8. Chrysalis Effect

Alexandra was surprised by what Amelia had told her. It was not something that is just made up by a nine-year-old. On top of that, Amelia was a strong ally of hers, and she has faith for the little girl.

There was evident sympathy and worry in the eyes of the little girl. Alexandra noticed tears slowly covering Amelia's eyes. 

"Okay, Amelia sweetheart, you don't need to cry. Ate Alex can protect herself. If Eloisa and her girls are planning to hurt me, I can assure you that they can do me no harm. They will not succeed with their bad deeds. Okay? Don't worry now Amelia."

"I'm just so sad Ate Alex. Why would those girls do something bad at you? You are a good person and you don't deserve that." 

Alexandra felt emotional with what the little girl told her. She didn't reply, rather she hugged Amelia and gently brushed the girl's hair for comfort.

It was at that instant that Alexandra felt tears fell from the corners of her eyes. She cried in silence, cautiously avoiding Amelia to notice her sobs.

So that was it.

She really felt something bad going on around with Eloisa and her group. Eloisa was the same age as hers. They were playmates when they were still young but as they grew up they were separated by each of their growing interests.

Eloisa held the majority of the juniors in her group, and as Alexandra perceived it, they were against her.

What could be the reason for their hate? Did she do something wrong that might have offended them? She didn't know. Yet, Alexandra had a hunch. Maybe it was because of her achievements. She was indeed a magnet of triumphs and praises. The things that Alexandra has just right below her nose, while those girls are striving to get a piece of it but they just can't.

"No... I have done nothing wrong to them. It's not right that they will harm me just because my success reflects their failures."

Alexandra whispered it to herself before she fell asleep.


There was an event the following day. The 27th of November is the annual foundation day of the shelter. It is on this day that the separate buildings of the boys and girls are opened to gather in this yearly celebration. 

The event was to take place in the auditorium. The auditorium was the heart of the shelter. It is located at the center of the two buildings. It is very spacious and when looked from a bird's eye view, it is in an oval shape design. 

Alexandra was requested to perform a piano recital at the event. She will play two classical music from Debussy's Clair de Lune, and Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata.

She was well-practiced already with the two classical songs, but she felt nervous for the first time in her life. She kept thinking about Eloisa and what she will do to humiliate her.

Slowly the auditorium was filled with people. The girls were wearing their event dresses (which was really tailored for the sole purpose of events) majorly white and pink in color, and the boys are on their uniform black tux and black trousers.

There were glances between the girls and the boys that were followed by giggles and ridicule laughs. 

Suddenly Mother Superior Feliciana hissed at the exchange of giggles between tables. She then threw a death glare at both parties.

On the center table sat Father Prakash Patel, he was a British-Indian priest. Next to him on his right is Brother Scott Null, and Mother Superior Feliciana on his left. They are the heads of the shelter. They ran the policies and maintain the orderliness of the occupants. They believed that they have served good to the children, but they will witness on today's event a framed up disgrace.

Sister Helen seated together with her fellow nuns. She excused herself first to go backstage to see how Alexandra is doing. When she got there, she saw her sitting on a chair looking very weak and gloomy.

"Alex, what happened?"

Alexandra was surprised to see Sister Helen. She hugged the nun upon seeing her. She felt secure in the Sister's embrace.

"I'm just feeling a little ill Sister Helen. Something hurts and feels heavy down here."

She pointed on her loin. The nun was puzzled at first, but then she concluded that Alexandra might have her menstruation near, or worse today.

"Alex, do you feel something wet and sticky in your genitals?" 

Alexandra shook her head, slightly getting awkward with the nun's question. 

"Could you stand up and turn around Alex?" 

Alexandra quietly obeyed the nun's instructions. 

"Okay seems like there are no traces of back leaks. Just call me if you feel anything worse okay? I'll be right here for you, and I'm on the same table as Sister Marny and Sister Yen okay?" 

Alexandra just nodded. She appreciated Sister Helen's concern for her. But she felt suddenly annoyed talking with her and with people, especially if they talk a lot. Since when did she have this sort of anti-social attitude? Oh, when she is having her monthly period. 

But the weird part is, she isn't feeling any sticky fluid in her genitalia. Or she should check first in the comfort room, just to be sure. She wouldn't want to make a laughing stock of herself because she might be a walking flag of Japan with a red leak on her white dress. 

She entered the comfort room and there were Eloisa and two other girls putting on some powder. 

Eloisa caught her eyes and Alexandra suddenly felt uncomfortable. 

"Hi, Alex." 

Eloisa uttered while facing the mirror. She was looking at Alexandra's reflection, not to her exactly. 

"Hi, Eloisa. You look good." 

"Hmm thank you. Don't expect me to return the compliment to you. Cos you know, that would be way too fabricated." 

Eloisa laughed and her two other snake looking allies laughed as well. 

"Anyway, good luck with your recital later. May you impress again the crowd." 

She put a sort of a tune to the word impress. They packed up their kits quickly and made their way out of the comfort room. 

Alexandra breathes in deeply, closing her eyes, trying to control her temper. What is it she just heard and witnessed? She's growing furious over Eloisa. She was certain she had done nothing wrong to her. But she made it appear just like it when in the first place, she was the 'fabricated' one. She convinced other girls of the wrong information about her. 

"That sly bitch. Well, she just proved how insecure she is."

Alexandra whispered to herself. She went inside one of the cubicles and checked if there were any signs of her monthly period. But sadly there isn't. She stood up and was about to go outside the cubicle when she can't manage to open it. 

'The lock is in the inside, there is no way that it'll be locked from outside.'

Alexandra has these thoughts running in her mind. 

'Unless someone from outside put a barrier in front of the cubicle door.'

She then thought of Eloisa. That is, she only faked her exit and waited until she got inside the cubicle. She was the one who trapped me in here. 

"Eloisa! Eloisa get me out of here you insecure snake!" 

Alexandra shouted furiously. She heard an exchange of restrained laughs from outside. Suddenly, a voice subdued in the tensed air of the comfort room.

"Oh, are you there Alex? Oh my, you're trapped? How about your recital? Seems like you've just ditched the praise and admiration waiting for you today."

That voice was from no other than Eloisa. 

"Eloisa you treacherous snake! You'll not get away with this!" 

Eloisa mockingly laughed and whistled a note.

"Well, let me just see." 

She laughed devilishly until her laugh faded and Alexandra assumed that Eloisa had left the comfort room.

She felt like crying, but before she fully absorbed the thought of crying, she shook her head hard and stern. She took off her eyeglasses and wiped the lenses clear using the bottom fabric of her dress.

How could Eloisa be so mad at her? How could she do things to this extent to destroy her?

Alexandra sat on the toilet bowl and let out her frustrations. She couldn't help herself but cry, while questions about Eloisa keep running in her head.

'She was greedy. She wanted what is mine. But that's not gonna happen. A person like she is doesn't deserve anything. But she is after all my childhood friend.'

This twitched another heartache to Alexandra.

Yet what frustrated her more, was her recital that is about to start in minutes. But how can she get out? 

"Help me I'm trapped in here! Somebody, please help me!" 

Though she hated to scream, it was all that left for her to do.

Suddenly there was a rasping sound of a thing being dragged on the floor. The rasping continues, and then there was a male's voice that prevailed next. 

"You can now open the door."

That voice was familiar to Alexandra. She cannot forget that baritone voice. That was her first close encounter with a man of her age. 

She unlocked the door, and she saw the gentleman who handed her the bouquet and the letter. 

The young man was surprised to see that it was Alexandra that was trapped in the cubicle. He went uneasy and even turned away for a split second to look at the mirror behind him for a quick retouch of his hair.

This made Alexandra chuckled. 

"Hey, you don't need to do that. You look good already, like a fine gentleman that you are."

Alexandra took a step forward out of the cubicle. "Well, thank you, miss Alexandra."

He motioned to raise his hand for a handshake. 

"My name is --" 


Alexandra smiled while she uttered his name. She'll never forget the name. This guy just made her feel like what Sister Helen had told her, a foreign feeling she had never felt before.

Dimitri was left in awe. The gentleman blushed and bowed his head a little. That just meant one thing, Alexandra has remembered him and have read his letter. 

Dimitri cannot contain his bliss, but he needs to look like a real gentleman to his admired lady. This is a one in a three hundred and sixty-five days chance. Because of this annual foundation day, he'd get to talk to Alexandra for the first time in a closer encounter. 

He cleared his throat and looked at the young lady. 

"I think we should step out of this comfort room my lady. I don't want you to think that I'm a pervert." 

Alexandra laughed a little. This guy keeps making hilarious acts that caught so much of her laughing box to function. They exited the comfort room thereafter. 

"No... No. You are not a pervert, Dimitri. And please call me Alexandra or Alex for short." 

There were evident sparks in the gentleman's eyes. 

"Thank you for letting me out." 

Alexandra added hence. She was really thankful for Dimitri. If it weren't for him, she'd be stuck in that cubicle for the whole day because all of the personnel and occupants are gathered in the auditorium. 

If only she could give a token of her gratitude to him, but she didn't bring anything with her at that moment. 

"I think you weren't trapped in there by chance. Two full loaded trash bins hindered your way out. Did those three girls did this to you?" 

Alexandra was surprised that he knew about Eloisa and her allies. 

"I saw them laughing while I walked past them. They keep repeating the phrase 'you'll not get away with this' with changed voices. Sounded more to me like they're imitating someone. They called after me, but I disregarded them because they look funny and it appeared to me that they just did something bad. So yeah, I was right. I heard sobs and someone asking for help, and I found you." 

Alexandra was speechless. She wasn't just lucky that Dimitri found her. She sensed that there was something the young man wasn't telling her. There was a missing link in what he said. Something like he had followed her already when she walked out of the backstage down to the comfort room. And the worst case is that he heard everything from her exchange of rants with Eloisa. 

But Alexandra snapped that thought. She was thinking way too much. This is also the perks of her PMS or premenstrual syndrome. She overthinks a lot. 

"Yes, those girls did this to me. But Dimitri, thank you so much for saving me. I will forever be grateful for your help." 

"Don't mention it. In any way I can, I will always be here at your aid."

The young man somewhat would like to add a statement or two from what he just uttered, but stopped himself instead.

'I will always protect you.' 

And continued to utter the words that reflect deeply his intentions for Alexandra only in his mind.

Alexandra felt a warmth suddenly enveloped her heart. Like a soft and cuddly blanket on a cold and breezy night. Like the fresh and warm steam of a late afternoon coffee that would cause a mist on her spectacles. Alexandra suddenly crossed a thought in her mind, thinking how would a hug of a young man as Dmitri would feel like? 

"Shall we go back now to the hall? I need to prepare for my number." 

Alexandra suddenly felt awkward saying the word number referring to her piano recital, as she remembers Eloisa, who had put huge dismay to her. 

"Oh... Yes. I'm sorry for causing you more delays. I shall escort you back to the hall my lady."

Alexandra smiled at Dimitri. He made a true and fine gentleman. With his courteous acts and the right choice of words, with his tallness standing five foot eleven, with his crystal blue eyes and thick unkempt hair, with his baritone voice that sounded so manly, and with his looks that is undeniably handsome. Alexandra couldn't agree more, if this young man could attract a lot of girls, including her.

Yes, she felt something about Dimitri. It wasn't just because of the letter, or his voice or the heroic thing he did for her. It was way deeper and unfathomable, she can't justify herself. 

Especially now that she had a lot in mind.

They arrived at the auditorium and the huge hall was now fully occupied with guests. It also looked like the event had already started. Alexandra felt a twirl in her stomach as grains of sweat started to form on her forehead. She sensed that she will be scolded for having to miss a couple of minutes' phase of her recital. She hurried backstage. When she got there, Dimitri was out of her sight.

Where did he go?

'It was so rude of me to not even say my goodbye to him.'

The young woman mentally scolded herself.

"Alex where have you been? Your recital started fifteen minutes ago. The event moderator had to move the chain of events in the program just for the whole event to not be spoiled."

Sister Helen welcomed Alexandra with a rant full of conviction.

"I'm so sorry Sister Helen. I was stuck in the women's cubicle because Eloisa and two other girls trapped me there."

The young nun's eyes widened in disbelief. After a second or two, her eyes narrowed in quite a disapproved anger towards Eloisa.

"Really? Why would they do that to you? And who helped you out?"

"A young man from the boys building Sister. His name is Dimitri."

"Oh... That's just odd, Alex. How can he happen to pass by the women's comfort room for no reason? If he needs to use the toilet then the males cr is on the other side of the auditorium."

Sister Helen was referring to the separate comfort rooms located on both tail ends of the auditorium. The women were on the right end and the men on the left.

"Maybe he was not familiar with the area structure Sister. So he got lost and happen to hear me screaming. I don't know exactly but that's what he told me."

Alexandra kept it to herself about her agreeing hunch as to the Sister Helen's. She doesn't want to delve into what exactly happened because right now, her priority is to deliver well her musical number.

"Okay, sounds acceptable to me. And I want to meet him to thank him personally. Don't worry about Eloisa, I'll be the one to report them to Mother Superior. Just, do well with your performance sweetheart. You're on next on the queue."

Sister Helen left backstage and the next thing that Alexandra knew was that she was being called and applauded.

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