Chapter 4: Nine Years Ago

*** FLASHBACK: Around Nine Years Ago.***

"Kate, coach is taking me to a junior tennis tournament tomorrow. It's sponsored by the school. Do you want to come with me?" Carlos walked into Kate's room while she was trying on a new dress. He whistled at the sight of her, and he flushed, knowing what the dress was for. "Is that for the year-end dance?"

Kate and Carlos were still eighteen at the end of their high school days. They had always gone out together for the year-end school dance as friends throughout high school. Carlos was Kate's male best friend, and she also had a girl best friend named Lyla. 

Carlos was sixteen years old when he became part of the Wright family. This happened after his father and mother died. Because of his father's debts, Manuel Ronaldo's house was sold to the highest bidder. Social service was supposed to take Carlos’ custody, but Kate's parents opened their home for him. 

The Wright family was not a stranger to Carlos. After all, they were neighbors. Carlos' old home was three blocks away from the Wrights. Kate and her siblings had been friends with Carlos since they were kids. 

Hearing Carlos ask about the dance, Kate bit her lip, and her eyes tightened. She awkwardly replied, "Carlos, about the dance -"

Before Kate could resume, Carlos' eyes landed on the new bracelet around her wrist. He asked, "You bought another jade?"

Kate gulped. She looked down at her beaded bracelet and reluctantly replied to Carlos, "This - this was a gift from Tyler."

Noticing how Carlos fell silent, Kate reminded him, "You know I like jades. I can never say no to Tyler!"

"By the way, he asked me to the year-end dance and." She pursed her lips before admitting, "I said yes." With a shrug, she added, "For a change? We will still go home together."

She tried her best to be careful with her words. When they were seventeen, Carlos had admitted to Kate how he liked her. However, to Kate, she saw him as her best friend and nothing more.  

Kate saw how Carlos gulped. His chest heaved, and he folded his arms across his chest. Carlos looked down, appearing to be hurt by her decision. Stuttering, he said, "You've always liked Tyler… You like him because he ranked number two in junior tennis tournaments."

"Hey, you introduced me to him at your practices," Kate said, trying to put the blame on him. "And you would have won tournaments if you had gone to them."

"I don't have the money, Kate. It's not like they pay for the plane tickets or the hotel stay for the tournaments," Carlos reminded her. "The school only sponsored nearby matches."

"Dad can help you -"

"Uncle Ethan has done enough for me. He let me stay here, and he paid for my tuition. I don't want to bother him with my tennis," Carlos cut her off. 

"I can talk to dad, and I'm sure -"

"No, don't, Kate. Don't," Carlos replied weakly. "I'll… I'll find my own way."

An awkward silence stretched between them, but soon Carlos asked, "Kate, will you ever… see me more than just a friend?"

Kate felt goosebumps all over. She earnestly cared for Carlos, but she did not know the answer to that. Kate loved being around Carlos. She loved him as a friend. He made her smile and was her constant companion from school to home. Kate felt attached to Carlos, but she did not feel that spark, that tingle in her stomach when their hands touched. 

She found herself attracted to Tyler, Carlos' tennis rival at school. Tyler had the looks. He had a well-defined body. He was tall and with dirty-blond hair. Plus, he was really charming and confident. 

To Kate, Carlos was just Carlos. He was not a charmer. Carlos did not talk to others the way he did with Kate. He did not dress to impress, and he followed a strict routine. He went to school, to tennis practice, and then he went home. Carlos rarely socialized, and this was because he would instead serve his uncle Ethan and aunt Samantha with whatever they needed at home. 

To Kate, Carlos was one of her best friends, and she did not see anything more to it. 

It was because Kate did not reply that Carlos answered for her. He said, "Your silence says it all - "


"It's okay, Kate. I understand." He turned away without saying more. 

In the days that followed, Kate noticed how Carlos avoided her. Once, she saw him speaking with Hailey Mckenzie and her father at school, but when Kate asked about it, he suggested it was nothing. 

On the day of the school dance, Kate was expecting him to come with her to school. They spoke in the living room when he snorted and replied, "I will not be your third wheel, Kate. Anyway, Kaleb will be there. Enjoy the dance."

Kate thought her best friend was still upset, but as soon as she turned her heel to the mansion's doorway, he felt Carlos embrace her. The hug was tight and warm. Something in his hold made Kate's heart skip a beat. 

Carlos said, "Take care, Kate. I want you to be happy, always. Goodbye."

In the end, Kate attended the dance with Tyler but did not enjoy his company. His jokes weren't amusing, and just when she thought she could relate to Tyler more, he was so arrogant that she became irritated by his presence. 

When Kate returned to the mansion, Carlos was gone. Since he was already eighteen, he was free to leave without the consent of Ethan and Samantha. He merely left a note, saying he wanted to pursue his career in tennis. He thanked the Wright family for their love and support. Carlos promised one day to return the favor.

Days later, Kate and her parents found out that Carlos left with the Mckenzies that same night at the dance. They fled to another state where he would train to be a professional tennis player. 

At first, Kate was just angry, and her entire family was, but soon, Carlos' absence became so felt that Kate acknowledged how she missed him. The pain kicked in, and Kate went in and out of a state of woe. She regretted losing her best friend.

Over time, Kate conceded how much she felt for him and that perhaps her constant need for Carlos' presence was not merely because of friendship but love. Sadly, her realization arrived too late.

*** END OF FLASHBACK: Back To Present ***

After narrating it all to her parents, Kate sniffed her tears away. She softly said, "He loved me."

"We knew," her parents expressed in unison. 

"We all knew, sweetie," Samantha stated while embracing Kate. "You also loved Carlos, but you were too young to recognize it."

"You thought so?" Kate asked, leaning back. 

"Tell me, Kate. How can we correct this?" Kate's father spoke. He suggested, "I can rig his next match to catch his attention. I can have him kidnapped if you want to."

Kate's mouth fell open. She chuckled as she replied, "No, dad. Don't. That's terrible."

She took a deep breath and told them about her recent trip to the big apple. In the end, she said, "I think he is happy now." She rolled her eyes at the mention of the name. "With Hailey Mckenzie."

"After that trip to New York, I have decided to let it go," Kate said. "I'm done. After nine years, I am done."

Samantha embraced her tighter. Her mother suggested, "Don't worry, sweetie. There is a reason for everything. You'll find your one true love soon. When the time comes, we will just laugh about this part of your past."

At that moment, Kate told her father about her plans to leave the company. Ethan and Kate had a back-and-forth exchange, but she insisted on what she wanted in the end. Kate argued, "I need this. I need this change, and I really like fashion. The Wright Diamond Corporation had not invested in such a field, dad. This new job is more me."

“Then let’s start an apparel company,” Ethan suggested. 

“But dad, I need experience.” Turning to her father, she pleaded, “Please, dad. Besides, we both know it takes time to start a new business. At least, through this company, I will gain the needed experience. And when I am ready, we can start a clothing company or maybe a jewelry company.”

With a sigh, Ethan surrendered. He responded, "I hope this will make you happy, Kate. You can give your brother your resignation. I'll tell him to approve it."


Continents away, a man was standing at the glass window of his hotel room, thinking of someone. He received word from his assistant, "Sir, she accepted the job offer. I shall draft the contract. For how long do you want the contract to be?"

The man smiled at the thought of this person. He answered, "The contract is forever."

"Eh, pardon, sir?" 

Comments (9)
goodnovel comment avatar
hahaha Oh Ethan I love how he is open with his children and supports them no matter what and yes my heart aches for Kate but she will be in for a surprise
goodnovel comment avatar
Sonia Aka Debs
Lol oh Ethan. I get the feeling Carlos owns the Company. Guess he can keep a closer eye on Kate by she being there.
goodnovel comment avatar
Genevieve Mendoza
Great story

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