“Don’t you want your sister to be happy?”
Erika chose the more forested route to take Tommy strolling: they needed more privacy. She could sense that he had a lot of angst in him that should be removed from his system.
“Of course,” he replied calmly. “It’s just that my parents tasked me to keep her safe. Since they work abroad, I am the only person who can do that.”
“Protect her physically, yes. But emotionally, you should let her decide for herself. She would not stop you from courting girls because she knows you have that right. Give her the same.”
“Men often try to play around. I don’t want Liza hurt.”
“You are a man. Will you play around, too?”
Tommy looked her in the eye, which forced her to look away. He could feel she was sending her a message he was too slow to comprehend.
“I won’t. That’s for sure.”
“Tommy, you are the key to everybody’s happiness.”
“What do you mean everybody?”
“You see, if you will be nice to Eric, he and your sister will be happy. If Eric is happy, he won’t be against my brother who likes Eric’s sister Leyla. If my brother is happy, he won’t be against anyone courting me.”
“Who might that be?” he asked, intrigued if the person alluded to was him.
“I don’t know. I am still waiting for him to say the word.”
As response, Tommy asked her something she did not expect.
“Would you like to dance?”
“Take it easy!” she said as he held her hands. “The earphones will fall off.”
“Don’t you worry,” he said, laughing. “I memorized the song by heart.”
“No, you did not!” she laughed, too. “That’s not your kind of music.”
Tommy was not joking. He improvised while leading her to a romantic dance.
“Sweet Erika, Angel of my lifetime, Answer to all answers I could find . . .”
She uncovered his wacky side, that part of him he suppressed for a time. In some way, she was the key to his happiness.
– o –
Failing to understand her short reply, Eric chose his words carefully. Now that he had Liza alone, he should not have difficulty expressing his feelings.
“I’ve been meaning to tell you . . .”
“I’ve already said yes,” she repeated, removing any doubts from his mind.
All of a sudden, the lights went out. A power outage occurred.
“I can’t see you,” he said, using his hands to feel what’s in front of him.
“Stop it!” she said. “You’re not supposed to move while it’s dark. I’ll get the flashlight inside the drawer near me.”
“I feel something soft.”
Liza giggled, the sound that confused Eric into wild imagination.
“What is it?” he asked, failing to get an answer from her the first time.
She turned on the flashlight: the illumination struck him on the face.
“I though this was your …”
“What?” she asked while she continued her giggling.
“toy,” he completed, holding a balloon filled with water, the crude weapon Tommy reserved for unwanted visitors.
The lights went back on.
“You said yes, didn’t you?” he asked, jumping around like he won the lottery.
Then, he approached her and tried to give her the customary embrace.
“Wait!” she kept her distance. “I said yes to your proposal. Not the kiss! Not yet!”
“When?” Eric could not contain his joy.
“Perhaps, you have to wait a long time.” Liza loved the way his face looked so she teased her all the more.
Eric was not going home without a definite answer. He persisted, kneeling before her.
(to be continued)