Jeff's Point of View
We've been on the road for almost 3 hours now. And during the whole time, Leena and I have been asking questions about the silliest things. I love playing this game with her. It didn't even really feel like a game to me, it just felt like a casual conversation with her, even if she created that one single rule when we were eating at Quiche.Talking to her felt so relaxing.
We parked at a wide driveway and next to it was one huge house that looked like a lodge. Both of my parents were eyes on the gigantic house. I looked and Leena's face and she looked somehow confused.
"Uhh, dad? Who are we meeting again?", Leena asked looking more confused as ever.
"One of my friends. Why?"
"Well, yeah, but which one? This house looks very familiar. Have I been here before?"
"I think so, sweetie", her mom said, "But I think that was a very long time ago. Do you remember your Uncle Albert Eaton and Aunt Felicia?"
"Wait...... Eaton?!", Leena looked a little panicked now. I wonder what was going on with her. She looked really worried.
"Yeah! Now you remember! You were even friends with Ca---"
"Carissa." Now her face was in a blank. Our parents were starting to get out of the car, and she was still not moving.
"Leena," I touched her shoulder gently which made her look my way. She looked beautiful today and she didn't even wear make up. Though she looked a little pale, I'm starting to get worried about her. "Are you okay? What's wrong?"
"Uhm, yeah", she started to move and went out of the car. I just followed her from behind. What was going on with her? I was really starting to get worried, so I decided to walk beside her. Even more, I wanted her to know that I was worried about her and that I was just there right beside her to help, so I courageously raised my right hand up towards her back to support her. I felt her smooth hair and the soft fabric of her dress, and then, she looked at me surprised. Uh oh, was this too much? Did I go beyond my boundary? Should I say sorry?
But instead, she smiled at me and let out a sweet laugh. "I'm okay, don't worry."
"Oh, good. Well then, what happened?" I was still holding her back, feeling nervous as ever, while we walked towards the front door, good thing her parents weren't looking back at us.
"It's just... I knew Carissa waaaay before, we were close friends actually, but... it turns out that she wasn't really 'friend' material. Don't worry its just nothing, I'm just being silly. It was a long time ago." Her voice sounded that she was completely calm and everything was alright but I knew that she wasn't.
When we reached the front door it immediately opened, making us step back.
"Mark!!! FINALLY! Long time no see!" Leena's dad and a tall skinny guy greeted each other. He also greeted then hugged Aunt Catherine. "And you must be Joe and Manna? Nice to meet you!"
"Pleasure to meet you sir", Dad said as they shook hands.
"Please, don't call me sir. We might work together now but, let's keep it casual. To be fun! Call me Christian."
Christian now realized that there were 2 teenagers standing behind our parents, so peeked through and gave us a confused look.
"Let me guess, these are your children, huh?", he looked pretty confident with his guess.
"Oh, actually this one is my son, Jeff." I let go of Leena's back, which to be honest I enjoyed holding, and shook hands with Mr. Christian. "This is Leena, Mark's daughter." The man looked surprised.
"Leena? Ohhh yes! The youngest of the three girls, right? Where are your sisters?"
"Uhm yes. It's only me today, they have summer classes."
"Oooh, too bad huh? Haven't seen you in a while. Well come on in! Ya'll make yourselves comfortable." He led us through a series of hallways and corridors in order to arrive their 'guest area' which were full of couches and coffee tables. "My wife is just preparing some snacks that she made for you." Mr. Christian bowed down a little and whispered, "She doesn't cook usually so, don't expect 5-star dishes. Hahaha!" And of course, we all laughed with him.
"Well then, why don't we start right away, huh? Let's get down to business." He sat down beside Leena's dad and next to him was my dad. Our moms were just talking quietly with each other, trying to be polite. As for Leena, she kept looking around the corridors and the stairs that led to some other part of this big mansion. After a few minutes, dad was already confidently talking with Mr. Christian, which means that he already feels confident chatting with him, which is good. As I remember last night, dad said that Mr. Christian was willing to join in our business as a partner. He was willing to invest some capital in our business in order to expand and develop it even more. He wouldn't be managing the business every 24 hours, he just really wants to invest some of his money. Leena's dad called him one time to see if he was interested with it, and luckily he was. Which is why we're here now. Basically, any help that were going towards us, dad was willing to accept. I guess we really are going through something tough.
"HI DADDY!" My heart skipped a beat as a high-pitched girl voice shouted from the door. "I'm ready!" I looked at her, she looked like she was about Leena's age. Though she didn't dress like a 15-year old. She wore a torn up, super short shorts matched with an of shoulder blouse. I kept looking at her, looking at how much skin she was showing right now.
"Honey! Everyone, this is Carissa, my daughter." Christian introduced his daughter to us just like a usual proud father. I don't know why, but is he seeing THIS right now? Well, don't get me wrong, she looked really good showing of that much skin, but come on! Trying too hard a bit? "Oh honey! Do you remember Leena?" I suddenly remembered how Leena was feeling. I looked at her and she saw a small sweet smile.
"Well, look at you", Carissa said walking towards me and Leena, "you look all grown up, huh? Better than before! Oh, but haven't lost some of the baby fat, right?" She slapped Leena lightly on her arm, and Leena just laughed.
"Well, yeah. You look great too." I knew Leena was just smiling to be polite. I could see that she didn't want to. Our moms and dads were now looking a way since they have some important business to do.
Right now, Carissa was sitting beside Leena. "Well yeah, you know, daddy let me enroll in a weight-loss program and a body-building one so I'd look hot right now! You should try it some time. You need it." She said with her irritating high-pitched voice and squeezed Leena's arm.
Leena just smiled.
OH. MY. GOD. I cannot believe she just said that. Now, I think I know why Leena was nervous at seeing her again. She's a pain in the ass!
"So, who's this? Is he yours?" Carissa said motioning towards me.
"Oh no!" Leena said while looking tense and humiliated. "He's Uncle Joe's son. This is Jeff." I smiled politely and shook hands with her.
"Hey, nice to meet you! Well don't you look greaaaat!" She said while eyeing me. Okay, I don't know if I would be flattered or not. But again, I just smiled and laughed a little. "Well, do you have a boyfriend now Leena?"
"Well, no. Not really. You know, dad's----"
"Yeah. Well my dad said he's okay with me having a boyfriend now. Well, of course, if not I'd get really mad at him. He wouldn't like that. Sooooo, I have a boyfriend! He's great!"
"Oh have you now? Good for you!"
"Yep! VIP player, basketball. He just lives down the street so he visits me everyday. Brings me chocolates and stuff. Cool, huh?"
"Yes, he sounds great..." Leena said in which I think she was being sarcastic. "What's his name?"
"Aaron! Aaron Sanchez. He's half Mexican, so he looks gooood!"
"Oh, wow. Lucky for you, huh? Hey, what happened to Justin though?", Leena asked trying to change the subject. I felt awkward too, I wasn't talking to anyone in the room. And even worse, I was eavesdropping.
"Ew, Justin? You still remember him? I don't know, I haven't seen him since. He's better off now, must have found a new hole to hide in! Hahahahah!" Youch, whoever was this Justin was, I felt sorry for him.
"Well, yeah, we were close before, right? I haven't talked to him too. I wonder where he is now."
"Oh, let him be! Such a weirdo", Leena was just looking at her. I bet she was mad. She should be, this Carissa girl is just... UGH! "Anyway Leens, I gotta go. Meeting up with Aaron, I'm going to his house since you guys are here today. Toodles!"
Carissa said goodbye to both our moms and dads. And suddenly, she went towards Leena again.
"Hey, nice catching up, huh? Remember, gym! It's great, you should really try it. And who knows, maybe a boyfriend will come after that right? HAHAHAHAHA just joking. Okay, bye for real." That b*tch kissed Leena on the cheek and went straight to the front door.
I looked at Leena and she looked exhausted. It must take a lot of patience to talk to that girl. I wouldn't last very long around her. I kept looking on Leena's face. For a moment she just stared towards the front, looking at the vase filled with orange tulips. And then after a while, she noticed that I kept looking at her and she just let out a shy smile, then took out her phone and just opened and scrolled down her Facebook news feed.
After about an hour, I could see that our parents were almost done with whatever they were doing, they were just talking about irrelevant stuff right now. Then suddenly, a tall woman wearing a kitchen apron walked into the room.
"Ah! Honey, done already? I just finished baking!" She held out a tray of what seems to be big and flat cookies.
"Oh yes, hon. Sorry. I guess they could take it home, right?", Mr. Christian said.
"Of course! Good idea! I'll just put them in bags." His wife was about to go out of the room when she saw Leena's mom, "Catherine!!! Oh my gosh! It's been years!" They hugged each other tightly. Mr. Christian and his wife seemed so nice and sweet, I wonder what happened to their damn daughter. "And you must be Manna! Nice to meet you! Just a second okay, I'll bag these cookies for you. Oh, hi Leena! Look at you so grown up! And this is...?"
"Oh that's Jeff, my son." Mom said looking proud as ever. I smiled. I just keep smiling today, huh?
Finally, we were out of their house, inside the SUV and drove towards home. Mom and Dad looked so happy that Mr. Christian immediately agreed to their offer. Leena's mom and dad were all smiles too, which gave us a happy atmosphere here in the SUV, except Leena. She was happy for us too, but I knew she was still bugging about that terrible Carissa.
"Hey, you okay?"
"Oh come on. What is it with her, huh? I'm sorry, but she is irritating!" She smiled at me.
"So you've been listening to our nice conversation?"
"Who couldn't?! She's SO charming." And finally, I made her laugh again, which made me feel better. I didn't like seeing her mad or sad, she's a happy-go-lucky kind of girl, you wouldn't want to see her sad.
"YEAH she is", she sighed. "She was my friend when I was a kid, but after a while she just wasn't that friendly anymore. Especially during the time when they suddenly got super rich. She acted like a spoiled brat, hanging out with all the other spoiled, popular kids in school. That's why she started slowly distancing herself from me. And before I knew it, we never talked anymore."
I said nothing. i just wanted to listen to her and figure out why that THING was such a b*tch towards Leena.
"Our parents were friends with one another, but we weren't anymore. It was a good thing that a few weeks later, dad decided to move to the house we're living in today, so they'd never know that Carissa and I weren't hanging out anymore. I just felt terrible, you know? And that Justin guy, he was one of our close friends too. I kept in touch with him for a few months after we left, but as usual, we stopped talking too. Last time I talked to him was through Facebook when I was like, still in grade school. He asked about how I was doing and stuff, how was Carissa. And I told him that we never talked ever again. That's when he started being so dramatic about stuff.He told me that he like her ever since, and Carissa didn't even care, blah blah. Justin was the shy, emo type. But what Carissa said was just way harsh."
"She's a bitch, huh?"
"Shh!" Leena said quietly, trying not to laugh. "They might hear you!" We kept laughing quietly like retards, good thing she's a little happy now. "But, yeah, she is a bitch."
I looked at her looking shocked as ever. It was the first time I hear her say a bad word. "WOAH. Look at you, huh? Calling your irritating, annoying, and horrible girl friends as bitches!"
"You called her a bitch first, okay? I only reciprocated." We both smiled at each other shortly, and she looked straight forward. I, on the other hand, just kept looking at her cute face and remembering how Carissa secretly told her that she was fat or chubby or something, which made me a little mad.
"Hey." I said, whispering a little. She looked at me in the eyes.
"Don't believe the stuff that she said, okay? You are okay."
"Youch! I'm just 'okay'? Thanks a lot."
"NO! No, what I meant was," I am honestly sweating right now, "...is that. She's just teasing you. I mean, you look great! You're great. And she? She is definitely not."
She suddenly stared at me and smiled. "You know you've said that to me before already. Like, twice."
I suddenly felt a warm rush all around my body, making me feel uneasy. "You counted?"
She looked nervous too. "Well, how couldn't I? But thanks though. Hey, you want to eat the cookies they gave us?"
She untied the ribbon and looked through the cookies and then looked at me. "Chocolate & Raisins or Oatmeal Cookies with what seems to be topped with weird looking nuts?"
I looked at her as she asked me that question. And again, she looked so cute asking me about food again. Oh, she just love food! Even talking about it.
"Oatmeal Cookies with what-seems-to-be-topped-with-weird-looking-nuts, please."
"Why?" I laughed at her as I realized that she was already asking me a question for the game.
"I like food with weird names."
I took the cookie from her hands, slowly making my fingers touch hers and took a bite. She blushed.
For the whole ride, we did the usual. We asked each other questions that were weird enough to make our parents look back at us, giving us confused looks. But we didn't mind, as long as we were having one hell of a time with each other.