AMARA kept herself silent on their way to her apartment. She was quiet, but she could not think straight. As she said to Rowen earlier, she had a lot on her plate. And now, he was an addition to that.
But come to think of it, he was right indeed that it was a win-win situation for both of them. She had been in love with him for years, so it would be easy for her to act as his real girlfriend. Amara’s only problem is that her heart was at stake. She didn’t know how long she could do the act. She didn’t know how long before her heart would break.
What a life! Screw that thing called destiny. Amara should be moving on right now, not the other way around. Her five years of hard work to forget Rowen all gone to waste.
Rowen pulled over in front of the apartment complex.
“So, this is where you live,” he said.
“Yes. I live in a unit on the second floor.”
Amara was about to unbuckle her seatbelt when Rowen leaned closer and do it for her. He was so close she could feel the warmth his body radiated. Their face was so close it will only take one wrong move, and their lips would touch. And because of that, her heart somersaults inside her chest.
She cleared her throat and pulled herself together.
“T-thanks.” Amara opened the door to her side and got off.
Rowen got off of his car too.
“Why did you get off?” she asked.
“I’ll come with you.” He beamed. “Look, I took you home. You should at least offer me a cup of coffee.”
Amara flinched when he put his arm around her shoulder. He pulled her closer to his body and walked her toward the complex. She tried to move away, but Rowen would not let her succeed. He gave her a side-way glance only to glare at her.
She scoffed and let him win.
The elevator was out of order again that day, so they took the stairs to the second floor.
Amara noticed something when they reached the end of the staircase. Her cats were out in the corridor. Some were just lying on the floor, others were wandering back and forth. She walked briskly toward them. When the cats saw her, they all ran toward her, meowing as if they were crying for help. What breaks her heart the most is that Hana, her cat who just gave birth a few days ago, was there too. The kittens were lying on the cold floor.
“Oh, God…” she cried.
“What happened?” Rowen asked.
Her cats wouldn’t go out of her unit just like that. Someone must have kicked them out. Amara has one person in mind, the landlady.
She keyed in her passcode, but it failed. The door won’t open.
She called the landlady. It took a lot of rings before she answered her call.
“You must be home by now,” the landlady said. “Since you’re not home yesterday when I arrived, I evicted your cats instead.”
Amara gritted her teeth. What a heartless human being. Her cats were out since yesterday night. She felt guilty.
“Miss Beth, we talked about this, right? I thought you understand,” she said calmly.
“Amara, the apartment complex was my only source of income. You signed a contract stating that you will be evicted if you did not pay the rent for a month. You’re three weeks late on your payment, and I already gave you a chance. I think that was enough consideration. Your belongings were inside the unit. You can only get them if you pay what you owe me.” The landlady hung up.
She turned to her cats with teary-eyes.
“We just got evicted,” she told them. She hunkered in front of Hana’s kittens, who stack themselves together to get warm. “I’m sorry, little nuggets. You have to suffer like this because of me.”
Her cats came closer to her when she started crying. Amara knew they could feel that she was not feeling well. Some rub their bodies against her. The other cats meowed at her as if they were telling her that everything’s going to be okay. She caressed their heads one by one.
Oh, Rowen. She almost forgot about him. Amara stood up and faced him.
“I’m sorry you have to witness my eviction.” She laughed faintly. “You just witness how pathetic I am now.”
Oh, God… why does it have to happen the very same day Rowen was with her? Is it the heaven’s sign?
Rowen wrapped his arms around her. Amara could not help but cry.
“Hush, Amara… you cannot solve your problems by crying on them,” he told her.
“I don’t know what to do anymore. I couldn’t go home. I can’t let my parents know what happened…”
Rowen distanced himself from her and grasped her arms.
“You can live with me in the meantime. I can also help you settle the rent to get your things.”
“And be your girlfriend?” she asked.
“No, I am offering my help as a friend. I will help you with this without asking anything in return.”
Amara doubted that. For sure, it was Rowen’s way to make her say yes. She heaved a deep sigh.
She has no other choice but to have a deal with him. Rowen was the only one who could help her now.
“Help me with this money problems, and I’ll pose as your girlfriend for as long as you want,” she told Rowen.
Rowen’s eyes seemed to twinkle.
“It’s a deal, okay? There’s no turning back, Amara.”
“Oh, thank you!”
Rowen hugged her tight he almost squeeze her.
“R-Rowen… I-I can’t breathe.”
“I’m sorry.” He freed her.
“But… my cats must go with me,” Amara said.
“Of course, I don’t mind. They look cute, though.” He beamed. “I have space at the back, we can make a catio for them.”
“But before anything else, can you send the rent to my landlady’s bank account?”
“Sure, tell me the bank details.” He took his phone out of his pocket. “How much is your rent?”
“Ten thousand pesos.” She showed Rowen the bank account details saved on her phone’s memo. “And oh, can you shop for me online? I need cat sand, cat food, and cat treats.”
His brows furrowed. “Am I suppose to buy that?”
“Your girlfriend will now live with you. These cats are your babies too.” She picked two of her cats. “Kitties, meet your daddy, Rowen.”
They all meowed at him.