Chapter 32 - Say My Name
I groaned as I felt myself getting conscious.
It's gonna be hard trying to fall asleep again. I'm not gonna open my eyes so I won't have to wake up entirely. It's still dark. And I need more sleep.
What time is it anyway?
When I tried to shift into another position, I felt a weight against my arm, chest and legs.
I then felt a warmth around me. A blanket? And... Wait. There was someone sleeping beside me.
I slowly opened my eyes to see Poopy, comfortably lying against my arm, her face snuggled on my chest and her arm draped around my waist. Her legs were entangled on mine as well.
Is this a dream?
If it is, I don't wanna wake up.
After a few more seconds of staring at her face, touching her cheek and feeling her breath on my chest, I made a quiet gasp.
Okay. She's real. I'm awake now.
I came to my senses and remembered that she had come here a few hours ago because she was too afraid to sleep alone upstairs.
Watching her sleep so soundly made me feel like my heart was gonna burst.
What did I do to receive such a reward? This was a dream come true.
Wait. Maybe I am still dreaming?
She quietly stirred in her sleep and nestled on my neck. She hugged me tighter too. She wasn't aware of her actions while she was asleep. I doubt she'd do this if she were awake.
I just held my breath.
I can die a happy man.
Knowing this stubborn girl, she's gonna hit me the moment she wakes up. She's gonna deny that she was ever scared and I know I'm gonna end up teasing her again.
And if she's had enough with my teasing, she might never want to do this again. Ever.
As much as I loved sleeping beside her, I know she's gonna be awkward or embarrassed about this when she wakes up. She might even regret it, and I don't want that.
So I decided to carry her back to her room.
It was still dark, but I knew it was already close to dawn.
She seemed like she was really tired since she didn't notice me carrying her up to her room at all.
As soon as I finished with that task, I tucked her in with her blanket and she made a little sound before she shifted into a more comfortable position.
I smiled at the lovely sight before me. Ahh. Now I instantly regret bringing her back here. I want her back in my arms.
I'm envious of that pillow she was snuggling right now.
After bringing her here and watching her sleep soundly, I felt satisfied. Maybe that triggered my drowsiness.
I sat on the floor beside her bed and took my phone out. It was only an hour and a half before wake-up time. Ugh.
I also saw an unread message. It was from Tops.
| Served you right. Egghead. |
He sent this hours ago but I only just read it now. Huh. He must be referring to our last egg battle.
Instead of replying a smart comeback, I texted him my thoughts about Chie, and asked him to investigate.
About his intentions with us and his intentions with Ella.
I just can't seem to sit still about it.
My eyelids were getting heavier by the second. I should probably go back down now. I won't hear the end of it when she wakes up and finds me here.
But... Let me just shut my eyes for five minutes.
I knitted my brows at the light annoyingly teasing my eyes. It was morning. I had to get up for school.
I blindly searched for my phone under my pillow and checked the time. When I saw how I only had a few minutes left to get ready, I got up immediately.
I jumped out of bed and hurried to the bathroom. I took a five-minute shower and then ran back to my room. Only then did I notice a sleeping butthead on the floor.
How did he end up there?
After a few seconds of contemplating my thoughts, I suddenly remembered what happened last night and what I did.
So he carried me back to my room after I fell asleep? And stayed with me here?
Why did he have to act like such a gentleman? I really didn't mind. I took a deep breath. I feel rather guilty about it. He looked so tired.
And he slept on the floor. No doubt he's gonna complain about how his back is gonna hurt again.
Ahh. Stop thinking, stop stalling. I should wake him up. We were gonna be late.
My hand was already reaching towards his shoulder when I realized I was only wearing a towel. I winced at how rashly I acted because of my hurry. That, and a rush of embarrassment entered my system when I thought about last night.
How should I face him when he wakes up? Should I act cool about it? Should I apologize?
He even carried me back up here. Maybe he hated it? Oh, God. What else did I do when I was asleep? I hope I didn't do anything stupid. I hope he didn't hate it too much. I hope he's not disappointed in me or anything.
I shook all unnecessary thoughts away. There was no time left to think like this. I should probably get dressed then wake up him.
I had to be quick, silent and careful.
I tiptoed away from him, careful not to make the floor creak loud enough for him to wake up. I was staring at his sleeping face the whole time and got a bit distracted. In my hurry to gather my things, my clumsiness decided to take the spotlight and I ended up slipping on the wet floor.
As fate loved toying with me, I almost landed on the butthead. I was lucky enough to grab a hold of the side of my bed so I wouldn't crush him with my body and wake him up unintentionally.
So yeah, damn it, I was currently hovering right above the butthead. The angle of my fall was too freakin' convenient. I just know there was some sort of force out there playing with me.
This can't be happening. It's too cliché.
How the hell can I get out of this situation?!
I wanna cry.
I was shaking because I knew I couldn't maintain my sense of equilibrium for so long. I was still in shock of what I had done and made mental curses at myself. My hair fell from my shoulders and since it was still wet, it started to drip.
I tried to move around so the drop would miss his face but then the foot that was carrying my weight slipped. I lost my balance and collapsed heavily on Daniel's chest.
He woke up with a grunt. I was still shaking to force myself to get up. Why is my body betraying me at a time like this?!
When he saw me on top of him, he made a weird sound, like a sigh or a whine. Then he tilted my chin up and gave me a lazy grin.
"Good morning to you too, Poopy."
I could feel the heat travelling from my neck to my ears. This was..! Oh my God! Help!
I tried to escape the humiliating situation by crawling backwards as fast as I possibly could. I was lucky enough to not slip this time, but this time, my abrupt movements just caused my towel to loosen.
I didn't realize what had happened next until I saw the look on Daniel's face.
My towel opened right in front of him just like curtains from a theater, flashing him a close-up, perfect view of my chest.
Needless to say, his eyes shot wide open at the sight.
I screamed and smacked him before I got up, clutched my towel and ran back to the bathroom with my uniform. I slipped a few times but I didn't care anymore.
I was still shaking from the humiliation. Oh my God why! Why me?! There's no way I can face him like this!
I can't even look at myself in the mirror right now!
I was still pacing in the bathroom, heart pounding and building up the determination to skip school and stay here until he goes away. But then I heard a knock on the door.
I slightly jumped from the surprise. I was too flustered. "Go away!"
I could hear him chuckling from the other side of the door. Why can't a black-hole just suddenly appear so I can jump inside it and escape this horrendous situation?
"What do you want for breakfast?"
His words made me think for a while. Was he pretending like nothing happened for me? No, no. Knowing him, he wouldn't pass up such an opportunity to tease me about it.
I didn't reply for a few seconds. He was just waiting outside.
"I'm not hungry." I mumbled, hoping he'd go away already. "Go have breakfast by yourself."
He made a long sigh. I raised a brow.
"I can't," he said. "I'm already full."
Full? But he just woke up.
"Yup," he said again, like he heard my thoughts. I could practically hear him grinning when he said his next words. "I'm fully satisfied with God's most beautiful creations. And I'm finally beginning to appreciate this photographic memory--"
"PISS OFF YOU PERVERT!"
The ride to school was silent. I was still sulking and ignoring the stupid perv in the driver's seat, and the stupid perv was grinning ear to ear since the incident.
After a few more minutes of an awkward silence (in my part anyway), he spoke up.
"You know, these naked accidents have become a normal occurrence between us already. Don't you think we should do something about it?" He said, as if it was a matter that needed to be taken care of seriously.
"I think fate's trying to tell us something." He added.
When I didn't reply for a few seconds, he turned his head away from the peaceful road for a few seconds to send me a cool smirk.
"Want me to take responsibility for all of it?"
We arrived at school shortly, and I was still ignoring him. I was walking ahead of him, and I could just hear him laughing quietly from behind. This was so embarrassing. But at least it's better than him getting all awkward.
He's already seen it before anyway so--
No no no no shut up shut up Tina. It's like you're okay with him seeing your naked body again.
I mean, it's not that bad.
I mean I'm glad it was Daniel who saw it.
I mean it's not like he didn't like it.
I mean what?
What the heck am I thinking? Why does it feel like I'm giving in? God. Just stop thinking. Stop thinking! Shoo thoughts! Shoo!
Anne and Ella walked by my desk as soon as I sat down. The documents I was supposed to receive from the council members this morning was already left on my desk since I was a bit late.
Both of them were practically glowing. I know they were just dying to hear about what happened last night after Ella left.
Too bad. My lips were sealed. I'm not disclosing the humiliating incident that happened this morning. Never.
I made a face at them and they just giggled, probably reading my thoughts. I took a deep breath and silently released it when I looked at Anne.
She was really pretty. She was pretty and cheerful. She's known Daniel longer than me. She knows his secrets. She's seen how much he's changed since he was a kid.
It'd make a lot of sense if they liked each other at some point.
That thought just poked my heart, and not in a good way. My chest was tightening and it was a rather uncomfortable feeling. And guilt. I was feeling guilt.
Why am I so upset about my speculations? Why do I feel some sort of unpleasant feeling towards Anne? She's a friend. And I know she likes Kristopher. I know I'm just thinking too much.
I know it. But I just can't stop my thoughts. I hate my thoughts. So much.
When they figured that they wouldn't get anything out of me, they decided to interrogate Daniel, which was also a failed mission because he was at the back of the classroom, chatting with Kristopher and Sean.
The three of them looked like they were having a serious discussion, but I had no doubt it was about that comic book they were so crazy about.
Seeing him with those two made Anne and Ella back off. Figures. Ella and Sean; Anne and Kristopher. The four of them got some unresolved issues after all.
The looks on their faces when they looked at the boys was kind of heart-wrenching. I wish we could sit down some time and talk about it. Because even though they just smile it off and put on some cheerful show, I know it was tearing them apart.
As much as I wanted to help them, I don't know how. All I could do was listen. But at the moment, the two of them seemed like they weren't ready to talk about it yet.
I'll just do my part as a good friend and wait patiently until they open up to me.
As expected, they shook the grim expressions on their faces and grinned widely at me. They were so alike.
They decided to postpone the interrogation some other time and jumped to the next topic. It sounded forced. They were trying.
I hid a smile as they chatted their heavy hearts away. I hope someday, all our misunderstandings will get cleared out. And we won't have to fake being fine anymore.
It was finally lunch break.
Poopy was still ignoring me, and I didn't mind. It was cute how she was acting all obvious and flustered.
It was a good thing for my part too, because if she acted all cool about it or if she talked to me like nothing ever happened, I think it'd be me getting all flustered. Maybe.
And I might not be able to stop my x-ray eyes if she faces me.
Well, even if I may be able to stop that since she was avoiding me at the moment, I can't stop the memory from replaying in my head for the hundredth time today.
It was already a great morning to see her lovely face so close to mine as soon as I woke up. The second part was just a bonus.
I think I'm gonna replay it a hundred times more.
Ah. If she knows what I'm thinking, I'll be killed on the spot.
Unholy thoughts, disperse.
She and Ella went ahead to have lunch at the rooftop. Tops and Sean went somewhere. They were talking about it earlier but I wasn't paying attention because I was still giddy about last night.
I had her in my arms. She slept in my arms. There was an angel in my arms last night. I still can't believe it.
I tried to hide my wide smile because people might think I'd lost it. I was about to catch up to the girls at the rooftop when Anne grabbed my arm out of nowhere and pulled me to an empty classroom. I silently groaned, knowing what she was gonna talk about.
"So how was it? How was the first night? Were you romantic?"
I knew it. She probably couldn't extract any information from Poopy, so now she's trying to get it out of me.
I sighed and earned a huge grin in response. I still can't understand how this girl's mind works. "It was fine. It was decent."
It was the best night of my life. I forced myself not to let it show on my face. I prefer keeping that moment a secret. It was a precious memory for me.
She pouted and rolled her eyes. "I don't believe you. There's gotta be at least some kissing action."
I shook my head honestly. She looked intrigued. "There's none, Anne. I promised her I wouldn't kiss her until we're... um... official."
When I said that, both her brows raised. First she looked confused, then she looked like she realized something, then she looked excited.
The transition of expressions was so fast.
"Awww," she cooed, pinching my arm, much to my annoyance. "You are such a sweetheart Danny. You guys are so cute I swear."
There was this weird look in Anne's eyes that made me think. It was like deja vu. It was like those times she wanted to ask me something else but was hesitating. She was stalling.
I sighed. Of course. It was always like this. Anne isn't honest with herself at all.
"When are you and Tops gonna make up already?"
Her eyes widened and as I had expected, she changed the subject. It was too abrupt, too obvious.
"You know, I think you should start calling Tina by her actual name." She said.
"I think you should talk to Tops already." I mimicked her way of speaking.
She pouted at me and I just shrugged my shoulders. What I said wasn't wrong though. The both of them should just suck it up and talk. It's been three years now. I know both of them want to make up already, but they're either too scared or too proud.
Knowing she wasn't ready for that kind of conversation yet, I sighed again.
"Can I go now? Poopy's at the rooftop having lunch without me."
Anne snorted as she rolled her eyes. "Fine, but listen to me. How the heck is she gonna take you seriously if you keep calling her Poopy?"
"But that's her nickname," I argued like a child.
She folded her arms against her chest. "Yeah, that you gave her when you were what, six?"
I looked up to think and slowly scratched the back of my head. "Calling her by her actual name is... I don't know. Awkward?"
I wasn't used to it. That's for sure.
"So calling her Poopy sounds more natural-no, more normal, than calling her by her actual name? Oh, genius."
"Shut up. You call Tops by his nickname too."
"Well Tops is a nickname that has nothing to do with human excretion Danny, so it's acceptable."
I made a face at her. "Don't ruin the nickname."
"I'm not ruining the nickname." She laughed, waving an airy hand at me. "It's adorable, yeah, but keep things in moderation. Admit it. It sounds like a kid version of Shitty. What girl would want to be called Shitty by her lover?"
To defend myself and the nickname, I brought up what I observed in school.
"I heard some girls in class calling their boyfriends bae. Or was it bæ? Isn't that a Danish word for poop? See, everyone does it."
"Wait what really?" She looked genuinely surprised. "Bae means before anyone else."
It was my turn to look surprised with the new piece of information. Who the heck made that up? "Oh. I thought they were just cursing those guys in another language. In Icelandic it even means bye."
Anne shook her head. "I'm more surprised at the fact that you don't know what bae means. I mean, back to what we were talking about! You're changing the subject!"
I silently groaned. Damn it.
"What does Tina call you again?" She asked, as if this matter was as serious as she was making it sound to be.
"Butthead." I mumbled.
She grinned wickedly as she put a hand to her waist. "So in other words, asshead. You two are so perfect for each other."
I rolled my eyes. "Can I go now?"
"No." She deadpanned. "Try calling her by her real name. C'mon. Say it."
"This is a waste of time."
She looked determined and it seemed like I wasn't going anywhere near my lunch unless I do what she says. I made a mental groan.
Calling Poopy by her actual name? It sounded simple, but I don't know if I can say it. I mean. I've only said her name once I guess. I think. I'm already used to calling her by her childhood nickname.
And I feel like calling her by her actual name is too... intimate? Wait. What the heck am I talking about?
Why the heck am I getting nervous just by thinking of saying her name out loud? What is wrong with me?
"Say it." Anne demanded for the second time.
I swallowed hard and tried it, so I could go already.
I bit my tongue mid-syllable.
God that was horrible.
Anne stared at me with a blank expression for a few seconds until she commented. "Funny."
Then she took her phone out. "Say it again. I'll record it and show it to Tina."
"Shut up." I grumbled; feeling a tad bit embarrassed. I left the classroom without another word. She enjoyed my little dilemma and kept laughing at me until I left. I could still hear her laughter from the stairs to the rooftop.
Maybe I should start calling her by her real name already. Despite being annoying, Anne has a point. Maybe she won't take me seriously if I keep calling her by her nickname.
I should practice. I can do that. Yeah.
Just... Just gradually. Until the both of us get used to it.
"Kristina." I said while walking up the stairs. "Kristina. Kristina. Kristina. Krist-"
I bit my tongue again.
God damn it.
He's weird today.
Not that he's not already weird to begin with, but today he seems... I don't know. Unusual?
Classes were over and we were both in his car, already on the way home. I had mentally prepared myself since this morning for the incoming teases but much to my disappointment, I received none.
I mean, it was great that he wasn't being a jerk, but it somehow felt strange.
Ever since lunch he hasn't said a word to me. I mean, he was looking at me like he wanted to say something, but after a few seconds, he sighed and shook his head like a failure.
He did that routine for about twenty-three times until the bell rang. Ella was just as confused as I was. We didn't bother asking him about it though. He already looked troubled enough.
It looked quite pitiful honestly.
When we were at the front porch, I grabbed the keys from my bag so I could unlock the door. In the middle of that, I heard Daniel mumbling something incoherent from behind.
I turned around and looked at him. I raised a brow. "Did you say something?"
He stared at me for a few seconds. "Nope."
I turned back to the knob and successfully unlocked the door. When I opened it so we could go inside, Daniel cleared his throat.
"What do you wanna eat for dinner, Kristina?"
I stopped in my tracks.
I just blinked for a few times until I tilted my head, confused. Did I hear that right?
I turned to look at him again. "What did you say?"
He pressed his lips together and winced. If I wasn't mistaken, it seemed like he was giving himself a mental slap in the face.
I raised my brows at him as I pointed a finger at him then at me. "Did you just call me Kristina?"
"Pizza it is then." He quickly said as he went ahead inside my house and headed straight for the phone.
I tilted my head again. Maybe I heard wrong.
After I changed out of my uniform in my room, I walked back downstairs only to find Daniel mumbling to himself in the living room.
Okay, now I'm scared.
Was he talking to ghosts or something?
I thought I was gonna be worried about how I should explain to him why I crawled to his embrace in the couch last night, but I guess I was wrong.
I was more worried about what the heck was going on with him. Did something happen? Was he possessed?
When he saw me approaching the living room, he placed a hand on the back of his head and avoided all eye-contact. "Hey... Kristina. I ordered pepperoni and cheese. And some hot wings."
This time, I definitely heard right. He called me by my name.
It was so awkward. But I can't understand why my heart skipped a beat.
I sat on the couch he was sitting on and folded my arms against my chest. I sent him a semi-glare. "Are you making fun of me? Is this some sort of new teasing? You wanna fight me?"
He shook his head quickly and released a hearty laugh. He then sent me a quiet smile. "Nah, I'm just practicing."
"Why?" I asked. "What's your motive?"
"There's no motive." He replied in all seriousness. "I just thought that maybe I should start calling you by your actual name by now."
I was suspicious.
"For what reason?"
He shrugged his shoulders as he scooted closer to me. He took my hand and held our palms up against each other. He then interlinked our fingers as he sent me a sweet smile.
"Well, for starters, I really like you." He said. I tried to control my breathing. "And I want you to take me seriously."
I raised a brow again. He tightened his grip on my hand as I stared at him confused. "What makes you think I'm not taking you seriously?"
"I don't know." He chuckled. "But Kristina's your name. And it's a pretty name. I'm gonna call you that from now on."
I felt saddened for some reason. "So no more Poopy?"
He stared at me before he burst into a fit of chuckles. I felt embarrassed and I immediately tried to withdraw my hand but he pulled me into a hug without much warning.
My chin was resting on his broad shoulder as he continued laughing. The pout never left my face. Was he making fun of me?
"I like Poopy. And I like Kristina. So I'm calling the girl I like by both her name and her nickname. Depends on the occasion." He said, still laughing.
This wasn't really a big deal, what he was gonna call me, but it felt like it was a step forward. I don't know? What the hell am I even talking about?
But whatever. I didn't want to think too much about it again.
The hug was nice though. It comforted me of my unpleasant thoughts and it got me thinking about last night.
"Hey," he said, distracting me from recalling it. "Remember what happened in this couch last night?"
I immediately understood what he was talking about since I was just thinking about it, and I sensed another tease coming so I quickly pulled out of the hug and walked away like it was none of my business.
My heart beat so fast and I was afraid he would feel it. I was still pretty embarrassed about it. I still can't believe I did that. But I didn't regret it.
Daniel just laughed heartily as I stormed my way back to my room.