20 October 2013

The Night I Met You


27th October XXXX

Seven-fifteen. That was the time stated in the digital clock on my bedside table. I'd usually wake up at ten but I just had to be woken up by him. So, there goes my three more hours of precious sleep.

Sure, I agreed to go on a date with him. But that doesn't grant him permission to ruin my sleep. Who the hell goes on a date at seven in the morning? Definitely no one. Excluding him, obviously.

When I opened the door and stepped out of my room, my stranger of a visitor was nowhere in sight. I didn't care though. I made my way to the bathroom with fresh clothes and towel in hand. I didn't even bother checking where he was or what he was doing. If I was too paranoid last night, today he could burn my apartment and I wouldn't even care. It was seriously way too early for me.

The warm shower woke up every fiber of my body. I was cranky no more and ready to face the world. I left the warm comfort of the bathroom with my hair dripping wet, the bath towel hung on my shoulder catching every drop of water. The bathroom was at the end of the hallway far from my room, although my apartment was not that big to begin with.

After leaving the safety of the walls hiding the bathroom door from the front room, I saw my visitor sitting properly in the couch fiddling with his phone. Upon noticing me, he placed his phone in the couch and looked at me. "Took you forty minutes just to shower?" He questioned in an annoyed manner. I don't know why, but it felt like he was treating my place as his own way too much.

"I was supposed to be asleep until ten. Don't complain about those trifling forty minutes. And if you're forgetting, I'm a girl." I said, my free hand making its way to my hip while the other was holding my dirty clothes.

"Just thought you might have slipped, hit your head and died." He answered shrugging. "Anyway, the breakfast is getting cold."

"Yeah, yeah. Just a moment." I waved a hand at him before heading to my room. I closed the door behind me, threw my used clothes in the laundry bin and towel-dried my hair a bit. Yeah, towel-dry because I hate blow dryers. When I'm satisfied at how damp my hair was, I hung my towel to let it dry, applied a bit of a make-up and proceeded to the front room. I might have taken another twenty minutes or so fixing myself, but that's fine.

Just as I stepped out of my room, I was met with visitor's wary eyes as he sat where I left him. He was obviously not happy, like a five-year old about to throw his tantrum. He watched my every movement intently, making me uncomfortable under his gaze as I paced closer to him. What was he thinking? When I was just a foot away from him, he grabbed my hand and pulled me to the kitchen. Feels like deja vu?

"I'm starving. Famished. Dying of hunger..." He continued on the words pertaining to his empty stomach. If I was cranky in the morning, he was grumpy when hungry. It was kind of cute how he continues to ramble about his hunger though. All I could do was purse my lips to suppress the smile from crossing my face. Who knew what he could do when hungry?

When we entered the kitchen, I noticed the paper bag that he brought. It only occurred to me that he had not eaten yet. I'm not a morning person alright so breakfast was definitely not my thing. Just what has he done the whole time I was out of sight? I did not give him permission to move around my kitchen for nothing.

"You know, you could have helped yourself and ate first. You brought the food anyway." I told him as I sat on the marble slab of the kitchen counter. He took out of the paper bag container after container of what I assumed to be food.

"Yeah, but I don't want to be too rude to my host who literally left me alone in her house. And what will your cousin do if she finds a stranger eating by himself in the kitchen? I love my life and freedom, thank you very much." He took off the lids of the container one by one. The appetizing aroma spread throughout my small kitchen. The smell of breakfast was both odd and nostalgic to me.

"My cousin's out of town. School excursion or something." I informed him, jumping off the counter and heading to the cupboard with the plates and cutlery. I took two sets of each and placed it on the table before sitting in one of the chairs.

"So we're alone in your apartment? Literally?" He asked after a moment. He was eyeing me questioningly with a hint of disbelief as he said the words.

"Pretty much." I shrugged, looking at the dishes in front of me. They looked really good, smelled like that too. They were making my mouth water just by looking at them.
"And you let a stranger in your house when you're practically by yourself?" His voice shouts incredulity in big letters.

"Less than strangers." I simply said, fighting back a smile.

"Funny, Danica." The drop in his tone made me look at him. I opened my mouth but immediately shut it close when he continued. "You go alone in a park late at night with who-knows-what-type of people lurking around. You come with a stranger to a place you don't know. You let a person you met for the first time drive you home. You welcome someone you barely knew inside your house when you're by yourself. Does your ex always have to take care of you like that? Just how naive can you get?"

Silence filled the air after his monologue, and he quickly averted his eyes to the floor. I stared at him as I processed his words in my mind. The sight of him was becoming blurry by the second.
So he just stated my naivety. He has a point though. I maybe too defenseless. I am that defenseless that Rick probably got sick of taking care of me. That was why he left me for Jess. Because he doesn't have to take care of her as much as he did to me. My ever so capable and independent best friend.

"So I'm naive. Defenseless. Dumb." I started. He shifted his gaze back to me, eyes widening as he tried to open his mouth but did not utter a word. "And my ex probably got tired of taking care of me. My best friend too. That's why they left me." My voice cracked in all the wrong places.

I gulped, willing the lump that unknowingly formed in my throat to disappear. As I did so, something warm made its way down my cheeks. Images of yesterday played in my mind. Again.

I tried to take a deep breath to calm myself. Rick and Jess, I thought. Seeing them together was the norm. The three of us have always been together. But seeing them like yesterday never even occurred to me. Not even as a nightmare. They were together and I had not even the slightest idea. I didn't know if I failed as a girlfriend or a best friend. Or maybe both.

He was right. I am too naive.

"But do you really have to rub it in my face? And do you even know that the stranger you were talking about forced me to go somewhere I don't know, to drive me home, to let him in my place?" At my last word, I stood up and headed for my room. That certain event continued to play in my head. Over and over again like a broken record.

I heard him call after me followed by shuffling of feet, bumping into something and muffled cursing. I did not look back at him. I continued to pace mindlessly to my room that has all shades of blue. It was the only place that never failed to comfort me. As I crossed the front room, I felt a hand wrapped around my arm. The force as I was pulled backwards made me lose my balance. I fell on the couch, thankfully, so I didn't have to worry about any bruises later on.

"Danica, I'm sorry." Jacob said in almost a whisper, as he hovered over me from behind the couch. I looked at him but didn't utter any word. I just stared at his blurry figure but I was seeing passed him, to the events of yesterday once again.

I'm sorry. The words rang inside my head. It was not his voice though. It was a voice that I have been familiar with for my whole life - Rick's. The exact same words he told me. His last, parting words to me. The scene in his room the previous day replayed in my head again. He looked more guilty than sorry. Jess looked guilty and scared. Why did she looked scared? I'm not going to hurt her, even if she did hurt me. So why did she looked scared?

I felt my arm slump in the couch gently and the warm touch that was holding it just a second ago lingered a little bit longer. Then there was a shift of weight in the couch beside me. The next thing I knew, one of my hands was already enveloped in his big, rough and warm hands and he was sitting beside me. When I returned to my senses, I found him looking at me straight in the eyes. His light brown orbs were soft and mellow and filled with understanding. It felt like he was looking deeper into me with the intensity of his gaze.

"I'm sorry. Forgive me?" He said softly.

"You really don't have to apologize for anything. I should actually thank you instead. For making me realize how naive I have been." I answered shaking my head slightly. He was right. I was naive.

He placed a hand on my cheek and made me face him. Then, he brushed the warm fluid that was rolling down my cheeks. Tears. I had not even realize I was already crying. "Then why are you crying?" He asked, his voice soft and gentle like he was afraid to break something by making a sound.

"Nothing." I simply said. It was not his fault I was crying anyway.

"No, not nothing, Angel. Tears don't form from nothing." He answered, pursing his lips. "Is it because I forced you into doing things against your will? Because I called you naive? Or bec-"

"No." I cut him off, shaking my head a little. "I was naive, I admit. Dumb too."

"Then, why the tears?" He brushed my cheek as more tears fell on them. "Ex-BFs?" He asked hesitantly, looking at me kindly. His gaze felt familiar. I was certain that it was not similar to Rick's though. It was the same with someone else's. I wonder who...

I only gave a little nod in response. He removed his hand from my cheek, the feel of his warm touch lingering longer in my skin. He placed his hand behind my head and pulled me against him. I rested my head on his shoulders, feeling more tears flowed and caught on his shirt. He brushed my slightly damp hair, his fingers getting caught in the tangles but he managed to fix them gently.

I cried silently, wallowing in self-pity rather than hatred for my ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend. I wanted to be happy for the two of them. I really do, especially for Jess. They have been my friends for a very long time and I want to jump for joy that they were together. But I couldn't make myself to even try. Not when I know that they were only pretending  all those times that we were together. Not when I know that Jess had been laughing inside at my stupidity whenever I tell her 'I'll help you find a boyfriend'. Not when I know that Rick never really meant it every time he told me he loves me. I just can't be happy for them when I'm feeling like this.

I wanted to be angry at them. To shout at them and let them know how betrayed I felt. But I couldn't even meet their eyes or let my voice come out when I was standing before them. I just stood there frozen, forcing myself but just barely managing to utter a word. Everything was a lie. Fake. Pretense. I wanted to believe that our friendship was at least real, but even that, I was doubting too.

I couldn't blame Rick though. Jess was the perfect girl with bright and confident personality, good brains, sexy body, pretty face. Complete opposite of me. She would have been part of the popular kids if she didn't get stuck being my best friend. And Rick, he was just someone that every girl wants, at least by those I knew. Athlete with brains and looks. How he liked me back then, or so I believed, I had no idea. At least now they were the perfect couple. And the ugly and stupid best friend-slash-girlfriend was now out of the picture.

I have flaws, many of them. I don't deserve a boyfriend like Rick or a best friend like Jess. Still, it hurts me to think that what we used have were just feigned relationships. I could at least commend them for their perfect act.

"I'm sorry." He broke our silence with his smooth and gentle voice, his breath brushing my hair softly. The same words I last heard from Rick. Those were just two words but the pang of pain in my chest was too painful. I don't want to hear that anymore.

"For what?" I asked with croaky voice, and looked up at him.

"For forcing you to do lots of things against your will. For blaming you about being naive when I should have been blaming myself about those things. For forcing you to come to the cafe with me when you don't drink coffee. For forcing you to let me drive you home when we could have taken a cab. For forcing you to let me in your place when you're by yourself." He said fast and continuously, and it took a while to register what he had said. His nervous habit, I guess. I couldn't help but think that it was cute.

"And for waking me up at seven." I added, the corners of my lips pulling up a little.

"That too. For forcing you to wake up at seven in the morning." He continued, his lips twitching. "I think that was graver than all the other things I did."

"Very much so. Enough for a death penalty or life sentence." He mocked a terrified look.

"As I said earlier, I still love my life and freedom. So will you forgive me?" He gave me a puppy dog face, and it was a million times better than Rick's.

"Hmm..." I pretended to think. "I don't think so. I don't like the idea of death penalty, so you'll have life sentence."

"Life sentence...And how will that work your honor? Like keep me in here for the rest of my life? Cook, clean the house, do laundry, water your plants and be like a house-husband?"

"Nope. The opposite actually. A reverse life sentence, since you love your freedom and all. You just have to go as far away from me as possible and never show yourself to me. That is the only way I can secure my three more hours of sleep in the morning."

He was silent for a moment so I looked up at him again only to find him just staring at me with a frown slightly visible in his face. "Jacob?"

He blinked once. "Do you hate me that much that you don't even want to see me?" He asked, a smirk replacing the frown.

"I hate everyone who disturbs my sleep." I put up my chin trying to look intimidating but that only made the guy smile. Maybe my front was not convincing enough.

"Then, your honor, I request for a pardon. Reverse life sentence is too heavy of a punishment for me. It was enough to cost me my life. I beg for death penalty if that means I'd die in your arms." He said, in a poetic tone like he was performing in a theater.

I pursed my lips trying not to smile. I failed. It was too sappy but sweet. "Cheesy. Too cheesy. I think I can hear rats running to my apartment." I replied, pretending to shudder.

"Oh, the rats. I called them here. Giselle's not the only one who can call animals for cleaning duties, you know." He waggled his eyebrows at me. I laughed. Not because of his eyebrows waggling, okay that too, but more because he knew Enchanted.

"You watch Disney films? Really?" I asked in between my fits of laughter. "Finally, a guy who knew about Disney!"

"I'm not a caveman, okay? I watch movies." He defended pursing his lips.

"Yeah, you watch movies made by Disney."

"Correction. I was made to watch movies made by Disney. I think girls love those types of movies. Oh, Finding Nemo and Cars were awesome, by the way."

"Right, girls love Disney." I answered teasingly. He looked horrified at what I was implying.

"Oh please!" He cried making me laugh even more. "Girls meaning my sister and mom, and now, you too." He gave a squeeze to the hand he was still holding.

The teasing went on for a while and for the first time in my life, I had the upper hand. It was fun teasing him about being gay because he was too terrified of the idea. And what I get for teasing him? A big denial. That could make me hesitant about his sexuality. At least I already accepted the fact that hot guys are either with a girlfriend or a boyfriend.

"So, am I forgiven now? I'm still up for the death penalty." He said bringing a hand to my cheek and wiping my teary eye with a finger.

"To die in my arms...sappy. But I'll forgive you." I said smiling a little.

"I'm really sorry." His features turned kind and gentle as he apologized.

"In one condition." I added.

"And that is?"

"Never tell me 'I'm sorry'." He fell silent, probably thinking about my condition. It shouldn't be that hard right? I mean, not saying sorry shouldn't be difficult.

He looked at me in the eyes and I kept my gaze locked with him. His light brown eyes were intently gazing through my dark brown ones. I couldn't help but get the feeling that he was reading something in them. It wasn't uncomfortable though. Maybe, I just missed being with Rick and I couldn't be like this with him anymore.

"Will you forget him if I agreed on that?" He asked. His words puzzled me for a moment, but I realized what he was talking about.

"Are you in any position to bargain with me?" I narrowed my eyes at him. I could have answered yes, but I don't know. I hate to admit it but maybe, just maybe, there was a part of me that was still wanting to be with Rick. We have been together since we were kids and I don't remember how it was like without him.

"I guess that's a no, then." He cupped my cheek again brushing it gently. "But it was customary to apologize for the mistakes you've done, Angel. Unless you're asking me never to do anything wrong."

His words shut me up. I never even thought about that. I just didn't want to hear him say 'I'm sorry'. I didn't think that it was the same as asking him to be perfect for me. I barely even knew him. There was not even a need to ask that of him since I won't be seeing him after today. This is seriously embarrassing. Just how silly could I get?

"Forget my deal. You're forgiven." I answered quickly averting my gaze from his, wanting to erase the conversation we just had. Silence fell upon us. A comforting kind of silence.

"I can't promise anything, Angel. I'm not Mr. Perfect."

<< Chapter Four

This was the other half of the previous chapter. Still long huh? And it was originally only the second half. Anyway, now you knew a little about the boyfriend and the best friend. Will they make an appearance one day? I don't know. Maybe, maybe not. Just read on to find out if you're interested. Next chapter's almost ready, just need to do some revisions. And yep. It would be Jacob's POV, as promised.

I wanted to finish this story soon, at least before the year ends. I just wish I had the time to do so. I am becoming busy with various things, mainly work.

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