“She’s doing it again!”

He walked and walked, unmindful of where his feet would lead him, treating every heavy step like lapsed hours of history, his failed love story. Recovered from the sight of her the first time around, he needed to be firm with his feelings, never to be pushed back to his former role as pursuer.

The heat of the afternoon sun directed him to take cover under the canopies of decades-old trees that lined up the avenue. In time, he would reach the rows of shops catering to people outside the big mall. Window shopping could relieve his mind off the current tension in the bakery.

Outside an electronic store, he stopped and inspected the ads about a clearance sale. The TV sets on display played an old video clip, a popular mainstay in karaoke playlists. Inside, he guessed that a customer was considering buying because a male voice sang along with the tune.

He could see his reflection on the glass as if his face was super-imposed on the original singer’s features. There was a time he sang the song for someone, she who made him feel loved, even temporarily.

Damn! He should not have stopped at all and reminisced: he felt worse.

As he retraced his steps back home, doubts hounded him as if he needed to choose from two opposing extremes. Yet, his decision the night before was now clouded by her persistence to get near him once again.

What was she thinking? Wasn’t it enough that she left him a wreck? Did she come back to finish what she began years before?

A wicked thought to exact revenge occurred to him. If she wanted him back badly, he possessed the opportunity to give her a dose of her medicine. She would be vulnerable to make mistakes to show her intentions.

How could he do it?

Not talking to her would be impossible. His uncle would see to it that she was treated like a lady. Giving her the cold treatment would be too obvious a ploy, which if he employed could backfire, making him the instigator of hostilities.

Rusty formed a tentative plan in his head. As he entered the bakery via the backdoor, his uncle waited for him, sitting in front of the oven.

“You’ve got a lot of explaining to do,” Uncle Tom said, no anger in his tone. “You should have helped her on her first day.”

“Is she coming back?” Rusty asked, crossing his fingers behind his back that she would not.

“Oh, yes, she will,” his uncle replied. “She was a natural. She even surpassed your record sale for the day.”

“How did that happen?” Rusty asked, curious to hear the explanation. “That’s impossible!”

Uncle Tom laughed, facing his puzzled nephew.

“You should have seen all the male teens coming in droves. She was a magnet.”

Now, it would be more difficult to harass her since his uncle seemed convinced she was an asset who should be taken cared of at all costs.

“How sure are you she will be back?”

“She borrowed your portable video player.”

(to be continued)



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