At Any Cost | Book One of Exafortespent

By Alma Azura Celia All Rights Reserved ©

Action / Drama

Eleven: Shit, it's Matthew!

I find myself unconsciously keep gazing outside the car window at the crowd of people and flashing lights in amazement and anxiety as the car keeps moving forward towards the entrance of the grand foyer.

Calm down, Sophie. It’s not going to be bad. Besides, Colton would be by my side for the whole night. He’s not going to abandon me in this huge place. But I don’t know, I’m not really sure.

I step out of the car and flinch as I get greeted by a blinding flashing lights of the paparazzi's cameras at the same time. My hand covers my eyes from the lights as I squint my eyes, trying to adjust my eyes with the lights. I put my hand away from my eyes and begin to walk next to Colton.

Why am I here, once again? Oh, right. To find and meet Matthew Williams. And get to know him better in person.

Why do I agreed to this? I should have just stay at home. I can meet him later at school. I’m not ready yet to meet him. I haven’t prepared myself.

“Hey, are you okay?” Colton stares down at me with concern and worries swept across his face as we walk towards the ballroom. I stare back at him and smile. “I’m fine.”

He stares at me with doubt clouding his gaze, seems like he doesn’t believe of the two words I just said. I said the two common words because it doesn't feel right to really say what we feel to people. Because saying 'I'm fine' is so much easier and people would less likely to ask any further. Or so I thought.

Colton keeps staring into my eyes, trying to get the words of what I'm really feeling out of my mouth. I sigh in defeat and look down at my hands. “Okay I’m not.” I keep fidgeting with my own hands anxiously and my breath begin to come in and out of my lungs in a quick pace as my heart begin to beat faster and my legs begin to weaken.

Shit, I'm having a panic attack.

Colton holds my upper hand gently and lead me somewhere less crowded. Colton keeps pulling me away from the people until we stop in a vacant hallway. I rest my back on the wall as I hyperventilate and he stands in front of me, still keeping himself calm though I'm feeling like a mess in front of him with all of this things happening in my body at the same time and makes me even more anxious with every passing seconds.

He grips my shoulder strong enough to steady me and stares into my eyes calmly. “Sophie, calm down. Take a deep breath and let it out.” He demands me. I follow his words, nodding my head a little. I close my eyes and do as what he told me.

Take in a deep breath, and let it out. Take in a deep breath and let it out.

I repeatedly do the controlled breathing with his hands still gripping me gently to steady me on my feet. Seconds pass and I finally get the hold of myself again. I let out a sigh, feeling so relieved. I open my eyes and look up at him, smiling gratefully.

"Thanks, Colton."

What would happen to me if he's not there? I will probably look like a mental girl with the crazy look on my face as I panic and tears roll down my face.

“Anytime." He grins. "Come on, mom and dad must be waiting for us already.”

“Okay.”

He holds out his arm and I loop mine through his, afraid that I will fall because of my legs still feel weak after the attack. We walk back to the entrance of the hotel and go towards the ballroom. We step into the room full of chattering, and my eyes immediately observe the packed room. All the people here looks so luxurious. Especially the women.

Lavish floor-length dresses draped onto their bodies effortlessly. Jewelry that probably cost more than my car, gleaming because of the reflection of the lights from the chandeliers. And that makes me feel small around these people.

But who cares? Everyone cares, Soph.

I sigh and look around the place again. Now, people already watching me, whispering at each other as they take a few glances at me with curiosity on their faces.

“Don’t look at them, just pretend they’re not here.”

How can I, Colton? There’s a lot of them. Like a thousand of them! How could I pretend they’re not here? If I pretend it to be like that, than this whole big room is going to be empty! And that, would be scary as fuck. Just imagine being in a room this huge with no one around? It's frightening although the room is beautiful.

“Don’t worry. I’ll be with you for the rest of the night. Maybe not. I’m just going to be with you until you meet your prince charming Matthew.” He smirks playfully at me.

“Oh, shut up.” I smack his shoulder playfully, smiling.

We keep walking around until we found Aunt Sarah, Uncle Henry and Ellie, talking with an old couple. We walk closer to the little group, with me giving my best smile for a good first impression because look often determines what a person is, right?

Aunt Sarah turns to face me, look a bit surprised at my arrival. “Oh, Ashley.” She smiles. “This is Mr. and Mrs. Bennett.” She gestures her hand to the old couple who’s already smiling brightly. “Mr. and Mrs. Bennett, this is my daughter, Ashley.”

“Hello, Ashley. It’s nice to finally meeting you. You didn’t came here last year and before, didn’t you?” Mrs. Bennett asks.

“It’s nice meeting you too. And no I’m not. I’m studying abroad, in England exactly.” I lie smoothly.

“Oh I see. You have a little accent there.” She grins.

Really? I’m not speaking with accent. I’m not even trying a bit. Or did this lady just mocked me? So sarcastic. Just like me. And I like it.

“Oh really? I didn’t even realized it.” Because I don't even have one.

“Yes you are. How long have you been there?” She asks.

“I’ve been there since the first year of middle school. So, I’ve been there for 5 years. And because of a lot of school activities I had there, I didn’t really had a lot of time to go here. And when I have, it’s only when holiday times.”

Woah, where did those words came from? Smart me. I’m not planning to say those words when I was home. Didn’t thought words like that can came out of my mouth.

“Oh, what school activities?” She asks, looking very interested at where this conversation go.

“It’s an art and fighting activities.” I smile.

“Ooh, we have a tough girl here.” She grins and punch my arms lightly, making me and others laugh. Everyone stops laughing but still have our smiles on our faces.

“Why are you decided to come here? You would be on your senior year this year, right?”

“About that,” I stop for a second, thinking about something that would make sense. “I think it’s the time to move back with my family. Because, I won’t have a lot of time when I get to college. Who knows I’ll get into a college in another state. Or another country. And, I don’t really care if I have to move back here, start a school new life. I just want to be with my family, spending my time with them as long as I can to.” I smile.

“That’s so sweet of you.” She smiles at me. “Sarah, Henry, you should be grateful of her. She came back here to be with you again, though she had to left her previous life she had back at England. Spend your time with your children as much as you can.” She smiles.

“We will. We won’t miss our time with our children for the world.” Aunt Sarah says, smiling kindly at me which I return quickly.

“Honey, the auction. It would start in 5 minutes.” Mr. Bennett says to her wife.

“Oh, yes. I almost forgot about it. Excuse us, we’re going to the stage now.” Mrs. Bennett says.

“Oh, sure.” Aunt Sarah says. The old couple gives us last smiles and walk through the crowd. And there’s us left. One little great family. But not with me. I'm not a part of the family. Not really.

“Uh, do you know where the restroom is?” I look around the room, searching for doors of the restroom.

“Just go straight to the entrance room and turn right.” She turns to Colton and says, “Colton, go with her.” Colton turns to me, ready to leave whenever I want but I give him a look.

“You don’t have to, I’ll go by myself. Don’t worry, I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

“Are you sure?” Colton asks, looking at me hesitantly, probably afraid I’ll get my panic attack again.

“I’m sure.” Smiling, I whirl and walk straight towards the entrance, and turn right, just like what Aunt Sarah said. I walk into the restroom, and it’s empty.

Perfect.

I lock the door and go to the sink. I look down at the sink, sighing out loud and stare up at my reflection on the mirror.

What am I doing here? I should have just stayed home. This is not my thing. Never will.

I grip onto the sink, feeling myself at the verge of panicking again. I close my eyes and do a controlled breathing again.

When I already calm down again, I walk out of the restroom, searching for Colton, Aunt Sarah, or Uncle Henry, until my eyes found Colton, talking to another boy, his friend, I guess.

I move my feet towards him and keep walking. Until someone stands in my way, right in front of me. My feet can’t be stopped and my body crashes into his.

“Hey! Watch where are you going!” He snarls. I stand still for a seconds, still in shock, and then look up at him.

Shit, it’s Matthew.

“I’m sorry.” I quickly say as my green eyes meet his blue ones dark with anger. He takes a look at me for a second, his face showing an obvious annoyance, and then he just left. Left!

Rude.

I let out a sigh and continue to walk towards Colton, showing a little smile on my face. “Hi.” He turns around and smile widely at me. “Oh, hi, Ashley. This is my friend, Ben. Ben this is Ashley, my sister.” He introduces.

I hold my hand out and let him take it to shake. But, instead of shaking it, he kisses it. “Pleasure to meet you, Ashley.” He looks up at me, smirking flirtatiously. My face suddenly heated up and I try to look like I'm unaffected when I know it's actually very obvious I'm blushing like mad.

“Nice to meet you too.” I smile awkwardly.

“Stop it, Ben. You're scaring her.” Colton pushes him playfully as he laughs. Ben laughs at it and turn his attention back to me, smiling kindly. “I’m sorry, just messing with you.”

“That’s fine.” I smile.

“You’re so polite, not like Colton here. Messing around day and night.” He grins, side-glancing at him. Colton rolls his eyes and then let out a laugh.

“He is. But now he’s not as bad as he was. I guess he’s in the beginning of getting his sense of sanity back.” Ben covers his mouth, stifles his laugh, making his face gone red.

“Your sister here so funny.” He says, laughing with his shoulder shuddering vigorously.

“Haha, so funny.” Colton rolls his eyes, crossing his arms in front of his chest and then scowl as he keeps his gaze forward. I laugh at him quietly.

“How’s college?” I ask, turning my attention back at Ben.

“College is fine.” He shrugs. “I don’t mean to be rude but I have never seen you before.”

“Oh, about that, I was in England, study abroad.” I smile.

“Oh.” He nods. “You have a family there?” Ben asks Colton.

“Yes. She was staying at Uncle Tyler’s house. He’s American, but he decided to live in England, London to be exact.”

“You never told me you have a family in England.” He says, looking at him wide-eyed. Colton look at him in confusion and says, “Really? I thought I already said that before.”

Wow, he’s so good at acting and cover things up.

“No, you never said that. Oh, and if you go to England, tell me. I’ve been around the Europe, but not England. England seems like a great place, but my parents won’t let me go there. Don’t know what they are trying to hide from me.”

Weird, there must be something his parents are hiding from him.

“How is it? I mean, in England?” He asks.

“Everything there is great. I have a lot of friends too. But the sad thing is, I have to leave them. But it’s okay for me and them. We can go and meet each other anytime. The most important thing is, I can be with my family again, especially Colton. Though he’s a pain in my ass, but he’s a kind brother too.” I grin at him, and he grins back.

“Oh, I guess I have to go now, my family and I going to Italy this midnight. I’ll see you soon?” He smiles, looking back and forth and Colton and I.

“I’ll see you soon.” We say in unison. He waves his hand at us and walk away, leaving us between the crowd. I turn my body and face him. “Guess what?”

“What?”

“I just met Matthew.”

“What? When?” He asks, his eyes going wider.

“Later after I go to the restroom. I bumped into him and he got mad. And then I apologized and he just left!” I sigh in frustration, rolling my eyes.

“Good job for you.”

“I guess it’s going to be a hard time to know him than what I thought it would be.” I frown as I look at the floor.

Damn, this is suck. I don't know if I can finish my job before the deadline if he's going to keep acting that way to me.

“Maybe. I guess he’s going to be in shock, or madder than tonight when he sees you at school.” He smirks.

I smirk back at him, imagining on how angry Matthew would be when he finds out that I'm the new student at his school. “I bet. So, this school here, you’ve been there before, right?”

“Yes.” He nods. “In that school, you don’t have to move from one class to another classes because what subjects you will learn in school will already be determined. Your class would just be one. No need to get yourself exhausted by walking from class to class, but the teacher would be the one who exhausted.” He laughs, and I only give him a strange look.

His sense of humor is really bad it should be fixed. Maybe fix-it-Felix can help him. No, not really. I think he's going to make Colton's humor sense more fucked up than now.

“Why are you laughing? It’s not even funny.”

“Just ignore me. Myself is pretty bad at humor and I know you already know it.”

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