( A night with my best friend 🛌)
✍️ Chapter Twenty ✍️
“You look gorgeous!” James grinned at me as he pulled me into a hug.
I grinned too. To be honest this wasn’t my best look, but I had thrown on a white knee-length strapped dress that hugged my chest and managed to make my C-cup look like D-cups. From below the dress trailed into a lacy floral that reached my knee. The dress looked more of a cocktail kind than casual.
Although I wasn’t an expert on make-up and hair like Sav was, I managed to at least straighten my untamed curls and dab on a bit of mascara here and lipstick there.
“Thank you. You’re not so bad yourself.” I smirked at his get up. He had on crisp white linen shirt unbuttoned to reveal the base of his throat and tucked under his dark jeans. His hair was gelled back to give it style. I could tell he really put on a effort for tonight.
“So where are they?” He asked as we followed the waitress who escorted us to our booth. She swooned over at James and I agreed with her approving eyes as she mouth, “OMG” to me when James wasn’t looking.
“I really don’t know.” I answered him, cringing when my brain decided to imagine exactly what they might be doing. Like a gentleman, he let me sit first before taking a seat opposite me. The waitress gave us the laminated menus before retreating.
“You think we should order now?” He asked me.
I was tempted to say yes but then it could be seen as rude. “No, let’s just look at the menu.”
“That might be a good idea.”
At this point I hoped that they wouldn’t show up but thinking of Kyle’s somewhat faux enthusiasm from yesterday, I doubted he would want to miss this.
I took the laminated menu and forced my eyes to drag on the options. I didn’t know if James intended to pay for our food but since it was going to be a double date, I doubt he would that’s why I took precaution to take some cash out when he picked me up.
“Hallelujah!” James exclaimed suddenly.
I looked up and my heart skidded to a stop at the sight of Kyle and Mandy following the waitress to our booth.
It was stupid of me really, to feel suddenly shaky with cold sweat but I couldn’t control my reaction when our gazes locked.
My initial thought as I first saw him was, when did he cut his hair? Because, the Kyle sauntering over to us looked different. He had shaved the sides to his hair in a buzz-cut and left an island of messy but sexy locks adorned perfectly on the middle of his head. The haircut suited him. Damn, it was sexy as hell. I knew no one could pull this off except for him.
As he got closer I studied his attire; he wore a black leather jacket unbuttoned to reveal what looked like a white t-shirt and from this close up, the t-shirt looked like second skin against his toned body. No wonder the waitress including dolled-up Mandy who held on to Kyle’s arms possessively couldn’t take their eyes off him.
I forced myself to shake the alluring sight of him which brought the image of last Sunday into my mind.
I looked over at his companion instead. Mandy looked appealing in her glittery strapless party dress which reached the middle of her thighs. It accentuated her longer legs that were held by the matching glittery pumps.
I couldn’t blame James’s gawking when they approached our table.
“You guys made it.” James greeted them enthusiastically but his eyes never left the sight of Mandy.
I frowned at him. I got that Mandy looked great but this was meant to be our date.
My animosity towards James’s rude action was eliminated the minute Kyle decided to slump next to me. The invasion of his body colliding with my side completely knocked the breath out of me.
Heat—scorching heat—laced the air between us. I swallowed my now dry throat as I watched Mandy cautiously sit herself next to James.
James’s eyes followed her movements like a hawk. The silence stretched when Mandy blushed at James’s scrutiny and they both stared expectantly at Kyle whose eyes were currently raking over me. I forcibly nudged his side with my elbow.
He grunted inaudibly. “Oh, right. Introductions…James this is Mandy. Mandy, my buddy, James.”
“I must say, Mandy, that you look breathtaking.” James took Mandy’s hand into a shake.
Mandy giggled and it was the first time I heard her thrilling laugh.
I gaped at James but he was completely enamoured by Mandy. I watched as I slowly became replaced. Just like that, I was forgotten by him.
They were talking over something and I didn’t catch their conversation because suddenly Kyle’s pressing eyes were calling for my attention.
“You straightened your hair again.”
I forced myself to look at him. He didn’t look impressed.
“Yeah, and?” I said as if it was a passing comment.
Mandy was giggling at something James was telling him and for a moment as I watched the spectacle, I felt odd because I saw how great they’d be together.
“It’s just not you.” Kyle replied.
“What does that supposed to mean.” Because I was already annoyed at James, my annoyance escalated to anger at Kyle’s comment.
“Did you change your look tonight to impress James?”
I glowered at him. “You cut your hair. Did you do it to impress Mandy?”
He smirked. “That’s different.”
“How is it different?”
“I’m not trying to impress anyone. You, on the other hand, have a knack to change your appearance whenever you’re dating someone.” His eyes studied my outfit, unashamedly lingering at my bôôbs.
“No, I don’t.” I shifted in my sit at the heat that sparked my blood.
“You do. Remember Max?”
Dang it. He had to bring up Max. I wasn’t proud at what I did with Max. I had completely changed myself when I had been with him, I did it in hopes for him stop staring at other girls whenever we went out on dates. No wonder he cheated.
I suddenly felt resentful and Kyle sensed this when he lost the smirk.
“All I’m saying, Key, is that you don’t have to. Trust me when I say, your natural beauty is sexier.”
I stared at him for a moment. Was he being sly? No, the genuine look in his eyes told me he wasn’t.
I gave him a small smile.
“You’re not offended?” He asked.
“Why would I be?”
He stared at me long and meaningfully for a moment. He was about to say something when the waitress came to take our orders.
“Before anyone gets anything, you have to try the curly fries!” James exclaimed, for the first time looking away from Mandy.
“Why?” Mandy asked.
“They’re—what’s a right word to put it?—the Bombdiggity!” He told her.
The waitress as well as Mandy laughed at his choice of word.
I stared narrowly at him.
“Seriously guys, if any place has good curly fries, its Carlos. I was surprised when Keya told me she never heard of Carlos. I mean, everyone knows Carlos!” James said, smiling over at me when he mentioned my name.
I forced out a fake smile. He had completely wiped away my good opinion for him.
“You must not go out much,” Mandy said. “Even I know, Carlos.”
“Contrary to what you think. I do go out, Mandy, I just rarely eat out.”
“Well, you’ve been missing out.” James cut in.
“So what will you guys have?” The waitress asked, impatiently.
“I’ll have those curly fries please but just a small portion and mixed salad on the side.” Mandy jutted.
“Diet coke with lemon.” She finished.
By the look on the waitress’s face I could tell that she didn’t approve of Mandy’s choice. So when she turned to me she looked hopeful.
“I’ll have the big fat greasy grilled steak, with those crispy fries to the side. And for drink, I’ll have coca cola.” I ordered.
She smiled at me and then took Kyle’s order; surprisingly he ordered the same as me with exception of Pepsi coke. She finally took James’s order and then promised to be back with our food as soon as possible.
“So …Mandy, by the way, do you by any chance have a brother called Jake Braxton?” James asked her.
“Omigod, yes! How did you know?” She exclaimed excitedly. Both of their bodies shifted to face each other and it was that movement that told me that Kyle and I were long forgotten.
“He is in one of my classes and he mentioned one time about having a younger sister called Mandy.”
“He did?” It was as if James mentioning her brother was an invitation to talk about her family.
So for the next ten minutes, my ears reluctantly listened to the history of The Great ol’ Braxton Family. Their riches and how they came to be rich; what they did with their wealth; the companies her father owned; the holidays they attended; how many cars her father owned; how many her brother had etc.
Not one tad bit did I buy her bullshît. No family was ever perfect as she just described hers.
The next thing she moved on to was her accomplishments. On and on she talked about herself and what she had done, the trophies she had won etcetera etcetera…. and that’s how dinosaurs became extinct.
Serious I was getting bored; I’ve never met a person who could talk about themselves for this long. I was sure if given time she would take a full day to outline everything about herself.
I looked over at Kyle and he knew what my look said.
“Don’t even go there.” He whispered.
“No, really though, you had a crush on her?” I hid my amusement.
“It’s just the looks okay. She’s hot.”
“Says the person who was lecturing me a earlier about my looks.” I snorted.
He narrowed his eyes and sarcastically said, “James really must like you…look how much attention he’s given you.”
James was enamoured with Mandy and by her continuous chat about herself, he didn’t seem at all bored. The fact that he had dropped me just like a hot potato stung in an ugly sort of way. And I had rooted for him.
It was my turn to narrow my eyes at Kyle. “You did this on purpose, didn’t you?” I asked.
He gave me his best deadpan look. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
I was about to speak but then our food came and because I was really hungry, the steak I ordered called to me.
I gorged on it soon as it was in front of me and I couldn’t help my moan. I realised that I had attracted attention when I looked up to find Mandy staring appallingly at me. James mirrored her look but it was more of annoyance than disgust.
“That’s not very ladylike, Keya?”
“Oh, I’m sorry I wasn’t brought up maids who taught me how to be a lady because my mother was too drunk to care for me and my father was in the next state busy flashing his money to the next whore that caught his attention.” My patient toward her had really run out.
Mandy gasped. James’s eyes bulged in disbelief and Kyle chocked on his drink.
Okay, I may have overreacted a bit. However, the sniff that followed the shocked silence told me that my comment may have hit home when Mandy suddenly wiped a fallen tear.
“Excuse me!” She exclaimed, rushing out of her seat, barely containing her tears as she ran to the restrooms.
Okay, now I felt really bad.
James was glaring at me. “That was a low blow, Keya, why did you say that?”
I frowned; he didn’t have to rub it on me.
“Aren’t you gonna go and apologise?” James matched my frown.
“I was going to!” I glared at him. Suddenly the good-looking-fun-guy-to-be-with James slowly replaced himself with self-centred ásshole.
I got up from the booth and sauntered over to the restrooms calling out Mandy’s name.
There was no one else there except for the occupied cubicle where sobs were echoing from its walls.
“Mandy?” I knocked on the cubicle.
“Can you not!” She shouted before a sob wrenched her.
“Mandy, I’m sorry… I didn’t mean to say that, it was insensitive of me.” I said.
Jeez, if her crying meant that what I said was the truth, then her fake attitude explained a whole lot.
“Mandy, please open the door.” I pleaded.
“How did you know?” She failed to lash out.
“I’m sorry. I really didn’t know.”
She opened the door and her tear stained eyes really made me feel even more worse.
“How did you guess then?”
I shrugged. “I watch too many reality dramas.”
She frowned contemplating it. “There’s drama about something like this?”
“No, not really. I was meaning that I was being over dramatic.” I offered.
“Oh, Okay.” She said this as she moved over to the mirror and cringed at her stained make-up.
I went over to take paper towels and running it on the tap I approached her with the now damp paper towel.
“Here.” I offered. She took the paper towel from me and began rubbing her face.
“Gosh I’m a mess.”
“Everyone is a mess, Mandy, at some point anyway.”
“I just wish…” She sighed. “Sometimes, I wish my parents would just die…am I being vulgar?”
“Nope, if my melodramatic outburst was a summary of how your life really is, then that’s perfectly understandable.” I told her.
“My birthday is next week. I’m going to be eighteen at last.” Then she laughed without humour. “I know the only people who are going to remember are our maid Maria and Jake…”
I pitied her at that moment. No wonder she surrounded herself with people who somehow worshiped her. I awkwardly placed my hand on her shoulder.
“What about your parents?” I asked.
“My dad’s going to be reminded by his secretary but he won’t bother to even celebrate, he’s probably just gonna give me money as usual. And my mom, well as you put it, she will be too drunk to even remember that she suffered through labour giving birth to me.”
“I’m really sorry, Mandy.” I told her again.
“I’m not. The sooner my birthday arrives, the better. I’m leaving that godforsaken house and buying my own apartment. They don’t know it, but I’ve been saving my allowance.” She pulled herself together.
I smiled for her sake. “Good for you.”
She smiled but as she looked at herself in the mirror, she stopped. “Great, how am I supposed to face him looking like this now?”
“Who? Kyle? Because, he won’t—”
“No, not Kyle, James.” She said and then realising, she regretted her words.
“I’m sorry. I know he’s your date and that’s complete—”
“No, no. That’s fine, we’re not in any relationship, and this was just a first date to see if anything will happen between us…I guess it won’t.”
She was pursuing her lips. It was her turn to look pitiful at me.
I shook my head. “I have some, mascara and lipstick in my purse—which is back at our booth,” I said frowning when I realised I left my purse there.
“You don’t mind me using some?” She asked.
“No, not all. I’ll be right back.” I told her as I left the restrooms.
My feet were following the signs back to the restaurant and when I saw Kyle’s face popping in one of the booths. I knew I wasn’t lost.
The frown Kyle was giving James was unmistakable. He saw me but didn’t acknowledge me and as I got closer to James’s back, I heard their conversation.
“I’m glad you don’t mind. That’s why you’re the best Kyle.
“But Keya, seriously needs to watch her mouth.” James was saying.
“I get that she might be jealous of Mandy but c’mon comparing her to Mandy, Keya has no chance at all, she’s too stiff…” He continued.
Kyle gave him a smirk.
“Kyle, please help me out. How do I let Keya off easily without crushing her?” James asked.
I stepped into the scene. “Don’t worry, James You just did. Oh, but look, I’m still intact.” I grabbed my purse and stalked away from them. I was torn whether to flee or go back to Mandy. She had seemed fine when I left her, so I chose fleeing.
It wasn’t fair for her that I was resenting her because of James. It wasn’t her fault at, well maybe it was partly her fault too.
And I thought this date was to give James a chance. I snorted internally as I got out of the restaurant.
Once I was out, I realised I had no ride. James had drove me here. Now, how was I supposed to get back home?
I walked away from the restaurant into the night street. Suddenly the wisp the wind blew, its cold grip telling me of the changing weather.
Fantastic, now it’s going to rain. I spotted a bus stop and ran to it, thankful that the cubicle will be able to shield me from the impending rain.
This had got to be the worse date I’ve ever been in, double date or not.
I couldn’t care less about what James said about me, contrary to what he thought, it didn’t crush me the fact that he lost interest.
No, what I was resenting about him was the fact that I had somehow trusted him to be a good guy.
I really should stop judging people before seeing their true colours.
I couldn’t believe how stupid I had been to believe Sav’s words when she mentioned that James might have cared for me.
Yeah, care for me my foot. The only thing he had cared for was not getting laid that night I stupidly got drunk and almost slept with him.
I really should have seen the signs sooner. And I had took his vanity for a joke.
So what was the point of him adding me in his social networking sites? Just to get it on with me? What a wasted effort!
At that moment, I wondered if he did this with every girl he wanted to sleep with. Will he do this with Mandy—his new source of infatuation. I hope he wouldn’t. She seemed to already have too much on her stake. I was human enough to at least know that if he dumped her like he just did with me, she probably would break.
But she is exactly like him! A party of me added. She forgot about liking Kyle the minute James started wooing her. I guess they were just meant to be.
I realise that’s what I had been to him, a mere girl who caught his attention. No wonder the majority of friends and followers on his Facebook, Instagram and Twitter were all girls.
Yes, I stalked him!
I didn’t feel anything but pity for the girls that were his victims at that moment. I wondered why they would remain friends with such an àsswipe, but then again I didn’t know their story and probably shouldn’t judge like I already have. He might have parted with them in friendly terms compared to me.
At that thought. I took out my phone and deleted him from my contacts, unfriended him from Facebook, unfollowed him on Twitter and Instagram. What was the point of keeping someone like him in my social circles?
To be continued…
Yikes! That’s was so bad.
What do you think though? Of James’s actions? Mandy’s unveiled secret? The whole chapter as a whole?