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Chapter 4

  • It has been a week since Alexandra and Jacob met at the groceries store. Since then, they both agreed to exchange numbers, and have started communicating with each other through text messaging.
  • Alexandra’s whole week was jumped packed with school activities and quizzes here and there. It is her final year at school, which means more pressure about keeping her grades high. She wants to graduate on time, and with a consistent grade. This is so she could take her board exam, become a Certified Public Accountant, and land a job in one of the big four auditing companies.
  • Her mother and sister are the two women whom she confides in a lot when she was still a kid. With them, she could act spoiled and bratty, and they would just give in to her whims. That is why their consecutive deaths made her realize how alone she could be. Sure, she has her father and brother. She appreciates all her father’s efforts to provide for them. Although not as tender and warm like her mother and sister, she knows that he’s doing his best to give her all the attention she needs, whenever he can. Her brother is starting with his own life and is spending time with his fiancee a lot, but he still makes sure to be there for his younger sister every time she needs him. Her Auntie Lydia, Ate Esther’s mother, and all her cousins are all very welcoming to her, as well. They see to it that doesn’t feel left out, and spend time with her every time their schedules permit. With all these people going out of their ways to make her feel good, the least she could do is study hard, get good grades, live a good life, and when the time comes, help them financially, and so she thought.
  • It was six o’clock. After picking up the refill of her usual stationery, Alexandra decided to drop by the fiction lane of the bookstore near her school to check for the new titles of books that she can read. She loves reading. She thinks it keeps her from getting insane since it makes her feel things, emotions. Well, aside from the fact that she also learns things from them, since she doesn’t really have that many interactions with people.
  • Ding!!!
  • Her phone notified her of a message. She put the basket carrying her stationery down and searched for her phone in her bag. When she opened it, she read a message from her new text mate, Jacob.
  • “I was actually on my way there too. What a coincidence!? Say you wait for me too and we could grab a bite together, and head home? That’s if you have no other plans.”
  • Alexandra thought about it for a second. She actually wanted to spend dinner times at home with her father and brother. Her father has a habit of catching up with them over meals, and she got used to it. However, she has already rejected three of Jacob’s invitations to hang out, on three different occasions. She didn’t really find that hard to do since the invite was only through text. But now that he’s about to really meet her face to face, she doesn’t want to reject him again, especially that he asked her to wait for him. After contemplating for a while, she concluded to go with him, only if it’s for a snack, so she could still have dinner at home. That won’t be so bad, right?
  • “How about a snack? Because it’s already past six o’clock, and I have to have dinner at home. What do you say?”
  • “Sure, sounds good! I’m at the parking, I’ll see you inside.”
  • Jacob seems to be panting when she saw him at the door of the book store. She waved her hand and called out to him so he’d notice her.
  • The guy’s eyes opened wide and beamed as soon as he saw her. He left her sight for a moment and reappeared after a while. When he got to the aisle where she was, he changed the rhythm of his steps while breathing heavily in an effort to calm himself down. She just watched him while grinning from ear to ear, trying to tease him, as he makes his way to her. Jacob got a gist of it and smiled back to express his defeat. As soon as he settled down, she offered her cheek to him as a proper greeting. Even though Jacob stuttered for a moment, he recovered himself quite fast, and press his other cheek to greet her.
  • “It’s still so weird to find out your office is in the business park near here in my school. You’re like, what? Fifteen minutes away?” Alexandra said to break the ice. She’s already getting very comfortable with him as if they’ve been friends for quite some time. Well, so far, she finds him funny, sensitive, and considerate. He can also make a good conversationalist once he feels he can be himself, well, that’s what she noticed so far. And not that she looks at facial value, but one cannot ignore the fact that he is really dashing. The way he carries himself, the way he dresses. It may be a dress-down day for their company, given it’s Friday today. Jacob’s wearing a long-sleeved burgundy sweatshirt, matched with denim pants, and dark brown oxford shoes. No one cannot resist such eye candy with good manners. Plus, they share the same hobby, books.
  • “I think it’s great! It’ll be easy for us to hang out more. I can make you read more of my books.” Jacob said as he grins from ear to ear as he looked at her.
  • Alexandra’s inner self blushed by what she just heard. Jacob seems like the type of guy who’s very genuine with his intentions and will catch you off guard with his humor, which you won’t expect from him on first look. It is rather fascinating when he smiles like a child on silly matters.
  • As she was following him while he was browsing through the shelves, she happened to glance upon a certain book that she has been planning to read for a while due to good reviews, but always forgets to. At the same time, Jacob was also astounded.
  • “Aha! I got you!”, Jacob muttered as if he was talking to the book in front of him.
  • She followed where his hand was going to and was surprised seeing him about to pick up the book that she was also looking at. Seems like the guy saw her reaction, he revealed to her the title of the book.
  • “Norwegian Wood?”, Jacob asked while flashing the book with a picture of a woman on the front cover, to her face.
  • “I’ve thought of getting that book too!”, she exclaimed after recovering from disbelief.
  • “Really? I got it first! Haha!” Jacob seems to want to tease her by initiating that petty competition of gets the book first.
  • “I’ve been wanting to read that book because I’ve seen a lot of good reviews about that. But I thought that’s a love story? Why do you want to read that?”
  • “Me too! I saw lots of good reviews. But I’m particularly more interested that it was inspired by The Beatles song of the same title”, he explained.
  • “For real?! Wow! I want to read it more… Ugh! Why do they only have to have one copy?” Frustrated, she sighed.
  • “Sorry…” Jacob apologized sarcastically, while she rolled her eyes in answer to his tease.
  • “I also read somewhere that it has a movie,” he continued but paused when he saw her about to widened her eyes again.
  • “Really? I haven’t seen it. I sit an old movie?”
  • “No, it was released around 2010 or 2011, I’m not sure. But I want to read first, Haha”
  • “Haha! Me too! It’s different when you imagine the scenes in your head.”
  • “You can read it first if you like”, trying to be the gentleman that he is, Jacob offered to her.
  • “Sheesh! It’s Ok, no!” she declined as they both reach the counter.
  • Jacob smoothly took the basket from her. Unconsciously enough, she let him carry it, thinking the guy just wanted to help her carry. It’s actually pretty common for men to do this kind of gentlemanly deed. However, she was startled when he suddenly took his wallet from the back pocket of his pants and was about to pay her stationery with the Norwegian Wood book he too from the .bookshelf awhile ago.
  • She immediately stopped him from doing so and threatened to not go with him for coffee.
  • “What is that? What are you doing?”
  • “Paying, of course.”
  • “Why are you paying for my stuff? Stop it! Ugh! You’re so annoying!”
  • “It’s OK. Let’s just pay at once.”
  • “No, I don’t like it.” Alexandra is starting to get pretty pissed.
  • “But it’s only how much? Let me. It’s my treat, please?” Jacob said to his petition.
  • Alexandra wiped the smile off her face. Why does this guy always want to buy for her? She appreciates the act, but she is getting terribly embarrassed, to the point that she feels she’s about to get insulted. The last time she checked, she can still pay for her own things, especially the school materials. It’s not that her family can’t afford things. In fact, they can still afford things. Her father always asks her for things she wants. He keeps offering her extra money since she doesn’t really ask for anything, unless she, herself can’t afford it. She simply doesn’t want to bother her father and brother. She doesn’t want them to feel that she’s a burden. As much as she wants to lash out a little at him, she thought that it’s just his way of being close to her. Alexandra then changed the tone of her voice to sound more convincing and pressing.
  • “Listen, Jacob, you don’t have to do this. OK? I don’t like being indebted to people, so, please. If you pay for it, then I’m not going to have coffee with you then.”
  • As much as she felt bad for saying it to him, but she has no choice. He has to know that even though she appreciates his intentions, it gives her the impression that he thinks lowly of her. That she’s always in need of help, which is not true. She just chooses not to ask for help.
  • Not sure if Jacob finally realized the intensity of what she said, or if it’s because she threatened to not go out with him, the guy eventually gave up and agreed to Alexandra.
  • “Ok, fine. Sorry about that. I’ll choose the coffee then.”
  • Defeated, Jacob placed her basket at end of the counter and head on to pay for his book.
  • “I’ll pay for this first, I’ll wait for your outside?” he said while showing her the book.
  • “OK. See you there.” as she flashes him a gentle smile.
  • ***
  • The pair were walking side by side to the coffee shop where they’ll be having their snacks, while Alexandra heard a faint cry for her name. She stopped walking to look for the source of the call. Jacob on the other hand stopped with her, and curiously watched her. She heard another call again and tried to look on the other side. The call is getting louder now, and she saw a guy, wearing a white polo shirt and a navy blue necktie and black pants approaching their way. It was Albert. One of her ardent suitors. She smiled at him as soon as she recognized who the man calling her is.
  • “Hey! Albert. What are you doing here?” she smiled as he greeted him.
  • “I just had a meeting with a client around the area. I actually messaged you that I was in the area, but not sure if you’ve seen it.”
  • “Have you eaten, maybe we could have dinner somewhere near?” Albert eagerly asked her as she was rummaging her bag to look for her phone.
  • “Sorry Albert, I can’t. I have to have dinner at home, eh.”
  • Finally, she found it. She took her phone outside and read the message in front of Albert.
  • “Ah yeah! I got it. Sorry, I didn’t hear it. Just thirty minutes ago.”
  • Seems like the same time when Jacob arrived. Still looking at her phone as she is trying to delete the message when Albert spoke again.
  • “Oh no, it’s OK. It’s not planned anyway. I thought if I would surprise you that I’m here, you won’t be able to say no. Haha!”, he explained while scratching his head since his plan failed.
  • “But are you on your way home? I can send you home, I’m also on my home since no dinner for us.” Albert offered as he was trying to grin and bear it.
  • Looks like he still hasn’t notice Jacob as he’s all eyes on her when Jacob made his presence known as he clears his throat.
  • Cough! Cough!...
  • That’s when Albert looked at him. Stuttered for a bit, Alexandra started introducing Jacob and Albert to each, in which both men shook hands.