Chapter 11 - The Kiss of Death
The little bunny toy I was holding right now was so soft and weirdly squishy. I squeezed it again and again, thinking it'd explode tiny cotton balls everywhere, but the bunny was too strong.
"What the hell do you think you're doing here?!" She shouted before snatching the stuffed toy from my hands.
Ah, the bunny.
"I figured you'd do something like this, so I got ahead of you," I said, standing up from the bed. I looked around the room, comparing how it used to look like last time I've been here, which was twelve years ago.
The flowery patterns on her walls were gone, the scary dolls with human faces were replaced by stuffed animals and the color of her room went from pink to plain beige. Yet it was so tidy, as usual.
And yeah, I remember everything. "Your room changed."
"Get out!!!" She stomped her feet and glared at me with all her might. I knew she'd get mad. But I just couldn't help myself. I never saw her room since I got back.
"Jeez you're so loud," I pulled my left ear. How many decibels did that contain hm.
"GET OUT I SAY!!!"
She's damaging my ears.
I stubbornly lied down on her bed with the most relaxed and comfortable position I could make and rebelliously folded my arms. "No."
From the corner of my eyes, I could see her face flaming with anger, her fists clenchng into tight balls until her knuckles turned white. She was biting the insides of her mouth so hard I thought it was going to bleed.
Whoa. She's that mad?
I winced and prepared myself for another ear-piercing yell or a sudden attack from this amazon woman.
A few seconds of silence later, I looked at her again.
She was breathing heavily; her eyes were shut tight but the light lines on her forehead got visible.
So she was trying to hold it all in huh? I hope she doesn't explode like she usually does. Did she always have this short a temper? Or was I the only one with such talent to annoy her to her death?
I'm giving myself too much credit.
"Fine," she said through gritted teeth.
I watched as she walked around her room, picking up some things on the floor, her back against me the whole time. She opened her closet and randomly took out some clothes. After that, she headed towards the door.
"Where are you going?"
"Bathroom. To change." Even though she didn't make eye-contact with me long enough to notice, I'm pretty sure I saw her eye twitch.
Maybe it was because she saw me playing with the rest of her stuffed animals. They were tiny and squishy and they'd make perfectly good stress balls.
"Why don't you just change here?" I innocently suggested, sitting up again.
"Are you crazy?!" She exclaimed; and then she breathed. "N-No. You can lie down there and do whatever you want. Just don't touch anything. Got it?"
She's gotten better calming herself down. I'm so proud of her.
Before I could retort to what she said, she already slammed the door close and ran to the bathroom. Heh.
I lied down again and slid my hand inside my pocket. I took out the blue handkerchief.
I just lied there staring and smiling goofily at the thing. I wonder how I should give this back to her? And when? What face will she make? Will she get mad? Will she cry?
The last part was impossible. I only saw her cry twice the whole time we've been together, and that was years ago.
Then another thought hit me. If she kept this small thing, did she possibly keep the coat I gave her back then as well?
If she did, well.
I can't wipe the huge grin on my face just thinking about it. Uh. Stop that, mouth.
I brushed my thumb along the initials I wrote on it back when I was a kid. How did my nickname Sir Peanut Butter get demoted to Butthead? And why am I a butthead? What do you even mean when you say butthead?
Not long after, I heard the door open, so I quickly stuffed the handkerchief back in my pocket.
She still wasn't making eye-contact with me. She neatly placed her uniform in the laundry basket near her closet.
After that, she grabbed an elastic band from her dresser and fixed her hair into a loose bun. Me, being me, I broke the silence.
"Took you long enough."
"Don't talk to me," she snarled. "I'm trying not to kill you. Shut up if you value your life."
"But I like it when Poopy's rough," I said.
Again, she glared at me. I swear, one day my eyes are gonna rot from getting glared at too much.
"Would you stop calling me that ridiculous nickname?! You sound like a kid!"
Me a kid? Look who's talking.
"Like you don't sound like a kid yourself," I scoffed. "What were my nicknames again? Perverted zombie? Butthead? Kiss-monster? Robot? Devil? Who has the worst choices of nicknames between the two of us?"
Yeah, yeah let her get mad. I have the right to get mad too, you know.
Even though I'm always the one picking on her.
She finally held her hard gaze on me. I did the same. She took big steps towards me, her nose and mouth twitching up from annoyance. I just folded my arms against my chest and sat up on her bed like I owned it.
We were face to face now. Well, face to stomach because I was sitting and she was standing.
You get the gist.
"Then do you want another nickname promotion, Sir Peanut Butthead?"
I could feel the pressure on her words. And her stare was getting me a bit uncomfortable. Maybe even nervous.
"I'd be honored."
She bit her lower lip before she hardened her stare. How does she even do that?
Is it wrong to think it was a bit of a turn on?
Shut up shut up thoughts.
"Asshead," she deadpanned. "Sound mature enough for you?"
It sounds way more offending, I'll give her that.
"You're so un-cute," I mumbled childishly. She rolled her eyes. "Fine. Call me that. Then instead of Poopy, shall I call you Shitty as well?"
Her mouth fell. It was priceless.
She looked deep in thought for a while. And then she looked like she gave up because of the hopeless sigh she just released. "We keep the nicknames as is."
I made a victorious smirk. Thought as much.
Then she punched my shoulder.
I held my shoulder and feigned hurt but she was quick to act. She started pinching both my cheeks hard. Is this payback for squeezing her stuffed animals?
"I want to rip this damn smirk off your damn face damn it."
Ow. Ow. Ow.
"Shut it," she growled. "I'm not stopping until I see blood."
It seriously hurts! What if my face gets deformed?!
"I warned you to shut up if you valued your life."
My cheeks. They were numb now. She was stretching my cheeks so far apart--was she really planning to rip my mouth off? This girl is so--
I'm a guy. I'm stronger physically.
Wow. I just figured that out.
Aren't I the genius?
I abruptly stood up from my position, making her take a step back. I grabbed her hands and fought her death grip off my innocent cheeks. It was hard pulling them away. She had brute strength. Amazon woman.
When I finally got her to release my poor cheeks, I forced her hands to her sides as I closed the distance between us. I glared at her to avenge my cheeks.
Because I was a mature young man.
And in turn, she glared even harder at me.
Because she was childish and immature.
We were practically grinding against our foreheads, my grip on her hands tightening, hers as well. Why is she still fighting back?
To scare her, I grinned evilly as I gently rubbed my thumb on her palms. I knew she was ticklish there, and I'm sure she hated getting tickled.
Not just that, but I also held my knee up to poke her inner thigh, blew on her ear and kissed the side of her neck.
Now that did the trick. Her own knees gave out almost too immediately. She didn't let the flicker of distress show in her expressions, but I knew she was getting losing it.
Ha-ha. I win.
Am I an idiot?
The furious look on her face was slowly fading into a terrified one, which therefore turned the tables and made me panic.
What the hell did I just do?!
I quickly let go of her hands. Shit I'm an idiot! Why the hell did I do that? Why didn't I think before doing something so stupid!
I was about to say something smart to save face when something caught my attention. Hopefully, it'll be enough to distract her from thinking. Hopefully. "Something smells burnt."
She looked confused for a second, but when she finally noticed, her eyes snapped open with realization and it was like nothing weird just happened between us. It was too early for me to sigh in relief.
"Shit, the soup!"
Stupid, stupid, stupid!
I totally forgot about the soup!
I was already panicking, so I didn't even think about the heat of the pot when I took it off the stove with my bare hands and rushed it to the sink. I yelled until I let go of it.
The burning sensation lingered unwantedly on my fingers. I'm lucky I didn't hold it for so long. Otherwise, this could've been more serious.
What am I talking about? That's no excuse. I panicked because of a different reason. And that reason was right behind me.
"Are you okay?" Daniel asked, sounding a bit panicked himself.
I swear, my heart stopped. I don't know if I can even look at him right now. After what he did? No. Just, no.
What the hell was he thinking? Or maybe he was just joking around and I'm being me again and am being paranoid?
What, no! He went too far this time. I don't know why I feel like melting on the spot.
"Let me look at that," he quickly took my hand. I jumped from the shock and withdrew my hand, keeping a safe distance between us. He looked a bit surprised, then a look of guilt washed over his face.
"I'm okay," was all I said before walking away to get some ointment.
In all honesty, the burn on my hand didn't bother me at all. But his grip. His touch.
It burned more.
It was scary.
And I'm not making any sense. This is so ridiculous. I'm just thinking too much.
I took the medicine kit from the upper cabinet and hissed as soon as my fingers touched it. I did my best, keeping up a front and pretending that it was all fine, but my hands were shaking and eventually gave out.
I dropped the kit and everything inside it scattered all over the floor.
I quickly knelt down to pick them all up. This is so embarrassing! He's been watching me the whole time too! What the hell is this, why am I so clumsy whenever he's around?
This was really ridiculous. I'm so disappointed in myself.
"Stupid," I heard him say.
I don't need you to tell me that, asshead.
He wasn't as mean as he sounded, because he also knelt down on the floor to help pick up everything I dropped. Of course, any normal person would do the same.
Every time I touched an object, the pain would just keep getting worse.
His hand slowly held my wrist, but he didn't say anything yet. We just sat there, staring at the floor.
I can't lie to myself anymore. His touch definitely burned more. It made no sense. I'm tempted to think he's always had a high fever just to deny whatever suspicions I have of my feelings right now.
"Don't touch anything. Leave this to me."
He carefully let go, and quickly picked up everything and put them back in the kit. I quietly nodded and stood up, making my way to the chair near us. What am I going to do? This is so awkward.
Daniel put the kit on the table. "There isn't any medicine here for burns. Do you have some tomatoes here or vinegar?"
"I think so," I mumbled. "It's in the basket near the sink, right next to the spices."
He nodded and went to get them.
Did I sound okay? Did I sound too casual? Too tense?
I can't believe I'm feeling so self-conscious.
He came back with two pieces of a sliced tomato. He sat down opposite of me and just stared quietly at my hands a bit. He gave me a quick glance before returning his stare on my hands. What, he can't look at me now?
"M-May I?" he asked.
Wait, did he just stutter? Was he nervous? No. I think he's also conscious touching my hand again. Maybe it was because of my reaction earlier when he tried to help me. I practically made it look like I was scared of him.
I'm a girl, you can't blame me for acting this way. Ugh. This is getting even more difficult.
I didn't trust my own voice, so I just nodded my head.
He gently applied the tomato on my burn, carefully, as if making sure it didn't hurt me. The atmosphere is so heavy. I'm just holding my breath as he did this, because if I allowed myself to breathe, I'm sure I'd need a paper bag.
"My dad used to put tomatoes on my burns before. Then let the inflicted area sit in a bowl of vinegar for a while. Always did the trick."
His expression was still the same, but I could feel something different in his way of speaking. And he wasn't looking at me. In fact, I think he's avoiding eye-contact.
Was he regretting what he did upstairs so much that he can't look at me anymore?
I feel so awkward.
When he was through, he lowered his head and hid his hands under the table. I waited for him to say something because he obviously had something to say, judging from his actions. An awkward ten seconds passed before he finally spoke.
I was half-expecting him to apologize. After all, he did look like he regretted it. And he looked pretty uncomfortable himself. That's why he's an idiot.
And our teachers called him a genius. Tsk.
"Sorry for... being rude. For being a jerk. Sorry. I didn't mean it. It was a dumb joke. I went too far. Sorry. I won't do it again. I swear. I'm sorry."
Every time he said the word sorry, his head would go lower and lower, I thought he was going to slam his head on the table.
I couldn't fight back a smile. Well, he was apologizing wasn't he? I know for one that it's hard for a guy like him to apologize.
"It's okay," I made a small laugh, to somehow lighten the mood. "Stop being so dramatic. It's so unlike you."
"True," he finally looked at me. "But I have my moments."
I rolled my eyes but couldn't stop the smile tugging up my lips. That recovery speed though. He still had the energy to joke around.
Realizing I was smiling weirdly at him, I quickly concealed it with a frown and then stood up to check the burnt soup on the sink.
Strange. It didn't feel as awkward anymore.
When I got there, he was already beside me. What was he, a ninja?
"Stop moving around so much," he mumbled. Blah blah. Since the pot already cooled down, he took the lid and we both scrunched our noses when the foul smell invaded our nostrils. Yuck.
"It smells like charcoal. I never knew soup could burn. Aah, what a waste."
"Well duh," he commented. "There's no way we can eat this."
"Go out and buy dinner yourself then. Leave me alone," I pouted.
He didn't have to say it like that. He was like a guilt-stricken puppy just a few moments ago, now he's back to his usual self. What a quick change of moods.
"How can I leave you alone? You can't even take care of yourself."
Ugh. This is so humiliating. I'm not a kid.
I think he was going to ridicule me some more, but the sound of his stomach interrupted him. "Ah."
"Pfft..." I tried holding in my laughter. So he was actually this hungry? I looked up to tease him but he was already looking away, his ears a bit pinkish. Haha! He was embarrassed, wasn't he? Good job stomach.
"I'll cook something right now. Just wait a little longer okay?"
...was what I said. He nodded. Hopefully I can make something at least close enough to edible.
"W-What is... this?" Daniel stared with horror at his plate. He poked it with his fork and then it suddenly popped out bubbles. Oh my God. It popped out bubbles. "I think its breathing."
"That's a burger steak! Burger steak!" I nervously cried out. It's not my fault! I followed the instructions on mom's recipe book, I don't know what went wrong.
Maybe I put a little too much gravy? But why was the gravy black? And the burger steak was also black. It was a completely different thing compared to that picture on the recipe book.
"It looks like a shit."
Did he have to be so blunt about it?! I feel like crying now! I've never cooked meat before; my mom never let me. I guess now I know why. But so what! I just overcooked it a bit. Honest mistake.
"Overcooked is an understatement," he said as if he read my mind. "You tortured the poor meat. You burned it. You made a horrible, indescribable dish."
"Now you're just mean. Give me that, I'll eat it myself!" I yelled. He was just being brutally honest. I'm ashamed of my own piece abstract art. Shame on me for even trying to feed him this.
"I can't." He simply said. I stared at him.
He looked at his plate, swallowed hard, and then looked at me again. "Because I know this is my punishment for earlier. Because this is probably the only time you'll ever cook for me. So I'll eat it."
I stared at him in complete awe, shock and confusion. Was he serious? Wow. I'm... I'm touched.
"I might die. Call the ambulance immediately after I finish eating. And Poopy," Daniel gave me a weak smile. "It's been a short time but I'm glad I met you again."
As soon as he finished with his ridiculous last words, he stabbed the fork on the piece of hard meat (charcoal) on his plate and put it in his mouth.
Oh my God he's eating it! He's seriously eating it!
"Stop it stop it stop it!" I yelled like crazy. "You're gonna die! Hey! HEY!"
I took the empty plate in front of Daniel and placed it on the sink together with the pot. After washing them both with soap and water, I returned to where he was sitting--er--barely sitting. "You actually ate it all..."
He looked like he was this close to passing out. I think he's just overreacting. It wasn't that bad. "Of course."
I made a weird sound. Something like a snort or a sigh I don't know. But he looked so ridiculous right now.
I just want to know how my burger steak tasted. It was the first dish with meat I ever cooked in my life after all. I need feedback on what to do and what not to do next time.
If, there'll be a next time.
"I didn't force you to finish it all up you know," I'm totally not taking responsibility. It's his fault. He literally ate the whole thing. "So? How'd it taste like?"
"Exactly how it looked like," he replied. His face was resting on the table, his arms wrapped around his stomach. I had a sure guess what he meant, but I still had some hope left in me.
"So was it yummy?"
"It was yucky." He put emphasis on the last word.
I cringed when I saw his face. It was pale. And his expression looked lifeless. He wasn't like a zombie anymore, he was a zombie now! I turned him into one!
"Then why'd you eat the whole thing?! It had a serving for six people! That was suicide!'
"Mmrmpf..." He probably said something witty again but I couldn't understand him. He looked like he was going to throw up.
Oh my God. I killed him, didn't I?
This time, it was not attempted. Can you charge people with un-attempted murder? But that wasn't considered murder right? He did it to himself, so it was considered suicide right? Right?
"Hey wake up you idiot," my voice was shaking. "I'm not handing myself to the cops. I'm still a minor."
It was in perfect timing when our parents finally came home. I heard the car outside the house and I swallowed hard, waiting for them as I sat down there in the dining room, with my victim dead beside me. The evidence was already cleaned up.
When my mom entered, she had a look of excitement on her face. She was probably about to hug me and ask for some details when she stopped and pointed at the pale, motionless human on the table. "Oh my... what happened?"
"He's just sleeping," I chuckled nervously. "Probably won't wake up for a while. Or, ever."
Dad and Uncle John followed and entered the room as well to see how things were doing. They didn't notice Daniel yet, but what they did notice was the last trace of evidence proving that I really did kill him. "What's that foul smell?"
I can't keep lying now right? It was already obvious.
"Dinner," I replied with a straight face. I swear I saw my dad's eyes widen with horror. "I fed him--"
"Poisoned poop." Daniel groaned weakly.
I wanted to smack him hard but his dad was here.
"Ah, so you lived?"
Mom had a horrified look on her face. She placed her hand on her mouth while rubbing Daniel's back, somehow comforting him. "Honey... you... cooked?"
I had the urge to roll my eyes. "You left me in charge of dinner, remember? I'm not taking responsibility for his death."
Mom looked like she just realized what she did. So the fault-roots came back to her. Bleh. Uncle John gave me an unsure smile before putting his hand on Daniel's shoulder. "H-How was... it?"
Why do they all assume it was that horrible? They didn't even get to taste it.
The zombie slowly raised his head but it looked like he was having a hard time just doing that because his eyes didn't even bother opening anymore. "It was like chewing on glass."
"And the flavor?" mom asked sounding a bit hopeful.
"She killed it all." He deadpanned, followed by a long groan.
It had been over an hour since our parents came back. They already gave Daniel some medicine for his stomach and left him in the kitchen while they engaged in another conversation.
It was funny, seeing him like that. No, it was hilarious. I don't mind seeing him like that from time to time. Sweet revenge.
While my parents were busy discussing something with Uncle John, I approached my victim and casually played with his hair.
Making sure the adults weren't looking, I chuckled cruelly at his ear while tracing my finger back and forth his cheek.
And yes, the burn was gone. It wasn't that bad anyway. I'll just take my time teasing him as payback. "How'd you like my kiss of death, Sir Peanut Butter?"
I thought he was already passed out, so I was surprised when his hand made its way to my waist and pulled me in closer to him. I squeaked when I landed on his lap.
He still had the strength to do this?!
I glanced at the adults, I'm so glad they didn't notice. But this was a bad situation and our positions were quite compromising so I needed to get out. Now.
I glared at him and forced my way out but he held me firmly with a single arm in place. I couldn't see his face because it was buried on his other arm against the table. When I felt his hand crawl up my shorts, I panicked.
He just won't learn!
I quietly struggled to escape, hoping I won't make too much noise for them to notice. They were still inside the room, but their backs were against us. Somehow I think we were doing something illegal. And this is so embarrassing!
My hands finally broke free. I held his head and pulled his hair. "Let go of me damn it! Perv!"
He didn't reply nor look at me. He slid his hand in my pocket and I gasped in shock.
"Daniel!" I hissed through gritted teeth.
As soon as his hand left my pocket, he let go of me, and I quickly jumped away, breathing heavily. At the same time, our parents just finished what they were discussing. Uncle John gave me a nod and a small smile before helping his son up and to his car.
I was trying my best to look casual, and I tried steadying my rapid heartbeats. Curse that brat.
My dad opened the door for them and mom and I just followed them, looking with amusement at what ridiculous scene was playing right in front of us.
As they were about to leave the house, Daniel weakly looked at me for one last time with only one eye open. I shot him daggers.
After that, the door slammed close and they were gone.
Mom and dad gave me a small lecture, telling--no--begging me not to cook something like that again. Though they were partly joking, I still felt a bit offended. Probably noticing how I felt, mom offered to teach me how to cook properly on the weekends. I gladly agreed.
I went back to my room and sighed. It was such a long day. I'm exhausted. I saw my stuffed animals that idiot was playing with earlier on the floor and I grumpily put them back in place. I can't help recalling the last thing that happened here, and that thing at the dining room,
Why did he have to be such a pervert. Moron. Idiot. Butthead.
I held my fingers and smiled when I was sure the burn was already gone. He's a good guy at times but he can also be so stupid. I really wonder about him and what goes inside that butt of a head of his.
When I was about to sleep, I felt something in my pocket. Weird, I didn't put anything here earlier. I took what was inside it and I had to cover my mouth to prevent myself from screaming. Oh my God. Oh my God.
It was my blue hanky! How did it--
I remembered our little scene at the dining room. And the look on his face before they went home.
That sneaky little bastard. He had it all along? He just couldn't return it to me in a normal way?
Some realizations just hit me on the spot, and a wave of emotions passed through me. Happiness, confusion, mortification, annoyance. But in the end it was the happiness that overweighed everything.
I opened the crumpled hanky and checked if the initials were still there. I sighed and smiled when I saw it.
I don't care if I look ridiculous smiling like an idiot right now. Nobody's watching anyway.
The boy who gave this to me twelve years ago, was the same boy that returned this to me when I thought I already lost it.
I guess he's not such a bad guy after all.
And I'm sure he's going to do something stupid again tomorrow to prove me wrong, but I guess I'll look forward to that from now on huh?