Winter into Spring
The front door slammed with such a force, the house rattled from the impact. A soft sigh left Hera's lips. It had been the second time Felix had stormed off. Hera stood up from her seat to try and coax Felix back into working. "At this rate, we'll never finish the project!" she thought to herself. Her hand made contact with the door knob; she twisted it open when the door suddenly moved forward.
"Hera..." A glum voice called. "Hera, I need your help."
Hera moved aside to let the person in. Just as she suspected, it was Oliver, her neighbor. Oliver's green eyes silently pleaded for help.
"What is it this time?" Hera fixed her bangles and closed the door, taking her seat again.
"Milo doesn't want to eat again. I've tried everything! I even tried to give him some candy so he would eat his real food." Exasperated, Oliver threw his hands into the air and then buried it into his dark brown hair. Oliver was a common visitor at the Kalim residence, he was the same age as Hera, but unlike Hera, he had an older sister and a younger brother.
"Did he take a nap, Oli?" She replied, glancing at her watch. "You know he gets cranky when he doesn't take his naps."
Oliver lifted his head, beaming. "You're a genius Hera! This is why you're my bestest friend in the whole wide world!"
Hera rolled her eyes. She knew he didn't mean what he said; he never usually means what he says. She let her mind wander over onto Felix. "What did I say? I thought I was more careful this time...." Hera was suddenly yanked up from her chair, being pulled towards the door.
"Oliver! Where are you taking me?!"
"To Milo, duh." He shook his head and grinned at her.
"May I ask, why are you taking me to your younger brother?"
"So that if I have any more problems, I don't have to go and look for you."
Hera grumbled in response. She was supposed to find Felix right now, not tend to her neighbor's brother.
"You know you can't keep on doing this. One day there won't be a Hera you can run to. What will you do then?"
Oliver released Hera's wrist and proceeded to take his shoes off. "I dunno. But why are we thinking of the future? We're not even there yet!"
Just then, an awful wail erupted inside the house. "OLIVUR!"
Hera ran towards the sound and found Milo standing on the kitchen counter. "Herie!" Milo squealed, attempting to jump off the counter. Hera lifted Milo off of the granite counter and set him on the wood floor.
"How'd you get up there Milo?"
"Olivur put me here and told me to sit down and wait for yew," his chubby cheeks moved upwards as he smiled. Turning her head back, Hera squinted her eyes at Oliver and burned holes into his face. He scratched the back of his head sheepishly and smiled too.
"I don't know why your parents trust you to look after Milo. He's four for crying out loud! He could've seriously injured himself if he tried to jump down!"
"No I wouldn't Herie. I'm a good boy." Milo nodded his head up and down, still grinning like a Cheshire cat.
"See! Listen to him! He's a good boy alright, and I wouldn't even be in this mess if Gwen was home!" Oliver sighed and sank down to the floor. His hands covered his face.
Carrying Milo in her arms, Hera approached Oliver. "I'm really sorry Oli. Were they fighting again?"
Looking up at her, Oliver's forest green eyes glistened. He nodded his head, staring at the distance. "Mom was her usual perfectionist self. She blamed Dad for Gwen's "rebellious" behavior and her "unacceptable ways." I didn't think she'd do it you know. She told me her plans and stuff but I never thought she would carry them out...."
"Well, wherever the hell she is, I hope she's safe," Oliver ended with a small smile. Hera frowned, she pitied Oliver. This had been an eventful year for him, his girlfriend of three years left him, his parents were divorcing, and now this. Hera knew she had to be there for Oliver, they've been there for each other since they were little.
She stood up from her crossed-leg position and eyed Milo. "Are you hungry Milolo?" She cooed, tickling him. Milo giggled and nodded his head. She gracefully traveled to the refrigerator and made Milo a ham-and-cheese sandwich, cutting it up into four small triangles. She handed one each to Milo and Oliver. Hera lingered around for a few more minutes until she felt that her presence was no longer needed.
"I'll be heading now if you guys don't need me anymore," Hera bid goodbye. The two boys waved and smiled at her. The sight was truly adorable, Milo was sitting inside Oliver's crossed legs, and puzzle pieces were spread across the fuzzy blue rug.
"Bye Herie!" Milo said in a sing-song way.
"Thanks again Hera!" Oliver flashed her another smile before she closed the door. Combing her fingers through her pixie cut hair, she took a moment to observe her surroundings. It was April and the trees were blanketed with white blossoms. Tulips proudly sprang up from the ground and the birds chattered cheerfully. Sunlight peeked in and out through the leaves as Hera walked under the great trees that harbored the white flowers. She strolled around carelessly, a drifting soul with no designated destination. When she stopped walking, Hera found herself at the local park. She sat down on a nearby bench that overlooked the greenish pond.
The first time Felix took off, she didn't see him again until a week later. It was already Saturday, and their project was due on Wednesday. The farthest they've gotten so far were their names ad where they lived. Where he lived....
"Where he lives! That's it!" Hera exclaimed, getting onto her feet. She whipped out her phone and recalled the notes she took from last week. "Says here that he lives on 910 Acadia Drive..." she mumbled to herself. Clasping her hands together, she prayed that he was there.
Using the GPS on her phone, she arrived at Felix's house in no more than ten minutes. Hera gazed up at the modest house and crossed her fingers. She rang the doorbell, only waiting a few moments before the door opened.
A woman around in her late thirties greeted Hera. "Hello, what can I do for you miss?"
Hera gave the woman her most polite smile, "I'm Felix's friend. A friend from school."
The woman's face lit up as she opened the door wider for Hera. "Oh, oh, come in darling! I'm Mrs. Archer, and you are?"
She stepped inside the bright house, her gaze immediately being captured by the elegant fish tank that stood in the corner of the room.
"Do you like fish? My husband and I admire the ocean. That right there is a Panther Grouper," Mrs. Archer pointed to a white fish with black polka dots all over it. Hera didn't answer, instead, her eyes floated to another aquarium.
"What's this one called?" She followed a lone blue colored fish with orange blotches on its back.
"Oh that's a Goshiki Koi. It's really pretty huh? Felix won it at a fair," the latter replied. "Speaking of, you're a friend of Felix, eh?"
Hera nodded, "Yes, Mrs. Archer," she turned her attention to her now, "is he home by any chance?"
Mrs. Archer shook her head. "Sorry dear, he told me he was going out today."
"Oh..." Hera internally cursed. "I guess I'll just be going then, thank you--"
"No, no! Stay! I'm sure he'll be here soon," she smiled, pulling a chair for Hera to sit down on. "Please tell me about yourself Hera. It's not often that Felix invites his friends over."
"Well...um..Where do I start? I guess I'll start with this: Felix is my partner for this project we were assigned to."
"A project? What kind of project? Is Felix cooperating with you? I'm sorry if my nosiness is making you uncomfortable, it's just that Felix never tells me anything," she chuckled. She handed Hera a cup of Earl Grey tea.
Hera shifted herself and crossed her leg over the other. "Well I don't mean to tattle-tell or anything, but Felix hasn't been that cooperative." She smiled apologetically to Mrs. Archer. "Our English teacher, Mrs. Blair, thought that we should be paired up with our opposites in preparation for the new novel we were going to read. She told us that the two main characters were complete polar opposites of each other but they learned to become good friends. So as a project, she wanted us students to socialize with our opposites and experience what the two characters in the book must have felt."
"That sounds interesting!"
"That's not all though. For our project, we have to interview each other and genuinely try to get to know something about the latter. Mrs. Blair's also wanted us to find at least one thing in common about ourselves. She thinks that we'll learn a valuable lesson of some sort. She always has been a bit of a lunatic," she coughed awkwardly. "Anyway, we then have to orally present what we've learned, and that's worth twenty-five percent of our semester grade."
Hera lifted the tea cup to her face, inhaling the wonderful aroma of the tea. She took a small sip, then gently set the cup down back on its plate.
Mrs. Archer sighed, "I'm sorry for Felix's uncooperativeness. We honestly don't know what's up with him. He's so reserved nowadays so when you said you were a friend, I just had to know what was up."
"It's okay. I don't mind much, he actually intrigues me---"
"Ma, I'm home," a boy's voice echoed. "Who are you talking to Ma?" Footsteps neared the room where Hera and Mrs. Archer were.
"Ma, why aren't you ans---Oh it's you Hera.." A lanky boy with golden brown hair appeared before the doorway. A deep grimace was planted on his face but his eyes were unreadable.
"This young lady here was waiting for you Felix, where have you been?" Mrs. Archer asked. Hera stayed still and stared at Felix like she was posing for a portrait.
"That's none of your business," he spat out, walking over to Hera. He peered down at the girl in front of him. She had shiny light brown hair and an olive complexion. She wore no makeup but her natural beauty radiated.
"Come," Felix said, grabbing Hera's arm and pulling her away from the table. He forcefully dragged her out of the room and climbed up the stairs. Mrs. Archer was screaming at the top of her lungs and was right behind their tail. Unfortunately, Felix got to his room first and shut the door with an audible bang. Hera was too dazed at this moment to notice that he had locked the door too.
Letting go of Hera, he made her sit on top of his bed. The room was painted navy blue and posters hung at one side of the wall. The only source of light seemed to be coming from the window that was halfway open.
"How did you know where I lived?" Felix interrogated, his intense gaze caused a cold shiver go down Hera's back.
"You told me, remember?" she replied. The situation was now starting to settle into Hera's mind. She was alone. With a guy. In an unfamiliar place. Who the hell knows what the person in front of her was planning to do? Maybe he'll sell my organs off on eBay or something. She shook her head viciously like a dog drying up from a bath. That made Felix eye her weirdly.
He cleared his throat, "Look, I don't know what you want from me but whatever it is, don't look here. I repeat myself, don't come over my house again. Ever. Got that?"
^ Back to Top