Chapter Four – Bewildering
They had been chasing each other around for hours. Finally exhausted, the blonde girl decided to lie down and rest on the luscious grass.
“What? You’re tired already?” Kristen looked up at the sound of another voice just above her. Sure enough, there was her hyperactive playmate.
“We’ve been running around for hours, Leila. I just want to sleep.”
“On the grass? Come on! A bed’s better! Let’s stay at our house,” the brunette said as she unceremoniously plopped down next to her friend.
“But we just slept there last night.”
“You can sleep there again,” the brunette smiled at her friend. “Nanny Josie won’t mind. She loves making pancakes in the morning.”
“She makes really good pancakes.”
They giggled. After a while, Leila lied down next to her friend and simply looked at the sky.
Kristen, on the other hand, looked at her friend’s tranquil face.
“Hmm…?” she didn’t waver from her gaze at the clear blue sky, even upon hearing the blonde girl call out her name.
“Where’s your dad? And mom?”
“I don’t know…”
“You don’t know them?”
Now, Leila looked at the blonde girl’s face.
“Oh, I know them. I just don’t know where they are right now. I was with them when we came here but that day when Mom allowed me to play by myself, when I came back, they’re gone.”
“Are they coming back?”
“They always come back. I don’t know when but I’m sure they will. That’s what they do when we live at different places all the time,” The brunette grinned and looked at Kristen’s face with open sincerity. “They fly on the plane with me. We live at a house in some place that I don’t know where. They stay for some days. They leave, sometimes for a long time and sometimes, not very long. Then they come back again.”
“Do you miss them?”
“Yes,” the smile on Leila’s face suddenly dissolved and a serious expression took over. “But, I don’t want them to come back yet.”
“Why?” Kristen was confused at the other girl’s statement when she had just said she missed her parents.
“Because when they come back, that means we have to leave again.”
Leila closed her eyes and steadied the turmoil boiling inside her. Once again, she looked at her friend and was faced with a confused frown.
“That means…” Kristen said, trying to voice out her confusion and figure out what Leila had just implied.
“I’m going to leave and we can’t play anymore and…” Leila closed her eyes in another attempt to suppress the sudden sorrow that overcame her young heart, “…I’m really going to miss you, Kristen.”
Classes for the morning had just ended and Lei went out of her last class with a slight smile. She already seemed to be somewhat at ease with the new surroundings, considering her earlier trepidation. The stares and ogles were still very much evident but they didn’t faze her nearly as much as she thought they would. They were to be expected anyway. Being as famous as she was, studying in a suburban high school was something not most people would anticipate.
A few months ago, she herself never thought this would happen.
Things changed though and Lei knew being as far away as possible from her previous environment was for the best. Her parents completely supported her decision – like always – and she was happy they understood her need for distance. Lei knew she was one of the luckiest girls to have such understanding and loving parents. Not to mention, very, very rich.
But the money had never really mattered when it came to family affairs for the Charles-Carlson’s. Lei knew they were wealthy. Hell, her parents were billionaires for Pete’s sake! Their businesses range from chains of malls, restaurants, and hotels to fashion brands and designs to innumerable investments in places that never really piqued her interest. They had countless connections everywhere and she knew she could have her way with anything just by a single snap of her dad’s fingers. But of course, she never used the Charles-Carlson wealth and power for anything downright selfish. Her parents would not tolerate it and she wasn’t that much of a brat anyway.
As a matter of fact, she didn’t actually know why people branded her a spoiled brat in the first place. She was never whiny and she didn’t insist on having things given to her on a silver platter. Maybe from an outsider’s point of view, it seemed as though her parents were spoiling her with all the fancy cars and stylish clothes. But Lei knew, as much as her parents do, that she had worked for everything she ever possessed. Her gorgeous convertible was a gift after a stressful, but nevertheless awesome job helping to manage a school play – a huge production to say the least – and her other things were only prizes for her continuous hard work in her studies – something that she truly did care for which showed in her flawless straight A reputation in her previous school. But of course, they didn’t see that. They only saw the spoiled rich kid who has billionaires for parents.
Whatever. If people only cared to make assumptions about her personality based on skin deep observations, then they certainly weren’t worth her time.
Besides, they knew nothing when it came to her life and everything she went through.
Kristen stared at the same word in the book she had been trying to read for the past 15 minutes. No matter how she tried – struggled – to comprehend the words, it just wasn’t working for her at all. And to be perfectly honest with herself, she knew that there was no point trying anymore. She had already wasted almost a quarter of her lunch period and the past minutes were obviously telling her that she would not be able to finish any further reading, at least for the meantime.
Maybe what she needed was to clear her mind, even just for the moment. Surely, all she needed was a little alone time, on her favorite spot in the campus grounds, just below an old oak tree. Maybe what she needed was a little rest and whatever was bothering her would eventually fade away.
Well, what was bothering her anyway?
She sighed. There was no point playing twenty questions with herself. Plus, there was no use trying to delude her own self from what she was really feeling inside. Lying and maybe even deceiving herself would never solve anything.
Kristen knew there was only one reason she was being bothered like this. She had been unable to concentrate on any class at all that morning and she knew it was because she was too preoccupied with other thoughts. Thoughts about a certain brunette with calm blue eyes, sweet smile, and an angelic face.
There she was again. It had been hours since her first meeting with the CC heiress and she was still being lost in those few moments when their skin met in a firm yet welcoming handshake and when sapphire embraced emerald in a fitting stare.
Kristen couldn’t point it out yet but she knew there was something there – something unexplainable. The moment their hands held, she felt a sudden surge of familiarity, like she had been used to these feelings for a very long time. When she gazed at the brunette’s eyes, she felt as if she was being taken to an enchanted realm, yet somehow, no matter how much rationalizing her mind did, her soul still felt the gossamer thread that bound her to this place. And it confused the hell out of her.
What was with Lei Charles-Carlson that made her like this? Sure she was the famous model daughter of equally controversial filthy rich parents, yet Kristen was sure not even that could merit this kind of reaction from her. She had never felt this way before and she didn’t like having all these bewildering emotions.
It was now or never. She knew that she had to do this and given the circumstances, she hoped she wasn’t making a huge mistake. Besides, if the shirt the brunette had on that day was any indication, she truly believed that she had a shot.
Slowly but surely, she approached the wealthy ‘heiress’ with as much confidence as she could muster. She didn’t know the brunette’s attitude or how the other girl would react to what she was about to do, but she really wanted to get her in the group. Having the Lei CC as a member would definitely do wonders, not just for the whole faction, but also for the school. Being the leader required her to do this.
She just really, really hoped that if there was one rumor that was untrue when it came to Lei Charles-Carlson, it was that she was a spoiled rich bitch.
End of the first part of chapter four…