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C7 Moving Out

"Why would I choose to live in your condo unit?" I furrowed my brows.

I heard him murmuring something, but it was low that I couldn't hear it clearly. He was averting his gaze, his lips narrow opened as it spoke small noises which I couldn't hear properly.

The wind blew my hair backward, making me close my eyes for seconds, and held the edges of my hair to put it on my right shoulder, my hand holding my thick, Hazel brown hair. I opened my eyes and glanced at him. His eyes were darted at me, his hair dancing against the cold wind.

"What? I'm giving you a favor?" He shrugged and pulled my other arm, lifted it, and get the black gartered scrunchie in my wrist.

"Hey! That's mine!"

"But I am the one holding it right now, so it's mine." He rolled his eyes and pushed all the hair from his forehead and the side of his head towards the back, twisting the garter around his wavy, black hair.

I licked my lips. "As I've just said, I don't have 20,000 every month. That was my three to four months living expenses and I wouldn't waste it into a fancy unit–"

"Did I say that you need to pay? You can live there without the rent!"

He pointed his index finger at his head, and then shifted it in the middle of my forehead.

"Come on and make that brain of yours work."

"But I don't know who you are. Why would you offer help to someone you just met days ago?" I asked.

It was really weird! Why would a stranger extend a hand all of a sudden?

"Why? Are you just used to helping people who are close to you?" He tilted his head.

"What would you ask as an exchange for this help?" The suspicion in my voice was evident as I glared at him. He raised his brows.

"Excuse me, Tayla. But I told you to remember my name, Auton Smith. And also, not all people who offer you help would always ask for an exchange. I can help so I will help. You don't need to give back." He chuckled and then put his hand behind him.

"Alright. Then I will ask you for 2,000 pesos every month. All expenses are covered including electricity and water. Deal?"

What he said halted my thoughts a bit. It was tempting, but my mind was still in chaos. I will still owe this man a lot if I would accept it, and is he stupid? Who would offer a monthly rental for just two thousand pesos?

Mind you, he looks rich. He doesn't look like a person with an average social status and I bet, his condo is big, or if it is small and a studio type, it would still cost a fortune for it would probably be in a high rise tower or some kind of famous buildings in town.

"No deal. You made it look like I will just pay for the bills." I rolled my eyes.

"Too proud for someone who needs help," he shot back.

He rolled his eyes and picked something at his back, then pulled a bunch of keys, lifting it at the level of my eyes.

"One of these is the key to that condo," he said and started to move the keys, putting it down as he searched for it.

I should be talking by now, but all that I did is to watch what he was doing.

Other than his name, I got no idea what kind of man he is.

Should I trust him?

The reason behind his help, his small actions, and some of his words are blurry. I am a lady and I have to admit that I have a hunch.

No man would help a girl if he doesn't like her.

I shook my head, shoving all the thoughts away from my mind. It wasn't good to conclude and assume what you see. Maybe he was just a good man, like what he was showing me.

He lifted my hand and put a key on top of my palm, his hand behind mine, and another hand placed on top.

"Why are you giving me this? I'm still not accepting your offer!" My high-pitched voice boomed as I tried to pull my hand back, but he just held my palm in between his hands tighter. A triumphant, mocking smirk plastered on his face.

"Think of it deeply, you wouldn't let a great help pass, right?" He uttered like he was so sure that I will soon agree with this.

"Your pride will let you go to nowhere, Tayla." He whirled around, letting go of my hands as he bid his goodbye by a wave.

I glanced at the silver-colored key in my hand.

Should I take it?

"Girl, you'll live a new lifestyle! I mean, if Mr. Auton Smith offered you to live in a condo for free, then grab it already! You are so stupid to even bargain and let him give you a rental!" Ella, in her most disappointed tone and scrunched up face uttered.

We were again, inside the talk and chill for another episode of my never-ending work-and-earn story.

"You don't understand! Who knows if he is a man with bad motives, concealed in a goody-goody man?" I defended.

"I am a girl, and doesn't it sound so weird if someone I barely know is lending me a hand?"

"For me, no. Can't you see that Mr. Auton likes you? He is a new customer. The first night that he saw you here was also his first time, and then he goes here even without you." She shook her head and wiped the table next to me.

The bar is still closed, we are just fixing the tables and chairs so that it would be more presentable once the customers went in.

"Not every people who will help you like you, Ella. This is why people are getting their hearts broken, too much love and hope will kill them. And as you said, he goes here even without me. Meaning, he enjoys the bar and not because of me." I sighed and tucked the scattered hairs behind my ear, pulling another chair to put it under the table.

"Really? He went here when you're not in, but he asked me why you aren't here to sing, and when he knew about your duty days, he stopped going. Now, tell me if he's not interested in pursuing you?" Ella shifted her gaze on me and arched her left brow. Instead of making me pissed, her chubby cheeks and pink, pouty lips made me smile.

"You look ugly, pig." I teased and chuckled. She ended up glaring and muttering small curses at me.

Thoughts of what Ella said played in my mind when I stopped laughing.

Interested in pursuing me? I shook my head.

That was absurd. No one gets attracted to a couple of glances and short encounters. If there is, then it would be shortlived. No need to offer help when his feelings wouldn't even last long.

I touched my back pocket and reached for my handkerchief, planning to wipe away the bullets of sweats on my face–but what I saw was his wiper. The cotton fabric made me stop and drop my eyes on it for a while.

Maybe I should give him his wiper back, he said it was important. And I also need my scrunchie back.

The next hours were spent serving the customers, and just like what Ella said, Auton Smith is here. Auton was leaning his back at the sofa, his arms spread wide as his eyes immediately darted at me and smirked.

I sighed and forcefully drag my feet towards their table, a bit unwilling to have even a small talk with him.

"What's your order?" I asked in a slightly irritated, yet low voice. I dropped the menu cards in front of him, but Auton was just staring at me.

"You won't sing tonight? And do you already have a decision regarding the unit?" He arched his brow, pulled himself up, and intertwined his hands together.

"Where did you sleep for the last two days? It must be hard."

It was two days after my last encounter with him, and I already thought that he forgot about it.

I heaved a deep sigh and reached for the keys that I have in my wallet, then put it on top of the table.

"I'm not going."

His grin was then shifted into a frown, his sharp eyes darted at the key, and then glanced at me with the same, intense pair of orbs.

"What? But I thought you need a new home? This is something that you should get, Tayla. Is it because you don't know me and–"

"We get to choose what kind of help we would accept. Your help was harmless and more beneficial, but I don't want to owe anyone anything. The one that I have towards the people that I knew is enough.",

That night, when I thought I am already letting go of the idea of living separately and endure another year with the monsters, I saw how Terren was being scolded...again.

How he ate when I gave him some food that I got for my commissions, and how his body shook and ached when he ate it.

It wasn't rancid, but I bet, Terren is suffering from an ulcer...All because he was being starved in this house.

I closed my eyes and pushed the zipper of the luggage, heaving a sigh as I open my orbs and glanced at the silent Terren, sitting on the floor of the small, messy room.

"You can go with me, we can now leave this place." I urged. But he shook his head and removed his clothes out of his travel bag.

"I'm fine here. I can still wait until the witch dies. I will never leave the house and the memories we shared here with our parents," he said in a low, yet determined voice.

I bit my lips to stop it from quivering. It hurts to see how he chose to stay here instead of going with me, but the things he was fighting for...was also the same thing that I did that's why I have been here for years.

"I will call you from time to time. Whenever you need something, I will go here or you can go to the place I am in." I turned my back, dialing someone's phone number as I closed my eyes and put it in front of my ear.

"I think I need your help."

Libre Baskerville
Gentium Book Basic
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