Chapter 15

A year had passed since Calvin’s departure from Xerphora. Angela continued on with her life just like she promised him. She, Will, and Sandrine hadn’t given up on bringing their music to the public. But they weren’t living on such unrealistic goals either. They had also started a business together, earning a reputation of their own around town. It was slow at first, but they were able to open their own shop by the end of the year. One night when they were closing up, Angela stepped outside to pull the door shut when she spotted a familiar silhouette coming toward her direction. She blinked several times at first, still not wanting to work herself up over nothing. Then her smile brightened when the light hit his face.

“I’m back, are you ready to start your new life?” Calvin asked in a teasing voice.

“I already started my new life without your help,” Angela returned, not backing down at all.

Calvin looked into the shop to find Will, Sandrine, and some others cleaning up. He was able to deduct that it was their shop. The one they talked about opening just briefly before he left.

“In that case, are you hiring right now?” Calvin joked, his smile still intact.

Angela tapped a finger on her chin, pretending to think the situation over. “We’ll see.”

It was then that Will and Sandrine looked up and saw Calvin. They greeted him and ushered him into the shop, asking him numerous questions about the happenings of the past days. Angela didn’t mind that they had robbed her of the chance of bullying Calvin. She shut and locked the door before joining them at a table in the middle of the shop. Calvin had started to recount the events of the past year. Several minutes into the story, they saw Claudia walking out from the back area of the shop. She just finished with inventory tracking. She was apparently as surprised as Will and Sandrine upon seeing Calvin’s presence when they had spotted him at the door. Yet she settled down at a chair nearby to listen in on his story as well.

“How could she do that?” One of the employees blurted out as soon as they learned of Joyce’s decision in helping Nic.

“She should be sentenced to death with him too,” Another voiced his opinion.

Claudia was still taking in all the details of the story and pondering about matters. Therefore, she had yet to voice her opinion regarding the matter. But Calvin was finally able to understand Joyce’s words and what she had said to Nic that one time in the maximum secured prison. If she had returned, she would never be accepted again. Life on Xerphora only consisted of two extremes–black or white. Not gray. That was why there were rarely any crimes. No one dared to go against the code unless they wanted to challenge the codes–or they thought they could get away with it. Like Wallace. And Wallace had indeed gotten away with it. Even if he was serving his life sentence on Earth, but anything was better than immediate execution on Xerphora.

“She must really love him,” Claudia said at last.

The others were shocked to hear that. At least the other employees were. But at that point, Angela had turned to exchange a look with Calvin–along with Will and Sandrine. The difference between Angela, Will, Sandrine–and even Claudia, Calvin had found out with the beings on Xerphora, was that they had surpassed the barriers of those two extremes of black and white.

“She’s still a traitor!” An employee yelled with outrage still, unmoved by Claudia’s theory. “I’m glad she’s not coming back. Earth could have her for all they want.”

It was then that Will began coughing. And the previous speaker realized her mistake.

“I just mean….” She stuttered to explain, sending Calvin an apologetic look.

“It’s a complicated world, I must admit,” Calvin said, attempting to disarm somewhat of the hostility in the air. “But sometimes, there are exceptions to situations.”

He felt like he needed to defend Joyce. Because he knew if it wasn’t for Joyce, the case wouldn’t be handled so fast. And because Joyce was truly in a hard situation. Joyce’s decision might not be gaining any sort of public sympathy. But it was a decision he had understood. That decision wasn’t all in vain because it had allowed Nic to turn a new leaf and start over. Perhaps, one day, Nic would be released and would actually do some meaningful things to repent for his past doings. Even if he couldn’t erase all the scars of his crimes, but he could at least make an impact. Like sending a message that it was never too late to return.

Just as Calvin was thinking those thoughts, he spotted Angela’s gentle smile toward him. Were they thinking of the same thing? He didn’t know. But instead of focusing on Nic and Joyce’s matter, he had to plan for his own. Because it also meant he was planning for Angela’s future as well.

© Saturday, October 6th, 2012

Posted: Monday, June 15th, 2015