Allergy Brings Bad Luck

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic


Jason Moses Lathan is a guy that never gives up. He's always trying to make Caroline's life hell even after they broke up. Now, after Caroline finally gets together with Ken Peyton, the person she
really loves. Why does Jason still keeps on chasing after them, not letting go of her?

Submitted: April 22, 2018

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Submitted: April 22, 2018

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“So, how does trout fishing sound?” Jason said, leaning casually against the doorframe with his hands in the pockets of his hoody. He had a smirk plastered across his face. “I don’t feel like I’ve been to Switzerland until I get to fish.”

Caroline looked up from her book, stared at him for less than a second, and returned to her light reading of biological lives. At least he had made no moves on her, yet. Good.

“C’mon, don’t be such a spoilsport,” he continued. “You can read that book at home.”

“Just because our parents left us together to go skiing,” she flipped a page, still not looking at Jason, “I don’t have to mingle with you.”

“Left us together, huh?” Jason pushed himself off the wall, licking his lower lip. He advanced toward the girl sitting as stiff as a ramrod, tracing the smooth leather seat gently with his fingertips. “I wonder why…”

Caroline, sensing danger, bounced hastily off the sofa with the hardback held out as some sort of protecting barricade.

“Stop,” she warned, giving him a blank, unwavering gaze. She started skulking away, eyes focusing on the guy in front of her with her back facing the door.

Truth be told, the look she was giving him was unsettling. Jason almost gave up on his mission, but his resolve was stronger. He took a step closer. And another. He did this all the while bestowing upon her an evil grin.

He grabbed her upper arm. And yanked. She flew toward him, almost losing her balance. An arm wound around her waist, steadying her. For a moment, she was relieved, but that soon turned into horror and disgust.

Coldness spread across her body as a hand slithered past the hem of her sweater and crept up her back. She froze, never having to deal with this kind of situation before. Jason leaned in, hot breath against her ear.

“Go fishing with me,” he said, a little more solemn and pushy this time. His grip on her tightened. The hand running up her spine now reached the bra strap.

“Anything but that,” she responded, switching her gaze back and forth between her captive and her escape, calculating. “Simply seeing the fishes give me rashes.”

Jason froze and stared deeply into those bright blue eyes. His hands stopped what they were doing. He replayed what he’d just heard in his head. What she’d just spoken, implied. His ears perked up, sharpening his hearing and preparing what Caroline had to say to him. He was getting something useful. A secret.

Slowly, deliberately he smirked then chuckled softly.

“Are you, perhaps, allergic to them?”

Caroline locked her jaw. She knew she had made an irrevocable mistake, but he would get nothing more from her. He was not going to gain the upper hand. Nevertheless, her silence seemed to have been an enough answer for him. His face twisted into a smug smile before moving the hand that had been resting on her waist to her chin, tilting her face slightly.

“Now, be a good girl and do what I say,” Jason said, undoing the bra strap. “You never know when I’d use that against you to sabotage your chance with Ken.”

“He has nothing to do with—”

He pulled her into a bruising kiss. Caroline struggled, biting into his lip until she could taste the coppery flavor of blood.

“You bit—Ow!”

She punched him and then with her thick book smacked him in the head. When he fell, she gave him another kick in the gut for good measure.

“You can’t retaliate me like this just because we broke up,” Caroline said, wiping her mouth roughly and used that same hand to cinch her shirt as tightly as possible to her petite frame; she clutched the book against her chest, the pressuring comforting her, “even though our relationship has been a fraud since the beginning to appease our parents’ wish for wanting us to be together. Or because the reason we ended things is because I’ve realized my feeling for your best friend. Our best friend.”

As an afterthought, she said, “Leave Ken out of this,” before swiftly running out the door, not knowing what was going through Jason’s mind.

On the floor, Jason licked the blood off his mouth and scoffed at Caroline’s misunderstanding.

 

TWO YEARS LATER

Thanks, man, Jason read the text he just received. It looks like a very nice place. I hope she likes the food, too

Ken, sure thing, buddy, he quickly typed back. I requested each dish with the special ingredient; shell LUV it.

He stowed his phone away in the locker before he could receive another message, knowing that Ken Peyton would surely ask what that special ingredient was. Next, he put on an apron, tying the strings behind his back, before donning his sous chef hat. When he was done, he proceeded to put on the sanitary mask—for hygienic reason, obviously, and not because he didn’t want two certain people to recognize him.

This is going to be so much fun! He smirked sinisterly.

 

Ken had never thought that getting accepted by his crush could make his heart swelled up with so much euphoria. And now…they were dating!

If she said yes to you, then she could take back her word and say no. The rational part of his brain said to him as they were waiting for the food.

Shut up! He argued with himself.

“I…” Ken trailed off, not really knowing how to begin a conversation.

He fidgeted with his fingers, playing with the cloth covering the table and praying to every god in this universe that this would just pass by uneventfully with no accidents.

God, how he wished he wouldn’t screw this up…

Why did it have to be so awkward just because they’d upgraded their status from being best friends to lovers?

“Ken, the sun’s setting,” Caroline said, bringing him out of his frustration.

He looked at the girl across from him. Caroline. His girlfriend. His.

Their eyes met.

It was only when the plates of food started being set on the table— clinking and clanking—that broke them out of their reverie, making them realize that they had actually missed the sun crossing the horizon and taking a dip in the ocean.

 

“Can they be even more sickening?” Jason muttered to himself and sneered as he looked through the pane of glass that separated the kitchen from the dining area of the restaurant.

Who needs love anyway, he thought as he was dressing the salmon fillet with sprigs of rosemary and pieces of lemon. Your family is the ones that will ever love you unconditionally.

He hoped nobody would mind if the herb seemed a little bruised. Not that he really cared; he wasn’t the one having the dish.

Something caught his attention in his peripheral vision. His smirked, his mood suddenly lightened as he saw a waitress serving food at his best friend’s table.

“Let the show begin.”

 

Caroline swept her gaze swiftly at the steaming, hot dishes laid across the table. Lobster salad. Sautéed crab with garlic, ginger, and green onions. Fried calamari. And last but not least, fresh clam and mussel stew with tomatoes, almonds, garlic, and parsley. Spanish style.

She imperceptibly swallowed down her saliva. Her boyfriend had chosen well.

“Let’s eat,” she said, not waiting for Ken’s answer and began scooping up half a spoonful of soup and raised it to her mouth.

“Glad you’re so eager.” Ken laughed and started digging in himself, selecting the crab legs—one for her, one for himself.

Meanwhile, in the kitchen, Jason was watching every one of their movements raptly with his arms crossed.

Eat it, eat it! He urged Caroline impatiently as the spoon touched her lips. Thats it. Now, open your mouth!

Then, she halted.

Caroline looked around. She had been feeling the presence of a particular set of eyes on her for a while now. She squinted at the direction that had been causing her skin to tingle and the hair on her neck to rise. Through a gigantic rectangular pane of glass, she could perceive a sous chef—she reckoned according to the height of his hat—standing in the middle of it, crossing his arms against his chest.

A cook gauging his customers reactions, searching for feedbacks through their expressions, she thought, surveying the scene coolly. Then, she shook her head imperceptibly. She was thinking about this way too hard.

She slurped the soup—a quiet sip through her lips—and pondered some more. The look was really a tad too intense, though. Not to mention that the man’s physique was too familiar for her liking.

Caroline blinked, letting go of her spoon.

“What’s wrong?” Ken panicked, bouncing off the chair and walking toward his girlfriend. “Is it not good?”

“No, it’s great,” she said, still looking at the figure clad in white. “I love it.”

“Then, wha—” Ken now had a hand on one of Caroline’s shoulders. Something felt very wrong. He followed her gaze to where it had been landing for quite some time now. “Oh, that guy’s wearing a mask. He must be sick.”

“Many restaurants require the use of masks to prevent undesired body fluid, such as snot, sweat, or saliva, into the food,” she said, getting up. “It’s also possible for the cook to sneeze from strong savory food.”

“Ah, okay,” Ken said as his hand slipped off Caroline. He watched as she started walking to the inner part of the restaurant, possibly to find a bathroom, scratching her arm absent-mindedly along the way.

 

Shes coming, Jason thought, peeling some potatoes, come and get me, baby.

He knew he was not being so subtle about his observation; not that he would ever say it was his fault. He shrugged. Getting caught or not, she’d already had a taste of his poison.

Jason, Caroline mouthed, and knocked the glass with one nail. When she successfully attracted his attention, she beckoned him with two fingers.

Dammit, Im not a dog, he growled inwardly but still strolled outside.

When both of them returned to the table, Ken started rattling away.

“Caroline, you’ve brought one of the chefs with you?!” he exclaimed, amazed. He thought something had gone terribly wrong but glad that it was the exact opposite. “The food’s extremely good, sir. I’m so happy my best friend told me to come here.”  

“So, he did,” Caroline said as unemotional as ever, settling back into her seat. “Just take the mask off, will you.”

“But miss, what if you catch my cold?” Jason said with a deep voice, bending his head forward so that his chin touched his chest. “You wouldn’t want that…would you?”

“So I was ri—” Ken broke off mid-sentence, seeing that Caroline’s pearl white skin was getting redder and redder, and she was scratching it so vehemently that blood started seeping out. “Carol, are you alright? Stop. Stop scratching for a second. Hey!” He reached over and held both of her hands in one of his, the other dabbing her blood with a napkin.

Crap, Caroline thought, swallowing. She was having difficulty breathing. My meds!

“J-Jason!” She gasped, pointing at him.

“Jason?” Ken asked, shaking his head to deal with the situation at hand first. He moved to kneel beside his girlfriend. “Caroline, you’ve got your meds with you?”

“I-in my p-purse,” she said, heaving. “M-middle pocket. E-epinephrine.”

“Hey, Peyton,” Jason said, taking off his mask. He was smiling and laughing.

Ken’s gaze switched between four things: Jason, his own phone on the table, the steaming hot food, and Caroline. It finally dawned on him.

“W-what’s in there?!” He said, fumbling in panic as he tried to find the medicine. He paused to breathe and fished out a tube of auto injectors. “You mentioned about the special ingredient. What is it?!”

He’d vowed to himself that he would never lose her. Not again when he’d almost lost this girl two years ago when he’d merely been a coward, staring at her in the hallway and not wanting confess his love to her or else he would risk their friendship. Because how could he—an ordinary airhead—ever have a chance with her when she’d used to date Jason? Had just broken up with him? They’d looked so perfect and promising together and even they were no longer together…but that lesson’d taught him well. So, when they’d coincidentally bumped into each other again at the university, there was no hesitation.

When she’d accept him to be her boyfriend, he had questioned if she knew the definition of love. Of her love for him and her reason for not rejecting him outright.

“I don’t blush whenever I’m near you, but my heart does beat,” Caroline’d said, putting one hand over her heart. “It beats like hundreds of horses galloping across the hills, their hooves beating the ground thunderously: strong, fast, and all over the place.”

He’d stared into those oh-so-extraordinary eyes. They were watery blue with specks of green and gray, the type that could either be interpreted as her being happy or sad.  But that day, they had been shining with so much love and adoration. Her silky blonde hair had glowed like spun gold.

And she had been smiling! Caroline, who never showed any traces of emotion, had been smiling. And at him!

She’d never looked more like an angel.

Consequentially, if her answer was anything to go by, how could he ever doubt her after that? Instead, he promised to himself that he would do anything and everything for her to strengthen their relationship.

“Fish,” Caroline said weakly. She lolled in the chair, eyes rolling back in her head but not yet fainted.

“Ding ding ding!!!” Jason clapped. “I’ve always known you’re smart, Caroline darling. It’s strong fish head and bones stock to be exact. Brilliant, isn’t it? No fishy smelling, is there? Oh, or is it that you did smell that something fishy’s going on, but you just didn’t quite know what…Ha! Pun intended.”

Ken quickly read the instructions on the injector, pulled off the cap, and plunged the needle into her thigh.

“Why?” Ken asked, not looking up. He could feel himself seething, getting angrier and angrier by the second. But, he was sad and hurt and perturbed as well. He thought that Jason was a good guy. Terrific, even. “How could you do this?! She could’ve died!”

Good, Jason thought. If only she forgot her meds…

“She did that to herself,” he said, shrugging. “I never forced her to eat it.”

“What did you sa—” Ken bounced up from the floor, lunging forward to strike Jason with a haymaker. A hand pulled him back by the sleeve. “Caroline!”

 “Don’t,” she said, sitting up properly and clearing her throat. “This is what you mean by sabotaging my chance with Ken. I would never hate him because of this nor would I ever go back to your when I'm heartbroken, if ever.”

Her remark sparked a guffaw from Jason. “It’s hilarious how you think you’re a know-it-all. Also, I’m not a cliché, jealous ex-boyfriend kinda guy.”

“So, tell me the reason you almost successfully raped me,” Caroline said. “The reason you spread rumors about me being a horny whore, and the reason you drew Ken away from me.”

What?! It was you? Ken mused. Son of a gun

“Jason Moses Lathan, you raped her?!” It came out more dangerous than he’d intended. “Now, I’m really going to kill you.”

“ ‘Almost’ is the keyword,” Jason said, yawning. “She sure could kick and punch.”

“What has she ever done to you?!” Ken asked. “Isn’t it enough she had to witness her parents arguing all her life? Then, endured the divorce that followed?”

Ken shut his eyes tight and clenched his teeth hard, sighing deeply but inaudibly.

The truth was he couldn’t accept that his best friend— ex-best friend?—had become like this. Someone so despicable, arrogant, and couldn’t separate right from wrong.

Could he blame anyone for this situation? Or was he all to blame for not being able to save the girl he loved?

He was confused. So, so confused. Where should he direct his emotions? At himself? This bastard here, whom now felt like a stranger to him? The world?

Ken didn’t know. He really didn’t.

He saw darkness behind his eyelids. His heart slowed to a more manageable pace his breathing could match. He opened his eyes—not too fast, not too slow.

“You think her being aloof is punishment?” Jason sneered. “It was her decision not to express any emotions in the first place!”

More like trauma, Caroline thought. 

Since the moment she was born, Caroline remembered perceiving her parents arguing every day, being together only because they cared how the society would view them. Growing up, she gradually felt numb all over her soul, her heart. Eventually, she stopped displaying all facial expressions because they feel so pathetic. How could someone be so irascible to forget everything? How could someone beg and prostrate and cry like there would be no tomorrow? And other positive emotions no longer came to her naturally because…what was the point?

“Please, Jay,” Ken said. “Let her go. I can’t bear seeing you turn into a monster! I want you back, buddy.”

Jason probed into Ken’s eyes only to see sincerity.

“…Very well,” he replied finally, sighing.

Their friendship had been genuine after all.

Damn, he thought. I guess I’ll just have to deal with my parents scolding me later. For failing. For snitching. For ruining everything.

He started telling them the truth. The truth that his parents had been stabbed in the back by Caroline’s: given a hotline job by her mother’s cousin, but it’d turned out to be for human trafficking and prostitution. When Caroline’s mother knew, she’d tried to make it up and they’d pretended to be cool with it. His parents’d put themselves back together by setting up a travel agency business. Therefore, he wanted to avenge them by deflowering her: a perfect way to get back by hurting their daughter, which would then hurt her family. Since failed, he tried other things until eventually telling Ken to bring her to this seafood restaurant. His uncle owned it and this was where he normally lent him a hand. This made it look like he did that because he still liked her, but no.

Silence ensued, then, “I’m sorry,” Caroline said, “but my mom did try. There’s nothing else we could’ve done.”

 “The past is in the past. You should let it go, too.” Ken replied. “Oh, and we’re not paying.”

The past is in the past, huh? Jason thought. It doesn’t even have to do anything with me…but they’re my family!

“Be glad that I won’t sue you, Jay,” Ken bid his farewell, putting a hand on Jason’s shoulder and squeezing it lightly.

He held his hand out for Caroline to take.

They left hand in hand out of the restaurant and down some steps, into the beach.

 “Take care!” Jason said, not turning around.

Waves crashed against rocks. Seagulls gawked and cawed. A heavy ocean breeze swooshed past, rustling their clothes. The clean, fresh, salty tang of the sea woke up their minds.

But the stars, the stars! Caroline nudged Ken and pointed at them, telling him of their various myths and stories. They marveled at the beauty of the sky.

To them, the stars had never shone so bright, never been so clear to show them so many possibilities. Endless possibilities.

They couldn’t help but be hopeful and optimistic.


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