Part X: Crazy moment
Carefully, I drew and redrew every line of Amber’s face, immortalizing that concentration and drive she wore. As I did, she continued playing and seemingly doing fine, as she didn’t ask for my help. When I looked up for the billionth time, I saw that she was looking at me, her eyes meeting mine.
There was a moment of silence as we just gazed into each other’s eyes before I tore my gaze away.
Damn, she’d caught me staring… Was that weird? I looked down at my drawing. What would she think if she knew what I was drawing?
“So, what’re you drawing so intently over there?” She asked leaning my way, breaking me out of my embarassed trance.
“N-Nothing. It’s nothing.” I said, closing my sketchbook and putting it face down for good measure. “How’s the game going?”
“Uh…alright.” She answered uncertainly. Immediately, I had a feeling she’d been a bit too prideful to ask for help.
“Really? Can I take a look?”
“I guess, but don’t expect anything too great.” She shrugged.
I got up and leaned over, bringing up my statistics tracking mod I’d installed. Her DPS meter was way below par, about a third of what it should have been, which meant she kept having problems doing the power rotation correctly which in turn meant she didn’t apply as much exposed stacks as she could have.
“Well, this isn’t bad to be honest-” I began turning her way. However I didn’t get to finish my sentence as she came closer and kissed me, her hands cupped around my face.
I wanted to say or do something but I was just paralyzed by surprise.
Amber let go and moved away. Immediately her expression turned sour with regret… Quietly she got up and took a step toward the door.
“I…I should go…”
“Don’t.” I pleaded her. She stopped in her track. “I was just a little surprised that’s all.”
“I shouldn’t have forced myself on you like that, I’m sorry. I’ve never been one to wait, you know?” She mumbled, her arms wrapped around her chest.
“It’s alright.” I said. “I assume you… want us to be more than what we are?”
“That’s kind of a blunt way of putting it, but okay. And yeah, it is what I want. What about you?”
The words sent my brain into overdrive. What did I want? Yeah, I liked her, she was hella cute. But could I really afford to get involved with someone at the moment? I couldn’t really drag her into the bullshit I’d accidentally gotten involved with a clear conscience…
“I do like you. A lot, really.” I told her, feeling a rush of blood to my face. I couldn’t believe I’d said that… “But, there’s people after me and I can’t drag you into that.” My gaze drifted away and settled on the hardwood floor.
“I’m not afraid of them. I…can help you. I can protect you!” She said. It was the last thing I’d wanted to hear…
“I can do it myself, or at least I’ll learn to. It’s why I’m here.”
“You can’t be alone in this and have it weighing on your back.” She said, taking a step closer. “Please trust me when I say I do want to help you. I…I need something to believe in…again.” Her voice was pleading. She seemed to realized she’d said more than she had wanted to and bit her lip rather hard.
“What do you mean by that?”
“Nothing…I shouldn’t have said anything.” She rubbed her head.
“Is it about your sibling, by any chance?”
Her expression twisted into a mix of sadness, regret and loss. For some reason, it brought some tainted memories of my own.
“You’re not the only one who’s lost someone.” I said, hoping it’d get her to open up. “I can’t even see her anymore if I wanted to.”
“It’s a long story…” I said with a nervous laugh. Talking about my ex wasn’t exactly a step up, but it would give me time to think…
“We’ve got time, right?”
“I guess, but I don’t know if you want to hear about this sort of thing.”
“Hey, I can always make time for you. Don’t forget that.” She said, giving me a smile
“You might was so sit down, then.” I sighed.
I crawled back up in my bed and leaned against the wall, Amber came and sat next to me, close enough for our fingers to brush briefly. There was a moment of silence as I gathered my thoughts. Her eyes wandered off and she stared at my sketchbook for a moment…
“So, what happened?” She asked, focusing back on me.
“Her name was Natalie. We met in a… hospital and she was my roommate.” I answered, omitting the fact it’d been a psychiatric hospital. I’d been admitted two years ago after a particularly bad psychotic episode…
“Ah. What happened, if I may ask?”
The memories came flooding back and I bit my lip to halt the flow of them.
“It’s alright if you don’t want to answer.” She said with a shrug.
“Where I was…it was a psychiatric hospital…” I admitted, my hands clenching into fists.
“I see. Those places are never fun. They try and lock you up while claiming you’re too helpless and dangerous to care for yourself.”
“You’ve been admitted to one?” I said, raising a brow. She didn’t seem the neurodivergent type.
“Well, yeah. After June passed away, I tried to kill myself. The cutting didn’t help, either. My time there had been short as it, err, ‘stained’ the reputation of my parents and I was assigned someone who’d check up on me while I went to school. She was a bitch, to say the least.”
Damn… That was rough… I wanted to hug her, but my body was too stiff to even consider moving.
“Who’s June? Your sister?”
She nodded somberly and took a deep breath before speaking again.
“She was. She died in a car accident a few years ago. I was being careless and wasn’t paying attention. She pushed me out of the way and…the next thing I saw was her on the ground. I couldn’t help her…” I could see her hands shaking, which she didn’t seem to notice. Her voice was getting a little shaky too… “Those who knew her at the school I went to blamed me. My parents clearly do and to be honest, I do, too. If only I wasn’t so goddamned rash…she’d be…” She stopped speaking and took a few deep breath, trying to cool down so she wouldn’t break down.
“You can’t blame yourself for what happened. She chose to do what she did and she did it for you.” I said, hoping it was comforting. I managed to move a little and gently rubbed her shoulder with my hand to show I was there.
“Yeah, probably. So what happened to Natalie?”
“Well, we continued our relationship after we both were released. It was okay for a while until she tried to take her own life and was readmitted. I tried to see her, but then let it slip that we’d been dating and was cut off from her life. The last thing I heard from her was that we couldn’t be together anymore. I still miss her…”
“Let me guess. Homophobic parents?”
“Yeah…” I don’t think I’ll ever forget Nat’s parents; their disgust and their anger, screaming how their little girl wasn’t a ‘filthy dyke’ and to get out of their house…
“Some people aren’t as accepting to it. To be honest, I didn’t think you’d acknowledge my advances or anything.” She said, which surprised me.
“To be fair, you don’t really come across as someone who’d enjoy the company of anyone. You looked pretty tense and irritable…” I said mockingly.
“I guess you’re not the only one who needs a ‘gay as hell’ sign, huh?”
“Apparently not.” I couldn’t help but laugh at that, which was a welcome change of mood.
There was a short moment of silence and Amber looked out the window, clearly lost in thoughts. I didn’t dare interrupt her. I could see that she was ever so slightly less tense than she’d been a few minutes ago.
Soon enough, her eyes turned toward me and our gaze met. Her hand found mine and she held it firmly.
“So…what do you say?” She asked, her voice still a little heavy.
I took a second to collect my thoughts. My life was in shambles, I had no idea what I was doing, I had supernatural thugs wanting me dead and no clue how the hell a relationship would fit into this mess…
But what did I have to lose?
This time, I was my turn to act. I cupped my hands on her face just like she’d done a few minutes prior. She met me halfway, our lips meeting. This time, I was more than just one lonely peck. I could feel my whole body ablaze as we shared many long, slow kisses.
“I take it that’s a yes?” Amber said breathlessly once we pulled back.
“Girlfriends?” I offered.
“Girlfriends.” She confirmed.
She pulled me closer for an encore.
I didn’t mind; we still had some time.