Hope and I danced across the studio. Francesca counting our steps beat for beat while clapping. With the slow music taking us, I twirled around the studio with Hope in my arms and I tripped over her foot and fell after the fourth cycle of the variation. As we recovered, Hope begged for us to stop.
"Mattheeeeeeeeeeeew! We've been working our asses oooooooooooooff. You don't dance like a bull in a China shop anymore. I think that's progress!"
"NO!" Francesca and I shouted at her in unison.
"I'm ok, but I could better. I need to do this for her."
"This person must be important to you. Do you mind if I ask why?" Hope said. .
I pondered on whether or not I should tell her. She's been helping me with this entire thing nonstop for the past two days, so why not?
"It's because before I met her, I lived a self-destructive lifestyle. Every day I thought of ways to get as close to death as possible, but with her words, she saved me from that." I exchanged looks with Hope and she had her hands on her mouth with tears welling in her eyes.
"Why did you feel like that? Loneliness? Abandonment?"
"No. I did something really bad. And ever since I did that bad thing, I thought that it would be best that I died. But I don't get that luxury. I'll work my ass off to make sure I leave this world with more good under my belt than bad." I gave an assuring nod to Hope, but she didn't look any calmer. Regardless, she switched her expression to a teasing one.
"It can't be that bad, just tell me what you did! Steal some candy from the candy jar?" She playfully punched my side.
"Maybe if you end up being enough of a sore in my side but for now, no dice."
I don't think I told a single soul about me killing my parents. I didn't even tell Violet, Aegis, or Lucia. And I consider them to be close friends. There's no way that I could tell someone I just met a couple of days ago the weight that I bear.
"Matthew, for the longest time, I've been wanting to get closer and get to know you. Ever since I heard about you, I wanted to see you. I travelled far and searched wide to have moments like these. If I can get you to perfect this dance, will you tell me?"
I can't believe Hope did all of that for me. I'll tell her. I'll tell her the words she needs to hear...
"HUUUUUUUUUUUUH?! I JUST POURED MY HEART OUT TO YOU AND YOU'RE GONNA REJECT ME LIKE THAT?! WHERE'S THE LOVE?!" She hit me multiple times in the chest, but it did no damage to me. I didn't even flinch.
After she calmed down, we got back to practicing. Even though I didn't accept Hope's proposal, she still gave it her all when dancing with me. As the sun went down, I finally perfected the dance. Hope thanked Francesca for all of her help and we went on her way. I offered to go out to eat as a way of showing my thanks to her and she was fine with it.
We went to a very fancy restaurant that served dishes that I never even heard of. The place had a huge glass chandelier and looked like somewhere a king would dine. Hope all of a sudden was very taken aback. She didn't want me to spend so much on her, so she looked up a family diner in the area and suggested we go there. I never really had a problem paying a lot of money, but she insisted.
[hope asks where he even got all of that money and matthew explains that his parents were rich and he inherited everything]
Once we stepped into the diner and ordered, we began to chat a bit.
"Now that I think about it, isn't it getting a bit late? You're gonna be late for your party." Hope said.
"Nah, I won't. The day's probably just starting over there."
That's when Hope shot me a confused look. That's when I remembered that I never really told her where the party is happening. Should I be truthful? Screw it. What's the worse that can happen?
"I play this VR game called My Fantasy Online. It's an MMO. There was this huge event that happened recently and I guess I played a big enough part in it to warrant a party for me."
"Oh! I never played a VR game before! I heard they got really realistic! Is there a way I can attend? I want to see all of our hard work pay off!"
Now that I think about it, maybe it wasn't that good of an idea to tell her. She has red flags written all over her. I'm sure it'll lead to disaster if she tries to meet up with me in MFO. Besides, I've been pretty tame around her. If she saw how I acted in-game, she'd probably be weirded out. Yeah it's best if I don't tell her.
I promptly gave multiple excuses that were complete BS on why she couldn't get to the party. Technically I wasn't lying. Not only would she have to get both a VR headset and a subscription to MFO tonight, she would have to be strong enough to even make to the scorching sands all in one night. It's pretty much impossible. After hearing my reasoning, she was bummed out, but still optimistic.
"Well regardless, the past couple of days were fun."
An hour further into the night, we finished our meals and were leaving the restaurant. I told her I would walk her home, but I have to get online for the party.
"Thank you for everything. Seriously."
"Yeah, of course. I'll give you my number if you need anything else! Five-"
"That won't be necessary. I've entertained this whole 'long lost friend' story for a while now. I'm sorry to break it to you, but I'm not Matthew Porter-"
"And I'm sorry to break it to YOU! You ARE Matthew Porter. You're Matthew Porter and I'm your sister, Hope Porter."
Silence filled the empty streets as I started to process what this girl was saying. What the hell is she talking about? My sister? That's a damn lie! I had no siblings! It was just me and my parents for as long as I can remember. They raised me!
"You got some nerve pretending to be my sister. I had no siblings..." my expression began to darken. As I turned and began to walk away.
Regardless, she followed.
"I'm being serious! Before our parents had me, they had you, but were dirt poor. They couldn't afford a child, but they didn't want to abort it, so they put you in an orphanage in hopes that you'll have a better life. Recently they came into money and were able to provide for me when I was born, but they think about you all the time. Let's go see them! Let's go show them you're okay!" Hope grabbed my arm.
"GET THE HELL AWAY FROM ME!"
I immediately pushed her away and she went tumbling onto the ground. As she met my gaze, I noticed that she wasn't giving me a look of anger, but pity. Don't look at me like you know my life story, damn it! We've only known each other for a couple of days!
I turned around and began to walk off as she called out to me. "At least look into your past! It was hard to find you because all of the documents that would usually pertain to you have been wiped! Get a professional to do a background check on you and you'll see! I'm not giving up on you Matthew! I'll chase you for as long as it takes-"
"If you follow me, I'll kill you." I gave her a death glare that quickly instilled fright within her. I then began to walk away into the night.
As I walked back home, my footsteps being the only sound in the empty streets, I couldn't help but replay the past two days. So she's been buttering me up to tell me that BS? I should've known.
I was just about ready to dismiss and forget about her when I remembered the magicrumb situation and Mr. Gornwell. Although he was way more expressive, I get the same feeling from talking with Hope that I saw when Elizabeth reunited with her father. I don't know how. Maybe it's her overwhelming concern that's throwing me off...
ARGH DAMMIT! I'M GONNA SETTLE THIS ONCE AND FOR ALL!
I took out my phone and researched professional background checkers. I decided to get the most expensive one with the best reviews.
By the time I confirmed an appointment I was back home and Walter greeted me at the door. It was obvious that he was suspicious of my whereabouts for the past couple of days.
"What, a guy can't hang out with his new girlfriend once in a while?" I teased him.
"O-Oh of course, young master! You ARE getting older. It only makes sense. My apologies." Walter bowed to me.
That should keep him off my tail for a bit. Walter is one of the main reasons I'm entertaining Hope. He's withdrawing information from me and wants me to steer clear of people that could give me information. If I told him about Hope, he might intervene somehow.
"I'm gonna go play MFO. You know the rules." I waved him off as I retired to my room.
As I put on the headset and closed my eyes, I remembered my parents. I refuse to believe that they wouldn't tell me a detail like that. I'll debunk Hope's theory as soon as I get the chance!
But for now, let's enjoy the party...