(Love in circles )
BY BLESSING SILVER
“Damn! New York feels so cozy for summer.. Or is it winter here already?” Dad asked.
“It’s summer but I feel the cold too” I said.
We were on our porch, the little area that had an umbrella, classy chairs and table.. It was noon and we were having a light lunch whilst discussing; Orange juice and cookies.
“Yeah so I’ve already worked on your plane ticket and I got everything set, I took an excuse from work and I was granted a three-days leave so I scheduled our flight to tomorrow so we can have a day together before I resume work” dad said and I nodded, grabbing a cookie and munching nonchalantly.
“So this girl that works for you, did a pretty impressive job, my room’s just the way I want it and the garden that I checked out this morning looked like it wasn’t mine.. In a positive way. Considering that she’s still in junior high, she must be courageous to have kept on working for you even after knowing about your disease.. I would’ve love to meet her but it’s quite unfortunate that there’ll be no time for that.. Uh What did you call her name again?”
“Jacqueline” I said gruffly.
“Yeah.. Her name’s as pretty as her heart and I’m positive her face wouldn’t be an exception” dad said and I stared away. Talking about her is only helping me think more about yesterday and the more I keep going back on that the more I see reasons why she ignored my call and text message. There seem to be stuffs that I thought I should’ve known about her but I didn’t.. Like her working, apart from here she also have another part time job and then she has a boyfriend. Maybe not her boyfriend but is she really that close with every guy?
“You should start packing up, we won’t be needing too much; just a few bags will do. I already put the house up for sale and with all the views I photographed, I’m sure we’ll be getting a buyer in no time.. An agent will be coming over later” dad said and a sigh escaped stiffled out of my lips.
“What’s up with you son, what are you thinking about?” Dad asked, giving me a light palm-squeeze on my shoulder.
I grabbed my half cup of orange juice and chugged the thick sweet liquid down until it was empty. I breathed out after it.
“I don’t know why I can’t stop thinking about her dad” I said lowly, giving dad a glance.
“It’s normal Nick.. It’s always difficult to forget someone who stood by you and didn’t give up when you thought everyone would. I guess you guys were pretty closer than I thought” he said.
“Yes.. I mean um we just get along in some things” I said.
“It’s the same thing and looking at your reaction now, I’m sure a decision will be hard, just give it another thought” he said..
“There’s nothing to think about on this dad, I want to leave, it’s what I want” I said.
“No qualms then.. You pack up while I visit your school, I have tons of stuffs to settle with your principal and then I have to get your transfer letter” he said before standing up. He gave my shoulder a squeeze again and when I looked up at him, he flashed me a smile.. “Will you stop doing that dad, my shoulder’s aching from all that squeezing.. Are you growing old at all?” I strained my arm and dad chuckle heartily.
“It’s what hitting the gym regularly does” he said “Catch ya later” he walked.
I shook my head and grabbed my cup, seeing it was empty, I gave a light cuss and dropped it down before resting into the relaxant softness of the cushion.
I let out a sigh as morning class began.. Math, one of my favorite subject. I paid attention and after everything we were given some exercises that I finished with no sweat at all..
“So I guess you’re all done with your exercises?” She asked.
“Yes ma’am” we all said almost in unison.
“That’ll be all, Ms Dawson please collect their notes and bring them to my office. Good day class” she said and walk out. Martha pushed her notebook to my table and I gave her a playful glare and took it, I waited for everyone to round up with stuffs and piled the notebook together in one huge form. I placed mine on top and head out of class, the books felt a little too heavy for me, I should’ve asked for Martha’s assistance. I climbed the stairs gently and carefully, bracing my shoulders to look ahead.. I was getting to the end of the stairs when my gaze caught someone heading down hurriedly, I could’ve warned the dude but he was too fast; before I could talk or pull aside, he bumped a little into me and out of panic, I threw the notebooks down then breathed out..
“OMG I’m so sorry miss, are you okay?” He asked hurriedly, taking a step to me..
“I-I guess so,” I said, giving him a stare “I just had a small panic attack but it’s gone now”..
“I’m sorry. I’ll pick these up, you get yourself together” he said and squat beside the scattered books. His bag straps pulled a little to one side of his hand and he pulled it back up.. He packed the notes together and stood up.
“Thanks” I muttered.
“No.. It was my fault. I was in a hurry, I didn’t even notice you were there cos I didn’t expect to find anyone using the stairs at this time” he said, giving me a small smile and I returned it nonchalantly.
I stretched my hand to collect the books “Don’t worry, I’ll carry it, just lead the way” he said and I wanted to argue but I found myself succumbing. I took the stairs to the second floor and the first staff office at the hallway. My gaze slipped to the upper floor and I sight Nick class, I sighed slowly before looking away. I opened the door and walked in, he followed. I got to Mrs Patton’s table and she was writing on a file book, sensing a presence she looked up.
“I brought the notebooks ma’am” I said after collecting the books from him and she nodded before taking them from me.. Her eyes moved to the boy beside me.
“You must be Lancelot, the transfer student” she said, giving him a closer look..
“Um I am. Are you Mrs Patton?”
“Yes and I’m the one assigned to tour you around here. Good thing I recognized you from your passport but right now I’m very busy with this, you can wait at that chair over there while I finish up with this and attend to you” she said.
“If that’s the case then can this Ms show me around instead?” He asked, referring to me and I shot him a stare.
Mrs Patton turned to me with a leading look. “Oh can you Jacqueline?” She asked.
“Um if you want me to. I can” I said and he flashed me a smile.
“Here’s a little guide” she gave me a small paper and I took it.. We both walked out, we journeyed down the hallway.
“Uh where will you like to see first?” I asked.
“The clubhouse” he said and I arched a questioning eyebrow at him.
“Clubhouse? There’s no such thing here. Did you have that at your old school?” I asked and he chuckled.
“No. I was just kidding Ms–
“Jacqueline. No formalities please”
“Okay. I’m Lancelot.. Lance for short” he said and I gave him a smile.
“So Lancelot, should we check out the gym first?” I asked.
“Damn I love sports” he said and I chuckled slightly.. “After you milady” he said and I furrowed my brows at him, smiled and walk ahead.
“So here, that’s the basketball field, over there’s where the spectators sit” I said and walk to a different side “There’s the football field, that’s for golf and just around that corner, is where the changing rooms are located” I said and he nodded.
“Cool” he said. We walked next to the cafeteria.
“This is where we have our lunches, these are the order stand over there is where we sit” I said and he nodded.
“Okay. Can I give you something?” He asked. I gave him a questioning look.
“What?” He pulled his bag down from one side and took out a small bag. He zipped it up and strapped it back then stretched it to me.
“Burger. My mom made it, you can have it” he said.
“Um I don’t think so–
“Why? My mom specially packed it up.. She owns a restaurant in time square. You can take it as my gratitude for accepting to show me around”
“Please. I assure you it’ll be the best thing you would’ve tasted in a long time.. Mom’s a really great cook” he said and I shook my head slightly.
“Please Jacqueline, if you reject it.. I’ll feel very bad” he said, his lips pouted sadly.
“Um okay then” I took it from him “Thanks, I’ll take your word for it” I said with a smile.
“I can vouch for it and don’t worry, you’ll be the one giving me the testimony” he said and I chuckled.
“So.. Can we be friends?”
“Why do I feel like that burger was a bribe?” I teased and he grinned.
“How about we take it that way?”
“Alright.. Bribe accepted” I said and his smile deepen. “Thanks”
“So.. Let’s check out the library next” I said and he nodded..
Mr McDowell’s POV
“Thank you so much Mrs Howard, I truly appreciate everything” I said after taking the documents.
“It’s okay. You just have to put your signature there and it’s all done” she said and I nodded.
“Okay. I’ll head out now. Thanks”
“Alright and tell Nicholas I said hi.. I hope to hear from him in the future” she said.
“I’ll make sure you do. Good day”
“Good day to you too” she said and I walked out of her office, the transfer papers in my grip. I reached the parking lot and was going to my car when another car parked in, opposite mine.. As I got to my car, the door of the other car opened and a lady stepped down, she started locking her car.. From the sunglasses she had on I could still see her face and it rang a bell of recognition.. I couldn’t imagine it’ll be who my assumption told me it was until she turned, her gaze went to me too and she stood petrified for a moment before taking off her sunglass.. To say I was surprised was a big understatement; I was gobsmacked. Though, Nick already told me about how she kept paying him visits when he was in school and how she brought him lunch one time.. Her foster son even schools here. I never believed I’ll come across her and as expected, those feelings didn’t come back, neither was the hatred there.. Seeing her feels like I was looking at some random young lady that I haven’t seen in a while.. I broke our stare and moved to my car, I inserted the key in and turned it to unlock the door.
“Marcus?” her voice reaches my ear in an ordinary way, that effect it once had years ago couldn’t be found.. I finished unlocking the door of my car. “Is that really you?” She asked and I gave her a slight tilting of my head to her.
“It’s me Selena” I said and I saw her shudder a little, she took a step toward me..
“Goodness! I’ve missed you so much” she threw her arm around me in a hug, I wanted to push her off, the urge came but I waved it aside and let her be but not reciprocating the hug.. Her slender finger slowly slipped from my back and she pulled away and shifted backwards.
“I’m sorry,” she said lowly, a look of disappointment on her face.
“About what?” I asked, making my voice come out free and bold.
“I forgave you a long time ago, I held no grudges against you and I still don’t” I said and her head snapped up at me.
“I’m sincerely sorry Marcus.. About everything that happened”
“I don’t get why you should be Selena. You made a decision and you chose what you thought was right and I perfectly understand.. At first I was very mad at you for leaving but again I realized it was no use, it won’t bring you back and that was when I let it all go.. I’m not mad at you for anything Selena but if you hurt Nicholas a second time, I’ll make you more than sorry” I said, In a calm yet threatening voice.
“You chose the path you wanted and I’m not angry about it but since you got what you wanted, I need you to stay faraway from that path that you abandoned.
We don’t need your presence in our life Selena, especially Nicholas” I said, she stood there, speechless.. Tears threatening to fall were visible in her eyes but I ignored it.. One thing I’ve realized is that I don’t love her anymore, I know I don’t hate her either but I have a kind of dislike for her, especially when she tries to poke in.. I got into my car and drove out of the school compound, without sparing a glance at her.. I hit the road home.
I walked into the kitchen and after gulping down half a glass of water, I massaged my neck gently with my palm and walk to the kitchen door, dad was coming toward it when I got there.
“Morning dad” I greeted, moving aside for him to walk in.
“Morning to you too, you’re up early” he said.
“Came to get a drink. I’m going back to bed” I said.
“Okay, I’ll just make breakfast then” he said and I nodded and took a step away from the exit. “What’s this?” Dad asked, making me turn to him and to the item in his palm.. I moved to him.
“It’s the movie ticket, it’s Jacqueline’s” I said, taking it from his palm.
I looked at it and gave it a light squeeze.
“So I guess you won’t be seeing the movie cos it’s happening tomorrow. You should give this to someone” he said..
“What, no.. Jacqueline isn’t seeing it either and I’m not giving something I won to some stranger” I said.
“Well how about you give both to Jacqueline, she would love to watch it with a friend or something” be said.
With a friend? That dude who’s probably more than a friend that she smiled at and ignored my text for?! So not happening.
“No dad, we’ll watch this movie together, alone” I said.
“That’s not even possible Nick, we’re leaving today and the movie’s happening tomorrow” he said. “Just give this out so it won’t be a waste”
“I won’t do that dad, I won’t let her watch this movie with someone else when we won it together.. She’s watching it with me”
“O-kay” he drawled “how you gonna do that?”
“I’m not leaving new York dad, I already changed my mind” I said and dad arched an eyebrow at me.
“What, it’s not too late to do that right?”
“No.. But why are you suddenly deciding not to leave anymore?”
“Well uh.. Doc Steve said if I take my medication regularly then my disease will come in a more alerting and less obvious way and since I’ll always be with my medication, staying here won’t be a problem” I said, giving him a faux smile.
“I know that and I know that isn’t what changed your mind. Tell me son, what suddenly changed your decision to leave?” He asked.
“S-s-school did. I mean um I have just a year left a-and I want to finish it up here” I said, rubbing my temples.
My dad walked to the counter and poured himself a drink from the pub.. “That’s not true Nicholas, we both know you want a cure more than anything else” he lifted the glass to his lips and took a light sip.
“You’re deciding to stay cos of her right, cos you’re not ready to let her go just yet and hold memories instead” he said and my lips twitch to a corner.
“What? No dad!” I said a little irritated at my dad’s act “it’s because I feel like I have an obligation to protect her from Jason. She helped me keep him off and I’m sure Jason won’t let her be for it.. I know how he is dad, he even threatened to have her” I said.
“Oh so this Is what all this is about.. You’re staying because you don’t want Jason to have Jacqueline, cos you want her. Right?”
“What are you even saying?” I asked gruffly.
“I’m saying that you’re in love son. Wow we have to celebrate this”
“What!” My eyes widened “You’re crazy dad” I said giving him a kinda surprised disgusted look. I started heading to the door.
“I’ll really love to meet this girl Nick, how about you invite her over for lunch, it’s Friday today” I heard dad say as I walked out.
“I’ll try but I’m not making any promises” I yelled.
I got to my room and hit the door shut. In love with Jacqueline?
I scoffed and walk to my bed.. “How’s that even possible? She’s not even my type” I said and scoffed. Dad’s just making up absurd theories.
I can’t be in love with her. I collapsed on my bed.. But it’s good thing I’m not leaving. I smiled lopsidedly.
T. B. C
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