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Monday, 15 November 2010

Cathrine Chevogn: Chapter Two: Undeserved

06:13 Posted by Cindy Wong Dela Cruz , , , No comments
A week had barely passed. I gained acquaintances—Myshcka Demoure and Danielle Shein, two ladies who have joined my little game. But Shein doesn’t know still. She trusted the President’s rendezvous towards me—I don’t know where she got that little faith on him.

It was already twilight when I got back home.
I went directly to the kitchen and made some fruit parfaits.
“ Mademoiselle, a few papers had arrived from France.”
Father. I thought. He started his own vindication against me.

The next was the same—going to the academy and held myself as the same student like them.
“ Cathrine, do you mind hanging around after classes?” It was Myshcka who called my attention. Both of us were in the Fountain Square.
“ Glad to join you.” I uttered. “ Is she okay?” I turned to ask about the gloomy aura Danie had.
She shook her head. “ She’s still dreading on it.”

My eyes caught Fukusawa. Has it been me that I felt he was ignoring me? After the conversation we had on my first day, he hasn’t talk to me again. He keeps on slipping away whenever I’m around—or maybe he knew who I am. I shrugged at the idea. That would be impossible. The academy should know by now and it would be the talk of the town.
“ Weird guy.” I heard Myshcka.
“ Pardon?” I ask her.
“ I don’t know what’s gotten into Fukusawa. He’s spacing out lately and he hasn’t been around us—Katie, Danie and I, I mean.”
I knew he was acting strange.
“ Perhaps, it’s me. The reason why he won’t come around was me. Even your friend Ms. Han doesn’t come with you. It might have been me.” I told her. I don’t want to cause trouble to them.
“ Katie isn’t that kind of person. I know she has been rude around you but she’s really kind. My guess is that she’s having a difficult time. She’s the equestrian Captain and also the Editor of the school’s Paper. Fukusawa isn’t like that as well. He’s really friendly and so generous. Usually he comes around to introduce himself and become everyone’s friend. That makes him pretty popular and mostly girls like him.”
“ My presence is a bother. They’ve been different since I came around.” There’s no doubt, it might be me that everyone has been like that. Just for a simple game everyone acts differently, that’s the power of being superior—as what Fukusawa says.

Superior? 
What gave him an idea that he belongs to that kind? His reasoning was neutral but the word that he implied such as ‘us’ made him vulnerable to become part of it. Wealth is just a tool for him. His aim was more hostile—Power.

The day ended. Just as Myshcka requested, I came with her.
“ Nice car.” I commented on her 911 Turbo.
“ Thanks.” She beamed. “ You like cars as well?”
“ Quite but not really.”

He was the one who generally like cars.

I was surprised at myself. Why do I unconsciously think of that person?
“Something’s bothering you?” She noticed my sudden silence.
I shook my head. “ No. Where are we heading to?”
“ Let’s take you to the busy streets of Tokyo.” She roared the engine.

“ Wow!” I was awed by the new place I had been. “ Tokyo has changed a lot.”
“ You’ve been to Tokyo before?” she asked as she pulled off near a Café.
“ Yes, about five years though.” I answered here.
I was here before with my Father of course. It has changed so much. From my memory, it has not been like a crowded place like this—no gigantic buildings like this and it was the least favorite among the cities I went in. I could tell, it’s like New York.
“ Come on, they’re inside.”
“ Who?” I asked.
“ You’ll meet them.” And she smiled as we got off.

Danielle Shein was there but also Katie Han and Li Fukusawa too. Upon greeting them, I saw the tension built around. Katie wasn’t the least happy about this meeting and Fukusawa was uneasy.
“ So, no one really wanted to say a thing? Or are we to stare at each other until tomorrow?” Myshcka came with a tray on her hand.
“ You know what,” everyone stared at Katie. “ I think I’ve made a mistake in coming here. So, I guess I’m outta here.” She stood up.
“ No one leaves, Katie Dianne.” Mysh barked at her. “ Sit down.”
She glared at her and followed.
“ Apologize to Ms. Chevogn, Katie.” Myshcka turned to her again. Her face painted bewilderment—no, she was feeling a little humiliated.
“ Katie, she’s really very nice and…” It was Danie.
“ I don’t need your opinion, Danie.” Then she turned towards Myshcka, “ You’re wrecking my brains, Myshcka. Why would I do that? I’m sitting here to…”
This conversation would be worse off if I wouldn’t knock off both of the two.
“ No, really.” I held my hand to stop them both. “ There’s nothing to apologize for.” I turned to Katie. “ I apologize for this sudden abrupt commotion. I’ll just leave so you can continue on with…”
“ No one leaves the premises.” To my surprise, it was Katie who interrupted my apology. “ I cannot let you make me the antagonist here. Return to your seat.” She glared at me. “ Okay, I’m sorry. Can we just forget about it?” She folded her arms.
“ Yes. Oh, Yes, I’m glad to.” I said to her and beamingly smiled at her.
A surge of happiness crept on my heart. It was warm. Then came to a conclusion, I can win the game that I have created.
“ Okay, that feels much better. I’m glad that everyone is alright.” Myshcka turned to me then stared at Suichiro, “ Right, Fukusawa?”
“ Um, yeah.” he nodded.
“ May I favorably ask what you shall have as a course?” I asked them with a smile.
“ Oh, please.” Katie rolled her eyes. Not knowing what I did, I kept on smiling at them.
“ Katie, behave yourself.” Danie warned her. “ Cathrine, I told you to drop that noblesse thing. Why do you speak so noble?” Danie’s stare stunned me.
I blinked.
“ Oh, no, no, no…” Danie’s eyes stared in horror.
Three pairs of eyes set on my shocked face.
“ Don’t tell me, my conclusions are right?” Danie was still on me.

Say something, Cathrine. No, no words had escaped from my lips. I couldn’t find my voice.
It was Katie who voiced out. “ Gracefully laden walk, straightly standing out or sitting down on crowd, voice that rings, white as snow, beaming eyes, red lips, noble words that escaped from your lips and wisdom that surpasses even to this guy here, you couldn’t be a vampire, are you?”
I held my breath.
“ Yes, I could have said that as well, Katie. But, she doesn’t have fangs.” Danie was more mesmerized.
What an odd little friends I had.
“ Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.” Myshcka laughed hysterically.
“ Are we correct?” Danie asked again.
I let a soft laugh.
“ What have you two been reading lately?” Myshcka was still laughing.
“ We’re wrong?” Both of them chorused.
“ I’m no vampire.” I laughed at the sound of it.
“ Could you have a thought realistic than those?” Myshcka added.
“ That makes my theory correct and possible.” All of us stared at Fukusawa who made a face.
I wonder what fictional character he has just came up.
“ Let’s hear it out, Fukusawa.” I told him.
“ Are you related to some Aristocrat Belleva’s perhaps?”
I laughed. “ Not that I heard them of.” I answered.
“ I will know soon.” He replied.
“ You can try and try but you can’t get to it.” I stood up and went to the counter.
I would be more fascinated if his guess was little bit more creative.
Vampire? Do I look like one? I pursed a soft laugh.

“ Here you go.” I served them Rosa Jelly. “ They don’t really serve any dinner meals, might as well we can dine somewhere? I’ll be the one who’ll be responsible for everyone.”
All of them stared at each other.
“ How about your place?” It was Katie who answered.
My eyes widened. Can’t they think of any place?
“ Name any place. Five-star, anywhere.” I told them in desperation. No, not in my home. I can’t let them—even Fukusawa
“ Your place.” Katie insisted.
I looked at Myshcka. She was anxious. “Katie you might seem not to see a common people’s house, don’t you?”
“ I changed my mind.” She answered without hesitation. “ A trip to your place might sound more interesting than with all of the high-class places around.”
“ That sounds good too.” Danie agreed.

“ Your place is small and neat.” Katie entered the house as soon as I got them in.
The place was rather small—she was right but neatly perfected for an ambush like this.
“ You’re a modernist.” She said too as if she was an inspectorate or something. Modern Mediterranean house this is.
“ You live here alone?” Danie asked.
“ Yes. I do.” I told them.
“ But you’re a girl.” It was Fukusawa this time.
I forgot that part. “ Uhm, my…my… my aunt came to see me all the time.” I bit my lip.
“ Fukusawa’s protective, huh?” Myshcka eyed him.
“ Are you this person here?” Katie was on the stairs.
“ Uhm, yeah.” I answered. She won’t let go until she convinces herself in whatever her delusions might be.
“ Katie, come back here.” Myshcka called her.
I got myself in a lot of trouble.
“ Anyone wants to have drinks?” I asked them.
“ Just some cold drinks you have in your fridge.” Danie said as she sat on the living room.
“ Uhm, I don’t have any preserved drinks.” I answered.
Katie’s brows met. “ What do you mean?”
“ I don’t drink canned liquids or sodas. I made my own drinks.” I answered.
“ You’re unbelievable.” Danie nodded.
“ How about some smoothies?” Katie said.
“ Preferably what flavour?” I promptly asked them.
“ Mine’s Cherry Mint.” Myshcka answered.
“ Can we ask for any flavours?” Danie asked.
I nodded.
“ Berry Anglais and if there’s a…” Katie hesitated for a moment there. “ No, that’s impossible.” She murmured herself. “ Uhm, just some…”
“ You want Berry Anglais with Rogue Whip.” Then I turned to Fukusawa. “ And how about you?”
“ French Citrus Lavender Smoothie.”
“ Just Earl Grey Tea.” Myshcka prompted.
“ Okay. How about dinner?” I asked again.
“ You know what? I’m having this feeling of weirdness about you.” Katie spoke again. “ Can we just follow you around the house or your kitchen?”
“ My home is not a monster house that you would read on R.L Stine or Anne Rice or that Meyer-woman. But sure you can.” I smiled at her and shook my head.
The four of them sat around the table watching as I prepare those drinks they have asked.
“ Where did you get these ingredients?” It was Katie again.
“ Oh, I had lots of fruit stocks in my cold-room.”
“ Cold room?” Katie jumped off on her feet.
“ Oh, this fridge thing as what everyone calls them so.” I answered as I was pouring the mint and cherry gratin.
“ I see.” She sat down again. “ You cook yourself?”
“ Yes.”
“ Really? That’s unusual.” It was she again
“ There’s nothing unusual with that, right?”
“ Ah, yeah. I supposed so. Commoners know how to…”
“ Katie!” I heard Mysh and Danie called her.
“ It’s all right.”
There was silence. I was enjoying myself with the girls as a company but watching the man with us, it made myself quite anxiety but no, I might as well worried about nothing, nothing at all.
“ Ms. Chevogn?” It was Katie again.
“ Please call me Cathrine.” I told them.
“ Oh, okay. Cathrine, would you mind if I ask a question?”
“ Yes.”
“ Why did you transfer school?”
I was silent. I should have answered this straightly.
“ Uhm, it’s quite complicated to answer that. Let’s just say that I want to have a new milieu.”
“ France is a good place for an education.” It was Fukusawa who answered.
“ Why do you think so?” Myshcka asked him.
“ People are well-versed and has the wide knowledge when it comes to education.”
“ Are you going there when you’re in college?” Mysh asked again.
I waited for his reply. Did he really want to go there? I think so, too. He was well versed on his knowledge about France these past days.
But he didn’t answered.
“ I’m done.”
“ You do?” the girls chorused.
I went towards the table and served them the smoothies they asked for.
“ Wow.” Katie beamed.
“ Apology for the hoer’s d oeuvres.”

The dinner was well done. Everyone was on the living room while I exclude myself to clean the kitchen.
“ Hey, thank you for the dinner. It was wonderful. I’ve never eaten such a good food like that even in a five-star restaurant or the finest chef. You are really great.” It was Fukusawa. He followed me on the kitchen.
“ I’m glad everyone liked it.” I said.
“ Can we be friends?”
I looked at him.
Tell me, I’m just having this terrible unconscious thinking—a dream or a hallucination. But, I’m not. His dazzling, sweet and gentle smile—all this things are like nightmares—but good and memorable nightmares—the one that you wanted to dream and haunt you again and again.
And I heard myself, “ Yes. I want everyone to be my friends.” And smiled in return.
“ Thanks. You need help?” he asked wearing the same smiled he had pursed earlier.
“ I’m almost done.” I took the glasses and slid it inside the cupboard room.
“  Hey Cathrine, come up here. Let’s have a fun talk.” Katie was smiling.
I pursed a smile. I was happy to think that I’ve got myself in a circle and for the hope that I can thrive and win this out. And only it could be perfected in the days to come.
“ Yeah, sure, I’ll finish this down.”
“ You won friends.” He noticed it as well.
“ I am glad.” I answered. “ Let’s get back to them. Here are some praline pecans while we have some talks.”
“ Oh, great.”
We stalked back towards the living room.
“ Here you go.” He offered me an empty chair.
“ Thanks.” I prompted.
“ You two are having a great time back there, huh?” Danie greeted.
“ Oh, we’re just having a small conversation. What are you up to here?” I asked them.
“ Uhhhm….” Katie thought and answered beamingly. “ Boys!”
“ Oh, no.” Danie, Myshcka and Fukusawa cried in disappointment.
“ And who is?”  I asked unknowingly. “ Your man of love?”
“ Ew!” Katie hissed.
Danie and Myshcka laughed.
“ Did I say something bad about it.” I was confused.
“ We’re talking ‘bout this only girl here.” Katie gestured Fukusawa.
He was perplexed.
“ Gossiping?” He asked.
“ Maybe.” Katie was whining around. “ It’s just a theory so don’t mind about it.”
“ You’re fascinating, Katie. You’re a reader as well.” I smiled at her.
Katie raised her brow. “ Reader?”
“ Oh, psychology calls it, emotional reader.” I answered.
“ Ohhh.” She cried.
“ You know people have different gifts. Each has their own.” I said.

Suddenly, Fukusawa’s phone rings. He excused himself and privately talked to the caller and after a while, he bids farewell. So, the four of us remained. 
“ Are you really not a vampire?” Katie broke the silence.
“ No, dear.” I answered promptly.
“ Katie just drop that subject.” Myshcka shot a glance at her.
Katie took a sigh. “ Okay. But tell me, how common are you?”
So, she hasn’t given up the course.
“ Katie,” I looked for her eyes. “ What is it that you have against a common person?”
She took her eyes off mines.
“ I can’t see any reason why you would deliberately despise a person who is a commoner.” I saw a flicker of irritation on her eyes. “ Would you let me know about it and I’ll tell you a secret of mine.”
“ There’s nothing to tell.”  She said. “ Just don’t do something greedy out of this.”
Greedy? Her words hit home. Why was I being here? As a matter of fact, they are my whims. My ulterior motive coming here was greed—a personal satisfaction.
“ Judging by it, I could see that someone betrayed your trust, some commoners, isn’t it?”
“ You have no right to discuss about this as if you knew everything!” Her voice soared up as she stood up against me.
“ I may not know what is it, but you are taken aback by the guilt and hatred. Past is past. You cannot devote yourself to be eaten up by your own past. For the sake of your life, learn from it and let it go.” I told her calmly. “ You are only ruining yourself…”
She stood up as her face was flushed with anger, regret, humiliation and pains. I could see her unwillingness to stay on with her own predicament. She took her bag and went to the door. 
“ Katie,” I called her. “ You know my place, visit me and let me know. I might help you along the way. And I am grateful to have you here in my noble home.”
She didn’t look back.

The next days around my academy were no more than the same as my first day.  Scorn and spite were my morning welcome. And if looks could kill I would have sent to morgue.
I sighed and took my eyeglasses. I was on the library, sitting afar from everybody else. I secluded myself but heaven forbids, few students were walking towards my direction.
“ Why are you still here?” A red haired student spatted my table.
I took off my eyeglasses and stared at her. “ I came here for a sole purpose and that is education.”  And turned to the books I was reading before.
With exasperation she turned to the book and pulled it apart. “ How dare you look towards unnecessary things when I was talking to you.” Her brows met in hatred, humiliation and scorn.
“ You call that unnecessary?” I said in a calm voice. “ May I suggest to remind you that you don’t disregard the things that are valuable to a person’s existence.”
“ A person exists for his sole life.” She said mockingly.
“ Indeed, but what kind of life you have to live by? Unethical? Or immoral perhaps?”
“ And you call me insults?”
“ I do not insult you. I apologize if that is the suggested words you have created for yourself.”
The student raised her hand. It was not difficult to read her actions and before her hands could kiss my cheeks, I took it.
“ Oh no you don’t. No one does that to me. And I do not allow it. Be decent enough, if I were your family, you are a disgrace.” I put down her arm and walk away.

Cathrine, your patience. You are slow to anger remember. I closed my eyes and tried to compose myself. 
As soon as I turned the doorknob, water splashed from my head. It was cold enough to give me a shiver.  Why do I need to suffer this?
Everyone present on the library was laughing hysterically. I look like an idiot. This is humiliating.

“ That deserves you, cheap social git.” A student said and was laughing frantically looking more idiot than me.
“ Go home and be a flea marketer. “ A heard another student.
A tomato landed on my shoulder. And more of it shot in the air. Instinctively, I covered up my face and my head.

I could hear the mockery of many spoiled brats. Laughing at me, taunting and looked at me as if I’m a laughing stock, pity me and hated me at the same time. I was still six back then.
“ A bastard in the family of nobles!” and a girl shot me with glass of wine in the face. It dripped down my face. I was more humiliated. I wanted to run and cry but I couldn’t  move an inch from where I stood up.
“ Stop it,” A boy came beside and his cold eyes were igniting flames. He was angry. “ I would never allow you to spite her. You can leave this place and I would not want to see you step here.” The girl made a face and left.
He took a sigh. And turned to me wearing his warm smile but seeing how messy and unglamored I am, the angered seethed on his face. Then he abruptly turned to the crowd.
“ You call yourself noble?” His cold eyes shot the crowd a moment of freeze. “What is it that you have against this young lady? You aren’t as much as of her. Not an inch like her. With a rotten attitude and a despicable spirit, who says you are noble enough? You dress fancy garments and adore yourself with gold and wealth but you stink like rotten garbage—ready to dispose at any rate. You were the one to be a shame among the nobles.”
His words echoed the whole place like a thunder and no one can stop him. Instantly, I reached for him. My hands were shaken. I’m glad he was there for me but a person’s humiliation was enough damage for the night.
But he wasn’t here. He wasn’t here by my side anymore.

And with all my might, I caught the tomato aimed on my face. With anger, I took it off in my fist—crushed and throw it aside.
“ How noble are you as your words could describe the way you trample over a commoner?” Tomatoes were flying towards my direction as I caught it single-handedly and heatedly crush it. My temper was at its brim.
“ Nobles are born out of their bloods and not earned.” I heard an answer.
How far does these goes on?
“ You foolish and arrogant people!” I pointed them. “ How long will each of you believe the lies in yourself? You call yourselves nobles? Yet acts like those ingrate and lowly lives? You are worse than a brood of vipers—hypocrite and evil.”
“ How dare you to insult us?”
I let a soft laugh and glared sharply at her. “ Insult? Aren’t I being insulted here? So you’ve come to say the words that you’ve scorned me? Don’t turn up the table. You’ve come here to an academy to say… what? Education? Learning? Knowledge? Skilled? All of them were products of earning by strength and wisdom. Earn.” I emphasized the last words. “ You noble-proclaimed people earn being noble to fit and survive. I say, it is a lineage but called to be a bastard among those nobles who aren’t fit to become one. Nobles, you call yourself, but aren’t aristocrats to belong to. Society wouldn’t handpicked the likes of you. As a matter of fact, the likes of you are a shame to their own kin. “
“ Then, do we deserve being noble?”
“ No, you don’t.” I answered quickly. More murmurs followed. “ It is an undeserved favor for you. It is by grace that you’ve possessed such an enormous wealth. Grace that each of us does not deserved.”
“  Then why are we branded as nobles?”
“ It is only by name that we are called to be nobles. Only by name—label, as to the simplest idea to call. Out of your heart comes the true noblest person and not by wealth possessed. Wealth isn’t the yardstick here. The spirit, the heart and the inner self—makes you noble. So, how dare you—people, call yourselves noble when the yardstick of being a noble do not suffice your existence. Neither the commoner nor the rich men are fit to call themselves noble. No one.”

With the back of my hand, I swept off the tomatoes from my uniform.
I never thought that this place is worse than a place for swine—full of brains infested with worms. Disgusting. And I wonder why I landed at the place like this. I flee from a place that is exactly the same but I landed on a place worse than the first.

Before I could turn at the Academy Park, seven ladies came in.
“ Pardonne ami, Mademoiselle. Should we take action for the…”
“ It is not needed. Go back. I don’t need any of you.”
“ But…”
“ No buts…I want to be alone.” I raised my hand. My patience broke off already and I didn’t want to make thing worst.
Grace? Did I really say that word? I sneered at the idea. Just as I am, I didn’t deserve this but it has to be this way. I lived this life full of graces and I didn’t know how to be grateful enough.

I smiled and a faded memory of a woman flickered on my head.

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I love traveling and being immersed with different cultures. It has cultivated my love for learning and has exposed me to different perspectives. I'm a travel specialist during the day, while writing has always been my first love (considering my love of books, of course). I am an editor of Lapis sa Kalye (Hindi ito ang normal mong nababasa)**a Facebook page which promotes Philippine Literature, one of the writers of the published book - **PENDULUM. I was also the Editor in Chief of our online magazine which published free literary works. I also post my works in Wattpad reaching more than 70k reads.

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