Authors: Wanitta Praks
Tags: #sliceoflife, #contemporaryromance, #teenromance, #teenfiction, #contemporaryfiction, #dramaromance, #romeojulietstoryline, #schoolromance, #starcrossedlovers, #teenfictioncontemporary, #tragedyromance
“Ah, Ivy. There you are. I was looking all
over for you. Can you help me with the cuffs, babe? I can’t fold it
“Babe.” I repeat the word in shock. Did Zac
just call me
“Are you okay, babe? Do you want to sit
down? Are you tired?”
“I’m… I’m fine,” I say, still in shock.
“Okay then. Well, can you look at this
shirt, then, and give me your opinion?”
“I… I… I…” I stutter, looking up at his
massive frame and the pink shirt hugging him so snuggly, outlining
his broad chest.
“Are you all right, babe? Do you want some
water? Something stuck in your throat?” Zac asks, a twinkle in his
eyes. And then I realize it. He’s trying to embarrass me in front
of the sales assistant.
“Zac!” I grit between my teeth.
“Yes, babe?” he asks, feigning innocence.
“You don’t like the shirt. Want me to go change into another
The assistant smiles warmly and urges me to
go look at Zac. “I’m good at giving all sorts of fashion advice,
but it looks like your man only wants your opinion.”
I can’t do much at that point. I glumly
admit defeat and go to help Zac pick out a shirt.
“It looks fine,” I say. “Let’s go.”
At the end, it ends up being me that is
humiliated. He pays for the cost of that shirt, which is a hundred.
But he said he’d add it in with the other thousand dollars of gifts
he got for me. Now I owe him eleven hundred, which would equate to
fifty-five lunch dates. I sigh heavily as we get in the car.
In the car, he apologizes to me. “I just
want to practice speaking when I have a girlfriend. It sounds very
nice when I call your name and add that endearment.”
“But I’m not your girlfriend, Zac. I’m your
friend,” I tell him.
“I know. Just practicing,” he says
We arrive home at last. Zac goes inside
without my permission to see Moon. Moon is ecstatic.
“Zacky! Zacky! You came to visit me.” Moon
lungs herself at Zac.
“I am. I am.” Zac picks Moon up and twirls
her around the room. “Hey, Moon, have you ever been on an
“Yes. When we moved to Dunedin.”
“Do you like riding on the airplane?”
“I have. It’s so much fun. It sounds
“Well, let’s go for an airplane ride, then,”
Zac says before twirling Moon around the room in midair.
Moon giggles and chuckles like there is no
tomorrow. She is having so much fun that I can’t help laughing
along when I watch her.
“Zacky, do it again, do it again. I want to
ride the plane again,” Moon pleads Zac when he stops for a
Zac eyes me. I smile back and he nods his
head and then turns to Moon to give her his full attention.
“But this airplane is now out of petrol. It
needs more petrol. Otherwise, it won’t run.”
“What kind of petrol does the airplane
need?” Moon asks Zac. “Water?”
“No.” Zac shakes his head, turns to me, and
gives me a wink.
I blush and look down. By the time I look up
again, Zac’s attention is already on Moon.
“How about juice, then? Or milk?”
“No. No juice or milk.”
“What does the engine of your plane need,
“A kiss on the cheek,” Zac says and puffs
one of his cheeks out.
Moon gives him a peck on the cheek, and then
Zac turns his face to the other side and puffs that side of his
cheek too. Moon leans in and kisses that side too.
“All filled up now?” Moon asks after she
finishes kissing Zac.
“Yep, all filled up,” Zac says, giving me
another glance before turning to Moon again. “Now let’s go for
another plane ride.” And then he picks Moon up and they go for
another twirl around the room.
“Zac is so sweet, isn’t he?” Clare asks me
out of the blue.
“Umm. Yes,” I say, already knowing where
this is heading.
“You know I fell in love with your brother
in high school?”
“Yes, Clare. You told me this before.” I
give her my mundane look, the one that says,
Please, not that
“What?” Clare exclaims when she sees that
look on my face. “I was only cheering you on. If Zac asks you to be
his girlfriend, would you go for it?”
“Clare, please.” I laugh drily, shaking my
head. “Zac is not my boyfriend. He’s only a friend. He said that to
me already. He wants to be my friend.”
“But, I mean, if he asks you to be his
girlfriend, would you go for it?”
No matter how many times I tell myself to
please let this possibility be true, it’s not going to happen
anyway. I don’t live in the fairytale world of Cinderella or Snow
White, where there are fairy godmothers who make all my wishes come
true. I know if I allow myself to hope for even a little bit that
Zac would like me even a bit more than a friend would, I know I
would get hurt. And I don’t want to travel along that route. It’s
enough to have him as a friend as it is now. Plus, there’s the fact
that Zac is the brother of Dillon. All the more reason for me not
to think on that road.
“Clare. Please. Zac is never going to ask me
that question. So can we just drop the subject?” I turn back to Zac
and Moon. They’re still playing their airplane ride game.
Clare just nods and remains silent. It’s
pretty unusual for her to act this way. Usually, she would retort
with something else or give me another witty line. So why is she
behaving like this? I know something’s not right.
“Clare, what’s wrong? What is it?”
“It’s all right, Ivy. You go and entertain
Zac and Moon. I’ll tell you later.”
I catch her arm as she’s about to leave.
“No, Clare. You tell me now. What’s going
“Just this once, listen to me, Ivy. Go and
entertain Zac until he goes home. Then I’ll tell you.”
I mutely nod and watch her go to Gigi’s
Zac finally leaves after spending more than
an hour at my house. We walk Zac to his car. He stands in front of
me and says it was a very enjoyable day for him. I smile back.
“Thank you for today too. I owe you lots of
“That’s right. You have to take me out
often. Or invite me to eat here often.”
I smile and ask him, “How often?”
“Mmmm.” He pretends to tap his chin and
think. I only laugh at his gesture. He laughs too before saying,
“How about breakfast, lunch, and dinner? That would allow you to
pay me faster.”
I laugh again and nod.
Zac only grins back, giving me one of his
dashing smiles, and I find my knees almost giving in.
I shyly look away, my cheeks suddenly
Dear me, why am I feeling all shy in front
of Zac all of a sudden like this?
“Can this airplane get a refuel before
heading away home?”
I turn back to see Zac crouching down and
talking to Moon.
“Mmmm.” Moon nods and gives Zac a kiss on
his cheek again. Zac smiles and kisses Moon on her cheek too before
ruffling her hair and getting up from his crouching position. He
goes to his car and takes out a bag of something. Then he crouches
down to Moon’s level again and gives her the bag.
“This is for you,” he says, his attention
all on Moon.
When Moon takes a peek inside the bag, her
eyes shine and she jumps up and down, then hugs Zac around the neck
and repeatedly said, “I love you, Zacky. I love you.”
Zac laughs as he hugs Moon back. Once Moon
has calmed down, he whispers something into her ear while he fixes
his gaze at me, his eyes glittering with light. I can only smile
back, wondering what’s inside that bag that made Moon so excited
Once they’re done with their exchange of
information, Zac stands back up and turns to me. “Well then. I’ll
see you at school tomorrow, Ivy. Have a good night. It might be
cold tonight so make sure you put an extra blanket on your bed,” he
tells me, then gets into his car and drives off.
I wave good-bye to Zac with Moon beside me.
When his car has gone out of sight, I turn to my niece and ask,
“Want to tell me what’s in the bag?”
“Zacky gave me nuts and dried fruits. He
said to eat them if I’m hungry before meals. He calls them diabetic
snacks. I love him heaps,” she says, then skips into the house.
I follow her, shaking my head but with a
smile permanently stretched on my face, almost forgetting the
melancholy air from before. It’s not until I step foot inside the
house again that I remember I have to talk to Clare. I immediately
go to find her.
Clare is in the kitchen, eating cheese,
“Clare,” I call out to her. “What did you
want to tell me?”
“I think you better go and see Nancy,” Clare
says, taking a slow bite of her cheese. “She would be better at
telling you the story.”
The story. What story?
I hasten my pace and approach Gigi’s room. I
knock on her door before going in.
She’s in bed, huddled up in her thick
blanket. I approach her quietly, just in case she’s sleeping
“Ivy, is that you, dear?” she asks me as I
get near her.
“Yes, Grandma,” I say, holding on to her
hand when she goes to grasp mine. I know immediately that whatever
the story is, it’s not good. “What’s wrong, Grandma? I saw Clare.
She said to come see you.”
“I saw him, Ivy. I saw the man who killed
your parents and brother,” she cries softly, her lips
I gasp and my breathing becomes heavy, like
I’m running out of air.
Grandma saw Dillon already? He’s here in
Dunedin again. I thought Zac said he lives in Queenstown.
“I hate them. I don’t want to see them,” she
sobs quietly, shaking her head.
“Grandma.” I comfort her, laying my head on
her lap. “It’s okay, Grandma. If we don’t go and interfere with
them, then I’m sure they won’t interfere in our lives.”
“I know, dear,” Gigi pats my head. “I’ve
tried to move on, but I can’t help feeling mad every time I see his
face. I can’t forget your parents and brother in their coffins.
They don’t even resemble my son, nor my daughter-in-law, nor my
grandson. They were just remnants.”
“Grandma, don’t talk about the past. It
hurts too much.” I hold on to her hands and cry into the blanket,
my shoulders shaking. “Can we remember Mom and Dad and Brian in
their happier times when we were together?”
Talking about the past hurts too much. I’ve
tried for five years to stop this nightmare. We’ve even tried to
move away to the farthest part of New Zealand, all the way to
Dunedin, to the bottom of the South Island, to get away from that
scene, from that environment in Auckland, just so Gigi, Clare, and
I could forget about the past, but it still comes back to haunt
“Yes, dear. But sometimes I find myself
thinking why I’m still alive, in this old body, when I can’t even
find the strength to get up every morning. Yet your parents and
brother were so young and they get to go first. Sometimes, dear, my
hand hurts and I want to cry. I take the medication the doctor
gives me, but it doesn’t help. I can still feel the pain. My
arthritis plays up when it gets cold. Now I find it’s even hard to
pick up Monica. If I could, I would trade my life for Bruce, Sarah,
and Brian. They can use my life. I’m too old to live.”
“Grandma,” I cry even harder, clasping her
hand even tighter. “Don’t say things like that. You’re the only
remaining relative I’ve got, apart from Clare and Moon. If you go,
then who am I going to rely on? I can’t live if you’re not
“Dear, I’m sorry to make you worry. But
sometimes I get too tired with living. I just want to go back to
“Grandma, please stop talking about dying.
Don’t you want to see me grow up? Don’t you want to see me graduate
from law school? Don’t you want to see me marry and have children?
Don’t you, Grandma? Don’t you?” I cry, my tears wetting her bed
“Ivy, dear. I do. I want to see you go to
law school. I want to see you graduate. I want to see your children
and your husband… but…”
“No buts, Grandma, please, no buts. For me,
live for me. Live for Moon, live for Clare. We all need you.”
“Mmmm.” Gigi sobs again, nodding her head.
“I’ll try, dear. I’ll try.”
I kiss Gigi good night and watch her sleep.
Then I close her door and go to see Clare. I collapse onto her in
tears as I cry my heart out.
“Grandma, grandma,” I cry into Clare’s lap,
choking in midsentence. “She said she wants to die. Grandma wants
to die. She said when the weather gets cold, her arthritis plays up
and she cries because it’s too painful. Why did we move to Dunedin,
Clare? Why? Grandma said it’s the cold. It’s the cold that makes
her arthritis play up. I don’t know what else to do anymore. Clare,
what do we do?”
“Ivy, it’s okay.” Clare soothes me, running
her hand over my head to comfort me. “Nancy’s depressed. We need to
take her to see the doctor. I’ve already made her an appointment to
see the GP. Don’t worry. Nancy will be fine after she’s been to see
“It’s okay, Ivy. It’s okay.” Clare runs her
fingers along the strands of my hair to calm me down.
I lift my head and look at Clare. “It’s all
because she saw Dillon, isn’t it?”
“Yes.” Clare sighs deeply. She has a faraway
look about her. Then she turns to me and says, “She saw Dillon
today when she was out shopping with me. I didn’t see him, but she
saw him. She started shaking, so I took her home. She stayed in bed
all day, refusing to get up.”
I cry some more when Clare says this. It
makes me feel guilty that while Gigi was suffering, I was out
having fun with Zac.
“It’s getting late now, Ivy,” Clare says
after some time. “You should go wash up. Go to bed. You have school
I reluctantly get up from my position and go
to my room, my eyes red raw. No more tears would flow anymore. I’ve
cried until they’ve run dry. I got to my bedroom and close my eyes,
resting my head against the door for a bit.