Alex’s heart thumped inside her chest. Sweat dripped down her temple, cold fear clouding her senses. She shuffled her running feet to a stop once she reached the living room. Unmoving emerald green eyes stared at her. Gray ones darted all over his face.
What could he be thinking?
Logan looked over Alex’s head and spotted Jae at the door. His jaw locked. He didn’t literally believe Skye’s words but the thought successfully planted in his head. It only took that much for his imagination to be inspired.
‘You two look cozy together’ echoed in his thoughts.
If his consciousness was a living being, Logan would have punched it by now. It had such inappropriate timing. He just dealt with his ex-girlfriend. Why did it consented to being affected by words he didn’t see himself?
“You two are hanging out today, huh?” Logan said, breaking the silence. If he heard those words again—
‘If I hadn’t seen Alex, I would have thought you were making out with a girl, Jae.’
Maybe he should add a kick to that punch.
“Emily’s flight is today” Alex answered, “Jae came around to hang a bit before she left. When he said that you’re probably asleep, we thought about visiting you. Check on you if you’re okay.”
The pulsing of her heart slowed down. Instead, it grew heavy. She feared that it might fall off and hit her stomach. After what just happened, how could she tell him that they’d intentionally followed Skye? Would it be alright to admit that she knew about their past?
“Were the both of you outside this whole time?” Logan breathed out. Only half of him was with them at the moment. The other argued with himself.
‘I would have thought you were making out…’
“We—” Alex glanced over her shoulder. Then, she turned her attention back to Logan, “It was none of our business so we waited outside.”
The image of Alex pressed up against a wall with his twin leaning over her flashed in his mind. Jae’s hand caressed Alex’s forehead and tucked them away. Logan cupped the side of his scalp, closing his eyes. He tried to shake the scene off his mind.
He wasn’t successful.
“I’ll… I’ll be in my room” Logan decided to say. Still holding his head, his legs moved and climbed up the stairs. He refused to believe that they’d do something like that—but his imagination battled strongly. More illustrations came. They flipped like an animated book.
Each page that turned, lips inched closer together.
He slammed the door to his bedroom shut, hoping the sound could shatter the figurative television in his mind. The glass screen stayed intact and the film continued to play. His back bumped against the door, sliding downwards until he sat on the floor.
He shut his eyes. Everywhere he looked, the scene repeated continuously. A groan wailed out of his lips. The base of his palms hit the sides of his head. They failed to break the moving pictures.
No, no, no… he chanted mentally. History won’t repeat itself. Alex and Skye were different. That time and this time were also different. Jae and Alex didn’t see each other that way.
But what if they did?
What if his twin liked her all these years?
One by one, irrational ‘what ifs’ bombarded Logan. The wounds of the past merged with the present and painted it in blood. They twisted reality in whatever they desired. Then, they surrounded him from all sides.
They left him with no room to escape.
“Logan!” Alex shouted from the other side. She banged on the door and continued when no response came, “Logan! Are you okay?! Answer me!”
A bump sounded from below her waist. She gazed down, spotting a shadow in the middle of the light peeking through the bottom of the door. She deduced that Logan might be near the door. Her fist kept hitting on wood. With no visual, she couldn’t tell what condition he was in.
Her eyes flickered to the top of the stairs. Jae stared in the room’s direction. Genuine concern etched on his face. Then, he shifted his attention onto Alex and gave her a nod.
He walked down the stairs, giving them some privacy.
Alex turned back to the door. She knocked softly this time. Her voice also lowered in volume, “Logan?”
Only silence filled her ears.
She sighed, pressing her forehead against the door. Her left arm and right hand rested on it as well. She closed her eyes and pursed her lips.
What was she doing here again?
Her instincts activated when Skye said those words. It scared her to think what they could do. She went it to flight mode and searched for Logan immediately. She couldn’t predict his reaction and waited. Seeing it, her panic rose.
She didn’t want him to misunderstand.
Neither did she want him to think she hid things.
Where would she even start?
“Logan…” Alex whispered, “I have a story to tell you.”
Shuffling her feet, her back leaned on the door. Her legs bent and pulled her to the floor. She hugged her knees to her chest and gazed up at the ceiling. She took a deep breath, praying that she was about to do the right thing.
She only needed to figure out how.
“While Jae and I waited in the hotel lobby” Alex began her narrative, “An old friend of mine was at the front desk. S—That person was checking out. To say I was shocked would be an understatement. I hadn’t seen that ‘friend’ since we were kids.”
Her mind calculated the parts to say and the parts to skip over.
“Our friendship was brief… but it was the first one that mattered a lot to me. Before that person, no one outside my family would come close. The few that did found me odd. The others saw me with hatred. Meeting and having that person in my life brought me so much joy…”
The back of Alex’s eyes watered. Her tear ducts stayed empty but she could feel them. She blinked, forcing them to fade.
“So what happened? Why was it brief? Well…” she chuckled. It had no humor, only sadness, “One day, that friend became too greedy. See, that person didn’t have much. As someone who had a lot, I thought of sharing my blessings. Whether it was food, some possessions, I gave it. The happy expression I’d see made it all worth it.”
Alex cleared her throat. Her voice cracked by the end of the last sentence.
Was it this difficult when she revealed the story to Jae?
“But…” Alex paused, holding her breath. She would not cry. It had been years. The pain should have dulled by now, “But I spoiled that friend too much. When I couldn’t give something, that person resorted to stealing it. My family found out. They also saw all the things I gave away. Apparently, the amount was already a lot. Yet… that friend still wasn’t satisfied and was arrested.”
Alex licked her lips. They had gone dry. Her lungs breathed in sniffs. Unless someone listened carefully, they wouldn’t notice it. Her tears remained inside her head. None of them leaked out an inch.
“That night, in the police station” she continued, “The way that person’s eyes glared at me is forever engraved in my memories. All that time, I realized I was never considered as a friend. Other students in school confessed that the rumors about me came from that person. Everyone was driven away from me… so I’d only have that person as a friend.”
“So why am I telling you this?” Alex coughed. She waited for it to fade, “We didn’t mean to eavesdrop on you and Skye but hearing your conversation… made me remember my own breakup. Sure, it’s not a boyfriend but it was still the close relationship I had that broke me.”
“Jae merely comforted me,” she concluded, “He fussed a bit like a mother hen but we were more worried about you. When I heard you say how she disappeared, I wanted to charge inside and drag her on the floor. I hadn’t taken one step when Jae grabbed me by the arms… and that was what Skye saw.”
Alex looked over her shoulder and down her back. The shadow under the door hadn’t moved. She wasn’t sure if her voice was loud enough but she hoped most of it was heard. She didn’t have the strength to repeat herself, not now or ever again.
She raised a knuckle and tapped lightly.
Nothing stirred from the other side.
Another sigh breathed out of her lips. She banged the back of her head on the door. Logan had always been the nosy puppy… since when had their places been reversed? She refused to accept this new role. It agitated her too much.
Then, Alex slapped her cheek.
Right now, she wasn’t the one troubled but the other person.
Her needs came second in priority.
No matter how she was feeling, her focus should be on Logan.
Adjusting her position, she released the cramps on her bottom and shifted her weight. She straightened her legs on the floor. She also snuggled her back against the door. It might take a while for Logan to come out. She needed to be as comfortable as possible.
“Logan? I can’t tell how you’re doing right now but… you don’t need to rush. I’ll be waiting here even if you fall asleep from crying. I mean—” Alex corrected quickly, “Even if you fall asleep from my boring stories.”
A small smile curved on her lips, “Consider this as payback for the times you trespassed my house and stayed over unannounced.”