At Any Cost | Book One of Exafortespent

By Alma Azura Celia All Rights Reserved ©

Action / Drama

Forty Four: The Date

We walk into the fancy restaurant, side by side. My gaze wanders around the place as Austin asks for his reservation. The place already packed. People talk in a low hush voice as classical music plays, and I look down at the floor and sigh.

“Hey, come on.” My eyes shoots up at him and I nod my head mindlessly and follow him. We walk in the same pace, side by side, and he presses his hand on my back lightly, guiding the way. I flinch a little at his touch, suddenly feeling a little awkward. I look up at him and found him already looking down at me, smiling. I return his smile with a little smile and averted my gaze away from him.

“Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce my date?”

I bring my gaze up from the floor, taking a deep breath quietly and my eyes immediately find that familiar face that I hate the most in all of my life. Matthew Williams, the idiot himself, sitting there beside her beautiful sister, Victoria. A scowl appears on his face when his eyes find me and he keeps glaring at me in annoyance.

What? Is this look like as what I thought it would be? Austin, the pitcher of Beverly High that hit me with the baseball ball, is Matthew the grumpy old man cousin? You’ve got to be kidding me! Why can’t I be away from him for an hour after I lost the deal I make? And why did I not remember anything about Matthew's cousin? I'm such a forgetful person.

“This is Ashley, one of the best girl baseball player I’ve ever met and known. That happen to be Matthew friend.” He says, smiling with the hint of satisfaction in his eyes. Now I’m guessing he brings me here because he wants to piss Matthew off. How can I didn't see this since the first time I saw both of them on the field?

“She’s never been my friend.” He growls, still scowling at me. And I just stare at him, trying to look calm and innocent in front of his family that look very kind and it makes me wonder how can people as kind as Matthew parents sell illegal drugs of sorts.

“Matthew,” Matthew’s mom warns, giving him a glare in the process. He takes a glance at her and roll his eyes and look down at his phone. So fucking disrespectful of him to do that to his parents. His mom lets out a quiet sigh of exasperation and turn to look at me, smiling.

“Ashley, please have a seat.” She gestures her hand towards an empty seat next to Matthew. Now I have to sit next to him for the whole dinner. Fuck. Wait, I can sit next to the girl that I'm guessing is Austin's sister.

“Thank you, Mrs. Williams.” I give her a smile and too bad that Austin already pull out the chair next to Matthew’s when I want to sit next to Austin's sister. I let a faint smile show on my face and take the seat, internally cursing myself and hated myself to not just ask to sit next to his sister.

Austin sit himself down next to his sister. He glances at her and smile for a second, and in return, he gets a smirk from his sister which make him rolls his eyes and look away. Her eyes trained toward me past Austin’s shoulder and her smile widened and turn into a grin. A grin forms on my own face at her look.

She seems like a great person, can’t wait to know about her better.

“Hi, I’m Ava.” She introduces, still grinning at my way. “And your dress is so beautiful!” She says, a little bit too excitedly. I open my mouth to say thanks.

“Yeah. It fits perfectly on you.” I shut my mouth and turn my head to look at Victoria, who just said the words and make me feel so honored since she’s a model and I’m just a no one.

“Oh, I’m Victoria, bye the way.” I know. “I’m Matthew sister. Ignore him, he’s always like that to a new person.” She smiles and look at Matthew, only to receive a scowl and an eye roll from Matthew.

“Shut up, Tori.” He says, looking back down to his phone screen. This boy really is has no respect. Like, is he serious? Paying attention more to his phone than talking with his family? And Tori? That’s an interesting nickname for her.

“What? You shut up.” She says, and roll her eyes. And for a split second, I feel jealous of them. Because they are siblings, fight or play each other. And I actually don’t have any. And because I have this job, I live with my aunt and uncle with my niece makes me know how it feels like to have siblings, and I know it’s not the same.

“Kids, please calm down.” Mrs. Williams says, looking a little annoyed by them. “Austin, Ashley, go ahead and order your dinners. We already ordered ours before you both came here.” She smiles.

“Yes, Mrs. Williams.”

“Please, just call me Christina.” She says, smiling. Damn, it makes me feels uncomfortable to call someone who’s definitely older than me with their first names. It’s just so weird and sounds disrespectful to me. But what can I do anyway?

“Okay, uh, Christina.”


“So, Ashley, where are you from?” Christina asks. I drink down my water and look up at her, smiling. “I’m from here, but I was staying in England for 5 years.” What a bullshit that I’m saying. The bullshit I’m saying since the start of my shitty year with Matthew.

“Oh, you study there?” She asks, seems pretty astonished when I see her face lighten up a little. I nod my head, still keeping the previous smile on my face. “Yes.”

“Really? I’m going to study in Germany after I finished my high school.” Ava says excitedly. I turn my gaze at her and look at her, pretty amused by the look on her face that looks so excited.

“Wow, that’s great. I bet you will like the people there. They are so kind and nice. And I thought when I first saw you, you’re still in middle school.” I say, laughing a little. And I guess because of my maybe contagious laugh or the words I’m saying, all of Matthew’s family laugh. Except him, obviously .

“Heard that a lot.” She says, smiling.

“Ashley,” Christina says. I turn my gaze back to her and look at her quizzically. “Yes, Christina?”

“What do you think about being with Matthew?”

What does she means? About being with Matthew? I think of what she means from saying the words. And that one thought cross my mind and make my heart stop beating for a split second. What?! Is she going to say the words I have in my head? I keep my face as neutral as I can, probably I look a little confused, but not shocked.

“Uh, I’m sorry?”

“I mean, what do you feel to be around Matthew, be his friend?”

Oh right. Of course that’s what she meant. How can I think she wants me to marry him? We just met for a fucking hour. Am I really that dumb to jump into a stupid conclusion that fast? And this is make me realize how can Mr. Warren be stupid enough to choose me for this job.

“Uh, I’m not really sure about our friendship.”

To be honest. Because sometimes we can be together like real friends. But in the most other time we would just give each other glares and ready to punch each other in the face very hard it could break our noses.

“Can I ask you why?” She asks, seems pretty interested in my thought about our weird relationship.

I shouldn’t tell her this. Because it’s embarrassing and I can’t just tell her things like this. She is Matthew’s mother for god’s sake! And who knows she would kill me after I said that Matthew is being a dick to me?

“Well, actually, we already have a lot of fights and arguments since the first time we met. So, it’s making me feel awkward to be in one table with him, beside me.” Christina, including few of the people in the table and silence already swept across the table, make me feel even more awkward and nervous because all of them would be hearing this.

“How about the assignment?”

She knew? Of course she knew, Sophie. She’s his mother. And a mother must be know every trouble her child is in. And the assignment for Matthew and me from Mrs. Rosemary is one of the things.

“What assignment do you mean, ma’am?” I ask, pretending that I didn’t know about what she means. She stares at me, seems disbelief at what I just said.

“You know what I’m talking about.” She frowns.

“Oh. It’s not really working out for us, actually.” I say and sigh. I look down at my lap, fiddling with my fingers as I feel uncomfortable to talk about the things between Matthew and me with him sitting beside me quietly all the time.

“It should be. You’ve been assigned to do activities that could make both of you become friendlier with each other.”

“I think it worked a little.” I shrug my shoulder, frowning as I keep my gaze on my lap.

I know it’s impolite to do that, especially in front of the people that older than us although we want to do it. But since I’m in a pretty bad mood, there’s nothing can stop me from doing the things I want.

“Tells us about it.” Now I have to tell her, or I could say Matthew’s family about it. It’s not really a big deal but why is she keeps asking me to tell her about this?

“Well, sometimes we can smile at each other, laugh with each other, joking with each other. When the first time we met, we would just glared at each other. But now, the glaring, we’re not really doing it often.” I glance at Matthew and I see him staring at me with an unreadable expression until he turns his face away from me.

“That’s an improvement. On behalf of him, I’m sorry for all of the bad things he done to you.” She says, seems apologetic of his son mannerism.

She shouldn’t be the one that’s apologizing. He’s the one that should! But he already did that. But I’m not really sure if he really meant the apology he said.

“Oh, it’s unnecessary, ma’am. He already apologize for himself.” I smile at her. She gives me an apologetic smile, still feeling bad because of her son behavior. “I’m sorry, he never been like this before.”

“It’s okay, ma’am.” I smile reassuringly, nodding my head once.

“Ashley, let’s come to our house, we’re going to have some girls night tonight. Would you like to come?” Victoria asks, smiling at me.

Can I? I can’t. I still need to figure out how to get the information the agency needed. And I’m still haven’t figured it out yet.

“Uh, Victoria, I don’t think I could come.” I say nervously. She let a pout shows on her face and sigh.

“Come on, Ashley. You should come. Besides, tomorrow is Sunday which is not going to be a school day.”

“I don’t know. I don’t know if Au- mom would let me sleepover at your house.” I say, my heart beating a little faster than before after I almost said Aunt Sarah instead of mom.

“I know she would. Just ask her now and I know she would be answering right away.” She says, sounds like challenging me but I’m not really sure if she really is.

“Okay.” I pull my phone out of my purse and type a text for Aunt Sarah quickly.

M: 'Mom, can I sleepover at a friend house?'

A second later, Aunt Sarah reply comes into my view and I turn my phone off, knowing what her answer would be.

I guess I have to although if she doesn’t give me the permission. If I get to sleepover at Victoria’s house, which is also Matthew’s house, I can hack into his house and get some information about the family from the database in his house.

“She said I can go.” I smile.

“Told you. Now come on, let’s go.” We stand from our seats and I remember I don’t bring anything other than my phone and wallet with me. Of course I am.

Why would I bring a pajama, bathing supplies, or any other things with me just to a date, or a dinner for now?

“Uh, I guess I have to go to my house first and take my stuffs.” I say, smiling at her.

“Sure. Where is you’re house?” She asks, raising her eyebrows when she did that.

“It’s close from yours.”

“Great! That mean we can see each other everyday.” She says, grinning at me. I let out a little laugh as I smile at her. “Yeah. ”

I don’t think I can to. If I meet her everyday than we will get close and it would make feel a lot more guilty to do this to her family.

“Let’s go.” Victoria turns her gaze at Austin and I look at him. “Austin, you mind we take Ashley with us?”

“Of course I am. She’s my date.” He says, holding my hand in his. I, suddenly feel awkward all over again at his sudden move and touch. I can feel my cheek turns hot, and I curse my own self for being easily get flustered and tell myself to make my cheek to stop burning and the weird thing is, it works.

“Okay then. Just go straight to home. Don’t take her anywhere else.” She says, squinting her eyes at him. He chuckles a little and grin. “I won’t. Come on, Ashley.” He tugs my hand and I look at the girls, smiling at them.

“Okay. See you guys later.”

“See you!” Both Ava and Victoria say, waving their hands at my way and I return it.

I get into Austin car, and remember the reason why he brought me here in the first place: To annoy the shit out of Matthew. He gets into the car and I fixed my gaze at him and glare at him although he doesn’t see me.

“Are you kidding me? You brought me here so you can pissed Matthew?” I asks, sounds pretty angry because I am angry. I don’t want someone asked me for a date with them when they actually want to do the whole different things.

“For a few reasons it’s because of it. But mostly because I want to be with you and get to know you better.” He smiles, shrugging a little.

On a second thought, it’s actually great that I have someone who wants to piss off Matthew the way I want to. I have an ally to make Matthew hates himself for being brought up into this world. But I guess a person won’t hate his cousin that bad like Colton was with me. So, I guess I don’t really have an ally.

“Okay. That’s great. I actually hate him with all of my heart right now.” I sigh and rest my back on the seat, crossing my arms in front of my chest. The thought of him even make me feel so annoyed of him.

“What did he done to make you hate him so much?”

“A lot of things. And then there is one thing that makes me hate him so much.” My mind brings me back one of the worst memory in my life. That one event that fucked me pretty bad on that day.

“What is it?”

I keep my eyes trained outside the window and sigh. “He embarrassed me in front of the school for just one little thing.”

“Little thing?” He asks, now sounds very confused by this thing I’m talking about and probably has no clue of what I mean.

“Yeah. Because I threw a freaking spoon onto his face.”

“Are you serious? Why did you even threw a spoon to him?!” He asks, slightly yelling at me due to the unbelievable shit I just told him which is threw a spoon onto Matthew’s face.

“Because I was mad at him.” I say simply, wishing this conversation would end now.

“For what?” I straighten my back and look at him with the look of annoyance on my face. “Can you please stop asking about it?”

“Okay, I’ll stop.” He says, putting his hands up in surrender, seems pretty frightened of the look I gave on my face.

He drives his car in not a really fast pace and with nothing but silence between us. Only the faint sounds of music can be heard.

I keep looking out the window, thinking about what should I do later at Matthew house so I can get some information. My first thought is, could hack into his parents database. But, it’s impossible with the girls around me. Or should I just ask the girls, especially Victoria for a couple little things? But I guess that’s too risky too.

“We’re here.” I snap out of my daze and look out the window. And my eyebrow furrowed at the view outside the window car.

What? Where are we? We’re not even at my house. We’re at... the beach.

I turn my head and look at him in confusion. “Why are we here?”

“Because I’m not lying about wanting to get to know you better.” He says, smiling a little, and in the low light, I see him seems a little nervous about this. But this is not the right time to have a conversation and playing 20 questions. I have to do other things too. And, the girls must be already waiting for me.

“But, why tonight? Why can’t we do it tomorrow? We have a lot more time if we ask each other questions. And, I don’t want Ava and Victoria waits for me for too long.” I say, frowning.

“They can wait.” He says simply.

“But-”

“Come on. The point I asked you in the first place is to take you on a date. Not because I want to piss Matthew off although I want to do it.”

I let out a sigh and turn my phone on and look at the time showing on the screen. 9.00. I put my phone off and look up at him.

“Okay. If the time shows 9.30 pm on my phone, we’re going home. No excuses.”

“Deal.”

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