30th October XXXX
The door bell rang against the quiet of the front room. I was a bit startled at the sudden sound, making me get back to my senses. He is here, I thought.
As hesitant as I was, I stood up from the couch and slowly paced towards the door, my heels making clacking sounds against the floor. I could see him through the peephole, standing just on the other side in his gallant figure.
I took a last glimpse of myself in the tall mirror. The hems of my floral dress fluttered at my every movement. The one and a half inch heels and the exposure of a part of my legs made me look a bit taller. My own reflection was staring back at me. This is not me, I thought.
I didn't want to prolong this burden and there was no other way for escape either. I took a deep breath to calm myself, and, perhaps, have more confidence, before I opened the door and greeted my visitor.
"Wow! Angel, you look-" He started but I immediately cut him off.
"Weird, I know. You don't have to say it out loud."
"Why would you think that?" He remarked pretty incredulously. "You look stunning! Have a little more confidence."
He handed me a white rose, the same one he had given me before. A light blue ribbon was tied on the stem, coincidentally matching the color of my dress.
"It's lovely. Thank you." I said in almost a whisper. I brought the flower close to my nose and smelled it a little. "Do you want to come in for a bit? Or shall we go now?" I asked.
"I think it's better if we go now. It’s getting late after all." He glanced at his watch before holding his arm out to me. "Allow me, milady?" He said in an imitation of a British accent.
I placed my hand in his arm in a lady-like fashion, as I let out a soft giggle. "Sorry but that accent doesn't suit you much."
"Well, that's too bad. I was thinking of joining UK's Got Talent." He responded as we walked along the corridor towards the lift.
"Anyway, where are we going?" I asked, fastening my seat belt as he started the car.
"Well, it is a surprise. So I'm not telling you." He responded, giving me a smirk that I became familiar with. His answer only got me more curious. I wonder what was in store for me tonight.
I received a text message from him this afternoon asking me if I was free during the evening. I planned to hang-out with Kyle but my dear friend replied in my stead, agreeing to the sudden meeting. I was not given any idea of what it was all about, not that I had been informed beforehand whenever he took me out. I was only told to wear something casual and I would have worn a plain top and jeans if not for Kyle. She picked out my outfit and did my make-up and hair. It was obvious how we both have different definition for the word ‘casual’.
We drove through roads that weren't familiar to me at all, or maybe it was because of the night that the roads might have looked different. I wanted to figure out the place we are going to but I couldn't get even a tiny clue. The drive was quite long and we have random small talks throughout, but he was careful not to say anything about tonight. He pulled the car to a stop and it was the sign that we have reached our destination.
Jacob, being the gentleman he was, assisted me out of the car. I heard the sound of breaking twigs when I stepped on the ground. I thought it was weird but when I looked around, we were in a place where civilization is yet to arrive. It was dark around us and only the moon dimly lighted the place. We were surrounded by trees and shrubs and I could hear a faint sound of water from a distance.
Where am I? The place frightened me and panic overcame my reasons. I was in an isolated suburb in a place I don't know. Darkness was all over the place, going through the depths of the forest. I was far away from civilization, where life is being lived to the fullest. I had no idea what kind of creatures might appear out of nowhere. I was scared. I do-
My thoughts were interrupted when I felt something being wrapped around my shoulders. I had not realized how chilly the breeze was until then. I turned to see him standing beside me, his jacket covering my arms. I could smell his faint scent from the piece of clothing that he lent me. It kept me warm. It calmed me down.
He held my hand in his and squeezed it lightly. I could feel his warmth against my palm. Immediately, the fear I had inside was washed away. I felt safe. I was not alone. I had him.
"You're cold. Are you okay?" He asked.
"Where are we?" I asked in response. I tried to look around again, a little braver than a moment ago. It was still the same place but somehow, I don't feel frightened of the darkness, or of the night-creepers that might appear, or of being in that place.
"You know this place." He answered in almost a whisper. I looked at him once again, the moonlight making his features standout even more. He gave me a smile, one that was different from the usual one he gave me. It was kind and gentle but it was different. It felt more soothing and warmer and it my heart skip a beat.
"I know that it's dark, but be careful with your steps." I heard him say as he tugged on my hand.
We started to walk deeper into the forest. He was walking beside me, keeping me close to him, assisting me very gently as we made our way to the place he wanted to bring me. We continued to walk until he brought us to a stop. The sound of the water continuously flowing was a lot louder and the rustling of the trees was coming from all direction. I tried to look back to where we came from, the moonlight only helping me a little. It was only then that I realized that it was a downward slope, though not steep, that we passed through.
All of a sudden, I noticed my shadow dimly formed in the ground. Light. I turned on my heel to see the source of it. What I saw was something I had not expected at all. I was speechless. You know this place. His words rang inside my head. I surely know the place. It was where he brought me the first time we went out, but it looked completely different from before.
"This way." He whispered as he tugged on my hand once again.
Unable to say a word, I trailed close behind him as I continued to look around me. We walked through a path made of lights. Through the darkness, several tiny lights were suspended in the air, as if stars were falling down on us from the sky. Different sizes of lighted balls were randomly scattered in the ground, lining the path that we should take. It was so beautiful that words were not enough to describe it.
"What is this, Jacob?" I finally uttered.
He turned to face me. "A surprise. Did you like it?"
"How could I not? It was just so...so beautiful." I answered, almost stuttering.
"Follow me." He said. Still holding my hand, he guided me through the lane of lights. I trailed behind him as I continued to enjoy my surroundings. It was unbelievable that I was experiencing something like a scene out of a film. I couldn't even put my emotions into words, nor do I understand what I was feeling.
The next thing I know was that I was sitting in the middle of yet another indescribable place. It was the same platform where we went fishing together but in my memory, the place was dusty and dirty with a lot of dried leaves and twigs lying about. It could not even be compared to what it became. White roses in jars were randomly placed in the area. Pastel colored balloons scattered in the clean wooden platform. And the lights seemed like they were suspended in the air just like earlier. It was a beautiful and warm place. The place has a rustic and romantic vibe, and it made me feel like a princess.
I don't know what I should say or how I should react. Is this a dream? Is this reality? I couldn't be sure myself. The only thing I was certain of was before me was something I had only seen in movies or in fairy tales. I do not even know for what reason and for what purpose this place was set-up. I had vague ideas but I still cannot put it all together.
"This is for you." I heard Jacob whisper before he left to pick up one of the guitars leaning in a box.
He started to strum on the strings of the guitar that he hung around him, producing gentle notes one after another. It was my first time to see him play an instrument. He looked so happy as if he was enjoying what he was doing. He looked so bright standing there holding a guitar. And for some odd reason, it felt like he was meant for it. He doesn't look strange holding an instrument and actually playing it. Quite the opposite honestly; it suits him perfectly.
His music filled the air, making the place more vibrant. It was as if the notes themselves were alive and dancing around. The chilly breeze joined his music, making the trees dance and the lights sway gently, like stars dancing around in the air. It was like a magical moment, like everything happening right then was surreal...as if it was only a dream.
I had not notice since when Nate, Mark and another guy I've never met took over the other instruments, but the tunes they produced blended perfectly with Jacob's. So this is his band? I was not an expert of music, but I like the melody that they were producing. They were only playing covers of old songs, but they were doing a great job of giving it their own touch. At least, that is what I think.
They continued to play song after song as I listened and enjoyed the little pleasure I was given. Most of the time, I find myself staring at Jacob. To be honest, I find it difficult to tear my gaze away from him. But every time he would glance at my direction, I would force myself to stray my sight elsewhere, like the lights hanging above, the balloons on the floor, his friends playing or the roses around me. One time I found Nate looking at me with that big grin of his. I tried to glare at him but it probably did not come out right. I was too delighted to pull out the act properly.
No matter how much time passed by, the magic in the air doesn't seem to disappear. Everything still seemed sparkling, even the scent of the roses was still around. Cinderella has until midnight, but would it be the same for me? This dream-like reality...I wish it would last even just a second longer than it should be. Or perhaps, I really am just dreaming? If so, I wish for this dream to continue on forever. Whether it was in the realm of dreams or reality, I could not deny the delight I was feeling. I had not felt like this recently. Again, it was all thanks to Jacob.
I still wonder what this was all about. It should be difficult putting all the stuff together and arranging the place as such. I couldn't even imagine just how much time and how great an effort they put in for this. Are they practicing for something? Like some kind of event? But who would do such an event at the riverside in the middle of nowhere at an odd time of the day? I just couldn't come up with any logical idea befitting the set-up of the place.
This is for you. Jacob's words drifted inside my head. I felt my cheeks warmed up a little against the cold of the night. That couldn't mean that this was all for me right? He only meant their playing...their music. I had requested to hear their music and to see them play before. That was the only reason that I was brought here. He likes you.
Suddenly, Kyle’s words as she was fixing me up earlier came to mind. That couldn’t be it either. I- I’m too plain, dull and boring. I was certain that I’m not his type either. I am getting too full of myself if I even assume that he likes me. But…you wouldn’t normally spend time every day with someone you just met right? Kyle made me realize things that I have not paid attention to before. What is he really thinking? I really don’t understand his actions. I don’t know him at all.
Their little performance eventually came to an end without me noticing. Jacob introduced the guy I didn't know to me. He was called Martin and, and as it turned out, he was at the bar that Kyle brought me to, working part-time. We stayed at the place talking and laughing as the night went deeper.
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