Two days later, the town was seen in a joyous atmosphere. It was obvious since the announcement that they were looking forward to the festival. Yet the liveliness of that day heightened tenfold. It was like they couldn’t wait for the day to end and for the night to start. So they could finally meet up with their neighbors and others to show off their costumes. And not to mention the contests held and prizes involved. However, that couldn’t be said for Calvin’s case. Or more like Calvin and Angela. They were both anxious because of what would eventually happen. Yet somehow, they made it through that day, trying to maintain normality as much as possible. Calvin, being a special agent, had managed to control himself. Angela, on the other hand, seemed more fidgety than usual. That changed when she came home later that afternoon–because she still had to try to act normal and keep Will and Sandrine in the blind. Just one more night and then everything would be over. Or so she hoped. Will and Sandrine were already getting ready for the festival. Angela decided to prepare some early dinner first. Even though there would be food at the festival, but she knew she wouldn’t be able to eat when the time finally came around.

“Hey, there’s food at the festival,” Sandrine said as she stepped into the kitchen to get a glass of water.

“It’s going to be a long night,” Angela said. “You’ll never know if the food would agree with you, right?”

Sandrine shrugged and went back to the living with two glasses of water. One was probably for Will.

“I won’t complain with two meals,” Will spoke up then, his smile indicating that he was kidding.

So Angela continued to prepare dinner after that. Will and Sandrine held off on changing. They only set out the clothes after the ironing and had other pieces ready. Then they helped Angela with setting the table. The three of them ate a normal dinner yet to Angela, it seemed to be the last meal. She didn’t want to be such a pessimist. But after having heard those tragedies from Claudia, she felt the incidents were even more real than ever. Yet on the surface, she tried to maintain a strong front, joking and laughing with Will and Sandrine like normal. Just another day after work, sharing the craziness of their day and then touching on what might happen at the festival–and if anyone of them would win a prize that night.

*****

Angela, Will, and Sandrine arrived at the city hall together. They didn’t wait for Wallace or Debra or anyone else in their building. Although they started out early yet the spacious room was already packed when they arrived. After checking in, they wondered through the crowd cautiously, trying to look for a familiar face or two. It wasn’t until they spotted Calvin by one of the side doors that Angela seemed more relaxed.

“Hey,” Angela greeted him, smiling brightly.

“Nice dress,” Calvin complimented her.

“Thanks,” Angela returned, feeling shy all of a sudden. “You opted for a normal suit?”

Calvin nodded.

Angela gestured toward Calvin’s bowtie at that time. “Let me fix that for you.”

Calvin glimpsed at his own bowtie before nodding. “Thanks.”

While Angela was fixing Calvin’s bowtie, Will and Sandrine finally caught up to her. Yes, they were still fighting the crowd previously and wasn’t around for the first part of the conversation. In fact, interestingly, Wallace finally showed up at the exact moment Angela and Calvin were seen exchanging an intimate smile.

“Thanks,” Calvin muttered again when Angela was done and stepped back to stand aside Will and Sandrine.

“No problem.”

“Doesn’t she look like a princess?” Sandrine asked, gesturing toward Angela.

Angela was actually wearing a dark green dress flowing all the way down to her ankle. It was a simple dress but suitable for the theme.

Calvin nodded, smiling. “Yes.”

That made Angela smile again.

“So, do you dance at these festivals or no?” Calvin asked, looking at the others for tips.

“You can if you want,” Sandrine replied.

Calvin looked at Angela then, extending his hand. “Do you?”

Angela had on the unsure look. “Okay.”

Will was eyeing Calvin and Angela suspiciously at that point. “I sense something going on between you two.”

Calvin looked at Angela again. “I think he found us out.”

Angela smiled then, grabbing onto Calvin’s hand before looking at Will and Sandrine. “All right, tease away.”

“Really?” Sandrine asked, her smile brighter than before.

Both Calvin and Angela nodded at that time.

“I knew it!” Will said.

“Know what?” Wallace asked, walking up to them then. He was actually by the door checking in so he had to wait in line like others. That was why it took him a while to join them. And he didn’t have to wait for Will’s answer, because the moment he stopped by their side, he was able to see Calvin and Angela holding hands. His smile turned crooked by then, staring at both Calvin and Angela suspiciously.

“They got together already,” Sandrine told Wallace, her voice beyond cheerful.

“Oh really?” Wallace asked, his voice on the mocking side–almost reeking of jealousy even.

“Yeah,” Sandrine said, her voice still cheerful–and oblivious to Wallace’s sarcasm.

“All right, enough about us already,” Angela said. “Let’s focus on the festival.”

Will nodded. “All right, we’ll let you off for now. But prepare for more teasing later when we get home.”

Angela was still smiling. “Fair enough.”

Calvin looked at his watch at that time. “Hey, you guys know what? I have to go meet one of my neighbors. He said he was going to show me something when we get here. I’ll catch up with you all later.”

Angela turned to Calvin, her expression serious again. “You want me to come with you?”

Calvin shook his head, still smiling. “No, it’s fine. That guy’s just trying to keep me in suspense a little longer. I think he’s harmless though. No need for a rescue mission.”

Angela still looked worried.

“Don’t worry,” Calvin reassured her. “I still owe you a dance, right?”

Angela smiled again. “Okay.”

That was when Angela released Calvin’s hand.

“Coming with us, Wallace?” Will asked after Calvin had disappeared into the crowd already.

“I’ll catch up with you guys later as well,” Wallace said. “Business calls.”

Sandrine wrinkled her face. “You’re leaving the festival already? But you just got here.”

Wallace smiled. “Come on, there are so many potential customers here. I’m not leaving. Far from it.”

“Oh,” Sandrine said, getting it at last.

“Always take advantage of the opportunity present, right?” Will joked.

Wallace pointed at Will. “You got it. So see you all later?”

Will and Sandrine muttered their goodbyes. Angela only nodded. Then the three of them weaved into the crowd as well, exploring mostly to see what costumes the others were wearing and guessing who would be winning some prizes later that night. Yet Angela was still anxious. It was only several minutes later but Angela was feeling like she was going to lose her mind soon.

“Hey, you guys know what?” Angela said. “I need to go to the restroom. I’ll be back in a bit.”

“You need me to go with you?” Sandrine asked.

Angela shook her head. “Don’t worry. I’m not going to get lost.”

“Okay, then,” Will said. “Call us if you need to find us later. You know this crowd.”

Angela nodded and smiled before heading toward the back area. Yet she glanced back several times before she turned toward the side door where Wallace had made his exit earlier. And yes, she had kept an eye on him although they were talking and mingling with some of the guests.

© Sunday, May 10th, 2015

Posted: Saturday, May 30th, 2015

PREVIOUS CHAPTER | CONTENTS | NEXT CHAPTER