Chapter 2: Hannah & Benedict

So, I have apologized to Leona for the other day.

Should I have?

I mean, I was only trying to protect her scars and keep them from deepening. But I guess what's hurt if that's all you've ever felt, huh?

I am not sure how I feel about the whole thing, to be honest. I am cautiously trying to trust Victor with Leona's heart again, yet I have this nagging feeling that he's playing a wolf under sheep's clothing, just like the last time.

Then again, he wouldn't have proposed if he wasn't serious about her, eh? I guess I will never know what he's thinking. Frankly speaking, I have been having weird thoughts about Victor walking out of the marriage one day, tired of "settling down" and taking care of the children, abandoning Leona once and for all…

I woke up in cold sweat the other night, because I dreamt that Leona had come banging on my door, just like the other time, with her tear-stained face and mascara-smudged eyelids. It was a sight I would never forget, and I hope no one would ever see their best friend in such a self-destructive state. Every time I thought of that, I would just forget my promise to Leona, and continue to loathe him.

It's been unsettling to say the least.

I have never distrusted anyone like this in my life.

But that was only because my trust had been misplaced before.

And I'm not ready to lose it again.

"I don't know, Benedict," I groaned, "I don't know what to feel."

"Do you love her?" I could hear Benedict's deep voice at the other end of the line. I sighed.

"Yes, yes, of course-"

"Do you want her to be happy?"

"YES! But-"

"Then no more 'buts', she's a big girl now, and you've said your piece. There's nothing else you can possibly do," I could hear him munching on what sounded like crisps. All that noise was making me really hungry, so I shrugged it off, and threw myself on my comfy bed.

The guy whom I'm talking to on the phone is my friend, Benedict. I met him in high school, when we were both in our sophomore year. I still remember when I was just a meek little geek back in the days, and how he'll always act like my big brother whenever someone came up to me, trying to pick a fight or call me names. We shared almost all of the classes we had, and the girls were always jealous that he would pick a seat next to me over all the other pretty ones. I didn't think much about it then, because he was just like a big brother to me. And he still is.

"So, how's Harvard?" I asked.

Even though we were both the same age, Benedict decided to take some time off to sight-see and travel the world. He's now doing his final year at Harvard, majoring in Political Science. I've always admired the fact that even though he qualified for the top courses, he still stuck to his interests, and that was in the field of politics. I mean, I could never imagine him running for President, but he was a fine journalist, and he would be a fantastic political journalist. I won't be surprised if I see his name in Times magazine after he graduates.

"Same old, the professor's still pretty much a nutcase…" He paused.

"He reminds me of you." I could imagine a smirk slowly spread across his face as he said it.

"Says the person who nuttier than I am,"

"I think I am a healthy dose of nutty. Everybody needs to go insane every once in a while!"

I chuckled. His upbeat personality was something I found solace in whenever I was feeling down. Sometimes I wished everyone saw the world like how Benedict did; it would definitely make reality a much brighter place to be in.

"I went to our favourite spot last night," He quietly mentioned.

"Oh?" I curiously probed further. When we were kids, we would always get chased out by the grumpy, old librarian for making too much noise in the discussion room (never understood why they called it that when we couldn't even utter a word in there). As a substitute, we would get out of school to this nearby park and climb this hundred year old tree which had been kept in the park since it opened. It was really funny, because I remembered he broke his leg the first time he tried to get on it. Since then, he had gotten better, but I could never stop making fun of him after that.

This time though, he didn't wait for me to start the teasing.

"I swear I nearly missed a step again!" Laughter erupted from the both of us, as the memories came flooding back to me. I sighed.

"Those were the good times." I declared.

"Yeah," He said softly, "they were really good."

I didn't know why, but when I heard his whisper, I felt my heart skip a beat. I think it was the fact that somebody actually treasured the time that he had spent with me, and he didn't regret a second of it. It was a very sweet thought which stayed with me the entire night afterwards.

"So, I'll see you tomorrow?" I imagined his fingers twirling the phone cord, his eyes scanning the parquet flooring of his house.

"Yes, don't be late, or else I'll have to face Victor alone-"

"I know," Benedict interrupted what would have been a long nagging from me, "I need to be there to take care of you, otherwise sooner or later I'll see him having multiple bruises on his face because of your own violent tendencies and I'll be the one doing damage control."

"I'm glad you realised," I grinned.

There was a slight pause before I heard him draw a breath.

"Good night, Hannah." He whispered.

"Good night, Benedict."

Placing the phone down, I began to feel my face hurt a little as I relaxed my facial muscles. Just thinking about how I was smiling so widely throughout the entire phone call was enough to make me shudder at how delusional I was.

I turned to look at the bedside photo of the both of us.

I hope our smiles like the ones in the picture would never fade.