"Like a blinking cursor on an empty page, it was just the first thing. The beginning of the beginning. But at least it was done." -Sarah dessen, What Happened To Goodbye.
"Miss Indie, your mother wants to see you in her bedroom," Mrs. Barton informs, breaking my comforting slumber, as annoyed as I feel after her information, I return her a genuine smile. She leaves me alone after, closing the door behind her.
I walk behind the wooden panel screen lazily, slipping out of my silky nightgown and jumping inside a simple light blue gown I wore yesterday. Mother always wants us to be in presentable attire in front of her.
The sound of my ballet flats against the wooden floor echoes around the massive, empty hallway. I walk across my room to my mothers, flattening my hair with my palm in the process. She'll be absolutely incensed after acknowledging how late I slept and awoke this morning, I can bet on that one.
"Mama!" I tap my knuckles against the long wooden door.
"Come in, sweetheart," She was seated by her dressing table, applying every kind of makeup given to this mankind.
"You wanted to see me?" I ask. She swirls around her seat, her hand motioning me to close the door.
"Yes, I wanted to inform you about a few guests joining us for brunch," My mother stands up. "I can see that you woke up not long ago so I would like you to get showered and well-dressed before their appearance."
I mentally roll my eyes, "May I ask who the guests are?"
"One of your father's many childhood friends, not sure if you remember him but he was in military, he shifted abroad but now he got back not long ago," She explains.
"Alright," I purse my lips, looking at the curls bouncing down my mother's shoulders. She never fails to make them perfect.
"Now go on, don't waste your time, Indiana."
My feet guide me to my bathroom and I waste no extra time, it would only lead to another hour lecture on how I'm getting careless. I'm not getting careless, I'm growing tired.
Under the warm shower, my mind starts to image the people who will come, like it always does. But then I stop, reminding myself that they would be just like the rest, determined to only win my father's trust; completely fake. Their smiles are forceful, there compliments are lies, and their presence is purely fabricated. Greed, that's all, that is the root of everything. It has exasperated my own self.
When I walk out of the shower, a dress is already spread across my bed for me to wear. A simple tank top and pajamas covers my body as I begin to dry my hair. There is an audible ring of our bell and I rush around the room, not exactly knowing what I need. The loud guffaws of men are what stops me, and make me wonder why are they laughing? They don't laugh. I place the drier on my bed, and walk towards my doors.
The small laughs and talks are clear from up here, my eyes peaking down at the people. I can observe two females, one possessing colored hair. There are two men---one catching my eyes specifically. He looks young; I deduce that from up here. But my curiosity desires more. I take two silent, cautious steps forward in an attempt to get a better view. This makes no difference, instead it makes him notice me. His eyes look up in a swift movement, quicker than my own cerebrum could react. I jump backwards, tripping on my own feet, and topple on the ground with a perceptible thump. I promptly crawl back to my room and softly close the door behind. My face resembles a bloody tomato when I pass the mirror to change and I pray to God; that if He loves me, that boy, or anyone in that case, didn't noticed my clumsy butt.
After getting ready, I debate between calling my sister upstairs and walk down with her for extra confidence but a dark part, the one at the very back of my mind mocks me on how much of a coward I am.
I push the negatives behind and advance outside. My dress is annoyingly puffy, it makes me look fat. But I cannot even think of arguing with my mother about how weird this dress is, but she always seems to pick the worst dress out of my hundreds.
My shoes tap on the concreted floor as I haltingly walk downstairs and to the lounge. Heavy laughter and chats fill the room when I enter. The attention diverts towards me and a sudden rush of anxiety fills every nerve of mine.
"G-good morning," I almost whisper. The man seated beside my father smiles at her wife, both of them looking back at me. He stands up---something I never expected---and walk in my direction.
"Look at you. All grown up and beautiful," He smiles, offering his hand. I control the blush creeping its way to my cheeks at such a simple comment. But somehow it feels good, warm actually to hear something like this and I instantly grow a liking for this man. I'm quite aware of the fact that I have met these people before once or twice during my childhood but there is nothing specific playing in my brain.
As I take a few steps towards the female standing beside him, my eyes land on the boy. He was already gazing at me, as if noting every movement I made intently, giving a rise to my discomfort. The lady looked quite young for her age, and really beautiful. She had a warm smile, not one of the fake ones I had gotten used to with. She made me sit next to her, introducing me to her daughter, Gemma. Her daughter seemed like a girl version of her brother, the noticeable difference being that she does not make anyone uncomfortable with their annoyingly, anxious gaze. The family was so similar looking that it makes me wonder impossible things, things I should not think of. One could easily comprehend that they are a family. An adorable one in that case.
We sit silently, awkwardly, while our parents chatter about the memories of their past together back in college. I have not seen my parents smiling so sincerely at people, it just concludes that these people have no sham of a friendship and I thank god mentally.
As much as I do not want to be introduced to the young male, I felt a feeling of disappointment when I was not. We share multiple gazes each time; he really does not look away. It would be disrespectful of me to rest my back against the sofa to escape his gaze or leave this place all of a sudden. My eyes always seem to dart his away and betray me, but this time, he was not looking. I took that as an advantage to scrutinize his appearance. He was adorning a dark green button down shirt, top buttons were open revealing a part of his chest and...tattoos. I look down quickly, eyes on my palms. Tattoos? How can he even get tattoos? Doesn't it hurt?
I glimpse towards him to continue my little investigation only to meet his eyes. My blood rushes up my head as he smirks in my direction and I foolishly return it with a small smile. I look away almost immediately, seeing him shift in his seat from the corner of my eyes.
I catch site if Iris watching me intently. She beams in my direction and wiggles her brows teasingly. She makes an attempt to wink at me and I purse my lips to hold back the laughter. She has noted the small, unintentional interaction between me and that guy and her minor teasing brings a tingling sensation to my cheeks.
I wonder how foreign this feeling is. It is not like I haven't been near a guy, or talked to one. My mind questions me why I'm acting like this near him, why am I not just going straight to him and greeting him with a small hi or asking him simple questions to make conversation like I usually do. The only answer I can provide from my brain was simple yet different in a way.
I was really, really intimidated by him.
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