|Is it Fate?
Author: chocolate.affair PM
There are only 3 things Jayden Bates is sure of. He loves his family and friends. He loves good food. He hates Ryan Bernhard. And he's pretty sure the feeling is mutual. Or is it? Slash romance set in high school. Rated T for swearing only, so far .Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Friendship - Chapters: 17 - Words: 30,129 - Reviews: 43 - Favs: 38 - Follows: 47 - Updated: 09-23-12 - Published: 05-31-12 - id: 3027634
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"Why did you leave without me?" Bernhard fretted as he burst into my room after dinner, fuming.
"Got tired of waiting." I kept my voice impassive and shrugged.
He slid onto my bed with a sullen look on his face. "Still, you could have waited another 15 minutes."
I ignored his sulking, and went to open my window before plopping down in front of the easel, tray of oils in one hand. "Let's get started."
An hour in, Bernhard's muscled chest began rising and falling rhythmically, his fine hair falling over his drooping eyelids.
"Why… do you like me?" I asked with my brush in mid stroke. His thick eyelashes jolted open and he pinned me down with an inquisitive stare, head tilted to the side. Why am I asking him this?
"Why the sudden curiosity?" That's what I'd like to know!
"No, I'm more than happy to tell you." The triumphant smile on his face tickled my irritation.
"Don't wanna know anymore." I got up with the intention of going to the kitchen to grab a snack.
"Wait! Please let me tell you?" He lightly yanked my shirt, causing me to frown but I sat back down, bracing myself for whatever he had to say.
"It's fate." He declared without batting an eyelash. Uh.. what?
"Huh?" I asked, unimpressed. I bet it's something stupid.
"I felt it when I first met you all those years ago. Then, miraculously we were table-mates throughout all of elementary school. Even throughout junior high and high school, we've shared the same row of lockers and classes."
"That's called alphabetical order, you retard. Bates, Bernhard. " For some inexplicable reason, I felt a twinge of disappointment.
"We always run into each other, whether you like it or not."
"Because we go to the same school!"
"There's the art project, too."
"That's just one of Mrs. Nelson's whims!"
"No. You don't get it." He sounded exasperated as he raked his hand through his hair then paused like a lightbulb had gone off. "I had Chinese for dinner tonight."
What the fuck? "So what?" I was getting fed up with his half-explanations and incoherent answers.
"My fortune cookie said, 'Happiness is within your reach.'" He stared straight into my eyes and grinned a blinding smile.
"WHAT'S YOUR POINT?" I shouted, unable to contain my annoyance at him.
"So that's what I'm doing. I'm reaching for my happiness." The tenderness on the serious expression he wore as he pulled my hand towards him distracted me.
"Are you an idiot? Don't listen to advice from a freaking fortune cookie! And 'happiness is within your reach' is the vaguest fortune I've ever heard."
"But don't you think it's fate that I got it?"
"Stop throwing the word fate around! It's a coincidence." I said, feeling vexed.
"Those things are made in a factory in the U.S., they aren't even real fortunes. Thousands of people probably got the same one as you."
"Shut up!" Once again, I cut him off, not really understanding the emotions boiling inside me.
"I love you!" He roared, then his face softened and he repeated the words again, gently. "Because I love you, I believe the lockers, classes, fortunes or anything else are all fate. Is that so wrong?"
I looked at his gray eyes, swirling with passionate sentiment and stayed silent. Feeling deflated and at a loss for words, I just stood there stupidly.
He sighed and got up. "I'll pick you up tomorrow."
I nodded, wondering if he was mad in the back of my mind.
In the end, most of the week passed by pretty uneventfully with Bernhard still taking me to and from school. Even though he seemed a bit distant, he still followed after me at school and tried to strike up conversation during the car rides.
"You are pissing me off." Lei stated as she gave my shin a swift kick.
"OW!" I pulled my leg close, rubbing the sore spot, glaring at her accusatorially. "What the hell was that for?"
She glowered at me for a few more seconds before letting out a long sigh. Then she low-fived Mark and Aaron and rubbed her temples, muttering, "I'm tapping out. Mark, Aaron this idiot is all yours."
"Basically you've been listless these past few days…" Mark started.
"It's annoying." Aaron stated bluntly and I cringed when I saw Victor nodding in agreement behind him.
I opened my mouth to give a huffy response but deep down I knew they were right. I lowered my head and mumbled a soft, "Sorry". Tina sidled close to me and ruffled my hair with a soothing lift at the corner of her lips.
"We're just worried about you, Jadey." Tina said, concern evident in her voice. I felt touched and proceed to snuggle up to her.
"Tina, you're the only one who cares," I replied dramatically, burying my face in her tight turtleneck. Leila responded by burying two knuckles into my skull, giving me her version of a noogie.
"You are so slow! So a hot guy likes you. Is it the end of the world?" Lei sounded annoyed and looked even more annoyed with her arms crossed over her small frame.
"Honestly, grow a pair." Aaron added before handing me two DingDongs. Was he trying to be funny? I squinted my eyes at his smirking face, officially not amused.
"If you're getting so depressed over his possible anger at you, why don't you just go out with him already?" Victor, ever the closer, just peered at me with a silent wisdom in his dark brown eyes.
"I- This and that are two different things! It's true that I don't hate Bernhard, but… I've been straight my whole life." My voice broke a little but I ploughed on. "I can't even imagine kissing a dude." I ignored the flash of memory lurking behind my words.
Lei snorted but thankfully moved onto another subject. Aaron took the hint and started complaining about his art project partner.
When school finally ended, I meekly asked Bernhard to pose for me one last time so I could put in the finishing touches on my painting.
"Sure." He studied me with soft light in his eyes and brought the back of his fingers to my face, whispering, " Are you okay?"
Before my natural physiological response of blushing flared up, I blurted, "Aren't you mad at me?"
He looked genuinely perplexed when he shook his head. What? So I was treading on eggshells for the last three days for nothing?
I sighed at my idiocy and let out a rueful smile.
"I've got basketball today, so you can go back first." His hopeful tone at the end of the phrase implied that he wanted me to wait for him again, a tone which I promptly ignored.
"Okay. See you." I hid the smile on my face when he breathed a sigh, as if deflated. "We're having Chinese tonight. I'll save you some low mien and a fortune cookie."
His face brightened and I could practically see the happy dance he was doing in his head. I resisted to urge to roll my eyes.
"See ya!" Bernhard paused, an impish grin pulling at his lips. He leaned over and before I could push him away, and gave my cheek a long lick.
My hand flew to the offended cheek and I stared at him in disbelief. What the hell. "Wha-?" I stuttered unintelligently.
"It's a cow kiss." He laughed and ran off, throwing an offhanded wave over his shoulder, leaving me dumbstruck with his saliva cool against my cheek. Since when do cows kiss like that?
Shit, I let my guard down. I rubbed at my face furiously with the sleeve of my white sweater. In my distraction, I had forgotten about his licking streak.
As I headed home, my cheek tingling, I wondered how I should go about convincing that fool that it was definitely not fate, just his own misconception.
I rolled around on our fluffy white carpet in the living room, watching my mom idly paint her nails with sea foam green. The twins were taking an afternoon nap in their room and my dad was still at work. I surveyed her delicate features and thoughtlessly murmured in a somewhat surprised tone, "Mom, you're pretty…"
She chuckled and pulled her arched eyebrows together in mock irritation. "And this is news to you, Lola?"
"How did you and dad meet?" I posed, feeling an abrupt surge of curiosity.
"At the airport baggage claim. We both lost our suitcases. He was coming in from Narita and I was coming back from a friend's wedding in LA." She smiled fondly at the memory and twisted the nail polish cap on.
I felt a familiar warmth in my heart. I was a sucker for moving stories; anything romantic , tragic, or had puppies in them always succeeded at turning me into a fuzzy puddle of goo.
"Wow, it's like a movie!" I exclaimed in repressed excitement, mentally chiding myself for not asking earlier. "How did you know dad was the one?"
"I didn't. He was just so annoyingly clingy, almost like a stalker, that I couldn't help but fall in love." Mom twirled a lock of hair with the tips of her freshly painted nails and beamed.
I looked at her, flabbergasted, waiting for the punch line. When none came, I let out a big sigh.
"Wow, romantic." I said, sarcastically, wondering if somehow the genes to attract stalker-like guys (a.k.a. Bernhard) ran in the family.
"Come to think of it, it was the same with your late granny." She got up and arched her back, stretching her spine with grunt. "She told me about your gramps' relentless pursuit, which was pretty rare in Japan back in the day."
I let out a small giggle, imagining gramps chasing grams in a game of tag on an open field. "I can so picture that."
"Right?" She laughed with me and said, "Actually, it was like that with my parents too. My mom fell in love with my dad and followed him home. These borderline stalker yet oddly romantic pairings seem to run in the family. It must be fate or something."
I froze at her last comment.
"It is not fate!" I screeched and ran to my room, shutting the door firmly behind me. I was peeved that even my mom was starting to use that dreaded word.
I tried to block out Bernhard's annoying voice, chanting 'it's fate, it's fate' in my ears.