Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Chapter 23: Spell perfect
Chapter 23: Spell perfect (Wattpad)
The indescribable feeling was still there when we were both on the doorway. But when I heard my cousins, I knew this wasn’t a good idea to begin with.
“Avery!” the twins chorused from the couch. They were eating cookies and it was obvious that they just woke up from their identical sleep-filled eyes – eyes like their father’s – and their tousled blonde hairs.
“Hey, guys.” They were looking at me expectantly and gazed at Travis like he was a new toy from Christmas. I looked at them, then to Travis – who seemed adorably uncomfortable – and then to the dining table, where they were speaking and it’s obvious they haven’t seen us yet.
I gripped Travis hand and smiled at him encouragingly, “I think it would be better to meet the adults first.” He nodded his response and smiled to me as well. I turned to the pouting twins and mouthed later. To them and made our way to the dining table.
They all turned around and I bristled from their stares. They were looking at me like I’ve done something forbidden yet, they approved of it. Mom, being the savior, stood up immediately and faced Travis. He smiled shyly and said, “Good morning, Mrs. Allton.”
She laughed, “Please don’t call me Sylvia; it makes me feel younger. So, you must be Travis.” She appraised him for half a second and said, “Why don’t you sit down?” she gestured at the seat on Dad’s left and I pulled him with me. When I seated myself beside him, from across the table, I mouthed a thank-you to my Mom and she winked back. Then I saw my Dad.
“Uhm…Dad? Daddy, you okay?”
He was staring off to space but when I called him twice he blinked and focused on me properly. He smiled and after a second, looked at Travis. He offered his hand.
“Travis Warner, if I’m not mistaken?”
“Yes, sir. That’s me.” They shook hands.
That explains it.
Mom arched an eyebrow which I responded with a shrug and Uncle Zed regarded me as if he’s seeing me in a different light. They all are. I only smiled at Travis uncomfortably to avoid the stares and Dad said, “Travis, why don’t you introduce yourself properly to everybody?”
“I think Avery should do it.” Uncle Zed piped up. He smiled wide and looked at me, “Right, Ave?”
I met his gaze head-on, “Actually, I – ”
“Travis?” Mom said, breaking up the little argument. Picking up the cue, he faced the table in general and said in a perfect voice, his charm and smile in full mode, “Hello, everybody. My name is Travis Anthony. It’s nice you meet you all.”
I released a breath I didn’t know I’d been holding.
Uncle Rence’s brow furrowed, “Does your family own the GI? If you don’t mind me asking.”
“Yes, we do. Mom and Dad wanted to be here but they’re on a business trip at Singapore, so it’s just me for now.” He smiled winningly.
“So what had you going after our Avery?” Grandpa asked. Aaargh. This situation is complicated enough, thank you Grandpa. Travis chuckled and under the table, his thumb traced soothing patterns against my skin. He said, “I could give you a list, but I don’t think I want to spend my entire life holding a pen and a paper.”
The others on the table chuckled and one by one, everyone introduced themselves and started firing their questions. Unsurprisingly, Travis answered them all with complete ease and he relaxed against his chair, lightening the awkward tension in the room.
Ten minutes passed and everyone was now laughing, telling stories of their own. The atmosphere became more light and comfortable and Travis just seemed to fit in perfectly with everyone else. In the midst of it all, Travis glanced at me and raised an eyebrow, as if to say, You okay?
I smiled tiredly in return, not bothering to answer properly and then I heard the twins. “Daddy,” Harvey and Nique said in unison as they went up to the table and tugged at each of Uncle Rence’s arms, “Why do you meet him? We want to talk to him, too.” They said, still synchronized. All attention were on them now as they pouted at exactly the same second and whined, “But that’s not fair!” Uncle Lawrence regarded and smiled at them patiently – I marvel at how he does that, seeing as those two can be quite evil as much as they appear to be cute. “But you have to promise not to pull any pranks on Travis, okay? Avery will not bake you cookies again if you do that.”
“Oh, no. We’ll be nice.” Harvey said with a huge grin on his face. That boy’s an excellent liar, trust me. I had my experience and I’ve known forever since that I need to be careful with what he says. Without another word, Nique dragged him by the arm and their Dad said, “Nique, what did I say about dragging your older brother?”
She slowed down. “Sorry, Daddy.” She sent him an irresistible smile and a flying kiss and they both stood in front of Travis and to Dad’s left. They were just smiling like Travis is a new package from Santa or the Easter Bunny.
I have a really bad feeling about this.
“Uhm…I’m sorry, but pranks?” Travis whispered in my ear as the twins spoke to Aunt Laine and he gazed at the twins with something close to skeptism. “They look awfully cute and innocent to be pranking someone.” That’s exactly what I thought before.
“Just be careful. The last time they pulled a prank, it was quite, uhm, unexpected.” I hope he survives.
“I’ll give you a kiss goodbye if I live long enough, then.” He winked at me confidently and faced the twins. I whipped my head to Uncle Lawrence with my eyes screaming panic and he just shrugged helplessly and mouthed, Sorry in advance.
“Hi, I’m Travis.” he smiled at them. The twins smiled sweetly in return and said, “Hello.”
“Hi, I’m Harvey. I’m five years old and seven minutes older.” He smiled swiftly. “I like you already.” Travis laughed and responded, “Well, I’m flattered. Thank you, Harvey.” Harvey offered his hand in a casual, but unmistakable way.
“Harvey.” Everyone on the table mildly scolded. I immediately grabbed both of Travis’ hands away from my cousin’s reach and he looked extremely baffled.
“What? Did I do some – ”
“It’s not you.” I looked at Harvey while he pouted and let his hand fall limp to his side, “But Daddy!” he whined loud enough so he can hear, “I was being nice!” Then the little devil looked at me, still pouting. “Avery, you’re not sharing.”
I don’t even own this guy.
“Please remove that thing, whatever it is, from your palm, Harvey.” I smiled in I’m-good-so-listen-to-your-big-cousin way and not end up looking electrocuted myself. “I know you have one of those freaky electronic skins. You too, Nique.”
Pouting terribly. Harvey slowly started peeling the skin-like pranking tool from his palm and then I turned to Nique. Grandpa Ian said, “Put it away now, darling.”
“You don’t want Travis getting hurt.” Dad supplied. Speaking of Travis, he was looking incredibly at Harvey, struck speechless.
“Nique.” Prompted Uncle Rence.
“But I don’t have one! Promise, Daddy. I really don’t. You believe me, don’t you, Travis?” she turned to him with her puppy dog eyes look that melted even my heart. Little scumbag.
“Whatever you wanted to use Niq, please put it down on the table.” I said to her, hoping for the best. The good thing about here is that it’s still early and they just woke up, so they’re still kind of mellow. Mellow equals more chance of avoiding disasters.
She heaved a little sigh and put her hand to her pocket and retrieved from it a Ziploc filled with black, crawling spiders.
“Goodness, gracious.” I heard Aunt Laine murmur.
“But, Aunt Laine! I was saving these for later. I’m not going to use it now.”
“You…you little…” I can’t even describe the words I want to say to her. I looked at Travis pale face as he regarded the transparent plastic with wide eyes, his entire frame frozen.
I turned to Nique and scowled, “Could – could you please keep that away, Niq? I’m serious, okay? I don’t want to see that ever again.”
“Okay, Ave.” she put the cursed things away from sight and she and her twin brother raced up the stairs with barely concealed glee. Everyone made small talk again and I faced Travis, pursing my lips. He was looking at me as well, confusedly shaken.
“I do hope that didn’t freak you out much.” I said in a hush tone, “It’s just them, you know. But they’re really adorable when they’re not pulling those little games.”
“Little.” He muttered, “Yeah, I’m okay.”
“Travis?” Uncle Rence spoke in an apologetic tone, “I’m so sorry about my twins. I don’t know where they got that but they’ve always liked to…play as long as we can remember.”
“It’s okay, sir.” Travis responded with a smile, “I’ll keep that in mind.” Before anyone else could say anything, we heard footsteps on the direction of the stairs and before I saw her, I heard Elaine say, “I’m telling you, that car on the driveway gives me vibes. I think’s something’s up, but I’m not really sure…”
“You’re still on hangover, El. I think you’re just imagining things.” I heard Lorraine say. Then a second later, all four of them came to view – Delsey, Elaine, Lorraine and little Kat – and they stood transfixed, looking at Travis on the table.
“Uhm…” Elaine was at loss for words and decided to just come forward and say, “Good morning, Daddy.” She came up to Uncle Zed and pecked him on the cheek and the rest started to follow suit. I heard Unle Lawrence demanding Delsey how many bottles she’d downed last night and the table was buzzing with conversation again. I smiled encouragingly at Travis who seemed to recover fully from his phobia attack and he smiled back at me, his eyes shining. I was tongue-tied for a moment but I managed to say, “Those are my other cousins. You’re safe from them.” He chuckled, flashing his all-too-perfect smile, “Thanks a bunch.”
“Hi, Travis.” Delsey smiled at the time she’s in front of him, “Avery told me all about you.” Her eyes twinkled.
“I did not.” I said through clenched teeth. She ignored me playfully and offered her hand, “I’m Delsey.” I saw Travis hesitate for a fraction of a second before shaking her hand, “Nice to meet you.” He smiled, winning her easily.
“Same here.” Then surprising us both, she said, “Let me guess, you have arachnophobia.” My brow furrowed and Travis looked stunned, “Wha – how did –”
“My sister’s upstairs, fiddling with the creepy little things. Just a little tip – don’t use the upstairs bathroom.” She smiled, “Speaking of which, I’ll have to check on her, please excuse me.” She sent me a wink and went upstairs.
We could all use a sister like her.
Then I saw Elaine and her two younger sisters come from over Travis’ shoulder. El mouthed, What the bloody hell, Ave? Lorraine gave me the thumbs up and mouthed as well, He’s hot! Nice work.
I cleared my throat and nudged Travis with my shoulder. “Travis, meet the Charlie’s Angels.”
“Shut up, Ave. I’m Elaine.” She stepped forward and put in a happy grin. “You can call me El. It’s nice to finally meet you.”
“I’m Lorraine.” As they shook hands, she said, “Don’t bother with a nickname, I don’t have one.” He chuckled in response and lastly, Kat appraised him with open, guileless eyes. She smiled. “I like you already.”
She is so cute! With her silky brunette hair and huge eyes and those cheeks! I didn’t notice that I was gaping at her when Travis laughed at my expression and gave me a quick kiss on the cheek. He turned to Kat.
“What’s your name, darling?”
As I saw the exchange, my mind flew elsewhere. My cheeks were flaming and I can’t believe what happened or why I’m even feeling like this. It’s just a kiss on the cheek.
But my mind reveled on the fact that the gesture was more natural than not.
“Do you want to play with me?” she started tugging at Travis’ sleeve while El and Lorraine circled the table to grab some cookies and other biscuits. He smiled, “Sure, just wait a second.” He excused himself from the table and we both got up. Unexpectedly, he picked up Kat and carried her to the living room. She was giggling delightfully and I sat on the rug across from them, bewildered.
“Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think you have a thing for children.”
He winked at me. “I actually do.” He turned to Kat who was standing up, eye level with him though he was squatting down. “What do you want Kat?” he asked and her face scrunched up in cute concentration and her little fists gripped his chocolate colored hair, “Why do you look so pretty?”
Travis laughed and said, “I’m not pretty. Your cousin Avery is.”
I burst out laughing as he looked at me and reached out for my hand. “Please tell me what’s so funny.” Unconsciously lacing my fingers through his, I replied, “It’s just funny. Considering the fact that I probably look like garbage because I’m still on hangover.”
He smiled gently and leaned forward. In an act so uncharacteristically unlike his, he kissed my temple softly and whispered,
“You’re not. You’re beautiful.”