The Infinite Duo: Perfect Strangers

A girl in her early twenty got an heirloom for her birthday that will change her life upside down.
*Perfect Strangers is Vol II in The Infinite Duo series*

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2. One

Six Months Ago

August 10, 2016

My alarm kept making repeated noise. I hit it hard and opened my eyes. As I stretched my body, I sat up and looked at myself in the mirror in front of my bed right next to the bedroom door, next to it was a picture of my mother. I look just like her; same green almond eyes, thick curved eyelashes, same freckles across the nose and cheeks, same features and height. The only obvious difference was my black wavy hair that I got from my dad, she had a beautiful silky red hair just like grandma. I don’t know if my life would be different if she hadn’t died while giving birth to me. My dad and grandma always talked about her; they told me stories about her pretty soul and joyful personality. I can’t really complain about my life though; My grandma Delilah was the one that raised me. I vividly remember the day my dad left me to live with her in Mykonos. I was living with my dad in London till I was four; my dad noticed how much I loved being with grandma every time we visited Mykonos and after my fourth birthday, he decided to leave me in Mykonos and to be raised by grandma.

My grandma told me years later that she begged my dad to leave right after my birth, but he refused. She said that he loved my mom so much that he couldn’t let go of me especially that I indeed look like her. On the day he left me here; he told me how much he loved me, and it was for the best to leave me be raised by grandma. Despite that, I don’t see my dad that often, we have a pretty close relationship.

I got up and walked towards the mirror; I put my hair in high tied pun then looked at a picture of me and grandma on my tenth birthday. Grandma looks so young for her age; she doesn’t have a single white hair and her skin is always glowing as if she is in her twenties. Many people mistake us as mother and daughter. She once told me that women in our family are fortunate with beauty and luck. I believe her; I consider myself very lucky to have her by my side.

“Bunny!” My grandma shouted from outside.

I went to the Balcony railing and looked at her.

“Good morning,” I said and blow a kiss to her.

I looked at the table it was filled with freshly made pastries in different kinds. They smell so good my mouth was already watering. I went to the bathroom to take a quick shower. After seven minutes I was already half dressed but stopped when my phone ranged; it was my childhood best friend Lara. I answered her and put the call on speaker and continued putting on my clothes.

“Tia,” She sounded weird, she only calls my name when she is in a bad mood or serious.

“Hey, what’s up?”

“I’m coming back, I can’t stand living here any longer.”

“What happened?”

“I can’t live with them any longer; they are unbearable,” She said seriously. I didn’t get surprised by that; it’s simply Lara. She is a moody type of person and she likes to live her life freely. Both her mother and her stepfather are in fact super nice. Her stepfather loved her as if she is his own daughter and she loves him dearly for that. After her parents divorced when she was five; both remarried to other people who Lara always described them as two extra parents.

She never denied their caring and good-hearted nature yet simply she doesn’t like people controlling her in any sort of way.

“What happened?” I asked and put a blue t-shirt on.

“They are so annoying; Both wanted me to work with them at the hotel and I told them million times before I am free spirited; I can’t do their work and dress in a certain way and talk politely, Fuck normality you know!”

I laughed.

“I’m serious! I got my stuff and left! I can’t be around them anymore second!”

“You know it’s not that bad to work with them; just give a try, you may like it.”

“Tia! come on! I’m an artist for god’s sake! And I do have a job, it’s not like I’m setting on my ass the whole day doing nothing!”

Lara was very stubborn, she didn’t even want to try to meet them halfway, but I couldn’t really blame her; she was working for years on her online comics and she was very good at it and kind of famous too. Her mother couldn’t see her job as an actual career; she wanted her to work with them to know everything about their business. Lara is her only daughter and she will inherit the hotels even if she doesn’t want to.

“I know you have a great job and I fully support your dream, but you know my opinion; it won’t hurt you to try,” I said and took the phone and put it on my right ear then went outside heading to the garden.

“I don’t want to. End of discussion,” She said firmly.

“Okay Take care, bye.”

“Bye,” she said then ended the call.

I went to the garden to find my grandma reading the newspaper and drinking her tea right next to the pool.

“Lara is coming,” I said and sat next to her.

“Okay,” grandma said and flipped the newspaper.

I started to eat my breakfast while grandma was reading the newspaper quietly. The weather was sunny and warm as usual. I was enjoying the pastries and looking at the view of the sea. My grandparents’ house laid in Mykonos Town limits near the windmills. The house was painted in white like all houses in the city. The main colors of it were shades of blue and gray. It was surrounded with olive and lemon trees, several Crete flora and poppies flora and one full grown peach tree. The house was in a private area where both my grandparents preferred to live in rather than in the area where their restaurant is.

One hour Later

I was at the restaurant checking everything out before people starting to come. The restaurant is enormous. It was built as a house, but my grandparents turned it into a restaurant where both enjoy cooking together. My grandpa opened several restaurants in Greece and Italy, he enjoyed making people happy with his food. I didn’t get the chance to meet him; he died five years before I was born. I walked to the second floor where I found grandma sitting with the head of the waiters. I always wondered why grandma never considered marrying after grandpa’s death despite that she was in her late thirties at the time; one day I got the chance and asked her. What she said changed my view of love and loyalty.

“The love I have for your grandpa will never die, it’s like this tree,” she pointed at the only peach tree in the house which she always cares for more than any other plant we have.

“When we built this house your grandpa wanted to plant one tree only,” she said and smiled remembering that day and continued “He knew how much I love peach, he told me that our love would never die unless we let it…we made a promise to each other to keep the tree save and let it grow stronger just like our love,” she said and wiped one tear ran on her cheek and looked at me deeply.

“Sweetheart, true love can’t be stopped by anything…it will forever live inside of you…” she said and moved my hair and embraced both of her hand on my face. She laid a kiss on my forehead and her loud fun spirit came right back to her.

I smiled remembering her words. She suddenly noticed me and waved for me to come to sit with them.

Three Hours Later

The restaurant was already crowded. I was walking back and forth between the sitting areas and the kitchen to make sure everything was smooth and on the right track. At that time of the year, it’s very normal to be full all day by tourists. I checked my watch to notice that Lara was one hour late. I went to a quieter corner and called her.

“Hey T,” she was shouting from far and sounded a bit tired.

“Where are you?”

“In my house.”

I heard a dropped sound.

“What was that? What are you doing there?”

“I’m cleaning,” she said and coughed.

I rolled my eyes and said. “You idiot! why bother cleaning the house, you’re staying with us.”

“No, thank you, I want to be alone.”

“Lara, don’t get me mad, your house was closed for more than a year, you can’t clean it by yourself.”

I heard her sigh from the other side.

“I will tell grandma!”

“NO! Okay… okay, I’m coming,” she said and ended the call.

My grandma has this twisted personality; she is very fun and outgoing yet when she gets angry it looks like as if you had awakened a monster that is ready to eat you alive. Lara knew what could really happen if grandma knew she wanted to live alone, she gave up fast and agreed to come over.

Ten minutes later

Lara parked her car outside the restaurant and went inside looking for me. Grandma saw her and walked towards her.

“Hello darling,” she said and opened her arms to give Lara a hug.

“Hey,” Lara said and hugged her back.

“What with that sad face?” grandma said and pinched her right cheek.

“Well… I left the house,” Lara said and looked at the floor.

“I see, Then you’re welcome to stay as long as you want.”

“Thanks, grandma,” Lara said and smiled softly.

“That doesn’t mean you are a guest, you’re going to work here just like Tia and smile little girl you’re wasting your beauty in sadness,” grandma said and walked away.

Lara looked the opposite to me. She has hazel hooded eyes, fair skin tone. She is 5’8 and her body fits the measures of a supermodel. She has a silky light blonde hair with bangs. On the other hand, I am 5’4 and my body is much curved. My skin tone is much tanner than her; sun-kissed to be exact. Not only our appearance are different; also, our personalities are much different from one another. Lara is a very free-spirited person while I like to be organized and thoughtful of my action, she was into drawing since I could remember. She has a bohemian artistry type of style and I enjoyed the causal-sporty type. She is very outgoing and love adventure but for me, I like to take the safest path, I have a very small circle of people that I enjoy being around. I loved writing so much that when I was choosing what to study at university, I choose journalism. Most of our arguments were revolving around convincing me to work with her and create a graphic novel. I refused every time; I thought about it but couldn’t think of a good story to create. I’m used to writing about day to day news. I know I’m good with words but not to the point of writing a story out of my imagination.

I was upstairs when Lara arrived at the restaurant. I was talking to one of the waiters while she was talking to grandma. When they finished, I walked down the stairs heading to her.

“Hey, you,” I said and hugged her.

“Hi,” she sounded tired.

“You look awful!”

“Oh! thanks.”

“You don’t know how to clean your room and wanted to clean a whole house,” I said sarcastically.

“Yeah…It was a bad idea,” she said and tapped on her shirt where some of the dust was still visible on her.

Midnight

The whole day was tiring. I was relieved that were heading home already. Grandma left two hours earlier where Lara and I stayed and closed the restaurant. We rode her car and head to the house. The ride was about ten minutes we talked about her new comic she was working on and I told her about the new online magazine I was currently working with.

“What the magazine about?”

“Fashion.”

“You, Fashion no way,” Lara gasped.

“Yeah I know, I couldn’t believe it either, but they were like wanted me to write some pieces about old fashion in Greece.”

“Old fashion?”

“It’s a London-based magazine and they want to write about the history of fashion and I’m sure I got to write this piece just because I’m Greek, When they told me, I was like people please look at my resume; I have experience in tabloid journalism, but they were like we only care that your Greek and a woman,” I said and took a deep breath.

“You know it’s not that bad to write about fashion,” Lara said with empathic tone.

“I know,” I said and smiled at her.

We arrived at the house, Lara parked her car then I helped her with her luggage and we went into the house. Grandma was holding her iPad and drinking calming herbs.

“Hi grandma,” I said and sat next to her while Lara was putting her bags on the room she always stays in when she sleeps over.

I noticed grandma was reading something; I get closer and saw that she was reading my article.

“You like it?” I asked her with a little smirk smile on my face.

“It’s good sweetheart; you’re great with words,” she said and looked proudly at me.

“I know,” I sounded cocky.

She laughed and then stood up. She shouted goodnight to me and Lara then headed to her room to sleep.

I went to my room to change and when I get back, I found Lara organized the setting outside. I went out and saw that she brought a big bowl of mixed chips and two cold soda cans. She was sitting on one of the big white chairs across from the pool. I sat on the chair next to hers and took a couple of chips to eat. I called her name. But she didn’t respond, she was looking at her phone without blinking. I get a little closer to her, she was watching a video of a masked person singing. I didn’t notice at first that she was wearing her earphone; it was covered by her long hair. Her hair was covering most of her face. She didn’t see me nor hear me. I grabbed the chips bowl and opened my phone to check my email.

Ten minutes later

I finished half of the bowl. I put my phone down and looked at her. She didn’t move a muscle only watching the video on repeat and not blinking. I felt a little bored; I took the small pillow beside me and throw it at her. She startled hard and her phone flew and fell on the ground between the two chairs.

“Hi,” I said and smiled softly at her.

She noticed that I ate half of the chips and looked at me in shock.

“How long have you been sitting here?”

“Like ten minutes,” I said and continue eating.

“Really!” She reached her hand to the floor and got her phone.

“What was that important in the video? You didn’t even blink.”

“Oh god, Tia; His voice is just…amazing!” she said and reached to open one of the soda cans.

“Whose voice?”

“Junho! It’s like an angel singing! It was a song from a variety show, but man! He was killing it,” she said and took a sip.

I didn’t respond; I had no idea what she was talking about.

“His cover is like better than the original singer but if you ask me my favorite voice of all of them it’s definitely Taemin, his raspy voice is everything,” she looked at me with a big smile.

“What are you talking about?” I looked completely bewildered.

“What? You don’t know Junho and Taemin?”

“Should I?” clearly my answer made her angry, she frowned so hard I couldn’t help but giggle.

“You know 4Unity, right?” she said suspiciously.

“You know them, right?”

“Who are they?”

“You’re basically living under a rock! Tia! 4Unity, the Korean band! They are like taking over the music industry by storm!”

“Never heard of them, so who are they?” I asked causally without realizing what I was stepping myself into.

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