“Is that Ms. Heartfilia? The Lucy Heartfilia?”
“Oh my God! It is Ms. Lucy Heartfilia. Do you think we should get her autograph?”
Levy and I turned our heads around to see a group of girls, squealing and pushing each other around. Seeing that we were looking at them, they immediately cleaned up themselves and ran towards us.
“Ms. Lucy, h-hi! We can’t believe it’s really you in the flesh! We’re your biggest fans! A-and if it isn’t any trouble, do you think we can have your autograph?” asked by the brunette as she gave me a notebook.
I gladly accept the girl’s notebook and wrote down a quick yet inspiring autograph.
To my biggest fans, never stop believing and always keep on sketching. – Lucy H.
As I gave back the notebook, the two girls bowed and said their thank you’s before turning around and started squealing. I just smiled at their reactions since they somehow reminded me of the old me before I achieved my dream.
“Lu-chan, you’re really getting more and more popular these days after the art gallery and the news showcased your recent paintings,” Levy said, smiling.
“Levy, don’t sell yourself short. You’re getting famous, too, you know. Your book is already a hit in New York, famous critics even gave so many good reviews for it, too.”
This is how we are, the writer and the artist, hanging out, strolling around and from time to time, having a bunch of fans coming towards us and asking for our autographs. I got to say Levy was actually the reason why I got noticed by the media. Before she published her book, she came to me to commission a perfect, or at least a better one than the original artist made, cover that actually connects to her story.
“You don’t have to pay me anything Levy.”
“It’s okay Levy. You’re my friend, think of this as my early celebration gift to you.”
After Levy’s book got published, I got a few calls about people commissioning me to do covers for their upcoming books. And in no time, I got as popular as Levy. It kind of saddens me though that after my first work got popular, I could never find the time to do the things I usually do.
“Lu-chan, are you going to stop daydreaming anytime soon?”
I came back to my senses when Levy and I finally reached my condo’s lobby. I’ve been daydreaming quite lately and it’s been distracting me from reality way too often. I need to get that face out of my mind soon. That face. That voice. His unknown name. Why can’t it just get out of my mind?
“I’m sorry about that Levy. I was the one who invited you to go with me,” I sighed as I unlocked my condo.
As I opened the door, anyone can clearly see that I haven’t been keeping my place tidy. I guessed it’s because of my work, being an artist can get messy. Truth be told, a messy environment is quite relaxing for anyone who’s in the art business.
“Wow, Lu-chan, you’ve been getting better and better quite lately. Besides that, you’ve been doing twice more work than you did before.”
Levy and I went to the room where I usually stocked my unfinished works, mostly the ones in the sketching phase. As Levy roamed around, she spotted one canvas that was covered by a tarp.
“Hey Lu-chan, what’s this one? Why is it this the only painting that’s covered up?” Levy said as she came closer to it.
“A-ano, it’s nothing really. I just kinda hated how it came out.”
When she pulled away her hand from the covered canvas, the tarp accidentally fell to the ground and revealed something that I hid away from a lot of people, including Levy.
An unfinished painting of a man.
“Oh my… Lu-chan, it’s beautiful.”
Levy gasped, as she saw the painting. I had to agree with her. Even though it wasn’t done yet, the devilish smile on the eyeless painting actually melted my heart and the warm pose of the man was so inviting that you’re willing to go along with him.
“I know right?”
“Lu-chan, I’m sorry if I accidentally took the cover off.”
“It’s okay,” I nonchalantly said as I walked closer to the painting.
I caressed the face of the man as if he was real. I don’t know why but somehow it gave me comfort.
“Who is this guy anyway?”
I smiled at Levy, not leaving my eyes on the eyeless man’s face.
“I don’t know his name actually,” I paused as I was getting distracted by the man’s face, “Levy, I know it may sound crazy but somehow he knows mine. He’s the one who have been creeping into my mind and the main guy in my recent daydreams.”
I smiled at Levy while she just kept on looking at me, speechless. It took a while before she came closer to me and hugged me.
“You just gave me a new story Lu-chan!”
I blinked at her, shocked.
“A story about an artist who saw her soulmate through a painting. Think of it! Thank you so much for the idea Lu-chan!”
I guessed it couldn’t be helped. Levy’s imagination when it comes to unusual romantic stories usually goes wild. I just giggled at Levy as she kept on talking about the new story she’s going to make and as if she wasn’t done talking, her phone rang. She quickly took out her phone and read the text message she just received.
“Oh my gosh! I almost forgot that Gajeel and I have a date tonight! I’m really sorry Lu-chan but I really need to go.”
I just waved Levy goodbye before she exited from my condo. It must be nice to have a guy to call him your own. As I looked at the nearby clock, I was surprised that it was already 7:30 in the evening. Time does go fast when you’re having fun. Well, our fun has its different kind of definition.
Damn. It’s early in the evening and I’m already tired. I guessed it’s from the recent all-nighters I’ve been pulling off for the couple of days. Since I’m already near my bedroom, I guess sleeping early this time might make me more energized the next day and maybe I can see him again.
After changing into something comfortable, I plopped myself into my bed and with no second to spare, I already dozed off.
It’s that voice again. I opened my eyes and saw nothing. Only the open lamp on the drawer and the things that was being lighted by the lamp. Before I could go back to sleep, I saw a shadow outside my room. I quickly took something big and hard enough to knock out the intruder. I swiftly yet carefully went out my room and tiptoed to my living room. I switched on the lights and I still saw nothing.
“I guess it’s just my imagination.”
As I turned around, I saw a guy. He smiled at me.
Because of my quick reflexes and due to the fact that he startled me, I quickly hit him with my weapon of choice. To my surprised, he quickly blocked it with his bare arm.
“The hell?! What the fuck are you doing in my condo?” I shouted as I kept on hitting him.
As I opened my eyes, I saw that he didn’t do anything. He stayed where he was, not even trying to attack me or anything. Then I saw him arm, bleeding from the numerous hits.
“I’m sorry if I startled you. I didn’t mean any harm Lucy.”
He knows my name? Wait, that smile. That scar on his nose.
“Are you the guy who kept on calling me in my dreams and daydreams?”
Before he could nod, he tried to stop the bleeding on his arm. I felt guilty because of what I did to him but I wished he hadn’t startled me like that. I quickly ran to my bathroom and got the first aid kit. As I returned, the guy was already sitting on my couch. He looked at me and smiled, holding in the pain that he was actually feeling.
“Why are you even here? And how did you get in?”
I sprayed the wound with a disinfectant before placing the huge bandage on it. Damn, I really messed up with my first meeting with this guy.
“I’m sorry if I disturbed you from your sleep. I just saw your door open and I couldn’t let anybody get inside and do bad things to you so I went inside and protect you while you slept.”
I blushed at his explanation.
“D-dummy! You could just have closed the door when you saw it.”
I looked up to him as I was still seated on the floor. I finally saw his whole face. It was better than the usual glimpses that I saw before. He really is handsome. His only visible eye was piercing but warm at the same time. I don’t know why but my heart just skipped a beat.
“Are you okay Lucy? You’re getting quite red. Are you getting a fever?”
He placed his forehead against mine and suddenly I could feel all of my blood gushed to my head and made me even more reddish in the face. But I have to admit that even before he placed his forehead on me, I was getting a little dizzy. Before I knew it, I collapsed.
“Lucy! Hold on a minute…”
Those were the last words I heard before I completely blacked out.
When I woke up again, I could feel that I was placed on my bed, covered.
“This must be the cause of anemia or maybe lack of sleep. You should really take care of yourself Lucy.”
I turned my head at the side and saw the red eyed guy, sitting next to me.
“Here’s some crab soup. I’m sorry if I messed with your kitchen but I got really worried about you.”
He helped me to sit up. He was a real gentleman. I couldn’t believe that a handsome guy like him is doing this for me.
“Well, you kinda collapsed so I had to carry you here.”
He blew on the spoon before feeding it to me. The crab soup was delicious and even the smell alone was satisfying. While he was feeding me, I felt my head ached. I couldn’t hold on to my tears but damn, the pain was really agonizing. Before I realized anything, I felt two warm hands on my back and head and that my head was placed on something hard. He just hugged me! And while he did, he caressed my head.
“It will be alright Lucy. You might have been through a lot of sleepless nights or you might have hit on something when you collapsed but keep in mind that I’ll be here to make that pain go away.”
I feel at peace with him. His words were so gentle and firm. It makes me fall for this stranger even more. He might not actually be a stranger. He has been appearing to me not only once but several times now.
“Thanks red eyes.”
He chuckled, not letting go of me. I just closed my eyes at the sound of his chuckle.
“You can call me…”
Before I can hear his name, something just rang. I opened my eyes and everything was different. Instead of the guy, I was hugging my body pillow. And the thing that woke me up was my phone.
“So everything was still just a dream.”
I should have known even from the beginning. I picked up my phone and saw that Levy was calling me at 5 AM in the morning. Best friend goals right?
“I’m so sorry to wake you up Lu-chan but I wanted to ask you what could be a perfect title for the story you just gave me earlier?”
I paused a bit.
“If Only You Were Real.”