(II) Chapter 45 (Aches)
Some days after I'd poured my secrets out to Kloe, I heard Darin was back and wanted to see me. I had no personal envy or want to see him because I knew what was coming. But of course, Denise and my other friends encouraged me to accept his date invitation. My parents did same, telling me stuff like Darin was a good guy with a good job now and that I shouldn't let my terrible experience stop me from living. Having no choice, I gave in reluctantly.
That night, I chose a dress to wear without much stress. I simply applied eyeliner and put lip gloss. Then I tied my hair into a messy but kinda sexy bun before spraying perfume. Then I wore black flats. I was in no mood to dress all chic. I wasn't trying to impress him.
Once done, I received a text from him at the moment saying he was in front of the house.
Lazily, I got my purse and went downstairs. My parents were surprised I'd dressed so simply, though I knew I was going to some chic restaurant.
"That's how you're gonna go, honey?" my mom asked.
"Yeah, mom. With all that's happened to me, I really don't want to stress out on anything." I lied.
Of course they understood.
There was a knock and the door was opened for Darin to step in. He'd not changed much. And yes, he was still quite handsome.
He greeted my parents and turned to me with a bright smile. I smiled back, to be nice.
"Wow, Donnica." he said, coming over and hugging me, "I'm so happy to see you. Welcome back amongst us."
"Thank you. I'm quite pleased to see you too, Darin."
"You look great."
"Thanks, you too."
Soon enough we told my parents goodbye and I followed him to his car.
We had a good evening though. Of course we spoke about what
happened to me, then he told me how happy he was I was back. From then we spoke about other stuff like his new job and what I was planning to do now that I was back. I told him my plan was to work in my parents company for the moment.
Throughout, I couldn't stop thinking about Anthonio. I just wanted to stay locked up in my room, thinking of him. I felt terrible. For the past days I had mood swings and had crazy needs to break stuff and cry till I don't know when. But I did cry discreetly when I knew I wouldn't be caught. Having accepted to go out with Darin made me guilty in some sort of way. I shouldn't have. I secretly wished for that date to be over soon and it was. Darin invited me on a second one, though. I told him I would think about it.
That night, I slept thinking of Anthonio as usual. Hoping to dream of him.
'I'm in my room, asleep, when the violent rain and wind outside wakes me up. I sit up immediately. My attention is immediately drawn to a very dark corner of my room. I realise there's someone standing there. Surprisingly, I'm not afraid.
"Step into the light." I say casually.
The person steps forward and it's my love!
"Anthonio!" I scream happily. I try to go to him but I'm surprisingly unable to move an inch.
He stares silently at me, his hands joint and against his lips. He looks slightly disappointed. Like he’s thinking.
He's so handsome and the light seems to reflect on his perfect skin. His eyes have that sweet glow as usual.
"Princess?” he calls softly.
"Yes, I can't move." I reply, unable to stop smiling because I'm so happy to see him.
"It’s fine. I miss you so much. "
"I miss you too."
"That’s not what I think." he says with a hint of sadness in his voice.
"You're trying to forget me."
"No, no I'm not. "
"You are. But I'm in love with you and that's why I'm setting you free."
"What are you saying?”
"I'm saying you’re free to date other men, now. We might never see again." he says with difficulty, "I'll do same. When my heart heals. If it ever heals."
"Anthonio, don't do that! Don’t fall in love with someone else. Please."
He doesn't answer and then everything goes black.'
I wake up the next morning all covered in sweat, my heart racing. I felt horrible. As if I'd really spoken to Anthonio. My eyes watered immediately and I began to sob like I did almost every morning since my return.
I'd fallen so deep for him that even my reunion with family and friends wasn't enough to destroy that feeling of emptiness.
"Why can't I have both?!" I cried.
Time passed. Days turned to months. And soon it was March! Three months away from Anthonio without any contact. I didn't know how things were in Rome. It drove me crazy.
The sadness phase turned into anger and some sort of rebellion. I'd refused a second date with Darin. I decided to do goddess braids and didn't care much about my ladylike appearance.
I was always dressed in jeans,
hoodies or fat sweaters, with sneakers. I only dressed formally or ladylike when I had to go to work. I'd started work in my parents company.
I became very quiet and spoke only when necessary.
Everyone noticed it but let it go under the pretext that I was still getting used to my normal life. My mom even made sure I went to meet her psychologist at the end of every week. I made sure to act very okay and as natural as ever once in the doctor's presence. The doctor said it was just a phase and that I would soon be my old self again. Other than that, I was fine. Only Kloe knew my situation.
One day, Kloe paid me a visit at
my parents house.
"Donnie, you're not you anymore." she said once we were alone.
"You know why. Don't act surprised." I replied, manipulating my phone.
"I do but I think it's affecting you way too much. I'm your friend. I care for you and right now I'm really worried."
I rolled my eyes, unconsciously. Then I turned to her.
"What do you want me to do? What do you propose as solution?" I asked, slightly irritated.
"Don't get angry. I think it's better you tell your parents about Anthonio and you."
I looked at Kloe in disbelief like she'd just said the dumbest thing ever.
"What?" I muttered, "Are you serious right now?"
"Yes ma'am." she replied confidently.
"I should've never told you." I said, about to stand and leave but she grabbed my wrist.
"I would never tell them. Never. That's your job, Donnica. Just let them know. So you can go join him." she said slowly.
I looked at her, sitting down once more.
"H– how?" I asked.
"Tell them your story. Then let them know that you can't stay without him. If they don't want to listen to you, at least you've told them. At least you tried."
"Right. So in case I disappear one day, they'll know I've fled to Rome." I smiled and Kloe gave me that funny look as if I was crazy.
"Well, that has nothing to do with my plan, but it's fine too. For you." she mused and we laughed.
"I'll tell them, Kloe. But not now. In the days to come. I need courage first. Enough, to tell them."
"Yeah. Wouldn't want to be in your shoes. Just keep me updated. I'm on your side and I just hope I'm supporting you for the right thing though deep down I think it's crazy. But I love you and so I'mma be here for you."
I smiled at her and she smiled back.
"Thank you, Kloe." I hugged her tight and she hugged me back.