Author's Notes: A little something I cooked up in the wee hours of dawn. Enjoy. Review or not, it's up to you.
Disclaimer: Wait... what am I talking about? I OWN this! That's right. Plagiarize this and I'll sue you. All of you. I swear it!
Disclaimer: Look, it's a FANFICTION, that means a FAN wrote this FICTION, so I'm not likely to own this anyti-…
The sound of something hitting a hard surface. Followed by a long, suffering groan. With the symphony ending with a series of tap-tapping of the poor, abused keyboard.
Voila, ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together to welcome, the one and only conductor of this failure of a masterpiece.
That's right, laden with sarcasm, served hot, right off the stove of eternal flames, placed before your very eyes, the author behind the screen, that ditches meals and exercise to sit before the mighty laptop, slowly growing fatter and fatter as days go by, just to cough up a story that would possibly make it through the non-cliché lines.
Like that could ever happen.
There was nothing to it, that's the only thing that keeps this author moving. Nothing to lose, but a few bits of your pride and dignity, if you're lucky, you get rabid fangirls that review via horrendous English, with zero spelling sense and no grammar whatsoever. If your luck pot has gone out a bit, you'll be facing the silent treatment, watching the hit counter grow day by day, but the review block remains as desolate as ever. Finally, this would be really nice on a cold day, some random dickhead who thinks he or she is so much more greater than the rest of the world, comes by, drops a flame or two in their perfect English that is supposed to scare you, and proceeds to tell you how horrible you did and whatnot.
Of course, the last one usually happens to people who really, really deserve it. But then, who were you to dictate which deserves what and vice versa?
Nope, you are no one. Just some random person who has too much time on your hands, possibly awaiting for your college approval letter, or you are just procrastinating your assignments, or you have a real life, with a nice little cottage, and a family, with three kids, a loving spouse…
But it all boils down to this.
Disclaimer: Damn it all, I don't even own my life, so I could not possibly own this. So why must I put this in anyway?
Indeed, interesting question. Why put a disclaimer in a FANFIC society when it's obvious none of them there owns it anyway? Oh sure, there's those law suits and stuff, but really, think about it. Whoever is stupid enough to pick on a fanfiction writer who makes zero out of writing on a nice, international site that allows young write-lings (a cross between 'hatchling' and 'writer'. I made this phrase. I claim it as my own.) to express their deep well of imagination whilst giving them practice to face the cruel, harsh world of critics and reviews.
Which brings us back to the current problem.
Staring at the screen, there was nothing to it, you simply sighed, and clicked the button, saving the little piece for the next day. After all, it's not like its some pressing literature your editor wants you to hand up on insert deadline here. Heck, you wished you had an editor, and a publishing company to back you up.
Nope, you are just some poor student mooching off your parents. Yup, reality check. Hurts a lot. Then again, the truth often does.
You dragged your lazy arse out of bed. Today, today you'll post that sorry piece of literature you call a story up. Today, you'll face the horror called 'critics'. Today, you'll start that exercising regime you put up. Today, you'll tell that little sod next door to shut it. Today…
Five more minutes…
NO! You have to wake up. With painstakingly slow movements, you inched your left foot out of the blankets. There, got it. Now, the right foot. Ah, that's it. Now, the upper torso. But the pillow's so comfy… Must. Resist.
True to your words, you took five more minutes to slug out of bed. Crawling to the bathroom, you yawned, stared at your pathetic self, nodded, yup, still you, did not change into some supermodel in the night. The washing up part just zoomed past. You had no time to register such insignificant tasks. With a rinse of your mouth, you left the blue tiled haven.
Still here. Yup. Did not budge at all for the past hour. Your mother gave up trying to get you to move your lazy arse. So you decided to brood and possibly become a spot for spiders to make their nice, shiny webs on you. Hey, you're helping nature. You are providing space for those nice, eight legged friends to make a home.
But, back to the subject.
Someone rang the doorbell, you ignored it. You simply stared at the screen. There was a phone call as well, also ignored. Finally, you couldn't ignore the loudest and most painful of all interruptions.
"For the last time, get OUT of the house! You need some sunshine on you. Now scram!"
You guess your mother was really pissed off (no shit, Sherlock) so you reluctantly got off the chair, and headed towards the dresser. Wait, what were you thinking? There was nothing to do. No where to go, all your friends were having part time jobs…
Nevertheless, you would brave the shopping mall, alone, wearing your too large shirt and your baggy jeans, complete with a dorky hairstyle and large glasses, than stand there for one more minute within laser range of your mother's death glare.
"Alright, alright… jeez… keep you hair on… there's not much of it anyway…"
You ran before she registered what you said.
Jewellery, boutique, cosmetics, shiny things, watches, boutique, some random food stalls, game shops, boutique, more cosmetics, electronics…
Oh, did you mention boutique?
Who NEEDS this many clothes anyway? Look, that one there specializes in sole black and white clothing, that one there is for the middle ages and above, that one there is specially for those rich sno-… privileged children and their families, the prices are too high for an average Joe, that one there is… Oh my god, the colours!
Momentarily blinded, your legs decided to betray you and walk you straight into someone.
"Oh gods, I'm sorry. I wasn't looking…"
"Well, obviously. You'd think those glasses would serve their purpose."
Twitch. Another twitch.
"I already said I'm sorry. It was not on purpose, you know."
A glare, from you. An amused smirk. From… the guy who knows nothing about etiquette.
"You stepped on my foot."
"So? Want me to amputate mine and replaced it? I told you, it was an accident."
Normally, you weren't this, well, for lack of better word, bitchy. But, it was the way he spoke, that tone, that freaking 'holier than thou' and 'I'm sooo much better than you' tone, that was what pissed you off. Oh, not to mention, he made fun of your eyes. Your eyes were your soul, damn it! Not to mention, those glasses are your childhood friend, they stuck by you through thick and thin. Okay, now you are just being illogical.
Another. Damn. Smirk.
"Whatever. I already apologize. Your feet are still in perfect condition so you wouldn't require a trip to the nearest hospital. Good bye."
You received another barrel of amused smirks, to which you gave your own patented death glare, perfected by practicing on little brats below the height of five feet, oh, not to mention several, completely moronic adults. A huff left your bland, I hate lipsticks because they are over-rated, lips as you bent to pick your bag up.
Only to find it in his hands.
A gruff thank you was issued, let it be known that you never forget your manners, regardless time, place, your hormonal mood swings, and the recipient's attitude.
Another. Amused. Smirk.
Jeez, that guy needs a visual thesaurus.
"I. Am. Home."
Your mother caught the extremely deadpan look, and refrained from asking you about your day. She seemed to have forgotten about the hair comment as well. Lucky you. Grumbling under your breath, you dragged your lifeless body up the stairs. Okay, not that lifeless, since you are still walking, half dead, maybe. Being jostled by over-zealous teenagers with too much make up and far too many examples of testosterones could do that to you.
Sometimes, you wished they were just socks, stuffed in that particular place just to look 'manly'. But then, they'd smell, and that's worst.
Now, you were being delusional. That just cemented the fact. With practiced ease, you tipped your bag, no, not those fancy hand pouches that serve more as eye candy than of practical use, but a nice, large sling-bag that hangs from your shoulder, with which you can stuff books, pencils, random bits and pieces, a stray lock of hair, a penknife to fend yourself against robbers and perverts, and munchies that you can sneak into the cinema.
Yup, your trusty sling-ba-…
Why is there a notebook among your organized chaos?
Slowly, you inched towards the unidentified, foreign object. With much care, you prodded it with a disposable pencil. When it failed to react, two rulers found their way to your hands to act like tongs, gently lifting the thing off your bed, and towards the table. You sent a glare at your sling-bag. It betrayed you. How dare it bring such danger into the haven you call your room?
Having sufficiently removed said danger from your bed, you proceeded to stare at the thing, your mind reeling like a large, black and white television screen, retracing your steps, trying to pin the murderer on the murder weapon.
You hit the jackpot almost immediately, but, you may be bias.
There he stood, in all his smirking glory, right there, in your head, taunting you. Mister I-Shall-Taunt-The-Random-Girl-That-Bumped-Into-Me-Even-Though-She-Apologized had touched your sling-bag. T-O-U-C-H-E-D it. Yes, read that. Alphabet by alphabet. He must have sabotaged it.
Of course, it never occurred to you that you might have accidentally picked the book up and stuffed it into your bag because you were too busy glaring at him. Nope. It's always the male's fault. Has been since the beginning of time (completely disregards the Adam and Eve story).
Before you could ponder, dinner was served. Apparently, dinner was served 15 minutes ago, but you didn't hear your mother call, more like holler, for you to come down and have dinner (or the crude version is: get your arse down here before I drag it down) because you were too busy identifying the possible suspects of this suspicious item known as 'The Notebook'.
You decided not to tempt the Mistress of Your Fate, a.k.a. your mother, any more.
That was a rather nice meal. Your father complained about his company. As usual. Your mother merely ate in silence, and added in a few well phrased sentences. As usual. You simply ate, sat, stare, blink, leave. As usual.
But that was simply because you wanted to solve the mystery of the unknown notebook as soon as possible (and hopefully find that male, and shove it back before it could contaminate your room any further).
Having gotten the rest of your to-do list out of the way, you slumped into your chair, your evil laptop that refuses to cooperate grinning at you with its demented screen, and you faced the deceptively innocent book before you.
"Oh to hell with this."
A hand (your own, you seem so detached from this) reached out, touching the cover. Like some over-rated, dramatic scene straight out a romance novel, you caressed the slightly dented cover…
The bastard doesn't know how to take care of his bloody books. Look how scratched the cover is! Heck, you bet that's drool on the top corner. Yuck. Once again, you are proven that, yes, males are nothing but trouble, and disgust.
Grunting, you flipped the cover open, diligently avoiding the large water stain at the corner, and blinked.
Disclaimer: I own this book, because I paid for it. No, I don't own the trees that were cut down for the makings of this book (bless their green souls) or the factory that created the book. But I bloody paid for it, so it's MINE.
A slow, deliberate blink. Another. One more. Stare.
Who in blazes IS this guy?
Half an hour later found you, on your bed, now cleared of the random junk your bag gave birth to, which had migrated to the floor, but that's another story, with the book in hand, laughing, quite girlishly, mind you, at the things written in there.
Apparently, Mister Attitude Problem is quite the writer. He was witty, sarcastic, and best of all, grammatically correct. If you had not hated his guts at first sight, you would have loved him.
Completely ignoring the fact that you dislike males in general and he happened to belong in that particular category, of course. Besides, what's a romance story without enemies-on-sight-turn-lovers? That's the whole point, right?
You were somewhat sad that the story was not finished. Okay, 'somewhat sad' just does not cut it.
"Wait, what? You can't just end it like that! Bastard. That's the WORST cliff-hanger, EVER."
Okay, so maybe you were slightly obsessed over it, but its good literature. You deserve some 'fangirl' moments in the face of good literature. Don't you know how rare that is? It's about as rare as chivalrous, polite, tall, dark and handsome men!
The latter might be extinct though, but one can always hope.
Sighing, you were about to turn off the lights, maybe you'd head to bed slightly earlier than usual, when the last page caught your attention.
If found, please contact… like I would put my phone number here where any psychotic loony can find. Look, if my book's destined to end up as machine chow, so be it.
Machine chow. You let yourself enjoy the guilty pleasure of giggling like some air-headed high school girl (no offence to high school residents).
It was not the first time you fell asleep smiling, dreaming of the story you just read. Nope, it was not the first time of anything.
It's just another story written by a decent writer after all.
"… I give you five more minutes. If you are not up by then, I will pour ice cold water on you."
"Mmlsdfklh… bleh… ngahhh…"
There was a slam, loud enough to shake the house, and you jerked awake, eyes wide but unseeing, before slumping forward in an ungracious heap. A groan escaped your lips along with something that sounded suspiciously like 'sadistic, slave driver'. You weren't one to swear, so you always censored your words before they left your mouth.
Grumbling in that distinct language only the half-asleep could ever utter, you shuffled towards the washroom, doing the whole brush-wash-rinse ritual. A shower would be nice, your foggy brain offered. So you nodded to yourself, and stepped into the shower.
God damn it, who the blazes took all the hot water? After that horribly humiliating scream, which, note the quotation marks, was made INSIDE your head, you braved the ice, Artic, freezing cold water, and shivered violently, scrubbing yourself clean before steeping out, still shivering and promising death upon the one who stole your hot water.
If you got pneumonia, you are going down fighting.
Wrapped in a large, fluffy white towel, you shuffled into your room.
"What the hell is he doing here?!"
"Language my foot. What. Is. He. Doing. In. MY. Room?"
You were pissed. No, beyond pissed. You could cook an egg, sunny side up, on your face, from the amount of heat you were radiating. You were practically oozing anger.
Your father, favoured victim of your death glare, had wisely locked himself in his study room, under pretence of finishing some paperwork. Your mother, inventor of your patented death glare (yes, contradictory, but I own this story, so you can't sue me) was unaffected.
Of course, the main source of all the problems that has manifested the first time you saw him, was sitting there, completely deflecting your glares by simply channel surfing the television, never did much to hide that oh-so-hateable smirk of his.
"… are gone for a month and asked us to take him in for the time being. They are good friends of your father, so we can hardly say no."
"But why is he in MY room?!"
That's the whole point of your questioning. Not why he was in your house. Not why he was intruding on your breathing space. But why was the insufferable male in your, you, a female's, room. There wasn't even a knock!
He said he knocked, you don't believe him.
"It's just a simple misunderstanding."
"Mum. I may not care what others think of how I look, nor do I care if a male OR female chance to see me in my birthday suit. It's me, mine, I'm proud of being me, regardless situation. But he was intruding on my privacy!"
That's the climax, one could say. He intruded on your privacy, and they say it's a simple misunderstanding. You couldn't be angrier, more hurt, more betrayed. Heck, he wasn't the first male to see you half naked. That tended to be unavoidable when you used to be a very dedicated school team player, determined to outshine the males, thus, practiced at all times, even during rain. Yes, your shirt was white. No one dared stare at you anyway.
You were horrified to feel that burning sensation behind your eyes. Blinking rapidly, you backtracked.
"Fine. Stay all you like. I don't care."
You prayed your voice didn't crack at the end. You prayed that no one noticed how you refused to look at anyone. You prayed, but of course, you didn't believe in God, so it failed.
"Don't tell me what to do. By all means, dictate the situation around my life. But leave me out of it."
You turned, trying to make a dignified retreat, without realizing that by reverting to the persona of a sulky, teenage girl, you have already failed that prospect. You caught sight of him on your way upstairs. He looked… regretful?
You didn't care.
Curling your lips in a mockery of a smirk as the sound of the door hitting its frame echoed through the house, you locked it, for good measure. Curling up at one far corner of your room, you pulled the nearest, largest, furriest teddy bear you had, and for the first time, without some sappy romance story or some half-arsed drama story, you cried.
Maybe it's because you were ready for the lecherous looks on those boys' faces when you ran in the rain, every ready to put in a punch or two to show them you meant business. Maybe it's because you were in control of the situation, you were the team captain after all. Maybe it's because you know that, through a reliable source, the reason they play you down was because, they couldn't stand a girl being the captain. If it was anyone else, as long as they were female, it was the same.
Maybe, it's because, the outside world, outside that door you abused, you know, you have to put up a strong front. You have to wear that mask they call a poker face. You had to be that one pillar of strength, unmoveable, untouchable. Simply because you were the only child of your family, and took it upon yourself to bear the responsibilities like a filial son should. Your mother had sworn never to have a second child. Now, she was way past child-bearing age. You were the only one, had always been, will always be.
Maybe it's because, your room, in some strange way, was your haven. You know you were safe in here. You were protected. It was your home within home. The place that not even your parents would intrude.
Yet, there he sat, as if he owned the place, smirking from his position on your bed. You could still feel his eyes roaming your figure before you let loose that blood curdling scream. A weak chuckle escaped your lips. You would never forget the look of pain on his face from having endured the full capacity of a freaked out female's voice box.
The chuckle turned into another strangled sob. Belatedly, you realized, it was the first time you really, truly cried, not because some random character was being ditched, or the fact that the story was so touching you just had to weep. No, you cried for all that you had been, all that you are, all that you will be. You cried for everything under the sun and moon. You cried for that stray dog you fed last month but ended up as road kill the day after you fed it. You cried for the weariness of shouldering the responsibilities of your family and your school life. You cried for the guinea pig that lived a full life before passing on in its sleep. You cried for your invaded privacy.
You cried your heart out, and you had to admit. It felt damn good.
"… I'm sorry."
"Look, I shouldn't have gone in. But I did knock. Just… for reference."
"You can't ignore me forever."
"Damn… thought that would have worked."
You couldn't help the weak smile, before that too was gone from your face and you were back to the emotionless doll that had taken over your body and survived the past three days. You had been giving him, your family, everyone that has the misfortune to even glimpse you, the cold shoulder.
You were always up in the wee hours of dawn, always the first to reach the table and first to leave, always out of the house before anyone would notice, and back when all were in bed. You diligently avoided the bane of your life, until he cornered you a few seconds ago. How he knew you were hiding in the library, you had no idea. Considering the library was one of the grandest in the state, with five floors, each floor nearly the size of a football field, with long, dark shelves decorating its length.
Now, he was following you around like a kicked puppy. You were tempted to give him a look, but that meant you had to acknowledge his existence. You decided not to.
Having had your peace and quiet sufficiently disrupted, you stood, shoving the books back in their respective spots, you left the library, with Ye Olde Faithful tagging behind you. You settled for a cup of tea in a nearby café, he sat down in front of you, drinking some weird hybrid latte.
Half an hour of people watching later, you stood, heading towards the shopping mall, the same one where you walked into him the first time. You purposely avoided that floor.
This time though, you were receiving lots of weird stares. Well, not really weird. The teenage girls, covered in enough cream and icing to put a cake to shame, wearing acutely flashy clothing, made eyes at your shadow. Oh, let's not forget, they were giving you their so-called death glares, unfortunately, their eye shadow diminished the effect, not to mention their horribly coloured handbags with matching dresses that matches their blush which matches their shoes which matches their hand-phones.
You ignored them.
An hour later, having sufficiently circled the entire mall, plus car park, three times, you were ready to call it a day. Usually, you just spend the entire day in the library. But now that you were discovered, you would rather brave the mall and an hour of walking aimlessly, then have him stare at you for no reason.
Speaking of which…
Sneaking a peak behind you, you noted that your shadow (no, not the one on the ground, the other one) was gone. You wondered whether you ought to feel disappointed or not. You shook your head. Why should you feel anything at all? If anything, he should be glad you did not yell at him in the middle of the mall just to let him feel humiliation.
You allowed your feet to change destination to 'home'.
You very nearly walk right smack into him again.
"Sorry… I thought you might be thirsty, after all that walking."
He was holding a cup in his hand, you peered suspiciously at its contents. Not soda, not some sweet, carbonated crap. Nope, he was holding out a cupful of plain, ice cold water, the perfect thing for a dehydrated teen who forgot to bring out her own supply of liquids.
You gave him a point for noting that you hated sweet things.
"You are welcomed."
You sipped from the cup, valiantly ignoring his smirk. Doesn't he understand how to smile? What an oddball. Then again, you were one to talk.
"I still hate you, you know."
"I wouldn't expect anything less."
Sending your, by now quite over-used death glare in his general direction, you sulked back home, all the while avoiding contact with his knowing smirk and the aura of accomplishment.
It was then you realized you broke your 'ignore the sod' rule.
"Why do you hate guys so much?"
"Back to this again? I thought we were over this phase."
You said nothing, merely glared until he sighed.
"Fine. I overheard the other guys talk. You know, your team? Yeah, them. They were all talking about the devil that oversees their training, something about your personal vendetta against all beings with three burdens. If you catch my drift."
You could feel a blush coming as he gestured down there, and you beat it back with a stick, completely with thorns, a morningstar.
"… go read up on Ancient China. From a female's point of view."
He once again had this aura of accomplishment as he stood to complete the assignment given to him by yours truly. Wearily, you let your mask drop and crawled towards your room before slumping onto the wall. You still let no one in. You security blanket was rudely ripped and burnt before your eyes. You don't think you could trust anyone in your haven. Not so soon, at least.
No, not even your parents. You fell asleep on the floor again. You couldn't bring yourself to sleep on the bed. You were just too tired.
"So… you are saying you hate guys because of what society made us to be?"
"That's really unfair, you know. We never asked for all these."
"No, but all of you basked in it. Took a dip in that golden pool of pure luxury and helped in torturing the poor souls that never did anything wrong but exist."
"… Golden… shower? I never thought you would know thos-…"
"PERVERT! Get out of my sight!"
You seethed, throwing a deadly pillow into his laughing face followed by another, and another. How dare he mock your beliefs? How dare he turn a perfectly knowledgeable debate into some kinky fantasy he obviously harboured?!
"You really should stop frowning. You face wrinkles much easier than ours."
"Shut up. It's my face. My body. I'll do with what I damn well please."
"So? It's my life. I have the rights to say what I want to do with it."
He sighed, and dropped the subject. You stood by your statement. You always had. It was your motto. You would not let anyone govern the way you lived your life.
He was no different.
"Are you still ignoring your parents?"
"It's none of your business."
"It is. Since it's my fault, indirectly, that caused you to turn into such a hormonal beast from a guy's nightmare."
You snarled at him, so very tempted to kick him in the balls, castrate him and strangle him with them, but you resisted the urge, barely.
"It's none of your business."
That night, you wished your parents good night before you went to bed. You missed the small smiles that were on their faces. He didn't.
"Why are you still here?"
"My parents decided to stay abroad. But I do not have the urge to torture myself by transferring to another country and re-sitting my entire course when I'm already half through it, and they don't even allow credit transfer. So, I stay."
"You won't get rid of me so easily."
Your pillow army went into battle again. This time, he dared to return fire. It was the first pillow fight you ever had. Lack of siblings did that to you.
"You are leaving?"
"Yeah… I've already finished my course, and my parents want me near them. Said it's been too long or something."
"You wound me."
"Shut up. When is your flight?"
"Next Tuesday, it's a morning flight."
You had this strange, uncontrollable urge that all heroines in romance stories will encounter at one point, to ask him if he would ever return. You swallowed the question and retained your pride.
"Have a good trip."
Thought you'd like to read the rest of the story. You know, the one in the notebook? Yeah, I finished writing it, a long time ago, actually. The notebook's really old, so it doesn't matter if you threw it away. Here's the link, posted it up. Got a job interview today so I have to dash. Read and review, eh?
You clicked the link, happily devouring the story. You needn't worry about work, you still had one more year to go in college, and your mother was adamant that you focus on your studies, so you were, to put it simply, quite the free loader, literally.
You smiled as you read till the middle, and yawned. Stupid time zones, you were not supposed to be up, considering it was already three in the morning. You'd review later.
You never threw the notebook away either.
What's up? No, I don't mean the ceiling or fan or light or whatnot. Haven't heard from you for quite a while. Are you avoiding me again? I thought we were past all that. J/K! Yeah, I've been reduced to short forms. Sad, isn't it. Anyway, I read your story. It was… adequate. No, no pillows. I've had enough of pillows to last me a life time. Next thing I know, you'll be bringing out the comfy chair.
Got to go now, I got a meeting in two hours, and I have not completed my presentation. Joy.
You smiled before sticking your tongue out childishly at the screen. You had read his review, it was full of praises. Someone else (not him) told you that you ought to publish the story, make it a book. You wanted to, but your current schedule was too tight to even consider such a notion. You were no longer living in your parents' house, nope, you are living in a nice condo, on the highest floor, while your black, sleek car of some brand you couldn't be bothered to remember resting in the high end security car park below…
You were successful, somewhat famous, at least, in this particular side of the world, you were the epitome of an Iron Lady.
What more can you ask for?
Heard you were making quite a name for yourself. Congratulations. I guess you finally managed to prove to the world that females are just as good, but tough luck, you aren't the first. No, seriously, congratulations. I'd really like to chat, but the plane's leaving in an hour and the wireless here is bloody expensive. See you soon?
Neither of you ever write stories any more, both too caught up with work and real life to spare time for such childish dreams. Your letters have become shorter and more formal, losing that spark that might have been something, key words being might have.
He was a famous surgeon, sought after for his precision and his ability to be calm in even the most critical condition. He cured everyone, regardless age, gender, wealth, background… They called him an angel and gave him wings. They put him on a pedestal and practically worshipped him.
You were an attorney. Your sharp tongue and quick wit were enough to make even the cockiest opponent tremble in their polished court shoes. You were known for your acidic words that would melt any defence, and you only accept cases which you had investigated, and determined the true verdict.
They called you a demon, but with a heart of gold. You think they are a delusional bunch.
Meet me at the library. Noon. Urgent.
You were back home. Your real home. Your mother's hair was now completely silver, the way she liked it. Your father, too many years of various anti-grey gel made his hair a mixture of bronze, black, grey, and brown. Still, you smiled a teary smile and enveloped them in your embrace. You had kept in contact with them, exchanged phone calls and emails, but nothing beat seeing them in flesh, nothing beat running your fingers up the banister of the stairs that led to the haven that was once your room.
No, the haven that had always been your room.
"I'm going out. Going to meet a friend."
"Mum… You know I don't plan on marrying any time soon."
You gave a cheeky smile, and your mother returned it with a wistful smile of her own. A decade back, she would have agreed with you, stating that a family would only tie you down. But you had everything now, everything but a family of your own. Maybe it's time?
No, it was still your life. You'll decide what pace you were going to take.
Awkward was not a phrase in either of your dictionaries. Having armed yourself with a small, hand held cushion, you easily smacked him on the head with it.
"What's that for?"
"That, was for agreeing with the papers that said I was a demon."
The both of you left in a hurry, because the librarian's feather duster looked far deadlier than the cushion.
A hurried apology, under the disgruntled glare of said librarian, the both of you made yourself scarce, heading towards the, by now, rather rundown café, still frequented by the regulars, but overshadowed by the big shots down the street like Starbucks and Coffee Bean.
You had your tea. He had his hybrid coffee.
All was well.
"I'm getting married."
"You were supposed to say congratulations."
You decided to stay in your hometown, moving in with your parents and announcing a temporary resignation from the deadly battles of the wit where words are swords and one can end up far more battered than in a real war. You had made enough to last you for a lifetime, at least, with all the investment you made, and the fact that you were writing novels under a penname, and receiving a steady income from that, you had nothing to worry about.
Except for the fact that the 'angelic surgeon' decided to buy the little cottage down the street, and quarantined himself from the world, which really had nothing to do with you at all, really. Some say he was involved in some scandal and thus, retreated from the medical arena. Some say he was involved in an accident, and his hands were rendered useless. Some say he has a spouse somewhere, and decided to return to a life of domestics, and be the loving husband and father they all make him out to be.
You know better.
Competing with your books almost on a monthly basis was another new writer, also under a pen name, that has garnered quite the attention. You recognized his style anywhere. You spent hours re-reading his work anyway. Not that you were obsessed, no, it was just, good literature was rare, you know?
Now, he suddenly invited you for tea, the usual shop, and told you this. He was getting married. Well, forgive your slow uptake for having nearly spewed your tea into his face at the statement. You were not built for this kind of shock. You were built for long hours of argument and presenting of facts, but not this, drop of the hat, out of this world lunacy.
"When is the wedding?"
"I'm not sure. I still need to give the bride her ring."
"What?! You have not even asked her? What sort of insensitive, bastard are you? You don't even consider her feel-…"
"Will you marry me?"
"I still hate you, you know."
"I know. I love you too."
"Bloody, insensitive, prick."
"I'll have you know my prick is quite sensitive, thank you."
"You love it. You know that."
"… I hate you."
"You said that."
"… I love you too."
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of any character to any actual person, whether living or dead, is purely coincidental.
"That is such a lie."
"Oh shut it, you."
"But it's true!"
"I'm the lawyer here. So zip."
"W-what are you doing?! Stop this! I have a deadline to meet!"
"I'll have you know I'm the hands in this relationship."
"… Love you."
"… Love… you… "
"No, I'll always hate you. For as long as you'll have me."