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Chapter 3

Here I am standing outside the family house. I’ve been standing out here for five minutes. Trying to summon every single courage in me and walk up the stairs and press the bell.

—you’ve got this Lola—

I took a deep breathe and exhaled, taking my first step up the stairs and eventually got to the door, reaching for the door bell and pressed it.

I was scared. I am scared. I had no idea how I would be welcomed after all it’s been months since I last came here. I was cut short my thoughts as the door suddenly came open.

An extremely bright smile welcomed me, hauling me into her arms very tightly “Lola.” Aunt Mandy exclaimed, her hands rubbing my back soothingly as she rocked me back and forth.

“Aunt.” I say, kissing her softly on the cheeks yet hugging her. Engulfed in her warm vanilla scent and immediately feeling at ease. She had that effect on people.

“Let her go Amanda, you’re going to choke the poor girl to death.”  I heard dad say but aunt Mandy wasn’t willing to let me go.

“You’ve grown so well my darling. I was looking forward to seeing you tonight.” She says, cradling my hand, her eyes glistening with tears as she spoke.

“It’s suppose to be a happy day, we are all gathered after a long time so don’t cry Amanda.” Dad says, walking towards us with his usual dad smile on his face.

“Dad.” I say, smiling politely as I did. He raised his hand to caress my cheeks warmly.

“I missed you so much bun.” He says, kissing me on my forehead. A very familiar smile laid on his lips, it was different than the ones I was used to. The usual Dad smile he would often show me. This one looked genuine and it made my heart calm.

“I missed you too Dad.” I say, walking from Aunt Mandy’s grip to hug him. I couldn’t help but sigh into the hug. I missed this.

“Why don’t you come in, everyone is at the garden and waiting for you.” Aunt Mandy says and I nodded. Linking my arm into my dad’s and smiled.

“Everyone is here, including grandma Eva.” Dad says, his voice coming out cautiously. I knew what I was setting myself up for when I decided to come. I won’t let Grandma Eva get to me even though I know she would be after me tonight. I am here mainly for Liam and Chloe and that’s it.

I shifted my gaze to dad and smiled reassuringly at him. He’s always been worried for me. I would like to say I am his favorite while Liam’s mom’s favorite. The dynamics right?

“You look very handsome tonight Dad, did mom help you pick out your suit?” I teased knowing he would get flustered in seconds.

“Don’t be a brat Lola, I’m your dad.” He says defensively, his ears immediately shooting red

“So she’s not allowed to compliment her dad? Make it make sense.” Aunt Mandy says, wiggling her eyebrows immediately coming to my aid. I couldn’t help but laugh at the glare dad threw to her.

“Ah…look who finally showed up.” Someone says just as we walked into the garden. I opened my mouth to speak but was cut off rather rudely.

“She’s here. That’s the important thing.” Mom says curtly, walking towards me with a smile on her face. Her blue dress complimented her golden skin, making her look more like an Angel. Her brown hair was tied into a bun, accentuating her cheekbones more. A rosy shade of pink blush spread across her face. She truly is a beautiful woman.

“Lola. It’s nice of you to join us.” She says, as she stood at my front, an awkward smile laid on her lips.

“Yes Ma.” I replied, looking at the family all sitted by the large dinning table. My gaze strayed to Liam and Chloe who were standing and waiting for me. They caught my gaze and smiled invitingly to me.

“I’m sorry I got here late but I’m here and I brought this.” I say, awkwardly shoving the gift bag I brought. I thought it would be nice if I brought something after all I haven’t been here for months.

“Ah..you didn’t have to. It’s your house after all.” Mom says while dad tug my hand.

“Come say hello to the rest of the family Lola.” Dad says, pulling me away from mom.

I immediately summoned my polite smile as I walked around with dad who introduced me to everyone sitting on the table. I couldn’t recognize half of the people sitting but then again, dad and mom have a very large family.

“This is my daughter, Lola. Liam’s twin sister. She’s beautiful right? She works for the biggest game company in the country. Do you know  Edgar Callus? The one of T&C gamers. She’s his personal assistant.” I watched dad gloat about me and smiled. At least he is proud of me even though I don’t think working as a personal assistant is something worth it.

I excused myself from their midst, making my way to the people of my age. I couldn’t help but smile on seeing Chloe and Liam being a cuddly already.

“Oou…you look like mom and dad now that you’re engaged.” I say, snapping their attention to me. A wide smile grew on Chloe’s face that she threw herself to me.

“Lola. I’m so fucking happy.” She says, loosening her grip on me. Of course I knew she was happy. If it wasn’t evident from her ‘yellow’ dress then it was evident from her smile. I was sure her jaw would ache by tomorrow with the way she kept smiling and if it still wasn’t evident in her smile then from her voice, her eyes. Infact her entire being.

“I’m happy you’re happy baby.” I say, kissing her cheeks lightly

“That’s my woman right there. Don’t go kissing her.” Liam warned but of course I could hear the underlying playfulness in his voice.

“Who is kissing who?” I heard someone says and I kid you not. My tummy backflipped.

“Adonis! When did you get here and how come I didn’t notice?” Liam asked, as the said man made his way to us. He stood right beside me and hugged Liam.

“Few minutes back and fuck! I didn’t know your family is this big. Y’all even got a great grand turtle.” He says. I felt his gaze on me and tensed up. In all my planning for tonight. I totally missed the most important one.

How to avoid Adonis Green.

“Chloe, you look beautiful as always. Congratulations on the engagement.” He says, literally leaning towards Chloe for a light hug and kiss on the cheek. Now it wouldn’t be so damn uncomfortable and awkward if I wasn’t standing in the middle and fucking inhaling his sandalwood scent.

I gulped the pile stuck in my throat when I felt his fingers graze my shoulder slightly.

“Thank you so much Adonis. I’m so happy myself.” Chloe says, smiling so brightly at Liam.

“Hey guys. It’s time for dinner so get back here.” Aunt Mandy yelled from the table, immediately earning herself a glare from grandma Eva.

“Seriously guys, you have a great grand turtle? How the fuck?” He says

“His name is Dan so don’t let Grandma Eva catch you calling him a turtle and it’s better you call him uncle Dan. He’s grandma Eva’s right hand guy. Little guy has been through so much.” Liam says as we walked towards the table.

“Hey, you good?” Chloe leaned towards me and whispered.

Of course she would notice I wasn’t talking anymore. It’s Chloe after all.

-No the fuck, I’m not okay. How can I be okay? -

“Of course. I’m good.” I whispered back even though I wasn’t okay.

Liam and Chloe walked to the other side of the table to seat while I sat opposite them with Adonis of course. He was sitting right beside me.

“It’s lovely to have everyone here after a very long time. Today we are all gathered for a very joyous announcement.” Dad started since technically he’s the man of the house.He looked at Liam to continue whilst he sat down.

I watched Liam smile at Chloe, intertwining their hands together and stood up.

“Well, I proposed to Chloe and she said yes.” He says casually.

Although I’m not sure that’s how the announcement is meant to go.

Series of clapper erupted from the family, Everyone was talking over themselves and congratulations the couple. I watched Liam and Chloe bask in joy, leaning against the chair as everyone blocked them, hugging and kissing.

“Do you picture yourself like that? Standing with someone you love and everyone congratulating you?” Someone says. I snapped my eyes to see Adonis staring at me.

His green eyes piercing through my soul. I swallowed the lump in my throat and looked away. Something about his eyes felt like i was floating in a pool of water.

“Lola.” He whispered, his deep voice sending waves down my legs. - Now what the fuck? Waves??-

I turned to look at him, opening my mouth to speak but paused. I became awfully aware of how close he was to me now. He was too close. I was awfully aware of how his sandalwood/chocolate scent engulfed my brain.

I shook my head slightly, averting my gaze again. I can’t do this.

I hadn’t realized everyone had settled down now but still smiling of course until she spoke.

“At least one of them is doing well. Has a great and well paying job. Is also planning on getting married. Unlike the other who couldn’t even keep her relationship under tracks but then again what can we expect from her. Liam’s always been the better twin.” Grandma Eva said so calmly, so easily.

The table went dreadfully quiet for a minute as soon as the words left her lips.

I looked around the table, everyone’s eyes was on me. The joke of the century.

“Excuse me. I have to use the restroom.” I hoped my voice would come out strong but no. I sounded like a weak and brutally injured child. Grabbing my purse as fast as I could and walked away.

I had hoped the tears would stay back, at least until I was alone but no. They were already streaming down my face as I walked towards the house. I ran towards the bathroom as soon as I stepped into the house, locking myself in there.

I wrapped my arms around myself and cried. I fell to the ground, cupping myself and just cried.  Grandma Eva only said the truth. The truth everyone already knew. Something I’ve been reminded of severally and I know it’s true. Liam’s the better twin and me? I’m the twin everyone is forced to put up with.

I heard a knock on the door but ignored it. I need time to myself before going out there again.

“Lola? Come on, open the door.” I heard someone say and paused, looking at the door like it was some figment of my imagination.

“Lola? Please open the door. It’s tiring standing out here. I look like a loner.” He says, his voice coming out strained

I sighed and stood up, looking at myself in the mirror. My eyes was red and swollen already but really, I couldn’t care less.

I turned on the water and splashed it to my face, grabbing the towel by the hanger and wiped face. I took a deep breathe and walked towards the door. I opened it to see Adonis standing right there. His eyes scanning me to see if I was damaged? Is that right?

“What are you doing here, Adonis?” I asked as he walked into the bathroom, shutting the door behind him.

“You’ve been crying” he says but it felt like a question.

“Well, try being embarrassed in front of your entire family and maybe you wouldn’t cry.” I say, trying to make the situation less pathetic but did it work? I’m guessing no. Judging by the sympathetic look Adonis was giving me

“This is weird. Why are you the one here? We aren’t even friends.”

“Chloe wanted to come. Liam isn’t sure you’d want to see him if not he’d be the one here and well, I asked Chloe to stay back.”

I scoffed on hearing what he said “Why wouldn’t I want to see him? It’s not his fault he’s the better twin. Is it?” I asked, trying to suppress the pain in my heart as I said it out loud.

“Don’t say that. He’s not the better twin and you know it. You’re doing so well for yourself and well if he’s getting married then it’s good. It’s not like we didn’t know those two would end up getting married ever since they got together and what if they are getting married earlier than you and I? Doesn’t mean we are doing bad. We are going at our pace just like they are going at their pace and it’s not our fault some great grand ancestor from the 20’s can’t see it like that.” He tells me rather frankly. His eyes boring into mine as he spoke

“I’m sorry but you really can’t be offended by that woman. She legit takes her turtle along with her everywhere and even asks that y’all call it uncle Dan. He wears clothes! He had a special pillow where he seats. If that isn’t weird then I don’t know what is.” He says and I chuckled.

“Since when did you start being so cheesy?” I asked and he smiled softly at me.

“Since you locked yourself here and cried till your eyes got this red and puffy.” He says, pulling me for a hug.

“Just stay here for a minute.” He says as if sensing I was about to resist it.

I sighed and hugged him back. Just for this minute.

“Just for this moment, just this once will I hug you.” I say, trying to make my voice harsh but really, I just sound like a broken record.

“Yeah I know.” I eased into the hug easily, sighing as his arms wrapped around my body.

“I still hate you.” I tell him and he chuckled, making my body vibrate as he did

“I know.”

  

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Gloria Charles
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