Chapter 14

I woke up in a strange bed that felt foreign to me. The smell of the sheets were different than the ones I usually use. The air in the room isn't as cold as it usually is in the morning. I couldn't hear any birds chirping on the tree outside of my window.

I frowned. It was all very strange, indeed. But it wasn't enough for my mind to gather the will to actually open my eyes, rouse my full consciousness and wake up. My eyes were glued shut and still felt heavy with sleep.

I tried to recall what happened yesterday to give myself an explanation of why my bed didn't feel like my bed instead of opening my eyes to check out my surrounding. What was I up to last night? Did I change my sheets and turn on the heater? Did the birds that nested on the tree by my bedroom window die?

I thought long and hard, trying to push past my sleepy state and jog my memory.

Until it all came back to me and my eyes snapped open in shock.

My body bolted into a sitting position on the bed and I turned to the bedside table to check my phone. It was running really low on battery. Hell, it was a miracle that it hasn't died, yet.

I quickly checked the time and texted Kimmy before my phone dies on me. I know she'd be up by then, being the morning person she was. She was probably sitting in her kitchen, sipping on some coffee and scrolling through instagram right now.

Judging by the instant reply I got from her, I must be half right.

I got out of bed and make the bed, trying to clean it as best as I can to not make my stay such an inconvenience to Alex and his brother.

It was my first time staying at someone's house other than friends who I've known for a long time.

I mean, technically speaking, Alex was a friend that I've known for a long time. But that wasn't the point. I grabbed my phone and checked the room once more before heading out of the bedroom.

I covered my yawning lips as I walked out of the guest bedroom and towards the kitchen to grab some water. The sun was already out and it was probably nearing noon soon but I still felt some leftover fatigue from yesterday's ordeal.

I heard the a machine buzzing from the kitchen and assumed that someone else was already up. The realization that I was on someone else's property, in their house, inflicted a sense of meekness in me. It felt strange to be walking around in someone else's place. I felt out of place. It didn't help that I've never been in that house before, or that I wasn't close enough to Alex to be able to feel comfortable roaming around his house without anyone's supervision. Not that I needed any babysitting.

I slowly continued to walk to the kitchen, figuring that it's best to let my presence known to whoever was in there. I didn't know how to make an entrance so I purposely made a few noises to let whoever was in the kitchen aware that someone else had woken up.

Alex's older brother turned around from the counter and looked at me. "Ah, you're up. Coffee?" He offered, tilting his head towards the coffee machine that sat on the counter in front of his body.

I shook my head before smiling at him, "No, thanks. I don't really drink coffee."

Wayne looked surprised at my answer but shrugged, "It's probably healthier that way."

"I'm about to make breakfast so just take a seat. Do you want anything to drink? Juice? Tea?" He offered.

I bit my lip before finally replying, "Um, just water, please."

He pointed to a drawer under the counter, "The cups are in there, help yourself."

I stood up from the stool and walked over to the drawer he had pointed at, pulling it open and grabbing a cup before filling it with some tap water.

The clanging sound of pans hitting one another as Wayne took a pan out of a cabinet filled the kitchen, followed by the sound of the hissing gas and the rapid clicking as the stove got lit.

"Do you need help with anything?" I asked as I set my cup down on the counter a few feet away from the stove.

"Nah, I got it. Go take a seat, breakfast will be ready in no time." He passed me a smile as he reached for the cupboard over his head for some cooking oil. He had eggs and a pack of sausages sitting on the counter by the stove, waiting to be cooked.

Not wanting to get in the way, I obediently took a seat and watched him cook some breakfast for us.

"So, do you need a ride home? I've got work soon but I suppose Alex can take you.." Wayne started to say but I shook my head. I had texted Kimmy once I woke up to send her my GPS location and tell her to come pick me up so that we wouldn't end up alerting my parents of the white lie we told them.

"I've got a friend who's picking me up soon. You've helped me plenty just by letting me stay here."

Wayne shrugged. "It was nothing."

Silence filled the space between us after that, the only noise came from the sizzling cracked eggs that sat on the oil-glazed pan.

"So, are you close to my brother?" He asked me. I had a feeling that he was asking the question to fill the silence between us more than out of curiosity but he continued to speak when I failed to answer straight away.

"I mean, it's just that I've never seen you around before. I guess Alex's friends don't really come to the house often, they mostly hang out at another guy's house but I've never even heard your name before."

I drew my bottom lip in and gnawed on it until I finally decided to answer him truthfully. "I was."


I can't really say I didn't see the question coming when I chose to answer the way I did.

Instead, I chose to answer with an "Mhmm."

"When was that?" He asked again, this time sounding like he was genuinely curious.

"4 years ago."

It was a small shift but I saw the change in Wayne's stance. The sudden tension in his shoulders and back, how he had straightened up as if some one had struck his back.

I couldn't see his face but I had a good guess of what look he might've been wearing.

I know curiosity killed the cat and all that crap but I would be lying if I said I wasn't dying to do some digging on why he had suddenly tensed up at the mention of 4 years ago.

However, before I could even open my mouth to speak and ask him what that was about, his shoulders relaxed once again and he shifted the spotlight back to me by asking me another question about myself.

"Are you his classmate, then?" His shoulders were less tense but it wasn't completely gone. His back was still as rigid and straight as a board but he had turned his face slightly to the side to regard me as he shot the question.

"Yep, since kindergarten." I answered without missing a beat, not wanting to give anything off. I wanted to know what had happened 4 years ago that caused his aura to shift so quickly and drastically like that and I wouldn't be able to do that if he had his guard up.

"Damn, that's a long time." Wayne whistled as he went back to placing the fried eggs and heated sausages on a plate. He took the toast from the toaster and put it on a different plate before bringing everything to the table. The dining table and the kitchen was connected, only with a counter as tall as my waist.

"Yeah, I only found out 4 years ago, too, when we were looking through yearbooks and comparing memories." I shared with him, taking the plates from him so that he could go back to the kitchen counter and grab his coffee mug along with some plates and utensils.

"That's cool," he commented, sitting on the seat directly opposite of me and giving me an empty plate and a knife and fork.

"Yeah." I didn't know what else to say to that so I simply dug in once he waved at me to do so.

Fifteen minutes later, I was rinsing the dirty dishes and placing them into the dishwasher when a car horn blared from outside the house right on time.

"That's my cue," I said, looking at the time in my phone.

Alex's older brother stepped out of his seat and walked around the table to see me out.

"Thanks for the breakfast and letting me stay the night." I told him as I fixed my shoes.

"No problem." He smiled, opening the door for me.

I was about to step outside and walk to Kimmy's car when I remembered something and paused. I bit my lip again, tilting my head slightly, not knowing how to say what I wanted to say, "And uh.."

I looked at the direction of where Alex's room was.

Wayne turned his head to look at what she was referring to and an amused smile flashed across his face for the first time that morning. "Yeah, don't worry, I'll let him know when he wakes up."

I smiled at him gratefully, mostly for understanding what I was trying to say without needing me to word it so I didn't have to elaborate on it awkwardly. I waved one last wave goodbye and received one in return before stepping off their front steps and jogging down their driveway to Kimmy's car that was waiting for me.

I opened the door to my friend's car and buckled up before Kimmy drove away to the main road.

As she drove, I felt her eyes on me. She kept giving me non-subtle side glances while she drove and I kept ignoring her until she finally cracked and gave in. "And who was that hottie?" She wiggled her eyebrows at me playfully.

I rolled my eyes at first because, of course, the first thing that she was going to point out after everything that had happened would have been how hot Alex's older brother looked. But then I shot her a mild look once I realized how, even though it was kind of weird because Alex's brother was so much older than us, I kind of understood what she meant.

He was good looking.

God certainly blessed that family with their looks.

But with everything that has happened, I was past fangirling over overaged guys that might pass as 'daddy' material. Nope. I had no daddy issues I needed to tend to.

I had one 'daddy' I need to face once I get home and it certainly was not the 'daddy' you dirty minded people are thinking about. The 'daddy' I need to face is my biological father who can make you break into cold sweat when he's trying to suss you out.

"Just drive, Kim." I rolled my eyes, avoiding answering her question as I closed my eyes, trying to not think about how I'm going to face my parents once I get home. I have never been a good liar but I'll have to give it a good shot this time if I don't want to get my 18-year old ass beaten.

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