Chapter 2: Talk To Me
Y/n sighed; it had been a week since that incident. She quickly rushed into her flat, scared she would bump into her neighbour again. She had been avoiding him all week, that unexpected sleepover at his didn’t end the way either of them had hoped. In fact, it was a bit awkward. He was on her mind constantly…. that night was on her mind constantly. However, she had begun drafting out her first story for the novel, reworking the romance scenes. Ohno-sama had given it a once over
“Hmm… I like the gist of this story. The romance seems to be getting better as well, compared to the last draft, you’ve written the details about the kiss much better, still needs work of course.”
She felt relieved as she bowed,
“Thank you Ohno-sama!”
Ohno eyed the young woman, she raised a brow, grinning
“Y/n, how was your weekend? Met someone? You never replied to my text” She asked hopefully, wiggling a brow and Y/n blushed, she did meet someone but that probably ended before it could even begin…
“Um well…” She began, unclear with what she should say and Ohno lit a cigar
“Sit down Y/n. I want details.” She said, ushering to the empty chair in front of her. Y/n awkwardly sat down, staring at her lap, fiddling with her thumbs
“So, who is he?” She asked bluntly and Y/n’s face went red. Ohno-sama sighed, this girl was sure easy to read… Y/n slowly began telling Ohno-sama a bit of happened on Saturday night and sure enough, the older woman clutched her temple.
“You ran away after you made out with him….” Ohno-sama looked at Y/n in disbelief, puffing her cigar
Y/n stood up and bowed,
“Um... I couldn’t run away… He left the room…” she mumbled, feeling embarrassed
“Y/n, I can’t force you or encourage you to have a relationship or sex. I understand your inexperienced and you probably want to have a meaningful first time. From your story, he doesn’t sound like an indecent man. I think you should try talking to him again.”
Y/n was flustered, she was too embarrassed to face Tendou after what she did.
“Oh ma’am… I’m not sure I can face him again…”
Ohno-sama felt a little bad for Y/n, she knew how uneasy she was around men. She wasn’t sure of the reason; she just knew Y/n was raised in a single parent household. She had no maternal figure. When Y/n had first joined Ohno’s agency, young Y/n cowered behind Ohno during her welcome party, getting very flustered when a male employee would try talking to her. Ohno-sama realised her phobia and took it upon herself to mentor this young woman. She wanted to make her rise up and conquer the world of literature. Y/n reminded her of herself. This girl had potential, but she didn’t know how to unleash it.
“Y/n, when the opportunity arises, avail it. If you can speak to him, try talking it out. You need to learn how to overcome your boundaries, one step at a time. Think about your stories, think about that passion that drives you to write. You’re still facing writer’s block and I don’t want you to have anxiety, remember, I haven’t given you a deadline for your own novel. In the meantime, why don’t you assist another author with editing until you’ve thought of a concrete solid novel idea?” She suggested and Y/n just nodded,
“Hi Maro…” She mumbled, opening his cage, scooping him up. Y/n placed him on the floor, making sure the balcony was closed so he couldn’t do his daredevil escape again. She watched him scuttle around before she sighed and sat down on the floor, head resting on the table as she groaned, remembering that night.
…He held her wrists above her head with one hand, gently, not being rough before he twirled a lock of her hair with his other hand
“Do you need some inspiration?” He asked her, twirling a lock of her hair, gazing into her flushed face.
She felt her lip quiver,
“Yes...” She whispered
Tendou leaned down to kiss her again, she lifted her head to deepen the kiss. He tightened his grip on her wrists slightly and she opened her eyes.
His dark figure was over her and she felt her heart stop. She remembered that night in the alley, her stalker had held her like this against the wall.
“No, please stop!”
She pushed Tendou off her, pulling his duvet up her body as she began panting.
Tendou quickly stood up, turning his lamp on
“I’m sorry!” He stammered, watching her teary eyes. He didn’t know what to do, this night had escalated in more ways than he had expected. He went to touch her shoulder, but she flinched, and he pulled away. Right, she was scared of men and look at what he did…
“I’ll leave…” He muttered, turning away and leaving her there a little bewildered, he glanced at her one last time
“Lock the door…” He mumbled, before he closed it.
That morning when she woke up, she felt awful. She barely slept after that, poor Tendou. He didn’t really do anything bad to her and she probably made him feel like he was. He didn’t even initiate the kiss; it was all her and then she fizzled out in the end. She had quietly crept out of his room, peeking into the living room. It was empty… Confused, she cautiously checked the kitchen, there was nothing but a paper bag. She approached the table, a key was laying there, a note underneath.
Gone out, you were still asleep when the landlord came. Here’s the spare key. Your clothes are in the bag
Feeling her heart sink a little, she grabbed her things and scurried into her flat.
It had almost been a week since then, she hadn’t opened her balcony door since… She was too nervous to know that he was on the other side. She wanted to talk to him, but she was too scared.
“What do I do….?” She muttered, looking at her balcony.
Y/n slowly slid her balcony door open, listening. She couldn’t hear anything.
Sighing, she slid the door open fully, letting the breeze in.
The evening sun had set, the sky was the perfect shade of ink.
Maro scuttled by her feet, she smiled and bent down, lifting him up gently.
“Come on, let’s get some air.”
She grabbed her notebook in her other hand.
Y/n settled herself down on her floor cushion, back against the partition. Maro was scuttling around her feet, eventually settling his tummy on her toes and she smiled. She stared at her notebook; she had no idea what to brainstorm. She wrote down random words,
Tendou’s face flashed in her mind, she felt her cheeks get warm.
She felt her shoulders slump, it was too late to make peace with him now.
“Tendou-san…” She muttered, suddenly she heard the balcony door open, her breath hitched, and she covered her mouth. She heard his humming before he settled himself down.
‘He’s on the other side…’ She thought, this was her chance…
“Y/n, when the opportunity arises, avail it. If you can speak to him, try talking it out. You need to learn how to overcome your boundaries, one step at a time...”
But how could she start a conversation like that? She felt Maro move, he was cautiously sniffing the air. She looked down at her notebook and then back at him… A little idea clicked in her head; she wasn’t sure if this would work
She quickly jolted down,
Can we talk?
And ripped the paper, folding it in half before she pricked the paper on one of his spines.
‘I hope this works…’ She thought as she let Maro pass under the partition
“…please please, don’t step on Maro” she silently prayed for the like spike ball’s safety, as she waited for a response.
A few seconds and she heard nothing; her heart stopped…
She just let her pet wander into his apartment again with a note strapped to his back, Tendou was going to think she was insane. She was about to panic before she heard a hum and then a startled cry
Tendou was just busy scrolling on his phone, while sipping his coffee. He had his headphones on, watching a random anime. He failed to identify the ticklish sensation against his feet. After a few seconds, he began realising something was touching his foot...
“Hmm?” He said, pulling his headphones off before he peered at his foot
He scrambled back, a little started, thinking he was playing footsie with a rat.
Settling his panic heart, he realised it was Maro… Tendou bent down to scoop him up,
“Maro? You snuck back in here?”
He raised a brow, when he curled into a ball, the paper stuck on his back, the note now the object of his attention
Confused, he plucked the note off, unfolding it.
Reading her message and his heart raced, he didn’t expect her to contact him ever again. He still held Maro close to him, feeling his little spikes. He looked at the partition and cautiously called out
Y/n’s breath hitched when she heard his voice call from the other side
“H-hello Tendou-san!” She squeaked
He raised a brow, slightly amused
“You wanted to talk?”
He leaned back against the partition, sliding down. Carefully holding Maro in his palms as he sniffed his fingers, Tendou stroked his head softly, retracting his fingers before Maro could nip him
Y/n bit her lip
There was silence, neither of them knowing how to further their conversation, even with the partition, there was awkwardness in the air. Tendou exhaled, he needed to get the guilt off his shoulders
“Y/n… I’m sorry for what I did that night. You told me your fears and yet, I… lost control… I’d understand if you’re uncomfortable around me” His heart sunk, but he didn’t want to bring her any further disdain. He waited for her response, Maro was settled in his lap now, laying there peacefully.
Y/n looked up, her own heart dropping.
He was blaming himself….
“Tendou-san, please don’t apologise. I’m not uncomfortable around you… I told you my fears and I still asked you to do that… It’s just, it became very real to me when we… progressed… I’ve never done something like that before” She trailed off and he blushed. His suspicions were correct, she was inexperienced. He was a little uncertain, she may be scared of men but that didn’t mean that she couldn’t have dated women? He was uncertain there, but he wasn’t really bothered, she wanted him that night, it had to mean something, right?
“Y/n, have you ever been with anyone?” He asked quietly, and she hugged her knees, feeling a little embarrassed
“No… I haven’t… I’m too scared…” She whispered but he heard her.
“Y/n… why are you scared of men?” He asked hesitantly, waiting for her response but he heard none. Maybe he had pushed his luck, they barely knew each other and he’s asking her personal questions, right off the bat.
Y/n controlled her breathing, she hated talking about this incident with others, be it her father or her therapist back in her hometown. She hated remembering… but if she had to move on in life, she had to confront her demons. She held her breathe before she exhaled
“Before I moved to Tokyo, when my final year of college had begun… I had accidently gotten lost on campus… couldn’t find this new department. There was this guy…” She swallowed, feeling nauseous
“…I made the mistake of asking him for help… He was nice so I didn’t think much of it. I didn’t realise he began taking a liking to me… He started appearing randomly around me during my free periods… He asked me out once, but I declined…” She kept quiet for a second.
Tendou was listening intently,
“…then, I began getting letters, they started out nice, but as time went on, they became a little rude… I tried ignoring it… then, he got my number… so he began sending pictures of me to it, even when I wasn’t at campus… I think, that’s when I became really terrified, he knew where I lived, he kept leaving gifts for me… My father would keep getting rid of them… When the police got involved, he stopped, and I thought it was over…”
Tendou felt his heart stop, he knew the worst had yet to come. Her voice sounded shaky,
“I was late coming home from a group project, I barely made the last train… When I was walking home, I saw an alleyway and I knew I shouldn’t pass it, so I decided to cross the street as soon as this car had passed. But… before I could walk, he found me, and he dragged into that alley…” Y/n’s head hung in shame as she remembered him ripping the front of her dress. His little switch blade, glinting before her
“I’m only doing this because I love you… You need to know that you belong to me”
“…um he tried to take advantage but the alley he pulled me into was the back of a restaurant, a man had come out to throw trash and he spotted us, gave that stalker a good beating while the police came… After that, I couldn’t stand being near men, only my father… I had to go to therapy, took me a while to get used to being near men…” She said quietly and he looked at Maro. Tendou looked at the gap under the partition, her fingers were peeking through as she sat there, unaware… He’s heart had officially dropped, he felt so angry
“Y/n, I don’t know what to say…” He was speechless and she nodded,
“It’s okay… I just wanted you to know because that night, when I pushed you away. It wasn’t because I was scared of you… I just remembered that incident at that time and that scared me… I don’t want you to hate me because you’re the first man, I trust after a long time… I’m just confused…”
She flinched when she felt something brush against her fingers, she looked down and realised his fingers were softly intertwined with hers under the partition. She could pull away if she wanted but she didn’t want to.
“Y/n… you can’t see my face so maybe this might be okay as a starting point… I don’t hate you and I don’t think I ever could. You’re real interesting to hang with and I like Maro too…”
Her eyes widened, she forgot about Maro
“Oh, Maro!?” She panicked and he chuckled…
“Relax Y/n-chan… He’s asleep on my lap, think he’s cosy…”
She settled down, thinking about how she just revealed the main reason behind her constant anxiety to him. She felt safe, his tips of his fingers were still linked with hers…
“Tendou… that night, I didn’t lock the door…”
Tendou was a bit confused
She shook her head, trying to formulate her words
“I-I didn’t lock the door… I mean, I forgot to lock your door… For me, that was a huge step… It made me realise that I trusted you without even being aware of it… M-Maro, he likes you too! He doesn’t even like Otosan… He’s only nice to me but he likes you. If Maro trusts you, then so can I… You didn’t kiss me until I asked you too… I asked you to kiss me because I’ve never experienced it and it felt right at that moment, I think…”
She kept quiet, anxiously waiting for Tendou’s response. Her heart was pounding. Tendou was on the other side, this revelation was highly unexpected. Was it possible to fall in love so fast? He wasn’t sure… What was he feeling?
What was she feeling?
“Y/n-chan… we drank a lot that night… I’m honoured that you trusted me enough to kiss you, but I feel guilty. Someone like you deserved a special first kiss… I stole that from you…”
His shoulders slumped, Y/n’s hand pulled away from him, she turned around her hands against the partition, her face was red, but she needed to get her message across.
“Tendou-san… can we be friends?” She asked and he looked up, facing the partition. She wanted to be friends? He felt a little joyous inside, she wasn’t put off by him. Someone as sensitive as her needed time to let loose. Tendou was uncertain about his feelings, whether he was just infatuated or actually in love. Maybe starting out as friends could be a steppingstone to a potential relationship?
Tendou couldn’t stop the grin from his face,
“I’d love that, Y/n-chan!” He said and she smiled
He smiled and so did she, blushes on their faces but they’d never know. Y/n looked at the time,
“Um Tendou-san, thanks for talking to me. I’ll be going inside now. Good night” She said softly and he smiled
“Sweet dream Y/n-chan”
She looked at the partition smiling before she headed inside, sliding the door closed. Tendou sighed in content, he had an ugly grin on his face. He was pretty ecstatic to get closer to her, however he knew they had a long way to go.
“That was a nice conversation, he said to Maro who was now wake in his lap. Tendou smiled at the hedgehog for a second before he jumped up, his eyes widening
Y/n was giddy in her flat, skipping around happily. She made friends with a man for the first time! Tendou was really nice, she was super lucky to be living next to a gentleman. Y/n froze when she heard knocking at her door, a little confused, she cautiously opened the door, a little shocked
“T-Tendou-san!?” She said, he stood there awkwardly for a second
“Hey… I forgot to give you this…” He said and she was confused before he ushered to the blob inside his hoodie pocket, a second later, Maro’s nose poked out and Y/n gasped,
“Oh my gosh, I totally forgot about Maro! He must be so mad at me! Thank you, Tendou-san!” She said when he plopped Maro into her hands, the hedgehog did look a little angry. Maybe it was because there was a piece of paper stuck to him. She pulled it off, there was a number written on it.
Tendou rubbed the back of his head,
“Um… since we’re friends now… thought you should have my number, if you’re ever walking home late or need help, you can call me” He ushered to himself smiling and she blushed,
“Thank you, Tendou-san… I’ll text you later…” She said with a blush and he smiled
“um… before I forget, here” He handed her a small box and she eyed him suspiciously
“These are my ‘I’m sorry for the other night’ chocolates… Made them this morning…” His face was pink, he shoved his hands into his pocket before he turned around and walked to his door. She looked at the small box, her heart was beating
“Tendou…” She whispered