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Chapter 8

  • ABBY
  • Dad settled for only Two days’ funeral.
  • I’m wearing white instead of black, showing that I’m not here to mourn. I’m here to celebrate her life, her legacy, she may be gone, but she will always remain in my heart. I didn’t recognize most of the people who paid respect. I hate every word they say; sorry for your loss.
  • Wreaths are everywhere of different colors, designs, and sizes. From politicians, movie industries, different charity organizations, businessmen, and powerful people arrived. Some stayed long. Some leave immediately.
  • I kept my head down. Dad wants me to keep it that way. He wants me to have a normal life away from the scrutiny of public eyes. I know one day I can’t stay in my loophole forever. One day the world will know me.
  • I want to go home. I feel sick in here. I don’t like attention. This is the reason why I am who I am today. It changed my whole life forever. I spotted Dad talking to one of his friends.
  • “Dad, can I have a moment?” The couples both look at me with sadness in their eyes. My eyes widen when I look at them. They must be Seb’s parents--the resemblance. Seb got his hair and eyes from his dad. His nose and lips from his mom. They’re both tall and fit, and his mom has dimples too.
  • “You must be Abby?” Before I can answer, Mrs. Hughes tackles me with a hug, and she starts to sniff.
  • “The last time I saw you, you were still so young, and now look at you, grown up to be a beautiful young woman. Catie must be very proud of you.” I give her a tight smile, but I can’t remember I had met her before.
  • “Thank you for coming here today,” I say.
  • The next thing I know, Mr. Hughes is next giving me a bear hug. Dad excuses us both.
  • “What is it, pumpkin?” Dad's gloomy eyes gaze at me. He places his hands on my arms.
  • “Dad, first, I’m already in college, and stop calling me pumpkin in front of people. You can start calling me by my name, can’t you do that?”
  • “Sweetheart, you will always be my baby girl. Old or not, you’ll always be my pumpkin.”
  • “Dad, it’s annoying, you know?” I look down at my shoes.
  • “You don’t want me to call you in front of Seb and his parents, or you don’t want me to call you pumpkin at all? Seems my daughter has grown up.”
  • I roll my eyes. “Dad, we’re at mom’s funeral. What is it with Seb in his family? I did mention people, dad.”
  • “I love you, pumpkin.”
  • I wrinkle my nose. Before I forget what I’m going to tell him, I hold his hands.
  • “Sweetheart, if this is about the eulogy, you don’t have to. I will never force you when you’re not ready for something like this. I understand. You don’t know most of these people. The truth is you never met 90% of them before. I’ve been keeping you safe for a long time. I’m a little bit paranoid when it comes to your safety, and I can’t jeopardize it for just a few minutes. For all I know, they might be somewhere near us. Don’t trust anyone here. I lost your mom already, and I don’t wanna lose you too.”
  • You’ll never lose me again, Dad. Promise. You’re the only family I have left. I can’t afford to lose another one. I love you, Dad.”
  • I get back to my seat. I smell the familiar scent from yesterday, and the tingling sensation spreads throughout my body. Now it’s affecting my thighs.
  • I know he’s near me. I keep reminding myself that I’m at my mom’s funeral.
  • This is not good.
  • I have a lot of issues to handle than give attention to this tension between him and me.
  • I don’t socialize with people, but when he is near me, it’s like everything is going to be okay.
  • I know this is crazy. I don’t even know him. I don’t know anything about him. How old is he? What’s his favorite color? Does he have an FB? Do they do kinky sex?
  • Ouch! The billion-dollar question is, does he feel the same towards me?
  • Definitely not.
  • Absolutely not!
  • Get a grip, Abby, for God's sake.
  • My palms start to sweat. Drew is glaring at me, but I cut him with I-am-okay-look. I move near Drew just to lean my head on his shoulder, but before it happens, someone sits beside me--the person that I’m trying to avoid, the person that sends shivers to my spine, takes my breath away, makes my lips dry, butterfly in my stomach all this kind of...shit.
  • He might notice my discomfort.
  • “You okay, Abby?” He looks at me and searches for something in my face “you look so pale. You need a rest. Did you even sleep or eat before coming here?” he asks me.
  • I can’t help but look at him. Oh, my goodness.
  • Okay, I admit. He is the most beautiful creature ever created. I lick my now dry lips and swallow hard.
  • “Y-yeah, I’m...um. I am fine.” Way to go, Abby.
  • He touches my forehead, but I’m still looking at his eyes. Holy hell. It feels so so good, and I feel suddenly cold before I can enjoy the feeling.
  • “You don’t have a fever.” He scans my face.
  • “You’re a physician, too?” I regret it as soon as I blurt it out. I know my best friend is listening.
  • “I don’t need to be a doctor to figure out if you have a fever or not.”
  • “Whatever, smartass.”
  • He just chuckles. “Seriously, Abby. You need to get home and get some rest. You still have tomorrow to pay respect to your mom. I’m sure she’ll not be happy to see you like that.”
  • “See me like that? Like what?” I raise my eyebrows.
  • Then I continue .“What does it mean? That I look like shit? Well, thank you for the honesty, Mr. Honorable.” Now, I can see the hint of a smile on his lips.
  • Way to shoo the devil away.
  • Gah! He doesn’t have an idea what his presence does to me, or he’s just used to women batting their lashes at him. He has no clue that he is the reason why I feel like shit.
  • “Hush. Show some respect. Keep your voice low. What I mean is you need to rest. You’ve been in hell these two days. You don’t have to stay here all the time. You need your strength.” He pauses, then looks me in the eyes, then to my lips, then back to my eyes.
  • “You’re far from looking like shit. If you look like shit, then I don’t know what everyone looks like.”
  • Ugh!
  • Don’t believe him, heart. He probably said that to all the women who get into his pants.
  • Cheesy pickup lines don’t work on you, Abby.
  • “I’ll talk to your dad so that you can go home. Did you come here together with Drew?” he asks.
  • “You don’t have to do this. Why are you even doing this anyway?”
  • “Doing this? This is the right thing to do. I guess. Be a gentleman.” He shrugs.
  • “ Gentleman? Huh.”
  • “I know, I’m an ass sometimes. Okay, scratch that. I’m an ass most of the time. But I’m just trying to help, and your dad will worry more when you’re sick. He already has a lot on his plate.”
  • Wow. I guess he’s really just trying to help.
  • Seb asks my best friend, “Drew, I’m sending Abby home. Are you planning to stay longer, or are you coming with us?”
  • “Wait. You said you would send me home. You’re coming with me?”
  • “Yeah. I’ll send you home myself. Then I’ll go from there.”
  • “You don’t have to bother. I’ll call my driver.”
  • “Stop it, Abby. You can’t shoo me all the time. We’re going together, and that’s final. I promise I don’t bite unless you want.”
  • I glare.
  • “Jeez, Abby. I’m just kidding.”
  • “You can go with him, Abby. I’ll stay here for a while with your dad.” Wow, my BFF is now betraying me. I give him a What-is-going-on-with-you look, but he just smiles at me.
  • Traitor!
  • After saying goodbye to dad with a quick hug, I follow Seb to the parking lot and head home.