Part 20

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As Sebastian was standing in front of a row of seasonings, remembering which he was supposed to take, he noticed someone standing next to him, entering his personal space. “Are you stalking me now?” he jokingly asked when he figured that it was Beth. Although it was a joke, he did find something weird with them accidentally meeting together.
“Please help me.” She whispered and got even closer to him. “Who’re you hiding from?” Sebastian asked, even though he though he knew the answer. “Mike. He’s been following me since school.”, “That’s kind of creepy.”, “You’re telling me.” She said with a highlighted ‘me’ in the sentence. “Why are we whispering?” he asked because there were only them in the aisle. “So he doesn’t know I’m here. Hold still.” Beth said and with her slim hand on his waist and other on his shoulder turned him in a way he faced the end of the aisle. “Take something and pretend you’re reading it.” He heard her hysterical voice and had to smile. “I am doing that already.” If she didn’t know what he was doing, then he was a good hiding place for her. “Oh… okay. Did he pass by?”, “Nope. Are you sure he’s following y-” Sebastian intended to ask if she wasn’t hallucinating things, when the other man interrupted him. “Sebastian! Hey man!” Michael greeted like every time they’ve met in school. “Michael.” He greeted back and looked at his counterpart who was coming closer to him with brown hair, green eyes and eternal smile on his face, but with the almost same clothes as his. That part was a little irritating. “You doing some shopping?” Michael asked and looked at his cart. Sebastian just hated obvious questions like that, especially from him. Well, he heard them quite a lot through the past two months. “Yes. How about you? Looking for something?” Michael laughed and scratched the back of his head. Sebastian’s heart skipped a beat when Beth clenched her fist with his jacket in it and leaned her head on his back. “Yeah, do you know where Cheetos are?” he asked after a few seconds, it probably required some time for him to make up a question. “I believe they are in snacks section.” He answered with a fake smile on his face. That was a good specialty of his that made people think he actually cared. “Oh, right, figures. Thanks for the help.” Michael said and smiled once again, leaving in the same way he came from.
Not even after a minute of Michael’s departure neither Sebastian nor Beth moved an inch. “I think it’s safe now.” Sebastian said first. “Do you think he saw it through?” Beth asked and smoothened the part of his jacket she was holding tightly. “Considering how stupid he can be sometimes, no. He looks like the kind of person that’s nice on the outside…”, “But he’s actually a twisted psychopath in the inside.” Beth finished his sentence and cleared her throat. “Anyway, thank you for helping me.”, “Not a problem. Do you want me to drive you home?” he asked while putting the bag of oregano into his cart. “No need, thank you.” She said and smiled. “Well, see you around.”, “Sure.”, “Bye.”
Sebastian watched Beth as she carefully observed the store, just in case Michael was still there, and took a few couples of Milka chocolate bars on her way out. Well, at least he knew what he’ll get her for Easter.

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“I guess this’ll do fine.” Beth said while looking at her finished cake. The only good things about Easter were food and… well, food. Especially cakes.
Beth put the cake in the fridge and cleaned the mess in the kitchen.

She even bought presents for Deb and Sebastian. It was reasonable to buy something for Deb, but she somehow felt obligated to buy something for him, too. Probably because he helped her when she lost her keys.
The presents both contained the same; chocolates. Those fine chocolates and crème eggs with various fillings that Beth couldn’t even pronounce correctly. With chocolates came Beth’s homemade Easter eggs, decorated with special care in the tiniest details, and a card. Deb got a little longer message while in Sebastian’s simply wrote ‘Happy Easter’. She wanted to add something more, but got nervous, with no particular reason, and gave up. ‘Coward.’

Before leaving to Deb’s house, Beth decided to give Sebastian his present. She rang, but he didn’t answer so she thought he wasn’t at home and left the box in front of his door.

                                                        * * *

Sebastian sighed in relief when he parked his car in the garage. He was in Washington, his hometown, visiting his parents. And of course, like any other Easter, the Midfords had to come to. As same as Diedrich, father’s old friend ever since high school, with his wife and new-born son. But that wouldn’t be all if Lizzy wasn’t as hyperactive as ever, playing with Sebastian most of his time.
While breathing in the fresh air, Sebastian slowly walked to the building and took the stairs. On his doorstep he found a box wrapped into paper with fluffy bunnies on it and a note with ‘From Beth’ written on it. He smiled and remembered he didn’t give her a present yet. He left too early in the morning and now was too late to hand it over. The most surprising thing was that no one stole it, considering where they lived, until he opened the box and read the message in the card. ‘Happy Easter :* We all know I’m not good at expressing my feelings, so I’m going to shorten the whole thing. I love you and I’m happy for having you in my life. Don’t forget that, ever, no matter what I say. P.S. We will not talk about this, okay? Beth.’

“Wait… What?” Sebastian read the card 5 more times, just to make sure he didn’t misread anything, but no. There were no flaws in Beth’s neat handwritten message. ‘I’ve never expected that from her… What now?’ he kept sitting on the couch, not sure how to feel or what to think. He didn’t know her that well, but she seemed as the kind of person that requires a time to confess. ‘Shit…’ He couldn’t say he loved her, but he also couldn’t say he didn’t like her. Yes, she was smart, funny, independent and had a lot of self-esteem. It was easy to spend time and talk with her. You could casually talk with her without any pressure. Plus, she was pretty… Those are the signs of ‘liking’ someone, right? Or maybe something more? “This is all too much.”

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