I leap at the bed sheet and cover my body with it.
The man is apparently shocked as well. His hand still rests on the doorknob, taking in the sight that he’s seeing.
“Who the hell are you!” I snap, “Don’t you know how to knock??”
The man is tall and shockingly good-looking. His brown hair is in natural curls, which suits his pretty face. His eyes widen with surprise and then gradually squints. His lip suddenly curls into a smile and holds up his arm as he leans against the door.
I can’t believe he just stares. How rude!
“Can you not look??”
The smile on his lip deepens into a sarcastic angel. “Can you get out of my room?”
I look at him blankly for two seconds and suddenly take in a sharp inhale.
“Oh my god…Eason?”
He sure has changed a lot. Taller, prettier, looking more like a man. I even catch a glimpse of a tattoo on the side of his neck.
We spent one summer three years ago when my parents got divorced. It was such a great time. I was so sad when I had to leave for Miami to live with my dad. So I asked him to call or visit. But he never did. I tried to call him, but he rarely answered. We gradually grew apart.
This is the first time we speak to each other in almost three years.
“Um…” I’m a little overwhelmed. I want to give him a reunion hug and suddenly realize I’m still naked, “Eason. I’m so happy to see you. But can you close the door for me? I’m kindda in the middle of—”
He casually nods and closes the door.
I widen my eyes as he strides over and approaches me. I take a few steps back. He pushes When my bare buns touch the wallpaper, I suddenly realize now I’m trapped between the wall and him.
He’s so close, chest almost touching my shoulders. He lowers his eyeline and gaze gradually fixes on me. I must be going insane right now. But he just felt so different. Not like Eason at all. Like some stranger with an amazing smell of mint and oak.
This stranger makes my pulse quicken.
“Eason…” I stutter.
I remember he has emerald green eyes. But now his pupil is completely black, so dark that it’s like an abyss luring me in. I should look away, but I can’t.
Then he sneers and takes a step back.
“So, I saw you invite yourself into my closet without my permission?”
My thought is still on his eyes. “What—no. It’s a mistake. My backpack is in your closet, and I was trying to get my—”
“Then why are you in my room?” He cuts me off, “Why do you even come back?”
I feel bewildered and hurt. “I’m sorry but mom said you don’t live here and I’m just here for one night. So, I thought it’s fine.”
But somehow, he seems even more angry.
“One night?” he says with a nasty tone, “so you just love to show up, ruin everyone’s plan and disappear again, right? Like you are the princess and the sun orbits around you!”
My jaw drops. But before I could react, he turns his heels and storms out of the room.
What the fuck was that?
Where is that sweet and charming Eason, who would give me the brightest smile whenever he sees me? Has he been using drugs and messed up his mind?
I quickly get dressed. Before leaving the room, I still decide to clean the mess on the floor. My cheeks burn when I thought of these condoms belong to Eason.
I rush downstair and catch mom coming out of the kitchen. “Morning Nat. Do you want to have some breakfast?”
“Where is Eason?” I ask. I want to talk to him about what just happened.
But my mom seems even more surprised. “He’s back?”
Then I hear the engine sound from the garage. I run to the window and just in time to catch a sport car disappears around the street corner.
Mom comes to my side. “Did you bump into him? My god…hope he’s not mad with you staying in his room.”
He can be mad. But he doesn’t have to be such a jerk. I thought to myself.
“Ok, enough of him.” Mom holds my hand, “What do you say we go out for brunch? Then we can go shopping and have our nails and hair done. When was the last time we shop together?”
Shopping with mom is horrible. The last time I went out with her, she looted the entire mall without a blink. The sale assistant at Hermès has to temporarily close the store just for us. I was half-scared that Mr. Ramirez would blame her lavish spending. But the man only complimented mom’s taste when he got home.
Then I gradually realize, “lavish” doesn’t exist in Ramirez’s dictionary. The wealth that this family possess exceeds my imagination.
Now my mom seems so overly excited. I hate to break it to her. “Mom, I’m leaving today.”
I’ve got no reason to stay. Turns out my boyfriend is a cheating pig. And the heir of this townhouse apparently doesn’t like me in his territory.
“No! Don’t leave, not so soon, ok?” mom begs. I’m surprised to find tears welled up in her eyes. “Stay for another couple of days. Your semester won’t begin in at least a month. What’s the hurry? Let’s go out for brunch and you can tell me what brings you back this time.”
I remain silent. I push back the urge of asking her if she wants me to stay so bad, then why did she leave me and my dad in the first place?
But I don’t want to be so cruel to her.
Before I can finish, my phone buzz.
I take it out and is surprised to find it’s Zack.
[Nat. Can we meet up? At least let me explain.]
That shameless bastard has the face to come back to me.
I sneer at his text. Wondering what else he has got to say. Maybe he deserves another slap from me.
[Ok. But not at your place.]
He texts me an address.
“Mom, I need to go…somewhere.” I tell her, “Maybe we can have dinner together?”
“Sure!” mom’s face lights up. “You need a car? Or I can drive you myself.”
I don’t need her to spoil me with my stepfather’s money, so I take the bus. An hour later, I find myself in Boston’s most bustling and extravagant mall, and I suddenly realize Zack’s plan.
Whenever we fight, he’d take me to a fancy restaurant where waiters wear black ties and pulls out the chair for you. I lost my temper once in a restaurant like these, and must have the most awkward conversation with the manager. So, I try my best to hold the anger in that kind of environment.
Zack knows my weakness and he use it against me whenever he needs my forgiveness.
If I never caught him cheating, it’d probably take longer for me to realize he’s such a condescending, manipulative jerk.
I lift my head, puff out my chest, and march into the restaurant.
The waiter leads me to our table. Zack’s already sitting there. His face expression all normal, not a shred of guilt in him.
He stands up to greet me, but I ignore him. He passes me a menu. “You must be hungry. Let’s order first.”
“No.” I say, sternly, “If you got nothing to say, I’m leaving.”
He pulses for a second and lets out a heavy sign. He crosses his fingers together and places them on the table, trying to look sincere.
“Nat, last night was a mistake.” He says, “It’s just a one-time thing, it never happened before I swear. I’m so so sorry. I just—I just really miss you and when you’re not around, it’s hard for me.”
“You miss me so much that you have to fuck another woman?” I ask.
He frowns upon my words. “No! Look, I was drunk alright? I’d never do this with a sound mind.”
Trying to blame the alcohol? I can sense fury building inside of my body. “Just say what you want.”
“I want you.” He reaches out and tries to grab my hand, “I don’t want us to break up because I made a stupid mistake. But could you please move to Boston? Your mom and stepfather live here anyway. Long distant is too hard, and everything will be alright once we are together.”
I laugh. Maybe a little too loud. People turn around and look at us.
“Don’t blame distance and the wine. You cheated on me because you want to mess with other women. Even if I move back, you’d still cheat. Nothing will ever change.”
I know this. Because this is how my parents got divorced.
Zack seems offended. “Oh, so you’re the saint now? Maybe I sleep with others because my girlfriend can’t satisfy me. Ever think of that?”
What did he just say?
I jump up from my seat, chair scratches the hardwood floor making a screeching noise. Now everyone in the restaurant is starring. I glower at Zack, breath quickening, just when I’m about to shout back, he stands up as well.
“Natalia.” He warns, “Be civil. Don’t forget where we are at.”
I can feel people’s staring. And quiet whispering all around the room. I’m totally causing a scene.
Then I hear footstep approaching me from behind. I wince in fear that it might be the manager, but suddenly I’m pulled into a muscled chest and immersed in that wonderful smell of mint and oak once again.
I look up and find Eason standing by my side. He is dressed in a casual white t-shirt and jeans, but he still gives off an aura of supercity. I can sense all the ladies in the restaurant are quietly checking on him.
“Hey there.” He reveals a friendly smile and offers his hand, “Natalia’s boyfriend, right? I don’t think we’ve met. Eason Ramirez. Nat’s brother.”
Zack is confused but he leans in anyway to shake hand with Eason.
The next second, Eason’s hand drops. He casually grabs the water on the table and spills the entire glass right onto Zack’s face.
Holy f—I clamp my hands over my mouth to stop the screaming. Gasp and sharp inhales coming from every corner of the restaurant.Zack is beyond shock. He freezes, as water dripping down his hair and forehead. He slowly looks up and seems still can’t believe what has just happened.Eason is probably the only person not freaking out. He calmly places the glass back and smiles at Zack. “It suits you.”“Are you FUCKING insane?” Zack shouts. He points at Eason and then directs at me, “Who the fuck is this guy, Natalia? What’s the matter with—”Eason grips his wrist before he can finish. Eason’s expression darkens, almost scary to look at. Inch by inch, he pushes down Zack’s hand.“Don’t point at her, ever again.” He states, word by word.I’m still in trance. Everything happened too fast. How did Eason know I’m here? And why is he standing up for me? He was such a jerk this morning. What changed?Zack cringes. He’s about the same size as Eason, but apparently he is afraid to fight him.“Wai
I don’t believe this. He didn’t want me to come down to Boston earlier. What happened? What changed?Dad mumbles over the phone, “Of course you are welcome to come back. It’s just—I think you should spend more time with your mom. When was the last time you visit her? Maybe this is a great chance for you to bond.”I don’t buy that. “How long do you want me to stay here?”He falls into silence.My mouth goes dry. And my heart is falling into a bottomless pit. After a long wait, I decide to make this easier for him. “Dad. What is the real reason?”Another painful silence. He finally speaks up.“…Hallie wants to move in with me.” His voice so low. Almost hard to catch up, “I thought it might be awkward if you two are both here at the beginning.”My mind went completely blank.I don’t know what to think, nor what to say. But I guess my reaction doesn’t really matter to these people anyway.“So, this is it?” I grip the phone till my knuckles turn white, “You are kicking me out because you w
It takes me a long time to quiet down. Then it suddenly occurs to me that my eyes are all red and puffed. Feeling embarrassed, I slightly push him away.“Can you not look?” I said in a whisper.“Your eyes are what you are worried about?” Great, the sarcastic version of him is back.I heave a long sign and groan, “Please let me know if you are going to begin the judging. So I can be prepared.”He glares at me. But I’m not afraid. Somehow his angry face makes me want to laugh.“Glad to entertain you.” He taunts.“…Sorry.” I manage to push my lips down, “How did you find me?”He signs. “Your mom called me. I don’t think you would take the taxi. And there’s only one bus stop near the house. So I followed the route, searched every bus stop.”My heart twitches with guilt. What I did was childish. And he’s right, if he didn’t get here in time, something horrible could have happened.“Maybe I should call mom.” I stutter.I know I should call her and put her mind at ease. But my head is still
I slightly open my mouth, but no words come out of it. I completely lost track of what I’m going to say.A moment later, I stutter, “isn’t it obvious? You chase me out of your room. You shout at me at the restaurant. And you—”“And I drove around crazy trying to find you, I fought for you, and I risked getting a ticket just to cheer you up.” He shrugs, “yeah, I must have hated your guts.”I flush. That’s why he confuses me. “Thanks.”He grins, “as long as you feel better.”I truly do. The way I feel around him…it’s so new and exciting and thrill. Being with him is such an adventure that it blows my head off. I know that’s partially because he comes from a different world than I do. But I don’t hate it when he gets his rich on, not the way I hated Zack.And that’s why he’s so different.We talk for a while and finish the beer. And he leads me to the guest room.“Bathroom is inside. You’ll find anything you need…towels included.”I giggle. “Anything in particular that I should keep my h
When I finally clean myself up and step out of the room, the party has already started. Loud music is on, and a couple guys have laid out the bar section with bottles of vodka and beers. They are heavy drinkers given by their age. I’m not against party. Back in Miami, I often have small and intimate gathering with my friends. We would grab couples of cold beers and head to the beach, enjoy the evening sea air. We talk, we drink, and we dance. We always have a blast. I sign at my sudden nostalgic feeling. I miss Miami, and it’s easy and relaxing vibe. Boston is a busy and bustling city. It suits people like Eason, not me. We are indeed from two totally different worlds. I push through the crowd and try to find Eason. I want to talk to him about me staying here, which seems like a terrible idea now. Judging by the speed people pour alcohol down their throats, I better find him soon. I walk pass by two girls smoking joints and try not judge them. Then I finally spot Eason, sitting
My whole body freezes in shock. What the hell is going on?!Millions of questions whizz past my mind, as he presses my neck and keep kissing me. I know I should feel shocked or mad or even disgusted, he’s my brother for God’s sake!But I still lost myself momentarily in this kiss.His lips are cold. I can even taste vodka and fresh lemon in his breathe. His eyes closed, long eyelashes touching mine, causing my heart to flutter. I’ve never felt anything like this with anyone before.But before I get to react, he pushes me away again. Without looking at me, he returns to the couch and sits down, like nothing has happened.I gulp. And suddenly realize I’ve been holding my breath for so long that my lungs are exploding. Everyone else is clearly in shock as well. Especially Val. Her face distorts with anger.“What the hell are you doing!” she voices out my question.Eason is surprisingly calm. Still not looking at me, he takes a sip of his drink, “You wanted to see her kiss. Now you have i
Katherine lets out an audible gasp. Signed, I look up and meet Eason’s eyes in the air. He’s looking at me coldly, expression undetectable.Valerie lets go of him and walks towards me, as people hurry clear out a pass for her. She stands a few inches above me with her high heels. She looks down at me, lips curved into a sarcastic angle.“This is no place for people like you. Drop out now and leave Eason alone,” she mouths a threat.I look straight into her eyes and reply, “I earned my place in here. Fair and square. You can’t force me. And it’s none of your business anyway.”She sneers, “how? By that pathetic transcript of yours? You got in because Eason’s father pulled some strings and wrote huge check to the board. Do you have no self-esteem? Using his family like this?”My face flashes red under her question. On some level, I know she’s right. But I’m already too far deep into the war to back out right now. So I stare her back, while remain in silence.She squints at me, and sudden
“Help! Somebody helps!”I yank the door with all my might and yells. My voices and the sound of door rattling echo in the dark and empty corridor. But only death silence falls upon me.It’s getting dark outside. The tour must have left hours ago. So I’m all alone in this observatory right now. Doesn’t this fancy school have a security guard or something? But on the second thought, this is summertime. Who patrol during summer vacation?I panic a bit at the thought of that. I’m not exactly afraid of ghosts. But the thought of being left alone in an empty building with no food and water terrifies me.Mr. Ramirez said he’ll meet me after the tour. But the tour ended hours ago, and he still hasn’t come and find me. Maybe he thought I left with Eason. Maybe something turned up and he must leave in a hurry.If that’s the case, then I’m screwed.“Fuck!” I pound on the door, feeling more frustrated than ever. Nothing good has happened since I moved back to Boston and met Eason again. Maybe Val