Through my Window by ARIANA Godoy ,Chapter 15,The Gift

My first day as a senior in high school begins with bright sunshine and fresh breezes. I rub my eyes as I shuffle inside the building, and I realize it’s going to be hard getting used to waking up early every day again. I already miss summer vacation, and it’s only day one. I make my way through the sea of students in the main hallway and run into Apolo, who is standing next to a locker. “Apolo! What are you doing here?” “Hey, Raquel.” He smiles at me. “I go here now.” “You’ve changed schools? Has Ares too?” He shakes his head. “No, he’d never leave that school. He loves his soccer team too much.” I try not to let my disappointment show. “Oh. Well that’s great you’re here. I—” A scream echoes down the hallway, interrupting us. “Raquel, queen of my heart!” I turn to see Carlos, my long-standing admirer, and I smile in spite of myself. It all started the day I defended him from some boys who were bullying him in the fourth grade. Since then, he has sworn eternal love to me almost every day. I only see him as a friend, and even though I’ve made that clear to him, he doesn’t seem to understand. “Hi, Carlos.” I wave. I still like him. Even if he’s a little crazy, he’s fun.
“My beautiful princess.” He takes my hand and kisses it dramatically. “This has been the longest and most agonizing summer for me.” Apolo looks at us with a what-the-fuck-is-going-on face but says nothing. Carlos turns to him. “And who are you?” “This is Apolo. He’s new,” I answer, freeing my hand. “Apolo, this is Carlos, he is . . .” “Her future husband and father of her four children,” Carlos says quickly. I hit the back of his head. “I told you to stop saying things like that! People sometimes believe it.” “Haven’t you heard that if you tell a lie enough times it becomes true?” Apolo chuckles. “Wow, you have a very dedicated admirer.” We share a laugh before heading off to our classes.
The first day of school ends as quickly as it began. I can’t believe I’m already in my senior year. Going to college is something that terrifies me but at the same time excites me so much. I rush home to feed Rocky, who won’t eat, and then I take my clothes off and throw them in the laundry. My old habits make me want to go and look out my window, because this is the time when Ares comes home from school. I used to watch him walking around his room. No more, Raquel. I look at my bed and notice a small white box on it. When I reach over and pick it up, a note falls out. My eyes widen as I see that it’s the box for the newest iPhone. I quickly check the note.
So you don’t walk around without a phone. Take it as consolation for everything you had to go through that night.
Don’t even think about giving it back to me.
I laugh so loudly that Rocky looks at me quizzically. “Are you crazy, Greek God?” I ask aloud. “You’re completely crazy!” There’s no way I can accept this cell phone; it’s too expensive. Money is definitely not an issue for Ares, but how the hell did he get into my room with Rocky here? I look at the dog, remembering that he didn’t want to eat when I came in, and I realize his belly is fat and full. “Oh no. Rocky. Traitor!” Rocky puts his head down as if admitting his guilt. I have to give this phone back, so I put on some jeans and a T-shirt and head out. I go around the block so I can get to the Hidalgos’ front door, because there’s no way I’m going in from the back. I don’t want to be mistaken for a burglar and get shot or whatever. In front of the house, my courage dwindles. It’s a three-story house with Victorian windows and a garden with a fountain at the entrance. It’s as intimidating as him. Regaining my nerve, I ring the doorbell. A pretty girl with red hair opens the door. If it weren’t for her uniform, I would have thought she was part of the family. “Good evening, can I help you?” “Hey. Is Ares here?” “Yes, who’s asking?” “Raquel.” “All right, Raquel, for security reasons I can’t let you in until he tells me. Will you wait for me for a second while I look for him?” “Of course.” She closes the door, and I play with the box in my hands. I don’t think it was a good idea to come here. If Ares tells her he doesn’t want to see me, she’ll probably slam the door in my face.
A few minutes later, the girl reappears. “You can go in now. He’s waiting for you in the playroom.” Playroom? Ares’s house is stupidly luxurious inside, and I’m not at all surprised. She leads me through the living room into a long hallway and stops. “It’s the third door on the right.” “Thank you.” I don’t know why I’m suddenly so nervous. I’m going to see Ares. I feel like it’s been so long, but it’s really only been a few days. Just give him back the phone, Raquel. Walk in, give him the phone, and walk out. Simple. Easy. I knock on the door and hear him shout, “Come in!” I open the door and peek inside. It’s an ordinary playroom with a pool table, a huge TV with different consoles underneath it, and plush furniture. Ares is sitting on a couch in front of the TV with a controller for what looks like a PlayStation 4 in his hands, playing something with a lot of shooting. He’s shirtless with only his school uniform pants on. His hair is messy from the headphones he’s wearing, and he’s biting his lip as he plays. Why the hell do you have to be so hot, Ares? I’ve forgotten why I’m here. I clear my throat, uncomfortable. “Guys, I’ll be right back,” Ares says into the microphone connected to his headset. “I know, I know, I have a guest.” He exits the game and takes off his headphones. His eyes meet mine. “Let me guess. You came to return the phone?” He stands up, which makes me feel small, as usual. Why does he have to be shirtless? That’s not how you greet a visitor. I find my voice. “Yes. I appreciate the gesture, but it’s too much.” “It’s a gift, and it’s rude to refuse a gift.”
“It’s not my birthday or Christmas, so there’s no reason for a gift.” I hold out the box to him. “Do you only receive gifts on your birthday and Christmas?” Yes, and sometimes not even on those dates. “Just take it.” Ares just looks at me, and it makes me want to run away. “Raquel, you had a horrible experience that night and lost something you worked hard to get.” “How do you know that?” “I’m not an idiot. I’m guessing that with your mother’s salary and the bills she has to pay, she could never have bought the phone you had. I know you bought it yourself with your money, with your hard work. I’m sorry I couldn’t stop them from taking it away from you, but I can give you another one. Let me give it to you. Don’t be proud.” “You are so . . . difficult to understand.” “So I’ve been told.” “No, I’m serious. You tell me you don’t want anything to do with me, but then you go and do nice things like this. What are you playing at, Ares?” “I’m not playing games. I’m just being nice.” “Why? Why are you being nice to me?” “I don’t know.” “You never know anything.” “And you always want to know everything.” His blue eyes stare intensely at me as he approaches. “I’m beginning to think you like to confuse me.” Ares gives me that smirk that suits him so well. “You confuse yourself. I’ve always been clear with you.” “Yes, very clear, Mr. Kindness.” “What’s wrong with being kind?”
“That doesn’t help me forget you.” Ares shrugs his shoulders. “That’s not my problem.” A wave of rage runs through me. “And here comes the moody Ares.” Ares furrows his brows. “What did you call me?” “Moody. Your mood swings are too constant.” “As creative as ever.” Sarcasm flows through his tone. “It’s not my fault that you like to give meaning to everything.” “Everything’s always my fault, isn’t it?” “God, why are you so dramatic?” The rage continues to grow inside me. “If I’m such a bother to you, then why don’t you leave me alone?” Ares raises his voice. “You called me! You looked for me!” “Because I didn’t know another number!” A flash of what looks like disappointment crosses his face, but I’m too upset to care. “Do you think I would have called you if I’d had a choice?” He clenches his fists at his sides, and, before he can say anything, I throw the phone box at him. He catches it in midair. “Just take your stupid phone and leave me alone.” Ares throws the box on the cabinet and takes long strides toward me. “You are so ungrateful! Your mother didn’t teach you any manners.” I push his bare chest. “And you’re an idiot!” Ares takes my arm. “You’re crazy!” I slap his arm to free myself. “Unstable!” I turn my back and lunge at the doorknob, but he grabs my arm again, making me face him. “Let me go! Let me go!” His soft lips press close to mine. And there, in his playroom, Ares Hidalgo kisses me.

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