6. Awkwardness

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”
~Eleanor Roosevelt

I had many times mentioned to my friends that feeling of complete lack of oxygen. The sensation that my lungs were totally empty, yet I was feeling like my chest weighed a thousand pounds. My body started to tingle and for the first time that day I noticed how many people were gathered at the airport. It would be impossible for me to escape! I wanted to… So badly! And at that instant I remembered the last time I got a panic attack. But I wouldn’t allow myself to break. Especially in front of Aaron. So I decided to clear my mind from everything I was thinking, I took the most glassy look and approached them.

“Leda! What a pleasant surprise!” Zoe said and got closer to hug me.

“Welcome back Zoe,” I answered and tried to sound surprised the least, if not happy. It was quite difficult though while I was staring at the nightmare of my teenage years and he was staring back at me.

“Don’t tell me that mum sent you to pick us up! She knows that we have the car at the airport parking,” Zoe said, looking a little irritated because of Anna’s overprotection.

“Oh no… I just came to pick up Eugene and Cleo. Dad would’ve come but a job at the university came up, so here I am,” I replied with cool head, even though Aaron was still staring at me.

“And I thought that you came here to welcome me,” Aaron whispered. His voice had an instant impact on me.

“You can always hope and dream. Although you know what they say about hope,” I told him, with the same tone in my voice, yet calm and drily.

“That it dies last,” he quoted, having a devious smile on his face.

I looked at Zoe and Anthony being ready to interfere at any moment, so I decided not to give continuity to what Aaron was trying to achieve. I simply smiled and turned to the entrance of the airport.

“Eugene’s flight will have landed by now. I should probably get inside and wait for them,” I said. I was hoping that either Anthony or Zoe would propose to wait for us in the car or even better that they would leave for home.

“We’ll wait here Leda,” Anthony said. It was a miracle that Aaron did not say a thing. He knew he would have plenty of time to torture me at home.

I moved towards the entrance of the airport and looked at the information board. A few seconds later, my brother’s voice covered every other sound in the concourse.

“My Brownie!” my brother started shouting, while he was taking me into his embrace.

“You-genie!” I said, hugging him back and making fun of his name. Cleo was standing back with their luggage. “You monster! You’re pretending to be a V.I.P. and you let Cleo with your bags?” I scolded him.

“She has to get used to the burdens of the relationship,” my brother said, completely calm and serious.

“You’re hilarious. You think it would be difficult for her to find someone else?” I asked him.

While I was yelling at my brother, Cleo was laughing silently without interfering.

“It wouldn’t be difficult Leda. But your brother only barks, he doesn’t bite. That’s why he’ll take our bags now and he’ll let me say a proper hello,” Cleo said with her sweet voice. That girl had something luminous all over her face when she was talking.

It was like Eugene knew exactly what Cleo was about to say. That’s what soulmates are, I thought. He took their luggage and went to the airport parking lot. In the meantime, Anthony had parked his car right in front of mine, and he was waiting for us, along with Zoe and Aaron.

And even though I had managed to remain calm earlier, with a blank expression on my face, right now I desperately wanted to hide inside my car and focus only on driving. I would have plenty of time later to feel nervous, irritated and pissed off, since the family dinner was inevitable.
So I moved quickly and securely to the driver’s seat, even though I caught Aaron with my peripheral vision looking at me, in a last attempt to make me break. Thankfully, Cleo saved me from this awkward situation by saying that we would have plenty of time to say our “hellos” and hug each other at home.

***

Our ride back home had no unpleasant surprises. Of course I hadn’t forgotten of Aaron’s e-mail. Nonetheless, I wasn’t in the mood to try and figure out what he had meant by saying that nothing had changed. Apparently he was referring to our “gentle” feelings towards each other. And I would be so lucky to feel that affection of his!

That was the reason why I literally grabbed Eugene’s and Cleo’s bags and ran into the house. They had to go and say hello to dad and Anna, not carry luggage! Aaron would stay in Anthony’s car, since he wanted to surprise his mother. That would give me plenty of time to loosen up.

Aaron was the only person who could truly test the limits of my patience. But I wouldn’t let him do that today. He could start his mind games and manipulations tomorrow.
I was already worried about how Michael would react to the way I had put an end to whatever sort of relationship still existed between us. I wouldn’t worry about my half-English, step-brother, too.

So I got slowly downstairs, only to come face to face with the embrace of Anna and Aaron. And at this very moment, he locked his gaze upon me and those blue eyes paralyzed me, like they had done in my dream. And I got terrified.

© Victoria Moschou. All Rights Reserved 2016-2017.

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