Chapter 96 Blinded
Astounded, I looked at the young lady holding onto my hand for a few seconds before my senses came back.
What a small world, indeed, to be able to bump into Vicky here!
She was smiling so brightly and led me along while grabbing my hand.
“It’s been long after graduation but it seems like you didn’t change much, Liliana. I was so disappointed when you said you wouldn’t come! Almost everyone who can make it is here today. It’ll be more enjoyable with everyone present.”
“The reunion is held here?” I asked in surprise.
“Yeah. It was in the message that I’ve sent in the group chat. Don’t worry; you’ve come to the right place.”
I was instantly at a loss for words. I had chosen to have dinner there since Nicholas had said that the restaurant offered standalone private rooms. I booked the place in order to avoid getting caught by reporters.
Therefore, even though the restaurant was expensive, I went ahead with it.
I had muted the WhatsApp chat group with my university classmates long ago so I did not see the message Vicky was referring to. Had I known the class reunion’s location was at the same place, I would definitely have chosen another restaurant.
“Vicky,” Though I felt bad, I still went ahead to break the news to her. “I’m actually not here to attend the class party. I’ve got a date with my friend.”
Vicky was initially taken aback but then followed with an unbothered look. “The fact that we’ve met unintentionally just shows that we are destined to bump into each other! Your friend is coming too, right? Ask your friend to join us later. Someone will foot the bill tonight.”
Had I not agreed to meet Nicholas in the first place, I might have changed my mind and accepted her invitation because of her enthusiasm.
“Vicky, I really can’t take up your invitation. I-I have something important to discuss with my friend today. But I’ll join you guys for the next class party.”
“Liliana, aren’t you being a little too cold?” Vicky finally sounded unhappy.
I sighed softly, unsure of what to say.
Just then, three people—two guys and a lady—walked out of the room at the end of the corridor.
I found their figures somewhat familiar and when they walked closer to me, I recognized that the lady was Xenia Blue.
The two guys looked familiar, too. I knew they were my classmates as well, except I was unsure of their names.
“Vicky, why are you outside and not in the room? We’re all waiting for you.” The tall and skinny guy on the left started teasing Vicky.
Vicky chuckled. “It’s only been a few years but you’ve become cheekier, Herman.”
She then pointed at me and said in slight frustration. “See, I happened to bump into our talented lady here and have been trying to get her to join us. Since you guys are here, help me persuade her, please.”
Her words only made me more embarrassed than before. I could only smile awkwardly at that situation.
“Hey, it’s been long. Seems like you’ve gotten prettier.”
My memory of Herman Nottingham gradually came back. He used to be a nerd, but he had changed so much over the years!
“You’re looking great, too.” I politely gave a courteous exchange.
“Liliana, aren’t you joining the fun inside? You’re literally here already,” Xenia asked quizzically.
“Err… it’s pure coincidence. I’m here to meet my friend.” I pondered for a few seconds before I continued, “How about this; I’ll go greet the rest inside but I’ll join you guys at the next opportunity. I really have something on today. Does that work?”
I was in such a circumstance that it would not look good for me to leave just like that, so I figured I’d compromise and meet everyone for a short while.
Vicky, whose expression was cold and displeased, instantly looked more agreeable upon my words. She waved her hand dismissively and said, “All right, all right. I’ll let you off this time. But if we have another party in the future, you can’t refuse me anymore, yeah?”
I smiled in acknowledgment. We were, after all, still classmates, so I did not want to strain our relationship.
Following that, the two guys left, stating that they would be at the entrance to wait for the others’ arrival. Before heading in with Vicky and Xenia, I texted Nicholas to explain the situation.
Inside the room were all familiar faces. Those youthful university days started to replay in my mind.
Upon entry, I was surrounded by my classmates and bombarded with questions about my relationship with Nicholas.
I shook my head vigorously in an attempt to deny everything.
Someone then took out his phone, found the relevant news on Twitter, and asked me for the truth.
But what more could I say? I reckoned the best way out was to bite through it and negate all the rumors.
Just as I was on the brink of crumbling, Xenia got me out of the tough spot. “Move back, all you nosy-parkers. Let’s go over there, Liliana. Jennie Blanc is there, too; we can have a chat together.”
I hurriedly agreed to it and followed her to sit at a corner.
“Xen, you’re so late. Oh, so you’re Liliana? It’s been a long time.” The lady who had been sitting on the couch smiled at me as she greeted me.
I chugged a mouthful of beverage down and heaved slightly before greeting her. “Hi, Jennie. Yes, it’s been some time since we’ve met.”
Camille, Xenia, Jennie, and I used to be roommates in the same dormitory.
Nonetheless, through the four years of university, I had only become close friends with Camille while remaining acquaintances with the other two.
I then turned to Xenia and said, “Thank you.” I was grateful for her rescue just now.
“It’s nothing.” Xenia chuckled. “But then again, how about you share with us if you’re really dating Nicholas?”
“Oh yeah. I saw that on Twitter, too. Hurry and tell us, Liliana!”
“E-Err… that… that’s all jokes.”
Without any hesitation, I hastily changed the topic. “Have you two been in contact after graduation?”
Xenia nodded. “Jen and I are working in the same company and we’re co-renting a place right now.”
“Oh, that’s great.”
I always believed that friendships forged in school days were the most treasured.
After all, it was rare to have someone like me who had no luck in friendship nor love.
I wondered why I had not become close with Xenia and Jennie back then. Only after that casual chat did I realize they were nice people to be friends with.
I could only blame my own blindness to have befriended the most pretentious one amongst the roommates.
Looking at my phone, I realized that it was past the time Nicholas and I had agreed to meet. As such, I decided to leave.
“I’ve to go meet my friend. It won’t be nice to make him wait too long. Have fun, girls. We’ll meet again another time.”
“No way! How can you leave so soon? Why don’t you ask your friend over, too?”
I grinned. “No need. There’ll be opportunities in the future.”
If Nicholas appeared there, I was sure his charisma would make everyone at the party go head over heels for him.
At that moment, someone pulled on my sleeve and exclaimed, “Oh, I got it! Liliana, are you meeting Nicholas?”