It felt different. There was no sense of comfortableness anymore. Just an awkward silence. We were sitting next to each other in the bed. Christopher was looking outside through the window. He was obviously preoccupied in his own mind, because he didn’t noticed me staring, like I always did.
“Christopher, don’t,” I said. “It’s ok. You don’t have to say anything. In fact, if there should be someone apologizing right now it should be me. I’m sorry about the way I treated you,”
“I deserved it,”
“No! You didn’t. I snapped and I take the blame. I’m sorry,” I said looking at him, but no longer staring. I blinked once waiting for his reply.
He turned around and flashed me his gorgeous smile.
“Thank you,” he said looking me straight in the eyes. I still don’t know how I made it without melting in that exact moment.
He took another look outside the window and I felt the atmosphere loosen up a bit.
“So, what have you been up to these days?” I said.
He smiled without looking at me, but I saw a glitter in his eyes.
“I’ve missed you, Jo,” he finally said looking at me.
“Yeah. Me too,”
At that moment his phone rang. He took it out of his pocket and checked the caller ID. He shook his head and threw the still ringing phone on the bed.
“You are not going to get that?”
“I am not going to get that,” he stated the obvious.
“Why? Who is it?”
“It’s Derek,” he said indifferently.
“Something going on between you guys. Got into a fight?”
“I really don’t want to talk about it,” he said calmly.
Last time we argued it ended up badly so I didn’t push it this time.
“So, what you want to do?”
“I don’t know,” I said lying on his bed, landing on the now silent phone. “Ouch!”
I moved a little so I could pull it out, but next thing I knew Christopher had already grabbed it. In a fraction of a second his hand touch my back and it sent shivers through all my body. I made sure he didn’t notice.
“I want to play twenty one questions,” he said smiling.
“Well, that’s random!”
“Aren’t we both random?” he said, giving me a god-damn sexy look. “I’ll start. Pizza or Hamburger?”
I laughed so hard.
“What kind of question is that? What are we, five years old?”
“It’s a random question!” he said.
“Come on you can do better! And for the record…”
“Pizza,” he said smiling. “I know,”
There’s a chance I might have blushed but I can’t really tell for sure.
“Ok, since you answer your own question, it’s my turn. What will your ideal place to live be?”
“That one’s easy. I’ve dreamed with a beach house my whole life,”
“Beach house sounds pretty cool,” I said thinking in how amazing it would be to be at the beach with Christopher and watch the sunset together.
“My turn. Here goes number three, why is it Josiah that you enjoy so much reading?”
I laughed again and gave him a funny look.
“Because it helps to forget about life for a moment. You get so caught up in the book or novel that you start wishing for it to be real. And to wish that it could happen to you,”
He was staring at me as every word left my mouth. I felt embarrassed as if I had said something wrong.
“What?” I asked.
“Nothing,” he said smiling at me. “It’s just that, you just made the idea of reading much more interesting!”
“Shut up!” I said throwing him a pillow. “Ok, fourth is next. Will I ever get to listen to you play the guitar?”
I wanted to know this because he had never ever let me watch while he played it.
“Maybe. I promise you will. But that day has yet to come!” he chuckled, as if implying something else.
“What’s exactly special about that day?”
“Uh-uh! My turn to ask,” he said. “Question number five: what’s something you’d like to have right now?”
I hesitated before answering.
“Are we talking about material stuff, or something else?”
“It can be anything,” he said.
Anything. Could I tell him what I wanted? Could I be brave enough and just spit it out? That what I wanted was he. That he was the only missing piece in my life. And that I’d give anything to have him.
“Well, I’d like a new laptop, that’s for sure,” I joked.
He laughed and moved just a bit closer to me.
I was silent. There were so many things I wanted to ask him, but I knew some were just not entirely appropriate. Still, I had to weigh my options.
“Since you started the game, I need to ask. What are the rules? Do I get to ask anything? Like, really, anything?”
“Yes. Anything you’d like to know,” he stated.
I took a deep breath. Out of all the answers I wanted to know, there was one that I just needed to know.
“Christopher, what’s the deal with your mother?”
As soon as I said the last two words, I saw Christopher’s expression and I knew I had done wrong.
When Christopher and his father moved in to our street he was just six years old. At first, people started rumoring stuff about his father, because it was just the two of them. He didn’t have a wife. However, as days went by, people started noticing that there was a woman coming to visit them. She was always seen with a baby.
I might have seen her a few times, but I still can not recall what she really looked like.
From what I’ve heard now, she was a beautiful woman.
Eventually, she stopped visiting and that’s when people started noticing that Mr. Robin was not only seen with Christopher in public, but also with the baby from the visiting woman.
When Christopher started attending the school I also went to, we shared the same classroom during the first year. We were still young, so it wasn’t like we were close friends. The second year, Christopher was moved to another classroom, and we remained like that for the rest of school and some years of middle-school. It was until the last year of middle-school that our class was mixed up again and we ended in the same classroom.
And now we were both together in the middle of our freshmen year.
We both grew over the years. I guess that’s what marked the start of me developing feelings for him.
Still, by that time I wasn’t close to him, but I managed to figure out some stuff.
Christopher’s dad and mom were separated, that part was a bit obvious after all those years. I also manage to confirm that the woman who used to visit them was indeed his mother, and that the baby she always carried with her was Kevin.
I had always wanted to know what the real deal was. He would never mention her. He was again staring outside the window. His eyes seemed watery and that’s when I realized I had hit a nerve.
“Christopher, I’m sorry,” I said moving toward him.
“It’s ok,” he said turning around to look at me. “The deal…”
“Listen, it’s ok if you don’t want to say anything. I understand. I was reckless. I’m sorry,”
“No. You know, I think I want to tell you,”
“You think you want to?” I said confused.
“Just give me a minute,” he said covering his face with both hands. He took a deep breath and just opened himself.
“Before moving to this neighborhood, I used to live with my dad and…with her,”
He fought really hard with that last word. His expression changed and a weak smile could be seen.
“I was so little I had no idea. I was just three years old. I didn’t know that peace ever existed until I came here. Back then, it was constant shouting and yelling. They would throw things around and it would always end in me crying, and my dad yelling at me. And she…she would always take off,”
His expression changed again. This time, it was one of anger as he continued.
“It was her fault. My dad would always be nice to me. But every time they fought, it was like he would change into another being and sometimes I’d been the one blamed for their fights,”
He stopped there and took another deep breath.
“Only they knew the issues they had. Anyway, my mother ended up pregnant and things only got worst. Eventually, my dad couldn’t take it anymore, so we moved here,”
I remained silent as he told everything. I couldn’t believe it. One always sees others from outside, but to have a look at the inside, of what’s real reminds you that there are so many things going on in a person’s life.
“I never saw her again until she came to visit one day, with the newborn Kevin. I remember hiding in the closet and hearing my dad calling my name. But I didn’t want to see her,”
There was a pause from his side. I moved closer to him and put my arm around his shoulder.
“She came to visit occasionally. They didn’t argue anymore and things started to change. But one day I woke up and found my dad holding Kevin in his arms. From that day on, he became part of our family,”
His anger expression came back and tears started rolling down his cheeks.
“She abandoned him, just like she used to abandon me. It’s been a toll on my dad ever since, and I’ve seen him cry so many times because of her. I don’t know if I should hate her, if I should feel anything at all towards her. All I know, is that she was never there,”
He reached his point. He turned around and hugged me tightly. My heart ached in pain as I heard every sob coming out of him. His face was full of tears, I could feel them landing on my shoulder. I must say it was a moment I fought to not cry myself.
“So that’s the deal, Jo,” he whispered. “She was never there,”
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