The sun is glaring at me causing me to wake up from my sleep. I pull up my blanket to cover myself from the light. I don’t feel like leaving the bed.
“Hey, wake up you sleepyhead. You know I’m leaving the day after tomorrow. We only have today to hang out,” Abby’s nagging voice rings in my ears.
I moan and mumble for her to go away.
Of course, it’s not Abby’s style to leave after being told so. Instead, she uses her full force and pulls the blanket away from me. I become completely exposed on the bed.
I groan as I hear her laugh. I try to block off the ray of sunlight coming from the window that Abby graciously has spread open the curtain earlier as an attempt to wake me up.
“Come on. Get up,” She instructs as she pats my leg.
I grumble while trying to bury my face in the pillow.
Abby doesn’t speak but I feel the bed dipping down on my side.
She no longer sounds as cheery as she is earlier while asking me a series of questions, “Didn’t you say we can go choose your gaming set together? You don’t want to do that anymore?”
“No… I do want to hang out,” I mumble while my head is still groggy.
“Great! I will wait for you downstairs.” Abby says.
I hear her footsteps rustle and slowly fade away. When the door clicks to close I finally fling my body to look up at the ceiling blankly. My mind flashes back to Ryan which causes me to subconsciously frown.
“Ugh.” I roll myself off the bed and walk as slow as I can to the bathroom to get ready for the day.
I stare at my face in the bathroom mirror while my mind recalls last night. It seems that I pretty much zoned out last night after my conversation with Ryan…
I splash my face with water before jumping into the shower.
It doesn’t take long before I get out of the bathroom after brushing my teeth and showering. I grab whatever I can from my closet and put it on. I make sure that I’m at least presentable and head downstairs.
“Took you long enough.” Abby has her hands on her waist as she purses her lips as I walk down the stairs.
“You don’t want me going out with you without showering, right?” I question her.
“Of course not. Anyway, let go!!!” She grabs my hand and drags me out of the house.
“I haven’t eaten yet,” I say as I get pushed into the car.
“Let’s go to the Pancake House for breakfast~” Abby continues to push me in and enter the backseat with me.
I notice Do-Hyun is in the driver’s seat. I hear the door slam shut and Abby flashes me a wide grin. The car starts moving and I turn to stare out of the window while trying to hold back from falling asleep.
The car arrives at the Pancake House a little slower than I prefer but Abby drags me out of the car before I can even think. The both of us enter the shop unimpeded. Abby dives right to the unoccupied seats at the corner.
A waiter passes the menu and Abby easily gives out her order without looking at the menu. I take a closer look before deciding on a blueberry pancake and a warm chocolate drink to start the day with. The waiters jot down our orders and go straight to input our order into the system.
The waiter comes back with a receipt with our order to put aside.
“What’s with you today? Did something happen yesterday…? Something relating to Ryan?” Abby leans forward from across the table with an eager look written all over her face.
“What?! No.” I deny it a little too quickly and Abby definitely catches on to that.
She smiles knowingly, “So it is about him. What did he do now?”
“Why do you say it as if he always does something bad?” I ask while amused with the way she says it.
She rolls her eyes and replies, “Doesn’t he always?”
“No. He’s been good to me,” I retort back.
“Oh?” Abby wraps her arm around herself before staring me down. “Why are you backing him up so much? Makes me wonder if you have fallen for him hard.”
Her words make me widen my eyes. She sees this and narrows her eyes but before she can ask anything, the waiter arrives with our pancakes. Abby swiftly changes her expression to a much friendlier smile as she thanks the waiter.
The waiter nods at her before leaving our table. Abby stares at the back of the waiter until the person is out of ear range. She turns to me and says,
“You like him.” It’s not a question but a statement.
I shake my head to deny it but she insists, “No wonder you've been siding with him whenever I say something about him.”
“No. I don’t think I like him.”
“Then what is it?”
“I… I think I just appreciate him. I think. I don’t know.” I frown while trying to form my words together.
“I see.” Abby pauses in contemplation before continuing, “Do you think it’s just that though?”
The quietness lingers between us until the waiter sends our milkshakes. We thank the waiter at the same time. Abby casually takes a sip of hers.
“Honestly, I don’t know.”
Abby nods when she hears me. “It’s fine. Take your time to understand it. Nobody can force you to feel anything. If you like him, then you like him. If you don’t, it’s fine too. Like, who cares. It’s your life, right?”
I laugh a little before nodding.
I don’t know how I feel about Ryan but yeah, no one can force me to feel anything towards him. I think I do like him but whether it's more than that… I don’t know.
“So do you wanna tell me what happened yesterday that makes you a little off this morning?”
My fork pauses from puncturing the pancake. I look up to see Abby happily eating her pancake while she returns my gaze calmly. She doesn’t say anything else as if saying that I have the option to tell her or change the subject. Whichever choice I make, she will respect it.
“Ryan said… he loves me,” I mumble.
“Hm? Ryan said what?” Abby appears to not hear me at first as she frowns but then her eyes grow wide. “He SAID WHAT?”
She realises her voice is a little too loud. She looks around to check if she causes a disturbance. Luckily, there aren’t many customers and all of them are minding their own business.
This time Abby lowers her voice making it a little hushed, “He said he loves you?”
I nod so she knows that she hears me correctly.
Abby covers her mouth in disbelief. She wants to say something a few times but ends up stopping herself. After repeating her action of wanting to speak but not speaking, she finally says, “Wow.”
I raise my brows at her wondering why.
“I can’t believe he did that…” She mutters.
“He must have truly meant it.”
“Why do you say that?” I’m surprised to hear that from Abby because she usually never hides her dislike for him.
“He can’t love anyone even if he tries it. For him to declare that to you… something must have changed in him. You... probably changed him.”
Abby shrugs, showing that she doesn’t know then she narrows her eyes at me teasingly before asking, “So, how did you answer him?
“I rejected him.”
Abby burst out laughing before praising me. “You really did that?! Oh great! So great. You did good.” She wipes the tears that come out from laughing too much.
“You really think so?”
She pauses as she hears my question. She leans forward and says, “Just because he tells you he loves you, doesn’t mean you have to accept him. There’s nothing wrong with rejecting him because you don’t like him or haven’t figured out your true feelings for him. So yes. You did good. Great even,”
I nod at her to show I understand.
Abby continues to say, “Hey, you’re still young and there’s so much to see; that you don’t have to rush to choose anything. Okay?”
“I- I won’t”
Abby smiles as she takes a sip of her milkshake before changing the topic. We start talking about our potential study plans. She even plans to study overseas if she could but that’s just a plan for now. We end up finishing our breakfast while chatting about almost everything.
We end up heading straight to the shop to choose my customized gaming set after breakfast. Abby even helps in choosing the design and even gets them to add my name onto the gaming chair and headset. The rest have the same blue gold motif.
The days pass me by and I still haven’t contacted Ryan for a while. Although I miss seeing Aiden, I don’t think I should go see them. It’s awkward right now and I don’t want to pretend nothing happened between us.
I walk downstairs for lunch only to be told that my mother has set up a picnic out in the garden. I head straight there and find Sebastian helping my mother set up the picnic blanket.
“Hi, sweetheart.” My mother greets me with a smile as I approach closer.
“Hi. Why did you suddenly decide to have a picnic?” I ask as I grab to help them set it up.
“Well, your father hasn’t left the house in a while. When he does this, he doesn’t take a single step outside. I think it's good for his health if we do this outside while the weather is nice.” She explains.
My father arrives not long after we finish setting up the blankets and food.
He joins us and ends up creating a triangle between the three of us.
My mother takes out some sandwiches and I ask, “Did you make this?”
My mother smiles and proudly admits it.
“It’s the only thing your mother can make without burning anything.” My father chimes in to which my mother smacks his shoulders while pouting.
“It’s true. When we were overseas, we didn’t hire any help but your mother was barred from the kitchen,” My father happily reminisces.
“Who cooked then?” I wonder as I glance at the two.
My mother refuses to meet my eyes while my father is smiling widely.
“That would be me.” My father says while trying to hide his broad smile as he is receiving glares from his beloved wife.
“That’s enough of that. Let’s eat,” My mother says as she takes a big bite of her sandwich.
I decide to take a bite of the sandwich too. The sandwich tastes nice and seeing my parents happily eating under the sunlight and next to the flowers gives this sense of serenity.
“We should do this often,” I quietly say but my mother hears it and replies,
“We definitely should do this often. As long as your father isn't too busy with work and has time to come home for lunch.”
“Even when I stay home you’re still not happy.” My father grumbles.
“That’s because you’re always so stressed out after finishing your work. It’s not healthy for you. Especially when we’re expecting,” My mother touches her stomach lovingly.
“Expecting?” Watching her actions and hearing her words surprised me.
“Yes. I didn’t want to tell you earlier because you were going through so much but keeping it from you any longer isn’t good either.”
My mother turns to my father and he immediately continues her words, “Well, your mother is pregnant. We’ve been wanting to tell you but the timing has been off. You’re going to have a sibling.”
“I… am?” I’m not sure how I take this news.
My mother reaches out to touch my hand and she stares into my eyes softly, “You see… We don’t want to pressure you into taking any path that you don’t want. We already know and we’re okay with it.”
“Know what?” I furrow my brows.
“About you and Ryan. Ever since you’re young, you’ve always been trailing after him. We can see now that it’s not just infatuation. So no matter what happens next, we will support you,” This time my father speaks while gazing straight into my eyes.
“It’s okay. Even if you don’t end up with Ryan and you want to date another man… or woman, we’re okay with it. It’s your life and we want to respect it as long as you’re happy,” My mother ends her words with a smile that makes me feel happy to the point that I’m close to tears.
I nod my head and say, “Thank you…”
My mother grabs me into her embrace and whispers, “We both love you very much.”
“I love you too, mom.”
“Well, would this be the right time for me to pass you this?” My father takes out an A4 size envelope from behind him. I don’t even know how he managed to hide that from our sights earlier.
I take it from him and see him nodding to let me open it. I stare at the envelope and there is my school emblem on it and it is addressed to me.
Under the gaze of both my parents, I finally tore open the envelope to reveal a letter from my school.
My eyes quickly read through and it grows wide when I reach the part where I have officially graduated from school.
“So? What’s written there?”
“I- I passed my test. I did it. I graduated.” I can barely believe it and have to reread it to make sure.
My mother squeals in happiness.
The school even attaches my test result which shows I did well. I show it to my parents who happily take it. They are crowding in front of the result with a satisfied look written all over.
“Have you figured out what you want to do next?” My father asks once the hype from the result has lessened.
“Oh, you. This can wait until later.” My mother shows her dissatisfaction with my father for bringing it up right now.
“I’m only asking in case he already knows what he wants to do,” My father adds.
“I have been thinking and… it seems that business management sounds good. I want to be able to help more orphanages in the future.” I sound uncertain about the plan but I do know I want to help more kids that were like me.
Just because I have a family now, that doesn’t mean I should forget my roots. I don’t want anyone to ever experience the things I have at all.
“Business management would be a good course to take if you want to head into that direction. Let’s try and apply to Elijah’s university as it has a good business study plan there.” My father says.
“Do you think I can get in?” I don’t know their bar of entry but it must be high. I’m not sure if my current standing is enough for them to accept me.
“I’m sure you can get in. Your extra credit achieves good results. I’m sure the orphanage can help write a letter of recommendation for you.” He pats my back to reassure me.
I nod as I think about my plans.
“Okay enough on that. We can think about it later. Let’s finish eating.” My mother nags both of us.
I chuckle before grabbing another sandwich to eat. My father does the same too.
When I finish eating, I thank my mother for the lovely picnic. She happily thanks me for joining her. I help her clean up the blanket and everything else. Sebastian also has come to swiftly help us with it.
I get back to my room after that. I notice my phone on my desk and realise that I left it there before going down to lunch. I pick it up and see that I have one missed phone call and one new message.
The message reads, “Come meet us at the bar when you can. Ruby wants to see you. -Leon.”