19. Befriending The Enemy

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From the last fifteen minutes, I was flopped on the couch, my eyes lowered to the floor. With every passing second, the tension in the air was increasing, and so was my anxiety.

"So... Do you like him?" Dad spoke for the first time in the last fifteen minutes.

My eyes bulged out of their sockets and I screeched, "What? No. No. Of course not....... NO."

"That many NOs are raising my suspicion Alicia." Dad said, propping his elbows on his thighs and resting his chin in the palm of his hands.

"I swear Dad. There is nothing going on between us. We were just... I was just..."

If only I had any excuse!

"You can even ask him if you want. There is nothing going on between us." I responded in an anxious tone.

"I believe you." Dad said. "There is nothing going on between you and Adam. Fine. But I asked do you like him?"

Do I?

"Umm.. I.. Umm.. I.. Umm.. I.." I played with the hem of my hoodie and looked around as if I would find the answer written on the TV screen.

Dad's frown deepened with my stuttering. He rubbed his temples with his fingers and exhaled deeply. "I am not against of love or anything Ali. In fact I would be the happiest person in the world if my girl finds her true love." he said briefly.

"But.." he continued.

"But?" I whispered.

"You are so precious Alicia and I don't trust the guts of these high school boys. They are not worthy of my little princess." he added softly.

"You don't have to worry about them Dad. Just trust your daughter's gut. I won't take any step that can destroy my future." I consoled him and a smile played on his lips

"Besides, Adam and I, it's never gonna happen." I chuckled and he looked relieved by my statement.

"If your mother was still alive, she would have been very proud of you Ali. You have grown up to be a wonderful young woman." he whispered.

After dad left for his room, I sauntered into my room and opened the drawer. I pulled the photo frame out and sat down on the bed. It was an old picture of me with mom and dad. I was seven that time and we went to disneyland on my birthday. We were so happy back then, such a perfect family.

Mom was looking so beautiful. She had pulled her hair in a bun and her light blue summer dress complimented her blue eyes perfectly. Dad was supporting a huge grin, the skin around his eyes was crinkling because of how genuinely happy he was. And in their centre was I, the cute kid with pig tails and missing teeth. That was before her health started deteriorating and everything became a mess.

She spent years fighting with cancer. But at the end, she lost.

I hadn't realized how but within few minutes, my whole neckline of hoodie was dripping wet with tears. No matter how much I grow up, I still needed her to guide me. I still needed her so that I could share my feelings with her.

Why did you left so soon mom?

...

Sophia and I were heading towards the cafe when a muddled scream reached our ears. The voice seemed to be coming from the ladies washroom. We rushed inside, only to find Emily on the floor. She was wincing in pain, holding her feet while Chloe was throwing daggers at her with her eyes.

"Oh my God! What happened?" I slouched down beside her and helped her get up. It took her some time to be able to stand on her feet.

"Are you okay sweetheart? See, because of your weight, you can't even stand properly now." Chloe taunted, running her fingers along her silky, straight hair.

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