3 Life after the accident

*Ding* Ding*

The door opened, jingling the bell above, and signaling the arrival of customer to the person inside the room. A middle-aged woman, carrying an empty plastic kennel, turned her gaze in direction of the door and her eyes lit up at the sight of the person she was just thinking about.

''Calla, I just thought of you now.''

''Miss Lola.'' A small smile appeared on Calla's lips. If there was one person who could make smile in her dark world, it was this woman who offered her a place to belong to, when people had turned their backs on her.

''How was school, dear?'' Miss Lola smiled, warmly. Before Calla answered the question, her eyes travelled down the hoodie on Calla's body and her nose scrunched up in disgust. ''How many times do I have to tell not to wear this stinky hoodie?

''School was fine.'' Calla answered the first question as she stepped in further into the pet shop. She closed the distance between herself and Miss Lola, and took the plastic kennel from her hand. ''And my hoodie is not stinky.''

''It is stinky because you wear it every day of your life, and it is always this dull color. Calla, summer hasn't ended yet.'' Miss Lola argued. ''You are supposed to be wearing pretty dresses, and styling your beautiful hair, not wearing your usual jeans and that stinky hoodie. Your hair is always covered too!'' Miss Lola behaved as if Calla had been committing a crime. She just disliked the Calla's fashion and felt that she was wasting her youthful years by wearing a particular clothing style.

''But it will soon. As well as the month.'' Calla ended the conversation of her oversized hoodie. She didn't make comments about wearing pretty dresses and styling her hair, since that was her twin sister's style of dressing.

If her dressing style was more a simple and tomboyish style, her twin sister's was the beautiful and princess style.

Calla did not want to think such thoughts and pushed them aside as she made her way to the changing room. Well, it wasn't a changing room, but herself and her colleague always put their stuffs and sometimes changed their outfits there. Hence, it became the changing room.

After dropping her bag and the empty plastic kennel one side, she took off her hoodie, and tied her short hair into a messy bun with the hair tie around her wrist. She then took the hanged black apron that had a paw logo on the right bottom corner, and wore the cloth over her body before tying the strings around her waist. Calla also did not forget to put on back her hoodie. Once her stuffs were arranged neatly in a corner and she was dressed properly for work, she carried the empty plastic kennel outside of the changing room and questioned the busy Miss Lola.

''What should I do with this?''

''Oh! A customer bought their own kennel. I was about to place ours in the store room. Can you do that for me, dear?''

''Yes.'' Calla nodded, carrying the kennel to the store room that was opposite the changing room.

*Woof! Woof! *


*Squeak* *Squeak*

Her ears twitched at the sounds of the cats and dogs, staying in the room that was in the middle of the store room and changing room down the little hallway.

''I wonder if Jenna has cleaned their cages...'' Calla wondered aloud as she opened the door and entered the store room. She left the door opened, incase Miss Lola called for her, and walked to the three medium shelves facing each other. Unlike the main room where they received their customers and pets, the store room was just like its name. It was filled with many commodities that were used for only pets. Pets foods, dog collars and chains, leash, toys and many others. The main room had its own shelves filled with several stuffs used for pets, but there were too little that one would have thought they had nothing to sell.

The pet shop itself couldn't be called a normal pet shop because for the small size. Miss Lola had always struggled to pay the rental fee for every month, and expensive taxes were also included.

Calla stopped at the shelf where most cages and kennels were neatly arranged, then looked for a space where she could squeeze in the kennel in her arms. Luckily, she found one and lowered her body to the bottom of the shelf. As she placed the kennel in the found space, her eyes caught the sight of her empty ring finger.

''I forgot to wear it…'' Standing upright, she murmured to herself. Her breathing became somewhat heavy and her voice had a trace of panic. She quickly dipped her hand into the pocket of her over-sized hoodie and brought out an exquisite wedding ring. The light seeping from the window at the end of the narrow room, shone on the ring and the diamond twinkled in her eyes.

Just looking at that captivating sight made Calla to sigh out in relief. She wore the small wedding ring on the fourth finger of her left hand. This ring signified her bond to her husband, even though she was the one who bought it with her own money.

Before she got married, she had moved out of her family's house and paid for an apartment that was far away from them. After the accident, everyone including her parents changed their attitude towards her. She couldn't deal with their distant stares and the house became very suffocating to her. She didn't even last few weeks in her own home before she planned to move out and live with her savings.

Could she even call the home her own? Everything, and everyone were for her twin sister. She couldn't find a piece of herself in that house apart from her room. Even the corporation that her family owned was meant for her twin sister. She was the one meant to bring the benefits out of the two of them since she was the one that had been engaged to an influential family belonging to her husband.

The engagement between them was beneficial to both families, but her twin sister died early and she had to replace the latter unless both corporations of the families would suffer a brunt especially her family's own.

'Calla how could you kill your own sister?!' Calla closed her eyes, recalling her mother's screeching scream filled with pain and misery. 'My precious Iris! You killed her! How could you? How could you, calla?!'

'I-I d-didn't…' She had wanted to say that, but no one wanted hear her voice. Her mother kept on screaming at her in tears, and her father only stared at her as if she was a disappointment.

It was as if they had stopped looking at her as their daughter at that very moment.

The people she thought would hear her plea, only stared at her as if she wasn't part of their family. That was the moment calla realized that she didn't have a place…a place in their hearts. Her twin sister was their only daughter and she was an outsider, just taking in refuge their home.

Her husband who was her twin sister's boyfriend at that time didn't say anything and only stared at her in the doorway of the hospital ward. She had thought he was looking for words to console her, but she had been stupid to believe that nonsense. When he moved closer to her bed, she had seen the resentment and frenzy rage in his eyes. Even if he said nothing, Calla had known that he was part of everyone that blamed her for twin sister's death.

At that time, she truly realized that she was alone. She was all alone, with no one by her side.

''Calla! Someone is waiting!'' The loud voice of Miss Lola brought calla out of her depressing thoughts.

''Coming!'' She turned her head in the direction of the door and gave a loud reply of her own. Her eyes then returned back to the wedding ring on finger. This was the only connection she had with her husband. It was only for herself and not her twin sister.

''It's okay. It's okay.'' She whispered to herself, and took a deep breath to calm her nerves once again. One thing Calla had gotten used to was taking deep breaths. This had helped her a lot from slumping into despair. It had become her daily habit.

Once Calla felt that she was calm and normal enough to meet the customer, she steadily walked out of the store room and closed the door before making her way to the main room.

''Hello, Welcome to Lola's pet shop.'' She welcomed with a small smile. Something flashed in her eyes as she took in the handsome face of the customer.

Has she seen him before?

Calla wondered, trying to recall if she had seen such person before since he seemed very familiar to her. Apart from her family, she was absolutely sure that no one from her sister's acquaintances and friends knew about her current life.

''Thank you.'' The customer returned her welcoming smile and then put forth his inquiry. ''Do you have dog food?''

''Yes we do.'' Calla nodded, and asked him. ''What brand do you want?''

''What do you mean?''

''…Is this your first time with a dog?'' Seeing the young man looking lost, Calla was quick to deduce that the dog might be his first pet.

''Yes.'' He quickly replied.

''Then, you might need to bring the dog next time. Animals are very similar to humans. They have their own preferred taste.'' Calla gave a short speech and the young man's attentiveness really impressed her. Normally, most customers that visited the store would not mind their business and ask about her masked face. That always ticked her off if she wanted to be honest.

''There is a brand that most dogs love. I will go get it right now. If your dog does not like it, then you are free to return it and I will do my best to find the taste your dog likes.'' Calla had already turned to bring a particular can of dog food from one of the shelves.

''Here you go.'' She returned, after placing the can in a small white plastic bag that she got from the old reception table by the side of the main room.

''We give free dog biscuits to our first timers.'' She said as the young man took the plastic bag from her hand.

''Thank you very much. How much is it?''

Calla told the young man the price of the dog food, and he made his payment before walking out of the store.

''That's a surprise.'' Miss Lola popped out of nowhere and stood beside her.

''What is?'' asked Calla.

''He didn't ask about your face. He's quite a gentleman. Calla. Why didn't you ask for his number? He looks around your age and very handsome.''

''…..'' Without saying anything, Calla turned back and walked away to do her chores for the day.

''Hey, why didn't you answer me? You know I don't mean anything like that. I'm only worried that you won't make friends. Boys can be friends too calla.''

Calla ignored the persuasive Miss Lola as she took the napkin from the reception table to wipe the shelves and places that attracted specks of dust.

Calla knew Miss Lola was looking out for her best interest, but she didn't feel the need to make friends. After experiencing those moments of despair in the past, she was scared to put her trust in people again. She was also scared of experiencing the feeling someone abandoning her again, especially with a past like hers.

'But where have I seen him before?' Calla couldn't help but wonder where she had seen that handsome face of the young man.

>>>Enjoy! and post soon!<<<

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