The Dorky Idea
"Well you done done me and you bet I felt it
I tried to be chill, but you're so hot that I melted
I fell right through the cracks
and now I'm trying to get back
Before the cool done run out
I'll be giving it my bestest
Nothing's going to stop me but divine intervention
I reckon it's again my turn to win some or learn some"
--I'm Yours, by Jason Mraz
"Remind me again why I agreed to this." Sam asked with an angry grunt as she pushed her brown hair back into a ponytail, at the same time pushing another box of her books into an old, dingy-looking studio apartment. Her legs ached after being stuck in three-inch heels for four long hours, her arms were sore from all that lifting, and all she wanted was a big mug of cappuccino.
Actually, make that two huge mugs. God knows how much she needed it.
"Because you love me." Her friend, Kayla answered with an apologetic grin, carrying a tiny pot of green plant into the room and putting it on a dust-coated coffee table.
"And everyday I find myself wondering why." Sam said dryly, taking another depressed glance around the tiny space she'll be calling a home for, probably, quite sometime. She turned and gave Kayla a menacing glare. "This is the last time I'm doing things for you, Kay."
Kayla smiled gratefully at her best friend and roommate, who was willing (well, in a very forced mode) to move out of her room so that Alex, Kayla's boyfriend could move in once and for all.
She swallowed the urge to giggle like a hormonal teenager, and forced a blank look on her face as she followed Sam around her new-found home, quietly inspecting every inch of the area.
The studio apartment consisted of a living room, which also served as a kitchen, which also served as a dining room, which also served as a bedroom, which also served as her miniature library-slash-study area. And it had a tiny bathroom.
Thankfully, separated with a door.
Finally, after fifteen whole minutes of inspection (Kayla got bored after the third minute, considering the fact that all they did was walk around the apartment in circles, scrutinizing everything with their naked eyes), Sam managed a noisy, discontented sigh.
"Aw, come on now. At least the people around here are nice…" Kayla tried, placing a comforting pat on Sam's shoulders. And then she halted, thinking her words through. "I think."
A tiny flashback of what happened outside the apartment before they came in –Old, cranky hypocrite neighbour who's complaining about the noise, when he himself had Elvis Presley cranked up to the loudest volume ; That weird little girl who asked if they wanted to buy used tissues, claiming it to be Hayden Christensen's; That blonde-haired guy (who was, admittedly, quite good looking) who ran the opposite direction when they asked him to lend a helping hand…
Sam found her way to her old, grey couch and sank onto it. Kayla followed.
Just when she thought she'd be able to get at least a wink of sleep, the house phone rang, emitting a loud, annoyed groan from the both of them.
Gritting her teeth, Sam picked up the phone, thinking that it's probably one of her family members.
Those irritating twits.
"I'm tired, I need a boost of caffeine, I think I left my favourite thong in my old room, and life is a bitch in my arse. How may I help you?"
The other end of the line went still silent.
"Mum?" She called out into the phone. "Dad?"
Someone cleared his throat awkwardly.
"Uh, yeah. Hi. Is there a John there?" A deep, rough voice asked, his voice clearly hesitant and somewhat wary.
"I'm afraid you've got the wrong number." She managed to choke out in embarrassment, sincerely hoping that the guy at the other line, whoever he may be, didn't think of her as a raving lunatic.
"Oh, sorry." The voice mumbled from the other line. "Thanks anyway."
And he hung up.
Kayla looked like she was about to burst into laughter, and Sam's face was reddening more in each moment.
"Don't." Sam interjected huffily, "Don't say a word."
And so they remained silent for a couple more minutes, both silently contemplating their own thoughts: Kayla wondering what Alex could possibly be doing at this exact moment; Sam adding another embarrassing moment to her never-ending list.
"You know what I like about this place?" She asked after a while, taking another look at her home.
Sam squeezed her eyes shut and tried to imagine herself living happily in this apartment.
"Nothing." She muttered bluntly, breaking the silence. "Absolutely nothing."
She would have started her Saturday off with a mug of coffee, or maybe treated herself to some breakfast in bed, perhaps even a long, hot bubble-bath…
But no. Of course not. Someone just had to ruin that for her.
The intercom buzzed for another time.
Oh, for frog's sake.
She threw the comforter to the other side of the bed and trudged towards the intercom.
"Yes?" She asked as politely as possible, trying to conceal all the bubbling anger she was feeling inside. Was never a morning person. Is not a morning person. Don't plan to be a morning person. "What is it?"
"Hello, I have a bouquet of flowers for a Miss…" The man's voice trailed off, and she managed a huge yawn, her hand covering her mouth instinctively as her other hands stretched to the side. "Uh. Yeah, for a Miss-something."
Despite the blurry state of her mind, she rolled her eyes.
"Well, Mister-something." She mocked snippily, pressing onto the intercom button. "I think you'd be able to find a 'Miss-something' on the first, the third, and the fifth floor. Maybe you should try them instead."
The other end of the intercom lapsed into an embarrassed silence.
Out of sheer curiosity, Sam tip-toed (without knowing why she had to do it) across the place to the large windowpane, and glanced down. Sure enough, there stood a guy who wore a bright red baseball cap, black shirt, black slacks, with a typical black messenger bag slung over his shoulder, and a bouquet of sunflowers in his hands.
Don't they usually deliver flowers in vans, or something?
He spoke again, his voice slightly muffled by the cars that drove past the street.
"I'm sure the flowers are delivered to you, miss. The handsome young man just failed to recall your name, I believe." He explained apologetically. "Perhaps you could let me know your-"
"I believe said handsome young man also failed to recall the fact that I'm allergic to pollens. Especially Sunflower pollens." She interjected huffily. "Anything else?"
"Oh. Uh, no. Thank you for your time, miss."
She didn't even bother replying, simply falling back onto her bed, snuggling into the warmth she left overnight.
The intercom buzzed again.
"Miss, you never quite mentioned your name…"
Sam groaned and covered her face with her pillow.
"Go away and let me sleep, damn it!" She screamed, knowing full well that her voice wouldn't be able to travel down four floors into his ears, but apparently, he wasn't patient enough to wait for a reply.
He already left.
It wasn't until late at night when Sam opened her door to bring out the trash, did she find a small bouquet of sunflowers.
They last longer, and they don't have any pollen. I made sure of that.
She threw the flowers into the rubbish bin when Kayla came over, heard the story, and claimed Sam to be the mushy type who'd fall over any man who'd present her with artificial flowers.
(Kayla didn't know that the second she left, Sam picked up the flowers from the bin and delicately placed it on her table.)
Sam was in a horribly grumpy mood by the time she got back from college and was lying on her bed.
It wasn't because her classmate copied her work during the little pop quiz they had, and for some reason, scored better than Sam did; Not because she was craving for Chocolate Cream Chip latte but couldn't get it because she was on a strict diet; And most definitely not because of that idiotic, familiar-looking blonde guy who distracted her when she was walking back to her apartment, causing her to trip over her heels and fell flat on the ground. Twice.
And tore her favourite khaki pants.
No, it was mostly due to the fact that the intercom was buzzing. Again.
This time, it was the pizza delivery guy, with their trademark red baseball cap, white collared t-shirt and dark blue jeans. This particular one had a black messenger back slung over his shoulder and dark-rimmed spectacles.
The slight catch?
Sam never ordered pizza, and she was on a strict diet.
"For the last time, no, I did not order any Pepperoni and cheese pizza with extra cheese-topping!" She yelled into the intercom with rage, her hands on her waist.
"I know, but what I'm asking is if you're willing to just collect the damn pizza for free so that I wouldn't have to go around house-to-house, checking for pizza deliveries!" The guy retorted, his tone just as frustrated and annoyed. She could see him flinging his hands up in the air, the box of pizza already abandoned on the ground. "Geez, woman, what's wrong with you? Don't people usually wish for free pizzas?"
"And don't people usually deliver pizzas to people who actually ordered them?"
"There are exceptions, like when you're dying to piss, and some cranky old lady isn't willing to accept the free pizza!"
She crossed her arms angrily.
"I'm not old!"
"Prove it." The voice said calmly over the intercom, sounding faintly amused. "Get down here and tell me your name, your age, your birth date, your favourite pet, your favourite hobby, and if you're single. And then I'll believe you."
"I shouldn't have to come-Wait," She paused, her mouth ajar in disbelief. "Are you flirting with me, pizza delivery guy?"
A soft snigger.
"And are you willing to reciprocate, cranky milady?"
She paused to think how bizarre this day was going, and then leaned against the doorframe with a grudging smile.
"That depends. Are you tall, dark and gorgeous?"
There are times when you've moved into a new apartment, starting life afresh, and you start flirting with the pizza delivery guy whom you, by the way, are probably never going to meet, no matter how 'tall, dark, and gorgeous' he claimed himself to be. Times like these are unforgettable.
Because it is times like these that show just how whacked-out you are.
Sam began to wonder if all the male-workers in town wore the same things.
The signature red baseball cap that's turned the other way round; those dark-rimmed spectacles; that typical black messenger bag slung over the shoulder…
Those, and the similarly deep, slightly rough voice that she's started to get accustomed to.
It was hell annoying, but not exactly because she hated the interruption.
Okay, so she did, but that was in the beginning.
Now, she was annoyed about the fact that she was no longer annoyed at the guy(s) who kept buzzing her on the intercom.
Like this particular red capped, dark-rimmed spectacled, black-messenger-bagged one, who had a guitar in his hands.
"Let me guess," Sam said into the intercom after taking a peek down the window, her tired voice laced with a tinge of amusement. "You're the singing leprechaun I hear people talking about."
"Close enough," He answered seriously, his voice slightly drowned by the cars that drove by. "Only I'm six-foot tall, I don't have pots of gold, and despite popular belief, I can actually sing."
"Right." She commented with a dry smirk. "And who decided to send you singing at… 11.30 on a school night, hmm?"
"Just… some guy." Came his informative reply, followed by a low chuckle. "But I'm under strict orders to start singing only if you come down, miss."
Sam clucked her tongue teasingly and tugged on her hideous duck-patterned pyjamas.
"Maybe next time," She told him, all the while trying to stifle a yawn. Failed miserably. "I need some sleep. Sweet dreams, leprechaun."
"Sweet dreams, gorgeous."
She rolled her eyes good-humouredly and climbed into the comforts of her bed, snuggling under her pale blue comforter. A good night's rest would do her good, considering the stress she was getting from college and all that upcoming exams.
But she couldn't.
Not when the familiar plucking of guitar strings started coming from the intercom, followed by that low, melodious voice, singing to one of her favourite songs.
"There's no combination of words I could put on the back of a postcard; No song that I could sing, but I can try for your heart…"
Despite the awful need to sleep, Sam found herself drawn to the music. Drawn to his voice, that went on smoothly like a sweet lullaby.
Sam got out of bed and sneaked quietly to sit by the window of her studio apartment, her brown eyes watching on in awe as he continued strumming his guitar and singing his heart out into the intercom.
She wondered if anyone noticed the fact that some crazy lunatic was singing into a lifeless object on a Monday night, underneath the dim street light.
"Love is the answer, at least for the most of the questions in my heart, like: Why are we here, and where do we go, and how come it's so hard?" He sang on, and Sam realized for the first time, how soothingly deep his voice was.
"-when we're together; Yeah, we'll look at the stars when we're together; Well, it's always better when we're together; Yeah, it's always better when we're together…"
She leaned the back of her head against the window and listened quietly to the melody that floated from the intercom, the tiniest of smile hugging her slightly chapped lips as she allowed his voice to lullaby her to sweet slumber.
As her eyes fluttered shut, one last thought drifted into her mind.
She wanted to know if it was normal for a girl to fall in love with a guy because of his voice… his persistency… his red baseball cap…
Four floors down, a young man in a cap and his loyal spectacles never stopped singing to the song he hoped she loved, his hazel eyes focused on a particular girl that he somehow, somehow fell in love with the first time he saw her, when she and a friend asked him to help…
… And he ran off, not really knowing why.
The music ceased well after midnight, when he was certain that she was asleep (if the awkwardly-positioned head was any indication. He prayed that her neck wouldn't be stiff in the morning).
With one final glance and a smile, he whispered, knowing full well that she was asleep, "One day, you will want to know my name. Not as the flower or pizza delivery guy, not as the singing leprechaun, but as me. As the one who's dying to know you. Sweet dreams, love."
And he left, with an awfully sore throat and exhausted fingers.
Sam couldn't remember the last time she took a bus home.
All she remembered was the fact that she never liked taking busses. Hated it, in fact. Despised it.
Positively loathed it.
It was a wonder how people could stand squeezing in an absurdly hot vehicle like sardines in a can, all the while breathing at the same time. She hated the speed of the bus, and the fact that it took the damn driver 45 minutes to reach a destination which usually takes her five minutes, tops.
That probably explained why, when she got off the bus, her temper was flaring.
Which probably also explained why, when she stomped off towards her studio apartment on the opposite side of the road, she managed to walk into a walking wall.
If that made any sense at all.
She stared, positively seething, at the scattered paper works on the ground. Then, slowly, slowly, her gaze moved upwards, until her eyes met said wall's hazel ones, behind his spectacles.
Realization dawned upon her as she noted the blonde hair under his red cap.
"You." She managed an accusing finger at him, her eyes squinting. "You're that guy."
That guy, being the cute bastard who ran off when she asked him for help the first day she moved in.
That guy, being the same cute bastard who caused her to stare, and then trip over thin air and fall. And ripped her favourite pants.
That guy smiled, flashing his insanely white teeth.
"Sorry," He said, sounding faintly apologetic. Sam was sure he feigned that tone. Well, sort of. She watched as he bent down and collected her papers for her. "I wasn't looking at where I was heading to."
He arranged the papers and passed it to her.
She sent him a brief glare before snatching the papers from him and muttered an inaudible "Thanks."
He continued smiling, and reached his hand out.
"Anyway. My name is-"
"I'm not interested." She cut off with a tight smile, her mind thinking about a certain someone who sang her to sleep last night.
Sam wanted to know his name.
"Would you let me know yours, then?" That guy asked politely. If he was disappointed with her snappy reply, he sure concealed it well, she thought.
"Samantha!" Someone called out from behind, and the both of them turned, only to see Kayla happily bouncing down the street. But that was before she screeched to a sudden halt, her gaze on that guy. Suddenly she didn't look too happy anymore. Kayla raised a finger at him. "You."
He raised an eyebrow. He never knew girls would hold grudges this bad.
But before he could say anything (courteous) in return, Samantha tugged on Kayla's arm and started pulling her into her apartment, her lips tightly pursed.
That night, after Kayla left (Sam had a sneaky suspicion that she came solely for the ice-cream in her refrigerator), Sam sat down and did her senior thesis. Or at least, she tried doing it.
It wasn't an easy task, though, since her mind was swaying elsewhere, and her eyes kept darting back and forth between the set of papers on her desk and something else near the door.
Why hasn't it buzzed yet?
She knew that they've only had a few intercom encounters (each time more bizarre than the other), but for some reason, she found herself trusting him. It only took her that much to fall in like with his odd quirks.
Did he know that she already knew it's been him all along?
A sudden buzz snapped her out of her reverie, and she almost toppled to the ground in delight.
Checking from the window to make sure that it was him (After all, it would be rather humiliating to blurt out some silly things, like 'Ohoho, little leprechaun! I've been waiting!' only to realize it's your mother, or something.), she hurried to the intercom and pressed the button.
"Another serenade?" She teased through the intercom, barely hiding her immense glee at his presence.
"Actually, I was thinking of a tap dance."
He grinned, and the bare sound of it lit up Sam's face. "Good evening, lady, I'm your new daily confidant. Rant as you wish."
Despite the giddiness she was feeling, Sam rolled her eyes in disbelief.
"I don't have anything to rant about, o wise one."
"Really?" Came his sceptical response, followed by a short pause. Then, "How did your day go, then? Any special encounters? Hot guy, perhaps?"
Sam choked on her own pit of saliva.
"Infuriating jerk, more like." She spat bitterly, recalling her short meeting with that blonde guy in the afternoon.
A short silence.
"You're a pretty compassionate confidant." Sam stated dryly.
He let out an amused laugh.
"Sorry, I'm still new to this." He explained, and then cleared his throat, as though it served as the rewind button. "So, what did said infuriatingly gorgeous jerk do, hmm?"
"He causes trouble." She said promptly, heaving a long sigh as she leaned against the wall to relax herself, her arms crossed. "I met him a few times before today. The first time, he ran off. The second time, I fell. The third time, we fell. Let's just say I've had my fair share of fallings, and would love to fall no more."
"I'm sure he apologized."
"He did, but he prolly didn't mean it."
"How would you know?" He reasoned, his voice suddenly serious and calm. "Maybe he just didn't know how to express what he really was feeling?"
"And how would you know?" She exclaimed in return. "You're not him."
Because you're so much better than him, and I actually like you, she added silently.
"Maybe I am him."
Sam laughed dryly and twisted her hair up into a messy knot, letting some loose strands fall around her oval-shaped face.
He sighed, letting out a low whistle.
"Look, I'm sure he ran out on you the first time because he was nervous." He said. "I know I would, considering how breathtakingly beautiful you are."
She smiled at his sweet flattery.
"Trust me, Sam." He continued, his voice barely above a whisper now. "The last thing he wanted to do, was to run away from you."
She wanted to say something in return, until she realized something wasn't right about what he said.
"Wait a minute… I never told you my name was Sam!"
But he went on, clearly not hearing whatever she said.
"And right now, at this moment, I'm sure he does, more than anyone else, want to hold you close and apologize for being a jerk the first time. For being a jerk the second time. For being a jerk the third time." With those words in her mind, Sam turned her gaze to that bouquet of sunflowers, marvelling at its beauty as she stringed the pieces together. That red baseball cap… "But he promises it to be the last time, because now he knows. He knows you hate to fall, he knows you're allergic to flowers, he knows you're probably on a diet, he knows he wants you. More than anything, more than anyone."
"But now, what he really wants to know…" His voice trailed off as he tried to look for the right words to say. "Is if you'd come down… And tell him you want it, too."
It took her a second to add two to two, before she pulled open the door, and dashed down the stairs, the idea of using the lift never quite occurred to her.
She ran down one floor, adrenaline pumping through her veins, her hair now loosening and falling around her shoulders once more. She never stopped.
Ran down another floor, her heart was starting to ache, and she remembered the last time she used the stairs. The first day she moved into the apartment. The string of curses that flew out of her mouth as she complained about that guy who refused to help, claiming him to be not at all gentlemanly.
And another floor she ran, her mind now on the silly things he did each consequent day. Was it his way to make her notice him?
Or was it one of his odd ways to apologize?
Finally, she made it to the ground floor and out of the building, her hair horribly messy as she stood with her hands on knees, panting for oxygen in front of him.
That was when she realized the little fact that she was in her ugly tank top and pyjama bottoms.
Oh, God. Of all the things she had to wear.
"I've tried so, so many ways to get you down here." He muttered shyly, running a slightly tanned arm through his flattened mob of blonde hair before putting his cap back on. He trained his eyes on Sam's and smiled. "So I tried to tackle the cheesy way."
She stared at him, unable to speak.
(After all, she did run down a few hundred flights of stairs. Felt like it, anyway.)
"It's silly, I know." He continued, not missing a beat. "But I've always been silly. This isn't much of an exception."
"You were the one who delivered the flowers…"
He nodded, "Sorry, didn't know you were allergic to pollens."
"You were the flirtatious pizza delivery guy…"
"The last time I ordered pizza, the guy flirted with me." He told her, as though this explained everything. He motioned towards his tall, lean body. "And I'm a guy."
"And you're that one guy I've been bumping into more than a few times, each time worse than the other…" She halted as she took in his appearance slowly, for the first time. His blonde hair, flattened under his baseball cap; His amazingly hazel-green eyes; his strong jaw; his slightly muscled arms… Sam looked up questioningly. "What makes you think this time would get better?"
"I don't." He answered honestly, his eyebrows knitted together for a while. Then, he smiled once more, his eyes crinkling at the corners behind his spectacles. "But I know I want to try."
There are times when you've moved into a new apartment, starting life afresh, and you start flirting with the pizza delivery guy whom you, by the way, are probably never going to meet, no matter how 'tall, dark, and gorgeous' he claimed himself to be.
There are also times when you're exhausted and annoyed by everything around you, and someone just buzzes you on the intercom and sings his heart out for you.
You don't know the little details of his life. He knows little of yours.
But sometimes, just sometimes, you don't need that to fall in love.
Maybe not love. Not just yet.
But it could be.
"I want to know your name…" She mumbled, feeling slightly stupid in her grey tank top and loose old pyjama bottoms. "And I want to know you."
He laughed and held his arms open for her.
"I knew you would."
She rolled her eyes and started running into his embrace, not really caring anymore, even as she tripped over her bunny slippers and fell right into his arms, giggling.
And everything else happened, just the way it should be.
a/n: Special thanks to Teasie, who had to reread my work over and over again. Love! :)
I've given up not writing cliched and cheesy stuffs. It'd kill me.
Oh, and by the way, the part about falling twice and ripped pants? Yeah. Real life experience, here. Only I fell twice in two days. (Three times, actually.), and ripped my khakis. Oh, and I now have a scar on my right knee, thanks to that.
The song I used in the story is Jack Johnson's Better Together. Don't you just wish someone would sing that to you?
Ever wondered the possibilities of falling in love with the help of intercoms? -winkwinknudgenudge-
You don't know his name, you don't know his name! HAHAHA. How's that for mysterious, hmm?