The Engineer & The Physicist

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Chapter 5: Rest

JANNE

Janne went out of his apartment and sighed, “My alarm goes off every 5 freaking minutes but it won’t really work if I keep shutting them off instead of waking up.”

He started to walk and then checked his wristwatch. It was 8:20 am. Janne shrugged his shoulders, “Oh well, it’s normal for a girl to be late, right?” he convinced himself.

“Wait,” he said after walking for some minutes. He squinted his eyes and saw a figure of a bespectacled-curly hair girl eating a donut inside a 7/11, “Isn’t that..” he trailed off and walked faster.

“Darn, don’t tell me she’s been waiting for 25 freaking minutes?” he thought.

Janne opened the door and the chime rang. Upon hearing the sound, Cadence raised her head and found Janne in her line of sight. She smiled, “Hi.”

“That smile ain’t fake, right? She’s not angry?” Janne thought.

Janne smiled awkwardly and approached Cadence. Janne noticed the girl’s clothes. She was wearing a yellow polo shirt with color white hem lines, below the knee jean shorts, a pair of black sneakers, and a black sling bag.

“Um. Sorry. How long have you been waiting?” Janne asked. Cadence stood up and finished her choco butternut donut, “Well, I don’t want you to feel guilty.” Cadence responded. Janne’s forehead curled up as they stroll towards the door.

“Why? What time did you get here?” Janne asked then opened the door for Cadence. He followed after the girl went outside.

“Hmm,” Cadence said and thought for a second, “7:45, I guess?”

“7:4-?” Janne responded, “Oh darn, sorry.”

“Don’t be. It was hard to have a jeepney ride outside Panello after 6 so I intentionally left early.” Cadence replied then tapped Janne’s shoulder. She gestured the jeepney to stop and they climbed inside. Both of them gave their fare to the driver and they settled beside each other.

“So,” Cadence said, shoving her waste into her bag and putting it on her lap, “This is gonna be a long ride.” She added and looked at Janne. The latter nodded, “Yes. Not to mention that we also need to ride another jeepney after this.” He replied.

Cadence leaned forward and nested both of her elbows on her thighs. Her palms rested at the center and she gently stomped her feet as if she was creating a beat. The jeepney only had six passengers on it so Cadence could sit whatever she wanted.

Janne observed Cadence’s position and unconsciously tilted his head a bit, “She sits like a guy.” He thought and then stared at this own sitting position. Janne had his legs crossed, his arms folded across his chest while his jacket was disheveled on his sides, and his grey drawstring bag on his back.

“Anyways, is there something you want to talk about?” Cadence asked. Janne shrugged his shoulders, “I don’t know.” He honestly replied. Socializing was not really his thing in the first place.

“Hmm,” Cadence thought, “What anime genres do you watch the most?” she asked.

“Well, anything that piques my interest.” Janne replied. Cadence pursed her lips, “So vague. Hmm, what was the last anime you watched?” she asked.

“Kaguya-sama: Love is War.” He replied. He was not sure if he it was his imagination but he barely saw how Cadence’s eyebrows flinched in a matter of seconds. He looked puzzled.

“What?” he asked. Cadence lightly laughed, “Well, I expected you to be more of like a shounen-type of otaku.” She said. Janne rolled his eyes, “Well, sorry to disappoint I guess.”

“Hey, I was just kidding.” Cadence said and brought out her tongue, “Or not.” She added.

“Anyways, in my case, I’m more of a shounen, shoujou, fantasy, slice of life, mystery, thriller, sci-fi, or horror anime. I really don’t like watching romance.” Cadence said. Janne nodded, “People have their own references.”

“Hmm..” Cadence trailed off while staring outside the jeepney, thinking about a topic of conversation they could discuss about. Janne waited for her cue. Cadence leaned back then looked at Janne.

“What do you think about the LGBT Community?” Cadence asked.

“Straightforward, I see.” Janne thought.

“Oof, let’s just say I respect them as people but let’s not go further because I don’t want to offend anyone.” Janne replied. Cadence simply averted her eyes and felt quite uneasy, “Thank you for your honest response.” She said.

“How did you become like that though? I mean,” Janne said, trying to find for right words, “What are the factors that made you realize that you’re not…straight?” Janne asked.

“It’s just my theory but I think the absence of a mother figure or a father figure has something to do with shaping an individual’s sexuality,” Cadence said then shook her head, “But I think in my case, it’s not.” She added then looked at Janne, “Do you want me to continue?”

“Well, if it’s okay with you. I’m listening.” Janne said. Cadence sighed, “As far as I remember, I was not really attracted to guys at all. Even if my friends shove me pictures of topless men, displaying their so called muscles and all, or just typical guys that they label as hot, I just don’t feel a thing.” Cadence said.

“But with a girl’s body you can fee—”

“No.” Cadence quickly replied and lightly laughed, “I know that you witnessed one of my affiliations with a girl but honestly, I didn’t have any romantic relationships at all. You can say that I’m still NGSB or NBSB.” She said. Janne nodded a few times, “And then?”

“When I was in my 8th grade, I was forced to join the Intramurals because the basketball team needs another member to proceed. I’m not athletic. If anything, I’m the last person you’ll expect to participate in sports.” Cadence said.

“Even in board games?” Janne butted in. Cadence rolled her eyes while smiling, “Shh. I’ll tell you later in my story.”

“So, “Cadence continued, “When my team was already done competing, I was just at the corner watching the game. Our phones were confiscated and I didn’t really have anything to unleash my boredom on. And then, I saw this girl.”

“Wow. So you experienced love at first sight?” Janne teased. Cadence just rolled her eyes and motioned her hands, “I guess?”

“Let’s just call her N. She was excellent at playing basketball, beautiful yet handsome at the same time. Maybe it was that time that I found someone as hot. Her skin was so white that her veins were visible, her straight long hair was adorned with a cap and she wore a jersey. Everything about her is just so attractive for my 8th grade self.Cadence muttered.

“You sound like a fan girl.” Janne commented but Cadence ignored it.

“But that time, I was not aware that I was attracted to her. I just know that I admired her. Now, when the class didn’t have any representative to play Chess, again, I was forced to compete just because I knew how to play. But in fact, I suck at it.” Cadence added.

Janne grinned, “Loser.” He teased. Cadence just playfully rolled her eyes.

“And then, here’s the catch. The one that I’m competing with is no other than N! I knew, I already sucked at sports, even in board games, but my mind just went completely blank when I was in front of her. I just found myself checking her out. My hands were even trembling that time and I can still remember that I was also sweating and my heart beated faster the longer I was with her. In the end, I lost the game.” Cadence said.

Janne laughed and said, emphasizing every syllable, “Pathetic.”

“Shut up, smart dude.” Cadence replied cheekily.

“So yeah, after that, as a curious teenager, I started exploring more about my sexual orientation. Flirting became my nature, and as what you’ve experienced in the pub, I tend to approach girls like that.” Cadence said.

“You know,” Janne said, “When I was young, I also questioned my gender.” He added. Cadence’s eyes widened, “Really?”

Janne laughed, “Hey, woman. Don’t get your hopes up. I’m not one of your kind.” He said and continued, “My friends were all girls. I sometimes act like a girl, or even talk like one. Heck, I even look like one because of my facial features and body frame. So, I questioned my gender, but as I grew up, I realized that..”Janne trailed off. Cadence’s face was still waiting for his statement, “That?” Cadence asked.

Janne smirked, “That I don’t really give a damn.” He added. Cadence frowned, “What?”

“I don’t give a damn if I’m kinda feminine in their eyes. I am a man with weird habits, an eccentric if you will. I will act the way I want to and they can try to stop me. As I mentioned in our first meeting, I am just not within the margin of this society’s stereotypes.” Janne explained.

In that moment, Cadence’s tongue became numb as she looked at Janne’s charcoal eyes. The time seemed to stop and Cadence’s heart just skipped a beat. She didn’t know why she felt a tingling sensation in her stomach just by admiring the person right in front of her.

“Damn, why am I so attracted to weird people?” she thought.

Cadence blinked, “You’re really unique.” She said. Janne smiled and made a Jojo pose, “I know right.” He said. Cadence giggled, “You look funny.”

Janne switched his cross legs, “So technically, you flirt with anyone?” he asked. Cadence shook her head, “No. I only do that with girls.” She replied that earned her an eyebrow raise from Janne.

“But as far as I remember, she had her attempts to flirt with me. Weird.” He thought.

When they arrived at the checkpoint, they climb down the jeepney and then went into the other one that would take them to UPLB. After giving their fares, Cadence turned her head towards Janne.

“Anyways, how about you? Care to tell me if a smart dude like you has his own love life?” Cadence asked with a playful tone. Janne smirked and replied, “Of course.”

Cadence’s dark brown eyes widened, “Really?” she asked. Janne grinned and tilted his head a bit, “Well, it’s a bit complicated; I wouldn’t exactly call it a love life.

“What do you call it, then?” Cadence asked.

“A series of romantic events.” Janne said bitterly. Cadence faked a pain expression and mumbled, “Ouch.” Janne grinned.

“Hmmmm, I guess you can say that I’m a bit of a flirt myself. I have a girl bestfriend named Belle and I’ve liked her ever since high school.” Janne said. Cadence leaned closer until their shoulders touched. Janne simply ignored the tiny flow of electricity from the contact.

“What is she like?” Cadence asked.

“She’s actually my type—long hair with glasses. She’s really pretty and is about the same height I am. She’s kind and well, she’s my best friend so we know each other a lot.” Janne said. Cadence simply glimpsed on her curly hair and lifted her glasses. She cleared her throat.

“Guess only my glasses fit his ideal girl.” Cadence thought.

“What? Do you want him to like you, asshat?” Her brain counted. She stopped herself from rolling her eyeballs in real life.

“Is she smart like you?” Cadence asked. Janne smirked and replied without blinking, “No.”

“Wow, what a bold answer.” Cadence commented.

“Well you asked me if she’s smart and my definition of smart is someone smarter than I am.” Janne pointed out. Cadence gestured her hand while frowning, “Okay, okay, smart dude.” She said and grinned.

“Did she know that you have a crush on her?” Cadence asked that earned her a nod from Janne. Cadence looked at his charcoal eyes, “What did she say?”

“Well I confessed to her but she didn’t really feel the same, so I tried to keep our relationship as best friends.” Janne said as he gave a light smile.

“Oh,’ Cadence said, “I see.” Cadence looked down at their feet.

“Things didn’t go awkward?” Cadence asked.

“It did, she did her best to ignore me until Christmas which was about 2 or 3 months I think but we went back to being best friends.” Janne said. Cadence smiled and looked up, staring at the passing images of the City. Suddenly, a song resonated in the Jeepney and the lyrics came clear in their ears.

And I don’t wanna ruin what we have
Love is so unpredictable
But it’s the risk that I’m taking, hoping, praying
You’d fall in love with your best friend

Cadence jerked her head towards Janne and they both laughed.

“The song hits the bullseye.” Cadence said.

“It’s doing its job right.” Janne agreed.

“Aside from Belle, do you have other girls that you’ve had a crush on?” Cadence asked. Janne reached for the shaft at the ceiling of the jeepney and leaned his chin on his elbow. He flashed his smug face.

“Well, when I was young, there was this girl named Paula who gave me a heart-shaped magnet. Being a nerd, I played with it and thought, Whoa, cool, a magnet! Well in fact, she was already confessing her feelings for me.” Janne said. Cadence chuckled, “Dense shit.”

“Shut up.” Janne jokingly said.

“Then, in our prom, she told me that she’ll say something important to me after the event. I was like, okay but it didn’t happen. I was too bored so I’ve gone home early while she was always invited to dance simultaneously by other guys.” Janne added.

“She must really be pretty.” Cadence said. Janne smirked, “She is.”

“Did you know what she was about to say supposedly after the event?” Cadence asked.

“Yes. I talked to her at school and asked her about it, and she replied, I bet you already know it. So I just shrugged and said, yeah.” Janne said, prolonging the e syllable of the last word. Cadence face palmed, “You’re not dense. You just don’t freaking care!”

“And there’s another one.” Janne said.

“Okay, I’m listening.” Cadence said.

“Well, it’s just a simple crush with our class president. Her name is Karla. She was the valedictorian of the class and she’s also pretty.” Janne said.

“Hmm, beauty and brains?” Cadence muttered. Janne nodded, “Beauty and brains.”

“But now, do you have a girlfriend?” Cadence asked and darted Janne a glance. Janne smirked, “Me? A girlfriend? Ha! What do you think I am? A normie?”

Cadence rolled her eyes and chuckled, “Yeah right.”

“We’re here.” Janne said and climb down the jeepney. Cadence followed and she instantly felt the cold breeze that UPLB manifest. She didn’t feel cold though. She liked how the wind embraced her skin as they walk around.

“So, what’s the name of your building again?” Janne asked. Cadence looked at her phone and brought out the image of her test permit.

“It’s an Agriculture something something Lecture Hall.” Cadence replied.

“Hmm,” Janne said, “When I was studying here, I didn’t really wander around the departments of Agriculture, Forestry and anything upon that list. I was just in Animal Science and CAS.” Janne added.

“Okay.” Cadence replied, “This is gonna be a long walk.”

Janne chuckled, “Well, I was a UP student, walks are nothing to me.” He said. Cadence giggled and looked ahead. She squinted her eyes and even lifted her glasses to get a better view. A familiar fat man with glasses, holding a phone in his hands as if he was checking if the Carabao Park was the right place that he was looking for; Cadence tilted her head a bit.

“Isn’t that..” Cadence didn’t finish what she was saying because her companion ran off from her side. She watched Janne back away and run from the fat man to make him stumble. When the pedobear noticed what Janne just did, he ran after him. Cadence shook her head and flashed an amused smile.

“Weirdos.” She mumbled as she walked towards the two. Clearly, she wasn’t fit enough to run like what Erland and Janne was doing at the moment. Aside from this, she was too lazy to move her body in order to chase the two. In result, she just waited and watched them as if they were an entertaining TV Series.

“Why are we even running?!”

“I don’t know! You started running so I chased you!”

“Hahahaha! Pathetic!”

After some minutes, the two gasped for air while laughing like maniacs.

“You run like a turtle!”

“No, pedo! You’re just fast from chasing lolis and running away from cops!”

When things calmed down, Janne and Cadence asked about the building but Erland didn’t know where it was. The pedobear tried to help them for an hour but he also left because he had some things to attend to.

The two continue to walk around the Campus. They ambled around the bridge, the farms, various buildings, 7/11, and finally, to the Agriculture department. For starters, the department was composed of three buildings set apart from each other by some kind of field.

“Hmm, where is it?” Janne wondered as he tried to connect to the Wifi. They both sat down to a bench nearby.

“Why didn’t you search Google Maps for this?” Janne asked. Cadence looked down, “I’m sorry, I didn’t think of it.” She replied and fidgeted with her hand. Janne stared at her hands and noticed the scars.

“Is it me or they look more swollen than yesterday?” he thought.

“Hey,” Janne called. Cadence looked at him in her peripheral vision, “Hmm?”

“Are you okay?” Janne asked. Cadence blinked and her face looked puzzled, “Um, just a bit tired.”

“Tired of what?” Janne persistently asked. Cadence sighed, having a rough idea regarding Janne’s actions.

“What did you notice?” Cadence asked. Janne pointed Cadence’s palm using his lips, “You can open up to me if you want.”

“Well, since we also need to rest, okay.” Cadence said and opened her palms. She opened her mouth and then pursed her lips, “I…oh gosh, I don’t know how to put them into words.”

Janne didn’t utter a word and waited for Cadence to speak again. The girl bit the bottom of her lips, “To tell you the truth, I am unstable.”
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