Chapter 31 - Sharing the Bed
"Did Aunt Lizzy call you yet?" Ella asked as she and her best friend continued to chew on their chickens.
"Not yet," Poopy replied. "Maybe later."
The chicken was really good.
Before any more words were exchanged about that subject, I noticed Ella giving me a meaningful stare.
I raised a brow. I sense a tease coming our way.
After a little while, the tease I expected never came. Instead, she just sent me a sly grin.
I chuckled silently.
"How are things with you and Chie?" Poopy asked, completely unaware of her best friend's silent teasing.
Ella released a sigh as soon as she heard his name. Now that caught my attention.
Usually she'd be beaming to tell a story.
Did they fight or something?
"I really like him," she said, her lips tugging up into a sad smile. "But I'm still... Uncertain."
"How? Why?" Poopy asked, looking surprised herself with the sudden revelation.
"Well..." She took a deep breath before releasing it slowly. "I'm not sure where it's heading. I keep thinking about what'll happen to us once he goes back to London. We touched that subject once but he smoothly avoided it."
The expression on Ella's face caused Poopy to heave a sigh herself. She looked disappointed.
"He avoided it? Really?" She said with disbelief.
Ella was quick to come to his defense. She must've realized that what she said just made her best friend like him less.
"I mean, I don't know if he just doesn't want to talk about it since it's a rather... sad thing to talk about. But... Maybe he's just waiting for the right time to tell me what he's planning for the both of us?"
Sounds to me like that Chie guy is just going with the flow. But who am I to judge? I don't know his real intentions.
"Ella," Poopy said, her voice gentle yet strict. "How much do you trust him?"
She looked down. "Not enough. But I want to trust him. He's been really good to me after all."
Every time Poopy asked a question about him, Ella got defensive and answered them all vaguely, safely.
It seemed like there was nothing more she could say. The atmosphere got a bit tense, so Ella let out a breath of laughter to clear it up.
Even I felt bad watching her force a laugh. She was always so cheerful. She didn't have to pretend to be happy when we all knew she wasn't. But I guess this was already part of her personality.
"You guys probably think I'm stupid after hearing this, huh?" She snorted, finishing the last piece of chicken. "Well, I'm not sure where this thing is gonna go, but I'm just gonna go with it. I'm gonna risk my heart one more time."
"Ella..." Poopy held her best friend's arm, hoping to somehow comfort her.
Ella just smiled, then joked about her situation to somehow lighten the mood.
"I suck at relationships. But don't worry about it. At least I'll learn a thing or two. Accumulate more experience then maybe, just maybe, have enough luck to meet the right guy next time. That is, if this thing doesn't work out."
I felt sympathetic. The way she said that was like she had already accepted that she was gonna fail again.
No girl deserves to feel that way. I hope Poopy never has to feel this way. I'll make sure of it.
Sean suddenly crossed my mind. They dated before, didn't they? Just watching his actions towards Ella, I could tell he still liked her.
I was curious as to how things ended between them, what happened and why they were acting like nothing ever happened between them. Why they were acting like Tops and Anne at the moment.
I didn't realize that I had asked my question out loud.
"Why'd you and Sean break up?"
After the words fell out of my mouth, Poopy shot me a warning glare and I thought she was gonna throw her chicken bone at me.
"Sorry." I quickly apologized.
Way to go stupid mouth.
But Ella seemed to be cool about it. Like she was used to the question.
"He..." She looked down, her eyes narrowing. It looked like she hasn't completely moved on yet. "He didn't really love me so..."
I knitted my brows.
But he always looked crushed whenever he saw her.
"Wow this conversation is so depressing!" Ella stood up and laughed. "Let's stop here. If we continue, I might just end up crying like a baby."
We were all done eating so she helped clean the table and took out the trash. After a little while, she called her sister to come pick her up.
She and Poopy talked a bit more until Peyton finally arrived. Before she left, Poopy gave her a hug and she returned it wholeheartedly.
She then turned to me with an arched brow. "Take care of Tina, alright? I trust you."
I understood that look in her eyes. It meant don't treat my best friend the way I've been treated before.
I gave her a sad smile and a brief nod.
Now I felt responsible whatever Chie does to her. Ella was a close friend now. And she deserved so much better. If he ever hurts her, he'll have us to face.
"If anything happens, I'm only one call away." She beamed, waving us a goodbye. "Have a nice evening you two!"
"You know where the guest room is, right?" Poopy asked as the both of us climbed up the stairs.
I nodded at her.
Of course I knew where it was. That was where I hid after I walked in on her in the bathroom some time ago.
"Why didn't you close the door?" She asked, accusation present in her tone. I looked at her but she was already avoiding my gaze. She was still embarrassed about it.
I hid a smirk.
"Of the guest room? Well, the knob looked like it was gonna give out soon so I left it open." I nonchalantly replied. "And the bathroom, hmm. Because I was just gonna be quick so I didn't bother closing the door. I didn't expect a bold Poopy to walk in while I was changing--"
"Changing?" She interrupted. And then she scoffed loudly. "You were just standing there naked!"
She finally looked at me, her cheeks flushed in either anger or embarrassment. I held back from pinching it.
"Aah." I nodded in a sarcastic manner. "But so were you when I saw you before."
We were already in front of the guest room A.K.A my room for the next two nights, when she tugged my sleeve so I could listen more to her defensiveness.
"Back then I had just gotten out of the shower to get a towel." She said seriously.
I wanted to laugh. Why was she making a big deal out of this?
"Ahh." I nodded again with my usual sarcastic tone. "Then I'll use that excuse too."
"It's not an excuse. It's the truth!" She stomped her foot.
I just sent her a wild smirk, making her form an even more irritated look on her face.
"You'll get that frown embedded on your face if you always have it on." I said as I pressed on the wrinkle between her brows. "Regardless, you'd still be pretty. A pretty troll."
She spat words of protest and I just kept laughing.
When I grabbed the doorknob, we heard a faint sound-- like a click sound. I didn't mind it at first but when I turned the knob, it wouldn't budge.
"Did you lock it?" She asked. I shook my head. Then she raised a brow. "Well I didn't either. We're the only ones in this house. Who else would lock it?"
It was probably broken since it was so old already, but instead of telling her that, I decided to pull a little prank.
I slowly turned around to look at her, trying my best to look and sound as serious as possible. "I didn't lock it."
"Maybe you just forgot." She sighed. "I have a key. Wait, I'll go get it."
Before she could leave, I grabbed a hold of her wrist and stopped her. I was looking at the floor and then I slowly gazed up to her cautious eyes.
"Actually, before I went inside, I heard footsteps."
Her face paled immediately and her eyes were as wide as saucers. Oh God she was actually buying it.
It was so hard not to laugh.
"Stop joking around." She said as she turned around again to get the key. I stopped her again.
"I heard from my dad that the family that lived in this house before you guys died mysteriously. The doors and knobs of this place are probably from when they were still alive."
I swallowed hard, looking around us, causing her to make a panicked expression. "Don't you feel like someone's watching us?"
"Stop that!" She exclaimed, slapping my hand but only to hold it tight. I prevented myself from smirking like the little devil I was. "I-I'll go get the key."
She stuttered. Adorable.
"Don't leave my side." She mumbled as she dragged me to her room to get the key. After she took it out of her drawer, we went back to the guest room to open it.
She never let go of my hand the whole time.
I was smiling so widely as she led the way, and every time she turned around to check on me, I forced my smile into a stoic expression.
This was so fun.
If this was the only way for her to hold my hand with such fierce determination, I'd tell her scary stories everyday.
I noticed that not only was the knob old, but the key looked twice as old. I was afraid it'd break if not handled carefully.
Poopy knew this so she gently slid it inside the keyhole. Her shoulders were shaking so I decided to have a little more fun.
I made a little gasp but it was enough to catch her by pure surprise. She screamed and at the same time turned the knob with so much force, it broke inside the keyhole.
"What?! What?!" She slapped me before she hid behind me.
I stared in awe at what was left of the key on the floor. And then stared at the door of the room I won't be sleeping in tonight.
And then at the paranoid girl cowering behind me.
I knew that if I told her I was just fooling around, she'd get mad at me and maybe kick me out of the house, so I just continued with my little play.
"I thought I heard something." I said. She gulped so loud. She was too afraid to notice that she had broken the key.
"I..." She mumbled, holding on to my shirt. "I actually heard the footsteps earlier too."
This girl seriously. Aaaah. I just wanna hug her.
"Guess I'll be sleeping on the couch tonight," I announced, more to myself. It was my punishment for scaring her.
But she held my hand and acted really cute so it was worth it.
I was gonna make my way downstairs when she grabbed a tight hold of my wrist and gave me a look of determination. Or fear.
"Stay with me for a few hours."
This time, I couldn't help the smile that had crawled to my face.
I know. I'm evil.
I ran my thumb against her cheek. "Scared?"
"No." She said with a straight face, grabbing my other hand and led me to her room. She was too scared to be alone for even just a second.
I just held back my laughter.
It had been more than half an hour since we stayed in her room. I was reading my manga on my phone as my pretty companion just sat on her bed, being paranoid.
She just got out of the phone with her mom. She told her there was nothing to worry about and that she wanted the house blessed by a priest or exorcist as soon as they got back.
I wonder how Aunt Lizzy reacted to that.
I was debating whether to tell her that it was just a prank or not. But then I decided that sleeping on the couch was a better option than sleeping on the streets.
I locked my phone and slid it inside my pocket. It was kinda awkward now that we had nothing to keep ourselves busy.
I should probably start a conversation.
"So," I began, earning her attention. "Mind telling my why you were in a bad mood earlier?"
It was just a casual question. I didn't expect such violent reaction.
Her brows raised for just a bit until her eyes narrowed into slits. I suddenly felt my life in danger and backed away.
Why do I feel like I did something wrong again. Did she probably find out about my prank?
Instead of telling me what was wrong, she gave me the silent treatment. She looked away and ignored me for the next few minutes.
I groaned in my head. She was fine a while ago. Was it my question that got her moody again?
Now what do I do?
I tried asking her several times, tried opening up random topics to lighten up the mood but she still continued to ignore me.
I wanted to get mad too but I couldn't.
I just couldn't.
An hour of silence passed. My legs were falling asleep so I stood up to stretch them for a bit.
When she noticed that I got up, she quickly grabbed my wrist in a panic.
I raised my brows.
"Where are you going?" She asked.
I sent her a tired smile. I don't understand her at all. But I just can't resist her. "I thought you were mad at me. So you're finally talking to me again?"
Slowly and reluctantly, she let go of my wrist. She looked down and started ignoring me again.
I let out a light breath of laughter before stretching my legs. She kept peering over her shoulder, watching my every move.
Ahhh. I wonder what I did to make her this moody.
The only thing that I could think of is that she found out about my prank. Should I apologize?
"Hey?" I carefully said, sitting behind her. I gently placed a hand over her shoulder. "Can you look at me for a sec?"
After a short pause, she finally turned around to look at me. Her arms were folded, her face stern.
I smiled apologetically. Her expression softened. "Did I scare you?"
"What?" She asked.
"Are you still afraid of ghosts?"
She bit her lip and knitted her brows. I guess that was a yes then.
"I know our house is haunted." She said.
She really believed it.
Now I feel bad. But she was too adorable.
I held her hands and gave her a smile. Her expression didn't change. "I'll be right downstairs when you need me."
Her eyes widened like she had just realized that fact. "Oh."
"So don't worry." I said, trying to calm her down.
I felt like there was something else she wasn't telling me though. But I guess now's not the right time to ask about it.
"The extra blankets are in the guest room," she thought out loud. "And it's locked."
"Not a problem," I said, patting her head lovingly and then resting my hand on the crook of her neck. "We'll strip and feel each other's body heat to survive the ni--"
She slapped me just before I could finish my statement. She hissed and then rolled her eyes, but she eventually laughed.
"You never run out of ridiculous things to say."
"Are we okay now?" I asked, hopefully.
She shrugged her shoulders and looked away yet again. "Who knows."
"I should probably head down already." I said, making her look worried and scared again.
Truth was, I didn't want to leave too. But what else could I do? It's not like I could sleep with her in her room.
Well, I could, but...
I know I shouldn't.
I took the stuffed animal at the corner of her bed and placed it between her arm and chest.
"Just hug that thing and pretend it's me. Then you can sleep soundly tonight." I smirked.
She sent me a teasing glare before she rolled her eyes again.
"Sorry." She mumbled. Then she took her blanket and started folding it neatly. "It's cold tonight. You can take my blanket. It's warmer here in my room than downstairs anyway."
"No." I quickly stopped her. "It's fine. Really."
She didn't look convinced. I feel stupid for being happy she cares about me. Maybe she was just being hospitable but whatever. Let me believe what I want.
"I don't get cold easily." I said.
I patted her head again and pinched her cheek. She looked like she wanted to complain but she didn't.
There was an unsettling feeling. There were still a few things we needed to talk about but it was getting late. She needed to rest.
"Good night." I smiled at her as I closed the door.
I hope she doesn't think too much about the story I made up and lose sleep.
It's been hours since he left my room. I was still worried. It really was cold tonight. It started raining hard too.
Would he be comfortable sleeping in our couch? Without a blanket? It was probably freezing downstairs.
It was scary there at night too. But it was scarier here upstairs.
I've been tossing and turning in my bed for quite some time now. I can't sleep with so many thoughts running in my head.
The butthead, Anne, their friendship, their relationship, Ella, Chie's intentions, what she meant when she said Sean didn't really love her, exams, the story Daniel told me about our house, the footsteps...
I checked the clock and groaned. It was already two in the morning. I calculated the number of hours I had left before I had to get ready for school and groaned some more.
I heard from my friends that the demon hour was at three in the morning. The demon hour was where humans were most vulnerable and where ghosts and evil beings roamed around freely.
I gulped. It was almost three.
I forced myself to sleep but every little sound startled me. It didn't help that lighting flashed outside my window and loud thunder started rolling after it.
After a small while, I heard the wood creaking. I ignored it, convincing myself that I was just being paranoid, but then...
But then I heard footsteps.
In my room.
I quickly got up from my bed and held back a whimper. I took my blanket with me and stepped out of my room with all my courage.
I wanted to go to him. It was safer to be with him than to be alone.
The lights were already dim. Daniel must've turned them off when he went down.
I did my best not to look left or right because I was afraid of seeing something... someone. I felt like someone was watching me like what Daniel said earlier.
I did my best to be quiet too, in case the butthead was already asleep.
I sighed a huge breath of relief when I found him on our living room couch, sleeping soundly. Was he a heavy sleeper? The thunder was so loud.
I sat on the floor near the couch and clutched the blanket around me. This is so pathetic of me.
Well. I don't care anymore. As long as I'm not alone during the demon hour. I kept imaging that the guest room would burst open then a black figure would come out of it.
Just the thought of it sent shivers to my spine.
I looked at the sleeping butthead and noticed that he was hugging himself to keep warm.
I felt bad. How long did he endure the cold?
Lightning struck and then the loud thunder that followed made me jump. I clamped my mouth to stop the squeal that came out too.
I climbed up the couch where Daniel was sleeping and lied down next to him. I covered my blanket around the two of us and took a deep breath.
I don't know what the heck I'm doing anymore.
I felt his warm breath fan my face as I discreetly made myself comfortable. Lucky our couch was big enough to fit two people. But the space between us was close to nothing.
I watched his sleeping face. He looked so innocent. It was nice watching him sleep and not doing or saying anything stupid.
I felt the weight in my chest again. I wonder if he and Anne ever got this close.
I wonder if they ever kissed.
That stupid thought made the weight in my chest even heavier.
I sighed, trying to shrug it off. Why do I keep thinking about these things? I don't want to think about them, but they just keep circling around in my head.
I thought of Anne and Daniel's relationship. It made my heart clench.
I may have known him first, but she's known him longer. She knows things about him that I'm yet to find out. Or may never find out.
I feel so sad about it.
I know I can't do anything about it, and it's ridiculous to be mad at him about something like that, but I just can't help it.
What the hell happened to my sense of reason?
As I watched his face again and listened to his quiet breathing, I realized that I was doing something really stupid.
If he woke up now, I'm sure he'd start teasing me again. I had no energy for that. I had no excuse either.
I didn't want to go back to my room because I kept imagining that the black figure from the guest room was sitting on my bed, waiting for me.
I shuddered. No, no, no.
Why is my imagination so active at this very convenient timing?
But I can't stay here. I'll at least transfer to the other couch, though it was smaller.
Just twenty more minutes then I'll go there.
I felt like I was being rude, lying here next to him without his knowledge so I wanted to at least turn my back against him. At least give him some privacy since I already took up his space.
In the middle of my shift though, I felt his arms wrap around my waist, pulling me closer to his chest. I panicked, and I swear he could feel how loud my heartbeats were.
I looked up to see him watching me with sleepy eyes.
My breath hitched in my throat.
I was caught.
"Are you awake?" I whispered, just to be sure.
He mumbled something incoherently before he snuggled against my neck. "Yeah."
I didn't know how to react. I was too stunned to move. Too stiff. He probably thinks I have some ulterior motive.
I felt his lips brush against my neck before he met my eyes.
How did the dark and the faint traces of light coming from the windows make him look more attractive?
His voice was low too, since he was just asleep moments before I woke him up.
He blinked slowly as he stared into my eyes. The look in his eyes were tender, calming.
"Did you get scared again?" He asked, patting my head. I loved it when he patted my head. It was soothing and I felt safe.
I didn't have the strength to be stubborn so I just nodded my head. He was understanding and he wasn't mad that I practically crawled into the couch and squeezed myself to be right next to him.
Instead, he laid my head on his shoulder and scooted over a bit so I could be more comfortable with my position.
I had no idea what came over me, but I wrapped my arm around him and entangled our legs.
The close proximity and the warmth that came along with it was the best feeling ever.
I laid my cheek against his chest and listened to his quiet breathing. His chin was resting on the top of my head. His hand was on my back, tracing some shapes and then patting my back gently.
I know he's tired, but he's still doing these things for me. It was a nice feeling.
I closed my eyes as I sighed contentedly. All thoughts and doubts I had in my mind earlier had already vanished. I smiled to myself.
"Sleep well," he said, though I doubt that was already him talking in his sleep.
He pulled me closer and the warmth of his skin made me feel at ease. His breathing and heartbeats were like a lullaby. Eventually, without another care in the world, I fell asleep in his arms.