MoboReader> Romance > Broken Past

   Chapter 4 Interesting Developments

Broken Past By Arathi Characters: 12846

Updated: 2018-08-01 23:17


I stared, and I stared, and I stared, and I stared.

Except for the blinking of my eyes, I seemed to be frozen. I had no clue what to say or how to react. My mind blanked, and all conversation and manners flew out the window. My heart raced, and my breathing slowed. I wished so badly to be invisible at that moment.

After what seemed like an eternity, he repeated the greeting.

"Hi."

"Err... hi, " I replied, unsure of what else to say.

"Need some help with that?" he asked in a friendly tone.

"I'm sorry, what?" I was still staring. There was something about those deep brown chocolate eyes that captivated me. I didn't want to look anywhere else.

"The map. I see you seem a little angry with it. I can help." He offered.

"Map?" I felt lost. So very lost. It took a whole minute, perhaps more, for my mind to wake up again. I looked down at the table and spotted the object of both our interest. "Ooh, this map." I laughed nervously. "No it's all right, I'll manage." I gave him a weak smile.

"May I sit?" He asked.

Nervously pushing the map, pens, and books to a corner of the table, I replied, "Sure... sure, have a seat. I apologize for my lack of manners ...and the mess." I flashed another weak smile without looking up at him. I wondered if he noticed how on edge I was.

He pulled the chair back and sat down. He turned around and waved at the waiter.

"Can I get you a refill of coffee?" He asked pointing at my empty cup.

I looked at my watch and did some quick math. I had a little time to kill before meeting the agent. Perhaps I could find out more about the exact location of my house. After all, a military guy would know everything about the cantonment area right?

"Sure, " I said nodding.

He spoke quickly with the waiter in a language I didn't understand and then turned to me, giving me his complete attention. I fidgeted with the pen in my hand, trying to think of a way to ask him without prying or giving away too much of my personal information.

He gave me a lopsided grin and extended his hand, "Seems you're not the only one forgetting their manners today. I should have introduced myself earlier. I'm JT. Pleasure to meet you."

Oohhh...kay. Now I was in serious trouble. Not only did he have gorgeous brown eyes – the likes of which I had never seen before, but he also had a to-die-for dimple!

Timidly, I shook his hand, "Gwen. Nice to meet you JT."

"You were at the training grounds earlier today right?" He asked.

Ohh crap! He remembered. "Erm... yes, " I replied scrunching up my nose. "That would be me, " I said pointing at myself. I wanted to smile, but I think I grimaced instead. I quickly wiped the offensive emotion from my face.

He cocked his head to the left and looked at me curiously. "Why'd you run, if I may ask?"

"Erm... I'm not sure. I panicked I guess?" I shrug my shoulders and look at my hands.

"You won't get into trouble for watching if that's what worried you." He chuckled.

"Oh thank God!" I exclaim loudly without thinking. The tension seemed to flow out of me, and my shoulders sagged with relief.

The waiter arrived with a tray. He collected my used cup and placed two fresh white cups before us. He positioned a flask on the table and left.

"Is coffee always served like this? With milk and sugar added?" I asked pouring some for the both of us.

"Mhmm, " he said lifting his cup and blowing at the coffee. "If you'd like something fancier, we'll need to find you a proper coffee shop."

"No, that's all right. I quite like this coffee. It's very different ... simple. No fuss. A refreshing change, " was I rambling? Absentmindedly, I shake my head.

He chuckles again and takes a sip. He looks at me as he puts his cup back on the table. "So what brings you here? Business or pleasure?" There's a twinkle in his eye that keeps me spellbound.

"A little of both I guess, " I reply, not wanting to divulge too much.

A short silence passes before he speaks. "So if you're not busy perhaps I can show you around?"

"You don't have anywhere else to be?" I asked not wanting to get too hopeful.

"Nope, I have the rest of the day off." He winks at me, and I find myself laughing.

"If such is the case, then you're just the man for the job, " I added mischievously.

"Oh really now." He says, eyebrows raised. He leans forward and places both elbows on the table. He laces his fingers and looks at me expectantly.

"So I... ahh... bought this house recently. I'm supposed to be meeting my agent there in a little bit. But I seem to be clueless as to how to get there." I pushed a little paper towards him and pointed at it. "That's the address, I think." By now I'm thoroughly embarrassed. Not only do I not know how to figure out a map, but I just admitted to buying a house and not knowing where it was. Like one of those old people in a parking lot who can't remember where they left their car.

"And you need help to get there?" He asked pulling the paper closer for inspection.

I nod and look at him expectantly.

"Ol' Lady Margaret Wood's place. Did you just buy that?"

"I'm not sure who the previous owner was, " I said furrowing my brows, "but if it's the same area, then perhaps yes."

"Is it the broken down two-storied house on the crossroad to the post office? The one that smells funny?" he inquires.

"That's the one" I yell enthusiastically "You know it right? Would you help me get there?"

"Mhmm, I'll take you to it. Not too far from here actually. But why that place? It hasn't had an owner for oh, like maybe a century or so." He asks me sitting back in his chair. I didn't like the pensive expression on his face.

I shrug. "Dunno. It's the first place I've been to that felt remotely like home to me." I think back to the way I connected with the house and the comforting feeling I sensed when I was at the property.

"What did the agent tell you about the place?" He asks sipping his coffee. He seems to be studying me with renewed curiosity.

"Not much to be honest, " I replied looking at him. His questions begin to unsettle me. I feel my hands shaking just a wee bit and decide they need something to do. I lean forward and lift my coffee cup. Perhaps he thinks I don't know about the plumbing or the lack of a kitchen? Maybe the house has a fascinating history? At that thought, I shiver. I hope it's not a gruesome one.

"Did you know it's rumored to be haunted?" This time his voice is barely a whisper.

"Like seriously?" I sputter, dripping coffee down my chin. That, I hadn't expected. I clumsily reach out for a paper napkin and dab at my chin.

"Mhmm, " he nods looking out the window.

I look at JT more carefully now. I can't tell how old he is but if I were to guess, I'd assume he's perhaps close to 25. His hair is short of course, and that just seems to accentuate his adorable devil's peak. His forehead is smooth; I don't see any tension lines. Perhaps he doesn't frown as much as I do. His eyebrows are evenly placed and rather straight, perfectly complimenting his peculiarly shaped eyes that are mischievous and inviting, not slanted and narrow as I had first imagined Asian eyes. My eyes travel to his baby potato nose, and I find myself smiling.

My eyes settle on his lips. They look soft and deliciously smooth. I realize I am staring, but again I can't seem to look anywhere else. I notice that they are moving.

"Gwen... are you all right?" I hear him say. Oh shit, he isn't looking out the window anymore. And he is talking to me! No way would he miss I was staring. I cringe, blink a few times and try to focus. I wave my hand and nod. "I'm all right, just thinking" I reply. With the way my cheeks heat up in that minute, I'm sure he noticed that I'm blushing. I refuse to look into his eyes. I know I'm going to see more mischief in them.

"So what time are you meeting your agent?" he asks finishing his coffee.

"In about a half hour" I replied after looking at my watch.

"Shall we?" He asks standing up and reaching into his back pocket for his wallet.

"I have this covered, " I say quickly, digging in my bag for my purse.

"Rubbish!" he says, placing money on the table. He folds my map and slips it into the notebook and hands it to me.

I collect my belongings, and we head out. The sun hits us hard, and I raise a hand to shield my eyes. He hooks his thumbs into his back pockets and points left with a shake of his head. I look left and ask, "This way?"

"Mhmm, " he replies and waits for me to start walking.

We walk in silence for a bit before I look at him and prompt our next conversation. "So are you going to share?"

"Share?" He asks looking at me curiously.

"About the house? The story of how it came to be haunted." I remind him gently.

"Ahh... that! Curious soul aren't you?" he says with a smile.

We exit the busy market road and find ourselves walking uphill past what looked like military housing to me. Neat rows of similar two storied apartments with a tall mesh fencing all around. The ground is bare; there seems to be no grass. A few swing sets sit lazily in the park. There is absolutely no movement inside the compound. I don't see people walking, children playing, and no vehicular traffic. That seems a little odd to me, but I say nothing. Perhaps the children are in school, and the mommies are inside keeping busy?

"So the rumor goes that Lady Wood bought this house sometime before this district was officially a district. I can't recall the exact year. Sometime in the early 1800's, I believe. But she rarely visited. At some point, she sent her daughter here. Not sure what the story is there, details are sketchy as you can imagine." He says apologetically.

I nod not wanting to interrupt, and JT continues.

"Her daughter stayed a few years. Locals don't know exactly what happened, but one day the house burned down. Miss Woods was never seen or heard from again. Eventually, the house was rebuilt. And it's been empty ever since."

"So the hauntings...."

He grinned sheepishly. "When we first got here, we used to frequent the place. I haven't seen her. But some of the boys swear they've seen Miss Woods' ghost."

I laugh, and he gives me a dirty stare. He feigns being insulted. "Miss Gwen you don't believe me!" he exclaims.

I find it hard to wipe the grin off my face. With my most serious look, I turn towards him and reply in a snooty accent, "Why Mister JT, of course, I don't. There's no such thing as ghosts!"

I turn my nose up and stare down at him to add to the effect. He bumps his shoulder into mine playfully and I stumble. He reaches out and grabs my arm, steadying me.

With a similar frosty look, JT continues the play acting. "Why Miss Gwen" he exclaims looking surprised. "What big muscles you have!"

At that, I burst out laughing. I've never worked out a day in my life. What I probably have is jelly arms!

Our laughter subsides after about a minute, and we continue walking. We rounded a corner just as I was searching my brain for something intelligent to say.

"Ah, Gwen just on time. I see you found the house with little difficulty."

I shake hands with the agent. He looks at JT curiously but ignores him completely.

"I have all the paperwork here, " he says resting his briefcase on his left knee and opening the clasps with his right hand.

He ruffles through all the papers in his briefcase and pulls out a neatly clipped set of documents. He tucks these under his arm and snaps his briefcase shut.

"If you would sign on the dotted lines on pages 2, 4, and 9 then we can consider the transaction final." He begins patting his pockets, presumably looking for a pen.

"Here, " says JT handing me his pen.

I knew I had one, but I take the one JT offers, not wanting to be impolite.

"I'll receive a copy of these documents?" I ask the agent, quickly scanning the papers and signing as instructed.

He nods and pushes his right hand into his pocket. I hear a low jingle as he pulls out a set of keys. He watches me sign the papers and fills the silence with an explanation of the work done to accommodate a kitchen and bathroom. I smile appreciatively. He was thorough. Now all that was left was for me to inspect.

As I hand him a cheque and the papers, he passes me the keys and waves. Once he disappears around the corner we just came up, JT looks at me. "So it's all yours now?" he probes.

"Yep, all mine, " I reply. I turn to look at the house, and my thoughts turn to his recount of the haunting, and I wonder if there's any merit to the story.

"Aren't you going to show me around?" he says offering me his elbow.

I giggle and link my arm through his. "This way, " I say waving my hand melodramatically, the keys jingling with the movement.

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