Like a Pumpkin
Sunday, 27th January, 2007. 11.30 a.m.
You know how people say that love is unmistakably blind?
Yeah. I believe they forgot the tiny fact that love is also unbelievably deaf, stupid, moronic, idiotic, foolish, imprudent, irrational, slow…
And I'm running out of terms there. But I'm sure you got my point.
I glare into his light grey eyes.
"Right now, at this very moment, standing on top of this bloody cliff, I have only one thing to say to you." I managed to blurt out through clattering teeth as I pull my sweater tighter to my freezing body. "It has "I", it has "you", and you probably wouldn't like the idea of it. Take a wild guess."
I lean against the old, beat-up Mustang that belongs to Mike, my loving brother, and look up at Chris in all his I-know-I-am-hot-because-I-am-an-awesome-surfer glory.
If he wasn't such a sweetie (Most of the times. Usually. Occasionally. … Okay, rarely.) I would've punched him for dragging me up here, only to ditch me as soon as Ruth shows up.
"I knew it," He says with a gasp, taking one of his hands from the pocket of his knee-length coat and points at me accusingly. "You want to have sex with me!"
I do, I do. If you would just stop being a jackass and realize that you're madly in love with me.
"No, I do not." I stutter in humiliation, my cheeks feeling a tad warmer, reddening even more when he smirks knowingly. "I was going to say I despise you."
"Mm-hmm, and I believe you, pumpkin." He teases.
You see? That's the problem between us. He always calls me pumpkin.
I call my favourite smelly old golden retriever Pumpkin.
Before I managed to stutter another reply, another car came into view. White, elegant, a Beetle. Exactly the kind of car you'd expect from Ruth, one of the richest girls in school, who lives slightly above the place we were waiting at.
I groan in exasperation and cross my arms over my chest huffily.
"Go on," I mutter without looking at him. I couldn't bring myself to gaze into his stormy grey orbs. Nor his dark, ruffled hair. Nor his perfectly kissable lips. I shall have none of it. "Go… Catch her wave, or whatever it is the cool people say these days."
And then I hear his deep, throaty laughter. Inside of me, something melted, even more so as he leans in for a chaste kiss on my forehead.
"I'll see you tonight, pumpkin." And he goes into her car, and together they left, probably heading off towards some romantic dining place… Like the beach, or something.
And I was left alone on the cliff.
As you can probably tell by now, I, Emma Cassidy James, have been playing the role of the pumpkin to Christopher Louis Fletcher for two years. And the occasional carriage, that shrinks back into a freaking pumpkin the moment the clock strikes twelve.
"Feeling bummed?" My brother asks casually as he opens the fridge to get himself a can of Heineken beer, the only alcohol that he can consume without getting a major migraine.
I stuff another mouthful of Chunky Monkey into my ice-cream disgustingly smudged mouth forcefully.
Screw Christopher for ditching me.
"Does this ice-cream therapy concern a certain Chris Louis Fletcher the occasional arse?" Mike pries again, now setting the can on the kitchen table to sit beside me on the tall bench with a worried frown.
Pop goes another spoonful of Chunky Monkey.
Screw Christopher for probably, not even realizing that I'm a girl overflowing with strong emotions.
Like serious infatuation with her brother's childhood friend.
I look down, only to discover that I've finished three quarters of a regular tub. I fed myself to another mouthful, then toss the spoon carelessly into the tub and sticking my jaw to the table depressingly.
"Good." Mike says with an easy smile as he stands up from his place. "If that's the case, I'm sure you'll be pleased to know that our best friend will be coming over tonight for a sleepover."
Screw Christopher for knowing my brother first, and for doing really gay stuffs with him.
Like sleeping on the same single-sized bed, both clinging onto an oversized stuffed bear named Gooey.
I glare at Mike and pulled the tub of ice-cream (and what's left of it) to my chest and storm out of the kitchen.
"You're buying me a tub of Cherry Garcia, Michael!" I yell over my shoulders before stomping my way up the stairs into my room.
Monday, 28th February, 2005.
"Let go of me." I said, trying futilely to pull my hand off his strong grasp. We were stuck in a massive carnival.
Chris hates carnivals.
"We are not going to take another scary gut-breaking roller coaster, Em." He growled as he dragged me along the path, successfully dispersing the noisy crowd around us. "I'd prefer it better if my lunch stays in my stomach and digest there, thank you very much."
"You're such a wimp." I growled nastily, eyeing the newest ride just around the corner with hunger in my sixteen-year-old eyes.
"Please, Em." Chris pleaded with a watery smile. "Don't make me go through this again."
I sighed in defeat, and then pulled all my blonde hair back into a messy ponytail.
"Fine." I muttered. "Take me wherever you want to go, then."
He beamed boyishly, his grey eyes gleaming with happiness, and laced my fingers in his, pulling me into a long, paired line.
"You have no idea how much I love you, Em."
"And I you." I said jokingly, keeping a strong grip on his large, warm hands.
Only to find myself in one of the boats.
In the Tunnel of Love.
"You're kidding me, right?" I asked incredulously, placing my hands on my hips in a cool demeanor. Chris stared blankly in return. "Is this the only ride you can take?"
"Emma," he started, but I cut him off, the mouth diarrhea taking control of me.
Happens when I'm stuck in the dark.
In an annoyingly squeaky boat.
"I mean, I'm sure there are some merry-go-rounds somewhere which are definitely a million times slower than-"
"And Ferris wheel! Ferris wheels are slow and they go in big, vertical circles! And they are freaking slow! Why didn't we take that, or the-"
"Emma, listen, I-"
"That spinning-in-a-cup thing? You know, the kinds that go round and round and round until you puke your guts out? Oh, wait. You don't want that, do you. Uh… okay, how about the-"
"Emma, I like you."
"-bumper cars?" I blabbered, my throat now getting really dry and thirsty. "They are pretty… Wait. WHAT?"
I stared at Chris is shock, vaguely making out the features of his face in the dark.
He heaved a deep sigh, and started over, this time his voice is soft, in a tone of whisper.
"I like you. A lot."
Oh, dear. This is bad. This is really, really bad.
I peered at him with an apologetic smile.
"Chris…" I trailed off, stopping to look for the right words to tell him the truth. "Chris, you do realize that I'm currently in love with John, right?"
He looked away.
"I'm really, really sorry, Chris." I mumbled, feeling absolutely awful. "But look, can we just be friends?"
The silence was deafening, and seemed to stretch on forever. He never spoke another word until the light beamed in. We were finally out of the tunnel.
"Okay," He said with a nonchalant smile, and patted me gently on the head. "Just friends."
It only took me a week to realize what a fool I was.
Sunday, 27th January, 2007. 6.45 p.m.
Detecting an odd sense of déjà vu, I look up from my renewed tub of Ben and Jerry's ice-cream (Comes in handy when you have a brother like Mike), hastily licking my lips to get rid of all the smudges.
And standing right there, in front of my pink, fluffy bed, is none other than Chris, clad casually in a pair of board shorts and pale pink t-shirt.
My heart thumps a heavy rhythm underneath its rib cage, and my bladder feels the sudden urge to inform me that I need to pee.
Thank you, bladder.
"No." I choke out hoarsely, helping myself to another large serving.
"Reaaaally," He drawls, casting me a skeptical glance, of which I tactfully ignored. "Because your brother downstairs was just complaining to me about how you've been gaining quite a lot of weight lately, with all those ice-creams you're consuming."
"Shut up, Christopher."
I am so going to assassinate Michael the moment I get down there, that bloody blood-traitor.
"Emma," He says with a small, almost inaudible sigh. "Emma, did I do anything wrong that made you upset whatsoever?"
Yes, I wanted to scream so badly, but instead, chose to shove my mouth with ice-cold Cherry Garcia.
You being here at my worst moment is wrong.
You calling me pumpkin is wrong.
You making me follow you everywhere before you go for your dates is wrong.
You dating everyone else but not even considering me as an option anymore is wrong.
You making me fall in love with you is dreadfully, dreadfully wrong.
"No." I answer dryly, looking away from him.
"Em, forgive me if I may seem terribly blunt with my question, but…" He trails off, now leaning against my study table that is cluttered with papers and pens. He motions at my ice-cream. "Does this tub have anything at all to do with you liking me?"
Does this tub have anything at all to do with you liking me.
That'a a pretty funny question. I grin wryly.
"Not really." Absolutely.
"Don't lie to me Emmy..." Chris drones on in a sing-song voice, now tapping lightly on the table.
"I'm not lying, Christopher." I mutter, my voice dead-pan. "Stop being so paranoid."
"Emma is a liar, Emma is a liar, Emma is a liar, Emma is a liar..."
I drop the spoon with a loud clank, suddenly exploding.
"Yes! Okay! I like you, okay? Are you happy now? Are you happy to hear that after your stupid confession at the Tunnel of Love I found myself falling helplessly for you? Are you immensely glad that I've been tortured excruciatingly by you all these times when you drag me to your pre-dating sessions, looking for the perfect outfit, the perfect lines to say to them?"
Whoa. I am on a roll here.
"You know I don't." He mutters, now looking fairly embarrassed with himself.
"Oh, really? So now you're telling me that despite all these dating shit you've been having since two years ago, you're utterly in love with little old me?"
"Will it get any blunter if I say yes?" He asks timidly.
I shoot him an incredulous look.
"Was I supposed to buy that line?" I sat up properly on my bed. "Get real, Christopher. If you really liked me you would've looked for another chance to confess. And maybe you would've stopped calling me pumpkin!"
"But you're a girl, Emma!" He half-yells in rage, now pacing around my room like a lunatic. "I don't know how to say the things I want to say in front of the girl! And pumpkin happens to be a sort of endearment, excuse you!"
I stare at him from my place on the bed.
"Yeah, okay. So you're telling me that those people you dated aren't girls?" I hear myself retorting, not knowing why annoyance is building quickly within me. He is just so bloody thick. Pumpkin is a sort of endearment? What drug is he on? "What were their names again? Oh, right. Jessica, Annette, Louise, Evelyn, Gloria, Sarah, Skyler, Ruth, Jose-"
"But they are women, damn it! I say 'Hello, I would like to fuck you.' and they'd comply, okay! You're different! You're a freaking girl which I happen to fancy!" He cuts off angrily, now ruffling his black hair anxiously, his eyes wide with apprehension. "No, wait, that's coming out terribly wrong, because now I sound like I'm discriminating women. I mean, yes, you're a girl and they are- Oh, what the hell!"
It took me a while to digest his words, but when it did, I found myself laughing mirthlessly.
Talk about comfort.
"Right. Thank you, Christopher, that made me feel so much better about myself." I snarl, picking up a pillow and throwing it as hard as I could at him. It went horribly off-target. "You're such a jerk, you know that?"
Chris groans in disbelief and walks towards my place, standing right beside the bed.
"The only reason why I'm being a jerk is because that's the only way I can get to you, Emma! So we started off like any relationship would in a typical clichéd story. You're my best friend's sister, and I'm your brother's best friend. I fall for you, and I admitted it in the Tunnel of Love, a really ridiculous attempt at trying to be bloody romantic for once. But you, on the other hand, decided to go against the typical cliché and all its freaking cheesiness, and said no, you'd prefer if we remained as friends." He inhaled deeply, then sent me another glare. "What was I supposed to do, pull on your legs and say that if you don't love me then I'd rather die?"
"You could have tried." I state calmly, now shaking my head in disbelief. "This is going all wrong, isn't it?"
He stared hard at me from his place and crossed his legs.
"You can say that again." He muttered, a very, very slight hint of amusement creeping into his voice.
I gave him an odd look.
"Uh, this is going all wrong, isn't it?" I repeat, like he told me to.
Only to find him rolling his eyes and laughing slightly. Then, he started walking languidly towards my side and crawled into the spot next to me. I stopped breathing.
"I really wish we could start all over, Em." He breathes slowly, and looks at me, his stare penetrating me. "I totally screwed things up."
I bite on my bottom lip nervously.
"We can start from here." I suggest coyly with an awkward smile, and he laughs.
"Okay, hello, my name is Christopher Louis Fletcher," He says and stretches his right hand out. I take it in my own and shake it gently. "And I am hopelessly in love with you."
Then he takes my hand to his lips and brushes a light kiss on my knuckles.
"Your turn." He demands teasingly, his eyes now widening with surprise as I place the my ice-cream tub on the bedside table and switch my position so that I was straddling him on the bed.
"Hey, my name is Emma Cassidy James. I am, too, irrevocably in love with you, though I must say," I lean in closer, so close that we were only a kiss apart. The tension in the air was choking. "I prefer the modern introduction."
And brush my lips against his lightly, tilting my head a little, slowly deepening the kiss. We came up for air a while later, both with goofy smiles on our faces.
"Em…" He trails off, intertwining our fingers together. I look at him expectantly. "Now that we're officially an item, can I call you Pumpkin?"
a/n: I told you. I'm on a roll with one-shots these days. I don't know if this is actually good, because if you notice, I'm writing it in uhm. Present tense. Except for the flashback. It was SUPPOSED to be a songfic, but naaah.
And now the age old question... Watcha think? XP