A Modern Fairy Tale Romance (Chapter 6: Missing You) Everybody needs a place, somewhere that’s warm and safe For shelter from this crazy world we’re in But tonight I let the rain inside, I took away your place to hide I&rsqu...
A Modern Fairy Tale Romance (Chapter 6: Missing You)
Everybody needs a place,
somewhere that’s warm and safe
For shelter from this crazy world we’re in
But tonight I let the rain inside,
I took away your place to hide
I’m sorry that I made you cry again
Peace, O.A.R (OF A REVOLUTION)
A lot had happened to me within these past few days. First and foremost, James has returned home. Yes. James, my annoying older brother has finally returned home after two and half years of absent! He’d returned home unannounced just two days ago. James had told me since Mum was away for a Conference for a week, he’d be more than happy to come home and “babysitting” me until Mum comes back.
Babysitting, my arse! Because of you, I’d nearly suffered a heart attack! Sheessh. Next time when you come back, give a call first, will ya?
Aside from the date I had with that blue skinned mutant called Zenon (really, what was all that about?), having James back home again is a lot of fun! Just yesterday morning, he had taken us, Duke and Aidan included, to a theme park!
I haven’t been to one since ages. We rode on the roller-coasters (three times), went to a haunted mansion (Twice. Just to prove that Aidan isn’t made of stone), and watched a 4D movie.
Duke had been more excited than I was, though. Seriously, the dude had been jumping all over the places it was sooo embarrassing! Even the children were afraid of him.
I’d blamed the cotton candy. The man should never allowed to eat it ever again. Oh, Josh even dropped by the last night. He’d actually came to check on me after work. When he met James, those two were inseparable.
Josh had stayed over the night. The two men stayed up all night, chatting and catching up with each other’s lives. It still amazed me how he had managed to wake up, sobered, and just in time to go to work today with lack of sleep. Police training sure did a great job.
Oh, that remind me. We are suppose to have a hotpot dinner some time this week to celebrate James’s homecoming.
THE sound of people’s laughing filled in at the opened space parking lot in front of Hillview’s Theater. A group of five consist of four men and one young woman were making their way to the parking lots.
“That movie was brilliant! I love the part where the main guy dodged the bullet at the very last minute. It was soo cool! He’s a good actor. I like him.”
James chuckled. “Only cause he reminded you of your — oh, what’s his name?”
“Ethan Carter.” Josh teased. “the Literature Club’s President, whom our dear Anya has a forever crush on! Aw, just look at that face!”
Josh reached out his hand and patted her head as if she was a small puppy.
Anya’s ears burned. Her cheeks flushed as the two older men laughing themselves like a couple of drunkened idiots. Standing not too far away from her, light chuckles escaped from the Excalibell Prince’s lips before he quickly covered it up with a series of cough.
Anya turned her head faster than Duke could apologised for laughing at her.
“I’m truly sorry, Miss Anya. Honestly, I didn’t mean to laugh at you!” Duke muffled behind his hand.
Aidan who stood beside him, looked at her with a polite smile. His eyes said otherwise as they openly laughing at her.
Anya rolled her eyes at those idiots and walked faster toward the car.
Upon reaching to their respective cars, Anya turned around with a cheerful smile.
“Thanks for the movie, Joshie!” She crashed into her young and favourite uncle’s arms.
Josh chuckled softly. “Anything for my favourite niece. ” He messed up her loose hair. “Ye stay good in school, ye hear?”
“Gawd, Josh. I ain’t a kid, ya know. Stop treating me like one, ya old man!” Anya playfully pitched his arm.
“The day when you start acting more like a lady and get yourself a boyfriend, is the day when I’ll treat you like an adult. But until then, you’ll always be my super cute tomboyish niece!” Josh grinned. His hands starting to move and pitched both her cheeks before pulling them to the sides, while making baby noises.
“Hey, Josh... I don’t think that’s—” Josh screamed as a hard fist landed on his cheek.
James smacked his forehead and muttered lowly,
“I told you so...”
Anya shut the back seat’s door loudly. Beside her, Duke entered from the other side and shut his own door more gently. He stayed as quiet as a mouse. He looked at Josh with one hand was placed on his bruised left cheek as he waved goodbye at them.
Anya huffed. Turning her head away from the window, she crossed her arms.
“Why aren’t you waving back at him?” Duke decided to ask after much consideration. He continuously waved his hand at Josh as the car began to move.
“Why should I? He’d pitched my cheeks and made those baby noises. He deserves it.”
Anya glanced a final look at her young uncle when an idea came to mind. A wicked smile slowly formed across her lips. Lowered down the window and raised her hand, she gave Josh a rude finger gesture as the car moved further away from him.
James, who behind the wheel, kept on tapping his hands accordingly to the tempo of a rock song that was playing the radio, with an amusing look on his face.
Sitting beside him on the passenger’s seat, was Aidan. He too had a look of amusement. Each time he looked at her slightly red face, the event that happened a moment ago came to mind.
Aidan couldn’t help but to muffle the sound of his own chuckles.
Duke on the other hand, was horrific with what he’d just seen. He was staring at Anya for the last five minutes since the car started to move.
Why? How? Isn’t a maiden is suppose to be gentle, kind, graceful and...Ladylike?
“Let it go, why don’t you?” Anya spoke after the long awkward silence.
“But Miss Anya!”
“So I’m not as graceful as the other women that you’ve met. Does that really makes me a bad person?” She tilted her head to him and raised an eyebrow.
“N-No! Of course not.”
“Then, end of discussion.” Anya turned her head back, facing to the window.
Duke silently nodded. He looked at his own hands. When the car stopped at the red traffic light, a rogue biker with a huge bike was on the other lane.
Duke, impressed by the tattoes on the biker’s arms, gasped softly. He looked at his hands, then at the biker, and finally back to his fingers again.
Duke then raised and waved his hands at the biker, who noticed him.
Just as the traffic light turned green, James pressed on the accelerator as hard as he possibly could.
A long list of swearing words came from the biker could be hear till the end of the world.
“Why the hell did you do that to him for, moron?!”
“I’m sorry! Miss Anya, I’m so sorry!”
Anya sighed and massaged her forehead.
“Really, you. What do you think would happen to us if that biker decided to chase us?” She scolded over the sound James’s loud music.
“My deepest apologies, Miss Anya.” He gulped. “When you did it to Mister Josh, he was laughing so hard, I feared his stomach was going to burst. And so, I’d thought it was a form of greetings in your world.”
Anya snarled at the young Prince. Her left eye twitched at his naivety.
Really! The hell of this man. Sighed heavily while rubbing her temple, Anya turned her head away and looked at the window.
The journey back home was a peaceful and quiet one.
ANYA yawned tiredly stretched her arms. She looked at the time: six forty-five in the evening.
Having just finished doing her assignments that was due next week, Anya stood up from her chair of the study table, and heading toward the door.
It was Monday, and on top of that, a Public Holiday. James had informed everyone that they would be taking a break from work and celebrate the holiday by doing whatever they pleased.
Duke and Aidan had enjoyed themselves by waking up a bit late — something that surprised the young lady as she had thought the butler would still be waking up early each morning regardless.
Anya herself had woken up fairly earl that day. At seven fifty o’clock in the morning, she had woken up and went out for a morning jog. Then, at eight-thirty, after refreshing herself, Anya ate a wonderful English breakfast made by the lovely James.
The small living room was lively by the loud sound of the television. Two of the three men were sitting on the long jointed sofa, while the other one was on a single sofa, reading a newspaper while mildly watching what it appeared to be a wrestling match on the television.
Wrestling has never been Anya’s favourite sports. In fact, she was never a fan of it.
Though according to her brothers and uncle, she should have been considering how much of wrestling techniques she knew and had sucessfully pulled on them and anyone else.
For Anya, she was more into a martial arts and football fan. In fact, her ideal man would be someone with a footballer’s attributes.
Like one Ethan Carter.
“Huh?” Where did that comes from? Anya snapped out of her thoughts with a flushed face. She looked up only to have the others gave her a weird look.
“What’s wrong with you?” James asked, flipping the newspaper.
“N-nothing!” Anya made her way beside the Prince and sat down on the sofa.
Everyone shrugged and resumed watching the match until the telephone started to ring.
“Anya, pick up the phone.”
“Why me? dammit.” Anya grumbled and reluctantly got up from her seat. She walked to the kitchen and picked up the phone.
“Hello, Romans’ Residence.”
“Yo, brat.” A deep voice replied over the phone.
Anya gasped. “Dean!”
At the mentioned of his twin’s name, James instantly stopped reading the newspaper. He stood up and rushed to the kitchen.
“How are ya? How’s Home’s?” Dean asked.
“Home’s fine. I’m fine. How are you, Dean?”
“Anya, let me talk to him — Ugh!”
Anya elbowed James on the chest and hissed, “Get in line. I haven’t talk to him for years!”
On the other line, Dean, her oldest brother, chuckled amusingly at his siblings hissing each other over the phone.
“I see you haven’t changed at all, brat. I’m fine... More or less. Listen, is James there? Can I talk to him?”
Anya scoffed and rolled her eyes. “Sure, he’s here. JAMES!” She handed him the telephone and returned to the living room.
Anya sat down at the single chair, crossing her arms. She took out the snack container from the centre of the table, and munched loudly.
“Stupid Dean.” Munch. “He hasn’t talked to me for years.” Munch. ” ′I see you haven’t changed at all, brat. I’m fine... More or less.′ That’s all he wanted to say to me?” Munch.
All the while Anya was grumbling, Duke and Aidan sat quietly. It did not take them long before they heard the phone conversation finished in the kitchen.
As soon as James hung up on the phone, he let out a tiring sigh.
“Anya? Can you come over here, please?”
Anya looked at her brother strangely at the spft tone of his voice, but said nothing.
The room went deep silence. Duke glanced at his butler who simply nodded.
“What’s up?” Anya asked once she seated at the kitchen table.
“Anya, honey. Dean... got involved in a car accident.”
“Calm down, calm down! It’s nothing too serious. He broken his left arm and his right leg.” James winched. “Rina is taking care of him now. So at least, that’s that.”
“Does Mama knows about this? She’ll freak out, you know.”
“She did. He’d called her first before he called us. And yes, she freaked out. That poor woman.” James rubbed the back of his neck.
“Listen, kiddo... Now that Dean’s being hospitalised, I’m afraid I have to fly back there and take care of the restaurant as soon as possible...”
“You’re going back...Soon?”
“I’d planned for staying over for another week, but seeing how things are now...” James sighed heavily. “Listen, I know you wanted me to stay longer. We’ve already made plans but—”
“What are you talking about, James? You should definitely go back!”
“But the plans— ”
“Hey, don’t worry about it!” Anya smiled reassuringly at him. “We can always make another plan when you come back. Or when the two of you come back, when you’re available. The more the merrier,right? So don’t worry about it.”
James looked at his sister with pitiful smile. He reached out and gently patted her head.
“Thank you, sis. Tell you what, why don’t we have that hotpot tonight, huh? We can invite Josh over if he’s free. Whaddaya say?”
Anya nodded. “Sure. I’ll give him a call.”
“I’m gonna book ticket for tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll get an early morning flight. ” James smiled sadly and walked out of the kitchen.
There was a deep silence in the kitchen as soon as James left. Anya had moved from her spot to the refrigerator and take out the ingredients for tonight’s hotpot.
Meanwhile, Duke and Aidan had been eavesdropping to the conversation earlier, wandered what would happened next.
Aidan had suggested to leave the Roman’s family matters alone as it had nothing to do with them, but Duke beg the differ.
Before the Butler could stop his charge from minding his own business, Duke bravely marched into the kitchen’s floor.
Anya temporarily stopped slicing the fishcakes on the wooden chop-board.
“What is it?” Anya asked, not bothered to turn around and resumed with her work.
“Well, I was wandering. That is, Mister James—”
“Ah. If you’re worry about that, don’t be. It happens all the times. He’s a chef after all. A highly successful one, if I may add. I’ve gotten used to it.”
“But you were... You were really looking forward to the plans, did you not? Like going out for a picnic, playing laser tags, staying up late at night chatting or just simply watching movies! Or even—”
The sharp sound of steel met the wooden chop-board board caused Duke to halt his words.
“Like I said,” Anya’s voice deepened. “Don’t worry about it! So what if he has to go back to work tomorrow? It’s not like he’s never ever going to come back. And besides, I’ve already told you that I’ve gotten used to it, didn’t I? So get off my back already, alright!”
Duke remained still and silence. Anya inhaled deeply. Hard as she tried to hide it, the Excalibell Prince could see how moist her eyes were when she tried to brush it off like it was nothing.
Just like she often brushed everything that bothered her. Duke stared at the kitchen floor, sympathetically.
“Both of you!” Anya’s sharp tone caught the Prince’s immediate attention. “If you have nothing else to do, then do me a favour and buy me everything on that list!” She pointed out at a piece of paper hanging on the fridge with the sharp knife.
Decided to interfere before someone get hurt by a flying knife, Aidan wordlessly took the list off the fridge and pulled the Prince to a safer distance away from the kitchen.
“THANK you and please come again!”
Duke smiled broadly at the cashier who flushed and waved him goodbye. It had taken them twenty-five minutes to buy all the necessarily ingredients that was on the list sheet Anya had forcefully given to them.
Now, as the two gentlemen carried two big grocery bags filled with tonight’s hotpot, Duke and his butler made their way back home.
“I hope Miss Anya finally calmed down. I’ve never seen her acting like way before. I knew for a fact that it saddened her to see Mister James leaves... Though I can’t really say I knew how she felt.” Duke spoke in a concerned voice.
The footsteps behind him suddenly halt, causing the young Prince to stop as well.
“Aidan? What’s the matter?”
“Your Highness, if I may speak so boldly... Why do you concerned yourself with Miss Romans’ family affairs? You do realise she’s just a ticket for us to get to Lady Marian, don’t you?”
“Of course I am! Is it really wrong for me to be concerned about a friend—”
“— Precisely. It appears to me, you seemed to have forgotten that Miss Romans is not a friend. She has never been and will be a friend. She is someone just happened to be caught in between your own foolish mistake and whom the two of us had threatened in order for us to be able to return to Excalibell. An unwilling victim, as per quoted by Miss Romans herself.”
“Why do you spoke of such harsh words, Aidan?” Duke scowled.
“Because my Prince, as your humble butler, it is my duty to remind you our main reason of being here.”
“I assure you I do not forget such matter.” Duke whispered lowly. “I’ve realised our presences here must have been a nuisance to the Romans’ family. Which is why, I would like to propose something to Father when we get back.”
“Oh? And what would it be?” Aidan raised an eyebrow. The Prince was planning something without him knowing about it? How interesting.
“We’re back!” Duke shouted cheerfully as he entered the front of the Roman’s apartment, followed by Aidan who shut the door and locked it.
“Ah, you’re back, huh?” Came a male voice that wasn’t James from the living room.
Josh smirked. “Anya called me. She said we’re having hotpot tonight.”
“Yes. We’ve just returned from buying the necessarily ingredients.” Duke smiled. “Where is Miss Anya?”
“In her room. Said she has a bit of a headache and needs to rest for a while.”
“In that case, I’ll get the hotpot ready. Excuse me.” Aidan made his way to the kitchen, carrying the two grocery bags in his arms.
Josh stared sharply at Duke. His left hand that was holding the flat -screen’s remote control remained still in the air.
“So,” Josh said, in between flipping the channels. “Anya told me a lot about you.”
“Is that so?” Duke scratched the back of his head. “I hope it was nothing bad.”
“She had told me for a friend, you are one of a kind. Whatever that means.”
“O-oh really?” Duke nervously chuckled and looked at him. “I guess I kind of am?”
Josh glared dangerously at him. “Anya is my one and only precious niece. Should anything bad ever happens to her, I will hold you responsible for it. Do you understand, boy?"
“Good.” Satisfied with the answer given, Josh nodded.
Duke stood awkwardly behind the sofa. He didn’t know whether he should leave the man alone or stay.
Anya had once told him her favourite uncle, was known as hard-boiled ‘Devil’ Inspector, and considered as one of the very best in the field, despite him being silly at times. She warned him to never judge a book it’s cover.
So there he stood silently and awkwardly while the ‘Devil’ Inspector watched the news.
“How much longer do you plan on standing behind me? Frankly, it’s making me feel extremely uncomfortable.”
“Yes, Sir! Pardon me.” Duke turned his back at the man and was about to head to the kitchen when his name was being called again.
“Do you mind pouring me another cup of coffee?”
ANYA walked out from the bathroom with a small towel hanging around her neck. She wore a yellow polka dots pyjamas. Anya made her way to a wooden cabinet where she kept most of her hair accessories, facial creams and perfumes.
Opening the first drawer, she took out a cream moisturiser and applied some on her face and around her neck. Looking at her reflection on the mirror, she pondered.
What a day to end. I guess James will be leaving tomorrow, huh? Alone in this house again...
Anya sighed and took the hair brush and began brushing her wet hair when there were a couple of knocks on her door.
“Miss Anya? It is I, Duke. May I please come in?”
There was a pause before Anya spoke, “Enter.”
Duke slowly turning the knob and opening.
“About before... I—”
“Don’t worry about it.” Anya interrupted, brushing her hair. “I am sad thay James will be leaving. He got an early flight booked at six o’clock tomorrow morning. But at the same time, I knew the restaurant he and Dean are managing is just as important as well. Hence, I tried to be as understanding of the situation as I possible could.”
“You feel lonely without him around, don’t you Miss Anya?”
“What?” Anya stood up and roughly put down the brush on the table. She turned to face him with an intimidating look.
“Who says I’m lonely? I am NOT lonely. Whenever Mum has to go for an important Conference or a long trip, I have Casey to keep me company.”
Duke kept quiet.
“I have Josh, Emma,and Steve to keep me company if I want them to. Lonely? Me? Stop joking.” Anya huffed. She crossed her arms.
“But it’s not the same, isn’t it?” Duke spoke after a moment. “You have friends, yes. People who care about you and cherish you. Who would come to you in a blink of an eye if anything. But they’re not the ones that you want, isn’t it?”
Anya looked taken back by his words.
Duke smiled sadly. “I am an only child. Hence, I do not know what it feels like to have siblings. How it feels like to be separated from them. Ever since I was young, the King had been the one who raised me. My mother died during childbirth, so I never got the chance to get to know her. But I’d heard great things about her from my father and the maids. I do know what it felt like being separated from your parent, though. The King often travelled to other kingdom for political matters when I was young. But still, I have maids and Aidan who keep me company. I guess, in a way, I am lucky to have them whenever my father is away.”
“Living here with you in a place you called as your home; I could instantly tell how close and meaningful your family is to you. You cherish them so much, I believe nothing could ever break that special bond that you have. The evidence is in your eyes, Miss Anya; the moment when you saw Mister James standing in the living room on that Friday night. So when you’d said that you don’t mind him at all for leaving you, I found it very hard to believe. You’d missed him terribly all these while, didn’t you?”
Duke was now facing Anya who was hiding her face behind the curtains of her long bang.
“Miss Anya, it’s definitely not my place to say this but I sincerely think you should be honest with Mister James and tell him how you really feel about him leaving you.”
He smiled at her, encouragingly.
“Aidan is getting the hotpot ready now. I’d better go and help him.” Duke turned on the knob, and left. He left a small gap on the door.
Duke walked into the dining room while softly humming a tone, just in time to see Aidan putting plates and trays consist of different types of ingredients: thinly slices of meat, leaf vegetables,mushrooms, wontons, egg dumplings and seafood, on the table.
At the centre of the table, was an simmering metal pot of stock.
Duke took a seat. He sat with both arms on the table, palms underneath his chin.
“Your Highness?” Aidan stopped placing the utensils and looked at the Prince. “Did something interesting happened?”
“Oh no. Not really.” As soon as those words left his mouth, a loud stomping footsteps could be heard coming from the bedrooms, followed by a loud knocking sound on a door belonged to James.
Aidan was about to take a look when Duke stopped him.
“Let them be.” Duke winked.
“JAMES, open up!”
James quickly opened his bedroom door. He had been packing his bags when someone banging on the door loudly.
Opening the door, James was struck by the tears that were running down on Anya’s cheeks.
The last time he’d seen her cried since their father’s funeral, ten years ago.
Since their father’s death, Anya had vowed never to cry as not to burden her family with her personal problems.
No matter how badly injured she had suffered from the fights, Anya refused to cry. That much James knew.
“Anya?” James stuttered. His thoughts immediately went to the those men. His eyes hardened.
“Anya honey, what’s wrong? Did something happened? Why are you crying? Did they do something to you?”
“No.” Anya wiped the tears with her sleeves. Taking a deep breath, and controlling her meeky voice, she said, “I don’t want you to go.”
“I don’t want you to go!” Anya shouted.
“Anya, I don’t under—”
“James! You have only been here for like, three days in two and half years! We’d barely spent times together except for yesterday and now you’re telling me that you going back? That’s — That’s bullshit! I refuse accept it!”
“Anya, calm down. Let’s talk about this—”
“I haven’t seen you for two and a half years. Damn it James! Don’t you miss me at all?!” She pounded hard on his chest with both fists.
“You and Dean rarely call home because you’re both too busy with work! You don’t think I get lonely around here?” Anya’s emotions were all over the place. She was very closed of getting hyperventilation when her knees gave away.
James quickly lowered down his body to support her when her knees gave away and she crouched down on the floor.
“What about Mum, huh? You haven’t see her for a while and now you’re just going to leave again without seeing her? You don’t think she misses her sons?! She talked about you two everyday, wondering if everything is alright!”
“Anya, sweetie. Breathe.”
“I miss you, Dean and Mum... I miss our family... So much!” James circled his arms around her figure and pulled her into a tight hug, comforting her while she broke down into tears.
At the living room, Josh was too shocked to hear the confession to say anything. Part of him blamed himself for not being to detect the loneliness she felt all these while. As an uncle, he felt responsible of taking care of her while she grew up after her brothers left their home.
There were times when Josh noticed Anya would stared absently whenever a family came to Home’s, with a glimpse of longing in her eyes before it disappeared.
Another part of him argued, saying it wasn’t his fault. Even if he’d forced Anya to come clean about her feelings, she would most likely denied it and probably smacked his head upside down.
That stubborn woman viewed crying as a weakness. She’d rather chopped her tongue off than cry in front of everyone, even to him.
“Moron.” Josh sighed softly, rubbing his forehead.
In the kitchen, the sound of Anya’s sobbing echoed. Aidan was already seated at the table with Duke.
He closed his eyes, before switching off the portable butane gas oven for the hot pot.
“Understood.” Aidan got up and took all of the fresh ingredients with him to be stored in the fridge.