A week later when they were back in town, Wallace was seen eating in the dining room of his house. The door to the den was opened, pouring some sunlight in. He was feeling a bit hazy. That was until he saw stars in front of him. He jumped up, wide awake and stared into Sylvie’s eyes.
“What the world did you do that for?” Wallace exclaimed, his anger on the rise. He never let his guard down. Never. How in the world did he get slapped by her? He was rubbing at the spot.
“How dared you?” Sylvie shot back. Her face was red with anger.
“I’m your boss. What am I not capable of?”
“You’re capable all right! You told Lex to dump me!”
“I did what?” Wallace was rarely confused. In fact, never. But what in the world was Sylvie babbling about?
Sylvie pointed an accusing finger at him. “Don’t you dare lie!”
“Don’t tell me what to do and what not to do in my house!” Wallace was not going to let her get the upper hand.
“Who do you think you are to…”
“Who do you think you are then?” Angela’s voice asked from the den.
Wallace turned–just slightly–and saw her walking in. She heard them all right. She had been in the garden, taking a tour.
“Who are you to speak to me in such way?” Sylvie demanded.
Angela zoomed in at top speed to Wallace’s side. She must have walked really fast since she could not be zooming at that speed. It just seemed that way. All Wallace heard was a smack.
“No one slaps my boyfriend and gets away with it.”’
“It’s all your fault for your failed relationship and no one else,” Angela continued, ignoring Sylvie’s objection. “Not Wallace. Not anyone else.”
“That’s right,” Wallace echoed. “Lex must have opened his eyes and found out about your gold-digging schemes.”
“You…” Sylvie’s lips were wavering.
“Dare to say it?” Angela taunted. She was still using herself as a shield, standing in front of Wallace.
“You’ll pay for this.” Sylvie left in a huff after that little vouch for revenge.
“Go ahead with your empty threats,” Wallace mumbled. “Like I care.”
It wasn’t until Sylvie disappeared through the front door that Angela finally turned to Wallace. She scanned the room and immediately proceeded with tending to his face. Though it was minor, her face shone that she was more than serious about taking care of him.
“I’m sorry,” Angela said at last–after making sure that Wallace was fine.
“For what?” Wallace asked, surprised–one of those rare times when he was surprised.
“If I haven’t given you a hard time lately and kept pushing you with getting along with Nic and all…you wouldn’t be caught off-guard like that.”
Wallace smiled, hugging her to him, not saying anything more. He finally understood why he even chose Angela in the first place. He knew their being together was an accident at first but he finally realized at that very moment why he had gone ahead with their relationship. She had so much grace. How could she slap a girl so mercilessly one minute and turned around to comfort him in the next? A guy would be crazy not to pick her. And half of the population was just that.
Later–after Wallace finished eating–they moved out to the garden. It was a cool day out but the sun was shining above them so it was all right. Wallace needed the fresh air to work on his plan. Angela needed the atmosphere for her inspiration. She was coming up with new ideas for her shop.
“Too bad,” Angela mumbled, sighing out.
Wallace looked over at her, seeing that she was looking at their pictures from the event. “What?”
“We weren’t able to take pictures together before…”
Wallace knew what she meant. He did not need her to remind him of how he and Nic had conspired with each other to get out of there after the initial mingling with some of their familiar friends. Though the girls did not know, he found no need to clarify the matters. It was no fun seeing the girls less worked up when they argued in the future.
“I can’t believe you guys actually risk your reputation arguing like that,” Angela chided. Apparently, she got herself worked up while she was at it.
And he thought she did not care for it anymore. He shrugged. “Rumors flare up. Another rumor comes along. Things die down. Wash and rinse.”
It was not a sign she was mad at him. She was back to working on her new ideas. It was fine with him since he was working on his plans too. Not just the upcoming project either. Something else–worth mulling over.
Two days later, Wallace came by to Angela and Nic’s house. He dropped a box off for her before heading to a meeting. She was still at her shop. But it was all right. Nic took it. He did not ask or probe. He found no need to. And why wasn’t Nic at work? He was working at home recently. He was up to something. A possible new invention. Another breakthrough, award-winning project? He was not aiming for it. He had been an inventor all his life. He did not need an award to boost his ego–unlike what he and Wallace had been fighting about since the day they met. And that was way before Cyndi came to know them.
That night, Nic gave Angela the box when Angela came home.
“What is it?” Angela asked, studying it cautiously.
“Wallace,” Nic replied crisply. Then he returned to his hideout, indulging himself in his ideas again.
Angela was used to her brother’s routine. She did not need to ask or ponder about his behavior. She headed for her room. About ten minutes later, Nic came into her room while she was hanging some clothes in the closet.
“What do you want to eat tonight?” He wasn’t the type that was too into his invention to the point of starving his sister. Unlike some crazy inventors out there. He knew his limit.
“I’ll cook,” Angela volunteered, not wanting to interrupt her brother’s project.
Then Nic saw it. He got up from her bed and snatched the picture frame from the table. He studied it carefully, wondering how…
“Wallace,” Angela said, knowing the puzzled look on his face. Her smile was evident. “Isn’t it nice?” She was finished putting her clothes away. Gliding toward her dresser, she opened the top drawer, taking out a photo album.
Nic leafed through it, realizing that Wallace had combined all their pictures together. He had chosen well. The pictures blended in, making it looked like they were taking pictures all night yet it was a different matter, especially their exit.
“Not bad,” Nic said, at last, handing the album back to his sister.
Angela smiled. She knew she finally had Nic’s approval of Wallace.
That weekend, Nic and Cyndi sat at a coffee shop, enjoying the morning. He had remembered. Another thing he was aware of, not neglecting his girlfriend even if he was working on a current project. He tried.
“That Wallace isn’t bad after all,” Nic noted, placing his coffee cup down.
Cyndi smiled. Not her usual happy smile. Far out. It was one of her victory smiles. “Told you.”
Nic let her had her victory moment. “Don’t you want to know what changed my mind?”
Cyndi waited. Though she had not turned off her victory smile yet. It did not bother him as much. He was not Wallace.
“He made something for Angela the other day.”
Cyndi had on her disappointed look. He knew that little change. It was like she expected more. He quickly recounted of what he discovered–from the moment Wallace gave him the box up until when he found out what was actually in the box.
“What’s so significant about it, right?” Nic asked, seeing Cyndi’s bored expression. She was so impatient. Sometimes he wondered why she bothered with being the peacekeeper between him and Wallace. Was it because of Angela? He did not want to ponder. At least not that moment. “He’s not all talks.”
Then Cyndi understood. She knew he meant Angela’s past boyfriends. They were interesting at first yet shown their true selves later. It was always the same story. Sometimes Cyndi pondered if it was because they had felt threatened by Nic’s expectations. Yet she finally understood why. Nic did not want just any guy for his sister. He wanted someone who could carry out his actions more than just the lip works. Wallace was not the quiet type. He was far from it. But when he did something that was worth mentioning, he never mentioned it. He just did it.
“This will be a start,” Cyndi said, smiling. It was her normal, bubbly smile this time.
“It never ended in the first place,” Nic said, taking up his coffee cup again.
© Wednesday, November 17th, 2010
Posted: Sunday, March 20th, 2011