AMARA plopped down on the sofa when they got home. Her foot still feels numb. The vaccine only made it worse. If only Rowen would listen to her.
Rowen sat on the one-seater sofa across her.
“You’re late for work,” she told him after checking the time on the clock hanged by the wall.
“It’s okay. I’m not going to work today.” He leaned back against his seat and crossed his legs.
It made him looked like a royalty sitting on his throne. Amara lay down on the sofa, facing Rowen with her hands propped on her chin.
“You’ll get a memo for not going to work,” she said.
“It’s okay, I’ll just use my leave. Besides, I will file a leave of absence to attend Joyce and Ansel’s wedding.”
“Oh, the wedding! I almost forgot.” Amara sat down. “What are we gonna do?”
“Do what?” His forehead creased.
“Should we act as if we just met again or… you know.”
“I’d like to hear your suggestion about it,” Rowen said.
“Well… if we only tell it to your mother, it wouldn’t look believable at all. What if she asked our friends for confirmation?”
“Hmm… you’re right.”
“So, we need to act in front of everyone.”
“You can do it, right?” He sounded doubtful.
“Of course.” Why does he have to ask if she could act? He should be asking himself. She had been in love with him, she doesn’t need to act. Amara can do it with or without a deal. “Should we practice now?”
“Practice?” His brows furrowed.
She stood up and sauntered toward him. Amara sat on Rowen’s lap and snaked her arms around his nape.
“Whoa! W-what are you doing, A-Amara?” he stuttered.
“Practicing…” she whispered.
“You’re breaking your rule. You said no touching, right?” he reminded her.
“Coward.” She stood up and walked to the staircase.
ROWEN prepared lunch. It was past twelve noon when he finished setting up the table. Still, there was no sign of Amara. He went upstairs and knocked on her room.
“Amara, the food’s ready,” he said after knocking consecutively.
But he got no response from her. He decided to open the door.
Rowen found Amara sitting in front of her laptop. Her eyes were focused on the screen while her hands were typing fast on the keyboard. She also has her earbuds on, maybe that was the reason why she was not bothered. She could not hear him.
He pulled her earbuds to get her attention. Rowen succeeded this time. She stopped what she was doing and raised her head. Amara scowled at him.
“You should eat first,” he told her.
“I will eat when I am hungry. Can’t you see that I am busy?”
Rowen could sense by the tone of Amara’s voice that her mood changed again. He wondered if he has something to do with her sudden change of mood.
“I am sorry if I bother you. I just thought you would want to eat lunch with me.” Rowen turned his back.
He was about to go out when Amara pulled his shirt.
“Can I ask you a question?”.
He turned to face her.
“What is it?”
“If… we had a relationship back then, do you think we will last until now?”
Rowen heaved a deep sigh.
When Amara confessed her feelings for him back then, he immediately rejected the thought of having a relationship with her. Rowen has his reason that Amara failed to understand until now.
He patted her head.
“We’re not matured enough to handle each other’s flaws back then. We may have that relationship, but I don’t think it will last until now.”
“You mean we could have broken up by now?”
“Exactly. And after that break-up, it’s not just our relationship that gets broken, even our friendship.”
“You still value our friendship that much.” Amara grimaced. She let go of his shirt. “If only I could turn back time, I will choose not to be friends with you.”
“So you could love me back. Our friendship is what stopping you from the very start.”
Rowen sighed. “You know what, we shouldn’t be talking about this stuff right now. The food is getting cold.”
“Why not?” Amara crossed her arms over her chest. “I am your girlfriend now.”
He raised his hands. Rowen accepted his defeat in their argument. There is no way she would let him win against her.
“You know what, now I doubt that your reason is valid enough. It’s not just our friendship that stopped you.” She looked at him from head to toe. “Look at you, you look decent enough, but you can’t get yourself a girlfriend.”
“Because I am a workaholic human being,” he said matter-of-factly.
“A workaholic human being who did not go to work today because of me.”
Rowen could not finish his sentence when he heard someone downstairs. They looked at each other. They both stilled.
They almost said in unison.
Rowen rushed downstairs.
Amara followed him.
“Why are there so many cats here?” said his mother.
“Mama!” he called upon reaching the landing.
He found his mother in the dining area.
“Oh… you’re here?” she asked.
“And who’s that lady picking the cats?”
Rowen turned to his back.
Amara was collecting the kittens in the living room.
“Hey, Amara, come here.”
She sauntered toward them with the kittens on her arms.
“Hi, Tita Elena.” Amara bowed her head.
“Amara?” Her mother’s eyes widened when she recognized her. “You and your sister’s friend Amara?”
“Yes, Tita. That’s me,” Amara said, smiling sweetly at his mother.
“Oh… what are you doing here?” His mother’s gaze turned on him. Her eyes questioning him.
Amara nudged his side. “Rowen, come on and tell your mother.”
He cleared his throat.
“`M-ma… Amara’s my girlfriend,” he declared.
His mother slapped his arm.
“Why didn’t you tell me about this so soon? I set you a blind date with my friend’s daughter this weekend.” She turned to Amara. “I am so sorry, Hija. If I only knew about this, I wouldn’t have done that.”
“It’s okay, Tita. Anyway, we’re about to eat lunch. Join us.”
His mother smiled. She seemed so happy at the moment.
“Sure. And while we’re eating, you should tell me your story.”
Rowen looked at Amara. He will pass that job on her.