“… were you surprised to find me here?”
He looked up, upon her breaking the silence. She went on, bitter smirk apparent on her face:
“I don’t look like the kind of girl who go partying in the club, do I?”
No. He had to admit that. Even from what he knew from his memory years ago, she always had the image of a timid girl. She always smiled when people refer to her, she was that shy, good-natured girl among her peers, even if she appeared a bit of a loner sometimes.
“Sometimes it’s tiring,” she spoke again. “Keeping up that image—always smiling, always appearing to be helpful. I don’t actually like this kind of place that much. But it gives me a break. Because no one knows me here. I don’t have to smile the way I always do.”
There was a long, deep sigh from him. “Still, you shouldn’t have come here alone. If you have called me and asked me to accompany you, I’d have come, you know.”
She gave him a meek smile. “Because you like me? And I here I thought you’d have liked me less if you found me here.”
He replied with a tilted grin. “And now you know I don’t like you less.”
“Thanks for the offer then,” she chuckled a little, though still appeared down. “But I still can’t take it.”
“Why? I’ve told you I don’t mind.”
“Because… I don’t want to use you—I mean… I don’t want to feel like you would accompany me here just because you like me. I don’t want to take advantage of that feeling.”
“I have told you before. I would rather stay friend with you than not being able to see you at all. So of course this much is just fine.”
She gave him another look—that wondering, probing gaze she would give him from time to time. Now he noticed how she often gave him that look whenever he talked about his feelings for her. He went on, his grin turned playful,
“Also, if you mean you feel like you want to be a bad girl for a night… taking advantage of someone’s feelings would be just the kind of thing a bad girl would do, you know. So call me up anytime you want.”
A little frown appeared on her face. “Are you saying that just because you know I won’t actually be bad… or because…” She trailed off, eyes narrowed. In the end, she just bit her lips and shook her head. She started again, without looking at him, “I still don’t understand… why you would go so far for me. You said it’s because you like me, but… It won’t be forever, will it?”
She looked up at him again. This time, there was a new tone in his voice and new shine in his eyes. Something… cold.
“What if it’s not forever?” He went on. “We live in the moment. You can take what you need from me at the moment. And I’ll do the same.”
The look she gave him upon this words—crestfallen. He saw how she could only look at him, wide eyed and somehow sorrowful at the same time. Then she looked away, unable to reply him.
After a long while, though, he finally heard her mutter:
“Eye for an eye would eventually turn the world blind.”
He turned to see her again; and found her gaze firm on him. She went on,
“If I’m going into a relationship with you, I don’t want to take. I want to give. And… Don’t you feel that way too?”
Now it was his turn to wide-eye her.
One second, two—and he sighed again. She saw him lifting a hand and placed it by the side of her face. He rose up and leaning closer—then she felt a kiss on her forehead.
She blinked once, twice. And could only look at him bewildered as he seated himself back. “This is why you get tired of being a good girl,” he said, still with that sigh.
Pouting, she felt her cheeks warmed up. “No, it’s not.”
“Why, then, if not because that?” He sent her a side glance, half mocking. “If you keep giving, it’s just normal you’d eventually get tired. You have to start taking too.”
“… I don’t want to take what isn’t given to me.”
“Then, will you accept what I’m going to give you?”
“You’ll have to come to my place to get it.”
She blinked again. Diverting her eyes bashfully, she said, “If you mean…”
“No, no,” he chuckled a little. “I’ve promised I won’t do such thing without your consent. But you said you don’t actually like clubbing anyway. So I think chilling at my place should be better for you.”
For a moment, she just gave him another doubtful look. She wouldn’t like to doubt his intention, but the memory of what happened last time…
“I promise,” he repeated again, and he smiled—this time without mock, without cynicism.
Finally, she placed a bet—on that smile, on a sincerity.
So he excused himself to his friends, and drove her to his place. Once they arrived in the apartment, he told her to get comfortable while he took out the ice cream and other sweets. He adored how her eyes sparkled upon the sight of those treats. He played a movie, and on the third, she was already nodding off at the couch. When she did finally fall asleep, he smiled looking at her face. He turned off the TV, then carried her to bedroom.
The mattress was so soft and the blanket warm. There was a scent that was foreign to her, and yet she didn’t dislike it. Sound of pouring shower heard in the distance… and she finally opened her eyes with the realization; she wasn’t in her own bed.
Blinking the sleep away, she sat up. She remembered coming to his place. They watched some movies with ice cream and cookies… but she didn’t remember getting to bed. Was this… his bed? Did he carry her here? Where did he…
“Oh, you’re up.” He walked out from the bathroom; hair wet, towel around his neck, already clothed.
“Uhm. Did I… last night…”
He grinned. “You fell asleep in the middle of the movie, yes. Then I tucked you in.”
“And… where did you sleep?”
“On the couch. It’s fine, really.”
She nodded, though still she muttered a sorry.
“Don’t mind it. By the way, I’m going to cook something now. Egg and toast sounds good to you?”
She nodded again.
“Good. Use the shower if you want. It’s clean, don’t worry. And there’s spare clean towel inside.”
He heard her low muttered thanks, and watched as she climbed off the bed and trotted into bathroom awkwardly. Once the bathroom door closed, though, his laid back grin fell.
Moving to the living area, he touched his lips and looked at his thumb with half dreamy look. Even that time he spent in shower didn’t seem to wash that sensation away…
Last night, he ended up sleeping on the couch—just because he didn’t believe he could hold himself otherwise. He brought over a blanket and pillow, and it still took him a long while lying away there, knowing fully that she was in his bed. At last he drifted off to sleep, only to wake up few hours later. A few minutes passed with him listening to silence, before he finally rose up and checked into the bedroom. She was there, still sleeping soundly.
That girl, who trusted him enough to drive her to his place, after what once happened between them. The girl that even in her attempt to shake off her “good girl” image, could never really stop being so good. This girl…
He could have forced himself on her right there and then, and she wouldn’t be able to put up much of a fight. He sure she was aware of it too. Yet somehow, she still trusted him.
She often looked so puzzled whenever he reminded her that he liked her. But to him, it was more puzzling that she could still show such sincerity and compassion toward him. Even after those things he said to her in the club last night.
Before he knew it, he had approached the bed side and been staring at her for a good minute. He snapped out of his daze when he caught his hand mid-air, half way reaching her. What was he about to do? He wasn’t sure. Letting the daze guide him, he found his hand taking her face. He started leaning down closer and closer…
But he stopped inches before kissing her. There was that promise.
With hesitation, he pulled away—but not without brushing his thumb on her lips. And it brought back the memory of that night, when he kissed her madly, robbing her breath in his kitchen…
Standing up and turning around, he brushed the thumb to his own lips. Then he took that cold shower.