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Jake arrived after a quick shower and a well-groomed look for the evening; Dark Navy blue trouser paired with a brown shirt. His hair let loose to its nature, barely brushed twice or thrice. He applied his old spice deodorant that gave out his presence even from afar. As he appeared to his wife, Anna's sight, the doorbell rang to their notice.
Anna waved at Jake to hurry up so they welcome their first guest who arrived early, together.
Their first guest dressed in a similar pattern, matching appearances to stun the host.
Anna called out in surprise, and even more, reacting to the arrival is none other than Jake. His face lightened as he leaned down to greet little Lia. The child hesitated to return the gesture, for their last meeting was quite a frightening experience. Giselle encouraged her daughter to respond to Jake and Anna. She hesitates at first but Jake's radiant smile won her over. She let out a shy nod in response. They all shared hugs and smiles as Anna welcomed them into her lovely home.
Entering their luxurious dwelling, Giselle and Lia gaped at the sight. It was large inside; s.p.a.cious and stylish as the interesting colors welcomed its visitors. Decorated well to please all eyes and bring a smile to its awe. Every room had a different story to it. Giselle wondered how much it must cost to live in a place like this.
Surrounded by pale pink walls painted in Benjamin Moore's precocious as a backdrop for antique wood furniture.
"Jake, come and help me carry the dishes to the table, " Anna said to move to their dining room, sitting close to the kitchen.
Giselle's awe continued for the dining room feels like from another world. It appeared more graceful with pearl pink hand-painted walls with luminous wallpaper. The side chairs with silver finish and mirrored fixtures paired with lime-colored cushions added a touch of sourness to the sweet s.p.a.ce. The table already organized with a beautiful centerpiece looked empty without its occupants, the food, and drinks.
Having reunited with the child, Jake escorted little Lia like a princess and showed around the house, explaining to her in his creative tales.
Impressed at the adornments, Lia followed Jake closely and listened to him.
Their journey interrupted when Anna's voice pierced in between his anecdotes.
One loud cry and the two crusaders halted to their feet.
Jake turned around with pleading eyes and pouting lips, appealing to the mistress to leave him alone so that he can spend time with little Lia.
Giselle couldn't help but softly chuckle to Jake's antics. Even Lia supported his request. Unable to stop the two from sulking dramatically, Giselle volunteered to help out, suggesting to let them be free.
Anna sighed to agree and threw a sharp glance at her husband before turning away. Jake grabbed Lia's hand to flee the scene and return to their tour.
The ladies worked hard in bringing the fancy plates to the table, carrying vessels and utensils, and a basket filled with dinner rolls. Taking a break shortly, they all enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate. Jake and Lia escaped once again from getting employed for ch.o.r.es.
Time - 6:45 PM
Minutes pa.s.sed to their entertainment and soon the doorbell rang again to inform the arrival of the remaining guests. Lillian had already informed Anna about tagging along with Diego. Giselle heard the news and she felt a knot in her stomach. Not showing it out, she a.s.sured herself to stay strong. As she did, her gaze fell on Lia, playing some random game with Anna's husband, Jake, smiling heartily. Maybe if she was still alone, Giselle would never found the courage to think about fighting back, but now that she has Lia, an unseen determination arose in her face boldly.
Hearing the doorbell, Jake and Lia glanced at each other. He nodded and Lia followed him to welcome the guests.
Opening the door to two faces, one whom Lia already met twice while the other is new to her memory.
"Diego! Lillian!" Jake called.
They shared a hug and greeted each other.
"I'm surprised you came on time, " Jake said, pointing at Lillian.
"Diego was nearby and I asked him if he could give me a lift, which he did- isn't he the best buddy, " Lillian replied to squeeze Diego's sculpted cheeks.
Diego shoved her hand away to find a little girl accompanying Jake which he failed to notice at first.
"Lia! Hey, you look pretty, " Lillian commented to instantly search inside for the mother.
It was weird for Diego to find Lillian knowing this kid when he has no idea of who she is.
Before he could open his mouth to ask, the restless Lillian inquired Lia about her mother. Upon hearing, Diego's mind suspected an image to his disbelief yet the little kid's appearance is matching to the person in his mind.
Before planning to question this existence, Jake helped Diego to confirm his doubts.
"Giselle and Lia arrived early. She is helping out Anna, " Jake informed.
Hearing the name changed Diego's good mood and his face fell into wrath.
'How dare she!' He gritted his teeth without a noise.
Then he realized that this happening is because of Anna, who must have planned it.
"Come on in, guys, " Jake said to invite the guest.
Lia focused mainly at Lillian that when she shifted her gaze to Diego, he was glaring at her intensely. A chill of shiver ran through her spin as Lia grabbed Jake's shirt in natural panic. Diego noticed the girl's terror and changed his expression in an instant.
Jake found Lia startled. He gave a look at the guests following him and saw nothing suspicious. He grabbed Lia's little hands and marched inside cheerfully.
"Hon, even the latecomers arrived on time, " Jake announced to receive a weak punch from Lillian Grey.
Anna came out first in a haste to welcome Lillian and Diego. She hugged them tightly. Lillian smiled, feeling warm inside from meeting her dear friend after a while. Diego returned the hug but his eyes kept searching for the person who reappeared in his life, Giselle.
Finally releasing from Anna's embrace, Diego first spotted the emerging shadow of a person from the kitchen.
Giselle came out to meet both Lillian and Diego, standing next to each other.
Lillian's eager eyes finally found her girl.
"Giselle, " she called, fondly.
Giselle nodded with a weak smile and immediately shifted her sight towards Diego.
Several years pa.s.sed and seeing his face, aged manly still could send deadly fears inside her. The bad memories return to haunt her mind. Heart raced louder to her ears and she sweated from the nightmare.
"Hey, Giselle, " Diego finally opened his mouth to speak.
"I heard that you returned. So-"
"Welcome back! It's nice to see you- again!" Diego said it with a tight smile.
Giselle felt her body flinch to his tone and began to doubt her decision in coming here tonight.