CHARM and Yvonne were having a staring contest since she went upstairs. Yvonne and Rohan turned the second level of their coffee shop into a penthouse so they could stay there whenever they want to. As of the moment, it was her friend’s bat cave, where she writes her stories. Charm took the last sip of her ice-cold coffee. She took the initiative to break the silence between them.
“Is this a meeting or a staring contest?” she asked her friend.
Yvonne blinked thrice and grinned at her. Charm already had an idea of what was inside her friend’s head. She was torn between liking or hating it.
“No, Yvonne.” Charm chose the latter one.
“Yes, Charm,” her friend’s grin widened even more.
Charm was about to scold her friend when Rohan appeared with a tray of pastries that he put down in the middle of their table. Just by seeing the food in front of her, Charm immediately forgot about the scolding. She licked her lower lip, excited to put those delicious pastries inside her mouth.
“It’s hard to think without eating something sweet,” Rohan said as he sat down beside his wife.
Yvonne turned to her husband and gave him a quick kiss on the lips. Charm scoffed and took the plate with a generous slice of chocolate ganache cake.
“Where’s Joaquin? Did he go home already?” Yvonne asked. “We should introduce him to my friend next time.”
Charm stopped popping the cake on her mouth and glared at Yvonne.
Rohan patted her wife’s head.
“Stop playing cupid, will you? Fate will make a way,” he said.
Propping her elbow on the table, Charm nodded continuously in agreement to what he just said.
“Your husband is right, Yvonne. You can’t just force two people to like each other. And could you please stop talking about me as if I wasn’t here. That’s rude.” Her nose crinkled.
“But you like him,” Yvonne said in disagreement.
Her eyes widened as if they were about to come out of her eye sockets. “How could you say such a thing?”
“Well…” Yvonne crossed her arms. “I saw you two at the café. I saw a spark.”
“Ha!” Charm scoffed exaggeratedly. “That’s ridiculous.”
“Anyway, let’s start the meeting. We have a lot to talk about for my new writing project,” said Yvonne.
“Sure, that’s what I’ve been waiting for.” She scrapped the icing and brought it to her mouth. “What is it about?”
“It’s about a girl who fell in love with the man in pajamas that she met in a coffee shop.” Yvonne grinned mischievously.
CHARM was about to open the door when someone opened it from the inside. She was greeted by Lou’s smiling face.
“Hello, Charm,” Lou greeted. The smile never left her face.
She laughed at that.
“What?” she asked as she walked down to the basement of her friend’s house.
Charm was renting Lou’s basement. She doesn’t live there, it serves as her art studio, where she kept her paintings and drawings. Charm could not keep them at home, or they will all go to waste. Her mother does not support her on her passion. What her mom wants was for her to go to a law school. And she doesn’t like that idea. She’d done her part as a good daughter when she took up Political Science instead of Fine Arts. Unlike her mother, she doesn’t like politics. She hated the political system in the country. It was dirty, disgusting, and unjust. Charm knew very well that she did not have the power to change that, she could only pray for the nation and everyone.
“Yvonne phoned me,” her friend opened the door to her studio.
“And she told you that I met his husband’s nephew in pajamas. She saw a spark between us, and she was hoping that—”
Lou’s forehead creased. “What are you talking about?”
Charm scratched the side of her neck. So, she was wrong. It’s not what she thought it was.
“I’m sorry. I thought Yvonne called you to tell you that.” They went inside the studio. “Tell me what it is.”
Her friend let out a deep breath.
“Last time I told you that our house was on sale. Yvonne called because she knows someone who’d like to buy our house,” Lou explained.
“And you were smiling at me like that when you’re about to break the bad news?” Charm shook her head.
“Sorry, Charm, hmm?” Lou grasped her arm. “I have been feeling guilty about this because you couldn’t come with us to our new house. I thought it will burden you if I cry.”
Charm stared at her friend. Lou looked like a feline begging to be petted.
She patted Lou’s head. “It’s okay. It’s okay.”
Lou shoved her hand away. They both laughed.
“When should I leave?” Charm asked.
Since the day Lou told her that the house was on sale, she had been looking for a new studio. But the rent was too high, and she could not afford that. Her mom won’t give her money just to pay the rent of her art studio.
“Well… we’re still not sure if the house will be sold. He’s just a prospective buyer. A lot of people came here already, and they always end up not buying the house.”
It was a big and pretty western house. An old maid doctor gave it to her friend as a sign of gratitude for what she’d done when the doctor was on her deathbed. Lou and her husband were living there for five years. And now they decided to put it on sale and live on the house her husband’s parents left in the province.
“Maybe they have seen a ghost lurking in the dark sides of this mansion,” she joked.
Charm started cleaning her studio. She put her brushes on a box.
“Have you found a new place?” Lou asked after a while.
“Not yet. I couldn’t afford to pay the rent, they’re too high. If you are so guilty, kicking me out of here… Why don’t you lend me the half of the payment when this house gets sold?” She turned to Lou with a wide grin on her face.
“I’ll see what I can do for you.”
“Oh, thank you.”