The other childs head quickly followed. She looked about eighteen to her and had the most amazing eyes. The messy blond hair on his forehead hung in the lock.
”Are you okay? ” he asked.
Arabella Mae nodded. ”Yeah, Im just going home with some shopping. ”
”Exciting life you lead, ” he replied, with a big smile on his face.
”Are you waiting for a Jeepney or bus? Is anyone going from here up to the Sea Breeze Corporation Area? ” Arabella Mae asked.
Another boy and a girl emerged from inside the bus shelter. The girl was thin, with curly black hair. Her thick eyebrows ruin a beautiful face. Arabella Mae put her age somewhere close to her. Smiling greetings of newcomers.
”Buses stopped running here years ago, but theres a jeepney already, ” the blond boy said, rubbing his hand on his chin, with a delicate blond fuzz covering it.
If his hair was darker it might look okay, but as it was dyed a blond color, Arabella Mae thought it looked silly.
”Ah go ahead. Thanks, ” he said and picked up the bag again.
”Just a minute, ” said the second man. ”Will you walk up to Sea Breeze with that luggage? ”
His hair was a bit long and a bit straggly, and he wore his gray hoodie and jeans long and loose. Arabella Mae thought he looked crazy.
”Yes, ” he said as he looked at the maiden.
”Hes my brother, ” the girl said, nodding at the gangly youth.
”Brother, ”she replied, once waving a hand.
”My name is James Chan. This is my younger sister, Jean Edelweis Chan. The big lump in the designer stubble is Johnny Torres. ”
Johnny turned to the friend and Arabella Mae giggled.
”You want a hand in that lot? ” Jean Edelweis asked.
”That would be really great, ” Arabella Mae said with a smile. ”I bought too much. ”
”Which woman isn satisfied when shes shopping? ”
Jamess comment got him a push back from his sister and they both laughed. He reached out his hand and Arabella Mae handed over the carrier bag.
”Ill take the backpack, ” Johnny said.
As she handed over the backpack to Johnny, Arabella Mae rubbed her fingers and she felt a small electric shock flow through them. Blushing, she averted her gaze.
”So what do we call you? ” Johnny asked.
”The phantom shopper? ” James suggested.
”Arabella Mae too. ”
”Thats a good name, ” Jean said.
Arabella Mae smiled as her face blushed even more.
”Come on, ” Johnny said, slung the backpack over his broad shoulder as he walked down the road.
Walking back home, Arabella Mae finds out that Johnny will be going to University in a few months and he wants to be a lawyer, just like his father. Jean Edelweis was still in school, as was himself, and James was in college, taking a course in computer programming.
When Arabella Mae told them she wanted to go to university and study to become a biologist, they all raised an eyebrow there.
”Good for you, ” Jean said.
”Hey, did you hear about the accident last night? ” said James.
”The car that the woman was driving fell into the ravine? ” Johnny asked.
”What happened. I haven seen the news today? ” Arabella Mae leaned over as she walked, looking around Johnny towards James.
”George Gomez drove his car straight to the edge of the ravine. ”
James clasped his hands.
”Pow! They found the body of his secretary but the water must have washed away his body. ”
”Its terrible, ” Arabella Mae said.
”Yes, its a pity. They think he is a really good looker. ”
Jean slapped the brother on the arm and he jumped up and down shouting, ”Ouch,, ouch! ” nuzzling his arm, a wounded expression on his face, acting on the injured little child.
”Serves you right. You can be like a cretin sometimes, ”Jean said.
Arriving home, her mother greeted Arabella Maes new friends, ”Can I get you something to drink or something? ” she asked them.
”Whiskey is going to be a great drink right now, ” James said, causing another slap from his sister.
”Ignore him, ” Jean said. ”He thinks to himself hes a comedian. ”
The group sat around the table in the garden, talking and laughing, while Arabella Maes mother served them with juice and sandwiches. She even managed to dig up a can of pork and beans that was bigger for Johnny.
Jean Edelweis kept checking her mobile, and at one point James snatched it from her hand. ”Shall I send him a sex text? ” he asked with a wicked smile on his face.
”Don you dare, ” Jean shouted, snatching back her phone.
”Her boyfriend, the name is Rodrigo, ” Johnny explained, tilt his head and raised his eyes to the sky.
”Here. Look, ”said Jean, handing her cellphone to Arabella Mae at the same time. ”Isn he handsome? ”
Arabella Mae saw a picture of a boy just her age. Her curly hair was cut and her skin looked smooth. He had the biggest smile on his face. She reminds Arabella Mae of a young Nick Jonas.
”Ooh Rodrigo, ” James said, twisted by her brother on the ribs. ”Will you cut! ”
Arabella Mae saw that Jean was embarrassed and smiled at her. ”Just ignore the fools, ” she said.
The group was silent for a moment and she was worried that she might go too far, too fast. But then James hit the table and laughed. The others came, left and Arabella Mae rested. They spent the next few hours enjoying the chat and sunshine.
After they left, Arabella Maes mother prepared lunch and they sat at the big table in the kitchen to eat. ”They look like nice kids, ” her mother said.
e not kids. And Im not kids either. We
e teenagers. ”
”You will always be my baby, Arabella Mae. ”
Arabella Mae held her mothers hand, stroking her hair where her mother had messed it up.
”And don think I didn see the way you looked at that young Johnny either. ”
Her mother giggled on the back of her hand. ”Oh I like that. Oh, Johnny boy, get it? ”
Arabella Mae sighed, trying to ignore her mothers antics.
”Hes too old for you. You know that, don you? Right? ” she insisted when Arabella Mae did not answer.
”Just saying. ”
Arabella Mae lowered her knife and fork. ”I just met him now. I don even know him, Mom. Just forget about it. ”
”I think the girl protested so much, ” her mother muttered under her breath, clearing the dishes on the table.
Arabella Mae felt her blush again and stood up. ”Ill go out to look at the animals, ” she said, touching her dress as she walked out.
The day was dark and good rain fell. The type you read when you
e not really trying.
Arabella Mae was disgusted. She picked up the bucket again, pushed it back under the goat and sat down on the narrow wooden chair, deciding that no stupid animal would be good to her now.
Cherry Goat looked behind her, and Arabella Mae could have sworn that the goat had given a deceptive smile.
Shes been here two weeks and still can get the idea of how to milk this goat. Her aunt explained how important it is to regularly milk the goat, leaving them with strict instructions on how and when to do it.
Her mother Alicia was told that she had to go back to Manila for that day, so Arabella Mae had to get up and do the work.
”If we miss two milkings, the poor animal will start to dry up, and we don want that to happen, do we, darling? ”
”Yes we bloody well do, ” Arabella Mae whispered under her breath.
While looking at the milk now stained by her jeans, Arabella Mae took a deep breath and tried again.
”Okay Cherry Pie, ” she said, stepping aside and touching the goats nipples. ”You stand up for me as a good woman. ”
As soon as Arabella Maes hand touched the goats nipple, it bent back and hooked the bucket from under its udder with the back foot. The bucket bounced off the floor with a loud crash.
e going on it all wrong, Missy, ” said a voice from behind her.
Arabella Mae cried out and jumped to her feet, her heart pounding in shock she could hear it in her ears.
”OMG, you don . You kicked me out of my skin. ”
The man leaning against the door frame was thin and tall, with a slender face that put deep eye holes in the permanent shadow. His long black hair is messy. It flowed over his shoulders as he shook and pursed his lips.
”You don have to treat Cherry Goat like that, ” he whispered.
”Just trying to be accommodating. ”
When he turned around, he started walking away.
”Hey come back, ” Arabella Mae called to him. ”Can you milk a goat? ”
He turned away. Quick glance right and left towards the ground as he nodded. ”Mrs. Marilyns goats milk all the time, ” he said.
”Are you Dingdong Morales? ”
Arabella Maes aunt told them that a man looking for work could come, and if he would, to give her some chores and she would negotiate with him when he was released from the hospital. Arabella Mae didn expect this to be the tramp she saw drinking at the top of the track the day they arrived. Although looking at him more closely, he no longer looks trampled now, more like someone with no luck.