Friday, April 27, 2012
Chapter 28: Prince in disguise
Chapter 28: Prince in disguise (Wattpad)
Positive. I have to think positive.
My insides were twisting in horror, but I did my best to ignore it as I put my bag down on one of the benches and I faintly heard Travis say, “Thanks, Mina.” A helper – I think – nodded and smiled in response and proceeded to transfer my bag beside a briefcase and a Louis Vuitton.
I took another deep breath as Travis led the way to his parents, who were now conversing lightly, glancing at our direction every now and then. Why are they looking at us like that? My stomach is now churning like crazy and I held Travis’ hand in a vice-like grip and I’m certain that one of us will have a bruise to deal with later on. He whispered in my ear, half-laughing.
“Relax. Smile. Where’s my little genius?”
“I’m right here.” I squeaked. He didn’t answer but traced patterns on my hand with his thumb and I became calmer with every caress. Tried my best to put on a demure smile on my face as we approached them and in no time, we’re face to face.
“Hi, Mom.” Without letting go of my hand, Travis stepped forward and kissed his mother tenderly on the cheek and hugged her with one arm. As he pulled back, I saw the love between them and there’s no denying that they go along really well. Adding to my surprise was the accessory swinging on her neck, which became still and nestled comfortably on the base of her throat.
I only have to wonder for three seconds before the memory from last Wednesday came back to my mind with surprising detail; we were shopping for the school dance – me, Cassie and the others – when Travis popped in the shop. He bought the necklace I’m seeing right now. He bought it for his mother! And to think we even considered Athena.
“Dad.” Travis gave his father a brief hug and stepped back, smiling at me. “Mom, Dad, this is Avery. Beautiful, isn’t she?”
My knees were shaking and I forced my smile to look as natural as possible as Travis eased me forward with a soft hand on my waist. “Good morning Mr. and Mrs. Warner. It’s nice to meet you.” I sounded tragically nervous and I probably look like a trembling penguin before a shark. Suddenly, Mrs. Warner laughed and stepped forward, rubbing my shoulders.
“You don’t have to looks so scared, Avery. We won’t hurt you.” She flashed a smile at me that exposed both of her dimples and her brown eyes glistened. She looks so much like her son.
“Oh, you look so pretty. I knew my Travis won’t disappoint. Right, Anthony?” Eyes were drawn to the rock-hard features of Anthony Warner, who looked at me for full three seconds and moved his gaze towards his son. When he faced me again, his expression softened for a fraction and he offered his hand, “Delighted to meet you, Avery.” He said in a deep voice.
In a hazy daze, I shook his hand, my eyes meeting his very blue ones. His eyes are very much like Travis’ but you can see that he uses it more to intimidate, rather than charm. But my mind was constantly repeating, I’m shaking hands with the president of Gedi Institute, the most successful company in the finances…
My hand fell limply to my side as I said, “Thank you, sir.”
“Don’t call him ‘sir!” Carolyn Warner laughed, “You can call him Dad and call me Mom!” she smiled happily.
Oh my God.
My heart slammed to my ribcage and my eyes widened in shock. “R-really?” Travis laughed on my side and his father scowled and said, “You’re scaring her, Lyn.”
“I’m not scaring Avery.” She punctuated that with a high laugh, “Please don’t feel uncomfortable around us, Avery. We won’t be mean to you. And why should we? From what we heard, you’re such a sweet girl.”
The tension left my shoulders bit by bit, but my mind was still completely boggled. “Uhm, heard from what?” I asked shyly, biting my lip. Her answer made me jump.
“Heard from Travis, of course! He’s told us so much about you!” She turned to her son with a beam and I stood, my entire body frozen. Travis flushed pink and said, “Mom.”
She giggled, seeming pleased with herself as I tried to process. Travis talked about me? My eyes watered slightly as I speculated just how I appeared to them. What the bloody hell did he say? I gave him a look that plainly said, I’m going to get you later. I received a nervous smile in return.
“Why don’t we walk along the beach and honey, you can leave your slippers. The sand feels good.” She twined her arm around her husband’s as we left our flip-flops on the white sand, away from the waves of the beach. Then all together, we walked with the comforting water lapping at our feet and resumed conversation in friendly tones. Mrs. Warner made the affair alive with her incessant questions and warm laughter. I never expected this, but in several more minutes of walking and talking, I’ve taken a particular liking to them and more than enjoyed their pleasant chatting and presence. The same thing goes to Travis’ father, though he’s reserved throughout the whole exchange, he remained pleasant and at times, he smiled at me.
Not any word can describe how that simple smile meant to me. It makes my chest tight with a sense of welcome, that somehow, they don’t despise me at all. They like me.
“Does anyone want to go swimming?” Mrs. Warner asked curiously. I barely got a word out of my mouth when Travis said, “Avery does.” Then he put a firm arm around my shoulders, not letting me to squirm away from his side. Then he added, “I’ll join her, of course.”
“Of course, Trav. You can go change.” Mrs. Warner smiled brightly at us as Travis half-led and half-dragged me to the nearest hut with a single seating bench.
“What the hell are you doing?” I said through clenched teeth. The thought of the bikini came back to my mind full-blast and I stopped in my tracks, crossing my arms over my chest. I tried my best – believe me, I did – to appear as if I’m pissed off, but I could already feel the blush spread across my cheeks. Travis smiled and put his hands on my waist and I felt more certain than ever that he shouldn’t, at all costs, see me in the bloody two-piece creation meant for girls who are prettier than me. He shouldn’t.
“Now, just what are you afraid of?” he asked in a sing-song voice, his eyes already full of malice.
“Honestly, I’m afraid of you.” I replied, brushing the strands of hair that are blown in the wind, hindering my vision. He smoothed the top of my head and smiled wider, “You’re not afraid of just me. You’re also afraid of showing too much skin.” He winked. My worries increased and I pursed my lips, trying not to show how panicked I am. I…must…not.
Travis chuckled mirthfully and he pressed closer, our bodies touching. “This is fun.”
“This is humiliating. Your parents are watching, for God’s sake.”
“No, they’re not.” He answered with calmness etched to his face and stance, “They gave us some privacy.” At his words, I whipped my head around and indeed found the area deserted.
“If you have some mercy, you won’t let me swim at all.” My pulse and heartbeats are increasing with every passing moment and it took only a sliver of patience and sanity not to run. I need to escape.
“Let’s say I don’t have mercy.” He replied, his expression serious and he looked at me straight in the eye, clearly of the intention of letting me know he’s not joking now. Well, that makes two of us.
“It’s not my decision to wear what I’m wearing.” I said, my voice barely above a whisper. His eyes glinted and one of his eyebrows pitched up. He asked, “Underneath?”
“Stop looking so sexy.” I snapped while my whole face turned crimson. He didn’t seem to hear me as his grip tightened on me and he asked further, “You’re wearing a two-piece underneath, aren’t you?”
“No – Yes. I don’t know!” I cried out hysterically. This is just getting worse, damn it. His fingers came up to the knot at the back of my neck. “You don’t know? Well, why don’t we find out?” he started untying it and I froze, aware of my hyperventilating. In a sudden reflex, my hand reached back to stop him. I should’ve screamed but I only managed a whisper of, “No. Why don’t we just by something from the – ”
“It’s not like you’re the only one in swimming attire.” I turned to a more deeper shade of red as he started undressing, leaving him clad only in Speedo trunks that reached to the top of his perfectly carved knees. I gulped when he stepped forward, enclosing me in the circle of his arms. He said in a solemn voice, “Your turn.”
“Wha – what?” I tried my hardest not to drool, but that’s a hard feat. I mean, I’ve seen his six-pack and it’s just difficult to maintain a sense of being normal when it’s really in front of you and your hands are free to roam and touch…
“Point taken.” I heard him say. I blinked several times and looked at his face, “What point? Sorry, I was lost in…thought.” He regarded me with a slight smile as he said, “If what I saw earlier isn’t you staring at me with lust, then I don’t know what the hell it is.”
My mind went blank. I sputtered, “Lust? I’m not a lusty person – ”
“Sure, you are.”
“I am so not. I’m a normal person.”
“If you experience it, it doesn’t mean that you’re abnormal.” He stated matter-of-factly. Taking a deep breath, I reached behind me and undid the tie, “I’ll look ridiculous.” Biting my lower lip, I tugged the dress down and discarded it beside Travis’ clothes. The caramel stood out against my porcelain skin and I shifted uncomfortably, lifting my eyes to see his reaction.
I instantly reddened as I saw him eyeing me with his blue orbs wide with wonder – and something else.
“This is ridiculous.” I whispered.
“You’re right.” He leaned forward, “I don’t know how I can just stand like that.” He kissed me with a passion I’ve never experienced from him before and I was absolutely undone. I forced myself to move back, “Why – why don’t we – ” I breathed hard, “Why don’t we just go swimming?”
“Good idea.” He said in a husky voice.
“I don’t thi – ” he crashed his lips to mine again, at the same time, lifting me up and I instinctively wrapped my legs around his waist, my arms around his neck. I had no idea where he is heading, but I could feel the motion of his legs and suddenly, the sound of monstrous waves came up behind me and saltwater splashed on my back. Breathing hard, I opened my eyes while Travis nuzzled my bare shoulder. We were thigh deep in water and my mind is in total disarray. My chest was heaving as I felt him gather my loose hair on one side and he sucked on my neck.
“God, Travis.” I pulled back again, only to have him look at me with hunger, which is either a really good or a really bad thing. I became strikingly aware of my legs still around him and I unlatched myself, landing in the cold water.
“Jesus, it’s so cold!” My teeth clattered almost instantly and I looked at him, “You didn’t tell me it was cold!” I wrapped my arms around myself against the chill. It’s so coooold. The corners of his lips turned up in a smile, “I didn’t notice. You see, I was busy. But then you had to cut my fun.” I rolled my eyes, still shaking violently.
“Right. Thanks bunches.”
His smile brightened as he put both his hands on my shoulders and guided me deeper to the waters, “It’ll go away.” I opened my mouth to protest but he beat me to it, “Should we have a making out session number two completely without clothes this time?”
I quickly swallowed my retort and didn’t say a word until we’re both underwater from the neck down. “This isn’t half-bad.” I remarked, aware of the constant brushes of his feet against my legs.
“Told you.” He winked again.
For the rest of the remaining hours of morning, we remained soaked; we first had a swimming race and then we took pictures of anything interesting underwater with his waterproof camera. Then we took stolen pictures of each other. It was as if everything I’ve suffered through; all the longing, the waiting, had all been for this particular moment. More than enough compensation for the constant yearning for that someone who would bring out something different from me, to actually look at me, not like so many others.
But he’s been there all along. My prince in disguise.
We ate light dinner on the hut with Travis’ parents. There were lamps glowing, guiding us with light as we ate our shrimps and crabs. To be honest, the wooden table was filled with all the seafood I could think of and each must’ve cost a fortune. I huddled myself to Travis’ jacket, which I’m wearing over my wet garments but no one seemed to mind as we laughed and talked, enjoying each other’s company.
Everything seemed to pass in a state of blur, because the next thing I know, I was bidding goodbye to Mr. and Mrs. Warner beside Travis’ car. They were making offers and invitations for me to come to their home – slash mansion – anytime I want and that I’ll always be welcomed. As they waved and smiled goodbye, I got in the car, as well as Travis and we were speeding out of the place.
I played with the hem of my summer dress which I wore again after dinner, and smiled contentedly. Behind the wheel, Travis also smiled. “And this morning, you were worried about dying.” He shook his head. I yawned and relaxed, then I snuggling deeper to the warm seat.
I closed my eyes and let sleep take over me. That was the last words – those two words – that he ever said to me.