Friday, March 16, 2012

Chapter 29: Picture perfect

Chapter 29: Picture perfect (Wattpad)
            Receiving those gifts and letters made me feel less lonely. Less isolated. It’s a priceless feeling to know that you have a handful of people you can rely on. We tried out the iPad and played TapTap for more than 30 minutes straight, keeping the level on extreme. It’s an old game, I know. But to hell with it. 

This last game is the tie-breaker; we each have five points but that just won’t do. It’s impossible to have a tie; that’s going to haunt me for the rest of my life. Sky’s gaining on me fast, and I panicked as the House Music drifted to a close. I stared at my side of the iPad and…


I laughed in ultimate victory, seeing his aghast face as he stared at the gadget. “Aww, Sky. How tragic that must be for you.” I mocked, trying not to laugh. He scowled playfully at me and out of nowhere, splashed water from a flower bowl. 


“Ugh. Whatever, Ryne.” He said leaning his head to the back of the couch. I shrugged. “In your dictionary, that usually means that I’ve outwitted you so…”

He chuckled. “Outwitted? Ryne, you’re so literary. You can use more modern words, you know. It’s a free country.” I shot him a dark look. “I know that. I just like playing with words, I really don’t see any problem – ”  he interrupted me. “I didn’t say anything about you having a problem – ”

“You were implying it. Why the hell are we talking about his again?”

“We aren’t talking – we’re arguing.” He shrugged, sweeping his hand through his messy hair. I almost gulped. He look sexy when he does that - but never in this lifetime would I say that to his face. He said, “There’s a couple more gifts I have for you.” Two more? That’s rather odd. I gave him a puzzled look. “I haven’t exactly met someone besides Imah and Xav – ”

“Are you kidding me?” he exclaimed. 

What is he talking about? I have no – oh. The answer came to me with the force of a hurricane. I looked at his shocked green eyes and, “Oops. I’m sorry, Sky.” He still looked at me dispiritedly. Oh, God. Why do I have to be born so stupid? “I am! Seriously. It’s just that we didn’t really meet under pleasant circumstances – ”

“Yeah, it’s fine.” He smiled slightly. “I’m a bit of an over-reactive specie – ”

“Seems to be.” 

He ignored me, again and fired another comment. “And the other one was kind of… impossible for me to get, but by some miracle,” he said, getting a little cube-shaped box wrapped in dark blue and handing it to me. “I managed to convince him.” He smiled excitedly.

“Him?” I think I know who he was talking about, but the idea seemed preposterous. Sky smiled wider. “Mr. Mafia.”

Yes, it was preposterous.

“Okay. What’s the punch line?”

He laughed. “I know it’s hard to believe, but trust me.” A former Mafia chief just gave me a birthday present. This is the most bizarre in the history of bizarre. “Why the bloody hell would he give me a gift?” He was ordering people to kidnap me, hello? Sky responded, “I told you he has his reasons.” together with a shrug. I turned the little thing over and over with my hands, fiddling with the silk ribbon. Should I open it? 

“Err, Sky? Is this safe?”

He looked at the said object and replied, “It doesn’t have bugs – the electronic type. And that’s all I really need to know to guarantee your safety.” I bit my lip. “Okay. I’m going to open this little thing.” I did, and found the gift inside.

A silver bangle.

I pulled it out and stared. Sky looked at it and his eyes widened in recognition. I turned to him immediately. “What? What is it?” He shook his head and reached under the low table. “I just realized why he told me to have a screwdriver at the ready.” he pulled out a, yes, screwdriver. I raised my eyebrows disbelievingly. “Is that really necessary? I mean, isn’t it better to just let it fit on my arm?” he pursed his lips in consideration. “He insisted though.” I looked at the bangle on my hand, and on the screwdriver on Sky’s. It couldn’t hurt to try, right? It’s not like the thing is a bomb or something. I nudged him with my unhurt shoulder – the left one – and said, “Okay, then. Not that hard to agree with a killer.” 

He unclasped the bangle and fitted it on my arm, just several centimetres down my shoulder, and used the tool to tighten and lock it. He looked at it approvingly.

“It looks great on you.”

I laughed. I was wearing his huge clothes but a compliment’s a compliment. “Thanks.” I chuckled again as he said, “The last gift’s from me. Actually, there’s two of them.” he admitted. Wow.

“Two?” I repeated.

“Uh, yeah. This one’s just to cheer you up – I hope it doesn’t upset you more, tough. My plan might backfire.” he said this as he gave me an envelope. This is really interesting. I pulled out what’s inside, expecting a letter, but pulled out a photo.

A photo of Carsh.

I stared at it, dumbstruck. Oh, God. I tilted my head and looked at him. 

“Bloody hell, Sky.”

He smiled. “I told you I’d make it up to you.” A smile of my own started forming on my face. I turned back to the photo. It was medium-sized with an unbelievable quality. Carsh was wearing a blue V-neck which brings out the blue of his eyes. This photo was taken from a camping trip – there were trees and the view behind him was spectacular but I don’t care at the moment. The sunlight was glinting off his blonde hair, making him look more angelic. And he was smiling. 

The photo made me feel very happy and loved, but excruciatingly sad. I couldn’t speak for a moment. Sky looked concerned and said, “Don’t you like it?” anxiously. I laughed a little. “It’s perfect.” Then I said sincerely, “Thank you, Sky.” He winked at me. “Anytime. And also you, err, going to have to thank Imah, too – she dug the picture up.” I gave him a brilliant smile.

“You’re the best.”

He laughed out loud. “The second one is really from me this time.” then he pulled out a small rectangular box wrapped with purple cloth and silver-ish ribbon. I took it from him. “I wonder what this is.” He bit his lip after laughing. “I heard that you like those things so I got you one.” Heard what? He’s such a cryptic git.

“Heard? How exactly?”

He evaded my question, obviously. “I have my means.” I faced the package again and started opening it, but Sky grabbed it away from my fingers.

“What – ”

“Wait, wait! Just wait!” he said, placing the gift behind his back, hand stopping me. I looked at him. Seriously, I think he ate something. He stared at me, face pleading and anxious. And most of all, unsure. “Let me open it for you.”

I stared at him this time. “Doesn’t that suck? You just wrapped the bloody thing and now – ”
“Please. So I can take it back if you don’t like it – ”

“Am I that scary?!” That’s just really offending. “No! Just – just let me open it.” He raised an eyebrow, hands poised to open the box. I rolled my eyes and just nodded yes. He began tearing off the purple cloth and took off the lid. He held it up. 

It’s a simple thing, really. But very special. The silver chain of the anklet had a dangling letter R on the middle. For full, three seconds, I stared at it, and he was staring at me, breath held, waiting for my reaction. I turned my gaze to him.

“It’s really - ”

“Awful? Grand? Perfect? What?”

I laughed hard. He looks like he’s facing the gallows and writing his own epitaph. He looked crestfallen. “Is it that bad?” I laughed again. “I didn’t even say anything yet! Relax.”
“So? Do you like it?” he asked still unrelenting. 

“Of course I do! Who the hell wouldn’t?” his expression looks like a kid’s when locked inside Disneyland. 


I gritted my teeth. “I’m a human being who appreciates gifts, Sky. I – ”

I didn’t finish the rest of the sentence as he hugged me tightly. He then pulled back after a second, a huge grin plastered to his face. “You’re awesome. You are.”

“Two days ago, you said I’m a devil.” He grinned still. “In a way, you kind of are.” Before I could respond, he piped up; “I’ll put this on you, if you like.” he shook the anklet. His bipolar mode is on the run. “Thanks, but no. I can manage – ” The next thing I saw was him kneeling down in front of me, pulling my feel towards him. 

“Sky. I’m really exhausted to trash talk with you right now – ”

“Then don’t.” he said, grinning up to me. He squatted on the hard floor and put my foot on his leg. “Did you know that it took me forever to find your initial?” he chatted as he put the chain around my ankle and clasped the lock. It really does look nice. Very single yet elegant - exactly what I would buy if given the time and money. It’s chain which is snaking the contours of my ankle was sparkling on the light of the candles. The initial, now I noticed, is completely a flat silver, but there was a tiny beautiful gem on the top-edge of the letter. And hey, guess what the gem is?


I looked at Sky, eyes wide and mouth slightly open. He didn’t notice me though – he was adjusting the accessory for God knows how long. He continued prattling, “If your name started with an A, that would be easier. You could be Astrid, or maybe Ariel – ”


“What?” he said, looking up again. “Ariel’s nice – ”

“No, no. I meant the emerald.” I explained. He bloody well knows that his eyes are, well, capturing. He grinned wider. “So if you’re somewhere off the Mafia castle, you’ll still remember me.” Then his smile turned kind of sad. “Because I figured that you’ll probably hate me right then.” What? That’s stupid. 

“Hate you? Why the - ”

He shook his head, placing his hand on my ankle. The flowers and the candles glinting off and reflecting on his glasses are making a glow around the place. “You don’t hate me now. But I think you will. If you find out why he wants you.” Now even his eyes became sad.

My eyebrows crinkled in concern and thought. “That’s really stupid.” his hand felt warm and nice on my anklet but his expression was anything but warm. He said, “Just don’t take off that anklet and don’t hate me okay? I rather had a fun time with you.” If he had admitted that in another time, I would’ve laughed and said something funny. But the look on his face made it impossible. This is crazy.
The guy is damned serious.

            I smiled at him sincere and reassuring. “I won’t.” then I winked at him. I would never do that, but it was worth to see him smile.

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