Just Roommates - Chapter Four

9 Feb 2024


The last time we met, I was still keeping a long hair and just a patch of beard on my chin, and wasn't as built as now. Well, maybe she would if she concentrated more on my eyes, but she's doing the opposite.

"Oh! Isn't it Leah? We are about coming down your floor," the bulky guy says to Leah. She's still deep in thoughts — maybe, she hadn't spoken or moved an inch away from where she stood.

"This is Peter O'Brien, the CEO of Cybernetics," he was trying to do some introductions, which from the look of it, I bet she wasn't listening. 

"He'll be in charge of investigating and bringing out solutions to the cyber-attack," he paused for effects. Of course she wasn't listening, she'd spaced out.

Not until when the bulky guy got beside her and tap her on the shoulder, saying, "Earth to Leah!" did she broke out of her reverie.

"Oh! Sorry, I zoned out," she said. "Hi! I'm Leah Henderson f-from the third floor, " she added directing her response to me. She seems embarrassed, probably because she was caught off guard in her train-of-thoughts. She extended her right hand in emphasis to her introduction for me to shake.

I shook her hand saying, "Nice to meet you Leah." she seems relieved then. "Let's get over with these introductions and get to work!" I announced, feeling bored already. I didn't come here to get to know people, I'll try avoiding that for now. I came here to immerse myself with work, to have some space.

Because of the way the elevator was built, I've almost caught her several times stealing glances through the wall ahead. She'll immediately put her head down the moment I try to look up forward, like she's calculating the moments I'll look forward or away.

I guess she hadn't seen enough of me, I decided not to look away while she was looking away. As if on cue, she lifted her head to look up again.

She was caught off guard the moment our eyes met, she froze like a deer caught in the headlights. I smiled at her which made her face to turn crimson, she was a bit more embarrassed and before.

She then refuses to lift up her head anymore. She only turn to her side, maybe to see the state of her face, probably.


(12 years ago) 


 The beeping of vitals-monitoring machines could be heard, the smell of antiseptic clings heavily in the air. A man was lying on the hospital bed connected to those monitors, four people were standing beside his bed, two on each side.

"Peter," said the man in a raspy short breath. The man has thinned away because of ailment, he looks fragile.

"Yes dad," replied bespectacled fifteen (15) years old Peter to his father, Henry O'Brien. He's spotting tears that are running down his cheeks, his mother Jane O'brien was standing beside him with her hand on the small of his back, she too in tears.

Peter's dad lifted his left hand that was lying beside him to wipe off the tears on Peter's cheeks, Peter held the hand affectionately.

"Can you –" Peter's dad was interrupted by the coughs that came up.

"Can you make me a promise?" he managed to say.

"No! No!" said Peter in denial. He doesn't want to make or keep any promises, he wants his father to survive the ailment.

The five of them knew where this is heading to, it's like a goodbye message.

"But we can keep up with this fight," said Peter's mom with a renewed hope in her eyes.

"Yes!" Seconded May Jackson, Peter's paternal aunt, she was also in tears. Her husband Damian Jackson was beside her at the other side of the bed, he nodded his head in agreement, he's spotting a gloomy expression.

"But I can't!" Declared Henry, "I can't fight it any longer."

"Can you keep a promise?" Henry began again, directing the question at Peter.

"Yes," said Peter defeatedly after a few seconds. "I'll try."

"Can you promise to look after your mom while I'm gone?"

"Yes, I'll do that."

"Can you promise to look out for each other while I'm gone?" Henry redirects his question to the rest of them, looking at each of them.

"Yes," they said almost in unison.

Peter couldn't help it anymore as he literally flew into his father's arms, embracing him tightly while bawling his eyes out.

Both Peter's mom and aunt follow suit. Mr. Jackson only joined with a hand on his wife's back.

While they were in this state, they could hear the electrocardiograph beeping erratically before it turned static.

Different types of cry could be heard within the hospital room as they mourn their lost one. It was a devastating moment for all of them, an unforgettable day.


The death of Henry has left a significant impact on those present, and a great lesson. You won't know the value of what was in your possession until it got lost. This drew Peter and his mom closer, he was closest to his dad, after all it was Henry's last wish. Plus Peter doesn't have any close relatives that he knew of apart from aunt May.

Since his dad and aunt came from an immigrant family that migrated when Peter's father was three (3) years and four (4) months old, while aunt May was five (5) months old. And his mom was orphanaged at the very young age of five (5) when her parents died in an auto-crash, plus none of Peter's grandparents from his dad's side were alive, they died of natural causes.

The events that leads to Henry's death has sent Peter's mom into an emotional oblivion making her to lockdown her emotions in, she almost went into a breakdown. But all this time, Peter stood by her side, through thick and thin they supported each other.


"Peter," his mom called on him as he entered the door. She was waiting for him to get back.

"Yes mom."

"I have something important to discuss with you." She beckoned him to sit at the couch while she sat at the recliner adjacent. Peter was attentive and curious of this important information they're about to discuss.

She took a few seconds to compose her thoughts while taking in a deep breath. "I'm seeing someone," she dropped the bomb. She awaited his reaction.

It took him a few seconds to wrap his head around everything she said, "Oh! Wow!" He exclaimed. "Really? That's cool! No I mean that's great!" He was genuinely happy for his mom. She really deserves happiness.

She wasn't expecting this reaction, so it took her another few seconds to react. She stood up and gestured him to get up with her arms opened for a hug. "Thank you!" She whispered while hugging him.

This happened two years after the death of Henry, Peter's dad. They discussed in detail about the relationship. She told him how everything leads to what it is.

Peter's mom and Mr. Johnson met at workplace, they both work in a magazine and newspaper publishing company.

Carl Johnson was the editor-in-chief and she was his assistant. Although at first it was work-based relationship they had while working in the same department.

They work well together before their positions as the editor-in-chief and assistant respectively. So it's ideal when Carl was promoted to make Jane his assistant.

At first everything was platonic, going to work-related dates before it escalated to experimental romantic dates which became a success.

After the discussion Peter had with his mom, they set up a date to meet up with the members of the other family. It was during this meet up that Peter met his stepsister, Mary Anna Johnson and her friend plus adopted sister, Leah Henderson.

Mary Anna is an extrovert, very outgoing. Leah is an introvert, she was always shy around him. Peter is an ambivert, sixty percent (60%) introvert and forty percent (40%) extrovert.

Write & Read to Earn with BULB

Learn More

Enjoy this blog? Subscribe to mutaab

1 Comment

No comments yet.
Most relevant comments are displayed, so some may have been filtered out.