Second Cry

3251 Words
I looked out the window of the cafe from where I was sitting, wondering if this was a wise decision. But then again, I wasn't known for being wise nor for making good decisions. I was known for being reckless. For being stupid and crazy. Terry would always nag me to start acting like an adult since we were already juniors. I thought about it. I even tried doing it. But I was still in high school. The boring, adult stuff can come later. For now, it was all about fun for me. Picking up my café latte, I took a small sip and continued to stare out the window. A fancy restaurant was opening across the street. There was a huge ribbon in front of the doors and a few well-dressed people milling around it. There was even going to be a small media coverage from the looks of the men carrying cameras and some women and men holding microphones, waiting for their cues to start. I put my chin on my palm and sighed. I skipped the last day of school before Christmas break for this. I had lied to Terry that I had a cold so I was staying at home instead. She probably didn't believe me. But luckily, considering she was busy taking care of Sophia and her boy problems, she just let me be. The sound of a chair scraping back made me turn my head. Then I blinked. And dropped my jaw. Skull was sitting across me like he had been there since the dawn of time. He was holding a cup of coffee in his hand and had sunglasses on. And he was grinning widely at me like he knew exactly why I was here. "Why are you here?" I asked him when I found my voice. He took a sip of coffee before answering, "I skipped school too." "It's not something to be proud of," I replied with irritation. Chuckling, he lowered his sunglasses to the table and leaned forward. "So tell me then. What are you doing here?" He probably knew, the big jerk. And he was enjoying my discomfort from the amused look on his face. Skull and I had a weird sort of friendship ever since I confided in him about Will at Jean's party. I felt pretty embarrassed after Terry sobered me up with the coffee she brought. Skull had long gone then and when Terry asked me what we did before she came, I lied to her and said I didn't remember. And even pretended that I didn't know the guy looking after me and who I had tried to kill was Skull. She didn't enlighten me. And I kept pretending innocence. Like I told him, he reminded me of my dead grandpa. And I had been so afraid after that night that he'd spread my secret crush around school which was why I always avoided him. That and I was a little nervous around his other friends too. Still, when we celebrated Sophia's birthday at his private resort, we had fun playing volleyball together even though he kept trying to bully me. We also found out that we shared some hobbies, like making fun of our friends. He also knew that I liked doing art and made me share some of my fan art with him, something I really didn't do. He was a good guy. But he teased people too much. That was why I didn't have a good feeling about him suddenly appearing out of nowhere. "You're stalking Asshole Will, are you?" he said when I didn't speak. "No," I denied. He stared at me, still grinning. "Yeah, right. That's his family's restaurant opening across the street." "It is?" I feigned innocence. "I didn't know." "You're so full of shit." He shook his head. I didn't deny that. Sighing, I cupped my glass with my fingers and muttered, "You're right. I am here to see Will." "See?" He leaned back with a smug smirk on his face. "That wasn't so hard right?" "But I'm not stalking him." "Fine," he lifted his hands with a sigh, "You aren't. But why aren't you there?" he pointed at the restaurant. "I mean, he probably invited you, right?" Bowing down my head, I said, "No." Silence. Then he said in a tone of disbelief, "You mean you haven't fixed things with him yet? It's been almost a year since we talked about him right? Didn't you see each other since then?" I lifted my eyes to glare at him. "I fail to see how my failing love life is any of your business," I grumbled. He laughed and reached out to mess up my perfectly styled hair. "Come on. Tell me. I'm pretty sure you haven't told Terry about Asshole Will. You need someone to tell or else you'll burst." I snarled and pushed his hand off me. He was right though. I didn't tell Terry that I wasn't over Will because I had always pretended to be a girl who didn't want to settle, who only wanted to have fun and not steady. It was a matter of pride. "I'm only telling you because you didn't blab about Will the last time we spoke," I told him. Then I glanced at my watch. "And because I heard he'd be here an hour from now so we still have time." "Stalker," Skull coughed and I threw a fork at him. Unfortunately he dodged it. "So?" he prompted, lifting a brow. Leaning back, I crossed my arms and glanced out the window. Then I told him. "The last time we spoke was at the Camerons' charity fundraising dinner..." - - - - - - - - - -  "Will you stand perfectly still, Hannah?" my mother hissed under her breath. Letting out a small sigh, I complied. The two of us were standing at the side of the ballroom, waiting for my father to finish his conversation with his friends. "And for God's sake, when the dinner starts, eat in small portions." In short, she was telling me to eat pretty. I tried not to show my irritation. Ever since her jewelry business boomed, she had turned from a loving, devoted mother into a mother that was all about appearances. I tried to understand that. She was still trying to fit in the upper stratum of society. We all were. But I wished she'd stopped being hard on me. "Hey, Mom," I leaned towards her and she gave me her ear, "Can I go after dinner?" She gave me an annoyed look. "No." "But it's boring," I whined. "Seriously Hannah. Can't you be more like Terry?" she chided quietly. "And here I thought you'd be excited to come since Haru Evans is here." I blinked. Then a wide smile spread across my face. "He's here?" There was amusement on her face when she told me, "He's standing at the head table, dear. And try not drool around him, alright?" Now this was the mother that I used to know. Winking at her, I promised to be on my best behavior then left her side to meet and greet Haru. She couldn't stop me, she got waylaid by the other guests so she glared at me instead. "Good evening, Haru," I told him as I approached with a wide smile. He turned towards me and smiled back. "Good evening, Hannah." He stepped forward to give me a short hug. Releasing me, he stepped back and said, "I didn't know you were here." I sighed. "We're on the same page, then. Where's Terry?" Something flashed in his eyes but it went away quickly. "She's at home. Studying." Odd but I thought she'd be here. "She's really hardworking, isn't she?" "Yes," his face softened. "She is." "I look beautiful tonight, don't I?" I told him, waving a hand down my dress. He laughed. "Of course, you do." Someone approached him then and whispered to his ear. He nodded and turned to me, "I have to go, Hannah. It was good to see you again." Reluctantly, I nodded. "The pleasure was all mine, Sir Evans." With a chuckle, he gave my shoulder a brotherly pat and turned to walk away. I stared at his back with a small frown. Because I didn't feel it. That fluttery feeling nor the butterflies on my stomach. My heart didn't even race nor did I stutter. And that was when I realized I had gotten over my big, old crush on Haru Evans. It stunned me. I had dreamed of marrying Haru and being Terry's sister for years. But suddenly, I was over him. And I think I knew why. The dinner was about to start. My mother found me and dragged me to our table. As dinner went on, I realized that Haru was in the same table as John and Ethan, Terry's tutor. My mother had to scold me several times to stop staring at them and my father had to pull me down when I craned my neck just to get a good look at them. Then I spotted John leaving the table to go to the balcony. After several minutes, Haru too excused himself and went out through the same balcony doors. I couldn't help but be curious. And of course, I had to do something about it. "I need to use the toilet," I whispered to my mother. "I'll be back." She didn't trust me to be back immediately. Still, with a defeated sigh, she waved me away and I left before she could change her mind. I couldn't exactly walk to the direction of the balcony right away since my parents were watching me carefully. So I went to where the toilets were, located outside the hallway. But then I found him. Will. He was on his phone, talking agitatedly to whoever it was on the other line at the end of the hallway. It had been over eight months since we last saw and spoke to each other. Since he lived in the dorms in South High, I couldn't exactly strut over there and demand him to speak to me. My mother would kill me if she finds out. And his family lived in the wealthiest neighborhood of the city with gates so high it would be impossible to climb over or escape. So once again, I tried to forget him. I went on dates with other people and even had new crushes. But he was always on my mind no matter how hard I tried and I find myself comparing him with the other guys I went out with. It wasn't because he was handsome. It wasn't because he saved me from Dickhead Mark. I didn't know why exactly I liked him but I knew that I just had to see him again. - - - - - - - - - -  "You were probably just obsessed with the thought of him," Skull pointed out as I took a break from my story-telling to take a sip of my café latte. I put down my glass and frowned. "I did consider that, you know. Maybe it was because he was the only guy who didn't fall for my charms right away and ask me out. Maybe it was because he gave me the cold shoulder. Maybe it's because he's the one who got away. Maybe I have a complex for guys who don't treat me right. Maybe it's because I was bullied in middle school and somehow have low self-esteem that I didn't realize I have and so a part of me believe that I don't deserve someone better." "Wow," Skull whistled. "That was long. And I don't think you believe that." "Exactly," I pointed a finger at him, "Because I'm not exactly someone who craves recognition and acceptance from people who don't give them to me. If you like me, that's good. If you don't, well fine. It would bum me out but I won't cry over that." Skull didn't speak and stared at me with what seemed to be admiration. My shoulders fell. "That's why I don't know why exactly I'm so hung up on Will," I mumbled pitifully. - - - - - - - - - -  "Will?" I muttered softly, taking a step towards his direction. He heard me speak and turned his head. Then, spotting me, his eyes widened. "I'll call you back," he mumbled into the phone before disconnecting. Then he slid it into his pants and returned his attention to me. He looked good in his suit. Better than I remembered. Somehow, since the last time we saw each other, he'd grown muscular and his hair had grown longer. He didn't speak for a moment and stared at me. "You aren't going to say you don't know me again, are you?" I chuckled nervously. "No," he finally responded. I let out a breath of relief. "That's great. How are you? It's been so long since we last saw each other, right?" He nodded. I took another step towards him. "Do you want to hang out maybe?" I suggested. "Since the dinner's practically over? You still owe me an apology. You suddenly disappeared, you know." This time, he looked away from me and I realized that he was being so distant and cold when he was all over me at Terry's party. "What's wrong?" I asked hesitantly. "I'm sorry," he mumbled, still not looking my way. "But I can't hang out with you." My shoulders dropped in disappointment. But I didn't give up. "I heard you're graduating high school next year. Is that why you can't hang out with me? Maybe we can trade digits and you can call me when you're free—." "I can't, Hannah," he cut-in quietly. "What do you mean you can't?" I asked, perplexed. "I can't hang out with you. Ever." It suddenly felt too cold in the hallway. I blew out a breath through the pain that gripped my chest tight. "May I ask why?" A moment's hesitation then he shook his head. "I have to go. I'm sorry." He walked past me and I was too stunned to stop him. But at the last second, before he disappeared through the doors of the ballroom, I managed to unfreeze and turn around. "Do you know what you're doing to me?" I snapped. His footsteps came to a halt. "Do you know what you're doing to my heart?" His head lifted and he turned to face me. The expression on his face was a mixture of shock and awe. "Because I don't why but I like you, Will," I went on, clenching my hands into fists. "I like you. Since the first time we met." "Hannah," he started to move towards me, "Hannah, I—." "William." He stopped, his expression hardening. Behind him, a man who was an older version of him was staring sharply at us. Belatedly, I realized that we had a small audience of guests who were starting the leave the ballroom. "Let's go, son." Will didn't hesitate. He turned and walked towards him obediently. The older man glower at me before he grabbed his son's arm almost violently and steered him back into the ballroom. Later, while I was waiting with my parents outside the Cameron mansion for our car, someone delivered a note to me. And later, when I read it in my bedroom surrounded by my two dogs, my heart broke into a million pieces. Thank you for telling me you like me. But I can't accept your feelings. I'm sorry. Please forget about me. -Will - - - - - - - - - -  Skull pushed a napkin my way and I slapped his hand. "I'm not crying," I snapped. "But you look like you want to." "I'm not going to cry," I muttered angrily. "I didn't even cry after I read that note. He may have broken my heart but I was too angry at him and that stupid note to cry. For two weeks it was all I could think about. Why was he telling me to forget about him? Why wasn't he giving us a chance? I've been nursing this pain and anger for two weeks and if he doesn't give me an answer today, I'll really cause a scandal in front of his stupid restaurant." Skull's lips twitched as he looked at me. "Lucky I'm here." "Why?" I lifted a brow. "Are you going to stop me from causing a scene?" "No. I have front row tickets to a good show. Why would I stop you?" That made me smile. A car parking across the street caught my attention. I jumped out of my seat when I caught sight of a familiar platinum blond head on the driver's seat of the car. "He's here," I said excitedly. "Bye." But Skull also stood up. "I'm coming with you." I glared at him. "No, you're not." "You can't really stop me, Hannah-bear," he said with a grin as he put on his sunglasses. "So let's just go." "Whatever," I huffed as I walked to the door. "Just don't come close and pretend we don't know each other." Skull snickered behind me. "Fine." Will had just slid out of his car when I reached him. I actually had a million things I wanted to say to him. I even practiced my speech in front of my vanity mirror. But everything I wanted to say got stuck in my throat because he was helping a pretty brunette out of the passenger's seat of his car. And she was clinging to his arm like she owned him. Like she was his girlfriend. Will spotted me and his head jerked back. I managed to slap a smile on my face and even managed to wave at him. "Hi," I greeted cheerfully. I was going to keep smiling even if it kills me. "Fancy meeting you here." There was a hint of resignation in his eyes as he stared down at me. "Yes," he said quietly. "What a coincidence." Turning to the restaurant, I said, "Look. They're opening a new restaurant here." "It's his family's restaurant," the girl unnecessarily inserted herself into the conversation. "Are you a guest too?" "Oh, no," I shook my head. "I was just passing by. And you are?" She smiled at me. "I'm Elaine. Will's girlfriend." It was like I just got stabbed in the gut. She was looking so happy that I wanted to stab her in the gut. I wanted to cry. I was going to cry. Will opened his mouth to say something but then an arm snaked around my shoulders and a deep voice spoke, "Are you done here, baby? We're already running late for our reservation, you know." It was Skull. He was smirking down at me but his hand on my shoulder was giving me a light squeeze, telling me to hold on. "Who's he?" My gaze flew to Will. He was staring at Skull with an almost angry look on his face. Elaine, on the other hand, was looking up and down at Skull with mild interest. Recovering from the blow I had just received, I wrapped my arm around Skull's back and put a hand on his chest. "Oh, this is my boyfriend, Sku-Christopher," I told Will. "Christopher, this is Will. He's my... he's an acquaintance of mine," I ended with a bright smile on my face. Skull offered his hand. "Pleased to meet you, Will." I might be imagining it but was Will trying to crush Skull's hand as they shook hands? "We better go," Elaine piped up. "Your parents are waving us over, Will." "We have to get going too," Skull pulled me closer to him. "We're going to celebrate our week anniversary today. I need to show her how much I'm grateful that she gave me a chance after the guy she liked before turned out to be an asshole." Will's expression turned darker with each word Skull spoke. But I didn't care. I was done with him. He was an asshole. As of this moment, he was dead to me. I didn't know how I got inside Skull's car. All I knew was that I was crying too much and sobbing too hard on his shoulder. And he let me. Skull let me cry and let it all out on his shoulder again.
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