep." She said.
I never thought that mom would actually think I was talking with a man over the phone. It made me somehow relieved because I won't be explaining how I met a man across my room. For that would be the weirdest thing to say, since we had just been here for a day.
“Thank Goodness! I thought it will not stop. I was going to call ambulance-“ I had cut her off, not liking where the conversation was going.
“Mom! I’m fine, okay?” I said louder this time.
“Sure, everything’s fine if that’s what you say.” She said and raised both of her hands up in surrender, not too long when we heard the telephone call in the living room.
“I’ll take it.” Mom whispered then walked out of the kitchen.
After that, mom went out in meeting her friends at the nearest coffee shop in the town and planned to get pampered all day in a beauty salon for their make overs. She was asking me if I want to go out with them at first, but I said no that I would be totally fine in staying home alone.