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"I'm back!"

As I opened the door to my house, a strong smell of chicken warmly welcomed my nostrils and instantly caused my mouth to water. Dreamily, I attempted to locate the main source of the aroma, and discovered that my dad was the one preparing the dinner today.

My eyes intensely stared at the tray of balsamic marinated chicken that he was holding with his gloves, which looked really salivating. Dad had cooked more variety of food than Mom... but mostly because he was the head chef of a restaurant, that was why he had always rocked in the kitchen. I always expected his food to be delicious, but both of my parents had always prepared breakfast, lunch or dinner like a pro.

I'm still an amateur compared to them.

"Hey Dad, where's Mom?" I watched as with optimal care, Dad placed the chicken on each plate and seasoned them well, before putting some vegetables and tomato.

"She's upstairs," Dad answered, before he yelled, "Marina, come on down! Dinner's ready!"

In less than one second, I heard harsh footsteps as Mom literally ran all the way down the stairs, her legs propelled in a lightning speed. She grinned and greeted when she saw me, and her eyes glittered with delight when Dad settled the plates down on each of the spots we usually sat.

Meanwhile, Jordan was sitting on the couch, his legs were extending out and his hands were behind his head. His ears were covered by a pair of blue headphones, probably listening to the same type of rock music. I quietly went past him so as not to disturb his business. I was being drawn in by the smell of the food that I didn't mind my surroundings.

From the corner of my vision, Jordan moved out from the sofa, now with bed hair and had his headphones dangling on his neck, his expression looked like he could eat a horse. I briefly waited until he caught up with me, and then he proceeded to stare at me with confusion.

"So Jo, did you go anywhere today?" I asked gently.

"Just home," he answered, pulling a chair from the table and plopped himself down, "why do you even care?"

"I'm just asking," I sighed softly, sitting in my usual place beside him.

He folded his arms and said nothing, but he stood up again and strolled towards the kitchen sink, probably to wash his hands. I simply shook my head at his attitude, and was left with no choice but to follow him to wash my hands as well. We didn't utter any more words, even when we returned to our seats.

As we started eating, Mom and Dad talked about some financial issues at first, but reverted to a light-hearted topic about their friends. Jordan and I remained wordless as only we silently chewed on our dinner. At some time, my parents had asked me what I had done today, and I just told them about going to the arcade and going around the mall. As I expected, the chicken was really juicy, soft and seasoned to perfection... but I feel like something is missing in here...

After I finished my food, I wiped my mouth with the napkin. I wanted to clean the table and wash the dishes to help Mom, but she refused my help and wanted me to take a shower and rest instead. Taking a deep breath, I grabbed my bag and went upstairs to my room.

I set my bag and phone on the vanity, before slumping myself into the bed, barely wanting to move for a shower or a change of clothes. Staring at the ceiling above, the memories of today began to flow back, from the time where I met Edward at the bus and the games we played, the restaurant scene, the window shopping, and the fountain show. Also, there was no way I couldn't remember the question that he had thrown at me when we were on the bus.

I should have said something and not just stayed silent... I just blew another perfect opportunity to let him know about my feelings for him. He seemed like he was ready to listen, but the fact that I ignored him twice now, just made me want to slap myself for not thinking and answering fast. I covered my eyes with my ears, as the feeling of regret began to creep in. What the hell is wrong with me... isn't this what I have wanted for years? To let him know that I like him and care for him?

While being deep in thought, I could hear my phone vibrating, as it received a notification. I breathed out loudly, before I pushed myself to move from my bed and took my phone. I expected a text from Aly, but... I momentarily froze when the notification bubble spelled out Edward instead.

Hey.

Edward. I repeated his name inside my head and swallowed my saliva into my throat. It was a simple, short and straight text, but it gave me a powerful impact, especially my fluttering heart. Why is he texting me...?

My fingers were literally shaking as I typed in my response with the keyboard and quickly punched send for I have second thoughts.

Hey Ed :)

I managed to sneak in a smiley to make it a friendlier greeting. After answering him, I sat on the corner of my bed as I dug my nails into my palms. I have to act as normal as possible and not send him stupid things...

Sorry about the question back on the bus. It just popped up in my head all of the sudden.

Why is he even apologizing for? I'm at fault for not responding at the right time.

No, you don't need to apologize

I should have answered

I texted, my fingers moving a little too fast.

Don't worry, just forget about it.

Okay...

I moistened my lips with my tongue. He was probably only texting me about that one particular time, but it made me feel better. At least that was settled and out of the way... for now.

"Why do you like me?"

"I was wondering... what qualities do you like about me?"

I could hear his grave voice as he directed all of the similar questions towards me, with one when I was driving him to work, and the other one being earlier.

However to my shock, my phone shook again as a new message from him arrived.

I forget to ask you something.

Lynn's birthday is next month, but I'm not really sure what to get for her. I'm thinking of a hoodie, but what do you think?

It was a pretty long message and even asked about my suggestion, so I smiled firsthand, but it slowly dissipated when I remembered that there was a conflict between both of them. I thought Edward's mad at Adelynn...?

Aren't you mad at her?

Well I kinda am, but Seb wants me to get back to her. I texted her this afternoon, but I haven't gotten any response.

I was contemplating what I should type. It took quite a while, before finally I knew what to say. I tried to gain my composure, and started punching on the buttons of my keyboard. Letters began to form words before a complete sentence was seen, and without realizing, it grew into a paragraph.

Yeah, it's a wise idea to settle things up with her and your basketball team, Ed. I know you're upset with her, but maybe you should try seeing from her point of view. I bet she wants to go back to you as well, but she's just waiting until you're ready to talk to her

For her present, I think hoodies are great! I was thinking about a T-shirt or bag, but it's up to you. I'm sure she will appreciate whatever gifts you gave her :)

Then it came to the point where I realized, this was my first time giving advice to a guy, even if it sounded simple. Never did I type this many words to someone else other than my best friend. Maybe, this is what crushes do, they somewhat motivated you...

Okay, I'm considering that.

Thanks, Serena.

My heart warmed up at his gratitude as my hopes of getting closer to him bloomed larger inside of me. I couldn't contain my happiness as I gladly typed in my response.

You're welcome!

I pulled my phone closer to my chest as joy completely engulfed me.

I'm glad that I could help.

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